Jordan Juenemann was studying biology Monday morning when he received a cell-phone call from Kansas University's men's basketball office.
"Brett Ballard said, 'Jordan, come to coach Self's office. There's some good news for you,'" Juenemann, a 6-foot-4 KU freshman from Hays, related.
Shortly after hearing from KU's director of basketball operations, Juenemann huddled with head coach Bill Self behind closed doors.
"Coach Self said, 'Hey, I want you on the squad,''' Juenemann said, quickly accepting a walk-on spot on KU's defending national championship basketball team.
The 195-pound point guard/shooting guard out of Hays High, who wants to be a surgeon or radiologist someday, impressed enough at Sunday's walk-on tryouts to garner an invitation to be the fifth walk-on on KU's 2008-09 team.
"It's a blessing, a dream come true. If someone told me a year ago I'd go to the University of Kansas and play basketball, I'd have told them they were crazy," said Juenemann, a lifelong KU fan who averaged 17 points and six rebounds his senior season at 14-7 Hays High.
Juenemann - a 2008 third-team all-Class 5A player - first thanked God, then in no particular order the likes of his parents, high school coach, Kansas City Premiere AAU coaches, as well as former Jayhawks Jeff Hawkins, Wayne Simien and Brad Witherspoon, who all helped him achieve his dream.
Juenemann worked out with Hawkins in Hays last summer, met his boyhood basketball idol Simien at church services in Lawrence and sought input from former KU walk-on Witherspoon on how best to prepare to make the team.
"I knew the hard work would pay off," said Juenemann, who never will forget the first KU game he witnessed in person after watching so many on TV as a youngster.
"It was 2005. I sat in the second row of the student section with my sister (recent KU grad Jessica) at the New Year's Day thriller," Juenemann said of KU's 70-68 overtime victory over Georgia Tech.
Juenemann, who attended KU hoops summer camps and holiday clinics, as well as Self's team camp his junior year of high school, had this wild dream of playing for the Jayhawks.
"I watched Paul Pierce play (on TV as youth)," he said. "After that, the biggest thing for me was watching (Kirk) Hinrich and Simien. Simien was my idol. I wanted to be like him."
He now has much in common with the sports idols of his youth: He's also wearing the Crimson and Blue.
"We're happy to have Jordan on our team," Self said. "We had 17 try out. This is probably the best talent we've had throughout an entire group (in Self's six years here). The guys tried hard. Jordan stood out. He's in good shape.
"I was told all along he was a nice player and a good kid. We've found out this has proven to be true. He'll have to pay his dues playing a lot of defense the next three to four months."
Hays High coach Rick Keltner says Juenemann will do anything he's asked.
"I use him as an example to our younger players about what can happen when you set goals and work to reach them," said Keltner, in his 24th year at Hays High.
"He wanted to play college ball. He could have played at any junior college in the state," added Keltner, noting UMKC, Wichita State and Creighton also showed interest. "(But) he always wanted to play for KU. Going up to the gym in the summer six to seven hours a day and lifting weights paid off for him. He loves the game and will keep getting better."
Juenemann said though he'd love someday to see meaningful minutes like former walk-on Christian Moody, he'll do whatever it takes just to be a productive member of the squad.
"My goal is in practice to be the best I can to help the team," he said. "I'll play defense on the guys and try to make them better. I've not even thought about playing (in games) yet. It'll be a huge adjustment for me to help them in practice."
Juenemann attended his first practice Monday, and his presence was needed. Sophomore Conner Teahan, who is day-to-day because of a sprained ankle, missed the practice. He was joined on the sidelines by injured juco transfers Mario Little (stress fracture lower leg) and Tyrone Appleton (hip flexor).