He rises up, winds up, throws down a monster dunk, and in a blink 16,300 spectators also rise up and roar approval. All of them wish they could do the same. Ben McLemore smiles and sprints so smoothly to the other end of the court.
What must it be like to be McLemore, Kansas University basketball star, floating sky-walker, owner of a million-dollar smile and a jump shot to match?
For a little insight, listen to his response when asked to name the happiest day of his life.
“The happiest day of my life is every day just being here,” McLemore said during a one-on-one interview Wednesday. “Waking up every morning and being able to see my family, my teammates, my coaches and being able to play basketball, the game I love.”
But before thinking he has it all, that his life can’t get any better and his heart never aches, consider his answer when asked to identify the saddest day of his life.
“The saddest day of my life is every day, not being able to see my big brother,” McLemore said. “Him not being able to see my first game. Him not seeing me play anymore. That’s pretty sad. I can’t bring him here by wishing to God he was here. That definitely is the saddest thing in my life.”
When Johnson stepped foot on campus in the fall of 2009, he was part of a small but heralded recruiting class, alongside future NBA lottery picks Xavier Henry and Thomas Robinson.
Henry made an instant impact and Johnson waited for their chance.
Sophomore year came and went without Johnson having much impact.
But he didn’t get discouraged.
“Five stars or not, I didn’t want to play college for one year, I didn’t want to play college for two years. I wanted to learn the game. I came to the right place,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the opportunity to learn how to play the game the right way under Self was one of the reasons he chose to come to Kansas.
“He was one who always desired to be challenged in practice, always taking new opportunities to learn something different, learn something more, create situations where he’d be challenged and make himself better,” Fair said.
…“I didn’t really realize it until they left, but the (Morris) twins talked to me a lot,” Johnson said. “They just said the little stuff. But they talked to me differently than I have to talk to this group of people, because we were kind of from the same type of area.”
With some of the younger guys, Johnson has to convey his message in a different manner, changing the tone and the words to motivate, to inspire, to get them to buy into ‘the process.’
…“I’ve never felt pressure. This is fun, this is what we do,” Johnson said. “The cameras and the media and the fans, they’re supposed to give you pressure, but it doesn’t give me pressure, it just psyches me up.”
Fans of the nationally-ranked Kansas men's and women's basketball teams will have the opportunity to cheer on the Jayhawks, while also supporting Toys for Tots during a pair of selected dates in December.
There will be a Toys for Tots collection at the men's basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 15, against Belmont. The collection bins will still be in place on Sunday, Dec. 16, but this time fans who donate a new unwrapped toy at the women's basketball game will receive free admittance to the game against Prairie View A&M.
The United States Marine Corps will be on hand to collect toys at each Allen Fieldhouse entrance on December 15 and 16.
Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers could miss up to five games after injuring his left ring finger in Tuesday’s loss to the Washington Wizards.
Chalmers tore a tendon and will be out at least seven to 10 days, according to a source. The injury occurred in the first half of the Heat’s 105-101 loss.
Chalmers was taken to the locker room, returning for the second half with his finger in a splint.
“I caught a pass,” Chalmers said after the game. “Somehow my finger got caught in the ball.”
KU WBB vs Arkansas pregame notes
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
A Utah State basketball player who collapsed at practice and had to be revived after he stopped breathing was in critical condition Wednesday at a Salt Lake City area hospital.
Intermountain Medical Center spokesman Jess Gomez said Danny Berger is in critical condition at the hospital in Murray.
"As of right now, things are looking good. He's waking up and responding the way the doctors want him to," said John Berger, Danny's older brother.
A game scheduled for Wednesday night between Utah State and Brigham Young in Provo has been postponed because of Berger's condition, school officials said.
Florida has been impressive on defense this season, but nothing like during the first half on Wednesday night.
Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton had 14 points, and Patric Young had 10 points and eight rebounds as No. 6 Florida overwhelmed cold-shooting Florida State 72-47 before 10,593 fans at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.
Florida (7-0) had been impressive in holding opponents to just 48.5 points this season. The Gators held FSU to just 34 percent shooting and nine points below the Seminoles’ season low.
…“I thought the zone was effective for us in both halves,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “And our press was effective for us. Them not shooting a high percentage – at least in the first half – what it enabled us to do was get out on the break. … The steals enabled us to get to the free-throw line. And we stole some baskets, so to speak.”
…FSU’s star guard, Michael Snaer, didn’t score until a layup with 12:33 left in the game. He finished with 10 points and five rebounds, and Okaro White added nine points and six rebounds.
The Seminoles finished with a season-high 22 turnovers and had just seven assists. FSU has now lost three straight, all at home.
Palm Beach Post
I counted twelve Division 1 teams that failed to reach 50 points in games played yesterday, and one of them won. Yikes.
Beneath the foggy mirror in a makeshift locker room no bigger than a storage closet sit 11 women, their wide eyes affixed to an overdressed basketball coach who is delivering a pregame speech that is equal parts inspiration and four-letter words.
The scene plays out at colleges across the country each night, but on this rainy evening inside a dimly lit Bay Area junior college gymnasium, it serves as prelude to a debut unlike any other in the sport's history.
When the focus of the 12-minute pep talk pivots to this topic, the eyes of 10 18- to 20-year-old women – including one deaf player and another woman a few inches shy of 5-feet – focus on the one Mission College player who has yet to play this season. There near the door sits the oldest (50 years old), tallest (6-feet-6, 230 pounds) and most muscular person in the room: Gabrielle Ludwig.
"Come out and be Gabrielle the player," head coach Corey Cafferata tells her. "You worked hard to get here. This damn team in here, everyone has your back!"
Ludwig nervously runs her hand over the sock approaching the tattoo on her leg. She has long been eager yet apprehensive about this moment. Can she still play? What will she hear from adults in the stands? What will her opponents on the court whisper? And can she keep her emotions in check? Glancing up from the dirty rug, she says she is calm. She didn't know if this day could ever arrive: Tonight, before spectators who will cheer and curse her, she hits the reset button on her life.
"Your name will be called," Cafferata assures her about playing time. "Your name will be called."
Few outside this room know it all comes back to that name. They don't know she is 50 and last played a college basketball game in 1980 – as a man. They don't know the odyssey: one failed suicide attempt, two failed marriages; one 19-year-old daughter who insists on calling her dad, two girls who insist on calling her Momma Gabbi.
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Big 12 Composite Schedule
The women of Florida State did everything they could Wednesday night to sell top recruit Andrew Wiggins on the school during his official visit.
…A group of older women waved signs urging Wiggins to sign with the 'Noles. Florida State's cheerleaders even brandished a pair of clever signs taking jabs at Kentucky, one of which read "Seminoles hunt Wildcats" and the other of which read "FSU has hotter girls."
A senior attending a prep school in Huntington, W.Va., Wiggins appears to have narrowed his college choices to Kentucky and FSU. He took an official visit to Tallahassee with his parents for Wednesday’s game, and a few times was serenaded to chants of “We want Wiggins.”
While FSU was not allowed to name Andrew Wiggins, his parents, both former FSU student-athletes, were honored at halftime with a video tribute and received a standing ovation. Marita-Payne Wiggins was a sprinter who won a silver medal as part of Canada’s 4x400 relay in the 1984 Olympics, and Mitchell Wiggins was a guard who was a first-round draft pick by the Indiana Pacers in 1983 and had a 20-year pro career in the U.S. and overseas.
Palm Beach Post
What about with Kansas?
Kansas — they stay talking to me and everything. Again, that school is just historic. A lot of history in basketball.
Seems like a lot of people think it’s Kentucky, Florida State and then the rest. What’s your take on that?
That’s people’s opinion. People just want to get their two cents in. But I don’t really pay a lot of attention to it.
Are your parents drawn to the idea of you playing at (Florida State)?
They don’t care where I go. They just tell me to go where I’m happy. Go where it ‘d be a good school for me. No one else.
…Is the recruiting process wearing on Andrew?
I don’t know that it’s wearing on him, because he doesn’t communicate, really. He’ll text occasionally back with those guys. And I don’t even know that he even takes phone calls. He’s good about kind of taking what he wants and eliminating the rest. I don’t know that it’s weighing on him. The whole reclassification thing weighed on him more than recruiting. And recruiting is definitely going to pick up, as far as weight, when it comes decision time. And with him taking an official visit now, I think it becomes a little bit more … other schools getting antsy because he’s taking one. But that’s the one his parents have set up, and he’ll go from there.
So that will be an official to Florida State?
Yeah, it’s an official.
How do you see him making that decision? He’s not going to be one of those TV guys, is he?
I know he doesn’t want to do that, right now. He may change that. The one thing for Andrew is he doesn’t like the limelight. He doesn’t like the attention. And we’re not going to push him to do that. He’s going to get enough TV time in his career that he doesn’t need to do a press conference on where he’s going to school if he doesn’t want to.
Have you already had ESPN and place like that ask you about trying to set something like that up?
Yeah. We just don’t know when it’s going to be. I don’t think Andrew will be the guy who holds off. I think, when he knows, everybody will know. … Andrew will make the decision. The parents just have to sign off.
Lexington HJ Q&A with Andrew Wiggins and his coach
My 2012 KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube