Through 32 years of basketball at Hearnes Center, Missouri fans have seen some of the best players in the country.
The strength of the Big Eight and Big 12 conferences brought in talented teams every season, and Missouri’s nonconference schedules have brought in many more.
“There have been so many,” said Mike Kelly, Missouri radio announcer. “You can go down the list and keep going and going.”
Rolando Blackman: The Key for Kansas State (1977-81)
In the late 1970s, coach Jack Hartman’s Wildcats teams were some of the best to play at Hearnes Center. Blackman, a 6-foot-6 guard who could dominate with or without the ball, was the best player on any Hartman team.
A three-time unanimous All-Big Eight selection, Blackman averaged 17.5 points in four trips to Hearnes Center.
Many note Blackman’s visit Jan. 30, 1980. The first game at Hearnes Center between ranked teams, it paired Blackman and Missouri freshman guard Jon Sundvold against each other for the first time. Sundvold was 4 inches shorter than Blackman, who used his height to his favor to score 21 points and grab six rebounds in a 66-64 Kansas State win.
A year wiser (but not taller), Sundvold got the better of Blackman. On Feb. 28, 1981, the final game of the regular season, the conference championship was on the line. Sundvold limited Blackman to nine points in a 46-43 Missouri win.
Hercle Ivy: From St. Louis to Cyclone (1973-76)
One of the most proficient scorers in Iowa State history, Ivy played at Hearnes Center twice, scoring 22 and 36. A 6-3 guard, Ivy earned the nickname “Poison” because of his ability to drive opponents mad with his keen shooting and high-arcing jump shots.
A St. Louis native who attended Northwest High, Ivy was a quirky player and often wore three pairs of socks to avoid blisters. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they could do little to stop him from blistering their defense.
Ivy’s most dominant year was his junior campaign, when he averaged 28.3 points, an Iowa State record. His visit to Hearnes Center that year was one of his best games of the season. Ivy racked up 36 points and six rebounds, but the Cyclones fell short in an 87-85 Missouri win on Jan. 25, 1975.
Stacey King: Royalty on the Court (1985-89)
An Oklahoma center who visited Hearnes Center twice, King averaged 29.5 points and changed every game he played by dominating inside. After two mediocre seasons, King soared in his junior year, averaging 22.3 points and leading the Sooners to the national championship game, where they lost to Danny Manning and Kansas.
King did not play at Missouri in his first two seasons, but in 1988, he participated in one of the most memorable MU games. King had scored 40 against the Tigers in Norman earlier in the season, but Missouri center Greg Church defended him in the rematch and held King to 23 points. The No. 4 Sooners left Columbia with a loss.
March 3 was Senior Day for Derrick Chievous and became a 93-90 overtime win for the Tigers. Chievous more than made up for King's big day, scoring 35.
Even without the graduated Chievous, Missouri scored a 97-84 win against the No. 1 Sooners on Feb. 25, 1989. King scored 36, but the Sooners had little fun that afternoon.
Scotty Thurman: Hog Heaven (1992-95)
To say Thurman enjoyed playing at Hearnes Center would be an extreme understatement. Thurman, a 6-5 forward from Arkansas, averaged 30.5 points in two visits to Columbia, almost doubling his career average of 16.2.
“Scotty’s been a thorn over here,’’ Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson said. “He just sees the goals and the crowd in the background, and I think the Antlers help him, too. He loves to make people be quiet.”
The Razorbacks traveled to Hearnes Center in Thurman’s freshman and junior years, earning convincing wins both times. Thurman scored 34 on Dec. 19, 1992, a 73-68 Arkansas win.
Something about the Hearnes Center atmosphere brought the best out of Thurman. When he visited again two years later, Thurman scored 27 to lead the No. 2 Razorbacks to a 94-71 win Dec. 3, 1994.
Danny Manning: Miracle Man (1984-88)
Manning single-handedly led the Jayhawks to their second national championship, in 1988. Before that, he had three memorable games at Hearnes Center. He arrived in Lawrence in 1984 as a 6-11 forward, and, once he grew into his body, he became one of the most dominant interior players in Big Eight history.
Manning’s career ran simultaneously with Chievous’, Missouri’s leading scorer (2,580). They battled for the conference scoring championship, but Manning’s Jayhawks were more successful as a team.
A charging foul Manning drew Jan. 23, 1986, pushed Stewart into what he called his “crazy routine.” Stewart argued vehemently that Manning should have been assessed a blocking foul, which would have disqualified him. The officials saw otherwise, gave Stewart his second technical foul and Manning stayed in the game. He finished with 16 points and six rebounds in an 81-77 Kansas win.
When Kansas visited the next season, the result probably felt much better. The Tigers prevailed 63-60 on Feb. 11, 1987, on a Lee Coward 3-pointer from the right wing with three seconds left.
Manning scored 21, but Chievous topped him with 26.
After Manning chose to return for his senior season, Kansas’ visit on Feb. 27, 1988, became even more memorable. Weeks away from a run to the NCAA championship, Manning and the Jayhawks left Columbia with an 82-77 win.
Manning dominated, scoring 37 and adding eight rebounds.