Friday, May 2, 2014


Column: Naadir Tharpe jolly good chap

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe inbounds the ball against Georgetown during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe inbounds the ball against Georgetown during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Interviewing him for three years, I never once heard Naadir Tharpe say, “At this juncture.” But there it was in the press release announcing his transfer, so he absolutely, 100 percent must have said it.

Not only that, Tharpe used the phrase “Due to extenuating circumstances” for what I believe possibly could be the first time in his life. And he used them both in the same paragraph. Clearly, he devoted a great deal of time in crafting his quote. He must have told himself: “I shan’t treat this matter with anything but utmost gravity.”

An excerpt from the release included this Tharpe quote: “Due to extenuating circumstances within my personal life, I will no longer be attending the University of Kansas.”

Then he explained that his daughter has medical issues that require weekly visits to her physician as well as with a specialist.

“At this juncture, I feel it is best to be closer to home where I can assist and support in any way necessary,” he continued.

It’s the right thing for a father to do, so I’m glad he’s doing it. I’m also happy that he’ll have two years to complete requirements for a degree. At least I would hope the NCAA does not consider him a hardship case and let him play right away. He’ll be able to stay at home more often if he’s red-shirting than if he’s playing in away games. Plus, he’ll have a better shot in the business world with two years to earn a degree than if he plays next season and falls short of earning the sheepskin.

I’ve always liked Tharpe. Friendly, candid, good sense of humor.

Pity I didn’t get to know the fine lad well enough to converse with him to the point he felt comfortable speaking the King’s English. I read the release and pictured him sipping tea with legs crossed, scarf around his neck, patches on the elbows of his tweed jacket, lamenting, “Oh dear, wherever did I leave the crumpets?”

I’m happy he’ll be playing somewhere in New England because it’s best for his daughter, his daughter’s mother, for Tharpe and I suspect for the Kansas basketball team.

When in doubt, college basketball coaches tend to resort to their security blankets, otherwise known as their most experienced players.

As long as Tharpe was in the program, coach Bill Self forever was going to be tempted to play him, thus stunting the growth of players with higher ceilings, such as likely recruit Devonte Graham and rising sophomores Conner Frankamp and Frank Mason.

Do join me in sending a word Naadir’s way: Cheerio!


Mike Riches 8 years, 1 month ago

"likely recruit Devonte Graham"


I'd let him play his first college basketball game, however, before asserting that he has a higher ceiling than Tharpe.

Phil Leister 8 years, 1 month ago

I don't really get this article. Of course the athletic department wrote Naadir's statement. Did anyone expect it to be in his very own words? And was Keegan expecting the statement to contain some ebonics?

Walter Bridges 8 years, 1 month ago

Could be wrong but I thought Keegan was insinuating that this was an orchestrated move and maybe it wasn't completely Tharpe's idea to transfer.

Jack Jones 8 years, 1 month ago

Embarrassingly pathetic, Keegan ~ Why in the hell would you even think of writing such an insulting piece at any time ~ and, particularly in this context? You owe Mr. Tharp, and your audience an apology for this "adolescent" attempt at humor. Shame on you!

Dan Burns 8 years, 1 month ago

Jack if your going to correct someone at least spell Tharpe correctly. Keegan doesn't owe me an apology, I think it's a humorous way to point out the obvious, Tharpe didn't write it and it may have more to do with other issues than just his daughter's health. I doubt we'll ever know, which is fine. As we both know, sports writers and reporters deal more in speculation that facts anyway.

Jack Jones 8 years, 1 month ago

Dan ~ I can't tell you how thrilled I am to know that you chose to lead with what is the absolute most important point of this article. Glad to know the grammar pros are alert. This piece by Keegan, as others have pointed out, is uncalled for in terms of it's being insulting to this player, as well as bordering on racist overtones. The issue of whether Tharpe composed the statement, or someone on the staff more than likely drafted it, is a pretty damn petty concern. Oh, and by the way ~ " more in speculation THAT (than?) facts anyway."??? You do recall the "glass houses and stones" admonition, right??

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

What racist overtones? There are a bunch of people race baiting. You're one of them. Next time, it's you that needs to think about your bigotry. There certainly was not any bigotry any where in this article. Stop playing politics with it.

Walter Bridges 8 years, 1 month ago

Racist overtones? Good God, what planet is this?

Doug Cramer 8 years, 1 month ago

Feel bad for Tharp.

I said it after the Duke game back in November that if Self doesn't develop Mason and Frankamp, Tharp would end up hurting us in March.

But from a personal stand point...Nadiir seems like a really good dude. Yeah I don't care about the picture or whatever. I did my share of partying in Lawrence back in the I won't throw stones.

When u have a guy who has worked hard for 3 years in the program, and he most likely gets forced out, you have to feel for him.

Good luck to you and your family Tharp. Thanks for putting in so much time and work toward our basketball program.

Luca Rossi 8 years, 1 month ago

I feel bad for Tharpe that you somehow managed to misspell his name multiple times and in multiple ways in a single post.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 1 month ago

As much time as Cramer spends on this site, you would think he could learn our players' names. Naadir Tharpe has been here 3yrs, but apparently people cannot read what's been in print x 3 YEARS? Or maybe people just cannot remember x 3 YEARS? Unbelievable.

Benz Junque 8 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Mel Clare 8 years, 1 month ago

Some of you will remember a saying when the twins were here? FOE........"Family over evertyhing". Tharpe made a decision about family. Yes he had some terrible games and disappeared as an upper classman and point guard, it happens enough said. A lot on this board are happy he is gone...............the same people would have said the same thing about TyShawn if he would have left, about RussRob if he would have gone.............blah blah blah.............if anyone of US could do it better we would be playing, just saying.

The kid has a daughter that needs attention. Let it be, he made the right decision. And I don't think it had anything to do with basketball.

Will it help the team? Probably. Will we lose some leadership? Probably. NOW this team is Perry Ellis's team, him and Traylor are the only Juniors if I am not mistaken. Lets see how they lead. Even if Graham does not commit, I think we will be fine with Conner and Frank as PG's. The solid smart play of Conner and the fast, lets run, run, run of Frank could be a great combo. Just as in life anywhere....take the next step forward and don't look back!

Jack Wilson 8 years, 1 month ago

"The kid has a daughter that needs attention. Let it be, he made the right decision. And I don't think it had anything to do with basketball."

Right, and Zach Peters left because of concussions. Now it's all becoming clear to me ...

Benz Junque 8 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 1 month ago

I honestly have no idea why this article was written by an adolescent, but whatever I am not eating English muffins and having tea. I guess this crap comes from Keegan so it makes sense, but that being said good luck Tharpe and hope your daughter makes it through all of this shining like a star. The focus is family here and that will supersede anything else. I hope he gets to play another year of basketball and his daughter can go to a game, cheer her dad and he can become a stronger person from the experience. His last season was erratic, so I hope he can finish his college career the best way possible. God bless you Nadiir and your daughter is in my thoughts.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm not normally one to comment about the content of what the staff publishes, but this opinion column is a joke.

Everyone please go comment on the "Parting Ways" article instead.

Micky Baker 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm figuring this out now. You're a writer at the student newspaper that is apparently suffering through some low readership numbers. Grow up a little. KU won't be rated in the top of the country in journalism if there are people like you in the program.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 1 month ago

Tongue in cheek, I'd respond to Keegan's sarcasm by saying: Well, Naadir Tharpe hasnt ever come to a momentous point such as departure, right? So "juncture" could possibly be in his vocabulary could the use of his daughter's illness as "extenuating circumstances", right? Just saying...

Forrest Ranjer 8 years, 1 month ago

I wonder if there is any need for financial assistance. It would be nice to know if something has been set up to assist with Amara Grace's medical expenses. Anyone know?

Robert Brock 8 years, 1 month ago

My guess is that Tharpe transfers to Providence. They need a veteran point guard.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 1 month ago

Clever…perhaps bold.

An etymology review is in order to get your use of double and even triple entendre.

April Fleming 8 years, 1 month ago

This just comes off as really condescending.

Scott Roulier 8 years, 1 month ago

If this is an attempt at humor, it is an epic failure. Tharpe didn't always play well, but he gave of himself for the basketball program. Save this kind of sarcasm for a pro athlete, not a college kid. You are either claiming Naadir Tharpe isn't intelligent enough to use certain verbiage or that the Athletic Department issuing a canned statement is somehow inappropriate.

Scott Moore 8 years, 1 month ago

An awful and ridiculous column. Why don't you blast the PR staffer who wrote this release? Okay Tom, your point is that Tharpe didn't write the press release. Got it. Why even bother pointing that out in a sarcastic, condescending manner?

Tony Bandle 8 years, 1 month ago

A sad situation commented on quite badly...Keegs, you shot an air ball on this one.

My reaction to your articles ranges from, many times entertaining or hilarious to, occasionally, ho hum....but this one is just plain mean-spirited.

Come on,'re a better writer than this.

Jordan Bass 8 years, 1 month ago

This is bordering on being openly offensive to Naadir. I assume Keegan is trying to say that the P.R. staff wrote the release but all he really does is insinuate that Naadir isn't smart enough to know these "big" words. I also assume (hope, wonder if) his columns are edited, which is in the same vein as having a press release edited by others.

Scott Oswalt 8 years, 1 month ago

Missed the mark on this one. Good luck, Naadir.

Sean Swindler 8 years, 1 month ago

So you're making fun of a college athlete who is articulate and actually reflects well on KU?

What kind of anti-intellectualism is that?

So he used more than a 2 syllable word?

We should be celebrating how articulate and mature he is, which is a positive reflection on him, on his KU education and on the basketball staff.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 1 month ago

Nice subtle context T K. My reply - Your point was forthright cleverly made good sire. Those who desire to act negatively to thou's scribe apparently missed thou's clever approach to an obvious assistance young Master Tharpe received with his public approved statement to all who cared to hear. I bow to your prose and receive it with warmth and good cheer kind sir. A smile is always accepted in this cruel world we aspire to exist in. Some days it is all we can hope to receive. I bid you good day!

Sir Rodney of the township of Wetsern Chicago

Tony Bandle 8 years, 1 month ago

Sir Rodney, it would help your prose if you could spell your hometown's name correctly...or is that the English version of Western?

Rodney Crain 8 years, 1 month ago

My apologies to all, spell check which I depend on a great deal, does not seem to work as well as I hope with my iPad. I will work on this miss step to ensure it does not occur in the future. With much Thanks Sir Tony

Jay Beakum 8 years, 1 month ago

(I don’t know ALL the details but this is what I see.)

I see that pic, and I think of the mother of his daughter at home with his sick kid. Taking care of all that while he is off at college posting lewd pics of him with another woman. That just digs at me. It obviously dug at Bill too.

He’s not just another college kid. He is the father of a 2 year old girl. He’s also a representative and supposed leader of a proud program. Yes we all make mistakes, but we also all have to pay a price. You can’t just sweep that one under the rug as “college kids do stupid things”.

I do think he is paying the price. Whether he understands, feels guilty and has decided to do the right thing (I hope) or whether Self has handed him his hat, he is paying the price by leaving one of the best situations a college basketball player could hope for.

But I think it was more than just the pic. When I saw Self ranting in Naadir’s face I always got the feeling that it was not sinking in. Tharpe usually had a blank stare through it all. Self is nothing if not a bottom-line guy, and I’d bet my last dollar that Naadir wasn’t reaching that line. Neither on or off the court. The fact that he was so heavily recruiting a point guard, even BEFORE he knew he’d have a scholarship available, was the writing on the wall.

I am NOT hating on Naadir. First, I don’t even know him personally. Second, I root for all Jayhawks to do well on and off the court. This especially includes a troubled Naadir. He did not commit some horrible crime or irreparably damage the program. He seemed to be trying hard. He certainly had his share of great moments and was a valuable member of the team I love. He’ll always be a Jayhawk. But being a Jayhawk basketball player holds you to a higher standard, especially under Bill Self. He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last, to come up short and/or shoot himself in the foot.

I could be totally wrong, and that prepared statement could be the single reason he is leaving, but simple math doesn’t support that idea. A combination of the pic, his performance and the availability of a rising PG are all most likely in play.

Either way Naadir, I DO hope your girl has a good healthy life, and I hope you find happiness and success wherever you land. Rock Chalk.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 1 month ago

In order;

1] Mother of his daughter and pic. - Agreed.

2] Pay the price. - Agreed.

3] Leaving a great situation. - Agreed.

4] Blank stare. - Agreed.

5] Not hating on Naa and always a Jayhawk. - Agreed.

6] You are NOT totally wrong. - Agreed.

7] Find happiness and success. - TOTALLY AGREE!!

Walter Bridges 8 years, 1 month ago

How do you know what the relationship is with his daughter's mother? I didn't read anywhere that they had any type of relationship plus his daughter was born his freshman year and is apparently doing better now - at least Bill Self's statement stated she was.

Why is he paying any price from a photo showing him dancing with some woman despite her apparent disdain of bras that fit? I didn't read that he went home with her and even if he did, so what? He didn't break any laws, wasn't arrested for a DUI, public intoxication or it does it hurt your sense of morality?

Have you ever had someone angrily yelling in your face? It's not easy to take especially in public. It seemed to me that he handled it very well.. Having gone through boot camp, I've seen more than one recruit lose it because a drill instructor was in his face. I've seen more than one athlete go back at his coach during similar confrontations.

But all that being said, you are probably correct. I wish the only reason was wanting to be closer to his daughter but I feel HCBS wanted Tharpe gone and wanted Graham to know the job was his to lose.

Rich Hetherington 8 years, 1 month ago

I love Naadir and will always think of him has a Jayhawk! Sure his defense left something to be desired, and he was a little inconsistent on offense, but he was still a good passer and a good shooter and a great teammate! I wish him all the luck and success in the world and hope that he and his daughter and family have good and healthy lives.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 1 month ago

WOW...big news, atleast to me it is!

Did anyone hear Self on 610 radio talking about the plans for Kansas basketball, including next year's team? Forever I've been wishing for Selden to give the 1 a try. Self actually said Selden would be given a shot at the 1 and compared him to be possibly our "Kane."

With the leadership skills Selden has, combined with the incoming Oubre and Alexander...this team will be killers. A win over UK will get the year off to a very loud bang.

Scott Custer 8 years, 1 month ago

So your premise is he didn't write his own press release. This is surprising that someone on the KU legal staff might help him with it?

Will Palmer 8 years, 1 month ago

Wow. I have never felt compelled to comment on until reading this article.

At first, I didn't understand it at all and had to read through user comments to finally understand Keegan's point. Maybe I'm just dumb, but I feel like as a J-School grad with an English degree from KU, a sports article should make some form of sense, which this does not.

Maybe because the point of the article is so absolutely ridiculous. This article is a waste of time and does not convey one shred of meaningful insight or information, yet is somehow featured front and center. Of everything you could possibly write about with regards to Tharpe: his contributions to our team, reactions of fans, his family, you choose to picture him in a scarf and tweed jacket to condescend his formulated PR statement. WHY?!

Naadir, if you ever read this, I'm sorry. We wish you the very best and thank you for all you have done for KU basketball!

Scott Moore 8 years, 1 month ago

Well said Will Palmer. I also registered to comment, so I guess Keegan wins -- two new posters! The column could possibly be offensive to Naadir, but it is so absurd that I hope it is laughed off

Blake Brown 8 years, 1 month ago

In this arena of diplomacy, well never know the disciplinary action Self proposed for the lewd pix scene which added to a few other transgressions could have been substantial. My guess is it could have been anywhere from a few games to a part or all of the season. Tharpe let Self and the team down bit time. He tanked in March and was the cog that broke the wheel for consistency, leadership and the main decisions on the court. Admittedly, he was really a 2 learning to play a 1 and IMHO, will be better off back at the 2 position if he can play some D. wish him well and look forward to having top point guards lead the Hawks in 14-15` and beyond.

Walter Bridges 8 years, 1 month ago

The lewd pix scene? Suspended the entire season? I'm not sure if this is more laughable or sad.

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 1 month ago


He may be a drunken, cigar gnawing, non-athletic womanizing, and well overweight sports reporter but not a racist. Keegan is far too old and out of shape to be doing any racing.

Bryan Mohr 8 years, 1 month ago

I think Self's coaching style and loaded talent supply was a bad mixture for Tharpe. He showed signs of greatest, but unfortunately rarely. I suspect Tharpe will surprisingly impress on offensive wherever he lands. I wish you the very best Nadir Tharpe.

Keegan, I liked your article. You're right. The scripting was over-done. If it's going to be scripted like that then don't have Nadir deliver it, have Jay Carney do it.

Phil Leister 8 years, 1 month ago

After rereading this article, I'm even more ashamed. How can what Keegan wrote be classified as anything except racism? In many words, he said Naadir isn't educated enough to use certain words or phrases. How does the LJW let this slide?

Tad Shurtz 8 years, 1 month ago

To paraphrase a wise man: Mr. Keegan, what you've just published is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent column were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in your audience is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Jeffrey Nelson 8 years, 1 month ago

Was Keegan high when he wrote this? I've been saying this for years but for the love of God and basketball, replace this ass clown with someone else. Anybody.

Max Ledom 8 years, 1 month ago

HOW IS THIS RACIST? Granted I think the article was dumb, BUT HOW IS THIS RACISM? Good God. Our country. Keegan you are not a racist. Just because you make a joke at another persons expense and he just so HAPPENS to be African American, that does not mean you are a racist like all these morons are accusing. Seriously people. Take a joke. Keegan would have wrote the same thing had this been Connor Frankamp. Until people stop accusing others based off the color of their skin, racism will never end. And that goes for white and black people.

Sammy Davis 8 years, 1 month ago

I don’t think it’s racist, but I also think Keegan goes down territory that is extremely difficult for a mid 50s white sports writer at a small town newspaper to pull off. I think on occasion he has good opinions with good humor. But I don’t think he’s near hip enough to pull off what he thinks he’s pulling off here. He probably would have been better off just asking what he wanted to ask, and saying what he wanted to say. If he’s concerned about what KU is trying to accomplish and if there’s more to the story with them manufacturing a verbose press release, fine. I guess that’s the point. Tharpe certainly had some controversy at the end of the year that isn’t being addressed. However, as said earlier in the comments, a good case could be made that KU is simply trying to help him get a hardship, and as a result an opportunity to play immediately. Probably not the scandalous reveal everyone is looking for. His tone is so haughty and coy, I don’t think anyone can pretend to know exactly what he is trying to say. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, but I think he leaves plenty of room to at least ask if he’s being unnecessarily disdainful. Unfortunately for him, he leaves the door open enough for some to assume worse. And, just my opinion, I don’t think he’d write the same thing about Conner Frankamp. When he took on Brock Berglund, he was at least mostly direct.
He’s certainly had some head scratchers in the past. With the Baylor prediction below, maybe he was trying to cash in on the untapped basketball murder cover up humor market, I don’t know.

Sam Constance 8 years, 1 month ago

"Keegan would have wrote the same thing had this been Connor Frankamp"

But would he have? Really? I'm not so sure.

I'm not about to suggest he's a racist, but his better judgement should have stepped in here and thought 'this could be viewed as insulting and at the very least, akin to questioning someone's intelligence simply because they read a scripted press release. Even though I don't think Naadir is stupid, it may look bad to have me openly implying that he is. Maybe I'll just spend some more time at the keyboard and write a worthwhile column.'

Max Ledom 8 years, 1 month ago

If Connor had just been all over the news for that picture with that woman, leadership issues with the team, and so on, then announced he was transferring in this exact way with this terminology, then yes. He would have. This has nothing to do with Naadir's color. Everything to do with Naadirs decisions down the stretch.

Sammy Davis 8 years, 1 month ago

Again, I'm not sure it can be definitely said it's not color related. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. I don't think the worst should automatically be assumed of him. That being said, right or wrong, commenting on the way a person of color speaks is dangerous territory for a mid 50s small town white sports writer. Right or wrong, it's probably best to take a well thought-out and developed approach. If the approach is humor related, it's probably best to have a documented history of taking on whoever whenever. People love/hate Whitlock. But for the most part, he gets away with what he gets away with because he's relatively consistent in his tone and approach (candid, mostly humorous, etc.). Was this column consistent with Keegan's typical approach and tone? I don't know the answer to that. The last column I remember similar to this was his attack on Brock Berglund (white football player). Even though Berglund eventually turned out to be a flake, I didn't agree with Keegan targeting him like he did. But, it did seem like he was direct in what he was criticizing him for (not showing up to campus). I honestly can't say if I feel he took the same approach with Tharpe that he took with Berglund. Probably, I guess. Neither was well executed in my opinion, so he has that going for him. But, I definitely feel he could have exercised better judgement in how he said what he was trying to say. We shouldn't assume the worst, but I think it's fair to ask him to clarify, as (at least in this forum) everyone doesn't seem to be on the same page.

Stan Unruh 8 years, 1 month ago

When you consider all the writing these reporters do...this column is fine.. and makes a lot of sense. Tharpe was so lost he couldn't even remember to shake hands with the opposing player when introduced at the Big 12 tourney. When I saw that, I had a feeling the season would end far earlier than we wanted. Tharpe arrived on campus wearing a shirt and tie but will be remembered for wearing far less on Twitter.

Sammy Davis 8 years, 1 month ago

I agree Tharpe seemed lost at the end of the season, and had a similar feeling of dread when he forgot the handshake at the Big 12 tourney. However, maybe it's just me, but I'm not sure if Keegan's article makes sense. If the big reveal is Tharpe didn't say what was crafted and released to the press, OK. But I don't think that is a huge shocker or big deal to the average fan. If there was something related to the instagram photo, I'm not sure how big a deal that is either. I think most assume that probably had something to do with Tharpe's depature. And if it did, so what? Collectively, what would we have wanted done differently? Heck, even Giddens got a relatively nicely worded send off (see below). As a reader that doesn't live in Lawrence, I would have rather Keegan reflected back on the access he had to the team because of his position (that a reader like myself doesn't have), and provide some plainly written perspective on Tharpe's time here and his ups and downs. Your "...arrived on campus wearing a shirt and tie, but will be remembered for wearing far less on Twitter." would have been a great approach and theme to such a column. Or, maybe a parallel with Tyshawn Taylor who had his own twitter issues, but ultimately prevailed. I would have enjoyed all of that better than whatever it was that Keegan put out.

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