Former Kansas guard Mario Chalmers will have his No. 15 jersey retired at halftime of the ESPN College Gameday Texas at Kansas men’s basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 16, KU announced Thursday.
…“Mario definitely deserves to have his jersey hung,” KU head coach Bill Self said. “He was the most outstanding player in a 2008 Final Four, which featured four No. 1 seeds. He was as clutch of a player as we’ve ever had here. He was a guy that seemed like the bigger the stage, the brighter he shined. He had an orneriness and toughness that a lot people didn’t see because they saw the smile. He was an assassin on the court.”
Chalmers’ lists of accolades go much deeper. The Anchorage, Alaska, native was the 2007 co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and an All-Big 12 second team selection during his junior year. He appeared on the league’s all-conference teams all three seasons he was a Jayhawk, including every Big 12 All-Defensive squad.
Besides his 2008 Final Four MOP, he was named to the Big 12 championship all-tournament team in 2007 and 2008, the second of which came after he scored a career-high 30 points against Texas in the title game.
Chalmers led the Big 12 in steals with 97 in 2007 and 97 again in 2008, which are Kansas single-season records.
During Chalmers’ three seasons, the Jayhawks were 95-16 (85.6 percent) with three Big 12 regular-season titles, three Big 12 postseason championships, two NCAA Elite Eight appearances, one Final Four and one national championship.
“Mario cares about winning,” Self said. “Points are great and steals are great and he was the best stealer of the ball we’ve ever had here, but he cares about winning. Guys that play here understand that winning trumps everything and he understood that. Brandon (Rush) understood that, Shady (Darrell Arthur), Sherron (Collins), Sasha (Kaun), Darnell (Jackson), Russell (Robinson), they all understood that. That is what made that (2008) team so cool. There were games when Mario would take four shots in a game and I’d say, ‘Shoot the ball’ and he’d say ‘Why? Everybody else is making shots.’ It was such a fun team to be around, but he was clutch. Everybody throughout his tenure here would ask me who’s our go-to guy, and in our players’ minds there was never a doubt who our go-to guy was. There are not many guys out there, regardless of the school, that have held that distinction. Mario will be remembered for the shot, but I will remember him more for being a winner.”
…“I’m proud of the career he has had since he left here,” Self said. “Being a world champion and a national champion, there’s not too many people that could have that distinction. He was an absolute treat to coach. He had great teammates and they all liked each other. It was such a fun time to be around. We’re all so proud of what he accomplished.”
Kansas Jayhawks (17-1)
Congratulations to Kansas State becoming the first team not to get swatted by Jeff Withey this season. (Also, congrats on helping the Jayhawks get to No. 1 by not making any real trouble at the Octagon on Tuesday.)
Although Withey whiffed against KSU, he remains the game's best rim-protector and block-controller, as Kansas has kept an astounding 72.0 percent of the 75 swats I've charted: (chart at link)
Last week, Run The Floor did a great analysis of blocks-kept stats that showed Withey to be well ahead of three other elite blockers -- St. John's Chris Obekpa, Arizona State's Jordan Bachynski and Kentucky's Nerlens Noel. I updated RTF's numbers to include recent games, putting Obekpa at 62.1 percent, Bachynski at 59.5 and Noel at 55.3. They're nowhere near Withey territory.
SI Luke Winn Power Rankings
The game was won with KU’s 35-28 rebounding advantage. The game was won on Kansas forcing K-State to take 30 threes, which was more than half its shots. The game was won on K-State only making 9 of those threes.
Most of all, this game was won on toughness — a trademark that Self likes his teams to have in the NCAA Tournament.
After KU’s come-from-behind-victory over Purdue, a Big Ten team, in last year’s second round NCAA game, Self mentioned how important toughness really is.
“A testimony to a team's toughness is to figure out a way to win when things aren’t going well,” Self said following KU’s 63-60 victory last March.
Where does it come from for the Jayhawks? Naadir Tharpe gave a simple answer: everyone.
“The toughness comes from all of us this year, not just one person,” Tharpe said. “We could’ve easily broke.”
In all likelihood that breaking point for KU could’ve come with its 15 turnovers, eight of which came in the second half while the Jayhawks were clinging to a single-digit lead.
The slow pace didn’t bother KU, a team that’s beginning to pride itself winning with flashy offense or with tough defense. In fact, if there were a dictionary of college basketball teams, Kevin Young knows where he’d want this KU team to be located.
“We try to define ourselves as finishers,” Young said.
The fact that KU stayed mentally composed in a rowdy second half at Bramlage Colisuem is a very good sign in Self’s book. The shots didn’t fall, but the Jayhawks weren’t downtrodden because of it.
“When your offense isn’t very good, you’re mindset has to be that the other team can’t score,” Self said. ‘We’ve been very good at that so far.”
It was the first time Kansas has won a game with scoring less than 60 points since Feb. 13, in Manhattan last season, when the Jayhawks won 59-53. Coincidentally, KU also scored 59 points in their championship loss to Kentucky.
It can be very important for teams to become familiar with winning games when the shots don’t fall. Right now, Bill Self is a believer.
“My big belief is, you’ve got to learn to win games in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s,” Self said. “You’ve got to, and we’ve been able to accomplish that.”
Great read from The Mercury on Tex Winters visit with the Jayhawks
Kansas has a roster that mirrors the Sooners’ in its mix of veteran leadership and young legs, but far exceeds it in terms of talent. Most notably, freshman guard Ben McLemore and senior center Jeff Withey — both of whom are on the John R. Wooden Award midseason watch list — provide the Jayhawks with playmakers of a caliber missing from OU’s squad.
Now factor in that the Sooners will play both games on the road, and it appears all the cards are in the favor of the Big 12 heavyweights.
For either team, returning to Norman with a “W” would be the tallest of orders.
But that’s not to say it’s outside the realm of possibility.
Kansas already has dropped a game this season — a 67-64 loss to No. 13 Michigan State on Nov. 13 — and has had to eke out conference wins by the skin of its teeth against Iowa State, Texas and Kansas State.
Basketball history is everywhere in Allen Fieldhouse. You can sense the ghosts of Wilt Chamberlain and “Phog” Allen anytime you curl your feet around the wooden bleachers or tilt your head up to the rafters filled with banners. The halls are bursting with shining trophies, gigantic murals and, above all else, memories. Memories from games only seen in bits on the flashy video board or grainy video clips online. It’s the 800th regular season men’s basketball game in Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday against Oklahoma. Here are a few memorable moments from the past 799.
Interesting to see Kansas freshman forward Perry Ellis starting to get a little more run. Ellis isn't going to win any bodybuilding contests, but he is a naturally gifted scorer, and his emergence could really add to the Jayhawks' frontcourt depth.
…I still don't think Kansas is going undefeated in the Big 12. But I also don't think they're going to lose at home.
Kansas 68, Oklahoma 60
SI Seth Davis Hoop Thoughts
Q. Ben McLemore seems to have the top scoring potential in this years draft class. Think he has a solid chance to be the #1 overall pick?
A. I do. In fact he's strongly trending in that direction. I spoke with five different GMs this week who told me they'd take him No. 1. Nerlens Noel, Shabazz Muhammad and Alex Len are all in that mix as well, but personally, McLemore has been the best college player I've watched this season. I love him. A great combination of athleticism, length, shooting ability, ball handling and defense. He has the chance to be a very special player at a position that's been very weak over the last five years.
ESPN Chad Ford
Kansas redshirt freshman G Ben McLemore has been selected the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Week for games of January 14-20 in a vote by a media panel which covers the conference, the league announced Monday. McLemore is receiving the honor for the second time and his third league weekly accolade this season as he was the conference’s player of the week last week (1/14).
McLemore led the Jayhawks to victories over Baylor (61-44) and at Texas (64-59) as KU improved to 4-0 in conference play and extended it overall win streak to 15 games, the nation’s longest streak. The St. Louis, Mo., guard averaged 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the two games, shooting 56.5 percent (13-of-23) from the field and 57.1 percent (4-of-7) from beyond the arc. He also recorded five steals and three blocked shots. In Kansas’ come-from-behind win at Texas, he scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half as the Jayhawks rebounded from an 11-point second-half deficit. McLemore leads all Big 12 freshmen in scoring and is first on his team with 16.4 points per game. He is fourth in the league in field goal percentage (.508) and also ranks second from the free throw line, converting 88.1 percent of his attempts.
McLemore is the first Kansas player to earn multiple Big 12 Rookie of the Week honors since current NBA player Josh Selby was named twice during the 2010-11 season. Last week, McLemore became the third different Jayhawk to be named Big 12 Player of the Week this season joining Travis Releford (11/26) and Jeff Withey (12/3). He also became only the second Jayhawk to win the conference’s player and rookie of the week accolades during the same season. He joined NBA standout Mario Chalmers who accomplished the feat during the 2005-06 season.
Darrell Arthur scored 20 points and Mike Conley added 19 as the Memphis Grizzlies beat Los Angeles 106-93 Wednesday night, handing the Lakers’ their fourth straight loss and 10th in 12 games.
A season-high 25 turnovers, leading to 27 points for the Suns, and nine missed free throws plagued the Kings all night as they fell 106-96 at home to the Suns.
Robinson, the fifth pick in last year's NBA Draft, had the best game of his rookie season, tying his career-high of 12 points and adding a new career-high 14 rebounds.
The Grizzlies traded Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers and got what in return?
As Griz fan Joe Sills asked me on Twitter: "Are you sure they aren't sending us the Rock & Roll Museum, too?"
That might have made it a fair deal. Although a fair deal wasn't what the Grizzlies had in mind this time around.
"It's a trade that had to be made from a business decision," said Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, and at least he wasn't spinning it.
This was about moolah and nothing else. The trade was your quintessential salary dump. The Grizzlies paid the Cavs to take Speights, Ellington and Selby off their hands. They paid with what could turn out to be a prime first-round draft pick.
James Swift, the owner of an athletic apparel company, Swift Flight, hopes to make Chamberlain's legend as famous as Babe Ruth's, his face as familiar as Tiger Woods', his commercial appeal as powerful as Michael Jordan's.
"Why not?" Swift asked. "Wilt was the greatest basketball player who ever lived. And I'm not being biased when I say that."
Even if he were, it would be understandable.
That's because last year, not long before the 50th anniversary of the night Chamberlain's unprecedented offensive outburst prompted the postgame pose, Swift acquired from the legend's family the rights to license his name, statistics, signature, and image.
"I went to Tee Parham, one of the guys still around who played with and knew him, and asked him if anyone had ever done anything with Wilt involving clothing," Swift said. "And he said no one had."
Swift said the merchandise appeals to those "who wear, endorse, and collect" sports apparel. But he said Chamberlain-themed hats, T-shirts, and jackets appeal to a broader market as well.
"He's a national icon," Swift said of Chamberlain. "Fifty years is a long time for a record to stand. But I think we're going to go another 50 years. Nobody's going to score 100 points again. That's why I think there's a market for this stuff."
…But Chamberlain retired from the NBA in 1973 and died in 1999. Few under the age of 50 - Swift included - ever saw him play.
"I think the young people know him a lot better now," Swift said. "There was so much made about the anniversary [last March] on ESPN, on the local news, so many articles written about him. I think the kids really got their heads around who he was and what he did.
"I never saw him play. But I've been educated about him. I've seen lots of clips, and I've heard lots of people, including NBA stars, talk about him."
…The Chamberlain merchandise - mostly T-shirts and jackets - is being sold in Philadelphia at Pro League Authentics, just off the corner of 13th and Walnut, and online at www.proleagueauthentics.com.
Since Chamberlain also played basketball at the University of Kansas, Swift and Pro League Authentics are providing the school with Chamberlain merchandise linked to that college team.
KUAD WBB: KU defeats Texas postgame stats, quotes, notes, photos
It had been 18 days since the last Kansas victory.
“What, you didn’t think I was counting?” Bonnie Henrickson said after her team beat Texas by a score of 76-38.
It was almost the exact situation that Kansas found themselves in last season when they faced Texas at Allen Fieldhouse, feeling the desperation of having lost three games in a row, and once again, Kansas ended its losing streak.
Henrickson’s team played with a sense of urgency after three straight Big 12 losses. After one half of play, the Jayhawks went into the locker room with a 46-12 lead after shooting 53 percent from the field and 50 percent from the three-point line.
The sense of urgency was shared by the Longhorns, who entered Allen Fieldhouse on an eight-game losing streak. Texas was playing without its two top scorers, Chassidy Fussell and Nneka Enemkpali, who did not make the trip to Lawrence because of team violations.
Senior guard Angel Goodrich came into the game against the Texas Longhorns needing only four points to reach the 1,000-point milestone.
After an early bucket, Goodrich was only a field goal away from being the 26th player in Kansas women’s basketball history to reach the milestone.
Then with under 10 minutes left in the first half, Goodrich fired a three from the wing.
The ball hit the front of the rim, took a backspin to the top of the glass, then came back down to hit the side of rim to finally fall through the nylon net inside Allen Fieldhouse.
“The shot was just like, ‘Finally.’ I’ve been working on my shot the last few days. The first two I missed, and they were pretty hard misses,” Goodrich said. “So when that one popped up high, I was like, ‘Wow,’ and when it went in, I was like, ‘Finally it went in.’
With a smile running down the court, Goodrich joined her two senior teammates Carolyn Davis and Monica Engelman in the 1,000-point club.
On the coldest nights of the winter, a tribal leader named Chad Smith would seek refuge in the Sequoyah High School fieldhouse, searching for a seat above the baseline.
Smith was the principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, but the baseline seat was always the thing that mattered most. It’s where he
watched a young high school senior named Angel Goodrich on the fast break, her 5-foot-4 frame flying down the floor. He could imagine what Goodrich was seeing … a crease on the right, an open teammate slashing on the left.
“It was like a slow-motion dream coming true,” Smith says.
For so many years, this small Indian school in the foothills of Northeastern Oklahoma had been a decaying legacy of Cherokee Nation. They called Sequoyah High School — a private school operated by the Cherokee Nation — “the school of last resort,” a place no Native American parents wanted to send their children. All that was pessimistic about life in this place — poverty, substance abuse and poor college graduation rates — seemed to manifest itself in the reputation of Sequoyah High School.
Now here he was, sitting in a pristine gymnasium, watching Goodrich and her teammates inspire an entire tribe to reach for something greater. In some ways, the change had been small. More fans at the games. More enthusiasm in the community. In other ways, it couldn’t be ignored. The million-dollar gym was built, in part, because of these young basketball players, led by a point guard named Angel.
Down on the floor, he could see a simple inscription.
It said Sequoyah … in Cherokee.
“The sense of pride,” Smith says. “The sense of achievement.
“Angel was just a born leader.”
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The last time Texas won a basketball game, the average sports fan believed in Manti Te'o's girlfriend but not in Colin Kaepernick. Back then, people worried about not only the debt ceiling but also the fiscal cliff, and in the time since, deals have been made to address both.
This means that, yes, UT's basketball programs have become less productive than even Congress.
In both chambers of the Erwin Center — men's and women's — approval ratings are approaching an all-time low. The UT men are 0-5 in Big 12 play, their worst conference start since 1976. The UT women, meanwhile, are 0-7 in the Big 12 after Wednesday night's 76-38 loss at Kansas while riding a school-record nine-game losing streak.
There was a time, not so long ago, when both programs could legitimately claim to be among the nation's elite. Both made the Final Four in 2003, and the men have advanced to 14 consecutive NCAA tournaments. But neither team has won a single game this calendar year.
How bad have things become? Missouri's latest Big 12 basketball victory is more recent than UT's. And Missouri, in case you hadn't heard, is currently a member of the Southeastern Conference.
How long is the Longhorns' losing streak? If a scientist was so inclined, she could measure it using a radioactive radionuclide called chromium-51, which has a half-life of 27.7 days. On Dec. 29, when the UT men beat Rice, the scientist would have had twice as much of it as she will when the Longhorns host Texas Tech on Saturday.
The last time UT won a basketball game, the average worker honeybees and butterflies that died today had not yet been born. The last time UT won a basketball game, Tony Romo still had a chance to make the playoffs.
The last time UT won a basketball game, I'd never seen an episode of Oprah.
If West Virginia’s basketball team were fishing rather than playing basketball, it probably would have thrown back the victory it gained against TCU, a winless team in the Big 12 that reminds you of the fact every time they go up and down the court.
But when you have lost three consecutive games, as had the Mountaineers, and when you need that victory, no matter how unimpressive, to even your season record at 9-9 and to hopefully inspire you on some kind of run that can get you into the postseason, you treat the victory as if it were a trophy fish.
The score of 71-50 at least was something to brag about, although everyone who was involved in the game from freshman Eron Harris, who led with 19 points while making 5-of-6 shots from the field, to senior Deniz Kilicli, who had his first extended and satisfying playing time since Texas knew it was hardly a thing of beauty.
On Saturday, Iowa State will start a five-game stretch that includes two games against Kansas State as well as contests against Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oklahoma. As a result, beating Texas Tech on Wednesday night was essentially imperative to get some momentum. Instead, the Cyclones shot 36 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from 3-point range in a 56-51 loss to Texas Tech. Tech had lost four in a row, and its best win of the season was over TCU. Just a really bad loss.
...This wasn't close. Duke took a 14-13 lead on a Quinn Cook 3-pointer midway through the first half -- and then Miami went on a 25-1 run to essentially end the game before halftime. The win gives Miami a two-game lead in the ACC, meaning the Hurricanes have become the hunted in the league. And this wasn't a fluke, either. Kenny Kadji (22 points) is starting to consistently be the matchup nightmare that he should be, while Durand Scott (25 points) and Shane Larkin (18 points) are forming a potent perimeter duo. Throw in the return of Reggie Johnson, and Jim Larranaga has a number of weapons at his disposal.
As for Duke, the loss was troubling. Sure, you can say that the injury to Ryan Kelly has played a factor in the recent struggles, but this was more than that. The Blue Devils didn't play hard once they got down and the shots weren't falling. They gave up a number of easy baskets, not getting back to defend in transition. The backcourt of Cook and Seth Curry combined to shoot 1-for-22 from the field, and Mason Plumlee's defense was basically neutralized by the ability of Kadji to take him away from the basket. The ACC is no longer Duke's to lose.
… Duke's 27-point loss was the third-largest margin ever for a No. 1 team. Back in 1968, Houston lost to UCLA by 32. In 1951, St. John's lost by 42 to Kentucky (although Kentucky was ranked No. 1 in the AP).
With the No. 1 team being beaten like that, there are some salient points to make. We can look at how Duke came to be ranked in that position and why college basketball fans should not allow themselves to be duped like this again.
Beyond an electorate that is episodically inconsistent and ill-informed—see Gary Parrish’s “Poll Attacks” column on CBSSports.com for weekly examples—the problem with the polls is there’s no singular sense of what they are designed to measure. Whatever characteristic might have been chosen, however, Duke as it stood Monday did not appear to be the best fit.
Those who pay attention to the polls have seen through the years how important continuing to win can be to escalating ranks. Often, the highest-ranked teams are those that have lost least recently. Teams losing in the week preceding a vote are punished, even if doing so requires assigning a higher ranking to a team with less impressive overall results.
Of those teams near the top of the polls when Louisville lost at home last weekend and thus had to be spanked, Duke had lost more recently than all but Michigan (17-1), which lost the day after the Devils fell to N.C. State. The lone loss for Syracuse (17-1) came on Dec. 22, and Kansas (17-1) has not lost since Nov. 13.
Some voters prefer teams that recently have delivered impressive, overpowering performances. As a result of the injury to power forward Ryan Kelly, however, Duke is a fundamentally different team than the one that remained unbeaten through 15 games. Kelly is a difficult player to replace. There just aren’t many shot-blocking, 3-point shooting 6-11 forwards with a senior’s experience and the validation of an NCAA championship ring.
Without Kelly, Duke had played only twice and was 1-1 in those games. Winning at home against Georgia Tech—currently the only winless team in the ACC—certainly was not enough to establish the Devils had found the right rotation to cover for what was missing without Kelly.
Duke probably had more quality victims at the time of the vote than any team, but it seemed to stretch credibility a fair amount to award the No. 1 ranking three weeks into January to a team that had yet to record a single road victory.
…As a fan, this is your moment of clarity and Duke—with plenty of help from poll voters and the Miami Hurricanes—delivered it.
Your time is too valuable to waste following the rankings. Your own eyes will tell you more about which teams matter than the polls ever will.
Well, this is a tricky, sticky little wrinkle in time that Kentucky's basketball team and its coach, John Calipari, find themselves in. The Wildcats lost all five starters from last season's national title team. They have a recruiting class coming in next season that has been hailed as the best in college basketball history. But right here and right now, Kentucky's latest heralded and highly talented group of freshmen who were expected to pillage every college basketball town and village they visit -- then swiftly move along to the NBA, same as their predecessors -- have begun to hear that they will be the first of Calipari's four Wildcat teams to drop the baton.
This Kentucky squad is a pedestrian 12-5, unranked and still being talked about as a NCAA tournament bubble team though we're nearly into February. This team is not only absent from the Top 25 rankings -- it didn't receive a solitary vote in either the AP or USA Today Coaches polls this week.
…"I think it is harder here," Harrow admitted after the A&M loss, "because you are supposed to get here and get out of here [for the NBA]. Basically, that's what it is. Maybe that's not what it is with this group and we have to accept that."
Calipari differed with Harrow on Monday when reminded of his point guard's remarks. "We don't recruit kids and tell them that," he insisted. Then the coach unspooled a long elaboration that was reminiscent of something he said last March at the Final Four when the controversial subject came up -- the NBA rule that forces players to spend a year in college before moving into the draft. Calipari, speaking more directly to his critics then, scoffed, "There's only two solutions to it: Either I can recruit players who are not as good as the players I'm recruiting, or I can try to convince guys that should leave to stay for me."
The NCAA announced today its slate of weekend events surrounding the 2013 NCAA Final Four, which will happen in Atlanta.
With just a little more than two months until the Final Four comes to the Georgia Dome (75 days) the NCAA, the Atlanta Basketball Host Committee and the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee on Wednesday detailed some of the weekend events surrounding the event.
Events will begin on Friday April 5 and go until Monday April 8, the night of the Men's Basketball Championship Game. The happenings will include a corporate-sponsored, three-day outdooor music festival at Centennial Olympic Park, a 5K race in downtown Atlanta, youth basketball clinics and some service projects around the city.
NCAA president Mark Emmert said Wednesday that his organization is investigating itself for "improper conduct" related to its investigation of Miami. That sound of celebration coming from Missouri must be originating in Frank Haith's office.
Seriously, who's happier than Frank Haith?
Take that man's coaching career off life support ASAP.
CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman reported Monday that the NCAA was "expected" to charge the former Miami/current Missouri coach with "unethical conduct and failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance," which would've almost certainly led to a show-cause penalty that would've essentially forced Missouri to remove Haith at some point. But now that's very much up in the air because this development -- i.e., that the NCAA had Nevin Shapiro's attorney on payroll (on payroll!!!) and used that attorney to improperly obtain information to aid its investigation -- is a game-changer for all involved.
Miami's notice of allegations is consequently on hold.
Emmert said any information obtained improperly will be "thrown out."
So even if Haith did everything that the NCAA was prepared to allege he did -- and it should be noted that Haith has forever denied wrongdoing -- it's now reasonable to assume any charges will be toned down or dropped completely given that the NCAA likely has no desire to get involved in the lawsuit that would come from derailing a man's multimillion-dollar career after an investigation that the NCAA itself has publicly acknowledged was improper on some level. Bottom line, Haith is suddenly and unbelievably in a position to beat this case on a technicality the same way that Major League Baseball star Ryan Braun beat his positive drug test on a technicality, which means the idea of Haith coaching Missouri long into the future doesn't seem nearly as unlikely as it did earlier in the week.
The reality is that the system is broken. It doesn't work. The coaches I spoke to were right then and even more so now -- the enforcement staff is well-intended but overmatched and ineffective.
Not because they don't care. Not because they are out to get anyone. They are good people. Smart people. Hard-working people.
But in a highly sophisticated sports world, they are armed with the investigative tools of Inspector Clouseau.
How in the world are these people supposed to do their jobs? By monitoring Twitter, Facebook and message boards and hoping someone says something stupid?
By insisting that the guilty admit their guilt because they were told to? My 8-year-old is savvy enough to circumvent that one on occasion.
Instead of hiring an investigative firm to investigate the bad investigators in their investigation, the NCAA needs to look in the mirror and decide who it wants to be now that college sports have grown up.
If the organization truly believes there is still a space for being a watchdog -- and I do agree that anarchy will not work well in a world where the playing rules are the same on the court but not off it -- then it has to recreate itself with some sort of legitimacy.
Stop telling Iowa it can't honor Chris Street with a special jersey and worry about what really matters.
Stop pretending that college athletes are apple-pie amateurs who don't make gobs of money for their universities and the NCAA coffers.
And stop launching investigations that have all the teeth of a Nerf gun in a battle.
The NCAA and its employees long have been adrift in their own rulebook chaos. Now they have tossed their own credibility atop the firebombed heap.
The same assistant enforcement director whom the NCAA fired last December for misconduct in a UCLA investigation — Abigail Grantstein — turned out to be the lead investigator in Haith’s case.
And here’s where it is simply mind-numbing to think that no one in Indianapolis bothered to look closely into Grantstein’s résumé.
In her own LinkedIn bio, which can be found with a simple click on Google, we find these two rather unsettling details:
Her previous employer before joining the NCAA was the University of Kansas athletics department. Her law degree came from the University of Kansas law school. Now, that doesn’t automatically mean there is some deep-seated anti-Missouri bias. But come on, why would the NCAA put itself or its investigation into such an obviously compromised position by assigning her to the Haith case?
But I guess because they already allowed her to head the investigation into another high-profile basketball recruit, Josh Selby, who just happened to end up at Kansas, it really was no giant leap to allow her to conduct an investigation of a Mizzou coach.
She should have immediately recused herself from these cases because of the mere perception of a conflict of interest. When she didn’t, someone above her in authority should have been smart enough to do it.
ST Louis PD Burwell
Teams that are a chore to watch have always been with us. But even programs noted for uptempo styles are contributing to the drought. Kentucky scored 55 in a loss to Alabama on Tuesday, the same night Kansas won despite scoring only 59.
Bottom line: Regardless of why college basketball teams are averaging 68 points per game - the same as last season, but the lowest since 1982 - college basketball simply isn't as much fun to watch these days. If current downward trends continue, the sport will move more and more into the shadows and become a niche activity enjoyed mostly by students and rabid alumni. Its days as a major sport will be over.
Is this assessment too extreme? I don't think so.
College hoops already are dwarfed by big-time football, which has grown in magnitude, in large part because of on-field innovations that have led to increased scoring. And also because the best football players remain in school at least three years.
College quarterbacks running spread offenses and putting up staggering numbers and big scores are lightning rods for the attention of TV viewers, whereas current basketball All-Americans need name tags.
At a time when college football's growth is proof that fans and TV audiences respond to scoring orgies, basketball games are being won by the first team to 60. Or, too often, even 50.
The drought is worse than the numbers indicate, really. The 68 points Division I teams average takes into account BCS conference schools that were running up scores early in the season against overmatched opponents in those guarantee games. During tougher conference play, averages will drop even more.
When the pace of play grew too slow in the mid-'80s, a 45-second shot clock was introduced. In the mid-'90s, the clock was shortened to 35 seconds.
But the shot clock, we're seeing now, is no panacea. Not when the best players have one foot out the door as freshmen, and too many who stick around lack great offensive ability.
Former Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg, who joined ESPN, tweeted on his SethOnHoops account the other day: "Competitive players outnumber skilled players."
If a relative lack of skill - or tougher perimeter defenses - is resulting in the worst 3-point accuracy since the trey came into effect in 1986-87, why don't coaches dump the ball into their big men more often?
Sounds good, but here's the catch: Never mind that low-post play is a lost art, college officials permit so much rough stuff in the paint that it's difficult for all but the best big men to get a decent look at the basket.
Less mugging takes place in the lane in a typical NBA game. Cleaning up play under the basket would be a step toward lifting scoring averages and making the game easier on the eyes.
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The inquiry of possible recruiting by the Tift County High varsity boys basketball program is still ongoing, Georgia High School Association Executive Director Dr. Ralph Swearingen told The Gazette Wednesday.
A complaint filed by the Turner County School System is what started the probe. One of the players in question is a varsity athlete, while the other is in middle school.
Swearingen sent an investigator to Tift and Turner counties to look into the allegations.
“I am expecting a response from the investigator today or tomorrow,” Swearingen said Wednesday. “We are still working on the process.”
Swearingen will study that report and if he believes there are possible rules violations, he would give Tift County a chance to address the allegations.
The matter has been in the back of the minds of Tift County fans, especially with the success the team is having this season. After a 60-54 loss to the seventh-ranked team in the nation, St. Anthony (N.J.) Monday, the Tift County Blue Devils are currently 14-4 on the year.
“I know people are interested in this, especially with the success the Tift team is having this year. But, we do not rush these matters,” said Swearingen.
Tift County Superintendent Patrick Atwater said Wednesday that every player that has been on the Blue Devil roster this year has been eligible, according to the GHSA itself.
“We have got GHSA Certificates of Eligibility for every player on the roster,” said Atwater.
He reiterated what he has said earlier in the matter, which has been ongoing since October 2012.
“From what our coaches and athletic director (Rusty Smith) have told me I feel none of the Turner County concerns will be validated,” said Atwater.
Brannen Greene has a nice all-around game but the one thing that sets the Kansas-bound shooting guard from Tift County (Ga.) apart is his old-school jump shot. Whether he's hot, cold, open or contested, Greene gets his shot off with the same beautiful stroke every time.
On Monday at the 2013 Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., Greene found himself taking many contested jumpers against the vaunted defense of Bob Hurley's St. Anthony's (N.J.). Greene scored 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the outside with three of those shots coming with a Friar squarely in his grill.
St. Anthony entered the game on a 77-game winning streak despite being one of the least talented teams Hurley has had in years. Their defense and execution have been the hallmarks of his teams though and this year's squad still prides themselves on those things.
"They're known for their defense and they help a lot," Greene said. "So you beat one man and the next man is right there to stop you. It's tough, you gotta move the ball."
Tift was able to move the ball effectively for much of the game, actually taking a lead on St. Anthony's late in the third quarter when Greene hit a teammate in transition for a three. Tift's point guard Tadric Jackson finished with nine assists including two to Greene.
There were several Kansas fans in attendance showering Greene with "Rock, Chalk" chants during warmups and during the customary postgame picture at midcourt. It was a good weekend to be Jayhawk fan with Greene and fellow Kansas-bound shooting guard Wayne Selden taking part in the tournament.
Between Green and Selden, Kansas fans have a lot to look forward to next season.
The Tift County Blue Devils had a formidable challenge Monday.The Blue Devils were facing a Saint Anthony’s (N.J.) Friars’ squad that had won 77 games in a row, and is ranked as high as seventh in some national polls this season.
On top of that, the game was being played at Springfield College in Massachusetts in the shadows of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a part of the HoopHall Classic. So far from home, Tift was without its’ normal frantic fanbase.
Even with all of that against them, Tift led by as many as five points in the fourth quarter, and held a three-point lead 54-51 on a Donell Tuff dunk with 2:37 left in the game. However, Saint Anthony’s would come storming back and would outscore Tift 9-0 after the Tuff dunk. The final result was a 60-54 win for the Friars.
It was only the ninth time that a team only lost by single digits to the Friars in the team’s now-78 game winning Donell, which began March 10, 2010.
“We had a defensive breakdown late in the game and it cost us,” said Tift Head Coach Dr. Eric Holland. “I feel like we should have won.”
…(Brannen) Greene ended the game with 14 points, five rebounds, two blocks, one assist and one steal.
Brown said St. Anthony didn't know anything about Tift County as recently as Sunday night. The guard's lack of memory seemed to provide evidence to his claim: Minutes after Brannen Greene, the 43rd-best senior in the country according to ESPN, scored 14 points and five rebounds for Tift, Brown forgot his name. Or maybe he never knew it in the first place.
That's not to say he knew nothing about Greene.
"We had a scouting report early on (Monday). Without that scouting report, we probably would have lost this game," said Brown, who had 14 points and nine rebounds. "But it helped us. We kind of picked up their tendencies, and it helped us turn their guys over in crucial times, and that's what helped us win."
Asked how many pages were in the scouting report, Brown laughed.
"It was decent, it was pretty lengthy. We pretty much knew they had two great players -- the guard, I forget his name (Jackson) and one of the shooters," Brown said. Reporters fed him the shooter's name and he continued. "Yeah, Greene. We pretty much knew we had to key on them. And they played a good game, but we kind of shut them down when it mattered most."
…Greene hit only four shots Monday, all 3-pointers. One of them came with two defenders inches away from his shooting hand. Another came after an awesome crossover at the top of the key -- St. Anthony still somehow managed to contest the shot almost perfectly, but Greene's talent was enough to sink the attempt anyway. On one possession, he crossed over one defender, spun around, finally free, and lost the ball after running smack dab into another St. Anthony player. He finished 4-10 shooting with more turnovers (three) than assists (one).
Asked afterward what it was like to play against Hurley and St. Anthony, though, Greene didn't express frustration.
"It's just an honor, to look over there and see him coaching his team. I watched the documentary on him, 'The Street Stops Here'. So it was really cool," he said.
It's certainly rare for a high school player to be so mindful of an opposing coach, especially when their two teams play half a country away from each other.
TILTON SCHOOL 55, ST. ANDREW'S 53 - Boston native and Kansas-bound Wayne Selden led the way 19 points as Tilton rallied from a 50-43 deficit to win on a Cameron Durley layup with two seconds left.
Tilton School (NH) 71, Vermont Academy 67 – Less than 24 hours after playing in the BABC Prep Classic, the Rams knocked off Vermont behind 24 points from Kansas commit Wayne Selden (Roxbury), and 26 points from Victor Chester. In defeat, Daquein McNeil scored 24 points. Tilton raised its record to 11-4 and Vermont dropped to 7-7
Next year, Tilton School's Wayne Selden will be playing with the Kansas Jayhawks, but this year he enjoyed one last run in the Spalding Hoophall Classic at Springfield College.
The senior is ranked 16th in the Class of 2013 according to ESPN, and Sunday, he helped lead Tilton of New Hampshire to a 71-67 win over Vermont Academy.
Selden showed off a full spectrum of skills. Early on, he threw down an alley-oop just minutes before throwing a no-look pass through the lane to set up Chester Victor for an easy two points.
Selden finished with 24 points – including six from behind the arc – and seven rebounds. Victor had a game-high 26.
Before signing with Kansas, Selden also drew interest from Florida, Missouri, Ohio State, Syracuse and UCLA.
"I felt like (Kansas) was the best place for me as a player and as a person," Selden said. "I feel like I can go there and help the team out."
…"I know that just months from now, I'm going to be at Kansas and this is just steps along the way," Selden said. "I'm just trying to get better and win games here because this is my first priority."
No longer in prime time at the Hoophall Classic, Kansas signee Wayne Selden (ESPN's No. 16 boys senior) nonetheless showed why he's one of the nation's elite high school basketball players Sunday as he helped Tilton down Vermont Academy, 71-67, at Springfield College.
After notching 24 points and seven rebounds, Selden noted that Tilton, which lost Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel to graduation after last season, had been downgraded in status by the tournament's directors.
"We got the Sunday morning game now, we're not prime time anymore, so we have to work for everything we get," said the star.
But that doesn't mean he misses everything about Tilton's previous campaign.
"We have more heart this year. We're more of a fighting team this year," he said. "We have to earn everything we get, nothing's handed to us."
Quite clearly the most talented player on the floor, Selden was nonetheless unselfish. Early in the first half, he could have forced a shot in the paint, but decided to kick out to an open teammate for a 3-pointer. On the ensuing possession, he dribbled in transition to the foul line, looked to his right and fired a bullet bounce pass to his left, where a teammate was waiting underneath the basket for an easy lay-in.
…His team-first mentality should bode well at Kansas next season, and it didn't keep him from scoring 17 of his 24 points in the second half Sunday. He rarely forced shots, making 10 of 18 field goal attempts, but still showed an ability to score when his team needed it most. Vermont Academy put together a late surge, but Selden ended any hopes of a comeback with a baseline drive that he finished with a reverse layup with less than a minute left.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound, Selden, who prides himself on "being able to operate with the ball, being able to penetrate and find the open man," looks like he developed an addiction to protein shakes many years ago, and used his phenomenal strength Sunday to his advantage in the mid-post. However, at least on this day, his shot of choice after catching in the post was a fadeaway jump shot. Despite the effectiveness of his turnaround, he likely would have been better served taking his 6-foot-1 defender closer to the basket.
When Selden did drive to the hoop, defenders bounced off him. After one particularly strong drive on which the guard drew a foul, the Vermont Academy coach screamed for his player to take a charge. I almost expected the player to shout back, "Coach, I'd rather survive."
Defensively, Selden wasn't always attentive, but showed a willingness to work. He took one charge and attempted to take at least one other. Tilton showed a lot of zone and Selden often played closer to the basket, so he wasn't used in nearly the same capacity in which coach Bill Self will ask him to operate at Kansas.
When the final buzzer sounded on the Tilton boys’ basketball team’s win Wednesday in Groton, the players felt nothing but relief. It was finally over.
After a four-overtime marathon, the Rams (12-3) held on to beat Lawrence Academy, 108-105.
At the end of regulation the game was tied at 72. Through the overtimes, the game was back and forth.
After the first OT it was knotted at 81, after the second it was tied at 88, and the game was deadlocked at 93 going into the fourth OT.
“It was blow for blow in the overtimes,” said Tilton coach Marcus O’Neil. “You wouldn’t be able to tell if the teams were tired by the energy on the floor. Both teams were making hustle plays.”
During the fourth OT, the Rams finally started to pull away, taking a 7-point lead with 1:30 left.
With 44 seconds left, Lawrence Academy (9-5) cut the lead to 3 before Chester Victor drained a corner three to give the Rams a 6-point edge.
The Spartans were unable to make a final comeback as time finally ran out.
“Neither team really wanted to give an inch. It was just a shame that somebody had to lose,” said O’Neil.
Kansas-commit and Roxbury native Wayne Selden had a monster game for the Rams, with 29 points and 20 rebounds.
But when he fouled out in the second OT, Victor picked up most of the slack, scoring 8 of the team’s 15 points in the final OT.
Judging from the capacity crowd at Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College, it was very clear which game was the highlight of Sunday's slate at the Spalding Hoophall Classic.
The standing-room only crowd piled in to see Andrew Wiggins, the top-ranked recruit in the class of 2013, and Huntington Prep (W.Va.) take on No. 7 Noah Vonleh and New Hampton School (N.H.).
The game's must-see attraction didn't disappoint as the 6-foot-8 undecided Wiggins scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to key a 56-47 Huntington Prep victory.
Plano Prestonwood Christian senior forward Julius Randle was named by USA Basketball to the roster for the 2013 USA Junior National Select Team that will compete in the Nike Hoop Summit on April 20 in Portland,Ore.The Nike Hoop Summit features the country’s top seniors playing against a World Select Team made up of elite international players who are 19 or younger.
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