Students started camping out Monday for prime seats for Wednesday's Kansas University men's basketball exhibition game yes, exhibition game against the California All-Stars.
"That does not surprise me," says California All-Stars' coach Phil Bryant, whose nine-player team begins an 11-game tour of U.S. colleges at KU. "You go in Allen Fieldhouse for a game and know there will be a packed house.
"You don't feel like the enemy. The fans know the game, appreciate the game and want to see a good game," he added.
Bryant is hoping his California stars give the Jayhawks a good workout during the exhibition game, slated to start at 7:05 p.m. California boasts an all-star backcourt of Ed Cota and Drew Barry.
Cota is a 6-foot-1 point guard out of North Carolina, Barry a 6-3 shooting guard from Georgia Tech. He's the brother of former KU player Scooter Barry.
Kenny Price, a 6-4 shooting guard out of Colorado, also plays for the California Stars.
"This is the strongest team we've been able to put together in some time," Bryant said. "We've got Cota and Barry in the lineup. Kenny Price has been shooting great. We have Kris Weems (6-2) of Stanford and a bigger front line than we've had in the past."
Front-line players include Kevin Simmons, a 6-8 forward from UNLV; Nantambu Willingham, 6-10 from UConn; Joe Vogel, 6-10 from Colorado State; and Nate Holmstadt, 6-8 of Montana State. The other squad member is Troy Nesmith, 6-3 of Gannon University.
"They are ready to go. They've looked good in scrimmage situations," Bryant said. "We feel comfortable we can give them what they need in an exhibition game. We'll be able to run some sets and some plays."
Bryant said the All-Stars are not looking to add any former Kansas players to fill the roster. Rex Walters played for the team two years ago when KU won, 96-89. KU also beat the Californians, 124-101, last year.
The California All-Stars will travel to Clemson Thursday, St. John's Friday and Duke Saturday. Other opponents will be: Georgia Tech, Georgia, South Carolina, Boston College, Syracuse, Maryland and North Carolina. KU will meet Emporia State in a second exhibition at 8:05 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
The Jayhawks open the regular season a week from Thursday against UCLA at the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic in New York.
Late additions: A whopping five walk-ons will be playing for KU this season.
Mario Kinsey, a 6-2 freshman football quarterback/basketball guard from Waco, Texas, and Chris Zerbe, a 6-5 forward out of Hutchinson CC, will be joined by three others who were officially added to the team Monday.
The new walk-ons are: Brett Ballard, a 6-0 point guard out of Hutchinson CC; Lewis Harrison, a 6-0 point guard from Kansas City CC; and Todd Kappelmann, 6-9 from Butler County CC.
Ballard played high school ball at Hutchinson High, Kappelmann played at Augusta High and Harrison at KC Piper High. Ballard will wear No. 3; Harrison No. 24 and Kappelmann No. 50.
Harrison and Kappelmann were two of approximately 50 players to try out for the team during walk-on tryouts. Ballard and Zerbe took part in preseason conditioning workouts at the start of the semester, while Kinsey was with the football team the first six games.
Tickets available: A limited number of tickets remain for Wednesday's and Saturday's games and also games against North Dakota and Boise State. Call 1-800-34-HAWKS for information.