Big 12 Media Day
Kansas arrives at Big 12 Media Day on Tuesday at the Sprint Center coming off its worst record in conference play in the Bill Self era.
But the 13-5 mark was good enough to win an 11th straight conference title.
Big 12 coaches and players will answer the question, what will it take to dethrone Kansas, when they stand before notepads, microphones and cameras today in the league’s tipoff event for the season.
Kansas University’s Bill Self will be the first of 10 league coaches to speak at Big 12 Media Day this morning in Sprint Center, which, of course, is located in Royals-crazed Kansas City, Missouri.
Self and Jayhawk players Perry Ellis, Frank Mason III and Hunter Mickelson most assuredly today will be quizzed about the pressure they may feel in going for yet another crown.
“We want them to feel pressure,” Self said, “because pressure usually creates more energy and better performance. We talk about it openly. We don’t talk about so much winning 12 in a row. What we do talk about is being champion every day and being Big 12 champions every day. That’s how we break huddle after practice: ‘Big 12 champs.’ There’s a subliminal message being sent to these guys. They talk about it among themselves a lot. They don’t want to be the team that doesn’t win one.
“Last year, what a job our guys did to win the league when it was so competitive and we were so banged up down the stretch,” Self added. “Having to come basically 20 down in the second half to beat West Virginia without Perry (knee injury). Those are great things. I think it (league dominance) is taken for granted around here, which is rightfully so, because these guys have experienced quite a bit of success.”
“He can make shots, without question,” Kansas University coach Bill Self said of Vick, the lanky, 6-foot-5 freshman combo guard who averaged 4.5 points off 51.6 percent shooting (57.1 percent from three) for the gold-medal-winning Jayhawks at this summer’s World University Games. “But he’s a slasher, an athlete, quick-twitch kid.”
Those traits have Self salivating about Vick’s potential as a defensive standout at the college level.
Our 2015-16 season preview continues with the Dagger's look at the 25 most intriguing non-conference games. Check back every day for more college hoops preview content.
3. Kentucky at Kansas, Jan. 30: Rest assured the Jayhawks will be highly motivated to win this one at home after the beating they took at the Champion's Classic last November. While most of Kentucky's stars are gone from the team that throttled Kansas 72-40, the Jayhawks return veterans Frank Mason, Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis and a handful of other rotation players.
7. Kansas vs. Michigan State, Nov. 17 (Champion's Classic): If Kentucky-Duke is the main event of the Champion's Classic, this is certainly a compelling undercard bout. Michigan State certainly has the firepower to challenge Kansas with heralded freshman big man Deyonta Davis and high-scoring West Virginia transfer Eron Harris joining a Final Four team that already has a handful of key players returning including All-American candidate Denzel Valentine.
22. Kansas at San Diego State, Dec. 22: The Mountain West favorites will have the attention of the Jayhawks after doing the improbable last year and springing an upset in Lawrence. San Diego State figures to be formidable yet again defensively next season, but it will need a breakout season from Malik Pope, greater consistency from Winston Shepard and quality point guard play from freshman Jeremy Hemsley to take a step forward offensively.
Tyler Self, a junior basketball player at Kansas University, and Evan Manning, a senior, will need to make important decisions on their career paths in the not-so-distant-future.
Considering their dads — Bill and Danny — are successful in coaching the college game, it seems logical to see if that’s the avenue the KU upperclassmen might want to pursue as well.
The answer in both cases?
“I don’t know exactly what I want to do. I want to do something with basketball. I’m not sure it’s coaching,” said Self, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Free State High, who, like Manning, is a non-scholarship player. “I wouldn’t rule it out. I think I’d want to work more on the administration side of basketball.”
…“I’m keeping my options open,” Manning said, asked about coaching. “I’ve got to weigh the pros, cons, figure what my goals are for the future and what opportunities present themselves.
“I want to do something competitive, whether in sports or the stock market, something along those lines,” Manning added. “I want to do something that’s team oriented. I like working with people and doing stuff as a team, accomplishing goals. That’s one of my favorite things.”
…Both Self and Manning said they’ve thoroughly enjoyed their time at KU. Neither wishes he had gone to, say, a lower-level school and garnered more playing time.
“This is the best choice I’ve ever made,” Manning said. “I love this place, love this university. To be part of something as big as Kansas basketball ... the little piece I am, it’s been unbelievable.”
Noted Self: “I don’t think about that too much. I like where I’m at. I love this university, love this team. It’s not something that crosses my mind.”
New York Times: Tough Times for a Kansas Hangout
Oubre tallied 16 points, tying center Marcin Gortat for the team high, on 3 for 4 shooting from the field and 9 for 11 shooting from the free throw line in Washington’s 127-118 preseason victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. The southpaw, who is competing for minutes off the bench in the regular season following Alan Anderson’s ankle surgery, added three rebounds and three steals in 26 minutes as the Wizards forced 27 turnovers.
Somewhere beneath the sweet shooting and the familiar defense that utterly dismissed a Houston Rockets team unfit for an NBA floor, the Warriors may have uncovered something of real value.
Brandon Rush, resuscitated.
Starting for the wounded Harrison Barnes (right knee bone bruise), Rush seized the opportunity to look, once again, like the Brandon Rush of old. If his performance was more than a mirage, the Warriors have rediscovered a wing worthy of their rotation.
There was a time a couple years ago when he was with the Lakers that Xavier Henry showed flashes of the promise a lot of scouts saw back when he was one of the top high school players in America. However, a series of knee injuries slowed him, then just nine games into last season he tore his Achilles and was done for the year.
The Warriors are going to give him one more chance, but it will have to start in the D-League.
Golden State signed Henry and Chris Udofia to contracts on Monday, the team announced. But neither of these guys are destined for the NBA roster.
Hey, is that Cole Aldrich not wearing a New York Knicks uniform?
Why, yes. Yes it is.
The basketball gods smiled upon the former Kansas center this summer — or maybe it was just that Aldrich became a free agent and made a wise decision. Either way, the 6-foot-11 center now can proudly call himself a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.
“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
In addition, content will live throughout the year on ESPN.com, ESPN Radio, ESPN the Magazine and many more ESPN platforms.
…New this year: ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to air every game of the third annual Big 12/SEC Challenge Presented by Sonic - staged for the first time on the common bye date of Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, during the conference schedule. The field is headlined by four preseason top-10 teams in the ESPN.com's revised too-early top 25 - No. 3 Kentucky, No. 5 Kansas, No. 7 Iowa State and No. 8 Oklahoma - and matches all 10 of the Big 12 members against 10 teams from the Southeastern Conference.
…The launch of ESPN College Extra, a new college sports service that will bring hundreds of ESPN3 exclusive live college sports events to the TV. Live events will be accessible to customers of AT&T U-verse and DIRECTV - which is now part of the AT&T family - Bright House Networks, Cox, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS and select NCTC members.
Five former University of Louisville basketball players and recruits told Outside the Lines that they attended parties at a campus dorm from 2010 to 2014 that included strippers paid for by the team's former graduate assistant coach, Andre McGee.
One of the former players said he had sex with a dancer after McGee paid her. Each of the players and recruits attended different parties at Billy Minardi Hall, where dancers, many of whom stripped naked, were present. Three of the five players said they attended parties as recruits and also when they played for Louisville.
Said one of the recruits who ultimately signed to play elsewhere: "I knew they weren't college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club."
…The former player who said he had sex with a dancer told Outside the Lines that McGee provided him with one-dollar bills to tip dancers and paid for one of the dancers to have sex with the player in a separate room. One of the other former players, who said he attended the parties as a recruit and player, said McGee "would give us the money, just the recruits. A bunch of us were sitting there while they danced. Then the players left, and the recruits chose which one [of the dancers] they wanted."
…All five of the ex-players or recruits spoke with Outside the Lines on the condition of anonymity, citing a fear of retribution from Louisville fans, players and coaches.
2. Get ready for the whistle fest
Two years ago, the men’s basketball rules committee made some minor adjustments to the rulebook in hopes of cleaning up physical play. The main point of emphasis concerned protecting the dribbler from hand-checking. The results weren’t pretty: Fouls spiked to 19.11 per game, up from 17.68 the year before and the highest average since 2002. That led to predictable complaining from coaches, media and fans, which was followed by an even more predictable reversion to old habits once conference play began. As a result, the committee dialed back its efforts the following summer, which produced the modern era’s worst offensive season in 2014-15.
Be forewarned: The effort to restore freedom of movement has been renewed with vigor. Instead of issuing points of emphasis on one or two actions, the rules committee set its sights on five different areas of physical play: hand-checking the dribbler, post play, moving screens, bumping cutters and taking charges. Combine that with an ambitious set of new rules such as the 30-second shot clock and widening the arc under the basket, and we are looking at long, painful period of adjustment.
7. Still streaking?
I’ve said many times that Kansas’s 11 consecutive Big 12 titles under Bill Self is one of the most underappreciated achievements in all of sports. Roster turnover in college basketball has never been higher, and it is especially problematic at Kansas, which annually sees multiple undergraduate defections to the NBA. Yet, there is every reason to believe that Self will make it a cool dozen this season. Once again, KU lost some players—Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander declared for the draft, and Conner Frankamp transferred to Wichita State—yet it is still being picked to win the conference. The season is beginning under a cloud of uncertainty because stud freshman center Cheick Diallo has yet to be academically cleared by the NCAA. But even if Diallo is out for a while, the Jayhawks will remain the favorite.
8. Will the NBA/college coaching door keep revolving?
For the longest time, the NBA appeared to have an unwritten ban against hiring college coaches, thanks largely to the bad experiences of guys like Jerry Tarkanian, Tim Floyd, John Calipari, Lon Kruger and Leonard Hamilton. Then again, most every NBA coach gets fired after a while, so it’s nice to see the league finally get smarter about plucking some of the college game’s brightest minds.
Brad Stevens is earning positive reviews as he enters his third year with the Celtics, and Fred Hoiberg and Billy Donovan have stepped into excellent situations with the Bulls and Thunder, respectively. The success that Mike Krzyzewski has enjoyed with NBA players at USA Basketball further enhances the argument that the college guys can cut it at the next level. That is good news for coaches like Kevin Ollie, Sean Miller, Thad Matta, Chris Collins, Bill Self and Jay Wright. Could one of them be next?
SI Seth Davis: Preseason storylines
Watching the net crinkle enough times, Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet gained a favorable impression of the Shockers’ newest outside threat, Conner Frankamp.
“I’m only 21, but I’ve seen some basketball around the world,” VanVleet said, “and he’s the best shooter I’ve ever seen in person.”
“Obviously, a very significant scorer,” Baker added. “He’s going to be fun to play with. Any player that can stretch the perimeter out defensively gives the guards penetration lanes. He’s going to be a fun player to watch this year in Wichita, and especially to play with.”
…“Everybody talks about his defense, but he’s not a terrible defender,” VanVleet added. “I’m not sure we’ll ask him to guard the best player on the other team on any given night, but he’ll be able to hold his own. It’s about trusting his instincts and creating good habits.”
Much of that has been learned since Frankamp arrived at Wichita State.
…While playing for the Jayhawks in 2013-14, Frankamp never quite got untracked. At least not in terms of what was widely expected.
He averaged 2.5 points and 8.3 minutes while shooting 34.4 percent. From 3-point range, Frankamp was 15 for 48 (.313).
…“I just don’t think it was a great fit for me up there,” Frankamp said. “Other than that, I don’t have any bad things to say about KU. I’m just happy to be here and see where this takes me.”
When the Washington Huskies play the Texas Longhorns in Shanghai on Nov. 13, it will mark the first regular-season pro or college basketball game in China. It’s part of the Pac-12’s Globalization Initiative.
A Pac-12 news release last week touted upcoming “educational opportunities” the Washington Huskies and Texas Longhorns will experience during next month’s season-opening NCAA men’s basketball game in China.
Indiana is going to be dangerous. The Hoosiers have one of the best backcourts in the country, plenty of capable spot-up shooters to ensure maximum spacing and a revamped front court led by a McDonald's All-American freshman. If Crean is feeling the heat now, he might not want to consider the response if Indiana fails to make a deep run in the tournament this year.
There were two decisions that raised the bar for Indiana this season: the first was the commitment of five-star freshman Thomas Bryant, which filled a massive hole on the interior for the Hoosiers. The second was Yogi Ferrell's choice to return for his senior year rather than enter the NBA draft.
It seems like the stars are aligned for a big year for the Hoosiers, but it's still a fragile opportunity. What happens when the threes aren't falling? Is a young front court ready to contribute right away? And especially: can Indiana actually get stops defensively when it counts?
After winning his fifth national title last April with a roster that relied on three one-and-done freshmen, Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke told ESPN that there is more of an urgency for kids "to leave as early as possible" for the riches that the NBA offers.
"The way the [salary] cap has gone up over a two-year period, going up over 40 million as a result, if I'm a really good player, I would petition to look at coming out of high school," Krzyzewski told ESPN. "They don't play basketball their whole lives. They play for X amount of years. I've always been a big proponent of kids having the ability to go out of high school. But if they go to college, they would stay two years. But that's never gotten the traction.''
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told ESPN that the 2016 Olympics will be his last coaching the United States men's basketball national team, and that a succession plan to replace him will be announced in the coming year before the Games in Rio de Janeiro next summer.
Big 12 Composite Schedule
The news was first reported by SNY's Adam Zagoria.
A power forward at Oak Hill, Giles is from Winston-Salem. On Friday night, UNC will host Rawle Alkins and several other recruits during its annual Late Night with Roy event in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels had been considered a longshot in the recruitment of Giles, who narrowed his list to Duke, Wake Forest, Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas in July.
He made official visits to Wake Forest in mid-September, Kansas in early October and Kentucky this past weekend, when the Wildcats hosted their Big Blue Madness event. He is scheduled to make his official visit to Duke on Halloween weekend - the Blue Devils face Florida Southern in an exhibition game that Friday night.
The 2016 Hoophall Classic will once again be loaded with high-school and prep talent.
Four of the top six players in ESPN's top 100 recruits will participate in this year's showcase — Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo. Two players who were previously reported as playing — Dennis Smith and Josh Jackson — will no longer be participating. Smith tore his ACL in August and will miss the rest of the season.
Thon Maker, however, will return to the Hoophall, as will Marvin Bagley III — the No. 1 sophomore in the nation who played for Corona Del Sol against Putnam last season in a thrilling game.
You would think that with his dad having played for Roy Williams at Kansas that UNC could have landed Finnish big man Lauri Markkanen, but it didn't happen as he has committed to Arizona.
It might have been the uncertainty of the NCAA situation, which has led Williams to complain previously about how that affects recruiting and that would be understandable.
Or maybe it was just as simple as weather.
Markkanen grew up in one of the colder countries on earth, in a town called Jyväskylä, which is in the lower third of Finland, in the middle of the country in a region called Lakeland.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2015-16)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube