WRITER: Matt Tait

Kansas junior Marcus Garrett's reputation as a lockdown defender dates back to elementary school

The first time Matt Watts realized his nephew Marcus Garrett could really play defense came when Garrett was 8 years old. Playing with kids his own age, for his uncle Nakia Gibbs’ parks and rec squad in Dallas, Garrett, now a junior at Kansas, wanted to make the jump to Watts’ team. One problem: Watts’ team featured players a lot older than Garrett, who on Wednesday was named college basketball’s ...

KU AD Jeff Long says cost-cutting measures not on the horizon for Kansas Athletics

Pay cuts taken by coaches in the Iowa State University athletic department this week will not be replicated at the University of Kansas for now, KU Athletic Director Jeff Long said. Despite the financial impact of cancellations brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, Long said Thursday he was confident that Kansas Athletics Inc., KU's nonprofit corporation, would complete the school year with a balanced budget. ...

KU junior Marcus Garrett named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year

Kansas junior Marcus Garrett on Wednesday backed up his status as the best defender in the Big 12 Conference by winning the national 2020 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award. Garrett beat out Duke’s Tre Jones, Kentucky’s Ashton Hagans and Baylor’s Mark Vital to win this year’s title as the best defensive player in college basketball. The announcement was made just after 11 a.m. on a live stream ...

KU signee Bryce Thompson still a McDonald's All American despite cancellation of annual all-star game

Future Jayhawk Bryce Thompson will go down in the KU record books and media guides as a McDonald’s All American — but unlike All Americans in years past, he won’t get the chance to play in the annual high school showcase game. The McDonald’s All American game, which was originally slated for Wednesday night in Houston, was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I kind of expected it because ...

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike earns first team Senior CLASS All-American honor

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike has added another honor to his long list of accolades from the 2019-20 season. Already the Big 12 Player of the Year, a multi-time All-American honoree and the NABC’s Defensive Player of the Year, Azubuike on Tuesday picked up a first team All-American distinction from the Senior CLASS Award. Marquette’s Markus Howard was the recipient of this year’s Senior CLASS Award, ...

KU's Udoka Azubuike named NABC Defensive Player of the Year

One week after watching teammate Marcus Garrett become a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award, KU senior Udoka Azubuike on Monday received national hardware for his work on the defensive end of the floor. The National Association of Basketball Coaches named Azubuike the top defender in the nation this year for his dominance on the glass and as a shot blocker. In 31 games, the 7-foot ...

Kansas coach Bill Self follows up live-tweeting performance with new feature dubbed 'Self Perspective'

Long after leaving Kansas following his senior season, former KU point guard Devonte’ Graham is still finding a way to rack up assists for the Jayhawks. And his most recent dime went to his former head coach. A week or so after Graham went viral by watching clips of past KU games and providing commentary on his shots, thoughts and the action in the video, Kansas coach Bill Self did the same thing. Sort ...

Former KU All-American Ben McLemore joins movement to provide N95 respirator masks to hospitals in need

Former Kansas All-American Ben McLemore is putting his heart and free time toward providing N95 respirator masks for doctors and nurses who need them. Working on behalf of the Kevin McLemore Foundation, named after his late brother, McLemore and his manager, Hazem Al-Gibaly, have reached out to manufacturers worldwide to help fund the production of new masks that will aid in the fight against the coronavirus. ...

Production, planning for annual NCAA Tournament often a 9-month process

The decision to cancel this year’s NCAA Tournament may have been made in a matter of days, but the move wiped out nearly a year’s worth of planning by those who broadcast the games. Bob Dekas, an 11-time Emmy winner who served as the lead producer for college basketball at CBS Sports for nearly three decades, recently gave the Journal-World a look at the work that goes into putting America’s favorite ...

Future Jayhawk Bryce Thompson named Oklahoma's Gatorade Player of the Year

The national Gatorade Player of the Year awards were released Thursday and a future Jayhawk was included among them. Bryce Thompson, a combo guard out of Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, Okla., was named the 2019-20 Gatorade Oklahoma Boys Basketball Player of the Year. The 5-star guard who signed with Kansas last November also won the honor as a junior last year, but he turned in an even stronger senior ...

Local golf courses adjusting operations during coronavirus crisis

Golfers will need a membership to one of the local country clubs to get out on the golf course during the next few weeks, and even that comes with limitations. As of Wednesday, courses at Lawrence Country Club and The Jayhawk Club remained open to members, while the city’s lone public 18-hole golf course, Eagle Bend, had been closed in compliance with the recent stay-at-home order designed to slow the spread ...

NABC names KU's Azubuike, Dotson to All-American teams

Tuesday morning brought yet another set of honors for Kansas basketball standouts Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson, who both were recognized by the National Association of Basketball Coaches for their strong 2019-20 seasons. Azubuike on Tuesday was named an NABC first team All-American after averaging 13.7 points and 10.5 rebounds for the Jayhawks this season and leading the Big 12 with 15 double-doubles. The ...

Azubuike, Self receive votes for AP player, coach of the year

Dayton’s Obi Toppin and Anthony Grant swept the Associated Press’ player and coach of the year honors, the AP revealed Tuesday. But a couple of Jayhawks factored into the voting by the 65-person panel, as well. Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike received two votes for AP Player of the Year and Kansas coach Bill Self picked up one vote for AP Coach of the Year. Topppin received 34 votes while Iowa’s Luka ...

Postponement of Tokyo Olympics impacts KU, local athletes and coaches

Many athletes who were looking forward to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo had mixed feelings when the games were postponed a year, but for swimmer and former Lawrence resident Michael Andrew, the biggest emotion was relief. Andrew, who called Lawrence home from ages 11 to 19, had been training in Encinitas, Calif., in hopes of qualifying for the games. But then the coronavirus pandemic shut down local pools and even ...

Marcus Garrett named Defensive Player of the Year finalist

With the Big 12 Conference honor already in his trophy case, Kansas junior Marcus Garrett now has his sights set on bigger things. On Monday morning, the Atlanta Tipoff Club named Garrett one of four finalists for the 2020 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award. Given annually to the best defender in college basketball, this year's winner will be revealed on April 1. Joining Garrett as finalists are ...

Matt Tait: KU AD Jeff Long attempting business-as-usual approach in 'incredibly awkward times'

You don’t expect to hear the words “incredibly awkward times” come from the mouth of a college administrator with three-plus decades of experience who prides himself on having seen just about everything. Yet, Monday afternoon, on a Zoom videoconference from his home office, there was Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, still decked out in a suit and tie, trying to explain the impact of the coronavirus ...

Matt Tait: Coronavirus crisis forces 3 local teams to push pause on noteworthy streaks

Of all of the unexpected sports ramifications of the coronavirus crisis, learning how people define streaks ranks right up there as one of the wildest. Ever since the NCAA decided to shut down March Madness a little more than a week ago — say that out loud until you believe that it’s been 10 days and not 10 years since that decision was made — I’ve been asked, on pretty much a daily basis, whether the ...

Kansas standouts Azubuike, Dotson named 2nd team AP All-Americans

After teaming up to guide the Kansas basketball team to a 28-3 record and the likely No. 1 overall seed in the canceled NCAA Tournament, Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson on Friday earned second-team Associated Press All-American honors. The Associated Press All-America Team was selected and voted on by a media panel of 65. According to the AP's report, Dotson and Azubuike both received more than 20 first-team ...

Introducing 'Self Madness 2020'

Just because the 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled because of the coronavirus does not mean that Kansas fans have to miss out on their annual bracket fun. I’m sure many of you have seen — or even filled out — the fast-food bracket, the binge-watch bracket or even the 64 greatest moments of the NCAA Tournament bracket that have been circulating during the past week. They’re fun. They help pass the ...

Kansas to open 2020-21 season with all-time Self winning streak in sight

As most of you probably know, the top-ranked Kansas men’s basketball team ended the 2019-20 season on a 16-game winning streak, which is tied for the third longest stretch of consecutive victories in the Self era. The Jayhawks did not get the chance to extend that streak by playing in this year’s postseason, but if you’re the type of person who likes to look for silver linings, the unfortunate end to the ...