Another team coached by John Calipari was done in at that harmless strip of paint just 15 feet from the basket.
After shooting well from the free throw line much of the season, the young kids from Kentucky wilted when it mattered most Monday night. Their inability to make one of the simplest shots in basketball was a big reason why they lost 60-54 to Connecticut in the national championship game.
…So instead of Calipari's latest bunch of one-and-done stars cutting down the nets during "One Shining Moment," it was UConn joyously romping around the court inside AT&T Stadium, the confetti falling from the rafters as Kentucky players filed slowly toward their locker room.
Their free throw struggles immediately brought back memories of the 2008 title game, when a Memphis team coached by Calipari struggled down the stretch against Kansas.
In that game, the Jayhawks fouled the poor-shooting Tigers when they had to rally late in regulation. Memphis responded by missing four of its final five free throws. And that was enough for Kansas to overcome its big deficit and ultimately win the game in regulation.
During that stretch before OT, Kansas made all of its shots — including its free throws.
Asked whether it entered Calipari's mind, he replied flatly: "No."
UConn was just as maddeningly efficient as Kansas at the line, though, making the troubles of Kentucky all the more glaring: The Huskies never missed, and their final two free throws by Lasan Kromah with 25 seconds left sealed their fourth national championship.
4. Kansas (25-10, 14-4): Andrew Wiggins declared for the NBA draft and Joel Embiid likely will soon, but once again, Bill Self has reloaded. The Jayhawks hauled in prime-time power forward Cliff Alexander and electric shooting guard Kelly Oubre. Those two will joined by returnees Perry Ellis (13.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Wayne Selden Jr. (9.7 ppg). Alexander's physicality will be needed on the interior with the loss of Embiid and fellow big man Tarik Black.
Recruiting grade: A
USA Today Early 2014-15 Top 25
4. Kansas: It must be nice to be Bill Self. He loses two guys that could be the top two picks in the draft and he’ll return a team that looks like a title contender. Again. Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis return and will be joined by Kelly Oubre and Cliff Alexander. Arizona transfer Hunter Mickelson will be a nice addition while Brannen Greene, Frank Mason and Connor Frankamp had promising moments during their freshmen seasons. The key? Naadir Tharpe, as usual.
NBC Sports Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25
ESPN: Early preseason Top 25 (KU #9)
Canadian Andrew Wiggins has reportedly settled on Bill Duffy as his agent heading toward the NBA draft.
Wiggins, from Vaughan, Ont., chose Duffy — who also handles NBA stars Steve Nash, Joakim Noah and Rajon Rondo — over Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency, according to multiple online reports Monday.
The play that resulted in Mario Chalmers’ overtime-inducing three-point basket in Kansas University’s 2008 NCAA title-game victory over Memphis now is referred to as “America’s Play.”
ESPN announcer Fran Fraschilla devised that term for KU coach Bill Self’s “Chop” play — one that was featured on Monday in a story at Deadspin.com.
Deadspin pointed out that coaches all over the country have been using Chop as their go-to play when a three is needed and time is running down. Deadspin cited Creighton, Syracuse, Wichita State, Oklahoma State and Kentucky as some of the teams that have used Chop in recent memory.
“It has a hallowed place in college basketball’s virtual playbook,” Fraschilla said, as quoted by Deadspin.
In case one has forgotten the most effective Chop play ever ... Sherron Collins dribbled down-court, headed to the right of the key and flipped over to Chalmers who cashed the game-tying shot up top vs. Memphis.
“We made it up,” Self told the Journal-World Monday, asked about the creation of the play.
“It was in 2006 or ’07. We were trying to figure out as many options as we could to score on a play to give us as many three-point options as possible. That’s what we came up with. I remember the first day we put it in. I’m like, ‘Well, gawd-dang, this works,’” Self added.
Asked about the play showing up in game plans all over the land, Self said: “I haven’t heard what anybody is calling it or anything like that. I would think a lot of people run some form of it, yes.”
Asked why it was named “Chop,” Self said: “You could say we did it for the Kansas City Chiefs (tomahawk chop).”
Seriously ... “We make our calls (signals) above our shoulder. We were running out of calls. It was the one thing left. We said, ‘Give the chop sign,’” Self said.
Chop is effective for two reasons: It is extremely easy for players to digest and learn, and it offers numerous options. When Chop is run to perfection, two scoring opportunities immediately present themselves. Self's first versions of Chop began with a dribble hand-off to a wing on the right side of the court (Kansas now runs the play on either side of the floor). Depending on how the wing is covered, he can either dribble into a jump shot, or use a ball screen from a big at the top of the key. If the defense somehow covers the handoff and the screen, there is a flare screen set opposite the ball to free another shooter.
…When St. John's faced Creighton in late January, the Red Storm were on the verge of their first upset of the 2014 season. The game was tied with a few ticks remaining, and even though every single person in the building knew Doug McDermott was going to take the final shot in regulation, the Bluejays used Chop—a pass from Jahenns Manigat combined with an Isaiah Zierden screen—to give McDermott a wide-open, and game-winning, look.
"You stole my play," Self later wrote in a text to Creighton's coach (and Doug's father), Greg McDermott, according to C.J. Moore, a reporter for Bleacher Report who wrote about KU independently for years. According to Moore, Greg McDermott replied: "You owed me for all the years you battered my brain in."
As you might've guessed, Chop is for end-of-game scenarios. The play, as former Missouri wing Kim English tweeted recently, "is used by EVERYBODY that is down and have to go the length of the court." It is not a sophisticated play, notes Fraschilla, but "it is Kansas's go-to, quick-score play late in the game." And because of the manifold possibilities Chop creates, it is the perfect last-second play.
English is well aware of how many different looks Chop can create. During 2012's Border War—the last between Kansas and Missouri before the latter's move to the SEC—the Jayhawks burned his Tigers twice with Chop in the same game.
Kansas was down three with 21.5 seconds remaining, and Missouri, having accurately scouted the Jayhawks, knew Chop was coming and covered both perimeter screens. Matt Pressey switched on the hand-off, which prevented Tyshawn Taylor from using the ball screen. But Chop isn't the kind of play that can be derailed by one smart rotation. Kansas stuck with the play, allowing its second level of options to develop. After setting a down screen for the shooter coming off the flare, Thomas Robinson slipped to the baseline, received a pocket pass, and muscled his way up for a basket and a foul.
The Jayhawks again trailed in overtime when Self decided to run Chop one more time. And Missouri again knew it was coming and again couldn't do anything to stop it. As the Tigers got ready to defend the initial dribble hand-off, Tyshawn Taylor cut back door for the wide-open, go-ahead dunk.
…Chop achieved a sort of milestone during this season's Big 12 tournament. Kansas was paired with Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals. With the Pokes down three in overtime, coach Travis Ford tried to out-Self Kansas, calling for Chop. Kansas immediately doped out the play, and two defenders were properly positioned to defend Phil Forte's step-through three-point attempt.
It was an unwitting sort of homage. It was also an act of brazen folly, something like attempting a rearward maneuver against Napoleon. But maybe we can excuse Ford. Chop no longer belonged to Kansas, after all. It had gone viral. It was America's play now.
Kansas University’s Kurtis Townsend has been ranked the No. 1 assistant college basketball coach in the country, according to Basketball Times.
KU’s Norm Roberts checks in at No. 6 and Jerrance Howard No. 36 of the 60 coaches mentioned in the April 2014 edition of the magazine.
“That (ranking) just means I’m at a great school that has had a lot of success,” said Townsend, who has completed 10 seasons at KU. “I thank coach (Bill) Self and also thank coach Roberts and coach Howard. Thanks to everybody else I’ve worked with from coach Dooley (Joe, Florida Gulf Coast head coach), Jankovich (Tim, coach in waiting at SMU) to Danny (Manning, Wake Forest coach).
“Everybody has made me look good.”
Townsend has the second-longest run of any assistant coach in Kansas history. Sam Miranda worked 11 years on coach Ted Owens’ staff.
“That just means I can’t get a (head-coaching) job, I guess,” Townsend said with a laugh. “I’m the only one who could be there that long and not get a job. The other reason is there’s not a lot of jobs I could take that are better jobs than assistant coach at Kansas.”
…Former KU guard Mario Little on Friday became the single-season scoring leader in Tulsa 66ers NBA Development League history. Little scored 31 points against Canton, Ohio, and had 929 entering Saturday’s regular-season finale. Mustafa Shakur scored 905 points in 2009-10.
Justin Bauman will be the new director of basketball operations for Wake Forest's men's basketball program, at least according to Bauman's Twitter account. The position was formerly held by Jeff Nix. At this time it's unclear if Nix will continue in any role with the basketball program.
Bauman brings a wealth of experience to Wake Forest. Bauman attended Kansas University from 2000-2006, where he received a bachelor's degree in 2004 and a master's degree in 2006. During his time in Lawrence, he served under both Roy Williams and Bill Self, who are widely regarded as two of the best coaches in college basketball.
…Bauman joined Danny Manning's Tulsa staff in April of 2012 and had been with him for the past two seasons.
Former Kansas University guard Jeff Hawkins has decided to step down as boys basketball coach at Perry-Lecompton High after four seasons, Hawkins confirmed Sunday night.
Hawkins, who played at KU from 2002-06, said Sunday that, “I took a new job at Lawrence Parks and Rec, and the schedule just wasn’t going to allow me to give the boys the attention that coaching them deserved.”
Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball head coach Bill Self has announced the dates and location of his Kansas City area youth basketball camp.
The two-day Academy Sports + Outdoors Bill Self Basketball ProCamp will be held on August 2nd and 3rd at Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kan.
Camp will be held from 9 a.m. - nooon for grades 1-5 and 1-4 p.m. for grades 6-12. Participants will learn fundamental basketball skills and have the opportunity to meet and interact with the coach. Each camper will receive an autograph from Self and a team photo with Self.
Self will be on-site to direct the event and joined by a selection of prep and college coaches from the area. The camp is open to boys and girls of all skill levels in grades 1-12. Cost of the camp is just $149.
Sunday April 13th is the 4th Annual @waynesimien Freethrow Challenge in Allen Fieldhouse. Sign up here:
4/5/14, 2:54 PM
Ha @Trobinson0 on #Portlandia next week. That is a statement I never though I’d ever say. Anyway #rockchalk
Lakers guard Xavier Henry has been scheduled to undergo a pair of surgeries Friday to repair the wrist and knee injuries that have sidelined him for the rest of the season.
Dr. Steven Shin will repair the torn ligament in Henry's left wrist and Dr. Steve Lombardo will perform arthroscopic surgery on the cartilage abnormality in Henry's right knee.
A timetable for Henry's recovery will be given after the surgeries.
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
1: # of teams based west of the Mississippi River that have won the men’s NCAA Tournament in the last 15 years.
UConn is 1st team to win the National Championship without winning its regular season or conference tournament title since Arizona in 1997
Connecticut star Shabazz Napier went full Richard Sherman after winning the NCAA championship, using his nationally televised interview with Jim Nantz to vent about a past slight, then getting cut off before ending his impassioned rant.
Connecticut’s senior guard was asked to describe his feelings about winning the title, but instead tried to quiet the crowd by begging for their attention. Once satisfied, Napier launched into a brief rant about the NCAA’s banning of UConn from the 2013 tournament because of poor academic performance.
Shabazz Napier, point guard for The University of Connecticut's men's basketball team, recently told reporters he understands why athletes at Northwestern need a union, as he sometimes has to go to bed "starving" because he cannot afford food.
"We as student athletes get utilized for what we do so well. We are definitely blessed to get a scholarship to our universities, but at the end of the day, that doesn't cover everything. We do have hungry nights that we don't have enough money to get food and sometimes money is needed," the senior told reporters. "I think, you know, Northwestern has an idea, and we'll see where it goes."
…"To some credit, you feel like you want something in return… Like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I am starving. So something can change, something should change. But if it doesn't, at the end of the day, we've been doing this for so long, so ...," he said.
A UConn spokesman said in an emailed statement that Napier is provided food.
"Shabazz Napier, like all our scholarship athletes, is provided the maximum meal plan that is allowable under NCAA rules. UConn does not have a cafeteria devoted specifically to student-athletes, but they have access to the same cafeterias which are available to all our students," Phil Chardis said in a statement.
UConn's Student Athlete Handbook outlines that UConn's athletes with a meal plan have access to the all-you-can-eat dining facilities that are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If you guys need Drake, he’ll be in the UConn locker room in 15 minutes.
Authorities in Lexington say they used tear gas to control rowdy fans and put out several couch fires in the streets after Kentucky's defeat by in the NCAA championship basketball match.
A government official, Susan Straub, said at least 17 couch fires were lit overnight in the State Street area of Lexington and there were 18 injuries, most of them minor and treated at the scene. She confirmed seven arrests but had no further details early Tuesday.
She said in a statement that one person who was injured was hit by a train and taken to a hospital but she had no further word on that person's condition or identity.
Shirtless youths streamed into the streets and lit fires soon after Kentucky's 60-54 loss to Connecticut on Monday night. Some were crying and others hugging after the defeat. The crowd reaction came after a chilly, rain-soaked night in the Lexington area.
Reports said crowds on State Street grew after the game had ended and there were reports of fights and some bottles being thrown. Police said tear gas was used to control the most unruly before fans dispersed.
College basketball is never bigger than it is at a Final Four. But the powers that be know that it’s not until March and April that people start to really pay attention. It was interesting to hear Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby suggest reducing basketball to a one semester sport and shorten the season. I don’t think that is going to solve basketball’s identity crisis. What we had in the national final was simply another reason not to pay attention until March. UConn loses to Louisville three times, once by 33 points, and makes it to the final. Kentucky loses three times to Florida and loses at South Carolina and makes the final. It’s what you do in March (and April) that matters. I’m not saying the regular season doesn’t matter but it doesn’t matter to a lot of people. UConn is the perfect example of that. Who thought the Huskies had a chance to be the national champs when the bracket was announced?
…If nothing else, this tournament showed us that we need to take it seriously when someone says to pick teams with excellent guard play. It’s not only important for those guards to be scoring, but to be strong defensively as well.
The NCAA power structure is about to change. By the end of April it's possible the five major football-playing conferences (Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC) will have new voting power that will allow them to create financial advantages over the other conferences.
So, what would become of those other conferences, the ones that give the NCAA Tournament its full flavor?
Mercer, which knocked off Duke, was champion of the Atlantic Sun. Wichita State, perfect through 35 games, rolled through the Missouri Valley. Can those leagues stay in the game financially?
If Kentucky or Kansas offers full cost of attendance, putting dollars in players' pockets on a monthly basis, and, say Stephen F. Austin cannot, does that create further imbalance in the tournament?
Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, chairman of the Division I board of directors, said no.
"The commitment of the higher-resource conferences seeking greater autonomy will create a different scholarship value, but it's not different now," Hatch said. "Do you think the athlete at Kentucky has advantages over the athlete at Southern Illinois? It's very different now."
Those that are just outside the football-playing powers have vowed to keep up.
KC Star Kerkhoff
“If college sports enters an employer-employee relationship, we will have forever lost our way,” Bowlsby said while sharing a stage with ESPN president John Skipper, former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and K-State president Kirk Schulz.
That topic was one of many discussed at length during a two-hour forum on college athletics in front of a large crowd at McCain Auditorium. The Chicago National Labor of Relations Board recently issued a groundbreaking ruling in support of Northwestern football players that are attempt to unionize, so it is currently a hot-button issue at many universities.
“I disagree with the characterization,” Bowlsby said. “I don’t think student-athletes are employees. I don’t think they should be characterized that way. I don’t think that is what higher education is about. I think it would forever change what Americans have come to love.
“Having said that, there are a number of other stages in the process … Northwestern and the union folks will go through that process. I expect that it will end up in court at some point.”
Skipper agreed. As president of ESPN, he has worked closely with college athletics for years and has influence on the sports and conferences his network partners with.
He said he hated the idea of one-and-done basketball players and promoted the idea of “four-and-done.” In his mind, paying college players would disconnect fans from college athletics. He also thinks it is impractical.
“I’ve never seen a system that works for paying players,” Skipper said. “Who are you going to pay? You really want a system where Johnny Manziel makes $8 million and his teammates don’t make anything? They need to put a system in place that feels fair.”
Minn Star Tribune: In college hoops, ESPN often has the ultimate say
Digger Phelps's deal was not renewed by ESPN so it will be interesting if he unretires for another network in the future.
After a tumultuous sophomore season, Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart has decided to enter the NBA draft.
Oklahoma State with .5 seconds on One Shining Moment. Here's $10 million more, Travis Ford!
Oklahoma State has lost one of its key pieces for next season with the departure of senior swingman Brian Williams.
Multiple sources close to the program confirmed to the Tulsa World on Thursday that Williams is transferring and will be able to play immediately wherever he lands because he is graduating this semester.
Coming off a redshirt sophomore season in which he missed the first half of the year with a wrist injury, Williams scored in double digits in five of the first six games last season, but after starting 26 games he was replaced in the lineup by Phil Forte.
Over the last 12 games, the Louisiana native saw his points (3.3) and minutes (18.5) decrease and he didn't reach double figures.
Additionally, assistant coach Steve Middleton will not return to the staff, sources told the World on Thursday. Middleton, who worked primarily with post players, was coach Travis Ford’s first hire and followed Ford to OSU from Massachusetts.
Zach Price had a pretty bad Thursday.
The Missouri basketball player was reportedly arrested twice in one day. The first arrest was early in the morning for an altercation involving Price, his roommate, and a woman. Price was charged with third-degree assault and third-degree domestic assault.
A federal judge has denied a request by ESPN to dismiss a libel suit filed by the wife of former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.
Laurie Fine accused the sports cable television network of libel and slander in its coverage of child-molesting allegations against her husband. The lawsuit claims the network's coverage was grossly irresponsible.
ESPN's lawyers argued the reporting by Mark Schwarz and producer Arthur Berko shouldn't be the subject of a libel suit because the information was based on official proceedings, including police department documents.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn indicated he could not determine if ESPN's reporting was "fair and true," allowing the lawsuit to proceed.
"Laurie Fine is exceedingly pleased with the decision," Fine's lawyer, Pittsburgh-based Lawrence Fisher, said Tuesday. "ESPN sought to dismiss the case and claimed its reporting was fair and true. What the court held was they were wrong."
April 9: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Application Deadline
April 14: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Response Deadline
April 15: NCAA Early Entry “Withdrawal” Deadline
April 27: NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 pm ET)
May 2: NBA Draft Early Entry Candidates Released – Underclassmen Contact Permitted
May 14-18: NBA Draft Combine (Chicago)
May 20: NBA Draft Lottery
June 16: NBA Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline (5:00 pm ET)
June 26: 2014 NBA Draft
draftexpress.com: Testing the NBA Draft Waters in 2014
Kansas men's basketball signees Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre, Jr. squared off against each other in Alexander's hometown as part of the 2014 McDonald's All-American game at the United Center in Chicago Wednesday evening.
Alexander, a 6-8 forward from Chicago Curie High School, represented the East team and ended the game with nine points and 11 rebounds. Oubre, a 6-7 guard/forward from Findlay College Prep in Henderson, Nev., was a member of the winning West squad and scored 11 points. Oubre drained the final two points of the game on a pair of free throws with 19.1 seconds remaining as the West defeated the East 105-102.
Alexander, the 2014 Naismith High School Boys National Player of the Year, is listed as the No. 3 overall recruit according to ESPN100 after averaging 27 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots per game this season at Curie. Oubre is ranked No. 11 by ESPN100 and scored 23 points per game at Findlay Prep. Oubre grew up in New Orleans and moved to Houston following Hurricane Katrina before transferring to Nevada to finish his prep career.
Alexander and Oubre will soon join forces as both will participate on the 2014 USA Men's Basketball Junior National Select Team which will face the 2014 World Select Team in the Nike Hoop Summit on April 12 at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore. The Nike Hoop Summit, which will be televised live on ESPN2 with a 6 p.m. (Central) start, features America's top seniors playing against a World Select Team comprised of elite international players age 19 years old or younger.
Nike Hoop Summit
For Oubre, the price of non-conformity comes in the form of a flowing, unkempt Mohawk, the curls flowing toward the sky. When Oubre, a 6-foot-7 small forward, steps on campus at Kansas for the first time this summer, his hair may be the first thing students notice.
“Wild and crazy,” Oubre said, “but tamed on the sides.”
…For schools that traffic in the currency of one-and-done prospects, the yearly recruiting cycle has become an even more high-stakes game of prospect roulette. If you’ve landed Andrew Wiggins, who announced Monday that he would declare for the NBA Draft after one season at Kansas, you better start recruiting his replacement — pronto.
“The sense of urgency is we better recruit,” Kansas coach Bill Self said this past season, referencing his one-and-done strategy. “That’s where the sense of urgency comes in.”
So here comes the latest crop, two more prospects who might be one-and-done players. Oubre and Alexander both say they could see themselves staying more than one year at Kansas. Oubre sees college as a place to develop and grow, not a one-year holding spot before declaring for the draft.
“I feel like (college) helps us mature more, and if you’re not mature, stay another year,” Oubre said. “You’re going to love college so much, just from what I heard.”
Oubre has a skill set that piqued the interest of a deluge of NBA general managers and scouts who showed up in Chicago to evaluate the high school stars during practices Monday and Tuesday. Inside the Quest Multiplex gym on the west side of the city, NBA talent evaluators lined the walls to catch a glimpse of the rangy Oubre, rated as the No. 12 overall recruit in the country, according to Rivals.com.
On a practice court full of future college standouts this week, the left-handed Oubre’s size and physicality stood out. Talent evaluators describe him as a three-level scorer — someone who can shoot, drive and score in the midrange. But Oubre doesn’t want to be tagged as the heir apparent to Wiggins’ on the wing.
…If Oubre bolsters a crowded backcourt, Alexander, a Chicago native, gives Kansas another big body and top-10 recruit in the middle. During the recruiting process, Alexander said, Self sold him on his ability to prepare big men for the NBA. Self even used the Morris twins, now teammates for the Phoenix Suns, as examples.
“Coach Self said he’d turn me into one of the twins,” said Alexander, who had nine points and 11 rebounds for the East squad in its loss to Oubre’s West team.
These are teenagers, of course, still weeks away from their proms. Oubre would like to improve his basketball IQ and vision over the next few months, while Alexander says he still needs to refine his post moves.
Standing on a basketball floor, surrounded by high school blue-chippers, Oubre’s wild mane and coltish athleticism can draw plenty of attention. But as college approaches, he’s ready to fit in and compete.
“I think freshmen can make the biggest impact,” Oubre said. “Because if you go as hard as you can, and you inspire the seniors, they’ll be like: ‘This guy is going hard, and he doesn’t even know the ropes yet.’ ”
Oubre talked with SNY.tv about the notion that replacing Wiggins, the potential No. 1 pick, might be a burden for him entering next year.
“Not at all actually,” he said. “I mean, Andrew was highly touted coming out of high school. He had way more hype than I did. I’m pretty much just coming in as a guy who’s just about to give it my all and just show the world that you all pretty much slept on me coming in and I’m glad I don’t have that much hype. I like being under the radar because I can come in and wake everybody up. You know, being Andrew’s successor as everyone’s saying, I don’t pay it any mind, pretty much, because Andrew and I are two different players. Andrew was great and I aspire to be great also.”
Having Wiggins as a mentor and advisor during the year has given Oubre a blueprint to follow when he heads to Kansas.
“He [Wiggins] keeps it level because he’s a real focused guy so pretty much he’s just helped me stay focused because that’s the only way you’re going to get through this,” Oubre said. “It’s a lot of work, it’s not easy.”
While it might not be easy, Oubre will join a Kansas squad with Cliff Alexander, who is the third-rated player on ESPN in the Class of 2014. These two are the only committed players for coach Bill Self so far, but that hasn’t stopped the pair from thinking big.
“We always talk about that [next year at Kansas],” Oubre said. “We’re just ready and anticipating what’s coming ahead of us. We know college isn’t going to be a cakewalk. We’re just ready to work and show the world that just because there’s only two of us going to Kansas, it’s going to seem like eight.”
…One of the incredible feats that must be recognized about Oubre’s performance against Rainier Beach is that he played Thursday’s game after playing the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago Wednesday night at 11:30 p.m. EST and then flying to New York the following morning at 6 a.m. for this tournament.
Findlay Prep coach Jerome Williams raved about Oubre’s ability to play this well on short rest and also got in a couple jokes about it as well.
“NBA players don’t do that,” WIlliams said. “There’s no such thing as a back-to-back where you don’t even have a full 24 hours of rest and recovery so I just tip my hat to them. To me, they didn’t make any mistakes.”
Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea told SNY.tv after the game that “Oubre is as good as everybody thought he was. He’s a good athlete and big-time player. He hit big shots when his team needed them.”
Kelly Oubre dominating @DICKSNationals has never looked better. With him, @humblekid11 & the return of Selden, Kansas is going to be SCARY.
Kelly Oubre's made huge strides since the summer—attacking glass, protecting rim, hustling in addition to that outside shot. I'm impressed.
Kansas commit Kelly Oubre had 19 points in the first half, for the record. Nobody else on Findlay had more than 4
High school: Curie.
Team highlights: Ranked No. 1 by the Tribune, Curie won the Pontiac Holiday Tournament and its first city championship in a four-overtime thriller against Young. The Condors also beat the nation's No. 1 team (Montverde, Fla.) and swept two games against Simeon, but they had to forfeit it all for playing with academically ineligible players. Alexander was not among them.
Individual highlights: His tip dunk at the buzzer completed a 37-point, 26-rebound performance and lifted Curie past West Aurora 74-73 in the Pontiac semifinals. Powerful and athletic with a non-stop motor, the McDonald's All-American and consensus top-five recruit nationally will go down as one of the most physically gifted and entertaining big men Chicago has ever produced. He averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots.
FYI: Alexander did not play organized basketball until eighth grade.
Repeated: "His improvement from freshman year until now is incredible." — Young center Jahlil Okafor
Chicago Tribune First Team All-State
Schools in need of a point guard just got a big boost.
Appalachian State has released 2014 recruit Devonte Graham from his letter-of-intent, meaning the point guard is free to go anywhere in the fall.
The family doesn't have an official release just yet, so it might be a day or two before Graham can speak to college coaches.
Previously, Graham has consistently had his release requests denied, and he was willing to sit out next season in order to go elsewhere.
The 6-foot-1 point guard immediately becomes the most sought-after guard on the market, as he proved throughout this season at Brewster Academy (N.H.) that he can play with the best of the best.
Creighton head coach Greg McDermott checked Graham out recently, as did assistants from Kansas, Providence and Pittsburgh. Virginia's Tony Bennett, Nebraska's Tim Miles and Providence's Ed Cooley were already scheduled to watch him this week, and Kansas' Bill Self is expected to check him out on Friday.
Graham is absolutely a high-major talent. He is a good athlete with quickness, and he makes plays at both ends of the floor, getting to the rim, running the break, finding teammates. Graham can run the pick-and-roll effectively, and has shown great vision and hands. He also can keep defenses honest with his perimeter jumper. Defensively, he plays passing lanes and forced steals.
Boston University sophomore point guard Maurice Watson Jr., has decided to transfer to a yet-to-be-determined school. The 5-10 native of Philadelphia led the team in scoring (13.3), assists (7.1) and minutes (31.2) as a sophomore. He had 17 assists against Army. His 248 assists this past season set a Patriot League single-season record.
Recruiting analyst Alex Kline says KU, Vanderbilt, Temple, Wichita State, Villanova, Houston and Butler are possible destinations. Others have mentioned Stanford and Marquette as well.