Take That, Young People!

Posted by jstevrtc on January 27th, 2010

A couple of days ago we posted that story about Joel Branstrom, the former Kansas walk-on and current-day Biology teacher, who willingly took part in a prank put on by the students of the Olathe, Kansas high school where he teaches.  You probably remember, since this video has circled the globe about twenty times, but I’m re-posting it here.  All those students think they’re putting one over on this man, telling him there is a prize of some Final Four tickets waiting on him if he hits this half court shot.  Assuming he’ll miss the shot, the students are supposed to cheer like he actually hit it, and then they get to laugh at Mr. Branstrom when they tell him the truth — that he really missed the shot and there were no Final Four tickets anyway.  Would have worked out great — except that Branstrom drilled it.  And when it came time for the students to make with some tickets, of course, there were none.

The best part about this, knowing that Branstrom eventually sinks the shot, is the few moments before he lets it sail, when you look at the crowd and all the kiddies are snickering to each other about how they’re really getting the best of this guy.  They’re all giggling and having trouble containing themselves, satisfied that this will be payback for that tough exam from last week or the time he made them dissect frogs.

Well, the joke’s on you, kids!  Who’s the big winner today?  Joel Branstrom’s the big winner, and he will be taking some time off in the spring.  Why?  Because, as he told the media today, someone came through with some Final Four tickets.  In the ESPN report, he said he can’t reveal who this ticket-wielding Deep Throat is, but he and his family are getting transportation, tickets, AND lodging for that weekend.  If I were Branstrom, unless the source is obviously legit, I’d do some vetting and make sure that this isn’t the REAL prank, or that the person providing my tickets won’t be asking me for, you know, any favors someday.  Then, if everything checked out, I’d laugh my butt off as I scheduled about thirty pop quizzes in the week leading up to the Final Four, making them so tough that Stephen J. Freaking Gould couldn’t get half the points.

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A 1997 Jayhawk Finally Hits A Three, But It Is Waived Off

Posted by nvr1983 on January 25th, 2010

College basketball fans over the age of 20 undoubtedly remember the 1997 Kansas Jayhawks, a team that was 34-1 (its only loss coming on the road at rival Missouri) heading into its Sweet 16 match-up against a 21-9 Arizona team. That Jayhawk team was coached by Roy Williams (back when he was known for his inability to win the big game) and featured Jacques Vaughn, Raef LaFrentz, Scot Pollard, and a talented sophomore named Paul Pierce. Coming into the game the Jayhawks were heavily favored with good reason having compiled that record despite having Vaughn sit out most of their non-conference schedule with an injury.

As you know things didn’t work out Roy’s Jayhawks. That night Lute Olson and the Wildcats pulled off one of the great upsets of the decade. In retrospect, looking at the talent on the Arizona team it shouldn’t have been that shocking since the underdogs had the eventual tournament MOP (Miles Simon) along with future NBA stars (Jason Terry and Mike Bibby). Still at the time the result shocked the nation. Despite a valiant effort from Pierce who had 27 points (on just 13 FG attempts) and 11 rebounds, the Jayhawks needed a flurry of late 3s to cut into the Wildcats lead. After Bibby hit a couple of late free throws to extend the lead to 3, the Jayhawks were forced to attempt several desperation 3s to try and force OT.

When LaFrentz’s 3 from the corner fell short Roy Williams was dealt one of the most devastating losses of his career. To this day, many Kansas fans still have a hard time getting over the game. Ironically Roy may have had the one player capable of hitting a 3 to earn a trip to the Final Four sitting on his bench. . .

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