Monday, February 18, 2013

Jayhawks ‘Shake’ funk

Bill Self says dance video bonding experience for team

Kansas players Travis Releford (24) and Kevin Young go wild after a 360 jam by teammate Ben McLemore against Texas during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas players Travis Releford (24) and Kevin Young go wild after a 360 jam by teammate Ben McLemore against Texas during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kevin Young, who has been rail-thin since his days as a cross country runner at Perris (Calif.) High, says he has discovered the secret to putting on weight his second and final season at Kansas University.

“I just let my ’fro grow,” joked the 6-foot-8 senior basketball power forward, who is listed at 190 pounds but in actuality may tip the scales 10 to 15 pounds below that standard.

Somewhat shy around the media, even in this, his senior year, the man with the expansive afro was in a jolly mood after Saturday’s 73-47 home rout of Texas. It marked the Jayhawks’ second straight victory after three consecutive defeats.

Young gladly discussed his role in production of KU’s “Harlem Shake” video, which was filmed in KU’s locker room Friday, and since being posted on YouTube has had more than 450,000 views.

“Oh my gosh. I got prepared for that video. I think I bought almost everybody’s costumes,” Young said of wacky costumes and props, such as guitars and hats.

“When they told me we were going to do it,” Young added of organizer Justin Wesley, “I watched a couple (Harlem Shake) videos. I’d never seen it before. I said, ‘If we’re going to do this, we’ve got to go all-out. We can’t just do a little half version of it. We’ve got to do it the best we can.’”

The Jayhawks’ version of the Shake includes a starring role from coach Bill Self, who begins the video by writing the words “Harlem Shake” on the chalkboard.

“I have no idea,” Self said, asked how filming dance videos helps a team. “The guys told me Thursday, ‘Coach, we need you in the locker room at 2 o’clock.’ They wanted me to dance, and that wasn’t going to happen.

“Of course, if I knew I could wear a chicken head (like Ben McLemore in video) and nobody knew who I was, I might have done it. I didn’t know what the Harlem Shake was. They asked me to do whatever I did, which I’m sure added a lot of value,” Self added with a laugh.

“I do think it kind of shows team unity, and the other thing (is), I think our fans like seeing that our guys are real. I think that’s as much as anything it does for us.”

Of course, other dance videos have appeared featuring the Jayhawks in the locker room, such as one filmed after the Ohio State victory and available at

“It’s huge,” Self said of the importance of players having fun. “There’s not a team in America that has fun every time they go play. You go through ruts and lose your personality through the course of the season, at least every team we’ve had. Ours (funk) came at an inopportune time. We were duds three games. I think we got our personality back. When we play with energy, we are good. When we don’t, we get average fast. That’s the thing we have to learn.”

The Jayhawks this past weekend received a jolt of energy from past Jayhawks on hand for the Texas game. They included NBA players Mario Chalmers, Marcus and Markieff Morris, Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor, Nick Collison and Xavier Henry, as well as Jeff Graves, Mario Little, Conner Teahan, Brady Morningstar, Jeff Hawkins and Wayne Simien.

“They text us every now and then,” senior center Jeff Withey said. “The older guys don’t give us a pep talk or anything. We know what we’ve got to do, but it’s definitely good to have them back. They are our old teammates. You want to perform for those guys.”

Seeing them, “gives you a good feeling that shoots through your body,” noted senior Elijah Johnson. “In the locker room, you can’t deny it.”

Noted senior Young: “They let us know we’ve got to come out and do what Kansas does. They did it before us. It’s our time now. It’s more a support thing. They didn’t put pressure on us. At the end of the day, we’re all Kansas.”

Self loves when former players return to town for games.

“These are kids they grew up with,” Self said. “Thomas ... he was a roommate with (Johnson) for three years, and Tyshawn kind of mentored him. The twins, Mario Little, Brady … all of them care about these kids. I text Tyshawn the other day after he had 12 (points for NBA’s Brooklyn Nets). He texts me back. I said, ‘We’ve got to get Elijah going.’ He said, ‘I know, coach. I’m talking to him.’ These guys stay in contact. I think having those guys back will help him a little bit.”

KU will meet Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.

Randle visit: Julius Randle, a 6-9 senior from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas, who arrived for his campus visit Saturday, remained in town Sunday. Randle, who has a final list of KU, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, N.C. State and Oklahoma, could be added to the roster of the McDonald’s All-America game if he shows he’s healthy in the next few weeks, reports. He has returned to action from a foot fracture. Randle scored 19 points while playing just 20 minutes in his Senior Day game at Prestonwood on Friday.

“What we’ll certainly do with Julius — one of the great players in the country, no question, a legitimate four-year man — we’ll take a real good look and see how he comes back physically,” Morgan Wootten of the McDonald’s game told “That’s the key. Everybody knows he can play. It’s just a question of whether he’s physically sound or not.”


AZHawk72 1 year, 1 month ago

I'd bet on Wiggins settling with his "first love," Florida-State. Besides, he's Canadian and probably just wants to check out the states, eh. And this recruiting class, great that it is, already has a bit of a "Wing U" feel about it.

Now, if Arthur had also returned with the crew and sang his rendition of "I had too much to dream last night," we'd probably already have our sixth and final recruit.


Jay Dogger 1 year, 1 month ago

Thre's no way Randle is going to decide before April. As someone said last year, "Randle will spend twice as long on his college recruitment than he will ever spend actually playing college basketball."

Staying until today is a good sign. I can't imagine him playing for UT or OK if he is serious about winning an NC. He's got plenty of reasons to pick Fla or UK and appartently he's quite fond of NC St. I wonder if he has already decided? Time will tell, but Randle won't until April.


TexasRockChalk 1 year, 1 month ago

Man, my new job is cutting into my time ! :)

Seeing Kevin's awesome fro reminds me of the greatness of Starsky & Hutch and Shaft from back in the day. Sure do miss the late 70s and 80s!


Yonatan Negash 1 year, 1 month ago

I would be shocked to see Randle commit to Kansas, it not going to happen. Don't get me wrong, I would love for it to happen but I just don't see it. I think we may have a better chance of getting Wiggins than we do Randle.


HAWKS1 1 year, 1 month ago

I agree....I would put Releford on him. He is our best on-ball defender and his height advantage will be helpful. Of course, he will need some help occasionally, but I still think he is our best bet. Mc is getting better at D and could switch up with Rely some. EJ may be able to handle him for short periods also. Tharpe is just too small.....Smart would eat him up imho RCJH


AsadZ 1 year, 1 month ago

Big game on Wed, winner to take sole possession of 1st place.

From D standpoint key to this game will be on stopping Marcus Smart. I am wondering who will be assigned on him? Can EJ/Tharpe contain him?


Michael Sillman 1 year, 1 month ago

All that I can say is thank goodness that KU recruits don't make their decision based on reading the postings on this website.

The key factors for Randle to make his decision are where will he get the best coaching, where will he develop the most physicially, where will he find the best fit in teammates, and where will he get the most exposure.

Considering those factors, KU has as good a chance as any school at securing his commitment.


SCHNBALL 1 year, 1 month ago

Anyone know the song for the music they play for the decibel level before the start of the game and before the 2nd half?


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm really bored today - just for something to talk about, does anyone have any idea how all these young guys pay for their tattoos? The last one I got was $550 - it's about the size of the one pictured on Travis' left shoulder. There must be a million dollars worth of ink on any basketball court in America on a given night.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 1 month ago

An ESPN article from Dave Telep .. Randle is supposedly staying on his visit through today. Telep said he had swapped texts. No other info. Just talks about that he will be a high impact signing for whoever gets him.

Regarding Frank Mason, this article also states that post grad players were not included in the ESPN 100, and Telep says that Mason is the kind of player that can attack off of ball screens, and should pair nicely with Frankamp. Suggests he's one of five post grad guys to follow next season.


kerbyd 1 year, 1 month ago

I was just thinking of the analogy of CS as "father" of this team. It would be very tough to adopt a new family every year the way he has to. When I was 16 my father was dumber than dirt. By the time I reached 30 I was amazed at how smart he had become. However, it was not my dad who had changed, it was me. Sometimes maybe CS just forgets he has a new set of "kids" he needs to teach his "stuff".


JayDocMD 1 year, 1 month ago

Heading into the w/e I was optimistic with our chances for Randle. I was, however, hoping we would hear a comment from Randle about his visit by now - even if only the typical recruit-speak of "had a great time" or whatever. As far as I've seen, nothing on Twitter or anywhere else.

Its next to impossible to know whats going on or get a read on where we stand, but the impression from afar seems less than favorable. I mean if after experiencing AFH you can't tweet about it, why have Twitter?


justinryman 1 year, 1 month ago

I think as far back as I can remember KU has had a funk, well malybe not 97 until the AZ game(sorry for the bad memories).

Last year it was the Puke game in Maui and the mizzlose game on the road. The year before that the funk was Thomas Robinsons family and the hell he went through.

It's not so much how you got yourself into the funk, but how you get yourself out of the funk. This team tried a 3 hour meeting with the coaches and film, didn't work. They had a players only meeting, didn't work. They took things too serious for a game. When they loosened up, got a little funk-aayyy with it they started playing to win games and not to lose the Conference title, not to lose at home, they played to win.

Now that our funk and been funktified, watch out here comes KU!!

Rock Chalk


William Blake 1 year, 1 month ago

"...a legitimate four-year man...,” Morgan Wootten of the McDonald’s game told"

? Unless Julius' health is off, why would he be a 4-year man? He's got an NBA-body now and plays with NBA aggression. What a dream it would be to have him at KU for 4 years, but I see him more as a one or two-year guy.


jaybate 1 year, 1 month ago

Hypothesis: the team video broke Self out of HIS slump, not the players' slump.

Self was experiencing some middle age burn out and grieving not being young anymore. His effervescent optimism gave way to his perfectionist streak. He kept getting harder and more scathing till he wasn't fun anymore. His players finally quit playing for him, because no matter what they did he was negative. Cin probably talked to Norm and said the team ought do something fun to shake him out of it. Norm mentioned it to Justin. Justin got it together. This has a woman's insight to it. Sometimes youth is the only antidote to old age, and vice versa. Some times men save women and sometimes women save men. This is why we all need each other.

Note: this could be thought of as a more intuitive, less Sherbative approach to the issue. :-)


jhawkrulz 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm very positive about our season, I know we struggled and am nervous about going on the road. However, what I think is the best, even during our big long winning streak (17-18 games), we were just coasting by (winning by a bucket here and there). The past two games were clear who was the better team. If we continue to get better in the second half of conference play, we'll be right where we want to be come tournament time.


jaybate 1 year, 1 month ago

Randle's estimated height in KU inches? 6-10 1/2

Therefore: Randle should come to KU for the height bump, because it will get him drafted higher and make him more money. :-)


jaybate 1 year, 1 month ago

"The Case of the Defunct Funk"

When you have eliminated all other possibilities, the remaining possibility, no matter how improbable, must be the answer. --Sherbate Holmes

Who, or what, is responsible for a team not playing remotely like itself for three games, then resuming as good as ever?


  1. Flu Made them do it--this seemed probable for a time, because one player, Jeff Withey, was admitted to have had flu at the beginning of the funk, and appeared sick. But no one else has appeared sick. Not.

  2. EJ's knee made them do it--Self finally copped to the knee injury, and EJ's face looked puffy the way taking prednisone to reduce inflammation can do. But they looked awful when Naadir ran the team, too. Not.

  3. Internal dissension made them do it--this often happens on teams, but none ever surfaced. Not.

  4. Troubles of the heart made them do it--players (or coachs') troubles with ladies have broken teams' concentrations. Not even rumors of this have occurred. Not.

  5. Coach leaving made them do it--no sign. Not.

  6. Manning effect accumulated and made them do it--Manning showing for KSU coincided with end of funk, but KU started playing a little better against OU with out Manning. Not.

  7. Offensive scheme made them do it--seemed plausible, but they are running same stuff after slump. Not.

  8. Gamblers made them do it--lotsa dinero to be made by insiders knowing a top team will take 3 straight dives, as top teams usually bounce back to beat the spread, but my KU is a paragon of virtue and would never do this. Not. Never.

  9. Self getting them a loss to keep them humble has it cascade made them do it--coaches too clever by half--have been known to let their teams take a beating they can afford to blood them for a stretch run. Confidence gets shaken. Chemistry gets lost. Inept stretch. Not Self's style. Has always preferred a bad W to a good L. Not.


  1. Biased Random Runs Made Them Do It--flip a coin and you will see more than one head, or more than one tail, in a row frequently. Because a coin toss has two possible outcomes and is intentionally randomized by flipping, these runs still tend to result in 50/50 outcomes over time. But, if a coin were weighted to come up heads 84% of the time, and tails 16% of the time, there would still be occassional runs of heads and tails observed in achieving this 84/16 tendency of weighted outcome. Think of KU as a weighted coin. The biasing weights are talent, effort, coaching, home crowd, legacy, the phog, etc. Sickness and injury are random for all teams over the long term, but do cause what appear as short term biases. The team plays in two-outcome events called basketball games. They can win or lose. Though they win 84% of the time because of the weighting, they still have within this biased framework opportunity for short runs of losing and long runs of winning. Or what may be called a biased randomness.

Elementary, Watson


FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

I hope Randle saw the special segment on Saturday Game Day about Andrea Hudy. If he has physical problems, she is exactly what he needs. If he is serious about having a long term career, he better wise up and take advantage of her skills to get him in good physical condition.


wrwlumpy 1 year, 1 month ago

“These are kids they grew up with,” Self said. “Thomas ... he was a roommate with (Johnson) for three years, and Tyshawn kind of mentored him. The twins, Mario Little, Brady … all of them care about these kids. I text Tyshawn the other day after he had 12 (points for NBA’s Brooklyn Nets). He texts me back. I said, ‘We’ve got to get Elijah going.’ He said, ‘I know, coach. I’m talking to him.’ These guys stay in contact. I think having those guys back will help him a little bit.”

This is FAMILY. There is no difference in this communication and that of a father talking with his older son about his younger brother, to help him, talk to him.

Basketball is a game, but at Kansas it is a metaphor for life. Thses "Games" are seen by millions and the Kansas fanbase around the world who live and die with the Jayhawks. The pressure is incredible. Winning offers joy, losing offers lessons in life.

Jay Bilas, who I respect, during the game thinks Bill Self the best coach in the country. Wecome to the club Jay.

Parents of recruits, read the Self quote above.


KansasComet 1 year, 1 month ago

Jayhawks Shake Funk when they win a couple of road games, exact revenge on TCU, and reclaim sole possession of 1st place in Big XII. Much too early to celebrate, long way to go. I am happy we are winning again, losing sucks!


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 1 month ago

“I watched a couple (Harlem Shake) videos. I’d never seen it before. I said, ‘If we’re going to do this, we’ve got to go all-out. We can’t just do a little half version of it. We’ve got to do it the best we can.’”

  • Hopefully, this is the same attitude we bring for each basketball game.

KUFan90 1 year, 1 month ago

Maybe this Morgan Wootten joker from the McDonalds game can tell us why Connor Francamp didn't make the cut?


KULA 1 year, 1 month ago

Great to see the Jayhawks get back into their groove, but I don't see how this game helps recruiting at all, especially with Randle. First off, he's expressed a strong desire to win a championship in his almost guaranteed one year sojourn. Kansas will lose all five starters and return only minimally game-experienced players. Check with Texas and Kentucky on how that's working out for them.

Speaking of minimal game experience, what's up with the "one and done" (one mistake and you're done for the day) treatment of Rio? Especially with a comfortable lead most of the second half. Was Bill really afraid that Texas' team of freshmen and sophomores was going to make a serious run if one of our young players got a few minutes experience?

Add to that the Ellis/Peters effect. Both players whose game I'm sure Randle is quite familiar with, who have struggled (though Perry did have a decent game) or have just had bad luck at Kansas. I don't see how that can have a positive affect on Randle's decision.

And finally, having to watch a handful of coach's kids get PT while Rio rides the pine for one mistake. It's the same basic problem I've had with Bill's coaching for the last few years--you've got players you know you're going to need next year, but you can't get them any game experience even though you're blowing teams out by 20. And I still say that treatment is the reason we've never seen EJ live up to the expectations we had for him when he first came here.

Anyway, don't be surprised to see Randle take his game elsewhere.


Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 1 month ago

Hey, I want one of those chicken head masks, too!!

Good to see the guys having fun, and playing like a team that knows how to run and make things happen on BOTH ends of the floor!!

Also LOVE the alums coming back and showing their love and support for their team. They may be gone from AFH but they are Jayhawks forever!! Having a bunch of them around during the summers, playing with each other and the current team members in those unofficial games at AFH, etc... Pure gold for the ongoing team growth year-round.

As always, ROCK CHALK!!!


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