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.

Friday, May 2, 2014

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!