It was a simple question posed to Udoka Azubuike on Tuesday: what did it mean to him to advance to the Final Four?
Azubuike quickly turned to some of the hardest parts of the season, including the Jayhawks' home losses, and said that's what made it more special.
"What we've been through right from the jump, it's not been easy," Azubuike said. "There's been a lot of humps, ups and downs, negatives and positives, all that stuff. But it really means a lot, man. This team never gave up."
Returning to Lawrence after helping the Jayhawks advance to the Final Four with an Elite Eight victory against Duke, Kansas freshman forward Silvio De Sousa thanked all of the fans for their support since he arrived during the middle of the season.
"When I was in high school, I had friends and I kind of felt lonely sometimes, most of the time," De Sousa said. "But ever since I got to Kansas, I feel like I have my family here."
As a bonus to making the Final Four, De Sousa plans to see his parents for the first time in about a year when they watch him play in San Antonio, helped by an NCAA program that helps pay the expenses for players' families.
In a game that included the biggest shot of his career, Kansas senior guard Svi Mykhailiuk broke down his game-tying 3-pointer against Duke in the Elite Eight, which forced overtime and helped the Jayhawks to their eventual victory.
A couple of days afterward, he believed it was the toughest game he played in his career, especially because he matched up with Marvin Bagley III.
"I think that's the best player in my college career I've played against," Mykhailiuk said.
Omaha, Neb. — After an 85-81 victory over Duke in the Elite Eight on Sunday, Malik Newman said it was hard to process his first trip to the Final Four.
"It still doesn't feel real, even to this point," said Newman, who scored a game-high 32 points. "I know we there. We're happy to be there. I'm excited to be there, I know the seniors is and the rest of the team and coaching staff ... tomorrow when I wake up, I think I'll feel totally different."
Newman played defense on Grayson Allen on Duke's final possession, watching Allen's shot bounce on the rim twice before slowly rolling out. He thought it gave the Jayhawks a confidence boost to force overtime.
"I just knew that I had to step up with my play for the last five minutes of the game because at the end of the day, it could've been our last five minutes."
A look at the Kansas basketball players' postgame celebration following their 85-81 overtime victory against Duke in the Elite Eight at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
Omaha, Neb. — Averaging more than 13 points during the NCAA Tournament, Kansas junior guard Lagerald Vick believes the Jayhawks are playing with more confidence entering Sunday's Elite Eight game against Duke.
Vick said he thought Duke was the best team the Jayhawks will play at this point in the season, but his recent strong play has been led by an "aggressive mindset."
"I feel like everybody is on the same page and we're just out there playing," Vick said.
Omaha, Neb. — As he has during every media session since injuring his left knee before the Big 12 tournament, Kansas center Udoka Azubuike provided another update on his status Saturday, on the eve of the Elite Eight.
The 7-foot sophomore said he couldn’t really tell what percentage his knee was at but admitted it’s still not 100 percent — he is wearing a brace on it after all.
The starting center remembered head coach Bill Self saying Azubuike’s left knee was 100 percent before the Clemson game and laughed. KU’s big man said he aggravated his knee “a little bit” on a fall during KU’s Sweet 16 win Friday night.
“But it’s not that serious,” he added, the day before the Jayhawks’ regional final showdown against Duke, and freshman bigs Wendell Carter Jr., and Marvin Bagley III.
Azubuike added he hopes his knee will feel close to 100 percent against the Blue Devils.
Omaha, Neb. — Duke freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. says it will bring back a lot of memories when he sees Kansas sophomore center Udoka Azubuike on the other side of the court before Sunday's Elite Eight game at CenturyLink Center.
Carter and Azubuike were AAU teammates winning the prestigious Peach Jam together. But once the ball is thrown in the air, Carter said both players are too competitive to let it affect them.
"This is one of the reasons I play basketball, for these moments like this," Carter said. "I just want to go out there and play as hard as I can and do whatever I have to do to make sure our team is the one on top."
Omaha, Neb. — After an 80-76 victory against Clemson on Friday to advance to the Elite Eight, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said he considers it a great season for the Jayhawks. But he’s hopeful that the season can continue with a trip to San Antonio next week.
“It’s been great, but it would be nice to make it special,” Self said. “I think in order to do that, at Kansas, you have to go to the Final Four. I honestly believe that, I’ve always thought that, but we should play free and loose on Sunday, though.”
Despite the Jayhawks’ three wins in the NCAA Tournament, Self believes the Jayhawks haven’t played “great” yet.
“I don’t know what we’ll do different, but I know one thing: I’m going to tell my guys to let it fly,” Self said. “Whoever we are playing (Duke or Syracuse), you know we’re going to have to shoot 30 3s.”