Late Night in the Phog
Late Night in the Phog at the University of Kansas continues to be one of the most well-attended 'midnight madness' events in all of college basketball. Each year, some 16,000 fans pack into Allen Fieldhouse to catch an off-beat look at the Jayhawks and to get a sneak peak at the highly-touted freshmen.
Prior to the 2005-06 season, the NCAA decided to change the season-opening scrimmage time from midnight to earlier in the evening to create a more fan-friendly experience. Now fans of all ages can watch the festivities -- Late Night isn't so late anymore.
Former Kansas coach Larry Brown helped get Late Night started in 1985. The title of the event was borrowed from the show Late Night With David Letterman.
Late Night was an instant success at basketball-crazed KU, but it really blossomed in the early 1990s. Unlike most midnight madness-type events, Late Night is highlighted by skits, lip-syncs and dance routines performed by the players themselves. After a scrimmage from the women's team, the Jayhawk men end the night with a dunk contest and short intra-squad scrimmage.
Since 1988-89, the Jayhawk women's basketball team has taken on a greater share of the Late Night load and often shares center court with the KU men's team. The pep band, cheerleaders, dance team and mascots are also involved in the pre-scrimmage entertainment.
For Jayhawk fans, Late Night has provided some lasting memories. In 1989, Alonzo Jamison snapped the entire basketball goal support with a pre-game slam dunk. In 1991, 7-0 freshman Greg Ostertag lip-synced Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places." In 1996, Scot Pollard had the house lights lowered and proposed to his girlfriend.
In his first season as head coach in 2003, Bill Self encouraged changing the event's name to Late Night in the Phog. Since the arrival of Self and women's head coach Bonnie Henrickson in 2004, many new Late Night memories have been created.
In 2004, fans enjoyed skits and a visit from Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius, a well-choreographed lip-sync of the Temptations' "My Girl" by the sophomores from the men's team and an unforgettable skit with the men's senior class, Jayhawk legend Danny Manning and the 1988 national championship trophy. In addition, Luna, the high-flying Frisbee dog, a hypnotist, the Unity Dance Troupe and the Dallas Mavericks' MavMan entertained the crowd.
In 2007, CBS' "Survivor: Guatemala" winner Danni Boatwright greeted the Jayhawks on a red carpet. Later in the evening, Jayhawk faithful enjoyed a stomp show by the women's team before being serenaded with a performance of "New York, New York" by the men's seniors. A performance by Bucket Boy and the Unity Dance Group as well as a mascot dunking contest also entertained the crowd.
The 2008 Late Night was one of the most emotional ever. On the south end of Allen Fieldhouse a national championship banner was unveiled from the previous season. Fans were treated to videos highlighting KU's fifth national championship season.