Born: September 26, 1981 (Oakland, California)
Graduated: El Cerrito (CA) High School, 1999 / University of Kansas, 2002
If you’re a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, you know our next inductee. Drew Gooden is one of the most iconic Jayhawk basketball players in its illustrious history. He was a consensus first-team All-American, a Big 12 Player of the Year, a cover athlete for an NCAA March Madness video game and a Player of the Year for the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He played 14 seasons in the NBA, having 11.0 points per game over the span of his career.
Before that, Gooden was a senior in high school, leading El Cerrito to the 1999 California Interscholastic Federation Boys' Division III championship game. In 1999, Gooden joined the Kansas Jayhawks, alongside fellow freshmen Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison. That was quite the recruiting class.
Gooden became a consistent starter in his sophomore year, starting in 20 of 28 games that he played in and averaging 15.8 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game.
In his junior year, Gooden had a superstar year. He averaged 19.8 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game, which was the most in college basketball, he was a consensus first-team All-American, the Big 12 Player of the Year and led the Jayhawks to the Final Four. Gooden was the cover athlete for EA Sports’ NCAA March Madness 2003, the college basketball video game for the following season.
Gooden entered the 2002 NBA Draft following his junior season and was selected fourth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies. The best season of Gooden’s NBA career was his 2004-05 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by a 20-year-old LeBron James. In that season, Gooden averaged 14.4 points and 9.2 rebounds, both of which were career bests for him. In each of his first 10 seasons in the NBA, Gooden averaged at least 10 points per game. Gooden currently ranks 10th all-time in total NBA points and 6th all-time in total NBA rebounds among Kansas Jayhawks players.
Since 2018, Gooden has played in the BIG3 League as the co-captain for the team 3’s Company. Gooden is also a Wingstop restaurant franchisee in Altamonte Springs, Florida, which he opened back in 2012.
Please welcome Drew Gooden to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
By: Sam Hays