As far as what to expect during the entertainment portion of the 31st-annual Late Night, set for 6:30 to 9:30 tonight in Allen ...
“I’ve got a couple moves I’m working on. I’m kind of a dancer. I might pull off some dance moves,” KU sophomore guard Devonté Graham said. Doors open for students at 4:30 p.m., and the general public at 5. Admission is free.
“Svi (Mykhailiuk) has become a better dancer,” Graham added, asked to comment on his teammates’ skills. “Cheick (Diallo) is not a dancer. Hunter (Mickelson) is not a dancer. I’m not too sure about Dwight (Coleby). B.G. (Brannen Greene) is not a dancer either.”
Junior point guard Frank Mason III doesn’t over-rate his own ability to boogie.
“I can’t dance,” Mason said. “Actually Jamari (Traylor) thinks he’s the best dancer. I think Devonté is. We’ll all do it. Whatever they want us to do, we do, hopefully something that’s really nice,” Mason added, alluding to the true spirit of the festive night.
Junior combo guard Wayne Selden, Jr., agreed Graham is “probably the best dancer. Jamari definitely thinks he’s the best. Hunter can’t dance, cannot dance.”
…The recruits are ineligible to participate in one of the most-anticipated moments of the 2015 Late Night. One male and one female fan (high school graduates or older) will be randomly selected to each attempt two halfcourt shots. Should they make one of two attempts, Self will award a $10,000 check on the spot. If the contestant doesn’t want to shoot, he/she can select anyone in the building who is not a current player or recruit, to shoot on his/her behalf.
“Brennan Bechard of our staff could shoot it for you. He’s probably the best halfcourt shooter we have. Wayne Simien if he’s in the stands. I heard Darnell (Jackson) is coming back. Or Aaron Miles could shoot. They’ve been instructed to try to make it. There’s a pretty good chance they could hit one of ’em,” Self added with a laugh.
“It should be fun. The biggest thing is for us is obviously our guys have gotten to the point where this is something they look forward to each and every year, and it’s a great way to kick off our season, and also from a fan standpoint, and there’s a chance I’m sure we’ll have a recruit or two in the audience. It’s a fun night for them to get a feel what Kansas basketball can actually be like.”
…On Saturday, Maui Invitational tournament sponsor Maui Jim sunglasses will be present at the bottom of KU’s Campanile Hill prior to the 11 a.m., KU-Baylor football game. From 8:30 to 11 a.m., fans can learn how to win a trip to the Maui Invitational. Tonight at Late Night, Maui tourney officials will present the Jayhawks an eight-foot hand-crafted custom surfboard.
Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis, junior guard Frank Mason III, and freshman forward Cheick Diallo each garnered recognition on the 2015-16 All-Big 12 Preseason Team as voted on by the league's men's basketball coaches, the conference office announced Thursday.
Ellis is on the five-member All-Big 12 Preseason Team, while Mason is an honorable mention selection as the recipient of at least one vote by the league's coaches who could not vote for their own student-athlete. Diallo was voted as KU's third-straight Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year.
Ellis, a unanimous selection, is one of four 2015 All-Big 12 First Team selections named to the all-conference preseason team.
Bill Bridges was a rebounding machine. When he finished his Kansas men’s basketball career in 1961, his 1,081 boards amassed in three years were the second-most in school history. His 580 rebounds in conference games remains a record.
He carried that ability into the NBA and was a three-time All-Star and a member of the Golden State Warriors’ NBA Championship team in his final season, 1975.
Kansas announced Thursday that Bridges died on Sept. 25 in Santa Monica, Calif., after a battle with cancer. He was 76.
KU grad Dana Anderson, who is one of KU’s more prominent boosters, remembers meeting Bridges many years ago in Santa Monica, California, where Anderson worked and Bridges lived.
“He saw my KU tags on my car one day, walked in the office and asked, ‘Who is the person with the car with KU on it?’” Anderson recalled. “That’s how we met. I knew who he was immediately, of course. We became friends. We had some good talks philosophically about race. He was a really neat person intellectually.”
Physically ... “he had the biggest hands of any human being I’ve ever met, mammoth,” Anderson said. “Much bigger than Wilt (Chamberlain). His arms and hands were just a knack for rebounds. At one point he was leading rebounder among all forwards in the pros. He had sturdy and large shoulder and a big body. His arms and hands were huge and he knew how to use them.”
Anderson, who traveled with Bridges to Lawrence in 2004 for Bill’s jersey retirement ceremony, indicated the player was thrilled to be so honored by his alma mater.
Cindy Fraser, who was Bridges' partner of many years, indicated Bridges was “very proud to be a Jayhawk. People would introduce themselves to him and he’d go into the Rock Chalk cheer. He just loved KU.”
She indicated a possible moment of silence at Friday’s Late Night in the Phog “would be perfect. He didn’t want a service. He was a very quiet man.”
After reflection, she knows of one other thing that would please him.
“In thinking about it, I’m sure Bill would love a last ‘Rock Chalk’ in his honor,” Fraser said.
“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
Big 12 Composite Schedule
Should the NCAA require schools to lock down their buildings one day a week with no athletic activities or travel for players? That's one idea the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is asking Division I athletes in a survey for their perspective about the amount of time they put into athletics.
For years, NCAA studies have shown many athletes spend more than 40 hours a week on their sport, well beyond the association's 20-hour rule that everyone knows gets abused. A recent Pac-12 study showed its athletes spend an average of 50 hours per week on their sport and are often “too exhausted to study effectively.” An informal CBS Sports survey of elite SEC football players found that 55 percent said they spend more than 50 hours a week on football.
According to the NCAA, these are some of the recommendations that athletes will be asked about in the survey:
• Receive one day off per week from athletic activity and prohibit travel on the weekly off day.
• Change countable athletic-related activities from the 20-hour weekly limit to a daily hourly limit. Athletes will also be asked what that limit should be and whether it needs to be sport-specific.
• Require a mandatory dead period one week after an athlete's championship season is over. Athletes will also be asked how long that dead period should last.
• Reduce midweek nonconference games during the conference season. This is a legitimate issue that rarely gets discussed. However, good luck getting schools to turn down TV money to play basketball or football on a weeknight.
• Prohibit athletes from missing class for reasons related to their sport during the nontraditional season.
The Pac-12 has proposed nationally a three-week “discretionary period” for college athletes immediately after the conclusion of their seasons. The Big Ten wants to specify that athletes' one day off per week cannot be on a travel day. That these questions are even getting asked speaks to the changing times in college sports. Legal threats have challenged (so far unsuccessfully) whether athletes are employees in large part because of the hours they spend on sports. We're only eight years removed from then-Colorado football coach Dan Hawkins' infamous rant -- “It's Division I football! It's the Big 12! It ain't intramurals!” -- after a player's parent protested that the team got only a two-week break in its offseason conditioning program.
“We have so many significant ways in which our stated principles and our actions are inconsistent with one another,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said last month at a conference of Division I faculty athletic representatives. “As long as we have that kind of hypocrisy in the system, we're going to find ourselves criticized.”
"An educated person can't think he's going to get a recruit by strippers coming in. I don't get it."
He insisted he wasn't sure why McGee would think allegedly paying strippers and escorts to entertain recruits would help him climb the career ladder, saying that if a recruit committed to U of L, McGee would get "zero credit" for it.
Recruiting players, Pitino said, wasn't in McGee's job description as a program assistant and then director of basketball operations, though in 2012 McGee said he would "assist in coordinating events and visits for recruiting" as a program assistant in a copy of his resume obtained through a public records request by The Courier-Journal.
Pitino also seemed upset that a statement put out earlier Thursday by U of L president James Ramsey, who said he "fully supports" Jurich, did not mention him by name. When Meiners asked Pitino why Ramsey apparently left him out of his statement, Pitino said he wasn't sure.
He said he was sorry Ramsey "didn't think enough to mention me, but that's something I can't control," later adding that "if I get the feeling that he wants (him to resign), I'd pack my bags and leave."
Ohio State freshman JaQuan Lyle spoke with an NCAA investigator this week about his recruiting visit to Louisville in June 2013 and confirmed the gist of allegations involving paid escorts during his trip to the school, a source with knowledge of the NCAA's investigation told CBS Sports on Thursday morning.
"He told the truth," the source said.
…The NCAA has also already interviewed former Louisville recruit Antonio Blakeney, according to sources. Blakeney is now at LSU. What he told the NCAA remains unclear.
Louisville's Rick Pitino has denied any knowledge of the 22 "shows" Powell claims she put on for players or recruits. McGee has not spoken publicly since the book's release.
Meantime, WDRB.com reported Thursday afternoon that a former Louisville basketball player has "given investigators a version of events that indicates strippers were in the players' dorm on at least one occasion," according to a source. The report did not name the former player but did state that it's somebody who was "mentioned in the book."
At 10:42 a.m., CBS Sports’ college basketball “insider,” Gary Parrish, posted a story citing an unnamed source to the effect that former U of L recruit JaQuan Lyle had confirmed the gist of “escort queen” Katina Powell’s salacious allegations to representatives of the NCAA.
After days of denial and delusion about the purported sexual shenanigans at Billy Minardi Hall, after frantic fans and sycophantic media types had gone to exhaustive lengths to concoct conspiracies and discredit Powell’s “Breaking Cardinal Rules,” here was a headline that was going to be hard to explain away. Here was a key witness with no apparent agenda reportedly confirming misdeeds that could qualify as major violations of NCAA rules.
Within hours of the Lyle bombshell exploding, the fallout could be felt the length and breadth of Floyd Street. Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy quickly floated the idea of U of L self-imposing an NCAA tournament ban to limit long-range recruiting damage.
…Where things go from here, most likely, is downhill. Ramsey was probably prudent in withholding blanket support for Pitino in the early stages of an unpredictable investigation – remember the premature absolution Ohio State’s E. Gordon Gee offered Buckeyes’ coach Jim Tressel? – but Pitino appears to have interpreted that act of political expedience as a deliberate slight.
Though he rejected the idea of resigning voluntarily as cowardly, Pitino might be out of work for five minutes before his phone would start ringing, and with his reputation mostly intact. Unless the NCAA can trace stripper/hooker subsidies directly to the head coach’s pocket, Pitino is probably looking at no more than the nine-game suspensions to be served by fellow Hall of Famers Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) and Larry Brown (SMU). For a coach with 10 years remaining on his contract, that would amount to a relative wrist slap.
Wisconsin has been with Adidas since 2001, but the Badgers are set to join Under Armour on a 10-year deal beginning at the start of the 2016-17 school year. The deal is still pending Board of Regents approval.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin's new deal with Under Armour will bring in significantly more money to the athletics department.
Wisconsin will receive $3.33 million in product from Under Armour in the first year, and then $2.45 million the year after that, with that amount increasing each year until it is $3.05 million in product in year 10. Adidas is providing Wisconsin with $1.375 million in product this year.
Under the Badgers' Adidas contract, the school was receiving $800,000 in cash. The new Under Armour deal will pay the school $4 million annually.
Wisconsin is the latest school to make a jump to Under Armour, joining Northwestern and Maryland in the Big Ten as Under Armour schools.
Two of the top guards and three of the premier forwards in the recruiting Class of 2016 will be attending the 31st-annual Late Night in the Phog tonight in Allen Fieldhouse.
The five blue-chippers who are sure to receive a thunderous ovation when they walk through the northwest tunnel to their seats behind the KU bench are: No. 2-ranked (by Rivals.com) Harry Giles, 6-10, Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Virginia; No. 5 De’Aaron Fox, 6-3, Cypress Lakes High, Katy, Texas; No. 6 Malik Monk, 6-4, Bentonville (Arkansas) High; No. 16 Marques Bolden, 6-10, DeSoto (Texas) High and No. 34 Schnider Herard, 6-10, Prestonwood Christian Academy, Plano, Texas.
…Top juniors expected to attend Late Night according to Rivals.com: Michael Porter, 6-8, from Tolton Catholic in Columbia, Missouri, who is ranked No. 3 in the Class of 2017; No. 19 Jeremiah Tilmon, 6-10, from East St. Louis High; No. 26-rated Trae Young, 6-1, from Norman (Oklahoma) North, No. 37 Mitchell Ballock, 6-4, from Eudora High; No 73 Chaundee Brown, 6-5, from First Academy in Orlando, Florida and No. 141 Wyatt Wilkes, 6-8, from Winter Park (Florida) High.
The Jayhawks are also set to host a list of unofficial visitors, including local standouts Mitchell Ballock, a junior guard at Eudora High; Bol Bol, a sophomore center at Bishop Miege; and Michael Porter Jr., a junior forward at Tolton Catholic in Columbia.
For Lightfoot, this visit is different. The official visit, which means UA can pay for his expenses, will be the fifth and final during a tour that has taken him to Stanford, Utah, Kansas and St. John’s, and the final piece of what Lightfoot seeks to experience before deciding where to play next season.
“You can compare apples to apples when you go on official visits,” Lightfoot said. “I want to get to know them on a personal level.”
Lightfoot said he is expecting to explore UA’s honors college, since he seeks an accelerated academic path wherever he winds up, and wants to meet extensively with UA forwards Ryan Anderson and Mark Tollefsen, who will be vacating the same power forward position that Lightfoot plays after this season.
Already, Lightfoot said he’s enjoyed visiting Stanford, where “you get the best of both worlds” in academics and athletics, and Utah, whose $36 million basketball complex was nearly complete and whose coach, Larry Krystkowiak, played power forward in the NBA.
Lightfoot also witnessed Madison Square Garden — when it was being set up for a WWE event — during last weekend's visit to St. John’s. And he returned to Kansas, where several extended family members still live.
He’s also hosted Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins, St. John’s coach Chris Mullin, Krystkowiak and, of course, UA’s Sean Miller and Joe Pasternack, for home visits.
“For me, it’s been really fun,” Lightfoot said. “I’m just enjoying the process and lucky to be enjoying the process. All the home visits are going well and the (campus) visits have been amazing. I’ve been to a lot of places I wouldn’t have been able to see if not for basketball.”
While the Wildcats are believed to be leading for Lightfoot, 24/7 Sports’ “Crystal Ball” has 55 percent of listed analysts saying he’ll head to Arizona and another 45 percent saying his choice will be Stanford.
There’s also that strong family tie to Kansas, though Lightfoot says that won’t be a factor in his decision.
“They just want me to be successful wherever I choose to go,” Lightfoot said.
Arizona Daily Star