Big12 Championship Rings came in today! @BenMcLemore stopped in to pick his up too. #9Straight #kubball
Kansas University’s elite, eight-man recruiting Class of 2013 didn’t distinguish itself during the first official practice of the season, held Friday afternoon in the Jayhawks’ practice facility adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse.
“I am a little disappointed,” 11th-year KU coach Bill Self said after a 21⁄2-hour workout, “because I didn’t think our young kids were very amped up today. I thought when things started going south and they were involved with the movement going south, I didn’t think they did much to change it.
“I thought we showed our age today in practice because I didn’t really cut them any slack. I think it was probably an eye-opening experience for them to know, ‘Hey, we’ve got a lot to learn before we can actually play and be comfortable.’”
On this day, the best player in the gym just might have been former KU standout Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings, who put on a shooting display while practicing on his own following the practice.
“I just didn’t think we played very well,” Self said. “Our young kids are talented, but they’ve got a lot to learn and a long ways to go. Obviously, today I didn’t think they responded to the adversity the way a tougher team would respond to it.”
“I definitely feel like I have become more of a leader, especially this year because a lot of guys are looking up to me,” Ellis said. “I’m just trying to show them to play hard. It was a quick transition for me becoming a sophomore and one of the older guys. I was a freshman last year and now we have a young team and so I’m one of the older guys now.
“I know that will help me on the court when I’m talking with the guys. It will help me learn more,” he added. “I’m trying to get out of my shell more and more, progressing at talking and that aspect. I talk when I have to.”
Ellis — he came on strong late last season when named to the Big 12 all-tournament team — figures to receive help in the leadership department from junior guard Naadir Tharpe.
Ellis and Tharpe were rotation players on last year’s senior-laden 31-6 team.
“We embrace the role, which is why we came to this school,” Tharpe said. “With all of the young guys, Perry was here last year and this is my third year, we know what is needed and what coach wants out of his players. We need to be able to help the guys out and that is what we are going to do.”
Tharpe said he expects a breakout year from Ellis, who had 23 points in the Big 12 tourney semifinals against Iowa State and 12 in the title game versus Kansas State.
“Last year he was trying to figure himself out what he needs to do, what we actually need from him. This year he clearly knows what needs be done,” Tharpe said. “He’s shown it the whole summer. He scores in so many ways, the post, midrange, stretching it out past the three-point line. The way he’s playing ... his whole mindset is different. I’m happy for him. Every day I’m telling him, ‘You look real good out there.’ It’s exactly what he’s doing, playing well every day.”
#TeamKaris young girl came by practice today with cancer, prayers with her.
One of the best things about playing basketball at Kansas University, Brannen Greene says, is the camaraderie of a close-knit team.
“We all get along great,” said Greene, a 6-foot-7 freshman shooting guard from Juliette, Ga. “There aren’t any grudges on the team. Nobody dislikes anybody. There are all positive vibes everywhere.”
…KU coach Bill Self especially enjoys watching Frankamp and Greene the days they are on fire from long range.
“He’s big. He’s 6-7 with great range and vision and good ball skills,” Self said of Greene. “He’s got to tighten a lot of things up. In any other recruiting class, he would be a headliner. He’s a good player.”
Of Frankamp, Self said: “If there is somebody that can shoot better, I would like to see it because he can shoot it maybe as well as anyone we have had here. The one thing with Conner is, he is a shooter and a scorer, but probably a shooter before a scorer. With that you get to the college level and you have bigger guys closing out at you, and the game’s a little faster. You need to learn to get your shot off a little faster, and sometimes you see guys really labor to shoot the ball with the same consistency they did in high school. And that, to me, won’t be a concern because he will have the green light with us, is what I would say he has to grow through.”
Lost in the Andrew Wiggins as POY discussion is his defense: he might be the best wing defender in the country right off the bat.
While the rest of the basketball world debates whether Andrew Wiggins will be the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft, his college coach is waiting for him to become the best player on his team.
"He’s been marginal," Kansas coach Bill Self said last week. "Compared to what people are saying, I think he’ll have some ups and downs."
…"You’d watch him play 10 minutes in a game and leave out of there going, 'Wow,' " Self said. "He makes plays that truly leave you in awe. But he doesn’t know yet how to play hard consistently. He can definitely do that. He just has to learn how."
…"It’s just been harder, faster, tougher so far, but at some point I have get inside his noggin," Self said. "He’s been humbled already and that’s a good thing. I just hope the expectations don’t weigh him down too much."
A limited number of tickets for the 2013 State Farm Champions Classic will go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 1. The third annual event will be played Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the United Center in Chicago, featuring an ESPN men's basketball doubleheader of Kentucky vs. Michigan State at 6:30 p.m. CT, followed by Duke vs. Kansas at 8:30 p.m.
Ticket prices range from $39 to $405 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or by visiting the United Center box office (open Mon.-Sat. from 11 a.m.–6 p.m., ET, hours may vary on event days). The Kansas ticket allotment is sold out for this event.
The State Farm Champions Classic features:
• Four of the top six teams are ranked in ESPN.com early men's preseason top 25: Kentucky is No. 1, Michigan State is No. 3, Kansas is No. 5 and Duke is No. 6.
• Three of the top four all-time winningest men's college basketball programs: Kentucky (first), Kansas (second) and Duke (fourth).
• A combined 17 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championships (since 1939): Kentucky (eight), Duke (four), Kansas (three) and Michigan State (two).
• A total of 24 NCAA Final Four appearances in the past 21 years: Duke (seven), Michigan State (six), Kansas (six) and Kentucky (five).
For more information about the 2013 State Farm Champions Classic, visit the official web site at TheChampionsClassic.com, follow on Twitter @ChampionClassic and "Like" the event on Facebook at Facebook.com/ChampionsClassic.
Thank God for 19 years !! I'm getting old 😭 #blessed
With college basketball practices set to begin nationwide on Friday, here’s a look at the SNY Preseason All-America teams.
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM
F Doug McDermott, Sr., Creighton
F Andrew Wiggins, Fr., Kansas
C Mitch McGary, So., Michigan
G Russ Smith, Sr., Louisville
G Marcus Smart, So., Oklahoma State
ALL-FRESHMAN FIRST TEAM
F Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
F Julius Randle, Kentucky
C Joel Embiid, Kansas
G Andrew Harrison, Kentucky
G Wayne Selden, Kansas
Billy Thomas of Kansas and Jason Sutherland of Missouri had some memorable battles in the Border War during their college careers. Although they have been out of college for several years, they still have the desire to beat their rival.
Thomas and Sutherland showed that during the seventh annual Kansas City Magic Celebrity Basketball Game on Saturday at Municipal Auditorium. Thomas and a group of other former Kansas players defeated Sutherland and other former Missouri players 101-80.
“It was very competitive” said Rick Madden, an assistant basketball coach at Penn Valley Community College who helped organize the event. “With Sutherland and Thomas out there, it got real physical and serious.”
Thomas led the former Jayhawks in scoring with 32 points. He made 10 three-pointers.
Conner Teahan added 21 points for the Kansas team, while Jeff Graves and Jeff Hawkins had 14 apiece.
Former MU football player Tommy Saunders, who played basketball in high school at Kearney, led the Tigers with 31 points.
The game drew about 3,500 fans, Madden said, and they got into the action with help from music provided by the Schlagle High School band.
Working on a new commercial for @KUWBball #rockchalk
Big 12/College News
Ranking the top 20 current college basketball programs isn’t easy. Ordering the top five may be even tougher. When you’re parsing through the bluest of blueblood programs, the differences become miniscule. They all have great coaches, great fanbases, great facilities, great tradition and access to the best national talent.
Still, differences are there, and they’re what separate the great from the best (and the best from the rest).
…No. 3 Duke
By virtue of the disappointing NCAA tournament performance, the greatest potential coach risk, and not consistently recruiting at quite the level that Kentucky (especially) and Kansas (lately) have established themselves.
OK, now it gets really tough.
No. 2 Kentucky
Really for the reason that Calipari’s operation feels like more of a comet than a star. The Wildcats are burning bright and are annually the biggest story in the game, but last season put a small dent in the armor of Calipari’s annual build model, and more coaches now feel they can beat Calipari for strategic recruits.
The consistency and stability in Lawrence is just better. They have been masterful under Bill Self, and were outstanding under Roy Williams. The future is looking really good, too, if Self continues to recruit at his current level. There are a lot of rumblings he could strike big at the top of the Class of 2014, and the groundwork would be in place for another extended run of excellence.
As for Calipari, each program he has left has not been able to maintain his level of elite performance, and we have seen Kentucky fade a bit (over time under Tubby Smith) and then crater (under Billy Gillispie), and that doesn’t even include last year.
This choice will look pretty awesome if Kentucky rips Kansas for the national title in April, but for now, the Cats will have to settle for second.
No. 1 Kansas
Congratulations, Jayhawks. You’re the best program in America in my book. At least until next spring.
When Angel Rodriguez announced he was leaving Kansas State and transferring to Miami, the first question everyone had regarded a potential waiver. Would Rodriguez be eligible to play immediately for the Hurricanes, without sitting out a year?
It turns out, Rodriguez and Miami are not even waiting for an NCAA decision: the point guard will sit out.
Head coach Jim Larranaga spoke to the media on Friday regarding the situation:
“I should let everybody know that when Angel contacted us and made the decision to transfer here, in one of our very first conversations, Angel shared with me, that he was struggling with injuries that he sustained during his two years in college. One was a wrist injury, and one was a very serious tendinitis in his knee. When we had him visit with our trainer Wes Brown, Wes felt that it was so severe that he took him to our team doctors. They did x-rays and MRI's, and eventually shut him down the entire summer.
“When Angel and I talked about him for this upcoming year, the discussion was, ‘There is no sense applying for the waiver to help you be eligible when you're not physically going to be fit enough.' He told me at that time, he would much prefer to just sit out the year anyway, learn the new system and be 100%, or close to 100%, for his last two years. We were waiting to decide whether or not to apply for the waiver to see how he was feeling. I spoke to him the other day. We both agreed that we weren't going to apply for the waiver, so he's definitely going to red shirt this year with Sheldon McClellan and be available next season and the following year.”
The first possible weekend to hold Midnight Madness-type festivities for college basketball programs was this past one. And yet, not many schools took advantage. In fact, I believe Pittsburgh was the only major program to not wait to inaugurate its 2013-14 campaign.
A year after holding its Midnight Madness party outside, in the road, the Panthers bucked
conventions again and opted to go with a "Morning Madness" theme, holding an open practice/dunk contest/basketball get-together prior to the Virginia-Pitt football game/Homecoming festivities later in the afternoon. The Panthers' basketball program took to Stage AE in Pittsburgh and brought in a capacity crowd of 4,000 people.
And Jamie Dixon opted to wear, as you can see above, that. Dressing as something called "Uncle Si" from "Duck Dynasty," Dixon was happily received. I don't get the show's appeal, but at least Dixon picked a more contemporary costume for this year. In 2012 he opted for the out-of-vogue Jackie Moon look, going as a character from a poorly received Will Ferrell movie that was released four years prior.
Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson has taken a health-related indefinite leave from the Wildcats.
The school announced his departure Friday evening but a spokesman offered no specifics on how long Richardson might be out nor if he would be replaced on a temporary basis.
Attempts to reach Richardson were unsuccessful.
“This is not a life or death situation, but nonetheless very important,” Richardson said in a UA statement. “I am very appreciative to be given the flexibility to temporarily step away from coaching and basketball, and to concentrate on my well-being.”
Big XII composite schedule
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
Monster weekend for Kansas coming up. Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre both going to Lawrence for "Late Night in the Phog."
Rivals Report from "The Workout"
Rivals Report from John Lucas Midwest Invitational
My KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube