KU AD: Texas Tech pregame notes
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Kansas men's basketball seniors Jordan Juenemann and Conner Teahan were named to the Academic All-Big 12 Team it was announced Thursday morning. Juenemann was selected as one of 11 members to the first team, while Teahan was named to the second team.
Kansas leads the Big 12 with 48 all-time Academic All-Big 12 selections since the inception of the conference in 1996-97. Texas is second with 37 all-time selections. KU has 37 Academic All-Big 12 First Team selections and 11 second team selections, which are 16 more than Texas and Kansas State's 21 (first team) each.
In the Bill Self era, Kansas has had 25 Academic All-Big 12 selections, which is best in the Big 12, for an average of almost three per year (2.8 average).
Tyshawn Taylor’s play of late has thrown him into the discussion at the very least for Big 12 Player of the Year honors.
“Have we ever had a player since I’ve been here that’s played better over a six-week period that’s a guard than what Tyshawn has? Tell me,” KU coach Bill Self said at Thursday’s weekly news conference in Allen Fieldhouse.
“Sherron (Collins) didn’t have a stretch like this; Mario (Chalmers) didn’t have a stretch like this, because they played on teams where they could defer. This team he can’t defer. He’s been pretty solid for us.”
Taylor, in fact, is the Big 12’s second leading scorer through 13 games.
He’s averaged 18.5 points per game, which puts him behind Texas’ J’Covan Brown (20.2 ppg) and ahead of teammate Thomas Robinson (17.8). Missouri’s Marcus Denmon (17.2), Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder (16.3) and Texas A&M’s Elston Turner (16.2) are all over the 16.0 ppg mark.
Taylor — he ranks fifth in assists at 5.0 per game (eighth in assist/turnover ratio) and is tied for fourth in steals at 1.54 per game — of course, doesn’t figure to beat out the 6-10 Robinson in player-of- the-year voting, considering Robinson averages a double-double with 11.8 rebounds a game in 13 league contests.
…The Jayhawks are fully aware they are tied with Missouri for first place in the league at 11-2.
“In our room we have a board that we update the standings every day. We take great pride in looking at that stuff,” Self said. “Now, we don’t talk about ‘this team has them left.’ All you do is play it one game or one week at a time.”
Self doesn’t encourage his team to ponder other teams’ schedules, but he firmly believes in the importance of the standings. After all, the standings will eventually determine the Big 12 regular-season champions.
“I talk about it with my guys every day,” Self said. “We take great pride in looking at that stuff.”
As the Jayhawks prepare for tomorrow’s 7 p.m. game at Allen Fieldhouse with last-place Texas Tech (8-17, 1-12), the Jayhawks know they can’t afford to overlook the Red Raiders, a team that sits in the cellar of the conference standings.
Self compared this portion of the season to the last few minutes of a game. With five games remaining on the team’s Big 12 schedule, the potential influence of each game is extrapolated.
“You make a mistake now,” Self said, “there may not be time to come back.”
First-year coach Billy Gillispie guides the Red Raiders, a team that has lost all six of its conference-road games this season. Despite Texas Tech’s struggles, Self said that Gillispie has already improved his young group since the last time these teams met in Lubbock, Texas on Jan. 11, when the Jayhawks won 81-46.
“They’ll come in here and try to muddy it up,” Self said.
Junior center Jeff Withey, who won the Big 12 and national player of the year awards this week, will be a primary reason if the Jayhawks challenge the Tigers for a conference title or falter in the final five-game stretch.
“When I’m playing at my best,” Withey said. “Our team is unstoppable.”
In the three games that followed his scoreless outing at Missouri on Jan. 4, Withey has averaged 20.3 points per game. His shot blocking and altering has terrorized opposing offenses. According to statsheet.com, Withey is third in the nation with a block percentage of 15.01.
“I love playing defense,” Withey said. “I feel like it’s a lost art.”
Withey said that he can’t forget about Texas Tech or Texas A&M just yet, but he also admitted that the rematch with Missouri on February 25 lingers in his mind.
“We definitely can win this league,” Withey said. “Five more games, and then it’s ours if we go to work and do what we’re supposed to do. We can beat up Missouri.”
Elijah Johnson, the lone Kansas starter who has not received conference player of the week honors on the only squad in Big 12 history to have four different honorees in the same season, did a nice job before Thursday’s practice of articulating what he has learned about and from teammates.
The lesson he learned about Jeff Withey, Johnson said, came early.
“One thing about Jeff,” Johnson said, “since I got here my freshman year, I’ve always played great with Jeff. Always. I’m a guard that can play real well with a big. Me and Jeff, we always connected.”
To hear Johnson tell it, there is no such thing as garbage time in a basketball game. He took the limited playing time he received very seriously.
“Even in the games we got in for the last two or three minutes a couple of years ago, I would always find him an alley-oop at least one time within those couple of minutes,” Johnson said. “I’ve always trusted Jeff. Jeff is a good player. He understands the game. He makes smart passes. He doesn’t play like he’s 7 feet, and that’s what’s unique about his game.”
…“I felt like I couldn’t shoot this year,” Johnson said. “But I know I can, and everyone knows I can, but I played like I couldn’t shoot. That made me learn stuff about the game overall, instead of just settling, coming down and shooting it every time. ... Coach (Bill Self) says, ‘The shot might not fall. Do something. Do something. You’re too good to just stop at that.’ And I thought about it. I am too good to just stop at that. If my shot’s not falling, that shouldn’t reflect on my whole game.”
Johnson shared how a teammate served as a good model to follow to apply that advice.
“Being scored on, I don’t like it,” Johnson said. “I don’t like it at all. I really don’t. That’s something I think I got from Travis because no one scores on him.”
The nature of a free-throw slump means talking about it generally makes it worse.
With that in mind, Kansas coach Bill Self is being careful not to over-analyze a few untimely misses from Tyshawn Taylor, his senior point guard.
“I don't worry about free throws,” Self said Thursday. “I never have. I don't worry about them.
“I worry about the turnovers and that kind of stuff. We can simulate that, at least a little bit. Free throws are a little different.”
…“Ty is one of those guys that’s never going to be an 85-percent free-throw shooter,” Self said. “That’s not who he is. But he should be a guy who makes them when it counts the most, because he’s a winner. We’ve just got to keep convincing him of that.”
If the Jayhawks need someone to shoot a clutch free throw, they do have an unlikely option in center Jeff Withey. The 7-foot junior is shooting 85 percent from the foul line, and Self twice has used him to shoot free throws following technical fouls.
“The only reason I did that was so he could do that in that setting, in case we ever need it down the road,” Self said. “You don't practice shooting free throws with nobody on the line, at least in game conditions.
“To be honest with you, Thomas (Robinson) has shot them pretty well down the stretch. I feel as comfortable with those guys shooting as anybody, and there’s not a lot of teams out there that can say that.”
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Kentucky has secured a spot at the top of the men's basketball polls and has a good chance of running the table in the Southeastern Conference. But their biggest rival for the tournament won't be Syracuse or even Ohio State — it will be Kansas.
Just like every season, much debate ensues over which conference is the best. As is normally the case, the Big East takes that honor again this year, although the Big 10 is giving Georgetown's conference a run for its money. The Big 12 and ACC have strong upper echelons, placing a combined five teams in the top 10, but aren't as strong in their lower ranks. No one would argue for the SEC, which counts only Kentucky and Florida as top-tier teams this year, or the Pac-12, which is as miserable as ever.
But out of all these conferences, the Big 12 is stacked with the best top tier. Missouri appears to have come out on top of a three-way battle with Kansas and Baylor for conference supremacy. But examining past performance and present talent, Kansas sticks out as a virtual lock for the Elite Eight and has a very good chance to reach the Final Four.
In assessing teams come tournament time, it's advisable to look at squads in the same way that the men's basketball committee does when it determines the NCAA tournament's bracket: by examining the whole body of work. For the Jayhawks, this means looking both at their early season travails and their present success.
If history is any indication, Self’s team won’t be able to stay fresh in next month’s NCAA tournament. In the last 10 seasons, only seven Final Four teams have had four or more players average 30 or more points, a whopping 17 percent. No championship team has met that criteria in that time span, either.
It won’t be a choke job, as many will call it that.
The truth is, Self and his Jayhawks have no business being discussed as one of the nation’s best teams. But here they are, in line for another No. 1 seed with the only legitimate bench player a former walk-on who leads one of the worst benches Self has ever had.
Enjoy the regular season and the potentially eighth consecutive Big 12 championship. But don’t be surprised when March is another heartbreaker.
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City leaders have confirmed two Lawrence police officers were suspended following an investigation conducted by the FBI related to traffic tickets being fixed in exchange for Kansas University basketball tickets.
City Manager David Corliss said Thursday afternoon the person whose traffic tickets were fixed is serving time in a federal prison related to the broader KU ticket scandal. A federal judge last year sentenced four former Kansas Athletics Inc. employees — Ben Kirtland, Rodney Jones, Charlette Blubaugh and Kassie Liebsch — and one department consultant, Tom Blubaugh, to federal prison after their guilty pleas in the cash-for-tickets scam from 2005 to 2010 that rocked the university and cost it more than $2 million in football and basketball tickets.
Corliss said in the recent case that Police Chief Tarik Khatib received an anonymous tip in May 2011 about the possible ticket-fixing. It was referred to federal authorities for an investigation. Corliss said the investigators did not believe any criminal charges would be forthcoming.
City officials did not release the names of the two suspended police officers, saying it was a personnel matter.
The Phoenix Suns and FOX Sports Arizona will give away Markieff Morris Fatheads to the first 10,000 fans in attendance when the Suns host the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Feb. 19, at US Airways Center. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m., with doors scheduled to open at 5 p.m.
The unique giveaway will feature a 12” x 17” graphic of Morris, the Suns rookie and 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend Rising Stars game selection. The limited edition collectable features a full-length action shot of Morris, along with a Suns-themed light switch cover.
LJW: Brady Morningstar familiar with Jeremy Lin
UDK: Camping tradition changes, students outraged
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
When it comes to staying out of foul trouble at home, nobody in the Big 12 has been better than Missouri this season.
Stats compiled by The Star through Wednesday’s conference games reveal the Tigers are called for an average of 7.14 fewer fouls in Big 12 games at Mizzou Arena than their opponents — the best margin in the league.
Missouri also shoots an average of 8.71 more free throws per home game than its opponents, but that only ranks third in the conference behind Texas and Iowa State. The Longhorns lead the conference by shooting 13.58 more free throws per home game than their opponents, more than four shots ahead of the Cyclones at 9.34.
The stats also show Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse and Kansas State’s Bramlage Coliseum to be solid home-court advantages, though not to the degree of Missouri’s. KU is called for an average of 15.33 fouls per home game, second lowest behind only Missouri at 11.43. Both the Wildcats and the Jayhawks draw three fewer fouls than their opponents per home game, ranking in the Big 12’s top half.
Kansas State’s opponents are called for a Big 12-high 23.14 fouls at Bramlage Coliseum (tied with Texas), an advantage the Wildcats squander somewhat by committing a Big 12-worst 19.71 fouls per home game.
Away from home, KU is called for 4.29 more fouls per road game than its opponents, highest in the Big 12, and only one team, Missouri, breaks even in that category. Only two teams average more free-throw attempts on the road than their opponents: Iowa State and Baylor, which actually allows more free throws than its opponents at home.
Frank Martin wanted to pay a friend a compliment, and he came up with one he figured would play well with the locals. In praising Texas after his Kansas State team lost at the Erwin Center last Saturday, an effusive Martin declared the Longhorns are back to playing “Rick Barnes basketball.”
It was a nice gesture. It also was completely wrong.
If anything, the Longhorns' recent surge, in which they've gone from the bottom of the Big 12 to the threshold of a 14th consecutive NCAA tournament, has been decidedly un-Barnesian. And considering that UT hasn't made it past the first weekend of the postseason in four years, that might be a good thing.
So how, specifically, is this team defying Barnes' recent trends?
1. It's peaking late: In each of the past three seasons, UT was ranked in the top 10 (twice in the top two) before turning into a wretched, combustible mess by mid-February. In 2010 the Longhorns started 17-0 and finished 7-10. Last year they won their first 13 league games and finished 5-5.
2. It relies on offense: Barnes has long been known for his teams' rugged, physical defensive play, and UT has slowly improved on that end of the floor throughout this season. But this year's personnel simply isn't suited to consistently win ugly slugfests. The Longhorns are, however, deceivingly good at creating shots.
3. It can make free throws: In the four seasons before this one, no team in the Big 12 was worse at the foul line than the Longhorns. They were atrocious, and it cost them games, notably NCAA tourney losses to Duke and Wake Forest.
4. It's not led by an NBA sure thing: From LaMarcus Aldridge to Kevin Durant to D.J. Augustin to James to Hamilton and Tristan Thompson, every Barnes team since 2005 has featured a first-round draft pick. This year UT's best player is J'Covan Brown, whose body wouldn't make him an automatic selection for a pickup game at the YMCA.
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Kevin Jones scored 16 points to go with 13 rebounds and Deniz Kilicli added 14 points as West Virginia beat Pittsburgh 66-48 on Thursday night in perhaps the final basketball edition of the “Backyard Brawl.”
Darryl Bryant came off the bench to score 15 for the Mountaineers (17-10, 7-7 Big East), who dominated the second half to get the last word in the 108-year-old rivalry for the foreseeable future.
North Carolina State started losing its key players to fouls. Not long after that, the Wolfpack lost their huge lead _ and the game, too.
N.C. State let a late 20-point lead slip away against No. 5 Duke on Thursday night in a 78-73 loss that marked its 14th straight defeat at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
This one got away largely because the Wolfpack (18-8, 7-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) were forced to play important stretches with some important players stuck on the bench in foul trouble.
Guard C.J. Williams barely got in the flow, managing just three points _ he averages 11 _ while playing just 12 minutes before fouling out. Two key members of N.C. State's front line _ Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie _ sat during parts of Duke's rally with four fouls. Both fouled out in the final 2 minutes.
Whether Bruce Weber has already been told he's out as Illini basketball coach or not, his post-game remarks after the team's loss to Purdue should seal the deal. Weber not only admitted to mis-managing the Illinois team this year, but also openly coveted Purdue players in an envious way that makes you wonder why he didn't recruit the Boilermakers he admires so much.
"I think the last three years, all I worried about was winning instead of building a culture and a toughness," said Weber. "And that's my fault. (Purdue's Robbie Hummel), Draymond (Green) and Aaron (Craft), those are three guys you wish you could coach because they really, truly care about the team and winning."
Beyond his embarrassing remarks, Weber should be let go for these reasons: The Illini are just 2-4 in the NCAA Tournament since their remarkable run to the National Championship game in 2005.
Weber's team is just 60-56 in Big Ten play since 2005. He's has failed to recruit a single NBA-caliber player.
The last Illini drafted by the NBA was James Augustine in 2006 and he was a Bill Self recruit.
There is no reason why a program like Illinois should not be able to recruit upper echelon players on a regular basis, especially in a talent rich state like Illinois. At the very least, they should make the NCAA Tournament every year.
Fed up with comparisons early in his first season, Illinois coach Bruce Weber showed up for a December 2003 news conference dressed in black to stage a mock funeral to mark the end of the Bill Self era.
I wonder if Weber still owns the suit.
He could wear it for Saturday's game after effectively pronouncing his Illinois program dead sometime around 10 p.m. Wednesday.
After Illinois lost to Purdue 67-62, Weber supported the worst criticism of him by admitting he hadn't created a disciplined, structured environment for players to develop championship habits. Potential Illinois recruits, cover your ears.
"The last three years all I did was worry about winning instead of developing a culture and toughness,'' Weber said.
Worse, Weber openly blamed players — faulting Meyers Leonard's effort and Brandon Paul's shot selection on a final 3-point attempt.
"I don't know what he was thinking, to be honest,'' Weber said.
Honestly, what was Weber thinking?
On a roll, Weber also regretted not benching Leonard and Paul in January and complained his players "don't have great basketball savvy.''
…Weber sounded like an emotionally overwrought man who senses his inevitable exit, even if a close supporter insisted that wasn't the case.
"He hasn't given up,'' former Purdue coach Gene Keady said Thursday. "Bruce is the only guy to win two uncontested Big Ten titles, took the team to the Final Four … what the hell else do you want? He's not going to buy players. He has too (much) integrity.''
Keady acknowledged Weber talked too much postgame but believes Thomas' continued silence has saddled his former right-hand man with as much pressure as disappointment.
"I'll tell you what would help is a vote of confidence from the AD,'' Keady said. "Unbelievable.''
A day after Bruce Weber criticized his own performance and his own players following a loss at home to Purdue, the Illinois coach tried to soften the blow.
“I spoke out of frustration following another difficult loss,’’ Weber said Thursday in a prepared statement. “I am disappointed in myself, as I said, for not developing a culture of toughness with our team up to this point in the season.’’
…Athletic director Mike Thomas, who has already fired football coach Ron Zook in his first year on the job, was at the game but not at the press conference afterward. He was not taking calls Thursday as he traveled to Florida to meet with alumni, sports information director Kent Brown said.
“He just doesn’t feel like he can comment after every (loss),’’ Brown said.
Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA today announced that NCAA® March Madness® Live, formerly March Madness on Demand, will now provide college basketball fans with more opportunities to watch every minute of every game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship. Produced by Turner Sports Interactive, NCAA® March Madness® Live is a suite of live products presented across multiple screens, including online and as an iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch app and, for the first time, on Android phones.
NCAA® March Madness® Live will be available to users across all video screens - online, mobile and tablet- and over Wi-fi and 3G for $3.99 beginning on March 7. Fans will be able to enjoy live streaming video of every broadcast for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship as they are televised by TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV, starting with the NCAA Basketball Selection Show on Sunday, March 11, and continuing through the Men's Final Four® and National Championship Game from New Orleans on March 31 and April 2.
• For the second consecutive year, all 67 games will be televised across four television networks in their entirety -- TBS, CBS, TNT, and truTV.
• Turner will stream its linear television games online for free on an authenticated basis on the Turner websites (TBS.com, TNT.tv and truTV.com) for consumers who have a cable, satellite or telco subscription that includes these respective Turner networks. Authenticating this year's Tournament across the Turner Networks is an extension of the company's TV Everywhere initiative, which is currently available to over 75 million households.
• All games airing on CBS will be available for free on CBSSports.com.
CBS press release
"The good thing about going to an Ivy League school is you've got a lot of options after getting your degree, and a lot of them more lucrative than basketball, especially where I'm at," Foote said. "You get a good starting salary with say Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, and maybe 10 or 20 years down the road you wind up even better off. The bad thing is that people assumed you played in the Ivy League because you weren't good enough to get an athletic scholarship anywhere else."
Foote takes some pride in knowing that in corporate offices across the country, guys like him are enjoying rare moments of celebrity again. Suddenly, many of the financial planners, insurance agents and accountants who work alongside them can't hear enough about the night one of them stared down Jeremy Lin.
"Honestly? I don't remember much about it," Foote said. "We beat them pretty handily. I knew he'd get an opportunity, but I expected the only way he'd catch on was maybe as a backup point guard. I hope his success makes a lot of people look at the league differently."
Duncan thinks so, too, but he's hoping there's a bigger lesson to be learned from Linsanity.
"The best thing about Jeremy's story is it shows you don't always have to have pedigree or be a McDonald's All-American to get where you want to go. If you work hard and you've got humility, and what matters to you is making the team better, you can find a way to contribute.
"Look," Duncan said, "Jeremy is a very special kid, but it isn't about the numbers he puts up. The Knicks were — how should I put it — a dysfunctional group, and he made them a team. He's been held to low numbers plenty of times, but the only thing he ever cared about were 'Ws.' Find guys like that," he said finally, "and success isn't usually far behind."
The subject at Bill Self’s weekly media gathering turned to Kansas high school basketball, and specifically Wichita Heights and top player, Kansas-bound front liner Perry Ellis.
Sure, Self has to say nice things, but he also provided some insight into the type of player the Jayhawks may be getting in the 6-8 Ellis.
“There are guys out there that can be really good players but their athletic ability may not allow them to be great,” Self said. “He’s a guy whose athletic ability gives him a chance to be great.”
It is that athleticism Self can’t wait to coach.
“People talk about how he can shoot and play the three, and people talk about how can play the post,” Self said. “Hey the kid can run and jump. I want to be able to see how he can play, if he can guard a two (shooting guard) or a five (center). I think it’s going to be exciting to see how he progresses.”
The Oregonian VIDEO: Landen Lucas throws down an alley-oop dunk
High school boys action at L.C.A., the Bulldogs took Miller School out of Albemarle to overtime before Miller prevailed 58-53. With the Bulldogs down 3, 13 seconds left, Matt Moats buries a three to knot the score at 51, Moats had 12 for L.C.A.
Miller had the ball and a shot to win but Devon Anderson's jumper comes up short, we're going to overtime!
In the extra period, Tony Washington gets the offensive rebound and putback to give Miller the lead, one they would not give up. L.C.A. got a game-high 20 points from B.J. Farrow. But Miller had the upper hand in the extra period, University of Kansas-bound Andrew White led Miller with 14 points. Miller won 58-53 to improve to 16-and-8 on the season.
Bellevue finds itself in the losers bracket of the 3A Sea-King tourney after falling 69-58 to top-ranked Rainier Beach.
Anrio Adams led the way for Beach with a game high 28 points
ESPN Julius Randle blog
Winston Shepard said there was no true runner-up in his recruitment to play college basketball.
The Findlay Prep senior forward is too in love with his first choice to give it much thought.
Shepard made an oral commitment to San Diego State on Thursday and plans to sign with the Aztecs in April. The versatile 6-foot-9-inch Shepard enjoyed his official visit to San Diego State the weekend of Feb. 4 and felt no reason to continue waiting to decide.
"There was no runner-up. I just look at it as San Diego State was the best option for me," Shepard said. "Coach (Steve) Fisher, me and my family sat down and talked about it, and it's the best decision for me. It's their style of play."
Shepard said he also considered scholarship offers from New Mexico, Connecticut, St. John's, Oregon and Oklahoma State. UNLV also recruited Shepard.
"The Street Stops Here," the documentary about Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony's run toward the 2007-2008 national high school boys basketball title is being rebroadcast on Sunday (ESPNU, 8 p.m. ET).
The film details the decades long work that Bob Hurley, a Hall of Famer, has done at the school building them into a national power.
This year's St. Anthony's team is 19-0 and ranked No. 3 in the USA TODAY Super 25 boys basketball rankings.
Hurley, a former probation officer, has been the USA TODAY High School Coach of the Year three times including 2008.
Ironically the Player of the Year in 2008 was Samardo Samuels, who played for Newark (N.J.) St. Benedicts, a team coached by Hurley's son Danny.
Bob and Danny Hurley will be joined by son and brother Bobby in a roundtable discussion after the film. Danny is now the coach at Wagner College with his brother as his assistant.
The film will be shown on ESPNU and ESPN Classic up until the 2012 Final Four is played. Among those who are shown playing for Hurley in 2007-08 are current college players Mike Rosario (Florida); Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas), Travon Woodall (Pittsburgh), Dominic Cheek (Villanova) and Jio Fontan (USC).
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