Kirk Korver got a chance to watch brothers Kyle and Kaleb play a lot of basketball for Creighton.
Unfortunately for Kirk, he'll be spectating again when his Missouri-Kansas City Kangaroos visit the CenturyLink Center on Monday to face the Bluejays.
A 6-foot-7 senior forward, Kirk Korver has been sidelined indefinitely by a stress fracture in his foot.
“When I found out we were going to play them, I was really excited,” Korver said. “I was really looking forward to this game, but what can you do? I just need to try to get healthy and come back and play.”
Korver has battled foot injuries throughout his college career. He missed the entire 2010-11 season, then underwent surgery after last season, when he averaged 5.8 points and 2.6 rebounds while starting 19 of 32 games.
He spent the offseason rehabbing but started experiencing some problems when the Kangaroos began preseason practice. X-rays revealed the stress fracture, putting the youngest son of Kevin and Laine Korver on the sidelines again.
It will prevent him from becoming the second Korver to play against the Bluejays. Klayton, the second oldest of the boys, played for Drake from 2003 to 2008 and finished his career as only one of two players in school history to score more than 1,000 points and make more than 200 3-point baskets.
His senior season overlapped Kaleb's freshman season at Creighton, and the brothers faced each other three times. Drake wound up playing in the NCAA tournament in 2008, while Creighton advanced to the National Invitation Tournament.
Of course, it was Kyle who got things started when he starred for the Bluejays from 1999 to 2003. He finished his career as Creighton's all-time leader in 3-point baskets and the program's fifth-leading career scorer. He is now in his 11th season in the NBA and second with the Atlanta Hawks.
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Kirk was in the third grade when his family first started making trips from Pella, Iowa, to Omaha to watch Kyle play for the Bluejays.
“We'd come over for games at the Civic, then we'd drive home,” Kirk said. “We wouldn't get back home until 1 in the morning, and then we'd have to get up for school the next morning.
“But we wanted to go to every game. They were so much fun.”
Dealing with expectations hasn't always been fun for three brothers who followed in Kyle's footsteps.
Klayton, Kaleb and Kirk all have enjoyed productive collegiate careers but never achieved the stardom Kyle experienced.
Kirk admits that playing in the long shadow of his oldest brother has been difficult at times.
“But I never really let it bother me that much because it never really mattered to my family,” Kirk said. “I've always had their support, and that's what has mattered to me the most.”
Kirk has started more than half of the 93 games he's played for the Kangaroos. He averaged 4.6 points as a freshman and a career-high 7.6 as a sophomore. Although he's played inside more than his three older brothers, Kirk has made 90 3-point baskets in his career.
He can hold his own from the perimeter, even when matched up against three brothers known for their outside shooting abilities. When they get together, the spirited 2-on-2 games they played when younger have been replaced by shooting contests.
“I won the last one when we were all together down in Atlanta,” Kirk said. “So I guess I have the title now.”
His priority now is to get healthy in order to punctuate his career.
“It's worked out well for me here,” he said. “None of the (Missouri) Valley teams really recruited me, so I felt UMKC was my best option. I've had a good four-plus years here. It's been a good ride.”
He just wishes he wasn't going to be sitting when UMKC rolls into Omaha for Monday's game.
“We have a lot of love for Creighton and Omaha, and I have a lot of respect for the program,” Kirk said. “Right now, my only goal is to get healthy. I think we have a chance to be really good this year, and I want to be part of that.”