Archive for Friday, December 14, 2012

Rock shop Jayhawk: KU men relish shopping excursion

Kansas freshmen Ben McLemore, back, and Jamari Traylor use a cart to shop on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, during the Jayhawks' holiday shopping excursion to Wal-Mart.

Kansas freshmen Ben McLemore, back, and Jamari Traylor use a cart to shop on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, during the Jayhawks' holiday shopping excursion to Wal-Mart.

December 14, 2012


Kansas University senior forward Kevin Young didn’t even need to look up when he saw teammate Ben McLemore sitting inside a shopping cart Thursday night.

He knew KU freshman forward Jamari Traylor would be the one right behind him. Young described the two roommates as “goofballs.”

“We’re just out here having fun,” McLemore said, “doing something special for the kids and these families.”

For the 16th straight year, the KU men’s basketball team shopped for needy families at Wal-Mart in south Lawrence. The Jayhawks, who were given $100 budgets for each person on their shopping lists, bought items for around 70 people from 17 families with money raised from coach Bill Self’s Assists Foundation and a fund set up by Roger and Linda Morningstar.

Red-shirt freshmen McLemore and Traylor shopped for their lists together and provided entertainment while doing it.

At one point, McLemore grabbed a black hat for each of them, and they continued their shopping with the accessory.

“I just rolled with it for kicks,” a smiling Traylor said. “Everybody was taking pictures, so I guess we were doing something right.”

While having fun, Traylor also took his shopping responsibility seriously. One boy on his list wanted Spiderman toys, so Traylor grabbed a few.

“I’m just happy to be out here to put a smile on somebody’s face,” Traylor said. “I know some people are less fortunate than me, so to take the time out to provide a little change, a little smile, it’ll mean something to them.”

Other Jayhawks were just as focused on their lists.

Freshman guard Andrew White III, shopping for two, purchased a pair of comforter sets to go with clothes.

He also made sure to add in a personal touch, grabbing a skullcap — one of the items he wears frequently himself because his head often gets cold.

“It’s kind of interesting seeing all these people looking at us like, ‘What are we doing in here?’ We’re human beings, too, just trying to help people out,” White said. “I think that’s a great image for the program.”

Senior guard Elijah Johnson flipped through a rack of Kansas hooded sweatshirts, taking time to pick out a good style for a boy and girl on his list.

“Here’s big fella’s shirt right here,” he said, holding up a blue hoodie. “I’m going to get it right.”

Young tried his best to branch out from his original list. One mother wanted a queen-sized blanket, so Young added sheets and a pillow to go with the blanket.

One boy asked for Hot Wheels, so Young picked out a car set called the “Mega Hoop Mayhem.”

“Any time we can get the opportunity to give them more,” Young said, “it’s always a good thing.”

Self was happy to see his players continue the holiday tradition.

“I think they take pretty good pride in it, as far as trying to get the most bang for the buck,” Self said. “I don’t think very many of them have had many opportunities to shop with a budget like this.


Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

Initiating left-wing dissonance beam. College students (some with dark skin) shopping at evil-walmart for gifts for underprivileged children. Now our poor kids will get Chinese toys and the evil-waltons will get a little richer. I think our liberal friends should occupy Allen fieldhouse in protest.

Seriously though, this will brighten the faces of unfortunate kids on Xmas morning. Kudos to all involved.

Clickker 5 years, 6 months ago

Gotta love the pic at the top "Brennan Breshard does NOT approve"

Enoughsaid 5 years, 6 months ago

I happened to be at Wal-mart last night and feel this was nothing more then a publicity stunt. I observed some players shopping and a person with a camera. Coach Bill was walking around with a stern face and acted like he sure didn't want to be their.

At check-out there was an unknown person, seperate from the student shoppers with a credit card. Also there was a seperate crew (non-students) who took the gifts outside to a waiting vehicle that had signage of Morningstar pizza on the doors.

If the Journal-World wants to do an article about students shopping for the needy. Just go down the street to Lawrence high school. The students collect money for a semester (their own) and have a goal to reach. They adopt a family for christmas and have their wish list. The students are trusted with the money to go shopping to purchase specific items and return the items to LHS.

The specific family items are packaged and collected by The Salvation Army. I think this would make a better front page article then the KU article that was truly a publicity stunt.

PV23 5 years, 6 months ago

Jesus, who peed in your Wheaties this morning. So what the players weren't the ones at the register handling funds that did not belong to them. Probably a smart move as the NCAA would likely go nuts over such a thing. And to say this isn't a story worth printing yet you stalking the team through WalMart seems a bit ironic.

rgh 5 years, 6 months ago

This is better because most of the KU don't have a vested connection to Lawrence. I'm glad the LHS kids to this because kids at our high school in south central Kansas do the exact same thing but I don't complain about the Wichita Eagle covering the Shockers over our school. Self probably doesn't like being there simply because of people hounding him for autographs and pictures and not because he doesn't enjoy helping the community. He has several local and national charities if you'll research it. Gotta love these kids from all over the country doing this for the people of Lawrence. Props to the Lawrence HS students as well.

mom_of_three 5 years, 6 months ago

I have been at wal-mart several times in the past 16 years when the basketball team was shopping, and saw the players intently looking at the lists and picking items. While the money may be donated (and the players have nothing to do with it), they are still shopping for someone other than themselves. So what if there is a camera.. There is a camera during basketball camps, holiday camps, and ladies night out, but its still for a good cause.

jhawk64503 5 years, 6 months ago

Yikes! How sad it is when people have to pick apart a good deed, no matter where the $ comes from. I can just imagine the smiles on these people's faces when they open up their Christmas presents, when they probably thought they wouldn't get anything at all. I know that Christmas is not about giving or getting gifts, it's about celebrating Jesus and the gift that the Savior gave to us, it's spreading good will to all, which is what the purpose of the shopping was for. I think it's a great tradition and I hope it continues for years to come. Merry Christmas!

hawks4life08 5 years, 6 months ago

Enoughsaid-- the "unknown" man at the register was indeed Roger Morningstar who has volunteered to run the event the past few years. And these so called non-students that were loading his trailer were indeed the team's group of STUDENT-managers. Sounds like you were making a lot of assumptions and trying to turn a great holiday tradition into some publicity stunt. Happy holidays to you as well, hope the big man brings you a clue this year, you could really use one.

Dana Brown 5 years, 6 months ago

Hawks.. thank you for putting it so simply yet elegantly. Merry Christmas to all... even the haters! = - )

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