KUAD: Kansas at Oklahoma State pregame notes
NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, both former NBA coaches, will have a rare assignment broadcast this weekend at a college game, joining play-by-play announcer Dave Flemming to call the Kansas at Oklahoma State game at 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. The next day Van Gundy and Jackson will be at Chesapeake Energy Arena to broadcast the L.A. Clippers-Thunder game at noon Sunday on ABC with Mike Breen and sideline reporter Lisa Salters.
AUDIO: Coach Self on SVP & Russell
No. 8 Kansas at Oklahoma State, Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN & WatchESPN
Lo and behold, the Jayhawks are 8-1 in the Big 12, two games out ahead of the rest of the league, and once more the whole idea that Kansas might somehow cede the Big 12 regular-season conference Bill Self Invitational seems laughable. But the best part is that Kansas is still getting better. It may not be a stretch to call both Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre Jr. the Jayhawks' best two players. After early struggles -- Alexander with positioning, Oubre with turnovers -- both have become genuine threats on the offensive end. Mix in Perry Ellis, the always-steady Frank Mason III, and never-steady-but-occasionally unstoppable Wayne Selden Jr., and the result is a team good enough to manage the nation's deepest league with seeming ease. Go figure.
The gap between KU's SOS and VCU's No. 2 SOS is wider than the gap between VCU and the 24th-ranked strength of schedule. That's just insane.
“I think game situations determine how many 3s you shoot,” the 12th-year coach said. “Sometimes teams take away things, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they want to trap the post and take away their bigs and that could open up some things. Sometimes there are a lot of offensive rebounds, which create more 3-point opportunities or transition which creates more 3s. I think a lot of it depends on the game.
“But historically, thirty percent of our shots have been 3s. I think we're close to being right on that again this year.”
In other words: KU making more 3s this year isn’t going to get Self away from his core principles.
Even if the Jayhawks struggle to score in the post, he still wants his team to get the ball to the big men inside. Even if a player is open from 3 early in a half-court set, he still wants to see the ball rotated from side to side.
It’s this type of offensive philosophy that has helped KU to 10 straight Big 12 titles and also has helped the Jayhawks to a two-game lead in their quest for No. 11.
LJW Smithology: Q&A with Coach Self
With nine games left in the regular season and anywhere between two and nine to play in the postseason, Brannen Greene is on pace to become the top single-season three-point shooter — percentagewise — in Kansas University basketball history.
“It’s ridiculous how well he can shoot the ball,” KU freshman Cliff Alexander said of Greene, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound sophomore guard from Juliette, Georgia, who has cashed 29 of 57 threes for 50.9 percent. Kirk Hinrich hit a school-record 50.5 percent from three in 2001 and Aaron Miles 50 percent in 2005.
“I’ve never seen a guy shoot the ball so well,” Alexander added of practice and games.
Greene has made 12 of his last 16 threes over five games. He has made 15 of 24 in nine Big 12 games for a league-leading 62.5 percent mark. Oklahoma’s Isaiah Cousins has cashed 19 of 39 for 48.7 percent.
“It’s a pretty good percentage to have right now. Hopefully I can keep it going,” said Greene, who has been awarded double-digit minutes the last five games.
“I’ve always been confident. Definitely getting more minutes and playing well boosts your confidence, so yeah, I’d agree,” Greene added of a reporter’s assertion that increased minutes may have helped his confidence on the court.
…Greene said Self allows him to fire away “as long as it’s in the flow of the offense. His main thing is get the easiest shots. Sometimes me shooting a long three is our best chance at that point. Wherever the shot clock may be, certain parts of the game, certain times of the game.
“Just within rhythm without having it to be rushed or there being a man in your face. That’s basically a good shot,” Greene added. “Sometimes a good shot is being contested. It depends where you are in the game and what the situation is.”
…“With us, we all respect each other. We all want to see each other do well, because not only does it help that person, it helps us as a team,” Greene said. “I genuinely want Kelly (Oubre Jr.) and Wayne (Selden Jr.) and those guys who play my position to do well. They all feel the same. We care about each other. It feels a lot different from last year. We hang around more. We joke with each other. We’re just more comfortable taking shots at each other knowing it’s positive to help the other player. Everybody is unselfish. We just want to win.”
Self said: “I think they’re genuinely happy with each other. They like each other. They want each other to be successful.”
…Former KU guard Mario Little, who released by Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Developmental League on Jan. 24, practiced with the Jayhawks on Thursday. Next up for Little may be a spot overseas. He has yet to sign with a team.
Rock Chalk Weekly: Q&A with Evan Manning
The lopsided loss to North Carolina is less than 10 minutes old when Danny Manning enters the Wake Forest locker room.
Towels draped over their heads, players stare at the floor while assistants pore over stat sheets and grimace. A police officer stands guard near the door.
The 6'10" Manning—a former NBA All-Star and the Demon Deacons' first-year head coach—moves his eyes from player to player, glaring at each of them before beginning his rant on this January night.
"All we ask," he says, "is that you play hard. All we ask is that you compete! If you can't do that, then pack up your stuff and go."
Two weeks earlier, the Demon Deacons—who were picked to finish 12th in the ACC—trailed second-ranked Duke by just one point with less than four minutes remaining. They were within a single possession of No. 5 Louisville at the two-minute mark and also forced overtime on the road against tradition-rich Syracuse.
Even though Wake Forest lost each contest, the improvement and fight it showed in those games established the Demon Deacons as the fastest-rising team in the ACC and gave fans reason to feel good about the direction of the program. And, just as important, its new coach.
…About a month after he was hired at Kansas in 2003, Bill Self flew to Detroit to see the Pistons compete in the NBA playoffs. But his main purpose wasn't to watch basketball.
Self was there on business.
A seldom-used reserve who jokes that he was a "walking insurance policy," Manning had appeared in only 13 contests since signing with the Pistons that February. Knowing that Manning was likely in his final NBA season, Self approached him after the game and asked if he'd consider joining his staff at Kansas.
Manning didn't need to give the offer much thought. A few weeks after the season, he summoned Self to his Lawrence home and told him he was ready to become a coach.
There was one issue.
"I didn't want to make him an assistant—not yet," Self said. "Danny had spent nearly two decades on the road, away from his wife and kids. He wasn't ready for all of the travel and other demands an assistant has.
"I mainly just wanted to encourage him to get involved at the administrative level so he could learn and see if coaching is really something he wanted to pursue. Plus, it was great for our players."
Manning agreed to join Kansas' staff as the director of student-athlete development/team manager in 2003-04.
…Instead of retiring to enjoy the $57 million-plus he made during his NBA career, Manning spent the next four years breaking down tape, ordering shoes and ankle braces, booking hotel rooms and deciding whether to include Cheetos or Lay's with the team's postgame meal. Manning also counseled players—not just about basketball, but about life off the court, too.
Manning's initial contract paid him $50,000. He didn't even have his own office, instead sharing space with assistant Joe Dooley, who is now the head coach at Florida Gulf Coast.
"We called it the bullpen," Manning said. "I loved every minute of it. Seeing [Dooley] going over tape, listening as he talked to recruits, hearing conversations he had with different guys on the team...I learned so much just by observing. Not just from Joe, but from the entire staff. They were always willing to answer my questions."
…Other tweaks in Manning's philosophy may come from studying one of the many playbooks he kept during an NBA career in which he suited up for seven teams. Ballard, though, said he believes about 90 percent of Manning's approach is based on what he learned as an assistant under Self and a player under Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Brown, who coached the '88 title team.
…In September the Morris twins, his protégés at Kansas, called to tell him they'd received long-term contract extensions from the Phoenix Suns. He said he takes just as much joy in seeing a guy like former Jayhawk Tyrel Reed earn various postgraduate degrees.
Jason King (Great read, worth the click!)
Citing a "stalled" growth process, the Magic fired Jacque Vaughn as coach Thursday after two and half seasons, ending the tenure of the first-time head coach brought in to help rebuild the franchise.
The Magic made the move following a 15-37 start to the season and after a series of lopsided losses during a 10-game losing streak. It is the Magic's second skid of at least five games since the start of 2015. Orlando was also 15-37 through 52 games last season.
#Sixers rookie center.@JoelEmbiid helps @nerlensnoel3 work on his post moves after Thursday's practice in #Boston
Most believe the Cleveland Cavaliers traded rookie Andrew Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves because they wanted to chase a championship with All-Star Kevin Love, but was there actually another reason? ESPN's Brian Windhorst suggested Wiggins was ultimately traded because he declined to sign with the LeBron James's representation.
Windhorst appeared on WKNR's "Really Big Show" on Tuesday and proffered a new theory as to why James didn't want Wiggins to stick around in Cleveland.
Windhorst (via WaitingForNextYear):
"Let me draw a bit of a map for you. Andrew Wiggins is from Toronto-area Canada, right? Tristan Thompson is from the Toronto area. Cory Joseph, who wound up playing for the San Antonio Spurs, is also from the Toronto area and is also represented by LeBron-by Rich Paul and LeBron. Obviously, you can imagine, because of their relationship with Canadian basketball and getting players out of there that they were on Wiggins as a potential representation player very early and he did not choose to go with them. That choice was made before the Cavs even won the lottery; the decision was made long before that. There was a chance for Andrew Wiggins to 'join up with LeBron' before LeBron had a chance to pair up with Wiggins. Just keep that in mind. ...
"I also think LeBron wanted Kevin Love, so that was a factor. I think the issue is Wiggins said that he never heard from LeBron. Kyrie Irving heard from LeBron. Dion [Waiters] heard from LeBron-that story of 'get yourself ready.' They made the deal in mid-July. LeBron had been a Cav for several weeks before the deal was struck and still never reached out to him. You could tell, Wiggins passed up the opportunity to join LeBron's team..."
Paul, James's agent, is the founder of Klutch Sports Group, and James himself is the part owner of LRMR, a sports and brand management company.
Cleveland was in "win-now" mode when they traded for Love, and Wiggins was Cleveland's most valuable asset. But what makes Windhorst's report worth considering is that he's made a career out of following James. Moreover, when James re-signed with Cleveland last summer the franchise seemingly gave him the keys to the car - it's all but certain James had say in the team's personnel decisions.
Logic says James pushed for the Love trade because he wanted to play with a proven star, but Windhorst's report at least raises the question of whether James's choice to exclude Wiggins from the team's future plans had anything to do with the rookie spurning him.
Jay Triano expects to have the country's best on the court for this summer's Pan American Games.
The coach of Canada's men's basketball team plans to use the Games as a tuneup for the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament in late August, and so will field a young, star-studded squad for the tournament in Toronto.
"Every player that I've talked to has indicated that they want to play in both Pan Ams and the qualifying tournament," Triano said Wednesday. "Had the Pan Ams been somewhere else, we would have had a different story, but the fact it's in our backyard, these guys are pretty excited."
Among that group is Andrew Wiggins, the Minnesota Timberwolves forward who was picked No. 1 overall in last year's NBA draft.
He leads all NBA rookies in scoring with an average of 15.3 points per game.
“It’s exciting to have the Pan Am Games in my hometown of Toronto this summer,” Wiggins said in a press release announcing the Pan Am basketball schedule. “Having the opportunity to play at home is very special for Team Canada and the country.”
KUWBBall: KU hosts Cowgirls Saturday at “Jayhawks for a Cure”
Once A Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk: Tamecka Dixon
“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
At the midway point of the Big 12 season, it’s time to take a look at who might be in line for the conference’s postseason awards.
For help with that, The Capital-Journal’s Kevin Haskin and Jesse Newell went about compiling their lists in separate ways. Haskin went the traditional route, using his own knowledge and the eye test to come up with his list. Newell, on the other hand, based his picks solely on the computers, using all-encompassing advanced stats like win shares, value add and offensive and defensive ratings to try to best compile a list based on the numbers.
So who has been the best of the Big 12? Here’s what our eyes — and computers — have to say:
TCJ ( COY Self, 1st team Ellis)
The Big 12, the conference spurned the worst during the selection of teams for the inaugural College Football Playoff, will conclude two days of meetings Friday. It will have formal discussions on bountiful topics, but those topics will not include expansion, which happened to be the topic that recently caused a hubbub about this conference.
The commissioner said the Big 12 athletic directors and CEOs will discuss NCAA lawsuits, scheduling, the tie-breaking system for co-champions and some other matters that could bore the skin off an iguana, such as branding. But as for being the loner among the five top conferences with 10 teams (the others have 12 or 14) and without a title game (all the others have one), the Big 12 rather likes its solitude.
“I think our CEOs and our athletic directors are very heavily of the mind that 10 is the right number for us,” Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “And I was proud of our athletic directors for not overreacting. There was no knee-jerk to it. They were very thoughtful.”
The Big 12 is the only conference in which every member still has a winning record overall, with a nation's-best six Top 25 teams. It is the No. 1 RPI conference, with seven of its 10 teams among the top 37 in that ranking.
"The league is playing out to be every bit as good as what everybody thought it would be," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "The depth of it is ridiculous."
There were 18 consecutive league games with at least one ranked team before Texas Tech beat Kansas State in the late game Wednesday night, a matchup of the only two schools that haven't been ranked at some point this season.
One guy who's coaching his tail off? UAB's Jerod Haase. Blazers pound La Tech and are right in C-USA mix post Chad Frazier. Impressive.
SI Luke Winn Power Rankings (Kansas #7)
When Weber replaced Frank Martin, point guard Angel Rodriguez was expected to leave, didn't, said the right things publicly, won a lot of games and then left. The Anti-Bruce corner of K-State fandom -- which accepts victories begrudgingly and demands alum Brad Underwood (record at Stephen F. Austin: 50-6 since the fall of 2013) be hired about 2.6 seconds after every Weber loss -- is starting to fear a similar straw threatening to break the back of Foster, and the program itself.
…Despite the snarling and general panic, Wednesday evening was just K-State's second loss (hi there, Texas Southern!) to a team outside the Ratings Percentage Index Top 100. But Selection Sunday is a perception game, and the perception is that this particular team is .500-ish, as mercurial and unpredictable and as frustrating as its biggest star. The 'Cats had a slim margin for error to start the week; they end it with none.
Fox Sports Keeler
Syracuse University men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim made his first public comments about the self-imposed post season ban, and pending results of an NCAA investigation Thursday evening. On his radio show, he took a question from a caller who wondered if the public would ever know the facts of the case the NCAA built against the Boehiem-run program, or if they would remain a mystery.
Here is what Boeheim said:
"Everything will be documented. "When they hand down their decisions every, every charge will be there. The punishments will be listed, but every charge will be listed and every punishment will be listed.
Their explanation, and then we'll have an explanation because anytime you get in these things there is interpretation of whether we did the right thing or not. And sometimes we didn't do the right thing. There's interpretations on every single thing,” Boeheim said.
He went on to chastise those who are speculating: “Everyone has to look at it and see what actually happened. That's why anyone making judgments now is crazy. People go and say this should happen or that should happen - nobody knows. The public doesn’t know the media doesn’t know, there has been a lot of speculation over the years, in terms of what it’s about, but it’s all speculation. When the final results are out there, which I can't imagine will be more than a week or two - all the charges will be listed and all the penalties will be listed and everybody will know,” he said.
The NCAA is giving fans the opportunity to show their basketball school spirit for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to the 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four, gift cards and a $20,000 donation to their favorite Division I school’s scholarship fund.
Fans can go to ncaa.com/letsdance through Feb. 10 to upload a video that demonstrates the excitement, loyalty and hope they have for their school to perform well during the men’s basketball regular season. Fans can be creative with their videos, which may include dances, chants, tributes and/or other forms of loyalty to their team and school of choice. By voting or submitting videos, fans also have an opportunity to win weekly prizes that include a $500 Amazon gift card.
CBS Jerry Palm Bubble Watch
Complete ESPN Networks schedule
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Jamal Murray of Orangeville Prep (Ontario) and Isaac Humphries of La Lumiere (IN) are among the young international stars who will headline the first-ever Basketball without Borders (BWB) Global Camp.
The 7-foot Humphries holds offers from Oregon, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Illinois and Utah.
Nike Hoops Summit USA Roster announced (Asst Coach L.J. Goolsby, KC Run GMC)
My Late Night in the Phog videos, 60 Years of AFH Celebration videos, KU Alumni games videos, 2011-12 Final Border War videos, Legends of the Phog videos, KC Prep Invitational, Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more, now on YouTube