Draft day is approaching on June 28 and Jeff Withey will be watching intently.
But without a suit and tie, without a return ticket from New York and without any anxious anticipation over getting a phone call from an NBA executive.
Withey is still satisfied playing for Kansas. No seconds thoughts. No reservations about making some big loot.
“I’m happy with my decision,’’ he said Wednesday after working with youngsters in Lee Arena at the Bob Chipman Basketball Camp. “It’s pretty cool to see my teammates working toward their goals, and it’s going to be fun seeing them get called up on stage.
“I definitely thought about possibly going (pro), but at the end of the day, coming back for my senior year and graduating, I think, is more important.’’
…After spending time over break in his hometown of San Diego, Withey is back at KU working on his game.
And, like many Jayhawks before him, he is also working a few camp sessions for Chipman. That means answering youngster’s questions, fulfilling their pleas to dunk a basketball and then signing his name to an exhaustive number of notepads, posters and shirts.
The same goes for any KU player who works the Washburn camps, though the adulation overflows following a national championship run.
Reaching the Final Four also inspires Withey. With two other starters, guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford, returning, Withey senses the Jayhawks can reload behind a talented group of newcomers.
“We’re going to have a great nucleus, and with all the talent coming back, it’s going to be a fun year,’’ Withey said. “I want to win a championship. When you get that close, you get real hungry. We were just one win away, so hopefully next year we’ll go back and win it all.’’
…“It will be tough, but we definitely have a lot of young guys with talent who will be around me,’’ he said. “Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis are pretty good four men. It will be a fun year, and I’ll be able to showcase my talents more, because last year Thomas was the focal point of the offense. I’ll get to show more of what I have.’’
The NBA Combine gets underway tomorrow and continues Friday in Chicago. They'll be official measurements (height, weight, wingspan, etc.), interviews and plenty of other testing (vertical jump, bench press, sprint, agility). We'll be in attendance and will let you know exactly what goes on -- and what doesn't.
After talking to a dozen or so NBA guys, here are a dozen things that they are interested to see:
1) Measuring up - Thomas Robinson, Jared Sullinger and Bradley Beal's heights are all in question. Each is considered undersized for their position. Beal told me he's 6-4 1/2 (with shoes) while T-Rob and Sully both say they are 6-9 with shoes. We'll see soon enough.
A record number of people attended NCAA women’s basketball games during the 2011-12 season. Attendance for all three NCAA divisions was 11,210,832, breaking the record of 11,160,293 set in 2008-09.
Overall attendance surpassed the 11 million mark for the fifth consecutive year as record highs were achieved in Divisions I and III for the second season in a row.
Division I attendance led the way in 2011-12 with an all-time high of 8,177,111, which eclipsed the previous DI mark of 8,127,941 in 2010-11. Division III’s record mark came in at 1,210,080. Division II added 1,729,849 fans to the 2011-12 total.
A record 336 Division I teams averaged 1,634 fans in 5,004 games or sessions this season. That’s down just eight fans per game from 2010-11 and slightly below the record of 1,693 fans a game set in 2007-08.
…The Big 12 Conference led all leagues with 959,993 fans in 2011-12, but the conference couldn’t top its record-setting season of 1,091,289 fans in 2009-10. The Big 12 led the nation for the 13th consecutive year in conference attendance. The league’s 10 teams averaged 5,304 per game, falling just short of the conference’s own national record of 5,381 in 2003-04.
Big 12/College News
The Big 12 is considering issuing a new logo within the next year. Because of that, WVU will not be painting a Big 12 logo on the floor this season.
One guy who’s a little bit less heralded who could be a major player is 6-4 guard Marcus Smart, who’ll join LeBryan Nash at Oklahoma State. Smart was a major winner during his travel-team days and is looking like it again as a candidate for the USA Basketball Under-18 national team, which will compete in the FIBA Americas Championship later this month in Brazil.
In only his second day at the trials, Smart already is making an impact.
“There’s nothing selfish about him,” Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes told Sporting News on Wednesday. “He’s always making plays. He’ll hit the shot. He gets along with all the guys.”
Stokes said when he opposed Smart’s team during the initial get-together Tuesday night, “He beat us by making plays and not scoring.” Happy to have the chance to join forces in Wednesday morning’s session, Stokes said of Smart, “He made my game so much easier.”
The Texas Tech men’s basketball team is expected to hire Jeremy Cox as its new assistant coach, according to a source.
Cox will replace Jeff Kidder, who left Tech last month to take a job as a high school coach near his hometown in Kentucky.
The hire will bring familiarity to the Tech staff. Cox was an assistant under Red Raider head coach Billy Gillispie during stops at Texas A&M and Kentucky.
During his one season as an assistant at A&M (2006-07), Cox helped Gillispie guide the Aggies to the Sweet 16. He helped Gillispie lead Kentucky to the NCAA tournament the following season and the NIT quarterfinals the season after that.
Following his time at Kentucky, Cox spent two seasons as an assistant at South Florida before serving under Doc Sadler at Nebraska last season.
Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz announced Wednesday that athletic director John Currie has signed a contract extension through the 2018 academic year.
The agreement adds two years to Currie's current contract, securing his services through June 30, 2018. Schulz said that Currie's annual salary will be $450,000 for 2012-13 and will increase by $25,000 for each remaining year on the contract. The extension also includes an enhanced retention incentive structure.
"John has provided tremendous leadership for our athletics department and entire university family since his arrival in 2009," Schulz said. "Over the last three years, our student-athletes have enjoyed unprecedented success in the classroom and on the playing field, the department has seen record fundraising and a dramatic increase in members of the Ahearn Fund and over $100 million in facility improvements benefiting all of our 16 sports are underway."
On Tuesday during a press conference announcing a University of Kentucky fantasy basketball camp, Kentucky head men’s basketball coach John Calipari took a few verbal shots at Indiana University after the two schools did not renew their annual basketball series for the 2012-13 season.
On Wednesday night, it was IU head men’s coach Tom Crean’s turn to fire back at his friend and rival. Crean addressed Calipari’s latest remarks during the IU Tailgate Tour’s stop at Huber Winery.
“I look at it this way — if it‘s a rivalry, it‘s a two-way street. And the scheduling of a rivalry should be a two-way street,” Crean said at a press conference on Wednesday. “We definitely tried to do that and it didn’t work out that way.”
Calipari said in Tuesday’s press conference that he told Crean in a recent conversation that it was time to move on.
“What I told Tommy (was) ‘Tommy — move on, we have our schedule and you have your schedule and our schedule is tough,” Calipari said.
But Crean gave a somewhat different rendition of the conversation.
“I saw where he said that he told me to move on,” said Crean, whose Hoosiers beat the Wildcats last year at Assembly Hall (73-72) and then lost to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament (102-90). “But I remember us talking about that we should all move on. But I also said to him, ‘Let it go. Pick your next fight.’ It’s interesting reading and I’m sure it’s interesting for you guys to cover. But I don’t have much more to add to that.
“It’s obviously not going to happen. In my opinion, I don’t think he wants to come to Bloomington anymore. I don’t think that’s a secret. But it is what it is.”
An hour later, Crean addressed the approximately 1,000 Hoosier fans about the latest verbal battle with Calipari and the Kentucky faithful by having some fun with the situation.
In the opening moments of his speech, Crean poked fun at Calipari’s lack of knowledge about the locations of some sites in Indiana.
On Tuesday, Calipari addressed the last proposal for the continuation of the IU-Kentucky series, which was two games being played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for two years and then followed by a two-year, home-and-home series at each school’s home arenas. IU athletic director Fred Glass did not like the proposal because the two Lucas Oil Stadium games would not give several IU students the opportunity to attend the game.
“They’re only two hours away. Are they that poor?” said Calipari, who was unaware that the 55-mile drive between Bloomington and Indianapolis only takes an hour. “They couldn’t get to that building? Our students are going. Ours would go up there.”
Crean fired back to that particular comment, telling the fans at the tailgate tour, “I asked John Calipari to come up here tonight and he asked, ‘What is that, about 12 hours away?’”
Crean then took another jab at Calipari when he tried to influence Hoosier fans to attend other IU sporting events.
“Could you imagine that teams didn’t want to come back to our place because it’s too ‘hostile?’” Crean said, signaling quotation marks with his fingers as he said hostile.
Even tailgate tour emcee and the radio voice of IU football and men’s basketball Don Fischer took his shots at Kentucky. Before Crean, IU head football coach Kevin Wilson and new IU head women’s basketball coach Curt Miller spoke to the crowd on Wednesday, Fischer gave the Hoosier faithful a fictional Kentucky scheduling proposal.
“The agenda of the proposal is, No. 1, Kentucky picks the arena and the date,” Fischer quipped. “No. 2, the Kentucky alumni officiates the game. And No. 3, no upperclassmen can play.”
2012-13 Early Season Events List
https://twitter.com/Therealgstaff/status/210417818787774464 Austin Grandstaff
Two current high-major verbal commitments, 6-1 point guard Conner Frankamp (Kansas) and 6-3 shooting guard Anton Gill (Louisville) were selected to the Top-30 game that concluded the camp. Both have one season left of high school basketball, but starred all weekend long during the event. Frankamp is a heady, fundamental guard that showcased his automatic trigger from 3-point range. Likewise, Gill showcased a scorer’s DNA and continually put up points in a variety of ways. Both could be ready to contribute as freshmen.
Having followed the USA Basketball youth teams at every level very closely for most of the past decade, it's safe to say this is one of the deepest and most talented rosters we've seen in quite a while.
USA Basketball Men's National Team Director Sean Ford confirmed as much, telling us that this team is the product of the “highest acceptance percentage of invitations we've seen in quite some time.”
As Ford told us, the availability of many young players is impacted by the dates of the NCAA tournament. “This tournament is ideal for us,” Ford told us. “We avoid a lot of conflicts because everyone is back in time for summer school. No one can't come because of college summer school. We have a little bit of conflict with Nike Skills Academy, but nothing in July.”
…When it's all said and done, the coaching staff might need to put the ball in the hands of Julius Randle and let his terrific skill-level take over. He's been up and down here, able to create very good shots for himself around the basket, but struggling to finish them, and not knocking down his jumper consistently. To his credit, he's done a very good job competing defensively and on the glass, and it's likely only a matter of time before his outstanding talent really starts shining through, even if he's obviously better attacking opponents from the elbow than with his back to the basket.
Spring/Summer Event Schedule
adidas Grassroots schedule
Nike EYBL Schedule
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar
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