There was a time, not that long ago, when the arrival of Late Night in the Phog was the greatest single day on the KU sports calendar.
Not only did it mark the official start of another basketball season but it also was always one hell of a party.
These days, with Kansas football capturing all kinds of attention and the date for Late Night being earlier and earlier, the annual basketball tipoff event has a way of sneaking up on people.
For instance: Did you know that Late Night is this Friday?
We did. And we’ll be there to capture some great photos and fun storylines from the 39th edition, which will feature the men’s and women’s basketball teams — both are entering the season with hopes of winning a Big 12 title — and musical guest Flo Rida.
Late Night is slated to start at 6:30 p.m., and Kansas coach Bill Self said Monday that he believed it was going to be another great event.
“It’ll be a fun night for everybody,” Self said. “We’ve got new lighting and a new sound system (inside Allen Fieldhouse), so, at least when Flo Rida plays at the end of the evening, we should be able to recognize a couple of words. Because in my mind the sound system hasn't been that great.”
Added KU senior Kevin McCullar Jr. of the annual tipoff: "It's super-fun. It's electric to be able to get back in front of the fans — the most amazing fans in the country. It's super-wonderful. I'm looking forward to it this year; we're supposed to dance a little bit and stuff, so we're learning our routine and things like that and I can't wait."
Friday’s event will provide Kansas fans with their first look at Australian freshman Johnny Furphy, who probably would’ve played a huge role on this team anyway but now almost certainly will, with Arterio Morris dismissed from the team following a recent arrest.
And Late Night will give us a second look at fellow-freshmen Elmarko Jackson and Jamari McDowell, along with newcomers Hunter Dickinson, Parker Braun, Nick Timberlake and the returners from last season.
As for the rest of our plans this week, the 17th-ranked KU volleyball team, which sits at 12-2 after a home sweep of No. 20 Houston last weekend, has a huge road trip on the horizon, with their final trip to Austin, Texas to take on the 8th-ranked Longhorns.
KU and Texas will square off Thursday and Friday from Austin, and, before they go, we’ll take a look at the history of that series and what it’s meant to the Jayhawks, along with a couple of fun player features.
There also will be plenty of KU football coverage, including a look at an important pregame duty that has taken on special meaning for one Jayhawk and some thoughts about the KU-UCF matchup in Week 6.
We’ll also keep a close eye on the status of KU QB Jalon Daniels, who missed last week’s game at Texas with lingering back tightness.
And we’re working on more soccer and cross country features, including one on a male runner, Chandler Gibbens, who was named the Division I Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Monday afternoon.
— For tickets to all KU athletic events, visit kutickets.com