Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jayhawks excited about Obama

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor puts up a jumper during warmups before taking on Tennessee Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor puts up a jumper during warmups before taking on Tennessee Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.



Inauguration Day 2009

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The sights and sounds of a nation as a new president is sworn in.


Obama’s inauguration

Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009 — the first African-American elected to the position. Many locals will make the trip to Washington, D.C., to watch the historic event. Others will watch from here in Kansas.

Obama’s inauguration

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Tyshawn Taylor, who turned 18 last April, was eligible to vote in his first presidential election on Nov. 4.

His candidate won.

“This is awesome. It’s great. It’s history. We’ve never seen this before,” Taylor, Kansas University’s freshman basketball point guard, said of Barack Obama’s inauguration Tuesday as the 44th President of the United States.

Obama became the first African American to ascend to the top spot in U.S. government.

“I’m glad I’m here to see it and actually had a vote in it. I’m glad I helped make a difference,” Taylor added.

Taylor said he believes Obama will be a popular, effective leader.

“I think this means something for the whole world,” Taylor said. “It’s a great thing. It’s change coming. I think everybody is going to be happy with him.”

KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend said it was fitting Obama’s inauguration came a day after the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day holiday.

“I think if it wasn’t for him, this probably couldn’t be possible,” Townsend said of the civil-rights leader King. “For him to have a dream like that come true ... I’m so proud of the country. I think he (Obama) will do a terrific job. I wish my mom was alive to see it.”

Townsend, a 1982 Western Kentucky University graduate who is in his fifth year on Bill Self’s KU staff, said, “I never thought I’d see the day, never (that U.S. would elect an African American to the White House).

“I didn’t know if the country was ready for it. You know what? I am sure the next thing is going to be a women’s president, and I’m going to be glad to see that day, too, but I’m just happy I got to see this. I think it’s a great, great day for all of America.”

Self taped the inauguration ceremony and will play it for those KU players who missed it while attending class.

“Today was a good day, a day that Americans should remember for a long time,” Self said Tuesday night on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show. “It is exciting, regardless of what political affiliation (people may be). It is a new time that hopefully will bring many positive things for our country.”

Self knows Obama’s brother-in-law — Oregon State basketball coach Craig Robinson.

“I know him too well,” Self said with a laugh. “Craig was an assistant at Northwestern when I was at Illinois. Craig played at Princeton. He beat us in the NCAA Tournament when I played at Oklahoma State. It’s the only reason I hesitated on (voting for) the president. His brother-in-law beat us in 1983. I saw coach (Robinson) there today (on TV). He was all decked out, but he had his orange and black scarf on (OSU colors). It should be a great recruiting tool for them to benefit from in Corvallis.”

Self, Townsend and Taylor have yet to meet President Obama, who happens to be a huge sports fan.

“I’d love to one day,” Townsend said. “Hopefully we could do what we did last year and get to the White House and meet him.”

The Jayhawks last spring had a Rose Garden ceremony with then-President Bush, who recognized the 2008 national champs.

lMore on recruiting flap: Self on his radio show again addressed a Springfield News-Leader sports column that alleged KU’s coach had inappropriate recruiting contact with prospect John Wall after the senior guard exited the winning locker room after Saturday’s title game of the Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo.

“What was said in the paper is close to 100 percent being accurate,” Self said of his shaking the player’s hand and saying, “Johnny, great win, man. You really played well. ... I’m not supposed to be talking to you, and you know that, but I just wanted to tell you it was a great win.”

“If it (what he did) is wrong, I’ll be told it’s wrong. I’ve never, ever had somebody come up and shake my hand and me not say, ‘Good to see you.’ If those seconds created a problem, we’ll deal with it.

“You are allowed to have a ‘cordial greeting’ (with a recruit) if somebody approaches you,” Self added. “Whether or not what I said exceeded ‘cordial greeting,’ I guess somebody else will determine that.”

According to USA Today, this is a no-contact, evaluation-only period in which NCAA recruiting rules prohibit “any face-to-face encounter that is prearranged (e.g., staff member positions himself or herself in a location where contact is possible) or that takes place … at the site of organized competition or practice … regardless of whether any conversation occurs.”

Rules also bar “any dialogue … in excess of an exchange of a greeting.”

KU officials are looking into the matter. Wall is’s No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2009 who is considering KU, Baylor, Duke, North Carolina State and others.

lMore on big win: Self on KU’s 73-53 victory over Texas A&M; on Monday, a game that vaulted the Jayhawks to 3-0 in the Big 12.

“We may have played as well last night as we did against K-State,” Self said on his radio show. The Jayhawks blazed to a 16-4 lead versus A&M; and an 18-0 lead in an 87-71 win over KSU. “We were sound. We rebounded pretty well (32-32 tie), considering they are a good rebounding team. I think our guys are getting better. We got a big spark off the bench from Mario (Little, 15 points) that really helped.”


jaybate 13 years, 8 months ago

Only a coach with ethics, and who who plays by the rules, and who has a dose of midwestern guilt, would have even said what Coach Self said to Wall. A cheating scum-ball coach would never have conditioned his exchange with "I’m not supposed to be talking to you, and you know that, but I just wanted to tell you it was a great win."Coach Self just got caught in his ingrained cultural combination of the protestant work ethic and protestant guilt. He was busting his butt working for every advantage at the edge of the margin of the rules for KU basketball and he may have stepped over a little. He even knew he may have, or he wouldn't have said what he said. But was Coach Self handing out cash? Did his 9001st attempt to attract John Wall to KU create a victim...other than possibly himself? Can coaches really not congratulate players on their play?Self is dealing with this effectively IMHO. He did what he did. It is apparently a violation of the letter of the rule. It is up to the NCAA whether they want to enforce the rule according to the letter, or the spirit, in a case where there is no victim and there was no unfair advantage gained. The NCAA may want to enforce it this time, not because Self did anything very wrong, but because if they don't, then they are creating a slippery slope of coach/recruit communication at games.

jaybate 13 years, 8 months ago

Still this needs perspective. Roy left behind real infractions and could not "recall" specifics about them.Self manned-up to his issue and it is a tiny one if ever there were a tiny infraction.Roy got off and left KU holding the bag.Self may not. Everyone likes to knock a winner down, and the NCAA does have to worry about the slippery slope of post game communication. If they don't players will never get out of gymns after games. 40 coaches will be waiting to "congratulate" them. I respect Self's approach to his issue. He deserves respect. It communicates to his players, perhaps even at his own expense, if he is punished, what they ought to do in their own lives when confronted with this sort of infraction, which many make sooner or later in life. Everyone makes mistakes. And these recruits Self attracts don't come here because he keeps his teeth white. They come here, because he works his butt off at every opportunity to build an emotional connection with them. All the great recruiters do. Rick Pitino has said it best, "There is no shame in making a mistake, but there is in not correcting it immediately." Slick Rick is another intense competitior, who no doubt surfs the edge of the recruiting envelope as much as Self, or anyone else. He gets a bad rap for being slick. He's just really good. Who knows? This may be a blessing in disguise for Bill Self. He just won a ring. He is idolized by KU faithful. He makes huge amounts of money. He is now driven to rising to the pinnacle not just of a ring, but of being accepted as one of the all time greats in his field. This can be intoxicating in combination. But this seemingly unfair little twist of the fates may be a wake up call that reminds Bill Self that he is still Bill Self, from Edmond, OK, and that that always has been good enough, and continues to be. He is not what we have all been recognizing him for. He is just a really hard working human being with a family and a goal--to become the best he can be.Remember where you came from, Coach, it always helps. Being the best you can be always involves retaining what you already have that is part of the best you can be--what your mom and dad taught you about right and wrong.John Wooden was the greatest of all time, but...the ambiguity of Sam Gilbert is lurking in his background. Apparently in Martinsville, IN, a Sam Gilbert was acceptable. But I am convinced that in the long run the ghost of Sam Gilbert will prevent the greatest from being canonized permanently as the greatest. Say it ain't so, John, but it apparently was so.No one can really say what you've done to get where you are Coach Self, but so far it looks like its been within the rules. This makes you different. Ask Roy. Ask John. Even these Clean Jeans have things they didn't man-up to.Here's hoping this event will help you fulfill your destiny of becoming one of the greats without things you didn't man-up to.Rock chalk, Bill Self.

rawkhawk 13 years, 8 months ago

Self is a class act. Loved his quote:“Today was a good day, a day that Americans should remember for a long time,” Self said Tuesday night on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show. “It is exciting, regardless of what political affiliation (people may be). It is a new time that hopefully will bring many positive things for our country.”Can't wait for Saturday. This team keeps getting better!

actorman 13 years, 8 months ago

I found it interesting that Self compared the aTm win to the KSUck win. Although the starts were similar, what I found most encouraging was that KU played well pretty much the entire game against aTm. They didn't have nearly as much of a let-down mid-game as they did against KSUck. I though the most impressive part of the aTm game was the defense; it was by far their best defensive performance of the year.Very encouraging!

Alex Berger 13 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self is so good. KU is so blessed to have him as our basketball coach. I heard from one of my friends from Missouri that during the Holidays, Missouri talk radio was saying that if Self didn't make the tournament this year his job would be on the line. Is Missouri that desperate? They've fallen to wishful thinking.Good article subjects but I thought it was poorly written, especially the part about Obama. Just seemed awkwardly written.

jayhawkr34 13 years, 8 months ago

i come to this website for sports, not politics. which is the same reason i am not re-newing my sports ill. subscription.

s6u6r6f 13 years, 8 months ago

Good for you, jayhawker34, good for you. While the sports are nice, I come to this website for articles about Billy Self, our namesake coach in jail. Come on LJW...what's the latest on Billy anyway?And when does this site publish its swimsuit article?Rock chalk.

Tony Bandle 13 years, 8 months ago

KU Basketball is our common denominator on this site, but it shouldn't preclude the discussion of other topics even if they only periphally effect our team. If this were the case, Jaybate's posts would be reduced to one-liners [just kidding, Jaybate....sort of].I kind of picture this site as a smokey neighborhood bar, without the smoke, liquor, loud music or slutty bartender, where friends can mingle and discuss common topics. The topics can range from rumored pardons of all alleged terrorists to will Mario's Little's leg hold up for the rest of the season. The obvious theme of this bar is KU sports, sort of like country western or old school or techno bars may have. However, the interjection of other topics certainly isn't outrageous and may even be refreshing.Jayhawkr34 and Lebowski I guess the answer is to skip the posts, probably this one included, that don't interest you and focus on those that do. Just like a neighborhood bar if the smoke gets too thick or the liquor is too watered down or the music is too loud or the bartender is not or is too slutty, we can always leave.

rcaltrider 13 years, 8 months ago

jayhawkr34 and Lebowski--I completely agree with you. In fact I thought maybe going on sports websites might be a safe way to stay away from the politics that has been shoved down our throats the last couple of days but, unfortunately, that is not the case. I couldn't avoid it on sports talk radio or on ESPN, either. I guess I have to keep away from all media outlets in order to get away from it all and be able to keep a meal down.While I am glad that these kids exercised their right to vote, I really don't care about who they voted for and I don't need to be told that I should be excited about this or that "everybody is going to be happy with him." Some of us have our questions and concerns and would like to see a person actually accomplish something on the job before we annoint them as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

rcaltrider 13 years, 8 months ago

OakvilleJHawk--You make a very good point as well and maybe you are correct that we should just skip these articles. The only reason I don't is that I know, as with most articles on this site, that the headline topic will also be followed by other topics within the article that I might be interested in. That was in fact the case with this article because it also gave info on the Self-Wall encounter. So, maybe I should have just passed over everything else and skipped to the bottom or just skipped the article altogether.

Fred Davis 13 years, 8 months ago

Comments like some of those above show the hypocrisy of sports fans... We get upset at the Michael Jordans' and Tiger Woods' of the Sports World when they don't step up and defend a particular political stance or atrocity, yet when we hear from an 18-year-old student athlete who exercised his right to vote in our free country, feels good about being a part of the process and reflects on his role in history - we lambaste him and the guy who wrote about it? Give me a break... It's not as though we're getting a political sidebar every week from Tyshawn about the state of America - the kid's proud of our president - guess what - that's a story... Mr. Bedore - nice piece, the rest of you dogging the LJWorld because god forbid there's a story relating politics and sports - get a life.

CasperCorps 13 years, 8 months ago

Sounds like the majoriy of Americans voted to see history made, not knowing that Obama is a Socialist..don't worry the government will take care of you... Well after it spends a bunch of our money on the parade and armor plated cadilac.

JBurtin 13 years, 8 months ago

Preach on brother Fred . . . Preach on.Pretty funny, these guys come on here complaining that there is ONE story relating politics and sports.Does anybody here really believe that these guys are concerned about someone writing a political article?ORCould it be that they just don't like the fact that the article paints Obama in a positive light?I've had to put up with rednecks idiot republicans waving the flag in my face for the last eight years. It's about time somebody stood up and told you to shut the hell up. Bush had his chance and it can be described as nothing less than a disaster.You don't like Obama fine. Cram it and deal with it.

rcaltrider 13 years, 8 months ago

JBurtin--Wow, very insightful and intelligent rant you gave there. I guess you have really been taking to heart the message of inclusion and coming together that has been put out there by your man Obama and his followers. I guess that inclusion only includes those who blindly follows along and believes exactly what he and you believe in. If you don't believe in all of that and if you happen to question what the man has to say or stands for then you must be a stupid racist redneck republican. "Cram it and deal with it"? Very intelligent.

jasonsgill 13 years, 8 months ago

1) If you don't like the politics part, you shouldn't read it and certainly shouldn't post about not liking it, which only engenders further discussion about it.2) I always appreciate getting to know KU Bball players, regardless of political views.3) disclaimer- politics to follow I find it hilarious how some people criticize others for 'anointing' Obama before he has done anything and THEN criticize Obama for what he hasn't done. As for me personally, I am happy, in a historic sense, that Obama won. And it is good to see people around the world looking up to the USofA again, but I think he is going to be a mediocre president because he will pander to the conservatives far more than I'd like. politics discussion ended

jaybate 13 years, 8 months ago

I like politics second only to KU basketball, so there could be nothing better from my point of view than to read about KU players' preferences in politics.I would love to read a separate story about each player's take on why he voted as he did and what he thought of the outgoing President.

milwaukeeJAYHAWK 13 years, 8 months ago

oh boy......I knew once I saw the headline here that there would be a battle on the comments section. C'mon guys, we're all Jayhawks here!Let's all calm down and not worry about views that aren't our own shining through from time to time. For example, I've seen articles that talk about Wayne Simien and his faith in God and how it motivates him. Personally I am nonreligious and mostly don't like religion. But I don't mind if I hear about his views, I love Big Dub! I think he's a great guy and it's OK to me when I hear views that I personally don't have.Just because some 'Hawks are excited about Obama, can't they publish it? It's no secret that most KU players are black, and that the election might mean something special to them. Is that so bad to print? Can these kids speak their minds? Or are they just bodies to us? Give 'em a break....Through our differences (religious, political, etc.) at least we can all agree that Mizzou completely blows, right?

Lance Hobson 13 years, 8 months ago

Obama is bringing change to America...starting with hiring every ex-Clinton staffer he can find. Whatever, I hope it works out.It's good that the players are taking an interest in politics. We know our players actually go to class even if they aren't exactly taking calculus and quantum physics. No Nolan Richardson act here.Nice posts by Jaybate. I usually find them rambling and horribly undistilled, but maybe they are growing on me.

jayhawkr34 13 years, 8 months ago

the only change pbama is going to bring to me and my family is the "change" we have left in our pocket after he takes from me and mine and gives to someone else who doesnt work or earn it. my only question is how long will it take til the ex-clinton, now obama kool-aid drinkers, to realize that obama is just another politician......look what he did today, he is closing gitmo, for our safety? wow...and people are defending that. i'm scared for this country with the direction we are headed.

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