KUAD: Kansas vs Chattanooga pregame notes
“I’m just happy we can get back on the court, to be honest with you,” KU coach Bill Self said on Wednesday’s weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show. “There’s nothing awful with losing a game as long as we learn from it. A lot is execution. A lot is the mind-set you have to play with on a daily basis and have it become a habit of who we are. That’s something we have to improve on.”
…“We do not have a tough-guy presence you’ve got to have that is contagious,” Self added, noting Thomas Robinson, the Morris twins and Cole Aldrich had the tough-guy mentality.
“Jamari (Traylor, six points, four boards, 25 minutes) is the only one with that personality. My biggest concern ... we don’t screen. We don’t pass. We’ve not shot well yet. We are not a great execution team. There’s a lot of things we don’t do, but the biggest thing is we don’t have a presence from a toughness standpoint.”
…Chattanooga of the Southland Conference opened with an 88-53 win against Tennessee Temple on Monday.
KU leads the all-time series, 2-0. Last meeting was Self’s first game as KU coach. The Jayhawks won, 90-76, on Nov. 21, 2003 in Allen.
“We were down by 16 in the first half (24-14 early),” Self said. “I’m sure every Kansas fan was going, ‘Oh my gosh, what have we done (in hiring Self)?’ We came back and played pretty well. They’ll press, which will be good for us.”
They’ll play some halfcourt trap defense, do some different things we haven’t seen.”
…Self addressed the issue of jersey retirement ceremonies at KU on Hawk Talk. He said nobody will get a banner hung in the fieldhouse until five years after the player’s career is over. “We have a guy or two actually eligible for a retirement party coming up here real soon,” he said. “We could have some people off that ’08 team, particularly one, who have a shot to get inducted here hopefully real soon.” He did not name names, but one might infer Mario Chalmers, who hit the shot to force overtime in the NCAA title game vs. Memphis, could be first in line.
“I’m definitely ready to go out and have another one,” Traylor said Tuesday, “so I can get the bad taste of this loss out of my mouth.”
This was a prevailing thought inside the Georgia Dome late on Tuesday night. The Jayhawks are a team still trying to uncover their identity, and the best medicine may be 40 minutes back on their own home floor.
“We can put this one behind us,” senior guard Travis Releford said, “and not have to go a whole week thinking about this loss.”
…Freshman guard Ben McLemore had 14 points against Michigan State, an efficient performance on the heels of a nine-point, 12-rebound night against Southeast Missouri State in the Jayhawks’ season-opening win.
But McLemore still took just seven shots, disappearing at times during the second half.
“Seven shots for him is not enough,” Self said. “He needs to be taking more shots, and he’s just so talented, and he’s gonna learn. It’s just all new to him. But he’ll get it.”
Likewise, freshman forward Perry Ellis received a baptism-by-Spartan, playing just 17 minutes after struggling to engage in a physical contest that, at times, leaned more toward a Big Ten slugfest.
“We’ve got a long ways to go with competing and understanding how to compete and being tougher mentally,” Self said.
Bill Self has enough talent, but he isn't certain if his Kansas Jayhawks possess the necessary toughness.
A year ago, KU was led by Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor, two "dogs" as Self affectionately referred to them. The pair was as tough as just about any duo in the country -- and the Jayhawks rode them all the way to the national championship game.
"We don't have any dogs," Self said shortly after the Jayhawks lost to Michigan State, 67-64, in the first game of the Champions Classic on Tuesday night.
That could be a problem.
Elijah Johnson isn't a go-to guy yet, but the scoring-turned point guard will eventually emerge in that role. Jeff Withey will never be an offensive force, but he's improved on that end of the court. Redshirt freshman Ben McLemore finished with 14 points, but spent much of the second half without even looking at the basket. Travis Releford is a solid fourth or fifth option -- and freshman Perry Ellis will, like McLemore, eventually become more assertive.
All good players, but none who have that "killer" instinct. The closest thing, Self said, is redshirt freshman power forward Jamari Traylor -- a reserve and role player whom the staff has referred to as a poor man's Thomas Robinson.
Kansas had just a single offensive rebound in the second half of the game.
"One," Self said as he shook his head in disbelief.
…"We're not nearly as good as our ranking, but I'm not sure we can't be really good," he said. "We've got to get tougher and learn how to close out games."
The Jayhawks return home with a 1-1 record but also the knowledge that their freshmen — a couple of them, at least — can play on the big stage.
“We went back in the locker room and told them our freshmen year, most of us didn’t even have a chance to play in a game like this,” Releford said. “To be able to do this and somewhat carry out (their) assignments, that’s going to be good for us.”
The UNM Lobos continue trying to bolster their nonconference basketball schedule and national profile.
The university on Wednesday confirmed the team will play perennial national power Kansas Jayhawks in the 2013-14 season.
A request to speak with UNM head coach Steve Alford about the deal was declined by UNM sports information director Frank Mercogliano on Wednesday, but the Journal has confirmed there is an agreement in place to play a game at a still undetermined location – though that location will not be the Pit.
The game will be played either at a neutral site or in Lawrence, Kansas, at the Jayhawks’ famous Allen Fieldhouse.
Even if the game is played in Lawrence, the agreement does not include a clause for a return visit from the Jayhawks to play a future game in the Pit.
Details on TV broadcast rights to the game have not been released.
Thomas Robinson has gone, in what feels like the span it takes a dribble to go from his hand to the floor and back, from being chased by bullets to being chased by autograph seekers.
“I had a story before THE story,” says Robinson, who often feels like people only know him for his athleticism, and the passing of his mother and grandmother and grandfather—who all had a hand in raising him without the help of a father, and all departed in the span of a month less than two years ago. “I was just a regular kid in DC, into dumb stuff. Doing everything that was gonna get me killed or locked down.”
As he sits in the backseat of a black Mercedes-Benz S550, on his way to the Beats by Dre store in SoHo, where he was treated like the VIP that he has trouble believing he is, Robinson recounts a tale from a different time that almost sounds like it had to have happened to a different kid.
He was 14 or so, hanging with some friends on his home block in the Trinidad section of DC when they saw a car get pulled over at the top of the street. Robinson and crew didn’t know why the cops were arresting the man, but they could tell from his pimped-out ride that he was definitely into something. So, as soon as the cops whisked the man away, the kids jimmied the trunk open and alleviated the man of the jar of $5s and $10s that they unsurprisingly found stowed there.
That would have been the end of it. A hustler would have been out of some illicit money, and a few misguided kids would have had some spare pocket change. Except that…
“He came back later that night,” Robinson says, embarrassed by his misdeeds but willing to share in hopes that kids can learn from him. “We were outside, and we could hear him snapping. ‘I’m gonna kill somebody.’ He walked back to his car, pulled out his gun and I was gone.”
BOOM. BOOM. BOOM.
Robinson and his friends ran from the gunfire, splitting up and diving into different alleys in an area dotted with them. Robinson and his friends hid for close to half an hour while the man circled the block, looking for them. Robinson and his friends prayed—for themselves, and for one another. Finally, Robinson and his friends retreated to someone’s house where they stayed, in relative safety, for the rest of the night.
“I’m lucky,” says Robinson, emotion bleeding into his words all these years later. “If he would have hit me…If you think about it…”
“We always think about, if it wasn’t for basketball what would we be doing?” Christopher (Rome) Thompson, one of Robinson’s close childhood friends, says a few days later. “We always ask ourselves that, and we can never come up with an answer for that one.”
For Robinson, really, basketball is the story after the story before THE story. He played hoops as a young boy, was pretty good at shooting from distance, but it was just a hobby. Thomas knew little of DC’s rich basketball history, and nothing about all the current area guys making their mark in the game. To him basketball was just something to keep him occupied between heading to school for the day and pulling his mattress off the wall and moving the living room table so he could go to sleep in his mom’s tiny place every night. He was convinced he was going to spend his life in the neighborhood like everyone he saw around him.
In 10th grade, though, he met Dwight Redd—a local man with an AAU team, Squash All Beef—and basketball became a calling. Became a way out of DC, the way out of a life he thought he was destined to lead.
“It just woke me up,” says Robinson, of his AAU experience in the summer before junior year. “I had never been out of DC before that. Once I started getting excited over places like North Carolina, Florida, I started seeing there’s a lot more out here. My mind kind of expanded a little bit more. Once I seen that, I wanted to get out.”
SLAM: Dreams and Nightmares
Markieff Morris was seen on crutches after suffering a lower-back bruise in Wednesday's loss to the Bulls.
Morris played 22 minutes and just missed a double-double with eight points, 10 boards, one steal and one 3-pointer. He's day-to-day and one would think he'd miss some games since it's not every day you see a player on crutches with a back injury
People Magazine names Mario Chalmers to the Sexiest Man Alive list
Video: Mario Little and Brady Morningstar talk about their tryouts with the Tulsa 66ers
KUAD: WBB Kansas defeats Redhawks postgame stats, quotes, notes, photos
The Kansas women allowed Southeast Missouri State to hang around. But KU senior Carolyn Davis made sure the final score was never much in doubt. Davis scored 27 points in 21 minutes, and Tania Jackson stepped up with a double-double, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds as Kansas edged Southeast Missouri State 68-58 on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
“(Jackson) was a rock star tonight,” coach Bonnie Henrickson said.
KU senior point guard Angel Goodrich had 17 points and eight assists as KU improved to 2-0. But Southeast Missouri State made eight of 15 from three-point range, staying within striking distance until late in the second half.
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Bill Self has known that Wichita guard Conner Frankamp would be joining the Kansas basketball program for the better part of 16 months.
Frankamp, the 31st-ranked player in the country, according to Rivals.com, committed to KU in July of last year, just a few months after he finished his sophomore season at Wichita North.
So it was no great surprise on Wednesday, when Frankamp made it official by signing his national letter of intent with Kansas. But it did finally give Self an opportunity to reveal why the KU staff had put so much time and effort into securing Frankamp’s future in Lawrence.
“I think Conner is one of the best guards we have recruited since we’ve been here,” Self said. “He can score. He’s sneaky athletic and can play the one and the two and will be a great combo guard in our system.”
Frankamp, a 6-0, 160-pound guard, averaged 32.3 points per game last season while leading Wichita North to the Kansas state quarterfinals. Frankamp, who has scored 1,639 career points, is 538 points away from passing Perry Ellis as the all-time leading scorer in the Wichita City League.
Frankamp also averaged 14.1 points per game last summer while helping the U17 USA Basketball team to the gold medal at the FIBA World Championships in Kaunas, Lithuania.
“With USA basketball he did everything,” Self said. “He played on the ball, off the ball and he was the leading scorer on the under 17 team that won the gold medal this past summer. He’s a good scorer. Other players enjoy playing with him and I absolutely love watching him play.”
"His high school career has been stellar playing for Gary Squires and his father (Marty) at Wichita North," Self said. "He should become the all-time leading scorer in Wichita, replacing Perry who just set the record just last year. We know he can score."
…"Conner comes from an athletic family where he grew up with his father (Marty) as his coach," Self said. "Karen is a school teacher and they absolutely love KU and they will be a great addition to the KU family."
Point guard Mason signed his letter Wednesday in a noon ceremony at his high school. KU did not receive the letter in time to announce his signing. Mason, who originally signed with Towson before reopening his recruiting, is averaging 17 points and nine assists a game for Massanutten (7-0). Mason chose KU over Providence, Rutgers, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and others.
Embiid and Greene are to sign in ceremonies at their schools today, and Selden will sign Friday.
No. 32-ranked Tyler Roberson, a 6-8 forward from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, is expected to sign with either KU, Villanova or Syracuse on Friday. KU has five scholarships to give in recruiting, more if any players leave the program.
...KU today and Friday will announce the receipts of four more letters: from Joel Embiid, 7-foot, 220, The Rock School, Gainesville, Fla.; Brannen Greene, 6-7, 200, Tift County High, Tifton, Ga.; Frank Mason, 5-11, 160, Massanutten Military Academy, Petersburg, Va.; and Wayne Selden, 6-5, 225, Tilton (N.H.) School. Greene is ranked No. 25, Selden No. 26, Frankamp No. 31 and Mason No. 134 by Rivals.com. Embiid is currently unranked.
Kansas University women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson announced that Jada Brown (Las Vegas), Dakota Gonzalez (Pocatello, Idaho), Dylan Gonzalez (Pocatello, Idaho), Caelynn Manning-Allen (Chicago) and Keyla Morgan (Rancho Dominguez, Calif.) each signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) Wednesday with KU during the early-signing period.
This KU recruiting class is ranked No. 14 nationally by Collegiate Girls Basketball Report and first among Big 12 Conference schools. In addition, the recruiting class was also ranked No. 25 nationally by Blue Star Basketball.
The recruitment is going pretty good too.
It’s funny I was going to Texas to meet up with my boy Ishmail Wainright on the weekend of October 19, but the night before he ended up committing to Baylor. I went anyway though and had a good time.
I’ve got friends on the team there at Texas like my boy Prince Ibeh, and me and Myck Kabongo are real cool too.
I’ve been there so much it’s pretty normal to me. I love it there at Texas. I went to Oklahoma a few weeks back for their football game against Notre Dame and that was pretty cool.
When I got there I got to watch the basketball team scrimmage at their Crimson and White game. After that I chilled with the players and went to the football game. It was cold that day so I went and bought some Oklahoma gear to keep warm. I think some people were reading a little bit into that, but I had to keep warm so hey...
The game was good by the time I left in the third quarter, but after that Oklahoma got smacked.
It was a really good visit though. I got to see a lot of my friends from my school who went to Oklahoma, so that was cool. I think I’ll probably go back to Oklahoma for a game since I didn’t get that much time there. The guys on the team are hilarious. I had a good time trippin’ out with them and hanging.
Of course I keep in touch with most of the coaches recruiting me pretty regular. I talk to Coach (John) Calipari from time to time, but I really keep in touch with the assistants like Kenny Payne. He’s my man. Him and Coach O (Orlando Antigua).
I think I probably talk to coaches from Kentucky, Texas and Florida the most. I talk to N.C. State a good amount too.
USA Today Julius Randle blog
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