VOTE for Coach Self (moved ahead of Calipari, behind Pitino)
KU AD: Ohio State pregame notes
KU AD Videos/Transcripts: Coach Self and players preview Final Four contest with Buckeyes
WHB: Danny Manning explains Kansas' improbable run to the Final Four (Transcript, link to audio)
Assistant coach Danny Manning could be the favorite for the Tulsa job, according to the source. Signs pointed to a decision soon on Tuesday when Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton, considered a favorite for the job, informed Tulsa that he was pulling his name from consideration.
KU assistant Danny Manning is a serious candidate at Tulsa and has talked to Hurricane officials about the position, the Tulsa World reports. The paper said Tulsa was impressed with Manning’s recruiting ability and name recognition. Several KU big men, including Cole Aldrich, Jeff Withey and the Morris twins, have credited Manning for their development. Tulsa TV station 2 (KJRH) says Manning could be named coach next week.
KU’s game against Ohio State will be shown on the videoboard on Saturday night in Allen Fieldhouse. Doors to the fieldhouse will open at 6 p.m. Admission is free. “It’s just like in ‘08,” said KU associate AD Jim Marchiony. “We had such a great reaction then.” ... KU’s bus is slated to leave Allen for Forbes Field in Topeka about 3:30 p.m., today, KU officials said.
KWCH: KU's Road to the Final Four in photos
With the two teams set to meet in a rematch in the Final Four on Saturday night, Sullinger is determined to show what Kansas missed seeing in December.
“There is extra motivation for me,” Sullinger, a powerful 6-foot-9, 265-pound sophomore said on Tuesday. “I felt like I let the team down. When that final buzzer went off and we got done shaking hands, I walked off the court like all the weight was on my shoulders.
“I felt like I could have helped the team overcome the 10-point leads … the times when we had it down to four points, and we had a turnover or didn’t score a basket. I felt like everything was my fault. I’ll take that as a little bit of motivation going into New Orleans and getting ready to play Kansas.”
Sullinger, who has averaged 17.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, had been ruled out of the Kansas game — the second of three starts he did not make — before the Buckeyes arrived at Allen Fieldhouse.
But when Sullinger saw the festive, pregame atmosphere, he asked coach Thad Matta to reconsider when the team was in the locker room.
“He got caught up in the euphoria,” Matta said. “I still don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that when we went out there … it was a unique, unique experience.
“He’s a winner, he’s a great teammate, and he wanted to be a part of it. That was our first loss of the season … from that standpoint, I’m sure he was a little bit dejected, but by the same token, hopefully it motivates him Saturday night.”
Not all of Kevin Young’s NCAA Tournament performance has been covered in glory, as Kansas coach Bill Self rolled the mental video clip.
“He made a great move and misses a dunk, hangs on the rim and falls down,” Self recalled.
But wait, there’s more.
“He doesn’t get back, his man scores.”
“He tackles their guy when he sets a ball screen.”
This lousy sequence from Sunday’ 80-67 victory over North Carolina in the Midwest Regional championship game drew a laugh on Tuesday, and wasn’t intended to embarrass.
On the contrary, Young has played so well lately that such a moment can produce a laugh. The 6-foot-8 junior forward has brought value to every postseason game.
He had two points against the Tar Heels, but pulled down eight rebounds, including four of the offensive end, to match his season-best.
Against North Carolina State in the Sweet 16, Young had five points. Against Purdue, five boards. Against Detroit, nine points.
“He’s been great,” Self said. “In the last three weeks or so, he’s pursing the ball as well as anybody we have in program.”
He also takes charges, plays solid defense, and as Saturday’s opponent in the national semifinal knows, can knock down a three pointer. Young hit two in the Jayhawks’ Dec. 10 victory over Ohio State.
Coming off the bench suits Young for this team.
“I kind of like flying under the radar,” Young said.
The departure of Aldrich to the NBA that summer gave Withey a shot at significantly more playing time as a sophomore, but bad luck again hunted down the 7-footer. He broke the metatarsal in his right foot during individual workouts in late September 2010, had surgery and spent several weeks on crutches while his teammates became better.
He needed to gain weight but lost 15 pounds.
“I was stuck in bed,” Withey said. “I couldn’t really move. It was hard to get to the kitchen. It was hard to get anywhere. My armpits were sore just from crutching everywhere. Coming into that year, I thought I was going to be a big contributor, and then I had the foot problem, and it set me back so far I felt like I just kind of lost my chance to contribute and play. It was really depressing.”
Withey reached double-digit minutes in six games and never scored in double figures. He didn’t play in two of the four 2011 NCAA Tournament games and played two minutes apiece in the other games, both blowouts.
…“It definitely made me a lot tougher,” he said. “When I come out and play, I don’t take it for granted at all.”
He credited his coach with playing a role in his increased toughness as well.
The most publicized instance of Bill Self’s fury aimed Withey’s way came in a practice after the center went scoreless in the loss to Missouri in Columbia on Feb. 4. Self made Withey run every step of Allen Fieldhouse, just before the center went on a tear that earned him national honors.
“It definitely makes you pretty upset,” Withey said. “After that, I had something to prove to him.”
Self still finds ways to prod his center into a foul mood.
“He definitely challenges me all the time, in practice, before the game,” Withey said. “He knows how to get me hyped up before a game. Sometimes, I definitely need that. That challenge gets me going. Sometimes it’s hard to jump-start my motor. I’m laid-back, so it’s hard for me to get, I guess, super angry and ready for games. It’s kind of easy now that we’re in the tournament.”
The next step on a micro level is Ohio State. Beyond that, win or lose, the future is bright but uncertain for Elijah.
The NBA has been a talking point between father and son for many years.
“Our goals were really set to the highest level, trying to get to the NBA and trying to get a college degree,” Marcus said.
Exposure was definitely a factor in his college decision.
“I wanted to go to a school where they were going to teach me how to play, and I play on TV a lot, so I always kept that in mind with all of the decisions that I’ve made,” Elijah said.
At last check, Elijah was on pace to possibly graduate early. He’s ranked 54th in Chad Ford’s top 100 prospects and may “have more to gain than anyone else” on the board.
Wrote Ford: “Speaking to scouts after the (Purdue) game, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one enamored with him. He has all of the tools of an NBA guard.”
…Marcus’ Wednesday itinerary goes like this: Wake up, get an oil change, clean out the car, make sure the laundry’s done, take a nap and then load his wife and two kids in the car bound for New Orleans.
He flew to the Sweet Sixteen in St. Louis, but with airline prices through the roof to the Final Four, it’s an old-fashioned road trip for the Johnsons. It's nearly a full day of driving to Houston, where they will stay with Marcus’ brother, then everyone is leaving from there for the Big Easy and Elijah’s big game.
Mature. Coachable. Athletic. All of these have been used to describe Elijah through the years, and when the ball tips, that’s all that will matter.
The flashing lights and the grand stage will give way to a game of basketball, the game he’s been playing since watching his father teach it many years ago.
“I honestly think it will be another game. I think I’m in control of myself,” Elijah said. “I’m definitely going to be excited, but I don’t think I’m going to have some nerves that I haven’t had before.”
Elijah’s work has led him to this game. The drive, literally in Marcus’ case, has been long and hard. And that’s just fine.
The easy way isn’t the Johnson way.
“It’s funny, when you plan things and you have these great aspirations in life when you’re younger, it’s something when you actually get to it,” Marcus said. “It’s almost like stepping into a dreamland.
“That’s what we’ve been through. We planned it and now we’re doing it. ‘Daddy, it was a lot of work,’ he said. ‘Yeah, son. But anything good is not going to come easy.
“‘If it comes easy, just say no thank you.’”
Las Vegas Sun
Which squad — 2008 or 2012 — would win a head-to-head match-up?
“The ‘08 team would be favored, but I’m not sure the ‘12 team would buy into that at all,” Self said of his No. 2-seeded Jayhawks, who take a 31-6 record into Saturday’s Final Four semifinal against Ohio State. The top-seeded ‘08 team, which has been called the best in school history, went 37-3 en route to winning the NCAA title.
“It’s unbelievable to me how much these guys enjoy competing,” Self added of this year’s squad, which like the ‘08 team won the Big 12 title. “The longer they compete with each other, the more they like each other. We’ve had some close teams in the past, but I don’t think we’ve had a team this close. That ‘08 team was so unselfish to have so many good players and still sacrificed and guarded.
“But there is something about this team and how they get on each other and hold each other accountable. Only teams that really care about each other do those things. It sounds easy in theory, but unless you really love your brother next to you, you’re not going to jump his butt when he does wrong. These guys hold each other pretty accountable.”
…Tyshawn Taylor was asked if this was a rebuilding year at KU: “Maybe in some people’s eyes. The guys that have been a big part of the team are the guys we had to rebuild with, been part of the program two, three, four years, in Teahan’s case five years. We’ve been around coach, the program, each other. We like each other. We never looked at it as a rebuilding year. We looked it as regrouping maybe. We had the same guys who were competing against the guys that left. We kept that attitude all year. If this is a rebuilding year, I hate to see what the next few years is going to be,” he added, laughing
Teams are normally forged after losses, not wins. Wins mask faults and problems. Wins give the impression that the status quo is acceptable. But losses bring everything to the front. Losses make teams inspect their warts.
Even in the moments after that Davidson game, Self and his players understood that problems existed. The Jayhawks couldn’t get stops when they really needed them. They didn’t play like the close-knit group that has come to define them in tight games down the stretch.
“Everybody was trying to focus in,” KU guard Elijah Johnson said after that game, “but every play it seemed we had one person that made a small mistake.”
Added Self that day, “I’d like for us to not give up layups and have enough discipline to use up the entire clock and not break down. I’d like for us to not play tired, to play with more energy and more passion.”
These are all things Kansas has largely done since that game. The only other game in which the Jayhawks didn’t play with the energy Self demands? Baylor in the Big 12 tournament. They lost.
Self has always maintained that losses can be good if teams learn from them. That Davidson loss slapped KU with a reality check after upsetting Ohio State at home.
“We just were kind of full of ourselves after the Ohio State game,” Self said.
Davidson reminded Kansas’ players that while this team is capable of beating a top-five team, it is also capable of losing to anyone at any time. The Jayhawks carried that edge throughout the rest of the season, right up to making the Final Four.
“That was probably the most devastated I’ve been after any single game since I’ve been at KU,” Teahan said. “Now losing against Baylor was really tough and losing against Missouri was just as bad, but the Davidson game was definitely a low for us.”
Bill Self is headed to his second Final Four in his nine seasons at Kansas, but he’s the lowest-paid coach among the remaining NCAA Tournament teams. While Self has cashed in $150,000 in bonuses for winning the Big 12 regular-season title — the Jayhawks’ eighth in a row — and reaching the Final Four, his salary of $2,500,000 (not including retention bonuses) is less than Ohio State’s Thad Matta, Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Kentucky’s John Calipari. Of that group, only Pitino and Self have won NCAA championships.
UPDATE: KU fans have determined the KC Star article to be erroneous. See USA Today Coaches Salary Database for correct info.
There is no hidden agenda or anti-Kentucky attitude out here in Montana. I'm an old-school basketball man who wore Chuck Taylors in high school and watched Lew Alcindor as an NBA rookie in Milwaukee.
I believe a true basketball team should consist of backcourt stars and frontline performers. So I voted for a center, two forwards and two guards on the AP All-American team.
Davis leads the land in blocked shots and during the regular season averaged 14.3 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-foot-10 frosh from Chicago is considered a surefire No. 1 overall NBA pick, probably this year, and seems likely to continue Kentucky's "one-and-done" tradition under coach John Calipari.
But I don't think he's had a better season than Robinson, who made the first team on my ballot.
I see no reason to dis Davis whatsoever — he's great — but I picked Robinson.
I think Green and Sullinger are the best players in the best conference in the country, so they made my team. Neither do the guards that I picked require defending. I know many disagree, but that's how I selected the team.
If fact, I would suggest that the AP first team is flawed, for it consists of Robinson, Davis, Sullinger, Green and Creighton's Doug McDermott.
No backcourt players at all.
But what do I know? Not much, if you ask the reasonable folks in Kentucky.
Great Falls Tribune Scott Mansch
Why they'll win it: Defensively, Kansas is one of the best teams in the country. The Jayhawks have excellent perimeter defenders that contest shots and limit open looks from the outside, while having Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey inside to block shots and clean the glass. Tyshawn Taylor played much better during the second half of the season, and the supporting cast has provided a major boost in the NCAA tournament. This team is also tougher than most.
Why they won't: Offensively, Kansas has not been hitting on all cylinders in the NCAA tournament. Robinson and Withey have not put together a dominant inside performance at the same time, and it's still hard to completely trust Taylor in key moments. There's not a ton of firepower outside of those three players (and Withey is inconsistent), and Kansas can get into major trouble if either of the big guys gets into foul trouble. The Jayhawks haven't played their best in the tournament yet.
CBS Road To The Superdome
SI: Position-by-position Ohio State, Kansas fairly evenly matched (edge to OSU at small and power forward positions)
Greg Anthony on Ohio State-Kansas: "The one advantage Ohio State will have is they have faced [Thomas] Robinson. At least they have a sense of how he is going to attack. One thing I will say about Thomas Robinson is, he's the best player in the country in establishing post position. There is nobody in the country even remotely close to him with his ability to seal.
"In Ohio State's case, they don't have what Kansas has in a weak-side shot blocker [7-0 Jeff Withey], so if [Robinson] is able to catch in the low post position, he will be very effective. The other thing, when you look at it from Ohio State's standpoint, Kansas is a unique team. Only two guys take the majority of their shots: Tyshawn Taylor and Robinson are going to get the bulk of their shots. That, often times, can be easier to defend if you have the personnel, which I think Ohio State does.
"What's been most impressive to me about Ohio State, since they lost at home to Michigan State, is how the complimentary players have really elevated their game. ... I think ultimately the biggest key for me is Aaron Craft. Defensively I think he's the best guard in the country. I haven't seen one as good as him this millennium, to be honest with you. Offensively, at times, he has been more assertive, which I think it critical."
Clark Kellogg, former St. Joseph High standout, on Ohio State-Kansas: "The two guys for Kansas that have to raise their level are Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson, and you saw that in the game against [North] Carolina. When Taylor is really good, Kansas goes to another level.
"Ohio State has really come together in terms of attention to detail, commitment to the defensive end of the floor, and better unselfishness offensively. Now they're really free-moving it, and playing with great confidence."
"I think it's going to be about the perimeter guys. The guards, will dictate what transpires in that game. The other thing is the matchup with [OSU's Deshaun] Thomas. Kansas does not have a natural matchup with him. It will be interesting to see how they try to defend him."
Steve Kerr on Ohio State-Kansas: "I agree with Clark. I think Thomas is the key to the game, matchup-wise. Kansas almost lost to Purdue because they couldn't match up with Robbie Hummel. ... dealing with Thomas is going to be interesting because it pulls either Withey or Robinson away from the basket.
"I agree with Greg. I think Craft is the best defender in the country at his position. If he is able to keep Taylor out of the lane, Taylor is 0-for-17 from the 3-point line in this tournament. If he can't get easy baskets, Robinson is their easiest bet to score."
I had a talk with Deshaun right before the Syracuse game (on Saturday),” Matta said. “I told him ‘You've got that look.' He said ‘No, I'm fine.' I said now you've got to trust me. Why would you not trust me now? We've come too far together and I know the look. When I get him to smile, he's in good shape.”
Thomas has evolved from a high school player who had to score virtually every possession in order to help his team win into a player who can score to help his team, but he also needs to do many other things on the court, and often with less of an emphasis on shooting.
Matta could sense before the Elite Eight game with the Orangemen that Thomas was losing his focus.
“His biggest challenge throughout the course of the season has been getting his mind focused on where it needs to be to play his best basketball,” Matta said.
Thomas didn't become the IHSAA's third-leading scorer (just one point short of ranking second) because he was gun-shy. It has taken Matta almost two full years of instruction to get the Bishop Luers High School graduate to believe what the Buckeye staff was trying to instill in him, which was to make him an all-around player, not solely a one-dimensional threat.
…A year ago, Thomas was so atrocious at the defensive end of the floor that Matta simply could not play the 2010 Indiana Mr. Basketball very much. Thomas averaged just more than 14 minutes per game.
But one thing that Thomas has never lacked is work ethic. He began to listen to his coaches, and he has made monumental strides in his ability to defend, as well as share the basketball. Now Matta can't afford to take Thomas out of the game (he's averaging more than 38 minutes per game in the NCAA Tournament).
“He's probably been our most consistent offensive player all season long,” Matta said. “(But) He now takes great pride in defending. He takes great pride in shot selection.”
When it comes to unpredictable, game-changing performers at a Final Four, most of the time the discussion revolves around a precocious freshman.
Ohio State fans, however, have grown accustomed to warily keeping an eye on the Buckeyes’ lone senior.
Which William Buford will show up?
Will it be the one who lit up Purdue for 29, Northwestern for 28, Kansas for 21 in the first meeting and Duke for 20? The cool team leader who hit a nerveless shot at the buzzer with a hand in his face to earn the Buckeyes a share of the Big Ten title at Michigan State?
Or the one who is shooting 34.7 percent from the field over the last seven games — arguably the Buckeyes’ seven biggest games to date — while averaging 11.3 points, 3 under his average?
No one doubts that Buford can decide the outcome of a game.
The problem is that works both ways.
“He’s made more big shots — more perimeter shots for sure — than anybody playing in the tournament, without question,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, whose Jayhawks take on Buford and the Buckeyes in the national semifinals on Saturday night. “I wouldn’t even think that that’s close.”
But it was also Buford who had a miserable game in last year’s round of 16 — hitting just 2 of 16 shots from the field and missing a hurried but wide-open 3 at the buzzer — as the top-ranked and top-seeded Buckeyes were ousted from the tournament by Kentucky, 62-60.
Buckeyes coach Thad Matta recognizes that many, many fans remain less than confident in Buford’s ability to have a big game in a pressure-packed environment like the NCAA.
I just remember the play feeling like it was in slow motion. The whole game, everything seemed like it was going 100 miles an hour. But that play felt like 1 mile per hour. That one second felt like 10. When Warrick blocked the shot, I just thought, "Noooooo!" I was in disbelief. I thought, "Did Mike have time to pump fake or scoot over?" Looking back, who knows? It seemed like the whole entire season flashed in front of us. We worked so hard to get to that moment, and it all ended on a blocked shot. After the game I was pretty pissed off. I was mad. I felt like some of the guys on the team that had been saying, "Leave it all out on the court" didn't do that themselves. I wanted to go play Syracuse again, right then and there. I couldn't believe that team beat us.
There are a lot of ways you can feel about that game when you look back at it. In the end, though, I just feel blessed to have had an opportunity to play in the national championship game. There aren't too many people in the world that will ever be able to say that. I still think about that night all the time and I'm sure I will for the rest of my life. Every time I hear the name "Syracuse," it brings back the moment. We should've won. When Kansas won the title in 2008, it was both bitter and sweet. I was happy for those guys, but in the back of my mind I couldn't help but think, "That should've been us."
This is not really his game anymore, but it owes the man anyway. He is its living, breathing, upright history (and, at 82, “upright” is no small blessing), and that’s worth something even if Clyde Lovellette stands amazed these days at how basketball has changed on him once and again and an infinite number of agains.
“There’s guards my height now,” marvels Lovellette, who was 6-foot-9 back when they hardly ever grew ’em that big.
This was in the 1940s and 1950s, when Lovellette was the tall drink of water who nearly won Terre Haute Garfield a state championship, then went on to greater things. He wound up at Kansas, where he won Phog Allen an NCAA title in 1952, and was the college player of the year after leading the nation in scoring his senior year.
…Come the end of the week, see, Lovellette will take himself and all that history down to New Orleans, where a couple of things will happen. He’ll cheer on his alma mater in the Final Four and maybe spend some time with head coach Bill Self. And at some point in the weekend, he’ll be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
“It’s always nice to be voted into a Hall of Fame,” says Lovellette, who lives in North Manchester now and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.
And having it happen the same year Kansas is in New Orleans, too?
“That’s the icing on the cake,” Lovellette says.
…“I’ll have a great time if they raise the trophy,” says Lovellette, a Jayhawk forever. “I’ll have a great time, anyway.”
AND 1 – the bold basketball footwear and apparel company dedicated to on-court performance and off-court lifestyle – has announced the signing of NBA players and twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris to a three-year endorsement contract.
“The Morris twins are great young talent and embody everything we love about the AND 1 brand,” said Robert Purvy, AND 1 Brand President. “Markieff and Marcus bring it. With their hometown work ethic, hunger, and true passion for the Game, we’re proud to have them play a big part in the future of AND 1.”
"We've been fans of AND 1 as long as we can remember. We grew up on the MixTape, and to now be a part of the AND 1 family is really an honor," said Marcus Morris.
"For two guys from Philly, there's really no other brand we'd want to represent. We're excited to work together and promote the Game we love," said Markeiff Morris.
UDK: Jayhawks in the NBA
Former KU guard Jerod Haase has been named head coach at Alabama-Birmingham, UAB athletic director Brian Mackin announced Monday.
Haase, who turns 38 on April 1, played for Roy Williams at KU and has spent the last 13 years on Williams’ staff with KU and North Carolina. He helped the Tar Heels to national championships in 2005 and 2009. He has also served as the head coach for the junior varsity team five times in his nine-year UNC tenure.
A 1997 KU graduate in business administration, Haase served as KU director of basketball operations from 1999-2003. During that time, the Jayhawks reached the 2002 Final Four and the national championship game in 2003. Haase will be formally introduced at a press conference this morning.
Pat Kaufman, former Vice President of Finance and Accounting for the non-profit Swope Community Enterprises in Kansas City, Mo., has been named Chief Financial Officer at Kansas Athletics.
Kansas women’s basketball junior Angel Goodrich was named an Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention Tuesday. Goodrich becomes the first Jayhawk to be honored as an AP All-American since Danielle McCray in 2009.
Goodrich, a Tahlequah, Okla., native, was instrumental in Kansas’ postseason run in which the Jayhawks earned their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2000 and then advanced to the Sweet 16 for just the third time in program history and first since 1998. Through three NCAA Tournament games, Goodrich paced KU with 23.3 points per game and 5.7 assists per game.
The 5-foot-4 point guard leads the nation averaging 7.4 apg on the season and also ranks in the top 20 with a 2.07 assist-to-turnover ratio. Goodrich broke Kansas’ 24-year-old single-season assists record with 250 dimes, also a Big 12 Conference record. She collected 15-straight double-digit scoring games to end the season and chipped in 14.0 points per game on the year.
A Liebermann Award finalist, which honors the country’s top Division I point guard, Goodrich was also named a WBCA All-Region nominee and All-Big 12 Second Team selection this season.
During his first few months in town, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis made it clear that he was a big fan of college basketball. So toss him into the group of Jayhawks ecstatic about KU coach Bill Self’s run to the Final Four.
“This has been a great month for Kansas athletics,” Weis said at a news conference Tuesday. “With the men’s hoops team going to the Final Four, how exciting is that? Kudos to coach Self and the staff and the team, and good luck.”
This weekend’s match-up with Ohio State brings a little deja vu for Weis. It was the Buckeyes who came to Allen Fieldhouse the day after Weis was introduced as KU’s new football coach, and Weis sat courtside for the showdown between top-15 teams. The Jayhawks knocked off No. 2-ranked Ohio State that day, and since that time, Weis has attended several other men’s games and has taken to the KU basketball culture.
“I would love to not be the football coach on Saturday (night) about 7:40 and be hanging out on Mass Street,” Weis said. “Just watching (the downtown celebration) on video after (last week’s win against North Carolina) was pretty fun to watch. I hope there’s more fun yet to come.”
Eight-year-old Palmer Kiefer put on his University of Kansas jersey nearly two weeks ago, the night before KU’s first game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Kansas beat Detroit the next day – thanks in part, Palmer thinks, to the lucky blue jersey.
So he kept wearing it. Day and night.
The Jayhawks won the next game, too, a come-from-behind nail-biter against Purdue. Score one more for the lucky jersey.
Palmer – his family calls him “Poppy” – wore the jersey all through spring break. He wore it to Tanganyika Wildlife Park and the Sedgwick County Zoo.
He bathed but kept the jersey out of the hamper, away from the washing machine. He didn’t want to wash away the luck.
Palmer spilled some ketchup on the jersey during dinner at Freddy’s. There’s another stain he thinks might be sloppy joe, and a smudge of vanilla ice cream. The jersey started to smell bad. He didn’t mind.
He wore it last weekend when Kansas beat North Carolina State, though his mother made him change the T-shirt underneath.
He was still wearing the jersey – No. 15, like Elijah Johnson and Mario Chalmers – when KU beat North Carolina to get to this weekend’s Final Four.
Rock Chalk, lucky jersey!
There is a unique hashtag that is trending on Twitter, and if anyone is a University of Kansas fan, they have probably seen it.
The hashtag is growing more popular by the minute, and the woman who started it is hoping it will bring the Jayhawks a little extra luck.
More pictures are being added by the minute on Twitter it seems, all with the now familiar hashtag #kuboobs.
"#kuboobs started when we were playing Missouri at the end of February ... and I thought they needed a little extra help," said Tiffany Kent.
So she helped by taking a quick picture of herself, chest only, just the Jayhawk.
"It is like boobs. What else could there be?" said Kent.
And it worked.
"We came back from a 19-point deficit to win," said Kent.
Kent says she never dreamed just how popular it would be.
"One of my friends tweeted me and said, 'you should see the #kuboobs that you started.' and I was like, 'what are you talking about?' All of a sudden they're everywhere," said Kent.
Everywhere is an understatement. Time stamps show someone out there in Twitterland is hashtagging tweets with #kuboobs at least every few minutes, and the pictures are adding up.
Women of all ages, men and even statues all having one thing in common: they are all KU fans.
Kent, whose Twitter handle is "mommyloveswine" says her Twitter followers are growing like crazy, especially after a stint on 96.5FM The Buzz.
"Since talking to Afentra yesterday, I've picked up 300 followers, but since this started about 850," said Kent.
…Kent says plans are already underway to eventually get donations for breast cancer research through the use of that incredibly popular hashtag.
As of Wednesday morning, Twitter has suspended the account @kuboobs.
USA TODAY Sports computer analyst Jeff Sagarin ran a computer simulation of this weekend's men's Final Four 4 billion times, and the overwhelming result was that Kentucky will win the national title over Ohio State.
This is nearly identical to the simulation he ran the day after Selection Sunday when the field of 68 was set.
Sagarin is not alone. From Vegas oddsmakers to ESPN analysts to office pools, the Wildcats are expected to finally give Kentucky its first national title since 1998.
Kentucky is an 8 1/2- to 9-point favorite Saturday over in-state rival Louisville, according to Mike Colbert of Cantor Gaming in Las Vegas. The Wildcats would then be about a 2-1 favorite over Ohio State in the title game, which Colbert is projecting.
Five ESPN analysts, including Jay Bilas, now pick Kentucky to beat Ohio State in the final. And of 5.1 million brackets filled out on CBSSports.com at the start of the tournament, more than 43% picked Kentucky to win the title.
Colbert says it has been more than 20 years since he can remember a team that was expected to do so well in the Final Four.
"The biggest buzz that I can remember before this is the UNLV team with Larry Johnson and Stacey Augmon (that beat Duke 103-73 for the title) in 1990," he said. "That was bigger. There was no chance they were going to lose.
"Quite frankly I think this Kentucky team is a little better. The way Kentucky plays together, they are probably the most unselfish team I've seen in quite some time. They literally have five NBA players on the floor at all times, which is unheard of, but the way they play defense and the way they play together ... there's not one selfish player on the court. ... I'd be very, very surprised if they get beat. I have to give (John) Calipari credit. This has been his best coaching job by a mile."
NBC Video: Props to coaching jobs by Self and Pitino
DID YOU KNOW?
Kansas forward Justin Wesley’s two older brothers, Keith and Kevin Langford, both played in the NBA. Freshman guard Christian Garrett is the cousin of former NFL player Mike Garrett and New York Yankees great Chris Chambliss.
For the inroads mid-majors have made in recent years, the national champion will come from one of the six power conferences for the 22nd straight year. UNLV in 1990 was the last smaller-conference school to break through.
Louisville’s Chris Smith is the younger brother of J.R. Smith of the NBA’s New York Knicks and Mark Jackson Jr. is the son of former NBA guard and current television analyst Mark Jackson.
Calipari played point guard at Clarion State from 1981-82, leading the team in assists and free throw percentage.
The Superdome is expected to hold more than 74,000 fans after the lower bowl was reconfigured. Attendance was 54,524 when it last held the NCAA title game in 2003.
Ohio State guard Shannon Scott’s father is former Boston Celtics great Charlie Scott.
Marquis Teague’s brother, Jeff, plays for the NBA’s (Atlanta Hawks) and his Kentucky teammate Terrence Jones is the cousin of former NBA player Damon Stoudamire.
Ohio State has finished as the national runner-up four times: 1944, 1945, 1946, 1968
KCTV5: Shirts are flying off the shelves as fans gear up for Final Four
Coordinating producer Bob Dekas on the use of above-court camera angles: "We're using an angle that has been used on NBA telecasts. We've used it in previous years. We try not to overuse it. It does get some reaction, a lot of it positive. Some of it negative. It's a different view. It shows how the players are spaced in a better way. But I don't think we have overused it. It will be used sparingly as it has been in the past."
Headed to New Orleans? Lawrence?
Huddled in front of a computer in New York City, Myles Kaufman, data analyst for the sports ticket website SeatGeek.com, has been busy crunching numbers figuring out the current rate for prized Final Four tickets.
It changes by the hour.
Since Friday, Kaufman said the daily average for the two-game ticket package — which includes everything from courtside to the nosebleed section — has shot up more than 85 percent, to $521.
As of Tuesday afternoon, thrifty ticket-buyers could still get seats for about $300 on SeatGeek.com, which is one of a number of sites that offer ticket-seekers a safe way to buy unwanted tickets.
Kaufman and his data team have also looked at trends in ticket prices from last year, and said this year’s Final Four tickets are going for about $100 more than last year’s.
Sam Soni, president of primesport.com — the NCAA’s official ticket-purchasing partner — said they’ve also seen a spike in price this year, something he attributes to the teams represented in the Final Four.
“Four big schools, four big basketball traditions,” said Soni, adding that their hospitality packages, which include food, drinks and entertainment, are going for up to 40 percent more this year than in 2011.
Final Four tickets that aren’t reserved for coaches and the participating schools originally sell for as low as $200, Kaufman said. People buy early, but later decide to sell when their teams don’t make it to the final weekend of the college basketball season.
With ticket-buying sites, it’s then up to the free market and supply and demand, Kaufman said.
So for KU fans still looking to make the trip to New Orleans, is it better to buy now, or wait?
Depends how much of a risk-taker you are, Kaufman said.
The $521 daily average is probably as high as it’ll be, he said, as people begin backing out of their plans, or find they can’t afford plane tickets and hotel rooms. But he advises making the safe bet and “book as soon as possible.”
The second annual All-American Championship, a doubleheader featuring the nation’s best high school boys basketball players, will take place on Sunday, April 1, in New Orleans, La., site of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Both games of the doubleheader will be carried on ESPN Networks.
Below are the rosters for the four teams.
Link ( Brannen Greene repping for KU)
It took less than 10 minutes for the party to begin on Mass Street after the final buzzer Sunday night. Fans in downtown Lawrence emptied into the street to celebrate the Jayhawks victory over UNC, bringing traffic to a complete standstill. Despite the chaos, the event went off without a hitch, thanks in large part to the Lawrence Police Department.
"I'm just extremely proud of the police department and the great work they did this past weekend,” says Tarik Khatib, Police Chief. “I'm familiar with their work in 2008 and I think it speaks very well that people think that downtown Lawrence is a great place to be to watch a basketball game.”
But just like the hawks, the Lawrence Police Department has put the Elite 8 in its real view, and is looking ahead to the Final Four. On Tuesday, Khatib told commissioners the department is close to finalizing its crowd control plans. Officials have discussed closing off Mass Street and other side streets from 6th to 13th streets. Officers will enforce the city’s no glass container ordinance as well. Khatib says the biggest difference will be police presence. More than 10 law enforcement agencies are expected to be represented downtown.
The Kansas Athletics Department sent an email to the All-Sports Combo holders about the opportunity to see the Final Four for just $25. This offer includes both semifinals and the title game, and the seats are on the floor. Although it may sound too good to be true, this is a legitimate deal that students should take advantage of.
The 2009 Final Four in Detroit was the first time this student-seating model was used, and while North Carolina cruised to an 89-72 victory over Michigan State, the packed student sections were rocking the entire game.
…Last year’s Final Four is the perfect example of what’s at stake for the Kansas students. The Connecticut Huskies, winners of three national championships, are one of the nation’s elite basketball programs. The school has a proud history of success in both the men’s and women’s game, but their students’ absence in Houston was embarrassing.
KU Students. Don't be UConn. Be there!
KU Alumni events, pep rally info, news, etc (open to public)
NCAA Final Four official site
New Orleans Times-Picayune Tournament info
NCAA Final Four-related events
8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: U.S. Basketball Writers Association Awards Breakfast. Arcadia Room, New Orleans Marriott Hotel, 555 Canal St. Tickets are $75 apiece and can be bought at www.sportswriters.net/usbwa.
Noon to 4 p.m.: Final Four teams practice at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Free. Gates open at 11 a.m.
Noon to 8 p.m.: Bracket Town in Halls H-J of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
4 p.m. to 10 p.m.: KISS performs at Woldenberg Park. Free.
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: College all-star game at the Dome. Free.
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Bracket Town. Shaquille O’Neal is expected to appear, and a game of former college athletes is scheduled to start at 12:30.
11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: The Black Keys play at Woldenberg Park.
1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Tailgate party at Champions Square.
2 p.m.: Dribbling. On-site registration will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the first 1,000 people who didn’t sign up online. All participants must check in before 1:30 p.m.
Noon to 8 p.m.: Bracket Town.
3 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Jimmy Buffett performs at Woldenberg Park.
Noon to 7 p.m.: Bracket Town.
4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tailgate party at Champions Square.
Louisiana Revised Statutes § 4:1 forbids the practice of reselling tickets for higher than face value. In 2006, the statute was amended to allow the sale of tickets, at any price, for sales conducted over the Internet, so long as the organizer of the event and the event location’s operator have authorized the sale of the tickets. Second, the web site’s operator must guarantee a full refund of the total sale price (including all charges) if the event is (a) canceled, (b) the purchaser is denied admission through no fault of his own, or (c) the ticket is not delivered as promised and this results in an inability to attend the event. Third, this guarantee must be posted on the operator’s web site. Finally, the prospective purchaser must be directed to the guarantee on the operator’s website prior to the completion of the transaction. See the applicaple section here. Meanwhile the New Orleans Code of Ordinances § 54-484 prohibits scalping with no exceptions.
Big 12/College News
John Currie looks like a fool today. The second-most valuable employee in his Kansas State athletic department just left for a bottom-feeding program without even bothering to hear about what would have been a considerable pay raise.
What’s worse is that Currie wants you to believe that he had “a strong relationship” with former basketball coach Frank Martin, who for the last few weeks has been telling friends he wanted away from Kansas State.
Some of those friends and associates have been leaking salvos back at Martin’s old boss, criticizing what the coach views as a micromanaging and sometimes undercutting style. Creating a fairy-tale world where no rift with Martin exists is delusional and counterproductive. The athletic director at a major college should be above such silliness.
And you know what else?
All of that should be irrelevant very soon.
…Martin loved to talk about how much he loved K-State, about how loyal he was to the place for giving him a chance, but then essentially used an Associated Press story last year to apply for the Miami job and apparently told Bill Self two weeks ago that he might leave.
Self is relevant in this story for other reasons, too. This is easy to forget now, but he once took over for a beloved coach who left in what some considered a lateral move. Nobody thought Self could match what the guy before him had done. Kansas and K-State are very different basketball programs, obviously, but what Self accomplished also might be an instructive precedent.
He embraced what his predecessor created, tried to use it to his advantage and never believed he had to live up to comparisons. Self pulled off an amazing thing, keeping KU basketball winning at an absurdly high level while totally remaking the way it won. So why can’t K-State find something similar?
KC Star Mellinger
If not for someone discovering a receipt for a wire transfer at a Dillons grocery store two weeks ago, Kansas State senior forward Jamar Samuels would have played against Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament.
Athletic director John Currie said Tuesday an unidentified person found the receipt and turned it over to K-State on March 16, the day before the game. K-State sources have said Samuels accepted $200 from his former AAU coach.
By accepting the wire transfer, K-State decided Samuels had violated NCAA rules and would be suspended. Syracuse pulled away in the second half and won 75-59.
“It was found, basically, it was found just on the floor, in the trash at the grocery store and it was brought to the compliance office,” Currie said Tuesday. “I promise you, I wish it would have stayed in the trash.”
It is unlikely the receipt was found by accident. The only trash can on the customer’s side of the wire transfer booth where the transaction occurred was covered with a round lid. Unless the receipt wasn’t fully inserted into the receptacle, someone would have had to remove the lid to find it.
Wire transfer receipts include dollar amounts, sender and recipient information and signatures. Employees working at Dillons on Tuesday afternoon said they didn’t know how a receipt from their store could have made its way to the K-State compliance office.
Currie said K-State conducted a thorough but quick investigation and he made the decision to suspend Samuels. Coach Frank Martin said after the Syracuse game that he didn’t think Samuels did anything wrong and that he wasn’t a part of the decision-making process.
Some, including a source close to Martin, have indicated Samuels’ suspension was the breaking point in an already rocky relationship between the coach and athletic director. It played, at least, some role in Martin’s decision to leave for South Carolina.
Three years ago, Kansas State looked toward Illinois State when it was searching for an athletic director.
It seems the Wildcats may be at it again.
Various media outlets are reporting that ISU basketball coach Tim Jankovich could be on Kansas State’s short list to replace Frank Martin, who resigned as the Wildcats’ head coach and accepted the same post at South Carolina on Tuesday.
Jankovich is a Kansas State graduate who played for three years for the Wildcats from 1979-82. He is a native of Manhattan, Kan., where the Wildcats’ campus is located.
“My policy has always been that I will only ever talk about the job I have and that is Illinois State,” said Jankovich on Tuesday.
Kansas State tried to lure another alum, then-ISU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, in 2009. Zenger declined and was later named Kansas’ AD in January 2011.
Jankovich has compiled a 104-64 record in five seasons as ISU’s coach after being hired from Kansas where he was an assistant under Bill Self. The Redbirds have gone to the National Invitation Tournament four times under Jankovich, advancing to the second round last week before losing in overtime at Stanford.
The Redbirds have advanced to three Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship games under Jankovich, losing in overtime in both 2009 and earlier this month to Creighton. Jankovich is the only coach in Valley history to take his first two teams to the tournament title game (2008-09).
Kansas City and St. Louis have varying levels of interest in hosting the SEC men's basketball tournament, commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday while visiting a Missouri booster group.
Updating Missouri loyalists on the move to the SEC, Slive said on more than one occasion that the tournament is booked through 2016 but there are openings in 2017 and 2018. Kansas City has been the home of the then-Big Eight tournament (now Big 12) since the late 1970s. The Big 12 lost one of its anchors for that tournament when Missouri migrated to the SEC.
“The answer, is could we [get a proposal from Kansas City], yes?” Slive said. “Will we, I don't know.”
“We try to stay five years ahead [in awarding sites]. We'll open it up to RFPs [requests for proposals] and we certainly welcome applications.”
Slive also confirmed that a two-man delegation from the St. Louis Sports Commission had been in New Orleans earlier this month for the SEC tournament.
Slive could be doing nothing more than driving up the bidding price. He previously told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that he expected Memphis to bid on the event at some point.
Kansas City would be the westernmost outpost for the SEC tournament. Nine of its last 15 conference tournaments have been held in Atlanta. The other sites during that time were St. Petersburg, Fla., New Orleans, Nashville and Tampa, Fla.
Missouri seniors Marcus Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe will take part in Final Four events in New Orleans. Denmon will compete in the three-point contest at 8 p.m. Thursday on ESPN, and Ratliffe will be one of 20 seniors who will play in the College All-Star Game at 4:35 p.m. Friday. The game will be televised at noon Saturday on truTV.
“Every game we play is someone’s Super Bowl,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari, who like KU’s Self is from the Larry Brown coaching tree. “You think of this whole Final Four. We ended Ohio State’s season last year. We opened up this season beating Kansas (75-65, Nov. 15 in New York). You don’t think they want a piece of us?
“We beat Louisville earlier in the year. They are going crazy to beat us, but let me say this, so was Vandy, so was Florida, so was North Carolina. Everybody we play was that way. It’s not like this is any different from any game we play. The other team is going to play out of their minds. We know it.”
Not that you'll likely hear much about that on CBS' coverage. Typically, TV college sports don't dwell on whether players will make it to the proverbial "next level." Which makes sense for networks that have bought college sports and need to sell them. Steve Kerr, who'll call the Final Four with Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg and headed Phoenix Suns basketball operations (2007-10), says, "(CBS has) been a proponent of that, that this is about college. … We're not encouraged to talk about NBA prospects."
And Kerr, also a TNT NBA analyst, doesn't have a problem with Kentucky as an NBA feeder system — given the NBA won't draft players until a year after their high school class graduated. "(Kentucky coach John Calipari) has a niche going — convincing guys they'll be ready for the NBA after one year," Kerr says. "And I have a lot of respect for John's approach, given the rule is what it is."
Kerr's projections: Kentucky's Anthony Davis will be the first pick in the NBA draft — "there's a better chance of Andrew Luck not going first (in the NFL draft)," he says — and Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be lottery picks. Marquis Teague is a borderline first-rounder, he says: "If you're an NBA team, you don't look at him and say, 'He's our point guard of the future.' "
Meaning he should be staying another year at Kentucky? "It helps almost everybody to go back," Kerr says. "Even with stars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, I'm convinced their off-the-court life would have been easier if they'd stayed a year or two in college and learned about life."
Kentucky's Doron Lamb and Darius Miller have NBA potential, he says. "They're not sure-fire long-term NBA players," he adds.
Kentucky doesn't have all of the future millionaires, he says. Among Final Four teams' players, Kansas' Thomas Robinson probably is the top pick after Davis, he says, with Ohio State's Jared Sullinger somewhere just after him and the Buckeyes' Aaron Craft also NBA-bound.
Having seen them in the grim grayness of defeat, offering long faces and empty explanations, we realize even the finest coaches in college basketball history can crumble in the clutch.
But if John Calipari crumbles once more, at this time, with this Kentucky team, the failure will stalk him for the rest of his career.
Never in the history of the game have we seen a coach face more professional pressure than that now before Coach Cal.
As college basketball flocks to New Orleans for the Final Four, Calipari's team faces intrastate enemy Louisville. It's a battle for regional pride, featuring two proud programs, with rich traditions and patterns of success. The game alone has its own innate drama.
Calipari's challenge, however, goes beyond geography. The Wildcats are ranked No. 1, have been since January. They're heavily favored to win the national championship, favored because they are universally acknowledged to have the best big man, the most overall talent and, quite possibly, the highest collective basketball IQ.
The doubt exists on the bench, where Kentucky is suspected of having the fourth-best head coach among the Final Four.
…Coaching eight different players who became NBA lottery picks is a badge of honor. Failing to take those players to the top, however, tarnishes that badge.
After 22 years as a collegiate head coach, and another four in the NBA, Coach Cal is running out of places to go and options to pursue. He's running out of excuses. If he fails to win it all, he instantly becomes the biggest underachiever in the history of the sport.
Already having passed former Virginia coach Terry Holland, who in the 1980s couldn't parlay Ralph Sampson into a national championship, and UCLA's Ben Howland, who did less with Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook than Jim Harrick did with the O'Bannon brothers, Calipari is in position to become the king of Final Four underachievement.
Try wearing that crown, along with the stains of scandal.
Rooting for John Calipari to finally win a national championship is like cheering for the head of the IRS to get a tax refund. Both institutions feign shock at the villainy attached to them, arguing they're merely following the rules as prescribed.
Wherever Calipari has walked during his coaching career, the NCAA has followed right behind, usually with a pooper-scooper.
He takes his third program back to the Final Four next weekend. (He also took Kentucky there last year, but lost to Connecticut in the semifinals.) The only thing, though, is that the NCAA no longer recognizes the first two programs. The tournament record book is pocked with asterisks notating Calipari's fingerprints at Massachusetts and Memphis. Both programs had their best seasons stripped from history because of serious transgressions under Calipari's watch.
Detroit Free Press
NBA scouts filed into a downtown gym Tuesday morning as Heights senior Perry Ellis shot jumpers by himself at the far end.
If Ellis noticed the men, it didn’t show. Clad in a black practice uniform, with his name on the back, and neon green Adidas shoes, Ellis continued with his own pre-practice workout as if he were readying himself for one at Heights.
Tonight’s not just another game, though. He will play for the East in the McDonald’s All-American game at the United Center in front of a national audience with 23 of the nation’s top high school players.
The Kansas signee is Wichita’s first participant in the McDonald’s game in 31 years.
The days leading up to this game have not been similar at all to his normal preparation. But that’s the life of a McDonald’s All-American selection.
Playing in front of NBA scouts — a hot topic among the players — could have been a high-pressure situation for Ellis, who won four Class 6A titles with Heights and is the only four-time All-State selection by The Eagle. But it wasn’t.
“I just wanted to try to go out there and show them I can play hard and have fun,” he said. “Just have fun because there’s nothing to stress about. I think that’s a good thing to have for success — play hard but then be relaxed because then you feel real comfortable playing and good things will happen that way.”
…The team spent about 10 minutes scrimmaging, much less than Ellis would have liked.
“I don’t know if I played that well today,” he said. “I wasn’t attacking much; I needed to attack more.”
He hasn’t felt the need to play perfectly, though, even though he’s playing with and against such a high level of competition.
“I don’t try to do that,” he said. “I try to keep playing. I don’t get down on myself because that won’t be good for the next play. I just try to keep playing. If I make a mistake, just keep playing.”
…They attended the Jam Fest on Monday night, which included a three-point shooting and skills competition, as well as a dunk contest.
While Ellis had fun watching, he had no desire to join in. Fonda Ellis laughed when asked why her son didn’t participate.
“He is not going to draw attention to himself,” she said. “He just feels like it’s an honor to be here. Enjoy it, have fun.”
Perry Ellis agreed.
“I don’t know, I’m just not a flashy type of kid who really wants to do that,” he said. “I am laid back, like to watch.”
…It’s been a good chance to spend time with guys he has known for years, either by playing with or against them in AAU circles. He said he’s pretty good friends with East teammates Tony Parker, from Lithonia, Ga., and William Goodwin, who is from Decatur, Ga., and has signed with Memphis. Parker is undecided on his college.
…The highlight of the week for Ellis, though, was when the players went to a Ronald McDonald House on Sunday and spent time with some of the families staying there.
“First we cooked with some of the kids, making cookies,” Perry Ellis said. “And then we did some arts and crafts, drawing some stuff. I played X-box (360) Kinect with some kids, and then we went outside and played basketball, shooting with them. And the last part, we got a tour of the house and got to see the rooms where the families stay.”
The time there had the greatest effect on Ellis, who knew little about the Ronald McDonald houses. They provide places to stay for families who must travel long distances for medical care for seriously ill or injured children.
“Being there, it just made me feel blessed,” Ellis said. “It just makes you want to take advantage of everything you have. Most people don’t have what you have and can’t do what you can do.”
Shabazz Muhammad told reporters in Chicago at the McDonald’s All-American Game that three schools are standing out for him.
“I’m considering five but there are three that [stand out],” Muhammad said, according to Dave Telep of ESPN.com.
Telep added: “UCLA, Duke and Kentucky (in no order) are above Kansas and UNLV — the others in his top five.”
Sources say UCLA remains the clubhouse leader for Muhammad, who won the Mickey D’s Slam Dunk contest over Kentucky signee Archie Goodwin.
Muhammad had initially considered taking his final official to UCLA in early April, but the Nike Hoop Summit conflicts.
His father said he plans to announce April 11 at the Jordan Brand Classic — not April 10.
Muhammad has yet to commit to a college. but has narrowed his choices.
"UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, UNLV, did I forget one?" Muhammad said, laughing. "I forgot one. Oh Duke, there it is. I can't forget Coach K."
There is no doubt all 24 boys’ basketball players set to take the floor Wednesday at the United Center for the 35th McDonald’s All-American Game (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) are among the nation’s best.
The question is whether the East team can keep up with the scoring prowess of West ringleaders Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), Archie Goodwin of Sylvan Hills (Little Rock, Ark.) and Marcus Smart of Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas).
…"I was talking to (East teammates) Tony Parker and Rodney Purvis about what they were reading on blogs how the West was playing hard and they were going to kill us," Anderson said. "So we're going to shock the world a bit and sweep them off their feet."
Allerik Freeman, a 6-4 junior guard from Charlotte, N.C., who’s considered one of the top 20 overall prospects in the Class of 2013, has narrowed his choices to Villanova and Kansas.
“I just don’t know about a timetable,” he told CBSSports.com. “Just when the time is right. They are both even.”