This summer, the 6-foot-5 Selden has been given more freedom to hit the glass and play near the basket. The last two seasons he has been KU’s second ballhandler and now he is the third behind Mason and Nic Moore, the SMU standout who joined the Jayhawks for the world competition.
“We dissected last year’s season a lot,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Wayne was our second ballhandler last year and now the way we’re playing he doesn’t have to be on the ball so much. Now he can do more things. He’s also played more explosively than he has the last two years.”
Selden hit 6 of 11 shots and went 7 of 8 from the foul line. He added three assists and a steal and didn’t commit a turnover. Mason finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 11 assists. Combined with Ellis, that gives KU three big weapons on offense.
But don’t call them the Big Three just yet.
“Maybe to the outside looking in (we are), but to us we all know everybody has a job to do,” Selden said. “This can never be like a Big Three. We need everybody.”
…Longtime KU broadcaster Max Falkenstien served as honorary coach and sat on the KU bench. Falkenstien called KU games for 60 years and Friday marked the first time he got to sit on the bench during a game.
In the postgame media room after the game, Falkenstien walked in with Self and took a seat at his side.
“It was fun,” Falkenstien said. “It’s amazing how intense this guy (Self) is during timeouts.”
“Oh, I wasn’t intense,” Self said.
“Maybe not to you,” Falkenstien replied.
“You’re right,” Self said.
In the final minute, Mason capped the victory with a perfect alley-oop feed to forward Jamari Traylor. The partisan crowd at Sprint Center erupted, and more chants of “USA! USA!” filled the building.
“We’re getting older now,” Selden said, explaining the decisive fourth-quarter. “We’re starting to learn how to really close out games. We’re starting to learn to take our time and execute and get stops down the stretch.”
Friday marked the 19th day since Kansas convened in Lawrence on June 8 to prepare for the World University Games, which begin next Friday in South Korea. In the first 18 days of practice, the Jayhawks welcomed two freshmen to the program, added two players to the roster for the summer, and edged Team Canada in an exhibition victory on Tuesday night at Sprint Center.
Which meant that Friday’s second exhibition would serve as the final warmup for the real thing. In short, the week was a success, even if it revealed some possible concerns heading into the tournament.
…At that moment, Ellis, Mason and Selden had combined to score 19 of Kansas’ first 25 points, and the Jayhawks’ depth issues began to surface. This is a team, of course, playing without four of its top nine players — including Svi Mykhailiuk (Ukraine), incoming freshman Cheick Diallo (Mali) and Devonte’ Graham and Brannen Greene (injuries).
“The reality is, we’re not taking five of our players off our team,” Self said, adding transfer Dwight Coleby to the list of players not participating. “I want to go play well over there, and certainly win and those things, but the biggest thing about doing this is to help prepare guys for next year, too.”
This is where the depth question could prove pivotal. During 17 days in South Korea, Kansas will play eight games in less than 10 days. With walk-ons Tyler Self and Evan Manning on the 12-man roster, the Jayhawks will have to survive with 10 scholarship players — including SMU guard Nic Moore and Florida Gulf Coast’s Julian DeBose.
For the moment, Self is still trying to figure out how Kansas will survive the grueling schedule. (“I don’t know,” he said.) It would have been easier, Self said, if Graham hadn’t suffered a quad injury in the weeks leading up to the games. If the Jayhawks had Moore, Mason and Graham, Self would feel comfortable with the guard rotation. Instead, Self will have to rely heavily on Moore and Mason — and lean more on incoming freshman Lagerald Vick, who Self concedes “is not ready.”
“Hopefully they’ll be some games,” Self said, “where we don’t have to play Frank or Nick or Wayne more than 20 minutes.”
Meantime, Self will hope that other players can step up, whether that be Bragg, who was key at crunch time, or senior forward Hunter Mickelson, who had two offensive rebounds and a block during a flurry in the fourth quarter.
“Hunter sparked us,” Self said.
When Canada’s basketball team assembled a week ago for the upcoming World University Games in South Korea, coach Barnaby Craddock figured this week’s pair of exhibitions against Kansas University, the USA’s National Team, would go a long way in preparing his group for the competition ahead.
It might not have registered that the Canadian contingent also would have to deal with the Jayhawks’ rabid fan base at Sprint Center.
Canada, just like it had three days earlier, took a 10-point lead against KU Friday night in the final tuneup for both teams. But the Jayhawks pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 87-76 win with the 8,415 fans mixing in chants of “USA” and “rock chalk Jayhawk” in the waning minutes.
“It’s gonna get away from a lot of people in this environment, let me tell ya,” Craddock said after KU outscored the visitors, 29-16, in the fourth quarter.
…Peter-McNeilly said he and his teammates would love a third matchup with Kansas in South Korea, in the medal round.
“I don’t know what the crowd’s gonna be like in South Korea,” Peter-McNeilly added, “but I know playing in this type of environment helped out both teams.”
Craddock agreed Canada wouldn’t mind another shot at the Jayhawks.
“I think we’d both (KU and Canada) like to get to that game,” the coach said, “and see if we can do a little bit better away from the friendly confines of Kansas.”
By the time the NCAA season arrives, KU will be more prepared than most to make the transition from the 35-second clock to the new, 30-second deadline.
Even without the extra time preparing to play faster, the clock reduction plays to KU’s advantage. The Jayhawks have faster athletes, big and small, than most. In Mason, they have a guard who knows how to free himself for last-second shots. Plus, the obvious: A game with more possessions decreases the chances of an upset.
If, as expected, the Jayhawks (plus two) struggle to win at the World University Games in Korea, a shorter clock won’t be to blame. The absence of their top three-point shooters — Brannen Greene (recovering from hip surgery), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk of Ukraine (not eligible to represent USA) and Devonté Graham (quadriceps injury) — and their likely starting center Cheick Diallo of Mali (not eligible to represent USA) will have a greater impact.
Even if the results aren’t desirable in Korea, KU showed encouraging signs in the exhibitions, including Friday’s 87-76 comeback victory: Mason’s relentless growth, Wayne Selden’s restored confidence, Carlton Bragg as a pick-and-pop threat, Hunter Mickelson’s solid play, Jamari Traylor’s improved rebounding and aggressiveness playing the passing lanes, a strong will in finishing possessions and games.
Sorry, I just had to. Take off ya hosers!
"I think it'll give Julian a different perspective," Dooley said of playing with Kansas, where he was an assistant coach under Self for 10 seasons before coming to FGCU in 2013. "It's a great honor to represent the country. Kansas has a good shot at winning. It's a great opportunity for him."
DeBose, on the FGCU roster for two seasons after playing two years at Rice, wore a Kansas uniform for Tuesday's exhibition, only a taste of major league treatment he's getting with the fabled program.
"It's an amazing experience, of course," the Washington D.C. native said from inside Allen Fieldhouse. "I've never seen a locker room like this or seen any facilities like this. I'm just glad and blessed and completely thankful to coach Dooley and coach Self to allow me to be on the team."
…Heeding Dooley's advice, DeBose sounded ready.
"He basically said, 'Same rules here as there. Play hard and there's not too much else he can ask for from me. As long as you play hard, you're fine,'" DeBose said.
League sources confirmed the Nets have agreed to have Cliff Alexander play for their summer league entries in both Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas.
Alexander, a 6-foot-9, 240 pound power forward with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, was projected to be a late first round pick out of Kansas by DraftExpress.com, and the website ranked him as the No. 42 overall prospect heading into Thursday night’s festivities before he went undrafted.
It’s unusual for an undrafted player to play for one organization in both summer leagues — a sign of the Nets’ interest in Alexander.
It certainly would be a worthwhile risk to take, as the 19-year-old was nearly universally considered to be a top-five recruit coming out of high school last year before a tumultuous season at Kansas, in which he averaged 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 28 games while averaging 17.6 minutes. He started in just six games before being sent away from the team in late February because of an NCAA issue.
Alexander didn’t play again for the Jayhawks, and after the season, he declared for the draft. He came to the Nets’ practice facility in New Jersey last Monday for a workout leading up to the draft.
The 76ers should have an answer within a month.
There is a great deal at stake.
The Sixers would be thrilled if additional tests and specialists around the country/world determine center Joel Embiid just needs time and rest for the stress fracture in his right ankle to continue healing and should eventually allow him to scrimmage 5-on-5 prior to playing the bulk of the 2015-16 season.
…But if the conclusion is another surgery would be the best course of action — and the Sixers have consistently taken a cautious approach during Embiid's rehab, just as they did with Nerlens Noel the season before — it's possible Embiid could sit out a second consecutive year with no guarantee what his NBA future holds. That would be a crushing blow for an organization that is hoping for/counting on Embiid to become a cornerstone and star.
General manager Sam Hinkie and the Sixers are most interested in making sure Embiid has the best chance to reach his long-term potential by getting him completely healthy before he plays his first professional game.
The kicker is Embiid, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft after one year at Kansas, said he feels great and is pain-free, according to Hinkie. But that's not enough when at least one CT scan shows the foot's not progressing at the level it should be.
World University Games Schedule
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
Bowlsby said that the portion of divided Big 12 money represents about 40 percent of current conference revenue. The Big 12 announced last month that it distributed $252 million to its 10 members for the 2014-15 school year. "There are some places we could gain (financially) by being larger and some places we'd lose by being larger," Bowlsby said.
Reaching 12 members is "something we should strive for while we have the time, stability, all of that to look and be choosy," Boren said, according to the Oklahoman. "[We] can be very selective about who we want to add. It would have to add value to the conference. I think we should."
Boren comes from the Oklahoma perspective of having to compete with Texas and its lucrative Longhorn Network. Even though the ESPN-owned Longhorn Network has struggled to get distribution, Texas is going to receive approximately $15 million per year until 2031.
Eventually, the Big 12, Texas and ESPN will have to tackle the Longhorn Network question again. Will it make sense financially for ESPN to do another deal with Texas? Would it make more sense for ESPN to roll the Longhorn Network -- which has more channel clearance right now than the Pac-12 Network -- into a Big 12 Network? Would Texas flirt again with joining the Pac-12? All of those are questions for many years down the road.
There are Big 12 schools taking notice of the anxiety some Pac-12 people are experiencing several years after expanding from 10 to 12. It's not all roses for the Pac-12, which fully owns the Pac-12 Network. Thus, the Pac-12 is distributing a lower percentage of its revenue to members than other major conferences pay to their schools.
There's a line of thinking among some lower-budget Big 12 schools that the 10-member conference has incredibly helped their television exposure. Instead of playing some important football and basketball games on a conference network, some Big 12 schools are getting more attention than ever by playing on ESPN and Fox.
It's not lost on some Big 12 folks that its best football teams at the moment are Baylor ($86.9 million in reported 2013-14 athletic revenue) and TCU ($77.1 million), and not Texas ($161 million) and Oklahoma ($129.2 million). Now, that could obviously change if Texas and Oklahoma get their acts together again, as you would expect to eventually happen.
But the 10-team, round-robin model is working nicely to help the brands of some lower-tiered schools. The biggest reason to go to 12 teams would seem to be if the Big 12 can't stage a conference championship game with 10 and not having one continues to hurt the Big 12's playoff chances. When the Big 12 didn't collapse in 2010 and 2011 due to schools leaving, ESPN and Fox agreed to keep paying the conference the same amount without a Big 12 championship game.
"Because of the volatility that was in place at the time, TV partners said if you lose people, we'll give you pro rata down and if you gain people give pro rata up," Bowlsby said. "I think our TV partners might justifiably assert we ought to do (a championship game) without any uptick in money."
Would expansion reopen the Big 12's TV contracts that are through 2025? "The answer is we would suggest that it does," Bowlsby said. "I don't know if our TV partners would agree with that."
Still, no one can predict what college sports will look like in a couple of years. The Big Ten's next TV deal that further financially separates the Big Ten and SEC from everyone else could be a factor. Some of the anxiety felt within the Pac-12 could be a factor. CFP appearances or absences for particular conferences could be a factor. The changing landscape of legal obligations for schools to provide more benefits to athletes could be a factor.
Meanwhile, the performance and maturation of some athletic programs in the coming years could make some schools look more attractive to the Big 12. The Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten all expanded by adding programs that were viewed to be on the lower end of the spectrum in their new conference. Always remember this: Conference expansion has largely been about getting into new TV markets with heavy populations. Who are some of the very speculative candidates?
BYU: The Cougars badly want to get into a Power Five conference for more money, exposure and scheduling help. BYU, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, probably offers the largest potential audience for the Big 12. It might not be a cultural fit for the Big 12, though, such as BYU's policy of playing no games on Sundays.
Central Florida: This would get the Big 12 into Florida for games, although Texas and Oklahoma already recruit the state. Bowlsby has long suggested that if the Big 12 expands, it's going to go East for at least one member. UCF is in a state that's driven by Florida and Florida State, but the size of UCF's student body is big enough that it's growing its own fan base and could be a decent addition if UCF keeps winning in football.
Colorado State: The Rams are building a new on-campus football stadium with a price tag of around $200 million. Still, the stadium will seat 9,000 fewer fans than the Big 12's smallest (TCU) and Colorado State doesn't really capture the Denver TV market.
Cincinnati: The Big 12 would get into a large-market city and help solve the West Virginia travel problem. The Mountaineers are in no-man's land in the Eastern half of the country. But football drives college sports and right now the Bearcats' football program doesn't resonate in a pro sports city with the Reds and Bengals.
Houston: If Tom Herman is as good a head coach as he was as Ohio State's offensive coordinator, the Cougars could be winning big very soon while in a new stadium. Again, though, there's the concept of playing in big TV markets and the concept of capturing TV markets. But would the Big 12's schools really want another member from Texas?
Boise State: Competitively in football, Boise State makes all the sense in the world. The Broncos are a brand name by winning games. They also play in Idaho with a very small TV market.
Memphis: Like Cincinnati, adding Memphis would help solve the West Virginia travel problem. Memphis has a quality basketball program, has been improving in football, and is located in a decent (and new) TV market for the Big 12. Memphis president David Rudd apparently got Boren's memo and tweeted Wednesday: "Will be announcing new football & basketball facilities soon, stay tuned. Committed to competing at the highest level."
Boren's comments are just one president's opinion. Good luck getting the Big 12 to reach consensus without it turning into a circus.
Still, the revelation that everyone's Big 12 TV money is guaranteed makes Big 12 expansion more viable than we once thought.
The NCAA will pay for travel expenses for families traveling to the semifinal and final rounds of the men’s and women’s basketball championships for an additional year, the Division I Council decided Wednesday.
The Council voted to extend by one year a pilot program that paid for family travel expenses for the 2015 championship. The extension was recommended by both the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee.
“This program was a great benefit for the student-athletes and their families, and we want to make sure next year’s championship participants have the same family support available to them,” said Dan Guerrero, chair of the Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and athletics director at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Syracuse has named assistant Mike Hopkins its head coach designate to replace Jim Boeheim after the 2017-18 season, according to a release from the university.
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