Never one to pass up a chance to deliver constructive criticism in a way that sticks, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self included a little of that in telling senior Frank Mason he had a good game Tuesday night as the guard checked out for the final time.
Mason certainly did have a good game, falling just shy of a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a 92-74 exhibition victory against Washburn in sauna-like Allen Fieldhouse.
“I didn’t know what it was until I came out at the end and coach told me if I didn’t shoot one of the threes I could have gotten an assist, but it was too late,” Mason said.
So next time, Mason will look one more time to set up a teammate. Lesson learned.
…“There’s no question who our best rebounder is, and that’s embarrassing when he’s 5-foot-10,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
The three primary centers in KU's four-guard lineup — Landen Lucas, Udoka Azubuike and Carlton Bragg — stand a combined 20 feet, 8 inches. That trio totaled four rebounds in 39 minutes.
Mason twice had 10-rebound efforts for Kansas, but said that as far as he could remember, he never achieved a triple-double at any level.
“I always got close to it, maybe had like 25, 10 and seven, 25, nine and nine, something like that,” he said. “I honestly don’t think I ever got one.”
Washburn coach Bob Chipman didn’t need to look at the box score to heap praise on Mason.
“Frank’s just an incredible guard,” Chipman said. “Gotta be one of the best in the country.”
A quick talk with teammates and coaches at halftime helped calm him down and Jackson said seeing the ball go in the bucket on the running floater in the lane that gave KU a 62-49 lead helped inspire him to stay aggressive.
He made six of his final 10 shots and finished with 14 points but could have had more had it not been for a 1-of-5 showing at the free throw line or his five turnovers.
“He scored the ball some the second half,” KU coach Bill Self said of Jackson. “But I’m not gonna get real excited about that because he didn’t handle it very well or pass it very well and those are two things that he could potentially be very good at.”
…After months of hearing about how well he had played and how much he had grown, Kansas fans finally got their first look at new-and-improved guard Lagerald Vick. And the sophomore from Memphis did not disappoint.
In 15 first-half minutes, Vick recorded seven points on 3-of-3 shooting and also added two steals and a rebound.
“Lagerald and Frank were our two best players in the first half,” Self said of Vick. “He’s a good player and he did some good things, but he wasn’t aggressive in the second half either. He didn’t get one offensive rebound and he’s by far our best offensive rebounder. To play 29 minutes, he’s gotta be more active.”
Jackson was being himself — the aggressive, get-to-the-hoop No. 1 recruit he was supposed to be. Still, Self said it was sloppy, but at least he was knocking down shots.
“He was definitely more aggressive in the second half,” Mason said. “He was driving the ball downhill, and that’s what we need from him.”
He finished with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including a three-pointer. His 14 points were a third of Kansas’ scoring in the first half, when the team scored 42 points on the way to a 92-74 win at Allen Fieldhouse.
Vick’s potential this season is another interesting storyline. NBAdraft.net projects him to go 21st overall, a surprising projection considering the sophomore played just 4.8 minutes a game last season.
Add Self’s talk about playing guard-heavy lineups this season and the promising games coming off the bench hold even more weight. The more comfortable the Jayhawks get with playing small ball, the more chances Mykhailiuk and Vick will get to show off their offensive skill set.
The other big storyline coming out of Tuesday’s game was KU’s as-promised deployment of the small-ball lineup — featuring four guards and one big — which happened for the first time at the 12:40 mark of the first half when Mason, Jackson, Devonte’ Graham, Lagerald Vick and Landen Lucas all took the court together out of a timeout. The Jayhawks rotated through different guards and bigs throughout but never led by more than 12 during the five-plus minute stretch.
The Jayhawks went back to the look less than a minute into the second half and continued to play with combos off-and-on, at one point featuring senior guard Tyler Self and freshman forward Mitch Lightfoot in the same set.
The Jayhawks led 50-34 at the half thanks to strong 3-point shooting and poor free-throw shooting by the Ichabods. The Jayhawks made 7 of 13 treys in the period, including back-to-back 3s by Mason and Svi Mykhailiuk on the Jayhawks’ final two possessions. Mykhailiuk hit a team-high four 3s and finished with 16 points for KU, which finished 10 for 22 from beyond the arc.
The final score read 92-74 in Kansas’ favor, but the postgame words from the players and coaches who helped the Jayhawks defeat Washburn on Tuesday night in the exhibition opener for both teams did not match it.
Awful. Soft. Obscene. Frustrating. Disappointed.
All were descriptions the Jayhawks used to sum up Tuesday’s victory and it was clear that no one in crimson and blue, new or old, was pleased with the way third-ranked Kansas kicked off the 2016-17 season.
A win is a win, though — KU now has done that 44 times in a row in exhibition games in Allen Fieldhouse — and even though it won’t count in the standings or go down in the record book, the Jayhawks figure to get far more out of Tuesday’s test than they would have from a cool and clean 50-point blowout.
“It’s really beneficial,” said KU freshman Josh Jackson, whose line of 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting along with 5 careless turnovers perfectly illustrated how the night went for Kansas. “When we go over (the film) tomorrow I’m pretty sure it won’t be good, but it’s film. Nothing can make it worse. We’ve just gotta get better.”
…Added Self: “I think that our guys are very disappointed because we didn’t guard them better and we didn’t compete for loose balls and stuff like that that we’ve kind of been pretty good at for a few years around here.”
Kansas will close out the exhibition portion of its schedule Sunday against Emporia State in Allen Fieldhouse before beginning preparations for the season opener against No. 11 Indiana in the Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu.
Consider Kansas shooting marksman Svi Mykhailiuk a fan of coach Bill Self’s four-guard lineup experiments. The backup junior wing from Ukraine thrived as a scorer in the Jayhawks’ exhibition debut Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse, scoring 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
Even though Mykhailiuk’s first three-point try missed badly, he said he went on to make four of his final five long-range attempts due to the spacing created by sharing the court with KU’s various talented guards.
“When we’re playing four guards,” Mykhailiuk said after the 92-74 win, “everybody had to drive the ball and just kick it. That’s what opened up all the easy shots and easy drives.”
Entering his third season at Kansas, Mykhailiuk drained three from deep in the final five minutes of the first half, helping the Jayhawks take a 50-34 advantage into intermission.
…Self, though, didn’t think the 6-foot-8 scorer fulfilled all of his on-court responsibilities. While discussing which Jayhawks played well in the first half, when Mykhailiuk put up nine of his points, the coach only uttered the name “Svi” to say the Ukrainian “made shots.”
Self wanted to see much more from one of his key backcourt players.
“You can’t have guards that make five turnovers a game,” Self said, referring to Mykhailiuk’s four turnovers in 24 minutes.
Between starting freshman swingman Josh Jackson and Mykhailiuk, KU only got one assist and nine turnovers out of its third guard spot.
Carlton Bragg messed with a non-negotiable.
Kansas coach Bill Self can live with certain mistakes. He’s OK with aggressive turnovers. He’ll take a deep breath if a player picks up a foul hustling for a loose ball.
But not grabbing defensive rebounds? There might not be anything that ticks the KU coach off quicker.
Bragg found that out on two different occasions during KU’s 92-74 exhibition victory over Washburn on Tuesday.
…“That’s obviously a huge weakness within our team is our toughness and rebounding,” Self said.
Bragg appeared to be the worst offender — and his playing time suffered because of it.
For Chipman, the exhibition was a final opportunity to coach in a venerable building where he once even played as a visitor for Kansas State.
The moment was not lost on those in charge, or those rooting for the Ichabods.
Max Falkenstein dropped by the bench for a pregame chat. Former WU great Tom Meier was among several former Ichabods in attendance. So was Gary Woodland, who tweeted that he bleeds crimson and blue, but on this night was pulling for the college where he once played hoops, Washburn.
Self before Tuesday’s game presented Washburn coach Bob Chipman with a set of golf clubs to honor the final season in his 41-year Washburn coaching career. Although the bag shined from a distance, Self said some of the clubs inside of it were old and were not the ones Chipman would get for good.
“We’ll pick out what he wants from TaylorMade or what not and get him a nice set,” Self said. “Chip’s had an unbelievable career and certainly he’s been great to our players over time because he employs so many of them (at summer camps) and I hope Washburn has a big year for him.”
Said Chipman of the gesture: “That was awfully nice. I just really can’t believe how fantastic they are in every way. Such a class program.... That KU team is going to be probably the most fun KU team to watch in recent history before Bill’s done with them. They’re going to be fantastic.”
Kansas shared the Big 12's regular-season title in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2013, and the Jayhawks won the league outright in eight of the other past 12 years. Add it up, and that's 12 straight Big 12 championships for Bill Self. One more and Kansas will tie UCLA's record of 13 consecutive conference titles.
And, yes, KU is going to do it.
Simply put, the Jayhawks are way better on paper than anybody else in the league. That's why Kansas is ranked second in the preseason Coaches poll while no other Big 12 team is in the top 20. Kansas is also third in KenPom's preseason rankings, and the first Associated Press poll; no fellow league member is in the top 15. So the prediction here is this: not only will the Jayhawks win a 13th straight Big 12 regular-season championship, they'll win it by two or three games, at least. Then they'll earn a top-two seed in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth consecutive season and have a good shot to make the third Final Four of Self's career.
(Below you'll find everything you need to know about the Big 12 -- including our predictions for Big 12 Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year, all-conference teams, as well as our predicted order of finish and a scouting report including strengths and weaknesses, X-factors and a projected regular-season win total for each team.)
CBS Big 12 preview
Embiid scored 18 points (6-12 FG, 6-9 FT) and added 10 rebounds, three assists, and four blocks in 25 minutes during Tuesday's 103-101 loss to the Magic. The 76ers extended Embiid's minutes restriction, and he responded by recording his first career double-double.
The individual honors keep on coming for Kansas volleyball right-side hitter Kelsie Payne.
One day after being named the Big 12 offensive player of the week, Payne received national player of the week honors from Sports Imports and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). It is the fifth such national honor in program history for the Jayhawks and first since setter Ainise Havili won it on Oct. 13, 2015.
Payne, a junior and native of Austin, Texas, led the charge for the now No. 4-ranked Jayhawks (20-2, 9-1 Big 12) in Saturday’s five-set victory over then-No. 2 Texas. She notched 21 kills against the Longhorns in helping snap a 25-match losing streak in the series for KU.
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BIG 12/COLLEGE NEWS
Ben Simmons played just one season of college basketball, but it was enough for him to develop a strong opinion about the sport’s governing body.
“The NCAA is really (expletive) up,” Simmons, in documentary set to air this week, said, according to ESPN. “Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”
The documentary, ‘One and Done,’ is set to air Friday evening on Showtime. In it, Simmons also claims to have been offered cars, jewelry, a house and “anything.” Simmons, who was drafted No. 1 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in June after his one season at LSU, said that he had no plans on attending second-semester class after earning eligibility with his first-semester grades.
“The NCAA is messed up,” Simmons said. “I don’t have a voice. … I don’t get paid to do it. Don’t say I’m an amateur and make me take pictures and sign stuff and go make hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars off one person. … I’m going off on the NCAA. Just wait, just wait. I can be a voice for everybody in college. I’m here because I have to be here [at LSU]. … I can’t get a degree in two semesters, so it’s kind of pointless. I feel like I’m wasting time.”
…The issue with Simmons being the messenger of such a position is that he went out of his way to play NCAA basketball. As an Australian, Simmons could have declared for the 2015 NBA draft, but instead came to the United States for his senior year of high school and then chose to remain stateside to play for the Tigers, rather than go to the D-league or foreign leagues.
Simmons chose to play college hoops, even though the ability to bypass the NCAA was more readily available to him than most players.
Find out the tournament history for specific seeds, teams, coaches or conferences.
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Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the field of teams and game schedule for the 2017 Spalding Hoophall Classic, an annual basketball showcase now in its sixteenth year at Springfield College. Games will be played at Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College January 12-16, during Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. The nation’s premier basketball event will once again showcase the top high school basketball teams from across the country.
…Meanwhile, on the national days, the top five players in the ESPN Top 100 will all participate, including DeAndre Ayton of Hillcrest, Michael Porter of Nathan Hale Academy, Wendell Carter of Pace Academy, Mohamed Bamba of Westtown and Trevon Duval of IMG Academy. Marvin Bagley, the top overall 2018 prospect, will also participate. The top two players in 2019 R.J. Barrett of Montverde and Charles Bassey of Saint Anthony, will play as well.
Here is the full schedule and times.
3:00 p.m. — Easthampton vs. Ellington (CT)
4:30 p.m. — Hopkins vs. Palmer
6:00 p.m. — Sabis vs. Taconic
7:30 p.m. — East Longmeadow vs. Pope Francis
9:00 p.m. — Central vs. Putnam
SATURDAY (Boys, notable national names in parenthesis)
12:00 p.m. — Weaver (CT) vs. Roselle Catholic (NJ, No. 10 2018 Nazreon Reid)
1:30 p.m. — Notre Dame (CT, No. 32 2017 Tremont Waters) vs. Hudson Catholic (NJ, No. 30 2018 Louie King)
3:00 p.m. — Archbishop Molloy (NY, No. 18 2018 Moses Brown) vs. St. Anthony (TX, No. 2 2019 Charles Bassey)
4:30 p.m. — DeMatha Catholic (MD, No. 47 2017 D.J. Harvey) vs. Bishop Gorman (NV, No. 35 2017 Charles O'Bannon)
6:00 p.m. — Cambridge R&L vs. Crossroads School (CA, No. 18 2018 Shareef O'Neal, son of Shaquille)
8:00 p.m. — Westtown School (PA, No. 4 2017 Mohammed Bamba) vs. Hillcrest Prep (AZ, No. 1 2017 DeAndre Ayton)
SUNDAY (Boys, notable national names in parenthesis)
9:00 a.m. — New Hampton (NH, No. 54 2017 Kimani Lawrence) vs. Blair Academy (NJ, No. 93 2017 Deng Gak)
10:45 a.m. — Brewster (NH, No. 33 Makai Ashton-Langford) vs. Montverde Academy (FL)
12:30 p.m. — Putnam Science (CT, No. 11 2017 Hamidou Diallo) vs. Vermont Academy (VT, No. 8 2018 Simu Shitti)
2:15 p.m. — IMG Academy (FL, No. 5 2017 Trevon Duval) vs. Wasatch Academy (UT)
4:00 p.m. — St. John Neumann-Maria Goretti (PA) vs. Greensboro Day (NC)
5:45 p.m. — Commonwealth Academy (Hasahn French) vs. Cushing Academy (No. 87 2017 Wabissa Bede)
7:30 p.m. — MacDuffie vs. Wilbraham and Monson
9:15 p.m. — Suffield Academy (CT) vs. Northfield Mount Hermon (Kellan Grady)
9:00 a.m. — St. Anthony (NJ) vs. Jemison (AL)
11:00 a.m. — The Patrick School (NJ, No. 12 2017 Nick Richards) vs. Pace Academy (GA, No. 3 2017 Wendell Carter)
1:00 p.m. — Oak Hill Academy (VA, No. 20 2017 Billy Preston) vs. Nathan Hale (WA, No. 2 2017 Michael Porter Jr.)
3:00 p.m. — Montverde Academy (FL, No. 1 2019 R.J. Barrett) vs. Bishop Montgomery (CA, No. 51 2017 Ethan Thompson)
5:00 p.m. — La Lumiere (IN, No. 13 2017 Brian Bowen) vs. Sierra Canyon (CA, No. 1 2018 Marvin Bagley)
7:00 p.m. — Central vs. Hillhouse (CT)
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