Former Jayhawks in Town and Excited for Legends of the Phog

Sept. 22, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. — For Cole Aldrich, it may have not been long since he last took the court at historic Allen Fieldhouse, but the current Oklahoma City center can hardly wait to put on the Crimson and Blue once again and take shots in the building that the Phog built.

“I am looking forward to just getting out there and playing in front of the fans again as well as seeing some of my old teammates and old friends,” Aldrich said.

The 6-11 shot blocker last played on James Naismith court back on March 3, 2010, when he and the Jayhawks defeated K-State, 82-65, at the Fieldhouse.

“With the lockout it is a little blessing in disguise for us to come out here and be able to do this,” Aldrich said. “We would almost be in training camp here coming up if we weren’t locked out.”

Joining Aldrich at the legends game on Saturday will be his current Thunder teammate Nick Collison, who played at KU under coach Roy Williams from 1999-2003.

“I think this is a really good idea to try to get everybody together,” Collison said. “It is good for the program and I think it will be fun for the fans to see some old faces. I am one of the old guys now, which seems strange to me as time flies, but it will be a great weekend.”

For Collison, unlike his NBA teammate, the last time he played in Allen Fieldhouse was as a professional back in October of 2006, when Collison of the then-Seattle Supersonics, played against another former Jayhawk in Kirk Hinrich, who was at the time with the Chicago Bulls.

“That was a lot of fun coming back and playing a game with Seattle, but this will be better because it will be more relaxed and a more fun atmosphere with less to worry about”, Collison said.

The atmosphere will no doubt be reminiscent of the one Collison, Hinrich and Aldrich all played in during their collegiate days, as the Fieldhouse will be filled to capacity, with all 16,300 tickets spoken for.

“I was a little surprised with how quickly it went for an exhibition game,” Collison said. “Kansas fans are great and they are probably a little hungry for basketball because as it has been a long off-season, so that will make it really fun to be able to play in front of them again.”

The Legends of the Phog game will take place at 4 p.m. at the Fieldhouse this Saturday and a portion of the proceeds collected from the event will go toward former Kansas assistant coach Neil Dougherty’s family, who in turn will find a suitable charity or cause to donate in the coach’s memory to. Dougherty passed away this summer at the age of 50 from a heart attack. Additionally, Kansas Athletics will donate some of the money collected from the event to one of Dougherty’s favorite local charities, the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.

“It is for a great cause,” Aldrich said. “To have so many great guys to come back, with Paul (Pierce), Nick (Collison), Julian (Wright) and the names that go on and on, really speaks volumes of all the guys that we have had.”

Below is a list of the former players and coaches who will be in attendance Saturday night:

Cole Aldrich
Darrell Arthur
Nick Bradford
Mario Chalmers
Nick Collison
Jeff Graves
Jeff Hawkins
Xavier Henry
Darnell Jackson
Christian Moody
Marcus Morris
Markieff Morris
Ron Kellogg
Greg Ostertag
Paul Pierce
Scot Pollard
Ryan Robertson
Brandon Rush
Josh Selby
Wayne Simien
Billy Thomas
Darnell Valentine
Julian Wright

Larry Brown
Ted Owens