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.
Able to practice but unable to play in games during the 2013-14 season, Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson will have plenty of time to familiarize himself with Kansas University’s basketball program. By Gary Bedore
Kansas University freshman guard Conner Frankamp showcased his deadly three-point shot in a camp game last week and says he's adjusting well to life as a Jayhawk. By Gary Bedore
Former Kansas University guard Sherron Collins has been in town the past several weeks, trying to shed some pounds and rejuvenate his hoops career. By Gary Bedore
The buzz started late Saturday morning when Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self told his campers that prize freshman forward Andrew Wiggins of Toronto was en route to KC International Airport. Just a few hours later, the country’s No. 1-rated recruiting prospect in the Class of 2013 was on KU’s campus, as confirmed to the Journal-World by Self. By Gary Bedore
Ryan Robertson, who attended Roy Williams’ Kansas University Basketball Camp as a freshman at St. Charles (Mo.) West High, on Friday was back in Allen Fieldhouse for Bill Self’s Parent/Child camp. By Gary Bedore
Tyrel Reed swished a three in overtime to give the Kansas University alumni Blue team a victory over the White squad in Thursday’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic charity game at Free State High. By Gary Bedore
There was a time when Kansas University freshman Brannen Greene had little in common with the 800 crimson-and-blue-loving youths who watched him erupt for a game-high 21 points in Wednesday’s Bill Self campers game in Horejsi Center. By Gary Bedore
Kansas University sophomore forward Perry Ellis says he's working hard to build on strong play from the end of his freshman season. By Gary Bedore
Kansas University sophomore forward Jamari Traylor didn’t expect to break down and cry before 800 youths during his appearance as guest speaker at the Bill Self basketball camp on Monday in Horejsi Center. But he did. By Gary Bedore
Frank Mason and his Kansas University basketball teammates good-naturedly signed shirts, shoes, basketballs, posters and plain sheets of paper for hundreds of KU coach Bill Self’s basketball campers during a marathon 21⁄2-hour orientation session Sunday in Booth Family Hall of Athletics. By Gary Bedore