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Late Night in the Phog 2016: Recap and Takeaways

Late Night in the Phog: a night of celebration for Kansas Athletics!

My first Late Night trip started out on the road. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, my dad and I took off towards Lawrence for KU’s annual “Late Night in the Phog.” After about three hours on the road, we made it to our destination. After grabbing a quick bite to eat in Lawrence, we arrived on the doorstep of Allen Fieldhouse. The pre-event festivities were in full bloom, and it included games, food, music, and a half-court of basketball. By two o’clock, a large crowd had formed outside of the doors.

As the afternoon went on, the line slowly gained in length, and university officials made a disappointing decision. Many of the fans in line had lawn chairs or blankets, but by 3:00, they were forced to take their gear back to their vehicles. In the process, the officials also made the line tighten, squeezing an abundance of fans in a small amount of space. To make matters more difficult, the sun peered out of the clouds, beating down on Jayhawk fans waiting in line. As expected, people got sweaty and smelly, not to mention angry or disappointed that KU officials refused to open the doors early.

After standing in the Sahara for over an hour, security checks began, and lines began forming outside of the Allen Fieldhouse doors. At this point, many fans were tired of standing in a line. Kansas would opt to not open the doors early, as the general admission doors were pulled open at 5:30 sharp. With a few of my friends from Kansas City, I sprinted towards the staircase to grab a good seat. Surprisingly, we grabbed seats (actual seats, not a bench) on the east side of Allen Fieldhouse, right off of the second level walkway.

Just minutes later, the event’s 3-on-3 tournament women’s, followed by the men’s, championship games began. At 6:30, all eyes were turned towards the court, as Big Jay and Baby Jay welcomed the 16,000+ with a video-game themed performance. Going with Late Night tradition, the women kicked things off first with their choreographed dance and team introduction. Minutes later, the women returned to the floor as they scrimmaged the team managers. The women prevailed, snatching a 34-14 win in front of the capacity crowd.

The night progressed, and it was eventually time for the famous Late Night “$10,000 shot.” Two college students were selected, one male and one female. Each had the option to either shoot themselves or have someone else carry the responsibility for them. If we recall, on last year’s edition of Late Night, former Jayhawk Brennan Bechard drilled a half-court shot, winning one student $10,000. It was deja vu on Saturday night, as Bechard knocked down yet another miracle heave. Following the make, the PA jokingly assured fans that Bechard still had a job on the staff.

At around eight o’clock, a “Bill Self for President” video was played on the big screen. As soon as Self announced his intentions to run, the Allen Fieldhouse crowd showed their support, as the arena erupted. Following Self’s big announcement, it was dancing time for the Kansas men’s team. The dance theme was played off of the popular TV show “Dancing with the Stars.” The athletes were split into three teams; Team Fresh (freshmen and transfers), Dream Team (sophomores and juniors), and the Extreme Team (seniors Landen Lucas, Frank Mason, and Tyler Self). Bill Self gave his approval of son Tyler self and the trio of senior Jayhawks, giving the group a 10/10 rating. The Kansas crowd had the same idea, as in the text-to-vote, Team Extreme won heavily, taking over 50% of the vote. Arguably, this skit was one of the more-favorable performances in the illustrious history of Late Night.

At 9 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse began to rock off of its hinges. The arena’s seats began to rattle, as KC’s own Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko brought the crowd to its feet. Tech N9ne opened up his performance with a tribute to his hometown, as he sang “KC MO” with the Allen Fieldhouse crowd. Tech N9ne did an incredible job bringing the energy to the arena, preceding the player introductions, which were due up next.

As usual, the Kansas men’s team came in with authority. Although there were no fireworks, a spray of fog was released as the screen came up, and as the players walked in. Lagerald Vick stunned the crowd with his five seconds of dancing, and Svi put on his famous “archer” pose as he came into the arena of 16,300. Frank Mason would be the last Jayhawk to walk out, and the team would prepare to scrimmage to end the action-packed evening. In the scrimmage, team Crimson and team Blue ended in a draw. Carlton Bragg was the obvious highlight of the scrimmage, scoring 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Josh Jackson added nine points, while Malik Newman poured in 12 for team Crimson. On team Blue, Frank Mason and Lagerald Vick both contributed 12 apiece, totalling half of Blue’s 48 points.

To recap, I learned one thing from Late Night in the Phog, and that is KU sure knows how to throw a party. The event lived up to all of the hype, and even brought more hype to Kansas fans everywhere. The season kickoff is a must-visit. Waiting out the lines can be difficult, but it is well worth the wait. The night was full of energy and passion. Oh, and Kansas basketball is back.

Nick Weippert

Just a typical teenager that thinks above the box. Probably have to deal with more Kansas State fans than you do. I love playing sports and also sharing about my passions through writing. I also do a little bit of graphic design work.

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