🏀 Jayhawks Celebrate and Kickoff Basketball Season with Late Night in the Phog
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 38th annual Late Night in the Phog opened the Kansas men’s and women’s basketball season with a bang in front of a packed Allen Fieldhouse. The night featured a performance from DJ Diesel, various competitions, and a booming crowd.
The night began with a performance by the Kansas cheerleading squad. The team showed their skills and impressive tricks to bring the crowd to their feet. Shortly following the performance, the Kansas dance team joined them on the court for the Alma Mater and Rock Chalk Chant.
To really get the crowd involved and excited, the historical countdown video commenced. After an impact moment by Mitch Lightfoot and Chris Teahan, the hosts, Chris Miles and Katerina Kountouris, entered center stage with Big Jay and Baby Jay to continue the excitement.
Brothers Chris Teahan and Conner Teahan were brought to center court for the Teahan vs. Teahan challenge. The Teahan brothers battled to see who the better Teahan was in a three-point shootout. Connor Teahan was crowed champion of the brother battle.
It didn’t take long before the women’s basketball team was introduced to an electric Allen Fieldhouse. The crowd roared at the conclusion of the women’s basketball player introduction video and while each individual athlete was introduced to the Jayhawk fans.
Head coach Brandon Schneider addressed the crowd wearing a Lonnie Phelps Jr. jersey to show his appreciation for the football team and the excitement for the basketball season ahead.
“How about this incredible group of women on the court,” stated Schneider. “They are fighters. They are kind and they are going to do big things this season. They will be in the top 20. They will contend for a Big 12 title. Come this March, they will be prepared to make noise in the NCAA Tournament.”
The women’s team then transitioned to a scrimmage. They began their warmup before taking center court. Senior Taiyanna Jackson kicked off the scrimmage with a shot in the paint to get team white on the board. Junior Nadira Eltayeb followed up with a shot of her own. Team white took the lead 4-2 and never looked back. A turnover by Eltayeb and junior Chandler Prater allowed Team White to continue the stretch 8-4. A three-point jumper by junior Mia Vuksic was the first three-pointer made in the scrimmage. Senior Holly Kersgieter on team white forced a turnover and broke away from the pack for a layup. The 10 minutes ran out with the white team winning 19-10.
After the women’s scrimmage, men’s basketball head coach Bill Self spoke to the crowd about the high expectations he has for the Jayhawks this season. Soon the lights were dimmed, and the Jayhawk men’s team was welcomed on the floor.
“This night is to celebrate something fresh and new,” said Self. “At the same time, we’re the only school in America that gets to celebrate a national championship. Lawrence, Kansas has become the place to be. I am so excited about our five newcomers. They are all going to be really good players. It is so special that the last time we’ve celebrated like this is when some guy named Chambers made a shot from the three-point line. Before we turn the page on what was an extraordinary run, we turn all of our attention to what is going to happen in 2022-23.”
The KU band played while the men’s basketball team warmed up for their scrimmage to amp up Allen Fieldhouse.
The 15-minute clock began, and the Jayhawks took off. Team Blue won the tip off and scored a three-pointer from senior Michael Jankovich within the first 20 seconds. Team white tied up the scrimmage at five before a missed three-point jump shot gave team white an opportunity to score. KJ Adams Jr. was able to take the lead 7-5. With the game tied at seven, a turnover by sophomore Bobby Pettiford Jr. allowed number three, Dajuan Harris Jr. to score for team white. Soon enough team white was in the lead 11-7. Freshman Zuby Ejiofor on team blue dunked the ball to tie up the game at 11. With the clock winding down, team blue was in the lead 20-15 with six minutes left. Multiple turnovers by team white allowed team blue to maintain the lead. Freshman Ernest Udeh Jr. dunked the ball for team white to put them within three, 22-19.
At the final buzzer, Jalen Wilson shot a last minute three-pointer to take the scrimmage, 32-31.
The team teased the crowd before the $10,000 shot where two lucky crowd members can either shoot a half-court shot or pick someone from the men’s basketball staff or former KU player to take the shot for them.
The first fan was Emma Ryan, a sophomore from Prairie Village, Kansas. She chose Mario Chalmers to take the shot. On his first attempt, he unfortunately missed, however Bill Self was gracious enough to give her a second attempt. On his second shot, Chalmers drained it and won Ryan $10,000.
The second and final contestant was Yalone Woodruff, a junior from Henderson, Kentucky. He decided to take the shot himself. Woodruff had a few warmup shots before the $10,000 shot. Woodruff made the shot on his first attempt to win $10,000.
The first banner unveiling was a sight to be seen. A championship video played while Allen Fieldhouse anxiously waited for the curtain to fall, revealing the Big 12 Championship banner and Final Four banner. The fans roared as both curtains were removed.
Right after the banners were shown, the championship rings were handed out to the 2021-22 team.
It was the moment everyone had been waiting for, the unveiling of the 2022 national championship banner. Emotional videos played as all eyes were on banner. Slowly the curtain dropped, and Allen Fieldhouse erupted into cheers.
The history of Kansas basketball played on the videoboards to show fans what Kansas was all about.
To wrap up the night, Shaquille O’Neal, aka DJ Diesel, performed for the electric crowd in the Fieldhouse. Students and spectators chanted and danced to the upbeat music booming through the building.