Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wayman Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale died yesterday. a few perspectives from my side:

  1. Wayman didn't resurrect OU basketball. Resurrection presumes a prior life. He breathed life into it. OU had one trip to the Final Four in 40 years and one conference championship in 30 when he got there. Per game attendance was less than 5,000 the season before his arrival. Two years later, it was 10,000 per game. I am a huge college hoops fan, and was blessed to be a college student after he and Coach Tubbs breathed life into the program in the mid 80s.
  2. Wayman holds the season record for most points in a game. As a freshman, he broke Alvan Adams record of 691 points. As a sophomore he broke his own record. As a junior his broke his record again. Presently, those seasons are 6th, 2nd and 1st in Sooner history. As a point of reference, Blake Griffin's 2009 National Player of the Year season yielded the 7th highest point total in Sooner history. His turnaround jumper was special. Wayman caught the ball with his back to the basket and the ball was almost immediately redirected to the basket. There was no bounce, no attempt to knock over the defender. He was 6'9" and 240 pounds, but that size was not used to bull his way to the basket. There was just a quick shot up on the glass, and more than 57% of the time it went in.
  3. As an ambassador for Sooner hoops, there was none better. Tisdale wore a huge grin on his face most of the time. He lit up a room, when he entered. Tubbs knew he had a cornerstone of a program when he recruited Wayman. College and NBA teammates are saying wonderful things about him. there are no scandals about Wayman.
  4. As an NBA player, Wayman averaged 15 points per game and 6 rebounds over a 12 year career with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns, making an impact on and off the court with teammates, foes and media with his smile, generosity and concern for others.
  5. As a musician, he was superb. Wayman was an accomplished jazz musician who wrote most of his own music. He recorded eight albums, all of which made Billboard's Top 10 for Contemporary Jazz, and one spent four weeks as the Billboard No. 1 Contemporary jazz album.
  6. As a man of God, few mortals have walked the walk better. He was a pleasure to be around, and his faith made him stronger. Coach Tubbs said it best, "If God wants to build a basketball team, he has a great player now," Tubbs said. "And if he wants to build a band, he has a great bass player. Write a great story about him. He deserves it. Wayman Tisdale was a great man."

My condolences go out to all his family and those who knew him personally.

Wayman was a native of Tulsa, and the Tulsa World has a lot of stuff paying respects to Wayman.


poopsandwich said...

Great summary. Tisdale IMO, was OU's single greatest player. The guy was just unstoppable with the basketball. And unlike other pro athletes who don't know what to do with themselves after their playing time is over, he made a name for himself outside the arena.

RIP Wayman.

HeadThief said...

Poop - you're alive!

I agree Tis was our greatest.