Complete coverage of Late Night in the Phog throughout the years.
Dressed in gold from head to toe, Bill “Vanilla Ice” Self provided arguably the coolest moment at the 2010 Late Night in the Phog in Allen Fieldhouse.
“Yo, Allen Fieldhouse, what’s up tonight?” Self, Kansas University’s basketball coach, bellowed into the microphone to begin the proceedings.
The answer? Some wild and crazy stuff, typical of the previous 25 season-opening Late Nights.
Self’s outfit, in his words “a takeoff on cheap silk,” drew the most laughs of last year’s three-hour show that concluded with a scrimmage highlighted by Marcus Morris’ 14 points and eight rebounds and Tyshawn Taylor’s nine points and two assists.
“I’m glad coach did that,” current KU senior Taylor said of modeling sunglasses, a shiny chain and blue KU cap, worn backwards. “I can talk about that at practice sometime.”
Emcee was former KU and NBA power forward Scot Pollard, who showed up wearing a tuxedo, white shirt and bow tie. Pollard ripped off his coat and ripped apart his shirt, revealing a black fake-tuxedo shirt.
“Somebody picked K-State to win it (league title) ... that’s fine. That really is fine,” Pollard told 16,300 fans. “You know why (it’s fine)? Apparently they forgot last year we won the Big 12 by four games.”
Here’s a look at Late Night year by year. ...
The 25th-annual Late Night included KU one-and-done player Xavier Henry making his hoops debut and dance debut. He wore a huge afro wig during a number. An all-star cast of recruits watched the action, including Royce Woolridge, Josh Selby, Josiah Turner, Doron Lamb and Harrison Barnes. Mario Little may have been best-dressed Jayhawk in a number with slick black slacks, a bright red shirt and suspenders. Jeff Withey wore old short-shorts in a 1988 skit.
KU unveiled its national championship banner to the delight of the fans. The thunderous ovation during the banner presentation had to be one of the loudest moments in fieldhouse lore.
Players were carted to the fieldhouse in a Corvette, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, BMW, Hummer, Avalanche and stretch limousine onto a Red Carpet for interviews with “Survivor” winner and KU grad Danni Boatwright.
The junior class of Jeremy Case, Sasha Kaun, C.J. Giles, Darnell Jackson, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart “waltzed” their way to an American Idol dance competition victory over the Jayhawk sophomores, who “tangoed,” and freshmen, who twirled to the “swing” in front of judges Self, Danny Manning and Aaron Miles.
For the first time ever, the festivities started at 6:30 p.m. instead of 10 or so according to new NCAA rules.
Tuxedo-clad seniors Keith Langford, Michael Lee, Miles and Wayne Simien bowed their heads reverently while grasping KU’s 1988 national-championship trophy at the conclusion of a dramatic skit.
Bil Self’s first Late Night took on the name, “Late Night in the Phog.”
Self received a thunderous ovation after a showing of a highlight video of the coach’s introductory press conference.
“I have been in some loud places,” former Illinois coach Self said, “but that place got pretty loud there for a bit. That was a little bit overwhelming.”
The fans also rocked the building when the 1988 title team, led by coach Larry Brown, was introduced.
KU seniors Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich stole the “Mardi Gras”-themed show, Collison playing volatile Texas Tech coach Bob Knight in one skit and Hinrich portraying Missouri coach Quin Snyder in another.
Freshmen Simien, Lee, Miles, and Jeff Hawkins serenaded their mothers in a song and dance that coach Roy Williams didn’t enjoy.
Williams said he couldn’t hear anything because of a faulty fieldhouse sound system. Late Night had a patriotic theme coming a month after the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. The sound system was improved by the next October, by the way.
Drew Gooden sat in a canoe with John Crider as the canoe was pulley-ed across the fieldhouse floor. Jeff Carey, who showed with a wavy head of hair instead of his trademark crewcut, had teammates shave his head under the south goal. The canoe bit was funny, but took longer than expected to shave Carey’s moptop.
Big men Eric Chenowith and Carey played electric guitar as Collison sang vocals for the Limp Bizkit song, “Faith.” They were joined by a drummer in the KU band.
The theme was “Night at the Naismiths” — an awards show in which guest judges rated acts and presented not an Oscar, but a “Naismith’’ to the winners.
A transfer from LSU, Lester Earl wore a black leather jacket in a spoof of 1950s music. Earl had some vicious dunks, as did Gregory and Paul Pierce in a pre-scrimmage dunk-athon. Also, Ryan Robertson had a big role in a skit as host of the game show, “The Price Is Right.”
Pollard became the first basketball player in KU history to score 14 points, grab seven rebounds and block four shots while wearing bright red polish on all 10 fingernails.
“Revlon Vixen” was the eccentric player’s color of choice.
That’s the night Pollard proposed marriage to his girlfriend, who accepted, by the way.
Fans showed early for the Saturday night event which started when former KU football coach Glen Mason took the court and yelled, “Live from Allen Fieldhouse, it’s Late Night With Roy Williams.”
Now a color analyst for the Big Ten network, Mason has said one of his favorite moments at KU involved the reception he received at that Late Night. Earlier that day KU had won a football game during a 10-2 season.
Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett and golfing great Tom Watson joined ex-Royals’ center fielder Brian McRae and ex-KC Chief defensive back Deron Cherry as honorary coaches. Brett and Watson appeared to have a blast, not minding the late hour.
Fans dressed as their favorite TV sitcom characters before the scrimmage. The Lone Ranger, Silver, Tonto, Gilligan’s Ginger and Granny Clampett all were on hand. This Late Night marked the debut of freshmen Jacque Vaughn, Pollard, B.J. Williams and Nick Proud, as well as Cal transfer Jerod Haase. Proud didn’t last long at KU, but the other guys were part of many victories.
Nobody has had more fun at Late Night than 7-foot-2 giant Greg Ostertag, who showed up in a Frankenstein monster outfit. Roy Williams’ entrance was followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new fieldhouse floor. Even though Late Night was televised, the TV show drew poor reviews.
Williams decided Late Night would be better suited on a Friday night, not Monday, the first day KU could practice in accordance with NCAA rules. Controversial move at the time, but a smart one, made so he could bring recruits to town for the made-for-recruiting event.
The fans responded, packing the building.
More than 13,000 fans showed to see the Jayhawks dance and scrimmage after a long Sunday of pro football, including a Chiefs’ home game against Detroit. During the scrimmage, current San Francisco coach Rex Walters scored 16 points and amazed the crowd with some violent dunks.
A $5 admission fee was charged to pay for two bands, who performed on a massive sound stage. Maddox, Rick Calloway, Freeman West and Jeff Gueldner lip-synched the song, “Simply Irresistible,” which was big-time funny because of a truly huge sound stage in the north end zone.
A lot of fans came to see the bands, evidenced by the smell of marijuana during the concert portion of the show.
Suffice it to say, admission was never charged again and no bands besides the KU pep band ever played at Late Night again.
Williams’ first Late Night — it was called “Later With Roy Williams” — drew 10,000 fans. Alonzo Jamison brought down the backboard on a pre-scrimmage dunk, thrilling the attendees, but delaying the proceedings. After the new goal was in place, Milt Newton led the Blue team to a 36-35 victory as he scored 16 points.
Current KU assistant coach Manning and teammate Scooter Barry sang The Temptations’ song: “My Girl.” The normally reserved Manning was willing to grab center stage prior to his senior season. KU went on to win the national title.
“Late Night With Larry Brown” became a major happening in 1986, thanks in large part to its namesake, Late Night With David Letterman. One-time Letterman foil Larry Bud Melman visited Lawrence for the early Wednesday morning scrimmage, first signing autographs at 7 p.m. at the Burge Union.
KU’s inaugural “Late Night With Larry Brown” was not a big deal.
It attracted 6,000 fans.
“It was fabulous. I was thrilled with the students,” Brown said of the fans who showed at 12:01 on a Tuesday morning.
Many of the students wore T-shirts that read, “Late Night With Larry Brown. Starring the 1985-86 Kansas basketball team … all the way to Dallas.”
That KU team prophetically did reach the Final Four in Dallas. Current Jayhawk coach Self was a grad assistant on that team.