Hinrich "Excited" About AFH Return

Kirk Hinrich (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)

The floor general for two KU Final Four teams will return to Allen Field House to have his jersey retired this Sunday.

Kirk Hinrich will be honored at halftime of the Jayhawks-Slavers contest. He will be the 26th men's basketball player at Kansas to receive the honor and the 29th player overall.

"It's an unbelievable honor," Hinrich said via teleconference Thursday. "I feel like Allen Field House is such a magical place. There've been so many great players."

Hinrich played at Kansas from 2000-2003, averaging 12.4 points a game. Hinrich played both point and shooting guard for the Jayhawks' 2002 and 2003 Final Four squads. He said that chemistry and selflessness were the keys to KU's first back-to-back Final Four teams since the 1952 and 1953 squads.

"What was special about the teams I played on was the chemistry and camaraderie. Everybody gave up a part of their game to fit into the scheme of what we needed to do to win. That's what I feel Kansas Basketball is all about, and that's what I feel most proud of.," Hinrich said.

He was a two-time all-Big 12 selection. His junior year, Kansas became the only team in Big 12 history to go 16-0 in the conference regular season. His senior year, Hinrich scored 17.3 points per game, 18.9 against Big 12 foes. He was named the 2003 NCAA Tournament West Regional's most outstanding player, and a week later he was named to the all-tournament team, alongside teammates Nick Collison and Keith Langford. He was also named a first-team All-American that season.

Hinrich finished his KU career 8th in career points (1,753) and 3rd in assists (668). The Kansas media guide also shows he ranks third in steals; fourth in games played; second in minutes played; third in three-pointers made; and third in three-point field goal percentage.

He credited his teammates for putting him in a position to be successful as an individual.

"Every accolade is created by a great team environment and great coaches and guys giving selflessly. They helped me get to this, and I appreciate that."

Hinrich was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls after the 2003 season. He is in his fifth year with the team. In 2007, Hinrich was named to the Big 12 10th anniversary team along with fellow Jayhawks Nick Collison and Raef LaFrentz, Iowa State's Marcus Fizer and Texas' TJ Ford.

When it came to his choice of which game to return for was, he said it was a no-brainer.

"Playing in that Missouri-Kansas rivalry for four years, I understood how important it is. Some of my most memorable games were against Missouri. I'm excited for the opportunity to be here for that game. I'm really looking forward to it. Just being there to experience a game again, it's been awhile and it's always special when it's KU-Missouri."

Hinrich seemed almost overwhelmed by the realization that his name was going to be alongside the likes of Manning, Woodard, Chamberlain and even Collison, his old teammate. He's fully aware of the gravity of this honor, and he's still wrapping his head around it, but it's clear that he's very proud to have been a Jayhawk and cherishes his four years on Naismith Court at Allen Field House.

"I don't know if there's a greater honor in basketball than to have to have your jersey hanging in the most historic basketball building in the world."

Phog.net Recommended Stories