KU AD: OSU pregame notes
A lot happened in 1989.
Isaiah Thomas led the Detroit Pistons to their first NBA title, Kevin Costner starred in Field of Dreams and Travis Ford completed his senior year of high school.
It was also the last time Oklahoma State won a basketball game in Lawrence.
On Feb. 8, 1989, a Leonard Hamilton-led OSU team strolled into Phog-Allen Fieldhouse and beat first-year coach Roy Williams and the defending-champion Kansas Jayhawks, 87-81.
Since then, the Cowboys have traveled north 15 times – leaving Lawrence in defeat all 15.
For perspective, every player on the current OSU roster was born after that 1989 victory, with senior guard Keiton Page (July 5, 1989) coming the closest.
"Yeah, I mean, what can you say?" Page said. "It's a great home court advantage. It's rowdy and it's loud there. Crazy atmosphere, but you have to embrace it. That's why people come to play Division I basketball."
And in the past few days, Page was sharing that knowledge with his teammates.
He and sophomore guard Markel Brown are the only two with any game experience in the legendary Fieldhouse.
"It's kind of an old school vibe," Brown said "It's a really big gym and just a lot of history behind it. Once the crowd gets in there, it's amazing."
One of the traditions that adds to the Fieldhouse lore is an eerie ‘Rock Chalk' chant.
Pregame, the packed crowd chants in unison, slowly repeating the phrase twice before rapidly chanting it three times.
"It was crazy when I first heard it," Brown said. "I didn't know what they were doing. I thought they were praying or something. It was crazy, but it was awesome. Something I never heard before."
But the lack of Fieldhouse experience from OSU players may be slightly overhyped.
Brian Williams and Michael Cobbins, both redshirt freshmen, sat on the bench during last year's game at Kansas, and Le'Bryan Nash, a five-star recruit out of high school, took an official visit to Kansas two seasons ago to watch a game against Missouri.
"They were one of my top three choices," Nash said. "They were really number two. If I didn't go to Oklahoma State, I would have gone to Kansas."
The Jayhawks don't get spurned by many recruits. Usually, if Bill Self offers, Bill Self closes.
So, when Nash surprisingly chose OSU, he knew an eventual Kansas backlash would come.
"I know they will be booing me because they know I really like that school and wanted me to come there," Nash said. "But I think I picked the best school for me, Oklahoma State and I truly believe in Travis Ford. I know I'm going to get booed a lot. I guess I'll be like the LeBron."
Jeff Withey -- He’s soft. He can’t fill the void inside. He has a limited skill set. Preseason doubts about Bill Self’s program were fueled by concerns about Jeff Withey. Could he assist Thomas Robinson inside? Was he going to be tough enough to handle the rugged Big 12? He's answered. Withey has been crucial for Kansas. The 7-footer looked like Shaq Withey (25 points) in his team’s road win over Baylor Wednesday. He has four double-doubles this season and he’s reached double figures in seven of the last eight games. And he’s a defensive star (3.0 bpg). Beyond the numbers, however, he’s battled the most physical players in the league without hesitation and squashed concerns about his toughness.
ESPN: Thursday Transformers
1. Baylor doesn’t belong on the short list of Final Four potentials. Kansas, on the other hand, does.
The Jayhawks completely controlled the Bears for the second time this season, leaving no doubt where Baylor ranks in the Big 12 hierarchy—with Iowa State and Kansas State, below KU and Missouri.
Technically, Baylor is just a game behind the Jayhawks and Tigers in the conference standings, but the Bears seem miles behind those teams in terms of team chemistry and cohesion.
2. Jeff Withey’s disappearing act was temporary.
UDK: Jayhawks' toughness bodes well for team
Five things I know
1. Who the college basketball heroes are.
There was less of a consensus on the game's good guys than the villains, which I suppose is a good thing.
We all need more heroes, right?
Kansas' Thomas Robinson, whose hardships a year ago tugged hard at college basketball's heartstrings, earned the most votes -- even some surprising ones. "Thomas Robinson on KU and I'm a #KState fan,'' @patronut0709 wrote on Twitter.
On a crisp fall day in 1933, two black men stepped out of a modest middle-class home on Kansas City’s Haskell street. Both were named John B. McLendon. Fifty-one-year-old railroad mail clerk John, Sr. got behind the wheel of his automobile, and 18-year-old John, Jr. slid into the passenger’s seat. Father and son drove west past the meat-packing plants of the “Rattlebone Hollow” neighborhood, pointing the shiny, new DeSoto toward the town of Lawrence, where John the younger was beginning his studies at the University of Kansas. It was an easy enough forty-mile drive.
Decades later, John McLendon, Jr. told his friend and biographer Milton Katz what his father said as he was packing to leave. “Go up there and do what everybody else does, and try to do it in a way that won’t have you getting hurt,” he had told his son. “If you happen to get hurt, let me know. I’ll be up there with my .44.”
The man had reason to fear for the boy. John B. McLendon, Jr. was about to become the first black man to enroll in the physical education program at Kansas.
When they arrived, John, Sr. let his son out of the car, gave a final set of instructions, and drove away. John, Jr. entered Robinson Gymnasium and followed his father’s parting advice to the letter. After a brief search, he found himself standing in an office doorway, looking in at the university’s Director of Physical Education. Dr. James Naismith looked up and examined his unexpected guest. The ice was broken fairly easily, as Milton Katz recounted in Breaking Through, his biography of John McLendon:
[He announced] to this famous man that he was going to major in physical education, that he wanted to learn how to coach basketball, and that he understood that Dr. Naismith would be his advisor. “Who told you this?” Naismith inquired. “My father,” answered McLendon. “Come on in, fathers are always right,” Naismith declared.
The Classical: Everybody into the Pool - How the inventor of basketball and the father of the fast break beat segregation in the 1930's
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Big 12/College News
Big 12 Schedule & Results
Regular-season basketball rarely rivals football in the St. Louis television ratings. But the much-hyped Kansas-Missouri hoops game last Saturday, KU's final appearance at MU for the foreseeable future, pulled the upset.
According to The Nielsen Co., 9.2 percent of homes in the market tuned in to ESPN's telecast of the contest. While obviously not rivaling the Super Bowl rating of 45.5 on KSDK (Channel 5) the next day, that MU basketball game fared better than any Tigers football outing did in the local TV numbers this school year.
And despite the Blues' surge this season, MU's rating Saturday far surpassed the hockey team's top number to date — 5.6.
But let's put that MU-KU basketball rating in perspective. The last time the Tigers and Jayhawks met in a huge, well-hyped football game — the 2007 showdown when both schools were ranked in the top five nationally — the telecast drew a 26 rating locally.
Nonetheless, after the end of a string of nonconference games that mostly were of little interest early in the season, the MU basketball team has been performing well in the St. Louis ratings.
Going back to when the Tigers played Illinois in late December — traditionally the beginning of the meat of their schedule — MU is averaging a 5.1 rating in St. Louis for the 10 contests in which figures are available. In contrast, the 10 Mizzou football telecasts for which viewership was measured last fall drew a 5.0 figure.
St Louis PD
West Virginia and the Big East Conference have reached a verbal agreement that would compensate the Big East $20 million and allow the Mountaineers to join the Big 12 Conference this season, college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.
On Wednesday, CBSSports.com first reported the Big East Conference and West Virginia were nearing a settlement of at least $20 million that would resolve all issues between the two parties. That settlement was reached one day later.
"It probably will be officially done (on Friday)," a source told CBSSports.com.
The Charleston Daily Mail first reported Thursday night that West Virginia and the Big East had reached a $20 million “conditional agreement.” West Virginia must pay the Big East $11 million and the Big 12 Conference would be responsible for the remaining $9 million, the Daily Mail reported. Acting Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said recently the Big 12 would consider assisting the Mountaineers with their exit fees, if they asked.
It’s unknown if the $20 million is in addition to, or includes, the $5 million exit fee that West Virginia initially paid when it announced in October it was withdrawing from the Big East to join the Big 12 in 2012 and would not honor the league’s 27-month notice requirement before leaving.
Besides the $11 million it must pay the Big East, West Virginia also owes Florida State $500,000 after last week canceling a Sept. 8 game in Tallahassee. FSU athletic director Randy Spetman told the Orlando Sentinel his school might also seek liquidated damages against WVU if a comparable opponent can not be found.
Last week the Big 12 Conference indicated it had provided its television partners with its 2012 football schedule and that West Virginia was on it. The league also is expected to release the schedule to the public on Friday.
Missouri junior guard Michael Dixon said he is most looking forward to playing Kentucky and establishing the Tigers as a legitimate threat to the Wildcats' grip on SEC basketball.
"Kansas was perennially known as the best team in this league, and they were our rival," Dixon said. "So we might as well just make Kentucky be our rival and play against the best and try to beat the best every time."
Missouri has drawn 50 charges through 24 games, which is more than the 40 the Tigers drew in 34 games last season. With a lack of overall size and shot-blocking that ranks near the bottom of the Big 12, this is how the Tigers protect the rim with only two true big men in their rotation, Ricardo Ratliffe and Steve Moore.
“I’m amazed at that number,” assistant coach Ernie Nestor said. “Plus, it’s a total team statistic, because it stops the other team from scoring and it gives you the ball.”
The Tigers are led in this category by English, who has 23, and Moore, who has 13. Their individual totals are posted on a sheet of paper inside the locker room, which is by design.
Nestor said the coaching staff emphasizes the proper way to take a charge, so as to minimize the risk of injury. After all, the Tigers go only seven deep, and any ailment could be devastating.
The first thing you do, Nestor said, is make sure you position yourself in front of the semicircle located under the basket. That’s common sense. Then you have to get your body squarely in the path of the attacking offensive player. That’s common sense, too.
Step three, however, you may not know.
“The key is you have to lower your center of gravity so you don’t take the impact straight up,” Nestor said. “If you bend your knees, you’ll fall back on your fanny usually, which is where you have some padding.
“Doing it the right way keeps it from being dangerous. If you’re standing straight up, when you fall back, your head can snap back and bang the floor, and that’s what you don’t want.”
As the final eight seconds ticked off during his team's home game against Memphis on Feb. 1, Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy was overcome by an ominous feeling. Last season, the Golden Eagles lost three games on buzzer-beating three-pointers. Three weeks before, Southern Miss had a chance to win at Memphis, but sophomore guard Cedric Jenkins missed a potential game-winner with three seconds left. Eustachy's teams had played Memphis 17 times during his seven-plus seasons in Hattiesburg. They had lost every one.
So it's understandable that, as Memphis guard Chris Crawford furiously dribbled downcourt with the clock winding down, Eustachy assumed the kid was about to send the game into overtime. "Honest to God, when I was on that bench I thought about the movie The Godfather," Eustachy said. "I was thinking I've seen this movie before, and now I'm Fredo again. I'm getting back on the boat, thinking I'm going to go fishing when I'm about to get shot."
Miraculously, gloriously, Crawford's heave was off the mark. The game was won. The streak was over. The fans stormed the court. And when the dust cleared there was Southern Miss, atop the Conference USA standings with a 7-2 league record. Despite Wednesday night's 71-61 loss at UAB, the Golden Eagles are 20-4 overall and ranked eighth in the RPI. And while they have work to do, they are in excellent position to garner the school's first trip to the NCAA tournament in 21 years.
Susan Herbst said she wasn't groveling nor was she trying to strong-arm anybody.
In proposing self-imposed penalties for failure to meet academic standards, UConn, according to Herbst, was merely following policy for waiver requests set by the NCAA.
And while this certainly appears to be the case, we would argue that the UConn president should have strong-armed somebody — the school's Hall of Fame basketball coach. Short of Jim Calhoun's willingness to sit out at least the first weekend of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, it's hard to see how the governing body for college athletics will buy into the argument that UConn is making all the relevant sacrifices for its past classroom sins.
Maybe it was the product of the way the story broke through the Freedom of Information Act. Maybe it's because of the complexities of NCAA rules. At any rate, much of the criticism that echoed through the Internet world the past 24 hours has centered on UConn's going too far off the margins to beg/pressure the NCAA into allowing the school into 2013 March Madness.
…Then you get to Calhoun. It's the same old, same old. The school proposed that he be barred from off-campus recruiting visits next fall and that he bring a current/former NBA player who completed his degree to a minimum of five education sessions at inner-city schools.
Sorry, that doesn't get to the heart of this issue.
I asked Herbst if she discussed with Calhoun the possibility of sitting out a few tournament games.
"Yes," she said.
Did he refuse?
"No, no," Herbst said. "We talked about a lot of things and what made sense. Coach already has had $100,000 taken away from him [plus another $87,500 in bonuses for failing to meet standards, per his contract]."
In May, Southern and Grambling’s men’s basketball programs were banned from postseason play because of poor academic performance. Both schools, along with the Jackson State and Southern football teams, fell below the NCAA’s APR.
NCAA president Mark Emmert, sensitive to the fact that APR penalties have been meted out most harshly to members of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, said then that his organization would help those schools restore their academic houses.
…Well, no one cared about the innocent parties in the SWAC or the MEAC. In fact, until the APR took dead aim at a name brand like UConn, no one said much of anything.
The sad reality is, no one will care whether Grambling or Southern make the Big Dance. They’ll care whether UConn does.
But here’s another cold reality. UConn, with its big budget and Big East money, is afforded every benefit for its “student” athletes. Tutors and academic advisors are not only available at the big-time level, they often travel with the team.
They travel, by the way, on the chartered planes the Huskies use in order to get back to class the next day.
I spent a few days walking in the HBCU’s shoes, and let me tell you, they are well-worn. These schools take long bus rides, with little more than the bare bones of basketball staffs, let alone ancillary support people. Team meals often are at a mall food court, not an elaborate spread in a hotel conference room, and when these players return to campus, it’s in the middle of the night after an uncomfortable ride on a bus.
Could they have come up with such a grand plan to plead their case? Sure, if they had the team of lawyers on the payroll to concoct such a plan.
And how about the fact that for players at these schools, the NCAA tournament is about the only carrot available. Maui isn’t on Line 1 and Puerto Rico on Line 2 offering all-expense-paid trips to Paradise in November. There is only a chance to perhaps play a big-league school, take your beating and pocket the cash that will allow your athletics program to exist one more year.
There is no innocence lost in Storrs, Conn., here, just academic laziness.
And if the NCAA allows UConn to exchange games for bad coursework, it can stop, once and for all, preaching about academic integrity and student-athletes.
That would be the end of the last shred of innocence in college sports.
And what ultimately greased the skids for Henson’s departure was that in the six seasons after Final Four star Kendall Gill’s graduation – let’s call it A.G., “After Gill” – Illinois posted records of just 21-10, 13-15, 19-13, 17-11, 19-12 and 18-13, won only one NCAA Tournament game and compiled a positively pedestrian Big Ten record of 56-52.
It should, because in the six years after Dee Brown’s departure from Champaign, the Illini A.D. (“After Dee”) have just one NCAA Tourney victory and a Big Ten record of 49-49 heading into tonight’s 7 p.m. game against the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind.
As a result, the drums in Champaign are beating at a fever pitch as much of Illini Nation demands the head of coach Bruce Weber. And from this vantage point, it appears increasingly likely that Weber will be shown the door by new Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas at season’s end. Such an outcome might actually provide both frustrated Illini fans and the frazzled Weber with equal senses of relief.
With such angry storm clouds swirling about Champaign, Chicago Sun-Times Illini beat writer Herb Gould was asked this week by Jeff Rabjohns of the Indiana fan site Peegs.com about the current situation surrounding Weber at Illinois.
“The bar is set pretty high at Illinois basketball in the minds of fans. It’s similar to Indiana in that regard,” Gould explained. “They have a pretty good tradition and they expect to be more competitive than they have been the last few years. The thing that sticks in everybody’s craw is, they’re basically a .500 team in the Big Ten the past six years. Is that good enough at Illinois? I think a big chunk of the fan base will say no.”
Tickets in alleged scam hadn't been created yet
Heights senior Perry Ellis was named a McDonald’s All-American on Thursday and will be one of 24 seniors playing in the annual all-star game March 28 at Chicago’s United Center.
“This was one of my goals coming in, to show that hard work really pays off,” Ellis said. “I’m just really blessed to be selected. I just thank God for giving me the ability to do all this. I’ve been working real hard, too. Hard work really pushed me through this.”
Ellis, who averages 26.1 points and 9.7 rebounds, set the City League scoring record this season, breaking the record set by Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Greg Dreiling in 1981. Ellis is a three-time All-State selection, a three-time Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year and a three-time Class 6A champion.
Heights will try to tie Moundridge for the state’s longest boys winning streak with a win at Northwest tonight.
Other Kansans named All-Americans were Leavenworth’s Wayne Simien (2001), Wichita’s Korleone Young (1998, while at Virginia’s Hargrave Academy), Lawrence’s Danny Manning (1984), Dreiling (1981), Heights’ Aubrey Sherrod (1981), Heights’ Antoine Carr (1979), South’s Ricky Ross (1979) and Heights’ Darnell Valentine (1977).
“So many great people have been to it before me. It’s an honor to be in something they were a part of,” Ellis said.
Mr. Basketball USA candidate Perry Ellis made 10 of 11 shots from the field and was 11-of-12 on free throws as he scored 32 points to lead coach Joe Auer's team past Southeast (Wichita, Kan.) 82-52. It was the team's only outing of the week and improved its win streak to 57.
…It was a big week for Kansas-bound Zach Peters. The 6-foot-9 power forward netted 30 points as the Lions defeated Nolan (Fort Worth, Texas) 72-63. He also led the way with 16 in a 51-46 win against Liberty Christian (Argyle, Texas). Prestonwood ends its regular season this week with games against Bishop Lynch (Dallas) and Bishop Dunne (Dallas).
ESPN Fab 50
As hard as it is to believe - considering Prestonwood Christian had three D1 prospects - Prestonwood did not win a TAPPS state title last year. It lost to Houston St. Thomas by 19 points, ending its season.
Don't expect that to happen this year. With virtually the same roster (aside from the addition of Mickey Mitchell), Prestonwood is playing with greater intensity and focus. Look no further than Tuesday's score against Bishop Lynch.
Prestonwood defeated Lynch 108-55. Julius Randle scored 46 points. Zach Peters had 21.
When the game mattered, in the first quarter, Prestonwood outscored Lynch 32-11. And with that, Prestonwood showed the maturity and the intensity it will need for the upcoming playoffs.
Dallas Morning News
Chris Walker @cwalkertime23
Great to have an legend recruiting u
Chris Walker @cwalkertime23
@b_greene14 coach manning came to my school today bro
I may bro !RT @b_greene14: “@cwalkertime23: @b_greene14 coach manning came to my school today bro” #KUCMB be a Jayhawk bro
Garden City (Kan.) Community College combo guard Geron Johnson, a 6-3, 200-pound sophomore who also considered Kansas and Marshall, verbally committed to Memphis on Thursday.
"We narrowed it down and I feel like this is the best decision for me," said Johnson, a native of Dayton, Ohio, who's averaging 19 points, six rebounds and four assists at Garden City this season. "It's a big opportunity, and I'm going to take advantage of it."
Johnson was a top-100 prospect in the class of 2010 out of Dunbar High in Dayton, but academic and legal troubles led to his enrolling at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla.
In high school, he was arrested in his junior year for attempted burglary. As a freshman at Chipola, Johnson was arrested for marijuana possession and eventually dismissed from the team.
Johnson had appeared to be straightening up his act as a sophomore at Garden City this season until last week, when his coach, Kris Baumann, suspended him a game for an incident on campus in which Johnson was accused of stealing a phone.
"He's going to have to pay a misdemeanor theft fine. Other than that, we haven't had any issues with him," Baumann said. "The biggest thing with him is academically he's on track to graduate, but he's gotta have a really good semester in the classroom."
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