Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Meet The Real Jim Shikenjanski

The title of this blog has confused a few people who are either too young to remember the days when a long-haired red head took the basketball court for Clem Haskins' Gophers or simply follow other Big Ten teams not named after a rodent. Some bloggers have intentionally botched the name--in good fun of course--and one blogger even suggested I violated the first rule of blog titles, which he stated was to use something other than a random collection of letters.

Make no mistake, Jim Shikenjanski does exist. And according to an interview at the GopherHole, he's heard of my little corner of the Internet.

GH: Are you aware that there is a Gopher related blog entitled Paging Jim Shikenjanski?

Shik:(laughs out loud) Yea, my wife is big into the Internet and I think she found it and told me about it. I haven’t seen it yet, but maybe I’ll take a look some day. Hopefully it talks good about the Gophers.
While that made my day, there's other good material from the interview. Shik still attends Gophers games, lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, and is excited about Tubby Smith taking over the program. Here is Shik on Tubby.
That was a heck of a hire. Tubby is about as reputable as you can get. I do hope that Gopher fans are patient because he has a lot of rebuilding to do. It could easily take a couple of years to get beyond the level that Coach Monson left the program in. It’s been a really bleak last few years and it will not happen overnight. There are two things that Coach Smith needs to do and first and foremost is pack The Barn again. That place can be the hardest place in the nation to play in when it is packed, but when it’s half full, it’s a vastly different facility. That is a big problem about Coach Monson as there wasn’t the pride in The Barn like we had under Haskins and hopefully what Tubby can bring. From there he obviously needs to recruit better players, but that will not be as easy as it seems as a lot of these guys, even the local guys, don’t know much about Gopher basketball anymore because we haven’t been relevant in a long time.
Shikenjanski was a member of probably my favorite collection of Gophers who didn't receive sanctions. He played during the 1989-90 runs in the tournament, a subject he also addresses in the interview.

Some have asked me what led to the name. Well, I always loved Shik, but at an airport one day, the following was overheard on the loudspeaker: "Paging Jim Shikenjanski to ..." Shik represented the University well, I thought. I remember him as a hustle type player, the kind I modeled myself after during my days playing competitive basketball.

Since I know Mrs. Shikenjanski has been to this blog, I can only hope that someday the man who this site is named after will stop by, approve, and join the conversation.

A big thank you to Rob Litt of the GopherHole for pointing me to this interview and for tracking down Shik for a Q&A. I've been searching high and low for the past few months for a picture of Shik during his Minnesota playing days. I've had no luck. If anyone out there can point me in the right direction, I'd be extremely thankful.


Jason said...

That's pretty awesome. A guest post out of Shik anytime soon?

PJS said...

Shik can pen a guest post anytime he would like to.

Dallas Cowboys Blog said...

that is sweet as hell!

WWWWWW said...

Very cool. If only Goldy would post at my blog.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a great interview with Shik and pretty cool that he knows about your blog. Thanks for posting.

Oops Pow Surprise said...

weird, "shikenjanski" was the word verification thing for this comment.

Hawkeye State said...

"Hopefully it talks good about the Gophers."

Gotta love that UM education...