Blair Kerkhoff

Kansas basketball team footing bill for Korean trip, which is partly why Canada game was not on TV

Team Canada forward Chris McLaughlin tried to defend a basket by University of Kansas guard Frank Mason during Tuesday’s game.
Team Canada forward Chris McLaughlin tried to defend a basket by University of Kansas guard Frank Mason during Tuesday’s game. skeyser@kcstar.com

Takeaways from a surprisingly well-played exhibition game between mostly Kansas Jayhawks and a team of Canadian collegians Tuesday at the Sprint Center, which KU won 91-83:

▪ Canada coach Barnaby Craddock said his team’s talent level was on par with a NCAA Division I mid- to low-major. Kansas’ Bill Self gave the Canadians a little more credit. “We’ve lost to Davidson and we’ve lost to UMass in this building,” Self said. “I’m not saying they’d beat those teams but they could play at that level.”

▪ The KU uniform reads “Kansas” across the chest with a “USA” logo up the upper left side of the jersey. The choice was the Jayhawks’ and their apparel company, Adidas, designed and provided the gear.

Kansas is representing the United States, but this isn’t a USA Basketball production. There were no tryouts and no collection of coaches.

Kansas is footing the bill for the experience. The travel, food and lodging at the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea, comes out of the KU athletic budget, and figures to cost about $250,000.

The Jayhawks were given uniform requirements by the U.S. International University Sports Federation and meet them with the current look.

I would have gone opposite: USA across the chest and a KU/Jayhawk as the secondary logo. Think of the marketing possibility.

▪ Finances help explain why Tuesday’s game wasn’t televised and Friday’s rematch isn’t scheduled to be broadcast. Kansas officials said the gate was a consideration and wanted as many Sprint Center seats as possible occupied.

About 8,100 were in attendance on Tuesday and a similar crowd is expected Friday. The gate from two games is expected to cover KU’s travel expenses to South Korea, as well as the Sprint Center facility rental and travel costs for the Canadian team to the Kansas City area.

But Kansas missed an opportunity by not televising Tuesday’s game. The atmosphere was terrific, complete with “U-S-A, U-S-A” chants in the second half. Frank Mason put on a show and the game was competitive.

Is it too late to not broadcast Friday’s game on the Jayhawk Network? Perhaps a tape-delay?

▪ College basketball just switched from a 35 to 30 second shot clock. The international game uses a 24-second clock, and it was refreshing to see teams get into offensive sets quickly. The game’s only clock violation, I believe, was an 8-second backcourt call on Mason in the fourth quarter.

▪ Self is overdue for international experience. So many of the college game’s greats have been part of national team staffs, many with less success than Self. He should be an A-lister when it comes to such duty.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @BlairKerkhoff.

  Comments