Late Night in the Phog is quickly approaching and Kansas is soon to embark on the challenge of extending its 10-straight Big 12 Conference Championship run. On Wednesday, the men's basketball team revealed the new behind-the-scenes home of where the Jayhawks will start their journey – their locker room.
Major KU basketball facilities renovations were completed in October 2009, a project consisting of new locker rooms, meeting rooms, the players' lounge and a practice facility. After five seasons in the new digs, KU and Dimensional Innovations, an Overland Park, Kansas, design and fabrication company, joined forces to give the clubhouse and locker room an ultramodern facelift as the Jayhawks enter the 2014-15 season.
"Dimensional Innovations came to us and made a presentation with their expertise and also incorporated our ideas," Kansas head coach Bill Self said. "We thought we had it pretty good before, but this is so much better."
So Kansas is well-armed for another Big 12 title. One cautionary note worth mentioning, however, is that last season's team featured what was arguably Kansas' worst defense in Self's 11 seasons in Lawrence. The Jayhawks ranked 75th nationally in effective field goal percentage defense, a category in which they had not ranked worse than 14th during the Self era. Part of it was due to opponents connecting a high percentage of their 3s (35.5 percent, ranking 240th nationally) but Kansas' 2-point defense ranked 39th after being tops in the country in 2012-13.
The big picture is that Kansas ranked 31st in adjusted defensive efficiency. Nothing to cry about, sure, but that figure was also the worst under Self. A repeat of that may well be enough to win the Big 12, but the defense will have to improve for Kansas to be a reasonable pick to win a national title. In a season in which Kansas figures to give fewer minutes to an elite rim protector than it did last season, the quality of the defense is something worth watching early in the season.
Ken Pomeroy for ESPN Insider ($)
Self on Tuesday was Keynote speaker for the second-annual UMKC Basketball Tip-Off Dinner at College Basketball Experience in Kansas City, Missouri. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo spoke last year.
Just down the road at Kauffman Stadium, the Royals were playing the Oakland A’s in the Royals’ postseason appearance since 1985.
“I think everybody in Kansas City is really fired up and excited about what is going on. I’m one of them,” Self said recently on KC’s 610 radio. “I don’t go to near as many games as I should, but I think those guys are studs. Certainly what Dayton (Moore, GM) and Ned (Yost, manager) and all the guys have done is so cool, especially with a bunch of young guys.”
…KU sophomore Wayne Selden Jr. on Tuesday celebrated his 20th birthday.
“Screaming HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the toughest kids I have ever been around! BOSTON BORN ROXBURY RAISE. #RCJH,” KU assistant coach Jerrance Howard wrote on Instagram.
Self recently spoke about the 6-foot-5 Selden on Andy Katz’s ESPN podcast.
“Even though Perry (Ellis) and Jamari (Traylor) are back and we have some guys that have some experience, I expect Wayne to believe this is his team, not so much more than what Perry does, but Wayne has the personality to be vocal and really take ownership moreso than what the other personalities on our team have,” Self said.
After a summer of events, which ended several weeks ago with the USA Basketball Men’s National Team capture gold at the World Cup in Spain, FIBA announced the All-Summer Youth Tournaments Team.
Kansas wing Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk was named to the five-person team selected by David Hein. The 6-foot-8 Mykhailiuk averaged 16.0 points 4.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.1 assists per game in the U18 European Championship. Later in the summer, he was named to the Ukrainian National Team. The Jayhawks is set to appear in international play next summer, representing the United States in the World University Games.
ESPN Video: 3-point shot: Self going smaller at Kansas
Bleacher Report's Jason King joins Jesse Newell to preview Kansas basketball's upcoming season. What should fans expect from the newcomers? And who will emerge at the point-guard spot? King also discusses his college basketball pet peeve and gives his overall outlook for the Jayhawks in 2014-15.
TCJ Podcast with Jason King
Happy just because I have the Sixers jersey on......SQUAD
Former KU center Joel Embiid spoke Monday at Philadelphia 76ers Media Day, on turning pro: “I’m not going to lie, I was scared. It was a tough decision. I love Kansas and I had a good time over there. The fans showed me a lot of love. College is a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m happy that I went to Kansas. I’m disappointed I just went for one year. I was nervous when I decided to leave, but I think I made the right decision.”
"When I left Kansas I weighed 230 pounds," Embiid said to CSN Philly. “When I got hurt (in a predraft workout) I was 280 pounds. I gained 50 pounds in three months."
Embiid didn't specify how much of that weight was muscle, but seeing as he has been in a boot the past three months, it's safe to say the extra pounds are more of a concern than a step in the right direction.
"At Kansas, I wanted to play at 250," Embiid said. "I wanted to be strong and not get pushed around. Right now I am at 270, so I have lost 10 pounds."
The good news for Embiid is that he landed in the right place to work on his weight, as the Sixers put a big emphasis on player fitness. Last season, the top thing the Sixers worked with center Nerlens Noel on during his year on the bench was his weight. For Noel, it was putting on weight. For Embiid, it will be shedding it.
In addition to losing weight, Embiid has also said that the Sixers have told him to get more sleep.
"I play a lot of video games so maybe sleeping at night is hardest," Embiid said. "I know I need to get healthy. I know my diet is going to help me a lot. I need to lose weight, but sleep is always going to be hardest because I play video games all the time."
Marcus and Markieff Morris continue to live by the motto they preached at Kansas University: “Family Over Everything.”
Mentioning “FOE” several times Monday at Phoenix Suns Media Day, the two former KU forwards also discussed details of their four-year NBA contract extensions worth a combined $52 million.
That’s right: The twin brothers, who live in the same house, say they will throw the money in the family pot they’ll share.
“It’s a package deal. That’s the whole concept here,” Marcus Morris told nba.com. “We look at it as, I’m worth four years, 52, and Kieff is worth four years, 52. It was a one-household type deal. Numbers can say what they want to say: 52 million; that’s what we are both worth.”
The Arizona Republic said Marcus actually nets $20 million and Markieff $32 million over four years, but the twins insist it’s all family fortune.
“Once we agreed on the amount of money, I gave them the first crack at how to divide it up. I didn’t want there to be any disconnect,” Suns president Lon Babby told Brightsideofthesun.com. “I didn’t want to mess up that (brotherly) dynamic, so I gave them a chance, and they came up with a good solution.”
KU Student Housing specializes in promoting academic success and building healthy communities through a variety of living options.The new apartments will assist in meeting the need for additional on-campus apartments as identified in the KU Campus Master Plan, and allow KU Student Housing to continue providing KU students with a variety of living options.
Marie S. McCarthy Hall will be a three-story building located south of Hoglund Ballpark near Allen Fieldhouse. Address: 1747 Naismith Drive.
The apartments will house 38 students in two-bedroom/two-bath and four-bedroom/ two-bath apartments. Each apartment will contain a living room, dining room and full kitchen. The complex will offer continuous occupancy (summer contracts are available). Other features:
- Private bedrooms
- Study rooms and lounge on each floor
- Multipurpose room with kitchen
- Recreation and media rooms
- Half-court basketball court
- On-site staff
- Information desk
- Wireless Internet
- KU card-operated laundry
- Optional meal plans and rental furniture packages
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
College basketball teams will kick off their seasons on October 17 and ESPN is going to bring you live coverage from all over the country as teams participate in “Midnight Madness,” marking the first time they are allowed to practice this season.
ESPN will take a look at the Connecticut Huskies, who won the National Championship in both women’s and men’s hoops. They’ll also visit the Arizona Wildcats, Florida Gators, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats and San Diego State Aztecs with reporters set up at each location.
ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm will have some new faces for the upcoming men’s college basketball season as analysts Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams join the retuning duo of host Rece Davis and analyst Jay Bilas on the eight-week Saturday morning and evening program that originates from the site of ESPN’s Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV telecast. The first hour begins at 10 a.m. ET on ESPNU, continuing at 11 a.m. on ESPN with a one-hour evening edition leading into the game-of-the-week.
Also new this season is a flexible schedule that will give College GameDay the option to react to storylines as the season develops to better ensure visits to top games on ESPN networks each week. The site will be announced the week prior, similar to the ESPN College GameDay Football program.
“As we continue to grow and enhance the College GameDay basketball brand, working with our conference partners to build more flexibility into the process of when and how we select sites is a positive step forward,” said Nick Dawson, ESPN, senior director, programming & acquisitions. “These changes will allow GameDay to better follow storylines late in the season and allow ESPN to better position marquee games in the most visible windows.”
The new GameDay crew will debut Tuesday, Nov. 18, from the fourth annual State Farm Champions Classic – a neutral-site, early-season doubleheader that matches four of the winningest programs against each other – from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. College GameDay will air on ESPN at 6 p.m., followed by preseason-ranked No. 18 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke at 7 p.m. and No. 10 Kansas vs. No. 1 Kentucky at 9 p.m.
The five wealthiest college football conferences have notified the NCAA of their proposals to provide more benefits to athletes under the new governance model that allows the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference to pass legislation without the support of the other Division I leagues.
The autonomy structure went into effect on Wednesday, which was also the first day for the power conferences to offer suggestions about what rules they want to implement. The NCAA board of directors in August passed a proposal to give autonomy to the five major conferences. The transition to the autonomy structure will happen in January.
Those conferences endorsed changes that would increase benefits to student-athletes, all of which have been touted by conference leaders for several years, including:
— Funding athletic scholarships that would cover the full cost of tuition.
— Guaranteeing multiyear scholarships for athletes.
— Lifetime scholarship guarantees that would allow former athletes to return to school at any time and complete their degrees.
— Providing long-term health care and insurance to former athletes.
The conferences have also said they will review the time demands for athletes.
The Pac-12 says presidents and chancellors will explore how to implement the proposed reforms at its board meeting Oct. 27, including by each institution, conference-wide action or among the five major conferences.
Any rule changes that occur would not start until the 2015-2016 academic year.
"Pick-Six" mini season ticket plans for the 2014-15 Oklahoma men's basketball home season and "Pick-Five" mini packs for the OU women's basketball home season are on sale now.
MEN'S BASKETBALL "PICK-SIX"
Fans pick either the Oklahoma State (Jan. 17) or Kansas (March 7) home games, and also choose five contests from the remaining 13 home dates. Outside of purchasing a full season tickets package, this is the only way to obtain Oklahoma State and Kansas tickets at this time.
Hopes are high as the Iowa State basketball team prepares for the upcoming season. The Cyclones return a number of key players from last year’s team that won the Big 12 Tournament title and made it to the sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
The Cyclones enter this season as a consensus top 20 team are expected to contend with Kansas and Texas for the league title. ISU coach Fred Hoiberg who says two key losses from last year are Melvin Ejim and point guard DeAndre Kane, he says those two are a lot to replace. “I’m confident with the group that we’ve got coming back as well as the newcomers that we’ve got coming in, as well as a couple that we had sitting out last year, that by committee that we can replace somewhat of what those guys left,” Hoiberg says.
This will be the most depth Hoiberg has had at Iowa State and says it will be important to develop chemistry. He says any team has to have sacrifice where players aren’t worried about individual stats. “I am excited about that depth, but at the same time it’s going to cut some minutes down, which again will help us to play a little faster,” Hoiberg says.
Hall of Famer Dick Vitale, one of sport’s most influential and recognizable personalities, has reached a new contract extension with ESPN to continue as a college basketball analyst with the company through 2016-17. Vitale will call some of the season’s top games across ESPN networks, including regular-season action primarily on ESPN and ESPN2 and the Men’s Final Four for ESPN International. The agreement was announced by John Wildhack, ESPN Executive Vice President, Production and Programming.
Dick Vitale may be getting a little less prime time this season, but that doesn't mean he'll be getting less time.
Vitale will not be doing the prime time Saturday games, something he has done since 2005. That role will be going to Jay Bilas.
But the longtime broadcaster has gotten a three-year contract extension, and he couldn't be more upbeat. Even judged by the standards of Vitale's upbeat nature.
He doesn't plan on cutting back at all.
"ESPN has treated me like royalty," Vitale told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. "They extended my contract, I'm really excited about it,
UCLA's Pauley Pavilion -- which, in case you forgot, was temporarily drenched after a water line busted and soaked the lower level of the building in late July -- is looking to increase its home-court intimidation factor.
The school has announced that a new plan is in place for its student seating. The change of arrangement for ticketed undergrads means one entire side of the court will be bordered by college kids...and that's not all.
"Under the plan, student seating on the south sideline will run the entire length of the floor from section 113-117 while on the west baseline, student seating will now encompass sections 120-123 in their entirety," according to UCLA's press release.
And there will still be another spot, Section 222, that will be entirely claimed by Bruins students.
"With a premium being placed on lower level seating around the country due to rising costs across college athletics, it's easy to forget about what makes our game-day experience so unique -- the students,” Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero saids. "Given that we have a tremendous student body, loyal alumni and faithful fans, we are excited to go against the grain and carve out this additional premium seating for our students. You never know if your classmate is going to be the next Kevin Love or Russell Westbrook here at UCLA, so we want our students to have the opportunity to see the next great Bruin-turned-NBA star up close and personal at Pauley Pavilion."
If you have attended a college or professional basketball game in any of the last five years or so, there is a good chance that you've seen The Red Panda dazzle audiences during halftime with her amazing ability to ride around on a unicycle while flipping bowls on her head.
Sadly, your opportunity to see her perform is all but over, as The Red Panda, whose real name is Rong Niu, has decided to hang up the unicycle following injury struggles that sidelined her for the entire 2013-2014 season.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Kansas was in to see St. Francis (GA) 2016 PG Kobi Simmons tonight
Malik Newman is waiting a long time to really begin the recruiting process, but the five-star native of Mississippi will take a visit this weekend.
According to Courtney Cronin of the Clarion-Ledger, Newman will opt out of the USA Basketball minicamp this weekend and instead attend the Ole Miss football game against Alabama for an unofficial visit.
The No. 3 prospect in the 2015 class, according to Rivals, also has his first official visit set for October 11th as the 6-foot-3 guard will go to Texas A&M.
Newman plans on releasing his top-5 list after the November signing period and plans on signing late.
It is interesting to see Newman skip the USA Basketball minicamp in order to attend a football game of a local school. There haven’t been a lot of elite high school prospects that have skipped USA Basketball events recently, but Newman does have back-to-back gold medals with USA Basketball the last two summers, so he’s in good shape with the program.
Marcus LoVett arrived at Morgan Park last month. The senior guard is well-traveled, he played for two high schools in California before moving to Chicago. As always, that rubs some people the wrong way. College coaches generally become wary of kids that transfer too much: never mind how often the coaches themselves move around searching for the best opportunity.
“This is the best situation for me and my family, that was the reason why,” said LoVett. “I feel like I’m going to improve as a person and a basketball player.”
One thing very few doubt is LoVett’s ability on the court. Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin is known for his effusive praise of his players and he doesn’t skimp when it comes to LoVett.
“I have the biggest star in the world. ‘Bright Lights,’ that’s his new nickname,” said Irvin. “When you talk about Marcus LoVett you talk about Derrick Rose, Tim Hardaway, Isiah Thomas, the best guards to come out of Chicago. He’s right there with them.”
“The thing that sets him apart is his IQ of the game, it’s just off the chain. He’s a natural leader with the ability to dominate the game at any time.”
A quick Google search of LoVett certainly lends strength to Irvin’s comments. The Los Angeles Times wrote in 2013 that LoVett was “one of the best entertainers in Los Angeles.” LoVett averaged 31.7 points as a freshman, 36.7 points as a sophomore. His highlight videos on YouTube have more than 4 million hits. That’s superstar status in just about any profession.
…There are rumors LoVett will have trouble qualifying for college, but Irvin says that is not true.
“He’s had all kinds of interest,” said Daniels. “I think some of the high-major schools have been hesitant to go all the way in on him. It’s been an interesting and intriguing recruitment.”
That changed on Monday. Kansas assistant coach Jerrance Howard watched LoVett play at open gym and offered him on the spot.
So things just became even more interesting. A few days before the Kansas offer, LoVett expressed a desire to stay and play his college ball in Illinois.
“It really doesn’t matter to me a lot where I go to school,” said LoVett. “Basically wherever I can do my thing. Staying in the state of Illinois would be good though.”
After all the elite local players that have fled that state, it appears one was ready to stay. But now Kansas has come calling so any local school that gets involved will have major competition. Mac Irvin Fire coach Mike Irvin said Kansas is trying to get LoVett to visit campus as soon as possible.
Jayson Tatum is no longer star-struck.
A consensus national top-3 basketball recruit in the Class of 2016, the 6-foot-9 Chaminade junior forward spent the last week meeting and greeting with some of the nation's elite programs and coaches. It's happened so regularly that he's immune to the butterflies.
“If you'd have asked me that this time last year, I'd still get nervous or excited when they come,” Tatum, 16, said. “I'm kind of getting used to it.”
At this time last year Tatum hadn't been a major player in the United States' FIBA U17 World Championship team. Tatum averaged 10 points and three rebounds as he helped the national team bring home its third consecutive gold medal with a 99-92 win over Australia in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on August 16.
Traveling across the globe with the national team and spending another season on Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League circuit with the St. Louis Eagles has helped Tatum mature. Part of that maturity is not being nervous when the nation's elite coaches come to give him their sales pitch.
“They do most of the talking,” Tatum said. “I'm not much of a talker, so I just listen.”
On Tuesday, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski met with Tatum and his mother, Brandy Cole. Wednesday brought Kansas coach Bill Self, Illinois coach John Groce and St. Louis U. coach Jim Crews. Thursday North Carolina coach Roy Williams stopped by.
All told more than 2,200 coaching victories and seven NCAA championships came to talk to Tatum. And that doesn't include the other five programs on his final 10 which are Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, Connecticut and Wake Forest.
Tatum said he doesn't know when he'll trim his list down to five. That will more than likely happen in the summer or at the beginning of his senior year.
St Louis PD
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