Spotlight: JR Giddens

Most Kansas University basketball fans probably think J.R. Giddens is just showing his emotions when he raises his arm and makes a fist during pregame introductions.

After all, the freshman from Oklahoma City seems to be nearly as quick with his smile as he is with his unorthodox three-point shots.

While Giddens' simple gesture is also about emotions, it has very little to do with basketball

Giddens playing for mom (KU Sports)

As she lay in her hospital bed, all Dianna Giddens could do was nestle the phone next to her ear and listen.

Her son, J.R., had just turned 19, and he had called to tell Mom how much he loved her. Basketball, school, life on the University of Kansas campus. J.R. Giddens talked to Dianna about everything that February day, like they were sitting in their living room back home. Only this time, his mother didn't respond.

She couldn't. Words don't come easy when you're on a breathing machine.

register to read (KC Star)

First, Illinois-Chicago. Then, Pacific. Next up, Alabama-Birmingham. Lucky Kansas might just make it all the way to the Final Four without playing a team seeded higher than ninth -- unless, of course, the Jayhawks become an upset victim themselves.

Go ahead and ask fourth-seeded Kansas or any other team that plays a lower-regarded squad if it feels like a favorite heading into the round of 16 at the NCAA tournament.

"I say 'Boo' to anyone who says that," Kansas guard J.R. Giddens said Tuesday.

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