KUAD Recap, Box Score, Notes, Quotes
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LJW Tait: The Day After
The Jayhawks were just too good. It was as simple as that. The Terps played well in the first half, but Kansas took control early in the second and clearly was the superior team down the stretch.
…The Jayhawks neutralized Maryland's size, getting Stone and Robert Carter Jr. in foul trouble early. And they played some very tough defense in the final 10 minutes, keeping the Terps from closing a reasonable deficit with a string of big stops.
It seemed only fitting that Thursday’s 79-63 defeat in the South Regional semifinal to top-seeded Kansas started the same way -- with hope and hype and the thought of the fifth-seeded Terps making history by upsetting the nation’s hottest team.
In the end, the second half looked frighteningly similar to some of the games Maryland had lost over the past month: the offense breaking down because of cold shooting, particularly by sophomore guard Melo Trimble, and the Terps getting crushed on the boards.
…Trimble said Kansas adjusted its defense in the second half.
"They stayed longer on their ball screens, which a lot of teams were starting to do to us in the second half of the season,” Trimble said. “They didn’t do that in the first half, which is why we were able to get downhill and expose their defense. They did a really good job showing hard on their ball screens.”
You can’t fault Maryland’s effort. The Terps played an incredibly hard first half and they were still behind. Really, the difference was Kansas finding its range and starting to hit shots in the second half. It wasn’t because the Terps didn’t play good defense. The Jayhawks just started making the shots they were missing in the first half. There’s a reason Kansas was the overall No. 1 seed and it showed. The Kansas-Villanova game will be something to see. If Melo Trimble and Diamond Stone think they are ready for the NBA, they are sadly mistaken.
“He’s really the glue,” said fellow junior Wayne Selden, who ended the night with 19 points. “When we had that meeting with coach we thought it would be Landen that would really bring us together, he did that. He’s really excelling at it and doing way better than anybody thought.”
Lucas also did his part on the defensive side of the court. He held Maryland big Diamond Stone to five points and four rebounds.
“At practice yesterday we were practicing doubling the post to prepare for [Stone],” said freshman Carlton Bragg. “But then after practice he came up to coach and said ‘I want to guard him one-on-one, I want the challenge,’ and he stepped up today.”
On a night Perry Ellis demonstrated so many different ways to score on his way to 27 points and Wayne Selden Jr. (19 points, seven rebounds and six assists) put his boundless competitive spirit and basketball versatility on display, Lucas made sure it wasn’t all for naught.
Stone, a 6-foot-11 post player with fancy footwork and soft hands, scored just one of his five points in the second half. Meanwhile, Lucas kept absorbing blows without backing down, and by the time the day was done, he had produced 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Lucas knows his shooting range — point-blank — and stays within it. He made 6 of 7 shots and put back his only miss for a bucket.
Even though those numbers sparkle, it’s how teammates’ numbers grow when he’s on the floor that earned Lucas the starting spot a third of the way into Big 12 play and it has played such a huge part in KU’s 17-game winning streak.
…“Landen is as bright as any player we have, maybe the brightest as far as basketball IQ,” Self said. “Late clock, he’ll know how to set a fade screen to get a guy a short or against a zone or whatnot.”
That basketball brain comes in handy defensively, as well, as Lucas showed in shutting down Stone, Maryland’s second-leading scorer.
“I had watched some tape on him so I kind of could tell what he liked to do and I knew I could be physical with him if the refs allowed it,” Lucas said. “That’s what I tried to do.Then in the second half, I knew he liked to lower his shoulder a lot, so there was an opportunity to pick up a charge.”
…“We stayed in the game by playing defense in the first half and in the second half, we knew we could create some separation with a nice little run and we did that,” Lucas.
Everything seemed to go Lucas’ way, resulting in his third double-double of the season. That’s a feat that surprises the 6-10 junior.
“I’m so into rebounds, I kind of keep track of that in my head,” he said. “I want every single one I get so the rebounds don’t surprise me, but sometimes the points will. If my teammates get me the ball like they were tonight, I’ll get some points.”
Lucas’ defense on Stone limited the Maryland center to five points and four rebounds in 21 minutes.
“He’s a freshman so I know it was frustrating for him not to be able to play as much in the game, so that was big,” Lucas said. “It wasn’t just me, our team put a lot of pressure on him driving in and getting the fouls.”
One of Lucas' most important attributes has been his ability to free up Ellis. Since Lucas took over the starting spot against Texas in January, Ellis is averaging 17.8 points per game, and he’s scored 20 or more points in seven of his last eight games.
“Landen makes it easy for Perry to play because he understands Perry’s game,” Self said. “Landen’s strength’s allow Perry to play to his strengths as well.”
Most nights, Lucas is productive on defense, but the offensive production isn't always there. In a matchup that was supposed to be Stone's offense against Lucas' defense, it was Lucas who dominated in both categories.
Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise anymore.
In just six weeks, Lucas has gone from the overlooked member of Graham's press conference last February to arguably one of the Jayhawks’ most important players in the midst of a March run.
“Landen is our anchor down there,” senior forward Jamari Traylor said. “He’s on a roll right now, and I’m proud of him and how he’s been playing. We couldn’t win without him.”
Perry Ellis simply does not want his magical senior season to end.
Ellis, Kansas University’s 6-foot-8 senior forward/first-team all-Big 12 pick from Wichita, scored an NCAA Tournament personal-best 27 points off 10-of-17 shooting (7-of-7 from the line) in the Jayhawks’ 79-63 South Regional Sweet 16 victory over Maryland on Thursday at KFC Yum! Center.
The victory propels the top-seeded Jayhawks (33-4) into Saturday’s 7:50 p.m. (Central time) Elite Eight contest against Villanova (32-5).
“All I’m trying to do is leave it all on the floor,” Ellis said after grabbing five rebounds and helping KU to a 43-28 advantage on the boards against a tall No. 5-seed Maryland team. “It’s the same mindset as always. I just want to attack,” Ellis added.
…Ellis acknowledged he and his teammates have taken to heart the “Countdown to Houston” banners that have been in the locker room “for some time now.
“We see that every day,” Ellis said. “It’s motivation for us that the days are counting down. It’s motivation.”
…“He keeps getting closer and closer to his goal,” Bragg added of the Final Four. “I think he’s ready. He’s going to get it.”
…“Wayne and Frank were telling us, ‘This is our home. Let’s stay here another two, three days,’’’ Bragg said. “They were taking charge before the game.”
Kansas, which won 79–63 and moved on to face Villanova in the Elite Eight, remains the tournament favorite because it’s greater than the sum of its parts—and also, because one of its parts, while he’s not even guaranteed to be a second-round pick in June’s draft, could go down as one of the most valuable power forwards in the history of a storied program.
That part is understated and undersized (at least by pro standards, at 6'8") senior Perry Ellis, who scored season-high 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting, flummoxing four different members of Maryland’s frontcourt—Stone, juniors Robert Carter and Damonte Dodd, and sophmore Michal Cekovsky —with post moves, dribble drives and face-up jumpers. Ellis is the rare five-star recruit who stays four years in college—and all four years at the same college—but by doing so, Self says, “He has a chance to leave Kansas with a legacy that will allow him to be a hero there for a lifetime.”
Ellis won’t say these things himself, though. Faced with a question, in the post-Maryland press conference, about the meaning of his final NCAA tournament hurrah, all he said was: “Just happy with the team. Just going to try to keep competing and having fun with it.” And when he scored his final bucket on Thursday, on a pretty, face-up jumper over Dodd with 6:03 left that put Kansas up 66–53, and forced the Terrapins to call a damage-control timeout, Ellis did not yell or chest-bump or gesticulate on his way back to the Jayhawks’ huddle. All he did to celebrate the 26th and 27th points in the best NCAA tournament performance of his career, on a day where he also passed Paul Pierce on KU’s all-time scoring list, was clap—twice.
Some of Ellis’s teammates, however, could not resist staying quiet. Junior guard Wayne Selden had somehow internalized pregame talk about the talent gap between the Terrapins and Jayhawks in a way that made him convinced KU was an underdog, despite his team being favored by six points. “They said they had the NBA players over there, we just had the average Joes, and we took that personally,” Selden said. So with 16:43 left in the second half, when he hit a three over Layman—a fellow projected second-rounder—to put Kansas up 48–43, Selden told anyone within earshot, “He can’t guard me!”
After the game, Selden was also comfortable speaking on Ellis’s behalf, proclaiming, “I can say it for [Perry]: They can’t guard him.”
SI Luke Winn
Maryland’s Melo Trimble slammed his hand hard on the court under Kansas’ basket.
With about five minutes remaining, KU’s Frank Mason had just picked Tremble for a steal near midcourt and fired a pass to teammate Wayne Selden. All Trimble could do was foul hard enough to make sure Selden didn’t get the easy layup.
A little too late. It was all too late for Trimble. It was all too late for Maryland.
KU was already up by 13 points on the way to a 79-63 victory in Thursday night’s Sweet 16 at the KFC Yum Center.
Onward Jayhawks. The NCAA Tournament’s overall top seed is headed to play Villanova is Saturday’s Elite Eight.
Before the game, several KU players met and discussed things they’d read online about the matchup. They heard only two of their players could start for Maryland. They saw analysts say the Terrapins had the advantage in every individual matchup. They learned about their opponents’ four projected NBA Draft picks.
“People might underestimate our individual talent just because we don’t have the high name, high NBA-level prospects,” KU guard Devonte’ Graham said. “But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter.”
…What isn’t in question, though, is who was the biggest reason why KU is on its way to the Elite Eight and a showdown with No. 2-seeded Villanova.
Senior guard Perry Ellis tied a season-high with 27 points, including 15 in a second-half outburst. He did so on an efficient 10-for-17 shooting, making all seven of his free-throw attempts along the way.
With the game tied at 41 and just over 18 minutes remaining, Ellis entered attack mode.
Ellis and Selden combined to score the Jayhawks’ next 18 points, part of an 18-7 stretch that gave KU an 11-point cushion with 11:13 remaining. Ellis scored his team’s final nine points in the stretch that earned some much-needed breathing room.
…Most of the players claimed KU fans alerted them to the criticism via social media — “I’ve got a few Twitter fans that alert me to negative things,” Graham said with a smile — but one player had an even more direct feed the potential bulletin board material.
“My dad called me before and said some of the stuff people were saying,” said Landen Lucas, who was matched up with 6-foot-11 freshman forward and projected first-round pick Diamond Stone. “You know, yeah, I took it personally, because there was so much hype around him.”
Lucas proved up to the task. The KU forward scored 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting and hauled in 11 rebounds for a double-double.
…“It’s kind of baffling how we’re the No. 1-overall seed but we find ourselves being underdogs, but we embrace it,” Selden said. “We like being underdogs. We like this role.”
Center Landen Lucas said he “definitely” felt disrespected after reading some material (he didn’t say whose) about Kansas being less talented than the Terps.
“Our fans do such a job of tweeting at us, letting us know what the media is saying and stuff. We try not to pay attention, but they’re so passionate and they want us to be prepared.”
…It was mentioned on SportingNews.com that Maryland’s Diamond Stone was a likely first-round pick in whichever draft he chooses to enter and that KU might be pursuing the distinction of becoming the first NCAA champion since 1987 to win the tournament without a first-round NBA player in its starting lineup.
Lucas said he paid particular attention to his matchup with Stone as a result. Stone scored 5 points.
“We talked about it a little bit and naturally you think about it,” Lucas said. “If there was any competitive edge gained by that, I’m sure we used it. But the first goal was winning, because we knew that we could be the better team.”
On Tuesday, Gary Williams, who coached Maryland to a Final Four win over Kansas in 2002, said on an ESPN Radio program that only two Kansas players would start for Maryland, adding they would only start because of toughness and not necessarily because of their talent.
Once again, those comments got back to Kansas, this time senior forward Jamari Traylor, who referenced them in the locker room after the game.
“They were saying that only two of our players could start for them […] and their team is better than ours,” Traylor said. “The team with the most points at the end of the game is probably the better team, right?”
For many athletes, finding additional motivation can be crucial in preparation.
Kansas coach Bill Self even acknowledged that after the game, as he said he would make sure to bring up a shot by Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono to junior guard Frank Mason III, the player he
hit the shot over.
Likewise, Lucas mentioned how the team looks for a competitive edge to use ahead of games, which has been the case for Kansas this year.
After Kansas clinched the Big 12 outright, with a decisive win over Texas, Mason sent out a tweet that appeared to reference ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, who earlier ranked Mason as the sixth best point guard in the Big 12.
“6th best PG in the Big 12” but what is my team?” Mason’s tweet read.
As Kansas heads to the Elite Eight, one might expect the bulletin board to be starting to fill up. At some point, it seems as though even the most stubborn disbelievers will credit the team for what they've done, which will leave Kansas without that ever-so-slight extra edge.
However, as Selden said, that day hasn't been reached yet. He said he still feels kind of empty, having only made it to the Elite Eight.
Asked in the locker room if that meant he had more in store, a smile broke out on Selden's face for the first time since the postgame festivities had started.
"We'll see," he said. "I've got more."
Ellis has a personality that is interchangeable with his game. He makes few jaw-dropping plays. He utters no eyebrow-raising quotes. He is a perfectly pleasant young man whose quotes die in reporters' notebooks, because they're rarely interesting enough to publish.
But then you look at the stat sheet and see things like Thursday night: 27 points on 17 shots. How did that happen?
The old-school way. Of course. Like, the one-room schoolhouse old-school way.
Ellis and his well-rounded game is a near-perfect cog in Bill Self's offensive machine. Self has always championed inside-out basketball, and Ellis will post up inside and score with metronomic consistency. But Self also will occasionally – especially this year – diversify things by utilizing ball-screen action, and Ellis is a proficient pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop scorer as well.
That's how you become Kansas' leading scorer at 17.2 points per game. And that's how you become a top-10 scorer in Kansas' gilded history with 1,794 points – and counting. One flairless basket at a time.
The one thing Ellis hasn't put on his résumé is a Final Four – but now the Jayhawks are 40 minutes away.
Senior forward Perry Ellis walked to the bench during a timeout, clapping after his made three-pointer pushed Kansas' lead to 66-53 with 5:55 to go.
It was then that he did something he rarely does: smile.
For a brief second, Ellis had a grin from ear to ear, as his teammates swarmed him on the sideline. Though there was still plenty of time left, the result was all but final. Ellis knew what he had accomplished.
For the first time in Ellis' career, Kansas is going on to the Elite Eight, after a 77-63 win over Maryland. His performance on Thursday night in KFC Yum! Center was the key.
"I'm just trying to put it all on the line. You never know what can happen," Ellis said. "I'm just trying to have fun and enjoy the process."
…In fact, the only thing Ellis didn't do well is rebound. He finished with just five boards against Maryland. However, Self says he's willing to cut him some slack this time around.
"He's not rebounding like what I think he can, but we'll probably start him on Saturday," Self said.
“Everything was going great for us and I just felt like we should have had the lead,” said freshman forward Diamond Stone after the loss. “But Kansas is a great team, just like us. It really should’ve been two No. 1 seeds. But the better team won today. Kansas brought their A-game and we came up short.”
…“It was just effort,” said Stone who played just 21 minutes because of foul trouble. “I didn’t have effort today, our bigs didn’t have effort today. It just wasn’t our game today. In the second half, they were the more physical team. They brought it the second half, from the guards to the bigs.”
Added Dodd: “We matched up well. We just didn’t answer back.”
…“We lost to the best team in the country, 33-4 now, No. 1 seed in the tournament,” Turgeon said. “They’ve just crushed people lately. And, in the end, it looks like they crushed us.”
The Jayhawks looked like anything but a No. 1 seed through much of the first half, yet set a defensive tone that was key to grabbing a 36-34 lead at the break.
“All three of their guards really guarded, including Selden,’’ said Turgeon, offering praise for the work Mason and Graham provided on the defensive end. “Those two little guards are quick. So I thought they were terrific with that.’’
Ranked third in the nation in 3-point shooting, KU did not connect from that distance until inside the final minute. Their point guard duo particularly struggled, both with shooting the ball and providing any direction. Had Ellis not contributed mightily to begin that half too, the Jayhawks would have been in big trouble.
As it was they should have trailed at halftime. Yet the one trey, by Selden, provided the two-point edge at the break.
“In the second half, things started flowing,’’ Self said. “But I don’t know if the key to winning games is playing great all the time. The key to winning games is when you’re not playing great, then not allowing people to go on runs against you. We were able to do that the first half.’’
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon left his players to defend Ellis one-on-one. Ellis turned it into a bad decision.
Ellis maneuvered around whomever Turgeon put on him. Robert Carter had the assignment early. Turgeon tried to go taller with 7-foot-1 sophomore center Michal Cekovsky and 6-11 forward Damonte Dodd both getting their chances. He even went with forward Jake Layman for a bit more agility.
Nothing mattered. Each found themselves outmatched and too slow when trying to handle Ellis on the blocks.
He stepped outside the paint for a jumper that put KU ahead 43-41 then had a layup to again go ahead 45-43.
Maryland blinked first after Rasheed Sulaimon missed a contested layup.
Selden found himself open to make a 3-pointer on a kick and drive when Frank Mason III hit him with a cross-court pass. Selden followed that basket by powering his way past Sulaimon for a layup and a 50-43 lead.
When Ellis grabbed an offensive board on a Mason miss and chipped in two free throws, the 9-0 spurt was enough to put the Jayhawks firmly in control.
The idea that Kansas has lost this game in many recent Marches is not the creation of some sports writer. These are the words of Perry Ellis, the senior star who's been part of three early losses before — this was a game Kansas would've lost a year ago or two or three.
"Yeah, I can say that," Ellis says. "Before, we let the offense get into our heads, almost give us a sense of giving up. Now, we know how to hunker down defensively. That's key for us."
…The Jayhawks also won because Wayne Selden continues to play with a raw emotion he often tries to hide, and a growing confidence obvious to everyone. He went for 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
But those are symptoms of something bigger. The Jayhawks won because of a toughness that coach Bill Self craves with all of his teams,
…Maryland hit only 40 percent of its shots, its fifth-worst success rate in 36 games this season. The Jayhawks did a particularly good job on Maryland star guard Melo Trimble, who hit just five of 16 shots, including one of seven three-pointers.
Frank Mason is playing hurt, and Devonte Graham was largely ineffective with an illness. They combined for 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting with six turnovers, but their work against Trimble helped tilt the balance toward KU's side.
The Jayhawks haven't always had that kind of subtle toughness.
"These past couple years we weren't as good as we should've been defensively," senior Jamari Traylor says. "That's probably why we haven't advanced this far."
…This March push has taken on something much different. The references are about team, about one guy picking up for the next, about parts fitting together, a defense that's been among the nation's best over the last two months, and a team that has beaten more ranked teams than not during a 17-game win streak that stretches back to January.
This team is different. Different in how they play, and different in how they win. One more, and they are back on their sport's biggest stage.
KC Star Mellinger
But what is interesting about KU’s reserves this season is how effective they are once they check in. Ian Levy of Nylon Calculus crunched both the starters and bench BPMs (box plus-minus) of KenPom’s top 30 squads, and found that Kansas’ bench BPM — 8.2 — topped the cream of Division I, which includes West Virginia (41 percent of bench minutes and a BPM of 7.6), Michigan State (42 percent; 4.8), and Wichita State (46 percent; 3.2).
When Self does send in a sub, there is essentially little drop-off, as the Kansas starters’ BPM is 8.7. From Jamari Traylor, who leads the bench with a third of the team’s minutes, to Hunter Mickelson, who has played just five minutes during the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, Self is able to buy his starters a few minutes of rest without significantly decreased production.
…Because no Jayhawk has a negative BPM, Self can juggle his minutes accordingly, and doesn’t have to worry about a weak link if Frank Mason or Devonte Graham is waylaid with foul trouble. Svi Mykhailiuk, who has a BPM of 6.4, often sees playing time at the point or shooting guard, and has a somewhat steady handle while connecting on 39 percent of his threes.
So while it’s easy to gauge the speed of Mason and marvel at his athleticism when he slices through a double team, or gawk at Selden’s gaudy three-point statistics, or appreciate the consistency of Ellis’s two-point field goal percentage, Kansas’s path to the overall top seed (and its 21 percent chance of winning the NCAA title) has been fueled by the overly efficient contributions of the Jayhawk bench.
This is what Bill Self does. Give him the better team in a Sweet 16 matchup and he'll give you the Elite Eight.
He did it at Illinois.
And he has continued to do it at Kansas -- it's all but guaranteed as his 7-1 record suggests in such games.
On Thursday, No. 5 seed Maryland couldn't alter that script. The Jayhawks cruised to a 79-63 win -- Kansas prepared for all Maryland had to offer and countered with more than the Terrapins were ready to handle.
"They were just great on defense," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We're a good offensive team, we're hard to guard and they really locked in on us."
It's not the first time the Jayhawks have been described that way.
"We know what actions they're going to run, their personnel. We watch film about three times a day and he quizzes us on it as well," senior forward Jamari Traylor said. "We're just more in tune" given a week to study.
Self has a group of experienced players he trusts. That makes a big difference when given a week to prepare for an opponent. He's not making them cram like exam week, flooding their minds with more than they need to know about an opponent's tendencies and plays.
"He is more confident in thinking they understand what's going on," KU assistant coach Norm Roberts said. "Sometimes, even defensively, he's not as rigid as he was before."
Self allows his team a certain freedom to make plays on its own without feeling as if he has to call out every play or dictate every trap.
"And when you trust your guys to do what they should be doing, then you don't have to be on their
back near as much, and they do a good job policing and coaching each other," Self said. "I think it's been fun to watch the transformation of them becoming mature players and mature individuals and understanding what really wins over time, so I don't have to harp on those same things. They basically coach the other guys."
It helped that KU last summer played the role of Team USA in the World University Games in South Korea.
Not only was it therapeutic for Selden simply to be right back at basketball, but he also prospered by a key lineup tweak made by coach Bill Self: installing point guards Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham both in the starting lineup and resetting Selden in his more true place as a wingman.
That was the start of a reinvented Selden, who started the season with a flourish that coach Bill Self suggested also had to do with a new context on the team.
“The first year he played next to (Andrew Wiggins); he loved Wigs, but it was about Wigs,” Self said, smiling. “The next year he played next to Kelly (Oubre), and he loved Kelly. But it was still more about Kelly.
“This year he can probably take more ownership of what’s going on. And he has.”
Sure, he seemed to assert that in the Big 12 Tournament, particularly with the posterizing of Baylor’s Ish Wainright and his 21 points against West Virginia in the title game.
But he has further validated and embellished that stance since.
Against Maryland, Selden buoyed Kansas in a wobbly first half and finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
For a third straight tournament game, he scored more in a single outing than he had in his first four NCAA games combined in 2014 and 2015.
KC Star Gregorian
Last Day to Vote!
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
It was not nearly as big a deal as it was made out to be. Allen didn't shove him, seemingly didn't say anything. He just moved Brooks out of the way because he didn't want to acknowledge him for showing up Duke after his distant 3-pointer -- something Brooks admitted his action was in the locker room afterward. It wasn't poor sportsmanship from Allen, nor was it a big deal from Brooks. It speaks ill of neither player. It was just a little, non-confrontational moment that would not have become a thing if it wasn't Allen-related.
Regardless though, Brooks' actions throughout the game led to an alleged conversation with the legendary Duke coach in the handshake line.
"He just told me that I'm too good of a player to be showing off at the end," Brooks said in the locker room after the win. "And you know, he's right. I gotta respect Duke. I've gotta respect them. And you've gotta learn from these things. He's one of the greatest coaches. Coaches some of the greatest players. And you've just gotta keep that in mind."
Except, Coach K denies that this ever took place, even with the knowledge that Brooks has acknowledged his mistake.
"I didn't say that," Krzyzewski said in the postgame presser. "You can say whatever you want. Dillon Brooks is a hell of a player. I said, 'You're a terrific player.' And you can take whatever he said and then go with it, all right?"
Let's hope for K's sake that Brooks was mistaken, as it would be a bit hypocritical of Krzyzewski to lecture another player for disrespect after not disciplining his own star player, Allen, for tripping opponents on multiple occasions this season.
The NCAA's rules changes worked. The shot clock was shortened from 35 to 30 seconds, officials were instructed to emphasize cracking down on physical defenders for a more free-flowing offense, defenders can no longer get a five-second call against a dribbler, and the number of timeouts that can be called got reduced.
Division I teams are averaging 73 points per game, up from 67.6 last year (the lowest single-season total since 1952). Teams are scoring 1.04 points per possession, up from 1.03 a year ago.
There was some concern that the shot clock change would lead to more rushed shots and turnovers. Instead, turnovers are only up by one percent from last year and assists are up six percent. The average assists per game by team (13.4) are on pace to be the NCAA's highest since 2008.
…But the value of a gutsy point man, no matter the size, can be critical, Hill said. During his time at Duke, the Blue Devils took their cues from Bobby Hurley, the floor-banging assist man who was listed at only 5-11.
“Bobby Hurley had a toughness and fearlessness about him that set the tone for us,” Hill said. “As a smaller guy, to be successful, you have to be that way.”
For all the attention big men tend to receive — from Kentucky’s towering lineup last year to the play of the top freshmen Brandon Ingram (6-9) and Ben Simmons (6-10) this season — little guys have actually risen to the top of the N.C.A.A. statistical leaderboard in several prominent categories.
In fact, the nation’s leading scorer, Howard’s James Daniel III, stands 5-11. The nation’s leader in assists, Oakland’s Kahlil Felder, is 5-9, as is Kennesaw State’s Yonel Brown, the nation’s leader in minutes per game.
…In fact, the average height of N.B.A. players also appears to be on the decline. An analysis of predraft height measurements taken by DraftExpress.com, of players standing without shoes, shows that average height across all positions last year was 6 feet 5.326 inches, down nearly a full inch from 2009, when even the point guards eligible for the draft averaged more than 6-1.
The smallest player selected in last year’s draft, Duke’s Tyus Jones, measured slightly over 6 feet (that is without shoes; Duke listed Jones at 6-1). But that is anticipated to change. Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis, even at 5-9, is projected as a first-round pick, and he has drawn comparisons to the Boston Celtics All-Star of the same height, Isaiah Thomas.
Regardless, it is still hard to avoid the inevitable jabs of disrespect in a big man’s game. Woodard, despite finishing second in the Big 12 in 3-point shooting percentage this season, behind his teammate Buddy Hield, said he was regularly told that he was too small to succeed.
“How many times? A countless number,” Woodard said. “I can’t even keep count. That’s what really drives me and keeps me motivated.”
What was the most recent time?
“My friends still tell me that when I talk to them on the phone,” Woodard said with a laugh. “They still tell me and it keeps me driven.”
NY Times: Don’t Sell These Point Guards Short
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.
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.
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