On Monday, he hit three of nine shots — one of four from three — in KU’s 83-62 home victory over Kansas State.
Those numbers did not tell the story of Tharpe’s entire evening. The Worcester, Mass., native was cited as one of the stars of the game for his defense on KSU standout Rodney McGruder.
Yes, the 5-foot-11 Tharpe shadowed the 6-foot-4 McGruder during much of the contest.
“I thought ‘Naa’ the first half did a great job on him,” Self said. McGruder, a likely first-team All-Big 12 pick, scored just three points off 1-of-3 shooting while being unable to shake free of Tharpe the first 20 minutes as KU stormed to a 47-29 lead.
“He got his the second half,” Self added of McGruder, who finished with 20 points off 7-of-14 shooting.
“I was happy for him and proud of him,” Self gushed of Tharpe. “He had been on the cusp of having a good game.”
In retrospect, Self doesn’t consider it a genius coaching move putting the shorter Tharpe on McGruder.
“We really didn’t have another choice. You need Ben’s legs to shoot. If you allow him to chase Rodney, that wears him down,” Self said of Ben McLemore, who scored 30 points against KSU. “Travis (Releford) was out of the game with foul problems, and Elijah (Johnson) had two.”
Tharpe wanted no credit for slowing McGruder when it mattered.
“In practice, we knew what we needed to do against him,” Tharpe said. “It wasn’t one person guarding him. It’s what we talked about. We knew he’d be curling screens. We needed everybody to be in tune. Everybody on the team did it together. I felt it is why he didn’t play as well as he usually does. He still made baskets.”
…Self on Wednesday was asked by national talk-show host Jim Rome about his name being mentioned as a strong candidate for U.S. men’s Olympic team coach, to succeed Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.
“Sure it would, oh gosh, yes, it would interest me,” Self said of coaching the Dream Team. “I don’t know if anybody who has ever said that knows Jerry Colangelo (chair USA basketball board of directors) or the (Team) USA people. That’s a situation there’s so much emphasis and such a big deal they are going to hire somebody to coach that team that has been around those guys (NBA stars) and those guys have a comfort level with. Just like Coach K has done a masterful job doing that, he also had some experiences with those guys beforehand, too.
“Although it is flattering to hear things like that,” Self added, “it’s something I don’t put one bit of stock into at all because the reality of that happening is not very good at all. My plate is full here. I am just focused on what is going on at Kansas. It is flattering but not very realistic either.”
…“He has a good attitude in practice. He tries and is aggressive,” Self said in responding to a question about the 6-3 Seattle freshman on Self’s “Hawk Talk” radio show. “I’m not being negative at all, (but) most of the time he’s put in there is because of foul situations. We had Elijah with two and Travis with two. Rio tried hard. He had two turnovers (that led to KSU hoops) but tried hard. They were turnovers of trying rather than being passive.
“He will be a good player moving forward. Andrew (White) deserves to play,” Self added of the 6-6 freshman, who did not enter until the final minute. “Against a team that really pressures, we felt comfortable going with a ballhandler (Adams) rather than a guy who shoots it better (White).
“I don’t know his role moving forward,” he added of Adams. “He has to be ready, and if his number is called like Cole (Aldrich) in 2008, he’s got to step in and make the most of it.”
CBS Scouting Title Contenders: Kansas
The Texas team that will take James Naismith Court this weekend won’t be like the squad Kansas faced in Austin a month ago. This time, the Jayhawks will have to prepare for a versatile point guard that is capable of changing the makeup of the Longhorns.
Kabongo adds speed, court-vision and a basketball IQ that takes the Texas offense to a much more dangerous level.
And now that Kabongo’s 23-game NCAA suspension for receiving — and lying about — impermissible benefits has been lifted, Kansas will be playing a rejuvenated and retooled group of Longhorns.
At least that’s what the idea is. There are still those who believe Texas’ chances won’t improve even with the sophomore’s return.
“The Myck Kabongo returning to Texas situation is overrated,” said ESPN Big 12 writer Jason King. “I think it’s being overplayed. I don’t think Myck Kabongo would have a made a huge difference for that team this season.”
Just don’t tell that to the Longhorns. In Kabongo’s first game back Wednesday night versus Iowa State, the reinstated guard had 13 points, seven assists and grabbed four rebounds. You could chalk it up to an emotional return, but considering the amount of coverage Texas will be getting on Saturday with ESPN College Gameday coming to town, he’ll likely still be motivated to prove himself.
Known for hitting the critical shot against Memphis in the 2008 NCAA Championship game, Chalmers also played some of his best basketball against the Longhorns. He averaged 17.6 points in six games against Texas, including a 20.3 scoring average in his final four games against them.
Kansas coach Bill Self said that it’s merely coincidence that Chalmers, now the Miami Heat’s starting point guard, will see his jersey retired against a team that brought out the best in him.
“The reason we picked that day was strictly because of NBA all-star weekend,” Self said. “The fact that it’s Texas and he performed so well against Texas and it’s College Gameday definitely just adds to it.”
Chalmers probably was not the biggest name on the floor whenever the Jayhawks and Longhorns faced off. His teammates included Julian Wright, Brandon Rush, Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins.
Those Texas teams featured names like LaMarcus Aldridge, D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams.
During the two matchups in the 2006-2007 season, the spotlight belonged to a freshman named Kevin Durant. He dropped 32 and 37 points against the Jayhawks. But Kansas never lost to him.
Chalmers’ Jayhawks beat Texas in the Big 12 Tournament championship game during each of his three years in a Kansas uniform.
He scored 15 points and went 4-4 from 3-point range in his freshman year in the 2006 Big 12 Tournament championship game, earning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.
The next year he scored 17 points and made the game-tying 3-pointer (sound familiar?) with 15 seconds left in regulation against Texas in the Big 12 final. Kansas won 88-84 in overtime.
“I knew Mario could make big shots going back to his freshman year,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “I didn’t need to wait to see it then, and everybody always talked about with that team once we got into it everybody knew who our go-to guy was even though we didn’t publicly state that.”
That game was one of the most entertaining in Big 12 Tournament history. Durant dropped 37. His teammate A.J. Abrams hung 19. So did Kansas’ Julian Wright and Brandon Rush. Sherron Collins had 20.
When the game started, it seemed like Texas would win no matter what any Jayhawk did. Texas used an early 19-2 run to go up 32-10. Then Kansas pulled out a 24-7 run to close the halftime deficit to 39-34.
After Julian Wright put Kansas up 4-2 with 18:34 remaining in the first half, Kansas didn’t lead again until Chalmers hit two free throws with 7:51 left in the second half to make it 61-60 Kansas.
The Jayhawks never led by more than five points while Texas led by as many as 22 points. By the end of overtime, the two teams had combined for 146 shot attempts. Brandon Rush played 44 minutes.
Four Longhorns played at least 40 minutes. But the most important stat was the final score, 88-84, made possible by Chalmers’ three late in regulation.
My ideal shooting guard would have …
1. Ben McLemore's athleticism: Let's be clear. McLemore would probably rank at the top of this list in several categories. He has one of the prettiest jump shots in the country, is calm under pressure, and can score from just about anywhere. But I've got to spread the love, so let's focus on McLemore's speed, burst, quickness, length and chiseled 6-5, 200-pound frame that may make him the No. 1 pick in this summer's NBA draft. "He's the most enjoyable guy in the country to watch play," an NBA scout said, "because you can sit there and marvel at how graceful he already is and, at the same time, you can think about all he can still become."
My ideal center would have …
6. Jeff Withey's timing: Withey became Kansas' all-time blocks leader in Monday's victory over Kansas State and is just one away from breaking the Big 12 record. His 4.1 blocks per game are even more impressive considering he averages just 1.7 fouls. Much of that is because of the timing Withey developed growing up as a beach volleyball player in San Diego. He rarely jumps too early or too late. Other than Noel, there may not be a better defensive force in all of college basketball.
ESPN Jason King
The dirty secret about the three-game losing streak is that it was the Jayhawks' defense that really let them down. Putting aside the complete debacle at TCU for a moment, the other two games in the skid became losses because Kansas didn't defend well enough to support its offense. The Jayhawks had won their previous five games before the slide with similar or worse levels of offensive production. They just couldn't get enough stops. Kansas had its third-best offensive performance in league play against Oklahoma State, but got torched by the Cowboys' backcourt, and then the Jayhawks caught inconsistent Oklahoma on an afternoon where the Sooners made more than their fare share of jumpers.
In truth, Kansas' offense started improving four games ago (again, the clank-a-thon at TCU being asterisked). People just noticed it because McLemore was great, Tharpe was exciting for a half, and the Jayhawks looked excellent in a blowout win.
What else started happening again four games ago? Bill Self started increasing Tharpe's minutes and playing a larger portion of each game with both Johnson and Tharpe on the floor, pushing Johnson more to his more comfortable off-guard role and balancing minutes reductions for Kevin Young and (on Monday, anyway) Travis Releford. As a result, McLemore logged more minutes as the de facto small forward. In each of the last four games, the Jayhawks played a minimum of 13 minutes in a two-point-guard look, a number which they had only even equaled once in the previous five games before that.
I like this development for both subjective and objective reasons. Tharpe provides Kansas with an explosiveness on the ball that they lack when Johnson is the primary handler. Johnson doesn't threaten to beat his defender and get in the lane nearly as much, which not only creates shots for the ballhandler but collapses the defense and provides avenues for dishes and kickouts. Tharpe showed his ability in both of those areas in the first half against Kansas State. These sentiments are backed up by Synergy's data, which show that Tharpe is a much more proficient shooter than Johnson off the dribble.
Two days after saving the Nets from another glum defeat, rookie guard Tyshawn Taylor had just one wish: He would like another copy of Steve Nash's 20-minute workout, which Taylor learned in high school.
"It's a bunch of ball handling drills and shots that would be good for me [to use] to warm up before the game," he said at the Nets' practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J, Wednesday. "Stuff that I've been doing since high school, but I lost the paper."
…Bob Hurley, Taylor's former coach at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, was watching the game, first at the Light Horse Tavern in Jersey City (after coaching a game) and then at home with his wife.
"We talk a lot," Hurley said of he and Taylor. "I say to him, everything that they have you doing, make sure you're still doing the Steve Nash workout. I'm annoyed at him that he can't just remember the whole thing. He should have been doing it enough to know it by heart."
Taylor was born in Hoboken and moved to Florida as a child. When he returned to New Jersey, Hurley saw a player with a lot of talent, but little formal basketball training. "He was my fifth-best sophomore in 2006," Hurley said.
At the University of Kansas, Taylor blossomed into one of the nation's best point guards and helped the team reach the national championship game in 2012.
He had appeared in just 25 games for the Nets—and played less than two minutes in nine of them—before chipping in 12 points and two assists in 34 minutes on Monday. His mother couldn't contain her excitement.
"Every play that I would make, she's texting me as if I was reading it," Taylor said.
The Nets have struggled all season against teams that can run, and they have struggled at point guard because of Williams's achy ankles and subpar play. Taylor brings something else to the position: speed. Against teams that press the tempo—like the Denver Nuggets, the Nets' opponent Wednesday night—it could help.
"He has a different skill set than all of our point guards," coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "That little floater in the lane, I think that's his best shot." The trait that Carlesimo likes best: "[Taylor] thinks he belongs," he said. "You can't teach people that."
Wall St Journal
Taylor came off the bench again in Wednesday’s win over the Nuggets, scoring 6 points (2 of 5 from the field) with 4 assists and 1 turnover in 16 minutes. When Williams returns, Taylor will probably settle back into his third-string point guard role.
His objective now is proving that Monday’s flash of success was not just a fluke.
“I stayed in college and played in a lot of big games,” Taylor said. “I’ve been well coached. I think I’m prepared to play at this level.”
Jack Eskridge, a former Kansas basketball player who served at Iwo Jima during World War II, worked as an assistant under Phog Allen in the 1950s, and later developed the iconic star on the helmet of the Dallas Cowboys, died on Monday. He was 89.
Eskridge, a Kansas City native, graduated from William Chrisman in Independence before joining the Marine Corps and serving as a rifle coach. He stood watch in an airfield at Iwo Jima before being among the forces that went into Japan after the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
When he returned to the states, the 6-foot-4 Eskridge enrolled at Kansas and joined the basketball team. He played for two seasons, averaging 7.6 points per game in 1947-48. He later returned to campus in 1954, serving as an assistant at Kansas until 1959.
Perhaps his most famous assignment, according to his son, Butch, 58, was a recruiting visit out east to watch a high school center named Wilt Chamberlain.
“Phog told him to go out there,” Butch said, “And he said, ‘Jack, the thing I want to know more than anything, is when you measure him, make sure his shoes are off, he’s standing flat foot, and make sure he’s 7 feet tall.”
Twenty media members from across the country, including Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan, will spend the next two days in Indianapolis serving on a mock NCAA Tournament selection committee.
The media members, grouped in 10 pairings with each pairing taking the place of an actual committee member, will go through the same procedure for selecting the tournament field and seeding it as the actual committee.
Keegan and Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Dispatch will represent Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman.
Beginning this afternoon, Keegan will blog on KUSports.com throughout the process.
KUAD: WBB defeats TCU postgame stats, notes, photos
Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson was beaming after the Jayhawks’ wild, come-from-behind — historic, even — 76-75 victory over Texas Christian on Wednesday, but the feel-good vibe couldn’t completely overcome the dismay she felt at halftime.
Behind a career-best 26 points from senior Monica Engelman, including 18 in the second half, KU rallied from 22-point deficit at the half and a 23-point hole early in the second half at the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
“We were just terrible,” Henrickson said of the Jayhawks’ first half. “I don’t know I’ve seen us that bad in a long, long time. But like I told them in the locker room, I’ve never been so darn mad and so darn happy in an hour-and-45-minute swing. I couldn’t be more proud just to hang in and hang in.”
The 22-point halftime deficit overcome was the largest in school history. The previous high was 16 against Iowa State in 1988.
Shannon Livengood, a sophomore from Clay Center, will step on to Memorial Stadium’s field this fall to perform as the 2013 national collegiate champion in baton twirling.
“I am currently the only twirler at KU. I twirl at every football game and pregame with the Marching Jayhawks,” Livengood said. “I’ve also twirled at women’s soccer games, women’s basketball games, and at halftime for a men’s basketball game in January.”
On Feb. 3, Livengood won the U.S. Intercollegiate and National High School Baton Twirling Championship held in Liberty, Mo. Out of five events, Livengood took first place in Collegiate Freestyle and 2-Baton, second place in Collegiate Solo, and third place in Collegiate Fight Song and 3-Baton. Her score totals in the five events added up to give her an overall first place finish.
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Big 12/College News
Either Iowa State men’s basketball loves the thrill of making their fans sit through a rollercoaster ride of agony and then ripping their hearts out collectively in all these road games, or they made a deal with the devil years ago. The Big 12 road tour now sits at 1-5, losing their last four straight and none of them stinging more than a double-overtime loss in Austin on Wednesday night.
Markel Brown has a theory about why he plays so well at Texas Tech.
"They switched the ball up last year and I like the feel of the ball," he said.
Brown scored 25 points and matched a career high with seven 3-pointers -- all in the first half -- to lead No. 17 Oklahoma State over Texas Tech 91-67 on Wednesday night.
Phil Forte added 14 points for the Cowboys (18-5, 8-3 Big 12), who have won six straight.
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said he expects good things from Brown, who had 30 points last season during a win in Lubbock.
"It was good to see him get going," Ford said. "When he's open he has a chance to make them. He got some good open shots off some assists. Early in the game I think most of our shots came off of assists."
Once Oklahoma State got a lead, it just did what good teams do.
"We kept extending the lead because we shared the ball," Ford said.
It's unclear what prompted Boeheim's tirade, but several theories have been floated late Wednesday night.
One is that Katz reported information pertaining to James Southerland's academic issues that Boeheim believed he had shared off the record. Another is the Syracuse coach is still angry over a November 29, 2011 story Katz wrote that touched on Boeheim's laissez-faire approach to running the program and the relationship between the Boeheim family and Bernie Fine.
Regardless of whether Boeheim's anger is justifiable or not, he was out of line in the way he spoke to Katz during the exchange.
First, a reporter's primary obligation is to be truthful, not loyal. Secondly, the entire exchange was better suited for a closed-doors meeting rather than a public press conference.
It's no surprise that Boeheim would take this public, however, since that has been his approach in the past.
He tore into local media for highlighting that he had lost seven in a row to Rick Pitino following a loss to Louisville in Feb. 2011. He also lambasted student reporters at the Daily Orange after the 2006 Big East Tournament for calling Gerry McNamara "overrated."
Boeheim's outbursts are always entertaining. Sometimes, though, they highlight the less appealing aspects of his personality.
What has made Miami so good is that they're liked caged animals who are out for blood after years of being dominated by Duke and North Carolina, and years of being coached by Frank Haith.
Grantland Titus Top 12 NCAA Power Rankings
The Tar Heels were 13 of 23 from the free-throw line and missed seven of 10 during a critical late stretch while falling to 1-4 this season against ranked opponents.
"If I knew how to fix the blessed thing, I would have fixed it," coach Roy Williams said of his team's struggles at the line. "The bottom line is, we didn't make free throws today. We're not a good free-throw shooting team in games."
Still, they trailed just 65-61 in the final minute and appeared to have gotten a stop by forcing Duke's Tyler Thornton to miss a long 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down. But Bullock fouled Sulaimon on the rebound, and the freshman hit both free throws with 37.5 seconds left.
Hairston hit a free throw on North Carolina's next possession to cut it to 67-62, but Plumlee countered with two free throws with 30.3 seconds left to make it a three-possession game.
Seth Curry scored 11 points in his sixth straight double-figure performance against North Carolina.
The win was a nice present for Mike Krzyzewski, who was celebrating his 66th birthday.
And an unorthodox move - putting one of the best big men in the nation on the bench, however briefly - wound up putting Duke ahead for the first time in this one.
Hail the RPI
The fact that Sean Miller's old boss is the head of the NCAA tournament selection committee this season may or may not make a difference for the Wildcats' placement.
But Arizona's high RPI will, maybe even more after the NCAA took a harder look at the RPI formula, which heavily weighs strength of schedule.
Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski, the committee chair, said in a conference call Wednesday that a notable statistician told the NCAA that the RPI stacked up well in comparison to other rankings after they were analyzed.
"The RPI actually did end up with the highest level of predictive value and the highest correlation with ultimate success in the tournament," Bobinski said. "That doesn't mean we're going to use it more or less this year. It's just a very interesting piece of information."
…Former Wildcat guard Daniel Bejarano played only 30 minutes over eight games for the Wildcats in 2010-11 before transferring to Colorado State. But he told the Coloradan of Fort Collins that he was motivated when former UA coach Lute Olson told him he would be playing for the Wildcats if Olson were still coaching.
Bejarano was also critical of UA coach Sean Miller, saying Miller "cares more about money than winning," yelled at his AAU coach and used inappropriate language with his mother.
Miller has declined comment through the UA, and messages left by the Star for Bejarano's mother, Barbara Butler, and his AAU coach, Ray Arvizu, were not returned.
Arizona Daily Star
Harvard basketball coach Tommy Amaker has emerged as a top candidate for the USC job, according to sources.
Amaker, who led Harvard to its first NCAA Tournament appearance last season, has won the 20 or more games the past three seasons. Harvard won a school-record 26 games last year. The Crimson are 13-7 this season.
Amaker could not be reached for comment, but a source familiar with him said he doubted he would leave for USC.
"He is happy at Harvard and his wife is on the faculty there, and I don't see him leaving for USC," the source said.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
RPI and SOS Team Comparison Calculator
2/13/13, 6:55 PM
SAT scores come back tomorrow everybody pray for me
In college basketball recruiting, timing can be everything.
That’s what Kansas is banking on this weekend, when top power forward recruit Julius Randle takes his official visit to Kansas. Randle, a 6-foot-9 senior, is the No. 2 overall prospect in the country, according to Rivals.com. And he’ll be coming to town just as KU prepares to play host to ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturday morning and retire Mario Chalmers’ jersey at halftime of its game against Texas on Saturday night.
Kansas coach Bill Self has signed five players in the 2013 class, including four players ranked in Rivals’ top 40, but Randle would be a crown jewel at a position of need.
“He’s kind of unique,” said Eric Bossi, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. “There’s not a lot of guys like him. He’s a big lefty — he’s every bit of 6-9 and 240 or 245 pounds. He’s strong. He’s powerful. If he’s not the most physical player in the class of 2013, he’s as physical as anybody.”
Bossi described Randle’s style as a cross between former Michigan star Chris Webber and Michigan State standout Zach Randolph, both of whom carved out lucrative careers in the NBA. It’s too early to know if Randle can live up to that standard, but he would fill a hole in the interior at Kansas.
ESPNU has updated its national basketball player rankings today. To see them, click here for 2013, 2014, and 2015.
A number of locals either move up or hold on to their spots in the latest updated rankings, including New Hampton's Noah Vonleh and Tilton's Wayne Selden. Below is the complete list of locals:
8. Noah Vonleh, Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton (N.H.)
12. Wayne Selden, Boston/Tilton (N.H.)
83. Kyle Washington, Champlin, Minn./Brewster Academy (N.H.)
The Cats would outscore Tift, 20-10 in the third but they were still down 13, 48-35, heading into the final period. It would then become the Brannen Greene show. Greene, who by his usual scoring standards, had been bottled up so far, exploded for 10 in the quarter and finished with 20. His three-pointer made it a 20-point lead, 61-40, and allowed Dr. Eric Holland to insert his bench and relax as the future Devils closed it out, 63-46.
Jackson was the game’s high scorer, his 22 barely outpacing Greene’s 20. Ladarius Stewart had 10. For Valdosta, Smith finished with 16. Tift is now 21-5 on the year and head into the region tournament as the No. 1 seed.
In rankings released Sunday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Blue Devils retained their No. 1 position in Class AAAAAA.
2/13/13, 5:36 PM
Roy Williams & Hubert Davis going to see @ShowtimeMr on Friday & offer is expected. The Tar Heels have always been favorite for Vaughn.
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