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NBA scouts will make McLemore’s length-of-stay decision for him. Even if it’s a short one, he’ll improve a great deal because he has skilled teachers, talented daily practice opponents and most of all because he cares. He proved that with the dedication he showed tutors and professors last year and with the effort he exhibited on the court Tuesday.
McLemore’s upbeat body language won’t make anybody think of Josh Selby or C.J. Henry. Sorry to evoke those memories. It’s just that when they pop into my head, I feel compelled to share them. Misery loves company.
Back to the present. Signs abounded that McLemore is serious about becoming a complete player.
When he was late recovering to Emporia State’s Kaleb Wright, who made him pay by hitting a three-pointer late in the game, McLemore’s disappointment in himself arrived at the same instant as that of his coach, who sent a verbal dart across the court.
In a team-high 26 minutes, McLemore committed three turnovers and, according to Self, was responsible for a teammate’s because he didn’t have the patience to let a screen get set. McLemore’s far from perfect but perfectly positioned to stack millions and millions of dollars, thanks to a blend of physical gifts and the proper attitude.
“I could have guarded better tonight,” McLemore chided himself in the postgame presser.
“Coach was just telling me I needed to crash the boards more often,” said McLemore, a redshirt freshman guard.
So McLemore took off, elevating toward the rim and hanging in the air for a split-second before finishing the two-handed putback.
“It came off,” McLemore said.
By this point, the Jayhawks were well on their way to victory. But, of course, the final margin was of little matter on Tuesday.
This was Kansas’ exhibition opener, and there’s generally a certain rhythm to nights like this. KU’s newcomers use it as a chance to work out the preseason cobwebs and experience a game inside Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas fans pack into the old building and take mental notes on the latest crop of reinforcements.
And for Self, well, there’s usually a message or two to send out while KU drops the hammer on some sacrificial in-state school.
On Tuesday night, those messages appeared to be directed toward two players in particular: senior guard Elijah Johnson and freshman forward Perry Ellis.
For Johnson, it meant losing his starting spot to sophomore Naadir Tharpe after he was, according to Self, “substantially late” to a class on Tuesday.
For Ellis, it meant a message about having a more aggressive mind-set — even after leading KU with 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds in his first game at Allen Fieldhouse.
“It’s not that he’s not playing hard,” Self said of Ellis. “He plays hard. But when you say ‘run’ and the guy can run faster after you yell, then he’s not running hard.”
“I don’t really show much emotion, but I had a lot of fun out there, man,” the 6-foot-8, 225-pound Wichita Heights graduate said after scoring 15 points off 5-of-5 shooting and 5-of-7 free throwing and grabbing seven rebounds in just 16 minutes.
“I mean we’ve got guys on this team who have been working hard since the summer. It was a lot of fun. I’m just happy to be out there,” he added.
Ellis admits he was extra enthused playing his KU debut with his mom, Fonda, dad, Will, younger brothers Brae and Cameron, older sister, Savannah, AAU coach, Steve Young, and high school coach, Joe Auer, in the stands.
“It means a lot that my family gets to see me,” said Ellis, who scored eight points and grabbed six boards the first half in helping KU to a 42-21 lead. “It’s not too far (from Wichita). It’s a great feeling they came tonight to support me.”
While Fonda was proud of her oldest son — “great production I thought,” she said — she was not alarmed at his lack of emotion during the debut.
“He’s got that poker face. He’d be a good poker player,” she said while watching Perry sign autographs in the northwest tunnel after the contest.
The stage wasn’t big, the opponent wasn’t of note and at end of the day, the game didn’t count.
However, freshman forward Perry Ellis managed to answer the question of who would be the one to step in and shoulder the majority of the team’s scoring in the front court, a role that was left wide open following the departure of All-American Thomas Robinson.
And Ellis did it by finishing the Jayhawks 88-54 victory against Emporia State a perfect five-for-five from the field.
“If he could just become aggressive as far as a mind set, not shooting the ball, but just a mind set, he’s so gifted offensively. It just comes so natural to him, that he could be a really good player early in his career,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Everything matters at KU, though, including basketball in October. Coach Bill Self has said this team will rely on its seniors to carry the water, so it was notable that Johnson was sipping it instead when the Jayhawks tipped off their season.
“Elijah was substantially late to a class today,” Self said. “He knows the deal. It’s not a big deal.”
Against Emporia State, at least, the Jayhawks had a capable replacement. Sophomore Naadir Tharpe started in Johnson’s place and scored eight points, reminding Jayhawk fans not to overlook him when they pencil in projected rotations.
KU’s roster consists mostly of seniors and freshmen, and Tharpe is one of the few players stuck in between. His most memorable moments seem to involve exhibitions, including a 12-point, nine-turnover performance against Pittsburg State last year when Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor were suspended.
The Jayhawks will need Tharpe for more than one exhibition this season, Self said.
“I think he’s going to have a good year,” Self said. “We didn’t see it last year statistically, but he can shoot the ball. He’s really a small (shooting guard) as much as anything, but he’s working hard on trying to be a good backup to Elijah.
“I think Naadir’s going to have to have a big year for us. I really do. We’re going to need him in the game for offense.”
Freshman forward Landen Lucas had nine rebounds and six points in 12 minutes.
“I feel the way I can contribute to this team is to come in and rebound in the minutes that I am playing,” Lucas said. “I feel like I did the best I could tonight, and I’ll continue to crash the boards the rest of the season.”
…KU senior Jeff Withey (seven points, six boards, 18 minutes) on Monday was named honorable mention All-America by the Associated Press.
The AP preseason team consists of five first-team members and 17 honorable mention picks.
"I had a chance to see Jamari Traylor bang heads with T-Rob (last year)," said Vandiver of observing a few KU practices with former Jayhawks forward Thomas Robinson a season ago. "And he was one guy who never backed down. He came at him. Now, is he as skilled as T-Rob? No. But he still is a red-shirt freshman."
Traylor, a starter Tuesday, finished with six points, four rebounds and four steals in 16 minutes. Aside from a second-half steal that was followed by a two-handed monster dunk, the 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward was fairly quiet, a product, KU coach Bill Self said, of his pregame nerves.
Kansas guard Angel Goodrich received votes in Tuesday's Associated Press 2012 Preseason All-America Team, thus earning the senior honorable mention honors.
In addition to the AP All-America Team, Goodrich has also received third-team honors on Lindy's Preseason All-America Team earlier this season.
Goodrich led the nation last season in assists per game (7.4) and paced KU with 14.0 points per game as she guided the Jayhawks to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, their best postseason run since 1998. Goodrich was named All-America Honorable Mention by both the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and Associated Press following last season. She also broke a Kansas and Big 12 Conference record, tallying 250 assists on the season.
Goodrich and the Kansas Jayhawks will be back in action Sunday, November 4, against Fort Hays State for the second of two exhibition games.
There was never any reason to doubt the Rockets would pick up the options on Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris’ rookie contracts, keeping them signed for the 2013-14 season.
The Rockets’ standard practice is to wait for the deadline. Patterson is the Rockets’ starting forward. Morris has barely begun his career and turned heads in training camp before an ankle injury. Both knew not to expect word until shortly before the season opener.
Still, there was a sense of relief Tuesday when the Rockets did the expected. Patterson will be signed for a fourth season worth $3,105,302 and Morris for a third season worth $1,987,320.
Tickets to Coach Self's "Courtside View"
Champions Classic: KU vs Michigan State
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Composite Schedule
ESPN Top 10 Defenders (Withey #2)
CBS: Top 50 shooters
ESPN: Top 10 point guards
The last time Kansas failed to win at least a share of the Big 12 regular season crown, gas prices had yet to rise above $2, Usher's "Yeah!" was unavoidable on the radio and Lindsay Lohan was still America's teen movie queen.
Yahoo Big 12 Preview: Can anyone thwart Kansas' bid for a ninth straight title?
Regular complaints about the NCAA Committee on Infractions usually fall into one of the following categories:
The NCAA spends too much time worrying about stupid stuff and misses the real cheaters.
The NCAA is arbitrary in its punishment.
The NCAA takes too long.
Usually, when fans voice these complaints -- as they have often and loudly during the past two years of nonstop college sports malfeasance -- they come in all-capital letters with an expletive or two thrown in for good measure. But you get the idea, and so did NCAA president Mark Emmert, even before he began his tenure in November 2010. Since then, Emmert has often promised NCAA enforcement reform just as soon as the organization’s membership and board of directors could officially agree on the details.
Today is that day.
On Tuesday morning, the NCAA released an enforcement structure that marks a distinct departure from the crude and counterproductive mechanisms of its past. According to the Division I Board of Directors, the new rules "create additional levels of infractions, hasten the investigation process and ratchet up penalties for the most egregious violations.”
…This part is no joke, punitively. From the release:
Penalties in the previous structure relied on whether the head coach knew of the violations or whether there was a “presumption of knowledge.” But under the new structure, rather than focus on knowledge or the presumption of it, the bylaw will be amended to presume only responsibility. Accordingly, if a violation occurs, the head coach is presumed responsible, and if he or she can’t overcome that presumption, charges will be forthcoming.
In other words, the onus is on coaches to prevent violations on their watch. If they don’t, they can no longer make the case that they just didn’t know. They are presumed responsible until proven otherwise -- guilty until proven innocent.
And, last but not least, the NCAA increased the Division I Committee on Infractions from “10 to as many as 24 voting members from which smaller panels will be assembled to review cases more quickly and efficiently.”
For the second year in a row, Ohio State has just one senior on its roster.
Save your sympathy.
A year ago, with just one fourth-year player, the Buckeyes went all the way to the Final Four before falling to Kansas in the national semifinals.
Maybe the term “senior leadership” doesn’t apply at Ohio State, where it seems there’s annually a huge turnover of top players yet the Buckeyes and coach Thad Matta just keep chugging right along, racking up 20-win seasons, NCAA Tournament appearances and Big Ten titles.
…“This team is athletic,” said Matta, whose last couple of teams have won big despite not being terribly fast or versatile. “I want them to use what they’ve got there. It correlates back to, hopefully, we’re going to be able to score some off of our defense. That’s why a major emphasis on the preseason will be getting our defense down.”
…The big man will likely be 6-11 Amir Williams, who has added strength and now is a formidable shot-blocker. Lone senior Evan Ravenel and Trey McDonald, both 6-8, are quality backups.
The other starting slot could be filled by either speedy swingman Sam Thompson or intriguing perimeter shooter LaQuinton Ross. Shannon Scott, son of former NBA and North Carolina star Charlie Scott, worked on his shot all summer and should be a solid sub behind Craft and Smith.
The Buckeyes will be different from a year ago. That doesn’t mean they’ll be worse.
“We’re going to be a very, very, very fast team,” Thompson said. “I don’t think we had that type of speed last year. We didn’t have that type of athleticism last year. It’ll be exciting to get out and put some pressure on the ball, get out on transition, run and make some plays.”
Preseason All-America Deshaun Thomas scored 25 points to lead No. 4 Ohio State past Walsh 83-71 in an exhibition game on Tuesday night.
LaQuinton Ross, a sophomore who started his first collegiate game, added 13 points. Sam Thompson and Evan Ravenel both had 11 points for the Buckeyes, who went 31-8 last season and reached the Final Four.
The preseason brings questions, and the first exhibition game is supposed to help answer some of them.
Michigan State’s raggedy 85-57 win over Northwood (Fla.) on Tuesday night at Breslin Center? It didn’t do much answering.
But here’s one thing that could be said emphatically after just a couple possessions: Branden Dawson is healthy and as athletic as ever.
The sophomore forward, who tore the ACL in his left knee on March 4, gave no hint he was ever injured in front of a three-fourths-full arena – other than the large brace on the knee, which didn’t hamper his movement or stop him from finishing with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Bruce Weber hopes they are all this easy.
In his first exhibition game at Bramlage Coliseum, which Kansas State won 81-61 over Washburn on Tuesday night, the Wildcats’ new basketball coach was able to experiment with lineups, try out plays and teach his motion offense during timeouts.
That’s the freedom of a 22-2 lead.
“Overall you are pleased, because you don’t know in this first game how the guys are going to react,” Weber said. “I thought they came ready to play. That’s your first challenge .… Everybody got pretty good minutes, we still won by 20 … It was pretty nice, to be honest.”
There are seven letters, two words, and one phrase that no athlete, but more specifically, no basketball player, ever wants to hear over his entire career: Torn ACL.
It can bring that player to immediate tears, but as I found out on Saturday, it can bring many of his teammates to tears as well. This is my story from the perspective of a teammate who witnessed the knee of Josh Gasser, the starting point guard for the Wisconsin Badgers, buckle right before his eyes.
The scariest part of the whole play was how routine and seemingly innocent it really was. We were scrimmaging during a typical Saturday morning practice. Josh was on a fast break and planted his left foot. His knee gave out. It was as simple as that.
Athletes hear all the time, “Play every play like it's your last,” but this was one of the moments that made me take a step back and understand what that statement truly meant. I was less than 10 feet behind him trailing the play. I heard the piercing scream come out of his mouth as he crumbled to the ground. I tried to keep him calm and said, “You're fine, take some deep breaths.” However, Josh knew, and shot back sharply, “No, I'm not fine!”
Everyone in the gym fell quiet. Nothing could be said. We all saw our athletic trainer and team doctor immediately test out his left knee on the court. We all prayed for the best, though we knew we had no choice but to expect the worst.
CBS guest blog by Zach Bohannon
ESPN:Pauley Pavilion Renovation (video and article)
The University of Louisville announced men's basketball coach Rick Pitino signed a five-year contract extension that runs until June 30, 2022.
His original deal was set to end in 2017, but with this extension he'll be locked up at Louisville until just months before his 70th birthday. Athletic director Tom Jurich said it would be "cheating the game of basketball" if Pitino retired.
Me and my boy Jabari Parker over at Simeon (Chicago) talk all the time about playing against each other this year. That’s a game I’m definitely looking forward to. We’re both competitive so we both think our team is gonna win. We’ll see this year though. We play them at least twice.
A little over a week ago, I went down to Duke’s Countdown to Craziness and had a ball with my boy Tyus Jones. We had a great time down there just talking with the coaches and embracing the fans. We got to hang out with Theo Pinson too, so all of us were just loving everything about Duke.
…Me and Tyus always talk about playing at the same school in college, as most of you know, but just being on the visit together and seeing the practices made it even more real. We kept asking each other how the other one liked it and we both loved everything about it. It’s not definite, but we would look forward to Theo coming in with us. That would be great.
…Kansas has started getting in the picture again now.
They had contacted me during my freshman year and I hadn’t heard from them in a long time, so when they called me they apologized for not keeping in touch. They said they thought I already had my list made up.
It’s crazy the rumors that go around.
That one almost kept them away. That’s why I really mean it when I say if you don’t hear it from me here on my blog then you can just assume it’s not true.
I don’t even have a list yet. I don’t want to have one right now, but I’ll probably cut things down after the basketball season.
USA Today: Blog by Jahlil Okafor
Monday morning, the official schedule was released for the 2013 Hoophall Classic, one of the premier high school showcases in the country.
In the five-day event, from Jan. 17-21, the Hoophall Classic will once again feature some of the best players in all of high school basketball. The two top players in the Class of 2013 – newly named No. 1, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker – will take part in this year’s event.
Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh – all highly-ranked forwards – round out the group of 2013 stars, along with Florida commit, Kasey Hill.
Jahlil Okafor of Whitney Young (IL) headline the talent in the Class of 2014.
Several interesting match-ups will take place that weekend, including a head-to-head battle with some of the best wings in the nation. On day four (Jan. 20) of the weekend, Vonleh and New Hampton (NH) take on top-ranked Wiggins and Huntington Prep.
The final day of the weekend is where most of the top talent shows up. One of the more interesting games is between a pair of Kentucky targets, as Gordon and Archbishop Mitty (CA) take on Randle and Prestonwood Christian (TX). Parker and Chicago power, Simeon will play Oak Hill Academy (WV). The past two seasons at the Hoophall Classic, Oak Hill has held Randle and former Ohio State star Jared Sullinger silent.
Hall of Famer Bob Hurley and St. Anthony (NJ) also scheduled to return, as well as Findlay Prep (NV) and Brewster Academy (NH).
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