Tickets available for tonight’s game
KUAD: Coach Self discussed Senior Day in weekly presser
KUAD: Texas Tech vs Kansas pregame notes
Self said on his “Hawk Talk” radio show that seniors Tarik Black, Niko Roberts and Justin Wesley would start Wednesday on Senior Night against Texas Tech along with freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden.
It’ll be an emotional night for KU newcomer Black, who thanks his teammates, especially junior Christian Garrett, who “has helped me grow spiritually. That changes your whole life.”
“I learned so much about basketball, life and myself in this one year being in this program than I have ever learned playing the game of basketball leading to this point,” Black said. “I was meant to be here. I’m very blessed to be here. This is my stop. This is where I was supposed to be for reasons bigger than basketball. This is life-changing for me.”
Black, who after this semester will have to write a thesis to finish requirements for his masters in African American Studies, wants to play in the NBA then open a nonprofit organization in Memphis.
“It’s a dream for me,” Black said of playing in the pros. “I’ve been blessed to make it this far. I will not put any limitations on my blessings in the future.”
He said the sky is the limit for this team, which enters today’s game 22-7 overall and 13-3 in the league; Tech, which fell to KU, 64-63, on Feb. 18, enters 13-16, 5-11.
“I want to accomplish something we’re still in the running for,” Black said of a deep run in the NCAAs. “This season has been so intriguing, so interesting, so fun that time has flown by. It feels like yesterday I arrived on campus. and now we’re here today getting ready to go into Senior Night and postseason. That’s crazy to me.”
Of Black, KU coach Bill Self said: “He’s got something about him that I think every kid yearns for. He’s ultra-positive, has a great attitude. He’s got energy and he’s always trying to make others better.”
…There will be speeches following the game. If KU wins, there figures to be mention of KU’s undisputed league title, the program’s 10th in a row.
“But it won’t be a net-cutting ceremony. We’ve never been big on stuff like that,” Self said.
…Wiggins, and any other non-seniors who might join him in the 2014 NBA Draft, will not speak to the fans tonight.
“I think our fan base, the majority would be disappointed if we did something that took away from what is one of the great traditions of our basketball season, and that is Senior Night,” Self said. “Now, I’m not saying I may not recognize or something, but certainly I don’t want the emphasis to ever get away from those kids that have actually exhausted their eligibility here. And in this case all three graduated, obviously.”
Of the tradition, he said: “This is not Freshman Night, it’s not Sophomore Night, it’s not Junior Night; it’s Senior Night.”
There are days Kansas University senior walk-on Niko Roberts leads the Red (Scout) Team in a two-hour basketball practice in Allen Fieldhouse, then heads over to Lawrence High’s gym to watch his brother, Justin, direct the show for the Lions.
“After that, I’ll go watch basketball on TV for three hours,” said Niko, a self-proclaimed hoops “junkie.”
“I’m like my dad. I can watch basketball all day and night.”
Son of current KU assistant/former St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts, Niko has lived and breathed basketball at KU the last four seasons.
Per tradition, he’ll be honored with his parents amid a flower shower before Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Senior Night game against Texas Tech, then after the final horn grab the microphone and speak to the fans with fellow seniors Tarik Black and Justin Wesley.
Brother Justin will be among those in the stands listening to Niko’s every word.
“It never gets old watching him play and watching him get better,” Niko said of Justin, a sophomore starting guard at LHS. “I’m so proud of him.”
Off the court, Justin Wesley is best known in Lawrence for his film portrayal of Wilt Chamberlain in the recent movie release, “Jayhawkers.”
On the court, he’s the walk-on transfer from Lamar University who averaged 8.6 minutes a game — 7.8 minutes in Big 12 action — for KU’s 2011-12 NCAA runner-up/Big 12 championship team.
The 6-foot-9, 220-pounder from Fort Worth, Texas, played double-digit minutes in 12 games that season and nine minutes in eight other games as a huge contributor off the bench for the 32-7 Jayhawks.
“That year definitely was an up-and-down experience, is the best way I could put it,” said Wesley, who has been unable to crack the rotation in any of his other two seasons at KU. “It didn’t really go the way I had foreseen it,” added Wesley, who was bitterly disappointed the Jayhawks fell to Kentucky in the national-title game. “It was still a great year. We still went the farthest we could go, the farthest a college basketball team could go in a season. It was a good year.”
Wesley, who will start the first game of his KU career during Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Senior Night game against Texas Tech (he started two in 2009-10 at Lamar), agreed that his most memorable game was a 21-minute outing in a Champions Classic loss to Kentucky in New York’s Madison Square Garden. He had five points and five rebounds in a 75-65 loss early in the national runner-up season.
…“My experience has been great. Of course I wanted the basketball side of it to go a little bit differently. That’s a part of life,” Wesley said. “Some things go your way, some don’t. You have to make the best of it. That’s what I’ve done. I made the decision to transfer here and walk on. I’m still happy with my decision today, regardless of how basketball went. My experience has been a helluva experience. I do not regret anything.”
In fact ... “my love (of KU) hasn’t diminished. If anything, it’s grown,” Wesley added. “Some of the best experiences I’ve had in my life so far have been here.”
…He will have something to say about his college coach, Self.
“He taught me a lot on the basketball court. The stuff he teaches you off the court transitions to things you’ll deal with in life, also,” Wesley said. “He’s taught me a lot about being a man, what to do when going through ups and downs. He’s definitely been a teacher to me.”
How do you teach a child to grieve?
Charlene Taylor had no idea. On that night in the summer of 1995, she didn’t know what to tell her son. Isiah Wesley had gone to work at a nightclub he owned in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Metroplex. While he closed up that night, a robbery turned violent, and Wesley was killed. He was 44.
Back at home, Justin Wesley was just a few months removed from his 4th birthday. Somehow, Charlene said, she told her young son that his father wasn’t coming home.
“I was worried about how it would affect him,” she said. “Because you don’t know how to teach a 4-year-old to grieve.”
The news filtered to Keith, who was at his own father’s house. Keith was 11 years old then, and middle brother Kevin was a few years younger. And to this day, Keith can still remember his father’s words.
“You have a responsibility to your brother,” Andre Langford said.
So for the next seven years, before Keith left for Kansas, he did what he could. He would be protector and adviser, friend and role model.
“It seemed like the older they got, they left me out of the loop,” Charlene said, laughing. “I’d say something to Justin and Kevin, and they’d be like ‘Well, Keith said this.’
Justin grew into a goofy grade-school kid who lived for the video game “Tony Hawk: Pro Skater.” He was the baby of the family, and he knew how to get what he wanted. One summer, while Keith was still at KU, Wesley spent a few weeks living with his older brother in the Jayhawker Towers on campus. At night, Langford would leave to have fun with friends, and Justin would stick behind and play video games. But really, Keith said, he always knew his brother would grow up.
Inside that household, if you really wanted to earn your keep, you did it on the basketball court.
It also figures to be the last home game for the Jayhawks' talented freshman, who has already declared his intention to head to the NBA after this season. But in homage to the tradition that is senior night, the spotlight against Texas tech will be reserved for Black, Roberts and Wesley.
"I've seen where other schools when guys are projected to leave, they make them part of their night, which is fine," Kansas coach Bill Self said Tuesday. "But we have a pretty tradition-rich program and there are certain traditions worth keeping, and this is not freshman night."
So even though Black has only played one season after transferring from Memphis, he'll be honored as a senior. And even though Roberts and Wesley barely see the floor, they'll have a chance to bask in the spotlight of an adoring home crowd one last time.
…Self has had plenty of players leave school early, of course. Ben McLemore played only one season before he was picked seventh overall last June, and Thomas Robinson was chosen fifth overall when he left after his junior season two years ago.
Self even made modest acknowledgements of their contributions on senior night, knowing full well that they wouldn't be back.
He's never included them in the full festivities, though. That's an honor that he reserves for his seniors, guys who have persevered long enough to exhaust their eligibility.
"I'm not saying we may not recognize (Wiggins) or something," Self said, "but I don't want the emphasis to go away from those kids."
Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid will sit out the next two games with a back injury, meaning the senior Black — with NBA aspirations of his own — will have a couple games to showcase what he can do with extended minutes.
Except, that’s not the way the 6-foot-9 forward sees it.
“If this is my time, and that’s what takes place, and I’m blessed enough to have the opportunity, then cool, it takes place,” Black said. “But this team will function the way it needs to in order to win games, and that’s something I will not mess up. I will not make that dysfunctional thinking about, ‘Me, me me,’ and making it a personal thing like, ‘OK, this is my time to shine,’ because it’s not.
“It’s always about Kansas. It’s always about the Jayhawks. It’s always about the team.”
It’s that kind of unselfishness that has earned Black the respect of coach Bill Self.
…One of the biggest advantages of coming to Kansas was playing under Self. Black earlier played for Memphis coach Josh Pastner, who had just turned 33 years old when Black arrived as a freshman for the start of Memphis’ 2010-11 season.
“Previously, I was at a university where we were growing with the coach. All of us were growing together. We were freshmen, and he was a sophomore at coaching," Black said. “Here, I’m playing for a coach who has a national championship, who has coached many great teams, that’s had similar players and just knows what to do, when to do it, and the message that needs to be portrayed at the moment.”
The biggest goal is still ahead. Black has been to the NCAA Tournament three times with Memphis, but he’s never made it past the Round of 32. His hope is to experience a deep NCAA Tournament run in his final season of eligibility.
After that, Black — who will finish up his Master’s degree in African-American studies after writing his thesis at the end of this semester — says he'll work hard to try to make it in the NBA.
The Texas Tech men’s basketball team (13-6, 5-11) travels to face the Kansas Jayhawks (22-7, 13-3) at 7 p.m. today in Allen Fieldhouse at Lawrence, Kan.
Although Tech lost 64-63 in the final seconds when the two schools first met this season on Feb. 18 in the United Spirit Arena, Kansas is 174-9 in home games under coach Bill Self, and the Jayhawks stomped the Red Raiders 79-42 in Allen Fieldhouse last season.
“As a freshman, it was a pretty grueling game to be at,” Tech sophomore guard Dusty Hannahs said. “We got really clobbered and a lot feelings last year helped me become more of a man with adversity that I had seen. High school and stuff, you’re used to winning your whole life, that’s what got you here. Once you lose games like that, it’s really a test to your heart.”
Kansas is 8-0 in Big 12 Conference games at home this season and clinched its 10th consecutive conference regular season title with two games remaining on the schedule, according to a Kansas news release.
Tech coach Tubby Smith said the Jayhawks are tough to beat on the road because their roster is always loaded.
“They usually have better players than you,” he said. “That’s first and foremost. They’ve got great fans, a great following — energetic, enthusiastic. You find me a tough place to play and I’ll show you a program that has very talented players to start with. Basketball is a game of runs and droughts. When you have those droughts and the opposing team gains that momentum, especially if you’re on the road, it’s tough.”
BOTTOM LINE: Senior Night blowouts are among the more predictable outcomes on the KU calendar. Even without the services of Embiid inside, the Jayhawks should roll.
The Jayhawks will miss Embiid inside, as TTU should have a much easier time getting its interior points without him patrolling the lane.
Still, I think the Jayhawks will win comfortably enough thanks to one factor: transition. Tech is a below-average team when it comes to allowing shots in transition, and a big reason that the Red Raiders were able to compete in an earlier 64-63 loss to KU is that they allowed zero fast-break points.
I don't see that repeating itself Wednesday. With a home crowd behind them, the Jayhawks should better dictate the pace and score some easy points in transition, which will help create some breathing room against a TTU team that is much better than its record indicates.
Kansas 73, Texas Tech 63
TCJ 5 minute scout
LJW Smithology: Getting reacquainted with Texas Tech
Nick Wiggins stood on the court at Koch Arena with one arm around mom, the other around dad, his second-ranked Shockers having just finished a 31-0 regular season.
For once, it was the older brother of Kansas star Andrew Wiggins getting all the attention.
With the NCAA tournament right around the corner, the two brothers – and their teams – are ready to become the story of March.
Wichita State heads into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament this week riding the best start since UNLV in 1991, while the fifth-ranked Jayhawks have wrapped up the outright Big 12 title – the 10th straight championship for the storied program.
If things transpire as most bracketologists believe, Wichita State will be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and Kansas a No. 2 seed, quite possibly in the same region.
And if everything went according to script, they would meet for a spot in the Final Four.
“Believe me, they’d want to face each other,” said their father, former NBA first-round draft pick Mitchell Wiggins, “but I think they’d rather play each other in the final. And Nick would probably be Andrew’s matchup,so I don’t know who would come out on top.”
…“Nick has done so much for Andrew. He’s Andrew’s hero,” Mitchell Wiggins. “He really helped Andrew’s game when he was younger, just talking to him, talking about basketball, different things. They like each other almost too much, and they’re very proud of each other.”
Their parents are proud of them, too, and intend to follow the brothers throughout the NCAA tournament. It would be easier if they were paired in the same region, but that’s no guarantee, so Mitchell and Marita are anxiously awaiting Selection Sunday.
Of course, if that happens, there’s always the possibility they’d face each other, too.
“It would be tough,” Mitchell said with a shake of his head. “If it happens, we’d have to do the parent cheer, no celebrating, just” – with that, he does a modest little clap, barely audible.
Marita chimes in one more time, just to clarify her husband.
“They’re where they want to be” she said, “so it’s not tough. It’s just happiness.”
Self says he’s not sure what Kansas needs to do secure a No. 1 seed before Selection Sunday, but he knows his team can certainly be out of the discussion with a couple of poor performances during the next week.
“To me it’s irrelevant unless you play well from this point forward,” Self said. “If we don’t play well from this point forward, we don’t deserve to be in that conversation.
“I think there are three teams that are locks to be No. 1. I think Wichita State obviously is a lock, I think Arizona is a lock and I think Florida is a lock. You’ve got seven, eight, 10 schools probably fighting for that other No. 1 seed, and you may say there’s not that many. No, there is that many.
"If you win out and go win your league tournament there’s that many. And it may be more than that. We’re one of those teams, I think, but how we finish will determine whether or not we’ve got a shot.”
Bill Self - "Its a statement I would 100% disagree with" on Mark Cuban's idea about one & dones in the D-League
“I admire [Cuban] and think he’s one of the bright guys we have in our profession, but that was the worst thing I heard,” said Brown to Shan & RJ on 105.3 The Fan. “Maybe the Mavericks would take the time to prepare these kids — I’m not talking basketball wise — in all the life issues to prepare them to be in the NBA.”
“The NBA has this development thing — they don’t teach guys how to play. In my mind, the head coaches in the NBA and a lot of the assistants do, but this is the greatest minor league system in the world. If you didn’t even go to one class and just lived in a college environment, you’re way ahead.”
…“Play for Rick Pitino for a year or two, or Tom Izzo or Jon Calipari or Bill Self — I think Cuban would be happy with what they get.”
KUAD: An Ode to Allen Fieldhouse
Loyola guard Milton Doyle on Tuesday was named Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in the Missouri Valley Conference. Doyle leads the Ramblers in scoring (15.1 points per game), assists (105), steals (38) and blocks (20) and is second with a 4.3 rebounding average.
The Ramblers will face Bradley on Thursday night in the first round of the conference tournament in St. Louis.
Vote for Wiggs for the Wooden Award
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
CBS: Q&A with Larry Brown
Billion Dollar Bracket signups begin
• POY: Melvin Ejim, Iowa State -- It's a close call between Ejim and his teammate, DeAndre Kane, but Ejim was the more dominant performer. Besides leading the league in points (18.4), Ejim ranks fourth in rebounds (8.3), second in field goal percentage (52.4) and sixth in free throw percentage (79.0).
• COY: Bill Self, Kansas -- How about coach of the decade? Self's 10 straight league titles, three of which came after he replaced his entire starting lineup, is one of the more remarkable achievements in all of sports.
• FOY: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas -- No, he can't walk on water, but he did get increasingly confident and aggressive as the season went on.
SI Seth Davis
Syracuse falls for the fourth time in five games, likely drops from No. 1 seed consideration.
It's been quite a month for Syracuse. Playing with fire against inferior opponents was one thing, losing to Boston College at home something completely different. Losing at Duke and Virginia one thing, losing at home to Georgia Tech something completely different.
And after Tuesday's 67-62 loss to Georgia Tech, Syracuse has basically lost its argument for a No. 1 seed – and Jerry Palm's bracketology replaced the Orange on the top line with Villanova.
…Baylor likely punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament, while Georgetown beat Creighton and strengthened its resume. Oregon also solidified its status.
We discussed all of these at length in Poppin' Bubbles, but we'll give them each a brief look here too.
Baylor has won six of its last seven, but beating Iowa State, 74-61, probably gave the Bears what they needed to make the dance. Brady Heslip hit five 3-pointers in the second half en route to 18 points, while Cory Jefferson had 21 points and seven rebounds. More importantly, Kenny Chery held his own against Iowa State's backcourt, notching 16 points and six assists. The Cyclones weren't hitting on all cylinders, as Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang combined to shoot 5-for-25 from the field, finishing with 10 points.
The prosecutor leading an investigation into fraud in an academic department at North Carolina says a retired administrator tied to the case won't face charges.
In a news release Tuesday, Orange County district attorney Jim Woodall said Deborah Crowder from the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies department is cooperating with investigators. She also will cooperate with an independent investigation by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth L. Wainstein, announced by the school last month.
The problems in the department included classes with significant athlete enrollments that didn't meet and were treated as independent study work requiring only a research paper, as well as unauthorized grade changes dating to the late 1990s.
Two school investigations blamed Crowder and ex-chairman Julius Nyang'oro. Nyang'oro was charged in December for receiving $12,000 to teach a summer 2011 lecture course filled with football players and instead treating it as an independent study requiring a paper.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Woodall said he didn't expect anyone else to be charged.
"You can never say never, understand that, because of course information can come up that I'm unaware of," Woodall said. "But at this point, I don't anticipate anybody else being charged."
The MIAA announced this week that for the second-straight year fans will be able to watch the MIAA Basketball Tournament online.
The tournament gets underway tonight as four schools will advance from campus site tournament games to tournament games held in Kansas City, you can watch the games at this link. The full bracket can be seen at this link. Teams that have already advanced to KC in the men’s tourney include Central Missouri, Northwest Missouri, Missouri Southern and Fort Hays State. On the women’s side Central Missouri, Emporia State, Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern have advanced.
As this year’s NCAA basketball tournament approaches, fewer and fewer employers report they have rules prohibiting or limiting such workplace wagering.
In fact, most personnel poobahs say they have decided that participating in a sports betting pool is not only OK by policy, it’s good for morale.
NCAA tournament pools take weeks to play out, with bracketology and monitoring the outcome of seemingly round-the-clock games a widespread part of workdays. But human resource leaders said they also build relationships and teamwork, and increase employee engagement. Never mind if productivity suffers a bit.
“The trend is definitely toward looking at these in a positive way,” said Evren Esen, director of survey programs at the Society for Human Resource Management. “They do bring employees together (and) impact relationships with each other. They serve as sort of a bonding, like talking about the TV shows they’re watching.”
In a survey by the human resource group four years ago, one out of three employers said they regulated office betting pools. In a followup survey taken during last year’s NCAA tournament, just one out of five employers had such rules, and they are likely to be even more lenient this year.
Furthermore, more than nine out of 10 of those surveyed said they had never disciplined an employee for gambling policy violations.
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
2013-14 TV Schedule
3/5/14, 6:45 AM
On my way! To Lawrence,KS!
With 7 seconds remaining in his high school career, Cliff Alexander put his jersey over his head and stood on the Curie sideline, unable to watch it end.
When those 7 seconds were over, and the unthinkable happened -- Curie Metropolitan High School had actually lost to middling DuSable, 88-85, in overtime of its first playoff game -- the 6-foot-9 power forward collapsed to the ground.
An unmovable force moved to tears.
Eleven days before his season ended in the 4A regional semifinals at King College Prep High School, Alexander was wearing a medal and holding a trophy, the champion of Chicago with a smile as wide as the Midway Plaisance.
Now, his high school career was over, ending on the bench, having fouled out for the best damn 0-26 team in the city's history.
As DuSable fans rushed the court, the 18-year-old man-child was inconsolable. Alexander's parents ran over, picked him up and walked him off the King College Prep court while a phalanx of TV cameras, interested in the team's eligibility scandal, followed him out the door.
Alexander, a Kansas recruit and the No. 2 big man in the nation and Chicago, ended his prep career with 25 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks, fouling out with 27 seconds left in regulation.
Most of his points came from the free throw line in an ugly, over-refereed game. The Condors did a better job of getting the ball into him in the paint to draw contact, whereas in previous games, Curie's usual top guards -- who were suspended for eligibility issues -- would ignore him for stretches as they hoisted 3-pointers.
Still, when he wasn't getting triple-teamed in the post, Alexander was transcendent in moments, skying for one-handed rebounds, slapping the backboard on block attempts, changing shots with his mere presence and converting a handful of highlight-reel dunks.
Big Cliff was the reason everyone in Chicago was talking about Curie Metropolitan, which is not a traditional city power.
"I thought we were going to win it all," sophomore Devin Gage said. "We were supposed to win it all."
Curie was the top seed in the Marist sectional of the Illinois High School Association 4A basketball playoffs, and the erstwhile No. 2 team in the entire country. But with the Chicago Public Schools ruling seven players academically ineligible for the entire season, the Condors were officially winless.
Alexander's season began with a minor but overplayed controversy when he angered emotional Illinois fans by deking them on his signing day and committing to coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks.
It ended in controversy as an undermanned Curie escaped procedural limbo only to be blasted into reality.
It's a story that would sound bizarre and unfair, but it's so very Chicago.
…While it was clear Curie wasn't going far without its missing starters, it still looked like the Condors would win.
Alexander got fouled on a dunk attempt with under a minute left and Curie up by two, but he missed both free throws and committed two fouls in the next 20-some seconds to foul out.
In overtime, Alexander was so wound up, he jumped off the bench to protest a no-call under the basket. His coaches had to restrain him. Alexander wasn't thinking about Kansas or NBA riches. He just wanted to win this game.
After the game, he told a reporter, "I'm not talking."
Alexander's play did all the talking this season, and next year when he's at Kansas he'll thrill Jayhawk fans with eye-popping athleticism and a ceiling that has yet to be painted.
When he goes to the NBA, he could be a star. He's got the post-dunk roar down pat, anyway.
Perhaps, his coach wondered, this loss could be good for him in the long road.
"I always tell him you got to take the bitter with the sweet," Oliver said. "He's got to understand adversity is going to hit him again and you've got to be stronger next time around. But he's got to be the leader that everyone expects him to be."
All I can say is I left my ALL out there tonight
Next step Kansas
NERR: National Prep Championship Day 1 Recap
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