Kansas Jayhawks LNITP Flashback
( I see you Aaron Miles)
So you could reasonably argue he deserves to be on the First Team.
And yet some of us didn't even have him on the Third Team.
For whatever reason, folks just don't love Ellis. He's the perfect example of a college player whom everyone agrees is really good but almost nobody thinks can be great. Regardless, KU coach Bill Self is predicting great things this season.
"I expect him to be as good as, or better than, any player in the league," Self said Thursday. "I expect him to play at an All-American-type level. I think he's capable of doing that. I thought last year, before he got hurt, there was about a six-game stretch where I think he was playing to an All-American level. He seems to be in the best shape of his life. He's stronger. I don't mean from a weight standpoint. But you can just tell the way he carries himself, he's stronger and more confident. I expect him to have a big year."
Improvement as a junior — something consistent, something steady, something solid — could result in that leap. Selden has already been named to preseason All-America teams, based in part on his play in the World University Games. With the exception of tighter interpretations for traveling, Selden played great in Korea.
“He was the best player on the floor, for any team by far, especially for us,” said teammate Devonte Graham. “I think that tournament did him justice, getting all the negative energy out of his body and out of his head.”
A starter in every game he has played for KU, Selden will get the opportunity he needs from Self.
He could do so mostly as a 3-man — ahead of two teammates (Brannen Greene and Svi Mykhailiuk) with shooting range coveted by pro scouts — if the Jayhawks remain intent on using Graham and Frank Mason together in a small backcourt.
“When Devonte and Frank are in the game it just makes it easier on everybody else,” Selden said. “They give me my points because I can score off them, and their penetration.”
Imagine, if everything started coming easy for Selden. Every night out.
To do that, Selden must block out critics. He learned that after his freshman year, when he admits “at first it might get to you” as a player with high expectations, but just 18 years old when he picked Kansas as a five-star prospect.
Now he’s 21, still at KU and capable, he says, of tuning out all distractions.
“What is it? Rain off the coat?” Selden asked, then laughed when told it was water off the back. “Yeah, that’s it. It’s nothing. I was scrutinized a lot last season, but at the end of the day I’m in a great spot.
“I’m at a top university, school getting paid for, so I can’t complain at all if I don’t play well in a game. It never really gets too crazy in my head with all the negative talking. The higher you get, the more (criticism) there’s going to be, so you might as well take it now.”
After Diallo and Bragg, the next highest-rated incoming player in the league is Texas’ Kerwin Roach, ranked No. 34 by Rivals.
Jawun Evans of Oklahoma State is No. 36, Eric Davis of Texas No. 59, Tevin Mack of Texas No. 61, Esa Ahmad of West Virginia No. 72 and King McClure of Baylor No. 78.
Those are the only top-100 prospects represented on rosters of the 10 league teams.
“Carlton is a great kid. He works hard. He’s going to be a great player,” KU senior forward Perry Ellis said of the 6-foot-9 Cleveland native. “He’s definitely a real skilled player. He gets after it and listens to coach, soaks up what coach is telling him. He’s definitely a key coming in as a freshman.”
Coach Bill Self boasted a bit about Bragg, who averaged 21.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks his senior year at state champion Villa Angela-St. Joseph High, at Thursday’s KU Media Day.
“Carlton is one of the most talented big guys we’ve had since I’ve been here. Offensively, obviously, a Marcus Morris-type guy. He’s one of those guys that has that type of skill, and it’s going to take time, but certainly I think he has a chance to be a special guy,” Self said.
…ESPN recently released a list of the coaches who have signed the most top-25 recruits (in ESPN’s 100) since 2007. Kentucky’s John Calipari has signed 28, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski 22, North Carolina’s Roy Williams 13 and KU’s Bill Self and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim 10 apiece. Top senior players expected to attend Friday’s Late Night in the Phog are: No. 2 Harry Giles, No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, No. 6 Malik Monk, No. 16 Marques Bolden and No. 34 Schnider Herard.
8. Will Cheick Diallo be eligible for Kansas?
The missing element in Kansas' frontcourt last season was a big man who could alter shots at one end and finish above the rim or in transition at the other. The Jayhawks filled that void with the signing of McDonald's All-American Cheick Diallo last spring, but the NCAA has yet to rule whether the 6-foot-9 Mali native will be academically eligible to play this season or not.
At issue are the three-plus years Diallo spent at Our Savior New American, a private school in Centereach, N.Y. Kansas coach Bill Self told reporters earlier this week that Diallo is practicing with the team and that he's hopeful the freshman will be cleared to play by the start of the season. Freshman Carlton Bragg and veteran Jamari Traylor are the other options to start alongside Perry Ellis if Diallo is unavailable.
If Diallo is cleared, he'd be the perfect complement to Ellis in the Kansas frontcourt because their strengths are so different. Ellis atones for modest length and athleticism with a polished repertoire of back-to-the-basket moves and mid-range jump shots. Diallo isn't going to scare anyone if Kansas feeds him the ball in the high post or on the low block, but he runs the floor exceptionally, finishes at the rim, rebounds at both ends and has impressive timing blocking shots.
Yahoo Sports: Ten key questions
On Thursday, though, there was one question that needed to be answered: How does Perry Ellis know Vince Staples?
Ellis, of course, is Kansas’ starting power forward, a senior who could be positioned for All-American honors in his final college season. He is also from Wichita. So none of that explains how Ellis would become internet friends with Staples, the rising MC from Long Beach who came to prominence with some guest appearances on some Odd Future stuff earlier this decade. Staples is an avowed basketball fan with a history of wild Twitter takes on NBA players — Pitchfork once called him “gloriously no bull(expletive— and this one might be the best.
But earlier this week, after Staples name-checked Ellis on Twitter before his show in Lawrence, and the two met up before the show, we had to ask Ellis about it.
So we did.
We’ll let Ellis explain:
“Last year, he was here in Lawrence,” Ellis told me. “And I guess he had tweeted at me and I had favorited it, and we followed each other, and we’d just been talking a little bit.”
Ellis has been told that Staples wore his No. 34 jersey to a show last March in which he opened for Earl Sweatshirt. So when Staples returned to Lawrence earlier this week for a show at Liberty Hall, they linked back up.
“He came back in town,” Ellis said. “So I wanted to go meet him.”
We also noticed that Staples spent most of his time in Lawrence tweeting about Kansas basketball.
So, yeah, Staples is either a huge Kansas basketball fan, a master guerrilla marketer, or both. We reached out to Staples’ reps to see if we could talk some KU basketball, but the interview fell through. Next time, Vince.
The Timberwolves will play the Bulls in Winnipeg on Oct. 10 and the Raptors in Ottawa on Oct. 14. The series concludes when the Raptors play the Washington Wizards in Montreal on Oct. 23. All four games are expected to sell out, and they serve as precursors to the All-Star game being played in Toronto in February, the first time the league has held its midseason showcase outside of the United States.
"This is just a big year for the NBA in Canada," said Dan MacKenzie, the vice president and managing director of NBA Canada.
It's no coincidence that Wiggins will play a prominent role this time around. He has generated national attention since he was a 14-year-old and TSN put every one of the games during his lone season at Kansas on national television. He was chosen No. 1 overall last year by the Cleveland Cavaliers, traded before training camp to Minnesota in a deal that netted the Cavs All-Star forward Kevin Love and was the runaway winner of the rookie of the year award in his first season with the Timberwolves.
"He is going to do a lot for the future growth of our fan base in Canada," MacKenzie said.
"It's a lot to absorb and he's a smart kid," Wittman said after Friday's session at Verizon Center.
This isn't to imply that this season Oubre will leapfrog Otto Porter, a third-year forward who appears to be on another level himself, in the rotation. But long-term, Oubre could be a starter.
The Wizards were able to trade up from 19th in June's draft to make a deal for Oubre, who left Kansas after one season. They weren't alone. Several other NBA teams were trying to move up to get Oubre, widely considered a lottery-pick talent who fell just outside of it because his statistics didn't shout elite. But everything else about him -- skill set, athleticism and attitude -- suggests just that.
While Oubre hasn't been bashful about how highly he regards himself, he hasn't had any issues fitting in. He seems to know when to tune it down and listen.
“He had an MRI (Friday) and it showed a bone bruise, so we’re going to kind of shut him down for a couple weeks and then work him back in,” said Stotts. “So he’s going to be out for a little bit.”
It’s particularly bad news for Alexander, who is trying to make Portland’s roster after going undrafted out of Kansas. The 6-8 forward has been drawing praise for his play during offseason workouts and during the first few days of training camp, making him one of the odds-on favorites to make the regular season roster of the four non-guaranteed players fighting for two remaining spots.
Big 12 / College News
Oklahoma's men's basketball team begins practice this week with plenty of expectations on its shoulders.
The Sooners are coming off a 24-11 season, which included a tie for second place in the Big 12 and a Sweet 16 appearance.
They return four starters and two other players who contributed off the bench last season and are picked by many as a top 10 team entering this season.
Reigning Big 12 Player of the Year Buddy Hield is among the returners, and his work on his game has drawn rave reviews over the summer.
With a strong incoming class and forward Dante Buford being eligible this season, the Sooners should have a bench better equipped to deal with the rigors of the Big 12 and eventually, the postseason.
The bench was one of the weaknesses of last year's team, averaging just 11.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a year ago.
Can this team challenge Kansas for Big 12 supremacy?
Most seasons, one of the preseason storylines in a year with an Oklahoma City regional site would be whether or not the Sooners could do well enough to stay home for their first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
But the way things look going into this year, barring a major slip-up or surprises elsewhere in college basketball, sticking close to home seems very likely.
The Sooners have their eyes on breaking Kansas' streak of 11 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles.
Louisville is investigating allegations that former Cardinals men's basketball staffer Andre McGee brought escorts into dorm parties, and paid for the women to strip and have sex with recruits, their fathers and players.
Those allegations by Katina Powell are in an upcoming book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," from a publishing affiliate of the Indianapolis Business Journal. Some details of the book were published on the Journal's web site, noting during a four-year period many of the activities allegedly took place in the players' dormitory.
Louisville officials say they learned of the allegations in late August and immediately notified the NCAA. McGee left Louisville in 2014 to become an assistant at Missouri-Kansas City. That school put McGee on paid leave Friday night and issued a statement saying the allegations were being taken seriously.
The age of consent to have sexual intercourse in Kentucky is 16, though in some instances it could be 18. It is unclear if a criminal investigation has also been launched in light of the allegations.
Louisville Metro police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said she was unaware of any investigation by the department, saying it was an issue to be handled by campus police.
University police operator Peter Anderson said he was unaware of the allegations and that no staffers were available to comment. Cardinals basketball spokesman Kenny Klein initially notified the compliance office about the allegations, but said he didn't know if police are involved.
Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said the situation caused sleeplessness when he first found out and said that he tried to conduct his own investigation before being rebuffed by the school's compliance office.
The book alleges that over a four-year period, Powell brought women into Billy Minardi Hall – the basketball dormitory on the Louisville campus that is named after Pitino’s late brother-in-law – through a side door to entertain players and recruits. Powell also says her dancers – which included her daughters – also entertained Louisville players at other locations off campus. After the women danced for the players for an agreed-upon sum, Powell alleges that she would negotiate a second payment for the women to have sex with the athletes.
The book alleges: “At the peak of the dormitory and off-campus entertainment more than $10,000 cash changed hands to Katina for supplying the women. This does not include the hundreds of one dollar bills thrown at the dancers at each party by McGee, the recruits and players. Nor does it include the money paid to the women who had sex with the recruits afterward. So frequent were the escapades that Katina would later say, especially after the Cardinals won the 2012-2013 NCAA championship: I felt like I was part of the recruitment team. A lot of them players went to Louisville because of me.”
The book cites Powell’s diaries and journals as sources for much of the information. It also contains a handwritten page from one journal listing 19 parties for Louisville basketball and/or former Louisville star Terrance Williams.
…The book does not make any allegation that Pitino – who weathered a sex-related extortion attempt that he announced in 2009 – knew of McGee’s activities or had knowledge of the women being provided to the players.
…“This story needs to be told,” publisher Patricia Keiffner said in the IBJ release, which goes on to say, “Powell does not present a sympathetic character. Her life is full of contradictions. She has no remorse for her life or the choices she has made. Her story is true, and Breaking Cardinal Rules goes into firsthand and graphic detail.”
During his 19 years as a college basketball referee, J.D. Collins earned his share of plum assignments. He worked in ten NCAA tournaments, including five Sweet 16 games, one Elite Eight and the 2008 Final Four semifinal between UCLA and Memphis. In 2009, a knee injury forced Collins off the floor, whereupon he became officiating coordinator for the Summit League and the Mid-American Conference.
Yet, when Collins, 52, interviewed for the position of the NCAA’s national coordinator of men’s basketball officiating last spring, there was one item on his resume that stood out: His ten years as CEO of Hartford Concrete Products, a manufacturing company based in Hartford City, Ind., where he lives. Collins spent a total of 23 years with the company. As CEO, he was in charge of more than 200 employees, and he had to learn to use technology to manage large, complex systems.
The fact that Collins’s corporate experience was a decisive factor in his hiring says a great deal about where college basketball officiating is heading. Until now, referees have always been independent contractors who form relationships with individual conferences and plan their schedule accordingly. Since refs, like everyone else, want to maximize profits, that often means working a lot of games in a row, regardless of how cumbersome the travel is. Not only does that system leave referees tired, it also renders them unaccountable. Blow a crucial call one night in the Big Ten, and you can still draw a check the next night from the Horizon League. With fees steadily on the rise, the problem was bound to get worse.
The solution that has long been floated envisions the NCAA creating a national staff of fulltime referees. That idea, however, has seemed unrealistic. Not only would such a system be unwieldy, but it would also be expensive because the NCAA would have to provide health insurance and other benefits just like every other major corporation.
Lately, however, this idea is gaining real traction—and Collins’ hiring is a reflection of that. Over the last few years, each Power Five conference has partnered with at least one other league to coordinate officiating assignments in their region. We are still a long way from a single, centralized, national staff, but we are also much closer than we have ever been.
Josh Jackson says he’s planning on visiting two schools in October, but did not mention any specific dates.
“I’m definitely going to take two this month, but I’m not sure when,” the 6-foot-7 small forward told Scout.com at USA Junior National Team minicamp in Colorado Springs, Colo. “The two I’m going to visit are Arizona and Kansas.”
Jackson previously took an unofficial to Arizona and has a connection with head coach Sean Miller from their time together with the USA U19 team.
“It was real nice,” he said. “The campus was real nice. The weather was great. I love the hot weather, coming from Michigan where it snows all the time. Obviously I have a great relationship with coach Miller with him coaching me at U19. I think he’s a great coach and I just really like Arizona.”
Kansas is also attractive because of their tradition.
“They are really known for having a great history,” Jackson said. “I watch Kansas year in and year out. Coach [Bill] Self, I think he’s a good coach and I just love what he does with his guys year in and year out. He’s always helping guys get into the league. Putting them to the best position possible for them to succeed. I just like their style of play. They are a real fast paced team and I feel like that’s where I’m at my best.”
Head coach Mark Gottfried told Azubuike he could follow in the footsteps of big men like current junior Beejay Anya.
“He just told me that once I come over there that they’re going to throw the ball to me, that they’re going to try to use the big,” Azubuike said. “He was just showing me different plays and telling me what my role is when I come to the team.”
Azubuike also enjoyed his visit to Kansas the weekend before.
“It was good,” he said. “It’s known for its big men and stuff. They’re known for using their bigs.”
Azubuike currently has no other visits planned and no timetable on a decision.
“For now I don’t think so,” he said.
“The good thing I like about them is right now I can play because I get after it and I have the tenacity and the intangibles that allow me to play,” he said. “But what they can do for me is they obviously have the NBA experience. They have guys that know how to get to the NBA and have been been in the NBA. So they offer knowledge and stuff that’s really hard to find.”
Asked if he could envision himself at St. John’s, Lightfoot said, “A lot of people don’t like the big-city thing but I really enjoy the city and I had a great time. I’m a fan of the colder weather, which is pretty cool, I like that.”
A onetime New Mexico commit, Lightfoot has now visited Kansas, Utah and Stanford and St. John’s with Arizona (Oct. 10) up next.
“Then I’m done and I’m going to take a couple of weeks to ponder over my schools and then I’ll decide,” he said.
Fox was asked if he and Malik Monk could potentially coexist at the same school — Kentucky is recruiting both lead guards and both will visit campus Oct. 16-18 for Big Blue Madness — and he seemed enthusiastic about the possibility.
…“We do have an abundance of elite point guards but I feel like I’m the best,” Fox said. “I feel like I’ve proven it on every level. We do have elite point guards here and I feel like I want to show people that I’m the best guard regardless of class.”
Fox also told Scout.com that “it’s probably not going to happen” with N.C. State, taking them out of the mix for him.
He’s already taken officials to LSU and Louisville and will visit Kansas (Oct. 9-11), Kentucky (Oct. 16-18) and Arizona (Nov. 6-8).
“Most likely I’ll get it done between my Arizona visit and my first high school game, which is the [November] 16th and my Arizona visit is the first weekend in November,” he told Scout. “It’ll be around early to mid-November.”
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