Kansas University senior basketball players Jordan Juenemann, Tyshawn Taylor and Conner Teahan figure to do a lot of reminiscing — and a lot of celebrating — this morning as they participate in graduation ceremonies in and outside of Memorial Stadium.
“It’s going to be a great experience walking down the hill with my teammates Conner and Tyshawn,” said Juenemann, a combo guard out of Hays High School who majored in exercise science and minored in business.
“There’s such tradition at KU in walking through the Campanile and thinking about what you built on in four years — all the hard work in the classroom and for us on the field of play. It’ll be great to walk down into Memorial Stadium and hear the benediction and have our families be there on Mother’s Day when we get our diplomas and are launched off into the real world.”
The three plan to meet for pictures on Jayhawk Boulevard, then take part in the 10:30 a.m. graduation procession together following an introduction by the herald trumpeters near the Campanile.
“I know it’s a big deal for myself, Jordan and Tyshawn to be able to finally have all the work we put in the last four, five years to pay off,” said Teahan, a fifth-year shooting guard out of Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst High. He had a double major in finance and accounting. “This is something I’ve definitely dreamed about since arriving at KU. I knew I was going to be here the whole time. To be able to walk down the hill is a special experience.”
Taylor, a point guard and four-year starter from Saint Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J., majored in African and African-American studies and minored in communication studies.
“I’m one of the first in my family to graduate, so it’s definitely a really, really big accomplishment,” Taylor said. “And I’m really excited.
“I’ve been through a lot,” the Hoboken, N.J., native added. “Four years is a long time. Nowadays, a lot of people don’t even finish school, they just come and they leave. Just to be here four years and to be able to graduate — I’m about to graduate — that’s something I’m really happy about. I’m grateful to be here.”
…“This is Bill Self’s program — 100 percent of his seniors are graduating. It’s what Bill Self’s program does. It’s what he does. He wants his seniors graduating,” Ward said. “It doesn’t happen everywhere. These guys have different plans for their future, but all of them are leaving Kansas with a degree, Conner with two. That’s what coach Self’s program is about.”
Former Kansas University center Sasha Kaun’s CSKA Moscow team was stunned by Olympiacos, 62-61, in the Euroleague title game on Sunday.
Kaun scored two points off 1-of-2 shooting while playing nine minutes.
Georgios Printenzis’ layup with 0.7 seconds left proved to be the game winner. The Greek team won its second title, the first coming in 1997. CSKA led by 14 points at halftime.
On a typical morning, Tom Mendenhall arises in his home at 7300 Quantrill's Pass South — his family named the street — climbs into a car with the personalized license plate "BURN-KU" and goes to the office, where his computer screen saver "KU-H8TER" revolves during idle moments.
For him, disliking Kansas and its flagship university is not just a hobby, it's a lifestyle.
Mendenhall is the guy who walked right into the belly of the beast — Allen Fieldhouse on the most emotionally charged day of its history — sporting a cap reading "REMEMBER QUANTRILL: BURN 'EM AGAIN," wearing his license plate like a necklace and dangling a red-and-blue rubber chicken from a noose.
It was his traditional get-up, and all in good fun, at least in his opinion.
…So as MU fans prepare for the SEC, perhaps the biggest adjustment will be life without their foil. What does Wile E. Coyote do if there is no Roadrunner?
In the window of the ACME T-Shirt Company on Ninth Street is a black shirt with gold lettering that reads "Partnership for a Jayhawk-free America." Novelties making fun of Kansas always have been dependable money-makers in Columbia, but store manager Reid Lyle isn't sure if that will continue.
"I expect the rivalry will die if we don't play them anymore," he said. "The hatred is pretty deep, so it might take that older generation a little while to get it out of their system. We've been selling these 'Partnership for a Jayhawk-free America' shirts for years. If anything, they picked up in the last year, but that revolved around some of the last games. I've still got it in the window now, but we'll see what happens in the next year. I imagine it will go away and we're going to find someone else to hate."
…As Mendenhall bids a visitor goodbye from his office, he shows off his newest hat. It says, "SEC" on the front, "MIZ" on one side and "ZOU" on the other.
On the back?
"BURN KU," of course.
"Always," Mendenhall said with a grin, "watch what's coming up from behind."
Hidden underneath a historically successful basketball program and a recently woeful football program, there’s a list of sports that have wallowed near the bottom of the Big 12 standings.
Even worse: These are sports that have failed to compete with the school down the road. Take away the dominance of men’s basketball, and KU’s record against K-State in head-to-head matchups the last two years just 2-19 after the Jayhawks won 6-0 in baseball Saturday in Manhattan.
The numbers don’t include track and field, cross country or golf, but the conference finishes in those sports have been comparable — save for the KU women, who will compete for a top-three finish Sunday at the Big 12 track and field championships.
Of course, the numbers also don’t include the fact that KU appeared in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game in April, a place K-State hasn’t been in 60 years. Maybe for some KU fans, that’s enough. But for Zenger, it’s not. And the issue is larger than KU’s record against one school.
“We look at it across the board,” he says, “If you look at the schools that haven’t been as competitive with Kansas State head-to-head, they haven’t been as competitive with other schools in the Big 12.”
Zenger, who replaced Lew Perkins in January 2011, has been clear about his on-field priorities: He expects to be competitive in all sports — not just the money-making giants.
After Paul Pierce single-handedly won Game 2 of the Atlanta series, a friend of mine e-mailed, "Has there ever been anyone quite like Pierce?"
The short answer: No.
The long answer is a little more fun. Statistically, there's never been a wing player like him.
Grantland: The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth
In the summer of 1957, Wilt Chamberlain came to Washington, D.C., on the promise he'd get to play Elgin Baylor on the playground.
And they played. Over several weeks, Chamberlain, a Philadelphia kid and the first 7-footer who mattered, scrimmaged Baylor on his home blacktop, just as the local phenom was introducing playground flair to the hoops realm. Chamberlain would return to D.C. a year later for an encore of their pickup games, shortly after which both he and Baylor would turn pro and put up numbers that will be drooled over for as long as the game is played — 61,798 points, 41,024 rebounds, and 24 NBA All-Star Game appearances between them.
But, before any of that, there was this streetball series for the ages.
Chamberlain and Baylor went at it in five-on-five encounters on various D.C. playgrounds around town. The city's top young black ballplayers played alongside the headliners, making for an ungodly assemblage of future NBA first-round picks, NCAA tournament MVPs, and Hall of Famers. Flash mobs created entirely via analog social media appeared wherever Chamberlain and Baylor played.
"It was people hanging on the fences, on the rooftops, everybody there to watch Elgin and Wilt," says Ernie Dunston, who in 1957 was a sophomore at Spingarn High School, and who would later follow fellow Spingarn alum Baylor to Seattle University.
Grantland: Wilt vs Elgin When their world was the playground
Big 12/College News
With rumors still swirling that the Big 12 isn't quite finished and that the Big East has work to do, we are back at the corner of Bedlam and mayhem, now all the more chaotic thanks to the inevitable trickle down of the shifting landscape -- a description that has been used so much it's lobbying for official entry in to the sports lexicon, catalogued between double shift and hockey line shift -- to second-tier conferences.
"I still think there are other changes that will occur, and it's all linked,'' said Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson, himself a realigned leader, having dashed from the fading WAC to the Sun Belt in March. "If the Big 12 does something, the Big East will react. If the Big East does something, Conference USA will react. If Conference USA does something, we'll react. You're already seeing the Colonial, Horizon and Atlantic 10 with changes, conferences that had been untouched through all of this. I think there's still a lot of movement that will occur.''
What's different about these changes is that many now directly involve basketball. In the first round, hoops was left on the side of the road or grudgingly brought along by its football big brothers. Remember those frantic weeks when the Big 12 was crumbling and Kansas looked like it might be without a home?
Granted, realignment remains football-centric -- Charlotte athletic director Judy Rose admitted she convinced her chancellor to add football because she knew it offered stability. ("When Kansas was just sitting there,'' she said, "that was a real eye opener and very scary.")
But finally the basketball folks are getting together, deciding to merge their assets in ways that will benefit them instead of just taking whatever leftovers their pigskin peers want to offer.
After initially declining to comment, Fisher said he was confident FSU President Eric Barron and the trustees would evaluate the situation and lead the university in the right direction. One day earlier, Fisher told news media at a booster gathering in Orlando that if jumping to the Big 12 "is what's best for Florida State, then that's what we need to do."
Fisher's comments followed a statement earlier in the day from Haggard, who criticized the ACC for favoring the four North Carolina schools and for not brokering a larger contract during its recent renegotiation with television partners ABC and ESPN.
Because part of Haggard's statement was based on misinformation regarding terms of the deal, Barron felt compelled to issue a public apology to the ACC late Saturday night. Barron went on to clarify that the university isn't trying to leave the conference.
In an interview Sunday with the Tallahassee Democrat, Haggard said he would back down from some of his comments if they were incorrect. But he added that he remains concerned that the ACC isn't bringing in enough revenue to compete with rivals in the Southeastern Conference, Big 12 and other leagues.
"All I tried to say was I think Florida State needs to keep an open mind," Haggard said Sunday morning. "If the Big 12 or the SEC or any other conference wants to talk, we have an obligation to listen. If the Big 12 calls, should we hang up the phone? No.
"I'm not saying take it. I'm saying listen to it. Listen to what they have to say. … My only point is to listen to anybody who wants to talk — especially in these economic times."
Things are very quiet around the University of Louisville on the conference realignment front. Too quiet.
Oh, there was a lot of noise last week. ESPN, CBS and others reported that various Big East sources came out saying that U of L had informed the league that it wanted out and was pursuing other options.
It stirred up a bit of dust around here, but despite a couple of days’ worth of seeking insight, Tom Jurich & Co. aren’t talking.
Nonetheless, last week’s news wasn’t exactly new. U of L has been in campaign mode for two years. You don't get a U.S. senator involved in a heated pursuit of the Big 12 Conference without being aggressive about relocation.
Former Big East commissioner John Marinatto knew what U of L was doing, because U of L told him.
Once Marinatto was gone, U of L told the entire Big East board. It was less a statement of intent than a status report, something the board needs to know in order to do business. Jurich has said he wants to be transparent, not clandestine, with the Big East, because he credits the Big East with the position U of L is in today.
2012-13 Early Season Events List
The Class of 2012 in Illinois could be adding another high-major player to its short list. Marshall's Milton Doyle, a long, athletic emerging talent over the past year, is officially visiting Kansas today. And when Bill Self and the Jayhawks come calling, it's difficult to say no.
Doyle, a 6-4 senior and the Hoops Report's No. 6 ranked prospect in the Class of 2012, has taken it slowly since de-committing from Florida International. As the Hoops Report indicated in a Doyle blog last month, it's typically difficult to find a talent like this in the spring.
Doyle's commitment to Isiah Thomas and Florida International last fall was the the biggest recruiting steal in the Class of 2012 in Illinois.
Doyle is the ultimate sleeper, an underrated talent who fits the cliché "his best basketball is ahead of him" perfectly. It's true. Doyle is just scratching the surface. He's long, wiry, active, extremely athletic and his skill level has improved the more he plays. The slashing guard averaged 19 points, 7 rebounds and nearly 5 assists a game for Marshall coach Henry Cotton this past season. Doyle was terrific in the Chicago Public League All-Star game in April, scoring 20 points in every way imaginable.
The career of Doyle has been unorthodox. He transferred to Marshall from little-known Tilden following his sophomore year. Then before he could showcase his abilities in the Red-West, Doyle broke his wrist and missed his entire junior year. He did open some eyes last summer with his play at the Reebok Headliner tryout camp in Chicago and then the Reebok Breakout Challenge in Philadelphia, but he didn't play on the club circuit in July to instead concentrate on academics.
Chicago Sun Times
Q.) What are UF’s chances on Damontre Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith? Also, do you know when they plan on deciding?
A.) Damontre Harris has narrowed down his list to Kansas and Florida, but people close to Harris have been quiet about any additional info. It’s kind of up in the air at this point, but with a shot-blocker like Harris, you would expect him to get a lot of playing time in 2013-2014. Finney-Smith will be one to watch because of his close relationship to Vernon Macklin and the fact that Florida was his No. 2 choice behind Virginia Tech. Florida seems like a likely school that will receive strong consideration. However, decision dates for both prospects are unknown at this time.
Hampton High School's Anthony Barber scored 27 points as the Boo Williams Summer League 17-under boys team beat Howard Pulley of Minnesota 67-62 Sunday morning in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.
Howard Pulley's top player is Tyus Jones, one of the top-ranked point guards in the Class of 2014, but he didn't play this weekend.
That let Barber, a highly regarded PG in the Class of 2013, run wild. He made 6 of 12 field goal attempts and was 12 of 13 from the foul line.
Troy Williams of Phoebus and Al Freeman of Charlotte scored 9 each for Boo's team.
…After shooting 56 percent from the floor in its earlier game, the Boo Williams Summer League 17-under boys team went flat Saturday night and lost to Houston Hoops 75-60.
Boo's team fell behind 33-24 at halftime and never caught up.
Al Freeman led BWSL with 17 points. Phoebus' Troy Williams scored 13, Hampton's Anthony Barber added 9…
Dallas EYBL Results/Box Scores
The No. 3 overall player in the class of 2013, Julius Randle currently describes his game as "undefinable". For now, that's an apt description of the beastly 6-foot-9, let's call him a power forward, junior from Plano (Texas) Prestonwood. It really is like he's playing a video game at times as he brings the ball up the floor, makes plays off the dribble and totally hulks defenders with his strength. Randle recognizes that he's not likely to get the same freedom in college but for now he's good with going out and daring high school defenders to stop him from doing what he wants to do. Randle said that for now he's leaning towards signing in the spring and listed Texas, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Kentucky.
Rivals Bossi: EYBL Dallas Okafor shines
Rivals Bossi: Saturday standouts in EYBL Dallas
Rivals Bossi: Next Level Baller Saturday's Stars
Team Nashville continues to leave an impact in the early travel basketball season. They have entered tournaments and walked away victorious regardless of who the opponent has been. The winning continued at the Wallace Prather Classic in Atlanta.
This team, which does not have a player ranked in the top 100, beat the Florida Rams 81-72 at Shiloh High School on Saturday in bracket play of the Prather.
…Kasey Hill, who verbally committed to Florida, Brannen Greene, a Kansas commit, and Chris Walker, ranked in the top 10 nationally, for the Rams could not solve this team from Nashville. Hill led the Rams with a team-high 15 points. Joel Embiid finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Walker had 11 points, while Green chipped in with 12 points.
247sports: Dallas Day 3 Notebook
Tyler Ennis, one of the top point guards in the Class of 2013, has eliminated Arizona from his list.
“Yes, too many point guards there,” his father, Tony McIntrye of CIA Bounce, told SNY.tv, confirming a report by ESPN.com.
The 6-foot-3 Ennis continues to consider Syracuse, Memphis and Villanova, among others.
Syracuse is in strong position with both Ennis and St. Benedict’s Prep rising sophomore Isaiah Briscoe.
“It’s always been the closest school to home, so we went out for the Syracuse tournament when I was younger,” Ennis told SNY.tv recently. “That’s pretty much the only school I’ve seen when I was young.”
UCLA also recently offered Ennis, likely figuring that St. Anthony guard Kyle Anderson could be a one-and-done.
“Coach [Ben] Howland called me,” Ennis said. “He was just telling me from my class they’re looking to bring in a point guard because Kyle and Larry Drew’s also there, but he’s a senior.
“I haven’t really looked into it too much, but it’s a good school, a good conference.”
LSU also offered Ennis and CIA Bounce teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes.
Spring/Summer Event Schedule
adidas Grassroots schedule
Nike EYBL Schedule
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar
My 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, KU Alumni games, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more now on Youtube