Washington Wizards guard Kelly Oubre Jr., who has been suspended for Sunday’s NBA playoff game against Boston for barreling into Kelly Olynyk and deliberately knocking him to the floor in the first half of Game 3, wasn’t known as somebody who lost his temper often during his one season at Kansas.
Yet when the 6-foot-7, 205-pound New Orleans native did get angry, his Jayhawk teammates certainly knew it.
“I’ve seen it at practice before, at me sometimes, too,” KU forward Landen Lucas said Saturday before the Jayhawk seniors’ “Barnstorming Tour” exhibition against four Blue Valley Northwest seniors and other Eastern Kansas League players at BV Northwest’s gym.
“He’s a very competitive guy,” Lucas added of Oubre. “Our practices, when they got competitive … it just happens. You (in Game 3) could just see in his eyes he was caught up in the heat of the moment. He was playing with some passion. That was good. That’s playoff basketball. I feel like it had kind of been building up between the two teams. That was kind of the peak. I’m sure he probably gained some respect from his teammates for that.”
Oubre charged into Olynyk in the first half of Thursday’s game in response to the Celtics forward clipping him with an illegal screen and knocking him to to floor. Oubre was ejected and watched the rest of the game on TV in the locker room.
“Kelly seemed pretty mad (on TV broadcast and replays available on social media),” Lucas said. “If you looked at Kelly’s eyes, he might have taken just about anyone in that moment.”
KU senior guard Frank Mason — who was a sophomore during the 2014-15 season, Oubre’s only campaign at KU — also saw Oubre’s heated reactions a time or two with the Jayhawks.
“When we were playing 3-on-3, 5-on-5 sometimes, maybe he’d get screened a little too hard and just kind of reacted a way to get a little payback,” Mason said. “Not to me, just whoever.
“I think he got payback,” Mason quickly added of the Game 3 incident. “I’m not sure why he did that. I think Kelly just responded the way he wanted to. Only he knows why he did that.”
Mason did stress that, “I think the guy (Olynyk) kind of elbowed him first. Kelly kind of reacted in the heat of the moment. I don’t think that was the best decision.”
KU senior guard Tyler Self made it unanimous Saturday in indicating he’d seen the ultra-competitive side of Oubre before.
“Kelly definitely had some fire behind him multiple times,” Self said of Oubre, who averaged 9.3 points a game for a 27-9 KU team that won the Big 12 Conference regular-season title and lost to Wichita State in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament.
Oubre has averaged 6.3 points and 2.6 rebounds while playing 17.4 minutes a game in nine playoff games for Washington this postseason. In the regular season, he also averaged 6.3 points with 3.3 boards in 20.3 minutes per contest.
“Just in a year we got to see that. He’s not scared to get into it with people,” Self added.
Of the Olynyk incident, Self said: “Kelly didn’t like the way he got hit. I’m sure there’s some stuff that led up to that. He didn’t like the play. He showed he didn’t like it.”
Garth is friend of the family
Tyler Self doesn’t have tickets to any of Garth Brooks’ seven shows at Sprint Center over a pair of weekends.
“I’m not sure,” Tyler said when asked if he’d attend the concert of the Oklahoma State graduate who is well acquainted with Tyler’s parents, Bill and Cindy Self. “They know him. They are friends with him, so they are big fans. He’s a little older than most of my music I listen to, but I like him.”
Lucas foundation events Sunday
Lucas on Saturday had the kickoff luncheon for his Landen Lucas Sports For Life Foundation at KU’s Adams Alumni Center.
On Sunday, Lucas will hold a pair of “Sports For Life Give Back Events.” The first will run from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Johnny’s Tavern West in Lawrence.
The second will be held from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at R&D Sports in Topeka. For information on the foundation go to https://landenlucasfoundation.org/