Birmingham, Ala. — Jerod Haase answered the opening call, but could play just 14 minutes Friday night because of his broken right wrist.
"It is painful. The last couple days I just tried to get it to the point I could play," said Haase, Kansas' injured senior shooting guard who scored two points in KU's 85-82 season-ending loss to Arizona at Jefferson Civic Center.
"This was my greatest fear all year. Not losing or getting hurt, but not being there for my teammates to count on."
He tried. He certainly tried.
"The youngster had gone so hard, so far for so long basically the wrist was about done," KU coach Roy Williams said. "Billy (Thomas, 13 points) and Ryan (Robertson, 14) are not as good defensively as Jerod, but they tried so hard."
Robertson, who hit four threes, says Haase was an inspiration in trying to play in pain.
"I couldn't believe he played," Robertson said. "It's really bad. He cannot move that wrist. He was in absolute agony two nights ago."
KU trainer Mark Cairns said Haase faces surgery soon.
"He was in awful pain all week," Cairns said of Haase, who played in pain all season, hurting the wrist in the opener. "Unfortunately it didn't respond to treatment as well as we hoped. Time caught up to us."
KU coach Roy Williams said he was the "luckiest" coach in the world to have worked with the 34-2 Jayhawks. However, he was red-eyed in discussing a season that fell short of the Final Four.
He desperately wants a national championship.
"I keep saying we'll keep knocking on the door until we knock it down," he said. "We were the favorites this year. As a coach I will do a lot of soul searching myself to see if something is missing from Roy Williams. I'd like to think there isn't.
"The coach who cuts down the nets Sunday. He can't be prouder of his kids than I am mine," he concluded.
Coaches used to have to wear bulky paper access passes during games in the NCAA Tournament.
Now the coaches wear lapel pins, thanks to KU coach Roy Williams. He made the suggestion to the NCAA on behalf of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The recommendation was accepted, hence coaches at all sites are wearing nifty green pins.
Counterfeit tickets were being sold for Friday night's semifinals and Sunday's final, according to Brad Davis, associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and manager of the regional tourney.
Tickets for the regional at the 17,500-seat Civic Center had been sold out.
"When you have a tight ticket situation, the temptation (to produce counterfeit tickets) is greater," said Davis. The face value of a regional ticket is $80, which includes semifinal games and the title game. Scalpers were getting $250 to $300 in lower level seating.