On Monday, as Kansas stages "Celebrating 60 Years," Williams will be among the guests of honor when the Jayhawks fraternity gathers in recognition of six decades of basketball in the Phog. He will be joined by former coaches Ted Owens and Larry Brown, as well as current coach Bill Self, who conceived the event along with his wife, Cindy.
"I haven't actually been in Allen Fieldhouse since the last practice before we went to the Final Four in 2003," Williams told the Kansas City Star. "I've said this, and I really believe this from the bottom of my soul: I think it's the greatest home-court advantage in college basketball and maybe in any sport, whatsoever."
Williams' departure from Kansas, of course, was the stuff of legend. Time has healed many of the wounds that festered for years, and Self says he sees the event as a chance to put the focus on Williams' 15 seasons in Lawrence.
"What a way to come back publicly, to all cheers in a noncompetitive situation, at a place that means an awful lot to you," Self said. "I think it will be great for all the coaches, but I think it will be extra special for him."
KUAD: PreOrder DVD for “Celebrating 60 Years of AFH”
Bilas knows his golf, though, and he knows his Kansas University basketball.
He nailed it when he called Allen Fieldhouse “the St. Andrew’s of college basketball.”
After watching KU’s Sunday practice down the hall from the fieldhouse in the practice gym, Bilas expounded on that comment.
“That building has a soul,” Bilas said. “You can feel the aura of the building even when it’s empty. That’s one of my favorite times to be there. Before or after practice, when nobody’s there and you’re just kind of looking around, it’s understated but beautiful. It’s been updated, but it’s still old-school.”
…Bilas scheduled a visit to KU with then-coach Ted Owens, but canceled after he committed to Duke, which plays in charming Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“They’re both so great,” he said of the two basketball venues. “They have the same dimensions on the court, but they’re different. It’s like the difference between Pine Valley and Augusta, the top two golf courses in the world. Are you going to sit and argue which one is better? They’re both amazing experiences, and the feel, you just can’t describe it.”
All four coaches will speak after being introduced by one of their former players. Tyrel Reed will introduce Self, Bud Stallworth will introduce Owens, Chris Piper will introduce Brown, and Scot Pollard will introduce Williams.
Self said there’s a chance longtime broadcaster Max Falkenstien also will speak to the fans. There will be videos of the four coaches’ eras and an Allen Fieldhouse video shown on the center scoreboard.
“It’s going to be off-the-charts cool,” Self said, noting about 800 fans will sit at tables on the floor, with the rest in the stands, totaling about 7,000. Tickets remain on sale today.
…ESPN’s Jay Bilas, who will emcee and host a roundtable discussion, attended KU’s three-hour practice Sunday.
“I thought we were actually pretty good until today. We were bad today,” Self said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff to get in and a short amount of time to do it. For the most part, they (Jayhawks) try hard.”
Asked if sophomore point guard Frank Mason had started to separate himself from others at lead guard, Self said: “Frank’s going to be a starter. He’s been consistent for the most part until today.
“The situation is, we really haven’t had, whether it be Devonté (Graham) or Conner (Frankamp) or Brannen (Greene) or Svi (Mykhailiuk) or Kelly (Oubre, Jr.), all those guys are about the same right now. So we haven’t had a lot of separation as far as our third perimeter player (behind Mason and Wayne Selden Jr.).
“Going back to the beginning of practice, our best performers have probably been Jamari (Traylor), Perry (Ellis), Frank and Wayne, but we’ve had other guys that have been some of the better players in practice, just not consistently better. Those are the guys who probably have been the four most consistent,” Self added.
He was asked about sophomore forward Landen Lucas, who is back from a stress fracture in a lower leg that kept him out about two weeks.
“I think we have three really smart big guys in Landen, Jamari and Perry,” Self said. “Cliff (Alexander) and Hunter (Mickelson) just don’t have any experience. They’ll be fine in time. Those three are much more advanced as far as knowing how to play the way we want to play. They’ve been doing it all for two years so they have an advantage over everybody else.”
There is no smoother throwback-style uniform in college hoops than Kansas' classic cloth.
Now we know the good news, the best news: they're coming back this season. Five-star recruit/KU freshman Cliff Alexander has shared via Instagram that the Jayhawks, rightfully and obviously, will bring back the simple-yet-elegant look of the vintage threads this season.
I spent time this week in Lawrence, Kansas, to check out the Jayhawks in person. After speaking with Self and watching Kansas practice, here are my biggest takeaways.
1. Perry Ellis is a unique talent
The junior forward really understands how to play. He has great footwork and seals in the high-low offense as well as any player in the country. Ellis shoots the ball to 17 feet comfortably, and moves and reads the defense on the block to create angles. Though he’s not the vocal leader you expect at this point of his college career, he simply “does his job."
2. Kansas is a legitimate title contenderoffer -- in time
The Jayhawks will be ready come March, but they are a work in progress at the moment. It will take time for freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre to reach their potential; however there is no denying their work ethic and willingness to be coached. Both work hard, and by February they will be tough to handle. Kansas has a great culture and the first-year players will benefit from that culture.
3. Wayne Selden has his bounce and explosiveness back
When attacking the basket, he is almost impossible to stop. Selden cannot get caught up in showing everyone he is a jump shooter, but rather think “attack” first. He can shoot the ball, however few players in the country finish like him. The sophomore guard will be a lockdown defender, and has the versatility to play multiple positions this season.
4. Oubre is an athletic freak
The former McDonald’s All-American has long arms and fast-twitch, explosive movements. He is learning what a good shot is and where his shots are coming from. Oubre plays consistently hard, runs the floor and is difficult to keep off the glass. He can play and defend both the small forward and power forward positions, which gives Kansas versatility. I expect him to be a lockdown defender early in his college career.
5. The new backcourt has serious potential
Frank Mason and freshman Devonte Graham will end up playing together in the backcourt a significant amount, and especially during crunch time. Mason has a little Allen Iverson in him. He is tough, and can create separation for the jumper or the drive downhill. He has a better feel for the game than most realize. Graham plays with excellent pace, creates in the lane and is a solid on-ball defender. Both are tough enough to defend either guard position.
6. Kansas has a new international sensation
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, a 6-foot-8 freshman shooting guard from Ukraine, is one of the most complete young players I have seen in a long time. The 17-year-old has guard skills, shoots the ball well from 3-point range and possesses a high basketball IQ. Mykhailiuk sees all five defenders off ball screens and penetration, and his international experience gives him a maturity well beyond his years. He has excellent length (which my colleague Jay Bilas will like), and with added strength will be a tough matchup. By February, it will be hard to keep him off the court.
7. Alexander will be a beast -- but not right away
Alexander must understand how to use his body and seal the defender, but once he does, watch out. He runs the floor, has great hands and although he doesn't have great lift, he is explosive around the basket. An excellent defensive rebounder, Alexander was a better ball-screen defender than expected. A concern early will be his ability to pass out of double-teams. Coach Norm Roberts, who works with the Kansas big men, does an excellent job with the frontcourt players. There’s no doubt that by the second half of the season, Alexander will improve. His willingness to be coached and how he embraced coaching were impressive.
8. Jamari Traylor has developed offensively
The junior forward has improved each year at Kansas, and he reminds me of a combination of former Florida big men Patric Young and Will Yeguete. He plays hard every possession, runs the floor and pursues every rebound and loose ball. Though not known as an offensive force, he’s shown signs of development. Traylor does an excellent job of sealing in the post and can drive the ball from the high post. He understands his role in the Kansas system and sets a tone for the Jayhawks.
9. Brannen Greene has much to learn
Greene should be a major contributor for the Jayhawks this season, and every time he takes a shot you think it’s going in. But I'm not sure he makes enough winning plays. He rarely makes anyone else better, and does not look like he competes consistently. If he would buy in and give of himself to his teammates, he could be extremely valuable. After observing him for two days, it seems like he needs to earn the trust and respect of his coaching staff and teammates.
10. Self is one of the nation’s best
This is a prior known fact, but I want to emphasize it again. Self runs a great practice and program and really relates well to his players. He demands a lot from them, but does it in such a way that they respond. Self is an excellent teacher and communicator, and he has a veteran staff that understands his system. He has a system, but will tweak it to fit his players’ strengths. Kansas plays fast and smart offensively, and is relentless defensively. Few coaches get their players to play as hard consistently as Self does.
ESPN ($) Seth Greenberg
It's very interesting that Oubre is being noted as a vocal leader for two reasons. The first of those reasons is that I had assumed one of the lead guards -- Frank Mason or Wayne Selden -- would likely be the leader of this team. Both of those two guys went through last season, when it seemed like there was a problem in the leadership department. Leadership isn't a mutually exclusive quality and it's likely those two will step up, it's just interesting that Oubre is the one being noted for it now.
The idea of Oubre as a freshman leader is also interesting becuase of Andrew Wiggins' persona last year. Every time someone wrote a preseason profile of Wiggins, it was about how he was clearly the best player on the roster, but was a reluctant leader as a freshman. On the other hand, it seems like Oubre does have those intangible leadership qualities that everyone wants to hear, and seems to embrace being talked about. There is some potential for revisionist history about what Wiggins was at Kansas if both the Jayhawks and Oubre have impressive seasons.
Regardless, it's going to be interesting to see how the season plays out in Lawrence. The Jayhawks have an immense amount of talent, two very confident freshmen in Oubre and Cliff Alexander, and solid returning pieces. Bill Self might have his work cut out for him getting all of the pieces together, but if he can figure it out this team could win the national title.
Big time player with the lights on. RT @Seth_Krug: @NBADraftInsider Your thoughts on Oubre?
Just checking out non-league schedules for the Top 5 teams. I'd rank them like this: 1) Kansas 2) Arizona 3) Wisconsin 4) Kentucky 5) Duke
By any measure, the Big 12 had a tremendous season in 2013-14. The conference sent seven of its 10 teams to the NCAA tournament, with each receiving a No. 9 seed or better. There was a case for the conference being the best in the country from top to second-to-the-bottom. (Sorry, TCU.) While the overall talent level in the league may be down slightly this season, the Big 12 still figures to do well on Selection Sunday. There will be plenty of good, at-large bid-quality teams in the league.
History says that one of the easiest tasks during conference preview time has been to predict the Big 12 champ, where Kansas has won at least a share of the conference regular-season title every season since 2004-05. Just like last season, there's a viable contrarian approach here, but once again it's difficult to pick against the Jayhawks.
…The biggest weakness for the Jayhawks is the lack of an elite point guard, and that's a good reason to have reservations about them being a top-5 team nationally. But KU has enough skill at the other four spots on the floor to be considered the league favorite again.
…The most likely team to challenge the Jayhawks is Texas, one of the bigger surprises in college hoops last season.
Ken Pomeroy EPSN ($)
VIDEO: Campus Insiders previews New-Look Jayhawks
ESPN Preview Top 25 Power Rankings (KU #5)
He’s previously received instruction from coaching greats Eddie Sutton, Larry Brown and Leonard Hamilton, but much of Bill Self’s offensive success in his 11 years at Kansas comes from a belief that wasn’t a hand-me-down.
“I just think basketball can be summed up very easily: If you’re good, you get easy baskets and don’t give them up,” Self said. “And if you’re not very good, you give them up and you don’t get them.”
…Junior forward Jamari Traylor said he can’t count the times he’s heard one line repeated from Self in practices and film sessions.
“He drills it in our head: ‘The easiest shot in the game is the layup,’” Traylor said.
…“It’s pretty high-percentage when you’re throwing it down with your head in the rim,” Hoiberg said. “(Bill) does such a good job of putting his guys in positions where they can be successful.”
For 11 seasons, that’s meant three things: Self has asked his players to work hard in the paint, to look for open teammates and to use their athleticism when they get the chance.
It’s resulted in KU having a strong offense nearly every year — and the coach continuing an offensive philosophy that made sense to him long ago.
“That’s one thing that we’ve always thought about,” Self said. “I don’t think you can shoot a high percentage unless you can get easy baskets.”
Here are my All-Diaper Dandies for the 2014-15 season.
...At Kansas, rock, chalk, Jayhawk fans will be thrilled to welcome Cliff Alexander, another scholastic star from the Windy City. He is a glass-eater who will dominate on the boards. Putting him up front with Perry Ellis will give Bill Self a reason to smile. Alexander is capable of scoring in the paint.
...There you have it, my All-Diaper Dandy team. There will be many newcomers to keep an eye on, including Tyus Jones of Duke, Justin Jackson of North Carolina and Rashad Vaughn of UNLV. They just missed making my list. I had to pick my top five, so I went with Towns, Okafor, Alexander, Johnson and Turner. That is a pretty good group, baby!
ESPN Dick Vitale
I watched Alexander closely in the spring during the Jordan Brand Classic practices, and it was obvious that he was trying to learn how to score with his back to the basket. There seemed to be a lot of thought going into each move, and that kind of slowed him down.
Based off how he played on Friday night, it looks like he is getting into his moves quicker and he has a go-to move he trusts. Two of his baskets came off a smooth righty jump hook over his left shoulder.
"I've been working on it since I stepped foot on campus," Alexander said. "Coach told me that's got to be my go-to move, so that's what I've been making."
Alexander could be a long shot to lead this team in scoring. Sophomore Wayne Selden looks much more explosive after offseason knee surgery—he led all scorers with 17 points on Friday—and junior forward Perry Ellis is a much more natural scorer. But for the Jayhawks to reach their ceiling they'll likely need Alexander to become a real force.
Just a freshman, Devonté Graham showed the smarts of a seasoned point guard in speaking before 450 women at Bill Self’s fifth-annual Ladies Night Out breast cancer research fundraiser on Thursday in Allen Fieldhouse.
“I came here because Kansas ... has the best looking women,” Raleigh, North Carolina native Graham said to screams and loud applause during a question-and-answer portion of the event.
The Jayhawks ran shooting drills with the participants, signed autographs, posed for pictures and hosted a tour of the weight room during the proceedings.
“I chose Kansas because it’s the best place I’ve ever seen,” freshman guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk of Ukraine told the crowd. He and emcee Self pronounced Mykhailiuk’s name several times so the fans could be well-educated for the coming season.
“I chose Kansas because I wanted to play for the best coach in America,” junior Jamari Traylor said to loud laughter following his obvious attempt to butter-up Self.
“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
See the SNL video here.
The specter of another NCAA probe has taken its toll on North Carolina coach Roy Williams.
"If this were my first 16 months of coaching, you wouldn't see a 17th month," Williams said. "It's been a pain in the rear end, but I believe in this university. Nobody knows what's going to happen with the NCAA, but I feel strongly, strongly that we did things the right way."
Williams anticipates hearing from the NCAA for a second straight season. Last year, it was an eligibility issue due to players Leslie McDonald and P.J. Hairston accepting impermissible benefits. This year, it could involve much more, following the release Wednesday of former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein's report on an academic fraud scandal that spanned from 1993 to 2011.
The investigation discovered more than 3,100 students -- 48 percent of whom were athletes -- benefited from "paper classes" in the African and Afro-American Studies department. Some athletes, including basketball players, were steered toward fake independent study classes to help boost their grade-point averages, which in some cases kept them eligible.
…Asked whether he was concerned that any wins would be vacated or banners taken down, he said, "Who knows?"
"I personally don't see anything there with men's basketball that somebody can immediately look at and say, 'This is going to happen or this is not going to happen,' so they have to make those decisions," Williams said.
…Wayne Walden, who came to North Carolina from Kansas when Williams was hired in 2003, was named as a counselor who "steered players into these paper classes" and called Deborah Crowder, the principle figure in the scheme, to arrange classes for players. Walden was the associate director of the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes (APSPA) and handled several sports, including men's basketball.
The report also said that once instructed, Walden later played a role in moving basketball players away from the classes.
Williams said he didn't agree with everything in the report, adding that Walden was "one of the most ethical guys I've known in my life."
Syracuse University's men's basketball and football programs are under NCAA investigation for allegations, including providing extra benefits and academic issues, that date back at least 10 years, a source said Thursday.
Syracuse will go before the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis on Oct. 30-31, sources said.
The majority of the allegations -- and the most serious -- involve the men's basketball program. Among the allegations facing the men's basketball team are receiving extra benefits and academic issues, a source said. Those allegations go back about 10 years and are as current as the 2013 season, a source said.
"There were things going on consistently (with the men's basketball program) for a long time," a source said.
It seems no one knew that former University of Illinois assistant basketball coach Wayne McClain had lung cancer until just before he died last week. Not even his brother Terry.
"None," Terry McClain said at the funeral Wednesday, shaking his head in disbelief.
McClain's death at 60 surprised the basketball community in the state of Illinois, where McClain also attained legendary status as a high school coach in Peoria, and beyond.
A crowd of more than 1,000 gathered at the service in Champaign, including the Brooklyn Nets' Deron Williams, who played on Illinois' 2005 Final Four team. Dozens of coaches — including Kansas' Bill Self and Kansas State's Bruce Weber, who both had McClain on their staff at Illinois — and former Illini players like Jerry Hester spoke at the service. Other ex-Illini players, such as Demetri McCamey, Jamar Smith and Brian Randle, spoke by video from the international cities where they play pro basketball.
Oct 15, 2014
Academic and Membership Affairs Staff Approves Waiver for NCAA Bylaws 12.1.2 (amateur status) and 16.11 (benefits, gifts and services).
Academic and Membership Affairs Staff Approves Waiver for NCAA Bylaws 12.1.2 (amateur status) and 16.11 (benefits, gifts and services). October 15, 2014. The academic and membership affairs staff approved a waiver to allow a Division I student-athlete to borrow against his future earnings potential to secure a loan from an established, accredited commercial lending institution, for the purpose of purchasing loss-of-value insurance. The Division I amateur status and benefits, gifts and services legislation specifies that student-athletes may borrow against their future earnings potential from an established, accredited commercial lending institution exclusively for the purpose of purchasing insurance (with no cash surrender value) against a disabling injury or illness that would prevent the individual from pursuing a chosen career, provided a third party (including a representative of an institution's athletics interests) is not involved in arrangements for securing the loan. Staff waived the normal application of the amateur status and benefits, gifts and services to permit the student-athlete to secure a loan to pay for the premium for loss-of-value insurance under the same circumstances that a student-athlete is permitted to obtain a loan to pay the premium for disabling-injury insurance. In issuing this waiver, the staff noted that the intent of NCAA Division I Proposal No. 2009-23 was to address the growing trend within the community of agents and financial advisors to arrange disabling-injury insurance policies and loans for student-athletes and to allow institutions to assist student-athletes with securing insurance in order to eliminate improper third-party involvement and alleviate the pressures on student-athletes to seek out this assistance from third parties. The staff also noted institutions are encouraged to work with their conference offices to propose legislation for the 2015-16 legislative cycle. Absent changes to the current legislation, requests for waivers will continue to be reviewed by the NCAA Division I Legislative Council Subcommittee for Legislative Relief. See Case No. 732679 in Requests/Self-Reports Online (RSRO) via the search tab.
Another little birdie told me that Nebraska handled Kansas State in a secret scrimmage over the weekend in Omaha.
List of “Secret Scrimmages ESPN ($)
"I was talking about this the other day: I got a letter from Kansas my sophomore year (of high school)," the Texas native continued as reporters grinned, internal typewriters whirring at breakneck speeds. "And that was my dream school, honestly. And I really wanted to go there, so I'm thinking, 'Aw, go there.'
…"And then I just never heard from them again. I just felt disrespected, like my talent level wasn't high enough for them.
"I mean, honestly, that's what fuels me."
So now it can be told, and pick your headline:
Kansas State's Best Player Always Wanted To Be a Jayhawk
Kansas State's Best Player Says He's 'Fueled' by Kansas Players
Marcus Foster via FoxSports
1. UK 2. Ariz 3. Wisc 4. Duke 5. Kansas 6. Tex 7. UNC 8. Wich St 9. Gonzaga 10. Nova 11. Fla 12. Louisville 13. VCU 14. San Diego St 15. Va 16. Mich 17. UConn 18. Mich St 19. Iowa St 20. Harvard 21. Utah 22. La Tech 23. Oklahoma 24. Nebraska 25. UTEP
First team All America: Jahlil Okafor, Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker, Marcus Paige, Fred Vanvleet
@SethDavisHoops preseason picks
Curtis Shaw says officials will pay more attention to off-the-ball fouls this year, particularly holding and illegal screens.
Shaw: "Rules official said 3 years ago, '[The] weight room became more important than [practice].' That's not the intent of basketball."
Big 12's Curtis Shaw says 65% of fouls called on defense last year were because officials missed earlier offensive foul. Hmm.
New block/charge rule: Defending player cannot move once offensive player goes up unless it's to protect himself. If he does, it's a block.
…New this Year
Every Big 12 matchup that was previously available through syndication will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and for the first time, ESPNEWS.
- For the fourth straight year, ESPN will showcase four of the all-time winningest programs in the State Farm Champions Classic doubleheader to close out the 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon Presented by Dish on Tuesday, Nov. 18. The games from Indianapolis, site of this season’s men’s Final Four, will showcase four teams in an early ESPN.com preseason poll: No. 18 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke at 7 p.m. and No. 10 Kansas vs. No. 1 Kentucky at 9 p.m.
- The seventh annual Tip-Off Marathon presented by Dish will celebrate the start of the season with 20 live games – 18 men’s and two women’s – in nearly 29 hours from Monday, Nov. 17 to Tuesday, Nov. 18. The Marathon will tip off Monday at 7 p.m. with the first games of a men’s tripleheader on ESPNU and women’s doubleheader on ESPN2. Following the women’s telecasts, ESPN2 will televise seven consecutive men’s matchups beginning at 11 p.m. ESPN’s schedule of five consecutive games starts at noon on Tuesday and concludes with the State Farm Champions Classic. ESPN2 will also televise a Tuesday primetime doubleheader at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
- ESPN will provide fans with live coverage of at least one game on an ESPN television network every day but seven from November 14 to March 8 (November 15, 22 and 29; December 24 and 26; and January 1 and 12).
- In addition, the fifth season of the ESPN Buzzer Beater network will offer live cut-ins and highlights from numerous top college basketball games Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m. and Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. beginning Saturday, Jan. 10.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Zimmerman and the other recruits at Kansas watched some of the Kentucky NBA Combine last Friday.
“We did actually catch some of it,” she said. “We were out to lunch with Coach Self and some players and they had it on at the restaurant we were at, and all of us were kind of watching it while eating and talking about it. We DVR’d it, we just haven’t had a chance to watch it since we’ve been home, but we probably saw a good 45 minutes to an hour of it.”
Asked if Self asked them to change the channel, Lori said, “No. No, he was watching and talking about it with everybody. It kind of impressed me because [Self] wasn’t critical of it. I wouldn’t say that he was a big fan of it, but he wasn’t critical of it at all. He even mentioned he saw why they would possibly do it, it just wasn’t his thing.”
Asked her own thoughts on the combine, Lori said: “I thought, you know the way Coach Calexplained it to me, it kind of made sense. He’s got 10 players that need time. They’re all not going to get equal time. If the combine get’s them in front of scouts for some equal time, then more power to him. To me he’s just a marketing genius.”
Before leaving Kansas, Self and Zimmerman had a one-on-one.
“Sunday before we left we had a private breakfast with Coach Self,” she said. “He just wanted to know Stephen’s feeling about the visit and wanted to make sure Stephen was happy with everything. Wanted to know if he had any questions. If there was anything that they could have done better. Wanted to know if we had any questions, things like that.”
And could they have?
“I don’t think so,” she said. “It was first class from the first day until the last minute.”
Ivan Rabb, a 6-10 senior forward from Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland, California, has cut his list of schools to five — KU, Arizona, California, Kentucky and UCLA, ESPN reports. On Friday, Rivals.com’s No. 7-rated player eliminated North Carolina and Georgetown.
Rabb will visit Kentucky this weekend and KU the following weekend.
“I like the way Kansas develops their post players, and I like their high-low offense. My relationship with head coach Bill Self has really gotten strong over the past few months. He is an energetic coach,” Rabb told ESPN.
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