The Kansas basketball team plowed its way through Day 3 of Bill Self's annual preseason Boot Camp on Wednesday and was at it again bright and early for Day 4 on Thursday morning.
That puts the Jayhawks one day away from the halfway point of the annual ritual that players often deem to be torture while going through it and often see — and appreciate — the benefit of down the road, as they mature mentally and physically and move deeper into their college careers.
“As you go through them more and more, you really see that it’s for our benefit," KU forward Landen Lucas said after Day 1 of this year's camp. "At the beginning, you go out there and it really sucks, but, between the conditioning and just the team building and going through some adversity with teammates, it actually is something that will definitely help you in the long run.”
LJW Photo Gallery Boot Camp
ESPN’s Holly Rowe, who has been battling cancer since last February, spoke to KU’s men’s and women’s basketball players on Monday and the football team Tuesday. She gave tips on on interviewing and other aspects of media relations with other Jayhawk student-athletes as well.
“She looked great. She said she’s feeling pretty good. If she says she’s feeling pretty good, she’s probably feeling OK,” Self said with a smile. “I think she’s doing well, just a little tired. But healthwise and everything, I think she felt good. The chemo and stuff that she’s had to take, like it would on anybody I’m sure, takes its toll from a fatigue standpoint. But she’s off of it now, and hopefully, all tests are positive moving forward.
“I think she’s great, and the guys all love her. And she likes them. They can be loose and open with her. I think she does a really good job.”
Bernadette Gray-Little’s decision to step down as Kansas chancellor after the 2016-17 school year wasn’t totally unexpected, KU basketball coach Bill Self said after Friday morning’s Boot Camp session in the Jayhawks’ practice facility.
"It doesn’t catch me off guard that anybody would announce retirement. I think everybody knows that, at some point, that was going to happen. I just think it kind of surprised everybody that it was so abrupt," Self said of Thursday’s announcement by Gray-Little, who has served as chancellor since August 2009.
"That’s not that long from now. What is it, nine months? But congratulations to her. She’s earned her time to relax and enjoy life and certainly has been great for our university. She’s been great for athletics, but I think she’s been fabulous for our university as a whole. I’m happy for her, and I’ll be excited to see who accepts the challenge moving forward, but I really believe she’ll leave this place on really, really solid footing," Self added.
When the Nuggets open training camp Tuesday at Creighton University in Omaha, not every player will be full-go from the start.
Forward Darrell Arthur is working his way back from having a knee scope a few weeks ago. The veteran, who signed a three-year, $23 million contract extension in the summer, has been doing some work on the court but will be brought along slowly as the team gets into full drills.
…Arthur is coming off a season in which he played 70 games and averaged a career-high 21.7 minutes, but did experience knee soreness at times. He’ll be in the mix for added playing time now that the Nuggets traded forward Joffrey Lauvergne to Oklahoma City late last month.
With Khris Middleton out for nearly the entire season and the Bucks lacking wing depth, their training-competition at the position becomes much more relevant.
The Xavier Henry experiment ends before it begins, and Jabari Brown enters the mix with Orlando Johnson already on an unguaranteed deal.
Why Allen Fieldhouse is the BEST!
“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
Whether Houston ultimately gets in could hinge heavily on whether the four Big 12 Texas schools coalesce around the Cougars' candidacy.
There figures to be significant political pressure on the four Big 12 Texas schools to do just that. Texas governor Greg Abbott has already tweeted that expansion is a "non-starter" without Houston, and was spotted wearing a Cougars polo to the Oklahoma game.
Just this week, Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick told KRIV-TV in Houston that "This is about Texas schools. I don't really give a hoot and a holler about UConn or some school in Florida or anywhere else. Texas schools oughta vote for other Texas schools."
Much of this is political posturing from elected officials angling to boost their appeal with Houston voters while improving their relationships with Houston lawmakers. That doesn't mean the pressure won't be real.
The pressure will also be on Texas chancellor Bill McRaven and, by proxy, Texas president Greg Fenves, to resolve the sticky 300-acre land deal in Houston. Texas wants to build a satellite facility there, but has faced stiff opposition from Houston officials and lawmakers. At this point, the best way Texas could placate Houston would be to help get it in the Big 12. Fenves tweeted in July that he "supports" the Big 12 "considering" the Cougars. But it remains unclear whether Texas will actually go to bat for them when it counts.
In the meantime, the best way Houston can help itself is to keep winning on the field. It would be difficult to envision a scenario in which the Big 12 announces expansion and leaves out the school on the brink of making the playoff.
Will anything happen on Oct. 17?
Since the league announced it would begin exploring expansion in July, Big 12 insiders have been pointing to the Oct. 17 board meeting of presidents and chancellors as the likeliest point at which a vote on expansion could take place.
Oklahoma president and Big 12 board chair David Boren, however, seemed to turn that timetable on its head when he spoke to the media, including ESPN.com, after the school's regents meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last week.
"I'm not certain there will be a decision at the October board meeting on expansion at this time," Boren said. "We're going to look at every way in which we can make the conference stronger and better. But I'm not sure the automatic answer to that is expansion.
"The situation is still pretty fluid."
ESPN via ABC
NCAA Tournament Brackets and History interactive tool
CBS Interactive RPI Tool
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Annual Late Night in the Phog
Annual Bill Self Camp KU vs 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