8/30/12 1:29 PM
I see my guy @T_2releFOUR picture on the si.com college basketball section.
As this point, the Jayhawks have earned the right to be considered the favorite in the Big 12 year in and year out. Bill Self has strung together eight straight seasons with a finish no worse than tied for first in the regular season standings. Think about that. The last time that Kansas didn't win at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title was 2004. They finished tied for second that season, two games behind an Oklahoma State team that featured Tony Allen, John Lucas and the Graham twins and made it all the way to the Final Four. Should I mention that Kansas also won the outright regular season titles in 2002 and 2003 under Roy Williams and that the 2003-2004 season was Bill Self's first in Lawrence?
Put that all together, and, since 2002, Kansas has won seven outright Big 12 titles, won a share of three Big 12 titles and had its worst season when it finished second to a Final Four team with four NBA players playing for a new head coach. That's the kind of domination you expect out of a school in the Big South, not the Big 12. Making that run all the more impressive is that Kansas has done it while having 17 players taken in the last 11 NBA draft, 11 of whom left school with eligibility remaining.
There is no dominant team in the Big 12 this season just like there was no dominant team in the Big 12 heading into last season. But there is a dominant program in the conference, and until proven otherwise, the Jayhawks will be perennially the favorite to win the league.
SI: Big 12 summer roundup
8/30/12 6:21 PM
All in all I love Kansas... #KUCMB
8/30/12 6:54 PM
#tbt Not in Kansas anymore... instagr.am/p/O-Kx5VPljR/
Teammates Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich frequently exchanged laughter Thursday as they shared viewpoints about their latest community project.
Their voices could be heard through the static of teleconference call from Johannesburg, South Africa, seven hours and nearly 9,200 miles away from where they routinely make appearances in the greater Oklahoma City area.
From Thursday through Sunday, NBA Cares will hold the 10th edition of Basketball Without Border in Africa, an outreach program with a contingent of current NBA and WNBA players, coaches and past players focused on grassroots basketball development, education, health and wellness. One highlight will be the Saturday dedication of the NBA Cares Legacy Project, a refurbished sports complex in Alex Township, one of the largest urban neighborhoods in South Africa.
Seven active NBA players are participating in this year's BWB, and four are with the Thunder.
Kansas 2012-13 Schedule
Big 12/College News
Oklahoma is a major sleeper in the Big 12 thanks to Wyoming transfer Amath M’Baye. “He’s been great,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said of the 6-9 M’Baye who averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds per game two seasons ago with the Cowboys. “Amath got as much out of the transfer year as anyone. He’s got versatility. He’s the type of guy that’s most comfortable in the mid range area.” With M’Baye and underrated freshman guard Buddy Hield, Oklahoma may have gotten leading scorer Steven Pledger the supporting cast he needs so that the Sooners can compete for an NCAA bid.
Kansas State has a chance to be very good this season. Rodney McGruder, a 6-foot-4 wing that averaged 15.8 points as a junior, is a guy that should end up being a first-team all-Big 12 performer this season. Fellow senior Jordan Henriquez, who had a very strong finish to his junior season, and sophomore Thomas Gibson, who had a tremendous start to his freshman campaign before tailing off once conference play started, anchor a solid front line. With plenty of depth on the perimeter -- Will Spradling, Martavious Irving, Omari Lawrence, Shane Southwell, Nino Williams -- Bruce Weber will have no shortage of quality options at his disposal.
But it's Rodriguez that has the potential to be the difference maker for this team. He's the guy that took over the role of starting point guard by the end of the season, despite, at times, looking like a freshman overwhelmed with the pressure put upon him by Martin's renowned intensity. He's the guy that averaged 8.3 points and team-highs in assists (3.2) and steals (1.3) in just over 21 minutes per game.
There's clearly talent there, but there's also clearly room to grow. Rodriguez led the team with an average of 2.7 turnovers and shot just 36.0 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from three.
"My assist-to-turnover ratio," Rodriguez said in regards to what he wants to improve on the most this season. "I'll be playing more calm and more under control. My shot has also been more consistent, I've been working on that."
"My goal is to compete with any other guard in the Big 12, we've got great guards. I'm just willing to compete against anybody and if I play under control, I think it should be fine."
ESPN Tip-Off Marathon schedule
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Five-star power forward Julius Randle, the nation’s No. 1 senior basketball player according to some recruiting networks and a top target of the University of Kentucky and nine other programs, has scheduled in-home visits with college recruiters and is in the process of arranging official visits, his mother said.
Randle will host coaches from nine of the schools on his recently narrowed list over a two-week period beginning Sept. 9, his mother, Carolyn Kyles said on Thursday morning, and North Carolina State and UK will visit on the first day.
A visit from Baylor, also one of his final 10, is yet to be scheduled but will, Kyles said.
Kyles also said that an Oct. 5 trip to Florida remains Randle’s only finalized date for an official campus visit, but that an official visit to Kentucky on Sept. 14 is in the works. Three others are to be determined.
Kyles said her son will almost certainly not make a college commitment until the spring.
Kyles gave this complete schedule of in-home visits, with a Baylor visit still to be determined. (All will be in the evening except for an initial Sunday morning visit from N.C. State):
Sept. 9: N.C. State, Kentucky
Sept. 10: North Carolina
Sept. 11: Duke
Sept. 12: Kansas
Sept. 17: Oklahoma
Sept. 18: Oklahoma State
Sept. 19: Texas
Sept. 20: Florida
What is the family’s thinking as it enters the home-visit phase of Randle’s recruitment?
“We want to give everyone a fair chance because these are the final schools that made his top 10,” Kyles said. “We want to give all of them a fair chance to present their school, what they have to offer, what they have to offer Julius as far as helping him improve his skills and get him to the next level on the court and off the court, who is the best coach for him to get him there and continue to instill the values that I have all these years off the court.
“… From there, we will be watching a lot of basketball. … A lot of the coaches are saying how they are going to change things and let him do, and that’s not what we want to hear. We want to hear, ‘What (are) my flaws? How are you going to improve me?’ And then, ‘OK, let me watch you play. Can I fit into that program? Is it my style of play? Can I adjust to that style of play?’”
BYU is still a serious contender for the No. 1 player in the country in Jabari Parker. How so? Parker made an unofficial visit to Provo on Thursday and met with coach Dave Rose, according to multiple sources. Parker, who is Mormon, has made multiple unofficial visits to various schools. The 6-foot-8 forward out of Simeon High in Chicago has a laundry list of program that would take him in a second: BYU, DePaul, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and Stanford.
Given the current environment of the NCAA clearinghouse and eligibility concerns, it seems counterintuitive that any elite prospects would transfer to a new high school on the eve of their senior seasons of high school and risk adding any question marks to their academic profiles. Two of the top prospects in Dallas, Texas, have done just that, though, as well as a top-5 prospect from the 2014 class.
The newly minted Prime Prep Academy, founded by NFL Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, has reportedly received transfers from Grace Prep according to a press release from the City of Palms Classic as well as other reports. Grace Prep, another Dallas high school, reportedly lost top-50 big men Karviar Shepherd and Jordan Mickey in the 2013 class, as well as elite point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, and incoming junior to Sanders’ start-up outfit.
Former Xavier basketball player Dezmine Wells was on the University of Kentucky's campus again Thursday, but he probably won't be playing for the Wildcats anytime soon.
Even if Wells commits to UK he would be an unlikely candidate for immediate eligibility, according to a former compliance officer who has written extensively about NCAA eligibility issues.
John Infante, who runs the NCAA's Bylaw Blog, told the Herald-Leader on Thursday that Wells' case did not meet the typical parameters the NCAA uses to grant immediate eligibility.
"Those waivers need to be a hardship outside of the athlete's control. And that's going to be a tough sell since he was expelled from school," Infante said. "That's probably not going to be successful. I don't think that's in the cards."
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