One-on-One With Conner Teahan
Feb. 22, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Ask redshirt senior Conner Teahan if he would rather walk on at the University of Kansas or take a scholarship anywhere else, and he would pick KU every time. Kansas basketball is in his blood and has been his whole life.
“I grew up about 30-35 minutes from here and I’ve always loved KU,” Teahan said. “I grew up watching KU basketball and I decided that if I ever had the opportunity to, my dad told me that if I could walk on, he would pay for my school so I decided to walk on at Kansas.”
Head coach Bill Self decided to give Teahan a scholarship for the 2010-11 season after all of his hard work. Teahan then decided that it would be best for him to redshirt this season to give him another year of eligibility. Even though he is restricted to practicing and staying on the bench during games, the team’s lows during the season still hit him as hard as any other player.
“My highs and lows go as the team goes,” Teahan said. “I like redshirting, it’s been fun for me, but it’s tough if we’re losing or after a loss so the low would definitely have to be the Texas game.”
After averaging 25 points in high school, Teahan had many opportunities to play immediately at other schools but KU seemed to be a better opportunity for him. Over the last four years, Teahan has not played many minutes on the floor for the Jayhawks but he knows he has a very important role on the team.
“During the games I try to keep the other guys encouraged depending on what type of situation we’re in,” Teahan said of his role on the team. “If we’re up a lot then I keep them focused and if we’re down, then I make sure they realize that we can get out of it. Practice wise, I just practice as hard as I can to try and make the team better every day. The practice squad has more of an impact than you think but it’s good for us because we have to practice as hard as we can to make them better.”
The transition for a high school athlete coming into a Division I school like Kansas is sure to be difficult. Teahan knew that his minutes would be limited his freshman year (2007-08) because of other great guards already on the team such as Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson and Sherron Collins. Those three guards led KU to a national championship and Teahan knew that his role for the team would be crucial in March and April.
At the end of his junior season last year, Teahan decided that he wanted to add a football jersey, shoulder pads and cleats to his KU attire. In the spring of 2010 Teahan began practicing with the quarterbacks in hopes of adding another letter to his letter jacket.
“I felt like I was a good football player in high school and I had an opportunity to play college football so it was one of those things where I wanted to give it a shot,” Teahan said of his decision to play football as well as basketball. “I always wanted to know what it would have been like to play college football and I wanted to be able to say that I at least tried so that 10 years from now I can say that I went out there, gave it a shot and put all of my effort into it. I had a great time doing it so it’s something that I’m definitely glad that I tried.”
However, after just three weeks of practicing and participating in the spring game, Teahan decided that it would be best to stick with basketball. The decision seemed to benefit him because he has since earned a scholarship.
“I was just a little too behind,” Teahan said. “I hadn’t played in three years and when you make football or basketball your life and then you get out of it, it’s hard to come back in and catch up. There’s a lot more terminology, just from high school basketball to college basketball, there’s so much more that you have to understand and get used to; and that’s how it is for football. Football might be even more in terms of studying because in basketball you can go out there and just play, but there is a lot more to football and it’s a lot different.”
On top of playing basketball and getting a degree in finance, Teahan decided to teach himself Spanish in his spare time.
“I bought Rosetta Stone this summer and I took Spanish in high school,” Teahan said of his desire to learn a second language. “Spanish was always something that I wanted to learn more of so I started to do that.”
With a lot more free time in the summer and a little bit during winter break, learning Spanish seems like an easy feat but once the season starts, a lot of Teahan’s time is spent in the gym or on the road.
“Honestly, since the season started it’s been a little tougher just because I haven’t had a lot of time,” Teahan said. “I was able to (study Spanish) over winter break but now that school has started up again, I have to put my effort into either basketball or school, so I’ve been trying to squeeze it in, but it’s been a little tougher than I expected.”
Teahan definitely seems to have it together when it comes to goals that he has set for himself. However, if you ask him about what he wants to do after graduation, he just buries his head into his hands like any college student because he really doesn’t know.
“I have to take one more class in June to graduate and I’m trying to decide, since I’m finance major, if I’m going to get my MBA in finance or if I’m going to try and get my accounting degree,” Teahan said. “I have no idea what I want to do after that to be honest. That’s one area where I feel so lost. I like finance a lot and I would like to do something where I work with people’s finances and help them to choose what stocks to invest in and stuff like that. As of right now though, I’m undecided as to what to do after I’m done with school.”
Teahan may not know what he will do once his academic days are over but he doesn’t dwell on it right now. He focuses on keeping a positive attitude about being a part of a close group of guys and being able to help out where he can.
“It was hard making the decision to redshirt,” Teahan said. “But I think that it was the right decision for me; I think this whole year has been enjoyable.”