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Kansas raises Chalmers' jersey to AFH rafters

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2013 at 9:46 pm •  Published: February 16, 2013

Chalmers only averaged a shade over 12 points during his three-year career in Lawrence, but he dished out more than 400 assists, had nearly 100 steals each year and became the guy at the end of games who craved the ball for the final shot.

That was the case in the national title game against Memphis.

In one of the enduring images of Kansas basketball, Chalmers came off a screen at the top of the key, pulled up for a 3-pointer and let it rip just as the game clock expired. It was on line the whole way, going through the net and sending the Jayhawks on to a 75-68 victory.

Kansas coach Bill Self called Chalmers, the first player he's recruited to have his jersey retired, one of the best "clutch" players that he's ever coached.

"Oh yeah, we thought he'd be great," Self said earlier in the week. "We knew Mario would be special. It took him a while to get on track, get used to me and vice versa, but after we got to know each other a bit, he was on his way."

Chalmers made it to his old stomping grounds in time to watch practice and speak to the team on Friday, and was honored at a reception later in the evening.

"It's something you always hope for," he said. "That was one of my dreams growing up, to leave my mark on whatever school I chose to go to, and it just happened to be Kansas."

Chalmers was asked whether winning the NBA title with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Co. last season trumped winning his national title at Kansas, and he unleashed that trademark smile that made him one of the most beloved players the school has ever known.

"To have that moment recognized in Kansas history," he said, "it means a lot to me."