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Archive for Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Welcome back, champs!

25,000 fans rejoice with No. 1 team

KU basketball players and national champions, from left, Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins and Brandon Rush take in the atmosphere Tuesday of more than 25,000 fans at Memorial Stadium.

KU basketball players and national champions, from left, Mario Chalmers, Sherron Collins and Brandon Rush take in the atmosphere Tuesday of more than 25,000 fans at Memorial Stadium.

April 8, 2008

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Kansas Jayhawks: 2008 National Champions

View an audio slideshow showcasing the Kansas Jayhawk's dramatic overtime victory over Memphis for the 2008 NCAA National Championship. Enlarge video

On the street

What will you always remember about Kansas University winning the national championship?

It’s got to be Mario Chalmers hitting that three to send it into overtime. There’s not a doubt in my mind that when he hit that shot, it was destiny.

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2008 NCAA Tournament

Get your March Madness fix at KUSports.com.

Despite the rain, despite the cold and despite a party that did not end until 2 or 3 in the morning, about 25,000 Jayhawk fans poured into Memorial Stadium on Tuesday afternoon to fete their national champion basketball team.

After watching a replay of the title game, coach Bill Self and his Jayhawk team - fresh off the plane from San Antonio and with national championship trophy in tow - came onto a stage at the center of the football field to a rousing round of applause. All the players and coaches were introduced with the loudest, most sustained applause given for Monday night's hero: Mario Chalmers, who hit the shot that forced the game to overtime.

"Over the years, these moments become mythic and legendary," Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway told the crowd. "2008 means Super Mario and the overtime."

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and KU Athletic Director Lew Perkins also spoke. Perkins said the national title represented the end of the restoration of Kansas Athletics.

"Back in 2003, I said we needed to do some things and we needed to do them with a swagger," Perkins said. "In January 2008, I said we were almost there. Well last night, we got our swagger back."

While former Jayhawk radio voice Max Falkenstien emceed the beginning of the festivities, Self took over and lavished praise on his players and the fans.

"I think I speak for our team that this is totally overwhelming," he said. "You are the most loyal, best fans. I can't imagine there's any place that's better to coach or play at than right here."

As he introduced the players and gave them an opportunity to address the crowd, most thanked the fans, coaches and teammates for all they'd done this season. Most, that is, except for senior forward Darnell Jackson.

Jackson faced several tragedies - including the midseason death of a cousin - this season.

"I'm happy I stuck it out. I think everyone here knows I almost gave it up," Jackson said. "And now we're national champions."

See it again

Replays of the welcome back ceremony for the Kansas University basketball team will be at 10:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. today (River City Weekly will be joined in progress), and at 10:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. Thursday on Channel 6. The program will also be available for one week on Video on Demand.

Comments

duramater 6 years ago

Does anyone know which station the reporter wearing a blue jacket and the photographer wearing an orange fleece were from? They interviewed my five year old son, and we assumed it was Channel 6, but have found it was not. The younger gentlemen did not identify the station they were with, or provide their names, and all I have is a picture I personally took of them doing the interview. If you know what station they were with, please e-mail me at duramater@iglide.net.

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macon47 6 years ago

25 to 40 thousand fans have time to partybut no one has time to go to thepolls and votesad,

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dminear60 6 years ago

limpetlives: Roy who??? Over the last 5 years I have been asked and asked, when I was going to get over being mad at Roy...I am not mad anymore. Thank you Bill Self and the basketball team.

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Douglas Yetman 6 years ago

Oh how times have changed. The last basketball related gathering at Memorial Stadium was to celebrate one man...Roy. And now we gather to toast an entire team and coaching staff for winning a Championship in one of the best all around team efforts in NCAA tournament history. All is forgiven Roy.Self and the 2008 team deserve every bit of celebration they get.

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Sigmund 6 years ago

Better than any parade and wish I could have been there. At least I was there in spirit! Every one of you guys are awe inspiring.

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