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Jayhawk Talk: A few of the top quotes from the week that was

Passion and spirit collide to bring you the most memorable words of the week from the world of Kansas athletics

5 min read
Kansas forward Hunter Dickinson had a monster night in KU's 89-84 win over Kentucky at the Champions Classic in Chicago. [Chance Parker photo]

Each week, we bring you the most memorable, and inspirational quotes from athletes, coaches, and sports personalities who are making waves for KU.

Quote #1

Kansas forward Hunter Dickinson

Nov. 14, 2023

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a 20 and 20 before, but obviously, when you got the best point guard in the nation, the best 3 [guard] in the nation, they really help me out a lot. When you have a really unselfish team that is more than willing to give you the ball, it helps a lot.”

Context: Hunter Dickinson has never recorded a 20-point, 20-rebound performance in his college career, with his most recent outing against the No. 17 Kentucky Wildcats being his first. Dickinson finished the night with 27 points and 21 rebounds, becoming the first KU player to record a 25-point, 20-rebound game against an AP Top 25 opponent in the last 25 seasons. 

In a tight 89-84 victory over the Wildcats, the Jayhawks got plenty of help on both ends of the floor from Dickinson, redshirt-senior guard Dajuan Harris Jr. and graduate senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr. The three combined for 62 points, 33 rebounds, 17 assists, four steals and two blocks, carrying KU to the win in the State Farm Champions Classic. 

Dickinson played almost every minute of the game, totaling 37:06 minutes of play, and he made the most of his time on the floor. The Michigan transfer shot 10-11 from the free throw line and converted 1-2 three-point attempts against Kentucky, leading the game in points scored and free throws made and attempted. 

Kansas managed to share the ball all night long, finishing with 22 assists on 28 made shots, with McCullar and Harris accounting for 17 of those 22 assists. Dickinson was the recipient of two assists from Harris and three assists from McCullar. 

McCullar finished with the third triple-double in Kansas men’s basketball history, while Harris finished with his career high in points scored in a game, adding in seven assists and tied his career high in three-pointers made in a game with five. 

Dickinson, Harris, McCullar and the Jayhawks begin the Maui Invitational on Nov. 20 against Chaminade at 8 p.m.

Quote #2

Senior safety Kenny Logan Jr. 

Nov. 15, 2023

“Coming here, I had always had the plan of changing the program up, being part of the change, so just being able to be here through the ups, the downs, the ugly, and then just to see where this program is going and just to see what this program has risen to, it’s definitely exciting and kind of sad to see. It’s my last time in the ‘old Booth’, but I’m trying to make sure it’s a great feeling and trying to make sure I can’t put too much on it. Just go out there and have fun with my brothers one more time.”

Context: Kenny Logan Jr. has been a staple of Kansas football’s defense since his very first year with the Jayhawks. Logan currently leads the team in total tackles on the season with 70, unassisted tackles with 46 while adding a forced fumble and a pick-six to his defensive contributions on the year. 

Coming off a loss to Texas Tech recording nine unassisted tackles, Logan looks ahead to his final game in David Booth Memorial Stadium against in-state rivals No. 23 Kansas State.

Logan has seen plenty of ups and downs during his time as a Jayhawk. In his first season with the team, Kansas finished the season 3-9 with just one Big 12 Conference win on the year. 

Before last season’s 6-6 finish, Logan had been a part of just five Kansas wins in the previous three seasons combined. The Jayhawks currently sit at 7-3 on the season, with more wins this season than Logan’s first three seasons in a KU uniform. 

After just 14 tackles in his freshman season with the Jayhawks, Logan quickly contributed 58 tackles, a forced fumble, one sack, and two interceptions in his next season. Logan has recorded 351 tackles during his five-season career with KU, with two regular season games remaining with Kansas. 

Logan earned a spot on the Paul Hornung Award, given to the most versatile athlete in college football, watch list for his third-consecutive season. Logan is a two-time all Big 12 safety and an all Big 12 honorable mention as a kick returner for the 2020 season. Along with his 351 career tackles, Logan has returned 54 kickoffs and five punts with the Jayhawks, with an 84-yard return being his longest of the 2023 season. 

Catch Logan and the KU seniors as Kansas takes on the Kansas State Wildcats Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. for Senior Night in the Dillons Sunflower Showdown. 

Quote #3

Freshman quarterback Cole Ballard

Nov. 11, 2023

“Just something that not a lot of guys get the opportunity to do it. I'm very grateful for it. I'm just going in and making sure I'm as mentally prepared as possible because obviously the backup doesn't get as many reps in practice. So you've got to be able to go in and learn from mistakes, learn from starters, mistakes. And Jason's been nothing but helpful to me and just a great mentor.”

Context: Cole Ballard received his first in-game action in a KU uniform on Nov. 11 when redshirt-senior quarterback Jason Bean left the game with an injury in the first half. Ballard was immediately thrown into the fire of a 10-point home deficit to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, taking his first snap with the Jayhawks already facing adversity. 

Despite the unexpected injury to Bean, Ballard managed to keep Kansas in the ball game until the very end before the Red Raiders marched down the field for a four-play, 63-yard drive to kick the game-winning field goal, taking down the Jayhawks 16-13. 

Ballard’s first drive at the helm of the KU offense started at Kansas’ 1-yard line, but the freshman led the Jayhawks down the length of the field and gave the offense a chance to score. After an 18-play, 93-yard drive that spanned nearly nine minutes of play in the second quarter, Kansas faced a first and goal at the 9-yard line, but couldn’t convert for a touchdown after a fourth-down stop from Texas Tech. 

Ballard finished the day completing 9-20 passes for 124 yards through the air, throwing one interception in the third quarter. The Jayhawks broke for a 60-yard touchdown run from junior running back Devin Neal to cut the deficit to just six points thanks to an option route between Ballard and Neal. 

After Neal’s touchdown finally put Kansas on the scoreboard, the Jayhawks forced two punts while converting two field goal tries themselves, tying the game at 13-13 before TTU ultimately came away victorious. 

Although Ballard couldn’t lead the Jayhawks to victory in his first time on the field, there is potential for him to start for Kansas against the Kansas State Wildcats on Nov. 18. Kansas offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki said that Ballard continues to impress with more reps during practice, adding, “His wittiness and decision-making is really rare for his age."

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