Since last March, when the second-seeded Villanova Wildcats upset the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the Elite 8, KU fans have been waiting.
They have been waiting through offseason recruiting, a long summer without any college basketball and a trainwreck of a football season. (I know the Jayhawks are only 1-2, but I’m fully willing and ready to put my credibility on the line by saying this season will be just as painful as last). It was a painful wait for some Kansas basketball fans, and a long wait for all.
But now the wait is over.
For the first time since March 5, the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team will take to the court at Allen Fieldhouse during the annual “Late Night in the Phog” event.
It’s a tradition the entire Lawrence community marks on their calendars and counts down the days to. If you look outside Allen Fieldhouse on the morning of Late Night, Oct. 1, you will see students of varying ages, families from around the Lawrence area and maybe even some faculty lining up in preparation of the big event.
It truly is a cool sight to see something that seems as small as the first official practice for Kansas basketball bring so many different kinds of people together.
Now I have to warn you, do not go into Late Night in the Phog expecting to see these players going 100 percent, running half court sets, etc. Honestly, I’ll be impressed if there’s more than one off-ball screen all night.
What you will likely experience is cool lighting, ridiculously impressive dunks and of course some creative dance routines that always feature a few team members dancing with hilarious awkwardness.
These first practice traditions happen all across the country at universities with strong basketball programs, such as Kentucky, Michigan State, Duke, etc. and each has their own individual flair. It’s impossible to say objectively that one program does it better than another, however, when you see the excitement in people of all ages from all backgrounds around the community, it’s safe to say that Kansas does it pretty damn well.
You won’t be able to break it down, you won’t be able to see a certain starting five, but you will see the Jayhawks take the court at Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since March.
The wait is over. KU basketball is back.