Still, like every gym rat, Morningstar can’t help but form opinions on players that he plays with and against or watches from the bleachers. He said he fully understands why Ben McLemore, who redshirted as a freshman last season, has dropped so many jaws this summer.
“He’s the spitting image of Brandon (Rush), as far as their athletic ability, body type and shooting the ball,” said Morningstar, who played for Tulsa in the NBA Developmental League last season.
Naturally, Morningstar didn’t mention another way Rush and McLemore are alike. Handling the ball is the weakest aspect of both players’ games, which means the smartest guess at a starting lineup has McLemore at small forward, not shooting guard.
“Ben has a chance to be a really good player if he wants to be, because of how athletic he is and how long his arms are,” Morningstar said. “His strength is only going to get better. I don’t know who is taller, but to me they’re about the same player coming into Kansas.”
That’s certainly exciting.
“He’s going to have a lot of dunks,” Morningstar said. “People in the crowd are going to be like, ‘Dang!’ He had one in a camp game where he just picked it up off the ground and took off from the middle of the lane and put it down. You can’t teach that. That’s stuff you’re just gifted with.”
“Last year I learned a lot; it was kind of my first time playing,” said Withey at the LeBron James Skills Academy last weekend.
“Making it to the finals I picked up a lot of knowledge from that so next year I’m ready for the challenge.”
Withey shot 53.6% from the field last season, and his offensive rating (117.2) ranked tenth in the Big 12.
The San Diego native took advantage of the opportunities he received, and the task now is to continue to do so with his number being called more often.
“I feel like defensively I can hold my own,” said Withey. “But scoring, getting easy buckets and getting to the foul line is really important, especially since that’s going to be my new role next season.”
“Miami’s been crazy. This is my first time out of Miami since we won,” said Chalmers, who joined guests at a benefit mixer/auction at Alvamar Golf Club in Lawrence on Thursday. “The atmosphere is a little bit different. In Miami, everybody’s all about Miami. You go anywhere, they’re there cheering.”
Chalmers — his Miami Heat clinched the NBA title with a 121-106 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on June 21 — took time away from the celebration to make it back to his college town this week, as today he’s hosting the National Championship Golf Classic at Alvamar.
Proceeds will go to the Mario V. Chalmers Foundation to benefit cancer research and community-based youth programs.
“This event means a lot to me,” Chalmers said. “It’s the first kickoff to my foundation — the first event we did to help raise money for it. It’s always going to be a special event.”
…So which title — NBA or college — was more satisfying?
“It might be the college one, just because that’s the one ... I hit the shot. I had a big moment in that game,” Chalmers said. “But the NBA one is at the top, too, because that’s winning at the highest level, competing against the best of the best.”
Chalmers said he wasn’t sure yet when he’ll get his NBA championship ring, but he already has plans for it.
“I’m going to wear them all,” Chalmers said with a smile. “I’m going to wear my two high school (ones), my college (one) and my NBA (one). I’m going to wear them all at the same time one day.”
After winning the NBA title, Chalmers received congratulations from KU alums Aaron Miles, Wayne Simien, Tyshawn Taylor, Paul Pierce, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich, among others.
On the first day of mini camp, Thomas Robinson drew oohs and aahs from members of the media while we watched from behind the media glass. There is something special about that first time you get to see a prospect up close and with your own two eyes. Robinson didn’t disappoint.
He flies all over the court like a man possessed, grabbing rebounds, hitting jumpers and, yes, leading the break. That’s right, he can dribble and he can pass. Although once he begins playing against NBA players, the Kings will probably ask him to put some of those skills away. Here is a little clip of Robinson leading the break on his first day of camp.
Sac Kings blog
Tyshawn Taylor will have to wait for another day to take the court against a former Jayhawk in the NBA. Taylor’s Brooklyn Nets matched-up with Cole Aldrich’s Oklahoma City Thunder in summer league play on Thursday, but Aldrich did not play.
Despite an 87-86 loss by the Nets, it was largely Taylor’s show as the Hoboken, N.J. native and 2012 second-round selection led all scorers with 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Taylor had a chance at a game-tying shot late in the contest and hit a three in the final seconds to trim the deficit to one. He also recorded five assists, two rebounds, a steal and a block in his best performance of the summer.
“I wanted Cole to play so bad because I was going to talk so much junk to him,” Taylor said before laughing and offering a jab anyway, “but he didn’t play today, he’s an old man.
“Cole’s been playing really well out here, I’ve been watching him a lot. He’s on a really good team. It’s all about competing. We talk, we have fun, chop it up after the game but out on the court its competition.”
Taylor was on fire right out of the gate as he led all scorers with nine points after the first quarter and dished out three assists, a steal and a block. He would go onto finish the first half with 15 points and missed just one of his seven shot attempts from the field.
Through four summer league games, Taylor has averaged 15.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds while playing 29.8 minutes per game. Taylor and the Nets have one summer league contest remaining, a match-up with the Indiana Pacers Friday at 1 p.m.
Tyshawn Taylor was terrific. The rookie guard from Kansas had 23 points on 9-for-18 shooting, along with two rebounds, five assists, one steal and one blocked shot. The Nets ran a lot of pick-and-rolls for Taylor, and he looked more than capable of handling it.
He did make a few wild passes, including one attempted alley-oop to Jeff Foote where he flung the ball somewhere in Foote’s general direction after leaping into the air and turning his back to his 7-foot center. But he also made a nice floater shortly after that, and then immediately came down and hit Foote for a dunk on the next possession.
"You've got to let him learn," said Nets assistant Popeye Jones, who ran the Nets summer league team all week. "He's played basketball long enough. We know the game is pick and roll, so I wanted to put him in a lot of pick-and-roll situations today to see how he would perform, and he did a really good job."
Jones said that he had a one-on-one film session with Taylor in the morning to work on some defensive techniques, and they immediately paid dividends. On the first possession of the game, Taylor stole the ball off a lazy pass, raced down court and laid it in.
“I think I came in [this week] and did what I’m supposed to do,” Taylor said. “I showed that I can run a team, make shots. I did what my coaches wanted to see me do. I stayed after for a film session this morning and I stayed after and they were showing me some defensive clips of getting over ball screens and pressuring the ball and different ways of changing my feet and angles.
“They were just telling me that the NBA game is a game of angles. It’s a learning process. There’s so much more to this NBA game than in college, and I’m just learning as I go.”
NBA.com video Thunder vs Brooklyn highlights
NBA Vegas Summer League Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 Schedule
7/12/12 5:00 PM
Josh Pastner, Bill Self, Billy Donovan, Thad Matta, Paul Hewitt and Mike Anderson are watching Leron Black, Anton Beard and Chris Chiozza.
N.D. Kendrick (@NDkendrick)
7/12/12 6:46 PM
Bill Self just sat down to watch Demetrius Jackson. Kansas has been showing serious interest.
Brandon Ramsey (@INrecruitguide)
7/12/12 3:12 PM
Baylor, Washington, Kansas, Indiana, Miami, and Cal are some of the coaches I see here for ECE Mass and Dream Vision.
Brian Bosworth (@bosworthhoops)
7/12/12 2:37 PM
Brannen Greene calmly puts in a 2 handed alleyoop. Everything he does is smooth.
Brian Bosworth (@bosworthhoops)
7/12/12 2:19 PM
I could watch Brannen Greene shoot jumpers all day. Kansas commit has a gorgeous stroke.
Brian Bosworth (@bosworthhoops)
The final stretch of the recruiting process figured to be difficult enough for Demetrius Jackson. Now a couple more of college basketball's elite programs are involved with the 6-1 senior guard from Mishawaka Marian High School.
Jackson drew a crowd of coaches at the Fishers Fieldhouse on Thursday afternoon in a pool-play game for MBA Select at the Adidas Invitational, including Kansas assistant Joe Dooley. Louisville also has ramped up its interest in Jackson.
"Both schools have really great coaches," he said. "It's an honor to have both of them recruiting me. I'd like to get out and visit both of those schools and see what they are like."
Jackson, ranked No. 43 in the 2013 class by Scout.com, said he would also like to take an unofficial visit to Illinois after the July evaluation period. He may decide to make a commitment prior to taking any official visits.
Jackson's current scholarship offers are: Butler, Illinois, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Xavier. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey attended Thursday and the Irish have long been considered one of the favorites, in large part due to its proximity.
"I'm over there a lot because it's 10 or 15 minutes away," he said. "I feel comfortable there.
"I still want to see my family and have them come out to watch me play. But at the same time I need to go where I can develop as a player and work hard to have a great support system behind me. If it's far way, it's far away. If it's close to home, it's close to home."
Jackson said he would like to have a decision made prior to the high school season.
When U.S. basketball players talk about playing overseas, they usually mean playing professionally after college. Khadeem Lattin just got started a little early, minus the salary.
For years, talented European players have come to U.S. high schools for basketball seasoning. Lattin, a 6-8½ forward from Houston, went the other direction, playing last season at the Canarius Basketball Academy in Spain’s Canary Islands.
“I come from a family of trail blazers, so I feel like I have big shoes to fill and I try to fill them as I go along.”
His grandfather was David Lattin, a starting center for the 1966 Texas Western basketball team, the first all-black starting five to win an NCAA title. Lattin’s mother is Monica Lamb, a WNBA pioneer who won three titles with the Houston Comets from 1998-2000.
While Lattin is comfortable underneath on defense blocking shots and is listed as a power forward, he weighs only 193 pounds and sees himself as a small forward.
“In my mind, I’m a three, but I still have a little ways to actually play a three,” Lattin said. “I go in and out a lot. Defensively, (being inside) is my bread and butter; that’s what’s got me to where I have to be. Offensively, I’m not strong enough to always bang, but I’m quicker than a lot of people, so I have to get them outside to attack.”
…The 2014 recruit is back on this side of the Atlantic, attending various camps, including the Nike Skills U camp in Alexandria, Va., this week. When he’s home in Houston, he works out with former NBA coach John Lucas. There’s a possibility he could stay in-state for college, as his list of schools includes Baylor, Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
2. SG Isaac Hamilton, 6-foot-4 Los Angeles (Calif.) St. John Bosco 2013: Hamilton is one of the best pure scorers in his 2013 class, and the five-star guard did just that on Thursday: score. Being able to put it in the basket from all three levels, especially with his smooth handle allowing him to get to good scoring spots on the floor, makes Hamilton a near unstoppable offensive force. He can run at point guard, shoot it well from distance, and is a high-level athlete who loves to try and dunk everything on the break. Hamilton led his Dream Vision team back from a 20-point deficit against the Michigan Mustangs to grab a six-point win, and scored just under 30 points in the victory. Head coaches from Washington, Connecticut, Kansas, and UCLA tracked Hamilton on Thursday, while several other elite programs were represented by assistant coaches.
…4. PF Jordan Mickey, 6-foot-8 Arlington (Texas) Grace Prep 2013: Mickey is a hardworking inside-outside forward who plays with a lot of energy on the boards and defensive end of the floor. A passionate rebounder who pursues every ball like it has his name stamped on it, Mickey tallied double-digit boards in both games for his Urban DFW Elite team on Thursday. Also a gifted offensive player, the four-star power forward showed nice touch from mid-range, while attacking the rim with strength. Mickey is also a high-level athlete who can explode up to finish around the rim, or run the floor and make plays as a trailer in transition.
More adidas Day 2 from Rivals
Detrick Mostella listed scholarship offers from Georgetown, Kansas, Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi. He said that others have offered too and that he is getting a little bit of interest from Kentucky. Mostella, who is transferring to New Hope Academy (MD) for his senior year, listed Georgetown and Kansas as his top two.
Mostella has not taken any visits yet, but does plan to do so. “I’ll be like eight miles from Georgetown [at New Hope, so I can visit there] and I’m definitely visiting Kansas too. They’re my top two.” Mostella is unsure of whether he will sign early or late, but thinks it may well end up being in the second period.
…Johnathan Motley said he has scholarship offers from Baylor, Houston, Clemson, Maryland, Oklahoma, Marquette, Richmond, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Oregon. Additionally, he is hearing from West Virginia, Kansas, Stanford and Texas. He said that his favorites right now are Baylor, Houston, Clemson, Richmond, Kansas and Oregon. Asked when he plans to commit, Motley replied, “Maybe November, probably the first signing period.”
Motley also discussed the visits he has taken and what he has planned. “I live right by U of H so I go and play in the gym all the time and I’m going to Baylor after July.”
NBE Basketball Reebok Breakout camp report
Rivals Reebok report
Once again, Jermaine Lawrence showed impressive ability as a long, athletic and rangy four-man. Because he can make one- and two-dribble pull-ups, and has good mobility, Lawrence can also play as a big three-man. However, at about 6-foot-9 he's plenty big to play the four and has a huge quickness advantage at that spot. Cincinnati, Syracuse, Kansas, Rutgers and Florida were the schools he mentioned off the top of his head.
More Rivals Reebok
At the Reebok Breakout Challenge, they wore the business uniforms of July recruiting, some in lime green or bright red, others in black or navy blue.
All had their university names splayed in full across their golf-shirted chests or neatly logoed on left corner pockets.
All, that is, except one gray-haired man, turned out subtly in an anonymous gray shirt, dark shorts and white sneakers.
“Hey Frannie, do I need to get one of these fancy shirts with a logo?” he asked Temple coach Fran Dunphy.
“No, coach,’’ Dunphy replied. “People know who you are.’’
On his first day of official recruiting in 24 years, Larry Brown both stuck out and fit right in, a 72-year-old legend squeezed among young assistants desperate to make their mark, yet a contented hoops junkie thrilled to sit back and watch kids ball.
This, the new SMU coach said, is why he came back to college coaching.
He missed it.
…On Wednesday night, he spent an hour watching a game two seats away from Turgeon, the Maryland coach who once played for Brown at Kansas.
Brown was scouting talent, looking to stockpile for an SMU team in desperate need of an infusion. He’s been around the business plenty long enough to know that growing the Mustangs won’t happen quickly.
Which doesn’t exactly suit Brown’s personality.
“Will you be patient?’’ I asked him.
“I don’t even want to answer that,’’ Brown said laughing. “I know we aren’t a factor yet, but if kids come, it will be all over.’’
As Brown started to answer, Turgeon shook his head and smirked.
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