Journal-World Sports Writer
On the heels of easily the best year in program history, the 2008-09 Kansas University women's track and field team will have to overcome a lot of hurdles to reach the same bar as the 2007-08 season.
Over the past four years, Emily Brown had been the face of Kansas University volleyball. But in 2008, KU coach Ray Bechard will begin life without the Baldwin City native. And while Brown was an integral player on the court, Bechard already has prepped for the post-Brown era.
Experience is big advantage when it comes to sports. Especially when it's in the leadership positions - like point guard in basketball or quarterback in football. Or in rowing, it's the coxswain.
Harrison Barnes may be considered a small forward by recruiting Web sites because of his 6-foot-6, 196 pound frame. But ask him what "position" he plays and the Ames (Iowa) High junior-to-be has a better answer.
The coaches of the Missouri Valley Conference didn't know what to expect of Illinois State under a new head coach last season, picking the men's basketball team to finish fifth in the league. Tim Jankovich didn't know what to expect of his Redbirds squad either.
It had been at least six years since a Kansas University athlete competed in the U.S. Senior Diving National Championships. Two divers - sophomore Erin Mertz and junior Meghan Proehl - will put an end to that streak this summer.
Playing basketball at the collegiate level isn't for everyone. So for the campers at the Bonnie Henrickson basketball camp, playing in Kansas University's Allen Fieldhouse left a lasting impression. "It was amazing," said Ashley Harry, a junior at Skutt Catholic High in Omaha, Neb. "Just playing in so much history and just thinking about how Paul Pierce and all those greats played in there.
The Plano (Texas) West Senior High boys basketball team seemed to borrow a phrase from Oakland Raiders President Al Davis: "Just win, baby!" That's all Plano West did this weekend at Bill Self's team camp - just win.
Being the child of a professional athlete doesn't always translate into being just talented. But with the genes of two athletes, it's no wonder that Jackson Jeffcoat has the athletic ability to be a two-sport star in basketball and football.
Trivia question: Where did Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self graduate high school? Answer: Edmond Memorial in Edmond, Okla.