Kansas spends Wednesday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
Kansas players and staff visited the bridge of the USS Chafee Wednesday.PHOTO GALLERY
HONOLULU, Hawaii – It doesn’t take much to recognize the historical significance of a basketball match-up between Kansas and Indiana as the two blue blood programs tipoff the 2016-17 season on Friday, part of the State Farm Armed Forces Classic. The Jayhawks learned firsthand that the significance of the military tie to the contest is more than just name-deep, or special uniforms after spending most of Wednesday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
“It represents something far bigger than this two-game classic,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said when asked about the Jayhawks wearing the word ‘Honor’ on the front of their jerseys, while summing up the meaning of the event, “and hopefully brings some attention to what’s most important, and that’s the men and women who protect and sacrifice so much for our country.”
Kansas practiced for the first time since arriving in Hawaii, utilizing the facilities at the JBPHH Fitness Center to conduct a workout and team scout session Wednesday morning, the first of a full day of activities on base. At the end of the open session to military personnel, Kansas presented Air Force Colonel Renzi Smith and Navy Chief Anthony Cordova with a signed KU jersey.
From there, the Jayhawks shared a meal with servicemen and women at the Hale Aina Dining Facility adjacent to Hickam Air Field before touring the USS Chafee destroyer at Pearl Harbor.
The Jayhawks and Hoosiers met up in the theater at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor’s Center, where the two teams watched a documentary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and shared a ferry tour of the base which concluded with a visit to the final resting place of the Arizona.
Kansas then returned to a packed JBPHH Fitness Center to conduct a basketball clinic for kids, before closing the day with a team dinner.
“It was great, I think our players enjoyed all of it,” Self said. “It’s been a long day, but they were into it and certainly being on the destroyer was nice, but I think going on the tour prior to stepping foot on the USS Arizona Memorial was really cool, then actually being there was pretty humbling. It was very nice.”
The Jayhawks will practice again Thursday at the University of Hawaii Practice Facility before a shoot around in the Stan Sheriff Center, site of Friday’s contest, which will air on ESPN with a target tipoff time of 8 p.m. (CT). Michigan State and Arizona will clash in the game before, scheduled to start at 6 p.m. (CT).
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