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

5 min read
Kansas QB Jason Bean (9) huddles up with the Jayhawks' offense during a home game during the 2023 football season. [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

Redshirt-senior quarterback Jason Bean

Dec. 20, 2023

"I just want to try to enjoy it as much as I can & make memories I’ll never forget.”

Context: As the Kansas Jayhawks near in on their final game of the season against UNLV, Jason Bean reflected on what the game will mean to him personally, being his final game in a KU uniform. Kansas plays in its second straight bowl game, this time in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl against the Rebels on Dec. 26. 

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Bean is no stranger to bowl appearances as Kansas played against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl just last season. That game turned out to be a triple overtime thriller, despite the 55-53 loss for the Jayhawks. 

While Bean attempted just one pass in that game, the experience from last year’s bowl game should keep the Mansfield, Texas native ready to go as he earned the starting nod against UNLV. 

Since junior quarterback Jalon Daniels has been sidelined since Sep. 30 against the Texas Longhorns, Bean has finished off a very impressive regular season thus far. In 11 games played, he has recorded 1,681 passing yards and 12 passing touchdowns, along with 259 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns

Bean led KU to big wins against teams such as No. 6 Oklahoma on Oct. 28, along with a 49-16 blowout over Cincinnati in the final regular season game. Kansas finished the season with an 8-4 record despite multiple injuries to the quarterback position, yet Bean remained the constant in the quarterback room all season long. 

While Bean and Kansas made for a memorable bowl game last season against the Razorbacks, Bean looks to make his own memories, this time on the field, against the UNLV Rebels. 

Kansas point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. [Chance Parker photo]

Quote #2

Point guard Dajuan Harris Jr.

Dec. 16, 2023

“I told him just send us home. I trusted him. Everybody on our coaching staff, our bench trusted him. ... We know he can make free throws and he stepped up like he’s supposed to.” 

Context: In just a two-point game, with the game on the line, graduate senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr. stepped up to take two clutch free throws with just 17 seconds remaining. McCullar knocked down both shots to extend KU’s lead to four points, inching that much closer to icing the ball game. 

After a layup from the Indiana Hoosiers brought the game back to within two points, Kansas gave the ball to the player it trusted most in that moment: McCullar. He was then fouled to attempt two more free throws, this time with just seven seconds left on the clock. 

To close out the game for the Jayhawks, McCullar once again knocked down two straight free throws, giving Kansas a four-point lead once again. Indiana missed a three-point jumper, and, fittingly, McCullar pulled down the final rebound as Kansas took home the 75-71 victory. 

While McCullar didn’t have the best game shooting the ball offensively, converting just 3-11 shots from the floor, there was no denying the impact he brought to the game. McCullar came up with multiple clutch shots, including four free throws in the final 17 seconds and a three-point shot to give Kansas a 67-64 lead with 3:29 remaining. 

McCullar finished with 21 points and converted 13-16 from the free throw line, adding six rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block to his stat line in a game that he took over the final minutes. 

KU's Holly Kersgieter during a recent home game at Allen Fieldhouse. [Chance Parker photo]

Quote #3

Super-senior guard Holly Kersgieter

Dec. 20, 2023

“I think people look at us, and they're maybe discouraged. They look at our record, and they think ‘man… what type of season are they having?’ ... I think when you really look at it, it's like, wow, you know, they're fighting. So, when we keep playing opponents like this, it helps us.” 

Context: In their final non-conference matchup of the regular season, the Jayhawks took on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Allen Fieldhouse, a rematch of last year’s WNIT Super 16 matchup. In last year’s matchup, Kansas took a 64-55 win to advance to the Great 8, where they eventually won the WNIT Championship. 

This matchup was no different for the Jayhawks, securing a 69-52 route of the Cornhuskers. Super-senior guard Zakiyah Franklin led the way with 16 points on 5-9 shooting from the floor, while three others finished with double-digit scoring numbers. 

Kansas’ defense showed its toughness against Nebraska, holding the Cornhuskers to just a mere 28.6% shooting from the field. Nebraska made just 18 shots in the entire game, draining 5-24 three-point attempts in the game. Super-senior center Taiyanna Jackson and junior guard Skyler Gill each had three blocks in the game, while super-senior Ryan Cobbins racked up three steals in the game. 

With a rather disappointing start to the season in terms of their 7-4 record, the players know that the record doesn’t show the whole story. With two neutral-site losses to AP Top-10 ranked teams to end the month of November in Uconn and Virginia Tech, along with two non-conference losses on the road, Kansas has had a rather tough schedule to begin the year. 

KU’s largest loss came to Texas A&M in an 11-point loss, with the other three losses all being by eight points or less. And with four Big 12 Conference teams currently ranked in the AP Top-25, the in-conference schedule will be no different in terms of strength for the Jayhawks. 

Having played two ranked teams already, Kansas now has the experience and will be battle-tested for plenty of tough Big 12 games to come. The Jayhawks start their in-conference schedule with a home battle against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Dec. 30 at noon. 

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