Top-ranked recruit Josh Jackson has signed and will be a freshman at the University of Kansas in 2016-17, KU men's basketball coach Bill Self announced Tuesday. Jackson verbally committed to KU in early April.
Jackson (6-foot-8, 205 pounds) is the second No. 1 rated player to sign with Kansas in the past three seasons. Jackson, No. 1 by Rivals.com and 247Sports, joins current Minnesota Timberwolves standout Andrew Wiggins who played at KU in 2013-14.
"Josh has been a guy that is so respected in all high school circles the last four years," Self said. "He is probably as highly thought of as any recent player to come out of high school because of his competitive nature. He left Detroit to finish his high school career at Prolific Prep in the Napa (California) area. He is very similar to Andrew Wiggins. He's a tall guard that can do a lot of everything. We feel his impact on our program next year will be as much as any freshman will have on any college program. He's extremely athletic but more importantly extremely competitive. We have a very competitive culture at Kansas but I think it just got improved with the signing of Josh. He's a guy that everybody enjoys playing with because he is so unselfish but also a guy that can take a game over."
…"I played him at the 1-4 positions this year," McKnight recently told reporters. "Defensively, I adjusted our scheme this year because of Josh. We literally didn't help off other players when Josh was guarding 1-on-1. He guarded 1-5 for us. He's so quick off the ground. His ability to block shots and rebound will make a huge impact."
Jackson has quite the resume when competing for USA Basketball. He has won three gold medals for USA at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Maldonado, Uruguay, the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship in Heraklion, Greece.
"Josh has a great feel for basketball, in large part, because his mother, Apples Jones, who played college basketball at Allen County Community College in Kansas and UTEP," Self said. "His recruitment was fierce, and deservedly so. Coach (Kurtis) Townsend has done such a good job for a long period of time making sure Josh and Apples were both comfortable and educated on our situation and how Kansas could be a good fit for them."
Self called the recruitment of Jackson, who chose KU over Michigan State, Arizona and many others, “fierce and deservedly so. Coach Townsend (Kurtis, assistant) has done such a good job for a long period of time making sure Josh and Apples (Jones, Jackson’s mom who played at Allen County CC and UTEP) were both comfortable and educated on our situation and how Kansas could be a good fit for them,” Self added.
KU assistant Townsend also was lead recruiter on Wiggins, who played at KU a year as the No. 1 prep player in the Class of 2013.
Townsend told the Journal-World about the first time he saw Jackson play.
“His freshman year ... It was a lot like when I saw ‘Wiggs’ as a freshman. I thought ‘Wiggs’ was like Kobe (Bryant). No different when I saw Josh,” Townsend said. “I said, ‘Golly this guy is incredible for his age.’
“He had length. What set him apart was he tries so hard. It was a joke. Even at that age. His mom told me the reason he plays like that is she told him, ‘If you ever step between these lines you are there to do one thing — it’s serious business,’’’ Townsend added. “She said he takes that to heart. He did that at the McDonald’s game. NBA scouts who were there said he changed that culture. He was playing to win.”
In my 14 years in the business, Josh Jackson is the top shooting guard I’ve ever scouted.
…In seeing Jackson in person about 30 times over the years, his game begins and ends with his competitiveness. Sometimes you see this level of fight in a point guard or a bruising interior player, but rarely, if ever, from a wing playmaker. Then I would mention Jackson’s ball handling and passing. He loves to distribute the ball. And at 6-foot-7 he has the instincts of a high level point guard in seeking and manufacturing opportunities for his teammates. Next is his work on the defensive end of the court. In an age where many top prospects hide defensively, Jackson seeks out the opponent's biggest threat with the purpose of shutting him down. And he is also an eager rebounder. Few, if any, shooting guards I’ve scouted have hunted down rebounds like he does.
It’s bumpy everywhere in the Big 12 but Lawrence, Kan., where the tears dry fast. Mourning never lingers there. They regroup and rebuild. Every year. That’s why Kansas won its 12th consecutive Big 12 championship last year. And that’s why the Jayhawks will enter 2016-17 as the favorite – again – to win the Big 12.
…Kansas should win the Big 12 for a 13th consecutive season, a streak that would tie the all-time mark achieved by UCLA. The Bruins did it with Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Sidney Wicks, Marques Johnson, Bill Walton and other great college players. The one-and-done era destabilized programs that enjoyed continuity in previous decades. It seems more difficult to control a conference post-2006 (the year the NBA implemented its new age limit for prospects), with the constant roster turnover and adjustments, compared with the 1960s and 1970s when UCLA established the record.
The Jayhawks should match that all-time mark. That matters.
In the 17 tournaments so far this century, 150 Division I programs have tasted victory in the Big Dance at least once. In fact, six new teams joined that club just in the 2016 tournament. Congratulations to Arkansas-Little Rock, Hawaii, Holy Cross, Middle Tennessee, Providence and Yale.
At the other end of this spectrum there are, well, the usual suspects. Certainly the easiest measure of tournament success is how many titles you win. By this yardstick, Duke and Connecticut are tied with three championships apiece this century, though Huskies'fans will be quick to remind you their team has actually cut down the nets four times since 1999. (And, yes, UCLA fans might point out their team has won 11 titles in total.)
Then again, tournament games won this century can give us an additional and even more fine-grained picture of which programs have been consistently successful over the past 15-plus years. With that in mind, here's an updated list of the most successful tournament teams of the century based on victories since 2000. When applicable, ties were broken according to number of national titles:
…2. Kansas Jayhawks (42 wins)
National title: 2008
Michigan State had its Middle Tennessee episode; Duke's ghosts wear uniforms from Lehigh and Mercer; and North Carolina missed the tournament entirely as recently as 2010. But the last time Kansas failed to win at least one game was the 2006 tournament. No team in the country can match Bill Self's 10-tournament-and-counting streak in this respect. Gonzaga, with wins in eight consecutive tournaments, comes closest.
ESPN (Duke is #1)
“We had practice Thursday and Friday. Those were basically pick-up (games),” Lightfoot, a senior at Gilbert (Ariz.) Christian, said. “Afterward, I initiated some competitive drills — two dribbles, face-up from the top of the key, things like that.”
Yes, you read it right. The high school senior, ranked No. 67 nationally by ESPN.com, organized drills in an otherwise low-key all-star environment.
“I was playing with Yoeli Childs (6-7, 220), who is going to BYU, Dewan Huell (6-10, 205, Miami), the kid going to Texas (6-10, 230 James Banks). Every time I get a chance to do something like that, I feel I want to take advantage of it,” Lightfoot said of working out with elite bigs.
“The pick-up was fun and all, but I really wanted to do something where I was going to get better by being out there. I felt those were some fun drills that helped me get better,” he added.
Lightfoot, who scored 27 points in the second half, didn’t necessarily like the way the game became a dunkfest late, with breakaway after breakaway. At least his team won the dunkfest, though.
“I was trying to help my guys crank it up. Some of ’em did. Some of ’em didn’t. It is what it is,” Lightfoot said. “I can’t control them. All I can control is what I do. It’s hard to have a competitive spirit (in all-star games) because you are letting people get layups — not me, obviously. We (team) were letting a couple people have layups and dunks. That’s not how I play.”
Kansas University senior Perry Ellis, junior Wayne Selden Jr. and freshman Cheick Diallo have been invited to the 2016 NBA Combine, set for May 11-15 in Chicago.
It’s believed all three will compete in drills and 5-on-5 games at the Combine, which is used both to measure and test prospects, plus watch them compete in drills and scrimmages.
Junior Brannen Greene, who also has declared for the draft, did not net an invitation to the Combine.
“(I’m) disappointed for Brannen, but he’ll still have opportunities to get in camps and work out for teams,” KU coach Bill Self said Saturday. “(I’m) happy for those other guys. They deserve to be there. Now it’s up to them to go perform well there.”
“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
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he doesn't expect any changes in the men's basketball schedule after meeting with coaches Tuesday in Phoenix.
Oklahoma became the first Big 12 Final Four team since 2012, losing to Villanova in the semifinals. Bowlsby had expressed concern that the round-robin schedule and conference tournament might affect NCAA performance.
"They like what we do but they acknowledge it's hard," Bowlsby said. "I think everybody thinks the double round-robin is the right thing."
Dallas Morning News
LJW Tait: Is Big 12 expansion back in the spotlight?
Read the latest tweets from University of Memphis president David Rudd. They confirm that the moment may have arrived.
There are tweets about college football television ratings in Memphis.
There are tweets about "why U of M and Tiger athletics matter locally and nationally."
There are tweets documenting that Memphis "fans show up in huge numbers."
There are tweets about "a city that is famous all over the world."
Yes, the moment may have arrived for the school and the city. The moment Memphis makes its final pitch to gain invitation to the Big 12.
If Rudd and his allies are successful, it will guarantee the future of Memphis athletics, elevate the profile of the broader university, and bring new vitality and investment to the entire community.
If they are not, Memphis athletics will continue on a slow slide toward irrelevance.
Memphis Commercial Appeal
A month from now, the University of Cincinnati could be in the Big 12 Conference.
Or UC could be a month away from receiving this harsh reality check: The Bearcats may be stuck indefinitely on the wrong side of a growing schism in college athletics driven by lucrative television contracts.
The Big 12 presidents and chancellors could decide whether the 10-school conference will expand during their annual spring meetings May 31-June 3 in suburban Dallas.
Expansion is not imminent for the smallest of the five major football conferences. But Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby told reporters Monday consultants' preliminary data shows expanding to 12 schools and adding a championship game would improve the the conference's chances of consistently making it to the lucrative College Football Playoff.
That could bode well for UC, because Big 12 officials have said the data will play a big part in driving the decision. The consultants' final report is expected by the presidents' meetings, the Dallas Morning News reported, but it's possible a decision on expansion may not come until later this summer.
How much money would UConn add to the value of the Big 12? Is it more than what BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis or Central Florida could produce?
Those are the ultimate and unanswered questions as a dizzying variety of new reports and speculation emerged on the conference expansion front with Big 12 athletic directors meeting this week in Phoenix.
The renewed focus on expansion highlights the challenge facing new UConn athletic director Dave Benedict, who has been on the job less than two months.
As usual, there’s nothing conclusive about UConn’s hopes to escape the American Athletic Conference and join the Big 12, or another Power 5 conference.
Navigate Research, a firm focused on “sports and entertainment,” told the Big 12 Wednesday it can increase its chances of getting a team into the four-team College Football Playoff by 10-15 percent if it adds two teams along with a conference championship game.
Monday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the probability was only 4-5 percent more, but said Wednesday that number was only if the conference adds a conference championship game without expanding.
Navigate determined that number by running about 40,000 computer simulations of a field that’s determined by 13 humans.
What’s not public yet is Navigate’s determination of which expansion candidates add the most value to the Big 12 in the TV rights market.
Added to this mix is a new report from the Cincinnati Enquirer that Texas opposes Big 12 expansion, which it could block it by getting one league ally. And that would likely end the uneasy truce between Texas and Oklahoma, whose president, David Boren, has been an outspoken proponent of expansion and Texas turning its own ESPN-run network into a Big 12 network.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who has been tepid on expansion, signaled how important money and the value of expansion candidates are on Monday.
“If we do nothing, we’ll fall behind with the SEC and Big Ten,” Bowlsby said. “We may still be just as competitive as we are today, but we’ll fall behind financially.”
Kansas's conference title streak requires no further illumination or qualification. The Jayhawks are long past the point when a college basketball writer might feel obliged to, say, qualify its meaning with context. Explaining why decades of night-in-night-out success is a sample-size accomplishment beyond NCAA tournament glory, or listing the current NBA talent Kansas has faced down since the streak began, or quantifying the overall strength of the league in which the titles were accrued -- these bonus plaudits are no longer necessary. The thing itself is enough. Twelve straight conference titles, dude. Twelve! What more can you really say?
How about this: KU won eight of those 12 straight league titles outright. It shared just four. Oh, and this: Kansas split three of the first four in the run (in 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2007-08). Since then, exactly one team has managed to keep pace with the Jayhawks for an entire conference season.
The team? Kansas State. The coach? Bruce Weber.
Short of "Hey, a team just won its 12th straight Big 12 title," the notion of a Weber-coached Kansas State sharing one of those titles with Kansas is about as crazy as KU streak-fact ephemera can get. And that gap -- between Weber's hugely successful debut and the atmosphere around the program now -- reflects not only how much K-State has struggled since but how pivotal the 2016-17 season, Weber's fifth in Manhattan, Kansas will be.
Four years after he was fired by the University of Illinois, basketball coach Bruce Weber is making a comeback in Champaign. He’s bringing former Illini football coach Ron Turner with him, too.
According to The News-Gazette in Champaign (http://bit.ly/1rdNONL ), Weber and Turner are part of a group that has bought local landmark Jarling’s Custard Cup. Weber now coaches Kansas State and Turner is football coach at Florida International.
The Jarling family had said last summer it was looking for a buyer for the seasonal dessert shop.
Tom Siegel was a 1980s Illini basketball and baseball player. He is part of the new buyers’ group and said the menu will essentially stay the same.
After he was fired in 2012, Weber and his family made a last stop at Custard Cup.
Former Missouri men’s basketball coach Norm Stewart said he’s thrilled with the SEC Storied documentary about his life, “Norm,” an ESPN Films production that is set to debut on at 8 p.m. Sunday on the SEC Network.
Tigers fans (and nostalgic college basketball fans) also will enjoy the peek into the life of arguably the most legendary figure in the school’s history.
A Louisville judge has dismissed a lawsuit by University of Louisville students filed against Katina Powell that said the escort's book allegations of sex parties at the men's basketball players' dormitory had devalued their education.
Kyle Hornback and three other students sued Powell last fall, saying her book damaged the school's reputation. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry denied their argument in Friday's decision but allowed others who joined the suit after being named in the book to file amended complaints that they were falsely accused and defamed.
A former Michigan State basketball player charged with felony offenses after he allegedly was spotted pulling a firearm out of the trunk of a car in the parking lot of a Dearborn strip club over the weekend is to be arraigned this afternoon, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said today.
Keith Appling, 24, of Detroit, a point guard at MSU from 2010-14 and former star at Detroit Pershing, is expected to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. in 19th District Court in Dearborn before Judge William Hultgren, according to the court and the prosecutor's office.
He is charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a five-year felony; possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle, a two-year misdemeanor; and possession of marijuana, a one-year misdemeanor, according to a news release from Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Detroit Free Press
“When you examine this, it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for athletics,” insists University of Oklahoma professor Dr. Gerald Gurney, president of the Drake Group, a national athletic reform organization. He previously labeled the paper classes at Chapel Hill “the largest and the most egregious case of academic fraud by far in NCAA history.”
Gurney, whose professional work includes historical research on academic fraud in Division I sports, has little patience for denying the involvement of athletics in the creation and maintenance of a series of UNC paper classes heavily populated by athletes over 18 years. “That was its reason for being, and athletics certainly took advantage of it in a disproportionate manner,” he says of the scheme. As for the more narrow view that what UNC faces is primarily an academic scandal, Gurney replies, “The people at North Carolina can talk all they want – nobody in the public believes this. Come on! It’s laughable.”
Gurney insists the NCAA Committee on Infractions can, and has, gone beyond the specific findings of the enforcement staff to mete out punishment. Still, the truncated notice of violation from college sports’ governing body – especially its exclusion of a period that previously covered the 2005 basketball team’s NCAA title run – confirmed the view among cynics that the entire process was a sham destined to let the vaunted Tar Heels off the hook.
North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will return for his senior season, the school announced Wednesday.
The 6-foot-9 forward has essentially been a three-year starter for the Tar Heels. He slimmed down from being close to 300 pounds when he arrived on campus to playing at around 260 pounds last season as a junior.
NBA Draft/Early Entry Guidelines for 2016
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
Duke transfer Derryck Thornton visited USC this past weekend and will visit both Kansas and Washington this week, sources told CBS Sports. Thornton will also visit Miami on May 15. The 6-2 point guard averaged 7.1 points and 2.6 assists this past season.
…CBS Sports reported last week that Notre Dame and Kentucky were no longer options for the 6-foot-10 big man and that Allen -- a McDonald's All-American -- was down to Texas, Houston and Kansas.
Then Shaka Smart made a move on the chess board that would have made Bobby Fischer envious.
The 39-year old coach decided to promote Jai Lucas -- the son of John Lucas -- who personally works out Allen, to assistant coach on Friday just one day after it was rumored that Jai Lucas was going to join Jamie Dixon's staff at TCU as an assistant.
This staff move doesn't assure Texas of landing Allen, but it definitely puts the Longhorns in a better position than they were prior.
Smart knows that his team doesn't have an impact big man on its roster for next season and needs Allen to have a chance at the NCAA Tournament in 2017.
But the same can be said of Houston.
Kelvin Sampson also has assembled a quality first five for next season and returns three perimeter starters -- Galen Robinson Jr., Rob Gray, and Damyean Dotson -- while JUCO big man Devin Davis is set to anchor the power forward spot.
Much like Texas, the Cougars can offer Allen the opportunity to come in and play major minutes from day one.
A major thing to remember about Houston in this situation: Allen and Robinson played together for
two years in AAU basketball.
Kansas isn't receiving as much as attention as the other two schools in this process because of the surplus of big men that already exists on the Jayhawks' roster, but Bill Self's program is notorious for doing its best work late during the spring recruiting period.
Allen is expected to make a decision within the next two weeks, multiple sources told CBS Sports.
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