Imagine a world where the better a prisoner is at beating up another man with his fists and feet, the greater his chance at gaining freedom. Better yet, don’t imagine that world. Immerse yourself in it from a safe distance for 90 minutes Friday night in front of your television. You can do that by watching former Kansas football player Micah Brown’s documentary, “Prison Fighters: 5 Rounds to Freedom." By Tom Keegan
On a night when Bill Self’s Kansas basketball players did what they always seem to do — win at Allen Fieldhouse and accumulate new Big 12 championship gear — an unexpected conqueror emerged from the KU bench. By Benton Smith
All the chatter surrounding the Kansas basketball team has centered on its incredible finishes, which hasn’t left room for much talk about who starts. By Tom Keegan
Most of the 10,021 in Ferrell Center whistled, waved, hollered and did whatever else they thought might influence Landen Lucas to miss at the free-throw line with the game tied and 11.5 seconds showing on the clock. By Tom Keegan
Bill Self still has not had the pleasure of kicking back with a plate of BBQ and a strawberry soda in front of his TV to watch one of his Kansas players compete in the NBA All-Star Game, although he did coach three-time All-Star Deron Williams at Illinois. As for coaching against players who went on to play in the league’s splashy mid-season exhibition, that’s another story entirely.
Eighteen hours later, colorful analyst Dick Vitale still was juiced by witnessing the unlikeliest of Big Monday comebacks, one that ended with Kansas stealing a victory from West Virginia, 84-80 in overtime.
The fans who turned their backs on the court and headed for the exit ramps as West Virginia led by 14 points with fewer then three minutes remaining, just might have been muttering, “Where have you gone, Devonte’ Graham? It seemed like just yesterday you outplayed the best player in the country.” Fair question, but those who left were not able to witness Graham’s return to prominence, not to mention a once-in-a-lifetime team comeback. By Tom Keegan
Such brutal blocks of a schedule have been known to expose freshmen as less-than-ready for the prime-time. Not just any freshman, Josh Jackson has exploded with his most productive run, which figures. His emergence as a consistent big-time scorer coincides precisely with the uptick in the difficulty of the schedule. The more his team needs him, the better he tends to play.
Josh Jackson arrived at Kansas with a sophisticated basketball mind and perpetually revved motor, but in the months of November and December he flashed teenager moments. By Tom Keegan
Early in David Beaty’s tenure as head football coach at Kansas, athletic director Sheahon Zenger mentioned in passing but with confidence that it had been his experience that it takes until a coach’s third year on the job for him to get his staff just right.
Kansas, of all places, is fast becoming a popular destination for college football prospects from the state of Louisiana.
The play called for the ball to go to Josh Jackson in the post and it did, where two defenders quickly crowded him. Thinking and acting quickly, as is his way, Jackson whistled the ball to Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk for a wide-open 3 that he hit late to help Kansas score a 74-71 victory over Kansas State in a battle played in front of 12,528 rowdy witnesses. “Biggest shot of the game,” Kansas coach Bill Self said of the Svi 3 that broke a tie with 2:34 left. Kansas led the rest of the way. By Tom Keegan
This is how easier-than-most-to-shake upsets happen in basketball: A talented player who doesn’t care how many shots in a row he has missed keeps firing without ever looking back, without ever fearing consequences in the event the shots keep clanking off the rim. By Tom Keegan
What if another suspension comes? What if another player suffers an injury? Fewer blowouts have resulted in fewer minutes for walk-ons. Even so, based on limited evidence, it doesn’t seem to be as talented a group as in many years.
Back-to-back games against top-five teams, one in enemy territory with more than 24,000 rooting against him, the other in the building that supplies college basketball’s most outrageous home-court advantage. Time for Josh Jackson to show the nation how much he loves to play basketball, how much he loves to win. By Tom Keegan