An emotional young man, Eric Chenowith may need a crying towel before and after Sunday's Senior Day game against Missouri.
Chenowith's parents, Bob and Janey, will be introduced before the game amid a shower of flowers from the Allen Fieldhouse stands. Also, Chenowith and fellow Kansas basketball seniors Luke Axtell and Kenny Gregory will give short speeches after the 1 p.m. Border War battle.
"It is a huge deal having my mom here. I will have a hard time keeping it together in my postgame speech. She is such a special part of my life. I am truly blessed she is still here to watch me play," said Chenowith, KU's 7-foot-1 senior center from Orange, Calif.
Janey Chenowith, who beat breast cancer in a grueling six-chemotherapy treatment ordeal this past school year, will be in town for the KU-MU battle. It'll be the first time this season she will see a KU game in person after watching Eric play approximately 10 times during his first three years in college.
"This was my focus. Absolutely it was my goal," Janey said of being healthy for Senior Day. "I thought, 'One of these days this will be all over and March will come.' It finally is here. At times I never thought March would get here," she added.
Support of family members Janey's daughters Amanda and Melissa and Melissa's two daughters will also attend Senior Day festivities helped Janey get through chemo.
Yet she was the one who had to endure through the actual treatments while keeping a family together.
"I did it because I put my mind to it. I didn't ever get down. I just tried to stay up the whole time," said Janey Chenowith, who recalls receiving get-well wishes from head coaches Jim Harrick (Georgia) and Matt Doherty (North Carolina), plus KU assistant Joe Holladay.
She says KU junior forward Jeff Carey's mother, Suzan, sent several get-well notes, as did several KU fans who do not personally know the Chenowiths.
Janey said she is glad Eric had school and basketball to keep him busy during her quest to beat cancer.
"In September, I begged Eric to not come home. I didn't want him to see me like that. He came home anyway," Janey said. "When you are sick you can't tell everybody how miserable you are. In some ways you have to keep it to yourself, which of course, can be difficult.
"When Eric went back to KU, I said, 'The next time you see me this will be over.' And it was over because he came home in December and I had gone through all the treatments.
"I went back to work on Jan. 2. Just prior to that, the doctor shook my hand and said, 'See ya.' That was that. The way I see it is it (cancer) is gone and I will not look back."
Chenowith recalls his trip home for Christmas.
"The most refreshing thing in the world happened on Christmas. I went to the gym to shoot. There was my mom, fresh off six treatments of chemo a full masectomy and lumpectomy. She was running and shagging balls for me. It was amazing. I don't think I told my mom how special that was to see her running around and shooting. That was just a great experience."
"It was special. I was rebounding and stuff. I'll never forget that night in the gym," Janey said.
Mrs. Chenowith advises all women to undergo self breast examinations. She was lucky enough to catch the cancer early. In fact, Janey caught the cancer with a self evaluation just days after a check-up.
"She is the best mom. She's had a full recovery. She sets a great example for others with breast cancer," Chenowith said. "She is a fighter and that's what it takes to beat cancer."
Now she'll try to keep it together again on Sunday.
"My guess is Eric doesn't know what to say (during postgame speech). Whatever he does, I'll go with it. I hope he doesn't get me going. He'll get me crying and get my dress wet," she joked.
Bye for Kansas
Here is what's known about the postseason tourney heading into the final weekend of the Big 12 season.
Kansas and Iowa State will have first-round byes. Missouri is No. 6 seed and Nebraska No. 7 seed. Also, Iowa State can finish No. 1 or 2; Texas No. 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5; KU No. 2, 3 or 4; Oklahoma No. 2, 3, 4, 5; Oklahoma State No. 3, 4, 5. Baylor and Colorado are either No. 8 or 9. Texas A&M;, Kansas State and Texas Tech are either No. 10, 11 or 12.
Langford's season over
Kansas University signee Keith Langford's North Crowley (Texas) High basketball team has finished the season with a 29-5 record.
Langford, a 6-foot-5, 202-pounder, scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in North Crowley's 45-44 second-round playoff loss to Southlake Carroll.
Langford finished the season with a 25.7 points a game average. He also averaged 8.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 3.3 steals and 1.8 blocks.
Langford will soon have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. He's expected to be on crutches for a week with total recovery time about a month.
Langford would likely be able to play in some postseason all-star games in late April. He will room with Leavenworth High senior Wayne Simien during an early session of summer school at KU, starting June 5.
Okafor down to three
Emeka Okafor, a 6-9 power forward/center from Houston, has narrowed his college choices to KU, Ohio State and UConn, recruiting service Cat Tracks reports. He has two visits to make and will likely visit two of those in April, Cat Tracks indicates.
The KU athletics staff asks that fans coming to honor the seniors on Sunday bring carnations or silk flowers. Rose petals are difficult to clean off the court.
Gregory in dunk contest
Senior Kenny Gregory has agreed to participate in the College Slam Dunk Contest put on by ESPN in conjunction with the Final Four in Minneapolis.
The contest will take place on the Thursday prior to the semifinal games, and Gregory will participate only Kansas does not reach the Final Four.
Rush to play Sunday
Kareem Rush, who suffered torn ligaments in his left thumb on Feb. 5, says he will start in Sunday's game against KU.