Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas. The NBA general manager who selects Drummond over Robinson, if such a thing occurs, will be mocked for years to come. Robinson has everything to become a tremendous NBA power forward.
TSN Mike DeCourcy: Good, bad, ugly NBA draft decisions
There are several teams that could use Robinson’s talents at the power forward position. He already has a solid jump shot and mid-range game and plays well with his back to the basket. However, it is his size that will truly be coveted. He already has an NBA body and doesn’t need to add or drop any weight. That means he can spend all of his time polishing his jumper and working on post moves. If there is any doubt that Robinson will be able to make it in the NBA, all you have to do is look at his story, both on and off the court, and you have found your answer.
Robinson is a physical specimen. He’s as big and as strong as any power forward in the NBA, with a frame that makes him look like a natural fit for the WWE. He’s an explosive athlete and as good on the glass as anyone in this draft class. Robinson has a nose for the ball and goes after the rebound like a junkyard dog chasing a raw strip steak.
…There are reasons to be skeptical about Robinson’s upside and whether or not it’s worthy of a top three or four pick, a spot where teams are usually looking to land a franchise player. But Robinson’s worst-case scenario is a bright-spot. Even if he turns out to be a “bust”, whoever drafts him will be getting a guy that measured out at 6-foot-10 in shoes at the LeBron Skills Academy over the summer that is big, strong, athletic, attacks the glass and is as competitive as anyone in the NBA.
Robinson made the right decision to enter the draft.
With only a handful of days removed from the NCAA tournament, Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor have their eyes on the NBA. While signing autographs for fans, the two discussed what their plans for the upcoming NBA Draft that’ll take place in June.
After an up and down four years at the University, Taylor is projected to be a late-first or early-second round pick, which varies among different mock drafts. Chad Ford, of ESPN Insider, has Taylor ranked as the 33rd overall prospect in this year’s draft.
When asked about Ford’s projected outcome for him, Taylor laughed and said, “Thirty-three? Really?”
In order to improve on that draft grade, Taylor acknowledges he there areparts of his game that he needs to elevate.
“I’m just have to keep working hard, work on my jump shot and work on things they say I can’t do well,” Taylor said. “Can’t worry about what the mock drafts say and just continue to get better.”
Robinson, though, after averaging 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game during his junior campaign, is almost guaranteed to be a top-five pick in the draft. Ford has him as the fourth-ranked prospect and going third overall to the New Orleans Hornets. But the knock by scouts and evaluators is that he is too short to play power forward in the NBA. Robinson isn’t bothered by what has been said about his height.
“It only matters if I play like I’m too short,” Robinson said, “Then we have a problem.”
The two haven’t started to prepare extensively for the draft yet — at least, not when it comes to workouts — especially since their season ended 11 days ago.
Taylor said he was just relaxing and being lazy. Robinson said he was just trying to get his body back from the long season.
Both players have different things to offer whichever teams decide to take the Jayhawks’ star players. Taylor and Robinson said they are both willing to do whatever they have to for their respective teams to succeed.
Each has an ideal team in mind, when considering the draft.
Taylor simply said, “The Lakers, let’s go Lakers.”
Robinson, when asked the same question, laughed and smiled, and then said “New Jersey. I want to go to Jersey.”
Robinson and Taylor both realize that they are about to capitalize on their childhood dreams — dreams that are only growing brighter and will continue to in the coming months.
“Just to be in this position is a blessing,” Taylor said. “I’m going to take full advantage of it.”
Kansas lost Thomas Robinson as expected, as well as senior Tyshawn Taylor. But the returnees (led by Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson) and the newcomers (led by Perry Ellis and redshirt freshman Ben McLemore) make the Jayhawks once again the team to beat in the Big 12. No matter what the personnel losses are, haven't we learned our lesson not to dismiss this program as long as Bill Self is in charge? Yes. Yes, we have. KU isn't going anywhere.
ESPN Way Too Early Top 25
Yes Kansas loses a lot of talent, but there will still be seven players on the team that were Top 100 recruits coming out of high school. (Ben Mclemore is finally eligible.) And thanks to Bill Self's ability to teach defense, Kansas will be the favorites in the Big 12 again.
-Kansas St. brings almost everyone back and Bruce Weber has a real chance to hit the ground running.
-When you look at all those freshmen minutes (FP%), you see why this conference could be extremely deep next year. Oklahoma St. should be substantially improved, and West Virginia should see plenty of player development, which will help offset the loss of the team's two best players.
CBS: Tempo-free predictions for 2012-13
“Toward the first of the year I played a whole bunch, then we got some guys back from (NBA) training camp. As a rookie unless you are averaging 30 (points) a game, you’ve got to give way to older guys like I did here at Kansas,” said Morningstar, who started 20 of 50 games for the 66ers, good for 27.7 minutes a game.
He hit 42.2 percent of his shots (38.3 percent of his threes) while dishing 106 assists against 69 turnovers. He also had 2.2 boards per outing.
“I don’t know if I’m on track for the NBA. I think I’m on track to keep playing ball the way I like to play ball,” Morningstar said. “I’m not setting my NBA sights too high. I’m giving myself a chance. A lot of guys are trying to do what I do, so I’m not going to say I’m going to make it and nobody else will.
“There were a record number of call-ups this year — 50 they said (from NBADL rosters),” the former Free State High standout added. “Unfortunately I wasn’t one of them. A couple of my teammates were, but that’s why you have next year and the year after that and year after that ... to prove yourself.”
New KU assistant coach Norm Roberts grinned when asked about coaching Morningstar’s losing fantasy camp team on Thursday.
“Wayne had a couple threes that just didn’t go down. Teahan didn’t guard the way he needed to. I’ve got to be honest ... Brady Morningstar was playing that NBA defense — none,” Roberts said with a laugh. “It really hurt us.”
Morningstar said the campers, who paid $4,995 ($2,995 for Williams Fund members) for a weekend of basketball in Lawrence, were certain to have a great time.
“I think it’s great for them to see how spoiled we are for a couple days and see how we do things around Kansas basketball,” Morningstar said.
Of the camp, which continues with a batch of games today and Saturday, Roberts said: “I think it’s great. The only thing we worry about is we don’t need any of the older guys taking charges on Thomas Robinson at halfcourt. You have to be careful with that. I think it’s a great deal. You will have some guys be very, very competitive and other guys just want to have a good time.”
LJW Photos: Bill Self Basketball Experience fantasy camp
KU AD Throwback Thursday: WBB Ivana Catic
On January 3, 2011, Zenger was officially introduced as Kansas’ athletic director. Zenger came at a time when the ticket scandal was something he didn’t have to deal with much. In fact, the scandal is something Zenger doesn’t talk about, even with his own employees in the Athletics Department.
However conference realignment directly affected Zenger. As the Big 12 began to teeter, Zenger moved to the basement in his house. He didn’t want to bother his family and he had to have his iPhone, iPad and blackberry charged, or charging at all times. His first phone call would come in around 6:30 a.m., and they wouldn’t stop until around midnight every day.
“I never thought the Big 12 was going to go away,” Zenger said. “In my heart of hearts I believed that the Big 12 would stand, and it did.”
Once conference realignment came to its conclusion, football season did the same. And once again, the workload never stopped for Zenger. On November 27, 2011, Zenger fired football coach Turner Gill. Three days later, Zenger took to the air, as he flew across the country for two weeks, looking to find the next football coach for Kansas.
“I did sleep from two to six every night and that was literally it,” Zenger said. “When you’re in that moment, you’re willing to sacrifice whatever. That’s what you get paid to do.”
While Zenger’s life appeared to be a huge blur in his first months at Kansas, the athletic director won’t look at it that way. He frequently says he’s not a victim, and what he did was just part of the job. But during that coaching search, Zenger did more than the usual parts of the job.
When he returned to Kansas on December 11, 2011, Zenger had Charlie Weis by his side as Kansas’ new football coach. And while Weis, the former coach at Notre Dame, has a resume that looks impressive, Zenger did not give the coach any breaks as he looked for the program’s perfect fit.
“It was a grueling, grueling day,” Weis said of the interview process as he was introduced as Kansas’ coach.
Soon after Weis got settled in, conference play began for basketball. Both times Kansas played Missouri, Zenger and company had to answer questions about if Kansas would ever play Missouri again. The answer, for the time being, is no, a decision Zenger said was made at his desk.
And then came the Sweet Sixteen run for the women’s basketball team, and the Final Four run for the men’s basketball team. Zenger said the experience was a shot of confidence in the arm of Kansas Athletics.
Kansas coach Bill Self had high praise for Zenger, as Self complemented him at the Basketball Awards Ceremony on Monday night.
“We’re on a serious uptick in our Athletic Department,” Self said. “And Sheahon and his staff deserve a lot of credit.”
The University of Kansas has moved up the list of universities receiving federal research money, with a school record $147.6 million in 2010-11.
That was good enough for 41st among comprehensive public research universities, up from No. 44 the year before. KU received more federal research money than any other public university in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma or Nebraska, according to a survey released this week by the National Science Foundation.
The University of Missouri received $116.9 million in federal grants. Kansas State University received $68.5 million.
The annual survey ranked 734 public and private universities nationwide. Combined, these institutions received $37.5 billion in federal research money. Johns Hopkins University led the full list, public and private, with $1.7 billion.
KU’s total research dollars, including private donations and grants from nonprofits, exceeded $224.6 million.
“These grants directly affect health, the environment, schools and the quality of life in Kansas,” Steve Warren, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, said in a statement.
Big 12/College News
During a three-year investigation into what has become the best college basketball program in the state, the NCAA reviewed almost 900,000 phone and text messages sent by staffers at Baylor.
As far as we know, investigators didn't find one instance of Scott Drew texting Rick Barnes to gloat.
Just a few years ago, no less of an authority than The Sporting News named Barnes the nation's “recruiter of the decade,” and it's not like the Texas coach has lost his touch. On Wednesday afternoon, right around the time Drew was issuing a statement about going on NCAA probation at Baylor, Barnes received a faxed letter of intent from yet another McDonald's All-American.
But in this decade, the dynamics for Barnes have changed, and Drew is a major reason why. Back when Barnes lured the likes of T.J. Ford, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant to UT, he was doing what no one in the state had done before.
Barnes proved a coach can mine the best talent in Texas and win with it, and that it was possible to import top recruits from elsewhere into football country as well. Later, Drew would smile and say Barnes “paved the way” for him to follow, even though Barnes might have been better off blowing up the road behind him.
From the time he arrived in Austin in 1998 to the Longhorns' fifth Barnes-led Sweet 16 trip in 2008, the UT coach owned the sport in one of the most fertile recruiting bases in America. Barnes dominated Texas Tech, weathered a brief charge from Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M and barely had to give Baylor a second thought.
Before facing the Bears in the 2009 Big 12 tournament, Barnes was 24-0 against Baylor. He's 2-6 since.
From 1999-2009, UT won 17 NCAA tournament games, while Baylor had none. In the last three seasons, Baylor has six, and the Longhorns have one.
And in the most jarring change for the man who once ruled signing day, Barnes no longer gets the best recruits, either. In each of the past three years, Drew's top recruit (Perry Jones III in 2010, Quincy Miller in 2011 and Isaiah Austin this year) has been rated higher nationally than Barnes' best signee.
Q&A with Jason King
Is Baylor a more physically dominating team with the incoming class and supporting cast than they were last year?
JK: Ricardo Gathers is a lot like Quincy Acy in terms of rebounding and toughness. But it's hard to replace a senior with a freshman. Isaiah Austin is certainly more of a defensive presence than Perry Jones III. I think Baylor will be just as good if not better that last season - especially if Quincy Miller takes a significant step forward.
…Which commitment would be bigger? Tony Parker to Kansas or Anthony Bennett to Kentucky?
JK: Bennett, because I think Kentucky needs him more immediately. Kansas returns quite a bit.
...What are your thoughts on the West Virginia Mountaineers this year?
JK: I've got to think they'll struggle to finish in the top half of the Big 12 after losing Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant.
…Do you think Scott Drew finally put the Bears over the top? They don't to have lots a step and they appear more talented than last year.
JK: Well, they won a school-record 30 games and went to the Elite Eight, so I'm not sure what you mean by "over the top." If you're talking about a Big 12 title, then yes, they've got a great shot. They're more talented than Kansas - but they were last year, too, and we all know how that turned out.
…Kansas, Baylor, and Texas seem to be the top 3 picks in the Big 12 by everyone heading into next season. Is there another team that can jump into the conversation like Iowa State did this past season?
JK: I'm not as sold on Texas as everyone else. Kansas State returns everyone except Jamar Samuels, and Oklahoma State will have a healthy Bryant Nash and JP Olukemi along with incoming freshman shooting guard Marcus Smart, a McDonald's All-American.
…Even though Iowa State loses Royce White, I still feel like they will be a formidable team next year with the additions of Korie Lucious and Will Clyburn. Agree?
JK: Absolutely, although i still worry a little bit about the Cyclones in the paint.
…Will Kansas have more hype coming into the year next year than they did this year? Seems a little strange since they are losing their 2 best players.
JK: I definitely think they'll receive more preseason hype - mainly because they've got more proven players returning (Withey, Releford, Johnson, Young). But I'm not sure they'll be better because, like you said, they lost a first (Robinson) and third (Taylor) team All-American. KU's crop of returnees is solid, but I'm not sure they'll be able to achieve such lofty accolades. Still should be another solid season, though.
…Big 12 POY prediction?
JK: Pierre Jackson
Iowa and Iowa State win. Drake and Northern Iowa lose.
No surprise there. After decades of quietly and not-so-quietly wishing they didn’t play both Drake and UNI every year, and have to play at Drake one year and UNI the next, Iowa and Iowa State have concocted an annual “Big Four” event in Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Center. This year’s debut of the event, which will exist for at least four years, will be Dec. 15.
It is not a tournament. It is a doubleheader.
What it means is this: No more homecourt games against the Hawkeyes and Cyclones for the Panthers and Bulldogs. And, Iowa and ISU will only play Drake and UNI every other year.
This year, Iowa will play UNI and Iowa State plays Drake. Iowa will play Drake the following year, and ISU will face UNI. The alternating will continue each year.
Iowa won’t play Iowa State in the Big Four. Those two teams will continue their series, going back-and-forth from Iowa City to Ames each year.
The University of Tulsa officially announced Steve Woodberry, Brett Ballard and Justin Bauman as members of new coach Danny Manning’s staff on Thursday.
The three staff members were seen together, with Manning, at Tulsa’s spring football game on April 7. All three — like Manning — have ties to the University of Kansas.
Woodberry and Ballard will be full-time assistants. Bauman will be the program’s director of basketball operations. There is still one full-time assistant coach position that remains to be filled.
“I’m tremendously excited to have Brett, Justin and Steve and their families join our TU basketball family,” Manning said. “They and their families are great additions to our university and the Tulsa community.”
Tulsa's 2011-12 team didn't include any top-150 recruits.
Manning's situation isn't unique, as many first-year head coaches at mid-majors are former assistants for national powers. Perhaps nobody understands Manning's situation as much as Tim Jankovich, who worked alongside Manning on Bill Self's staff at Kansas before taking over Illinois State's program in 2007.
Gone were the days when he was recruiting primarily top-50 and top-100 prospects. But even though he had to broaden his horizons in that respect, Jankovich adjusted by thinking locally instead of nationally.
"There are a lot of very good players in our area, so our thinking was let's recruit inside out - let's do the best job we can locally and then statewide and the surrounding states," Jankovich said. "That's basically the opposite of what recruiting's like at Kansas. At Kansas it's national. Our focus narrowed to where we'd try to put most of our concentration on our state and the surrounding states."
Manning might want to follow a similar strategy.
The state of Oklahoma has two juniors ranked among the nation's top 150 recruits in their class: Tulsa Booker T. Washington shooting guard Juwan Parker (No. 104) and Edmond Memorial point guard Jordan Woodard (No. 122). Oklahoma City Douglass guard Stevie Clark also could eventually move into the rankings on the strength of his huge junior season.
If Manning can't find enough talent in Oklahoma, he should find plenty of help just outside the state's borders.
Next year, the Michigan basketball program can re-raise the four banners they had to take down as a part of its punishment for NCAA violations back in the 1990s.
But that probably won't happen. At least not if Mary Sue Coleman is the president at U-M.
Coleman told the Michigan Daily that if it were up to her, the four banners, commemorating two trips to the Final Fours (1992, '93), an NIT title ('97) and a Big Ten tournament championship ('98), would remain locked away.
….If you'll remember, it was Coleman who ordered to have the banners removed from the rafters in Crisler Arena. That was a part of the self-imposed sanctions by the school, which committed several NCAA violations that included money going from booster Ed Martin to Chris Webber, Maurice Taylor, Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock.
Jalen Rose, a Fab Five teammate of Webber, tweeted his displeasure today.
"I saw that U of Michigan has no plans to put back up our hoops banners. Should I do like most of its former BBallers & never return?" Rose wrote. "Or should I ask for the $250k I donated for my Endowed Scholarship back & move it to another school? Stay Tuned."
Detroit Free Press
The NCAA has endured a public flogging for two days since it announced that it would replace Greg Shaheen as its chief of championship events, which includes the just-ended March Madness basketball tournaments.
Since Tuesday, fans and prominent journalists have fired off more than 150 messages on Twitter either blasting the Indianapolis-based NCAA or praising Shaheen, who had overseen all 89 of the NCAA’s championships—on an interim basis—since August 2010.
But Shaheen had run the NCAA biggest show, the men’s basketball tournament, for more than a decade—including negotiating the mammoth $11 billion TV contract for the tournament with CBS and Turner Broadcasting.
Broadcasters Billy Packer and Dick Vitale called the NCAA’s decision “sad” and a “bad move” in Twitter messages. Duke University Coach Mike Krzyzewski told CBSSports.com that Shaheen’s removal is a “huge loss for our game.” And reporters for CBS and ESPN—the two main broadcasters of NCAA championship events—tweeted that the decision was “puzzling,” idiotic,” and a “damn shame.”
"Lute Olson (ex-Arizona coach) said to me, 'What can we do to improve officiating?' I said, 'Put a DVD in their (officials') hands 30 minutes after the game,' " McCabe recalls.
McCabe worked to do just that and now, Adams says the Pac-12 is "really technologically advanced compared to some other leagues."
Now, through the technology of flash drives, memory sticks and video feeds at the games, officials can have a DVD in hand when they leave a locker room and can assess their performance against that of a "game-grader." (In the past, the availability of video might have been as random as an official setting his own DVR at home.)
With innovations like that, McCabe says, "Now we have some of the best-trained officials in the West. List the top 25 officials in the West, and those are the top 25 in the Pac-12. The overall training was non-existent before I took the job."
Says Adams, "I really was impressed with the job (McCabe) and his director of training, Ed Rush (former NBA director of officials), did in developing depth in their staff. I just finished my fourth year (as national coordinator). My recollection is that in 2008-09, the best officials in the Pac-10 were as good as any in the country; I just didn't think they had the depth. They've really worked hard to develop the next generation of officials."
The merit-pay system is an intriguing beast. Among its backers were Ben Howland, the UCLA coach, and former Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love. There were two schools of thought: On one side, why shouldn't the best officials be paid more than their peers per game? On the other: If they're doing the same work - and they are - why shouldn't they be paid the same?
McCabe implemented what he calls a fixed-fee tier system. Officials fell into one of three tiers based on a rating: One-third was McCabe's rating, one-third the game-grading system addressed above, and one-third a rating by the coaches. (If the official worked a high-level NCAA-tournament game, say in the Final Four, that would put him in the top tier.)
Now, the top 12 of McCabe's 51 officials get $2,700 a game (including expenses). The next 15 receive $2,200. And the rest get $1,600. Officials pay for their expenses.
"As soon as I did it," McCabe says, "they did it everywhere in the country."
Parker is considering making return trips to several of his finalists, including Georgia, before rendering his decision. Parker has kept a low profile in recent days.
“I just think he’s trying to get to a clear place in his mind where he wants to go,” White said. “It’s a really tough position to be in, and I don’t envy him one bit. All things considered, he’s handling it very well and trying to figure out what’s best for him.”
Hey Jabari Parker, is there any space left in your bedroom for another award?
"There's not," Parker said, laughing. "My closet has a lot of room in it though."
The Simeon junior forward added another trophy to his collection, and it's a big one — the 2011-12 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award.
Former NBA champion and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Alonzo Mourning interrupted Dianne Harmon's Spanish class at Simeon to surprise Parker with the trophy Thursday before the school held an assembly in Parker's honor.
"He didn't seem too surprised, I think somebody tipped him off," Mourning said to a class that was listening to Parker's presentation on Carnival moments earlier.
The award recognizes athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character. Parker, named USA Basketball's 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, maintains a weighted 3.63 grade-point average and has volunteered with organizations such as the Salvation Army and the New Beginnings Church.
"I was a little surprised myself getting it, because seeing a lot of the players like Shabazz (Muhammad), and Nerlens (Noel) out in Boston and Kyle Anderson, a lot of those top talents," Parker said. "Why pick me?
"I'm fortunate that it's not just because of basketball but the things outside of it, so I hope that I kinda deserve it on that end."
…Parker credited his parents, Sonny and Lola, his teammates and Smith for helping his success, and each stood to be recognized during the ceremony.
"I'm pretty sure he could commit to any university in the country right now, but in talking to myself and his parents, he wanted to wait until the fall so all the college coaches can come in and see his teammates play as well," Smith told the assembly.
"He wants them to get scholarships."
Ron Holmes, Muhammad's father, heard some of the remarks that accompanied his son's college choice. He wasn't laughing.
"I don't understand when they say Adidas had a presence here," Holmes said in a telephone interview from his Las Vegas home. "Adidas didn't tell us where to go to school. … If they're saying that Adidas is giving me money, that is a downright lie."
Holmes pointed out that his son played for Bishop Gorman High, a Nike-sponsored school, and that the amount Adidas gave Dream Vision covered only a portion of the team's travel needs.
"What they end up giving us is usually half the budget for the summer," said Clayton Williams, coach of the Las-Vegas based club team. "It's a struggle. If you're looking for the hidden whatever, you're not going to find it …"
Williams said that although Dream Vision is sponsored by Adidas, most of the team's players end up at colleges affiliated with other shoe companies. "Ninety percent of our kids wear Nikes in the winter [with their high school teams]," Williams said. "But no one wants to speak to that."
Holmes said his son's future prospects played no role in the contract Asia Muhammad signed with Adidas when she turned pro.
"She was a standout junior tennis player and she got a contract off those merits," Holmes said. "Shabazz Muhammad wasn't on the lips of Adidas at that time. He was 5 [feet] 11 and coming out of the eighth grade. Bishop Gorman didn't even want him."
Holmes said Asia, currently ranked No. 386 in the world according to the WTA, is negotiating a new contract commensurate with her ranking, one that could be 85% less than her original deal.
Adidas representatives haven't broached the topic of a possible contract with Muhammad once he enters the NBA, Holmes said.
"Those conversations don't come up because I don't allow them to come up," Holmes said. "No coach throughout his whole recruitment offered me a penny because I didn't represent that."
Holmes, who was a wing player at USC from 1981-85, said his son picked UCLA hoping to restore the faded luster on a onetime juggernaut.
"I think the biggest thing was the challenge of bringing a storied program back to prominence," Holmes said. "At the end of the day, Kentucky didn't have that. At the end of the day, Duke didn't have that. Those programs are so great, but Shabazz and [incoming freshmen] Kyle [Anderson] and Jordan [Adams] and the Wear twins and Josh [Smith], if they can bring this program back to prominence they will go down in UCLA lore and college basketball lore."
The Jordan Brand Classic will be nationally televised live on ESPN.
4/14 Jordan Brand Classic
4/21 Capital Classic (Andrew White)
4/27-29 Jayhawk Invitational
4/27-29 Real Deal in the Rock
adidas Grassroots schedule
Nike EYBL Schedule
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar
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