Junior Naismith rules

Posted on Feb 1, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Junior James Naismith via kualumni.org, credit Steve Puppe
 
He’s done it again.
img_news_leiszlers.jpg
The same future Jayhawk who stole our hearts with his special rendition of ‘Home on the Range’ for Kansas Day…

and the very same trick shot artist who declared his intentions to play for Kansas early, very early, has won the Internet–and our hearts–once again.

This time, with ESPN’s College GameDay in town ahead of a mid-season classic between Kansas and Kentucky, a pint-sized impersonator stole the show. The junior James Naismith became a viral sensation, earning more screen time than Coach Self while registering a new Fieldhouse record on the cuteness meter. Naismith’s original rules for the game of basketball were presented to KU during a halftime ceremony, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, and fans ate it up, peach basket and all.

The young “mini-Naismith” is the son of Chris, c’01, and Anne-Marie Leiszler, b’00, and his incredible, shareable talents have thrilled fans of this blog in the past. We caught up with Chris to learn more about his son’s recent rise to fame and his GameDay experience.

“I’m not really sure how I came up with the idea to be honest with you, and it was a total coincidence that Naismith’s Rules of Basketball would be presented at halftime. But when I pitched the idea to him several weeks ago, he just put his hand on his forehead, shook his head, and said, “Oh Dad…” And then he looked up at me and smiled and said, “Okay, let’s do it.””

And the rest, as they say, is history?

“The entire day was an absolute blast. I got him up at 4:45 AM so we could get him dressed and get a good seat for the morning activities. We figured we’d get a few chuckles out of people and we were hopeful that he’d get on TV, but we never imagined that Jay Williams would invite him to sit at the desk with him for part of the ESPN College GameDay broadcast. And then, a while later, the wonderful people from KU’s marketing department asked us if we’d like two tickets for the game, and we simply couldn’t believe it! And what an epic game it was! It was certainly a day that our family will never forget. Rock Chalk!”

We couldn’t agree more, Chris! Here are a few more highlights from his College GameDay experience.

–David Johnston

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Original Post Categories: Alumni News, News, and Sports
Original Post Tags: Anne Marie Leiszler, Basketball, Chris Leiszler, David Johnston, James Naismith, and Naismith Rules

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