Rockhurst High senior Chris Teahan spent many winter nights in Lawrence watching his brother, Conner, suit up for the Kansas Jayhawks during a career that spanned five seasons.
“As soon as I walked in Allen Fieldhouse, I knew it was a different place. I knew it’s where I wanted to be. I knew it was something to strive for,” said Chris Teahan, who on Tuesday announced plans to join KU’s program as a non-scholarship, walk-on player.
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound guard/small forward follows in the footsteps of Conner Teahan, who arrived at KU as a walk-on in 2007-08 and played in 21 games for the Jayhawks’ NCAA championship team. After playing in 2008-09 and 2009-10, he redshirted in 2010-11, then was a member of the regular rotation of KU’s 2011-12 NCAA runner-up squad. Conner Teahan averaged 5.5 points and 2.1 rebounds while logging 21 minutes a game in 39 games.
“This is a dream come true. I mean it still doesn’t feel real to me. My body feels numb,” said Chris Teahan, who averaged 16.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for Rockhurst his senior season, knocking down 36 percent of his threes and 75 percent of his free throws.
“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve had,” he added of finalizing his walk-on status with KU coach Bill Self on Sunday night.
“I’d always thought about it. I talked to coach Self a little bit. My senior year came along and I went to a couple of games. I said to myself, ‘This is where I have to go.’ I never felt anywhere else was the right fit. Coach told me how hard I have to work. I said I was up for the challenge. He said, ‘That’s it,’ Teahan said of being added to the team.
Conner Teahan, who works as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch in Kansas City, said he’s “very excited, very happy” for his brother.
“He had his sights set on playing basketball at Kansas even before I was there,” Conner Teahan said. “When I got there, it ramped up his excitement and desire to play at KU. He’s always wanted to be a Jayhawk. I’m glad he’ll be able to do that.”
Conner said he had nothing to do with his brother being added to the team. Chris and Conner’s dad, Mark, more than a year ago sent letters to various coaches, including KU’s Self, who was made aware Chris would be available as a potential walk-on candidate.
“I talked to coach Self in the fall at some point and it was a little, brief, tiny conversation. I ran into him. He said, ‘I hear your brother is a pretty good player.’ We talked a brief second,” Conner Teahan said.
“Going into last basketball season he had worked out with Brady Morningstar (former KU player) a couple of times. Brady and I had some conversations what we thought he could do being a walk-on and a good practice player. I think we both thought it’s something that he’d be good at — playing on scout team trying to make his teammates better.”
Conner, who is a Rockhurst High graduate, attended several of his brother’s games the last couple of seasons.
“He’s versatile, can handle the ball, is very athletic, more athletic than me. I don’t know how much that really means,” Conner Teahan said with a laugh.
Chris played wide receiver and Conner quarterback for the Rockhurst football team.
“He’s a half-inch taller than me. He shoots threes, mid-range jumpers, takes it to the basket. He’s a good player,” Conner said.
Self cannot comment on the addition of Teahan until all paperwork is complete.
Rockhurst coach Pete Campbell said of Chris on Tuesday: “Chris was our leading scorer this past year. He’s an excellent three-point shooter … great attitude, great effort, was captain on our team, a tremendous leader. He had a great season for us. We wish him all the best at KU next season as he walks on for the Jayhawks.”