It's almost assumed these days that the top overall pick in the NBA draft will come out of the Kansas program, whether it's Andrew Wiggins or freshman teammate Joel Embiid.
However, in an ESPN poll of 30 NBA executives, it was Duke's Jabari Parker who racked up more votes than both Wiggins and Embiid.
Wiggins entered the season as the consensus favorite to be the first to shake new commissioner Adam Silver's hand on June 26 at the NBA draft.
Early on I cautioned those who already had anointed Wiggins, the ultra-athletic Canadian, as the top overall pick. It didn't take long for people to realize that Parker, the Blue Devils' skilled forward, also was in the equation for the top spot. Then a third freshman, the 7-foot Embiid, thrust himself into the mix.
Embiid, a native of Cameroon, moved his way into the forefront of the conversation early in league play, a skilled big man who possessed the key words for NBA scouts: size and upside. But then came his back issues, the ones that kept him out of the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments -- and most people seemed to naturally revert back to where it all began: Wiggins.
However, after polling 30 NBA executives shortly after all three players had officially declared for the draft -- from numerous GMs to player personnel guys and NBA scouts -- you might be surprised at the results of who they would choose No. 1 overall:
Jabari Parker: 17 votes
Joel Embiid: 8 votes
Andrew Wiggins: 5 votes
Obviously, it will depend on the team and the general manager who winds up getting the No. 1 pick. Wiggins could still go with the top selection due to his high ceiling and athleticism, but many NBA folks are worried about his lack of consistency, whether he possesses a killer instinct and also whether he can get by defenders in the half court.
Most NBA guys gush at Embiid due to his size and potential -- but there's a huge lingering concern with the recent back issues. Right now many NBA executives would go with Parker because he's the safe selection, the known commodity. Sure, they might not feel he has quite the upside of Wiggins or Embiid -- but they do also see Parker as a potential perennial NBA All-Star.
In short, they trust Parker.
ESPN Goodman ($)
The folks at Best Ticket combed through Google search traffic to find the most searched athlete in all 50 states.
1. LeBron James is the most searched athlete, even though football is searched more than basketball in every state but one (New York). Our unsubstantiated theory: Basketball season is longer than NFL season, thus affording more opportunities to Google LeBron. Who’s searching for Peyton in May?
2. Kansas one-and-done star Andrew Wiggins was the most searched in Kansas (no surprise) and in Kentucky (more of a surprise). You can picture Wildcats fans sitting up late at night during the team’s early struggles this season, longingly Googling Andrew Wiggins like he was the ex-boyfriend who got away.
The MVP of Kansas’ Sunflower League is headed to Kansas University on a women’s basketball scholarship.
Kylee Kopatich, a 5-foot-10 junior point guard, who averaged 12.2 points, 6.3 assists and 3.1 steals a game this past season for Class 6A third-place finisher Olathe South, orally committed to Bonnie Henrickson’s KU program on Sunday and announced the commitment Monday.
She initially had committed to Kansas State but made other plans following the removal of Deb Patterson as coach.
“I am in love with the (KU) program. I love all the coaches. I love how Bonnie has a caring kind of feel. She is not only a coach but feels like a second mom pushing us to be our very best,” said Kopatich, who led the Sunflower League in assists and ranked second in steals. She is a finalist for the DiRenna Award, which is given to the top player in the Kansas City metro area.
“I’ve always been a KU fan since I was little. I am overly excited,” Kopatich added.
…KU on Monday announced the signing of Timeka O’Neal, a 5-foot-4 sophomore point guard from Johnson County Community College. She played high school ball at Raytown (Mo.) High.
O’Neal averaged 11.7 points, 5.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds this past season and earned NJCAA Div. II third-team All-America honors.
“She’s a young lady who has great court vision, facilitates and handles the ball well,” Henrickson said. “She can play in transition, she can shoot the ball well and stretch the defense from the three. Timeka can make the simple plays, but she can also make a difficult play look easy.”
Armani Milan's veteran 6-foot-4 scoring guard Keith Langford - the No. 1 Euroleague scorer this season - has received a Turkish passport, sources close to the situation told Sportando.
According to sources, Langford's Turkish paperwork has been filed a couple weeks ago.
Langford, who is currently one game away from Euroleague elimination as Milan trail Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-1 in quarterfinals playoffs, will participate in the FIBA World Cup for the Turkish national-team over the upcoming summer in Spain.
Turkey have been pooled to Group C along with the Ukraine, Dominican Republic, Finland, New Zealand and United States.
Furthermore, Euroleague-competition personnel stress that due to the above mentioned, Langford is expected to receive a contract proposal from Turkish-side Galatasaray Istanbul with knowledge that head coach Ergin Ataman - also coach for the Turks' national-team - is a fan of the 30-year-old Euroleague leading scorer.
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
Kentucky forward Julius Randle became the latest freshman in this heralded class to announce for the NBA Draft when he held a press conference Tuesday.
The 6-foot-9 Randle is projected as the No. 4 pick in the Draft by DraftExpress.com. The three freshmen projected ahead of him — Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker — have all declared for the draft.
“I have decided to declare for the NBA Draft,” Randle said.
“Growing up as a kid it’s always been my dream to play in the NBA and there’s no better time to achieve that than now.”
Randle is the 12th one-and-done at Kentucky in five years, according to Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal.
“He is going to be a top-5 pick,” one veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv. “Skilled offensively but needs to develop a consistent 15-17-foot jump shot to become even more of a threat at the offensive end.”
I truly believe that @J30_RANDLE will be an even better pro than a college player. He was Shaq’d all year – in every way.
The flames just rose again beneath the $16 billion-a-year college sports industry’s scandal du jour. Mary Willingham, the academic-fraud whistleblower at the University of North Carolina, announced her resignation from the prestigious Chapel Hill, N.C., campus.
Willingham confirmed her imminent departure after an hour-long meeting with Carol Folt, the university’s chancellor. UNC described the encounter as “productive,” but Willingham indicated it had been acrimonious.
A former tutor to top Tar Heel athletes, Willingham helped reveal that the university had for years steered football and basketball players into fake classes that never met. She said that she and other academic advisers did so as a way of keeping the athletes eligible to play. The former chairman of UNC’s black-studies department is under criminal indictment in connection with the scandal.
…In an e-mail, Willingham confirmed that she planned to resign as an undergraduate counselor, effective at the end of the semester, and said that she had not been forced out. “It was time to end this hostility,” Willingham said. “This chancellor has totally sold out.”
The Atlantic Coast Conference on Tuesday announced the matchups for its men's basketball schedule for the next two seasons, and there will be no shortage of enticing games for new league member Louisville.
U of L will play Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Virginia twice next season and the other 10 ACC teams once, including a home matchup on against Duke, which is expected to start the 2014-15 season as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Cards will also play at former Big East rival Syracuse.
Dates, times and TV information for the games will be announced later.
ESPN’s Andy Katz reported Monday that Anderson, who led the University of Central Missouri to the NCAA Division II title last month, is “a strong candidate” to replace Frank Haith, who accepted the head men’s basketball job at Tulsa last week.
Anderson, who played for Norm Stewart in the 1970s and later served 11 seasons during two stints on his staff, issued a statement Monday through Central Missouri.
“I am the coach of the Mules,” said Anderson, whose team had dinner at Gov. Jay Nixon’s house to celebrate the program’s fourth national title and first since 1984.
“At this time, I will have no comment on any other jobs.”
While Anderson chose to remain mum, several Missouri basketball alumni who played with or for Anderson, including Raytown South graduate Jevon Crudup, hope he lands the job.
“First of all, he’s a Missouri guy — a Missouri alum, a Missouri All-America,” said Crudup, who played for the Tigers from 1991-94 and remains No. 15 on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,445 points.
“To me, it’s a no-brainer.”
Crudup said Missouri basketball has lost its aura and that it’s “in a bad state right now,” but that Anderson could restore the program’s luster.
Donnie Tyndall of Southern Miss will be the 19th Tennessee men’s basketball coach, according to multiple reports published late Monday night.
Both CBSSports.com and ESPN.com, citing anonymous sources, reported that UT reached an agreement with Tyndall, 43, hours after Louisiana Tech coach Michael White turned down the Vols.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive held an hour-long question and answer session during Monday's Southeast Region meeting of the Associated Press Sports Editors at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Slive, 73, spoke about the issues facing the SEC and the four other power conferences, who he said have collectively proposed a new structure whereby they would have "autonomy" to operate and govern themselves within the NCAA.
The commissioner, who spoke at the University of Massachusetts last week as the executive-in-residence for the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management last week, outlined the seven goals the five power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big XII) wish to address should the NCAA Board of Directors, who meet Thursday, approve their proposal. Slive referred to the objectives as the "vision for the 21st century as it relates to our relationship with student-athletes."
Rice transfer Sean Obi heading to Duke
Kansas State athletic director John Currie made his first public comments in response to the university’s decision to deny Leticia Romero a release from her scholarship on Tuesday morning.
Currie shared some general thoughts on K-State’s transfer policy on his Twitter account after ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas ramped up his criticism of K-State for the way it handled the situation.
Over the span of five tweets, Currie wrote the following:
“National transfer issues are complex/need reform. Student privacy prevents discussion of individual student issues. As AD I have an obligation to all our (student-athletes) and institution to ensure department and university procedures are followed. Generally speaking, on RARE occasions that we have denied a student-athlete transfer release it has been because of concerns about outside tampering, undue influence by third parties or procedures not being followed in an honest and forthright manner.”
You can read his tweets individually here.
K-State, home of professionalism.
April 9: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Application Deadline
April 14: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Response Deadline
April 15: NCAA Early Entry “Withdrawal” Deadline
April 27: NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 pm ET)
May 2: NBA Draft Early Entry Candidates Released – Underclassmen Contact Permitted
May 14-18: NBA Draft Combine (Chicago)
May 20: NBA Draft Lottery
June 16: NBA Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline (5:00 pm ET)
June 26: 2014 NBA Draft
draftexpress.com: Testing the NBA Draft Waters in 2014
Myles Turner, the last big uncommitted name on the board in the Class of 2014, had a home visit Sunday night with Kansas coach Bill Self and more coaches are coming this week.
“Great visit,” David Turner , the player’s father, told SNY.tv of the Kansas visit. “He plans on Myles being a key piece along with Cliff [Alexander] and Kelly [Oubre]. Great message, very intriguing.”
Alexander, Oubre and outgoing Kansas big man Joel Embiid met with Turner at the recent Jordan Brand Classic in New York and tried to get him to commit then and there.
On Tuesday, Turner will have home visits with Texas and Texas A&M, and then on Wednesday Oklahoma State and Duke come in.
When Turner began his prep career, it did not seem likely this announcement would be so highly anticipated. Turner relied on his size (estimated to be 6-foot-4, 165 pounds) to overwhelm opponents, and his coach at Trinity (Texas) High, Mark Villines, did not foresee greatness in him. “He didn’t explode,” Villines said. “He wasn’t a stud in the eighth grade. He was just a pretty good kid.”
Fully aware that length alone wouldn’t cut it at the high school varsity level, Turner, already a skilled shot-blocker, strove to diversify his game. He worked on his post moves and developed a jump shot, and he learned how to face up and attack the basket. The summer after his freshman season, in which he averaged just under 10 points and seven rebounds, Turner grew about four inches and added at least 20 pounds. Colleges began taking notice. North Texas was the first school Turner remembers receiving a scholarship offer from, early in his sophomore season.
Turner may not have had to wait so long to garner heavy interest from more prestigious schools, but a foot injury that spring – he fractured his tibia while landing after rising to block a shot – forced him to sit out the entire summer, a crucial evaluation period. Turner missed important camps and events on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit. While he rehabilitated the injury, Turner hit the weight room, working mostly on his upper body, with the goal of adding some muscle to his thin frame. When he began his junior season at Trinity, Turner had added 40 pounds. Villines called the injury a “blessing in disguise.”
Turner shone that April at the Houston Ice Breaker Tournament, a turning point in his college search. The number of coaches calling Turner and the frequency of those calls rose, concurrent with Turner’s ascension in the national rankings. After the NBPA Top 100 camp in June, one recruiting service placed him in the top 10.
…Turner was recently measured at 6-foot-11, 240 pounds and is often praised for his combination of size and shooting, but what may serve him best at the next level is his versatility. Turner, who has been likened to three-time NBA All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, can score in the low post, has range out to the perimeter and is particularly adept at blocking shots.
The two areas he hopes to improve in college are his strength and his ability to score with his back to the basket. Turner is drilled multiple times a week by two personal trainers and has worked out in Houston with famous trainer John Lucas.
…Turner has kept close watch over the past few weeks on which frontcourt players declared for the NBA draft and spoke with their respective coaches about those decisions. Turner had discussions with Bill Self, for example, about Embiid. But in the end, Turner says, one factor will drive his decision.
“Overall, just wherever I feel the most comfortable,” he said.
As Turner’s announcement nears, fellow 2014 class members are ramping up their efforts to sway him. Buckeyes signee D’Angelo Russell recently challenged Turner to a game of air hockey with significant stakes. “I was just like, ‘If I win, just commit on the spot,’” Russell said. Turner lost. Oubre, who has been recruiting Turner “ever since he stepped up on the scene, pretty much,” made no effort to conceal his desire to play with Turner.
“I know now he has Kansas on his final cut list or whatever,” Oubre said. “And I feel like we’re the best place for him, and I want him to come to Kansas real bad.”
In-homes as reported by Rivals.com: Self on Monday was to visit with Justin Simon, a 6-4 junior shooting guard from Temecula (Calif.) Valley High. He is ranked No. 23 in the recruiting Class of 2015. Self today will meet with Jaylen Brown, a 6-7 junior forward from Wheeler High in Marietta, Ga., who is ranked No. 11 in the Class of 2015. On Wednesday, Self will stop by Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High to watch Stephen Zimmerman, a 7-foot junior who is ranked No. 4 in the Class of 2015.
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