Entries from blogs tagged with “KU”

Union unveils the Jay, new event space in area formerly home to Jaybowl

The ‘bowl’ has been completely removed from the Jaybowl. In its place now is just, 'the Jay.'

The Kansas Memorial Union on Thursday unveiled its new event space on Level 1 of the Union in the area once occupied by the Jaybowl bowling alley — or, more accurately, about half the area once occupied by Jaybowl.

Jaybowl, which first opened in 1953, closed for good this spring. In announcing the end of the Jaybowl era, Union officials cited changing student preferences, growing financial losses, old equipment and new space needs. Over the summer, the lanes and that old equipment were ripped out, the space carpeted over and the walls painted all white. Moveable tables and chairs were added to accommodate different event setups. The concession stand is being used as a staging area for caterers rather than renting shoes and selling snacks.

Kansas University students Kassandra Valles, left, Mission, Kan. junior and Student Union Activities president, Lauren Arney, Stilwell, Kan. senior and Memorial Unions corporation board president, and Jessie Pringle, Chanute, Kan. senior and student body president, huddle around to put on pins before a ribbon cutting for a multi-purpose event space called The Jay, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 at the Kansas Union. The Jay, is located in the renovated space formerly housed by Jaybowl.

Kansas University students Kassandra Valles, left, Mission, Kan. junior and Student Union Activities president, Lauren Arney, Stilwell, Kan. senior and Memorial Unions corporation board president, and Jessie Pringle, Chanute, Kan. senior and student body president, huddle around to put on pins before a ribbon cutting for a multi-purpose event space called The Jay, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 at the Kansas Union. The Jay, is located in the renovated space formerly housed by Jaybowl. by Nick Krug

Photographer Nick Krug and I checked out the Jay right before its ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon, but instead of the vast, sprawling room I had imagined — at least as long as the full-size bowling lanes — I was surprised to see a floor-to-ceiling wall built about a third of the way down where the lanes used to be. In front of it is the carpeted event space, and behind it is a very large non-public storage space with a little bit of the old Jaybowl character left, including the historic Jayhawks painted on blue pillars.

According to director of building services Lisa Kring, the wall encloses the Jay at the maximum square footage of occupied space codes allow for having only two exits. The Jaybowl met code because the far ends of the lane weren’t occupied by people, only bowling equipment, she said. Adding more exits would be no easy thing, as that side of Level 1 is underground.

A storage space in a walled off area behind the Jay event space in the Kansas Union. This is where the ends of the Jaybowl bowling lanes once were.

A storage space in a walled off area behind the Jay event space in the Kansas Union. This is where the ends of the Jaybowl bowling lanes once were. by Sara Shepherd

While the Union’s ballroom and other event rooms are great, the new Jay is hoped to have more of a “hangout” feel, said associate director of union programs Michelle Compton. “This is more like your family rec room.” SUA events has planned a full list of hangout-ish fall activities in the space, kicking off with an International Night featuring music and food planned by the African Student Association on Sept. 13 and Canvas and Mocktails featuring Lawrence’s Painted Kanvas social painting classes and non-alcoholic drinks on Sept. 18. (See more at facebook.com/SUAevents.)

A wisp of Jaybowl remains, but it’s confined to a historical display case just outside the entrance to the Jay. The case is packed with Jaybowl memorabilia and photographs. Mike Reid, director of public affairs for the Union and a KU historian, has been working on the display and said he hoped to be able to hunt down more before finalizing the permanent display.

A case featuring Jaybowl memorabilia, outside the entrance to the Jay in the Kansas Union.

A case featuring Jaybowl memorabilia, outside the entrance to the Jay in the Kansas Union. by Sara Shepherd


Footnotes

• In addition to this year’s Common Book, Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms,” the Spencer Museum of Art has announced its choice for the 2015-16 Common Work of Art. It’s a 1914 self-portrait by German artist Otto Dix — who served during World War I and created, according to the Spencer, “some of the most incisive and explosive” artworks about the war — from the museum's collection. See it here.

• In case you missed it, a New York Times op-ed recently gave a shout-out to the Kansas University Honors Program. According to the op-ed, KU’s is one of five programs mentioned as getting “highest praise” in a new book, un-excitingly but descriptively titled, “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs.”


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Have KU news tips? Contact me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187 or on Twitter @saramarieshep.

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KU’s new School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures formally launches with event on Tuesday

Kansas University's new School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, as it's been explained to me, is hoped to better enable a number of disparate departments to pool resources and collaborate — in ways that are meaningful and important to student success in the 21st century.

KU has been teaching foreign languages since the 1800s and now teaches more than 40 languages (more than any other university in Kansas or the Big 12) plus courses on culture, literature, history and politics connected with those languages, according to the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, or SLLC, website.

But foreign language enrollment at KU and nationwide is down, and that’s part of what’s spurring KU to rethink the way it’s delivered, SLLC director Marc Greenberg said in a story I wrote about the trend earlier this year. The challenge for the future, he said, is basically selling foreign languages to students in an increasingly trade-skill-driven environment. (Example: Knowing a foreign language will give students an edge in a global job market, but unlike many skills, fluency in, say, Quichua, isn’t exactly something you can learn in a few months on the job.)

These issues will undoubtedly be a theme for speakers on Tuesday at the SLLC's official launch party.

The SLLC was formally created after the Kansas Board of Regents approved it in fall 2014, but the new school is launching in earnest this semester with an inaugural convocation at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Ballroom in the Kansas Union, 1301 Jayhawk Blvd. A reception will follow, about 5 p.m. The keynote speaker is Victor Jackovich, the first U.S. ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to Slovenia, according to a news release from the SLLC. (A number of others also will give remarks. For a full list, see the bottom of this post or click here.)

Less than a completely new offering, the SLLC — located within KU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — is more like a repackaging of or a new umbrella over subjects already being taught at KU. The SLLC has five core departments (East Asian Languages and Cultures; French and Italian; Germanic Languages and Literatures; Slavic Languages and Literatures; and Spanish and Portuguese). It also has 13 affiliated departments and centers (African and African-American Studies; Anthropology; Art History; Center for East Asian Studies; Center for Global and International Studies; Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Center for Russian, East-European and Eurasian Studies; Classics; English; Humanities and Western Civilization; Kansas African Studies Center; Linguistics; and Religious Studies).

In a press release about Tuesday’s convocation, Greenberg said this: “The School demonstrates the increasing importance of preparing students with language skills and deep cultural knowledge, which has become essential for employability of our students in an ever more complex globalized world."

In this June 2013 Journal-World file photo, Gabrielle Reimer instructs an intermediate Spanish class at Plymouth Congregational Church, where she and others from the department were teaching on a volunteer basis.

In this June 2013 Journal-World file photo, Gabrielle Reimer instructs an intermediate Spanish class at Plymouth Congregational Church, where she and others from the department were teaching on a volunteer basis. by Sara Shepherd

As promised, here are the people scheduled to share remarks at Tuesday's event:

• Marc Greenberg, Director KU SLLC

• Jeff Vitter, KU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

• Don Steeples, Interim Dean, KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

• Anna Lambertson, Executive Director, International Relations Council of Kansas City

• Angela Jackson, Founder and Director, Global Language Project 

• Viktoria Olskaia, President, Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation

• Ashlie Koehn, Student

• James Sterbenz, Professor, KU Department of Electrical Engineering


Have tips for this blog or other KU story ideas? Contact me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187 or on Twitter @saramarieshep.

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Coming off hot summer, Wayne Selden Jr. plans to be more effective scorer

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) drives to the basket in a Team USA gold-medal game against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) drives to the basket in a Team USA gold-medal game against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea. by Mike Yoder

After spending a good chunk of his summer preparing for the World University Games, in South Korea, and then leading Kansas/Team USA to a gold medal, Wayne Selden Jr.’s basketball journeys continued with a trip to the adidas Nations event, near Los Angeles, in early August.

It was there that DraftExpress.com caught up with Selden, a junior guard at KU, for a quick interview. Though he has played two seasons in the Big 12, Selden described the competition level at adidas Nations as high, too.

“You know, it’s basically everybody that’s left in college, that’s been around for a few years, and it’s a lot of guys that just know how to play basketball,” Selden said.

According to SBNation.com, Selden played on one of the four teams there that featured college players, and he teamed up with Iowa State’s Monté Morris and Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer. At one point, they lost to a team led by Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell.

It sounds like a worthy training ground, and Selden told DraftExpress.com he plans to be a better player this coming season for Kansas.

“Last year I had times where I was timid, I would shy away — not shy away. Timid’s not even the right word,” Selden said, deciding to re-characterize his sophomore struggles. “But I wouldn’t always be locked in. That’s probably a better word. I wouldn’t always be locked in. This year I’ve got a different mindset. I’m a lot more focused and I’m working. I’m out here having fun and just playing basketball.”

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) drives against Kansas State forward Nino Williams (11) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) drives against Kansas State forward Nino Williams (11) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 at Bramlage Coliseum. by Nick Krug

Offensively, Selden’s had issues during the 2014-15 season with his shooting inside the arc. Look at these numbers from hoop-math.com:

  • Selden only made 35 of 69 attempts at the rim (50.7%)

  • Selden converted on just 28 of 89 2-point jumpers (31.5%)

Often, Selden would reach the paint — or even the rim — and fail to finish off a solid drive with a bucket. By the end of the season, the guard hit a better percentage of his 3-pointers — 46 of 124 (37.1%) — than his 2-pointers. He said he wasn’t an efficient scorer because he would get to the lane and make things more difficult than they had to be.

“But I feel like I really improved on that, just in the short time since the season ended,” Selden said. “Over in Korea and here I’ve been doing pretty well with it.”

In fact, at the World University Games Selden made 59.7% of his 2-point shots — 40 of 67 — as his offense carried the Jayhawks to an 8-0 record. He was almost unstoppable in the first seven games, making 36 of 50 (72%) of his 2-pointers, before KU played its eighth game in 10 days, everybody’s legs looked dead and he shot 4-for-17 inside the arc in a double-overtime victory over Germany in the gold-medal game.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) is pulled up from the court after being buried under a dog pile of players after a Team USA double-overtime win against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) is pulled up from the court after being buried under a dog pile of players after a Team USA double-overtime win against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea. by Mike Yoder

Selden’s 3-point shooting didn’t suffer in South Korea, either. He made 18 of 48 from deep for 37.5%, just above what he shot for KU as a sophomore. But he hopes to improve upon that clip as a junior.

“I see myself shooting over 40 percent from three this year, much improved jump shot, and I’m real confident with it right now,” Selden said. “I feel like I can make every shot. Even if I miss a shot, I feel like the next one’s going in.”

If he can follow through with that goal and continue finishing inside, the Jayhawks should have no trouble getting back to at least the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013. Plus, the junior will see his stock rise.

And Selden knows Bill Self needs the junior guard in an effective, assertive role, to compliment junior point guard Frank Mason III and senior forward Perry Ellis. The trio figure to carry the Jayhawks and trade off leading the team in scoring from game to game.

“Basically, me and Frank, we the real bulldogs,” Selden said. “We’re gonna run the squad this year. Perry’s gonna get buckets, obviously, because that’s what Perry does. But me and Frank, we’re the heart of the team. We’re gonna have to take over and run the show.”

In case you were wondering, DraftExpress.com’s mock NBA Draft for 2016 doesn’t include Selden. The website actually has him as a second-round pick — 52nd — in the 2017 draft (after what will be his senior season).

KU freshman big man Cheick Diallo is listed as the No. 15 pick in the first round for 2016, and sophomore wing Svi Mykhailiuk is two spots behind him, at No. 17. Jayhawks senior forward Perry Ellis isn’t listed in the top 60 for the 30-team, two-round draft.

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Marketing firm survey says Jayhawks are state’s most famous brand

Never underestimate the reach of a powerhouse basketball program.

I’ve had a student from China tell me, when settling on an American university to attend, that he picked KU because he’d heard of its basketball team and thought it was cool. I know people who never attended KU who got tattoos of Jayhawks because of their love for the basketball team. This month, a more quantified example of its impact came out.

The latest “Kansas Brand Power Survey” from Wichita-based RSA Marketing Services says KU and the Jayhawks are the state’s top brand, again. According to RSA, their online survey asked 500 Kansans to name the Kansas-based brand they thought was the most famous.

Mike Snyder, COO and Principal at RSA, said in a press release that the the inclusion of “basketball” on the list (at No. 8) “definitely reflects the strong presence of KU, K-State and WSU in national basketball rankings." Surprisingly absent, RSA noted, was football powerhouse K-State, as well as Wichita State, just off two years of high-profile NCAA basketball performances.

Of course, it’s certainly possible that the survey-takers had in mind the KU campus, its research programs or other talking points the school works hard to market. But in this case, I’m putting my money on the basketball team.

The Top 10 most famous Kansas-based brands for 2015:

  1. KU/Jayhawks
  2. Wheat
  3. Koch
  4. Wizard of Oz
  5. Pizza Hut
  6. Garmin
  7. Sunflowers
  8. Basketball
  9. Boeing
  10. Coleman

For comparison, here’s the same list from 2014 (note: the question was slightly different, asking for “favorite” instead of “most famous” Kansas-based brands).

  1. KU/Jayhawks
  2. Free State Brewery
  3. Pizza Hut
  4. Coleman
  5. Boulevard Brewery
  6. Sprint
  7. Russell Stover
  8. Garmin
  9. Dillons
  10. Koch Industries

Harold D. Sandy designed this Jayhawk in 1946, and copyrighted it the following year. It's the smiling version of the Jayhawk that survives today.

Harold D. Sandy designed this Jayhawk in 1946, and copyrighted it the following year. It's the smiling version of the Jayhawk that survives today.


Spot any other KU rankings lately, or have other tips for this blog or my KU coverage for the Journal-World? Contact me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187 or on Twitter @saramarieshep.

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New school year brings new traffic booth locations, people and more at KU

Today is the first day of school for KU’s Lawrence campus, and with this new school year comes a number of new things. From newly located traffic booths to multimillion-dollar new buildings to beaks on buses, here are a few worth noting:

Newly relocated traffic booths

There’s more campus access at one booth location and less access — actually, no access — at another. The traffic booth formerly at 14th Street and Jayhawk Boulevard has moved inward to Jayhawk Boulevard and Lilac Lane. So now anyone can drive onto Lilac Lane during the school day (though parking there is still by permit only).

The booth formerly on Sunflower Road at Sunnyside Avenue, next to the Prairie Acre, is gone. Instead there’s now a set of automated gates, located a bit farther up the hill on Sunflower Road, that only authorized university vehicles will be allowed through during the day, according to KU Parking. So even people with daytime Jayhawk Boulevard driving privileges will have to get there another way (myself included — I don’t get basketball tickets, but I do have a media parking pass, which is almost as good). KU Parking says those gates will open to drive-through traffic at night.

New name for Art and Design Building

KU scheduled some fanfare yesterday for the renaming of the Art and Design Building to Chalmers Hall. Read more about the last former chancellor to have a building named after him here.

Thomas Chalmers, right, and former KU chancellor Del Shankel reminisce about Thomas' father, former chancellor E. Laurence Chalmers during a reception held Sunday afternoon in Chalmers Hall following a ceremony in Marvin Hall in which the former Art and Design Building as renamed Chalmers Hall.

Thomas Chalmers, right, and former KU chancellor Del Shankel reminisce about Thomas' father, former chancellor E. Laurence Chalmers during a reception held Sunday afternoon in Chalmers Hall following a ceremony in Marvin Hall in which the former Art and Design Building as renamed Chalmers Hall. by John Young

New deans

Two new deans arrived on campus this summer and are now presiding over the School of Social Welfare and the School of Architecture, Design and Planning. Meet Paul Smokowski and Mahesh Daas.

New paint jobs for KU on Wheels

KU on Wheels buses have bold new paint schemes. And beaks.

None by KU SafeBus

Paperless parking permits (and tickets)

KU Parking today launched its fancy new e-permit system — which includes license plate-reading cameras to scope out which cars belong in a particular lot and which will be getting ticketed.

New residence halls

A total of 700 students are at home in the newly completed Oswald and Self residence halls, which I got to tour last week. The $48.6 million project features two mirror-image dorms joined by a commons area open to all Daisy Hill residents.

A new home for the School of Engineering

The Learned Engineering Expansion Project Phase 2 building, LEEP2 for short, has its first classes today. The new $65 million building is now the centerpiece of KU’s engineering complex. My favorite thing about the new building: "light wells." Full story (with explanation of what those are) here.

The new Learned Engineering Expansion Project Phase 2 building, 1536 W. 15th St., will open to its first classes this fall. The $65 million, 110,100-square-foot facility features collaborative study spaces and “active-learning” classrooms to foster teamwork.

The new Learned Engineering Expansion Project Phase 2 building, 1536 W. 15th St., will open to its first classes this fall. The $65 million, 110,100-square-foot facility features collaborative study spaces and “active-learning” classrooms to foster teamwork. by Richard Gwin

New KU Common Book

It’s Ernest Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms.” There’s a marathon reading session planned all day Friday at Nunemaker Hall. More on that and other Common Book events here.

New lilacs (coming soon)

No one seems to be sure exactly how old the large, old lilac bushes along Lilac Lane were. But safe to say, they were old. KU tore them all out in recent weeks and plans to plant new bushes next month, which presumably will be there for decades to come.


KU Today, our annual KU edition of the Journal-World, just published yesterday and is packed with some of these plus many more stories about other new things going on at KU. Browse the KU edition here, and as always, if you have a tip about something else new at KU, let me know via email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, via phone at 832-7187 or on Twitter @saramarieshep.

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Where did all the lilacs go on Lilac Lane?

After hearing all the lilacs had suddenly disappeared from Kansas University’s Lilac Lane I thought, “No way,” and went to see for myself.

Sure enough, every bush has been ripped out, and there’s just mud where they once lined the street behind Fraser Hall. At least for this KU/Oread neighborhood alumna — who walked through them daily for years, and has a soft spot for both history and flowers (I’m not as old as that makes me sound, I promise) — it was a disconcerting sight.

The lilac bushes are all gone from KU's Lilac Lane. In this picture, taken Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, behind Fraser Hall, there is only dirt where the lilacs once were.

The lilac bushes are all gone from KU's Lilac Lane. In this picture, taken Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, behind Fraser Hall, there is only dirt where the lilacs once were. by Sara Shepherd

Turns out there's no need for outrage.

The lilacs, which were removed last week, will be replaced with new ones around late September, KU landscape architect and project manager Marion Paulette said. She said KU planned to replace the old lilacs and decided to do it now, while work was already going on in the area for the Jayhawk Boulevard Reconstruction project.

“The ones that were there were pretty overgrown, and some were missing and very scraggly,” Paulette said. “They’ve been maintained; they just really were old and were at the end of their life.”

Paulette said she’s hoping for blooms on the new plants next spring. She said KU will plant “Penda” and “Red Pixie” lilacs, both newer cultivars of Persian lilacs, an old and fragrant variety they believe is the same as what was there in the past. Paulette said she didn’t know how old the torn-out lilacs were, but they definitely were not the original lilacs of Lilac Lane.

Lilacs first were planted there in the 1870s, when local nurseryman Joseph Savage donated them and worked with Chancellor James Marvin to plant a row to frame the east lawn of Old Fraser Hall, according to a section on Lilac Lane from KU’s application to get the KU Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Information on Lilac Lane in the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the KU Historic District.

Information on Lilac Lane in the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for the KU Historic District. by Sara Shepherd

“They’re an important landscape, and very important to the character of KU, and certainly something we want to maintain and preserve,” Paulette said.


Notice anything major missing from the KU campus lately? Let me know, by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187 or on Twitter @saramarieshep.

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Casting call: KU Theatre needs black, Latino actors for two fall plays

In some roles, the actor could be any race. Others really require the real thing.

The latter is true for two of Kansas University Theatre’s fall plays, but with a limited pool of theater majors of color, directors are trying to reach a broader audience about casting calls, which start Monday.

“That’s something that we’re working on building in the theater department,” said Zach Sudbury, a theater doctoral student who’s directing one of the plays. “But we also encourage people from other disciplines to audition, and that’s partly why we’re getting the word out. ... If somebody has that interest and fits the role and has the ability to stand on stage and perform, then we can work with them.”

Sudbury is directing “Detroit ’67,” by Dominique Morisseau (showing Oct. 2-8). Published in 2013 but set in the days leading up to the Detroit race riot, it was chosen for its “sharp,” fresh language and relevance to race issues happening now, Sudbury said.

The play needs two black women, two black men and one white woman. Since the play is directly about the issue of race, Sudbury said, “it is important to have people of color in those four roles and a white woman in the role for the white woman.”

The other play, “Johanna: Facing Forward,” is written and directed by Tlaloc Rivas (showing Oct. 16-25). It needs multiple Latino actors, including some who are bilingual, said Katherine Pryor, managing director for University Theatre. “We are looking for a very diverse cast for this show.”

“Johanna” is inspired by the true story of Johanna Orozco, a Cleveland teen who survived a gunshot wound to the face by her boyfriend in 2007, and the ensuing award-winning newspaper series on the story, “Facing Forward.” Pryor said the KU show would be only the second performance of “Johanna,” which, like “Detroit ’67,” she called a “really timely play.”

Open call auditions for all University Theatre fall productions are 7 to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at Crafton-Preyer Theatre. Click here for more information or to sign up for an audition time.

Promotional image for "Detroit '67."

Promotional image for "Detroit '67."

Promotional image for "Johanna: Facing Forward"

Promotional image for "Johanna: Facing Forward"

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‘That’s what’s up’: Ben Heeney goes for 8 tackles and sack in Raiders debut

In this Aug. 14, 2015, photo, Oakland Raiders inside linebacker Ben Heeney (51) tackles St. Louis Rams running back Trey Watts (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif. Linebacker Heeney's exhibition debut for Oakland went so well that he wanted the jersey as a keepsake. The only problem was it's the only game-ready one the Raiders have for the fifth-round pick. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

In this Aug. 14, 2015, photo, Oakland Raiders inside linebacker Ben Heeney (51) tackles St. Louis Rams running back Trey Watts (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif. Linebacker Heeney's exhibition debut for Oakland went so well that he wanted the jersey as a keepsake. The only problem was it's the only game-ready one the Raiders have for the fifth-round pick. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

It wasn’t the regular season, so none of the stats count and everything that transpired will soon only register as footnote-worthy, but former Kansas linebacker Ben Heeney looked like he’ll fit in at the NFL level just fine in his preseason debut Friday night.

Heeney led Oakland with eight tackles in the Raiders’ 18-3 victory over St. Louis, and even picked up a sack by chasing Rams quarterback Case Keenum out of bounds for a short loss early in the second quarter.

“That counted as a sack?” Heeney asked a reporter in a story posted on the Raiders’ website.

“That’s what’s up. We were just in man coverage and I was manned to the (running back). The back went into the flat and Keenum kept the ball, and I just got off my man coverage and chased him out of bounds. I didn’t know it was a sack at all, so that’s what’s up.”

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio left the exhibition impressed with his fifth-round pick from KU. In a CSNBayArea.com report, Del Rio said Heeney flies around at practices the same way he did in his unofficial Oakland opener.

None by OAKLAND RAIDERS

“He’s very, very active. His speed showed up,” Del Rio said. “I know that one time the quarterback tried to break contain and he laid him down for a sack. That was his speed. That’s one of the reasons we have him.”

Heeney told CSNBayArea.com’s Scott Bayer hustling and getting dirty is in his football DNA. He just doesn’t know any other way of playing the game.

“That’s what I’ve staked my game on,” Heeney said.

The rookie from Kansas hoped to take his stained, game-worn jersey home with him after his successful night, but the Raiders’ equipment personnel told him he couldn’t, because that was the only black, No. 51 Heeney jersey they had available at the moment.

“I definitely want to get it back once they get the next jersey made,” Heeney said. “I wish they wouldn’t wash it, but I guess it has to look good for next game.”

The defensive play-calling and in-game adjustments made his first NFL game feel a lot different than his college days, Heeney said, but he thought he handled it pretty well. Moving forward, the 6-foot linebacker from Hutchinson just wants to make sure he attacks more.

“There were a couple of plays I could have shot a gap and got a tackle for loss that I didn’t do, but I think for the most part I’m happy with my performance,” Heeney said. “I have a couple of things I need to clean up.”

Thanks to Naveed Chowdhury of Cover32.com, we can watch every defensive snap Heeney played on Friday night.

Along with his eight tackles and one sack, Heeney read one pass over the middle well enough to either disrupt the intended receiver or deflect the ball (it was hard to tell on the video whether he got a finger on it). It was just another example of how the former KU star can begin making an impact immediately for Oakland this season.

As Heeney posted on Instagram following his first preseason game in silver and black, the NFL is finally a reality for him: “No more dreaming, just living!”

No more dreaming, just living!

A photo posted by Ben Heeney (@henbeeney) on

No more dreaming, just living! by henbeeney

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Montell Cozart impressed with freshman QBs Carter Stanley and Ryan Willis

Kansas quarterbacks Montell Cozart (2) and Ryan Willis (13) look up the field for receivers during the first day of practice on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 at the fields south of Anschutz Pavilion.

Kansas quarterbacks Montell Cozart (2) and Ryan Willis (13) look up the field for receivers during the first day of practice on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 at the fields south of Anschutz Pavilion. by Nick Krug

When Montell Cozart arrived at Kansas in 2013, the true freshman didn’t have all the answers.

Cozart had to figure out then-head coach Charlie Weis’s pro-style offense. For him, the transition was far from seamless, because the system wasn’t like the spread format he had success in at the high school level, at nearby Bishop Miege, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Cozart said Monday he doesn’t think KU’s incoming quarterbacks will have as many issues as they adapt to offensive coordinator Rob Likens’ Air Raid attack. Plus, true freshmen Carter Stanley (from Vero Beach, Florida) and Ryan Willis (also from Bishop Miege) have impressed the junior with their approaches.

“You can see those guys coming in ready to work,” Cozart said. “They both have ran similar offense to what we’re running now when they were in high school.”

KU’s new offense actually benefits every quarterback fortunate enough to play in it, according to Cozart.

“Now that we’re back to this offense,” Cozart said, “it gives all of our quarterbacks a lot of confidence, because we all can be successful in it.”

A few days into preseason camp, Kansas has eight quarterbacks on its roster:

  • Cozart (jr., 6-2, 193)

  • Keaton Perry (RS-fr., 5-10, 186)

  • Stanley (fr., 6-2, 188)

  • T.J. Millweard (jr., 6-4, 219)

  • Willis (fr., 6-4, 205)

  • injured Michael Cummings (sr., 5-10, 212)

  • Deondre Ford (jr., 6-1, 200)

  • Frank Seurer, Jr. (jr., 5-11, 190)

Cozart said there are “all sorts” of players in KU’s quarterback room, and their various skill sets are on display when the QBs go over practice video.

“We’ve got guys with cannons. We’ve got guys with good feet that can run a little bit,” he said. “This offense just helps everyone be successful and puts you in a great position.”

Both Willis, whom Cozart knows a little from their Miege connection, and Stanley, Cozart’s camp roommate, figure to be his primary competition in the race to become KU’s starter. The junior said every time he leaves a quarterbacks meeting, he comes away impressed with the true freshmen.

“When we’re watching film, you see them jotting down things, trying to get better and get to where me, T.J. and Mike are in this offense,” Cozart said. “They’re trying to catch up, and you can see those guys working great.”

For Cozart, it’s fun to have younger QBs around looking up to him. When each day of preseason camp ends, the quarterbacks throw the ball around and talk about “everything” as they all get to know each other.

“We’re always talking about football,” Cozart said. “Just little things around the nation, what’s happening in the sports world, getting to know one another.”

Sharing a room with Stanley for camp has allowed Cozart to discover a lot about him quickly. Cozart said they often watch video and bounce ideas off one another when they see certain things pop up on the screens in front of them. He said Stanley (freshmen and program newcomers can’t speak with media, per team rules) has fewer questions each day, a sign he is learning the offense and getting comfortable.

Likens wants all of the QBs making strides in those areas. Cozart said the coordinator and quarterbacks coach has harped on the importance of recognizing defensive structure at the line of scrimmage, a key component of the Air Raid offense for the signal-callers.

“You want to know the answer to the test before it even comes,” Cozart said.

At this point, it seems the junior might have more solutions this season than he did in the past, which is good news for the QB whom head coach David Beaty referenced as having the inside track on the starting gig.

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‘Helped on bomb?’ KU professor, graduates secretly designed atomic weapons at Los Alamos

In the days following the United States’ bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, the then-Lawrence Daily Journal-World published accounts of the bomb’s power and the scientific breakthrough it represented. While combing the archives for clips used with today’s front-page story, "Hiroshima 70 years after the bomb: Local emotions on weapon of mass destruction still run high,” our digital editor Nick Gerik also found this headline, from Aug. 7:

“HELPED ON BOMB? Many K. U. Men Away on Secret War Work May Have Aided”

Ever the research university, KU apparently was abuzz with talk about who among the ranks may have had a role in developing the bomb. “None of the persons called away on secret work for the government has talked, but release by Washington of some of the places where research and production were carried forward indicates the probable connection of a number of K. U. people,” the article says.

The article names an assistant professor of physics who’d been on leave from KU for two years, a chemist who’d been at Chicago University for the past year and several former instructors and graduates working at a plant in Oak Ridge Tennessee. And friends of some Sunflower Ordnance Works employees mysteriously sent away on other government work had heard they were engaged in “something big” and “entirely secret,” the article says.

'HELPED ON BOMB?' An article in the Aug. 7, 1945, Lawrence Daily Journal-World.

'HELPED ON BOMB?' An article in the Aug. 7, 1945, Lawrence Daily Journal-World.

This old news clip — speculative as it was — was right about that physics professor and his group-mates.

“Henry H. Barschall, a nuclear physicist who carried out early experiments with neutrons, helped develop the atomic bomb in World War II,” reads a 1997 New York Times news obituary on Barschall. Barschall spent most of his career at the University of Wisconsin, but prior, “In World War II, Dr. Barschall joined the team at Los Alamos, N.M., that developed the atomic bomb. On July 16, 1945, he helped monitor the shock wave from the first nuclear test, near White Sands.”

In a fascinating autobiography by Barschall (titled "Reminiscences" and shared online here via a teacher at Wisconsin), he talks about his time at KU and how he came to work on “U.S. Engineer Project ‘Y.’” Barschall’s challenges getting to Los Alamos included expediting the process of becoming a U.S. citizen (he was German), getting security clearance and — apparently — freeing himself from KU.

“The worst problem was the University of Kansas, which opposed my departure violently, including threats to use the Local Draft Board. At least the university finally promoted me from Instructor to Assistant Professor,” Barschall said in the document. “...I could not imagine the Secretary of War writing a letter on my behalf, but apparently such a letter was indeed sent, and on September 27 (1943) I was told I could leave.”

An excerpt from physicist H.H. Barschall's "Reminiscences," in which he talks about his path from Kansas University to Los Alamos.

An excerpt from physicist H.H. Barschall's "Reminiscences," in which he talks about his path from Kansas University to Los Alamos. by Sara Shepherd

After the war, KU tried to get Barschall back, offering him a promotion to associate professor and a raise, he wrote. But Barschall had other offers. “My experiences at Kansas in the months before my departure had left an unpleasant memory. The lack of experimental facilities and the lack of a research tradition were other disincentives.” Ultimately — spurred in part by the promise that the larger of the accelerators used at Los Alamos would be shipped back to Wisconsin — Barschall took an assistant professorship there and was soon granted tenure.

An excerpt from physicist H.H. Barschall's "Reminiscences," discussing his post-World War II plans.

An excerpt from physicist H.H. Barschall's "Reminiscences," discussing his post-World War II plans. by Sara Shepherd

“I was, however, able to help Kansas with their staffing problem by arranging for my first Wisconsin Ph.D., Worth Seagondollar, to join the faculty of the Kansas physics department as an assistant professor, the rank of instructor that I had at Kansas for two years having fallen into disuse,” Barschall wrote.

The Journal-World article also said KU students Joseph Kennedy and Ernest Klema were working with Barschall.

Also correct.

Kennedy, who earned his master's degree at KU, went on to head the chemistry and metallurgy division at Los Alamos, and co-discovered plutonium, according to his biography on the Atomic Heritage Foundation's website.

Klema, a student of Barschall's whom he discusses in his autobiography, completed his master's degree at KU and went to Princeton University to get a doctorate when his project was transferred to Los Alamos. Klema had a career in academia and went on to become a dean at Tufts University, according to Tufts.

These are only a few of the scientists with KU ties who worked on the Manhattan Project — some of whom KU attracted to its faculty after the war, even as Barschall was heading elsewhere. They include Barschall's student Seagondollar, Clark Eugene Bricker and William Argersinger. If your Internet spelunking turns up other names and links, go ahead and share in the comments below.

— Journal-World digital editor Nick Gerik contributed to this post.

Reply 1 comment from Kristine Bailey

Save the date: KU schedules McCollum Hall demolition

Kansas University has set a specific date for the demolition of McCollum Hall, which we previously reported would take place sometime this fall.

Demolition is scheduled for 7 a.m. Nov. 25, according to university spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson. Further details will be firmed up and shared at a later time, she said.

McCollum is big — 10 floors and three wings — so one can only guess its implosion (assuming that's the method used) will be dramatic. Nov. 25, a Wednesday, is the first day of Thanksgiving Break, so students residing in the other Daisy Hill residence halls should be gone for the weekend and safely away from the area by then.

In the meantime, KU is dismantling the building’s interior, including removing and donating old furniture and securing new homes for the McCollum brothers’ portraits that hung in the lobby for decades. KU also is accepting submissions and posting some McCollum memories online at housing.ku.edu.

When the big day gets closer, I'm sure we’ll have more information about things like road closures and what to expect. Stay tuned.

McCollum Hall on the campus of Kansas University, pictured on July 2, 2015.

McCollum Hall on the campus of Kansas University, pictured on July 2, 2015. by Nick Krug

Reply 2 comments from Keiv Spare David Holroyd

Former KU dean named president of University of Alabama

A former Kansas University engineering dean has been named president of the University of Alabama.

It’s actually a homecoming for Stuart Bell, who spent 16 years at the University of Alabama — first as assistant professor of mechanical engineering and, later, as department head — before he worked at KU, according to a University of Alabama announcement.

At KU, Bell was dean of engineering from 2002 to 2012. His time at the school included the construction of Eaton Hall and the attraction of several major engineering gifts. Bell left KU in 2012 to become provost and executive vice chancellor at Louisiana State University, a post he held until being hired at the University of Alabama.

Bell’s appointment as president of the University of Alabama began this month, according to the school’s announcement. He and his wife, Susan, have three adult children, Stuart, Stacy — a University of Alabama graduate — and Stephen.

Stuart Bell (photo courtesy of University of Alabama)

Stuart Bell (photo courtesy of University of Alabama) by Sara Shepherd

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Transgender KU grad’s story lands on unlikely stage: ‘Dance Moms’

“When I was your age,” a bearded and button-up clad Jay Pryor tells a handful of dolled-up young dancers, “my name was Janet.”

That’s from an online trailer advertising a new episode of “Dance Moms” featuring choreography inspired by the story of Pryor’s transformation from woman to man. The episode is scheduled to air tonight at 9/8c on Lifetime.

Pryor, a KU grad, lives in Lawrence with his wife and two children and works as a life-coach, including teaching women's empowerment seminars. (The Journal-World featured him in 2009 and quoted him in a recent story reacting to Olympian and TV star Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn.) He said his own journey included a suicidal period that landed him in a psychiatric unit and that he has had close friends commit suicide after changing genders. He said he hopes his story will help LGBT youth who are struggling and he's glad for the opportunity to share it with the millions of people who watch "Dance Moms."

"I'm also nervous," he said. "It's my life in front of millions of people. I'm feeling a little vulnerable. But more than anything I feel blessed by the opportunity to make a difference."

Here’s how Pryor’s experience meandered its way to what would seem the most unlikely of stages — a reality TV show featuring tweens in the competitive dance world, and their moms.

A few years back, Pryor shared his story when the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles stopped in Lawrence during a touring stage show inspired by the It Gets Better Project, which supports LGBT teens, he said. Eventually — after a follow-up with the director and some additional interviews — his story became the inspiration for an original song by Danish artists Kier and Sascha DuPont titled "Run, Run, Run," which the chorus performed during later stage shows. Show director Liesel Reinhart summarized in a Huffington Post blog last week: "The song is intended to capture the push and pull of forces that Jay experiences as a young trans person, first running away from something and then realizing he was running toward something else." "Dance Moms" took notice and picked the Pryor-inspired song for the show.

Pryor flew to Los Angeles, where he met the girls who would be dancing to his song (for you "Dance Moms" fans, they're from the Candy Apple's team). They'd never met a transgendered person, he said, but they were "so sweet," hardworking and talented dancers. During rehearsal, he not only saw the choreography but he also heard the song he inspired for the first time.

"I bawled like a baby," Pryor said. "I was very moved."

In the trailer, Pryor tearfully tells the girls about friends of his who committed suicide after struggling emotionally with their sexuality. “You guys are saving lives by doing this ... I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate that.”

Pryor isn't sure how much, if any, he'll appear in tonight's episode. But he was in Los Angeles for taping and saw who wins the dance competition — of course, he's not allowed to tell.

Jay Pryor

Jay Pryor

Reply 4 comments from Julia Rose-Weston Ginny Hedges Jennifer Alexander Aaron McGrogor

Through hell in 45 minutes: 5 questions with prof performing ‘The Inferno’ at Fringe Fest

Kansas University classics professor emeritus Stanley Lombardo’s dramatic reading of his translation of “Inferno” at this weekend’s Fringe Festival KC may be abridged, but he doesn’t leave out author Dante Alighieri’s famously ominous line, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Over the next 45 minutes — the max time allowed for Fringe performances — Lombardo, his drum and a walking stick will transport the audience through the 14th-century poem’s circles of hell, complete with sodomites wandering beneath an eternal rain of fire flakes and sinners in a frozen lake gnawing on one another’s skulls.

Not your typical poetry slam material.

We asked Lombardo a little more about himself and his unusual craft. Five things to know:

Former Kansas University classics professor Stanley Lombardo will give a one-man performance in “The Inferno” as part of Fringe Festival KC on July 18, 22 and 25 at Westport Coffee House.

Former Kansas University classics professor Stanley Lombardo will give a one-man performance in “The Inferno” as part of Fringe Festival KC on July 18, 22 and 25 at Westport Coffee House.

1 — Who is he?

Lombardo, 72, retired in May 2014 after 37 years at KU. He’s renowned for translating ancient epics. Since his own college days, he said, he wanted to write poetry and study Greek. He started with Homer.

2 — What does translation have to do with performance?

When it comes to ancient poets like Homer, a lot. “Homer composed for performance — for generations, it wasn’t written down,” Lombardo said, explaining that he takes that to heart in his written translations. “If it doesn’t work as a performance for me, it won’t work on the page ... I want it to come to life.”

3 — Why Dante?

Lombardo’s done a lot of Homer performances, but only excerpts here and there from Dante — nothing this “elaborate.” His director for “The Inferno,” KU theater professor John Gronbeck-Tedesco, suggested it. Plus, Fringe material has to be new.

4 — Favorite thing about performing?

“Occupying the mind of the original author in the most intimate way,” Lombardo said. “For me, translation has always been not just, ‘What do these words mean?’ but ‘What is the mind that produced this amazing piece of poetry?’”

5 — What else is he up to these days?

Translating “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” which has required studying Akkadian (an extinct east Semitic language). Also continuing to perform dramatic readings at colleges campuses across the country.


If you go

Lombardo will perform ‘The Inferno’ at 6 p.m. Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. July 25 at Westport Coffee House, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave. in Kansas City, Mo. Find a full Fringe schedule online at kcfringe.org. Read about other highlights in Lawrence.com’s latest Kansas City Connection column.


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Provost: KU planning for implementation of same-sex spouse benefits

For five years, Kansas University's University Senate has been studying the issue of domestic partner benefits, urging KU to offer them, and basically getting nowhere. The new U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage — obviously — is not a mere suggestion. It's causing real change, and swiftly.

Just three months ago I reported the University Senate was formally recommending that KU offer benefits to employees’ domestic partners, following a report from the Senate’s Domestic Partner Benefits Committee. At the time, I got the sense that senators didn't think that would happen anytime soon but they wanted their stance on the record, nonetheless. (Note that their recommendation was for domestic partner benefits because they wanted benefits for same-sex spouses as well as non-married partners, same or opposite sex.) A snip from that story:

“KU does offer a few benefits to domestic partners — including gym access and bereavement leave for various definitions of partners — but not the most valuable benefits, which are medical and dental insurance, according to the report.”

Back in 2010 we reported that the initial Domestic Partner Benefits Committee was launching its first study. That resulted in more or less the same conclusions and the same University Senate support — and also the same lack of real effect. Again, from my April story:

“The university has cited state and federal laws, as well as challenging tax and regulatory implications to providing domestic partner benefits, as roadblocks, according to the report.”

Enter the June 26 Supreme Court ruling that all states must legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Today, KU Provost Jeff Vitter addressed the issue of same-sex spouse benefits in his e-newsletter, saying:

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality affects University of Kansas faculty and staff, as well as our families, friends, and neighbors. Recent news reports highlighted that all 105 counties in Kansas will now issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. Today, we received the very good news that state agencies involved with revising policies are reaching out to clarify how and when benefits will be extended to spouses and dependents of state employees affected by the decision. Human Resources Management will share detailed information with faculty and staff as soon as it learns the date of implementation from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Division of Health Care Finance.”

So while paperwork may not be in order for employees to sign up today, it appears that at least for same-sex married couples the option is imminent — and no longer just a suggestion.

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KU faculty star in ‘idea’ sessions at next week’s Free State Festival

It’s as if an entire section of the Free State Festival was made for the academic types of Kansas University: ideas. KU faculty are populating a great many of next week’s three dozen or so “idea” sessions planned in conjunction with the Free State Festival — these people are experts on everything from flying drones to saving newspapers, from the reptiles of Madagascar to human geography as it relates to legalizing pot.

The Free State Festival idea sessions kick off Monday and are planned through June 28. Sessions include talks, panels and community forums. In addition to KU professors, featured speakers include faculty from other schools, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, some of Lawrence’s best chefs and even a couple world-famous people (George Clinton, for one).

Below are the first five sessions featuring KU experts. For a full schedule of ideas and other Free State Festival events, go online to freestatefestival.org.

Nerd Nite Lawrence is partnering with the Free State Festival to celebrate music, film and art.

Nerd Nite Lawrence is partnering with the Free State Festival to celebrate music, film and art.

Health Information Technology and Privacy

6-7:15 p.m. Monday at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St.

Featuring Norbert Belz, clinical assistant professor and director of the KU Medical Center’s Department of Health Information Management; and Lauren Pulino, clinical assistant professor of the Department of Health Information Management.

KU Research: Speed Dating Edition (in partnership with Nerd Nite Lawrence)

6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at Cider Gallery, 810 Pennsylvania St.

Featuring multiple KU experts in the areas of bumper stickers, Madagascar herpetology, Neanderthal jewelry and more.

High Profits: The Commercialization of Cannabis

7:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at John Brown’s Underground, 7 E. Seventh St.

Featuring Barney Warf, KU professor of geography and “a human geographer with wide-ranging interests.”

Kansas Startup Culture

7:30-8:45 p.m. Tuesday at Lawrence Arts Center

Featuring G.R. Underwood, president and COO of KU’s Bioscience and Technology Business Center; and Wallace Meyer, lecturer and director of entrepreneurship programs at the KU School of Business.

Technology in Higher Education

4:30-5:45 p.m. Wednesday at Lawrence Arts Center

Featuring James Basham, associate professor in the KU Department of Special Education.

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KU Office of Multicultural Affairs offering counseling, gathering today in response to Charleston church shootings

Kansas University's Office of Multicultural Affairs issued the following statement this morning in response to Wednesday's deadly shootings of nine black men and women at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

It is with heavy hearts that we issue this statement regarding the violence at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina last night. This act resulted in the loss of 9 lives and unspeakable hurt across the nation. We know that many of you may be in pain and we invite you to visit our office today, at any point, to speak with any of our staff members. Additionally, we will hold a community gathering at 12:15 in the SMRC lobby. This informal, unstructured time will be a space for reflection, conversation and meditation. A representative from Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) will be available during that time for anyone that would like to speak with a counselor.

As we move through the coming hours, days, weeks and months, please know the OMA is an affirming space for you to share your feelings and have critical conversation. The cumulative impact of this year weighs heavy, and we hope that we can provide a space for you to rest your burden, if only for a little while.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs is located inside the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center, 1299 Oread Ave., next to the Kansas Union.

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NASA grant will help get KU student’s drone radar system from lab to market

A few months ago when I was interviewing Kansas University student Lei Shi for a story about his research on radar technology for small drones, I couldn't help but ask things like, "Do YOU really see drones flying all over the place, delivering pizzas and whatnot, in the foreseeable future?"

Shi, an electrical engineering doctoral candidate, was optimistic but for a few significant problems, one of which he's working to solve. He is developing tiny on-board radar systems to help keep small commercial drones from crashing into things — one of the biggest safety concerns keeping such unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, mostly grounded by FAA regulations.

His invention just got a big boost toward getting out of the lab and onto the market, KU announced Tuesday. Shi and UAVradars LLC, the startup company he created to develop the technology, received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from NASA. According to NASA, such grants fund research, development and demonstration of “innovative technologies” that fulfill NASA needs and have potential for successful commercialization.

“In the near future, unmanned aircraft systems will be a multibillion dollar industry within the U.S., with uses in agriculture, film and photography, package delivery, search and rescue, and much more,” Shi said in KU’s announcement. “However, avoiding airborne collisions is a safety hurdle that must first be overcome.”

Six KU companies have gotten help submitting SBIR grant proposals through a new initiative at the university, and Shi’s company is the first of the group to secure one, according to KU. The SBIR Assistance Program, funded by a grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce, is a collaboration between KU Innovation and Collaboration and KU Bioscience and Technology Business Center.

Lei Shi, an electrical engineering doctoral student at KU, is designing on-board collision-avoidance radar for small drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Lei Shi, an electrical engineering doctoral student at KU, is designing on-board collision-avoidance radar for small drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). by Mike Yoder

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KU law professor running for KCMO city council

With the Kansas City, Mo., City Council election closing in, a Kansas University law professor appears likely to win a seat. Quinton Lucas, KU associate professor of law, is running to be the third district at-large representative on the council.

Lucas is a fourth-generation Kansas Citian who grew up poor in the city’s urban core, according to his campaign website. He earned academic scholarships to Kansas City’s prestigious Barstow School, then to college at Washington University and law school at Cornell University. After graduating from Cornell, he worked as a law clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Duane Benton and practiced commercial litigation with the firm Rouse Hendricks German May in Kansas City. He joined KU’s law faculty in 2012, initially as a visiting assistant professor, the school’s first in more than 30 years.

Lucas handily won the April primary with 48 percent of the vote, followed by Stephan Gordon with 14 percent, according to The Kansas City Star. He appeared on the June 4 cover of The Pitch, which called him “the most promising East Side candidate for City Council in two decades.”

KU policy says employees are free to pursue public office as long as it does not infringe on their job duties. But Kansas City Council is a time-consuming gig. I played message tag with Lucas this week hoping to ask about that, although according to the Pitch, if Lucas — who lives in an apartment in Kansas City’s Jazz District — wins he would have to surrender his tenure track at KU and reduce his hours.

Either way, the race will be decided soon. Election Day in Kansas City is June 23.

Quinton Lucas

Quinton Lucas

Reply 1 comment from

Devonté Graham projects as one of KU’s all-time great point guards

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4) gets in for a bucket against Kansas State during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4) gets in for a bucket against Kansas State during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

From time to time during Devonté Graham’s freshman season at Kansas, the young point guard exhibited the shooting, passing and decision-making of a veteran.

The 6-foot-2 lead guard from Raleigh, North Carolina, scored a team-high 14 points in his debut, came away with three steals against Florida in a comeback victory, didn’t miss a shot on his way to a career-high 20 points against TCU and got KU to overtime by hitting two clutch free throws late against West Virginia.

The floor general in the making, though, made his most lasting impression in the Jayhawks’ season-ending loss to Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32. Graham led KU with 17 points, pilfered five takeaways and knocked down three 3-pointers.

For a program that has suffered two consecutive early exits in March Madness, optimism abounds for Kansas heading into the 2015-16 season. The Jayhawks are expected to be just as good as — if not better than — any of the nation’s projected top teams, such as North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke, Maryland, Iowa State, Virginia and Arizona. The return of Graham, Perry Ellis, Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr., Brannen Greene, Jamari Traylor, Landen Lucas, Svi Mykhailiuk and Hunter Mickelson to go with another highly regarded recruiting class brings on those expectations.

At Kansas, one comes to expect significant individual improvements from season to season, and Graham has heaps of potential as a point guard. Just ask his coach, Bill Self.

“Devonté’s gonna be our next Aaron Miles,” Self proclaimed at KU’s end-of-season team banquet. “That’s what Devonté is. He’s Aaron, but can actually shoot it better than Aaron. A lot better than Aaron.”

Miles could be considered the last true point guard to start at Kansas. Most of Self’s primary ball-handlers through the years have played more like combo guards or scoring point guards.

How does Graham compare to Miles and other former KU ball-handlers? We’ve only seen one season of Graham, so it helps to narrow down the sample size for all the players in the discussion. Check out the NCAA Tournament numbers for Miles, Graham and every other lead Kansas guard to play a significant role during his freshman season in the past 15 years.

Each Jayhawk point guard is listed with the season of his tourney debut and the seed KU earned that year.

Kirk Hinrich — 2000, No. 8 seed

Kansas University players Kirk Hinrich, left, and Drew Gooden, try to steal the ball from Colorado's Jamahl Mosley. KU defeated Colorado, 84-69, to register the 1,700th victory in program history.

Kansas University players Kirk Hinrich, left, and Drew Gooden, try to steal the ball from Colorado's Jamahl Mosley. KU defeated Colorado, 84-69, to register the 1,700th victory in program history. by scott-mcclurg

• vs. No. 9 seed DePaul — 81-77 win (OT):

8 points, 3/4 FGs, 2/2 3s, 4 assists, 5 turnovers, 4 rebounds in 29 minutes

• vs. No. 1 seed Duke — 69-64 loss:

12 points, 4/7 FGs, 3/5 3s, 1/3 FTs, 6 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 rebounds in 28 minutes

— Averages: 10 ppg, 63.6% FGs, 71.4% 3s, 33.3% FTs, 5.0 assists, 4.0 turnovers, 3.0 rebounds in 28.5 minutes

Aaron Miles — 2002, No. 1 seed

Jayhawks Aaron Miles, left, and Keith Langford, hug each other in
the waning moments of Sunday's Midwest Regional final in Madison,
Wis.

Jayhawks Aaron Miles, left, and Keith Langford, hug each other in the waning moments of Sunday's Midwest Regional final in Madison, Wis. by Scott McClurg/Journal-World Photo

• vs. No. 16 seed Holy Cross — 70-59 win:

7 points, 3/8 FGs, 0/1 3s, 1/1 FTs, 1 assist, 5 turnovers, 2 steals in 36 minutes

• vs. No. 8 seed Stanford — 86-63 win:

8 points, 2/4 FGs, 0/0 3s, 4/4 FTs, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 4 rebounds, 1 steal in 25 minutes

• vs. No. 4 seed Illinois — 73-69 win:

13 points, 5/11 FGs, 1/3 3s, 2/2 FTs, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, 7 rebounds, 1 steal in 35 minutes

• vs. No. 2 seed Oregon — 104-86 win:

6 points, 2/10 FGs, 0/2 3s, 2/2 FTs, 8 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 rebounds, in 30 minutes

• vs. No. 1 seed Maryland — 97-88 loss:

12 points, 1/7 FGs, 0/4 3s, 10/12 FTs, 10 assists, 3 turnovers, 3 rebounds, 2 steals in 28 minutes

— Averages: 9.2 points, 32.5% FGs, 10% 3s, 90.4% FTs, 5.8 assists, 3.6 turnovers, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals in 30.8 minutes

Russell Robinson — 2005, No. 3 seed

Kansas University freshman Russell Robinson, right, drives against
Texas A&M's Dominique Kirk during a game Jan. 5 at Allen
Fieldhouse. Robinson and fellow backup point guard Jeff Hawkins are
battling for the right to be No. 2 off the bench behind senior
Aaron Miles.

Kansas University freshman Russell Robinson, right, drives against Texas A&M's Dominique Kirk during a game Jan. 5 at Allen Fieldhouse. Robinson and fellow backup point guard Jeff Hawkins are battling for the right to be No. 2 off the bench behind senior Aaron Miles. by Journal-World File Photo

• vs. No. 14 seed Bucknell — 64-63 loss:

Did not play

— Averages: DNP

Mario Chalmers — 2006, No. 4 seed

Kansas guard Mario Chalmers drives to the bucket against the Bradley defense in the second half.

Kansas guard Mario Chalmers drives to the bucket against the Bradley defense in the second half. by Nick Krug

• vs. No. 13 seed Bradley — 77-73 loss:

15 points, 6/11 FGs, 2/4 3s, 1/2 FTs, 0 assists, 5 turnovers, 3 steals, 3 rebounds, 5 fouls in 34 minutes

— Averages: 15.0 points, 54.5% FGs, 50% 3s, 50% FTs, 0.0 assists, 5.0 turnovers, 3.0 steals, 3.0 rebounds in 34.0 minutes

Sherron Collins — 2007, No. 1 seed

Kansas guard Sherron Collins lunges to the bucket above Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks during the first half of Sunday's second-round game against the Wildcats at the United Center in Chicago. Left is Kansas forward Darnell Jackson and right is Kentucky forward Sheray Thomas.

Kansas guard Sherron Collins lunges to the bucket above Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks during the first half of Sunday's second-round game against the Wildcats at the United Center in Chicago. Left is Kansas forward Darnell Jackson and right is Kentucky forward Sheray Thomas. by Nick Krug

• vs. No. 16 Niagara — 107-67 win:

15 points, 4/9 FGs, 2/3 3s, 5/6 FTs, 6 assists, 0 turnovers, 4 steals, 1 rebound in 20 minutes

• vs. No. 8 Kentucky — 88-76 win:

8 points, 4/11 FGs, 0/2 3s, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 rebound in 26 minutes

• vs. No. 4 Southern Illinois — 61-58 win:

2 points, 1/3 FGs, 0/1 3s, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 2 steals, 3 rebounds in 23 minutes

• vs. No. 2 UCLA — 68-55 loss:

0 points, 0/4 FGs, 0/1 3s, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1 rebound in 15 minutes

— Averages: 6.3 points, 33% FGs, 29% 3s, 83% FTs, 2.8 assists, 1.8 turnovers, 1.5 steals, 1.5 rebounds in 21.0 minutes

Tyshawn Taylor — 2009, No. 3 seed

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor charges up the court after a steal during the first half Friday, March 27, 2009 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor charges up the court after a steal during the first half Friday, March 27, 2009 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. by Nick Krug

• vs. No. 14 seed North Dakota State — 84-74 win:

8 points, 4/9 FGs, 0/1 3s, 0/1 FTs, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 2 rebounds in 27 minutes

• vs. No. 11 seed Dayton — 60-43 win:

3 points, 1/5 FGs, 0/1 3s, 1/3 FTs, 3 assists, 6 turnovers, 1 steal, 3 rebounds in 27 minutes

• vs. No. 2 seed Michigan State — 67-62 loss:

8 points, 2/4 FGs, 0/1 3s, 4/4 FTs, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 steal, 1 rebound in 28 minutes

Averages: 6.3 points, 38.8% FGs, 0% 3s, 62.5% FTs, 2.0 assists, 3.7 turnovers, 0.7 steals, 2.0 rebounds in 27.3 minutes

Elijah Johnson — 2010, No. 1 seed

Kansas defenders Thomas Robinson, left, and Elijah Johnson pressure Nebraska forward Christian Standhardinger during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2009 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Kansas defenders Thomas Robinson, left, and Elijah Johnson pressure Nebraska forward Christian Standhardinger during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2009 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. by Nick Krug

• vs. No. 16 seed Lehigh — 90-74 win:

0 points in 1 minute

• vs. No. 9 seed Northern Iowa — 69-67 loss:

Did not play

— Averages: 1 GP, 0.0 points in 1.0 minutes

Josh Selby — 2011, No. 1 seed

Kansas guard Josh Selby elevates for a bucket between Boston defenders Patrick Hazel, left, and Dom Morris during the second half on Friday, March 18, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Kansas guard Josh Selby elevates for a bucket between Boston defenders Patrick Hazel, left, and Dom Morris during the second half on Friday, March 18, 2011 at the BOK Center in Tulsa. by Nick Krug

• vs. No. 16 seed Boston — 72-53 win:

4 points, 2/6 FGs, 0/2 3s, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 2 rebounds in 15 minutes

• vs. No. 9 seed Illinois — 73-59 win:

0 points, 0/0 FGs, 2 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 rebound in 10 minutes

• vs. No. 12 seed Richmond — 77-57 win:

9 points, 3/9 FGs, 3/5 3s, 0 assists, 1 turnover, 3 rebounds in 17 minutes

• vs. No. 11 seed VCU — 71-61 loss:

2 points, 1/5 FGs, 0/3 3s, 0 assists, 0 turnovers, 1 rebound in 15 minutes

— Averages: 3.8 points, 30% FGs, 30% 3s, 1.0 assists, 0.5 turnovers, 1.8 rebounds in 14.3 minutes

Naadir Tharpe — 2012, No. 2 seed

Naadir Tharpe (1) launches a three-point basket to pull KU back to within 4 points in the first-half of KU's third-round game against the Purdue Boilermakers in Omaha, Sunday, March 18.

Naadir Tharpe (1) launches a three-point basket to pull KU back to within 4 points in the first-half of KU's third-round game against the Purdue Boilermakers in Omaha, Sunday, March 18. by Mike Yoder

• vs. No. 15 seed Detroit — 65-50 win:

0 points, 0/3 FGs, 0/1 3s, 1 assist, 2 turnovers in 13 minutes

• vs. No. 10 seed Purdue — 63-60 win:

3 points, 1/3 FGs, 1/3 3s, 0 assists, 1 turnover, 1 rebound in 4 minutes

• vs. No. 11 seed North Carolina State — 60-57 win:

Did not play

• vs. No. 1 seed North Carolina — 80-67 win:

Did not play

• vs. No. 2 seed Ohio State — 64-62 win:

Did not play

• vs. No. 1 seed Kentucky — 67-59 loss:

Did not play

— Averages: 1.5 points, 17% FGs, 25% 3s, 0.5 assists, 1.5 turnovers, 0.5 rebounds in 8.5 minutes

Conner Frankamp — 2014, No. 2 seed

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp puts up a three over Stanford guard Chasson Randle to get the Jayhawks within two points with less than a minute remaining on Sunday, March 23, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp puts up a three over Stanford guard Chasson Randle to get the Jayhawks within two points with less than a minute remaining on Sunday, March 23, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. by Nick Krug

• vs. No. 15 seed Eastern Kentucky — 80-69 win:

10 points, 3/6 FGs, 0/2 3s, 4/4 FTs, 4 assists, 0 turnovers in 25 minutes

• vs. No. 10 seed Stanford — 60-57 loss:

12 points, 4/8 FGs, 4/7 3s, 0 assists, 0 turnovers, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in 18 minutes

— Averages: 11 points, 50% FGs, 44% 3s, 100% FTs, 2.0 assists, 0.0 turnovers, 1 rebound, 0.5 steals in 21.5 minutes

Frank Mason III — 2014, No. 2 seed

Kansas guard Frank Mason dumps a pass inside against Stanford during the first half on Sunday, March 23, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Kansas guard Frank Mason dumps a pass inside against Stanford during the first half on Sunday, March 23, 2014 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. by Nick Krug

• vs. No. 15 seed Eastern Kentucky — 80-69 win:

2 points, 1/1 FGs, 0/2 FTs, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 4 rebounds in 9 minutes

• vs. No. 10 seed Stanford — 60-57 loss:

2 points, 0/4 FGs, 0/3 3s, 2/2 FTs, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in 22 minutes

— Averages: 2 points, 20% FGs, 0% 3s, 50% FTs, 3.0 assists, 1.0 turnover, 3.0 rebounds, 0.5 steals in 15.5 minutes

Devonté Graham — 2015, No. 2 seed

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4), left, celebrates in front of New Mexico State guard DK Eldridge (1) after the Aggies threw the ball out of bounds in the first-half of the Jayhawks second-round NCAA tournament game against New Mexico State Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. .

Kansas guard Devonte Graham (4), left, celebrates in front of New Mexico State guard DK Eldridge (1) after the Aggies threw the ball out of bounds in the first-half of the Jayhawks second-round NCAA tournament game against New Mexico State Friday, March 20, 2015 at the CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb. . by Mike Yoder

• vs. No. 15 seed New Mexico State — 75-56 win:

8 points, 2/6 FGs, 2/2 3s, 2/2 FTs, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 rebounds in 25 minutes

• vs. No. 7 seed Wichita Stte — 78-65 loss:

17 points, 5/13 FGs, 3/8 3s, 4/4 FTs, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 1 rebound, 5 steals in 29 minutes

— Averages: 12.5 points, 37% FGs, 50% 3s, 100% FTs, 3.5 assists, 2.0 turnovers, 1.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals in 27 minutes

Now let’s throw all those stats in one place to make things easier, and see which KU freshman point guards/combo guards truly performed the best.

Key: BLUE NUMBERS = Best in the group; RED NUMBERS = 2nd-best

KU Freshman PGs NCAA Tournament Numbers — 2000 to present
Player (year) GP PPG FG% 3% FT% APG TOPG RPG SPG MPG
Kirk Hinrich ('00) 2 10 64% 72% 34% 5.0 4.0 3.0 -- 28.5
Aaron Miles ('02) 5 9.2 33% 10% 90% 5.8 3.6 3.2 1.2 30.8
Russell Robinson ('05) 0 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Mario Chalmers ('06) 1 15 55% 50% 50% 0.0 5.0 3.0 3.0 34.0
Sherron Collins ('07) 4 6.3 33% 29% 83% 2.8 1.8 1.5 1.5 21.0
Tyshawn Taylor ('09) 3 6.3 39% 0% 63% 2.0 3.7 2.0 0.7 27.3
Elijah Johnson ('10) 1 0 -- -- -- 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0
Josh Selby ('11) 4 3.8 30% 30% -- 1.0 0.5 1.8 0.0 14.3
Naadir Tharpe ('12) 2 1.5 17% 25% -- 0.5 1.5 0.5 0.0 8.5
Conner Frankamp ('14) 2 11 50% 44% 100% 2.0 0.0 1.0 0.5 21.5
Frank Mason III ('14) 2 2.0 20% 0% 50% 3.0 1.0 3.0 0.5 15.5
Devonté Graham ('15) 2 12.5 37% 50% 100% 3.5 2.0 1.5 2.5 27.0

When you stack the numbers together, four guys stand out as the clear-cut leaders: Kirk Hinrich, Aaron Miles, Mario Chalmers and Devonté Graham.

Hinrich led in FG% (64%), 3-point % (72%) and took second place in assists (5.0) and rebounds (3.0).

Miles played in the most games (5), dished the most assists (5.8) and pulled down the most boards (3.2), while posting the second-best free-throw numbers (90%) and minutes played (30.8).

In his one tournament game as a freshman, Chalmers scored 15 points, swiped 3 steals and played 34 minutes to lead the group, and finished second in FG% (55%), 3-point % (50%) and rebounds (3).

Graham’s numbers look just as good as the ones posted by any of those other three guys. By the way, Hinrich, Miles and Chalmers all became some of the best Kansas players in recent memory. Graham hit 100% of his free throws to tie the departed Conner Frankamp for first, and had the second-best numbers among the 12 freshman point guards in points (12.5), 3-point % (50%) and steals (2.5).

Limiting the turnovers-per-game numbers to those who played at least 20 minutes, Graham’s 2.0 giveaways were only bettered by Frankamp (0.0) and Sherron Collins (1.8).

After playing in his first NCAA Tournament game this past March, in Omaha, Nebraska, Graham said staying loose keyed his performance on that stage.

“When you have fun,” he said, “a lot of good things happen.”

Graham didn’t didn’t just look comfortable, he stood out as someone who could change the flow and make a critical impact.

“As soon as the game started, as soon as I got on the court, after I got up and down, started sweating a little bit, I just felt like it was another normal game,” Graham said. “I’m not thinking about how big it is and all the pressure. You’ve just gotta be calm in that situation.”

Whether Graham starts or remains a key backup in his sophomore season has yet to be determined. KU’s summer play at the World University Games should heavily play into that decision for Self.

After averaging 18.1 minutes, 5.9 points and 2.1 assists as a freshman, all those numbers figure to increase in Graham’s second season at KU. Self likes what he has in Graham, and even if Mason keeps his starting spot the two easily could could play side-by-side for long stretches to give KU a pair of play-makers.

“When we’re in a game together, we’re always thinking: attack,” Graham said of teaming up with Mason. “It’s kind of hard to stay in front of both of us at the same time. We try and break the defense down, find the right guys open to pass it to — create for others and also ourselves.”

More playing time for a more experienced Graham should mean more success for the Jayhawks next season, as they try to get back to the Final Four for the first time since 2012. That KU team had Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson as point guards, and neither looked nearly as good his freshman season as Graham did.

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