Kansas Jayhawks: Life on the End of the Bench [VIDEO]


Would you not play basketball for the Kansas Jayhawks if it included free Adidas gear, trips around the country, and one of the best seats in Allen Fieldhouse?

That’s essentially what Jayhawk walk-ons Tyler Self and Evan Manning, the players with famous last names and a little bit of game, are doing for the No. 8 team in the country — and they’re pretty darn good at it.

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Save for  a combined 37 minutes this season, Self, a redshirt sophomore, and Manning, a junior, have kept the bench at an above average temperature, helped lead big-play celebrations, and worn their warm-ups like they’re going out of style.

More often than not, when they do get to hear their sneakers squeak toward the end of a victory, anything they accomplish, short of shooting an air ball on national TV, is gravy.

Manning came to Kansas by way of Lawrence Free State High School where he averaged 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and 2.4 assists per game.

Scoff all you want, but my guess would be majority of you reading this averaged 7.3 PPG game less than Manning.

The son of legendary Jayhawk, and current Wake Forest head basketball coach Danny Manning, Evan actually left Free State in 2011 as the all-time single season steals leader, with 64.

Self, whose dad is also a Division I head coach, checked in at a modest 3.9 points and 1.3 rebounds per game his senior year at Free State, but he has this amazing KU highlight reel.

While the seats on the end of the bench most likely are imprinted perfectly for each player (unless they are doing this), Tyler Self and Evan Manning have it pretty good.

Sure, some of their on-court action is cringe-worthy at best, but that means they are playing cringe-worthy basketball in Allen Fieldhouse.

They also rarely have to deal with media peppering them with questions after games, and certainly don’t have to stress out over the agonizing decision of staying in school, or leaving early for the NBA.

Honestly, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Cliff Alexander are probably super jealous of them right now.

I know I am.

A ticket to a Jayhawk home game will usually run you the same as season tickets to KU football, yet Self and Manning are there court side every game, zipped up in their awesome game-day attire, mentally preparing their tweets after another Jayhawk victory, complete with monkey and ghost emojis.

Or something awesome like this.

If a normal person tweets like that, they may be getting one or two pity retweets and/or favorites. But not these guys, they are getting hundreds.

That’s the good life on the end of the bench.

Despite their limited playing time, the duo still contributes to the stat sheet.  Self is third on the team, and Manning second, in fewest fouls committed.

Senior Christian Garrett, who has logged 11 minutes but lacks a legendary last name, leads the team with one.

While Garrett, and fellow reserve Josh Pollard, who is the nephew of former Jayhawk Scot Pollard, are fan favorites as well, they don’t seem to lead the rock star life of Manning and Self.

Their teammate Brannen Greene hits a 3-pointer every other attempt — that gets old after a while. Just listen to the crowd in the video below as Manning sinks one from downtown. 

So there’s no need to feel sorry for Tyler and Evan when they don’t see the court as much as their teammates, because they are actually seeing it from a much better view than you.

In free Adidas gear.

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Naming the All-Bill Self KU Teams

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