In the Allen Fieldhouse players lounge — as Kansas coach Bill Self was writing him a $5,000 check on Friday night — Carson Juhl had a confession to make.
A supervisor at Glory Days Pizza in Lawrence, Juhl told Self he had talked with him before ... a few times when he’d previously called in food purchases.
“I joked: I told him next time I took his order, I’d give him 50% off,” Juhl told The Star. “And then he proceeded to tell me he shouldn’t pay for another pizza from there ever again.”
Now $5,000 richer, Juhl — a sophomore from Lawrence — could hardly disagree with Self when retelling the story a few hours later.
“I guess I’ll have to check with my boss,” he said with a laugh.
Juhl was one of two Lawrence natives who took money from Self’s pocket on Friday during KU basketball’s annual Late Night in the Phog. Also winning $5,000 was Maureen Brady, a lifelong KU fan who graduated from Saint Louis University in 2014 before moving back to Lawrence for work.
“It’s crazy,” Brady said. “It’s so much more than I normally take home, so I don’t really know what I’m going to do with it.”
The giveaway happened differently from previous years.
Both Juhl and Brady — randomly chosen after they signed up for the contest via text message — were allowed by Self to pick any person in attendance to shoot two half-court shots for them. If either went in, Self agreed to pay the winner $10,000.
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The choice for both was relatively easy. The two had heard from family members and friends they should choose KU director of basketball operations Brennan Bechard, who’d already hit the same half-court shot twice at Late Night with Self’s money on the line.
Self also threw in another wrinkle: Either person could take $500, no questions asked.
Juhl, an Aerospace engineering major, determined that wasn’t enough using his own math skills.
“What I was thinking is, ‘If I choose Brennan, he’s gonna make that at least one out of 10 times, and my return there is $1,000 then, which is more than a guaranteed $500,’” Juhl said. “So it was definitely the better bet to go for the half-court shot.”
Bechard didn’t come through this time. He was close on two tries, but ended up missing all four of his shots Friday: two for Brady and then two for Juhl.
Self provided one last chance, though. He called former player Sherron Collins up, telling him if he made a half-courter, that he’d still give Brady and Juhl $5,000 each.
Collins had no idea this was coming — especially after he air-balled a half-court attempt the previous year at Late Night. He missed his practice shot Friday, then lined it up for real.
The heave caromed off the backboard and into the net, with Juhl catching Collins first, leaping into his arms in celebration.
“I just went and hugged him. I fell down over by the sideline, then there was just a big pile of all the players,” Juhl said. “It was crazy.”
Brady avoided the chaos, making her way to Collins about a minute later to give him a hug.
“Sherron was always one of my favorite after ‘Chop’ and The Shot in ‘08,” Brady said, “but he’s just forever going to be my favorite player now.”
Self didn’t waste time paying up. He took the two back to KU’s locker room area, getting their names right for the checks before posing for a few pictures afterward.
Brady tried to mobile deposit the money right away. There was one problem: Her app only allowed transfers of $2,000 or less.
As for using the money ... Brady said she was likely to leave it in her account a few days, just to “look at it for awhile.” She also was planning on perhaps taking a future vacation — maybe to the Canadian Rockies? — while also buying new hiking boots for a planned trip to Colorado next week that she “couldn’t afford 12 hours ago.”
Juhl vowed to use his money wisely. He said $5,000 for him “might be over a year of rent,” and his immediate thoughts were to buy a few small items before working less so he could put a greater focus on his Aerospace engineering studies.
“It’s something where, if you want to do really well — which I want to do really well — you just you can get pretty good grades by being smart and cramming stuff. You can get all right grades, but I’m trying to do as well as I can, and sometimes, all that takes is repetition,” Juhl said. “There’s really no way around just putting in time for that. That’s something I’ll consider for sure.”
Juhl also said some of money could go into an individual retirement account. Almost anything would be better, he said, than his buddies’ suggestion that he should buy 1,000 $5 baskets from The Burger Stand in town.
“You go in definitely not expecting the night to go that way,” Juhl said. “I probably had the most fun out of anyone there.”
Collins, meanwhile, said he was just happy to play a part in a special night.
One that ended up costly for Self.
“(Coach) said I’ve hit a lot of big shots before, but I never cost him 10 grand,” Collins said with a smile. “This is a first.”