It is not very funny, but it is a little true: shortly before Chris Warren burst onto the scene, Ole Miss students cared to follow men's basketball only a little bit more than they did track and field. On the heels of Andy Kennedy's first season and the Red and Blue's first trip to the post-season since 2002 (remember when we got so excited about the NIT?), a tiny little point guard made us believe that, perhaps, Ole Miss basketball was in an era where we didn't rebuild, we reloaded. He was, a lil' bastid before that term of art existed.
Now, three years later, Barnabus Kirui has brought the sort of consistent excellence to the steeplechase that we all are still looking for out of Warren. Kirui's excellence has won him multiple SEC championships and the 2007 NCAA title in the 3,000 meter. Barnabus did not, in fact, win the 3,000 meter steeplechase this year. He finished second to his brother Martin, the freshman who might be in the running for our next Rebel of the Decade competition.
In any case, both of these athletes have been integral parts of relatively successful periods in the school history of their sports. While Kirui has been more successful at his sport, nobody comes to watch him run 1.75 mile, while record crowds have turned out to watch Chris succeed or fail, but, either way, to do so fantastically.