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

4 min read
KU's Hunter Dickinson tries to chase down teammate KJ Adams as the team exits the floor one final time before tipoff of last week's home win over Missouri. [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

Senior center Hunter Dickinson

Dec. 9, 2023

“It was definitely a little different coming in having this be my first time. … I just tried to treat it like the Michigan State rivalry with Michigan when I was there. I tried to just get my mind in that mindset because the people here really don't like the people in Missouri. So it was fun. I thought it made for a great atmosphere, and a really competitive basketball game.”

Context: Hunter Dickinson showed out in front of the Kansas faithful in his first ever Border Showdown. The Michigan transfer finished the night off with 13 points and 16 rebounds, good for his sixth double-double in 10 games to start the season.

Despite ever experiencing the Border Showdown atmosphere, Dickinson compared the Mizzou-KU rivalry to the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, a rivalry he played in six times during his college career. Dickinson scored a career-high 33 points in a matchup against the Michigan State Spartans back on Mar. 1, 2022, adding nine rebounds, an assist and four blocks in that game.

Dickinson started off on the wrong foot in Kansas’ battle with the Tigers on Dec. 9, scoring just two points in the entire first half of the game. Even with the slow start, he managed to find his footing and dominate the paint the rest of the game.

Dickinson’s 16 rebounds, coupled with graduate senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr’s nine rebounds, totaled the same amount of rebounds as the entire Missouri team combined. The Jayhawks outrebounded the Tigers by 17 boards, and scored 14 more points in the paint than the Tigers as well, with Dickinson scoring eight of those paint points.

Dickinson will get to experience another long-time Kansas rivalry on Feb. 5 against Kansas State in the Sunflower Showdown.

KU guard S'Mya Nichols runs back on defense in a recent home game. [Chance Parker photo]

Quote #2

Freshman guard S’Mya Nichols

Dec. 10, 2023

“We’ve played a lot of tough teams that we came short, very capable of winning now. It was very important, especially when we were all hyped and excited. I hope we can bring that to practice and keep moving forward with it."

Context: The Kansas Jayhawks secured their first true road win of the season, taking on former associate head coach Terry Nooner and the Wichita State Shockers on Dec. 10. S’Mya Nichols had a career day and provided a big time performance to give KU the 76-56 victory.

Nichols was lights out from the floor all game long, finishing with a career high 23 points on 10-12 shooting from the field. Adding four assists, a rebound and a steal, Nichols led the charge for the Jayhawks to push their road record to 1-2 on the year.

With its other two road games against Texas A&M on Dec. 3 and against Penn State on Nov. 13, KU suffered two losses in close games facing former NCAA Tournament competitors the year prior. Nichols and the Jayhawks understood what was at stake facing the Shockers, especially against a former Kansas coach.

“It was really hype in the locker room, we were excited because obviously we wanted to come up with a win,” Nichols said. “We were just genuinely excited to see them in person, and I’m really close with the coaching staff here [at Wichita State], not even just Terry (Nooner) but Nick Bradford as well.”

The Jayhawks are gifted with three-straight home games inside Allen Fieldhouse, with their next matchup against Central Arkansas on Dec 16 at 4 p.m.

Quote #3

Junior forward KJ Adams Jr.

Dec. 9, 2023

“When Mizzou comes here, I think everybody’s amped up. We owe it to the fans to play our hardest and show them that this is more than just a game. This is a lot of stuff, this is history before us. And I think when you get in games like this, you just play your heart out for everybody who comes to watch us play and on TV.”

Context: During Kansas’ 73-64 win over the Missouri Tigers on Dec. 9, junior forward KJ Adams Jr. electrified the crowd with his performance. Hitting clutch shots when the Jayhawks needed them most, Adams kept his foot on the gas pedal all game long and lifted KU over Mizzou.

Adams tied for the team lead with 17 points on 7-13 shooting from the field, adding five assists, a block and two rebounds. Adams also converted 3-4 free throw attempts, good for a 75% clip in a season converting just 48.7% of his free throw attempts.

This isn’t the first time Adams has shown up in big moments for the Jayhawks this season, however. On Dec. 1 against the then No. 4 Uconn Huskies, Adams finished with 18 points, five boards and two blocks in a narrow 69-65 home victory.

During the game, Adams made 6-9 of his free throw attempts in the game, including the final two attempts with two seconds remaining in the game. Those two points essentially iced the game for Kansas, giving the Jayhawks the four-point lead they finished with.

Just like in the UConn game, Adams converted both of his free throw attempts with 1:48 remaining against the Tigers to give Kansas a comfortable 10-point lead. Adams made two shots in the second half against Missouri, including a thunderous chasedown block with 13:50 remaining in the game, igniting the crowd and giving Kansas the momentum.

Adams is no stranger to big time moments, and he showed the home fans that he left it all on the court in the Border Showdown. Catch Adams and the Jayhawks take on the Hoosiers on Dec. 16 at 11:30 a.m.

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