Good luck to Thomas and Tyshawn tonight. I have only been here 6 months and some of my greatest impressions were created by you at Allen.
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LJW live blog from the NBA Draft
Riverdale Baptist boys basketball coach Lou Wilson still can recall the pleas of the three players living under his roof during the 2007-08 season. After practice and dinner and homework, they’d want Wilson to bring them back to the gym.
“C’mon, dad,” his son, Bryan Wilson, would say.
“C’mon, coach,” Javorn Farrell would say. “Let me go back over there and get some shots up.”
“C’mon, Coach Louuu,” Thomas Robinson would say, slightly drawing out that last vowel. “C’mon, Coach Louuu.”
For a good chunk of the hour-and-a-half sessions — with Wilson, a guard, and Farrell, a wing — Robinson practiced his ball handling and outside shooting. Though Robinson was a power forward and at times they practiced pick-and-rolls and post-ups, he often had to follow the perimeter-oriented lead of his two workout partners.
...Wilson and Farrell met Robinson when their Team Maryland went against the Fort Washington Bullets, the AAU team of a tall and lanky 10-year-old Robinson.
“He wasn’t good at all,” Farrell said chuckling.
But he had potential, right?
“He didn’t even show that,” Farrell said.
After spending his first two high school seasons in Washington, D.C., Robinson began working out with Riverdale Baptist before his junior year, and ultimately transferred to the Upper Marlboro school.
“We introduced him to the weight room,” Wilson said.
A stronger Robinson blew up, averaging 16 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks, two assists and two steals per game.
Before transferring to Brewster Academy (N.H.) for his senior year, Robinson led Riverdale Baptist to the National Association of Christian Athletes tournament in Tennessee. As Farrell tells the story to his Massachusetts teammates — beginning, of course, with Robinson being a no-good 10-year-old — Robinson had 32 points, 28 rebounds and seven blocks in a game, and Kentucky offered him a scholarship on the spot.
“I knew something good was going to happen,” Farrell said. “There was a lot of coaches in the gym. I didn’t know he was going to get an offer right on the spot, but I knew his phone was going to be ringing a lot after that tournament. It was exciting, because he wasn’t really on the radar like that yet. That was like his coming-out party.”
Wilson texted Robinson when Robinson worked out with the Wizards a couple weeks ago, asking if Robinson had a chance to visit Riverdale Baptist’s basketball camp.
“He had to fly back out to California as soon as he worked out with the Wizards,” Wilson said.
“He’s big time now. Big time.”
Tyshawn Taylor’s draft week started with one last head-to-head workout, previously unscheduled and unbeknownst to almost everyone.
No NBA general managers were present. The two participants, Taylor and Thomas Robinson, competed on a court behind Taylor’s old building in Hoboken, N.J., a 15-minute drive from the stage where David Stern will announce draft picks Thursday night.
“Long story short,” Taylor said, “I won.”
This was a 3-point competition on Taylor’s home turf, so the Kansas point guard had an edge against the Kansas forward. The outcome shouldn’t hurt Robinson’s draft stock, with most projections putting him as high as the No. 2 pick and no lower than No. 4.
“He can sleep better at night than me, because he knows he’s up there,” Taylor said.
…Taylor is confident he’ll be drafted, so that’s not the fear. It’s just the nervous anticipation, the same feeling he had while watching other KU players wait to learn their draft destinations in previous years.
…Taylor is spending this week in his old neighborhood, which is how he ended up in a pickup game with his former KU teammate. Robinson was one of 14 players invited to observe the draft from the NBA’s Green Room, which entailed several days of activities in New York. It was a short cab ride to Hoboken, a place Robinson was visiting for the first time.
“I brought him down to where I’m from so he could see a little bit of where I grew up,” Taylor said. “I took him to the court and showed him the homecourt advantage. This is my crib over here.”
While Robinson sits in the spotlight of the Green Room, Taylor will spend draft night at a restaurant with family and a few friends. He didn’t want anything too elaborate, figuring the uncertainty of the draft would be stressful enough.
“It’s kind of up in the air right now,” Taylor said. “They’ve got me going late first round, anywhere to 40. I could be there early, or I could slip late.”
Throughout the past year, Robinson has talked a lot about his sister and how all of the work he put in was for her future. On Wednesday, Robinson was asked how Jayla was handling the overwhelming scene that is the NBA Draft and he answered with one of his trademark smiles.
“I know what it’s like,” he said. “It’s great. Because right now she’s on 5th Avenue shopping. So she’s fine. And that feels great. That’s why I worked for it. So for her to see it actually happen will be a great feeling.”
…Without hesitation, Robinson needed just one word to describe what his three years in Lawrence meant to him.
“Everything,” he said. “The more I’m away from Kansas, the more I miss it and I start to remember things that I forgot I even did. Being at KU was special for me. I’ll definitely be back.”
It will begin with a handshake and a baseball cap. The moment the well-groomed young man becomes a basketball millionaire.
Tonight inside the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., former Kansas All-American Thomas Robinson will glide across the stage in a freshly pressed suit, flash his Madison Avenue smile, and pull the bill of his new cap down over his forehead. His baby sister, Jayla — his motivation for the past year after overcoming a string of family tragedies — will likely watch from the green room.
NBA commissioner David Stern will look on proudly, and Robinson, a 6-foot-8 power forward, will turn toward the cameras and have his NBA Draft moment — three seconds that will be logged into the archives and symbolize the birth of a new career.
“It feels great,” Robinson told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday. “Because I honestly feel like I worked for mine.”
…“I think it’s a coin flip,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He could go second or sixth, just depending on how things fall.”
This week, Robinson told reporters at a workout in Charlotte that he had conducted personal workouts with only two other teams — his hometown Washington Wizards, who own the No. 3 pick, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who draft fourth.
Robinson will likely become the first Jayhawk to be selected in the top 10 since Kirk Hinrich was drafted No. 7 by the Chicago Bulls in 2003. And there’s a fair chance Robinson could become the highest drafted KU player since Danny Manning went No. 1 in 1988. (Former Kansas forward Raef LaFrentz was picked third in 1998.)
But after Robinson takes his walk, the focus will turn to whether he can live up to the lofty expectations that go along with being a second or third pick.
Robinson seems to be the popular choice if the Bobcats keep the second pick. What do you like about him?
Jay Bilas: He's a horse. He can run. He's explosive off the floor. His post game needs to improve a little. He can be a better passer and more aware of the floor, but he'll learn that. He's the best defensive rebounder in the draft. He's a really safe pick at No. 2.
Under the new CBA, the first pick pockets $4,286,900 next year, the second guy gets $3,835,600, and Robinson likely would make that $4.28 million if not for Davis. Robinson, an athletically gifted strong forward likened to Antawn Jamison, said he knows he possesses impact skills — and knows he needs work.
“Just me as a person [and] the things I do best, you can’t teach,” said Robinson, listing “hitting open shots consistently, reading the pick and roll” as areas he needs to improve. “The rebounding, the playing hard. It’s not something you can go into the gym and work on. . . . Offensively, I think I’m better than what a lot of people think.”
The two Jayhawks will look to be the 14th and 15th players drafted during the Bill Self era. If Robinson is selected with one of the first five picks he will be the highest Jayhawk taken since Drew Gooden was selected fourth overall in 2002. Robinson is one of 14 players who was invited to attend the 2012 NBA Draft.
If Robinson and Taylor are both selected in the first round, it will be the seventh time Kansas has had multiple NBA first round picks in the same year: 1997 (Scot Pollard and Jacque Vaughn), 1998 (Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce), 2003 (Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich), 2008 (Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur), 2010 (Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich) and 2011 (Markieff and Marcus Morris).
Since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97, KU has had 21 players drafted in the NBA, which is the most of any league member. Over the last decade, KU is tied with UCLA for producing the most NBA Draft picks in the nation with 15. Three KU draft picks recently played for the 2012 NBA Championship, with 2008 second-rounder Mario Chalmers helping the Miami Heat win the crown.
Kentucky's Anthony Davis is projected to be the No. 1 overall selection. If Robinson goes second, it would be the first draft in NBA history in which each of the top two picks played against each other in the preceding national championship game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
This season Thomas Robinson played as a man would given the chance to step in against a JV team. A feeling of control stuck with him as a breakout junior closer than many defenders did as he averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Kansas has always been prolific at putting out the fundamentally sound star with Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison. All the stars from Lawrence who gave off their own vibe to match — J.R. Giddens and Brandon Rush, for a few — never seemed to transition into the pros nor fit the Kansas archetype. Robinson, though, was one of the best to mix that panache, power and team concept this season.
After that season he’s expected to be drafted Thursday night in the NBA Draft in the top five picks. It’s time we looked at his top five plays of the season.
Luck this bad won't change for you overnight.
But if you grab former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson in tonight's NBA draft, it would be the right first step.
My colleague Bret Strelow says you should pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the youngest player in the draft. But I think the experienced Robinson will be more valuable.
During his three seasons at Kansas, Robinson grew into the Jayhawks' best player. His hunger to improve - during which weathered the loss of his mother and two grandparents within the space of a month as a sophomore - shows no signs of waning once he gets to the pros.
One scout said that he has "one of the biggest hearts in the draft."
Robinson also possesses a 6-foot-9 frame and high work rate that had him on NBA radars early. Already considered a monster on the glass, Robinson showed an improved offensive repertoire as a junior, leading the Jayhawks in scoring and helping guide them to the NCAA tournament final.
And he seemed to do his best work when the stakes were the highest. In 12 games against teams that earned top-three NCAA tournament seeds last season, Robinson's scoring average jumped nearly two points to 19.4 while still averaging more than 11 rebounds.
"If he goes to the right place with a good development program, he's only going to get better," the scout said. ". I think his ceiling is so high, what he is now isn't what he's going to be two, three, even five years from now."
Is Robinson the kind of talent who will jolt the Bobcats out of their rut right now? Maybe not.
Could he be the player who thrives in their power forward spot for the better part of the next decade? With his mix of physicality and fire, that's possible.
And if you're the Bobcats, that's something you can't pass on.
“There was no doubt this kid should have been a statistical loss to society,” said Bob Hurley, Taylor’s coach at St. Anthony. “He didn’t have anything going for him that would lead you to believe he was going to change his direction.”
Yesterday, a cherry red sports car reverberated the afternoon sun as it sat idle outside the housing projects on 5th Avenue and Jackson Street in Hoboken where Taylor was born. He took Twitter pictures with it and smiled. He ran into old friends from high school who watched him rise from unwanted prospect to program staple at Kansas. He planned an NBA Draft gathering with the family that raised him, pushing him toward St. Anthony for a chance at something better.
He will wait to be called tonight as the draft plays out at Prudential Center. He is projected to go in the late first round or early second round, and the opportunity to create a new existence where there’s nothing to forget anymore.
…Taylor approaches his next life with a loose definition of manhood. It is a framework solidified after he moved his family with him to Lawrence, Kan., during his four years of college.
In his mind, taking care of them now is the benchmark of a new beginning.
“Set aside from the fact that this is my dream, I mean I’m literally living my dream, to be able to help my mom out and take a load off her, to be able to have my sisters grow up different than they have been, as a man, that’s what you want. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”
NJ Star Ledger
Bill Self paid tribute to the founder of the Ball’s Charity Golf Classic, then gave an ominous warning to University of Kansas basketball opponents as a kickoff to the 31st Golf Classic.
One of the largest if not the largest charitable fund raisers of its kind in the Kansas City area, proceeds from the 2012 Classic pushed the 31-year total contributions to more than $4.25 million.
…Self served warning to the Big 12 and the rest of the nation when he predicted “We’ll be good” for his 2012-13 Jayhawk basketball team.
That’s ominous because a year ago this time there were no great expectations for the Jayhawks and yet they won an eighth straight Big 12 championship and finished runnerup in the NCAA national tournament.
“We have four solid seniors and basically eight freshmen,” said Self. The seniors are 7-0 center Jeff Withey, 6-8 forward Kevin Young and guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford. “Withey and Johnson I think will both play professionally.”
…“We’re going to be big and pretty talented,” added Self. “McLemore may be the most talented player that we’ve had here.”
"When you're in this business, there are four or five programs that you look at as being historic," continues Sadler, who was 101-89 overall with the Huskers but 34-64 in conference play. "And this is one of them.
"People that know me, they know that I don't have an ego. And a lot of (material) things don't really matter. Just being a basketball junkie and being a basketball guy, having a chance to sit in this arena (Allen Fieldhouse) and watch a lot of good games is going to be a lot of fun (for) me."
...Self lost Manning (now the coach at Tulsa) and Barry Hinson (the new head man at Southern Illinois) from his 2011-12 staff but gained a couple of former head coaches in Norm Roberts (who won 81 games in six years at St. John's) and Sadler (who won 149 games over eight seasons at UTEP and Nebraska). Not a bad trade-off, all things considered.
"If it's a matter of going and washing and cleaning somebody's car because we've got a recruit coming in, I know how important that is," Sadler says. "I don't think there's such a thing as being 'overqualified,' because everybody's important.
"What's going to be hard is sitting up there watching practice and not being able to be down there. I don't really miss calling the shots during the game. But the other parts are probably what's going to be hard — not really being in that part of it."
Still, Sadler doesn't plan on doing this forever, either. But for a basketball junkie who has lost his way, Lawrence is an awfully nice place to try and find yourself again.
The Kansas men's basketball 87-86 overtime victory over Missouri on Feb. 25 has been nominated for "Game of the Year" in this year's ESPY awards, ESPN announced Wednesday.
Then-No. 4 KU overcame a 19-point second-half deficit to beat No. 3 MU at Allen Fieldhouse. The contest also was the final conference battle against the two schools following a 105-year league history.
The win gave the Jayhawks at least a share of their eighth-straight Big 12 regular-season title — a championship they would win outright two days later.
An ESPY nomination special will air Wednesday at 10 p.m. on ESPN2, and fans can vote for the contest on ESPN's site.
Kansas 2012-13 Schedule
Big 12/College News
Vote for Norfolk State over Missouri for ESPY Best Upset
1. Baylor coach Scott Drew said he is coming to Newark to witness history: three Baylor players taken in the NBA draft. All three -- Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy -- have a legitimate chance to be in the first round. Miller is on the bubble; Acy could yet climb into the back end of the first round. Acy is the best back-to-the-basket player among the three. What makes Drew’s appearance interesting is that none of the Baylor players were invited by the NBA. But Drew said late Wednesday that all three are going to go to Newark, sit in the stands and walk across the stage when their names are called.
2. New Kansas State and former Illinois coach Bruce Weber said he will also be in Newark, at the invitation of Meyers Leonard. This is a great gesture by Leonard, who stuck with Weber through a tough season in Champaign. Leonard had an enigmatic career at Illinois, but Weber was in his corner. Leonard has been complimentary of Weber and his time at Illinois during multiple interviews in Chicago and again Wednesday in New York.
3. St. John’s coach Steve Lavin is planning on being in Newark to witness Moe Harkless get selected somewhere in the first round. North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Kentucky’s John Calipari will also be in the green room -- Williams has three players invited (Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson), Calipari two (Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist). Washington coach Lorenzo Romar is in Newark as well to support late add Terrence Ross, who isn't expected to get past No. 15 Thursday night. Two coaches who have had a history of not coming to the draft and allowing their players to have the moment to themselves are Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and UConn’s Jim Calhoun. Neither will be in Newark on Thursday.
ESPN Take Two: Alternative to one-and-done?
ESPN: Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones show risks of leaving college later
The sad tale of Renardo Sidney is one that every single Division I basketball prospect should be told.
As a middle schooler, Sidney was a can’t miss talent. In eighth grade, he was considered the best player in the country in his age group. Most expected him to eventually become the next great one-and-done player, possibly even the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
In high school, Sidney bought into his hype, moving from his native Mississippi to California in an effort to get more exposure and compete against the best that the LA area had to offer. But all that ended up happening was that Sidney and his family not-so-subtly lined their pockets, enough that it drew the attention of the NCAA. UCLA got scared off. USC did as well. Sidney ended up enrolling at Mississippi State, where the NCAA suspended him for a full season plus nine games of the following season for the illegal benefits and the lies he told to try and cover it up.
By the time Sidney finally saw the court in college, he was far too overweight to play enough significant minutes. He seemed to lack the motivation to improve, both in regards to his conditioning and his off-court temperament. His second year at MSU, Sidney got into a pair of fights with teammates, including an ugly brawl with Elgin Bailey that was caught by ESPN’s cameras in Hawaii.
If Sidney had given half the effort to getting in shape that he did in trying to drop Bailey with a haymaker he may have heard his name called by David Stern in the first round of Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Because for all the excess fat — Sidney weighed in at 304 pounds with 22.4% body fat, the second-highest in the database hosted by Draft Express — and the horrendous conditioning, the talent Sidney has was still evident. He was nimble, quick even, with good feet for a man his size. He had touch around the basket and range on his jump shot. His wingspan (7’4.5″ at the combine) and his vertical (30″ without a step, a good number for a 6-foot-10 power forward that’s actually in shape) should give you a glimpse of just what kind of player Sidney was earlier in his career.
Instead, Sidney has now burned through his second agent since the draft process started and has seemingly accepted the fact that his talent has officially been wasted.
“This whole NBA process is really tough and with me dropping two agents, it really doesn’t look good for me right now,” Sidney told Brandon Marcello of the Clarion-Ledger. “Like you said, it sounds like I’m lost. I can admit that I’m lost. I’m just trying to find my way back and see on Thursday what happens.”
So keep this in mind, recruits. Remember what happens when you buy into your hype and when you expect everything yo be handed to you. Guys like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant are exceptional talents with undeniable athletic gifts, but they also work incredibly hard at their craft. LeBron didn’t win a title until he developed a post-game. You think that happened by accident? Durant is a three-time NBA scoring champ because he’s 6-foot-10 with the perimeter skills of a shooting guard. You think that he was born with range out to 30-feet and the ability to handle the ball like a player eight inches shorter?
The summer is a dreary time for basketball fans. The NBA draft leaves all but a few former college basketball players by the wayside -- fighting for spots in Europe or the D-League or forced to confront the possibility that their days as stars are over.
A new summertime minor league basketball organization, the Basketball Alumni Legends League, is hoping to reconcile those two facts. The league is the brainchild of CEO Michael Wranovics, who believes "The-BALL" can fill the most specific of hoops niches -- a summer league composed of teams with former local collegiate stars.
The league would "feature former college standouts from the local universities, giving the teams instant star power and a built-in fan base," according to a Wednesday release. The season would run from July to August, "giving top players a highquality professional hoops alternative during their offseason break from the NBA, DLeague or international competition." Theoretically, a team from Washington D.C. would feature players from Georgetown, Maryland, George Mason, etc., while a team from Philadelphia would include players from Temple, Villanova, La Salle, and on down the line.
…That future, if it happens, is still at least a year away. The league plans to launch July 2013, but is still considering its first markets and seeking out owners. There is much to solve first.
But the idea -- which sits at the nexus of fan nostalgia and post-college hoop dreams, and could provide some entertaining college-level-ish basketball during the very quiet summer months -- is undeniably intriguing. Something for college hoops fans to keep an eye on, at least.
Kansas State men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber and his staff will host a high school team shootout on Saturday. The camp is open to any and all high school teams of varsity or junior varsity levels. Teams will have an opportunity to play at least four games on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. The entry fee is $150 per team with each squad being guaranteed four games. Games will be played at Bramlage Coliseum, Ahearn Field House and Chester E. Peters Recreation Center with certified high school officials.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin announced Wednesday that June 27 is a day dedicated to the University of South Carolina's new head basketball coach.
The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast for USC coach Frank Martin.
The former Kansas State University coach was announced as USC's head men's basketball coach in March.
"I didn't come here to just coach basketball, I came here to become a member of this community and hopefully impact it in as many positive ways that I can," said Martin.
When asked about what he expects this season, Martin said he doesn't like to promise wins, but promises a team that will play with tremendous heart; something his Kansas State University team was known for.
"You can ask any of those ESPN, CBS, all these different experts out there, ask them who's the hardest playing team in the country, and they all would have said Kansas State University. Well that's what they're going to say about South Carolina Gamecocks from now on," said Martin.
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Before the plethora of spring "travel ball" tournaments unfold, there was a consensus as to the five best players in the Class of 2013.
The five players I refer to are Julius Randle (6-foot-8, Plano, Texas, Prestonwood Christian/Texas Titans "travel team"); Jabari Parker (6-7, Chicago, Simeon/Mac Irvin Fire); Andrew and Aaron Harrison (Richmond, Texas, Travis/Houston Defenders); and Aaron Gordon (6-7, San Jose, Calif., Mitty/Oakland Soldiers).
After watching Randle for four days during the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in Hayward, Calif., I came away with a strong hunch that he's the No. 1 prospect -- on both the college and NBA levels -- in the Class of 2013.
He dominated every game the Texas Titans played, from both the perimeter, and the mid- and low-post areas -- including the one against the Mac Irvin Fire, led by Parker.
…The Florida Rams will be among the most watched clubs during adidas-sponsored tournaments in Indianapolis (adidas Invitational, July 11-15) and Las Vegas (adidas Super 64, July 25-29) next month. And a big reason will be the presence of Kasey Hill (6-2, Montverde, Fla., Academy), Chris Walker (6-10, Bonifax, Fla., Holmes County) and Brannen Greene (6-6, Juliette, Ga, Mary Persons).
…Whether he's listed as a "guard" or as a "forward" on the University of Kansas roster during his 2013-14 freshman season, this can be certain about Greene, who committed to the Jayhawks early last season: He's going to be on the floor a whole lot for Coach Bill Self.
…If you don't know, now you know: The best of the guards at the Pangos All-American Camp was a fellow from Wichita (specifically, North High).
With eight McDonald's All-American voters on hand in Long Beach, Conner Frankamp (who will be on the July tour with the Kansas City Run GMC), left little doubt that he's among the front-runners for one of the 24 slots next spring. His jump shot and crossover dribble maneuvers can all safely be tagged "wicked".
FIBA U17 World Championship official site
San Diego State star basketball recruit Winston Shepard was arrested on campus late Monday for possession of marijuana, according to SDSU police.
A campus police officer checked the parked vehicle he was occupying about 11 p.m. Monday and found a small amount of marijuana, police records show.
SDSU police said they consider it a “technical arrest,” but he was not taken to jail. He was issued a citation and released.
It is common to find as many as 15 coaches from Washington-area private schools watching a summer tournament game involving middle school players. Suber said nine of his players were recruited to the ultracompetitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, which features traditional powers like DeMatha, Gonzaga College High School and Archbishop Carroll High School.
Pete Strickland, an assistant coach at George Washington University who began his career as an assistant at DeMatha, said that high school recruiting in Washington was more frenetic than college recruiting because of the career goals of the young assistants involved.
“It’s almost like Nixon’s White House,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys with blind ambition.”
Suber said the schools used a “shotgun approach” to recruiting, focusing on as many players as they could, not just the stars. That means continual communications from coaches to players through social media, letters and phone calls. The process can be overwhelming for parents.
But players at a recent tournament seemed to enjoy the attention. Chris Lykes said he was “flattered” when he saw a coach watching him from the bleachers.
Andre Boykin, a 6-foot-3 center on a 13-and-younger travel team affiliated with the club Team Takeover, said: “It’s pretty cool to say a coach comes to my games. I know that’s when I’ve really got to play my hardest.”
NY Times: Middle School - The New Recruiting Battleground
Summer Event Schedule
adidas Grassroots schedule
Nike EYBL Schedule
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar
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