A touching tribute to the late Wilt Chamberlain and a short, but definitely sweet dunk drill and intra-squad scrimmage highlighted the post-midnight portion of Late Night with Roy Williams early this morning before 16,300 fans at Allen Fieldhouse.
A tape of Chamberlain's speech at his No. 13 jersey retirement ceremony in January of 1998 was played prior to tipoff of the scrimmage, a 54-31 victory by the Blue team over the Crimson.
In the scrimmage, freshmen Drew Gooden had 12 points and junior Kenny Gregory 12 points to pace the winners. Frosh Nick Collison contributed eight points and Kirk Hinrich five.
"I'm just glad we're getting out of here and going home right now," a sweat-soaked Williams said about 1:05 a.m. It was exceedingly hot in Allen Fieldhouse Friday night and early this morning.
"We accomplished some things. The people got a first look at our new players. I think they like to do that."
Nobody scored in double figures for the Crimson squad. Eric Chenowith had seven points and nine rebounds in the 30 minute scrimmage.
As far as the pre-midnight portion of Late Night ... action in skits and music numbers were as fast and furious as ever.
Highlights had to include live singing performances by junior Luke Axtell (six points in scrimmage) and freshman Collison. Texan Axtell actually performed two Johnny Cash tunes just before the official Late Night skits began. Collison was flanked by hard-rock guitarists Eric Chenowith and Jeff Carey, who provided the accompanyment while mimicking the group "Limp Bizkit."
"That had to be the lowlight of the night even more than my dancing," Williams joked of the hard-rock performance.
KU's coaches Williams and Marian Washington did their annual dancing during a circle dance with members of the men's and women's teams. Decked in suit and tie in the muggy fieldhouse, Williams boogied with Washington at one point, then hustled to the bench.
He was pulled back out for a dancing encore with members of the women's team during the same tune -- "Vibrant Things" -- by the group "A Tribe Called Quest."
"I thought I got out of it then somebody came back and got me," Williams said.
"I was disappointed in one aspect (of the skit show)," he noted. "We have a Late Night and have a Nick Bradford and don't let Nick Bradford dance. Not letting Nick have a dance is like me saying Jeff Boschee can't shoot, Kenny Gregory has to stay on the floor and can't jump up or Pedro Martinez has to be designated hitter. Other than that I thought it all was fine."
Gregory and Earl had some monster jams in the dunk drill along with Gooden. Gooden was banged in the eye late in the 20-minute first half, but shrugged off the hurt to return in the 10-minute final half.
Also on the court, senior Ashante Johnson had some monster dunks in the dunk drills and hit three of six shots and scored six points in the scrimmage. He was injured in last year's Late Night and was never the same the rest of the year following surgery.
"It was a lot of fun," Johnson said.
- Former KU forward T.J. Pugh presented four area charities checks for $10,000 apiece just after midnight. The money was raised last season by the KU basketball team by signing basketballs and selling them through KU's basketball office.
The four charites: Lawrence Head Start; Boys and Girls Clubs of Lawrence; Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Douglas County and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City.