Kansas City, Mo. An avid lunchtime runner, Roy Williams hasn't jogged in the last eight weeks.
Williams, Kansas University's basketball coach, has a bad back -- specifically a degenerative disc.
"Forty-five years of pounding," the 45-year-old Williams said when asked what caused his current back woes.
"It's nowhere near what Mike went through," he added, referring to former Jayhawk Mike Maddox, who had back problems at KU.
Still, Williams' back has provided plenty of discomfort. For example, he was feeling some pain Wednesday following a 50-minute press conference at Kemper Arena.
"I'm more concerned now than any time today. Standing up ... that's my concern, how it'll act when the season starts. At camp, it bothered me quite a bit in the gym. Hopefully between now and then (season) if I do these exercises, I won't have problems."
Stretching exercises have been prescribed. Surgery is not an option.
"If it is, it's way, way down the line," Williams said.
He is able to laugh about his bad back. "If you come into a press conference and I'm lying on a table, you know what's going on," he told reporters.
Chances are he wouldn't be cracking jokes if his back prevented him from his true passion -- golf.
"There was a time in there I was not playing at all. I am playing some now," Williams said, noting he'll put his clubs away for the fall and winter on Sept. 8. "I'm hoping in the long run it'll help me. Now it hurts when I take a bad swing. So I've got to figure out how to take that smooth swing all the time."
Barbecue lover: Utah coach Rick Majerus, en route to Japan for a coaching clinic, couldn't attend "The Classic" press conference.
He did issue a statement, however, indicating he is geared for the KU-Utah matchup set for 3 p.m. on Nov. 25 at Kemper Arena.
"I'm excited about coming to Kansas City for barbecue," Majerus said. "I believe it to be the nation's best barbecue and I plan to take a wide sampling of all that is available so as to make a definitive judgment once and for all. Hopefully my seven bypasses will be lubricated and that the sauce will act as a coagulant with my blood flow enabling me to sample a cross section of Kansas City's finest.
"About the only thing we do not look forward to is playing Kansas in what is tantamount to a home game."
Players are back in town: KU's basketball players met at Williams' house for dessert Monday night after taking part in a 12-minute conditioning run.
"They've probably seen enough of me already," Williams quipped. "For the most part, the guys did what we wanted 'em to do over the summer physically. I can't say one guy stood out, but they worked on their bodies."
Tickets available: Tickets for "The Classic" are available starting today at all TicketMaster outlets. One can order by phone by calling 816-931-3330. Prices range from $18.50 to $37.50.
Thank you, Blades: KC mayor Emanuel Cleaver thanked the Kansas City Blades hockey team for clearing the Nov. 25 date. The Blades, who originally had a home game that night, will be playing on the road instead.
"One of the beauties about serving as mayor is we come together at crunch time," Cleaver said. "I'm saying that in reference to the Kansas City Blades and their general manager, Doug Soetaert. Through the sensitivity of Doug Soetaert and the Blades, who agreed to reschedule, it allowed us to bring this prestigious event to Kansas City. It was no small sacrifice."
Coming home: Purdue coach Gene Keady, whose Boilermakers play Memphis in "The Classic" opener, is a 1958 graduate of Kansas State. He took part in Wednesday's press conference via cellular phone.
He was reached on the fourth hole of a golf course in Indiana.
"I look forward to seeing all my friends up there. It's a great opportunity to play in a great basketball event," Keady said.