It seems a stretch to compare Kansas center Joel Embiid to NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon. But when he makes moves like this, it’s easy to see what those comparisons are rooted in. Embiid’s ‘dream shake’ on New Mexico center Alex Kirk early in the second half of Saturday’s win over the Lobos might not have been the most spectacular play of the week, but it highlighted how refined Embiid’s skills already are and hinted at his massive potential. It’s no wonder Embiid has been the subject of plenty of No. 1 pick buzz lately.
Lost amid the amazing second-half show put on by Joel Embiid, Naadir Tharpe taking command of the point-guard job and Perry Ellis leading the team in scoring and rebounding came another development during Kansas University’s impressive performance Saturday against New Mexico in Sprint Center.
Talented freshman wing Brannen Greene has weaved his way through traffic to establish himself as the man to beat in a three-headed race for the first-shooter-off-the-bench role for Bill Self’s 7-3 Kansas University basketball team.
Greene sat in three of the Jayhawks’ first eight games and totaled just 25 minutes in the other five.
A 6-foot-7, 215-pound native of Juliette, Ga., Greene came to Kansas with a knack for pushing Self’s buttons, the ones that say, “Have a seat and think about what you just did or didn’t do.”
Self likes his shooters to shoot but wants them exhibiting the patience to get the best possible shot. He preaches that if the ball gets to the third side, the chances are good that the defense will have been caught out of position by then, and the ball will find its way into the hands of an open shooter. Greene, too often, fired a guarded shot before the ball had been worked, thereby taking the defense off the hook.
Self, as do most coaches, preaches “next play.” Players who turn it over and react by using their first three steps in the other direction to accelerate to top speed have taken their first three steps toward redemption.
Those who turn it over, miss a shot or don’t get a whistle and react by freezing, frowning and then getting around to running to the other end have taken their first three steps toward the bench.
Popping into a sound defensive stance too sparingly and out of it too quickly, or other defensive transgressions such as lending too little help or arriving with it too late, also lead to quick hooks.
“Brannen and I just need to get on the same page, but Brannen’s a good player,” Self said after KU’s 80-63 victory against New Mexico. “He’s starting to value things that we think are important. He’s just a freshman trying to figure things out, but he certainly, I thought, gave us some good minutes.”
AUDIO: Bob Davis Kansas vs New Mexico highlights
The toughest part about putting these rankings together right now is trying to balance out the difference the performance we’ve seen to date and the potential that each team has on their roster.
Look at Kansas, for example. They’re lost three times to top 15 teams away from Phog Allen Fieldhouse, none of which came by more than six points. They have as much talent, top-to-bottom, as anyone in the country, and they have arguably the best head coach in the game. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re sitting at 7-3 with their best win coming at home over New Mexico.
I think the Jayhawks are still the best team in the Big 12, better than Baylor and better than Oklahoma State. I think they’re a better team than Oregon or Wichita State or UConn. But, a third of the way through the season, can we rank the Jayhawks higher than teams that have outperformed them?
NBC Sports Top 25 (#15 Kansas) (Um, Duke. #7. Lost. to. Kansas.)
Nothing says December like an avalanche of “Best of” lists. And the NBA wants in on the fun.
Nevermind that the All-Star game is two months away or that just a fourth of the season is in the bag, first returns from this annual popularity contest are in.
Two Jayhawks made the 50-deep after the earliest round of fan voting:
— Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers was the No. 10 vote-getter among Eastern Conference backcourt players with 32,996 votes.
— Brooklyn Nets small forward Paul Pierce sits at 13th among East frontcourt players with 45,145 votes.
LJW: ‘Hawks in the NBA blog
Vote here for NBA All-Stars Paul Pierce, Mario Chalmers
KUAD WBB KU vs Purdue recap
Down a point to the No. 18-ranked team in the country with just seconds left on the clock Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas University’s women’s basketball team needed its guards to keep cutting up Purdue’s defense like they had throughout the second half.
The hot hand of junior Asia Boyd and the speed bursts of late sub Lamaria Cole kept the Jayhawks on pace with the Boilermakers, who had recovered from a seven-point halftime deficit.
With 12.4 seconds left on the clock, KU coach Bonnie Henrickson called an isolation play for Boyd. The strength of the 6-foot-1 guard from Detroit helped her get all the way to the paint from the left wing, but Boyd missed an off-balance layup, and Purdue guard KK Houser dove on the loose ball. All Boyd could do was foul, and Houser, a senior guard, knocked in two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to seal a 71-68 comeback victory.
“I had a good look at it. I should’ve finished it, but I think it was a pretty good look,” said Boyd, who made six of her 13 shots in the second half and finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. “I tried to get to the basket, get fouled.”
Big 12/College News
“It was a good day for K-State,” second-year coach Bruce Weber said. “We wrote on the board ‘energy, effort, persistence and then play as a team.’ I think we had great energy and set the tone for the game from the beginning with our defense.”
The Wildcats, 7-3, have won five straight, looking good at times and mediocre at others. They handed Mississippi its first loss and beat Central Arkansas and Troy, 4-4, by wide margins. They also struggled with South Dakota and lost three games early. Offense continues to be a concern. Defense remains strong.
We may learn more about this K-State team in its next game.
On Saturday, the Wildcats will face a ranked opponent for the first time when they take on No. 20 Gonzaga at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita. The Bulldogs have won six in a row and are off to a 10-1 start, with victories over West Virginia, Arkansas and Washington State.
“They smacked us last year pretty bad in Seattle,” Weber said. “It was a good learning tool for our team. Mark Few’s teams keep getting tougher. … It will be nice to have a great crowd there on Saturday and to use that as an energizer and see if we can pick up a win against a top-rated team.”
The Tigers won 66-60 Sunday at Mizzou Arena, but the victory was anything but pretty. In fact, the outcome wasn’t decided until the last minute. Missouri led by five with 24 seconds to play, but Western Michigan caught a break when Missouri guard Jabari Brown missed the front end of a one-and-one.
But the Broncos’ hopes ended when David Brown missed a three-point shot with 7 seconds to play and Missouri’s Brown grabbed the rebound.
“I knew it would be this type of game. I wasn’t surprised,” said Haith, whose team improved to 10-0. “They’re a good, aggressive team, and I knew they could give us trouble.
Once upon a time, Syracuse-St. John's would have been the hottest sports ticket in town, but the Garden was about 75-80 percent filled to capacity for the noon tip, with swaths of empty seats in each level. No doubt the weather -- 36 degrees -- and early start had something to do with it, but the programs are no longer conference foes, and the red-hot heat of the rivalry has diminished. Asked by SNY-TV if he was going to show up to the game, Knicks star and former Syracuse hoopster Carmelo Anthony summed it up perfectly: "If I wake up."
Had he made it, he would have witnessed a terrific game between his alma mater -- the No. 2-ranked team in the nation -- and a St. John's team loaded with potential. Syracuse (10-0) held on for a 68-63 victory thanks to a pair of baseline jumpers in the final minutes by senior forward C.J. Fair, and some terrible offensive possessions by St. John's (6-3). The final 10 minutes of the game featured four lead changes and the game had seven ties.
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
Taking my official to Kansas on January 11th.
If Lyle (@JMamba5) lands at #KU, he will team with Cliff Alexander (@humblekid11) & Kelly Oubre (@K_Ctmd22). Would be a scary good class.
@D1Circuit Retweeted by JaQuan Lyle
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