BLOG: Jalen Wilson crafts the perfect fieldhouse farewell to land at the top of the KUsports ratings once again


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Kansas forward Jalen Wilson (10) gets a second-half foul in the Texas Tech color at Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday, February 28, 2023. Photo by Nick Krug

1 – Jalen Wilson – It wasn’t a great night of shooting for Wilson, who hit just 6 of 16 shots in the hard-fought Senior Night win over Texas Tech. But he more than made up for it by going full force. Wilson kept driving hard to the edge in the final 30 minutes of the game, drawing multiple fouls and hitting 9 of 10 shots at the free throw line to ensure Kansas won. It was the quintessence of Jalen Wilson’s game. He didn’t play that great. He didn’t shoot well. And the opponent never went away. But there he was at the end, leading all scorers with 21 points and smiling broadly after another Kansas win – this time in his last game at Allen Fieldhouse and to capture at least part of the Big 12 title. What a perfect farewell for one of the youngest greats of the KU.

2 – Kevin McCullar Jr – The former Texas Tech Red Raider was great against his old team in the first half, finishing with 10 points and 5 rebounds to lead Kansas. In the second half he calmed down on offense but never slipped up on defense and once again made some of the biggest moves of the game. Like Wilson, albeit in a slightly different way, McCullar is a winner. He doesn’t care what it looks like or who says what about it; As long as he gets the job done, he’s happy. And more than ever this season, he’s done just that. He finished that game with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in 37 minutes, earning the senior dispatch he received.

3 – Dajuan Harris Jr – Harris got going early in the second half after Tech stormed out of the locker room and made it a game by scoring 7 straight Kansas points to ensure the Jayhawks never lost the lead. How about that for a statement on his solid night — Harris finished the game with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, with 5 assists, 1 turnover and 2 steals in 38 minutes, and nobody really raved about it. Oh, and he did all this after walking out of the Jayhawks’ last game with a foot injury just a few days prior. Harris is that guy and he was sensational again in this one, although some of the other things about the game overshadowed it.

4 – KJ Adams – Adams had his hands full with Tech’s size and he fought the tail to keep up with him, finishing with one of his best rebound games (8) of the season so far. Other than that, his production was limited save for a huge lob, which he ended from an inbound pass late in the game to help KU hold a small cushion. He finished the game with 7 points on 2-of-4 shooting and only made 3 of 6 free throws in 33 minutes.

5 – Gradey Dick – His late free throw shooting was pretty important in a four-point game, but the rest of the night was pretty memorable for the KU newcomer. He missed all seven shots he made, including five from 3-point range, and never really got going. He’s done enough to earn his time on the floor – 5 boards, 4 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. But he was probably burying that in the back of his mind while the buzzer was still beeping. It remains to be seen if this will also be Dick’s last game at Allen Fieldhouse. But even if it were, there’s little doubt that the win meant a lot more to him than anything he personally did or didn’t do.

6 – Ernest Udeh Jr – He played 7 minutes and scored a key basket while also grabbing an offensive rebound and providing an assist within seconds of checking into the game. KU could have used his greatness against the TTU big man, who finished with 13 points and a whopping 18 rebounds. But Udeh couldn’t use it to KU’s advantage, limiting his playing time and slowing down his production. Not the worst game for the big KU man. But not nearly the best either.

7 – Joe Yesufu – With 9 minutes off the bench, Yesufu’s best contribution came in the first 20 seconds he was on the ground. He then drilled a 3-point shot after a pass from Udeh to help KU extend their first-half lead. From there it was a bunch of misses and limited minutes. I’m saying this for Joe though. This was the first game I noticed he really looked like a veteran while he was out there. He moved the ball very well, helped others get in the right spots on offense and did what he could to contribute to the win in a way that had nothing to do with goals.

8 – Bobby Pettiford – Only played 3 minutes and missed his only shot, a 3-pointer from the wing. There is no doubt that Pettiford was passed over by Yesufu as the first guard from the bench. But there’s also no doubt KU will need him to stay ready and dial in should he be needed in the postseason. He will. Bobby is a competitor and a grinder, and he likes to follow in the footsteps of the leaders on this team – doing whatever it takes to win, handsome, ugly or not.

season ranking


1—Jalen Wilson, 238

2 – Dajuan Harris Jr., 217

3 – Kevin McCullar Jr., 193o

4 – Gradey Dick, 192

5 – KJ Adams, 191

6—Bobby Pettiford, 108

7 – Joe Yesufu, 102

8 – Ernest Udeh Jr., 81

9 – MJ Reis, 63 years old

10 – Zuby Ejiofor, 57u

11 – Zach Clemence, 44z

12 – Cam Martin, 11q

13 – Kyle Cuff Jr., 2x

*x – Out for 10-12 weeks with a knee injury as of Nov 13*

*y – missed 3 of the first 5 games of the season due to injury and illness; also suspended games due to COVID, kidney stones and back spasms*

*z – Missed games at Duke, Southern Utah and NC State due to injury. Also injured a knee in a road loss in Iowa state causing him to miss more time*

*o – Missed the November 29 game against Texas Southern with a groin injury

*q – Missed the first nine games of the season with a shoulder injury

*u – Missed a few weeks in the middle of the Big 12 season with a foot injury*


Sweet, scrappy senior farewell: Kansas No. 3 battles late past Texas Tech with big plays


Winning time: Kevin McCullar Jr. delivers in clutch again to help Jayhawks secure Big 12 crown

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Written by Matt Tait

A Colorado native, Matt moved to Lawrence in 1988 and has been in town ever since. He graduated from Lawrence High in 1996 and from the University of Kansas in 2000 with a degree in journalism. After covering KU-Sport for University Daily Kansan and, Matt joined World Company (and later Ogden Publications) in 2001 and has held various positions at the newspaper and over the past 20+ years. In 2018 he became Journal-World Sports Editor. Throughout his career, Matt has won multiple local and national awards from both the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Kansas Press Association. In 2021, he was named Kansas Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Matt lives in Lawrence with his wife Allison and their two daughters, Kate and Molly. When not covering KU-Sport, he enjoys spending his time playing basketball and golf, listening to and writing music, and traveling the world with friends and family.

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