Carlton Bragg tossed and turned in bed on Tuesday night, hours before his exhibition debut with Kansas University basketball team.
“I couldn’t sleep. I went to sleep about 1 and got up earlier than usual. I had a lot of nerves for my first college game. It was good, though,” Bragg, KU’s 6-foot-9 freshman power forward from Cleveland said after erupting for 14 points off 7-of-12 shooting and grabbing six rebounds while playing 21 minutes in KU’s 89-66 rout of Pittsburg State in Allen Fieldhouse.
…“I thought he was the best player in the game,” KU coach Bill Self said of Bragg. “He played with energy. He played with a smile on his face. I thought he did terrific for a young kid out there. What Perry gave us was his standard. I thought he (Bragg) was the best player in the game. All our players did, too, in the locker room.”
Self loved Bragg’s touch on the high/low dish.
“It looked like Marcus or Markieff making that play,” Self said of the Morris twins, who were effective as juniors on the high/low. “I don’t want to get giddy saying this is the ultimate performance, but he has been consistently good.”
The Kansas senior was his efficient self Wednesday, scoring 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting in KU’s 89-66 preseason victory over Pittsburg State at Allen Fieldhouse.
“I feel so much faster,” Ellis said. “I’m running the floor so well right now. My endurance is up. My body’s feeling real great.”
Ellis worked with strength coach Andrea Hudy to become leaner over the summer.
“It was something I wanted to do,” Ellis said. “I realized the last couple years how I would get tired too fast. I wanted to really work on that.”
Bill Self spent his Wednesday morning and afternoon working as an administrator, not as a basketball coach.
“I didn’t prepare for the game (89-66 win over Pittsburg State). I didn’t go to practice today. I didn’t meet with the team pre-game. I was in meetings all day,” said Self, trying to help resolve the Cheick Diallo eligibility situation.
…“This was the worst day a coach could have to open a season because you should be excited about a season. You spend all day dealing with other things that are more important than your actual season. Of course that has to be done. I totally understand that. It’s disappointing we’re dealing with it on Nov. 4,” Self added.
…“There wasn’t progress but there were certainly talks. The talks are ongoing,” Self said. “The process is still playing itself out. I was very disappointed for Cheick that we let him know at 4 o’clock today he wouldn’t be suited up, but that’s the nature of the business. Certainly I’m hopeful everybody is working diligently to try to resolve this in the earliest manner it can possibly be resolved. It’s disappointing but one in which it wasn’t from a lack of effort today on our part, I’ll say that.”
…KU junior Landen Lucas started, but picked up two quick fouls. He had no points and two rebounds in eight minutes. "Landen was nicked up, that's why he didn't play. He turned his ankle pretty severely yesterday but wanted to play tonight," Self said.
…The Texas Wesleyan basketball team, which plays Park University today in Olathe, attended the KU-Pitt State game. Former Free State guard Doug Compton plays for Wesleyan. Also in the crowd was former KU guard Merv Lindsay, who played for both New Mexico and Wesleyan after leaving KU.
If Diallo is cleared to play, the Jayhawks will forge ahead as Final Four contenders. If not, the Jayhawks risk losing the crown jewel of their recruiting class. The situation has cast a black cloud over this Kansas preseason, and Self has grown increasingly frustrated with the glacial pace of the process.
But as Diallo sat in warmups Wednesday, taking in No. 4 Kansas’ 89-66 victory over Pittsburg State, the night served as a decent reminder to the 16,300 fans at Allen Fieldhouse: The Jayhawks do possess another freshman forward of ample pedigree and prodigious skillset. His name is Carlton Bragg, and he offered a memorable first impression, finishing with 14 points and six rebounds in his unofficial Kansas debut.
…Bragg, a 6-foot-9 stretch-four, doesn’t offer the same upside as a rim-protector or rebounder, and it may be more difficult to pair him with senior forward Perry Ellis in the frontcourt. But his first performance inside Allen Fieldhouse highlighted an otherwise sluggish exhibition opener. Bragg, who finished 7 of 12 from the floor, showcased his advanced skillset around the basket. He poured in eight points before halftime. And he finished with two emphatic dunks in the final minutes, giving Allen Fieldhouse a reason to celebrate this annual local holiday: the return of basketball season.
“I just wanted to play hard,” Bragg said. “I had a lot of excitement going on, but I just wanted to play my role on the team.”
The graduation rates of teams ranked in the Top 25 by The Associated Press, both football and men's basketball. They are based on the latest Graduation Success Rates, released Wednesday by the NCAA, which cover incoming freshmen classes from 2005-08 and calculates the percentage of all athletes who earned a degree within six years of entering school.
TOP 25: MEN'S BASKETBALL
1. North Carolina 80 percent
2. Kentucky 90
3. Maryland 90.9
4. Kansas 100
5. Duke 100
6. Virginia 63.6
7. Iowa St. 75.0
8. Oklahoma 71.4
9. Gonzaga 87.5
10. Wichita St. 62.5
11. Villanova 100
12. Arizona 80.0
13. Michigan St. 62.5
14. California 54.5
15. Indiana 66.7
16. Utah 90.0
17. Wisconsin 66.7
18. Vanderbilt 83.3
19. Notre Dame 100
20. UConn 20
21. LSU 58.3
22. Baylor 90.9
23. Purdue 84.6
24. Butler 100
25. Michigan 88.9
When the Kansas City Royals closed out the World Series on Sunday night, it not only delivered the franchise its first championship in 30 years, it also bumped college basketball off the cover of the next issue of Sports Illustrated. While there are still more than 50 pages of content previewing the new season for both the men and the women—including a ranking of all 351 men's teams, a player of the year breakdown, a profile of Wichita State point guard Fred VanVleet by Luke Winn, and much more—the covers were destined to be lost to history.
Here's what the initial drafts of the three regional covers of the college basketball preview issue looked like like until the Royals' title run forced the magazine to turn its attention to designing a baseball cover. The subjects are senior guard Marcus Paige of No. 1 North Carolina, senior forward Perry Ellis of No. 2 Kansas and senior forward Alex Poythress of No. 3 Kentucky.
Marcus Morris, traded by the Suns to the Detroit Pistons in July, does not dwell on his Phoenix experience. He maintains contact with several former Suns teammates, but his former team is a rear-view entity to him.
The Pistons jumped at the chance to acquire the small forward's four-year, $20 million contract for a 2020 second-round draft pick.
It wasn't the Pistons for whom Marcus Morris signed that extension, but it is Detroit where he will serve it.
"This is the NBA. I let relationships overcome business. That will never happen again," Morris said after the Pistons' loss Tuesday to Indiana. I'm learning from it. My brother's learning from it. We're going to continue to grow.
"I mean, there's no bitter blood between me and the other players. I don't even think about the front office like that anymore. I'm just ready to compete and hopefully get the win in Phoenix."
KUAD WBB: Jayhawks Shaking Things Up Overseas
“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
College basketball exhibitions are completely forgetful ... except for when a high-major program loses to a non-Division I school.
So remember this: St. Thomas Aquinas College 90, St. John's 58.
That's a real final score from Wednesday night.
That's a Division II school beating a Big East school by 32 points.
Sir'Dominic Pointer is not walking through that door, I don't guess. And that is some kind of embarrassing debut for first-year St. John's coach Chris Mullin. Makes me look crazy for picking the Red Storm ninth in the Big East ahead of DePaul instead of 10th in the Big East behind everybody. But you live and you learn, you know? You live and you learn.
LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney has been cleared by the NCAA after being investigated for a workout video with a trainer, ESPN's Jeff Goodman reports.
Big 12 Composite Schedule
The No. 1-ranked prep boys basketball player in the class of 2016 and the No. 2-ranked player in the class of 2017 will play in a tournament in Wichita, hosted by Sunrise Christian Academy, later this month.
Josh Jackson, a 6-foot-7 guard for California’s Prolific Prep, leads the class of 2016. His team will open the tournament at 1 p.m. Nov. 14 against Elevate (Colo.) Academy. Sunrise Christian Academy will play Word of God Christian (N.C.) Academy at 5 p.m. Nov. 14 and Prolific Prep at 5 p.m. Nov. 15.
Thon Maker, a 7-foot center from Canada’s Athlete Institute is another one of the top players in the field. The list also includes Word of God’s Rawle Alkins, a guard ranked No. 9 by Rivals.com and No. 12 Terrance Ferguson, a guard from Texas’ Advanced Prepatory International who is orally committed to Alabama.
Advanced Prepatory International will bring two of the top 10 players from the class of 2017 — No. 2 Trevon Duval, a guard, and No. 6 Billy Preston, a forward. No. 7 Jarred Vanderbilt plays for Houston’s Victory Prep.
Games will be played at North High on Nov. 14 and Hartman Arena on Nov. 15.
An elite big man revealed his college decision one week before the start of the early signing period. Schnider Herard announced at a ceremony at his high school on Wednesday that he has committed to Mississippi State
Herard chose the Bulldogs after taking official visits to Kansas, Mississippi State, Purdue and Texas Tech (Cal was the other school included in the top five he released in August). A native of Haiti, Herard arrived in the United States in August 2012. He began garnering interest from high-major programs—he eventually picked up more than 20 scholarship offers--thanks in large part to his size and strength.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2015-16)
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