Monday, August 6, 2012

Europe must wait day for KU

Jayhawks’ trip to Zurich, Paris delayed by weather


Kansas University’s European adventure will begin a bit later than originally planned.

The Jayhawk basketball players, coaches and support staff members, who had expected to touch down in Zurich at 8 a.m. today (1 a.m. Central time), in advance of Tuesday’s exhibition game against the Swiss National Team, instead were in Washington, D.C., this morning.

The Jayhawks spent the night at the Dulles Airport Marriott Hotel.

The culprit? Bad weather on Sunday in D.C. that forced KU’s early-afternoon commercial flight from Kansas City International to D.C. to be diverted to Pittsburgh.

By the time the Jayhawk flight made it from Pittsburgh to D.C., the connecting flight had departed.

“Everybody is in good spirits. Everybody is taking it in stride. These things happen,” KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said.

“There was bad weather in D.C. They weren’t letting anybody land or take off, so we were diverted to Pittsburgh,” he explained. “When we landed in Pittsburgh, it was raining. They discovered a leak in the flight deck, and they had to fix that. We were in the Pittsburgh airport an hour and a half. We finally took off for D.C. at 8:15 (p.m.) and missed our connection at Dulles, so here we are.”

The Jayhawks were working on flight plans for today. They will miss their first day of sightseeing in Zurich, since it is seven-hour time difference.

Pardon his French

KU coach Bill Self grinned sheepishly recently when asked if he knew how to speak French.

“Oui, oui,” Self, Kansas University’s 10th-year basketball coach, said, answering in the affirmative.

“No, I don’t know any French,” he quickly added. “I do have a little translation book I received. It’s got important questions if you get in trouble like: ‘What is your name? What direction is this?’ Maybe I can get smart enough to be able to carry that around and ask a question or two.”

Self actually won’t need his French vocabulary cheat-sheet until Thursday, when the Jayhawks hop on a high-speed train and head from Zurich — first stop on a nine-day European tour — to Paris, the final stop.

German is the official language in Zurich and Fribourg, site of Tuesday’s noon (U.S. Central time) exhibition game against the Swiss National Team. It will not be televised or broadcast on radio, though updates via a live blog will be available at

KU will also play the Swiss National Team at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Fribourg.

The Jayhawks will play AMW Team France, a squad made up of French A and B League professionals, at 1 p.m. (Central time) both Saturday and Sunday. Again, updates from those games via blog will be available at, with no TV or radio on tap.

Self says the games are secondary to the 10 practices the team held in July and early August in accordance with NCAA foreign-tour rules.

“What we’ve gotten out of it is what we’ve already gotten out of it, and that’s practice,” Self said, while also acknowledging there could be some benefit to playing the games.

“Just getting guys acclimated. Not counting Evan (Manning) and Tyler (Self, walk-ons), you’ve got eight freshmen out there on scholarship. That’s a lot. It’d be good for Ben (McLemore) and Jamari (Traylor) to make some baskets in game-type situations. The biggest thing is to get them some game-readiness,” Self said. “Last year, (Jeff) Withey hadn’t played a lick, and we sent him overseas with a (Athletes in Action) touring team. It’s amazing how much his confidence shot up just seeing the ball go in the hole. Hopefully it’ll be the same with these guys.”

Self is not stressed about keeping alive KU’s 39-game winning streak in exhibition contests. The Jayhawks last loss an exhibition game — actually three in a row — during the last trip to Paris. Roy Williams’ Jayhawks went 0-3 in Dec. of 1995 with a team that won the Big Eight title and reached the Elite Eight.

“I don’t know exactly how we’re going to do it,” Self said of approaching the games, which will be played in four 10-minute quarters with European rules such as the 24-second clock. “I’ve talked to my staff about a strategy, what we are going to do from a coaching standpoint. The way I visualize it is, everybody will play about 18 to 20 minutes. If it gets down to the last five minutes and we’ve got to win the game, we’ll try to do that.

“This (Swiss National) team we play the first two games ... they beat Texas A&M; twice last year and Villanova twice last year. The year Butler went to the finals against Duke, they beat ’em twice. I don’t know if it’s the same cast of guys. The Sefoloshas (Oklahoma City Thunder’s Thabo and brother Kgomotso) and those guys were playing.”

The Jayhawks are ready to play some international basketball.

“We want to bond with the new guys and figure out how they can come in and help us. It’ll be a fun trip,” senior Travis Releford said.

“It will be an all-around fun trip for everybody,” noted sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe, saying the highlight for him will be, “the shopping stores. That’s probably where you’ll catch me. It’s what I look forward to.”

Senior Elijah Johnson’s goal is to keep everybody on the same path. This team leader wants to make sure nobody gets lost on any tours in Switzerland and Paris.

“I feel like a big brother. I feel like I’ve got to take care of everybody, make sure everybody is all right, make sure everybody understands what is going on, make sure everyone is on the same page, make sure everyone is not frustrated on or off the court,” Johnson said. “Make sure everybody’s mind is right so they can give everything they’ve got in the gym.”


milehighhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Not to complain about the live blog of the game...but that means someone will be attending. It is ridiculously easy to set up a live feed of the game - I have seen concerts streamed with an iphone on

Really hope the gang can come through!

Michael Bratisax 6 years, 9 months ago

No sh**. Wish we could see these games also!

hawk316 6 years, 9 months ago

ralster, I was noticing EJ's emergence and growth as a leader, too. I think his leadership will be extremely important this year given the fact that we have such a young team.

ParisHawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Ralster and others are surprised Coach Self is concentrating on offense. Doesn't anyone remember the Canada trip 8 years ago? Self prepared exactly the same way: no defense, all offense.

KJD 6 years, 9 months ago

Yesterday Bill Self is quoted by Bedore: “Naadir has been hot and cold to say the least. He’s had problems passing the ball all over the place. Today he scrimmaged pretty well. He’s fast. He can make a shot. It’d be nice if he could settle in as backup point guard. I don’t know yet because he hasn’t been very consistent so far.”

Today: Naadir Tharpe, saying the highlight for him will be, “the shopping stores. That’s probably where you’ll catch me. It’s what I look forward to.”

Elijah Johnson's experience is huge for this team. Quite a contrast in quotes from the two point guards to finish up this article.

clevelandjayhawker 6 years, 9 months ago

Shouldnt it be "Europe must wait A day for KU"?

Tony Bandle 6 years, 9 months ago

More helpful translation phrases:

1] May I have some French Fries, French Toast with French Dressing on the side. [The French just love hearing this.....not!!]

2] Which triumph is the Arc de Triomphe named after? [The French have never won anything]

3] Jerry Lewis, a comic genius? Really??

4] Pardon me..I would like to blow up I.M.Pei's Glass Pyramid at the Louvre [I guarantee, every Parisian will smile at this one!!]

5] Does Brigit Bardot have a really, really, younger sister???

6] What is the phrase for "In your Face"?

7] Isn't a Bidet just a toilet without a seat?

Tuskin 6 years, 9 months ago

Napoleon had a few victories to celebrate. Had to sell us the Louisiana Purchase to fund more wars, including his eventual defeat, though.

jaybate 6 years, 9 months ago

At least Naadir got to shop in DC and not Pittsburgh.

Did they have a pick up game with the Washington Generals?

The erudite EJ should write a travel memoir for the trip entitled "If Its Wednesday, It Must Be Fribourg."

Looks like the Jam Tray is sweet and going to be in the rotation despite looking like a young TRob, who did not play when young...if he can get the ball in the hole some. Self knows finding boarding will be crucial.

Just googled and there is no Okie to French dictionary.

Hint to Travis: try any cooking from Normandy region while in Paris. Or From Provence if you like spicy. In Paris you may even find soul food and jazz.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 9 months ago

I like your Traylor observations .. meaning, 1) a young/mini T-Rob is not necessarily a positive observation for 2012-13. I didn't really think of it that way. And 2) a "boarding" guy.

Traylor would likely be a blue-collar guy, doing some of the dirty work inside, setting screens, getting called for some fouls that balance things out for the officials. Maybe closer to a Darnell Jackson than T-Rob.

It's a battle for that 4th post spot behind Withey/KY/Ellis. Seems like Traylor is up on Lucas/Peters by quite a bit at this stage, but I think Lucas could give him a run as we get into the season if Lucas is up to it defensively and physically. Lucas certainly seems a bit more skilled. But even so, a physical guy may fit the bill more for that 4th rotation spot given the other 3 guys in the rotation.

Interestingly, though, that might mean Peters is more competition for Traylor for that 4th rotation spot than Lucas because, by all reports, he's a more physical player than Lucas. But only coach Self knows what he wants there.

Booyaa 6 years, 9 months ago

If you are not a big mayonnaise fan...beware the boat load of mayo on burgers at some McDs in Europe....

Also if you like coffee try the coffee in France. I had a really great cup of coffee in Cannes, France....but beware the thief who broke into our room the night before and stole jewelry .....carry anything valuable with you or leave it in a hotel safe. In many hotels in Europe especially Italy, the maids open all the doors on a floor when they are cleaning and I dont mean just unlocked ...I mean unlocked and wide open so any one can walk right in if the maid is working in another room. Many times in Italy I returned to my hotel in the afternoon to find my door wide open and the maid no where to be seen.

Martin Rosenblum 6 years, 9 months ago

How ironic that there was a wind related glitch landing in DC? Hot air contributes to such weather problems and we all know about the hot air in DC!

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