Entries from blogs tagged with “KU”

Who gets to use the N-word? Visiting lecturer gives his take

Thursday night I covered the University of Kansas Common Book keynote event featuring celebrated author and editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine, Jabari Asim. One of Asim’s books is “The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why,” and during the event’s Q and A portion an attendee aptly asked him for his thoughts on using the word.

Asim, who is black, said he does not believe blacks should have “ownership” of the N-word (despite at least one other national writer wrongly accusing him of saying they should).

“I’m not an absolutist,” Asim said. “I don’t believe speech should be banned.”

Asim says he considers whether use of the word would help expose racism or advance an agenda. There are instances where it’s appropriate to use the word, like history, scholarship, art and journalism, he said. “How can you engage the phenomenon of racism without engaging the language?”

Those quotes weren't in my event story in Friday's paper, but given the attention the word has recently gotten on the KU campus, I thought readers might like to hear what Asim had to say. (Background: A white professor’s use of the word during a class discussion on race led to a university investigation and the most viral story I wrote last year. No one at the lecture mentioned the Andrea Quenette incident; rather, to be clear, Asim was speaking generally.)

Jabari Asim, right, author and editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine, answers a question from professor Clarence Lang on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 at Budig Hall. Asim presented the fall keynote lecture for the University of Kansas' Common Book program.

Jabari Asim, right, author and editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine, answers a question from professor Clarence Lang on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 at Budig Hall. Asim presented the fall keynote lecture for the University of Kansas' Common Book program. by John Young

• Step inside the “Truth Booth”: On a somewhat related note, a giant bubble with the following self-described mission is coming to campus this weekend: “to represent and celebrate the world’s diverse people, cultures, and locations and capture as many definitions, representations, confessions, and thoughts on ‘the truth’ as possible.”

The Spencer Museum of Art, the Emily Taylor Center and Daisy Hill Commons are hosting a visit by the “Truth Booth” to KU. The inflatable, portable public sculpture with a video recording booth inside will be in front of Self and Oswald halls from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. Students are invited to tape two-minute videos completing the statement “The truth is...”

“We believe that bringing this project to KU, especially during the current campus climate, would be a great opportunity for students to comment on recent events on and off campus in a safe, honest format,” Spencer Museum of Art multicultural coordinator Sydney Gaylord said in an email letting me know about the event.


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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KUSports Extra: Previewing KU-Texas Tech & Late Night in the Phog

KUsports.com's Matt Tait and Tom Keegan dive into another week of Kansas football, volleyball and basketball and preview Thursday's nationally televised Big 12 opener at Texas Tech and Saturday's annual Late Night in the Phog.

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KU Student Senate asks donors to help fund election campaigns for underrepresented students

Last year, a group of minority and underrepresented students trying to establish their own separate “multicultural student government” at the University of Kansas cited unfairness in the current Student Senate election process as one reason such a body was needed. Among other things, they complained that the election spending limit was too expensive for all to afford.

There isn’t going to be a separate multicultural student government. But there is now something to help students secure more money to campaign for election to the existing Student Senate, starting in the spring: KU Endowment’s Equitable Student Elections Fund.

Senate leaders worked with KU Endowment over summer break to recruit donors and set up the fund, Student Body President Stephonn Alcorn said.

Money, administered through KU’s Office of Student Affairs, will help student coalitions meet the Senate’s current $1,000 campaign spending limit, according to a Senate news release summarizing the fund. Coalitions can receive up to $700, though they must raise at least $300 on their own first. Funding amounts will be based on the coalition’s percentage of candidates slated for the election.

“The purpose of this fund is to eliminate inherent monetary disadvantages and inequities in the Student Senate elections process,” according to the release. “This will allow for the broader participation of all students in student government, especially the voices of those most underrepresented.”

For context, Alcorn pointed out that up until a few years ago there was no cap on election spending and some coalitions spent $10,000 or even more. But, he said, $1,000 is still a lot of money.

“That number kind of still serves as a barrier,” he said. “It should really be about a student’s leadership experience and their ideas.”

How much money have donors ponied up for this cause? I asked, but KU Endowment representatives and Senate leaders declined to share the amount raised. Senate communications director Connor Birzer said, “We want to keep the integrity of the donors and students who will benefit from the fund.”

Alcorn said he was pleased with pledges so far and optimistic the effort will be a success.

The Kansas University student body president for 2016-2017 is Gardner senior Stephonn Alcorn, left, and the vice president is Providence, R.I., senior Gabby Naylor, right.

The Kansas University student body president for 2016-2017 is Gardner senior Stephonn Alcorn, left, and the vice president is Providence, R.I., senior Gabby Naylor, right.

KU Student Senate logo

KU Student Senate logo


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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KU Crime Blotter: Week of Sept. 19 through Sept. 25

The following incidents were reported to the University of Kansas Office of Public Safety between Monday, Sept. 19, and Sunday, Sept. 25. Incidents are listed by the dates they were reported.

Sept. 25

• Someone pushed over a motorcycle, damaging it, Sept. 25 in Lot 111, 500 block of West 11th St. Damages were estimated at $1,500.

Sept. 24

• Someone kicked a vehicle’s tail light, damaging it, about 2 a.m. Sept. 24 in Lot 111, 500 block of West 11th St. Loss was valued at $650.

Sept. 23

• Theft or loss of mislaid property happened Sept. 28 at the Chi Omega Fountain. The item taken was valued at $1,500.

• Someone cut a bike lock and stole a bike between Sept. 17 and Sept. 23 at GSP Hall. Loss was valued at $800. Damage was estimated at $30.

Sept. 22

• A bike lock was cut and the bike stolen from a bike rack Sept. 21 or Sept. 22 at Stephenson Scholarship Hall. Loss was valued at $700. Damage was estimated at $15.

• A cellphone was stolen Sept. 21 or Sept. 22 at Budig Hall. Loss was valued at $600.

Sept. 20

• Police found someone in possession of marijuana, paraphernalia and a fake driver’s license about 9:15 p.m. Sept. 20 in Lot 105, 1800 block of Engel Road. The person was arrested.

• Someone took another person’s vehicle without permission between Sept. 18 and Sept. 20 in Lot 111, 400 block of West 11th St. Loss was valued at $3,000.

Sept. 19

• During a search, police found someone in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia about 10 p.m. Sept. 19 at Hashinger Hall. The person was arrested.

• Someone took a laptop from an open area Sept. 19 at Hashinger Hall. Loss was valued at $200.

Source: crimereports.com, KU Office of Public Safety

KU Office of Public Safety patrol vehicle, pictured June 2016

KU Office of Public Safety patrol vehicle, pictured June 2016 by Sara Shepherd


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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Devonté Graham talks Late Night, recruiting

Kansas junior guard Devonté Graham discusses the importance of Late Night for the basketball program, especially in terms of recruiting.

While fans pack Allen Fieldhouse year after year for the preseason show to see skits, dancing and a little bit of basketball, Graham says a lot of the players’ focus on these weekends goes behind the scenes in showing recruits around and selling them on KU.

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Watch this space: Heard on the Hill is back

Astute Journal-World readers may have noticed something recently. And the ones who like reading my stuff might have been worried.

My byline has been MIA for a while, and so has Heard on the Hill.

Good news (at least for those in the “like reading my stuff” camp), I’m back. If you follow me on social media you already know this, but my husband and I welcomed our second baby — another girl! — in July. With baby 10 weeks old, chubby, happy, holding her head up and seeing well enough to be entertained by things besides my face, I came back to work a few days ago.

I was just in time for University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s big announcement that she’ll be stepping down next year.

My colleagues handled reporting the other big KU stories while I was out, including following the university’s budget situation and pending lawsuits related to campus sexual assaults. In coming weeks I’ll share in Heard on the Hill some other interesting things that transpired at KU since July, along with others that are sure to be unfolding each day.

Also while I was out, as you probably know a new company took ownership of the Journal-World. Fortunately for me, our new owners recognize how important covering KU is to this community and the state. Probably the biggest change to KU news coverage that you’ll notice as a result of that transition: Instead of calling the school Kansas University on first reference — as has been the Journal-World’s style for who-knows-how-long — my stories now refer to it as the University of Kansas.

First day back to work at the newspaper today! ...

First day back to work at the newspaper today! ... by Sara Shepherd

#sisters

A photo posted by Sara Shepherd (@saramarieshep) on

#sisters by saramarieshep


— I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.

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KU defensive end Dorance Armstrong not ‘one-trick’ player anymore

Dorance Armstrong, Jr.

Dorance Armstrong, Jr. by John Young

When the Kansas football team takes the field for the first time this season on Saturday night against Rhode Island, expect to see a new-and-improved Dorance Armstrong Jr.

When head coach David Beaty describes the sophomore defensive end as a “big rascal,” he isn’t joking. Listed at 225 pounds when he first arrived in Lawrence a little more than a year ago, the 6-foot-4 Armstrong has put on more than 20 pounds since. In Beaty’s terminology, the lineman no longer looks like a stick.

“He’s gonna be something to contend with,” Beaty predicted.

Armstrong certainly previewed his potential at times a year ago. In his first career start, against Oklahoma, he established personal freshman-season bests in tackles (six) and sacks (two). But there were plenty of games before and after that (he played in all 12) when Armstrong didn’t make as much of an impact.

“I loved it,” the Houston native said of of starting KU’s final five games of 2015. “It made me a better player. As I watch film on last year, what I did, I’m able to critique my game and focus on better things, what I can do to make myself better.”

Kansas defensive tackle Kapil Fletcher (90) and Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (46) bring down Oklahoma State running back Chris Carson (32) during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 at T. Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla.

Kansas defensive tackle Kapil Fletcher (90) and Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (46) bring down Oklahoma State running back Chris Carson (32) during the third quarter on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 at T. Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla. by Nick Krug

While preparing to become more of a force as a sophomore, Armstrong realized this past offseason he needs to use his speed more against the “bigger dudes” on opposing offensive lines and stay communicating with his defensive teammates to make sure they’re all on the same page when the ball is snapped.

Armed with that knowledge and a full offseason under the direction of strength and conditioning coach Je’Ney Jackson, the second-year defensive end from Houston feels much more equipped to help his team.

“I’m way stronger than I was when I first came here,” Armstrong said. “I’m able to do a lot more than what I was doing at first.”

Although a slight injury to his right leg inspired KU’s coaches and medical staff to keep him out of several early preseason practices in August, defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said the coaches never worried the time off would impact the start of Armstrong’s season.

“He’s a naturally gifted kid. He’s physically fit. He’s not a get-out-of-shape-and-get-fat kind of guy,” Bowen said. “Once he was able to start getting some reps back in he picked it up pretty quick. He had all those reps in the spring time, so learning’s not an issue for him. He was able to bounce back and get going strong again.”

In fact, Armstrong said that stretch of watching practice from the sidelines didn’t hold him back in the weight room.

“I hate I wasn’t able to play with the rest of the team for a few,” he said, “but as I was out I was with Coach Jackson. He made me do a lot of extra weight-lifting. I kind of gained something from it.”

As Armstrong rushes URI starting quarterback Wesley McKoy and goes after the Rams’ running backs near the line of scrimmage, he’ll do so with a larger repertoire of moves and higher expectations for himself.

Bowen, too, strongly believes KU’s talented defensive end will stand out throughout the season. In the coach’s opinion, Armstrong is the type of lineman capable of turning into the defense’s most valuable player.

“He has a very well rounded skill set for a defensive end. He has a pass-rush ability. He’s strong. He can play the run. He’s a legitimate Big 12 defensive end,” Bowen said. “He’s not just a one-trick guy. Last year early on that’s about what he was — he could rush the QB. But he’s built his his body up and the strength up now that he hangs in three and he can play all the techniques and play them well.”

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KU football unveils ‘insane’ new locker room

Kansas football players check out the team's new locker room for the first time on Aug. 28, 2016. (Photo by Jeff Jacobsen/Kansas Athletics)

Kansas football players check out the team's new locker room for the first time on Aug. 28, 2016. (Photo by Jeff Jacobsen/Kansas Athletics)

Just in time for the first game week of the season, Kansas football players on Sunday evening got to check out the team’s refurbished locker room for the first time.

Throughout preseason camp, the Jayhawks had to stay out of the space on the ground floor of Anderson Family Football Complex as the project reached completion. During that time, players instead used a renovated but old room underneath Memorial Stadium that coach David Beaty said “didn’t have a whole lot of ventilation.”

Needless to say, Beaty explained Monday morning on the Big 12 football coaches media conference call, the players were pretty excited to evacuate their temporary headquarters.

“I guess the word ripe comes to mind in terms of the way that room smelled,” Beaty said. “So I think they were looking for some relief from that, as well.”

KU’s second-year head coach thought the Jayhawks benefited from experiencing the past few weeks of practices, including some two-a-days sessions, in a less than desirable setting before introducing them to their freshly revamped, state-of-the-art locker room.

“But I think that allowed us to understand that’s not gonna make or break you. When we were able to walk into that room (Sunday night), I think the appreciation level was extremely high,” Beaty said. “You could tell just a sense of energy infused into our guys as they walked in there.”

The old locker room, built in 2008, received more than $2 million worth of upgrades, courtesy of KU football donors.

None by Kansas Football

A KU spokesperson said the overhaul isn’t quite totally complete, but the improved area will feature a new layout, redesigned lockers personalized for each player, an updated sound system and an illuminated Jayhawk on the ceiling.

Adjacent to the locker room lies the modernized players lounge, complete with a pool table, shuffleboard, foosball, air hockey, pop-a-shot, arcade games, a barber shop, cushy theater-style seats and big-screen televisions connected to video game consoles.

Since Beaty took over the program, he said the players have done everything the coaches have asked of them. Rewarding them with a revamped facility, he added, helps keep the Jayhawks’ focus on the team’s “stakeholders,” as the players try to give the fans a team that will make them proud.

“It was a pleasure to be able to open those doors (Sunday) and let those guys know how much they’re appreciated,” Beaty said, “and really being able to reinforce the fact that people care about them here and there is a commitment to football.”

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In a video of the players’ first steps inside their cutting-edge locker room, posted by KU Athletics, the Jayhawks show off some of their favorite parts of their new home. A placard above each stall features every player’s picture, name, number, hometown and Twitter handle. Each locker has spaces equipped to charge their phones and special filtered compartments to air out their cleats, shoes and shoulder pads.

“This is insane,” junior linebacker Joe Dineen said in the video. “This is a lot nicer than I expected it to be. A lot of room. Even like the little gadgets inside the locker are just insane.”

Dineen said the Jayhawks also got to have lunch with the donors who made the renovation possible.

Senior safety Fish Smithson said KU’s players lounge now probably ranks as one of the best in the country.

“This definitely helps out recruiting a lot,” Smithson said in the video, “’cause you know kids these days, they want to see what makes your program different.”

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Bill Self told KU football players they can build something special

Kansas head coach Bill Self applauds the Jayhawks as they widen their lead during the second half on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Kansas head coach Bill Self applauds the Jayhawks as they widen their lead during the second half on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. by Nick Krug

At the beginning of the month, when the Kansas football team reported to Lawrence for preseason camp, David Beaty invited another head coach on campus to give the Jayhawks a pep talk.

Behind closed doors, KU basketball coach Bill Self didn’t gloss over the football program’s struggles. He instead referenced the present as a place to start assembling a product that will make Kansas fans proud.

We know this now thanks to Time Warner Cable Sports Channel - Kansas City, which tweeted out a video of Self’s speech Thursday morning.

While Self hailed the importance of the football players being a part of the “Jayhawk family” he also informed them that he and the rest of the basketball program want to see them succeed.

“Get this in your head: We want you to win and win big,” Self said.

The way the 14th-year KU hoops coach explained it, the university’s storied basketball program has reached a place where their jobs as players and coaches are pretty obvious, and they’re constantly trying to match their historical predecessors.

“I’m never gonna be the best coach ever here,” Self told the KU football team. “Phog Allen coached here. And whoever we recruit is never gonna be the best player that ever played here. Hell, Wilt (Chamberlain) played here, OK.

“Our job is to maintain,” he continued. “You know what your job is? To build.”

While the first season under Beaty didn’t produce a victory, Self asked the players whether that difficult fall also served as the starting line for establishing a new culture.

“Now, deep in your core, if you’re worth your salt at all, would it mean more to you to be a builder or a maintainer? Think about it,” Self said. “Being a builder means maybe going 0-12 your first year, ’cause you don’t have as many bullets, all right? But being a builder is developing a culture. How are you gonna work? How responsible are you gonna be? How hard are you gonna study film? How good of leadership you’re gonna have. Are we gonna pick each other up? How good a teammate you’re gonna be. That’s the culture. That’s how you have a program.”

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Before wishing the Jayhawks luck in the coming months, Self rattled off some of the universities where basketball and football have had great success, referencing Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida and Michigan State. Then the basketball coach reminded the players it wasn’t that long ago that KU football was great, too.

“That means it can be done again. You guys agree?” Self asked. “There’s been some brothers pave the way before, OK. Now you’ll get to pave the way for future teams coming.”

If the players in the football program now can lay the groundwork for another successful run like Kansas experienced with Todd Reesing, Aqib Talib, Mark Mangino and company, Self said they too will be “remembered forever” and understand what it’s like to be a part of the “Jayhawk family.”

— Watch TWC Sports Channel KC’s entire video below.

None by TWC SportsChannel KC

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Former LSU receiver Tyron Johnson has KU connection

This is a strange new world for Kansas football.

Former Alabama players are transferring to play for the Jayhawks. Like THE Alabama. Not South Alabama. Not Alabama-Birmingham. The Alabama with Nick Saban and all those national championships.

First, former ’Bama receiver Daylon Charlot announced his intentions to move on to KU. Shortly after, former Crimson Tide offensive lineman Charles Baldwin did the same.

Charlot already has participated in preseason practices at KU and Baldwin is expected to do so soon. While neither Alabama transfer will be able to help Kansas win games until the 2017 season, they join junior receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez (Texas A&M), junior running back Denzell Evans (Arkansas) and senior linebacker Marcquis Roberts (South Carolina) as former players from the mighty SEC who have relocated to KU.

So what are we to make of this? Do we need to pay attention to every single SEC player who decides to move on?

No. But it’s at least an intriguing trend and another reminder that second-year coach David Beaty and his staff are doing the right things in recruiting.

Which brings us to the case of former LSU receiver Tyron Johnson. On Thursday, Johnson announced on Twitter he’s transferring from LSU. What does this have to do with Kansas? Funny you should ask.

FILE — LSU wide receiver Tyron Johnson (3) receives a pass during warm-ups before playing Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl NCAA football game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Houston. Johnson announced less than a month before the start of the 2016 season his intentions to transfer. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

FILE — LSU wide receiver Tyron Johnson (3) receives a pass during warm-ups before playing Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl NCAA football game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Houston. Johnson announced less than a month before the start of the 2016 season his intentions to transfer. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

Johnson, a sophomore who had nine receptions, 150 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers as a freshman, was a five-star receiver at Warren Easton High in New Orleans. If that school sounds familiar to you, it’s because first-year KU running backs coach Tony Hull used to coach there.

So a 6-foot-1 receiver ranked 11th nationally in the Class of 2015 who received scholarship offers from LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon and others is available.

I wonder if Kansas would have any interest in that kind of talented player?

Obviously this doesn’t guarantee anything for KU. Johnson seems to be the type of athlete who could choose to go just about anywhere in the country at this point, even if things didn’t work out for him at LSU.

But given Johnson’s connection with Hull and the way recruits seem to believe in Beaty and his staff, it’s definitely a plot worth watching.

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Piecing together KU football’s preseason progress thus far

Kansas linemen go through stretches as they warm up  during practice on Aug. 8, 2016.

Kansas linemen go through stretches as they warm up during practice on Aug. 8, 2016. by John Young

The Kansas football team is now a week into its preseason camp. How do the Jayhawks, who went 0-12 a year ago, look? Let’s try to piece some clues together.

Second-year head coach David Beaty, his assistants and the players meet with media for interviews a couple times a week in August. So that definitely helps. One can get a sense of the vibe at the football complex through those sessions and Beaty divulges enough that it’s easy to tell the Jayhawks are upbeat about their progress. All the while, the coaches are smart enough to know they haven’t made some miraculous turnaround over the course of one offseason that will have them contending for bowl berths this winter.

The trickier part in all this, though, is determining exactly how much more smoothly things are running during practices. Kansas lets media check out portions twice a week this time of year, but those only last around 15 minutes and include warmups and stretching.

That’s definitely better than nothing, but we’re not exactly watching the first-string offense and defense square off — at least not yet. On Monday afternoon, following some special teams work at the opening of KU’s first practice in full pads, red-shirt freshman quarterback Carter Stanley took the field for some reps and repeatedly handed off to junior running back Denzell Evans (the transfer from Arkansas). Evans ran low to the ground and picked up nice chunks of yardage each time.

Next came the most interesting play of camp thus far — during the windows open to the media at least. Freshman running back Khalil Herbert checked in and on his first touch the 5-foot-9 newcomer from Coral Springs, Fla., bursted up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown.

Kansas freshman running back Khalil Herbert bursts through the line and into the secondary  during practice on Aug. 8, 2016.

Kansas freshman running back Khalil Herbert bursts through the line and into the secondary during practice on Aug. 8, 2016. by John Young

Before the Jayhawks got back to their behind-the-scenes progress, sophomore running back Taylor Martin and junior QB Deondre Ford picked up a few yards on an option and Ford connected with sophomore receiver Tyler Patrick on a quick-hitter for a short gain.

Obviously it would be far more interesting to see how sophomore QB Ryan Willis, the favorite to start at this point, looks in Beaty’s Air Raid, as well as how the offense will incorporate the likes of junior receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez, senior running back Ke’aun Kinner and the rest of the skill players.

Maybe those peeks will come, but in the meantime we’ll have to rely upon KU-produced practice reports that are sent out to the media for nuggets of information.

Thursday was a two-practice day for the Jayhawks, and the first one began early in the morning. Here are the notes from that session, courtesy of the KU media relations department:

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  • Willis hit red-shirt freshman tight end Jace Sternberger for a 17-yard gain over the middle during 7-on-7

  • Willis found senior receiver Shakiem Barbel for 20 yards along the sideline

  • Red-shirt freshman receiver Chase Harrell jumped up to haul in a 25-yard pass form red-shirt junior QB Montell Cozart

  • Cozart came away with back-to-back touchdown passes — one to sophomore receiver Jeremiah Booker and another to Barbel

  • Sophomore receiver Daylon Charlot, a transfer from Alabama who will have to sit out this season, took several reps and has “speed to burn” and a “great work ethic,” according to the KU-produced report

  • The following defensive players recorded tackles for loss: senior safety Tevin Shaw, junior defensive tackle Isi Holani and sophomore defensive tackle Daniel Wise

  • Both Wise and senior linebacker Cameron Rosser had a sack

Kansas sophomore defensive tackle Daniel Wise (96) breaks past offensive lineman Joe Gibson and into the backfield to disrupt a running play during practice on Aug. 8, 2016.

Kansas sophomore defensive tackle Daniel Wise (96) breaks past offensive lineman Joe Gibson and into the backfield to disrupt a running play during practice on Aug. 8, 2016. by John Young

There you have it. KU’s first Thursday practice delivered some highlights, it sounds like. Of course, we don’t know the things that broke down for Kansas during the practice, because KU has no reason to include those in its press release, but it’s a starting point.

We’ll continue to try and fill in the blanks in the weeks to come. In the meantime, here’s special teams coordinator Joe DeForest speaking with new KU play-by-play man Brian Hanni about the the Jayhawks who will play critical roles in between possessions. DeForest says freshman Kyle Thompson and junior Cole Moos are battling for the starting punter spot, while incumbent place kicker Matt Wyman, a senior, is competing with junior Gabriel Rui.

Beaty and the Jayhawks will speak with the media on Friday, which also includes another peek into practice.

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Perry Ellis talks NBA Summer League experience and his future

After spending a few weeks in early July playing for the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA Summer League team, former Kansas basketball star Perry Ellis describes how his first few months as a professional have been different than his college experience.

“It’s different, you know,” Ellis says. “Everybody’s fighting for a job. When I got the opportunity, I tried to make the most of it when I was out there…

“It’s just all a process,” Ellis adds. “I just want to keep working and just keep fighting and try to get a place.”

Undrafted out of KU, Ellis, doesn’t have an NBA contract. Nor has he officially received an invitation to be a part of an organization’s training camp.

According to the four-year Kansas standout, he will weigh his options in the weeks ahead. Ellis says one possible path could be playing overseas.

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Healthy JaCorey Shepherd enters Eagles training camp inexperienced, but well educated

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback JaCorey Shepherd looks to catch the ball during practice at NFL football training camp, Monday, July 25, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback JaCorey Shepherd looks to catch the ball during practice at NFL football training camp, Monday, July 25, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

It’s been close to 20 months since JaCorey Shepherd last played in a football game. Yet the former Kansas defensive back feels more prepared than ever as he embarks on the first true season of his professional career.

Poised to start as a rookie nickel corner for Philadelphia last year, Shepherd tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in preseason camp and, instead, spent all of 2015 as an observer.

A 2015 sixth-round draft pick still awaiting to make his NFL debut, Shepherd at least sensed the next portion of his football life inching closer Monday, when the 23-year-old corner reported early to Philadelphia’s training camp.

“I never had to miss a season,” Shepherd told CSNPhilly.com upon arriving with rookies, quarterbacks and other returning players who finished last season on injured reserve. “I never had to really miss a game. Missed two games in college but other than that, I never missed anything.

“Game days were the toughest — sitting on the sideline and I couldn’t do anything,” Shepherd recalled. “Practice was tough, but I got used to it. But games? That was the hardest.”

Still, according to one Eagles veteran, Shepherd found a way to grow as a player while injured. Nolan Carroll told CSNPhilly former head coach Chip Kelly allowed wounded players to watch games on the sidelines and even travel with the team for away games. Carroll said he would leave the field after a series and always notice Shepherd listening closely as the secondary reviewed its performance and made necessary adjustments.

“You could see that he wanted to make the best of his situation,” Carroll shared, “and learn as much as possible, even though he couldn’t play. That’s not always easy for a young guy to do, but JaCorey, you could tell he just wanted to learn as much as possible.”

Although Kelly and Philadelphia parted ways following a 7-9 season, new Eagles head coach Doug Pederson retained defensive backs coach Cory Undlin, who kept Shepherd engaged as an inactive participant on game days.

“The older guys would always question me to make sure I was on my P’s and Q’s,” Shepherd said of Undlin’s approach, which allowed the rookie corner to absorb NFL-level defensive knowledge, “so that way when I got back, I had the mental part down and it was really just a matter of getting my feet down under me, and I’d be ready to go.”

The 5-foot-11 corner, as planned, arrived at preseason training camp knee-brace free. Shepherd told NJ.com he kept training in the brace back home up until the last couple of weeks. Now he feels like he’s back at 100 percent, just in time to fully prepare for the upcoming season.

"I'm just getting my groove back, getting my feet back under me,” Shepherd said. “It's really just learning the playbook. It's kind of different getting out there, making the calls and trying to be consistent.”

Of course, the competitor in Shepherd has him gunning for a No. 1 spot on the depth chart, too. He told The Inquirer he doesn’t want the Eagles to relegate him to a role within specific packages. He aims to win one of the starting spots as an outside cornerback.

"Hell, yeah. It's open, baby," Shepherd told The Inquirer of the competition. "No job is taken yet, and that's the way I'm going to attack it. Regardless of how many [defensive backs] we have in the room, I know I'm going for a starting spot."

None by Philadelphia Eagles

Surely the Eagles’ other corners will take the same approach. Along with Carroll, Philadelphia has Leodis McKelvin, Eric Rowe, Ron Brooks, rookie Jalen Mills, Randall Evans, Jaylen Walker and Denzel Rice to consider at corner.

"I pretty much think I can get out there and cover whoever," Shepherd said. "I'm big enough, fast enough. It's just getting thrown out there and playing."

A draft pick from the previous regime, Shepherd told CSNPhilly he can’t afford to worry about Pederson or new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz perhaps holding a different opinion of him than Kelly and other former staff members.

“All I can do is continue to do what I do, and control what I can control,” he said. “You know? That’s the way the game is. There’s always going to be competition. Frankly, I love competition, so that doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve never been worried about competition, and I’m not going to start now…

“If there’s not a job here, there’s a job somewhere else,” Shepherd added. “All I can control is give it my all on every play.”

If nothing else, Shepherd enters his second season in the NFL as a more patient player, thanks to his injury-forced apprenticeship.

“I feel like I’m a lot smarter than last year after sitting on the sideline for a year, having to pay attention and learn,” Shepherd said. “I feel like I’m a better player this year than last year, even though I didn’t play a snap.”

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Behind the scenes at Big 12 Media Days with Joe Dineen

Lawrence native Joe Dineen, who grew up watching Kansas football, represented his hometown program in Dallas at Big 12 Football Media Days this week.

Dineen, a junior linebacker, took pride in wearing a Jayhawk lapel pin on his suit and talking KU football with sports reporters from around the country, with teammates Montell Cozart and Fish Smithson by his side.

“It’s awesome for me,” Dineen said of the experience. “… I grew up (in Lawrence) and to be able to represent the school and my hometown, it’s a lot of fun.”

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Dineen’s Monday at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

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Golden memories: Relive the Jayhawks’ world championship in South Korea

In the summer of 2015, the Kansas men's basketball team captured the gold medal as Team USA at the World University Games in South Korea.

Journal-World photographer Mike Yoder followed the team throughout its stay in South Korea and compiled these highlights for the anniversary of the games:

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KU Sports Extra: Jayhawks at Big 12 Football Media Days

Second-year Kansas football coach David Beaty and three of his players — quarterback Montell Cozart, linebacker Joe Dineen and safety Fish Smithson — are in Dallas for Big 12 Football Media Days.

KUsports.com’s Matt Tait and Benton Smith preview what’s in store for the group of Jayhawks, as well as what we might learn about the 2016 season from the KU representatives this week.

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Wayne Selden Jr. trying to move past disappointment of going undrafted

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) reacts after a foul was called against the Jayhawks during the first half, Thursday, March 10, 2016 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) reacts after a foul was called against the Jayhawks during the first half, Thursday, March 10, 2016 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

Projected as a mid- to late-second-round pick after leaving Kansas a year early to enter the NBA Draft, Wayne Selden Jr. remained mostly silent in the days following what had to be a disappointing night for the 21-year-old guard, who watched from afar as 60 other players realized their dreams of being drafted into the world’s best basketball league.

In perhaps an even more surprising development for the undrafted Selden, no news regarding a free-agent deal or summer league assignment popped up for him after the June 23 draft, while his KU teammates Perry Ellis, Brannen Greene, Jamari Traylor and Hunter Mickelson filled out summer rosters for various organizations.

A week after posting a photo on Instagram of what looked to be a shot taken inside the Memphis Grizzlies’ locker room, Selden finally took to Twitter Friday afternoon to share what has been on his mind, as a pro basketball player in limbo.

“You know, I was real frustrated when I didn’t hear my name called on draft night,” Selden wrote in the note he posted, along with the hashtag: TrustTheProcess. “Something I worked my whole life for, something I dreamed of. But I didn’t just work to hear my name called, I worked and continue to work to have a successful NBA career.

“After draft night, I felt like everything I worked for was a waste and got real down,” Selden continued in the note. “But now as I sit back and put everything into perspective, I’m truly blessed to be in this position I’m in. I know there are others out there that would kill to be where I’m at.

“Growing up coming where I’m from, all we wanted was an opportunity, a chance,” Selden added. “And the Memphis Grizzlies did just that by giving me a chance. God bless.”

According to The Commercial Appeal, Selden will be a non-roster player with the Grizzlies, meaning he’ll be a part of their preseason training camp in the fall, and the organization will decide from there how or if they want to move forward with the former KU guard, who averaged 13.6 points and shot 38.3% from 3-point range during his junior season.

Selden is not playing for the Grizzlies’ summer league entry in Las Vegas, a couple months removed from a “small” meniscus tear in his right knee, which kept him from participating in drills and scrimmages at the NBA Draft Combine. So he can’t even use July as a springboard for something bigger a few months from now.

Obviously, this path to the NBA isn’t an easy one. Nor is it what Selden envisioned when he decided to leave Kansas a year early. But if the thoughts highlighted in his note are genuine, he at least now has harnessed the right approach to work toward making that dream come true.

Although, as the Commercial Appeal’s Chris Herrington’s projected Grizzlies depth chart highlights, Selden truly will have to impress Memphis to stick around, because they’re not desperate to add a wing. The Grizzlies already have Tony Allen, Troy Daniels and Jordan Adams at shooting guard, and Chandler Parsons, James Ennis and Vince Carter at small forward.

The process and timeline for Selden reaching the NBA appear to be lengthy. Perhaps now that he understands that, he’ll become even more inspired to make it happen.

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Andrew Wiggins reflects on how season at KU prepped him for NBA

Minnesota forward Andrew Wiggins, in Lawrence to co-host a youth basketball camp, says his one-and-done season at Kansas prepared him well for making the jump to the NBA.

“College teaches fundamentals and the basics of the game, and coach (Bill) Self taught me a lot,” Wiggins says, “whether that was help-side defense, cutting without the basketball… It was a lot of different things, even getting at it defensively. You know, he always challenged me to do better and be better.”

Headed into his third season in Minnesota, Wiggins also says he is excited to have a couple more former KU players joining him with the Timberwolves, with the offseason additions of Cole Aldrich and Brandon Rush.

“The best thing about it is now we get to play at the Sprint Center in the preseason and we get to play in front of the home crowd,” Wiggins adds.

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Ben McLemore ponders what-if of teaming with Andrew Wiggins at KU

Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore, back in Lawrence to co-host a youth basketball camp, discusses missing out on teaming up with the camp’s other marquee name and former Kansas star, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins.

McLemore, who played one season at KU, left early to enter the NBA Draft the season before Wiggins and Joel Embiid arrived on campus.

“It would’ve been crazy playing with Wiggins and Joel and stuff like that,” McLemore said Wednesday. “But things happen for a reason. We’re both in a situation where we can give back to the kids and (try to) be one of the top players in the league, and work on our games and get better and play the game that we love, and that’s basketball.”

In the fall, McLemore will enter his fourth NBA season since being selected seventh overall by the Kings in the 2013 draft. The 23-year-old St. Louis, Mo., native said his confidence has reached another level this offseason as he tries to take the next step in his career.

“This summer I’ve been working my butt off and preparing myself for this upcoming season,” McLemore said.

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Twins train hogs for Douglas County Fair

Video by Journal-World photographer Richard Gwin:

Twin brothers Lane and Tate Anderson, 13, walk their hogs "Big Large" and "Mr. Pig" Tuesday in preparation for the Douglas County Fair, which takes place July 25 to July 31. The Andersons are members of the Palmyra 4-H club.

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