Several KU students recently had the opportunity of a lifetime–the chance to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
The students were pictured with KU basketball star Ben McLemore on the magazine’s regional cover for its NCAA Tournament preview edition that was released last week. The students—many of them Athletic Department employees, student athletes or spirit squad members—were assembled the day of the shoot in Allen Fieldhouse. A couple of the students on the cover (circled below) are familiar faces in the KU Alumni Association office: Erica Witty, the 2013 Homecoming Steering Committee director, and Andy Kriegh, a former KU Alumni Association intern and S.A.L.B. member. Both are working this Spring in the Allen Fieldhouse Ticket Office.
We asked them about the experience of being in a S.I. cover shoot with Ben McLemore under the direction of S.I. Photographer Al Tielemans.
“It was a fun experience— one I am definitely glad I got to a part of,” Erica said. “Everyone there was having a good time, and the people from Sports Illustrated said we were one of the livelier groups they have photographed. They thought it was funny how when we took the pictures we would all yell like we were at a real game— someone said it was because we were in the Fieldhouse, it’s a tradition to yell!”
Andy added, “The directions were a bit silly, ‘jump up and yell like you just watched McLemore dunk! Actually making noise brings more energy to the picture.’ So there we are, all fifty or so of us ‘woo-ing!’ for a half-hour in the middle of the afternoon in an empty AFH.”
Andy noted that McLemore’s role was brief, arriving after the students had been organized and arranged by height, but that he was pretty cool about the whole thing. “I think we were all a bit awestruck,” Andy admitted.
Both felt good about the final cover, which KU fans will agree was the best among the four regional covers that also featured Gonzaga, Indiana and Syracuse. Erica agreed.
“I like the one they picked, it really shows what our student section looks like! It is definitely something that I will remember!”
Andy, however, just missed getting in the shot. “I got covered up perfectly by the “t” in “Illustrated,” but I understand. I don’t think the cover could have handled all of the star power if they had McLemore AND me on it— haha! It was still a blast and just another unique experience that I have gotten to enjoy while going to KU.”