“As fans of the program and whatnot, you should be proud that people storm the court whenever somebody knocks us down, because it means a lot to those respective people because it’s a big game,” KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show.
“I don’t know how many games we’ve lost in league play since I’ve been here (37 on the road in 12 seasons). I bet the court has been stormed 70 percent of those times whenever somebody knocks us off. That’s OK,” Self added.
Though court storming can be seen as a compliment to KU, Self says he could do without it on the occasions the Jayhawks lose a game.
“I don’t personally like it, but the only reason I don’t like it is the simple reason I’m always nervous somebody is going to get hurt,” Self said.
…KU associate AD Jim Marchiony, who has been at KU since August 2003, said he has never heard of a movement in the Big 12 to penalize schools if fans storm the court.
Of course, KU does not have to worry about the issue in Allen Fieldhouse. Aside from one win in the 15-year Roy Williams era, in which 20 or so students moseyed onto the court after a victory over Texas, there has never been even a possibility of court storming after a KU victory.
“We are not worried about it because our fans are used to seeing us win, they expect us to win, and they have too much respect for Naismith Court and Allen Fieldhouse to rush the court,” Marchiony said.
On a lighter note, Self said he approved of the one time KU fans stormed the court at Allen.
“After the national championship game. That was pretty cool. I wasn’t even there to enjoy it,” Self said.
The 10,000 or so fans who watched KU’s victory over Memphis in the 2008 title game on the center videoboard in Allen indeed gathered on the court once the horn sounded in KU’s 75-68 overtime win in San Antonio.
With less than a month left until Selection Sunday, the forecast in Lawrence is the same as it ever was: The Kansas Jayhawks (21-5, 10-3 Big 12) appear earmarked, at worst, for another No. 2 seed in the Big Dance, a journey that figures to start in Omaha.
But if KU should happen to creep into the conversation as a 1 seed -- and it might have to win out in order to move up a peg -- it'll have its dance card to thank.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Jayhawks rank No. 1 in the country in terms of opponent strength of schedule -- by the Ratings Percentage Index, Ken Pomeroy, anybody with a calculator and a pulse. But KU hasn't just played the toughest schedule in the country: According to at least one prominent database, it's in the back nine of the single-toughest schedule in the last 35 years of the program -- and the single-toughest slate in the short history of the Big 12, which opened for basketball business in the winter of 1995-96.
…The top-ranked, unbeaten Wildcats, as of Wednesday, have faced six foes ranked 180th or lower in the RPI (including Missouri -- ranked 189th -- twice). The Cavaliers have played four, with one more (Virginia Tech, 222nd) coming up.
In fact, the worst RPI team on Self's schedule is a league foe his squad has already beaten twice -- Texas Tech (rank: 163).
Fox Sports Keeler
The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) has been used by the NCAA since 1981 to supplement the selection of at-large teams and the seeding of all teams for the NCAA basketball tournament. This is the official list of rankings, as released by the NCAA. The RPI is derived from three component factors: Div. I winning percentage (25)%, schedule strength (50)%; and opponent's schedule strength (25)%. Games against non-Division I opponents are not used in calculating the RPI. Road wins are weighted at 1.4; road losses at .6; home wins at .6; and home losses at 1.4. Neutral-site games are valued at 1.0. The NCAA provides only rankings without calculations.
Through Feb. 17
1. Kansas, Big 12
2. Kentucky, SEC
3. Virginia, ACC
4. Villanova, Big East
5. Duke, ACC
6. Wisconsin, Big Ten
7. Arizona, Pac-12
8. Gonzaga, WCC
9. Utah, Pac-12
10. Maryland, Big Ten
11. North Carolina, ACC
12. VCU, A10
13. Iowa State, Big 12
14. Baylor, Big 12
15. Oklahoma, Big 12
16. Louisville, ACC
17. Wichita State, MVC
18. San Diego State, MWC
19. Northern Iowa, MVC
20. Arkansas, SEC
21. Georgetown, Big East
22. Butler, Big East
23. SMU, AAC
24. Providence, Big East
25. Oklahoma State, Big 12
The Kansas City T-Bones announced they have signed outfielder C.J. Henry to a contract for the 2015 season.
Henry, 28 (05-11-86), a native of Oklahoma City, Okla., is 6-foot-3 and 225-pound outfielder who spent 2013 with Evansville of the Frontier League. He hit .332 with 71 hits, 29 RBIs and 38 runs in 57 games. He missed the 2014 season because of an injury, but played this offseason in the California Winter League, which finished its season last Sunday.
“We expect C.J. to come in and compete for a regular-season roster spot,” said T-Bones manager John Massarelli. “He is a hitter who can get on base, as he proved in Evansville. Defensively, he’s an athletic outfielder who has versatility to play in the infield, also.”
The New York Yankees selected Henry in the first round of the 2005 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Putnam City High School. He spent four seasons in the New York and Philadelphia minor-league systems, reaching high-A with the Yankees in 2008. Henry is best known in the Kansas City area as a former guard for the University of Kansas basketball team, and older brother of Xavier Henry. After starting his collegiate basketball career at the University of Memphis, C.J. Henry transferred to Kansas for the 2009 season, where he averaged 3.1 points per game in a limited role. He then finished his basketball career at Southern Nazarene, an NAIA school in Oklahoma, in 2011.
The T-Bones open the 2015 regular season at home on May 22 against Lincoln.
TBones Press Release
Kansas University senior guard Natalie Knight scored a career-high 29 points, but an 18-point deficit proved overwhelming as the Jayhawks fell to TCU, 73-67, in Big 12 women’s basketball Tuesday inside the University Recreation Center.
The Jayhawks (13-14 overall, 4-10 Big 12) trailed by as much as 18 points but pulled within two in the final minutes.
KU — which fell below .500 for the first time this season after its fourth straight loss — shot 54 percent in the second half while holding the Horned Frogs to 43 percent.
“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
Drastic changes appear on the way for Kansas State’s playing rotation.
From now on, K-State basketball coach Bruce Weber says he will only consider one thing when choosing who to use in games — effort.
“I just want guys that care,” Weber said. “That is all I want, guys that care and want to play for K-State and want to play to win and will play hard.”
Those were in short supply during a 69-55 loss to TCU on Wednesday at Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center.
This game was a must-win for K-State, the least daunting road test remaining on its schedule and an opportunity to turn a last-second victory over Oklahoma into real momentum. But the Wildcats played with so little energy that the outcome was decided with 20 minutes remaining. TCU led 35-15.
For K-State (13-14, 6-8 Big 12), it was the largest halftime deficit of the season. For TCU (16-10, 3-10), it was the makings of a blowout.
…Weber sensed the lethargic start coming.
He said he gave K-State players a day off after the Oklahoma victory, thinking the rest would make them more energetic than ever at practice on Monday.
“The game Saturday was one of the best efforts we have had all year, how hard we played,” Weber said. “That is what is so disappointing. You come back and think that is going to be contagious on Monday and you are going to go to war on Monday. Nope. It didn’t happen.”
Rohleder was also pessimistic about this game.
“You kind of want to say it was a hangover from the Oklahoma win,” Rohleder said. “You hate to say it like that, but you come off such a high. We have a lot of games left and there is a lot we can still accomplish. We have got to come every day and bring max effort no matter who the opponent is and no matter who you are playing.”
TCU, coming off an upset victory of its own against Oklahoma State, prepared much better.
Normally, a road win isn't something to get all hyped up about. Even in the Big 12 and even on Feb. 18. But Iowa State's victory at Gallagher-Iba Arena wasn't your run-of-the-mill road 'W.' This was its first win away from home since Jan. 10.
Do not adjust your monitor, that is correct. Iowa State has played four road games since that 74-72 win at West Virginia at the beginning of January and lost every single one of them. At Baylor (by one) on Jan. 14, at basement-dwelling Texas Tech (by five) on Jan. 24, at league-leader Kansas (by 13) on Feb. 2 and at Oklahoma (by 11) last week.
Outside of the defeat at Texas Tech, none of these losses sounds any alarm bells for Fred Hoiberg's team. The Cyclones are still ranked No. 14 in the country, are one of the top contenders in a loaded Big 12 Conference and will likely get a top-four seed come Selection Sunday.
Still … that winless streak on the road was the elephant in the room in Ames.
The NCAA placed West Virginia's athletic department on two years' probation Wednesday for recruiting violations involving illegal text messages and phone calls in 14 sports.
The NCAA said a Division I infractions committee determined that coaches in 14 sports sent impermissible texts and made phone calls to prospects and parents between June 2010 and February 2013. Most of the infractions occurred in women's gymnastics, football, women's basketball and women's soccer.
…The NCAA said the violations occurred while the school was on two years' probation from a previous infractions case involving out-of-season coaching and the use of non-coaching staff to work with players.
West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons was named last month to succeed Oliver Luck, who left for a position with the NCAA. Lyons said he was aware of the issue when he interviewed for the job.
…In addition to the probation, West Virginia self-imposed penalties adopted by the panel that include a reduction of telephone contacts in the 14 sports for portions of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years, reduced off-campus recruiting in football, women's soccer, women's basketball and men's basketball, and official visit restrictions in women's soccer.
For UNC, what could have been a reputation-altering win instead became the stuff of nightmares. The Tar Heels were up nine points with 2:40 to go ... and then Tyus Jones just took over and helped spark Duke's 11-2 run. Jones was outstanding. A lot of big plays for so many players on both sides tonight, but nobody made more big plays than Jones.
And Duke needed that, because although Jahlil Okafor wound up playing 41 minutes, he did twist his left ankle, and that clearly had some affect on his game. Still, Okafor finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Las Vegas Strip dimmed its lights late last night to honor legendary UNLV men's basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, who died on Feb. 11 at the age of 84.
The major Las Vegas Strip casino-hotels plus a few off-Strip properties and local casinos dimmed their exteriors for three minutes starting at 10:30 p.m. local time.
The Luxor's heaven-sent beam of light appeared to be the first to go. One by one the Las Vegas Strip's casinos and downtown Las Vegas shut off their lights for a few minutes, leaving ghostly shapes of buildings from a distance.
Mandalay Bay shut off its lights a little delayed to cheers from a crowd on the steps of UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center after the school's home basketball game against Boise State.
They chanted "Jerry" as they waited for the lights to go out.
Here, in this arena in the middle of Texas, where the NBA Development League's Austin Spurs and Texas Legends will play, is where dreams supposedly materialize for the lucky few.
And vanish for the rest.
"For all these guys, the ideal goal is to be in the NBA," said Brian Pauga, general manager and director of scouting for the Austin Spurs, one of the NBA's minor league affiliates. "The reality is it's tough for that to happen. There aren't enough spots."
Some fans cheer, while others mingle. There are 2,048 in attendance officially, although it looks like 1,000 or so. But who's counting?
"Here," said Austin Spurs wing Orlando Johnson, UC Santa Barbara's career scoring leader and a former NBA guard who has played in 96 games for the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings, "you gotta find your own energy."
Added Vander Blue, the former Marquette guard who went undrafted in 2013: "You definitely play in some empty arenas. That would never happen in college."
These are former collegiate stars who once played in Rupp Arena, the Phog, Pauley Pavilion and Cameron Indoor. Now, they're here -- making between $12,000 and $24,000 per season if they're not sent to the D-League by an NBA franchise -- in a building north of Austin, Texas.
…Tonight, purgatory is in a suburb just north of Austin.
They had access to premier resources at the Division I level. Today, whenever former Florida star and Austin Spurs forward Erik Murphy needs ice for his bruises and scrapes, he hustles to a nearby gas station to buy it. Former first-round picks live three-deep in small apartments. They once made millions -- or anticipated they would -- and now they're signing deals for five-figure salaries in a league that airs every game on YouTube.
"I felt like I was ready to be a pro," said Blue, who left Marquette after his junior season and now plays with the Los Angeles D-Fenders. "I've always been a humble individual. I feel like whenever it's meant for me to be there, I'll be there."
This is a sad, 48-minute episode of "Where are they now?"
Is that former Ohio State star William Buford (Big Ten freshman of the year in 2009, undrafted in 2012) shooting jump shots next to Mike James (signed a $26 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2006)? That can't be. No way.
Is that Renaldo Balkman, the 20th pick in the 2006 NBA draft? Doron Lamb, who turned pro after his sophomore season, won a national title with Kentucky in 2012 -- he's here, too?
This wasn't the plan. For any of them. Many could compete across the ocean in European or Asian professional leagues. But they're all convinced that the exposure in the United States -- NBA TV also broadcasts NBDL games -- will help them secure a contract in pro basketball's version of "The Bachelor."
The numbers don't favor those ambitions. According to the NBDL's website, four players -- Drew Gordon, Ish Smith, Kalin Lucas and Will Cherry -- have been called up this season. Lucas went back to the D-League after he was called up by the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season. Gordon got called up by the Philadelphia 76ers in November. The team waived him a month later. Smith has averaged 5.2 minutes a night with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Cherry got waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers weeks after they'd called him up.
Complete ESPN Networks schedule
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The No. 1 player in the basketball recruiting Class of 2016 now is Rivals.com’s No. 5-rated player in the current Class of 2015.
Thon Maker, a 7-footer from Orangeville Prep in Mono, Ontario, will reclassify and after one year of college will be eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft, several recruiting sites reported Wednesday.
“I’m on track to graduate this year but a lot of hard work ahead this summer! No shortcuts on this road to success. #built4this,” Maker wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Maker’s guardian, Ed Smith, has told Zagsblog.com Maker would visit Kansas University and Kentucky if he decided to reclassify. Indiana, Missouri and UCLA have also been mentioned as possibilities.
It has been speculated that Maker will have trouble qualifying for a scholarship and thus could play overseas a year in preparation for the NBA Draft.
Part of the reason Maker’s recruitment has been relatively quiet is the idea that he won’t actually spend any time in college. One coach involved in his recruitment told ESPN.com that the chances Maker goes to college are less than 50/50.
…Going overseas instead of college would likely limit Maker’s exposure, but it wouldn't hinder his NBA stock. Should Maker struggle playing 35 games on national TV at Kansas or Kentucky, that could impact his lottery position. Going overseas for a few months lessens the potential for Maker’s stock to dip.
…Should Maker decide to bypass college, another option would be to spend another season at Orangeville Prep (Canada). Since he’s reclassifying, Maker has established his graduation year as 2015. A post-grad year at Orangeville means he would spend one more season at Orangeville but would still be part of the 2015 class.
Why would Maker reclassify just to spend another year in high school? Simply, it would enable him to enter the 2016 NBA Draft without ever spending a day in college or going overseas. A post-grad year still means he is one year removed from his high school graduation -- the rule for prospects to enter the draft.
This idea has picked up some steam in the past couple of months, and multiple coaches and others with knowledge of Maker’s recruitment think this might be the most likely route for Maker -- either by choice or because of potential NCAA questions.
In some ways, it could make the most sense for Maker. He gets another year to dominate lesser high school players, he doesn't need to adjust to one year overseas or one year in college, and he can only help his draft stock.
McDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN GAME, April 1, United Center, Chicago
ESPN NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP, April 2-4, Christ the King, Queens, N.Y. & Madison Square Garden
NIKE HOOP SUMMIT, April 11, Moda Center, Portland
KENTUCKY DERBY FESTIVAL, April 11, Freedom Hall, Lexington, KY
JORDAN BRAND CLASSIC, The @JordanClassic is set for Friday April 17 at the Barclays Center at 7p.m, proceeded by the International (2:30pm) & Regional Games (4:00 pm) All times Eastern
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