KUAD: Pitt State vs KU Pregame Notes
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, as No. 4 Kansas opens its exhibition schedule against Pittsburg State at Allen Fieldhouse, the adjustment process will continue. Nine days before its regular-season opener against Northern Colorado on Nov. 13, the Jayhawks will take the floor for the first of two exhibition matchups against in-state opponents. The KU freshmen will get their first dose of Allen Fieldhouse — though big man Cheick Diallo is not expected to play while he waits for an NCAA ruling on his academic eligibility — and the Jayhawks’ veteran nucleus will receive its first test-run of the 2015-16 season. Among the top priorities for Self: Getting his guys acquainted with a new style.
Let’s start here. Officials have been directed to crack down on hand-checking on the perimeter and excessive contact in the paint. In specific terms, defenders will not be allowed to use an “arm bar” to impede the progress of a dribbler. Putting two hands on an offensive player on the perimeter will also result in an automatic foul.
Tonight in an exhibition against an actual opponent, Self wants to see, “how we play within the focus of the rules. I would love to see if we can play without fouling and still be aggressive. A lot of people can play without fouling but they lose all aggressiveness and can we do both? Can we be good defensively and also be a team that plays smart and doesn’t play with their hands as much and are disciplined? Those are what I want to see and then to see how the young kids react when the lights are on.”
…“I would like for us to be able to score inside. I think that’s something that obviously was a deficiency last year that we’re trying to address, but I still don’t think we’re very good at it,” Self said.
“We’re going to throw it all over the gym. We’ll turn it over. We’ll not miss block outs. We’ll do all that stuff, just like they will also. I mean, it’s so early, it’s hard to be great at everything.”
...Self was asked if there were any red-shirt possibilities this season. “You know what? No. No,” he said. “But if we decided to red-shirt a freshman, we can do it after the two exhibition games. You just can’t red-shirt anybody else. So, if everybody plays on Wednesday, that’s returning, then that would eliminate them as a possible red- shirt.”
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self, who has tinkered with all sorts of combinations since the start of practice on Oct. 2, said the three-guard lineup of Frank Mason III, Devonté Graham and Wayne Selden Jr. will likely start Wednesday’s 7 p.m. home exhibition game against Pittsburg State.
Obviously, first-team All-Big 12 performer Perry Ellis will be the fourth starter — at forward — with Self hinting Jamari Traylor might be the one to open next to Ellis in the frontcourt.
“If you’re going to start Devonté and Wayne and Frank, then, yes, we’re looking at them coming off the bench,” he said of taller wings Svi Mykhailiuk and Brannen Greene.
“They need to be instant offense. They need to be able to be guys that can be more than adequate defensively. Brannen Greene, to me, whether he plays 10 minutes or 20 or 25, whatever it is — he could be a guy, if he gets five open looks, he can come away with 12 points. So we need him to make shots.”
…Self said Selden is not 100 percent recovered from an ankle sprain.
“He’s been inconsistent so far in large part because he turned his ankle bad. It’s bothered him for two months. He’s getting to where he’s about 90 percent,” Self said. “In about a week he should be fine. Doctors said that’s what he should do (practice on it) and fight through it, but I don’t think he quite had the explosion this preseason as what he would have or what he did this summer.”
…Self had Big 12 refs work Monday’s scrimmage and speak to the team about the rules emphasis on aiding freedom of movement after the scrimmage.
“We’re going to commit 30 fouls a game early on,” Self said on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show. “Svi had a great day today (at scrimmage). Brannen Greene had a great day today. Wayne had a really good day today, but we need to get more consistent with our guard play.”
It’s the second time refs have come to practice.
“I got on the officials the first time, because they called four fouls in the first two possessions. And I said, ‘Guys, I mean, gee, I’m all for this, but we at least want to scrimmage today.’’’
…Former Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg’s daughter, Paige, is a freshman at KU and works in the KU basketball office.
“I’ve not talked to Fred (new Chicago Bulls coach) since the season started. I have a contact (in Hoiberg family),” Self joked on “Hawk Talk.” “He has a lot going on. I think they are 2-1 now. They beat Cleveland to start his (pro) career. That’s a great win to start your career.”
There was a moment this summer during the World University Games when Hunter Mickelson had a moment of clarity.
Loose balls were finding him. He always seemed to be in the right spot for offensive rebounds.
“After the first two or three games, I realized I was playing fairly well,” the Kansas senior said. “But at the time, it clicked that it was because of energy — getting me in places I wanted to be, finding the ball.”
That version of Mickelson ended up being one of KU’s most productive players, as the 6-foot-10 forward averaged 8.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in helping the Jayhawks to the gold medal.
Since then, KU coach Bill Self has been quick to label Mickelson as one of the team’s most improved players from a year ago heading into Wednesday’s 7 p.m. exhibition opener against Pittsburg State.
So what’s the difference?
“I think he’s fallen in love with basketball,” Self said. “When he got here, I don’t know that he loved it.”
Rock Chalk Weekly feature on Hunter
Kansas University sophomore Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk is listed as the No. 2 shooting-guard prospect for the 2016 NBA Draft by Chad Ford of ESPN.
The player currently ahead of Mykhailiuk is Euroleague player Furkan Korkmaz, 6-6 from Turkey.
“Mykhailiuk came to Kansas last season as a 17-year-old and struggled. He was the youngest player in college basketball and, for the most part, it showed,” Ford wrote at ESPN.com. “But scouts who have attended Kansas practices say they expect a different Mykhailiuk this season. He’s added about 17 pounds to his thin frame and has been putting up thousands of shots to refine his streaky jumper. Add in great size and feel for the game and this could be a breakout season for Mykhailiuk.
“He had a really tough transition to college life last year,” one NBA scout told Ford. “Everything was new to him. The country, the food, going to an American university, the game. I think he’s in a much more solid place and I think by midseason, he’ll be a key factor for the Jayhawks. There is so much talent there. I think that rocky freshman year was a blessing in disguise. Everyone loved him at the Nike Hoop Summit. I think they’re going to fall in love with him again this year.”
KU junior Wayne Selden Jr. was listed in the “others to watch” category for shooting guards in the NBA Draft.
Sean Pearson, who played small forward at Kansas University from 1993 to ’96, returned to campus Friday and Saturday to watch a pair of practices and listen to a plethora of speakers at Bill Self’s coaches clinic.
The 6-foot-5 native of LaGrange, Illinois, is a head coach himself — at Lincoln College Prep Academy in Kansas City, Missouri — while also running Pearson Basketball Basics for youths.
“It was awesome,” Pearson said of the KU clinic. “I loved it. I learned a lot. I liked the intensity with the players (at practice).”
…Self told the coaches that freshman forward Cheick Diallo makes 700 baskets a day on KU’s shooting machine on the Jayhawks’ off days.
“Cheick works his butt off. He works hard,” Self said of the Mali native whose academic-eligibility credentials continue to be examined by the NCAA Eligibility Center. “Everything is new to him. He’s doing well. He’s figuring it out. He’s just got a lot to learn. He’s going to be good in time.”
...Former KU forward Kevin Young was taken by Bakersfield (California) at No. 17 in the first round of the 2015 NBA Developmental League draft Saturday. Former KU guard Travis Releford was taken in the third round by Idaho.
Sixers CEO Scott O'Neil said Friday that Embiid's rehab from right foot surgery is going "terrific," CSN Philadelphia reports.
The Sixers have shown optimism with Embiid's recovery from a pair of foot procedures at multiple points in the last two seasons, so this latest report shouldn't be taken as gospel. According to O'Neil, doctors have said Embiid is progressing ahead of schedule, but it doesn't seem likely that he'll be available at any point in the 2015-16 season.
Cliff Alexander is going through live 4-on-4 contact play, Casey Holdahl of NBA.com reports.
The forward missed the entirety of the Portland Trail Blazers ' preseason and continues to struggle with a bone bruise on his left knee. Although Alexander is participating in contact play, it is still unlikely that the he will see much playing time because five fellow power forwards -- Meyers Leonard, Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh, and Chris Kaman -- all stand ahead of him on the depth chart.
Kelly Oubre Jr. and Marcin Gortat scored 16 points each and John Wall had 14 assists as the Washington Wizards cruised to a 127-118 preseason victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
For all you University of Kansas fans, Sherron Collins is on the Texas Legends camp roster #NBADL
Jerod Haase, UAB
Conference USA needs a new program to emerge as an anchor and UAB has a chance to fill that void because of Haase. The 41-year old head coach officially arrived on the national scene last March when he led the Blazers to an upset over Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament and he should have an excellent chance to lead UAB to the field of 68 for the second straight season. Eloquent, mature, and confident beyond his years, Haase doesn't get too high or too low and that allows his team to play with an unbelievable sense of confidence. Just ask Fred Hoiberg.
“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
Perry Ellis 3rd Team on Goodman's List
K-State shredded the Division II Hornets behind 17 points from Wesley Iwundu, 13 points from Justin Edwards, 11 points from Stephen Hurt and solid contributions from newcomers.
The night was particularly encouraging for Iwundu, a junior who has never scored more than 14 points in a regular-season game. He drove to the basket with authority, making 6 of 10 shots and all four of his free-throw attempts. He also grabbed seven rebounds and six assists.
Before K-State’s first practice, coach Bruce Weber said he wanted Iwundu to “stuff the stat sheet” this season. So far, so good.
1. Rule changes are coming to college basketball, including a shortened shot clock and expanded restricted area underneath the basket. How will these changes change the game this season?
Fraschilla: I'm always skeptical. I've spent a lot of time in the last couple weeks talking with officials and trying to understand the rule book. They tell me that the game will be called less physically. I'm confused by what a legal screen is, especially as it relates to screen and rolls. My biggest issue is that the officials will be mandated to call the game a certain way in November and December. When they get to conference play, where they're already familiar with the players and coaches, are they really going to put a Perry Ellis or a Denzel Valentine on the bench with three fouls in the first half when they have to see them five more times? I'm skeptical, and I'm anxious to see whether (NCAA coordinator of officiating) J.D. Collins -- who I hear is going to do a great job -- and all the supervisors around the country can maintain some consistency from November to March.
This is not meant to burst any bubbles, but prepare for a pretty massive bazooka-like blast: The move by college basketball to a 30-second shot clock this season has every chance to deliver the opposite of intended results.
Here's a popular theory: That in reducing the clock by five seconds, a game that has become slower in stages than your next Windows update download will become swifter in tempo and more efficient in scoring.
Here's a popular counter: LOL.
It's true that moving away from a 35-second clock inevitably will add more possessions for teams over the course of a season, that finally joining the women's game in having a 30-second clock and creeping to within six ticks of the NBA game should increase pace and shot attempts from the men.
But this isn't going to produce some extreme makeover. Ty Pennington isn't going to show up offering anyone a new house for scoring an extra point a game.
In truth, it could on many nights lead to an even uglier version of the inefficient game we have come to loathe in spots, only in a tad faster way. The slowest season in college history last year won't suddenly be replaced with images of another, more entertaining time. Stacey Augmon might be walking through that door, but he does so now as a UNLV assistant coach, not a player.
As expected, Kentucky basketball overpowers Ottawa, 117-58
Kentucky gave its three-guard lineup a test drive Monday night. It was a sweet ride as UK routed Ottawa 117-58 in a predictably lopsided exhibition game.
Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe form a mutual admiration society, as evidenced by the trio combining for 22 of UK's 32 assists. They were also a mutual annihilation society this night.
Like Kate Upton with American Pharoah at the Breeders' Cup, Murray flirted with a triple-double. As UK fans know, the only triple-double in UK history was accomplished by a freshman, Chris Mills, who had 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Austin Peay in 1988-89.
Murray exited with 3:34 left and UK ahead 106-55. He had 22 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Big 12 Composite Schedule
Jarrett Allen, a 6-foot-9 senior forward from St. Stephens Episcopal School in Austin, Texas, who is ranked No. 20 in the recruiting Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, made an official visit to University of Houston last weekend.
He has also made trips to Notre Dame and KU and will visit Kentucky in two weeks. Also on his list: Indiana, Kansas State, North Carolina and Texas.
“It was good, I had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the school (Houston),” Allen told Zagsblog.com. “I really liked the feel of the school community-wise, the coaching staff, and the new facilities that they are building.”
Of his visit to KU, Allen told Zagsblog: “Kansas was also a very good visit. I’m considering (KU) just as much as the other schools. I’m just trying to take in all the information from my visits.”
Usual suspects Duke and Kentucky do have the highest-rated freshman classes in the nation this season overall. Still, recruiting (or, more precisely, top-100 recruiting) is a zero-sum game, and the Blue Devils and Wildcats didn't hoard as much of this year's talent as what we're accustomed to seeing.
I like to rate freshman classes using Drew Cannon's front-loaded high-school-ranking curve. Based on this point system, Duke's current first-year players comprise the "weakest" (ha) class to be ranked No. 1 in the nation since the Blue Devils likewise won top honors in 2007-08 (Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, etc.).
This doesn't mean Mike Krzyzewski had a "down" year recruiting, much less that his stellar freshman class is overrated. It does mean that for whatever reason, this year's crop of elite recruits chose to disperse to an aberrant number of programs instead of concentrating at a few blue-chip locales.
What does this mean for college basketball in 2015-16? File it as one small step for parity. Duke and Kentucky have the best freshman classes, but they haven't truly cornered the market like you'd expect them to do if you've been paying attention the last few seasons.
Or, to be even more precise, it's Kentucky in particular that's shown a shift in its usual pattern. Actually Duke's freshman class is at least within shouting distance (statistically) of the one that helped bring a national title to Durham last season, but this time around UK didn't quite dominate the top-10 market the way we've seen John Calipari do so often in the recent past.
ESPN Gasaway ($)
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2015-16)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube