Two huge wins for the Kansas basketball teams — one at home and the other on the road — were the highlight of the week for the Jayhawks.
But there were a couple of other performances off the hardwood that also stood out last week.
All of that will be celebrated in this week’s Monday Morning Wheaties.
You’ve seen the tomahawks on the back of the Florida State helmets, the buckeye tree leaves on the Ohio State helmets and the paw prints on the back of the Clemson helmets.
Each Monday, we take one last look back at the week that was and hand out different amounts of the iconic breakfast cereal to the Jayhawks’ top performers.
So, be sure to come get your Monday Morning Wheaties and feel free to hit up the comments section — subscribers only for now — with any players you feel we might’ve missed.
Picture on the box
• Freshman guard Johnny Furphy – OK. It’s getting a little bit ridiculous now. Maybe the Australian freshman is just so unaffected by the magnitude of these games he’s playing in — and playing so well in — because he’s not from the U.S. But it’s clear that Furphy is one cool customer. Everything he does looks smooth and easy and, in KU’s weekend win over Houston, he finished with 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting, including a 3-of-4 mark from 3-point range. He also added a team-high 8 rebounds and was one of the only Jayhawks to finish the game turnover-free. All of that came in 35 minutes on the floor as Furphy continues to find his stride and is a true game changer for the outlook of this KU basketball season.
A full bowl
• Senior forward Parker Braun – KU center Hunter Dickinson certainly had bigger numbers (20 points & 8 rebounds to go along with 4 assists and a block), but, to some degree, that’s to be expected. Dickinson also gets a lot more opportunities on the floor, playing 34 minutes compared to just 8 for his back-up. But that’s what made Braun’s impact on this game so important. In those 8 minutes, he finished with 5 points and 3 rebounds, including a crucial 3-pointer that pushed the Kansas lead from 10 back to 13 at one of the rare moments when it looked as if Houston was climbing back into the game. He also hit a pair of free throws and continues to take advantage of his age and experience in whatever situation he’s thrown into.
• Junior forward KJ Adams – Three of his teammates had better scoring numbers than Adams on Saturday in the Jayhawks’ top-10 win over No. 4 Houston, but I’m not sure anyone’s impact on the game was as large. Adams finished with 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting and also added 7 assists to go along with 4 rebounds, a block and a steal in 36+ minutes. Adams’ aggressive approach to attacking Houston’s defense — and the basket — set the tone for the whole day and he continued to bring more energy and passion to the game than anyone in the entire building.
• Senior guard Holly Kersgieter – After missing the Jayhawks’ home win over BYU because of an ankle injury, Kersgieter was back in the starting lineup on Saturday at TCU. And it did not take her long to make her impact felt. After being held scoreless — and therefore without a 3-pointer — in back-to-back games, KU’s all-time leader in 3-point makes knocked in four triples against the Horned Frogs to help Kansas pick up a big road win. Kersgieter finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds on 5-of-9 shooting (4 for 8 from 3-point range) in what was just her second game in double figures since Jan. 14.
• Freshman pole vaulter Mason Meinershagen & junior high jumper Devin Loudermilk – Originally from St. Louis, Meinershagen entered the weekend with a personal best of 4.18 meters and left by setting her new PR with a vault of 4.32 meters, which is the 12th best mark in the NCAA so far this season and third best in the Big 12. Loudermilk won the men’s high jump at the Husker Invitational in Nebraska by clearing 2.2 meters, which moved him up to No. 7 in the NCAA rankings so far this season. Also of note at the Husker Invitational was junior captain Aaliyah Moore running a new PR in the 800, with her 2:04.56 being the third fastest time in the Big 12 so far this season.
• Freshman guard S’Mya Nichols – The KU freshman, who has been solid and consistent all season, helped lead the Jayhawks to a big road win with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting and a 6-of-7 mark at the free throw line. It marked the fourth 20-point game of Nichols’ season to date and she added 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a career-high-tying 4 steals in the victory.
• Defensive end Austin Booker – The former KU pass rush specialist had a monster week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, turning heads and improving his NFL draft stock in a big way with his performance in practices and at the Senior Bowl itself. In fact, in a report from the game, one Bleacher Report draft analyst concluded that Booker, “might have one of the most intriguing yet raw skill sets among this year's class.”
• Junior golfer Lily Hirst – At the weekend’s UCF Challenge in Orlando, where the KU women’s golf team previously set a school record last season, the United Kingdom native sat tied for third place after Day 1 and in 7th place in the 96-golfer field after Day 2 at 5-under for the tournament. Hirst has been the Jayhawks’ top performer and most consistent player so far this semester and she reached her first-round 71 with a scorching finish, playing the final 12 holes at 5-under-par to overcome a 4-over-par start in her first 6 holes.
Drink the milk
• Kansas Athletics Administration – A tip of the cap here to KU’s Athletic Director, Travis Goff, and his senior staff for finalizing plans to play the six home football games next season at Children’s Mercy Park and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Both settings will provide a terrific environment for a Kansas football program on the rise and they will allow fans — in attendance and watching on television — to further grasp the momentum that this program is riding right now. Playing at home, with make shift tents and coaches boxes and in the middle of an active construction site, would not have had the same polish. It’s not an easy decision to take the games out of Lawrence and it introduces more challenges and tasks to tackle into the equation. But it was the right move and, for one year, everyone impacted by it will still be able to celebrate all of the good surrounding the program, which is poised to play its most anticipated season in decades this fall.
— For tickets to all KU athletic events, visit kutickets.com