Kansas sophomore F Perry Ellis has been named the co-Big 12 Men's Basketball Player of the Week in a vote by a media panel which covers the conference. Ellis, who is winning the honor for the second time, both this season, shared the accolade with Baylor sophomore Isaiah Austin.
Ellis averaged 25.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as the Jayhawks dropped an 85-82 overtime decision at Kansas State before defeating TCU, 95-65, in Lawrence. The 6-8, Wichita, Kan., native turned in his top effort against the Horned Frogs, scoring a career-high 32 points on 13-of-15 (.867) shooting. For the week, he shot 64.3 percent (18-of-28), including 2-of-3 (.667) from three-point range, while converting 13-of-16 (.813) from the free throw line. Ellis has four double-doubles this year, including 19 points and 11 rebounds at Kansas State, and has led the Jayhawks in scoring each of the last two contests.
Ellis, freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid have earned Big 12 weekly honors twice this season. Wiggins and Embiid have been named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week twice in 2013-14.
Kansas University freshman center Joel Embiid “practiced full speed today,” coach Bill Self was happy to report Sunday.
…Embiid, who according to Self could have played against TCU, has had no structural damage in his knee or back. His physical problems have been more of the severe-bumps-and-bruises variety.
“The thing about it is, this time of year more than anything, it’s not so much if you get yourself energized as much as how does your body feel,” Self said. “There’s a lot of bodies across America right now. There’s a lot of guys that have got a lot of nicks and a lot of guys that are playing with turned ankles or this or that, and they’re sore, but they’re not hurt and things like that, and I do think that’s natural this time of year.”
Embiid is one block shy of tying Eric Chenowith for the school record for blocks in a freshman season. Embiid has 61 blocks. Embiid has at least one block in 18 consecutive games. Chenowith’s longest streak stopped at five straight his freshman season (1997-98).
…“It’s great. It’s a learning process from college. It’s a lot different. It’s a longer season,” said Withey, who attended Saturday’s KU-TCU game. “I’m really happy where I’m at being in New Orleans. I like all my teammates. I will continue trying to get better.
“I’m excited to see a (KU) game,” he added of KU’s 95-65 victory over the Horned Frogs. “I’ve not been able to see any of the games, even on TV because we’re so busy with our season. I went to practice (Friday) and saw coach Self and all the other coaches and said ‘What’s up’ to all the guys. It’s great to be back in Lawrence.”
…Looking back on Friday’s premiere of the movie “Jayhawkers,” Self said he especially enjoyed scenes involving KU’s 54-53 triple-overtime loss to North Carolina in the 1957 NCAA title game.
“We see things all the time that remind us of our history,” Self said. “There’s one thing we haven’t touched base on was the triple-overtime loss to Carolina in ’57. I’ve known about it, but I don’t think our players did. We know of ’52. We know of ’88. We know of ’08. We know of ’22 and ’23, but to see that firsthand (was great).”
Self made it clear to Traylor that he wasn’t happy with him.
“He let me know on the court and off the court,” Traylor said.
The motivation tactic seemed to work, as Traylor scored eight of his 10 points in his 11 minutes after halftime.
“I thought he played really well after he got back in the second time,” Self said. “’Mari is obviously disappointed that he didn’t play this past Monday, but that’s over with. He probably recognized … I think when something’s taken away, guys appreciate it a little more when they get out there, especially that next time.”
…“It was definitely a physical game with K-State,” Traylor said. “I think if I was out there, we would’ve had a better chance to win. I definitely feel like I let my team down. I let everybody down. That’s pretty much it.”
…In the past, Self often has talked about his admiration for Traylor. One specific example came during Self’s summer camp last June, when Traylor broke down crying in front of campers after Self told the kids how proud he was of Traylor for overcoming poverty and other difficult situations earlier in life.
“Coach always has my back with everything,” Traylor said. “Things didn’t go the best my way, but I understand why he was mad at me. At the end of the day, it’s a learning experience. I got better from it, and I’m just looking to move forward.”
Even if you're new to advanced stats, believe me when I tell you that these numbers from Perry Ellis are off-the-charts good. The sophomore posted 1.76 points per possession while taking on an enormous offensive load for KU (31 percent usage). Typically, when a player's usage goes up, his efficiency naturally goes down, as he's forced to take harder and harder shots. In this game, Ellis managed to keep his efficiency in the stratosphere while posting 15 field-goal attempts and five assists ... something that's not easy to do.
…Even against a poor defensive team, KU's offensive numbers were terrific. According to StatSheet.com, KU's 1.418 points per possession was the third-highest total in a Big 12 game during the Bill Self era.
Defensively, KU did a nice job of creating turnovers (25 percent defensive turnover percentage was its second-best mark of the season) and grabbing defensive rebounds, but overall it still was only a so-so effort. TCU had its third-best shooting effort of Big 12 play in terms of effective field-goal percentage, and the Horned Frogs also took advantage of the Jayhawks' fouling issues to get 22 points from the line.
Show me a straight-A student, a high school valedictorian, and I’ll show you a perfectionist. Perry Ellis is no exception.
“I definitely am like that,” Ellis said.
Academic perfection was attainable in high school for Ellis, but not without a lot of sweat, he insisted.
“It was definitely tough for me,” he said.
“It didn’t come easy for me. I had to work to get those grades. That’s why I always tell people anybody can do it. You just have to work hard at it, and good things will happen.”
…“With basketball, I’m like that, too, and that can mess you up at times,” Ellis said of his perfectionist nature. “You can’t do everything perfect in sports. You mess up. That kind of gets to me sometimes. I’m just trying to learn to get past that part, the sports aspect of it. I can definitely say I get kind of hesitant sometimes, being a perfectionist. I know I can do it, but I haven’t perfected it yet. I’m really trying to work on that, not worrying about being perfect in sports.”
Leaving his man to supply help on defense doesn’t come naturally to him, he said, and pointed to that as the No. 1 place he needs to improve. He said he also needs to continue to improve the accuracy and range of his jump shot.
“He’s smooth,” Rush said after visiting with KU’s coaches and players in the locker room. “He plays at his own pace. He can definitely score that ball. I’ve been watching him all season. The way he’s playing doesn’t surprise me.”
Six-year NBA veteran Rush, who has returned to his hometown of Kansas City, Mo., for the NBA All-Star break, watched the 6-foot-8 Ellis hit 13 of 15 shots, including two threes in as many tries.
Ellis also went 4-of-4 from the foul line on a day he erupted for 21 second-half points.
“He can definitely play in the NBA,” Rush, a starter on KU’s 2008 NCAA title team, said. “I like his game because he can stretch the floor. He can put it on the ground. With his skill set, he can score against big guys.
“He was making all types of plays out there — scoring, rebounding, passing. He was playing the game he wanted to. He should look to score whenever he touches the floor,” Rush added.
…“I told our guys Brandon is the best defensive player we’ve had since I’ve been here,” KU’s 11th-year coach said. “Withey (Jeff, New Orleans Pelicans, who also attended) got a lot of attention because he blocked shots, but Brandon is the best defensive player we’ve had. He didn’t know how to spell it when he first got here.
“Brandon is a man of about as many words as Perry is,” Self continued. “I asked him how we guarded. He said, ‘Not great.’ That was about it. Very profound,” Self added, smiling.
VOTE FOR PERRY HERE
Wayne Selden was as aggressive as I can ever remember seeing him and he flipped the switch at go. On the game's opening possession, after KU won the tip, Selden took a quick pass from Naadir Tharpe and exploded to the rim in an attempt to begin the game with a rim-rattler. He came up short thanks to a foul, but the aggressive play paved the way for a strong afternoon from Selden, who finished with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting, numbers that included 11 points and 4 assists on 5-of-9 shooting in the first half. It wasn't just Selden's desire to attack the rim that showed his attack-mode mindset. The freshman guard aggressively looked for his shot in KU's half-court offense, went after his own misses with reckless abandon and really appeared to assert himself during the portions of the game when he was one of the top scoring options on the floor.
When other famously celebrated freshmen such as Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, and Carmelo Anthony were taking the nation by storm, they had the green light nearly all the times. They had offenses catered to their strengths.
Wiggins, arguably more talented than any of them, doesn't have that luxury. Sadly, he is getting penalized unjustly for it.
This season, Wiggins is surrounded by numerous other underclassmen in a complicated system. They're competing for a national title, and Wiggins' selflessness and restraint while agreeing to be on a tight leash is somehow getting strictly scrutinized.
He's a stellar teammate and handling all of the insanely high expectations and criticisms leveled on him with a smile.
Part of me feels slightly jaded. Part of me wants to watch Wiggins get free-reign to wow me continuously for 40 minutes. Wiggins playing for the Jayhawks feels like Prospero agreeing to give up his magical powers in Shakespeare's "The Tempest."
If Texas Tech matches up as it usually does defensively, junior point guard Robert Turner will be on Tharpe, sophomore guard Toddrick Gotcher on Selden, senior forward Jaye Crockett on Wiggins, junior forward Jordan Tolbert on Ellis and senior center Dejan Kravic on Embiid.
On the defensive end for Kansas, this isn’t your usual Bill Self team, with a field goal percentage defense of .410.
Last season,the Jayhawk defense allowed opponents to make 36.1 percent of their shots.
If the Red Raiders have good ball movement and attack the paint, that will exploit Kansas’ weakness defensively – help side rotation.
Also, the Jayhawks struggle some off the ball screen defensively.
They don’t hedge hard enough to make the offense go away from the basket.
On the perimeter, Kansas switches most screens which causing a lot of mismatches.
Texas Tech needs to play heads up offensively to capitalize off that.
Side by side
71.6 Scoring 80.1
68.2 Opponent Scoring 69.9
.466 Field Goal Pct. .504
.329 3-Point Pct. .354
.743 Free Throw Pct. .695
33.4 Rebounds 38.5
12.0 Assists 16.1
11.7 Turnovers 13.4
6.1 Steals 5.8
4.0 Blocks 5.8
Vote for Wiggs for the Wooden Award
“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
Baylor and Oklahoma State were once top 10 teams that appeared to be on the path to certain NCAA tournament bids.
Now they both need to end the regular season with hot streaks just to secure a place on the tournament bubble.
The Bears and Cowboys find themselves in very similar positions heading into ESPN’s nationally televised “Big Monday” game at 8 p.m. at the Ferrell Center.
Both teams are 16-9 overall and 4-8 in the Big 12, but the Bears have momentum after Wednesday’s 91-58 blowout of TCU in Fort Worth and Saturday night’s 87-73 double-overtime win over Kansas State at the Ferrell Center.
“I know Oklahoma State was cheering for a couple more overtimes,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “But both teams will be a little fatigued. The good thing is that’s why we have depth. And if we can get a good turnout from the crowd to keep us energized and focused and help that homecourt advantage, that’s a huge help.”
While the Bears have begun to pull out of a tailspin, the Cowboys are in the middle of one. After starting Big 12 play with a 4-2 record, they’ve dropped six straight games, including a 77-74 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday in Stillwater.
Fred Hoiberg looked at his players in the huddle late in the game Feb. 15 just as Iowa State’s 18-point lead had evaporated to one.
Heads were down and faces were long. He reminded them they still had a lead.
The No. 11 Cyclones (19-5, 7-5 Big 12) eventually pulled through with a 70-64 victory against Texas Tech, even after the Red Raiders took a one-point lead in the final minutes on Feb. 15 at Hilton Coliseum.
“For us to find a way to get it, even after they took the lead, is huge for us,” Hoiberg said. “I saw some faces in the huddle when they were making that run that suggested a little bit of bad body language.
“But we pulled it together.”
Nebraska upsets Michigan State 60-51 -- in East Lansing.
It was only the second time in school history the Huskers won at East Lansing. This was also the first win on the road against a team ranked in the AP poll's top 10 for Nebraska in 17 seasons and the team's fourth win ever against a top-10 team away from home.
CBS Night Court
Lamar has fired coach Pat Knight, son of Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight, with the Cardinals having won just six games the past two seasons.
Athletic director Jason Henderson announced the move Sunday. Lamar is 3-22 and 2-11 in the Southland Conference this season.
Creighton apparently has Villanova’s number.
Doug McDermott matched his season high with 39 points and passed Larry Bird for 13th on the Division I career scoring chart, and the 18th-ranked Bluejays (21-4, 11-2) won 101-80 on Sunday to move into first place in the Big East, a half-game ahead of No. 6 Villanova.
Their 21-point victory came less than a month after they hammered Villanova by 28 in Philadelphia on the strength of a record three-point shooting performance.
“I didn’t think we could play much better than we did at Villanova, but I’m not sure we didn’t play better today,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said.
Doug McDermott took over the national scoring lead, at 25.9 points a game, and now has 2,863 career points.
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
Illini staff and Kansas staff sitting 3 seats apart, watching the kid who could've changed the Illini forever, but instead will be a Jayhawk
I call this one "Jawhawk Joy, Illini Pain" #Self #Groce #Alexander instagram.com/p/kfz5r0vf94/
Talking to my future coaches #RCJH pic.twitter.com/zkAozfzseR
Great seeing Big Cliff tonight in Chicago. Going to be fun to coach instagram.com/p/kgEeAdgHfy/"
S/o to my young bro @humblekid11 out here killin ! #KUCMB
Cliff Alexander on KU recruiting 2014 C Myles Turner: "It is what it is. He does the same things I do. I think it'd be a dominant combo."
Cliff Alexander told me he's actively helping recruit his buddy, elite 2014 PG JaQuan Lyle, to Kansas. "He's still making up his mind."
Simeon is the only team in Illinois, or any other state, to contain Cliff Alexander this season.
For the second time this season, Simeon limited the 6foot-9 Alexander's touches Sunday in a quarterfinal of the Public League playoffs.
All Simeon has to show for its effort is an 0-2 record against No. 1 Curie.
The Kansas-bound Alexander had 16 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks and received enough support from Josh Stamps (14 points), Devin Gage (13) and Joe Stamps (13) to rally for a 71-64 victory over the No. 6 Wolverines at Chicago State.
The Condors, 62-59 winners over Simeon in a similar game in Pontiac, are one step away from an Alexander-Jahlil Okafor showdown in the Public League final.
They'll take on Hyde Park in a semifinal Wednesday night. Curie beat Hyde Park twice this season, the last time at the buzzer.
"It gets frustrating sometimes, but I've got to play through it," Alexander said. "My guards played well. They were doubling me and some guys stepped up real big in the second half."
Self watched his 6-foot-9 soon-to-be star drop 16 points, grab 11 rebounds and block six shots. Groce checked on 2015 Illini verbal commit D.J. Williams of Simeon. After Alexander’s notorious hat-fake on signing day, the big man was cordial with Groce and staff and caught up with an extremely happy-looking Self.
Self’s excitement made plenty of sense—not only will Alexander be a Jayhawk in a matter of months, but he’s been helping Kansas in its pursuit of elite unsigned guard JaQuan Lyle of Huntington Prep. Alexander and Lyle are close, and their discussions about playing together have been well-documented. As a Jayhawk, he’s now actively working to bring his buddy with him to Lawrence next season.
‘“I talked to him a couple of days ago,” Alexander told SNY.tv. “He’s still making up his mind. We need a 6-foot-4 point guard. We’d love to have that.”
…“I think I earned it,” Alexander said when asked about the top spot currently belonging to fellow Chicagoan Jahlil Okafor of Whitney Young by consensus. “I’ve played up to this point and I think I earned it, to be the number one player in the country.”
He might get a chance to stake his claim later this week. With semifinal wins on Wednesday, Curie and Whitney Young would face off on Friday night for the city championship.
Alexander would get a shot at his former AAU teammate, who led Whitney Young to a quarterfinal win on the same court just a couple hours earlier.
“I want that matchup right there,” said Alexander, who lost narrowly to Okafor and Whitney Young in last season’s state playoffs.
Wouldn’t we all.
I spoke with Lyle over the weekend about his latest recruiting plans. Lyle made unofficial visits to UConn and Memphis back in the fall, and his first official visit was to Oregon in January. He now has a visit set up to Oklahoma State on Feb. 21-23 and then will go right to Kansas on Feb. 24-25. He also plans to visit Memphis on March 7-9, which leaves room for one more official visit.
“If I take a fifth visit, it will be to Providence," Lyle said. "The recruiting process is hard to handle with school and our season, but it is a very important decision. The official visits give me a chance to see the relationship between the players and the coaches and how the players get along.”
He added: "I would like to be finished with this process by my spring break, which is around the third week of March. If I find the right place and I am sold on a school, that's my plan."
…What makes him so hard to guard is his tremendous size, and with that size he can easily slide over to shooting guard or small forward at any time. One place he is becoming more dangerous on the court is making basket cuts to the block and posting up. Not only can he score from the block, he is also an advanced passer from there.
…Without a doubt his jumper is getting better, especially from a distance. He could always shoot the ball -- now he shoots it with more consistency.
…The main area Lyle must make strides is in his body. He is strong but not overly athletic, and he still needs to tone his frame. His conditioning is also not where it needs to be.
"When I commit to a school, I am going to connect with their strength coach to get on a running program,” Lyle said.
At times his body language has not been good, mostly due to being frustrated with himself or his teammates. Not making the McDonald’s All American Game was a big disappointment for him, but he has handled it well.
“Since not making the game, he has had his four best games," Fulford said. "From Day 1 until now, JaQuan has made an effort with trying to respond better when he gets frustrated. I have noticed he has gotten better with me and our team."
2/16/14, 12:17 PM
Kansas asst Norm Roberts is here at Kean watching 2015 Fs Cheick Diallo and Moustaphe Diagne and 2016 F Veer Singh
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