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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.

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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.”

Comments

Dan Spurgin 1 year, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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championhawks 1 year, 5 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.

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RJ King 1 year, 5 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.

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vd 1 year, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Dickless Head 1 year, 5 months ago

Um, is Tharpe married? I am guessing since it didn't say either way in the article, that he probably isn't.

This is sinful, and I am disgusted and just plain sad that our players are making babies like it's going out of style.

I thought our coach was a man of God? Why are our players having sex before marriage? Not to mention, UNPROTECTED sex! It saddens me and frankly, makes me not want to watch our team play.

God is a patient God but He is also very clear in his rules. We need to be teaching our young men to live a Godly life. I don't know about you, but I don't want Naadir Tharpe to go to Hell when he dies. Part of our responsibility as fans of the team is to guide the young men down the right path. Frankly, I am shocked and appalled that Coach Self would allow this immoral travesty to happen.

Very disappointing.

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HawkKlaw 1 year, 5 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."

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Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 5 months ago

While I will congratulate Tharpe for being a father who is motivated/trying to do right by/for his family, I have to admit I'm more than a little dismayed to find out he's a father at all. It's not that I stand in judgement of him and his choices, but simply that I've never met a young man who at 18 or 19 or 20 was prepared for fatherhood or for whom I felt it was the best time for them and their child. It must be especially hard to work at being a good father when you're away from your family most of the time. It takes a special kind of courage and talent to pull that off. I wish him well and hope he succeeds, but I won't say that I'm enthused that he's in that position at this time in his life. That said, his child is adorable and I think her father does have good character, at least from what little I really know about him.

As far as basketball news goes, I suppose we're in kind of a dormant state with recruiting news as Embiid is the only one who might pledge this fall out of our remaining targets. Another low priority big, Beejay Anya, has officially cut KU from his list. We weren't really actively pursuing him and there is some ambiguity over whether or not he was actually offered, but he was a target at one point. He's down to Indiana and NC State. The only other thing of note is that it's been confirmed that Traylor will be the starting 4 tomorrow night. I'm a little surprised that Ellis isn't getting the spot with Young out, but I won't be surprised if Ellis winds up with more minutes and/or starts the next exhibition.

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Sally Presson 1 year, 5 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

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imacub 1 year, 5 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.

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Dan Spurgin 1 year, 5 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.

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vd 1 year, 5 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.

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702Hawk 1 year, 5 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.

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William Blake 1 year, 5 months ago

Beautiful baby girl, Naadir. I knew you would become a productive Jayhawk... I guess in more areas than I expected!

Congrats Naadir!

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clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 5 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.

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REHawk 1 year, 5 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.

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championhawks 1 year, 5 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!

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Eliott Reeder 1 year, 5 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... ;)

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KEITHMILES05 1 year, 5 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.

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Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 5 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.

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topekahawk 1 year, 5 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.

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Phil Leister 1 year, 5 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.

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KansasComet 1 year, 5 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.

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PSM 1 year, 5 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.

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gleece 1 year, 5 months ago

She's beautiful, Naadir. Congratulations!

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David Leathers 1 year, 5 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.

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