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Sunday, May 13, 2012

KU hoops trio graduates today

Kansas seniors Tyshawn Taylor, left, Conner Teahan and Jordan Juenemann are recognized before the fieldhouse crowd with their families prior to tipoff against Texas on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas seniors Tyshawn Taylor, left, Conner Teahan and Jordan Juenemann are recognized before the fieldhouse crowd with their families prior to tipoff against Texas on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas University senior basketball players Jordan Juenemann, Tyshawn Taylor and Conner Teahan figure to do a lot of reminiscing — and a lot of celebrating — this morning as they participate in graduation ceremonies in and outside of Memorial Stadium.

“It’s going to be a great experience walking down the hill with my teammates Conner and Tyshawn,” said Juenemann, a combo guard out of Hays High School who majored in exercise science and minored in business.

“There’s such tradition at KU in walking through the Campanile and thinking about what you built on in four years — all the hard work in the classroom and for us on the field of play. It’ll be great to walk down into Memorial Stadium and hear the benediction and have our families be there on Mother’s Day when we get our diplomas and are launched off into the real world.”

The three plan to meet for pictures on Jayhawk Boulevard, then take part in the 10:30 a.m. graduation procession together following an introduction by the herald trumpeters near the Campanile.

“I know it’s a big deal for myself, Jordan and Tyshawn to be able to finally have all the work we put in the last four, five years to pay off,” said Teahan, a fifth-year shooting guard out of Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst High. He had a double major in finance and accounting. “This is something I’ve definitely dreamed about since arriving at KU. I knew I was going to be here the whole time. To be able to walk down the hill is a special experience.”

Taylor, a point guard and four-year starter from Saint Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J., majored in African and African-American studies and minored in communication studies.

“I’m one of the first in my family to graduate, so it’s definitely a really, really big accomplishment,” Taylor said. “And I’m really excited.

“I’ve been through a lot,” the Hoboken, N.J., native added. “Four years is a long time. Nowadays, a lot of people don’t even finish school, they just come and they leave. Just to be here four years and to be able to graduate — I’m about to graduate — that’s something I’m really happy about. I’m grateful to be here.”

Scott Ward, KU’s associate athletic director academic and career counseling, beams with pride in recalling a discussion he had with Taylor years ago.

“We met in the office about his goals. He wanted to do this for his mother,” Ward said of Taylor, who is expected to be a late-first-round or early- to mid-second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

“Tyshawn certainly wants to play some more basketball, but this was a major goal of his, to be the first member of his immediate family to graduate from college. It was exciting for his mother, his entire family, when he graduated from high school. It’s going to be awesome, so exciting for his family to see him graduate from college,” Ward added.

Basketball also is in the future plans of Juenemann, who will play for an Athletes In Action all-star team this summer in Germany and Poland. After the tour is complete, he’ll decide whether to keep playing, perhaps for that organization, or begin looking for a job.

“I want to stay in basketball, playing or coaching,” Juenemann said. “I need to figure it out. I’ve done a lot of praying about it. I’m hoping this trip will lead me either way and settle it, which direction to go for sure. I feel I have a good time playing and have the desire. One of the two ... I’ve got to stay with basketball.”

Teahan plans to hit the job market hard in the fall.

“I started to search for jobs before the season started. Then it started, and we got busy, and I decided to put it off,” Teahan said. “I have a lot of people I need to contact. As of now, I’m sitting and relaxing, kind of my plan for the summertime.

“I like Kansas City. I love Kansas, period. I don’t know if I’ll be moving too far away. I definitely would like to stay in the Midwest,” Teahan added.

As far as specific jobs ... “Being a financial planner of some sort is something I’m interested in. I also have interest in maybe analyst-type stuff. I can do some accounting-type things. I need to get a CPA first if I want to do that.”

Ward would be happy to provide a reference for any of the three seniors. Of course, he hopes Taylor is first able to make millions playing basketball for some time to come.

“Conner, with his two degrees, has positioned himself nicely,” Ward said. “Conner put in some hard work to get two degrees. Jordan has a plan for his future and has such a bright future as well.”

Ward might shed a tear or two today as he watches thousands of KU students march into the stadium.

“It’s my favorite day. I love seeing these guys achieve,” Ward said. “This is four, five years of work. I am so proud whether they are student-athletes or not. I love the energy of graduation generated by all the students.”

He said it has been a pleasure to watch so many basketball players succeed in the classroom.

“This is Bill Self’s program — 100 percent of his seniors are graduating. It’s what Bill Self’s program does. It’s what he does. He wants his seniors graduating,” Ward said. “It doesn’t happen everywhere. These guys have different plans for their future, but all of them are leaving Kansas with a degree, Conner with two. That’s what coach Self’s program is about.”

Comments

texashawk10 10 years, 3 months ago

Happiest day of my life so far was the day I got to enter the Campanile and walk down the hill into Memorial Stadium and graduate from KU. I also have not gotten married or had a kid yet so I'm sure those two events will top graduating for me, but I can't think of anything else that would top graduation day and that includes being in Miami for the Orange Bowl win and on Mass. St. for the 2008 national title as a student. Congratulations Tyshawn, Connor, and Jordan on your 4/5 years of hard work and achieving something that you will always be proud of even more so than your accomplishments on the basketball court.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 3 months ago

Only one question...is that you in your avatar?

If so, you are now my favorite poster!!!

texashawk10 10 years, 3 months ago

No, that's not me. That is actress Olivia Wilde from when she was at a game this past season with Jason Sudekis. I wish that was my girlfriend/wife or me for bragging rights and the bank account, but I am a guy and far less good looking than Olivia Wilde.

Bert White 10 years, 3 months ago

Congrats Conner, Jordan, and Tyshawn. Meeting Conner and Jordan at the Wichita KU Barnstorming Tour they seem like fantastic people and it's great to see year in and year out the quality of people that leave Kansas after their 4 to 5 years. Congrats to you three again and thanks for a great season, Jayhawk Nation is proud of you guys.

ChicagoJHawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to all 3 of you!! Thanks for all the great memories over the last for the great memories over the last 4/5 years. Best of luck to you!

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

These three guys' lives will make a great novel in 20 years.

dylans 10 years, 3 months ago

Congrats seniors, not all players can hope to accomplish what you have done! A true student athlete is rare and we've been blessed with three. Here's looking forward to your continued success! Go make your name in the League Tyshawn. Go make your name as a coach Juennemann. Go make the business word tremble Conner. The world is your oyster; make your mark.

gchawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Congratulation Tyshawn, Conner, and Jordan. We're very proud of all your hard work and accomplishments.

REHawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Among all the splendor of one-and-done hoopla, mixed with the academic disarray of hoops programs in such institutions as UConn, Bill Self's Jayhawk program thrives as a harbor for traditional student-athletes. Is a bittersweet situation, the NBA riches luring away the likes of Cole Adrich and Xavier Henry, two kids who apparently would have cherished the opportunity to spend more time reaping crowd adulation as they trotted through the tunnel at AFH. Mentioning Xavier, I suppose that I am speaking out of both sides of my mouth, as he certainly was a one-and-doner. But it did seem, at the time of his departure, to be a situation which he was forced to face at least one year too early.

blooblzr 10 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to the graduating seniors! Take all of the lessons that you learned while on an off the court and go on to do great things with your lives.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 3 months ago

Reminds me of walking down the hill in 1988. As I entered the stadium the crowd stood up cheering. I thought wow, they must be proud of me until I turned around and about 5 or 6 grads behind me in line was Danny Manning!

Tony Bandle 10 years, 3 months ago

In 1971, I sat behind Dave Robisch. All I saw was the back of his head....for three hours!!!

God, that guy was big!!

AsadZ 10 years, 3 months ago

No doubt this is a memorable day for these incredible men.

Many congrats to Conner, Jordan and Tyshawn in graduating from an honorable institution.

RJ King 10 years, 3 months ago

All three boys sound full of genuine gratitude. What a wonderful day for their families. My heart goes out to Thomas as I realize this is his second Mother's Day without Lisa. I hope he was with little sister as well.

A big shout out to ALL who nurture intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth. 'Cause in the words of Willie:

"Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Tigers. Don't let 'em be Wildcats and drive them new cars Make 'em be Jayhawks and reach for the stars."

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