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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Self-ish team: KU coach proud of, thankful for maximum-effort squad

Coach Bill Self tells the crowd how proud he is about the Jayhawks during the return ceremony from the NCAA championship in New Orleans.

Coach Bill Self tells the crowd how proud he is about the Jayhawks during the return ceremony from the NCAA championship in New Orleans.

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Bill Self will never forget his gritty 2011-12 Kansas University basketball team — one that went 32-7, won the school’s eighth-straight Big 12 title and placed second to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.

“For me personally, there’s never been a team that cared more, tried more, liked each other more, allowed us to coach them more,” said Self, thankful for the effort not only in a 67-59 loss to Kentucky in Monday’s national championship game, but throughout the entire season.

“That team (Kentucky) has six first-round draft picks, three lottery picks. We’re out there fighting our butt off. I love this team.”

It’s a team that had precious little depth. Self used seven to eight players in his rotation most of the season.

“We caught a couple breaks this year. We were healthy. We did not have a lot of depth so it was important to stay healthy,” Self said of a team that he said had a lot of “fight.”

“As a player, you could always say, ‘Could I give 5 percent more or 10 percent more?’ I don’t think the kids on this team can say that,” stated Self, convinced they gave it their all.

Junior guard Elijah Johnson concocted a nickname for the national-runner-up squad.

“We’re the Comeback Kids,” Johnson said after KU sliced an 18-point deficit to five in crunch time.

It’s an appropriate moniker considering the Jayhawks led at halftime in only one game in the NCAAs — against No. 15-seed Detroit Mercy. The Jayhawks, who were ahead of Detroit by 10 after 20 minutes, trailed Purdue by six, North Carolina State by one, was tied with North Carolina, trailed Ohio State by nine and Kentucky by 14.

“I wouldn’t feel right if we just blew a team out,” said Johnson, heir apparent to Tyshawn Taylor as starting point guard next season. The 6-4 junior from Las Vegas said he’d definitely be returning for his senior year following the game.

“I never give up on our team. I feel I know our team. I know we’ll always go on a run. I feel I can predict it. Ask Niko,” Johnson added, referring to sophomore guard Niko Roberts. “I always tell Niko to relax, that we’re going to come back. Go ask him. He’ll tell you.”

Roberts, a 5-11 walk-on out of Huntington, N.Y., backed Johnson’s claims.

“Every game it seems we go through one or two rough patches,” Roberts said. “Elijah says, ‘Trust me, we’ll be fine.’ It seems like he’s always calm. He knows we’ll come back.”

KU will return Johnson and two other starters next season — 7-footer Jeff Withey, who like Johnson on Monday said he’ll return for his senior year and 6-6 junior forward Travis Releford. The Jayhawks will lose senior starter Taylor, a possible late-first-round/early-second-round draft pick; senior sixth-man Conner Teahan, and junior forward Thomas Robinson, expected to be a certain top-five draft pick. Robinson has yet to officially declare his intentions, though Self has said for months not to expect the big man’s return.

Bookend reserve forwards Kevin Young (6-8 junior, Perris, Calif.) and Justin Wesley (6-9 sophomore, Fort Worth, Texas) return, as does backup freshman point guard Naadir Tharpe (5-11, Worcester, Mass.).

Ineligible freshmen Ben McLemore (6-5, St. Louis) and Jamari Traylor (6-8, Chicago), who were cited for their effective play on the scout team second semester, will be eligible next season.

Also back: Merv Lindsay (6-7 freshman, Moreno Valley, Calif.) and walk-ons Roberts and Christian Garrett (6-3 freshman, Los Angeles).

KU has a batch of recruits coming in. They are: Perry Ellis, 6-8, Wichita Heights; Landen Lucas, 6-8, Portland’s Westlake High; Zach Peters, 6-9, Prestonwood Christian High, Plano, Texas; Anrio Adams, 6-3, Seattle’s Rainier Beach High; and Andrew White, 6-6, Miller School, Chester, Va.

Ellis, a McDonald’s All-American, is ranked 24th by Rivals.com, White 56th, Peters 144th. Adams and Lucas are unranked. Self has said he still could add a player or two in recruiting.

Manning’s big day: Tulsa will introduce KU assistant Danny Manning as the school’s head basketball coach during a 2:30 p.m., news conference today. The news conference will be streamed live on www.TulsaHurricane.com. Manning was named Tulsa’s 29th head basketball coach last Thursday.

Comments

HawkinPA 2 years ago

I have another nickname for this team...."The Goonies"!!! Goonies never say die

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Martin Rosenblum 2 years ago

and.....

Dick Vitale... mumbling something like "..what I meant to say was I think Kansas can go all the way to the championship game this season, not that they probably won't win the B12 championship."

Josh Selby...sitting somewhere in a Denny's waiting on a Grand Slam Breakfast before the team bus picks him up to go to the next D-League practice..."I really thought another year at Kansas wouldn't have helped me."

Bruse Webber..."I'm going to turn the KState program around just like I did at Illinois after that slacker Bill Self left. What, he coached his way to another Final Four championship game?" "..well, I always liked the color purple."

Rick Pitino..."if anybody wants me, I'll be in a men's room stall trying to get rid of some...frustration"

Bobby Knight..."You people at Kansas deserved to win. I watched your games and you've got the best coach who was in the championship game"

Brent Mussberger..."whatever you say Coach Knight, you know I agree with you out of respect, fear and lust.".

Lew Perkins..."Wow, I could have racked up at the Superdome."

Billy Gillespie..."I could have done that at Kentucky if I was friends with WWW."

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Martin Rosenblum 2 years ago

Some perspective on the title game.

Bill Self ..Naismith Coach of the Year, on the Superdome sideline Thomas Robinson.....runner up to National Player of the Year (led the voting the entire season until the final week when Anthony Davis surged ahead, according to CBS Sports), playing his heart out. John Calipari...NOT Coach of the Year in any poll, on the Superdome sideline Anthony Davis...National Player of the Year (although he was second until the final week), helping to get Calipari a ring. Frank Haith...AP Coach of the Year, sitting in the stands Roy Williams...NOT Coach of the Year, sitting in the stands Every other D1 Head Coach...sitting in the stands or at home or somewhere else watching TV.

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4Runner 2 years ago

The ONLY way MethU fans will ever experience the Final Four/National Championship, will be to head to a local bar and cheer against the Jayhawks. Pathetic!

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earl 2 years ago

The best nickname for this year's team would be the Houdini Hawks. These guys got into every type of trap, but they found a way to get away every time, except like Houdini, the last shot to the gut. They were truly escape artists that made them one of the all time best Jayhawk teams.

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nwhawkfan 2 years ago

Don't know if I like the comparison of Anrio Adams to Tony Wroten. Wroten struck me as an immensely talented but very selfish player.

I heard that when he announced his intention to go pro yesterday, Wroten didn't even mention his coach or his teammates, let alone thank them.

Hope Anrio shows a lot more class and maturity than that.

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kupark 2 years ago

Yes, we played hard against a team with six McDonald's AAs and future NBA picks but it also highlights that Bill Self hasn't had a strong recruiting class the last two years (and this year doesn't look much better except for PE). You've to look at the complete picture. It's ok for a mid-major to brag about playing tough against a team like UK. But, KU fans should look at the title game and realize that we were beaten at recruiting as well.

I hope we don't turn into another Michigan State. They always play tough and go deep into the tourney frequently but they don't win the whole thing because of lack of talent (i.e. can't score).

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JayHawkFanToo 2 years ago

FWIW. KU finished ranked #2 in the last poll. Also in the first pre-season poll, KU is ranked #3. Indiana is #1, Louisville #2 and Kentucky #4.

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BillSelf4Prez 2 years ago

Love these guys. One hell of a season! I hope to see T-Rob and Tyshawn's jersey hanging in the rafters in the near future

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billcorrigan 2 years ago

Don't ever refer to KU finishing in second place or as runner-up.

These Jayhawks were 2012 NCAA FINALISTS!

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Tony Bandle 2 years ago

This just hit me and I haven't seen it addressed anywhere....in the entire season, did any of the first five EVER foul out???

I can't remember one Jayhawk actually fouling out of a game. That plus the lack of any major injury that kept anyone out of a game seems to be almost miraculous, considering our lack of our depth and talent!!!

Am I overstating the obvious??

I wonder what the score would have been if you switched the head coaches??!!

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MizzouBest 2 years ago

Well Kansas fans......you had a great saeson and great run in the tournement. And they almost pulled it out on Monday. No shame in losing to a team like Kentucky.

As you may have heard......many loser MU fans gathered at bars to cheer for UK. Just so you know......that angers me and I think it is pretty pathetic. They are jealous, I guess. I have never been jealous of KU and actually pull for you when not playing MU.

I wish I could defect to your side sometimes......especially seeing some of our moron fans act. But I can't. Just can't do it. I have been an MU fan since I was a kid.....and I can't change my "stripes"!

It was nice speaking with you guys. I will miss the Big 12.....but will check in with you from time to time.

Take care.......MB

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kennethst 2 years ago

I heard last night on the news that some KU students in Lawrence were tearing down the Kentucky Street signs. Isn't that hilarious???

Well.....it's been a great year. Thanks to all of you for being here. I hope you check back here from time to time before next October.

Have a great spring and summer....be safe!!!

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corvuscorax 2 years ago

Frame this season and hang it over the mantle. I wonder how OSU and UNC will remember theirs? Duke? Am I forgetting anyone?

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AsadZ 2 years ago

Folks, I would like to have a discussion on T-Rob's play in the NCAA tournament.

I'd like to start the conversation by making it clear to everyone that T-Rob is now one of my favorite Jayhawks of all time. What he has accomplished this year is truly amazing.

But I am wondering why his play dropped so much during the tournament? Was he injured? I had never seen him miss so many easy buckets and lay ups. He used to finish easy plays.

He scored points for sure but his FG% was not impressive.

He used to be a moster on slams but he was misssing simple dunks. I could not believe it.

Was he really trying to show case himself over AD and prove something?

Even Kellog / Kerr said something to the effect that T-Rob is sped up. I know he is an emothional personal. But did his emotions get better of him?

Again I love his game, his guts, his energy etc etc and would not trade him for any other player but wondering why his game slipped so much in the tournament.

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wrwlumpy 2 years ago

Withy, a projected 1st round pick who is choosing to come back, will be 20 pounds heavier. He'll spend time this summer with Stoudamire working with the NBA big men. He has a great mind, he loves KU and he will be a first team all-america candidate.

Look what ESPN thinks of him after the tourney.

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/57532/the-2012-all-tournament-team

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Ryan Shelton 2 years ago

Knock on wood, but I haven't seen the UK trolls surface on this website yet to rub it in our faces. Do they not allow computers in Kentucky prisons anymore?

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CWGOKU 2 years ago

So, how long until Kentucky forfeits this title and then goes on probation ?

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Ryan Shelton 2 years ago

It sucks to refer to this team in the past tense.

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Tony Bandle 2 years ago

Louisville????......I don't know...I'm not sure Rick Pitino has such fond memories of Allen Fieldhouse [150 to 90 something butt kicking in the late 90's??!!]

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FLJHK 2 years ago

Has anyone heard anything lately about realignment? Seems to have been awfully quiet. Sure would be nice to add Louisville, but the steam seems to be gone for now. Is Neinas still interim commissioner? Any word on a permanent hire? I wish I had more confidence in the long-term stability of the league than I do. It's be a nice time for a Tait update.

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Janet Olin 2 years ago

This team has aged me several years, bringing both joy and agony.A Jayhawk fan since 1968, I do not remember a team working so hard to improve, play together, play consistently, and be consistently tough. Just like Coach Self. I admire that so much and am grateful for a sensational season. I also believe that this team will be remembered much more for its passion and grit in victory (unlike some more heralded teams), than for the ones that got away.

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Steve Gantz 2 years ago

Kind of an aside to this conversation. Our local paper had an AP story about KU's season and they repeated a line that I've heard often that bugs me a bit.
It was (this is a paraphrase) 'KU's last few years they had more talented teams but made early exits each year'.

UNI was defnitely an early exit. Last year, while disappointing, is not really an early exit in my view. What do you think?

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Steve Gantz 2 years ago

Kind of an aside to this conversation. Our local paper had an AP story about KU's season and they repeated a line that I've heard often that bugs me a bit.
It was (this is a paraphrase) 'KU's last few years they had more talented teams but made early exits each year'.

UNI was defnitely an early exit. Last year, while disappointing, is not really an early exit in my view. What do you think?

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Tony Bandle 2 years ago

Let's start the unique Kansas trend of obsessing about next season immediately:

Center: Withey, Lucas[RS?}, Parker [Bill's final recruit?]? Power Forward: Ellis, Traylor, Peters Combo Forward: Young, White, Wesley [non-schollie], Lindsay [transfer?] Shooting Guard: BenMac, Releford, Adams Point Guard: Johnson, Tharpe,

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Kevin Huffman 2 years ago

Also, count me as one of the ones excited for next season. Return of Elijah, Releford & Withey to go along with the talents brought by McLemore & Ellis. Something tells me that by the end of the year every bit the team that we were this past year....though hard to replace the "hearts" of Taylor & TRob, at least we SHOULD have greater depth as well with the incoming recruits and continuing developments for Tharpe, Young & Wesley.

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Kevin Huffman 2 years ago

I'll post an idea of the Manning replacement.

What about Raef LaFrentz?

Yes, definitely a different style of big-man....could help Withey IMMENSELY though with development of an offensive game and a jump shot.

I read Raef's dad was an assistant coach on his high school's basketball team.

Remember Raef, himself, was a two-time All American and was drafted 3rd overall in the NBA Draft he was in - 7 spots ahead of Pierce btw.

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FLJHK 2 years ago

As it turns out this team is very selfish. For months now I've watched every game I could, read every post and submitted multiple posts to this website, and researched other sources. Then when the tourney started, it all became an obsession, and I was spending about 10 hours per day on this stuff. So what the heck am I supposed to do now and for the next seven months? Did any of them think of that? Selfish indeed.

Thanks to all for a wonderful season.

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Chris Shaw 2 years ago

I never like posting after an emotional game and to be honest, I am still a little bummed about the game because despite what the National Pundits expected or believed, I still feel KU had an opportunity to win that game.

There are still a couple of situations in that first half that drive me nuts from a basketball purist standpoint, but those are the little things you can't change and unfortunately it allowed Kentucky to get some uncontested layups on the other end ,which in the end, proved to be too much.

The one thing I truly feel in my gut is that Self and Kansas will win another title in the next 3 years! I don't have a problem saying it, but I truly believe it and I think Self believes it as well!

For me as a fan, I want to see Self get his second championship so by automatic default that gives him "Legendary Status". And...............for my greedy side, I want to see Self get a third Championship and trump Roy Williams and also be on the same line as Jim Calhoun so we can all truly see the difference between "Good" and "Evil" when it comes to the college basketball landscape.

What a fantastic season! Late Night and October 15th can't get here soon enough!

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KUUBERFAN 2 years ago

Hope txrock is correct about Calamari going to the Knicks. Thats would be the ultimate place for his giant ego. Honestly I never paid much attention to the guy before our game this year. I wasnt going to buy into all the cheating allegations. I didnt like his one and done recruiting philosophies but I did admire his recruiting prowess. After listening to a few of his postgame interviews now I cant stand the man, his arrogance,smugness, and overall doucheability is beyond reproach. There is a reason Bobby Knight cant stand the guy and now I know why....as much as some thought Bobby Knight was an ahole and of course at times he was....but another thing he was a strict displinarian and believed in the student athlete side of college hoops....not a bunch of one and dones. Bobby refuses to announce one of Cals games which I think is hilarious.

Glad Cal finally got his one NC....hopefully he will move on to NBA pastures...his dream of a perfect season and another NC is laughable at best. That will never happen in D 1ball again. He got lucky this year that his three freshmen was led by a freak of nature...a guard that grew 8 inches in 2 years with the longest arms on any human being. Enjoy #8 Kensucky ....hope its another 14 yrs or longer before your next. KU almost got theirs 4 yrs removed....we will get #4 in the next 2...bank on it....Sorry about the long winded rant...I have been banned from the regular message boards...Come on folks how about a free the Phogusher thread. Probably isnt going to happen. ROCK CHALK YA MUTHAS..

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KUUBERFAN 2 years ago

Hope txrock is correct about Calamari going to the Knicks. Thats would be the ultimate place for his giant ego. Honestly I never paid much attention to the guy before our game this year. I wasnt going to buy into all the cheating allegations. I didnt like his one and done recruiting philosophies but I did admire his recruiting prowess. After listening to a few of his postgame interviews now I cant stand the man, his arrogance,smugness, and overall doucheability is beyond reproach. There is a reason Bobby Knight cant stand the guy and now I know why....as much as some thought Bobby Knight was an ahole and of course at times he was....but another thing he was a strict displinarian and believed in the student athlete side of college hoops....not a bunch of one and dones. Bobby refuses to announce one of Cals games which I think is hilarious.

Glad Cal finally got his one NC....hopefully he will move on to NBA pastures...his dream of a perfect season and another NC is laughable at best. That will never happen in D 1ball again. He got lucky this year that his three freshmen was led by a freak of nature...a guard that grew 8 inches in 2 years with the longest arms on any human being. Enjoy #8 Kensucky ....hope its another 14 yrs or longer before your next. KU almost got theirs 4 yrs removed....we will get #4 in the next 2...bank on it....Sorry about the long winded rant...I have been banned from the regular message boards...Come on folks how about a free the Phogusher thread. Probably isnt going to happen. ROCK CHALK YA MUTHAS..

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UmbertoConforti 2 years ago

Good Luck TT, I will miss you. Same to you TRob. You didn't win the NCAA tournament, but you won the hearts of KU fans everywhere.

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Mike Kendall 2 years ago

Great year! It was definitely a fun ride. Make it to the Final 4 every year---a lot of other teams would be envious of us because of our success. 316 is spot on---it is huge that Jeff Withey is coming back. And if Perry Ellis develops fast and gets into the regular rotation. . . . . . . . . . look out!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

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KUUBERFAN 2 years ago

Great season...much better than expected. Even myself being the diehard fan that I am thought we would have 8-10 losses before tourney play. Geessh next years team will have 6...SIX guys over 6 ft 8"....wow...If B Mac and Ellis is as good as advertised teaming up with Rele...EJ...and Withey I dont know how we would not repeat as Big 12 Champs and possible another Final 4. ROCK CHALK YA MUTHAS....

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BronxHawk1 2 years ago

It was an awe inspiring season!!

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Danny Hernandez 2 years ago

I wish Coach Brown would come on board for a few years.....not sure he's up to the recruiting part but this man has a plethora of knowledge.

And this WorldWideWes character, can't figure him out or his agenda in steering highly prized recruits to Coach Cal. I have no proof he's doing anything that circumvents the rules but how is Cal getting 4-5 of the top 10 recruits nationally?

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John Mueller 2 years ago

I was at a dinner meeting last night and the pre meeting chatter was all about the game.

Nobody knew my affiliation to KU at the dinner, but somebody asked me my thoughts on the game and I just simply said

"I'm a Jayhawk. And, I couldn't be more proud."

Well done, men! Well, done.

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FSUJHAWK 2 years ago

Thanks to 2011/2012 University of Kansas Men's Basketall Team! To everyone from the practice squad to the starters to the coaching staff, simply amazing and nothing but love for you all. Heros forever.

Prior to the game, I heard many state that KU would lose a series against those cats. I completely disagree. We've got a straight up better coach and we've got players with lion's heart and tenacity. I just can't imagine HCBS not making the necessary adjustments and the players not doing what's necessary to win in a short series. Maybe I'm hallucinating on the joy and sorrow of this season. Not sure at this point. At any rate, thanks again for a great season and best of luck to Jayhawks everywhere.

Three things I'm curious to know are: who will replace Coach Manning? Who will be the third guard ? Who will be the second big man? As for replacement to coach Manning something tells me Wayne Simien may get a crack at it somehow.

RCJHGKU!!!

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2 years ago

The latest rumor for Kentucky is that Calipari may take over the Knicks head coaching position. Here is a story discussing the possibility:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Ajas_Ma17jUo3zdv9dkex6E5nYcB?slug=aw-wojnarowski_john_calipari_knicks_kentucky_040312

I found this part interesting:

“For all the access that William Wesley, the famous World Wide Wes, has provided Calipari to star recruits, basketball’s most mysterious dealmaker is well positioned to bridge a Calipari deal with the Knicks too.”

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Ron Franklin 2 years ago

This is by far the best team in College Basketball, notwithstanding the paid professionals over in Kentucky.

I wonder how long it will be before news comes out that UK was paying at least one of their players.

This Kansas team embodies everything that I love about basketball and amateur athletics. These guys make me wish I could be a great coach and reach kids and help them reach their life potential.

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Martin Rosenblum 2 years ago

Ms Hudy, thanks for your part in this year's run. Now, please put Mr. Withey in your "time machine" and set the dial to "beast". We know he'll never be the physical speciman that TRob was. We trust that you'll transform him into Withey2.0. If it's not too much to ask, maybe KYoung could use some upper body enhancing as well. Naadir could handle some muscle lbs too. You are an unsung hero and we rely on your skills just like we do with the players themselves.

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Jason Keller 2 years ago

I think we all get a little emotionally attached to our basketball teams here at KU but this one was different for some reason. This team is hard to let go of. I loved Tyshawn and T-Rob's flashly style of play. The way Taylor would always look to dunk when he was near the rim and the way T-Rob would stare someone down after he slammed it in their face or rejected a shot attempt. I even loved the way they were both sleeved out with tattoos.

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juke4jay 2 years ago

For those Hawks who are leaving this year's team, we wish you the best in your future NBA careers and endeavors. My buddies and I have been referring to this team as "Danny & the Miracles", and now its a bit sad to see Danny leaving for Tulsa, and Tyshawn, Thomas, and others leaving for other green pastures. But its also exciting with a new crop of faces coming in to play with seasoned veterans, and I expect Withey will be a real monster next season (he already is now!). Thanks Coach Self and team for a fantastic exciting ride this season - you were fantastic!

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Kye Clark 2 years ago

Just huge for next year's squad that Withey will be back. There was much speculation that he could possibly test the draft waters. Although I think most agree this is the right decision and in his best interest to return, it wouldn't have been the first time someone left before they were ready. Very proud of this team, and already can't wait until next year!

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midwest_muser 2 years ago

How tall is Landen Lucas? Is he 6'10 or 6'8?

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KEITHMILES05 2 years ago

Anrio Adams has NOT been given a scholarship. That is incorrect reporting.

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Dan Pawlowski 2 years ago

We were the best college team on the court monday night.

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PickleFuzz 2 years ago

Why aren't there more people there? Place looks empty!

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Joel Thomas 2 years ago

Aside from Johnson, Releford, and Withey will be interesting to see who gets minutes. Hopefully the team can stay tough and we can get some shooters. Not expecting too much with so many question marks in the new additions - a ninth league title would be amazing - but I've always liked Johnson and Releford, and Withey will be a nice presence. Tough to see Taylor and especially Robinson go, but will be interesting to see another team develop. The worst part of the final wasn't that KU lost (though a win would have been the best thing), but that the season is over. Awesome season.

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Hank Cross 2 years ago

They lost the game, but were not defeated.

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jayhawkinnc 2 years ago

“That team (Kentucky) has six first-round draft picks, three lottery picks. We’re out there fighting our butt off. I love this team.”

This quote from Self says it all. We basically lost in the finals to a young NBA team. They had 6 McDonald's All-Americans on their team. We had none and we were in the game until the final 90 seconds or so. Just goes to show you KU had a great TEAM this year and we have an awesome Coach. Bill Self is the BEST!!!!!!

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