Juan Article

  • @BShark said in Juan Article:


    It’s the star, but a must read.

    I found it impossible to read w/o tearing up. Wow.

  • @Jethro I knew about it and cried again tbh

  • ““He had life experiences where he could’ve chosen the wrong path. He could’ve gone one of two directions,” Lisa Braun said.”

    Read more at: https://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/big-12/university-of-kansas/article259861695.html#storylink=cpy

    This really says a lot. So many people talk about positivity… I feel people like Juan are the ultimate mentors for positivity… it must have been very hard for him sometimes to take that right path and go against the grain of his environment.

  • wow that one hit! 😢

  • I told you guys about his brother. I have a moms heart for him and especially for Lisa Braun.

  • It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and say “player X sucks get him out of here” but stories like Juan’s are why college sports are so great. A kid in Juan’s position wouldn’t sniff a place like KU without sports. The guy in the jersey matters. A lot.

  • @FarmerJayhawk said in Juan Article:

    It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and say “player X sucks get him out of here” but stories like Juan’s are why college sports are so great. A kid in Juan’s position wouldn’t sniff a place like KU without sports. The guy in the jersey matters. A lot.

    Yeah. 5*s are cool and all but I absolutely love Dajuan, Jamari, TRob, Darnell etc

  • @BShark dtae, mason

  • The Star wants a subscription apparently Can anybody copy and paste the article?

  • @Bosthawk try opening in incognito mode

  • @Bosthawk Kind of tough to read.

    Kansas coach Bill Self knows he’s not supposed to have favorites. But on this year’s team … well, it’s tough. Mostly because point guard Dajuan Harris is on the roster. “My guys would tell you that Juan’s kind of my favorite, even though I don’t think that,” Self said with a smile. “But the way that I react to him sometimes is a little different than how I react to everybody else.” TOP VIDEOS WATCH MORE × NBA Next Game - Chicago Bulls There are some good reasons for that. Harris cares about the team more than himself, Self says, and things always seem to go better for the Jayhawks when he’s on the floor because of his basketball IQ and feel for the game. The coach also believes thin players often aren’t seen as fierce — and that’s not true with the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Harris. “He’s as tough as anybody on our team,” Self said. It goes deeper than basketball, though. And this is where Self becomes a bit emotional. Harris hasn’t had an easy go of things during his 21 years. “I’ve always been — and I think most coaches are — have always unintentionally shown favor to those that go through more than most to get to where they’re at,” Self said. “And there’s no question that he’s had more hardship than anybody else has in our program presently.” Tragedy followed Harris to KU. But it also hasn’t deterred him. Find more sports news, plus coverage from Sports Illustrated. READ MORE Harris recently lost a parent. And a brother. And as he directs these Jayhawks into the NCAA men’s Final Four ahead of Saturday’s game against Villanova, he’ll do so not only as an inspiration to his hometown. But also to some family members behind KU’s bench — the ones he continues to lift up daily. “The situations he’s been through certainly far exceeds what anybody his age or let alone in a lifetime should have to go through. So I totally respect how he’s handled it,” Self said. “And that’s why I tell him all time, ‘All good that comes to you, you deserve.’” KU’s Dajuan Harris, left, managed to get this one-handed reverse layup to fall during the second half of the NCAA Midwest Regional championship game Sunday at the United Center in Chicago. KU beat Miami 76-50 to advance to the Final Four. Rich Sugg RSUGG@KCSTAR.COM ‘THAT’S WHO I PLAY FOR EVERY DAY, EVERY GAME’ A few steps outside KU’s locker room, Dajuan Harris is wearing a new Final Four hat but still processing what’s just taken place. It’s about an hour after KU’s 76-50 victory over Miami (Florida) — one that pushed the Jayhawks to their 16th Final Four — and Harris’ last few minutes have been a blur. Family photos at mid-court of the United Center. Arms wrapped around mom and sisters with big smiles. Blue and red confetti under their feet. “We never thought we would be here,” Harris said. “I never thought that I’d be here.” Given his backstory, it’s an improbable journey for sure. Harris says if he didn’t like playing basketball, he’d probably be somewhere on the streets right now like his other friends who didn’t play sports. That wasn’t his path, though. “I just wanted to be a leader instead of falling behind other people,” Harris said. “I just wanted to stay focused.” And he’s done that while persevering through trying circumstances. Harris’ father — Dajuan Sr. — was in and out of his life from a young age. Part of that followed Dajuan Sr.’s arrest following his involvement with Columbia’s Cut Throats gang, a group indicted by a Missouri federal grand jury on charges of drug-trafficking conspiracies and involvement with drive-by shootings and firearms violations. Harris worked to build a relationship with his father after he was released from prison. One of his fondest memories came in high school when Dajuan Sr. traveled to Columbia’s ARC rec center, knowing his son would be hooping there. The two played one-on-one. “I beat him,” Harris said with a smile. It would be one of their few times left together. Dajuan Sr. died in October 2017 at age 34, with Harris only saying now that the reason for his passing was “something that came out of nowhere.” “I don’t even be trying to think about none of that stuff,” he said. “To this day, I still don’t really know the real story of what happened.” Harris has kept his father’s memory, though, starting with the fact that “Harris Jr.” appears on the back of his KU jersey. “That’s important to me. That’s who I play for every day, every game,” he said. “So if I come out, I know he’s probably watching me, so I just be trying to play for him.” It’s not the only angel that Harris believes is with him. In October 2019, Harris’ 13-year-old brother, Dajion, was killed in the family’s house. According to a probable cause statement obtained by the Columbia Tribune, 19-year-old Cameron White told police he and Dajion were high and playing with guns when Dajion said to shoot him. “And I just did, like that, and the gun just shot him, and I shot him in the head and he dead,” White told police, according to The Columbia Tribune. White later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter while facing 10 years in prison. Harris, then a redshirt freshman at KU, went back to Columbia to be with his mother, Demetria Roland, and four other siblings. Meanwhile, KU guard Christian Braun’s mother Lisa — she’d taken Dajuan into her home during his summer AAU playing days — was in Lake of the Ozarks when she received a call from Self to see if she’d be willing to drive to Columbia to be there for Harris and his family. She left immediately. What Lisa Braun saw from Harris that night continued what she’d come to expect from him over time. A rock for his family during crisis. And an unwavering spirit who kept sight of the goals he’d placed for himself ahead. “A lot of kids could have really gone off the cliff, going through those kinds of experiences,” she said. “And he didn’t.” And basketball — like always — was what kept Harris moving forward. A RECRUITING PITCH TO KU Mokan AAU coach Drew Molitoris says most kids that come through his program have a similar background. They have natural talent, but they also are aided by instruction from training camps or individual shooting instructors. That makes Harris unique. “Dajuan, he’s never done any of that stuff,” Molitoris said. “His game has been developed by playing.” Specifically, at ARC — the recreation center in Columbia. Harris began going there from an early age, taking on his uncles and kids older and bigger than him. He also developed his competitive spirit there, as the only way to stay on the court was to keep winning. So Harris found habits to ensure his teams played their best. He used quick hands to slap away steals. He was creative with passes and played stronger than his size. It was just the start of Harris’ association with successful teams. He joined Kansas City’s Mokan starting in sixth grade, staying with the Brauns over the next few summers while bunking with Christian on a trundle bed in his room. Christian had a Nerf hoop on the top of his door, and Lisa remembers the two using socks, wadded-up paper — whatever they could find — to shoot baskets in the room. The 2014 Mokan seventh grade team included Christian Braun (far left), Dajuan Harris Jr. (third from left in red headband) and Isiaih Mosley (sixth from left in black headband). The two would jump around playing basketball inside before Lisa would yell for them to stop. Shortly after, the noise would be muffled a bit, as Lisa figured out the boys had switched to playing basketball on their knees to avoid shaking the house. Over time, Dajuan grew to be part of the family. So much so that when Self would talk to Lisa after Christian committed to play at KU, she often wanted to talk about Harris instead; that included one year at the Peach Jam Tournament, where Lisa said she pleaded with Self to give Harris a more extended look. The KU coach did that day. And shortly after Harris’ team won the Peach Jam title, he committed to play for the Jayhawks. “I always (tell Self), ‘Hey, you’re welcome for that,’” Lisa Braun said with a laugh. She played college basketball at Missouri and believed her eyes when watching Harris. She was always amazed by his quick reactions and also his basketball intelligence. Molitoris, meanwhile, saw a player who always seemed to save his best for the do-or-die moments late in tournaments — while also coming through unconventionally. “It’s rare for somebody to be able to impact the game at a high level on offense and defense if you’re not a scorer or a physical presence. And he’s neither of those,” Molitoris said. “But he’s always been somebody that gets everything going offensively because he keeps the ball moving and gets people open looks.” This seemingly has been a reason his teams keep winning. Harris guided his Columbia Rock Bridge team to a Missouri high school state championship in 2019, and as a starter at KU, his record is 32-7. “I would never bet against Dajuan,” Molitoris said, “in any situation.” With that thought in mind, Molitoris is making the drive to New Orleans this weekend. Along with a few passengers ready to see what’s next for Harris. KU’s Dajuan Harris hit this runner of the glass over Texas Southern’s Brison Gresham during the first half of a first round NCAA Tournament game in Fort Worth. KU beat Texas Southern 83-56. Rich Sugg RSUGG@KCSTAR.COM ‘NOW I’M HERE’ AT THE FINAL FOUR Demetria Roland’s first time watching KU play outside of Allen Fieldhouse was at the United Center in Chicago last week. And she said she wouldn’t soon forget it. “He had a rough life, you know what I’m saying, coming up,” Roland said of Harris. “So I’m proud of him.” Now, Roland is looking to take in this adventure with him for as long as she can. With some other family members, Roland has made plans to come to New Orleans this week to cheer on her oldest son — and also her motivation. Roland was also in and out of Harris’ life growing up while she was incarcerated; Harris’ grandmother took Harris and his siblings in then. Harris, though, is enjoying Roland’s support now, which has included postgame celebration photos on the court after KU’s Elite Eight win. Kansas guard Dajuan Harris poses for photos on the United Center court with mother Demetria Roland, left, and other family members following KU’s 76-50 victory over Miami in Chicago. The win advanced the Jayhawks to the Final Four. Jesse Newell JNEWELL@KCSTAR.COM “My mom got out (of jail). She did the best she can,” Harris said. “Now she’s here, trying to make it for her, my grandma, my sisters and my other brother.” Roland laughs when saying she’s starting to coach Harris some as well. After games, she’ll tell him, “Start shooting more.” After all, she knows he can be good at that skill when he tries. Harris’ response? “Mama, I’ve got to listen to the coach.” “He’s a good kid,” Roland said. It’s far from the only family watching Harris at the Final Four. Some will be paying attention from afar, as when Harris posts KU videos on his Facebook page, the responses come from all over. “Man the whole family rooting for you, even the ones who might not even tell you,” one says. “You have represented Columbia well,” adds another. “He is a true symbol of hope to all young kids,” an uncle adds. A few recent honors are noteworthy as well. Harris won a Black Excellence award from his hometown in December for best male athlete, and the last two seasons, he’s earned Academic All-Big 12 first-team status while posting a grade-point average above 3.2. This after Harris’ grades were so poor in high school that he was forced into an initial redshirt season at KU to focus on academics. “He had life experiences where he could’ve chosen the wrong path. He could’ve gone one of two directions,” Lisa Braun said. “He could have gone nowhere or be something of himself, and he chose to use his skill and his talents to the best of his ability and create his opportunities.” She will also be in New Orleans, and over time, Harris has called her “Mama Lis.” The title is appropriate. Lisa Braun says she’s just as pleased for Harris as her own sons. “It makes me so happy to see him happy and excited and go in the right direction,” she said. “And I think he’s just in awe of what he’s doing and where he’s at.” Self also will be there — the man who admits that his connection with Harris has become more profound than he first anticipated because of the circumstances. “He deserves,” Self said, “whatever the best life has to offer right now.” For this week, that’s the Final Four. Harris will play for those still here and also two who aren’t. Through it all, he says he’ll remain grateful for what he has. And also the school — and coach — who gave him the chance to prove he could make it this far. “Now I’m here,” Harris said, “having the best time of my life.” This story was originally published April 1, 2022 9:46 AM. RELATED STORIES FROM KANSAS CITY STAR KU BASKETBALL NEWS Kansas coach Bill Self discusses Villanova, Final Four APRIL 01, 2022 5:05 PM UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS Bill Self tells Ochai Agbaji what his legacy will be if Kansas Jayhawks win it all MARCH 31, 2022 2:45 PM JESSE NEWELL 816-234-4759 Jesse Newell — he’s won an EPPY for best sports blog and previously has been named top beat writer in his circulation by AP’s Sports Editors — has covered KU sports since 2008. His interest in sports analytics comes from his math teacher father, who handed out rulers to Trick-or-Treaters each year. Insane Camper Vans Deals Going On Now Camper Van Deals | Sponsored The Men’s Shoes for Standing All Day Without Discomfort - 70% off Antoniglobal | Sponsored

  • @wissox thanks for posting that, what a great story. Feel like we have to win now!

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