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basketball

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The stands at Blue Springs South High School were dotted with just a few fans Saturday for the Missouri high school basketball quarterfinals. There was no pep band. But nothing had stopped what likely was the only sporting event in the Kansas City metro area.

Missouri, which has four cases of the coronavirus and whose governor declared a state of emergency the day before, was among rare company this weekend as one of only four states that allowed high school basketball tournaments for girls and boys teams to continue.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Update: 12:05 noon, March 12.

Following a wave of suspensions, postponements and cancellations in the sports world, the Big 12 Conference announced on Thursday that the men's and women's basketball tournaments in Kansas City have been cancelled as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement by the Big 12 was precipitated by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas's declaration of a state of emergency in Kansas City.

Todd Weddle; Terry Griffin / Northwest Missouri State; Drury Sports Communication

Diego and Daejah Bernard of St. Joseph, Missouri, have a shot to do something never accomplished in college basketball at any NCAA level: A brother and sister duo winning national championships at two different schools in the same season.

Each of the Bernard siblings is a starting guard for their respective teams at the NCAA Division II level.

Segment 1: The rise of mass media has changed a president's ability to communicate.

Advancements in technology have provided modern presidents a more direct means of communication with their countrymen. Today, a leading expert in presidential rhetoric explores the rise of mass media and how presidents have adapted to communication innovations.

Segment 1: "Tough love, to me, means you love fiercely but not uncritically," said Susan Rice. 

Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice recounted stories of her time as the 24th national security advisor, and what it was like to work so closely with President Barack Obama. Today, we take a second listen to a conversation on some of the best and worst things she saw during her time in Washington.

Segment 1: The former U.S. Senator from Missouri says, "traditional qualifications for president are on life support."

Dirk / Flickr - CC

The calendar has turned to March, and with it come certain expectations. For example, temperatures above freezing, and the Kansas Jayhawks cruising to another Big 12 title. But this year — not so much. Commentator Victor Wishna faces the cold reality in this month’s edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

When the Kansas Jayhawks take on the Oklahoma Sooners tonight, they will do so as underdogs. Not in the game — they’re slight favorites. But the odds that they will win their record 15th consecutive Big 12 conference championship are ... less than even.

UMKC Athletics

For Michael Watson, playing pro basketball was like being in an entirely different world from the one he grew up in, shooting hoops at Kansas City's Central High School.

"Everything is done at the highest level of excellence — from the GMs down to the players to the managers and the coaches and the staff — everything is done 100 percent and at the top of what you can get," he says. "That's what you dream about doing."

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The cost of higher education has shot up faster than family income in recent decades.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Lawyer and lifelong Kansas Citian realized his past role as chairman of Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission "functions much like the mayor of a city." 

In the first of our series of interviews with Kansas City, Missouri, hopefuls to become mayor, Steve Miller laid out his views on crime, affordable housing, pre-K education and more.

BigStock Images

In the last year, three boys high school basketball coaching stalwarts in and around Kansas City, Missouri — Willie Bowie, Bud Lathrop and William Madison — have died. As holiday tournaments get underway, the coaches’ longevity and success are sure to be remembered, all while the next legends establish themselves.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The state of KanCare.

Since it's creation in 2013, KanCare has received heavy criticism. The privatized Medicaid dispursement program started by former Gov. Sam Brownback has struggled with long processing wait times, bad data collection and lawsuits. Today, administrators of the program discuss the myriad issues they've dealt with already and the ones that remain to be solved.

Phil Roeder / Wikimedia Commons

The underground economy of amateur college sports — where agents, boosters, and other deal-makers pay to play — has long been an open secret, to coaches, student-athletes and even fans. But now that someone — specifically, the Justice Department — is making a federal case of it, could a real cleanup be on the way? Commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

Shane Adams / Flcikr - CC

Segment 1: Adidas and KU have been implicated in an FBI investigation of collegiate basketball.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

As they advanced over the first two weekends of the NCAA tournament to reach the Final Four, the University of Kansas Jayhawks played inside arenas relatively close to Lawrence, which gave them some friendly crowds.

But at the Alamodome in a dome in San Antonio, it’ll take more of an effort to win over Texans in the crowd who aren't dressed in Villanova, Michigan or Loyola colors.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City native Amaad Wainright already has had some big moments with the Kansas State men’s basketball team, including the team's run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and a season-high 35 minutes played during a Big 12 tournament loss to conference champion Kansas earlier this month.

Jeff and Laura Jacobsen / Kansas Athletics

Coming out of the weekend, lots of fans in Lawrence and Manhattan were thrilled as their basketball teams advanced in the NCAA tournament.

But that also means some coaches are putting extra money in their pockets.

Most big time college coaches have lucrative bonuses in their contracts.

Kansas State University's Bruce Weber has already done very well.

He has earned an additional $344,000 dollars for making the Sweet 16, according to his contract.

Weber’s contract calls for a 16 percent bonus on top of his $2.15 million salary.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Prairie Village's mezzo-soprano presents music of Berlioz and Bernstein  with Kansas City Symphony.

Joyce DiDonato has performed on famed stages from Beijing to Barcelona. Today, we sat down with the Prairie Village native to talk about bringing her "In War & Peace" tour to Moscow, working with prisoners at Sing Sing Correctional Facility and her upcoming performance series at Kauffman Center.

Courtesy of UMKC Athletics

CSU-Bakersfield men’s basketball coach Rod Barnes emerged from the locker room late last month at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. He was seeking a familiar face, one who gave Ole Miss its first all-African-American starting five, who encouraged him to not listen to naysayers.

He was looking for former UMKC athletic director and basketball coach Lee Hunt, the man who was on the leading edge of race relations in high school and college sports during the Civil Rights Era. Barnes found him, exclaiming, “Coach! It’s good to see you.”

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Raytown School District board quietly approved an out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit filed by former Raytown South boys basketball coach Brad Oestreich. Though the financial terms were undisclosed, a source says the settlement didn’t involve any punitive damages. The case was scheduled to go to trial next week.

Before regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 9, the board met behind closed doors to discuss “legal action, causes of action or litigation.” The case dismissal was officially posted on Oct. 31.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Jacie Hoyt is making waves in the coaching world. At just 29, she's one of the nation's youngest Division I head coaches. Today, she talks about her playing days, coaching influences and vision for UMKC women's basketball.

Todd Weddle / Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State junior Justin Pitts was named the NCAA Division II Player of the Year this week by Basketball Times magazine. He’s a 5-foot-9-inch point guard from Blue Springs South High School.

Process Media

St. Patrick's Day Weekend is here! Wear your green proudly as Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critic Steve Walker leads you to a movie pot of gold at the end of the cinematic rainbow!

Steve Walker

Wolves, R

Typical sports movie clichés are superseded by a strong script, director, and cast (headed by Michael Shannon) telling a gritty story about a high school basketball phenom and his alcoholic, gambler father and enabling mother.

UMKC

This story has been updated to reflect some comments made by UMKC officials.

The 92-82 win Wednesday night by the UMKC men's basketball team over Green Bay was its first post-season appearance and victory in the 30 years the Kangaroos have played in Division I.

Phil Roeder / Wikimedia Commons

Warning: you may want to change your March Madness brackets.  We speak with the Kansas University professor who has developed a model to statistically predict the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. Then, we meet John Gibson, the new chairman of the Democratic Party in Kansas, and find out what makes him hopeful for his party in such a red state.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Raytown South High School boys' basketball team was only one victory short of making the state semifinals in Columbia, Missouri. Instead, Kearney High School is on its way there after beating Raytown on Saturday. 

Raytown South’s recent success was a lift for a program scorched by unresolved accusations of racial discrimination towards the team.

Danny Wood / KCUR 89.3

The Big 12 basketball tournament starts today at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. The multi-day event generates an estimated $13.6 million for the local economy.

At the same time, the Missouri legislature is looking at three bills that would require people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates. If passed, such a measure could prevent Kansas City from keeping or getting other big events.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says he's closely monitoring the bills’ progress.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Big 12 men’s basketball tournament begins Wednesday downtown at the Sprint Center. Top-seeded Kansas doesn’t play until Thursday in the quarterfinals, but KU has already put itself in elite company winning its 13th consecutive regular season Big 12 title. That ties the Jayhawks with UCLA.

KU faced challenges on the court, but even more trouble off the court en route to this year’s title.

Getty Images/NBA

Kansas City may be known more as a college basketball town these days, but two NBA head coaches with Kansas City ties, Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue and Phoenix’s Earl Watson, will make history when their teams face each other on Sunday.

Last June, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship and set off a celebration in that city. At the same time, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, a graduate of Raytown High School, couldn’t pry himself from the bench. He sat with his face buried in his hands.

Sobbing.

Miguel Vieira / Flickr - CC

During the 20th year of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, outside of Strong City, Kansas, a new documentary explores how the park was created and is sustained. Then, we learn about the life of Forrest "Phog" Allen, who amassed 590 wins in 39 seasons coaching the KU men's basketball team.

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