MAKE OF IT WHAT YOU WILL a tin tidbit of ulterior motive or a 14-carat analysis of human behavior -- but his parents may be responsible for the demon that possesses Jerod Haase on the basketball floor.
Haase, the Kansas guard who spends more time lying than he does standing on the floor, performs with such a reckless disregard for endangerment that his teammates literally wince when he hits the deck, which is often.
"He falls like a big bag of rocks," says Greg Gurley, who spells Haase from time to time. "You hold on to your seat for a second to make sure he's all right."
Surely, Haase's parents knew about their son's self-destructive tendencies from an early age, because, when he asked them if he could go out for football, they refused to give permission.
"They were afraid," Haase said after his tour-de-force 26-point performance against Missouri on Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse, "I'd get hurt out there."
Maybe Haase plays basketball like he's making up for all the time he couldn't play football. Goodness knows, he's on the deck as much as a defensive back or running back.
I'm sure it doesn't surprise you that Haase wears football hip pads when he plays. Not full-size, of course, but they're direct from the football locker room.
"We cut 'em down to half the size of a (football) hip pad," KU trainer Mark Cairns explained. "So we kind of fool you because you can't see them under his shorts."
Like a skilled running back, Haase has a knack for taking his tumbles on his non-vulnerable body parts, mainly his hips, and coming back for more after a short recovery period.
Four instances during about a three-minute span early in the second half were vintage Haase. First, he raced for the basket and collided with a Missouri defender underneath. He was tooted for an offensive foul, much to the pro-Kansas crowd's dismay, but he bounced right back.
Moments later, Haase was speeding for the KU basket again, was fouled and went sprawling as he missed a layup and shook it off to convert one of two free throws.
Same story next trip down the floor, and more of the same the trip after that, except he made both free throws that time. Haase scored the Jayhawks' first nine points of the second half and 12 of the first 14.
All the while, Haase was displaying a fist-clenching, arm-waving zeal not uncommon from a talented player playing well on his home floor.
Later, Missouri coach Norm Stewart insinuated -- Norm rarely speaks in complete sentences -- that Haase was guilty of "shenanigans." A couple of years ago, you may recall, Stewart stated in a round-about way that he didn't care much for Rex Walters' on-court antics, either.
So Haase is in good company if Stewart is complaining about him.
Anyway, Haase remains a marvel of sorts -- a spirited dervish who dives, dashes and dances with, as KU coach Roy Williams said, "not very much regard for his own body."
Cairns, who learned under legendary KU trainer Dean Nesmith, likes to use an old Nesmith saying to describe Haase's all-out style.
"Deaner always said if you play hard, you're not gonna get injured. You can get hurt, but not injured."