Marcus Smart has a simple message for Andrew Wiggins: Prove it.
It's the same message that Smart's veteran teammates from Oklahoma State want to deliver to the young, hungry group of Jayhawks led by the prized freshman this season.
"A lot of people are saying he's the best player now in college basketball," Smart said of Wiggins during the Big 12's annual media day Tuesday. "All I'm saying is how can you be the best player in something you haven't even played yet?"
…"I'm not saying he can't be the best player," said Smart, who is familiar with Wiggins from the AAU circuit and various national team competitions over the years.
"I know if it was me," Smart said, "don't just give it to me. At least make me earn it. All the hype, good for him. Congratulations to him, don't get me wrong. I'm not taking anything away from Andrew Wiggins, anything like that. He's a good player. I hope he does well."
Just not when the Cowboys face the Jayhawks this season.
"If he's the best player like people say, if that's the case, in order for me to be the best, I have to beat the best, right?" Smart said with a straight face. "If he's the best player, fans will get their money's worth when we play Kansas."
610 Sports Audio: Tarik Black, Andrew Wiggins
810 whb: Audio Coach Bill Self
Self recently told the Journal-World that Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford’s comment that Andrew Wiggins “is from what I understand, the best player to ever play,” was a “failed attempt to be humorous.”
On Tuesday at Media Day, Self added to Kansas City’s Sports Radio 810: “I don’t think it’s right at all for another coach to sarcastically talk about somebody else’s players. I can do it with my guys. He can do it with his. I don’t think it’s right to do it with anybody else’s. I’m not sure he meant it in a negative way toward Andrew. I think it was said, sort of taken out of context. I think it’s the kind of stuff Andrew loves. He likes being challenged in ways like that. I think it’ll be good for him.”
Take note Travis Ford.
“Andrew (Wiggins)…I think he can be (pause), he’s going to shut up all the people.”
Mike DeCourcy, on the hype and criticism surrounding KU’s sensational freshman forward as he spoke with Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John Wednesday morning, 810 AM
“If the rules are enforced like they are supposed to be enforced (in college basketball), it’s just going to be hard to guard (Wiggins).”
Mike DeCourcy, 810 AM
“There were about six or seven times during that practice on Monday where he did things that maybe only three, four or five people on the planet can do. I am being literal here. As quickly and casually and confident as he did.”
Mike DeCourcy, who attended a KU practice on Monday, 810 AM
GH: I don’t need to hear any more if this statement is true – and DeCourcy is not a Mitch Holthus fluffer when it comes to hyping a rookie’s talents. Wiggins is doing things only a handful of guys on the planet can do? How much are those tickets to Allen Fieldhouse this season?
“Wiggins is one of the best athletes to ever play the game of basketball.”
Mike DeCourcy, 810 AM
GH: DeCourcy just kept topping himself with Wiggins’ compliments as he spoke to The Border patrol on Wednesday morning. It was fantastic.
Off the Couch
“Andrew,” the reporter said, looking toward Black, a 6-foot-9 transfer from Memphis. “… what’s the buzz like in Lawrence with students?”
As a little confusion reigned, Tharpe stepped in and dutifully answered the question. But the reporter persisted:
“Andrew, though,” he said, “have you felt it from the students?”
Finally, Black couldn’t contain his laughter.
“Wait, who’s Andrew?” Tharpe said.
So let the record show, as the swelling hype around Wiggins arrived in Kansas City on Tuesday morning, there are still those who are acclimating themselves to the Jayhawks’ latest phenom.
…“The first couple of weeks of practice were hard for all the freshmen,” Wiggins said. “But now everything is coming easier, more fluent. The potential is there to be the best team.”
“We can be great,” Wiggins said. “The best team in the country.”
Despite the frenzy surrounding Wiggins, coach Bill Self believes he’ll have no trouble keeping his young team focused and clear of any potential amateurism issues.
“I don’t think that’s hard at all,” Self said. “The Adidas report was bogus. It is different, because there’s so much attention. Every practice you’ve got six or 10 NBA teams there watching your guys.
“But I think that’s good, too. Guys wanna go to places where they can be seen, and that’s happening right now at our place.”
…Self said he and his staff have discussed the idea of playing four guards at times this season, with Wiggins or fellow freshman Wayne Selden playing at the four. Both Wiggins and Selden have the ability to guard multiple positions, and Self would like to find opportunities to get the 6-foot-8 Wiggins in the post.
“We could do some different things,” Self said. “But the thing about it is, you wanna play your best players if it works out. And our (big men), right now, have probably been as consistent a performers as we’ve had.”
Wiggins — he averaged 23.4 points and 11.2 rebounds last season at Huntington Prep in West Virginia — isn’t crazy about being tagged the best high school player since NBA star Kevin Durant, his favorite player, and LeBron James.
“I’ve got a long way to go before I can be compared to LeBron and Durant. Those are the best players in the world right now,” Wiggins said. “I’m still in college. I think it’s unfair to compare me with someone of that caliber. Hopefully one day I can be compared to them. I think I have a long way to go before I am. In reality, they are the best players in the world.”
…Being human, Wiggins obviously will make some mistakes, just like the young reporter who asked Self if Chamberlain and Manning had “reached out” to Wiggins to help him with expectations.
Chamberlain, of course, died in 1999.
“Danny may have,” Self said, not wanting to embarrass the young questioner. “Danny I think is a great sounding board for Andrew. I think that would be somebody who will help Andrew even though he is in Tulsa (as head coach). He will and we’ll ask him to do so. There are a lot of similarities from a personality standpoint and all that stuff when Danny was playing.”
Though Wiggins is quiet, he’s fun to be around, his teammates say.
“Every time I see the dude, I look at him and start laughing,” said KU junior Naadir Tharpe. “I don’t know why. One day after practice, my man was about to get in the shower with his ankle braces on. He walked all the way to the shower and comes back. He said, ‘I got my ankle braces on.’ We said, ‘Yeah we can see.’ That’s who he is, a laid-back dude. You wouldn’t even know he’s the No. 1 player in the country if you haven’t seen the magazines. He’s always himself all the time.”
He's a six-foot-eight savant who attacks like D-Wade, jumps like Dr. J, and closes like Kobe. Is all this “Canadian LeBron” hype legit? Andrew Corsello catches up with the temporary college student—he’ll be a Kansas Jayhawk for the next five minutes or so—and asks the kid himself.
…“I like Kevin Durant's game! Ain't nothing he can't do. Shoot. Has a handle. Plays D. Scores at will. Durant, man! Has that killer instinct.”
Interesting, that last bit. Some have seen Wiggins's ability to shiver through defenders without touching them as an unwillingness to knock heads and stake his claim as The Man. “Anybody who has ever watched me knows that I get my teammates involved, that I make them better,” Wiggins responds. “I'm not too selfish or unselfish.”
Asked, after calling himself a “child of God,” if he ever wonders to his Creator, “Why me?” Wiggins gives a sheepish laugh, then says, “Nah.”
GQ Magazine - Andrew Wiggins: Next Year's #1 NBA Draft Pick
10/22/13, 11:00 AM
Fran Fraschilla to me: KU'sEmbiid has 'Olajuwon-like potential. Will make team w/ # 1 pick in (14) draft think long, hard about passing up.'
“I think Joel has a chance to be about as talented a big guy as I’ve ever had. He’s only been playing ball for two years. He’s just starting his third. He’s made a lot of progress in a short amount of time since he’s been with us. If he continues to improve at this rate, he could be a guy that could not only really impact our league, but impact the landscape nationally a little bit.
“He’s young and green and doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but there is obviously a skillset there that few seven-footers have,” Self added, noting when KU first started recruiting Embiid he was the “fourth best player on his AAU team.”
At one point, he catches on the left block, fakes to the middle, spins to the baseline and one step later dunks on the opposite side of the rim. The whole thing takes two seconds, maybe less. It is breathtaking.
There aren’t a lot of men on the planet who can do what Joel Embiid just made look so easy, let alone 19-year-old freshmen. This is what the line of NBA scouts watching Kansas basketball practice focus on. They also see the tentativeness. The uncertainty. The spurts of disappearance.
The most famous player in the building is Andrew Wiggins, of course. He’s the one with the bedhead and the 40-some-inch vertical and enough hype that his necktie trends on Twitter. But the most intriguing guy to many in basketball circles is Embiid. He’s the one who probably won’t start for Kansas at the beginning of the season and who many think will be a top 10 NBA pick at the end of it.
That is, if the making of a basketball star stays on track. In slow steps. Today is one of the slower steps. Baby steps, you might say.
“Joe!” KU coach Bill Self screams. “The pacifier is right over there, if you need to pick it up.”
Embiid looks across the court at his coach. Self smiles. c smiles back. They have the same goal. They both know Self has a point, and they both know Embiid has an overwhelming stock of talent.
…Wiggins is the ready-made star, the one getting the magazine covers. Embiid’s development will take more time, with more struggles.
But for KU and its most-hyped season in recent memory, Embiid’s progress from neophyte to lottery pick will be just as crucial.
“I just want to get better,” he says. “We want to win a national championship. So if that happens, that’s good. But I don’t pay attention to (draft talk). I just want to get better.”
KC Star Mellinger
Embiid article form August 2012
The boys getting done with Big 12 Media day! Now hurry back for practice. @Ntharpe1 @PElliz @22wiggins… instagram.com/p/fyDXCdAHZZ/
Cousy Award Watch List (No Tharpe!)
LJW Big 12 Media Days blog
LJW Photo Gallery
KUAD Photo Gallery
KUAD Coach Self quotes
“We’ve got to get Andrew (Wiggins) and Wayne opportunities to catch in the post. They could be two of our very best post players,” Self said.
“Absolutely,” he added when asked if he could play Selden or Wiggins at the 4 position (power forward). We could go real small and have Perry at the 5 (post). The thing is you want to play your best players if it works out. Our bigs now have been as consistent performers as we have. It’s hard to take both (bigs) out as of now.”
Frontcourt players Ellis and Black are being pushed hard daily by 7-foot Joel Embiid, 6-8 Jamari Traylor and 6-10 Landen Lucas. Judging from some recent practices, it appears Lucas may be the fifth big with several workouts remaining before Tuesday’s exhibition opener versus Pittsburg State.
“Last year we played without a low-post player. Jeff (Withey) was not a low post scorer. Kevin (Young) wasn’t a low-post scorer,” Self said. “We have more size and ability to play through our post more to score, I hope. I don’t think we were the deepest on the perimeter last year. A lot of things we can do better this year. We’re also replacing three fifth-year guys who started (Releford, Young, Withey) and a four-year guy who started (Johnson). There’s no substitute for experience. If we were going to play a game right now, trust me, last year’s team would beat this year’s team. Hopefully that will not be the case later. We weren’t good early last year either. There’s natural progression for teams to make.”
One thing KU may be missing is a batch of blocked shots.
“He’s not a rim protector like Withey,” Self said of Embiid. “I think he’s a good shot blocker. I don’t think he’s as good as he can be. He has to condition his brain to go get ‘em. We’ve been spoiled the last two years. We had the best shot blocker in America the last two years. He made up for a lot of mistakes.”
Digital Kansas Basketball Preview
Big 12/College News
I'm watching these videos with the BIG12 officials coordinator, and I honestly don't know how you can play D in CBB anymore. #BIG12MBB
Curtis Shaw (Big 12 Coordinator of Mens Basketball Officials) on the new rules: If you ever put a forearm or 2 hands on a player it's a foul
“My initial thought was that scoring is going to go up and good play is going to go down. That was my initial thought. Because the reason scoring will go up is because we’re shooting more free throws. It won’t be because of artistic play,” Self said.
“I’ve always thought the way to improve our game was to try to create a situation where you get more shots. I don’t know if this is going to create more shots. I think it’s going to create more free throws, which I’m not saying is bad. But when you watch a game — early in the season we may have some games where you can’t go up and down twice without having stoppage because it’s going to be a broken game in large part.
“But I think players will adjust, coaches will adjust,” Self continued, noting his players figure to drive the ball a lot this season. “I think over time it will be good. I’m a little concerned early on that, to get to where we need it, it’s going to be some pretty fragmented games.”
CBS talking heads create fantasy draft of cbb players (and two of 'em don't draft Wiggins. Not even as a reserve.)
Officials from the Big 12 and the Cowboys expect a record crowd of more than 80,000 people will attend the Final Four when it’s played at AT&T Stadium in suburban Dallas.
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Cowboys vice president Charlotte Anderson said at the Big 12’s annual media day Tuesday that they anticipate breaking the mark for a national semifinal of 75,421 set during the 2011 Final Four in Houston.
“We have the capacity to host over 80,000, and that’s been distributed through the NCAA channels,” Anderson said. “We hope that we can open that capacity beyond that for standing room. That is being under consideration by the NCAA at this point.
“We know that we’ll have a pretty packed venue,” Anderson said, “and we hope that we can get as many people that want to come in the venue itself.”
The record for a championship game is 74,326, set during Louisville’s 82-76 victory over Michigan on April 8 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The previous record was 72,922, which was set when North Carolina played Michigan State on April 6, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit.
This season’s title game is scheduled for April 7, 2014.
“We’re going to have events all over the Metroplex,” said Bowlsby, whose conference will be serving as the Final Four host. “There are a lot of fun things that are going to go on during the course of the weekend, and obviously as the commissioner of the Big 12, I believe we have some teams with the capability to be playing when the Final Four commences in Dallas.”
Dallas hasn’t hosted a Final Four since 1986, when league member Kansas lost in the national semifinals at Reunion Arena. Louisville beat Auburn for the national championship.
At best, it seems, Haith looked away from shenanigans of his assistants (none of whom accompanied him to Mizzou, incidentally), when it came to the payment, in response to Shapiro apparently blackmailing the staff with threats to go public that he’d once provided an assistant $10,000 to facilitate the recruitment of a prospect.
At worst, Haith choreographed the payment, which came after he wrote three $3,200 checks to three assistants as “camp advances” … and the assistants cashed the checks the same day at the same bank.
In Haith’s Oct. 6, 2011 interview, the NCAA said Haith told investigators he had written those checks because the assistants were “financially struggling.”
One former assistant said he needed the money to pay for his child’s school tuition, which the NCAA said was not paid for another 47 days, so the committee deemed that explanation “not credible” … especially considering the check was cashed, not deposited.
Then in Haith’s Sept. 5, 2012, interview, the NCAA said Haith acknowledged writing the camp advance checks because assistant Jake Morton said he needed help to pay Shapiro.
In the final interview, Sept. 25, 2012, sought by Haith to clarify some points, the NCAA said his version of those events “changed significantly.”
“The information supports a factual conclusion that (Morton) collected $3,200 from each of the other two coaches once they cashed their camp advance checks,” the NCAA report said, adding that (Morton) “then added cash that he had at home for the full payment to the booster.”
The committee, the report adds, “makes a factual conclusion that (Haith and Morton) worked together to ensure that the booster received a large cash payment and that this payment would end the booster’s threats.”
Whether it was a shakedown or a cover-up, it would take an extravagantly willing suspension of disbelief to conclude nothing was done wrong here.
No matter what issues you might have with the NCAA. And no matter how rotten Shapiro seems to be.
KC Star Gregorian
10/22/13, 10:21 AM
Bruce Pearl lies about a 2ndary violation,admits it,gets a Show Cause -- Haith lies about an assistant paying $10k,gets 5 games
Ask anybody at the NCAA or Tennessee, and they'll explain in great detail that Pearl's biggest crime wasn't holding a cookout for high school juniors in violation of NCAA bylaws. His biggest crime, they've always insisted, was misleading investigators when asked about the cookout. Simply put, Pearl lied. And the lesson the NCAA wanted to send by hammering Pearl and effectively ending his coaching career (at least until somebody hires him next year) is that lying to the NCAA is a line that should not be crossed.
So why is the message delivered Tuesday so different?
…And the most important thing you need to know is that the NCAA made a "factual conclusion" that Haith changed his story multiple times about why he issued unusual "advanced checks" to three assistants. According to the report, Haith initially said the checks were issued because the assistants "had personal obligations and were financially struggling" before ultimately acknowledging that he wrote the checks to create cash designed to repay former booster Nevin Shapiro in hopes of ensuring he wouldn't talk about a number of things, including an allegation that Shaprio had used money to help secure a commitment from a basketball recruit named Dequan Jones.
Now I'm not interested in debating whether Shapiro really bought Jones' commitment nor do I care to discuss whether Haith knew about it. The evidence, it should be noted, is overwhelming. But to focus on that is to miss the point entirely because the point is that, regardless of what actually happened, Haith interviewed with the NCAA three different times and changed his story drastically, meaning he lied to the NCAA just like Pearl lied to the NCAA. And yet Haith will not get a show-cause penalty, and there's no reason to think he'll lose his job at Missouri.
Everyone will focus on football, but how on earth did Frank Haith get off with a 5-game suspension based on some of the stuff in here?
NCAA concludes Haith funneled money to assistants to pay off Shapiro, tried to hide it & sought extra interview to fix the botched cover-up.
Somewhere in Knoxville, Bruce Pearl has to be reading the Haith report and wondering how he got a three-year show-cause.
Haith sits against SE Louisiana, SIU, Hawaii, Gardner Webb & IUPUI. Mizzou would be 5-0 after that stretch if Sheryl Crow coached the team.
Former UM and current University of Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith was suspended for the first five games of the 2013-14 season. He also must attend an NCAA Regional Rules seminar at the end of the 2013-14 academic year.
“The former head men’s basketball coach failed to meet his responsibilities as a head coach when he did not monitor the activities of his assistant coaches, and attempted to cover up the booster’s threats to disclose incriminating information,” the NCAA wrote in a release. “Additionally, two assistant football coaches and one assistant men’s basketball coach did not follow NCAA ethical conduct rules.”
Haith said he will not appeal. “While I strongly disagree with [Tuesday’s] report,” he said in a written statement, “and the inference on how the program was run at [UM], as head basketball coach during that period, I accept responsibility for all actions in and around that program.”
NCAA 102-page full report on Miami
Heralded Maryland assistant Dalonte Hill is taking time away from the program following multiple reports of a DUI over the weekend. The charge is Hill's third alcohol-driving incident on record. In January 2012, Hill was arrested for suspicion of DUI and subsequently suspended by Maryland. And in 2008, while at Kansas State, Hill missed one game following a similar charge.
Maryland announced the immediate hiatus on Tuesday afternoon. This is Hill's third season with the program, which runs in conjunction with head coach Mark Turgeon's tenure.
Much of the early talk in college basketball has centered on Kentucky's young stars, but Rick Pitino thinks defending champion Louisville can do something great.
"It's going to be an exciting season," the Cardinals coach said, according to The (Louisville) Courier-Journal. "We are one year away from a potential mini-dynasty -- one year."
Louisville has been to seven straight NCAA tournaments, made the 2011-12 Final Four and then won it all last season.
"If these players rise to the occasion once again -- win another conference championship, go back to the Final Four -- it takes three to have the makings of a dynasty," Pitino said.
The NCAA has granted UCLA transfer Josh Smith a waiver to play immediately at Georgetown, and the former McDonald's All-American will have two seasons of eligibility remaining despite the fact that he's already participated in three years of basketball.
Georgetown announced the decision Wednesday.
"We are excited that the NCAA has approved the waiver for Joshua," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III. "Now, he has to maintain a high level of commitment on and off the court. He will provide a significant low-post presence for this team."
That's undeniably true.
Smith will provide a presence for the Hoyas.
But the story here isn't about what this will do for Georgetown as much as it's about the NCAA reaching a conclusion that contradicts other conclusions on other waivers that have been denied. For starters, Smith didn't transfer from UCLA to Georgetown to be closer to home or near an ailing family member. He's from Kent, Wash. -- not Washington, D.C.
He couldn't be farther from home.
So why was a waiver to play immediately granted?
Big XII composite schedule
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
JAHLIL OKAFOR | C | No. 6 overall |
Where Kentucky stands: The Crystal Ball says UK is a long shot. No one is predicting that Okafor will commit to Kentucky.
The main competition: Duke is the favorite with 92 percent of participants picking the Blue Devils.
Meyer’s pick: Duke (March 18)
Worth noting: Four of the last five predictions logged for Okafor are in favor of Kansas (though three of those have come from staffers at the Jayhawks’ 247Sports affiliate).
MYLES TURNER | C | No. 7 overall |
Where Kentucky stands: The Crystal Ball says UK is a long shot. No one is predicting that Turner will commit to Kentucky.
The main competition: Kansas is the favorite with 76 percent of participants picking the Jayhawks.
Meyer’s pick: Texas (Oct. 14)
Worth noting: Meyer started a trend with his Texas pick last week. The last five predictions on Turner’s Crystal Ball page are all in favor of the Longhorns.
Lexington Herald Leader
Kansas dropped in on 2015 five-star big man Chance Comanche this afternoon.
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