So long summer, it's countdown time to Kansas Jayhawks basketball!
I hope you enjoyed the vacation, I know I did!
And so begins my news links boot camp. Pay attention or you'll be running laps!
Keith Langford, who has a degree in journalism from Kansas University, crafted one creative sentence when asked to describe Bill Self’s basketball Boot Camp.
“It’s almost like being in a torture device from Jigsaw from one of the ‘Saw’ movies,” Langford said in an e-mail to the Journal-World from Kazan, Russia, where he plays for BC Unics.
“I haven’t had to give birth, so there’s that,” 6-foot-4 shooting guard Langford added jokingly, comparing Boot Camp with other physical tests he has endured in his life. “Seriously, it’s right up there.”
“Here, everything is perfect,” Mykhailiuk, who arrived on campus on Monday, said of KU — a school he chose over runner-up Virginia last May.
“My goal is to be a good player, to be a good personality and to help my team to win ... also to be good at school,” he added with a smile, referring to his upcoming freshman season.
Mykhailiuk, who earned MVP honors at this summer’s Under 18 European championships and also competed on Ukraine’s World Cup team, was asked why he decided to play at KU two years (he’s not eligible for the draft until he’s 19 in 2016) instead of playing pro ball in Europe.
“I thought it would be easier for me to go to the NBA from college than from Europe. It was my dream from when I was a child. I was looking for (the) NCAA. It was my dream to play in NCAA,” Mykhailiuk said.
He was asked when he thought he’d be ready for the NBA. “I still don’t know. We’ll see.”
Asked about his knowledge of the KU program, Mykhailiuk said: “I know a lot of basketball players, like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid. Before it was like Mario Chalmers, Paul Pierce, Kirk Hinrich, Morris twins. Here there are a lot of good players.”
Mykhailiuk may be the most tantalizing enigma in college basketball this season. The rangy swingman can handle the ball and hit the outside shot, and many draft experts believe he'll jump to the pros in a couple years. Yet he didn't merit a blip on the recruiting radar until late in the process, even in an era in which top talent is often discovered in grade school.
… “His skill level, knowledge and aptitude for the game are way beyond his years," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "He's a guy that can play all three positions on the perimeter. At 6-foot-8, he can play the point, play the No. 2 or the No. 3. He allows us to be more versatile next year and certainly, there would be few people that would shoot it better than him."
A killer three-pointer no longer cuts it in the world of pro basketball. To succeed as a multimillion-dollar brand, an athlete needs business savvy, fashion know-how and good table manners. Welcome to the N.B.A.’s other training camp.
...To deter the rookies from partaking, there was a slide show juxtaposing photographs of beautiful semi-clad women with photographs of hideously diseased genitalia. There was also a handout listing how much child support the rookies would be required to pay in various states, should they find themselves in sudden possession of a child after a one-night stand. “It was disturbing,” said Tyler Ennis, 20, a freshman star at Syracuse University who was drafted to play for the Phoenix Suns.
Among the more lively seminars were those devoted to the topics of personal branding and professional conduct. DeNita Turner, the president of a company called Image Builders, advised the rookies on how to spot freeloaders, how to conduct themselves like businesspeople and how to behave at banquets and work functions. Among her tips: If people live in your house, use your credit cards and drive your car, you should know their last names;
New York Times (Video at the link, Embiid in article and video)
Draft Express Videos - Big 12 Top NBA Prospects:
1. Kelly Oubre
2. Cliff Alexander
4. Wayne Selden, Jr
Some of this is speculative—it’s September. But for the moment, it appears that Frank Mason could be the man to beat at the start of the season, while Frankamp could slide into a complementary guard role (perhaps off the bench) where he provides a secondary handler and three-point shooting. Devonte’ Graham, though, could be the wild card. Self said on multiple occasions this summer that Graham could command immediate playing time. He’s a little longer than Mason and more athletic than Frankamp. But how much of Self’s comments were said to push Mason and Frankamp? Also: Graham’s strength could be a question as a freshman, and who knows if he’s ready to go in November.
KC Star - KU Mailbag
Toughest non-league schedule: Kansas
One of the reasons Kansas has captured at least a share of 10 straight Big 12 titles is the Jayhawks always prepare themselves with a formidable non-conference schedule. This year is no exception as Kansas will face two of last season's Final Four teams and participate in one of the year's better exempt tournaments.
The two marquee games on the Kansas schedule are a Nov. 18 Champions Classic showdown with likely preseason No. 1 Kentucky and a visit from Florida on Dec. 5. There's also a good chance the Jayhawks meet Michigan State in the title game of the Orlando Classic if Kansas can survive a potential semifinal against Tennessee and the Spartans can get past a potential semifinal against Marquette or Georgia Tech.
What separates Kansas' schedule from those of fellow Big 12 contenders Texas and Oklahoma is the Jayhawks have hardly any gimmes. They'll also visit Georgetown and Temple, host UNLV and face a rapidly improving Utah team in Kansas City. In short, we should have a real sense of how good Kansas can be without Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid by the time the Jayhawks begin pursuit of their eleventh straight Big 12 title.
On the surface, Kansas once again looks like a team that will be the favorite to win the Big 12 regular season title and will have to horses to make a run at a Final Four and head coach Bill Self’s second national title.
That’s what happens when you stockpile talent the way Kansas does.
Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre are talented enough that few would be surprised if their time in Lawrence is limited to one season. One of the biggest reasons that Wayne Selden is back for his sophomore year is that a bum knee kept him from playing up to his potential. Perry Ellis will put up enough numbers to make a run at being the Big 12 Player of the Year, while the likes of Brannen Greene and Svi Mikhailiuk will likely be relegated to the bench despite having NBA potential in their own right.
But as has been the case every season since Sherron Collins left the program, the biggest question mark — and perhaps the determining factor for success this year — the Jayhawks will have this season is at the point guard spot.
We spent the months leading into last season fawning over the prospect of one of the deepest freshman classes ever taking college basketball by storm. Expectations for this year’s group of incoming freshmen should be more measured. The 2014 class is lighter on starpower, with fewer stars-in-waiting and no obvious, franchise NBA franchise-altering force. SI.com is examining what you can expect from the top 25 recruits in Rivals. com’s final 2014 player rankings. We've broken down Nos. 25-21, 20-16, 15-11 and 10-6. Here is 5-1.
5. Kelly Oubre, Kansas
The first time you watch Oubre play, you may have a hard time focusing on his game. Your eyes will naturally wander to his hair – some adaptation of a Mohawk – which is probably a good thing considering his emphasis on branding. “I’ve never been a person to follow a crowd,” Oubre told The Wichita Eagle in April. “I’ve always wanted to be different in anything I do.” Oubre is one of the best overall scorers in this class, with enough range and athleticism to provide another dimension to a Kansas offense with two strong post players in junior Perry Ellis and (No. 4) freshman Cliff Alexander. The 6-foot-7, 200-pound small forward won’t be mistaken for a Wiggins-level athlete or defender – nor does he possess Wiggins’ upside as a pro prospect – but Oubre’s scoring ability may not be far off. (A better comparison may be former Jayhawk and current Sacramento Kings shooting guard Ben McLemore.) Oubre will be a key part of a perimeter group featuring freshman Devonte Graham and sophomores Wayne Selden, Frank Mason, Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp.
3. Cliff Alexander, Kansas
If Towns is renowned for wielding a wide range of skills, Alexander is known for doing a few things really well: dunking, rebounding and blocking shots. In high school and on the AAU circuit, Alexander was able to dominate thanks to his athleticism and physicality. That may not work as well in the Big 12, where Alexander (6-9, 240 pounds) will find bigger, more athletic forwards and more clever defenses geared to stop him (but still bet on at least a couple of these this winter). Even if his offensive game could use some refinement, Alexander should put up elite rebounding numbers right away. Here is what Rivals recruiting analyst Eric Bossi wrote about Alexander’s glass-crashing. “Perhaps his biggest strength is his rebounding. Alexander grabs rebound above the rim and often snatches them away from opponents.” The Jayhawks lost Joel Embiid to the NBA this offseason, but with Alexander (a projected lottery pick in 2015) and second-leading scorer Perry Ellis returning, they should have the edge in the frontcourt on most nights. Texas forwards Myles Turner and Cameron Ridley will present a stern challenge, though.
Kansas #15 in "College City Gets High Marks"
Kansas #11 in "Best College Newspaper"
Kansas #8 in "Jock Schools"
Kansas #1 in "Students Pack The Stadiums"
Princeton Review College Rankings
8/16/14, 9:35 PM
Coach K just ran #Chop! Bill Self has to be proud with how that simple but limitless option play has been received in the basketball world.
Kim English (@Englishscope24)
Garth Brooks, in conjunction with his Teammates for Kids Foundation, hosted a Teammate ProCamp at Elk Grove High School over the weekend. The event saw Brooks, Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self, and other athletes, showing kids the finer points of basketball.
"Be on a team," Brooks told the kids, according to the Huffington Post. "If you take anything away from this, remember: love one another, and love yourself."
Kansas. Marquette. Michigan State. Tennessee. Can you say "Sounds like a Final Four?!"
These four basketball powers will join Georgia Tech, Rider, Rhode Island, and Santa Clara in the Orlando Classic this Thanksgiving in one of this year's top early-season tournaments. AND you could be there to see it.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW to the 9th annual Orlando Classic!
Join all these teams and see four games each day over the Thanksgiving weekend from HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex located in the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. Games will be played November 27, 28, and 30.
Fans can purchase Orlando Classic tickets to all five sessions (12 games) for $150 each. Single-session tickets will be sold only during tournament week, and will be based on availability. If single-session tickets become available, the cost will be $60 per two-game session on Thursday and Friday, and $75 for all four games Sunday.
Tickets are available on-line at Ticketmaster, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, as well as on location at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Box Office. Official travel packages are available through Anthony Travel and include all tickets, transportation, and accommodations.
Big 12/College News
His dream survives even now, even after everything that has happened, even after all the indignities he has endured. In the dream, he rises in his graduation gown, cloaked in the black and orange of the school he loves. An announcer intones the names, his voice reverberating in a packed auditorium. One after another, the graduates clutch the dean’s hand and grasp their diplomas. On this day, Darrell Williams is just another student, a little taller than most, but just another face in a sea of thousands. He moves the tassel from one side of his mortarboard to the other. And he smiles his big smile. The nightmare is over. His honor is restored. He is free.
...He was once a top basketball prospect—a standout at Chicago’s Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, then a star forward for Oklahoma State University. But that was before he was charged with sexually assaulting two female students at an off-campus party in late 2010.
The confetti falls, the star-spangled banner plays and the USA Basketball illusion plays itself out again and again. Here come the Duke and Syracuse coaches hugging the NBA stars, primping for pictures that they'll rush through texts and Twitter to star recruits. Pity poor Serbia, the silver-medalist props to a college recruiting video.
…Outside of Derrick Rose using FIBA as a Double-A rehab assignment and some sportswriters beefing up on Marriott points for post-summer vacations, this tournament was a waste of everyone's time and resources. They used to call it the World Championships. Now it's the World Cup of Basketball. This is certain: It has outlived its usefulness for the NBA, and owners and executives will be wise to petition FIBA to reshape the future of international basketball.
As one GM told Yahoo Sports, "[Outside of the U.S. team], there's more talent and more interest from basketball fans in the NBA summer league than this event."
…Sooner than later, people will understand: Those most stridently touting the irreplaceable value of USA Basketball are those profiting the greatest from it.
As much as ever, USA Basketball has been co-opted into a Krzyzewski leverage play for the Duke Blue Devils. If that doesn't rile Kentucky's John Calipari, wait until the Duke coach is credited for DeMarcus Cousins' maturity with the Sacramento Kings this season.
The end's coming for USA Basketball's grip on the game in the States, but once change goes into effect come the 2018 World Cup, it won't matter much to Krzyzewski anymore. He still has two full summers of USA Basketball access left to him, and that'll make it a full decade of control. As one Duke alumnus would tell you: There is a USA Basketball storefront selling patriotism and duty with a backroom reality that peddles the Blue Devils and Nike swooshes.
Carlton Bragg, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound senior basketball power forward from Villa Angela St. Joseph High in Cleveland, who is ranked No. 14 in the Class of 2015 by Rivals.com, had a great in-home visit with Kansas University coach Bill Self on Thursday, Bragg’s mentor, Michael Graves, told Zagsblog.com.
He’ll visit KU for the Oct. 10 Late Night in the Phog and also is considering Kentucky, Arizona, UCLA and Illinois.
“We were really impressed with the presentation, tradition and the present and future of the Kansas program,” Graves told Zagsblog. “They showed Carlton clips of past Jayhawks and the way (Self) likes to use his power forwards.
“They also talked about the academics of Kansas and we were really impressed with the virtual tour we got to see. The 39-room state-of-the-art dorm for the men’s basketball program is groundbreaking in two weeks. They love Carlton’s skillset and said he might be the most skilled big man in the 2015 class,” Graves added.
...On Friday, Self was to visit the home of No. 6-rated Cheick Diallo, a 6-9 senior from Our Savior New American High in Centereach, New York. Diallo will visit KU Sept 19-21.
The Jayhawks don't have any commitments in 2015 and hope Newman will be the first.
As a combo guard, a lot is expected from Newman at the high school level. Fact is, the senior doesn't want to limit himself by having to chose one role.
Self's selling point echoed that sentiment.
"He said that he will play me as a combo guard," Newman said. "Sometimes there will be two shooting guards on the floor or two point guards on the court at the same time. I'll never have to just play one position and I like that."
An eye opener for Newman is how much success Self has had as recently as this year with putting players into the NBA. Former Jayhawks shooting guard Andrew Wiggins was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 Draft while center Joel Embiid went third.
"He thinks I'll be able to make a big impact on the team and that will impact my spot for the draft," he said.
Similar to his interest with Kentucky, Newman said he wants to schedule a visit to Lawrence this fall.
…One of his favorite artists potentially headlining UK's Big Blue Madness piques his interest.
"(Calipari) said Drake might come this year," Newman said. "That would be a really good event to go to. It really lets me know what they're working with and that (Kentucky) has a lot of connections."
Jalen Brunson made an uncommon choice in revealing where he will play NCAA basketball by unzipping a sweatshirt to reveal a college T-shirt that gave away the secret. His decision not to play at Illinois, however, had plenty of precedent among Chicago-area high school stars.
Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Jabari Parker in recent years, Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose before them. This has created something of a complex among many who follow the Illini, and has all but led the Chicago newspapers to keep standing headlines on hand: “Another blow to Illini basketball”, said Thursday’s Chicago Sun-Times.
Sunday morning, Comanche tweeted that he’s going to the UA with a blue heart emoji, a red heart, a bear, a hand pointing down and “#BearDown.”
“Enjoying my Arizona visit,” Comanche tweeted Saturday afternoon before committing. “The players are super friendly and treat me like I’m one of them already,”
Verbal commitments are not binding until they sign a national letter of intent. The recruits can make it official starting Nov. 12.
Comanche, who is from Beverly Hills (California) High School picked the Wildcats over teams like ASU, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Oregon and UCLA.
Schools cannot comment on players until they sign a national letter of intent, but the Arizona men’s basketball account, @APlayersProgram, sent out a tweet just after Comanche announced his decision: “#ArizonaBasketballNeverStops.”
Comanche will join freshman center Dusan Ristic in the UA frontcourt. Center Kaleb Tarczewski is a junior, but is expected to enter the 2015 NBA Draft.
Jonah Bolden, a highly regarded freshman on the UCLA men's basketball team, has been ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA, the school announced Friday.
Bolden, a 6-foot-9 forward, is Australian but played last season at Findlay Prep in Nevada.
The NCAA determined Bolden was a partial academic qualifier, so he can keep his scholarship and practice with the team, but will not be allowed to play in games this season. A UCLA spokesman said the school had exhausted all efforts on behalf of Bolden so there would not be an additional appeal.
My Late Night in the Phog videos, KU Alumni games videos, 2011-12 Border War videos, Legends of the Phog videos, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more now on YouTube