Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Senior Night leaves mark on coach


15 of 16 Jayhawks score in triumph over Texas Tech

Following KU's 109-51 beatdown of Texas Tech, head coach Bill Self joked that not even the Los Angeles Lakers could have beaten the Jayhawks on senior night.

Bookend blowouts wreck Raiders

Last Wednesday the Texas Tech men's basketball team suffered its worst loss in school history. Three days later, the Raiders responded with one of the biggest wins in school history. Fast forward another 48 hours, and the Jayhawks shellacked Pat Knight's team in the most lopsided Kansas contest in Big 12 history.

Upon further review, there's absolutely nothing Bill Self would have changed about Monday's Senior Night festivities in Allen Fieldhouse.

"It was the classiest night I have ever experienced in college basketball," Self, Kansas University's fifth-year coach, said Tuesday on his Hawk Talk radio show.

"The fans were a huge part of it. Our play was a part of it. The seniors were a part of it. The seniors' families were a part of it. So many things that came together were things that you can't buy. You can't recreate that.

"We've had great senior classes in the past, and we'll continue to have great classes. Last night was the perfect storm," added Self, in his 15th year overall as a head coach.

From the pre-game introduction of seniors Jeremy Case, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart and their families, to the 109-51 rout of Texas Tech, to the post-game speeches ... it all added up to a night Self won't soon forget.

"We had a lot to play for ... to go undefeated at home," Self said, adding, "as cool as all that was, one thing was cooler than anything. The game started at 8 o'clock with many of the people living in Kansas City, Wichita, places where they are driving to the game. It finished at 10 and at 10:30 there couldn't have been 300 people that left their seats. That doesn't happen at many places, maybe just one."

Indeed, just a handful of fans left the building before the five senior speeches were complete.

"The guys did a nice job expressing what everybody meant to them in limited minutes. (At) past Senior Nights it would have been 2 a.m.," Self joked of the players limiting their comments to three to five minutes.

Allen Fieldhouse - which rocked Monday - was just as loud during Saturday's victory over Kansas State.

"I thought Saturday was the best crowd we've had since I've been here, and we've had some good ones - Georgia Tech, Michigan State," Self said of past victories. "I thought our play and energy level against K-State was great. Even though it was a 14-point game, I felt we controlled the game from the get-go. I know (Michael) Beasley and (Bill) Walker got two fouls early and are huge keys to their team, and I'd not deny that at all. (But) all three of our main big guys had two fouls, too.

"We played great, but in my opinion - and fans may disagree - Monday was a lot better than Saturday."

Perhaps the highlight of the night for Self was listening to his players' speeches. Case spoke of his desire to be a coach.

"He'll be a great coach. He'll be the type of coach you want your son to play for," Self said. "He is so level-headed, not emotional. He is everything that I'm not. Like what he said, 'There will be some things I'll take with me (from what he learned under Self),' and the bad things he'll leave behind."

KU, which is tied with Texas at 12-3 in the Big 12 standings with one game remaining, can win a share of the league crown by beating Texas A&M; Saturday. Tip is 3 p.m., at Reed Arena in College Station.

Texas, a 70-66 winner over Nebraska on Tuesday, will close with a home game against Oklahoma State on Sunday.

¢Jackson up for award: KU senior Darnell Jackson is a finalist for the eighth-annual V Foundation Comeback Award. The award will be announced during ESPN's basketball Final Four coverage.

The award is presented to an individual who has accomplished a personal triumph in the face of true adversity, be it in health, life or moral dilemma.


notoriousfox 14 years, 3 months ago

If Darnell doesn't win that award they probably shouldn't even have it. I can't imagine anybody embodying that award more than him.

chalmers2wright 14 years, 3 months ago

Hell they might have to rename that the V Foundation/Darnell Jackson Comeback Award.

Ben Kane 14 years, 3 months ago

Darnell should win that award, not only has he battled multiple tragedies, but has also managed to improve into a legitimate NBA potential; I never would have seen that coming a few years ago. I'm also hoping Mario wins defensive player of the year.
In other news, with only 3 spots left I'm starting to think Danny might be left off of the 25 greatest college players list on ESPN and that would just be wrong!

KU 14 years, 3 months ago

Can you believe Danny Manning being left out of the list of the 25 greatest college players of all time? The all-time leading scorer at KU! Led his senior team to a National Championship! Unbelievable.

David Reed 14 years, 3 months ago

should rename that the darnell jackson award

truehawkfan 14 years, 3 months ago

Darnell is not only the comeback player of the year, he is the most improved, most inspirational, most valued, most loved player in all of college basketball. Just my opinion. He has become on of the best role models for kids, he loves his school, and shows what loyalty will bring you. He is an amazing person and will always be one of my favorite players to come through KU. His heart and desire has infected his teammates at the right time, and his team will follow his example by playing with heart, passion, and love for the game to bring home not only the big 12 title, but hopefully a final 4 appearance. Thank you Darnell for all you have done not only for your team, but your fans and community.

melrank 14 years, 3 months ago

No Danny and Laettner is on there at what, 14?

You gotta wonder about the whole ESPN east coast bias with this one.


Laettner ahead of Jordan, too? C'mon.

I agree with Darnell being chosen for this award. I don't know much about this particular award, but based on the criteria, Darnell is much deserving. Good luck, Darnell.

geniusmannumber1 14 years, 3 months ago

They showed the top 5 left during the game the other night. Danny is one of the top five.

jackhawk 14 years, 3 months ago

I lost interest in the top 25 list when they showed Wilt Chamberlain at 10th. There are 9 players greater than Wilt? Get real! No other player in the history of the game had rules changed just because of him. And that was before he started playing. What a joke.

KGphoto 14 years, 3 months ago

Why even pay attention to the rankings of the top college players of all time? Quit getting sucked into that mess!

We know Danny. We know how great he was. Are you gonna give ESPN any sort of credit for ranking him?

The whole "ranking" of the players thing stinks! Are we going to tell our grandchildren about how high or low ESPN ranked Danny in their own name. Or are we going to tell them that we saw him play, and there was never anybody else like him.

All it really does is line the pockets of those scumbags at ESPN!

Get over it.

Michael Foulston 14 years, 3 months ago

Here's a link to the V-Foundation Award Finalists, including links to past winners. I honestly have no idea what the stories are for the other finalists, but go Darnell!


TtownHawk 14 years, 3 months ago

Jackson should win this award, i'll say the same thing everyone else on here has said and its true. how can anyone else say they've gone through as much as this guy has, and in that time he's made himself into a legitimate NBA prospect? that's awesome and i feel truly honored to have been able to be there on senior night to watch him play live one last time at Allen.

yeah Danny will be on there. it doesn't matter really, ESPN is a joke as it is. but jackhawk you do have to realize its the 25 greatest COLLEGE basketball players. Wilt was only around 2 years and he is 9, i think thats pretty good. Danny will be in the top 3, if he's not then so be it. that will just show how messed up ESPN truly is.

speedy 14 years, 3 months ago

Dicky V. had big ugly a# 1 and danny #2 all time several times on broadcasts. so hes not at fault this time. but someone at ESPN is!!!!!no way should he be left off. top 3? bill russell, jabar,walton? bill played before all of the chamberlain rules took place. and because he could do it he was great. the other two won championships.

SO DID DANNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

marvinhawk 14 years, 3 months ago

I checked out the web site of recipients of past V foundation awards. Darnell seems like a shoe in from a Jayhawk fan point of view, but reading about some of the past recipients made me respect the range of adversity that many of these athletes go through. There are some determined and courageous young folks out there.

Jacobpaul81 14 years, 3 months ago

the final ESPN four should be in this order:

  1. Bil Walton
  2. Danny Manning
  3. Oscar Robertson
  4. Lew Alcindor

I'm not holding my breath, but that's what I expect.

Chris Shaw 14 years, 3 months ago

It is a terrible shame that Danny Manning isn't going to be in the Top 25 of the "ESPN" college basketball players of all time. Right now, here is the list that they have in decending order:

  1. George Mikan
  2. David Robinson
  3. Calvin Murphy
  4. Austin Carr
  5. Tim Duncan (Laugher-This is where D Manning should go)
  6. Bob Kurland (If you mention Bob Kurland then you have to mention Clyde Lovellette)
  7. Elgin Bayler
  8. Ralph Sampson
  9. Tom Gola (Same goes here as well for Tom Gola. Gola, Kurland, and Lovellette all played in the same period and all won championships. All had great numbers, but Kurland was on the downward spiral of the 52 Gold Medal team and Gola was a bench player and Lovellete was the "Star" of that team. Let's also mention that Lovellette also had the better pro career than those other two. I know we're looking at college, but you know "ESPN" is weighing that a little bit.
  10. Patrick Ewing
  11. Magic Johnson
  12. Elvin Hayes
  13. Michael Jordan (Laugher-should definitely be lower and maybe not even in the Top 25. Another Tarheel in Phil Ford should be in the Top 25 over Jordan.
  14. Christian Laetnner-He deserves to be in this list, but maybe a little high. I would put him in the 18-25 range.
  15. Jerry Lucas
  16. Wilt Chamberlin-How is he this low? I don't think any remembers that he changed the dynamics of the game.
  17. Larry Bird-He didn't win a championship, plus he was 3 years older than everybody else at that time in 1979. Magic should be ahead of Larry.
  18. David Thompson
  19. Bill Bradley
  20. Jerry West
  21. Pistol Pete Maravich-He should be #2 or #1 all-time. Those are ridicoulous numbers.
  22. Bill Russell.

My Final 3 (Sorry no Danny Manning, but he has to be in the Top 25 plain and simple, are in this order:

  1. Oscar Robertson
  2. Bill Walton
  3. Lew Alcindor

scootja32 14 years, 3 months ago

Yes Darnell is a great nominee but have you guys not heard of a player named Luke Harangody? I think he's the frontrunner.

scootja32 14 years, 3 months ago

Never mind what I said lol. I was thinking this was the same as MIP. My bad. Luke's not even up for this. lol @ me.

ku_phog 14 years, 3 months ago

Darnell is very deserving of this award. Jackson embodies what KU university is all about. I never met the guy but he seems like the kind of guy you would trust with your kids. He seems like a great person who has overcome many personal tragedies. Darnell, you will be missed. Best of luck in the NBA after we win the National Championship this year.

Rock Chalk

Alex Staley 14 years, 3 months ago

geniousman, they showed notables who hadn't made it in yet. Danny was the lowest ranked of those notables and they said he wouldn't be included.

Studogg 14 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for pointing that out, stang. I was getting ready to do the same thing myself (correct that guy) but you beat me to it. People who don't pay attention crack me up.

Danny Manning RULES!!

Dirk Andrews 14 years, 3 months ago

Manning will get punked out, and there's no doubt that it's ridiculous. When it comes to a list like this one, there can be so many arguments so many different ways. We all know Manning and Clyde deserve to be on there, but the "powers that be" don't seem to, so what can we do?

As far as Darnell winning the award, he's got to be the front runner. I can't think of anyone who has had a bigger impact on their team than him. He plays hard every night, and has helped give this team a tough attitude. Good luck to him.

Ben Kane 14 years, 3 months ago

talk about getting punked... SI just released their all american team and there is not one jayhawk on the first, second, or third team!!!

KU 14 years, 3 months ago

chuckberry32.......Doesn't surprise me that no Jayhawks are on the SI All-American team. First, our players stats aren't gaudy because we're so balanced. Second, nobody has really had anything close to an all-american year on the team.

Now, if somebody puts the team on his back and carries them through the post-season, maybe we'll have an all-american.

Michael Auchard 14 years, 3 months ago

Three things, and like the hawks, I'll be brief:

  1. Way to go Seniors. You're a classy bunch. You're all winners, thank you for coming here to play at my favorite school.

  2. I know I'm pro-Hawks on this one, but I agree. Darnell is the man. I've heard from mutual acquaintances that he has really had a tough time emotionally from all this. Just remember, Darnell, that you've brought so much joy to so many people in your life. I'm sorry that it has not been reciprocated back onto you, but it will be. I MEAN THIS: I wish you the best in anything you ever do, buddy.

  3. Finally, on my moniker is MCAJayhawk, to those of your who also have been screaming for Danny to be included on the top-25, thank you. I think if more of us raise hell on the top-25 forum it will goad those East Coasters in to at least feeling bad about completely leaving off what should be an obvious slam-dunk choice.

jayhwkroks 14 years, 3 months ago

Hey, did anyone see Mario's segment on Rome is burning yesterday? It was pretty cool.

JayViking 14 years, 3 months ago

"talk about getting punked... SI just released their all american team and there is not one jayhawk on the first, second, or third team!!!"

good. who cares about that stuff. they shouldn't either. let's win the championship, that's what matters.

Mitch_4_KU 14 years, 3 months ago

Darnell Jackson is, without question, the most deserving player, anyone of us knows, to be recognized as a true CHAMPION. I don't know what the other players on the finalist list have had to overcome, but if someone other than Darnell is the recipient, then God bless them. He has caused me so many bruises on my chest, doing it with him, that I almost have to turn away when he shoots free throws. He will be missed, very very much. Thank you Darnell.

Also, Danny Manning is the best "College" player that ever put on a uniform, regardless of what the letters on the front said. No other player played the way he did. Taking a good bunch of players and helping them win the NC. He was a 6'11" point guard, shooting guard, power forward, wing, and center. and a class act. I met Danny at the baseball fields in Lawrence when he would come down and watch the American Legion and Babe Ruth games. He was polite, outgoing, and just fun to talk to. IF ESPN does not put him in the top 25, so what. He will always be the best to me, and thousands of other JayHawk fans.

bringheatwavewheat 14 years, 3 months ago

I don't care what anybody says but the top player is TJ Pugh, a close 2nd being Lester Earl. If you disagree I'll punch your face.

jaybate 14 years, 3 months ago

I have always thought that what makes KU basketball so special has to be experienced for awhile before it is truly felt and believed.

Wonderous things happen almost every every season, even in the down years. Part of the reason I stay so involved is that while we are all focused on the team and their games and the unfolding of each season, magnificience crops up when you least expect it.

Reading Bill Self's words in this story makes me think that Coach Self has at last been touched by the same mythology that touches all of us who have been along for the ride for awhile.

It happens to every coach sooner or later. Even LB. They are hard competitive men when they come here. They are used to cynical people and what have you done for me lately. Some of that is no doubt here at Kansas. But there is something more, somethingd deeper, and I do believe Coach Self, whether he stays long or short, is one of us the deepest sense of these words. Welcome aboard, Coach. The longer you stay, the more you'll feel it.

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