March 23, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Like countless other kids who grew up in the Midwest, Jordan Juenemann dreamed of one day playing basketball at the University of Kansas. Inspired by his parents’ love for the program and the star Jayhawks he watched on television, Juenemann knew early on that KU was his dream school.
Like other kids who grew up in the Midwest, Juenemann attended KU basketball camp in the summers. With a growing love for the program, he was finally able to experience game day at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time on New Years Day 2005. The memory of Keith Langford hitting the game-winning shot in overtime to defeat No. 9 Georgia Tech is something he will never forget.
Like other kids who grew up in the Midwest, Juenemann ultimately decided to enroll at KU. After a prolific academic and athletic career at Hays High School (he graduated with a 3.98 GPA and was a third team all-state selection in basketball as a senior), Juenemann came to Lawrence with the goal of making the basketball team as a walk-on.
On October 26, 2008, Juenemann and 16 others stepped onto the court in hopes of impressing the KU coaching staff at the open tryout.
“I wanted to be confident but I didn’t know if I would make it for sure,” said Juenemann. “I tried not to think that I wouldn’t make it.”
After two and a half hours of tryouts, the participants were released and told they would receive a call in a day or two. Juenemann nervously awaited the call, hearing nothing for the next 24 hours.
“The following Monday I got a call late in the afternoon and the coaches said that they wanted me to practice and that I was on the team,” he explained.
While Juenemann was ecstatic to here the news, it wasn’t until a few weeks later that he says he truly felt like a member of the team.
On November 11, the Jayhawks played their second exhibition game against Emporia State. With four minutes remaining in the game, Juenemann stepped on to James Naismith court for his first action as a member of the team. With the Jayhawks up big, Juenemann was able to get off three shots in his limited minutes.
Juenemann finished the night one-for-three from the field. When his jumper fell through the net the Allen Fieldhouse crowd erupted and Juenemann was all smiles.
“I just couldn’t believe that I scored,” said Juenemann. “Even though it was only an exhibition game it was such a great feeling with all of the fans there. With all of the hard work and dedication I put in, finally scoring was a great feeling.”
Coming from a town of 20,000 people, Juenemann’s story might seem like a fairytale for some. But for the others like him who grew up fantasizing about playing for the crimson and blue, Juenemann has some words of advice:
“I would say to believe in your dream. The opportunity I have here is amazing. I would say work hard and set your mind to achieve your goal in every aspect of your life.”
-written by Joel Meyer, media relations student assistant
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