Graham Wins “Shooting for the Stars” at the 12th Annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas recent legend and NBA star Devonte’ Graham edged three former KU sharpshooters Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Billy Thomas and Tyrel Reed, 27-26, to win the “Shooting for the Stars” 3-point virtual competition at the 12th annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic Friday. Ten of the greatest 3-point shooters in Kansas men’s basketball history squared off in the Roundball Classic which raises money each year for local children fighting cancer.
Due to the worldwide COVID pandemic Rock Chalk Roundball Classic event organizer Brian Hanni, voice of the Jayhawks, made the 2020 event virtual with the competitors participating in a 3-point shooting contest from eight different locations in seven different states.
Each of the 10 Kansas greats who competed rank in the top 12 of the KU career 3-point field goals made list led by No. 1 Jeff Boschee who made 338 threes from 1999-2002. Joining Boschee in the event was Graham (2015-18 at KU) who ranks No. 2 with 296 made, No. 3 Billy Thomas (1995-98) at 269, Mykhailiuk (2015-18) at No. 4 with 237, No. 5 Kirk Hinrich (2000-03) at 236, No. 6 Sherron Collins (2007-10) at 232, No. 7 Brandon Rush (2006-08) at 205, No. 8 Terry Brown (1990-91) at 200, No. 10 Mario Chalmers (2006-08) at 180, and No. 12 Tyrel Reed (2008-11) at 176. The only Jayhawk in the top 10 that did not shoot was No. 9 Frank Mason III (185 3FGs from 2014-17) who is in the NBA Playoffs with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Like most 3-point shootout competitions, all 10 participants shot 25 balls, five at a time, around the 3-point arc at respective locations. Mykhailiuk drained 20 to lead after the first round followed by Graham, Reed and Thomas with 18 each. Rush and Hinrich both made 17 threes to create a six-person final. Chalmers (16), Collins (15), Boschee (15) and Brown (12) rounded out the first round scores.
In the finals each of the six Jayhawks picked his favorite 3-point spot and shot 10 and that total was added to the first-round score. Graham made nine of his 10 shots to reach 27, while Reed and Thomas drained eight and Mykhailiuk six to come up one basket short of Graham.
From the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla., Mason did make a cameo video encouraging fans to donate for the cause. Others who made video appearances included KU head coach Bill Self, former men’s players Julian Wright, Cole Aldrich, Bud Stallworth, Ben McLemore, Aaron Miles and Scot Pollard, and KU football great Todd Reesing, Jayhawk PGA golf pro Gary Woodland and ESPN broadcaster Jay Bilas.
This year’s three Rock Chalk Roundball Classic All-Stars, or recipients, includes four-year-old Easton Base from Baldwin City, Kan., eight-year-old Eli Vela from Hesston, Kan., and four-year-old Tinley Benyshek from Oskaloosa, Kan. A virtual silent auction went live on Aug. 24. For more information on all three recipients and the event, one can go to https://rockchalkroundballclassic.com/ or follow socially on Facebook and Instagram at rockchalkroundballclassic, and Twitter (@RCRClassic).
Historically, the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic has occurred in June with many former KU greats, from multiple sports, playing a game to raise money for families fighting pediatric cancer. The event has grown from a one-day basketball contest to multiple activities spanning three days. Since 2009, in its 12-year history, the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic has helped more than 40 families and has raised more than $600,000.