For some University of Kansas student-athletes and staff, a sunny Sunday morning served as a perfect backdrop for the traditional walk through the Campanile near the top of Mount Oread and "down the Hill" to Memorial Stadium for graduation ceremonies.
"Jayhawks, you are KU's greatest contributions to the world," KU Chancellor Dr. Bernadette Gray-Little said to the graduates at Sunday's commencement ceremony.
KU coaches and staffs from basketball, football, softball, swimming & diving, women's golf and volleyball met their graduates just outside Strong Hall for group photos prior to meeting them at Memorial Stadium.
More after the jump...
Kansas University freshman Cheick Diallo issued a “thank you” letter in announcing on Twitter on Monday he’d officially decided to sign with an agent and enter the June 23 NBA Draft.
The agent, according to ESPN, is Bill Duffy of BDA Sports Management.
“I am a Pioneer and Jayhawk for life,” he added in his letter.
…“Perry proved he was one of the fastest guys at the Combine,” Self said of the 6-foot-8 Wichitan, who recorded the second-fasted three-quarter-court sprint of the 70 players (3.13 seconds). Syracuse senior Michael Gbinije was first in 3.12.
Ellis caught the attention of ESPN.com’s Ford, who still lists Ellis’ status as “second round pick/undrafted,” which could change after Ellis’ upcoming individual workouts with NBA teams.
“Kansas’ Perry Ellis, another non-athlete by NBA standards, tested surprisingly well, including a 38-inch max vertical and the second-fastest three-quarter court sprint,” Ford wrote at ESPN.com.
“We’re so happy and proud of him. I believe without hesitation his best play is to remain in the draft,” Self added of Diallo and his 7-foot, 41⁄2-inch wingspan that impressed NBA officials at the Combine in Chicago.
…KU sophomore guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk will be heading back home to Ukraine this week, Self said. Mykhailiuk will be playing in the 20 and Under European Championships (Div. A) July 16-24 in Finland.
…Self said freshmen Josh Jackson, Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot will arrive for summer school, “the weekend before the first day of class.” Classes begin on Tuesday, June 7. ... Transfer Evan Maxwell told the J-W over the weekend he’d be arriving June 6. Self cannot comment on Maxwell until papers are processed by KU’s compliance office.
Brannon Greene to workout for the GS Warriors today.
Over the next three weeks, almost every major agency will be conducting pro days in New York, Los Angeles, Sarasota, Fla., Chicago and Las Vegas. All 30 teams will travel to these different settings to watch agencies put their players through very light workouts designed to highlight their clients’ strengths and hide their weaknesses. NBA executives will be there because they don’t want to miss out. But will they actually learn anything?
Good luck projecting the draft
Because of how little separation there is between the various groups of prospects this year, expect this to be an especially wild draft night in terms of players falling or rising relative from where they are projected. There is very little consensus among teams about which players are best, especially once you get outside of the top 15 prospects or so.
What’s especially difficult is that many players who are described by some NBA teams as not being serious prospects at all are viewed as being the exact opposite by other franchises. You can ask 30 different teams about the same player and get thirty different opinions, with wildly different draft ranges. The adage of, “It only takes one team to like you,” means we could see some major surprises on draft night.
…It stands to reason that at least a handful of those who played five-on-five action – such as Cheick Diallo, DeAndre Bembry, Patrick McCaw, Ben Bentil, Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Carter – appeared to move into the first round based on their play, but the numbers simply don’t add up. With so many first-round prospects, there will be some very disappointed agents and players on draft night.
Former Liberty University center Evan Maxwell, who on Friday night revealed plans to transfer to Kansas University, explained the decision-making process on Saturday morning.
"I visited Virginia Tech and Baylor. I had visits scheduled for Arizona and Cincinnati, but ended up canceling them after the Virginia Tech visit because I liked that so much," said Maxwell, a 6-foot-10 sophomore from Clarks Summit, Pa., who will sit out next season in accordance with NCAA rules, then have two years of eligibility remaining starting in 2017-18.
"Kansas came into the picture and it seemed like a very good fit. They came in a little bit late in the process. They did a good job getting to know me as quickly as possible. I took my (campus) visit (mid week) and just being there, I knew it was the place for me. I knew it was the right people. Everything down to my parents and the way they were with the whole (coaching) staff and their wives. Every little part of it seemed the perfect fit. It was kind of a God thing. I didn't think it would be right because I didn't know them (before visiting). I prayed a lot. He made it clear to me. That's what it was. I was there, felt it and knew it.
"I'm honored to say I belong to the best basketball program in the country. It's a pretty cool opportunity," Maxwell added.
“I have two other 7-foot brothers. I’m playing casual 2-on-2 and have two 7-footers at the rim every single time. Not many people get that opportunity to work like that,” said the 6-foot-10, 245-pound Maxwell, who on Friday night announced plans to transfer from Liberty to KU.
…In a perfect world, Evan would be playing college ball with his brother, Seth, in two seasons at KU. Seth is a 7-foot senior-to-be at Abington Heights.
“A lot of A-10 schools and Ivy League schools, Patriot League schools,” Evan said of which schools are recruiting his brother. “I know his recruiting is going to pick up when he goes to the next AAU circuit (this summer) and all that. I know a lot of good schools, American Conference and Big 12 and Big 10 schools are planning to go watch him next circuit. We don’t know if that (playing together) is in the future. I think that’s all up to God’s plan what he has for us. We see it working out that way possibly. It’s something we want to make happen. We have different strengths. We could play well together with the bigs system at Kansas. If it happens, it happens. This whole decision (to attend KU) was not based on that, obviously.”
In high school, Maxwell emerged as a power player in his senior season after growing to be 6-10.
During his only season as a starter with the Comets, he averaged 11,1 points per game and earned a spot on the Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class AAA all-state team after helping the team to a third straight District 2 championship. He scored 427 points and had 265 rebounds in his career.
He wasn’t heavily recruited, earning Division I offers from Liberty and Monmouth.
In two seasons at Liberty, Maxwell scored 380 points and had 185 rebounds. Last season, he averaged 10 points a game and 4.8 rebounds while playing 21½ minutes a game for the Flames, who finished 10-8 in the Big South Conference and 13-19 overall.
He chose to transfer in March.
“I feel like my time there, I had grown up a lot,” Maxwell said. “I learned how to work and work more consistently. I just felt like I was ready for a big step. I wanted to be somewhere with more competition that would help me reach my full potential.”
…“That’s the big thing for me,” Maxwell said. “Going into this process, I really wanted to go up a level to where I would have an opportunity to compete for conference and national championships every year. This is a great opportunity and that factored into my decision making.
“Obviously, any Division I program has the opportunity to win national championships, but for some it’s more possible, Every year they expect to win and expect to be the best. I want to be a part of that championship mentality.”
The Philadelphia 76ers had media availability today for pre-draft workouts the team was holding at PCOM. One of the biggest side benefits of that availability was the local media getting a look at Joel Embiid working out afterwards.
Embiid has yet to suit up and play in a Sixers uniform, but all signs point towards him trending positive, and an Embiid debut to start the 2016-2017 NBA season seems like a real posibility.
Every time the media and fans get a look at Embiid on the court, even in simple drill workouts with coaches, it brings a glimmer of hope and excitment.
Here are a bunch of the videos the beat writers and others posted of Embiid on the court this afternoon.
“I’m excited to announce that this summer I will be back in Kansas with Ben McLemore as we host our first Kansas All-Star Camp staffed by the (KU men’s basketball) team,” Wiggins wrote. “Join us and develop your game.”
Kansas Athletics' Andrea Hudy and the University of Kansas School of Business will team up for "The Business of Sports: Branding Matters" conference on Friday, June 10 in the new Capitol Federal Hall located east of Allen Fieldhouse across Naismith Drive.
…Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self will give the opening remarks at the conference.
“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
John Calipari plans to coach Kentucky for the rest of his career and to ensure the men's basketball program remains the "gold standard" of college athletics, he said on his website Monday.
Point guard Tyree Griffin will transfer from Oklahoma State, marking the second departure from the program this week.
An OSU spokesperson confirmed Saturday that Griffin, who just completed his sophomore year, will leave. The news was first reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein.
Griffin, a New Orleans native, started 15 games this past season, first serving as Jawun Evans’ backup and then taking over at the position when Evans went down with a season-ending shoulder injury.
Late in the season, he rarely came off the floor as OSU’s only true point guard.
The 5-foot-10 guard averaged 5.2 points and 3.9 assists in 27.3 minutes per game. He delivered 12 assists in 38 minutes at Kansas on Feb. 15 despite sustaining an in-game injury, and played 40 minutes in games against West Virginia and Iowa State late in the regular season.
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So what are the chances Miami lands him? Not great, if he’s deciding solely on what he publicly said was his reason for leaving Duke.
In a school press release announcing his transfer, Thornton said he wanted to play closer to his home (Chatsworth, California). That seems to bode well for USC and Washington, two of the schools in Thornton’s final four. The other, Kansas, is the most prestigious program on his list. He has already visited those three schools.
He will sit out a year regardless of which Division I program he chooses; he would also lose a year of eligibility if he chose UM because of an ACC rule regarding in-conference transfers. However, a player of Thornton’s caliber likely believes he wouldn’t need more than two years to make a case for the NBA Draft. He would be a redshirt junior in 2017-18.
Miami believes Thornton will make his decision based on what’s best for his basketball career, rather than location.
Palm Beach Post
Generally, transferring within a conference is frowned upon. In the ACC it’s discouraged by a rule that says undergraduate players must forfeit a year of eligibility in addition to the one year mandated by the NCAA.
But times are changing again across college basketball. In the years immediately following the introduction of the so-called “one-and-done” rule, players were often looked at as either talented enough to jump to the NBA after a season or likely a four-year guy.
That sentiment is shifting and with changes in the rules that make it easier for underclassmen to test the draft waters and return to school, we will see even more blue chip freshman come back and more sophomores and juniors leave.
That gives a player such a Thornton that much more flexibility when considering a transfer. Losing a year of eligibility might not be much a deterrent for Thornton if he never expected to use all four years before going pro anyway.
Heck, it’s not that farfetched to imagine a situation where the school Thornton chooses never sees him suit up before jumping to the NBA. There’s very little preventing him from accepting an invitation to the NBA Combine next spring where he could impress general managers enough to go in the first round even without playing in a game season.
That seems to be a risk the schools courting Thornton seem willing to take. Most likely he plays at least a year at another program before going pro.
The big name to drop this week could be the one Texas fans care the most about: St. Stephen’s prospect and McDonald’s All-American Jarrett Allen.
Jon Rothstein of CBS reported on May 2 that Allen would likely be making his decision within the next two weeks. Otherwise, after the combine. A pair of Tweets from undocumented recruiting analysts this weekend say he’s coming to Texas. Then again they could be as reliable as the Houston Chronicle’s source from last month that prompted Allen to tweet about his recruitment directly, which he simply has not done much of during the cycle.
When a pair of random twitter accounts and the newspaper for one of the largest cities in the nation can’t be trusted it’s clear that a rule to follow when talking Jarrett Allen’s recruitment is: Don’t trust anyone but Jarrett Allen.
No one really knows if he’s heading to Houston, Kansas or staying home, but Texas has been leading the crystal ball predictions for months, and it may make the most sense playing-time wise and definitely location-wise for Allen.
hookem.com (Austin Statesman)
Houston is intriguing but at the end of the day, he will not be a Cougar because that program needs more foundation players before Allen could shine.
That leaves Kansas or Texas. I believe he chooses the Kansas Jayhawks.
For Texas fans, I hope I am wrong. But if Allen was serious about becoming a Longhorn, he would have signed by now instead of waiting for the last day of the signing period to make a choice. Kansas has the pedigree to develop big men and he will fit into Bill Self's system well in Lawrence.
Since he's out of school for the summer, he is likely relieved of the pressure to sign with the hometown team. Again, I very well could be wrong but I fully expect Jarrett Allen to sign with Kansas.
hornsports.com (USA Today)
The word is and has always been that it would be quite the chore to lure the 6-foot-10 big man away from the Lone Star State and our most recent intel suggests that Texas is strong with Allen. As the top ranked center in the ESPN 100, Allen is a gifted rebounder, shot blocker and finisher who has consistently improved year-to-year. He’s maintained that the biggest factor that will go into his decision is how well the coaches develop their bigs.
Jason Jordan USA Today
Five-star basketball recruit Marques Bolden is finally ready to announce his college decision.
After an initial tweet from Bolden’s high school Monday afternoon that the player’s much-anticipated announcement would come Tuesday morning, DeSoto (Texas) Athletics Director Larry Davis told the Herald-Leader that Bolden will actually reveal his college choice Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET during a ceremony at the high school gym.
Bolden — the No. 1 center in the senior class — is expected to choose either Kentucky or Duke, and whichever program lands his commitment will also end up with the No. 1 recruiting class for 2016.
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