WRITER: Benton Smith

No longer 'starstruck,' former KU thrower Mason Finley heads to 2nd Olympics with big goals in mind

Nearly five years ago, when it was time for Mason Finley to make his Olympics debut in Rio de Janeiro, the former University of Kansas thrower discovered the stage felt even larger than he had imagined. Now that Finley knows what to expect, though, he anticipates a different experience awaits him in the men’s discus next week in Tokyo. “I remember going to the ’16 Olympics and seeing all of my idols ...

Player-led practices, studying video clips crucial parts of summer for KU football

With the start of preseason camp in early August on their minds all summer, Kansas football players have made sure to invest much of their down time in preparing on their own for the first practices of the Lance Leipold era. According to a couple of the team’s leaders, the Jayhawks are resolutely supplementing their typical offseason strength and conditioning workouts and staff-led meetings and video review. ...

KU football veterans say defense needs 'pretty young' corners to 'play big'

Not one of the three players who started at least one game at cornerback for the Jayhawks last year will even be on the roster when the Kansas football defense makes its 2021 debut in the fall. Potential KU super-seniors Elijah Jones (Oregon State) and Kyle Mayberry (Utah State) opted last winter to transfer out of the program. And then, following the spring semester, Karon Prunty (South Carolina) exited via ...

Jayhawks understand no quick fixes exist for Lance Leipold's rebuilding project

Since Lance Leipold agreed to take on the renovation project that is the Kansas football program, the team’s newest head coach said he has come to appreciate the excitement his players have for the new staff’s vision, which he hopes will make the Jayhawks consistent winners. Eventually. “I think there's no simple quick fixes in building a program or in rebuilding a program,” Leipold said during Big 12 ...

Lance Leipold and KU football prepping for preseason amid abnormal circumstances

In each of his 14 previous years as a head coach, Lance Leipold headed into his team’s preseason camp with a wealth of knowledge about the program’s personnel and a strong handle on what he and his staff could expect from most of the players once practices began. Leipold’s first summer in charge of the Kansas football program brings with it an entirely different set of circumstances. Usually, Leipold said ...

Veteran Kwamie Lassiter II expects some young KU football WRs to step up

Now entering his sixth season with the Kansas football program, super-senior Kwamie Lassiter II has seen plenty of receivers come and go through the years. During his interview session at Big 12 media days this week, the veteran leader told reporters what makes some of his current younger teammates stand out. After teaming up with veteran receivers Andrew Parchment and Stephon Robinson Jr. the past couple of ...

Lance Leipold and Jayhawks unable to attend Big 12 media days

Arlington, Texas — Day two of the Big 12 Conference’s football media days commenced Thursday morning at AT&T Stadium without Kansas head coach Lance Leipold and the two Jayhawks who were scheduled to join him. Severe weather back in Lawrence, where KU’s private jet was set to take off and carry the program’s representatives down to the event, prevented the jet from taking off as planned. Leipold ...

Lance Leipold waiting to truly assess KU football's QB competition

Arlington, Texas — For most college football coaches, it’s never too early to talk about a quarterback competition. But as Kansas head coach Lance Leipold explained Thursday during Big 12 media days, his ability to forecast the race ahead for KU’s QBs remains far from fully informed. Unable to attend the summer media event in person at AT & T Stadium due to weather conditions in Lawrence that ...

Notebook: Jayhawks see Lance Leipold's presence already making a difference for KU football

Arlington, Texas — In the roughly two and a half months the Jayhawks have been around their new head coach, even though they haven’t yet practiced under Lance Leipold's watch, Kansas football players are starting to learn about Leipold's persona, expectations and approach. “I like Coach Leipold. He’s real laid back,” super-senior receiver Kwamie Lassiter II said, “and he just wants to see everybody ...

Former Buffalo LB Rich Miller expected to showcase abilities, leadership with KU football

If Kansas football linebackers coach Chris Simpson is correct, the best days of Rich Miller’s college career are just ahead of him, heading into Miller’s first season with the Jayhawks. During his first two years playing for Simpson and head coach Lance Leipold at Buffalo, the linebacker from Detroit took on a small but important role as a reserve within the unit’s rotation. The speedy Miller appeared in ...

Unexpected path still led to Olympics for former KU track star Bryce Hoppel

Bryce Hoppel’s string of successes in the 800 meters over the past couple of years made a trip to the Tokyo Olympics seem inevitable for the former University of Kansas track star. But his path toward qualifying turned more dramatic than Hoppel was counting on when he suffered an injury just a month before the U.S. Olympic Trials. While gearing up in late May to leave for the adidas Boost Boston Games, Hoppel ...

Former Michigan reserve LB Cornell Wheeler transferring to join KU football

A former Michigan reserve linebacker who’s not far removed from receiving a four-star grade as a high school prospect, Cornell Wheeler announced on Monday he’s transferring to the University of Kansas. “Blessed to be a Jayhawk,” Wheeler tweeted. “(Let’s) work.” Wheeler spent just one season with the Wolverines after signing with Michigan in the Class of 2020, when Rivals rated him as a four-star ...

'Back to work': Jalen Wilson announces he'll return to KU basketball for sophomore year

Exactly what the Kansas basketball roster might look like next season became a little more clear on Friday, when Jalen Wilson announced he will return to Lawrence instead of embarking on a professional career this summer. One of three Jayhawks to test the NBA waters this offseason, Wilson became the first to make a decision on what will come next for him, while KU and head coach Bill Self still await ...

Trio of KU football true freshman DBs made most of early enrollment in spring

Throughout a spring practice schedule filled with uncertainty for the Kansas football program, a few of the youngest players on the roster discovered ways to shine through the transition. Before the Jayhawks found their head coach in Lance Leipold, along with some assurances about what lies ahead, the names of three true freshman defensive backs — safeties OJ Burroughs and Jayson Gilliom and cornerback ...

KU football coach Lance Leipold wants Jayhawks to have 'fullest opportunities' in new NIL era

Thursday marked the dawning of a new era for college athletics, with the NCAA clearing the way for athletes to make money off their names, images and likenesses without violating any rules. Exactly how that will impact football players at the University of Kansas remains to be seen. While at a high profile program such as Wisconsin, starting quarterback Graham Mertz had a personal logo ready to be trademarked ...

4-star Class of 2022 big Zuby Ejiofor commits to KU basketball

A high school big man in demand in Big 12 country and beyond, Texas prep Zuby Ejiofor committed to play his college basketball at the University of Kansas. In recent weeks, Ejiofor, rated a four-star prospect in the Class of 2022 by Rivals, visited TCU, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, as well as KU. But the 6-foot-8 big from Garland, Texas, announced on Thursday night he wants to play for the Jayhawks. “I am ...

Report: Former KU coach Larry Brown returning to college hoops as Memphis assistant

A former national championship-winning head coach at the University of Kansas, Larry Brown is once again returning to the college ranks, this time as an assistant, according to a report from The Athletic. Most recently the head coach at SMU, Brown reportedly is set to join Penny Hardaway’s staff at Memphis as an assistant. Brown has been away from the college game since 2016, when he finished a four-year run ...

Assistant Chris Simpson won't learn all he needs to know about KU football LBs until preseason camp

Although Chris Simpson is coming up on the two month anniversary of when he became the new linebackers coach for the University of Kansas football program, Simpson still will need a little more time before he has a better feel for his position group. Other than Rich Miller, whom Simpson coached for two years at Buffalo before the UB reserve linebacker transferred to KU this summer, Simpson’s next time ...

Latest ESPN mock draft doesn't include any Jayhawks

If the latest projections from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony are correct, there won’t be any Jayhawks selected in the 2021 NBA Draft. Fresh off last week’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, Givony updated his mock draft and the newest version published at ESPN.com doesn’t include University of Kansas early entry prospect Ochai Agbaji who went through testing, drills and played in a scrimmage setting at the ...

WR Trevor Wilson, OT Michael Ford Jr. youngest of KU football's Buffalo transfers

Among the six former Buffalo football players who transferred to Kansas this summer, following head coach Lance Leipold, two could become mainstays within the Jayhawks’ offense over the course of the next few years. While Leipold also expects the KU offense to immediately benefit from the presence of former UB starting center Mike Novitsky, two younger transfers — receiver Trevor Wilson and offensive ...