When a team such as Duke squares off with a team the likes of Kansas, the entire college basketball universe tunes in to see what happens.
Such was the case Tuesday night, when Bill Self’s No. 7-ranked Jayhawks battled Mike Krzyzewski’s No. 1 Blue Devils at the Champions Classic, inside Madison Square Garden.
KU’s victory over Duke, as you’d expect, set off a flurry of reaction all over social media — particularly from those with Kansas ties, after they watched Frank Mason hit a clutch, game-winning jumper.
From former Mason teammates singing his praises, to a former Duke star losing a bet, to media and analysts weighing in on the significance of the Kansas win, there was plenty to digest on Twitter.
Below are some of the many social media highlights that accompanied the memorable regular-season classic.
— See what people were saying about KU's matchup against Duke during KUsports.com’s live coverage.
More news and notes from the win against Duke
- Fearless Frank: Mason drills game-winning shot for 77-75 win over No. 1 Duke
- Tom Keegan: KU’s bench delivers big punch during win against Duke
- Notebook: Jackson ‘sparked’ Jayhawks in second half; KU-Stanford create series
- Duke’s Krzyzewski on Kansas: ‘They’re really good’
- The Keegan Ratings
- Matt Tait's postgame Report Card
In the two-plus years since Joel Embiid left Kansas for the NBA, his injury-plagued career has kept him from playing any games for the Philadelphia 76ers. But the 7-foot-2 center from Cameroon somehow found a way to stay relevant in the league’s zeitgeist by becoming an internet/Twitter/Instagram star.
In particular, videos of Embiid going through basketball workouts during his rehab process became both wildly popular for fans of the Sixers and the young big man, while simultaneously serving as fodder for jokes about him never appearing in an actual professional game.
Well, The Ringer took the Embiid mythology to another level Wednesday, when Kevin O’Connor’s story on the 22-year-old prospect included a mockumentary on the former KU star.
Titled, “Joel Embiid: Legacy of a Legend,” the video includes such one-liners as:
“This is what watching Wilt Chamberlain in person must’ve felt like.”
“And there’s a revelation: Oh my God. LeBron James is trash.”
“Joel Embiid is one of the bravest men, probably on the face of the planet.”
Perhaps the jokes will stop this coming season, when Embiid is on schedule to make his NBA debut. Or perhaps more injury setbacks will continue to group the promising center with the likes of Greg Oden.
Some people think Embiid could win Rookie of the Year, and others will remain skeptical until he proves them wrong.
No matter where you stand on the Embiid debate, The Ringer’s video tribute is worth checking out.
— Watch the mockumentary below:
As sweet a life as the NBA provides its players, it honestly can’t be all that much fun to play for one of the league’s struggling franchises.
Still, former one-year Kansas standout Ben McLemore proved to be a good sport when someone with Sacramento pitched him the idea of paying tribute to a viral video that exploded across social media a few days ago.
If you’ve been on Twitter or Facebook or any other social media platform in the past 72 hours, surely you’ve come across the video of a woman laughing hysterically as she tries on her Star Wars Chewbacca mask.
In a parody of the latest queen of the Internet, the third-year Kings guard claims on camera he just got back from the store and is excited about his purchase.
What did McLemore supposedly buy?
A Chewbacca mask. The Sacramento guard isn’t moved to hysteria over trying out the mask, which comes with a recorded Wookiee roar, but he enjoyed the gag all the same.
Check out the video, tweeted out by the Kings, below:
Former Kansas football star and Super Bowl champion Chris Harris of the Denver Broncos didn’t hold back Thursday in an appearance on ESPN’s Highly Questionable.
In the midst of an interview with co-hosts Dan Le Batard and Bomani Jones, Harris offered his recollection of an infamous on-campus altercation between members of the KU basketball and football teams, back in 2009.
“Were you on the Kansas football team that lost the fight to the basketball Morris twins?” Le Batard asked.
Smiling, Harris responded: “We definitely won that fight.”
Jones followed up: “We hear the other way.”
As reported by the Lawrence Journal-World at the time, the brawl left KU guard Tyshawn Taylor with a dislocated left thumb weeks before the start of the 2009-10 basketball season.
According to LeBetard, Marcus and Markieff Morris’ account of the incident includes them back-to-back, taking on football players “over someone who was on the track team.”
Harris remembers the fracas differently.
“Nah, man. I mean that story right there, I think it was over one of the little track girls, but, I mean, we had 300-pound dudes fighting these basketball guys, so they definitely didn’t win,” Harris said. “I definitely watched it and seen it with my own eyes. We definitely won that for sure. I love the Morris twins, though. Those my boys, though.”
Furthermore, Harris claimed there wasn’t really a football versus basketball dynamic at KU.
“We (the football team, coming off back-to-back bowl-win seasons) were actually pretty good at that time,” Harris said. “I guess you could say they were running the campus. We were, too.”
Reiterating his love for the Morris twins, Harris said he had to have his football teammates’ backs during the heated disagreement, before again laughing at the idea of a humongous defensive tackles in a melee against slighter basketball players.
“It’s not fair to fight a 6-foot point guard or 6-7, 6-9 power forward. I think we had a little advantage,” Harris recalled, wearing a grin.
Harris, who played with volatile cornerback Aqib Talib at Kansas and is teamed up with him again in Denver, also shared on ESPN one of his favorite Talib stories from back in the day.
“I was a true freshman, and I was starting opposite of Talib, who was an All-American. We were playing Missouri. They had their whole team on the 50-yard line, and Talib just like ran through their whole team,” Harris said. “And they were warming up, running plays, and he like, they had to get the cops to come drag him off there, off their side of the field for warmups, back in the tunnel. So I was like, ‘Man.’ That was one of the craziest times I’ve seen Talib right there.”
Watch the entire entertaining segment with Harris below:
Hey, everyone. You’ll never believe this. Cheick Diallo is entering the NBA Draft.
This obviously isn’t news at this point, but we do have Diallo’s somewhat official statement on the matter as of Monday afternoon.
The big man who spent one season at Kansas tweeted out a letter regarding his decision to sign with an agent and forego his college eligibility.
“After spending the last couple of weeks thinking about my future,” Diallo stated in his Twitter message, “I took the decision to enter the 2016 NBA Draft, and signed with an agent today.
“It was not an easy call, but time has come for me to take that step up to the next level and make my goal of joining the NBA come true.”
Diallo details his unlikely life path from Kayes, Mali, to where he is now in the open letter, which includes thank-yous to those he encountered along the way.
The gregarious post player also thanks his fans, and declares himself “a Jayhawk for life.”
“This is the first step of many more to come,” Diallo says in the closing paragraph, “and I am looking forward to the new challenges with confidence and determination.”
Read Diallo’s entire letter below.
Bill Self is a popular and busy man around Lawrence, but the Kansas basketball coach doesn’t mind taking some time to boost the spirits of a young fan.
A short video message from Self began making the rounds on Facebook Monday.
The coach wished a bleated happy birthday to a young fan named Brooklyn, who, as the KU coach pointed out, had to celebrate from a hospital room.
“I know you’ve been going through a little bit of a rough stretch here recently,” Self says to the young Jayhawks fan in the video, “and your lungs are filling with blood right now, but I’m sure they’ll get that straightened out.
"But I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday. I hope you’re doing fine. I know that’s gotta get you down a little bit, especially on an important day like this.
"But I’m sure mom and dad are gonna take care of you in a big, big way.”
And, in typical Self fashion, the coach found a way to really personalize the interaction.
“I wish my players were just half as tough as what you are,” Self told the youngster.
Watch Self’s message below:
When former high school teammates get together, it doesn’t take long for some shenanigans to break out — even at the NBA Combine.
With Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. and Iowa State forward Georges Niang both in Chicago for this week’s pre-draft combine, it only makes sense that the former Tilton School teammates would reunite as they embark on an important step in their professional careers.
This morning, Selden didn’t hesitate to take advantage of an opportunity to try and clown Niang, a star for one of KU’s biggest rivals over the past few seasons.
Apparently when Niang wasn’t around, Selden put his KU 2016 Big 12 Tournament champions T-shirt with his buddy’s phone and snapped a pic to share on Twitter, claiming Niang was showing his support for the Jayhawks.
Not exactly a likely scenario for one of the most popular ISU players in the program's history.
However, maybe Selden should have chosen another piece of KU gear for the joke. He set up Niang for an easy comeback, considering the Cyclones won the Big 12 Tournament in both 2014 and 2015.
“That’s cute that you only won one of those things,” Niang tweeted in response, “I’ll make sure to bring my 2 shirts out tonight!!”
Selden had no choice at that juncture but to bring out the big guns — or big rings. The KU guard posted a photo of him wearing two Big 12 regular-season championship rings.
“Bear with me,” Selden added, “my 3rd one is being made now.”
Every March — and one weekend each April — the NCAA Tournament churns out indelible moments that live on in the consciousness of college basketball fans like the very March Madness promos designed to remind us of the mega event’s greatness.
The 2016 tournament featured a phenomenal national title game, capped by a buzzer-beater for the ages by Villanova’s Kris Jenkins.
But that wasn’t the only great game of the most recent postseason — nor the only Villanova matchup that kept fans on the edges of their seats.
Zac Ellis of SI.com ranked the top 10 battles of the 2016 tourney, and the Wildcats’ Elite Eight meeting with Kansas made the list, as well.
While Villanova’s 64-59 victory in Louisville will linger in the hearts and minds of KU basketball fans for years, because it meant the end of the road for the top-seeded Jayhawks, the regional final also stood out for neutral parties.
Ellis (Zac of SI.com, not Perry of KU) said Kansas vs. Villanova, which he ranked No. 6, had a “Final Four feel to it.”
See the complete top 10 over as SI.com. (You can probably guess which game topped the rankings.)
Where does KU-’Nova rank in your mind? It certainly turned out to be a more defensive-oriented game, but the effort exerted by both teams is undeniable.
Josh Jackson fever has overtaken the Kansas basketball universe since the No. 1-rated player in the Class of 2016 tweeted out Monday night his decision to play for the Jayhawks next season.
Because the 6-foot-7 wing won’t arrive in Lawrence until the summer and won’t suit up for KU until November, the only way to watch him in the meantime is to check out Jackson’s YouTube highlight reels.
We’ve compiled a small assortment of the more enthralling clips. So feel free to watch to your heart’s content and consider how Jackson will translate to the college game and fit in at Kansas — playing for coach Bill Self, alongside the likes of Frank Mason III, Devonté Graham, Landen Lucas, Carlton Bragg Jr., Svi Mykhailiuk, and the rest of the Jayhawks.
Jackson’s amazing explosiveness and fiery competitive approach to the game become abundantly clear in the array of mixtapes and highlights, viewable below.
(This clip also mixes in highlights of Michigan State-bound Miles Bridges, but is worth viewing for the in-game display put on by Jackson.)
The stage gets bigger every day for the top-seeded Kansas basketball team, as the Jayhawks make their NCAA Tournament run.
Friday was a day off from basketball for KU, which is one win away from a trip to Houston for the Final Four.
The Kansas players, coach Bill Self, as well as their counterparts at Villanova, and coach Jay Wright, stayed busy this afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, with media interviews previewing their Saturday night Elite Eight showdown at the KFC Yum! Center.
— Check out the highlights from the afternoon of interviews: Jayhawks and Wildcats preview Elite Eight matchup