Congrats Josh Jackson:
1st Team Preseason All-American
Josh Jackson, Kansas: Jackson was ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2016 by a number of outlets, and there are still people that believe he’ll eventually be the best NBA player out of this group. A freak athlete like Andrew Wiggins, Jackson is a bit more polished and a whole lot tougher than Wiggins was a freshman. It’s not crazy to think that he can match Wiggins’ output (17.7 points, 5.9 boards, nation’s top perimeter defender), and considering Kansas is a preseason top five team, that puts him firmly in the All-America discussion. But here’s what will limit him: If Carlton Bragg makes the improvement many expect him to, Jackson’s offense may be cut into, and considering there are a pair of alpha-dogs that will be the guys called on to make big shots in key moments, it’s hard to see him having any “Wooden Moments”.
NBC Sports Preseason All-Americans
Josh Jackson didn’t come to Kansas to jack three-pointers. He’ll shoot a few, my guess would be somewhere in the 70-80 range, but it’ll never be his first choice, KU’s first option or a shot he knocks down at a high percentage. The way Jackson figures to factor most into KU’s three-point shooting this season is by creating opportunities for others. Picture him in the 1-4 flat set, dribbling the ball at the top of the key looking to attack. As soon as he gets by his man, which will happen a lot, the defense will be forced to react, which means it will collapse in toward the paint, thus freeing up KU’s wings to catch and shoot. Jackson’s both a skilled enough passer and unselfish enough player to make the right decision more often than not. If it’s Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham or Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk who he sees open on the wing, he’ll likely dish it to them. If it’s Carlton Bragg, Mitch Lightfoot or Landen Lucas, he’ll probably lower his head and keep driving to the rim. Jackson will shoot — and make — more than a few threes this season. But he’s not regarded as a terrific jump shooter, has a slightly strange hitch in his shot and can do so many better things with the ball than sit out there and make it easier for defenders to guard him.
In case Kansas junior Devonte’ Graham had forgotten just how big of a deal Late Night in the Phog is to fans of Kansas basketball, the KU point guard received a friendly reminder last Sunday.
Checking out the Chiefs game during Kansas City’s victory over the New York Jets, Graham was approached several times by KU hoops fans in attendance who shared with him their excitement about this year’s event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
“So many fans just came up to me talking about Late Night and how they were gonna be here at 12,” Graham said Tuesday. “They said we play at 6:30 and I was just like, ‘God, you’re gonna be there at 12?’ It’s a big thing. It’s huge.”
Graham, who did not attend Late Night as a recruit but vividly remembers his experience at the event as a freshman two years ago, said it’s obvious why it is such a recruiting asset.
“There’s nothing like it,” Graham said. “The fans know what recruits are coming from high school. They get all the privileges just to be around here and experience Late Night.”
The environment is similar to a game day, at least in terms of attendance, and that is another important aspect of the event to remember, Graham said.
“Seeing Allen (Fieldhouse) packed is different from just walking in and seeing it empty, you know?” Graham said. “You can’t really imagine it, but I think it definitely (has) a huge impact on recruits.”
Graham is one of the coaching staff’s go-to players in mentoring recruits during their official visits, and this weekend won’t be any different. Graham said he tries not to be too pushy with the recruits but tries his best to be honest when they inquire about things like coach Bill Self’s infamously intense practices.
“It’s not easy — it’s not going to be easy,” Graham said. “You’re going to have to come in here and work. Nothing’s given to you. But there’s nothing like being here.
“That’s one thing I always say: No matter where you come from, it’s one of the best places to be.”
And, when Graham is done showing a potential recruit the ropes, he reports back to the coaching staff with his thoughts. Would the player be a good fit, or did they do something that Graham saw as a red flag?
“I definitely have some recruits I like better than others,” Graham said with a laugh. “You vibe with (some) better than others, you just like the way they play or act.”
Draft Express Top NBA Prospects in the Big 12
#6-9 includes Carlton Bragg and Svi
#12 is Landen Lucas
ICYMI: Previously linked
#1 Josh Jackson
#3 Devonte Graham
Bill Self continued a tradition this offseason.
Though he’s seen a few clips on television replays — including guard Devonté Graham’s controversial fifth foul — the Kansas men’s basketball coach has not viewed his team’s final NCAA Tournament game: a 64-59 loss to Villanova in the Elite Eight.
“I don’t have to watch it again,” Self said. “I saw what happened. I know what happened.”
Self, who is blessed with a sharp memory, says he has not gone back to look at film of the Stanford loss in 2014. Same for Bucknell in 2005, Bradley in 2006 and Michigan in 2013.
“I can still replay the Michigan game in my head,” Self said, “but nah, I never watched it.”
…Though Self hasn’t rewatched the video, he’s plenty familiar with the stats.
“Hell, they’re eight of 32 the second half, miss 24 shots and get one back, and the one they get back is the one where he shoots it to himself. It was a messed up, lucky play,” Self said. “We couldn’t have done better defensively.
“It’s just offensively, we just made some bad mistakes.”
…Self has a lot to look forward to with a talented 2016-17 roster. It includes returners Graham, Frank Mason, Landen Lucas, Carlton Bragg and Svi Mykhailiuk along with highly ranked freshmen Josh Jackson and Udoka Azubuike.
The group should give Self another chance at a deep tournament run — and perhaps an opportunity to get the program past the Elite Eight barrier he thinks about often.
“Those are tough ones to lose,” Self said, “but I’d still rather be in the game than not be in the game.”
On Monday, one day before training camp began and he participated in his first official NBA practice - minimally, because he was fighting the flu - Embiid revealed that he had doubts about leaving the University of Kansas and declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft in 2014, after his freshman season. In fact, he said, he was planning to return to Kansas for his sophomore year until his friend and mentor Luc Mbah a Moute and other NBA players persuaded him to turn pro.
"I was going to stay," he said.
Such indecisiveness is common among elite college basketball players who are weighing whether to enter the draft. If they're able to put aside the money that the NCAA and the television networks and their coaches make on their backs - money that, per the NCAA's commitment to "amateurism," is never supposed to line the players' own pockets - they have it pretty good. They get a free education. They get friendships. They get to hone their games. They get to travel the country and play on national TV.
They're the big men on their campuses - in the case of Embiid, now 7-foot-2, that's a literal characterization - and those campuses can be comfy cocoons. Often, these athletes do what Embiid did. They get advice. They see the NBA rookie wage scale, which this season for the draft's top-10 picks reportedly runs from $2.1 million to $4.9 million. And the indecision vanishes.
Embiid, though, seems to have been more earnest in his ambivalence over choosing college or the NBA.
…"We did think it was a decision that could go either way because of his injuries and also because he was very young in the game," Kansas coach Bill Self said in an email. "There is no guarantee that if he would have stayed he would have not been injured at a later time. Considering his injuries and everything, I think it was a wise choice."
Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris has a cousin, just 5 years old, an innocent little kid who was caught in the crossfire.
“Everybody calls him Shy,” Morris said.
In the middle of August, Shy was in a car in north Philadelphia, and he was shot six times in a shoot-out.
“Oh, man, it killed me,” Morris said. “He’s just a little kid and took six bullets. It’s sad that people are shootin’ in an area where they are not knowing who is there. It was just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was just going home and he was an area where they having warring issues.”
Shy survived the attack but had some complications. “I think four or five surgeries,” Morris said. “But you know, he’s going to be good.”
This is nothing new for Morris. He grew up in the violence, in the midst of hopelessness that stems from racial oppression.
“I’ve been around during shootouts,” Morris said. “I’ve seen people get shot. I’ve been on basketball courts where they were shooting on the court. I’ve been in a lot of those situations. I’ve grown up there. Philadelphia is like a box. Everybody is doing the same thing. There are only a select few that make it out of that box.
This is America. A box inside a box.
Morris made it out because he had a strong mother and is a talented basketball player.
“Being from where I’m from, it’s major for me,” Morris said. “I’ve been saying these things for a lot longer than I’ve been in the NBA. Now, I have actually have a platform to sit and talk about it and stand up for what is right, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
It’s not right that so many places are like war zones.
It’s not right that so many children grow up without any hope.
It’s not right that there are so many racial inequities in our education system, as well as our criminal justice system.
It’s not right that so many unarmed black men have been shot by police officers.
It’s beyond disturbing.
But what should Morris do? He grew up in a place where he learned to fear the police.
Should he take a knee to protest during the national anthem, like San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick? Should he raise his fist to point out the problems, like several football players from Michigan and Michigan State did Saturday?
Last week, Morris met with Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and they talked over some options.
But what Morris does to protest, the actual form it takes, is the least important issue.
Van Gundy is more concerned about what comes next.
“You are thoughtful,” Van Gundy said to Morris. “What do you want to do beyond the protest?”
…Morris still doesn’t know what he will do. He is taking his time to figure out what he wants to say. He is being thoughtful and deliberate, which is hardly a surprise.
“Right now, I’m still trying to get it all together,” he said. “I’m going to take my time with this. I’m going to figure out what is the best way to go about it.”
These issues are vast, a complicated mix of racism, violence, hopelessness, education and social injustices.
To make a stand to point out the problems takes courage.
But the next step is even harder.
Trying to become part of the solution.
Detroit Free Press
Oubre, in reality, is still tied to his beginnings in Louisiana – a place that he seems to reference and give credit to every chance he gets.
Earlier this week, the Washington Wizards announced that Oubre partnered with United Way to benefit flood relief efforts in his hometown.
Limited edition t-shirts are being sold on Teespring.com with Oubre’s likeness printed on the front. All proceeds from the sale will go to United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Flood Relief Fund.
Oubre and the United Way of Southeast Louisiana President and CEO, Michael Williamson, spoke about the partnership.
“It breaks my heart every time I see or hear of the devastating flooding happening in my home state of Louisiana,” Oubre said. “I encourage everyone to go to teespring.com/KellyOubreLAFloodRelief and join me in helping to provide assistance to those who are in desperate need. Every purchase will go a long way in our ongoing efforts to rebuild the state.”
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Why Allen Fieldhouse is the BEST!
“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
Jaliyah Manuel wants to be a WNBA basketball player and we're not betting against her, especially not after peeping her talent.
The 6-year-old New Orleans resident has the skills that will one day pay her bills. Her exploits on the court were recently showcased in short by 60 Second Docs, an up-and-coming media outlet that seeks to "provide a new look into the most unique characters, expressions, and practices that make up the world."
Manuel certainly didn't disappoint. She displayed the type of hard work and hustle that will likely make her name one to remember on the hardwood. Keep her in mind when you're scrolling through national high school basketball player rankings in a decade. She's bound to be among those listed.
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Billy Preston, the 6-foot-10 Class of 2017 forward from Oak Hill Academy (VA), has opted to open up his recruitment.
Presently, Indiana, Syracuse, Maryland, Kansas and USC are actively recruiting him, and he's slated to take any official visit to Kansas this weekend for "Late Night in the Phog."
"After talking with my family and starting my senior year at Oak Hill Academy, I have decided to open my recruitment up and explore what schools would best fit for me as a student-athlete," Preston said. "I am looking forward to taking official visits and have no time table for making my final decision."
Preston took unofficial visits to Maryland twice and plans to eventually take his official.
"Coach [Mark] Turgeon is a great coach, and he's definitely a player's coach," he said recently. "He told me since I'm a versatile player, I could play anywhere on the court that he sees is best for me."
A Los Angeles native, Preston said he's already familiar with USC's campus. He said he visits it frequently when he is home.
The senior has above average ball handing skills for his size and is a good rim protector.
"He's a great player," Marvin Bagley III , the No. 1 player in the Class of 2018, said of Preston this spring. "He does a lot of things well. He drives the ball. He scores the ball, rebounds extremely well, so it was a good experience to go up against guys like that."
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