With a busy coaching career and family life dominating most of his time, former Kansas sharp-shooter Jeff Boschee, who still holds most of KU’s biggest 3-point shooting records, has not been able to get back to Lawrence as often as he would have liked since the end of his playing days.
That’s what made Boschee’s return last weekend for the Hardwood Classic AAU tournament at Sports Pavilion Lawrence such a funny story.
“It’s kind of crazy when you come back here,” said the former Jayhawk, who now is in his fourth season as the head coach at D-II Missouri Southern State in Joplin, Mo. “We were coming in on K-10 from Kansas City and I was messing around with my phone while my assistant was driving, and we ended up out by Crown Chevrolet and I looked up and said, ‘Where the heck did you exit?’ I’m used to coming in on 23rd Street.”
After quickly getting his bearings and realizing where he was, Boschee said he became eager to spend part of the weekend exploring all of the other growth that Lawrence has experienced since the late ’90s and early 2000’s.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been back here and it’s amazing, the things that change,” Boschee said. “It’s been kind of fun to go down and see all the changes on Mass Street, all the changes out (west). It’s a pretty crazy deal.”
While Boschee said he was not surprised that Lawrence had grown and taken on a different look since his time at KU, the whole experience made him long for a more regular connection to his former home away from home.
“It’s my fault, but I feel like I need to do a better job just getting back here and trying to get involved a little more,” the North Dakota native said. “It was tough when Coach (Roy) Williams left, to deal with all that, feeling kinda like it wasn’t family here anymore. But every time I see coach (Bill) Self, he’s courteous to me. And any time I text him or congratulate him, he texts right back. So it’s good to know that you’re still part of the family.”
Despite the program now being run by someone other than the man who recruited him to town, Boschee said he still follows the Jayhawks as closely as possible.
“Yeah, you know, as many games as I can, watching them on TV, all the games in the tournament, things like that,” he said.
Like many others, Boschee has been blown away by the job Self has done in the 14 years since Williams left for North Carolina.
“I don’t know what people expected him to do when coach Williams left,” Boschee said of Self. “But I don’t think anybody thought he could do this. It’s absolutely incredible, and he’s made Kansas a brand of basketball that’s second to none.”
As for his own coaching path, Boschee said he is enjoying his time in Joplin and is eager to help the Lions take the next step.
“I was under (25-year MSSU) coach (Robert) Corn as an assistant for four years, and he was really good about letting his assistants do a lot of work,” Boschee said. “That last year, when he knew he was retiring and I was moving into the head spot, he let me do a lot of things and that was huge for my transitioning into being the head coach. We’ve had some success. We’re a good team. But it’s time to take the next step to be great and win conference titles.”