In a national championship between Bill Self and North Carolina, it’s hard for an Illini fan to find any rooting interest.
But if you love a weird story of persistence, then maybe you want to cheer for Kansas on Monday night?
Jalen Coleman-Lands — yes, the 25-year-old guard born on July 15, 1996 — will become a national champion if the Jayhawks can knock off the Tar Heels in New Orleans.
JCL has had a Tracy Abrams-esque kind of career, one just so weird that it’s hard to even explain.
Hell, Kansas’ website lists him as a “Super Senior.” I’ve never seen that before!
So I've been out of college for nearly three years. JCL and I were freshmen together at Illinois (and even were in the same Introduction to Journalism class!).
Look at the names he played with as a freshman! This is like an All-Names team for my generation of Illinois Fighting Illini basketball.
After a couple seasons in Champaign, he went to DePaul. Then he grad transferred to Iowa State, before transferring again, this time to Kansas.
Just look at his Basketball Reference page!! This would be a nice little career for a NBA player!
It’s just hard for me to comprehend.
But fortunately, because I always liked JCL (on those really bad John Groce teams), he has gotten his chance to finally play on a really good team. The stats aren’t great (1 minute, 0 points in the Final Four win over Villanova), but for a guy who has stuck around for nearly a decade, it’s cool that this is how his career will come to a closes.
So if I must: Rock Chalk. (I’m gonna go throw up.)