Adrian Mitchell becomes fourth KU women's player to have jersey retired

Adrian Mitchell speaks to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018 during her jersey retirement ceremony at halftime of KU's game against Kansas State.

Adrian Mitchell didn't want all the attention.

Moments after the spotlight intensified on the blue canvas in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse and the fans greeted her with a standing ovation, Mitchell — just the fourth KU women’s basketball player ever to have her jersey retired in the historic venue — passed the credit right back.

“One of the reasons I’m here is because I scored 2,000 points. But I want you to take a look at me,” Mitchell said. “I’m 5-9. I played the post position. I could not have scored 2,000 points without the help of my teammates."

She paused.

“And here’s the reason why: I could pull down a rebound, but I wasn’t going to take it down the court and pull up for a 3-pointer," she said. "Mainly because we didn’t have 3-pointers.”

Mitchell, captivating the crowd of 5,066 — one of the largest gatherings of the Brandon Schneider-era — deviated from her speech only once, admitting she felt nerves speaking in front of the large gathering.

“Just to even step on this floor again,” Mitchell told the Journal-World. “I don’t know how to describe it.”

While at KU, Mitchell tabbed 2,124 points (2nd all-time) and 1,288 rebounds (2nd), marks prominently displayed on posters around the arena. Mitchell, a two-time All-Big Eight honoree and 1978 NWIT All-American, thought back to her playing days, many of which included a bond with one player in particular.

While she thanked several people for her accomplishments — her teammates, coaches, family members and more — Mitchell credited her sister, Pam, for inspiring a very specific part of her game.

"My sister, Pam, reminded me last night of the reason I’m such a great rebounder,” Mitchell said. “She would tell me, when the ball goes up, its yours. … And then you give it to me on the fast break.”

Mitchell, who's red No. 21 jersey now hangs alongside that of Lynette Woodard, Angela Aycock and Tamecka Dixon, finished her speech with some words of wisdom for the current athletes.

“Enjoy it here. Love it here. And every rebound that you take, every drop of sweat that you leave here, every point that you make is a testament to your future,” Mitchell said. “Think about your future when you pull down that rebound. Because when this is over, there is more to it.”

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