The University of Kansas announced that Ben McLemore and Bill Self will meet with reporters at 2:30 on Tuesday afternoon. The school didn't say what the subject of the news conference is, but standout players don't often hold post-season press conferences to announce that they're staying for another year.
There are Dozens of NBA mock drafts out right now, and the majority have McLemore as the #1 overall pick while almost all of them have him in the top 5.
McLemore scored more points than any other freshman in KU history, including Danny Manning.
It is not a great Draft for shooting guards. There are only a handful expected to go in the first round, and only one international prospect, Russia's Sergey Karasev, is likely to have a chance to go that high.
The good news is that these days, there's precious little difference between ones and twos. Guards like Lehigh's C.J. McCollum and Illinois' Brandon Paul will play both spots throughout their careers, and many of the two guard prospects could also find homes as small forwards.
But there is a very good chance that the first player taken in the June 27 Draft will be a shooting guard -- Kansas freshman Ben McLemore. He and Indiana junior Victor Oladipo are head and shoulders above the other two-guard prospects in the mind of scouts.
A note on the rankings:
This is not a predictor of when these players will be taken. These rankings, based on discussions with dozens of NBA and college coaches, and NBA college scouts and team executives, address the question of how ready players are to play the position which they are assigned: In other words, if there was a game tonight, who would play better at that position tonight, not in three years. Players are ranked based on the position that the coaches and scouts believe is their best NBA position, and even then, there is always disagreement between teams.
…The NBA used to call players that tried to enter the Draft before their college eligibility ended "hardship cases." Back then, players who displayed a legitimate need to turn pro to provide financially for their families were given special dispensation. This only happened after Spencer Haywood, in 1971, defeated the NBA in court, winning a Supreme Court decision that allowed him to play professionally before he was eligible under the NBA's old rules. (That Haywood, four decades later, is still waiting to become a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a travesty and a stain on the institution.)
Few in those four decades since the Haywood case have had a harder road than McLemore, the 6-foot-5 guard from St. Louis who has already endured a lifetime of hardships in his 20 years. His life of utter poverty has been well-documented, with several family members living in his family's small house at once, going days at a time without food.
So no one expects McLemore will have a second season in Lawrence, after earning second-team all-America honors as a freshman, averaging 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 50.7 percent and almost 44 percent from 3-point range. His game is already too good to spend another season in college. And he is on the short, short list as the potential first pick overall in the Draft.
Every year these days, promising two guards are compared with ex-UConn star Ray Allen, who went fifth overall in the incredible 1996 Draft. McLemore is no different. Though some scouts say Allen has the quicker release, McLemore is right there.
"He's the closest thing to Ray Allen, but Ray Allen stayed in school three years," a Western Conference general manager said of McLemore. "Today's basketball is a little different; you talk about potential and projection. But he has all the tools. Whatever Ray has, he has. Ray didn't jump; this kid can jump. This kid can fly."
Now, Allen did have a little bounce back in his pre-Jesus Shuttleworth days. But McLemore's hops are good.
"I like Oladipo, but Oladipo will be a role, rotation-type guy," a Central Division personnel man said. "The other guy [McLemore] can be a star."
…"People are killing [McLemore] because he can't put the ball on the floor that well and he doesn't assert himself," the Central Division man said. "My argument would be he didn't play last year [McLemore redshirted at Kansas] and he's young. People compare him to Ray Allen. The kid already puts it on the floor better than Ray Allen ever did, and he shoots it just as well. And Ray Allen has been a star in our league for how many years?"
Even the scout who questioned McLemore's entry passes and handle knows he'll go very high.
"No doubt he can shoot the hell out of the ball," the scout said. "...I know one knock on him is that he's not aggressive the whole time. But that's a beautiful stroke, though. I like him some. There's nobody in this Draft that you go, 'I gotta have this guy.' But he can really shoot it ... I think people have mixed opinions. But he's the best two out there."
Defensively, McLemore has high potential, but still needs some work.
"Kansas demands defense," another scout said. "They base their program on it. And he had all of those upperclassmen to help him. Of course on one of the key possessions he played against Michigan, he got switched off on Trey Burke and he was obviously concerned about getting up on him, and Burke hit that shot."
Self announced Monday that Adams, who asked for and received his release from his scholarship agreement last week but had second thoughts, definitely would be leaving the team.
“We met again and talked about it. We both came to the same conclusion: that it would be in his best interest to pursue other options, get off to a fresh start and impact another program,” Self told the Journal-World.
Self also released a statement through KU on the matter.
“Anrio and I met today and discussed his feelings and how they have apparently changed. We discussed everything and talked openly,” Self said. “Together we’ve come to the conclusion that it is in his best interest to pursue other opportunities and go to a place where he has the chance to really impact a program and, preferably, a school that is closer to home. This will allow him to red-shirt and have another year to work toward graduating.”
Season in photos
4/8/13, 11:01 PM
We can finally put a close to this season and move on to the next one!! 🏀 #RCJH
4/8/13, 11:02 PM
Can't wait for next season ! But till then we gonna work.. #KUCMB
20. Kansas Jayhawks: If there were ever a year to leave Kansas out of the preseason Top 25, this would be it. Assuming freshman Ben McLemore turns pro, the Jayhawks will lose all five starters from a team that finished this season 31-6. Kansas, though, has a habit of making its naysayers look foolish. Bill Self has led KU to nine straight Big 12 titles and averaged 30 wins during his 10 seasons in Lawrence. No matter what, he's going to find a way to win. Next season's team will lean heavily on rising sophomore Perry Ellis -- who seemed to be getting more and more comfortable near the end of the season -- as well as returning backups Jamari Traylor and Naadir Tharpe. KU's veterans must provide leadership for a recruiting class that features a McDonald's All-American in Wayne Selden, a talented-but-raw center in Joel Embiid and a pair of sharpshooters in Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene. Incoming freshman Frank Mason could challenge Tharpe for the starting point guard job.
ESPN 2013-14 Top 25
The KU Barnstorming Tour is coming to East High School on Friday, April 19th, 2013! The event will be held in the East High Gym, and the doors will open at 6:00 PM. Tickets for this event are $12.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door. The exhibition game will start at 8:00 PM. Proceeds will benefit the East High Baseball program.
Fort Scott Community College and Fort Scott High School are teaming up to sponsor an appearance by the KU Barnstormers on April 28. The KU Barnstormers will be represented by Kansas University's Men's Basketball seniors, including Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Kevin Young and Jeff Withey and will take on high school seniors from FSHS and the surrounding area.
The KU Barnstormers event will take place in the Fort Scott High School gymnasium at 7 p.m. April 28. Doors will open at 5 p.m. for a before-the-game autograph session with the Barnstormers. Fans are advised to come early as a ticket to the game does not guarantee the purchaser an autograph or opportunity for an autograph from the Kansas Barnstormers.
Tickets are $15 each and will be on sale April 10-25 at the following locations: Fort Scott Community College in the main lobby of Dick Hedges Administration Building, the Fort Scott High School main office, and Country Cupboard, 12 N. Main.
Available tickets may be purchased at the door but fans are encouraged to buy tickets early.
Kansas senior point guard Angel Goodrich continued to garner postseason accolades when she was named a Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) 2013 All-America Honorable Mention selection, as announced at the NCAA Final Four.
Goodrich, who was a finalist for the Naismith Award, Wade Trophy, Wooden Award, Nancy Lieberman Award and USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, earned First Team All-Big 12 honors and was a member of the WBCA All-Region 5 Team this season.
The 5-foot-4 guard ranked second in the conference in both assists and steals. She averaged 7.2 assists per game, while posting 2.8 steals per contest. Goodrich was second on the Jayhawks' squad with 14.1 points per game and led the team with 58 three-point field goals.
This season, Goodrich became a member of KU's 1,000-point scoring club and also became the all-time career assist leader in Kansas history. She finished her career with 1,262 points and 771 assists, the third-highest total in the Big 12 Conference history.
4/8/13, 9:44 PM
Thanks to my family, Coach Brown and his staff and of course my incredible teammates for making this possible. pic.twitter.com/DLxHHSlLQ6
Big 12/College News
Michigan's history of last-minute gaffes in national championship games continues.
Coach John Beilein admitted he didn't realize how many fouls his team had committed in the final minute of Monday's 82-76 national championship loss to Louisville, a major error that impacted the Wolverines' strategy down the stretch.
"I thought we were in the 1-and-1," Beilein said. "It's a coaching error. That falls right on me."
Though it wasn't as egregious as Chris Webber calling timeout in the 1993 championship game when Michigan didn't have any – resulting in a technical foul with the Wolverines down by just two points – it was certainly costly.
With Michigan trailing 78-74, it appeared the Wolverines got a key stop with 52 seconds left when Peyton Siva missed a runner. But Michigan freshman Caris LeVert stepped on the baseline while securing the rebound, turning the ball back over to Louisville and seemingly forcing an immediate foul situation – especially with Michigan only having five team fouls.
Instead, Michigan tried to play defense and force a turnover, wasting 13 precious seconds before center Gorgui Dieng got fouled. To Beilein's surprise, however, that was only the Wolverines' sixth team foul. By the time they committed the seventh and put Louisville at the foul line, just 29 seconds remained. Luke Hancock made both free throws, extending the lead to 80-74.
Wasting those 23 seconds proved to be crucial, as Michigan got back within 80-76 but had only 14 seconds left to come back. Siva's free throws with 12 seconds left iced the game.
Rick Pitino stood a few feet to the side of the basket, his hand interlocked with his wife, Joanne's. Neither were unable to contain their emotion as One Shining Moment blared throughout the Georgia Dome. This had to be a dream.
Pitino's marriage nearly fell apart five years ago after he admitted to having sexual relations with another woman and it played out in front of the country, even the world, in the media. There were jokes, there was humiliation. His career seemed over a couple years ago when he was getting annihilated on the court and in recruiting circles by the guy who he couldn't stand, Kentucky's John Calipari.
But here he was, hugging and kissing his bride of more than 35 years, in a scene that didn't look improbable not all that long ago. It looked virtually impossible.
There he was, sitting on the podium exactly one year after Calipari won his first title, becoming the first coach in history to get one with two different schools.
It had been an emotional week, beginning on Wednesday when he almost simultaneously learned that his son, Richard, had accepted the Minnesota job and also that he had been elected to the Hall of Fame. Just following the win Saturday against Wichita State in the national semifinals, Pitino watched the replay of his horse, Goldencents, winning the Santa Anita Derby, thus qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.
Then he cut down the nets on Monday night after a 82-76 victory over Michigan in the national title game.
It's all been against the odds for Pitino, whose life has been a virtual roller-coaster ride over the last couple decades or so. There was the national title in 1996 with Kentucky, then the train wreck three-plus seasons in Boston with the Celtics. He took Louisville to a Final Four, but then came the Sypher mess, in which she tried to extort him and also claimed it was rape.
"We're a family that's had a lot of difficult times," Rick Pitino said.
"Our family has been through a lot," his son, Richard, added. "But it's made us stronger. It's made my dad stronger."
Pitino has moved past it, but won't ever forget. He won't forget his best friend, his brother-in-law Billy Minardi, who died in the World Trade Center attacks back on Sept. 11. He won't forget about what he did to his family with the Sypher situation. He won't forget where this program was just a few years ago when everyone had written him off following a 20-13 campaign in which the Cardinals were knocked out of the tournament in the first round.
That's what makes this so special. That's what makes this smile so real.
Rick the Ruler is gone. Sure, he still yells and screams at his players, he still makes his assistant coaches make a certain weight. But he's not the same guy he was the last time he cut down the nets in 1996.
Fans poured into the streets to celebrate the Cardinals' NCAA championship win over Michigan, throwing all-night parties that at one point became so raucous police in riot gear used pepper spray to break them up.
Gatherings were mostly peaceful Monday night following Louisville's 82-76 victory — the school's third title, and first title since 1986. Louisville police said most of the 23 arrests were due to drunken or disorderly conduct.
Hundreds streamed onto Cardinal Boulevard after Louisville's win, screaming, dancing and lighting off small fireworks in revelry that lasted into the early hours.
But things got out of hand as the celebration was winding down early Tuesday, with police in riot gear and an armored car arriving after large, unruly crowds refused to disperse.
Several scuffles followed and some partiers threw bottles at police, hitting an officer in the head, said police spokeswoman Carey Klain. The officer received minor injuries and was treated at a hospital and released, Klain said. Police responded to the bottle throwers with pepper spray. No other injuries were reported.
The citywide party could be repeated Tuesday night if the Cardinals' women's team beats Connecticut for the NCAA championship in New Orleans.
"It's huge," said freshman Paul DeNeve. "We have not only won tonight but the women's team plays tomorrow."
For now, though, fans are savoring the Cardinals' men's achievement.
"This means everything," said Connor Millay, 19, a Northern Kentucky University student who traveled to Louisville despite facing two tests Tuesday.
"I've been waiting for this my whole life," Millay said. "My dad experienced this. My grandpa experienced this. I needed one of these."
ICYMI, the #Big12 is now on the clock as 2014 #FinalFour host! Ticket lottery apps are being accepted
University of Memphis junior forward Tarik Black will transfer to another school, coach Josh Pastner said Tuesday morning.
"I wish Tarik nothing but the very, very best," Pastner said. "He's graduating in three years (this spring), which I'm so proud of him for doing. I'm at peace with everything."
Asked why Black is leaving, Pastner said, "I just think maybe he wants a little change of scenery. But like I said, he's graduating in three years and part of my responsibility is to make sure these guys have an opportunity to graduate. Tarik's getting his degree. We wish him nothing but the very best wherever he chooses to go."
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Adrian Diaz has played his last basketball game at Kansas State. The sophomore forward has decided to transfer in hopes of joining a program closer to his home in Miami, K-State announced on Monday.
A new sports voice is coming to Kansas City.
The Star has hired St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Vahe Gregorian as a sports columnist. Vahe (pronounced VAH-hey) will cover all aspects of the local and national sports scene, from the Chiefs and Royals to college athletics and beyond.
Also joining The Star’s newsroom is Gregorian’s wife, Cindy Billhartz Gregorian, who will be The Star’s new House + Home editor and write and edit for the Features sections. She spent the last 16 years at the Post-Dispatch.
A University of Pennsylvania alum, Gregorian joined the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 1988 as part of a graduate-school internship program after receiving a master’s in journalism at Missouri. He is currently assigned to the Post-Dispatch’s Mizzou beat.
The NCAA men's basketball rules committee meets next month and there will likely be be a significant development with replay. Chair John Dunne of St. Peter's fully expects the committee to adopt a rule that would allow officials to go to the monitor for all key decisions in the final minute of a game or half like scoring, out-of-bounds situations and fouls. Dunne wants to extend it to the final two minutes, but one influential administrator added that the ratio makes sense, with the NBA review period at two minutes for a 48-minute game and the NCAA at one minute for a 40-minute game. Meanwhile, the rules committee is also expected to adjust the combative elbow rule. The administrator said the officials will look at giving offensive players more space to create room, especially if the defender is up on them or comes from the blind side.