KU fans welcome NCAA champions back home
LAWRENCE, Kan. (KWCH) - The 2022 NCAA Basketball Champions, the Kansas Jayhawks, returned home Tuesday afternoon and fans were there to welcome them back.
The KU pep band along with dozens of fans the Topeka Regional Airport when the team touched down. In a photo posted on Facebook, the team said it was excited to bring back some hardware.
In Topeka, the team boarded its bus, making the trip back to the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence. Hundreds of fans were there awaiting the team’s arrival at Memorial Stadium.
“This is why you go to a school like Kansas. There’s no guarantee these things are going to happen but there’s always a chance and we’ve had numerous chances and to punch the ticket twice. It’s pretty special,” said head coach Bill Self.
KU now has four national titles and two of those are under Self’s leadership. The Jayhawks secured their fate Monday night in a historic second-half comeback, beating the North Carolina Tarheels, 72-69, for the national championship.
NCAA Tournament MVP Ochai Agbaji spoke about how the team came together to capture the ultimate prize. Although KU entered the tournament as a one-seed, other names came up first when discussing favorites to win it all.
“We had ups and downs this season. We had a really special team, really special coaching staff,” Agbaji said. “(I) couldn’t be more thankful and when I made my decision to come back this year, this is how I envisioned it.”
Plenty of players spoke to the crowd about the game and the run the Jayhawks made.
“We didn’t come here to play in the Final Four, we didn’t come here to play in the national championship, we came here to put a banner in those rafters and that’s exactly what we did,” KU senior Chris Teahan said.
As was the case 14 years ago, winning a championship didn’t come easily in the final game.
“The two greatest comebacks in the history of the NCAA finals was provided by the Kansas Jayhawks,” Self said. “Down nine with two minutes left (in 2008) or down 15 with 20 left (Monday night). At least statistically, that’s what they say. It would be great to win it any way, but to win it that way makes it a little sweeter.”
Monday night, the Jayhawks trailed by as many as 16 and were down 15 at the half. Their come-from-behind win is now listed as the biggest comeback victory in NCAA championship game history.
Kansas men’s basketball team, just hours removed from winning the national championship, will be back in Lawrence late Tuesday afternoon.
The team arrived in Topeka around 3 p.m. From there, they headed to Lawrence, where a celebration at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, KU’s football stadium, is scheduled to start at approximately 4:15. Gates to the stadium open at 3, with seating only on the stadium’s west side.
All surface lots around David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium and the Mississippi Street Parking Garage will open at 2 p.m., for fans to park. There will also be a shuttle running from downtown Lawrence and Lot 90, beginning at 2:30 p.m., as lots around the stadium begin to fill.
Copyright 2022 KWCH. All rights reserved.