Monthly Archives: March 2011

KU memories

PHOTO/TRAVIS HEYING

The first girl you kissed. When someone close to you died. Where you were when you asked your wife to marry you. The memories that make up your life come in all different shapes and sizes. Today was another one for me, which isn’t a surprise because lots of mine are sports-related. Here are some I have of KU in the NCAA Tournament … it goes back a minute:

1988: Sitting on the floor in my father’s office in Fairbanks, Alaska, watching Danny and the Miracles. We moved to Wichita a little over a year later. Also, my dad breaking down for me how Danny Manning had moved to Lawrence for his senior year of high school and why a No. 6 seed winning the whole thing was a big deal.

1997: On spring break visiting my family in Colorado. Had basically guaranteed everyone in the room that Kansas was going to win the national championship. My Uncle Felix, a good dude, cheered for the Jayhawks that year only for the fact that I was from Kansas. They lost to Arizona in the regional semifinal. Lost a 15-dollar bet to my cousin Fabian that I paid off in late 2006.

2003: Went up to Topeka to visit my best friend, Chris, and his cousin Erin on the weekend KU beat Duke in the regional semifinal. He was in his last year of law school at Washburn and had a deep, deep hatred for Roy Williams and was cheering for Duke … in a sports bar in Topeka.  Jeremiah Bullfrog’s. Thought about halfway through we were going to have to scrap our way out of that place. Thank goodness Kansas won that night.

2008: I’d just started working on the copy desk at The Eagle a few weeks before, and I distinctly remember sports editor Kirk Seminoff going in a back office to write down the play-by-play because we were worried we wouldn’t get it because the game started late. I also remember Eagle photog Travis Heying’s shot of Chalmers (above) coming across the desk that night and everybody being blown away. A few days later I bought my little sis the t-shirt of our sports cover with that photo on it. Not a bad way to start off my career at The Eagle — you see the kind of work that goes into covering something like that, from the production level all the way to the writing, and it leaves an impression. There’s just a certain way we do things that’s hard to describe. A lot of work, a lot of people not caring about how many hours they work in that span of time.

2010: My first year covering the NCAA Tournament. Sitting next to Jeff Lutz in Oklahoma City when Ali Farokhmanesh hit the shot that sank the Jayhawks for good. As the final buzzer sounded, I looked left to right and saw about 20,000 hearts breaking at once … as the N. Iowa fans began to chant “MVC! MVC!”

2011: Read tomorrow’s paper :)

Y’all take it easy.

-Tony Adame

Saturday in San Antonio with KU … plus a few thoughts on Josh Selby

TYREL REED AND JOSH SELBY (PHOTO/RICH SUGG)

The exciting part of the KU’s Sweet 16 rout of Richmond, apparently, was in the hallway leading up to the court before the game. Eagle columnist Bob Lutz had a great take on it in today’s paper, and here’s the video if you haven’t seen it already. They were jawing at each other the last couple of days, so it didn’t surprise me. Like Bob says … what in the world was the NCAA doing having them come through the same entrance?

Today at the Alamodome it’s closed practices for KU and VCU, followed by extended media sessions. Last night in the KU locker room, there wasn’t a lot of jubilation on the part of the Jayhawks. They thought they played well, maybe their most complete game of the year. But not a single one I talked to failed to mention Sunday’s game. That’s where the focus is.

My sidebar out of last night was on KU freshman Josh Selby getting back on track. He’s a huge wild card for KU, as both Tyrel Reed and Tyshawn Taylor pointed out, and if they can get that kind of production out of him then they’re tough to beat. I agree. And when I hear people talking about him leaving early to the NBA, I just shake my head. There’s no way he’s ready. But if he stays another year or two you could see someone who could do things offensively like Jimmer Fredette has done this year. He’s just so raw right now, and a little immature at times. Like last night, hitting two big 3s in the first half … that little bit of success took him out of his game. Would love to see him stay, but it’s hard to knock somebody for pursuing their dream.

Here’s a few more links from last night:

-A photo gallery from KC Star photog Rich Sugg of the win over Richmond

-J. Brady McCollough’s game story on the big win.

I’m out.

-Tony Adame

Chat about KU with J. Brady McCollough at noon today

Jayhawks in San Antonio

THE ALAMODOME

The Kansas men’s basketball team has been in San Antonio for a couple of days already in preparation for tomorrow night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Richmond in the Alamodome (6:27 p.m., KWCH) but today is the first day the top-seeded Jayhawks will be put on display for the public in the form of open practices and media interviews. They seemed focused in Lawrence on Tuesday afternoon when the five starters — Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar, Tyshawn Taylor, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris – did interviews before practice. Our Sweet 16 special section came out today and here’s a gaggle of links to stories from KU beat writer J. Brady McCollough, Eagle columnist Bob Lutz and myself:

-Bob on KU trying to escape past failures against teams with double-digit seeds

-Brady on why KU says its seed means nothing

-My story on why the NCAA experience is unique, even for a bunch of jet-setters like the Jayhawks

-My story on how the KU backcourt plans to deal with Richmond’s star guard, Kevin Anderson

Richmond is up first with practice then media time, followed by KU, VCU and Florida State. The Southwest Regional is in full swing. Are you ready for it?

I’m out.

=Tony Adame

Early Arrival

I arrived at the BOK Center in Tulsa at 9:15 this morning, two hours before today’s first game, Texas vs. Oakland. I’m not usually one to boast about early arrival to work, but I do today because I was trying to be the first one here. It didn’t quite work out that way, though. There were several people here when I walked in, including some men in suits. You mean they took longer than me to get dressed and still crossed the finish line first? That just ain’t right.

I’m flying solo for the Eagle this week. Yes, you’ll still get your same awesome, thorough coverage from J. Brady McCullough, but he’s flying under the Kansas City Star banner, as are the photographers whose work you saw in the Eagle this morning and will for the next few days. I love it that way. Not that I wouldn’t want to share these fun times with Tony Adame or Travis Heying or Bob Lutz (in that order. Just kidding, pops), but I feel a little bit more freedom being essentially by myself.

I haven’t looked closely at the slate of games in each location, but I don’t think many could rival the four we’ve got in Tulsa today. It starts with Texas-Oakland, an upset pick by some in my inner circle and probably in yours, too. I just don’t see it. Then again, I didn’t see Morehead State or Richmond, either. But Texas, I think, will turn it on and win this game by double digits. I’m interested to see if many KU fans get here for the early game to root against the Longhorns.

Next it’s Memphis-Arizona, which would have been a much more high-profile game five years ago. But it still is an attractive game, and I’m eager to watch Arizona freshman Derrick Williams, who could be a high NBA draft pick if he leaves school after this season. Josh Pastner is trying to keep Memphis relevant after the departure of John Calipari, but that’s an uphill battle. Even though Pastner recruited many of the elite players that came to Memphis during Calipari’s tenure, he was selling those players on coming to play for Coach Cal. It’s different now that he has to sell them on playing for him, a second-year coach still learning the ropes. My pick is Arizona.

The third game today is Kansas-Boston U. Not an attractive matchup by any stretch, since the Jayhawks should roll. But still, it’s KU and it’s going to get a lot of attention. The only way BU can stay in this game is if John Holland, the America East Player of the Year, scores 35 and doesn’t miss many shots. It can happen, but I think KU has the defense and the athleticism to wear down Holland and the rest of the Terriers. Kansas is the easy choice here.

Finally, a game I won’t get to see, the 8-9 tilt between UNLV and Illinois. Not the best 8-9 game of the tournament on paper, but it’s still an 8-9 game so these teams should be evenly matched. The most intriguing part about this game is who wins and plays KU in the second round — former K-State and current UNLV coach Lon Kruger or Illinois, where KU coach Bill Self was before he left for the Jayhawks. I may be able to glance up at this game occasionally on the media-room TV while I write, and when I do I expect to see an Illinois win.

Looking forward to the day and I know you are do. Keep reading, I’ll be back with thoughts about each game and the atmosphere. For example, I just totally stared at a dude because he looked familiar and I couldn’t figure out who he was. Then I got it — Richard Justice from the paper in Houston and frequent ESPN guest. I completely stared him down. He probably thought I was starstruck. But only professional wrestling personalities have that effect.

See you soon!

Live chat with Mike DeArmond, J. Brady McCollough and Kellis Robinett

Former KU assistant Ed Manning dies

Ed Manning, the father of Danny Manning and a former Kansas assistant coach, died Friday, according to KU associate athletics director for external relations Jim Marchiony.

Ed Manning was 67. Marchiony said he did not yet know the cause of death.

Former KU coach Larry Brown hired Ed to be his assistant in 1983, when Danny was a senior in high school in North Carolina and one of the most talented recruits in the country. According to a Sports Illustrated article, Ed, a former professional basketball player, had been a truck driver for the previous three years. Danny moved to Lawrence to finish his high-school career at Lawrence High, and he would soon commit to the Jayhawks.

Four years later, during his senior season of 1988, Danny led KU to the national championship. Brown would leave for the San Antonio Spurs the next season, and Ed Manning followed him there.

Ed Manning most recently served as an NBA scout. Danny Manning is in his fourth season as a KU assistant coach.

Border War chat with Mike DeArmond and J. Brady McCollough