University of Kansas

Kansas announces donor for basketball players' apartments

Kansas announced during the first half of Monday’s game against Oklahoma that the planned “Fieldhouse Apartments” project, which will eventually house the school’s men’s and women’s basketball players, is moving forward.

The primary donation, KU announced, came from the family of Kansas alum Kent McCarthy. The donation will allow KU to begin phase one of the $17 million project. Earlier this month, the Kansas legislature denied the school additional bonds for the project.

The apartments, KU said, will be named for Kent’s late mother, Marie S. McCarthy. Born in 1929, Marie grew up on a farm in central Kansas during the 1930s before attending KU.

“My mother loved everything about the University of Kansas and the state of Kansas,” Kent McCarthy said. “She never missed watching a KU basketball game. My father Charles, who thankfully is still with us, and Marie were married for 62 years, and I think the only thing ‘Grams’ loved more than Kansas basketball was being a grandmother.”

According to a plan submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents in January, the first phase would include a commons area and 33 bedrooms at an estimated cost of $11.6 million. According to the same plan, private donations would finance $7 million to 7.5 million of phase one. KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said KU was still searching for other donors for the project.

KU officials said Monday that they would meet with architects to review the plans and that the cost estimates could change.

In a statement, KU coach Bill Self said he was looking forward to the new housing for his players.

“We have the best venue, and we will have the best housing,” Self said. “I see a world of positive in this project as we strive to maintain and even exceed what the Kansas basketball program has been achieving.”

• Another top recruit visited Lawrence on Monday. Huntington Prep senior guard JaQuan Lyle, Rivals’ No. 22 overall prospect in the 2014 class, sat behind KU’s bench while on his official visit.

Lyle, 6 feet 5 and 215 pounds, originally committed to Louisville before decommiting last fall. Lyle plays at the same prep school that KU freshman Andrew Wiggins attended for his junior and senior seasons.

Lyle has said he’s interested in playing in college with KU signee Cliff Alexander, a power forward from Chicago. Lyle visited Oklahoma State earlier this weekend and has also taken a visit to Oregon. He may also visit Memphis.

In addition to Alexander, the Jayhawks have already signed five-star swingman Kelly Oubre.

First half

• Key play: Freshman Frank Mason hit a three-pointer that helped KU stake a 42-33 lead at halftime.

• Key stat: Oklahoma shot 35.5 percent.

Second half

• Key play: KU's Joel Embiid recorded a block that set up Andrew Wiggins for a three-pointer that gave KU a 74-66 lead.

• Key stat: KU won its 57th conference title.