KUAD Kansas vs Florida pregame notes
"Scottie's fine,'' Donovan said. "He's been back to practice. We probably were a little bit precautionary with him, coming out of the UConn game.''
Wilbekin had limited swelling and soreness. Hill, however, is still getting back in shape.
"There are really no limitations on Kasey's playing time from the doctors in terms of he can only play 10, 12, 15 minutes,'' Donovan said. "But because he's been out and been out of practice so long – it's been nearly about three weeks right now – I just don't know what I'm going to get from him. We'll give him an opportunity. He'll have another day of practice under his belt. Hopefully he will get back to feeling more comfortable. He feels pretty good right now and as long as that continues we'll use him as we need him.''
Kansas starts the nation's top recruit, 6-foot-8 guard Andrew Wiggins (15.3 points, 5.5 rebounds).
"I think for us defensively, when you are dealing with any talented player, any good player, you've always got to rely on help principles, being in the right position and realizing that for us defensively it's never a one-on-one situation where we are just playing him one-on-one and this guy is guarding him and he's on an island by himself,'' Donovan said. "Obviously they've got a lot of talented, gifted players that we're going to need to provide help, be in good position and be ready to help on certain situations, certain screening actions.''
…Florida is trying to extend a 20-game home winning streak. The school record is 24 in a row.
…Florida is trying to bounce back for its last-second loss at UConn by Shabazz Napier.
"I still can remember him making the shot and just me feeling like 'how?''' UF guard Mike Frazier said. "You know? I was, I can't even explain how I was feeling then. That feeling is still with me, I think it's still with our team, we don't ever want that to happen again. . . . I think we're just really focused, eager to get back on the court and play another game."
As of Monday morning, Kansas coach Bill Self had held only one short practice session with his team following its 75-72 road loss to Colorado.
From what he can tell, though, the players are responding to the last-second defeat just fine.
“There were going to be some things that we were going to go through,” Self said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. “We know we’re playing a monster schedule, and we know we’re not playing games at home right now. There’s always a chance that things like that can happen.”
The slate doesn’t get any easier for the Jayhawks on Tuesday, as they play their second consecutive road game, this time at No. 19 Florida as part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
Self says the most disappointing aspect of his team’s recent stretch — KU has lost two out of three nonconference games for the first time since the 2008-09 season — is the fact that he knows his team can play better. That doesn’t mean he’s been frustrated with everything he’s seen.
“If there’s two positives in our losses, it’s that we had played our best when it counted the most,” Self said. “ … But we just haven’t closed the games. Certainly, there are going to be more close games.”
Self envisions Tuesday night as one of those instances.
Self said Monday that freshman Frank Mason would start at the point for the second straight game and third time this season. Self would not comment on whether freshman Joel Embiid would start. Embiid, a 7-foot center from Cameroon, played for The Rock in Gainesville his senior year.
“Jo has been great,” Self said on Monday’s Big 12 teleconference. “The people in Gainesville know, because he went to school at The Rock for his senior year, but he’s only played two years of ball going into this one. He’s got a long ways to go, but his ceiling is so high. He’s a sponge, and he really understands the game far beyond his years and certainly beyond his experiences.
“We’re real pleased, and he’s a fabulous kid. I know that he’s looking forward to getting back home, getting to some warm weather and having some people come watch him play that he knows well and that’s been very good to him. He’s got a chance to be a very special player.”
Here’s the thing about this Kansas team. As much as any squad in the country, any losses they suffer in the non-conference portion of the schedule will be almost completely irrelevant by the time the NCAA Tournament rolls around in March. The Jayhawks are young and loaded with NBA talent, and finding the right mixture is a challenge for coach Bill Self, who has a pretty good track record. Until everything is right, though, there will be ups and downs, and very good teams like Colorado will give Kansas everything it can handle. The Buffaloes moved into the AP poll this week (No. 21) after their win against the Jayhawks.
The Sporting News
Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks secured a significant victory over the weekend.
I know what you’re thinking, that Kansas came up short on the road against Colorado, that the Jayhawks already lost their second game of the season with a road contest against Florida looming on Tuesday night.
But Self will gladly trade one loss that no one will remember come Big 12 play for this version of Andrew Wiggins.
Let’s face it -- Wiggins is the most hyped player since LeBron James, but he had been somewhat ordinary through the first seven games of his college career, averaging 14.7 PPG.
He’s had his moments -- such as the picturesque step-back jumper in Chicago against Duke, and the high-flying breakaway dunks. But for the most part, he has not looked the part of the presumptive No. 1 overall pick or a future NBA star. That changed in the second half of the Jayhawks' loss to Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes.
“He can be as good as he wants to be,” Boyle said after his team's victory. “He’s that talented.”
Wiggins was explosive. He was assertive. He was active on both ends. He ran hard and competed on just about every possession and was virtually unstoppable when he touched the ball with the intent of driving to the basket. That is the Wiggins who has NBA types gushing, and that is also the Wiggins who is necessary in order for Kansas to cut down the nets come April.
Self has a nice forward in Perry Ellis whose game is understated, yet extremely effective. He has a talented, strong shooting guard in freshman Wayne Selden who will be a terrific complementary piece once he begins to figure it all out. Self has a super-skilled, yet raw 7-footer in Joel Embiid who has already drawn comparisons to former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon with his array of post moves.
“It’s ridiculous,” Boyle said of Embiid, who has only been playing the sport for a few years. “Unfathomable. You can’t guard him with one guy.”
No disrespect to Embiid and the rest of the Jayhawks, but no one is capable of taking this team to another level.
Except for Wiggins.
When Wiggins plays in the O'Connell Center against Florida, the 6-foot-8 Kansas freshman basketball prodigy will carry a star quality rarely seen in college hoops circles. But Florida insists it's about more than stopping Wiggins in tonight's SEC-Big 12 matchup. It's about stopping the Kansas team.
“For us, defensively, it's never a one-on-one situation where we are just playing him and this guy is guarding him and he's on an island by himself,” Donovan said. “Obviously they've got a lot of talented, gifted players that we're going to need to provide help, be in good position and be ready to help on certain situations, certain screening actions.”
By all accounts, Wiggins is a humble superstar not prone to embracing his own hype. With a 40-inch vertical leap, the Canadian has been effective finishing at the basket over centers and power forwards.
“I saw that last bucket he got in the second half of the game against Colorado,” Florida senior center Patric Young said. “There wasn't even a hole. He just went straight through the guy's chest and finished. I thought that was a pretty bold move because the guy could have taken a charge. But he's a very talented player."
“Obviously, you don't want a guy to come to your house and get off against you,” Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier II said. “It's not just one guy. It's our whole team. We're going to play our defense, and we're going to play hard.”
That means keeping Wiggins from driving to the rim, where he does his most damage.
“That's going to take all five guys being alert, being ready to help,” Frazier said.
On a green patch of grass outside The Rock School, a small Christian academy on the west side of town, a group of international students used to gather to play soccer.
There were two Europeans, and four Africans, and a seventh kid, a 7-foot behemoth from Yaounde, Cameroon, who went by the name of JoJo. To anyone who watched Joel Embiid during those pickup soccer games, there was something that seemed to defy physics. He was blessed with the height of an NBA center, and the wingspan of a pterodactyl, but when the soccer games began on the playground, Embiid wanted the ball at his feet.
“I should have been a goalkeeper,” Embiid said, smiling. “but I was a midfielder.”
He had come to America to pursue the sport of basketball, an avenue toward a better education and a greater opportunity. But Embiid still had love for the game of his youth, the one he used to play back home. Fortunately for Embiid, the basketball program at the Rock School was filled with international kids. And in gym class, soccer was the sport of choice. So when the ball starting bouncing around the pitch, and Embiid would pull off some smooth pirouette or rifle a shot on goal, the gym teachers used to stop and watch.
“It was all these 6-foot-7 and 6-8 guys playing soccer,” said Justin Harden, basketball coach at The Rock School. “And then there was JoJo. I used to joke with people, but it’s almost a serious statement. I would take those guys and you could have beat a lot of high school soccer teams in the country, just because they were that skilled.”
…Kansas coach Bill Self compares Embiid to a young Hakeem Olajuwon, another African center who grew up playing soccer, and Embiid appears to improve a little more each day. Monday, as Kansas prepared to face No. 19 Florida on Tuesday night, Embiid returned to Gainesville, where he spent his last full year of high school and where he continued his startlingly quick transformation from African dreamer to potential star.
“It’s just like Hakeem,” Harden said. “He grew up playing soccer.”
The story goes that Embiid was discovered at a basketball camp back home in Cameroon. It was the summer of 2011, and former UCLA forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was holding a camp for young African players. Mbah a Moute, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, saw this long-limbed kid running up and down the floor, and he knew that kid had to go to America, because that's where all the great ones went.
This is all true, Embiid said, but he actually first touched a basketball when he was 12. He grew up playing volleyball and soccer in Yaounde, a city of 1.8 million in central Cameroon. His father, Thomas, a military man, had spent years playing team handball, and he wasn’t sure basketball held a future for his young son.
“I played basketball when I was young,” Thomas Embiid said. “But it was 30 years (ago). But myself, I was a handball player.”
A few months later, Mbah a Moute placed Embiid at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla., one of the top high school programs in the country and the same school he had attended. When Embiid arrived, he was fluent in multiple languages, including French. But English was not one of them.
“I was alone,” Embiid said. “It was tough. But when I got to Montverde in Florida, there were at least four Cameroonians there, so it was easy for me to learn English and get to know everybody.”
Embiid continued to improve on the court, but he hardly played in games. Montverde had Dakari Johnson, a fellow 7-footer who earned McDonald’s All-American honors and signed with Kentucky. And Embiid was playing just his first year of organized ball.
“He was still a little bit raw,” said Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier, who was a senior at Montverde that season. “But you could see that he was going to get a lot better.”
The next summer, with Division I programs beginning to learn of the 7-footer on Montverde’s bench, Mbah a Moute made another call — this time to Harden at the Rock School. Mbah a Moute told Harden that he had a 7-footer from Montverde, a kid that needed a school where he could get on the floor.
Harden had never seen Embiid play, but he said yes. Then he went to his computer, hoping to learn a little something about his new center.
“YouTube is wonderful,” Harden said. “I watched a couple of his hoops mixtapes, but it really only showed him dunking.”
A few months later, Harden realized why. Embiid was still learning the game, but dunking wouldn’t be a problem.
When Embiid wasn’t playing soccer at The Rock School, he spent his time making life miserable for the other kids in gym class. On dodge ball days, that meant pegging kids with what felt like a major-league fastball. On the days they played volleyball, Embiid showed why his father once thought Joel’s future would be on the volleyball court.
“We would play volleyball every once in a while,” Harden said, “and he would almost kill some people with some of his spikes at the net.”
In his first season at Kansas, the skills have translated. After Embiid recorded just one block in KU’s first two games, Self culled together a highlight tape of former KU center Jeff Withey and gave Embiid a simple message: He needed a rim-protector.
In KU’s next five games, Embiid averaged three blocks per contest.
CBS podcast discusses KU and two losses, Embiid & Wiggins
Got a chance to catch up and watch coach Dmanning team practice today! Truly admire coach as a man and
Former KU wing Travis Releford will undergo surgery on Thursday in the Kansas City area to repair a stress fracture in his right foot. Kansas City native Releford returned to the U.S. on Sunday from Belgium, where he’s been starting for a pro team. He will return to Belgium on Dec. 28 to complete rehab and return to the court.
Releford will sign copies of his new book, “Relentless,” 9:30-11 a.m. on Dec. 21 in Allen Fieldhouse. He also plans to attend KU’s game against New Mexico on Saturday in Sprint Center.
He will appear at another signing on Dec. 23 at the Kansas Sampler store in Overland Park.
The Yukon Quest, along with Mario Chalmers, Jeannie Hebert-Truax and the Alaska Anchorage men’s basketball upset of No. 2 Michigan in 1988 were announced as the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014 on Monday.
…Chalmers has won back-to-back NBA championships with the Miami Heat after helping Kansas to an NCAA championship. The Jayhawks retired his No. 15 jersey earlier this year.
He was a three-time Alaska Player of the Year while helping Bartlett win two state titles. He is the only Alaskan to win championships in high school, NCAA Division I and professionally.
Fairbanks Daily New Miner
Kansas women's basketball assistant coach Katie O'Connor was inducted into the Durham Academy Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, Dec. 6.
As a multi-sport student-athlete from 1991-95 at Durham, O'Connor earned all-state and All-American honors as a standout on the basketball court. She was also a member of the field hockey and track teams. O'Connor is one of eight inaugural inductees into the Athletics Hall of Fame.
At Kansas, O'Connor helped the Jayhawks reach the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2013. She has aided in the development of three All-Big 12 selections, all three of which went on to play professionally in the WNBA or overseas.
Vote for Caroline Jarmoc Senior CLASS Award
VOTE HERE for Pierce, Chalmers, Markieff Morris 2014 NBB All-Stars
Jack Harry denies calling Jayhawks "gayhawks" but of course there's a YouTube video of his oops moment
@richarddeitsch he's always been unprofessional. just tries to get a rise out of people
Jack Harry RT @teamziller: K.C. broadcaster drops 'Gayhawks' slur, denies it, believes America to be universally deaf
A Kansas City sports anchor known for his provocative on-air persona has come under fire for allegedly referring to the Kansas basketball team by a derogatory slur.
While Jack Harry is opinionated, he knows the difference between legitimate sports discussion and unacceptable, uncalled for language. After speaking at length with Jack, we believe Jack when he tells us that is not what he said.
We stand by Jack and encourage him to speak his mind when it comes to sports in Kansas City and beyond.
From 41 Action News KSHB-TV on its Facebook page
Big 12/College News
1. Both Kentucky and Kansas lost over the weekend. Which coach has more work ahead of him as he tries to build his team into a national title contender: the Wildcats' John Calipari or the Jayhawks' Bill Self?
Andy Katz: Kansas got beat at the buzzer by Colorado in one of the top venues in the West in the Coors Events Center. I'll hardly fault the Jayhawks. Kentucky's defensive performance against Baylor is another issue. Kentucky must tighten up its D in order to become an elite team. The Wildcats will not have an issue scoring, but they won't win the title if they cannot commit themselves to locking in and shutting teams down at crucial moments.
Dana O'Neil: I'd be more worried if I were Calipari because, while the Wildcats lost just one, they've looked lethargic for a while, slow to come around against Cleveland State, Eastern Michigan and Providence. This team seems to think it can turn on the jets whenever and win, and that's simply not the case. Mix that in with shoddy defense and an upcoming schedule that includes Boise State, North Carolina and Louisville, and Kentucky needs to find itself quickly.
Myron Medcalf: I think Calipari just because he doesn't have enough leaders. Self has Naadir Tharpe, Tarik Black and Perry Ellis. That trio will help Self's youngsters in the locker room as the season advances, but it's difficult to identify similar leaders on Kentucky's roster.
3. Almost a month in, are the new rules good, bad or ugly?
Katz: The majority of games I have watched or attended haven't been dominated by the rules. Officials are still feeling their way through the adjustment and so are the players. Ultimately, you will see more players with their hands up, more teams using zone and, in the long run, fewer fouls.
O'Neil: They're good, despite the growing pains everyone is enduring. Watching a parade of free throws, as we have in some games, is admittedly no fun for anyone, but the brutality and physicality that was college basketball before the new rules was no fun, either. This is a step in the right direction.
Medcalf: I think they're just inconsistent. We're still waiting for officiating crews throughout the country to regulate contact the same way. That hasn't happened yet.
The chatter began with Kentucky coach John Calipari as a potential replacement with the New York Knicks. Let’s face it: The only way Calipari leaves for another shot in the NBA is if he thinks he has a chance to compete for an NBA title. There’s the link between Calipari, his guy, William “World Wide Wes” Wesley, and Carmelo Anthony. But the key here would be whether Calipari feels as though the Knicks would have a shot at landing LeBron James this offseason.
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
If anybody in the country was going to be able to slow down Cliff Alexander of Chicago (Ill.) Curie, one would figure that Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman might be the team to do it. Headed to Kansas and ranked No. 4 in the class of 2014, Alexander had to contend with Gorman's two five-star junior big men Stephen Zimmerman (No. 2) and Chase Jeter(No. 21).
For the most part, Alexander treated his younger competitors like afterthoughts. The 6-foot-9, 240 pounder was thoroughly dominant on both ends of the floor as he led Curie to a 66-62 win while scoring 22 points, grabbing 20 rebounds and blocking five shots.
Headed into the game, the question was how the Gorman juniors would handle Alexander. Both Zimmerman and Jeter have length and skill, but they are both quite lean while Alexander is arguably the most physical player in the country. That physicality proved to be too much as he big boyed his way to thunderous jams, beat shots off the backboard and used his strong hands to rip rebounds away from well above the rim.
Both Zimmerman and Jeter had their moments but struggled at different points in the game. Jeter grabbed nine rebounds and scored six points but foul trouble limited him to just 20 minutes. Zimmerman had 10 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks but struggled converting while making just 4-17 shots from the floor. There's no reason for concern with either of the Las Vegas products and the game clearly illustrated how important it is for the duo to get stronger. Louisville's Rick Pitino showed up to check out the duo andMichigan had an assistant on hand while Coach K and assistant Jeff Capel from Duke were surely keeping tabs as well.
Shooting guard Rashad Vaughn (Golden Valley, Minn./Findlay College Prep), the No. 17 player in the ESPN 100, is being hotly pursued by several programs. The 6-foot-6, 200-pound prospect already has made two official visits (to Iowa State and UNLV) and recently set up a visit to North Carolina for Feb. 15, when the Tar Heels play Pittsburgh. For his final two visits, he is likely to choose among Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky and Minnesota.
…Biggest change: Vaughn's DNA has always been that of a scorer, as he is hungry and aggressive. So far this season, he is averaging close to six assists per game, making unselfish plays. Evaluating him over the years, you could see he could pass the ball and has good vision, but was unwilling to give it up. Now that mindset is changing, and when he is in ball-screen action or driving to the basket, he now is looking to create for both himself and others. He is playing with more of a team concept while staying in attack mode, a big and important quality for him to maximize his potential.
Wired to score: Although he is mindful of the areas he needs to improve on, he also knows that his primary job is the get buckets. Vaughn is shooting 3-pointers with confidence and connecting with regularity. When his shot is not falling, he is comfortable at driving and taking a hit and finishing with body control.
Part of being a truly great scorer is getting 25 percent of your points from the free-throw line, and Vaughn is a good free-throw shooter. He just needs to make sure he gets his share of attempts. Now he is incorporating a pull-up jumper and trying to be better at creating space and beating his defender with a jab step.
Starting to get defensive: He is trying to guard his man with more alertness and is sometimes taking on the challenge of covering the other team's best offensive player.
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