Jayhawks kick off 2018-19 with 34th annual Late Night in the Phog
Lawrence, Kan. – Late Night in the Phog once again started the men’s and women’s basketball campaigns off with a bang as the Jayhawks hosted the 34th installment of the season-opening event Friday night inside historic Allen Fieldhouse. The night was be full of skits, competition, and a performance by the popular music artist, 2 Chainz.
Students and fans started lining up for Late Night at 10 a.m., Friday as the Phog Festival kick-started the day with a host of activities. Music, food trucks, games, and even a custom basketball court headlined the event just before doors open for fans for the evening’s festivities.
To kick off the night’s activities, the NBA 2K tournament championship and the 3-on-3 men’s and women’s finals pitted KU students against one another on James Naismith Court. Following the championship presentations, 12 children from Big Brothers Big Sisters were gifted bicycles by Kansas student-athletes.
Both the women’s and men’s basketball teams were introduced to the crowd as they showcased their dance moves shortly after. Coaches and players from each team performed skits and took part in videos to showcase their dance moves.
Women’s head coach Brandon Schneider addressed the 16,300 fans and discussed how he is working to build his program into a postseason contender.
“If we stay healthy and continue to make progress, we are going to make the postseason,” Schneider said. “We can count on you guys to take us to another level, because we have the greatest fans in the country.”
Once the women’s team was introduced, the squad competed in a three-point contest. Shortly after, the team took to the court for a 10-minute scrimmage. The Jayhawks beat their practice squad, 31-12.
Moments later, it was the men’s turn to take center stage. The Jayhawks were honored with their 15th Final Four banner as they also added to their conference championships, unveiling a 14th-straight Big 12 banner.
Freshman forward David McCormack helped kick off his team’s dancing portion of the night, taking to the drum set in the KU pep band to play along to the song “All of the Lights”.
After a lively dance session from the Jayhawks, head coach Bill Self spoke to the crowd and let them know how much they mean to the program.
“I think we have the chance to be really special this year,” the 16-year coach said. “Everyone has to play a role and that includes you guys.”
It was then time to lace up the sneakers and get to basketball. The men took part in a skills challenge relay. They rode bicycles through obstacles, passed the ball into the net, threw t-shirts to the crowd and were forced to make a bucket. The group comprised of Quentin Grimes, Garrett Luinstra and Udoka Azubuike claimed victory.
Critically acclaimed rapper, 2 Chainz, then brought the 16,300 fans to a roar with a live performance that featured many of his hits.
The artist then took to the sidelines as an honorary coach while the Jayhawks went head-to-head in a 15 minute scrimmage. Redshirt sophomore K.J. Lawson led the Crimson team to a 46-37 win with an 11 point effort, going 3-of-4 from the 3-point line. Senior Lagerald Vick put up 10 points to lead Team Blue.
The Kansas men will meet Emporia State in a preseason exhibition on Thursday, October 25th at 7 p.m., from inside Allen Fieldhouse, while the Jayhawk women will square off in a preseason game against Fort Hays State on Sunday, October 28th at 2 p.m.
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