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FHSU women's basketball picked fourth in MIAA, ESU first -10/22/2014, 2:28 PM

HHS soccer shut out by Garden City -10/22/2014, 10:11 AM

Tiger women sixth at Park Classic -10/22/2014, 10:11 AM

Tigers start prep for Bearcats -10/22/2014, 2:22 PM

Blocks Britz's specialty for KSU -10/22/2014, 10:10 AM

Royals must fight against history -10/22/2014, 10:10 AM

K.C. roughed up in Game 1 -10/22/2014, 10:10 AM

Castorino named MIAA Men's Soccer Athlete of the Week -10/21/2014, 3:23 PM

Babyak, Thompson earn MIAA weekly honors -10/21/2014, 3:05 PM

Hays High girls claim 4A title -- TMP sixth -10/21/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP soccer falls at Garden City -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Manning, Broncos pound 49ers -10/20/2014, 10:26 AM

Charles the Chiefs' all-time leader -10/20/2014, 10:17 AM

'Boys move to 6-1 -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

K.C. kicks past Chargers -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

Jump back to 1985 -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

Keselowski keeps title hopes alive with win at Talladega -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

FHSU women earn shutout, set record -10/20/2014, 10:16 AM

KSU sits atop Big 12 -10/19/2014, 6:42 AM

Early mistakes sink Jayhawks -10/19/2014, 6:41 AM

Tigers nab 'W' at Emporia -10/19/2014, 8:21 PM

Knights secure district, playoff spot -10/19/2014, 6:34 AM

TMP claims MCL tourney title -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Monarchs take team to Class 4A state -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Area prep football roundup, Oct. 17 -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Indian volleyball second at WAC -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

HHS has high expectations for 4A golf finale -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

Buhler hands Hays High first loss in blowout -10/19/2014, 8:20 PM

FHSU men win eighth straight -10/18/2014, 8:21 PM

FHSU Tiger Open XC results -10/18/2014, 8:21 PM

Tiger women record third consecutive shutout -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

Tiger volleyball wins third straight match -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

Indians' Forinash goes 0-2 at 4A state -10/18/2014, 8:20 PM

TMP falls in district opener to Beloit -10/17/2014, 11:46 AM

HHS soccer falls to Bishop Carroll -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

FHSU men's soccer wins seventh straight -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Tigers look to climb back above .500 -10/17/2014, 10:38 AM

HHS fourth in WAC meet -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

TMP boys 2nd, girls 3rd at Lakeside -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

TMP volleyball goes 2-0 in first day at MCL -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Indians' Forinash in 4A state field -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Wichita State's Darius Carter shows off his jumper -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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Heeney a leader for KU

Published on -9/5/2013, 10:41 AM

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By GEOFFREY CALVERT

Associated Press

LAWRENCE -- Last season was full of contrasts for Kansas linebacker Ben Heeney.

On one hand, he earned significant playing time on defense for the first time since his junior year at Hutchinson (Kan.) High School. On the other, he experienced losing.

A lot of it.

"I've won three games since I've been at KU, and I won 45 or so at Hutch," said Heeney, now a junior and one of the leaders of the Jayhawks' defense. "The culture at Hutch was to win state. That was the only thing that anyone was focused on. If we didn't win state it was an unsuccessful year."

Heeney was part of three state champion teams in high school, but has yet to win a Big 12 game in Lawrence. The Jayhawks, who open the season Saturday night against South Dakota, haven't won a conference game since November 2010 -- against Colorado, now a member of the Pac-12.

While the Jayhawks trudged to a 1-11 finish in Charlie Weis' first season as coach, Heeney was one of the rare bright spots. He made 112 tackles and led the team with 12 tackles for loss, and was voted second-team All-Big 12 by The Associated Press.

Still, it took a while for Heeney to feel like he had a role on the Jayhawks.

At Hutchinson, Heeney was an all-state running back, gaining more than 2,000 yards his senior year. On defense, he played strong safety. So when he arrived at Kansas as a freshman, Heeney thought he would get a healthy dose of playing time at one of those positions.

It didn't take long for reality to set in.

"My freshman year, I felt like I was not really being wasted," he said, "but in a sense, kind of. Coming in they told me the only way I wasn't going to redshirt was if I was going to get significant defensive snaps, which I got zero my freshman year."

All of that happened under Turner Gill, who had turned Heeney into a linebacker before he was fired after a miserable 2-10 season. Weis was hired in December 2011 and kept Heeney at the same position, but this time the soon-to-be sophomore had a legitimate shot to earn playing time.

Not only did Heeney win a job, he seized the opportunity -- even though he now admits that he was mostly playing by instinct as he grew acclimated to life in the Big 12.

Perhaps realizing his raw potential, Kansas linebacker coach Clint Bowen came up with three areas where Heeney needed to improve this season: his foundation for enhanced leverage, eliminating false steps in order to play faster, and the confidence to make better reads.

"Where he is, I always tell him, if you play like you did last year and you made whatever it was, 90 tackles, you probably should have made 120," Bowen explained.

"This year if he makes 120, he probably should have made 150, because there's always those missed ones out there."

Heeney doesn't focus on the number of tackles he makes, though. After all, somebody has to make them, and often if it comes down to the linebacker it's because someone up front didn't do his job.

In truth, the number that gnaws at Heeney is three: Kansas' win total his first two seasons.

Heeney, who's grown a beard this season, dismissed the notion that he's become the leader of the defense, insisting that it takes all 11 players to make a stand. But despite having just one year of real playing time under his belt, he was voted a captain by his peers.

"There's no doubt that he'll be one of the main factors in not only performance but in leadership," Weis said. "He looks like a caveman, but he's ready to go. I might institute a cut your beard policy before too long."

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