Tucker Vang has fulfilled a lifelong dream by earning a spot on the Kansas men’s basketball team.
“As a little kid, I always wanted to put on a KU jersey and be a part of something like that. Now I get the opportunity to live it,” said Vang, a 6-foot-2 junior guard from Goddard High near Wichita, who accepted a spot in July.
Vang’s brother, Tate, attends KU. His father, Pete, played tight end for the Jayhawks from 1990-93 and his uncle, Shawn, was a guard on the football team from 1995-98.
Vang’s mother, Tara, is also a KU graduate. What’s more, Vang’s grandfather, Randy, played football at Wichita State and his uncle, Scott, played football at Iowa.
“He’s been a KU fan his whole life. He was a big KU fan in high school. We always joked about that, anytime KU and K-State played, that kind of stuff,” said Goddard High coach Kyle Taylor, who played for coach Jim Woolridge at Kansas State in 2004-05 and ’05-06.
“He will love being part of it,” Taylor added of Vang, who was named first-team all-Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League as a senior in 2013-14 after averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists a game. “He’s been trying three years, I guess, to work his way onto the team. It’s been a lot of hard work.
“He was with the women’s practice team (scrimmaging against the KU women daily) and worked his way up to where he got on. He will be a great walk-on, do whatever he can to help the team out.”
Tucker Vang also was a standout wide receiver/defensive back at Goddard High.
“He was a three-year starter for us (in basketball),” Taylor said. “He really did a good job as leader for our group. He always played hard, is a good kid. He’s somebody coach (Bill) Self will love to have around.”
KU coach Bill Self believes Vang has paid his dues, that’s for sure.
“Tucker has been around the program for a year, practicing against the (KU) women’s team. We’ve been able to watch him from afar,” Self said. “I think he’ll be a nice addition and will give us some depth during practice.”
A second-team Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League quarterback in football, Vang was the United States Marine Corp Distinguished Athlete Award recipient in 2014. He had a 4.0 grade point average and was a four-time academic honor roll honoree while at Goddard.
As far as his basketball skills … “He’s a good shooter,” Taylor said of Vang, who hit 46 percent of his shots and 30 percent of his threes his senior year at Goddard. “Being a little older and not being a freshman right out of high school will be a huge advantage for him. He’s more mature. He’s not going to be shocked. He’s going to know what to expect.
“Playing for the women’s practice team and at the rec center he’s developed his game and matured a little bit. It’ll be exciting to see if down the road and after a year see if he’s one of those guys who can squeeze in a few minutes.”