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Monday, July 13, 2015

Jayhawks honored to win gold at World University Games

Team USA players bite on their gold medals after a win against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea.

Team USA players bite on their gold medals after a win against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea.

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— With the final seconds running off the clock in the United States’ men’s basketball team’s 84-77, double-overtime victory in the World University Games championship against Germany on Monday at Yeomju Gymnasium, Kansas University junior Wayne Selden Jr. flung the ball as high as he could, setting off a wild celebration. 

The Jayhawks mobbed each other on the sideline opposite their bench, falling into a dog pile. Once they were back on their feet, junior Frank Mason III waved a large American flag that wrapped around his body. The crowd, mostly comprised of South Koreans, started chanting “U-S-A.” 

“It was definitely a blessing to be in this position,” Kansas senior Perry Ellis said. “To come out here and play for the USA, with my teammates, we had so much fun playing. It was just a great experience. Hard-fought game against Germany. That was a great team we played. Just blessed to come out with the win.”

After the Jayhawks did a short dance at mid-court, they hopped off the court, slapping hands with fans on the railing behind their bench on their way to the locker room, prepping for the medal ceremony. 

“Man, I’m real excited to be able to do this with a great group of guys,” said Southern Methodist University senior Nic Moore, one of the two non-Jayhawks on the roster. “Come over here and just have a great game like that, double-overtime and get a victory. All of the emotions are going through me right now, you know what I mean? It’s going to hit me later tonight.

Reader poll

Which KU player do you think the World University Games helped the most?

  • Carlton Bragg 2% 92 votes
  • Perry Ellis 1% 42 votes
  • Devonte Graham 0% 25 votes
  • Landen Lucas 0% 37 votes
  • Frank Mason 12% 519 votes
  • Hunter Mickelson 39% 1597 votes
  • Wayne Selden 40% 1672 votes
  • Jamari Traylor 0% 10 votes
  • Lagerald Vick 2% 90 votes

4084 total votes.

“The support we had and just to be able to put a gold around our neck. Anybody would feel good doing that.”

It took about 10 minutes for the arena staff to prep the court with red carpets and a long medal podium. Then the teams walked out to the award stage together before they were given their medals. The medals were presented by local college students, aspiring to be flight attendants, who had to carry the medals and stuffed mascots on trays. 

At the World University Games, no national anthems are played for the gold medalists. Instead, the FISU (International University Sports Federation) anthem, “Gaudeamus Igitur,” is played, promoting sportsmanship and unity for all countries. 

After the Jayhawks had the gold medals placed around their necks and received their stuffed mascots, the national flags of the U.S., Germany and Russia — the gold, silver and bronze medalists — were raised with the FISU anthem playing. Most of the Jayhawks brought their phones out to the court to record videos. Coach Bill Self and other staff stood on the other side of the court, allowing just the players and team managers to stand on the podium during the ceremony.

Once the medal ceremony ended, the Jayhawks were swarmed by fans, arena volunteers and dancers who wanted to take pictures with the latest champions. 

“It’s a huge thrill and huge honor,” Self said. “Our team really bonded and came together.”


More from Team USA’s double-overtime gold-medal victory


Comments

Joe Ross 1 year, 9 months ago

Winning the Gold at the World University Games means more to this team than what most people may realize. First of all, ignoring everything else about consequences for the Kansas team, it's an honor for these players first to be chosen to represent the United States, to have played well against the level of competition they faced, and then to have run that gauntlet with a gold medal to show for it. It's truly an incredible experience.

But there are repercussions for the team.

While recruiting, the coaching staff gets to go out and say, "Hey, we just beat the world." That reflects great credit upon Coach Self, the players, and the state of the basketball program at Kansas. It's something that no other school can boast of when making visits. Together with the new dorms, the housing of the rules of basketball, and of course the history of Allen Fieldhouse itself, the gold medal performance may well tip the scales for some big-time recruits this year.

And what impact on the season ahead? Confidence. We did this without Graham, without Svi, without Greene, and without Diallo. Winning a national championship is definitely within reach this year. If we do, I think we put the health and reputation of our recent program (the last 5 years, perhaps) up there with Kentucky and Duke.

Final thought. Ive always said Frank Mason isnt Sherron Collins. Dude is trying to make a liar out of me. I still think Id take Sherron in his prime over Mason, but Ill tell you what: these guys are definitely in the same class. Mason is a beast.

John Randall 1 year, 9 months ago

There will be few NBA gms eager to draft 5'11" pgs, but Frank will go ahead of a lot of footers in the Euro market. We saw eight or ten of them the last eleven days.

Joe Ross 1 year, 9 months ago

Oh I definitely agree. Mason will make a few million overseas, I guarantee you. With emphasis on athleticism in the NBA, he wont be earmarked to be a standout stateside. You are also right about lack of size. But Mason's skill set would be unique playing overseas, and the fact that he won a gold medal against world competition and was instrumental in accomplishing it will definitely put him on the radar for foreign scouts. His stock will only improve if Kansas does anything in the NCAA tournament.

Darwin Dandy 1 year, 9 months ago

But I do believe he will get a chance to showcase his skills for the NBA if he keeps building his stock and then anything is possible if he can get a foot in the door

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

Another thing Coach Self gets to say in recruiting that could be even greater with the elite players is that he learned to coach outside the system, and very much played to the strengths of the individuals.

Coach may be going through a mason-esque growth spurt this year. He obviously has a great system, and this hopefully just adds to it.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 9 months ago

Well said!

Frank is only half way through his career at KU. Give him 2 more years and he should have a real chance at matching or even exceeding Collins in his prime. I sure hope he does because that will mean GREAT things for this team the next 2 years.

Eliott Reeder 1 year, 9 months ago

Check out Sherron vs Frank's number for their sophomore years, Frank is better across the board except for finishing at the rim, and he makes up for that in 3PT %...

Aaron Paisley 1 year, 9 months ago

Frank should have better numbers across the board because he played about 10 more minutes per game as a sophomore than Sherron did.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 9 months ago

It goes both ways, I guess. Our players will be recognized around the world. This event is certainly a good way to advertise themselves, in case NBA is out of reach.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 9 months ago

Although I agree it was a heck of an experience, It was the WUG not a top tier tournament. I doubted we could win the gold medal game the way we were playing, I am very proud of the team winning the gold the way they did. The experience will serve all these players well in the upcoming season and in life. Well Done.

You are dead wrong saying we beat the world. We beat the 2nd and 3rd team basketball programs put together after these countries fielded their U19 and Pan Am teams. Most people if they are honest have not even heard of the WUG games, young or old, so thinking they hold some mystic power in recruits eyes is just fallacy.

With the new dorms we have everything to offer and more, but all that means is that none of those things are a negative anymore. It is and has always been about the coach, playing time, and recently how I will be used as a player, that hold sway. You act as if the other Blue Bloods do not offer the same things, that is a narrow view to take. They Do.

We need another championship, that is as clear as it can be. This year the stars are aligning for us. We have a team that Self has had success with in NCAA play, experienced, early critical practice time, etc... The field is fairly open. It is our best chance to make a statement I agree.

I questioned Frank in the early going. I have not in a long time though. He was our most consistent player last year, top player on our team I thought. He can and does win games for us, when our offense disappears. I do not think he is Sherron. Playing condition is never a question for Frank. For this reason alone I give Frank the edge.

Rich Hetherington 1 year, 9 months ago

The WUG was filled with talented players that play for professional clubs across Europe and other places. The Serbian, Lithuanian, Russian and Turkish teams were not 2nd or 3rd rate... that's how I'm going to view this at least. They may have been missing a player or two each, but so were we, and we filled those spots with next in line type guys. It all evened out as far as I'm concerned.

Joe Ross 1 year, 9 months ago

Rodney,

When Coach Self mentions "gold medal" to recruits, I doubt they will parse the meaning of the hardware. Even if particularly knowledgeable ones might know how foreign teams are fielded (with, as you say, less talent for their WUG national team), then if they are that informed then they also know that this Kansas team was short-handed by FAR. That is to say, without Devonte, Svi, Cheick, and Brannen. Coach Self can make that point too. The point is in my favor.

And the dorms are now not just a negative, they are the premier dorm facilities among all basketball programs. When you go from below average accomodations to setting "the...benchmark" for housing facilities, that's not just a wash. Coach Self himself recognizes the impact of housing on recruiting. Source: http://www.elevenwarriors.com/college-basketball-recruiting/2014/06/36633/where-everything-is-an-arms-race-college-athlete-housing-has-entered-the

My analysis is not often so, but it's air tight here.

Ben Berglund 1 year, 9 months ago

Maybe, but we (hopefully) haven't even seen Mason in his prime yet. Sherron is one of my all-time faves, but Frank is fighting his way in there.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

There was good growth last year in Frank learning what it means to be a PG, and he seems to have taken another major jump this year in learning how to control the game. Sherron came to KU as a PG. Frank is learning from the master.

Jeremy Wilhelm 1 year, 9 months ago

Regarding Mason's NBA chances... Nothing is impossible (not that anyone suggested otherwise). Two examples off the top of my head: Ty Lawson. Nate Robinson. Both have played well and meaningfully in the league.

Suzi Marshall 1 year, 9 months ago

Amen to that last comment Brett.

Does anyone else feel the historical significance of the USA, Germany and Russia all standing together on an athletic podium? A quick review of the 20th century will tell any of us that the grandfather's of these kids were trying to kill each other. Russia was our great ally to defeat Germany from 1941-1945, which lead to Germany being our great ally to defeat Russia from 1946 - 1989.

The fraternity of those that compete hard in athletic competitions is one to be admired. Let's keep it on the athletic fields not the battle fields.

Alan Dickey 1 year, 9 months ago

A bit naive. Here's Owens standing on a gold-medal long-jump podium right next to the German silver-medalist in 1936.

Fortunately, only 70,000,000 people were killed by the silver medalist country and its allies during the nine years after this photo was taken.

But Putin would never do that if he had the chance.

Athletic podiums do not change geopolitical realities.

Suzi Marshall 1 year, 9 months ago

Very sadly, I'm all to much aware of the geopolitical and financial realities of the world as well as the cyclical nature of history which tends to repeat itself over and over.

Joe Ross 1 year, 9 months ago

With regard to your last sentence, she is not making that assertion at all. Not even close.

Harlan Hobbs 1 year, 9 months ago

Brilliant as always, Joe.

Since this is the first time, I believe, that an essentially intact college basketball team has represented the USA in modern times in a contest of this magnitude, it remains to be seen how far reaching the impact is. My hunch is that the upside to the KU program is almost unlimited.

The chemistry that this team has is a key element in their success. Many of the players have played together for several years, plus the additions to the team were from programs whose coaching staffs have been part of the Kansas tradition. Therefore, Nic and Julian were familiar with the system and fit in perfectly. As others have said, I will be rooting a little more for SMU and Florida Gulf Coast this year.

As KU moves on toward the opening practices for the coming college year, they will definitely have a step up on most every other program. That, coupled with the confidence they will have, should make for an enjoyable and hopefully even a momentous season.

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