Thursday, August 24, 2006


Keegan: Dad says Downs misguided


The phone rang, and I feared it was a parent bitter over coverage given to an athlete at another high school, or, get this, to a teammate of the parent's son or daughter. Believe it or not, some such parents exist, though, thankfully, not many. They begrudge coverage given to teenagers. Imagine how embarrassed their children would be if they knew such calls were being made.

Anyway, the phone call that came from a parent Wednesday, as I was sitting at my desk contemplating where to have lunch, originated from left field. Specifically, it came from the Left Coast.

The friendly voice was a man who identified himself as Steven Downs, father of former Kansas University basketball player Micah Downs. Evidently motivated by something he'd read on an Internet message board that blamed KU coach Bill Self for Micah Downs' transferring to Gonzaga, the father wanted to set the record, as he views it, straight about his son's flight.

"I want you guys to know Bill Self and his staff did everything they could to encourage Micah and to help him," Steven Downs said. "It wasn't Bill's fault that Micah left. Personally, I wish my son would have stayed. The Jayhawks have the best program in the country, bar none. I've got another son, Steven Jr., who's a sophomore at Rainier Beach (Wash.), and that's where I want him to play. I'm still heartbroken Micah's not playing for the Jayhawks anymore."

Asked if he tried to talk Micah out of quitting, Steven said he did, and then he volunteered a stunning personal heartache.

"He hasn't spoken to me for months now," Steven said of Micah. "We have personal issues because of his girlfriend. I never approved of her. : My wife is heartbroken over the situation."

In the message-board world in which we live, nobody is spared from criticism. That's life, but Steven Downs doesn't have to like it.

"I don't like the way people talk about coach Self," he said. "That man is a good Christian man. I will stand behind Bill Self 'til the day he dies. He doesn't get the credit he deserves. He's good with X's and O's. : I just want everybody to know in Lawrence that Bill Self is good for Lawrence. It wasn't Bill at all. It was Micah's own fault, man. You can't blame the coach or the staff."

Steven Downs said he will not go to any Gonzaga games unless Micah invites him, and that hasn't happened.

"This isn't a slam on Micah, either," he said, explaining his phone call. "I want everyone to know how much our family appreciated Bill Self and Kansas University. I feel like I owe you guys a basketball player. If I could afford it, I'd be coming down to Kansas for every game. I've been a Kansas fan all my life. I still wear my Kansas Jayhawk cap. We still have our Kansas Jayhawk flag hanging up in our room."

Kansas is loaded this season and won't miss Downs, a highly skilled 6-foot-8 forward. As for the fractured father-son relationship, it's never too late to repair that.

"I'm trusting the Lord in that," Steven said. "I just keep my faith."

He said his wife, Gerri, attempted to speak with her son at the home of the girlfriend's parents over the Christmas holidays, but "had no luck."

"I just think Micah's a confused young man," Steven said. "I just really believe the wrong people have gotten in his ear."


Steve Tramba 13 years, 3 months ago

Amazing... not more than 3 years ago this was a father stating that his son was NBA bound out of high school, and yet he couldn't crack the starting lineup at a D1 powerhouse. While it is almost instinctual in the internet world to pound on the Downs' family b/c of this arrogance, it would appear that Steven Downs has had a mea culpa of his own and is now trying to help his son.

This girlfriend must have some serious issues to have impacted this kid who appeared to have so much going for him. To be able to shut him out from his own family isn't such a surprise they way teenagers can act, but it's pretty darn sad.

Displayhawk 13 years, 3 months ago

How do we know that this was really Steven Downs??? If all of this is really true, then you have to feel sorry for Micah's parents, and hope that this mixed-up kid comes to his senses soon. Good Luck to Coach Few trying to get through to this kid!

Ken Miller 13 years, 3 months ago

KU is better off without this continuing circus. Sounds like the entire Downs family needs some serious therapy - without Micah's girlfriend around.

GIHAWK 13 years, 3 months ago

I predict that Downs will be a bust at Gonzaga...

Tad Shurtz 13 years, 3 months ago

In a word: Crazy.


In three words: Super f***ing crazy.

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago


I'm with you. How do we know that this was really Steven Downs? What father would say all of those things he did knowing that they would be published futher tarnishing his relationship with his son? I dont think that was really Steven Downs. I think it will come out in a couple of days that Steven Downs did not really make this phone call and that it was someone here in Lawrence who did.

And I may have missed it, but why would Steven not have called Bill Self about this first? Why would he call the news media straight up? I smell something fishy. I think its too good to be true. Mark my words, the truth will be coming out in a couple of days.

muffaletta 13 years, 3 months ago

Steven Downs seems like a real media whore -- that's one reason he might have called Keegan.

It DOES seem too good to be true though. Crazy stuff.

Craig Lang 13 years, 3 months ago

I agree with turd. Seeing how it is pretty typical for JW sports reporters to talk to parents of KU players, I would think Keegan would know if he was talking to Downs' father.

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, I see what you mean about making sure its actually him. Though sometimes a story is so juicy that is seems that a media outlet wants so badly to be the first to report something that they will take a chance like this and report it. You have to remember how greedy the media has become. I hope it is true, but people do make mistakes.

JayCeph 13 years, 3 months ago

This is too squinkey... no reason for a dad to call a newspaper guy right out of the blue to reconcile with nebulous internet ramblings that have nothing to do with the present situation. The kid is gone (for whatever reason), Lawrence & the KU faithful didn't deride Coach Self, basketball season isn't for another hour or two and no one was even looking in the direction of Gonzaga.

Everyone that I know of was looking forward (not backward toward Micah and his season that never was) to this fall and the upcoming schedule, high expectations, and a pretty firm assertion that we need to make it past the 1st round of the NCAA's next March.

Micah who?

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

I've actually emailed Micah Downs's girlfriend in myspace because she has an account. I just told her to wish Micah good luck (because I knew KU would be better off without him anyways). So how about people who have myspace accounts email this article to her and see what she says.

KUastrofunk 13 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, what a bizarre story. Sure, I'm glad to see Self vindicated (not that anyone really still cared) but it seems Mr. Downs is choosing KU over his son. No matter how much you love the Jayhawks that is just sad. And to call a reporter to blame the whole situation on your son - even if it's true - is tacky and tasteless. "I feel like I owe KU a son"....what the hell is that about. It's as if he's courting Self for his younger son at the cost of any relationship with Micah. Somebody commented that the girlfriend must have serious issues. Well, I don't know anything about the girlfriend but it seems that Mr. Downs certainly has some of his own.

kraus42 13 years, 3 months ago

Have you thought that Mr. Steven Downs is simple trying to butter up to Coach to get his sophmore son here??????

Media whore, yes! Manipulative Beotch, probably so too!!

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

I just have a sick feeling that this was a sick joke made by someone who just wants to make Micah Downs's and his family miserable. By reporting this I'm willing to be that Keegan will be suspended by not investigating this further. I just dont feel good about this story.

JayCeph 13 years, 3 months ago

I'd wager on the fact this call wasn't from Steven Downs. From a media whore, sure... just no one involved with that family.

This info is too 'after the fact' and below the radar. This smells more like some kids having a good time making crank calls while they're waiting for the buzz to wear off. I'm surprised Keegan fell for it.

Drew Bender 13 years, 3 months ago

swonder44 when kids are drafted straight out of high school, they are not taken for their talent level then, they are taken on how much potential they have towards becoming a star in the future... whether or not he started at KU, he still was tremendously skilled... i wish him the best of luck at gonzaga and in the future

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

ESU, and we all do. But this situation has been nothing but a circus. And to this day the only explanation given for the reason Micah left KU in the first place. Because he missed his girlfriend. That is the only thing that has ever surfaced. Not playing time, not unhappiness, not the coaching staff treating him unfairly. Just his girlfriend. I wouldn't be surprised at all if his girlfriend was causing problems, but I really dont believe that his Dad called Keegan to report his family's personal problems to a stranger for the whole world to see.

tis4tim 13 years, 3 months ago

You guys don't think that Phog...nah, couldn't be. Or, could it...?

tis4tim 13 years, 3 months ago

In all seriousness, there is a code of ethics guiding print and any other form of media. Sure, there are those who violate that, some to egregious levels. But, to print such things without having checked them for legitimacy would easily cost someone his job and his reputation. It would be journalistic suicide to do something like that knowingly. I'm not sure why Keegan would stoop to a level like that or risk his career just to get a scoop. Personally, I don't think he would. Some articles may incite more conversation than others, but JW, as long as I've been reading, has always been on the up and up. I will give this one the benefit of the doubt.

I admit, I do have questions, though. Amazing. Completely unexpected.

byron 13 years, 3 months ago

if ljworld didn't confirm this was who he said he was before they printed it, they loose all journalistic integrity.

lonnie_q 13 years, 3 months ago

wait, wait, wait, why are we talking about this? Micah who???? Never heard of him, NEXT!

I am so excited and can't wait for this season to starts. Go Jayhawks!

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

tis4tim and byron- I totally agree though either KU or LHS does not let their students use the LJWorld as a legitimate newspaper source because they feel that they dont have journalistic integrity. So yes, I also agree it would be journalistic suicide though we saw the same thing happen to Dan Rather. Someone who was esteemed in his profession for decades and then reports a false story. Bye bye career. Just one mess is all it takes. This could be Keegan's mess up.

But think about it. What father do you know would report what was reported to a journalist who was a total stranger to you? If Steve's and Micah's relationship is on the rocks, this is not the way to fix it. Things just arent making sense when it comes to this article.

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

I pray to God that this story is true so that Keegan does not get in trouble. Nothing about this story makes sense.

JayCeph 13 years, 3 months ago

This is not the article you're looking for... move along.

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

JayCeph- you need to change your loggin name to Obi-Wan!!

JayCeph 13 years, 3 months ago

Maybe we should be talking about Obi-Wan's girlfriend...

JayCeph 13 years, 3 months ago

In a coveted sort of way... much like the caller to Keegan (I feel like I owe KU a son. Your skin is soft, not coarse and rough like sand.)

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

That guy Steve Downs or not never said that he feels he owes Bill Self a son. He actually said, "I feel like I owe you guys a basketball player".

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

Lebowski- My thoughts exactly. The only reason I'm talking about it is because it seems as if Keegan was fooled out of his underwear by this person pretending to be Steve Downs. Great comments Lebowski.

byron 13 years, 3 months ago

So what did Keegan end up having for lunch?

jayhawkdan78 13 years, 3 months ago

tim...once again you are the stable, level headed one of the bunch...everybody's acting like keegan jumped all over some super hot, amazing story when in fact it didnt even make the opening page of the site...looks like ku football autographs was jucier...i cant see keegan puttin this out there with no regard for validity...its not even a huge story...he wouldnt risk whats at stake for a page 2 nugget

...however...the PHOG theory is an angle i never considered watson...

legolas1996 13 years, 3 months ago

Whether Keegan got tricked or not, there are one of two things that are true. Either Steve Downs is a bad father for what he said or Keegan got tricked. It would take a lot of guts to do what Steven Downs supposedly did to his son, so that is why I believe Keegan was tricked.

JayCeph 13 years, 3 months ago

Dude! I wanna talk about Lebowski's son... Mizzou?!? No, nope, never. If my son chose Mizzou, I'd move him to Canada (like dodging the draft) 'till he got his senses back.

My dad always said sometimes, Son (he called me son 'cuz I was so bright) he said, Son, the difference between KU and Mizzou is simple... Mizzou is just another school, but KU, now that's a work of art.

stella1 13 years, 3 months ago

I am a Jayhawk basketball fan and a KU graduate. I follow every game, and am a huge fan of Bill Self. I am also a mother, and would never choose the Jayhawks over my son. Period.

I don't know if the reporter confirmed his source - I would hope that he would have.

Larry Smith 13 years, 3 months ago

I believe that Keegan is smart enough to know what to print and what not to print. I think he has been doing this for a while. I didn't really take it as the father chose KU over his son. It seems more like he probably tried to talk some sense into his son by telling him it would be foolish to leave KU because your girlfriend is pressuring you to come home, and that Micah shouldn't throw away a promising basketball career because of her. Micah(in love of course) says screw you mom and dad, if you dont like my girlfriend and what she wants me to do, then I chose her over you. Remember it was Micah who disappeared in the middle of the night without even telling his roommate he was leaving. It seems to me like Micah did the choosing, and as a lot of teenagers in love do, probably made the wrong choice.

Lance Hobson 13 years, 3 months ago

Of course it was his real dad, you guys are ridiculous. I think the real story here is what a great recruiter Bill Self is and the huge, long lasting impact he has on people. It's sad that M. Downs has thrown away such an oportunity for a future ex-girlfriend. He may still do well at Gonzaga, he does have skills even with his five cent head.

actorman 13 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe that not a SINGLE person brought up an obvious fact, in terms of whether it was really Steven Downs. Guys, there is such a thing as caller ID! There's probably a good chance that Keegan could see the phone number of the person calling. And he might have a record of Downs' father's number. So all he would have to do is double-check. Even if he didn't have the number ahead of time, it would be an easy check. I don't think it would be that complicated to verify that it really WAS Steven Downs.

JJHawq 13 years, 2 months ago

talk about group think at its finest....

there is no phuqing way this was NOT steven downs. this isn't keegan's first column guys.

anyway... we've known Micah and his dad were tools since before he got here. we trust self to do what he thinks is best, and i'm sure he did. the fact that micah is a tool might have a lot to do with the fact that his dad is a tool. i'm sure there are more tools in the downs box....

Eliott Reeder 13 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

JayCeph 13 years, 2 months ago

Speaking of tools, is there one we could use to turn off this dialogue? Does anybody really care about this topic regarding Micah and his dad? Nope. Not now, not then.

I'm searching for my tool but I'm afraid that might really slow things down... somebody, please, turn off the lights on your way out.

truefan 13 years, 2 months ago

Actually, Steven Downs never said that Micah was going to go pro. That was a media frenzy mistake that Steven Downs cleared up very quickly. As far as the personal issues between father and son, Steven probably should have left that out, but I believe that he had good intentions. I think Micah is a perfect fit for the Gonzaga program and playing style, so I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be a valuable asset to their team. You have to remember, Bill Self did recruit this guy, he saw potential in him, and he has much more experience at analyzing players than any of us.

carollee 13 years, 2 months ago

I have a few comments:

Micah never ever said Coach Self was his reason for leaving KU. Where did that come from! Micah left KU strictly because of personal family issues that were existent way before he ever left home to go to KU, which had been weighing very heavily upon him. I will not go into the family situation. However, I will say that it is not Micah's choice nor any of the extended family's choice for Micah to have an estranged relationship between he and his parents. There is no valid reason it should have ever happened. It is not Micah's fault, nor the fault of the girlfriend and her parents, or the extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins who supposedly have caused him to be a "misguided young man". We have ONLY encouraged Micah to be disciplined and focused personally, emotionally, academically and pursue his dreams and continue his basketball career. He is a fine young man who deserves to be uplifted and encouraged, not torn down. He deserves to have a normal life of peace, happiness and success and he is striving for just that. Micah is alive and well and is at Gonzaga and you will see him on the Court come December! I know, I am Micah's Paternal Grandmother who is very close to Micah.

legolas1996 13 years, 2 months ago

Carollee- I dont think anyone here was placing blame on anyone. And I dont know why Steve felt compelled to tell all of the family secrets to a journalist he has probably never met before if that was really him. If it was Steve, then he should be blamed for telling the entire world the affairs of your family. I have never known anyone to get as riled up about some posts on a message board as he did. I would never say what he did about his own son to Jayhawk nation and beyond about something that should be in the past. I dont understand what he has to gain. It certainly wasnt his son's trust because if the relationship with Micah is already strained, doing this didnt help one bit. If I were Micah and my father did this to me, I wouldn't talk to him either.

carollee 13 years, 2 months ago

Sad to say it was my son, Steven and his wife Gerri, who initiated and made the phone call to Keegan. Should never have happened, plain and simple. So I guess my comments were directed more at them and my wanting to let the public know that all of this nonsense is not Micah's fault.

legolas1996 13 years, 2 months ago

Carollee- I'm sorry to hear about this situation and about how it has impacted your family. Does Micah know about this article? What was his reaction to it? And did Steve hope to get out of letting the world know your family's issues? Did he actually think that this would bring Micah running back home to him? Sorry, just not understanding his logic.

byron 13 years, 1 month ago

I hear this was all determined to now be a hoax.

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