Audio Scott Van Pelt Show: Coach Self talks about the win over OSU and the upcoming Big 12 tournament
“Somebody told me today we’re 53-20 on the road in league play — 53-20 is pretty amazing,” added Self, whose Jayhawks actually are 54-19 on the road. “We went 7-2 on the road this year. For this team to go 7-2 on the road is pretty cool. It’s pretty special. The two games we lost (Iowa State and Missouri) ... we could have won either one of them.
“In the national championship year, the best we could do is 5-3. To win away from home like that is a tribute to how far these guys have come.”
Self made sure the Jayhawks did not take this eighth-straight title lightly following Monday’s 70-58 win at his alma mater, OSU.
He had the players place the league championship trophy on the floor of the locker room after accepting it from Big 12 associate commissioner John Underwood and had the Jayhawks do a bit of dancing around the hardware.
Self took part in the dancing.
“It was great. We were all dancing. I’ve done it four times now,” said red-shirt junior center Jeff Withey. “It’s always the same, a great feeling,” he added. “It’s really fun to be able to do that.”
…Self said starting guard Tyshawn Taylor would be joined by fellow senior reserves Conner Teahan and Jordan Juenemann in Saturday’s starting lineup versus Texas.
“The three seniors will start. We always do that,” Self said. “Jordan walked on, has been with us four years and has done a really good job. Conner has been with us about as long as (Brady) Morningstar it seems,” Self cracked of the fifth-year senior. “I’m proud of Conner. Boy did he come up big against Missouri (four threes). Of course Tyshawn ... I don’t know if I’ve been around many who have come as far as he has in so many ways.”
Self said junior Thomas Robinson would not give a speech after the game, but could be recognized in some way.
Though no official announcement has been made, it’s a given he will be turning pro after the season.
“People have asked me about Thomas (on Senior Night). As much as I care for him and stuff, we do have a history and tradition. This is Senior Night, not Junior Night,” Self said on his radio show.
…The Omaha World-Herald says KU and Nebraska have talked about starting a series beginning next season. The paper said, “it would always be a road game for NU, but some games would be played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.”
“We never talked about anything but one game,” said KU schedule maker, Larry Keating. “It was so preliminary we didn’t even discuss it here. We talked a while back. Nothing is going to happen this year.”
Kansas has won eight consecutive regular-season conference titles. Let that sink in. Eight straight.
That’s not just impressive, it’s absurd.
When the No. 3 Jayhawks beat Oklahoma State Monday night, it clinched the crown outright, in a season when they not only lost six key players and four starters from a 35-3 squad, but Baylor and Missouri produced seasons in which both were top 10 mainstays.
Yet, here’s Kansas (25-5, 15-2 in Big 12) winning the league crown yet again. For the eighth year in a row. If it doesn’t sound impressive, consider that Syracuse has nine Big East regular-season titles, total. It’s just … absurd.
Even talented teams have down years. Even if the Big 12 doesn’t match the Big East or Big Ten for great teams at the top, it’s not like it’s been filled with cream puffs. But the Jayhawks won. Again.
No one should feel sorry for Kansas. Not ever, really, but especially not in a moment like last night. The Jayhawks were celebrating their eighth straight Big 12 title, breaking out the hats and T-shirts, showing off the trophy. They were a happy bunch, and if you’re human, you had to share a least a little bit of their happiness; for Thomas Robinson, whose story is well known, and for Tyshawn Taylor, whose career is just now starting to coalesce. A small part of me also felt some sympathy, though, because the Jayhawks may not yet realize what they have done. This team, the in-between team, the team with no bench, has somehow played its way into serious March expectations. It has baited the trap of its own success.
…Now KU is on pace to finish 16-2, which is a better record than anyone was supposed to have in the Big 12's round-robin format. (Bill Self predicted the league champ would have three or four losses.) The Jayhawks will get a No. 1 seed or a 2-seed at worst, which means that, by definition, it will be an upset if they’re not playing in the Elite Eight or the Final Four. And, hey, is there a team out there KU can’t beat? Outside of Kentucky and Syracuse, neither of whom should be in the Jayhawks’ region, it’s hard to say anyone is definitively better. So, no, you shouldn’t feel sorry forKansas. The Jayhawks will get a great seed, start their NCAA road in Omaha and have as good a chance as anyone to make a run in what should be a wide-open field. Whatever happens, though, this year shouldn’t be defined by March. This is the natural inclination, and it’s not always wrong; the 2010 team, for instance, is rightfully remembered for losing to Northern Iowa in the second round. That was the story. With this team, the story was the process, and it’s fair to say the process has been more fun than most people predicted. That should be true regardless of what happens in March.
Just imagine if this Kansas team had Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor.
Both players were declared ineligible by the NCAA prior to the start of the season, but Jayhawks senior guard Tyshawn Taylor had strong praise for the duo.
"He's for sure a pro," Taylor said this afternoon on SiriusXM's Inside College Basketball regarding the 6-foot-5 McLemore. "He's got the most upside of any good on the team right now. He's young, is long and is the best athlete in terms of getting off the floor."
Kansas coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks staff all agree about McLemore, a St. Louis native, and his potential.
Traylor is a junkyard dog type who would help give the Jayhawks another productive and much-needed body up front.
"He's like a 6-foot-7 T-Rob," Taylor said while comparing him to KU star Thomas Robinson. "He's strong, real athletic and is a beast from Chicago. He plays hard every possession."
While both players aren't eligible this season -- and Bill Self is instead forced to use former walk-ons Conner Teahan and Justin Wesley off the bench -- this bodes well for next season once Taylor and Thomas Robinson (in all likelihood) depart.
The Jayhawks will have more quality depth and more overall pieces with returning starters Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, McLemore and Traylor and a freshman class that includes forward Perry Ellis, wing Andrew White and solid (likely four-year) bigs Landen Lucas and Zach Peters.
That doesn't sound all that intimidating, but neither did this year's team -- and last I checked the Jayhawks were 25-5, wrapped up the Big 12 regular-season title and are battling for a No. 1 overall seed.
Are you a Thomas Robinson guy or do you favor Anthony Davis? That’s the big question in college basketball lately.
Just a few hours after Kentucky’s shot-blocking sensation wowed a national TV audience with his defense (five blocks) and a career high 28 points, Kansas’ rebounding machine did the same thing. He posted a double-double and made the game-saving block in the Jayhawks’ win over Missouri.
That’s how it’s been the last few weeks as the pair have pulled away from Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Creighton’s Doug McDermott and others in the national player of the year race. With a week left in the regular season, who ya got?
Let’s ask Tom Brennan and Vin Parise.
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If college basketball's national of player of the year race were a distance race, then it's time for either Kansas forward Thomas Robinson or Kentucky forward Anthony Davis to deliver a decisive finishing kick.
Robinson has been among the leaders since before the start of conference play because of his consistency as a low-post scorer and rebounder. Davis has caught up with Robinson as a result of a late-season scoring surge to complement his game-changing defense.
According to ESPN.com's most recent straw poll of voters, Robinson holds a slim 141-112 lead on Davis with Ohio State's Jared Sullinger a distant third with 26 points. Versatile Michigan State senior Draymond Green also merits consideration due to his role in spearheading the Spartans' Big Ten title push, but he'd be a clear third on my ballot at the moment.
My vote as of today would be for Davis because I think his defensive brilliance outweighs Robinson's diminishing edge in scoring output. Here's a head-to-head comparison chart between the two that only further illustrates just how difficult it is to favor one over the other:
Did you know that all three KU national championships – 1952, 1988 and 2008 – have occurred during a leap year? Of course you know 2012 is a leap year; Feb. 29 is Wednesday.
I don’t know what this means. I don’t know if it means anything. I just know that when Maddie pointed this out to me, a couple of books flew off their shelves and I heard a strange sound coming from the attic.
Kansas was in the NCAA championship game in 1940, another leap year. The Jayhawks played in the title game in 1953, 1957, 1991 and 2002, non leap years.
I guess the moral to this story is that if you’re trying to come up with reasons why Kansas can win the national championship this year, you have another one in your arsenal.
The Shockers are rolling and at times look like they could beat almost any team in the country. Including Kansas.
But what would happen if the teams actually did play in the NCAA Tournament?
Kansas’ tradition carries weight. But Kansas has also lost NCAA games to Missouri Valley Conference teams Bradley and Northern Iowa in recent years. Just last season, VCU sent the Jayhawks home in the Elite Eight.
As good as the Jayhawks have been this season – and they have been surprisingly good given their lack of experience – I do not believe they are a far superior team to Wichita State. Nor do I think it would be a fluke if the Shockers beat KU.
I do think the Jayhawks have an edge with 7-foot Jeff Withey and 6-10 Thomas Robinson. Wichita State center Garrett Stutz would match up well with Withey, perhaps, but who do the Shockers have to battle the physically-gifted Robinson?
Then again, the Shockers are an outstanding transition team and would be able to keep up with the Jayhawks in the full court. Wichita State has more shooters and more ways to score.
When I think about this potential game, I get worked up. I want it to happen.
It apparently is never going to happen during the regular season – and you know how I feel about that – so all we can hope for is a postseason meeting between the Jayhawks and Shockers. It has happened only once, in 1981, and I believe all Wichita State fans remember how that one went.
Shocker basketball fans love their team, no doubt about it. But they can become obsessed with KU. I don’t really get it, but it’s real. Perhaps it’s all the success the Jayhawks have had over the years. Perhaps it’s a perception that KU fans think they’re a little better than the rest. Perhaps there is some class envy here.
With the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game on March 2, 1962 almost here, that long-ago night in Hershey, Pa., has been dissected more thoroughly than a crime-show corpse.
Details of the historic event _ the ball, the broadcast, the fans, the absence of sportswriters, Wilt's pregame arcade exploits, his postgame ride home, the badly embarrassed Knicks, the thoroughly cooperative Warriors _ have become so familiar that the enormity of the accomplishment seems somehow diminished.
But sometimes interesting questions about that game and its implications arise: What happened in Chamberlain's next game? Why hasn't any NBA star come close since? How many others at any level have scored 100? And what became of them?
Here are some answers:
The next game
For Chamberlain, the day of the Philadelphia Warriors' next game began with a newspaper columnist calling him a monster and ended with a 4-foot-6 harmonica player gnawing at his leg.
March 4, 1962, two days after his astonishing performance, should have been the biggest day in Chamberlain's big life.
Instead, the aftermath of his 100-point performance was marred by the same kind of small-minded scorn the 7-foot-1 Philadelphian had long endured from a world that continued to view him as a physical freak.
The Warriors on March 4 met the same team they'd thumped on March 2 _ the Knicks.
But it wasn't on a Friday night in Hershey. This game took place on a Sunday afternoon when basketball had the sports calendar to itself. It was played in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden in New York, in the nation's largest city, the world's media capital.
On the surface, it all looked like a perfect storm of good timing. Surely New York's fans, its TV cameras, and sportswriters would swarm to the event.
Yet hardly anyone cared.
Only 9,346 fans, about half of what the 18,496-seat facility on Eighth Avenue could hold, showed up to see the man who had made history on Friday.
The city's nine major newspapers, far from ballyhooing Chamberlain's appearance, greeted it with more cynicism than awe. Like so many at the time, they completely missed Chamberlain's remarkable athleticism and saw only his size.
"Basketball is not prospering because most normal-sized American youngsters or adults cannot identify themselves with the freakish stars," wrote New York Daily News sports editor Jimmy Powers that morning. "You just can't sell a seven-foot basket-stuffing monster to even the most gullible adolescent."
There were no elaborate pregame ceremonies marking the feat, no filmed tributes, no testimonials.
Without much time to digest its significance, fans, like the writers, appeared to view the 100-point game as a comical fluke. So when Knicks center Darrell Imhoff, who had fouled out trying to cover Wilt two nights earlier, left this game late, he got a standing ovation for having helped limit the Philadelphia center to a mere 58 points.
The Warriors won again, 129-128. Chamberlain's 58 points marked the fifth straight game he had scored 50 or more.
The Knicks made some history of their own, though it, too, went unacknowledged. Forward Willie Naulls, who scored 39, topped the 30-point mark for a seventh straight game. It would stand as a team record for 48 years, until Amar'e Stoudemire broke it in 2010.
Chamberlain, who oddly lived in New York while playing in his hometown, was asked to take a bow that night on TV's popular Ed Sullivan Show.
When the perpetually stiff host, a former sportswriter, introduced the player, the sight of the nattily attired giant towering over Sullivan stirred the audience to giggles.
The giggles turned into a roar when Johnny Puleo, a tiny harmonica artist who was performing that night, dashed onto the stage and glared up at Chamberlain. Perplexed, the basketball star assumed a boxer's pose until Puleo lunged at him and bit his thigh.
As the audience roared at the vaudeville-like antic, Chamberlain tried to make a joke. "If he grows up," he said to Sullivan, sounding slightly embarrassed by the whole demeaning bit, "I might lose a job."
Only three games remained in the regular season, and Chamberlain finished with 30, 44, and 34 points. Remarkably, those totals created statistical neatness for his unparalleled regular season _ final per-game averages of 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds.
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When Kansas University senior Aishah Sutherland first was recruited by KU coach Bonnie Henrickson as a senior at Perris (Calif.) High, she had to check out a map to make sure she knew where the Sunflower State was located.
Today, as she prepares for the final home game of her four-year college career — 7 tonight vs. Oklahoma State at Allen Fieldhouse — this West Coast native’s imprint is all over the Midwestern program.
Though often overshadowed in the box scores and headlines by all-Big 12 teammates Danielle McCray, Carolyn Davis and Angel Goodrich, Sutherland, gradually and away from the spotlight, piled up impressive numbers that have landed her on the short list of top players to ever play women’s hoops at Kansas.
“She has, at times, benefited from that, being able to be the third guy,” Henrickson said. “And what a really, really good third guy she’s been.”
Heading into the final home game of her career, Sutherland ranks second in career blocks (144), third all-time in rebounding (867) and seventh in games played (125).
Angel Goodrich knows what’s coming.
Even though the opposing guard charges forward toward the hoop, she saw the impending drive a few steps back while everybody else scrambled around the court.
Instead of panicking, she found the spot to set up for the charge.
Goodrich slides her feet parallel to the player, bracing for the impending impact. The player’s elbow jabs into Goodrich’s chest.
As Goodrich falls, her chin tucks tightly underneath her head as the rest of her body falls back onto the court.
Goodrich lands on the ground fully sprawled out on the wooden floor. She turns her head to see what direction the referee pointed.
The official motions in the other direction with his opposite hand behind his head signaling an offensive foul, just like many times before.
The Kansas bench jumps up and down in excitement.
Goodrich simply grins.
Master of the Charge
Taking a charge is nothing new for Goodrich. The junior guard from Tahlequah, Okla., has been doing it her entire basketball career.
It has become her signature move. The ultimate sacrifice for the team, one that won’t be found on the stat sheet next to points and assists.
The former wife of the highest-ranking official caught in a ticket scalping scandal at the University of Kansas has asked a federal judge to rule in her favor in the civil lawsuit filed by the government over assets.
A court filing Tuesday by Mary Jean Kirtland seeks a summary judgment, arguing she did not participate in the scheme or receive property deriving from it. Her ex-husband, Ben Kirtland was the associate athletic director in charge of development.
Her filing argues the government wants to enforce a criminal restitution judgment against an innocent spouse and to set aside the property settlement in her divorce.
The government's lawsuit against the Kirtlands comes as prosecutors pursue assets from key athletic department officials who stole more than $2 million worth of football and basketball season tickets.
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I would give anything to go back to college and have to opportunity to pitch against ku tomorrow and shove it up their @$$
It's already been a rough spring for right-hander Aaron Crow, less than a week into official workouts, and for reasons that have nothing to do with his quest to win a spot in the Kansas City Royals' rotation.
Two losses by Missouri in basketball - and not mere losses - had the same effect on Crow as they had on any staunch Tigers alum, particularly Saturday's meltdown at Kansas after building a 19-point lead in the second half.
The KU loss so agitated Crow that he fired off a tweet that he wished he could return to college for a day so he could personally stick it to the Jayhawks. That resulted in some harsh responses to his show of school spirit.
A few days later, he said: "I'm OK. I'm fine, but I hope we can play them again in the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA Tournament."
Missouri has cleared a final hurdle before it joins the Southeastern Conference on July 1.
The Big 12 Conference announced Tuesday that it had reached financial exit settlements with Missouri and Texas A&M, who are withdrawing their Big 12 membership to join the SEC next season. Both schools will have an estimated $12.41 million withheld from the revenue they were scheduled to receive this fiscal year from the Big 12.
The amounts are based on what is expected to be distributed by the conference, primarily revenue from football television contracts, plus bowl game and NCAA Tournament appearances.
“This agreement was accomplished through a collegial, respectful process among the conference, its institutions, and the University of Missouri that led to a resolution that all parties believe is fair,” Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said in a statement. He issued a similar statement regarding Texas A&M.
Missouri will compete in the SEC in all sports beginning next school year.
Kansas State long ago proved it can win basketball games without making a lot of shots.
During a 76-70 victory over Texas A&M on Tuesday at Reed Arena, it showed what it can do when three-pointers fall through the net like layups.
Thanks to a sensational shooting effort from three-point range — the Wildcats made 12 of 17, including 8 of 9 in the first half, — they raced to a 44-33 halftime lead and never trailed again in front of 5,461 fans.
“They just went in,” said senior forward Jamar Samuels, who made two threes on his way to 17 points and 11 rebounds. “We weren’t even thinking about it. We were just putting it up. Then I look at the scoreboard and it says 89 percent in the first half. I was like, ‘Oh man, that is unreal.’ So we just kept shooting it.”
Word had leaked that Sports Illustrated would be publishing an exposé the next day about what had gone wrong at UCLA since its three straight Final Four appearances, so reporters quizzed Howland about a story that neither he nor they had read.
It's a testament to the ensuing panic among UCLA fans that when Pullitzer Prize-winning author George Dohrmann's story <a href=http://www.mediafire.com/?5b19jihdqjd7qx6 target=blank>did finally appear late Tuesday night,</a> many expressed relief it didn't contain bomb shells likely to attract NCAA investigators. Instead Dohrmann simply painted the most detailed picture yet of the lack of discipline, accountability and leadership at UCLA that has left the Bruins on the verge of missing the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years.
The picture of Howland the reader is left with is unflattering but not all that surprising. We knew he sometimes struggles to forge a strong bond with his players because he's more of a tactician than a people person. We knew he made some questionable recruiting decisions the past few years. And we knew he was far too lax in disciplining former forward Reeves Nelson to the detriment of the program.
Where Dohrmann really breaks new ground is via the level of detail in his reporting of how Howland lost control of the program. Only now do we have a clearer picture why UCLA's ballyhooed No. 1 ranked 2008 recruiting class was such a flop or why Nelson should have been dismissed from the program long before Howland finally jettisoned him in November.
Among the memorable anecdotes Dohrmann provides:
• Three members of the 2008-2009 team ignored Howland's orders not to go out on New Year's Eve, instead going to a rave at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, doing ecstasy and not getting home until well past 4 a.m. The next morning at practice they bragged to their teammates that they still felt the effects of the drug.
• Howland apparently looked the other way when Nelson talked back to assistant coaches, started fights, intentionally injured teammates and even punted balls high into the stands after practice and told the student managers to "Fetch." Nelson's immaturity was directly responsible for the transfers of Mike Moser and Matt Carlino, now starring at UNLV and BYU respectively.
• Nelson essentially confirmed he urinated on a pile of roommate Tyler Honeycutt's clothes and turned over his bed out of revenge. Earlier in Nelson's sophomore season, the forward believed Honeycutt ratted him out to the coaches for renting a party bus on a night when Howland had instructed the team not to go out.
Immaturity and recreational alcohol and drug use like this is hardly unique to UCLA, yet Howland doesn't need these stories surfacing at a time when his popularity is already low. Sandwiched around a second-round NCAA tournament appearance last season, the Bruins lost 18 games in the 2009-10 season and hold a middling 16-13 record this year.
The biggest problem, one that we all knew about? The uncontrollable egos of UCLA basketball players, namely Reeves Nelson. Nelson, as you might recall, was dismissed from the basketball team. And while we never speculated as much as we should have as to why, his actions come off as no shocker.
His actions — purposely injuring teammates in practices, yelling at coaches, getting into fights with fellow Bruins and urinating all over Tyler Honeycutt’s clothes — weren’t the most insane part. The biggest problem, the S.I. article asserts, was Howland’s treatment of these incidents.
Because Howland didn’t do a damn thing when it came to Nelson. Nelson was allowed to do whatever the hell he wanted to as long as he was putting up points and helping UCLA win games. It didn’t matter that he was totally messing with team chemistry and dividing the team. It didn’t matter that his ego was scaring away players like Mike Moser and Chace Stanback (both of whom were also hard on the Ecstasy/alcohol/marijuana scene, mind you). It just mattered that Nelson produced, and that he was the best player on the team.
And other players, like Drew Gordon, that didn’t buy into Howland’s system? They got their asses shipped out without hesitation. As Sports Illustrated puts it, you could do drugs, get into fights and drink alcohol all you want, but if you doubted Howland, your ass was gone.
The S.I. article also told of Howland’s final straw with Nelson, when Nelson began to punk new transfers David and Travis Wear. When Howland had told Nelson to back off of them, Nelson became uncontrollably pissed.
And then there was the issue of Howland’s treatment of his assistants which can be described with one word: shit. Howland treated his own staff as if they were his unruly children that needed to be spanked. Furthermore, Howland was particular as hell and wanted everything — literally everything, such as room temperature — to be a certain way, and that, as the SI article discusses, alienated him from players and coaches.
Favoritism has plagued Howland his entire career at UCLA, and though it is what got UCLA to three straight Final Fours, it is also what has UCLA in this crap-hole of a mess we’re in right now. His egotistical, “socially awkward,” and control-freak demeanor made it hard for players to enjoy playing for him. It’s why players that get a chance to leave do so at the earliest possible moment.
Just because this story didn’t uncover a huge drug bust, though, doesn’t mean it wasn’t damning and it wasn’t telling. The dysfunction of our program was a result of Howland giving in to his most talented players while failing to get rid of divas that had completely effed up team cohesion. His inability to reign in egos and to reign in emotions — a direct result of his alienation — messed everything up.
And things aren’t going to get better — if Shabazz Muhammad acts like a total diva (and he might, considering his entire junior and senior years have been broadcasted left and right), there’s no telling how Howland deals with that. Kyle Anderson, a five-star UCLA commit, might end up the same way.
This falls on everyone and everything. Dan Guerrero, for hiring such an egotistical control freak. Ben Howland, for alienating his players and almost pitting them against one another. And the players, for not acting like Bruins and instead acting as if they were at some damned state school/usc where parties are the only reason to attend college.
GoJoeBruin fan blog
Draymond Green tried to clinch the Big Ten title by himself Tuesday night.
He needed more help.
Cody Zeller scored 18 points, Victor Oladipo had 13 and Christian Watford finished with 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, leading No. 18 Indiana past No. 5 Michigan State 70-55, the Hoosiers' third win this season over a top five team.
A federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Montgomery, Ala., names Tuberville, John David Stroud and eight investment entities as defendants, claiming the two men “employed devices, schemes, and artifices to defraud” seven plaintiffs from Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee.
The lawsuit said Tuberville and Stroud misappropriated assets and falsified client statements and fund performance reports as they “unjustly enriched themselves” at the expense of the investors.
Tuberville, who spent two seasons away from coaching after leaving Auburn in 2008, released a statement through his attorney, Vic Hayslip of Birmingham, Ala. Tuberville was “surprised” at the lawsuit and has never even met or spoken with most of the plaintiffs, the statement reads.
“He categorically denies any wrongdoing which has been attributed to him in this suit,” Hayslip’s statement says. “Coach Tuberville absolutely never solicited any investment from any of these or other individuals.”
Mike Bethea knew he needed to prod his star player's playful side.
The Rainier Beach High School basketball coach sensed it as soon as he saw Anrio Adams walk into Monday's practice wearing a blue cardigan over a white T-shirt, jeans and Air Force Ones.
Several players and an assistant coach stopped talking about the recent NBA All-Star game to tease the 6-foot-3 guard. They let him know he was late. The state quarterfinals were only a few days away.
The senior pointed to the clock on his phone. He knew he had a few minutes to spare. As he walked to the bleachers, Bethea wrapped him in a headlock.
The coach wrestled Adams to the ground. They stood up, laughing. At that moment, Adams said he was "back on balance" with his coach.
"He was in one of his little playful moods," Bethea said. "Whenever he does that, we're going to wrestle. It's kind of a thing to break the ice with him. Right after that he was cool, smiling. He was ready to go."
The laughter lingered the rest of practice.
This is the person Adams strives to be, a playful playmaker teammates look to as a leader. This is the player Bethea thought Adams could become, an 18-year-old earning his second chance. This is the prospect the Kansas coaching staff is counting on, a deft scorer whose maturity must match his impressive physical gifts.
"Growth is everywhere and it has to happen every year," said Adams, who will lead the third-ranked Vikings into the quarterfinals against No. 5 Mountlake Terrace at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Tacoma Dome. "It doesn't have to be personality-wise or attitude-wise, it's something that just happens. I think I've got a long way to go and everybody else knows that as well. I'm just working as time progresses."
…"You saw a kid who wanted, asked for and needed a second chance," Bethea said. "Not from a basketball aspect of things, just to redeem his character. Word had gotten out that he had some character issues. He just wanted a chance to be able to show people that wasn't the real him."
He has shown flashes of brilliance on the court. With broad shoulders, long arms, big hands and thick calves, he has a body type and skill set that draw comparisons to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade. Local coaches say he is as talented as any player they've seen, right up there with NBA guards Nate Robinson and Jamal Crawford, former stars at Rainier Beach.
Long Beach Poly coach Sharrief Metoyer called Adams "a monster" after the Jackrabbits edged the Vikings in the King Holiday Hoopfest in January.
"He's great," teammate Marquis Davis said. "That's all I can say."
One question remains: When will his maturity match his talent?
"There isn't a kid more talented in the country," Bethea said. "But, you know what, man, we're just working on the neck-up part with him. I think he can do it."
Since the game is basketball, there are always four other North players on the court with Conner Frankamp.
Sometimes there’s that guy, No. 20 I think it is. And there’s the big guy who looks like a football player. And the guy with the goggles and the guard who looks like he’s 11, not a high school sophomore.
But Frankamp is the elephant in any room. So overwhelming is his talent that it’s easy to look past his teammates, to discount them as nothing more than tiny ornaments on an enormous Christmas tree.
Frankamp, a 6-foot-1 junior, averages 35.3 points per game. He has scored 706 points in North’s 20 games; the rest of the Redskins have scored 470. Frankamp practically lives with a basketball in his hands during North games. Without Frankamp, North isn’t 13-7, coming off a victory over three-time defending Class 6A champion Heights and sitting with its best chance to make a state tournament during the Frankamp-era.
Frankamp points out, however, that he would not be having the season he’s having without his teammates, overshadowed as they are.
“It’s uncomfortable for me to get all the notoriety,’’ he said. “I don’t like hearing that this is a one-man team. It’s a team game, for sure, and I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing without them.’’
…Those jobs are defending and rebounding. If there are offensive scraps, they are the first to be fed.
“Our time will come,’’ Williams said. “But it’s great having a KU player on our team. It’s an experience to tell your kids about when you get older.’’
North meets Campus on Thursday night in a Class 6A sub-state game at North. The winner plays against either Hutchinson or Maize on Saturday night in Hutch.
“Our goal,’’ Squires said, “was to finish third in the City League and to get to the state tournament.’’
One has been accomplished, another awaits. The Redskins are excited.
Sure, this is a team that rides Frankamp hard. He’s doing things few players can do. He’s a once-in-a-generation kind of talent.
WE Varsity Kansas
It’s official — Blue Ridge-Miller Round 4 is set for tonight after the No. 5 seed Mavericks used an explosive second quarter to cruise past visiting Pope John Paul the Great, 87-71, in the opening round of the VISAA Division I playoffs on Tuesday night.
Senior forward Andrew White, whose team will try to get over the hump against the fourth-seed Barons in St. George this evening with a trip to the state semifinals on the line, led the way against John Paul with 26 points and six rebounds.
…White scored 10 points in the first quarter, as the Mavericks held a slim 19-18 advantage heading into the second. After converting a three-point play and knocking down a jumper, White got free after a Travis Hester steal and perfect assist to throw one down to the delight of the home crowd. On the ensuing possession, White stole the rock himself and flew down to slam another one down to push the lead to eight and and ignite his teammates and supporters, who were seeing he and the other seniors play their final home game at Miller.
“[We were] just trying to turn it up and set a tone, always, that’s the mentality,” the University of Kansas-bound star said of the sequence. “I know that today was a big game, it was still ‘win or go home,’ so I just wanted to push my team any way possible and that kind of put a spark in the team and [my teammates] helped carry it all the way through. I think when I get going, it also opens things up for other people and that’s what got the team rolling, so — whatever I’ve got to do to win.”
…White added: “We just have to play hard and play as one unit, I think that’s the biggest thing. When all five players on the court are playing hard and people coming off the bench are playing hard, we look like a completely different team. We gave this game away last week, so I’m just really looking to motivate my team.”
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in St. George. The winner will advance to the state semifinal round on Friday at Virginia State University in Petersburg.
"I am hoping we can run the table because it would be awful tough to lose when it really counts,'' Sampson said last week, one day after the team completed its perfect regular season with a victory over Bridgton Academy. "Last year we went 31-3, but we lost in both of the tournaments because we weren't focused, and that has motivated us this time around. I think we're more focused."
…Sampson, who visited Kansas last weekend, is still undecided. He had originally committed to St. John's, but now is also considering Kansas, Baylor, Florida, Providence and Louisville. He was first-team All-NEPSAC last season.
…All of these schools are within 45 minutes of each other in New Hampshire's Lakes Region. All three will be in the national prep school championship tournament in Connecticut. All three have had numerous alums on Division I rosters; Kansas' Thomas Robinson, a likely top-five pick in the 2012 draft, went to Brewster, where he was a teammate of KU point guard Naadir Tharpe. Former UNC star and NBA first-round pick Rashad McCants attended New Hampton. Noel could well be one of the top picks in the 2013 draft.
"Who would have ever thought you'd have all this talent in the hills of New Hampshire?" Papile said. "They all play at a very high level and they are not the diploma mills you read about. These kids go to class and do the work. And no one has done a better job of blending academics and basketball than Brewster."
Brewster won the national prep title in 2010, but Smith thinks this unit may be even better. The 2010 team lost five games, but, as Smith noted, "We lost two games in overtime, one in double overtime and another on a buzzer-beater.
"Still, I think there's a little more depth this year. We have four kids who are here for a second year and that's a little unusual,'' Smith said.
…Sampson said he is grateful for his two years at Brewster, adding, "I think if I had gone to St. John's and never come here, I would not be nearly as well off as I am now."
All told, two top-5 ranked prep junior recruits and one high school senior hoopster insisted they could have made a difference at the 2012 game in Orlando, with one going so far that he made the audacious suggestion that he could score 30 points in the league's star-filled event.
Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian Academy guard Julius Randle, Tilton (N.H.) School center Nerlens Noel and Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy point guard Tyler Lewis all insisted that they could have made an impact in Orlando during the NBA's annual superstar fest. The trio, as well as a few other recruits, were interviewed about how they might fare in such a setting by ESPN's Jason Jordan.
Of the three stars who thought they were ready to ball with the pros, Randle was by far the most sure of his ability to play in all facets of the game.
"I just think that I could do my thing in that setting," Randle told ESPN. "I'm not saying I'd be the best player on the court, but I could contribute. I could definitely contribute."
…Of course, the over-confidence of Randle and Noel -- and many of their peers -- only reinforces why the NBA adopted the adjusted entrance rules they did as well. Clearly these players would be entering the draft if they could, and while the likes of Randle or Noel might actually make a difference in the long run, many of their peers who chased the dream when they did probably wouldn't, and would be left without any part of a college education as a result.
Still, given their most recent quotes, it seems unlikely that a college diploma is near the top of Randle's or Noel's future plans.
St. Thomas head coach Danny Evans admitted that few were picking St. Thomas (25-11) to knock off Plano Prestonwood Christian (25-4) in their semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Mansfield Timberview.
"Prestonwood Christian is the team to beat, no question about," Evans said. "They're nationally ranked. All five starters are Division I-caliber players. It will be a major test for us."
The Lions feature standouts such as 6-foot-9 senior forward/post Zach Peters, 6-9 power forward Zach Randall and 6-7 freshman guard Mickey Mitchell.
"Mickey is the top freshman in the country and the other guys are extremely talented," Evans said,
However, TAPPS District 3-5A champion St. Thomas upset Plano Prestonwood Christian in last year's championship game to claim its second TAPPS state crown.
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