When one thinks of great outdoorsmen in recent Kansas University basketball history, the names Greg Ostertag and Wayne Simien (fishing, hunting), Luke Axtell (fishing), John Crider (mushrooms, fishing) and, yes, Hunter Mickelson, are some that quickly come to mind.
“He’s the real deal,” former KU All-American Simien said of Mickelson, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound senior center from Jonesboro, Ark., who on Saturday against Iowa State will play his final home game as a Jayhawk.
“Him, my dad and I went fishing at Lake Perry, and we went duck hunting south of town by Baldwin last winter. He’s a lot of fun to be around. He’s one of those guys I wish I could have played with him. He has such a great attitude and work ethic and really appreciates all that Kansas basketball is. That’s why it’s fun hanging out with him,” noted Simien, KU’s team chaplain and campus director for the Called to Greatness organization.
…“It’s been great,” he said of KU. “I’ve gotten a lot stronger, played with a bunch of great guys, talented guys. Everybody I’m surrounded by is good people. I’m definitely happy. Graduating is very important to me.”
A batch of family members will be here Saturday for his Allen Fieldhouse farewell.
“I might try to keep it short and sweet,” he said of his postgame speech to the fans, “thank everybody I need to thank. I’m not trying to be out there forever.”
Frank Mason III, Kansas. The junior point guard has played near-flawless basketball over six games starting with the Jayhawks’ giant victory at Oklahoma. In that time, Mason has average 15.5 points, shot nearly 60 percent from the field and better than 50 percent from the three-point line, and compiled 26 assists against only seven turnovers.
“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
Here's a look at the Big 12 schedule for the weekend, the scenarios for every Big 12 team and the tournament schedule:
Texas at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Oklahoma at TCU, Noon (ESPNews)
West Virginia at Baylor, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Kansas State at Texas Tech, 2 p.m. (ESPNews)
Iowa State at Kansas, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Kansas (14-3): First.
West Virginia (12-5): Second with win or Oklahoma loss. Third with loss and Oklahoma win.
Oklahoma (11-6): Second with win and Baylor win. Third with win and West Virginia win. Third with loss and Baylor win. Third with loss, West Virginia win and Iowa State loss. Fourth with loss, West Virginia win and Iowa State win.
Iowa State (10-7): Third with win, Oklahoma loss and West Virginia win. Fourth with win, Oklahoma win and West Virginia win. Fourth with win, Texas loss, Oklahoma win and Baylor win. Fifth with loss, Texas loss, Oklahoma win and Baylor win. Fifth with Texas loss, Oklahoma loss and Baylor win. Sixth with win, Texas win and Baylor win. Sixth with loss, Texas loss and West Virginia win. Sixth with loss and Texas win.
Baylor (10-7): Fourth with win, Texas win, Oklahoma win and Iowa State win. Fourth with win, Texas loss, Oklahoma loss and Iowa State win. Fourth with win, Texas loss and Iowa State loss. Fourth with loss, Texas loss and Iowa State loss. Fifth with Texas win and Iowa State loss. Fifth with win, Texas win, Oklahoma loss and Iowa State win. Fifth with win, Texas loss, Oklahoma win and Iowa State win. Sixth with loss and Iowa State win
Texas (10-7): Fourth with win and Iowa State loss. Fourth with win, Oklahoma loss, Baylor win and Iowa State win. Fifth with win, Oklahoma win and Iowa State win. Fifth with win, Oklahoma loss, West Virginia win and Iowa State loss. Fifth with loss and West Virginia win. Sixth with loss and Baylor win.
Texas Tech (8-9): Seventh.
Kansas State (5-12): Eighth.
Oklahoma State (3-14): Ninth.
TCU (2-15): Tenth
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
at Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.
Wednesday, March 9
Kansas State vs. Oklahoma State, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Texas Tech vs. TCU, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Thursday, March 10
No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Kansas vs. Kansas State/Oklahoma State winner, 1:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 2 seed vs. Texas Tech/TCU winner, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Friday, March 11
4/5 winner vs. Kansas/Kansas State/Oklahoma State winner, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
2/Texas Tech/TCU winner vs. 3/6 winner, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Saturday, March 12
Championship, 5 p.m. (ESPN)
OU basketball continues to look like an NCAA contender in the rankings and on the roster.
But the Sooners do not look like an NCAA contender on the court.
OU staged Senior Night on Tuesday with another troubling result. The sixth-ranked Sooners beat 19th-ranked Baylor 73-71, which is good, but only after squandering a variety of leads that should have been insurmountable.
OU led 46-20 late first half. The Sooners led 58-34 with 14:30 left in the game. OU led 65-47 with nine minutes to go. The Sooners were up 67-55 with 6:20 remaining.
And then the bottom fell out. Baylor took a 68-67 lead with 3:51 left in the game.
How does a senior-laden, guard-oriented fall apart that quickly? How does a team that essentially starts two point guards in the backcourt, alongside the national player of the year, disintegrate in such short fashion?
“Isaiah Taylor’s plantar fasciitis injury could be a crippling blow to Texas if the point guard can’t practice regularly and is playing at less than 100 percent productivity because he is the entire engine for the team. “It’s a painful injury, one of those things you kind of have to grit your teeth,” Smart said. “We’re talking about a guy whose game is based on explosiveness and quick movements.” … Smart is still looking for all-the-time competitiveness in his team and said when he got on ‘em after the win over Oklahoma, “they looked at me like I had three eyeballs. I think competitiveness is a central trait among all the best teams and players. The best guys don’t turn it on and off.”
Head coach Scott Drew’s NCAA tournament history with Baylor includes two Elite Eight’s and a Sweet Sixteen appearance.
The record shows that, in the past, Drew’s teams have been able to take down the toughest teams in the country.
As for his team this year? They seem to be peaking at the right time.
After 30 games this season, the NCAA has declared UNLV freshman Derrick Jones ineligible after his test score was canceled by the ACT.
Jones, a heralded recruit coming out of Philadelphia who has averaged 11.5 points while playing in every game this season, told ESPN that he took the ACT once last June, at a testing center in the Baltimore area.
Jones' attorney, Don Jackson, told ESPN that the NCAA red-flagged Jones about eight months ago and offered three possibilities: retaking the test, going to arbitration or throwing out the test score completely.
"He achieved a qualifying score," Jackson said. "UNLV was notified in July that he was red-flagged.
"We're not going to do any of the three things," Jackson added. "Because Derrick didn't do anything wrong. There's no evidence of academic fraud. They don't have anything. It's not as if his test score made a huge jump. He got the score, and it was the only time he took the test."
The NCAA Eligibility Center cleared Jones before the team's first game against Cal Poly back in November. Jackson said the center requested that the ACT look into the test scores of several athletes at the test site in Baltimore.
"These investigations have a racial motivation," Jackson said. "They go after African-Americans and international student-athletes."
An NCAA spokeswoman said she could not specifically address Jones' situation but that "an inquiry to a testing agency from the NCAA merely provides notice that the staff has identified a statistical anomaly based on student-athlete academic certification data. There are standard, publicly available points that would cause such a notice for any student-athlete."
…"I thought the entire thing was over," Jones told ESPN on Wednesday afternoon. "I've played all season. I was in shock. I just don't understand it.
"When my coach told me, it broke my heart. I started crying. I just don't get why they are doing this. I'm trying to figure out why."
Jones, who said he has a 3.25 GPA at UNLV, said he has never spoken to anyone from the ACT or the NCAA throughout the process. He said he called the ACT after finding out he was ineligible in an attempt to gain more clarity.
"I took two prep classes before I took the ACT," Jones said. "I took the test. It was me. I didn't cheat. I didn't do anything wrong. I just don't understand it."
You think it’s difficult to be an Illinois basketball fan these days? To swallow a sub-.500 season that, barring a miracle in the Big Ten tournament, will make it three straight years on the outside looking in at March Madness? To root for a team that seems, with each passing week, to slip further from national relevance?
Sure, it’s tough. But one can only imagine how much tougher the whole thing is for Illini juniors Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn.
Hill, a 6-6 wing from Belleville, Ill., ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring at 18.2 points per game. Right behind him, tied for sixth at 16.4, is 6-3 shooting guard Nunn, a former Simeon star. They also lead the injury-depleted Illini in rebounds grabbed, minutes logged, responsibility shouldered and bitter pills swallowed.
Without the two most successful recruits in John Groce’s disappointing four years at Illinois, where would this team be? Probably trading sob stories with Rutgers in the league basement.
Find out the tournament history for specific seeds, teams, coaches or conferences.
NCAA Tournament Brackets and History interactive tool
CBS Interactive Tool: Pick two teams to compare record, RPI and SOS details head to head. By default, the top two teams in RPI are shown.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
"I have my first official visit ever and this one is to Kansas [March 5] and then after that I'll take a few more visits and then the decision will be ready right after March so that will be in April," the 7-foot Maker told Northpolehoops.com.
Maker is also considering St. John's, Notre Dame, Indiana, Arizona State and UNLV.
He has taken numerous unofficials but his visit this weekend to Kansas for Senior Day against Iowa State marks his first official.
"When you take officials you really get an in-depth of the program itself," Maker said.
Asked what he's looking for in a school, Maker said: "I just have to go to a place where I'm comfortable with my teammates and comfortable with my coaches, and not comfortable as in we're going to take it slow and have fun. We're going to have fun but were going to go hard at all times and find ways to win. We're going to be aggressive in practices and I'm going to have good teammates around. We're going to have a great coaches around who are going to prepare me for the NBA. "
Maker is projected as the No. 29 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com.
The visit will come for the Spartans' final regular season game of the year and senior day, a noon Saturday tipoff against Ohio State.
According to his AAU team, the official visit will be the last one Jackson takes. He has previously taken official visits to Kansas and Arizona, his other two finalist schools. He has yet to set a date for his commitment.
All 13 of the school's scholarships for 2016-17 are currently accounted for, meaning should Jackson commit, the Spartans would need a scholarship to open up through attrition so he could enroll.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube