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Archive for Monday, October 27, 2008

KU walk-on hopefuls toil without guarantee

Session draws 17 students wanting to show they have ‘moxie’ to help team

October 27, 2008

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Seventeen Kansas University students practiced for two hours, then ran a series of grueling Boot Camp-like sprints to conclude men's walk-on basketball tryouts Sunday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

While making no promises about their chances of making the team, KU assistant coach Danny Manning thanked the hard-working hopefuls for their undivided attention and effort.

"All these young men will be successful in what they put their mind to because they put forth effort," Manning said. "It takes a lot of moxie to come out here and compete in a situation like this. All those guys did a fine job."

No additional walk-on tryout sessions have been scheduled.

"Hopefully we'll receive a call in the next couple of days. If not, you didn't make it," said Julian Beasley, a freshman guard out of Leavenworth Immaculata High. "Even if I don't make it this year (with KU already having four walk-ons on the team), I will definitely try every year," added Beasley, who was at the front of the pack on most of the sprints.

"I was not winded at all. I think the coaches take notice of that," noted Beasley, who was mighty impressed with another well-conditioned athlete, Jordan Juenemann, a 6-foot-3 freshman out of Hays High.

"He's really good," Beasley said, adding, "there were a lot of guys I played against in high school here. It was great, coming out trying your best, giving it one last shot because high school is over."

Manning described what the coaches were looking for.

"Like I told the kids, we're not looking for someone to come in here and score points for us. Those guys are on scholarship," Manning said. "We want someone to come in who is a good teammate, works hard and makes our guys better by competing. If you come out and do that, you could have a place on our team.

"The last walk-on who went through the process for us (to make it) was Brad Witherspoon. At the end of walk-on tryouts, he won every sprint. That's what sealed the deal for him. His competitiveness was definitely an asset when he joined the team. We are looking for somebody to be a glue guy for us, a good teammate. We'll go back and speak with coach (Bill) Self and see if we are able to make a phone call down the road," he added of perhaps inviting players to actual practice with the defending national championship team.

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