Stories for June 2019


Saturday, June 29

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First-year Baker football coach Jason Thoren primed and ready for new role

Four months into his new role as the head football coach at Baker University, Jason Thoren is exactly where he believes he belongs. Sliding into the head coach’s office to replace former Baker coach Mike Grossner, Thoren acknowledges that there are a few differences about his new job and the one he did under Grossner for the past 15 years. By Matt Tait

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Unlikely path led juco LB Hayden Hatcher to join Jayhawks this year

An unheralded junior college linebacker out to make a name for himself at a summer camp inside the University of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium a couple weeks back, Hayden Hatcher was caught off guard when someone pulled him away from a drill to let him know he needed to take a break. “Les wants to talk to you,” was the message that set the stage for an even more unexpected revelation. By Benton Smith

Friday, June 28

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Multiple factors kept Luke Meadows in Lawrence when Chip Lindsey left for Troy

Kansas offensive line coach Luke Meadows wasn’t surprised when Chip Lindsey approached him.

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KU assistant Mike Ekeler has unique way of communicating with players

Ask any player he has coached. Mike Ekeler doesn’t talk. He doesn’t text. That doesn’t mean the University of Kansas football team’s special teams coordinator and inside linebackers coach is antisocial. As a matter of fact, Ekeler is anything but that, as anyone who follows Ekeler on Twitter has learned. By Andrew Rosenthal

Thursday, June 27

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KU sophomore Ochai Agbaji emphasizing personal development, team leadership this offseason

Within minutes of suffering a season-ending loss to Auburn in this year’s NCAA Tournament, then-Kansas-freshman Ochai Agbaji immediately began looking forward. By Matt Tait

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Notebook: Miles, Long offer thoughts on KU's early 2020 recruiting success

Kansas football coach Les Miles won’t be able to talk on the record about any of his staff’s Class of 2020 recruits until those players officially become part of the program by signing a National Letters of Intent. However, Miles was able to speak far more generally on the subject of KU’s recent recruiting success during a “Hawks & Highways" tour stop earlier this week in Wichita. By Benton Smith

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Gary Woodland adjusts to fame at Rocket Mortgage Classic

In his first tournament since winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, former University of Kansas golf standout and Topeka native Gary Woodland is experiencing a whole new way of life on the PGA Tour.

Wednesday, June 26

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Trying to identify potential standouts in KU football's 2020 recruiting class

While there’s little question that the Kansas football team’s 2020 recruiting class is shaping up favorably, what with its June commitment bonanza, it’s difficult to project which players in the group could turn out to be the most impactful at the college level more than a year from now.

Hill, Langs named to preseason all-Big 12 team

For the seventh-straight season, Kansas volleyball has multiple players on the preseason all-Big 12 team as senior Zoe Hill and sophomore Rachel Langs were recognized by the league coaches entering the 2019 season. It is the first preseason all-Big 12 honor for both Hill and Langs.

Former KU football DB D'Juan Moore transferring to Delaware

After one redshirt season with the Kansas football program, defensive back D’Juan Moore officially has moved on. By Benton Smith

KU women's basketball team releases nonconference schedule

Kansas will have 10 homes contests, including a pair of exhibition games, ahead of Big 12 play during Brandon Schneider's fifth season at the helm of the women's basketball program.

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Former KU standout Darrell Stuckey hosting youth football camp in KCK

Former Kansas football standout Darrell Stuckey will be coaching up youth athletes in his hometown of Kansas City, Kan., on Saturday, when the one-time San Diego Charger pro bowler will head up what’s being touted as Dotte Football Camp.

Tuesday, June 25

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KU football's latest recruiting haul reminiscent of another in Class of 2018

Can Jayhawks hold on to newest batch of commitments?

As momentous as this past weekend turned out to be around the Kansas football facilities, with eight new recruits committing from the Class of 2020 — nine if you count Tuesday’s addition of three-star linebacker Taiwan Berryhill — it wasn’t completely extraordinary for the program. By Benton Smith

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KU football gets late addition to 2019 class in juco LB Hayden Hatcher

The Kansas football coaching staff hopes most of the recruits who have committed to the program over the previous few days will eventually sign with the Jayhawks and join the program in 2020. However, Tuesday night they also added a prospect who could help them out much sooner. By Benton Smith

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3-star LB Taiwan Berryhill makes it 9 new commitments for KU football in 4 days

An aftershock from a massive recruiting weekend for the Kansas football program vibrated Tuesday night, as the Jayhawks picked up yet another three-star prospect for their 2020 class. By Benton Smith

Monday, June 24

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Les Miles' recruiting strategy proving advantageous early for KU football's 2020 class

“You should see how we recruit. We recruit like we make a game plan,” Les Miles said. The approach implemented by Miles and his staff must be doing the trick, given the success of this past weekend, when eight new prospects verbally committed to KU’s 2020 recruiting class. By Benton Smith

KU women's basketball hosts Florida in 2019 Big 12/SEC Challenge

The Big 12 and Southeastern Conferences have announced the continuation of their women's basketball challenge into 2019. Kansas women's basketball will welcome Florida to Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday, Dec. 8 for its Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup.

Sunday, June 23

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Matt Tait: Rock Chalk Roundball Classic just keeps getting bigger, better

For years, the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic was a fun, summer event that brought together a bunch of former KU basketball players for a night of highlights. Today, the Roundball Classic has become a powerhouse, three-day fundraiser for a great cause — helping area families that are fighting against pediatric cancer. By Matt Tait

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List of new KU football commitments for weekend grows to 8 with LB Juan Jarrett's pledge

Two days worth of recruiting victories weren’t enough for the Kansas football program this weekend, as the conveyer belt of commitments kept adding to the stockpile on Sunday. By Benton Smith

Saturday, June 22

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3-star DL Kenean Caldwell becomes 7th prep to commit to KU football in whirlwind weekend

A lively weekend for the Kansas football program’s recruiting efforts kept jetting along Saturday night. Fewer than 24 hours removed from the first commitment of a dizzying span featuring high school prospect after high school prospect announcing his plans to join the Jayhawks, the weekend total for new Class of 2020 pledges hit seven. By Benton Smith

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KU football adds 4 more commitments Saturday morning, bringing weekend haul to 6

The weekend additions for Kansas football didn’t stop when the Jayhawks added two players to their 2020 recruiting class on Friday night — not even close. By Benton Smith

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Pair of 3-star prospects commit to KU football on Friday night of big recruiting weekend

Both considered three-star members of the Class of 2020 according to Rivals, offensive lineman Garrett Jones and cornerback Ja’Cobee Bryant verbally committed to join Les Miles’ Jayhawks during their official visits. By Benton Smith

Friday, June 21

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Busy recruiting weekend ahead for Les Miles and KU football staff

When the dust finally settles on Les Miles’ 2020 Kansas football recruiting class months from now, it’s possible the work currently being done during the summer will go down as the most crucial stretch of the process. By Benton Smith

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Former Jayhawk Frank Mason III entering big summer with Sacramento

Throughout his life, former Kansas point guard Frank Mason has overcome a number of different obstacles and been on a mission to prove his doubters wrong. That mission continues today as Mason prepares to enter his third season in the NBA. By Matt Tait

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Report: Embezzled money directed to father of former LSU football player

According to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, the father of a former LSU football offensive lineman who played for Les Miles received payments from a man who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $550,000 from a nonprofit organization.

Thursday, June 20

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Rock Chalk Roundball Classic Notebook: "Starting Five" the focus of another memorable game

Eudora — The 50-plus former Kansas basketball players on hand might have carried the biggest names, but there was little doubt about to whom Thursday night belonged. By Matt Tait

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Frank Mason III leads Crimson team to victory in debut performance at Rock Chalk Roundball Classic

It’s become a bit of annual summer ritual for former Kansas guard Ben McLemore to return to Lawrence and put on a show at the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic. This time, however, McLemore had company. By Matt Tait

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KU chancellor waiting for news on NCAA investigations like everyone else

The top official at the University of Kansas, like everyone else, is waiting to see whether the KU athletics program will receive allegations of major recruiting violations.

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QB Thomas MacVittie spent spring getting comfortable at KU

As a midyear transfer enrolling at the University of Kansas this past January, Thomas MacVittie got some crucial acclimating out of the way upon joining the football program. By Benton Smith

Wednesday, June 19

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Former Jayhawk Dedric Lawson represents KU's best chance at extending NBA draft streak to 10 consecutive years

It's NBA Draft time again, and while that normally is big news around the Kansas basketball program, two recent Jayhawks are merely hoping to become second-round picks during Thursday's draft in Brooklyn, N.Y. By Matt Tait

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Manny Miles joining father Les Miles' Jayhawks as grad transfer

On a Sunday in late November of this past year, when he was introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Kansas, Les Miles mentioned the college football game he and his family members had attended the previous day. The Miles clan had ventured to Chapel Hill, N.C., to see one of Les’ sons, Manny, who was a backup quarterback at North Carolina. It turns out that won’t be the last time the now much busier coach will get to watch Manny play in person. By Benton Smith

Tuesday, June 18

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Former point guard Tyshawn Taylor wins battle of old vs. new at KU camp scrimmage

A battle of potential game winners between the old and the new highlighted Tuesday’s team scrimmage at Bill Self Basketball Camp. And the advantage went to the veteran. By Matt Tait

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Missouri prep Luke Grimm commits to Kansas football

The Kansas football program added its second 2020 recruit from the bordering Show Me State on Tuesday evening.

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Rosters set for Thursday's Rock Chalk Roundball Classic in Eudora

Thursday night, the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic will be heading east and bringing with it one of the biggest and best crops of former Kansas basketball players ever. By Matt Tait

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Improvment of KU sophomore David McCormack includes expanded range

After an entire season of hearing how sped up he was on the floor, Kansas big man David McCormack has figured out how to slow down. By Matt Tait

Monday, June 17

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To redshirt or not to redshirt? Kansas senior Mitch Lightfoot not worried about that question

KU forward Mitch Lightfoot is back for his final run with Kansas basketball, and, for the second year in a row, questions have surfaced about whether Lightfoot might redshirt the upcoming season. By Matt Tait

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'One of the coolest things to happen to Kansas Athletics': Bill Self captivated by Gary Woodland's U.S. Open victory

Kansas head coach Bill Self has played a couple rounds with pro golfer Gary Woodland, but the very first hole is still a vivid memory for the Hall of Fame coach. It was the first hole at the Lawrence Country Club, which is approximately a 365-yard par-4. Woodland, who played golf at KU from 2004-07, placed his tee shot on the green. He then netted a 20-foot putt for an eagle. Shane Jackson

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KU coach Bill Self reacts to CBS Sports report about expected allegations in college basketball

Count Kansas basketball coach Bill Self in the group of people unsure of whether KU will be one of the programs receiving a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA later this summer. By Matt Tait

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3-star New Orleans DE Khari Coleman commits to KU football

June remained hot on the recruiting front for the Kansas football program on Monday, with another commitment secured. For the sixth time this month KU’s list of 2020 recruits continued growing, and for the second time in that span the new pledge came from a familiar southeastern state. By Benton Smith

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'You got this, Gary': Amy and the U.S. Open champion

From her perch in front of a TV in Florida, Amy Bockerstette had no doubt. How could she, after she and Gary Woodland had come this far together. "You got this, Gary," she kept repeating as Woodland made his way around Pebble Beach on his way to the U.S. Open title Sunday. "You got this." On the course, Woodland was telling himself the same thing.

Sunday, June 16

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Woodland wins! Former Jayhawk star captures first career major at U.S. Open

After taking the lead with a monster second round at famed Pebble Beach, former Kansas golf standout Gary Woodland kept the lead to the end, finishing the job Sunday afternoon with the first major title of his career. By Matt Tait

Saturday, June 15

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If KU Athletics receives allegations of recruiting violations from NCAA this summer, what happens next?

If the NCAA sends allegations of major recruiting violations to the University of Kansas athletics program this summer, it may take at least a year before the case is resolved, an NCAA rules expert recently told the Journal-World.

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Former Jayhawk Gary Woodland maintains lead at U.S. Open heading into Sunday's final round

With some of the biggest names and best golfers in the world looming at the U.S. Open, former University of Kansas golf standout Gary Woodland now sits 18 holes away from winning his first major title. By Matt Tait

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3-star linebacker Krishawn Brown commits to KU football

On the same day Kansas lost a player from its 2020 class, Les Miles gained another verbal commit.

Auburn selects KU assistant Lilley to lead its women's tennis program

University of Kansas assistant head tennis coach Caroline Lilley has been named the new head coach of the Auburn University women's program. Lilley spent the past four seasons helping lead KU's tennis program back to prominence, not only in the Big 12 Conference but nationally as well.

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Texas prep WR Keith Miller III flips commitment from KU football

Keith Miller III has flipped his commitment again.

Friday, June 14

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Gary Woodland roars to top of U.S. Open leaderboard after 2 rounds

A three-time winner on the PGA Tour but still in search of that elusive first major championship, former University of Kansas golf standout Gary Woodland roared his way to the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard on Friday. By Matt Tait

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KU soccer program hires new assistant

The Kansas women’s soccer program has added a new face to head coach Mark Francis’ coaching staff.

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KU receiver Evan Fairs improves route running after electing to redshirt last year

Not long after Emmett Jones was named the new receivers coach for the Kansas football team, he sat down to watch some film on Evan Fairs.

Thursday, June 13

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Twice Is Nice: New Jayhawk Jalen Wilson happy that Round 2 of recruiting led him to Kansas

Although the past several weeks have been a whirlwind for new Kansas basketball signee Jalen Wilson, the 4-star wing forward from Guyer High in Denton, Texas, said none of what transpired since the end of the college season caught him off guard. By Matt Tait

Wednesday, June 12

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NCAA set to send notice of major recruiting violations to schools; official confirms NCAA can't get controversial Townsend wiretap

The NCAA won't be able to get its hands on one of the most intriguing wiretaps obtained by the FBI in an investigation of basketball recruiting violations involving the University of Kansas, according to a CBS Sports report. But KU may soon face a reckoning with the NCAA anyway.

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4-star wing forward Jalen Wilson signs with Kansas

Michigan’s loss is Kansas’ gain. Seconds after the clock struck 2 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, 4-star prep prospect Jalen Wilson announced on Twitter that he planned to play college basketball at KU. By Matt Tait

Tuesday, June 11

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Elijah Johnson's Self Made squad earns No. 3 seed in Wichita region of TBT

It was the perfect time to participate in a Kansas basketball summer camp scrimmage. Just hours after The Basketball Tournament bracket was released, Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford were the only two former KU players to compete in a scrimmage with the current crop of Jayhawks Tuesday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

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'He wouldn’t get off the court': Silvio De Sousa makes long-awaited return during KU camp scrimmage

There was no official box score and no designated stat keeper, but in the case of Kansas junior Silvio De Sousa neither was needed. Tuesday marked the first of two annual Bill Self Basketball Camp games, and De Sousa, now 19 days removed from being declared eligible for the 2019-20 season by the NCAA, was out on the floor in front of a couple hundred campers ready and willing to put on a show.

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Schlagle RB Jaylin Richardson verbally commits to KU football

Another local product is slated to join the Kansas football team.

Woman said ex-football player lost video game, got mad before pointing shotgun in her face at KU dorm, affidavit says

A woman told police that a former University of Kansas football player got mad when he lost a video game and then attacked her — “strangling” her then pointing a loaded shotgun in her face — according to an affidavit.

Monday, June 10

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Prep WR Kyler Pearson, from Oklahoma, announces commitment to KU

The Kansas football team picked up on Monday night its third verbal commitment this month for its 2020 recruiting class.

KU student-athletes set combined GPA record for second-straight semester

Kansas Athletics student-athletes set a department record with a combined grade-point average (GPA) of 3.13 during the spring 2019 semester, Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long announced Monday afternoon.

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Devon Dotson cites desire to win, avenge 2018-19 season as big reasons for his return to Kansas

Kansas point guard Devon Dotson on Monday described his recent testing of his NBA draft stock as equal parts fun and work. By Matt Tait

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Iowa grad transfer Isaiah Moss signs with Kansas

The Kansas men’s basketball team has added a shooter to its roster for the 2019-20 season, and, after a whirlwind month following his final class at the University of Iowa, grad transfer Isaiah Moss again believes he is where he belongs. By Matt Tait

Sunday, June 9

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Former KU golfer Chris Thompson records best finish of rookie season on PGA Tour

Former Kansas standout golfer Chris Thompson turned in the best four-round finish of his rookie season on the PGA Tour north of the border this weekend in Ontario, Canada.

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KU walk-on Michael Jankovich loving Lawrence reunion

After leaving town with his father following the 2006-07 season, new KU walk-on Michael Jankovich is back in Lawrence and loving every minute of it. By Matt Tait

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Les Miles inducted into Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

While Les Miles is in the early stages of rebooting his football coaching career at the University of Kansas, this weekend served as a reminder of how important Miles was for the LSU program. By Benton Smith

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3-star LB Kershawn Fisher commits to KU football

The Kansas football program’s 2020 recruiting class continued growing this weekend, gaining its first linebacker in the process. By Benton Smith

Saturday, June 8

Emilianov earns All-America honors in discus

Kansas sophomore Alexandra Emilianov earned First Team All-America honors in the women's discus by finishing fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Saturday afternoon at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.

Friday, June 7

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KU's Bryce Hoppel completes perfect outdoor season in 800 as national champ

University of Kansas runner Bryce Hoppel headed to Austin, Texas, on Monday fixed on capping his incredible junior season in the only fashion that seemed suitable, by winning the 800-meter dash yet again so he could return to Lawrence with another national championship. Friday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium, Hoppel achieved his season-long goal, while also maintaining his season-long unbeaten mark in individual races.

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Report: Jayhawks back in the running for Iowa grad transfer Isaiah Moss

A little light in the backcourt and short on perimeter shooting, the Kansas men’s basketball program may be in the process of addressing both areas on the recruiting trail. By Matt Tait

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June a busy recruiting month for Les Miles and KU football staff

The recruiting battles that will shape the Kansas football program’s 2020 class are far from over. But a week into what is shaping up to be a busy June for head coach Les Miles and his staff, the Jayhawks appear to be off to a sound start on the recruiting front.

Thursday, June 6

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3-star DB Jayden Russell not joining Jayhawks this summer

Although he said as recently as a week ago that he planned to join the Kansas football program this summer, that will not be the case for Class of 2019 signee Jayden Russell. By Benton Smith

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Freshman guard Issac McBride finds himself growing comfortable at KU in 1st week on campus

When freshman Issac McBride endured his first workout as a member of the University of Kansas basketball program earlier this week, the newcomer from Little Rock, Ark., immediately recognized he had reached a completely different level of competition. By Benton Smith

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KU guard Marcus Garrett still on the mend from high ankle sprain that hindered him last season

Still on the mend from the high ankle sprain he suffered during a KU practice on February 1, Kansas junior Marcus Garrett said Thursday that he can see the finish line to the land of full recovery. By Matt Tait

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KU Athletics increases football funding, looks to develop plan for stadium renovations, other projects

The University of Kansas athletic department is expected to increase its investment in its football program next school year.

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Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike calls return to KU 'exciting,' lists getting back in shape as top goal

A little more than a month removed from his decision to return to Kansas for his senior season, KU center Udoka Azubuike has one priority standing out above all others. By Matt Tait

Wednesday, June 5

Dudarev, Bradford earn All-America honors to begin NCAA Championships

The Kansas men's track & field team earned two First Team All-America honors on the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Austin, Texas.

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Moving 3-point line back 1 of 4 rule changes adopted by NCAA for 2019-20 season

Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a set of proposed rule changes for the 2019-20 season that included moving the college 3-point line back to the international distance of 22 feet, 1.75 inches from 20 feet, 9 inches, and resetting the shot clock to 20 seconds (instead of 30) on offensive rebounds.By Matt Tait

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'It feels great just to be back'

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa still overjoyed about winning NCAA appeal

While working the Washburn basketball camp in Topeka on Wednesday afternoon, Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa took a break to talk with reporters for the first time about his newfound eligibility and the end of a process that lasted months and tested De Sousa's determination. By Matt Tait

Tuesday, June 4

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KU's Bryce Hoppel eyeing another 800 win and another NCAA championship

Habitually victorious on the track, particularly in his signature event, the 800-meter dash, University of Kansas junior runner Bryce Hoppel hasn’t finished a prelim or final in any place but first in each of his previous 17 tries. By Benton Smith

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Red Sox select KU pitcher Zeferjahn, catcher Groshans in 3rd and 5th rounds of MLB draft

KU baseball teammates and longtime friends, Ryan Zeferjahn and Jaxx Groshans, on Tuesday were drafted in the third and fifth rounds of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft by the Boston Red Sox.By Matt Tait

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Azubuike, Elliott cleared to return to action for KU basketball program

Kansas senior Udoka Azubuike, who missed all but nine games of the 2018-19 season because of the second significant wrist injury of his career, has been cleared to return to basketball activities. By Matt Tait

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KU walk-on Garrett Luinstra plans to transfer

According to a source close to the program, Kansas guard Garrett Luinstra is planning to transfer this offseason. By Matt Tait

Monday, June 3

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Mason Fairchild looking forward to 'intense' summer work with KU football

While much of his focus for the past few months turned Mason Fairchild’s attention toward his track and field exploits, culminating with his top-three finishes in Class 4A in both the shot put and javelin at the state meet, Fairchild never went long without thinking about what was to come in June. By Benton Smith

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Duke, Maui, Villanova headline KU's 2019-20 non-conference basketball schedule

A return trip to Maui, a meeting with perennial power Duke and December visits to Northern California and Philadelphia highlight the non-conference portion of the 2019-20 Kansas men’s basketball schedule. By Matt Tait

Sunday, June 2

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With younger sibling's commitment, Mayberry brothers plan to team up at KU

If everything goes according to plan, the Kansas football team will have two Mayberrys among its defensive backs in 2020. By Benton Smith

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KU ace Ryan Zeferjahn eyeing history in 2019 MLB draft

The first two rounds and 78 picks of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft are slated for Monday night and there’s a strong chance that a Jayhawk will be included. By Matt Tait

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Jayden Russell: KU football newcomers 'hitting the ground running' this week

Before Jayden Russell arrived in Lawrence on Sunday to move into his apartment with fellow Kansas football freshmen Gavin Potter, Valerian Agbaw and Kenny Logan, Russell didn’t know all of the details of what awaited him and the numerous other newcomers officially joining the program this weekend. Even so, Russell was sure of one thing. By Benton Smith

Saturday, June 1

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RB Amauri Pesek-Hickson won't join KU football until 2020

Amauri Pesek-Hickson, the running back from Blue Valley North who signed with KU this past February, still plans on joining the Jayhawks. But Pesek-Hickson won’t be doing so until the 2020 spring semester. By Benton Smith

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Les Miles rappels down 7 story building to help raise money for Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence

Before Les Miles headed downtown Saturday morning the Kansas football program’s head coach presented some of his assistants with a proposition. “Hey, if you go off the edge first, I’ll give you a raise,” Miles joked before heading to the rooftop of 888 Lofts. By Benton Smith