Gold Laden Jayhawks Return to Lawrence
LAWRENCE, Kansas – Dark clouds and a delayed flight did nothing to dampen the golden glow of the medals around the Kansas Jayhawks’ necks as the members of Team USA returned to Lawrence and chants of ‘U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A’ at Hoglund Ballpark Wednesday evening.
The undefeated, gold medal winner of the 2015 World University Games was welcomed home warmly by a crowd who offered a standing ovation and loud cheers before Team USA and Kansas head coach Bill Self addressed the crowd.
“The guys played like men, against men,” Self said during his speech. “To think that we beat Canada twice, Serbia, Brazil, Lithuania, Russia, Germany – we really just had two games that were passes at all. They played for themselves, they played for each other and they also played for you.”
The Jayhawks’ return to Lawrence was delayed by nearly 30 minutes, which only heightened the anticipation for the crowd and for the team as it capped a 28-hour journey home. Kansas players and staff helped Team USA to an 8-0 mark and the nation’s first World University Games gold medal since 2005.
Wayne Selden, Jr., and Perry Ellis also spoke to the crowd, selected Self joked, because they use the fewest words and the team was tired. Self called Selden the best player over there, and the junior guard agreed it was a good way turn the page on the 2014-15 campaign and prepare for the next.
“It helps us all out,” Selden said to reporters afterwards. “We were all playing, all competing as a team. We saw guys step up in different types of ways over there and it helped everybody out.”
Outside of basketball, Self and Selden talked about the trip being a unique learning experience while spending time with 11,000 world-class athletes from 170 different countries in the athlete village. Selden noted playing cards with the Chilean basketball team and trading items with other athletes – like a sombrero for Jamari Traylor.
Kansas turns its attention to preparations for next season and Late Night in the Phog on October 9 in Allen Fieldhouse. With another tough non-conference slate, Kansas could potentially play 18 games against teams that competed in the 2014-15 NCAA Tournament – six outside of Big 12 play.
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