There’s a four-letter word that best describes Bill Self’s Kansas University basketball Boot Camp.
“Pain,” KU freshman guard Rio Adams said Thursday with a smile. “It’s pain you don’t mind going through,” the 6-foot-3 Seattle native quickly added.
…“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m not going to lie,” said KU freshman power forward Zach Peters.
“But it’s good. Everybody is going in there working on things you don’t do in a normal basketball practice,” the 6-9, 240-pounder from Plano, Texas, added of sprints, defensive slides, backboard touches and the like. “Getting that done, you get in the best shape of your life. You don’t like it while you are doing it, but it’s good afterward and it pays off in the long run.”
KU red-shirt freshman guard Ben McLemore says his first Boot Camp has been an eye-opening experience. The 6-5 St. Louis native was on campus a year ago, but unable to participate as he awaited word from the NCAA on his eligibility.
“I mean it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life as far as conditioning and getting into shape,” McLemore said. “Just getting up at 5:30 in the morning for running, doing defensive slides and backboard touches. The hardest part is getting up. It’s what all the upperclassmen told us was the hardest. They were right.”
As far as individual stars so far ...
“I’d say Landen Lucas is doing a great job. For his size ... he’s getting through it (by) working really hard,” McLemore said of the 6-foot-10, 230 pound freshman center from Portland.
Adams said he’s been impressed with “the four returnees (Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Kevin Young). They are really pushing us and getting us out of our element and our comfort zone which is really important so we can be prepared for the season.”
Peters cited ... “Travis Releford. He’s in really good shape. He is one of the hardest workers I’ve seen.”
Fans in attendance for the annual "Late Night in the Phog" event on October 12 will have a much clearer view thanks to the installation of a new high-definition (HD) video board and control room inside historic Allen Fieldhouse.
The new Daktronics video board is currently being installed and is scheduled to be completed on October 8, just days prior to the "Late Night in the Phog" event. The center-hung scoreboard will remain as the same structure; however, the new video portion will increase to 18 feet wide and nearly 10 feet tall with HD resolution, which is three feet wider and a foot taller than the previous standard definition board.
To accompany the HD video board, Alpha Video has also been brought into Allen Fieldhouse to upgrade the Rock Chalk Video control room with HD capabilities.
The new Allen Fieldhouse control room will be built in the same location as the current control room and will largely mimic the equipment, functionality and workflow of the HD control room at Memorial Stadium. The new control room will feature five HD studio cameras, a production switcher, an audio and video routing switcher with integrated multi-image viewers, an 8-channel slow-motion system, a dual channel clip server, a character generator and playback/recording equipment.
"We are excited to upgrade the video board and control room in Allen Fieldhouse to HD to give the fans of Kansas the best in-game experience in the country," said Mike Lickert, Director of Rock Chalk Video.
JCF: What was the biggest transition for you coming from the University of Kansas to the Houston Rockets?
MM: Just being the man. I got the ball almost every other play in Kansas, so to me the biggest adjustment was just not being the man any more. Definitely, too, I played the four in college – I was just a mobile four because we switched every ball screen with me. Guys are definitely stronger in the NBA as well so I’ve had to spend a lot of time in the weight room to get stronger and be able to compete.
Q&A with Marcus Morris
A federal judge has ruled the former wife of a Kansas University official caught in a ticket scalping scandal cannot keep money and property fraudulently transferred to her in the couple’s divorce settlement.
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten on Thursday ruled for the government in its lawsuit against Ben Kirtland, the former Kansas associate athletic director in charge of development, and his ex-wife, Mary Jean Kirtland.
The government contends the transferred property and money are worth more than $400,000.
The judge says Mary Kirtland knew of her husband’s precarious legal and financial situation and paid nothing to him before the transfers in the property settlement.
You can help send two KU fans to Atlanta for the Champions Classic game. Vote for them here.
Kansas 2012-13 Schedule
Big 12/College News
Draft Express: Top NBA prospects in the Big 12, Part One
SI: Gaming the RPI
If you thought the University of North Carolina would put the onus on itself and its faculty for the recent smear against its academic reputation, you'd be wrong. Which probably qualifies you for an "A" in many UNC courses.
Instead of taking a taxing and especially long look in the mirror at itself and the men and women actually on the payroll, UNC has alternatively decided to immediately attempt to make over its reputation by raising the admissions bar for its athletes even higher.
There has been a lot of damage control needed in Chapel Hill for the past few months. On Wednesday, we discovered what UNC plans to do. Namely, hold its teenagers and young-20s students who happen to play sports to a higher degree of responsibility.
Forget the adults, the professors who -- allegedly -- enabled this kind of behavior. The ones who could've constructed ghost classes, handed out ghost grades and ran wings of departments while the facade benefited not only players but regular students, too. Forget looking at the guts of the system and working that out. Forget fighting the tenured ones with power, because who wants to get in that foxhole? The answer going forward must be to pin all the pressure on the players.
On a recent ESPNU College Basketball podcast, Andy Katz and former Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg discussed several topics, including the challenges awaiting Mark Gottfried in his second season at N.C. State and the coaching situation at North Carolina. Roy Williams had surgery last week to remove a right kidney tumor, which was benign, and it’s possible he won’t need surgery next month on a left kidney tumor.
If Williams, 62, has to miss some practice time, assistant Steve Robinson would likely assume a bigger role given his past experiences as a head coach at Radford, Tulsa and Florida State. A conversation about the short-term impact led Katz and Greenberg to take a long-term look at UNC and discuss who will eventually succeed Williams. Greenberg and Katz agreed that the top candidate is Hubert Davis, a former North Carolina and NBA player who is in his first year as a UNC assistant following a seven-year stint as an ESPN analyst.
"Long term, without a question, no doubt in my mind, it’s going to be Hubert Davis," Greenberg said on the podcast. "He’s part of the family. Hubert Davis, in my mind, was brought in to be the next head basketball coach at North Carolina. He’s got the pedigree. He’s got the network from all his years in the NBA. He’s a great communicator. He’s got a passion and love for the university. He has every trait that you would want in a successful head coach at North Carolina. Tremendous integrity, great character, great network. The word out of Chapel Hill is he’s an absolute terrific teacher that loves to be in the gym. He’s a great reflection of what North Carolina stands for."
Katz then offered his thoughts.
"That’s exactly what I said when he surprised us all and left to go to North Carolina," he said. "There’s been no program like North Carolina that wants to keep things in the family. If you look across their family tree, there’s just no natural person to succeed Roy Williams. It’s not going to be someone with a Kansas tie. It’s going to be someone who played at North Carolina. I just don’t think it’s someone like (East Carolina's) Jeff Lebo or (UNC-Wilmington's) Buzz Peterson or someone like that. We’ll have to wait and see if Hubert wants that and feels he’s comfortable for that role, whenever that occurs. It could be sooner rather than later. It could be in five years, could be in 10 years."
ESPN Tip-Off Marathon schedule
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Back in December when Brannen Greene committed to Kansas he described it as a "dream come true."
The mere thought of playing in front of thousands of the rowdiest and most passionate fans in college basketball as they chant "Rock-chalk-Jay-Hawk, K-U-U-U" makes Greene, a sharpshooter, giddy with excitement.
He's equally as thrilled that he'll learn under assistant athletic director for sports performance Andrea Hudy, a legendary trainer who developed eight national championship teams at Connecticut before joining Kansas in 2004.
Then there's Bill Self.
"He's a legend," said Greene, a rising senior at Tift County (Forsyth, Ga.). "Having him coach me is enough in itself. I couldn't be happier."
That's why, for the life of him, Greene can't understand why he's still being recruited with the same persistence and passion by college coaches as if he were still uncommitted.
"It's crazy," said Greene, who is ranked No. 22 in the Rivals150. "I'm always thinking in the back of my mind 'you do know I'm committed, right?' They want to know if I'm still open to their schools, but even though I say I'm not they keep coming."
Added Greene's father, Jeffrey: "It used to shock me, but not anymore. After a while you get immune to it."
…Nerlens Noel agreed.
He recalled a conversation with a college coach during his recruitment process who urged him not to let money play a factor in luring him to Kentucky. Noel, a center, eventually picked the Wildcats.
"I was shocked that he would say something crazy like that," said Noel, the No. 2 player in the Rivals150 last season. "Of course I would never accept money and of course Kentucky never offered me money, but to hear that from him turned me off. I didn't hold it against him because I know coaches get jealous at times. I just look at it like they're really just insecure about themselves."
Randle came to the same conclusion.
As the top ranked player in the Rivals150, Randle has had to deal with "an unreal amount" of negative recruiting tactics. Some coaches said that Duke and North Carolina didn't properly develop players, while others said Kentucky was too crowded.
"It's crazy," Randle said. "But I have a mind of my own. Every school has pros and cons and the same school that's dissing a certain school isn't talking about their cons. I look at it as the coaches just hating."
Still, sometimes, even hating yields some degree of truth.
Randle's mother, Carolyn Kyles, said that when coaches down other schools it prompts her to do her own investigating.
"I listen to what the coaches say, but I don't react to it," Kyles said. "But then I go and watch the team play and sometimes what they're saying is true on some level. The biggest thing it does to me is makes me pay closer attention."
Wayne Selden gets a similar urge to be more attentive, just in a different way.
"It makes me pay more attention to the fact that you're steadily talking about this other school," said Selden, a shooting guard at Tilton (Tilton, N.H.) who recently reclassified from 2014 to 2013. "That's not cool. Just talk about why I should come to your school. I don't want to hear all that negativity."
Frank Mason, a 5-11, 160-pound senior point guard from Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va., is scheduled to visit KU this weekend. Mason, who is ranked No. 131 nationally by Rivals.com, signed with Towson last November, but elected to attend prep school for academic reasons. He now has KU, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and others on his list. Mason averaged 27 points a game last season at Petersburg (Va.) High. He was region player of the year for the two-time state runner-up team.
Rivals: Jackson to ND
Funny take on Baylor's recruiting tactics from a Kentucky site
3. Rick Pitino now has promised scholarships to 15 players for the 2013-14 season. Do you have any problems with his continued practice of over-signing?
It's not terribly egregious to stumble — once — into a circumstance in which your program winds up with one more scholarship player than the 13 allowed by NCAA rules. It can happen because a player everyone expected to turn pro does not follow that course. Or if a transfer becomes available at the last minute. Or, as was the case at UConn last season, the No. 1 prospect in the high school junior class decides to graduate immediately and wants to join your team. It's awfully hard to turn down that deal.
This is not a one-time thing for Pitino, though. This is becoming a ritual. It happened two springs ago, and three players had to volunteer to surrender scholarships they thought would be theirs. Pitino explained it by claiming Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith — the starting wings on a Final Four team — and reserve point Elisha Justice understood they might one day have to give up their scholarships.
If only that were the end of it.
The Cardinals found themselves over the limit again this summer. So Jared Swopshire left for Northwestern, George Goode for Missouri and Stephan Van Treese left, started looking for a new home and then returned to the Cardinals only when Rakeem Buckles decided he would go to Florida International.
If Louisville were sitting here with four committed recruits, two seniors (Peyton Siva and van Treese) and two players who were dead-solid locks to enter the NBA Draft, there would be no cause for concern. But among the Cardinals' underclassmen, only center Gorgui Dieng appears to be in a fair position to follow that course. So it looks very much Pitino again will be finessing the Louisville roster next spring. That's twice too often.
For someone as meticulous as Pitino in so many other areas, this can't be written off as simple mismanagement.
New LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones' busy pre-season has apparently yielded another big prize.
Jordan Mickey, a 6-foot-8, 223-pound forward from the Dallas area committed to Jones and the Tigers on Thursday night after a home visit earlier this week from the LSU coach.
"It's a great day," Mickey said Thursday night. "It's a weight off my chest."
My 2012 KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube