KUAD: KU vs ESU pregame notes
UDK: Gameday Preview
KUAD: Coach Self 10/29 presser
The long wait is over for Kansas University red-shirt freshman basketball power forward Jamari Traylor.
The 6-foot-8, 220-pounder from Chicago — who, as a partial qualifier was ineligible to play in games all last season — has been slotted a spot in the starting lineup for today’s exhibition opener against Emporia State.
“He’s played the hardest, and in the last week, he’s played the best of the other guys, so he’s going to start and Perry (Ellis) will be our first (big) guy off the bench,” KU coach Bill Self said Monday.
Self noted that Traylor has been, “competing hard, playing to his athletic ability. ... He is relentless now. He’ll go after the ball.”
Traylor, who is eager to shake off the rust, said he’s thankful he’s been accorded his first start at KU.
…Self said Andrew White III, a 6-6 freshman from Richmond, Va., would likely be first perimeter player off the bench and 6-8 Wichita frosh Ellis the first big off the bench.
“He goes hard all the time,” Ellis said of Traylor. “He is doing everything as hard as he can. It definitely could rub off on me, too.”
…Emporia State freshman Terrence Moore is a high school teammate of KU’s Ellis. The 6-1 guard scored 12 points in ESU’s 60-49 loss to Danny Manning’s Tulsa team on Saturday in Tulsa.
For now, the four other starters appear to be more secure: Senior center Jeff Withey will start alongside Traylor, while seniors Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford and redshirt freshman Ben McLemore will start in the backcourt.
In the end, the power-forward spot could belong to freshman Perry Ellis, a 6-foot-8 McDonald's All-American with natural scoring ability. Self said Ellis would likely be the first player off the bench. But so far, Traylor's athletic ability and motor have stood out in practice.
"What I want to see Jamari do," Self says, "is be able to do it in a game and not just practice. There's no pressure in practice."
Self has made a point of saying that Traylor is still rather raw. And in experience terms, that's mostly accurate. Traylor had barely played organized basketball before playing his junior season at Julian High in Chicago. He then transferred to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior season, blowing up on the national scene in the process.
As you might expect, Self took an opportunity Monday to note that turnovers have been an issue so far in practice.
“It is getting gradually better,” Self said.
It's early, and few coaches are going to say they're happy with turnovers in October. But if KU has major question marks beyond who will start at the power forward spot, it’s how senior Elijah Johnson will adapt to his lead guard role and whether sophomore Naadir Tharpe or freshman Rio Adams will be able to develop into an adequate backup option. For now, the turnover issue appears to be a work in progress.
“Those of you that are sitting on press row,” Self quipped, “have your hands ready.”
Lassie in the classroom, Cujo on the court. Is that too much to ask?
"Nice kids are great, but we definitely need that aggressiveness, that mindset," says Kansas coach Bill Self, whose No. 7 Jayhawks lift the lid on 2012-13 on Tuesday in an exhibition tussle with Emporia State. "We don't need blenders. We need guys to take charge."
The Lassie part, Ben McLemore has down. It's the Cujo bit that's the great unknown right now, one of the biggest "X" factors for a Kansas bunch earmarked to win a ninth-straight Big 12 title.
…"(McLemore has) got the most upside of any (guard) on the team right now," former KU guard Tyshawn Taylor told SiriusXM Radio last February. "He's young, is long, and is the best athlete in terms of getting off the floor."
Word on Naismith Drive is that the battles between the 6-3 Taylor, now with the Brooklyn Nets, and taller McLemore in practice were epic, and that the young whippersnapper won more rounds than the loquacious point man would prefer to admit.
"Tyshawn loved it," Self allows, "because he would actually take it personally if Ben made him look bad."
To this, McLemore just smiles.
Releford and McLemore have separated themselves at the wing positions, Self said, with White and sophomore Naadir Tharpe projected to be the first perimeter players off the bench.
...Freshman Zach Peters, sidelined until at least mid-November with a rotator cuff injury, continues to experience pain in his shoulder, Self said.
“I asked him the other day if he could shoot, and he said it hurts too bad,” Self said. “I don’t see any immediate resolution on that at all.”
...Former KU assistant Danny Manning started his career at Tulsa with 60-49 exhibition win against the Hornets on Saturday.
Gene Cusic only missed one game during his collegiate basketball career because of sickness.
Sixty-five years later, he wishes it hadn’t been when his Emporia State Teachers College team defeated Phog Allen-coached Kansas University, 67-44.
That was Dec. 13, 1947, and it still stands as the last time Emporia State defeated KU in men’s basketball.
“I didn’t expect it to be lopsided,” Cusic said from his Emporia home Monday. “We had a good night, and they didn’t have such a good one.”
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self called Elijah Johnson, Jeff Withey and Travis Releford “without question our best scorers on the team,” Monday and added “that’s not good because they were the third, fourth and fifth scorers last year.”
In other words, it’s business as usual for Self’s powerhouse basketball program. The top scorers are gone and his team is a bona fide threat to make it to the Final Four.
…“We’ve got more guys who can get the ball in the basket, but more guys doesn’t necessarily equate to 35 a game,” Self said of replacing Robinson and Taylor’s points. “Maybe more balance than last year, but I don’t know if we have more scoring punch than last year. We might before it’s all said and done.”
Perry Ellis arrives at Kansas as a more natural scorer than Robinson did, and Robinson grew into a 17.7-ppg scorer by his junior season.
“Perry could be a natural scorer and get six if he doesn’t put himself in position to score,” Self said. “Thomas could play bad and get you 15.”
A look at the leading candidates to lead Self’s 10th Kansas team in scoring, with odds in parentheses:
Bill Self always has teams that can defend. According to Kenpom’s database, in his nine seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks have never been worse than 18th when it comes to defensive efficiency. That was in 2005. They haven’t been out of the top ten since then, finishing as the most efficient defensive teams in 2007 and 2008, the year they won the national title.
This season, defense isn’t simply going to be one aspect of the game for Kansas; it’s going to be their lifeline. The Jayhawks weren’t exactly on offensive juggernaut last season, and that team was a two-man show with Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor accounting for more than 57% of the possessions when they were on the floor. With both Robinson and Taylor gone, the Jayhawks are going to have to answer some questions on that end of the floor.
…But the x-factor for this team is going to end up being Ben McLemore. McLemore is 6-foot-5 and, as Self put it, “he can run, he can jump and he can shoot, and that’s a pretty good combination for a wing.” But can he be a primary scoring option? Is he a guy that can go out and get 15 points every night? Is he a guy that can be isolated on the wing and create a shot for himself? Because that’s what this team is missing. As much veteran leadership as there is on the roster, they don’t have a true go-to guy.
McLemore is the player that most believe will fill that role.
NBC Sports Top 25 Countdown: #6 Kansas
Kansas University’s 2006-07 basketball team was inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame in a ceremony Friday morning in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. Also inducted: track and field thrower Egor Agafonov and soccer player Holly Gault.
“That’s probably the most talented team we’ve had here, maybe by far,” Self said of the Big 12 regular-season and postseason championship team which advanced to the Elite Eight. “Think about it. We had Russell (Robinson) at the 1, Mario (Chalmers) at the 2, Brandon (Rush) at the 3, Julian (Wright) at the 4, Sasha (Kaun) at the 5. We brought ‘Shady’ (Darrell Arthur), Darnell (Jackson) and Sherron (Collins) off the bench. How many teams can bring three NBA guys off the bench? That was a fun team to coach.”
Hard to believe, but until Friday, college coaching legend Bobby Cremins had never stepped foot in Allen Fieldhouse.
“It’s an honor to be here. I feel I’m on hallowed ground,” said the 65-year-old Cremins, who went 570-367 overall in 31 years at Georgia Tech, College of Charleston and Appalachian State. “I feel like I’m at Augusta playing the Masters.
“The pictures on the walls are amazing. It’s like a shrine,” added Cremins, in town this weekend as featured speaker at Bill Self’s KU Coaches Clinic. “They’ve kept the history in place here. That’s what I love about it. They could modernize it and put fancy seats in it, but it would take away the meaningfulness of it.”
Cremins, who retired after 11 games last season after falling ill during his sixth season at College of Charleston, said he considered scheduling KU at his last coaching stop.
“We were already overloaded. We were playing North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, but it is an amazing place,” Cremins said of KU.
…A longtime friend of KU assistant Dooley, Cremins until this weekend hasn’t had a chance to really get to know 10th-year KU head coach Self.
“I related the story today. I was at a Final Four in Indianapolis, and they (Jayhawks) had gotten upset in the first round,” Cremins said. “I came out of my hotel room, and one of first people I ran into in the street was Bill Self. It told me so much about him. A lot of times you have a bad first-round loss, and you don’t want to leave your hotel room. You don’t want to get out. He was out and about. He had the best attitude.
“I admired that. It’s showed me the type of person he is, how balanced he was. I remember I had some tough first-round losses, and I didn’t want to go to the Final Four. I did go, but I’d hide out a bit. He was not hiding out.”
Unable to work out an extension with James Harden, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded the Sixth Man of the Year to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, breaking up the young core of the Western Conference champions.
Oklahoma City also sent former Kansas University center Cole Aldrich and forwards Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward to Houston and acquired guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and a second-round pick in the surprising deal.
The Hornets, however, declined Monday to pick up the fourth-year options on forward Al Farouq Aminu and guard Xavier Henry’s contracts, a league source confirmed. The Hornets want to keep their options open regarding their salary cap space but they could re-sign Aminu and Henry at the end of this season.
WBB: KU wins exhibition opener 57-35
Tickets to Coach Self's "Courtside View"
Champions Classic: KU vs Michigan State
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Composite Schedule
The biggest man on The Associated Press' preseason All-America team got the most votes.
Seven-foot sophomore center Cody Zeller, the main reason Indiana is the preseason No. 1 for the first time in 33 years, was one vote shy of being a unanimous selection for the preseason All-America team.
Zeller, who averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 62.3 percent from the field, received 64 votes from the national media panel which selects the weekly Top 25.
Also on the team announced Monday were junior forwards Doug McDermott of Creighton and Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State and three guards - seniors Isaiah Canaan of Murray State and C.J. McCollum of Lehigh and sophomore Trey Burke of Michigan.
McDermott was named on 62 ballots, while Canaan was on 43 and Thomas 26. McCollum and Burke tied for the fifth spot with 16 votes each.
Zeller is one of five starters back for the Hoosiers and when a top-flight recruiting class is added in there are a lot expectations for the No. 1 team.
"I don't know that we've really set any goals as a team, but obviously, we want to win a national championship," Zeller said. "We're not going to guarantee anything. We're just going to play and see where it takes us."
…Other receiving All-American votes were: Kenny Boynton, Florida; Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State; Aaron Craft, Ohio State; Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State; Solomon Hill, Arizona; Pierre Jackson, Baylor; C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State; James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina; Tony Mitchell, North Texas; Mike Moser, UNLV; Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA; Nerlens Noel, Kentucky; Otto Porter, Georgetown; Phil Pressey, Missouri; Peyton Siva, Louisville; Michael Snaer, Florida State; Jeff Withey, Kansas.
Michigan State has scheduled its first of two exhibition games for Tuesday night at home against Northwood (Fla.) - an NAIA team led by former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino.
The Spartans will start the regular season with two road games in consecutive seasons for the first time in nearly 100 years. They'll open against Connecticut on Nov. 9 in Germany and will play No. 7 Kansas four days later in Atlanta a year after playing North Carolina on an aircraft carrier and facing Duke in New York.
''It'll be the same deal as last year,'' Dawson said. ''We'll be ready for it.''
“You know what I think we have right now? Not as good leadership. But as good or better chemistry,” Izzo said. “I mean, you watch practice, guys just seem to … I don’t know. There’s a different respect for everyone. Probably because everybody’s on a similar level.
“I think the difference in our talent, we’ve got three or four really talented guys, but the difference is not major.”
Last season, Green was the face of the program, a consensus All-American, the Big Ten Player of the Year and the NABC National Player of the Year.
Now there is no clear star or go-to player, and the captains are senior center Derrick Nix and sophomore guard Russell Byrd. Junior point guard Keith Appling is trying to be more vocal as well.
The Spartans are hoping their closeness will compensate for the lack of a dominant voice.
“The crazy part is, I didn’t think we would bond like we did after Draymond left, but we picked right up,” Nix said. “The freshmen came in, they’re pretty cool. We’re just a close team.”
Tonight, the viewing public gets to see what Michigan State basketball players have been doing in two-plus weeks of preseason practice.
Here's a preview: They've been running. On offense. On defense. Between drills. And so on.
"We're going 100 m.p.h., nonstop," freshman guard Gary Harris said. "Practice is -- we're all just dead tired. But that's how practice is supposed to be, it's supposed to kill us so we're ready when the game starts."
Coach Tom Izzo's most dedicated attempt to create a fast-paced team will get its first public test when the No. 14 Spartans take on Northwood (Fla.) in a 7 p.m. exhibition at the Breslin Center.
These rankings might not match what you’ve seen in any other venue. The uniqueness is due to two general reasons. First, my computer doesn’t see everything humans see, and for the most part, humans have an advantage here. I generally think humans do a good job of assimilating data this time of year, with perhaps the exception of overvaluing a long tournament run fueled by close wins or a favorable draw. Even then, it’s just a hunch on my part that people overvalue that. I could be the one undervaluing postseason performance.
The other reason is that my computer doesn’t know what humans are thinking. This is mostly an advantage to the computer. I think the AP preseason poll is useful, but one criticism I have of it is that voters’ ballots are a bit too similar. Of this year’s ballots, in what should be a more difficult year to predict, just two of 65 voters had Indiana outside the top 3, and those two had the Hoosiers at number four.
Basketball Prospectus Preseason Rankings
Missouri Coach Frank Haith has suspended senior guard Mike Dixon and freshman guard Dominique Bull for undisclosed violations of team rules.
There might have been a few Missouri fans among the crowd of 7,741 who showed up at Mizzou Arena for Monday night’s exhibition opener anxious to see how the 15th-ranked Tigers were getting along without Marcus Denmon and Kim English on the perimeter.
They should feel a little more confident in the team’s prospects of replacing the two departed seniors after watching Auburn transfer Earnest Ross pour in a game-high 22 points — including 6 of 10 3-point attempts — in a 91-58 exhibition rout of Division II Northwest Missouri State.
ESPN Tip-Off Marathon schedule
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Avenue: Artist from Boston Mass, creates a a records that celebrates the success of an fellow Bostonian who has recently committed to Kansas Jayhawks & will be apart of the schools great Basketball tradition. Congrat. Wayne Selden
Tyler Roberson, a 6-8 senior forward from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, has narrowed his list of colleges to KU, Villanova and Syracuse. Rivals.com’s No. 31-rated player has eliminated Kentucky, Rutgers and SMU from consideration and is hoping to choose a school in the “next week or so.”
While Frank Haith’s program is still in a good place they’re down a commitment, as it was reported by Eric Bossi of Rivals.com that point guard Travis Jorgenson has decided to reopen his recruitment.
Jorgenson, who plays at New Hampton Prep in New Hampton, New Hampshire, was one of two point guard commitments for the Tigers as Wes Clark made his decision after an outstanding summer on the circuit.
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