Do you hear that? Wait.. shh.. listen.. you hear it?
It’s the whispers of James Naismith, Phog Allen, Adolph Rupp, and Dean Smith. The victory cries of Clyde Lovellette, Wilt Chamberlain, Jo Jo White and Danny Manning. The Ghosts of KU past still lingering to catch a game at the Mecca of college hoops. This is College Basketball. This is “Phog” Allen Fieldhouse.
It begins when you walk thru the doors of the historic building. The limestone façade elegantly depicting the wear of its 54 years. Named after the father of basketball coaching, it was Allen who led players named Smith and Rupp to victories on the court. Stepping across the Allen Fieldhouse threshold is like a taking a step back in time. A nostalgic rush unlike any other.
Was that Larry Brown running by? Look! There goes Paul Pierce!
Beyond the simple Crimson and Blue concourses lay the hallowed James Naismith Court. Dedicated to the inventor of the game and KU’s first coach, it’s a floor that has graced some of the best to ever play the game.
Your eyes slowly gaze up to see the bleachers adorning the court like an antique frame. If you close your eyes you can see the students packing in hours before a game. Readying their Daily Kansan Newspapers into funnels to house the copious amounts of confetti that will be displayed during player intros. You can feel the floor rumble as first tip nears. 4,000 plus students jumping in wild anticipation.. and whoosh! Just like that the game begins and it washes over you. This is no ordinary place. This is special.
You open your eyes and continue your gaze up the bleachers to the windows that adorn both ends of the court. The soft light filtering in creating majestic shadows that seems to be dancing. It puts a smile on your face to think that what you’re feeling are the same emotions that Bud Stallworth and Darnell Valentine must have felt in their day.
Finally your gaze takes you up to the rafters. Rafters adorned with KU greats. Including an NCAA record 19 first team All-Americans, 52 conference titles, 13 final fours and 5 national championships. Rafters that have looked over countless victories and KU legends. Rafters that somehow hold the old barn together when its inhabitants seemingly try to rip it apart with their cheers and chants.
After a deep breath and a moment your gaze drifts down, and there it is. A banner that seems to loom larger than life. A watch guard of sorts, a warning to those opponents who step foot on the sacred court:
“Pay Heed All Who Enter, Beware of the Phog”
Chills race down your spine as the slow, methodical and somewhat eerie chant rings through your ears.
“Rock... Chalk… Jayhawk… KU… “
It makes you shudder. Just then do you realize the magnitude of where you are. It’s more than just a Basketball Arena, It’s a temple. A shrine to times past and a reminder of the things that make College Basketball so special.
The intimate setting is unrivaled in its history and tradition, but the Fieldhouse is more than a museum. It is an ever evolving beacon on the College Basketball landscape. With every new coach, player and fan that graces its walls, a new history is written.
This place is College Basketball. This is “Phog” Allen Fieldhouse.