ESPN VIDEO: Kansas head coach Bill Self sits down with Andy Katz to talk about the new-look Big 12 and his surprise choice as the league's best team on paper.
Kansas coach Bill Self said sophomore Ben McLemore is the top NBA-level talent on the roster, but the go-to guy when the Jayhawks need a bucket is likely going to be Elijah Johnson. McLemore had the most talented label even while sitting out last year while academically ineligible. Johnson is more apt to score than the other two key returnees: Jeff Withey and Travis Releford. So far forward Perry Ellis has been the most impressive among the six newcomers. The Jayhawks have had the allowable summer workouts and will also get 10 practices in preparation for an Aug. 5-14 trip to Switzerland and France. Self is propping up Oklahoma State as having the most talented roster in the Big 12, but didn't pick against his team to win the Big 12. Neither will I after foolishly picking against KU last year. I would go KU, Baylor, Texas, Kansas State and then Oklahoma State at the top.
“He’s good. I mean, he’s as talented as just about anybody we’ve had come through there. Now he doesn’t know how to plug himself into a game yet,” Self cautioned of the 6-5, 185-pounder from St. Louis.
“We had a scrimmage the other day. We’re practicing to go to Europe. We had some possessions and it was like the 50th possession before he took his first shot. He doesn’t know how to plug himself in and he’s so unselfish, but he’s a Brandon Rush type. He’s a guy who could be a tremendous player for us and hopefully an all-league performer really early in his career.”
…Self, who has led the Jayhawks to eight straight regular-season Big 12 titles, lists a darkhorse candidate for the 2012-13 crown.
“When you mention schools, my alma mater ... I think Oklahoma State is going to be terrific. I think on paper they have the best team,” Self said.
“I think they have the most talent. With the kids they signed and the kids returning ... they had a good player sitting out last year who tore his ACL. I really like their talent level.”
Kansas University’s athletic department placed 52nd of 273 teams in the Learfield Directors Cup, which awards points to schools based on the finishes of each school’s men’s and women’s athletic teams.
KU placed eight out of 10 schools that made up the Big 12 last school year. Texas placed fifth nationally, followed by Texas A&M (11), Oklahoma (16), Baylor (26), Oklahoma State (40), Iowa State (44), Missouri (50), KU (52), Kansas State (62) and Texas Tech (68).
Of the two schools entering the Big 12 for the 2012-13 school year ... West Virginia ranked No. 43 and TCU No. 56 nationally.
KU placed 72nd overall during 2010-11.
Kansas Athletics’ video department, Rock Chalk Video (RCV), won top honors for Best Overall Video Display Presentation in the University Division at the recent Information Display and Entertainment Association (IDEA) convention in Minneapolis.
It was the fourth time in the last 10 years that Rock Chalk Video has won the award, called the Golden Matrix Award (GMA). RCV also won the award in 2002, 2005 and 2008.
“We are spoiled with the great work our video department does and this award recognizes just that,” KU women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “Our fans are what give us a great home court advantage in Allen Fieldhouse and Rock Chalk Video plays a major role in keeping them involved.”
The IDEA awards recognize artistic and technical excellence in the production of big screen video and live events at stadiums, arenas and ballparks.
Headed by director Mike Lickert, Rock Chalk Video’s 2012 entry included examples of live camera work and samples in several other categories including video graphics, headshots, replays, video open/team introductions, sponsor features, scoring sequence, celebration/win sequence, live elements (dance teams, bands, cheerleaders, and mascot), crowd prompts, interactive features and statistics.
“The work that Rock Chalk Video does is amazing. Our (men’s basketball) intro video is the best I have ever seen and really gets the Allen Fieldhouse crowd juiced,” KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self said. “They also keep our fans engaged throughout the game. Congrats to Mike Lickert and his entire crew on this award.”
Former Kansas men's basketball player Sasha Kaun started and saw significant minutes in Russia's opening game win over Great Britain Sunday afternoon on day two of the Olympic Games. Kaun's team spoiled the Brits' homecoming with a convincing 95-75 win to open up the preliminary group-play round.
Kaun, who played at Kansas from 2005-08 and was a key reserve on KU's 2008 NCAA National Championship team, started and saw just over 19 minutes as the Russians beat Great Britain 95-75 in the first game of Group B play. Kaun netted five points on 2-of-5 shooting and a 1-of-3 clip from the free throw line. The Tomsk, Russia native also collected two rebounds and a block in helping his team earn an important two points toward their group-play point total.
In the process, Kaun became the first basketball player from KU to play in the Olympics since Danny Manning in 1988. That '88 team, of course, came up short, claiming the bronze medal — a finish that prompted the use of professional players and the creation of the Dream Team in 1992.
But 24 years later, Kaun’s appearance only adds to a long list of Olympians with connections to the state of Kansas. Former KU star JoJo White won a gold medal in 1968; former Jayhawk Al Kelley did the same in 1960; and in 1952, All-American Clyde Lovelette led a collection of players from the 1952 NCAA title team to the Olympics in Helsinki, Finland, where they paired up with a group of AAU players from Peoria, Ill. They won gold, too.
And then, of course, there's the story of the original 1936 U.S. Olympic basketball team, which was led by a collection of AAU players from McPherson, Kan.
Now Kaun is added to the list. A second-round pick of Cleveland in 2008, Kaun eschewed a potential NBA career for a lucrative opportunity with European power CSKA Moscow in his native country.
It’s worked out pretty good so far. Two of his points on Sunday came on a ridiculous between-the-legs assist from Russian guard Alexey Shved, a former teammate of Kaun’s on CSKA Moscow who signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this summer.
Jerod Haase, the 38-year-old, first-year head coach at UAB, was out recruiting Saturday when news broke that former Kansas University backcourt-mate Jacque Vaughn had been hired to coach the NBA’s Orlando Magic at the even younger age of 37.
“I said, ‘Wow,’” Haase said in a phone interview Sunday night, asked his reaction to the San Antonio Spurs assistant’s being named Stan Van Gundy’s replacement in Orlando.
“I’m not surprised,” Haase quickly added. “Jacque is destined for greatness. No doubt he has the whole package. He’s a great guy. He is intelligent. He gets along with people. He’ll be great.”
Haase, who like Vaughn is a 1997 KU graduate, worked on Roy Williams’ North Carolina staff for nine years prior to accepting the UAB post. Vaughn, meanwhile, played in the NBA for 12 years before retiring in 2009 and entering coaching under the tutelage of former KU volunteer assistant/Spurs legend Gregg Popovich.
“Jacque was a leader on our team. He could lead by example or lead by saying the right things,” Haase said of Vaughn, floor general on the star-studded 1996-97 team that went 34-2. “Jacque could talk to people and get the best out of them.
“We talk every once in a while, not a ton,” Haase added of his current relationship with Vaughn. “The bond we had as players is pretty strong. Our paths will cross from here on out.”
I always thought had Roy Williams remained at Kansas, Jacque Vaughn would have succeeded him as the Jayhawks’ coach.
My scenario: Williams would have retired at KU, and Vaughn, who would have joined the staff after his NBA career, would have risen to the role of right-hand-man. Williams would have seen to it that Vaughn, one of his favorite players, if not his all-timer, got the job.
Vaughn will become a head coach but not in college. The Orlando Magic will introduce him on Monday.
Vaughn will have plenty to deal with, starting with the impending trade of Dwight Howard.
KC Star Kerkhoff
Same routine, different polo shirt.
That's what July's been like for Danny Manning, the legendary Kansas basketball player, 15-year pro and former KU assistant.
He's now the coach at Tulsa, a job he accepted at the end of March. Naturally, Manning's been all over the recruiting trail this month. A snapshot of the lifestyle for most coaches outside of BCS conferences (and even some in them): Manning boarded a red-eye flight from Vegas to Orlando Thursday night, and he'll grease out the final few days of the 2012 open recruiting period there. He took off at 11 p.m., west coast time, and landed well after the sun was up in Florida.
I wasn't in the airport with him when boarding, but chances are that Orlando-bound plane was at least half-filled with other coaches doing the same thing Manning was. Late-night flights and little-to-zero sleep; it's just the most unglamorous, monotonous part of the job. But necessary, because this is the chase of recruiting. By this time of the month, coaches are carrying heavier bags under their eyes than onto their flights. (I spotted one coach nodding off during an afternoon session of games Thursday.)
The routine is no different for Manning now than the past six years, but he is still adjusting to life as a head man at a mid-major rather than an assistant at one of the most powerful college basketball institutions in the country. Serving at the side of Bill Self on the Kansas staff, Manning built up his equity in the game and it paid off with a pretty decent opportunity for a first-time head coaching gig. He could've had other ones sooner, but waited. Eight years at Kansas led him to this. Self used to coach at Tulsa, and his connections there helped big-time in ensuring Manning landed the job.
But what was it that changed for Manning? Why the Tulsa job, and why now? Turns out, once his father died, Manning felt the urge to get in gear and create something for himself outside of being a popular assistant within a traditional program. Within a month of losing his dad, Manning had decided he needed to get that pivotal big, first chance as a head coach. The death accelerated him to a new avenue. Bittersweet, for sure.
"Tomorrows aren't promised," Manning said. "And when my dad died, I started thinking, If you see something out there you like, go get it."
Smart says Robinson should be in the rotation from day one and believes he’s ready to compete physically at the NBA level right now unlike some rookies who need time to develop their bodies for the rigors of the NBA.
“A guy who is pretty much pro ready,” Smart said of Robinson. “What I mean by that is he can play the game from a physical standpoint first. Now skill wise, little tendencies [he’s] going to have to learn how to play in the NBA. But as far as from a competitive standpoint, that’s there already. That’s a positive for us going into the season to have a guy who just has to learn the NBA. Right now we have a player that we know coming into camp he’s going to do one thing well already and that’s compete."
The 2012 Summer Olympics have barely begun, and Krysten Boogaard is already looking ahead to 2016.
The 24-year-old Reginan came as close as possible to making the Canadian women's basketball team that is competing this year in London. As the alternate, she was first in line in case anyone on the team got hurt or was unavailable for any reason.
While on call, Boogaard made the best of the situation, continuing to work out in her hometown while also devoting some time to helping youngsters develop their games at the Hoop Factory Basketball Camp.
"What I've learned over the past years that I've been playing any sport is that you've always got to keep trying and you've always got to keep working,'' the 6-foot-5 Boogaard says.
"If you get cut or if you get injured or if something happens, you can't just mope around and be disappointed about it the whole time. All the time that you're being disappointed about it, you could be getting better. You could be helping somebody else. You could be doing all these other great things instead of being so internal and not helping someone else out.''
New Orleans Hornets forward Xavier Henry underwent succesful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday for a lateral meniscus tear.
Henry, 21, averaged 5.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.8 assists last season.
He is expected to be ready for training camp this fall.
Big 12/College News
The latest scheduling gimmick John Calipari threw at me was to get what he perceived as the top Kentucky nonconference opponents -- Indiana, North Carolina, Kansas and Louisville -- to agree to a scheduling rotation in which each team would play two home and two road games against the group each season so that all four teams were on each team's schedule. It sounds great, but it would be almost impossible to pull off with those other schools having other high-profile commitments with tournaments, neutral-site agreements and conference-mandated challenge games. UK is playing only Louisville on that list of teams next season.
When Notre Dame fired Charlie Weis as its football coach in 2009, many wondered if his Hannah & Friends Farm would eventually leave St. Joe County too.
It isn't going anywhere.
Built as a place to assist those with special needs, the teenager who inspired the building of the neighborhood, will becomes its next resident.
That's Charlie's daughter Hannah.
Hannah suffers from Global Developmental Delays. She will turn 18 next year and her parents have decided this is the best place for her.
The Weis family was back in South Bend Saturday for family day at Hannah & Friends. There are currently eight people living in two homes on the property. Hannah and two others will move into a 3rd home next June.
Charlie's wife Maura has stayed in Florida while Hannah has been in school there while Charlie and Charlie Jr have moved to Kansas. The elder Weis is now the head football coach there.
Maura says school is all Hannah has right now. When school is done, mom is left to entertain her and what 17-year-old wants to hang out with mom all night, Maura jokes.
"I think it's going to be easier for Hannah than it's going to be for me and Charlie," Maura says. "It's going to be tough, but this is where Hannah belongs. We thought about building another one in another place but just said no, our heart and soul went into this and this is where she belongs."
When word arrived two weeks ago that Wichita State basketball legend Warren (Armstrong) Jabali had died in his sleep at his home in Miami, my first thought was: Superman is dead?
Warren and I were teammates for three years. Physically, he was the most imposing athlete I've ever known. He had the look of a finely chiseled fullback or heavyweight fighter, yet aerodynamically, his 6-foot-2, 200-pound body defied gravity. Legend has it, but not confirmed, that he once touched the top of the backboard in practice. There are simply few words to describe the strength and athleticism he brought to the game.
In the 1960s, Wichita State was a place making a lot of noise with its basketball program, but it was an urban setting in a tumultuous time, where it was hard being a young black man. By his sophomore year, it was clear that Warren's passion for the game was matched, if not surpassed, by his quest for changing society. He found an outlet in the Black Power Movement.
Much of the rest of his career at Wichita State and in the pros was significant in terms of accomplishment, yet he took considerable pride in taking a militant stance on civil rights. It was not surprising that he later changed his last name to Jabali ("the rock" in Swahili) as a further sign of his commitment.
He was truly a complicated guy: wildly intelligent, terribly stubborn and incredibly talented. He was an enigma, even to his college coaches, who were frequently puzzled by him and that extended to others in the Shockers' family. I would like, however, to remember Warren as my friend and basketball teammate.
Finding rest on the way to the Summer Games is something the 2012 team probably had in common with the original U.S. Olympic basketball team.
Except instead of jetting overseas, members of the 1936 squad from Kansas piled into two cars and traveled across the country to make the boat to Germany. And they had to finance the first part of the trip themselves.
From transportation to team selection to playing venue and even the shape of the ball, today’s U.S Olympic hoops bear little resemblance to the original. Little wonder. By 1936, basketball hadn’t reached its 45th birthday. Play by today’s standards was primitive.
But the objective, winning the gold medal, has remained paramount for the nation that invented the game. The standard was established by the Olympians of 1936 and a team with roots in the Kansas oil fields.
…The basketball dynamics of the Heartland helped place basketball on the Olympic program.
James Naismith, the game’s inventor, was an instructor in the University of Kansas’ physical-education department. His Robinson Gym office was a floor below that of Phog Allen, the Jayhawks’ basketball coach with extraordinary entrepreneurial skills.
YMCA instructors took basketball around the world and wrote to Naismith about the spread of his brainchild. Allen tried to find basketball a spot on the 1932 Olympic program, at least as a demonstration sport. But for those games in Los Angeles, football became the test game.
Allen’s lobbying paid off in 1936. But how to select a team?
There was no NBA, and this was three years before the first NCAA Tournament. But basketball was largely defined by region, hard-nosed and physical in the East, open and faster in the West.
An Olympic tournament brought teams from the AAU, college ranks and YMCA together in New York. Finalists would provide the bulk of the roster and coaches.
…Nobody could match the height of the Refiners. Schmidt stood 6-9, Fortenberry 6-8. They had introduced a new weapon to the game, one that was described by a New York sportswriter as an act that looked like “dunking a doughnut into a cup a coffee.”
“Dunking” entered basketball with the Refiners.
So did other tactics, like a zone press that helped John Wooden create a dynasty at UCLA and Dean Smith at North Carolina.
Gene Johnson coached the 2-2-1 zone press defense at Wichita State in the early 1930s, and the U.S. team used it in 1936. So did Ralph Miller, who grew up in Chanute, Kan., and stole the idea watching Johnson’s teams suffocate opponents. Miller beat Wooden three straight games using the press, the first two while coaching the Shockers. Wooden then employed the defense, which became a Bruins’ staple.
Harold Johnson, brother of Gene and Francis, used the zone press at Parsons High, where he won 80 percent of his games. One of those 1950s teams included a star player named Bill Guthridge, who went on to assist Tex Winter at Kansas State and Smith at North Carolina.
In Berlin, there was little need for dunking or pressing as the United States rolled to three easy victories. Canada was the gold-medal game opponent, a fitting final with Naismith in attendance to watch his native country against his adopted home.
ESPN Tip-Off Marathon schedule
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Atlantic Celtics rolling 71-49...Kansas bound Brannen Greene has been a one man wrecking crew...multi-skilled...McDonalds anybody?
7/29/12 1:29 PM
Just played my last AAU game EVER... #memories #memories #memories some of the best times of my life!
Brannen Greene (@b_greene14)
Cat Barber no longer w/boo williams in Orlando. Flew home to have x-rays on wrist. Apparently he broke it
Rivals.com last week spotted KU coaches at games of Trayvon Reed and Paschal Chukwu at the AAU Super Showcase in Orlando, Fla.
…Reed, a 7-foot-1 junior center from Shiloh High in Snellville, Ga., who is ranked No. 21 in the Class of 2014, is being pursued by KU, North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee and others. Chukwu, a 7-0 unranked junior center from Trinity Catholic in Stamford, Ct., is being recruited by KU, Pittsburgh, UConn, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and others.
On Saturday, KU coach Bill Self was in the stands at Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee to watch Tyus Jones, a 6-1 junior point guard from Apple Valley (Minn.) High, who is ranked No. 5 nationally in the Class of ‘14. The Howard Pulley AAU playmaker, who has not yet narrowed his list of schools, is being recruited by KU, Michigan State, Kentucky, North Carolina, SMU and others.
Jones took the court against Dom Collier, a 6-1 junior point guard out of Denver East High, who has KU, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa and many others on his list. The KC Run GMC standout is the No. 62-rated player in the Class of ‘14.
Chicago Curie High junior Cliff Alexander, who is out of action with a foot injury, tells Rivals.com that Michigan State and Kentucky are his leaders. The 6-9, 240-pounder, who is ranked fourth overall, also is considering KU, Illinois, DePaul, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, UCLA, UConn and others.
Visitors: Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) senior teammates Karviar Shepherd and Jordan Mickey will make official campus visits to KU this fall, Urban DFW Elite coach Jazzy Hartwell tells JayhawkSlant.com.
Shepherd, a 6-10, 225-pound center, who is ranked No. 34 nationally in the Class of 2013, has a list of KU, UCLA, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, Louisville, Florida State, Gonzaga, Georgetown, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Baylor, Tulsa, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Marquette, Tennessee, North Texas and USC.
Mickey, a 6-7, 210-pound forward who is ranked No. 51, lists KU, Baylor, Duke, Houston, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Providence, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.
Maryland's list of offered prospects in the class of 2013 expanded this week when a scholarship reportedly went out to a Top 50 prospect from Canada.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound shooting guard from Toronto, is the latest recipient of a Terps offer, according to InsideMDSports. Rivals.com's No. 48 player in the 2013 class also claims offers from Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Marquette, Memphis, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina State, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, USC, Virginia and Washington, according to Rivals.
Check out video of Rathan-Mayes, who goes to school at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep and plays AAU for Canada's CIA Bounce, below.
BeeJay Anya (Team Takeover 2013) – Anya has most of the country’s elite after his services as the big man mentioned offers from Indiana, Kansas, Ohio State, Syracuse, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Georgetown, Maryland, UCLA, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Connecticut, and DePaul. Coaches from most or all of those programs could be seen tracking his games throughout the day. Anya insists that no one is a leader at this point and said he’s “just taking things one day at a time.” He has no timetable for a decision but said when the time is right he’ll be looking for a place with an excellent strength and conditioning program. That is his main area of focus for improvement and he feels that the right college program could continue his development in that area and turn him into a pro.
AAU Super Showcase: Days 1-3 Notes
adidas NATIONS Aug 2 - 6
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar
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