“The first day was good. I was very pleased, and it was not an easy day for them, but they all got through it and stuck together,” KU coach Self said after a Sunday afternoon session in KU’s practice facility.
Boot Camp continues at 6 this morning and runs every morning for an hour to 90 minutes, at least until Friday.
“Obviously, we didn’t have our full complement of guys because Brannen Greene ... he was out there, but not quite full speed (following offseason hip surgery), although he did well,” Self said. “Wayne Selden tweaked his ankle, so he wasn’t out there but hopefully he’ll be back out there later this week, and of course Cheick,” he added of Cheick Diallo, who has not yet been deemed eligible for his freshman season by the NCAA.
Of freshman forward Diallo’s situation, Self said:“I’m not going to comment on it again. He’s being held out until his situation is resolved.”
Greene, who had surgery in April, is “doing some things (basketball related),” Self said, “but we’re not letting him go full speed up and down yet.”
…Asked when the players will move from Naismith Hall into the new apartment hall, Self said Sunday: “We are hopeful the first week in October. There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done, but the guys (construction workers) are working hard. We’re hopeful we’ll be in it in two weeks.”
Self isn’t given to hyperbolic quotes about his recruits, which made it so powerful when he said, “He can create pace better than any point guard we’ve ever had here, just because the dude from rim to rim is as good as I’ve seen.”
Self is famous for having a deep pool of big men who can run the court, beat the enemy back on defense so that the guards don’t have to protect the post and can stay on the perimeter to prevent transition three-pointers. For him to say Diallo’s the fastest of the lot packs a mean punch.
With Diallo on the roster, Kansas can use a three-headed monster at center, with shot-blocker Hunter Mickelson and prolific rebounder Landen Lucas lending depth. Ellis and freshman Carlton Bragg, a potentially lethal scorer from mid and long range, have the 40 minutes at the four more than covered.
In the event Diallo is declared eligible, Kansas immediately becomes a favorite to land one of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
If Diallo isn’t allowed to play, Kansas has the option of filling some of those minutes by playing Bragg and Ellis together, an outstanding scoring combination, but the roster doesn’t have quite the same intensity and looks more like a No. 2 seed.
On Friday, NBA 2K released a video on YouTube that shows a recruit picking his college and a brief shot of the court of his new team. Guess what? He chose Kansas.
Take a look:
8. Kansas Jayhawks
Bill Self's Jayhawks played the toughest nonconference schedule two years ago and checked in at No. 2 last season. This one isn't quite as tough, but still cracks the top 10 with Kentucky at home, Michigan State in Chicago, three games in Maui (the Jayhawks will play either UCLA or UNLV in the second game), and also a road contest at San Diego State.
ESPN ($) Best and worst non-con schedules
Michigan State vs. Kansas, Nov. 17: Eleven-time reigning Big 12 champion Kansas is loaded with veteran talent once again including point guard Frank Mason, wing Wayne Selden and and all-conference forward Perry Ellis. Michigan State has a chance to enjoy a better regular season than its surprise Final Four team did a year ago if West Virginia transfer Eron Harris and a loaded freshman class can help ease the loss of Travis Trice and Branden Dawson.
Through the magic of DirecTV’s digital video recorder, I managed to watch the Kansas Jayhawks, disguised as the entire United States of America, play a half-dozen basketball games at the 2015 World University Games.
So yes, indeed, I watch basketball. Even in the summer.
What I saw in those games was not so much a revelation as an affirmation: Sporting News’ prior choice of KU as our preseason No. 1 team had a solid chance of coming to fruition, and the principal reason for this was that junior wing Wayne Selden most certainly was a player.
In leading KU/USA to the gold medal over nine games at the tournament played in South Korea, Selden averaged 19.3 points and converted nearly 60 percent of his 2-point shots. He operated like a true first option, a player who was willing to attack the defense off the dribble or sting it with 3-pointers from the outside.
In short, he looked nothing at all like the player who wore No. 1 for the Jayhawks last year — which is why we felt comfortable in selecting him to our preseason All-America second team. This did not sit well with many who could not understand why we chose to skip over Kansas veteran Perry Ellis, who statistically outperformed Selden last season.
It’s really this simple: What a player has done is not necessarily an indication of what he can do.
Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self was one of three recipients of the 2015 Mannie Jackson – Basketball's Human Spirit Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame presented Thursday evening at the 2015 Family Reunion and Awards Dinner at the Hall.
The Class of 2015 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement ceremonies got underway at the Hall's "Court of Dreams" on Thursday. The formal evening consisted of returning Hall of Famers with the recognition of the Class of 2015, a brief forum, and the presentation of the Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Awards, the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award and the Curt Gowdy Media Awards.
Self, Fireman and Smith were chosen from a large candidate pool that represented every level of basketball and is reviewed annually by a distinguished selection committee appointed by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Mr. Jackson.
And though he fell to No. 15 overall, Oubre didn't exactly chalk the year up as a waste of time. He touched on a number of positives he got out from his one-and-done season—most of which were related to a reduced offensive role.
"I learned how to be a better teammate, how to buy into systems—pretty much being able to contribute without putting the ball in the hole," said Oubre. "That's something I do well, but those other aspects, you have to be a good teammate and all-around player pretty much to be successful."
His confidence seems fitting for a wing whose game is predicated on shot-making and attacking. He projects as a shooter and scorer for the Wizards—a wing capable of stretching the floor from deep or getting to the rack off drives, cuts and transition.
"My ball-handling is crazy right now. I feel like I can be a point guard—but I'm not a point guard," Oubre joked. "I've just been working on my ball-handling, my dribbling—my shot is superb. I'm definitely going to be a knockdown shooter. I've just been working my butt off, killing myself every day."
The rookies will be featured in a variety of upcoming adidas initiatives and will play a critical role in the development of basketball footwear and apparel. They join the likes of James Harden, John Wall, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard and Andrew Wiggins.
The 2015-16 Trail Blazers season unofficially begins September 28, when the team unveils its new-look roster during media day at the Moda Center. Only six players return from a team that won a Northwest Division championship and reached the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, and the Blazers will feature one of the NBA's youngest and least-experienced rosters.
Expectations will be low. But, with so many new faces, curiosity will be high.
In an effort to catch you up to speed on what the Blazers will look like this season, we've decided to offer a daily snapshot of the roster as media day approaches. Next up: Cliff Alexander.
Free-agent guard Nick Wiggins signed a training camp deal with the Timberwolves on Friday.
Wiggins, the older brother of superstar Andrew Wiggins, will join the Timberwolves for training camp in an attempt to make the final roster. He played 28 games last season with the NBA D-League's Idaho Stampede, finishing with averages of 9.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 0.4 steals over 24 minutes per game. With an already crowded backcourt, Wiggins remains a long shot to make the Timberwolves' final roster.
“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
ESPN Hall of Fame announcer Dick Vitale recently commented on the Maui Invitational, set for Nov. 23-25, in Lahaina.
“My friends, this field is loaded. I love it when quality matchups take place early in the season, giving an indication of the teams’ strengths and weaknesses,” Vitale writes at ESPN.com.
“The first round features Kansas against Chaminade, UCLA taking on UNLV, St. John’s facing Vanderbilt and Indiana matching up against Wake Forest. These eight have combined for 20 national championships and 47 Final Four appearances.
“This tournament has so many interesting facets t_o it. Four of the winningest programs in Division I college basketball history are in this field (No. 2 Kansas, 2,153 wins; No. 7 UCLA, 1,803 wins; No. 8 St. John’s, 1,795 wins; No. 10 Indiana, 1,756 wins.) You have great former players patrolling the sidelines in Danny Manning (Wake Forest), Steve Alford (UCLA) and Chris Mullin (St. John’s). Imagine if they took the court.
“There is a lot of talent when looking at these squads. Guys Like Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden Jr. and Frank Mason III of Kansas; Yogi Ferrell and a healthy James Blackmon Jr. of Indiana; Bryce Alford of UCLA; Damian Jones of Vanderbilt; and Devin Thomas of Wake Forest will shine.
“You could see Alford face his alma mater in Indiana and Manning face his alma mater in Kansas. It should be a fun tournament to watch.”
…Blue Ribbon Yearbook has announced its five-player preseason All-America first team. Players are: Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere, LSU freshman Ben Simmons, Virginia senior Malcolm Brogdon, Iowa State senior Georges Niang and Providence junior Kris Dunn.
For better or worse -- and mostly better -- it all started with Chaminade's epochal 1982 upset of the Ralph Sampson-era Virginia Cavaliers. A few years later, the Maui Invitational was born.
Let's be real: No other early-season college basketball tournament has an epic origin story. (Most are as simple as: "Would this make money? Y/N.") None can boast the three decades of historical cachet or the minor, charming traditions that accompany it. Few have a Division II school like Chaminade perennially hunting its next unthinkable upset. Few can match Maui's venue -- the Lahaina Civic Center -- or how uniquely that gym's intimacy comes across on TV.
Still, the most impressive thing about Maui isn't charm or influence. It's that, even in the crowded landscape it helped spawn and even with intense, almost head-to-head competition with up-and-comers such as the Battle 4 Atlantis, the event keeps on assembling compelling mini-tourneys each and every November.
ESPN Bracket Breakdown
50. The return of dunk lines.
In what was the NCAA's equivalent of the NFL's limited touchdown celebration rules, college basketball players were not permitted to dunk during pregame warmups. That rule was repealed this off-season, and we now usher in an era where players can be free to throw down jams at any time, without the possible penalty of a technical foul. Make sure to arrive at the arena a little earlier this season.
SI: 64 reasons to be excited for the 2015-16 college hoops season (Nos. 64-49)
47. Rule changes making college basketball more entertaining (and high scoring)
The NCAA approved a package of rules changes this offseason for a sport facing a crisis. Among the most notable tweaks were shortening the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30, expanding the restricted-area arc under the basket from three feet to four and reducing the number of timeouts each team can call from five to four, with the number of timeouts that can be saved for the second half capped at three. While the combined effect of the changes is difficult to predict, there could be more possessions and more scoring.
45. The Tip-Off tournament
Reward yourself for surviving six months without college basketball by drowning in it for more than 24 hours beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 16. The annual Tip-Off Tournament features everything from the marquee matchups in the Champions Classic (Kentucky-Duke and Michigan State-Kansas in Chicago) to the obscure (Nevada at Hawaii at 4 a.m.). But it’s all college hoops, all the time. Come next May, you’ll be dying for Green Bay-East Tennessee State (6 a.m.). Don’t take it for granted.
39. Indiana’s offensive potential
The Hoosiers bring back four of the top five possession users (James Blackmon Jr., Troy Williams, Yogi Ferrell and Robert Johnson) from the team that lit up opponents to the tune of 1.17 points per possession last season, good for ninth in the country, according to kenpom.com. Indiana could be even more difficult to defend this season, as it adds one of the top incoming centers in the country, Thomas Bryant. The Hoosiers will need to improve on the other end of the floor, but their offense should provide plenty of breathing room.
38. Vanderbilt basketball is back
Quietly, the Commodores finished last season ranked No. 36 in kenpom.com’s efficiency metrics. A dreadful start to their conference season—they went 1-7 in January—left them off most radars, but they played really well down the stretch and even clawed back to end the season .500 in conference play. Along the way, they bested kenpom.com top-100 teams in Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Ole Miss. And they came within a bucket of being Stanford in the NIT. Junior big man Damian Jones and rising sophomores Riley LaChance, Wade Baldwin and Matthew Fisher-Davis all boasted 100+ offensive ratings a year ago, and the Commodores as a team were a top-20 offense. In the second half of conference play last year, Vanderbilt surprised opponents. This season, the Commodores can surprise the country.
19. Kansas’s upperclassmen shining
For better (Joel Embiid’s emergence, Ben McLemore’s brillains) or worse (Cliff Alexander’s NCAA eligibility battle), freshmen normally make the most news at Kansas. And although the Jayhawks welcome in another stellar class--Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg are likely stars—expect most of the attention to go to upperclassmen. Perry Ellis, who quietly was Kansas’ go-to option offensively last year, will be the main attraction. And rising juniors Wayne Selden and Frank Mason are ready for bigger roles as well.
Kansas State University officials have agreed to sanctions with the Big 12 conference following the marching band's controversial halftime performance over the weekend.
Shortly after the sanctions were announced, KCTV5's Jamie Oberg talked one-on-one with the band director who's led the Pride of Wildcat Land marching band for 23 years.
"First of all, let me say this, I don't think we did anything wrong. I don't think we did a darn thing wrong. I think the interpretation was wrong. I think if I had to do it all over again I wouldn't because I don't want to go through all this again," band director Dr. Frank Tracz said.
KCTV5 asked him to explain this formation, that some say is x-rated. The video of the halftime show is exploding all over the Internet.
"It's simply a space show. We design these things months and months in advance. It was a combination of Star Trek and Star Wars," Tracz said.
Tracz says Kansas State is standing by him through all of this, paying the $5,000 fine that was leveled against him. Tracz will also be suspended for a game. Ironically, it will be the game between K-State and the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
Additionally, all band performances must now be approved by the university before they're played out on the field.
UPDATE 9/21 | The victim in this fatal shooting has been identified as 46-year-old Royce Jeffries.
Jeffries was a former Oklahoma State University standout basketball player.
Jeffries was working security at Bob's Bar and Grill when a fight broke out early Sunday morning. Jeffries and another member of security tried to break up the fight and remove those involved from the club.
The first thing to understand is that the San Diego State men’s basketball program is not under formal investigation by the NCAA.
It might be one day. It might be one day soon. Or it might never be.
But for now, it remains in a sort of timeless state of bureaucratic purgatory, somewhere in the large swath of tundra between a thin file folder on a desk at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis and a full-blown, public inquisition of the program with enforcement officers conducting interviews on campus while lawyers whisper into people’s ears.
“I hesitate to call them investigations,” says Chuck Smrt, a key figure in the NCAA’s enforcement division for 17 years before opening a Kansas City consulting firm that assists universities with compliance issues. “I call them situations.”
The way it’s supposed to happen: The NCAA receives a tip about alleged rules violations at a particular school, performs its due diligence to assess credibility, discreetly conducts interviews off campus over a period of weeks or months and sometimes years, and only then decides whether the case rises to the level of an official investigation that can lead to sanctions, innocuous or crippling or somewhere between. In that instance, a letter of inquiry is sent to the university president.
Unless or until then, it remains all very hush-hush.
The way it happened: It wasn’t hush-hush. CBS Sports reported Tuesday that SDSU is “under investigation by the NCAA for potential rules violations (that) include possible improper benefits to prospects.”
The Union-Tribune independently confirmed the NCAA is in the early stages of examining allegations of rules violations but, as an SDSU statement noted, “they have not commenced a formal investigation” nor did the school have any prior knowledge of it.
A matter of semantics, perhaps, but damage done. There may be no more important month on the basketball recruiting calendar than September, and the Aztecs are close to assembling arguably the best incoming class in school history.
San Diego Union Tribune
KU targets Mitch Lightfoot (6-foot-8 forward, Gilbert, Arizona High) and Udoka Azubuike (6-11 forward, Potter’s House Christian, Jacksonville, Florida) completed their official recruiting visits to KU Sunday. Lightfoot told Jayhawkslant.com he was impressed with KU’s new McCarthy Hall dorm for the players, as well as the atmosphere at KU’s volleyball game on Saturday night. He will visit Arizona on Oct. 10 and St. John’s Oct. 2.
Mitch Lightfoot, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound 2016 forward from Gilbert (Ariz.) Christian High, took an official visit to Kansas this weekend.
“It went very well,” he said. “I had a great time at Kansas.
“I like the tradition and how they use their big guys. They would use me as a stretch 4 that would really help their team with the losses of Perry [Ellis], Jamari [Traylor] and Hunter [Mickelson].”
…Kansas: “I’m from Kansas so I’ve watched them for a long time and was raised with Kansas. All my family from over there are Kansas fans. They have a great program; they’ve won national championships and they develop players.”
Lightfoot was born in Kansas City, Missouri, moving to Arizona when he was 6. He was a KU fan at the time of the move, which meant last Sunday’s in-home visit from KU coach Bill Self classified as a dream come true.
“My mom, while in the middle of things during the in-home visit, said, ‘Mitch, pinch me,’’’ Lightfoot told Jayhawkslant.com. “I mean, coach Self was in my kitchen this morning eating breakfast with us. I was like, ‘Okay. Well, that’s awesome.’ We were watching the Chiefs game and just having a good time together. How many times does that happen?”
By now, Mitchell Ballock knows this drive by heart, every sign and curve and detail along the way. He has been making this trip pretty much his whole life. But it’s been happening more often lately, ever since Kansas coach Bill Self called last summer and offered him a scholarship to play basketball.
The phone call came on a Monday last August, just weeks before Ballock began his sophomore year at Eudora High. In the days afterward, the whole town buzzed with excitement.
Close to 11 months later, Ballock stood inside the gymnasium at Drive 5 Sports on Wednesday night in Overland Park. He had just helped his Run GMC summer team to a victory on the opening night of the Jayhawk Summer Finale. He had performed in front of a slew of college coaches, including KU assistant Jerrance Howard and K-State coach Bruce Weber.
In the year since picking up a Kansas scholarship offer, a handful of major programs have joined Kansas and K-State in the race for Ballock. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have offered. So has Iowa State and Nebraska — though much of the Iowa State interest came before Fred Hoiberg left for the Chicago Bulls. But if there remains a perception that Ballock is destined to wind up at Kansas, playing college basketball 10 miles from his hometown, Ballock has continually attempted to quash it.
“I have a good relationship with them,” Ballock says of the Kansas staff. “But then, I have a lot of good relationships with all the coaches. If that’s the best fit for me, then I’ll go ahead and take it. But if somewhere else is the best fit for me, I’ll go ahead and take that.”
Ballock cautions that he has plenty of time left in his recruitment. He has no formal process laid out. He says he’ll try to take some unofficial visits to campuses in the next year, but that’s about it. He’s still weeks from entering his junior year of high school. Indeed, he has plenty of time.
But spend a night inside a gym with Ballock, and you can start to see what all the fuss is about. The size. The skill-set. The basketball IQ.
Ballock is a 6-foot-4 guard, rated as the nation’s 33rd-best prospect in the class of 2017, according to Rivals.com. He displays a smooth and efficient left-handed stroke. He has been dunking since the sixth grade. And he possesses a work ethic that his AAU coach, L.J. Goolsby, compares to two former Kansas guards: Tyrel Reed and Conner Frankamp.
“The work ethic is totally similar,” says Goolsby, who also coached Reed and Frankamp at the grassroots level. “But the games are totally different. He’s kind of got a mixture of Conner and Tyrel. The height of Tyrel; a little bit of the ballhandling like Conner. (He) shoots it like both of them.”
Ballock’s reputation as an elite-level shooter was cemented, in part, during a trip last summer to Steph Curry’s camp in the Bay Area. Ballock was recognized as the top shooter at the elite camp, and ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, a close observer of the Kansas program, took notice.
“Kansas fans, I hate to get you too excited,” Fraschilla tweeted after the camp, “but … Eudora soph, Mitch (Ballock) put on a shooting show at @StephenCurry30 Select Camp. NBA range.”
Ballock was slowed this summer by a broken hand, suffered in early June. But he returned earlier this month, playing the last two weekends for Run GMC in the Under Armour summer circuit.
“He’s become more of a playmaker this summer,” Goolsby said. “Obviously, injuries have slowed him down a little bit. But he’s finally getting healthy again.”
Goolsby believes Ballock can be a combo guard at the next level. Ballock says he sees himself as neither a wing nor a shooting guard — “just a guard,” he says.
For now, Ballock is being methodical about his college decision. No need to move too fast. Still, it’s hard to ignore the KU connections. Ballock is AAU teammates and friends with Justin Roberts, the son of KU assistant Norm Roberts. Ballock has been a regular at KU games over the last two years. And his older brother, Andrew, plays college basketball for former KU guard Jeff Boschee at Missouri Southern.
Perhaps Kansas will be the best place for him, Ballock says. But for now, he’s just trying to sort through all the options.
“I’m not really in a rush to decide,” Ballock said. “I’m just kind of feeling it out and seeing what the best situation for me is.”
Rustin Dodd Wichita Eagle
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