"Guess what," Calhoun told her. "We've got a female strength coach. This will last about two weeks."
Bill Self was even more pessimistic in 2004, when then-Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins suggested he tap Hudy for the same position with the Jayhawks. Self flew in four other candidates before finally granting Hudy an interview.
"I didn't want to hire her," Self said. "Lew would say, 'If you just meet her once, you're going to love her.' But I kept saying, 'I don't want to hire a woman to be a men's strength coach. Who does that?'"
Self eventually caved.
Eight Big 12 championships and two Final Fours later, he says adding Division I basketball's only female strength coach to his staff was one of the best decisions he's ever made.
"I don't know where we'd be without her," Self said.
Indeed, just as she did at Connecticut -- where she helped the Huskies win a collective seven NCAA men's and women's basketball titles -- Hudy has made a mammoth imprint on Kansas' program. The Jayhawks won the national championship in 2008 and reached the title game this past season. In the past six seasons, no team in America has averaged more victories (33) than KU.
Hudy, players say, is one of the main reasons.
Center Jeff Withey labeled Hudy as Kansas' "secret weapon" during this past season's Final Four run. Marcus Morris, an All-American in 2011, said she was the main reason he became an NBA lottery pick last spring. Former point guard Sherron Collins even referred to Hudy as a "second mom."
The comments couldn't be more uplifting to Hudy, who has helped produce more than two dozen NBA players at Kansas and Connecticut, where she worked from 1995-2004.
"I think I have something to teach people," Hudy, 39, said. "If there's an athlete who is willing to work, I'll work with them. With me it's all about, 'Who wants to get better? Who wants to compete?'"
…"She's been far more than what I ever thought a strength coach could be," Self said. "Our guys' bodies have changed. They look good. They enjoy stretching themselves as far as they can because of her.
"Maybe there's a correlation between how she trains our guys and how few games our guys miss. Our flexibility, our core strength and our ability to stay on the court and not the training room has been escalated tremendously since she came on board."
One of the most famous Hudy stories occurred when she challenged former player Jeremy Case to complete four repetitions on the bench press. Case thought he'd be unable to press the weight because it was too heavy.
"If you do it," Hudy said, "I'll do 30 reps [with a lighter weight]."
Case responded to the challenge and actually did six reps. He rose from the bench and immediately called for Hudy to live up to her end of the bargain.
"I'm old," she said, "let me warm up first."
Case and his teammates weren't having it.
"No," they said. "Do it right now."
Hudy took the bar off the rack, brought it down to her chest and heard a pop in her shoulder. The Jayhawks all heard it, too, but they prodded her to keep going. Twenty-nine repetitions later, Hudy had completed the challenge with a torn labrum and rotator cuff. She underwent surgery and was in a sling for six weeks. She had no regrets.
"I talk to them all the time about being tough," she said. "I couldn't back down."
Six weeks after his team finished a somewhat-surprising season with a march to the NCAA title game, Kansas coach Bill Self ducked out of Lawrence last weekend for a vacation with a couple of buddies.
Destination: Cabo San Lucas.
“It wasn’t awful,” Self said of his trip. “I promise you that.”
It was tough for staff members not to be jealous of Self when he returned to work at Allen Fieldhouse Monday, tanned, refreshed and relaxed.
Self is glad he snuck the trip in when he could. The Jayhawks hosted a recruit on Monday and Tuesday, Self’s basketball camps are slated for next month, and most of July will be spent on the road recruiting.
Kansas has won eight straight Big 12 titles and averaged a national-best 33 wins over the past six seasons. As difficult as it’s been to reach that level of excellence, Self knows maintaining it will be even tougher.
“We’ve set the bar pretty high around here,” he said.
Self spent some time Tuesday answering questions from ESPN.com.
…What sort of feedback have you received since your march to the NCAA title game?
Bill Self: From recruits, the [response] has been positive. We probably won’t know as much from them until the November signing period, because that’s when we’ll hopefully capitalize on our run to the finals. I think the fans are excited around here. Everyone is disappointed we lost to [Kentucky] but, on the flip side, I think this is a team that really got a lot further than everyone probably anticipated we would have. So with that, everyone thinks it was a great campaign.
…Since you mentioned newcomers, Ben McLemore, who redshirted last season, has received a lot of hype of the last 12 months. Is he as good as advertised?
BS: From an athletic standpoint, he’s about as impressive of a kid as we’ve had. He’s got great feet. He could be a good defender. There aren’t too many guys that can score that want to be told they could be a great defender. But he could be. He could be a terrific defender. We think he’s going to be really good. We think Jamari Traylor is going to be really good, too. But these guys don’t know what they’re doing. Even though they’ve been here for a semester practicing with us, it’s still going to be all brand new to them. But they both have a chance to impact this program in a big way, and I would anticipate it being next year.
…The NBA draft is less than two months away. Everyone knows Thomas Robinson will likely be a top five pick, but what about Tyshawn Taylor?
BS: We’ve been in a situation like a lot of schools have, where NBA scouts get a chance to see your guys in practice and in multiple games. There’s no telling how many (NBA) teams watched our last eight or nine games. You come away impressed [with Taylor], but once you see him in person, and in an individual workout, you’ll be even more impressed. He’s a good workout-guy. He’s good technique-wise, he’s got great fundamentals, he’ll show that he can shoot it, because he can. He just didn’t shoot it well in the tournament, but he shot it well for us, for the most part, all season long. He’s definitely a first-round talent. Whether he’s able to get in there ... that remains to be seen because of what certain teams may be looking for. But I’ve had some good players, and he’s definitely a first-round talent.
Andrew J. White III (@AndrewWhite_34)
5/16/12 7:19 PM
Talked to the assistant coach and decided I will be wearing #3 for my college career at KU.
Looking forward to it
5/16/12 8:46 PM
I Will Be Attending Kansas On JUNE28th also I Will Be Wearing #2 this Year J-hawkation! I Got a Composite Score of 18 i passed #JAYHAWKFLOW
Anrio Adams, the Associated Press Class 3A basketball player of the year in the state of Washington, should be able to make an immediate, major impact at Kansas University during the 2012-13 season.
So says Seattle Rainier Beach High coach Mike Bethea, whose squad rolled to a 28-2 record and state title in 2011-12, thanks in large part to Adams, a 6-foot-3 senior combo guard who averaged a team-leading 23.0 points and 6.0 assists a game.
“The guy is such a big-time talent. If he does what he’s supposed to do, he’ll be the starting point guard (at KU) next year,” said Bethea, who stands by an earlier statement that Adams reminds him of Miami Heat phenom Dwyane Wade.
“No question about it. Anybody who sees that kid. He has ... oh my goodness, the kid is so talented,” Bethea added. “He is gifted with the ball. He had three to four double-assist games for us. He knows how to get people the ball in the right position and knows how to score as well.”
…“He’s really fired up about being a Jayhawk,” Bethea said of Adams. “There’s history with his godbrother, Rodrick (Stewart, Rainier Beach High graduate and former KU guard). Rodrick told him how things are down there (at KU). He’s pretty amped about going there.”
Bethea said he can understand why Adams hasn’t inked a letter-of-intent, considering freshmen Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor were ineligible a year ago.
“That’s why we’re approaching this here with kid gloves,” Bethea said. “Coach (Bill) Self and those guys have to make sure everything is all lined up in a row before they can physically commit to signing him. It’s one of those things when we learn he’s good to go ... coach wants him to be there. He wants to be there.”
Thomas Robinson, Kansas, junior power forward (6-9, 240): Robinson joins Davis in the top tier in this group in terms of prospect predictability. The breakout star of the 2011-12 college season, Robinson's production soared after the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, left Kansas for the NBA last year. He's slightly undersized for the power forward position, but he's made believers out of most executives not only because of his speed, strength and scoring skills but also because he's a relentless worker and phenomenal rebounder.
One executive deemed him a better version of Nuggets rookie Kenneth Faried, a high-energy forward who led the nation in rebounding in his senior season at Morehead State but still had his doubters entering the NBA as the No. 22 pick in the 2011 draft. Faried thrived in the second half of the season and helped Denver push the Lakers to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
"Thomas Robinson is the same kind of guy -- undersized, big motor, but more skilled," the executive said. "Maybe you put him in the star category."
Or, as Markieff Morris told ESPN The Magazine in a November 2011 story, "He has the speed of Kobe and a body like LeBron's. Sky's the limit."
The Jayhawks' strong finish to the season helped boost Robinson, who had 18 points and 17 rebounds in their loss to Kentucky in the national championship game. He averaged 17.6 points and 11.9 rebounds (second in the nation) in 31.8 minutes for the season, a big jump from his sophomore averages of 7.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 14.6 minutes. Robinson, who can score with his back to the basket and when attacking in face-up situations, is inconsistent as an outside threat but has some range.
This story originally appeared in the May/June issue of ESPNHS Magazine.
The shot was perfect, featuring a form and touch that would have made James Naismith proud. But while Maggie Meier could still shoot with the best of them, she had lost control over the rest of her life.
A rare brain infection had left Meier in a coma for more than two months during the fall of 2008. Most of the time, Meier was a shell of her once-vibrant self and could barely open her eyes. Yet during brief moments, when her family eased a beach ball into her hands in hopes of stimulating her brain, the Maggie everyone knew would resurface.
"Sometimes she'd open her eyes and shoot the ball into the air for a few minutes and other times she'd keep her eyes shut and do the motion, and then go right back into her coma," Meier's mom, Margaret, recalls. "It was amazing and reassuring to see her shoot the ball because she couldn't do anything else. It gave us hope."
Just months before, Meier had eagerly begun her freshman year at Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.), where she hoped to build on a successful basketball career that already included an Under-11 AAU national title.
But a constant, piercing headache kept her off the court and in bed during the first week of November. By Nov. 8, she could barely eat dinner with her family, telling them, "I don't feel good," as she gently laid her head on the table. Two days later, with Meier barely coherent and unresponsive, her parents rushed her to the hospital. The moment Meier arrived, she had a grand mal seizure, the first of what would be more than 20 episodes throughout the night.
Meier was suffering from mycoplasma meningoencephalitis, an aggressive form of meningitis that causes the brain to swell. Her family spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas at the hospital, and by late December, things looked grave. Meier had endured dozens of seizures, seven trips to the ICU and -- worst of all -- two separate code blues, when the hospital's rapid response team had to rush in and resuscitate her.
Big 12/College News
We already knew the Sprint Center would have NCAA Tournament second- and third-round games (round of 64 and 32) in March, but the event didn't have a host.
Now we do. It's the Missouri Valley Conference, which is based in St. Louis and plays its basketball tournament there at the Scottrade Center.
Usually the Big 12 would serve as host for NCAA games at the Sprint Center but it is already host for the South Regional semifinals and final, which will be at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. So that left Sprint Center's games, which coincide with the 75th anniversary of the NCAA Tournament, without a host.
It’s only natural to think that, after an 8-23 season that saw his Texas Tech team go 1-17 in the Big 12, Billy Gillispie would want to start over with a new roster.
Based on the way that players are defecting from his program, it seems like Gillispie is doing just that.
For the sixth time this offseason, a Texas Tech player has left the program. This time it is Kevin Wagner, who started six games this season, averaging 2.5 points, but missed the second half of the season with a knee injury. Wagner — who follows Jaron Nash (North Dakota), Terran Petteway (Nebraska), DeShon Minnis (Rhode Island), Javarez Willis (Ohio) and Cameron Forte (Northern Arizona) out the door — will enroll at a Junior College in Waco.
With Robert Lewandowski graduating, that frees up seven scholarships for next season. Believe it or not, that may not be enough. Tech has nine players signed for the Class of 2012, and while one (who has remained unnamed) has agreed to walk-on, that still means that Gillispie has one player more than he has scholarships available.
What makes this turnover even crazier is that Gillispie’s nine-man recruiting class isn’t even the biggest in his tenure at Tech. The Red Raiders brought in ten newcomers prior to last season. Five of them left in the past month and a half.
Now THAT’S roster turnover.
Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford said Wednesday that the possibility of Florida State leaving the league was not brought up ''in any formal way'' during this week's meetings.
After Amile Jefferson’s announcement Tuesday that the McDonald’s All-American would play for Duke, the Blue Devils can look forward to the relative tranquility of the summer feeling comfortable with the way its somewhat tumultuous spring unfolded.
Since the Blue Devils lost to Lehigh in their opening game of the NCAA basketball tournament, Austin Rivers has declared for the NBA draft, Michael Gbinije has transferred to Syracuse and Andre Dawkins has decided to take a sabbatical from the team. Duke also missed out on recruiting targets such as Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker, who both opted instead for UCLA.
Even when the Blue Devils received good news in the form of Mason Plumlee returning, there were “buts” attached – Plumlee’s high school coach added his voice to the chorus of people who have criticized the way Duke uses its big men.
Yet, although they have not had much chance to exhale, Duke’s coaches don’t think there was anything too unique about the spring it has endured.
“It’s kind of the way the landscape is with college basketball now,” assistant coach Chris Collins said recently. “You’re seeing so many defections whether it’s the NBA or transfers. Really, in the last five years or so, it’s seemed like every spring has now become like this where you’re going to have defections for multiple different reasons.”
Arizona State, Arkansas and Creighton will be on the same half of the bracket as the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team in the 2012 Las Vegas Invitational.
The two-round tournament will be held Nov. 23-24 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference, announced today that Ed Rush will join the conference as the Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating. The long-time National Basketball Association’s Director of Officiating is currently one of the NBA’s recruiting and development directors for officials.
“I am delighted that we have been able to attract someone of Ed's experience and expertise to lead our officiating program,” Commissioner Larry Scott said. “He has been an expert and leader at all levels of basketball officiating, and the training program he developed for us is considered state-of-the-art. We look forward to taking our men’s officiating program to the next level under Ed’s leadership.” he added.
The wife of a fired Syracuse University assistant basketball coach claims ESPN trampled her reputation by broadcasting salacious and false stories about molestation claims against her husband.
A lawyer for Laurie Fine says she will file a libel lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against the sports network and two employees. ESPN in November broke the story of two former Syracuse ball boys who claimed they were molested by coach Bernie Fine decades ago.
If not quite a mulligan – and only because Krzyzewski did an absolutely marvelous job after an initial burp in the 2006 FIBA World Championship – Colangelo and members of USA's selection committee should be pounding on Popovich's door and demanding a follow-up visit.
Popovich, who was runner-up for the position after George Karl and Larry Brown faltered in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and 2004 Athens Games, respectively, is to the NBA what Krzyzewski is to the NCAA: the premier coach.
Back in 2005, Popovich had guided the Spurs to three NBA championships. He now has four, with a reasonable chance at a fifth. But it's other aspects of his portfolio that distinguish him from other potential candidates, including his unique international experience. After earning a degree in Soviet studies at the Air Force Academy, he served five years of active duty, mostly working intelligence along the Russian border. Don't bother asking for details, though; his lips are sealed.
The two-time NBA Coach of the Year will tell you, however, that he captained the U.S. Armed Forces team that toured Eastern Europe in 1972, and that the relationships he developed overseas have proven invaluable during his years as an NBA assistant and, more importantly, during his 16 seasons as the Spurs' coach and eight as general manager.
"If you recall, Mike and Pop were my two choices in 2005," Colangelo said in a phone interview. "When I talked to Coach K, he almost jumped through the phone. I didn't sense that same enthusiasm in my conversation with 'Pop.' Afterward, he sent me a letter and said I misinterpreted what he said. He felt I had misjudged him, and maybe I did. But that was a long time ago. How can anyone argue with his record, his performance? With him as a great coach?"
While the topic remains a sore spot with the Spurs, Colangelo is as good at maintaining and repairing relationships as anybody in the business. Disagreements are forgotten and perceived slights forgiven. If he wants Popovich, he'll get Popovich. Any lingering tension between the two – real or imagined – adds intrigue, but it won't dictate who takes over the national team.
2012-13 Early Season Events List
“I had never seen Allen Fieldhouse up close, so that was a cool experience for me,” he told Rivals.com. “Being able to see Allen Fieldhouse just allowed me to see how much history the program has. Everybody already knows what Kansas basketball is and what it’s about, but it was good for me to see some of the history for myself.”
Doyle, who averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals last season, wants to attend KU, which his mom Lisa calls his “dream school.”
“I really don’t know what I’m going to do next,” he said. “Kansas is definitely at the top of my list.”
He wears double zero. He’s a southpaw. He attacks the rim with ferocity. He sees the floor like a hawk. He’s wet from range. He’s one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects. He has Coach Cal watching his games. He plays alongside top rising senior Julius Randle for the Texas Titans and Prestonwood Christian. He’s Mickey Mitchell, one of the nation’s top players in the Class of 2015.
SLAM (VIDEO ABOVE)
Three of the nation’s top 11 basketball players nationally, according to Rivals. com, will play in the 2013 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in January.
The national prep basketball showcase will return Jan. 17-19 at Missouri State University’s JQH Arena for its 29th edition.
Rivals, a recruiting website, has Julius Randle of Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian as the third-best player nationally in the rising senior class.
Randle is a forward who is being courted by many of the top programs in the country, including Kansas, Missouri, Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio State.
Florida commit Kasey Hill of Monteverde (Fla.) Academy is rated No. 8, and Isaac Hamilton, an uncommitted player from Bellflower (Calif.) John Bosco, is No. 11 according to the site.
Hamilton, brother of Denver Nuggets rookie Jordan Hamilton , is considering Arizona, Baylor and Kansas. His younger brother, Daniel, is a highly regarded junior on John Bosco.
The field also includes Fairfax (Va.) Paul VI, Mount Washington (Ky.) Bullitt, Little Rock (Ark.) Hall, along with local teams Nixa and Hillcrest high schools.
“On paper, if looks like one of the best groups we’ve had come in,” said Tournament Director Mark Fisher, the athletic director for Springfield Public Schools.
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