LJW: Photos from Louisville
KUAD: Photos from Louisville
KUAD: Kansas vs Maryland Pregame Notes
Pregame Party and Pep Rally Info
Join Kansas Athletics, the Williams Education Fund and the KU Alumni Association for a pregame party and pep rally on game day. Visit this page or follow @KUHoops and @WilliamsFund on twitter for updated information.
Kentucky International Convention Center
Room: Cascade ABC
221 S 4th St., Louisville, KY 40202
Thursday, March 24
3:30 p.m. - Doors Open for Pregame Party
6:15 p.m. - Pep Rally
KUAD: Kansas Postseason Info for Fans
LJW: Louisville Guide for KU fans
The Terrapins (27-8) have to be wondering if Selden can continue to fly this high. There might be no player more important to the Jayhawks’ national title hopes and more driven to make amends for past tournament troubles.
“Wayne’s one of those guys that can give your team a lot of confidence because he can make some plays that nobody else on our team can make,” Kansas coach Bill Self said Wednesday. “He’s a physical leader for us, a guy who has got a little bit of size and he can maybe get a shot off that other guys can’t.
“It’s real important that he has played aggressive, and he played well. From this point forward, everyone is going to guard. He’s the guy who makes tough shots for us."
…Selden says the difference between his first two college seasons and this one is simple: He has grown up and learned how to assert himself, not wait for the game to come to him.
“I’m just being aggressive,” he said. “It’s easy when we’ve got two point guards out there. They both set me up pretty easily.
“It’s a lot experience, just going through things, learning things. You have to go through some stuff to get to where you’re at.”
KU is the favorite to win the national championship. To do so it needs the January Selden, who slayed the Big 12 and the Wildcats, not the February Selden, who failed to reach double figures in seven games.
…“Everybody is going to go through times where everything isn’t going well,” Selden said. “Nobody’s perfect. It’s all about getting through it. If you’re winning at that time it doesn’t matter.”
LJW Smithology: Getting to know the Terrapins
"How can we think about being the underdog, when we had so much hype coming out?" junior forward Robert Carter Jr. said Wednesday. "Guys in this locker room, we've got so much confidence in this team and in each other, we feel that any time we step on the court, we're the dominant team."
Said freshman center Diamond Stone: "We look at ourselves as the No. 1 seed. We look at ourselves as the top team in the country."
…"When you're ranked in the top five for a good portion of the season, at least multiple weeks, that means you have shown everybody that you can play to a No. 1 seed level," Self said. "I think we're playing a team that even though they're seeded fifth, our guys understand they can play to a one seed."
…"I don't think we'll shoot that bad again going forward," Layman said. "Guys are confident on this team to be able to make shots. As long as we run our offense and play with confidence, we should be fine."
In Maryland's best performances earlier this season, that usually was the case.
In a down-to-the-wire 89-81 loss at North Carolina on Dec. 1, the Terps shot 50.8 percent (30-for-59) from the field, including 46.2 percent (12-for-26) on 3-pointers. In a 76-66 win over Connecticut before a pro-Huskies crowd at Madison Square Garden a week later, Maryland went just 3-for-14 on 3-pointers.
Maryland center Damonte Dodd had one more call to make after his team beat Hawaii in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday in Spokane. He pulled up the contact of Kansas guard Frank Mason III and the two began to FaceTime, Dodd kindly reminding his old teammate that they were about to face each other in South Region semifinal in Louisville on Thursday.
“I said hey, we’re about to play each other,’” Dodd said with wide grin on Wednesday, remembering how close he and Mason grew while both played at Massanutten Military Academy in Virginia for a year back in 2012.
After Dodd made that call, a coach from the academy started a group text that included both Dodd and Mason. At one point, an old picture of Dodd contesting one of Mason’s shots was added to the conversation.
Thursday night’s game will feature two rosters that have close ties to one another. Both Maryland senior forward Jake Layman and junior guard Jaylen Brantley played with Kansas forward Wayne Selden on the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, one of the country’s premier AAU organizations. Maryland forward Robert Carter has playing experience against Jayhawks star Perry Ellis, while Diamond Stone has been a teammate of Kansas freshmen Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg with USA basketball.
There was a lot of talk about point guards, past and present, in KFC Yum! Center on Wednesday, eve of today’s NCAA South Regional matchup between No. 1 seed Kansas University and No. 5 Maryland.
“Am I scoring right there? Take that, ‘Turg,’” KU coach Bill Self exclaimed with a smile, looking at an iPad video of his converting for Oklahoma State against KU in the 1980s against current Maryland coach Mark Turgeon’s Jayhawk team.
“That was a beautiful move, too,” former Cowboy lead guard Self added of his taking it to the hole against former KU point Turgeon. “I wonder how long they had to edit tape to find that.”
…Trimble is still a bit more well known nationally, having been ranked No. 39 in the Class of 2014 by Rivals.com, compared to late-bloomer Mason’s No. 76 rating.
“I usually don’t pay attention to the hype. I pay attention to what we can control as a team, as a group. I pay attention to scouting report, pay attention to detail,” Mason said Wednesday before a short shootaround in Yum! Center.
And KU’s current scouting report confirms Trimble is a handful to control.
“He’s a good guard. He’s quick, good with the ball, good off ball screens,” Mason said. “He’s a good overall player. It’s fun to guard good players, just to compete. It’s an all-around fun game. I can’t wait to get out there.”
Mason confirmed it’d be a difficult assignment, but one he looks forward to.
“They have a lot of different actions, but it definitely will be me to start out,” he said of being assigned to guard Trimble. “It could be anyone from there because of the different things they do. It depends what they will be running. I think most of the game I definitely will have him.”
The Most Outstanding Player at the 2002 Final Four, Juan Dixon, now a special assistant to Mark Turgeon at Maryland, can tell the Terrapins are starting to do all the little things right in March.
Dixon says the Terps, who face Kansas on Thursday in a Sweet 16 matchup in Louisville, Kentucky, will have to keep making hustle plays to compete at the highest level against the Jayhawks.
In the 2002 national semifinals, Dixon scored 33 points against KU before Maryland went on to beat Indiana for the national title. Dixon, as of Wednesday afternoon at least, hasn’t shared any stories with Maryland players about his 33 points versus Kansas at the Final Four.
A national champion playing for Gary Williams, Dixon says Turgeon, now in his fifth season with the Terps, has built the program back up.
“They’re very talented,” Lucas said. “They have a lot of bigs with great size, very skilled around the hoop. They’re good. It’s going to be a fun challenge. We’re going to be going at it. There’s definitely a lot of talent on both sides. It’s going to be fun.”
Lucas doesn’t have a cocky bone in his 6-10, 240-pound body, but he doesn’t lack confidence, either. It has grown at the same rate as his production.
“We like hearing how much talent they have because it’s a challenge to us to go out there and show how good of a team we are,” Lucas said.
He has produced double figures in rebounds six times, including a 12-rebound effort with three blocked shots in the second-round victory against UConn. His top back up, senior Jamari Traylor, was scoreless in 28 minutes in the two tourney games in Des Moines, Iowa. More important given his role, Traylor totaled 11 rebounds and five blocked shots in the two games.
“There are blocked shots and then there are BLOCKED SHOTS,” Lucas said. “It’s the way Jamari blocks shots that makes them contagious.”
Freshman Carlton Bragg Jr.’s ability to pull his man away from the hoop and his improving offensive rebounding could come in handy in stretches. Depending on foul trouble, freshman Cheick Diallo (nine points, four rebounds, a blocked shot against Austin Peay) might even get a call, even though he didn’t play vs. UConn.
Diallo said he improves daily in practice.
“I never let it go,” Diallo said. “I develop my game. I develop my post moves. I develop my shooting. I never let down just because I’m not playing a lot in games.”
Turgeon, now 51 and 0-6 all-time against his alma mater, remembers his days as a standout at Topeka’s Hayden High like yesterday.
“Time goes fast,” he said. “I grew up with (former KU broadcaster) Max Falkenstien. Max taught me a few curse words I never knew before.”
He also easily and humbly recalls how he ended up at Kansas.
“I was down on my knees begging coach Brown to take me,” he said. “That’s what it came down to. I got very lucky. There was a coaching change. The coach happened to be 5-11 like me. And thank God they had 15 scholarships back then.”
Turgeon continued: “And it was a one-year deal. It’s like, ‘Hey, you got one shot. If (it) doesn’t work out, you won’t be here next year.’ So it worked out. It just changed my life, obviously, for the better.”
…“The main thing he told us about was his Final Four experience,” sophomore Jared Nickens said of KU’s 1986 season that ended in the national semifinals. “He was just trying to stress to us how fun it is to be in a moment like this.”
Added junior forward Damonte Dodd: “Someone just showed me a video of him playing, and it was actually hilarious. Everything he talks about as a coach that he wants us to do, especially defensively, that’s what he was doing.”
This week, of course, the focus has been more on the present than the past. And though Turgeon admitted earlier in the week that he would rather not face his alma mater in this tournament, he said playing the Jayhawks has become much easier to stomach than it was back in 2008, when he faced the Jayhawks for the first time during his initial season at Texas A&M.;
“The Kansas thing is not that weird to me anymore,” he said. “It was a little bit that way the first time we played, but you get used to it. ... I’d rather play them in a national championship game than a Sweet 16 game, but here we are, so we’ll play it.”
Like most college basketball fans, the Kansas Jayhawks watched Texas A&M’s historic comeback against Northern Iowa on Sunday in the NCAA Tournament. Like most everyone else, they felt the same mix of disbelief, admiration and exhilaration as Texas A&M erased a 12-point deficit in the final 35 seconds and went on to win in double overtime.
Unlike everyone else, however, there’s a real-world application for these Jayhawks, who take the NCAA Tournament’s top seed into a showdown with No. 5-seed Maryland on Thursday night in the South Regional semifinals.
The players talked about the crazy comeback with a sense of bewilderment — and empathy — on Wednesday afternoon as it remained stuck in the minds of sports fans. Even LeBron James addressed it in an afternoon news conference, saying he would “quit basketball” if he played for Northern Iowa.
“I’ve never been a part of that, but it was fun to watch that type of amazing comeback,” Kansas guard Frank Mason said. “We try not to ever put ourselves in a position where we’re down that much. We try to take advantage of every opportunity throughout a game ... to not be able to execute on offense or defense in that key stretch would be a nightmare.”
…“They’re saying it’s the greatest comeback in college basketball history, not just the NCAA Tournament,” Kansas guard Wayne Selden said. “To be part of that would be great. To be on the other side of it would be not-so-great.”
1. Kansas (No. 1 South)
If you still need convincing that Kansas’s defense is national-title caliber, I suggest you re-watch the first half of the Jayhawks’ second-round win against UConn. They held the Huskies to 3-of-20 shooting from inside the arc in that half—and one of those makes was a breakaway layup following a steal. I put screengrabs all 17 of UConn’s interior misses from the first half into the grid below, which shows that 13 (and maybe even 14) were contested by KU defenders:
2. North Carolina (No. 1 East)
Quality interior D is generally a hallmark of a national champ: In the kenpom.com era (2002-present), 12 out of 14 champs entered the NCAA tournament ranked in the top 50 in defensive two-point field-goal percentage, the lone outliers being 2007 Florida and 2015 Duke. The median two-point field goal percentage allowed by champs during that stretch is 43.7%, and their median national rank is 24th. Only one 2016 Sweet 16 team checks in below both medians—that would be Kansas—but North Carolina is right behind the Jayhawks:
SI Luke Winn
One of the consequences of a star college basketball player sticking around through his senior year is that he is taken for granted. He becomes boring. We’ve seen him. We know what he can do, and what he can’t do. This is true of NBA scouts, of fans, of coaches, and certainly of media. Ellis is challenging some of that, even subtly.
…Andrea Hudy, head strength coach for the KU men’s basketball team, calls Ellis the most diligent and consistent worker in the group. But even by that standard, Ellis has improved his diet — more salads, fruits and vegetables — and worked even harder to improve his agility, mobility, quickness and jumping ability. His body fat is down, his vertical leap up, and his effectiveness has never been greater.
“He used to play below the rim,” says Evan Manning, Ellis’ roommate. “But he’s done everything in his power to change that. It’s cool that people are noticing.”
“I think Perry’s definitely going to play professional basketball,” said Danny Manning, whose own NBA career spanned from 1988-2003. “I think his versatility is something that is going to give him a chance to play the power forward slot, and even slide down into a shooting guard, because I think a lot of times defensively he gives you the option to be creative. Athletically, he can sit down and guard and stay in front of people.”
While Ellis has upped his game in his final season, Manning believes he’s always been a versatile force, adding it has just taken the national media a while to notice. And really, his reserved demeanor and back-to-back first-weekend exits from the NCAA Tournament probably didn’t help Ellis’ national appeal.
For what it’s worth, Danny Manning does not believe Ellis needs a Final Four to solidify his legacy at Kansas — “Perry is going to go down as one of the top-10 scorers in Kansas basketball history, and I think that’s plenty,” he said.
Perhaps he has a point. After all, this is a player Manning considered special before he scored even the first of his 1,767 points (and counting).
“Perry, he’s the whole deal,” Manning said. “He’s got it all, on the court and off the court. Great kid, and obviously a great player.”
Maryland guard Melo Trimble has a reputation of being one of the nation’s top point guards when it comes to creating off ball screens, and on Thursday, Self went as far as to say that Trimble is “as good as any guard in the country” when attacking.
KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend says Trimble is dangerous because of his versatility. He can split ball screens if the opening is there. He constantly attacks big men to seek contact while trying to create foul trouble.
Trimble also is patient and has shown an ability to find either big men that roll to the basket or open players on the perimeter. Though outside shooting isn’t his forte, he’s good enough that a team can’t go under screens and dare him to shoot threes.
“I think he’s a terrific player,” Townsend said. “We’ve got our hands full.”
The encouraging part for KU is that it’s not two months ago; KU’s staff, because of recent improvement, has reason to be much more optimistic about its defense.
The biggest change? The Jayhawks have played ball screens much more like they saw Kansas State do in videos.
Self likes to call it “shrinking the floor” or “making a crowded house” — a philosophy KU works on every day in practice. The key is KU’s other three defenders when an opposing team sets a ball screen; those three should be moving off their men toward the center of the court, creating the illusion that the middle is filled with players.
“So when I’m looking at the floor,” Townsend said, “it looks like there’s nowhere to go.”
In addition, the matchup against Maryland and its All-Big Ten point guard, Melo Trimble, makes it imperative Mason be effective. The 6-3 Trimble averages a team-best 14.8 points and 5.0 assists.
“He’ll have to be 100 percent because the point guard matchup is … can Frank do a good job on Melo?” Self said. “When Melo is on top of his game and when he’s in attack mode and he’s playing with ease, he’s as a good as any guard in the country. …
“But it will be a great matchup for Melo, too, because they both have to guard each other. It’s just not a one-way street.”
For this particular game the Mason-Melo-drama will be the second-most publicized duel between point guards. Self and his Maryland counterpart, Mark Turgeon, will steal most of the attention as point guards who once opposed each other in the Big Eight and went on to coach under Larry Brown.
Still, the most critical contribution will come from those playing in the game, which for KU demands that Mason influence matters off the dribble.
Synergy: Kansas vs Maryland Scouting Report
Kansas has some very good players, but the Jayhawks are a classic case of a team’s whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Maryland has had the opposite problem—really good pro prospects but the pieces haven't fit well together. Still, when we get to the later rounds of the NCAA tournament, talent usually wins out. I like the way Maryland senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon has taken over the leadership of his team, and although I don’t like the way sophomore guard Melo Trimble has been shooting the ball the second half of the season, at least he is getting back to his primary strength, which is to butter his bread at the foul line. (He was a combined 22 for 23 from the stripe during the Terps’ two wins in Spokane.) Moreover, I like the matchup in the frontcourt, where Maryland can rotate five big men to defend Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis without needing help. That’s potentially 25 fouls and zero double teams, which should leave the Terps’ guards to close out more aggressively on Frank Mason, Devote’ Graham and Wayne Selden. Finally, I am encouraged by the spark of life I’ve seen over the last month from Maryland senior forward Jake Layman, who struggled with his shot for much of the season but erupted for 27 points (5 for 8 from three) in the first-round win over South Dakota State. Maryland has the lower floor of these two, but it also has the higher ceiling. I have a hunch the Terps are ready to reach it.
Maryland 80, Kansas 78
SI Seth Davis
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 5 Maryland (Thursday 9:40 ET, CBS)
Total number of top-150 prospects: 9
Kansas prospects: C Cheick Diallo (No. 37), G/F Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (No. 45), G Wayne Selden (No. 46), PF Perry Ellis (No. 59), PF Carlton Bragg (No. 103), SF Brannen Greene (NR), C Landen Lucas (NR), PG Frank Mason (NR), PG Devonte Graham (NR)
Maryland prospects: C Diamond Stone (No. 24), PG Melo Trimble (No. 41), F Jake Layman (No. 54), PF Robert Carter (No. 127), SG Rasheed Sulaimon (NR), C Damonte Dodd (NR)
On the surface, this would appear to be a pretty loaded game with prospects. And overall, that's not far off, as it features nine players currently ranked in the CBS Sports Big Board as well as a few others that genuinely have a shot in the future to reach that level. More than that though, the game doesn't actually feature a ton in the way of prospect-on-prospect matchups.
First and foremost, you have to remember that three of Kansas' best prospects long-term -- Diallo, Mykhailiuk, and Bragg -- are bench players at best. Mykhailiuk will likely play at least 20 minutes in this game, but minutes for the two freshman big men are scattered at best. Don't expect anything different in this one.
The best in-game matchup probably comes at the 4 spot, as Maryland will likely throw both Layman and Carter at Ellis at differing points of the game. Carter's a bit bigger and stronger, but might have problems with handling Ellis on the perimeter. Layman would be better equipped to handle him out there, but Ellis' terrific post game could give him some issues. Such is the difficulty of playing against the 6-foot-8 senior from Kansas, as he's a really efficient, smart, matchup nightmare. Layman could likely cause Ellis further problems from out on the perimeter though, and he's probably a bit too big for Selden if the Terps decide to play big.
Another thing to watch for here will be the performance of Stone against Lucas, who has really asserted himself inside over the last two months for Kansas. Particularly, Stone struggles mightily on the defensive glass, a place where Lucas might be able to take a massive advantage for the Jayhawks. A big performance here from the Maryland big man could go a long way toward improving his draft stock among scouts.
Finally, look in the backcourt for some clarity on how the game will progress. If Trimble can get loose against Mason and/or Graham, it would really help. He's been much more aggressive in the Terps' two NCAA Tournament games than he's shown throughout the course of the season, driving and looking to contact in order to score instead of distribute. That's when Trimble is at his best, but he'll have his hands full as both of these guards are really strong defensively.
UDK: What does Maryland have to do on Thursday to win this game?
The Diamondback: I think Melo has to get to the line a bunch. When he gets to the line 10-plus times, the record Maryland has in his two years is pretty outstanding. His shot has been off for the majority of the last two months. When he falls into the trap of settling for outside shots they are not going to win a game, especially against a team like Kansas.
Melo has to get into the paint, because that creates shots for everyone else. When the defense has to collapse, they have shooters that can hit from outside. His ability to not only get to the line but to get in the lane and cause problem will be what Maryland needs for him to do to win this game.
UDK: What is your prediction for Thursday?
The Diamondback: I haven't thought too much about that to be honest. I would say Kansas in a relatively close game. It will probably be pretty high scoring; I know Kansas scores a lot. It would surprise me if Maryland won. They certainly have the capability but I would say Kansas maybe like 79-72 or something like that.
"Every time I texted him, I'd say, 'Bro, what is your plan?'" Diallo said. "He'd say, 'I'm going to the gym.' Well, I would say I'm going to the gym too and go work on my post moves. He'd work on his pick-and-pop."
Diallo and Labissiere shared a common bond as foreign players who came to the States to play basketball. Diallo is originally from Mali; Labissiere is from Haiti. Their backgrounds allowed them to not get caught up with any disappointment from outsiders because they constantly reminded each other of the opportunity they have in front of them.
"Even not a basketball standpoint, in life, you can do a lot of stuff here," Diallo said. "Because back home, you don't have many opportunities like that, so that's why I say you're here for some reason, you're not here to play around."
…"Cheick will get the last laugh on everybody, and I think he knows that," Self said. "He knows he's young in the game and he's got a lot to learn. But certainly his enthusiasm and his want-to hasn't been dampened at all by not playing as much as I know he wants to play."
To his credit, Diallo said he is enjoying the ride despite the virtually nonexistent playing time. He said former college players have reached out to him and said they are jealous because they played four years and never went this far in the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to always being able to say he reached the tourney’s second weekend, Diallo can also claim he visited horseracing’s most hallowed grounds — even if he is more familiar with a mode of transportation more popular back home.
“I (rode) a donkey,” Diallo said, “because in my country, we have a lot of donkeys, but horses? No.”
Installed Wednesday morning, Tefft’s sculpture welcomes visitors to the soon-to-open DeBruce Center, being constructed to house Naismith’s original handwritten rules of “Basket Ball.” The building, at 1647 Naismith Drive connected to Allen Fieldhouse, is planned to open by late April.
Though the new sculpture is firmly in place, it isn't yet viewable by the public. The sculpture will be covered until the DeBruce Center opens to protect it from construction work, according to the KU Endowment Association.
Tefft was the KU professor emeritus who also sculpted the Academic Jay perched in front of KU’s Strong Hall and the monolithic Moses kneeling before Smith Hall, in addition to several other bronze portraits on campus.
He died Feb. 17, 2015, at age 95 — leaving the Naismith sculpture incomplete.
Others stepped in to finish the job: Tefft’s son and apprentice Kim Tefft doing the hands-on work and Tom and Kathy Wiggans donating the money to fund it.
“Obviously, in the Bluegrass State, everybody loves ball,” he said of Kentucky. “I mean, that goes without saying.”
Then Self rattled off KC’s case, noting the proximity of Kansas, Kansas State, Wichita State and Missouri to Kansas City.
“I think when you add up all the history,” Self said. “I think that you can make a case that … (the) Kansas City area is probably about as knowledgeable and historic a place that our game has.”
Then Self played his trump card: KU’s first coach, James Naismith, a statue of whom was placed Wednesday in Lawrence outside the DeBruce Center, where his original rules of basketball will be housed.
“When the inventor of the game is your first coach,” Self said, “I think it definitely gives you a leg up on some folks when you start talking about history.”
Wayne Selden Jr.'s uncle had a wild reaction to his nephew's dunks. Turns out, he never meant to be a distraction to his beloved nephew.
Can't see the above video? Click here.
Kansas junior guard Wayne Selden Jr., has been named one of five finalists for the 2016 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award.
Kansas senior forward Perry Ellis has been named one of five finalists for the 2016 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award.
VOTE HERE (Final day 3/25)
“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
1. North Carolina Tar Heels
From the first day, The Bilastrator told you that North Carolina was the best team -- and the likely national champion. There is no team that is invulnerable, and the Tar Heels are certainly capable of being beaten. But Carolina has depth, solid guard play, excellent frontcourt depth and productivity, and the Heels have been on the upswing for the past month. North Carolina ranks in the top 10 in the nation in both offensive (fifth) and defensive (10th) efficiency, a distinction shared by Virginia (sixth and fourth), Kansas (10th and fifth) and Villanova (ninth and seventh). Carolina boasts an All-American in Brice Johnson, who has been superb all season long. Johnson and Isaiah Hicks are both shooting better than 70 percent in NCAA tournament play. Carolina's only relatively weak areas are perimeter shooting, defending the 3-point line and frequency in getting to the foul line. In two NCAA tournament games, Carolina has made only 11 of 35 3-point field goals and has been outshot and outscored from the foul line.
Prediction: Final Four; national championship game.
2. Kansas Jayhawks
The Jayhawks are right with North Carolina as a team that has quality depth, experience and talent. Kansas is not chock-full of NBA lottery picks, but Bill Self has a veteran team that is complete, has good leadership and has good balance between inside and outside threats. Self can play two point guards with Devonte' Graham and Frank Mason III. Senior big man Perry Ellis is averaging 21 points per game in the NCAA tournament, while shooting better than 71 percent from the field. Kansas has shot the ball well, shooting better than 53 percent from the field, including 36 percent from deep. The Jayhawks averaged 89 points per game in their first two NCAA contests.
Prediction: Final Four; national championship game.
ESPN ($) Jay Bilas
That day is the deadline for players to withdraw from the NBA Draft after they went through the combine and workout process without retaining the services of an agent.
The new rules regarding this process are extremely beneficial for the players to see where they stand, but it's also going to be an absolute nuisance for programs who have guys on the fence.
If you're a coach who has a player who may or may not return following the combine, you're going to have your hands tied in recruiting.
Most coaches who know they're going to lose a player to the draft will recruit to fill a scholarship as soon as they know a kid won't return to campus.
That's not the case anymore.
Now coaches are going to have to hold a scholarship available in the event a borderline draft pick decides to return to school if he doesn't like his expected draft status.
That's a stressful situation for anyone with a player in that type of predicament.
KUAD: Postseason Information Hub for Fans
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.
Josh Jackson has plenty on his plate — forthcoming appearances at the McDonald’s All-American Game and Nike Hoop Summit, an impending decision on his collegiate future and the minor detail of finishing high school — he’s still been sure to check out plenty of the NCAA Tournament. That might concern fans of Michigan State and Arizona, two of the three schools still vying for Jackson’s services at the next level (Kansas is the other). According to the star himself in an interview with USA Basketball, they shouldn’t be concerned about their teams’ early exits at all.
“I saw,” Jackson said of the losses. “Just watching college basketball all this year, there have already been so many upsets during the regular season. I could just tell how March Madness was going to go, because so many teams were already losing. So, I knew it was going to be a pretty ugly year.”
Rather, Jackson said the main motivator behind his college choice is a more nuanced, but essential, factor: Trust.
“Number one is the trust factor,” Jackson said of his selection criteria. “I just want to be around people I can trust and who are going to push me to become better on and off the court. Two is style of play. Each team plays pretty fast. I think that is where I’m best, when we are playing fast, or in the open court, transition. Three, I kind of already said it in the first one: to be under a coach who is going to push me and not just kiss my butt because I am who I am or they want me so bad. Push me to get better.”
Per LJW: Starts today!
The Grind Session National Tournament, which features Kansas University recruiting targets Thon Maker, Josh Jackson, DeAndre Ayton and others, will be held Thursday through Saturday at Free State High School.
The 11 teams that will compete are: Athlete Institute (Mono, Ontario), Prolific Prep (Napa Valley, Calif.), Sunrise Christian Academy (Wichita), 22ft. Academy (Greenville, S.C.), Hillcrest Academy (Queen Creek, Ariz.), Advanced Prep International (Dallas), Word of God (Raleigh), Quality Education (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Victory Prep (Houston), Victory Rock Prep (Sarasota, Fla.) and Evelyn Mack (Charlotte).
Here’s the schedule of games followed by a description of the teams.
Thursday, March 24 (play in games): Sunrise Christian v. Word of God, 5:30 p.m.; Athlete Institute v. 22ft Academy, 7 p.m.; Victory Prep v. Evelyn Mack, 8:30 p.m.
Friday, March 25 (quarterfinals): API v. Victory Rock, 4 p.m.; Prolific Prep v. Victory Prep/Evelyn Mack winner, 5:30 p.m.; Hillcrest v. Sunrise Christian/Word of God winner, 7 p.m.; Quality Ed v. Athlete Institute/22FT Academy winner, 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 26: Semifinals 10 a.m., 12 p.m; championship game 7:30 p.m.
Athlete Institute: Features KU target Thon Maker, a 7-foot senior, who also is considering Indiana, Arizona State and others. His brother Matur, is a 6-10 junior who is a major college recruit. AI also features seniors Nikola Djogo, a 6-7 Notre Dame signee, and Cole Long, a 6-7 UMBC commit.
Prolific Prep: Features KU prospect Josh Jackson, a 6-7 senior who is ranked No. 1 in the class of 2016 by Rivals.com. He’s considering KU, Arizona and Michigan State. The team also boasts 6-8 UConn signee Vance Jackson and 6-5 Utah signee Devon Daniels. Top juniors include Abu Kigab, a 6-6 native of St. Catherine’s, Canada considering KU, USC, Oregon, Baylor and others, plus 6-9 Ira Lee, who is considering Arizona, Cal, Texas and others.
Sunrise Christian: Features Oklahoma signee Kameron McGusty, a 6-5 shooting guard, ranked No. 43 in the Class of 2016, as well as junior Isiah Jasey, a 6-10 forward who is considering KU and others.
22ft Academy: Features 6-10 South Carolina signee Sedee Keita and 6-5 Mississippi State signee Eli Wright. Jordan Bowden (6-5) is considering Eastern Kentucky, Utah, Southern Miss and others.
Hillcrest Academy: Features KU target DeAndre Ayton, a 7-foot junior ranked No. 1 in the Class of 2017, who is also considering Duke, Kentucky and others. Senior point guard Julian Payton (6-0), who holds an offer from Texas Southern, is the son of former NBA player Gary Payton.
Advanced Prep International: Features former Alabama commit Terrance Ferguson, a 6-6 senior, who is ranked No. 12 in the Class of 2016. Ferguson has KU on his list of schools. The squad includes 6-5 Baylor signee Mark Vital, 6-10 Cincinnati signee Nysier Brooks and junior Billy Preston, a 6-10 forward, who is considering KU and others. He’s ranked No. 6 in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com. The team also boasts the country’s top junior guard, 6-3 Trevon Duval, who is ranked No. 5 in the Class of 17.
Word of God Christian: Features Rawle Alkins, a 6-4 senior ranked No. 9 nationally who has committed to Arizona. Also, Blake Harris, a 6-2 junior who is considering LSU, Wake Forest and others.
Quality Education: Features Deshawn Corprew, a 6-5 senior who is being recruited by N.C. State, Virginia Tech and others as well as 6-5 junior Ranathan Embo. Quality Education big men include 6-9 senior Papa Ndiaye, who is considering Oklahoma and Mississippi State as well as 6-9 senior Malik Brevard and 6-7 senior Marsellis Purvis
Victory Prep, TX: Features KU target Jarred Vanderbilt, 6-8 junior, who is ranked No. 11 in the Class of 2017. He’s also considering Kentucky and others. Coach of Victory Prep is Rodney McCray, who won an NBA title with the Bulls in 1993.
Victory Rock: Features 6-10 Gorjok Gak, who is headed to Oklahoma State, plus 5-7 Long Beach signee Loren Christian Jackson.
Evelyn Mack: Features Darius Webster, 6-7 from Bronx, N.Y., and Isahia Whaley, 6-10 from Gastonia, N.C.
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