I was born and raised in Chicago, the South side of town. 103rd Street South and Homan Avenue.
Chicago natives care about sports, mostly pro sports. In fact, I never watched a college sporting event — except for football bowl games I guess — until I was a junior or senior in high school. It's unusual, but I grew up liking both the Cubs and White Sox because my grandfather loved the Cubs and would take me to Cub games and my dad had Sox season tickets and would take me to Sox games.
I switched allegiance solely to the White Sox after we moved to the suburb of Lisle for my junior year of high school. We had season tickets in the fifth row, lower level, which made for some fun summers at Comiskey Park. The 2005 World Series was a great moment for me as Ozzie Guillen finally took care of the Chicago hex in baseball. The Sox not only won it all, but breezed though the postseason. It was nirvana.
I must plug my grade school, Queen of Martyrs. I was 12th man on a 15-man team that won the city eighth grade championship. I ran cross country and track for two years at Brother Rice High School, only because I unfairly got cut from the baseball and basketball teams (just kidding). I moved on to Benet Academy in Lisle for my junior and senior years, but by then my baseball skills had rusted off, so I stuck with running.
Both Catholic high schools are among the best in the country. I'd recommend parents sending their kids to Benet and/or Br. Rice. Brother Rice remains a football power and I enjoy following the team every fall. Benet was a basketball powerhouse for years ... right after my high school class graduated.
At Benet, I was co-editor of the school newspaper with my great friend John Hoppenrath. I knew I was going to major in Journalism in college; he knew he was going to be a rich engineer. Still, he wrote most of the headlines and did most of the layout as putting out the paper in high school proved a major headache.
I decided to attend KU after taking Amtrak to Lawrence with my good friend Gary Karafiat the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. We had a great time on our "visit." A great time. Yes, back in the day, parents would let juniors in high school board a train alone and spend 3 days a good 500 miles from home. My how times have changed.
I attended KU during the end of the Ted Owens era and upon graduation worked for a spell at the Emporia Gazette and Oklahoma City Times before returning to Lawrence after receiving an offer from Chuck Woodlng I couldn' t refuse — covering high schools, KU, the Royals and Chiefs.
I've covered many great sporting events, including the '88 and '08 national basketball title games; two Royals World Series; many excellent Chiefs teams. I've been all over the country following Roy's and Bill's Jayhawks the past 23 years. Favorite places to cover games? Hawaii and Canada of course.
Favorite coaches to deal with? Bill Freeman and Bob Frederick at the high school level. Self, Roy, Larry, Ted Owens, Mike Gottfried, Bob Valesente at the college level. Glen Mason was fun to be around, as well. Self is the best to deal with. He's quite a guy.
Favorite KU player of all time to interview? Ryan Robertson, though there have been many others in his league.
Best player I've ever covered? Danny Manning. Simply amazing.
Best KU hoops team I've covered?: It might have been the 1996-97 squad that fell to Arizona in the Sweet 16. That team lost just two games, unfortunately one was a big one, to the eventual national champs. The '88 and '08 champs of course were amazing teams as well. All three of those teams were unbelievable.
Best game I've ever seen? Probably the '88 final between KU and OU. Remember, it was 50-50 at halftime; people were shaking their heads at halftime.
Best performance I've ever seen? KU wiping out that impossible deficit late against Memphis to win the '08 title.
Lawrence, I feel, is a great place. One of my favorite places in the world is St. John the Evangelist Church. Some great priests have blessed that place, my favorites Fr. John and Fr. Charles. They are great men and I applaud their order - the Capuchin Franciscans. Those who help others, like those priests, are my heroes in life.
Marques Bolden, a 6-foot-10 senior center from DeSoto (Texas) High who is ranked No. 16 in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, apparently has not eliminated Kansas from his list of schools. Also, DeAndre Ayton, a 6-11 junior from Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix, who is ranked No. 4 in the Class of 2017, tells Zagsblog he has not cut his list to KU, Duke and Kentucky, as previously reported. By Gary Bedore
Former Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, of Canada, scored 29 points and had five rebounds in the World Team’s 159-154 loss to the USA, Friday at the NBA Rising Stars Challenge.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self spoke to his team about pre-game hype on Saturday, before his Jayhawks finished a regular-season sweep of Oklahoma, with a 76-72 victory at Lloyd Noble Center. By Gary Bedore
Chicago Bulls basketball coach Fred Hoiberg spent some time in Kansas University coach Bill Self’s office on Friday in Lawrence. “We talked about everything. I was picking his brain,” KU coach Self said after the Jayhawks used Hoiberg’s four-guard Iowa State lineup for several minutes in the Jayhawks’ 76-72 win over Oklahoma, in Noble Center. By Gary Bedore
Bill Self playfully fired a left jab at Devonté Graham’s upper chest before Kansas University’s sophomore guard — the man who dealt a knockout blow to Oklahoma on Saturday in Lloyd Noble Center — began his post-game interview with ESPN’s Shannon Spake. “He said, ‘Good game, way to play,’’’ Graham, a 6-foot-2, 175-pounder from Raleigh, N.C., said of praise showered upon him by KU coach Self after Graham’s career-high 27-point effort. By Gary Bedore
Proud of his team for outscoring, outscrapping, outlasting Oklahoma in a three-overtime battle between the then-No. 1 team in the AP poll (Kansas) and No. 1 squad in the USA Today coaches poll (OU), Bill Self spoke from the heart Jan. 4 in the winner’s locker room in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas University senior forward Perry Ellis’ shooting from two- and three-point range has been uncanny the last three games. By Gary Bedore
Back on Jan. 4, the No. 1 team in the Associated Press basketball poll (Kansas University) outlasted the No. 1 team in USA Today’s coaches poll (Oklahoma), 109-106, in three overtimes in Allen Fieldhouse.
KU Libraries has launched a crowdsourcing campaign entitled, “Cordially yours, Forrest Allen: Preserving the legacy of the Phog.”
Kansas University guard Frank Mason III took an elbow to the face, delivered by West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip, in the second half of the Jayhawks’ 75-65 Tuesday victory at Allen Fieldhouse.