ESPN Draft guru, David Thorpe. In his ESPN Insider piece, Thorpe notes that Anthony Davis is the obvious choice for Toronto should they win the draft, but his next best option for them wouldn't be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Instead, it would be Florida's Bradley Beal or Kansas' Thomas Robinson.
From the piece:
Perfect fit: Bradley Beal, Thomas Robinson
DeMar DeRozan is a good NBA scorer, but his lack of perimeter shooting and suspect defense warrants looking into a replacement, if it makes sense. It makes sense with Beal, who projects as an outstanding shooter and a very good scorer. He should become a better player than DeRozan in almost every other facet of the game. In fact, adding Beal would allow the Raptors to bring DeRozan off the bench, where he could end up being an excellent sixth man while still being a primary scorer. Both guys could even finish games together since Beal will be able to defend many small forwards thanks to his length and strength. Toronto can't go wrong with Robinson, either, as he would fill a huge need for athleticism on the front line with the perfect game for Casey -- tough and energetic and willing to fight and defend. Robinson would play major minutes as a rookie and improve the Raptors in his first season.
Actor/comedian Rob Riggle is about to live a sports fan’s dream: He will host The 2012 ESPYS on July 11 at 9 p.m. ET.
Many will recognize Riggle from his correspondent work alongside Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. He has also flexed his comic muscles in film roles including The Hangover (who can forget the taser scene?), Step Brothers and The Other Guys.
What many may not know is that Riggle is also an active Marine. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and has served overseas in Liberia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
“The ESPYS are proud to support Disney’s ‘Heroes Work Here’ program and we’re honored to have a Marine Corps officer serve as this year’s host,” said ESPN’s EVP of Programming and Acquisitions, Norby Williamson. “Rob’s diverse background and comic style will bring new elements to the show and we’re looking forward to an entertaining show that will speak to the core sports fan.”
Riggle has been keeping busy recently with his role in the action-comedy 21 Jump Street and voicing the character of Mr. O’Hare in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.
In March, Riggle visited the ESPN campus to promote 21 Jump Street as part of the Bristol “Car Wash” and it gave the Kansas native a chance to discuss his beloved teams: the Kansas City Royals, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas Jayhawks.
Front Row caught up with Riggle to ask about his upcoming role as the host of ESPN’s 20th ESPYs telecast:
Here’s the rare case where 14 is greater than 180,000.
Kansas University’s 14th appearance in the men’s basketball NCAA Final Four cost the city nearly $180,000 in expenses to oversee the downtown parties that ensued — and no one at Lawrence City Hall minds a bit.
“There were costs for sure, but there was a tremendous benefit for the community,” City Manager David Corliss said. “There is no question in my mind that the community reaps a benefit that is multiple times larger than what it costs us.”
A new report prepared by Corliss’ office found city expenses related to the Final Four totaled $179,786, with overtime wages paid to police officers the largest expense.
The city is expecting tax revenues from sales made at restaurants, bars, grocery stores, T-shirt shops and elsewhere to more than offset those expenses, but such tax revenue reports from the state won’t be available for another month or more. But in 2008, when the Jayhawks won the National Championship, City Hall had a good tax collection year. The city’s drink tax revenues in 2008 jumped by $270,000 for the year. The city’s sales tax collections increased by nearly $782,000, although it is impossible to know how much of that is directly related to Final Four-fueled spending.
Aishah Sutherland came to Lawrence on Late Night as a senior in high school in 2007 and fell in love. She chose Kansas with the goal of changing the program. She now leaves with the second most blocks in program history and a Sweet 16 appearance to go along with all the other memories.
“I felt like I left my mark here,” Sutherland said. “How we finished it was a great way to finish my senior year.”
…Assistant coach Chester Nichols said her contributions this season were necessary for the success the team achieved in the end.
“We don’t win without Aishah,” Nichols said. “The bigger the game, the bigger she played.”
Henrickson texted Sutherland before the tournament and told her that teams can go only as far as their seniors take them. Sutherland reassured her coach that she could lead this team. Since Sutherland helped carry the team in the tournament and kept her promise, she would be able to cherish that accomplishment for the rest of her life.
“It is better when she left than when she got here,” Henrickson said, “and that is her legacy here.”
Sutherland was not alone in her march to the end though. Goodrich led the team with four straight 20-point performances to end the season and valiantly lead the Jayhawks without Davis.
When the decision came around for who to be named Ms. Jayhawk, an award honoring high character and high competitive drive, the staff couldn’t choose between Davis and Goodrich. Instead of leaving one of the two out, the staff awarded it to both players.
“Those two kids are as good off the court as they are on the court and that matters,” Henrickson said.
The Jayhawks are back participating in individual practices and preparing for the next season. Kansas will return all of its players except Sutherland next season.
Last day to enter to win Final Four prize packs from LJW
Big 12/College News
Larry Brown is returning to college to get back into coaching.
The 71-year-old Hall of Fame coach was hired Thursday at SMU. It is his first college job in nearly a quarter century, and comes at a struggling program that is headed to the Big East after next season.
"It's a challenge like everything. The greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity," Brown told The Associated Press by phone from his home in Philadelphia.
Brown, the only coach to win an NBA championship and NCAA title, hasn't coached since leaving the Charlotte Bobcats in December 2010 after the NBA's team's 9-19 start. His contract there was to run through the end of the current season.
SMU hasn't won an NCAA tournament game since 1988, the year Brown led Kansas to the national championship in his last season as a college coach.
"It's not like I haven't been involved. I live in Villanova, I've been to Kentucky's practices the last two years, Kansas practices, Maryland's practices and Villanova, I've probably seen them practice 50 times a year," Brown said, when asked about returning to the college level.
"People have to understand, you're coaching college kids in the NBA, so I've found out kids want to be taught, they want to be coached, they want to get better," he said. "I really think the fact that I've had a background in both areas is going to help me."
The Mustangs fired Matt Doherty last month after six seasons.
"Larry Brown is one of the top coaches in the history of the game," SMU athletic director Steve Orsini said. "He is a legend and has made every team he has ever coached a winner. As we transition into the nation's top basketball conference, the Big East, his leadership will be invaluable."
Details of Brown's deal, including the length of the contract, weren't released by the private school. Brown said he wasn't ready to discuss who his assistant coaches would be. He said he has had plenty of inquiries about joining his staff.
"That's the hardest thing I think," he said. "I don't have enough jobs to help people that have been great to me. It's been pretty painful in that respect."
Brown spent several weeks with KU’s team this past season, following the Jayhawks through the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.
“Our players loved him,” KU coach Bill Self said. “This means a lot, because I know how much it means to him. He has nothing to prove, but he’s passionate and he loves to coach. They hired a guy who is a proven winner.”
Self, who spoke on Brown’s behalf to SMU athletic director Steve Orsini, said that Brown, who is in good physical condition and works out regularly, seems closer to 55 years old than 71.
“People have to understand, you’re coaching college kids in the NBA, so I’ve found out kids want to be taught, they want to be coached, they want to get better,” Brown said. “I really think the fact that I’ve had a background in both areas is going to help me.”
The Morning News said SMU is willing to pay more than $800,000 a year with a five-to-seven year guaranteed deal to secure Jankovich as top assistant. Former Illinois assistant Jerrance Howard and Kentucky assistant Rod Strickland are expected to join Brown.
Nineteenth-century British prime minister and author Benjamin Disraeli once said "Desperation is sometimes as powerful an inspirer as genius." With the hire of coaching legend and septuagenarian serial employment philanderer Larry Brown, SMU athletic director Steve Orsini went one philosophical level deeper. He's made a move that smacks of both driving forces.
Having already been rejected several times during his coaching search, Orsini was left with a couple of unsavory options. He could spin the wheel on a relative no-name, hope he guesses right, and see the fruits of improvement a few years down the road after a brutal introduction to life as a big boy in the Big East. Or he could go for immediate gratification by throwing huge money (by modern Mustang standards) at one of the giants of the coaching realm, someone who was as desperate as Orsini.
Orsini chose Choice B, even waiting awkwardly while Brown flirted with and was (assumedly) shot down by an alternative option in Portland. Hey, without pride, there is no shame.
Yet those who are guffawing about how badly Orsini butchered his search to have to come begging to Brown are ignoring a salient point. The salient point. Brown clearly is a competent choice, but it's not about that. It's not about how many games he wins or how long Brown will stay or whom his hand-picked successor will be. It's about this column. And others like it. And a week of news stories. And relentless Twitter buzz.
Orsini hired Brown for right now, this moment, where for the first time in ages, we're talking about SMU basketball. That's the genius in this particular moment of desperation. No other realistic hire could have done that.
West Virginia Athletics Director Oliver Luck would like to see kinder, gentler Mountaineers fans.
Luck, the guest speaker at Thursday night's Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner at Wheeling Park's White Palace, delivered a message of sportsmanship as the school prepares to begin play in the Big 12 Conference this fall.
Admitting WVU fans suffer from a reputation ''that's a little bit rough around the edges,'' Luck said he would like to see that smoothed a bit.
…''It may be unrealistic to expect everybody to toe the line, but we're trying to get as many folks as we can to just create a little more of a friendly atmosphere,'' Luck said. ''As you're at Mountaineer games this fall and you see someone in a burnt orange shirt walking by, or a purple TCU Horned Frog shirt, Baylor Green and Gold, or even a Marshall shirt, go over and extend a hand and say, 'Welcome to Morgantown.' If they're out of state, welcome them to the state. 'Come on over and tell us how things are in Ames, Iowa, or Manhattan, Kansas.'
''The vast majority of people are very welcoming," he added. "There are some folks who are just born and raised that if they see someone in an opposing T-shirt, they yell an obscenity. Nobody wants to be cursed at. You can razz people. But bring them over and give them a beer before you tell them we're going to beat them by 70.''
Not only would this help the school's reputation, he said, it could help with its recruiting. Texas exports the most college students in the country, Luck noted.
Duke released a statement last night regarding guard Andre Dawkins after rumors were running rampant about his future in Durham.
"Andre Dawkins remains a member of the Duke basketball program. There is a possibility of him redshirting next season, but no decision will be made on that until the fall."
Dawkins' father, Andre Sr. told Stephen Wiseman of the Durham Herald-Sun that his son is still dealing with the after-affects of his sister's death. Lacey Dawkins, then 21, was killed in a car crash on her way to see Dawkins play at Duke in 2009.
"He's dealt with a lot. It's been tough. It hasn't been easy at all," Dawkins' father told the Raleigh News & Observer. "With the fast pace of playing high-level basketball you don't really get time to deal with things like that."
Dawkins joined Duke a year earlier than expected in 2009 -- and has been a role player each of his three seasons in Durham. He averaged 8.4 points this past season in 22.4 minutes and shot 39 percent from beyond the arc.
Bo Ryan is a Philly guy who came to Wisconsin to coach basketball in 1976 and never left the state. He spent 15 seasons in Division III, became the Badgers’ coach at 53 and has won at an amazing rate.
He operates one of college basketball’s most admirable programs, and few among his peers are more widely respected.
All of that bought Bo Ryan nothing as he spent the last 48 hours getting trashed in the media cycle.
Perhaps you heard. Ryan has a player, Jarrod Uthoff, who after redshirting as a freshman decided to transfer. The coaching staff came up with a list of 25 schools where Uthoff couldn’t go, and when that information went public, Ryan went on the skewer.
Limit a transfer’s destinations when coaches can bolt their program for any job at any time?
Block an athlete whose team pours millions into a school’s athletic coffers, including a coach’s paycheck?
Universities are in the process of granting more freedoms to athletes, like the proposed annual stipend, not restricting them.
But restrictive is how Ryan’s action has been interpreted, and he sought to clarify his position with interviews on Thursday, including one with The Star.
“We’ve become a whipping boy for this whole thing,” Ryan said. “But there’s a process that needs to be followed.”
That happened on Thursday afternoon. Uthoff went through an appeal process and was told that the restriction included only Big Ten schools. And even that isn’t a complete road block. Like the Big 12, a Big Ten athlete can transfer within a conference but would lose a year of eligibility.
Lack of playing time, change in a system or coach are the most common reason for a transfer, although Ryan knows that only through hearsay. He’s only had one other player transfer from his program in 11 seasons at Madison.
We’re hearing from several sources close to the situation that UCLA is expected to add a commitment from highly touted big man Tony Parker in the next few days.
This is what it’s like to be Jabari Parker, the nation’s top high school basketball player.
One day he’s presenting a project in his Spanish class, turns around and sees Alonzo Mourning. Parker takes a seat and grins. The former Miami Heat star is making a surprise visit to give him the Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year award.
And there are nights like this.
Parker and his teammates from Simeon Career Academy are holed up in a classroom after beating Whitney Young in the Illinois state playoffs.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo were in the stands. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife were there, too, sitting next to Parker’s mom, Lola.
… Parker is a prodigy, and that can be dicey in any era.
Before he was Kareem, Lew Alcindor led his Manhattan high school team on a 71-game winning streak and went on to become the leading NBA scorer of all time. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett all made successful jumps from high school to the NBA when the league allowed it. But for every safe landing, there are plenty of players who never became one of the game’s best — JaRon Rush and Sebastian Telfair, to name just two.
Parker is determined to follow his own path, keeping all the adulation in perspective. Most nights, he tries to accommodate his young fans. He poses for pictures and signs autographs to show his appreciation.
“I can see myself as a role model,” Parker says.
Good thing, too. In a world fueled by social media, where every move is caught on camera or dissected in 140 characters, the lights are shining brighter than ever on sports’ youngest stars.
“I used to hear all this stuff about Kareem, Lew Alcindor, all the players having hundreds of letters,” says Jabari’s father, Sonny Parker, who played six seasons with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA after starring at Chicago’s Farragut Career Academy, where Garnett played as a senior. “Now, he can’t go to the bathroom without it (being posted) on Twitter.”
…Few have the talent he has.
Lola Parker could see it when Jabari, the youngest of seven children, was in the second grade and going against fourth and fifth-graders in a league set up by Sonny, who established a foundation to help inner city youth in Chicago after he retired.
Sonny, by the way, isn’t the only professional athlete in the family. Lola has four relatives with pro football experience: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki; Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata; Philadelphia Eagles fullback Stanley Havili; and, running back Harvey Unga, a 2010 supplemental draft pick by the Chicago Bears.
Jabari might be the best of the bunch.
Scholarship offers started when he was in the sixth grade. Back then, they came from Illinois, Brigham Young, Washington, Purdue and Kansas, the Parkers say. UCLA started showing interest, too, and pretty much everyone was offering one by the time he hit high school.
To get an idea how big Parker is now, go back to an evening in September, when Simeon hosted an open gym. Not even a practice, mind you, but an open gym.
A who’s who of coaches jammed the court from baseline to baseline.
Krzyzewski was there. So were Izzo and Roy Williams (North Carolina), Thad Matta (Ohio State) and Bill Self (Kansas). In all, some 40 coaches looked on, and as word spread that this was no ordinary session, that something special was happening, fans started packing the place, too.
“It was like the movie ‘Blue Chips’ — and this was open gym,” Sonny says. “The school had been in session a couple days. They closed down the barber shop, they came over to the school. It was packed in the gym. The coaches were coming in limos. It was unbelievable.”
…For now, he plans to narrow his list of colleges down to five later this spring. A Mormon mission is a possibility for him at some point, too.
Before he does that, he talks about needing to “polish up the little things before I step into the real world.”
An ability to express himself more smoothly, even when he’s tired, is among the items on his to-do list. Playing to his ability is another.
“I just want to prove to myself every time I’m on the court that I’m able to live up to those expectations,” he says.
Rivals: Parker moves to top of 2013 rankings
USA Basketball U18 National Team announced
The spring signing period is more than a week old and college coaches across the nation are hitting the road to look for new talent at NCAA-approved spring tournaments over the next few weekends.
Rivals.com takes a look around the country and hits on some happenings and news from conference to conference.
Rivals Eric Bossi: Hitting the road ($)
Spring/Summer Event Schedule
4/20 Under Armour Hoop Group Jam Fest
4/20 adidas VIP Exclusive Run
4/20 Nike EYBL session #1
4/20 Pangos Spring Spectacular
4/20 King James Southern Exposure
4/21 Capital Classic (Andrew White) Official site linked now. Rosters listed.
4/27-29 Jayhawk Invitational
4/27-29 Real Deal in the Rock
4/27 Boo Williams Nike Invitational
adidas Grassroots schedule
Nike EYBL Schedule
The oldest son of Virginia’s career scoring leader and a North Carolina shooting guard with scholarship offers from Kansas and Villanova are among the key additions to Boo Williams’ elite travel team this spring and summer.
Locals such as Hampton High point guard Anthony Barber, Phoebus small forward Troy Williams and Cape Henry Collegiate guard Devon Hall remain the squad’s linchpins. But as usual, Boo has recruited outside Hampton Roads to prepare for national-caliber competition.
The most renowned of his additions is Al Freeman from Olympic High in Charlotte, N.C. A 6-foot-4 guard in the class of 2013, he recently narrowed his college options to Kansas and Villanova, according to Rivals.com.
The former Missouri-commit said the newfound interest shown by Duke is a huge development because of his potential interest in them. He’s also a little surprised that they’ve gotten in contact with his Montrose Christian (Maryland) coaches.
“It’s a big step. Honestly, from my point of view, I never thought that Duke would be interested in me,” the Missouri-native said. ”But they made the call to my coach and said they’re interested in me and [class of 2013 shooting guard] Matt [Jones] (Duke) has been talking about it a lot.
“I think they will be a big player because they’re a power house. I’d definitely take a visit and see how it is [if they keep showing interest].”
However, because it remains to be seen whether Duke will keep showing interest, Wainright has a top four that doesn’t include the Blue Devils.
“Right now, I’m most interested in Syracuse, Kansas, Missouri and Florida, those are the ones standing out the most to me,” Wainright said. ”The coaching staffs and the way those schools are playing right now have separated them from everyone else.”
As he’s stated before, one of the things most important to him is his relationship with the coaching staff at his potential college. In that category, there are also four programs standing out.
“I’m from Missouri so me and the Missouri coaches are tight and [assistant] coach [Adrian] Autry from Syracuse too,” Wainright said. ”From Alabama, [head] coach [Anthony] Grant and I have a great relationship and from Kansas [assistant coach] Danny Manning and [head] coach [Bill] Self.”
…During the summer, he will make the switch to play for Team Takeover (DC), one of the best AAU teams in the country. The program, based out of the nation’s capital, went undefeated in the regular season of the Nike EYBL and won the Pitt Jam Fest. Wainright will be joined by class of 2013 center BeeJay Anya, among other top rated recruits.
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar (updated to reflect April Eval period changes)
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