Kansas University’s basketball team will be headed to Europe in August.
The Jayhawks will play four exhibition games — two against the Swiss National Team on Aug. 7 and 8 just outside of Bern (in Fribourg, Switzerland) and two against a pair of yet-to-be-determined French pro teams on Aug. 11 and 12 in Paris.
“I think it’s a great trip from a basketball standpoint as well as a travel standpoint,” said Larry Keating, KU’s special assistant to the athletic director in charge of scheduling.
“Teams are allowed to practice 10 days (during summer prior to the trip) and you are allowed to take the new (incoming) players with you. So with at least six freshmen coming in, it’s a perfect time for this trip (allowed by NCAA every four years).
“The Swiss National team is supposed to be pretty good. I believe they beat Villanova last year. And we made it clear (to trip organizers) we wanted to play good teams in Paris as well.”
As far as sightseeing ...
“Switzerland is beautiful,” Keating said, “and there’s so much to do in Paris. Five days isn’t even enough to do all there is to do in Paris.”
The Jayhawks will arrive in Switzerland on Aug. 6 and after the two games, take a high-speed train to Paris on Aug. 9. They’ll return to the U.S. from Paris on Aug. 14.
It was spring 2008, and a young coach named Jason Smith took a few minutes to watch film of a mostly unknown basketball player from Washington D.C.
Smith, the coach at Brewster Academy, a prep school in Wolfeboro, N.H., was mostly unmoved. Sure, he saw a kid with a promise, an athletic player with the ability to chase rebounds outside his area. But he also saw limitations.
In the coming months, this teenager would be on his way to spend his final high school season in the structured confines of Brewster. But Smith had already made his evaluation of Thomas Robinson’s future.
“A solid recruit at the Atlantic 10 level,” Smith says now. “That’s what we thought his ceiling could be.”
More than four years later, Robinson is preparing to be a top-five pick in this June’s NBA Draft. He’s a unanimous All-American after a three-year career at Kansas. And his jersey will someday hang in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse. Robinson, a 6-foot-10 forward, will always be known for the remarkable transformation that occurred between his sophomore and junior seasons, a reserve forward becoming one of the two best players in the country in 12 months.
But Smith can tell you that part of Robinson’s first transformation came at Brewster, one of many prep schools that dot New England. In the last five to 10 years, these schools have gained increasing influence in the heartland hoops scene; first and foremost as a fertile recruiting ground, but also as a one-year incubator for local standouts looking to improve their recruiting stock.
…But recently Kansas coach Bill Self has made a habit of targeting prep school kids — soon-to-be sophomore guard Naadir Tharpe spent three years at Brewster. Comb the K-State roster, and you’ll see that center Jordan Henriquez spent a postgrad year at the Winchendon School in Massachusetts, time used to boost his qualifying test scores. Former Missouri guard Kim English spent a post-graduate year at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., the same school that produced K-State star Michael Beasley.
But the influence goes beyond local colleges mining East Coast prep schools for talent. In 2005, future KU guard Brady Morningstar moved from Lawrence to New Hampton. Last year, Lawrence Free State graduate Evan Manning, who’ll walk on at KU this fall, followed the same trail east, a place, coaches will say, where the competition is tougher, the distractions fewer and the ability to improve is greater.
…On a Monday evening in mid-April, Andrew White picked up a phone in Charlottesville, Va. White was on campus at the Miller School, just a few hours away from signing a letter of intent to play basketball at Kansas.
A mature-looking 6-foot-6 guard, White began to talk about the future, this next season at Kansas, and all the opportunities that awaited.
“If I come in and I’m shooting the ball well, picking up on the concepts and doing my job on the defensive end,” White said, “there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to earn some minutes early.”
But first, he had to think about the past. White, who grew up near Richmond, Va., arrived at the Miller School after his junior year of high school. He had potential. But he was raw.
One solution: White could reclassify his grade status and repeat his junior year. Unlike most prep schools in New England, the Miller School doesn’t offer a postgrad year. But some players do elect to reclassify and spend an extra year in high school. According to NCAA rules, players must still graduate from high school and pass their 16 core classes in eight semesters. But White could spend his fifth high school year improving his standardized test scores and putting on pounds in the weight room.
“You can narrow your focus,” says Scott Willard, White’s coach at the Miller School.
This was White’s life at prep school: Wake up a 5:30 a.m.. Go to the gym to shoot and work on individual drills at 6 a.m. Spend the day in class. Practice in the afternoon. Study hall at night.
“Then it’s pretty much time for bed,” said Willard, who also has coached at The Tilton School, a prep school in New Hampshire.
According to Willard, White put on 15 pounds of muscle during his fifth year, cementing his spot as one of the top 50 or 60 players in the country.
“There’s a gym and a weight room,” Willard said, “within 200 yards of where you’re sleeping.”
…Byrnes remembers hearing from KU’s Bill Self as Morningstar searched for the right prep school. This kid could play. But his body needed work.
“I see him starting at Kansas,” Byrnes remembers Self saying, “where everyone else was like, ‘A little scrawny white kid?’ It doesn’t look right.”
At the Miller School, Willard says he fields five calls a day from high school players interested in attending, many from places outside Virginia and surrounding region.
“We turn down 99.9 percent of them,” he says.
Back in 2008, Robinson was one of the kids who was accepted. And now Smith can claim him as another Brewster success story. He just kept improving, Smith says, and soon KU came calling.
Big 12/College News
The Big 12 has reportedly agreed to a new deal with ESPN and Fox, said to be worth a combined $2.6 million over 13 years, or about $200 million annually. It’s a smaller annual value than the ACC’s deal, though when split among the Big 12′s ten teams it is worth $20 million per conference member, a cool $3 million more than each ACC school will take home. The Pac-12′s $2.7 billion TV deal takes effect next season and pays $225 million annually, or about $19 million per team. So why did the ACC agree to less per school, especially after offering ESPN a host of expanded rights?
It’s possible that conference officials felt pressured into signing a new TV deal in order to keep up with the rest of the field, particularly with the SEC on the verge of agreeing to what is sure to be a blockbuster contract renegotiation with CBS. There may also have been pressure from within the ACC, with schools threatening to flee for greener pastures if the conference didn’t lock down a new deal sooner than later. Or perhaps it’s a far simpler answer, like that ACC schools don’t draw the same football viewership as those in the Big 12 and Pac-12.
Whatever the case may be, the ACC is certainly hoping that its new deal is enough. If not, the conference may go the way of the Big East as it helplessly watches its teams go running for the hills.
The restructured contract also gives ESPN the right to find a title sponsor for the ACC's championship events, similar to how Dr. Pepper sponsors the ACC football championship game. The ACC men's basketball tournament has never had a title sponsor, and the league would have final approval before it adopts a sponsor for any event.
Though the ACC's new TV rights deal represents a significant upgrade from the contract that went into effect less than 12 months ago, the ACC is still behind other conferences when it comes to television dollars.
The Big 12's 10 schools will reportedly receive slightly less than $20 million annually from agreements with Fox Sports and ESPN. The Pac-12, meanwhile, last year agreed to contracts with Fox Sports and ESPN that will reportedly pay its member schools $21 million per year.
In the Southeastern Conference, its 12 members have been receiving approximately $17 million in TV revenue from the league. The SEC is expected to restructure its TV contracts with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M.
Overall, however, all of these leagues are now in the same general ballpark (even considering that the ACC has given ESPN its Tier I, II, and III rights). That fact — as well as the timing of yesterday’s announcement — is being taken as a sign by most that those recent, much-hyped rumors of Clemson and Florida State moving to the Big 12 were in fact baseless. We wrote as much last week. It’s unlikely that ESPN would cut and announce new deals with the Big 12 and the ACC within a week’s time if the network thought there was even the remotest chance it would have to tear those deals up and negotiate new ones due to an impending Big 12 raid on the ACC. A raid to take place before the end of summer according to some websites and many Big 12 supporters on messageboards.
We suspect, however, that those who’ve been behind the Clemson/FSU rumors — as well as those who’ve simply been hoping the rumors are true — will stick to their guns and point to the Tier III dollars lost by the ACC as a “sure” sign that the Tigers and Seminoles will jet from their current league. And we’re still won’t buy it.
The ACC has a better academic reputation and more money flowing through its current academic partnerships than the Big 12. Remember, research budgets at most major universities dwarf athletic budgets. Additionally, we still can’t imagine the presidents at Clemson and FSU being able to sell their fans on traveling to places like Manhattan (Kansas), Lubbock, and Ames over places like Coral Gables, Chapel Hill and Atlanta. For that matter, what about the parents of recruits? Think Southern families would want to make longer trips to see their kids play football in a distant conference home? Texas A&M and Missouri are going east instead of west by joining the SEC. Clemson and FSU would be jumping an entire region in their move to go even farther west.
While anything’s possible when it comes to realignment and expansion, we at MrSEC.com think the current cycle has pretty much played itself out. We’ve been saying that for a while now and from the folks we’ve spoken to at multiple SEC institutions, two ACC institutions, and one Big Ten institution… everyone seems to be in agreement. Any remaining moves are likely to be either small or isolated. Example: The Big 12 might decide to run at Louisville and another Big East team to max out at 12 schools and host a football championship game. But with ESPN announcing deals with both the Big 12 and the ACC in the past week, we think that’s less likely as well (for the time being).
MR SEC blog
It will be interesting to see if there are any changes in the ACC's revenue distribution model. One possible change would be the "eat what you kill" system where postseason revenue is split up proportionately based on who earned what payout. Such an unequal system would be a fairly clear signal that the conference's football powers aren't happy with being left behind the other football powers in the region monetarily. It would also be a risk, however, because the unequal distribution system was one of the key causes of discontent in the Big 12 prior to 2010.
In any event, the ACC is now at least 20% behind the other four major conferences in TV money even after negotiating this new deal. That has to be a disappointment for the league no matter how happy a face John Swofford is wearing today.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches' board of directors is meeting in Indianapolis on Thursday, with the issue of transfers and how to handle the requests as a primary agenda item. The board has some notable names, including Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, who was involved in a high-profile case in which the player was initially restricted from transferring to a number of schools; Michigan State’s Tom Izzo; Pitt’s Jamie Dixon; Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim; Notre Dame’s Mike Brey; and NC State’s Mark Gottfried, among others. The NABC doesn’t have legislative power but does serve as a lobbying group to the membership -- and can also influence other coaches on how to handle a transfer situation.
2. The men's NCAA tournament basketball selection committee will also meet Thursday in Indianapolis. The primary agenda item, according to incoming chair Mike Bobinski of Xavier, is to determine the 2013 East Regional site. The finalists are expected to be Syracuse and Brooklyn (Newark, N.J., is still technically in, but it would be a surprise since the regional was there in 2011). Bobinski said it is unusual for the site still to be unknown less than a year before the event. The dismissal of former NCAA vice president Greg Shaheen apparently contributed to the site selection delay; Shaheen’s replacement, Mark Lewis, will be at the meeting. The original plan was for the tourney’s 75th anniversary to have a presence at Madison Square Garden. But the NCAA couldn’t make a commitment before the Garden had to turn in its Knicks and Rangers schedules to the NBA and NHL, respectively. The 2013 Final Four is in Atlanta. The other regional sites are set in Los Angeles (Staples Center), Dallas-Fort Worth (Cowboys Stadium) and Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium)
Two more players are set to transfer from the Texas Tech basketball program.
Guards Terran Petteway and DeShon Minnis had their names added to CBSSports.com's list of nationwide transfers over the weekend, and the Avalanche-Journal has learned that both players are taking visits to other schools this week.
Infiniti capped another winning year of support for NCAA® Division I men's basketball, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), and various coaches' charities with a check presentation ceremony at Infiniti Americas Headquarters – part of more than $1,000,000 donated during the 2011 – 2012 season. The event was emceed by ESPN sports analyst Doug Gottlieb.
Ohio State University men's basketball coach Thad Matta received a $100,000 check for his charity, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, for winning the annual "Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge." Coach Matta, with support from his Ohio State Buckeye fans, bested 47 other NABC NCAA Division I men's basketball coaches in the annual competition. Fan participation determined the ultimate winner by voting online over an eight-week period. The other 47 coaches' designated charities received $5,000 each from Infiniti, for a total donation of $335,000 for the event. Receiving the $100,000 check from Infiniti and Matta was Dee Anders, CEO and executive director, RMHC of Central Ohio.
In addition, Saint Joseph's University men's basketball coach Phil Martelli, Chair of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council, received Infiniti's donation of $700,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the NABC. The total amount, a significant increase from previous years, was a direct result of fan participation in the Infiniti sponsored online "Round by Round" bracket game during the NCAA® Division I Men's Basketball Championship. Joining Martelli for the award were representatives of the American Cancer Society and NABC.
Henry Lyons loves UMKC. He wants that established from the start.
He graduated from the university, has donated to UMKC and the school is listed as a beneficiary in his will.
“But I feel I have to do this,” Lyons said.
“This” is blowing the whistle on what Lyons believes is questionable academic practice involving a student-athlete at UMKC.
Lyons was serving as an adjunct professor when he alleged a failing grade was changed to a passing grade by the university to benefit an athlete.
Lyons wouldn’t identify the student-athlete, nor would the school, citing privacy laws. But Lyons said the person was a member of a “major sports team” at UMKC.
The class, Career and Life Development, was part of the curriculum in the fall semester, 2010. Lyons said the student-athlete failed the course, and that touched off a series of conversations between Lyons and school officials that resulted in an “F” being changed to a passing grade against Lyons’ protest.
“It’s the arrogance of the system,” Lyons said. “This is not a personal agenda. It’s about what’s right.”
Lyons said he has sent a letter to the NCAA detailing his version of the events and asking for an investigation.
UMKC says it welcomes the NCAA scrutiny but that Lyons is off base.
“Mr. Lyons’ charges are completely baseless and absolutely false,” said UMKC chancellor Leo E. Morton in a statement through the university. “We are delighted by the prospect of a thorough investigation of these charges by the NCAA. We hope they will decide to investigate. If they do, we will cooperate to the maximum extent possible, and we will look forward to the public release of their findings.”
NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn couldn’t confirm whether the NCAA has received information from UMKC.
University of Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith is getting a key to the city of St. Louis.
Mayor Francis Slay scheduled a ceremonial presentation Thursday morning to honor Haith's achievement in his first year leading the Tigers.
Missouri finished with the best record in school history and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, but was upset in the first round.
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Only time will tell, but it looks as if recent developments could help Kansas University in its pursuit of former University of South Carolina forward Damontre Harris.
Harris, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound junior-to-be out of Fayetteville, N.C., is expected to choose this week between KU and Florida. However, Florida on Wednesday was deemed by some analysts a favorite now to land Dorian Finney-Smith, a 6-8, 195-pound sophomore-to-be from Portsmouth, Va., who has announced plans to leave Virginia Tech.
Finney-Smith, who was ranked No. 31 nationally in the high school Class of 2011 by rivals.com, averaged 6.3 points and 7.0 rebounds while logging 29.0 minutes a game a year ago for Tech. He reportedly was upset at having to play power forward instead of wing. Harris, another power forward who was ranked No. 64 in the Class of 2010, averaged 6.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 25.9 minutes a game last season at USC.
Finney-Smith has yet to release a list of schools. ESPN’s Dave Telep reported on Twitter that Florida and Marquette figure to be factors, with KU, VCU and Villanova possibly getting involved.
Both players will have to sit out next season in accordance with NCAA rules.
Finney-Smith, one of the most highly touted recruits to ever sign with the Hokies, picked Tech over Florida and Old Dominion in the fall of his senior year of high school.
John Richardson, the assistant who helped Greenberg woo Finney-Smith to Tech, left last month to rejoin the ODU staff. But Finney-Smith's mother said her son does not want to transfer to ODU.
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