KU sophomore forward Perry Ellis was named a nominee to the Allstate NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced Tuesday.
The award, presented by the NABC and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), recognizes 201 nominees at all levels of college basketball. It honors college basketball players, “who represent the sport’s finest in the areas of leadership and charitable achievements amongst their peers. The student-athletes nominated for this honor embody the true spirit of teamwork and giving back.”
From the 117 NABC men’s nominees and 84 WBCA women’s nominees submitted by sports information directors, voting panels will select two 10-member teams of five student-athletes from the NCAA Div. I level and five from Divisions II, III and the NAIA. The final roster of 20-award recipients will be unveiled in February.LJW
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self, who has used the same starting lineup the past six games, will alter the opening five Saturday at Colorado.
Self says he has decided to go with freshman Frank Mason at the point-guard position in the 2:15 p.m. game in place of junior Naadir Tharpe, who has started all but one game — the season-opener, in which he served a suspension against Louisiana at Monroe.
Mason, a 5-foot-11, 185-pounder from Petersburg, Va., who averages 8.9 points with 20 assists against seven turnovers, started that contest.
“We’re going to put Frank out there to start the game,” Self said. “He’s been one of our more consistent, better performers so far this year. I think he deserves the opportunity.”
Of Mason, Self added: “Frank doesn’t talk, but he’s been great. He had about as bad a two minutes against UTEP as a guy could possibly have to end the game ... but if you’re going to line up the games that are hard to win on who our best player has been, you can make a case it’s been Frank, whether it be Duke, Villanova, Wake. I’m really pleased with him. But he’s got a lot to learn, too, but he’s trying. He tries hard every day. Every day he tries.”
Coughing his way through a seven-minute interview session with the local media Thursday, Wiggins shared a couple of things he has learned about the game since coming to Kansas University to play for Bill Self.
“He wants to make every possession easier on us,” Wiggins said. “Once you get the ball moving to the second, third, fourth side, then it’s easier to score. Trying to score on the first side, that’s where all the help is, that’s when the defense is settled.”
Wiggins makes it sound easy, but he and his young, talented team don’t always make it look as easy.
“It probably was (difficult) at first, but we’re getting the hang of it, and it’s the right way to play,” Wiggins said.
Self has seen every wave of players he has recruited battle with the same concept.
“The thing about it is with our guys, and this is just youth, (they hear), ‘Be aggressive, be aggressive, be aggressive, (and they take that to mean) let’s make sure we take the hardest shot we can take (early in the possession),’ so that way if it doesn’t go in then our confidence is a little off and we lose aggressiveness,” Self said.
“You can be aggressive and get that shot any time, and it’s not anything selfish. He’s doing exactly what I’m telling him to do, be aggressive.”
Wayne Simien, Buffalo Slayer
Now that's how you kill a beast @jojo_embiid
When you’re Colorado basketball, piling up steady and solid wins isn’t good enough to raise eyebrows nationally. The Buffaloes need to claim a signature victory against a well-known opponent. That chance arrives on Saturday, when No. 6 Kansas ventures into Boulder, Colo.
You'd best believe the Jayhawks have been in the back of the Buffaloes' collective minds all offseason. That’s partly because of the 90-54 beatdown Kansas put on Colorado last season at Allen Fieldhouse. But it’s more about what a win could do for the Buffs this season.
The need for Colorado to play well in this game was only magnified after its season-opening loss to then-No. 25 Baylor in one of those games it would love to have back. The Buffs trailed the entire game, shot just 33 percent and couldn’t pull closer than two possessions in the second half. Whatever traction the Buffs had nationally quickly eroded and bounced them to the periphery.
Now’s their chance to gain it back.
Colorado rides an eight-game winning streak into its meeting with Kansas. That streak was punctuated with a quality win over Harvard.
CU coach Tad Boyle also navigated his team through back-to-back true road games in wins over Air Force and rival Colorado State. Boyle scheduled as tough a six-game nonconference stretch as there is in the country.
Jaron Hopkins’ offense – specifically, his three-point shooting – has swiveled the spotlight in his direction in Colorado’s two most recent basketball games. But Hopkins’ defense, according to coach Tad Boyle, is what can keep the rapidly improving 6-5 freshman at center stage before the 2013-14 season ends.
The stage won’t get much bigger, the lights much brighter than Saturday at the Coors Events Center. Hopkins likely will be the first CU defender matched against Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins, also a first-year player but nobody’s idea of just another freshman.
Boyle knows the CEC will be brim full, maybe spilling beyond its record attendance of 11,708 for the Jayhawks’ first visit since CU and KU were Big 12 buds (or something like that). Here’s what Boyle doesn’t know: Has his recent renovation of Buffs basketball created a scarcity of tickets for Jayhawks faithful who once pompously referred to the CEC as “Allen Fieldhouse West?” Have the demographics changed?
“We’ll see,” said Boyle, calling Saturday “the litmus test that I think our fans are either going to pass or fail . . . we won’t know that until Saturday at 1:15 when we see the colors in here and see how many Kansas fans actually are here. They’re crafty people; they’ve had to find alternative ways of getting in buildings and getting tickets.
“Our fans have not really ever been in a position where these tickets are in such high demand. So do they hold on to them . . . or if they can’t make it, make sure their neighbors or family or business associates (use their tickets)? If CU fans are giving or selling their tickets to KU fans I’ll be very disappointed. So we’ll see.”
Although the Jayhawks garnered a great deal of deserved hype before the season, they haven't been too impressive thus far. Kansas' most notable win was over Duke, but they followed that up with an underwhelming performance in the Battle 4 Atlantis. They beat Wake Forest, fell to Villanova and barely snuck by UTEP. An upset is not out of the question for the Buffaloes, but they must play their best game of the season to pull it off.
…It's no secret Colorado hasn't been good guarding the three this year. They've improved since their dismal start, but are still allowing opponents to shoot 34.9 percent from beyond the arc according to KenPom. Fortunately, Kansas only shoots 30.9 percent from three. More importantly, is the fact that opponents have been able to get to the free throw line against Kansas. The Jayhawks are 237th in the nation in free throws attempted to field goals attempted and one of the main reasons that Villanova beat Kansas was their 29 trips to the charity stripe. In the Jayhawks' last three games, opponents have attempted 82 free throws. That bodes well for Colorado and Spencer Dinwiddie, who has the 21st highest free throw rate in the country.
…The Buffaloes are going to have a raucous crowd behind them and need to feed off of that to get out to an early lead.
Bill Self is 18-0 against Colorado since he arrived at Kansas. With another road test looming at Florida on Tuesday, the Jayhawks could use a solid showing in the opening leg.
Before the season, Bill Self was skeptical that new rule changes made to clean up college basketball would be beneficial for the game.
After playing seven games, he remains unconvinced.
“The bottom line is, we were warned, and we were told, and we’ve got to give it a chance to play out to see if it’s better over time. It’s probably a coin flip for me,” the KU coach said on his weekly radio show Monday. “I don’t think it’s best for Kansas the way that we’re used to playing, maybe just because we foul all the time. I don’t know.
“But I do think we have to wait and see if it’s better for our game over time. Right now, I don’t quite feel it.”
The rule changes, which include a crackdown on hand-checking, have definitely affected KU through the first month. The Jayhawks are averaging 21.3 fouls per game, which is almost five whistles more than they had a season ago (16.8).
KU also is putting the opponent on the line more often. The Jayhawks’ opponent free-throw rate — or opposing free-throw attempts per 100 field-goal attempts — is up to 45.6 this year from 32 a season ago. So far, KU ranks 235th nationally in the stat after finishing in the top 150 in each of the past eight seasons.
“They (the NCAA) are convinced that if we clean it up on the perimeter, it’ll be better for our game over time. You know what? I’m not going to disagree with that,” Self said. “What bothers me more than anything else is that I know that we foul, but there are so many fouls that aren’t fouls that are being called for us and against us.”
I suspect, though, that Kansas will end up with the toughest NCSOS slate, given that they're already top 5 and still have games left against Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Georgetown, San Diego State and possible MAC champ Toledo. The Jayhawks have the best top-to-bottom schedule of any title contender. In a year without much separation in the upper half of the polls, it could very well make the difference between them being a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.
SI Luke Winn Power Rankings
Some teams may mix in a little bit of zone, basketball's equivalent of an offspeed pitch. But if you’re doing it right, Self says, and you can bring pure heat, it shouldn’t matter who you’re facing.
“The hardest defense to score against is man-to-man if you know what you’re doing,” Self said.
So even in the season’s opening weeks, as Kansas’ normally vaunted defense has not been quite Selfian in its results and numbers, Self hasn’t reconsidered his defensive philosophy. Even as an emphasis on new foul rules has forced teams across the country to play zone defense at a higher rate.
A study conducted this week by the Wall Street Journal found that college teams are playing zone on 21.6 percent of possessions this season, according to Synergy Sports Technology. That’s up from 15.6 percent last year and higher than the four-year average of 17.6 percent. Ranked teams have seen even more zone, facing the defense on 23.8 percent of possessions.
But as No. 6 Kansas, 6-1, prepares to travel to Colorado on Saturday, Self would prefer to remain a power pitcher.
“This is just me, it’s a marathon and not a sprint,” Self said. ”So why would I bail the guys out now to play a (certain) way to win a game when I know that’s not how we have to win games when it counts the most.
“That would be like saying, ‘OK, against this team because they have really crappy ball handlers, we’re just going to press this one team, and then we’re not going to press any other teams, but we’re going to do that to try to win this one game or make it look good.”
Despite Self’s reservations, the numbers suggest that Kansas’ defense has been a little less stifling than usual. One year after leading the country in field-goal percentage defense at 36.1 percent, the Jayhawks rank 90th in the country in two-point percentage defense, allowing teams to shoot 46 percent inside the arc. They rank seventh in the Big 12 at defending three-pointers, allowing teams to shoot 34.1 percent from outside.
But while Self says he sprinkles a little zone into each practice, and he used the hybrid triangle-and-two defense during Kansas’ run to the NCAA title game in 2012 , this is a coach that appears married to the tenets of a hard-nosed man-to-man.
“We ain’t going zone,” Self said.
I spent the week at the Maui Invitational with a horde of NBA scouts watching Syracuse, Baylor, Gonzaga, Cal, Arkansas and Minnesota. I also watched a number of games on television and talked to a huge contingent of NBA scouts who were at tournaments all over the country: the NIT Season Tip-Off, the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Old Spice Classic, the Las Vegas Invitational and the Wooden Legacy tournament.
Here's a look at which NBA prospects helped or hurt their draft stock:
Wiggins raised the most eyebrows after a series of three straight mediocre performances for Kansas at the Battle 4 Atlantis. To be fair, Wiggins was battling a bug all week, but that didn't totally explain his lackluster showing. Scouts are scratching their heads a bit at his sudden reticence on offense. He was 3-for-8 in a loss against Villanova on Friday, and 2-for-9 in a win against UTEP on Saturday. Those aren't exactly lights-out performances.
Then again, several scouts pointed out that at times he showed excellent defense (and almost won the game against Villanova with two big defensive plays at the end). The scouts said they don't expect Wiggins to be a dominant offensive presence every night; he has an all-around game that doesn't always require that, and Kansas has plenty of other options. But for those looking for reasons to doubt Wiggins, he gave his haters some ammunition.
…If Embiid's breakout game Nov. 19 against Iona was the eye-opener for NBA scouts, then it was his game against Villanova on Friday that legitimized the discussion of Embiid as a potential No. 1 pick. With Wiggins and the rest of the KU team struggling, it was Embiid (and freshman backup point guard Frank Mason) who kept Kansas in the game. Embiid was a force on both ends of the floor and showed off his unique size and athletic abilities. It's clear his basketball IQ isn't quite there yet, and he's going to have to work to stay out of foul trouble. But he has all of the building blocks of a successful NBA big man, and we are seeing it much earlier in the season than we expected.
…Selden came into the season with an incredible amount of buzz. He was dominating the summer circuit, and was drawing raves from inside Kansas practices as the best player on the team. Given his scoring instincts and made-for-the-NBA body, expectations were that it would be Selden, not Wiggins, who would shoulder the scoring load for the Jayhawks this season. So far that hasn't panned out. Selden is averaging just seven shots a game, is scoring less than 10 PPG and is shooting just 33 percent from 3-point range. Scouts love the physical tools he brings to the table, but his lack of elite size at the position and so-so output have them re-evaluating where he might go in the 2014 draft. If things don't turn around quickly, Selden might be back at Kansas for his sophomore season.
ESPN Chad Ford ($)
Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins has hit his first NCAA speed bump.
The Thornhill-born phenom is going through the natural adjustments all freshman do, but he’s doing it with more attention and pressure than any frosh in years, leading to naysayers.
Wiggins has caught flack for averaging just eight points on 29% shooting in two games in the Bahamas last week (one, a loss to Villanova), but what most weren’t aware of, was that he was fighting a bad case of the flu.
“The kid was sick in those games, in hindsight, probably shouldn’t have played, I think people should give him credit for playing,” Tony McIntyre — who coaches CIA Bounce, the Toronto-area AAU team that counts Wiggins and No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Anthony Bennett (among many others) as alumni — told the Sun on Thursday.
McIntyre isn’t surprised doubters have emerged, but believes they’re making a mistake in claiming Wiggins is overrated.
“Every great player goes through that, where you back up and then everybody wants to bring you down,” McIntyre said.
“He’s not on a team that’s absolutely revolving around him. He’s going to pick his spots, pick his shots in the offence.
“It’s going to take two or three games where people are going to say: ‘Oh my god, look at what this kid has done,’ and then it’s right back to where it was ... I think Andrew right now is figuring it out and will be very, very good and will prove everyone wrong by the end of this year, that’s for sure.”
With all this football, I've been a little slow in weighing in on the Kansas Jayhawks.
I see this highly publicized and heralded freshmen class at Kansas couldn't escape the month of November without being upset.
Truth be told, that’s probably the best thing that could happen.
The Jayhawks are going to lose a handful of games this season, which means they're going to win 30 to 35 times.
We get carried away with these polls. KU beats an over-hyped Duke team and shoots up to No. 2 in the country.
I've never been big on the polls this early in the season. It's not much of a barometer in determining how good a team really is.
We know KU is pretty good, but I’m still not convinced the Jayhawks are the best team in the Big 12 this season. At least not now; it’s too early.
Oklahoma State will give KU a run to the finish.
Jayhawk fans get caught up in winning all these conference titles in a row, but be prepared for what lies ahead. From what I can see, KU needs to toughen up.
Wiggins, Selden and Embiid were outplayed in that Villanova game by their own teammate, backup guard Frank Mason.
The loss to Villanova was not a fluke. KU got manhandled on the glass. The five-day junket to the Bahamas exposed this team.
Bill Self, as usual, doesn't mince words. He was highly critical when assessing the first seven games of the season. He says the Jayhawks haven't played together. They don't play hard and they're not tough. That’s from the coach, not me.
Again, with most KU fans, it’s all about entitlement.
They expect a final four appearance every year, and there's nothing wrong with that.
On paper, it should happen this year. But I would caution it's way too early to make any travel plans for April. You might have to eat those plane tickets.
Let’s see how it all plays out. I'll be watching closely.
That’s Jack's Smack.
Pat Roberts’ take on roundball in Kansas? Wichita State University is No. 1.
“God bless the Shockers, who just keep winning and are probably the best basketball team in the state of Kansas,” Roberts, the state’s senior U.S. senator, said Tuesday.
The line drew whooping applause from what may have been America’s least neutral audience: a luncheon meeting of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.
And as savvy politicians will, Roberts had some kind words for the other two major colleges in Kansas: the traditional basketball powerhouse University of Kansas, and Roberts’ own alma mater, Kansas State University.
The Wildcats are bowl-bound after a dominating football victory over KU in the annual Sunflower Showdown last weekend.
“Mel Thompson (Roberts’ agricultural aide) always tells me, ‘Leave ’em with some good news,’” Roberts said.
“Well, K-State won. And KU is gonna win a lot more in regards to basketball.”
Kansas college basketball coaches Gregg Marshall, Bill Self and Bruce Weber will be the faces of a friendly competition between their schools — Wichita State University, the University of Kansas and Kansas State University — to recruit new mentors for Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The Wichita Business Journal reports the coaches are serving as the co-chairs for a new BBBS campaign, "Go Big or Go Home."
Each coach will work to attract mentors, known as big brothers and big sisters, at his school and to raise the most money for the BBBS program through its bowling fundraiser, Bowl for Kids' Sake. The winner gets a traveling trophy and bragging rights.
Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in November.
For the month, McLemore averaged 9.1 points (.378 FG%, .350 3pt%, .810 FT%), 2.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 22.8 minutes per game in 14 contests, of which he started eight. He scored in double-figures on six occasions, including a career-high 19 points at Golden State on Nov. 2. McLemore is currently tied with Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams for first among rookies in three-pointers made (21) and paced all Western Conference rookies in scoring, three-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage and minutes per game during the month. Among all rookies league wide, he ranked third in scoring, second in three-point field goal percentage, third in free throw percentage and fourth in minutes per game.
VOTE HERE for Pierce, Chalmers, Markieff Morris 2014 NBB All-Stars
A former Kansas City Royals television announcer has been ticketed for assault after a scuffle last month at a Jackson County golf course.
Dave Armstrong, 59, of Overland Park, is accused of fighting with another golfer during a dispute Nov. 15 at the Fred Arbanas Golf Course in Longview Lake Park.
Armstrong called Royals games from 1993 to 1995. He now is the play-by-play television announcer for Kansas men’s basketball games airing on the Jayhawk Network.
Armstrong said Thursday that he was the victim in the assault and planned to contest the ticket.
Gary Martinez, 51, of Kansas City, reported that he and his friends had just finished the eighth hole when he was approached by a man, according to a sheriff’s department account. The man complained that Martinez had hit a ball in his direction.
“The two reportedly began to argue, and Martinez stated a physical fight ensued,” the account said.
Armstrong said members of Martinez’s group twice hit balls in his direction and he approached them, asking them to stop.
“I said, ‘Hey buddy, we’re keeping up with the group in front of us. Please don’t hit into us,’” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said Martinez responded with an obscenity and struck him. Armstrong said he tried to put Martinez in a headlock, but the two tumbled to the ground.
“I was getting pummeled in a very defenseless position,” Armstrong said.
Mike Yonke, a lawyer representing Martinez, said that Armstrong menaced his client with a golf club but that Martinez would wait to tell his full story in court.
“Dave Armstrong is 6 foot 7 or more, and Mr. Martinez is 5 foot 8 and 170 pounds,” Yonke said. “He sustained a broken finger and a serious shoulder injury. It doesn’t take much to figure out who was the aggressor.”
KC Star (Wow, lol)
Big 12/College News
Oklahoma State officials say an anonymous donor is providing some free tickets for an Oklahoma State basketball game.
OSU says the donor will purchase all unsold tickets for the game between the No. 9 Cowboys and South Carolina and fans can pick them up starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday on the north side of Gallagher-Iba Arena until the game begins at 8:30 p.m.
The game is part of the first Big 12/SEC Challenge and will be televised live on ESPNU.
Another week, another personnel issue for Florida.
Scottie Wilbekin has been diagnosed with a right high ankle sprain and is out indefinitely, the school said Tuesday afternoon.
He suffered the injury in Monday's 65-64 loss at Connecticut.
Wilbekin, the team's starting point guard last season, has only played in three games this season after serving a five-game suspension to start the campaign. His replacement, freshman stud Kasey Hill, has been out since November 18 with a high ankle sprain. He is expected to miss at least a month, meaning Florida could be without a point guard for at least another week.
This is just another on a long list of personnel issues for Florida. Wilbekin and Dorian Finney-Smith both returned from suspension, but Damontre Harris is still not playing. Wilbekin and Hill are both injured, and Rutgers transfer Eli Carter is redshirting to continue recovering from the broken leg he suffered last February. On top of all that, five-star freshman Chris Walker is still not cleared to play due to academics. He could return this month.
Head coach Billy Donovan used just six players for more than six minutes against the Huskies on Monday – and one of them was Wilbekin. In other words, he could be severely shorthanded going into upcoming games against Kansas and Memphis.
The story of Big 12 basketball is not one many are sharing around Yuletide with a bowl of hot chestnuts.
Yet the success to date in nonconference play is worth rejoicing.
Victories over the like of Duke, Michigan and Memphis. An exciting comeback win at BYU for Iowa State, the league’s most pleasant surprise. Four Big 12 teams ranked in the top 20. Just 17 defeats overall, the fewest for any conference in the country.
Unfortunately for one of the reigning co-champs, the highlights had been minimal. Until Thursday.
Kansas State used aggressive defense, sturdy box-outs and just enough free throws to nip Ole Miss, 61-58. With that, a healthy jolt of octagonal life was pumped into Bramlage Coliseum.
Although Ole Miss was unranked, it brought in a 6-0 record and was among the better teams carrying the banner of the SEC in the unadvertised and disjointed challenge the league stages with the Big 12.
Maybe you only remember Marshall Henderson and his finger pointing last postseason, but the Rebels made a Sprint Center appearance in the NCAA Tournament on the strength of an SEC Tournament championship.
Henderson was around Thursday, yet quiet. For him. Playing as a backup after serving a suspension to begin the season stemming from his failure to pass offseason drug tests, Henderson went 4 of 18 over 26 minutes. He even missed the Rebels’ last shot attempt, a 3-pointer he air-balled in the final seconds.
Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points and Jabari Brown added 18 to help Missouri defeat West Virginia 80-71 Thursday night in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
…Missouri (8-0) extended its national-best home-court winning streak to 23 games and has won 78 consecutive games at Mizzou Arena against non-conference competition.
One thing Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith had hammered home to his team was to hit the boards hard against Arizona.
So what happened?
Smith's Red Raiders get outrebounded 43-23 on Tuesday night in a 79-58 loss to the second-ranked Wildcats.
"Obviously our guys aren't hearing what the scouting report is saying about rebounding," Smith said. "That was the No. 1 thing we said we had to do."
That's a tough order against Arizona's front line.
"We did terrible," Tech's Aaron Ross said. "That's something Coach always tells us in practice which is to rebound, rebound, box out, rebound. We should have done better, so we have to keep practicing in order to get better."
Freshman Aaron Gordon scored 19 points and Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley added 18 each for the Wildcats who were playing for the first time since winning the NIT Season Tip-off.
The Wildcats didn't think they played all that great.
"I mean, a win's a win so you're always happy about that," point guard T.J. McConnell said. "But I think we played a little sluggish. We all know we could have played a little bit better."
Johnson, the NIT Season Tip-off's MVP, made a career-best 4 3-pointers in 6 attempts.
Duke played the defense its Hall of Fame coach wanted to see, while Quinn Cook turned in an all-around floor game to keep the 10th-ranked Blue Devils rolling in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Cook had 24 points -- all in the second half -- and nine assists to help Duke beat No. 22 Michigan 79-69 on Tuesday night, improving the Blue Devils to 13-2 all-time in the annual interconference competition.
Freshman Jabari Parker added 15 points to help the Blue Devils (7-2) regroup from last week's loss to Arizona by grinding out a tough win against the Wolverines. Duke didn't shoot the ball well early but frustrated Michigan's offense, turning away every spurt and keeping the Wolverines (5-3) at arm's length much of the game.
The Battle 4 Atlantis might end up with the strongest field of all of next year's nonconference November tournaments after the headliners were revealed Tuesday.
The 2014 edition of the tournament in Paradise Island, Bahamas, will include Florida, North Carolina, UCLA, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Butler, Oklahoma and UAB.
ESPN will be the broadcast partner of the Battle 4 Atlantis next season, sharing the tournament with AXS TV.
Duke says Alex Murphy is transferring out of the program.
Team spokesman Matt Plizga issued a statement Friday saying Murphy is leaving in good academic standing and is expected to transfer to another Division I school.
Murphy says, "It is in my best interest to leave the program at this point." Coach Mike Krzyzewski says it was "an honor" to have him at Duke and supports his decision.
Murphy is a 6-foot-9 forward who played in five games for the 10th-ranked Blue Devils (7-2) and averaged one point and one rebound.
When asked to describe the atmosphere around the Huntington Prep basketball team last season, head coach Rob Fulford's answer is short and to the point, yet not all that surprising.
“It was definitely a circus,” Fulford said in a recent interview, referring specifically his team’s experience on the road.
Sold out gyms; a heavy media presence at games; one-hour autograph sessions. A bit more attention than one might expect for a high school team.
However, the West Virginia school was home to Canadian phenom Andrew Wiggins and Fulford, who says he’s never experienced that type of buzz around a team before, knows most, if not all the interest around his group came from fans and media who just wanted to catch a glimpse of the budding hoops star before he ventured off to the NCAA.
“Certainly Andrew was rock star status,” Fulford said of the 18-year-old. “I think that was one of the things for us last year, the guys had to adjust to that . . . I thought the kids handled themselves well, but it was certainly a circus.”
Things have changed for Fulford’s Irish, currently 8-1 and ranked no.24 in the nation according to maxpreps.com, since the 2013 high school player of the year and Sports Illustrated cover boy moved on to the college game at the University of Kansas. While they still draw crowds, the post-game routine doesn’t usually involve lineups for autographs and media scrums.
On the court the Wigginsless roster has adopted a completely different style of play.
Fulford admits Huntington Prep’s offence last season revolved mostly around isolating Wiggins and fellow Canadian teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes – he was supposed to be a rookie at Florida St. this year, but the NCAA ruled he was ineligible – and allowing them to take advantage of individual matchups.
Wiggins and Rathan-Mayes were the team’s top scorers and the only ones to average more than 11 points per game – Wiggins averaged 23.4 points per game and Rathan-Mayes, 14.
This year Fulford says the team plays more of a run-and-gun style and relies on a collection of talent to provide the offence as opposed to just one or two players.
“We have a lot of weapons and the kids are unselfish,” the coach said.
Toronto native Montaque Gill-Caesar is one player who’s taken his offensive game to new heights and helped fill the void left by Wiggins. In a recent 127-37 drubbing of Miami Valley the 6-foot-6 small forward scored 56 points on 21-of-34 shooting. He’s the team’s leading scorer this season averaging 19.4 points per game and he’s already drawing interest from the heavy hitters of the NCAA including the University of Kentucky and Michigan State.
There are some who want to compare Gill-Caesar’s on-court abilities to those of Wiggins, but Fulford is quick to shut down that assertion.
“They’re totally different,” he said. “Andrew is 6-foot-8, a lot more bouncy than Teki. Teki shoots the ball better [and] Andrew’s a better ball handler at this stage.
“The only similarity they have is they’re both from Canada and they went to the same high schools in Canada and here.”
That said Fulford believes Gill-Caesar’s offensive outburst this season is thanks in large part to the fact that he was going up against Wiggins, who he refers to as the top defender in college basketball, every day in practice last season.
“There’s nobody that you can put on [Montaque] that we’re going to play at the high school level that he’s going to be intimidated by because he had to go up against Wiggins every day in practice,” he said. “That’s part of the reason kids come to places like this because they get that challenge daily.”
And therein lies the challenge for Fulford. As the head coach of a team that in most situations is only hanging on to its core players for one or two seasons, it’s his job to ensure the program maintains a level of consistency on a yearly basis, with or without an athlete of Wiggins caliber, so elite young players continue to pick Huntington Prep over other high schools around the United States that have a longer history of on-court success.
“What Andrew has done for us is that he’s made it ok for the number one player in the country to come [to Huntington] so it makes recruiting a lot easier.
“Huntington, West Virginia isn’t exactly known to be a happening spot, but for high school basketball it’s a happening spot.”Yahoo
12/3/13, 10:51 AM
From Atlantis, a veteran college hoops observer on Cliff Alexander: "He's still learning how to play, but you won't stop him from dunking."@rustindodd
12/4/13, 10:47 AM
Per Chicago Curie coach Mike Oliver, Five-star Cliff Alexander @humblekid11 will be playing on Saturday in the @ChiEliteClassic@ebosshoops
According to Illinois High School Association rules, Curie senior Cliff Alexander must sit out his team's game Saturday at the Chicago Elite Classic.
Curie’s game in Kentucky on Friday has been canceled, and Condors coach Mike Oliver said his team will play at Farragut that day instead.
Alexander, a 6-foot-9 Kansas recruit, is ineligible for Curie’s next regularly scheduled game after receiving two technical fouls in Curie’s 79-76 overtime victory Sunday against St. Rita.Chicago Tribune (12/5)
12/4/13, 2:18 PM
2014 G @Top_One_Shard confirms that Kansas will watch him next week@AdamZagoria
KU is expected to visit Rashard Figures, a 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard from Mack Prep High in Charlotte, N.C., according to Rivals.com. He is an unranked player at this time.LJW
Findlay Prep shooting guard Rashad Vaughn got a visit from UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua on Tuesday. Findlay assistant coach Pete Kaffey, who also serves as Vaughn's mentor, confirmed the visit to the Herald-Leader.
Scout.com ranks Vaughn as the No. 13 overall prospect in the Class of 2014, which makes him the No. 2 uncommitted prospect behind Texas center Myles Turner. Vaughn seemingly cut UK from consideration earlier this year after the Cats stopped recruiting him, but Kaffey said UK has been back in contact for about a month. He also said the break in the recruitment was somewhat planned.
"They've been recruiting him for a while now," Kaffey told the Herald-Leader. "We just haven't been making it public. They wanted to deal with the fall recruits first, and since Rashad was going to be deciding so late it didn't make sense to go hard (after him) when you could try to get other guys right now."Lex HL
As the top unsigned senior in the country, Euless Trinity 6-11 center Myles Turner brought a live national broadcast and a host of college basketball coaches to North Texas.
If it’s possible, Turner’s dominating performance in a 57-53 victory over Houston Christian Homeschool made him a hotter prospect.
Turner scored 29 points with 14 rebounds and nine blocked shots while being watched by Kentucky coach John Calipari and assistants from Duke, Texas and Texas A&M in the crowd as well as former NBA star John Lucas.
“Playing here and sort of putting basketball back on the map here at Trinity means everything to me,” Turner said. “It was a beautiful atmosphere.”
Calipari arrived in time for a showdown with Baylor at AT&T Stadium on Friday. Turner said he had no timeline on deciding his college but listed Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Texas as the leading contenders.
The matchup was set as part of the GEICO ESPN High School Basketball Showcase, the only matchup of the 12 games through the season will be Prime Prep on Jan. 4 vs. Whitney Young (Ill.) in a West Virginia tournament.
Turner scored 21 points and had five blocks as Trinity built a 31-26 lead. Trinity (5-0) got a strong second-half performance by senior guard Adrian Wong, who finished with 13 points. HCYA (9-3) was led by multi-talented 6-7 North Carolina signee Justin Jackson who also scored 29 points.Dallas NewsMarshall County Hoop Fest this weekendRecruiting Calendar
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In blocking a Kansas freshman record seven shots in KU's 67-63 win against UTEP, freshman C Joel Embiid was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week in a vote by a media panel which covers men's basketball the conference announced Monday.
Embiid scored in double digits in two contests as the Jayhawks recorded a 2-1 record at the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas, over Thanksgiving weekend. The 7-0 Yaoundé, Cameroon, native also had 10 blocked shots while shooting 63.2 percent from the field and 71.4 percent from the free throw line. His seven rejections versus UTEP set the KU freshman record for blocked shots in a game, previously held by Nick Collison (six vs. Nebraska in 2000). Embiid averaged 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in the event.
Averaging 9.1 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds, Embiid leads Kansas in field goal percentage at 67.6 percent and is third in the Big 12 with 2.3 blocked shots per game. His 7.0 boards per game are ninth in the league.
The good: Even in the worst of times, Jayhawks coach Bill Self is usually one of the most sanguine guys in his profession. So it was odd to see him so ticked off after his team rebounded from the loss to Villanova by holding off a scrappy UTEP team in Saturday night's consolation game. When I asked Self afterward to tell me something positive he learned about his team down here, he stared into space for several seconds before he could think of anything. "We did have some young kids play really well in stretches," he finally said. "Joel [Embiid] is terrific and Frank Mason did some good things for us. So I think that's a positive that we can take out of here, but there's not a lot of positives. We really got exposed in a lot of areas."
The play of Mason, a 5-11 freshman, is going to be an important springboard moving forward -- so much so that I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually replaces junior Naadir Tharp as the starting point guard. When Kansas fell behind by 12 points with 12 minutes to play against Villanova, Self inserted Mason into the lineup, which sparked the comeback. And when Kansas frittered away a 14-point lead in the second half against Wake Forest on Friday, Self benched all five of his starters and watched his reserves hold the Demon Deacons at bay. The Jayhawks are a young team and they looked like it at times, but the talent is still considerable. Self learned that he has more options on his roster than he may have realized.
The bad: A lot of coaches would like to have Self's problems, but he does have problems. First and foremost is the lack of perimeter shooting. During their first two games, the Jayhawks made a total of seven shots outside of three feet. For the tournament, they shot 10-for-45 from three-point range. That made the Jayhawks way too easy to guard in the half court, which put a higher premium on getting out in transition; and because their energy was so lacking, they didn't have many opportunities. "We know we're not going to be an execution team in November, but I'm surprised that we don't play with the competitive spirit that all our teams have always played with," Self said.
That begins with -- yup -- Andrew Wiggins, the freshman forward who was maddeningly disengaged. Wiggins was battling bronchitis, but as Self told me, "a lot of people don't feel good, but they still go to work every day." We've known that Wiggins does not possess a superstar's mentality, but from a technical standpoint he got exposed in two areas. The first is his ball handling. He can only go one or two dribbles and gets the ball knocked away a lot (four turnovers vs. Villanova). Second, his jump shot is just OK; he only made two three-pointers in three games. Wiggins doesn't have to be a great three-point shooter, he just has to be good enough to make defenders respect him behind the line. Right now he's not.
…SI.com: You called Kansas' loss to Villanova on Thursday night. That was your first look at Andrew Wiggins. What did you think?
Van Gundy: He has to accept his role as the best player on the floor and be more aggressive. We always talk about role players accepting and playing their role, but he has to accept his role, too. They can be good with him playing the way he's been playing, but they can't contend for the national championship unless he's willing to take over a little bit more.
SI Seth Davis
After an impressive start, the presumptive No. 1 pick has struggled lately. After finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds in an assertive and efficient effort against Wake Forest, Wiggins slumped through an upset loss to Villanova and a narrow win over UTEP.
In those games, he shot a combined 5-for-17 and scored just 16 points. This is, for better or worse, what you're going to get from Wiggins from time to time. He plays on a loaded Jayhawks team with three potential lottery picks, all of whom want the ball.
Kansas doesn't placate stars by designing a system around them, but rather asks the players to play within the system. It isn't time to throw up a red flag just yet, but it's worth following to see how Wiggins bounces back.
12/2/13, 11:06 AM
Reputable national high school evaluators knew that Andrew Wiggins was a long term proposition and not a freshman proposition as #1 prospect
The hype Andrew Wiggins might not be living up to was created by publications & college basketball writers w limited knowledge of his game.
Despite his lackluster play last week in the Bahamas, NBA executives and scouts are still understandably high on Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins.
“His status isn’t about what he IS, it’s about what he CAN become,” one NBA GM who would take Wiggins No. 1 overall told SNY.tv.
Wiggins averaged just 8 points and 5 rebounds in Kansas’ last two games in the Bahamas — a loss to eventual champion Villanova and a win over UTEP — but by all accounts he was very ill.
“He was sick the whole trip but he still has to play and bring it,” said a source close to the Kansas program.
Some NBA types maintain that Duke’s Jabari Parker is the more complete player at this stage and would take him No. 1.
“I take Jabari every time,” one NBA assistant told SNY.tv over the weekend. “Ready to play, a winner, great kid, can shoot. He has tremendous upside and has performed when the lights were on.”
Still, a general consensus seems to exist that Wiggins has a higher ceiling going forward.
“Up to this point he’s certainly not living up to the media hype,” one former NBA GM said of Wiggins. “He is not ready to turn around any NBA team right now. Down the road 2-3 years yes, but not now.”
Said an NBA scout: “All [the freshmen] are great talents, Wiggins has the best upside.”
Said the NBA GM: “Just remember who the highest-rated high school player was three years ago and looked like a train wreck in college [Andre Drummond] and who looked great in college [Michael Kidd-Gilchrist] and hasn’t done s*&t [in the NBA].”
Kansas has a critical four-game stretch coming up with games at Colorado and at Florida before returning to play New Mexico in Kansas City and Georgetown in Lawrence. All eyes will be on Wiggins, who hopefully feels better and shows what he’s capable of.
CBS Sports podcast: Should we be concerned about Kansas? Do folks realize Wiggins is averaging 15 and 7? Kansas’ tough month ahead.
LJW: 'Hawks in the NBA blog
12/2/13, 10:44 AM
THIS JUST IN: Nets F Paul Pierce expected to miss 2-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in right hand.
VOTE HERE for Pierce, Chalmers, Markieff Morris 2014 NBB All-Stars
Kansas women's basketball head coach Bonnie Henrickson and her staff will host the 2013 Holiday Hoops Clinic on Dec. 27 inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Children from kindergarten to eighth grade are invited to celebrate the Holidays with the Jayhawks and participate in a basketball clinic on Friday, Dec. 27 from 3-5 p.m. The cost is $15 per child and $5 for adults participating with their child(ren).
All children registered for the clinic will receive a voucher at the conclusion of the event for three tickets to an upcoming KU women's basketball game (some restrictions apply). Participants are encouraged to register for the clinic by Dec. 20.
Check-in for the clinic begins at 2:45 pm on Dec. 27 in the north concourse of Allen Fieldhouse (first level). Registration forms and payments can be sent to the women's basketball office. All questions should be directed to Alaina Lee at 785-864-4938 or email@example.com.
Big 12/College News
Mercer coach Bob Hoffman was worried going into Monday night's game against Oklahoma about how his basketball team would contain the Sooners offensively.
“We were wondering what the answers might be because they shoot it so well and if you help, they throw it to each other,” Hoffman said. “They share the ball and then they just jump up and shoot it and make shots. It's not real complicated, they've just got so many guys that can make it, maybe as many as I've seen.”
Hoffman's worse-case-scenario came true at Lloyd Noble Center as the Sooners beat the Bears 96-82 in a game where the final score doesn't come close to showing the full dominance of OU over Mercer.
Three days before Auburn's trip to take on its first ranked opponent in No. 17 Iowa State, Tigers coach Tony Barbee said he didn't think his team was ready for a road test like the one the Cyclones present.
Barbee was right.
Iowa State shook off a sluggish start to blow out Auburn 99-70 at home, leaving the Tigers with work to do heading into a Sunday test against Illinois in Atlanta.
Shabazz Napier hit a jumper from the free throw line as time expired to keep No. 12 Connecticut undefeated with a 65-64 victory over No. 15 Florida on Monday night.
Napier, limping on a left ankle he hurt during a four-point play with 33 seconds left, escaped a trap around 30 feet from the basket and got off a wild shot that missed but was tipped blindly back by DeAndre Daniels. Napier grabbed the ball and let go a left-handed jumper that went through as the horn sounded and set off a deafening cheer from the sellout crowd of 10,167 at Gampel Pavilion.
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
2014 Huntington Prep (WV) guard JaQuan Lyle went for 41 points & 7 assists tonight.
Despite the 2014 draft class being considered one of the strongest of the last decade, with top college players Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Marcus Smart expected to feature in the early picks, it is tipped Exum could be taken in the top five should he enter the draft.
Bogut believes the teenager should ignore the pursuits of elite colleges such as Indiana, Louisville and Michigan and take his chances in the draft.
"He's a projected top-five pick and he could go to college and risk getting hurt," Bogut told Melbourne's SEN radio.
"You're also under the pressure of the scouts - they start to nitpick a little bit so it could hurt your spot as well."
Bogut, who became the first Australian to be drafted at number one when the Milwaukee Bucks came calling in 2005, believes Exum will heed his advice.
"I think he'll do the smart thing. I think he'll end up coming over here a little earlier and just training and working out and then enter the draft."Link
Rivals: Final Notes from Thanksgiving Hoopfest (free)
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USA Today/Coaches Poll
- Others receiving votes: Indiana 74, Virginia 73, New Mexico 71, North Carolina 62, Florida State 40, Boise State 36, Pittsburgh 36, Virginia Commonwealth 30, Charlotte 20, Creighton 17, Colorado 17, Missouri 16, Harvard 10, Illinois 10, Cincinnati 8, Ole Miss 3, George Washington 2, Saint Mary's 2, Xavier 1
- Dropped from rankings: North Carolina 16, Creighton 20, Marquette 25
2014 Old Spice in Orlando is LOADED: Kansas, Michigan State, Marquette, Tennessee, Xavier, Georgia Tech, Santa Clara, Rider. #OldSpiceClassic14
A narrow victory over UTEP in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament was no cause for celebration for Kansas University’s basketball players, coaches and fans on Saturday in Imperial Arena in the plush Atlantis resort.
The mood, in fact, was downright gloomy after the Jayhawks’ 67-63 win — a game in which KU (6-1) nearly blew a 14-point lead against a 4-4 team in the final two minutes.
“I’m tired,” coach Bill Self said with a frown after KU won for the first time in four all-time meetings versus UTEP, then added some levity to the situation by saying his fatigue was because of a long walk from the locker room to the interview room.
“I’m leaving here not discouraged, but with the understanding that we’re not who I think we thought we were and certainly not who the I think the players thought we were when we headed over here. We were exposed pretty good over here.”LJW
There were some highlights Saturday.
Joel Embiid totaled a freshman record seven blocks, passing Nick Collison’s six versus Nebraska in 2000. And Wayne Selden had 12 points the first half and finished with 14 off 6-of-9 shooting. Also Perry Ellis, who hit some clutch free throws late, netted 19 points with seven boards.
But the lowlights were aplenty as well.
“I think our energy level sucks,” Self said. The Jayhawks, who were patient in attacking UTEP’s gimmick defenses and four-corner offense, held a 15-2 lead nine minutes into the game. However, the lead dipped to 26-20 at 2:51 before being upped to 34-25 by intermission.
“It’s hard to play the game if you don’t have great energy,” Self noted. “It’s hard to play the third game of a three-game tournament with unbelievable energy, (but) there has to be more a sense of urgency. We play way, way, way too casual. That goes into how you screen, block out, go after loose balls, a lot of things we are not doing well now.”
Self said he’s not doing a good job of coaching the Jayhawks.
“I thought we’d have errors of trying too hard instead of casualness,” he said. “That’s what’s really frustrating to me. To me, a coach should be judged on three things: Do they play together? Are they unselfish? Do they play extremely hard and are they tough? I’d say we went 0-for-3. That’s frustrating to me when you go 0-for-3.”LJW
Bill Self will have a blast holding up a mirror to his players by watching video of them, and he’ll use it to teach them how to move the ball better.
Self’s Kansas University basketball team will improve through those sessions, but there is another issue every bit as important.
Freshman center Joel Embiid, who has emerged as KU’s most dominant, most important player, must learn how to stay out of foul trouble so he can become a 30-minutes-per-game player instead of averaging the 17.3 minutes he has seven games into his collegiate career.
Kansas dominates with the basketball prodigy on the floor and is just another team when he watches.
At least that’s how it has looked. Statistics can’t ever be the starting point for evaluation, but they are nice in contradicting or validating your eyes.
Embiid’s plus-minus numbers do more than that. They make the eyes pop.
Statsheet.com tracks plus-minus points, as in how the team does when each individual is on the floor.
Let’s start by using all seven games and work our way back to the three games played in the Bahamas.
In the 124 minutes Embiid has played, KU has outscored opponents, 268-182. In the 156 minutes Embiid has watched from the bench, KU has a 293-292 edge.
Embiid’s plus-minus average of 12.3 points per game is extraordinary for someone who doesn’t even play half the game.
The Jayhawks score at roughly the same rate with (1.8 points per minute) or without (1.9) Embiid on the floor. It’s on defense where his presence is felt most. With Embiid in the game, opponents average 1.5 points per minute, 1.9 when he sits. Over the course of a 40-minute game, that equates to a difference between 60 points and 76 points.LJW
1. Perry Ellis: Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” came to mind during the late-game collapse: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ...” Ellis was a calming voice of reason, surrounded by madness. And even he had two turnovers and a foul during UTEP’s 18-7 stretch that started with 1:59 left and ended with seven seconds left as a 14-point lead dwindled to three points. Ellis led KU with 19 points, had seven rebounds and made 7 of 8 free throws.
2. Joel Embiid: Established himself as leading candidate to be chosen with No. 1 pick in 2014 NBA draft. Was nothing short of spectacular in Bahamas in variety of ways. He passed, rebounded, scored and blocked shots in a way that left the tongues of scouts hanging. Had nine points, six rebounds, seven blocked shots, two steals and an assist in 21 minutes in this one. Three-game Battle 4 Atlantis totals: 48 minutes, 29 points, 17 rebounds, 10 blocked shots, 13 personal fouls, .632 from the field, .714 from the line.LJW Keegan Ratings
It may have come a little sooner than expected, but freshman center Joel Embiid is making a bid for major minutes.
…“I’m speaking honestly about how things have gone,” Self said, “but that’s one guy that’s on a big uptick. There’s no question that he’s got to play more minutes … without fouling.”
Yes, Embiid had four fouls against UTEP, and foul trouble also limited his value in a loss against Villanova on Friday night. Embiid is now averaging 9.1 points per game while leading Kansas with 16 blocks in seven games. On Saturday, all seven of his blocks came in the second half.
“I always just got to jump straight up,” Embiid said, “and try to block it and contest it.”
• Perry Ellis finished with a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds, while hitting seven of eight from the free-throw line.
• UTEP began the game in what looked like a full-out stall offense. UTEP coach Tim Floyd said he wanted to slow the game down, but he also wanted to spread out Kansas and look to drive against what he figured would be an over-eager defense.KC Star
You can probably slot Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins into the casual category. For one night, Wiggins played as if he was still battling the flu bug that slowed him during the first two days in the Bahamas. He went nearly 18 minutes without scoring in the first half and finished with a season-low six points on two-of-nine shooting.”He was dragging, I think,”; Self said, “so I don’t know if it was fatigue from the flu. I don’t think he played with unbelievable energy, but he did get his hands on a lot of balls the second half going after the offensive glass.
…After shooting a combined five for 25 from three-point range against Wake Forest and Villanova, Kansas made just five of 19 three-pointers against UTEP. So in three days, KU made just 10 of 44 from three-point range in the Bahamas.KC Star
It was just one play, but to Kansas coach Bill Self, it signified an example of the largest issue facing his KU basketball team.
Early in the second half, freshman Andrew Wiggins nonchalantly went to catch a fast-break pass with one hand instead of two and quickly had it poked away for a turnover. Self immediately subbed in Frank Mason.
KU would later make its free throws down the stretch to secure a 67-63 victory over UTEP on
Saturday, but the Jayhawks’ effort still made for an unhappy coach.
“There’s got to be more of a sense of urgency. We play way too casual. Way, way, way too casual,” Self said. “When you say play way too casual that goes into how you screen, that goes into how you block out, that goes into how you go after loose balls. That goes into a lot of things that we’re not doing very well right now.”
…Self said forward Tarik Black sat out much of the second half with an injury.
“Tarik bumped his knee,” Self said. “I don’t think it was anything much, but he was kind of out of it for a while.”TCJ
There were moments of excellence for Andrew Wiggins in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Blips of excellence, really.
And throughout Kansas’ tumultuous stay in the holiday tournament, which included an upset loss to unranked Villanova on Friday night, Wiggins (15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game) was ordinary on offense too often.
Between the Villanova loss and Saturday's victory over UTEP, (Wiggins had 17 points against Wake Forest on Thursday, I know), the freshman standout went 5-of-17 from the field, committed 5 turnovers, registered a 5-for-11 clip from the charity stripe, scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Jayhawks’ struggles cannot be assigned to Wiggins alone and yes, even the best have bad nights. Kansas was outhustled, outplayed and outworked in three of four halves in its last two games in the Bahamas.
But Wiggins never grabbed his cape.
Jabari Parker doesn’t have that problem. Duke’s superstar is not flawless. He’s not as athletic as Wiggins. And most NBA general mangers would probably admit that Wiggins has a higher ceiling. But Parker is the better player right now. And it has nothing to do with talent.
They’re both talented. But Parker is more assertive, especially on offense.
He knows exactly who he is every time he steps onto the court. Parker assumes that wins and losses rest on his shoulders. That’s not true, but stars think that way.
They accept the reality that they’ll be accused of playing “hero ball” when those instincts emerge and they fumble in clutch situations. They’re just called heroes when those tactics work.
Even in Duke’s losses, Parker (23.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 1.8 blocks per game) was relentless. He should be the No. 1 pick right now on the mock draft boards of smart NBA executives.
But that discussion can wait.
I just wonder if Wiggins knows how good he can be if he just turns those flashes of greatness -- see Wiggins splitting the UTEP defense on Saturday with ridiculous agility and explosiveness on one of the prettiest plays of the evening -- into sustained bursts of brilliance. The kind we all expected when he switched graduating classes and topped Parker to become the unanimous No. 1 recruit in 2013.
Kansas won’t reach its potential if Wiggins falls short of his. And so far, he has.
He’s not the player that he could be.
…He draws double-teams and frees up space for Perry Ellis and Joel Embiid. Wiggins can handle the ball, which always makes it difficult for opposing coaches to find defenders who can stay in front of him.
He makes an impact. Just not a constant impact.
Kansas wants to win its 10th consecutive Big 12 crown and a national title. But it won’t get there unless Wiggins plays more like Parker.
The critics will ask for mercy on the youngster. They’ll plead for patience as Wiggins matures. He deserves that. All freshmen do. And he’s off to a good start.
No one, however, faces a higher standard.
Wiggins is a very skilled athlete. He has more potential than any player in the country. And he must prove that consistently in the coming months.
That has nothing to do with the race to be the No. 1 draft pick next summer. The NBA will figure that out.
Wiggins has to be more effective and deliberate, because that’s the only way that the Jayhawks will earn a trip to Arlington, Texas, in April and compete for the ultimate crown. It’s that simple.
ESPN Medcalf: Wiggins should play like Parker
(No mention of Wiggins being ill while in the Bahamas. Ace reporting Myron.
M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)
Perry Ellis delivered when KU needed him most, knocking down five of six free throws in the final minute to keep the Jayhawks from completely collapsing against the Miners. The forward easily had his best game of the tournament, posting 1.13 points per possession used (much higher than the team's 1.02 PPP mark) while taking on a big offensive load for KU (team-high 28.4 percent usage percentage). He also was stronger on the defensive glass than he's been, pulling down 20.2 percent of the available D-boards while he was in the game.
…This would normally be the point in the season when KU would return home, play Patsy State in the Fieldhouse, win by 40 and feel a lot better about itself. That's not the case this year, as the Jayhawks play at Colorado and at Florida before a game at Sprint Center against New Mexico. UTEP, according to KenPom, is the worst opponent KU will see until mid-January, while five of the Jayhawks' six remaining opponents are ranked in KenPom's top 50.
KU's next two contests against CU and UF are coin-flip games. Self won't have to wait long to see how his team responds to its sluggish play in the Bahamas; the rest of the Jayhawks grueling schedule is coming, like it or not.TCJ
A spot in the third-place game is not what Kansas University’s basketball team and its loyal fanbase that occupied all but a handful of the seats in 3,900-seat Imperial Arena wanted at the Battle 4 Atlantis holiday tournament in paradise.
But it indeed is a 6 p.m., Central time, contest against UTEP that awaits KU today after the Jayhawks’ 63-59 loss to Villanova in a wild semifinal on Friday night.
Ryan Arcidiacono’s three over the outstretched arms of Perry Ellis with 11 seconds left gave the Wildcats (6-0) a 61-59 lead, answering a spinning layup and foul shot by KU’s Frank Mason that had given KU (5-1) a 59-58 lead at :29.2.
“I think we didn’t do a good job of guarding. It is the only shot he made for the game,” KU coach Bill Self said of sophomore guard Arcidiacono’s crucial trey, his only hoop in six tries, all from beyond the arc. “It was a big-time shot.”
It was one that KU sophomore Ellis tried to get out and contest but was late.
“I almost was (able to get to the shooter),” said Ellis, who hit five of seven free throws and scored 11 points on a night KU missed 10 of 25 charities, making 15. “I didn’t know if I could help too much. My man slipped. I did the best I could.”
The late Villanova heroics erased a gallant effort by KU freshman guard Mason. His driving layup and swish from the line helped KU come all the way back from a 12-point deficit (48-36 at 12:41).
Also, he followed Arcidiacono’s trey with a three -point try of his own that missed at :05. KU fouled following the rebound, and ’Nova hit two charities at 2.7 seconds to account for the final margin.
“I should have called a timeout (after the Villanova three),” Self said. “I had one left. My thinking is, the best thing is to get it in quick and go score. Still, when it got (to be) a makeshift deal there, there were four or five seconds left.
“Frank was open, though (it’s) not what I want. I’d rather him drive. (But) he had to take the shot,” Self added, not criticizing Mason’s judgment in the heat of battle.
Former KU assistant coach Mark Freidinger, a scout for the San Antonio Spurs, is working the tournament as color announcer on the Wake Forest radio network. It’s a job he’s held for many years.
Freidinger, who was a member of Larry Brown’s KU staff, was instrumental in the start of KU’s Late Night With Larry Brown, which morphed into Late Night With Roy William and now Late Night in the Phog.
Freidinger suggested to Brown the Jayhawks hold a season-opening hoop extravaganza in 1985. After a small crowd in ‘85, Freidinger was out to add some hoopla in ‘86.
“We called David Letterman trying to get him to come. They sent Larry Bud Melman (a regular on the show) and the students loved him,” Freidinger said.
Freidinger took part in a skit in which he drank a wild concoction of chocolate milk, raw eggs and pepper, mixed in a blender by KU players.
“It was Coca-Cola, but nobody knew that,” Freidinger said.
Freidinger said he still remained friends with KU assistant AD John Hadl, the only person he still knows in KU’s athletic department.
“A friend of mine heard the grill at ‘The Wheel’ was closed. I said, ‘Tell ‘Knobby’ (owner) to open that grill up again,’’’ Freidinger said. “One of our scouts was there a few weeks ago and said it was open,” Freidinger added with a laugh, recalling all the times he ate lunch at ‘The Wheel’ with Brown.
VOTE HERE for Pierce, Chalmers, Markieff Morris 2014 NBB All-Stars
The Lakers fell at home on Sunday despite Xavier Henry's career-high 27 points, which came on 9-of-12 FGs and 7-of-11 FTs.
He made two 3-pointers with five boards and one steal in his best game since he exploded onto the scene in L.A.'s season opener.
Darrell Arthur made all seven attempts from the field for 14 points with three boards, two assists, three steals and one block in 23 minutes.
He had season highs in points, assists and steals.
Big 12/College News
Shaq Goodwin helped make sure the outcome for Memphis and Tigers coach Josh Pastner was different than the first matchup this season against Oklahoma State.
Goodwin had 17 points, Joe Jackson hit four key free throws late and No. 21 Memphis beat No. 5 Oklahoma State 73-68 Sunday night in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic.
"Of course we wanted it for him," Goodwin said. "I hate to say that we wanted to prove people wrong, but it just felt good to give my head coach a top-five win. It just feels good when you make him feel good."
…Memphis (5-1) held Oklahoma State preseason All-American Marcus Smart to 12 points. Smart, who played with virus-like stomach symptoms, went 4 for 13 from the field and had five turnovers.
"That's definitely not an excuse," Smart said. "They did an excellent job executing their scouting report. I couldn't find a groove out there."
…Pastner is now 1-13 vs Top 25 teams
UNC lost for the second time in two weeks to an unranked team from a small conference, while UAB earned its first W over a team ranked in the top 25 since 2009.
Two very different results for two very different programs that had a common thread: Jerod Haase. Haase is the second-year coach at UAB, a former North Carolina assistant. UNC coach Roy Williams tossed Haase a solid by agreeing to a home-and-home. After losing 102-84 at North Carolina 365 days ago, Haase's Blazers got revenge and returned the favor, winning 63-59 in Alabama on Sunday night.
After his fourth turnover, Melvin Johnson began to feel more at home after a don’t-worry-about it, stay-aggressive chat with Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart.
Rams freshman point guard JeQuan Lewis felt at home because, well, he was near home.
Together, the duo helped put an end to the nation’s longest home winning streak.
Johnson knocked down a trio of 3-pointers and Lewis scored five points during a 22-2 second-half burst that propelled VCU to an 81-68 victory over Belmont in Nashville, Tenn. The loss snapped the Bruins’ 23-game home winning streak.
“It was a weight lifted off our shoulders,” Johnson said. “We only got a day and a half to prepare for them. We saw the winning streak and the amount of (3-pointers) they make each game and that they had won at North Carolina.
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In a game featuring two of Chicago’s top seniors — Curie’s Cliff Alexander and St. Rita’s Victor Law — the standing-room only crowd was not disappointed.
Kansas-bound Alexander scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds before being ejected from the game as the host Condors escaped with a 79-76 overtime victory at the Team Rose Classic.
Law, a Northwestern recruit, finished with 15 points before fouling out with 5:02 remaining for the Mustangs.
Both players were given technicals for taunting, and Alexander received his second technical and ejection for hanging on the rim with 2:19 left and Curie (1-0) leading 62-53.
…Alexander said he got caught up in the moment.
“Victor and I are the best of friends and we are both competitive,” he said. “I am really proud of the way my team stepped up.”
St. Rita played without starters Charles Matthews (ankle injury), Armani Chaney and Myles Carter (reason unspecified).
“The kids never stopped competing. I’m proud of our effort and Dominique stepped up and tried to will us to victory,’’ St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare said.
According to the IHSA rules, Alexander will be required to serve a one game suspension for his ejection. Curie’s next game will be at the Marshall County (Ky.) Shootout on Friday.Chicago Sun-Times
Findlay Prep, the Henderson, Nev., juggernaut, lived up to being the No. 1 ranked team in USA Today's national high school pool, showing off electric athleticism en route to a 117-75 triumph over a TBI Select team of all-stars from around the Lower Mainland.
And they had their dazzling moments Saturday. Spencer also ended up on the businessend of an alley-oop from Rashad Vaughn early in the third quarter for what was arguably the most impressive of several Findlay Prep dunks in the game.
Vaughn hit an array of tough shots in the first quarter and ended up 6-of-7 from the field. He had 14 points in the frame, and almost outscored the entire TBI team on his own in the stanza - Findlay was up 30-16 after the opening period.
Williams was very gracious, saying that if his group didn't come ready to play that they would have lost. It never felt like that from the sidelines.
"You have to play with the same intensity wherever you go," said Williams.
Derryck Thorton, Jr. led Findlay Prep with 22 points, while Kelly Oubre had 20
and Vaughn supplied 16.The Province
Rashad Vaughn is exaggerating a bit when he says he couldn’t dribble as a freshman. But the other part is true.
All he could do was dunk.
“People were stopping me,” said the senior guard for the Findlay Prep boys basketball team, “so I decided to keep working and just practicing my game, and it came along.”
Vaughn developed into a consensus top-10 player in the class of 2014, and the 6-foot-6-inch UNLV recruiting target is the latest in a string of standout guards to play for the Pilots.
He’s also a key reason Findlay Prep, ranked No. 2 in the Student Sports Fab 50 national poll, is off to a 9-0 start and has a shot at another mythical national championship.
“(Vaughn) is obviously the type of player that has the full potential to move up multiple levels at this game of basketball,” first-year Findlay Prep coach Jerome Williams said. “He really is focused and driven to want to be good, and he’s going to need that.”
Vaughn grew up in Golden Valley, Minn., and was an all-state performer at Robbinsdale Cooper High.
…Vaughn is averaging 23.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.1 steals for the Pilots and teams with Kansas-bound swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. to give Findlay Prep one of the country’s most dynamic backcourts.
In Wednesday’s 124-58 victory over Planet Athlete Academy (Ariz.) at Henderson International, Vaughn primarily ran the point and finished with 30 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and one subdued “Rebels” chant from the crowd in the first half when he completed a three-point play after an acrobatic finish at the rim.
Vaughn showed off his diverse offensive skill set on 9-for-18 shooting, attacking the rim, draining midrange floaters and kicking out to Oubre for several wide-open looks from the perimeter. Vaughn also went 3-for-8 from behind the 3-point line.
“He’s a combo guard. He can do a multitude of things,” Williams said. “At the next level, guys who have that kind of range inside and out at 6-feet-6 with the athleticism and defensively, that makes a difference, and that’s what they look for. He has that full package.”
Vaughn, who cannot sign a national letter of intent until the spring, made an official visit to UNLV this week and was in attendance for the Rebels’ 61-59 loss to Illinois on Tuesday.
“It was fun. I enjoyed it,” Vaughn said of his visit. “I like their offense, Coach (Dave) Rice. I got a good relationship with the recruiting class coming in.”
Vaughn visited Iowa State two weeks ago and will make a trip to North Carolina. He is also considering Arizona, Baylor, Kansas and Minnesota.
“I’m just looking for a relationship, who’s going to let me come in and play right away, who’s going to let me go,” Vaughn said.
…“Down the road, the coach he chooses to play for, the team, the city, they’re going to all be impacted by a player of his caliber,” Williams said. “Whatever team gets him, they’re going to be a very lucky team and city, because he’s the kind of player at the next level who can really attract a lot of fans.”Las Vegas Review Journal
Late November augurs the start of the high school basketball season and with it, in our increasingly sports-obsessed ecosystem, national high school basketball rankings. USA Today provides a preseason Top 25, as do the prep-centric websites MaxPreps.com and Studentsports.com.
These three publications agree upon two things: (1) Findlay Prep, based in Henderson, Nev., is either the No. 1 or No. 2 high school boys basketball team in the nation and (2) Findlay Prep is not a high school.
“I understand what they are,” says Ronnie Flores, who oversees the rankings at StudentSports.com and has the Findlay Prep Pilots at No. 2 in his preseason poll. “I understand that Findlay Prep is not a high school. But if another school agrees to play Findlay Prep, then I don’t get into the morals of it.”
Let’s take a 20-second timeout.
Since Findlay Prep was founded in 2007, the Pilots have compiled an astounding 189–13 record. At some point in each of the past six high school basketball seasons it has been ranked No. 1 nationally.
In that same period, all of the lads who have played for the Pilots have qualified academically for college. In fact, 100 percent of Findlay Prep’s basketball players have earned Division I basketball scholarships, which is no different from saying that 100 percent of the students who attend Findlay Prep have earned Division I basketball scholarships, which we could say without hesitation, if only there were a Findlay Prep to attend.
Confused? Good. That means you’re paying attention.
To borrow a term from the digital retail age, Findlay Prep is not a “brick-and-mortar” high school. Oh, sure, Findlay Prep has students – 11 in all this season, hailing from four continents and seven sovereign nations. Two of the students happen to be seven-foot tall. And Findlay Prep has teachers, to a degree. The “school’s” full name is Findlay Prep of the Henderson International School, the latter designation referring to a private school whose teachers instruct Findlay Prep’s 11 ballers and whose campus provides a basketball gym (for a price, of course).
But here’s something you should know about the Henderson International School: It accepts students for grades one through eight. The Findlay Prep students attend a high school that is bereft of high school peers, and all 11 of them reside in the same $425,000 home that is located less than a mile from the aforementioned school.
What is Findlay Prep, actually? It’s Real World: Las Vegas meets the most daunting AAU basketball team you ever saw. It is, fittingly in this desert oasis to end all desert oases, a mirage.
“I call it a ‘destination school,’ ” says ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg, a former college coach. “They’re taking kids from all over the country, all over the world, and providing them with outstanding and specialized instruction, while also preparing them academically for college. But should they be ranked as a regular high school? No.”Newsweek: Good-by Hickory High
The national basketball recruiting spotlight is squarely set on 6-foot-11, 225-pound Myles Turner.
The senior from Trinity High School in Euless, Texas, is ranked as the nation's second-best prospect. He is the only one of the top 10 who is still unsigned.
Turner had only gotten regional interest until having some breakthrough performances in some of this summer's elite camps.
Those included the Amare Stoudemire Big Man Skills Academy, the NBA Top 100, the LeBron James Camp and the USA Development Camp.
"I really made a name for myself, because nobody really knew about me," said Turner, the cover boy of the Washington Tournament of Champions program. "I was doing well against some top-level competition."
Not that Turner came out of nowhere.
A post-season injury after his sophomore year stalled his coming-out party.
"I broke my ankle right after the season," Turner said. "I went up to block a shot, and when I came down, I tweaked it. But a kid fell on it, pushed it back inside, and it just snapped."
So, when many of the other top players in his class, such as Cliff Alexander and Jahlil Okafor, were getting all of the attention, Turner was on the sidelines.
…Through three games in the Washington event, he has 50 points, 39 rebounds and 17 blocks.
Turner decided not to make his college choice until he went through the recruiting process that he missed out on last year.
"I didn't get to play going into my junior year, so I hit the weights and started studying the game a little bit more," he said. "But I didn't have a chance to visit campuses and talk to the coaches as much as I would have wanted to.
"I took a whole bunch of time off, and I was really ready to go this year."
He has narrowed his choices to the likely suspects, including Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Arizona, Louisville and Texas.
"I'm not leaning toward anybody right now," he said. "And I might sign during the season.
"It will depend on what the program can do for me, outside of basketball, and with basketball, and get me to the NBA. That's, of course, my top aspiration."PJ StarRecruiting Calendar
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KANSAS vs. Villanova (8:30 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Network)
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Keys to the Game
1. Make jump shots. With the physical Black and long Embiid clogging the lane, Villanova will need to make its jump shots if it has any chance in pulling the upset. If the Wildcats can start off hot from the outside (8-for-17 from behind the arc in Thursday’s first half vs USC), it will go a long way in getting a victory.
2. Daniel Ochefu. Regardless of how well the Villanova guards are able to play, the Wildcats will need Ochefu to have his best performance of the season, on both ends of the floor. Ochefu played well in stretches in Thursday’s win, finishing with six points and eight rebounds. Without much size on the team, the 6-foot-11 Ochefu will need to be mostly effective on the defensive end.
3. Guard play. Villanova may arguably have the advantage at the guard position. With most of Kansas’ talent coming in its frontcourt, how effective the backcourt of the Wildcats is could potentially decide the game. With Dylan Ennis (14 points on Thursday) now in the fold for Villanova, the Wildcats have five guards capable of scoring double-digits on any given night. Friday would be a good time for them all to do so.
The Ennis Effect
Playing in his first game of the season after fracturing his right hand just four and a half weeks ago, the effect that Ennis has on Villanova’s rotation is obvious. The 6-foot-2-sophomore transfer from Rice adds to an already deep Wildcats backcourt. Entering the game less than five minutes into it, Ennis knocked down back-to-back three pointers to provide a much-needed spark early on; he finished with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting along with three assists in his debut.
Ennis is an explosive guard that scores and rebounds. He averaged 8.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in his freshman season at Rice. Ennis is also a great passer, averaging 4.1 assists per game in that freshman campaign. He’s a pesky defender as well, and will provide some great depth to Villanova allowing Jay Wright to keep his guards fresh.cityofbasketballlove.com
“I’ll watch a lot more tape. I’ve watched some so far,” KU coach Bill Self said after his team’s 87-78 victory over Wake Forest set up an 8:30 p.m., contest with ‘Nova.
“Jay’s teams always play hard,” Self added of coach 13th-year Wildcat coach Jay Wright. “They had a play today (where) they were back-tapping the ball. A guy laid out and dove for a ball and deflected it out of bounds. They are tough kids. We’ve had good games with them in the past.”
KU is 3-1 all-time versus Villanova, 2-1 under Self.
“They are not real big, so they are interchangeable,” Self said. “They at times could play 6-6 at the 4 and 5. Our bigs will have to guard away from the basket. It’ll be a good game. Hopefully we’ll be better because of this today,” he added of an unsatisfactory effort versus 5-1 Wake. “Certainly we have a long night ahead to prepare.”
James Bell, a 6-6 senior, scored 17 points versus USC. Darrun Hilliard, a 6-6 junior, scored 16 for the Wildcats, who hit 11 of 28 threes.
“We go back and look at all of the threes we took and we’re happy with the shots we’re taking,” Wright said. “I don’t think we took any bad threes tonight, either.”LJW
It's pretty simple. Kansas beat Duke. By double digits. They're averaging 87 points per game, scoring at least 80 in each contest. They're 8th in the nation in assists at 19.3/game, and lead the NCAA in field goal percentage shooting at a .568 clip.
But this battle is by no means David vs. Goliath. Villanova averages nearly 82 points per game, rebound better than the Jayhawks, and are top 25 in assists. Not to mention that Mouph is the only major contributor lost from a team that knocked off three top-5 squads last year. You could also frame this as a possible vengeance game; if 'Nova had beaten UNC in March Madness
last year, they would have face Kansas in the second (third) round. The major difference for Kansas, of course, is Andrew Wiggins
Wiggins, a 6'8 freshman from Ontario, is widely regarded as one of the best, if not the best, freshman in college basketball this year. He has at least 13 points in every game, and grabs nearly seven rebounds each contest. He committed four fouls against Duke, but only has three others for the entire season.
That being said, Wiggins has been reportedly battling the flu all week and has not left the hotel other than for practices and games. So a day after playing an important role in the win against Wake Forest (in which he played well but was not dominant), he could be at less than 100% for the game tonight.
Dylan Ennis, Villanova's Ontario representative, played beyond expectations in his Wildcat debut. Ennis shot 80% from the floor in 23 minutes, including 3-4 from deep and providing three assists to just one turnover. We'll see his endurance tested in game two of the tournament as well.philly.com
Wiggins v Hart? Best freshman in the nation? I like our chances!Villanova Rivals board
Kansas Jayhawks defeat Wake Forest Demon Deacons
11/28/13, 11:16 PM
I believe KU fans would follow the team to North Pole if there was tourney up there. KU had almost all of the 3900 fans. That is just crazy
A sellout-crowd of 3,900 attended the KU-Wake game with almost all the fans wearing crimson and/or blue.
“I think it was maybe 95 percent (of building),” Self said. “There had to be 3,000 Kansas fans there. I thought the number would be closer to 2,000. That was really nice to have that many people supporting us.”
KU has some serious depth. The Jayhawks received 44 percent of their minutes and 47 percent of their scoring from their reserves, making me wonder if KU coach Bill Self might be forced to play his bench more this season because of the talent he has there. KU has finished above the national average in bench minutes percentage just once in the past seven seasons (2010-11), and even then, the Jayhawks only ranked 138th. Before Thursday’s game, Self had given 34.7 percent of its minutes to reserves (99th nationally), and that number will only go up after Thursday’s victory.
M.O.J. (Most Outstanding Jayhawk)
With a furious final six minutes, Andrew Wiggins once again earns top honors with a complete stat line. He posted a healthy 1.22 points per possession while taking on a huge offensive load, ending 31.5 percent of KU’s possessions when he was on the floor. The freshman, who had 12 points in KU’s final six minutes, also had impressive numbers in assist percentage (giving out 32.9 percent of his team’s assists while he was on the floor) and steal rate (taking the ball away on 6.7 percent of his defensive possessions). Turnover update: Wiggins has just four giveaways in 144 minutes this year.
…Stat of the Day
KU still managed a great offensive day (1.23 PPP) despite having its worst shooting night of the year (49.2% eFG%). The reason? Turnovers. KU turned the ball over on just 12.6 percent of its possessions against Wake Forest — a better mark than any of KU’s 37 games last season.
This isn’t looking like a typical Self-coached team. At this point, KU is simply outscoring opponents, relying on close shots, free-throw creation and turnover avoidance to put up impressive offensive numbers even against good defenses like Wake Forest’s. That’s either a good or bad thing for KU, depending on your perspective. KU certainly will regress a bit offensively, but with Self, you’d have to assume that this team has a long ways to grow defensively. In other words … there’s still plenty to learn about the Jayhawks, starting with Friday’s game against Villanova.
Andrew Wiggins’ first two days in the Bahamas were anything but paradise.
According to Kansas coach Bill Self, Wiggins has been battling a rather nasty flu bug that may have hampered his energy level during Kansas’ 87-78 victory over Wake Forest in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
“He’s actually feeling better,” Self said. “He was really struggling the last two days.”
Wiggins, who has spent most of the last two days in his room, still managed to finish with 17 points and four rebounds, including 12 points during the second half. He is now averaging 16.8 points per game after his first five games. For comparison, former KU guard Ben McLemore, who set KU’s all-time freshman scoring mark last season, averaged 14 points in his first five games. McLemore finished the season averaging 15.9 points per game.
On Thursday, Wiggins, who was not made available to reporters after the game, had five points in the first half before finishing strong down the stretch.
“He’s got to learn to play through it,” Self said. “He actually did some good things when he got back in there.”
Winning ugly is nothing that Kansas coach Bill Self will complain about.
In fact, there's times he finds it downright satisfying.
Like Thursday, for instance, when Andrew Wiggins was slowed by the flu, when the second-ranked Jayhawks used reserves more than starters in the second half and when the hottest scorer on the court happened to be wearing a Wake Forest uniform. No problem - Self was all smiles afterward, because above all else, a win always beats the alternative.
Wiggins scored 12 of his 17 points in the final 5:53, and Kansas held off previously unbeaten Wake Forest 87-78 in the quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis. A pair of reserves, Frank Mason and Joel Embiid, combined for 23 more points for the Jayhawks (5-0), who will face Villanova in the semifinals on Friday night.
"I've always taken great pride in winning ugly," Self said. "I think it's good to win ugly. I'd rather win pretty, but there's nothing wrong with winning ugly. The thing about it that's frustrating to me, and I think these guys will probably agree, we've always been a team that won ugly by not allowing the other team to score."
Miller-McIntyre was seated to Bzdelik’s right as he raved about his effort.
As his coach spoke, Miller-McIntyre’s facial expression barely changed. The Demon Deacons let a chance slip away, and Miller-McIntyre wasn’t thrilled about that realization.
“I hate the term ‘moral victory,’ ” he said.
The Demon Deacons (5-1) held Kansas to a season-low 47 percent from the field, but lost forward Devin Thomas after he was ejected for two technical fouls with 7:28 remaining.
Bzdelik said he was not given an explanation. And when told that Kansas was getting four free throws, even Self scoffed.
“I hated what happened with Thomas,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
When Thomas got ejected, Kansas’ Conner Frankamp made three of the four free throws to put the Jayhawks up 64-52. And when Andrew Wiggins, who was largely silent offensively for the first 35 minutes, made a 3-pointer for a 68-57 lead, the overwhelmingly pro-KU crowd might have sensed that Wake’s upset bid had run dry.
Wake had other plans.
Miller-McIntyre kept attacking, and his 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes left got Wake Forest to 77-72. Desperately needing a stop, Wake Forest wound up losing Arnaud Adala Moto to his fifth foul when he got in Wiggins’ way on a drive with 38 seconds left.
Wiggins made the first free throw and missed the second, but the ball bounced out of bounds to Kansas. Naadir Tharpe hit a pair of foul shots to make it a three-possession game, and Kansas escaped.
“We’re happy we won,” Self said. “I thought Wake Forest really outplayed us in the second half.”
After the nine-point setback to Kansas (5-0), the point guard kept dwelling on missed chances, because he had every intention of carrying his team to an upset -- not that anybody on Wake’s roster would have considered it one.
“We gave it a lot, but we didn’t do everything we could’ve, including myself,” Miller-McIntyre said. “There was a couple of times when I missed a box out and my man actually got the offensive board and got the layup.”
Hanging around with the Jayhawks, he added, wasn’t the end goal.
“I hate the term moral victories,” the team’s leader said. “They’re just another team. They’re a great team, but just another team (on the Deacons’ schedule).”
It was long after Bill Self had benched his starters for a lengthy stretch in the second half, and long after Kansas had held off Wake Forest 87-78 in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday.
The Kansas bench had carried the day for a crucial span, cobbling together a double-digit lead as tempers flared inside Imperial Arena on a holiday afternoon.
So it was easy to wonder if Self, who was making his way through a hallway outside a ballroom-turned-basketball arena, had intended to send a message to his starters.
That, Self would say, wasn’t necessarily the case.
“I wasn’t trying to prove a point as much as I was trying to win the game,” Self said.
…For nearly eight minutes, the starters stayed next to Self. Kansas relied on freshman center Joel Embiid (10 points) and sophomore forward Jamari Traylor (eight points). And when the score was tight, Self essentially put the game on the shoulders of freshman point guard Frank Mason, who was left open against Wake Forest’s two-three zone defense.
“We kind of put it on him to just go make plays or whatnot,” Self said. “The way they played their zone, they didn’t guard Frank at the top. So he needed to step up and make a shot, and he did.”
Mason’s three-pointer from the top of the key with 13:27 left pushed the Jayhawks’ lead to 49-42. He finished with 13 points and three assists, including a lob pass to Embiid in that key stretch. In all, Kansas’ bench accounted for 41 of the Jayhawks’ 87 points.
“We knew the starters (weren’t) doing so well,” Mason said, “So we just tried to come off the bench and fight a little adversity and make plays.”
…In one way, the Jayhawks essentially handled Wake Forest with its second five. In another, the starters were bad enough that the Demon Deacons were one run away from ruining Kansas’ weekend in the Bahamas.
“I hope it sends a message,” Self said. “But on the flip side, I asked the guys after the game: ‘What can we hang our hat on today?’ And the common answer was, ‘Well, coach we got depth.’”
“I hope we don’t have to play like this all the time, but I think it’s fine if we have to.”
That good-ugly they inherited? Traylor said they got it from Self.
“The mind-set coach gives us, he just tells us to go hard and compete. So I think if we go out there and do that, everything is gonna fall into place,” Traylor, a sophomore power forward, said. “That’s mainly what we all do — me, Frank, Drew, Jo, Conner, everybody who came off the bench, we just go hard. That’s what we do in practice all the time. It’s gonna just carry over to the game.”
Even future NBA lottery pick Andrew Wiggins (17 points while feeling ill) can’t keep KU looking glamorous for five straight months. Self knows that, too. He just would have preferred a different kind of ugly Thursday on Paradise Island.
“You’re still happy you won,” Self said, “but you wish your identity was a little bit different.”
LJW Keegan Ratings: Frank Mason takes top spot
Here is the list of providers that carry AXS TV for the KU game on Thanksgiving. Time Warner is not included.
AT&T Uverse #1106
Blue Ridge Cable
Cincinnati Bell #563
Dish Network #167
Frankfort Plant Board Cable
Massillon Cable #698
Mid-Hudson Cable #690
San Juan Cable #617
Service Electric Cable TV
Service Electric Cablevision
Service Electric Broadband Cable
WEHCO Video #365USE YOUR ZIPCODE to find AXS
Villanova vs. USC, 1 p.m., AXS.tv
Kansas vs. Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m., AXS.tv
Xavier vs. Iowa, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Tennessee vs. UTEP, 9:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
Taking flight to @Atlantisresort with my boys! #KUCMB
It is too hot here in the BAHAMAS!! About to be a great week tho #kubball #KUCMB
Seems like everyone on this island is a Kansas fan!
We got hella fans down here in the Bahamas
Man I just got on the jet ski with Brannen and perry I'm not even getting in it again I was to scared😂 thought I was gone die
KUAD Bahamas Day 1 Photos
It’s not often a major-college basketball player gets a second chance, a “do-over,” so to speak, in a holiday tournament played in an exotic locale.
But that’s exactly the opportunity that awaits Kansas University senior power forward Tarik Black. He suffered two losses against one victory while playing for Memphis at the Battle 4 Atlantis last season, but is back in 2013 as a member of the tourney-favorite Kansas Jayhawks.
“I’ve been talking to the guys somewhat about it, but this is a whole new season,” transfer Black said of last year’s seventh-place finish out of eight teams.
Memphis lost to VCU and Minnesota before tripping Northern Iowa on the final day of the three-day extravaganza played at the Atlantis resort.
“I’m excited to be here again with a chance to do things a little bit differently, have a different type tournament and come out of here with a victory. But to be honest with you,” he added, “coach (Bill Self) has been talking to me about letting go of the past — a fresh start, brand new season, new time for me, new team that is very talented that can come out of here with a championship. That’s what I’m focused on.”
…The games are played in the 3,900-seat Imperial Arena, which is normally a ballroom and convention center. It’s intimate to say the least and should be three-fourths (or more) full of KU fans. Word at the box office is the KU-Wake game is sold out, as well as the semifinal and final, ticket-buyers assuming the Jayhawks will march through the winners bracket to the title game.
…KU coach Bill Self says the more KU fans, the merrier.
“We’ve got our fair share here,” Self said. “We chartered four planes total (three fan charters with 160 fans on each flight and one team charter). I’d say at least half the people came on their own, not by charter. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have at least two grand for the game.
“I think it’s great,” Self added of the room the Jayhawk players practiced in on Wednesday afternoon before being awarded four hours of free time.
“I think part of the excitement of these tournaments a lot of times is playing in smaller venues. There is one going on in Maui and this one. I think it is cool. I think we’ll be amazed how intense and how loud and what a factor the crowd could be playing in this venue. I think it’s a very good venue.”
KU junior point guard Naadir Tharpe has no complaints about the court.
“The lights are bright. The rims feel pretty good,” he said. “There are different things like the ball (using Nike ball instead of adidas). It’s a good thing we had a chance to work with them at practice. We’re adjusting to it.”
…Sophomore guard Codi Miller-McIntyre on matching up with Kansas: “I think it’ll come down to who wants it more. A lot of things we run, they run and vice versa.”
Wake Forest University’s men’s basketball players might be young, but they’re not that young.
At least that’s the way coach Jeff Bzdelik sees it.
Even with 11 sophomores, including starters Madison Jones, Codi Miller-McIntyre, Tyler Cavanaugh and Devin Thomas, the fourth-year coach won’t worry one second about his players feeling awestruck or nervous when they take on No. 2-ranked Kansas in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis this afternoon at Imperial Arena.
The Demon Deacons (5-0), after all, hail from the vaunted ACC. They know all about competing against the nation’s elite programs, even if they took some lumps along the way, going 6-12 in the conference last season.
“They’ve played Duke, North Carolina, those kinds of teams, Miami (FL),” Bzdelik said Wednesday. “It’s not that, ‘Wow. This is Kansas.’ … They’ve been there. And we have tremendous respect for Kansas, their tradition, their talent, their coaching, et cetera. But we feel good about ourselves, too. So we’re looking forward to this challenge.”
Last season, the coach noted, freshmen accounted for 62 percent of Wake Forest’s minutes. Still, the Deacons knocked off No. 2 Miami and No. 18 North Carolina State for two of their ACC victories.
Wake’s lone senior and the fifth member of the starting lineup, forward Travis McKie (12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds), has played against eventual NBA lottery picks before. So that won’t be anything new, either, when KU faces Wake Forest for the first time since 2001.
“They have a lot of talent,” McKie said of the Jayhawks (4-0). “I’m not gonna sugarcoat that. They have a lot of good athletes. But I’ve been around the league three years and seen a lot of high-level athletes. For me, it’s just about will against will. If we limit them in transition and we run our stuff, and we play as hard as we can play, we’re gonna have an opportunity to win the game. It’s up to us to take advantage of the opportunity.”
It’s hard to hide a seven-footer outfitted in Kansas University gear at a resort teeming with college basketball fans.
Once the No. 2-ranked Jayhawks arrived at Atlantis Tuesday evening, it didn’t take long for KU fans — or even vacationing tourists who didn’t know who this apparent celebrity was — to notice freshman center Joel Embiid and approach him to pose for a photo. Embiid, wearing a backward Kansas cap, and crimson and blue from head to toe, obliged for shot after shot before the team hustled off to a secluded outdoor dinner.
Jayhawks coach Bill Self, whose team opens the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament against Wake Forest at 2:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving afternoon, said his players always get the rock-star treatment when they hit the road.
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (5-0): The Demon Deacons have started 5-0 but have yet to play an opponent ranked in the top 240 nationally, according to KenPom.com’s computer rankings. Wake Forest’s best win is an 89-78 victory over Colgate. … Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik was 34-60 in his first three seasons at Wake after three years at Colorado. Kansas coach Bill Self said this Wake team doesn’t resemble Bzdelik’s Colorado teams, which relied heavily on the Princeton offense. … Wake Forest is 2-2 all-time against Kansas, including an 84-53 victory in Winston-Salem on Dec. 7, 2000.
• BOTTOM LINE: If Kansas wins Thursday, they’ll play the winner of Villanova-Southern California at 8:30 p.m. Friday. If they lose, they’ll play at 2:30 p.m. Don’t expect KU to lose against a still young and rebuilding Wake Forest program.
KC Star Preview
Thursday afternoon will mark the second phase of the Deacs season as the non-conference schedule really tightens up. The Battle for Atlantis provides some diverse and interesting competition, and it doesn't get much more daunting than having to take on Wiggins and the Jayhawks. Perhaps the toughest battle will take place in the paint between Devin Thomas and freshmen Joel Embiid. Embiid has had overwhelming success in gathering rebounds on the offensive (19.4%) and defensive (31.3%) ends of the court. This match up is going to be huge as Thomas is one of the best defensive rebounders in the country (33.1%) and Wake is the 10th best at keeping opponents off of the offensive glass (22.1%). Kansas runs a lot of man defense so it will be interesting to see whether Ellis or Wiggins will cover Travis McKie. Either way, McKie will need to use his experience to work over the young Kansas front court in hopes of converting buckets and drawing fouls. Overall, I think Kansas plays big and tries to take away the penetration of CMM and the post game of Thomas. Unless Wake can hit some shots from behind the arc and consistently finish at the free throw line I think Kansas runs away with this one.
Wake Forest blog site
The Battle 4 Atlantis does not begin until Thursday, but the coaching staffs from USC and UTEP staged a battle of their own in full public view Wednesday night.
During an otherwise placid reception for the eight teams competing here, USC coach Andy Enfield and UTEP coach Tim Floyd got into a heated discussion that quickly escalated, with assistants from the respective schools having to be separated. The exchange did not become physical and the staffs quickly left the party.
UTEP and USC are not currently scheduled to play each other in the tournament, but they could face off Saturday in a consolation bracket game.
Floyd and Enfield have been exchanging public words since last summer, when Floyd, who coached at USC from 2005-09, accused Enfield of tampering with Isaac Hamilton, a guard from Southern California who had signed a national letter of intent with UTEP. Floyd refused to release Hamilton from his letter, and Hamilton subsequently signed with UCLA. Last week, Enfield was quoted in a Men's Journal article saying that Floyd "shows up every day at work and realizes he lives in El Paso, Texas, and he's pissed off that he didn't get the USC job two months ago."
According to Enfield, when he saw Floyd speaking with Lea Miller, the tournament's director, he approached Floyd in hopes of ending the bad blood between them. "I was trying to tell him that I was sorry that we had words and that we should try to put this behind us," Enfield said. "I thought it would be a twenty-second conversation."
Efforts to reach Floyd Wednesday night were unsuccessful.
The conversation between the head coaches lasted for several minutes, with Floyd doing most of the talking. As it intensified, Enfield's wife, Amanda, came to stand next to her husband. Floyd did not direct any of his remarks toward her or Miller.
After about five minutes, three of Enfield's assistant coaches, Kevin Norris, Tony Bland and Jason Hart, stood behind Floyd. Soon Floyd could be heard saying to Hart, "Do you want to kick my ass?"
At that point, Floyd's assistant coach, Bob Cantu, who served as USC's interim head coach after the school fired Kevin O'Neill during the 2013 regular season and was sitting at a table a few feet away, stood up and joined the conversation. While Enfield, his wife and Floyd walked away, Cantu got into an argument with Bland and Hart. Those men were separated, but a few seconds later Bland rushed at Cantu. He was held back by UTEP strength coach Chisan Jones.
As various onlookers tried to get the principals to leave the party, Hart had to be restrained as well.
"I saw three USC assistants surround my head coach with Andy and his wife, so I walked up and said, 'Why are we arguing about a kid who signed a letter of intent in November,' and after that two of his assistants came after me and rushed me," Cantu said. "It really is completely unprofessional and unfortunate. It caught me completely off guard." Cantu later added, "You have to understand, they're on their heels because they tampered with Isaac Hamilton and Tim called them out on a national level. That's the bottom line."
Bland, however, claimed that Cantu inflamed the confrontation as it was about to die down. "I was thinking this is bad but it's about to be over, and then Cantu walked over there," Bland said. "He was getting all super aggressive and that's when I lost it. That's when you saw me getting restrained. We were reactionaries in this whole thing. If it wasn't for Tim Floyd shouting in Andy's face, shouting in his face, it wouldn't have happened."
SI Seth Davis
Here's five things to know about the Battle 4 Atlantis:
HELLO AGAIN: Xavier and Tennessee might really know a lot about each other by the time this tournament is over. Xavier beat the Vols 67-63 on Nov. 12, then the teams shared a Boeing 737 charter flight to Paradise Island earlier this week. If they both win or both lose on Thursday, the teams would play again on Friday. And when the tournament's over, they'll share a charter back to the U.S. on Sunday.
HOT STARTERS: It's pretty clear that this tournament wants to lure loaded fields, and that seems to be the case. Combined, the eight teams in the Battle 4 Atlantis are a combined 33-4, with Xavier, Wake Forest, Villanova, No. 2 Kansas and No. 23 Iowa all unbeaten. USC (4-1) and Tennessee (3-1) have bounced back after falling in season-openers, and UTEP is 3-2 coming into this weekend.
HAWKEYE DEFENSE: Fran McCaffery enjoys some wide-open styles of play, but the way his Iowa team has opened playing defense this season is eye-opening. The Hawkeyes are allowing 54.6 points per game — 38 points less than they're averaging — and came into the week with the nation's stingiest field-goal defense at 31.2 percent. Teams have taken 122 3-pointers against Iowa, missing 102 of them.
LOW CEILING: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski compared the setup at Atlantis to a movie set last season, and he's not far off. Games are getting played in a converted hotel ballroom, with a low ceiling, temporary bleachers and unusual lighting. "I don't think it'll have much of an effect on whether or not we shoot the ball in the hole or not," Self said. Some past visitors have raved about how Atlantis gets the place ready for basketball. The Miami Heat held training camp there this season, and were thrilled.
WEATHER WATCH: While much of the U.S. deals with snow, sleet, freezing rain and cold over the Thanksgiving holiday, they're also bracing for some unseasonably cool weather in the Bahamas on Thursday. Expected high on the first day of the tournament: 77, or about 5 degrees below normal. Yes, that's called "unseasonably cool" in that part of the world.
VOTE HERE for Pierce, Chalmers, Markieff Morris 2014 NBB All-Stars
In the Nets' loss to the Lakers Wednesday night, the Nets needed an extra timeout to gameplan and were out of breaks. So coach Jason Kidd got a little inventive. He told point guard Tyshawn Taylor to hit him, knocking his soda out of his hand, spilling his drink, and then forcing a timeout to clean up the mess.
Video at the link
With paradise and palm trees all around her, Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson’s biggest challenge of the season thus far might be convincing her team that what it is about to embark upon is nothing special.
“I told ’em by the time we get to Wednesday night, you might as well be in Lawrence, Kan.,” Henrickson said earlier this week.
What Henrickson meant by comparing 30-something-degree Lawrence with the 80-something-degree St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, was that, with the schedule the Jayhawks are facing during the next few days, most of their time will be spent going from hotel to gym and gym to hotel.
Just like the men’s team, which is playing a tournament in the Bahamas, the women will have their fair share of fun time during their appearance in this weekend’s Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. But Henrickson’s squad is hoping that the bulk of the joy they get from their trip to the islands will come from the results of the games.
“The players are excited and they should be excited,” Henrickson said. “You have the team-bonding part of it and also quality competition on a neutral floor in a beautiful setting. I think it’ll be really, really good for us.”
Big 12/College News
Dalonte Hill has resigned from his position as an assistant on Mark Turgeon's staff at Maryland and will be replaced by director of basketball operations Dustin Clark, effective immediately, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com early Wednesday.
This development comes after Hill was charged with driving under the influence last month, which amounted to his third DUI arrest since 2008. It's notable because Hill was once the nation's highest-paid assistant while working at Kansas State, mostly because of his connections to the D.C. Assault summer basketball program. Hill is the reason Michael Beasley enrolled at KSU, and it's that connection to D.C. Assault that made it sensible for Turgeon to lure Hill to Maryland when Turgeon replaced Gary Williams in May 2011. But Hill's off-the-court issues and legal problems now made it impossible for Turgeon to keep Hill on the Maryland staff going forward, a source told CBSSports.com.
The wife of New Mexico basketball coach Craig Neal attacked a school administrator and Albuquerque's school superintendent didn't do enough to prevent the attack, according to a new lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed by former Eldorado High School assistant principal Susan Stanojevic this month claims Janet Neal assaulted Stanojevic following a boys' high school basketball game in Albuquerque.
Neal grabbed Stanojevic by her arm and physically jerked her around because Neal was upset that Stanojevic reported her for cursing at the refs at a previous game, the lawsuit said. Neal's son played for Eldorado.
Stanojevic told police that after a Feb. 21 game, Janet Neal "lunged at me and aggressively grabbed my left arm, yanking me to face her," according to an Albuquerque Police Department report. "At the same time, she put her face close to mine and in an angry, loud voice, stated, 'the next time you want to accuse me of using profanity at a basketball game, you need to talk to me first.'"
The confrontation apparently stemmed from a prior exchange in which Stanojevic claimed to have overheard Neal making verbally abusive remarks about the referees following a game also involving her son, according to the police report.
Jim Boeheim and Syracuse remained perfect in Maui.
C.J. Fair scored 14 of his 24 points in the second half and No. 8 Syracuse beat No. 18 Baylor 74-67 on Wednesday night for the title.
The Orange (7-0) delivered three wins in three days, taking control against Baylor midway through the first half and limiting the Bears' hopes of a comeback. Syracuse beat Minnesota on Monday and California on Tuesday, improving to 9-0 all-time at Maui. The Orange also won the tournament in 1990 and 1998.
No. 6 Duke hadn’t looked like Duke over the last two weeks, particularly on defense.
The Blue Devils themselves voiced that opinion.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski turned to a new lineup featuring all three captains on Wednesday night and the results looked far more like the Blue Devils are accustomed to delivering.
Duke clamped down on Alabama, holding the Crimson Tide to their worst shooting night of the season, in a 74-64 Blue Devils win the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals at Madison Square Garden.
The Blue Devils (6-1) advance to the tournament championship, where they’ll meet No. 5 Arizona on Friday (6 p.m., ESPN).
Texas coach Rick Barnes had noticed the way Cameron Ridley, all 6-foot-9 and 285 pounds of him, had been hustling up and down the floor at the Sprint Center.
It was time that the big fella's guards started to reward him.
"Cam works so hard, and what he does in transition is really important," Barnes said, "so I told the guys at some point we need to get him the ball."
Once they did, Ridley proved to be unstoppable. He finished with 19 points Tuesday night while leading the Longhorns to a 77-59 rout of DePaul in the consolation game of the CBE Classic.
Ridley, who also had 12 points, 10 boards and six blocks in a semifinal loss to BYU, had nine more rebounds against the Blue Demons. He also exorcised some free-throw fiends by making eight of 10 from the foul line, a mark that brought a smile to his coach's face.
A college basketball player who won $20,000 for hitting a half-court shot at an Oklahoma City Thunder game may have to either forfeit the money or his eligibility to play college sports.
Cameron Rodriguez, a 23-year-old sophomore forward for Winfield, Kan.-based Southwestern College, sank the promotional shot on Nov. 8 during the Thunder's home game against the Denver Nuggets.
Southwestern athletic director Dave Denly says the college's governing body for athletics, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, informed Rodriguez that if he kept the money he would lose his amateur status. The school has appealed, asking if the money can be accepted in the form of a scholarship.
NAIA spokesman Chad Waller confirmed the organization is looking into the matter and said a ruling could take two weeks.
One of the most recognizable names in college basketball, because of his father, has been diagnosed with Graves' disease.
Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar announced Tuesday that Shawn Kemp Jr. has been afflicted with the disease, which is an "immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones," according to the Mayo Clinic's official website.
Kemp, a junior, did not play for most of the leadup to the season because of the disease, which first started showing its affects in July, per the University of Washington. One of the biggest detriments of the disease is fatigue.
The good news is Kemp will still be able to play for the Huskies going forward.
"Medical staff treating Kemp Jr. do not expect the disease to continue to affect his on-court performance once his treatment plan, which he started following his diagnosis, is in full effect," according to a school press release.
Earlier this week, a Louisville Final Four ring from 2012 was found on the website of sports memorabilia auction house Grey Flannel. Etched onto the ring is the name and jersey number of forward Chane Behanan.
On Wednesday morning, there was an update: the auction for Behanan's ring has been canceled.
According to the auction house's website: "We have been informed by Chane's mother that this NCAA Final Four ring was indeed stolen from the Behanan family. This lot has been removed from the sale. Please place no bids."
As the Louisville Courier-Journal points out, there have been past examples of college athletes selling memorabilia or uniforms -- and the ensuing punishments.
The most recent one came earlier this month, when Oregon's Dominic Artis and Ben Carter were suspended nine games for selling their sneakers on eBay.
In some quarters of college basketball fandom, derisive chants directed toward opponents are considered high art. Look no further than the Cameron Crazies, the famed student section at Duke University's Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The less heralded Antlers from the University of Missouri are also adept at what their student leader, known as the Grand Poobah, called "getting into the heads" of opposing players.
But after a second straight ejection from Mizzou Arena — this time mid-game Monday night — school officials say the unsanctioned group has crossed the line of good taste, trafficking not in animated school spirit but something that amounts to hate speech.
"This is actually laughable to me, but let me just say this .... We have high expectations for our students and our staff at the University of Missouri," Athletic Director Mike Alden told reporters Monday after Missouri's 78-64 win over IUPUI. "Our core values are respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence, and it's critically important that we represent those values every day in everything we do.
"We just want to make sure that folks are representing the institution with class," he added.
Many fans booed loudly as the ousted students departed barely five minutes into the second half, just two days after the group was also escorted out of the arena by campus police before tipoff against Gardner-Webb. Missouri forward Tony Criswell high-fived several of The Antlers.
Fans who sent angry emails to Alden were provided with a list of "observations" that The Antlers had said at games, including a half-dozen sexually suggestive chants, as well as jokes about abortion, masturbation, sexually transmitted diseases, animal cruelty and the deadly typhoon in the Philippines.
During an opponent's free throw attempt in the season opener against Southeastern Louisiana, The Antlers shouted, "Raise your hand if you thought Hurricane Katrina was a good thing." In that same game, the group hollered "Just take him back out and throw him in a Dumpster" as an otherwise-silent arena watched an injured player get carried off the court.
Some of the top boys and girls high school basketball players will be on the court for the second annual Tsumura Basketball Invitational this weekend at the Langley Events Centre.
On the boys side of the event, U.S. prep school powerhouse Findlay Prep — which is from Henderson, Nev. — will be headliners for the second straight year.
The team, which is coached by former NBA player Jerome Williams, has several players who have already committed to NCAA Division 1 programs, as well as other highly-touted players who have yet to accept scholarship offers.
The Pilots are headlined by Rashad Vaughn, a six-foot-six shooting guard who is regarded as one of the top recruits at his position.
Some of the team's other top players are Kelly Oubre, a six-foot-seven wing who has already committed to attend Kansas and Craig Victor, a six-foot-seven power forward who has committed to attend Arizona.
Both Oubre and Vaughn will be vying for spots on the 2014 USA U18 and 2014 USA Nike Hoops Summit team.
Findlay Prep also has a history with Canadian basketball.
Current NBA players Corey Joseph (San Antonio Spurs) and Tristan Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), as well as last year's top pick in the draft — the first Canadian ever selected with the top pick — Anthony Bennett (Cleveland).
The Pilots have a duo of highly regarded Canadian players in six-foot-eight guard/forward Justin Jackson of Toronto and six-foot-six guard/forward Dillon Brooks of Mississauga. Jackson is in Grade 10 and Brooks in in Grade 11.
Williams calls Jackson 'the next big thing to come out of Canada."
The start of the season is a welcome conversation change for Alexander.
The Twitter fun he had with Illinois fans during his recruitment came back at him with fury after he hat-faked the Illini on signing day and chose Kansas.
"I knew it was coming," Alexander said. "I did prepare myself for it. I am glad it is over. I think I made the right choice picking Kansas. It is a big weight off my back."
The 6-9 Alexander's sudden shift in popularity in Central and Southern Illinois may be a difficult hurdle to clear in the Mr. Basketball voting but, like Okafor, he is surrounded by talented players.
Alexander, the No. 3, 4 or 5 prospect in the country depending on who is doing the ranking, acquitted himself well in head-to-head matchups with Okafor the last two years.
Young and Curie split those games, and while they are not scheduled to play in the regular season, the one-time AAU teammates could go toe-to-toe again in the city and state tournaments.
"I will play Jahlil any time of the day," Alexander said of his friend. "When we do match up, I am the underrated guy and I just try to go at him. He motivates me all the time, motivates me to work harder."
Tuesday wasn’t Rashad Vaughn’s first visit to the Thomas & Mack Center, but it was the first and only official trip he’ll make there as UNLV’s top target in the class of 2014.
Vaughn, a top-10 senior guard at Findlay Prep in Henderson, was courtside for the Rebels’ Scarlet/Gray Showcase back in October. This time, he was in the stands behind one basket with his parents and Pilots coaches to watch the Rebels’ 61-59 loss to Illinois.
This was Vaughn’s second of five official visits. On Nov. 17, he was at Iowa State for the Cyclones’ upset against then-No. 7 Michigan. Cyclone fans had cutouts of Vaughn’s face and made their desire for him very much known.
“They had chants and everything,” Vaughn said at halftime Tuesday. “It was crazy.”
Things weren't quite that wild at UNLV’s game, though some students in the Rebellion did have signs saying “Rashad Vaughn to Vegas.” Because he plays so close — Findlay Prep’s home games are at the Henderson International School — UNLV fans have been able to make him feel welcome in Las Vegas on more than just this visit.
“Our last game, there were not seats left,” Vaughn said. “It was all red.”
Vaughn, listed at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, is down to seven schools. In addition to UNLV and Iowa State, he’s planning to take an official visit soon to North Carolina, where he nearly committed last year. The other teams in the mix for the final two visits are Kansas, Arizona, Baylor and Minnesota.
Las Vegas Sun
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KUAD: Kansas vs Wake Forest preview (Video, transcript)
KUAD: Kansas vs Wake Forest pregame notes (Seth Davis, Kenny Rice announcers)
AXS TV #Battle4Atlantis Social Media page
2015 Maui Invitational: Indiana, Kansas, St. John's, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and Chaminade.
KUAD Press Release
In 1987, Chaminade picked out Lahaina Civic Center as its venue -- and hosted Danny Manning and his Miracles from Kansas -- and it has remained in Lahaina since.
In 1990, Chaminade president Dr. Kent Keith approached Chicago-based public relations firm KemperLesnik -- which already had operated the Women's Kemper Open, the first live sporting event ever televised in Hawaii -- and proposed the firm take over the operations for the tournament. In 2001, EA Sports became the title sponsor.
There have been other, more recent, changes: In 2011, the tournament expanded to 12 teams, adding opening and regional round games. Odom spearheaded the transition, which kept the original holiday tournament from falling prey to a glut of early-season events that offered less travel and more attractive financial propositions, in the form of hosted "preliminary" round games.
Lahaina has changed too: The event brings roughly 4,500 people, and an estimated $8 million a year to the island. The Civic Center has seen at least $1 million in renovations, from a new floor to new scoreboards to, in 2003, good, old-fashioned air conditioning.
Meanwhile, plenty of other tournaments have copied the Maui formula, and are getting better at it all the time. In recent years, even as the Maui field has remained loaded, events such as the Battle 4 Atlantis have put together excellent fields on the promise of similar benefits -- Thanksgiving in paradise -- without all 5,000 miles of travel to go along with it.
"People seem to wonder all the time ... are you going to be able to keep this thing going?" Odom said. "The way I see it, there are enough teams for everybody."
Meanwhile, 30 years on, a few things have stayed the same. The venue still seats 2,400 fans for each game. Thanks to that size, the atmosphere -- which is probably best described as "high school gym on steroids" -- stands in stark contrast to many of the events that have followed in its wake, where cavernous gyms are quiet no matter how good the basketball is on the floor.
ESPN: Maui turns 30
He still loves the Mario Chalmers story. More than any other story from his first 10 seasons at Kansas, you’re most likely to hear Bill Self talk about that day in Maui eight years ago, when Chalmers couldn’t get the ball across half court.
Chalmers was a freshman. Kansas was playing Arizona. And a young KU team turned the ball over 27 times — Chalmers had seven — in a 61-49 loss to Arizona.
Three years later, Chalmers and the Jayhawks won the NCAA Championship. But if Self suspects that somebody is forgetting about the growing pains, he’ll pull out the Chalmers story:
Hey, remember when Mario couldn’t get the ball across half court?
Self has another reason to use the story this week, as he prepares to take another freshman-dominated team to a tourney in paradise. The second-ranked Jayhawks, 4-0, will open the Battle 4 Atlantis against Wake Forest at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Sometimes you take a young team to a tropical island and it does not go so well.
“It can be a bit of a distraction,” sophomore forward and Wichita native Perry Ellis said. “But I feel like we all know we’re going out there to try to handle business. That’s the mind-set we want to have.”
The games at the Atlantis tourney are played in Imperial Arena, a large ballroom in Nassau, Bahamas, that is transformed into a 3,900-seat basketball court. KU will play three games in three days — beginning on Thanksgiving. If the Jayhawks beat Wake Forest on Thursday, they’ll play the winner of Villanova-Southern California on Friday.)
KU’s players and three charters full of fans who are Williams Fund members will depart for the Bahamas this afternoon. KU will meet Wake Forest in a first-round Battle 4 Atlantis game at 2:30 p.m., Central time, Thursday in Paradise Island, Bahamas. About 1,500 KU fans are expected to be in the stands for the opener in the 3,900-seat Imperial Arena, which is actually a ballroom/convention center.
This classifies as a business trip with a bit of time for fun.
“We had a parent email us and ask, hey, let us know when the kids’ free time is so we can get with our kids, and I emailed them back, and I said, ‘This is a business trip, there’s no free time,’” Self said. ‘“You have the free time, not us.’ We’ll give them some time on Wednesday, and we’ll give them some time on Sunday, but other than that and Tuesday night when we get there they can hang out and stuff, but we’re not concerned about anything other than trying to win games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and eat good Thursday night.”
…Kansas University’s basketball big men — Tarik Black, Perry Ellis, Joel Embiid, Landen Lucas, Hunter Mickelson, Jamari Traylor and Justin Wesley — engage in some spirited battles at practice.
“It’s pretty crazy,” said Lucas, KU’s 6-foot-10, 240-pound red-shirt freshman power forward from Portland, Ore. “Last year it was pretty much Jeff (Withey) and I guarding each other, and that’s about it. This year you’ll get matched up on so many different bigs. Everybody has their own skill set. I think it’s good for all of us. We all get better.”
Through four games, Lucas ranks as KU’s fifth big in terms of playing time, ahead of Wesley. Mickelson can practice but not play in games this season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
“I’ve talked to coach a lot about it. We stay in constant communication about it,” Lucas said of discussion about his role. “If there’s one program where you are going to be patient, it’s a program like this. I’m enjoying the ride and trying to get better. Once it is my turn, I think I’ll be ready to go.”
…Self, whose team is loaded with depth in the frontcourt as well as the backcourt, said Lucas is definitely ready to contribute at this level.
“He’s good. He’s just a freshman. He has a bright future. I’m excited about his future,” Self said. “It doesn’t mean he can’t play this year. He has to play better than some of the other guys in front of him. He doesn’t need to get discouraged at all. There’s a lot of guys who would love to be able to start a couple years at Kansas. He’s one of those guys, no question.”
For now, Lucas is trying to earn his own minutes and help players such as freshman Embiid progress at a rapid rate.
“It’s unbelievable how quick he’s developed. His potential is through the roof,” Lucas said. “If he could get Jeff’s timing, it’d be unbelievable (in terms of shot blocking). He (Embiid) is more athletic and quicker off the floor. Jeff was so patient, he wouldn’t go for ball fakes. That’s hard to find in somebody who likes to block shots.”
…Lucas, who was born in Tokyo and learned the Japanese language during his sixth- and seventh-grade years while living with his mom in the city of Fukui, is studying Japanese at KU.
“I’ll probably do some kind of double-major in Japanese. I want to do something in business or communications, which is my focus,” Lucas said. “I took two (classes) last year. I’ll probably try to finish it up the next couple years. I learned it straight from (being in) Japan. Learning it here is a little bit different.”
The 11th-year coach often cites defensive field-goal percentage as his favorite statistic to look at. There’s good reason: KU ranks near the top in the statistic every year.
If one looks at effective field-goal percentage — a stat that adjusts to take into account that 3-pointers are worth more than twos — KU’s defense has ranked in the top 10 of the category in nine of the past 10 seasons. In Self’s worst year (2010-11), KU ranked 14th in the stat.
So far in a tiny sample size of four games, the Jayhawks rank 134th.
“We've had a lot of really good defensive teams here,” Self said. “I think there's some things that we do good, but I would say (we’re a) jack‑of‑all‑trades, master of none, so to speak. I don't know if there's anything we can really hang our hat on yet.”
Not surprisingly, Self wants this team to eventually look like all the others he’s coached at KU.
The goal, for Self, is to limit opposing teams to one shot or fewer while also not allowing extra possessions.
“All the teams that win big in the end, they all hang their hat on that,” Self said.
KU certainly has succeeded in holding teams to one shot.
The Jayhawks rank third nationally in defensive rebounding percentage, as they’ve grabbed 81.3 percent of available defensive rebounds.
“I watch us in practice and in games, and it's not like we're the most disciplined block‑out team we've ever had,” Self said, “but either the ball is falling right so far, or we've done a good job of going after it.”
This is one instance where KU’s offense might also be helping its defense. Because the Jayhawks have the talent to run, many teams could adjust by sending fewer men to the offensive glass to guard against the Jayhawks’ transition game.
The overriding impression you get after watching Andrew Wiggins play for Kansas is:
Man, that Selden kid is really good.
Wayne Selden is Wiggins' classmate, teammate and, possibly, lottery-mate come June's NBA draft.
But if the Sixers hold one of the top picks, unless they trade down or subscribe to some analytic that negates perfect size and otherworldly talent, Selden won't be bound for Philly or Orlando or any of the other self-sabotaged franchises eager for the No. 1 overall pick.
Whether Wiggins flourishes or flops at Kansas this season, the anointment is done. With a 7-foot wingspan, a 44-inch vertical leap and hands the size of flippers, Wiggins, if healthy, will be looking down on the rest of the draftees. He'll be a one-and-done wonder, despite the cautionary tales being lived out by fellow Canadian Anthony Bennett and volume-shooter John Wall, both one-and-done No. 1s.
…Wiggins isn't The Next anyone. At 6-8 and a mechanical shooter, he won't score like Durant. Wiggins' first step is quick, but . . . Kobe? No. And the only thing Wiggins shares with Le-Bron is height and hype; Wiggins is 40 to 50 pounds lighter and lacks point-guard skills. He won't Magically transform a franchise from irrelevancy to contention.
But he will be asked to do so. No worries; he craves the attention, such as the notice he got when his Jayhawks beat Duke and Jabari Parker on Nov. 12 in Chicago at the Champions Classic.
"I love moments like that," Wiggins said Friday night. "Big crowds. Big-name people in the gym."
Friday lacked either; a 30-point walk over visiting Towson, Kansas' coming-of-age game for a roster rebuilt. Selden and Wiggins likely will be NBA starters this time next year, but 7-foot freshman backup center Joel Embiid, a Cameroon native who abandoned volleyball for basketball at 16, might be the most impactful future pro in Lawrence today.
Wiggins' deference to his talented teammates is a blessing - selflessness seldom is inherent in a star - and a curse, if Kansas hopes to make an NCAA title run. He scored 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting in the first half against Towson, at which point Kansas led, 49-16.
Wiggins took only one shot (and missed) in the second half. He finished with 16 points, just shy of his season average.
"Andrew can score three baskets in a row and not run as hard the fourth time because he's thinking, 'I just scored three in a row. Let somebody else score,' " Kansas coach Bill Self said. "That's the kind of stuff we need to try and break."
…If a comparison must be made, the player Wiggins recalls most is willowy Pacers swingman Paul George. That is no slight.
George, the best player on the most complete team in the Eastern Conference, spent two seasons at Fresno State before being taken 10th in the 2010 draft, long after Wall and, of course, Sixers guard Evan Turner, the second pick that year.
Still, it took George - 6-8 and 210 pounds - 2 years before, at 22, he became an All-Star, which should be a perennial engagement. That should be enough in Philadelphia, or Orlando, or anywhere, really.
Wiggins can throw down dunks, sure, but he is years away from having the strength to do so in NBA traffic.
He can defend when he wants (George is a splendid defender), but Wiggins currently lacks the focus to play that hard all game.
…Selden, at 6-5 and 230 pounds, dominates. He probably will be a more impactful pro than Wiggins for two NBA seasons or so.
That's fine. It took that many seasons for George to consistently assert himself, too. George arrived last season. Now, he can rip a team's heart out, as he did to the Knicks in Madison Square Garden last week.
George excels with help. Roy Hibbert is a game-changing center. George Hill is a fine, young point guard. Those are exactly the conditions that will exist in Philadelphia next season and beyond, when Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams begin to blossom.
They can grow together. Selden might be a man among boys now, but Wiggins can be a beast.
Looking at some numbers from last year, convinced anew that KU losing to TCU had to be an Internet hoax. Did anyone actually see that game?
Where’s the most expensive ticket in college basketball?
It’s at Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse, according to one secondary ticket marketplace.
The median price for Kansas basketball tickets on the secondary market is $265, according to a report by Vivid Seats, which tracks such numbers. The secondary market includes tickets sold through brokers and other online marketplaces — not official season tickets from Kansas.
The average Kansas ticket sold on the secondary market is more expensive than second-place Kentucky ($200) and Duke ($179). KU’s Allen Fieldhouse seats 16,300 for home games, while Kentucky plays its home games at Rupp Arena, which holds 23,500 for basketball. Duke plays its games at Cameron Indoor Stadium, which has an official capacity of 9,314.
According to Vivid, Kansas will play host to seven of the 25 most expensive college basketball games of this season — at least in the secondary market. Oklahoma State’s visit to Lawrence on January 18th is the most expensive KU game and seventh-most expensive matchup overall, with a median ticket price of $420. For now, North Carolina’s trip to rival Duke on March 8th projects as the most expensive ticket of year, with a current median price of $1,459.
The average Kansas ticket on the secondary market, according to Vivid, is $305. Official season tickets to Kansas games, of course, can be considerably cheaper on a per-game average. But those numbers wouldn’t include the contributions fans must make to KU’s Williams Education Fund to secure a prime seat location at Allen Fieldhouse.
Thanks to all the Jayhawk fans that were at the game today.. Really Thankful for the support! Rock chalk and happy holidays
@MikePradaSBN: I imagine Beasley saying “WHOA YOU GUYS ARE TWINS??” here
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Kansas continues its four-game road trip by heading south to the EZ Global Payments Virgin Islands Paradise Jam Nov. 28-30. The Jayhawks are set to play three games in three days against Central Michigan, Xavier and No. 2 Duke over the Thanksgiving holiday tournament. KU opens the tournament with Central Michigan on Nov. 28 at 2:30 p.m.
All three games will be on the Jayhawk Radio Network with Nate Bukaty calling the plays. Additionally, Jayhawk fans can watch the games through Paradise Jam on YouTube Live or follow live stats. A link to stats and live streaming for all three games can be found at paradisejam.com.
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Big 12/College News
Andrew Harrison’s three-point play broke a 57-all tie before twin brother Aaron followed with a 3-pointer with 1:20 remaining, helping No. 3 Kentucky escape stubborn Cleveland State 68-61 on Monday night.
The frustration of a few unfavorable late second-half calls apparently had not yet subsided when Cleveland State assistant Jermaine Kimbrough signed onto Twitter a few hours after Monday night's game at Kentucky ended.
As a result, Kimbrough sent out a flurry of angry tweets blaming referees for helping the Wildcats erase a 10-point deficit in the game's final seven minutes and escape with a 68-61 victory.
Kimbrough deleted the tweets within an hour of publishing them but not before screen shots of them spread via social media.
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Iowa State has already shown it can beat good teams like Michigan and BYU. The Cyclones have also proven they can dominate overmatched opponents.
DeAndre Kane had 20 points and eight rebounds, and 17th-ranked Iowa State trounced Missouri-Kansas City, 110-51, Monday night for its fifth straight win.
Sherron Dorsey-Walker added 17 points for the Cyclones (5-0), who used a 27-0 run midway through the first half to put away the Kangaroos.
Iowa State, which was hosting a game as a ranked team for the first time in eight years, posted its third win of at least 30 points this season.
"We've got a lot of guys that can do a lot of things," Kane said. "We play unselfish basketball. We share the ball. We've got a lot of guys that can score, a lot of guys that can rebound. But it all starts with defense."
The Texas Longhorns led the majority of the second half, but BYU found a way to lead when it mattered most. With 1:45 remaining, the Cougars took the lead on a Tyler Haws jumper and held on via the free-throw line to seal it.
Haws scored 19 of the last 21 points for BYU after enduring one of the least impressive stretches of his college career — scoring just two points and doing little else in the first 25 minutes of the game. The last 15 minutes, however, he redeemed himself and then some.
On one hand, BYU was lucky just to be in the game at the end. It took a combination of other-worldly 3-point shooting (10-of-12), Texas missing 11 free throws and 18 3-pointers, and the officiating suddenly turning in BYU's favor the last 10 minutes for the Cougars to come away on the plus side in this one.
BYU survived despite being severely outmuscled in the paint by a much bigger Texas team that was more than happy to throw its weight around. Featuring three young highly recruited big men, all at least 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, the Longhorns pushed the Cougars around inside, pulling down 19 offensive rebounds and blocking nine shots.
Fortunate as it may have been Monday evening, BYU will take the win and move on to play No. 12 Wichita State on Tuesday night for the CBE Hall of Fame Classic championship.
Andrew Wiggins in the house @CBHOFwknd #CBEHalloFameClassic to watch brother Mitch play for WSU. #kubball
After watching Chaminade guard Christophe Varidel score 31 first-half points, No. 18 Baylor discovered that it did bring its defense to Hawaii in the second half.
The Bears used their superior height and athleticism to lock down Varidel and pulled away for a 93-77 win Monday night in the Maui Invitational.
Following their fifth straight win to open the season, the Bears advanced to the semifinals against the winner of Monday’s late game between No. 11 Gonzaga and Dayton. Baylor will play at 8:30 p.m. Central time Tuesday night on ESPN.
Varidel finished with 42 points which was only one short of the Maui Invitational record of 43 points scored by Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison in 2005. The sharp-shooting guard hit a tournament record 10 of 16 3-pointers and 14 of 29 overall.
Varidel helped Florida Gulf Coast reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament last season before transferring to Chaminade (2-1) for his senior year.
“We didn’t guard anybody in the first half and Varidel was on fire,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said in his postgame radio interview. “But we made adjustments at the half and Royce O’Neale did a terrific job on him.”
The Red Raiders knew they were in for a challenge when they were automatically selected to play Pittsburgh in the first round of the major Progressive Legends Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Texas Tech was tested and fell to a top 25 caliber Panthers team on Monday, 76-53.
Senior forward Jaye Crockett had a very strong performance. He recorded a team-best 19 points for the Red Raiders (4-2) as well as six rebounds, but the Red Raiders’ undoing was 17 turnovers to 10 assists in addition to shooting 38.8 percent from the floor compared to Pittsburgh’s 47.2 shooting percentage.
The Brooklyn tournament features the Red Raiders, Pittsburgh (5-0), Stanford (5-1) and Houston (5-1).
Stanford defeated Houston later in the evening, 86-76, which relegated the Cougars to the consolation game along with Texas Tech. That means the Red Raiders will square off with Houston head coach James Dickey, who coached in Lubbock from 1991 to 2001, today at 6 p.m. Central time.
Maui gets a great one with Dayton over Gonzaga.
A boneheaded foul by Kevin Pangos in the final minute, when Pangos had 27 points, gave the Zags guard his fifth and took him off the court. That meant Gonzaga didn't have its most reliable scorer on the floor as it tried to scratch back and steal the game away from the Flyers. No dice. An 84-79 final in favor of Archie Miller's team, which is now 5-0.
This was a great Maui game, one of those well-after-midnight affairs that is worth the watch and the type of gripping game we get every other year at Maui. Gonzaga blew a 16-point lead, and give credit to Dayton for hitting big foul shout after big foul shot down the stretch. Plus, Jordan Sibert -- or should I say, Jordan Sib3rt -- hit five 3s to give Dayton the edge in the second half.
Really fun game. You gotta love Maui.
This also damages Gonzaga in the sense that it loses this game, now it'll play D-II Chaminade on Tuesday, and D-II results don't go toward a team's NCAA tournament resume. If it wins there, it'll play either Minnesota or Arkansas on Wednesday, and neither of those teams are likely to be NCAA touranment-caliber. So the Zags' non-con schedule takes a significant hit with this loss.
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I can't wait for College basketball next year🏀 #RockChalk #LetsGetThisMoney@K_Ctmd22
JaQuan Lyle, a 6-5 senior shooting guard from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, plans to visit KU for the Kansas State game on Jan. 11, he told Rivals.com. Lyle is ranked No. 22 in the recruiting Class of 2014 by Rivals.com and is a good friend of KU signee Cliff Alexander.
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It was nearly 25 minutes after No. 2 Kansas’ 88-58 destruction of Towson on Friday night, and Wiggins began to peer at a box score in front of him. He studied it for a moment, then looked up. He had seen enough.
In a 40-minute offensive clinic, the Jayhawks had scored 88 points and shot 60 percent from the floor. They had scored 48 points in the paint, and put on the kind of transition dunkfest that had attracted Wiggins to play for Kansas coach Bill Self.
But there was something else on the box score, something that spoke to Wiggins’ unselfish sensibilities. The Jayhawks had put up 88 points — and nobody had taken more than eight shots.
“When we’re playing our game, no one can stop us,” Wiggins said. “When we just play in the flow of the game, no one can stop us. We have too many tools, too many weapons to use.”
Wiggins had finished with 16 points on six-of-eight shooting while snaring seven rebounds, sparking a 49-16 first-half beating with 14 points before the intermission. But this was the sort of dizzying night where everything seemed to work, where the team Kansas was playing — Towson, in this instance — seemed about as relevant as the Washington Generals. Just more than 24 hours earlier, Self had stood in Allen Fieldhouse, wishing his young team would unveil more of its rather ridiculous supply of athleticism.
By the end, the Jayhawks had improved to 4-0 while paying heed to their coach’s demands.
“If there’s a better team in the country,” Towson coach Pat Skerry said, “I’d like to find out who they are, and I certainly don’t want to play them.”
…Wiggins, meanwhile, was free to quietly affect the game in subtle ways. Late in the second half, as Towson leading scorer Jerrelle Benimon began to get hot, Wiggins slid over and kept him scoreless for a span of minutes.
“He was scoring.” Wiggins said. “I just wanted to see how I’d do on him. I think my defense is underrated.”
For a night, Self was plenty content with an unselfish Wiggins. On another night, it might have been different.
“That’s who he is,” Self added. “But he’s the type of kid that I really believe, in a game like this tonight, that’s the way it should be, but in a game where you struggle to get baskets, he needs to be taking 15 or 20 shots.
“That’s what the good players do.”
So now Kansas prepares to head for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas next week, where it will open against Wake Forest on Thursday afternoon.
Three games in three days — three chances to showcase their abilities to a national audience. But all that best-team-in-the-country talk? That stuff, Self says, can wait.
“By the end,” Self said, “if our young kids keep getting better, I think we’ll have a chance to be in the conversation out there. But this is a different year. …
“There’s a lot of nice teams out there. But when we play, and we play with energy, I think we can be one of the better ones.”
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KU had four players in double figures on a night no Jayhawk took more than eight shots. Andrew White III hit three threes in four tries and had 13 points; Wayne Selden 12 and Perry Ellis 10. Joel Embiid had eight points and eight boards on a night the (4-0) Jayhawks hit 60 percent of their shots to (3-2) Towson’s 36.7 percent.
KU outrebounded Towson, 40-28, and held the Tigers to 5-of-22 three-point shooting.
The Jayhawks had all the flashy plays, ramming eight dunks to Towson’s none.
…Senior power forward Tarik Black, who set the tone with two early dunks (in helping KU open with an 11-5 lead) said: “We have eight, nine new guys on this team. We are not going to be a perfectly flowing team. We will not be as flowing as some teams that have guys that returned, but we are looking very good. We are one of the top teams in the country and we deserve it. We are going to continue to work hard and try to move forward.”
Benimon said he had not seen KU (4-0) play much this season and, therefore, did not realize just how deep KU was. Ten Jayhawks played 12 minutes or more against the Tigers, with two others playing six minutes or better.
“They have good depth,” Benimon said. “They have a bunch of players. I didn't realize they played that many players... All of them run, so they just get up and down. I felt like when they were getting out (in transition), they were at their best.”
Kansas University freshman center Joel Embiid had a career-high three blocks, most by a Jayhawk in a game this season, in Friday’s 88-58 rout of Towson in Allen Fieldhouse.
“Coach (Bill) Self has been helping me with my timing,” the 7-footer from Cameroon said. “They have been showing me what to work on along with showing me film of how Jeff Withey did it. They tell me to stay on the ground and not to go for it on shot fakes. It’s a matter of timing,” he added.
Embiid, who had eight rebounds in 19 minutes, also is starting to master the art of outlet passing.
“Every time the other team shot it they would have five guys crash the boards. So if I had the rebound, I would just throw the ball down court because I knew my teammates were getting out running,” said Embiid, who had one assist.
Embiid went 4-for-5 shooting and has missed just one shot in his last two games and five all season to take the team field goal percentage lead at 72.2 percent.
…Frank Mason had a career-high six assists against the school he signed with his senior year in high school. He also had six points and one turnover in 18 minutes.
…Friday’s game was part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, but the result has no bearing on the actual tourney Thursday through Saturday in Bahamas.
Towson is not one of the eight schools making the trip to Paradise Island. Instead, the Tigers played Villanova and KU on the road in “guarantee games” that were part of the overall event.
KU will play Wake Forest in the first-round of the eight-team tourney at 2:30 p.m., Central time, Thursday in the Ballroom and Convention center of the Atlantis resort. A victory would push KU into the semifinals against Villanova or USC at 8:30 p.m., Friday. Teams on the other side of the bracket: Tennessee, UTEP, Iowa and Xavier.
The Ballroom and Convention Center seats 3,800. KU fans have already purchased about 1,600 tickets.
Josh Klingler will do the radio play by play for the three games in the Bahamas with Greg Gurley as color man. Veteran KU play by play announcer Bob Davis will work Saturday’s football game against Kansas State with color announc
Kansas University’s basketball team, which led the country in field-goal-percentage defense last year (.361) and has ranked first in the Big 12 in that category in eight of Bill Self’s first 10 seasons in Lawrence, has been amazing on offense through four games of the 2013-14 campaign.
The Jayhawks (4-0) — who scored 88 points versus Towson, 86 against Iona, 94 against Duke and 80 versus Louisiana at Monroe — have cashed 56.8 percent of their floor shots, including 37.5 percent of their threes.
“If you look at our shooting percentages, they’re better than ever so far,” KU coach Bill Self said.
KU hit 60 percent of its attempts in Friday’s 88-58 home victory over Towson.
“We’ve shot 50 percent every game. We don’t do that. We just make sure other teams can’t score. Since we don’t do that anymore, I guess we’ve got to make sure we score,” he added sarcastically.
KU’s four foes have made 42.4 percent of their shots en route to an average of 67.5 points a game.
Wiggins was assertive enough to lead the team with 16 points to go with seven rebounds. I had an inkling his favorite stat on his efficient line in the box score would be the number “4” under the offensive-rebound column, and asked him.
He answered with a big smile and a small word: “Yes.”
LJW Keegan: Wiggins provides much more than highlights
3. Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas Jayhawks
6-8, 200 pounds
Wiggins has yet to dominate, but he’s been solid and has shown glimpses of why many have tabbed him as the No. 1 overall pick in June’s NBA draft. Wiggins had 13 points and seven boards in a win over Iona and went for 16 points and seven rebounds in a rout over Towson. He’s shooting 59 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3.
“He falls out of bed and gets 16 and 8," Towson coach Pat Skerry said. "He makes it look so easy, has a major league first step and has that extra gear when needed.”
Stats: 16.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG | Previous rank: 3
ESPN Goodman Ranking of Top Freshman ($)
“Actually, I used to be on the Selection Committee for picking kids in the 21-and-under, 20-and-under and 19-and-under (USA Basketball) teams that travel,” Self said on his Hawk Talk radio show. “I’ve never coached with USA Basketball. We planned on doing it a few times, but because of Tyler and Lauren’s (children) schedule, it was never the right time to be gone in the summer.
“It’s just not real. There are some guys named Popovich and Rivers and some others that would be, I’m sure, high on the list as possible replacement whenever he (Krzyzewski) decides not to do it. My understanding is he feels great and will do it one more time at least (2016). He has done a lot for our sport and USA Basketball. For anybody to logically think that (Self being named) is a possibility or realistic would be pie-in-the-sky-type thinking. Those jobs don’t fall off trees,” Self added.
Boeheim is in the Hall of Fame, while Self and Izzo, who have won national championships, are both considered locks for induction. Popovich and Rivers have been considered two of the top NBA coaches for some time now.
“Though it’s flattering to hear things like that, it’s something I don’t put a lot of stock into because the reality of that happening is that it will not occur. My plate is full here. I’m just focused at what is going on at Kansas. It’s flattering but not realistic either,” Self said.
Villanova vs. USC, 1 p.m., AXS.tv
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Tennessee vs. UTEP, 9:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network NOVEMBER 29
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VOTE HERE for Pierce, Chalmers, Markieff Morris 2014 NBB All-Stars
Their time apart lasted an NBA season and a half in their nearly 24 years of life. But even that short chapter seemed like an eternity for identical twins Markieff and Marcus Morris. Now reunited with the Phoenix Suns, they are on a united mission to remain teammates the rest of their NBA careers.
"We vowed that we work so hard that it will never happen again," Markieff Morris said. "You never know how it will happen or how it's going to go. We are cherishing this time."
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Big 12/College News
Florida senior guard Scottie Wilbekin will make his season debut for the Gators against Jacksonville on Monday night.
Gators coach Billy Donovan confirmed early Sunday that Wilbekin had been reinstated after missing the first five games of the season -- plus an exhibition game -- because of a violation of team rules.
The timing for the Gators is perfect with freshman guard Kasey Hill out with a high ankle sprain, suffered during the team's last game against Southern.
Wilbekin averaged 9.1 points and 4.6 assists a game last season.
The Gators are heading into a brutal four-game stretch. They take on in-state rival Florida State on Friday before going to UConn on Monday and then hosting Kansas Dec. 10 before facing Memphis in the Jimmy V Classic in New York City Dec. 17.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams walked over to his players huddled in a circle and jumping after their 93-84 win over No. 3 Louisville on Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The 63-year-old cracked a smile and disappeared into the blue, his shiny white top barely visible, as he hopped, jumped and bumped into the players. Williams broke from the pack and gave a salute to the fans before the team ran off, hauling the Hall of Fame Tip-Off championship trophy to their locker room.
The No. 24 Tar Heels haven’t had a November win that warranted such an impromptu celebration in a while. Just one week ago, the Heels’ loss to Belmont was just their second nonconference home defeat during Williams’ tenure. The program has also been carrying an albatross of uncertainty while awaiting a final judgment on the status of P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald.
That’s why a little celebration was in order. Carolina needed this one.
“Since June 5th it’s not been a very pleasant time -- it’s been probably the most difficult time I’ve had as a coach,” Williams said. “It has not been fun in every way, shape or form. But today, out on that court watching their excitement, bumping with them, then going in the locker room celebrating, that’s what I coach for.”
USC’s Andy Enfield has a few words for Tim Floyd and UCLA
Missouri's bench just got smaller.
The school said Friday that sophomore forward Stefan Jankovic will be transferring, saying he is hoping for more playing time elsewhere.
The 6-foot-11-inch, 242-pound native of Serbia played in 28 games for the Tigers, averaging 3.1 points and 1.6 rebounds. He scored nine points in 18 minutes in this year's opener, but only added one combined point in eight-plus minutes during Missouri's next two games.
Jankovic said he wanted to find a better fit. Coach Frank Haith said before the season that Jankovic didn't always understand his role on the court last year.
Feast Week basketball schedule
Huntington (W.V.) Prep combo guard JaQuan Lyle says he’s considering eight schools.
“I have eight schools I’m considering,” Lyle told the Charleston (W.V.) Gazette. “Kansas, Providence, Oregon, West Virginia, Indiana, Connecticut, Memphis and Florida State.
“There’s really no leader. I’m just enjoying the process and season.”
Kansas assistant Jerrance Howard met with Lyle last week at Huntington Prep and the two sides are working out an official visit.
Oregon assistant Tony Stubblefield and West Virginia assistant Larry Harrison both recently watched Lyle play in Kentucky.
Lyle also recently visited West Virginia and enjoyed that trip.
“I went to Morgantown two weekends ago,” he told the Gazette. “It went real well. I went to the football game and a basketball game. It was a great visit. The fans were very supportive.” Zags Blog
Some who want “one-and-done” not to be a Duke thing have suggested neither Jones nor Winslow is in that category, but that’s little more than a wish. DraftExpress scout Jonathan Givony has seen lots of Winslow at USA Basketball trials and in FIBA competition. He lists Winslow as the No. 11 prospect in his mock 2015 draft. He has Jones at 15th.
Okafor, Givony's No. 1 2015 prospect, is a delightful teenager: bright, ambitious, self-assured. Jones and Winslow, as well, are the kind of kids who would enrich any college campus. That it is possible or likely they will be in place for one academic year means they might enrich it less than is desirable but not short enough that the experience will be vacant for either party.
We’ve said this before, but perhaps not often enough. The current 19-year age limit rule is not as good for basketball as a 20-year limit would be, but it still is the best thing to happen to basketball at the high school, college and professional levels since the NBA made the mistake of installing a rookie salary scale nearly two decades ago.
The age limit has gotten pro scouts out of high school gyms, encouraged high school players to pay more attention to their academic courses in order to qualify for the best possible pre-NBA training ground, and it has allowed college fans to see the finest players of their generation compete for conference championships and the NCAA title. It has allowed the NBA to inherit better-trained prospects and not to do as much remedial coaching with its most coveted draft picks.
One-and-done is not a curse. It is a blessing. It now has the full embrace of a true Hall of Famer, Mike Krzyzewski, who has won four NCAA championships and could very well ride this trio of elite talents to a fifth. That is, if current one-and-doneish talent Jabari Parker doesn’t get him the fifth this April.
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