Kansas State began the process of recognizing its illustrious basketball past in 2005, when Ernie Barrett, Bob Boozer and Jack Parr became the first players to have their jerseys retired. Mike Evans, Lon Kruger and Chuckie Williams followed a year later in February 2006, while Rolando Blackman and Dick Knostman earned the honor on February 10, 2007. Willie Murrell and Mitch Richmond were the most recent players to have their jerseys retired when they were honored on Feb. 28, 2009.
The criteria for determining the honor includes statistical achievement, conference and national records, honors received (i.e., all-conference, All-America, Academic All-America, etc.), character and sportsmanship. Of note, each of these numbers will remain active for future student-athletes to wear.
6-3, 175, Guard
Ernie Barrett enjoyed a storybook All-America season in 1951. The team finished second in the nation and had the honor of opening one of the most spectacular basketball arenas in America, fabled Ahearn Field House.
Barrett captained the 1950-51 club that posted a 25-4 mark and eventually lost to Kentucky in the NCAA title game. He was suffering from a shoulder injury in that NCAA game, and the Wildcats might have escaped with the championship had the long-range bomber been healthy. That's right, at a school where long-range shooters hold special significance; Barrett may have been the best. His career scoring average was 8.8, although he averaged in double digits in each of his final two seasons.
After playing professionally with the Boston Celtics, Barrett returned to K-State as an assistant basketball coach, beginning his long association with the athletics department, which included a term as athletics director from 1969-75. Blessed with a glowing personality, he will always be "Mr. K-State."
6-6, 190, Guard
One of just two players to earn first team All-America honors in consecutive seasons, Rolando Blackman was a four-year lettermen for head coach Jack Hartman from 1977-81. He guided the Wildcats to an 80-41 (.661) record, including two postseason appearances and the 1980 Big Eight tournament championship.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Blackman is one of just three players (joining fellow retirees Mike Evans and Lon Kruger) in Kansas State history to be named Big Eight Conference Player of the Year (1980). He is also just one of three players to earn first team all-conference honors three times (joining Bob Boozer and Mike Evans) in the program's history. In addition, Blackman was named the Big Eight Conference Defensive Player of the Year on three occasions (1978, 1979, 1980).
The school's second all-time leading scorer with 1,844 points, Blackman was the last Wildcat to be selected as a first team All-American when he was named to the Helms Foundation, The Sporting News, Converse Yearbook and John R. Wooden Award All-American squads as a senior in 1981. He was also chosen as a first team All-American by the Helms Foundation and The Sporting News as a junior.
Blackman still ranks among the top 10 in 13 season and/or career statistical categories in school history, including tops in career double-digit scoring (100) and second in career field goals made (755) and career points (1,844). He also ranks in the career top 5 in assists (314; 3rd), games started (116, 3rd), games played (121; 4th) and free throws attempted (466; 5th). For his career, Blackman averaged 15.2 points on 51.7 percent shooting with 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 121 games.
One of five Wildcats to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, Blackman was originally drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the ninth overall selection in 1981. He went on to play 13 seasons in the NBA – 11 with the Mavericks and two with the New York Knicks. The four-time NBA All-Star played with Dallas from 1981-92 and is still the team's all-time leading scorer with 16,643 points. Blackman still appears in the top 10 in 18 different statistical categories in Mavericks' history, including records in field goals (6,487) and field goal attempts (13,061), free throws made and attempted (3,501-4,166) and starts (781). He also owns a multitude of franchise regular season, playoff and rookie records, including consecutive games without fouling out (865). He had his number 22 retired on March 11, 2000.
Blackman is currently in his 12th season overall with the Mavericks' organization, including his third as the team's director of basketball development. He spent the 2005-06 season as an assistant coach to NBA Coach of the Year Avery Johnson and helped the Mavericks to its first NBA Finals appearance, where they lost in six games to the Miami Heat. The squad tied for the best record in franchise history with a 60-22 overall mark. Prior to his stint as an assistant coach, Blackman spent five seasons as the player development coach and two seasons as the program's director. He also served as an assistant coach for the German National team, where he helped lead them to a bronze medal at the 2002 World Basketball Championships in Indianapolis.
6-8, 220, Forward
A 6-8 forward from Omaha, Neb., Bob Boozer is one of K-State's most-decorated players and the landslide leading vote-getter for K-State's All-Century Team announced in 2003. A two-time first-team all-American in 1957-58 and 1958-59, Boozer averaged a school-record 21.9 points per game for his career, while his 25.6 scoring average during his senior season is the second-highest in Wildcat history to Michael Beasley's 26.2 points in 2007-08. As a junior, he led the Wildcats to the NCAA Final Four and as a senior he guided K-State to a No. 1 ranking in the final regular-season poll. Boozer was a three-time first-team all-conference selection, and helped the Wildcats to the Big Seven title in 1958 and the Big Eight championship in 1959 with a perfect 14-0 league mark.
Following his K-State career he teamed with Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Jerry Lucas to lead the 1960 U.S. Olympic team to the gold medal, a team that was later enshrined into the Olympic Hall of Fame. Boozer played 11 seasons in the NBA and helped the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA Title in 1971.
6-1, 165, Guard
The school's all-time leading scorer with 2,115 points, Mike Evans was a four-year lettermen for head coach Jack Hartman from 1974-78. He guided the Wildcats to an 82-35 (.700) record, including three postseason appearances and the 1977 Big Eight regular season and tournament championships.
A native of Goldsboro, N.C., Evans is one of just two players (joining Lon Kruger) in Kansas State history to be named Big Eight Conference Player of the Year (1977, 1978) twice and one of just three players in school history to receive the honor. He is also just one of three players to earn first team all-conference honors three times (joining Rolando Blackman and Bob Boozer) in the program's history. In addition, Evans was named the Big Eight Newcomer of the Year as a freshman in 1975.
The Big Eight's eighth all-time leading scorer, Evans was named to several All-America teams as a senior, including The Associated Press' third team and the Helms Foundation.
Evans still ranks among the top 10 in 17 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history, including tops in career scoring, career field goals made (890) and career field goals attempted (1,810) and second in career double-digit scoring games (93) and career 20-point games (40). For his career, he averaged 18.1 points on 49.2 percent shooting with 3.4 rebounds in 117 games.
One of five Wildcats to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, Evans was selected 21st by the Denver Nuggets in 1978. He went on to play nine seasons in the NBA, including stints with San Antonio (1978-80), Milwaukee (1980-82), Cleveland (1981-82) and Denver (1982-89). A key player on the Midwest Division Championship teams in 1985 and 1988 with the Nuggets, Evans remains among the top five on both the club's career three-point field goals made and attempted lists and played on eight playoff teams. In his career, he averaged 7.7 points on 45.2 percent shooting and 2.6 assists.
After playing six seasons, Evans joined the Denver coaching staff in 1990-91 and remained on the sidelines until midway through the 1994-95 season when he was promoted to Director of Player Personnel. In addition to his scouting duties, he served as an analyst for the team's television broadcasts through 1996-97. Evans took over as interim head coach of the Nuggets on Dec. 26, 2001 and coached the team for the final 56 games of the 2001-02 season, compiling a 18-38 record.
6-6, 205, Center
Twice selected an All-American, Dick Knostman was a three-year lettermen for head coach Jack Gardner from 1950-53. He helped guide the Wildcats to a 61-13 (.824) record, including three consecutive final top-10 finishes and a runner-up finish at the 1951 NCAA Final Four.
The 6-foot-6 native of nearby Wamego, Kan., Knostman is one of just 12 players in Kansas State history to be named a first team All-American. He earned this recognition from the Helms Foundation, Look magazine and the Newspaper Enterprises Association as a senior in 1953 after averaging 22.7 points in helping the Wildcats to a 17-4 overall record and a final ranking of No. 9 in the UPI and No. 12 in the AP polls. Knostman was also recognized as a second team All-American by The Associated Press, United Press International, Colliers and International News Service.
Knostman first earned All-America accolades as a junior when he led Kansas State to a 19-5 overall record and a final ranking of No. 3 in the AP and No. 6 in the UPI polls. He averaged 16.3 points in 24 games en route to collecting second team All-American honors from the Converse Yearbook and third team accolades from The Associated Press. He was also twice selected first team All-Big Seven.
Knostman averaged 7.5 points in 29 games as a sophomore in 1950-51 in helping Kansas State advance to their first and only NCAA Championship game, where the Wildcats lost to Kentucky.
Despite having played over 50 years ago, Knostman still ranks among the top 5 in 17 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history, including tops in most free throws attempted in a game (26 vs. Oklahoma on Feb. 14, 1953). He also ranks in the top 5 in several career categories, including second in free throws attempted (541), third in free throws made (349) and fifth in rebounding (774) and rebounding average (10.5 rpg.). Knostman also places second in single-season scoring average (22.7 ppg.; 1953) and third in rebounding average (13.3 rpg.; 1952). He is one of just 19 players in school history to top 1,000 points, while he ranks 13th on the all-time scoring list with 1,083 points and 14th in career scoring average (14.6 ppg.). Knostman remains one of the few Wildcats to average a double-double for his career with 14.6 points and 10.5 rebounds in 74 games.
Knostman became the second Kansas State player ever drafted in 1953 when he was selected by the Syracuse Nationals with their second pick. He averaged 2.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in his lone season with the Nationals in 1953-54.
5-11, 165, Guard
Silver Lake, Kan.
One of only two K-State cagers ever to be named the Big Eight Player of the Year twice, Lon Kruger was a three-year lettermen for Jack Hartman from 1971-74. He guided the Wildcats to a 61-22 (.735) record, including a pair of NCAA Elite Eight appearances and two Big Eight Conference regular season titles.
A native of Silver Lake, Kan., Kruger became the first Wildcat ever to be named conference player of the year when he earned the honor in 1973 and the first to earn the award twice when he repeated the distinction in 1974. He remains one of just three players in school history to ever receive the honor and one of just two (joining fellow retiree Evans) to earn the accolade twice. Kruger was also named first team All-Big Eight in 1973 and 1974 and also the conference's Newcomer of the Year in 1972.
Kruger earned Academic All-America and first team Academic All-Big Eight honors while an undergraduate in 1973 and 1974. He is the one of only three Wildcat players to earn Academic All-America accolades twice in a career. One of just 18 players in school history to score 1,000 career points, Kruger averaged 13.3 points on 46.8 percent shooting with 2.6 rebounds.
Following graduation, Kruger was drafted by both the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals. He played professional basketball in Israel from 1974 to 1975.
Kruger moved into the coaching ranks at Pittsburg (Kan.) State in 1976 before becoming an assistant coach at his alma mater under Hartman in 1977. He helped the Wildcats to a 103-49 (.678) record from 1977-82, including three NCAA Tournament appearances and the 1980 Big Eight Tournament Championship. He left to become head coach and athletics director at Texas-Pan American in 1982, guiding the Broncs to a 52-59 record from 1982-86.
Following the retirement of Hartman, Kruger was named head coach at Kansas State in the spring of 1986. In leading the Wildcats to an 81-47 (.633) record, he became the first head coach in school history to guide four consecutive teams to the NCAA Tournament. His regular season conference winning percentage (34-22; .607) ranks fifth all-time among Big Eight Conference coaches, while his victory total ranks sixth among coaches in Kansas State history.
Kruger became the first coach in K-State history to win 20 games in his initial season, guiding the Wildcats to a 20-11 record and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. His best team was the 1987-88 club, which featured first team All-American Mitch Richmond. The squad tied the school record for wins with its 25-9 mark and advanced all the way to the NCAA Midwest Regional title game in Pontiac, Mich. Following that season, he was named the NABC District Coach of the Year.
During his tenure, Kruger coached one All-American, four first team All-Big Eight selections, two Big Eight Newcomers of the Year and three first team Academic All-Big Eight honorees.
Following his head coaching stint in Manhattan, Kruger moved on to Florida for six seasons (1990-96) where he led the Gators to four postseason appearances, including the 1994 Final Four. He followed with a four-year stint at Illinois (1996-2000), guiding the Fighting Illini to three NCAA Tournament appearances and the 1997-98 Big Ten co-championship.
Kruger left Illinois in May 2000 to take over as head coach of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, where he compiled a 69-122 record in two and half years. After a stint as an assistant with the New York Knicks, he returned to the college game in March 2004 when he was named head coach at UNLV. In 2006-07, he became just the fifth coach in NCAA history to take four different schools to the NCAA Tournament when he guided the Running Rebels to the Sweet 16 in 2007. He is also one of just three coaches in NCAA history to win an NCAA Tournament game with four different schools.
6-6, 190, Forward
One of just 11 players to earn first team All-America honors, Willie Murrell was a two-year letterman for head coach Fred "Tex" Winter from 1962-64. He guided the Wildcats to a 38-16 (.704) record, including a pair of Big Eight Conference titles and a Final Four appearance in 1964. He transferred to Kansas State after a two-year career at Eastern Oklahoma A&M from 1960-62.
The 6-foot-6 native of Taft, Okla., Murrell is one of just six players in Kansas State history to average a double-double for his career, averaging 20.6 points and 10.7 rebounds in 54 career games. He was twice named an All-American during his record-setting senior season in 1964 and was also a two-time first team All-Big Eight selection. His career averages in both scoring and rebounding still rank among the top-5 in school history, including third in rebounding (10.7 rpg.) and fifth in scoring (20.6 ppg.).
Murrell earned first team All-America honors as a senior when he led Kansas State to 22-7 overall record, Big Eight Holiday Tournament and regular season titles and its last trip to the Final Four in 1964. He averaged 22.3 points and 11.1 rebounds in 29 games in 1963-64 en route to collecting first team All-America honors from the Helms Foundation and second team accolades from Converse Yearbook. He was also named the Big Eight Player of the Year by several news outlets.
Murrell averaged 25.3 points during the Wildcats' run through the 1964 NCAA Tournament, including a 29-point, 13-rebound performance in the national semifinals against UCLA on March 20, en route to earning recognition to the All-Midwest Regional Tournament team and the All-Final Four squad. He is the only player to ever record a double-double in a Final Four game and the only one ever named to an All-Final Four team. His 29 points against the Bruins are the most in a Final Four game in school history.
Murrell still ranks among the top 10 in 20 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history. He is one of just five players to average 20 points in a career, while he is one of just eight players to score 1,000 points and collect 500 rebounds in a career. He ranks in the top 10 in eight career categories, including third in rebounds per game, fifth in scoring average, sixth in double-doubles (26) and 15-rebound games (seven), eighth in double-digit rebound games (26), ninth in 20-point games (26) and 10th in 30-point games (four) and field goals made (432). In addition, he places third in single-season rebounds (321; 1964) and fifth in points (648; 1964) and scoring average (22.3 ppg., 1964).
Murrell is one of just 20 players in school history to top 1,000 points, while he ranks 12th on the all-time scoring list with 1,112 points and fifth in career scoring average (20.6 ppg.). He scored a career-high 39 points in his final home game against Missouri on March 7, 1964, which stands as the 12th-most points in a single-game in school history, including the eighth-highest in a conference game.
Murrell was selected in the fourth round of the 1964 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Bombers. He went on to play three seasons of professional basketball, including stints with the ABA's Denver Nuggets (1967-68) and Miami Floridians (1968-70). He averaged 13.1 points and 7.3 rebounds in his professional career, including 16.4 points and 9.0 rebounds in his lone season with the Nuggets in 1967-68.
6-9, 212, Center
Jack Parr was not what you would call a picture player early in his career, but he was endowed with an intensity and inner drive that spearheaded him to All-America stature. Rugged and strong, he would literally sweep the boards. Parr's assortment of shots included a hook and a soft "face the basket" jumper. Against Kansas at Lawrence in 1958, Parr made perhaps his greatest defensive play. With the final seconds ticking away, Kansas went to Wilt Chamberlain under the basket for an assumed easy lay-in. Parr went straight up and batted the ball away, enabling K-State to take a thrilling 79-75 victory.
Three times Parr gained all-league honors. Twice he helped the ‘Cats to conference championships and NCAA play and twice received All-America recognition. He still holds KSU's single-season rebounding record and is second on the career charts. He ranks 10th among the all-time Wildcat scoring leaders with 1,184 points. Parr played one season professionally with the Cincinnati Royals before turning to private business and becoming a Big Eight basketball official.
6-5, 220, Forward
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
One of the most recognizable players in Kansas State history, Mitch Richmond was a two-year letterman for head coach Lon Kruger from 1986-88. He helped guide the Wildcats to a 45-20 (.692) record, including a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and a trip to the 1988 NCAA Midwest Regional Final. Like Murrell, he also transferred to K-State after a distinguished junior college career at Mobley (Mo.) Community College from 1984-86.
The 6-foot-5 native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Richmond assembled perhaps the greatest two-year playing career in school history. He is one of just 20 players in school history to top 1,000 points, while he ranks eighth on the all-time scoring list with 1,327 points and fourth in career scoring average (20.7 ppg.). His 1,327 points are the most by a player in a two-year career. He still ranks among the top 10 in 21 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history.
Richmond was a member of K-State's All-Century Basketball Team announced on March 1, 2003 and was a 1998 inductee into the K-State Sports Hall of Fame.
As a senior, he led the Wildcats to a school-record tying 25 wins, a second-place finish in the Big Eight and a rousing trip through the NCAA Tournament that led K-State to an Elite Eight appearance. He broke the then single-season scoring mark by pouring in 786 points. Fellow All-American Michael Beasley broke the record in 2007-08 with 866 points. He averaged 22.6 points on 51.4 percent shooting in 1987-88 with 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists en route to earning second team All-America honors from UPI, Basketball Weekly, The Sporting News and U.S. Basketball Writers of America (USBWA). He was also named first team All-Big Eight and first team All-District by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
A highly-regarded junior college player, Richmond was the second-leading scorer for Kansas State in 1986-87, guiding the Wildcats to their first 20-win season and NCAA Tournament appearance in five years. He averaged 18.6 points on 44.7 percent shooting with 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists en route to earning recognition to both UPI's All-Junior College team and the All-Big Eight second team.
In all, Richmond still ranks in the top 10 in seven career categories, including third in 20-point games (34), fifth in 30-point games (seven), sixth in minutes played (33.8 mpg.) and field goals made (465) and ninth in double-digit scoring (63). He scored a career-high 41 points against Oklahoma on Feb. 13, 1988, which stands as the seventh-most points in a single game, including the fourth-highest in a league game.
Following graduation, Richmond won a spot on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team and was a first-round draft pick (fifth overall selection) by the Golden State Warriors. He became one of the premier shooting guards in the NBA, appearing in six NBA All-Star games, and being named the most valuable player of the 1995 NBA All-Star game. He also earned second team All-NBA honors in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and third team honors in 1996 and 1998 with the Sacramento Kings.
Richmond is one of just six players in NBA history to average 21.0 or more points in each of his first 10 professional seasons (others – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Oscar Robertson). He was named the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 1989 after averaging 22.0 points per game. After three seasons with Golden State, he spent six years with Sacramento (1991-98) before being traded to Washington (1998-2001) following the 1998 season. He retired following his 14th season in the NBA after helping the Lakers win their third consecutive NBA title in 2002.
Richmond earned much of his fame during his six-year stint with Kings and is the first player in Sacramento-era history to have his jersey retired (Dec. 5, 2003). He still ranks among the top five in franchise history in points, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, free throw percentage, steals, three-pointers made and attempted and three-point field goal percentage. He became the first Sacramento King to be named to the All-Star Game, and earned the All-Star most valuable player award in 1995 after tallying 23 points in 22 minutes off the bench.
Richmond was a member of Dream Team III that won the Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He was named to the All-1990s teams for each of the teams he played for during the decade (Golden State, Sacramento and Washington).
6-3, 185, Guard
One of the school's most potent long-range shooters, Chuckie Williams was a four-year letterman for Jack Hartman from 1972-76. He helped lead the Wildcats to an 82-30 (.732) record, including two NCAA Elite Eight appearances and the 1973 Big Eight regular season championship. Ironically, he spanned the years between his fellow retirees and was a teammate of both Evans and Kruger.
After averaging just 5.3 points as a sophomore, Williams made one of the biggest scoring jumps in school history the following season as he paced the Wildcats in scoring at 22.1 points per game en route to guiding K-State to the 1975 Elite Eight. He was named first team All-Big Eight and a Helms Foundation All-American. The following year, Williams guided the squad to its second consecutive 20-win season en route to earning second team All-America honors from The Sporting News, Converse Yearbook and Basketball Weekly. He also repeated his first team All-Big Eight honors as well as Helms Foundation All-America accolade.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Williams still ranks among the top 10 in 24 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history, including tops in field goals made in a game (22), field goals attempted in a game (42), season field goals made (290) and season field goal attempts (594). He is also the school's sixth all-time leading scorer with 1,364 points.
Williams held the school single-game scoring mark for 19 years with 47 points against Holy Cross in 1975 before Askia Jones broke the mark with 62 against Fresno State on March 24, 1994. He also shares the mark for most points in an NCAA Tournament game with 35 against Syracuse in 1975. For his career, Williams averaged 16.2 points on 47.0 percent shooting with 2.7 rebounds in 84 games.
Williams became just the second player in school history to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft when he was picked 15th by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1976.