KUAD: Kansas vs Belmont pregame notes
KUAD: Kansas press conference previews Belmont
Kansas University senior forward Kevin Young didn’t even need to look up when he saw teammate Ben McLemore sitting inside a shopping cart Thursday night.
He knew KU freshman forward Jamari Traylor would be the one right behind him. Young described the two roommates as “goofballs.”
“We’re just out here having fun,” McLemore said, “doing something special for the kids and these families.”
For the 16th straight year, the KU men’s basketball team shopped for needy families at Wal-Mart in south Lawrence. The Jayhawks, who were given $100 budgets for each person on their shopping lists, bought items for around 70 people from 17 families with money raised from coach Bill Self’s Assists Foundation and a fund set up by Roger and Linda Morningstar.
…Self was happy to see his players continue the holiday tradition.
“I think they take pretty good pride in it, as far as trying to get the most bang for the buck,” Self said. “I don’t think very many of them have had many opportunities to shop with a budget like this.
"This is a way to give back to the community," KU senior All-American candidate Jeff Withey said. "It's a privilege for us to be able to do this. It's something that we look forward to every year."
Each year, the team meets in the Wal-Mart lobby, and Morningstar gives each Jayhawk a list of gifts for a specific family and a budget. The players, along with coaches' wives and others, then shop throughout the store. Gifts range from clothes, bedding and cookware to toys.
"It's really fun when you get a little kid (on the wish list)," Withey said. "I remember when I was a little kid and when I opened presents and I saw toys, I was always happy. The best thing you can do (here) is buy toys."
KU players and staff spent more than an hour finding gifts for each family.
"This provides a Christmas for families that have gone through some hard times right now," KU head coach Bill Self said. "This is great for our guys because they take money, budget it and go out and shop based on what the families' wants and needs are. This time of year, an opportunity to give back makes you feel better."
Kansas University junior basketball forward Justin Wesley broke his left pinkie finger at practice Thursday and will miss approximately three weeks of practice and games, coach Bill Self said Thursday night.
Wesley, a 6-foot-9 reserve forward from Fort Worth, Texas, hurt his finger scrambling for the basketball. Wesley wore a cast around the outside two fingers of his left hand during Thursday’s holiday shopping excursion at Wal-Mart.
…“Perry’s minutes are going to continue to go up if he keeps trying to get out of his comfort zone to be aggressive,” Self said of Ellis, who has averaged 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game heading into Saturday’s 6 p.m. home game versus Belmont. “He has certainly done that in practice. He cares. He’s conscientious.”
“The key thing is being aggressive at all times,” Ellis said. “I think too much when I need to react and play.”
KU senior forward Kevin Young said Ellis, “is very talented. We all know it out there, on the court, in the stands. He’s a good kid. He’s hard to guard (in practice) just because he knows how to score. He’s just hard to defend.”
…Larry Brown’s first SMU team is off to an 8-1 start heading into Saturday’s game at Rhode Island. Self, who speaks with former KU coach Brown regularly, shared a story about Brown’s return to the recruiting trail last summer after many years in the NBA.
“First time I saw him was for an 8 a.m. game — 8 a.m. games, nobody likes going to them,” Self said. “I get there at 7:59, just in time, and he’s off on his own. I saw him and said, ‘Coach, (are) you too good to sit with us, coaches?’ He said, ‘No, I have to have a chair. I can’t sit in the bleachers.’ I said, ‘If I were you, I’d make your assistant carry that chair to every game you go to today,’ as a joke. He made his assistant carry the chair every game he went to. I thought that was pretty funny because nobody does that.”
“I think after doing it as long as he has, he deserves the right to sit in a chair rather than bleachers,” Self added of the 72-year-old Brown.
“Just aggressive,” Ellis said Thursday, when asked what he needed to work on. “That’s the key thing; just being aggressive at all times.”
It’s a process, Self says, but he added that Ellis’ line last week against Colorado — two points and one rebound — wasn’t indicative of how well Ellis played.
As with most young players, Self says he’d like Ellis to get to a point where he’s playing with a free mind — and not thinking as much.
“Most freshmen think too much,” Self said. “But he cares, he’s conscientious. The best athletes are the ones that have no memory, the ones that don’t think.
“I don’t know if that’s exactly how you raise your child. To (not) think, and don’t have a memory, and ‘I can’t remember anything bad I ever did.’ But if you can raise your child where they remember that, and somehow when they get between the lines they automatically forget, those are the best guys.”
…Self said Tuesday that he’s kept up with Brown, who was a regular at KU practice last year during the season’s opening weeks. That included a conversation after Kansas slogged through a victory against Oregon State at Sprint Center in late November.
“He told me how good we’re doing, and I said, ‘Did you not watch the same stuff I watched?’” Self said. “Which goes totally against how he used to be. Because if he’s talking about his own team, they’re always awful. But he likes his team down there. He was very positive. And thinks that they’re gonna have a nice year.”
Freshman Ben McLemore ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring at 16 points per game, and according to Self, he’s only scratched the surface of what he can do.
“He still hasn’t played yet like he can play,” Self said. “Wait ’til he gets comfortable. That’s kind of how I look at it.”
McLemore has been getting the same message as Ellis, and the pleas to be aggressive seem to be sinking in. The freshman guard has led KU in field goal attempts the past three games while averaging nearly 20 points in that span.
“He’s unselfish, but he’s learning how to be aggressive being unselfish,” Self said. “I think his production will go up. He’s one of the premier players in our league with a chance to be one of the very elite few in our league. I really believe that.”
Assuming the Mayans are indeed proved wrong next week and the Earth remains intact, Krzyzewski has a chance to land in a stratosphere so far beyond today's realistic reach that his record could join the ranks of the unbreakable, similar to baseball pitching marks established a century ago.
We don't yet know when Krzyzewski will stop, but whenever he does, Eustachy's belief will meet a very stringent, long-term test. The math is daunting. Is there anyone who could possibly catch K?
…Bill Self, Kansas
Known as the man who replaced Williams with the Jayhawks and won a national title there, Self had a litany of successful teams as Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois before his arrival in Lawrence. He's been a Division I head coach since the 1993-94 season, so he's racked up 483 career wins and will only turn 50 later this month. If he wants it, he has at least 15 years left at Kansas (or, if for some reason he moves on, another elite program).
Over the past six years at Kansas, he's averaged 32.8 wins a season, so assuming he can win 30 a year over the longer run isn't crazy. In order to pass Krzyzewski's hypothetical 1,077, Self would have to average just about 30 wins a season for 20 more seasons. That's a really hard ask -- to win at that level, to assume Self will coach for two more decades, and to assume that he won't, at some point, look at an NBA job.
…Between Self and Donovan, there are numerous reasons to go lean either way. Self is at the better program, but Donovan's at a program that can be nearly at that level. Self is more of a potential flight risk to the NBA than Donovan, who may have burned his only chance at that level. Donovan is more of a grinder who conceivably would coach into his 70s, but can he make up the existing deficit on Self when Self projects to a few more wins per season? Self's consistently relentless winning is a formidable foe.
Opinion among other media members about these two choices was split, but at the end of the day, I think you have to go with the coach with the more wins at the uber-elite program and hope he stays. The pick is Bill Self, although the real choice likely is "none of the above."
For four seasons in the late 1990s, Billy Thomas played in front of thousands of fans at Allen Fieldhouse as a member of the Kansas University men’s basketball team.
Thursday night at Bishop Seabury Academy’s small high school gymnasium, the former KU standout coached in his college town for the first time, leading Kansas City (Mo.) Barstow to a 62-32 victory over the Seahawks.
Now in his third season with the Knights (3-5), Thomas received a warm welcome from the crowd during pregame introductions, which he greatly appreciated.
“I’ve got a big-time affinity for everything Lawrence,” Thomas said. “Ever since I got here in 1994, Lawrence has always been and will always be a special place for me.”
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
The seven non-Football Bowl Subdivision schools in the Big East have agreed to leave the conference and are debating the process of departing it, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Details are still to be determined for how the seven Catholic schools -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova -- will leave the conference.
Big East commissioner Mike Aresco told the athletic directors of the remaining and incoming schools on Thursday evening that he expects the seven schools will leave the Big East, a source told ESPN. On the call, Aresco told the ADs that he had not officially heard from the seven schools that they were leaving.
According to the source, there is a lot of interpretation regarding exit fees, the waiting period, and on who gets the Big East name and Madison Square Garden for a conference basketball tournament.
In his first year as head coach at Wake Forest, Jeff Bzdelik oversaw a team that had the most losses in ACC history, became the first school to ever lose 15 conference games and finished with an RPI more than 100 spots lower than the previous ACC low-water mark. Considering how the rest of the Bzdelik era has gone, you can forgive Demon Deacon fans for referring to that season as "the good ol' days."
Things have only gotten worse. Bzdelik has five ACC wins in two seasons as head coach. Eight players have transferred from the program. This season, the Deacs are 4-5 with losses to Iona and Richmond. In an ACC/Big 10 Challenge game that was relegated to ESPNU, Wake suffered a 16-point home beat down at the hands of lowly Nebraska. At a recent home game, students from nearby High Point appeared to outnumber the Wake student section.
After that loss to Nebraska, which came on a Tuesday night, Bzdelik defended his players.
"I'm not going to make any excuses," Bzdelik said, indicating that an excuse was imminent. "Tuesday is their toughest day academically."
The fanbase is getting restless and the coach is getting defensive. After an awkward call-in session during last week's radio show, it was announced that Bzdelik will no longer be accepting live questions during his weekly radio program.
Dan Collins reports in the Winston-Salem Journal:
"Starting tonight, for the first time in the 17 years Stan Cotten has served as host of the Deacons' radio show for coaches, questions must be recorded or submitted through electronic messaging. [...]
[The] format of taking direct questions was changed after a particularly contentious show last Thursday, when several callers were especially pointed in their criticism or long-winded, or both."
If recent attendance for Wake Forest home games is any indication of the audience for Bzdelik's show, tens of listeners will be disappointed by the news.
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Big 12 Composite Schedule