KUAD: KU vs Emporia State Pregame Notes
KUAD Storify: Coach Self does Q&A on Twitter
KU sophomore forward Brannen Greene, who suffered a concussion Monday versus Washburn, returned to practice with contact Friday.
The 6-foot-10, 245-pound transfer from Jonesboro, Arkansas — he set the U of A record for rejections (72) as a freshman in 2011-12 — says the plan is for more of the same in his final two seasons at KU.
“I think so. I’m going to try to,” Mickelson said of targeting opponents’ shot attempts. “Hopefully it’ll be a thing I’ll be good at, something I’m able to provide for the team.
“Between the both of us (him and Cliff Alexander) and all the other big guys and everybody else, I think we’ll play solid on defense, and it’ll lead to blocked shots, create turnovers and opportunities for us,” Mickelson added.
…“Hunter is a prototypical four-man. He’s a face-up guy,” coach Bill Self said. “I think the challenge for him is to play bigger than what he is or what (he) has been, because, I could be wrong, but I can’t see anybody beating Perry out.
“So what is best for the team if Perry is on the court would be to have somebody that can keep him from defending the five, somebody that can keep him from having to be the primary rebounder all the time, somebody that can keep him from having to play on the post because another guy can get angles and get easy baskets.
“The reality is, Hunter with his skill set will probably have to do some more things in order to see playing time just because of what our needs are based on our other personnel. But you are right. He’s our best shot-blocker. Cliff’s going to be a good one, but Hunter is a guy that, people don’t realize this, Hunter blocked more shots at Arkansas (39 his sophomore season, 72 the first) than Jo (Embiid, 72 blocks) did last year in less minutes. So he’s naturally a pretty good shot-blocker.”
Self continued: “I think Hunter’s got potential, sure. It’ll be curious to see. Our guys are not that far apart from a talent standpoint. It’ll be more so what team is better with them in the game. If our team is best with Landen in the game, he could be a starter. If it’s Cliff, Jamari, whoever ... Hunter can play. Depending on who else is in the game ... we’ll have to wait and see.”
The process started in the dark and lonely quiet of a hotel room, a squalid and temporary home in a neighborhood on the west side of town. They found dead cockroaches under the bed. The parking lot was littered with broken-down trucks and rusted-out lives. It was a Motel 6 full of evacuees, proud and resourceful people riding out a storm and waiting for their next move.
Every morning, as the days faded into weeks, Kelly Oubre Sr. would map out a plan for his 9-year-old son. He would figure out the next meal. He would try to massage his son with good vibes and positive thoughts. He kept asking the question that kept him up at night.
When could Kelly return to school?
It was just the two of them, and nothing about their existence seemed normal. How did they get here anyway? It had started on the night of Aug. 28, 2005, as Hurricane Katrina prepared to menace New Orleans. Kelly Sr. gathered his son, packed some belongings, and pushed toward the west, driving through the darkness toward Houston.
The next morning, when light came, the Oubres found themselves in a new city, finding shelter at a roadside motel, crowding around the television to watch the news.
“We saw people swimming in the flooded streets,” Kelly Jr. says. “We saw people standing on rooftops — people from our neighborhood.”
…Kelly Sr., who now works as a special-education instructor at a high school in the Houston area, enrolled his son in a private elementary school, where he could catch up academically and connect with a different world.
“I kind of got introduced to the ‘rich kid’ life,” Oubre says. “I could see how some of those kids had money. It’s how I got acclimated to being able to communicate with different people.”
Kelly would grow to 6 feet 7. He became a prep star at Bush High School in Richmond, Texas. He climbed the national recruiting rankings during a breakout summer. He spent last year at Findlay Prep, a basketball powerhouse in Las Vegas.
Then came last October, and the Oubres found themselves at Allen Fieldhouse for Late Night in the Phog. As the weekend visit began, they sat down with Self, who mapped out a plan for Oubre’s time in Lawrence.
“I don’t want somebody who’s going to kiss his (butt),” Kelly Sr. told Self. “I need somebody that’s going to help him grow as a basketball player.”
That night, Kelly Oubre walked into a packed Allen Fieldhouse for the first time. If he didn’t know yet, he knew then.
“It caught my heart,” he says.
Bill Self has developed over the years into one of the surest things in college basketball, if not the surest, proof being that his Jayhawks have won at least a share of 10 consecutive Big 12 titles. So this season’s challenge is trying to win an 11th straight despite losing three starters — including the players who were picked first (Andrew Wiggins) and third (Joel Embiid) overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.
That sounds like a tall task. And it would be for most coaches.
But you’d be silly to bet against Self because A) he’s really, really good, B) he returns Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis, and Frank Mason from a 25-win team, and C) KU is once again enrolling a stellar recruiting class featuring Cliff Alexander, Kelly Oubre and Devonte’ Graham, the last of whom the Jayhawks added late after the point guard was released from his signed National Letter of Intent with Appalachian State.
“He’s good,” Self says. “He’s a true point guard.”
Assuming that’s true, KU will have something this season that it never had last season— i.e., a true point guard — to help create for Selden, Mason, Oubre and Ellis, and Self will have no shortage of interesting combinations at is disposal.
“We should be good 1 through 4,” Self says. “We have some talented guys.”
The most interesting piece will be in the middle.
He’s a 6-8 forward and physical specimen who projects as a future NBA Lottery pick, but Alexander is unproven defensively and hardly a shot-blocker/shot-alterer like Embiid. And that might be an issue (although Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson should alleviate some of those concerns). Either way, Self has an incredible roster featuring veterans and newcomers and no fewer than four future NBA Draft picks, and that, more than anything else, is the point here — that Kansas will be fantastic again and, probably, Big 12 champions again.
Athlon Sports: 10 most important things to watch in college basketball
6. Frank Mason, Kansas : In recent years consistency has been an issue for Bill Self’s point guards, and while the Jayhawks have continued to rule the Big 12 they’ve had some issues in March. Can Mason step forward and change that? The hope in Lawrence is that he can, with freshman Devonte Graham also due to see time at the position.
NBC Sports: Ten of college ball most important players
The last time Kansas didn't win at least a share of the Big 12 title, none of Bill Self's current players had even started middle school yet.
Don't expect the Jayhawks to make it easy for someone to end that 10-year streak this winter.
…One of the big questions for Kansas are whether the Jayhawks shoot well enough from behind the arc to keep defenses from clogging the lane, a potential problem exacerbated by the transfer of sharpshooter Conner Frankamp earlier this month. The other is whether the combination of sophomore Frank Mason and freshman Devonte Graham can solve the point guard woes that have plagued the program since Tyshawn Taylor graduated.
Should Kansas slip even a little bit this season, there are a wealth of fellow Big 12 contenders frothing at the mouth to make the Jayhawks pay.
Yahoo Sports Big 12 Preview
The University of Kansas Foundation is planning to buy the school a new airplane, with a potential cost of $8.1 million.
Endowment President Dale Seuferling acknowledges that is a lot of money but notes the new plane will last for 15 to 20 years. The plane, a Cessna Citation CJ4 business jet, will replace one the university bought 17 years ago.
The Lawrence Journal-World reported the university owns one plane, plus a share in another. The endowment funded both of those purchases, with Kansas paying ongoing expenses.
The planes are mostly used by the University of Kansas Medical Center's medical outreach for rural Kansas. Administrators and university athletics recruiters also use them.
The school hopes to be using the new jet by the end of this year.
Former Kansas guard Conner Frankamp made a recruiting visit to Wichita State during the Shockers’ 112-55 exhibition win over Northwood (Fla.) on Saturday afternoon.
Frankamp, the City League’s career scoring leader while at North from 2009-13, sat about a dozen rows behind the WSU bench, in an area where recruits usually sit. He was joined by his parents, Karen and Marty, and North coach Gary Squires.
The tickets were given to the Frankamps by Wichita State in accordance with NCAA rules for recruits, said WSU associate athletic director Darren Boatright.
After the game, Frankamp came down to the WSU bench, where he was met by Shocker assistant coaches Steve Forbes and Greg Heiar, then led down a tunnel toward the WSU locker room.
…Frankamp must enroll for the second semester at a new school in order to be eligible after the first semester of the 2015-16 school year. He would have the rest of that season to play, as well as the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
Among the baskets Dwyane Wade scored against the defense of Andrew Wiggins in the final four minutes Saturday were a 19-foot baseline jumper that took some of the tension out of a surprisingly close finish, and a clean split of the pick-and-roll that ended in a two-handed dunk that sealed Miami’s 102-92 win over the Timberwolves.
The No. 1 draft pick could’ve learned plenty just watching Wade close out the young Timberwolves, finishing with 25 points, eight assists and two steals.
But the greatest takeaway for Wiggins came when Wade approached the rookie after the game and offered a few words of encouragement (no, they didn’t spend any time badmouthing LeBron James for abandoning each of them).
“He asked me if I wanted to be great,” Wiggins said of his postgame exchange with Wade. “I said yes. He said I’ve got all the tools to be great, just keep working.”
Former Kansas University men's basketball guard Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings, who fired his agent (Rodney Blackstock) a couple of weeks ago, has chosen Klutch Sports Group as his new representation, the Sacramento Bee reports. LeBron James is also represented by Klutch and its owner, Rich Paul.
“It was a man decision. Like I told all my family members, it was something I had to figure on my own and make a decision for myself,” McLemore told the Bee, referring to firing Blackstock, who received his certification right before the 2013 NBA Draft, in which St. Louis native McLemore was taken seventh.
“I tried to get everybody’s opinion. At the end of the day, it was my decision. I’m trying to move forward and focus on the season.”
McLemore is still growing into his defensive role, but the hiccups have been fewer this season.
“I think everybody sees,” McLemore said. “Everybody on the team, the coaching staff, everybody around the league sees how I’m improving and trying to get better each and every day on my defense.”
Malone said many of McLemore’s struggles last season can be attributed to his youth. But McLemore put in a lot of time in the offseason figuring out ways to improve.
“I think Ben McLemore’s defense has been very, very good,” Malone said. “A marked improvement from last season where he was learning the NBA, learning the personnel.”
In Friday’s win at Phoenix, McLemore defended Eric Bledsoe at the end of the first overtime, making it uncomfortable enough for him that he attempted – and missed – an awkward floater to try to break the tie.
McLemore has always been praised by Kings coaches for being a hard worker, and this season he’s put more into the mental aspect of the game to improve defensively.
“Last year it was rookie defense, but I’m learning different places to be and how to play defense, and it’s been helping a lot,” McLemore said. “Just me watching film, little things like that, it helps a lot.”
McLemore’s defense has kept him on the court, even though he’s struggled with his shooting to start the season.
Former Kansas University guard/forward Travis Releford is playing for the Mississauga Power, a professional basketball team based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
The team is a charter member of the National Basketball League of Canada, which was founded in 2011.
The 6-foot-6, 210-pound Releford, who played in Belgium last season, scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds with three steals in the team’s season opener against Brampton (Ontario).
Meanwhile, Former KU guard Brady Morningstar is playing for Science City Jena in Jena, Germany. His team competes in Germany’s professional A League.
The 6-foot-4 Morningstar averaged 14.1 points, 4.1 assists and 1.9 steals a game last season while playing for Tapiolan Honka in Finland. He has also played for Tulsa in the NBA Developmental League and in Greece.
Thomas Robinson, not Meyers Leonard or Joel Freeland, has been the first power forward off the bench for the Portland Trail Blazers over the last four games. In that stretch, he was the only one of those three to receive non-garbage time minutes; Leonard and Freeland did not play during single-digit point differentials.
This is pretty significant, since Robinson had seemingly fallen out of Head Coach Terry Stotts’ favor. He played sparingly during NBA preseason, and even more sparingly during the first couple of regular season games. In game one, he played just over two minutes. He was a DNP in game two.
At the time, his lack of involvement was somewhat surprising since there were minutes to fill while Leonard recovered from an upper-respiratory illness. Those minutes went to Freeland, making it clear that Robinson was not Stotts’ first option off the bench.
However; when Leonard returned and Freeland missed time with a foot injury, it was Robinson who assumed the mantle. He earned extended minutes through exceptional rebounding and improved defensive play. Leonard returned to his backseat.
We have now gone two games (versus the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers) in which all three forwards have been healthy, and Robinson is still the main contributor. In fact, Leonard and Freeland were DNPs against the Clippers, as Stotts tightened his rotation to the most reliable players in the close matchup.
This is what we were ultimately expecting, given Robinson’s ceiling and quality play toward the end of last season, but the hiccup may have come when the Trail Blazers did not pick up his 2015-16 team option. Stotts must perform a difficult balancing act so that long term players get a chance to develop, but the team still has the best chance to win.
Putting Robinson ahead of Leonard (whose option was exercised) and Freeland says three things: Robinson gives the Trail Blazers the best chance to win, winning is their number one priority, and the decision to let Robinson become an unrestricted free agent after this season was likely a monetary one.
“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
A year ago, Kansas was the undisputed King of the nonconference slate -- at least when it came to any contending team. The Jayhawks have once again put together another challenging nonleague schedule, but it’s not nearly what it was a year ago.
…I went through every single nonconference schedule, basically looking for any team of note and came up with the best and worst. I’ll also give out some hardware, including the All-Cupcake Award.
Top non-league slates
1. Florida Gators
Billy Donovan and the Gators did a nice job putting together the most difficult schedule among the top 50 teams. offerThe Gators did it with a couple of quality road contests against Kansas and Florida State, by playing in the top event in the early season (Battle of Atlantis) and also with enough formidable home dates (UConn, Miami) and only one team on its entire slate that is expected to be near the bottom of its league (Jacksonville).
Home: UConn, Miami, Yale, Wake Forest, William & Mary, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas Southern, Jacksonville
Road: Kansas, Florida State
Neutral: Atlantis (Georgetown, Wisconsin/UAB and one more TBD)
2. Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks’ slate isn’t nearly as imposing as it was a year ago, but it’s still one of the best in the country. Bill Self has just six home games and has Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown and Utah on its schedule. The Jayhawks also stayed away from the terrible teams with Rider (picked sixth in the MAAC) the worst opponent they will face.
Home: Florida, Utah, Kent State, UC Santa Barbara, Lafayette, Rider
Neutral: Kentucky (Indianapolis), Orlando (Rhode Island, Tennessee/Santa Clara and one more TBD)
Road: Georgetown, Temple
10 terrible schedules I’m not fine with
3. Iowa State Cyclones -- The Mayor has gotten soft. The best game the Cyclones will play besides the rivalry game at Iowa is a home contest vs. Arkansas.
6. Kansas State Wildcats -- Bruce Weber has a top-25-ish team, and the schedule is too mediocre for my liking.
ESPN Goodman ($)
With the start of the college basketball grind still several weeks away, Kansas State and Nebraska took the floor for the first time this season in a quiet gym far removed from either campus — a secret scrimmage.
Wildcats coach Bruce Weber and Huskers counterpart Tim Miles understood the ramifications of their workout in Omaha, Nebraska. Their teams aren't scheduled to play each other in the regular season, but there's always the chance they could meet in the NCAA tournament.
Still, the coaches believed the benefits of facing another Division I school in a game-like setting to prepare for the season far outweighed any scouting report it might provide.
…There were nearly 200 scrimmages involving Division I schools planned between Oct. 23 and the start of the season in earnest on Nov. 14. They range from matchups of lower-tier schools such as North Carolina-Asheville and Furman to high-profile workouts between teams that have national title aspirations, such as the trip Virginia Commonwealth was making to Florida this weekend.
Not that you'll know much about what transpired.
The games, which replace typical exhibitions against Division II schools, are closed to the public and the media. The only people allowed in the gym under NCAA rules are the players, coaches, officials and essential personnel, such as game-clock operators.
In fact, the scrimmages aren't supposed to be publicized. Scores and stats are only kept by a school's officials for their own use, and rarely does word of what happened slip out.
…Duke is playing the first of two exhibitions against Livingston, a Division II college in nearby Salisbury, North Carolina. Kansas plays the first of its two exhibitions Tuesday night against Washburn, another Division II program located in nearby Topeka, Kansas.
In those cases, though, it makes financial sense to have an exhibition. The Blue Devils and Jayhawks will pack their historic arenas even for a meaningless 40-point blowout, and the revenue from ticket sales helps to balance the ledger for their entire athletic departments.
There is also something to be said for playing in front of people.
"We can get in a game setting where you've got officials and fans and all of those things," said Arkansas coach Mike Anderson, who does not have any secret scrimmages scheduled.
The Kansas State Wildcats started with a 9-0 run against the Washburn Ichabods Sunday. The Wildcats came away with a 68-56 win in their only exhibition game.
Washburn bounced back after trailing 12-1, answering with a 10-2 run of its own. The Ichabods played in their final exhibition game, all of which came against Big 12 teams (Kansas, Oklahoma, Kansas State).
At halftime, the Wildcats led 32-22.
Washburn cut the lead to five with 14:08 to play, but an 11-2 run by the Wildcats stretched the lead back out for K-State.
Their arrival Friday made it seem as if the Washburn Ichabods were getting bored with Big 12 basketball competition.
Heavy traffic along I-35 prevented them from reaching Lloyd Noble Center until just minutes before the scheduled tipoff, which was delayed about 10 minutes. The roadway snarl prompted WU coach Bob Chipman to begin warmups, as best he could, on the bus.
“I told them to start stretching out,” he said. “It took about two hours from Edmond. There were a couple of wrecks and traffic was really unbelievable.
“Of course, I’m from small Topeka. I should have got a heads-up on Friday rush hour. Other than that, I thought we got off to a great start and probably played our best those first 10 minutes.”
Indeed, the Bods battled the Sooners tough in the first half — mostly with fresh defense rather than much flow offensively — before tumbling 73-48 in the second of three exhibitions within the Big 12.
The NCAA allows schools to play two exhibition games or up to two “secret scrimmages,” in which no fans or media are allowed. Texas played Gonzaga over the weekend in Arizona as it has the past few preseasons.
Self said on his radio show the Jayhawks will always play the two exhibitions with fans.
“We do it because we have to make budget. Financially, it’s part of our season-ticket package,” Self said. “I think it’d be beneficial to play one game and one scrimmage. Regardless of who you (secret) scrimmage, somebody of comparable talent, you can play three 20-minute scrimmages working on all man-to-man, play one 10-minute scrimmage working all zone. You could have special situations for one 20-minute scrimmage, down six (points) with five (minutes) left; side out of bounds, short clock. There’s a lot of things you could do that would be better for the team.
“There are some benefits playing under the lights. I don’t know which is best. It’s seemed to work out for us, playing exhibition games. Plus, it’s good to help those guys out,” he added of coaches from Div. II schools such as Washburn, Pittsburg State, Fort Hays State and Emporia State. “Chip (Bob Chipman, Washburn) and those guys support our program. They recruit to that,” he added of telling recruits they play the Jayhawks every two years.
In Le’Bryan Nash, Phil Forte, Michael Cobbins and Anthony Hickey, the Cowboys have a core of four players who have played and thrived at the Division I level. Nash has All-Big 12 potential and Cobbins has made the All-Big 12 Defensive Team. Forte, already a deadly perimeter shooter, has worked on getting shots at different spots on the floor. Hickey provides the kind of true pass-first point guard that Travis Ford prefers.
Beyond the core four, the Cowboys face many question marks. There are plenty of possibilities, just not clear answers based on track record. Leyton Hammonds, the favorite to seize the fifth starting spot, needs to become the impact player coaches and teammates have seen in practice. Jeffrey Carroll can shoot it, yet must improve defensively and as a rebounder. True freshman Tyree Griffin figures to get minutes as the backup point guard. Can Marek Soucek finally make a difference? Are Jeff Newberry and Anthony Allen the immediate help sought form the junior college ranks? Can any other freshmen help?
Ford believes this team can defend, really defend. And with athleticism, speed and depth abundant, the Cowboys could turn up the heat with pressure. “As far as what we completely hang our hat on, and where we can stand out, it can be defensively,” Ford said. “I hope defense will be our identity.”
The Oklahoman: OSU preview
The Florida Gators basketball team had some bright points in their surprisingly close 79-70 win over Barry University on Thursday night. But few of them were on defense.
In the post-game interview, head coach Billy Donovan cited the Gator’s defense as extremely lacking. “There were some guys who really stood out” in how poorly they played, said Donovan, who also asked “are we even talented enough to play defense?”
Donovan was disappointed in the Gators’ performance, and why not? They built an early 18 point lead but then let Barry climb back in it, cutting the deficit to 6 points in the second half. The Gators returned the lead to 14 with 5 minutes to play, but Barry kept getting looks and opportunities to make shots, eventually getting the lead down to 9 in the waning seconds.
The Gators on paper have a talented team, but last night, they were tested by a game unranked, division 2 Barry University team that out-rebounded last year’s Final Four participant and outscored Florida in the second half.
Kane reports that nine of the 35 classes came during the fall semester, when spring eligibility is determined, with 26 classes coming in the spring. UNC won the 2005 men's basketball championship in April.
The classes did not meet and "yielded easy, high grades" awarded by Department of African and Afro-American Studies administrator Deborah Crowder , who was the architect of the university’s academic scandal.
A former University of North Carolina football player has become the first to sue the university over an 18-year academic scandal that kept athletes eligible to play sports by taking classes that never met.
Mike McAdoo was a football player who lost his eligibility in 2011 when he was accused of getting too much help with a paper, and was one of the first athletes revealed to have taken part in "paper classes," for which the only requirement was completing a single paper.
Now he's suing the university in federal court, saying UNC broke its promise to give him an education in return for playing sports. His lawsuit is a class-action suit that the other 3,100 students who enrolled in the fake classes -- nearly half of whom are athletes -- could easily join.
"From selection of a major to selection of courses, the UNC football program controlled football student-athletes' academic track, with the sole purpose of ensuring that football student-athletes were eligible to participate in athletics, rather than actually educating them," says his lawsuit, filed Thursday by the law firms of Ferguson, Chambers & Sumter in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Mehri and Skalet in Washington, D.C.
While it's unclear if the question was Davis' first or if the video was just edited in a way to make it such, his opening question to Calipari was long-winded and just downright uncomfortable.
Essentially Davis asked Calipari if he felt like his legacy was altered in any way by the NCAA vacating Final Four appearances while he was at both UMass and Memphis.
"Alright, let me just say it," Calipari interrupted. "Even at the time they happened, I've never been concerned about me or my reputation. I sleep great at night.
"I wouldn't have gone this far if I've done everything they say I've done, so I'm not worried about what someone is saying. I was concerned about how it would affect Marcus Camby — he'll tell you that. And the same with Derrick Rose. My concern was 'what is this going to do with Rose? I'm not worried about me."
Sporting News: Seth Davis asks John Calipari really uncomfortable question in an awkward interview
The Southern Miss basketball program is under investigation by the NCAA for potential rules violations that occurred under former coach Donnie Tyndall, who is now the head coach at Tennessee.
A source close to the program told Bleacher Report that the NCAA's investigation centers on how tuition, living expenses and other fees were paid for "Prop 48" recruits who signed with the Golden Eagles but were academically ineligible out of high school or junior college.
Even though they weren't on scholarship, the players in question enrolled in classes at Southern Miss, lived in off-campus apartments and spent a year earning enough academic credits to make them eligible the following season, when they were placed on scholarship. This is standard practice under NCAA Proposition 48 rules, but the financial support these players may have received is under investigation.
Most of the recruits in question hail from out of state, which would've made their tuition fees even higher. Along with investigating how those fees were paid—and by whom—the NCAA is also looking into the academic records of some of the players, the source said.
Members of the NCAA enforcement staff were in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, last week and this week to interview players and administrators about the potential violations.
"The s--t is about to hit the fan," the source said.
BR Jason King
Kentucky's John Calipari and John Carroll University's Mike Moran don't appear to have much in common except for one thing: They are two of the only coaches daring enough to run one of basketball's most unconventional systems this season.
If you want to see the blueprint for the ballyhooed platoon system Calipari has designed to bring out the best in his deepest team, you have to visit the tiny Jesuit school in the Cleveland suburbs where Moran coaches. Moran has built a reputation for accelerating the pace with constant full-court pressure and keeping players fresh with frequent hockey-style five-at-a-time substitutions, a combination that has helped John Carroll amass 10 league titles, nine 20-win seasons and one Division III Final Four in his 22-year tenure.
Zero tolerance isn't part of the Indiana basketball plan. Tom Crean was adamant about that. The veteran coach doesn't see black-and-white edict as the best way to stop player indiscretions in a shades-of-gray world.
“Zero tolerance is a nice buzz word phrase,” he said. “I don't know what that means. We'll do everything we can do to get decision-making to improve, to get immaturity to become maturity. Does that mean that everybody will make it here? Maybe not.”
On Wednesday Crean faced the media for the first time since the program was rocked by a series of off-court issues that left three players suspended for four games and another hospitalized with a serious head injury.
Crean said the goal was to change behavior rather than kick off players.
“You don't get in this business to get rid of people when they're making progress,” he said. “I've had to remove people and I had people remove themselves before I removed them to save face.
“If I've been anything as a coach, I've had a fault of being too forgiving of the person too early. It's not the forgiving of the act. But it's not just, 'That's it. You're gone.'
Someone with intimate knowledge of Utah Utes told me he was surprised how big they are. Reminded them of old Majerus teams. Excellent D!
There’s a Joshua Smith–size gap between Villanova and the rest of the Big East, which is why picking the conference’s second-best team feels like picking my second-favorite Psy song. But I’ll go with Georgetown because I love Hoya guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and the team has a great recruiting class. Plus, if Joshua Smith can actually stay on the court for more than half of each game, he and Smith-Rivera could be a deadly combination (remember how Smith dominated Oregon in last year’s opener?).
Grant land Mark Titus Big East Preview
CasualHoya previews Josh Smith
Santa Clara men's basketball team regrouped and executed in the second half to down the Cal State East Bay Pioneers 82-72 in the lone exhibition game for the Broncos this season.
At some point this season while backpedaling on defense, Marquette point guard Derrick Wilson will hunch over and slap the floor with his palms to fire up the Bradley Center crowd.
There is no surer sign that former Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski is the new head coach for the Golden Eagles.
"I have to. Everybody has been talking about it," a smiling Wilson said about repeating Wojciechowski's signature slap-the-floor stance when the coach was a player at Duke. "I'll do it at least three times this year."
The first chance comes Nov. 14, when the Wojciechowski era at Marquette begins with the season opener against Tennessee-Martin.
11/8/14, 1:08 PM
Oklahoma and Kansas both with assistants watching elite 2016 SG Terrance Ferguson at the moment. #Elite14
Ivan Rabb, the 6-foot-10 2015 big man from Oakland (CA) Bishop O’Dowd and the Oakland Soldiers, enjoyed his official visit to Kentucky and is eyeing a springtime decision, his mother told SNY.tv Wednesday.
Rabb visited Kentucky last month and saw the Blue-White Scrimmage.
“I thought it was a really nice school,” Tami Rabb, Ivan’s mother, said by phone. “The coaching staff was great. It was a lot to think about from the perspective of the business decision. I enjoyed my visit there.”
Rabb had a tentative visit set for Kansas Nov. 7, but that didn’t work out for Tami.
“We had a tentative date set but it didn’t work out wih my employer,” she said. “I couldn’t get out of work.”
…On Kansas: “Kansas, I know Ivan really likes Kansas a lot. I like the coaching staff and we just want to go see.”
Rabb is eyeing a springtime decision.
” I don’t believe he’ll commit until the spring,” Tami said. “He wants to play with some different guards in his class and he wants to see where they go.”
Arizona will be the fourth official visit for the five-star big man from Las Vegas, but the truth is that the Wildcats may not be — at least now — any more special to Stevens’ son than the other finalists: Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA, UNLV and North Carolina.
The evidence may be in their Twitter feeds. Already, Stevens has tweeted photos of her nails done in UCLA colors, before a visit to Westwood last month, and in Kentucky colors, before a visit for UK’s famed “Big Blue Madness.”
She also has posted photos of her son not just with Miller, but with his arms around Kansas coach Bill Self — and Kentucky coach John Calipari. Then there was the photo of Zimmerman and UCLA coach Steve Alford playing H-O-R-S-E together.
Bottom line, for them: It’s about having a good time while learning about colleges. Otherwise, the intense recruiting process of a five-star high school senior might make Stevens and her son a little nuts.
“It’s been fun for me, at least,” Stevens said. “And I think for him, with me being vocal, it takes a lot of pressure off of him.”
But that’s not to say Zimmerman is shy. He’s also active on Twitter and, like his mother, spreads the love around.
During his visit to UCLA, he posted photos of a chicken-and-waffles meal, inviting followers to guess where he was, and afterward said: “Thanks to the coaches, staff & team at #UCLA for their hospitality this weekend! Another great visit to another great program! #8clap”
While going to Kentucky, he described a picture with rapper Drake by noting “Drizzy Drake and I coolin,” and after the visit he thanked host Karl-Anthony Towns.
Following Kansas, it was “Thank you @CoachBillSelf and staff for the amazing weekend. We had a great time and learned a lot about KU!”
But at Arizona this weekend, there won’t be Drake, there won’t be a big fan spectacle, and there might not even be five-figure crowd at McKale Center.
Arizona’s exhibition game with Cal Poly Pomona at McKale Center is limited to 10,000 seats because of ongoing renovations, and consequently the exhibition game could not be put on season-ticket packages. That means UA is scrambling to sell the 10,000 seats individually, at $25 each.
…The 247 Sports “Crystal Ball” on Zimmerman has 30 percent of analysts saying he will go to UA — while another 30 percent say Kentucky, and yet another 30 percent favor UCLA.
The thought process in Zimmerman’s head may not be much different.
“I asked him if it’s getting any clearer for him, and he said, ‘No, it’s just getting harder,’” Stevens said.
Zimmerman may take one more official visit, to North Carolina, for its March 7 game with Duke, but Stevens said she expected her son would mostly focus on the high school season in the months ahead.
Then, at some point in the spring, a recruiting process that began even before Zimmerman received scholarship offers from UCLA and UNLV entering his freshman year in high school will be complete.
For as much as Stevens and her son have enjoyed it all, that might be a good thing.
“It’s been fun and crazy, but tiring,” Stevens said. “I’m glad it’s almost over.”
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