Kansas coach Bill Self grew up just north of Oklahoma City, attending high school in the suburban enclave of Edmond, Okla. So on Monday afternoon, as a mile-wide tornado ripped through the area and flattened parts of Moore, a southern suburb, Self’s mind turned toward his home state.
Self was set to announce the addition of Memphis transfer Tarik Black to the KU program, but his thoughts, like many others, were with the victims and families in Oklahoma.
“Our enthusiasm is tempered by what is happening just south of Oklahoma City in Moore,” Self said.
“We wish nothing but the very best for them,” Self said of the victims, “and our thoughts are with them.”
Sad & tragic event, prayers go out to those affected in Oklahoma
Best way to help tornado victims is to donate to the Red Cross at redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999. #okwx
Tarik Black will spend last year at Kansas. Was there ever a doubt? His visit started a few hours after Wiggy committed. Festive joint
We got Tarik? yessir! Got a good feeling about this upcoming year... I'm ready for this grind
Tarik Black will fill a HUGE need for KU down low. I think he'll average 20-25 minutes per game. Could be a @JeffGraves42 kinda x-factor.
LJW: They said it…about Tarik Black
Kansas University’s 2013-14 basketball team, which is being billed as one of the youngest squads in school history, added experience Monday afternoon: University of Memphis transfer Tarik Black.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound senior-to-be, who averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds while starting five games and coming off the bench in 27 contests last season, chose KU over Duke, Oregon, Ohio State and Georgetown. He’s taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows players to switch schools their senior seasons and be immediately eligible, provided they have an undergraduate degree.
Black graduated in the field of organizational leadership earlier this month, thus will be eligible to play in games in 2013-14 — his one and only season at KU.
“We are thrilled he has chosen to play his final year of college basketball at KU,” said Kansas coach Bill Self, who has seven scholarship freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors on the roster, with Black the only scholarship senior. “He will be a huge addition both physically and emotionally, especially from a leadership standpoint, as he will be the most experienced guy on our team entering next season.”
…“Tarik is a very good player. I expect him to have a really good year with Kansas and coach Self. He gets to play for a Hall of Fame coach, and I wish him nothing but the best,” Pastner told the Journal-World on Monday in a phone interview.
Describing Black the player, Pastner said: “He is a banger, a big body. He seals you deep. He’s hard to get around.”
He said Black’s free-throw-shooting percentage wasn’t necessarily a huge problem.
“He hasn’t been a real good free-throw shooter here,” Pastner said, “but he’s made some free throws when he needed to.”
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Black lost his starting spot after an incident in which he walked out of practice. He never made his way back to that position.
...“It is critical that I find a program that offers me the greatest chance of taking what I have learned over the last three years to the highest level,” Black said when he announced his decision to leave. He did not comment on his decision to transfer Monday.
“Could I remain at Memphis and achieve the same? Quite possibly. But since as a graduate student I can play ball immediately next year, why not take advantage of this unique situation to gain a new perspective so that I can combine what I’ve learned at the U of M and what I will learn wherever I am next year in hopes of enhancing my versatility as a student-athlete?”
Black at the time said: “I do not consider this a farewell. It’s just a brief intermission until I come back home. I love my hometown and want you to know that wherever I go, my heart and soul will always be right here in Memphis.”
It's a testament to the laws of supply and demand that Black had all these powerhouse programs pursuing him considering he lost his starting job at Memphis last season and averaged a modest 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds off the bench.
One reason he was in such high demand is there simply weren't many available big men with size and athleticism that teams could plug into their rotation right away. The other is that teams felt he has untapped potential he was never able to fully utilize at Memphis.
Once projected as a potential NBA draft pick early in his college career, Black fell out of favor in Memphis because his production plateaued after his freshman season and he was often foul-prone and inconsistent. His NCAA tournament performance was a microcosm of his Memphis career: 12 points and seven rebounds on perfect 5 of 5 shooting against Saint Mary's in a round of 64 victory gave way to six points, two rebounds and four fouls in a loss to Michigan State two days later.
Nonetheless, Black may yet be a significant addition for Kansas if a change of scenery and Self's history of success developing big men can help.
With all five starters from last season graduating or turning pro and a wealth of young talent set to play immediately, Kansas had a clear-cut need for a veteran big man it can plug into its rotation.
Black will team with promising sophomore Perry Ellis, reserve Jamari Traylor and shot-blocking freshman Joel Embiid to form a talented and versatile frontcourt nucleus.
It's a bit surprising Black would choose Kansas over Oregon or Duke simply because those programs appeared to have a greater need for him. The Blue Devils are lacking a true back-to-the-basket big man and Black would only have had to beat out Waverly Austin to start alongside fellow transfer Mike Moser for the Ducks.
Credit Self for being able to persuade him to come to Kansas anyway. Now the Jayhawks are even better positioned to start the season in the preseason top six and to make a run at another Final Four.
There's a saying in baseball that goes, "There's no such thing as a bad one-year contact."
If you were wondering why teams like Duke and Kansas were in on Memphis forward Tarik Black, who started just five games for the Tigers a year ago, it's mostly because of this same concept.
Because Black has graduated and will be eligible immediately, he essentially became like a one-year contract player. A team with a hole on its roster — and an extra scholarship it wasn't going to use anyway — had nothing to lose in recruiting Black.
The commitment gives KU additional depth in the post, where the Jayhawks have quite a few options but not many proven ones.
As you'll see from his numbers, Black comes to KU as an interesting project: A player that has shown distinct strengths while at the same time being held back by glaring weaknesses.
LJW Newell blog
Remember when the 2013-14 Kansas Jayhawks were going to be a shaky proposition? I do!
Just two weeks ago, Kansas was the team losing all five of last season's starters, among them four seniors and one freshman top-five draft pick. Left in their wake was an unusually young team. Sophomore Perry Ellis would have to be a star. Naadir Tharpe would have to develop into a less erratic distributor. A crop of promising freshmen would have to step up right away.
After nine straight titles, Kansas' stranglehold on the top of the Big 12 must be taken as an article of faith. But with Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart back, and Baylor looking plenty talented in its own right, said stranglehold appeared to be straining at the knuckles. Would this finally be the year?
Those were the days, weren't they? Of course, that was before Kansas landed arguably the best young prospect in the past decade in Andrew Wiggins, and also before Monday evening's news that Memphis senior Tarik Black had chosen to play his final year of collegiate eligibility -- available immediately via the graduate transfer exemption -- in Lawrence, Kan.
Black's decision is more icing than cake. Whereas Wiggins was a revolutionary addition, by all accounts the type of player who could have lifted an 18-16 Florida State team into ACC title contention, Black is merely a nice bonus.
…In any case, any thoughts you might have had about the Jayhawks two weeks ago are essentially irrelevant. Kansas is still young, sure, but not as young as it was. It is more talented than ever now, with the exact thing it lacked -- a veteran in the frontcourt -- signed up for the ride. The end result is another KU team that will enter the season as the Big 12 favorite and a national title contenders. Same as it ever was.
Our annual mid-April HS All-American photo shoot is always one of the more exciting shoots we get to do every year. But this one was special. See, the guys you see in the photo above and in the gallery below (scroll through it!) collectively have expectations that are way higher than those in any of the All-American classes we’ve had in recent memory. All are projected to be top 10 picks in next year’s NBA Draft. This has even been referred to as the best prep class since 2007—which featured the likes of Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and James Harden—and next year’s Draft class has already been projected by many to be the most talented since the 2003 LBJ/D-Wade/Melo-led group. Ultimately, the group shot above has the chance to be a classic one somewhere down the road.
5/21/13, 12:57 AM
Out here in Vegas for some workouts.
I love the KU fans already #KUCMB
So whom would the Pistons select if Drummond provides the luck needed to parlay a 3.6% chance into the No. 1 pick when the draft is held June 27?
Teams looking for perimeter help — like the Pistons — might turn to Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore.
McLemore, 20, who spoke to reporters at the NBA predraft combine last week, knows he is close to realizing a lifelong dream.
"I definitely think about it a lot," McLemore said at the Attack Athletics gym just a short distance away from the United Center, where the Chicago Bulls play. "At this point, right now I'm just trying to get through it and try to get to that day ... special day and walk across that stage and I say to myself, 'I made it.'
"How my career goes and down the road, I'm going to continue to work hard each and every day."
The comparison you hear the most associated with McLemore is Heat shooting guard Ray Allen.
He weighed 190 pounds and measured nearly 6-feet-5 in shoes when tested last week in Chicago, and he impressed athletically with a 42-inch maximum vertical leap.
But what makes him an elite prospect is a pure jump shot with an easy three-point range. He shot 42% from the three-point line during his only season at Kansas.
He averaged 15.9 points and was a Wooden Award finalist as a freshman.
The Pistons desperately need shooting and athleticism on the perimeter, and McLemore could fit the bill.
…For all the acclaim he received when he scored 33 points in an overtime victory against Iowa State, just as many eyebrows were raised when he averaged only 6.5 points in the first two NCAA tournament games.
But McLemore's inconsistency is common among young players.
Allen had a huge junior season at UConn when he was a model of consistency in averaging 23.4 points. But he averaged 12.6 points as a freshman coming off the bench.
McLemore got a positive response from GMs for his athletic ability (he ended with a 42-inch maximum vertical) and for the candid interviews he gave NBA teams.
"You could tell that an agent hadn't got to him yet and hadn't coached him on what to say," one GM told ESPN.com. "I was really wowed by how candid and open he was. I felt like we got to see is heart a little bit. He's a wonderful young man. He's naïve and he really needs someone with some experience guiding him, but he was one of my two or three favorite interviews."
Interviews matter. In fact, in some cases they matter more than any on-the-court stuff players do at the combine. But I'm not sure that they'd put McLemore ahead of Noel right now. If McLemore had a stronger motor on the court, he'd be a no-brainer for the No. 1 pick, but his "niceness" actually might work against him.
"You want a player who's going to be great with teammates off-the-court and a role model in the community," one NBA scout said. "But on the court, I want an [expletive]. Ben has zero [expletive] in him. I'm not sure how he'll fare as a rookie if he isn't going to demand the ball and try to prove to his peers he can play with them. But the upside is really there if he gets that he's an elite player."
ESPN Insider ($)
Big 12/College News
Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith is taking on another transfer. Deuce Bello, a 6-foot-4 reserve guard for Baylor the last two seasons, will transfer to Missouri, he said Monday in a phone interview from his native North Carolina.
“I really like their style of play,” said Bello, who verbally committed to Mizzou over Florida and Florida State among others.
St Louis PD
Oklahoma State is also trying to put together a strong slate with a team that can contend for a conference title. The Cowboys will host Memphis and South Carolina, play at South Florida, are in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, and play Colorado at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The game is a prep game for the Buffaloes in advance of the Pac-12 tournament at the same site, while the Cowboys get a quality NCAA-like game against a former Big 12 rival. The Cowboys host Robert Morris, the NEC champs and slayer of Kentucky, but are still looking for a quality opponent for the all-college classic in Oklahoma City.
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
FoxSports: Phenoms' God complex is our fault (Writer tries to draw correlation between following daily updates on recruit college choices creating young men who think they are "special" with the rapists in Steubenville. )
5/20/13, 9:17 PM
Feeling really disrespected right now! Guess I gotta remind them...
2013 Spring/Summer AAU & Camp Schedule
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