KUAD: Texas Tech vs Kansas pregame notes
1/10/15, 8:30 AM
Kansas freshman Devonte Graham will return today vs. Texas Tech, Bill Self told @CBSSports. Story: cbsprt.co/1BSlz6z
Self on Thursday listed freshman point guard Devonté Graham (sprained right big toe) as “doubtful” for Saturday’s 2 p.m. home game against Texas Tech. Self said he’d have to practice full-go on Friday and respond well to play Saturday.
The best thing about it from a Kansas perspective, however, is that the boost Graham has picked up while sitting out may allow him to return as twice the player he was before.
“I've actually learned a lot just by being on the sideline, becoming a quote/unquote coach,” Graham said. “You just see things differently.”
There's a reason for that. The more time he spends not worrying about his defensive assignment or finding a way to score, the more time he has to learn. And learn he does. As the game on the floor unfolds a few feet away from him, Graham goes through a game of his own in his head. He calls out instructions to teammates, — sometimes even before they see it — shouts encouragement during good times and bad and soaks up every second of his prime spot six seats down the bench, next to assistant coach Jerrance Howard and constantly within earshot of Self.
Throughout any given possession, you actually can see Graham learning. His eyes move something like this: Self, court, Self, court, Self, court.
Of course, the guy he connects with the most during the games is Mason. He studies Mason's moves as if he's watching a 10-year NBA veteran, talks to him like the two are brothers and, at times, even lives vicariously through everything Mason does.
“Our relationship is good,” Graham said. “And I think it's grown while I've been out. I just watch what he does and listen to what coach tells him to do and try to learn based off that.”
• Getting to the line: Texas Tech ranks third nationally in free throw rate while getting 27 percent of its offense from free throws. That's a nicer skill to have at home, but it shouldn't make as much of a difference at Allen Fieldhouse where the whistles are likely to go KU's way.
• Shot blocking: Tech is 45th in defensive block percentage with a roster that features three top-400 shot-blockers. That includs 6-8 freshman Zach Smith, who ranks 79th in the stat.
• Forcing turnovers: The Red Raiders can create some problems with ball pressure, ranking 72nd in defensive turnover rate. They've had mixed results with this in two Big 12 games, creating 17 giveaways against Texas but just eight against West Virginia.
• Free throw shooting: Tech gets a lot of attempts at the line but isn't great once it gets there, making just 65 percent of its tries (282nd nationally).
• Jump shooting: There should be two main objectives for KU's defense: Keep Tech away from the rim and off the line. The Red Raiders are one of the worst 2-point jumpshooting teams in the nation (334th nationally) and also shoot a poor percentage from 3 (31 percent) while also not attempting many outside shots.
• Giveaways: Tech has had issues holding onto the ball, even against a poor early-season schedule. The Red Raiders rank 266th in offensive turnover percentage and also 274th in steal rate against.
…With an amped-up home crowd and an aggressive defense that will create steals of its own, I think KU ends up in a rare position this year — on the correct side of a blowout.
Kansas 77, Texas Tech 55
TCJ: Quick Scout
Isaac Hayes, it ain't. But the first 18 seconds of the song "Frank Mason" belong to the sonorous tones of the real Frank Mason, a big ol' explicit hug, a loving tribute to a loving tribute.
"I recorded everything and he sent me a voice memo of him talking, of him giving me a shout-out," rapper RedHead -- real name Derek Minigan -- says of the tune, cut in late 2013, posted on YouTube in March 2014 and, thanks to a series of Thursday tweets by national college basketball writers, one of the semi-viral videos of this past week.
"He's cool with it," Minigan says of Mason, the Kansas sophomore point guard who serves as the inspiration for the song. "Oh, yeah. I don't think he would've sent that if he wasn't OK with it."
Be warned: the track, while catchy as hell, is NSFW. A word used to describe female dogs is featured at least 49 times, mostly in the chorus:
…Minigan's affections for Mason are genuine; the two grew up together south of Richmond, Va. -- Mason in Petersburg, Minigan in rival town Hopewell, some 22 miles northeast.
"You would come to basketball games back home to watch Frank," the rapper recalls. "Frank would put up crazy numbers and he would never be cocky (about) it. And that's why people respect him more."
The respect is mutual, too. The KU point man attended the first live show RedHead ever put on professionally -- nearly three years ago, at a place called Club Rain -- and the two have kept in close contact ever since.
"It's pretty tough to make it and be successful," Minigan says. "It's not very common where we're from. So seeing Frank to be one of (those guys) to do that, it's partly motivation for me."
By day, RedHead says, he's an Army man, stationed in Tacoma, Wash. His latest single, "West Coast," is a collaboration with Grammy-winning songwriter and singer Eric Bellinger.
"(That) is the song I thought would get the most views -- I thought it would be the one to blow up crazy," the rapper says. "I never expected 'Frank Mason' (to be taking off) now. I wanted the Frank Mason song to do what it's doing now when I first released it."
…When he was a kid, RedHead grew up a North Carolina fan, a disciple of all things Michael Jordan. But he claims Mason has made him a convert to the church of the Rock Chalk Walk. He even hooked up a miniature Kansas basketball hoop on one of the doors at his pad.
"I just want to come to Kansas," Minigan says. "I love Kansas."
He wants to perform. He wants to see Allen Fieldhouse up close, to dance with the ghosts of the Phog. But mostly, he wants to give his old pal, the real Frank Mason, a hug. A couple of cats from Prince George County, busting rhymes and taking names.
"We told each other a while back that we're going to see each other at the top," RedHead says. "And we're going to celebrate."
Fox Sports Keeler
As one might expect, the song’s hook — “(Expletive), I’m Frank Mason” — felt a little lofty. So that was about it. The song amassed a couple thousand views on YouTube. A few Kansas fans took notice. And Minigan, who has been rapping since he was 12, figured he’d move on to the next project.
But, of course, this is not the end of the story. Seven months later, Kansas began another basketball season, and Mason was no longer a freshman backup. He was suddenly very, very awesome at basketball. After 14 games, Mason is averaging 12.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds while playing 33.4 minutes per game — the unquestioned MVP of a Kansas team that has straddled the line between very good and very awful. It’s not just the numbers, either. Mason is listed at 5 feet 11, which might be generous, and he is athletic enough to do like seven back-flips in a row (he did this last summer). So based on pure aesthetics, Mason is a joy to watch. But he also plays the game with a sort of recklessly cold intensity; bouncing across the floor with a flourish, but doing it mostly with a cool stoicism.
“He's been incredible this whole year,” teammate Kelly Oubre says, “our heartbeat.”
Mason’s development, presumably, piqued interest in the ultra-fun point guard from Petersburg, and this week, Grantland writer Mark Titus discovered and tweeted out the original YouTube version of Frank Mason. The internet, of course, has the strange ability to turn a thing into a Thing in a matter of minutes, and by early Thursday afternoon, Frank Mason had become a Thing.
There are things about the song that are genuinely great. In the opening lines, RedHead rhymes Kansas with Kansas — "Yeah, I'm down in Kansas, ballin’ like I play for Kansas." Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden all get name-checked. And then there’s the incredible (and again, NSFW) hook, which we must allow Minigan to explain.
“The hook came about from me just thinking of something that would be catchy and that would make people want to figure out, ‘Why is he saying he's Frank Mason when he's not?’ ” Minigan said. “It's a play on words just basically stating that I'm living great, and I used balling out with money as a reference to actual basketball and Frank's career.”
Andrew Wiggins still doesn't show much emotion on court. He still doesn't look like he's always passionately engaged with playing in the NBA. But let's stop looking at body language and look at results. The kid is playing at a remarkably high level for a rookie, especially one at his age.
He's scored 20 points or more in five straight games. Last night, against Phoenix, he was remarkably efficient, scoring 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and making four of his five free throws.
He's increasingly willing to drive into the heart of a defense, and to be the Wolves' go-to scorer.
Yes, the Wolves have lost 13 straight, and yes, Ricky Rubio may take two or three more years to come back from an ankle sprain, but the most important person in the Wolves' organization is Wiggins, and he's starting to perform like a budding star.
The Wolves drew a small crowd for an 8:30 start on a freezing night, but at least a few fans were there to chant ``R-O-Y'' - meaning rookie of the year - when Wiggins went to the line late in the game.
After Wednesday’s 113-111 loss to Phoenix, what people wanted to talk to Wolves rookie Andrew Wiggins about most was his last-second three-pointer that could have won the game. Instead it went long, bouncing off the back rim.
It was a disappointing end to an otherwise strong game for Wiggins, whose production is getting more and more consistent and impressive as his first NBA season progresses. Wiggins scored a team-high 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting.
He now has five consecutive games with 20 or more points, joining Sam Mitchell (1989) and Christian Laettner (1993) as the only Wolves rookies to achieve such a streak.
Wiggins is averaging 21.5 points on 51.5 percent shooting over his past eight games. He also has made at least one three-pointer in five consecutive games and in seven of his past eight, after hitting a three-pointer in only nine of his first 26 games.
He’s also drawn praise for his defense against Phoenix’s unique three-guard attack.
“Wiggins did a lot of things,” Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. “Defensively we needed him to guard all those guys. We needed him to guard [Eric] Bledsoe, we needed him to guard [Goran] Dragic, we needed him to guard [Gerald] Green, we needed him to guard [Isaiah] Thomas. We needed him to guard all four of those guys, but we could only put him on one.”
Minn Star Tribune
Question: We're 33 games into the season. Was Wiggins the right selection with the No. 1 pick?
Chad Ford: I think so. Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid were the only three real choices for the No. 1 pick. Embiid likely would have topped our final Big Board had he not broken his foot during pre-draft workouts. Combine that with the back problems he suffered toward the end of the season and he was just too risky to take at No. 1.
Parker was more polished -- the sure thing. But I always believed, and most scouts agreed, that Wiggins had more upside. When you are drafting No. 1, you aren't just thinking about a player's rookie season; you are thinking about who he'll be in five years, and Wiggins had a much higher ceiling, in my opinion.
I think Wiggins has proved a couple of things. One, he wasn't as far behind Parker as people thought in terms of NBA readiness. He's playing 32 minutes a night, averaging 14 points per game, and averaging 20 PPG in his past six games. Two, all of the upside things we saw at Kansas are showing up at times in the NBA: the explosive leaping ability, the unique quickness, the defensive abilities.
He might have gotten off to a slow start, but in the past few weeks Wiggins has looked like the potential superstar I believed he could be. If the draft were held again right now, I think virtually every team in the league would take him No. 1.
Q: How does Wiggins compare to projections entering the draft?
Pelton: I'm curious, Chad. When we discussed Wiggins last season, we swapped comparisons for him at the NBA level. Mine has changed. Wiggins hasn't ended up very Luol Deng-like in the NBA. Instead, he looks like a shooting guard who punishes opponents with his strength -- sort of like how Joe Johnson has made a (possibly Hall of Fame) career. Would you stick with Paul George?
Ford: I think the George comp is as good as any. We are seeing such major development from him so quickly, I think it's still premature to know exactly what he is. As long as he keeps getting better, the sky is really the limit for him.
What's fascinating to me is how many people really doubted Wiggins could be a star before the draft. I was routinely mocked before the draft for having him No. 1, and there was a contingent of scouts who honestly believed he could be a bust.
…I always thought Wiggins' problems were fixable. He relied on his athleticism for most of his young career and was developmentally behind someone like Parker. But as I watched him prep for the draft, I saw a player who was soaking in the nuances of the game and I saw a tremendous work ethic and a willingness to study and get better. I think that was when I was sold on him as the No. 1 pick. Scouting what a player can't do is easy. Projecting what he can do, that's the trick.
Andrew Wiggins got the minutes, the increase to what would have been a large role in the Minnesota offense anyway, the unexpected circumstances, and then delivered the standout play.
This has all set the stage perfectly for Wiggins to take control of the Rookie of the Year race, even if Nikola Mirotic remains in the rotation for a championship contender in Chicago (an intangible that will earn votes) and Nerlens Noel continues to grow as a defensive factor in Philadelphia. The horizon has shifted that much the last couple weeks.
1/9/15, 9:23 PM
With that 3-PT FG, Andrew Wiggins now holds a #Twolves rookie-record with six consecutive 20-PT games.
The Oregonian: Q&A with Thomas Robinson
Black played every second of the fourth quarter. Black showed promise in his Lakers debut, scoring five points by going 2-for-4 from the field, which included a three-point play on a slam dunk over Spencer Hawes.
Anchoring the defense, Black and the other Laker bench players held the Clippers to 15 fourth-quarter points, including just four in the paint — though none of the Clippers starters played in the final frame.
“(I see) a guy that communicates pretty well, is quick, light on his feet, and is very athletic,” Scott said after Thursday’s game. “I like what I saw in the few minutes that he got. Hopefully I can get him in there a little more to see what he has got.”
The noise level reached deafening levels. His Lakers teammates appeared inspired by his unyielding work ethic. And when the Lakers needed a feel-good moment during an otherwise sour season, he provided it.
This man was not Kobe Bryant, whom Lakers coach Byron Scott sat for the fifth time this season to rest the Lakers’ 36-year-old star. The player was Tarik Black, a rookie center that wasted no time in his week providing a strong impression in the Lakers’ 101-84 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday at Staples Center. That entailed scoring 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting, a 6-of-7 mark from the foul line and nine rebounds in nearly 17 minutes. It provided a worthy encore after producing five points on 2-of-4 shooting and three rebounds in 12 minutes of the Lakers’ loss on Wednesday against the Clippers.
1/7/15, 12:15 PM
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“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
The Atlantic Coast Conference has severed ties with noted college basketball official Karl Hess, according to the North Carolina-based David Glenn Show, after Hess allegedly uttered a slur during a recent University of Louisville game.
Mit Shah, a former Wake Forest board of trustees member, alleged on Twitter that Hess told him during the Cardinals' road win last Sunday that, "When I'm older, I want to sit in your seat & watch your Egyptian ass ref a game."
…The tweet went viral and Hess, who has had previous run-ins with ACC figureheads, subsequently declined comment to the Associated Press.
Hess, who has worked six Final Fours and nine ACC championship games, ejected NC State legends Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta during a 2012 game. He then used a quick trigger in assessing Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried a technical foul four minutes into a December 2014 game, his first NC State contest since the previous incident.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Shah, an Atlanta hotel magnate, is a New Jersey native of Indian descent. He also declined comment to the paper beyond his tweet.
Hess has officiated 46 games in all this season, including last month's U of L-Kentucky showdown at the KFC Yum! Center. While Hess is widely known for his ACC and Big East Conference jobs, unlike with football referees, college basketball officials are not tied exclusively to specific leagues.
A female student at Oregon has filed a federal Title IX lawsuit against the university and men's basketball coach Dana Altman in relation to the handling of a March sexual assault for which the university found three basketball players responsible.
Filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oregon, the lawsuit alleges that Altman knew of sexual misconduct by one of the players at his previous university yet still recruited him to Oregon. It also alleges that UO's delayed response created a hostile environment for the female student.
"The university disagrees with the allegations against it and believes that it acted in accordance with the law, including Title IX," said UO interim president Scott Coltrane in a letter to the campus community. "This litigation in no way undermines the university's on-going commitment to support the student inside and outside of the classroom."
Altman briefly addressed the matter after the Ducks' 80-62 loss Thursday night to Arizona.
"I can tell you that I am aware of the lawsuit that was filed today, and that our general counsel's office will be handling all those questions," Altman said. "That's all I can say on the matter."
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Newman said he was a bit surprised by Bragg’s decision.
“Kind of, but not really,” Newman stated. “I think Kansas does a really good job of developing big men. With him being a stretch four and a guy that can really score the ball, I think it was a good decision for him.”
As far as Kansas, Newman thinks Self can help him accomplish his dreams.
“I like them,” Newman said. “They’ve had players like [Andrew] Wiggins, right now they have Kelly Oubre. I really like them. I think they are a great program and I think Bill Self can help me accomplish a dream I would like to accomplish.”
Thanks to a roster loaded with Division I talent, the Bishop Gorman boys basketball team is capable of making spectacular plays, as Stephen Zimmerman showed late in the first half.
But Gaels coach Grant Rice would prefer his team use the “K.I.S.S.” method more often than it did on Thursday.
“We’ve just got to keep it simple,” Rice said.
Zimmerman led four players in double figures with 16 points, and visiting Gorman overcame 23 turnovers to beat Palo Verde 88-63 in a Southwest League game.
…Gorman spent New Year’s in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and played in Wheeling, W.Va., on Saturday. The road-weary Gaels take on Montverde Academy (Fla.), the No. 1 team in the USA Today Super 25 poll, on Jan. 19 in Springfield, Mass., but weren’t looking past Palo Verde (10-6, 1-1).
…Zimmerman, who also had six assists and five rebounds, wowed the large crowd on an alley-oop dunk with 1:10 remaining until halftime. The 7-footer reached back with his left hand to catch a lob from Richie Thornton and then tomahawked the ball through the hoop to give the Gaels a 44-31 halftime lead.
“First off, I shouldn’t have caught that,” Zimmerman said. “I had it in my mind I was just going to throw it at the rim, but I forgot how long my arms are. It just happened.”
1/10/15, 9:03 AM
North Carolina is expected to have Matt Coleman, Harry Giles, Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram & Dennis Smith on campus today.
Springfield, MO Tournament of Champions Field Announced
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