Frank Mason says the KU players had a meeting (organized by Perry Ellis & Wayne Selden) on Tuesday night. (Team meeting narrative activate.)
The meeting was called by Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden.
“Just getting back on the right page,” Mason said of the purpose of the meeting. “We obviously don’t want to be the team to mess up the Big 12 streak (10 straight titles). So we just got together (to) talk about the things we need to do, becoming better on the defensive end, just doing everything coach needs us to do.”
…“Different guys stepped up, said different things, had their own opinions,” Mason said of the players meeting. “We just all took it and tried to make it positive and make the change.”
Bill Self hunkered down at his office until close to 9 p.m. on Wednesday night, looking over scouting reports, organizing game plans, and worrying about the little details that can keep a coach's mind occupied in late February.
As the night pressed on, he flipped on the television. He watched a little of the Duke-Virginia Tech game. He toggled to another game on another network. He checked college basketball scores on his iPhone.
Back at the Jayhawker Tower apartments, a short three-minute walk from Allen Fieldhouse, sophomore guard Frank Mason was glued to the second half of Iowa State's home game against Baylor - a contest with major implications in the Big 12 race.
Back at the KU basketball office, Self couldn't bring himself to turn on the game.
"If I watch it," Self explained on Thursday afternoon, "I'll be nervous and all that stuff. I didn't watch one play."
If Self had watched, he would have seen No. 19 Baylor cut down No. 12 Iowa State 79-70 at Hilton Coliseum. He would have seen the Bears drill seven straight 3-pointers in the second half. He would have seen a result that cracks open the door for Kansas to claim a piece of an 11th straight Big 12 championship on its own home floor.
"It doesn't matter unless we take care of business ourselves moving forward," Self said. "But I'd be lying if I didn't say that (on Wednesday night) I was definitely a Baylor Bear fan."
“I’m an energetic player, rebounder, defensive stopper, I lead by example and will get vocal if I have to,” said Robinson, who was visibly excited about joining a team where minutes are expected to be plentiful. “I want to win and get this team on the path towards winning.”
His presence is felt, though, as it always has been, in effort not reflected in the box score. Robinson is a tireless worker with a motor that is constantly running full throttle. He may only be 23 years old, but don’t let his age fool you. On team that values upside and character, Robinson undeniably fits the mold.
“He fits all the things we like when we identify keepers. It’s a look that we couldn’t pass up,” said Brett Brown. “He’s not going to have a better environment to have a legitimate chance to be a legitimate NBA player.”
In a frontcourt that leans heavily on the slender shoulders of Nerlens Noel, Robinson’s 240-pound frame will help take some of the pressure off the rookie center. He may still be acquiring the necessary tools to make him a polished NBA player, but Robinson’s willingness to battle night in and night out will make him a valuable piece for the Sixers for the rest of the season and possibly beyond.
On the other end, Wiggins is an airtight one-on-one defender who stunts well to help pick-and-roll coverage and leverages his quickness to recover on shooters. He only commits 3.4 fouls per 48 minutes, second-fewest among qualified rookies. As a first-year player guarding the opposing team's best scorer, Wiggins does get burned but increasingly, his mistakes don't resemble those of an idle-minded teenager, but rather a committed defender occasionally outmaneuvered by tricks he has yet to learn. The future has havoc-wreaking interception machine written all over it – and returning hero/defensive maniac Kevin Garnett will certain help aid in that transformation.
Rolling Stone: Andrew Wiggins has arrived
Instead, a Suns team that had all but buried themselves and their eighth-seed playoff snag under a pile of losses five games thick beat Oklahoma City in Phoenix, in overtime, 117-113.
Now, there could be a postseason chance.
Markieff Morris led the Suns with 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Bledsoe poured in 28 of his own (11 of which came in a crucial third-quarter run) and 13 rebounds to help push Phoenix past the pesky Thunder.
Japan rap star/personal trainer/camp instructor Scott Novosel now can add “graphic novelist” to the growing list of job titles he has had since spending a year as a Kansas University basketball walk-on during the 1994-95 season.
Novosel, with the help of cartoonist Sam Sharpe, is putting the finishing touches on the book, “FIELDHOUSE,” an inspirational story based on former Blue Valley North guard Novosel’s three-year mission to make the KU roster as a non-scholarship player.
…“It’s about a Kansas kid who achieves his dream to play basketball for the storied Jayhawk tradition,” said Novosel, who has been back in the United States the past seven years after spending seven years in Tokyo — a place he fell in love with upon visiting his brother in 1999. “Through help from his family, future teammates and the Kansas (basketball) family, he made the team.
“It’s about believing in the power of dreams. It (novel) brings to life the incredible KU tradition. The kid is the Jayhawks’ No. 1 fan. He has this vision of wearing ‘Kansas’ across his chest and befriending these interesting characters. He somehow finds a way to accomplish his dream and ... it’s a true story.”
“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
The NCAA men’s basketball championship is making good on its “March Madness” moniker to the tune of billions of dollars. Broadcast rights will amount to $10.8 billion over 14 years, and TV ad revenues were $1.2 billion in 2013. While the teams that play in the NCAA are nowhere near as profitable as those in college football, the guys on the courts are nipping at their heels. In 2010, according to Forbes, the top-valued team, the North Carolina Tar Heels, were worth $29 million. By 2014, the team at the top, the Lousisville Cardinals, was valued at $39.5 million. But does a team’s worth mean more success? To find out, we tracked the past two decades of March Madness playoff records for the 20 most valuable teams.
Globe and Mail
Three of the four teams that made last year's Final Four -- UConn, Kentucky, and Wisconsin -- all had 12-6 records in league play. #matchups
Oscar Robertson Trophy List
Complete ESPN Networks schedule
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Kansas State students flooded the court at Bramlage Coliseum, which is not a capital crime in the sporting business. But as you know, the purple people did more than rush the court after their Wildcats beat Kansas on Monday night. They jostled with the Jayhawks themselves.
That is a capital crime, and only by the grace of James Naismith did KU’s Jamari Traylor not pulverize KSU student Nathan Power, who body-checked the Jayhawk forward and could have instigated a melee that would have scarred the sport far beyond the Flint Hills.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby rightly rebuked K-State and put his league on notice that such behavior will not be tolerated. Such sternness is necessary. It’s also counter to college hoops’ marketing endeavors to refill student sections.
At all but the most passionate fan bases — the Duke, Kansas, North Carolina crowd — student attendance is a constant concern. Anymore, 20-year-olds don’t find college basketball a charming way to spend two hours on a cold campus night.
…But it only takes one bad incident to set off alarms. Recall the 2003 Nebraska-Missouri football game, when Cornhusker player Kelly Huston was suspended after he punched a fan who came running at him. With the emotions of sport, we’re lucky that kind of thing hasn’t happened more. We’re lucky that far worse hasn’t happened.
“The events following the KU vs. K-State game should be a call to action for all of us,” Bowlsby said.
The unfortunate action that might be called is this. If that’s your idea of fun, students, the sport will trudge along without you, no matter how badly it needs you.
Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member and West Virginia State University basketball legend Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in a NBA game, passed away Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings has apologized for a postgame incident Thursday night in which he was caught on camera berating Commodores player Wade Baldwin IV profanely, at one point saying, "I'm going to f---ing kill you."
Stallings told ESPN "he did not mean his words literally" when confronting Baldwin, who had taunted a Tennessee player in the postgame handshake line.
"I handled it completely inappropriately and I apologized to Wade -- and I need to apologize to our fans and the Vanderbilt administration," the longtime coach told ESPN. "Having said that, and it may seem as though I'm trying to rationalize my behavior, sportsmanship will continue to be a high priority. I did not mean it in the literal sense and I've never touched a player in all my years as a coach. That's not me. I will learn from this and handle this situation differently in the future."
I've never touched a player in all my years as a coach. That's not me. I will learn from this and handle this situation differently in the future.
After the Commodores' 73-65 victory, Baldwin was seen clapping in the face of Tennessee forward Armani Moore.
Stallings was informed of Baldwin's actions by a Vols staff member. The Commodores coach then pulled Baldwin out of the handshake line and loudly and profanely berated him.
Three-time defending high school state basketball champion Bishop Gorman didn’t surrender any points today in the first quarter against Northern Nevada’s Galena in the state semifinals, leading 19-0 after eight minutes and coasting into Friday’s state championship game with a 75-41 victory.
When Galena finally scored in the opening minute of the second quarter, most of the fans — even Gorman supporters — at the Orleans Arena cheered.
Galena went on a 10-2 scoring run to open the second quarter and had an 11-2 spurt in the third quarter, but Gorman’s lead was never in danger.
“I thought our defense was good the first quarter,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “They still got three or four open looks they could have knocked down. We were fortunate to get through that.”
Chase Jeter had a game-high 23 points and Stephen Zimmerman added 18 for Gorman, who had 10 players score.
Las Vegas Sun
Top-ranked Wheeler used a balanced offensive effort to overcome an early deficit and pull away for a 72-54 victory over Newton in the Class AAAAAA boys basketball quarterfinals Thursday at Wheeler.
The win puts Wheeler (28-2) in the semifinals against Tucker at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at Georgia Tech. Tucker advanced with a 66-52 victory Thursday against Hillgrove. Region 5 champion Wheeler is seeking its sixth state title and first since 2009.
Wheeler’s Jaylen Brown, the nation’s consensus No. 2 prospect, had another strong performance with 20 points and nine rebounds, but he also got a lot of help.
The tiny gymnasium at Our Savior New American rocked with delight. This is what they came to see. This is why on a frigid mid-February night excited fans were stuffed into the stands at the K-through-12 Christian school, enrollment 200.
Diallo, an 18-year-old senior who left the West African country of Mali to come to the Centereach school, is ranked among the elite high school basketball players in the nation and his play has been a treat for Our Savior fans since his arrival in 2012. Kids (and some adults) flock to the top-10 national recruit for autographs and photos.
Those kids, like brand-name college coaches who visited last fall -- Kentucky's John Calipari and Kansas' Bill Self among them -- all want the same thing: Cheick Diallo's signature.
…Diallo said his transition to American life and basketball was an unimaginable challenge.
"Oh my god, it was so tough that first year," he said with a laugh, recalling that current St. John's University center Chris Obekpa, then an OSNA senior, blocked "all" of his shots in practice.
"It was so funny on the court. I could not play so well because I didn't speak English and I couldn't even talk to my teammates. I wasn't listening. It was brutal," Diallo said. "If you can't speak English, you can't play the game here because you don't know the plays. My second year, I knew some more English and it became easier for me. I started to figure it out and fit in better."
After a year of speculation, a couple of announcement delays, and a reveal that didn’t quite tell us anything we didn’t know, we can say with some conviction that the future is arriving earlier than expected. Just as we expected.
Thon Maker, one of the most unique (and viral) basketball talents of this generation, will likely graduate high school in the summer, which would bump him up from the high school class of 2016 to the class of 2015. In light of recent rumblings about the push for freshman ineligibility in the NCAA and Adam Silver’s repeated preference for a two-and-done system, Maker’s decision has come at an interesting juncture.
No one knows what could change in two or three years. The National Basketball Players Association will likely opt out of the collective bargaining agreement at the end of the 2016-17 season to renegotiate portions of the CBA as it relates to the massive boon of the new TV deal. Another work stoppage could be in play. By reclassifying, Maker has distanced himself from 2017’s impending blast radius. He is an avatar of basketball’s future trying to take advantage of the present system before it implodes.
I doubt any of this is on Maker’s mind. These are doomsday scenarios without zombies or crossbows; they’re irrelevant to an 18-year-old. The decision to move up a grade is simple, and purely individual. This is a kid with NBA dreams, and reclassification brings him one year closer to realizing them. Nothing else about Thon Maker, or our perception of him, is that simple.
McDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN GAME
April 1, United Center, Chicago
ESPN NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP
April 2-4, Christ the King, Queens, N.Y. & Madison Square Garden
NIKE HOOP SUMMIT
April 11, Moda Center, Portland
KENTUCKY DERBY FESTIVAL
April 11, Freedom Hall, Lexington, KY
JORDAN BRAND CLASSIC
Friday April 17, Barclays Center 7p.m,
Regional Games (4:00 pm) All times Eastern
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