Haase misses the Madness
As a former Kansas Jayhawk basketball player, Jerod Haase has lived his share of highs and lows in March.
Now, as an administrative assistant for the Jayhawks, the former South Tahoe High star is experiencing the emotional NCAA Tournament as a coach.
“Obviously it’s a little different. It’s not quite as exciting as being on the court, but it’s still a lot of fun,” said Haase by phone from the Kansas basketball office Tuesday.
As a shooting guard for the Jayhawks from 1994-1997, Kansas advanced as far as the elite eight in tournament play. In his final season, the Jayhawks entered the 64-team extravaganza as the tournament favorite but was bounced out by eventual champion Arizona in the round of 16.
“The main thing is the finality of it all,” Haase said. “If you lose a big game during the season, you have a chance to come back from it. In the tournament, every time out could be your last game if you don’t play well.”
Kansas, 24-6, is the fourth seed in the Midwest Region in Dayton, Ohio, and opens the tournament against Cal State Northridge on Friday.
“I do think we could go pretty far in the tournament because when we’ve played well we’ve played with the best in the country. But at times we have looked really bad, too,” Haase said.
Injuries to 6-foot-10 senior guard/forward Luke Axtell and freshman Bryant Nash have messed with the Jayhawks’ chemistry.
“We’re a little thin, especially in the backcourt, and that’s part of the reason for us not being as consistent as we wanted,” Haase said.
The stagnance of Coach Roy Williams’ lead assistants Neil Dougherty, Joe Holladay and Ben Miller have forced Haase and fellow administrative assistant C.B. McGrath to be patient for an opportunity at promotion.
“It’s full-time for sure,” Haase said. “We go to all the practices and travel. Time-wise, it’s as demanding as any assistant position around the country,” Haase said. “I’m ready and prepared to be an assistant as far as spending time and being around the gym and office most of the day.”
Haase’s low-ranking position with the Jayhawks, however, doesn’t mean that Williams and the other assistants don’t listen to his ideas.
“My main responsibility right now is not to be coaching, but it’s good when the coaches listen and ask my opinions,” he said. “I’m involved with all the coaches’ meetings, traveling with the team and giving any advice I might have. Hopefully I can do that for three more weeks.”
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