When the Charlotte Hornets announced a meet-and-greet for their newly drafted player Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Jayhawks were there to welcome him to their city.
“I’m a native Charlottean and was six when the Hornets started. I’ve been waiting a long time for my hometown team to pick one of our guys,” said Rebecca Ferry, d’05. Ferry leads the local alumni network.
The meet-and-greet was extra special for Kelly Hunter and her son Luke. When the Hornets heard Luke was celebrating his 11th birthday, they pulled a few strings and sold him the store’s first Devonte’ Graham jersey.
The story gets even better: This wasn’t the first time Luke had met Devonte’. Luke and his mother ran into Graham two years ago while they were on campus.
On Luke’s 9th birthday.
“Devonte’ said he remembered meeting him,” said Kelly. “Luke thinks the Hornets drafting Devonte’ is the best birthday present ever.”
Read more about the 2018 NBA Draft, which saw former KU basketball players Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk drafted in the second round.
Alumni in Nashville, Tampa and Omaha also got together at their local watch sites to see where the Jayhawks would begin their NBA careers.
Going home again
The Big 12 Player of the Year didn’t have to wait long into the second round to know his destination, as the Charlotte Hornets traded two future second round picks to secure the first-team All-American at pick #34. Graham continues to be linked to his former backcourt teammate Frank Mason III, who was drafted with the same pick last year by the Sacramento Kings.
While Malik Newman and Billy Preston were not selected, their professional basketball careers are just beginning. Former Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr., who went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft and now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, shared his advice:
Not hearing your name called tonight doesn’t mean a damn thing, its all about what you do now. Yeah be mad, but use that frustration as fuel to the fire to prove you belong. Take it day by day & work your ass off because the cream will always rise to the top. Thats just facts.
If the past week is any indication, the ’Hawk Days of Summer are still going strong.
Alumni Association staff members hosted a boat cruise with all-you-can-eat crabs in Washington, D.C.; a behind-the-scenes tour of Madison Square Garden in New York City; a harbor cruise Charleston, South Carolina; a wine tasting in Springdale, Arkansas; and a day at the Topeka Zoo. We also co-hosted three events with KU Libraries and their popular Naismith artifacts exhibit in Huntersville and Raleigh, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia.
Our socially-savvy staff and volunteers posted updates and pictures online during each of the events, so we put them together in one place for easy consumption. Check it out below!
A few highlights: the most spirited KU fan ever, a yet-to-be-explained food fight involving baked beans, and the appearance of Caitlin Wise, our former coordinator of student programs who now lives in the Washingon, D.C. area. Enjoy!
@kualumni#hawkdays thru Sunday: Huntersville NC, Denver, Raleigh, Atlanta, Washington DC, Charleston, Springdale AR, Topeka, New York.
This event is part of the ‘Hawk Days of Summer, the KU Alumni Association’s annual summer sojourn across the country and around the world. The 90-day series of events resulted from a determination to make the most of the summer months. The 2014 tour kicked off on Saturday, May 17, and includes picnics, receptions, baseball games and more. Visit our online calendar to find upcoming events near you.
It’s tough being a Jayhawk in North Carolina. We are typically overshadowed by a couple local teams. To cope, we have banded together as the “Charlotte Jayhawks.” We are made up of Kansas alumni, parents who paid for for us to become Kansas alumni and even a couple people who grew up in Lawrence or are simply Kansas fans. As often as we can, we huddle together to watch a game, remind the locals where Dean Smith went to college and drink Boulevard Beer.
In the last couple years, with the expansion of the Big 12 to include West Virginia, things have become a little easier for us in Charlotte. At least once a year, we have the ability to see our Jayhawks play a game a mere 6 hours away. It’s become an annual pilgrimage for us. Sure, we could catch the game on TV, but there’s nothing quite like seeing the team in person.
On our trip to Morgantown this year, we were greeted by an impressive turnout of fellow Jayhawks. Despite our large numbers, I was still shocked by how many “Welcome to West Virginia” greetings we received from Mountaineers. Although we didn’t get to give them the Rock Chalk chant, as we left the stadium a couple West Virginia fans went out of their way to tell us, “You guys have a great team” before wishing us a safe trip home.
Do you remember a few years ago, when Thomas Robinson suddenly lost his mother? Soon afterwards his teammates (and even one of their mothers) quickly banded together to become a surrogate family for him and his sister. Out of this tragedy some players started using an acronym: F.O.E. – “Family Over Everything.” You can see the enduring power of this phrase today as the Morris twins still tweet it, to motivate themselves.
Our trip to West Virginia was infused by the power of F.O.E. You see it in the throngs of Jayhawks showing up in Morgantown. It shows up in a group of Kansas fans finding each other despite living in a state distracted by other basketball programs. You could even see the power of F.O.E. in the welcoming faces of fellow Big 12 fans in West Virginia.
The Schooner Pride, a magnificent 84-foot tall ship, set sail from Charleston Harbor Aug. 25 with 20 Jayhawks aboard for a glorious two-hour afternoon cruise. The crew graciously allowed novices to hoist the sails, and as the excursion concluded, Russ Crane, c’63, who grew up sailing on Kansas lakes and now volunteers in a sailing program to help U.S. military veterans, helped steer the ship back to the harbor. The cruise began and ended with the Rock Chalk Chant, followed by a brief update on KU news from Jennifer Sanner and Dan Storey of the Alumni Association. Dan captured video of the event, which is sure to become a tradition for the Charleston Chapter, led by David Perrett, c’93.
The Association’s tour of the Carolinas began with the Charlotte Alumni Reception Aug. 23 at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Thirty Jayhawks, spanning the classes of 1949 through 2012, heard the latest from the Hill, including the women’s track and field national championship; the construction of Rock Chalk Park for track and field, soccer and softball; and the project to restore the canopy of trees that graced Jayhawk Boulevard in decades past. Alumni were especially pleased to hear about the University’s growing efforts in the recruitment of legacy students nationwide and throughout Kansas, including the Jayhawk Generations Scholarship for academically qualifying out-of-state students from KU families. Jennifer Shoemaker, c’04, shared information about upcoming events in Charlotte, and Steve Ellsworth, b’49, son of the Alumni Association’s longtime executive director Fred Ellsworth, c’22, traveled with his wife, Bobbie, from their home in Rock Hill, S.C., for the event.
Forty Central North Carolina Jayhawks gathered at the serene wooded home of Randy Marcuson, c’74, and his wife, Linda, Aug. 24 for the chapter’s annual summer picnic, featuring barbecue and all the fixings; beverages, including home-brewed beer provided by David Danner, j’85; and Linda’s homemade brownies. Victoria Shropshire, c’96, invited her fellow Jayhawks to football watch parties in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, and other members planned to re-establish a watch site in Raleigh. Cooled by Carolina breezes and warmed by KU camaraderie, the crowd lingered well into the afternoon.