Do you remember Christmas?
I don’t mean do you remember Christmas time last year. If you’re at all like me, you spent Christmas worry about what gifts to get your kids and wife and folks and such. You negotiated travel plans or how much time to spend with your family and how much time the in laws got. Were you supposed to bring wine or a desert to the white elephant exchange?
What I mean, do you remember the feeling of Christmas from when you were 12. That year, the only thing I really wanted for Christmas was this book. It was really well illustrated and I could just stare at it for hours. It wasn’t a terribly long book, nor an expensive gift. My mother actually told me I could get anything else I wanted in addition to it, but there was something about that book that just fulfilled my every adolescent desire. I didn’t need a skate board or a new bike. I just needed that book, and the anticipation and build up to that particular Christmas has always stuck with me.
Nowadays as a man of means, I don’t get that feeling at Christmas time anymore. I love Christmas as much as any red blooded American should: I love the traditions; spending time with my family; my son’s excitement when he unwraps a present. But me, I don’t get excited anymore. I tend to just go out and buy something when I want it, and as I’ve grown older and amassed more stuff than my house can manage, my wants have grown fewer and less urgent.
For a long time I’d thought I’d never get that kind of a Christmas feeling again, but today, cheesy as it sounds, and pitiful as it is for a grown man to feel this way, I felt that same twinge my 12 year old self did unwrapping that book.
I’ve followed Cheick Diallo’s journey for the past 3 years. I’d heard the name when Kansas first offered him, but it wasn’t until I found a clip of this play that I got excited (it’s at 47 seconds in case this doesn’t embed correctly):
He wasn’t a top 10 or even top 15 recruit at that time, but after seeing him get that kind of a hustle play put back, I knew I wanted to see him play in Allen Fieldhouse. So the wait was on. I watched him play on live streams of all star games when I could. I followed him on social media. I’m sure in my low moments, I did things bordering on cyber-stalking. The anticipation. The hope. The dream!!!
I know there will never be another TRob, though a lot of players will get compared to him (heck, I’ve described Big Cliff as reminding me of TRob physically), but Cheick is the only big man who truly reminds me of him where it counts. This kid is all heart and grit. He plays hard and scraps for everything. I don’t know how many hours of basketball I’ve watched this kid play, but I can say with earnestness, I’ve never seen him take a play off in 3 years. Who was the last basketball player at any level that you could say that about in a span of 3 weeks, let alone years?
This isn’t the happiest day of my life, and not even in the top 10, but this will be a day I remember forever simply for the way it made me feel. This is wish fulfillment at it’s best. Rock Cheick, Mr. Diallo, and thank you for becoming a Jayhawk. (And thank you too, my fellow posters, for not ribbing me too hard that I’m out here gushing like a school girl!)
Dont aplogize ! And thanks for keeping us in the know on recruits … Every time i see you post, i go right to it (Ill bet a lot of people here do too) Its that time of year when we all need something good … the whole recruiting process is maddening, painful, frustrating at times, and then…, we get a guy, a guy that posters like have put in our radar for a long time
It does feel like xmas
SO… Will he give us two years ??
@konkeyDong I love it!! What book was it?
Never apologize for being a real fan…we could always use more.
Thanks for the moral support, guys. To answer your question, @Crimsonorblue22, I don’t remember the exact name of it, but it was like an encyclopedia of Japanese legends with illustrations by a famous Japanese artist. It was a macabre, but nothing too gruesome. Nevertheless, I don’t think my mother really liked it, which is why she was willing to offer another gift. I think she thought I’d lose interest. A few years later the book got ruined when our septic tank backed up into our basement (where my room was). I’m sure I could track it down on Amazon or something if I got really motivated
@konkeyDong did u have an interest that lead into a job or hobby from the book. Very interesting for a 12 year old, mature I think.
@konkeyDong This is what rats on buckets do-we share ourselves Good stuff KD. Rock Chalk !!
Awesome post, feel the same way I celebrated maybe a little too much off 1 High School kids announcement. Who would have thought that things like this can excite you so much.
I wonder if we will over-hype him because of the fact that he was such a need to the team. I don’t think he will disappoint though.
I agree that I haven’t seen a HS kid that plays as hard as he does. The game he had against Thon Maker I think it was in the fall was the game I was convinced we needed him at all costs. At that time Maker was the most hyped player around. Diallo outplayed him, out-hustled him and did all the things that he will do here at KU.
@BeddieKU23 I agree on multiple parts of the post. I, just like you probably am too excited about Diallo because he was such a need for our team. We have to keep in mind that he is not the second coming of TRob just yet. Look at Cliff from last year. We all thought he was going to be a day 1 starter who put up 12 and 10 and that simply never happened. We all need to be realists. Diallo may struggle with the jump to the NCAA just like Cliff. But I doubt he will. He seems to really have the physical tools to make an impact right away.
Your right he isn’t the 2nd coming of T-Rob, can’t say anyone will ever be like he was. Diallo is a unique talent that is really going to change the dynamics of our frontcourt.
I thought Cliff was going to be a monster last year but that clearly didn’t happen for us. It ended ugly but I’m not so sure it ever was a honeymoon to begin with. Diallo is more athletic, works & gives more effort, and runs the court better than he will ever.
I’m assuming Diallo will be able to play in the exhibition games and surely will practice leading up to the games that will help him even more. Same with Bragg, they are going to get a lot of experience before the fall and that is a huge benefit.
Yes KD, I remember Christmas as a child and they were the best. Especially the year of the electric train.
I got to relive some of it when my kids were little.
And you are right on-signing these top kids has been a bit like that. I sure appreciate folks like you that keep us informed in the off-season. KU Buckets has really helped me on several levels.
I feel that way right now with Jaylen Brown. I feel like I’ve gotten almost everything for Christmas, with the exception of one, but hey I know the next gift just might be a Jaylen Brown. I love Christmas and I love recruiting.
We got a Carlton Bragg, Cheick Diallo, missed on a Brandon Ingram (whatever), and now the next package has got to be a Jaylen Brown. All I want for Christmas is a Jaylen Brown.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk Early Christmas
He wears number 13. Seems like KU had another pretty good basketball player wear that jersey number back in the day.
@tundrahok Actually, a couple of them. Walt Wesley was a 2nd team All-American in 1966 who wore #13. Not sure what number Wayne Hightower wore.
I like whatever number Ed Hightower was…he was the ref at the '88 and '08 title games.
@JayHawkFanToo Someone (maybe you) noted that once before. Sure made me a Hightower fan.
Probably me…when I saw him at the start of the '08 game I though we were doomed but the way it worked out, he turned out to be our good luck charm.