Although Kansas basketball star Drew Gooden has his jersey retired in Allen Fieldhouse, there was one thing he had anxiety for every day — practice.
Gooden, a 6-foot-10 power forward, played for Kansas from 1999-2002. While it took him a while to adjust to coach Roy Williams’ system, he finally got things figured out with teammates Nick Collision and Kirk Hinrich.
"I remember how nervous I was, all the way up until my junior year, dreading practice," Gooden said of his favorite memory at Kansas. "I think those are fine memories and good memories that will never be taken away."
In the 2000-01 season, the Jayhawks went 26-7 but fell to Illinois in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, during the summer of 2000, he played for the U.S. team that went 4-1 in Brazil while qualifying for the USA World Championship for Young Men.
Come his junior year, things were a little different.
In the 2002 season, Gooden led the nation in rebounding and Kansas and the Big 12 in both scoring and rebounding, with 19.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. He scored 734 points that season, ranking sixth on Kansas’ single-season scoring list. He grabbed 423 rebounds — the second most in a single-season in Kansas history. Gooden set Kansas and Big 12 single-season records with 25 double-doubles.
That same year, Gooden was named Player of the Year by Basketball American and was also named ESPN’s Power Forward of the Year. He helped bring Kansas to a perfect 16-0 conference record and was named NABC National Player of the Year.
"One of the best games, sweetest games, was the year we went 16-0 in conference," Gooden said. "We won our 16th game in Missouri and it was a tight game. We almost lost. We could have lost it easily. And we became the first team to go undefeated in the Big 12."
His junior year was one to remember, but it was also his last. He declared for the NBA Draft and was selected as the fourth overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies.
One of 32 Jayhawks with a jersey retired in Allen Fieldhouse, Nick Collison garnered many awards as a forward. The All-American standout played under Roy Williams from 2000-03.
A year later, in 2003, Gooden was traded to the Orlando Magic and his jersey (No. 0) was retired at halftime of the Kansas vs. Kansas State game.
Gooden now ranks No. 19 on the Kansas all-time scoring list, with 1,526 points, and fifth in rebounds with 905 career grabs.
His stint in the NBA lasted 14 years, from the Grizzlies to the Washington Wizards, and he ended his career after the 2016 season.
Following his basketball career, he decided to open up a Wingstop franchise in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Most recently, he was honored at the halftime of a Wizards game.
In an interview with CSN Sports, Gooden reflected on what he misses most about the game.
"Honestly, just being around the fans, and being in the DMV area and my teammates I think were some of the most memorable moments for me being a Washington Wizard," he said.
Gooden has expanded his career path, ending up in the restaurant business. In 2012, Gooden opened a Wingstop franchise in Florida.
— Edited by Erin Brock