Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jayhawks savor presidential visit

Members of the Kansas University men's basketball team head into Anschutz Sports Pavilion Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. The team met with President Barack Obama during his time on the KU campus. From left are Perry Ellis, Evan Manning, Wayne Selden Jr., Josh Pollard, Tyler Self and Christian Garrett.

Members of the Kansas University men's basketball team head into Anschutz Sports Pavilion Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. The team met with President Barack Obama during his time on the KU campus. From left are Perry Ellis, Evan Manning, Wayne Selden Jr., Josh Pollard, Tyler Self and Christian Garrett.


Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, spent some quality time with Kansas University’s basketball players and coaches on Thursday morning, prior to delivering a 30-minute speech before a crowd of 7,150 in Anschutz Pavilion.

“I think I timed it at about 14 minutes, 36 seconds,” KU coach Bill Self said with a smile, the implication he savored every moment the Jayhawks bonded with basketball fan Obama in Hadl Auditorium.

The Jayhawks’ Wayne Selden Jr. and Tyler Self presented the president an official KU hoops jersey with No. 1 and Obama’s last name on it and also an autographed basketball.

“That’s the president’s jersey. I’m just wearing No. 1,” Selden said, asked jokingly if he was upset the president was given the number Selden has worn at KU the past two seasons.

The KU players listened intently to Obama talk about watching Jayhawk games on TV, about his own game (jokingly asking the players if they wanted any pointers) and about some other life lessons.

“He was really humble. He was really welcoming. That was the big thing. He made it seem like he was meeting us. We felt like we were meeting him,” Selden said.

Self said Obama “shook everybody’s hand. He wanted to know everybody’s name, took a couple pictures, group pictures. He shared a few words of wisdom.

“He said, ‘You need to worry about your academics, too. You didn’t come here just to play ball,’’’ Self explained. “I said, ‘Hey Mr. President, overall team GPA 2.93.’ You know what he said? ‘You’ve got to get it up to 3.0, which basically tells you, ‘Don’t ever be totally satisfied,’ which I thought was pretty cool for our guys to hear,” Self added.

Self said the Jayhawk players were awed by the experience.

“I think I’ve got a pretty good relationship with our guys, most of them, and a pretty open line of communication. Very rarely do they just text me out of the blue and say, ‘Hey coach, how are you doing today?’ After this today, half the team texted me immediately saying, ‘Coach, man that was awesome. Thanks for allowing us to be part of that.’ It’s a big deal for everybody.

“Look at Svi (Mykhailiuk, KU freshman from Ukraine). Who knows how Svi has viewed the president of the United States coming from Ukraine or what Russia thinks of us? He filmed the whole thing. He was really into it. Think of kids, especially African-American kids that maybe come from tough environments, Cliff (Alexander) and Jamari (Traylor) coming from Chicago. He wanted to know right off the bat, ‘What high school did you go to?’ and that kind of stuff. He made those kids feel special. I’d think anybody in his business is used to crowds. He certainly made our guys feel good today.”

Obama shook hands with each player as they identified themselves.

“He talked about our last game, the Oklahoma game. He talked about the games we have coming up,” Selden said. “He talked about his game a little bit, saying he’s slowing down. He said if we wanted any tips just ask him. Nobody asked him.

“He has the nation to take care of and he’s watching our games ... that’s really big,” Selden exclaimed.

Obama has long been a huge sports fan. His brother-in-law is former Oregon State hoops coach Craig Robinson.

“Jerrance (Howard, KU assistant) asked him, ‘Tell us about your game.’ He went into a little talk about his game,” Self said. “He said, ‘I’m not fast or anything, but I’m faster than most 53-year-olds.’ He follows college basketball. He knew we were coming off a big win. He wanted to know who we had next. He told us we better be ready when we go down to Texas (on Saturday).

“He made a point to tell our team we’d disappointed him twice during his (NCAA Tournament) picks when he picked us twice to win the national championship and we came up short,” Self added of Obama needling the Jayhawks a bit. “He said he didn’t think he’d go in that direction this year but he thought we’d be a pretty high seed.”

Noting Obama was “real cool, real humble,” frosh Devonté Graham added: “He joked around about the brackets and we kind of disappointed him two years ago. He definitely knew about Jayhawk basketball.”

During his speech, Obama said: “I’ve got to admit, I took a moment to meet with coach Self and the KU basketball team. I mean, we’re here for other business but while I was here I thought I should talk to some basketball players. And it is January so that means the Jayhawks are at the top of the Big 12 hunting for 11 straight conference titles.”

Obama also joked, “Coach Self won 10 straight. I lost two straight here (vote in presidential elections in Kansas). I might have won sections in Lawrence. That’s a possibility.”

The Jayhawks were impressed with the personality shown by the country’s commander in chief.

“He was extremely cordial and talkative. He certainly enjoyed meeting the players,” Self said. “I know all our guys were very honored and felt privileged to be part of that today. Regardless of your political affiliations and what you think and believe and whatnot, it’s pretty cool to have the most powerful man in the world right there in Hadl Auditorium visiting with your kids.”

KU’s politicians: Selden was quick with a one-liner when asked which teammate would be best suited for politics.

“Not Jamari,” he said, grinning, referring to Traylor. “Maybe Evan (Manning). He is really opinionated, sticks with his opinion. He feels his opinion is the best opinion. I feel that’s how politics is. I don’t know anything.”

Graham’s answer to the question was, “Josh Pollard. That’s the man. That’s the guy. He’s really smart. He knows about politics. I’d say Josh.”

Bumps, bruises: KU will meet Texas at 1 p.m., Saturday in Austin. Self said Traylor (hip flexor) was able to practice this week and should not be limited. “He’s fine. Everybody’s fine,” Self said.

The itinerary: The Jayhawks congregated in Self’s office at 9:50 a.m., Perry Ellis stated. “We hung out there awhile and went down there (to Hadl) right before he went to speak. We got to meet him real quick, then he went to speak (about 11:30 a.m. in Anschutz).” ... The players watched Obama’s speech live in Anschutz. ... Obama used the softball locker room as his pre-speech headquarters. KU officials said he used the soccer locker room “to videotape something.” ... Of the experience, Self said: “Any inconvenience it caused by having the president here ... I don’t think anybody felt it at all. I think it was a first-class deal, one we should be proud of (as an entire university). Everybody was proud to be there.”


James Hubin 7 years, 8 months ago

Obama is a Republican [1]. The ACA was thought up by the Heritage Foundation and enacted by Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. Obamacare has greatly slowed health inflation [2].

[1] [2]

The Taxed Enough Already Party was developed at a time when taxes were at an all-time low, funded by wealthy republican donors to move the party further to the right [3].


Obama is the smallest government spender since Eisenhower [4].


It appears that maintaining the right vs left war is more important to many conservatives, than realizing that we're all getting hosed by the left and the right, who only seek power and wealth. It's easier to blame Obama, rather than research the facts.

Good conservatives like Bob Dole and Ben Nighthorse Campbell have been replaced with Sam Brownback and Ted Cruz. Luckily, I left the state shortly after Sebelius, because Brownbackistan is not looking to be the trickle down utopia Kansans had hoped would develop under Governor Sam [5].


I am afraid Kansans are willing to follow the far right agenda until the state becomes a complete and total disaster. At which time they will once again elect another moderate republican like Sebelius, Obama, or Clinton to fix the mess they've gotten into, while complaining about what a horrible liberal governor / president they have to endure.

Robert Moore 7 years, 8 months ago

I would object to this post, but I believe in Freedom of Stupidity.

James Hubin 7 years, 8 months ago

I did not attack your intelligence as an ad hominen. I merely presented evidence that you were unable to refute, therefore just call the post stupid and remain ignorant. Seriously, make an attempt at becoming an informed voter.

Please just stick to commenting on KU hoops, another subject I doubt you know much about.

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

It didn't slow down healthcare inflation at all. It only hid it behind subsidies. Massachusetts has the most expensive healthcare out of all of the states outside of DC(where it's highest). Is that a model you want to follow?

James Hubin 7 years, 8 months ago

No, I wouldn't have followed that model. I would have allowed anyone to buy into medicare, with premiums being based on family income.

Eric TheCapn 7 years, 8 months ago

Well, he's not Republican, because the Republicans are even further on the Conservative end of the spectrum. He is definitely Conservative though, as is the Democratic party is a whole. Stop voting for Corporate-Conservative Party A and Corporate-Conservative Party B if you think the government should be working for average citizens, not just corporations and wealthy benefactors.

This rigged, two-party system is ridiculous. One of the (few) reasons I'm glad I live in Minnesota is that third parties (or second, arguably, if you consider Republicans and Democrats virtually the same) at least get attention and have a voice, but they still rarely win (thanks to the total bust that was Jesse Ventura, most likely).

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

Obama is further left than anyone in DC. The GOP establishment is even left of center.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 8 months ago

And the winner of the highly coveted 'Nobody Cares About Your Politics' award goes to James Hubris!

John Randall 7 years, 8 months ago

For some reason, the KU flag on my porch is flying upside down.

James Hubin 7 years, 8 months ago

Bri, I will attempt to phrase my previous statements in a manner you may understand. Basically, 75% of the basketball game is being played on the right side of the court and the blue team has twice as many turnovers as the red team. However, no matter what is happening on the court the fans of the red team still complain.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 8 months ago

Smartest post I’ve seen. 3 days of urination contests because someone said the O word.

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

Michael, Brett started that urinating contest. Then he ducked for cover.

Elias Dunlavy 7 years, 8 months ago

They can add that to the list of life long memories made in Lawrence Ks

Reggie Flenory 7 years, 8 months ago

what makes me so proud to be a die hard fan of Kansas sports not only being from Kansas is when you look up and see that being in this program affords you so many opportunities that you may not even be aware of at the time having the chance for a lot of these kids giving their background to meet the President must have been a very exciting experience to say the least and they all look good they look open casket sharp in shirt and tie gotta love Kansas basketball Rock Chalk Jayhawk all day all night

Janet Olin 7 years, 8 months ago

I am proud and grateful that Lawrence benefited from a presidential visit, the first since 1911. I'm sure the players, coaches, and many others will remember the visit fondly for a long time. RCJHGKU

Cameron Cederlind 7 years, 8 months ago

This seems like a copy/paste from the previous article.

Harlan Hobbs 7 years, 8 months ago

James, you are too stupid to waste more time on. You're just a left wing liberal troll, so why don't you go back to your milk and cookies.

James Hubin 7 years, 8 months ago

Harlan, I simply presented an argument, if you were able, you would have presented a rebuttal to my argument. I would suggest reading and educating yourself before voting.

I know I'm a troll, however, I take offense to being called a left wing liberal, just as you should take offense to being owned by a political party.

No need to worry, I am certain God will forgive your unwarranted attack on my intelligence.

James Hubin 7 years, 8 months ago

By the way Harlan, I don't drink milk or eat (many) cookies, however, I do eat steak and ground beef straight from our family farm in SW Kansas.

James Hubin 7 years, 8 months ago

More like small and barely hanging on, however, I'm 100% with you on large corporate farm welfare.

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

Say hi to the Ewy's. He was my counselor and a professor at Dodge City Community College.

James Hubin 7 years, 8 months ago

I am related to John. He is a good, honest republican.

Chris Bailey 7 years, 8 months ago

You know I've voiced my opinion. I'm conservative on some issues but moderate on many. I truly feel that we as a populous need to stop arguing amonst ourselves. Eric said it best that these two parties are both for corporations one side or the other. They all do it. Don't kid yourself into thinking they care what happens to we the people that is the exact reason they exempt themselves from many laws including the ACA. This is why we need term limits and why working as a public servant should be a duty and an honor not what it has turned into. I don't have the answers. I do however think that many things with these jackarses need to be addressed. We need to somehow rein in on them to take control back from them. We empower them not the other way around. Bottom line we can argue over any and everything. Most issues have been spun two different ways onc by the Rep and one by the Dems. They all point the fingers at each other and no one has any accountability. Sure we can elect someone else when the time comes but it seems like it's just the good ole boy system. It's like professional wrestling used to be that meaning that they would kill each other (acting of course) in the ring and then afterwards they go out to dinner. It's all an act. Hell Reid and Boehner are probably drinking buddies!

Robert Robinson 7 years, 8 months ago

You're wrong! No you're wrong! How about you're all wrong for trying to preach your political views on kusports. Just. Shut. Up. I understand its very important for you to spread your word, just spread it elsewhere.
Back to the story. Pretty cool those guys got to meet the president.

Mike Tackett 7 years, 8 months ago

WoW! The University of Kansas is right up there with GloZell. Proud to be a Jayhawk.

Cody Riedy 7 years, 8 months ago

I totally understand why people insist that a message board like this remain strictly within the bounds of sports. On the other hand, it's also a bit disappointing that adults can't have on occasion, at least a brief, respectful and intelligent conversation, where we can try to better communicate and understand each others' points of view. You might answer, adults can have these conversations, just not here. But that's the problem as everyone routinely complains about - where exactly are these other public forums for discussion? They don't really exist. Many of us, when we engage in political discussion, if its not with close friends, its amongst people who already think like we do. A sports message board like this is actually a pretty rare opportunity for public discussion. Why? Because, for one, its a small community and there is actually a sense of community because we all share a common, unqualified love for KU. As silly as it might sound, we have a common purpose, which hypothetically, requires that we tolerate one another. I guess what I'm saying is I think that we assume that the "mature adult" recognizes that this is not the place for political debate and that political debate is generally useless anywhere because everyone is so entrenched in their positions, but I'm not sure I agree. I think the problem is that most of us (myself included) just aren't adult enough to have those conversations.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 8 months ago

It's because the conversations are rarely brief, more rarely intelligent and NEVER respectful.

Waylon Cook 7 years, 8 months ago

Did he promise a "free" National title?

Rodney Crain 7 years, 8 months ago

Hilarious, downright hilarious. 25 odd people standing on the same corner shouting their own view of the world, I guess our congress does represent us.

Altogether it sounds like a song, a distant song............ I can almost hear it now........

I could wile away the hours Conferrin' with the flowers Consultin' with the rain And my head I'd be scratchin' While my thoughts were busy hatchin' If I only had a brain...

Cody Riedy 7 years, 8 months ago

The reason we have a representational democracy and not a direct democracy is (besides limitations on having timely voting at the time of our country's founding) was that our founding father's wanted to put a dam between government and the passions of the masses. I guess we should be glad they were elitist in this regard.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 8 months ago

Lobbyist, a focus on re-election (fund raising), and special interest are what our representational democracy has become enamored with. These things are the dam that is in our way now.

We hope we elect people who will speak for us at the large table that the congress and the president sit at. That these people have character and decorum to work together, to find the common ground and move the needs of the country forward, no matter how far apart they are when the discussion begins.

Over the last 6+ years we have lost our way.

I like what the presidents new strategy is, I am quite certain that most in congress do not understand what is happening now, what he is doing. I do not agree with everything he is presenting, I am a Republican in name only, but he is doing something!

I am encouraged by the effort, if not all the end results at this time. It is considerably more than what I am seeing from our representatives now.

Cody Riedy 7 years, 8 months ago

Money in politics - if there is one single issue in today's political climate that has widespread bipartisan support among the populace, it's the issue of campaign finance. Every time somebody wins an election they claim they have a mandate to do this and that, but the one thing none of them will ever do is push to restrict political donations. Even though there is vitriolic political divide in this country, I think there is so much agreement on this issue that nearly every state in the Union, red and blue, would get the votes necessary for a constitutional amendment addressing limits on political spending.

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

And not giving amnesty, and not supporting Obamacare, and the support of cutting government spending.

Calvin Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

I've visited this site for several years but never commented, but I feel now I must. I know this is an athletic site, but several commenters have stated that both parties are the same, and that is crazy. Even tho the Supreme Court has taken virtually all restrictions on money and it is now the paramount issue in politics, and both parties now raise as much as possible, I know the difference in the parties. One party made it possible, thru laws and regulations, for my father and mother to raise 4 children in a modest middle-class home because unions fought so that he had a living wage; one party made it possible for elderly citizens to retire with some modicum of respect because it fought for Social Security; one party made it possible for blacks and other minorities to live part of the American Dream because it fought and passed Civil Rights legislation; one party fought and passed Medicare so that seniors would have some protection against outrageous prices; and one party fought for, and passed, legislation to allow poor and low-income people to purchase the health insurance they could never afford before. So don't show your ignorance by saying both parties are the same. Never have been, aren't now! RCJH!

James Hubin 7 years, 8 months ago

I apologize, if calling Obama a republican is going too far for your sensibilities. Just trying to elicit honest, genuine responses, such as yours and others from both sides of the aisle.

Waylon Cook 7 years, 8 months ago

Calvin your talking points are heavily flawed but ignorance is bliss.

Micky Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

You're right about the Civil Rights laws, and that party is the Republican Party who supported all of them. The others have been damaging to senior citizens and their posterity as individual families go.

Social Security cost a whole lot more than it should have because it forced people into being dependent up on by having the government taking the money, borrowing that money, and then pretending like it was being paid interest from someone other than the same people who paid the FICA taxes that created the surpluses to the Trust Funds. It prevented tens of millions from having so much more wealth, cost a whole lot more than it should have, and prevented at least 3 or 4 trillion in lost tax revenues to the federal government over time.

Bob Thompson 7 years, 8 months ago

I am another that doesn't comment much, but I just have to say this. To have a president, regardless of which party he is affiliated with, respect Coach Self and the entire program that he is willing to spend time with Coach and his team is something really special. We as Jayhawks should be proud.

Mike Crosbie 7 years, 8 months ago

I didn't vote for Obama, but out of respect for the office it was great for the team. His message of not being satisfied with good...strive to be better is something Bill can milk during practice!!

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