Friday, October 26, 2007

Kaun’s ‘wild-man’ locks drawing attention

Senior center's hair sparks ribbing from teammates, coach, but he intends to keep curly 'do


There's always at least one of them at Kansas University men's basketball games: A picture of Ivan Drago in reference to Sasha Kaun's Russian roots - along with his large stature.

No longer does Kaun sport a clean-cut hair style that correlates with the fictional Russian boxer from "Rocky IV" however.

He's gone for a little bit more messy look.

"When he had it shorter everybody felt like Sasha's more like a Marine from Russia, and now he has all curls and wears his shades," senior teammate Darnell Jackson said. "We call him a 'pretty boy.' So Sasha's the 'pretty boy' on the team."

The new hairdo may cause the images of Drago around Allen Fieldhouse to be supplanted by images of one of television's most loved teenage nerds.

"You mean Screech?" KU coach Bill Self said, referring to Kaun as the character played by Dustin Diamond in the TV series "Saved By the Bell."

"I like it. I think he needs to do that. I told him, 'Don't cut it.' He looks like kind of a wild man out there, and we need him to be a little bit more of that. He could have been the star of 'Saved By the Bell,' but he's too tall."

The mop, which started out as a simple sign of summer laziness, has begun to grow - no pun intended - on everyone.

"Over the summer you don't really care too much about it, and people started saying it looks good, and I just decided to leave it," Kaun said.

But was laziness really the reason?

"Ladies started to take notice, and I think that was one thing," junior center Matt Kleinmann said.

An interesting statement, considering "Screech" considered himself to be quite the ladies' man on "Saved By the Bell."

"A lot of people were saying 'curls for girls' and stuff like that, but that wasn't my intention," Kaun said.

With the new look has come plenty of joking from teammates, though not always in front of the 6-foot-11, 250 pound center.

"I never told him, but I've said it's like curly fries or something like that," senior guard Rodrick Stewart said. "But to be honest, it's a cool look now because it makes him look a lot taller than he is. He's already tall, but it makes him look like a true seven-footer now."

The consensus from Kaun's fellow senior classmates is positive, but the increase of hair on Kaun's head has one freshman fretting that he'll no longer have the longest locks on the team.

"The thing with Sasha is he has the curly hair, so you can't really tell how long it is until you pull it out," guard Conner Teahan said. "He has some long hair, but I don't know if he has me - I think I have some long hair. But I don't know. If he keeps this up, he may blow me away."

In the end, however, the decision to keep the new look - which Kaun said he intends to do - may be most influenced by his mother.

"She saw a picture and asked me, 'What the heck is that about?'" Kaun quipped. "No, actually she said she liked it."

Kaun hopes more than his hairdo gets him noticed in this, his senior season. He figures to improve on his 5.9 scoring and 3.8 rebounding marks of a year ago.

"He has to be a consistent 12-point, seven-rebound guy for us," Self said. "He has shown signs. The first game his sophomore year he goes for 25 (points) and 16 (rebounds against Idaho State).

"Really he has had as good a career as anybody on our team, 3.5 student (in Computer Science), will graduate easily in four years. The only setback he had was two summers in a row he was inactive because of injuries and going home. It set back his development a little bit, especially his lower body strength. But he is coming off a great summer and spring. He's been very impressive."

Kaun - he's one of five scholarship seniors on this year's team - wants to go out on top.

"Things are going good. We are a lot more mature than we have been since I've been here," Kaun said. "My freshman year we had a mature team (with seniors Wayne Simien, Aaron Miles, Mike Lee and Keith Langford) but we still had a lot of freshmen. This year we bring everybody back except JuJu (Julian Wright). We are all a year older, and with five seniors on this team it'll be a great opportunity for us to get some big things accomplished."

¢Recruiting note: J'Mison Morgan, 6-10 from Dallas, will make an unofficial visit to Baylor this weekend, reports. Morgan will choose either KU, LSU, UCLA, Alabama, Cincinnati or Baylor on Nov. 2.


wi_jayhawk 14 years, 11 months ago

I love the hair! But seriously, curly fries? I don't quite see it.

okjhok 14 years, 11 months ago

Bobo, you can do it. Make the right choice for yourself.

Michael Pannacciulli 14 years, 11 months ago

soul glo will give a nice sheen look to the fro. keep it. just don't turn into Pollard who had some of the worst hair do's Allen Fieldhouse ever saw!

Christian Hinton 14 years, 11 months ago

If we're going to pick roman emperors, we out to go with Constantine. The similarity is uncanny.

But I would enjoy it if Kaun would go for more of a Lucius Verus look.

ramsrevenge 14 years, 11 months ago

A day before the 7-0 football team plays a big game in College Station this is the main story....Kauns hair?! Get serious!

okjhok 14 years, 11 months ago

About where I figured we'd be. I think you could probably shuffle the top 4 any way you like and it'd be acceptable. Don't have many thoughts on it right now...gonna stay in football mode a while longer I suspect.

CasperCorps 14 years, 11 months ago

You know these writers are begging for the season to start when they start writing stories about Kauns nappy roots..

jhawks 14 years, 11 months ago

"Let Your Soul Glow, Let it shine through, Let Your Soul Glow, Oh So Silky Smooth, Just Let It Shine Through..."

Chris Weaver 14 years, 11 months ago

tomorrow's news today:

"Mario Chalmers switching from creamy to extra crunchy"

"Brandon Rush expected to return Dec. 1, or a month on either side"

"Darrell Arthur: "I'm not really shady - it's just a nickname."

"Kaun to undergo head shaving"

bobmoz 14 years, 11 months ago

Are you kidding me? It's 2007!! Not 1955. And isn't there a huge football game tomorrow? C'mon guys, you're killing me...

flipborder02 14 years, 11 months ago

Hey this is the basketball blog not the football you guys can click on football on the home page.

ramsrevenge 14 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, but this is the main story on the main page of the website. Kind of lame considering our football success this year.

bmkjayhawk 14 years, 11 months ago

The title of that link says that UNC soared to the top spot, but the first paragraph says it was the closest three-way race pretty much ever. Huh.

I guess I don't see why UNC is supposed to be so good. I guess we all think KU is going to be really good (which by the way they are), but a lot of that is based on Arthur's improvement and Rush's health. Is Deon Thompson supposed to have improved a whole bunch too? I'm just not seeing their forecasted dominance.

jdukhawk 14 years, 11 months ago

All I can think of is a duke chant "GO TO HELL CAROLINA" and take that terrible coach with you. At least we don't take 2 years off from recruiting like that idiot in chapel hill.

grantmvb 14 years, 11 months ago

A day after getting ripped on for a lack of local media coverage for football

we come out with this story! No wonder people still take this football team with a grain of salt! Let's get focused on what matters right now. C'mon!

CaramelMacchMan 14 years, 11 months ago

I 150% agree grantmvb

I love KU basketball from heart... but come on LJ world??????



flipborder02 14 years, 11 months ago

jdukhawk I couldnt agree more and relly how does UNC get to be # 1 thats so bull right there.

Larry Smith 14 years, 11 months ago

Argentine, I had forgotten about that scene. That is one funny movie. Thanks for the laugh. :)

Robin Smith 14 years, 11 months ago

the lack of good football reporting is not because of basketball reporting (and associated human interest articles)

a good season in football is not going to affect my obsession with ku basketball ever. in fact nothing can displace ku basketball from my heart.

griping about football coverage in the comment section of a basketball article is pointless, pointless and stupid.

there's more than enough room for articles on both sports. the basketball love does not affect football love. being a bad football team for so long affects the football love, and thankfully they seem to be turning it around. I'll be happy when they beat a team better than ksu.

soapboxstew 14 years, 11 months ago

Even if we win the NC in football, Kansas will always be a basketball school. We can't go back in time and have the inventor of the game teach the game to the father of the game. We can't be #3 in all-time wins. We can't go back for 4 NC's. We have those things in bball, and we will never have them in football. I'm pulling for our football team, but they don't even matter compared to our basketball team. I would trade 5 football NC's for one bball NC. BTW, if I was an unbiased fan, I would pick KU to slip up against A&M. I don't want them to, but that is just the type of game that teams have lost this year. Back to Basketball: Does anybody have a starting line-up to start this year? Here are my two favorites: C- Kaun PF- DA SF- Chalmers SG- Collins PG- Robinson -or- C-Kaun PF- DJ SF- DA (he can shoot the three) SG- Chalmers PG- Robinson

grantmvb 14 years, 11 months ago

Well said, Robot.. You're really making a lot of sense. Some people need to open their eyes and get out of Lawrence. Like it or not (in Collegiate Sports) NCAA Football draws the most interest in the U.S. Having local articles, lead story on mind you, talking about Sasha Kaun growing out his hair?!? Are you kidding me?

No question.. KU basketball is, and should be, life in Lawrence. But remember this: We have a top 10 football program right now that is actually playing games. At least lead with a story about tomorrow's game. Saying stuff like "being a bad football team for so long affects the football love" show exactly why we can't sell out home football games at the peak of KU football.

I don't know, maybe I'm in left field compared to most but give KU Football some credit no matter what schedule they're playing.

Blame Lew for that one.

soapboxstew 14 years, 11 months ago

Also: The top 25 is fine with me. We are in position to be a #1 seed come tourney time. Frankly, I don't care so much about where we start. I don't care if were a 6 seed (ala '88), we have to make a deeper run this year. We may have a bit of a down year in 08-09. This is the senior laden team to take us to the promised land. I will forever miss RussRob; I hope that he can win one for himself, this team, and us fans. He deserves it, they deserve it, and we deserve it.

OPJayhawk 14 years, 11 months ago

Absolutely pathetic. I love KU basketball, but Good Lord. Newsflash- BIG FOOTBALL GAME TOMORROW.

Ryan Wood 14 years, 11 months ago

You guys are acting like there's no football stories in the LJW today. There are two.

ralsterKUMed95 14 years, 11 months ago

Note to all of my fellow KU fans above: NO REASON to be ONE-DIMENSIONAL. I am thrilled how the football team is doing (who knew???), and I am absolutely stoked about the start of basketball. I am pulling for KU vs aTm tomorrow, and trying to keep up with the basketball news, yes, even the 'human interest' type stuff such as this about Sasha--although it does seem a little weak.. Anyway, go KU! (both sports)

Kaw Pickinton 14 years, 11 months ago

Football/BBall whatever... Be proud of those locks Kaun.

rockchalk80 14 years, 11 months ago

if you're going to have an article about a person's hair...shouldn't you have a picture?

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