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Tale of the Tait

With Kansas now bowl eligible, here’s a quick look at the Big 12’s bowl tie-ins for 2022

The Kansas defense celebrates an interception by Kansas cornerback Ra'Mello Dotson (3) during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 at Memorial Stadium.

The Kansas defense celebrates an interception by Kansas cornerback Ra'Mello Dotson (3) during the first quarter on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Thanks to Saturday’s 37-16 win over 18th-ranked Oklahoma State, the Kansas football team and its fans no longer have to wonder if the Jayhawks will end their bowl drought this season.

It’s happening. With six wins in nine games and three more chances to add to their win total before the end of the regular season, the Jayhawks are going bowling again this winter.

Here’s a quick look at their options and what we know about the Big 12 bowl tie-ins, some of which are set in stone and determined solely on how the final conference standings shake out.

According to a Big 12 news release this summer regarding bowl tie-ins for the 2022 season, the Big 12’s bowl partners will have their pick of all Big 12 teams with a .500 record or better for the upcoming postseason after the College Football Playoff selections are made.

The following is the order in which the bowls get to make their selections, with the bowl listed first getting the first choice and so on down the line.

1 – Allstate Sugar Bowl – Dec. 31 in New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Big 12 vs. SEC

  • The Big 12 champion is automatically placed here unless it is one of the four teams chosen for the CFP semifinals

2 – Valero Alamo Bowl – Dec. 29 in San Antonio, Texas

  • Big 12 vs. Pac-12

3 – Cheez-It Bowl – Dec. 29 in Orlando, Florida

  • Big 12 vs. ACC

4 – TaxAct Texas Bowl – Dec. 28 in Houston, Texas

  • Big 12 vs. SEC

5 – AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Dec. 28 in Memphis, Tennessee

  • Big 12 vs. SEC

6 – Guaranteed Rate Bowl – Dec. 27 in Phoenix, Arizona

  • Big 12 vs. Big Ten

T7 – Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl – Dec. 22 in Fort Worth, Texas

  • Big 12 vs. AAC/C-USA

T7 – SERVPRO First Responder Bowl – Dec. 27 in Dallas, Texas

  • Big 12 vs. AAC/ACC/C-USA

All bowl game matchups will be announced on ESPN on Dec. 4, starting at 11 a.m.

As of today, six Big 12 teams already have reached the six-win mark that guarantees bowl eligibility.

Oklahoma is one win away at 5-4, Texas Tech and Iowa State are both two wins away at 4-5 and West Virginia, at 3-6, needs to win out to make it to a bowl game.

If more than eight Big 12 teams are eligible for play in the postseason, other second-tier tie-ins come into play.

One other interesting note regarding bowl games and the 2022 Jayhawks: It’s still possible for 11 of the 12 teams on KU’s 2022 schedule to become bowl eligible.

Six teams are already there – Duke, TCU, Texas, Baylor, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

Two teams are one win away — Oklahoma and Houston.

Two teams are two wins away – Texas Tech and Iowa State.

One team is three wins away – West Virginia.

Those numbers, and the potential for 92% of KU's schedule to be bowl eligible by season's end, merely underscores how good the Jayhawks have been this season and how impressive this turnaround has been under Lance Leipold.

I saw a Tweet (I think from Kansas Athletics) that noted that KU was the first team in Power 5 history to lose by 50 points or more to two teams in one season (Iowa State and Oklahoma State in 2021) and beat them both the following season.

In addition, The Athletic's Max Olson pointed out that, entering today, only two Power 5 programs had not made a bowl game since 2017 — Kansas and Nebraska. The Jayhawks will no longer be on that list, and the Cornhuskers, under interim coach Mickey Joseph, sit at 3-6 with three games to play.

Wild stuff, Kansas fans.

Reply 10 comments from David Wanamaker Dirk Medema Plasticjhawk Len Shaffer Dale Rogers Chicagohawkmatt Joseph Bullock

Taking a stab at KU’s starting five for tonight’s exhibition game vs. Pitt State

Forward KJ Adams Jr. goes for a dunk during the team scrimmage at the annual Bill Self Basketball Camp on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Forward KJ Adams Jr. goes for a dunk during the team scrimmage at the annual Bill Self Basketball Camp on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Emma Pravecek/Journal-World Photo

OK, now that we’ve gotten most of the IARP, self-imposed sanctions talk out of the way, let’s get back to the basketball for a minute.

You know, because there’s actually a game tonight.

Sure, it might just be an exhibition game against Pitt State. And, yeah, No. 5 Kansas should roll. But that doesn’t make it any less significant that basketball is back and we’re about to jump feet first into another season of KU hoops.

Tonight is when we get our first glimpse at what this team looks like. How do they play? Who plays? Who plays well with who? All of those questions and more will at least start to be answered with what happens tonight.

Beyond that, we’ll also get a first look at what Self is thinking regarding his starting lineup.

At this point, it seems like a lock that Dajuan Harris Jr., Kevin McCullar Jr., and Jalen Wilson are can’t-miss starters. It also seems fairly likely that freshman guard Gradey Dick will be out there for tipoff.

But who starts at the 5?

I’ll toss my money on sophomore forward KJ Adams.

For one, this is the perfect game for KU to use Adams there because even though he’s undersized when you’re talking about Power 5 Conference big men, he’ll still be a load for the Gorillas to handle.

Beyond that, he’s the one KU big man — of the four available — who played any real minutes last season. Zach Clemence was close but injured too often. And Zuby Ejiofor and Ernest Udeh Jr., are true freshmen.

Clemence easily could get the nod because his size and length might be a little more useful when KU lines it up for real starting next Monday night.

But I still think it’s Adams in this one.

For one, I think there’s some real intrigue surrounding what that lineup would look like and how effective KU could be by switching defenders at all five spots and flying up and down the floor as often as possible. And that’s not just with Adams playing the 5. If they like what they see from that group, you could possibly see some instances when Jalen Wilson plays a little at the 5 throughout the season, as well.

For two, KU assistant coach Norm Roberts, while filling in for Self on “Hawk Talk” the other night, absolutely gushed about how good Adams has been this preseason.

Time will tell. And, after that, even more time will tell if it wound up meaning anything.

Tonight’s tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. from Allen Fieldhouse and the game will be televised by ESPN+.

Reply 3 comments from Doug Roberts Matt Tait Njjayhawk

A few thoughts on what the Bill Self, Kurtis Townsend suspensions and other self-imposed sanctions might mean for Kansas

Kansas head coach Bill Self views his team during practice for the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, April 1, 2022, in New Orleans.

Kansas head coach Bill Self views his team during practice for the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Friday, April 1, 2022, in New Orleans. by Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

As the years have passed and the schools involved with the NCAA’s Independent Accountability Resolutions Process have waited — and waited — for their cases to be resolved, the landscape of the penalties that are levied in infractions cases has shifted.

For years, it was a given that the schools and teams were the ones that paid the price for any misdoings by anyone associated with a given program. And while that indirectly impacted the head coaches, most penalties remained a collective punishment. Postseason bans, significant loss of scholarships and the like were all how the NCAA got justice.

Fast-forward to Wednesday, when Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self and longtime assistant Kurtis Townsend received self-imposed four-game suspensions to open the upcoming season, and it’s clear that the goal in today’s world is to protect the players from paying the price for something many, if not all, of them had nothing to do with in the first place.

So Self and Townsend serve the suspensions and now we wait to see what comes next. Regardless of what that may be, this move seems like the most fair thing to the Dajuan Harrises, Gradey Dicks, KJ Adamses and Jalen Wilsons of the world.

Being without their Hall of Fame head coach for a few games — or longer if it ever comes to that — will certainly feel a little weird, but it’s not as if the Jayhawks can’t power through it. There are capable coaches on the bench who will run the show with Self and Townsend sidelined, and, if we’re being honest, the players themselves do a fair amount of that out on the court anyway.

IARP officials have even said that they would prefer to not punish the current players, a stance put into practice earlier this year when Memphis received probation, a public reprimand and a fine but no postseason ban in its IARP case.

The Memphis case differed in many ways from the rest of the cases of the schools on the IARP track, but if that goes down as the start of a trend to protect the current players it’s significant all the same.

A couple of hours after KU announced it was self-imposing sanctions, news broke that a ruling in Louisville’s IARP case is expected Thursday.

If it comes, Louisville will be the third school to receive a final ruling from the IARP, joining Memphis and NC State.

It will be interesting to see what that includes and if anything about what might come of KU’s case can be learned from the Louisville ruling.

Even with Wednesday’s news, a ruling for Kansas still seems pretty far in the distance, and it’s still anybody’s guess how severe or light it will be.

Here are a few more quick thoughts on what Wednesday’s self-imposed sanctions mean for the future of the Kansas men’s basketball program:

• As of today, it’s hard to know exactly how KU’s move to self-impose sanctions will be received by the IARP. Both points of view make sense.

It’s logical to think that these penalties could lessen whatever penalties may or may not be a part of the IARP’s final ruling in KU’s case. And it’s also logical to think that the IARP, as an independent body, would make its ruling based on its findings and nothing else.

Beyond that, there’s also the point of view that says the long, drawn-out case in and of itself has been a punishment of sorts for Kansas, which has seen recruiting impacted and had to operate on a daily basis with the dark cloud of the investigation hanging around the program.

Regardless of how it’s perceived, I’m not sure KU even cares at this point. As stated in the release announcing the self-imposed sanctions, KU did this in an effort to move the case forward.

For years, those involved with this case have just wanted to put it behind them once and for all. There’s no doubt that KU still believes strongly that what was in the notice of allegations originally sent by the NCAA was over the top and full of, what Self once called, “half-truths.” Self, KU’s administration and the leaders of the university itself have made it clear that they’ll defend that position to the end of time.

Maintaining that stance does not mean that KU is not interested in doing whatever it can to bring this case to a close. And that’s what Wednesday’s announcement was all about.

KU controls the narrative at this point. Not only does it continue to defend and support Self and the way the men’s basketball program is run, but it also now has created a reality where, no matter what the IARP ruling is, KU will have been punished in some capacity. That’s not nothing.

I wouldn’t exactly call KU a sympathetic figure here. All one needs to do is hop on Twitter to see that’s not the case.

But the way this has all played out, with Kansas aggressively defending itself early in the process and now giving some ground in an effort to get it all over with, has probably made the Kansas program pretty relatable to college basketball fans across the country who are equally tired of hearing about all of this stuff and seeing nothing happen.

• Here’s one I’m not sure anybody has mentioned, and I think it’s fairly significant.

By docking the program three total scholarships over the next three years — presumably one per year — I think KU is all but guaranteeing that Self will be around for at least that long.

We know he has a lifetime contract at KU and probably will be the head coach of the Jayhawks for as long as he wants to be. But I can’t see him leaving while his replacement would have the deck stacked against him by operating with one less scholarship.

Self has said repeatedly that he will not run from KU’s infractions case, and, after initially signaling that he might be thinking about getting out of the game shortly before the FBI investigation surfaced, Self’s resolve and a couple of the teams and success he has enjoyed recently seem to have him more energized than ever.

I’m sure he’ll leave someday. But if you’re KU, the longer you can put that day off the better off you’ll be.

• Speaking of the scholarship ding, this is a big deal because it limits the talent KU can bring it, but it’s also very manageable.

Consider this: In each of the past seven seasons, Kansas has had at least one scholarship player who did not play and never really sniffed the court for any regular playing time. Cam Martin (redshirt) and Kyle Cuffe Jr. last season; Tyon Grant-Foster, Latrell Jossell and Gethro Muscadin in 2020-21; Dajuan Harris Jr. (redshirt) in 2019-20; Silvio De Sousa (NCAA trouble) in 2018-19; Charlie Moore (redshirt) and Billy Preston (NCAA trouble) in 2017-18; Sam Cunliffe and Malik Newman (transfers) in 2016-17 and Dwight Coleby Jr. (transfer) in 2015-16.

You have to go back to the 2014-15 season to find a Kansas roster that used all of its scholarship players semi-regularly. And, even then, guys like Hunter Mickelson and freshman guard Svi Mykhailiuk probably wished they had played more.

The point is, Self has never been one to use a 12- or 13-man rotation on a regular basis. So, while operating with 12 scholarships instead of 13 for the next few years will limit the talent that Kansas can bring in, it’s not like it will cripple the Jayhawks on game days.

Reply 11 comments from Matt Tait Dale Rogers Cap10d David Gisi Pamela Shanks Rodney Crain Table_rock_jayhawk

Another new banner expected to be unveiled at Allen Fieldhouse during Thursday’s exhibition game vs. Pitt State

Kansas coach Bill Self, second from left, is joined by his sister, Shelly Anderson, left, his wife, Cindy, and his mother, Margaret, by the new banner that hangs in Allen Fieldhouse to honor a favorite phrase of his father's, Bill Self Sr., who died in late January at 82.

Kansas coach Bill Self, second from left, is joined by his sister, Shelly Anderson, left, his wife, Cindy, and his mother, Margaret, by the new banner that hangs in Allen Fieldhouse to honor a favorite phrase of his father's, Bill Self Sr., who died in late January at 82. by Contributed photo

The Kansas men’s basketball team will be ushering in a lot more than just another season of college hoops on Thursday night, when they play host to Pitt State in the lone exhibition game of the 2022-23 season.

Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse and the game will be televised on Big 12 Now via ESPN+.

In addition to Thursday marking the debut of the 2022-23 team, KU is teasing the fact that another banner will be unveiled at the Pitt State game.

Almost exactly three weeks after KU celebrated the addition of the 2022 national champions banner being raised into the Allen Fieldhouse rafters, KU will be adding some more fabric to the west side of the building on Thursday night.

Most seem to believe that this will be the “Just Load the Wagon” banner, which showed up late last season behind the south basket in the student section and paid homage to a favorite saying of Self’s father’s.

Bill Self Sr. passed away during last season’s championship run and the phrase — “Don’t worry about the mules, just load the wagon” — became a rallying cry of sorts for the 2021-22 Jayhawks’ march to the championship.

That was not the first time the phrase became popular around Kansas basketball. Back in 2017, when Self was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, that was the quote he asked to have inscribed on the inductees’ bench outside of the Hall.

His father was there that night for his son’s induction, and the quote has been popular in Kansas basketball lore ever since.

If that is, in fact, what this new banner says on Thursday night, its inclusion in the Allen Fieldhouse rafters will be reminiscent of the “Pay Heed All Who Enter, Beware of the Phog” banner that hangs high above the championship banners on the north end.

Like the “Load the Wagon” banner, that one also was created by KU students in makeshift fashion a few decades earlier.

Stay tuned to our coverage from Thursday’s game for more on the identity of this new banner, which will hang above Section 17 on the Fieldhouse’s east side.

As you can see in the tweet below, it’s already up and has a blue cover over it, keeping its identity a secret until showtime.

None by Kansas Jayhawks

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Hopeful Kansas football coach Lance Leipold says Jayhawks ‘need a great crowd’ Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

Kansas defensive end Lonnie Phelps (47) pressures Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers (12) deep in the Cyclones territory during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive end Lonnie Phelps (47) pressures Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers (12) deep in the Cyclones territory during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

It’s been a few weeks since football fans in Lawrence made it their mission to Pack the Booth and fill up David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium for the surprising Jayhawks’ home games.

And even though Kansas has lost three games in a row since its last campaign to sell out the home stadium, head coach Lance Leipold said Monday he was hopeful that his team has shown KU fans enough to make them want to keep showing up.

“I hope (it’s) another great crowd; we need a great crowd," Leipold said. “Again, I hope for the future of this program, as we continue to work to build winning consistently in this program, that it’s not undefeated records that get us to fill this place. Because there’d be a lot of non-filled stadiums across college football (if that were the case).”

The Jayhawks were 3-0 heading into their first home sellout of the season against Duke, and they followed that up by selling out the stadium at 4-0 for the Iowa State game and 5-0 for the ESPN College GameDay showdown with TCU.

Kansas (5-3 overall, 2-3 Big 12) lost to TCU that day and went on to lose back-to-back road games at Oklahoma and Baylor before last week’s bye week. So, there’s no doubt that some of the shine has been knocked off since that exhilarating 5-0 run to open the season.

But this is still rarefied air for the KU football program and, if anything, one would think that Kansas fans might actually feel like showing up even more right now, to serve as a factor in KU’s quest for that sixth win for bowl eligibility.

That’s certainly what Leipold is wanting to see in the month of November, when KU will host two more home games, Saturday vs. No. 18 Oklahoma State and Nov. 19 vs. Texas.

“I still hope that people are excited,” Leipold said Monday. “And though the wins of late haven't been there, the competitive nature of this football team for four quarters is something that I hope our fans are respecting and enjoying and will want to come out and support.”

The reason Leipold is hoping for KU’s huge home crowds to continue goes way beyond wanting Kansas fans to have something to feel good on Saturdays. He actually has concrete proof that their presence as the Jayhawks’ 12th man has made a difference.

"One of our assistants talked to one of the opposing coaches of one of the three sellout games we had," Leipold said Monday. "And they talked about the fact that they did not prepare for crowd noise and it was a factor in the game. So, to think that our fans can make a difference, 100%. Absolutely. And we need them there.”

As of Monday night, plenty of tickets for Saturday’s game were available on third-party ticket sites, so it appears as if the Kansas fan base has some work left to do if it wants to sell out Memorial Stadium for the fourth consecutive home game.

Kansas entered the week as a 3-point underdog to the Cowboys, who are coming off of a 48-0 loss to Kansas State last weekend in Manhattan.

Reply 11 comments from Brad  Watson Dale Rogers Lonnie Ross Dillon Gary Amble Njjayhawk Dirk Medema

Kansas basktball coach Bill Self says KU’s 3-point attempts should be up this season; here’s why & what that might look like

Kansas guard Gradey Dick (4) hoists a three over Kansas guard Joseph Yesufu (1) during Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Gradey Dick (4) hoists a three over Kansas guard Joseph Yesufu (1) during Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Earlier this week, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self mentioned the possibility of using senior walk-on Michael Jankovich in the rotation this season to bolster KU’s 3-point shooting.

It makes sense given the fact that Jankovich’s best skill is and always has been his ability to shoot the ball from the outside. But it also underscores the situation the Jayhawks are facing from behind the arc entering the season.

Self has said repeatedly that he thinks the 2022-23 Jayhawks will be a team that has to make jump shots to have success, largely because he’s not sure how good this group will be at getting easy baskets, be it in transition or in the post.

“It’s going to be imperative that this team becomes a good 3-point shooting team because I think we’ll take a lot,” Self said at last week’s Big 12 media day in Kansas City, Missouri.

How many is a lot?

“This team should shoot more 3s than last year’s team,” Self said this week at KU’s own media day in Lawrence. “Should. And if we do that then (we) need to make 35% as a team or 36% in order to play efficient enough to warrant playing fast and shooting early.”

Self’s most recent title team attempted 792 3-pointers last season, good for 33% of the team’s total shots taken. That was 129 more than the 2020-21 team, 214 more than the 2019-20 team and the most by a KU squad since the 2017-18 Final Four team attempted 974.

Like most years, Self said he wants this year’s team to play as fast as possible. Run when it’s there, push the tempo after makes and misses and turn up the pace with defensive intensity.

That style, the theory goes, will lead to easy baskets and take at least some of the pressure off of Kansas to score through its half-court sets.

“We want to play fast,” Self said Tuesday. “We need to score before the defense gets set. But how well we shoot it will probably determine how fast we play.”

That brings us back to Jankovich and why he’s being talked about as an option off the bench.

The 2022-23 Jayhawks enter the season looking to replace a whopping 75.9% of their 3-point field goals from last season.

That’s 103 3-point makes by Ochai Agbaji, 51 more by Christian Braun, — both of whom are in the NBA right now — 30 from Jalen Coleman-Lands and 29 more from Remy Martin.

In all, Kansas lost 217 3-point makes from the 286 it hit as a team during the run to the national title.

That’s a big number, both in terms of total makes and percentage. And it paints a clear picture of why Self has emphasized this team’s outside shooting so often this preseason.

“I think a big key to our team is just making shots,” he said.

Jalen Wilson is KU’s top returning 3-point shooter in terms of makes (30 of 114 last season), and it’s also been made clear how important an improved shooting season by Wilson is for him and the team.

After that, it’s Dajuan Harris Jr. and his 20 makes in 62 attempts and Joe Yesufu and his 11 makes in 42 attempts that are the top returning shooters with Wilson from a season ago.

The Jayhawks will ask Harris to be even more aggressive as a scorer this season and Self has said repeatedly that Yesufu’s role for the 2022-23 team will be to go score. If either can do that consistenly from the outside, it will help answer this team’s 3-point shooting question.

But even if they’re both terrific, KU’s going to need more.

Freshman Gradey Dick has a chance to start and could get a whole bunch of 3-point looks.

Outside shooting is one of Dick’s best skills and coaches and teammates have said that his 6-foot-8 frame and high release make his shot nearly impossible to block. Now he just has to show how quickly he can dial it in and how consistent he can be with it.

The last KU freshman to come in as a true gunner was Quentin Grimes during the 2018-19 season. He made 54 of 159 3-point attempts in 27.4 minutes per game that season but was limited elsewhere, which limited his impact.

Prior to that, you have to go back to Ben McLemore’s first season as a redshirt freshman in 2012-13 to find a true 3-point marksman who shot the number of shots that Dick very well may this season. McLemore made 73 of 174 3-point attempts for the Jayhawks that season.

Between then and now, the only KU freshmen to top 34 3-point makes in a season were Andrew Wiggins (43 for 126) and Wayne Selden Jr. (42 for 128) during the 2013-14 season, but neither of those players was considered to be a true 3-point marksman either.

Dick has more to his game than just shooting the ball from distance, but there’s little doubt that his most important role during his freshman season will be knocking in shots.

Outside of that, it’s really more of shoot when you’re open-but-you-don’t-necessarily-have-to kind of thing.

Sophomore big man Zach Clemence is a terrific outside shooter but we still don’t know how big his role will be. Bobby Pettiford, Kevin McCullar Jr., MJ Rice and even KJ Adams all can shoot from distance, but they’re not likely to have plays run for them to get 3-point shots.

Jankovich would. But how often he gets that opportunity — if at all — really will depend on how the rest of the guys on this roster shoot the ball first.

Reply 5 comments from Nick Kramer Micky Baker James Miller Matt Tait Dirk Medema

Kansas freshman Gradey Dick stars in, produces television spot for Salina-based Long McArthur Ford

Kansas guard Gradey Dick (4) laughs with reporters during an interview on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Gradey Dick (4) laughs with reporters during an interview on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has long said that freshman guard Gradey Dick stands to benefit as much as anyone on KU’s roster this season when it comes to name, image and likeness opportunities, simply because of his status as the reigning Gatorade national player of the year.

On Thursday, WME Sports, the company managing Dick’s NIL opportunities released details of one of the biggest NIL deals to date involving the KU freshman.

Dick, a native of Wichita, has teamed up with Salina-based Long McArthur Ford for a set of television spots that will run throughout the upcoming NCAA basketball season.

The “Give Everything” campaign not only features Dick as the focal point of the car commercials but also was created by Dick, who served as the executive producer on the project.

“It’s been an amazing experience being able to partner with Long McArthur for this campaign, and not just because I love, and drive Ford,” Dick said. “As a Kansas kid through-and-through, it’s great to align with a team that values this state just as much as I do, and is just as dedicated as I am to doing their best to deliver for it. That’s the whole concept of Give Everything, it’s the way I approach basketball, the way Long McArthur approaches service, the way Ford approaches its cars, and the way our great state approaches life.”

According to the news release announcing the partnership, the KU freshman “was instrumental in the process of the creation of the spot, advising on everything from creating storyboards, and researching and identifying the production company partner that shot the spot.”

According to the release, that company was Blank Square Productions, which has previously created content for Grammy-winning artists including Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Doja Cat and Drake.

The spot was directed by Edgar Esteves and Logan Fields.

Reply 1 comment from Dirk Medema Njjayhawk

Kansas walk-on Michael Jankovich could be in line for real minutes this season

Kansas guard Michael Jankovich (20) jokingly cuts in during an interview with Kansas guard Kevin McCullar Jr. (15) to ask him questions about his Halloween plans on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Michael Jankovich (20) jokingly cuts in during an interview with Kansas guard Kevin McCullar Jr. (15) to ask him questions about his Halloween plans on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

During the past couple of months, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has talked a lot about how freshmen big men Zuby Ejiofor and Ernest Udeh Jr. were ahead of where the coaching staff expected them to be at this point and made it clear that both are in the mix for significant minutes at the 5 this season.

In many ways, that qualifies as a surprise that absolutely could make this Kansas team better.

There appears to be another unexpected development taking place, though, and this one might be an even bigger surprise.

Self said Tuesday, at KU’s annual media day, that senior walk-on Michael Jankovich had impressed throughout the preseason. While it remains a little unlikely that Jankovich will find a way to crack KU’s rotation on a full-time basis, it’s clear that Self and the coaching staff are at least looking at whether that’s a move they should try to make.

“We can scrimmage every day and if we’re just trying to score the most points we can, Jank needs to be on the floor,” Self said. “He’s good enough to do that.”

Known as a scorer and dead-eye shooter throughout his prep career in Dallas — with one year at Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts — the son of former Self assistant Tim Jankovich has battled both injuries and the walk-on hierarchy during his time as a Jayhawk.

Now, though, with Jankovich serving as by far the most experienced and veteran player among KU’s four walk-ons, he’s being looked at — at least today — in a different light.

Talk to just about anyone on this roster and they’ll tell you that Jankovich is the best shooter on the team. Talk to Jankovich and he’ll tell you it’s been that way for a while. And he’ll do it with a smile and without a hint of cockiness.

It’s that kind of confidence that made Jankovich a great shooter in the first place. And after putting in plenty of work at Kansas and paying his dues on the end of the bench, it appears as if he’s actually getting a real look from the coaching staff.

“You know, Jank shoots it so good,” Self said Tuesday. “(So) do you try to figure out a way where he could be your ninth man and just come in and hopefully get three looks in a half and make two?”

Self has talked plenty about how outside shooting will be a critical part of this team’s offensive attack because he does not foresee the 2022-23 team getting as many easy baskets in the post or in transition as the 2021-22 team did.

So Jankovich’s path to playing time is probably connected to that. If Kansas labors to score and Self needs someone to rip the lid off the basket by knocking in shots from deep, he could turn to the 6-foot-5, 190-pound gunner. It’s unlikely that Jankovich’s role would extend beyond spot minutes in times of great offensive need, but even that would be far bigger and better than anything he’s seen to date.

“Obviously, defensively and athletically he’s probably not to the point where he can play the same way that we probably want to play and be effective doing it,” Self said Tuesday. “But he’s been a very pleasant surprise.”

During his first three seasons with the KU program, Jankovich has appeared in 21 games, including 10 during last season’s run to the NCAA title. He has made five of the 15 3-pointers he has attempted in 45 minutes of playing time while knocking in three of four attempts at the free throw line, as well.

Reply 1 comment from Len Shaffer

Jayhawks’ best players shine in ‘competitive’ secret scrimmage vs. Illinois

KU's Dajuan Harris Jr. (3), Jalen Wilson (10) and Kevin McCullar Jr. (15) laugh during a photo shoot at Big 12 media day on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.

KU's Dajuan Harris Jr. (3), Jalen Wilson (10) and Kevin McCullar Jr. (15) laugh during a photo shoot at Big 12 media day on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. by Ryan Weaver/Big 12 photos

The Kansas men’s basketball team played a so-called secret scrimmage against Illinois at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri on Saturday and a few details have started to emerge.

One question, though: Is it really a secret if everyone knows about it?

Kind of is the answer to that question.

It’s against NCAA rules for KU or Illinois to promote the game or publish stats or a final score. So, you likely won’t find those things anywhere.

But there were a few highlights that surfaced and a few details that made their way around the Internet. The Kansas basketball program even provided a few of those.

According to a news release from KU, the two teams played one 20-minute period of a live-action scrimmage and followed that up with three 10-minute sessions and closed the day by working on four 4-minute situational periods.

The whole thing lasted just under three and a half hours and ended with both teams working on specific situations, most notably attacking zone defenses.

In the release, Kansas coach Bill Self called the scrimmage “competitive.”

“We had some guys step up and make some plays,” Self said. “We played a ton of situations in which the games came down to the last 30 seconds. That was good for us because we haven’t done much of that yet.”

Self also said KU’s “best players played pretty good,” which backed up a report from Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, who said he was told that transfer wing Kevin McCullar Jr. was the best player in the game for the Jayhawks.

“We’ve got to have some of the young guys step up and do better,” Self added in the release.

Throughout the preseason, Self has praised the play of McCullar as well as returning starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and Jalen Wilson, which could lead one to believe all three of those guys played well on Saturday.

The game was a bit of a reunion for McCullar, who was able to play against Terrence Shannon Jr., who teamed with McCullar at Texas Tech last season but transferred to Illinois in the offseason.

Entering the scrimmage, Self said he was hoping the Jayhawks would “find out where we’re at.”

“I know who we’re playing is very, very physical,” Self said three days before the Jayhawks and Illini met. “And it’ll be good for our young guys to play against that.”

Said Illinois coach Brad Underwood in an Illini news release following the scrimmage: "We got exactly what we wanted from today. It was good to go up against a different jersey for the first time and play out a number of different situations. Every game went down to the wire, which was a great experience for both teams. There were a lot of things I saw today that I liked, but also a number of areas we know we need to improve upon. This is why you have these scrimmages - to learn about yourself and get back to work."

Next up, Kansas will begin final preparations for its lone exhibition game against Pitt State on Nov. 3 and its regular season opener against Omaha on Nov. 7.

In the past, KU had always played two exhibition games against lower-level in-state schools. But beginning last year, the Jayhawks elected to cut the exhibition slate down to one game so they could take part in the secret scrimmage circuit to help better prepare them for the season ahead.

Last year, Kansas traveled to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane in a secret scrimmage.

None by Kansas Men’s Basketball

None by Kansas Men’s Basketball

None by Kansas Men’s Basketball

None by Kansas Men’s Basketball

None by Kevin McCullar Jr.

Reply 4 comments from Dirk Medema Surrealku Shannon Gustafson

As Kansas football heads into its bye week, one thing is clear — the Jayhawks need their QB back

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

In five halves of football in relief of injured starter Jalon Daniels, Kansas quarterback Jason Bean has completed 48 of 78 passes (61.5%) for 759 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions.

By Kansas standards, that’s pretty darn good.

By Daniels standards, it’s merely OK.

Two things can be true when looking at KU’s quarterback play since Daniels was injured late in the first half of the Jayhawks’ loss to TCU on Oct. 8.

In fact, it’s actually pretty easy to say that Bean has been solid in relief of Daniels and that the Jayhawks have missed their quarterback, as well.

There’s no telling if Kansas would have won any of the three games it lost with Bean in there instead of Daniels. But it’s not a criticism of Bean if you say that KU needs Daniels back.

Yes, Daniels’ numbers and overall production were better than Bean’s, especially as a runner, as strange as that sounds. But the reason KU has missed JD6 goes far beyond statistics.

Daniels is a natural born leader with charisma for days. He’s easy to follow, even easier to fight for and the kind of player who tends to make everyone feel a little more comfortable and play a little better just by being out there with them.

Tom Brady he is not, so we’re not going to spend the rest of this column talking up Daniels like he’s some kind of GOAT. But his confidence and swagger is infectious, and Kansas has been sorely missing both in the two and a half games it has played without him.

This is not a matter of preparation or talk. The KU players and coaches all have said the right things about Jason Bean during the past two weeks. And there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ve believed the words they’ve said.

This team genuinely thinks that Bean is good enough to help them win games. And he might be. So far, though, that hasn’t happened.

And that’s why Kansas needs Daniels back as long as he can get healthy enough to play his game and be the player he was for the first five games of the season.

With Daniels, it’s all about feel. He made plays when there were none there to be made. He picked up yardage and made throws that others might not have even tried. And he did it all with a million-dollar smile and the type of swagger that few players have as naturally as he does.

The confidence and celebrations never seemed forced with him because they were built on raw emotion and genuine joy. Daniels is not Russell Wilson, carefully trying to craft a narrative about who he is as a player and then hoping he can go out and match it with his play.

Daniels just plays. And, for the most part, he lets his numbers and production speak for him.

Bean tries to do the same thing, and the less he thinks about what he’s doing and just operates on instinct the more it looks natural for him, too.

But the two KU QBs are not similar players. They may have similar skill sets and Lance Leipold and Andy Kotelnicki may be able to ask them to execute the same plays.

But when it comes down to actually doing it, the difference is clear. With one QB, KU fans expect the plays to be made. With the other, they hope he can make them.

That’s why the Jayhawks need their QB back.

Reply 17 comments from Micky Baker Dale Rogers Lonnie Ross Dillon Doug Roberts Michael Maris Keithii Bryce Landon Len Shaffer Brett McCabe Brian Skelly and 2 others

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