In 2008, Chris Teahan sat alongside his family in the Alamodome, just a couple of rows back from the brightly lit court. Tears were beginning to trickle down his cheeks, as the Kansas Jayhawks trailed the Memphis Tigers by six points with just 90 seconds left in the game.
Just 8 years-old, Teahan was there to watch his older brother, Conner Teahan, play in the 2008 national championship game. The elder Teahan brother didn’t get any minutes on the court during that game, but that didn’t make the occasion any less special for Chris.
At such a young age, Chris thought the game was done and dusted, and that the Jayhawks would be heading home empty-handed.
Sitting directly across from Memphis’ bench, Chris remembers vividly how silent the Tigers’ bench went, along with much of the arena, when Mario Chalmers tied the game up at 62 with 2.1 seconds remaining.
“I understood how big of a deal it was, but I didn’t really understand. I was going crazy, it was super fun, all that kind of stuff,” Chris said, “But I think if I was a little bit older, I would have been able to appreciate it a little bit more.”
Ten years later, it’ll be Chris’s turn to sit on the Kansas bench, while Conner will be watching from the stands with his family. Kansas’ trip to the Final Four marks the third time that Kansas will be heading to a Final Four under coach Bill Self. It’s also the third time that a Teahan brother will be on the team — Conner in 2008 and 2012, and now Chris in 2018.
While perhaps an insignificant factor, Self is known to be a superstitious man and may call on the Teahan family for good luck heading into Saturday night’s game against Villanova.
“Yeah, I better [call], since the mother of the two children have told me that she would kill me if I treated their son poorly,” Self said on Tuesday. “Yeah, I'd say that they are definitely good luck.”
Chris may not be quite as superstitious and doesn’t think about the fact that his family seem to be a good luck charm for Self, but he has certainly turned to his brother for advice on what the occasion will bring.
“[Conner] was like, ‘It’ll change your life,’” Chris said. “That’s what he said it was like just coming to Kansas, he was like, ‘It’ll change your life, so many people here will love you,’ all that kind of stuff no matter what you accomplish.”
The decision to follow his brother to Kansas was an easy one too. Opting against getting regular time at a Division II school or a smaller Division I school, Chris wanted to become a Jayhawk the moment Conner pulled on the crimson and blue jersey.
“My son [Niko Roberts] was on the team when Conner was here in 2012, and that stuff,” said Kansas assistant coach Norm Roberts. “So they’ve always been close, and my wife has always been close with their family, and me myself. So I think it just made it a simple deal for him to come over.”
In just the year that Chris has been at Kansas, Roberts already sees similarities between the two brothers, both on the court and personality-wise.
“I think Chris is a better athlete than what Conner was — Conner was a better shooter. They’d both argue the opposite way, but I think that’s probably it,” Roberts said. “Both good-natured guys, good teammates, guys that when they come to practice they’re ready to work.”
While the similarities may be there between the pair, Chris is solely focused on being part of this year’s team, and not focusing on the past. He’s witnessed victory in 2008, and defeat in 2012, and there’s no prize for guessing which one he'd rather experience come Monday night.