Throwback Thursday 5.2.13 Terry Nooner (Men's Basketball) 1997-2000
May 2, 2013
Terry Nooner, a former walk-on turned scholarship player on the Kansas men’s basketball team, is back at the school he loves and working around the game he is passionate about. Nooner was hired as an assistant coach for the Kansas women’s basketball team prior to the 2012-13 season. He currently lives in Lawrence with his wife, Tracy, and eight-month-old daughter, Tarynn.
Nooner was hired to assist in developing the Jayhawks’ perimeter game, something he knows a lot about. Nooner appeared in 88 games as a Jayhawk and was a fan-favorite player. Every three-point shot he hit would send 16,300 fans into an absolute frenzy. Aside from the various “Terry Nooner Chants” and little cheering sections comprised mostly of female KU students, Nooner was all about his business while at KU. As an invited walk-on on one of those “loaded” Roy Williams teams, he put in the time and exceeded the effort to more than justify his spot on the roster. He had garnered enough respect as a player to earn the honor of being a team captain during his senior season. As a student, Nooner came away with a Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies in 2000, and then received a Master’s Degree in Sport Administration in 2002. All of his experiences at KU helped guide him to a path in coaching and mentoring young basketball players in the Kansas City Area. Prior to joining the Kansas coaching staff, Nooner spent one season (2011-12) as an assistant coach at Southern Illinois University.
What are some hobbies you enjoy?
“I watch ESPN’s `SportsCenter’all the time. I also watch other shows on ESPN such as: `First Take’, `The Herd with Colin Cowherd’, and `Mike and Mike in the Morning’. I watch anything basketball related whenever I’m in between calling recruits and doing all of my various coaching duties. I like to stay busy, but when I do get some free time, I usually like to stay informed with all sports.”
Who is your favorite ESPN analyst?
“I like watching Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless duel it out over various topics. I like the way they go back and forth because it reminds me of my college roommate and former teammate, Nick Bradford. That is how we used to argue about stuff all the time. It is funny how we had so much of the same training and yet sometimes we think so differently. It has evolved into a competition whenever we talk sports, but it’s all in good fun.”
What made you choose KU?
“I am from Kansas City, so it was just right down the highway. I remember watching `Danny And the Miracles’ back in 1988, and I wanted to be a part of something great like that. During that time, every class that Roy Williams coached had made a Final Four appearance, so I figured I was guaranteed a Final Four. When I was going into my freshman year, I knew we were going to be the number one team in the nation in the preseason rankings, so I thought we had a chance to win the national championship. I just wanted to be a part of the great tradition that is Kansas Basketball. I was recruited by a lot of smaller schools, but the competitive side of me wanted to prove that I was good enough to play basketball at Kansas. I wanted my teammates to know that I was good enough to play here, whether I played or not. That was the challenge I accepted when I decided to play here.”
What was your first experience on the KU campus?
“Since I was a preferred walk-on, I stayed in McCollum Hall instead of the Jayhawk Towers. I am one of oldest kids in my family, so I got this big caravan of aunts, uncles and everybody in my family dropping me off at my dorm. Once they all just left me, I realized I was suddenly alone. It was crazy because no one in the dorm knew I was on the team at the time. I was a six-foot shooting guard that looked like everyone else. I don’t know if I was the first walk-on to ever participate in Late Night in the Phog, but I might have been. They used to hold try-outs after Late Night, but I was already on the team and was able to actually participate when I got here. So we went through Late Night, which was great, and then I got back to the dorm and I have all this stuff hanging on my door. I had signs like `Five is Alive’ and the dorm just went crazy. I met a lot of people in the dorm that I still keep in touch with to this very day. People treated me like a rock star in McCollum because I was the only player not living in the Jayhawk Towers. I had a great freshman year.”
What is your favorite basketball memory from KU?
“I have two memories that stick out. My freshman year, we played Colorado on ESPN’s `Big Monday’; Chauncey Billups was their best player at the time. We were beating them by a lot of points, and I was the fourth walk-on on the team sitting at the end of the bench. Coach (Roy) Williams put me in and the next thing you know, I hit two three-pointers and Allen Fieldhouse went crazy. I finished the game with eight points. Chauncey Billups came up to me after the game and said, `Man you killed us. That was a great performance.’ I thought that was really neat because I was a big fan of Chauncey at the time.
“The other moment that sticks out to me is from my Senior Night game. It was Paul Pierce’s final game at KU as only a junior. Everybody knew he was leaving and that this game would be his last in Allen Fieldhouse. We were playing Oklahoma and the game was really close. All of a sudden, Paul scored around 15 consecutive points and put the game away in the middle of the second half. I remember Oklahoma’s coach at the time, Kelvin Sampson, called a timeout, walked on the court, shook Paul’s hand and patted him on the back. I thought that was a really special moment.”
Do you still keep in touch with your former coaches and teammates?
“Absolutely, we especially stay connected during the college football season. We all had our favorite teams before we came to KU. For instance, my college roommate, Nick Bradford, likes Arkansas Razorbacks football. All of us teammates had our favorite teams, and so whenever one of their teams lose, we all like teasing each other about it. It is a fun way to stay competitive while keeping in touch with all my friends.”
What is your favorite off-the-court memory from your time at KU?
“Graduation was big, really big, because I had lost some close family members that year. My dad was able to come to my graduation and the rest of my family members were able to show up as well. There were just all sorts of emotions flying around that day. I was one of the first people in my family to get a college degree, so it was a special experience for me and my family.”
What does it mean to be a Jayhawk?
“The brotherhood is amazing. It really is just one giant family. When I first got here, before our workouts, the team would go play at the Robinson Recreation Center with all the students. Isaac (Bud) Stallworth, who played in the 1970s, was still up there playing with everyone. If you know anything about Bud, you know he liked to shoot the ball. If someone had 10 shots in the game, he would make sure that he got 10 shots up in the game as well. Aside from that, I could pick up the phone and call almost any former Kansas basketball player, whether I played with them or not. The next thing I knew, we will be on the phone for at least an hour. You really have to experience it to know what I am talking about, but the brotherhood at KU is second-to-none. I am truly blessed to be a part of it.”
Do you have any final thoughts on KU?
“It is a great place to be a student. It is a great place to be an athlete. Everything I experienced at KU has helped to make me who I am today. The University has every resource available to ensure that we succeed and graduate. It has been truly amazing to watch this place evolve from what it was when I was here, to what it is now. The athletes at KU have a first-class experience, and it just feels great to know that my team and I were a part of the building process to help get this place to where it is today.”