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Saturday, September 20, 2008

National champions receive rings at ceremony

Coach Bill Self's national championship ring.

Coach Bill Self's national championship ring.

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Feature

Self-made Champions

The Lawrence Journal-World looks back at the men's basketball season of 2007-2008, in which the Jayhawks claimed the NCAA championship title for the first time in 20 years and its third ever.

Brandon Rush removed his shiny, new national championship ring from a fancy black box, proudly displaying his prized possession to a handful of reporters Friday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

"It's beautiful as you can see," Rush, leading scorer on Kansas University's 2008 NCAA title team said after a 21â2-hour banquet in which rings were distributed to the 2007-08 Jayhawk players and coaches.

"The banquet was pretty cool. Different players came back and spoke," Rush added of a night in which former KU players Jacque Vaughn and Wayne Simien were featured speakers as well as coach Bill Self and forward Darnell Jackson off the title squad.

"The highlight was getting this," Indiana Pacers rookie Rush added of the ring, which he excitedly fumbled to the floor twice while speaking to the media.

"I'm giving mine to my grandma. She has all my rings in a framed glass. She'll put it up there," Rush added.

The only ring-recipients who missed the festivities were: Darrell Arthur, who had a team commitment with the Memphis Grizzlies, as well as Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun, who are playing basketball overseas.

Former KU players Simien, Vaughn, Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Bradford and Terry Nooner were on hand to provide their best wishes.

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie forward Jackson said his ring was headed to a safe deposit box.

"I can't give it to my mom, she'd lose it. She'd carry it around, leave her purse somewhere and somebody would take it out of there," Jackson said with a laugh.

"It's a great accomplishment getting this ring. A lot of guys put hard work into this. Even the older guys who were here before.

They tried to go after the same thing and couldn't quite pull it off. I guess it was our turn."

Collison of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls were given gifts for attending - pieces of the old Allen Fieldhouse floor.

"That was very cool," Collison said of the gesture. "The rings are great. Those guys deserve it. They won it. It was a really nice dinner. It was fun to come back. It's always good to come back here."

Hinrich noted: "I came back because this is a big deal. The championship is something you work for, always. All the former players like to come back and show respect. This place still means so much to us.

"I was cheering hard," Hinrich said of KU's 75-68 national title victory over Memphis. The second half of that game was shown at Friday's banquet.

"It was an amazing game. It was definitely an instant classic, one of the championship games that will be played a long time, the way that game went," Hinrich added.

Though there has been no official word from KU, word at the ceremony was there will soon be an announcement that Hinrich's jersey will be the next to be hung in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse, sometime this season.

Coach Bill Self said he appreciated the former players returning. "We didn't ask a lot of ex-players, not out of disrespect, it was because we didn't have the room (in Naismith Room)," Self said. "We wanted to get some guys back that were recent enough that our current players could identify with. It was a great evening, one (that was) special for our guys. It was a very appreciative group of people tonight that were able to get their rings."

Self said he probably wouldn't wear his ring much. "I may wear it on recruiting visits though," he said with a smile, noting the rings were "beautiful."

Three top prospects attended the ceremony. They are: Daniel Orton, 6-10 from Oklahoma City; Thomas Robinson, 6-8 from Wolfeboro, N.H., and John Wall, 6-4 from Raleigh, N.C.

Comments

jhawk23 6 years ago

Well done, JJHAWK, that was better written, with better content, than 99% of the articles on here.

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jahoward77 6 years ago

One lousy photo? I would at least like a choice when making this my new background ;)

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jaybate 6 years ago

JJHAWK,Some times the sum total of a person's experience distills to great eloquence. Yours just did.Some times that eloquence voices what others have lived, but could not speak. Yours just did.Thank you.Rock chalk.

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mdalesh 6 years ago

Any history on the ring? Who designed it? Significance of anything? I want to know about this artifact that our Hawks strive for.

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bradam 6 years ago

WOW! Absolutely tremendous JJHAWK! Would that I could express my thoughts in such a first-class manner. Thank You!This article, these men, this team, this school -- ALL are exemplary of the VERY FINEST the collegiate experience offers. I am so proud of it all.GO KU!

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chalmers2wright 6 years ago

And people would definitely steal an sell those...I'm pretty sure keith langford got his big 12 championship rings stolen from him.

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Mr_Sandman 6 years ago

Can JJHawk right for LJ World? His writing is better than most of what I see published.

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KGphoto 6 years ago

Gotta love the idea of Self recruiting with that bling on his finger."I may wear it on recruiting visits though," he said with a smileYou know underneath that coy smile he's doing hand springs and Pee Wee Herman's Tequila dance. I think Self loves to coach, but I think he loves to recruit even more. The idea of landing that talent is like a gambling addiction. And that ring he was dealt, is a nut flush.

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Ed Fox 6 years ago

Wow, if this article is correct I'm going to have to get a new name. I'll be more than happy to do so, but the idea of Nick's jersey hung in Allen and Kirk's not up there (no matter what the silly rules are) just never felt right to me. Nick was fantastic, but Nick wouldn't have been Nick without Kirk and there wouldn't have been two Final Fours for them without them together (and Kirk against Arizona - for those of you who may not remember: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jp2mj... )

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DSommersby 6 years ago

I happened to be walking down the Hill tonight before the game and noticed the basketball team had a tent and some of the guys were right next to me. Got to visit with Brandon, Rodrick, Michael Lee, and Big Cole briefly and their rings looked incredible! Congrats to all of these Jayhawks! You deserve the accolades and hope these recruits had a great weekend. Very glad to hear Nick, Kirk, Jacque, and Big Dub were on hand to share in the special evening as well.

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Rockchalk_Mom 6 years ago

I cringed when I read Brandon Rush's comment about giving his ring to his grandma to display in her house in a glass box. I think its wonderful he loves his grandma and gave her his ring, but as soon as you printed that, you have put his grandma in a scary cernario for someone who would like to see his ring up close and personal, along with anything else they could steal from her. Brandon, think before you speak, and LJW, I'm sure he made other quotes you could have printed without putting his family in jeopardy.

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KUglow 6 years ago

How can you be a recruit in that room and not be in awe when you get to rub elbows with great KU names from the past like Terry Nooner? Ah, I kid cause I love!

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JJHAWK 6 years ago

Way to go guys. Letting our potential future see what it really means to be a Jayhawk - and letting pro Jayhawks help tell that story . . . sharp and KU classy! Have lived and died KU Hoops through four different KU Coaches. Here is my take on each of them:Coach Owens - a genuine, nice human being. Tenure ended when best in-state Kansas BB prospects didn't want to play for him and Norm's Tigers started thumping us all to often. Gave KU some glory years but was unable to maintain the excellence of our BB program on the national scene. Will never forget High flying Houston coming into Allen and getting totally intimidated.Coach Brown - best X's & O's coach I've ever watched, on either side of the court. Perhaps the worst recruiter of all four coaches and never seemed able to generate the loyalty in his players that Roy and Bill generate. I truly believe that his leaving when he did was good for him and good for KU. He helped put us back on the national scene - thank you so much Coach Brown for your short stay and for 1988.Coach Williams - I have nothing but Kudo's for Roy. Nothing was given to him - he earned everything and in the process took KU to a level of consistency on the national scene that Coach Owens (and I believe Coach Brown if he had stayed) could not. Not the greatest recuiter but he wins 'style' hands down. I mean who couldn't love a coach who talks to Phog Allen's grave before big games and has his players spit in the Mississippi during the NCAA tournament. And those great KU-Indiana games where KU won more than its share. His best fast break teams played some of the prettiest basketball I have ever seen in Allen. Coach Self - In my opinion, the best overall college BB coach of the four. Certainly the best recruiter. Truly likes his players and KU. Running off talents like Giles and Giddens (sic?), for cause, is a defining statment to the latter. One of the top defensive coaches in all of college BB. Roy won pretty and while Coach Self can do that, Coach Self can win ugly - oh, and by the way, thank you so much for the 2008 national Championship coach. With Coach Self at the helm of the KU BB cruise ship, I don't see us suffering the falls such giants as Indiana and Kentucky have taken.Thank you again MU for selecting Snyder over Coach Self. What a Self-less act!

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