LJWorld.com weblogs Mark Madness
So, Sasha, what's your favorite...
OK, so this is my first blog. Ever. An introduction: I'm business editor of the Journal-World, 6News and World Online. Someone decided it would be a good idea to send me on the road, chronicling this year's NCAA Tournament trip for the Kansas Jayhawks. So throughout the trip, I'll be adding a few thoughts, and maybe a few Web links or two, so that you can get a sense of what it's like out here on the road for a regular, nonsportswriting schmo. Here it goes...Guys who compete every day at the highest levels of college basketball are part of a smaller, much less important contest when the NCAA Tournament rolls around. The disclosure game. Kansas University players will be asked all kinds of questions in the coming days - and, hopefully, weeks - as the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament rolls along. On the other side will be media types like me, posing questions that we hope will spur thoughtful, insightful and, most of all, interesting answers. There really are two venues for the exchanges: * Some players will be summoned to sit behind microphones, with their names printed on paper placards propped in front of them, waiting to dispense their thoughts, strategies, life stories or anything else that piques the curiosity of the assembled scribes, throats and chroniclers of all things hoops. * The rest hang in the locker room, with popular players often enduring wave after wave or reporters approaching them for knowledge, fishing for comments that will give their stories depth. But what if what if you're sick of it? What if you don't like talking about your tournament chances, much less yourself? Just what can a player do to escape the questions, get back to thinking about the next opponent or which team they'll choose to be in the next game of "NBA Live"? Now that I'm an officially credentialed member of the media for this year's tournament - and as a business editor, I don't get to do this often - I just had to ask some Jayhawks: What is the best way to get rid of doofs like me? Among the answers: C.J. Giles, freshman center: "That's easy. Cut everything short." (Pause) Me: That's it? (Silence) Me, again: Anything else? (Silence, and a look that says "What do you think?") Me: OK, next question... At least he was laughing by now.Mario Chalmers, a freshman guard, looked kind of surprised by the question. "I really don't have a line to get out," he told me. "I like doing media, but, um, I think, with Coach Self coming..." He had to go.Jeremy Case, a sophomore guard who's actually on his third tournament trip, clued me in on his "out line": " 'We've got to do what coach says we have to do.' 'If we do what coach asks, things will go right.' Something like that. 'We just do what coach tells us to do,' something like that." I had to follow up: Do you really do what coach tells you to do "Yeah, for the most part," he said, laughing. "I mean, not all the time."I managed to chat with Sasha Kaun, too. First, I realized he was really tall. Then he flashed a big smile. And, last, he showed me that this media-player game in Auburn Hills, Mich., wouldn't be all bad. "I usually just try to answer whatever you want to know," he said. "It's your job." Thanks, Sasha. Enjoy the games.