The Jayhawks were one of nine men's tournament qualifiers and more than 950 teams overall handed public recognition awards by the NCAA based on their Academic Progress Rates (APRs). Their scores ranked among the top 10% in their respective sports.
Individual team scores weren't released. The NCAA will make them available next Wednesday, and they'll include the bad as well as the good.
Video: LJW talks to Perry Ellis
Sometime before the start of classes in August, Perry Ellis will sit down and write out some new goals on a sheet of paper. He could, of course, write the goals down right now. But that’s not his way. He needs time.
Ellis, a 6-foot-8 forward, has been on campus at the University of Kansas for all of 11 days. And for Ellis, a four-time Kansas 6A basketball champion at Heights High, a list of goals should not be some fluid, half-baked recipe for success. No, these new ideals will be sacred.
“I do that before every school year,” Ellis says. “So that’s something I’m gonna do. I gotta think about it, and just see what I really want to do.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Ellis stood in a lobby of the Jayhawks’ practice facility, minutes removed from his first public scrimmage as a KU player, a 40-minute show for a couple hundred young basketball campers. Just a few weeks after concluding one of the most decorated high school careers in Kansas history, Ellis wore a red KU practice jersey and reflected on his transition from home to college life in Lawrence.
“I just feel real comfortable,” Ellis says. “I’ve been here so many times before, it’s just another home for me — a second home.”
His roommate, freshman walk-on Evan Manning, was a teammate last summer, and the two have already christened their room with three televisions — yep, first thing they accounted for, Ellis says.
Before Wednesday’s scrimmage, KU coach Bill Self told the campers that there was only one player that he could remember recruiting for as long as he pursued Ellis. (That player, Self said, was former Oklahoma State center Bryant Reeves, whose son happened to be a camper this week.)
The hope is that Ellis’ maturity — combined with the skills that made him a McDonald’s All-American — will help him make an impact during his freshman season. The loss of All-American Thomas Robinson has left a hole at power forward alongside center Jeff Withey, and Ellis figures to be among a collection of frontcourt players that will battle for those minutes.
Doc Sadler says he’s going to enjoy the Allen Fieldhouse experience a lot more as a member of the home team’s basketball staff than he did as a visitor.
“I promise you the bench on that (northwest) end is a heck of a lot better than the one I’ve been on. I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I know the view will be a lot better on that end,” former Nebraska coach Sadler joked to the Journal-World on Wednesday after officially being named KU’s director of basketball operations. “To have this opportunity is unbelievable, kind of like a dream come true. I hope to not wake up.”
…“I’ve known Doc for 25 years and have certainly followed his career. Watching his career at UTEP (head coach for two years) and seeing and competing against him when he was at Nebraska sold me on his ability for him to come in here and make us better,” Self said.
“Very few programs in the country have the experience that our staff will have with Joe (Dooley), Kurtis (Townsend), Norm (Roberts) and now adding Doc into the mix,” Self added. “We lost two great coaches this past year due to staff turnover — Danny (Manning) getting the job at Tulsa and Barry (Hinson) getting the job at Southern Illinois. We replace them with Norm Roberts, who is a terrific coach and recruiter and was a head coach at St. John’s for six years, and Doc Sadler, who has done just about everything and has been a head Division I coach for eight years. I’m excited. My batteries are charged, and I know he’s ready to get to work July 1.”
It’s easy to understand why Landen Lucas missed three floor shots and a pair of free throws during Wednesday’s Bill Self campers game in Horejsi Center.
The huge 6-foot-10, 244-pound Kansas University freshman center has been running on just a handful of hours of sleep all week.
He graduated from Portland (Ore.) Westview High on Monday, followed by an all-night graduation celebration, flew to his new college town Tuesday, then hustled to class and a doctor’s physical exam bright and early Wednesday.
“It’s going to take a minute for me to catch my breath, to get my legs under me. That’ll all come. It was just nice getting out there and getting to play,” said Lucas, who grabbed four rebounds while guarding, and being guarded by, senior Jeff Withey, who scored 16 points with 15 rebounds in the Blue team’s 62-51 victory.
“He’s good, really big and long,” Lucas added of 7-footer Withey. “I’m just starting to figure him out now so hopefully in open gyms and stuff I can do little things. I’m trying to see exactly how I can do work against him, but I can see why he got all those blocks and stuff.”
…Former KU forward Julian Wright scored 13 points, while KU freshmen Perry Ellis and Andrew White had 10 and seven points respectively for the losing Red team. Ellis had four rebounds. Withey, Justin Wesley (12 points, six rebounds) and Travis Releford (10) scored in double figures for the winning Blue squad.
Also for the Blues, freshman Ben McLemore scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. He had the day’s signature play — a vicious one-handed dunk that came off his own miss.
“I followed my shot, saw an opening and dunked it,” McLemore said. “It was fun to play against Julian. Being in the NBA ... I’ve worked out with him sometimes. He shows you that hard work in the gym pays off.”
Minor bumps, bruises: KU freshmen Zach Peters and Jamari Traylor did not play because of minor injuries. Peters took an elbow to the head in a workout this week and was held out for precautionary reasons. Traylor has a knee bruise. Traylor coached the Red team, while KU senior Elijah Johnson, who is out until July 11 following offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, coached the Blues.
Red team: Julian Wright 13, Perry Ellis 10, Andrew White 7, Brady Morningstar 7, Aaron Miles 6, Niko Roberts 6, Evan Manning 3, Landen Lucas 2 (players were given credit for a made free throw on the first of two-shot fouls, accounting for Lucas’ two points).
Blue team: Jeff Withey 16, Justin Wesley 12, Travis Releford 10, Ben McLemore 8, Jeff Hawkins 8, Naadir Tharpe 7, Christian Garrett 2.
Elijah Johnson has been having existential thoughts, the kind that come when you’re a senior on a team that played for a national championship.
Kansas had two clearly defined stars last season in Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson, both of whom will be selected in the NBA draft later this month. Now the Jayhawks have a group of seniors — Johnson, Jeff Withey, Travis Releford and Kevin Young — and the whole question is whether they are ready to take ownership of a team in the same way.
Really, though, do they have a choice?
“That’s the obvious,” said Johnson, the guest instructor Wednesday at the Bob Chipman Basketball Camp at Lee Arena. “I feel like the whole fan base wants us to be the people who do that. For our fans, even if we weren’t the people, we’d have to.
“It’s just a little weird being a senior.”
…If there’s one part of this transition that doesn’t faze Johnson, it’s the idea of having the ball in his hands. Taylor was KU’s point guard last season, but Johnson said he never really stopped thinking of himself as a guy who handles the ball.
“The only time I’ve ever played in my life without the ball has been at Kansas, and that wasn’t really too much time,” Johnson said. “That was just this year. My freshman and sophomore year, Coach put the ball in my hands for the most part.”
Johnson averaged 10.2 points and 3.5 assists last season, shooting 43 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point range. His role will evolve next season, but whether he’s a lead guard, a point guard or a shooting guard, Johnson doesn’t see much difference.
“I feel like everyone is making it a big deal — it's no big deal,” he said. “Everyone knows I’m a guard. Everyone knows I can dribble the ball. Everyone knows that I make good decisions. It’s something that we’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Just three months ago, senior center Jeff Withey was in the process of introducing himself to the country. As Kansas made its run to the NCAA title game, Withey controlled the interior, setting the record for blocks in a single NCAA Tournament.
By the time the six-game run was over, Withey had recorded 31 blocks, eclipsing the mark of 29 set by Florida’s Joakim Noah in 2006. The tourney performance was perhaps the tipping point for a breakout junior season. And it leads to the obvious question: What can the 7-foot center do for an encore?
For Kansas coach Bill Self, the answer starts where it usually begins with Withey — his strength — but then, not surprisingly, it drifts to offense.
“He needs to be a guy that can get 13, 14 (points) a game for us,” Self said Thursday on the Big 12 summer teleconference, “and still hopefully, (he can) protect the rim as well as he did this year on the other end.”
…When everyone is accounted for, it’s likely that the Jayhawks’ breakdown of scholarship players will look like this: four seniors, one sophomore and eight freshmen.
There are, of course, some reasons for the unbalanced classes. (Redshirt freshmen Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor are beginning their second year on campus after sitting out last season as partial qualifiers. And KU’s 2010 recruiting class included just two players: Josh Selby, who left for the NBA after one season, and Royce Woolridge, who transferred to Washington State.)
But it also means that this summer could be a pivotal time for Self and the newcomers. The Jayhawks will have 10 practices in July before taking a four-game exhibition trip to Switzerland and France in August.
From a numbers standpoint, the Jayhawks will certainly be deeper when practice begins this fall. But after losing starters Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, the offseason work could shorten the learning curve during the opening leg of the non-conference schedule.
“Hopefully, the 10 practices will give us a better chance to be [ready],” Self said. “You know, I’m excited about taking our team to Switzerland and Paris this summer, but I’m probably more excited about the opportunity to practice with them 10 times and kind of get a feel for maybe some things guys can do within our schemes, and maybe adjusting some things.
“So I think it will be very beneficial for us and hopefully give us an opportunity to be better early in the season. You know, we’re gonna have four seniors. But other than that, we’re gonna be all young… all young.”
…All signs still point to Anrio Adams, a 6-foot-3 guard from Seattle, and Milton Doyle, a 6-foot-4 guard from Chicago, joining the recruiting class and arriving on campus once all the academic and paperwork hurdles are cleared.
When asked about Adams during the teleconference, Self was limited in his comments, saying nothing was official yet. (NCAA rules prohibit coaches from talking specifically about recruits before the official paperwork is processed.)
For now, it appears both players are still in the process of clearing academic hurdles.
"He's gotta finish a couple things,” Self said of Adams, “before anything can really happen."
Kansas University’s basketball team will play Richmond on Dec. 18 in Allen Fieldhouse and Oregon State on Nov. 30 in Kansas City’s Sprint Center, KU schedule-maker Larry Keating said Thursday. The Jayhawks will play Temple and Colorado at home to begin a home-and-home series. Also, KU will travel to Ohio State and play Michigan State in Atlanta. The entire nonconference schedule should be announced in the near future.
Michigan State faces an impending challenge against national runner-up Kansas in the Champions Classic, and it’s the Jayhawks who will get a head start in preparing for the nationally-televised Nov. 13 game in Atlanta.
Kansas is scheduled to play four exhibition games in France and Switzerland in August, and coach Bill Self plans on taking advantage of the NCAA allowing 10 practices in preparation for the foreign tour.
“Michigan State is a huge game out of the gate for us,” Self said Thursday. “We weren’t quite ready (in a Champions Classic loss to Kentucky last season).Hopefully, the 10 practices will give us a better chance. I think it’ll be very beneficial, and we’ll be better early in the season.”
…“They play so hard, and they play tough, and if you follow them, they run a ton of sets that from the scouting standpoint, you can’t get your team to understand everything,” Self said.
“The big thing is, they’re a team that plays hard and plays with a lot of pride. They’re never going to be a team that’s anything but tough to beat when Tom’s coaching the team.”
Stretching his 6-foot-4 frame as high as possible, Keith Langford caught a lob pass from former Kansas University teammate Aaron Miles and flushed a resounding dunk in the second half of Thursday’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic at Free State High’s gym.
Langford, KU’s seventh-leading scorer of all time, also wowed a sellout crowd from the outside, hitting eight three-pointers en route to a game-high 47 points in the KU Alumni Blue Team’s 111-110 victory over the Alumni Red squad.
“I said before the game I was going to come out and wanted to have fun, but at the same time I wanted to compete. This is my first time playing since the season ended,” said the 28-year-old shooting guard who led Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv to Adriatic League and Israeli League Final Four titles in 2011-12. “I was feeling pretty good man, feeling pretty good.”
Langford, who hit a deep three with three seconds left to erase a 110-107 deficit, put on a show in front of his brother, KU junior forward Justin Wesley, who watched from the stands.
…T.J. Pugh, a doctor in Houston who specializes in treating individuals with cancer, spoke to the crowd. “I’m much more comfortable walking around a hospital than a basketball court nowadays,” he said with a smile before calling the beneficiaries of the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic — folks bravely fighting cancer — his “heroes.” ... Former KU forward Ron Kellogg hit three halfcourt shots in three tries in a shooting display right before the opening tip. ... Lester Earl — he of the chronic bad knees — had several dunks and scored 11 points. ... Christian Moody, who is in his final year of med school residency in Kansas City, had 11 points. ... Russell Robinson (Turkey) had 21 points and Brady Morningstar (Tulsa, of the NBADL) 18. Miles, who had 11 points, played in Russia last season. ... Darnell Valentine played a few minutes before letting a youngster wear his jersey and compete in the game. ... KU football coach Charlie Weis was an honorary coach. ... Neil Everett of ESPN was emcee. He hit one free throw in one attempt.
No matter how the NBA Finals end up, at least one former Jayhawk will be an NBA champion.
How many former KU players have won NBA titles?
When it's all over, Miami's Mario Chalmers or Oklahoma City's Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich will forever be a part of NBA greatness. They will also join a very short list of former KU Jayhawk basketball players who have won NBA championships.
Six Jayhawks are members of that short list.
It includes Jo Jo White, Wilt Chamberlin, Jacque Vaughn, Wayne Simien, Paul Pierce and Scott Pollard. So at least one, maybe two more 'Hawks will join that list.
Chalmers and Aldrich will do something no other former Jayhawks will do something no other former Jayhawk has ever done: One will be the first former Jayhawk to win both an NCAA Championship and an NBA Championship.
As the afternoon workout drew to a close, Thomas Robinson listened and nodded as Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman told him to get out on the wing and run. Robinson raced up the court, ran around a couple of orange cones, stopped just inside the 3-point line and put up a shot.
Wittman was paying close attention, and so was team president Ernie Grunfeld.
“It was good,” Robinson said of his workout. “It was my first one. My shot didn’t look as pretty as I wanted it to; it was about average. I think I did a good job. My energy level was there.”
Robinson, a future lottery pick, was one of three players invited to work out for the Wizards on Wednesday as they prepare to make what could be a franchise-changing selection with the third pick in the NBA Draft on June 28.
The D.C. native seemed completely at home on the Verizon Center practice court, clad in Wizards gear and joking with jovial assistant coach Sam Cassell.
“I was a lot more comfortable than I thought I’d be,” Robinson said. “They made me feel as if I was already on the team. They guided me through everything. It was more of a learning experience, rather than throwing you out there to see what you can’t do.”
Since declaring for the NBA draft, the 6-foot-9 Robinson has been training in Los Angeles with the likes of former 10-year NBA veteran Pooh Richardson and former Olympic gold medallist Maurice Greene. He has gone to New York for the NBA lottery, to Chicago for the NBA combine, and he will have his first workout for his hometown Wizards on Wednesday at Verizon Center.
“This process is too long,” an agitated Robinson said last week. “I’m ready to start playing. I’m literally tired of everything. I want to get my name called and to start the season.”
Robinson’s impatience seems a little odd, since he backed up the Morris twins for two years at Kansas before finally getting his chance to take on a prominent role. With Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris going with the final two spots in the NBA lottery last June, Robinson took advantage of the opportunity and carried the Jayhawks to the NCAA championship game, averaging 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds as a junior.
He’s now nearly two weeks away from being a top-five pick in the NBA draft. The Wizards have the third overall pick and Robinson would love to start in career at home if the Charlotte Bobcats pass over him. When asked how he was able take an unusual path to near the top of the draft, Robinson used a word that he has struggled to grasp the past few months.
“It’s about being patient,” Robinson said. “I felt that with an opportunity, I’d be a top player, but I still had to work though. I wouldn’t say my freshman year I thought I was a top five pick, but I felt if I had the time and opportunity that I would be.”
NBA Summer League Schedule announced
Kansas 2012-13 Schedule (Work in progress)
Big 12/College News
College basketball coaches are now allowed two hours of practice with their players per week during the summer after a rules change in January. Players must be enrolled in summer school and the NCAA limits the total length of the workout period to eight weeks. Big 12 coaches, who took part in a teleconference Thursday, all agreed the rule change is great for the game.
Previously, coaches were not allowed to conduct summer practices. Players now are allowed to participate in eight hours of staff-supervised workouts per week, with six of the hours being limited to strength and conditioning.
"I think it's one of the great rules we've done for basketball," Barnes said. "If I was a football coach, I'd be envious of it. It allows us to spend time with our players and get to know them earlier."
…Another rule change, which begins today, includes coaches being able to call or text message recruits who have completed or are finishing their sophomore year of high school.
The deregulation allows coaches unlimited calls and text messages with recruits after June 15 following their sophomore year.
Coaches are permitted to send private messages via social media such as Twitter or Facebook, but public messages are still prohibited because of the NCAA rules preventing institutions from publicizing recruiting efforts.
The rule change, adopted by the Division I Leadership Council in October, hopes to emphasize relationship-building between coaches and recruits, while also limiting the influence of third parties on the recruiting process.
"Since Caller ID came into effect, if recruits want to talk to you, they'll talk to you," Baylor's Scott Drew said. "I don't think any profession likes paperwork. When all of us can save some trees, I think that makes things easier. It's very rare that you get coaches to all agree that they like these rules changes."
Open lines are better than closed, said Kansas coach Bill Self.
"Any time you can put yourself in a situation where there is more communication, where you can get to know the family and recruits, better it's a positive," Self said. "It should help a ton in the long run."
Weber, who was fired by Illinois in March after nine seasons, has been impressed with what he's seen so far after being immersed in the Big Ten.
"The success of the Big 12 as a basketball conference, a football conference, is just pretty eye-opening to be honest. Our whole staff, that's the one thing we've talked a lot about," Weber said Thursday in a call with reporters. "Comparing to the Big Ten, probably a little better athlete and maybe a little bit more open, up and down."
Huggins knows all about the Big 12, having spent one memorable season at Kansas State before jumping to his alma mater before the 2007-08 season.
Huggins said that one of the changes that fans in Morgantown are most excited about in the leap from the 16-team Big East to the Big 12 will be the true round-robin schedule.
It should help the Mountaineers generate some heated rivalries before long.
"There were times, I think we played at Syracuse four years in a row and I think Louisville played at our place four years in a row. You don't get to see all the teams," Huggins said. "I don't think you develop the rivalry like you do when you're playing people on a home-and-home basis like we're going to be able to do."
The coach facing the biggest challenge in moving to the Big 12 has got to be TCU's Trent Johnson.
Johnson left LSU after four seasons to take over at a school that got an invitation to the Big 12 based on its football success. But the Horned Frogs went 18-15 last season after winning just one league game in 2010-11, and Johnson sounded confident in the program's ability to compete in the Big 12 right away.
"There's some excitement, but also there's a curiosity and there's a wait-and-see approach or a wait-and-see attitude. Can we compete? Can we get it done at this level? And that's good," Johnson said. "I know what it's like. I know what we're getting into. But it's been good, and I think people are just sitting in the back waiting. But this institution and this program athletically -- it's time. It's time, in my opinion...to take on the challenges of the Big 12."
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Kansas commitment Brannen Greene has a reputation for being a pure shooter from deep. He certainly is that. However, Thursday night the 6-foot-6 wing showed an improved ability to get to the rack in transition and use his body to his advantage off the dribble. He made some alert passes and played strong on both ends of the floor.
Mishawaka, Ind., Marian senior-to-be guard Demetrius Jackson said he’s picked up a new team in the recruiting process in recent weeks – Kansas.
The 6-1 Jackson, considered by some as the top 2013 prospect in the state of Indiana, said the Jayhawks have been calling and are “the new school in the mix.”
“I’ve been talking to the coaches and they’re telling me about Jayhawk Nation and how once you are in it, you are always part of it,” Jackson said. “Everything else has been the same with the other schools. It’s all great right now.”
Jackson’s list includes Florida State, Butler, Notre Dame, Missouri, Michigan State and Illinois with him saying there’s “no favorite.”
“It’s a tough decision for me,” he said. “I want to go to the best fit for me.”
He's got his own feature article from the first session, but it bears repeating that Anthony Barber was the best player during Thursday's first session. He blew by defenders like they were in cement shoes, made the right passes and was dialed in with his pullup jumper.
College coaches certainly feel the blazing fast floor general is a player. Barber rattled off a list of Kansas, Alabama, Virginia, Baylor, Florida State, Duke, Syracuse and Virginia Tech. With a contact period approaching, he knows that things will get hectic.
"It's going to be crazy but it's something that has to be handled," said Barber. "Me and my dad and my coaches will handle it and take the calls as they come in."
For now, Barber says that the plan is to cut his list of schools down to three or four at the end of the summer and then set up visits. While he stopped just short of calling them the flat out favorites, Barber did say that Kansas and Alabama were pushing themselves ahead of the crowd.
"I like Coach Dooley at Kansas a lot," said Barber. "They've called and talked to me a lot and we've gotten to feeling each other out a lot better. Alabama is the same way."
As one of the top high school basketball players in Kansas, Semi Ojeleye still has a long way to go in his recruiting process.
Who will he pick? The 6-foot-6 small forward who will soon be a senior at Ottawa is currently considering 11 teams (Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Wisconsin) and he wants to cut his list to five before making a final decision.
That process will take some time. But a favorite has emerged from the group — Duke.
“He sure likes Duke,” said Ojeleye’s father, Ernest. “He went on a tour there, and that is his No. 1 school choice right now. They talked to him early on and then they officially offered him when he was there. He enjoyed the visit.”
Ojeleye made an unofficial visit to Duke in early June. It was clear he was looking forward to the trip in this interview with Rivals, and meeting Mike Krzyzewski clearly made quite an impression on him.
Devon Hall has had an impressive spring playing in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League with the Boo Williams 17U club. The Virginia Beach (VA) native that attends Cape Henry Collegiate School is a big and physical point guard who is quickly rising among the ranks of players in the Class of 2014.
While the Boo Williams 17U squad has some big-time players, such as leading scorer Anthony Barber, elite F Troy Williams as well as Allerick Freeman, Brandon Stith and more, who are all big names in the Class of 2013, Hall was a very important player in their EYBL success.
Hall is best known as an offensive facilitator on the floor, using patience and skill to command the offense of his squad. Those traits have attracted the attention of many colleges and he named schools such as Virginia, Maryland, Florida State, Georgetown, Iowa, Florida and Kansas as schools he likes “a lot” at the moment.
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