Look what showed up today at the office. Block Party Hardware. #witheyblockparty
LJW Newell: 10 years ago this week, Bill Self was hired at KU
1. Kansas may have the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft and the top nonconference schedule for 2013-14 season. The Jayhawks haven't finished the slate as of yet it but it's getting better with each game that they finalize. The Jayhawks are hosting Georgetown, San Diego State, playing at Colorado, Duke in the Champions Classic in Chicago, and are the marquee team in the Battle 4 Atlantis with Villanova, Tennessee, UTEP, Xavier, USC, Wake Forest and a team to be determined (was going to be Michigan State but the Spartans couldn't get out of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn). The SEC-Big 12 Challenge isn't set yet, but according to multiple sources the Jayhawks could be headed to Florida. The inaugural SEC-Big 12 Challenge will have a number of marquee games but some are already determined like Kentucky playing Baylor in Dallas, which will be folded into the event. Kansas also plans on playing two to three "guaranteed" buy games against top 100 teams.
ESPN Andy Katz
4/25/13, 7:06 AM
@ESPNAndyKatz Kansas also playing 'Neutral' game against New Mexico in Kansas
@feezsupreme (Random tweet, but I thought it might pertain to the Sprint Center game)
@b_greene14 will officially visit Kansas May 3-5. Shay #kubball
30 days till graduation... 37 days till I'm in Lawrence...
1. ANDREW WIGGINS, (6-8, SF) There is no question Wiggins has the highest ceiling of anyone in the incoming freshmen class. He’s essentially a 6-8 shooting guard with a 7-0 wingspan. Andrew possesses elite athleticism, can score the basketball at all three levels, and defends four positions on the floor. He can change the game in more ways and exploit a wider variety of matchups than anyone since LeBron. Wiggins has a nose for the rim and his second jump is explosive. He operates baseline as well as any prospect since Carmelo and has a perimeter game that’s growing daily. Defensively, Andrew has quick feet, takes good angles, and takes pride in locking someone up. Despite the fact that being the only player on the list uncommitted makes his fit at the next level unknown, Andrew possesses the kind of rare DNA that only comes around once a decade. He’s the most unique seven-month rental of the one-and-done era and thus a no brainer for the No. 1 spot on this list.
9. WAYNE SELDEN, Kansas (6-5, SF) Ben McLemore put his name in the draft, leaving a vacancy on the wing for the Jayhawks. Selden doesn’t have McLemore’s talent or ability to score the basketball. What he does have is a physical presence and toughness which should become contagious to his teammates. Selden gets to the rim at will and should make a living on the free throw line as a freshman. His perimeter game is a work in progress, but he is making strides. As a freshman Selden will play major minutes and bring the kind of energy and toughness that coach Self will appreciate. He’ll be dominant in space and is capable of being a shutdown wing defender. Offensively, picture something similar to Dion Waiters. If he’s able to stay in his lane and continue to attack the basket, Wayne will finish the year on this list where he started: One of the 10 best freshman in America.
15. JOEL EMBIID, Kansas (7-0, C) There is no doubt Joel Embiid has the tools to one day be a lottery pick. The question is how quickly will he transform from prospect to player? Lately, there’s been enough evidence to suggest it’s going to happen faster than many expected. It feels like the calm before the storm. Embiid has the talent and opportunity to emerge as a one-and-done star for Kansas. Jeff Withey is gone and a vacancy in the middle is ripe for the picking. Embiid can protect the rim, rebound his area, and make shots out to 10 feet. As his feel for the game improves, the sky is the limit for the international big man. His freshman year might be similar to what we saw with Andre Drummond at Uconn. Early in the season he might even look like he’s running wind sprints while there is a high level basketball game going on around him. But eventually the light is going to come on. When it does, he’s going to shoot up this board.
Dime Magazine Top 15 Incoming Freshmen
Big 12/College News
Don’t slam the door on future college conference expansion and realignment just yet.
The trendy instant reaction Monday to news that members of the Atlantic Coast Conference agreed to a “grant of rights” clause for its television and media was that it would halt realignment.
By the schools “granting” media rights to the conference for 14 years, the theory is that it would be too costly for a school to change leagues because it wouldn’t have much of value to “carry” to a new league.
Several old friends in the business of college athletics I talked to Monday said they wouldn’t bet their own money on that.
These people — from conference offices and major-college athletic departments — all agreed that any number of lawyers would be delighted to challenge those deals in court.
The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 have such deals.
As one buddy with a wicked sense of humor said, “Do you really think Texas would sign up for something it couldn’t get out of?”
As a sidenote, two sources have told The World-Herald that the Big Ten has done prior “homework” on Oklahoma, Kansas and Vanderbilt among other schools who might some day be expansion targets. The Big 12 grant-of-rights deal didn’t stop a look-see for OU and KU.
Besides a legal challenge, the potential future TV money available could still make it profitable for a school to move.
Kansas' returners have combined for a total of four starts, three from sophomore Perry Ellis and one from sophomore Jamari Taylor.
Bill Self has had to rebuild before, losing Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor in 2012, the Morris twins in 2011 and Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins in 2010. Kansas missed out on Class of 2013 five-star prospect Julius Randle, who could have instantly helped the Jayhawks remain Big 12 favorites but committed to Kentucky instead. The Jayhawks still landed Wayne Selden, the No.12 overall recruit according to ESPN, and Joel Embiid (No. 28 overall), who should both make an immediate impact for Kansas. But neither is good enough to make up for the Cowboys’ returning talent. Self will keep the Jayhawks in contention, but reloading again will be too much for Kansas.
It is because of all of this that Kansas’ reign in the Big 12 will end this season. The Jayhawks will not beat the Cowboys at Gallagher-Iba Arena two seasons in a row, and the Cowboys will start the year a vastly more experienced team. The Cowboys knocked off the Jayhawks in Lawrence last season, and may be poised to do it again.
Oklahoma State is the "Smart" pick to win the Big 12. It made tremendous strides last year and with Smart continuing to develop it will be even better next season. I bet the team finishes 16-2 in Big 12 play and should be favorites in every matchup, with the possible exception of the showdown in Lawrence. The Jayhawks will be good, and probably the second-best team in the conference, but I see them losing four or five games in Big 12 play next season and, more importantly, failing to win a 10th consecutive Big 12 regular season title.
Wayne McClain is leaving the staff of Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber, returning to Illinois to become head coach at Champaign Central High School.
McClain was director of student-athlete development at K-State. He previously was on the staff at Illinois for 11 years, nine under Weber and two under Bill Self. Prior to that, he was one of the most successful coaches in Illinois preps, winning three straight state championships at Peoria Manual from 1995-97.
Former WSU Final Four team member accused of sexually assaulting a 20 yr old woman at a teammate's house
The phone lit up on a Sunday in Kansas City, producing a mix of relief and joy that nearly knocked to Will Reed Sr. to his knees.
His son, Willie, was on the other end of the line, telling his father the four words that every parent longs to hear.
Dad, I’ve made it.
“I cried,” Will Sr. says now. “I’ll be honest with you.”
It’s been 10 days since Willie Reed, a Kansas City native, signed a contract with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and gained a spot on the Grizzlies’ playoff roster. But for Reed, a graduate of Bishop Miege High School, the road to the NBA has been a cloudy and chaotic ride, a journey marked by missteps at the high school and collegiate level.
Tonight in Memphis, however, when the Grizzlies play host to the Los Angeles Clippers in game three of their first-round series, Reed will be in the buildingfor his first home playoff game, though. The Grizzlies trail the Clippers 2-0, and Reed he may not even suit up.
But that won’t stop his dad,Will Sr., from making the trip to Memphis for game four on Saturday.
What’s already shaping up to be a really compelling 2013-14 college basketball season just got more, well, Russdiculous. Louisville guard Russ Smith, a driving force behind the Cardinals’ national title this season, announced on Wednesday that he will be returning for his senior season. Smith, who somehow was only named third-team All-American by the AP, averaged 18.7 points a game for the sometimes-offensively challenged Cardinals while teaming with senior point guard Peyton Siva to form the best on-ball defensive backcourt in the nation.
What's the biggest concern -- above all others -- we should have about college basketball? How about the fact fewer fouls were called this past season than in any other on record. That is negatively startling, at least to me.
Some might say, "But fewer fouls means smoother play! The refs are finally not calling ticky-tack stuff. This is a good thing." Alas, that's not the case. Because what's happening is rougher play that leads to fewer fouls called. How can that be? Players are fouling with their chest and grinding up the game because that's exactly what many coaches are teaching them to do.
It's creating a slog, and it's why nearly everyone reacted so positively to that national final between Louisville and Michigan; the game was antithetical to the greater trend.
A story from USA Today by Daniel Uthman details the findings, which were released by the NCAA Tuesday.
The NCAA's 2013 final trends report reveals the following: Scoring in Division I men's basketball is at its lowest point since 1951-52. Teams averaged 67.5 points per game in 2012-13. Team 3-point shooting percentage declined to its lowest mark since the 3-point line was introduced in 1986-87.
Foul calls reached an all-time low, and teams shot the fewest free throws of any season since 1976. Teams averaged for 17.68 fouls each per game, and they shot fewer than 20 free throws a game (19.76) for only the fifth time in history. Assists and turnovers reached extremes they haven't seen since 1993, when the report first tracked them. Assists saw a low of 12.82 per game, continuing a trend that began in 2007. Turnovers, meanwhile, also reached a low for recorded history, falling to 13.30 a game.
Turnover average was so low in part because teams have become more efficient -- but they're also using fewer possessions in each game. With that comes fewer opportunities to give the ball away. What we're seeing is coaches use up a lot of shot clock to try to get a better look at a better shot, and that has an erosive effect on game flow while actually upping team efficiency.
As points per game continue to dip, points per possession actually increase. It's an interesting inverse of trends. As a result, the past 13 seasons have seen fewer and fewer turnovers per game. The options for chaos don't exist on most possessions, and so the game becomes more predictable by nature.
"I'm no more concerned this year than last or year before," director of officials John Adams said in the story. "Because we've been looking at a decline in points (for a while). Clearly a 10- or 11- or 12-year decline is something to be concerned about."
Atlantic: The college basketball victory that seemed too good to be true - and was. (Basketball history buffs will enjoy)
DraftExpress Early Entry Tracker
CBS NBA Draft Early Entry Tracker
Tarik Black, a junior power forward from the University of Memphis who has announced plans to transfer, is being courted by Kansas University and Duke, among others.
He will be immediately eligible next season, following his graduation in May.
KU coaches were slated to visit with the 6-foot-9, 262-pounder on Wednesday night — a day after Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski met with Black in Black’s hometown of Memphis. Zagsblog.net reported that Black has also met with coaches from San Diego State.
Black averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds a game off 58.9 percent shooting (103 of 175) last season. He hit 52 of 116 free throws for 44.8 percent. He started five of 32 games, averaging 20.8 minutes a game for the (31-5) Tigers. He was ranked No. 54 nationally by Rivals.com in the recruiting Class of 2010.
Wrote Matt Giles of ESPN.com: “Though his playing time was limited, he has shown the potential to carve out space on the interior and grab a plethora of offensive rebounds, posting an offensive rebounding percentage of more than 10 percent in his three seasons in Conference USA. There were reports that Black recently met with the ACC program’s (Duke) coaching staff, but Gary Parrish of CBSsports.com clarifies: ‘Duke put a fullcourt press on Tarik Black yesterday. Mike Krzyzewski, Steve Wojciechowski, Nate James visited his home.’”
It makes little sense, on the surface, that a player who averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds coming off the bench for a fringe Top 25 team this season could, within hours of announcing a transfer, become the most desirable recruit in the country not named Andrew Wiggins. But that's what Tarik Black has done.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and two assistants were in his home Tuesday.
Kansas coach Bill Self visited Wednesday night.
…Duke, Kansas and Ohio State -- three of the sport's best and most consistent programs coached by one Hall of Famer and two others who figure to be viable candidates someday -- are working every angle imaginable in an attempt to land a player who's been remarkably disappointing relative to expectations, and not only because he walked out of a practice, basically just quit, on Josh Pastner in November. Black finished his career at Memphis with an all-too-familar six-point, two-rebound, four-foul effort in a loss to Michigan State in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. The 32 minutes played in that game were representative of his junior year in general and Exhibit A of why this prospect once projected as a first-round pick in the NBA Draft would now go unselected even if the draft were stretched to three rounds.
I'm not saying Black isn't very good or that he can't be very good.
I'm just saying he wasn't very good at Memphis.
But that doesn't matter now because, even at his worst, Black has shown he's at least capable of playing rotation minutes at the high-major level, and who couldn't, at this point, use a big who can play rotation minutes at the high-major level? Answer: Almost nobody. So Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and at least 20 other high-major programs are all lined up and working like they're the last 25 dudes in a bar with just one moderately attractive girl. Closing time is in 15 minutes. Somebody just yelled last call.
Just got offered by the Jayhawk nation!!#Bless #HardWork
https://twitter.com/OneBigHaitian/ Skal Labissiere
When he's on a basketball court, Skal Labissiere makes quite the first impression.
Legendary Tennessee high school coach Terry Tippett clearly remembers his first encounter with Labissiere.
It was 2010, and the 6-foot-10 Haitian had left his homeland in hopes of playing basketball in the United States.
Tippett, a Hall of Fame coach with 40 years of experience in Tennessee hoops, was in charge of Evangelical Christian School in Memphis.
When he first saw Labissiere, Tippett was skeptical.
"He was a string bean," Tippett said. "I thought he was so thin and so weak."
Then they went into the gym.
"He shot the ball and I said, 'Oh, man!'" Tippett recalled. "It came out of his hands so soft. Jump hooks. He went right and left. He can really do anything with the ball."
Labissiere (pronounced La-biss-EE-ay) ended up enrolling at Evangelical Christian and playing for the varsity basketball team as an eighth-grader.
Word eventually spread to Kentucky Coach John Calipari, who called Tippett — an acquaintance from his Memphis days — to ask if Labissiere was "good enough" to play for the Wildcats.
"I think so," Tippett told him.
On that recommendation, Calipari made the trip to see Evangelical Christian's first game of the season.
"He came and took a look and really liked him," Tippett said. "And he offered him that night. He just came in and saw the potential that the kid has.
"That was great that he would think that much of him."
Labissiere, who ESPN ranks as the No. 5 overall player in the class of 2015, was scheduled to play in a showcase in Louisville on Saturday, but the game was canceled by the event's organizers.
He remains the only sophomore in the country with a scholarship offer from Kentucky.
Memphis, Georgetown and Mississippi State are among the other schools expressing early interest.
"He's still taking everything in and seeing what might happen," Tippett said. "But I know that he loves Cal and loves Kentucky and was very impressed with the offer."
The journey hasn't been easy for Labissiere.
He was 13 years old when a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. The disaster killed more than 200,000 people and left hundreds of thousands of others homeless.
Labissiere was in his home at the time. It crumbled around him, leaving the basketball-crazed teenager pinned under a pile of rubble and fearing that he'd never play again.
It took several hours for his father to dig him out, and Labissiere's legs had gone numb in the meantime.
Gerald Hamilton — Labissiere's legal guardian in the United States — said Labissiere wasn't able to walk for a few weeks, and he took several months to get back in basketball shape.
1/31/13 Lexington Herald Leader
4/24/13, 4:44 PM
Met with Coach Keller and Texas A&M earlier today. And Coach Self & Kansas just now. Both meetings were great.
@Chief_Justise Justise Winslow
Five-star point guard Tyus Jones says his list is down to seven. No favorites, no leaders, no one school ahead of or behind another; he's just down to those seven.
Yet according to Twitterverse, the rumor mill and the recruiting blogs, his list of seven is just posturing for now. Duke, they all say, is his leader.
"That's not true," Jones promised at last weekend's EYBL event in Los Angeles. "A lot of people are talking and stuff like that, but I'm not leaning anywhere."
Jones swears he's not lying. His list of Michigan State, Duke, Baylor, Ohio State, Kansas, Kentucky and Minnesota is steadfast, and nobody is standing out right now.
4/26-4/28 Jayhawk Invitational