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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

4 min read
KU quarterback Jason Bean hands the ball to Devin Neal, and both players, who were instrumental in KU's upset of No. 6 Oklahoma last weekend, made an appearance in this week's edition of our top quotes feature. [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

Oct. 28, 2023 after KU's upset win over No. 6 Oklahoma

“Yeah, you know, I think I've been here long enough for you all to understand just what that means to me,” Bean said. “And, you know the things that I've been through, the things this team has been through, this program has been through, this school and this state, it just means everything. To get that win against that school in that fashion, it's just huge for us.”

Context: At the conclusion of Kansas football’s upset win over the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners, redshirt-senior quarterback Jason Bean was seen emotional on the sideline. After senior cornerback Kwinton Lassiter deflected Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel’s pass out of the endzone, Bean took it all in alongside junior wide receiver Quentin Skinner and redshirt-senior offensive lineman Mike Novitsky.  

Bean led Kansas to a seven-play, 80-yard game-winning touchdown drive with just 0:47 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to take a five-point lead over the Sooners. Bean converted a crucial 4th and 6 try at Oklahoma’s 46-yard line with a 37-yard completion to junior wide receiver Lawrence Arnold, leading to a nine-yard touchdown run from junior running back Devin Neal. 

After playing for the North Texas Mean Green from 2018-2020, Bean transferred to KU and started at quarterback for the 2021 season. The Jayhawks finished the season 2-10 in the first season under Bean and head coach Lance Leipold before completely changing the program around. 

Kansas hadn’t had a season with more than three wins since the 2009-2010 season, where the Jayhawks finished just one win below bowl eligibility at 5-7. But in Bean’s second season with the team, he helped the Jayhawks finish 6-7, with an appearance in the Liberty Bowl back in December. 

Now, Bean is part of a 6-2 Kansas football program where he leads the charge at the quarterback position with junior quarterback Jalon Daniels still sidelined. 

Quote #2

Junior running back Devin Neal

Oct. 28, 2023 after KU's upset win over No. 6 Oklahoma

“I don’t think it has really hit me yet. You know, just being able to come to this university and do what I set out to do; not a lot of people get to do that. I think it’s a really surreal feeling for me. The first person I looked at was my parents because they knew how hard it was going to be, they knew the challenges ahead, but they were just so happy for me and so proud of me. I was just really excited to be able to do that for them.”

Context: Junior running back Devin Neal has been waiting for a win like Kansas’ upset win over No. 6 Oklahoma since he joined the Jayhawks back in 2021. Neal, a Lawrence, Ks native himself, has been leading the way on the ground for Kansas all season long. 

In just eight games played this season, Neal has already racked up 115 carries for a team-leading 771 yards on the ground. Neal also has seen the endzone seven times through eight games played, only behind redshirt-sophomore running back Daniel Hishaw Jr. with eight touchdowns. Add 196 yards through the air and a receiving touchdown and Neal has totaled 967 yards this season with four games left to play. 

Neal has been a staple for the Jayhawks since he joined the team two seasons ago. He was the first freshman Jayhawk ever to be awarded the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week and also received Honorable Mention to the All-Big 12 team in his first season. He received another Honorable Mention his sophomore year and was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 First Team this season. 

His family was in attendance for Kansas’ first victory over Oklahoma since 1997 — before Neal was even born — making the win extra special for Neal and his family. 

Quote #3

Redshirt-senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr.

Oct. 25, 2023 at KU basketball media day

“This game, it’s bigger than us. Basketball is bigger than us – all of us. It’s going to be great to go out and compete for a great cause and give back to Maui and help them because they’re going through real life stuff and we’re playing a basketball game.”

Context: The Illinois Fighting Illini hosted the Kansas men’s basketball team in an exhibition fundraising contest on Oct. 29, where the Jayhawks fell 82-75. All proceeds from the exhibition went to the Maui Strong Fund to help aid recovery efforts after wildfires hit Maui.

KU partnered with the Maui Invitational Hoops for ‘Ohana and the Maui Strong Fund to provide items and experiences for fans to bid on. Game-worn jerseys from the players, as well as merchandise and other experiences, were up for auction, with all proceeds going to support Maui in its relief efforts. 

Despite the loss in the exhibition contest, redshirt-senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr. had an impressive showing against Illinois. He led the team in scoring with 25 points and added eight rebounds and an assist to his night. 

Senior center Hunter Dickinson complemented McCullar with 22 points of his own and nine rebounds to lead the Jayhawks, adding two blocked shots for the game. 

Kansas came into the contest as the Preseason No. 1-ranked team in the AP Poll with all eyes on the Jayhawks’ fourth exhibition contest thus far. And although KU couldn’t come away with a win McCullar understood the true importance of the game being played, win or lose.

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