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Archive for Saturday, May 28, 2005

Incident could hurt KU

May 28, 2005

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The Moon Bar melee has not shed a positive light on Kansas University's men's basketball program.

Whether negative publicity from last week's fight and the fact some believe KU junior J.R. Giddens started the altercation hurts KU hoops, however, remains to be seen.

"I don't think any question it could be a negative hit. Any time a program deals with negativity it can be a setback - whether it's on the court, academics or something like this," KU coach Bill Self said Friday. He was responding to a newspaper story that quoted individuals as saying KU junior J.R. Giddens was instigator of an attack of an Olathe man outside the bar.

Giddens had an artery in his calf slashed and will be sidelined up to 21â2 months.

"I am under the assumption other schools will use this in some way, shape or form against us," Self added. "I also think there's a lot of good things that's happened with our players and how they've conducted themselves."

Self, of course, couldn't say whether Giddens was at fault or if any other Jayhawks were involved in the melee. He's waiting for the police investigation to be completed before he reaches judgment.

"Whenever the police do not know, whenever the police are still investigating the case, when they tell us there are numerous versions of what transpired, I'll wait for the police to decipher things," Self said.

How others decipher the case and what it means to KU basketball remains to be seen. The parents of two KU players see no negative impact at all.

Moon Bar fight

"I don't think it's a negative reflection on the coaching staff or university," said Steve Downs, father of incoming freshman Micah Downs. "They can't police the kids 24-7. That's impossible. I think highly of J.R. He's an articulate young man. He can eat dinner at my table any day.

"People can say what they want. I trust coach Self completely. He was the only coach who prayed with Micah on his visit. Coach Self is a prayerful man of great integrity. When Keith Langford had a concussion, coach Self sat with him all night and waked him every so often to make sure he was fine. It shows the type of person he is."

Added Bull Stewart, father of sophomore transfer Rodrick Stewart: "This is an individual situation. It will not have an effect on KU basketball at all. Things happen. It's part of life. It's unfortunate this has happened, but I'm proud my son is going to Kansas and playing for coach Self."

Former KU player Nick Bahe, who was in the same recruiting class as Giddens, said: "I think anything not positive in the media is not good for recruiting, but a kid's decision to go to a school should be based on sheer relationship with coaches and players.

"It's tough to go through life without bumps and problems. It's not a reflection on the type of people in the program," added Bahe. "J.R. is a good guy. This might be wrong place, wrong time. You will get so many different stories. One guy will say it's one guy's fault, another will say it's another guy's fault."

Night life: The Moon Bar incident brings up the topic of whether KU players should be banned from bars.

"I don't know if you should have a blanket deal: No student is allowed in the bars if they fall within legalities," Self said. "You can go out and have a good time, leave a place early, and it's legal for you to do so. You must use good judgment."

Added Steve Downs: "I wouldn't tell Bill what to do, (but) I prefer Micah doesn't go in bars. Bars seem to attract riff-raff."

Lots of publicity: Asked if he had a problem living in the "fishbowl" of Lawrence, a place where a case can receive so much attention before a police report ever has been filed, Self said, "When you have a high profile program and law enforcement is involved with stabbings, it will receive news play."

Bahe added: "Kansas is a top five program. J.R. gets publicity when he hits seven threes. If you reap the benefits of publicity, you accept the fact if something like this happens, you get publicity, too."

Giles' role?: Some witnesses say C.J. Giles was involved in the melee.

"There are a lot of versions of what went on. I will not comment on details of the case," Self said.

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