Former Kansas University guard Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat joined Clyde Lovellette Thursday in becoming only the second Jayhawk to win an NCAA championship and an NBA title.
Lovellette, who won an NCAA title in 1952 with KU, won NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers in 1954 and the Boston Celtics in 1963 and 1964. Chalmers won an NCAA title with KU in 2008 to go with the Miami Heat crown.
Chalmers becomes the 10th Jayhawk to win an NBA title. Others: Lovellette; Wayne Simien, Miami, 2006; Maurice King, Boston, 1960; Wilt Chamberlain, 1967, Philadelphia and 1972, Lakers; Jo Jo White, 1974, 1976 Boston; Bill Bridges, 1975, Golden State; Jacque Vaughn, 2007, San Antonio; Paul Pierce, 2008, Boston; Scot Pollard, 2008, Boston.
Mario Chalmers became Alaska's first NBA champion and scored a rare basketball hat trick Thursday in Miami.
The 2005 Bartlett High grad contributed 10 points, seven assists, two rebounds and two steals in the Miami Heat's championship-clinching 121-106 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
An NBA champion in his fourth season as a pro, Chalmers now owns championships at all three levels of competition -- high school,college and NBA -- a claim only a handful of men can make.
Chalmers, 26, won two high school championships, helping the Golden Bears to state titles his freshman and sophomore years. He won an NCAA Division I title his junior year at Kansas, making the cover of Sports Illustrated for his clutch 3-pointer with the clock winding down to send the championship game into overtime.
Anchorage Daily News
And yet it is not without some irony that James' partner in carrying Miami was Mario Chalmers. While an enormous investment has been required from James to cultivate a certain comfort in these circumstances, Chalmers never has squirmed when the game is in his hands.
One seems to have acquired his late-game gravitas by nature, the other by nurture.
Chalmers, who helped Kansas to a national title with one of the great clutch shots in NCAA tournament history, once again embraced the big moment that so used to overwhelm James.
For much of the series, Chalmers was a cipher — he missed 16 of 18 shots in one stretch. But when the Heat needed him most, with Russell Westbrook scintillating and James on the bench for the final minute with cramps, Chalmers calmly delivered.
…"Mario has that thing called heart," Wade said. "No matter what, no matter how tough we are on him, he actually thinks he's the best player on this team, and that's a gift and a curse. Tonight, it was a gift for us because he never gets down on himself. He always believes. 'Find me, I can make a shot. I can make a play.' "
Long, lean, lightning-quick and passionate on every play: Those are the ways the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Taylor and Rondo, 6-1, 185, are alike. But in that runaway victory over Longwood, one very un-Rondo-like element of Taylor’s game also showed up — six turnovers.
While many look at the builds and abilities of these two and see similar players, one NBA assistant coach contacted for this story said most guys at the pro level see Taylor in a completely different light than Rondo.
“I don’t think anybody in the NBA thinks he’s a point guard by any stretch,” the coach said of Taylor. “His decision-making is just not a strength. With your point guard having to be such a good decision-maker because it’s the most important position in the NBA these days, I think people are seeing him more as a spark plug, combo guard off the bench who can give you some scoring punch and get the pace of the game going up and down.”
"With the obligatory 'things can change' attached, it's not sounding as if (Robinson) will be working out for the Kings," Amick tweeted Wednesday.
If the Kansas forward does not feel the need to show the Kings in person what he can do, that would suggest he has received some assurance that he will be taken with one of the top-four picks.
It’s summed up pretty well in what Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated tweeted:
In the continuing draft circuit, I’m told Kansas F Thomas Robinson had his way w/ UConn C Andre Drummond in a Cleveland workout today.
Robinson is a legit top 3 pick (who could slide to 4 or 5), a power forward who had the same vertical leap at the combine as Blake Griffin. And Robinson comes with his motor always on.
As for Robinson, Friday looms large for his chances of being the second overall pick as he is scheduled to work out against Connecticut center Andre Drummond for the second time in three days. The two squared off in Cleveland on Wednesday, which never would have happened if Robinson didn't change his own strategy and tell his management team that he just wasn't a one-on-none type of guy.
After flying solo at a workout in Washington on June 13, Robinson told his agents, Tony Dutt and Jason Martin, that he was done with the individual workout approach. To Drummond's credit, he obliged. And Robinson, who I spoke with over the weekend as his strategy was changing, was thrilled to get his way.
"We've been going (in this draft process) for a long while, just practicing and not being in a game atmosphere," he said. "I want to go out there and compete, to get that game feeling. You don't get that just playing (in an individual workout). It's even worse because it's not like you're training for college and you're going back to a place you know. With training, you don't' know where you're going to go."
Yet while Robinson knows he won't be going No. 1, he made it clear at the Chicago predraft camp earlier this month that he thinks he should be the top pick. It's all part of a personality that is the most fiery in this entire bunch and part of the gritty makeup that makes him so attractive to teams who are confident he'll be a high-level, reliable forward for years to come.
"I think (his competitiveness) is something I've always had, just wanting to make it more fun," Robinson said. "I think the game is much better if you're competing anyway. I mean what are you playing for? I don't get people who just go out there and just play. You want to go beat somebody else or take down somebody. That's the whole point of playing. That's my mentality."
If you had to guess which school had produced the most draft picks in the past 10 years, how would you guess? North Carolina? Duke? Kentucky? UConn? Texas? Those would probably be my selections, if not necessarily in that order, and I -- as is so often the case when we don't consult the numbers -- would be wrong. CBS's Matt Norlander wanted to answer this question with data, so he dove into the past decade of NBA drafts and organized the picks based on alma mater. The results are actually somewhat surprising. All the teams above are included: Texas, Duke and Kentucky have each produced 14 picks in the past 10 years; UConn and UNC have produced 12; Florida has 11; Memphis and Arizona each have 10. But none of the top-tier programs on the list can match Kansas and UCLA, who tied for the lead with 15 draft picks apiece in the past decade.
KU basketball players Elijah Johnson and Zach Peters visited Bob Chipman's Summer camp at Washburn. Johnson, who is coming off of knee surgery, will have a new role for the Jayhawks.
"I get to do something that I've been wanting to do for a long time now: I finally get to lead," Johnson, said. "I've always been a leader and I've never been a follower so to actually lead the team in my opinion means the world to me right now."
Peters is a freshman from Plano, Texas and is adjusting to the Kansas lifestyle.
"My first three weeks here I've really enjoyed it," Peters, said. "Getting to play in the practice facilities, use the locker room, it's really exciting to get to experience all of that in the summer. It's Kansas, that's the only thing you can really say - it's Kansas. Best basketball tradition in the world for collegiate sports."
KU AD Throwback Thursday: Danielle McCray
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Big 12/College News
A Rivals.com website that covers the University of Texas, orangebloods.com, has reported that two anonymous Big 12 Conference sources have confirmed that Notre Dame will announce the departure of its Olympic sports from the Big East as soon as this summer, thus ending a relationship that began in 1995. Next stop would be the Big 12.
Along with the move of the Olympic sports, the report said Notre Dame has agreed to play at least three, and as many as six, Big 12 teams in football in upcoming years.
The Irish will face Big 12 favorite Oklahoma this season.
“I thought maybe (Big 12 commissioner Bob) Bowlsby and I should really hold hands up there to really fuel that,” Swarbrick said, referring to the figurative group hug (for the media’s sake) all Wednesday’s participants went through on stage after their meeting. “I have no idea what prompted that. It is not based on any discussion, any meeting, anything that we have done.”
Swarbrick didn’t say it’s not going to happen.
“I’ve said all along there were three important factors for us,” Swarbrick said. “One is the resolution of the postseason, football, which we are closer to. One is the resolution of our media relationship, which we are in the homestretch of. And third is the stability of the Big East, which we get more information on every day.
“Pieces of (the state of the Big East) are starting to fall into place that will put us in a time and a place where we’ll look at it and decide what we’re doing.”
Ah, hah! The caveat. Stability? C’mon, in the next two years the Big East will go from a 2012 Escalade to an ‘85 Yugo.
South Bend Tribune
"I think if a (BCS school) didn't make it, it would look really bad," Ohio University professor David Ridpath said last week. Ridpath is also past president of NCAA watchdog The Drake Group.
All the banned teams, including Connecticut, face additional sanctions of losing a minimum of four hours of practice time per week, which must be replaced by academic activities. The penalties could create an unusual scenario for the seven affected conferences.
Not only will UConn and the other teams be ineligible for NCAA play, but league officials could also rule them ineligible for the individual conference tournaments. If that happens, it could force changes in the tourney pairings.
Big East presidents already have said any team ineligible for the NCAA tourney will not be allowed to compete in conference tournaments, including UConn.
What had been expected since April became official Thursday: Duke guard Andre Dawkins will redshirt next season.
Mike Krzyzewski confirmed the decision during his annual summer news conference when asked why he didn't mention Dawkins among the program's rising seniors.
"It's time for him to step away," Krzyzewski told reporters. "It's the right thing. We're doing the right thing."
While most players become content with their talent after an early commitment, there is still much development remaining in their game.
Brannen Greene hasn't received this "lazy" memo, as he has been working on and off the court so far this spring.
Currently committed to Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks, Greene took the challenge of playing alongside Chris Walker and Kasey Hill with the Florida Rams this AAU season. He still feels the room for improvement.
"I know I can shoot, so I want to improve on attacking the basket this summer," Greene explained.
Playing as a guard in the Big 12 will be a physical task, so the 6-foot-7 also feels the need to improve in the weight room, too.
"I want to get stronger and faster. That will be big for me."
Several months removed from making his pledge to KU, Greene says he is still very firm with his decision.
"My relationship with Kansas is great. I feel like Coach [Bill] Self is a genuine guy. I could spend several years living in Lawrence," he said enthusiastically.
Greene is now spending his time recruiting his close friends, Chris Walker, Isaiah Lewis, and Allerik Freeman to Kansas.
His stock on the rise after leading his team to the Group AAA basketball championship three months ago, Hampton High point guard Anthony Barber has narrowed his recruiting focus to two schools: Alabama and Kansas.
Barber was in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Tuesday and Wednesday for an unofficial visit, during which he spent time with Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant. He was scheduled to leave Wednesday for Chicago, where he'll attend Nike's Deron Williams Skills Academy.
"It's been a good trip here," Barber said Wednesday morning. "I've enjoyed it."
Barber has at least five other offers, including Virginia and Virginia Tech, but said Alabama and Kansas now lead the pack.
Hampton assistant coach Walter Brower Jr. said Grant has been to Hampton to see Barber at least twice, including once during the season when he flew up on the school jet. Tide assistant John Brannen has also been seen in the Crabbers' gym.
Brower Jr. said Grant compares Barber with former VCU point guard Eric Maynor, a first-round pick in the 2009 NBA draft. Grant coached Maynor at VCU.
"And he says there are some things Cat does better," Brower Jr. said.
Kansas coach Bill Self has also been to Hampton, as has lead Jayhawks recruiter Joe Dooley.
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