Kansas celebrates 2008 title, looks ahead to new year

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas fans cheered the unveiling of the 2008 national championship banner Friday night, then began getting to know the new-look Jayhawks during the 24th annual Late Night in the Phog.

"Last year was one of the most storied years in all of Kansas basketball," sixth-year head coach Bill Self told the 16,300 fans who filled Allen Fieldhouse and gave him a standing ovation. "Obviously, it ended on the highest of notes by us winning it all in San Antonio."

Acknowledging the departure of eight players after last season, Self noted that the 2008-09 roster features seven newcomers -- five freshmen and two junior college transfers.

"Many of you will not know our team at all," Self said. "I'm having a hard time recognizing all of them, myself. We have so many newcomers.

"But imagine three years ago," he added. "We had a lot of newcomers then, and look what happened three years later."

The banner that was unveiled in the south end of the fieldhouse is temporary. The permanent version will be raised Nov. 18, when the Jayhawks play Florida Gulf Coast.

Also raised Friday night were banners commemorating Kansas' appearance in the 2008 NCAA Final Four and their 2008 Big 12 conference championship.

Along with Kansas students and fans, Late Night in the Phog also drew several prospective Jayhawks -- including some of the country's highest-rated prep players.

They group included Xavier Henry, 6-foot-6, 210 pounds from Oklahoma's Putnam City High, who is expected to choose between Kansas and Memphis.

His parents, Carl Henry and Barbara Adkins, both played basketball at Kansas, and his brother, C.J., will play for Memphis this season after spending three years in the New York Yankees organization.