Six-foot-10 Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson told the Journal-World on Thursday he will be transferring to play for Kansas. The big man will have two years of eligibility for KU starting with the 2014-15 season.
Here'a a look at Mickelson's statistical profile from his two years at Arkansas (stats from KenPom.com).
KUAD Press Release: Kansas adds forward transfer
A former top-100 recruit, Mickelson will sit out next season and use a redshirt year to grow into a mature, program player. It’s a long-term addition, though, and that’s one reason Self is still looking to add instant-impact pieces to the Jayhawks’ roster for next season.
“I think the current roster could add a piece or two to make it great,” Self said on Friday, after officially announcing Mickelson’s transfer. “I’ve said all along, our recruiting class, I think, is really, really good. Adding Hunter to the mix, although he won’t play next year, makes it better.
“And if we were able to steal one or two more, I think our recruiting class could be as good as we’ve ever had here.”
Indeed, the Jayhawks are slated to add a five-man freshman class in 2013-14, including four players ranked in the top 40 of Rivals’ top 150 rankings. But there are a few big fishes remaining, namely top overall recruit Andrew Wiggins, who is still considering Kansas, Kentucky, Florida State and North Carolina.
“There’s not a lot of high school guys out there available. But we’re certainly open to the recruitment of a couple of those guys that we’re pursuing.”
Another potential target is Memphis transfer Tarik Black, a 6-foot-9 junior forward who is expected to graduate this spring and will be eligible to play right away under the graduate transfer rule. (The Jayhawks, according to ESPN.com, are not pursuing Alabama transfer Trevor Lacey.)
A player such as Black could provide an immediate impact, something that Mickelson won’t be able to do while sitting out. Still, Self believes Mickelson will benefit from what will essentially be a redshirt year.
“When we recruited him (out of high school), we didn’t know that Hunter would be a great player as a freshman, but we knew he had a chance to be a great player,” Self said. “That’s exactly where we are. He’s going to be a very good player for us we firmly believe, but I think it is going to take a little time. So the redshirt year will be much better for him.”
…Self is still in the beginning stages of his search to replace former assistant Joe Dooley, who recently took the head coaching job at Florida Gulf Coast.
But you can cross one candidate off the list. Self said he will fill the position from the outside, meaning Doc Sadler won’t be promoted from his position as the Jayhawks’ director of basketball operations.
In fact, Self said Sadler, the former head coach at Nebraska, may not return to Kansas.
“Doc and I have visited,” Self said, “I do know this: He’s probably gotta do more than what he’s done for us, to be honest with you. He was an asset to us in that position. But he wants to coach, so we’ll see how that plays out.”
In 2011, when Hunter Mickelson committed to John Pelphrey at Arkansas, he was highly regarded. He was the No. 8-ranked power forward in the class, the No. 55-ranked overall player, and a key part of the recruiting class that was supposed to save Pelphrey's job. It didn't. When Mike Anderson took over, there was some question where Mickelson would fit within "40 Minutes of Hell," whether he was the type of player that could really excel in Anderson's run-and-gun system.
He didn't and now he's transferring. And, to paraphase the immortal words of Jon Lovitz in "The Wedding Singer," Kansas is reaping the benefits.
Mickelson announced his decision to transfer to Lawrence Thursday afternoon, ending a pretty brief examination period during which he considered a handful of schools, Butler most seriously. But you can't fault the decision either way, and you have to think Mickelson could be a really nice addition for the Jayhawks.
Sure, he averaged just 5.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 16.6 minutes a game last season, with an offensive rating of just 97.0 and decent, but unspectacular, rebounding rates on both ends. Those aren't high-impact, elite-transfer type numbers. But it's entirely possible that Mickelson was simply lost on a team and in a style of play that didn't fit him. That was the consensus during his departure which was amicable as it gets, by all accounts). He could still be scratching the surface. Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed, Bill Self's staff at Kansas tends to make players better. Like, every player.
And even if none of that is true, Mickelson is a good defender and a great shot-blocker. He finished with a 13.5 percent block rate as a freshman, which took a dive last season (to a still-very-respective 8.2 percent); he once went 20 games in a row with at least one blocked shot. Even if that's all you get from him, fine, right? Plenty of coaches would take it.
Memphis forward Tarik Black has taken over the transfer circuit this season, because everyone wants a big, physical, veteran big. If Black is desirable enough to earn the affections of the nation's best, by 2013-14 Mickelson might just be the steal of the summer.
Mickelson, who broke Arkansas’ freshman shot-block record (72) two seasons ago, averaged 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds his sophomore season (16.6 minutes/game), while never really adjusting to coach Mike Anderson’s pressing style of play.
“He is a great coach. It probably is a good style for big men, but it just wasn’t for me,” said Mickelson, who, as Rivals.com’s No. 100-rated player in the high school recruiting Class of 2011, chose John Pelphrey’s program over KU, Florida, Baylor, Arizona, Kentucky and 19 others who offered scholarships. Pelphrey was fired before Mickelson’s freshman year.
“KU was my No. 1 choice out of (Jonesboro Westside) high school, but he is a homestate kid and wanted to play for the Razorbacks. We gave that a try even though we knew the system and style probably wasn’t the best one for him,” said Mickelson’s dad, Darien.
“KU is a good fit with the type of players he (Bill Self) turns out as far as the Cole Aldriches and Jeff Witheys,” Darien added. “The storied tradition of KU basketball … it is like Notre Dame football. It doesn’t get any better than that. The biggest factor is, KU really recruits itself, but just being on the court with three or four other high-quality talented kids makes everybody better. You can’t have the success and history and expectations maintained that many years by not doing it right.”
Mickelson, who will practice but not play in games next season in accordance with NCAA rules, chose KU as a transfer destination over finalist Butler. He and his dad have never been to Lawrence.
…“Kansas has landed a key addition in Arkansas transfer Hunter Mickelson. He’ll fit much better w/ Bill Self’s system,” said Jeff Goodman of cbssports.com. CBS’ sources said Mickelson tried to get out of his letter of intent when Pelphrey was fired, but was denied by coach Anderson. Mickelson’s recruiting class included Devonta Abron (now at TCU), B.J. Young (recently declared for NBA Draft) and Kyle Madden, who remains at Arkansas.
…KU will play the University of New Mexico on Dec. 14 in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. It will be a one-time game with no return game to UNM. Former KU guard Merv Lindsay will be eligible at New Mexico next season. KU will play Duke in Chicago next season, travel to Colorado and Florida, play Georgetown and San Diego State at home and play in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Standing out at first glance with his 240 pound frame and 7'5 wingspan, Embiid looks the part of a NBA center. Very new to the game of basketball, the Kansas commit has a limited feel for how to make his presence felt consistently, and doesn't always know his limitations, but flashed some intriguing tools on both ends of the floor, even though he wasn't at 100%. Knocking down a 20-foot jump shot, making a nifty move to score a left handed hook shot in the post, and putting in some impressive efforts on the offensive glass, Embiid has some unique skills for a player only beginning to pick up the nuances of the game.
On the defensive end, Embiid is a talented shot-blocker who has the tools to become an excellent defender on the ball and rotating over from the weak-side down the road. The Basketball Without Borders product is a bit foul prone and could stand to be more aggressive pursuing the ball off the rim, but his timing was impeccable at certain moments in practice.
Noted for developing big men, the Kansas staff landed an ideal long-term project in Embiid. If he can get stronger and continue developing as an interior scorer, rebounder, and defender, it would not be surprising to see Embiid emerge as an extremely interesting NBA prospect down the road and a valuable contributor for the Jayhawks as they look to replace Jeff Withey.
From noon to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Kansas Jayhawks fans can get autographs from three players from the 2012 Final Four basketball team.
Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young and Travis Releford will sign free autographs on Saturday, April 27 at the Goodcents Deli located at 796 East Main.
810 WHB will be broadcasting live from Goodcents from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
At the event, donations can be made to an organization that purchases air conditioning units for senior citizens to use during the summer.
However, donations are not required to receive the autographs.
Openings remain for the Bill Self Basketball Fantasy Experience, scheduled for May 3-5. The camp, open to participants 35 and older, includes games, practices, film sessions and other activities designed to replicate the experience of playing for the Jayhawks.
“We even play 'One Shining Moment' at the end for the team that wins,” Self said.
Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson will be among the featured guests, Self said. Registration is available at www.billselfexperience.com.
Tickets also are available for Bill's Basketball Boogie, a fundraiser for Self's Assists Foundation scheduled for June 8 at Abe and Jake's Landing in Lawrence. The website for that event is www.basketballboogie.org.
Kansas led the NCAA Division I in field goal percentage defense at 36.1 percent and finished second nationally in blocked shots at 6.7 per game. Both stats led the Big 12. KU also led the conference in scoring margin (+13.2), field goal percentage (48.1), rebounding (39.2) and rebound margin (+6.2). The Jayhawks ranked in the top four of the Big 12 in scoring (third, 75.2), free throw percentage (third, 73.7), rebound defense (third, 32.9), assists (fourth, 15.5), assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth, 1.1) and three-point field goals made (fourth, 5.8).
Kansas held a double-digit lead in all but seven contests. KU held the lead in all but one game in 2012-13.
Out of its 37 games, Kansas held 21 of its opponents to 60 points or less, including 57 against Western Kentucky and 58 versus North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.
KUAD: 2012-13 Wrap Up
In the 40 years since Bob Geoghan founded the Capital Classic in 1974, the event has served as an early stage for household names like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and LeBron James. And while it’s anyone’s guess as to what level of stardom this year’s collection of high school seniors will reach, when the Capital All-Stars take on the U.S. All-Stars at 4 p.m. Sunday at T.C. Williams, Geoghan believes the game’s 40th installment will be known for its depth.
“This is probably as athletic and as talented a group of kids that we’ve had in a number of years on both teams,” Geoghan said. “And it’s not about patting myself on the back because I’ve had a lot of help. I’m proud of the group that was able to pull this all together.”
Guards: Nate Britt, Oak Hill Academy (North Carolina), Aquille Carr, Princeton Day (Overseas), Will Ferguson, Herndon (Massanutten Military Academy), Nick Griffin, Magruder (George Washington), Nigel Johnson, Riverdale Baptist (Kansas State), Marquis Wright, North Point (undecided)
Forwards: Junior Etou, O’Connell (undecided), Josh Hart, Sidwell Friends (Villanova), Kris Jenkins, Gonzaga (Villanova), Ishmail Wainright, Montrose Christian (Baylor)
Centers: BeeJay Anya, DeMatha (N.C. State), David Kadiri, Coolidge (UMBC)
Coach: Gary Hall, Herndon
Guards: Rysheed Jordan, Vaux, PA (St. John’s), Frank Mason, Massanutten Military Academy, VA (Kansas), Stanford Robinson, Findlay Prep, NV (Indiana), Kameron Williams, Mount St. Joseph, MD (Ohio State)
Forwards: Brandon Austin, Imhotep, PA (Providence), Rodney Bullock, Kecoughtan, VA (Providence), Lennard Freeman, Oak Hill Academy (Undecided), B.J. Johnson, Lower Merion, PA (Syracuse), Mike Young, St. Benedict’s Prep, NJ (Pittsburgh)
Center: Moses Kingsley, Huntington Prep, WV (Arkansas)
Coach: Jamie Ross, Vaux (Pa.)
Big 12/College News
ESPN says former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps has been diagnosed with bladder cancer.
The network said Thursday that Phelps has had surgery and will start follow-up treatment next week near his home in South Bend, Ind.
The 71-year-old Phelps has been a college basketball analyst for ESPN since 1993 and says he's preparing for next season. He went 393-197 in 20 seasons coaching the Fighting Irish.
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4/26/13, 6:13 PM
Any Jayhawk targets you will be watching? #kubball" Norm Roberts was watching Rashad Vaughn. # EYBL
Some of the country’s best prep hoop recruits will descend on the Kansas City area this weekend for the Jayhawk Invitational, an Under Armour-sponsored grassroots basketball tournament.
The three-day event, which will begin on Friday in locations in Olathe, Gardner and De Soto, comes with a little added cache this time around.
Previous versions of the tourney were held in Lawrence without NCAA certification, meaning college coaches were barred from watching. But this event, according to local AAU coach L.J. Goolsby of the Run GMC organization, is NCAA certified, meaning college coaches can attend and evaluate during this April evaluation period.
“It’s a certified event for the first time,” Goolsby said. “There should be plenty of coaches in town to watch.”
And they should have some solid talent to scout.
Among the top players expected to play this weekend: Diamond Stone, a 6-10 center, is the No. 4 overall recruit in the class of 2015, according to Rivals.com. Stone, a native of Milwaukee, will play for Young Legends (Wis.).
Dom Collier, a 6-1 junior guard from Denver, will play for Kansas City-based Run GMC’s U-17 squad. Collier, the No. 61-ranked player in the class of 2014, has offers from Arizona, Kansas State, Missouri and Oregon, among others, according to Rivals.com.
Blue Valley Northwest junior Clayton Custer, who led the Huskies to the Kansas 6A state title, will play for Team YOBO. Custer, the 101st-ranked player in the class of 2014, has verbally committed to Iowa State.
Class of 2014 (Rivals' national class ranking)
Malik Pope, 6-8 SF, Team Superstar (No. 7 )
A Kansas target, Pope has been battling injury and may not play this weekend.
Keita Bates-Diop, 6-7 SF, Illinois Wolves (No. 20) (Ohio State commit)
Quentin Snyder, 6-0 PG, Louisville Magic (No. 29)
Dominique Collier, 6-2 PG, KC Run GMC (No. 61)
Melvin Swift, 6-7 PF, Houston Defenders (No. 72) (Xavier commit)
Myles Turner, 6-10 C, Texas Select (No. 78)
Rising center is on Kansas’ radar.
Shaquille Carr, 6-0 PG, Las Vegas Prospects (No. 84)
Brekkott Chapman, 6-8 F, Utah Prospects (No. 87)
Another rising talent who has drawn interest from Kansas.
Class of 2015
Diamond Stone, 6-10 C, Young Legends (U-16) (No. 4)
High major prospect will draw interest from dozens of major programs.
Locals players to watch
Clayton Custer, 6-0 PG, Team YOBO (No. 101 in 2014) (Iowa State commit)
Blue Valley Northwest junior is slated to play for Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State.
Tyrone Taylor, 6-2 PG, KC Run GMC
Grandview junior has interest from Missouri Valley schools Wichita State, Missouri State and Creighton, according to Rivals.
Ezra Talbert, 6-7 F, KC Run GMC (Creighton commit)
Olathe East junior has committed to play for Greg McDermott at Creighton.
Ahmaad Wainright, 6-2 SG, KC Keys
Younger brother of Ishmail Wainright, a former Ray-South standout who has signed with Baylor
Kevin Puryear, 6-7 PF, KC Run GMC (U-16)
Blue Springs South sophomore has drawn early interest from Missouri and K-State.
Jimmy Whitt, 6-3 SG/PG, KC Run GMC (U-16)
Columbia Hickman sophomore guard could mature into a top-75 talent.
4/26-4/28 Jayhawk Invitational
KC Star All-Metro Team
2013 Spring/Summer AAU & Camp Schedule
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