Hannah holds up well despite heckling

Thursday, February 1, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:47 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Glen Dandridge and Nick Berardini were the first Missouri players to walk onto the floor at Bramlage Coliseum for the Tigers’ shootaround before the their game against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan. The one thousand or so student fans already in attendance gave the two a few boos, but nothing too significant.

Ten minutes later, all but three Missouri players had come out for the shootaround, with one of those absent being guard Stefhon Hannah.

Hannah was the Missouri player who the Wildcats student section was saving its energy for.

“We always get here early,” said Kyle Bohnemblust, a Kansas State junior who held up signs sharing his feelings about Hannah. “But I wanted to make sure I was here when he came out.”

Finally, just over an hour before game time, Hannah emerged from the tunnel. As expected, the Kansas State students booed Hannah loudly. With fans holding up signs such as “Mama’s boy” and “Stefhon loves Mommy,” Hannah smiled as he lightly jogged to the opposite end of the court.

The heckling continued as Hannah shot during the pregame warmups and again during Missouri’s stretching drills. After chants of “Mama’s boy” from the student section began, Hannah turned around and looked at the crowd before launching a 3-pointer. After making the shot, Hannah held his arm up in the air, causing a louder reaction from the fans.

Why the Kansas State students chose Hannah to heckle is obvious. Hannah chose in the spring to play for Missouri instead of becoming a Wildcat.

“He’s a skilled player,” Bohnemblust said. “And we had a chance to have him, and didn’t get him because he changed his mind at the last second.”

Hannah, who admitted he was “close to going to K-State,” said his mother was an important factor in his decision to play for Missouri.

“Any decision I make, I’m going to talk it over with my mother,” Hannah said. “My mother, she’s always been there for me, so I always put her into my decision making over anybody else.”

But that reasoning wasn’t good enough for the Kansas State student section. When Hannah’s name was announced during the starting lineups, a chant of “Where’s Mom?” followed.

“The whole thing just makes me mad,” Bohnemblust said. “We wanted to let him know that we’re all upset about it here. He’s a good player and he could have really helped out our team.”

During the game, the chants didn’t seem to bother Hannah. After missing his first shot of the game and then turning the ball over on the next possession, Hannah settled down.

“That kind of stuff never bothers me,” Hannah said before Wednesday’s game. “I usually just block it all out or whatever.”

Missouri’s junior point guard finished with a team-leading 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 6-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line.

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