Few players in recent history built and lived up to the hype the way Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) wing Andrew Wiggins did.
For a solid two years, Wiggins has had to live in the proverbial glasshouse as the player every expert, analyst, reporter and fan dubbed the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
Wiggins’ senior year – in which he averaged 23.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists, posted a 30-3 record and a No. 7 ranking in the USA TODAY Sports Super 25– was a circus.
Sold out games every week. Hundreds of fans lingering after the final horn for the chance at a picture or autograph. Mind-boggling dunks. NBA threes. Devastating posters he handed out on a regular basis.
It all culminated in Wiggins winning the 2012-13 Gatorade National Basketball Player of the Year award.
Now off the grid at Kansas as he prepares for his highly anticipated freshman season, we asked Wiggins’ coach Rob Fulford to reflect on Wiggins’ final high school season; everything from the greatest moments to the weirdest interactions with overzealous fans.
Kansas graduated its three starting perimeter players -- including Ben McLemore, the No. 7 pick in the NBA draft -- but I expect the Jayhawks to have one of college basketball's most talented perimeter games. The lone returning perimeter player, Naadir Tharpe, will be joined by two of the most physically talented and skilled freshmen in the country in Andrew Wiggins (No. 1 in ESPN's Top 100 rankings) and Wayne Selden (No. 14).
Best Perimeter Teams
Tharpe improved his decision-making at the end of the season and is a solid on-ball defender. Wiggins, a world-class athlete, is explosive off the bounce, unselfish and has the potential to be one of the best defenders in the country. Selden is a 6-5, 220-pound attacking guard. He is physically strong, plays through contact at the rim, has a great feel for the game and is a willing and accomplished passer.
They will be joined by ESPN top-50 guards Brannen Greene, Conner Frankamp and underrated point guard Frank Mason. Green has a scorer's mentality while Frankamp is a big-time shooter with unlimited range. Mason is physically strong, quick with the ball and is a terrific on-ball defender at the point of attack. Although it is inexperienced, I feel the Jayhawks' perimeter game is as good as any in the country.
ESPN Insider ($)
KU’s players have practiced two hours a week with the Jayhawk coaches during June and July in accordance with NCAA rules.
Self was asked if Wiggins, 6-7 from Toronto and the No. 1-rated prospect in the recruiting Class of 2013, has been “dominating the scrimmages.”
“I don’t know about the scrimmages,” Self said of daily pick-up games which coaches cannot attend. “The limited practice time we’ve had ... I think all our guys are working hard. They are all getting better. They are all learning. He is one of those guys getting better, learning, getting in shape. I think all of our freshmen (Wiggins plus Joel Embiid, Brannen Greene, Conner Frankamp, Frank Mason and Wayne Selden) have had days they have been as impressive as anybody in the gym. I don’t want to say he’s dominating. That’d be an absolute lie,” Self added.
The good news is the freshmen appear to be as talented as advertised. Self said, “Yes, he can. He’s good,” when asked if Georgia off-guard Greene could shoot from deep. He stated, ‘Yes. Unreal,’” when asked if Wichita combo guard Frankamp could shoot the trey with accuracy. He added, “Yes. He can do a lot of things,” when asked if Cameroon center Embiid had good hands. He added that when he “gets it,” Embiid could be quite a prospect. He’s only played organized basketball the past two years.
“The whole thing is ... are they great? No,” Self said of the newcomers. “They’ve all had days they were as good as anybody in the gym, all of them. Wiggins is talented, though. That is one talented cat.”
Self was asked which of the young guys have stood out the most.
“We’re all young,” he said of his team. “To me, I’d say Perry (Ellis, sophomore forward) and Jamari (Traylor, soph forward) have been as good as anybody. I think our young guys have all been about the same, to be honest with you. I think they’ve all shown flashes of really being impactful.”
Sophomore Andrew White III has recovered from a knee sprain that slowed him in early June. “Andrew is back 100 percent and looking good,” Self said.
He’s 6-foot-8, 210 pounds and can do almost anything he wants on a basketball court. A twisting turn-around jumper is gold. His quickness, speed, ability to shut down an opposing player is phenomenal. He’s so good at 18 that NBA teams—including the 76ers—are trying to align themselves for the 2014 NBA Draft so they can get him.
Andrew Wiggins is that much of a franchise-changing player. The problem is, Wiggins will be a freshman at Kansas and the Sixers will have to lose wholesale to land him.
Wiggins is often favorably compared to LeBron James, which not exactly accurate. He’s not as physically developed as James was at the same age, though skill wise, he’s close. He has greater range on his jump shot than James did as a high school senior, and being the son of former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and Canadian Olympic track star Marita Payne, Wiggins is faster. His athleticism is off the charts.
“I think Andrew is very good, but there is way too much hype about him. He has freakish athleticism; he’s an excellent defender,” said Alex Kline, a highly respected national high school basketball guru who runs The Recruit Scoop on Rivals.com.
“I think he’s an underrated defender. He already has NBA-ready skills. People question his heart in games that don’t matter as much. Don’t get me wrong, he has a great motor when he wants to. He’s pretty amazing skill wise. I think he’s going to be very good in college, but people are setting the bar way too high for him, if they’re comparing him to LeBron. He should have a long term NBA career, pending injury. But the bar is set way too high if you’re comparing him to LeBron.
“He does have greater range on his shot than LeBron did at the same age. We still haven’t seen Wiggins in that setting where he has to take the big shot to win a game. I’m sure we’ll see that in 40 college games. I do think what the Sixers are doing is smart. I think Wiggins is worth the risk to do what the Sixers are doing. He has the potential to be a superstar in the NBA. The Sixers have the pieces to be a pretty good team with Wiggins. It’s high-risk, high-reward.”
The Sixers are stuck in a tough spot though. They’re essentially saying they’re bagging the 2013-14 season, saddling first-round draft picks Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams with coping how to lose. The two probably never lost more than 15 games in a season. They will this coming year.
But who knows.
The Sixers, to their credit, took a great risk in getting Andrew Bynum. And even though we all know how that turned out, maybe the risk in losing 2013 can finally reap a major bonus this time around in securing the first pick and getting Wiggins.
The interesting thing about this coming NBA season is that Sixers fans may be paying far more attention to the Kansas Jayhawks than they will be filling the Wells Fargo Center.
“This program (Ohio) is big in one sense, but small in being able to focus on that individual person. I just feel more comfortable with the coaches here and the coaches know a little bit more about me than they did when I was at Kansas. That’s the big difference,” Adams said.
“I know I’m going to get better here, that and the fact that I had a group of men who really wanted to make me better as a person.”
At Kansas, Adams gained notoriety for his demonstrations on the bench during games — and for his complaints about playing time on social media. He understands some might think he won’t be able to handle sitting out a year.
Adams said the only way to show he’s matured is to simply work harder and get better.
“At the end of the day, there’s really not much more to say. It’s kind of show, then tell,” he said. “I’m definitely working and working harder than before. I can handle it.
“That’s all that has to be said.”
Adams, who has family on his mother’s side in Youngstown, also promised to continue to bring energy on the bench in Ohio’s home games. The player who once acted like he was eating a bowl of cereal during a game said he has no new celebrations planned, yet.
“Of course not. I don’t rehearse,” he said. “I think people took it as me trying to be funny as opposed to me really cheering on the bench. I was just trying to do something to help us win.”
James Shields hefted a youngster who couldn't have been more than a couple years old onto the right shoulder that has made him so much money during his major league career.
They both wore smiles on their faces.
For the ace of the Kansas City Royals, it was a moment of levity during the stress that comes with a 162-game grind — a chance to pose for pictures, sign a few autographs and raise awareness for the role that foster programs play in the lives of America's youth.
For the kid on his shoulder? It was a chance to simply be a kid.
Shields, who has long supported foster care organizations, was joined by Kansas basketball coach Bill Self on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium to record a public service announcement to raise awareness for such programs before the Royals' scheduled game against the Cleveland Indians.
"The main thing is hopefully we can find some good families for these kids, and create some good memories for them," Shields said. "I mean, a lot of the memories they have aren't very good, so if we can create some good ones, that's all that really matters to us."
VIDEO: Sac Kings All-Access with Ben McLemore
The Brooklyn Nets’ signing of point guard Shaun Livingston, agreed to on Saturday, could mean limited minutes for second-year pro Tyshawn Taylor again during the 2013-14 NBA season.
That’s not a certainty, however.
Former Kansas University standout Taylor, a second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, enters today’s Orlando Summer League opener against Detroit with a chance to impress new Nets head coach Jason Kidd. He figures to choose either Taylor or Livingston as backup to All-Star Deron Williams. Last year’s backup lead guard, C.J. Watson, is signing with Indiana.
“This is Tyshawn’s chance to show us as a coaching staff that he wants to be the backup. He has every opportunity for that spot, and I’m going to do everything to push him so he can get it,” Kidd told the New York Post before the acquisition of Livingston.
Robertson, who played at Kansas from 1995-99, was part of some extra spice after choosing KU over MU.
When his father, Johnny, approached Stewart at a banquet to thank him for recruiting Ryan, Stewart told him off and evidently suggested Johnny Robertson go home and put on his “blue coat.”
And the rivalry at times was rough on Robertson, who was called “traitor” and plenty worse in games at MU and might be forgiven for mugging and exulting after he scored 17 points and hauled in nine rebounds to finally win in Columbia his senior year.
After the game, he looked up in the stands and saw a banner with his phone number and a suggestion to call it for a good time.
“Call it if you want,” he said then. “Call it to the wee hours of the morning. I’ll be up.”
However conflicted Robertson might be in general over the KU-MU thing, he is clear on some elements of it.
He has “zero hate” for Missouri, and he never had a reconciliation with Stewart … but would like to.
“If I walked into a restaurant and saw him, I would love, and I do mean love, to sit and chat with him,” Robertson said. “I don’t know if he would care to, but still, with all that happened, he was a great recruiter, a great coach and, man, I’ve wished him nothing but the best.
“They made it really difficult on me (to) the very last second (in recruiting), and I get the reasons why he got very upset and disappointed. But like I said, I would love to see him in a restaurant and buy him a beer. I have tremendous respect for him.”
KC Star (I'm thinking Vahe Gregorian really, really, really, really wants KU to play MU, or he is going to be out of story ideas very soon. Sheesh.)
After a few weeks on campus, Dylan Gonzalez already has been stopped by strangers at Allen Fieldhouse who have called her by her first name.
Others have said how big of fans they are of her and her twin sister Dakota — and neither has played a minute for Kansas University’s women’s basketball team.
Though No. 1 men’s basketball recruit Andrew Wiggins has received most of the headlines this summer, it’s possible that a pair of outgoing twins from Pocatello, Idaho, could end up bringing nearly as much publicity to KU.
The 6-foot Gonzalez sisters — thanks to social media — have stepped onto KU’s campus as mini-celebrities.
Need proof? The Big Lead sports blog declared in April the twins might be “the next big thing in college basketball” and later posted a story in May with the rumor that one of the twins was dating former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis (“We’re just really good friends,” Dakota said). The two also regularly interact over social media with rappers Romeo Miller (Lil’ Romeo), Trey Songz and Waka Flocka Flame and have been compared to former Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins.
Dylan and Dakota — they both model as well — have more than 200,000 followers on the photo social media site Instagram (Dylan is just 25,000 behind first lady Michelle Obama), while their combined Twitter account has more than 20,000 followers (for comparison, KU men’s basketball freshman Wayne Selden has 15,000).
After a few weeks on campus, KU coach Bonnie Henrickson says the twins already are at a level of recognizability that it took All-Big 12 point guard Angel Goodrich five years to reach.
“I’ve always said it since I got into this profession: We’re in the entertainment business,” Henrickson said. “If that’s part of it, I think that can only help us.”
Her passport is stained with pages and pages of ink, a little blue book that serves as an unofficial diary for her basketball life.
Slovakia. Stamp. Italy. Stamp. Israel. Stamp.…
Danielle McCray always dreamed of playing professional basketball, even back when she was a standout athlete at Olathe East High in the mid 2000s. In the winter, she was an all-state wing and McDonald’s All-American nominee. In the spring, she would hit the track and win state titles in the shot-put and triple-jump during her junior and senior seasons.
But even then, before a four-year basketball career at Kansas, McCray often wondered what it would be like to play basketball at the highest level, against the best women’s players in the world.
“It's always something I dreamed about,” McCray said.
Of course, maybe she didn’t envision it like this.
In her three years since leaving Kansas, McCray has played professionally on teams in Israel, Italy and Slovakia, in addition to playing two seasons for the Connecticut Sun in the WNBA. The money in the WNBA is decent — especially for a half-a-year gig — but it won’t set up any player for the future.
And that’s what sends players like McCray overseas, where the salaries can sometimes double what they’re making stateside. Consider: Last year, during the 2012 season, the maximum WNBA salary was $105,000 and many players made as little as 36,750, the league minimum. Meanwhile, in Europe or places like China, prominent American players can command more than six-figure salaries — and the best players, like former UConn star Diana Taurasi, can push their European salaries toward $1 million.
“You enjoy it for the money,” McCray says of playing overseas, “and for the talent that you face. Because in a league, most of the time you're playing the same people all the time.”
The European seasons, which run opposite the WNBA’s summer schedule, can also add valuable life experiences. And McCray’s teams have traveled to play in places such as Russia, Turkey and France during her three seasons.
Big 12/College News
Big 12 fans will love this. Marcus Smart just called for a technical foul (his 5th overall) for flopping. Huge call. 67-58 USA 140 left
Smart fouls out on a T for flopping. Big 12 coaches not surprised but thought he sold it. 8-point lead with 1:30
With the season four months away, the Oklahoma State basketball roster has taken shape.
Swingman Jéan-Paul Olukemi and backup point guard Kirby Gardner are no longer on the team, coach Travis Ford said Tuesday.
Olukemi is done at OSU after being denied an NCAA waiver for a sixth year of eligibility. Two ACL tears sidelined him for the Big 12 portion of the 2011-12 season and for all but two games last season.
“People can disagree with me, that’s OK,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione told SoonerScoop.com, Rivals.com’s Oklahoma website. “I don’t think there’s any secret how our president, Dave Boren, and I felt about the University of Louisville.
“We were very supportive and even somewhat proactive at trying to build a case or a perspective for them as a member of the Big 12.”
Louisville and West Virginia were rather bitterly engaged in a push to gain Big 12 admittance as a way of escaping what was coming a bigger mess in the Big East. The Big East as it was no longer exists—and both programs landed well.
Still, Castiglione looks back on the decision and wonders whether adding Louisville, either instead of or in addition to West Virginia, was a move the Big 12 should have made.
ESPN: Winners & Losers in the new landscape of CBB
ESPN: Realignment not as bad as we think
University of Nebraska head coach Tim Miles announced on Tuesday the hiring of Teddy Owens as administrative coordinator for the Husker basketball program. In his role, Owens will assist in daily operations, on-campus recruiting and other assigned duties, including student-athlete outreach on campus.
For Miles, Owens' combination of experience and basketball acumen made him an ideal fit for the Husker staff.
…He is the son of former Kansas basketball coach Ted Owens, who went 348-182 in 19 seasons at Kansas from 1965 to 1983. The elder Owens won six Big Eight titles and reached the Final Four with the Jayhawks in 1971 and 1974.
North Carolina's leading scorer last basketball season, P.J. Hairston, was cited for speeding May 13 while driving a Hertz rental car that was paid for by a woman who shares a Durham address with Haydn Thomas, a convicted felon whose rented sports utility vehicle Hairston was driving when he was arrested last month.
Hairston was cited for speeding while driving a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS with Virginia license plates, a Durham County District Court clerk said. The Camaro was paid for by a woman named Catinia Farrington, whose Durham address matches that of Thomas, according to the Hertz receipt obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
The license plates on the Camaro that Hairston was driving match the ones on the rental receipt for Farrington, as does the make and model of the vehicle. And the address Farrington lists on the rental receipt matches the address Thomas lists on his voter registration.
Thomas told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday that he did not know Hairston, who was arrested June 5 on possession of marijuana charges while driving a 2013 GMC Yukon that Thomas rented. Thomas said that he rented the Yukon for himself and that a friend, Miykael Faulcon of Durham, had borrowed the car to go to a store when the arrest occurred. Thomas said in a telephone interview that Hairston followed him on Twitter only because "I promote parties."
Thomas said Wednesday that neither the NCAA nor officials from North Carolina had reached out to him to talk with him about his relationship with Hairston. He added that he is not a University of North Carolina athletic booster nor is he connected to a sports agent.
Farrington rented the Camaro from April 25 through June 17, a period of 54 days, according to the rental receipt. Farrington was billed $3,249.00. Thomas rented the same vehicle March 25 through April 15, incurring charges of $2468.47, according to a rental receipt obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
Tuesday, Williams told WTVD-TV of Raleigh the university was “not rushing to judgment,” which is why there has been no announcement from the school on Hairston’s future with the team.
"For 2 months I've been saying I'll make a statement when the facts are in. The facts aren't in,” Williams said. “Our procedure, our stance is we're not making any statement until everything is done.”
Four rental vehicles that are linked to Haydn Thomas, the convicted felon who rented the sport utility vehicle that North Carolina leading scorer P.J. Hairston was driving when he was arrested last month, have received a total of nine parking citations on the university's campus since February.
Between Feb. 22 and May 28, the nine citations were issued for four rental vehicles that either Thomas or a Catinia Farrington, a woman who shares his Durham, N.C., address, rented from the Hertz location at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Rental receipts obtained by USA TODAY Sports that were crossed referenced by license plate with UNC parking tickets show:
• A 2013 GMC Yukon rented by Thomas from Feb. 14 to March 3 received tickets for an expired meter on Feb. 21 and lack of a valid parking permit on Feb. 22.
• A 2012 Camaro SS rented by Thomas from March 25 to April 15 received a ticket on April 15 for lack of a valid permit.
• A 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe rented by Thomas from April 18 to May 2 received a ticket on May 1 for lack of a valid permit.
• The Camaro was rented again from April 25 to June 17 by Farrington. The Camaro received a parking ticket on May 28 for lack of a valid permit.
• A 2013 Mercedes Benz 350 rented by Thomas from May 8 to May 30 received four parking tickets, one each for an expired meter on May 22 and 23 and one each for lacking a valid permit on May 23 and May 28.
Unpaid fines for the tickets total $315. USA TODAY Sports contacted UNC's department of public safety seeking more information about the citations on Tuesday and was referred to the university's general counsel's office.
Former Tennessee assistant Steve Forbes told CBSSports.com on Monday that he has reached an agreement to join Gregg Marshall's staff at Wichita State. This development means Forbes is the first person from Bruce Pearl's staff at Tennessee to re-enter the NCAA.
Forbes is one of three former Tennessee assistants who was, along with Pearl, fired in March 2011 during an NCAA investigation rooted in a now infamous cookout Pearl held at his home in violation of NCAA bylaws.
Pearl was photographed at the cookout with Aaron Craft, a current star at Ohio State who was at the time a junior in high school and not allowed, according to NCAA bylaws, to be with Pearl anywhere off of the Tennessee campus. When presented with the photograph and asked about its origin by an NCAA investigator, Forbes and fellow assistants Jason Shay and Tony Jones essentially tried to cover for Pearl. They were caught off-guard and admittedly evasive. Consequently, each was given a one-year show-cause penalty that expired last August. Pearl was cited for unethical conduct and given a three-year show-cause penalty that will expire in August 2014. He's now an analyst for ESPN.
"I'm indebted to coach Marshall and the WSU administration for believing in me," said Forbes, who was, before Tennessee, an assistant at Illinois State, Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M.
When Ian McCaw took over as Baylor’s athletic director during the tragic summer of 2003, he knew a monumental task stood in front of him.
Baylor’s image had taken a beating when Carlton Dotson was arrested for the murder of former teammate Patrick Dennehy amid a scandal in which the men’s basketball program was banned from postseason competition.
The Baylor football program was at its lowest point in more than three decades after just one Big 12 win in the previous four seasons. Though some sports were thriving, like women’s basketball, tennis and baseball, the failure of high visibility sports like football and men’s basketball tarnished the reputation of Baylor’s athletic program.
Ten years later, a completely different picture has emerged.
Baylor has evolved into an all-around force on the national scene. Art Briles’ football team has reached a school-record three straight bowl games while Scott Drew’s men’s basketball program is experiencing its most productive era in 60 years with Elite Eight appearances in 2010 and 2012 and this year’s NIT championship.
Kim Mulkey’s women’s basketball team bagged national titles in 2005 and 2012 while Matt Knoll’s men’s tennis team nailed down Baylor’s first team national championship in 2004 and continues to soar. Across the board Baylor’s sports are experiencing success, with 10 straight top 50 finishes in the annual Sports Directors’ Cup standings.
“If you look at over the last decade some of the greatest moments in the history of Baylor athletics have taken place,” McCaw said. “Some of the programs that have not historically had success at Baylor have really emerged. I give great credit to our coaches and student athletes. We’re at a point right now looking at the future where every one of our programs are positioned to have success.”
The NBA no longer embraces the celebrity coaching saviors, the shameless self-promoters, the Armani-wearing, power-thirsty egos that college basketball churned out to sucker owners. Rick Pitino and John Calipari made millions of dollars on NBA hustles, transforming the illusions of emperorships into self-destructive spirals of hubris and humiliation.
Brad Stevens will not come into the Boston Celtics demanding to strip an elderly Red Auerbach of a ceremonial presidential title the way Pitino did. Stevens will never use low-level staffers to disguise themselves as Nets fans calling support for the coach into drive-time talk-radio shows the way Calipari did.
Out of Butler University, out of a Norman Rockwell painting and Norman Dale's gymnasium, Stevens comes to the NBA understanding that the saviors and superstars don't wear wingtips, but Nikes. As NBA owners become more involved in the day-to-day basketball operations, as general managers become far more insistent on controlling personnel and systems, the NBA coach is becoming far less autonomous, far less the franchise's central figure.
Getting rid of Steve Alford at UCLA will prove to be extremely costly, should anyone want to do so before his contract is over.
The Los Angeles Times reports Alford's buyout in his seven-year deal is $10.4 million through 2016; that is four times as much as Alford is set to make per season with the Bruins. Buyouts have become a contemporary norm in college coaching contracts, but this hefty fee baked into Alford's agreement means he's almost definitely padlocked to UCLA for the foreseeable future.
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
The newly revamped 12-day July college basketball recruiting period opens on Thursday.
Tournaments such as the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando, Fla., as well as adidas Super 64, Fab 48 and Las Vegas Classic in Glitter City, will keep Kansas University head coach Bill Self and assistants Jerrance Howard, Norm Roberts and Kurtis Townsend busy from Thursday to Sunday of the next three weeks.
“Obviously it’s going to be an intense three weeks,” KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday. “The rules have changed. You are not out that long (compared to 20 days in past Julys). It probably amps up the intensity during the period of time you are out. We have our core group of guys we are following and chasing. We need to have a good July and hopefully go into the school year with the best guys all thinking, ‘Kansas,’” Self added.
Self can’t, and won’t, comment on individual prospects in accordance with NCAA rules. However, it’s been widely reported that 10 of the top 20 high school seniors in the country, as rated by Rivals.com, are considering KU.
They are: No. 1 Jahlil Okafor, 6-10, Chicago Whitney Young; No. 2 Tyus Jones, 6-1, Apple Valley (Minn.) High; No. 3 Emmanuel Mudiay, 6-5, Prime Prep Academy, Arlington, Texas; No. 4 Cliff Alexander, 6-8, Chicago Curie; No. 6 Myles Turner, 6-11, Trinity High, Euless, Texas; No. 7 Rashad Vaughn, 6-5, Findlay Prep, Las Vegas; No. 8 Stanley Johnson, 6-6 Mater Dei, Santa Ana, Calif.; No. 14 Malik Pope, 6-8, Laguna Creek High, Elk Grove, Calif.; No. 16 Justise Winslow, 6-5, Houston St. John’s; and No. 19 Kelly Oubre, 6-5, Bush High, Richmond, Texas.
Rivals.com reports that Alexander, Johnson, Turner and Oubre are all planning on attending the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog.
“Everything,” Self said, asked what the Jayhawks are looking for on the recruiting trail. “We are recruiting everything because we don’t know who will stay and who won’t stay, how long guys will stay.
“Obviously we are going out with an open mind knowing we have to not think the worst (regarding early entries to 2014 NBA Draft), but prepare that we’ll have more than one scholarship which obviously is how many we have on paper with Tarik (Black, senior) being our only scholarship.”
Stanley Johnson will take five official visits. #Kentucky #Arizona #Florida #Oregon #Kansas
'14 Team Superstar (CA) Malik Pope is down to 9: Arizona, USC, UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Kansas, Gonzaga, Washington & SDSU per @UofAPointGuardU
KU and Kentucky are among the schools in the running for blue-chip prospects Stanley Johnson and Emmanuel Mudiay. Johnson, a 6-6 senior small forward from Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif., who is ranked No. 8 nationally by Rivals.com, tells Zagsblog.com he will attend UK’s Big Blue Madness on Oct. 18, Arizona Oct. 12 and Florida on Oct. 30. He is also considering KU, Oregon, Duke, USC and UCLA. Mudiay, a 6-5 senior point guard from Prime Prep Academy in Dallas, who is ranked No. 3, will visit Kentucky, likely for Big Blue Madness. He is also considering KU, Arizona, Baylor, N.C. State, SMU and others.
McClure to Late Night: King McClure, a 6-3 junior shooting guard from Dallas’ Triple A Academy who is ranked No. 16 in the Class of 2015 by Rivals.com, will make an unofficial visit to KU for the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog, Rivals.com reports. Also on his list: Arkansas, Baylor, Duke, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Indiana, Florida and others.
Two of the top seven high school basketball seniors in the country, who both are considering Kansas University, excelled at the LeBron James Skills Academy, which concluded Monday in Las Vegas.
Cliff Alexander, a 6-foot-8, 240-pounder from Chicago Curie, who is rated No. 4 nationally by Rivals.com, emerged as the dominant big man at camp, while No. 7 Rashad Vaughn, a 6-5 shooting guard from Cooper High in New Hope, Minn., played so well “he’s asserting himself as the top shooting guard in the class of 2014,” Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi says.
Congrats to my boys @jahprobound and @_AG_32 as well as @Chief_Justise on bringing home the gold once again #USA
@CFrankamp_23 @jahprobound @_AG_32 thanks bro. Good luck at KU next year bro. Already know you gon ball
The second youngest player on this US team, 17-year old Jahlil Okafor, is turning out to be the most important one on the squad #fibaU19
Congrats to @_AG_32 for #FIBAU19 MVP honors and to @jahprobound for joining him on the all-tourney team! #Gold #USABMU19 @FIBA
LeBron James Skills Academy Measurements
Rivals: LBJ Camp Sunday Notes
Everyone was assembling. The stage was set for No. 10 rising senior Myles Turner (Euless, Texas/Trinity) to take on No. 2 Cliff Alexander (Chicago/Curie). Unfortunately, the much-anticipated matchup didn’t happen after a leg injury for Turner put this titanic tilt on ice.
…Alexander, well, he took full advantage of the stage.
…Simply put, Alexander was awesome. Most of his rebounds were two-handed and he dunked everything in sight. His offensive game is coming together quicker than expected and the baby hook is his go-to move. As big and as strong as he is, he has room to improve as a finisher (outside of the dunking, of course). The only defense for Alexander is to attempt to knock him a foot off his sweet spot and take your chances.
…Ivan Rabb (Oakland/Bishop O’Dowd), the top post player in the 2015 class, was part of USA Basketball’s U16 FIBA Americas championship team last month. So were Newman and 2015 center Diamond Stone (Milwaukee/Dominican). Rabb said he has formed relationships with Newman, Stone and fellow ESPN 60 prospect Isaiah Briscoe (Union, N.J./St. Benedict’s) and wouldn’t mind playing college ball with any of them. He’s also interested in seeing where his high school teammate, Paris Alston, winds up.
Following the summer, Rabb wants to trim his list to 10-15 schools. We know California, Arizona, Oregon, Kansas, Connecticut, North Carolina and Ohio State will be in the mix.
…Shooting guard Rashad Vaughn (Minneapolis/Robbinsdale Cooper), the No. 11 prospect in the 2014 class, is who we thought he is. When asked what he likes to do best, Vaughn offered up a succinct yet predictable answer: “Score.” Kentucky and Kansas are basically guaranteed official visits. Baylor, North Carolina, Iowa State, Minnesota and UCLA are mixing it up with him as well.
ESPN Insider ($)
Former Cooper star Rashad Vaughn will play next season for Findlay Prep in Nevada, where students enroll with the intention of playing Division I college basketball.
Vaughn previously had said he was leaving the Twin Cities so that he could play against tougher competition to close out his high school career. News of his school choice was reported on Twitter by a Findlay Prep assistant coach.
Minn Star Trib
Reebok Classic Breakout
When: July 9-12
Why it’s important: About 120 players from different talent levels make the cut for this event to show they can cut it at the collegiate level in front of hundreds of coaches.
What makes it unique: This event has a tryout system consisting of drills, stations and 5-on-5 games held throughout the spring at eight cities across the country. A number of up-and-comers -- namely John Wall -- have been discovered here, and current ranked stars get a chance to separate themselves from their peers.
Players to watch: PG Emmanuel Mudiay, SG Rashad Vaughn, Jordan McLaughlin and SF Dwayne Morgan.
EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam
When: July 10-14
Where: North Augusta, S.C.
Why it’s important: The 24 best teams from the EYBL regular season advance to the finals for the right to play for the Peach Jam title.
What makes it unique: In addition to the Top 24 EYBL 17U teams 16 Nike Sweet 16U Invitational Tournament teams will compete as well that features high major prospects from the classes of 2015 and 2016.
Players to watch: 2014 stars C Jahlil Okafor, PF Cliff Alexander, PG Tyus Jones and PF Trey Lyles; 2015 recruits PF Ivan Rabb, SG Malik Newman and Cheick Diallo; and 2016 centers Thon Maker and Skal Labissiere, to name a few.
adidas Invitational Classic
When: July 10-14
Why it’s important: The adidas Invitational Classic kicks off the live period, which gives prospects a chance to make an early, positive impression on college coaches of all levels.
What makes it unique: Super Pools, which means the best teams play against other top teams right from the onset. Also it is important to note that 410 college coaches attended this event last summer.
Players to watch: PG/SG Brandone Francis, PF Trey Lyles and SG James Blackmon Jr.
Under Armour NY2LA Sports Summer Jam
When: July 17-21
Where: Mequon, Wisc.
Why it’s important: Combine high-quality exposure and elite talent from coast-to-coast in a competitive arena and you have the UA Summer Jam.
What makes it unique: This event is unique because it allows players and travel programs of all levels to compete in an elite and exclusive tournament to maximize their exposure to hundreds of college coaches.
PF/SF Kevon Looney, PF/C Myles Turner and PG Dominique Collier.
adidas Super 64
When: July 24-28
Where: Las Vegas
Why it’s important: We head back to Vegas for the final major July event as college coaches get a chance to make final evaluations at the end of the live period. It also allows coaches an opportunity to confirm what they saw at the two weeks earlier at the adidas Invitational.
What makes it unique: The field may be the largest coaches will see this month with close to 450-500 teams from various age groups and playing levels. Also, adidas welcomes players and teams from other shoe brand companies to make the talent base the best it can possibly be.
Players to watch: SG Jalen Coleman and PF
AAU Super Showcase and National Championship
When: July 24-29
Where: Orlando, Fla.
Why it’s important: More than 1,000 college coaches pack the first-class facilities at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports to take in some of the best AAU talent in the country.
What makes it unique: The nation’s premier AAU squad compete for a national championship after qualifying by winning their respective districts, meaning these teams truly have to earn the right to play at this event.
Players to watch: PG Tyus Jones, PG Joel Berry and PF Chris McCullough.
Las Vegas Fab 48
When: July 25-28
Where: Las Vegas
Why it’s important: The talent pool is extremely deep and attracts more than 1000 college coaches, providing prospects a packed arena to showcase their talents.
What makes it unique: There are over 300 reported teams participating with teams from all over the country and a spattering of international squads.
Players to watch: PG Jordan McLaughlin, SG/PG Tyler Dorsey and SG Daniel Hamilton.
Hal Pastner Bigfoot Hoops Las Vegas Classic
When: July 24-28
Where: Las Vegas
Why it’s important: Arguably the largest event of the month, the Las Vegas Classic draws 450 teams from America, New Zealand, Australia and Mexico to name a few.
What makes it unique: The sheer number of talented prospects from a wide range of ages essentially turns this setting into a buffet for college coaches to evaluate and for players to earn college scholarships.
Players to watch: C Jahlil Okafor, PF Ivan Rabb and SF Kameron Chatman
ESPN Insider ($)
Philadelphia University will host 120 of the nation's top high school basketball players in games in front of college coaches and scouts at the Reebok Classic Breakout Tuesday through Friday at the Gallagher Athletic Center. The roster includes many of the top players in the country, including Ben Bentil, a power forward from St. Andrews (Del.). The event is an NCAA live-period evaluation camp, so college coaches will be there to evaluate players for scholarship offers. Last year, more than 200 of the nation's top Division I coaches attended the camp as well as scouting and recruiting services. This year's top national players include Emmanuel Mudiay, Rashad Vaughn, Myles Turner, and Karl Towns. Philadelphia-area players expected to compete include Derrick Jones (Archbishop Carroll), Samir Doughty (Communications Technology), Mike Watkins (Bartram), Sean Lloyd (Franklin Learning Center), Traci Carter (Life Center Academy), Rashann London (Roman Catholic), Malik Starkes (Math, Civics and Sciences), and Chris Clover (St. Joseph's Prep).
The games are open to coaches and the public from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. The Breakout All-Star Game is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 per day. The Gallagher Athletic Center is on Philadelphia University Drive, off Henry Avenue in the East Falls section of Philadelphia.
Where to be
First session (July 10-14)
Nike EYBL Finals -- Peach Jam (North Augusta, S.C.): The most prestigious event of the month, 24 teams qualified via a four-weekend regular season.
Adidas Invitational (Indianapolis): Nike has most of the big guns this year, but Adidas consistently has plenty of top-level talent at its event.
Second session (July 17-21)
Under Armour/NY2LA Summer Jam (Mequon, Wisc.): Under Armour continues to make a dent on the AAU scene; this event keeps getting better.
Nike Global Challenge (Washington, DC): Eight-team tournament featuring 30 American players and five international teams.
Third session (July 24-28)
Las Vegas: One of the few reasons to go off the strip, Vegas has the Adidas Super 64 and Fab 48, along with BigFoot Hoops Las Vegas Classic.
Orlando: It's tough to compete with Vegas, but the Wide World of Sports has terrific facilities to host its AAU Super Showcase and AAU Nationals.
Who to watch
1. Jahlil Okafor: Absolutely dominant inside force is coming off a terrific performance at the U19 World Championships.
2. Tyus Jones: The best point guard in the country, Jones is looking to play in college with Okafor.
3. Emmanuel Mudiay: Given his size and strength, Mudiay has the ability to be one of the tougher guard matchups in the class.
4. Cliff Alexander: Just a beast of a post player, Alexander will team with Okafor to form a ridiculous inside duo for Mac Irvin Fire.
5. Trey Lyles: A former Indiana commit, Lyles will attract the constant attention of Rick Pitino and John Calipari.
1. Malik Newman: He's essentially impossible to stop from scoring, as he can get into the lane at will and also run the show.
2. Ivan Rabb: The next stud from the Oakland Soldiers' AAU program, Rabb is one of many dominant bigs in 2015.
3. Stephen Zimmerman: Zimmerman staked his claim during the month of June, and the lefty big looks to continue his momentum.
4. Ben Simmons: A native of Australia, Simmons plays his high school ball at Montverde in Florida and is surrounded by plenty of hype.
5. Cheick Diallo: He's a force on the defensive end, with opponents intimidated to even attempt shots at the rim. Improving and active offensively.
What to watch for
1. Myles Turner: The 6-foot-10 center from Trinity (Texas) is now ranked No. 6 in the 247Sports Composite for the class of 2014. But it wasn't always like that. In fact, that wasn't even close to the case heading into late April. After a couple of very impressive performances at Under Armour events in the spring, Turner's stock rose exponentially. We haven't seen a faster rise to the top since Anthony Davis -- but can Turner continue his stellar play during July? How high can he go?
3. Package deals: We seem to hear talk every class from a variety of prospects about how they want to play with a classmate at the next level. Most of the time, it doesn't work out. The class of 2014 feels different. Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, the nation's top two players, have maintained that there's a great chance they'll play together in college. Fellow five-star prospect Justise Winslow has been rumored to want to join them at their destination. Is Duke going to be the big winner? Don't forget the recent declaration of 2014 guards Isaiah Whitehead and Ja'Quan Newton that they too want to be backcourt partners in college. Can Minnesota or Syracuse close the deal in that one?
4. Which guards are stepping up? In each of the next two classes, most of the top 10 is made of frontcourt players. Next year has Tyus Jones, Emmanuel Mudiay and maybe Rashad Vaughn; 2015 sees Malik Newman at the top, and then all big men until possibly Tyler Dorsey or Charles Matthews. The next three weeks could see multiple backcourt players emerge and make their cases for five-star status. Moreover, the pecking order of the big men at the top of the rankings will also change in the next few events.
The Metro Sports / KC Prep Invitational, presented by 810 Varsity, will be held at Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee on July 25-28, 2013.
The 12th annual tournament stands as the oldest NCAA certified high school boys tournament in the Kansas City area, featuring teams nationwide in the 17-, 16- and 15-year-old ages.
The Metro Sports / KC Prep Invitational attracts college coaches from around the country, usually around 300 or more.
“We look forward to another highly competitive tournament with a field that competes with other tournaments nationwide,” said tournament founder Tom Tietze.
Metro Sports will broadcast games from the opening day’s action on Time Warner Cable.
810 Varsity, the high school entity affiliated with Sports Radio 810 WHB, will broadcast games live online via KCHoops.com and 810Varsity.com.
2013 Spring/Summer AAU & Camp Schedule
My 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