AUDIO: Coach Self on SVP & Russillo
“I thought Frank did an unbelievable job guarding Heslip. He didn’t score on Frank. He was able to make six threes on everybody else off our screwups,” Self said, referring to BU’s Brady Heslip, who scored 19 points off 6-of-9 three-point shooting in 31 minutes.
“Frank did a great job, or he (Heslip) could really have had a big game,” Self added on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show.
Mason asked Self if he could take a turn defensively on Heslip, who burned KU for four threes in four tries the first half. Heslip hit two of five threes the second half.
“That’s not something I’m used to seeing,” Mason said after the game, referring to a long-range bomber like Heslip. “I told coach I wanted to guard him ... (that) he wouldn’t get open shots on me. Any shot he made would be contested or a hard shot.”
That attitude showed during the times Mason did shadow the 6-foot-2 Heslip.
“Frank was way tuned up defensively,” Self said. “He refused to be screened. Some others run into a screen and do not get through it, do not compete. Those are losing plays. Frank only knows one speed, which is good. He’s a competitive guy.”
…“Frank is the quickest, most athletic kid (on KU’s team),” Self said. “Wiggs’ (Andrew Wiggins) first step and second jump and everything is a different level. But when you talk about a guy who can get up and down the court or slide or keep a guy in front of him and still pressure, Frank is without question our most athletic kid.”
Self says Mason also has a great personality.
“If you’d poll our guys, they’d say Frank is the funniest guy on the team,” Self said. “Joel (Embiid, freshman center) is pretty funny, too. I’d give the nod to Frank.”
“The guys think I’m funny. They think I’m hilarious,” Mason said. “I think we are very close. The whole team, we do everything together. Even if it’s going out, we all like to move in a big group.”
…Self was asked on ESPN’s SVP and Russillo show Wednesday how the team is handling talk of Embiid and Wiggins likely being the top two players taken in the 2014 NBA Draft.
“We haven’t handled it at all. They don’t care,” Self said of the duo. “Everybody likes good thing to be said about them ... hey, Joel doesn’t care, and Andrew doesn’t, either. These are really nice, sweet kids, and they are happy when the other does well...
“A lot of people say, ‘If they are going to go this high, it’s a foregone conclusion they are gone.’ These are things that have never been addressed with us. They are not talking like that. I know the talk was with Wiggs the whole time, but Joel ... trust me, we haven’t not talked to one person about that. He’s not in a hurry to talk about it. Their heads are right now. They have their heart in the right place.”
Like thousands of Kansas University basketball fans, coach Bill Self has reviewed the clip of Wayne Selden’s all-out hustle play against Baylor several times.
He’s given a thumbs-up to film of his freshman guard jumping over the northeast press table into the Allen Fieldhouse stands while delivering a pass to Joel Embiid for a bucket in the second half of Monday’s 78-68 victory over the Bears.
“I didn’t realize it was that great a play watching it live because I was kind of blocked out,” Self said Tuesday on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show. “Wayne really went after that ball. To dive over that scorer’s table and get right back in the play ... that was pretty cool.
…“He means so much to us. He gives us an air of toughness. Certainly when he’s going after the ball like that, we become a much better team because it’s contagious,” Self said.
…A “Hawk Talk” caller asked if KU sophomore wing Andrew White III was in the coach’s “doghouse” or injured.
White, 6-6, 210 from Richmond, Va., has played three minutes in the last nine games since suffering a hip pointer at practice.
“I don’t know if he’s 100 percent (healed) but he’s close enough. He is practicing every day,” Self said. “He’s never been in the doghouse. He’s a fabulous kid. It’s hard to play everybody.
“One of the advantages of depth is you have guys, through injuries and foul problems and things like that, you can play and hopefully not take a big step backward. One of the disadvantages is, if everybody is healthy, not everybody plays. He has kind of fallen in that group where he’s odd man out on the perimeter just like Landen (Lucas, two minutes last seven games) is odd man out on the interior.
“Both of them have worked hard and both of them deserve to play. I don’t know if they deserve to play over guys we’re trying to play. We’re only really playing four perimeter guys (Naadir Tharpe, Wayne Selden, Andrew Wiggins, Frank Mason) and filling in with Brannen (Greene) and Conner (Frankamp). He (White) was probably ahead of those guys a month ago. Since then and when he got hurt, he lost a little bit and those guys put themselves in a position maybe to have the opportunity to get in first. He’ll keep a great attitude and keep working hard. He’s a great teammate, a great kid, period,” Self said.
…What was that loud noise in Section 14 on Monday night?: “The back of a bleacher broke in Section 14. Nobody was hurt,” KU associate AD Jim Marchiony said. “It happens every once in a great while.” He said KU officials checked out the area and deemed there was no danger of further problems during the game and any repairs would be made as needed this week.
Baylor hit 13 of 27 threes and grabbed 48 percent of its missed shots. That's a recipe for a huge offensive game and also a potential upset at Allen Fieldhouse.
And yet, it wasn't. It's shocking that with the numbers above, the Bears mustered 1.069 points per possession — a decent total, but still just their third-best mark in five Big 12 games.
So how did KU still manage to win comfortably after allowing those totals? The biggest reason was the percentage we hardly talk about: 2-point percentage.
KU dominated this area, picking up 14 extra points despite taking seven fewer shots.
Thanks to the magic of Hoop-Math.com, we can go a step farther. Here's the shot breakdown from Monday night's game for both teams.
…KU had a great shooting night for sure, but this also speaks to the value of shot selection. The worst shot statistically is a 2-point jumper, as it's less successful than a close shot and doesn't get the bonus point that a 3 does.
The Jayhawks' defense effectively kept the Bears away from the rim, which turned them into a 2-point jumpshooting team. From the numbers above, BU might have had a better chance had it shifted many of those 2-point jumpshots into the 3-point jumpshot category, given the limited success BU was having with its mid-range game.
Though Baylor was able to force some turnovers with its zone, overall, its defense was ineffective.
The Jayhawks, thanks to good shot selection and a great night at the free-throw line, notched a healthy 1.226 points per possession — the second-highest total against the Bears all season. The 78 points might not seem like a lot, but keep in mind the pace (64 possessions) tied for the slowest in a game the Jayhawks have had all season.
It still feels like the Jayhawks can improve on that end, though. If the Jayhawks can have that efficient of a night while turning it over at roughly the same rate as the worst turnover team in the country, what might they do if they turned it over at an average NCAA rate?
Two days after a home victory over Oklahoma State, we learned again what we already knew: KU can be scary good at times, but turnovers remain as the biggest obstacle holding them back.
TCJ Newell Post
Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 List, the Los Angles Athletic Club announced Wednesday.
Wiggins is one of three Big 12 Conference student-athletes listed - and one of only five freshmen. The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the official voting ballot, which will consist of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA. However, players not chosen to the midseason list are still eligible for the ballot. The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation's top 10 players, will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round of the NCAA Tournament.
Wiggins leads Kansas with a 15.2 scoring average, which also leads the Big 12 freshman class and is 10th overall in the conference. The 6-8 Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, guard has five games of 20-plus points and pulled down a season-high 19 rebounds at then No. 8 Iowa State (1/13). Wiggins is 50-of-59 (84.7 percent) from the free throw line in his last 10 games after hitting 10-of-12 charity shots during his 17-point effort in the win versus No. 23 Baylor on ESPN Big Monday. He has made 20 threes this season, leads KU with 17 steals and his 6.1 rebound average is third on the team.
Last season, Kansas' Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey were named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason and final ballot lists. McLemore went on to be named Wooden Award All-American.
The level of disappointment we are currently experiencing when we watch Kansas freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins play can be traced back more than four years. The table first was set for disappointment way back on Oct. 12, 2009, when a video with this title was uploaded to YouTube:
“Best 13 Year Old in the Nation 6’6 Andrew Wiggins!”
The video shows an extraordinarily athletic Canadian kid doing amazing things with a basketball. Like dunking on a kid. Then dunking on another kid. Aaaaand dunking on another kid. Sure, there’s the occasional baby hook, the occasional ankle-breaking crossover, but mostly, the 40-second mixtape is a dunktape.
It has been viewed 4.7 million times.
Another mixtape, one that’s three minutes long, is from Wiggins’ time at Huntington Prep basketball factory. This YouTube video calls him the best player in high school. It also features mostly dunks. It has been viewed 4.1 million times.
I bring this up now, halfway through Wiggins’ freshman (and presumed only) season at Kansas, because the number of voices criticizing Wiggins for underachieving compared to the enormous (and utterly unfair) expectations has shifted from underground rumblings to an out-and-out narrative of his season.
Conventional wisdom among NBA draftniks is that Wiggins has shifted from surefire No. 1 pick to now sitting behind his teammate, freshman 7-footer Joel Embiid, and perhaps Duke’s hyped freshman phenom, Jabari Parker. One article I recently read wondered if Wiggins could fall as far as sixth. Fans question why the 18-year-old who has been bestowed the expectation-filled (and utterly unfair) nickname “Maple Jordan” hasn’t completely owned the college game.
And I’m here to say, in the immortal words of Walter Sobchak from “The Big Lebowski”: “Has the whole world gone crazy?”
On Monday night, I watched Andrew Wiggins and his No. 8 Jayhawks manhandle a talented Baylor team that’s ranked 24th. Baylor shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range, and KU still won by 10. The win moved Kansas to 5-0 in the Big 12, the toughest conference in the country.
In the game, Wiggins drifted at times, like he seemed to do in the Jayhawks' weekend win over Oklahoma State in which he attempted one shot in the game’s final 29 minutes. He didn’t take the ball and slice through the lane. He didn’t dunk on Cory Jefferson or Isaiah Austin like he had so many 13-year-olds.
Without a single highlight clip to his name, he still led his team with 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
I couldn’t help but leave a bit disappointed.
And then slap myself for doing so, because I’ve fallen for that “focus-on-the-NBA-draft” storyline that’s dominated this college basketball season.
Look: Andrew Wiggins is an extraordinary talent. He’s also a freshman in college, playing for a team that starts two other freshmen. He’s averaging 15 points and six rebounds for a team that feels like it’s hitting a groove after beating four straight ranked teams — first time that’s happened in 17 years, by the way — to reach 5-0 in conference play.
The problem isn’t with Andrew Wiggins.
The problem is with us, and with our silly expectations.
…You know what Magic Johnson averaged his freshman year at Michigan State? Seventeen points, eight rebounds. Michael Jordan his freshman year at North Carolina: 13.5 points, 4.4 rebounds. Blake Griffin as an Oklahoma frosh: 14.7 points, 9.1 rebounds.
Or how about Vince Carter his junior year at North Carolina? That feels like the most accurate NBA comparison for Wiggins, at least now. He averaged 15.6 points and 5.1 rebounds, almost a dead ringer for Wiggins’ numbers.
Oh, wait — that was Carter’s junior year.
…We’ve heard about this kid since he was 13; we’ve compared him to Kobe and LeBron and McGrady; then we were somehow disappointed when he didn’t immediately live up to that.
It was like we lifted him up in order to cut him down.
Here’s what Andrew Wiggins is so far this year: He’s the top scorer and key player on a team that very well could win it all. He’s a kid who we feel needs to show a killer instinct — but who apparently is still fully capable of taking over a game, as he did in the second half of KU’s December loss at Florida.
Fox Sports Forgrave
In the aftermath of Monday’s 10-point victory vs. Baylor, Self offered his most unguarded assessment to date of Wiggins.
“I think he’s done well,” Self said. “I think that there’s another step he could take. He leaves me wanting more, so when people say certain things, I can’t be upset they’re saying them because he leaves me wanting more too.”
Self knows there is so much more in that long, 6-foot-8 body that moves so quickly, especially close to the hoop, when it looks as if he’s been shot out of a cannon.
Self’s next words put a road block to any thoughts that by “wanting more,” he solely meant more effort.
“I also think this: He’s also playing on the perimeter, he’s playing guard,” Self said. “He’s never played guard before. There are so many things going into it that have allowed him probably to be not as comfortable as what a lot of people would expect him to be immediately.”
That helps to explain why his handle lacks polish, which is why he doesn’t drive to the hoop as often as someone with his insane quickness should.
His guards skills are young and so too is Wiggins, 18. Physically, he’s on the slender side. Emotionally, he seems so well-grounded, his eyes and memory unpolluted by the sort of experiences others endure that can make them grow up too quickly.
“I think he’s so naive in so many ways,” Self said. “I don’t know that he thinks about that he’s everybody’s Super Bowl when they get a chance to play against him. I don’t know if he feels that. We tell him that, but I don’t know if he feels that yet. ... I do think there’s another step he can take.”
He will, and since Wiggins has such a long stride, when he does take that next step, complaints about the team’s leading scorer and best perimeter defender should fade to an inaudible whisper.
A year ago, Victor Oladipo finished second in the Wooden Award voting at the end of the season despite not appearing on the 25-man midseason watch list.
It's possible another player might follow in the Indiana star's path this season because the Wooden Award midseason list again omitted a few very strong candidates.
The most high-profile snub is Kansas freshman Joel Embiid, the chief catalyst behind the Jayhawks' ascendance to the top of the Big 12 standings and the NBA prospect rising fastest up mock drafts the past few weeks. Embiid headlines my list below of the four best players left off the midseason list.
1. Joel Embiid, C, Kansas (11.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.8 blocks): His stats may not leap off the page like other Wooden Award contenders, but Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg didn't label Embiid the best player in college basketball for nothing. Not only does the 7 footer protect the rim better than any big man in the nation, his footwork, post moves and passing ability on offense are improving every day. He had 13 points, 11 boards and eight blocks in a win against Oklahoma State last Saturday.
Everyone wants a timetable, because nothing in our current sports culture is as important as what’s next, but there isn’t one. This game, next game? This week, next week? This year, next year? “I don’t think it’s about time,” Kansas center Joel Embiid says. “It’s just about me.”
He understands now this is not about "if" but "when." Although he now is 7 feet tall, graceful as an Olympic skater and unreasonably skilled, it wasn’t always that certain. When Embiid began seriously playing the game of basketball — seriously meaning moving to the United States, leaving his home and family 6,300 miles behind — he found the physical demands so challenging “I couldn’t even breathe. I almost threw up.”
On an AAU team where future Florida Gators Chris Walker and Kasey Hill consumed all the attention and most of the action with the ball, Embiid was praised by Scout.com for having, unlike many who come to the game in their late teens, “some idea of how to play.”
When Embiid arrived at Kansas, not long after a performance in the Nike Hoop Summit that suggested there might be more to it, coach Bill Self began whispering that forward Andrew Wiggins was not the only freshman in his class with the potential to be a No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Which means that in the space of a year, in Self’s words, Embiid had advanced from a player he thought had a chance to be “pretty good,” to one he thought might be “real good” to the player who now stands before you with the potential to completely overturn every expectation about how the current college basketball season will develop and what might occur in the game in the months beyond.
…“It’s experience,” Embiid told Sporting News. “Even in high school, I wasn’t consistent. I would have games where I’d have 20 and 15, and the next game I’d have 5 and 5. I need to get that consistency. I think I’ll be good after that. I’m working. I think over the past couple games, I’ve been good overall, but some good halves of basketball and other ones that are bad. “I think it’s just me. When I come to the game, I have to have the mindset: I want to do this. I’ve got to block that many shots, get that many steals. In my mind, I’ve got to be like, ‘No one can stop me.’ ”
…Was it so crazy that Embiid would shoot an open 3-pointer? He makes them in practice all the time, and hit one in a home game against Kansas State just a couple weeks back. This is what makes Embiid extraordinary: Though playing the game for only four years, he is comfortable shooting from the perimeter, playing with his back to the basket, putting the ball on the floor to create room to shoot and defending the rim like the most polished shot-blocker.
He had nine blocks in his first six games combined; he had eight on Saturday alone, including one ridiculous rejection that developed when Oklahoma State All-American Marcus Smart, noting
Embiid’s presence on the right side of the lane, switched his drive to a left-size reverse. That way, the rim would get in the way of a block attempt. But Embiid surged across the lane, reached to the Allen ceiling and got a piece of the ball, anyway.
…He’s had some trouble with understanding how to control his emotions against opponents attempting to unnerve him by roughing him up in the post. They have little choice; it’s either that, or surrender. Embiid was charged with flagrant fouls in three consecutive games.
“I would say during the game, there’s a lot of things that happen. If I did something, it means he probably did something,” Embiid said. “But I just don’t want people to see me as — I don’t do that on purpose, but I don’t want people to see me as like I’m weak or something like that. I just don’t take anything from anybody.”
This, too, is another sign Embiid is becoming the player Self needs him to be. Perhaps a bit too much of that player, but it’s easier to convince a player to do a little less than a lot more.
What’s not to like? Embiid is 250 pounds with the body fat of a grain of rice. He’s nimble thanks to his soccer and volleyball background and loves to run the floor. He’s a leaper, sky-rocketing almost three feet above the rim from standing flatfooted. He’s already learned how to fight for space so he doesn’t get outrebounded and is a good position player defensively.
Last week, in two Jawhawks wins, Embiid averaged a double-double (14.5 ppg., 10.0 rpg.) while rejecting 13 shots. He had 16 points, nine rebounds and five blocks at Iowa State, then added 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks against Oklahoma State. Against the Cowboys, he became the first freshman in Big 12 history to score 10 or more points, grab 10 or more rebounds and register eight blocked shots in a game. The eight rejections broke his own Kansas freshman single-game record, tied the Big 12 freshman record for all games and broke the mark for a conference game.
He’s drawing comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon, which over the long haul may turn out to be sacrilegious, but the Dream was unrefined at the same age and didn’t possess Embiid’s basketball instincts. It wasn’t until late in his sophomore season at Houston that Olajuwon dropped hints of becoming a dominant center.
For Embiid, it could happen sooner than later.
Word out of Chicago is that Parker is considering returning to Duke for his sophomore season, rather than turn pro. His friend, fellow Chicagoan and the nation’s top recruit Jahlil Okafor, is headed to Duke as is Minnesota’s Tyus Jones, the No. 1 point guard in the Class of 2014. If Parker returns, the Blue Devils will enter the 2014-15 season ranked No. 1. Besides, another year of college wouldn’t hurt. Parker’s recent shooting slump has raised concerns from NBA scouts and the next time he plays defense will be the first time. Tom Izzo says it’s not a sin to be a senior. Or a sophomore.
I think I m getting an Instagram account tomorrow
And I m only posting pics of lions that I killed
Since losing to San Diego State, the Kansas Jayhawks have put together a five-game surge that includes victories over its biggest competitors in the Big 12 conference – Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Baylor. Two of those (Oklahoma, Iowa State) were on the road.
Add in victories over Duke and New Mexico in non-conference play, and KU has notched eight Top 50 RPI victories. That’s two more than Syracuse, four more than Arizona, and three more than Michigan State – the other members of today’s No. 1 seed club. It’s also worth noting that Kansas has played the nation’s toughest schedule and currently sits atop the RPI.
That’s a pretty strong profile (despite four losses – all to Top 25 RPI Teams), and the primary reason why the Jayhawks received the No. 4 slot on this week’s seed list (s-curve).
NBC: Kansas #1 in the South
Can we just crown the Jayhawks national champions now and get it over with? That’s where we’re headed, right? I mean, after playing the toughest non-conference schedule I can remember for a marquee team, Kansas just beat the five best teams in the best conference in America. Assuming they can win at TCU this season, it’s pretty obvious the Jayhawks are going to win the Big 12 yet again. Then they’ll get a 1-seed in the tournament, we’ll hear pundits drone on about how the Jayhawks are “young but battle-tested” and “jelling at the right time,” and Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins will dominate en route to a national title. Jim Nantz is already working on his Kansas puns.
I’m not saying Kansas is as good as the 2012 Kentucky Wildcats. They aren’t. But don’t these Jayhawks have a similar vibe? They have the probable top two picks in the NBA draft surrounded by more McDonald’s All-Americans than they can count. When Wiggins is engaged on offense and the team remains focused on defense, they’re the best team in the country. I really mean that. If I’m a fan of a ranked team and the NCAA tournament were drawn up today, I’d rather my team be put in Arizona’s or Syracuse’s region than Kansas’s. All the talk about young teams like Kentucky, Kansas, and Duke was that they will be terrifying in March. Well, Kansas is there already. The Jayhawks are terrifying. They simply have no weaknesses and an absurd amount of talent. Most importantly, though, is that they are battle-tested and jelling at the right time.
Grantland Titus’s Rankings
Portland’s All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who plays the same position of Robinson has been key in helping the talented young forward become more patient.
“I’ve been talking to him because he’s a very confident player,” Aldridge said. “I’ve been telling him, don’t go out and be so eager to score. Just move the ball around, fit in a little bit and then take your shot.”
Robinson has certainly been more patient in finding his shot since finding his way back onto the court on Jan. 6 against the Kings.
After finding his way back onto the court, Robinson has taken 75 percent of his shots inside the restricted area (within four feet of the hoop), which has led to 65 percent shooting.
He’s essentially eliminated taking midrange jumpers unless necessary.
With a little help from an All-Star and some more time, it seems that Robinson is finally settling in to a role in the NBA.
After finding his way back onto the court, Robinson has taken 75 percent of his shots inside the restricted area, which has led to 65 percent shooting.
He's essentially eliminated taking midrange jumpers until extremely necessary.
With a little help from an All-Star and some more time, it seems that Robinson is finally settling in to a role in the NBA.
Blazers turn to Thomas Robinson, again
One of the deals involved sending Tyshawn Taylor to the Pelicans along with cash for the rights to Edin Bavcic, a 29-year old Bosnian big man who was originally drafted back in 2006 by the Raptors, and may or may not ever play in the NBA.
The Pelicans clearly were in that deal for the money and nothing else, as they waived Taylor on Wednesday, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
The Wizards did something similar earlier this season, when they waived Kendall Marshall and Shannon Brown immediately after acquiring them (along with Marcin Gortat) in a trade with the Phoenix Suns. It’s an interesting way to make moves under the more restrictive collective bargaining agreement, but it can leave fringe players like Taylor (and Marshall before him, before catching on with the injury-ravaged Lakers) in a difficult situation.
Three of the past four halves of women’s college basketball had Kansas University coach Bonnie Henrickson thinking the Jayhawks had turned the corner.
The fourth, however, left her shaking her head.
Three days after upsetting seventh-ranked Baylor, the Jayhawks threw a scare into No. 8 Oklahoma State before ultimately suffering a 64-56 loss to the Cowgirls on Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse.
“Offensively, we just had poor poise and composure, and we stopped attacking,” Henrickson said.
KU fell to 9-10 overall, 2-5 in the Big 12. OSU improved to 17-1, 6-1.
VOTE for Kansas fans at the NCAA 6th Fan Contest
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“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
Kansas has a one-game lead over K-State in the conference standings, but with its four victories coming against top competition, some are saying the Big 12 race is already over.
It’s an interesting debate. While it will be difficult for other teams to match the Jayhawks’ victories at Oklahoma and Iowa State, the Big 12 season is long. A slip-up could come anywhere. Remember, Kansas lost at TCU last year.
For what it’s worth, Bill Self is taking the cautious approach: “It’s like being ahead in baseball after the second inning. It doesn’t matter right now. We’ve just got to make sure we try to get better every day.”
Smart's not breaking any laws. Until he becomes a top 10 pick in the NBA Draft, he's not going to face any fines. The Big 12's not going to suspend him as long as his flops remain within the realm of "questionable," which they do. He's not faking injuries or falling to the ground with no one in his vicinity.
"We don't condone flopping or anything like that, but the Big 12 is a physical basketball league and we have big guards and sometimes people think it looks like flopping," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said Monday. "That's everybody's opinion. Everybody's got one, but it's not something we practice or condone."
Thing is, the "Smart is flopping" idea is based a lot more in fact than in opinion.
As the microscope on Smart's game has intensified during a hyped sophomore season, so has his reputation as one of college basketball's worst offenders. ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla called Smart out on his habit after a flop late in a win over Colorado.
…Smart is too good for this.
Is this who he wants to be? Smart's making it mighty hard for some to respect him, and brought almost all of the vitriol and mockery upon himself.
Those who showed up at the Coliseum on Wednesday night were treated to an unexpected duel between Texas Tech's Dusty Hannahs and West Virginia's Terry Henderson.
What they saw was each player set career-high scoring marks as they engaged in some frantic back-and-forth action in the second half. What the crowd of 5,031 couldn't see was what was perhaps most entertaining.
"He was talking to me a little bit early in the game. 'Are we going to have a shootout? Want to have a shootout?'" Henderson said. "I'm not even trying to communicate with him because I know we've got to win this game."
Though Hannahs made plenty of noise with record-setting shooting, it was Henderson's silence that said the most. He was 7-for-7 and scored 20 of his 28 points in the second half of the 87-81 victory against the Red Raiders. Hannahs, a shaggy-haired sophomore who's cut his hair since the last time these two teams played, matched former WVU guard Lionel Armstead's Coliseum record and set an opponent record by going 7-for-7 from 3-point range for 25 points.
Charleston Daily Mail
Everyone associated with Oklahoma is getting used to seeing this from Ryan Spangler.
It didn't take long for TCU to figure out what it was in for with Spangler on Wednesday night.
The sophomore forward had 13 points — all in the second half — and 16 rebounds as the No. 25 Sooners needed everything from Spangler in a 77-69 win in front of an estimated 4,684 at the Lloyd Noble Center on Wednesday night.
The eligibility of Iowa State men’s basketball player Bubu Palo may be decided by the Iowa Supreme Court.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office, representing the state’s Board of Regents, filed a motion today for an immediate stay of a recent district court decision that ordered Iowa State University to allow Palo to rejoin its basketball team.
The motion argued that “the district court ruling deprives the Board of Regents and Iowa State University of its legal authority to establish and enforce expectations of conduct for students … and to determine who will have the privilege of representing the university in intercollegiate athletics.”
Jonathan Holmes delivered the shot. Cameron Ridley provided the muscle.
Texas won again, this time 67-64 over No. 22 Kansas State and the Longhorns keep climbing upward in the Big 12.
Holmes made a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer Tuesday night, sending Texas to its fourth straight league victory and second in a row over a ranked team.
''I just caught it and shot it,'' Holmes said, adding he had no time to think before putting the ball in the air.
The Longhorns (15-4, 4-2) are giving the Big 12 plenty to think about. A team that started with no expectations after a losing season in 2012-13, the program's first in 15 years, is now feeling like it can chase the league heavyweights over a long season.
And maybe even challenge for the title.
''That's what we're playing for,'' Holmes said.
ESPN: Baylor’s Kenny Chery journey through juco
Baylor coach Scott Drew and his players didn’t seem nearly as gloomy as in preceding losses to Texas Tech on the road and Oklahoma at the Ferrell Center. There was a sense of optimism because the Bears gave a great effort against the ultra-talented Jayhawks at one of the hardest places to win in the country.
“At the end of the day, losing is tough,” Drew said. “But I’m proud of our effort. We will work to keep getting better. It’s the No. 1-ranked conference in the country, so it’s a grind. We’re five games into it and we’re on the upward swing, so hopefully we can keep that going.”
Most coaches who are 1-4 in conference play wouldn’t say they’re on the upward swing. But after coming out playing poorly at Texas Tech and finishing badly against Oklahoma, Drew saw a lot of encouraging signs against the Big 12-leading Jayhawks.
The student section at San Diego State is a delightful din of snark, stomping and chanting, an edgier evolution of the Cameron Crazies. They're pithily summed up by their Twitter bio: "You won't like us. We won't care."
The defining cheer of The Show comes before every game, as they chant out every word of the phrase, "I believe that we will win," consecutively. Each word gets louder, and when they finally arrive at "win," the chant crescendos into a defiant sing-song mosh pit that sets an acidic tone for every home game.
This San Diego State team has won 15-straight games, crashed the Top 10 and emerged as a team that many, well, believe will win deep into March. The Aztecs are 16-1, with their only loss coming at home to now top-ranked Arizona.
But after watching the Aztecs twice this week and studying the Mountain West's tortured NCAA Tournament history, there are also plenty of reasons to be skeptical.
The Mountain West is 3-9 in the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons, including San Diego State getting filleted by No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast in the Round of 32 last year. The Aztecs also fell to No. 11 N.C. State in the Round of 64 the year before.
ESPN: Syracuse is America’s best team
Wichita State may be one of three remaining undefeated teams in college basketball, but that doesn't mean it has one of the three best resumes. The Shockers best win is its five-point victory at Saint Louis in December. Outside of that, they own just one win against a top-50 RPI team. Do they have a more impressive body of work than Villanova, Florida, Kansas or Wisconsin, the four No. 2-seeds in this week's Bracket Watch? They probably don't. And that won't matter for seeding purposes in March if they're undefeated.
If the Shockers enter the Big Dance with an unblemished record, they will be one of the four top seeds. They just cleared their first legitimate hurdle last week, putting a 20-point drubbing on Indiana State at home. They visit Illinois State, a team that is 4-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference, this week. Should the Shockers win that game, they will likely be able to rest easy until back-to-back road games at Indiana State and Northern Iowa early next month. If they get through those games unscathed and win their conference tournament, the stats still may not support them being a 1-seed, but that's exactly where they'll be.
SI Bracket Watch
Illinois State was thinking about a big upset for a while.
After a dominant second half by No. 5 Wichita State at Redbird Arena on Wednesday night, Illinois State was just thinking about how it couldn't stop Cleanthony Early.
Early, Wichita's 6-foot-8 senior All-America candidate, scored 23 points and added 10 rebounds as the Shockers wiped out a three-point halftime deficit and rolled Illinois State 70-55.
Wichita State (20-0, 7-0 Missouri Valley Conference) is one of three remaining unbeaten in the country, along with No. 1 Arizona and No. 2 Syracuse.
Illinois State (11-8, 4-3) had won 10 of 13 coming, and is now tied for third in the Valley.
South Carolina coach Frank Martin has apologized for a tirade directed at guard Brenton Williams in the first half in the Gamecocks' loss to Mississippi this past Saturday.
Martin is known for his harsh stare downs and strong words at times when players make mistakes on the court. On Tuesday, Martin says he went too far after getting caught up in the moment. Martin also apologized to fans around South Carolina's bench who heard the exchange.
Martin says there was no place for him to ever speak to Williams like he did. He says he met with and apologized to his senior guard.
Under Armour Inc. CEO Kevin Plank recalls sleeping in the visiting locker room at Notre Dame Stadium back in 1997, invited to the game by Georgia Tech staff and forced to bunker down because he didn't have a hotel room.
Back then, his company was about a year old and he was excited to see the Yellow Jackets take the field in Under Armour apparel.
On Tuesday, Plank was back in South Bend to announce a 10-year apparel deal with the Fighting Irish that Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick described as the largest deal of its kind in the history of college athletics.
Michigan's eight-year contract worth with $8.2 million annually is generally believed to have been the largest until Notre Dame's deal. Swarbrick wouldn't disclose terms.
"There's been a lot of speculation about whether this deal would top $100 million," said Nancy Lough, a professor of higher education at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and president of the Sport Marketing Association.
Adidas, which began providing shoes to Notre Dame in 1997, issued a statement saying it would no longer partner with Notre Dame after the 2013-14 season.
"As with every business decision, we weigh our investment against the value to our brand," spokesman Michael Ehrlich said.
Swarbrick said it was important for Notre Dame to have such a deal to get through what he called a period of change in college athletics "unlike any of us have ever lived through." He mentioned the change from the BCS to a playoff system in football and conference realignment in all sports that saw Notre Dame move from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference last year.
Sports marketing experts say the deal was important for Baltimore-based Under Armour.
Big XII composite schedule (includes results, highlights, stats)
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 TV Schedule
Since James Naismith became the the first head coach at Kansas University, the history of basketball, Kansas, and Springfield College have been intertwined.
Naismith, a Springfield College physical education instructor, created the game in 1891, but it was one of his players, Forrest ‘Phog’ Allen, who is considered the ‘father of basketball coaching’ for his success in making Kansas a national powerhouse and for building the game’s popularity.
On Monday, the future torchbearers of Kansas’ proud basketball tradition were on display at Springfield College’s Blake Arena, as Jayhawk commits Kelly Oubre Jr. of Findlay Prep (Nev.) and Cliff Alexander of Curie High School (Ill.) took part in the Spalding Hoophall Classic high school invitational.
Oubre, the No. 12 player in theRivals 150 ranking for the class of 2014, scored a team-high 23 points to lead Findlay Prep to a 73-44 victory over Wesleyan Christian (N.C.). He earned the game’s most outstanding player award, displaying his impressive athletic ability and versatility.
After his game, Oubre said, “I've got to watch my boy (Alexander) play because I know he is going to kill Montverde. They can’t really handle him--nobody in the country can handle him.”
Alexander, the No. 4 player in the class, then led Curie High to an upset victory over Montverde Academy (Fla.), the No.1 ranked team according to USA Today Sports, with 30 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks.
“We’ve been waiting on this day since the season started,” Alexander said. “We know that they were the No. 1 team in the country and we came out and beat them. Right now, can’t nobody beat us.”
Alexander scored just six points in the first half, before erupting in the fourth quarter to lead the Condors to a comeback win over the defending National High School Invitational champions. Curie entered the final period trailing by nine points, but the 6-foot-8 center had 13 points in the final 4:30 minutes--including two powerful dunks-- to earn the win.
“I just didn’t want to lose. We came too far to take a loss. That’s what I told my team at halftime,” Alexander said.
Throughout the game, Oubre stood against the guardrail on the track above the court, watching his future teammate and nodding in approval when Alexander put the finishing touches on a superb performance.
“We exchanged numbers when we went on our Kansas visit,” Oubre said. “We both committed, so now we pretty much have to start forming a brotherhood like we will next year, because we are going to be around each other a lot, so why not start now?”
Oubre committed to Kansas just four days after his visit, where he and Alexander received a standing ovation from the fans at “Late Night it the Phog”, the Jayhawks’ version of Midnight Madness.
“I was shocked at all the love the fans showed me, the atmosphere, the tradition, the coaching staff. It was a blessing to be there,” Oubre said. “I got to see everything that everybody was talking about before the visit. Obviously, I had Kansas and Kentucky on my list, but Kansas was my first visit and I was taken away by where I was at, so I made my decision.”
Alexander, who was also being pursued by Michigan State, Memphis, and Illinois among others, committed to the Jayhawks about a month later. Now, Alexander and Oubre are trying convince another elite recruit to team up with them in Lawrence so that they can “win a national championship” according to Alexander.
“We (Oubre and Alexander) talk almost every day. We’re trying to get JaQuan Lyle to commit with us. He’s a good friend of mine,” Alexander said.
Prior to Alexander’s game Monday afternoon, USA basketball announced its 10-man Junior National Select team, which included both Oubre and Alexander. USA Basketball, however, was not the only one impressed with Bill Self’s recruiting class.
Former 1978 All-Big 8 Jayhawk Ken Koenigs took in the games from the bleachers while wearing a Kansas baseball cap. Koenigs was drafted in the fifth round of the 1978 draft, but decided instead to pursue a career as a gastroenterologist. The annual Kansas basketball academic award is named in his honor.
“(Oubre is) very impressive with his overall game,” Koenigs said. “He plays great defense, he can go inside and outside. I’m very excited. He’ll definitely be a Bill Self kind of guy because he likes to play defense.
“I think we’ve definitely kind of jumped into that group of getting that higher echelon player the last couple of years, so that’s always exciting for the fans.”
With Jayhawk freshman sensations Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embid expected to skip out of Lawrence for the NBA following the year, Oubre and Alexander will be relied upon to fill the void. Both players have the potential to be one-and-done players themselves, and lauded Bill Self’s player development as a major reason they chose Kansas.
I’m going to work my butt off to be the best that I can be and if, at the end of the season, my best is being ready for the league, then I’m out,” Oubre said. “But if I’m not, then I have no hesitation staying because I just want to be the best I can be.”
“Bill Self, the way he’s been developing his guys to the pros, like Thomas Robinson, the twins (Marcus and Markeiff Morris), Jo Jo (Joel Embid) --they turned him into a killer right now,” Alexander said.
The chance to play for a program rich in tradition and success, however, made just as big of an impact on the young recruits. Both players made the short trip to the Basketball Hall of Fame during their time in Springfield and were struck by the ties Kansas basketball has to the history of the game.
“James Naismith, ties to the Hall of Fame, the creator of basketball, a lot of tradition going on with Kansas,” Oubre said.
Tom Konchalski on if Cliff Alexander was the most impressive player at the Hoophall. "I'd say unquestionably." Says UNC-bound Pinson close
Doesn't matter what we write or tweet, people don't believe until they see it for themselves on TV. Cliff Alexander showed them today.
Kelly Oubre was watching up top and shouting "Can't stop him!" Every time Alexander did something awesome.
The more and more I watch Jahlil Okafor play, the more I realize that Mudiay, Stanley Johnson and Cliff Alexander are better 2014 prospects
Cliff Alexander just solidified himself as the story of this year's #hoophall in the same way in which Aaron Gordon did so a year ago
@AdamFinkelstein But Gordon's team got crushed. Alexander just overwhelmed the supposed best team in country.
Alexander just crushed the entire Montverde team especially the post players as Curie came back from 12 down to win 73-69/Alexander with 30
So is today the day everyone finally realizes Cliff Alexander is a better prospect than Jahlil Okafor?
Scary what Cliff Alexander will do n Kansas high-low O. Best low post player in 2014 on both ends of court
I said Kansas-bound big man Cliff Alexander should be heavily in mix for No. 1 spot in July. Yesterday re-affirmed my thoughts. Manchild.
Underrated aspect of Cliff Alexander's game -- passing. He's a beast, but far more skill than many give him credit
Cliff Alexander had 30 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks. Certainly made his very legitimate case for No. 1 player in the country.
S/O to everybody who tuned in #JayhawkNation I love y'all we getting money
Best matchup: Cliff Alexander(Chicago/Curie) vs. Ben Simmons(Melbourne, Australia/Montverde Academy)
This was a matchup of production vs. potential. Simmons is loaded with upside and could ultimately turn into the best player to come out of this year’s event, but that’s down the road and far from a guarantee. This weekend, there wasn’t a more dominant force than Alexander, who almost single-handedly delivered an upset win over Montverde Academy. First and foremost, Alexander was a man among boys in the paint, doing his best to rip the rim down with a series of explosive and powerful dunks. He was also every bit as good as advertised both on the defensive end and the glass. But more than that, he’s far more skilled than he’s given credit for, both in terms of his ability to pass off the post as well as a soft touch that will eventually allow him to stretch the defense a little bit. Today, he iced the game at the free-throw line. He’s also an intelligent interior presence. In fact, late in the fourth quarter, he wasn’t even trying to post, instead recognizing that his best chance to get the ball was by getting below his man so he could wedge his way into inside position on the offensive glass. Alexander finished with 30 points, 12 rebounds (7 offensive), 2 assists, and 5 blocks.
Most explosive: Kelly Oubre (Richmond, Texas/Findlay Prep)
In an atmosphere where many prospects become inefficient by trying to prove what they can do, Oubre stuck to what he does best and had a starring performance as a result. With Findlay creating offense from its defense, he was a playmaker on the defensive end, starting the break with steals and blocks alike. He played finisher on the opposite end, punctuating breaks with a series of explosive finishes. He plays above the rim like few others can and is virtually unstoppable when he’s able to get a head of steam in the open floor.
USA Basketball announces Nike Hoop Summit Rosters (Alexander, Oubre, Myles Turner)
From akajb6 on Twitter: Who would you rather have as a small forward, Stanley Johnson or Kelly Oubre?
A hard question to answer that I won't avoid.
First of all, they are two of the elite players and small forwards in the Class of 2014.
If I was coaching a team, I would take Johnson, an Arizona signee, based on his versatility, a facet of the game that I put a lot of stock into. Johnson is competitive and close to being a complete player, as he can score from deep, in the mid-range and also has a paint game. I like his versatility to handle the ball well enough in the backcourt and to push it on the fast break. He is a power driver who can finish through contact and take on defenders at the rim.
Johnson continues to score in a variety of ways and will be a mismatch as smaller defenders will struggle with his power and strength and bigger players will have a tough time with his speed, skill and mobility.
Oubre, a Kansas signee, has an explosive vertical and is one of the best finishers in the class.
I believe both will be very good on the defensive end. Johnson could defend small forwards and power forwards with his chiseled frame. Oubre will be great on perimeter defense guarding the ball, contesting jumpers and covering ground. When it comes to rebounding, both can and will work on the glass.
They are both stud freshmen who will impact their respective teams next year.
Vaughn is trying to plan a visit to Kentucky soon, but the only trip set right now is one to North Carolina next month.
“I just like both of the coaches,” he said. “They're genuine guys. [I like] both of their styles of play.”
In addition to those two programs, Iowa State and UNLV are also squarely in the mix for Vaughn. Kansas is on his list as well, although the Jayhawks are pursuing JaQuan Lyle and also might see Wayne Selden return for his sophomore season.
Iowa State has had a relationship with Vaughn for a long time, and the Cyclones are considering one of the favorites right now.
“[Fred Hoiberg] is a great coach,” he said. “I feel he's one of the best coaches. I like how he plays; he's got an NBA-style offense.”
Big win in a big tournament in Springfield, Mass. Pack the bags and be in Dayton, Ohio by Monday for another showcase event. Such is the schedule for Huntington Prep's basketball team.
Huntington Prep defeated Prime Prep Academy of Texas, 52-48, Saturday night in the feature game on day three in the four-day Spalding Hoop Hall Classic at Springfield College's Blake Arena. The Irish will be back in action Monday against Cleveland Central Catholic in the 12th Good Samaritan Flyin' To The Hoop Invitational at James S. Trent Arena in Kettering.
Huntington Prep relied on a balanced attack to get past Prime Prep. Montaque Gill-Caesar led the Irish with 13 points and added nine rebounds. JaQuan Lyle and Thomas Bryant scored 11 each and Miles Bridges hit for 10. The 6-10 Bryant pulled down 12 rebounds for a double-double.
Rivals HoopHall Classic Recaps
My Late Night in the Phog videos, KU Alumni games videos, 2011-12 Border War videos, Legends of the Phog videos, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more now on YouTube