Hero to Zero
“That was probably the biggest (expletive) move I’ve ever had a player do during a game,” Self said during his postgame radio interview. “To dunk the ball like that when the other team -- even their players are going, ‘How disrespectful to the game.’ It certainly showed unbelievable poor sportsmanship.”
Self also opened his postgame news conference by apologizing to K-State, calling the incident “totally classless.”
Greene was suspended by Self for five games earlier this season, and Self referenced that punishment Wednesday night.
“We’ve put up with him doing some stuff in the past,” Self said. “... I guarantee that will never happen again or he will never be in the game at the end.”
Kansas won its 36th straight home game and Kansas State dropped its 12 straight road conference game.
The crucial stretch occurred with 12 minutes remaining in the game. Stephen Hurt’s swish from the top cut the Kansas lead to 47-45.
But the Jayhawks, who had two points from the first 11 possessions of the second half, finally awakened. Wayne Selden answered with a three-pointer from the wing, and moments later Devonte Graham tipped away a pass, tossed a lob to Selden who laid it for a seven-point lead.
Kansas wasn’t finished. Svi Mykhaliuk, who hadn’t played in two of the previous three games, used a screen from Landen Lucas to score at the basket, and Perry Ellis came up with a steak and breakaway slam of his own and the lead was 56-45 with10:34 remaining.
For an entire month, the turnovers had gone missing.
Getting in the passing lanes? A thing of the past. Pressuring guards on the perimeter? A distant memory.
Early in the year, Kansas’ guards had annoyed and deflected and burrowed their way into an effective defensive team, moving into the nation’s top 25 in defensive turnover percentage.
Then, for an entire Big 12 season, that style of play vanished … until Wednesday night, that is.
No. 7 KU recorded a conference-high 10 steals to help pull away from Kansas State in a 77-59 victory on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
"That was probably about as turned up as we’ve been defensively — creating havoc — in a long time," KU coach Bill Self said.
K-State’s mistakes often turned directly into KU offense, as the Jayhawks scored 30 points off the Wildcats’ 23 turnovers.
The Wildcats (13-9, 2-7 Big 12) lost control for several reasons. Chief among them were fouls. Bruce Weber used nine players in the first half, and all nine committed at least one foul. The team had 15 at intermission, many of which resulted in easy points for the Jayhawks (18-4, 6-3).
“They were crucial calls,” Weber said.
The fouls began to mount, ironically, when Weber inserted Brian Rohleder strictly for defensive purposes. His job was to keep other players out of foul trouble, but he was whistled for three fouls in three minutes of action.
Kansas converted two free throws on his first foul, picked up three points on his second and got four on his third, a critical foul against KU sharpshooter Brannen Greene at the end of the first half. Greene swished a three-pointer through contact, then stepped to the free-throw line and made it a four-point play.
Johnson went on to foul out with 6:42 left in the second half. The team committed 27 fouls.
“It’s a road game and that is what is expected,” Iwundu said. “I just told the guys to keep their heads and keep their composure. That’s what you have to do on the road, especially Allen Fieldhouse. It’s a tough place to play.”
Weber was irate with the calls, at one point walking across the court to challenge an official following a turnover by Hurt. He appeared on his way to a technical foul, but the officials let K-State off with a bench warning.
“You come here, you can get mad,” Weber said. “I tried to keep my poise and for 16 minutes I told the officials I didn’t say a word to them, but it gets to a point. I can’t let the kids get frustrated. You have got to fight through it and be tougher than that.”
The 6-foot-8 sophomore from Cherkasy, Ukraine scored 10 points off 4-of-7 shooting and had four assists, three steals and one turnover — providing a needed spark in Kansas University’s 77-59 victory over Kansas State.
“Svi was as good defensively as any of our guards today,” KU coach Bill Self said, explaining that he went with Mykhailiuk off the bench because of his recent stellar play at practice.
“I think the last two days in practice he looked more confident and he is a better perimeter defender,” Self said. “We could have gone with Lagerald (Vick). I told our guys (assistants), ‘Svi is shooting the heck out of the ball. Let’s see if we can get him in there.’ He played with more confidence.”
He cashed one of four. But he was pivotal in a 16-4 run that turned a 16-7 deficit into a 23-20 advantage in the first half.
“I’ve been trying to work hard every practice. I knew my time was going to come. I had to be ready,” said Mykhailiuk, whose 10 points were his most since scoring 10 against Montana on Dec. 19. “I thought I played pretty good defense and moved the ball.”
“It was amazing to me we were up 10 at half and I felt like it was a tie game,” Self said. “Second half, we gave the 10-point lead back. ... It wasn’t a well-played game by us. They definitely bullied us on the glass and certainly played much tougher. That’s about as soft as I can remember one of our teams playing.”
Kansas shot .551 from the field, .389 from three-point land, and forced 23 turnovers, so it was far from a total disaster, but it was enough to put the winning coach in a lousy mood.
“Once again our three-man gets no rebounds, doesn’t do anything form a physical standpoint to create anything,” Self said of junior Wayne Selden, who was coming off a 33-point game in an overtime victory against Kentucky. “Polar opposite of the other day. He’ll regroup and do better, but he didn’t impact the game in any way, shape or form tonight. He was active defensively maybe for a three-or-four-minute stretch, but didn’t guard, didn’t rebound, didn’t make shots, turned it over, didn’t handle pressure. It was a polar-opposite game from the other night.”
Kansas junior Wayne Selden Jr., has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
A native of Roxbury, Massachusetts, Selden is coming off a career-high 33 points in Kansas' 90-84 overtime win versus No. 20/19 Kentucky on Feb. 3. Selden is fifth in the Big 12 in scoring at 15.4 points per game, second in the league in 3-points field goals made per game at 2.5 and third in 3-point field goal percentage at 47.3 percent. Selden has five 20-point efforts for the season with two in Big 12 play (24 vs. Baylor [1/2], 21 vs. Oklahoma [1/4]). Earlier this season he was the co-MVP of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational in guiding KU to the tourney title. In the Kentucky contest, Selden became 57th KU player to reach 1,000 career points.
It doesn't feel like a palace and it doesn't feel like a relic. Allen Fieldhouse is cozily tucked right on the edge of campus, but unless you're a fan of the game you wouldn't even know what's there unless you actually got to step through the doors. When you do you're not stepping into a time machine, and I think that's an important distinction. Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse, The Palestra in Philadelphia and Rose Hill Gymnasium (home to Fordham and the longest active D-I gym in the sport) have this power of instantly transporting you and holding ghosts in the room. Allen Fieldhouse feels effortlessly timeless in a modern way.
There's a contemporary, clean, simple feel to the surrounding hallways and foyers that bumper the arena. Students "camp" out by way of a sophisticated grouping system with sporadic roll calls throughout the week to ensure they keep their place in line (a lottery drawn earlier in the week determines which group gets first dibs, second, third, etc. to enter). Only one group rep needs to be in the main concourse when roll is randomly called, so instead of 4,000 students camping outside of Allen Fieldhouse, you've got 300 or so students posted up inside on their phones, tablets or laptops. It looks like they're all waiting on a delayed flight at the airport.
…The arena is basically filled -- no exaggeration here; maybe 5 percent of the seats weren't occupied -- with 30 minutes still to go before tip-off. This is obviously uncommon for most other places, which struggle to get everyone in the bowl in time for the national anthem. The student section soon after begins to yell "Rock chalk!" to one side of the arena, and a response of "Jay! Hawk!" is reciprocated. This lays the foundation for the audience's crescendo that will rise over the next 18 minutes. A woman is holding a sign that says she came from Alaska to watch this game in person. There are a few other signs with interesting slogans, brought in by students, that I can't share on this site. Long live college creativity.
…The game -- which was remarkably fun and entirely unpredictable -- gets to overtime after Frank Mason almost buries a 48-footer at the end of regulation. If Mason makes that shot, I'm probably unconscious five seconds later.
Before the bonus session starts, the decibel level hits 118. Someone is saying something to me, but I can't even pretend to hear a damn thing because it's so loud. It's right there in that moment that I know I'm experiencing something so special to the job and vital to the sport. I can't believe it -- and I sort of told myself I wouldn't let it happen -- but the ethos of the building has lived up to the enormous amounts of hype that comes with it. I want everyone who loves college basketball -- OK, basketball -- to venture to Lawrence and get to live through something like this.
…The Phog is a spectacle and experience to itself, unmatched in college basketball but also in all of sports. The best part is it's made possible not by any tricky architecture of the building or any acoustic quirks that enhance the environment. Allen Fieldhouse is so distinctive and intimidating because of the beloved vehemence and unrelenting passion of the fan base. The indelible house can live forever because Kansas fans will always bring it to life. I can still hear the noise, and I assume I'll hear it for the rest of my life.
He didn't just throw Greene under the team bus. He backed it up and ran him over again. Make no mistake about that.
But Greene's tenure with the Jayhawks hasn't exactly been pristine. He was suspended earlier this fall and banned from traveling with the team to the Maui Invitational after reportedly arguing with Self over playing time.
That's an important consideration in determining whether Self's comments were over-the-top. Greene's prior tangles with insubordination make him less of a sympathetic figure and make it more difficult to cast Self as the villain.
Whatever corrective action Self had undertaken privately was clearly not effective in getting his message across to Greene, so he used the press to deliver a new one: obey or be embarrassed.
It was not unlike the message Arizona's Sean Miller delivered in last week's Kaleb Tarczewski melodrama, where he was immediately cast as the malefactor.
Tarczewski, who missed more than a month this winter while nursing a foot injury, struggled to work his way through a few defensive lapses in the Wildcats' home loss to Oregon. The Ducks managed to snap Arizona's 49-game home winning streak, but what made headlines after the game was Miller's reaction to his defensive lapses.
As Tarczewski walked off the court, he apparently told Miller to "relax" and sparked this tirade from the coach, who was quite literally spitting mad.
"If you ever talk to me like that again, m—f—er, you will never f—ing go back in the game," he said.
At one point, Miller got inches from Tarczewski's face to make his point.
When asked on Saturday if he had any regrets about his behavior toward Tarczewski, Miller said he didn't.
"When you’re a coach and you’re in a program like ours, you’re going to be corrected, you’re going to be coached and I think part of it is to be receptive to that. That’s what’s going to bring out the best not only in our team, but also the players."
…The relationship between player and coach is no different than any relationship. There are peaks and valleys. There are misunderstandings. There are squabbles. What changes the perception of the player-coach relationship is that these moments are often occuring in very public, high-pressure situations and in front of people — fans — who don't get to see the moments behind the scenes.
Miller and Self have been at this whole coaching thing for a combined 35 years. That's a lot of relationships to navigate. If you figure there are 15 players on every team, that's 525 different personalities they've managed through the years. Two incidences? That's a pittance.
That alone should earn them the benefit of the doubt.
The Sporting News
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!”
Big 12/College News
You know what happens to Maryland fans on nights like Wednesday?
They cheer and they smile -- until they frown. Then they throw things.
This is because they’re fans of the Big Ten’s most beautiful Corvette. But it’s winter now, so they’re never quite sure how it will handle the road.
That’s the plight of a fan base that has watched Mark Turgeon’s program escape an abundance of tight games. Maryland is 19-2 since the 2014-15 season in matchups decided by six points or fewer. These are wins that have elevated the team -- and the collective blood pressure in College Park.
Talent isn't the issue. The Terrapins are loaded with NBA prospects and veteran goodness.
But then they fail to impose their will in a 70-65 win at Nebraska, and that’s why you sometimes wonder how far this crew will go.
…He's angling to end the year as the first player in modern college basketball history to lead the nation in both points and assists per game (national leaders in assists weren't tracked nationally before 1984, according to ESPN Stats & Info).
…Prolific Prep senior Josh Jackson is considered the No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2016 and has narrowed his recruiting list to Arizona, Kansas and Michigan State. DraftExpress.com already projects Jackson as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
API’s roster includes two of the best juniors in the country: Trevon Duval and Billy Preston. Both are considered top five players in the class of 2017 by 247Sports, which ranks Duval as the No. 1 point guard in the class. Both players have scholarship offers from several major programs.
The nightcap will feature Athlete Institute (Ont.) against Quality Education (N.C.) at 8:30 p.m. Five-star prospect Thon Maker, a 7-footer and one of the top seniors in high school basketball, plays for Athlete Institute.
Shea Rush is 15 years old with big brown eyes and a long body he's growing into. This is the age of every possibility. This is what he's been raised for. The other day, a friend told him he looked like Barack Obama. Shea liked that. He smiled. Cool, he thought.
Politics could be something. His basketball coach at The Barstow School jokes that he'll vote for Shea someday. But Shea, who makes A's and B's in advanced classes, talks about other things. A future in aeronautical engineering, perhaps. Or architecture, like his grandfather. Maybe basketball, like his father and uncles.
This is Shea Rush, the high school freshman with the last name he did not choose and will never live up to - or down to. His father is JaRon Rush, perhaps the greatest high school player in Kansas City history. The oldest kid in the second generation of the area's first family of basketball wants to see what the sport can do for him.
Mom is a teacher at Barstow. She's raising Shea with the help of her parents, both of whom have doctoral degrees. He is a kid becoming a young man, making his own decisions, drawn to the sport that once made his father famous.
…Shea is developing into what Mom calls a "work for the assist, not the shot" kind of player. JaRon's scouting report is of a finesse player, a standout defender with a good court presence. As a freshman, Shea is finding his way with the varsity. His coach, former KU guard Billy Thomas, thinks Shea will grow into a good college player, if that's what he chooses. Shea thinks about that sometimes. But it's not what he enjoys about the game.
"It's a release from my everyday life, " he says. "That feeling when you're on the court is special, you know? It's a real pleasure to get to play with some of my close friends and get to progress and be the best I can."
…He says his dream school is North Carolina. Part of that is the campus in Chapel Hill, but he will also tell you he thinks Williams "is a great man." The other school he mentions is Kansas, in no small part because of what basketball games feel like there. Shea has heard enough of his father's story to know JaRon regrets not playing for Williams at Kansas.
KC Star Mellinger
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube