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Top 10 KUsports.com stories from 2011

It’s time to take a look back at the year that was in Kansas University athletics.

The following are the top 10 most-clicked on stories for KUsports.com in 2011:

10. KU men's basketball earns No. 1 seed (29,293 pageviews)

Following a 32-2 regular season, the Kansas men's basketball team earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament's Southwest region. Most of the talk on Selection Sunday was about Boston U., a potential "Killer B" following recent KU losses to mid-majors Bucknell and Bradley in the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks took a 72-53 victory over Boston but were later tripped up by VCU in the Elite Eight.

9. Recruit DeAndre Daniels delays decision (30,118 pageviews)

In a recruitment that never seemed to end, Rivals.com's 10th-ranked player in the class of 2011 announced that he was pushing back his much-awaited announcement for another day. The 6-foot-8 Daniels — who had a final list of Kansas, Texas, Duke and Oregon at the time — eventually ended up committing to UConn more than two weeks later.

8. Thomas Robinson cited for misdemeanor (30,962 pageviews)

Lawrence police cited Kansas University basketball player Thomas Robinson to appear in municipal court on a misdemeanor battery charge in connection with an altercation outside The Cave, a nightclub inside The Oread hotel and condominiums in Lawrence.

7. Josh Selby declares for NBA Draft (33,763 pageviews)

Josh Selby ended up being coach Bill Self's second one-and-done player at Kansas — just not the way everyone expected. After being hampered by a foot injury most of his freshman year, Selby left KU shortly after the NCAA Tournament and headed to Las Vegas to train and also weigh his NBA options. After a week and a half there, he alerted Self over the phone that he was turning pro. Selby was drafted 49th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2011 NBA Draft.

6. Ben McLemore commits (34,585 pageviews)

Rivals.com's 17th-ranked player made his college plans official following the NeXt All-America Classic in Hoffman Estates, Ill., picking Kansas over Missouri. The St. Louis prep had to convince his mother, Sonya, before deciding upon KU. “I will always be a Mizzou fan,” Sonya said. “But this is something he wanted. I’m proud of him and happy for him.”

5. Perry Ellis commits to KU (39,628 pageviews)

http://www2.kusports.com/weblogs/newell_post/2011/sep/21/live-from-wichita-perry-ellis-announceme/

Touted as perhaps the best Kansas high school recruit since Wayne Simien, Wichita Heights' Perry Ellis called together a Sept. 21 press conference in his high school gymnasium to announce his decision to attend Kansas University next year. The 6-foot-8 forward — ranked No. 22 by Rivals.com in the class of 2012 — chose KU over Kansas State, Wichita State and Kentucky. "I knew for so long. I've been there so many times. I felt so comfortable there," Ellis said. "It made me realize that was the school for me. All the schools were so great, but I was so comfortable there."

4. Turner Gill fired (41,200 pageviews)

After just two seasons at Kansas University, football coach Turner Gill was fired by athletic director Sheahon Zenger during a 4 p.m. meeting on Nov. 27. Gill went 5-19 during his two seasons in Lawrence; ten of his 19 losses were by 30 points or more. The former Nebraska quarterback later was hired as Liberty's football coach on Dec. 15.

3. Tyshawn Taylor suspended (46,622 pageviews)

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor — who already had a history of off-the-court incidents — was suspended indefinitely for violating unspecified team rules on Feb. 21. KUsports.com users posted 326 comments on the breaking news story. Taylor ended up missing two games before returning to KU's lineup on March 2 against Texas A&M.

2. Pac-12 not expanding; Big 12 lives (81,459 pageviews)

http://www2.kusports.com/weblogs/tale-tait/2011/sep/20/realignment-today-836-am-ut-decision-to-/

After months of speculation, the Pac-12's announcement that it would not expand past 12 teams was official word that the Big 12 — in some form — would be saved as a conference. Matt Tait's realignment blogs were some of the most-clicked-on items to ever appear on KUSports.com. Fifteen of his blogs had at least 25,000 pageviews, while five of those surpassed 40,000 pageviews and three had more than 50,000 pageviews.

1. Charlie Weis hired as KU football coach (88,780 pageviews)

http://www2.kusports.com/weblogs/tale-tait/2011/dec/8/coaching-search-2011-day-11-137-am-what-/

Following an air-tight search by athletic director Sheahon Zenger, KU announced on Dec. 8 that Florida offensive coordinator (and former New England Patriots offensive coordinator) Charlie Weis would be its next football coach. Much like Big 12 realignment, the coaching search brought back a huge following of people each day to KUSports.com. Tait's coaching search blog had 10 separate entries that had more than 25,000 pageviews, with three days' numbers topping 40,000 pageviews.

The rest of the top 20:

11. Recruit Landen Lucas picks KU (28,213 pageviews); 12. Recruit Andrew White picks KU (28,148 pageviews); 13. Tyshawn Taylor, Thomas Robinson to return to KU (28,014 pageviews); 14. Royce Woolridge to transfer from KU (27,602 pageviews); 15. Ben McLemore, Jamari Traylor ruled ineligible for 2011-12 season (26,468 pageviews); 16. DeAndre Daniels, Jamari Traylor, Trevor Lacey to pick schools Wednesday (25,583 pageviews); 17. Morris twins to enter NBA Draft (24,290 pageviews); 18. Recruit Jamari Traylor picks KU (24,276 pageviews); 19. Recruit Braeden Anderson commits to KU (23,863 pageviews); 20. Quarterback Jake Heaps announces transfer to KU (23,705 pageviews).

See the top 10 KUsports.com stories from 2010

Comments

Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

Hopeful for these headlines in 2012...

Zenger Announces Solid Year Financially for KAI. Ticket Sales Up While Debt is Down. Jayawks Land Solid Football Recruiting Class Hawks Surprise in 2012 NCAA tournament Lady Jayhawks Make Deep Run in the NCAA Tournament Young 2012-2013 Jayhawk Basketball Team Loaded With Talent Missouri Finishes Inaugural SEC Season With 4 Wins (Yes, I Am Spiteful) Jayhawks are Bowl Eligible in Year 1 of the Charlie Weis Era. Kansas announces (Mike Nolan, Romeo Crennel, or Jim Leavitt) as DC *Crist Has Great Year... Possible 1st Round Draft Pick

My 2012 Wish List Headlines... Memorial Stadium to Undergo Major Renovations Kansas Defies the Odds, Wins Bowl Game 1 year after 2 Win season *Thomas and the Miracles... Kansas wins the National Championship! (If last years UConn team can win a NC, we sure as heck can)

Lastly, and probably most importantly, I hope to see as few stories as possible about... -Cheating/Scandal -Conference Realignment (California teams do not belong in the Big East)

Cheers to 2012!

Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 11 months ago

Also, I know this will be unpopular, but it upsets me to read so many negative stories about our athletes. If they do something terrible, then I understand. I am referring to stories about DUI's, MIPs, small scuffles... I do NOT want these things to go unpunished and to be swept under the table. I just don't believe that it is always our business if an athlete gets in trouble. It is the business of the coaching staff and I would hope they would deal with it as needed. They are not professional athletes.

18-23 years old young men should be accountable for their actions but that doesn't mean they should be held accountable by the media. I was a good guy in college, but I am sure as heck glad the mistakes I did make were not made public for everyone to read.

The_Real_Hawkman 2 years, 11 months ago

I agree if they put my college brushes with the law in the newspapers it would look like I had a monthly article in the local papers

hawksince51 2 years, 11 months ago

The above numbers 9, 8, 7, and 3 making the list would indicate that KU athletics had a really boring year. I would have put VCU beating us in elite 8 as number 3, and found other stories like the academic ineligibilty of most of Self's new recruits, Morris twins successful NBA draft, KU knocking off number 2 Ohio State, etc.. to replace the other 3.

ParisHawk 2 years, 11 months ago

Did you read the second line of the article?

"The following are the top 10 most-clicked on stories for KUsports.com in 2011"

If you wanted to change to list, you should have clicked on your favorite stories much more often ;)

Steve Gantz 2 years, 11 months ago

Not one single game story was clicked on enough to make the top 20. Interesting. I really thought the VCU loss would top all of these, but maybe people are like me, when KU loses a big game like that I don't even want to read about it.

fansincewilt 2 years, 11 months ago

It can happen to anyone but I think the biggest story of the year was another Jayhawk upset by a mid-major in the NCAA Tournament. It obviously was not the highest clicked on story. I was so disappointed that I didn't read an article for weeks. VCU was a good team but was not in the same category as Kansas. If the article read Jayhawks upset by VCU, I did not click on that article. I think Self's greatest accomplishment other than the '08 championship came in the following year after losing all five of his starters and almost making it to the elite 8. I personally believe that his most disappointing losses were to Norther Iowa and VCU. Last year, we had a team that could have gone all the way. It is difficult to know what this team is capable of but if we again make it to the elite 8, I think that would be the biggest story of the 2011-2012 season. A trip to the final four would make it his greatest accomplishment of his career in my opinion. I am willing to forgo a Big 12 championship for that. However, in all probability we will not and should not expect that. But we can certainly hope.

Casey Gee 2 years, 11 months ago

4th and 1st biggest stories are football stories. Well, I guess people can't say that KU fans don't follow football. True those are the only 2 stories that made the list, but just like nobody reads basketball articles after a bad game, it was extremely difficult to bring myself to read football articles pretty much this entire year.

KGphoto 2 years, 11 months ago

Interesting that all but #4 #2 and #1 were basketball stories. Only three football stories (conference realignment is a football story, no?) out of 20 but they dominated the top spots.

Oops. Forgot about Heaps transfer at #20. I think that displays how important timing is for these stories to get the hits. The Crist transfer didn't make the list, because the Heaps transfer happened so fast that we all jumped over to that story to continue discussion. I would also be willing to bet that there wasn't much news the day that the Taylor suspension dropped, because I hardly even payed attention to that, except to roll my eyes a little. For that story to beat out the Gill firing by 5k hits is unbelievable.

Cool idea Jesse. Did you guys do this last year?

danmoore 2 years, 11 months ago

Our mantra is can't wait for basketball and yet football is the number 1 story of the year. How can that be?

jaybate 2 years, 11 months ago

"Most Viewed Stories or the Suspense and Thrills Are Killing Us"

Stories fulfilling extended suspense top this list and dominate it.

I'm using suspense the way Alfred Hitchcock used it.

You show the audience something is going to happen. They know what it will be, but the question is when. You build up the suspense with teasers and the tension builds. Then when they can barely stand the suspense anymore, you let it happen, and they can't help but watch and have a near orgasmic release of tension.

Suspense differs from mystery.

Mystery is who dunnit? It is working through the clues to find out who did what to whom. It is cerebral.

Suspense is emotional, visceral. It is gripping. It keeps audiences hanging on, and growing ever more addicted to experiencing the inevitable event. When is everything in suspense. What happens matters little.

The Turner Gill firing was a brilliantly crafted suspense story by the LJW. The LJW pros made clear that his departure was virtually inevitable from perhaps the midpoint of the season. So: readers were not waiting to see if Gill was fired, but when and how? This was pure Hitchcock. And the beauty of it was that when Gill was fired there was both great fulfillment of expectation and great release of tension. As a result most readers felt really, really good about the Gill firing and never really thought through whether it made either football sense, or dollars and sense. If you were an administrator seeking to be rid of Turner Gill, for whatever reason, you could not have asked for better structuring of the Gill story. Suspense de-rationalizes audiences. It focuses them onto getting relief from the tension, rather than on what was the logical thing to do.

And the elegant part of the Gill firing suspense story, was that it then also became a plot point for the story to proceed as a "thriller" into the head coach hiring suspense story.

jaybate 2 years, 11 months ago

A thriller (really a euphemism for a "terror" story) typically involves creating a point of view for an audience and then stripping it from them, so that they are desperate for relief by whatever point of view is offered to them to restore their sense of point of view.

Hitchcock's "Psycho" is the textbook example of a thriller, maybe the proto thriller of commercial movies. Hitch forces the audience to identify with a morally dubious Janet Leigh character, then kills her savagely at the end of the first act, so that the audience is adrift in the terror of lost point of view in the face of a half seen homocidal maniac. After leaving his audience desperate and terror stricken with the knowledge that something crazy out there is trying to kill us, but without a point of view for effectively dealing with the threat, Hitch then deftly inserts a good woman (the lovely Kansan Vera Miles) and man, who must confront the suspected evil in a who dunnit that the audience already knows the answer to; this is the definition of suspense.

Hitch was a crafty one. He elevated a suspense story into a thriller by temporarily stripping away the audiences point of view and then restoring it to them.

jaybate 2 years, 11 months ago

The terrified audience in Psycho goes for the contrivance of suspense, then thriller, then back to suspense every time. And they think it is just a primal fear of Norman's homicidal mania that compels them to be hooked, when in fact it is being stripped naked of their points of view, as Janet Leigh was stripped naked in the shower at the moment of here savage murder by a blurry, half-seen killer, that does it. Janet Leigh was too naked and vulnerable and riddled with sin to defend herself. The audience, without Janet Leigh to identify with, suddenly finds itself to psychologically naked, too stripped of reason and so too vulnerable to defend itself. This is why Psycho works to this day and imitators often do not. They don't succeed in stripping the audience naked of its point of view in a way morally and metaphorically connected to the way point of view was lost, or they fail to restore point of view satisfyingly. Hitch did both. But I digress.

The point is: the LJW pros, intentionally, or accidentally, crafted the thriller of Charlie's hiring deftly. The emphasis from the beginning kept focus on the inevitability of an event--the hiring in the wake of an emotional, unseemly firing, and sudden coaching vacuum with Gill's departure. The LJW pros conspicuously did not focus heavily on what kind of coach ought to be hired. And they were careful to phrase it in questions, or in rules of thumb mentioned by others, so that the audience couldn't really get a handle on what was really driving the hire.

Someone's going to be hired. We don't have a clue who it will actually be. But here's a long laundry list of rumored possibilities with but superficial analysis about what kind of coach ought to be hired, or about the politics behind the scenes driving the hiring.

jaybate 2 years, 11 months ago

Then a few probables were floated early to give the audience a point of view, someone to identify closely with and to watch--kind of like Hitchcock giving an audience Janet Leigh to identify with early in Psycho.

But then those were killed off (figuratively speaking), like janet Leigh in the shower scene of Psycho by an unknown, unseen force; this left the KU audience completely helpless and disoriented--desperate for relief from the terror of confusion and doubt about what was happening not in the football coach hire, but about their own sudden lost point of point of view concerning the football hire. Then when the terror reached a fever pitch of despair, boom, Charlie Weis somewhat magically appeared.

By this point, the KU audience was so relieved to have any football coach at all that there was complete readiness to accept that Charlie Weis was not merely a band aid, but that he was a terrific hire that we should all be grateful for--a guy with Notre Dame connections, even though those connections involved him being fired as Notre Dame's coach after an ineffectual run.

And so now our very own Vera Miles, one Charles Joseph "Charlie" Weis, is now questing after the same blurred, half seen forces that slew Turner Gill in the on-going suspense-thriller cycle that is the mythology of KU football.

And the mythology appears destined to just keep repeating itself, unless and until someone tries to see through the mythology of KU football and actually fix KU football.

But that is a digression into KU football and this post is ostensibly about dramatic structures of sports news story telling that produce the biggest number of page views.

jaybate 2 years, 11 months ago

If professional editors and reporters deny that they consciously framed many of the top stories in the suspense and/or thriller formats, then there is quite a bit for them to learn by studying their own work in order to amp up the page views the next time a hiring/firing cycle comes, and for all the various sports stories that fit rather organically into suspense and/or thriller structure.

I am thinking here especially about recruiting stories, where the suspense can be amped systematically over the course of a long recruiting season for the inevitable thumbs up, or thumbs down, by a recruit to come. If told in a suspense/thriller format, it really matters little whether KU signs a player or not. From a page view point of view, what matters is the experiencing of the suspense by an audience and its inevitable relief from it by the decision by the athlete...if well told as drama rather than as informative news.

And if the professional editors and reporters do consciously orchestrate the telling of these big time page viewing stories in a dramatic fashion even remotely similar to what I have discussed, then it behooves readers to wise up and understand that when they are reading the pros, they may be reading calculated entertainment, rather than news in any conventional sense.

I suspect professional journalism at the level of a small market venue like the LJW and KUSports.com have not reached the level of Psy-ops sophistication reputedly common to major institutions of broadcast and print media, but one never knows for sure, when looking in from the outside. The media consultants consultants talk about something on those media retreats, after all. :-)

Regardless, I found this summary of most viewed stories most stimulating and a trigger of some thinking, which is largely what I seek, when I read the pros.

So thanks.

The suspense and thrills may be killing us, but the news is still worth it. :-)

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