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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Jordan Juenemann ‘worked so hard’ for his shot

Kansas guard Jordan Juenemann puts in a bucket past Texas Tech defenders Jaye Crockett, left, and Deshon Minnis during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Jordan Juenemann puts in a bucket past Texas Tech defenders Jaye Crockett, left, and Deshon Minnis during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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A Fort Hays State University scholarship offer didn’t tempt hometown hero Jordan Juenemann, nor did overtures from various other NCAA Div. II teams and junior colleges in Kansas.

The 6-foot-3 guard, who averaged 17.3 points and 6.0 rebounds a game his senior year at Hays High, was determined to play major-college basketball at Kansas University and arrived in Lawrence in August of 2008 focused on making his dream a reality.

“My parents dropped me off the day before school started. I was not prepared for college at all. I took 12 hours so I could focus and train for walk-on tryouts,” Juenemann said.

“I’d play pickup with KU players and try to get in and watch practices. I woke up early morning for Boot Camp (in late September). I wasn’t able to do it, but I watched it to learn some things about how I could get in shape. Wayne (Simien, former KU All-American) worked out with me, all leading up to the tryouts.”

Tryouts, held a few days after the mid-October Late Night in the Phog, were not a mere formality for Juenemann, a first-team all-league and third-team all-Class 5A selection.

“We didn’t know him. We didn’t guarantee him anything,” KU coach Bill Self said. “He worked so hard, he made the team. After he made it, he kept working to contribute to the team.”

Four years later, Juenemann enters KU’s Senior Day contest against Texas (8 p.m. Saturday, Allen Fieldhouse) with a batch of achievements that include a college degree in exercise science (minor in business), All-Big 12 academic mention and four Big 12 Conference championship rings.

Nothing tops the excitement he felt the day after walk-on tryouts.

“Coach Self called me in the office and said, ‘We’ll try you out to be a practice player,’” Juenemann recalled. “After the first practice, he said, ‘Good job, Jordan. We threw you right in the fire.’ Next thing I knew, I had a jersey and was able to play in the first exhibition game. From then on out, I tried to earn the respect of teammates and coaches at practice, try to be a guy who is seen, not heard, and do what they asked.”

Mission accomplished for Juenemann, who has earned his keep at practice, where he’s a member of the Red team — the scout team, the unit designed to make the starters better.

“Tyshawn (Taylor) and Elijah (Johnson) get mad at him all the time ... because he fouls them all the time,” Self said of Juenemann, who has scored 19 points in 12 games this season. “We tell him to foul. We tell him to make them frustrated. We tell him, ‘Foul, reach, grab, slap, get ’em tougher.’ And he does it.”

Juenemann, who scored a career-high seven points while playing four minutes in a Feb. 18 home win over Texas Tech, rattled off the highlights of a career that he says “has gone by so fast.”

“Just being at practice my first year with coach Self as a Kansas kid was unreal for me,” Juenemann said. “I remember my freshman year meeting Kirk Hinrich before the Missouri game when his jersey was retired. All the KU greats I’ve become friends with now. I had dinner with Nick Collison, talking man-to-man. Our tourney run (to Elite Eight) last year was a blast. This year has been great.

“It’s game after game, traveling to city after city. It makes the time go so fast. I remember my freshman year listening to (fellow walk-ons) Brennan (Bechard) and Matt (Kleinmann) speak like it was yesterday. Now it’s our Senior Day,” he added of himself, Tyshawn Taylor and Conner Teahan.

Juenemann, who is working as an intern for KU’s Williams Fund this semester, plans to attend grad school next year and/or play for Athletes in Action’s traveling team.

“I’ve been praying a lot about it. I feel I’m being led into coaching,” Juenemann said. “I’m kind of torn in-between of being in coaching and athletic administration.”

It’s a no-brainer where he’ll attend graduate school.

“This is the pinnacle of everything,” he said of KU.

He’ll be lavishing praise on family members, coaches and teammates during his senior speech after Saturday’s game, a game in which he’ll make his first college start. On hand will be mom Dalene, dad Jerry, older sister Jessica, who graduated from KU in the spring of 2008, and younger brother Jaydan, who played basketball a year at Avila College and is working full time.

“I really want to thank coach Self for the opportunity,” Juenemann said. “This has been everything I thought it’d be.”

Self, who placed Juenemann on scholarship this semester, said he’ll give the highest recommendation to business owners who inquire about his pupil.

“I totally admire Jordan,” Self said, “for how hard he tries, taking the hard path in making the team and turning himself into a player. I think he’d be an unbelievable addition to anybody’s company.”

Robinson honored: KU junior forward Thomas Robinson has been named to the Naismith College Player of the Year Midseason Watch List as announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Robinson is one of 30 players on the list. Others from the Big 12: Marcus Denmon, Phil Pressey, Missouri; Perry Jones, Baylor; and Royce White, Iowa State.

Comments

actorman 2 years, 1 month ago

Thank you Jordan (and all the walk-ons) for working so hard for so little glory, and you have an awful lot to be proud of. Now how perfect would it be to end things with a national championship?

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Chris Bailey 2 years, 1 month ago

Jordan, No matter that you didn't start you played and hung in with the greatest players in the country for 4 seasons. You got to do what very few people get to do and I'm sure you will always treasure that. Thanks for being a class act and representing Kansas the state with class! Rock Chalk fellow Jayhawk! Rock Chalk!

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Mike Kendall 2 years, 1 month ago

Thank you JJ. You are a class act. Tyshawn's senior speech will probably be as emotional as Ryan Robertson, Sherron Collins and Tyrel Reed. The tears will be a flowing, if you know what I mean.

And--------if you take Jordan Juenemann for granted--------he has made our starters even better. No doubt. Thanks for all you have done, Jordan. Rock Chalk Jayhawk one final time in AFH!

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JayDocMD 2 years, 1 month ago

Recruiting Update:

Allerik Freeman, a class of 2013 Rivals 4-star SG from Charlotte, NC, has narrowed his schools to KU and Villanova. He's a similar style player to 4-star NYC SG Isaiah Lewis. My best guess is that we only have one scholarship to offer between the two, and whichever one commits first gets the scholarship.

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Priest Fontaine 2 years, 1 month ago

not even on topic but I thought I'd share a link: http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/blog/what-do-you-get-when-you-cross-acid-house-with-a-brass-band

Thought our band could jump on this wagon for some extra hype during games...

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kerbyd 2 years, 1 month ago

Whaaaat? Jaybate quoting Wikipedia?

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jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

"Hey, Whatever Happened to..."

~Whatever happened to Arizona's ascendance and the allegedly fine coach and munchkin, Sean Miller? They are only 21-9 in a weak conference.

~Whatever happened to Pitt? They're 16-14 and allow opponents to score 66ppg on them. Did every one start lifting weights and shoving back?

~Whatever happened to Jim Calhoun's desire to stick around and take the heat for his own recruiting violations, rather than elect surgery?

~Whatever happened to UConn reloading? They're 17-12.

~Whatever happened to John Calipari's mousse. He's going with a dry look and its kind of working...until he runs into KU and we give him a mullet.

~Whatever happened to Ben Howland's professionalism? Why did it take him so long to kick Nelson off his team?

~Whatever happened to UCLA? Why don't they hire a KU guy and enter the 21st Century in basketball.

~Whatever happened to Deandre Daniel's incredible potential? UConn's stats say he has averaged 3.4ppg and 24% from trey in only 12 starts.

~Whatever happened to Lance Stephenson's "Born Ready-ness"? His wikipedia page today reads that in his pro debut back in '10 "He played four minutes, scored two points, had two assists, grabbed a rebound, and had one turnover.[23] Towards the end of the season, the Pacers demoted Stephenson due to ongoing immaturity issues." Then nothing more since.

~What ever happened to David Padgett? His wikipedia page today reads: "Following his second season in Spain, Padgett unofficially retired and returned to Louisville as the team's assistant strength coach.[8] After spending the 2010–11 season in that position, he left to become a full-time assistant at IUPUI.[9]" I didn't read the footnotes.

~Whatever happened to the students sitting court side? Most of the persons sitting court side now are so old that if you told them they were court side and set them up in the nose bleed seats, they wouldn't even notice.

Outta here.

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jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

"Some Ways We Know Texas Is Next"

~A cloud of failed expectations precedes a caravan of Suburbans on I-35.

~Dubya shouts down a heckler in Dallas by saying, "You'll see, its going to be Mission Accomplished in Lawrence Kansas this weekend."

~Lots of strangers in Stetsons asking locals on Mass Street where the human hunting preserve is.

~Lots of strangers in Stetsons walking around saying, "Whoooo, weeeee, how 'bout this snow? This looks like Laredo after a drug plane crashes."

~Lots of strangers in Stetsons asking locals, "Where's Boy's Town? And have ya got any sheep intestines I can tie a knot in?"

~Lots of strangers in Stetsons asking locals, "Say, ma'am, where do I launch my flats boat?"

~Lots of strangers in Stetsons in town telling locals, "so this is where we're going to get the coal to crack them Cannuck tar sands. Looks a little like an itty bitty Texas, don't it? Too bad we gotta rip this place up. "

~Lots of locals in town telling lots of strangers in Stetsons, "We're going to kick your drawling azzes back to Austin over at the Field House this weekend. Have a nice day. "

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

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gchawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Congrats Jordan. Your hard work and dedication is admired by everyone. Congratulations to the Seniors for an awesome career at KU. Am very proud of you guys.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Change of topic.

Forgive me if I seem too much into small details. But I'm disappointed with the format of the newest poll, asking who is the most improved Jayhawk this season. I noted my disappointment in the comment section of that poll.

I compared the two "improved"polls taken this season, because the two polls are all but identical. My dis-satisfaction is the slight to EJ. In the first poll, which ranked just the starters, his name is listed separately, while in the second poll, which included the entire team, he is included under the "other" category. No matter whether or not he has or hasn't improved more than others, it's a slap that his name was dropped in the second poll. He's worked just as hard, if not harder than the others, and I feel he deserves better than to be identified as just "other".

Perhaps I'm in a debating mood today, or got out on the wrong side of the bed. I just had to voice my opinion.

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JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 1 month ago

Congratulation Jordan. You are a true scholar-athlete and lifelong member of the Jayhawk family.

I am surprised the article did not mention Jeff Hawkins, who was instrumental in helping Juenemann make it to KU. http://www2.kusports.com/news/2008/oc...

Even more surprising considering Gary Bedore wrote the original story. Thanks Jeff for steering a quality individual to KU; perhaps not an all-star player but definitely an all-star individual.

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deepind 2 years, 1 month ago

When you read articles about hard-working players like JJ and read the stories coming out of the woodwork at UCLA, it puts things in perspective about how lucky we are as KU fans! We should be so thankful for coach Self to be running such a clean and a WINNING program.

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Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 1 month ago

I L O V E KU Wallkons!! They always work the hardest for the least reward, and do the work at practice that elevates the starters games.
Ever since TJ Whatley, I've really admired them above all others. I mean, TJ did the friccin' engineering program as a student!!! They are living the dream maybe more than the starters, who often had their choice of many top schools for playing. These guys came to KU because they want the chance to stand on that hallowed floor, or at least sit on the bench, wearing the uniform, and know that they are loved by 16.300+ of their closest friends.

Congratulations and thanks, Jordan, for giving us four years of hard work. You will always have our utmost respect and admiration.

R O C K C H A L K, J A Y H A W K S ! ! ! ! !

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William Blake 2 years, 1 month ago

Super congrats, Jordan! You worked hard for it and the Jayhawk Nation is proud of you!

Rock Chalk!

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REHawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations, Jordan, on your scholarship and longtime determination to wear a Jayhawk uniform. Those 4 Big 12 rings have been well earned. In a post 2 or 3 Sundays ago, I envisioned your playing another four key minutes in a future Jayhawk game. I can still envision your popping off the bench with Kevin Young and T-Rob type energy and enthusiasm to make good things happen. Best of luck, both in your final few practices and games with the Jayhawks, and in all future pursuits. You have contributed to some marvelous Kansas hoops seasons.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 1 month ago

Jordan has been on a team that has averaged 30-5 for the last 4 seasons, with, hopefully, at least 6 or 7 more games to play.

Congratualations

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iamakufan 2 years, 1 month ago

Jordan Juenemann is a class act. I'm proud he's a Jayhawk.

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swunruhawk 2 years, 1 month ago

The headline here says it... Jordan knows what hard work brings. He has earned his way and is a great young man.

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jhox 2 years, 1 month ago

Congrats to Jordan and the Seniors. Thanks for the memories gentlemen.

No Taylor on the Naismith list, but Pressey? I swear these idiots who select these teams don't bother to watch any basketball games. Tyshawn is the best point guard in college basketball, period.

I mentioned this elsewhere recently, but I've found our next Tyshawn. There is a sophomore at Grandview high, Tyrone Taylor, who is the mirror image ot Tyshawn. He's tall and long...6'2" or 6'3" already, with long arms, great quickness, and the ability to get into the lane at will. Very comfortable with both hands. First step that is out of this world quick. He had 17 last night in their play off game, and he's playing on a heavily upper class team, and not taking many shots. His scoring is very efficient. He has great court vision, makes crisp, hard passes. He's a much better 3 point shooter than Tyshawn was when he came to KU. Self needs to get on this kid right away. He's part of the Pump and Run program, so I'm pretty sure Self is aware of him.

Clayton Custer is getting a lot of attention, but I've seen him play, and while he's a good high school scorer, I don't see him being more than a decent mid major player. He's not very tall, and lacks the quickness to be a stud at the Big 12 level. This Taylor kid isn't putting up the kind of points Custer is, but that's because of the teammates he has. He doesn't have to be a scorer. So much attention is paid to scoring by the local press that sometimes more important things are overlooked.

One thing I've observed is that kids and parents appreciate schools that come to the party early. There are a lot of hurt feelings when a school is late arriving. I hope we get on this kid early.

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KansasComet 2 years, 1 month ago

Congrats to Jordan! He got exactly what he wanted. A chance to be a member of the Kansas Basketball Team. He made the most of his opportunity, and is a four time Big XII Champion, and will be making his fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament. I love the "seen, but not heard" comment. His parents have to be extremely proud of Jordan and his accomplishments. Glad to read that he has his mind focused on his future. Best Wishes!!

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jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

But Self made the right call as he so often does. He stayed with his best, most experienced regulars, despite injuries, slumps and huge minutes, as he did with Tyshawn, Tyrel and Brady last season, so he did with EJ, Travis and his sixth starter, Conner this season. And glory followed for the team, even as Jordan's chance faded.

But wait!

The impossible season is not over.

At any moment, the starters could get fouled up, or fouled out. An injury could happen in the blink of an eye. Sickness could strike.

And Jordan, or Naadir, or Christian, could be thrust thrust into an epic moment in the impossible season.

In fact, its still probable that they will be, sooner or later.

So they have to stay ready.

This is the impossible season, when the impossible just takes a little longer.

.

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jaybate 2 years, 1 month ago

I watched Jordan warm up a few times the previous two seasons and I thought he might catch a break and get some glue minutes on a regular basis this season, because the team was so thin. For a game or two in late January, early February, while EJ and Conner were slumping from trey for months, I thought Self was maybe getting a small slot ready for him, because he can pot the triceratop. But then TT kept carrying Team with his super trey shooting and seemed to say, ok, its a defensive team and its better to squeeze by with length and better defense, than to switch to a shorter walk-on a step slow, just for a few 1-2 trey attempts per game, at most. Talk about a tough call for everyone! Self had to have wanted a few more treys and had to have been wondering if TT could keep it up. Jordan had to have wanted to play. EJ and Conner had to have been feeling horrible about letting the team down with trey slumps for so long. The bigs had to have been thinking, "Coach, we don't care if you have to play cheerleader. Can't you get something going outside for us?" But Self kept deciding to wait one more game, TT kept hitting, Withey kept adding a little more from inside than expected, KU kept winning with defense and mega minutes from starters and so Self kept thinking don't fix what isn't quite broken yet. And Jordan saw his dream shot to crack the rotation even for just a few weeks shimmer like an oasis and then fade like mirage. And I'm sure everyone on the team saw it, too. Players know it when other players don't get their chance, especially for the good of the team. We will never know what Jordan might have done. He might have gotten burned so bad on defense he'd have smoked. He might have failed the way EJ and Conner failed in previous years so many times, when they got their shots at breaking in to the rotation. But he might also have gotten the job done for a few minutes a game. He might have made a few treys or pass here, or a hard foul there, that could have gotten the team through some tough spots, when EJ was shooting 28%, Conner couldn't make much or defend much, and Travis' blown Bridgestone seemed nearly unplayable.

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stm62 2 years, 1 month ago

How would you like to have University of Kansas basketball player on your resume?

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Alohahawk 2 years, 1 month ago

Mahalo to JJ for putting in the time and effort. Playing on those practice teams has to be rough, knowing you won't be playing a lot of minutes. It's you bench guys that force the starters to get better during practice, and obviously, the bench must have done that job quite well this season because look at what the Jayhawks have achieved.

And congratulations on earning that scholarship. Only a few can truthfully brag that they have had a basketball scholarship as a KU Jayhawk. Pop in a few points on Senior Night to make it all that more memorable a night.

And congratulations to TRob for making the Naismith College POY Watch list. I know everyone took it for granted that you would be on the list, but now it's official.

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Mark Kelly 2 years, 1 month ago

PJ3 sniffing the top 30 Naismith list is laughable. Apparently they use the same criteria as NBA teams... potential.

And no TT on the Cousy list or the Naismith list? Wow... use it Tyshawn. Prove them wrong.

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