It’s worth wondering if NBA scouts watching the college basketball game played at an NBA pace Saturday in Gallagher-Iba Arena left the building believing the same thing I did: Picking anybody but Kansas freshman Josh Jackson with the first selection is simply too risky a proposition to undertake because it could make whichever team passed on him look really, really bad in time.
To win this one, Kansas needed more than senior Frank Mason III effectively locking up national player-of-the-year honors and Josh Jackson again showing just how much a freshman so driven and talented can improve in every area of his game over the course of a season. This one wasn’t going to be won without a serious contribution from KU’s once-maligned bench. By Tom Keegan
It’s not as if it hasn’t entered Kansas basketball coach Bill Self’s mind to start Lagerald Vick and bring Svi Mykhailiuk off the bench, but he likes what Vick’s doing for the team in his current role too much to pull the trigger on that switch.
Kansas women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider made a big splash when Jessica Washington and McKenzie Calvert, big names among those familiar with hotshot women’s basketball recruits, announced they were transferring from North Carolina and USC. So far, Schneider is batting .500.
Now that the new-car smell has faded from the UCLA-tying 13th-consecutive conference title, it’s time to examine what it will take for Kansas to own the outright record by securing a 14th Big 12 title in a row.
The Jayhawks are just heating up, ready for the postseason. No way they were going to let Fearless Frank Mason’s final home game end on the court where he arrived as the guard nobody else but Towson wanted, and immediately went to work at building higher hopes and finished as a Kansas legend. By Tom Keegan
Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks have experienced more hostile environments and found ways to slow down more dynamic lineups, while tangling with some of the nation’s top teams over the course of this season. By Benton Smith
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.