Kevin Young’s energy and hustle, ability to push the basketball and score around the rim, have made him a fan favorite in this, his senior year, at Kansas University.
One other thing, too ...
“The fans just love his afro,” said one of Young’s biggest supporters — younger brother, Donovan, who, along with the siblings’ mom, Alicia, watched Kevin score eight points and grab nine rebounds in KU’s 87-59 rout of Richmond on Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.
Donovan and mom have been in town since Saturday — they saw Kevin score eight points and grab six boards in a 89-60 battering of Belmont — and will remain indefinitely. They’ve decided to move from Perris, Calif., to Lawrence for second semester of Kevin’s final KU campaign.
“He loves KU. He loves all of his fans who love him here at KU,” added Donovan, 15, who will attend Free State High School as a freshman after starting out at Kevin’s alma mater, Perris High.
It was easy to spot Donovan Young outside the northwest tunnel, just past a pack of autograph seekers who sought signatures a full hour after Tuesday’s rout. The length and width of Donovan’s afro rival his big brother’s.
There hasn’t been a television broadcaster yet who, when calling a Kansas basketball game, hasn’t mentioned that 6-foot-8 freshman Perry Ellis “needs to get tougher.” Or “has to play more physical.” Or, the best, “must find a mean streak.”
OK, we get it. Ellis has some work to do in the ferocity department. The case can be made that he hasn’t been as good as many expected him to be after becoming a McDonald’s All-American at Heights, where he led the Falcons to four consecutive Class 6A championships and was a four-time All-State player.
Such accomplishments lead to great expectations at the next level and Ellis, who lost his job in the starting lineup early to senior Kevin Young, has too often strolled through the park when KU coach Bill Self wants him to leap over the trees.
But just because Ellis is soft-spoken doesn’t mean he’s soft. Slowly but surely, he is finding a comfort zone. He looked more involved and engaged during KU’s easy win over Richmond on Tuesday night at Allen Fieldhouse and he’ll get another chance when Kansas plays at Ohio State on Saturday.
“Every day I’m feeling more comfortable,’’ Ellis said. “The more this season goes on, the more comfortable I’m feeling.’’
Ellis admittedly has taken some time to get a lay of the land in Lawrence. He arrived with tremendous fanfare by a fan base that thought he would need to produce at a high level for the Jayhawks to be successful.
…The more Ellis watches the man who took his starting job, the more he is inspired by him.
“We’ve gotten close,’’ Ellis said. “Kevin and I talk a lot. He really helps me out by motivating me throughout practices and telling me to go and get that ball. I notice how much better he’s gotten as a player since last season. He’s just gained so much confidence.’’
Confidence has a way of striking when a player least expects it. Ellis is waiting for that strike.
At Heights, confidence was never an issue. Ellis became one of the best high school players in the state’s history by showing up every day, for every practice and every game. He was almost always the best player on the floor whenever he was on the floor.
Not so at Kansas, where the learning curve has been of the 12-to-6 variety. Becoming a college player, and a college student, hasn’t come easily for Ellis. He, like most freshmen, has needed time to adapt. The pace is quicker, the players are bigger and stronger. And at times it doesn’t even seem like the rims are 10 feet high anymore.
That’s normal life for a college basketball freshmen, except for that select few who find their niche early on and never look back.
Of the 24 McDonald’s All-America players from 2012, all of whom are playing at big-time schools this season, Ellis ranks 20th in minutes. He’s not had the impact of UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, Kentucky’s Alex Poythress, Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon, UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, Baylor’s Isaiah Austin or Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin.
But those who believe Ellis to be a disappointment simply aren’t grasping reality. Kansas is loaded with veterans. And because of Young’s production, the Jayhawks haven’t needed Ellis to be a double-digit scorer and top-flight rebounder. His minutes have fallen off, but lately his contributions have risen.
Wichita Eagle Lutz
It might sound simple, but a huge reason for the Kansas men's basketball team's success so far has been making close shots while allowing very few.
Hoop-Math.com's numbers list KU as the best layup/dunk defensive team in the nation, with opponents only making 43 percent of those shots. In addition, KU leads the country by blocking 30 percent of those close tries.
On the other end, the Jayhawks have thrived at getting layups and dunks, helped by strong transition play and good passing.
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics (W, 103-91 vs. CLE)
40 points (13-16 FG, 6-7 3P, 8-8 FT), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover in 34 minutes
Jayhawks in the NBA
Marcus Morris played well in his 31 minutes of action with 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, one block and two 3-pointers against the Sixers.
He has made two 3-pointers in each of his three starts and logging 32.3 minutes per game over that stretch.
LJW: KU athletes play up spirit of giving
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
Texas guard Myck Kabongo will be suspended by the NCAA for the rest of the season, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
…In most impermissible benefits situations, players usually are suspended from three to 10 games and ordered to repay the amount of the benefits received. In this case, the penalty was made more severe because Kabongo provided inaccurate information to NCAA investigators when he was interviewed, sources with ties to Texas' basketball program said.
The season-long ban is consistent with the penalty applied to former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant in 2009 when he lied to the NCAA.
Tyrus McGee couldn’t believe it, and neither could Fred Hoiberg, his coach.
Iowa State’s top perimeter sharp-shooter had a pair of airballs, of all things, during Wednesday morning’s practice. Thankfully for the Cyclones, it didn’t carry over to a 76-61 victory against Missouri-Kansas City at Municipal Auditorium.
McGee scored 17 of his 20 points during the second half as the Cyclones head to a holiday break with a 9-3 record.
“Tyrus was in one of those zones,” Hoiberg said of McGee, who was 5-for-6 from 3-point range during a second half in which Iowa State outscored the Kangaroos 46-32.
Two days after missing a potential game-winning 3-pointer, UTEP’s Konner Tucker got a second chance in a big home game against an elite opponent Wednesday night.
This time Tucker drilled it.
The senior transfer’s shot with 13 seconds left in triple overtime against Oregon broke open a one-possession game and led the Miners to a 91-84 victory, almost exactly 48 hours after Tucker’s miss at the buzzer in a 62-60 loss to No. 21 UNLV.
In his 15th season leading a Division I squad, Maryland men’s basketball Coach Mark Turgeon can diagnose physique issues with a quick glance. Point guard Pe’Shon Howard, for instance, was too bulky last season, putting unnecessary pressure on his surgically repaired right knee. Center Shaquille Cleare was too robotic in his movements. Others, such as center Alex Len, needed to add weight and become tougher. Simply put, the Terrapins needed sculpting.
So last spring, Turgeon laid out his vision for the program’s offseason workouts. And if Turgeon is the architect, Kyle Tarp is the builder.
...After graduating from UC Davis in 2006 with a degree in exercise biology, Tarp worked in the private fitness sector until graduate school at the University of Texas. In Austin, he studied under Todd Wright, college basketball’s first sport-specific strength coach, learning a nontraditional approach that emphasizes movement and fluidity over brute strength.
During his freshman season at Xavier, Dez Wells said he “lifted like football players.” But at Maryland, each exercise serves a basketball-specific purpose. There are no bench presses or hang-cleans meant solely to build brute strength. Instead, players jump with basketballs hooked to air-resistance machines to hone vertical explosiveness, and dribble medicine balls beneath low-hanging ropes to enhance lateral agility.
After practices, Tarp solicits intensity ratings from the players on a 1-to-10 scale and adjusts the ensuing weightlifting session accordingly. He’s the first strength coordinator Turgeon has ever seriously asked, “How do you think their legs are doing?” The better Tarp understands Turgeon’s system, the more effective his workouts will be.
“I think what Kyle has is common sense,” Turgeon said. “In the offseason, he goes full-bore. I tell him what I want. This kid has to do this, gain weight, lose weight, have a stronger base, his foot speed is slow. We sit down and talk about each kid, then he might see something I don’t see.”
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Big 12 Composite Schedule
After suffering a 62-55 loss Tuesday to the second-ranked team in the nation, Long Beach Poly (Calif.), the Tift County Blue Devils bounced back strong Wedneday.
Playing in their second game of the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., the Devils defeated Eagles Landing out of McDonough, 81-72.
Brannen Greene led the Devils with 26 points and four assists.
Simeon basketball star Jabari Parker is set to make the announcement that everyone has been waiting for: which college will he attend? Parker, an All-American and the No. 2 rated senior in the country is deciding between Duke, BYU, Michigan State, Stanford and Florida.
He’s made visits to all five campuses -- unofficially -- and “official” visits to every school except Stanford.
He will make the announcement during a press conference on Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. on the campus of Simeon Career Academy.
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