Incoming KU scholarship basketball players Ellis, Andrew White and Zach Peters, plus walk-on Evan Manning moved into Jayhawker Towers on Sunday. White, 6-6 from Charlottesville, Va., proudly posted a picture of him, KU coach Bill Self and roommate Peters (6-9, Prestonwood Christian, Plano, Texas) to Instagram off his Twitter account Sunday.
Ellis, 6-8 from Wichita, will room with Manning, 6-2 out of Free State High and New Hampton Prep School.
Landen Lucas, 6-9 from Portland’s Westview High, will graduate June 11 and arrive at KU a day later. He’ll be rooming with junior Niko Roberts. Anrio Adams, 6-3 from Seattle, who has orally committed to KU, has said on Twitter he’ll arrive at KU on June 28.
Incoming Kansas University forward Perry Ellis has been named high school boys basketball player of the year, the National High School Coaches Association announced Friday.
Ellis, a 6-8, 220-pounder out of Wichita Heights, averaged 25.8 points and 9.8 rebounds a game last season for the four-time defending state champions. The McDonald’s All-American and four-time Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year, who is ranked No. 24 overall in the Class of 2012 by Rivals.com, finished his career as leading scorer in Wichita City League history (2,231 points). He passed former KU center Greg Dreiling, now runner-up with 1,888 points.
For the first seven weeks, he didn’t bother to relive the disappointment. There just wasn’t a reason. Bill Self has seen just a few clips from that Monday night in New Orleans. And for now, that’s enough.
It’s been 61 days since No. 2 seed Kansas’ amazing NCAA Tournament run came to an end in a 67-59 loss to Kentucky in the NCAA championship game at the Superdome on April 2; since the Jayhawks ran out of time, their final comeback falling a few baskets short in the waning minutes.
“I haven’t watched the game,” Self says.
To that end, the last two months have felt nothing like the aftermath of Self’s first championship-game appearance in 2008, when Mario Chalmers’ late three-pointer was perfect and KU took down Memphis in overtime for the program’s third NCAA title.
“No comparison,” Self says.
In 2008, Chalmers’ shot — and the championship — set off a wild two-month run of parades, appearances and special events. Self still calls it the busiest he’s ever been.
Four years later, Self has been reminded of one of sports’ harsh truths: The Jayhawks’ championship-game loss didn’t add many dates to his April schedule. Not many people, it seems, bother to call the runner-up.
“It’s the American way, though,” Self says. “It is. There’s only room for one first place.”
On a Wednesday morning in mid-May, Self sat in his office and reflected on the Jayhawks’ championship-game loss. Well, that might not be totally accurate. Self says he’s still proud of the run, the way that team came together. He just hasn’t managed to do much reflecting. He and his staff would love to be in that game every year, of course. But the bottom line, he says, is this run just felt different.
“I think if we’d have won it, I’d still think I wouldn’t have reflected as much,” Self says. “Because that ’08 deal was just so fresh and new, and it’d been so long since it’d happened around here — it just made it that much extra special.
“But I’ll go through a day now without even thinking about that game, where as before, I couldn’t go a minute without thinking about how good (the championship) felt.”
…Kansas should be well-positioned to handle the infusion of talent. Earlier this spring, KU announced plans for a trip to Europe in August. Kansas is scheduled to play four games — two in Switzerland and two in France — but it’s the extra practice time that could prove to be most useful.
In accordance with NCAA rules, the Jayhawks will be granted 10 extra practices before the trip, and Self says he plans to spread them out over a three-week period in July. It’s a scenario that’s eerily similar to the last time Kansas took a summer trip in 2008-09. Those Jayhawks, of course, were coming off a championship, and Self was trying to integrate a recruiting class that included Marcus and Markieff Morris and Taylor.
“I could see us going on this trip and Jeff, Elijah and Travis not playing a lot,” Self says. “They’ll play, but I could see them not playing a lot, just to get these other guys minutes.”
Kansas University senior Elijah Johnson accepted a pass from Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder, then bounced the basketball off the court into the hands of high-flying Jayhawk junior Justin Wesley, who finished a memorable Memorial Day dunk before 100 KC Gym Rats Collegiate All-Star campers in Blue Valley Northwest High’s gym.
“I don’t think coach (Bill Self) is going to let Elijah bounce it off the floor next year, but it was fun playing with him today, even though he can’t move around like he usually does,” Wesley said with a smile.
Johnson — he also fired a basketball off a wall to a trailing KSU forward Jordan Henriquez, who successfully jammed — was in great spirits while tutoring youths with the three other college players and BV Northwest coach Ed Fritz. The 6-4, 195-pounder from Las Vegas just made sure he jogged straight, making no cutting movements, as he continues his recovery from mid-April arthroscopic left knee surgery.
“I couldn’t do too much today. Rodney couldn’t do too much. I’m still trying to heal up from my surgery, and he is, too,” Johnson said of KSU senior guard McGruder, who had foot surgery last March.
“J.O. (Henriquez) and Justin got to play a little bit, but I was more of a spectator today. It’s always a lot of fun to work with the kids.”
Former Kansas University guard Keith Langford has returned to the United States with another championship on his resume.
The 28-year-old Maccabi Tel Aviv standout — who was named MVP of the Adriatic League’s Final Four in early May — scored 16 points in last Thursday’s 83-63 Israeli League title game victory over Maccabi Ashdod.
Langford — he is a free agent rumored to be headed to either Italy or Istanbul for about $1.5 million annually — plans on traveling to Lawrence from his offseason home of Austin, Texas, in June.
“He said he’ll be coming back to his old stomping ground and work out with me a little bit,” said KU junior forward Justin Wesley, who is Langford’s brother. Wesley recently spent two weeks working out with his brother’s personal trainer, Celester Collier, in Austin.
“Two weeks every day for three or four hours a day. He not only works me out, but is a mentor, too,” the 6-9, 220-pound Wesley said.
Wesley averaged 1.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 8.6 minutes in 38 games last season. As far as potential playing time in his junior campaign ...
“I mean I’ve not really looked at who is ranked this or that and who is coming in,” he said of a class of Anrio Adams, Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas, Zach Peters and Andrew White, plus freshmen red-shirts Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor. “We’ll see when everybody gets here and we start playing and working out. I’m not really thinking about that right now.”
Tyshawn Taylor had his first NBA workout Saturday when he visited the Warriors' downtown Oakland facility.
But the Kansas point guard wasn't close to being overwhelmed by the pressures of professional basketball. He has spent nearly his entire basketball life in the spotlight.
Even before Taylor starred on the under-19, gold-medal winning U.S. World Championships team, he had played on the Big 12's biggest stage. Even before he arrived in Lawrence, Kan., Taylor had his every move at St. Anthony High (New Jersey) captured on film for the documentary "The Street Stops Here."
"When I walked into Kansas, it wasn't like I wasn't impressed, but I already felt comfortable," Taylor said. "I was used to being in the spotlight. My teammates would joke on me and call me 'Hollywood.' "
Video interview w/Taylor
Video: Tyshawn Taylor More Than A Number
Decked out in a tan suit and purple bow tie, Thomas Robinson discovered on Wednesday that he probably wouldn’t begin his NBA career in New Orleans. He had a comfortable seat at Disney/ABC Times Square studios in New York and watched the NBA draft lottery unfold in person.
The Hornets are expected to take Kentucky’s Anthony Davis with the first overall pick, but Robinson – a consensus first-team All-American out of Kansas – also knows that there is a possibility that he could wind up in Charlotte at No. 2 or even his hometown Wizards at No. 3.
Unlike Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant, who has repeatedly said he has no interest in playing so close to where he grew up, Robinson said after the lottery that he would actually welcome getting drafted by Washington.
“That’s where I started my dream at, in D.C.,” Robinson said, “and to be able to come back home would mean a lot to me, because that’s something that you fantasize in your mind about when you’re little, bringing the city back to where it belongs. That’s something that I definitely wouldn’t mind doing.”
The Wizards certainly like Robinson as a person and a player, with his incredible triumphs over personal loss — his mother, grandmother and grandfather all died within a one-month span from December 2010 to January 2011 — serving as a great example of his character and mental toughness.
…Wizards owner Ted Leonsis had high praise for Robinson when asked about him after the lottery.
“He’s a great player and everyone certainly knows who Thomas Robinson is, his back story. Everyone is proud of what he’s accomplished,” Leonsis said. “And of all the players, he’s the most physically developed. So no one will go wrong picking Thomas Robinson.”
In the NCAA championship game, against a front line that included three players expected to be lottery picks in next month’s NBA Draft, Thomas Robinson scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.
That was Robinson’s fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament game of 18-plus points, each achieved against at least one player who eventually will be a first-round selection.
Robinson averaged 17.7 points, 11.9 rebounds last season and led his team to 32 victories. He has a strong low-post game and can finish with either hand, demonstrates the ability to score facing the goal and defends viciously along the baseline. He has revealed high character and an uncommon commitment to team by waiting patiently for his opportunity to be a regular—something almost without precedent in the modern game.
So why does everyone seem to believe the Charlotte Bobcats, the runner-up in Wednesday night's NBA Lottery, will be a loser?
If the Bobcats, who are “stuck” with the No. 2 pick, choose Robinson, however, those who have watched him closely have plenty of reason to believe he can perform at an All-Star level, that he can be an important player on quality teams.
“I think his immediate impact will be substantial,” NBA Draft Blog analyst Ed Isaacson told Sporting News, adding that Robinson is “one of a handful of guys in this draft” with the ability to become an NBA team’s primary scoring option.
NBA research has shown that a player from a major school who averages a rebound per every three minutes usually has a successful pro career. Robinson is a rebounding monster. NBA scouts love the "rebounds per 40 minutes" when looking at big men prospects. The top player in that category was Andre Roberson of Colorado. Robinson came in second. Kentucky's Davis was 12th.
This is not to make Robinson a better prospect than Davis, but it is to say he should have a very good pro career.
Another power forward for the Cavs? There is no big-time wing player after Kidd-Gilchrist. Robinson shot 50 percent from the field, 68 percent at the foul line and has all the leadership and intangibles that NBA coaches love.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Marquette’s Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom are among the 60 players scheduled to participate in the 2012 NBA draft combine to be held Wednesday through Sunday, June 6-10, in Chicago.
Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin is not among the players the league lists as participating.
Among the top prospects scheduled to appear are Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky, Bradley Beal of Florida, Andre Drummond of Connecticut, Thomas Robinson of Kansas, Austin Rivers of Duke and Jared Sullinger of Ohio State.
ESPNU is to televise the draft combine on Thursday and Friday, starting at 9 a.m. each day. The channel will offer eight hours of coverage over the two days.
Part of the coverage of the combine will show how the top prospects fair in skill areas: standing vertical leap, maximum vertical leap, lane agility drill, modified land agility drill and three-quarters court sprint.
CU's third-year head coach has added former Big 12 rival Kansas to the non-conference schedule for the next two years. The Buffs will visit Allen Fieldhouse this season on Dec. 8.
And when KU returns to Boulder on Dec. 7, 2013, Boyle doesn't want to hear a "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" chant at the Coors Events Center.
"My challenge to the fans is we have to keep them out," Boyle said. "And we have to expand our season ticket base. I've been saying it since I became the coach here two years ago, until the Coors Events Center is sold out each and every home basketball game, we've got work to do."
…But will the Buffs -- who are 32-4 (.889) at home under Boyle -- have a true home-court advantage when KU comes calling? The Jayhawks won the last 18 Big 12 meetings and are 40-26 all-time in Boulder.
"To me it will be a great challenge and a great test to see where Colorado basketball is two years from now," Boyle said. "We'll see how many Buff fans are in the gym versus how many Jayhawk fans are in the gym. Everybody knows in years past there have been more KU people than there should be."
There isn't a team in the Pac-12 that travels to Boulder the way Nebraska football fans or Kansas basketball fans used to for Big 12 games.
If you're Kansas and you trust the history of the series isn't going to change much, you're looking at it as an opportunity to get a win in most years over a solid program from another power conference.
It's a quick trip for the visiting team. It's close enough for fans of both programs to travel to see the game. It will have a positive effect on the winning team's RPI each year and not much of a negative effect for the losing team. And playing the Jayhawks always has been one of the highlights of each season for the Buffs.
CU fans even have reason to believe that Boyle will be able to keep things a little more competitive than they have been in the past as long as he continues to recruit at a high level.
Visiting Allen Fieldhouse next season (likely on Dec. 8) will be an introduction to big time college basketball for the six true freshmen Boyle is welcoming into the program. They won't play on a bigger stage in a regular season game. What better opportunity for them to learn to play with poise and patience than having to do so in one of the best atmospheres in the college game?
Trips to UCLA, Arizona, Washington and Oregon will seem tame by comparison.
LeBron James unleashed another weapon against Indiana, a short floater in the lane that he successfully converted several times in the series.
“It’s something I have in my bag, if I need to go to it,” James said. “It’s something I needed in that series, with (Roy) Hibbert protecting that rim, and not allowing us to get all the way to the rim at times. Myself and D-Wade and Rio all pulled it out in that series. If I need it in this series, I’ll use it as well.”
What did Mario Chalmers, who uses that shot often, think of James’ version?
“It was good,” Chalmers said. “But don’t let him fool you. I taught him that.”
Chalmers said they have practiced it together, but ultimately it comes down to court feel.
“It’s a read,” Chalmers said. “When I used to work on it, I used to have my Dad stand there with a stick, and I would have to float it over the stick. It’s just really knowing where the big man is, and how fast he can get off the floor. The stick was way higher than Roy Hibbert. It’s just working on that, and I perfected it.”
Chalmers believes the floater “is a better shot for me” than driving all the way for a layup in many cases, “because when I get to the rim, they’ve got a lot of size.”
Palm Beach Post
The 2007 Kansas men’s basketball squad and two Jayhawk greats – soccer standout Holly Gault and track and field All-American Egor Agafonov – will be inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame during K Club and Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 26-27, 2012.
Gault, Agafonov and the 2007 men’s basketball team will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame and their pictures will be unveiled in a ceremony at the Booth Family Hall of Athletics on Friday, Oct. 26. The ceremony is open to the public. The following day, the group will be recognized on the field during Kansas’ homecoming football game against Texas.
Under head coach Bill Self, the 2007 Kansas men’s basketball team posted a 33-5 record, won the Big 12 regular-season title with a 14-2 mark, the Big 12 Postseason Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament West Regional championship game. Without a senior on the team, the 2006-07 Jayhawks posted two winning streaks of 10 games or better, and won 14 of their last 15 contests.
In 2007, the Jayhawks were led by Wooden All-American and All-Big 12 First-Team selection Brandon Rush, who averaged 13.8 points per game. Sophomore guard Mario Chalmers was next in scoring at 12.2 ppg, followed closely by sophomore forward Julian Wright at 12.0 ppg. The rest of the 2006-07 team included Darrell Arthur, Brennan Bechard, Jeremy Case, C.J. Giles, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, Matt Kleinmann, Brady Morningstar, Russell Robinson and Rodrick Stewart. KU assistant coaches included Tim Jankovich, Joe Dooley and Danny Manning, while the director of basketball operations was Ronnie Chalmers. Call it a foreshadowing: The following season, with the same core of players, Kansas went on to win the 2008 NCAA National Championship with a 37-3 record.
Big 12/College News
The Big 12 tournament will remain at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., through at least the 2016 season, the conference announced at a news conference on Friday afternoon at Sprint Center.
The two-year extension was made public following a vote by the conference Board of Directors at the Big 12 spring business meetings.
“I’m claiming that Kansas City is a Big 12 city,” Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. “It has been a great place for our tournament.”
The agreement also provides the Big 12 first rights to championship dates after 2016. Officials from both Sprint Center and Kansas City Sports Commission said they were not in discussion with other conferences about hosting a different league tournament in the future.
…Neinas also said a major reason the conference elected to stay in K.C. was attendance. He said that frequently the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament is a “hard” sellout, meaning every one of the tickets is sold.
Some tournaments still claim sellouts when a few hundred tickets are not purchased.
One big reason for the strong sales is the presence of KU supporters at the event.
“I would thank our fanbase for what they’ve done here over the years and encourage them to continue to be even more rabid,” Zenger said, “so that we can continue this tournament here for years to come.”
DeLoss Dodds fished a shiny Kansas Jayhawks lapel pin out of his pocket Thursday morning and showed it off to about half a dozen reporters.
Said he got it from a couple of friendly Jayhawks fans he ran into the night before.
And so what did the Texas athletic director offer in exchange?
Nothing. Not even a lifetime subscription to the Longhorn Network?
"This isn't about equity," Dodds quipped, tongue in cheekily.
It never is with Texas, is it?
But it is now. Or will be soon.
Texas is keeping its invisible Longhorn Network, of course, but it is on the brink of signing away its prime television rights to the Big 12 for the next 13 years, the same as big fish Oklahoma and little fish Iowa State. All fish are created equal, up to a point, of course.
And Texas took the bait. But then, the Hookems wanted to be hooked. The Longhorns have seen the commitment of their fellow league members, can keep their Tier 3 rights and are ready to climb into the same boat. For all those cynics who are snickering, four schools have left the Big 12, and Texas wasn't one of them.
"The granting of rights is really a foundation for stability," said Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis, who chairs the Big 12 Board of Directors. "As we've seen in recent events, withdrawal fees (for departing schools) are not necessarily an impediment. But leaving one's television rights certainly is."
Asked if any schools feel forced to sign on, Hargis said, "I don't think anybody is agreeing to grant their rights under duress."
The Rotary Club of Tulsa is expected to announce Wednesday that new University of Tulsa basketball coach Danny Manning will be the keynote speaker at the 19th annual Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards, scheduled June 18 at the Renaissance Hotel.
The Iba Awards are named in memory of former Oklahoma State and U.S. Olympic basketball coach Henry Iba, who died in 1993.
The Iba Awards were launched the following year to shine a spotlight on sports figures who make headlines for the right reasons.
…Manning will join a fraternity of Iba Awards speakers that includes his former boss. Kansas coach and former TU coach Bill Self spoke at the 2008 Iba Awards a few months after leading KU to a national championship.
Other than power forward Jamar Samuels, each and every piece returns from last season’s Wildcats team that lost to Syracuse in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The general feeling is that Kansas State should be picked along with Kansas, Baylor, and Texas as part of the handful of teams that have a chance to win the Big 12 in 2012-13 — and a big reason why is Rodney McGruder.
The 6-foot-4 senior to be has steadily improved throughout his college career and should be a legitimate candidate for Big 12 Player of the Year next season. McGruder averaged 15.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game as a junior.
“He’s as quality a kid as you come across in this business,” Weber said of McGruder. “He’s made steady improvement throughout his career and if he proves he can become a reliable outside shooter, he’s going to be a guy who can play at the next level.”
Steve Malchow, ISU senior associate athletic director of communications, said on Wednesday that Hoiberg's new contract will take effect when it is finalized in the next "week or two." The terms will begin with the 2012-13 season.
The contract is set to replace the one Hoiberg signed in August 2010, which had three years remaining, set to run through April 30, 2015. The new contract will run eight years, through the 2019-20 season.
Norfolk State says men's basketball coach Anthony Evans has agreed to a three-year contract extension that will take him through the 2016-17 season.
Athletics director Marty Miller announced the deal Friday. It comes after Evans guided the Spartans to a team-record 26 victories at the Division I level, their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament championship and their first berth in the Division I NCAA tournament.
Evans also received a $50,000 raise to $175,000. His contract was to expire after the 2013-14 season.
Norfolk State was a No. 15 seed in the tournament, and beat second-seeded Missouri 86-84 in second round. The Spartans then lost 84-50 to Florida in the third round.
Evans has a 78-82 record in his five seasons at Norfolk State.
An eastern Idaho newspaper is reporting that an NCAA investigation at Idaho State was prompted at least in part by a letter written by a former interim men’s basketball coach warning of a booster willing to pay quality basketball players money to get them to the school.
The Idaho State Journal reports that former interim coach Deane Martin sent the letter to Athletic Director Jeff Tingey on March 6, a day after Martin was told he didn’t get picked as the permanent men’s basketball coach.
The newspaper obtained the letter from a university employee. Martin writes that a booster told him “in the presence of another witness, that he wanted to ensure that ISU got the best recruit we could, and he offered his support. Specifically (the booster) indicated that if it took a ‘money handshake’ from him to a coach or a recruit, to seal the deal, he was happy to do that.”
Martin also wrote that the booster “has personally involved himself with the families of potential recruits, and made similar offers to them. He also has made those offers to junior college coaches, that it would be in their best financial interest to steer their players to Idaho State University.”
How Missouri legislators got it wrong: Denying Kansas the opportunity to pay into Missouri's highway maintenance fund.
For some time I have been an avowed socialist when it comes to Missouri license plates. Having been a cop for 30 years, I believe license plates should be kept simple. Their purpose is to identify motor vehicles and show taxes have been paid—not to show your social status.
Special license plates for the rich, or friends of the governor, or people who want to advertise their colleges, fraternal groups or branches of the service, just make things confusing for cops and the public who are trying to report suspicious cars.
So I think everyone should get the same style license plate. But I’m also apparently in the minority. There are 187 different specialty license plates issued in Missouri.
However, the idea behind the specialty license plates was to produce revenue, pure and simple. The specialty plates cost more. The money goes to the Missouri highway fund.
…It's a $15 additional fee for a specialty plate. A portion of the fee goes to the Missouri highway fund. So here's our chance to trick those annoying KU fans and alumni.
Instead of taking away their beloved Jayhawks license plates, we offer them up by the case. And the Jayhawks are maintaining our Missouri highways, one plate at a time. This seems like a win-win to me.
But what does the Missouri Senate do? Vote unanimously to prevent Jayhawks from contributing to our highway maintenance with their vanity license plate fees.
I spent 16 years in Maryland. Even there you could pay extra for a Jayhawk license plate.
Location also will be considered. Ole Miss A.D. Ross Bjork stressed the importance of attendance, and Kansas City is easily the westernmost school in the new SEC.
“We know Kentucky fans will travel pretty much anywhere,” Bjork said, a comment echoed by Pastides and Machen. “But the rest of the league … we’ve got to make sure it makes sense from the standpoint of where fans can drive.”
However, both Bjork and Machen noted that the league is fairly open-minded when it comes to choosing host cities for the tournament. New Orleans and Tampa, two recent sites, aren’t necessarily what you would call centrally located.
“I don’t think we’re wedded, necessarily, to any one place,” Machen said.
Kansas City does have several things going for it. Several athletic directors and presidents noted its prior history hosting successful basketball tournaments — hello Big 12 — and that the Sprint Center and Power & Light District are centrally located, among other things.
And Machen, the chairman of the league’s presidents and chancellors committee, seemed to acknowledge those strengths, though he added that it remains to be seen whether his SEC comrades will feel the same way about essentially spending their spring break in the state of Missouri.
“I’d love to go up there,” Machen said. “I just don’t know if we’re going to get a lot of people wanting to go up there in March.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says he will decide in the fall whether senior guard Andre Dawkins will redshirt this season.
Krzyzewski said Wednesday that "Andre's situation, right now we're looking more as a redshirt situation" but added that the final decision won't come until closer to the season.
Dawkins' father has said the younger Dawkins is still dealing with his sister's death in 2009 in a car wreck while traveling to one of his games.
The school issued a statement last month confirming that Dawkins is a member of the program but saying he could be redshirted. The statement came in response to reports about Dawkins' status with the team.
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari sent a letter to the team's players to prepare them for next season, after the Wildcats national title in hoops. Then he had it posted on the Internet for fans to read.
2012-13 Early Season Events List
2012 Parade All-Americans (Congrats Perry Ellis)
Already committed to one of the nation's most prestigious programs and facing a busy month ahead that will include trips to the Cayman Islands and Lithuania, Conner Frankamp had nothing to prove by showing up this weekend at the Pangos All-American Camp.
But Frankamp, a 6-foot-1 guard from North (Wichita, Kan.), is proving plenty and may find himself walking away with most outstanding player honors Sunday.
…It's tough to circulate around the gym for even a couple of minutes without hearing a fellow camper or observer mention his name.
Committed to Kansas, his dream school, Frankamp will travel with USA Basketball's U17 team to the Cayman Islands later this month, then on to Lithuania for the FIBA World Championships.
"I can't wait, Frankamp said. "It was so fun last year and such an honor to put that USA jersey on. To be a part of that team (which went undefeated en route to the FIBA Americas U16 title) was something I'll never forget."
His play this weekend has caught the attention of renowned trainer and Pangos instructor Jeremy Russotti, whose pupils include UCLA-bound Shabazz Muhammad and former Washington State and California State-Fullerton standout Josh Akognon.
"Everybody here plays really hard, sometimes it's too fast and too crazy," Russotti said. "But he has a super-smooth game. He's effortless. Every right pass, every right decision, every right shot. He is very special. He is game-ready college level right now."
Kansas commit, Connor Frankamp (North, Kans.) and freshman standout Isaiah Briscoe (St. Benedict’s, N.J.) proved to be a dynamic backcourt. Frankamp’s threat from beyond the arc combined with Briscoe’s ability to shake defenders and finish above the rim caused havoc for opponents the entire night.
Frankamp, Rivals.com’s No. 42-ranked player, was named tri-MVP of the Pangos All-America Camp’s “Top 30 Cream of the Crop Showcase” on Sunday in Long Beach, Calif. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound senior shared the award with Stanley Johnson, 6-6, junior, Mater Dei High, Santa Ana, Calif., who is ranked 18th in the Class of 2014, and unranked Zena Edosomwan, 6-8, senior, Harvard Westlake High, North Hollywood, Calif.
“He’s a tremendous three-point shooter who plays with savvy and great confidence. He was one of the top five guards here, if not top three,” tourney organizer Dinos Trigonis said Sunday night, referring to Frankamp.
“I’d say he reminds me a little bit of (Jeff) Boschee, a little bit of (Kirk) Hinrich. He can shoot threes and is good off the bounce. He’s good at creating separation. He worked hard in the drills. A lot of teams would have interest in him (if KU hadn’t landed a commitment last July 17).”
Here’s what others had to say about Frankamps’s performance at Pangos.
Jason Hickman, of MaxPreps, added: “It’s tough to circulate around the gym for even a couple of minutes without hearing a fellow camper or observer mention his name.”
Ryan Silver, coach of Los Angeles Pump N Run Elite, on Twitter, commented: “Kansas commit Conner Frankamp is much better than I thought. He makes everyone better and is a great kid. He was impressive.”
Dave Telep, ESPN, on Twitter: “Conner Frankamp won me over as PG not just shooter. Cliff Alexander has a chance to be nasty.”
Alexander, the most outstanding performer overall at Pangos, is a 6-9 junior from Chicago Curie, who is ranked No. 8 in the Class of 2014.
… Karviar Shepherd, 6-9 senior from Grace Prep High in Arlington, Texas, who has KU, Louisville, UCLA, LSU, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Tennessee on his list, played well at Pangos.
“Shepherd has always had good hands and played with confidence on the offensive end. Now, he’s catching, turning and facing the defender and going to work with jab steps, jumpers and good decisions. He looked polished and seemed like he was ready to play,” wrote Eric Bossi of Rivals.com.
Brannen Greene - 6-foot-7, SF, Forsyth (Ga.) Tift County: A skilled forward with a guard-like game from the Florida Rams, the four-star is capable of putting up big scoring numbers in a hurry. Greene is a very good shooter out to the three-point line, with a smooth and high release on his shot. He's a nice athlete who can handle the ball, is strong inside and plays with a confident swagger. As a shooter with size, he's a tough matchup at the high school level. Greene is committed to head coach Bill Self and Kansas.
Harris said he felt honored to be pursued by schools as prestigious as Kansas, coached by Bill Self, and Florida, coached by Billy Donovan. Harris chose South Carolina over the Gators, Wake Forest and Maryland coming out of high school as a top-75 prospect with a 200-pound frame.
Now more than 25 pounds heavier, he'll likely have some opportunities to play on the perimeter and display his face-up skills in Florida's offense. Kansas uses two post players in a high-low motion set, with Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey filling those roles during the Jayhawks' run to the 2012 national championship game.
"I really don't see any negativity with either program," Harris said. "It's a comfort level and the coaches I think I can mesh with the most."
@GatorsAllTheWay – Who do you think leads for Chris Walker and where do you think he lands? Florida, Kansas, Kentucky?
Chris Walker isn't the type of player who is listening to 15-20 schools and has no clue when he wants to narrow down his list. He has a list of a few schools, and is going through the process. As of now, it looks like Kentucky is the favorite. However, the Wildcats have yet to offer the top-10 prospect. If they never offer Walker, Florida could be next on the list. Walker goes to high school in Florida, and has a good relationship with head coach Billy Donovan. He has taken an unofficial visit to Kansas, and Baylor, Ohio State and Syracuse are also involved.
CIA Bounce then took on Boo Williams Summer League (Va.), which entered the game with an 8-7 record, and fell 78-68. Two-guard Al Freeman, who played last season at Olympic (Charlotte, Va.) but will spend his senior season at Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), led Boo Williams by draining six 3-pointers and finishing with 25 points. Boo also got excellent play from lead guard Anthony Barber of Hampton (Hampton, Va.), one of the EYBL's quickest guards end-to-end.
"We played as a team in this game," said Freeman, who lists Kansas, UCLA, Villanova, Duke and Ohio State as college choices. "Individually, I thought about doing what I could to help the team. My mindset wasn't to shoot because I got hot. It was if I got an open look to take it."
James Young mentioned the following schools: Michigan State, Ohio State, Providence, Kentucky and Kansas in no particular order. Young, who is considering studying business in college (but nothing definite), is looking for a school that has good coaching and facilities in addition to a quality education.
Anthony Barber rattled off the following list: Alabama, Kansas, Virginia Tech, Virginia, NC State, UCLA, Memphis, Syracuse and Connecticut. The two that stand out currently are Kansas and Alabama.
- Al Freeman has a list of five schools that have been most active in his recruitment: Kansas, UCLA, Duke, Villanova and Ohio State. Freeman wants to go to a school where he can play immediately.
MaxPreps: Randle vs Parker
"Basketball never stops, so we're getting ready to shut it down for him," Parker's father, Sonny, said. "He just wants to continue to be a kid, watch cartoons, hang out with a friends and everything.
"I think Jabari is the first (high school) player who has experienced this social media stuff. LeBron (James) and Kobe (Bryant) never experienced that. Jabari can't go to the bathroom without being on Twitter. It's the first time a player of his caliber you know he plays a game, gets out of the shower and he's on YouTube."
Sonny said all the attention has gotten to his son.
"It's overwhelming," Sonny said. "It could be a distraction sometimes because he still has to stay in the same routine. I think the distractions sometimes can get overwhelming."
…As for recruiting, Sonny said they'd start creating a list of colleges at the end of the summer. Sonny said it was still wide open at this point.
"He's going to narrow it down," Sonny said. "He's going to take his visits and he's going to make his decision."
Sonny also nixed a rumor he didn't travel on airplanes. He said he flew last week, and it wouldn't impact where his son attended school.
ESPN Team Profiles: Texas Titans
Arlington, Tx., Grace Prep senior-to-be Jordan Mickey has close to 40 scholarship offers from schools all over the country and looks from several others.
So, in order to try and narrow his list Mickey and his father, James Wright, are on the road most of the month of June. He’s attending four camps and visiting a lot of schools.
One of the first stops was the University of Louisville.
The 6-foot-7 Mickey, a consensus top-40 prospect in the Class of 2013, was on the U of L campus on Saturday. He spent time touring he facilities, chatted with the coaching staff and spent a bunch of time with head coach Rick Pitino.
“We were very impressed,” Wright said. “We had a wonderful time there. Coach Pitino spent a lot of time with us, answering all of our questions. His attention to details really impressed us. The visit went great.”
Added Mickey: “Coach Pitino is a real hands-on guys and everything he does is very detailed. He wants perfection out of everyone and I like that.”
Mickey said he saw enough from the visit to “definitely keep” Louisville among the schools he’s considering. He’s also already visited Kansas, LSU, Baylor, Texas A&M and SMU.
Next on the list: Tyler Ennis, a Brampton native who was named New Jersey’s state player of the year while toiling for St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark.
There are many in the Canadian basketball community who believe Ennis will be as good or better than any of the guards listed above.
Ennis will lead Canada’s junior national team at the FIBA America’s U18 Championship in Brazil from June 16-20 under the direction of head coach Roy Rana.
He will be coming off of not only a great high school season in New Jersey, but also a summer run which so far has seen him direct AAU squad CIA Bounce to a 17-3 record at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. Matching up against the best young hoops talent in America, Ennis’ all-Canadian squad posted the best record in the league, starting 14-0 before losing a pair and forfeiting one last weekend in Oakland.
A week earlier, Ennis was at Ryerson University, trying out for a Canadian team that is expected to contend for a medal in Brazil and to qualify for the FIBA World U19 tourney next year in Prague (top four finishers qualify).
Ennis will be making his debut for Canada and is excited to be in the fold.
“Everybody wants to represent the country,” Ennis told the Toronto Sun recently.
“Coach Rana reached out to me. He had me working out a little bit last year with the team and this year he said it’s my team, he wants me to run the show for him.”
Ennis, a 6-foot-2 all-around floor general certainly can do that. He prefers to create for his teammates, but is an adept scorer when necessary.
“He’s a pass-first point guard, a great point guard, looks for his teammates, looks to get everybody involved before himself,” said Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who not only will join with Ennis as a key piece for Canada, but also is his long-time backcourt-mate with CIA Bounce.
“There’s not too many unselfish point guards like that out today.”
Rana knows with Ennis and likely backup Kaza Keane - who he also thinks highly of - point play will be a major strength for the team.
Rana is not surprised Ennis is getting considerable attention from college powerhouses like Syracuse, Kansas and Georgetown, among many others.
“He’s got a very mature game for a young kid,” Rana said of the 17-year-old. “He sees the floor, (is) very calm and patient, settles everybody down. He’s a big-time talent, no question.”
London Free Press
2014 SG Dimitri Thompson (Orlando Christian Prep/ Orlando, Fla.) Thompson participated in his second tournament with the 17U squad of E1T1 at the fourth session of EYBL in Oakland, Calif. Thompson played well and started in two of the games. The team finished up 3-3 for the weekend.
Thompson is starting to receive interest from Kansas. He said UF has not been in contact since Norm Roberts left, which is also why the Jayhawks have started showing interest in him.
Penny Hardaway Hoopfest is back
After 30 years, one of the nation’s longest-running summer basketball tournaments — the Kentucky HoopFest — won’t be played this year. Tournament organizer Eddie Ford said the NCAA denied certification for one year because of an “issue with a team roster” in 2011.
“We look forward to having it again next year and continue forward like we have in the past,” he said Tuesday night.
The HoopFest, which attracts hundreds of teams from dozens of states, is the largest summer tournament in Kentucky. Ford pointed out that the issue didn’t affect his NCAA-certified event in April and his Tennessee HoopFest in Franklin in late July.
There is no way Mo Lewis could have anticipated the inevitable father-son chat coming this soon.
Not the one regarding the birds and the bees, but the one about the swarm of college basketball coaches soon to buzz around his young son, Chris.
The elder Lewis, a linebacker for the Jets for 13 seasons through 2003, is no neophyte when it comes to recruiting, even if his own courtship by colleges did not commence until his senior year of high school. He knew this day was approaching. Chris is 6 feet 7 inches, shod in size-16 sneakers. He is agile, assured and ambidextrous, and even more A’s fill his report card.
The day arrived, though, accelerated by a text message from the man who will be Chris’s high school basketball coach, David Boyd. It alerted Mo Lewis to two scholarship offers fielded by Boyd shortly before Chris’s graduation — from middle school. Lewis, in turn, cautioned his son, who turned 14 in January, not to let the affections of college programs lead to an inflated sense of self-importance.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Lewis said in an interview at an Amateur Athletic Union tournament where his son played. “It’s very flattering, but you still have to wait. It just means he has the potential now.
“It’s like telling a 14-year-old you’re going to get him a car when he turns 17. He still has to learn how to drive, study for the test and pass it.”
In fact, there is little risk involved for either the athlete or the university, at least in terms of limiting future possibilities. The acceptance of a verbal offer is not binding for either side. Only a letter of intent, signed by a player during his senior year, constitutes a commitment.
Mo Lewis said he was comfortable with a system that led to the recruiting of athletes so young. He acknowledges that his son has advantages that other adolescents may not: a financially stable household with two former athletes as parents. And Chris Lewis is a seemingly well-rounded youngster who mostly eschews social media and recently opted to attend an engineering camp over an invitation-only basketball showcase.
N.C.A.A. rules allow offers — indirect only, and often through a coach — to students beginning in seventh grade, and some worry that is too young. Jim Haney, the executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, said that some athletes ultimately struggled because they were ill-prepared to cope with the pressure and attention brought on by receiving offers at that age.
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