10/14/13, 12:47 PM
“@AndrewWhite03: Tarik From Half Court 🏀🏀⭐⭐ Instagram.com/p/fboqBPF6Ag/” #YeaItsReal
“I’m actually enjoying Fall Break. I don’t know if our players are as much,” Jayhawk coach Bill Self said Monday. “Break gives us a chance to go twice a day.
“It gives us a chance to have our first intense chalk-talk of the season,” he added of instruction between the sessions.
…“We’ll go twice again (today),” Self said, indicating he has been pleased with the effort of his squad. “We can get a lot done over two days. It’s the same thing we’ve been doing, get as much repetition in as possible. We still are in the infant stages. We can add some things as we go. It’s meat and potatoes now.”
Self said freshman guard Wayne Selden, “has been as consistent a player as we had since school started.” Of freshman point guard Frank Mason, he noted: “He’s been thinking more than playing. He’s starting to come around. He’s starting to get it.”
Senior forward Justin Wesley, who has been wearing a walking boot, has a strained foot, Self said. He did practice Monday. Also, red-shirt freshman center Landen Lucas has been slowed by the flu.
…Self and his players will host a Fall Festival and Equipment Drive from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 27 at Abe and Jake’s Landing, 8 East Sixth Street, in downtown Lawrence. Admission is free and open to the public.
Fans are asked to donate new and gently used sporting goods and equipment. Attendees who donate equipment will be entered into a drawing to win four tickets to the KU vs. Iona game on Nov. 19th.
The event will feature appearances by the KU men’s basketball players and coaches. The players will participate in games with attendees including Pop A Shot and Dance Dance Revolution. There also will be a photo booth.
…Former KU guard Josh Selby, who played sparingly for the Memphis Grizzlies and in the NBA Developmental League the past two years, will be playing for Qingdao Eagle, a pro team in China this season. Terms of his contract were not disclosed.
VIDEO: TSN's DeCourcy talks Kansas
It is not wise to present a basketball challenge to Andrew Wiggins.
"Well, it would have been difficult. I don't know. Would it have made me ready for the NBA out of high school if I was back then?" Wiggins tells Sporting News. "I don't know because it's so long ago."
Earlier in the day, over a lunch at Biggs Barbecue in Lawrence, KU coach Bill Self had discussed how rare it is for a genuine 6-8 small forward to come along in college basketball, and thus how daunting it can be to incorporate such a player into college schemes.
…"I played from the 2 to the 4 in high school. So it's not really different," Wiggins says. "I'm just trying to get my mind right. It's hard to explain. College defense is a lot more compact. They're smarter than high school. They've been around the game. They're experienced. It's harder to score. In college, you have to know how to score; you have to have a different way to score. I can't just allow my athletic ability … can't do what I did in high school."
…Self beseeches Wiggins to push himself toward greatness almost as often as he draws a breath during the course of a couple three-hour practices. But Wiggins floats along as though he were a typical freshman, revealing his true identity a half-dozen times or so each afternoon with a sequence that perhaps only three people on the planet are capable of executing.
"I don't think he has the mindset to be a natural, Michael Beasley-, Kevin Durant-guy that puts up numbers," Self says. "I don't think that's the way he'll feel he can help the team the most. He's going to have games where he does it. There's going to be some games where he just doesn't feel it. But he's talented enough that he can impact the games just as much when he doesn't feel it because he can do a little bit of everything.
"The thing I'm trying to convince him to do is look to score, be aggressive. And I think his mindset is, I'll be aggressive when I get totally comfortable. Obviously, he's not close to being comfortable."
…The common assertion that he is the best basketball prospect since LeBron James, which may be a bit too dismissive of the 2006 tandem of Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, rapidly has evolved into Wiggins being proposed as the next LeBron James.
It's preposterous to compare the two, like judging Peyton Manning against Colin Kaepernick. That they play the same position is irrelevant. They don't resemble one another in the least.
"It's good they think that highly of me, but LeBron is one of the best ever," Wiggins says. "I haven't played a game in college yet. You can't compare us. That's my point of view. That's what I think. LeBron's powerful. He's a lot bigger than I am, a lot stronger than I am."
...What makes Wiggins sensational is, so to speak, his quickness out of the blocks. His acceleration leaves veteran college coaches struggling to explain what an impact that gift alone can have on a basketball game. They know it when they see it. He does not soar above the court in the way that David Thompson could, or Julius Erving, but at their best they might not have covered the 20 feet from the wing to the hoop as rapidly as Wiggins. And, as teammate Perry Ellis says, "His second jump is so fast."
…While Wiggins was guarding another Jayhawk on the right wing, he dropped down into a help-defense position when a pass was thrown into the post. The ball was deflected away from the post player, though, and bounced right past Wiggins. He didn't budge. He was where he was supposed to be; the next step is to do what he's supposed to do when he gets there.
"I just try to tell him every day: You know why you came here. You know why you got to where you are. You know what you want to do in life. This is the best opportunity to get where you want to be," junior point guard Naadir Tharpe tells Sporting News. "If he plays like the great player he is, we can go back to where we were freshman year. I know he wants to go there as well.
"He's still a young guy. He's still new to this. We have to sometimes pick him up. Sometimes you let him alone. Sometimes you comfort him. It's going to be different every day in practice. There's not one time I ever tried to talk to him and he turned away or shook his head. He comes and asks me questions, 'Na, what should I do here, where should I be on the floor, what should I be doing if I catch the ball here?' He looks for guidance."
As much as he resists Self's demands to assert his dominance, Wiggins is eager to please his coaches and teammates. He looks constantly for ways to make his teammates look better, sometimes looking too hard. On one searing right-to-left drive, Wiggins reached the middle of the lane in a flash and could easy have leaped to score on a floater, a finger-roll or even a dunk. But center Joel Embiid was cutting along the baseline to position himself for a rebound, so Wiggins decided to toss a pass in that direction. It struck Embiid in the shoelaces.
So Wiggins made the wrong choice and executed it poorly – for all the right reasons.
"Just think if he was a media-hungry, attention-hungry kid," Self says. "He didn't want to do SI, he didn't want to do GQ, he doesn't want to do Sporting News, he didn't want to do USA Today – he wants to deflect all that stuff, but you can't do it.
"I do think there's an obligation by us to prepare him for what's about to happen. Because if we don't win and he goes 3-for-12, he's the headlines. He's got to be prepared for that responsibility. Whether that's right or not – it's not right. But that's the same thing the great ones have dealt with, all the great ones. He needs to learn to deal with that if he's going to be a great one."
…"He can dominate a game," Self says. "But he may not dominate in the way that people expect him to dominate." Instead he might have the sort of transformative impact as Anthony Davis at Kentucky in 2011-12; he swept the player of the year awards with a 14.2 scoring average and earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the Final Four after scoring only 6 points in the final.
"I think Andrew could be our best perimeter defender, he could be our best offensive rebounder, he's obviously the most explosive in transition," Self says. "But his makeup and his psyche is not to go score. He's a guy that just wants to fit in.
"With all the hype, anything less than 20 and 10 would not match the hype. But from a basketball purist standpoint or an NBA scouting standpoint, I think everybody will like what they see."
Wiggins has heard challenges more direct than this from Self in every practice. He hasn't yet presented a definitive answer. It would appear he has his reasons.
"I'm just trying to find my game," Wiggins says. "Coming from high school to college doesn't seem like that big a jump, but it's a big jump. I'm just trying to get my mind right, see what kind of player I am as a college player. Being a high school player and a college player are two totally different things.
"I just want to be the best I can be. I don't think being compared to LeBron is fair, people like that, of that caliber – they're the best in the world, and I haven't played one college game yet. So I think that's unfair to really compare me to people at that high a level right now.
"But it's like fuel to the fire. I want to be the best. I want to be able to be compared to him, but right now I'm at the stage where I'm still learning."
It's not often Mario Chalmers receives a louder ovation than LeBron James., his Miami Heat teammate.
On Friday night, the two-time defending NBA champions were playing the Charlotte Bobcats at the Sprint Center, about 40 miles from the University of Kansas, where Chalmers starred on the Jayhawks' national championship team.
So Chalmers wasn't surprised to receive more of a reaction from the crowd during the 86-75 preseason victory. In fact, he expected it.
"It's custom out here, it's supposed to be like that," Chalmers said. "Anytime I get to come back and play in front of the Jayhawks fans it's a lot of fun."
…Even with Beasley playing well, Chalmers wasn't worried about losing any of the fans' affection.
"This is more of KU territory, Sprint Center," Chalmers said.
This is the fourth year Miami has played an exhibition game in Kansas City, and the crowd was decidedly in the Heat's favour. So even though he wasn't necessarily the star of the show, that was just fine with James.
"It's a great crowd," James said. "Obviously they love us and we're very thankful that they welcome us with open arms every time we come here and play. It's fun to play in front of a crowd like that."
He started at the point, scoring 10 points and dishing four assists with two steals in the Heat’s 86-75 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats before a sellout crowd (18,770) that included thousands of KU fans, as well as coach Bill Self and several Jayhawk players.
“No fried foods, no sodas, lemonade. I drank a lot of water instead of orange juice and lemonade all day,” he added of the secret to the Mario Diet. “Basically, cutting out a lot of sugars. It was tough at first. You know me ... I love my sweets. It was something I had to do.”
Heat coach Eric Spoelstra applauded Chalmers for his dedication at the still-tender age of 27.
“He came in very fit. Our group was dedicated this summer,” Spoelstra said. “We had a meeting after the championship parade, before we set off on our own ways that we wanted to commit to each other eye-to-eye (that) the guys would enjoy the championship, because that’s part of it, but not to let it go — to be very conscious of fitness, nutrition.
“Our guys took it to heart. That’s allowed us to get into the work aspect of it quicker rather than worrying about using October to try to get into shape.”
…He was unable to make it back to Lawrence on Friday for a visit, the Heat’s plane having arrived in KC early Friday morning. Chalmers elected to relax at the hotel in preparation for the game.
He has yet to play with or against KU freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins, but was willing to offer some advice for the certain one-and-done player.
“Have fun,” Chalmers said. “College is a learning experience, a chance for you to grow up and get away from home. For him ... have fun, play basketball, do your schoolwork and enjoy college.”
Chalmers said Wiggins figures to feel the pressure — the heat, so to speak — the first game or two.
“No matter what the hype is, that first game there’s going to be jitters,” said Chalmers, who has career averages of 8.4 points (42.1 percent shooting; 37.0 from three), 3.6 assists and 27.1 minutes. “Our first (KU) game was in Maui, playing Arizona. I’ll never forget that game. I think it was the worst game I played in my life. It’s all a learning experience.”
Chalmers’ NBA experience has been storybook thus far. He already has won two rings in five seasons after winning a ring his junior year at KU and one at Anchorage (Alaska) Bartlett High.
“Championship point guard, trying to get another one, a three-peat. (He’s) living a dream,” said former Kansas State standout Michael Beasley, who is trying to make Miami’s roster this season.
More than anything else, Chalmers likes the tag of “winner.”
“That’s pretty much what I go for. I’ve won on every level so far,” Chalmers said. “I hope people remember me for hard work and winning.”
And a certain shot to force overtime against Memphis in 2008.
“I could watch that all day,” Chalmers said with a smile.
Andrew Wiggins isn't everything. Joel Embiid has gotten pub as the best practice player so far. Wayne Selden is another stud. Naadir Tharpe will run point, and he'll be damn good at it.
CBS consensus Top 25 (and one)
Just how good is freshman Andrew Wiggins? If we're right, he's good enough to carry a team with no returning starters, a wealth of talented young players but no other immediate star and a just-OK point guard to the brink of the Final Four. If Vegas oddsmakers are right, he's good enough to carry the Jayhawks into a fistfight for the national title. Essentially, we're saying he's worth three NCAA tournament wins, and the wise guys are saying he's worth five. Either way, the answer is: He's pretty doggone good.
TSN Preseason Top 25
“An Evening With Former KU Coach Ted Owens,” featuring the man who ran Kansas University’s basketball program from 1964 to ’83, is scheduled for 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 3 at the Kansas Union Ballroom.
Former KU standout Bud Stallworth, who played for Owens, will introduce the 84-year-old Tulsa native, who following a speech will sign copies of his new book, “At the Hang-up: Seeking Your Purpose, Running the Race, Finishing Strong.”
The 270-page book includes 25 life lessons from Owens, plus the coach’s thoughts on his life and career with lots of pictures.
The foreword is written by current KU coach Bill Self.
“Coach still lives life. I’ve been on golf trips with him, have been his roommate and have had the opportunity to get to know him very well,” Self writes. “He is so competitive. He is in great shape and we have walked probably 15 different courses together, from St. Andrews to Pebble Beach. He hates to lose and usually rigs the bets on the first tee to ensure he doesn’t. ... I’m proud of you coach for becoming an author. But on the next golf trip, I’m getting strokes and please don’t feel you have to get up at 6 a.m., every morning to do your exercise. I could use the extra shut eye!” Self adds.
KUAD Late Night Rewind - Video Board Skits
Given that I'm a fourth-generation Jayhawk, it should be no surprise to you that I have no goal, personal or professional, that takes precedent over living long enough to watch this year’s highly anticipated Jayhawks basketball season. To that effect, and in honor of Andrew Wiggins making the cover of Sports Illustrated, I’m making some large life changes to ensure that I’ll be able to view the entire slate of games, which begins October 29 with an exhibition against Pittsburg State. Below, I’ve outlined some of the things I’ll be doing to attain proper mind, body, and spirit; though this regimen applies to the forthcoming, Wiggins-ed out Jayhawks season, you can easily replace the major proper nouns for your own favorite teams or players, unless you’re a St. Louis Cardinals fan, in which case you should jump off the nearest cliff.
Grantland: Livin for Wiggins (H/T nratliff21 @ jayhawkslant.com
Tyshawn Taylor scored 16 points and led five others in double digits and the Brooklyn Nets picked up an overtime 111-106 victory over the Washington Wizards in a preseason game on Tuesday night.
With Amar’e Stoudemire (knee) and Kenyon Martin not playing, Woodson had said before Friday’s game that he told center Cole Aldrich — a contender to be Tyson Chandler’s backup — “I want him to be a little tougher” following a quick hook and a tongue-lashing during one timeout the previous night in Toronto.
The 6-11 former Kansas standout had just two points and four rebounds in 16 minutes against the Celtics.
“When you’re trying to make someone’s ballclub, bigs . . . got to do dirty work,” Woodson said. “They’ve got to be nasty and take hard fouls and rebound and do all the dirty work that helps you win games. I’m not seeing that a lot right now in him. He’s got to pick it up some.”
Said Aldrich: “What he means by that is if you’ve got a guy coming to the rim, go up and make a play at the ball. Try to block a shot, try to do the little things that will anchor our defense. ... There’s an opportunity (to make the team). The biggest thing is using training camp to continue to get better, get used to the system, get used to the guys.”
NY Daily News
Until Sunday's preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans rookie center Jeff Withey had mostly watched from the bench. He had played in just two preseason games, combining for a total of three minutes against the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic.
But with the Pelicans leading by as much as 33 points against the Hawks, Coach Monty Williams decided he wanted see how Withey could perform playing more minutes. Other than a missed dunk, Withey wasn't bad.
He played 10 minutes and scored six points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked a shot. He didn't get over-matched in the post and appeared to have out-performed both starting center Greg Stiemsma and backup center/forward Arinze Onuaku, who combined to score four points.
``When I got on the floor I made the most of it and played like I know how,'' Withey said. ``In the previous games, I got in and I was a little nervous. I didn’t know what to do.''
National Post: How Toronto became the epicenter of Canada's basketball boom
Sophomore power forward Zach Peters, a Kansas transfer who was ruled eligible this season by the NCAA, did not play during the Red-Blue Game as he continues his comeback from multiple concussions that led him to leave the Jayhawks.
“He has made incredible progress since the day he stepped on our campus, which was mid-summer,” said coach Sean Miller, who stressed that the team’s medical staff is taking a cautious one-day-at-a-time approach.
“What we hope is that sometime over the next month, we can get to the point where he’s pretty much with us the entire time.”
Big 12/College News
NCAA: March Madness tickets on sale now (use promo code IMAFAN for exclusive access!)
Oklahoma State, the preseason co-favorite in the Big 12, remains at work on a potentially special season ahead.
Cowboys coaches are working on extending success into the future.
According to sources, OSU secured a commitment Saturday from Bixby’s 6-foot-9 center Mitchell Solomon, filling a third spot in its latest recruiting class and filling a need for a big man.
Marcus Smart's decision to return to OSU, delaying his jump to the NBA, remains a hot topic.
The Cowboys sophomore talked again Monday about the factors that played into his decision, ranging from his need to be better prepared for the pro game, a desire to make another run with his current teammates and the fun he's having being a college kid.
Smart also revealed more about another factor, the severe right wrist sprain he suffered in OSU's NCAA Tournament loss to Oregon.
“I fractured both my left and my right wrist in high school,” Smart said. “I fractured my right wrist really bad. The doctor actually told me they couldn't find my growth plate. So I've already had some scar tissue and damage in that wrist.
“So when I reinjured it in the Oregon game, it messed me up. I wasn't able to dribble the ball until May. That was a big reason why I made the decision. I didn't want to go in not being 100 percent and having to go out there and compete and make that my job.”
…“Kansas is still the favorite,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “Wiggins is, from what I understand, the best player to ever play. I've seen him play and he's really good. They're still the No. 1 team and should be.
“They've got tons of talent, they've got depth, they've got the best player to ever play at Kansas and that's a pretty good deal.”
Ford was having some fun. On a more serious note, he sees his team in the championship conversation.
“Are we in the hunt? Yeah, we're in the hunt,” Ford said. “Baylor is, I think, underrated. I think they're loaded … Iowa State's got good players. Oklahoma's got good players. This is going to be a tough league.
“But as I told our team, we've got a lot to prove, a whole lot to prove because we won nothing. We came one game shy last year of trying to be in first place (in the Big 12). Whether it's one game or 10 games, we weren't there. There's a lot of motivation.”
Possibly the key to the Cowboys unseating Kansas for the conference crown won’t even suit up for the Cowboys. Instead, it’s the fans that fill Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Last year, Oklahoma State put together a campaign to bring the rowdy back to Gallagher-Iba Arena — which worked with the marquee games like Gonzaga and Kansas. But the players are looking forward to fans coming out in groves for their push at a Big 12 title.
“It’s tremendously important because it can create the momentum early in games for us,” Smart said. “... I feel that we established that rowdiness last year and it gives us something to go out there for and gets us pumped. As any other competitor would tell you, you feed off the adrenaline of the crowd and when you have a great crowd you’re going to do great and giving your all every game.”
Stillwater News Press (or maybe they'll come in droves. lol)
An image of the Duke University basketball team posing with guns during a weekend trip to West Point has not exactly been a slam-dunk success.
Many have said that the photo, which shows players with laser-equipped M4s and M240s in a combat simulator at the Army's West Point campus, glamorizes gun use.
Duke officials are going to try to use the incident as a teaching moment.
"They were given the opportunity by the Army personnel to take some pictures," said Jon Jackson, an associate director of athletics. "If you take the image by itself and it's taken out of context, it could be seen as are we somehow glamorizing gun violence or something like that. Clearly, (that's) not the case.”
He added: “(We'll discuss) the importance of perception and how those images could have been perceived not when taken in context."
The photo was posted on Deadspin with the headline "What Is This Photo Of The Duke Basketball Team Handling Assault Rifles?"
University students are also not quite sold on the controversial shot. "I don't think it's a good idea to attach that image to the basketball team," Duke freshman Tim Campbell said.
What concerns you the most about Florida?
Andy Katz: The Gators' depth. Florida is battling injuries with forward Will Yeguete and guardEli Carter out. Patric Young and Dorian Finney-Smith will have to carry the work load up front and the hope is that newcomer Kasey Hill can eat up a lot of minutes in the backcourt.
Myron Medcalf: By all accounts, Kasey Hill is an elite point guard capable of handling the duties for the Gators as a freshman. But he's still a freshman. And he's a freshman with a veteran Scottie Wilbekin who continues to run into trouble. There's a lot of weight on Hill's shoulders and he hasn't even played his first game.
Eamonn Brennan: Perimeter shooting. Collectively, Florida fired up 771 3-point field goals last season, or on 39.5 percent of their overall field goal attempts. Of course, that was just fine, because Florida shot 37.8 percent from 3 as a team and derived 34.1 percent of their overall scoring from 3-point shots. In other words, last season's Gators thrived on spacing the floor and knocking down 3s, and if that area of the game suffers from the backcourt turnover it could tighten up the entire offense, Patric Young included.
Even going back to his days at Iowa State, Larry Eustachy has won a lot of games because his teams have been physical. Basketball can be a fluid game, but it's also undoubtedly one that's rough on the muscles because of its laboring nature. Even though it's not the contact sport football or hockey are, hoops features plenty of battles of will and an innate corporal element, especially as play gets closer to the rim.
It's because the game has gotten so physical that many believe college basketball's aesthetic quality is at or near an all-time low. With fewer fouls being called, much more handchecking and play in the paint that's more aggressive/whistle-lenient than anything in the NBA, scoring averages have gone down and time of possession has gone up.
College basketball's higher-ups voted in the spring to make amendments to how blocks and charges were called, and to use monitor reviews to make the right decision. This will inevitably free up space and make the game less chaotic near the charge circle, but it's also not going to dim controversial calls, especially in the upcoming trial season.
“What are we thinking trying to put players in situations where they can be eliminated even more? We all witnessed it with Colton Iverson last year. It was a tragedy what the officiating did to him,” Eustachy said. “If you pay to go see Celine Dion, she's not going to be fouled out at intermission. You pay to see Colton Iverson; you may only see four minutes of him. He may get two quick fouls and he has to sit the whole half.”
...“Louisville isn't going to have a team if we stick to this because they're going to all foul out in the first half, and I love the way they play,” Eustachy said. “If you're going to call touch fouls, it'll be over in the first 10 minutes. (Rick) Pitino will have to play. It really is crazy.”
Eustachy's philosophy runs in opposition to many other coaches', including John Beilein's. The Michigan coach who helped his team put on one of the best national title games of the past two decades wants more touch fouls to be called in order to nudge defenses away from the hacking, thus creating a smoother game. A smoother game equals a more appealing game, the way basketball was intended to be played, according to many.
San Diego State is firmly entrenched as one of leading powers in the West, and two offseason developments figure to ensure that the Aztecs are a factor in the month of March.
The other key development occurred in mid-May when fifth-year senior forward Josh Davis decided to transfer from Tulane to San Diego State. Davis averaged 17.6 points and 10.7 rebounds last season for the Green Wave and is eligible to play immediately after earning his degree at Tulane.
The addition of Davis gives the Aztecs the bona fide star they would otherwise lack after standout Jamaal Franklin skipped his senior season in favor of the NBA. Davis’ presence will be crucial in a loaded league in which the Aztecs will be challenged by strong teams from New Mexico, UNLV and Boise State.
For years, they've tried to find a box for him. But they've all felt as snug as a shrunken sweater to Marcus Smart.
Smart prefers -- needs -- more freedom than any position truly allots.
The freedom to be a point guard, if that's what you must call him. The freedom to roll off picks and slash. The freedom to freestyle on fast breaks. The freedom to put his back to the basket and exploit smaller guards in the lane.
"It's kind of weird when people say I'm a point guard," the Oklahoma State star said. "And then they say I'm a shooting guard. Then they say I'm a 3, I'm an undersized small forward. … It's just crazy to hear them say that to me because if you really knew, you really couldn't classify me. They've tried and tried. They still can't come up with a position for me."
…Smart represents a new breed of college basketball players who reject labels. They can shoot, slash to the hoop, handle the ball, run the offense, play in the post and rebound all on the same possession. It's all evidence that the traditional setup that once featured two guards, two forwards and a center is disappearing
…Isaiah Austin is proof of that. He's 7-feet tall. Yet, he's most content when he's floating in Baylor's offense. He shot 90 3-pointers last season. On the AAU circuit, he played point guard. And in Scott Drew's scheme, he's allowed to push the ball down the court in specific situations.
"I can dribble the ball, I can bring the ball up court, I can shoot long 3s, I can hit the fade-away, I can shoot the hook with both hands on the block," Austin said. "I just want to show people that basketball is changing. It's changing a lot."
…Fewer true centers exist now. Elite, exclusive low-post players are rare at the collegiate level.
Plus, players might have more skills but they're not necessarily more skilled. Overall, Division I players haven't made significant strides from the free throw line or the field in the past 20 years. Per NCAA trend stats, they made 38.4 percent of their 3s when the 3-point line was introduced in 1987. Division I competitors recorded a 34 percent clip from beyond the arc overall last year. And teams are scoring at rates that haven't been this low in decades.
Those numbers don't tell the full story. But they do suggest that this new era of versatility hasn't sparked an uptick in efficiency.
…"I think it makes it tough to guard in transition when multiple guys bring the ball up," Baylor coach Scott Drew said.
Coaches and players agree that this new wave of multi-talented athletes is not some fad for college basketball.
The descriptors that made sense years ago feel inadequate today. Point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards and centers -- in some cases -- have been replaced by young men who simply call themselves players.
"I can bring the ball up for us," Austin said, "if that's what we need."
While the point guard is arguably the most important player on any basketball team, as he has the ball in his hands on every play like a quarterback in football, the player forward is more like a tight end -- the player who is called on to do a multitude of things, some glamorous and some involving dirty work, and is often the toughest matchup for opponents to deal with.
The undersized forward has always been common at the low- and mid-major levels in college hoops, as many power conference teams have often valued size over effectiveness. However, a growing trend within the game is that teams are realizing that getting their five best players on the floor is more important to winning than getting the most size on the floor. In many cases, the player forward can turn out to be a huge advantage.
But what makes a good player forward?
On offense, it requires a good basketball acumen, because they handle the basketball a lot. There are opportunities to bust out off a defensive rebound in the open court and create isolation plays in the half court versus slower defenders. Against those slower defenders, they can take advantage by sprinting the floor in transition and creating easy scoring opportunities. An added bonus for a player forward is the ability to stretch the defense out to the 3-point line.
Defensively, player forwards need to have the toughness to defend bigger players who traditionally play inside. In addition, they have to take advantage of their quickness and rebound outside of their area.
Let's take a look at some top player forwards coming into the 2013-14 season and three more guys who could be great fits for the position if they're willing to embrace it this season.
Former five-star recruit Devonta Pollard, who left Alabama after an offseason arrest connected to a kidnapping, has enrolled at East Mississippi Community College and will play basketball there this season, a school official told CBSSports.com on Monday.
Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett must serve a five-game suspension and won’t be allowed to recruit off campus this season as the NCAA has upheld penalties against the mid-major program for recruiting violations.
In making the announcement Monday from the NCAA infractions appeals committee, the governing body denied Bennett’s appeal that included the claim of a procedural error. School officials said Bennett’s penalty would begin Dec. 30 at midnight.
In March, the NCAA put Saint Mary’s on four years of probation for a “failure to monitor its men’s basketball program,” reducing scholarships by two for the 2014-15 and ’15-16 seasons.
Big XII composite schedule
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
The Nos. 1- and 5-rated high school senior prospects in the country are scheduled to visit KU this weekend and should be at the Jayhawks’ open practice at 9:45 a.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse. They are: Jahlil Okafor, 6-10, from Chicago’s Whitney Young, and Tyus Jones, 6-1, Apple Valley (Minn.) High. They plan to attend the same college, with KU, Duke, Baylor and Kentucky the finalists. Jones also has Minnesota on his list.
LSU beat out Kentucky, Kansas and Duke to land one of the elite players in the Class of 2015 in Australian power forward Ben Simmons.
"I know a lot of people will be struck by me deciding to go to LSU, but that's where I felt most comfortable," Simmons told ESPN.com on Monday. "I feel I can progress a lot there, and I feel blessed to have offers from all those schools."
…It's a huge pickup for Tigers coach Johnny Jones and his program, which had several ties to Simmons, the most important one being that LSU assistant David Patrick is Simmons' godfather and played with Dave Simmons in Australia.
Interesting side note to add to the Simmons circle: as Scout.com's LSU affiliate pointed out, Simmons' brother, Liam Tribe-Simmons, was recently hired as an assistant coach at Nicholls State – where Patrick had his first college job.
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