Banner unveiling, ring ceremony to be focal point of Kansas basketball’s Late Night in the Phog

photo by: Nick Krug

Big Jay leads the way as the Jayhawks take the court on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Each season, for the past 20 years, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self has looked forward to starting a new season with the buzz and pageantry of Late Night in the Phog.

This year, though, Self is anticipating the event almost like never before.

“(This) will be the best Late Night we’ve had since 2008,” Self said Thursday. “Late Night is special for a lot of reasons, but it’s primarily to tip off a new season. This year’s Late Night’s special for a totally different reason, you know dropping a banner and having guys get national championship rings. Those don’t fall off trees. That’s something that every university would take great pride in and certainly we’ll do that (Friday).”

Late Night 2022 will feature all of the things Kansas fans have learned to love about the event. There will be scrimmages from the KU men and women, skits and videos that show off the personal side of the players and coaches and entertainment, this time in the form of Shaquille O’Neal, aka DJ Diesel, performing a set to close the night.

But the focal point, and certainly all of the anticipation, will fall squarely on unveiling the 2022 national championship banner inside Allen Fieldhouse and presenting championship rings to members of last year’s team.

Many of those players are on the 2022-23 roster. Some of them (Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and David McCormack) have gone on to play professional basketball and will not be in attendance on Friday night. And four more players (Mitch Lightfoot, Remy Martin, Chris Teahan and Jalen Coleman-Lands) who were on last year’s title team will be able to join the fun.

“I think (we’re) just ready,” sophomore forward KJ Adams said Thursday. “Everybody from last year’s just ready to get that ring. I feel like we’ve been waiting a whole year for it. So I’m just excited to watch the banner drop and get our rings.”

The rings will be a surprise to most of the players. Adams said the younger guys have not seen them. Self added that last year’s seniors, along with director of scouting, Brennan Bechard, helped design the rings, and that he was looking forward to adding to his vast collection on a night that serves as “a great way to honor last year’s team and introduce this year’s team, as well.”

KU women’s coach Brandon Schneider also said his team stood to gain a lot from the event.

“Going into any Late Night, when you feel like you’ve got a good team, is exciting,” Schneider said.

Schneider said the women’s program was expecting the number of recruits and their families to exceed 140 and none of them are in town on official visits.

The KU men’s program’s number is significantly smaller and Self and company also are not hosting any official visitors this year.

“It’s a really exciting time for us to showcase our program, our facilities and the kind of juice that can be created in Allen Fieldhouse,” Schneider added.

KU junior Chandler Prater said she was looking forward to Late Night because it offered her team, which is coming off of its best season in nearly a decade, a chance to show fans more than just their basketball talents.

“This is an opportunity to show (fans) our personalities,” Prater said. “You’re definitely going to see a lot of personality from our individuals.”

Late Night is slated to begin at 6 p.m. Those not in attendance can see portions of the evening through a live stream on the Official Kansas Athletics App. The women will scrimmage at 6:40 p.m. The men will scrimmage at 7:30 p.m. And the banner unveiling and ring ceremony will go off at approximately 7:55 p.m. before Shaq takes the floor to finish the party.


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