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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Extra Minutes: Kansas 109, Texas Tech 51

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Senior speeches

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KU seniors Sasha Kaun, Russell Robinson, Rodrick Stewart, Jeremy Case and Darnell Jackson give their senior speeches after the Jayhawks' 109-51 victory over Texas Tech.

KU sends seniors, Red Raiders out with a bang

The KU men's basketball team may not have been able to script it's five seniors' last night in Allen Fieldhouse any better.

Fans will miss Jayhawk seniors

Monday night marked the final home game for five seniors on the Kansas men's basketball game.

Rush named 'Player of the Week'

For the first time this season, Kansas junior Brandon Rush is the Big 12 Player of the Week.

Useless Trivia

Useless trivia with Kevin and D.J.

Some thoughts...from Allen Fieldhouse

Gary Bedore, Journal-World KU men's basketball beat writer

"It was a great Senior Night victory for KU. Fifteen players scored. It was nice to see Jeremy Case hit three threes. He's probably the nicest guy on the team and deserved ALL the applause he received. Nice game from so many players. You couldn't have scripted a better Senior Night. Perfect for KU and it s fans."

Tom Keegan, Journal-World sports editor

"Russell Robinson, the perfect teammate, had the perfect night. He made five of five field goal attempts, three of three three-pointers and two of two free throws. The rest of the seniors weren't far behind. The five starters combined to make 17 of 24 shots."

Ryan Greene, KUSports.com editor

"It was a great night for all five of the scholarship seniors, and it was good to see them each have solid nights. But I'll use my little space here to give a little shout to Brad Witherspoon, the sixth member of this senior class. Witherspoon earned his way onto the team through walk-on tryouts and is living the dream that most kids who grow up in small town Kansas possess. He's had two years I'm sure he'll never forget."

Inside the numbers

40: In an offensive onslaught by the Jayhawks, KU hit 40 of its 67 shot attempts on a night when everything seemed to fall. Included in that efficiency was a 14-of-24 performance from long range. In the second half, while KU strung together 58 points, Rodrick Stewart hit a pair of rainbow threes, and Jeremy Case splashed the net from beyond the arc three times. Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers also hit three deep balls each.

11: On Senior Night, KU fans got an extended glimpse of the future with freshman big man Cole Aldrich scoring 11 points and pulling down 11 rebounds in 17 minutes of play. Aldrich showed more offensive variety than he has for much of the season, including an eight-foot hook shot from the left side of the rim after halftime.

10: It was such a balanced night for Kansas offensively that Brandon Rush, who earlier on Monday afternoon was named Big 12 co-Player of the Week, played just 10 minutes. Rush may have been a little too amped at times with all the emotion in the building as he hoisted a couple of airballs, but he still finished with seven points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in what could have been his final game in the Fieldhouse, too.

13: Sherron Collins continues to blaze a comeback trail, following up his 18-point, four-assist, four-steal showing Saturday against Kansas State with another well-rounded performance. Collins played 20 minutes, finishing with 13 points and three assists. Again, Kansas is on another level when he's off the bench at full health.

15: Russell Robinson had the best offensive night of any of the seniors to step on the Fieldhouse floor for the final time Monday. He hit all five shots he attempted - three from deep - and two free throws, finishing with 15 points, three assists and two steals. His first trey came not long before halftime, while his second and third came in KU's offensive blitz to start the second half, putting the game officially out of reach.

Just in case you missed it...

Mario Chalmers didn't mean to, but he may have provided the highlight of the year in the route of Tech. On the final play of the first half, he slashed to the hoop and went up in traffic, trying to draw contact and a foul. He was spun around mid-air, and with his back to the basket flipped the ball towards the rim. It missed completely, but went down as a highlight reel-worthy impromptu assist, with Darrell Arthur catching the airball and slamming it home with two hands.

Hopefully you didn't miss it...

Bill Self gushed about his senior class after the game, clarifying that this was the first class he's recruited, developed and seen all the way through in any of his four head coaching stops. Not only did they each perform well Monday night, but in the traditional postgame speeches at center court, each displayed his growth from the past four-plus years. Self made sure to point that out in his postgame press conference, too.

They said it...

Russell Robinson on Senior Night as a whole: "That was a great way to go out. I'll definitely remember we won, probably the one I'll remember the most. A lot of emotions behind it, and I enjoyed every second of it."

Russell Robinson on keeping up the momentum, starting on the road this Saturday at Texas A&M;: "We're playing well right now, got a lot of momentum going on, and we've just got to keep it up. That's going to start Wednesday when we start practicing, and got the emotional stuff behind us, just use this as motivation to continue the rest of the season."

Russell Robinson on being confident against anyone on Senior Night: "Coach said about last week that he doesn't think the Lakers could beat us at home on Senior Night. So I kind of agree with him on that note, they have been playing well and it was a good team. And we knew we just had to come out with a lot of energy, play hard and we did that tonight...Coulda taken Kobe tonight. I think Brennan Bechard coulda taken Kobe tonight as well as everybody was playing today."

Russell Robinson on who had the best senior speech: "I'll go Darnell, was really emotional, I think he had a really great speech, but I was really surprised with Sasha. Sasha's speech was really touching, and I was really happy for him."

Jeremy Case on Senior Night: "I can't even remember. Never. Never felt that way. The crowd was so loud I couldn't hear myself think, it was amazing...Coming into the game, I didn't think anything like that, I just wanted to play as much as possible, and if I scored I scored, if I didn't I didn't. It was great, a great ending...Just the fans that stayed, that's amazing, they didn't have to stay just to listen to us talk, and that meant a lot."

Darnell Jackson on when things turned around before this weekend for the team: "I think it happened in practice, when we lost to OSU and we had practice the next day. I think a lot of guys realized that this is it, and we can't go out, losing in the first round, that hurt. And we don't want to have that happen again. So we came together as a team and just told each other that everybody needs to bring something to the table, so that's what we're gonna do."

Darnell Jackson on the weekend as a whole and its emotional impact: "That was a great combination, playing K-State at home, having Senior Night the next day, I think it was so great that the emotion just carried over the next day in practice and it carried over today in the game. I almost started crying because Russ started crying. I was like come on Russ, you can't be doing this. So I just told him just let it out. We've been through it all, we're gonna have to stay together as a family when we leave from here, so I know that we're gonna do that, because we're too close as a team, so we look at each other like brothers."

Bill Self on the team's last week: "We're playing better now. The last three games we've performed pretty well. That Wednesday-Saturday-Monday, just in a six-day stretch, we look like a totally different team. And I'm sure you guys would agree with the way we were playing before that."

Bill Self on the style of the win: "Nobody likes to be on that end, and I apologized (Texas Tech coach Pat Knight) after the game, and he's great. He's like 'It's not your fault,' because we did play guys and everybody made shots and they couldn't throw it in the ocean. But I didn't like that at all. I'm certainly glad we had a chance to play everybody, but still, nobody likes to win that way, by that margin."

Bill Self on the balance of his team Monday night: "The Big 12 Player of the Week played 10 minutes tonight. How often is that gonna happen? Of course, the great thing about it is he got 10 shots off in 10 minutes, and seven of them at least hit the rim. I think three of them were airballs. But we're a balanced team. And usually, though, for whatever reason, in teams that I've had, the seniors usually play well on senior night. With that being the case tonight, they deserved their minutes, as well, which kind of diluted everything else."

Bill Self on his senior class: "I've never had a better a one, but it's also the first one I've recruited and seen through...This took time to kind of court these guys, and get them convinced to come, and then to see this class through. You can talk about performance and a lot of different things, there's a lot of academic honors in the group, there's of course winning, a big part of it, growing up and becoming men. I know all kids do that in college, but this group's a little bit different because this group's probably been through more personal things than a lot of senior classes have. And also, don't take for granted, this senior class isn't from here. There's no built-in mom and dad. There's no built-in family. These guys are off on their own. To see them go through tough times and rally around each other and things like that, I take great pride in that. I don't get emotionally in public often, but I almost choked up before the game, I thought that was really cool. And those guys have represented this University in a way that, I know other schools have great kids and all those things, but we couldn't have got a better group of guys to represent us. They epitomize what we want to be. They're class, they work hard, they're tough - for the most part, not tough enough - and they're good performers. And you listen to them talk, I told them that the writers for Bush and McCain and Clinton and Obama or whoever, they couldn't have written better speeches than what those guys gave tonight. And that's pretty refreshing and pretty rewarding as a coach to see that."

Comments

Timmay97 13 years, 10 months ago

Our Seniors are Gods! Thanks for the hard work and effort guys! I hate knowing you won't be here next year!

Let's go out with a bang!!! National Championship!

KUbsee69 13 years, 10 months ago

truehawkfan - it's almost orgasmic, isn't it!

It doesn't take a game to feel that way. Even when it's empty, AFH sends chills down my spine. Even "Late Night" is like the best game at anyone else's house.

Rock Chalk!

ku98 13 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, I see that you have a problem with the Knight family, and I dont really care, but you have to understand his frustration. This is a team that lost by 44 to A&M, then beat Texas, and then gets blown out by us. You have to admit that it is puzzling.

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

I wish a guy, Pat Knight, who got his job through nepotism, and who has done a lousy job recruiting the last couple years, would quit blaming his team's character, when they get blown out by a loaded KU team that shoots nearly 60 percent from the field and from behind the 3 point stripe.

Wake up, Coach Knight. Your father quit on these guys before they even put on a TTech uniform. He didn't work the job full time the last 3 years and then when the cupboard was bare he dumped it in your lap.

Don't even blame him. He's been a louse his whole life. There's nothing you can do about it, but face up to it.

You're the headcoach now. Take responsibility. Go get these guys enough good teammates to be competitive EVERY night.

loudog 13 years, 10 months ago

I have to agree with jaybate about both Pat and Bob Knight. Sure, Bob Knight had a great graduation rate, and instilled discipline and blah, blah, blah, whatever else the Knight apologists say about him. But, over the past several decades, there hasn't been a more classless person in college basketball than Bobby Knight (and, I realize that's a pretty high bar with the likes of Dave Bliss and Kelvin Sampson in that group). The most classless move yet was quitting on this Tech team midway through the season like he did. Of course this team is going to look a little lost at times.... but don't call out their character on national TV. I don't know what game Pat was watching; but it couldn't have been the same one I was watching, because the Tech players didn't take the night off, and they played with plenty of heart.... they just ran into a juggernaut last night. Bob Knight's best Indiana team couldn't have beat KU last night.

So, pat, stop whining, and coach... try to prove that the apple DOES fall far from the tree.

justanotherfan 13 years, 10 months ago

I too can understand Pat Knight's frustration with his Jekyl and Hyde basketball team. Blown out, win at home against a top 10 team, blown out? That doesn't make sense as to how you get smashed by a team that is reeling (A&M), then beat a team that is as hot as anybody (Texas), then get smoked again on the road (last night). You have to wonder if you got full effort in the two blowouts, since obviously there is enough talent to be competitive on that team. That's where the frustration lies. Granted, there is no way they were winning at the Fieldhouse last night, but there is no way they should have lost by 58. I figured 15 or 20.

The seniors were awesome and Aldrich gave us a look at what he can give us for the next few years last night. With him up front next year, we can at least depend on getting just about every rebound. I see why he was defensive player of the year three years running in high school. The kid knows how to board.

truehawkfan 13 years, 10 months ago

Being at the game last night sent me through so many different emotions. As I walked in the building, I felt excitement, knowing I was going to see my first big 12 contest, and knowing how loud it was going to be, and how good my seat was!! Then I felt a feeling you just can't explain, when they announce the starters, and the video before starts playing , and the music is thumping, the excitement builds to pure ecstasy. Once the game starts, you feel typical anger at referee's, but as the seniors left the floor for the first time, you begin to realize how much time and effort these guys put in. You get a feeling of respect and pride. Halfway through the first half, I got that true competitive feeling, wanting each shot to go in, wanting each foul to be called, wanting the Jayhawks to just ram it down their throats. Then at halftime, I had to sit back and think, we are back, we are peaking at the right time. That was the best 5 minutes of basketball I had seen. Then the second half started, and bettered the first half by a ton. I had never seen guys move that quickly, play with that much emotion, play that well together. I had never seen such a dominant performance by a team. By the end of the game, I was like a little kid again, cheering like crazy for every player, when Case went off, I could not stop smiling or cheering. It was truly one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Then came the speeches. I teared up on almost every speech, especially Darnell's. I admire that young man so much. He will always be my favorite player that played at KU. Sasha's even made me tear up a bit. Overall, it was amazing, emotional, crazy, LOUD, and most of all, memorable. Thanks seniors, and thank you KU fans for making this one of the greatest places to watch a basketball game. GO HAWKS. PRAYING FOR THE FINAL FOUR BABY!!

Sorry for the long post, but with everything I felt last night, I am still feeling right now.

Jonathan Allison 13 years, 10 months ago

In my mind, Pat Knight has done a fine job coaching this far into his head coaching career. As far as blaming his team's character... he said that they didn't come to compete. I never heard him say anything about their character. He said they were playing casual basketball, and I think what he meant by that was that when they got down they just kinda gave up.

Now... I recall Self telling the media that our players soft, saying our players were mommas boys and things like that, and Self is a great coach we all love him and his players love him, and I don't think he meant anything about his player's character either.

Knight is just trying to get his players to dig down deep inside themselves and play with heart. He doesn't want to see them surrender to a much better team. He's done things a little different from his old man and a lot the same too. Like last week when he locked them out of the locker room and made them do football drills and roll around in the parking lot and all of that. That's the kind of tough love he got from Bob. He's coached them to some big wins and I think he's done better than his dad did with them. Zeno's a great player, and Voskuil has a lot of heart (though he wouldn't make it on our team), but other than that he knows what he's working with... they aren't that talented and they aren't that deep and if they're gonna do anything they have to come tp compete and if they're gonna lose big they at least will lost big giving maximum effort. I don't think he attacked their character at all he is just trying to get them to play hard.

KUglow 13 years, 10 months ago

If anyone ever wonders why we live and die with the Hawks, why we go crazy over the big wins and cry at the painful losses, all you have to do is watch a replay of the events from last night. When Bill Self was hired, I was worried about losing the family atmosphere that was created by the previous regime. Well those fears are clearly unfounded. The family is intact and better than ever. What a great night to be a Jayhawk.

Timmay97 13 years, 10 months ago

We all know that KU wasn't losing that game last night, and it's hard to critique anything about last night. It was special and the seniors all played great and with a lot of heart.

Having said that, I do find it disconcerning that Texas Tech had plenty of open looks last night in the first half. The game could have totally turned out different if they were hitting their threes. This scares me when we play teams like UCLA, Tennessee, Duke and UNC as they have NO FEAR in putting up the 3. We've got to fight through picks and continue getting hands in shooters faces.

Again, it's pitiful for me to even say such a thing being we won by 58 and did very little wrong in the game, but you have to admit, the perimeter defense is suspect right now.

truehawkfan 13 years, 10 months ago

I understand your worry, but being there and watching the game, T Tech's guards could not even breathe. They were forcing up 3's they did not have one single open look, our guys were all over the place. We fought through screens with a meanness to us. These last two games, I thought, was the best our guards played all season. Our perimeter defense was amazing in my opinion. Not one single open shot. Even on their fast break opportunities, our guys were flying back to get a hand on the ball. I just did not see the "open looks" T tech had that you are speaking of. RussRob played an absolute perfect game, on both ends, Kaun was a monster inside, DJax, and DA were on top of their game. I mean what you are wanting is 40 minutes of perfection Timmay97, and that is just not going to happen for any team. I guarantee you that Bill is telling these guys "we need to be playing at least 36 minutes of hard-nosed completely focused basketball." 40 minutes is just not going to happen in my opinion. That is as close to 40 minutes of hard nosed perfection as you are going to see. Way to bring it back Hawks. Lets get the big 12 tournament and then fight, claw, and scrap our way to the final 4. MARCH MADNESS IS HERE!!

Jonathan Allison 13 years, 10 months ago

I remember my first experience in Allen Fieldhouse. I was 12 years old and playing basketball in the Sunflower State Games. We were playing in Robinson but ventured over to Allen to see the trophies, then I wandered my way out on to the court. It was unbelievable; I truly felt unworthy to be there.

My first KU game was sophomore year after I transferred to KU from Pitt State. I was in the verrrry top of the student section standing with my back against the back wall of the Fieldhouse. We were playing Vermont or someone like that, and it was still awesome. After that I learned how to camp for seats.

truehawkfan 13 years, 10 months ago

It truly was amazing. I have been there for non-conference games, but never a big 12 game. I was also there for a coaches clinic Self put on, and you guys are right, even when there is nothing going on, you get chills just standing in the building. I will never forget my first game, but this experience completely blew it away. It was like nothing i had ever felt before.

jaybate 13 years, 10 months ago

ku98,

What is puzzling about it?

When they play well and are hot from treyland and Texas plays its B game, they eek out an upset.

When they don't play well against talented teams, like KU and TA&M, they not only get beat but they quit, too. Look at their role model. Bob Knight. These guys didn't come to Lubbuck for the scenery. They came for Bob Knight. He quit. They don't know which end is up right now.

No puzzle here at all.

Bad role model and abandonment, coupled with Bob and Pat knowing the Xs and Os pretty well, spell extreme inconsistency. They are experiencing chaos after the extreme order Bob Knight imposed through the strenghth of his wacko personality. Pat probably isn't a wacko, just an abuse victim, but he hasn't got a strong personality, or he wouldn't have been coaching for his Dad when he was in middle age.

The only cloud on the whole beautiful evening for me was that I hated to see Pat Knight get beat so mercilessly, when it was his quitter Dad, Bob, who should have been taking the pasting.

Rock chalk.

ku98 13 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, I challenge you to find another team that went thru a stretch like that one. A 44-point loss to one team, followed by a win against a top 5 team, and then another 58-point loss. How can you NOT find this puzzling? You must live in a crazy world...

ralsterKUMed95 13 years, 10 months ago

Most sports analysts will talk about a let-down after a big win like Tech beating TX--maybe that is human nature to some extent, but definitely well-known enough and talked about enough for a team and coach to focus on staying aggressive and hungry so they do not lose their edge. MANY valid points in above posts about the Tech players going to Lubbock for Knight, then getting abandoned. Remember how KU players felt when Roy left. Lot of inconsistent play to end that season with a first-round loss. Im not making excuses for Tech, as I too felt bad for Pat Knight. What could he do? Even if they hit ALL their 3s, we win by 35 or 40? KSU got destroyed by us. I hope we play OSU and TX in the Big12 tourney so we can hopefully destroy them too.

didjabuti 13 years, 10 months ago

ralsterKUMed95-

We went to the elite 8 in Bill Self's first season, not a first round loss. Also, Roy left at the end of the year, not mid season. Not exactly the same thing. I would contribute our ups and downs more to the fact that we had no upperclassmen, more so than coach abandenment issues. and to ku98's point, I'm pretty sure we didn't have a 3 game stretch like Tech's.

I don't think it's so much a let-down, as they were just tired and worn-out after their big win. Usually a let-down happens when you have a big win and then play a team that you are supposed to beat. Not exactly the case. I don't know about anybody else but I expected this Tech team to physically and mentally worn out following their win. If we won by less than 25-30 I would have been surprised.

I also would love to play OSU and UT in the tourney. Revenging all 3 losses, with 2 on neutral courts is a good last bullet on our tournament resume.

actorman 13 years, 10 months ago

It would be great to play KSUck again in the tourney too--you know, get the "Africa" game out of the way.

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