Thursday, April 11, 2013

Shot star, Kevin Young to hold cube-off at Kansas Relays

Reese Hoffa celebrates his last and longest throw of the Kansas Relays Men's Elite shot put event on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in downtown Lawrence.

Reese Hoffa celebrates his last and longest throw of the Kansas Relays Men's Elite shot put event on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, in downtown Lawrence.


Colorful 2012 Olympic shot put bronze-medal winner Reese Hoffa will test his body — then his mind — in a pair of Kansas Relays competitions Wednesday night in downtown Lawrence.

First, the 5-foot-11, 320-pound native of Evans, Ga., will compete in the 6 p.m. shot put competition against a field that includes 2008 Olympic silver medalist Christian Cantwell.

Then, immediately following the event, Hoffa will participate in a one-on-one celebrity Rubik’s Cube challenge against Kansas University senior basketball player Kevin Young. Hoffa, a noted speedcubist, has solved the puzzle in a personal-best 38 seconds.

Young, at this year’s NCAA Tournament, fiddled with a cube in front of reporters in the Jayhawks’ locker room and said he’s solved the cube in about two minutes.

“This should be a lot of fun,” Young said Thursday. His body type is just the opposite of Hoffa’s, at 6-foot-8 and a rail-thin 190 pounds. “The Relays are always great. This year I’m excited to get a chance to meet the athletes, especially Reese Hoffa, who shares a hobby with me.”

Relays meet director Milan Donley credits assistant meet director Josh Williamson for brainstorming the idea after learning of Young’s passion for the cube during the NCAAs. KU officials recently checked with Hoffa to see if he’d be game for the celebrity match.

“We got on the phone with Reese’s agent. He said Reese is so competitive he wanted to know, ‘How fast is this guy (Young)? Do I need to train for it?’” Donley said with a laugh. “He (Hoffa) did the cube one time in Canada and it blew up in his hand. He’s such a personable guy, it should be a lot of fun.”

The 35-year-old Hoffa, who has said he aims one day to compete in the shot put in a bear suit, has been known to gobble down turkey legs provided by his fans after victories. He also juggles fire and swords and has competed wearing a Mexican wrestling mask. He won last year’s Relays shot put in a throw of 71-33⁄4.

Florida on tap?: It looks as if KU’s basketball team will play Florida, not Arkansas, in next year’s Big 12-SEC Challenge. The Palm Beach Post quoted Florida officials as saying, UF will “host an historic powerhouse from the Big 12” next season.

KU officials would not confirm or deny the report, only indicating KU’s opponent in the challenge should be finalized in the next two weeks. KU will also travel to Colorado next season, play Duke in Chicago and meet Georgetown and San Diego State in Allen Fieldhouse. KU will compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in a field that includes Villanova, Wake Forest, Tennessee, USC, UTEP, Xavier and a yet-to-be-determined squad.

Self the speaker: KU coach Bill Self will be a featured speaker at “Leadership Game Changer: Developing Business Champions,” a professional training event May 9 in Atlanta. Leadership Game Changer is produced by Kansas’ multimedia and licensing partner IMG College. For more information visit ... Self will speak at Eric Berry’s third-annual Man 2 Man event benefiting Big Brothers and Sisters of Greater Kansas City at 6 p.m., April 18 at Arrowhead’s North Club. For ticket information, click here. ... Self will receive the Wooden Legends of Coaching honor this weekend in Los Angeles.


Jonathan Briles 9 years, 5 months ago

We are going to face one hell of a tough schedule in the non conference next year. We will probably lose a good number of those games as we experience some growing pains, but the tough tests will get us ready and rolling for conference play and the tournament. I'm expecting some serious growing pains early on, but next season should be a pretty fun one to watch as we see a whole team develop before our eyes.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 5 months ago

I truly believe we'll be better next year if we can get one of our young 7 footers to mature quickly.

Adam Tyler 9 years, 5 months ago

Our non-conference schedule will be tough and our biggest struggle will undoubtedly be immaturity as we begin the season.

However, I believe some of the teams listed above will look much different next season and may be in the same situation as us.

Georgetown is most likely losing Otto Porter to the NBA. He was the only threatening player on his team this past season, a team who ultimately lost in the round of 64 to FGCU. Without Porter, Georgetown will be forced to start the season looking for a new go-to-guy to lead them and playing them early may benefit us. Georgetown is also a notoriously slow starting team who gains momentum throughout their conference schedule, which could favor us as well.

San Diego State is losing 5 seniors to graduation. Those seniors make up 4 of the top 6 scorers from last season. It is also rumor that Jamaal Franklin, their leading scorer and by far most talented player, will be entering the NBA draft.

I am not too concerned with the field at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. There are some solid teams, but until Michigan State (who is rumored to be the yet-to-be-determined team) or another powerhouse program accepts an invitation, I do not believe we should worry much.

Florida, Duke, and Colorado will be the most talented opponents we face by far, but I believe it will only help us mature faster.

Colorado brings everybody back except one senior. Andre Roberson is throwing his name out to NBA exec's and selling his monster rebounding ability, but he will quickly be shut down and told to develop a jump shot before he comes back to the big leagues.

Florida loses their top 3 scorers, but returns five individuals who played more than 17 minutes a game last season. They also have a very good 2-man recruiting class, which features two McDonalds All-Americans and is headlined by Chris Walker. If you didnt see the dude in the high school dunk contest, go to youtube and find it, he is a freak.

Duke will always be good. At least until Coach K leaves. They will lose Kelly, Plumlee, and Curry, their three leading scorers from last season. They return a good set of guards, Cook and Sulaimon (I refuse to call Thornton good, whack a## lucky shot) but are lacking in the post. Duke has only two guys over 6'7 who averaged over 12 minutes a game last season. They will rely heavily on Jabari Parker as well, who will be a force from day one.

Everyone has their weaknesses. Ours may not be in bodies or talent, but age and maturity. As time goes on and the season progress, I believe this non-conference schedule will toughen us up and prepare us for the grueling path to our 10th straight BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP!!!

Jonathan Briles 9 years, 5 months ago

Pretty great analysis of all of those teams. I agree with about everything you said. It will be great for us to face this kind of schedule and a lot of fun for fans to watch. I'm looking forward to all these games and cannot wait for conference play to show that it does not matter what happens, the championship comes through Lawrence. This kind of scheduling is the best thing we could do for a young team like this. I was not trying to say we would lose all those games and we are certainly capable of winning all of them, I was just making the point that it will be difficult and with so many of the games being away from the Phog we will certainly see some struggles. Fortunately with the kind of talent we have coming in we won't be out of any game and as you said our inexperience will be our greatest weakness which by the time we are done with non conference play should not be such a weakness.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

KanFan27, I haven't looked (and don't remember exactly), but the 2011-2012 season also had a lot of tough opponents and that seemed to work out OK for us. I've always been a proponent of playing all the tough teams you can early on. This ain't football and a couple of losses against quality teams won't hurt a bit and will probably even help. Steamrolling teams like Delphos Tech or the Oklahoma City School of Horseshoeing does nothing to make us a better team.

I'm agreeing with you, by the way !

justinryman 9 years, 5 months ago

KU played a lot of goodteams in 11/12 non-con. KY in Madison Square garden lost 65-75, G'Town and UCLA both wins in Maui(67-63 and 72-56) losing to Duke in the Maui classic title game 61-68. Back home they played Ohio st and won 78-67, lost to Davidson in the Sprint Center 74-80 and beat USC 63-47.

David Leathers 9 years, 5 months ago

They won't say Kansas unless Kansas wants them to say Kansas.

Who else would you deem a "historic powerhouse from the Big 12"?

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

I'd really like to say TCU, but that may not be appropriate.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

The fact that we can't figure out another "historic powerhouse from the Big 12" would define the problems with our conference. Should have snagged Louisville when we had the chance.

tical523 9 years, 5 months ago

The Michigan loss was so very hard on me because it was the end for Kevin Young. I will never forget this senior class because of what it took each of them to get there and be great but Kevin Young was something else. I'm going to miss his energy, smile, attitude and personality to play along the four and five star recruits but I know he will be a success in anything he decides to do.

Bob Thompson 9 years, 5 months ago

Kevin was always my favorite player also. I am really going to miss him.

JHWK 9 years, 5 months ago

I have never seen a starter with such a ready smile as KY! He could really bring the energy of the team and all of AFH to new heights just with his energy on the floor and that beaming smile when he finished a play. I will miss him tremendously! That kind of energy will hopefully be rewarded with a sweet opportunity to impress this summer -- and then maybe a cushy overseas gig for the Fall. Rock Chalk, Kevin! You'll always be the favorite of many Jayhawks!

AllforKU 9 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations to Josh Williamson for putting together this match-up! Can't wail to see what Kevin Young can do against Reese Hoffa. Go Kevin!!

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 5 months ago

Another event could feature Withey attempting to block Reese Hoffa's "shot". (of course, in a figurative/testimonial way - Withey would shatter every bone in his hand and arm otherwise!))

Joe Ross 9 years, 5 months ago

For a second after reading the headline I thought there was a shot put star named Kevin Young. Weird, I thought, because we have a basketball player with that name AND a football player if I'm not mistaken...

SDSurferFan 9 years, 5 months ago

SDSU alumni and huge KU fan.

Cannot wait till this game. Will be at the game or at least try.

This years SDSU team may have a chance to hang with next years KU team but next year v next years As previously stated, losing too much. Also sdsu can be sloppy and the usual stellar D of Ku will exploit that.

The contrast in coaching styles will be the most enjoyable to watch. Long leash v short leash.

I'm so glad that sdsu is not making jump to big west and that this game still stuck. Ku coming to San Diego in 2 yrs will be the biggest game in the city's history for a reg season sporting event. So STOKED!!!

KGphoto 9 years, 5 months ago

Well, I’m glad we are playing SDSU in AFH next year. We just lost the meat of a great defense, and it takes years to groom freshmen to play great D.

Withey inside and Relly outside might have been the best defensive combination in the country. You can’t simply replace them. I imagine KU will look pretty different with such a huge influx of young scoring talent.

Next year should be similar to the transition from ’08 to ’09 for KU. We lose everybody, and keep a junior PG and a talented sophomore big man. Then it’s freshmen and sophomores on out. It took awhile for that team to get rolling, so SDSU might have a better shot getting KU early.

Michael Luby 9 years, 5 months ago

And his Afro! He is rocking it! Really nice guy, humble and funny. Had the pleasure of meeting the team after Richmond came to play and got buried.

Michael Luby 9 years, 5 months ago

Nice post Gary. Id like to see KY play in the NBA next season but most likely he will hopefully go over seas and play like Russ Rob and Kaun and Langford.

JakeBarnes 9 years, 5 months ago

Reese , "He’s such a personable guy." Gregarious and witty, Kevin ought to be a match in personality with Reese. Maybe even in the Rubik cube contest as well.

I agree with Ralster, "I am going to miss his athleticism and his smile. RCJH, Kevin Young!"

KansasComet 9 years, 5 months ago

Time to look forward to season, even though the roster for next year is probably not set. I think next years team will be a top 10 team again. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I'm all in for Conference Title Number 10!

NativeHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Off topic, but I've often wished KU would update their logo to be more fearsome. UCONN just updated theirs...

Am I alone?

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

UConn should have used this...


Nosferatu by jaybate

jayshockcat 9 years, 5 months ago

the 1941 angry jayhawk, it sticks with tradition but adds a tougher edge

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago


Did Chancellor Hemenway force Roy out, because Roy would only recruit half the country? Did Hemenway force out Roy's preferred AD and hire the apparently inept replacement in order to force Roy to either recruit the whole country, or leave KU?

Just and idle thought during the off season.

Tuskin 9 years, 5 months ago

It's certainly starting off that way!

jaybate 9 years, 5 months ago

Oh, Tuskin, the off-season is when all of the really therapeutic work is done to get one ready for the season. Its the off-season where character is built among board rats.

Let the pain begin. :-)

yates33333 9 years, 5 months ago

I think jaybate ought to reveal his identity. What's the point of being the superstar poster if no one knows who you are?

Hawk8086 9 years, 5 months ago

If Florida's announcement is not referencing KU......I'd be really disappointed if I were a Gator alum. Either way we have a really tough schedule for a young team......Especially if the other team in tournament is MSU. Duke, Gtown, Colorado, maybe MSU and Fla. Yikes! That is a Tom Izzo schedule.

KansasComet 9 years, 5 months ago

I can always count on Jaybate in the off-season. I thought we had one of the better teams in the tournament, we just couldn't close the deal. I also think that officials play favorites, and that needs to be cleaned up as we start a new year.

David Leathers 9 years, 5 months ago

I think next year's team has the potential to be an Iowa State type of team, just with a better defense and a lot longer inside presence. With the exception of Embiid and Lucas I'm pretty sure everyone else on the team is a 3-point threat. Hopefully Frankamp can make some great strides early on and earn some 15-20 minutes a game. His long-range shooting is Curry-esque, and that is something that we'll dearly need with all of the inexperience. I'm hoping Seldon can average 15 a game along with Ellis. Honestly, I'm not at all worried about our offense next year, it's more the defense that you have to worry about with youngsters.

I hope Wiggins goes to UNC or Florida St. He's an amazing talent, I just don't know that he's ready to buy into a Self-like system -- one that is built around 5 guys working together. That's also why I don't think he'll choose Kentucky... Too many stars... Too many mouths to feed. Him being a Seminole will be the best of both worlds for him. He can shine, and control the ball as much as he wants while still having a chance at an ACC championship.

All I know is, it's going to a fun year no matter what happens next season, but honestly I'm glad that football is on the horizon.

KansasComet 9 years, 5 months ago

Hopefully we will have some great moments from the outside. Having a great inside/outside game will be exciting to watch.

Jay Willis 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm with you on Wiggins. His entitled attitude is not worth the amazing talent. As much as I want to improve odds for a NC I don't want KU to sacrifice their integrity and emphasis of team for one kid.

yates33333 9 years, 5 months ago

I hope you're right about football. Wouldn't a 500 season be great?

yates33333 9 years, 5 months ago

Don't worry jhawk60660 he's not coming. I don't think he fits anywhere, but I suspect Cal has him sewed up. I wish I knew Cal's formula for getting so many high school stars. Payoffs aren't the reason or he would have been caught by now. I think his style of play emphasizes individualism, which is exactly what the pros want. They play one on one, or two man games, most of the time with two designated shooters. KU plays team basketball. Probably the reason Self can take slightly above average talent and work marvels with them. He has done this most of the years he's been here, although the last two were spectacular examples of over achievement.

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