Giddens: They don't want the Jayhawk to fly

Giddens talks about the state tournament, being a McDonalds All American, and the Capital Classic.

Kansas recruit J.R. Giddens will play in his first state tournament today. Though not as prestigious as the upcoming McDonalds All American game, in some ways it is even more important.

"The McDonalds game is big. It is a thrill," said Giddens. "But this my senior year and state. I want to win."

The McDonalds rosters were formally announced earlier this month on ESPN.

"We all watched the selection show together," said his mother, Dianna Giddens. "Of course we were elated he qualified."

"I celebrated by going to the gym and working harder. It's like hey, I'm a McDonalds All American – I am supposed to hit it," said Giddens.

Giddens joins future Kansas teammate David Padgett, who has been out with an injury, on the West team. But unlike the highly regarded Padgett, Giddens was not a "lock" for the honor.

"I was a little surprised when I first heard," admitted Giddens. "After all that happened, I didn't know if they would pick me. Maybe people will see I am good guy after all."

Giddens' went from "pretty boy" to "bad boy" last December after being arrested for his alleged involvement with a shoplifting scheme. Ultimately Giddens did not face charges. However, critics and opposing fans have long memories and Giddens has endured questions and game-time taunts since the incident.

This has done little to effect his status as one of the best players in the nation. In addition to hamburger kid honors, Giddens was invited to participate in the Jordan Capital Classic in DC, alongside such players as LeBron James, Kris Humphries, and Ndudi Ebi.

"I got the packet for the Michael Jordan classic the day before the McDonald's packet," said Giddens.

Gidden's enthusiasm for both events is obvious.

"I get to meet Michael Jordan! I don't know what I am going to say. I talk a lot, but this time I may be speechless," said Giddens.

"I am going to keep my eye on him and just watch him. I want to ask some questions."

"All my friends want to know if I can get them an autograph. They joke can I fit them in my suitcase," laughed Giddens.

For now, Giddens is focusing on the state tournament. He claims it is time to "turn up the heat."

"I am not quite 100% with my foot. I am a little sore too, just from getting beat up in practice and games," admitted Giddens.

"I get a lot of hard fouls in games," explained Giddens. "Other teams know I am going to Kansas and do what they can to keep me from scoring or dunking."

"They don't want the Jayhawk to fly," said Giddens.

J.R. Giddens may prove that nothing can keep him from soaring above the crowd. Top Stories