For Michael Jordan, it was the tongue-wagging fade away jump shot; for Allen Iverson, it was the ankle-breaking killer crossover; and for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, it was the net-scorching sky hook. The recurring theme among all great players is great moves.
Every Monday, we’ll scour the globe to check in with the country’s most elite players and have them dish on one of the many sure-fire juke moves they implement throughout the course of a game.
This week we caught up with Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.) forward Cheick Diallo, a Kansas signee who won MVP of both the McDonald’s All American and Jordan Brand Classic games.
THE MOVE: The Pick and Roll
THE EXECUTION: “I’m pretty simple. I’ll go set the high screen and roll off of that and then I get the ball and dunk on everybody.”
THE SELL: “Nobody can stop that one.”
Here’s how Diallo gets it done.
Kansas University sophomore power forward Landen Lucas suffered some significant aches and pains at the end of the 2014-15 basketball season.
“He was beat up,” KU coach Bill Self said at the Jayhawks’ postseason awards banquet. “He didn’t even practice. He may have practiced the day before games. He had so much stuff (going on).
“He played hurt the whole year,” Self added, while not addressing specific ailments.
Lucas, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound Portland native who had hip, knee and back discomfort at various junctures, explained the most serious of his problems after working as a camp counselor at Ed Fritz’s College Stars camp Friday night at Blue Valley Northwest High School.
“After the season I had surgery done on my left leg. There was a small bone tumor in the shin area they had to take out,” Lucas said, the word “tumor” sounding awfully scary coming out of his mouth. “It was nothing serious. It wasn’t cancerous, but I had it from the start of the season. It’s one of those things that was growing throughout last offseason, and I noticed it around Late Night.
“I think it caused some problems. It did give me some pain. Recovery time is six to eight weeks, so we knew we had to wait until after the season to do anything about it,” Lucas explained.
Lucas, who averaged 3.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15.2 minutes a game, didn’t need postseason surgery to alleviate his hip pain.
“I’m not even sure what it was. The MRI showed some small tears (in hip),” Lucas said. “Naturally, getting beat up throughout the year, everything added up. Toward the end of the season, it was hard, but nothing was bigger than the goals we were trying to accomplish (Big 12, NCAA titles).”
Lucas returned to the court just last week for basketball-related activities, feeling refreshed after being inactive all of April and part of March and May.
In a week, a definitive order will be set at the NBA Draft lottery. For now, it merely is a matter of playing the percentages when lining up the teams.
When it comes to lining up the players, it is a waiting game that will go all the way to the June 25 NBA Draft, with results from the Chicago pre-draft camp to be studied, team workouts to be scheduled, trade possibilities to be sorted.
For now, a look at how the lottery portion of the draft might set up if the May 19 lottery follows the order going in.
…Miami Heat: Kelly Oubre, 6-7, G, Kansas. The thought is that Johnson would be the preference if still on the board, and that Sam Dekker could also intrigue at this spot. In some ways, Oubre mimics the game of James Ennis. But Pat Riley has always been high on potential and upside, and there is plenty with Oubre if a handle can be established. (The Heat's pick goes to the 76ers if it falls beyond the first 10.)
In general terms, though, a college basketball player is not supposed to average 13.5 minutes per game as a senior — and then log more minutes per game as an NBA rookie. Basketball players are not supposed to go undrafted after a four-year college career — and then make 39 starts the next season, finishing third among all NBA rookies in rebounds per game. Basketball players are not supposed to do what Black accomplished as an NBA rookie.
“I didn’t want to put any limitations on myself,” Black says.
…One year later, Black looks at his year at Kansas as an opportunity to grow. Without his year under Kansas coach Bill Self, maybe he wouldn’t have latched onto a roster spot with the Houston Rockets after going undrafted last June. Without his year at Kansas, maybe he wouldn’t have shaken off the hurt of getting cut in Houston and finding a home with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I grew as a man here,” Black says, pausing to sign an autograph before a KU barnstorming game at De Soto High School on Friday. “That’s more important than putting the basketball in a hoop any day of the week.”
Former NBA player Josh Childress said his mother actually signed his letter-of-intent to Kansas and coach Roy Williams ... but he never sent it in and chose Stanford instead.
Big 12 / College News
The addition will provide significantly improved strength training facilities for both basketball programs as well as for student-athletes competing in other OU athletics programs. As a part of the project, space for a performance center also will be constructed to accommodate equipment that will assist in performance testing and assessment.
“This facility is an elite sports science center that will enhance our ability to train student-athletes,” Castiglione said. “We are focused on innovation and with this addition we move forward again in optimizing what student-athletes can achieve at the University of Oklahoma. We are committed to providing our student-athletes with a championship experience on every level and this is another project that reinforces our dedication.”
This improvement will be paid through private donations and OU athletic funding.
One of the Big 12′s top athletic powers will add another recruiting trinket.
On Monday, the Atlantic Sun released a statement regarding its future in the NCAA:
Former VCU commit Tevin Mack did not orally commit to Texas on his unofficial visit over the weekend, his mom, Paula, tells Zagsblog.com. Mack, a 6-foot-6 senior wing out of Dreher High in Columbia, South Carolina, is still considering KU and Georgia. He’s also had Clemson, UCLA and West Virginia on his list of schools. Last week, Paula said her son would hold a Skype conference with KU’s coaches, who would take Tevin on a video tour of KU’s campus and facilities.
Former Baylor signee Kobie Eubanks, a 6-5 senior from Elev8 Sports Academy in Delray Beach, Florida, tells Zagsblog.com he hopes to visit KU and Alabama soon. Rivals.com’s No. 101-rated player in the Class of 2015 also is considering West Virginia, Texas, Arkansas and others.
“They say they need an impact guard to come in and score right away,” Eubanks said, referring to KU Self and assistant Jerrance Howard.
“I’d say about a week or so,” he added to Zagsblog, referring to time frame for picking a school.
Former SMU commit LeGerald Vick, a 6-5 combo guard from Douglass High in Memphis, will visit KU on Wednesday and Thursday after visiting K-State this weekend, Zagsblog reports. He’s to visit Kentucky next weekend. Zagsblog says Vick still must qualify academically before reclassifying to 2015 from the Class of 2016.
Here are five observations from the Nike EYBL event this past weekend:
2. Houston Hoops is as loaded as any Nike EYBL squad and they're led by their dynamic duo of ESPN 25 Jarred Vanderbilt (a Kansas lean) and ESPN 60 De'Aaron Fox. Vanderbilt needs to smoothen out his jump shot, but his perimeter ball handling and passing acumen are high level. Meanwhile, Fox isn't a true point guard in the traditional sense of the word, but his explosiveness off the dribble and shooting touch are tough to deal with.
As a basketball fan, that worked out pretty well. He followed both the Kansas Jayhawks and Arizona Wildcats. Still does.
Only problem is, now he might have to decide which team to play for.
Lightfoot, a four-star forward in the class of 2016 who spent his first two years of high school at Ironwood Ridge, decommitted from New Mexico last month and has since watched a glut of big-time scholarship offers come in. After visiting the Wildcats last Thursday, he received an offer from Arizona to go along with those from Kansas, Utah, Nebraska, Creighton and Stanford.
“As of right now, I’m probably an equal fan of both” Kansas and Arizona, Lightfoot said. “Kansas has offered, and that’s big for me.”
Arizona’s offer has similarly grabbed his attention. About 6 feet 8 inches and 205 pounds, Lightfoot said he started attending UA games during coach Sean Miller’s first season of 2009-10. By the time he was a sophomore in 2013-14, he began showing up for games as part of unofficial visits.
…From here, Lightfoot says there isn’t really a timetable on a decision.
He said he is still waiting to see what other schools might show interest, then will narrow it down to five finalists and take more visits if needed.
He could circle back and pick Arizona. Or circle back even further and pick Kansas. Or another school.
“Right now, I mean, I couldn’t really tell you” what’s next, he said. “You kind of play it by ear and see what happens.”
Kentucky has offered DeSoto’s 6-10 senior-to-be Marques Bolden to add to a national list of offers. Kansas actually jumped on the bandwagon first with an offer last summer.
…Bolden is having another especially impressive summer. He was hampered by an ankle injury through DeSoto’s season but his athleticism and touch with the ball haven’t been questioned. Bolden averaged nearly 12 bounds and nine rebounds this season before DeSoto lost to Keller in the second round of the state playoffs.
…Playing with the Texas Titans last summer. Bolden picked up an offer from Kansas as well as Texas, Nebraska, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Miami and Baylor in a matter of days.
North Texas also has another of the Class of 2016’s most recruited big men with Prestonwood Christian 6-9 center Schnider Herard and Lancaster’s 6-11 Nate Morris. Kansas recruits Prestonwood Christian diligently and nearly got a commitment from Julius Randle two years ago before deep Kentucky ties led to Randle eventually playing his freshman year for Kentucky.
Plans continue for the Sunflower Showcase — a fixture at Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee the past several years — to be moved to the new Sports Pavilion Lawrence at Rock Chalk Park this summer.
The July 23-26 youth basketball event, which is sanctioned by the NCAA, would bring a number of recruits and major and mid-major college coaches to Lawrence.
That’s because the 12-and-under to 17-and-under age-group tourney is held during an open recruiting period.
“Once I heard about the new facility being built, I immediately called and booked the July weekend,” said Chad Rader, a Kansas University graduate who collaborated with Missouri grad Mike Enright to bring the event to Lawrence. “What better place to host a basketball tournament than in Lawrence?
“And it’s a palace,” Rader exclaimed of Sports Pavilion Lawrence.
In previous years, the Showcase has featured teams such as Oklahoma’s Athlete’s First and the St. Louis Eagles, who last year brought Arizona’s Allonzo Trier and uncommitted Jayson Tatum to Okun. Other teams on Nike EYBL circuit as well as the Under Armour Association and Adidas Uprising likely will be on hand.
So who is Cerruti Brown? The truth is, we don't really know. He told Sporting News that he's "not an athlete, never been an athlete," but a "business man, (who) made (his) living thinking outside the box."
"I'm pretty much a think-tanker, come up with ideas and shoot 'em to people and certain people take the ideas and run with them," he explained. "This idea I spurted on and got with some business investors and the rest is history."
A search for Brown's previous business ventures came up empty, so we asked him about some of his previous forays. He said they were "in other fields" outside of sports and involved him "just coming up with an idea" and "having other companies employ (him) and (his) small little staff to think outside the box and generate more revenue."
A domain search of the Dealers' website, created April 25, returns domain ownership by a proxy website, meaning that whoever registered the domain wanted to keep his or her information private. The number he used to call Sporting News appropriately displayed a single word — "anonymous."
TSN: Meet the mystery man trying to poach the nation’s best high school hoops talent
My Late Night in the Phog videos, 60 Years of AFH Celebration videos, KU Alumni games videos, 2011-12 Final Border War videos, Legends of the Phog videos, KC Prep Invitational, Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more, now on YouTube