Thursday, July 16, 2015

Warm welcome: About 1,000 fans cheer gold medalists

Members of the Kansas University basketball team, who won a gold medal representing Team USA during the recent World University games in South Korea are given a standing ovation as they are welcomed home during a ceremony Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at Hoglund Ballpark.

Members of the Kansas University basketball team, who won a gold medal representing Team USA during the recent World University games in South Korea are given a standing ovation as they are welcomed home during a ceremony Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at Hoglund Ballpark.


The theme song from “Rocky” and Queen’s “We Are The Champions” played on the sound system at Kansas University’s Hoglund Ballpark at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday as the Jayhawks’ World University Games gold-medal-winning basketball team exited the team bus, then marched through a gate toward the pitcher’s mound.

About 1,000 fans clapped and chanted, “USA, USA,” as the players, coaches and staff members officially completed a 17-day road trip to Gwangju, South Korea, where the Americans won eight games as well as an exhibition against China.

“It was fun. I’ve never had a team pull together, get along better than what they did there,” KU coach Bill Self said at the conclusion of 28 hours of travel that included a train ride from Gwangju to Seoul, a flight to Detroit and connection to KC International.

“It was amazing how unselfish, how hard they played and competed,” Self added of 10 Jayhawks, plus SMU’s Nic Moore and Florida Gulf Coast’s Julian DeBose. “The guys played like men, against men.

“I don’t think anybody thought we could win the gold medal. I was hoping we could get out of pool play and at least make it to the medal round. I think 2009 was the last time anybody (from USA) played for a medal there, the bronze medal. The last two times we went, we hadn’t even got out of pool play, and these were (U.S.) Select Teams.”

Self called KU junior combo guard Wayne Selden Jr. “the MVP, the best player over there.”

He said senior forward Perry Ellis was “terrific as always with his consistency,” then, in referring to junior point guard Frank Mason III, said, “We saw at game point, when it counted the most, we’ve got a little bulldog right here. He was a poodle when he got here (as freshman), now he’s up to a bulldog.”

Self said looking back at KU’s 84-77, double-overtime gold-medal-winning victory over Germany, “We stunk. We were so tired. I don’t know how we won the last game. We kind of willed ourselves, then Frank took over late. Up until the last game, I think we had one (24 second) shot-clock violation. That (clock) didn’t affect us at all. We probably played faster than anybody there, without question. I thought it was a positive. It made me trust guys to make plays for themselves, to play one-on-one as opposed to try to run offense to score.

“Competing against those teams that were so good ... Russia was great,” Self continued. “Competing against those teams made me respect my guys a lot more because they had size, they had talent, but we had heart. We really did. I think it’ll probably help me trust them more. On the flip side they’ll probably be able to play a lot faster now because they were forced to play fast.”

Self, who at 7 a.m. today catches a flight to Chicago, then later in the day moves on to New York on recruiting trips, said his “tired group” of players would head back to their hometowns at the conclusion of summer school on July 30. They’ll return for start of school on Aug. 24.

“I want them to get as far away (from basketball) as they can,” Self said, noting that “the only individual workouts the next week or so will be Cheick (Diallo), Svi (Mykhailiuk), maybe Carlton (Bragg) and Lagerald (Vick).”

Self introduced newcomer Diallo, 6-9 freshman from Mali, to the fans Wednesday. Diallo and Mykhailiuk couldn’t play in the Games because they are not from the USA.

“He’s still going through all the stuff,” Self said of Diallo needing to file paperwork to qualify academically to play this season. “It’s good to have him here. Hopefully that stuff will go well with everything (and he’ll qualify). He’s a great kid and terrific talent. People here will love him.”

Self said transfer Dwight Coleby would arrive in August. Self told Coleby to wait until the start of fall semester since he lost his passport and wouldn’t be able to arrive in time for summer school. Coleby, who is from the Bahamas, will sit out this season after transferring after two seasons at Ole Miss.

Self said the Jayhawks escaped the Games relatively healthy. Only freshman forward Bragg will need to visit the doctor. “He’ll have to get it straightened out,” Self said of the nose the 6-9 Bragg had broken in Korea.

This, that: Self said the U.S. team was awarded 15 gold medals. “No coaches took medals. We gave them to two managers and Devonté (Graham,” plus the 12 players), he said. ... Self said the Jayhawks still would hold Boot Camp conditioning this preseason. “They’ll have plenty of time to get out of shape,” he said with a smile. ... Ellis said playing eight games in a week-and-a-half was grueling. “I’m pretty exhausted from the trip coming back,” he said. “Overall, playing the games in a short period of time ... it feels great to come back with the gold. It was an honor, a thrill to be able to do this.” ... Selden added: “I feel good. My legs felt great over there. We’ve all been working hard all summer. It showed in the tournament. Guys were forced to play a lot of minutes. Guys showed up when it mattered.” ... Former KU forward Thomas Robinson of the Brooklyn Nets had successful arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, team officials said.


Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

I think I'll take a little time and enjoy winning the gold medal in the WUG games. Watching this team come together bodes well for the upcoming season. Hunter Mickelson played really well against international competition particularly Russia and Serbia and Wayne Selden has matured into the player we've all expected to see.

I know that not everyone thought much of the WUG competition but I believe the gold medal winning team has every right to take some time and enjoy the accomplishment and I am going to enjoy it also.

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

Just you Rodney. The rest of us and the team that persevered to the end are allowed to celebrate. Quitters not so.

Rock Chalk! Gold not silver baby!

John Pritchett 7 years ago

109 days until the next game. We have time.

Brianna Zaleski 7 years ago

To what? It's a slow news time for men's college bball. Plus it's a once in a lifetime event. I say let's enjoy it even longer.

If you don't care, don't read the article and take time to post.

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

5 words did not take that much time to post lol. Mercy

I do care we have other things to do in the off season right now. In case you are not paying attention, seems you aren't, recruiting period is happening, thus Self is on a plane this morning to join all the assistants on the road. You realize that recruiting is important right? It just does not happen, you actually have to go out and meet the recruits they just don't show up for late night at the Phog.

Think Bri.

RJ King 7 years ago

I agree, but the article was about the celebration at the ball park, so those who enjoy basking . . . let them/us bask.

There will be other articles about recruiting and we can all throw in our 2 cents about that topic.

Tom Jones 7 years ago

And there will be other articles about recruiting. This one was about the celebration. Rocket surgery, it ain't.

You really have gotten worse in the offseason, and no one, especially me, thought that was even possible. Well done, sir.

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

Rodney's just upset because the team pulled out the win/gold after he quit on them and claimed silver. It hurts to be wrong, and he's just trying to make everyone else suffer with him. Sort of sad really.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

If I recall correctly, weren't you blasting HCBS for his recruiting last season? Are you now implying that Self has neglected his recruiting responsibilities by celebrating with the team?

I understand having a difference of opinion but I don't understand is why you believe that anyone who disagrees with you is personally attacking you.

Brianna Zaleski 7 years ago

Gary wrote this article, not Tom. So you're "next play" jab falls flat... just sayin

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

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

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

Rodney just wants to move on as quickly as possible so that he can try to forget that he quit on the team when it was a tied game, just like he quit on Coach last Spring before Coach was finished recruiting. It apparently is Rodney's nature, so there is no getting away from it, which is also why he attacks others - to try to bring them down to his level and deflect the focus from his errors.

Tom Jones 7 years ago

I have to admit I chuckled a little bit when I saw:

Rodney Crain 1 day, 2 hours ago This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Jay Hawk 7 years ago

I don't like the comment about Diallo: "He’s still going through all the stuff . . . Hopefully that stuff will go well with everything (and he’ll qualify)"

You keep hearing reports that his qualifying process has been slower than most. I sure hate the thought that this ends up being an issue. We really need this guy! He could easily be the extra part that helps our already strong team have a special year.

Rob Zerwekh 7 years ago

Our Savior New American is a diploma mill. I've seen past articles about OSNA being on an NCAA watch list. Students wanting to play NCAA sports have to keep strict documentation of their classwork. But if Self is talking about Diallo publicly, then I suppose he's not too worried.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years ago

I think those words definitely made me a little bit nervous. I think Diallo will be a key player next year and the last thing we need is another eligibility issue with the NCAA.

As much as I thought Mickelson has improved since last season, I thought Lucas took a step backwards. Both Vick and Bragg played great in Korea especially considering the short time they've had to learn the system.

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

Agreed on all counts, but part of what Coach Self commented on is that they didn't do as much with the system as they have in the past. Not as much to know. More just relying on their natural ability.

Elias Dunlavy 7 years ago

Great, now im worried about Diallos elegibility

Tom Jones 7 years ago

The staff is confident he'll qualify.

Gerry Butler 7 years ago

will feel a lot better when we know for 100% sure that he has qualified, kinda wondered where it was taking him longer to show up on campus, hope all turns out well.

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

I believe he was also playing elsewhere earlier in the summer. Maybe not.

Aaron Paisley 7 years ago

Gary, is there any way to ban Rodney and Brianna from this site? Those two are almost always the first two to post on an article and it's the same childish crap every single time.

RJ King 7 years ago

I could not agree more. It's not about being either a "homer" or "glass half empty." It's about point, counterpoint. Or point, another take on the point. Why throw in the extra words like "moron" and "pathetic." Or preface comments with "Jeez," "Seriously?" "You People" and so on. (Yes I know that's how people talk. But in print, it incites.)

Rodney refrained from this for a few weeks. Thank you RC. Brianna is actually the guy's wife's name. I thought the baiting and insulting would end with the loss of our cyber names, but there are still many who cannot resist personal attacks, using real names or not.

These comments are like a shell in my eggs, hot coffee in my lap, the milk gone bad.

Jay Hawk 7 years ago

The request to provide an IGNORE button - especially on the live game chats - has been made repeatedly, yet seems to be falling on deaf ears. I get that you can always "not read" the comments of a specific poster, but for the LJW Staff to not provide this simple tool to eliminate annoyances that drive customers away makes little sense to me.

Alex Resnik 7 years ago

I don't think that the LJW should ban anyone. That's what free speech is for. If people just stop commenting on his posts he'll eventually find that we aren't giving him enough attention and he'll move on to a different site. The only reason I think this will work is because i have a 3 yr old at home. Works on him.

RJ King 7 years ago

You made me laugh. I've raised two 3-year olds, and two drama-filled teenage stepdaughters. Time to call on my vast experience of ignoring bad behavior. :-)

Darwin Dandy 7 years ago

The reason why we are is to just share opinions and thoughts on the team and be sociable but some of us take to another level with the name calling and what not. But on another note, I think this season is going to be great. RCJH KU my friends

Jim Pendleton 7 years ago

Congrats to the team, and it was great to allow them a public celebration. 1000 doesn't sound like a lot, but considering school not in session, the weather, etc, not too bad. Congrats to everyone on a great trip to Korea!

Now I have to chime in on some of these comments as well. I am as hard core a KU fan, in many sports, as there is. But if I have a problem with something, I'll say that we (as in we as a team) should have done this or that, such as shoot free throws better, or not give up so many offensive rebounds, or maybe the coaches should go to such and such player, as he has been on a hot streak, or matches up better with a certain team.

You won't ever see me calling out players individually. Yes, these guys are on scholarship, but they are college kids, not professionals. Wins & losses are as a team, not just because one guy made or missed ten in a row down the stretch, or turned it over multiple times. There are many plays over the course of any close game that are just as important as those in the last 30 seconds.

Another thing, KU fans need to get away from blaming officials for close losses or thinking TV guys are against them. Again, there are many things you can point to over the course of a game, regardless of margin, as to why you won or lost. Case in point, everyone remembers the non traveling call near the end of the WV game last year. Yes, a missed call. However, had we not given up 22 offensive rebounds in the game as a team, we probably win that game by double digits and the stuff at the end is a non factor. When you play on the road, you have to be better than all the negative things that work against you.

I'm with everyone in asking all the fans that post on here to at least show a little respect. I might not agree with your post and you might not agree with mine, but the name calling has got to stop. We even have fans on here who call out players with negative connotations after losses. These guys want to win far more than we do. To say things like "worst player in history of KU" after the guy misses a game winning layup, is just mean, rude, and totally uncalled for.

Let's show a little class people. Jayhawk Nation is a proud group. We need to act like it. We can agree to disagree, but do it in a professional manner. Rock Chalk!!

Bryce Landon 7 years ago

All I wanna know is, where can we get celebratory t-shirts? :)

Bret Eckert 7 years ago

Please Ban Bri and Rodney.

And let us know when you do.

Where can we get Tshirts.

William Dostert 7 years ago

I have been following the antics on here for a long time. It is distracting. The problem is difficult to solve at best because maturity is hard to govern.

Tony Bandle 7 years ago

Aw, c'mon guys and's a friggin' posting site, not the U.N. The LJW does a good job of knocking out the really inappropriate comments. I say let everybody vent and if they want to look foolish, combative, self-centered, over-the-top, goofy, giddy, glass half empty, glass totally empty, whatever, let 'em.

That's a slippery slope when you start limiting free speech, no matter how idiotic it might get. And, by the way, I know Hot Rod pushes some buttons but what did Bri do???

Ron Sterling 7 years ago

I'm all for people using the forum how they want to, but with all due respect, the issue of free speech is moot when you're talking about private media, even if it is made available to the public. Free speech is a guarantee by the government. If a privately held company, such as LJW, doesn't want to associate with speech you put on their media, they have the right to censor it. That's just as integral to the first amendment as the right to voice an opinion to begin with. Nobody else has to support our speech just because we may like it ourselves.

Rodney knows what he's doing. If he wants to live to get a rise out of others, that's his prerogative, but nobody else has to enjoy it, and they can very much voice their displeasure with having to endure it in so far as the LJW deems fit.

Humpy Helsel 7 years ago

Sounds like it is going to be a summer.

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