What do you do when you want to impress a group of people? Bring them to Allen Fieldhouse when ESPN's College Gameday is filming. Bring them to Allen Fieldhouse to watch the Kansas Jayhawks take on the Texas Longhorns at home. Bring them to Allen Fieldhouse during the NBA all star break when several former Jayhawks now in the NBA are planning on being back in Lawrence. Bring them to Allen Fieldhouse for the jersey retirement of Mario Chalmers, the player most often credited with bringing the last National title to Lawrence Kansas.
That's pretty much what Kansas basketball and Kansas football are doing this weekend. To date Bill Self has five members signed for his 2013 class. Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden, Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene and Frank Mason. Kansas is currently on the hunt for one or two more players according to Bill Self, one of those players is Julius Randle. Randle will be in the stands on Saturday taking in Allen Fieldhouse with the full ESPN crew in tow. Randle is a top five recruit and would cement this class as perhaps Bill Self's best class at Kansas. That in itself is no small task considering one of Self's early classes included Mario Chalmers, Micah Downs, Julian Wright and Brandon Rush.
Add Randle to the mix and Self has a legitimate seven footer in the middle. A power forward that can play a style similar to that of Marcus Morris. A pair of wings that can play anywhere from the two to perhaps even the four spot if Kansas goes small, and finally two ball handlers, one of which is a prolific scorer from the state of Kansas. Jayhawk basketball would be young next year, but in very good hands.
Charlie Weis and the football program are also showing off the University of Kansas this weekend. The Jayhawk staff is hosting an assortment of local talent as part of the Jayhawks first junior day event. Jayhawkslant is reporting several local area visitors including Peyton Newell and Deandre Goolsby. The state of Kansas and the Kansas City area has a higher than normal number of high major prospects this year so the opportunity is there for Weis and company if they are able to show progress on the field and convince some of these players that the program has some positive momentum. The Jayhawks will be battling some heavy hitters for guys like Newell and it might be an uphill battle, but it's good to get these players on campus early and often.
After we look toward the future, the weekend offers an opportunity to look toward the past. Mario Chalmers will have his jersey retired. Chalmers was one of the craftier defenders alongside Russel Robinson during the early Self years at Kansas ultimately winning a title in 2008. When Chalmers, Wright and Rush signed following Self's initial foundational class someone told me that we were winning a championship. I wasn't sure it was going to happen but it did and while there are many players that played a huge role in that, Chalmers captured the moment and defined that run. Now Mario plays alongside the best player in the NBA. It's a solid memorable career for a Jayhawk and a great opportunity to remember a moment and honor a player.
Throw it in a box, put a bow on it and you've got a big weekend for Kansas athletics and it all takes place inside the building that means more to Jayhawk fans than any other, Allen Fieldhouse. Rock Chalk, and enjoy.