KUAD: Postgame box score, recap, notes, quotes, photos
KUAD: Kansas vs Baylor pregame notes
KC Star Photos
3/12/15, 4:29 PM
This time of year... it don't matter how the wins look .. Jus win --
LJW Tait: The Day After
Brannen Greene went 0 for 3 from 3-point range against TCU, which dropped him to 0 for 14 from long range in his last four games.
Though the sophomore said he’s been making 3s in practice, he believed his shooting motion hadn’t been as fluent lately.
“My hip’s hurting, and when I go to jump, it just feels … I don’t know. I know how I shoot,” Greene said. “I know how my shot feels. I don’t feel like my legs are really getting into it. But that’s no excuse. I’ve got to make shots. I just haven’t made shots. It’ll turn around.”
NO. 350 — Self won his 350th game at KU, making him the quickest coach in school history to reach the milestone. Self won his 350th in 426 games, while it took former coach Roy Williams 430 games.
…KU defeated BU, 56-55, in a road game on Jan. 7 before taking a 74-64 win on Feb. 14 at Allen Fieldhouse.
“They do a good job of penetrating and shooting,” KU guard Devonte’ Graham said. “They’ve got a lot of good players. We’ve just got to be able to attack their zone, get inside their zone and make shots actually.”
BU, which surrenders a lot of 3-point attempts, should test a KU offense that has gone 0 for 23 from 3 in its last two victories.
“They’re wide. They’re long. They have a force in Rico (Gathers) and Taurean (Prince) coming off the bench,” KU freshman Kelly Oubre said. “They have a lot of weapons, but if we bring our A game, we’re going to be successful.”
Still, following Kelly Oubre’s breakout 25-point effort in KU’s 64-59 victory over TCU on Thursday at Sprint Center, one thought at least had to cross Jayhawk fans’ minds.
Could this style work in the season’s most important games coming up?
Oubre, a 6-foot-7 McDonald’s All-American, admitted afterward he’d played the 4 position a little bit in practice this week. In his life, he said his entire experience at the spot was “not much.”
KU whistles forced big men out of the lineup, though, meaning coach Bill Self needed Oubre to slide into the power forward spot.
Once the freshman did, he showed an offensive arsenal that had been hidden all season.
Going primarily against 6-8 Chris Washburn — a 240-pounder more comfortable in the post — Oubre sliced his way to the basket time after time. He put in layups, shot a career-best 19 free throws and took advantage of rare spacing on the floor without a second big man in the lane.
“It’s just a challenge I would love to accept,” Oubre said of playing the 4. “I’m willing to do anything to help my team win.”
“He plays aggressive,” KU guard Kelly Oubre said of Mykhailiuk. “He got stops on the defensive end. He just needs to stay confident and stay ready because he’s a great player.”
That much was easy to see. Mykhailiuk’s 6-foot-8 frame and lengthy arms made it tough for the Horned Frogs to get around him, often creating mismatches for the TCU backcourt.
And with limited production from guards Wayne Selden (seven points) and Brannen Greene (two points), it made it easy for KU to keep the freshman on the floor.
“I’m not nervous to use him,” Self said. “We need Selden and Greene to step up and do some things, but I feel very confident in Svi doing them. Svi is the best defender out of the group, so I’m fine with having him out there.”
With KU’s bigs falling into foul trouble, forcing Oubre to slide in at forward, Mykhailiuk was able to give the Jayhawks some added depth. That seemed to benefit the smaller lineup as the freshman found a way to dribble to the paint numerous times before firing a quick pass back out for an open look.
On one of the few occasions he kept the ball for himself, Mykhailiuk drove the lane, spun around a defender and knocked down a quick layup. Even when he missed his first 3-pointer, Mykhailiuk stretched the defense out far enough for Oubre to calmly go up for the putback.
It was that type of athleticism and confidence that encouraged Self to start him for the second half. And had it not been for Selden finally knocking down a few shots, Self said Svi would’ve played the final 20 minutes.
Self was miffed that several players didn’t have the same enthusiasm as Oubre or Lucas. He benched Wayne Selden, Jr. (seven points, four turnovers, 25 minutes) in favor of Svi Mykhailiuk to start the second half.
“I was going to play Svi the entire second half if he got off to a good start,” Self said of Mykhailiuk, who had two points and two assists in 11 first-half minutes and played just four minutes the final half. “He got off to a rough start. Wayne made a basket or two which helped him. We need Selden and Brannen Greene (0-3 from three; now 0-14 over four games) to step up.”
And everybody to bring enthusiasm.
“It’s getting old,” Self said of the team not being ready to play with energy. “I think personality, body language, guys playing cool I think is contagious. That’s as quiet a building as you’ll ever have with Kansas playing. In large part we made it that way. We need our point guard (Frank Mason III, six points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists) to play with emotion, Wayne with emotion. We were emotionless today. Maybe because it’s the first time all year we’ve played on a Thursday. Hopefully on Friday we’ll play better,” Self added, smiling.
In its last two wins, KU is 0 for 23 from 3-point range, becoming the first Power-5 conference team this season to go 0-fer from behind the arc in two games. Yet the Jayhawks won each of their last 15 games in which they made zero or one 3-point goal.
The streak dates back to 2005, though the last defeat suffered under such circumstances strikes a little fear in fans watching this cold spell. It was to Bucknell in the NCAA Tournament.
With that same event approaching next week, regulars in noon-time pickup games everywhere wish they could challenge the Jayhawk of their choice to a game of h-o-r-s-e.
Anyone perhaps, except Oubre, who was capable enough at the free-throw line (15 for 19) to help KU hold off the Horned Frogs and their bid to become the second nine-seed in Big 12 Tournament history to win a quarterfinal game. Baylor did it, against KU, in 2009, the last time the tourney was not contested in Kansas City.
“We were playing a team we’re much better than and we barely squeaked it out,” said sophomore guard Brannen Greene. “We know we have found other ways to win, but we’ve got to get it going offensively. When we play a team like Kentucky, or a team with a good inside presence, it’s not going to work out the same.”
..“The reality is you’re not going to score over a lot of length inside unless you can stretch it. And, yeah, we need to stretch it,” KU coach Bill Self said. “But you don’t shoot 50 percent for three weeks and have bad shooters. We’re just in a rut right now.”
Not the best time for that, something Self acknowledged.
“We’re finding a way to piece it together right now,” he said, “and that’s not a great way to go into the postseason.”
The Big 12 portion of the postseason at least continues. An upset by TCU was averted. No. 16 Baylor awaits in a 6 p.m. semifinal matchup Friday.
Eyes will be on Ellis and whether he sheds his warmups. Any updates on Cliff Alexander and his legal wrangling with the NCAA also will be monitored.
As long as both remain on the bench, KU will find it essential, yet increasingly difficult, to piece together victories.
3/12/15, 2:26 PM
Hunter Mickelson fouls Karviar Shepherd and Self yells: “Hunter what are you doing, we have three big guys, you have to be kidding me.
3/12/15, 4:20 PM
I'm not sure Oubre even touched him, let alone used an arm bar.
3/12/15, 4:24 PM
KU went Triangle and 2 on game's biggest possession.
It is a bizarre and concerning turn for a flawed team whose strengths, in theory, include three-point shooting. Even in the midst of this brick binge, the Jayhawks have hit 38 percent of their three-pointers for the season, which ranked 40th among 351 Division I teams heading into Thursday.
Seven different Jayhawks have hit more than 10 three-pointers this year. Brannen Greene comes off the bench but will probably play in the NBA someday because he is such a strong shooter.
…They hit 10 of 17 in a win at Georgetown, and 10 of 19 in a win over Oklahoma. Over a stretch of nine games and four weeks of conference play, KU hit more than 45 percent.
But three-point shooting tends to be the streakiest part of basketball, and Self doesn’t like streaks, so he has always preached to his teams to never let making shots become their identity.
Over and over, you will hear him talk about judging whether it’s a good shot when it leaves your hands, not when it gets to the basket. In practices, there are few things that set him off more than when he thinks a player only goes hard when his shot is falling.
Self must have seen a dip like this coming, too, because he’s been particularly public this season about putting too much into three-point shooting. Fools’ gold, he’s called it, and here is probably a good place to point out the mind-blowing fact that KU has actually won the last five games in which it has hit one or zero three-pointers.
Things like this can be particular points of pride with certain teams, and at a few different points of the current shooting slump Self has mentioned that KU hit only two shots outside of 3 feet and still won a Sweet 16 game against North Carolina State in 2012. Tyshawn Taylor, the meteoric point guard, didn’t hit a three-pointer in that NCAA Tournament until 3 minutes left in the championship game.
…Self is such a good motivator. It’s one of the strongest parts of his skill set, actually, the ability to convince players to go hard and believe in themselves and there are few times better than a massive shooting slump to see the effects.
“We’re getting wins without hitting threes, so what does that tell you?” says Kelly Oubre, the star freshman. “When we start hitting our shots, we’re going to be lethal.”
That’s exactly what Self wants his players thinking, of course, to look at the positive and see themselves as bigger than whether their shots go in.
But he also knows the reality, that as much as he brings up Taylor and the North Carolina State game from three years ago, that was a much different team than this one. Most obviously, there is no Thomas Robinson around now, and no Jeff Withey wiping out shots in the paint.
KC Star Mellinger
It had been so wide open, like a six-lane highway to the basket. Oubre had caught the ball on the wing, the Jayhawks protecting a two-point lead. He drove hard along the baseline, and just one TCU player appeared in the picture. The defender did not make a play on the ball.
“I kind of wanted him to step over so I could dunk on him,” Oubre said. “But I was going to dunk it regardless.”
This, perhaps more than anything, was the defining Kansas moment from an otherwise ugly, plodding, sloppy and gritty victory in front of an announced crowd of 18,972 at the Sprint Center. For Kansas, there wasn’t much to savor about Thursday’s victory — other than the fact it was a win. The top-seeded Jayhawks advanced to play No. 4 seed Baylor at 6 p.m. on Friday in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.
“We did enough to win,” said forward Landen Lucas, who finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
…The afternoon featured 46 fouls. The Jayhawks recorded 17 turnovers. They missed all eight attempts from three-point range — and have now made just eight of their last 59 shots from long distance. As Kansas coach Bill Self stood in a Sprint Center hallway after the game, he expressed a bit of mild disgust at his team’s energy level.
“That’s as quiet a building as you’ll ever have Kansas play in,” Self said, “and in large part, it’s because we made it that way.”
But if there was something good for Self to cling to, some treasure amidst the rubble, it came in the lanky, crafty frame of Oubre, who carried the Jayhawks’ offense with a simple game plan: Just drive it.
Oubre said he doesn’t think of himself as a post-player, but he can play any position on the floor due to his 6-foot-7 build.
“I’m a perimeter player, I’m a basketball player, I can play the 1,2, 3 or 4,” Oubre said. “That’s what I like to think of myself in my head. Just be an all-around player.”
If Perry Ellis comes back, the TCU game might be the last time Kansas fans see Oubre at the four, but Self said that depends on who's healthy.
“I still think we are better off with Perry [Ellis] in the game, and if he is healthy.”
In the end, with or without Ellis, Kansas still needs to make shots.
“We gotta make shots because if you don’t make shots, what do you do?,” Self said.
With Lucas swatting away three TCU shots and changing a half-dozen other attempts, KU dominated the points-in-the-paint ledger at the half, 26-14, finishing with a 42-34 edge for the afternoon.
…"I think Kelly did a good job with guarding (in the post)," Lucas said. "You know, he's learning it, so it's going to take a little bit of time.
"But on the offensive end, when he has a bigger guy on him, he's able to go around them. And I think it'll be good for us, moving forward, because we'll be quicker on offense and we can spread them out and open the floor up a little bit, let them drive to the floor, get fouled."
Moving forward, it's the Bears (24-8), a crew that defensively uses zones the way Greg Maddux used a changeup; that's their out pitch, the beast.
"So we've just got to be able to attack their zone, get inside their zone," guard Devonte' Graham noted. Then he smiled ruefully. "And make shots, actually."
Fox Sports Keeler
“Baylor’s zone has given us problems in the past. We’ll be ready for it,” KU freshman Kelly Oubre Jr. said after scoring 25 points vs. TCU. “They have a great team. We have a tough task ahead of us.”
Noted Selden: “They are long on the wings. They play that zone really well. They’ve got a beast inside on the glass (Rico Gathers). We know what we have to do.”
Said KU coach Bill Self: “Scott (Drew, coach) has done a really good job. He has them playing hard. They have nice pieces. We’ll have to play unbelievably better, have a total adjustment from an energy standpoint and look like a different ball club.”
2. Who needs to step up for Kansas most in the Jayhawks' time of need?
Katz: Kelly Oubre. He stood out against TCU. If he can suddenly be the consistent scorer for the Jayhawks then they have been able to tap a newer resource. Getting Perry Ellis back is still in question. So they need Oubre to continue to be a breakout scorer.
Goodman: Wayne Selden. He's been an enigma for much of his first two seasons in Lawrence. Frank Mason has made strides, and so has freshman Kelly Oubre. But Selden hasn't delivered what Bill Self was expecting. He was hoping for a guy who would be a consistent double-figure scorer and someone who could be the go-to guy this season. It hasn't happened.
Medcalf: Frank Mason has been the leader in the locker room and on the floor all season. He has to be the guy who helps KU maintain its composure, especially if Ellis is out, and make big plays down the stretch.
ESPN Daily Word
Cliff Alexander isn't playing here at the Big 12 tournament and I'm starting to wonder why.
…The NCAA has recently been on campus, according to a source. Meanwhile, Alexander's lawyer released a statement Friday playing the old blame-the-NCAA-for-the-delay game.
Without Alexander, KU finished up winning at least a share of an 11th straight Big 12 title last week. Without him, KU survived a challenge from TCU Thursday in the Jayhawks' first Big 12 tournament game.
Without Alexander and the injured Perry Ellis, Kansas won a 64-59 slopfest over TCU. The coach of a top 10 team headed for a No. 2 seed found himself talking mostly about who wasn't playing.
Coach Bill Self took equal turns criticizing its team for lack of emotion and admitting he was "emotionless" about the Alexander issue.
"We have approached it like we're moving forward like we're not going to have him," Self said of Alexander. "I'm certainly not holding my breath."
But the winds of NCAA reform are blowing in a way suggesting in the future there will be more Cliff Alexanders able to play than fewer.
For now, the discussion over Alexander's disappointing performance has devolved into a philosophically messy discourse on amateurism:
They're calling it extra benefits. I'm not the only wondering where the competitive advantage is if Alexander's mother sought a loan. In this age of reform, why not be able to borrow against future earnings? As long as it's regulated, what's the harm?
Oregon requires agents registered with the state interview its draft-eligible players in the same room as a retired judge and behavioral therapist. While we all can agree that basketball recruiting sometimes is a stinking cesspool, these things can be regulated.
Such loans wouldn't necessarily give Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina or Kansas a recruiting advantage. Mostly because they're Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Kansas. The hierarchy isn't going to change.
The NCAA and its defenders continue to hold on to an antiquated notion of amateurism. The association has fought doggedly in court arguing that if athletes get paid, fans will stay away in droves. That amateur ideal would be ruined.
Except they have wrecked their own argument. Starting Aug. 1, players will be compensated just because they're players. The cost of attendance issue is taxing budgets but ultimately is seen as the right thing to do for the athlete.
Yeah, they get a free education but the system has been abused so much by those who oversee it, the overseers are losing the argument. The value of that free education now matters less than athletes putting their bodies on the line for dear old State U.
Hence, $2,000-$5,000 per year in a cost of attendance stipend. Hence, a total financial aid package close to $20,000 per year before the scholarship is figured in.
It doesn't end there. If the NCAA loses an appeal in the O'Bannon case, football and men's basketball players will have up to $20,000 waiting for them in a trust fund at the end of their eligibility. That's just in remuneration for using their names, image and likeness.
On deck is a series of high-profile lawsuits seeking straight-up compensation for players. A group of faculty members are now on the wagon, calling for players to be recognized as employees.
Pay players? A lot of it would have been unheard of only a few years ago. But college leaders made so much money -- think of those billion-dollar media rights -- in such a cramped amount of time that reformers (and lawyers) were bound to get interested.
And the NCAA is worried about the mother from a poor kid from Chicago getting a loan against future professional earnings? Unless Kansas somehow arranged for the loan, where's the recruiting advantage?
Unique recruiting advantages are already sanctioned by the NCAA. Texas A&M exploited a loophole in the NCAA Student Assistance Fund to pay $60,000 in insurance premiums protecting offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi against a career-ending injury.
Florida State and Oregon took advantage of the same fund to pay premiums for Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Think those three schools aren't going to mention during the recruiting process?
"Aren't they basically being loaned money based on future athletic performance?" Self asked. "If that's true, then seems like to me it's kind of strange. Why isn't that [potential loans] available on athletic performance?"
You see, everything these days is about student-athlete welfare. Until it's not.
In one sense, even the hint of a parent conspiring to cash in on their kid's physical abilities before he's even enrolled in college is disgusting. But is that any of our business? If a kid gets -- say -- a $20,000 loan based on his future earnings, the market may eventually correct itself. If enough loan institutions hand out money to enough players who can't pay it back, watch what happens to the concept of those loans.
The shame in regards to that amateur ideal is Alexander almost certainly being funneled to the NBA. After one disappointing season, he's clearly not ready. (But when did that matter, right?) Meanwhile, the NCAA is closing in.
If he stays, Alexander could be increasing his earning power by developing his college game. As it stands, this is it. He's done. His draft position could suffer.
But when did that matter, right?
That's not the NCAA's concern. They're defenders of that amateur ideal. You know, the one that says no one will pay good money to watch a struggling freshman make good money.
CBS Dennis Dodd
I choose to believe that Mason and Traylor going untucked for intros is a silent protest against those hideous stripes. #FashionTweet
We got you! "@ChrisHarrisJr: I need them shorts KU got on today. Help ya boy out lol”
"Bathing suits come to mind" -- Fran Fraschilla on #kubball's new uniforms. #MadeInMarch
The challenge, which features Bill Self, Gregg Marshall and Bruce Weber of Kansas University, Wichita State University and Kansas State University, is an attempt to rally volunteers and raise funds for Kansas' Big Brothers Big Sisters program, the release said.
Participants can find additional volunteers or collect funds for the program in the name of Self, Marshall or Weber. At the end of the year the numbers will be tallied, a winner will be declared and a traveling trophy will be awarded.
Marshall won the challenge in 2014, the release said.
In addition to the challenge, volunteers can participate in the annual Bowl for Kids' Sake fundraising campaign.
On April 10, 11 and 17, participants will gather at Jaybowl, 1301 Jayhawk Blvd., or Royal Crest Lanes, 933 Iowa St., in Lawrence to form teams and raise pledges in supporting the state's mentoring programs.
More information is available at www.douglas.kansasbigs.org and www.kansasbowl.org.
The best evidence of how deeply the father-son love shared by Norm and Justin Roberts burns lies in how badly they don’t want to see each other over the next couple of days.
Norm, one of Bill Self’s three assistant basketball coaches, and Justin, junior co-star of the Lawrence High basketball team, both have two teams to root for this weekend. If they see each other before Sunday, that means one of the teams didn’t make it to the title game. So far, neither one has had to stare into a face of disappointment.
KU advanced to Friday’s 6 p.m. Big 12 Tournament semifinal vs. Baylor at Sprint Center, with a 64-59 survival Thursday vs. TCU. LHS, led by Justin Roberts’ 24 points, advanced Wednesday to Friday’s 8:15 p.m. state 6A semifinal vs. Shawnee Mission North in Wichita, with an 18-point victory.
…Norm and Justin Roberts remain three hours apart thanks primarily to freshman Kelly Oubre Jr., recruited to Kansas by Norm, taking over the game in latter stages of the second half in much the same way Justin Roberts so often does for LHS in the fourth quarter.
“The best coach he could ever play for is Bill Self because Bill’s on him and Kelly needs that or he’ll float,” Norm said of Oubre. “Coach won’t let him float. Sometimes, as a kid, he doesn’t understand that, so now as assistants we’ve got to be able to say, ‘No, this is what coach wants.’ He’s the type of kid who at the moment, he’ll look at you, and then once you explain it to him, he’ll say, ‘OK.’ Then that’s that.”
Self might be the perfect coach for Oubre, but not for Justin Roberts, simply because of where Self coaches. Roberts is a Div. I prospect, but he loves to play the game too much to spend his career cheering for others.
“I think I’m pretty level-headed in terms of what level he can play at. I understand his size is probably a deterrence for some people,” Norm said of his 5-foot-8 son.
And that level is?
“He’s probably a mid-major player, Missouri Valley, WAC, Patriot League, where he can go play, be happy, have a nice career, rather than go somewhere that maybe is a little too high for him, he can’t play, he’s not happy,” Roberts said. “He’s been playing AAU basketball since he was 6 years old, so he wants to play.”
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
I'm trying to imagine how good Iowa State might be if it cared even just a little about defense.
His body still joyfully sore from being the dog in the pile of his Iowa State Cyclones teammates, Monte Morris was given the choice to exchange life in the helter-skelter Big 12 Conference for Kentucky’s comparatively easy path of perfection. The point guard said no thanks.
“They’re a great team, but that’s a team that hasn’t really been tested," Morris said. “In the Big 12, we’re battle tested, man."
Battle tested is a good euphemism.
More accurately, the Big 12 is like a trip to the endodontist. In order to be free of pain you first must suffer some serious agony.
Sometime on Saturday night, one team here will emerge from the misery, happy and giddy, with the Big 12 tournament crown. A day later, a good number of league teams will reap the ultimate reward with an NCAA tournament bid.
There will be more suffering -- or what they call battle-testing here in Kansas City -- before that, though.
In the tournament quarterfinals, the Baylor Bears had to fight off a severely depleted West Virginia Mountaineers team to win; a severely depleted Kansas Jayhawks team needed all it could muster to top the near-basement-dwelling TCU Horned Frogs; Iowa State trailed by 10 with 4:17 to play before winning on a buzzer-beater and possibly extinguishing the Texas Longhorns' tourney hopes; and the Oklahoma Sooners, winners of four of their last six, were pushed by the Oklahoma State Cowboys, losers of five of their past six.
…Self lamented after the game that his team is almost upside down, with the younger players (Kelly Oubre and Landen Lucas combined for 38 points Thursday) showing more urgency and effort than the upperclassmen (Wayne Selden and Frank Mason accounted for 13).
Asked what would happen if his team didn’t find a motor, Self said simply, “We’ll go home."
Meanwhile, Iowa State is a lot of fun to watch. It can run and score with anyone, but couldn’t guard a little old lady with the defense it played against Texas. The Longhorns hit shots, but the Cyclones also gave them an awful lot of open looks. The Cyclones' No. 262-ranked scoring defense didn't come by accident.
West Virginia needs Juwan Staten and Gary Browne back in the lineup. The Mountaineers are a completely different defensive team with them, but then again, they’ve frequently been an offensive aberration no matter who is playing.
Oklahoma and Baylor are each reliable, if not necessarily sexy, but aren’t exactly teams that will blow anyone out. Oklahoma State will limp into the NCAA field.
Before Oklahoma’s battle with Oklahoma State on Thursday, Sooners guard Buddy Hield was presented with the Big 12 player of year trophy.
In the second half of the Sooners’ 64-49 victory, he showed why won the award.
Hield scored 16 of his 22 points after halftime and helped spark a comeback victory that sent third-seeded Oklahoma, 22-9, to Friday’s semifinal game against Iowa State at the Sprint Center.
The Sooners’ five-point halftime deficit swelled to nine in the early moments of the second half as shooting woes continued. It appeared Oklahoma State might find a way to win a Bedlam rivalry game for the first time this season.
Former Indiana Pacers center David Harrison, a little more than a decade removed from being a first-round pick in the NBA draft, has struggled to make a consistent living since his basketball career ended – to the point he said he took a job working at McDonald's two years ago.
"I was embarrassed because of where I could be in life," Harrison told Yahoo Sports. "Everybody has to work and make a living somehow. I have two children. They don't care where I work. They just need to eat.
"People were showing up trying to take my car. My house was in foreclosure. I didn't have any income. I just had everything going out. I have child support to one son. I have a really big family and I have to take care of them, even through I'm not playing in the NBA. I needed money."
Nike Hoop Summit World Select Roster Announced (Diallo, Maker)
The people have spoken, and so, too, has the Georgia High School Association.
With a groundswell of local support, coupled with the help of a state representative from north Fulton County, Wheeler’s boys basketball team gained approval to participate at a national tournament in New York next month.
Wheeler, as the No. 6-ranked team in the nation by USA Today, will be able to compete in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament, which will take place April 2-4. The event, which hands out invitations to the top eight ranked teams, will crown a national champion after a nationally televised title game April 4 at Madison Square Garden.
The Wildcats had initially been denied by the Georgia High School Association, which cited a rule that prevented a school from playing in a national tournament, or any game after the conclusion of the state tournament.
MDJ (Jaylen Brown)
Ingram said he “probably” would have committed to North Carolina in November if the Tar Heels were not involved in a far-reaching academic scandal. He also took visits to Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA in November that made him consider playing out of state.
“First and foremost, that scandal thing affected my decision a little bit,” Ingram said. “But I keep in contact with Roy Williams and (assistant) Steve Robinson, and I’m hearing good things about it.
“But I’m not sure, because Kansas and Kentucky and UCLA came on board in the summer and once I visited there, it showed me there are more things out there than in-state schools, and that’s all I was visiting. I developed a great relationship with those (out of state) coaches.”
…Saturday, Ingram and teammate Darnell Dunn can become the first NCHSAA boys’ players to win four straight state championships. Ingram said he’s not thinking about much else except that game, including where he might attend college.
When it’s over, he’ll study which programs are sending guys off to the NBA or to graduation. He said that will factor into his decision.
“Right now, I’m just looking to see open slots (on potential college teams),” he said. “I’m not worried about position. I believe with my work ethic, I can fill a spot. But we’ve got this game first. It’s a thing kids dream of. I give glory to God.
“I don’t think I was this serious coming to school here, and to grow into being one of the nation’s top players has been amazing. Now going for a fourth straight title, it’s a dream come true.
“These guys want it more than anything. We made a change for Kinston High School winning three straight, and getting a fourth would be very special.”
McDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN GAME
April 1, United Center, Chicago
ESPN NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP
April 2-4, Christ the King, Queens, N.Y. & Madison Square Garden
NIKE HOOP SUMMIT
April 11, Moda Center, Portland
KENTUCKY DERBY FESTIVAL
April 11, Freedom Hall, Lexington, KY
JORDAN BRAND CLASSIC
Friday April 17, Barclays Center 7p.m,
Regional Games (4:00 pm) All times Eastern
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