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.


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.


Mark Kelly 8 years, 7 months 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.

fansincewilt 8 years, 7 months ago

Exactly - ridiculous. They should use accomplishments as criteria.

UncleMiltyN 8 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately for Tyshawn, his previous "off the court issues" might have been the reason he wasn't considered. I hope he wins a tourney MOP and tells 'em where they can put their award. Cuz if he wins it, he will have destroyed a good portion of the players on their list this year on the court where it counts.

8 years, 7 months ago

Here is a link to a long but good article today regarding PJ3 and what he has been going through the past few years:

Given his mom’s health and as high as he was projected to go, it would have been very easy for him to enter the NBA draft last year. This part from the story was very telling though, where his mom was discussing with Perry his decision whether to leave Baylor for the pros or not:

"Don't worry about the money," she told him. "We can't miss what we've never had. It's your decision. If you want to stay, I'm behind you 100 percent."

JD Roth 8 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for posting this IceManMK and others needed this as an educational opportunity.

Ted Hume 8 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone else think that TT may actually deserve to be Big 12 POY? I would say that he makes just as good an argument for it as TRob, even with his potential national POY status. TT has been, in Self's words, an absolute warrior in conference play. In my opinion it's really a toss up, but give it to Taylor.

Alohahawk 8 years, 7 months 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.

stm62 8 years, 7 months ago

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

jaybate 8 years, 7 months 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.

jaybate 8 years, 7 months 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.


8 years, 7 months ago

JJ seems like a very unselfish person who cares so much about the greater good of the team and less about himself, that he would prefer to see others like TT and EJ do well instead of being placed in games to get his chance at stardom. No doubt though, he will be ready if called upon!

Well done, JJ. You are and always will be a KU basketball player and a member of the Jayhawk family.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 7 months ago

Jordan did get in fairly early in several games during the period you're referring to.

KansasComet 8 years, 7 months 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!!

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Shabazz was never coming to he may never be coming to anywhere. If the allegations prove true, does he sit out a year then declare?

Steve Gantz 8 years, 7 months ago

Yeah you're probably right, although I think a lot of us got our hopes up when he visited last Saturday.

rwhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

He'll "coach" at Kentucky for a year and then go pro.

JayDocMD 8 years, 7 months ago

Seems like this info makes KU the front-runner for Shabazz. With our history of having to sit freshman and waiting on NCAA decisions, this would be par for the course.

jhox 8 years, 7 months 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.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

That come to the party early thing doesn't always worked for Perry, not so well for Kaleb. Recruiting will be the one thing that drives Bill to the NBA...what a giant pain in the ass it must be!!

jhox 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm not suggesting a scholarship offer to a young Sophomore, but an occasional phone call from the coaching staff letting the kid know they're watching and possibly interested could never be a bad idea. Had we done that with a kid like Alec Burks or Willie Cauley, we'd have probably landed both of them. Instead, we were in the shadows and then decided at the last minute to go after them when we lost out on our first choices. I've heard from reliable sources that in both situations the kids were offended that our first contact came so late. I've heard the same thing regarding other KC kids that KU tried to come in late on, after our first choices opted to go elsewhere. These kids and their parents all seem to have big egos, and it doesn't hurt to stroke them a bit. That's all I'm suggesting.

We've done a very poor job of recruiting the KC area, which is unfortunate, because we've lost out on quite a few kids who would have been major assets to our program. The KC area is particularly loaded with young talent right now. I hope our coaching staff is watching and not just focusing solely on the East Coast. I know they think the East Coast kids are tough, but this area has produced some pretty tough kids recently (Burks, Denmon, Travis Releford, to name just a few.) All of those kids would have been big contributors to KU.

Stan Unruh 8 years, 7 months ago

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

Steve Reigle 8 years, 7 months ago

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

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months 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.


jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

I kinda liked "Congratualations."

It sounded Texican. :-)

tdscpa 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm grauadly geuatting uased to "Congratualations."

REHawk 8 years, 7 months 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.

Scott MacWilliams 8 years, 7 months 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 ! ! ! ! !

deepind 8 years, 7 months 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.

actorman 8 years, 7 months ago


Self gets loads of much-deserved credit for how great a coach he is, but we rarely hear about how clean a program he runs. I suppose that's a good thing, kind of like with refs (if you don't hear anything about them, they must be doing a good job).

But it can never be emphasized enough how fortunate we are to have someone in charge who's not only one of the best coaches in the country but one of the classiest.

JayHawkFanToo 8 years, 7 months 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.

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.

Alohahawk 8 years, 7 months 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.

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

How about taking a poll about the worst poll? :-)

And, yes, you have a point.

And, yes, sometimes a grain of sand in the eye hurts as much as baseball, when its thrown slowly enough. :-)

gchawk 8 years, 7 months 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.

jaybate 8 years, 7 months 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.)

8 years, 7 months ago

Y'ain't from 'round here, is ya's? The Texas fellers you done got portrayed in this here fictional account sound more like aTm Aggies than tu t-sips :^)

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

I know, I know, their professors studied Stanford, and figured out how to overlay a few green belts around the town and drive their property prices up, and so they can afford to drink wine instead of mescal, but underneath, its still Austin City Limits that defines the apogee of culture there.

Just kidding.

Its a great state, if you don't mind regime change as a solution to every problem. :-)

8 years, 7 months ago

Say young feller, them’s fightin’ words in these here parts. You and me may be fixin’ to tangle, near as I reckon’ ;)

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

Its a great state. Not to worry. Drink Barry's Gold for tea. Don't settle for anything less.

actorman 8 years, 7 months ago

Hey, any state that had Anne Richards as governor can't be all bad. (Of course we won't talk about the bozo that followed her.)

jaybate 8 years, 7 months 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.

kerbyd 8 years, 7 months ago

Whaaaat? Jaybate quoting Wikipedia?

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

But at least I inform you of it. :-)

Priest Fontaine 8 years, 7 months ago

not even on topic but I thought I'd share a link:

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

JayDocMD 8 years, 7 months 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.

JayDocMD 8 years, 7 months ago

Chris Walker said Freeman's going to KU on twitter tonight. Interesting that he would comment on a fellow players school choice but not his own.

Alohahawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I like hearing that Walker would be in the know about Freeman's choice of school. It means he is concerned as well as interested in the recruits Coach Self is assembling for the 2013 class. If he has dropped KU (in his mind) he probably wouldn't give a you know what. Plus it might illustrate there is a close relationship between Walker and Freeman, and that they might like to attend the same school.

BTW, I remember reading on one of the boards that Freeman is just as much a PG, as he is SG.

All positions are important in basketball, but in college a team must have someone who can shoot lights out, and a top ranked PG who not only has athletic abilities, but the smarts to use them under duress. Although I hate to admit it, MU has proven that this season with their 4 guard offense and great 3 point shooters.

I like what Coach Self has accomplished so far in the 2013 recruiting battles. Winning at recruiting can be as tough, if not tougher than winning games. Especially, emotionally, because a coach must devote so much personal time and heart to a recruit. And when the recruit shuns that attention and selects another school, in some ways its like a slap in the face.

Mike Kendall 8 years, 7 months 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!

Chris Bailey 8 years, 7 months 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!

actorman 8 years, 7 months 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?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.