Kansas University seniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey were named co-winners of the Danny Manning/Mr. Jayhawk Award for contributions on and off the court at Monday’s basketball banquet at the Holidome.
“Travis is an absolute stud — unselfish, an unbelievable competitor. He’s our rock,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Jeff is KU’s all-time leading shot-blocker, which tells you he is the best defender in the history of the school.
“Over the course of their careers, those guys have graduated and done everything they’ve been asked to do and made sacrifices. I think you could make a case for a couple more, but I think it was pretty much a no-brainer that they deserved it,” Self added of the only award distributed at the banquet, attended by more than 600 fans.
Withey, a 7-footer from San Diego, said: “It’s an honor, a cool award. It’s really nice I get to share it with ‘Trav.’ He definitely deserves it.”
Releford, 6-6 from Kansas City, in his speech thanked his teammates saying, “You made my last year a time to remember.”
…Self on Johnson, who starred in KU’s overtime win at Iowa State. “Talk about Elijah’s 39 points. ... It was great, but the last two almost got my (bleep) whipped after the game,” Self said, referring to an ISU fan getting in his face on the way to the locker room ... Self on freshman Rio Adams, who is transferring to a yet-to-be-determined school. “If you ever want to get caught up on social media now that Tyshawn (Taylor) is not here, here’s the guy,” he cracked of Adams, who complained about playing time on Twitter during the season.
Tragedy addressed: The tragic events at the Boston Marathon were referenced by former KU player Wayne Simien, who offered the opening prayer, as well as emcee Bob Davis and Self.
“This is a somber day from what has taken place elsewhere, but it should be a very happy day to honor these young men who represented all of us the past four or five years,” Self said. “This team maximized their abilities and played to their ceiling about as well as any team that I have ever had in my 20 years of being a head coach.”
Both Withey and Johnson have signed with an agent and plan on working out in Lawrence for a few weeks until taking their training elsewhere. Withey said he would move to Los Angeles to continue preparing for the draft, while Johnson plans on going to Houston.
Both Johnson and Releford recently participated in a pre-draft camp, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, and they faced each other in the final game. Johnson contributed five points, four steals, four assists and six turnovers in 30 minutes for K&D Roundscaping, which beat Releford’s team, Roger Brown’s Restaurant, 87-78 in the final game. Releford notched two points, two turnovers and one steal in 28 minutes of play.
“I realized that we had a chance to play each other and we talked it up,” Johnson said. “We had a couple of smart comments for each other but not nothing too risky, risking our relationship for nothing like that.”
Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self received the John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching honor at the annual John R. Wooden Award Gala, Friday in Los Angeles.
Self was officially named the recipient of the accolade in Oct. 2012 and received the trophy at Friday's John R. Wooden Gala honoring men's and women's college and high school 2013 John R. Wooden Award winners.
LJW Newell: Top 10 KU dunks of 2012-13
It looks as if KU’s basketball team will play Florida, not Arkansas, in next year’s Big 12-SEC Challenge. The Palm Beach Post quoted Florida officials as saying, UF will “host an historic powerhouse from the Big 12” next season.
KU officials would not confirm or deny the report, only indicating KU’s opponent in the challenge should be finalized in the next two weeks. KU will also travel to Colorado next season, play Duke in Chicago and meet Georgetown and San Diego State in Allen Fieldhouse. KU will compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in a field that includes Villanova, Wake Forest, Tennessee, USC, UTEP, Xavier and a yet-to-be-determined squad.
Self the speaker: KU coach Bill Self will be a featured speaker at “Leadership Game Changer: Developing Business Champions,” a professional training event May 9 in Atlanta. Leadership Game Changer is produced by Kansas’ multimedia and licensing partner IMG College. For more information visit www.Leadership-GameChanger.com ... Self will speak at Eric Berry’s third-annual Man 2 Man event benefiting Big Brothers and Sisters of Greater Kansas City at 6 p.m., April 18 at Arrowhead’s North Club.
Colorful 2012 Olympic shot put bronze-medal winner Reese Hoffa will test his body — then his mind — in a pair of Kansas Relays competitions Wednesday night in downtown Lawrence.
First, the 5-foot-11, 320-pound native of Evans, Ga., will compete in the 6 p.m. shot put competition against a field that includes 2008 Olympic silver medalist Christian Cantwell.
Then, immediately following the event, Hoffa will participate in a one-on-one celebrity Rubik’s Cube challenge against Kansas University senior basketball player Kevin Young. Hoffa, a noted speedcubist, has solved the puzzle in a personal-best 38 seconds.
Young, at this year’s NCAA Tournament, fiddled with a cube in front of reporters in the Jayhawks’ locker room and said he’s solved the cube in about two minutes.
“This should be a lot of fun,” Young said Thursday. His body type is just the opposite of Hoffa’s, at 6-foot-8 and a rail-thin 190 pounds. “The Relays are always great. This year I’m excited to get a chance to meet the athletes, especially Reese Hoffa, who shares a hobby with me.”
All the elements that make March Madness great – talented student-athletes, invested fans, and a suspenseful outcome, among others – were in play Sunday night as Naadir Tharpe and Christian Garrett helped the Lawrence Public Library reveal the winner of its Tournament of Kids’ Books.
A crowd of nearly 100 children and their families cheered in the events room as Tharpe unwrapped this year’s winner, part of a now annual celebration of reading with a hint of basketball tournament drama. In this year’s 16-book bracket, “Cabinet of Wonders” defeated “Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Cabin Fever” by a single vote.
KUAD (Video at the link)
4/14/13, 8:18 PM
Big shout out 2 @colea45 for killin tonight despite the loss. 6/7 from field 12 pts, 12 reb, 4 blks. #bigfellahighlights
Eurobasket: Interview with Aaron Miles
Markieff Morris led the defensive way with career highs for blocks (six) and steals (five), becoming the first NBA player to do that in a game since Josh Smith in 2007. Morris added 21 points and seven rebounds.
“I had a little bit more pop off in my step after I had the day off (Sunday),” Morris said. “I feel like I can guard different positions. I was just going off everything and getting it.”
Angel Goodrich, the all-time assist leader in Kansas University women’s basketball history, became the sixth KU player to be chosen in the WNBA Draft, when the senior point guard was tabbed as the 29th pick overall by the Tulsa Shock in the third round of the WNBA Draft on Monday night.
Goodrich is from Tahlequah, Okla. Goodrich joins Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins as the two Tulsa draft picks this season. The two point guards faced each other in the regional semifinal on March 31 in Norfolk, Va.
Big 12/College News
Nerlens Noel enters draft
Otto Porter enters draft
Trey Burke enters draft
A person familiar with the situation says Loyola of Chicago has accepted an invitation to the Missouri Valley Conference and is leaving the Horizon League.
DraftExpress Early Entry Tracker
CBS NBA Draft Early Entry Tracker
4/15/13, 6:22 PM
This is so crazy, prayers go out to those affected..🙏🙏 I drove by the finish line yesterday to catch the bus back to school.. So sad man..
10. Conner Frankamp, PG/SG, Kansas ESPN 100 Rank: No. 47
He is not real big or fast, but Frankamp has a high basketball IQ with the handle to play some point guard and the shooting skills to play the 2-guard. Kansas loses its best 3-point threats from this year's team -- Ben McLemore, Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford -- so Frankamp's role will be to play either guard spot and always be ready to shoot the ball because that's what he does best. Last summer at the Elite 24 showcase, he scrimmaged against NBA players like James Harden, Brandon Jennings and DeMar DeRozan and was comfortable on the floor with those pros. When Frankamp steps on the court he possesses the ultimate confidence in his game because he has invested countless hours into honing his shot. As a freshman he could be the Jayhawks' best 3-point shooter.
ESPN Insider ($)
Derby Classic (Frankamp scheduled to participate)
4/18 Night of the Future Stars (3pt and dunk contest)
4/19 Derby Festival Basketball Classic
Andrew Wiggins showcasing his athleticism and skill set in the 3 on 3 drills. Nobody on the floor capable of stopping him.
4/20 Nike Hoop Summit
So Roy Williams visits Wiggins Monday, Bill Self Tuesday, Leonard Hamilton Wednesday...does Calipari swoop in for a Thursday "what up"?
Joel Embiid—Embiid played a tremendous game defensively on the interior and on the backboards. He averaged only 1.8 blocks per game in high school, but sent away 5 shots in 19 minutes at Barclays. We’re not talking meager attempts either; he had numerous blocks on hard charging drives, including one from the man-child Julius Randle. He has the feel of a prospect that steps up as his level of competition is enhanced. He showed no fear mixing it up. At 7’0 (7’5 wingspan) Embiid has an already impressive frame to build on, undoubtedly with room for substantial gains in muscle mass. If his on-court ambition to fire away from the perimeter is any indication, he wants to learn and develop his raw, albeit highly intriguing, skillset.
Wayne Selden—The Kansas commit currently has a bigger body than most NBA swingmen. Watching him physically bully opponents on the high school level reminds you of Corey Maggette at the NBA level. Unfortunately, Selden failed to get going in this game, going scoreless on 0-4 shooting with four turnovers. But this line is likely no indication of the impact this player will have in his career at Kansas, and potentially at the professional level. Selden generally looks to take the ball aggressively to the hoop, and once he gets a half step advantage and a shoulder into his defender, he is able to finish well. Selden is also comfortable shooting from the outside, though it is not currently one of his overt strengths. Selden is intriguing as a prospect due to all the reasons mentioned above, and at 17 he will likely get even bigger and stronger, allowing him to continue to be an effective driver at the next level.
Andrew Wiggins – Wiggins, the son of two former professional athletes, is a world-class athlete in the truest sense of the word. The swingman is one of the best leapers the game has ever seen. An undeclared senior, Wiggins tied teammate Julius Randle for leading scorer in the 2013 Jordan Brand Classic with 19 points, many of which came in very short spurts throughout the game (more on that later) on high-flying dunks.
At 6’7” with a thin but wiry-strong frame, Wiggins has prototypical NBA swingman size already at age 17. He has decent shooting form and the ability to knock down shots out to about 21 feet, as well as a soft touch around the hoop. Despite his slight frame, Wiggins is able to absorb contact well and finish. Although not as advanced offensively as some other elite recruits we have seen in the past, Wiggins has a few very effective moves that he utilizes frequently. His floater is quite advanced for a player of his age and speed, as well as his spin move. Otherwise, Wiggins’ offensive arsenal is somewhat limited at this point, especially as it relates to creating for teammates. Granted, he is always far and away the best athlete on the court when playing against other high schoolers, and is very effective just blowing by his defenders and dunking.
Wiggins does, on occasion, pull up from mid-range with decent form, though it is not necessarily a strong point of his game. He does not currently have a post-game he feels comfortable using in games. In comparison to Jabari Parker, the “other” top recruit in his class, Wiggins is a much rawer commodity. While Jabari trades some of Wiggins’ athleticism for size, standing slightly taller and weighing in about 25 pounds heavier, Parker has excellent shooting form, good passing ability, and can mix things up both in the post, off the dribble, and from mid-range. Wiggins may be viewed as having more upside, but he is not currently as “next-level-ready” as Parker.
The main concerns relating to Wiggins revolve around his desire to play hard consistently, with more passion, and if he loves basketball enough to completely dedicate his life to the game; as all great players do. As mentioned earlier, Wiggins scored the majority of his points in short bursts. He went through long stretches where he appeared complacent, and there does not seem to be much reason why Wiggins does not routinely dominate more at this level. The physical potential is there for Wiggins to become an elite NBA swingman and a household name for years to come, but he will need to play with more consistency, energy, and work to improve his offensive skill set and general understanding of the game to become a star.
Kansas added a few stars to its recruiting class without signing anyone on Monday.
Rivals released its final recruiting rankings for 2013, and the results seemed to solidify KU's class as No. 2 behind Kentucky pending the decision of the No. 1 player, Andrew Wiggins.
Center Joel Embiid and wing Wayne Selden both earned the five-star designation, with Selden coming in at No. 12 and Embiid at No. 25. Selden moved up from No. 26 after playing well at the McDonald's All-America game, while Embiid generated some buzz with his performance at the Jordan Brand Classic.
Brannen Greene and Conner Frankamp both stayed in the high four-star range, with Greene going from No. 26 to No. 29 and and Frankamp going from No. 31 to 34. The biggest mover was point guard Frank Mason, who shot up the rankings to No. 76 and earned four-star status.
Before the new rankings were released, coach Bill Self said KU's recruiting class was ranked No. 2 and still a bit underrated based on his own evaluations. That probably has a lot to do with Embiid and Mason, both of whom were under-the-radar prospects when they committed. If Embiid reaches his ceiling -- which people now seem to see as "lottery pick two years from now" -- and Mason becomes a contributor, Self is going to look pretty prescient.
And, of course, Wiggins is still on the board.
Richard Pitino already has phoned Tyus. “Yes, [Pitino] will be recruiting [Tyus],” Debbie said. “Yes, definitely.”
This will be a real recruiting test for Richard Pitino and the Gophers. One Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach who has been recruiting Jones is Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, and he was in the Jones’ home Thursday night, one of several visits he has made with the family.
Coach K already has a commitment from Jabari Parker, a 6-8 forward player from Chicago, who was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in 2013 by Rivals.com. Krzyzewski’s great recruiting ability has helped him win more college basketball games than any other coach.
Another coach who has been recruiting Jones is a future Hall of Famer in Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. He also has visited the Jones family several times.
Those close to the Jones family believe Tyus will sign with either Duke or Michigan State.
4/26-4/28 Jayhawk Invitational
My KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube