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No. 45 was officially hung in the rafters in 2003. 

Raef LaFrentz made his return to Allen Fieldhouse for the occasion, his last time visiting Allen Fieldhouse, according to his father Ron LaFrentz in a 2009 interview with the Lawrence Journal-World. 

The 6-foot-11 center/forward shot his way to the third spot on Kansas’s 1,000-point scorers list, with 2,066, and is ultimately Kansas’ No. 2 all-time leading scorer. He is also just one of four players in Kansas basketball history to rank in the top-12 in both points and rebounds. He recorded 1,186 rebounds. 

LaFrentz left Kansas with a handful of awards: two first-team Kansas NABC All-American awards, as well as two Wooden Award All-Americans. He was also named Academic All-American of the Year in 1997, and was even a two-time GTE Academic All-American. 

Two Jayhawks were drafted in the 1998 NBA Draft: LaFrentz and teammate Paul Pierce. LaFrentz was drafted to the Denver Nuggets as the third overall pick. He started all but five of the 171 games in his first three seasons with the team. 

Between 2001-03, LaFrentz bounced back and forth between the Dallas Mavericks and the Nuggets. In 2003, he was traded to the Boston Celtics where he spent his next three seasons. 

With sports comes the possibility of injuries and LaFrentz has had his fair share of them. As a Celtic in 2003, he had a season-ending surgery to correct an ongoing case of tendinitis. In the season before, LaFrentz had missed 13 games due to an ankle injury. 

A surgery on his right shoulder in 2008 would eventually become the deciding factor for him to end his basketball career. He missed the entire 2008-09 season with the Portland Trailblazers. 

His career at Kansas and in the NBA earned his way into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, and he was inducted in 2011. 

The commonly used phrase, “Once a Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk” seems to ring true to LaFrentz. 

“He loves that place,” Ron LaFrentz said in the Journal-World interview, noting Raef has Kansas City Chiefs season tickets. “There’s no other place in the NCAA where the atmosphere is such as in Allen Fieldhouse.”

Edited by Erin Brock 

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