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Friday, July 1, 2005

Fans ready to move on

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Kansas University basketball fans view J.R. Giddens' departure as the end of a sad chapter, and many are ready to turn the page.

"There are situations like this that happen all the time," said Miles Schnaer, owner of Crown Automotive and a longtime KU athletics booster. "It's just a bump in the road and we'll deal with it. ... Good or bad, it didn't ruin anybody's reputation."

Head coach Bill Self announced Thursday that Giddens would transfer. The news comes six weeks after the May 19 Moon Bar melee that left Giddens stabbed and sports fans pointing fingers and wondering what the future would hold.

"I think it was a tough circumstance," said Ryan Boler, a KU student who works at Jock's Nitch Sporting Goods, 837 Mass. "We'd like to keep our recruits around, but at the same time we want to keep our reputation that this is not something we'll tolerate at this university."

According to some fans, the sad truth is that Giddens' travails last season and other issues make it easier to bid farewell to the embattled basketball star.

"I think a lot of fans were just a little fed up with some of the things he'd done in the past," said Matt Grosdidier, a KU graduate. "He struggled and did a lot of pouting and people were fed up with that. ... We don't want to be another Second Chance U like Oklahoma State."

Reader poll

How do you think J.R. Giddens' departure affects the KU basketball team?

  • It will make the team better not to have the distraction that Giddens had become. 54% 3162 votes
  • Little change - we lose the distraction, but also the points. 18% 1085 votes
  • It'll hurt. We lose scoring and an experienced player. 15% 891 votes
  • Who cares? 11% 642 votes

5780 total votes.

Others were similarly aloof.

"Oh well," said Alan Rector, a Lawrence resident and sports fan. "He had a good shot for a little while."

Schnaer said he felt sorry for Giddens.

"I don't think he's a bad kid," he said. "He's just young."

Sixteen-year-old Lawrence High School student Jenny McGee took word of Giddens' departure with a bit of emotion.

"I'm going to cry," she said, raising her hands to her forehead.

McGee said she didn't think the Moon Bar fight was a big deal. It occurred off-campus and during the offseason, she said.

McGee recalled the high points of Giddens' game.

"When he was hot, he could make the shots," she said.

But with Thursday's announcement, many are already looking ahead to a season with promising recruits.

"They'll be young, but they should be fun to watch," Grosdidier said.

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