For the first time since 2019, Late Night in the Phog returned to Allen Fieldhouse for the 37th time. Here are some observations and reactions regarding the performances during the men's and women's scrimmages.
Men’s Scrimmage Observations and Reactions
When it came time for the Crimson and Blue scrimmage, the atmosphere was rocking with excitement. The final score was 41-30 with the advantage to the Crimson team.
Senior guard Ochai Agbaji led both teams in scoring finishing with 12 points on 50% shooting from the field. Agbaji also finished the night with three rebounds. Agbaji’s success was in large part to his consistency pulling up to shoot, something that he had trouble at times last year finding.
Sophomore guard Dajuan Harris was also impressive, showing stoutness on the defense side of the ball while also adding seven points and four rebounds to his impressive performance. Harris was also directing traffic well in his time at the point.
Despite not recording any points or rebounds, senior guard Remy Martin displayed his quickness on the court, driving to the basket well. Martin finished with two assists.
Junior guard Christian Braun also impressed, scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds. Most of all though, Braun showed a new found aggressiveness at the basket, throwing down multiple dunks throughout the scrimmage.
Despite Late Night being more about the show factor than the playing factor, Agbaji still felt good about the play of the team.
“You know we, we always want to go out there and play hard, it kind of was competitive. I mean it was competitive,” Agbaji said. “That’s all coach can ask from us is to go out there and compete.”
Super senior guard Jalen Coleman-Lands also noted how well the young players handled the rocking atmosphere of Late Night, despite it being his first Late Night.
“It was like an icebreaker,” Coleman-Lands said. “It was a different environment and it was something I’ll cherish. And it was different too, so I love that.”
Head coach Bill Self thought the newcomers and team as whole handled the atmosphere, just ok.
“I would say average. When you go seven for 36 from three, I wouldn't say everybody played great,” said Self. “That’s not how we’re going to play at all, and I saw some decent things, but we’re definitely a lot better than that.
Self was also happy about the atmosphere and the attendance, considering the ongoing COVID pandemic.
“I was really impressed with the crowd considering the mask mandate and other things like that,” Self said. “I still don't know that everybody's comfortable getting out and bringing families but hopefully, we'll continue to see improvement and by the time the season starts, we will be back to some real normalcy.”
Women's Scrimmage Observations and Reactions
“You know, one of their most popular albums came out and I believe I was a freshman in high school and I had a 1984 terrible terrible Volkswagon car that I blew the speakers out to RUN DMC with my cassette,” said Kansas women’s basketball head coach Brandon Schneider. “So I am probably as charged up about this as anybody.”
Energy. It was all there tonight for Schneider and his team and you could have felt it miles away. He was just so excited for his team to be in this moment, with a packed Allen Fieldhouse crowd.
With the addition of 10 brand new players this offseason, familiarity is an unknown concept. And according to Schneider, only five players to his memory had ever even participated in Late Night since it didn’t occur a year ago.
But nonetheless, the ladies put on a show in the three-point contest and throughout the rest of the night as sophomore guard Mia Vuksic claimed the title.
“Mia obviously had a good night and winning the three-point shooting contest and making some baskets in the scrimmage,” Schneider added. “It’s just fun for our young women to be out there in that environment and I know they really appreciate the support.”
From the scrimmage itself, several things stood out but most notably the depth in the front court. A year ago, height seemed to be the team’s biggest weakness as sophomore forward Ioanna Chatzileonti stood at just 6-foot-2, and although that was intimidating, it was short compared to the rest of the posts in the league.
“I think any holes in our roster, that we felt like we needed to fill and improve, our staff feels like we have done that,” Schneider said. “We have really added depth to our front line and some impact players to our front line, which we desperately needed.”
Looking ahead, Schneider hopes that Jayhawk nation gives his team a chance as he explains that the women have worked their tails off this summer. Last season, Kansas ranked near the bottom of the conference in attendance, and Schneider hopes to see some change.
“I am hoping that in November they [fans] will come out and get their eyes on our team,” Schneider concluded. “I think if they do that, they're going to be motivated to not only continue to come back but hopefully start bringing a friend or two so that we can build the type of support that I think this team is going to earn.”