KU released its nonconference schedule Thursday afternoon, and among the highlights are a return trip to the Maui Invitational, a Champions Classic battle against Michigan State and a road game at San Diego State.
“It’s obviously another solid schedule,” KU coach Bill Self said. “The last two years we played the toughest schedule in the country. This year we feel like, once again, this will be a schedule that will be one of the nation’s best.”
The Jayhawks will unofficially open the season on Oct. 9 with Late Night in the Phog before hosting Division II schools Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State for exhibitions in early November.
KU’s regular-season opener is at home against Northern Colorado on Nov. 13 before the schedule turns difficult. Michigan State is the next week, followed by the three-game Maui Invite.
The Jayhawks also will play a home game for the Big 12-SEC Challenge on Jan. 30 while taking a break from conference season. Though no opponent has been announced, it has been long rumored that Kentucky will fill that date.
“The Big 12/SEC Challenge game, which we will host, and all the others will certainly be great preparation for us,” Self said, “going into what will, once again, be a terrific Big 12 conference slate.”
2015-16 MEN’S BASKETBALL NONCONFERENCE SCHEDULE
Oct. 9 (Friday) — Late Night in the Phog — Lawrence
Nov. 4 (Wednesday) — Pittsburg State (exhibition) — Lawrence
Nov. 10 (Tuesday) — Fort Hays State (exhibition) — Lawrence
Nov. 13 (Friday) — Northern Colorado (Maui Invitational) — Lawrence
Nov. 17 (Tuesday) — vs. Michigan State (Champions Classic) — Chicago
Nov. 23 (Monday) — vs. TBD (Maui Invitational) — Lahaina, Hawaii
Nov. 24 (Tuesday) — vs. TBD (Maui Invitational) — Lahaina, Hawaii
Nov. 25 (Wednesday) — vs. TBD (Maui Invitational) — Lahaina, Hawaii
Dec. 1 (Tuesday) — Loyola (Md.) — Lawrence
Dec. 5 (Saturday) — Harvard — Lawrence
Dec. 9 (Wednesday) — Holy Cross — Lawrence
Dec. 12 (Saturday) — Oregon State (Kansas City Shootout, Sprint Center) — Kansas City, Mo.
Dec. 19 (Saturday) — Montana — Lawrence
Dec. 22 (Tuesday) — at San Diego State — San Diego
Dec. 29 (Tuesday) — UC Irvine — Lawrence
Jan. 30 (Saturday) — Big 12/SEC Challenge — Lawrence
More than six weeks after a season-ending loss to Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament, Self says he may have “changed too much” on the offensive end during a Kansas season that finished with a 27-9 record and an 11th straight Big 12 title.
In an interview at the Big 12 coaches meetings in Phoenix with Big12sports.com, Self discussed his team’s offensive struggles in 2014-15. The Jayhawks ranked just 36th in the country in offensive efficiency, the lowest mark since 2006, and they shot just 46.4 percent inside the three-point line, the worst mark of Self’s Kansas tenure. The low-post scoring issues plagued Kansas all season long.
“I probably changed too much last year,” Self said. “We became an inside-out team, and then obviously the last half of the season we were an outside-in-type team. We still wanted to play through our bigs, but not like we have in the past. I don’t think we ran near as good of offense last year, so hopefully personnel will allow us to do some different type things.”
Self has heard positive reports on Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre Jr., who figure to be first-round picks in the June NBA Draft. Draftexpress.com says Oubre will be selected No. 12 and Alexander No. 27 in Round One.
“They both are going to be drafted high. I think Cliff has a chance to sneak in there (first round) and Kelly has a chance to sneak in the lottery,” Self told Big12sports.com at the Big 12 meetings in Phoenix.
Of his own team and incoming freshmen Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo, Self said: “We were thin up front last year from a production standpoint. Carlton is a very good face-up four-type man, and Cheick is kind of an energy guy that can do a little bit of everything, especially defensively and rebounding. We think both will have a huge impact for us. And we’ve got Perry Ellis back, Jamari Traylor, Landen Lucas, Hunter Mickelson — we’ve got some experience coming back, but it’s nice to have two athletes like this, because we were missing that last year.”
"The good news is [Embiid] is back playing basketball now," Tellem said in a conversation Wednesday that will air Thursday morning on Breakfast on Broad. "This is now coming from the Sixers that he has made great progress. We expect him to play this summer. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Joel will be a terrific player, sort of the anchor of this franchise going forward. All signs are pointing in a good direction, and that is most encouraging."
Marcus and Markieff Morris, twin brothers who play for the Phoenix Suns, have pleaded not guilty to two counts each of felony aggravated assault.
They are accused of helping three other people beat a man outside a Phoenix recreation center on Jan. 24. The brothers entered their pleas Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Police say 36-year-old Erik Hood reported that he was repeatedly punched and kicked while sustaining a fractured nose, abrasions and large bump on his head.
A quirk in the schedule that forced the postponement of last winter’s Special Olympics clinic with the Kansas University women’s basketball team turned out to be beneficial for first-year KU coach Brandon Schneider and his new team.
Instead of continuing to criss-cross the country for recruiting trips, family obligations and in search of his new staff, Schneider, decked out in full crimson-and-blue attire, was in Allen Fieldhouse with his team on Thursday night, working through drills and competitions with more than 30 Special Olympians.
“The opportunity to involve a group of people who are just rabid Jayhawk fans and have ’em down on the floor of Allen Fieldhouse was a great opportunity,” Schneider said.
KUAD: Recap of Special Olympics event
Former North High and Kansas All-American Lynette Woodard has been named 2015 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
Woodard was a four-time All-American who scored more points (3,649) than any other collegiate women’s player.
Selections are made based on extraordinary efforts that have made a long-standing positive impact on the sport.
“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
Missouri coach Kim Anderson rounded out his coaching staff Wednesday with the announcement that former Tigers player Corey Tate would return to the program.
Tate, who currently coaches at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo., and also directs the St. Louis Eagles of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League ranks, checked every box Anderson was looking to fill in replacing former associate head coach Tim Fuller.
Anderson wanted an experienced coach with championship-level success, a good recruiter in the Midwest, a coach with a track record of player development and one who also could serve as a mentor
“In Corey, we found someone who has been successful in all of those areas, and he is a former player who knows the type of program we want to build at Mizzou,” Anderson said.
Tate, who played at Missouri from 1994-97 on teams with Anderson as an assistant coach, is best remember by Tigers fan for his jumper in the closing seconds of double overtime to deliver a 96-94 win Feb. 4, 1997, against No. 1 Kansas at the Hearnes Center.
“It’s good to be home,” Tate said. “Once a Tiger, always a Tiger. My immediate plan and my entire focus going forward is to help Coach Anderson restore that winning culture I played in during my time at Mizzou.”
Steve Patterson is sounding like a man who wants to take over the world -- one international game at a time.
The Texas athletic director added some clarity to Mack Brown's recent trip to Dubai during a Wednesday sit-down during the Big 12 spring meetings. Patterson hinted to CBSSports.com that Texas will play games in the Middle Eastern emirate -- just not football games.
“It's also the country that paid Tiger Woods $2 million and skip the Phoenix Open each year,” Patterson said. “What does that mean with what we might do with a golf team? Duke went over there and played basketball a few years ago.”
New basketball coach Shaka Smart will take the Longhorns to China to play Washington in November. That trip, Patterson said, will not be a one off. Patterson said Texas is “still having conversations” about playing a football game in Mexico City.
“If the entry path happens to be sports, great,” he said. “It's a de-politicized path that people can rally around similar to music, entertainment. When the Berlin Wall fell, half the reason was people wanted to buy jeans and Michael Jackson records.
“Who'da thunk that Levis and Michael Jackson records would bring down the wall? None of our armies did. The university has a great role to play.”
After a season hijacked by injuries, Bruiser Flint looked at his returning roster and allowed himself to dream. With virtually all of his players back, including Damion Lee, who ranked fifth in the nation in scoring, there was good reason for Flint and his Drexel Dragons to be optimistic.
And then Lee walked into Flint's office and said he'd be leaving. He'd completed his course work, ready to graduate from Drexel with a degree in general humanities and social science coming his way, and under the current NCAA structure for graduate transfers, would be eligible to play anywhere immediately.
All of a sudden Flint's phone started ringing.
"I got coaches calling, 'Hey do you think we have a shot with him?' I'm like, 'Man I don't want to help you out.' This is a guy who was going to be really good for me. Not just good, but really good,'' Flint said. "I get it. Coaches are doing what they do, but I'm not going to be like, 'Yeah, let me help you take my guy.''
And that really is the crux of the graduate transfer issue.
As the NCAA likely looks to close the loophole and make graduate transfers sit out a year like all other transfers, critics argue that the number of players involved (21 percent of all transfers, according to Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News) are disproportionate to the outcry against the rule, and that there are bigger issues for the NCAA to care about right now.
Mike White hasn't even had the Florida job for a day, but his staff is already taking shape.
White will bring both Jordan Mincy and Darris Nichols to Gainesville as assistants, sources told CBSSports.com. Both were assistants under White at Louisiana Tech. He will hold the final spot for Dusty Mays, who will attempt to get the head coaching job at Louisiana Tech.
White was hired on Thursday at Florida to replace Billy Donovan.
Shay Wildeboor of JayhawkSlant.com joins this week's edition of the HawkZone Podcast to discuss that question, previewing Rivals prospects and potential KU recruits Tevin Mack (No. 61), Kobe Eubanks (No. 101) and LaGerald Vick (No. 137). Wildeboor also gives his thoughts on Diallo, and the crew discusses Bill Self's recent comments that the Jayhawks were too much of an "outside-in" team late last season.
Eudora High sophomore basketball standout Mitchell Ballock has accepted an invitation to the 2015 Stephen Curry Select Camp, set for June 29 to July 2, in Alameda, California.
Ballock, a 6-foot-4 combo guard ranked No. 23 in the recruiting Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, recently was one of 20 prep guards from around the world to receive a personalized You Tube invitation from Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
Ballock won the “best shooter” award at last summer’s initial Curry camp.
“What’s up, Mitch? Hope you had a great sophomore season back in Kansas,” Curry said on the video entitled, “Mitch Ballock, you are officially invited to the SC30 Select Camp.”
…Former Baylor signee Kobie Eubanks, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound graduate shooting guard from Elev8 Sports Academy in Delray Beach, Florida, plans to visit KU, Eubanks told Rivals.com on Wednesday.
…Eubanks averaged 18.5 points as a senior at Our Savior New American in Centereach, New York. He was a teammate of current KU signee Cheick Diallo. He scored in double figures in 25 of 27 games with a pair of 30-point games. Prior to that, he played three years at American Heritage School in Plantation, Florida.
His brother, Nick, is the No. 14-rated football tight end in the country in the Class of 2016. He attends American Heritage High.
…Former SMU commit LaGerald Vick, a 6-5, 175-pound shooting guard from Memphis, announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he was “Blessed to have just received an Offer from the University of Kansas!” He included a picture of a Jayhawk under the tweet.
Vick, who is ranked No. 137 in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, is seriously considering reclassifying to 2015. Kentucky, Louisville and Virginia are also believed interested.
…Tevin Mack, a 6-6 senior small forward from Dreher High in Columbia, South Carolina, is expected to visit Texas unofficially this weekend, his mom, Paula, tells midlandshssports.com. He has already used up his five visits. Paula told the website that her son will take part in a virtual tour and video-conference via Skype between Tevin, Paula and coach Bill Self.
Caleb Swanigan is rescinding a commitment from Michigan State, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman.
Swanigan, this year's IndyStar Mr. Basketball, is a five-star prospect and ranked No. 19 in the 2015 class by Rivals. The Homestead star, who led his high school to a state title as a senior, committed to Michigan State in April.
When contacted by phone, his guardian Roosevelt Barnes said he'd have to "look into it" and asked where the report had surfaced. He hasn't responded to further inquiry.
Goodman's report mentioned Purdue as a potential landing spot for Swanigan, who averaged 22.6 points and 13.7 rebounds as a senior. Purdue, Cal and Duke were the other three programs in the running for Swanigan when he committed to Michigan State.
A California-based group says it will offer 2015 McDonald’s All-Americans $700,000 to play for an independent pro team called the Las Vegas Dealers.
The team owner says it will play 35 games in Las Vegas against European League teams and would also go on a 15-game tour of Europe.
Team owner Cerruti Brown told Las Vegas FOX 5 TV that some current McDonald’s All-Americans are being contacted to sign up for the 2015-16 season, to begin in October.
“We don’t see any problems in landing the right kids. Now, I’m not going to say we’ll have 10 of the top 25 kids this year, but I’m going to go on record as saying we’re going to have five,” Brown told the TV station.
On the league’s Website (lvdbasket.com), it says McDonald’s All-Americans will earn $700,000, underclassmen with college eligibility $400,000 and free agents $100,000 for the upcoming season.
"Sneaker Season" is now in its second month, that means the evaluation period is over. But the absence of college coaches doesn't equate to a shift into neutral for the three major shoe brands.
May and June are months of movement in the world of grassroots basketball, a time when recruiting is at its peak. Not necessarily recruiting from college programs, but by coaches and reps from all three sneaker brands who are all looking to improve the quality of their respective products before coaches return to the road in July.
Though all three brands ran competing events during the two evaluation periods in April, that isn’t necessarily the case anymore as they all have unique plans for how to bridge the gap of the next two months.
…This weekend’s EYBL session in Houston is expected to be a prime example of that for two main reasons. First, it’s the only of the four EYBL sessions in which neither Adidas nor Under Armour has a competing event of any kind. Second, players need to compete in at least two EYBL sessions in order to be eligible for the finals. In other words, if they haven’t yet played on the EYBL and don’t this week, they won't be eligible to do so in July.
So, with only one sneaker event on tap for this coming weekend, the biggest storyline is unquestionably which new faces show up in Houston, with multiple ESPN 60 prospects being rumored to attend in the days leading up to the event.
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