Antlers’ antics don’t ruffle Roy
Williams won't lose any sleep over late-night calls from Mizzou fans to Kansas coach's house
The telephone in the bedroom of Roy Williams’ Alvamar house rang at 2:27 a.m. Friday.
It rang again at 2:45 and again at 3:05.
There was no emergency — just crank calls from members of the University of Missouri’s infamous men’s basketball cheering section, the Antlers.
“Last night I said, ‘Fellas, it’s not going to get started tonight,’ and I just hung up,” Williams, Kansas University’s 15th-year head coach, said of his initial conversation with one of MU’s rabid fans, all fired up for Sunday’s battle against KU.
Tipoff is 1 p.m. at Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo.
“They called a second time and I hung up,” Williams said. “The third time I heard loud music in the background. It sounded like it was a pretty good establishment, and they were having a good time.”
Williams was smiling Friday in discussing his dealings with the Antlers, Mizzou’s rowdy, sign-wielding, cross-dressing fans.
“I don’t sleep anyway. They are not disturbing me,” Williams said. “They might as well call at noon.”
Williams has fielded suggestions about how to solve the late-night problem.
“Somebody said I need to check with the phone people to see if they could get call transfer and get all my calls between 12 midnight and six a.m. forwarded to Quin’s house,” Williams said of MU coach Quin Snyder.
“I think that would be great. Last year it got so comical. They kept calling. They said I probably wouldn’t show up for the game. I told ’em, ‘Look for the gray-haired guy down on the bench.’
“It’s usually the same guy. I wonder if the guy is ever going to graduate. It didn’t sound like Norm,” Williams said, referring to former MU coach Norm Stewart.
It has become an Antler tradition to obtain phone numbers of KU’s players and coaches and pester them with calls the week of the KU-MU game in Columbia.
“Somebody called me yesterday. I was playing cards with my boys,” sophomore guard Aaron Miles said. “I’m a kid at heart. I talk back at ’em. I talk smack. It’s playful for me.”
Miles caught an Antler putting up posters of the Jayhawks on campus trees and at Jayhawker Towers.
“It’s funny. I caught these dudes posting up posters of me and Kirk (Hinrich) and a couple other people with our phone numbers on there,” Miles said. “They also were posting up a poster of Nick Collison, saying he was selling Playstations with his number on there. So Nick is getting calls for Playstations.”
KU sophomore Keith Langford has received no Antler calls.
“I changed my phone number. The joke is on the Antlers or the Horns — whatever their name is,” Langford said. “Our house phone number is out there. They are dumb. We’ve got caller ID and know who it is.
“That’s just immature. I don’t give them the satisfaction to hear my voice. I think they are stupid staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning trying to get in touch with me.”
Langford realizes the atmosphere at Hearnes will be wild. KU won there last year, 95-92, assuring an undefeated Big 12 Conference season.
“It’s the only arena I’ve been to where the old people are more derogatory than the young ones,” Langford said. “It’s crazy. They probably overdo it a bit.
“When you come down to it, it’s a basketball game. It has a lot of significance, but I don’t think half the people in the locker room know why Kansas and Missouri don’t like each other to begin with. Hearnes Center is a great environment. I like to see the expression on people’s faces after we won there last year.”
KU coach Williams said he had encountered no big problems.
“I’ve never had any bad experiences with them,” Williams said. “I know they’ve gotten carried away too much sometimes. It’s college kids being college kids. I don’t get too upset with it. The bad thing is, this will get so much attention I’ll probably get more calls now. That’s the bad thing about saying anything about it.”
Senior Day revisited: Williams was pleased to see the parents of Jeff Boschee return to celebrate the Senior Day of current KU seniors Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich last week.
“That’s a 10- to 11-hour drive each way (from Valley City, N.D.), and they came down to see Nick and Kirk’s Senior Day. That to me says a lot about our program,” Williams said. “They’re going to get in the car and drive 10 or 11 hours here to see someone else’s son on Senior Day because they are still part of the Jayhawk basketball family. It is something that we try not only to promote or to say, but we do it.”
Roy Miller: Miles slipped Friday and called Williams “coach Miller” on Friday.
He mistook Williams for assistant Ben Miller.
“I told Aaron I hoped I’d remember his name when I write down the lineup Sunday,” Williams said.
Miles explained: “I had just seen coach Miller, turned around and coach Williams walked in (basketball office). I was like, ‘What’s up coach Miller,’ by accident. It’s all it was.”