Long Shots

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ERIC CLARK
Boschee, Boschee, Boschee! KU senior Jeff Boschee probably has heard his name chanted a million times. But on Sunday afternoon at Brown Gymnasium in Hillsboro, a capacity crowd got to do something few Jayhawk fans do-watch KU play in person.

Even though it was only the seniors from this season’s Final Four team, and although there were several good players on the squad, most came to see four-year starter Jeff Boschee-especially 15- and 16-year-old girls.

During the halftime auction, a Boschee autographed game jersey sold for $625 in an auction battle that would have challenged Marion County’s fiercest.

Admittedly, I, too, was caught up in “Boschee Mania.”

The game was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., but because the autograph line stretched from the auditorium, down the north corridor and then back into the gym, the game finally tipped-off around 3:30.

I was told the delay was due largely to Boschee fans, who were getting their pictures taken while having their KU memorabilia signed by the Jayhawks.

A 30-minute delay would usually have most folks upset, but the mania was too great on Sunday, and the wait proved to be worth it.

After announcing the Marion County All-Star lineup, the gymnasium erupted with anticipation of the KU squad.

Fans cheered as the Jayhawks were announced, but the crowd saved most of its excitement and enthusiasm for the 6-1 senior who sat at the end of the bench with a sheepish grin on his face.

The Jayhawks put on a show, dunking, shooting, alley-ooping and dribbling. The KU seniors even managed to work in the kids at the game-literally.

Ultimately, KU did win 101-83, but that’s not really the point, and that’s not why most were at the game.

In fact, most agree the reason we were there was because of KU’s class act on the basketball court.

Perhaps, that’s why “Boschee Mania” has been sweeping Kansas. He’s a classy, clean-cut basketball player in a crowd of tatoos, dredlocks and loud mouths.

We all relate to Boschee in some fashion or another. To some he’s an underdog, to others a heart throb, to some an opponent. But to most he’s just Boschee -the little Jayhawk that could and did.

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