University of the Pacific forward Tom Cockle grew up in the heart of Big 12 country – Raymond, NE, just outside Lincoln, to be exact. And like most kids, he grew up worshipping at the altar of Dr. Tom Osborne and Husker Football.
But once football was over, his attention turned south. To Allen Field House.
"Growing up, KU was my favorite college basketball team and my favorite player was Jerod Haase," confessed the 6-5 senior.
"He was just an unbelievable player. He worked so hard on his shooting technique, and just everything about him was just something to be admired."
“This is very exciting for me. I’m happy to have the opportunity to play Kansas. They’re a great program, and they’ve always been a very classy program. They’ve always been one of my favorites.”, said Cockle.
When asked why he wasn’t wearing crimson and cream, Cockle said that the former NU coach didn’t really give him a chance.
“It was the Danny Nee era,” Cockle explained, “and he didn’t show a lot of interest in local kids. But the Pacific showed quite a bit of interest along with some other west coast schools, so I went out there.”
He wanted to play at KU, and even went to Roy Williams’ camp all four years of high school. “But sometimes dreams don’t become reality,” Cockle said. “Besides, I’ve had a great run at Pacific.”
So, Tom, what happens if your Tigers come up short Sunday? Will you get back on the Jayhawk bandwagon for the duration of the tournament?
“I won’t cheer [KU] on this year,” Cockle laughed, “but once I get back here (to the Midwest), I’ll like them again.”