Saturday, February 23, 2008

Two Jayhawks shaken by relatives’ deaths

Teammates, family lend support as Stewart deals with brother's murder, Jackson grapples with cousin's slaying


KU goes back to work against Cowboys

The Kansas men's basketball team returns to work on Saturday after a week off, traveling to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State.

— Tragedy hit Kansas University's basketball family this week.

Rodrick Stewart's brother, Allen, 21, was murdered on Wednesday in Seattle.

Darnell Jackson's cousin, Kascey Corie McClellan, 19, also died on Wednesday of gunshot wounds sustained in a Feb. 9 incident at an Oklahoma City nightclub.

Stewart and Jackson both practiced Friday and made the four-hour bus ride to Stillwater and will play in today's 3 p.m. game against Oklahoma State.

"I will just say it certainly puts everything in perspective when you have family members close to you pass away, especially in such a senseless manner," KU coach Bill Self said Friday night in confirming both deaths.

"Both of them have really struggled with it," Self added of senior players Jackson and Stewart. "The last couple of days have been tough for our team. I am proud of our guys, proud of Darnell and Rod how they are handling it. They need to go through the grieving process, and I know they appreciate everyone's support throughout these situations.

"Our players have been great teammates. They are pulling together, and that's what teammates should do. It's what families do when family members are struggling."

No details were available on the Stewart death.

Jackson's mother, Shawn, on Friday said up to 30 relatives from Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Texas will be in Gallagher-Iba Arena today to support Darnell, who is playing a college game in his home state of Oklahoma for the last time.

The relatives also will be on hand to support one another.

"We'll be there when they (Jayhawks) come in tonight, go to the hotel and visit," Shawn Jackson said Friday morning.

A native of Midwest City, Shawn was to make the 80-minute drive to Stillwater to be with her son in this time of tragedy.

"He (Darnell) was really upset Wednesday," Shawn Jackson said. "Coach had him speak with someone (for counseling). We'll try to make this as happy (a trip) as we can. We're going to bring his favorite niece to see him.

"I'm going to move around my schedule so I can stay with Darnell until Senior Night. I'll try to keep him uplifted. The players and coaches keep him uplifted. They are always there for him."

McClellan's funeral likely will be Tuesday. Family members want to make sure Darnell doesn't miss any KU games. The Jayhawks will meet Iowa State Wednesday in Ames and Kansas State on Saturday in Lawrence. It is unknown when the Stewart funeral will be held.

"He died a hero," Shawn Jackson said of McClellan, who Shawn said was trying to stop someone from striking a woman when shots were fired.

"I was talking to coach (Self) about how so many people are dying in our family, young and old," Shawn said.

It has been well documented that Darnell has lost several family members to violent deaths. His grandmother, Evon, died from injuries sustained in a car wreck in May 2005. Shawn was seriously injured in the accident, caused by a drunken driver in the other vehicle.

"I'm proud of his (McClellan's) mother. She's doing very well," Shawn added.

Shawn said the family was looking forward to watching Darnell play the final game in his home state today.

"It's exciting. A lot of people in the family, the majority of them haven't been able to get off work, take the time to see him play in person," Shawn said. "I think he (Darnell) is fired up. He doesn't show me a lot of emotion for it.

"We've got less than two weeks to Senior Night now," Shawn added of the Jayhawks' final home game against Texas Tech on March 3. "I know Darnell is looking forward to the rest of his senior season."

Self, by the way, said as a team the Jayhawks "decided we would not say anything about this to anyone in the media, but both (Stewart and Jackson) thought once people found out it was OK to not hide it from anybody."

¢ Case relatives to attend game: Jeremy Case's mom, Rita, will be making the three-hour drive from her home in Van Buren, Ark., to watch her son play his last game at Gallagher-Iba. Case, who has been at KU five years, like Self is 1-1 at Gallagher and 5-3 in the state of Oklahoma overall.

Case's sister, Dannah, a freshman guard at the University of Fort Smith of Arkansas will attend, as well as sister Katlyn, a junior standout at Van Buren High. Jeremy's older sister, Tiffany, likely won't be able to make it.

"I don't miss the games at OSU. It's real. It's exciting," Rita Newton said. "It's even better when we're winning."

Jeremy Case said he's really looking forward to seeing his mom, stepdad, two aunts and others - in all about 14 relatives.

"I haven't been to Oklahoma in awhile. I haven't seen my mom since Christmas so I'm really excited to see her. And I've got a little nephew that's about 2 years old I haven't gotten to see either. I'll be happy to see them all," Case said.

Mom Rita hopes to finally spend some quality time with her son after his senior season.

"He hasn't had a break in a little while, The most we've had him was four weeks straight last year. That's since he's been at KU. So it will be nice to get him back here this summer," Rita said.

¢ Collins ailing: KU sophomore guard Sherron Collins (bruised right knee) practiced Friday and is listed as probable for today's 3 p.m. game.


Mangino_Maniac 14 years, 5 months ago

So sorry to hear this news for both Darnell & Rodrick, and their families... I hope they can also feel the support from everyone out there in the Jayhawk community, near and far.

NH_JHawk 14 years, 5 months ago

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families Darnell & Rodrick.

true_patriot 14 years, 5 months ago

That's sad. My condolences to Darnell and Rodrick and their families.

chaggs 14 years, 5 months ago

Wow. Things like this put life into perspective. More tragedy for Darnell. Now for Rodrick.

My prayers go out to both families and hope they cand find strength and peace wherever they look.

To the coaches and is the time to demonstrate what team is all about. You have proven to be great teammates on the court. It's time to be a teammate in life. (As I am sure is already happening)

Kyle Crenshaw 14 years, 5 months ago

this is awfully sad to hear and my thoughts and prayers go out to both families who suffered losses. now id hate to call the guy a fool because none of us here know all the details of what happened but i do agree with jhwkfan that nothing good comes from night clubs (especially as of late) and im really wondering how they are still around

dogsong 14 years, 5 months ago

jhwkfan1625, I am a souless and emotionless prick, yet even I would not go out of my way to try and tarnish the memory of Jackson's cousin because I have a predisposition against night clubs. You are a supreme a hole and since we are leaping to conclusions about peopel we haven't met here, I would guess you are a closet racist too. Jerk.

ChicagoJHawk 14 years, 5 months ago

Yes, bad things happen at nightclubs sometimes but sh*t happens everywhere. To say that Jackson's cousin is a fool for going to a nightclub or that you can't understand how nightclubs are still around is absolutely retarded. There are shootings at schools all over the country these days, should we close schools down too?? Maybe they just need to increase security at some of these nightclubs/have a metal detector when you come in. It's not his cousin's fault for going to the nightclub! If you seem to think it's her fault/that she's a fool, keep that to yourself, I don't think this is something DJ needs to be hearing/reading about now.

Sorry to hear the news. My condolences to DJ, Rodrick & their families.

ChicagoJHawk 14 years, 5 months ago

Well said djkc28! Incidents like this are very rare at nightclubs. I go to bars & clubs all the time too & have never had an incident like this happen.

klineisanazi 14 years, 5 months ago

jwhkfan1625, a comment on this story probably isn't the place for sermons. This is the first lots of fans are hearing of this. It is like walking into a memorial service and saying they should have know better. Of course Jackson is going to try to see something good in his cousin. That is human nature, and we have all seen it in ourselves and others when something tragic happens. He is in major shock and grief. For you to come in here and take issue with statements he makes while he is in that state of mind is out of line.

KUFan90 14 years, 5 months ago

jhwkfan1625 - you are missing the point. You are labeling everyone in the world that attends a nightclub a fool, and making a generalized statement that if anything bad every happens to someone at a nightclub "they were asking for it just by being there".

Whether you like it or not these are ignorant statements. ChicagoJHawk said it best : bad things happen everywhere. You can't live your life in fear, holed up in your house afraid to come out because something bad might happen. Nightclubs are also fun places to socialize.

Whether you witnessed police cars at a club as you peddled by on your bike delivering papers last year or not doesn't give you the right to pass judgement or label the rest of us.

smitty33 14 years, 5 months ago

Kids, Kids, quit squibbling and drop the subject.

I didn't do my research, but this surely isn't Rodrick's brother who played at USC, was it?

I hope we just get down to business and win today by about 15 like we should. No more drama.

ChicagoJHawk 14 years, 5 months ago

smitty, no it wasn't his brother that plays for USC. That's Lodrick Stewart, they said his brother that got shot is Allen Stewart.

ChicagoJHawk 14 years, 5 months ago

  1. Starbucks and Baskin Robbins aren't open until 3 or 4am.
  2. Starbucks and Basin Robbins don't serve booze.
  3. You won't find any girls at Starbucks and Baskin Robbins.

ChicagoJHawk 14 years, 5 months ago

...I was responding to jhwkfan1625's question about going to Starbucks/Baskin Robbins instead of going to nightclubs.

KUFan90 14 years, 5 months ago

"paper route for the LJW"

"Are there not better places to socialize, such as Starbucks or Baskin Robbins?"

"women who threw away their dignity and want to steal yours as well"


how old are you...12?

Jonathan Andrews 14 years, 5 months ago

We'll hold these two Jayhawks in our hearts, during this trying time for their families.

basquiat 14 years, 5 months ago

jhwkfan1625, Was McClellan one of our players? Or a "star" athlete? Did I read the same article? I agree, if one of our players was making a habit of frequenting "night clubs" this would be a different discussion. A young man died. You are not a detective. You have very little insight. You have seen cop cars late at night? I am assuming you are talking about Last Call. Hardly an example of night clubs across the board. Have you ever been to an actual "night club"? One that has a line 100 people back? No not in Kansas my friend. Are you 21? Why are you talking? Write a book and move to certain parts of Topeka because I get the feeling that this is just the tip of the iceberg for you my friend. In your opinion, what is the difference between a night club and a bar? Ohhh...I see.

dogsong 14 years, 5 months ago

"My point exactly, ChicagoJHawk: A drink that clouds your judgment and women who threw away their dignity and want to steal yours as well. That is what gets people hurt and killed. I rest my case."

You live a sad, sad life. I pity you.

dogsong 14 years, 5 months ago

Living in fear is just another way of dying.

CougIsLJW 14 years, 5 months ago

"Better to live a "sad life" than to be dead or brain-damaged from a gunshot wound to the head."

That's arguable.

Joe Ross 14 years, 5 months ago

People, now is not the time to squibble. Some things transcend basketball, and during crisis a family should come together to support those they love. It should be so with the KU Family.

Chicago_JHawk 14 years, 5 months ago

This article is about two young men who died. The precise circumstances surrounding their deaths are unknown - what is important is supporting Darnell and Rodrick and their families.

It is inappropriate to discuss the virtues of nightclubs here. Some seem to be havens for violence, others are not. Violence can happen anywhere at anytime.

Joe Ross 14 years, 5 months ago

My Mother and her sister have always been malignantly competitive. Pathologically jealous. My Mom dated a man in high school, and when they broke up my Aunt decided SHE wanted to date him. When Grandpa died, they sang a duet at the funeral but wrestled vigorously over control of the microphone DURING THE SONG. People were struck that they couldn't set aside their petty differences during a situation which required the best from everyone.

I wonder if there are lessons to be learned here...

dogsong 14 years, 5 months ago

I hope I do get there first, that way I can work my way up the ranks and be the one who gets to torture you for eternity.

CougIsLJW 14 years, 5 months ago

Johann, this is not a memorial service. Lighten up.

basquiat 14 years, 5 months ago

Jross1972, I mean you no disrespect and your comments are well taken. However, I do not consider jhkfan1625 a member of the KU family if they make comments as such. I believe that our responses have show that we are a family and we do stick up for ridiculous statements that can be viewed as hurtful toward a player on our team. Now is not the time to give us an uninformed reckless opinion. I have moved past denial and I am in my anger stage. Forgiveness and tolerance come later in this process. As you probably know.

Joe Ross 14 years, 5 months ago


Granted, its not a memorial service. But do you really think more energy should be devoted to talk of torturing one another in hell and speculating others will die in night clubs when we should be thinking about Darnell and Rod at a time like this.

I think you missed my point completely.

basquiat 14 years, 5 months ago

I agree...thats a bit extreme. As I said, you are right on.

Joe Ross 14 years, 5 months ago

In OTHER news...

Two players on the current Jayhawk squad lost members of their families this week.

LAJayhawk 14 years, 5 months ago

A terrible situation, my heart goes out to both families.

jhwkfan1625, clearly you are entitled to your opinion about nightclubs, and I have no problem with you voicing it. It does bother me a bit, and probably several others, the timing of it. If you want to discuss the problems with those establishments, you should feel welcome, but on another day. I opened this morning and this is the first I heard of the story. To read you calling Djack's cousin "a fool" on the day the story is released just strikes me as a bit insensitive. I, personally, would appreciate you allowing the news to sink in before drawing any conclusions, be they based in fact or not. I make no personal judgments on you or your social habits, just a bit of advice for the future. Respect those who have lost before jumping on a soapbox.

Rock Chalk to you, though.

CougIsLJW 14 years, 5 months ago

Johann, I guess I missed it too. Or I just don't really care. All I know is that life will go on as it always has regardless of how many people die. Whether I want to spend time thinking of the Jackson/Stewart families or not is a personal matter.

dogsong 14 years, 5 months ago

I'd like to make a sincere apology to everyone who has read my immature and hurtful messages this morning, and especially to you jhwkfan1625. I was humoring myself by pushing your buttons and while I don't agree with your views, this was not the time or place to have a childish argument. I wish you peace and love in your life. And let's go Hawks!

Greg Lux 14 years, 5 months ago

Rock Chalk Jayhawks - Beat OSU ( Back to the spirit of this group )

okjhok 14 years, 5 months ago

Gotta be one of the strangest threads I've ever read. Oh, the humanity...

jayhawkinATL 14 years, 5 months ago

Agreed, okjhok. Glad all parties could bury the hatchet. Now let's go Jayhawks!!!!

justanotherfan 14 years, 5 months ago

I saw this story and presumed that I'd see members of the KU family extending condolences to our seniors during their time of grieving. Instead, I stumble into a debate on whether or not nightclubs are a bad place or not. Who cares?!?!

To Rodrick, you and your family are in my prayers. I hope that you and your family can find comfort in the memory of your brother.

To Darnell, I am especially saddened because of the amount of tragedy that has been visited on you in your life. I pray that you and your family find strength and comfort in each other.

frompekka2sasha 14 years, 5 months ago

This just confirms how much a college scholarship and degree can mean to those that come from unstable backgrounds. I think that the biggest percentage of us can't comprehend anything like this happening in our own lives. For that reason I reallly don't think that most of us need to offer up our opinions on situations we know nothing about.

Collins, DJ and Stewart have all had to deal with more at their age than most of us will have to deal with in a lifetime. I hope these situations allow them to realize how much of an impact they can make on their own family tree going forward. If a college education is achieved by each of them than hopefully it will spill over to a nephew/niece or cousin who may have never thought it was possible.

Losing to Bucknell or Bradley really sucks but it obviously doesn't compare to tragedies like these. We should be proud of our players and support them through these unfortunate times.

milehighhawk 14 years, 5 months ago

I think D-Jack could have his best game in a Jayhawk uniform today.

Muska 14 years, 5 months ago

I still can't help but think that 1625 is a virgin. It's the first thing I thought about. You obviously haven't been to any nightclubs because A.) you have no friends, or maybe you do but you choose to stay in and play your Nintendo Wii instead or B.) you can't pull any tail. Everyone is entitled and able to do what they choose to do, but to belittle a everyone who chooses to unwind on the weekend with a few drinks and some women is just mind boggling to me. I see the players out all the time. I don't know if this is supossed to be a secret or something, but the players are human. They like girls. Sometimes they feel like drinking a beer. I guess we're all fools then, eh? Personally, I think you are probably a very intelligent individual, but undoubtedly a nerd, and more than likely a virgin. A paper boy? This isn't 1956. I'll even give you one of your well known smiley faces to make this announcement more bearable ;-)

Enjoy your magic the gathering tournament tonight.

And about D-Block and Rod...You guys are the shiznit. Keep your heads up. Jayhawk nation is behind you and everything that you do.

...just don't go to any nightclubs, because according to some people here you will be a fool for doing so.

JBurtin 14 years, 5 months ago

Too bad some knucklehead had to screw up the thread. I can hardly blame people for getting on jhwkfan1625's case. I lost a brother a couple of years ago at age 31. If some idiot had used the opportunity to get on his soapbox, I would have knocked him out.

It's nice that he finally apologized, but nobody ever should have had to tell him that speaking ill of the dead when people are still grieving is incredibly tactless.

It's unimaginably hard to go through something like this. You can never truly know what it feels like until it happens to your family. I have no idea how either one of these two young men have the strength to care about something as petty as a basketball game at this point.

Reading this story brings it all back for me. I wish there was something more I could do than to send them my strength and my love. In truth, the only thing that really seems to help in a time like this is the love you get from your family. Keep them close right now guys, you'll get through it together.

Dan Harris 14 years, 5 months ago

My heart and prayers go out to DJ and R Stewart, May God ease your pain. We love you guys,ROCK CHALK

Dan Pawlowski 14 years, 5 months ago

jhwkfan1625, Keep your moral judgments to yourself. Get off this thread . Go back to you glass house. Throw your stones there. The rest of Jayhawk Nation supports DJ and Rodrick in their time of sorrow.

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