Kansas University junior Naadir Tharpe — who was on top of the college basketball world after being named national player of the week Jan. 21 after scoring 44 points in victories over Iowa State and Oklahoma State, and at rock bottom after a risqué photo surfaced on Twitter nine weeks later — is no longer a member of the Jayhawk team.
Tharpe and KU coach Bill Self announced Thursday, via news release, that the 5-foot-11 starter would transfer to a school closer to his Worcester, Massachusetts, home and his 2-year-old daughter, Amara Grace, who has not been in good health.
…“I enjoyed my time here,” Tharpe added. “I appreciate the players that were here before me that I got a chance to play with and that are still friends with me right now. It’s going to be tough leaving a situation like this because of the teammates I’m leaving behind. Everything happens for a reason, and I have to continue my journey a different way.”
Of the situation, Self added: “Personally, it’s something that we 100 percent support and wish him nothing but the best. I certainly appreciate all of his efforts since he’s been here. Naadir has been a good player for us in his three years here. But we also respect the fact that he wants to be closer to his daughter and we want to do everything we can to support that.”
KUAD press release: Naadir Tharpe
LJW Tait: Tharpe’s departure no reason to cheer
What is truly unfortunate is that Tharpe will not get an opportunity to work through his issues and complete his eligibility, or his degree, at Kansas.
Tharpe made a mistake posing for the inappropriate photo, which was not mentioned, naturally, in the release KU distributed.
Remember, though: Tharpe is young. Legal age, yes, but young. He loves to dip his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in milk, according to his KU bio. Certainly, Tharpe can still mature. He better if he feels compelled to care for his daughter.
What is distasteful is that KU did not feel compelled to take on Tharpe for one more year.
It would not have been easy. Not in this age of instantaneous fallout, in which condemnation can be so swift and so destructive.
Tharpe would have had to recover from his demise to play effectively again for Kansas. Tough proposition stemming from a tough ordeal. Particularly for a point guard whose struggles were obvious in the NCAAs as the Jayhawks failed to advance from the first weekend after claiming the Big 12 title and a No. 2 seed.
Still, Tharpe was no stiff. He led the Jayhawks last season in assists (170), free throw percentage (.821) and 3-point makes (43), and recorded double-doubles at Iowa State and at Kansas State.
It started at the airport.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ran into Kansas basketball coach Bill Self last year and got himself invited to a game.
Rodgers came to Lawrence in January, gave a pep talk to the Jayhawks, and met the players.
Tarik Black, a forward in his senior season, picks up the tale from there:
…"Green Bay is my favorite team. I told him, 'Hey, I understand you're hurt; we need you healthy. We need a championship.' Then he says, 'You should help me win it. Come play some tight end.' So I say, 'Give me a contract and make it happen.' "
Black thought the whole interchange was a joke.
Apparently Rodgers did not.
The Packers passer went to Self and said, "I want to throw balls at him and see what he can do." And considering Black is 6-foot-9, 260 pounds, and had more than one foul for every two points last season, that made sense. (The Kansas bio calls him "a bruising forward.")
It all just shocked Black.
"One of the guys in our media department said, 'Aaron Rodgers likes you. Likes you a lot,'" he recalls.
Black laughed it off. Then he heard this:
"No, he really likes you. He wants you to try out for Green Bay."
It still didn't register. Even when Black was handed Rodgers' cell phone number, he refused to text the former MVP for a month. "I didn't know what to say," he explains. Black's roommate had to nudge him into it. Finally he composed a message:
"Just wanted to see if you were serious," Black wrote.
"I'm definitely interested," Rodgers wrote back. "If there's something I can do, let me know."
Soon, Black was on the phone with a Packers scout, and still bewildered by the whole episode.
Adding to the bewilderment was this little factoid about Tarik Black: he has no football experience.
"Zero," says his new agent, Chad Wiestling.
…Both Black and Wiestling say three NFL teams have expressed interest. One unnamed team, in fact, showed its zeal by asking the NBA team in the city it shares to reach out to Wiestling for Black's number. His agency actually got a call from an NBA team on behalf of an NFL team.
"Pretty cool, pretty cool," says Black.
So what does this mean? It's unlikely Black gets drafted next week but it is possible he gets invited to a rookie minicamp. If that happens, Black says he would lean toward going. There is, however, another sport with a draft this summer.
"Basketball is my love," Black says. "I'm definitely going to put effort into making basketball my life. But an opportunity presented itself and I want that opportunity to hold."
Chicago pride runs deep in a Comcast special debuting April 28 which highlights local basketball talents during the 2014 McDonald's All-American Game. For prep stars Cliff Alexander, Jahlil Okafor and Tyler Ulis, the annual showcase put them at center stage at the United Center - a place rich in basketball history with Chicago Bulls championship banners in the rafters and a statue of Michael Jordan sitting outside.
…This special program debuted on CN100, The Comcast Network, on April 28. Visit www.cn100.tv or our Facebook page for more information when you can see CN100's special on the 2014 McDonald's All-American Games.
Watch preview here
How I feel about heading back to KU today... youtu.be/LOSG4g1wj-s
VIDEO: McLemore dunks on kid, crowd storms court
VIDEO: TRob swats Howard
VIDEO: Tyshawn Taylor D-League Season highlights
Kansas will break ground Friday on the $18 million DeBruce Center, the new home for James Naismith’s original “Rules of Basket Ball”.
The new 32,000-square-foot building will sit just northeast of Allen Fieldhouse and display the rules of basketball. According to Kansas, the rules display will be “flanked by the stories” of Naismith, the game’s inventor, and legendary coach Phog Allen.
The center, which will be connected to Allen Fieldhouse via a second-floor concourse, will also feature a student activity center, retail dining, café seating and a new training-table setting for both the KU men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The primary donation for the project came from Kansas alums Paul and Katherine DeBruce of Mission Hills.
Paul DeBruce is CEO and founder of the DeBruce Grain Inc., which operates grain-handling facilities. In 2010, the company became a subsidiary of Gavilon LLC. DeBruce served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Federal Reserve in 2011 and 2012.
“Katherine and I are excited and lucky to be part of this new facility at KU,” Paul DeBruce said when the project was announced. “Our years on the Hill helped provide a foundation for each of us to be successful and give back to our community.”
“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
With turbulence and unrest at an all-time high around Oklahoma State’s basketball program, Travis Ford struck for an element of calm and stability Wednesday.
Addressing the vacancy on his coaching staff, Ford announced the hiring of former Cowboys assistant James Dickey, once Eddie Sutton’s composed right-hand man.
“I’ve known Coach Dickey for 25 years going all the way back to when he recruited me at Kentucky,” Ford said in a release, “and I have always respected and been impressed by the kind of person and coach that he is.
“I’ve enjoyed renewing our relationship the last couple weeks. He brings incredible experience, knowledge and familiarity with this area and with OSU. I’m excited about him helping us reach the next level.”
Dickey offers a veteran voice familiar with that next level, having assisted Sutton during the best run of OSU basketball since Henry P. Iba ruled old Gallagher Hall.
Oklahoma State basketball player Le’Bryan Nash was arrested Monday morning following a routine traffic stop by campus police, the Stillwater Police Department confirmed Tuesday.
OSU police officers pulled Nash over for speeding around 9:45 a.m. Monday, and called Stillwater police officers after realizing Nash had an outstanding municipal warrant, also for speeding, Stillwater Capt. Randy Dickerson said. Nash was transported to the Stillwater City Jail and posted bond there later Monday, Dickerson said.
The City of Stillwater’s website indicates fines for speeding range from $100-250, depending on how far a driver goes past the speed limit.
Court records show Nash was charged with driving without a valid license in Payne County in April 2012. That case was dismissed a month later after Nash agreed to pay fines and court costs of about $340.
The Maryland men’s basketball program lost three players to transfer earlier this month, when guards Nick Faust and Roddy Peters and center Shaquille Cleare announced they would be departing from the College Park-based school. A report surfaced Wednesday that the Terrapins will be losing another player: rising junior guard Seth Allen.
Whether or not the Allen news is correct, Turgeon’s seat is getting a little warm.
Drew Martin just wants to marry his fiancé.
The Texas Christian University assistant athletic director proposed to his then-boyfriend, Blake Macon, in the Chapel of Memories at Mississippi State University hours before last season's big football game against Alabama. For the duo, the engagement tempered their disappointment at the 20-7 loss to the Crimson Tide that Saturday afternoon.
Football runs in their blood. The two men are both Mississippi State alums, separated in school by five years. They only became acquainted on Facebook in 2008. With Macon in Washington, D.C., and Martin in College Station, Texas, at the time, they first met face-to-face at the Arkansas-Mississippi State football game in 2008. It only seemed fitting that they would become engaged at the campus they both called home - and do it on a football Saturday.
…Since then, Martin and Macon have experienced an overwhelming amount of acceptance from the people at Texas Christian. The couple has been completely welcomed by the athletic department, embraced as part of the Horned Frog family. During a recent event at the home of head football coach Gary Patterson, Macon wound up chatting at length with the long-time TCU football coach.
"Coach Patterson is just coach Patterson," Macon said. "He has no problems with our relationship or anything like that. His wife loves Drew."
Last week, Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis outlined the type of coach he was looking for.
On Wednesday, he got his man.
McGillis announced via Twitter late Wednesday that Doc Sadler has been hired as the Golden Eagles’ 20th men’s basketball coach in program history. McGillis said a deal had been reached in principle with Sadler, however an agreement had not been finalized by late Wednesday.
“(Sadler) is a perfect match for Southern Miss,” McGillis said in a telephone interview with the Hattiesburg American Wednesday night. “He has exactly the profile that we sought from the beginning. He’s also very excited about being at Southern Miss. He’s committed to being here, which was very important to me.
“I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight.”
Chris Duhon is slated to be the latest in a long line of former Duke players under Mike Krzyzewski to pursue a college coaching career, as he is expected to be named an assistant under new Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni on Friday.
“You got to just start thinking as a coach,” Duhon told WSAZ’s Rich Donnelly when asked about his transition from being a player (Duhon was most recently a member of the Los Angeles Lakers last spring). “You can’t expect guys to do it the way that, you know, you did it as a player. You have to adjust to them in ways, try to teach them the right way to do it and adjust to the way they play and their playing style.”
Link (His rib had no comment)
It’s impossible to say there could be a room that’s easier to win over than this one, where Missouri basketball coach Kim Anderson’s introductory news conference started with the school fight song, a long standing ovation, and a M-I-Z… Z-O-U! This was Ollie Gates bringing platters to a pack of hungry teenagers.
“This is my dream job,” he said. “You all probably figured that out a long time ago.”
Anderson made ’em laugh and he made ’em cry and he made ’em think. He name-dropped Norm Stewart, small Missouri towns and talked about establishing an identity with defense and aggressive, steady, four-year players fans can get behind. This was a Missouri man who proudly brags about being “Mizzou made” talking to a room full of fans, donors and alumni about a common love.
“We’re Missouri people,” he said. “That’s what we are.”
…Now comes the hard part.
Now comes the important part.
Because outside of that room, the greeting will be much different.
NBA announces Early Entry Candidates for 2014 draft
April 9: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Application Deadline
April 14: NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee Response Deadline
April 15: NCAA Early Entry “Withdrawal” Deadline
April 27: NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 pm ET)
May 2: NBA Draft Early Entry Candidates Released – Underclassmen Contact Permitted
May 14-18: NBA Draft Combine (Chicago)
May 20: NBA Draft Lottery
June 16: NBA Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline (5:00 pm ET)
June 26: 2014 NBA Draft
draftexpress.com: Testing the NBA Draft Waters in 2014
Off to Edinburg with Coach Strong and Barnes. Rick's happy to have Myles Turner in the fold.
@SWPatterson (Texas AD commits NCAA infraction, tweet deleted. LOL)
“Just watching Texas work last year, they're a real blue-collar program,” Turner said during an interview on ESPNU. “The only reason I’m here is through hard work, and I feel that’s what Texas has done and can do in the future.”
Turner said he was also happy to follow in the footsteps of Texas legend Kevin Durant, another 6-11 player who entered college with an advanced outside game.
“Just seeing what he was able to do with that program, it kind of inspired me a bit,” Turner said.
Turner, of course, is not Durant. A late riser on the national AAU scene, he could even have difficulty cracking the starting lineup for a suddenly talent-rich Texas program. But his decision on Wednesday could have lasting ramifications in the Big 12 race.
The Longhorns are set to return their entire roster after finishing 22-9 and 11-7 in the Big 12 last season. Turner will join a nucleus that includes sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor, power forward Jonathan Holmes and center Cameron Ridley.
“Texas just made themselves the favorite in the Big 12,” said ESPN recruiting analyst Paul Biancardi, who likened Turner to former Longhorns standout LaMarcus Aldridge. Biancardi said that with Turner, the Longhorns could derail Kansas.
Paul Biancardi once said Turner would have a Kevin Durant-like effect on UT. Today he said UT is clear favorite in Big 12. Dude, calm down.
Meanwhile, the Rick Barnes rehabilitation tour continues. You may recall Texas’ coach was all but fired before his team played a game last season, a year in which the Longhorns earned that NCAA berth while Barnes earned conference coach of the year honors. Now Barnes and his staff have scored a titanic recruiting win with an elite prospect, ideally infusing confidence in other recruits about the long-range viability of their program. The short-range effect, though, is exponentially enhanced pressure. Barnes will be tasked with making this work. And that doesn’t mean just grinding to another NCAA tournament appearance. The acquisition of Turner, and the way his abundant talent complements everyone around him, means a championship goal is realistic.
Ridley's presence will make it interesting to see how Longhorns coach Rick Barnes handles the positioning of Turner. It is possible the players could play together, although it would make the team less mobile defensively. That also would raise the question of whether 6-8, 240-pound veteran Jonathan Holmes could succeed at small forward.
A 6-9, 285-pound wide-body, Ridley averaged 11.2 points and 8.2 rebounds. Holmes delivered a team-best 12.8 points to go with 7.2 rebounds.
Turner moves well and is a bouncy shot-blocker, and he is the best long-distance shooter of the three. But to use all of those players at once Barnes would most likely need to employ a zone defense.
Here are how the Big 12 schools ranked nationally in 2012-13 men’s basketball attendance (top 100 only):
10. Kansas Jayhawks – 16,438 per game (Allen Fieldhouse)
22. Iowa State Cyclones – 13,393 (Hilton Coliseum)
24. Kansas State Wildcats – 12,528 (Bramlage Coliseum)
32. Texas Longhorns – 10, 945 (Frank Irwin Center)
41. Oklahoma Sooners – 9,890 (Lloyd Noble Center)
42. Oklahoma State Cowboys – 9,814 (Gallagher-Iba Arena)
49. West Virginia Mountaineers – 8,752 (WVU Coliseum)
59. Texas Tech Red Raiders – 7,772 (United Spirit Center)
75. Baylor Bears – 6,705 (Ferrell Center)
I'm not sure Turner choosing Texas over KU swings the balance of power in the Big 12, but it does make the Longhorns the top challenger.
Folks, the @Big12Conference basketball title is still going through Lawrence.
We're gonna be just fine y'all.
We still gone be good y'all don't trip
The BIG 12 goes through Lawrence plus my boy @WayneSeldenJr is gonna kill #missyou #WeAllFromAfrica #HsO (whatever that is)
@jojo_embiid lol yessir ! Miss you too brother
The 4th Annual Ballislife All-American Game will feature many of the nation’s top high school boys basketball players. The national high school all-star game is set to take place May 3 at Long Beach City College’s Hall of Champions Gymnasium.
The 2014 edition of the BIL All-American Game figures to be its best yet, especially since the NCAA’s two all-star game limit for student-athletes signing college scholarships has been lifted.
Scheduled to appear include Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball and four-time CIF state champion Stanley Johnson of Santa Ana Mater Dei. Also headlining the roster of 24 student-athletes is Student Sports National Player of the Year Cliff Alexander from Curie High School in Chicago. Johnson is headed for Arizona and Alexander will play in college at Kansas.
The game will feature three other Southern California products and UCLA recruit Kevon Looney of Milwaukee Hamilton (Milwaukee, Wis.). Daniel Hamilton of CIF Division II state champion St. John Bosco of Bellflower, headed to play for the NCAA National Champion UConn Huskies, is scheduled to participate. Fresno State bound wing Isaiah Bailey of Compton High School and Missouri-bound wing Namon Wright of Pacific Hills High School in Los Angeles are also on the roster. USC bound Jordan McLaughlin of Etiwanda High School was selected, but is injured and unable to play.
The BIL Slam Dunk Contest festivities begin at 4:30 pm PT and the 2014 game begins at 6:30 pm PT.
Tickets for the BIL All-American Game and Slam Dunk Contest are $10 (plus an administrative fee) and can be purchased at ballislifeallamerican.com or EventBrite.
Kansas coach Bill Self spent the weekend moving around the country during the NCAA’s three-day spring evaluation period for recruiting.
Self spent time at the Under Armour Jayhawk Invitational in Gardner before heading to the Nike EYBL event in Sacramento. Kansas assistant Norm Roberts evaluated in Sacramento and Dallas, while assistant Jerrance Howard and Self watched top prospects Malik Newman (No. 1 in 2015) and Josh Jackson (No. 1 in 2016) here in town.
It came on the heels of a two-week recruiting period in early April. The spring evaluation period is often for discovering players and setting up recruiting strategies for the three weeks of evaluation periods in July. It’s early in the process, of course, so compiling recruiting lists and identifying potential KU targets is full of pitfalls.
But as Self and his staff come off the road and work on adding some final pieces to their 2014 class, here are 10 names to follow in the Class of 2015. The list was compiled with help from Shay Wildeboor of Rivals.com and Matt Scott of 24/7 Sports.
Carlton Bragg, No. 10 in Rivals’ top 150, 6-8, forward
Villa Angela St. Joseph (Cleveland, Ohio)
Top post prospect from Ohio, Bragg competed in the adidas event in Dallas this past weekend. One of the many schools also interested: Kentucky.
Jaylen Brown, No. 11 in Rivals’ top 150, 6-7, small forward
Wheeler High (Marietta, Ga.)
Kansas recently had luck signing a small forward from Georgia (Brannen Greene). Brown According to Rivals, Brown has offers from UCLA, Kansas, Louisville, Arizona, Georgetown … well, just about everybody. Kentucky is also interested.
Jalen Brunson, No. 14 in Rivals’ top 150, 6-1, point guard
Stevenson High (Lincolnshire High)
Son of former NBA player Rick Brunson, the younger Brunson was selected the 2013-14 Gatorade Illinois Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a junior.
Chance Comanche, No. 12 in Rivals’ top 150, 6-10, center
View Park Continution (Los Angeles)
There are plenty of big-time post prospects on the West Coast. Rivals’ scouting report says Comanche “… is comfortable shooting jumpers out to 15 feet and is an alert passer. He blocks some shots but will become more effective there … as he adds the strength.”
Cheick Diallo, No. 8 in Rivals’ top 150, 6-9, forward
Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.)
A high-motor-type big man from the East Coast; KU has landed a few of those during Bill Self’s tenure.
Tyler Davis, No. 20 in Rivals’ top 150, 6-9, center
Plano, Texas (Plano, West)
A wide-body from the Dallas metroplex, Self was able to see Davis in person on Sunday morning.
Malik Newman, No. 1 in Rivals’ top 150, 6-3, shooting guard
Callaway High (Jackson, Miss.)
A Ben Gordon-type combo guard, Newman was in Kansas City this past weekend competing in the Under Armour Jayhawk Invitational. He didn’t mention specific schools, but he should have no shortage of interest as he enters the summer as the No. 1 overall recruit.
Ivan Rabb, No. 2 in Rivals’ top 150, 6-9, forward
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)
Another big man out West, Rabb is also reportedly drawing heavy interest from Arizona, Cal, Georgetown and North Carolina.
Justin Simon, No. 23 in Rivals’ top 150, 6-4, shooting guard
Temecula Valley (Temecula, Calif.)
Kansas offered Simon earlier this year, according to Rivals. He’s also looking at Arizona, San Diego State, Southern Cal and Louisville, among others.
Stephen Zimmerman, No. 4, 7-0, center
Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas)
One of the most sought-after big men in the class, Zimmerman has offers from just about everybody. Rivals’ scouting report says Zimmerman is not your “typical low post banger but does have a physical edge to him. Very smooth from end to end and highly skilled with the ball (and) shoots well to 17 feet…”
UCLA & Kansas have offered Allonzo Trier, a 2015 guard from Athletes First (OK)
Thon Maker, the consensus No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2016, is being pursued by a Who’s Who of elite college basketball programs, including Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Louisville.
All of those schools, as well as Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, watched the 7-foot Maker this past weekend at the Adidas stop in Duncanville, Texas, his guardian, Ed Smith, told SNY.tv Wednesday.
…As for Kansas, “[Bill Self and Kurtis Townsend] spoke to me about the success they had with [Joel] Embiid. They feel that Thon has a different skillset where he is a live threat from the free throw line in their high-low action. They also feel that in a two-man game, they can roll or pop him. Like Embiid, he’s only been playing for four years to his best basketball is ahead of him.”
Ed Smith, @ThonMaker14 's guardian, tells @SNYtv head coaches from Duke, KU and UK watched Thon this wknd & KU had someone at every game.
Hearing Kentucky, Kansas, St. John's, PItt & Iowa State among those in mix for 2015 F @cheick_diallo13
Jerome Williams’ basketball mission has not changed. But he won’t be carrying it out at Findlay Prep.
Williams said Tuesday he will not return for a second season as the Pilots’ coach after a meeting with the program’s namesake and benefactor, Cliff Findlay.
“I had a conversation with Mr. Findlay (Monday night), and he wanted to move in a new direction,” Williams said. “I thank him for giving me the opportunity to work at Findlay Prep and coach this team during the 2013-14 year. …
“In my heart, I’m glad I got to do it for a year. I wish it could have been longer, but there’s no negativity on my end in terms of what Findlay Prep basketball is about and the education these players are getting.”
Findlay did not return a voice-mail message Tuesday seeking comment.
Williams, who retired from the NBA in 2005 after nine seasons, was a volunteer assistant at Findlay under former coach Michael Peck and also spent three seasons as the program’s director of player development. Known as the “Junkyard Dog” during his playing days, Williams was named head coach in August after Todd Simon was hired as an assistant at UNLV.
The Pilots finished 31-5 in Williams’ lone season at the helm and reached the semifinals of the High School National Tournament before losing 64-55 to Oak Hill (Va.). The highlight of the Pilots’ season was a 67-59 victory over previously unbeaten Rainier Beach (Wash.) in the quarterfinals of the HSNT.
However, the five losses were the most since the 2006-07 season, the program’s first year. Findlay Prep’s 92-game home winning streak was snapped in December, and the Pilots also lost high-profile matchups against Prime Prep (Texas), Montrose Christian (Md.) and Bishop Gorman.
adidas Uprising Spring/Summer Events
2014 Spring/Summer AAU and camp schedule (compiled by CBS Sports)
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