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Tale of the Tait

How a phone call played a key role in Quentin Grimes’ decision to pick Kansas

Illinois' Deron Williams directs his teammates in the second half against Wisconsin during the championship game of the Big Ten tournament Sunday, March 13, 2005, at the United Center in Chicago. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Illinois' Deron Williams directs his teammates in the second half against Wisconsin during the championship game of the Big Ten tournament Sunday, March 13, 2005, at the United Center in Chicago. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) by Matt Tait

Kansas coach Bill Self has coached and recruited a couple dozen supremely talented players who went on to enjoy success in the NBA and beyond during his coaching career.

In the past month, one of those helped five-star guard Quentin Grimes, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound combo guard from The Woodlands, Texas, who committed to and signed with Kansas on Wednesday night.

In the press release announcing Grimes' signing, Self said the newest Jayhawk reminded him a lot of Deron Williams, whom he had recruited and coached at Illinois.

Williams, you may remember, was an All-American at Illinois, earned multiple all-Big Ten honors, led his team to the NCAA championship game in 2005 and became the No. 3 overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

So, obviously, that kind of comparison qualifies as high praise for Grimes, who Self actually said was a better scorer at the same age than Williams.

The news was nothing new for Grimes.

“He tells me that all the time,” Grimes said with a laugh.

But the Williams-Grimes connection did not stop with Self simply explaining how the two were similar.

“I actually talked to Deron Williams probably two, three weeks ago, and he just explained to me how much he loves Coach Self and how I would fit in great with their program,” Grimes said. “It was kind of a wow moment because I got to pick his brain a little bit, ask him a few questions about Coach Self and also about non-Kansas stuff like the NBA and find out what you have to do to get your game ready for that next level.”

As for what he asked Williams about Self specifically, Grimes said he just appreciated the opportunity to run KU's recruiting pitch by someone who had been in his shoes before to see if the pitch and actually playing for him matched up.

It sounds like it did.

“I asked him a lot,” Grimes said of his phone conversation with Williams. “How is Coach Self on the court, off the court, if he really lets you play your game. And he kept it real with me the whole time so that was kind of another big factor that went into my decision.”

While the Williams comparison is somewhat new to Grimes, looking to NBA stars for help with his game is not. Although he's never had the chance to get them on the phone, Grimes named four NBA players — three current and one past star — as players he looks to when trying to develop and piece together his own individual game.

“I kind of look at a lot of players,” Grimes said. “I like to look at Penny Hardaway. I like the way Chris Paul can control a game. I'm watching Russell Westbrook, the way he attacks and I watch James Harden, the way he kind of lulls defenders to sleep and also can get to the bucket and make plays for his teammates.”

Now that Grimes has signed with Kansas, he can add Williams to that list and actually get some of the same coaching that the three-time NBA All-Star once got.

Five-star guard Quentin Grimes, from The Woodlands, Texas, signed a National Letter of Intent to play men's basketball at the University of Kansas on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017.

Five-star guard Quentin Grimes, from The Woodlands, Texas, signed a National Letter of Intent to play men's basketball at the University of Kansas on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. by Photo Courtesty of Kansas Athletics

Reply 17 comments from West_virginia_hawk Steve Corder Boardshorts Jayhawkmarshall Goku Richard Wright Plasticjhawk Jillharper Jayhawkordie Mlbenn35 and 5 others

Five-star guard Quentin Grimes picks Kansas

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

With an elite point guard and two Top 40 big men already signed, sealed and delivered, the Kansas men's basketball program's 2018 recruiting class added another gem on Wednesday, when five-star shooting guard Quentin Grimes orally committed to KU during a ceremony at College Park High in The Woodlands, Texas.

Grimes, 6-foot-5, 190 pounds, picked KU over finalists Kentucky, Marquette and Texas and said simply that it was his relationship with the KU coaching staff that inspired him to become a Jayhawk.

After thanking his friends, family, teammates, coaches and all of the schools that recruited him, "especially my final four," Grimes said simply, "I'd like to announce that next year I'll be attending the University of Kansas."

With that, and with his parents Tonja and Marshall sitting on each side of him, Grimes stood up, flashed a huge smile and held up a white No. 5 KU jersey.

His parents then joined the fun and removed their top layers to reveal their crimson and blue KU clothing. Several members of the audience then broke into the Rock Chalk chant to thunderous applause from the rest of the gym.

Grimes' commitment comes on the final day of the early signing period and ends a recruitment that had strong Kansas flavor from start to finish.

“They were real straight up and straightforward with me that I’m the best guard in the country,” Grimes told Rivals.com's Eric Bossi after a visit with Kansas during the recruiting process. “They basically told me that I have to sign with them.... They said have to get me, they were very clear on that.”

Ranked No. 11 in the class by Rivals.com and No. 16 overall in 247 Sports' composite rankings, Grimes is a gifted athlete known for his versatility and unselfish style, which makes him a terrific fit to play alongside true point guard Devon Dotson, who signed his letter of intent with Kansas last week.

The addition of Grimes adds symmetry to KU's current recruiting class, with two elite perimeter players and two physically imposing big men on their way to becoming Jayhawks.

The good news for Kansas, which is playing the current season with an open scholarship, — although that could change next month if five-star big man Silvio De Sousa is cleared to come to college early and allowed to play during the second semester — is that there's still time and room to add more to an already stellar class.

With senior guards Devonte' Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk graduating and underclassmen Malik Newman, Billy Preston, Lagerald Vick and Udoka Azbuike all potentially NBA-bound after this season, the Jayhawks not only would need to fill the spots vacated by those departures but also would have the scholarships available to do so.

That gives Self and company room to continue pursuing Top 10 talents Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford in the 2018 recruiting class.

While landing Dotson (6-1, 180, No. 17 per Rivals.com), De Sousa (6-9, 245, No. 25) and David McCormack (6-10, 280, No. 33) put the Jayhawks in the No. 2 or No. 3 spots in many recruiting sites' team rankings for the Class of 2018, the addition of Grimes is expected to be enough of a splash to move Kansas into the No. 1 position.

According to 247 Sports analyst Jerry Meyer, Grimes “is the most physical player of all the top lead guards in the class and has the versatility to play the two and the three. He gets where he wants on the court, is a three-level scorer, has great court vision and is a solid defender and rebounder.”

Reply 18 comments from Kustill1 Dirk Medema Lewis Gdkadjayhawk Dannyboy4hawks Joe Ross Len Shaffer Adam Gerval Matt Tait Mike Greer and 7 others

Postgame Report Card: No. 4 Kansas 65, No. 7 Kentucky 61

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pressures Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pressures Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) during the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center. by Nick Krug

Quick grades for five aspects of KU’s 65-61 victory over No. 7 Kentucky in the 2017 Champions Classic at United Center in Chicago.

Offense: C-

The Jayhawks made a couple of big shots and plays when they had to have them. And Devonte' Graham and Malik Newman delivered at the free throw line in the closing minutes on an otherwise miserable free-throw-shooting night. Those two factors saved the passing grade. Otherwise, KU had a major off night, shooting just 35.3 percent for the game and struggling to work good offensive possessions time and time again.

Defense: B-

KU coach Bill Self said after the game that his team dirtied up the game in order to survive and a big chunk of that came on defense. KU limited Kentucky to 41.8 percent shooting and snagged a dozen steals while playing even on the glass. Beyond that, the Jayhawks allowed Kentucky to hit just three 3-pointers all game.

Frontcourt: B

They had just one big man for the most part, as Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot combined to play 40 minutes, but Azubuike came through when his team needed him most. His production was much bigger than his 13 points and eight rebounds suggests and, by far the most important thing he did was stay out of foul trouble.

Backcourt: B-

The Kansas guards hit some big shots at clutch times, but overall endured a miserable shooting night. Devonte' Graham and Malik Newman combined to make just 7 of 28 attempts and Lagerald Vick and Svi Mykhailiuk weren't much better. The guards did enough to win on a night when Kansas didn't have anyone else to go to. And the fact that they still found a way to beat a Top 10 team on such an off shooting night illustrates how well they did in others areas.

Bench: C

Marcus Garrett hit a big 3-pointer in the second half and swiped a couple of steals. Mitch Lightfoot competed but didn't produce much in his six minutes on the floor. Given that fact, the bench production, which came from an extremely thin crew, was merely average at best.

Reply 3 comments from Goku Alan Dickey Dirk Medema

Say What? Tait’s weekly appearance on Rock Chalk Sports Talk

Matt Tait's game day thoughts from The Windy City ahead of Kansas vs. Kentucky in the 2017 Champions Classic in Chicago.

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Jayhawks no strangers to killing time on game day

Kansas guards Devonte' Graham, left, Malik Newman and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk can't contain themselves as they sit for a group interview during Big 12 Media Day, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guards Devonte' Graham, left, Malik Newman and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk can't contain themselves as they sit for a group interview during Big 12 Media Day, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

Ever since Kansas fans started really looking ahead to today's Champions Classic showdown with Kentucky in The Windy City, one of the most popular rants I've heard has been about how KU allllwwwaaays seems to play the late game in the Champions Classic.

They're not wrong.

Five of the six times KU has played in the event, the Jayhawks have been the late game, which usually tips off between 8 and 9 p.m., depending on where the game is played and how quickly the first game wraps up.

That will again be the case tonight for the sixth time in seven tries, when No. 4 Kansas (1-0) takes on No. 7 Kentucky (2-0) at approximately 8:30 p.m. from United Center in Chicago.

In reality, the game figures to tip-off closer to 9 p.m. than 8:30, but by that time of day, the extra 20-30 minutes is pretty much meaningless.

We know what fans of all four teams will do while waiting for tip-off — Duke and Michigan State will square off at 6 p.m. in the early game — but what about the players and coaches?

Kansas senior Devonte' Graham, who has been through three previous Champions Classic contests — all of them late tips — has the routine down.

“Coach and them do a good job of having a little layout for us,” Graham said. “We usually have shoot-around in the morning, get up and get a nice breakfast, come back and watch film and stuff like that. And then a lot of guys will just go back and take a nap. That's usually what I do, take a nice little nap.”

Music, social media, a few Z's and down time with teammates account for most of the Jayhawks' non-basketball game day routine.

There is, of course, also plenty of time for extra film work, a final walk-through and anything else the KU coaches and players think might help their preparations in the 11th hour.

But no matter what they're doing, KU coach Bill Self said he thought that waiting all day for a big game surrounded by a lot of hype was not the worst thing by any means.

“It's probably not bad experience for everybody because there's a great chance you could play a conference tournament game that late or you could play an NCAA Tournament game that late,” Self said. “You're talking about, if everything goes perfect, an 8:30 tip or something like that, which doesn't seem ridiculously bad. It seems worse if you're playing on the east coast, it'd be a 9:30 tip and then it'd seem much longer.”

The Jayhawks have been there. In fact, just last year, after the long haul from Hawaii to New York just a couple of days earlier, KU and Duke tipped off from the Big Apple right around 9 p.m.

KU won that game and tonight will be looking to improve its all-time record in the early-season, elite showcase to 3-4 with a win over the Wildcats.

To date, Kansas is 0-2 vs. Kentucky in this event, 0-2 vs. Michigan State, and 2-0 vs. Duke.

“It makes for a long day,” Self said. “But I don't think it's going to be anything where we have to change too much. Maybe let 'em sleep an hour longer or something like that.”

Reply 2 comments from Goku Carsonc30

Self vs. Calipari almost as big as Kansas vs. Kentucky

Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Kansas head coach Bill Self have a joint meeting with an official after a double technical foul during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Kansas head coach Bill Self have a joint meeting with an official after a double technical foul during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

If you've watched Kansas play Kentucky even just once in the past 10 years, you know the game means a little more than a regular game.

Whether you're talking about the media hype leading up to tipoff, the craziness the game brings out in fans from both sides or just the incredible number of elite athletes and future pros on the floor, these KU-UK showdowns feature pretty much everything that's right about college basketball.

That extends to the sideline, where the coaching staffs at both schools are among the most accomplished and talented in the history of the game.

Bill Self and John Calipari are both in the Naismith Hall of Fame. Both have national title rings and both represent the cream of the crop when it comes to recruiting.

The rivalry, between both the schools and the coaches, will be renewed at approximately 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at United Center Chicago, where the two programs will square off for the third time in the history of the early-season showcase. Kentucky has won both of the previous meetings (2011 and 2014) and owns an all-time edge of 22-8 in head-to-head matchups with Kansas.

Because of those factors, and the fact that the game means so much to so many people, it's not uncommon for Self and Calipari to get a little crazy during these contests. Add that to the list of what's right in college basketball.

In seven meetings against each other — six for Self at Kansas and one at Illinois — Calipari owns a 4-3 advantage against Self.

All three of Self's victories against Calipari have come at Kansas, with the Jayhawks winning in each of the past two seasons and also in the 2008 national title game over Calipari's Memphis team.

Calipari's four victories over Self include one with Memphis against Self's last Illinois squad during the 2002-03 season, two with the Wildcats during the 2011-12 season (including Calipari's lone national title in 2012) and a 32-point drubbing over Kansas in the 2014 Champions Classic.

So after all these epic matchups with one another, what is the relationship like between these two blue blood bosses?

Self explained it a little on Sunday.

“There's absolutely zero ill feelings,” he said. “I certainly respect the amazing job he and his staff have done, not only at Kentucky but also at Memphis and then at UMass, as well. He's done an unbelievable job, been fabulous.”

Though the two coaches took slightly different paths to reach their spot at the top of the college basketball mountain, they both started in the same place — as graduate assistants at Kansas under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.

“We're somewhat connected,” Self conceded, “because we both got our start at KU. Our paths never crossed there, but I certainly have a lot of respect for everything they've done and accomplished. How could you not? I can't speak for him, but I'd say the feeling is mutual.”

Although the two elite coaches, who both serve on the board of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, figure to share a few laughs, a couple of handshakes and maybe even an icy glare or two as Tuesday's matchup unfolds, their spot on the sidelines is hardly the most competitive environment in which these two coaches find themselves operating.

Year after year, blue-chip prospect after blue-chip prospect, many of the top players in each recruiting class have Kansas and Kentucky on their shortlists. Though the two programs often are looking for different traits in their players, staples such as athleticism, speed, explosiveness and elite skill lead Calipari and Self to a lot of the same gyms and living rooms to watch and recruit a lot of the same players.

Though the scoreboard in that realm is about 50-50, like it is on the floor, Self admits that the two are equally as competitive in recruiting as they are when their teams hook up on the hardwood.

“There's absolutely no ill will or hard feelings,” Self said. “But there is something very competitive when you get Kentucky and Kansas together and, of course, if that's the case, then you'd probably think the coaches are pretty competitive, too, because we do recruit against each other quite often.”

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles at Kentucky head coach John Calipari as the two sit for makeup before their joint CBS interview on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at the Superdome.

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles at Kentucky head coach John Calipari as the two sit for makeup before their joint CBS interview on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at the Superdome. by Nick Krug

Reply 4 comments from Bryce Landon Boardshorts Steve Corder

KU-Kentucky set to renew unique rivalry Tuesday in Chicago

Kansas center Jeff Withey and Kentucky forward Anthony Davis go up for the opening tipoff of the national championship on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans.

Kansas center Jeff Withey and Kentucky forward Anthony Davis go up for the opening tipoff of the national championship on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans. by Nick Krug

Because they aren’t in the same conference, they do not play each other every year, although some quality scheduling during recent years has made the matchup more common.

The two teams enter Tuesday’s clash at the Champions Classic in Chicago as the No. 1 and No. 2 winningest college basketball programs of all time, separated by just 20 victories in more than 6,000 contests.

And because both are media darlings and supported by proud and rabid fan bases, any time these two get together, the scene before, during and after their showdown is as much more Hollywood as it is hardwood.

“These are the type of games that players live to play for and I'm sure Kentucky players do, as well,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “And to be part of the Champions Classic, which is such a high-profile event, certainly is very, very cool. But the reality of it is, I'm not sure that this event, whether you win or you don't win, is going to dictate what kind of season you have.”

Kentucky vs. Kansas. The mere sound of it rings so sweet in the ears of college basketball fans everywhere. And Tuesday night, at approximately 8:30 p.m. inside United Center, the two bluebloods will hook it up for the 31st time in their storied histories.

Kentucky leads the all-time series, 22-8, and holds a 21-game advantage (2,239-2,218) over Kansas in all-time victories.

Self said Sunday afternoon that freshman forward Billy Preston, who missed KU's season opener to serve a one-game suspension, was on pace to play against Kentucky on Tuesday night. And Self added that he had not yet decided what to do about his starting lineup, which, last Friday, featured freshman Marcus Garrett starting in place of expected starter Malik Newman.

"We'll see after a couple practices," Self said.

While many of the names and faces are fresh and new chapters in this unique rivalry are waiting to be written, here’s a look back at five of the most memorable Kansas-Kentucky showdowns of all-time.

KU players gather on the court during KU's 150-95 blowout of Rick Pitino's Kentucky Wildcats in December, 1989. From left are Pekka Markkanen, Freeman West, Kevin Prichard and Jeff Gueldner. Seven KU players scored in double figures.

KU players gather on the court during KU's 150-95 blowout of Rick Pitino's Kentucky Wildcats in December, 1989. From left are Pekka Markkanen, Freeman West, Kevin Prichard and Jeff Gueldner. Seven KU players scored in double figures.

1 – Dec. 9, 1989 – No. 2 KU shreds Kentucky 150-95 at Allen Fieldhouse

Way back in 1989, during then-KU coach Roy Williams' second season in charge of the Jayhawks, Kentucky and head coach Rick Pitino came to town for an early December showdown and left on the wrong end of one of the biggest beatings in KU history. Despite Pitino's insistence on pressing the entire game, the Jayhawks shredded the UK defense for easy bucket after easy bucket from start to finish. The point total (150), first-half total (80), number of field goals made (52) and total KU assists (36) are still Kansas records. And the Jayhawks, led by 31 points from sharp-shooter Terry Brown, enjoyed a day in which six players scored at least 16 points.

Kansas forward Kevin Young takes a charge from Kentucky center Anthony Davis during the first half of the national championship on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans.

Kansas forward Kevin Young takes a charge from Kentucky center Anthony Davis during the first half of the national championship on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans. by Nick Krug

2 – April 2, 2012 – KU and Kentucky meet for the national championship in New Orleans

Five months after topping Kansas 75-65 in the Champions Classic in New York City, these two teams met again on the final Monday of the season at the Superdome, with a national title on the line. UK's lineup of future NBA draft picks and stars, led by Anthony Davis, overwhelmed the Jayhawks and built an 18-point first-half lead that stayed as high as 15 in the second half. However, behind Thomas Robinson's 18 points, 17 rebounds and huge heart, KU trimmed the Kentucky lead to 62-57 with 1:37 to play before falling, 67-59.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) gets in for a bucket against Kentucky during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) gets in for a bucket against Kentucky during the second half, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

3 – Jan. 30, 2016 – No. 4 Kansas knocks off No. 20 Kentucky in overtime at Allen Fieldhouse

This one should have been dubbed Wayne Selden Jr. Night. In the first Allen Fieldhouse meeting between these two storied programs since 2006, Selden exploded for 33 points, on 12-of-20 shooting, in a game in which he played 44 of 45 minutes to lead the Jayhawks to a thrilling, 90-84, overtime victory. That was the night the Jayhawks rolled the newly acquired original rules of basketball onto the court at halftime and also the night that KU overcame a 46-40 halftime deficit to survive a scare from Tyler Ulis and the Wildcats.

Kansas players Devonte Graham, left, Wayne Selden, Frank Mason and Perry Ellis watch during the final seconds of the Jayhawks' 72-40 loss to Kentucky during the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Kansas players Devonte Graham, left, Wayne Selden, Frank Mason and Perry Ellis watch during the final seconds of the Jayhawks' 72-40 loss to Kentucky during the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. by Nick Krug

4 – Nov. 18, 2014 – No. 1 Kentucky drills No. 5 Kansas in Indianapolis in the Champions Classic

KU's second matchup with Kentucky in the early-season showcase also was its most forgettable. The worst loss of the Bill Self era, which prompted the KU coach to crack a joke about how he wished there was vodka in the cups at the postgame podium instead of water, featured a young Kansas squad scoring just 12 points in the second half and shooting 19.6 percent from the floor for the game. Joked Self on Sunday: “After several years of seeing my psychiatrist I've kind of gotten past this, so I'm not going to talk about the past much. But that was a beat-down right from the beginning.”

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) comes in for a breakaway dunk during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) comes in for a breakaway dunk during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. by Nick Krug

5 – Jan. 28, 2017 – Second-ranked Kansas travels to Lexington and beats No. 4 Kentucky on its home floor

Back together for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, this time at Rupp Arena, the Jayhawks and Wildcats again delivered a matchup marked by incredible hype, an amazing atmosphere and elite talent. KU freshman Josh Jackson and future national player of the year Frank Mason III out-dueled Kentucky's talented freshman trio of D'Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo, 79-73, coming from 10 down in the first half to emerge victorious. But the thin Kansas lineup also got major contributions from senior Landen Lucas and juniors Svi Mykhailiuk and Devonte' Graham, as KU's starting five played 168 of a possible 200 minutes to grab the win.

KU-Kentucky All-Time Series: (UK leads 22-8)

Dec. 16, 1950 - Kentucky 68, Kansas 39 in Lexington
Dec. 14, 1959 - Kentucky 77, Kansas 72 in Lawrence
Dec. 6, 1969 - Kentucky 115, Kansas 85 in Lexington
Dec. 4, 1971 - Kentucky 79, Kansas 69 in Lawrence
Dec. 23, 1972 - Kentucky 77, Kansas 71 in Lexington
Dec. 3, 1973 - Kansas 71, Kentucky 63 in Lawrence
Dec. 23, 1974 - Kentucky 100, Kansas 63 in Louisville
Dec. 13, 1975 - Kentucky 54, Kansas 48 in Lawrence
Dec. 11, 1976 - Kentucky 90, Kansas 63 in Lexington
Dec. 10, 1977 - Kentucky 73, Kansas 66 in Lawrence
Dec. 9, 1978 - Kentucky 67, Kansas 66 in Lexington
Dec. 12, 1979 - Kentucky 57, Kansas 56 in Lawrence
Dec. 13, 1980 - Kentucky 87, Kansas 73 in Lexington
Dec. 12, 1981 - Kentucky 77, Kansas 74 (OT) in Lawrence
Dec. 29, 1982 - Kentucky 83, Kansas 62 in Louisville
Dec. 10, 1983 - Kentucky 72, Kansas 50 in Lawrence
Dec. 31, 1984 - Kentucky 92, Kansas 89 in Louisville
Dec. 14, 1985 - Kansas 83, Kentucky 66 in Lawrence
Dec. 9, 1989 - Kansas 150, Kentucky 95 in Lawrence
Dec. 8, 1990 - Kentucky 88, Kansas 71 in Lexington
Dec. 1, 1998 - Kentucky 63, Kansas 45 in Chicago (Great Eight Tournament)
March 14, 1999 - Kentucky 92, Kansas 88 (OT) in New Orleans (NCAA Tournament)
Jan. 9, 2005 - Kansas 65, Kentucky 59 in Lexington
Jan. 7, 2006 - Kansas 73, Kentucky 46 in Lawrence
March 18, 2007 - Kansas 88, Kentucky 76 in Chicago (NCAA Tournament)
Nov. 15, 2011 - Kentucky 75, Kansas 65 in New York (Champions Classic)
April 2, 2012 - Kentucky 67, Kansas 59 in New Orleans (NCAA title game)
Nov. 18, 2014 - Kentucky 72, Kansas 40 in Indianapolis (Champions Classic)
Jan. 30, 2016 - Kansas 90, Kentucky 84 (OT) in Lawrence (SEC/Big 12 Challenge)
Jan. 28, 2017 - Kansas 79, Kentucky 73 in Lexington (SEC/Big 12 Challenge)

Reply 23 comments from Bryce Landon Carsonc30 John Smith Rob Stewart Dirk Medema Tony Bandle Gary McCullough Jayhawkinaustin Marcus  Balzer Jim Stauffer and 7 others

Postgame Report Card: Kansas 92, Tennessee State 56

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) floats in for a dunk during the first half on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) floats in for a dunk during the first half on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Quick grades for five aspects of KU’s 92-56 season-opening victory over Tennessee State at Allen Fieldhouse.

Offense: A

It would’ve been an A+ if not for the 20 turnovers. The Jayhawks shot 60 percent from the floor, dished 23 assists on 36 field goals, knocked in 12 of 28 3-pointers and had six players reach double figures. Efficient and flat-out dangerous from start to finish.

Defense: A

Tennessee State was overmatched from the jump and the Jayhawks never let up. KU swiped eight steals, forced 15 turnovers and limited the Tigers to 32.8 percent shooting, a number that actually went down in the second half even though the game evened out. Kansas also out-rebounded TSU 45-23, including a 35-8 mark on the defensive end.

Frontcourt: B-

With just two forwards playing in the game thanks to Billy Preston’s one-game suspension, KU got solid but unspectacular showings from Mitch Lightfoot and Udoka Azubuike. The two combined for 19 points and 11 rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting, but also turned it over six times.

Backcourt: A

Devonte’ Graham threatened to record a triple-double, Lagerald Vick scored anywhere and everywhere he wanted and Malik Newman and Svi Mykhailiuk combined to knock down 5 of 10 3-point shots. And then there was freshman Marcus Garrett, who was a surprise starter and recorded a double-double in 29 minutes.

Bench: B-

Newman and Lightfoot, along with walk-ons Clay Young and Chris Teahan were the Kansas bench in this one and they combined to shoot 8-of-17 from the floor for 21 points and nine turnovers. Outside of his four turnovers, Newman showed the kind of effort and intensity Self was searching for. And Lightfoot, when he played within himself, was the solid presence KU needs him to be. When he didn’t, he turned it over four times.

Reply 2 comments from Matt Tait Dirk Medema

Jayhawks a popular Final Four pick among ESPN college hoops analysts

New, bigger banners memorializing Kansas University's national champions - and a new "Beware of 'the Phog'" banner - were unfurled in Allen Fieldhouse in this photo from July 2006. A new banner commemorating the 2008 national championship will join these four Tuesday night.

New, bigger banners memorializing Kansas University's national champions - and a new "Beware of 'the Phog'" banner - were unfurled in Allen Fieldhouse in this photo from July 2006. A new banner commemorating the 2008 national championship will join these four Tuesday night. by rgwin

The college basketball staff at ESPN this week released its predictions for this seasons’s Final Four, national champion, player of the year and coach of the year.

Not surprisingly, Kansas received more than a little love.

Of the 26 staffers who gave their picks, seven had Kansas advancing to the Final Four and one had the Jayhawks walking away with another national championship.

Get this, though: Twelve of the 26 had Wichita State reaching the Final Four and two prognosticators even had Kansas and Wichita State both going to the Final Four.

Wouldn’t that be a wild way to cap off KU coach Bill Self’s 15th season in charge of the program and the 120th season of Kansas basketball?

For a point of reference, 24 of the 26 prognosticators have Michigan State in their Final Four, 15 of the 26 have Duke in their Final Four, 14 have Arizona and 4 have Kentucky.

Real quick, here’s a look at the seven ESPN personalities who believe the Jayhawks are due for a return to the Final Four in the city where they won it all in 2008. Somewhat amazingly, three of them had the exact same Final Four and national champion...

• Jay Bilas – Duke, Michigan State, Arizona and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

• Kyle Bonagura – Duke, Michigan State, Arizona and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

• Dino Gaudio – Duke, Michigan State, Arizona and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

• Dan Murphy – Duke, Michigan State, Wichita State and KU, with Duke winning it all.

• Mark Schlabach – Duke, Michigan State, Villanova and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

• John Thompson III – Michigan State, Wichita State, Kentucky and KU, with Michigan State winning it all.

And the one ESPN personality who has KU winning it all this season is former Purdue forward Robbie Hummel, who saw first-hand in 2012 just how good the Jayhawks could be when Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor survived a second-round scare from Hummel’s Boilermakers en route to the national title game.

Hummel’s Final Four: Kansas, Arizona, Michigan State and Villanova.

But Hummel’s faith in the Jayhawks does not stop with him picking them to be the last team standing at the end of the Big Dance.

Hummel also pegged KU senior Devonte’ Graham as his pick for national player of the year AND Bill Self as his coach of the year.

We won’t know for months if either of those predictions — or any of the others — will come true, but we will officially get the race under way at 8 p.m. tonight, when KU hosts Tennessee State in the season opener for both teams.

Reply 9 comments from Dirk Medema Dego88 Lance Hobson Marcus  Balzer Dillon Davis Len Shaffer Freddie Garza Dale Rogers Kevinj

A little clarity on the Silvio De Sousa situation

Team Drive''s Silvio De Sousa #22 shoots a free throw against Team Clutch in the Under Armour Elite 24 game on Saturday, August 20, 2016 in Brooklyn, NY.

Team Drive''s Silvio De Sousa #22 shoots a free throw against Team Clutch in the Under Armour Elite 24 game on Saturday, August 20, 2016 in Brooklyn, NY. by Gregory Payan/AP Photo

A handful of Twitter messages that surfaced Thursday suggesting that Class of 2018 power forward Silvio De Sousa had been authorized to join the Kansas basketball program in time for the second semester of the current season were not accurate, according to a source with knowledge of De Sousa's recruitment.

But the Tweets, which came from what appears to be some kind of KU fan account and have since been deleted, were not completely unfounded.

While announcing his commitment to Kansas to the Journal-World back in August, De Sousa said then that he wanted to explore the idea of graduating from IMG Academy early in time to join the Jayhawks this season.

“Of course I want to play for my team in high school this year,” De Sousa told the Journal-World in August. “But if I get a chance to go straight to Kansas, I would love to just go to Kansas.”

Although IMG’s Facebook account posted a live video of De Sousa shown signing what appeared to be his letter of intent to Kansas on Wednesday — the first day of the early signing period — it's not yet known whether De Sousa and his legal guardian Fenny Falmagne have signed the letter yet.

KU officials are unable to comment on anything regarding De Sousa until that letter is in hand and cleared through KU’s compliance office.

Reached for comment Thursday afternoon, De Sousa told the Journal-World he would be available sometime after school.

At this point, it’s hard to know whether De Sousa actually could complete the necessary academic steps to get to KU this season. But if it’s possible, adding the 6-foot-9, 245-pound power forward would be a huge boost for a thin Kansas front court and a roster that features just eight scholarship players who are eligible to play during the first semester.

Stay in touch with KUsports.com for updates on De Sousa's situation.

Reply 8 comments from Surrealku Lin Rahardja Dirk Medema Brett McCabe Kurt Eskilson Matt Tait Jmfitz85 Phil Leister

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