To say that the 2020 edition of Late Night in the Phog was different from years past is a vast understatement.
There were no blue lights flashing around Allen Fieldhouse, no hot dogs being cooked or popcorn being popped, no acrobatic dancers or money guns, no musical guest, and most notably, no fans in attendance.
Instead, the 36th annual Late Night in the Phog was entirely virtual and pre-recorded. And even though they physically couldn't be in Allen Fieldhouse, fans were able to stream the festivities Friday night.
Really, what Late Night still brought to Kansas basketball fans Friday night was the fact that basketball season is near. It's a great comfort to have for college basketball fans around the nation given how the COVID-19 pandemic has already affected sports in 2020.
Something else Late Night kept alive was the sense of enthusiasm that both the men’s and women’s basketball teams brought to the annual event. That was evident during the teams' skits and the annual Half Court Challenge, which resulted in a $5,000 donation to Just Food and another $5,000 to a fan.
Another group of enthusiastic people were the families that introduced each member of the men's and women's basketball teams. Each player received a video introduction from friends and family, including those that lived overseas.
The two teams also took time out of the event to feature what they have been doing outside the game of basketball to promote equality, such as registering athletes to vote and standing up against social injustices. This included showing the on-campus march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement the women’s team hosted in August, and conversations the men’s team had with local police and ESPN’s Maria Taylor.
Later in the night, both teams took to the floor for 10-minute scrimmages. In the men's scrimmage, sophomore guard/forward Tristan Enaruna led the way with a 10-point performance as the Crimson team beat the Blue team 23-18. Junior guard Ochai Agbaji added eight points for the Crimson team, while transfer junior guard Tyon Grant-Foster scored five points for the Blue team in the loss.
In the women's scrimmage, senior forward Tina Stephens' team-high eight points were not enough as her Blue team fell to the Crimson team 15-14.