Second-year Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning knew, no matter what, he’d be in Lawrence on March 5, 2016 for the Senior Day/Allen Fieldhouse swan-song of his son, Evan.
“My dad actually had one schedule request for Wake Forest (when taking job). That was for him to be able to come back here for this game,” Evan Manning, KU’s 6-foot-3 senior guard from Free State High and New Hampton (N.H.) Prep School, said proudly.
He was referring to Saturday’s 3 p.m., Senior Day contest versus Iowa State.
“He’s gotten to make it to a couple other games this year. Coach (Bill) Self put me in for a couple of ’em because he knew he was here. That was cool for him (Self) to do. I’m really excited to have my family in town for the game. I’m looking forward to it,” Evan added of Danny, mom Julie plus sister Taylor, who lives in Portland, Ore.
…“When we were here as freshmen, me, Perry (Ellis), Lando (Landen Lucas), Ty (Tyler Self) and Mari (Jamari Traylor) ... we were all around Travis and they did that (2012) Late Night skit where he (Releford) had all his rings out. That was something. We looked at him and were like, ‘Hey when we leave here, we want to be like that. We want to have those opportunities to put ourselves in position to win the championship each year.’ We’ve been lucky enough to do that. That’s been our goal.”
Self, who has directed KU to the 12 titles, applauds the contribution of Manning, who has scored 26 points and dished five assists in games and worked diligently on the scout team at practice thus far during his walk-on career.
“He gets it. He is smart. He is a great scout team guy,” Bill Self said. “He had the opportunity to go to other places but wanted to be here and loves KU.
“Evan will be successful in whatever he chooses to do. He got his degree in athletic administration so there’s several different avenues. He’ll have opportunities and certainly make the most of them.”
Introspection is a luxury rarely afforded to college basketball players these days. The game is so young, dominated by one-and-done freshmen whose collegiate careers are too brief to offer much in the way of perspective.
But this season, seniors have overtaken the sport, not only fulfilling key leadership spots on their own teams but also running roughshod over the national conversation. They are players who have grown into their excellence, stumbling and learning through four years to emerge the better for it.
Along the way they've learned a thing or two. Given such a unique and rare opportunity to talk to players who are blessed with perspective, we decided to ask them what they've learned along the way and what they wish their younger selves had known.
…Perry Ellis ‘HOW CAN YOU IMPACT EACH PLAY?’
The key thing to growing each year is playing with energy every single possession. That's what coaches are really looking at. How can you impact each play? I realize now it means so much. In games, all those little energy things you can do, playing every possession, it really does matter.
At first I was overwhelmed. I didn't get it. I kept thinking, "Man, I can't do anything right." I remember [former Kansas forward] Kevin Young a lot of times telling me to just settle down.
I couldn't. I laugh now at how fast the game was to me. ... You realize you can't do everything right. ... You've got to have fun and just play with confidence, even if you don't have it. You can't think too much out there.
ESPN: College BBall Seniors Impart Wisdom to their Freshman Selves
3. Kurtis Townsend, Kansas Jayhawks
Duke and Kentucky have been in a tier by themselves the past couple of years, but Townsend might be the most feared assistant on an individual basis. He helped get Jamal Crawford back during his days at Michigan, and has recruited the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Ben McLemore, Sherron Collins, Brandon Rush and Jeff Withey to Kansas.
ESPN($) Best Assistant Recruiters
Dwight Coleby, KU’s 6-9 junior-to-be from the Bahamas, who is sitting out the season rehabbing from ACL surgery, is able to run at this time, Self said on Tuesday’s Hawk Talk radio show. “We think there’s no reason he can’t be full contact by the time summer starts. He’s doing well,” Self said. A transfer from Ole Miss, Coleby, even if healthy, would have had to sit out this season because of transfer rules.
The coaching staff for the 5th annual Bill Self Basketball Fantasy ProCamp has been finalized.
Several basketball celebrities from various backgrounds will join Coach Self and his staff, including Jay Williams (ESPN Analyst and former #2 overall NBA draft pick), Miles Simon (ESPN Analyst), Fran Fraschilla (ESPN Analyst), Doug Gottlieb (CBS Sports Analyst), Dino Gaudio (ESPN Analyst), and Jerry Wainwright (Fresno State Asst Coach) from April 29 – May 1 in Lawrence.
This unique fantasy experience provides insider access to one of college basketball’s most powerful and tradition-rich programs.
Some of the best coaches in college basketball will be in the Garden State on Friday, April 8 at the New Jersey Basketball Coaches Clinic held by Roselle Catholic.
John Calipari of Kentucky, SMU’s Larry Brown, Bill Self from Kansas, Jamie Dixon of Pitt, Monmouth’s King Rice, Frank Martin from South Carolina, Mike Hopkins of Syracuse sand Joe Mihalich from Hofstra will be speak at the event, which benefits St. Joseph the Carpenter Church.
LJW Tait: The Day After
Nebraska on Tuesday announced its home-and-home series with Kansas. The Huskers play in Lawrence, Kansas, next season, on Dec. 10, and the Jayhawks will play at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 16, 2017.
Kansas marks Nebraska’s first regular-season opponent from the Big 12 Conference for men’s basketball since it joined the Big Ten in 2011.
Nebraska assistant coach Jim Molinari, who’s in charge of scheduling, first contacted Kansas about a series, Boehm said. Nebraska administration then worked with Larry Keating, the special assistant to the Kansas athletic director, who’s in charge of KU’s scheduling.
“Kansas was very interested,” Boehm said, adding that the schools have been visiting about a series for a couple of years.
“The two programs have talked before this. It just wasn’t the right time to pull the trigger yet. I think both parties felt this was the right time to start something up.”
That Kansas would add Nebraska isn’t that surprising when considering the Jayhawks have already played a home-and-home series with Colorado, which left the Big 12 in 2011, the same year Nebraska joined the Big Ten.
“It was a win-win for both programs,” Boehm said.
Lincoln Journal Star
The story goes that when Roy Williams coached the Kansas Jayhawks, he would take recruits to the school’s Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum.
“No other school you could go to has a place like this,” Williams told them.
It’s not clear if the alleged pitch sold any 6-foot-10-inch post player, but museum director Leonard Krishtalka smiles when he tells that story. This was the University of Kansas — James Naismith, Final Fours, championships and high rankings.
Williams might have known that work inside the century-old, gray stone museum could someday save the planet.
And now it has a ranking of its own.
In a first-ever survey, Best College Reviews recently ranked KU’s museum fourth best in the country.
Krishtalka, ever the scientific researcher, determined KU was actually top-ranked. Among public schools, that is. The three institutions above KU were Harvard, Drexel and Yale.
“All private, all eastern, all with huge endowments,” said Krishtalka, who grew up in Montreal and slept in his office when he first arrived in Lawrence 20 years ago. “We are the underdog here, and this ranking is long overdue.”
In 2012 and 2013, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and the state Legislature cut income taxes as part of a plan to stimulate economic growth in the Sunflower State.
This year, the tax cuts and a downturn in the oil and gas industry has dropped tax revenue. In February, that shortfall reached $53 million, according to the Kansas City Star.
This week, Brownback announced a $17 million cut to the state’s university system to help make up for the shortfall. The cuts translate into a 3% reduction in funding for state education.
The Board of Regents that governs the state university system will make a decision by Friday on where to make the cuts at the six universities in the state system. Those schools are the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Pittsburg State University and Wichita State University.
Kansas currently provides funding for higher education that is 21% below pre-2008 levels, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“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
Ellis 1st team, Mason, Selden 2nd team
CBS Big 12 Awards
During the Jayhawks’ run, nobody else playing under the Big 12 banner has reached the Final Four. West Virginia was in the Big East when the Mountaineers crashed the party in 2010.
Yet man and computer universally point to the Big 12 as the best conference this season and have ranked it at or near the top for years. Dick Vitale says it, Jay Bilas says it, Doug Gottlieb says it. Ken Pomeroy’s computer verifies it, as do Jeff Sagarin’s analytics.
The NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index backs it up, too. The Big 12 has been No. 1 in the RPI for three years running, yet Kansas wins the league title every single time.
League coaches struggle to explain the Jayhawks’ dominance, and they begrudgingly marvel over it.
“The fact that nobody else breaks through makes their accomplishment that much more remarkable,” said Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger.
To be fair, there have been split decisions. Oklahoma shared the crown in 2005, Texas did the same in 2006 and ′08, and Kansas State grabbed a piece in 2013.
“It’s not like our league hasn’t had a lot of other highly ranked teams,” said Baylor’s Scott Drew. “We’ve got three in the top 10 right now and six in the Top 25. It is unusual that somebody else hasn’t won it outright. With the parity in today’s game, the streak is truly amazing.
“I knew this year’s Kansas team would be really good when they won the World University Games last summer. They were beating college all-star teams.”
Coaches insist, at least publicly, that the streak doesn’t reflect poorly on the league. They fall back on the computer numbers and rankings.
“I’ve only been here one year, but it is the best, RPI-wise,” said Shaka Smart of Texas. “Kansas’ continuity is impressive. Internally, they have the expectation that they’re not just going to win, but they’ll do all the things that go into winning.”
Rival coaches have some theories about why the Jayhawks always rule.
“They never lose at home,” said West Virginia’s Bob Huggins. “Other teams chasing them invariably lose a game or two at home. They don’t. That’s the difference.”
Kansas has only five conference losses at home during the 12-year span.
“No one else in this league has that type of tradition or atmosphere,” said Tubby Smith of Texas Tech. “The consistency of their coaching staff, the commitment by their administration, their great fans … it all leads to the most talented players.”
First-year Iowa State coach Steve Prohm is seeing KU’s excellence up close for the first time, but he’s long been an admirer.
“A lot of my offense at Murray State was Kansas 1, Kansas 2, Kansas 3,” he said. “I spent so much time studying them. They don’t try to trick you. They come right at you.
“Bill Self is a hall of fame coach. Their run is one of the most amazing accomplishments in all of sports. My goal is to one day stop that streak.”
We've come close in the past. In 2014, Coastal Carolina was tied with Virginia with around eight minutes left before falling. In 2013, Southern gave Gonzaga everything it could before losing by only six. Back in 1990, Murray State took Michigan State to overtime before eventually dropping a 75-71 decision. Then, of course, back in 1989, two teams came within a last-second blocked shot of pulling the granddaddy of all upsets.
Every year, the question is raised if this could finally be when we get a 16-seed over a 1-seed. And every year, the answer has been no, often resoundingly. But just because it hasn't happened before doesn't mean that it's incapable of happening. Here are a few reasons as to why, particularly in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, a 16-over-1 upset has potential.
CBS: Three reasons a 16-seed can lose to a 1-seed
There have been 120 1 vs. 16 games since the tournament expanded in 1985, so if we haven't had one by now, we'll certainly have one soon, right?
Well, it's already happened once in women's basketball.
No. 16 Harvard beat No. 1 Stanford 71-67 in 1998 and it remains the only 1 vs. 16 upset in NCAA Tournament history. The situation surrounding the game was unique, and helps explain the loss. Stanford lost two key players to injuries leading up to the game.
CBS: Three reasons a No. 16 will never beat a No. 1 seed.
'ESPN Virtual 3' - an innovative technology which illuminates the 3-point line for every 3-point shot attempt - will debut on a college telecast from the New York Life ACC Basketball Tournament in Washington, D.C. beginning on Tuesday, March 8. The technology has previously been used for all NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC broadcasts this season.
On-Site Studio Coverage
ESPN will provide on-site studio coverage from the ACC, Big 12 and SEC tournaments, including COLLEGE GAMEDAY Covered by State Farm originating from the New York Life ACC Basketball Tournament title game in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 12. COLLEGE GAMEDAY will air at noon on ESPN.
Rece Davis and analysts Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams will provide segments from Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 10, through the ACC title game. Host Karl Ravech and analyst Miles Simon will deliver coverage on Friday and Saturday from the Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Basketball Tournament in Kansas City and John Saunders, Dick Vitale and Sean Farnham will be at the SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. on Saturday and Sunday.
ESPN3 will provide extra Champ Week coverage with five special "ESPN3 Surround" applications - a second-screen initiative, which provides an alternative viewing experience to the traditional telecast with different camera angles and audio - on the ACC, American, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC title games.
Find out the tournament history for specific seeds, teams, coaches or conferences.
NCAA Tournament Brackets and History interactive tool
CBS Interactive Tool: Pick two teams to compare record, RPI and SOS details head to head. By default, the top two teams in RPI are shown.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Athlete Institute (Orange, Ontario) made Canadian basketball history by capturing the inaugural Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association prep title by sweeping Orangeville Prep 2-0 in the best-of-three series.
Seven-footer Thon Maker had 27 points, 13 rebounds, seven blocks and three steals in the decisive game and was named OSBA Most Valuable Player.
Perhaps more amazing is that Maker had 18 of those 27 in the second quarter.
Five-star wing Terrance Ferguson has decommitted from Alabama, his mother told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
Ferguson, the No. 13 prospect in the ESPN 100, pledged to the Crimson Tide in August but never signed a letter of intent.
…At the time, Holdman and Ferguson both maintained that he was still committed to Alabama -- saying that an illness in the family prevented them from getting together for a signing day celebration.
However, sources had long told ESPN that the relationship between the two sides soured when Ferguson told the Alabama staff that he wasn't going to sign during the early period.
On whether Alabama would remain under consideration, Holdman said, "I just want to make sure we're making the right decision."
Ferguson is a 6-foot-7 shooting guard from Advanced Prep International (Dallas, Texas). Before he committed to Alabama, Kansas was very much in the mix -- and the Jayhawks, among others, could get involved once again.
Ray Forsett, Ferguson's coach at Advanced Prep International, said, "He's been thinking about it for months. He was waiting and playing through it. He went on a visit [to Alabama] this past weekend. He wanted to get a look before he looked at anything else. He's looking at different options, going through the situation.
"He's going to take his time and wade through some things and go from there."
Ferguson's coach at API, Ray Forsett cleared up the reason for Ferguson opening things up, touched on where the high flying shooting guard stands and addressed rumors about potential academic issues from Ferguson's time at his previous school, Prime Prep.
"He still very much interested in Alabama. He just wants to take some time and think about his decision and open it up and see if he's making the right decision. He just wants to go on some visits and talk about it with some schools and go from there."
"His focus is finishing up school and preparing for these different All-Star games coming up."
"I know there are a lot of questions and concerns about the kids who have gone to Prime Prep. Terrance has done everything that he's supposed to do to make sure that he's a qualifier. He's taken the right classes from a school that has an approved 48H and he's done everything to make sure that he's where he needs to be academically."
My recruitment has been fun!
I think the best part is just building the relationships with the coaches; Coach Calipari is in contact with me every week as well as Coach Kruger, Coach Self, Coach Bennett all of them.
It was funny, I went on an unofficial visit to Kansas recently when they got the big win over Kentucky and the players were dancing in the locker room after the game. Then I looked over to my right and I see Coach Jerrance Howard dabbing! Haha!
I didn’t know he could dance like that, but he was killin’ it!
Those are the types of things that make the recruitment a lot of fun.
I narrowed my list down recently to 11. In no order I’m down to Missouri, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas, Virginia, Duke, Kentucky, Texas Tech and SMU. Although I’m down to 11, at this point, there’s only 4-to-5 that I’m following closely.
I don’t have any plans for visits right now, but when the season is over with I’ll get out to some schools.
I’ve been talking to my boy Mike (Porter) about which schools we like the most. I know Mike has told you guys in his blog that we want to go to college and play together so we’re definitely focusing on that.
Trae Young blog for USA Today
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
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