Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self, who has guided KU to nine-straight Big 12 regular-season championships and two Final Fours, including the 2008 NCAA title, will be honored at the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards in Oklahoma City, April 14 as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award.
Self, who is one of four coaches in NCAA Division I history to have led three different schools - Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas - to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, will be honored at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. The College Basketball Awards are produced annually by Access Sports in conjunction with the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).
"When you look at Bill Self's record on the court and combine that with what he does off the court in the community and with his players, you see the very essence of what the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award stands for," said David Gillikin, Chairman of the Devon Energy College Basketball Awards. "We are very pleased to be able to recognize Coach Self and his accomplishments with this prestigious award."
The Tisdale Humanitarian Award honors an individual involved in college basketball who has had a significant positive impact off the court well as on. Previous honorees include legendary ESPN and hall of fame announcer Dick Vitale, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. The award's namesake, Wayman Tisdale, died in May 2009 after a two-year battle with cancer.
"I was very proud and honored when I was informed I would be receiving the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award," Self said. "There have been some very influential recipients who have deservedly received the award in the past and I'm not sure I fit in that category. To win an award that has Wayman Tisdale's name tied to it is certainly humbling. Knowing Wayman and having played on the same AAU team with him, I was always a great fan of his. He personally had as much to do in popularizing the sport in the state of Oklahoma as anybody and it's quite an honor for me to receive an award with his name on it."
On Thursday night, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant took the Wiggins projections to an even higher level.
"He's raw, but his ceiling is high. He can be like a Hall of Famer, All-Star, for sure. He's good," said Durant before the Thunder's loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Durant said he watched closely on television as Wiggins and Kansas defeated Duke on Tuesday night. Duke features another talented true freshman forward in Jabari Parker, whom Durant also thinks highly of after working with him at his basketball camp last summer.
Durant says you can't go wrong selecting Wiggins or Parker at No. 1.
"That [Parker] kid is amazing," Durant said. "I think he is the best player in the country. Him and Wiggins are like '1A' and '1B.' Those guys are going to do the one-and-done thing, do it early. They are going to do really well in college and lead their teams to, I think, the Final Four. That's kind of like, 'Close your eyes and pick one.' You're good with either one of those guys.
"I love Jabari's game. He's so skilled. He has it all right now. Wiggins is on another level with God-given ability. You look at him, you can tell he's going to be really big and fill out a lot. He's really athletic."
When 11th-year Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self evaluates young talent, he ranks “hard-to-guard” as among the most important qualities he seeks. He struck gold with this team in that regard.
So quick and strong, sophomore forward Jamari Traylor has the ability to check a variety of players, even if he is struggling with guarding them without fouling under the new rules. I figured he would be a good one to ask about what makes his teammates a challenging matchup in practice every day.
“Go through the roster,” Traylor said after a practice shortly before the season started. “I’ve definitely guarded everybody already.”
The most difficult assignments for him?
“Quick guards like Naadir (Tharpe), Frank (Mason). Conner (Frankamp) is a crafty guard,” Traylor said. “Brannen (Greene) has a jump shot you have to respect. Wayne Selden is an animal. (Andrew) Wiggins, I don’t need to say much about him. He has a great first step. Very athletic, quick. Guy like Tarik (Black), strong. Perry (Ellis), very crafty, finishes at the rim great. His footwork. (Shakes his head.) Joel Embiid and Landen Lucas, so big and strong.”
Traylor called Selden and Andrew White III, “the most physical guards that you’ll find. These guys are physically fit. Wayne, he’s just like a man-child out there. … He attacks the rim like nobody else on the team.”
White didn’t do much of that last season, but has improved.
“When you’re strong and physical like that, you don’t really get guys with that touch,” Traylor said of White. “He can really shoot it. When you close out too quick, he can attack the rim. He’s getting better at putting it on the floor.”
Traylor paused and summed it up: “This team’s definitely stacked.”
Beyond the three star freshmen that stole headlines in Tuesday's Champions Classic, what other player caught your eye as a standout performer in Chicago?
DeCourcy: If you talked to someone around the Kansas program before the season began, there was a good chance you’d hear one comment more than other: I wouldn’t be surprised if Perry Ellis winds up leading the team in scoring.
It was freshman Andrew Wiggins who was getting all the attention, and he is so gifted he can make himself the team’s leading scorer if that’s what he wants, if he perceives that to be what the Jayhawks need. But if it’s not, Ellis demonstrated with his terrific effort against Duke that he can deliver what so many promised for him.
Ellis has made significant upgrades to his strength and conditioning to go with a skill level that always was terrific. He was 9-of-13 from the field against the Blue Devils and made his only 3-pointer. His ability to hit mid-range jumpers will challenge any defense. He’s an excellent college basketball player.
The Sporting News
The discussion: Is Kansas' ceiling higher than Kentucky's?
Jay Bilas: Not in the commonwealth, it's not! My answer is no, it's not higher. But it's not lower, either. Kentucky may have a higher ceiling in raw talent, but I don't put its performance ceiling above that of Kansas.
When I watched practice in Lawrence last month, it struck me that Kansas could match Kentucky position for position, with perhaps the exception being at point guard. Because Aaron Harrison is 6-foot-5, strong, athletic and a first-round NBA draft selection, I gave Kentucky the nod over Kansas and Naadir Tharpe at that spot (more on that in a moment). At every other position, Kansas has equivalent talent and size. And the Jayhawks are just as deep, if not a bit deeper, than the Wildcats.
In Chicago, I was not surprised by Kansas, but impressed. The Jayhawks are further along and better than I expected and fully capable of cutting the nets down in Dallas. Kansas can rebound, score inside and really run the floor and attack in transition. Kentucky did not show well against Michigan State, but the Wildcats will continue to grow. Julius Randle is arguably the best player in the country, and when John Calipari gets better decisions from his point guard, Kentucky will be right there. Remember, Kentucky had a -10 turnover margin against Michigan State, missed 16 free throws and were tied late and only lost by four points. Kentucky and Kansas are both on the top tier of teams that can win the whole thing.
On Tharpe, I thought the point at Kansas was a question mark coming into the season. It's not anymore. Tharpe is a good player, as well as a smart and steady leader. And when Frank Mason came in for him against Duke, he did a terrific job. He is strong, attacks and bounces off people. Kansas is just fine at the point. Well, better than fine. KU has a very good point guard.
…Kansas surprised many by pulling off the victory against a more experienced Duke team. What the Jayhawks showed is that they have progressed quicker than Kentucky, but I'm still going with a Wildcats team that could wind up having as many as eight first-round picks as the one with the higher ceiling. Just not by as much as many think.
Jeff Goodman: My answer is no -- KU's ceiling isn't higher -- but it's much closer than people realize. Kansas has plenty of young talent and also guys such as Perry Ellis and Tharpe who have stepped into new, expanded roles. You've got three freshmen who all played in excess of 20 minutes Tuesday night in Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid. I was surprised at how much time 7-footer Embiid received, but he's got a world of potential, and Bill Self wanted to use his length to disrupt Duke.
The Bulls were well-represented at the event. Executives John Paxson and Gar Forman and coach Tom Thibodeau scouted the double-header, while several players drew cheers from their alma mater's faithful when shown on the scoreboard.
Thibodeau said he's prohibited from discussing individual players but said the "level of talent from all four teams was very, very high."
As for the bragging rights after Kansas knocked off Duke, Gibson said former Jayhawk Kirk Hinrich took it easy on former Blue Devils Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and Luol Deng.
"He didn't really go too hard on them," Gibson said. "He's just so cocky when it comes to his school. He's in the corner all nonchalant like, 'Yeah.' He always thinks he doesn't have to say much because he just knows Kansas is always going to win."
Apparently, teammates didn't take it as easy on Kentucky products Marquis Teague and Nazr Mohammed after their school lost to Michigan State.
"Everybody is giving them smack right now," Gibson said.
Some 25 years ago, Danny and the Jayhawks won over college basketball. An upset of Billy Tubbs and Oklahoma in the NCAA championship game, to complete an improbable run through March, captured almost all hearts.
On Saturday night, the man responsible will be walking the sidelines at JQH Arena. Which is notable, given it’s next to the building that once housed one of coach Charlie Spoonhour’s best teams — one that arguably made those Jayhawks better battle-tested.
In 1987, a full calendar year before, the Kansas Jayhawks beat then-Southwest Missouri State and Winston Garland 67-63 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Atlanta.
“Yeah, I remember,” a laughing Danny Manning said Thursday from the University of Tulsa, where he is now in his second year as coach.
Then again, how can he forget? Manning, a 6-foot-10 center, dropped 42 points on the Bears that day in the Omni.
…Manning pointed out this nugget: KU coach Larry Brown ordered his players into three film sessions the day before the second-round game, a day after the Bears knocked off Horace Grant and Clemson, 65-60.
The Bears led the Jayhawks 33-31 at halftime, and Garland finished with 24 points, Basil Robinson 18 and those two — along with Manning — were the only ones to reach double figures. The teams combined for only 12 3-point attempts.
Manning was 16 of 26 from the field, and 10 of 12 at the free-throw line.
Asked if the Bears toughened up KU for the next season, Manning was quick to respond.
“No doubt,” Manning said. “I think it helped us. The goal of any team is to be the last one standing. Anytime you (get challenged) it helps you the following year.”
LJW: Jayhawks in the NBA
Big 12/College News
The stage is set for one of the biggest basketball games in Iowa State’s history on Sunday, Nov. 17, against Michigan — at least for a nonconference game in November.
The reasons go on and on.
A primetime game on ESPN2; a game against the national runners-up from a year ago; Dick Vitale is calling his first game at Hilton Coliseum; more than 20 NBA scouts in attendance; Iowa State has plenty of Michigan-natives, and others have ties to the area.
“We’ve got a lot of guys on this team from the state of Michigan, so it’s always important for them,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. “Their friends and family will be back home watching. Some of them will be at the game in Hilton here on Sunday and that’s big.”
Not to mention it’s a recruiting hotbed for Iowa State, who has grabbed five players from the state of Michigan in Hoiberg’s tenure.
“We’re in the process right now recruiting some players out of that state and they’ll be watching it,” Hoiberg said, speaking in generalities. “At the end of the day is it going to be the decision-maker throughout the process? Who knows, but it certainly can help.”
Iowa State’s top recruiting target, Rashad Vaughn, who scheduled his official visit to Iowa State for Sunday’s game, and recent signees Jameel McKay and Clayton Custer are both expected to be in the house along with target Alex Illikiainen and with a sold-out crowd and Vitale calling the game, the atmosphere should be something special.
Iowa State Daily
Arizona's showdown Thursday night against San Diego State was littered with tons of length and athleticism -- but the Wildcats just had too much aggressiveness and playmaking for the Aztecs. Arizona dominated the glass and forced San Diego State into a difficult night offensively en route to a 69-60 victory. Nick Johnson had 23 points, making several big second-half shots when San Diego State was making runs, while freshman Aaron Gordon finished with 16 points and eight rebounds despite being hampered by foul trouble. San Diego State got 19 points apiece from Xavier Thames and JJ O'Brien.
I think this game showed a little bit about each team. Arizona has as much size and talent as anyone in the country -- it will just come down to who steps up and makes key shots late in games. Johnson did it for the most part on Thursday, but will he do it consistently? San Diego State isn't going to be an easy out in the Mountain West. With the Aztecs' length and size defensively, teams are going to have nightmares trying to score in the halfcourt.
…Towson is one of the country's best mid-major teams this season.
And this comes less than two years after the Tigers had a 41-game losing streak and were arguably the worst team in the country. Head coach Pat Skerry has turned things around completely, reeling in high-level recruits and transfers. Jerrelle Benimon is one of those players -- and he had 32 points and 10 rebounds on Thursday, leading the Tigers to a 75-69 win over Temple. Towson is now 3-0, and is the favorite in the CAA. Benimon, a former transfer from Georgetown, was our "Best of the Rest" Player of the Year in the preseason.
…I did pick Toledo over Boston College as my "potential upset" of the night in Thursday's Viewer's Guide, but that doesn't mean it's a good loss for the Eagles. Boston College relinquished an eight-point lead in the final three and a half minutes, giving up 55 second-half points en route to a 95-92 loss. What makes it worse is that the Eagles are now 0-3 to start the season -- and their at-large hopes are already in deep, deep trouble. Meanwhile, Toledo might have solidified its status as the favorite in the Mid-American Conference. Julius Brown had 23 points and 10 assists.
Big XII composite schedule
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
11/15/13 9:38 AM
Good luck to my cross town brother who's also committing today @humblekid11! My brother no matter what.
@BigJah22 thanks broski you too ... Make sure it's your best decision of your life
CBS Podcast: Friday’s huge recruiting day
Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Tyus Jones, the Nos. 1, 4 and 5 players in the class of 2014 according to Rivals.com, will all select their college choices during 3 p.m. ceremonies televised on ESPNU. Each have KU as a finalist.
“If (the Jayhawks) get the answers they’re hoping to get, it’s an incredibly big day,” Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi said. “If they strike out on all three, then it’s back to business, and you pretend this day never happened.”
So by 3:30 p.m., KU will either have signed three, two, one or zero of the top-five rated players in the Class of 2014 after inkig Andrew Wiggins, No. 1 in the Class of 2013, last May.
KU has already announced the signing of No. 12 Kelly Oubre Jr., a 6-7 senior shooting guard from Findlay Prep High in Henderson, Nev.
What's your prediction for Okafor/Jones tomorrow? — many, including @thouston_92
That’s about the only thing I can say for sure. Duke has long been considered the favorite for Jones and Okafor, who have insisted for the past year that they are a package deal (more on that here, from the Peach Jam this summer. Based on the simultaneous timing of their announcements (4 p.m. EST on ESPNU) and social media posts today, I expect the package deal to hold.
So, that leaves either Duke or Kansas. Rumblings have the Jayhawks making a strong, late push for Okafor especially. There is recent precedent for Kansas stealing a guy late (see: Wiggins, Andrew). But will that be enough to overcome Duke’s sustained push (Jones has been Krzyzewski’s only point guard target for two years)? I honestly don’t know. And I’d put money on neither coaching staff knowing, either. So, in absence of literally pulling a guess out of thin air, I’ll just say I wouldn’t be surprised either way. Obviously, a get or a miss would be huge for the program.
News & Observer (North Carolina)
Ninety-one percent of experts, via 247 Sports' Crystal Ball, are predicting Duke as the future landing place for Jones, and considering Krzyzewski's strong relationship with the talented point guard, there isn't enough evidence to suggest otherwise.
As for Okafor, there would be more of an inclination to project him to Kansas if it wasn't so assumed his best friend was headed to Duke.
We saw Bill Self's upset potential last year when he secured the commitment of Wiggins, who was thought to be a Kentucky lean. But it would be shocking if Jones and Okafor didn't put on a Duke hat, or reveal a Blue Devil shaved into their hair, or whatever the kids are doing these days.
Should that happen, the Blue Devils will undoubtedly be the team to beat in 2014—no matter what happens to their current roster.
With 4-star shooting guard Grayson Allen as the only current member of Duke's recruiting class, Jones and Okafor may not be enough to give the Blue Devils the best recruiting class in terms of numbers or formulas, but they are enough to make it the class with the most impact.
Okafor and Jones are Sporting News’ No. 1 and No. 2 rated prospects, and they cover the two most important positions on the floor. I could be persuaded that Dallas-area big man Myles Turner might have a similar long-term impact in the game, but I’m not as convinced he’s ready to carry a program in the same way as Okafor for a single season at the Division I level.
There are some other excellent recruiting classes out there, and some classes that already are strong could be enriched by landing wing Stanley Johnson or power forward Cliff Alexander on Friday. But the team that gets Jones and Okafor, who have pledged to attend college together, will be landing the best players in the 2014 class around whom a coach can build a team. Having the best players wins more often in this game than having the most good ones. The Sporting News DeCourcy
Cliff Alexander is among four elite 2014 recruits making their decisions Friday, with the 6-9, 240-pound prospect from Chicago’s Curie Metropolitan choosing between DePaul, Illinois, Kansas and Memphis at 4:15 p.m. on ESPNU.
The Jayhawks have long been considered the leader for Alexander. His girlfriend, Caelynn Manning-Allen is a freshman on the KU women’s team and his smile was bigger than your car's high beams when talking about the Jayhawks in an interview a few months ago. Kansas has a need for him too, with Joel Embiid presumably headed for the 2014 NBA Draft and Tarik Black exhausting his eligibility.
No matter where Alexander decides to go, he’s a guy that instantly fits into anyone’s lineup because of his ferocity on the backboards, his ability to score (and shatter backboards) and his blocks.
Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy found out this summer that Alexander is working to improve his outside shooting, which would help make him a more complete player. Now, Alexander just needs to find the program that will help advance his career interests, because he is a one-and-done prospect.
It’s hard to see if Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones pick Kansas that Alexander will go there, too. While Alexander was AAU teammates with Okafor, there’s never been talk about them playing together. That's not to say they couldn't, but it does seem unlikely given that fact.
Illinois has made a splash this year in recruiting and currently has the No. 13-ranked class according to 247Sports after already landing PG Quentin Snider and a couple of power forwards in Leron Black and Michael Finke. Add in that the Illini are headed in the right direction with John Groce, a coach who nearly upset No. 2 seed Miami in the round of 32, and you can see why Alexander would have interest staying close to home.
Memphis would have a second straight top 10 recruiting class with Alexander on board, and with Joe Jackson, Geron Johnson and Michael Dixon being lost to exhausted eligibility after this season, Alexander would step right in as Josh Pastner’s go-to guy.
It’s hard seeing Alexander pick DePaul, given the Blue Demons have not had even a 20-win season since 2007. Alexander would make DePaul instantly better, but he won’t be contending for a national championship there.
Fox Sports recruiting writer Evan Daniels reports that ESPN has learned that it’s down to either the Jayhawks and Blue Devils for both players. Jones told USA Today that there will be no curious hat dances or dekes that come from his announcement.
“I'm just gonna be straightforward with it,” Jones told USA Today. “I'll have all of my family and school there with me in the gym supporting me and that's the way I wanted it.”
Seeing Okafor and Jones land in Lawrence would give Kansas three of the top 12 players in 2014 according to Sporting News, and that number could grow to four if Cliff Alexander, SN’s No. 5 recruit, picks the Jayhawks over Memphis and Illinois. Alexander is also committing Friday at 4 p.m., as is Stanley Johnson, SN’s No. 7 recruit, making for one big recruiting bonanza tomorrow.
Okafor and Jones have long been thought to be leaning toward attending Duke, but recruiting can and always will be a big guessing game. Few thought that Andrew Wiggins would attend Kansas until he made his announcement. Does Self have more of that magic Friday?
Whichever school these players choose, Duke or Kansas will have the unquestioned No. 1 recruiting class of 2014.
My final picks for today: Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, Duke. Cliff Alexander, Illinois. Stanley Johnson, Arizona.
Overriding assumption is Jones and Okafor choose Duke. Alexander doesn't want to go same place as Okafor. This stuff is VERY unpredictable.
Stanley Johnson, a 6-foot-6 small forward from Santa Ana Mater Dei High School and considered one of the top 10 high school seniors in the country by most recruiting services, is going to announce on Friday on ESPNU that he has chosen to attend Arizona over USC and Kentucky, according to two people with knowledge of Johnson's recruitment.
Johnson had said that he would wait until the spring signing period to make his announcement. But last week he said he would participate in the ESPNU show that will include at least three other players from around the country announcing their decisions.
Kansas State added size and outside scoring punch with the addition of Stephen Hurt and Tre Harris, who signed letters of intent for the 2014-15 basketball season.
Hurt is a 6-foot-10, 275-pound power forward currently playing at Northwest Florida State College and Harris is a 6-5 shooting guard at Fishburne (Va.) Military Prep.
“Looking at our roster, we need more size and skilled big men are hard to find,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “It’s hard to get big guys and to get Stephen Hurt is a major coup for us because we beat some very good programs to get him.
“With the loss of (current seniors) Will Spradling and Shane Southwell to graduation, we need more depth on the perimeter and Tre is a big 3-point threat.”
Hurt began his career at Lipscomb, redshirting the 2011-12 season with a knee injury. Last season he was the Atlantic Sun Conference freshman of the year, averaging 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native went to Northwest Florida after a coaching change at Lipscomb.
“Even in high school, if you go back and watch the clips he had great hands and great touch and that’s continued,” Weber said. “He has the ability to shoot from the perimeter and has touch around the basket. If you’re thinking of somebody who he is like I’d say Tim Duncan; he loves (Dirk) Nowitzki. He can shoot 3s so he’s really going to help us.”
Harris is a definite long-ball threat. He made 46.4 percent of his 3-point shots (66 of 142) as a senior to lead his Edwardsville, Ill., high school to a third-place finish in the Class 4A state tournament a year ago. He currently is averaging 19.7 points while shooting 41 percent on 3s at Fishburne, which has a No. 3 Prep School ranking.
“He didn’t get the recruiting he wanted out of high school and made the decision to try a prep school,” Weber said. “He went there to mature, get stronger and gain some weight.
“Coach (Chris) Lowery went to watch somebody else and saw he was a dead-eye shooter. He can stretch the defense.”
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