Sleeping With The Enemy: The Jayhawks of Kansas

The weekend is over, but nothing will cure a case of the Mondays faster than thinking about your Georgetown fighting Hoyas taking the floor tonight at MIDNIGHT in the Maui Invitational.  Before we get ready to stay up all night, we here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you everything you need to know about Georgetown's next opponent. Special thanks to Rock Chalk Talk, the single greatest place on the internet for all of your Kansas Jayhawk needs, for providing answers to our hard-hitting questions.  Fellas, this Bud's for you.  After you're done reading this epic missive, check our answers to their questions here.  Away we go...

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Hoyas and Jayhawks will battle when the clock strikes 12. via www.opamerica.com

Obligatory Conference realignment question! How does Jayhawk Nation feel about the impending loss of the Mizzou rivalry in the Big 12? Where do you see Kansas in a few years?

I think at the end of the day we are all a little disappointed to see it go. It's a rivalry based on so much more than just sports and it has a history absolutely fueled by legitimate hatred for the other side. It will be missed and it's definitely bittersweet. Now we just get to cheer against them and hope that they fall on their faces in the SEC.

More fun with Kansas after The Jump:

 

Thomas Robinson is a DC kid now blowing up for KU. Self has consistently pulled kids from outside the area - aside from the tradition, what's so great about going to Kansas?

The fans, the campus, the University community, it's just a great place. I think it's easy to think Kansas and write it off as flat flyover country but if you spend a day in Lawrence you really are spending time in what I consider one of the best types of towns in the country. That type is a midwestern college town. They are small but big enough to have amenities and things to do because of the campus. They have a great energy to them and it's easy to feel at home.

For a basketball player I think the tradition probably gets the foot in the door and once they visit and see Allen Fieldhouse and the Kansas fanbase it's something to see. It truly is a WOW moment to go to a Kansas basketball game. Empty seats are rarely if EVER something you will see and the entire game is like one giant choreographed event. I'm biased, but I would put Kansas in a category with only a handful of others when it comes to college basketball environment and I'm surprised we haven't had the same recruiting success these past two years that we have in the previous 7 with Bill Self.

One story always recounted in recruiting discussions was Larry brown hiring Danny Manning's dad to land Danny. I've always believed that if a coach is willing to bring in a parent or AAU coach and deal with that nightmare during the season, that player better be damn good. Obviously, Manning delivered but Brown left under a swirl of NCAA investigation. Was that decision worth it? How about K State selling its souls for Beasley?

I don't think you'd find a Kansas fan that would ever say that landing Danny Manning wasn't worth anything and everything that Kansas did or tried to do. For one Ed Manning wasn't just some run of the mill AAU leach that attached himself to his son or some other player for personal gain. It was a different era than the Beasley time and Ed had played professionally and coached on different levels as well.

As for asking if it was worth it. We won a championship, had a no. 1 overall pick in the draft and Manning has now rejoined the staff, been a big part of the Lawrence community and a huge part in helping Kansas to develop a reputation as a destination for big men. Mario Chalmers also came to KU with his dad as an assistant. We won another title with him. It's illegal now, but when it was legal I had no problem doing it.

As for the Beasley thing, that was handlers, AAU connections etc. That is a situation that I don't think Self wants to get into. People have been asking for it since we missed on a few key recruits in recent years, but he seems to avoid that path.

That Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk chant that crescendos louder and louder is one of the most casual cheers from any student section. What's the prompt to start it?

It basically comes into play when the result of the game is no longer in doubt and Kansas is the victor. Now there is such a thing as doing it too early but generally speaking you'll hear it sometime in the final three minutes of a Kansas win. If Kansas is up 20 with 3 minutes to go you might hear it. If Kansas goes up three possessions with 9 seconds you might hear it. Basically whenever the fanbase feels confident about things.

What did you think of Jim Nantz's call of "Rock Chalk Championship!" after the win over Memphis?

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"Hello, friends." via static.sportressofblogitude.com

Loved the call. That was a great night for Jayhawk fans and I think he nailed it. They replay Mario's shot as part of a montage before games and I believe they have Nantz's call might be in there. Gives me chills. I need another one.

Georgetown struggles with student attendance because it plays in an off campus pro arena. Contrast that with the KU experience - how tough is it to get student tickets and what time do you begin drinking on game days?

Kansas students camp for seats beginning almost immediately at the end of one game for the next game. It's not as imposing as it sounds but basically you can have groups of 30 people, one representative has to be there and they call random roll throughout that time. Gameday everyone lines up, doors open and it's a mad dash for the best seats.

Minus the random opponent over a Holiday break the Kansas Student section is usually full within about 15 minutes of doors opening and it's a funny site because the rest of the Fieldhouse is still empty because those seats are assigned.

As for drinking, I honestly don't think there is a lot of drinking on basketball gamedays. Football is an event for drinking, basketball tends to get taken pretty seriously around there. Certainly there is drinking, but not tailgating etc like you would think of at a football game. You will see a lot of people walking the Fieldhouse and the Hall of Fame area checking out trophies, rings etc. It's like a museum and it is quite an experience.

Jeff Withey is the next Scot Pollard. Discuss.

Scott Pollard was much more polished from the get go. He was basketball savvy and I think with the prominence of AAU ball you don't have players roll in with the same fundamentals. I'd also say that Pollard was a more natural back to the basket post player. Withey should be, but he's not.

All that said Withey does look significantly improved so I guess we'll see what direction his career takes, but Pollard was one of a kind for a variety of reasons.

Speaking of Lawrence, if I'm in Lawrence, Kansas for 24 hours, tell me where to go and what to do for some casual food and entertainment. What is the best restaurant in town and what is the best bar to meet some homegrown Kansas ladies?

We did a whole series on this before football season so search "Best of" on our website and you'll find more detail. But in general if you head down to Massachusetts Street that is an area with bars, restaurants and plenty of people. There are also a couple of spots close to campus that are worth a try, the ESPN Gameday Crew (Bilas, Davis, Digger etc and Scott Van Pelt) are all huge fans of the Wang Burger at the Wheel which is a longtime tradition on the edge of campus.

I watched the Kentucky game the other night -- looks like Kansas would have been really good this year with a player like Georgetown's Otto Porter. How is your freshman class looking?

We had some struggles on the recruiting front this year so we're really looking at Naadir Tharpe representing our freshman class. He'll get plenty of playing time and he's looked VERY good at times so I think long term he'll be a player, but in general we're relying on upperclassman and some unproven talent. In theory we could be really good, but it will have to come at the hands of players who have put in their time.

The Kansas basketball tradition is clearly incredible. If you had to pick an all time starting five, who would it be? Would that team beat any other alumni team? I assume UNC and UCLA would definitely be trouble.

Wilt Chamberlain
Danny Manning
Paul Pierce
JoJo White
Darnell Valentine

That's your top five all time. I'm biased but I think they have a GREAT shot at taking on just about anyone. Size, scoring and defense.

Which loss was more disappointing - the 2nd round loss to Northern Iowa in 2010 or the Elite 8 loss to VCU in 2011?

I'd go VCU. We were the best team left in the field at that point. I think we win the whole thing if we don't stumble there.

We often have trouble defining a successful season in Hoya land. What do Kansas fans expect each year? Was 2010 a disappointing or successful season?

I think we struggle too. From a regular season and Big 12 standpoint we haven't had many seasons lately that weren't successful. Bill Self is a tremendous coach and he owns the league. It's the fact that the tourney seems to be the end all be all anymore that makes it tricky. In general though I think people keep it fairly well in perspective. 30+ wins and a Big 12 championship is success.

How would you rate the Bill Self era? Getting a national championship is always amazing, but is there a feeling in Lawrence that he should have two or three more? If you were starting a program tomorrow, would you want anyone other than Bill Self at the helm?

The ONLY thing I think people would like to see more of out of Bill Self is Final Four appearances. I think in this era it is very hard to set National Title expectations on a team. It takes a lot of luck and a few good bounces. You can be a team capable of accomplishing it, but setting the expectation at that level might be a bit much. Now Final Fours have been an expectation and Self has only 1.

He's delivered hands down on in a lot of areas and I wouldn't for a second question that he should and will be our coach for a long time, but we'd like to be playing in more Final Fours if I had one complaint.

Give me 25 or less words on your feelings about Roy Williams.

At this point I'm indifferent. 2008 exercised those demons. I don't necessarily want him to win, but he doesn't bother me.

What are your expectations for Kansas this year? Do you expect them to win the Big 12? I have to believe Baylor could really give them a run for their money.

This will be a fun year for Kansas fans for different reasons. We're going to get a chance to watch a team grow and develop an identity and oftentimes we walk into a season with high expectations and a defined identity. This year will be your classic "enjoy the ride" type of year. Those can be just as fun and sometimes more enjoyable than the high expectation seasons.

I do think we win the Big 12. Baylor recruits well but there are probably 8 coaches I would take over Scott Drew in the conference and between that and a full round robin meaning EVERYONE has to play in the Fieldhouse, I like our chances.

Aside from Robinson, who else do you expect to put up big numbers this year? Any freshmen poised to surprise? Is Tyshawn Taylor ready to be a solid senior leader?

I wish I knew. The common belief is that Robinson, Taylor and Elijah Johnson will have to lead but all three had struggles at times against Kentucky. The reality is that they have to lead and we will only come together as a team if they lead.

Who wins this game? What is the final score?

I'd be lying if I said I knew a whole lot about Georgetown just yet so all I can say is that if the Big 3 for Kansas can step up early and the Jayhawks can play defense the way they did in the first half against Kentucky, then I like our chances. I think it will be close though. 7 points one way or the other. Should be a fun game.

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