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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Return of Rock Chalk Roundball Classic game set for Thursday night at Free State High

Elijah Johnson, left, tries to hold back Tyshawn Taylor on a fast break during the 2017 Rock Chalk Roundball Classic Thursday evening at Lawrence Free State High School. The annual charity event benefits local families fighting cancer.

Elijah Johnson, left, tries to hold back Tyshawn Taylor on a fast break during the 2017 Rock Chalk Roundball Classic Thursday evening at Lawrence Free State High School. The annual charity event benefits local families fighting cancer.

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The Rock Chalk Roundball Classic returns on Thursday night, and four notable newcomers will be coming with it.

Among the 32 former Jayhawks planning to play in the 13th annual event are twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, 2018 Final Four participant Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and former WNBA lottery pick Danielle McCray.

Mykhailiuk, who participated in last year’s Shooting for the Stars 3-point contest but has yet to play in the game, will be joined by partner-in-crime Devonte’ Graham, who recently was traded from Charlotte to New Orleans.

Roundball Classic regular Ben McLemore, who just signed with the Portland Trailblazers will make it five NBA players at this year’s game, which is slated to tip off at 7 p.m. at Free State High.

“Any time we get first-timers, especially those with NBA experience on their resume, it’s a big deal for us,” event organizer Brian Hanni recently said while previewing the game.

Hanni said he was ecstatic to be able to bring back the live-action game this year but he noted that the ongoing pandemic still will have an impact.

For starters, local officials are only allowing half capacity (800 seats) at the Free State gym. Beyond that, those in attendance will be asked to wear masks in order to make the environment as safe as possible for the families of this year’s three beneficiaries, who are battling cancer.

This year’s three beneficiaries were revealed earlier this week — 8-year-old Riley Howell, of Williamsburg, 8-year-old Matthew Martin, of Liberty, Mo., and 16-month-old Topeka native Briella Hase.

Hanni said there also will be temperature checks at the door and hand sanitizer readily available in every row.

“We had planned all along to make everybody mask up, so that was always in play,” he said. “Thankfully, we were kind of out in front of it.”

A little more than 200 tickets for the game, including 30 “MVP seats” at proper social distancing behind the team benches, are still available at 23rd Street Brewery in Lawrence and two Johnny’s locations in Topeka and Olathe.

The MVP seats will be available on a first-come-first-served for $50 apiece starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday night on the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic Facebook page. All other tickets are $10.

Those who can't attend Thursday's game will be able to watch a replay of the game online in the days and months to come at KUsports.com.

Donations to the cause that has raised more than $670,000 for families affected by pediatric cancer can be made online at rockchalkroundballclassic.com throughout the rest of the week. Spots are still available for Friday’s Rock Chalk Round Bowl Classic at Royal Crest Lanes, where 30 KU celebrities will join teams in the event’s first ever bowl-a-thon.

In addition to the well-known KU basketball alums who will be playing in this year’s game, the 2008 Kansas Orange Bowl team also will be represented.

Former KU quarterback Todd Reesing, Lawrence native and former KU running back Brandon McAnderson, tight end Derek Fine and former San Diego Charger Darrell Stuckey also will be involved.

“We may have to orchestrate a baseline out of bounds play where Reesing throws it over the top to D-Fine,” Hanni joked.

Here’s a quick look at the hoops rosters as of Tuesday night.

Red Team:

Tyshawn Taylor

Svi Mykhailiuk

Markieff Morris

Ben McLemore

Billy Thomas

Elijah Johnson

Travis Releford

Danielle McCray

Natalie Knight-Johnson

Stephen Vinson

Clay Young

Brandon McAnderson

Coaches: Greg Dreiling, Norm Roberts, David Lawrence and Brandon Schneider.

Blue Team:

Sherron Collins

Devonte’ Graham

Jeff Graves

Marcus Morris

Russell Robinson

Tyrel Reed

Brady Morningstar

Ron Kellogg

Cole Aldrich

Mario Little

Carolyn Davis

Todd Reesing

Derek Fine

Coaches: Calvin Thompson, Kurtis Townsend, Darrell Stuckey and Terry Nooner.

Comments

Mike Morris 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I love how Ron Kellogg still laces them up and gets out there with the young 'uns!

Martin Rosenblum 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Blue Team has a slight edge, especially with Todd Reesing! Hard to overlook Graham right now!

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