Blue Over Red, 75-70

The anticipation was building at 2:54 this Wednesday afternoon at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center next to Allen Fieldhouse. KU coach Bill Self's basketball campers were scrambling for seats, while many Jayhawk fans sat in the opposite bleachers waiting for the KU scrimmage to begin.

“Hey Mario,” a camper screamed as junior-to-be Mario Chalmers walked into the building. Chalmers high-fived some of the campers before watching the preliminary game between the campers and camp counselors. After the campers beat the counselors, 17-15, in overtime, it was time for the main event.

It was Red vs. Blue. The red team consisted of Darrell Arthur, Chase Buford, Tyrel Reed, Cole Aldrich, Rodrick Stewart, Sherron Collins, and former Jayhawks Michael Lee and Greg Ostertag. The Blue team was represented by Mario Chalmers, Sasha Kaun, Matt Kleinmann, Russell Robinson, Connor Teahan, Darnell Jackson, Brennan Bechard, Brad Witherspoon, and Brady Morningstar.

“First team to 75 wins,” said former Jayhawk and current KU administrative assistant Brett Ballard.

The 7-2 Ostertag showed his stuff early opening the game’s scoring with a layup and then making a nice bounce pass inside to Arthur for a bucket. The Blue team got on the board after Chalmers delivered an alley-oop pass to Kaun for a monster dunk.

And here’s some of what followed:

Ostertag missed badly on one fadeaway jumper from the low post; Jackson stormed through the lane for a one-handed jam off the break; Aldrich showed a nice left-hand hook in the paint as well as a nifty drop step where he got fouled on a missed layup; Reed blew by defenders and drove explosively to the hole for a sweet layup, and Jackson popped soft jumpers (two three-pointers) and made a big block on a right hand hook shot by Ostertag.

Sporting a new perm, Kaun was quite active inside and took strong moves to the hoop over Ostertag. Arthur, too, was lively in the paint and had the campers cheering when he went coast-to-coast for a one-handed jam.

And then there was Collins.

While he didn’t score much, Collins was by far the fastest player on the court, and at just under 200 pounds, looked explosive and in fantastic shape. In two KU camp scrimmages (the Jayhawks also scrimmaged on June 13), Collins showed signs of becoming a star next season and possibly arriving on the national stage as the second coming of former Jayhawk All-American Darnell Valentine.

Part sloppy, part highlights, and part look of the past and future, the scrimmage ended with the Blue team beating the Red, 75-70. Jackson paced the Blue team with 22 points, followed by Arthur with 19 points. Kaun led the Red squad with 17 points, while Stewart added 13 points.

Reed (12 points) and the rest of the ‘Hawks enjoyed the scrimmage.

“Everyone on the team is so good at every position,” said Reed, the 6-2 freshman guard from Burlington, Kan.

Reed spoke after the game about his adjustment to KU basketball. He said he needs to improve defensively and “just getting stronger and quicker. It’s such a different level at KU so it’s going to take a little while. I’ve been working hard in the weight room. All of us have. We’re all working hard on our conditioning. ...Over the course of this next year, hopefully I can get a lot stronger and be able to take the hit.”

And does he have a preference about playing point or shooting guard?

“I played point guard in high school, so I’m probably a little more comfortable at point guard,” he said. “I’ve been working on my shot lately, so running the two guard is no different.”

Aldrich said he’s been learning a lot from Ostertag (four points) this past week with the ‘Big O’ in town.

“He’s a great guy,” Aldrich said. “He mentioned a few different things to work on here and there. For example, when you’re posting up, he said if you want to go one on one, clear the guy out or go real quick, or look opposite. Just do little things, real fundamental things.”

While not in shape, Ostertag had a blast back home in Lawrence scrimmaging with the KU players. He also scrimmaged with the Jayhawks on Sunday.

“I love coming back here,” Ostertag said. “I wasn’t near as tired as I was on Sunday night.”


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