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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

KU basketball’s red uniforms a request of ‘Number 4’

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) watches a highlight video with his teammates following their 80-70 win over Texas on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. The win gave the Jayhawks an outright win of their 14th-straight Big 12 Conference title.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) watches a highlight video with his teammates following their 80-70 win over Texas on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. The win gave the Jayhawks an outright win of their 14th-straight Big 12 Conference title.

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Kansas basketball coach Bill Self did not even attempt to hide his true feelings when asked after Monday's 80-70 victory over Texas how he felt about his team's unusual red uniforms.

“I'm not a fan of red,” Self said matter-of-factly, before adding, “at all,” for emphasis.

But Monday night was not about Self and his superstitious nature. It was about seniors Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk and Clay Young. And at least one of those Jayhawks really wanted to wear red before his career was finished.

“Yeah, that was me,” Graham said after tallying 10 points and 11 assists in his final performance at Allen Fieldhouse. “I think I saw a highlight of them wearing red and it just looked good. And I just asked coach if we could get them. I had to go through a little process. Go here, go here, ask here, ask here — and they said, 'Yeah, he would do it.'”

Reluctantly.

Self blamed both adidas and Graham for forcing the uniform change — in doing so, the KU coach referred to Graham as “Number 4” — and explained the thought process that went into wearing them on Senior Night.

“We didn't get them until after conference play started,” began Self. “And I wasn't going to wear them and not play well because of our uniforms, obviously. This was the last game that we could do it, so we did it. I told him we better win.”

It marked the first time since Dec. 31, 2011 that the Jayhawks wore red in an real game — KU also wore red in an exhibition win over Washburn in 2012 — and the fifth or sixth time overall during Self's 15 seasons in charge.

Self's squads have done well while wearing crimson — 84-58 winners over North Dakota in that New Year's Eve game in 2011 and 76-55 winners over Colorado State on Dec. 11 the year before — but even after Monday's victory, the coach who prefers white, blue or even gray to the bolder look of red did not sound like a man who was going to mix the brighter uniforms into the rotation on his own.

“Red hasn't really been great for Kansas over time,” Self reminded. “The first time I think Larry (Brown) wore them was at the (1986) Final Four in Dallas,” and KU lost that game to Duke, 71-67, when Danny Manning was a sophomore.

If we're being honest, it probably took a player of Graham's caliber to get the request for red to become a reality.

Self is not in the business of handing out favors to every player who has a crazy inclination. But for a player whom he called, “probably the most complete student-athlete that we've had since we've been here. Probably as good a leader and man as we've had here at Kansas,” it seemed like a no-brainer to put the superstitions aside and let Graham have his moment.

“We played good on Saturday in Lubbock,” Graham said. “And I asked him as soon as we landed if we could wear them for Senior Night and he said yeah and that we better play good in them.”

That wasn't a joke. And Self made that clear after the 10-point victory and emotional Senior Night festivities.

“I thought we played so poorly the last 10 minutes of the game. We could've left out of here on a really high note if we had played better down the stretch. … I was glad that we were able to pull it out.”

And even more glad that, with nothing but a road game and postseason games ahead, the red jerseys will go back on the hangers until another Devonte' Graham comes along.





More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas


By the Numbers: Kansas 80, Texas 70.

By the Numbers: Kansas 80, Texas 70.

Comments

Mike Riches 2 months, 4 weeks ago

This is such a great story...I laughed out loud when I heard Coach talk about this in the post-game. "This was the last game that we could do it, so we did it. I told him we better win.” :) Classic!

Tony Bandle 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I thought maybe Sammy Hagar was in the house!!

Andy Tweedy 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I may be they youngest person reading this who knows to what you're referring to here, and I'm no longer young!

Dave Miller 2 months, 4 weeks ago

I like the crimson uniforms. I wish they'd wear them more often. Coach, it's time to set that old superstition aside. :)

Bryce Landon 2 months, 4 weeks ago

That, and his being an OSU alum and hater of red because it's an OU color too...

Andy Tweedy 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Hmmmm, that certainly could be. I love those unis, loved them when I was in school, loved them when Roy stuck them on the shelf and love them now! But then again, outside of those pee stained unis we wore at Coastal Carolina, I love anything and everything that says KANSAS on it!

Tom Jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Too much red in the conference already and we're the only blue. Makes no sense to go red, even without the superstition.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

We ought to wear red every time we play Kansas State. And because West Virginia uses blue as one of their school colors, we ought to wear red when we go to Morgantown.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Come on, Bill! The Jayhawks looked great in Crimson! It's one of the school colors! You haven't lost a game while wearing red since you've been here!

Andy Tweedy 2 months, 3 weeks ago

It's not JUST a school color, it's the first one listed! I'm on Team Bryce on this

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I stand corrected - someone below reminded us that Kansas DID lose while wearing red during the Self era - we got our asses handed to us by Villanova in 2005.

But since Self took over, that's the only game we've lost while wearing red.

Thomas Green 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The Crimson looked great...should wear them more often. I think Devonte earned it for this occasion!

Mike Riches 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Matt, are you sure that the two games you mentioned in 2010 & 2011 are the only games in the Self era where we wore red? For some reason, I seem to remember J.R. Giddens in a red uni...and I felt like at some point we had a bad loss while wearing red...maybe I'm just getting senile.

Tom Jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"It marked the first time since Dec. 31, 2011 that the Jayhawks wore red in an real game — KU also wore red in an exhibition win over Washburn in 2012 — and the fifth or sixth time overall during Self's 15 seasons in charge."

Mike Riches 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks! I missed that on the first read!

Joshua Hann 2 months, 3 weeks ago

January 22, 2005 in Philly vs. Villanova. 83 - 62 smackdown as KU was number 2 in the country and undefeated. Giddens was on this team.

Tom Jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Yeah, Bill hated them already b/c of '86, but that pretty much solidified his hatred.

We only wore them after that b/c of existing contractual obligations.

Mike Riches 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Ugh, I do remember that game...the blizzard game. I remember the image of all five starters sitting on the bench, because Self was so frustrated with them. I don't know of another time that Self has ever done that...maybe the TCU/YMCA game??

Tim Fields 2 months, 3 weeks ago

We will all miss Devonte and Svi next year. They represent what KU is supposed to be. Classy players with talent and drive to win. I hope next years team can live up to the example set by these two starters. Clay gets a shout out as well what a great group of seniors to follow Mason who is still one of the best ever examples of what KU basketball players should strive to be.

Robert Brock 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Coach Self, please get rid of the red uniforms - and get rid of adidas while you are at it!

Chandler Accipiter 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Didn't KU wear the red uniforms before the Final Four in '86? Maybe against Detroit earlier that season? If so, what an odd thing to remember for 32 years!

Freddie Garza 2 months, 3 weeks ago

When Devonte made the comment that there were some people earlier in the season saying that they didn't deserve to wear the Kansas uniform, there was an audible gasp from the crowd. The thing is, he's right.

If we're being honest, we have one of the most spoiled fanbases in all of college basketball, because we've stood by as this program has won now 14 league titles in a row. It's now at the point where we EXPECT to have a dominant team, and if things start getting a little rocky, it certainly doesn't bring out the best in us...kind of like a spoiled little kid that's used to getting everything they want. When they are finally told "no" a tantrum ensues, and it's usually pretty ugly.

That's where we are.

Heaven forbid that we ever finish second in the league title race, the fanbase will be demanding that heads roll, while 8 other teams in the league are WISHING for that type of finish.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

When you're not only losing, but losing three times at home, and losing those games in embarrassing fashion (blowing a 13-point lead in a 10-point loss to Arizona State - a 23-point swing, dominated by Texas Tech from start to finish in a 12-point loss, down by as many as 18 to an Oklahoma State team that had 9 losses at the time of the game en route to a 5-point loss), it was natural to question whether or not they deserved to wear the Kansas uniform. They didn't deserve it at the time. But since the butt-kicking at Baylor, they have shown that they DO deserve to wear it.

Tom Jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"deserve to wear the Kansas uniform"? LMAO

Just stop. You were making progress for a few days...

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Fan overreaction on steroids with today's social media. Not saying it's right. It's not.

Sometimes your emotions get the better of you.

Clark Groseth 2 months, 3 weeks ago

OMG! RED uniforms and a little zone defense. I thought I just saw a huge flock of flying pigs!

Raymond Wright 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I was more worried about the 2008 09 team. They went into that season unranked and a bunch of young unproven guys. That was the year I decided I would never question Self ever again. And I haven't.

Brad Watson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Always wear white at home...I'm old school.....

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