The Orlando Magic learned Tuesday night that they'll pick second overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. With the order of picks settled, many media outlets--including ESPN--have begun publishing new or updated mock drafts, and Sports Illustrated is no exception to that rule. Chris Mannix posted a new mock early Wednesday morning, and he has Orlando selecting Kansas Jayhawks two-guard Ben McLemore.
Mannix believes "it will be difficult for the Magic to pass on McLemore" despite the fact that they already employ Arron Afflalo, a six-year veteran with three years remaining on his contract, at the position. Mannix compares McLemore to future Hall-of-Fame sharpshooter Ray Allen, and also notes that Oklahoma St. Cowboys guard Marcus Smart would have been "a natural fit" for Orlando had he elected to declare for the Draft.
Overall, Mannix concludes that second is "an interesting spot" for the Magic. Michigan Wolverines point guard Trey Burke could also be Orlando's pick, but Mannix expresses doubt that the Magic would select him so high in the draft. Link
The Cavaliers now have many options. This draft remarkably balanced, with at least four players considered potential top picks. Cleveland has its franchise player in All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, the top pick in 2011 but could use help at several other positions.
Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore are considered the favorites for the pick, but Cleveland's biggest weakness last season was at small forward, the position of Georgetown's Otto Porter.
"This isn't a draft where there's a clear-cut obvious no-holds barred No. 1 choice," Dan Gilbert said in a teleconference. "Obviously we're going to have workouts between now and the draft. I don't think there's a direction that franchise is leaning." USA Today
From May 22nd to May 23rd 44 prospects will participate in a group workout organized by the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles Clippers.
The 44 players will be divided into four group sessions of eleven players each, two on Wednesday and two on Thursday. They will be measured and put through agility tests similar to the NBA Combine in Chicago, except they will also play competitive five on five basketball. Prospects will also will conduct interviews with the media and teams. DraftExpress.com
(Travis Releford attending)
In case you missed it: I wrote a diary of NBA Combine.
If nothing else, read it so "FRASCHILLA'D" can become a thing @clubtrillion
The words “big, strong and physical” appeared on the University of Tulsa’s scouting report of former Memphis center Tarik Black last college basketball season.
“It’s pretty much what everybody else is talking about. His physical presence stands out more than anything,” said former Kansas University guard Brett Ballard, second-year assistant coach on Danny Manning’s TU staff. He was referring to Black, the 6-foot-9, 262-pound forward/center, who on Monday announced plans to transfer to KU. Memphis played, and defeated, Tulsa twice during the 2012-13 season.
“He’s not afraid of contact, likes a physical style of play, is not a threat to make any type of outside shot, an average free-throw shooter, good defender who gives them size, strength — a guy who played a lot of minutes at a high level,” Ballard added. LJW
In theory, it sounds like an excellent fit. Kansas is returning Perry Ellis at power forward and has blossoming freshman seven-footer Joel Embiid coming in, as well as other frontcourt options like sophomore Jamari Traylor and redshirt freshman Landen Lucas. Still, Black has more college playing experience than that entire quartet combined. He was a very solid rebounder on the offensive end for Memphis all three seasons he was there, and was much improved last season on the defensive glass. Black’s shotblocking was considerably less pronounced last year, but he has a solid track record in that area over his career, as well. In sum, he should be able to help this particular Kansas team in those areas, and shouldn’t have to be asked to do more than what he is fully capable of doing.
…Maybe this will be one of those cases where a kid needs a change of scenery, especially when he’s been in the crucible of his hometown team. And Kansas has had a solid recent development record with project big men, so this is a decent landing spot. And maybe Black will find some urgency now that he’s down to his senior season and got to pick where he was going to play it. Kansas doesn’t need Black to be a star (like Memphis may have). If the Jayhawks simply get anything close to sophomore-year Black, they have landed another crucial piece to a potential Final Four puzzle. SI Glockner
Last week, North Carolina lost a coveted prospect to Kansas when forward Andrew Wiggins – the nation’s top high school recruit – chose the Jayhawks over the Tar Heels and two other schools.
This week, it’s Duke’s turn to lose out on a key addition to coach Bill Self and his program.
Although Memphis transfer Tarik Black isn’t close to being on Wiggins’ level as an impact player, the 6-foot-9 center would have been a major addition to a Blue Devils frontcourt that is thin in both experience and stature. Link
LJW: Wayne Selden sizes up KU recruits
Our 2013 Mr. Georgia Basketball has been named to the @parademagazine All-America Team! Congrats Brannen! @b_greene14 https://twitter.com/NaismithAwards KU announces new cheerleaders
The Bill Self Kansas Basketball Camps still have openings in each of the individual camp sessions, June 9-13 and June 16-20, for boys ages 8-18. Additionally, coach Self's Parent/Child Camp, for boys and girls ages 4-7, also has openings. The Parent/Child camp runs June 14-15.
For more information regarding all of the Bill Self Kansas Basketball Camps and to register log onto billselfbasketballcamp.com
These days, if your favorite college athletics program isn’t all over social media, it’s playing the game at a disadvantage. Players routinely use and check Twitter, Facebook and Instagram more than ever before.
While many schools have just one main athletics account on Twitter, others go the extra step to create separate handles for each of their teams. Someone has to monitor each of these accounts, so it’s a lot of work and manpower for a program.
Per usual, some schools are better at it than others. Some of it is purely based on the program’s reputation, but much of it is boils down to putting the time and effort into building a readership.
Below are the 20 men’s basketball programs with the largest Twitter followings.
5. Kentucky - @KentuckyMBB – 34,220 followers
4. Michigan State - @MSU_Basketball – 45,346 followers
3. Kansas - @KU_Hoops – 47,773 followers
2. Michigan - @umichbball – 67,555 followers
1. North Carolina - @UNC_Basketball – 126,091 followers Link
Big 12/College News
Legends Classic field announced -- Pittsburgh, Stanford, Texas Tech and Houston will play at Barclays Center. @jeffborzello
Former Rutgers coach Mike Rice has spent the past two weeks at John Lucas' Wellness and Aftercare Program in Houston, Lucas told ESPN.com on Monday.
Lucas said Rice is receiving counseling for anger management and that there is no set timetable for his stay. Rice is also working with former college players who are going through Lucas' pre-NBA draft camp.
"He's doing great," Lucas said. "His attitude has been phenomenal, and our kids love his intensity and his passion for the game. He's happy to be having this chance to give back a little bit."
Lucas declined to answer further questions and said Rice will not be granting any interviews during his time in Houston. ESPN 2013-14 Early-season events schedule
Kansas coach Bill Self grew up just north of Oklahoma City, attending high school in the suburban enclave of Edmond, Okla. So on Monday afternoon, as a mile-wide tornado ripped through the area and flattened parts of Moore, a southern suburb, Self’s mind turned toward his home state.
Self was set to announce the addition of Memphis transfer Tarik Black to the KU program, but his thoughts, like many others, were with the victims and families in Oklahoma.
“Our enthusiasm is tempered by what is happening just south of Oklahoma City in Moore,” Self said.
“We wish nothing but the very best for them,” Self said of the victims, “and our thoughts are with them.”KC Star
Sad & tragic event, prayers go out to those affected in Oklahoma@WayneSeldenJr
Best way to help tornado victims is to donate to the Red Cross at redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999. #okwx@redcrossokc
Tarik Black will spend last year at Kansas. Was there ever a doubt? His visit started a few hours after Wiggy committed. Festive joint@DaveTelep
We got Tarik? yessir! Got a good feeling about this upcoming year... I'm ready for this grind@b_greene14
Tarik Black will fill a HUGE need for KU down low. I think he'll average 20-25 minutes per game. Could be a @JeffGraves42 kinda x-factor.@JasonKingESPNLJW: They said it…about Tarik Black
Kansas University’s 2013-14 basketball team, which is being billed as one of the youngest squads in school history, added experience Monday afternoon: University of Memphis transfer Tarik Black.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound senior-to-be, who averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds while starting five games and coming off the bench in 27 contests last season, chose KU over Duke, Oregon, Ohio State and Georgetown. He’s taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows players to switch schools their senior seasons and be immediately eligible, provided they have an undergraduate degree.
Black graduated in the field of organizational leadership earlier this month, thus will be eligible to play in games in 2013-14 — his one and only season at KU.
“We are thrilled he has chosen to play his final year of college basketball at KU,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, who has seven scholarship freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors on the roster, with Black the only scholarship senior. “He will be a huge addition both physically and emotionally, especially from a leadership standpoint, as he will be the most experienced guy on our team entering next season.”
…“Tarik is a very good player. I expect him to have a really good year with Kansas and coach Self. He gets to play for a Hall of Fame coach, and I wish him nothing but the best,” Pastner told the Journal-World on Monday in a phone interview.
Describing Black the player, Pastner said: “He is a banger, a big body. He seals you deep. He’s hard to get around.”
He said Black’s free-throw-shooting percentage wasn’t necessarily a huge problem.
“He hasn’t been a real good free-throw shooter here,” Pastner said, “but he’s made some free throws when he needed to.”
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Black lost his starting spot after an incident in which he walked out of practice. He never made his way back to that position.
...“It is critical that I find a program that offers me the greatest chance of taking what I have learned over the last three years to the highest level,” Black said when he announced his decision to leave. He did not comment on his decision to transfer Monday.
“Could I remain at Memphis and achieve the same? Quite possibly. But since as a graduate student I can play ball immediately next year, why not take advantage of this unique situation to gain a new perspective so that I can combine what I’ve learned at the U of M and what I will learn wherever I am next year in hopes of enhancing my versatility as a student-athlete?”
Black at the time said: “I do not consider this a farewell. It’s just a brief intermission until I come back home. I love my hometown and want you to know that wherever I go, my heart and soul will always be right here in Memphis.”LJW
It's a testament to the laws of supply and demand that Black had all these powerhouse programs pursuing him considering he lost his starting job at Memphis last season and averaged a modest 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds off the bench.
One reason he was in such high demand is there simply weren't many available big men with size and athleticism that teams could plug into their rotation right away. The other is that teams felt he has untapped potential he was never able to fully utilize at Memphis.
Once projected as a potential NBA draft pick early in his college career, Black fell out of favor in Memphis because his production plateaued after his freshman season and he was often foul-prone and inconsistent. His NCAA tournament performance was a microcosm of his Memphis career: 12 points and seven rebounds on perfect 5 of 5 shooting against Saint Mary's in a round of 64 victory gave way to six points, two rebounds and four fouls in a loss to Michigan State two days later.
Nonetheless, Black may yet be a significant addition for Kansas if a change of scenery and Self's history of success developing big men can help.
With all five starters from last season graduating or turning pro and a wealth of young talent set to play immediately, Kansas had a clear-cut need for a veteran big man it can plug into its rotation.
Black will team with promising sophomore Perry Ellis, reserve Jamari Traylor and shot-blocking freshman Joel Embiid to form a talented and versatile frontcourt nucleus.
It's a bit surprising Black would choose Kansas over Oregon or Duke simply because those programs appeared to have a greater need for him. The Blue Devils are lacking a true back-to-the-basket big man and Black would only have had to beat out Waverly Austin to start alongside fellow transfer Mike Moser for the Ducks.
Credit Self for being able to persuade him to come to Kansas anyway. Now the Jayhawks are even better positioned to start the season in the preseason top six and to make a run at another Final Four.Yahoo
There's a saying in baseball that goes, "There's no such thing as a bad one-year contact."
If you were wondering why teams like Duke and Kansas were in on Memphis forward Tarik Black, who started just five games for the Tigers a year ago, it's mostly because of this same concept.
Because Black has graduated and will be eligible immediately, he essentially became like a one-year contract player. A team with a hole on its roster — and an extra scholarship it wasn't going to use anyway — had nothing to lose in recruiting Black.
The commitment gives KU additional depth in the post, where the Jayhawks have quite a few options but not many proven ones.
As you'll see from his numbers, Black comes to KU as an interesting project: A player that has shown distinct strengths while at the same time being held back by glaring weaknesses.LJW Newell blog
Remember when the 2013-14 Kansas Jayhawks were going to be a shaky proposition? I do!
Just two weeks ago, Kansas was the team losing all five of last season's starters, among them four seniors and one freshman top-five draft pick. Left in their wake was an unusually young team. Sophomore Perry Ellis would have to be a star. Naadir Tharpe would have to develop into a less erratic distributor. A crop of promising freshmen would have to step up right away.
After nine straight titles, Kansas' stranglehold on the top of the Big 12 must be taken as an article of faith. But with Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart back, and Baylor looking plenty talented in its own right, said stranglehold appeared to be straining at the knuckles. Would this finally be the year?
Those were the days, weren't they? Of course, that was before Kansas landed arguably the best young prospect in the past decade in Andrew Wiggins, and also before Monday evening's news that Memphis senior Tarik Black had chosen to play his final year of collegiate eligibility -- available immediately via the graduate transfer exemption -- in Lawrence, Kan.
Black's decision is more icing than cake. Whereas Wiggins was a revolutionary addition, by all accounts the type of player who could have lifted an 18-16 Florida State team into ACC title contention, Black is merely a nice bonus.
…In any case, any thoughts you might have had about the Jayhawks two weeks ago are essentially irrelevant. Kansas is still young, sure, but not as young as it was. It is more talented than ever now, with the exact thing it lacked -- a veteran in the frontcourt -- signed up for the ride. The end result is another KU team that will enter the season as the Big 12 favorite and a national title contenders. Same as it ever was.ESPN
Our annual mid-April HS All-American photo shoot is always one of the more exciting shoots we get to do every year. But this one was special. See, the guys you see in the photo above and in the gallery below (scroll through it!) collectively have expectations that are way higher than those in any of the All-American classes we’ve had in recent memory. All are projected to be top 10 picks in next year’s NBA Draft. This has even been referred to as the best prep class since 2007—which featured the likes of Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and James Harden—and next year’s Draft class has already been projected by many to be the most talented since the 2003 LBJ/D-Wade/Melo-led group. Ultimately, the group shot above has the chance to be a classic one somewhere down the road.SLAM
5/21/13, 12:57 AM
Out here in Vegas for some workouts.@LandenLucas33
I love the KU fans already #KUCMB@F_Mason15
So whom would the Pistons select if Drummond provides the luck needed to parlay a 3.6% chance into the No. 1 pick when the draft is held June 27?
Teams looking for perimeter help — like the Pistons — might turn to Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore.
McLemore, 20, who spoke to reporters at the NBA predraft combine last week, knows he is close to realizing a lifelong dream.
"I definitely think about it a lot," McLemore said at the Attack Athletics gym just a short distance away from the United Center, where the Chicago Bulls play. "At this point, right now I'm just trying to get through it and try to get to that day ... special day and walk across that stage and I say to myself, 'I made it.'
"How my career goes and down the road, I'm going to continue to work hard each and every day."
The comparison you hear the most associated with McLemore is Heat shooting guard Ray Allen.
He weighed 190 pounds and measured nearly 6-feet-5 in shoes when tested last week in Chicago, and he impressed athletically with a 42-inch maximum vertical leap.
But what makes him an elite prospect is a pure jump shot with an easy three-point range. He shot 42% from the three-point line during his only season at Kansas.
He averaged 15.9 points and was a Wooden Award finalist as a freshman.
The Pistons desperately need shooting and athleticism on the perimeter, and McLemore could fit the bill.
…For all the acclaim he received when he scored 33 points in an overtime victory against Iowa State, just as many eyebrows were raised when he averaged only 6.5 points in the first two NCAA tournament games.
But McLemore's inconsistency is common among young players.
Allen had a huge junior season at UConn when he was a model of consistency in averaging 23.4 points. But he averaged 12.6 points as a freshman coming off the bench.USA Today
McLemore got a positive response from GMs for his athletic ability (he ended with a 42-inch maximum vertical) and for the candid interviews he gave NBA teams.
"You could tell that an agent hadn't got to him yet and hadn't coached him on what to say," one GM told ESPN.com. "I was really wowed by how candid and open he was. I felt like we got to see is heart a little bit. He's a wonderful young man. He's naïve and he really needs someone with some experience guiding him, but he was one of my two or three favorite interviews."
Interviews matter. In fact, in some cases they matter more than any on-the-court stuff players do at the combine. But I'm not sure that they'd put McLemore ahead of Noel right now. If McLemore had a stronger motor on the court, he'd be a no-brainer for the No. 1 pick, but his "niceness" actually might work against him.
"You want a player who's going to be great with teammates off-the-court and a role model in the community," one NBA scout said. "But on the court, I want an [expletive]. Ben has zero [expletive] in him. I'm not sure how he'll fare as a rookie if he isn't going to demand the ball and try to prove to his peers he can play with them. But the upside is really there if he gets that he's an elite player."ESPN Insider ($)
Big 12/College News
Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith is taking on another transfer. Deuce Bello, a 6-foot-4 reserve guard for Baylor the last two seasons, will transfer to Missouri, he said Monday in a phone interview from his native North Carolina.
“I really like their style of play,” said Bello, who verbally committed to Mizzou over Florida and Florida State among others.St Louis PD
Oklahoma State is also trying to put together a strong slate with a team that can contend for a conference title. The Cowboys will host Memphis and South Carolina, play at South Florida, are in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, and play Colorado at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The game is a prep game for the Buffaloes in advance of the Pac-12 tournament at the same site, while the Cowboys get a quality NCAA-like game against a former Big 12 rival. The Cowboys host Robert Morris, the NEC champs and slayer of Kentucky, but are still looking for a quality opponent for the all-college classic in Oklahoma City.ESPN2013-14 Early-season events schedule
5/19/13, 6:07 PM
Congrats to my big bros @elijahjohnson15 @T_2releFOUR @KevinYoung40 @JeffWithey graduating from KU today love y'all boys@MervDiggity22
“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” says Aldrich, who finished his degree by taking nine credits this past semester through online classes. “And (it’s) something that I really can be proud of the rest of my life.”
The graduation should be the beginning of a busy summer for Aldrich, who will marry his longtime girlfriend and fiancé Britt Claflin in July. He’ll also have to worry about his day job. After playing sparingly during his first three seasons in the NBA, Aldrich is now an unrestricted free agent and will be looking for another NBA opportunity.
Selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the 11th pick in the 2010 draft, Aldrich played just more than seven minutes per game in his first two seasons before being included in the deal that sent James Harden to Houston. The opportunity for playing time Houston was limited as well, and Aldrich was sent to Sacramento in a midseason deal that also included former KU forward Thomas Robinson moving from Sacramento to Houston.
“When you don’t get that opportunity,” Aldrich says, “people maybe don’t see what you can do all the time.”
Aldrich finished off the season with back-to-back double-doubles in the Kings’ final three games, and he’s hopeful he can find the right opportunity in free agency this summer.
"The fun thing is," Aldrich says. "There’s some opportunities some place, and other opportunities other places. And that’s a good thing for me being an unrestricted free agent. You really get exposed and see where those opportunities are for me to get out there and play."KC Star
If Andrew Wiggins was at the Dick Vitale Gala, he likely would've pointed to Bill Self as the reason he chose Kansas.
It's all about keeping things in perspective.
…Those who spent time with Self at Friday's gala could see how heart played a role in Wiggins' decision.
Self has won a national title, has been to two Final Fours and earns a base salary is close to $4 million annually. But in many ways, he is your average Joe.
He wanted to talk more about the gala than landing a player who could win him a national title and boost his reputation as a recruiter.
"It's humbling to be here at the gala. What it does for everybody who leaves here is make you stop and think whether we are really worried about the right things," Self said. "We need to slow down, appreciate life and love on each other as opposed to be being caught up in the day-to-day hustle that we think is so important, but in the big scheme of things is irrelevant."
Wiggins figures to make the biggest splash at Kansas since Wilt Chamberlain and Danny Manning.
…Self wants people to look at Wiggins as a kid just out of high school, but concedes that's going to be tough, especially at Kansas, where basketball passions run high 24 hours a day.
"In our neck of the woods, he is the biggest thing that has come to Kansas since Manning or even Chamberlain," Self said. "There is pressure on him, but I don't think you temper expectations. You might as well embrace them. He is just a kid, but I think it will make him tougher and hopefully prepare him for the future."
Self knows he likely will have Wiggins for only one season. He doesn't like the NBA rule that forces high school players to wait a year after graduation to join the league.
"I wish the kids could go if they wanted to, though there is a lot of misinformation going around. A lot of kids are ill-informed and want to believe they are ready for the NBA when they are not," Self said.
"But first of all, I am humbled to be a very small part of this (gala). As a coach, there is a next game and another season. We are very competitive with each other, so why can't we join forces and be competitive against this disease."Bradenton HeraldPhoto Gallery Dick Vitale GalaCongrats to Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene and Andrew Wiggins on being named to the Parade Magazine All-American Team! See story in Recruiting below.
Coaches stress that in recruiting, like baseball, strikeouts are part of the game. Losing Randle still stung, in part because it diminished KU’s chances of landing a bona fide one-and-done star in 2013.
With Randle off the board, the only other candidate was Andrew Wiggins, the soft-spoken Canadian phenom considered the consensus No. 1 recruit in his class. Wiggins was a wild card, though; he communicated sporadically, mostly in text messages, and offered no hints about which way he was leaning.
The Jayhawks already had a strong class headlined by McDonald’s All-American Wayne Selden and five-star center Joel Embiid, but Wiggins was considered a game-changer. When KU’s coaches gathered Tuesday morning to learn Wiggins’ decision, they realized it could be a historic day or just another disappointment.
“I didn’t have a clue that he would pick us,” assistant coach Kurtis Townsend said.
As KU fans know by now, Wiggins picked the Jayhawks and immediately became one of the most celebrated recruits in school history. In the realm of perception, a rebuilding squad on the fringe of the top 25 was transformed into a team capable of contending for a national title, all because of one moment in the life of a teenager.
Here’s how it happened, constructed from interviews with coaches involved in Wiggins’ recruitment.TCJ
The specific pitch to Wiggins, a 6-foot-8 guard/forward from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, went something like this: “The opportunity, the need, the exposure, the style of play, the success we’ve had of late,” Self said of selling points. “The programs he considered (Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina) have all got it going, and others have it going as well.
“We’ve had it going pretty well, too. We’ve been able to sell what we’ve done and been able to sell a track record. That said, you have to have a connection with people, and Kurtis Townsend did a great job with he and his family. I’d like to think he (Wiggins) has a comfort level with our players and recruiting class coming in. It was a team effort, without question.”
Self has some stats ready to present during in-home visits with prospects.
“We have won as many or more games than anybody of late. We’ve won the league (Big 12) nine years in a row,” Self said. “We’ve had lottery picks in the league (NBA). We’ve graduated every kid we’ve had here as a senior except one. I think we’re 27 out of 28 now. We’ve not played to less than a sellout in 12 years. There are a lot of things we can sell.”
Self sometimes gives a history lesson to recruits. Last week, ESPN radio host Doug Gottlieb was amazed Self said he mentioned Jayhawks Ralph Miller and John McLendon, who are not on the radar of current high schoolers.
“Dr. Naismith was our first coach. Adolph Rupp did play here. Dean Smith did play here. Ralph Miller was here, and John McLendon was from here, and Wilt (Chamberlain) was from here. Start adding that all up, there’s a lot of positive things that have taken place here,” Self said, proud of KU’s tradition and tree of coaches.
“There are so many people that impacted our game historically that basically got their start here. It’s an easy sell, a great product. Still yet with players in today’s time and immediate gratification and things like that, you have to be able to sell opportunity too.
“I think we can plug Andrew in and utilize him similar to Ben (McLemore, last year’s leading scorer as freshman who is off to NBA), plus some, and I think that’s something he was attracted to.”
Wiggins had a great time during his campus visit — during which he attended KU’s Senior Night game against Texas Tech. Wiggins left with a lasting impression of KU’s Allen Fieldhouse and its fans.
“Once kids get out here and visit, it’s different. Everybody that experiences it, even though you may expect it to be good, it’s usually better than what you expect,” Self said.
“Andrew liked getting to know the coaches (of schools recruiting him). His ego didn’t bother him where he had to be recruited like a lot of people feel they have to be recruited. He’s not one of those guys you had to talk to every day or write a note to every day. He’s one of those kids you know says, ‘I got my information. Coach, you do your deal. I’ll do mine.’ That’s how it played out.”
…“We’ll have bigs and guys who can score on the perimeter, and we’ll have length and be athletic. We’ll just be very young,” Self said of the upcoming 2013-14 season. “We may not win as many games (as last year’s 31-6 team), but from a talent standpoint, we have a chance to be very good and by the end of the season hopefully a team that plays for high stakes.”LJW
12 days left #KansasBound
S/O to all my KU fans lets get ready to win this championship #KUCMB #Loyalty #Jayhawk4life !https://twitter.com/F_Mason15
Kansas freshman Ben McLemore said Thursday he knew nothing about any payments that AAU coach Darius Cobb told USA Today he received from Rodney Blackstock, he founder and CEO of Hooplife Academy in Greensboro, N.C., to direct McLemore to an agent. Cobb said in the report that he took $10,000 in two separate payments. "I think this was just to attack Rodney Blackstock," McLemore said while he was watching the draft combine in Chicago. McLemore said he did not personally take any money and that he did not commit an NCAA violation. McLemore said he was one of Andrew Wiggins' hosts at Kansas and said Wiggins will fit in perfectly with coach Bill Self. "I know if I was there we would have had one of the best backcourts in the country with me, Wiggins and Naadir Tharpe," McLemore said, adding that he would have loved to have played with Wiggins, but he knows he'll see him in the NBA in a year. ESPN Andy KatzSI interview with McLemore
He could become the first St. Louis player to be picked No. 1 in the NBA draft, a battle that most consider to be between McLemore and Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel.
…Although he was not in St. Louis as a high school senior, he was part of a stellar area 2011 senior class that featured Washington Wizards rookie Brad Beal (Chaminade), the consensus No. 4 player in the country that year as well as Arkansas’ BJ Young (McCluer North) at No. 20 and McLemore at No. 41. Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr., who was born in St. Louis but played at Scott County Central High in Sikeston, was No. 34.
“Me, Ben and Brad always had a rivalry growing up, and we knew each other really well,” Young said. “Other people would say, ‘Who is this guy?’ But this is not surprising.”
McLemore spent two days at the pre-draft combine interviewing with as many teams as he could. On Thursday night alone he was scheduled to meet with officials from six cities.
Because the selection order among lottery teams won’t be known until Tuesday, teams made sure to cover their bases. And just by chance, the Washington Wizards announced that Beal will represent the franchise at the lottery.
McLemore could become the first shooting guard to be taken No. 1 in more than three decades, and the chance to earn that status has meaning.
…After Beal was picked No. 3 overall a year ago, McLemore and Porter are considered locks to go among the top five next month and Young is expected to be taken in the second round.
McLemore has been playing the role of an unsuspecting phenom, saying the experience is “like a dream” and “I can’t believe I’m in this position.”
But when you think about it, the trek from being a player without a high school to a soon-to-be millionaire is not quite ordinary.
“Just coming from nowhere, coming from nothing and being able to have an opportunity to get the No. 1 spot is a blessing,” he said. “I’m going to work for it the same way (Noel) is going to work for it. It’s definitely neck and neck.”St Louis PD
Former KU center Jeff Withey, who is regarded as a first-round pick, did work out at the combine.
“It’s similar to games at LeBron (James camp),” Withey told hoopsworld.com. “I’m used to being around top names. We play against a lot of great players in the Big 12. I know a lot of these guys from camps and stuff.
“Human nature you are looking to your left and see a guy hit a shot, you want to match that,” Withey added. “If you don’t you kind of get down on yourself. But I am not too worried about everyone else. I’m trying to focus on myself and get better. If I miss a shot I know I’m going to make the next one. It’s the mentality I have.”LJW
Official Pre Draft MeasurementsDraft Express analyzing the combine measurements
Big 12/College News
After the loss of Jerrett and Chol, the Wildcats added Kansas transfer Zach Peters to the mix.
“Timing sometimes is everything and in this case it really was,” Miller said. “It worked out.”
Miller added that he didn’t even know of Peters until a few months ago. The loss of two forwards created an area of need, though, and Peters was someone to fill that role.
The 6-foot-9 Peters was a three-star recruit and the 27th-ranked power forward in the 2012 recruiting class, according to ESPN.com. Yet, his time at Kansas was anything but special.
Peters left Kansas in late November to try and recover from injuries, including two concussions and a rotator cuff injury during his time with the Jayhawks. Peters has had four concussions starting with his senior season in high school, according to the Associated Press. He never played a game at Kansas.
“I think any young freshman who deals with that many injuries all in a short period of time; you can see why he moved on to get healthy. That was his reason,” Miller said. “Now that he’s healthy, he regained in his mind that thirst to be a college basketball player and pursue his dreams and it just so happened that the timing of that coincided with us.
“I don’t think we could have added a more quality player for what we needed.”
By the time the 2013-14 season starts, it will have almost been a year since his Peter’s last concussion which Miller said is a good sign. Still, the coach added that Arizona has done its due diligence to research and medically clear Peters.
Because of the medical hardships, there is a chance Peters could play this season but the NCAA still has to review his case. If he does receive special clearance, Peters could fill a role very similar to the departing Jerrett.
“He’s a very skilled player, he can shoot the ball from the perimeter,” Miller said. “One of the things that I was excited about is that he’s not small … He gives that skill level that maybe we had with Grant [Jerrett] moving forward.”Arizona Daily Wildcat
It's been an offseason of personnel changes for Kansas State.
Already having lost Rodney McGruder, Martavious Irving and Jordan Henriquez to graduation, the Wildcats also saw starting point guard Angel Rodriguez, backup big man Adrian Diaz, and seldom-used guard Michael Orris all transfer.
Coach Bruce Weber countered those losses with a five-man recruiting class -- and the acquisition of Justin Edwards, who transferred from Maine after averaging nearly 17 points. On Friday, Weber officially announced the addition of another transfer.
Brandon Bolden, a 6-foot-10 center from Georgetown, is heading to Kansas State.
"With such a large incoming freshman class, we really wanted to add a more experienced player to our team plus we needed someone with his kind of size and length,” Weber said. “I think the year off will be great for Brandon to not only develop and improve his game, but also to get stronger in the weight room. He will be a great asset next season just as a practice player to make our guys better."
Bolden, a South Carolina native, played one season at Georgetown. He appeared in four games, registering only a missed shot in five minutes.CBS
T-shirts are already rolling off the line. By Saturday morning, a shirt featuring the three Big 12 championship banners was available on the school’s website for $19.95.
K-State should take advantage. Capturing league titles in the major men’s sports spread across the academic year isn’t quite Halley’s Comet infrequent.
But it’s rare.
Louisville departs the Big East with a three-bagger this year. Texas is the only other Big 12 team to accomplish the feat and Stanford did it in 1999-2000. That’s it for programs from the automatic qualifier conferences of the BCS era, which started in 1998.
Kansas State turned the triple play on Friday night when Coach Brad Hill’s baseball team defeated Oklahoma 6-5. The teams entered the three-game series with the title on the line with K-State requiring one victory and the Sooners needing a sweep.
When Tanner Witt scored from third on a passed ball with one out in the ninth, the Wildcats had a walk-off victory and most improbable of the three championships, based on expectation.
…Even K-State president Kirk Schulz raised his eyebrows at the across-the-board achievement.
“If you had told me in August that we would win Big 12 titles in the three major men’s sports I don’t know if I’d have believed you,” Schulz said. “But it’s been a truly special year, and it’s something we’ll take plenty of pride in.”
Also satisfaction knowing the accomplishment was crafted on a middleweight budget. Kansas State’s athletic revenues of $63 million for the 2011-12 school year, the last year federal figures are available, place the Wildcats in the lower half of Big 12 schools. Texas leads the nation at $163 million.
But K-State isn’t exactly winning on the cheap. The school has invested some $130 million in facilities in recent years, including a new basketball practice center and the West Stadium Club, the expansion of luxury seating at Snyder Family Stadium that’s on schedule to open this season.
Smaller upgrades are no less important. Two years ago, Kansas State spent $950,000 to resurface its baseball playing field, including outfield turf where grass had been. The result? During a season where weather played havoc with some Big 12 schedules, K-State didn’t lose a home game and could finish with the league’s best home record.Link
Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski acknowledged in a phone interview Saturday that he's in discussions to return as head coach of USA Basketball through the 2016 Olympics.
"There's a chance," Krzyzewski said. "That's correct."
Krzyzewski said he hasn't made a final decision, but his openness to the position represents a significant change. For eight months, Krzyzewski has maintained he's not returning as USA Basketball's head coach.
On Saturday, Krzyzewski said he and USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo have been talking about his return "quite a bit."
Colangelo said Saturday he and Krzyzewski have been discussing his return "in installments."
"I think it's very close to being resolved," Colangelo said. "That's all I can say for sure."
He added: "Give it another week and it should be resolved."
Since winning the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics, Krzyzewski consistently insisted he would not return to coach USA Basketball. As recently as February, he publicly dismissed the notion in an ESPN Radio interview saying his "stance hasn't changed."
While his return isn't final, there's a strong feeling in basketball circles Krzyzewski will come back for a final run with USA Basketball that will include the 2014 World Championships in Madrid and the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.SI
UCLA and Steve Alford.
A basketball program of unmatched pedigree led by a former prodigy who became a national champion and Olympic gold medalist before making a steady climb up the coaching ladder.
On paper, a harmonic convergence.
How they came together, a choreography of those themes, would make for a dazzling introduction, which UCLA held at center court in historic Pauley Pavilion last month.
The aura of John Wooden, his contributions to sports and society — and those 10 national titles — was thick. Alford mentioned Wooden three times in his first three minutes at the microphone.
"We found a coach that not only represents and honors the treasured history of UCLA's place in college basketball, but also a coach who will bring a brand of unselfish basketball," Athletic Director Dan Guerrero gushed.
What could go wrong?
When the news conference was over, what was supposed to be a breezy, feel-good event quickly turned sticky and uncomfortable.
During a one-on-one interview, Iowa came up. Alford, who coached the Hawkeyes for eight seasons, was asked about his staunch defense of Pierre Pierce, a player accused of sexually assaulting another student in 2002.
"I totally believe he's innocent," Alford had said at the Big Ten Conference's basketball media day that year. "I believed it from Day One, and I still believe it." Days later, Pierce, a star guard, agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and also sit out one basketball season.
Three years later, Pierce would go to prison after assaulting another woman. He pleaded guilty to two charges of first-degree burglary, assault with intent to commit sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal mischief.
Now, asked to explain his actions and comments so many years later, Alford took a defensive stance after the news conference last month.
He said he had handled the situation the way his bosses at Iowa had instructed him to. "I really didn't do anything," he said. "The university made the call on everything."
So, they told him to say Pierce was innocent?
"When those comments came out, it was just about supporting your player," he said sternly. "But you have no idea what's going on."
UCLA athletic administrators were stunned. They had signed Alford to a seven-year, $18.2-million contract with the expectation that his hiring would invigorate an apathetic fan base. They expected him to be greeted with open arms.LA Times
Long before he met with coach Sean Miller to discuss joining the Arizona Wildcats' coaching staff this spring, Damon Stoudamire's image was already on a McKale Center hallway, his name was in the rafters and his numbers were prominently in the school record book.
Stoudamire tried to separate all that from what he is now.
"I told Sean, 'I'm here as a basketball coach - I'm not here as an 18, 19, 20-year-old young man playing for coach (Lute) Olson,' " Stoudamire said.
"My responsibilities have changed. I'm here to help this program compete at the level that it's been and try to make it even better."
Miller apparently agreed.
"I'm hiring Damon not because he's one of the all-time great players here, though that's part of what makes him special," Miller said Friday, after Stoudamire was formally named an assistant coach. "I'm hiring him because he's absolutely the answer as a coach. His relationship with players, his ability to teach, his ability to connect with today's student-athlete in the recruiting process or with players here, he's been there and done it at the highest level.
"To me, who he is as a coach speaks way louder than what he did years ago here at the University of Arizona. That's what's most exciting for me - we're getting a heck of a coach."Arizona Daily Star
The battle against homophobia took a giant step forward recently when Jason Collins came out — the first openly gay American male professional athlete to do so while still in the game. It was courageous. It was needed. And, with the exception of a few ignorant souls, it was supported by most in and out of professional sports.
Since then, however, one sad, clear message has also been sent:
The battles rages.
Brittney Griner, one of the most dominant women’s college basketball players ever, said in a magazine interview her Baylor coaches suggested that Griner not make her homosexuality public knowledge out of fear that it might hurt recruiting.
“The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn’t let their kids come play for Baylor,” Griner told ESPN The Magazine.
It would be easy to throw Baylor, a Baptist university in Waco, Texas, under the bus, but that would be narrow-minded and parochial thinking. Baylor lists homosexuality under the subheading of sexual misconduct in its student handbook.
It espouses, “purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior.
“It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.”
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey has yet to respond to Griner’s comments. Based on the university’s handbook, her career at Baylor might be in jeopardy if she disputes Griner’s comments.New York Post
Nearly a month after Jay-Z inked former NCAA basketball star Skylar Diggins to his newly launched Roc Nation Sports, Young Hov reportedly treated her to a pricey Mercedes Benz.
College graduation is a day to celebrate accomplishments and toast to the future. Some people may even get thoughtful gifts from friends and family. For former Notre Dame basketball player Skylar Diggins, graduation day will certainly be unforgettable. Diggins currently plays guard for the WNBA's Tulsa Shock and graduated Sunday from Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. Her agency, Jay-Z's Roc Nation, surprised her with quite the gift. Diggins left her graduation ceremonies and was surprised in the parking lot with a brand new white Mercedes, complete with a red bow and a handwritten note from Jay himself. Diggins posted a collage of photos of the car on her Instagram account with the caption, "Got surprised with a new Mercedes! Thanks so much to Jay and @rocnation, and @dancyautogroup!" (NESN)Link2013-14 Early-season events schedule
For all the accolades heaped upon Kansas signee Andrew Wiggins (and deservedly so), Parade Magazine went with another player for its 2012-13 Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.
Semi Ojeleye, a Duke signee from Ottawa, Kansas, averaged more than 38 points per game this season while also getting the job done in the classroom to the tune of a 4.0 grade-point average.
Because of those achievements, Ojeleye was named the recipient of Parade’s highest individual honor on Saturday.
This past season, Ojeleye’s high school team went 25-0 and captured its state title, while he set career and senior-year scoring records (2,763 and 952 points, respectively) for the state of Kansas. No mean feat, especially when you consider that the career mark had stood for 17 years. Along with his ability to score, he also averaged nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals a game. He also shot 38 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent from the free-throw line.The other finalists for the honor were Wiggins, fellow Kansas signee Conner Frankamp
, Arizona signee Aaron Gordon, and Oklahoma State signee Stevie Clark.Parade also announced its All-America Team
, which traditionally is a long list that includes players headed to a variety of schools. (Brannen Greene, Conner Frankamp, Andrew Wiggins selected)Link
Okafor is being recruited by mostly the same schools as Jones, expect for Okafor has North Carolina and Louisville on his list and Jones has Minnesota, which has its campus only about 20 miles from his home.
"We're letting each other have really their own recruiting process," Jones said. "At the same time, we're still kind of talking with each other on what schools we have in common and where we think we can go together and feel like we'll be successful."
Jones plans on playing AAU ball all summer and then concentrating on his college choice. He's already scheduled one of his NCAA-allotted five official campus visits, heading to Baylor along with Okafor at the end of August.
"I would like to have a decision by (November) so I can just concentrate on my senior year and have it out of the way," Jones said. "If I'm not ready to make a decision, then I'm not going to force anything or rush anything because it's such a huge decision and a very difficult one at that."
One thing that Jones is confident about is that he will play with Okafor at the next level.
"I'd probably say like 99 percent," Jones said. "It's just really something that we've focused on and really want to do."Max PrepsRivals' Eric Bossi recaps EYBL Dallas (Video at the link)
Final weekend of the EYBL regular season, last chance to qualify for the Peach Jam
Recruiting Calendar2013 Spring/Summer AAU & Camp Schedule
My KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube
Former Kansas University basketball guard Billy Thomas is one of 63 KU athletes who will take part in graduation ceremonies on Sunday in Memorial Stadium.
Thomas, who played at KU from 1995-98, will receive his degree in African and African American studies. Also, former KU center Cole Aldrich of the Sacramento Kings will graduate. Thomas, who had a long professional basketball career, has coached boys basketball at Barstow School in Kansas City, Mo., the past two years.
Draft picks Whitney Berry (soccer, FC Kansas City), Maggie Hull (softball, Chicago Bandits) and Angel Goodrich (women’s basketball, Tulsa Shock) will also be on hand. Joining Goodrich from the KU women’s basketball team will be fellow 1,000-point scorers Carolyn Davis and Monica Engelman.
Kansas men’s golfer Chris Gilbert, who is currently participating in an NCAA regional, will also receive his diploma on Sunday, while KU’s No. 1 starting pitcher Thomas Taylor will also earn his degree as the Jayhawks play a three-game nonconference series at Utah.
Second-team All-Big 12 honoree Bradley McDougald from the KU football team will also participate in the ceremony, along with four-time Big 12 Conference long jump champion Francine Simpson.
A complete list of graduating KU student-athletes:Baseball - Jordan Dreiling, Thomas TaylorMen’s Basketball - Cole Aldrich, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Jeff Withey, Kevin YoungWomen’s Basketball - Carolyn Davis, Angel Goodrich, Monica EngelmanFootball - Tunde Bakare, DJ Beshears, Justin Carnes, Randall Dent, Gavin Howard, Prinz Kande, Dexter Linton, Christian Matthews, Bradley McDougald, Chris Omigie, Toben Opurum, Tyler Patmon, Nick Sizemore, Huldon Tharp, Kevin YoungMen’s Golf - Chris Gilbert, Alex Gutesha, Paul HarrisRowing - Danielle Adam, Molly Boehner, Olivia Catloth, Katy MacCormack, Amber Malone, Paige StephensSoftball - Morgan Druhan, Maggie Hull, Rosie HullSoccer - Whitney Berry, Nicole Chrisopulos, Amy Grow, Kat Liebetrau, Sarah RobbinsSwimming & Diving - Brooke Brull, Svetlana Golovhun, Danielle Herrmann, Iulia Kuzhil, Alyssa Potter, Brittany Potter, Cora Powers, Erin Savas, Madison WagnerTennis - Vika KhanevskayaMen’s Track & Field - Isaac Bradshaw, Kevin Hays, Kaman SchneiderWomen’s Track & Field - Tessa Cole-Turcotte, Sara Hedberg, Kathryn Lupton, Rebecca Neville, Francine Simpson, Kathleen ThompsonVolleyball - Morgan BoubLJW
5/16/13, 11:28 AM
Kelly Olynyk on Andrew Wiggins to Kansas to @ESPNAndyKatz "He's amazing...Canadian basketball is on the rise."@AdamZagoria
Just 15 minutes after Andrew Wiggins completed his Tuesday ceremony and interviews following his announcement that he would attend the University of Kansas, he sat and stared at his phone in the office of Huntington Prep basketball head coach Rob Fulford.
He was silent at first with his eyes glued to the screen. Then, as he scrolled some more he kept reading and even muttered some things aloud.
"Wow, this is bad," Wiggins said while still scrolling through his phone.
These weren't congratulatory texts he was receiving.
They were Tweets -- or messages sent through the social media site Twitter, for those who aren't aware of the latest craze in interactivity.
And, these messages directly attacked Wiggins, wished him personal harm including death and also called him a plethora of racial and socially unacceptable terms.
Unfortunately, it is a growing trend in recent months and years involving athletes.Herald-Dispatch: Scary effects of social media
When Wiggins shocked a lot of people by signing with Kansas instead, many reacted as if he had just passed up an opportunity to win a national title. How could he be so selfish as to pick a school where, God forbid, he would be the clear-cut star instead of sharing the spotlight with arguably the finest freshman class ever assembled?
The college basketball-watching populous — particularly those in Lexington, Chapel Hill and Tallahassee — has to wake up to the fact that Wiggins isn’t exactly joining a batch of scrubs in Lawrence. In fact, even before Wiggins signed with the Jayhawks, they already had the second-best haul in the land.
While Kentucky’s recruits were grabbing all the headlines, Bill Self and his staff had to “settle” for four recruits ranked 34th or higher nationally in the Rivals150. Even if Wiggins had gone elsewhere, that’s worth popping champagne for. And yet … how often have you heard pundits and fans salivating over them, particularly in comparison to the new Wildcats?
Here’s all you need to know about Kansas’ “other guys.” If they join forces with Wiggins to lead the Jayhawks to great heights, don’t act so surprised.Lost Lettermen
: Kansas has Fab Five Potential
Kansas University basketball players/fantasy-camp assistant coaches Andrew White III and Landen Lucas have been more than willing to offer their input in one-on-one conversations with members of “Team Vaughn” during this weekend’s Bill Self Basketball Experience.
They’ve been pretty silent during huddles, however, letting former Wake Forest, Loyola and Army head coach Dino Gaudio orchestrate the offense and defense.
“It’s fun because he is coaching it seriously. He is drawing up plays in the huddle. He’s getting on guys, benching guys, so it’s for real,” said White III, KU’s freshman forward from Richmond, Va.
White said Self’s fantasy camp, “is fun just because they (players 35 and older) are so competitive.
Everybody is taking it seriously. I’ve gotten to know all the guys by name. We know who does what well. We’re undefeated, 3-0 right now, just trying to win the championship.”
This is the first year White and Lucas have worked the camp. Gaudio, an ESPN color announcer, also was here a year ago.
“They are in the huddles,” Gaudio said of White and Lucas, a 6-foot-10 freshman from Portland, Ore. “I think what’s good is when they hear me telling our guys what we need to do, I’m certain it’s the same thing coach (Bill) Self is telling them in those huddles and environment.
“Hearing it from someone else (can be a positive),” he added. “Like when I was coaching, I’d love to bring other people in so they (players) were not listening to the same voice all the time, namely me. When they hear things from other people who have been successful, I think that’s good as well.”LJW
Will be in Lawrence June 2nd
Needed my number #34 but Perry got it so i decided to take #21@jojo_embiid
I need to get stronger Is coach @A_Hudy ready for me? Or the real question is Am i ready for her? She might kill me. I might cry too@jojo_embiid
#smartwork @jojo_embiid let's get this rockin!!! Can't wait@A_Hudy
Victor Oladipo said he measured at 6-4 1/4 with shoes. Ben McLemore told me he was 6-3 without shoes@GoodmanCBS
He spent the last several months lobbying through actions, with his play as a Kansas shooting guard, and then Ben McLemore finally said it.
He is the best player in the draft.
“Deep down I think I am,” he told NBA.com as the pre-Draft combine got underway with physical testing in advance of most players, but not McLemore and other top prospects, taking the court Thursday and Friday. “I have that mindset that I am. Just going out there and showing my abilities.
“People know what I did in college and know what I can do throughout my career. A lot of people know I really haven’t reached that point in my basketball life, so I know deep down inside that I have it in me. I’ve just got to keep working.”
The pre-Draft combine will be televised on ESPNU (10 a.m.-2 p.m. ET) and ESPN2 (2-3 p.m. ET) on Thursday and again on Friday at the same times and on the same channels.
Whether McLemore is actually first off the board on June 27 will depend partly, if not largely, on the results of the lottery – the winner will likely go for Nerlens Noel of Kentucky if it needs a big man and for McLemore if it needs a shooting guard. Neither has distinguished themselves enough to be the dominant figure of the Class of 2013.
Some teams might take Noel regardless of position because of the value of a defensive-presence at power forward or center, but others could be scared away by the risk of using the No. 1 choice on a player coming off knee surgery. On health reasons, McLemore is a safer bet and has a lot of upside as well.
“I think it’d be important to me, especially being the No. 1 draft pick and that a shooting guard [hasn't] been a No. 1 draft pick for a while, for years,” McLemore said. “It’d be very important to me to make history to me. It would be great to be No. 1, being able to help my family out.”nba.com (Video at the link)
"Generation after generation rock chalk !!" via @Trobinson0 #kubball @KUAthletics
@hrhawkins1 and I with Cindy and Coach Self at the Rock Chalk Ball! #BothCouplesClean
It looks like late basketball great Wilt Chamberlain could have his photo on a United States postage stamp according to an article in the latest edition of Linn’s Stamp News, the world’s largest weekly stamp newspaper which covers the postal service, stamp collection and stamp information.
Chamberlain, a former Overbrook High and NBA legend, could join a number of well known public figures the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee is scheduling for 2014 according to the story.
The list tentatively includes Chamberlain along with R&B singer James Brown, jazz singer Sarah Vaughn, the Beatles, actress Elizabeth Taylor, Apple’s Steve Jobs and others. These were some of the proposed selections from the CSAC meeting according to the committee’s minutes from the Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 meetings that were obtained by Linn’s Stamp News from an anonymous source.
Chamberlain is tentatively slated to receive a stamp in his honor in February 2014, which happens to be Black History Month, along with Ralph Ellison, author of “The Invisible Man,” and The Beatles according to the story. Of course, the official announcement has to come from the U.S. Postal Service.
“The subjects are not final until they’re announced by the postal service,” said Roy Betts, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.
The official announcment will come later this year.Philly Trib
The University of Kansas Historic District is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service has announced.
The district comprises the heart of the Lawrence Campus and was added to the Register of Historic Kansas Places in February.
The only campus historic district in Kansas, it covers the period of 1863-1951. The district includes buildings such as Watson Library, landmarks such as the World War II Memorial Campanile and landscapes such as The Hill, which graduates walk down during Commencement.
“This national designation reflects the historic importance of Mount Oread as a center for teaching and scholarship. It will also help preserve the campus for future generations of Jayhawks who will call KU home,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.Link
Big 12/College News
The inaugural Big 12/SEC Challenge is a combination of existing games already scheduled along with new matchups created for this event during November and December. The two conferences and ESPN will attempt to schedule matchups over consecutive days in future events.
“The ability to showcase SEC basketball in this kind of conference competition makes this a unique and exciting event for our coaches, student-athletes and fans,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. “We are pleased to be able to work with the Big 12 and ESPN to highlight the sport of men’s basketball.”
Here is the schedule of this year's games, with times and networks to be announced later:
Thursday, Nov. 14
Texas Tech at Alabama
Monday, Dec. 2
Vanderbilt at Texas
Auburn at Iowa State
Thursday, Dec. 5
Ole Miss at Kansas State
West Virginia at Missouri
TCU at Mississippi State
Friday, Dec. 6
South Carolina at Oklahoma State
Kentucky vs. Baylor (Arlington, Texas)
Tuesday, Dec. 10
Kansas at Florida
Saturday, Dec. 21
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma (Houston, Texas)Link
Note from MBB coaches meeting today - #Big12 had more of its regular officials work NCAA regionals, Final Four than any conference@Big12Conference
Kansas State has played a nonconference basketball game at the Sprint Center in each of the past six years, but that streak is unlikely to continue.
On Wednesday, Bruce Weber said the Wildcats are close to finalizing their 2013-14 schedule. And their first trip to Kansas City won’t come until the Big 12 Tournament.
“Part of the problem with Kansas City is, if you are going to go there you want a good game,” Weber said by phone. “What happens the year after? You have to go on the road and play a quality opponent. Next year (2014-15) we have the Maui Invitational and the Big12/SEC challenge on the road. We already have some road games and a tough tournament.
“That was part of our dilemma. We looked for maybe the possibility of some teams playing us in Kansas City without a return, but we just couldn’t find a good enough opponent. I don’t think that is going to happen.”KC Star
For the second time this week, a Baylor Bears player has decided to transfer.
A source told ESPN.com that point guard L.J. Rose asked for and was granted his release during a meeting with head coach Scott Drew on Tuesday afternoon.
Rose's decision comes 24 hours after sophomore guard Deuce Bello informed Drew of his decision to leave the team.ESPN
Texas guard Julien Lewis has been granted his release and will become the third player to leave the Longhorns since they finished a disappointing season 16-18 and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 15 years.
The school announced the departure Tuesday.
Guard Sheldon McClellan, who led Texas in scoring most of the season but clashed with coach Rick Barnes, left the team earlier this year. Myck Kabongo, who was voted the team's most valuable player despite sitting out a 23-game NCAA suspension, left school to enter the NBA draft.
Lewis started 21 games and averaged 11.2 points. Texas is now without its top three scorers from last season.APFred Hoiberg gets new contract
Texas Tech men’s head basketball coach Tubby Smith spoke about his new job and how he wants to build the men’s basketball program Wednesday before he met with about 500 Texas Tech boosters at the Tri-State Expo.
Smith, who won the 1998 NCAA national championship with Kentucky, was fired from his head coaching job at Minnesota at the end of the 2012-13 season. He succeeds interim coach Chris Walker. Walker replaced Billy Gillispie, who quit in September.Link
It was nearly 40 minutes of classic Calipari. There were challenges to his players and fans. There were swipes at Louisville and Indiana without either school ever being mentioned by name. And there was the tone set for the next edition of Kentucky basketball, which is as bold as any he’s set forth before.
Kentucky coach John Calipari sat down with the media Wednesday now that all matters could be discussed, given that the final recruit the Wildcats were pursuing, forward Andrew Wiggins, on Tuesday chose to play college basketball at Kansas.
“We’re chasing perfection. We’re chasing greatness. We’re chasing things that have never been done before in the history of this game,” Calipari said. “It’s never been done … in the modern era.”
…“You have to have more than eight scholarship players,” Calipari said. “I was trying to protect players in the program. What you learn is you can’t protect players. They don’t have to play 30 minutes to reach their dreams. If I had to do it over again, we would have had a couple more players.
“I don’t have any regrets where I gave guys more than one chance to make it and it hurt our team. It’s about each individual player. I can tell you, guys got the full season to prove themselves. If I’m going to err, it’s going to be on the side of the player. If it were your son, what would you want me to do?”
Calipari was asked how he’d handle the overwhelming expectations that will be accorded the Kentucky team, including the suggestion the Wildcats should just be handed that title. That’s a hard notion to quantify; they are only a 4-1 favorite to win the title, according to Linemakers, which hardly is prohibitive.
“I don’t buy into any of that. If anybody thinks this is easy, we’ve got a lot of coaches that have taken the elite prospects, and it hasn’t worked out,” Calipari said.TSN
The Trojans made one big splash this offseason, signing Andy Enfield fresh off a trip to the Sweet 16 with the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. Now, the men’s basketball squad has secured a bid to participate in the “Battle for Atlantis” non-conference tournament, which awards schools $2 million for their participation in the event.
The tournament will take place from November 27th-December 1st on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The field will feature Kansas, who is coming off huge news after signing the nation’s top recruit Andrew Wiggins. Tennessee, Villanova, Xavier, Iowa, Wake Forest are among the other participants in this years bracket.
The most intriguing matchup however, would square the Enfield’s-led Trojans against a former coach of USC, and head man who expressed interest in running the program this spring, in Tim Floyd and his UTEP Minors.Link
CBS Sports and Turner Sports have announced the programming schedule for their exclusive joint television coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in 2014 and 2015. In each of the two years, TBS will televise the NCAA Final Four national semifinals and CBS will broadcast the NCAA National Championship game.
Additionally, beginning in 2014 through 2024, coverage of the Regional Semifinals and Regional Finals games will be split by TBS and CBS. Earlier round coverage of the tournament will continue to be televised across four national television networks — CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV with the First Four airing exclusively on truTV.
In 2010, Turner Sports and CBS Sports entered into a 14-year exclusive media rights partnership with the NCAA to present the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship from 2011-2024. As part of that agreement, CBS Sports and Turner Sports will alternate coverage of the Final Four national semi-final games and National Championship game between TBS and CBS. The rotation begins on TBS with the network televising the Final Four and National Championship in 2016 with CBS broadcasting the games in 2017.NCAA
So when the NCAA rules committee met in Indianapolis last week, they had the chance to make a real difference. And there was buzz. In an ESPN story preceding the gathering of the brain trust, it was reported that the committee would "vote on moving the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds." Not a cure-all, of course, but a great start. The article polled 37 coaches, and the majority were in favor of shortening the shot clock, including — are you sitting down? — WISCONSIN'S BO RYAN. That just about staggered me.
So what happened in Indianapolis? Well, let's allow yesterday's headline to speak for itself:
Panel votes for late-game replays
Surely you are playing a grand jest on us, Andy Katz, you inveterate, unrepentant prankster!
Because college basketball is in crisis, and the rules committee can change the rules only once every two years, so surely the main thing they accomplished this week wouldn't have been something that actually fucking prolonged the game, right? RIGHT?!
But no. That's what they did. Their big change was that refs can now go to the monitor in the final two minutes to review out-of-bounds calls or shot-clock violations. And instead of waiting for a TV timeout, they'll now be stopping the game in its tracks in the final four minutes if someone makes a shot and they can't tell if it was a 2 or a 3.
To get metaphorical for a second, imagine college basketball were a man in tattered clothing, crawling in the desert and dying of thirst. The rules committee recognized his suffering, dropped in from a helicopter, and offered him a cupful of salt.
But what about the shot clock? Wasn't there supposed to be a vote? Surely there was a reason why it never even made the committee's agenda. Let's see what they had to say about that:
Rules committee chair John Dunne, the head coach at St. Peter's in New Jersey, said Thursday after concluding the three-day meeting in Indianapolis that surveys of coaches in Division I, II and III failed to bring a consensus on whether to change the shot clock.
"There wasn't a vote taken since it was a 50-50 split, so we felt it wasn't the right time to go in that direction," Dunne said.
Right, right, that makes sense. It's a divisive issue, and at least half of all surveyed coaches (and way more in the initial ESPN survey) were in favor of changing the clock, so the logical thing to do is not have a vote. I get it.
OH WAIT, NO I DON'T. I DON'T GET IT AT ALL.Grantland
If Josiah Turner thought the low point of his basketball career was being asked to leave Arizona last spring amid drug and alcohol problems, the highly touted point guard quickly learned things could get tougher.
The Hungarian pro team he originally signed with last fall housed him in a filthy, bedbug-infested apartment so dilapidated his agent removed him from the team after only one month. The Canadian pro team he joined after leaving Hungary informed him in January his services were no longer required after he repeatedly clashed with the head coach. And even after a successful second-half of the season with another Canadian team, Turner still had to return to Arizona and serve two days in prison as a result of a DUI charge from the previous year.
"Everything I've been through has served a purpose because it has humbled me and forced me to mature," Turner recently told Yahoo! Sports. "I'm more focused and disciplined now. I'll never go down a bad path again."
"He has an uphill battle for sure," an NBA scout familiar with Turner said. "Lot of baggage with him and not sure the talent level trumps it either. Maybe a second-round pick for someone but he will need to prove he has been humbled."Yahoo Sports2013-14 Early-season events schedule
Brewster Academy (NH) 2014 SG Jared Terrell scored two major offers from Kansas and Florida;
Kimball Union Academy (NH) 2014 PF Abdul-Malik Abu has added offers from Kansas, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Minnesota, Marquette, Florida State, and Texas;New England Recruiting Report
I had a really good talk with Coach (John) Calipari about a week ago. Kentucky has been hitting me up a lot lately. The talk with Coach Cal was cool. He was telling me about how he felt about last season and how that went. Then he was telling me about how he gets disrespected by a lot of the other coaches in recruiting, which is actually true because I've heard a few things myself.
He really explained a lot to me and I learned a lot.
I talked to Coach (Bill) Self two nights ago and I talked to Coach (Tom) Izzo the other night too. I love talking to those guys. It's always a cool conversation.
Coach (Mike) K (Krzyzewski) text me on Sunday on Mother's Day and that meant a lot to me because he was checking on me because he knows that my mother passed. I thought that was really cool of him.
All of the coaches at Duke hit me up; Coach (Jeff) Capel and Coach (Steve) Wojo. Ohio State coaches (Thad) Matta and (Jeff Boals) checked on me too. That definitely meant a lot to me to have them take time out of their busy days and check on me.
Of course I heard the news about Andrew Wiggins signing with Kansas and I really liked that move for him. He wouldn't be there if I was to go there but that still makes them really attractive.
A lot of people say that Kansas doesn't want a freshman to just come in for a year and have a huge impact then leave. I've never believed that, but I know Andrew will prove that it's not true so that's why it's big.
I'll definitely be watching close to see how they handle a player of his talent level. I know Coach Self will do a good job with it.
I thought Andrew handled his whole recruitment really well. He took his time and made the right decision for him. I do think I'll end up committing much sooner than he did though.
I've got a pretty full summer ahead of me.
In June I'm headed to Team USA Camp in Colorado. That means I'll miss most of the skills camps in June, but I can't wait to play in Czech Republic. Me and Tyus will team up there so, like I said, that will be a better experience.
Other than that school is going pretty well. We get out June 24, but I'm gonna take my finals a little earlier because of the Team USA obligations. I talked to my teachers and they're all OK with it so that's good.USA Today Jahlil Okafor blogRecruiting Calendar
2013 Spring/Summer AAU & Camp ScheduleMy KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube
For someone who has said not to like all the media attention, Andrew Wiggins seemed as comfortable as ever Tuesday in front of friends, family and classmates at St. Joseph Central Catholic School in Huntington.
There was no waver in his voice.
There was no indecision.
There was simply a proclamation that the nation’s top boys basketball prospect would be attending the University of Kansas.
And the decision was his — no one else’s to make.
“The other schools were great, but Kansas had my heart,” Wiggins said as he sat relaxed in Huntington Prep head coach Rob Fulford’s office following the ceremony. “That’s it. I followed my heart.” ...
He stayed true to his word, having a small, much more intimate ceremony with only people from the Huntington area and his family attending.
And he certainly enjoyed the day, as evidenced by the beaming smile that never left his face.
“I didn’t really want to open up to the public,” Andrew Wiggins said. “I knew it would be jam-packed in here and I wouldn’t have the people I appreciate just watching.
“I wanted the people that appreciate me and the people I appreciate to be here watching while I made my decision because they are the ones who helped me out throughout the last two years and my mom and dad throughout my lifetime. I didn’t really want a lot of random people here. I wanted more people I knew.”
Not only did the ceremony fit Wiggins’ style, but so does Kansas, according to his father, who had spoken to his son about Kansas and why he was choosing them over his alma mater, Florida State. Mitchell Wiggins said the Seminoles were No. 2 out of the four teams.
“They run a lot of pick and-roll, pick-and-pop — a lot of stuff as he goes to the next level, he’s already ready for,” Mitchell Wiggins said. “The system was probably the biggest thing and the coach. (Kansas) Coach (Bill) Self is a very good coach and Andrew had a good feel for him. I think it’s going to be a great fit.” Herald-Dispatch VIDEO: WSAZ 6pm News Report on Wiggins
On Tuesday afternoon, the best high school basketball player on the continent -- the most hyped prospect since LeBron James, and probably the best, too -- proved he is possessed of not only otherworldly basketball gifts but also a preternatural ability to keep the world from knowing a singular piece of information.
Wiggins' parents, both former Florida State athletes, were reportedly in the dark as late as Tuesday morning. Even the Kansas coaching staff could do little more than cross its communal fingers until the final phone call. According to ESPN senior recruiting analyst Dave Telep, the Jayhawks not only didn't know; they hadn't even been in "much contact recently" with the player who, in the matter of a few words in a West Virginia gym, would morph KU from a promising but inexperienced group into one that will compete for the 2014 national title.
…Indeed, the only thing more impressive than the kid's public relations discipline might be his ability on the basketball court. At 6-foot-7, 205 pounds, Wiggins melds the skills and grace of a guard with the power and size of a forward. He isn't just an athletic specimen who can do things like this
(although I highly recommend you spend the rest of your afternoon with Wiggins dunks on YouTube); he's also a speedy, tightrope ball handler with court vision and a consistent perimeter shot. Scouts believe he could play the 2, 3 or 4 at the college level; he will be every opponent's matchup nightmare no matter where he lines up.
…If any player in the one-and-done era is destined to live up to his immense hype, it's this one. Self is too good a coach not to maximize his eight months with the future No. 1 overall pick, too savvy and too ruthlessly competitive not to modify his system wherever and whenever he should. Wiggins is too versatile and too overwhelming to fall flat. Whether Maple Jordan is a generational talent, an NBA All-Star or merely very good remains to be seen. The number of NBA teams already planning how best to tank their own 2013-14 seasons should give you some indication, but anything could happen. You never know. ESPN Brennan VIDEO: ESPN Telep on Wiggins' Decision
On his Twitter page, @22wiggins, Andrew Wiggins says that he is "Just a average kid trying to make it."
My niece is an average kid. She has 384 followers.
Wiggins has 80,000 followers and counting, mostly because on the basketball court he is anything but average. In fact, he is freakishly amazing, a generational talent ranked the top player in his recruiting class.
On Tuesday, the average kid declared that he would play at Kansas. He did it quietly -- no television appearance, no grand gestures of tinkering with various ball caps before making his choice.
That didn't stop the news cycle from churning out thousands of words (this column included) about his decision, following up on the tens of thousands of words written in advance of his decision.
…Now that we know where Wiggins is headed and the party has officially commenced in Lawrence, we can move on to the next phase of the Andrew Wiggins Experience: seeing whether he can live up to the hype.
Which is, of course, preposterous. He would have to be a mad scientist's concoction of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James to complete the expectation-to-ability ratio.
That he chose Kansas, where high-profile players are typical, instead of, say, Florida State, where he would have been a cape-wearing savior, helps ease the burden to a degree -- but only slightly so. Within minutes of Wiggins' decision, the Twitterverse elevated the Jayhawks from a possible second-place finish in the Big 12 to conference winners and Final Four contenders.
…Wiggins was the last top-100 player to announce his decision, and he's been chided in some circles for dragging things out.
But shouldn't he take his time with this decision? It's a big one. High school seniors all across the country wrestled with their college choices, some waiting until the day before deposits were due to make their pick. That's how it should be. Whether Wiggins goes to college for one year or four, it's his future.
Yet by waiting and making a deliberate decision, Wiggins has singled himself out from the pack for more scrutiny. A year ago, Sports Illustrated tabbed Jabari Parker the best high school player since James. Parker announced he'd go to Duke in December.
No one's talking about Parker anymore, except to point out that he and the Blue Devils will play Wiggins and the Jayhawks next season in Chicago. ESPN O'Neil
Watching Wiggins and Selden running the wings on the break in Allen Fieldhouse will be a scary sight for opponents. If KU fans thought Ben McLemore was exciting in transition, wait until they get an up-close look at Wiggins, who often appears to be looking down at the rim on finishes. This class has it all: length, elite athleticism, strength, skill, upside and a number of immediate impact players. Once Self and his staff get this recruiting class on the same page -- look out.
…He is a coast-to-coast threat after securing a defensive rebound, and he attacks the rim from the wing and along the baseline with an excellent first step in half-court action. His physical frame allows him to draw fouls in the lane, score through contact or simply elevate and finish over nearly any defender. He can spot up for kick-out 3s and will knock it down when his feet are set.
In transition, he will sprint the floor for easy baskets or rebound and ignite the break with a bust-out dribble. In the half-court set, Self can run Wiggins off screens leading to curls in the lane, or create isolation opportunities for him to attack off the dribble. Even when Kansas goes to its power high-low game, Wiggins will have space to operate. When Self posts Wiggins against smaller defenders, it will be no contest because of Wiggins’ ability to outjump his man to convert.
Wiggins competes on the defensive end as well, using his length and athletic ability to defend all three perimeter positions in switch-off situations. ESPN Rankin ($)
(Also video at the link)
While Wiggins heads to Lawrence as a potential top overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft and with a far superior resume (consensus No. 1 ranking, Gatorade National Player of the Year, among other accolades) than what McLemore had as an incoming freshman, Wiggins was wise to look at how his predecessor developed himself into a lottery pick during his tenure as a Jayhawk.
I believe one of the reasons he waited so long was to fully analyze the rosters of each of his finalists (Kansas, Florida State, UNC and Kentucky) to see which school would allow him to be the centerpiece, while also offering the requisite supporting cast to abet his national championship pursuit.
Ultimately, Kansas afforded him the best opportunity to do that. I truly think that McLemore's declaration to go to the NBA finally made up Wiggins’ mind. McLemore was the top recruit in an unheralded 2011 Kansas class that just sneaked into the ESPN final class rankings at No. 23, and he redshirted his first year after failing to receive academic clearance. In that year, he improved his game and became Kansas’ go-to guy, putting himself in serious consideration for the Naismith Player of the Year award this past season. McLemore, much like Wiggins, already boasted incredible athleticism but made a concerted effort to improve his jump shot and overall skills.
Wiggins already is viewed as a potential No. 1 pick, but looking at how Kansas made a top-5 player out of McLemore, Self’s staff could work wonders in preparing him for instant success as an NBA rookie.
…When you look at Self’s teams, they’ve always been one of the best in defensive field goal numbers due to their stifling man-to-man defense. With Wiggins and Selden guarding the perimeter, Perry Ellis defending the high post and Joel Embiid protecting the rim, you have a lot of power, length and ability to get after people on defense. All those aspects should better prepare Wiggins for his foray into the NBA. ESPN Biancardi ($)
Q: Would Wiggins really be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft?
Every GM and scout in the league with whom I've spoken believes Wiggins would be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft if he were eligible. Every one.
"Noel is a really good NBA prospect. He's just not a franchise-changing player," said one GM whose team will be in the draft lottery. "[However,] Wiggins is one of the three or four best prospects in the last decade. He has the ability to completely turn around a franchise. All 30 teams would take him with the No. 1 pick if they could."
Q: Well, sure, he'd be No. 1 in this draft. The 2013 NBA draft is one of the weakest in memory, right?
"No," the same GM said. "In every draft since 2007. [Greg] Oden would've went ahead of him. If Kevin Durant couldn't beat him out, no one could. But Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis? Wiggins goes ahead of all of them. I'm not saying he'll be better than all of them. I'm just saying knowing what we know about them when they were in the draft and knowing what we know about Wiggins, he'd beat out all of those guys."
Q: Is any player really worth that much hype? What makes Wiggins so special?
"[Wiggins is] a lethal combination of crazy athleticism and skill," one NBA scout said. "There just aren't a lot of holes in his game right now. Whenever he's on the court, even the untrained eye can pick him out immediately and say, 'That guy is special.' Maybe not LeBron James special. But close to that." ESPN ($) Chad Ford
There is a more specific kind of pressure, the kind Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg described to Andy Katz after Wiggins made his decision Tuesday:
"When you go against a guy compared to LeBron James, that's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a lot of guys in our league," Hoiberg said. "The hype surrounding him is the main story. I'm sure everyone is taking note of that and the opportunity to play against him."
Allow me to translate for the unflinchingly polite native Iowan: We're all coming for Andrew Wiggins.
This is hardly a surprise. Every college player in the country knows who Wiggins is. They know what people say about him. They've heard the comparisons. They know he's already a near-lock to go No. 1 in the 2014 NBA draft. No one is going to be scared. Most are going to be convinced they're better than Wiggins, that all of their hard work and college basketball experience adds up to more than his talent. Any team with Kansas on its schedule just got an extra reason to put a bull's-eye on the Jayhawks' back.
This is nothing new for Kansas, of course, and it's nothing new for Wiggins, who has been the best player on the court in every possible setting -- the target of other players' attempts to boost their own profile at every recruiting event and high school game -- for as long as he can remember. But college basketball isn't easy for even the most talented freshmen. Imagine how much harder it must be when every single player in the country wants to prove you aren't as good as everyone seems to think you are.
That is the challenge Wiggins faces in 2013-14. It's not just high expectations and scrutiny from fans. It's not just about accomplishing as much as possible in a short period of time. It's about playing an entire freshman season with a target on your back, about being specifically challenged by every opponent every time you put on a uniform. It's the pressure of taking everyone's best shot every night. It's the peril of superstardom. ESPN Brennan
When I saw Bill Self at the Final Four in Atlanta, I speculated that it was down to Florida State and Kentucky for the top player in the Class of 2013, Andrew Wiggins.
"We're still in it," the Kansas coach replied.
That was all Self could say, by NCAA rules, but he said enough. The confidence in his voice was not just false bravado. He believed the Jayhawks had a good chance at landing the 6-foot-7 wing player from Toronto by way of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep.
…By Monday, word on the hoops grapevine was that Kansas looked like the choice. By Tuesday morning, when Kentucky coach John Calipari started tweeting about his team's grade-point average, it appeared certain the Wildcats were out. But nobody on the outside was certain what Wiggins would do until the news was broadcast to the Twittersphere, courtesy of Huntington Herald-Dispatch writer Grant Traylor – the only reporter invited to the school.
By modern standards, this was a shockingly publicity-free recruitment. Wiggins all but went underground, and those close to him persuasively claimed not to know anything. So it was hard for the recruiting media (a 21st-century phenomenon in its own right) to know where Wiggins was leaning.
…How he handles the burden remains to be seen. But Kansas will welcome that burden and everything else that comes along with Andrew Wiggins when he arrives in Lawrence. After many people were counting him out, Bill Self got his man yet again. Yahoo Forde
(Video at the link)
Suddenly, new starting point guard Naadir Tharpe doesn't have to work as hard to initiate the offense and can focus on making sound decisions. Suddenly, promising sophomore forward Perry Ellis doesn't have to be the No. 1 scoring option and can remain a complementary scorer. And suddenly, McDonald's All-American Wayne Selden and the rest of the freshmen can ease their way into their college careers instead of being needed to emerge as impact players immediately.
That Wiggins chose Kansas is a tremendous coup for a Jayhawks program that had to make up ground late to land him. Though the proximity of older brother Nick Wiggins at Wichita State probably helped Bill Self's cause, he still didn't have as many advantages as some of Wiggins' other suitors had.
…Older brother Nick Wiggins said at the Final Four he gets asked where Andrew is going to school at least a few times a day. Host mother Lesley Thomas had to ask her kids to stop asking Wiggins about it because she wanted her house to be a safe zone. And Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford has sometimes had to turn off his phone or screen his calls because he has been bombarded with so many questions about Wiggins.
All the digging by fans, friends and reporters led to few answers. Not only were the college coaches in question in the dark about his decision Tuesday morning, even those in his inner circle were left guessing until he sat down alongside his family at a table in his high school gym and shared that he intended to be a Jayhawk.
Once Wiggins made his announcement and the stress of a laborious decision-making process was finally off his shoulders, those in the room with him said he smiled as wide and carefree as they had seen him in a longtime.
Only in Lawrence, Kansas were the grins any bigger. Yahoo Eisenberg
"Everyone last year was trying to figure out a way to get him next year," a longtime NBA scout and ex-player told Yahoo! Sports. "Teams are plotting and preparing for when he gets out of school. Character. Demeanor. Athleticism. Coachable. He makes the game look like it's insanely too easy. While everyone is sweating, he isn't and he jumps over your head. The total package."
A little more than a year ago, Chicago high school star Jabari Parker was viewed as the top recruit in the class of 2013. But that changed when the 6-foot-7 Wiggins stole the spotlight at the annual Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore., last year.
The Hoop Summit pits the top 10 American high school players against 10 elite international teens. The alumni list includes Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker since the event's inception in 1995. The Americans, led by UCLA-bound swingman Shabazz Muhammad, were expected to win the 2012 Hoop Summit, but Wiggins stole the show with 20 points, two assists, seven rebounds and two steals to lead the World Select team to a surprising 84-75 triumph. The Toronto native also had 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists as the World Select team beat the U.S. again 112-98 in last Saturday's Summit.
"[Muhammad] was viewed as the No. 1 player in the country [in 2012] and me playing well showed I could play with the best when I was that young," Wiggins said. "I've enjoyed and don't mind the attention. It's something I've gotten used to the past couple of years."
…One NBA general manager told Yahoo! Sports that Wiggins might be the No. 1 pick in this year's draft if he were eligible.
"The athleticism. The ability to get from Point A to Point B with his speed and quickness," the GM said. "He finishes above the rim. I love his composure. Love his poise on the floor."
In October, Wiggins, who at the time was a member of the 2014 recruiting class, decided to reclassify into his original 2013 class because he felt he was ready for the academic and athletic challenges.
…Wiggins has the ability to own dual Canadian-American citizenship, but he cannot play for the United States' national team because he has already played for Canada internationally. Frankly, he prefers it that way.
"I'd never want to turn my back on my country like that," Wiggins said of Canada. "That's where I'm from. I have good times here. The program treats me right. USA already has a name for itself as a basketball country. Canada has not really established that yet. I want to be one of the reasons why we establish that." 4/23/13 Yahoo
Sonny Vacarro on @610SportsKC says @CoachBillSelf "took words out of my mouth, compares @22wiggins to Tracy McGrady, George Gervin #NEXT @RAWFoxSports AUDIO: Coach Townsend on 810WHB VIDEO: Louisville CJ talks with Wiggins after his announcement VIDEO: Coach Self on the Tim Brando Show
Mario Chalmers, like everyone else, wasn’t sure where Andrew Wiggins would go.
The Canadian-born prep star was choosing between Florida State, Kentucky, North Carolina and, the university that has retired Chalmers’ jersey, Kansas.
“Welcome to the family,” Chalmers said.
Wiggins said he had the best connection with Kansas coach Bill Self.
“That’s just the person Coach Self is,” Chalmers said. “He’s a players’ coach, he’s going to have your best interests at heart, and he’s going to do whatever he can for you.”
For Wiggins to get his jersey hung near Chalmers’, he will need to stay more than one season.
Wiggins spent some time with Heat players following a game earlier in this season in Toronto, but Chalmers wasn’t one of them.
“I’m sure I’ll meet him when I go back this summer,” Chalmers said.
Naturally, since Wiggins will need to meet all the Kansas legends.
“Yeah,” Chalmers said, smiling. Palm Beach Post
2. What will this do to Kansas’ style of play for this season?
There will be a number of questions to answer, but defensive excellence is an annual thing at Kansas. Per KenPom.com, the Jayhawks have ranked in the top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency in each of the last eight seasons, and have been in the top four in defensive 2-point FG% in seven of those eight years. So while it’s easy to look at Jeff Withey’s departure and assume losing his shotblocking prowess will hurt (and it does), Bill Self has established this as his footprint. With the various pieces at his disposal, this season shouldn’t be any different, at least once the team matures and gels over the course of nonconference play.
The offensive side of the ball has been where the Jayhawks have been more variable, with the last two seasons being relatively less potent (and moderately slower in tempo) than the two before that, where Self had the Morris twins, Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins and other efficient offensive talents to use. Eyeballing both the inexperience and style of players Self will have at his disposal, you’d have to believe this team is going to run more and be very, very potent in transition. In the halfcourt, there likely will be a heavier move into earlier high and off-ball screening to create space for a team that may be better going to the rim than it may be shooting from the perimeter, at least when they’re challenged. This roster also should be better on the offensive glass than the last two seasons, getting closer to where KU historically has been under Self.
3. What does this do to the college landscape now?
Well, Oklahoma State has a problem, and the games between the Jayhawks and Cowboys are now absolute must-see TV. At the very least, with Self’s track record and Wiggins in the fold, Kansas now has to be considered the favorite to keep its league title run going. In the bigger picture, the Jayhawks are now a legit threat to make the Final Four, joining Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Duke, North Carolina, Arizona and others in what is an increasingly competitive and compelling list. If these teams come anywhere close to living up to expectation next season, it’s going to be incredible, and that’s without mentioning any surprise teams of the sort that make college hoops so much fun.
It also makes the Jayhawks’ incredibly loaded nonconference schedule that much more compelling to follow. Kansas plays Duke in Chicago in the Champions Classic, so now we get to see Wiggins and Jabari Parker square off (as well as Kentucky’s wunderkinds against loaded Michigan State — what a doubleheader!) right out of the chute. The Battle 4 Atlantis now has a cornerstone team. Games against New Mexico (in Kansas City), Georgetown and San Diego State, along with trips to Colorado and Florida all grow in overall watchability and competitiveness.
…Wiggins’ game, which like any prep player’s isn’t fully developed, will be picked apart by media, fans and scouts. He’ll be on national TV a ton. There will be comparisons to other elite freshmen and how they’re playing, and to the teams he snubbed and whether he should have gone there instead. He’ll have to deal with team expectations created by his own presence. There’s going to be a lot on his plate as he navigates his way through a high-level college season and, lest we forget, a college environment for the first time.
From a fan’s standpoint, though? We couldn’t ask for anything more. This freshman class is absolutely loaded and we may be seeing a once-in-a-decade prospect in his formative years. Much like we knew with LeBron and with Durant and with Greg Oden (pre-injuries), we know with Wiggins. We don’t know exactly what we’ll see from him next season, but we do know it’s just the start of what should be a sensational basketball career. He’s that kind of prospect, and it’s that kind of celebratory day for Kansas. SI Glockner
I'm not exactly sure when it turned into the wildest recruiting announcement Twitter has ever seen. But there's no denying the hour leading up to Andrew Wiggins' public proclamation that he'll attend Kansas this year was a lesson on the impact social media can have in elevating a story.
Don't believe me?
Just ask Grant Traylor.
He's a writer from the Herald-Dispatch in West Virginia.
He was the only reporter allowed to attend Wiggins' announcement.
"Congrats Twitter ... you all broke my phone minutes after his signing," Traylor tweeted about 30 minutes after the announcement. "Twitter app is done. LOL."
Traylor had 1,962 followers on Twitter two days ago. Then it was learned that he'd be the first reporter to know Wiggins' college destination, at which point his follower account ballooned to 17,800, and each 140-character burst of information was treated as breaking news. Literally everything Traylor tweeted was retweeted hundreds, if not thousands, of times. My favorite was a picture Traylor posted of Wiggins and his mother walking into the gym at Huntington Prep that featured Jesus Christ himself photobombing because, honestly, why wouldn't JC make an unscheduled appearance?
It was that kind of day.
This recruitment that started as a battle between Florida State (because of his parents' connection to the school) and Kentucky (because it's Kentucky) ultimately swung to Allen Fieldhouse, the latest example of Bill Self out-maneuvering his old boss Leonard Hamilton. Within minutes of the announcement, countless fans who don't spend their days pulling for KU attacked. They tweeted at Wiggins to express their disappointment by telling him they hope he does everything from "tear his ACL" to "die in a plane crash." Some also wanted him to "burn in hell" because, in their opinions, he's a "bitch" who is "fu--ing retarded" and a "piece of sh-t" who should have his "neck snapped."
Andrew Wiggins is just 18 years old, by the way.
He is, by all accounts, a nice and respectful young man.
And yet this is how he spent Tuesday -- being told that he should die in various ways.
I could use the next few hundred words explaining why this is ridiculous, sad and embarrassing to college sports fans, if not the human race in general. But what's the point? Idiots are idiots. If it were possible to eliminate them from the conversation, we would've done it by now. So I guess my advice to Wiggins would be to get used to it. Because though he did his best to downplay this announcement -- no TV, no national audience, just family and friends and one reporter from a local newspaper -- his stature in this sport combined with the buildup to his unusually late announcement made all of this unavoidable, and things will only intensify from here.
Yes, Wiggins is the nation's top prospect.
Everybody knows as much.
But it should be noted he's much more than that.
Every high school class has a No. 1 player by definition. But in the same way that all national champions aren't considered equals, all top prospects shouldn't be considered equals either. Point being, Wiggins is a special kind of athlete and talent. It's not unreasonable to call him the best prospect since LeBron James. He'll be our preseason National Player of the Year. He'll be the No. 1 pick in next June's NBA Draft. Between now and then, he'll be the biggest star in college basketball based on what he does and what people think he'll probably do years from now. Wiggins' mere presence will make KU the Big 12 favorite (again) and a legitimate contender to bring Self a second national title. CBS Parrish
Kansas made up a lot of ground in the latter parts of Wiggins' recruitment after being something of an afterthought during the early stages. Self made a major impression on Wiggins, and he loved his visit to Lawrence. Wiggins has a chance to be the go-to-guy right off the bat, and he could be the missing piece between a borderline Top 25 team and a Final Four contender. Throw in the fact that Wiggins' brother, Nick, plays at nearby Wichita State, and it made sense for Kansas to put on the full-court press.
And it paid off.
Wiggins is immediately a leading candidate to be an All-American next season, as he is also the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Yes, he's that good. The 6-foot-8 small forward has the ability to play multiple positions, creating matchup problems all over the court. He's supremely athletic with great length, and he plays with smoothness in his game that separates himself from his peers. Wiggins can knock down shots from the perimeter, and is also adept in the mid-range. Of course, his ability to finish at the rim and attack in transition is also elite.
On the other side of the floor, Wiggins has the tools to be one of the best defenders in the country. His length and size enable him to guard every position on the court, whether on the perimeter or in the post. That's what makes him scary -- and so tantalizing. Wiggins has the ability to be a lockdown defender, but he has plenty of room to improve on the offensive end. CBS Borzello The basics on Wiggins:
DOB: Feb. 23, 1995 (in Toronto).
Height: 6 feet, 8 inches
Weight: 195 pounds
Stat line: 23.4 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 2.5 APG, 2.4 SPG
Position: Combo forward
Awards: 2013 Naismith Prep Player of the Year and Gatorade National Player of the Year
High School: Huntington Prep School (Huntington, W.V.)
AAU team: CIA Bounce (Anthony Bennett, Tyler Ennis, Rathan-Mayes have also played for Bounce)
A year early. Last October, Wiggins reclassified to the Class of 2013. He was originally on pace to graduate in 2014, which would've made Duke's Jabari Parker the No. 1 recruit in this class. Why, it wasn't even a year ago that Sports Illustrated proclaimed Parker to be the best prep recruit since LeBron James. Now he's not even the best in his class. The Wiggins-Parker storyline is one that I'd like to keep an eye on, though. Both will be on teams playing with good Final Four hopes.
He doesn't like attention. No, it's true! And that adds to the irony of this. Wiggins has taken a really long time to decide, but he made his pick in relatively private quarters on Tuesday, signing a letter of intent while surrounded by family and classmates -- and just one media member. We should note that Kansas is a heavy college hoops media market, though. Wiggins will be stepping into a whole new kind of life a few months from now.
Skill set. Well, being the No. 1 overall recruit in this class and perceived as the best in a decade, naturally, Wiggins does so many things well. Watch the video below as proof. One thing that stands out to me: The kid cracks off the floor and adjusts his body to dunk with such ease. And he's a premier defender. The dunks get the lion's share of the video, but Wiggins will be one of the best without the ball next season, too. At this moment, defense is his forte.
He's not LeBron James. Just because he's considered the best prospect since James doesn't mean he has the same game. Wiggins most certainly doesn't, and no one (thankfully) has gone so far as to say Wiggins will be as good/better than James. He's a tantalizing athletic prospect with a natural feel for the game. Though his body has matured, his game has a ways to go before he's truly elite. James was better at this point than Wiggins is. CBS
5/14/13, 3:00 PM
We know you're hype about @22wiggins v. @JabariParker22 @championclassic. We are too! Tix in sale in Oct
@championclassic AUDIO: Telep on Wiggins ZagsBlog Archive of all things Wiggins
Everybody welcome the newest member to the family @22wiggins ! Time to get to work @WayneSeldenJr
BIG Welcome to the Family @22wiggins let’s get to work and win all next year #KUCMB #KUbball @jojo_embiid
I just landed in Atlanta and found out Andrew Wiggins is coming to KU!!! What a great day!#RockChalk @RobRiggle
ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK - KU now legit top 10 team with Andrew Wiggins! @DickieV
Andrew Wiggins is another example that every school would take a player for one year if they could get him. Remember this is an NBA rule,” tweeted @ESPNAndyKatz
Heading into the day, Kansas was likely second in Big 12. Now, Jayhawks are a Final Four contender. Wiggins effect @JeffBorzello
Welcome to the fam @22wiggins. ... next season needs to hurry up and get here @landenlucas33
Congrats to Coach Self, staff and team. Wow. Welcome Andrew to the Jayhawk family. Rock Chalk! @CoachWeisKansas
Great day to be a Jayhawk! Congrats to @22wiggins on his decision. A great feeling knowing where your going to be playing ball!! #RockChalk @jtheaps9
Congrats to Coach Self and staff on a great recruiting year!!! Rock Chalk!!!” @davecampo2
@22wiggins hey welcome to the family #rockchalk #kubball and #kufball @ReillyJeffers
Over a month ago Huntington (W.Va.) Prep sophomore point guard Nevell Provo said that teammate Andrew Wiggins had Kansas No. 1 on his recruiting list. That came as a bit of a shock because the logic was that Kentucky and Florida State were the leaders for the nation’s top high school prospect.
However, Provo’s proclamation came true Tuesday when the 6-8 Wiggins announced he was going to Kansas and not UK, Florida State or North Carolina.
So why Kansas? Provo said at the time Wiggins had listed the pros and cons of each team on his recruiting list and Kansas was the clear winner. Norrie (Clevenger) Price, a Mercer County native and the host mother for Provo and Huntington teammate Montaque Gill-Ceasar, thinks it might have had more to do with Kansas coach Bill Self and his similarities to Huntington coach Rob Fulford.
“I think he absolutely loved Bill Self. I think if (UK commit) Julius Randle had gone there, there’s no question he would have been at Kansas. He really liked Julius Randle,” said Price after attending Wiggins’ announcement. “Honestly, I believe there was ongoing discussions as late as last night with his parents. He seemed very relieved and happy, so I am happy with him.
“I know he loved Self from prior conversations he had with my husband. My husband loves him (Self), too. His host mom said Bill Self was more like Rob than (Kentucky coach) John Calipari and that is how Andrew is. He is not a flashy kid. He is not about pomp and circumstance. He’s just a humble kid.”
…“I think those that were not close to the program did not know how much he liked Bill Self,” she said. “I would not have predicted Kansas because no one really had an idea, but it’s not a big surprise to me.
“I think the longer things went on, it probably hurt Kentucky. A year ago, it was Kentucky and Florida State. The more players Kentucky signed and then going through the all-star games, I just think too many things stacked up against Kentucky in the long run. I think if he had made a decision early, it would have been Kentucky. By waiting, he changed his mind.”
Some are speculating that Wiggins might not have had a warm and fuzzy relationship with twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison, two of UK’s six signees he played with in various all-star games. Fulford also coached the twins in the Jordan Brand Classic.
“I don’t think he really knew Harrison twins. I think playing in all-star games with them probably clarified things for him about them when he had a chance to be around them,” Price said. “But the biggest thing, I think, is just that he felt comfortable with Bill Self.” Larry Vaught's Views
Wednesday seemed a lot like the day after Christmas to Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self.
“My birthday falls two days after Christmas. I always got underwear or T-shirts for my birthday,” Self said during an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s ESPN radio show. “This was better than a Christmas and a birthday present combined.”
…The signing of Wiggins, who chose KU over Kentucky, Florida State and North Carolina, classified as huge national news, hence Self’s appearance on various national talk shows.
Tim Brando of CBS radio asked Self about losing one top-three NBA Draft pick in Ben McLemore with another filling the void in Wiggins.
“The situation with Ben, he handled himself beautifully while he was here. He’s an unbelievable kid. We lose him. We should have lost him (after one season). He should go because he has a chance to provide for his family,” Self said on Brando’s show. “You wake up and have somebody like Andrew Wiggins step in to go with five other guys (in KU’s recruiting Class of 2013), and you are, ‘Wow. Did we deserve this? This is unbelievable.’ We’re all ecstatic around here.”
Wiggins has been praised for announcing in a private ceremony at his high school attended by just one media member.
“It drives me nuts. You spend a lot of time recruiting a kid, and a kid picks a hat (off a table), which is fine. It’s how TV wants to play it up to be a big deal,” Self said of signing ceremonies in which a top high school player places hats of his finalists in front of him and puts the hat of one school on his head, signifying the winner.
“You have schools that invest so much time, energy and money sitting there watching it go down and not have a clue because they (network executives) tell them (prospects), ‘If you tell anybody, we won’t have you on TV.’ This was the high school beat writer, family, friends, teammates ... perfect. I thought it was very refreshing.”
…“Comparing him to LeBron is not fair,” Self said. “From a physical standpoint, they are both about the same height. LeBron is obviously much thicker and bigger physically. Andrew is extremely long at 6-8. His wingspan may be 7-1, 7-2, and they can both fly. There are some similarities in that. Both are freakish athletes.”
As far as how Wiggins will be used ...
“We’ll plug him in and do a lot of things we did with Ben plus add a whole bunch of more things,” Self said. “I think he’s a slasher who can shoot. You can post him. You can play really small with him at the 4, which we probably never will do, and of course he can be your 2-guard, which is his natural position.” LJW
Of Wiggins the person, Fulford said: “Unbelievable kid. I texted coach Self and told him, ‘Congratulations, you are not only getting a great basketball player, but even better person.’ It’s been an honor to have him here. He’s one of the most respectful kids you’ll ever meet. He gets a bad rap for not wanting to handle media, but I think the part of the media he didn’t like to deal with is over. He didn’t like to talk about recruiting, comparing colleges. Talking basketball, he’s fine.”
As far as Wiggins the player, the coach said: “He has off the charts ability. It’s unfair to compare anyone to (Michael) Jordan or LeBron (James). I hope people don’t do that and set him up. He has unbelievable potential. His future is very bright. If he stays healthy, he will have a great NBA career. But comparisons are unfair at this point.
“He showed up at Huntington Prep as an elite athlete; he’s leaving an elite basketball player. He’s gotten so much better in the couple years he’s been here. He has room to improve certain things. It will be fun to sit back and watch how he develops at Kansas and into the future,” Fulford noted.
…Wiggins played for the Canadian team that won bronze at last summer’s Americas qualifying tournament for the Under 19 worlds. The U19 Worlds will be contested June 27-July 7 in Prague.
The qualifying tournament for the FIBA World Cup will be Aug. 30-Sept. 11 in Venezuela. Wiggins said Tuesday his immediate plans are to take finals, return home to Canada to relax with friends and family.
“He has some desires, which I totally support 100 percent, of playing on the Canadian 19 and under team,” Self said. “Whatever he wants to do I’m cool with, as long as it’s a situation where he’s getting better. One of the advantages of being here (in summer) is for camaraderie and chemistry with teammates. If he has a chance to do some things from a worldwide competition standpoint, we’ll support that 100 percent. To have the opportunity to play for one or, even better, both teams I think would be a remarkable experience for him.” LJW
“I’ve got a weight lifted off my shoulders. I can relax now,” said Wiggins, who will be playing one year of college ball just up the road from his brother, Nick, a senior-to-be at Wichita State.
“That’s another positive in going there. We talked about all the possibilities. My brother is right there with me. Wichita State is like an hour-and-a-half travel away, so I can be close to my brother. I just look forward to having fun (at KU) and competing,” he added.
Wiggins — the last ranked player in the Class of 2013 to announce his college choice — didn’t keep anybody waiting on Tuesday morning.
His press conference, which was scheduled for 11:15 a.m., started at 11:09. That’s when Traylor’s tweet came out, KU coach Bill Self and lead Wiggins recruiter Kurtis Townsend not immediately noticing that they’d won the biggest recruiting battle of their careers.
Recruiting analyst Shay Wildeboor of Rivals.com called Townsend with the news.
“Shay asked Kurt, has he heard? We said, ‘No, he hasn’t done it yet,’” Self said. “Shay said, ‘He just did it. He’s coming to Kansas.’ It’s how we found out. Everybody started running in the office saying it was out everywhere he signed. Then my phone started blowing up. I probably got 150 texts in 10 minutes.
“There wasn’t jubilation,” Self added. “It was kind of a surreal feeling. I was so happy. It was a humble happiness. I was so proud we were able to land Andrew. There were some high fives, but not that much celebration. There will be a time we do celebrate. Hopefully that’s after we win a lot of games next year,” Self added.
Self admitted he went to bed on Monday night apprehensive about Tuesday’s announcement.
“I didn’t think it was great,” he said of KU’s chances. “I kept texting him. I couldn’t get him to respond. In the morning I text him and said, ‘Hey man, have a great day today.’ He texted back, ‘Thank you.’ That’s been my limited contact with him in recent days because he shut it all down and wanted to think about everything. We had no communication with the family until after he signed the papers.”
…“I thought it was the longest long shot,” Self said, “at least when we first got involved and everything. The more we hung around, the more we felt he liked us. There was a little bit of a connection. Kurtis (Townsend) played a huge role in making sure that occurred.”
Self said KU caught a break in Wiggins visiting for Senior Day.
“He saw what this place was about,” Self said. “The game wasn’t a huge high intensity game (vs. Texas Tech) but he was able to see how the players are beloved here. After he left, I felt we were definitely in the game and had a shot.” LJW
Wilt, Danny and Wiggins can’t be compared as basketball players because of their different styles and positions and because nobody can be compared to Wilt. But Johnson did point to traits shared by Chamberlain and Manning and to early signs that Wiggins might have them as well: class and humility.
“Wilt and Danny, really good people who came from wonderful families,” Johnson said.
Wiggins didn’t invite ESPN in for a news conference choreographed by the network, replete with baseball caps from all four schools facing the TV cameras. Great sign.
“It tells me a lot about him,” Johnson said. “He wasn’t doing it for the glory or for the attention the way most of them do it.”
Instead, he let a reporter who had covered him in high school break the news via Twitter.
“That’s very telling about what type of person he is,” Johnson said.
Throughout his recruitment, Wiggins appeared to think all the speculation about his college choice, all the importance placed on it, did not make sense. He seems to get that just because he happens to be really good at something that generates huge audiences on TV and in person doesn’t make him more important than heads of state.
Manning’s the same way and, according to Johnson, so was Wilt, who to that point was the most talented basketball player ever. LJW Keegan
One sportsbook opted to not even post college basketbal future odds until Andrew Wiggins signed.
Another had Kansas as a 30-1 longshot a week ago and just 10-1 this morning.
Such is the impact the Canadian high schooler has had on college basketball and on college basketball betting.
"We were waiting on him to sign before opening these odds up," said Kevin Bradley of Bovada sportsbook. "He is the biggest impact player we have seen in a long time and he is an immediate difference maker on college basketball future odds."
Indeed, the decision by the son of former NBAer Mitchell Wiggins shot Kansas to second spot on the Bovada odds list at 11-2. That is just behind Kentucky at 5-1.
In addition to the improved odds on the Jayhawks, Wiggins was also the subject of a few college basketball props Wednesday morning. Bovada made him a -300 bet to be the first player taken in next year's NBA draft.
And his point-per-game over/under for next season was set at 18. philly.com
Bill Self knew after witnessing an emotional senior day that Andrew Wiggins was considering Kansas, even if the Jayhawks' coach was in the dark like everyone else while the superstar recruit made certain of his future.
For one thing, Wiggins saw on that visit in March just how beloved players are at Kansas, where icons such as James Naismith and Phog Allen have become deified.
Wiggins also saw just how many players were departing.
Four senior starters delivered farewell addresses that night. A few weeks later, star freshman Ben McLemore announced he would be declaring for the NBA draft, leaving the nine-time defending Big 12 champions looking for a bunch of guys to plug into the lineup next season.
Undoubtedly, Wiggins saw in Kansas a place where he could shine.
…"I felt like there was a connection," Self said, "but basically, he picked a good night to visit. He visited on senior day and kind of saw what this was all about, a game that wasn't a huge high-intensity game, but a game he was able to see how players are beloved here."
…"If anything," Self said, "it gets me excited to go to work."
Wiggins said the most difficult part of his decision was informing the three other finalists that he'd be going elsewhere. As for why he chose Kansas, well, he's keeping most of those reasons private, though he did say having his older brother Nick Wiggins at Wichita State was nice.
His father, former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins, said fit was also a big part of it.
"He liked their system. A lot of pro offence, the pick and roll," the elder Wiggins said. "The system is probably the biggest thing, and [Bill] Self is a pretty good coach."
Self is the first to admit he wouldn't be nearly as successful if it wasn't for his players — that's where it all starts, of course. But in luring Wiggins to Kansas, even Self acknowledged he's never coached another player like him.
"He doesn't really fit the mold of some of the guys we've had in the past," Self said. "He's a tremendous talent and a terrific kid. Probably an even better kid than he is a talent. We think he has a chance to be about as good a prospect as we've ever had." AP
“He is soft-spoken,” said Roy Rana, the Ryerson University coach who has coached Wiggins internationally and at the Nike Hoop Summit. “But it’s not that he’s not assertive. He’s an assertive young man. When he feels strongly about something, he will let you know and he will stand up for himself. I think his adjustment will be fine. I think he’s going to step in to wherever he goes to college and have a great experience as a student and have a huge impact on the court. As he continues to mature he’s going to be much more confident in who he is and what he wants.”
The hope is that his year in Kansas will help him get there. Wiggins is at the top of a loaded class of potential 2014 draftees, including Kentucky commits Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison, as well as Duke’s Jabari Parker and Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart. Thanks to his superior athleticism, Wiggins is ranked the top prospect of them all, but he does not have a free ride to the top pick in 2014. He has never dealt with the consistent competition that he will face this year, and his jumper and work ethic are still points of concern.
In that sense, going to Kansas, where he will play with Cameroonian centre Joel Embiid and Boston shooting guard Wayne Selden, will help him. Kentucky will likely be the favourite to win the NCAA championship heading into next year, but Kansas will be very competitive. A dominant year for Wiggins would certainly help that cause.
But the main priorities are clear: avoid injury and avoid controversy. Those would have remained the same, no matter where he chose to spend eight months of his life. National Post
Wiggins had long ago narrowed things down to four schools — three bluebloods (Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky) and a sentimental choice (Florida State).
In Kansas, he took the Goldilocks option.
Kentucky is too stacked with incoming freshman talent. Had Wiggins chosen the Wildcats he’d have created a Fab Five maelstrom guaranteeing blanket coverage for the next year. More than anything, what this kid needs is space to breathe, not new excuses for the media to pile on.
UNC isn’t quite as good, but still maintains the most pressurized atmosphere in college sports that isn’t football in Texas. Also, attending Michael Jordan’s alma mater would set the bar rather high.
Though both his parents attended Florida State, it has a depressingly average basketball set-up.
Kansas is just right — a historic program with a track record of shuttling youngsters into the pros; a powerful team, but not so oversold that it might overshadow him. Kansas is bigger than the player, but smaller than his ambition.
Kansas will know its role in all this — to take gentle hold of Wiggins and deliver him to his next team without breaking anything.
If there’s any significance to this decision it’s in the way it was taken.
The done-thing for a recruit of Wiggins’ stature is to announce his choice like the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Only 18, Wiggins is already an FOL (Friend of LeBron). He and his handlers learned something from that example about how acres of goodwill can be undone by one Caligulan pronouncement.
Rather than a big reveal, Wiggins instead chose to do it in his high school gymnasium in front of family and friends. There was no camera bank or pep squad squealing in the background. Only one reporter was invited — the local scribbler from Huntington, West Virginia’s Herald-Dispatch.
As soon as he tweeted out word, ESPN.com made it their top story. And not just one story. They posted five. They also re-released their pre-season top 25, bumping Kansas from the fringes to fifth overall.
Whether or not it’s true, Wiggins’ coaches told reporters that as of two hours before he announced his destination, he hadn’t yet told his parents. Kansas officials only learned of the choice when the words came out of Wiggins’ mouth. The overriding message: “I’m my own man.”
Wiggins seems aware that the three losers here were just as important an audience as the one winner. That’s heady judgment from a high-schooler.
He isn’t going to college to win championships, though he just might. He isn’t even going there to develop as a player. What Wiggins needs more than coaching is a quality trainer. The reedy 6-foot-8 forward can’t compete at the next level until he’s gained 30 or 40 pounds.
Everything else in his arsenal is already pro-rated. He is the best amateur player on the planet, and already one of the dozen-or-so best wings in the game.
Wiggins is instead going to Kansas on an extended promotional campaign. He’s there to impress upon NBA GMs that he’s as advertised, and that that quality extends primarily from character rather than genetics.
He’s also making a low-key sizzle reel for advertisers who can’t yet sign him. This is a job interview. Wiggins is the one holding the interview.
When he came up to Hamilton to barnstorm in front of a packed gym at McMaster in February, Wiggins was all shy reserve. He speaks in whispers, head tucked into chin. Someone asked him that day what he would like people to know about him.
“That I’m only 17,” Wiggins said then.
He’s age of majority now. He has next to nothing to prove in the NCAA. But the message is changing. He needs people to know that he is an adult.
In the way he hurdled all the stumbling blocks to making this first defining choice of his professional life, that message was amplified. The kid is a lot better than alright. Toronto Star
Baylor, nice try.
Same for Oklahoma State.
Just when the Big 12 was ready to crown a new men's basketball champion for the first time since 1934, Kansas just had to step in and go all Kansas on the conference yet again.
In a highly, highly anticipated decision, top prep basketball prospect Andrew Wiggins said he will attend the University of Kansas to play basketball beginning in the fall.
Wiggins is listed as a 6-foot-7 small forward; he has been called one of the top recruits in the past decade.
HOORAY FOR KANSAS, and specifically the institution of higher learning and edumicashion.
This has to be KU's biggest name recruit since Larry Brown hired assistant coach Ed Manning so his son, Danny, would play basketball in Lawrence. Ed apparently was a dynamite coach.
Wiggins is the best prep player in the country, and he was attracting interest from every blue blood program in the nation. He picked KU over Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State to play college basketball.
He may even attend class, although I don't why.
(* It should be noted that I am a KU undergrad alum, class of ... just very recently.)
This guy is so gone to the NBA this time a year from now the only classes he should be taking are How to Change My Cell Phone Number Every 15 Minutes, The History of Groupies and Entourage Studies.
KU could potentially have the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft - Ben McLemore - and '14 draft, Wiggins.
Both Baylor and Oklahoma State should have an edge in terms of preseason conference ranking because of the number of quality returning players, but the addition of a talent like Wiggins to Kansas changes everything.
Just prepare now for another KU Big 12 title. Star-Telegram Blogs
Here's a look at the highlights of Wiggins' winding recruitment, from his roots in Canada to his big day in West Virginia:
August 2011: Wiggins, who had been a student at Vaughan Secondary School in his native Ontario, transfers to play for Huntington Prep in Huntington, W.Va. About that time, he makes his debut as the consensus No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2014.
Sept. 24: Wiggins makes his first unofficial visit to Kentucky, taking in the campus with Huntington Prep Coach Rob Fulford and teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Dec. 3: Wiggins takes an unofficial visit to UK to see the much-hyped matchup between the Wildcats and North Carolina. Freshman star Anthony Davis blocks a shot in the final seconds to help UK secure a victory in front of a raucous Rupp Arena crowd. "I thought it was amazing," Wiggins later told Scout.com.
July 20, 2012: Wiggins faces off against fellow top recruit Julius Randle, with Calipari and assistant coach Orlando Antigua in attendance, at the Nike Peach Jam Finals in North Augusta, S.C. Wiggins outplayed Randle down the stretch, finishing with 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in an 81-80 overtime victory.
July 30: AAU coach Mike George tells the Herald-Leader that UK and Florida State are recruiting Wiggins the hardest after both Calipari and FSU Coach Leonard Hamilton attend his basketball camp in Canada. George says that will be a big factor in Wiggins' decision: "It's who's recruiting him hardest. That's what counts. That's what he wants to see. If he's playing, you better have a coach there front and center. And it better be the head coach. And if it's not — you have a problem."
Oct. 13: Xavier Rathan-Mayes — Wiggins' longtime friend and teammate — commits to Florida State. Rathan-Mayes, a four-star shooting guard, has been mentioned as one of the reasons Wiggins might choose the Seminoles.
Oct. 22: Wiggins makes it clear in an interview with Scout.com that he has opened his recruitment to schools other than perceived favorites UK and Florida State. "My options are still wide open," he says. "People think they can dictate or know where I'm going, but they might be in for a surprise." Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse are among the schools that express interest.
Oct. 25: Fulford announces that Wiggins will join the class of 2013. He is immediately listed as the No. 1 overall prospect in the senior class.
Nov. 18: Wiggins leads Huntington Prep to a 61-44 victory over Christian Faith Center (N.C.) at Scott County High School in Georgetown. The crowd of more than 2,000 includes Calipari, Antigua and several current UK players. "The atmosphere was great," Wiggins said. "All of the fans loved me and supported my team. It's a great place to play basketball here. People love basketball ... the desire for the game. So I appreciate that."
Nov. 30-Dec. 1: Wiggins plays two games at the Marshall County Hoop Fest in Benton, Ky., and averages 27 points and 13 rebounds in the two victories. There were more than 5,000 fans — many of them wearing blue — for each game. Among the spectators was UK commitment Derek Willis. "He's a freak. He's probably the best player I've seen in my entire life," Willis tells the Herald-Leader.
Dec. 5: Wiggins and his parents attend the Florida State-Florida game as part of the official visit to Tallahassee. The Gators trounce the Seminoles, 72-47, but Wiggins' parents are honored with a halftime celebration of their past accomplishments as FSU athletes. "(FSU's coaches) talked about the legacy," Wiggins told Rivals.com. "It's appealing. It's something that I could look forward to (if I went there)."
Feb. 7, 2013: Sports Illustrated publishes a lengthy article with the headline, "The Canadian Jordan, Andrew Wiggins the great hope north of border." The piece questions Wiggins' work ethic, mentions several Canadian prospects who have fizzled in the past and references his father's two-year drug suspension from the NBA. Later that night, Wiggins goes off for 57 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, while making 24 of 28 field goals in a victory over the Marietta College JV team. Wiggins and Fulford said after the game that the performance was sparked by the "negative" SI article.
Feb. 25: Wiggins is named the Naismith Player of the Year, beating out fellow finalists Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon for the honor.
Feb. 27: Wiggins and his parents attend the UK-Mississippi State game as part of their official visit to Lexington. "That was a good visit. It was crazy. The game I went to the fans were crazy. They're always crazy. My parents liked it."
March 2: A crowd at Boyd County Middle School in Ashland looks on as Wiggins scores 40 points in the final game of his high school career.
March 4: Wiggins and his parents travel to Kansas to see the Jayhawks play Texas Tech as part of their official visit to Lawrence.
March 9: Wiggins takes his final official visit to see the Tar Heels play archrival Duke in their regular-season finale. His parents also accompanied him to Chapel Hill. "It was a crazy experience," Wiggins said. "For some people a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see Duke and UNC go at it. That rivalry is crazy. I have a lot of family in North Carolina and my dad was born there. So it was good."
March 20: Julius Randle — who some services consider the best prospect not named Andrew Wiggins — commits to Kentucky. A couple weeks later, Wiggins is asked what his reaction was when he first heard of Randle's commitment. "I don't remember," he says with a smile.
March 27: NBA great Alonzo Mourning surprises Wiggins at his school with the national Gatorade Player of the Year Award, which recognizes athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the court.
March 28: The Hamburglar and Grimace stop by Wiggins' high school to acknowledge the player's selection to the McDonald's All-American Game. Standing in for Mayor McCheese was Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, who proclaims the date Andrew Wiggins Day in Huntington. Calipari also drops in on Wiggins for what Fulford later described as a "pretty informal, laid-back talk." It turns out to be the final face-to-face meeting with a college head coach during his recruitment.
April 2: Wiggins talks to reporters about his recruitment during the McDonald's Game media day. He outlines the positives of each of his finalists, specifically mentioning the appeal of playing with other top recruits at UK. "They'll all probably be superstars when they go to the next level. It's always good to surround yourselves with guys who you know are going to make it too."
April 3: Wiggins scores a team-high 19 points in the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago, but his East team falls to the West, 110-99.
April 12: ESPN's Keith Jenkins tweets, "Source tells me Andrew Wiggins ... will commit to Florida State. Nothing official as of yet." Wiggins, who is attending the dinner banquet at the Jordan Brand Classic, responds almost immediately with a tweet of his own, "Lol if you ain't in my family you know nothing about my recruitment, lol stop with the rumors." Jenkins' tweet is later deleted.
April 13: Wiggins scores 19 points in the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn. His team, which includes Randle and the Harrison twins, loses 102-98 to a squad featuring James Young, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee. Wiggins is asked by an ESPN sideline reporter when he thinks he'll make a college announcement. "No clue," he says with a shrug.
April 20: Wiggins scores 17 points to go with nine rebounds and four assists in the World's 112-98 victory over Team USA at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore.
April 22: Twitter nearly breaks with the news that Wiggins has canceled in-home visits with coaches Leonard Hamilton, Roy Williams and Bill Self. The reason for the cancellations: Wiggins is exhausted from a grueling three weeks on the all-star circuit followed by travel problems getting back to Huntington from the Hoop Summit in Portland. Instead of face-to-face meetings, he talks to all three coaches on the phone before the end of the contact period April 24.
May 3: A Maryland seafood restaurateur with the Twitter handle Johnny Crabcakes posts a letter showing his connection to North Carolina Coach Roy Williams and declares that his sources tell him Wiggins will sign with the Tar Heels later that day. The tweets go viral. When the deadline passes, Crabcakes says he might be off on the timeline, but reiterates that "Wiggins to UNC is a done deal." Fulford responds to the Herald-Leader with incredulity: "I can promise you Roy Williams would tell me Andrew is committing before he did the guy that gets his crab cakes," he says.
May 12: Fulford tells several media members that Wiggins will make his college announcement May 14 during a private signing ceremony at his high school. Sticking with the theme of the highly secretive recruitment, Fulford says: "I have no clue where he's going or leaning, so I'm not much help here."
May 13: The predictions start rolling in, and the consensus seems to be Florida State. Among those who pick the Seminoles are ESPN's Dave Telep, 24/7 Sports analyst Jerry Meyer, Rivals.com's Eric Bossi and CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish.
May 14: Decision Day. Lexington Herald-Leader
2015 Diamond Stone
2015 C Diamond Stone, Young Legends 16s, Saturday, April 27, 2013 Jayhawk Invitational
2014 Brekkott Chapman
Brekkott Chapman '14 Utah Prospects (#23 black jersey) competes at the 2013 Jayhawk Invitational vs the Illinois Wolves
Myles Turner 2014 Texas Select
Six-foot-10 Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson told the Journal-World on Thursday he will be transferring to play for Kansas. The big man will have two years of eligibility for KU starting with the 2014-15 season.
Here'a a look at Mickelson's statistical profile from his two years at Arkansas (stats from KenPom.com).LJW NewellKUAD Press Release: Kansas adds forward transfer
A former top-100 recruit, Mickelson will sit out next season and use a redshirt year to grow into a mature, program player. It’s a long-term addition, though, and that’s one reason Self is still looking to add instant-impact pieces to the Jayhawks’ roster for next season.
“I think the current roster could add a piece or two to make it great,” Self said on Friday, after officially announcing Mickelson’s transfer. “I’ve said all along, our recruiting class, I think, is really, really good. Adding Hunter to the mix, although he won’t play next year, makes it better.
“And if we were able to steal one or two more, I think our recruiting class could be as good as we’ve ever had here.”
Indeed, the Jayhawks are slated to add a five-man freshman class in 2013-14, including four players ranked in the top 40 of Rivals’ top 150 rankings. But there are a few big fishes remaining, namely top overall recruit Andrew Wiggins, who is still considering Kansas, Kentucky, Florida State and North Carolina.
“There’s not a lot of high school guys out there available. But we’re certainly open to the recruitment of a couple of those guys that we’re pursuing.”
Another potential target is Memphis transfer Tarik Black, a 6-foot-9 junior forward who is expected to graduate this spring and will be eligible to play right away under the graduate transfer rule. (The Jayhawks, according to ESPN.com, are not pursuing Alabama transfer Trevor Lacey.)
A player such as Black could provide an immediate impact, something that Mickelson won’t be able to do while sitting out. Still, Self believes Mickelson will benefit from what will essentially be a redshirt year.
“When we recruited him (out of high school), we didn’t know that Hunter would be a great player as a freshman, but we knew he had a chance to be a great player,” Self said. “That’s exactly where we are. He’s going to be a very good player for us we firmly believe, but I think it is going to take a little time. So the redshirt year will be much better for him.”
…Self is still in the beginning stages of his search to replace former assistant Joe Dooley, who recently took the head coaching job at Florida Gulf Coast.
But you can cross one candidate off the list. Self said he will fill the position from the outside, meaning Doc Sadler won’t be promoted from his position as the Jayhawks’ director of basketball operations.
In fact, Self said Sadler, the former head coach at Nebraska, may not return to Kansas.
“Doc and I have visited,” Self said, “I do know this: He’s probably gotta do more than what he’s done for us, to be honest with you. He was an asset to us in that position. But he wants to coach, so we’ll see how that plays out.”KC Star
In 2011, when Hunter Mickelson committed to John Pelphrey at Arkansas, he was highly regarded. He was the No. 8-ranked power forward in the class, the No. 55-ranked overall player, and a key part of the recruiting class that was supposed to save Pelphrey's job. It didn't. When Mike Anderson took over, there was some question where Mickelson would fit within "40 Minutes of Hell," whether he was the type of player that could really excel in Anderson's run-and-gun system.
He didn't and now he's transferring. And, to paraphase the immortal words of Jon Lovitz in "The Wedding Singer," Kansas is reaping the benefits.
Mickelson announced his decision to transfer to Lawrence Thursday afternoon, ending a pretty brief examination period during which he considered a handful of schools, Butler most seriously. But you can't fault the decision either way, and you have to think Mickelson could be a really nice addition for the Jayhawks.
Sure, he averaged just 5.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 16.6 minutes a game last season, with an offensive rating of just 97.0 and decent, but unspectacular, rebounding rates on both ends. Those aren't high-impact, elite-transfer type numbers. But it's entirely possible that Mickelson was simply lost on a team and in a style of play that didn't fit him. That was the consensus during his departure which was amicable as it gets, by all accounts). He could still be scratching the surface. Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed, Bill Self's staff at Kansas tends to make players better. Like, every player.
And even if none of that is true, Mickelson is a good defender and a great shot-blocker. He finished with a 13.5 percent block rate as a freshman, which took a dive last season (to a still-very-respective 8.2 percent); he once went 20 games in a row with at least one blocked shot. Even if that's all you get from him, fine, right? Plenty of coaches would take it.
Memphis forward Tarik Black has taken over the transfer circuit this season, because everyone wants a big, physical, veteran big. If Black is desirable enough to earn the affections of the nation's best, by 2013-14 Mickelson might just be the steal of the summer.ESPN
Mickelson, who broke Arkansas’ freshman shot-block record (72) two seasons ago, averaged 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds his sophomore season (16.6 minutes/game), while never really adjusting to coach Mike Anderson’s pressing style of play.
“He is a great coach. It probably is a good style for big men, but it just wasn’t for me,” said Mickelson, who, as Rivals.com’s No. 100-rated player in the high school recruiting Class of 2011, chose John Pelphrey’s program over KU, Florida, Baylor, Arizona, Kentucky and 19 others who offered scholarships. Pelphrey was fired before Mickelson’s freshman year.
“KU was my No. 1 choice out of (Jonesboro Westside) high school, but he is a homestate kid and wanted to play for the Razorbacks. We gave that a try even though we knew the system and style probably wasn’t the best one for him,” said Mickelson’s dad, Darien.
“KU is a good fit with the type of players he (Bill Self) turns out as far as the Cole Aldriches and Jeff Witheys,” Darien added. “The storied tradition of KU basketball … it is like Notre Dame football. It doesn’t get any better than that. The biggest factor is, KU really recruits itself, but just being on the court with three or four other high-quality talented kids makes everybody better. You can’t have the success and history and expectations maintained that many years by not doing it right.”
Mickelson, who will practice but not play in games next season in accordance with NCAA rules, chose KU as a transfer destination over finalist Butler. He and his dad have never been to Lawrence.
…“Kansas has landed a key addition in Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson. He’ll fit much better w/ Bill Self’s system,” said Jeff Goodman of cbssports.com. CBS’ sources said Mickelson tried to get out of his letter of intent when Pelphrey was fired, but was denied by coach Anderson. Mickelson’s recruiting class included Devonta Abron (now at TCU), B.J. Young (recently declared for NBA Draft) and Kyle Madden, who remains at Arkansas.
…KU will play the University of New Mexico on Dec. 14 in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. It will be a one-time game with no return game to UNM. Former KU guard Merv Lindsay will be eligible at New Mexico next season. KU will play Duke in Chicago next season, travel to Colorado and Florida, play Georgetown and San Diego State at home and play in the Battle 4 Atlantis.LJW
Standing out at first glance with his 240 pound frame and 7'5 wingspan, Embiid looks the part of a NBA center. Very new to the game of basketball, the Kansas commit has a limited feel for how to make his presence felt consistently, and doesn't always know his limitations, but flashed some intriguing tools on both ends of the floor, even though he wasn't at 100%. Knocking down a 20-foot jump shot, making a nifty move to score a left handed hook shot in the post, and putting in some impressive efforts on the offensive glass, Embiid has some unique skills for a player only beginning to pick up the nuances of the game.
On the defensive end, Embiid is a talented shot-blocker who has the tools to become an excellent defender on the ball and rotating over from the weak-side down the road. The Basketball Without Borders product is a bit foul prone and could stand to be more aggressive pursuing the ball off the rim, but his timing was impeccable at certain moments in practice.
Noted for developing big men, the Kansas staff landed an ideal long-term project in Embiid. If he can get stronger and continue developing as an interior scorer, rebounder, and defender, it would not be surprising to see Embiid emerge as an extremely interesting NBA prospect down the road and a valuable contributor for the Jayhawks as they look to replace Jeff Withey. DraftExpress.com
From noon to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Kansas Jayhawks fans can get autographs from three players from the 2012 Final Four basketball team.
Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young and Travis Releford will sign free autographs on Saturday, April 27 at the Goodcents Deli located at 796 East Main.
810 WHB will be broadcasting live from Goodcents from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
At the event, donations can be made to an organization that purchases air conditioning units for senior citizens to use during the summer.
However, donations are not required to receive the autographs.Gardner, KS
Openings remain for the Bill Self Basketball Fantasy Experience, scheduled for May 3-5. The camp, open to participants 35 and older, includes games, practices, film sessions and other activities designed to replicate the experience of playing for the Jayhawks.
“We even play 'One Shining Moment' at the end for the team that wins,” Self said.
Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson will be among the featured guests, Self said. Registration is available at www.billselfexperience.com.
Tickets also are available for Bill's Basketball Boogie, a fundraiser for Self's Assists Foundation scheduled for June 8 at Abe and Jake's Landing in Lawrence. The website for that event is www.basketballboogie.org.TCJ
Kansas led the NCAA Division I in field goal percentage defense at 36.1 percent and finished second nationally in blocked shots at 6.7 per game. Both stats led the Big 12. KU also led the conference in scoring margin (+13.2), field goal percentage (48.1), rebounding (39.2) and rebound margin (+6.2). The Jayhawks ranked in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring (third, 75.2), free throw percentage (third, 73.7), rebound defense (third, 32.9), assists (fourth, 15.5), assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth, 1.1) and three-point field goals made (fourth, 5.8).
Kansas held a double-digit lead in all but seven contests. KU held the lead in all but one game in 2012-13.
Out of its 37 games, Kansas held 21 of its opponents to 60 points or less, including 57 against Western Kentucky and 58 versus North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.KUAD: 2012-13 Wrap Up
In the 40 years since Bob Geoghan founded the Capital Classic in 1974, the event has served as an early stage for household names like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and LeBron James. And while it’s anyone’s guess as to what level of stardom this year’s collection of high school seniors will reach, when the Capital All-Stars take on the U.S. All-Stars at 4 p.m. Sunday at T.C. Williams, Geoghan believes the game’s 40th installment will be known for its depth.
“This is probably as athletic and as talented a group of kids that we’ve had in a number of years on both teams,” Geoghan said. “And it’s not about patting myself on the back because I’ve had a lot of help. I’m proud of the group that was able to pull this all together.”Capital all-stars
Guards: Nate Britt, Oak Hill Academy (North Carolina), Aquille Carr, Princeton Day (Overseas), Will Ferguson, Herndon (Massanutten Military Academy), Nick Griffin, Magruder (George Washington), Nigel Johnson, Riverdale Baptist (Kansas State), Marquis Wright, North Point (undecided)
Forwards: Junior Etou, O’Connell (undecided), Josh Hart, Sidwell Friends (Villanova), Kris Jenkins, Gonzaga (Villanova), Ishmail Wainright, Montrose Christian (Baylor)
Centers: BeeJay Anya, DeMatha (N.C. State), David Kadiri, Coolidge (UMBC)
Coach: Gary Hall, HerndonU.S. all-stars
Guards: Rysheed Jordan, Vaux, PA (St. John’s), Frank Mason, Massanutten Military Academy, VA (Kansas),
Stanford Robinson, Findlay Prep, NV (Indiana), Kameron Williams, Mount St. Joseph, MD (Ohio State)
Forwards: Brandon Austin, Imhotep, PA (Providence), Rodney Bullock, Kecoughtan, VA (Providence), Lennard Freeman, Oak Hill Academy (Undecided), B.J. Johnson, Lower Merion, PA (Syracuse), Mike Young, St. Benedict’s Prep, NJ (Pittsburgh)
Center: Moses Kingsley, Huntington Prep, WV (Arkansas)
Coach: Jamie Ross, Vaux (Pa.)http://dcbasketball.com
Big 12/College News
ESPN says former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps has been diagnosed with bladder cancer.
The network said Thursday that Phelps has had surgery and will start follow-up treatment next week near his home in South Bend, Ind.
The 71-year-old Phelps has been a college basketball analyst for ESPN since 1993 and says he's preparing for next season. He went 393-197 in 20 seasons coaching the Fighting Irish.APDraftExpress Early Entry TrackerCBS NBA Draft Early Entry Tracker
4/26/13, 6:13 PM
Any Jayhawk targets you will be watching? #kubball" Norm Roberts was watching Rashad Vaughn. # EYBL@jerrymeyer247
Some of the country’s best prep hoop recruits will descend on the Kansas City area this weekend for the Jayhawk Invitational, an Under Armour-sponsored grassroots basketball tournament.
The three-day event, which will begin on Friday in locations in Olathe, Gardner and De Soto, comes with a little added cache this time around.
Previous versions of the tourney were held in Lawrence without NCAA certification, meaning college coaches were barred from watching. But this event, according to local AAU coach L.J. Goolsby of the Run GMC organization, is NCAA certified, meaning college coaches can attend and evaluate during this April evaluation period.
“It’s a certified event for the first time,” Goolsby said. “There should be plenty of coaches in town to watch.”
And they should have some solid talent to scout.
Among the top players expected to play this weekend: Diamond Stone, a 6-10 center, is the No. 4 overall recruit in the class of 2015, according to Rivals.com. Stone, a native of Milwaukee, will play for Young Legends (Wis.).
Dom Collier, a 6-1 junior guard from Denver, will play for Kansas City-based Run GMC’s U-17 squad. Collier, the No. 61-ranked player in the class of 2014, has offers from Arizona, Kansas State, Missouri and Oregon, among others, according to Rivals.com.
Blue Valley Northwest junior Clayton Custer, who led the Huskies to the Kansas 6A state title, will play for Team YOBO. Custer, the 101st-ranked player in the class of 2014, has verbally committed to Iowa State.Class of 2014 (Rivals' national class ranking)
Malik Pope, 6-8 SF, Team Superstar (No. 7 )A Kansas target, Pope has been battling injury and may not play this weekend.
Keita Bates-Diop, 6-7 SF, Illinois Wolves (No. 20) (Ohio State commit)
Quentin Snyder, 6-0 PG, Louisville Magic (No. 29)
Dominique Collier, 6-2 PG, KC Run GMC (No. 61)
Melvin Swift, 6-7 PF, Houston Defenders (No. 72) (Xavier commit)
Myles Turner, 6-10 C, Texas Select (No. 78)
Rising center is on Kansas’ radar.
Shaquille Carr, 6-0 PG, Las Vegas Prospects (No. 84)
Brekkott Chapman, 6-8 F, Utah Prospects (No. 87)Another rising talent who has drawn interest from Kansas.Class of 2015
Diamond Stone, 6-10 C, Young Legends (U-16) (No. 4)High major prospect will draw interest from dozens of major programs.Locals players to watch
Clayton Custer, 6-0 PG, Team YOBO (No. 101 in 2014) (Iowa State commit)Blue Valley Northwest junior is slated to play for Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State.
Tyrone Taylor, 6-2 PG, KC Run GMCGrandview junior has interest from Missouri Valley schools Wichita State, Missouri State and Creighton, according to Rivals.
Ezra Talbert, 6-7 F, KC Run GMC (Creighton commit)Olathe East junior has committed to play for Greg McDermott at Creighton.
Ahmaad Wainright, 6-2 SG, KC KeysYounger brother of Ishmail Wainright, a former Ray-South standout who has signed with Baylor
Kevin Puryear, 6-7 PF, KC Run GMC (U-16)Blue Springs South sophomore has drawn early interest from Missouri and K-State.
Jimmy Whitt, 6-3 SG/PG, KC Run GMC (U-16)Columbia Hickman sophomore guard could mature into a top-75 talent.KC Star4/26-4/28 Jayhawk InvitationalKC Star All-Metro TeamRecruiting Calendar2013 Spring/Summer AAU & Camp ScheduleMy KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube
4/24/13, 1:51 PM
Look what showed up today at the office. Block Party Hardware. #witheyblockparty @KU_Hoops
LJW Newell: 10 years ago this week, Bill Self was hired at KU
1. Kansas may have the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft and the top nonconference schedule for 2013-14 season. The Jayhawks haven't finished the slate as of yet it but it's getting better with each game that they finalize. The Jayhawks are hosting Georgetown, San Diego State, playing at Colorado, Duke in the Champions Classic in Chicago, and are the marquee team in the Battle 4 Atlantis with Villanova, Tennessee, UTEP, Xavier, USC, Wake Forest and a team to be determined (was going to be Michigan State but the Spartans couldn't get out of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn). The SEC-Big 12 Challenge isn't set yet, but according to multiple sources the Jayhawks could be headed to Florida. The inaugural SEC-Big 12 Challenge will have a number of marquee games but some are already determined like Kentucky playing Baylor in Dallas, which will be folded into the event. Kansas also plans on playing two to three "guaranteed" buy games against top 100 teams. ESPN Andy Katz
4/25/13, 7:06 AM
@ESPNAndyKatz Kansas also playing 'Neutral' game against New Mexico in Kansas@feezsupreme
(Random tweet, but I thought it might pertain to the Sprint Center game)
@b_greene14 will officially visit Kansas May 3-5. Shay #kubballhttps://twitter.com/JayhawkSlant
30 days till graduation... 37 days till I'm in Lawrence...https://twitter.com/WayneSeldenJr1. ANDREW WIGGINS, (6-8, SF)
There is no question Wiggins has the highest ceiling of anyone in the incoming freshmen class. He’s essentially a 6-8 shooting guard with a 7-0 wingspan. Andrew possesses elite athleticism, can score the basketball at all three levels, and defends four positions on the floor. He can change the game in more ways and exploit a wider variety of matchups than anyone since LeBron. Wiggins has a nose for the rim and his second jump is explosive. He operates baseline as well as any prospect since Carmelo and has a perimeter game that’s growing daily. Defensively, Andrew has quick feet, takes good angles, and takes pride in locking someone up. Despite the fact that being the only player on the list uncommitted makes his fit at the next level unknown, Andrew possesses the kind of rare DNA that only comes around once a decade. He’s the most unique seven-month rental of the one-and-done era and thus a no brainer for the No. 1 spot on this list.9. WAYNE SELDEN, Kansas (6-5, SF)
Ben McLemore put his name in the draft, leaving a vacancy on the wing for the Jayhawks. Selden doesn’t have McLemore’s talent or ability to score the basketball. What he does have is a physical presence and toughness which should become contagious to his teammates. Selden gets to the rim at will and should make a living on the free throw line as a freshman. His perimeter game is a work in progress, but he is making strides. As a freshman Selden will play major minutes and bring the kind of energy and toughness that coach Self will appreciate. He’ll be dominant in space and is capable of being a shutdown wing defender. Offensively, picture something similar to Dion Waiters. If he’s able to stay in his lane and continue to attack the basket, Wayne will finish the year on this list where he started: One of the 10 best freshman in America.15. JOEL EMBIID, Kansas (7-0, C)
There is no doubt Joel Embiid has the tools to one day be a lottery pick. The question is how quickly will he transform from prospect to player? Lately, there’s been enough evidence to suggest it’s going to happen faster than many expected. It feels like the calm before the storm. Embiid has the talent and opportunity to emerge as a one-and-done star for Kansas. Jeff Withey is gone and a vacancy in the middle is ripe for the picking. Embiid can protect the rim, rebound his area, and make shots out to 10 feet. As his feel for the game improves, the sky is the limit for the international big man. His freshman year might be similar to what we saw with Andre Drummond at Uconn. Early in the season he might even look like he’s running wind sprints while there is a high level basketball game going on around him. But eventually the light is going to come on. When it does, he’s going to shoot up this board.Dime Magazine Top 15 Incoming Freshmen
Big 12/College News
Don’t slam the door on future college conference expansion and realignment just yet.
The trendy instant reaction Monday to news that members of the Atlantic Coast Conference agreed to a “grant of rights” clause for its television and media was that it would halt realignment.
By the schools “granting” media rights to the conference for 14 years, the theory is that it would be too costly for a school to change leagues because it wouldn’t have much of value to “carry” to a new league.
Several old friends in the business of college athletics I talked to Monday said they wouldn’t bet their own money on that.
These people — from conference offices and major-college athletic departments — all agreed that any number of lawyers would be delighted to challenge those deals in court.
The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 have such deals.
As one buddy with a wicked sense of humor said, “Do you really think Texas would sign up for something it couldn’t get out of?”
As a sidenote, two sources have told The World-Herald that the Big Ten has done prior “homework” on Oklahoma, Kansas and Vanderbilt among other schools who might some day be expansion targets. The Big 12 grant-of-rights deal didn’t stop a look-see for OU and KU.
Besides a legal challenge, the potential future TV money available could still make it profitable for a school to move.Omaha World-Herald
Kansas' returners have combined for a total of four starts, three from sophomore Perry Ellis and one from sophomore Jamari Taylor.
Bill Self has had to rebuild before, losing Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor in 2012, the Morris twins in 2011 and Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins in 2010. Kansas missed out on Class of 2013 five-star prospect Julius Randle, who could have instantly helped the Jayhawks remain Big 12 favorites but committed to Kentucky instead. The Jayhawks still landed Wayne Selden, the No.12 overall recruit according to ESPN, and Joel Embiid (No. 28 overall), who should both make an immediate impact for Kansas. But neither is good enough to make up for the Cowboys’ returning talent. Self will keep the Jayhawks in contention, but reloading again will be too much for Kansas.
It is because of all of this that Kansas’ reign in the Big 12 will end this season. The Jayhawks will not beat the Cowboys at Gallagher-Iba Arena two seasons in a row, and the Cowboys will start the year a vastly more experienced team. The Cowboys knocked off the Jayhawks in Lawrence last season, and may be poised to do it again.
Oklahoma State is the "Smart" pick to win the Big 12. It made tremendous strides last year and with Smart continuing to develop it will be even better next season. I bet the team finishes 16-2 in Big 12 play and should be favorites in every matchup, with the possible exception of the showdown in Lawrence. The Jayhawks will be good, and probably the second-best team in the conference, but I see them losing four or five games in Big 12 play next season and, more importantly, failing to win a 10th consecutive Big 12 regular season title.Daily Texan
Wayne McClain is leaving the staff of Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber, returning to Illinois to become head coach at Champaign Central High School.
McClain was director of student-athlete development at K-State. He previously was on the staff at Illinois for 11 years, nine under Weber and two under Bill Self. Prior to that, he was one of the most successful coaches in Illinois preps, winning three straight state championships at Peoria Manual from 1995-97.TCJ
Former WSU Final Four team member accused of sexually assaulting a 20 yr old woman at a teammate's househttps://twitter.com/JennBates12
The phone lit up on a Sunday in Kansas City, producing a mix of relief and joy that nearly knocked to Will Reed Sr. to his knees.
His son, Willie, was on the other end of the line, telling his father the four words that every parent longs to hear.
Dad, I’ve made it.
“I cried,” Will Sr. says now. “I’ll be honest with you.”
It’s been 10 days since Willie Reed, a Kansas City native, signed a contract with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and gained a spot on the Grizzlies’ playoff roster. But for Reed, a graduate of Bishop Miege High School, the road to the NBA has been a cloudy and chaotic ride, a journey marked by missteps at the high school and collegiate level.
Tonight in Memphis, however, when the Grizzlies play host to the Los Angeles Clippers in game three of their first-round series, Reed will be in the buildingfor his first home playoff game, though. The Grizzlies trail the Clippers 2-0, and Reed he may not even suit up.
But that won’t stop his dad,Will Sr., from making the trip to Memphis for game four on Saturday.KC Star
What’s already shaping up to be a really compelling 2013-14 college basketball season just got more, well, Russdiculous. Louisville guard Russ Smith, a driving force behind the Cardinals’ national title this season, announced on Wednesday that he will be returning for his senior season. Smith, who somehow was only named third-team All-American by the AP, averaged 18.7 points a game for the sometimes-offensively challenged Cardinals while teaming with senior point guard Peyton Siva to form the best on-ball defensive backcourt in the nation.SI
What's the biggest concern -- above all others -- we should have about college basketball? How about the fact fewer fouls were called this past season than in any other on record. That is negatively startling, at least to me.
Some might say, "But fewer fouls means smoother play! The refs are finally not calling ticky-tack stuff. This is a good thing." Alas, that's not the case. Because what's happening is rougher play that leads to fewer fouls called. How can that be? Players are fouling with their chest and grinding up the game because that's exactly what many coaches are teaching them to do.
It's creating a slog, and it's why nearly everyone reacted so positively to that national final between Louisville and Michigan; the game was antithetical to the greater trend.
A story from USA Today
by Daniel Uthman details the findings, which were released by the NCAA Tuesday.
The NCAA's 2013 final trends report reveals the following: Scoring in Division I men's basketball is at its lowest point since 1951-52. Teams averaged 67.5 points per game in 2012-13. Team 3-point shooting percentage declined to its lowest mark since the 3-point line was introduced in 1986-87.
Foul calls reached an all-time low, and teams shot the fewest free throws of any season since 1976. Teams averaged for 17.68 fouls each per game, and they shot fewer than 20 free throws a game (19.76) for only the fifth time in history. Assists and turnovers reached extremes they haven't seen since 1993, when the report first tracked them. Assists saw a low of 12.82 per game, continuing a trend that began in 2007. Turnovers, meanwhile, also reached a low for recorded history, falling to 13.30 a game.
Turnover average was so low in part because teams have become more efficient -- but they're also using fewer possessions in each game. With that comes fewer opportunities to give the ball away. What we're seeing is coaches use up a lot of shot clock to try to get a better look at a better shot,
and that has an erosive effect on game flow while actually upping team efficiency.
As points per game continue to dip, points per possession actually increase. It's an interesting inverse of trends. As a result, the past 13 seasons have seen fewer and fewer turnovers per game. The options for chaos don't exist on most possessions, and so the game becomes more predictable by nature.
"I'm no more concerned this year than last or year before," director of officials John Adams said in the story. "Because we've been looking at a decline in points (for a while). Clearly a 10- or 11- or 12-year decline is something to be concerned about."CBSAtlantic: The college basketball victory that seemed too good to be true - and was.
(Basketball history buffs will enjoy)DraftExpress Early Entry TrackerCBS NBA Draft Early Entry Tracker
Tarik Black, a junior power forward from the University of Memphis who has announced plans to transfer, is being courted by Kansas University and Duke, among others.
He will be immediately eligible next season, following his graduation in May.
KU coaches were slated to visit with the 6-foot-9, 262-pounder on Wednesday night — a day after Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski met with Black in Black’s hometown of Memphis. Zagsblog.net reported that Black has also met with coaches from San Diego State.
Black averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds a game off 58.9 percent shooting (103 of 175) last season. He hit 52 of 116 free throws for 44.8 percent. He started five of 32 games, averaging 20.8 minutes a game for the (31-5) Tigers. He was ranked No. 54 nationally by Rivals.com in the recruiting Class of 2010.
Wrote Matt Giles of ESPN.com: “Though his playing time was limited, he has shown the potential to carve out space on the interior and grab a plethora of offensive rebounds, posting an offensive rebounding percentage of more than 10 percent in his three seasons in Conference USA. There were reports that Black recently met with the ACC program’s (Duke) coaching staff, but Gary Parrish of CBSsports.com clarifies: ‘Duke put a fullcourt press on Tarik Black yesterday. Mike Krzyzewski, Steve Wojciechowski, Nate James visited his home.’”LJW
It makes little sense, on the surface, that a player who averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds coming off the bench for a fringe Top 25 team this season could, within hours of announcing a transfer, become the most desirable recruit in the country not named Andrew Wiggins. But that's what Tarik Black has done.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and two assistants were in his home Tuesday.
Kansas coach Bill Self visited Wednesday night.
…Duke, Kansas and Ohio State -- three of the sport's best and most consistent programs coached by one Hall of Famer and two others who figure to be viable candidates someday -- are working every angle imaginable in an attempt to land a player who's been remarkably disappointing relative to expectations, and not only because he walked out of a practice, basically just quit, on Josh Pastner in November. Black finished his career at Memphis with an all-too-familar six-point, two-rebound, four-foul effort in a loss to Michigan State in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. The 32 minutes played in that game were representative of his junior year in general and Exhibit A of why this prospect once projected as a first-round pick in the NBA Draft would now go unselected even if the draft were stretched to three rounds.
I'm not saying Black isn't very good or that he can't be very good.
I'm just saying he wasn't very good at Memphis.
But that doesn't matter now because, even at his worst, Black has shown he's at least capable of playing rotation minutes at the high-major level, and who couldn't, at this point, use a big who can play rotation minutes at the high-major level? Answer: Almost nobody. So Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and at least 20 other high-major programs are all lined up and working like they're the last 25 dudes in a bar with just one moderately attractive girl. Closing time is in 15 minutes. Somebody just yelled last call.CBS
Just got offered by the Jayhawk nation!!#Bless #HardWork https://twitter.com/OneBigHaitian/
When he's on a basketball court, Skal Labissiere makes quite the first impression.
Legendary Tennessee high school coach Terry Tippett clearly remembers his first encounter with Labissiere.
It was 2010, and the 6-foot-10 Haitian had left his homeland in hopes of playing basketball in the United States.
Tippett, a Hall of Fame coach with 40 years of experience in Tennessee hoops, was in charge of Evangelical Christian School in Memphis.
When he first saw Labissiere, Tippett was skeptical.
"He was a string bean," Tippett said. "I thought he was so thin and so weak."
Then they went into the gym.
"He shot the ball and I said, 'Oh, man!'" Tippett recalled. "It came out of his hands so soft. Jump hooks. He went right and left. He can really do anything with the ball."
Labissiere (pronounced La-biss-EE-ay) ended up enrolling at Evangelical Christian and playing for the varsity basketball team as an eighth-grader.
Word eventually spread to Kentucky Coach John Calipari, who called Tippett — an acquaintance from his Memphis days — to ask if Labissiere was "good enough" to play for the Wildcats.
"I think so," Tippett told him.
On that recommendation, Calipari made the trip to see Evangelical Christian's first game of the season.
"He came and took a look and really liked him," Tippett said. "And he offered him that night. He just came in and saw the potential that the kid has.
"That was great that he would think that much of him."
Labissiere, who ESPN ranks as the No. 5 overall player in the class of 2015, was scheduled to play in a showcase in Louisville on Saturday, but the game was canceled by the event's organizers.
He remains the only sophomore in the country with a scholarship offer from Kentucky.
Memphis, Georgetown and Mississippi State are among the other schools expressing early interest.
"He's still taking everything in and seeing what might happen," Tippett said. "But I know that he loves Cal and loves Kentucky and was very impressed with the offer."
The journey hasn't been easy for Labissiere.
He was 13 years old when a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. The disaster killed more than 200,000 people and left hundreds of thousands of others homeless.
Labissiere was in his home at the time. It crumbled around him, leaving the basketball-crazed teenager pinned under a pile of rubble and fearing that he'd never play again.
It took several hours for his father to dig him out, and Labissiere's legs had gone numb in the meantime.
Gerald Hamilton — Labissiere's legal guardian in the United States — said Labissiere wasn't able to walk for a few weeks, and he took several months to get back in basketball shape.1/31/13 Lexington Herald Leader
4/24/13, 4:44 PM
Met with Coach Keller and Texas A&M earlier today. And Coach Self & Kansas just now. Both meetings were great.@Chief_Justise Justise Winslow
Five-star point guard Tyus Jones says his list is down to seven. No favorites, no leaders, no one school ahead of or behind another; he's just down to those seven.
Yet according to Twitterverse, the rumor mill and the recruiting blogs, his list of seven is just posturing for now. Duke, they all say, is his leader.
"That's not true," Jones promised at last weekend's EYBL event in Los Angeles. "A lot of people are talking and stuff like that, but I'm not leaning anywhere."
Jones swears he's not lying. His list of Michigan State, Duke, Baylor, Ohio State, Kansas, Kentucky and Minnesota is steadfast, and nobody is standing out right now.Rivals4/26-4/28 Jayhawk InvitationalRecruiting Calendar
Joel Embiid is probably a year ahead of Gorgui Dieng was when he arrived at Louisville. Long, gangly big man. Will anchor pivot for Kansashttps://twitter.com/jonrothstein
Based on the schedule that is taking shape, nonconference play could be a trial by fire for Kansas and its five new starters next season.
KU hasn’t released its 2013-14 basketball slate, but the schedule could be finalized within the next week, said Larry Keating, who handles hoops scheduling as a special assistant to athletic director Sheahon Zenger.
The Jayhawks are waiting for an eighth team to join the Battle 4 Atlantis field, Keating said, plus another date or two. Several games already have been announced, including matchups against Georgetown, San Diego State, Duke and Colorado.
Factor in the Big 12/SEC Challenge (anticipated opponent: Florida), and it’s clear the Jayhawks will learn a lot about their young roster in the first two months of the season.
Coach Bill Self hasn’t raised any objections, Keating said, even though the Jayhawks will have at least five freshmen and only one experienced upperclassman in junior Naadir Tharpe.
“Every game that we do he OKs, so I think he's OK with it,” Keating said. “I think it's a good test for our kids. I also think we're going to be a lot better than people think we're going to be.”
The first big date will be Nov. 12 against Duke in the Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago, followed by a trip to the Bahamas for three games in the Battle 4 Atlantis from Nov. 28-30. The Atlantis field also includes Tennessee, Xavier, UTEP, Villanova, Wake Forest, Southern Cal and an eighth team still to be announced.
In addition to playing at Colorado, the Jayhawks will play host to Georgetown on Dec. 21 and San Diego State on the first weekend of January. The San Diego State game could be either Saturday, Jan. 4 or Sunday, Jan. 5 depending on the NFL playoff schedule.
“We've done it almost every year,” Keating said. “We've played a national game, usually on CBS, that sometimes swings to Sunday based on the NFL schedule. We've done that for years just to get a good game on national TV.”
KU hasn’t confirmed the game at Florida because the Big 12/SEC Challenge has yet to be announced. It initially was reported that KU and Florida couldn’t work out a date, but Florida reportedly has told ticket holders it will play host to a “historic powerhouse from the Big 12.”
KU also will play its customary nonconference game at Sprint Center against an opponent that has yet to be announced. The Jayhawks faced Oregon State in Kansas City this past season, and Keating said next year’s Sprint Center opponent will be a recognizable name.TCJ
There's nothing like one last experience to extend the memories of college teammates.
Kevin Young, Jeff Withey, Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson — all graduating seniors from the University of Kansas men's basketball team — are living proof of that.
Saturday night at The New Garden at Garden City High School, the KU Barnstorming Tour came to town and thrilled approximately 1,500 fans and likely even more who lined up for hours awaiting to get autographs of some of their favorite Jayhawks.
…"This has been amazing," said Young, a 6-8 forward from Perris, Calif., who came to KU after two seasons at Loyola-Marymount (Calif.) before sitting out a year as a red-shirt. "The fans have been incredible to us so far. Driving out here, it's just incredible how far the (state) line is from Lawrence. The crowds show how much the team has touched the state of Kansas and how much over the years people have been following us. It's just crazy, crazy!"
…"It means a lot for us to be able to come out here and interact with fans who don't get a chance to come and watch us play live," Releford said. "It shows how much they appreciate us and it's our way of giving something back. The love they've shown us is incredible."
…"It doesn't get any better than that, playing in the national championship game," the 7-0 center Withey said. "It's meant a lot to play at KU. You gotta wait your turn. It's hard getting playing time as a freshman when you're playing behind great players. I'm happy I waited my turn. I'm a better player, a better man because of my experience at KU."
…"No question, that is something that I'll always have a fond memory of," Johnson said of the 108-96 win over the Cyclones. "Lots of other great memories. Playing in Allen Fieldhouse, which is the best place to play basketball in the country. There's nowhere like it."
Johnson said he had enjoyed this final opportunity to be with his senior teammates.
"It's fun for us to make this last trip together," Johnson said. "We're enjoying doing something together for the last time. The fans have been great. It's cool to see how much they care and that we can give them something back."Garden City Telegram
T.J. Sparr was present when the players arrived on Friday for the 2013 Kansas Barnstorming Tour stop at Wichita East.
“It’s crazy. They pulled up in this huge van, and we were like, ‘These are real celebrities,’ ” Sparr said. “When they put on our baseball hats, it was really cool. All these KU all-star basketball players wearing East High baseball hats. It seemed like they loved it.”
Sparr, a member of East’s baseball team, helped greet five former Kansas basketball players to the school for an autograph session, auction and scrimmage to help raise money for East’s baseball program.
“We are just thankful that KU can do this,” East baseball coach Ryan Bensch said. “The facilities that we have, the uniforms that we have, the things that we get to do, are unlike any other City League schools. We are very fortunate for that.”
This was the eighth year the tour has come to Wichita, all at East High. KU fans started lining up as early as 3:30 p.m. for autographs even though the doors didn’t open until 6 p.m.
Representing the Jayhawks were four seniors from this year’s team: Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Kevin Young. Conner Teahan, a 2012 KU graduate, joined them as the fifth player and coach for the scrimmage.Wichita EaglePhotos
For the first time since 1947 White Auditorium will have members of the Emporia State Hornets and Kansas Jayhawks competing with each other when the Kansas Barnstormers make a stop in Emporia. The Barnstormers are represented by Kansas University men's basketball seniors Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Kevin Young along with Emporia State seniors Taylor Euler and Chris Sights. They will take on a team made up of former Emporia State players including Wes Book and Troy Pierce.T
Tickets are $10 and all general admission. They can be purchased in advance at the Emporia State Athletic Ticket Office in the Memorial Union, Reeble's Country Mart, Price Chopper.
The ticket booth at White Auditorium will open at 6:00 p.m. on game night with an autograph session with the players on Slaymaker Court going from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
There will be a limited number of VIP passes available that will allow access to a special autograph session in the Little Theater of White Auditorium from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Contact the Emporia State Ticket Office at (877) 341-6378 for more information.Link
Fort Scott Community College and Fort Scott High School are teaming up to sponsor the University of Kansas Barnstormers appearance April 28 at the Fort Scott High Gymnasium. The event starts at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 5 p.m. for an pre-game autograph session.Link
Eight former Kansas men’s basketball players begin their quest for an NBA title.
The eight Jayhawks – Darrell Arthur (Memphis), Mario Chalmers (Miami), Nick Collison (Oklahoma City), Drew Gooden (Milwaukee), Kirk Hinrich (Chicago), Paul Pierce (Boston), Thomas Robinson (Houston) and Tyshawn Taylor (Brooklyn) – represent eight of the 16 teams in the 2013 NBA playoffs. Former Jayhawk Brandon Rush’s Golden State team also qualified, however Rush sat out the 2012-13 season recovering from a torn ACL.
Hinrich’s Chicago Bulls and Taylor’s Brooklyn Nets, and Gooden’s Milwaukee Bucks and Chalmers’ Miami Heat will square off in the East quarterfinals, guaranteeing a Jayhawk matchup in the East bracket semifinal. In the West quarterfinals, Collison’s Oklahoma City Thunder and Robinson’s Houston Rockets will meet, which means a Jayhawk will be in the West semifinal round.
Last year, Chalmers joined elite company when his Miami Heat team won the 2012 NBA title.
Chalmers joined former KU great Clyde Lovellette in becoming only the second Jayhawk to win both an NCAA National Championship and an NBA title. KUAD
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They’re all in.
Florida Gulf Coast University officially unveiled new men’s basketball coach Joe Dooley during a Monday afternoon Alico Arena news conference, five days after the decade-long Kansas assistant to Bill Self accepted the position.
Despite it being the week before finals, nine of the eligible Eagles were present and they gave Dooley, 47, a grinning standing ovation. So did holdover assistants Marty Richter and Michael Fly and Joey Cantens, the director of basketball operations.
They’re all staying and it looks like highly regarded signees Logan Hovey, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound small forward from Oviedo-Hagerty, and Jordan Neff, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound power forward from North Cobb (Ga.) High, will join them.
“We’ve all talked, and I think we’re all going to be here and we’re going to keep progressing and keep the same recruits we have coming in and add on and get even better,” said FGCU sophomore point guard Brett Comer, who attended “a couple” Jayhawks camps when he lived in Overland Park, Kan., from his eighth-grade year through his sophomore high school season.
Dooley said he last spoke to Hovey and Neff on Sunday and, “They seem to be onboard.” Comer has spoken with Hovey and junior forward Chase Fieler has talked with both signees. He even texted with them during the news conference. Comer and Fieler agreed with Dooley’s assessment.
The Eagles campaigned hard for the 36-year-old Richter, who was a viable candidate and who served as the interim head coach after Andy Enfield took the USC job on April 2 after leading FGCU to a stunning Sweet 16 run in his second season.
“My first impression was I was mad,” Comer said. “I wanted Marty to get the job because I wanted to keep what we had. But after talking to Dooley and realizing I know the guy, I’m happy. I’m happy with him and what’s going to happen here. It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be an advancement to big things.”Naples News
“He was a big part it,” said Chalmers, who called Dooley to congratulate him on the FGCU job, of the national title. “He was a guy that always kept us working, motivated us, kept us going.”
Some might even say Dooley pulled off his own miracle, convincing Chalmers to come to Lawrence.
Dooley recruited Chalmers, an Anchorage, Alaska, native who was considered one of the best guards in the country, persuading him to pick Kansas over the likes of Arizona and North Carolina.
“I think he’s going to be a great head coach,” said Chalmers, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 National Championship game played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
“He’s going to be a guy who’s going to get some players. With players who have a lot of talent, you can do anything, especially if you’re a good coach like that.”
“Besides my dad (Ronnie, Kansas’ new director of operations at the time), that’s the person I trusted most when I first got there,” Chalmers said. “And over the years, we developed a close relationship. To this day we have a close relationship.”
During his NBA summers, Chalmers worked out with Dooley at Kansas.
“On those days that you’re tired and don’t really feel right about working out, he was the guy who motivated you and changed your mindset to want to be out there,” Chalmers said. “He’s definitely a player’s coach. He’s going to teach you a lot of things about the game, and he just wants what’s best for you.”Naples News
The Kansas women's basketball team will travel to the Virgin Islands for three games in the Paradise Jam next season.
The Jayhawks will face Central Michigan on Nov. 28, followed by Xavier on Nov. 29 and Duke on Nov. 30. The Chippewas and Blue Devils both played in the NCAA Tournament this past season, with Duke going 33-3 and advancing to the Elite Eight.
"This is a terrific trip for our players and fans," coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "We will face some quality opponents on a neutral floor. It will be a great trip and a chance for a young team to grow and prepare for Big 12 Conference play."TCJ
Big 12/College News
A desire to be closer to his family in Puerto Rico was behind the surprising announcement by sophomore point guard Angel Rodriguez on Monday that he is leaving the Kansas State basketball program.
Rodriguez was a two-year starter for the Wildcats, earning second team All-Big 12 honors this past season and a spot on the all-conference defensive team. The distance between himself and his mother and siblings prompted him to request his release from K-State.
“It is important that everyone understands that this was a really difficult decision,” Rodriguez said in a statement released by K-State. “I have really enjoyed my time here and this decision was based entirely on my family and has nothing to do with Kansas State, basketball or the coaching staff. It’s unfortunate after the year we just had, but I just feel right now this is the best thing for me and my family. Whether it is the right choice or not, family has and always will be first with me.”TCJ
Alabama guard Trevor Lacey, who led the team in assists and 3-pointers, is transferring before his junior season.
Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant said Tuesday that he has granted the two-year starter a release from his scholarship.
"It was a family decision to pursue other opportunities," Lacey said in a release from the university. "This definitely was not an easy decision to make. It's been great at Alabama during my two years. It was tough my freshman year coming off surgery and having to work my way back. I wanted to improve during my sophomore season and I thought I did that. I want to thank the coaches and staff, my teammates and all the fans for their support."AP
The push for a 30-second clock is a reaction to a season in which offensive production was episodically horrific—who can forget Tennessee failing to reach the 40-point mark in consecutive games, or Northern Illinois scoring four points in a half?—and statistically depressed.
Per team scoring fell from 68.01 points per game in 2011-12 to 67.50 this past season, the lowest average of the shot-clock era—in fact, the lowest since 1952.
The knee-jerk solution to this concern is to assume a shorter shot-clock cycle will create more possessions, and that more possessions will lead to higher scoring totals.
It’s really not that simple. As explained by Jeff Waksman, proprietor of the Basketball Predictions website, scoring plunged in college basketball soon after the shot-clock cycle was trimmed from 45 seconds to 35, from a 45-second high of 76.7 in 1991 to 70.2 in 1997. That’s a dozen fewer points per game between the two teams.
“Once you start reducing the clock close to 24, you’re going to make the basketball sloppier. You’re going to have more turnovers and more missed shots,” Wakman said. “I’m not sure it’s going to make total scoring go up significantly, and it’s going to make the basketball uglier.”TSN
There's no doubt West Virginia was a bigger and better football brand than Louisville was/is, and had a team that got folks everywhere excited for Year 1 in the league. The latter doesn't matter all that much, but when people talk Louisville, they always talk about them instead of West Virginia. Talking about them in addition to West Virginia is a much more interesting conversation. There was a case to be made for Louisville last year, but I agreed with the Big 12's move to go with WVU instead.
A year and a half after that decision was made, it's easy to say, "Well, come on, Big 12?! Why didn't you let 'em in? Now they're headed to the ACC!"
For one, I do think the prospect of Louisville being big enough to add $26 million in value to the Big 12 is doubtful now and was doubtful then. It's not crazy, but I don't think it's worth the risk for a Big 12 that's experiencing some serious unity lately and a major lack of drama off the field.
Does Louisville still even play its way into a BCS game if it's in the Big 12? I would definitely argue no on that front. The BCS team that whooped up on Florida is the same team that went to the wire with Southern Miss, (who was 0-12 last season) South Florida, North Carolina and Rutgers. It went 10-2 with losses to Syracuse and UConn, and I'm betting they would have lost at least a couple more in a super-deep Big 12. That means no BCS.
So, I really don't think Louisville's recent year of success is enough reason to rethink the Big 12's position. Basketball is mostly irrelevant, and WVU's success on the field put it in a much more advantageous position to grab a ticket to a much better conference. It's hard for any program in an AQ conference to match WVU's six conference titles since 2003.
The Big 12 wouldn't necessarily have made a huge mistake with bringing Louisville in the league, but 11 teams posed some logistical issues that the Big Ten dealt with that the Big 12 didn't necessarily want. West Virginia was pretty close to a home run when you consider the caliber of the program that came into the league, not considering its failures in 2012. WVU went 7-5. I'm betting Louisville goes 8-4 in the Big 12 last season and doesn't sniff a BCS game. That's not a huge difference. 'ESPN
College basketball's offseason could be shortening.
The informative John Infante, he of the Bylaw Blog, passed along word this weekend that some legislation could go through that would move up the start of college basketball's first practice. As it stands, the NCAA permits teams to start formally playing on Oct. 15 of each year. That date could get bumped up by a few weeks, snuggling into September.
The Legislative Council -- a group whose power includes deciding what rules go into effect for Division I sports -- is proposing teams be able to practice as a group, with coaches, earlier in order to better adapt for the season ahead.
Hmm. Too soon? Infante explains.
This was to ensure that the start of practice would fall on a Friday for Midnight Madness events, rather than on a Sunday which it would have without the change. Women's basketball has had this rule for a couple of years. It basically moves the start of practice up two weeks, but requires two days off per week before the first game. This creates a period of acclimatization rather than the abrupt jump from 8 hours per week straight to 20 hours per week with just one day off.
In essence, the players wouldn't be drastically upping their practice time. Instead, this is seen as the natural segue from offseason, informal workouts to full-blown learning/practice time with the program. But it won't be as intense or heavy as a mid-November practice schedule. This doesn't mean most players will spend any more time in the gym than they already do.
The proposal also includes a separate, smaller side proposal that would allow teams to begin practice at any point on the first allowed day of the season. Currently, the practice has to begin at 5 p.m. or later on the earnest opening to the season. (This could allow teams more flexibility to have a true Midnight Madness -- at midnight -- if they wanted.)
"The rule creates a flexible preseason practice schedule that allows practice days and off days instead of the current schedule that leads to practice occurring every possible day," according to the NCAA. "The more flexible approach provides coaches with the ability to determine how to use practice opportunities."
The Board of Directors will have the choice to approve or deny this change on May 2. If no strikes are taken against it, the new season timeline will be in effect for the 2013-14 season.cbs
College football's most powerful entities will assemble in Pasadena, Calif., this week for meetings that will determine several aspects of the new playoff system that begins in 2014. It will be a celebration of progress and riches for the schools involved and a validation of the bowl industry, which kept its seat at the table despite heavy criticism in recent years.
One group, though, will surely dominate the cocktail party and golf course conversations, even while its influence in the future of college football further weakens: the NCAA.
As college athletics sifts through an avalanche of foundational issues, the credibility and viability of its governing body has never been more in question. Among realignment that has deepened separation of the haves and have-nots, the legal challenges to the NCAA's amateurism model, an explosion in football and television money and embarrassing misconduct in the NCAA's enforcement arm, the calls to start over are louder than ever.
Although the notion that big football schools might eventually break away from the NCAA is not new, the overwhelming sense within the industry is that some sort of major change is on the horizon. Whether that change includes the NCAA completely, in part or not at all is now talked about openly and frequently among administrators, according to conversations with more than two dozen high-ranking college athletics officials across a spectrum of Division I conferences.LinkDraftExpress Early Entry Tracker
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Reggie Rankin: I have to go with Kansas. The Jayhawks have added excellent perimeter talent with ESPN 100 prospects Wayne Selden, Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp. Frankamp is a smaller version of former Kansas star Kirk Hinrich, Greene has excellent size and deep shooting range, and Selden is a powerful wing who attacks the rim and scores through contact with a college-ready body. In addition, ESPN 100 center Joel Embiid is a long, athletic, above-the-rim finisher, rebounder and shot-blocker who has great size and is improving daily. Coach Bill Self will plug these immediate-impact freshmen into the KU system with a few personnel tweaks, and the Jayhawks will not miss a beat next season.
Adam Finkelstein: Kansas has the second-best recruiting class in the country, in my opinion. Not only do the Jayhawks have great depth and balance, they also have two prospects in Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid who have distinguished themselves against the best prospects in the nation in recent weeks. Selden is the most capable of putting up big numbers right away next season, but when it comes to long-term potential, Embiid is off the charts. Surround those two with a pair of shot-makers to stretch the floor in Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp and a defensive-oriented lead guard in Frank Mason, and the Jayhawks haven't just accumulated talent -- they've strategically built a class with complementary parts.
Joel Francisco: In reality, you can't go wrong going with either Memphis or Kansas for the most impressive recruiting class other than Kentucky. In a normal recruiting season, either of these two classes would be, in all probability, a No. 1 class. Under John Calipari, however, Kentucky is revolutionizing the recruiting process. With that said, Kansas appears to have the most complete class when comparing it against Memphis' class. The difference for me is in the backcourt. Lightning-quick Frank Mason teaming up with one of the most prolific shooters in high school in Conner Frankamp trumps Memphis signee Rashawn Powell at the point guard spot. There's Kansas-bound center Joel Embiid, who is the best unknown talent in the nation with an extremely high ceiling. Nevertheless, both Kansas (Wayne Selden, Brannen Greene) and Memphis (Austin Nichols, Kuran Iverson) are bringing in elite, deep classes that deserve more attention outside Kentucky's shadow.ESPN Insider Top recruiting class after Kentucky's($)
My Pops and coach Self think they cool. Haha pic.twitter.com/y1Z8G2eYC0https://twitter.com/jahprobound
@jahprobound 👌👌 yessirhttps://twitter.com/WayneSeldenJr
@WayneSeldenJr Lol what's good brohttps://twitter.com/jahprobound
@jahprobound lol im chilling bro, how u? You hurt ?https://twitter.com/WayneSeldenJr
@WayneSeldenJr Yeah I'm straight bro. Just a high ankle sprain.https://twitter.com/jahprobound
@jahprobound oh aight cool, get healthy and dm your numberhttps://twitter.com/WayneSeldenJr
@jahprobound idk about pops... But ole dude on the right is legithttps://twitter.com/b_greene14
@b_greene14 Haha you crazy bro.https://twitter.com/jahproboundJoel Embiid, C, Kansas Jayhawks
The 7-foot Embiid, who hails from Cameroon, was very impressive in the Jordan Brand game a week ago in Brooklyn, and although he played only 16 minutes in the win over the U.S., he contributed 7 points and 7 rebounds.
Here is all you need to know about Embiid: He has played organized basketball for only 18 months. He will be a contributor for Bill Self as a Jayhawks freshman and is already a potential top-5 pick in the NBA draft as a sophomore.
...Andrew Wiggins, F, Undecided
The 6-foot-8 Canadian, for the most part, played effortlessly in this game after three straight weeks on the road. He was the best athlete on the floor but played very unselfishly, picking his spots to show off his ability. He is considered the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
While Wiggins is an overwhelmingly right-handed driver, he rarely had an issue in getting to spots on the floor to create his own shot. His great jumping ability allows him to easily shoot over defenders. In addition, he has great head-on-the-rim and second-jump explosiveness around the basket.
While Wiggins will have little trouble scoring at the college level, his lack of a consistent outside shot is something he should look to iron out immediately. He should use the next year and a half to improve it before leaving for the NBA.ESPN Insider ($)
No. 24-rated Craig Victor, a 6-8 junior power forward from St. Augustine High in New Orleans, tells Rivals.com that he’s being recruited by KU, Arizona, LSU, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Miami and others. He competed in an adidas tourney in Duncanville, Texas, last weekend.
“Sometimes seen as a bit of a cruiser in the past, Victor put in serious work on the glass Saturday,” wrote Eric Bossi of Rivals.com. “He attacked the rim and got to the free-throw line in his first game and started hitting jumpers in his second.”
Mission on tap: Payton Dastrup, a 6-9 junior center from Mountain View High in Mesa, Ariz., tells Rivals.com he will take a Mormon mission and will not play college ball until 2016. He has a list of KU, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Florida, BYU, Virginia, Texas A&M and others.
“I’ll sign everything, but I’ll defer my scholarship for two years,” the No. 52-ranked Dastrup told Rivals.com at the EYBL Los Angeles tournament.
KU in top 10: Justise Winslow, a 6-5 junior small forward from St. John’s High in Houston, who is ranked No. 10 in the Class of 2014, has a list of 10 schools: KU, Baylor, Arizona, Duke, Florida, Houston, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Stanford and UCLA. Winslow, who averaged 29 points and 15 rebounds a game his junior season, made unofficial visits to KU, Duke and Arizona last winter.
McLaughlin likes KU: Jordan McLaughlin, a 5-11 junior point guard from Etiwanda (Calif.) High, who is ranked No. 33 in the Class of 2014, revealed a top seven to Rivals.com at the Los Angeles tournament: KU, USC, UCLA, San Diego State, UConn, Indiana and Gonzaga.
Upcoming visits: Tyus Jones, a 6-1 junior point guard from Apple Valley (Minn.) High, told Rivals.com in L.A. that he had in-home visits with Duke, Baylor, Ohio State and Michigan State last week, with KU coaches to enter his home Tuesday. He’s ranked No. 3 in the Class of 2014. Today, KU coach Self will visit Jahlil Okafor, 6-10 junior from Whitney Young High in Chicago and the No. 1-rated player in the Class of ’14.
Diamond eyes KU: Diamond Stone, a 6-10 sophomore from Dominican High in Milwaukee who has KU on his list, played on the Young Legends team that fell to KC Run GMC in Sunday’s 16-and-under title game of the NY2LA tourney in Minnesota. He’s ranked No. 4 in the Class of 2015. Jimmy Whitt, a 6-foot point guard from Columbia Hickman, had 15 points for KC. Another Run GMC standout is Kevin Puryear, a 6-7 sophomore from Blue Springs South High. Rivals.com’s Robin Washut says Puryear, “currently holds offers from Creighton and Miami (Ohio), but has been getting heavy interest from schools like Missouri (which he unofficially visited in January), Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Marquette, Wichita State and Arkansas.”4/21 LJW
They never identified themselves, and their phone numbers were always blocked. But when they called Diamond Stone’s home, they were clear with their threats.
The intimidating correspondences were designed to steer the No. 2 prospect in the 2015 class per RecruitingNation to their favorite schools -- the nasty side of the recruiting battle for America’s best players.
“Sometimes we get phone calls, threats [from] college fans … ‘Come to my school’ and sometimes they just hang up,” said Stone, who competed at the NY2LA tournament in the Minneapolis suburbs over the weekend. “One time, [they said], ‘If you don’t choose this school, something will happen.’ It’s insane.”
…The coward(s) that has harassed the elite prospect, a player who’s received interest from every high major program in the country, represents college basketball fanaticism at its worst.
The incidents also demonstrate the ugliness that the recruiting game can entail for young men seeking the complicated balance between playing basketball, executing in school and enjoying their youth.
But it’s difficult to avoid the static.
Social media has created an unfiltered pipeline to these kids.
And in good times, it’s a tool that’s often used to attract those players.
And in bad times, it can become a cesspool of hatred that’s directed toward 16- and 17-year-olds who deserve better.
“That’s just craziness. That’s just America,” said Bob Stone, the father of Diamond Stone. “It gets crazy, man. …. He gets all kinds of crazy stuff. Tweets [like] ‘[Diamond], what’s cocaine like?’ Crazy stuff.”ESPN
DYK? - #Big12 MBB has 6 of the top 40 recruiting classes in ESPN.com rankings. https://twitter.com/big12conference
Bout to watch this Jackie Robinson movie. The reason why I wear #42 in school ball. #Legendhttps://twitter.com/chief_justise
We basically just reiterated things we've talked about before like Coach K talked about he wanted to use me and how well he thinks I could run his team. Coach Izzo talked about how well things would play out if I came there. All of them basically were saying the same things they'd been saying for a while.
It was just fun to see them and hangout with them for a while. It was really laid back and chill. We had some appetizers for them. A lot of the coaches weren't really hungry so we didn't cook a whole meal.
I talked to my boy Jahlil (Okafor) after the visits to compare how his visits and my visits went. We talked about similarities and differences and things like that. And, yes, we're still planning to play together in college.
I don't plan to cut the list down anymore.
I'm looking at the early signing period in November, and I'm hoping to have a decision made by then. I mean you never know, but that's what I'm hoping for.
I want to take my five official visits in the fall. Not sure where to just yet though.
Now I'm looking forward to Kansas coming for an in-home either Monday or Wednesday of next week. I'm not sure which day yet. That's all that I've got planned as far as visits go.Tyus Jones blog in USA Today
A slew of high-major coaches flocked to see Rashad Vaughn this weekend at the Nike EYBL stop in Los Angeles.
Playing for Wisconsin Playground Elite against ICP Elite, Vaughn went for 31 points in 26 minutes on 13-for-20 shooting while adding seven assists and five rebounds. He made four 3-pointers. (Here’s the boxscore.)
“He was the best player there,” one high-major assistant told SNY.tv. “He’s 6-5, shoots the hell out of it, is athletic and unselfish.”
“I feel I played really good,” Vaughn, the Rivals No. 6 player in the Class of 2014 out of Robbinsdale (MN) Cooper, told SNY.tv by phone. “We won, we went 3-1, my team played good, so overall it was a good weekend.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina coach Roy Williams, Kansas coach Bill Self, Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, Michigan coach John Beilein, Baylor coach Scott Drew, Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, Oregon coach Dana Altman, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton, Florida assistant Rashon Burno, Maryland assistant Bino Ranson, Louisville assistant Kevin Keatts and Georgetown assistant Kevin Broadus were among those watching Vaughn.
“I saw a couple,” Vaughn said. “I saw Coach Roy Williams. I saw Coach K. Yeah, there was a lot of coaches there. I don’t really pay attention to them, but it’s good to see all of them there.”Zags Blog
KU is expected to have an in-home visit this week with Elbert Robinson, a 6-10 junior from Lakeview Centennial High in Garland, Texas. He’s ranked No. 66 in the Class of 2014.LJW
Former UCLA pledge Allerik Freeman has re-opened his recruitment
“Yes,” Findlay Prep coach Todd Simon told SNY.tv. “I think Al just wants to exercise all due dilegence in making this major life decision.”
Freeman initially pledged to former UCLA coach Ben Howland, who has since been fired and replaced by Steve Alford.
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Findlay Prep initially chose the Bruins over Ohio State, Villanova, Kansas and Duke.Zag's BlogESPN: Players and families react to new NCAA recruiting rules
and Coaches react 4/26-4/28 Jayhawk InvitationalRecruiting Calendar
USA Today feature on Rivals' Alex Kline