Bright and early on Friday, many Kansas basketball fans will be preparing for the start of basketball season. Many fans will have their lawn chairs, coolers, games, crossword puzzles and anything else that will help pass the, up to 8 hours, of time some fans will spend camped out in front of the Fieldhouse. All of those fans hope that once the doors open they can quickly get inside to get the best seat possible.
The doors open at 5:30 this evening with 16,300 Kansas fans once again filling the Fieldhouse to see the pre-season #1 team in their first practice of the year. Once the Jayhawks finally step foot onto James Naismith Court all 16,300 fans will mark tonight as the first step in a march to another championship.
Fans who will be there for the first time will quickly notice the banners, the crowd and, of course, the 10 minutes of videos that will be played in the dark of the Fieldhouse shortly before the scrimmage. During the videos, no matter if it’s your first time to ‘Late Night’ or your 25th, fans will be put on an emotional roller coaster as the history of Kansas basketball is condensed into 10 minutes of video highlights. Fans will cheer when their favorite Kansas player is shown making a great play during their time in a Kansas uniform and they will cry when re-living a heart-breaking defeat. When players like Wilt Chamberlain, Jo Jo White, Clyde Lovellette, Danny Manning, Paul Pierce, Jacque Vaughn, Raef LeFrentz, Kirk Hinrich, Drew Gooden, Nick Collison, Wayne Simien, Russell Robinson, Keith Langford, Aaron Miles, Julian Wright, Brandon Rush, Sherron Collins and, of course, the shot by Mario Chalmers are shown during the video, the Fieldhouse will erupt with deafening cheers that will shake the Fieldhouse.
Once the video ends the crowd will, once again, rise to their feet to see each member of the Kansas basketball program introduced. With the lights off and the spotlight on, those players who will be introduced to the Kansas faithful will never forget the feeling they have as they run onto the court.
Like most years at ‘Late Night,’ the annual celebration is a huge recruiting tool for the basketball program. It’s an opportunity for recruits to know almost everything about Kansas basketball in just a few hours. The Kansas program has always utilized ‘Late Night’ as a recruiting tool and this year is no different.
Overall, there will be five top-ranked players in attendance for ‘Late Night.’ The five recruits will represent the 2010 and 2011 classes, and they will all see what the Kansas program is all about when they take their seats behind the Kansas bench.
Ranked #1 overall in the ESPNU 100, Harrison Barnes, is returning to ‘Late Night’ for the second year in a row. The 6’8″ small forward from Ames, Iowa is considering Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Oklahoma and Iowa State. Barnes will arrive in Lawrence today to begin his official visit to Kansas.
Ranked #8 overall in the ESPNU 100, Josh Selby, will be making his first trip to Lawrence to see the Kansas program up close. Selby arrived Thursday to begin his unofficial visit to Kansas. The 6’3″ combo guard from Baltimore is considering Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Miami, Syracuse and Baylor.
Ranked #33 overall in the ESPNU 100, Doron Lamb, will arrive on Friday to visit Kansas. Originally from New York City, Lamb currently attends Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. The 6’4″ swing guard is considering Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona and UCONN.
Ranked #94 in the ESPNU 100, Royce Woolridge, arrived Thursday night to begin his visit to Kansas. The 6’2″ combo guard from Phoenix, Arizona is the only player in the 2010 class to be committed to Kansas. Woolridge made his pledge to the Jayhawks back in May, 2008.
Ranked #51 in the ESPNU Super 60, Josiah Turner, is eager to learn more about the Kansas program. The 6’2 1/2″ point guard from Sacramento, California originally committied to Arizona State shortly before the start of his sophomore year. With his recruitment now re-opened, Turner is ready to learn about multiple programs around the country. Turner is considering, Kansas, Arizona State, UCLA, USC, Florida International, UCONN and others.
These recruits, like all before them, will certainly walk away from their visits impressed by all that makes Kansas basketball and the University of Kansas what they have become. No matter whether or not they decide that Lawrence is the place for them, the opportunity to experience an event like no other will surely stick with them for some time.