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Men’s Basketball banquet closes book on season

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg announced that he will be returning for his sophomore season at the University of Kansas. Bragg broke the news to the public at the Kansas men’s basketball banquet on Wednesday night, which took place at Abe & Jake’s Landing in Lawrence.

For Kansas, the banquet was a celebration of the 2015-2016 season. However, Bragg’s news was the highlight, as the sorrow about the Elite Eight loss to Villanova quickly turned to excitement for 2016-2017.

“We’re gonna be really good next year,” Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said.

Self even added that Bragg had grown to 6’10”, meaning he has grown an inch since arriving in Lawrence. The soon-to-be sophomore forward will look to replace Perry Ellis and improve on his freshman campaign where he averaged 3.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and shot 58.1 percent in 9.1 minutes per game.

Bragg will have big shoes to fill though, as Ellis was awarded the Danny Manning “Mr. Jayhawk” Award at the banquet. Besides the award, the banquet also included dinner, a 2015-2016 season in review video and a night filled with memories and thanks for all the players, staff and legendary Jayhawk announcer Bob Davis.

“Nobody is better at their craft than you are at yours,” Self said about the longtime voice of the Jayhawks. “Kobe is playing his last game tonight and you’re all here to watch Bob.”

The banquet served as a reminder for the great season that the Jayhawks had, as the team finished 33-5 and went to the Elite Eight. Additionally, they won a gold medal at the World University Games, won the Maui Invitational Tournament, won a twelfth straight regular season Big 12 crown and took home the championship in the Big 12 Championship at Sprint Center.

“I can tell you that I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed coaching a group of young men more than I’ve enjoyed coaching these guys,” Self said.

Bob Davis, who was the master of ceremonies for the night, may have said it best though, as he added: “Wasn’t that a great journey.” The banquet signals the bittersweet end to that journey, but it is one that will be remembered forever.