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Monday Morning Wheaties

5 min read

In this week’s edition of Monday Morning Wheaties, we’ve got a nice mix of live-action accomplishments and off-the-field honors to get to.

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

• Senior center Hunter Dickinson – It wasn’t by any means the big fella’s best game. Heck, it wasn’t even his best game at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. But it was damn good and it wound up hitting on a number of different levels. Dickinson played a key role in KU’s 75-71, come-from-double-digits-down win at Indiana over the weekend, finishing with 17 points and 14 rebounds in 38+ minutes. But that was only half of it. Dickinson also returned to Big Ten Country and stared down an old nemesis, drawing boos from the start of the game until the end, which he brought home with a couple of clutch buckets late to give KU the lead. Dickinson shot 8-of-17 from the floor and missed his only 3-point attempt. He also got to the free throw line just twice. But his all-around impact — on the stat sheet, as a villain and more — was sort of the signature style of this KU victory. It wasn’t the prettiest. It had a couple of tough stretches. But, in the end, it went down as a win, both for the 2nd-ranked Jayhawks and Mr. Dickinson, a player that KU (and countless others) coveted in the offseason for exactly this reason.

A full bowl

• Senior outside hitter Reagan Cooper – With her college career already finished, Cooper added to what was a magical final season with a couple of big honors last week. In addition to earning third-team All-American honors, she also was drafted into the Professional Volleyball Federation in the new league’s inaugural draft as the No. 14 overall pick. Just when we thought Cooper had capped her career in style, tying a school record for kills in a single match against Penn State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 1, she went and topped it with a couple more cool honors before calling it a career. Teammate Camryn Turner also earned honorable mention All-American honors last week, making good on a lifelong dream that Turner first visualized when she was little.

• Senior point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. – None of the Jayhawks looked very good offensively for the first 20 minutes of Saturday’s win over Indiana. But it’s wild to see what happens to the rest of them when Harris starts to find it. The veteran point guard finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting (2-for-4 from 3-point range) and did it while playing all 40 minutes of the grind-it-out victory. After a rough first half, Kansas needed someone — and more likely several someones — to step up on the offensive end in the second half, asserting himself as a scorer and opening things up more for the other four on the floor. While the Jayhawks got that in part by playing Dickinson on the perimeter more to open up driving lanes, no one did it better than Harris, who knows he’s needed as an offensive threat but often times has to be reminded. Whoever reminded him in this one should get a game ball.

Nighttime snack

• Senior forward Ryan Cobbins – The Kansas women’s basketball team won their third game in a row over the weekend, to move to 6-4 on the season, and in that 69-48 rout of Central Arkansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, transfer forward Ryan Cobbins recorded both her 1,000th career point and 500th career rebound. Most of those came elsewhere, as Cobbins transferred to Kansas from Alabama in the offseason. But, still, those are big numbers and that’s one heck of a career accomplishment. We’ll do more on this in the near future. But it was Wheaties-worthy today, no doubt about it.

• Senior guard Zakiyah Franklin – Sticking with women’s hoops, props to the KU vet for moving into 10th place on KU’s all-time scoring list with her 11-point outing in the win over Central Arkansas. Franklin now has scored 1,645 career points, which moved her into the Top 10, just ahead of former KU great Crystal Kemp. Like the rest of her team, Franklin still has plenty of time in front of her to add to that total and move up that scoring list. In all, the KU roster features 4 players that have scored 1,000 career points — Cobbins, Franklin, Holly Kersgieter and Wyvette Mayberry.

• Senior guard Kevin McCullar Jr. – It wasn’t his best game, he shot just 3-of-11 for the day, but yet he still found a way to score 21 points and sink a couple of massive buckets to put the Hoosiers away. One was a late 3-pointer that looked pure in every sense of the word, every step of the way. The others came at the free throw line, where McCullar hit 5-of-6 in crunch time to make sure that Indiana would not steal the victory in a game that Kansas led for just over 4 minutes all afternoon. Thirteen of McCullar’s 21 points came at the free throw line in this one, and the second-year Jayhawk added 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals to his line in yet another All-American-type effort.

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Drink the milk

• Senior forward Parker Braun – He played just two minutes in the win over Indiana, but his contribution wound up being fairly important. Braun’s first-half bucket, with a strange KU lineup on the floor, turned out to be pretty huge in a game that was decided by 4 points. It wasn’t just the points that mattered, though. Give Braun a ton of credit for staying ready, accepting the minutes he gets and making the most of them whenever he gets out there. He’s not going to play a ton because that would mean Dickinson has to come off the floor. But he’s a nice option in a pinch, as much for his mental approach as his skills and experience.