Monday, October 29, 2012

KU’s Naadir Tharpe enamored of his little girl

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe, top, poses with 9-month-old daughter Amara Grace in this cell-phone photo. Tharpe says he’s head over heels for his little girl, who occasionally visits her dad in Lawrence.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe, top, poses with 9-month-old daughter Amara Grace in this cell-phone photo. Tharpe says he’s head over heels for his little girl, who occasionally visits her dad in Lawrence.



Contributed Photo

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe, top, poses with 9-month-old daughter Amara Grace in this cell-phone photo. Tharpe says he’s head over heels for his little girl, who occasionally visits her dad in Lawrence.

One of Naadir Tharpe’s tiniest, yet most vocal, fans resides in his hometown of Worcester, Mass.

That person is Naadir’s 9-month-old daughter, Amara Grace Tharpe, who voices her pleasure for her papa in an enthusiastic way.

“She gets to screaming ... I wouldn’t say crying, but screaming like she wants to be talking to somebody,” Tharpe, Kansas University’s 5-foot-11, 170-pound sophomore basketball point guard, said with a smile. “I enjoy that. She looks right up in my face like she wants to say my name.

“It’s crazy. A lot of times when I’m with her, I get real soft. I guess that’s what happens when you have your first little girl.”

Tharpe admits he’s head over heels for his first-born child, who came to Lawrence for a visit this past summer and will be back to watch her dad come off the bench for KU at times this season.

“I just love her. It’s hard not to love her,” Tharpe said. “You look at her eyes. They are so bright. It’s hard to explain.”

Tharpe, who played sparingly his first year out of Brewster Academy, went to work in the offseason to earn meaningful minutes behind starting point guard Elijah Johnson. He admits long sessions on the court and in the weight room have been easier to conquer because of added motivation in life.

“Everything I do is no longer for myself now. It’s everything for her,” Tharpe said, acknowledging there’s even more desire someday to play basketball for pay with a child in his life.

“Last year, coming in as a freshman, I found out I was having a little girl. At first I was nervous. Being a freshman and being a young dude, you don’t know what to expect from that as well as being in college away from her. I wasn’t able to see her born or anything like that. Things have definitely changed a lot.”

Tharpe’s daughter entered his life just a few years after he lost his dad, Ronald Edward Tharpe, to a battle with cancer in 2006.

“It’s weird when someone you love that’s so close passes away, you get somebody else,” Tharpe said. “I was able to receive my daughter. I feel she’s the up and coming of life.”

Tharpe has taken to the role of being a dad, said his roommate, KU freshman Rio Adams.

“He puts his daughter first, 24-7,” said Adams. “He talks to her all the time and talks about her all the time. She’s visited a couple times. She’s playful and sweet and doesn’t really cry much, which is abnormal for children her age. He’s definitely a natural.”

KU’s players and coaches say a new and improved Tharpe will take the court this season.

“I think Naadir has gotten a lot better,” KU coach Bill Self said, noting Tharpe “is a good shooter. If he and Rio play at a level they are capable of playing, I think we’ll be in pretty good shape (at backup point).”

Noted red-shirt freshman forward Jamari Traylor: “He’s going to lead the team in the future. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him. He’s made great progress. I know when he gets his chance to shine, it’ll be a good opportunity for him, and he’ll make a name for himself.”

Tharpe played sparingly in 32 games a year ago, totaling 29 points and 21 assists against 22 turnovers.

“I’m definitely going to make sure I do as much as I can to help out this year,” Tharpe said. “I felt I lacked in that last year.

“I felt I didn’t do what was needed to do to help my team, even though we made it to where we were at (national title game). It was because we had a senior point guard and other great players around him like Thomas (Robinson) and Travis (Releford) and Jeff (Withey). The team needed help from me. I didn’t feel I did what I needed to do. It opened my eyes to come out focused this year and play basketball. I’m going to come out and defend. That’s what I’m planning to do.”


David Leathers 4 years, 12 months ago

This may be just my opinion, but it's kind of weird to be using pictures of anyone's daughter for an article. I won't even post pictures of my children on my Facebook profile.

David Leathers 4 years, 12 months ago

On a side note, Congrats Naadir. Welcome to the fraternity of being a father. No better feeling in the world.

Kirk Goodwin 4 years, 11 months ago

Is this really what we're writing about????

David Leathers 4 years, 11 months ago

Can you be more specific? Is what "what we're really talking about?"

PSM 4 years, 12 months ago

Well, he already posted the picture on his instagram, which will get more hits than this puff piece. How could this feature and picture possibly put Naadir's daughter in harms way?

David Leathers 4 years, 12 months ago

I'm not saying that it will. I'm just shocked that this article was accompanied by this picture. For instance (correct me if I'm wrong), I don't recall seeing pictures of Sherron's children or any other Jayhawk that may have became fathers while memebers of the team. Maybe I'm just paranoid because I've lived in child-abduction-land (southern California) for the past five years.

Robin Smith 4 years, 12 months ago

Statistics show that of child abductions 0.2 % are perpetrated by strangers. this is just the first study I found but I've done research on this topic.

Of course that matters very little if your child happens to be the unfortunate victim. But it's not something worth worrying about relative to the more legitimate concern of somebody who knows the child in real life being a threat (though I'm not advocating rampant paranoia at all) -- so posting a picture online isn't really that big of a deal.

Iandhi 4 years, 12 months ago

"Paranoids are just people in possession of all the facts." -- Spider Jerusalem

Chris Shaw 4 years, 12 months ago

Yes, I think I have to side with you calihawk. Beautiful baby, but don't really like seeing the little girl on the public side of a media article.

gleece 4 years, 12 months ago

She's beautiful, Naadir. Congratulations!

PSM 4 years, 12 months ago

I have a soft spot for 5' 11'' KU point guards. Excited to see what Naadir can do. The last KU point guard with this exotic of a name was pretty good (Jacque Vaughn). And as an expecting father I wish him the best.

KansasComet 4 years, 12 months ago

Congratulations to you Naadir and the child's mother, can never forget about mom, on the birth of your beautiful daughter. I wish you both nothing but the best.

Phil Leister 4 years, 12 months ago

Hmm, a 5'11" point guard with a kid? I see some similarities!

Strangely, Naadir having a daughter is a good thing. It makes you grow up real fast. I can see Naadier developing into a good father, first and foremost, but also a great team leader by next year.

soapisurfriend 4 years, 12 months ago

Speaking of 5'11" PGs with kids, I think Frank Mason is a daddy too.

topekahawk 4 years, 12 months ago

Bedore, Why didn't you include the name of his wife? It's not like she didn't have a part in it. The way you wrote it, it's like the infant gets on a bus and comes to Lawrence for visits.

Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 12 months ago

Let's see how some of our fellow posters spin this into their own convoluted style of finding the "bad" in everything. You just know it's coming. We must understand that some people's nature doesn't allow them to just let a positive story remain positive. They're not even playing "devil's advocate". It's just a personality defect to always look for the negative and if there is nothing obvious, they spin it and manipulate until there is an angle that they can own that only they are comfortable addressing. Alright Debbie Downers, I challenge you to wait for a more controversial article to jump on! Walk away, there's nothing to see here.

Jack Wilson 4 years, 12 months ago

"Walk away, there's nothing to see here." --- perfect.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 12 months ago

memhawk..always like your posts but isn't your post somewhat of a downer itself?? I appreciate your "first strike" comments hoping to defuse ridiculous moral judgement posts, but who truly has the right to stifle free speech?

Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 11 months ago

Oak - Far be it from me to stifle free speech. As a free society, we're all bombarded with viewpoints that don't mesh with our personal beliefs and standards. But, you've got to admit, there are some folks who post on this board whose judgrments and viewpoints seem a little too offbeat compared to the majority of other posters. LJW is the judge and jury in this forum. They, however, shy away from censoring based on offbeat comments, which is appreciated by us free speech advocates. But, isn't it frustrating to read those comments where people try to impose their narrow-minded social judgements on readers as if they were the authority and moral shepherds of their offbeat, and sometimes cruel comments and responses to the subject matter as well as other posters?

My intent was to head off any such comments considering the nature of this thread which involves someone's child. If my comments came across as you remarked, ".. a downer itself", hopefully they prevented some hurtful and inappropriate rhetoric by some of those people whom it was inteded for.

KEITHMILES05 4 years, 12 months ago

I just have to wonder if one of the reasons he struggled last year is due to the fact of being an expectant father. He just looked so rattled on the court and that wasn't suppose to be how he was when he came in.

I do hope he accepts responsibility and stays in her life. I know Sherron had huge situations with his kids and even know the oldest doesn't live in Chicago where Sherron is working out and the youngest one lives. These are life changing events and do enter into their daily lives.

Keep your head up Mr. Tharpe and your eye on the prize. You have teammates who support you. As a fan I am happy you decided to stay put and not transfer.

Oh, to the poster who said Sherron never allowed pictures of his children you are so incorrect. There were a couple times pictures were posted here in articles.

Chris Shaw 4 years, 12 months ago

Really? I like you keithmiles, but I am pretty certain this probably had something to do with it along with. I am just bustin on ya by the way. :)

1) Being a Freshman 2) Being 18 hours from home 3) Playing behind TT and EJ 4) Learning Bill Self's system 5) Juggling his academic course load 6) Playing at Kansas 7) Pressure of Playing at Kansas 8) Weight lifting 9) Just learning to be a college kid 10) Waiting his turn 11) And............. I don't know.........being an expectant father

David Leathers 4 years, 12 months ago

Thanks. That's why I said correct me if I'm wrong. My memory doesn't go back that far.

Eliott Reeder 4 years, 12 months ago

You are assuming he's married? I don't know either way, but perhaps his relationship with his daughter's mother is not that great? Who knows... either way I thought this article was a little weird... oh well. Can't wait till tomorrow!!! And here's to Naadir being the best dad he can be, despite the long distance... and the best back-up PG he can be as well... ;)

championhawks 4 years, 12 months ago

KoolKeith, that's exactly what I thought while reading the story. Tharpe looked at times like his head wasn't in the game. I had no idea that he was expecting, and it is very possible that this event was enough to keep him from focusing on getting better as a player.

Congrats to Naadir! I hope you keep improving so you can realize your dream of playing for pay in the future!

REHawk 4 years, 12 months ago

My initial reaction to this photo and article: Is Bedore tossing his hat in the ring for the Keegan Writing Award? On further inspection, I find this to be a very potent publication. The power of its impact lies in the precision of what is not written or revealed.

REHawk 4 years, 12 months ago

But strange timing, considering that the exhibition season opens tomorrow night, and this is the lone LJW hoops article today. Perhaps the KC Star or Emporia press has something more timely?

REHawk 4 years, 12 months ago

Nope, the STAR and GAZETTE give us no ink, either. Just a ho-hum gameweek for Jayhawk basketball....

Robin Smith 4 years, 12 months ago

Bedore is a much better writer than Keegan so the topic is irrelevant -- he's not taking Keegan's crown :D

Congrats to Naadir and I hope he is able to achieve his goals and be the best father he can be.

Also I think this is timely since we haven't seen a lot of positive pub surrounding Tharpe but there has been a lot of harping and speculation about his future. This illustrates some circumstances which had an impact last season and which may lead to accelerated personal growth on the court this season.

Plus, I'm sure we'll see some more stories relating to the first exhibition being published later tonight.

Kirk Goodwin 4 years, 11 months ago

Yeah I thought it had to be a Keegan article

clevelandjayhawker 4 years, 12 months ago

Im ready for tomorrow night, I want to discuss who played great, who played like junk, what we need to work on what, etc etc. Not trying to take anything away from Naadir, but this artilce would have been great 2 months ago, right now I need my Jayhawk basketball (on the court/practice analysis) fix. These personal stories, to me, are better to read between April and Late Night.

Congrats Naadir and Rock Chalk.

702Hawk 4 years, 12 months ago

PlasticJ I hope your right. Doesn't this seem a lot more like a summer article than a day before a game day article? Oh well. Good luck to Naadir on the upcoming season and to his fatherhood. I really hope that KU will lead him to the best situation for him and his family, be that the NBA or a great degree that will provide him with a great career.

vd 4 years, 12 months ago

Praise be to another part time Father. Let us adore these Fathers of many, who can play a sport. Let's next adore the part time Fathers that can not play sports, but can do drugs and steal and murder.

championhawks 4 years, 12 months ago

Really? Bc he is going to school and (possibly) working his way to playing basketball for a living, we are going to label him a part time father?

I think you should keep your opinions about things like that to yourself, unless you know something that has happened. If that is the case, you may want to back up your statement with a reason for your opinion.

vd 4 years, 11 months ago

I guess if he lives half way across the country from his daughter, I would say he's a parttime Father. Congratulations for getting layed.

KULA 4 years, 11 months ago

My great-grandfather moved halfway across the world away from his family to build a better life for them, and sent for them a couple years later when he started to get a foothold on that better life. You gotta go where the opportunity for advancement is. Or I guess you could stay where you are and work at McDonalds.

KULA 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh, and by the way, keep up the judging--you're doing a great job!

HawkKlaw 4 years, 12 months ago

Let's next adore these Anonymous Internet S--- Talkers , who can not only talk a lot of s---, but who also make us all dumber by accusing innocent people of doing bad things that they have no proof of.

Get a life.

Dan Spurgin 4 years, 12 months ago

Congrats but... will we be seeing a piece on the children of all KU athletes? All KU athletic staff?? Where does it stop? I do believe there are MANY issues to discuss regarding young athletes and their kids but this article sadly ignores all those issues and is no more than a glorified birth announcement -- fail if you ask me.

Jack Jones 4 years, 12 months ago

"Congrats, but" - What a sincere comment (not). "glorified birth announcement" - another "sincere" thought! Tomorrow morning, try to get up on the other side of the bed!

HawkKlaw 4 years, 12 months ago

Great but...will we not be seeing anymore posts from you? Because that would be glorious -- fail if you ask me.

Jack Jones 4 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately, for you at least, that part of your life will not be "glorious". Don't post often, just when, in my opinion, some idiot says something that I believe practically begs for a reaction. That, of course, does not be the case with your recent post.

HawkKlaw 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh, my post above was a reaction to dgspurgin's post. Not yours, just so ya know.

Dan Spurgin 4 years, 11 months ago

You (directed to both of my critics) might disagree with me but my comment makes me an idiot? Personally I feel indirectly chiding the Journal World for failing to bring up some real costs of teen pregnancy is not so idiotic. I'm as rah-rah as the next Jayhawk about KU athletics but are we doing all the young athletes in grade school and high school in this community a disservice by only talking about how fun and wonderful it is for Naadir to have a daughter without also mentioning some REAL costs of him being an absentee dad. I'm not saying attack Naadir -- I'm simply saying we need to take off some rose colored classes and have a 2 sided conversation on this topic.

imacub 4 years, 12 months ago

Had the privilege to meet Naadir in a fantasy camp over the summer. What an extremely personable, outgoing and nice young dude. I am certainly rooting for him to succeed with the Jayhawks and in life.

Robin Smith 4 years, 12 months ago

I'll second that!

Love seeing Traylor believing in Tharpe and his future with the program.

Expect to see some negative posters eating crow in a couple of years when he makes us forget his sparse and sporadic freshmen season :D

Sally Presson 4 years, 12 months ago

Naadir, your daughter is precious, you are a lucky dad. I'm sure you're glad to get your freshman year under your belt and know the ropes of Jayhawk basketball. We all know it's hard your freshman year, you have a great attitude for the coming season, keep up the hard work!!! We'll look forward to seeing you tomorrow night!! I can hardly wait!!! Rock Chalk

clevelandjayhawker 4 years, 12 months ago

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Jack Wilson 4 years, 11 months ago

kd: I had heard Roberson was going to make his decision by the early signing period, too. Had you heard anything different?

Not starting Ellis may be as simple as "Son, you're not being given anything." I'm even more interested to see Traylor now, though.

soapisurfriend 4 years, 11 months ago

Roberson cut his list to KU, SU, and Nova. He cancelled the UK visit ad is expected to announce soon. Stay tuned.

texashawk10 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree with your sentiments kD about Naadir being a father at his age and the judgement used around the time of his graduation from HS. That was about 18 months ago from when that picture was taken which I'm guessing was pretty recently. Fatherhood is something that makes a person mature incredibly quickly and Bill Self has always been there to help give advice to the players that are fathers.

Like HEM, I also though that Roberson was committing in November as well. Has that changed or is KU so far out of the running for him now that his decision isn't worth tracking anymore?

HawkKlaw 4 years, 12 months ago

Oh, how I loathe articles like this. Young people have kids. It's okay. I can't count how many of my friends had kids in college (single mothers and fathers alike). It's actually far more common than all these do-gooders on this message board would have you believe.

I hate it when personal stuff like this gets put out there so every random Joe feels compelled to comment on another man's situation in life. I see why people do it (nothing better to do with their pathetic, normal lives), but it's really nobody's business but Tharpe's. Naadir can handle his own problems, I'm sure. You should worry about your own problems. Here's some song lyrics:

"Judge not, before you judge yourself / Judge not, unless you're ready for judgment.

The road of life is rocky / and you may stumble too / But while you talk about me / Someone else is judging you."

Andy Tweedy 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm not about to judge the young man, I've never met him. BUT...when you accept the honor of potentially being the starting point guard at the University of Kansas and then allow pictures of you and your baby to be posted by the website that covers said program, aren't you removing some of the "nobody's business" part of it? You really can't have it both ways. But I do agree with the rest of your post. Judging people is pretty stupid.

HawkKlaw 4 years, 11 months ago

The fact that he's enamored with his little girl is all that people need to comment on (and for the most part, people here did that). But for those judging his situation with the baby's mother or the fact that he lives in a different city than his child need to just keep those comments to themselves. Nobody's perfect.

Dan Spurgin 4 years, 11 months ago

HawkKlaw... statistically speaking parents and children fair better economically when parenthood is delayed. Can a young person become a VERY successful parent? Yes! Do we root for Naadir? Yes! Are we (or at least am I) judging Naadir in my comments here? NO! Naadir is an example of a larger concern -- teen pregnancy in general. Given my druthers I don't want my son to be a teen father -- stats say his life will be harder.

Robin Smith 4 years, 11 months ago

oh boy... seems like it's down to KU and Nova. That reads like Nova has the edge

texashawk10 4 years, 11 months ago

I have to admit that I'm somewhat surprised to see him cut Rutgers as I figured he wasn't leaving his home area, but I think he will ultimately end up at Nova. I just feel like he is a better fit for what Villanova likes to do, not saying he can't be successful at KU, but I just think looking at it unbiasedly that Roberson is a better fit for Nova than he is at KU.

vd 4 years, 11 months ago

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SaltLakeHawk 4 years, 11 months ago


Speaking of "being a man"... where does anonymously talking sh*t on the internet fit into that equation? LIterally, I cannot think of anything less manly than that.

Get a life. You're obviously very unhappy, and you're ashamed of the things you have not accomplished in your pathetic, small life. No happy (or manly) person would anonymously post the things you're posting. It's sad.

RJ King 4 years, 11 months ago

There's a saying, "If it's a good idea today, then it will still be a good idea tomorrow." It applies to many things - especially permanent ones like ear piercing, marriage, tattoos, and parenthood.

We know nothing about the circumstances, but I think most of us would agree that this is not the ideal situation for a father and a child. However, since the "ideal" can be elusive, we wish him and his family the best.

HawkKlaw 4 years, 11 months ago

Who are you to comment on another man's situation? You really think Naadir is going to take advice from an anonymous internet user? Leave Naadir and his situation alone. I'm sure he's got it under control.

RJ King 4 years, 11 months ago

Of course Naadir won't take my advice because I was not giving any. I was simply commenting in general on the significance of timing and our ability to delay some of our plans. I clearly stated, "we know nothing about the circumstances." That was in response to several other posters who had made judgmental comments.

I was referring to neither age nor marital status - only distance. Don't we agree that - given the choice - new parents would prefer to be close to their children? In cases of military service, grad school, job-related travel, family illness, etc., don't we all acknowledge the challenge of long-distance parenting?

If Naadir stays through his senior year, Amara could be three, three and a half before they are reunited. Is it judgmental or "do-gooder" to acknowledge that as "less than ideal?"

Naadir himself mentions, " . . . being in college away from her. I wasn’t able to see her born or anything like that." I warmly and sincerely wished him sweetness in what I perceive as a bittersweet situation.

The LJW put this out there. The forum itself encourages comments. If you don't think it's appropriate for Kansas fans to discuss his situation, forward your wrath to the editor.

HawkKlaw 4 years, 11 months ago

The thing is, I like stories like this so long as people don't get on their moral high ground and start casting out judgements about people they've never met. My issue is not really the fact that some editor green-lit this story for the public to read, but more about the fact that the comments section isn't filled with supportive comments from the Jayhawk nation.

Also, all that stuff you just said it quite obvious. It really goes without saying at all.

championhawks 4 years, 11 months ago

vd, you are obviously a Methzou fan or have a personal issue that you should probably take off of an anonymous sports board and get serious help for it.

Unless you are close to this situation, I'm guessing you have no idea what is going on. How do you come to the conclusion that he has taken advantage of anything? Or if the decision to go out to KU wasn't a decision made with the mother of the baby and other family members?

I'm guessing you know nothing at all about the situation, you just have an issue with the fact that he has a baby.

Dan Spurgin 4 years, 11 months ago

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