“This is the best,” ESPN analyst Digger Phelps said. “We’ve been here, what five years out of nine? We’d come here every year.
“About two years ago when we were here, when I saw the Star Spangled Banner with the trumpets, and then you see it going, ‘Rock Chalk, Jayhawk,’ and the acoustics … you get goosebumps.”
…Many of the players responsible for KU’s title streak will be on hand this weekend, including Cole Aldrich, Thomas Robinson and Marcus and Markieff Morris.
The current Jayhawks don’t need anyone to tell them what’s at stake, Self said, but seeing great players of the past should remind them that winning the Big 12 is a way of life at KU.
“To say that past players talking to our guys should motivate them because they don’t care as much as they should, that’s not right at all,” Self said. “What would be the right deal would be from a positive motivation: ‘Hey, this is what we do. This is what we did, this is what the guys did last year, this is what you’re going to do this year.’ ”
“A few years ago we were here, when I saw the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ with the trumpets, then you see them (fans) going, ‘Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU,’ and the acoustics, you get goose bumps,” Phelps said. “I said to Bill on the phone the next day, ‘I’d have those recruits in on Saturday night because you can forget Cameron, you can forget the Smith Dome, you can forget Pauley, it’s all about you, baby.’
“They had a three-game losing streak (entering Monday’s KSU game). As soon as that game started, the crowd was not going to let those guys let up the other night against Kansas State. It was the crowd, the sixth man that got this team to recapture what it lost. That’s the best of this place. It’s second to none as far as I’m concerned.”
UDK: History of ESPN's College Gameday with KU
BOTTOM LINE: The stage sets up pretty well for Kansas. It will play host to ESPN’s “College Game Day,” broadcast, retire Mario Chalmers’ jersey and entertain top recruit Julius Randle. The Jayhawks are usually pretty good at seizing the moment at Allen Fieldhouse.
“Mario and the Miracle ... The Shot,” Withey exclaimed, well aware of Chalmers’ role in KU winning the 2008 national championship. “We all look up there (every home game to watch a pre-game video that includes Chalmers sending the Memphis game into overtime).
“It’s awesome he gets to come back and get his jersey retired. We’ll be playing for him and hopefully get that win for him, also.”
Yes, there is a game to be played tonight between the Jayhawks (20-4, 8-3) and Longhorns (11-13, 3-8). UT is 1-0 with sophomore sensation Myck Kabongo, who missed the first 23 games because of NCAA suspension.
However, there are lots of side stories as well: Chalmers’ jersey retirement; ESPN’s “GameDay” being in town; the return of NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris, Thomas Robinson and Nick Collison, who will be seated behind the bench; the visit of prize high school senior recruit Julius Randle; as well as the possibility of 7-footer Withey becoming the all-time leading shot blocker in Big 12 history.
Withey, who is KU’s single-season and career record holder, enters with 263 blocks — one behind Chris Mihm of Texas, who had 264 from 1998 to 2000.
“No, I don’t expect that at all,” Withey said, asked if he thought Mihm would be on hand to watch his Longhorns and also congratulate Withey if he nets a block or two. “It’s definitely an honor, something that’s cool and I’m excited about. I want to be able to beat it so it lasts 20-30 years, something like that, not so somebody next year can beat it or the year after that. It’s something special, and I’m proud of it. I need to put some distance on that.”
…Former KU center Cole Aldrich of the Houston Rockets had his jersey No. 45 retired at his high school alma mater, Bloomington (Minn.) Jefferson High, Friday night.
Top25 RPI teams who've played the most other Top25 RPI teams: #KU (5-3) #kstate (4-4) #MichiganState (4-4). #Big12
The game, a marketing opportunity for Nike, did not live up to its billing. Duke pounded Texas 97-66 behind 41 points from J.J. Redick. The Longhorns never wore those uniforms again, but went on to reach the NCAA tournament regional finals that season.
Now Nike has handed the Longhorns new black uniforms, for a game at Kansas on Feb. 16. This time, the mere mention of the uniforms via the basketball program’s Twitter account was followed by a blowout defeat. The 26-point, 83-57 loss at Kansas State on Wednesday was the Longhorns’ worst since, well, the Duke game on Dec. 10, 2005.
Even so, the Longhorns will wear them at Kansas. They are contractually obligated.
“I don’t think what you wear has a lot to do with the outcome of the game unless it distracts your team from preparing,” coach Rick Barnes said. “I like simple things, uniforms that don’t change, orange and white. But I also understand that we have a contract with Nike and how important it is to move apparel.”
UDK: Remembering Kevin Durant's visit to Allen Fieldhouse
I admit it. I didn't get this Kansas thing. I do now. The Jayhawks are the new national champions, and you can say they did it in style.
On Saturday, they came close to knocking out North Carolina in the first round and last night they won it with a KO in the 15th round when they were trailing in points on all the cards.
Down by 9 with 2:12 to go, Kansas came all the way back, tying the score on a Mario Chalmers 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds to go and then dominating the overtime to defeat Memphis by a 75-68 score and bring a third national title to the school with the oldest tradition of all. Like, what other team ever has Dr. James Naismith himself watching from that Great Sports Bar In The Sky?
It took a great team to beat a great team. Memphis was right there, two minutes away from winning it all. It had seized control of the game when freshman Derrick Rose went off on a run that appeared to have nailed down both a championship and a Most Outstanding Player trophy.
Had Chalmers not made the shot that will make him a hero in Lawrence, Kan., for all eternity, the name that would have been on everyone's lips would have been Derrick Rose, who bunched 15 of his 18 points into an eight-minute explosion. Kansas was leading by 3 at 43-40 when Rose began, and Kansas was trailing by 7 at 56-49 when he was done.
And there really was nothing to suggest that it wasn't going to be enough. Memphis was feeling it.
But when Kansas needed help, it came from everywhere. Sherron Collins hit a three. Darrell Arthur, a smooth inside/outside presence, hit a pair of jumpers.
...Just don't say you knew that Chalmers's shot was going in. There was nothing routine about it. There's nothing routine about Kansas, either. That's a T-E-A-M, if I've ever seen one.
Boston Globe: Bob Ryan
Flight early in the AM to KU .. Night tweeps
Julius Randle (@J30_RANDLE) finished with 19 pts, 10 reb, 3 asst in a big win. Played half the game. I think it's safe to say "He's back."
Sidelined by a foot injury since November, Prestonwood Christian Academy senior Julius Randle is back.
The Lions star forward returned in Friday's district finale against Bishop Lynch and the outcome, a 74-56 victory, was their most lopsided win in more than a month. Randle scored 19 as Prestonwood capped its TAPPS I-5A campaign at 5-7, winning four of its final six games.
Focus now shifts toward the postseason, where the Lions will play Friday in an area round matchup.
36 for Brannen Greene and 22 for Tadric Jackson!
Video: Frankamp sets scoring record!
Conner Frankamp shows little emotion during games. Sure, he might express some frustration with a particularly hands-on defender, and he has been known to talk a bit with opponents’ student sections.
But after a made basket, no matter how jaw-droppingly impressive, he simply backpedals back on defense.
Friday night, though, after he knocked down a jumper from about the free-throw line, Frankamp turned away from the basket, and looking down at the court he yelled as he clenched both hands into fists.
Frankamp scored 37 points in a 52-40 win over visiting Bishop Carroll and that jumper with 45 seconds remaining gave him the City League scoring record.
“It was really sweet for me,” Frankamp said. “I knew I was really close tonight. I wanted to come out and play my game, and if the record happened, then it did. It’s an honor, for sure, especially to do it in front of the fans at North.”
Frankamp has 2,233 points, passing Heights graduate Perry Ellis, who finished with 2,231 points after the 2011-12 season.
Frankamp shot 14 of 25 from the floor, hitting 4 of 9 threes and made 5 of 6 free throws. He had 13 first-half points, then made 6 of 9 shots in the third quarter, including three straight threes, for 17 points.
After Frankamp’s basket to set the record, North coach Gary Squires immediately called timeout. Squires hugged him tightly,
As Squires recalled that moment, his eyes filled with tears and his face reddened.
“Get a little knot in your throat,” Squires said. “He works hard.”
After Squires’ hug, then it was assistant Marty Frankamp’s turn to hug his son.
“I just told him how I was proud of him,” Marty Frankamp said. “… I could tell he was relieved. He was double-clutching both his fists there. It was a good relief of pressure there.”
Conner Frankamp took a seat on the bench for the final 43 seconds, a place he has spent little time this season. He held a bag of ice against his red and swollen nose that had been hit with an errant elbow.
He entered the season with 1,641 points and many believed he’d set the record. But when he suffered a concussion on Jan. 19 and missed two games, both North losses, there was a new pressure on him.
In his seven games since his return, Frankamp has scored 29, 37, 48, 43, 31, 40 and 37 points.
North (17-2) finishes the regular season against West on Thursday and will host a Class 6A sub-state semifinal game, so Frankamp didn’t need to do it Friday. But in attendance at the game were members of the 1953-54 AA title team and the 1986-87 Class 6A title team. The gym was standing-room only.
Frankamp had a fine first-half, hitting 6 of 12 shots for 13 points. Carroll mostly played straight-up man defense until he got near the three-point line, then a second defender would rush over.
While he scored all but four of North’s first-half points, Carroll led 19-17. Carroll’s Christian Smith scored 11 of his team-high 14 points in the first half.
In the first minute of the third, Frankamp hit a baseline jumper, then he got two steals, scoring on fastbreak layups. It was in the period’s final three minutes, though, that he wowed the crowd.
He hit a three with a hand in his face for a 31-21 lead. Two minutes later, he hit another, falling back, with a hand in his face. And then he hit his third straight, capping a 17-point period and 17-2 run.
“It’s difficult to stop that guy for four quarters,” Carroll coach Lonnie Lollar said. “Tip your hat to Conner on that. He made some big shots. You can dislike some calls, you can dislike the way some guys play, but you can’t argue what he does, and that’s make shots.”
After Frankamp had 30 after three periods, he wanted that record. He didn’t want to wait until Thursday’s game.
“That’s when he told me, ‘I’d like to finish it and get it tonight,’ ” Marty Frankamp said. “ ‘Just so we can move on.’ ”
Frankamp admitted to being especially motivated after not being named a McDonald’s All-American on Thursday, a decision Lollar couldn’t understand.
“It’s kind of hard to think that they could pass up someone like him,” Lollar said. “Those guys (like Frankamp) don’t come around but every 20, 30, maybe 40 years.”
I’m mad about North senior guard Conner Frankamp not being chosen to the McDonald’s high school All-America team. What does the kid have to do? He’s set to become the all-time leading scorer in a legit, tough, historical league. He’s going to Kansas next season, not Kansas Wesleyan. He’s been a star internationally and in the summer AAU circuit.
Here’s what makes me mad, though. In 25 years, when I’m either long gone or living in my son’s basement, the legacy of Frankamp will be diminished. He belongs in any discussion of greatest City Leaguers ever with the likes of Perry Ellis, Ricky Ross, Antoine Carr, Darnell Valentine, Aubrey Sherrod and Greg Dreiling. But all of those guys were McDonald’s All-Americans. Frankamp is not.
Of course, I haven’t seen enough of the other McDonald’s All-Americans to know how Frankamp stacks up. But his absence from the team makes me question the selection process. Frankamp tweeted earlier today that his McDonald’s All-America snub – not his word, mine – will motivate him the rest of the season and, presumably, beyond.
Wichita Eagle Lutz