Friday, December 20, 2013

Kansas men’s basketball players help buy gifts for needy families

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor goofs around with a young fan while shopping for charity Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at Wal-Mart on Iowa Street.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor goofs around with a young fan while shopping for charity Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at Wal-Mart on Iowa Street.



Kansas junior guard Naadir Tharpe flashes a smile at a fan who asked for a photo while shopping for charity Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at Wal-Mart on Iowa Street.


Roger Morningstar and Andrew Wiggins check a shopping list while shopping for charity Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at Wal-Mart on Iowa Street.

Jamari Traylor had a Santa hat on his head and big smile on his face as he dropped a full-function radio-control pickup truck into a shopping cart on Thursday night in Wal-Mart on Iowa Street.

“I like coming out here helping kids and giving back to them, because I remember some Christmases I didn’t have everything under the tree that I wanted,” said Traylor, Kansas University’s 6-foot-8, 220-pound sophomore forward from the south side of Chicago, who was taking part in KU’s 17th-annual shopping excursion for needy families.

“I always had Christmas. There were times that were hard and everything, but it was always Christmas regardless. I did not always have gifts, but I still had my family,” added Traylor, who was homeless for a time as a teen.

Traylor and his KU teammates, who each adopted a family for the holiday, were allowed to spend $100 per person for each family member. The money was raised by KU Roundball Club members, as well as coach Bill Self’s Assists Foundation and also from Roger and Linda Morningstar, who started the program at KU during the Roy Williams era.

“I know there are some kids out there who are not going to have anything on Christmas, probably. It’s good to come out here and spread some joy to the nice little kids on my list. This is going to put a smile on their face,” said Traylor. “It’s a better feeling to give than receive.”

KU freshman Andrew Wiggins started his shopping excursion in the children’s clothing department. He had winter jackets in his cart as he ventured over to the doll department.

“It’s fun to have a night like this,” Wiggins said at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. “Knowing how fortunate me and the guys on the basketball team are ... it’s great to give back to the kids, help put a smile on their face, bring joy to all of them.”

Senior Niko Roberts, who had a bike in his cart, said he enjoyed watching the team’s newcomers shop. Senior Tarik Black, who was at Memphis last year, was spotted jokingly trying to steal the bike and put it in his own cart.

“Yes, because they (freshmen) are always jacking around and want to play with the toys more than the kids we’re getting these for,” Roberts said, smiling. “We’re blessed with so much at Kansas, it’s nice to give back to people, to give back to the community.”

KU coach Bill Self, who said he wanted to thank all the individuals who donated to the Adopt-a-Family fund, was asked to pinpoint the best shopper on the team.

“I’d go with a veteran, Niko or Justin (Wesley),” he said of the seniors. “They would be my top two picks. If I was a kid, I’d want Jo (Embiid) to pick things out without question. He’s the biggest kid on our team and probably could relate to any 9- or 10-year old very well. I imagine they are all pretty good, though.”

White questionable: Self said Andrew White III (hip bruise) remained questionable for Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against Georgetown.

“He hasn’t been able to practice hardly at all, other than the shooting drills, since he was injured (at practice) last Thursday,” Self said.

Barry’s ‘rant’: Self has spoken with Southern Illinois coach/buddy Barry Hinson following Hinson’s rant after a recent loss. The rant went viral on the Internet.

“I got a kick out of it. Anybody who knows him got a kick out of it too,” Self said of the video. “I guarantee people who are poking fun at him for some of the things he said, if they really listen to the press conference, he’s basically poking fun at himself. Everybody who knows him knows it’s his sense of humor. I really thought it was hilarious.

“What it did was made my Topeka YMCA comments last year seem third or fourth string compared to some of the things Barry came up with,” he added of KU’s former director of basketball operations.

Self ripped into his team after last year’s loss to TCU in Fort Worth saying it was the worst loss since James Naismith’s KU team lost to Topeka YMCA.

Self said he agreed with ESPN’s Keith Olbermann who disagreed that Hinson’s postgame comments constituted a “rant.”

“How many times during a rant do you make fun of yourself? How many times during a rant do you allow seven other people to speak?” Self said. “How many times during a rant when somebody sneezes do you say, ‘Bless you?’ I think Barry regrets calling out the one individual who had a bad game. If you know Barry, and I’m sure his players know Barry, he didn’t mean any harm.”


Tony Bandle 8 years, 9 months ago


1] Nice article but, gee, I'm glad there is nothing to talk about any Hawk basketball today.

2] Unfortunately for Barry, there was virtually nothing of consequence going on in the world of sports, the Winter Olympics are months away, the Kardashians hadn't done anything incredibly stupid in awhile and the social network was hungry for anything to go "Viral" on.

3] It's all in the timing. However, he did buy himself a piece of everlasting all will end up being a sound byte on a Coors commercial and he will be "Coca Cola and Mean Joe Greened" forever!!

4] The longer AWhiteIII is out, the further he'll fall behind that other guy who also has a name matching a color. [and it's not Black].

5] If aliens invade Earth, let's hand over Taylor Swift, Gweneth Paltrow and John Calipari as hostages...then attack them!!

6] The EPA has banned the use of coal as an offering for a naughty child. Now it must be soil, contained in a lead container, excavated from the nearest Superfund site.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 9 months ago

Great call..I'll add the entire Kardashian family and all their ex's and current boyfriends, plus the fat-assed kid running North Korea and Andy Dick.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 9 months ago

5: Taylor Swift looks good only from certain angles and with certain hairstyles. Talented singer. Gwyneth Paltrow an iconic look. Dont care for her politics (wish those Hollywood people would realize their "soapbox moment" is NO better than any other citizen's)...but there is absolutely nothing wrong with "Pepper Potts" in IronMan. Now, I do not mind John Calipari. We need a guy like him to go against (& beat), because it makes us look good. Look, people hate Duke, and many hate KU/UNC/KY just because we are another royalty program. But lets let em hate on KY more than KU, and Calipari could be the reason they choose--Im all for that.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 9 months ago

1: No..simply start your post with a number.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 9 months ago

  1. let me try again..maybe it's not starting off with the number one?

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 9 months ago

Oh, goodness--> Sorry for the BIG font...totally unintentional!! Evidently something to do with the full-colon punctuation?

I will request the "suggest removal" myself, as there is no reason to bombard people with that font.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 9 months ago

I believe you get the giant font when you start your post with a number. Let's see....

Ron Prichard 8 years, 9 months ago

  1. All I want for Christmas is Olivia Wilde!

Brian Mensch 8 years, 9 months ago

it's when you start with a number..then a colon...not a period..

Nevermind...I have no idea.

Mike Riches 8 years, 9 months ago

Great to see these players having a great time doing something this important. By the way, I thought Self's Topeka YMCA comment was way more funny than anything Barry said! :)

Ron Prichard 8 years, 9 months ago

I don't know. Barry saying he's told his wife for years that size doesn't matter is pretty freaking hilarious.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 9 months ago

1 It's when you put a "#" to start your sentence. The "#" doesn't show up once you post though. See, I actually have some helpful information sometimes.

John Randall 8 years, 9 months ago

Hush, Jack – now we'll have it from each middle school poster at least once.

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