The man responsible for getting Kansas to overtime in the 2008 national title game against Memphis will be given the ultimate honor on February 16, as Mario Chalmers will watch his No. 15 jersey get raised to the Allen Fieldhouse rafters at halftime of the Jayhawks’ game against Texas.
A three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection, Chalmers helped lead the Jayhawks to three Big 12 regular season titles, two Final Four appearances and the program’s most recent national title.
“Mario definitely deserves to have his jersey hung,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said in the release. “He was the most outstanding player in a 2008 Final Four, which featured four number one seeds. He was as clutch of a player as we’ve ever had here.
“He was a guy that seemed like the bigger the stage, the brighter he shined. He had an orneriness and toughness that a lot people didn’t see because they saw the smile. He was an assassin on the court.”
Chalmers ranks second all-time in Kansas history with 283 steals, and he also managed to score 1,341 points during his three seasons in Lawrence. The Anchorage, Alaska native will always be remembered for the shot he hit against Memphis, but there was a lot more to his career than that single moment.
Currently playing for the Miami Heat, Chalmers will joins the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Lovelette (the only other Jayhawk to win both an NCAA and an NBA title) and Danny Manning in the Allen Fieldhouse rafters.
Chalmers also becomes the second Jayhawk of the Bill Self era to have his jersey retired, with Wayne Simien (who began his KU career playing for Roy Williams) being the first.
“I wouldn’t say I expected [to have my jersey retired], but you know something? One of my goals when I first went to KU was to make a name (for myself) and make sure my name lasts forever in Kansas history,” Chalmers said in the release.