Throwback Thursday: Bud Stallworth

Feb. 2, 2012

020212aac_695_7395297.jpegBud Stallowrth (Men’s Basketball) 1970-72
Isaac “Bud” Stallworth is a Hartselle, Ala. native, who played basketball for the Jayhawks from 1970-72. He is one of only three players in school history to earn All-American honors on the floor and in the classroom. Stallworth averaged more than 12 points each of his three seasons in the Crimson and Blue, including an astonishing 25.3 points during his senior campaign. His 50 points against Missouri in 1972 ranks second on the KU single-game scoring list. Stallworth was a two-time all-league selection. Stallworth’s jersey was officially retired on Jan. 31, 2005. He currently lives in Lawrence and works as a co-host on ‘Rock Chalk Sports Talk’ for KLWN 1320 AM also in Lawrence.


Can you share the story of how you first came to Lawrence?
“My older sister attended a music camp at KU and she ended up going to school there. She recommended to my parents that they send me for the music and arts camp and that is how I originally got to come. Another guy that was in the camp said to me, ‘You should come play basketball with these guys that I have been playing with in this gym.’

“It just happened to be Robinson Gymnasium right across from Murphy Hall, where I was for music camp. That was 1967 and most of the guys from the 1966-67 team were in summer school. Jo Jo White was one of those players. Jo Jo told Head Coach Ted Owens about me, and that I was a kid in high school who was playing with them. It really was kind of a coincidence that somebody would think that much of me as a player to tell the coach at the University of Kansas. Coach Owens was able to track me down through the band camp and later followed up to talked with my parents. He told them he would send Coach Sam Miranda down to see me play in a high school game, which he did and they offered me a scholarship.”

What made you decide to play for Kansas?
“I knew about Wilt Chamberlain and I watched him battle Bill Russell on TV, and my connection with Jo Jo White. Not many guys today would go and tell a coach that a kid from music camp is good enough to play at Kansas, but he did that.”

What was it like scoring 50 points in a game against arch rival Missouri?
“It was the last official game that I would ever play in Allen Fieldhouse. It was also the first time that my mother had 020212aac_695_7395265.jpegever been in the Fieldhouse to see me play. I read an article where Missouri’s Coach Norm Stewart had said that he didn’t think I was the best player in the conference. Missouri also had a chance to win the Big 8 championship if they beat us. The shots started falling and Norm tried all different defenses. I guess I just got on a hot streak and the rest is history. To do something like that your last time as a senior is a storybook kind of thing. More so than anything else though, we ended up beating Missouri my last game.”

Do you still keep in contact with any of your former KU teammates?
“I keep in contact with guys from all different generations. I keep in touch with all of my teammates, plus we have reunions every five years. When I came to Kansas in 1966 I had a chance to meet Jo Jo White and we are still great friends today.”

Would you like to share anything about former teammate Aubrey Nash (who passed away last week at the age of 62)?
“Absolutely; We never called each other by our real names, he was my “Room” (roommate) and I was his “Room”. When I walked in the dorms my freshmen year he was there and we immediately bonded, so we went to the gym and started 020212aac_695_7395280.jpegplaying basketball together. Every day that we weren’t in different classes or out on a date or something, we were just always together and everybody knew it. It was like ‘where’s Bud and Aubrey?’ We were always together and (his passing) is just one of those situations that you hate to have happen, but you think about all of the good things from a friendship that lasted from 1968.”

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a Jayhawk?
“Setting the Big 8 season-scoring record is a great accomplishment, individually. But when we won the Big 8 (in 1971), we were undefeated in not only the regular season but also the preseason conference tournament, which was similar to today’s Big 12 postseason tournament. That was my junior year; going to the Final Four and having a chance to win a national championship with my teammates was a great accomplishment.”

What does your career at KU mean to you?
“A kid from Hartselle, Ala. having a chance to come to a program like the University of Kansas and accomplish all these things is special. I was fortunate enough to have a good career at Kansas and stay healthy enough to pursue that dream, and I can only thank guys like Jo Jo White and Coaches Owens, Miranda and Gale Catlett who were willing to fine-tune my basketball skills. They were there to make sure that I did the right thing in the classroom; so it was a full college career and education.”

Do you remember playing in your first professional game in the NBA?
“My first game was against the Los Angeles Lakers in LA; and guess who was playing center that year? Wilt Chamberlain! I had always wanted to play against him, but it was kind of at the tail end of his career, so he wasn’t the dynamic 50-point a game scorer that he was in 1962. Chamberlain was bigger than I thought because I have never been around a guy that was as big and massive as he was, plus he told the referees how to call the game, so that was pretty interesting.”

020212aac_695_6923494.jpegWhat do you enjoy most about your current job at KLWN?
“It’s great. I moved back here in 1987, the year before “Danny and the Miracles”. This is home; I have been here most of my adult life. My job at KLWN allows me to stay in touch with the sports world. I can call up friends that are former professional players from baseball, football and basketball, but I can also have an intimate connection with the Kansas athletic program. It is like being at your second home, while being involved in the athletic teams at the university that you once played for.”

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