HONOLULU — KJ Adams, just three days after saying goodbye to his mother, Yvonne, who passed away Friday night in Austin, Texas, arrived at Kansas’ team hotel in Oahu at 1:45 p.m. Monday, just 2 hours and 15 minutes prior to tip of the Jayhawks’ first-round Maui Invitational clash against Chaminade in SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.
Adams, a 6-7 junior forward, whose beloved mom attended several KU games the past two seasons and this year’s Late Night in the Phog, worked up quite a sweat during warmups with his teammates 90 minutes before tip.
He didn’t start but entered with 14:14 left in the first half to a standing ovation from the 2,000 or so KU fans in the 10,300-seat building.
Adams — he picked up a quick offensive foul after entering the first time — scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and dished four assists while playing 26 minutes in the Jayhawks’ 83-56 victory over the Div. II Silverswords.
He was quite effective during a game that the Silverswords kept competitive almost all the way.
“Considering all the stress and lack of sleep, it may not be a bad idea to get him in there to relieve a little stress,” KU coach Bill Self said in his pregame radio interview, commenting on possible minutes for Adams.
He stuck with his plan of starting freshman Johnny Furphy (four points) at the forward spot for Adams.
“She (Yvonne) struggled so long. They (Adams family) have handled this with so much grace and class. They’re hurting. This is a tough time for KJ,” Self said. “His father, Kevin, his sisters and niece are all going to be here together. It’s nice they have the opportunity to stay together this week.”
Adams started the second half with KU up by just 12 points. He caught an inbounds lob pass from Dajuan Harris and slammed it to give KU a 41-29 lead at 18:41.
Also with 13:03 left, Harris threw the ball off the backboard to a trailing Adams, who slammed it in. Adams left for good to a standing ovation with 4:12 left and KU up by 22 points.
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