Sports

KCUR 89.3 covers community-related topics about sports in the Kansas City region. Do you have a story idea? E-mail News Director Maria Carter, maria@kcur.org.

Courtesy: KU Athletics

University of Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins announced Monday he’s declaring for the NBA draft.

The 6' 8'' player was the top high school recruit in 2013 - and this season Wiggins scored 597 points, more than any freshman in KU's history, including a high of 29 points in one game.

The draft takes place in June – and Wiggins is expected to be a first-round draft selection, if not the first. He says that’s where he wants to be.

KCUR

Friday’s home opener for the Royals marks the beginning of the professional baseball season in Kansas City.

And we’re wondering about your predictions for the home team this year.

The Royals haven’t made it to the playoffs since 1985, when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Will they ever have a chance like that again?

Tell KCUR: Is this the year the Royals will make it to the playoffs? Why or why not?

Leave us your prediction in a voicemail at 816-235-2881.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

On Saturday, the 30th anniversary of its only other men’s basketball championship, Central Missouri captured the NCAA Division II title.

The Mules defeated West Liberty of West Virginia, 84-77.

For veteran coach Kim Anderson, the thrill of winning his first national title came when the final piece fell into place. This was it. One last chance for Daylen Robinson to go out with a bang.

He did it years ago with an exclamation point at Northeast High School in Kansas City — 57 points in his final game there.

In Scottrade Arena in St. Louis, Mo., the two teams from Kansas got a case of the blues. Both teams lost Sunday in the third round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. 

The second-seeded Kansas Jayhawks played their second game without injured starting center Joel Embiid. Then his replacement in the starting lineup, Tarik Black who scored a game-high of 18 points, missed the last five minutes of the game when he committed his fifth foul. Black played only one season for KU after transferring from Memphis.

Wichita State University / goshockers.com

 Since Wichita State’s first appearance in the NCAA men’s basketball Tournament 50 years ago, this is the first time that the Shockers, Kansas and Kansas State are at the same site — all three teams will be in action Friday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. And fans who planned early are getting the most bang for their buck.

Since KU contended for a No. 1 seed before settling for a No. 2 seed, Jayhawks fans like Phillip Brown of Elm, Mo., gambled on St. Louis as KU’s destination. It paid off.

Cincinnati Royals / © 1971

At a time when the name "Cinderella" will be tossed around in association with teams pulling upsets in the NCAA tournament this week, Sam Lacey was part of what was the biggest Cinderella story in Kansas City pro-basketball history.

Lacey, who would have turned 66 later this month, died last week in Kansas City. A memorial tribute will take place Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Loretto on 39th Street.

It will be Arch Madness all over the again in St. Louis, Mo., for three Kansas teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The University of Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State are all bound for St. Louis this weekend, the first weekend of the tournament. When the Kansas Jayhawks lost to Iowa State in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament, coach Bill Self knew the chance of landing a number-one seed in the NCAA tournament was out the window.

“We’re not going to be a one, so I’m going to tell you it’s definitely better since we’re not going to be a one,” said Self.

In this age of greater access through social media and TV cameras, sports fans are given a peek of what happens behind the scenes more than ever before. But to get a peek inside the meeting rooms of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee is another story. Access before the 68-team bracket is unveiled on Selection Sunday is unlikely anytime soon.

Beauty marks and warts

www.skisnowcreek.com

                                                                                    

Jason Myers crosses the finish line at the bottom of the race course at Snow Creek in Weston, Mo., so fast that you almost can’t tell he’s sitting on his ski.

Wichita State added another accomplishment during its current undefeated season in men’s college basketball: The Missouri Valley Conference tournament title.

St. Louis has been the site of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament since 1991. Until Sunday, Wichita State came up short of its bid for a conference tournament title during all those years.

After an 83-69 victory over Indiana State, Shockers coach Gregg Marshall says he’s satisfied the conference tournament title drought is over.

Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City will begin defense of their championship in Major League Soccer Saturday with a road game at Seattle to open the season.

There will be one noticeable difference in the look of this year’s team. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, nicknamed "The White Puma" and known for wearing pink, decided to go out on top.

Nielsen announced his retirement shortly after Sporting's 2013 MLS Cup win. He is now coaching in Oklahoma City, Okla. 

Succeeding Nielsen will be Eric Kronberg.

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Sporting KC kicked off its 2014 season with a 1-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on March 8.

On today's Central Standard we discuss the entertainment aspect of a franchise that has become a business model for soccer clubs across the country.

Guests:

  • Jake Reid, chief revenue officer for Sporting KC
  • Thad Bell, managing editor for The Daily Wiz
  • Sean Dane, leader of the KC Cauldron

Lourdes Irizarry / paradoxsports.tumblr.com

You wouldn’t think mountain climbing would be an activity a paraplegic person could still enjoy. But one group’s efforts to adapt activities like mountain climbing are coming to fruition.

In the first part of Friday's Up to Date, we talk about how they’re making sports more available to people with disabilities and what inspired them to get involved with this project.

Guests:

Rich Moffitt / Flickr--CC

Can Kansas Citians live the Olympic dream? Figure skater John Coughlin came close. The Kansas City native and his partner in ice pairs, Caydee Denney, just missed out on the selection for the Olympic team.

Competing at the elite level of figure skating while training in Kansas City has its challenges. But it’s improving. When the Independence Events Center opened four winters ago, not only the newly established Missouri Mavericks hockey team took off. So did the Heartland Figure Skating Club.

Courtesy of Coach Joseph Potts

Kansas may be an unlikely place to find a bobsledder in training, but 23-year-old Anna Norsant says this is where she belongs.

Norsant is committed to the high-speed Olympic sport, which begins with two or four athletes pushing a snow-car-type sled at a sprinting speed, jumping in, and then descending down an ice covered run.

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, began on Feb. 7 and the world has been enthralled with the incredible athleticism displayed at the games.

Today we talk with professional runner Amy Mortimer, who placed ninth at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Later, we discuss what it takes for Olympians to train and compete in extreme winter conditions.

Also, KCUR reporter Laura Ziegler talks about the public's reactions to the Olympic games with this week's Tell KCUR. Finally, we explore what's at stake for Russia in hosting these games.

Guests:

Esther Honig / KCUR

Ski jumping was developed in Norway and has been around since the early 19th century. In this event, skiers go down a take-off ramp, jump, and attempt to impress judges, who give points for style.

The Nordic combined, also developed in Norway, is a combination of cross country skiing and ski jumping.

What It Means To Be A Gay Athlete

Feb 11, 2014
mutigers.com

What does it mean to be an openly-gay athlete? Just ask Michael Sam. The Mizzou football player, who was out to his teammates, made it public on a national scale this weekend.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with some of the organizations that support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes about the issues these athletes face.

We also talk with an athlete who’s dealt with the problems that can come with a public coming-out announcement.

Guests:

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Before his final football season at the University of Missouri, defensive lineman Michael Sam made the decision to privately tell his teammates that he is gay. On Sunday, Sam went public with it.  And if he is selected in May’s NFL draft, Sam will be pro football’s first openly gay player. The first men’s college basketball player to openly declare he’s gay also plays nearby, but Jallen Messersmith took a slightly different approach.

Flickr kylemac

  Bobsled, Skeleton, and Luge are winter Olympic sports that involve zipping down an ice covered track on a type of sleigh as fast as you can. (We’re talking like 90 mph.)

All three sports use the same type of track, or “run,” but the sleds are different enough to categorize them each into their own sport.  

So what’s the difference?

Olympic Dreams In Kansas City: Freestyle Skiing

Feb 11, 2014
John Lemieux / Flickr--CC

Olympic Freestyle skiing is a form of skiing that encompasses many different disciplines, including: aerials, moguls and ski cross.

For aerials, competitors ski straight down a mountain toward jumps that hurls them into the air. In the moguls competition, skiers race down a mountain, navigating around large bumps and perform small aerial jumps throughout the course.

Ski Cross is similar but the ski course involves natural terrain as well as artificial features like jumps, rollers or banks.  

supersum / Flickr--CC

Figure skating and ice dancing are the two Winter Olympic sports that combine sport with art. The choreographed performances show not only elite skill and athleticism, but also artistry and emotion. 

Practiced inside on a standard sized rink, figure skating is a sport that is easily practiced in the Kansas City area.

Laura Ziegler

 

Alpine skiing is the most commonly practiced Winter Olympic sport. But, as Midwesterners our "alpine" options leave much to be desired. Still, if you want to feel the air through your hair as you barrel down a mountain on skis or a snowboard, we have some options. The mountain just won't be quite be the size of those found in Sochi.

Where to go:
Snow Creek Park, Weston, Mo. 

Cost:
Adult lift ticket: $43
Child lift ticket: $28
Equipment rentals: $10-$25

KCUR

Dear Kansas City, we want to know what your Olympic dreams are.

As the world’s finest athletes compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia,  we’re wondering which gold you’ve been eyeing — from your living room.

Tell KCUR: If you could be in the Olympics, what would be your sport? Why?

Are you a would-be figure skater? A snowboarding hopeful?

Laura Spencer / KCUR

You will likely face two challenges if you want to try cross country skiing in Kansas City: the right weather conditions and available equipment.

Cross country skiing is considered one of the most challenging of the endurance sports. Participants use skis and poles to move across snow-covered terrain. Traditional cross country skis are long and narrow; holding on to the poles, you push with one ski and glide with the other.

Donna Vestal / KCUR

Speed skating is ice skating that falls into two basic categories — long track and short track. Long track races takes places on a 400m long oval rink with skaters competing in pairs. Short track involves four to six skaters on a track about a fourth that size.

Kansas City doesn’t have an Olympic sized rink for even short track, but a hockey rink will work.

Michael Sam, a standout football player at the University of Missouri, said in interviews Sunday that he is gay.

As an All-American defensive lineman and the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Sam is expected to be selected in May’s NFL draft. If he were to be drafted, Sam would be the first openly gay player in the history of the NFL.

Of all sporting events, perhaps none is more tangled up in dreams of glory and miracles and fellowship than the Olympic Games. For two weeks, the peoples of the planet come together in celebration of the Olympic spirit and all is well with the world!

Yeah, right.

The Olympics are a human endeavor. All those idealistic “principles” in the Olympic Charter—social responsibility, mutual understanding, universal respect—are written down because they’re so often forgotten. Just search “Olympic Scandals and Controversies” on Wikipedia; you’ll find nearly a hundred offenses.

The Kansas Board of Regents approved the construction for an apartment building that will serve as the housing for the men’s and women’s basketball players at the University of Kansas. It’s expected to be ready for the 2015-16 school year.

When completed, the $17.5 million apartment building will have 66 bedrooms, enough to mix in some students who don’t play for the Kansas Jayhawks, which is a NCAA requirement. The apartment will have a half-court for recreational basketball.

Funding will be private and through issued revenue bonds.

The Kansas City Chiefs season came to a stumbling, stuttering end on Saturday, January 4th. Everyone knew it would not be an easy game, but watching a 28-point lead turn into a one-point loss – the second-biggest playoff choke by any team in NFL history.  It was also the Chiefs' 8th playoff loss in a row that some might say was a fitting end to a season that started as hopefully as any season could and then went into something of a tailspin.

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