@30for30 "There's No Place Like Home"
The fan, a Kansas City-area native named Josh Swade, has arranged a meeting with KU donor David Booth, the same man whose last name hangs on the outside of the Booth Family Hall of Athletics at Allen Fieldhouse.
Swade has weaseled his way into the meeting by telling Booth, a Lawrence native, that he’s shooting a documentary about bringing the rules back to KU, and then he drops the hammer.
The rules belong in Lawrence, Swade says. They’re about to go up for auction at Sotheby’s in New York. We have to do this.
Booth sort of smiles and nonchalantly shrugs his shoulders.
“I’m good for a million,” he says, as if he just decided to buy a few boxes of Girl Scout cookies.
If you’re expecting this film to have the same riveting pull that has defined most of the “30 for 30” series, you may be disappointed. (To be fair, ESPN has set the bar pretty high.) If there’s drama here, it’s mostly lighthearted. But if you’re a fan or observer of KU basketball, you’ll probably enjoy the hour-length film, with much of it coming off as an emotional ode to the history and tradition of the Kansas basketball.
Swade is a super fan, and the entire film is told from this point of view. There’s been some criticism that the movie may not have much national, widespread appeal. And that’s probably fair. But if you’re a KU fan, it seems unlikely that this will detract from your viewing experience.
The crux of the film is simple. It’s late 2010, and Swade, who works for a production company in New York, reads a story about the rules going up for auction in the New York Times. He decides they need to be in Lawrence. And so he brings along a film crew as he traverses the country to try to convince some deep-pocketed KU donors that they should bid on the rules. (Cue awkward encounters with donors.)
KC Star review
Lavette Pitts, the mother of five-star basketball prospect Wayne Selden, figured big things were ahead for her oldest son the day he was born.
“He was 11 pounds, 4 ounces at birth,” Pitts revealed Monday in a phone interview discussing the 6-foot-51⁄2, 220-pounder’s oral commitment to play basketball at Kansas University.
“He’s a genuinely sweet kid, giving, respectful of others, real funny and so focused,” Pitts added in describing the elite combo guard out of Tilton (N.H.) School, who is rated No. 14 nationally by ESPN.com and No. 23 by Rivals.com. “He’s been that way from the time he was 4 or 5 years old.”
Selden, who chose KU over Ohio State, Florida, UCLA, Syracuse and Missouri, showed maturity in the way he handled the announcement of his oral commitment, which Monday classified as big news in the recruiting world.
“Blown away” by Friday’s Late Night in the Phog, the highlight of his weekend campus visit, Selden committed to KU coach Bill Self on Saturday night. However, he decided to fly back to his hometown of Roxbury, Mass., with his mom, dad Wayne, Sr., and godmother Edie Janas, to phone coaches from the other schools who were pursuing him.
“It was out of respect for the other schools: ‘Let’s not say anything until he makes these phone calls to give them the news,’” Pitts said. “It was hard for all of us to sit on it (news). We said, ‘Let’s be respectful of this process.’”
…“I felt it (KU) was the right fit for me as a person and player,” Selden told the Journal-World. “I knew coming into the visit Kansas was my leader, and, after meeting the players and coaches, I knew it was the right place for me. It’s like a family there.”
Selden’s close family members also gave thumbs-up to all aspects of the visit.
“I loved Late Night. I was more looking at it from a parent standpoint,” said Pitts, who works as a program director for “The Home for Little Wanderers,” which counsels inner-city youths in Roxbury, which is about an hour and a half drive from Tilton School’s campus.
…“As the mother of an elite athlete, I had to deal with some people not necessarily on the up-and-up,” Pitts said. “To talk with coach Self and coach Roberts … I said after the visit, ‘Listen, I think that school is No. 1 at this point.’ We did know this is a process and wanted to go through the process. But as soon as Wayne walked in there (Allen Fieldhouse), looking so calm, I knew inside this is where he wanted to be and should be. My whole thing became, ‘Why continue to look?’ He loved the camaraderie of the team and coaches. I said, ‘If I’m not around, my child will still feel this nurturing feeling.’ I was in awe,” Selden’s mom added.
…Tilton coach Marcus O’Neil used Selden at various positions last season, including the point. Selden averaged 16 points (off 55 percent shooting), five assists and three rebounds a game his junior campaign.
“He has a unique combination of strength, speed and skill. He is a triple threat. He can shoot, drive and pass the ball,” O’Neil said. “He’s played point guard to power forward for us. He is a dangerous guy wherever he is on the floor.
“He’s a very good student and citizen on our campus. We think Kansas is getting an outstanding young man and extremely talented player, somebody who can contribute in a variety of ways. I like his versatility. He can put points on the board.”
As far as Selden, who gave up football at the age of 12, being known as a physical guard, O’Neil acknowledged: “He does a lot of pushing people around.”
O’Neil also is OK with Selden’s decision.
“Obviously, it (KU) has a long history of success, great tradition there,” O’Neil said. “Any time you speak to anybody from that staff ... they are impressive guys, professional. Kansas meets all the criteria. After talking with his family and evaluating all the colleges, their programs and academic offerings, he made the decision that is where he wanted to be.”
Selden certainly will be in the running for a spot in the McDonald’s All-America Game.
This is a guy who even at a young age embraced everything that went into being a star. He’s comfortable in the limelight, has supreme confidence and wants the ball in his hands down the stretch.
He has proven that pedigree at every step along the way and has played starring roles on a multitude of championship teams, including three AAU national championships with Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC), the 2011 Nike Elite Youth Basketball League title and a 2011 New England Preparatory School Athletic Council championship with Tilton.
Selden has the rare personality that is so often tied to starring roles. Yes, he’s uniquely talented, but he’s also as charismatic off the floor as he is dynamic on the court. That’s a big reason why his teammates tend to naturally gravitate toward him and he so often emerges as the group’s primary personality and playmaker.
It’s that mental edge, as much as any physical tool, that makes Selden such a good fit at Kansas, where the fan base is as rabid as any in the country and excellence is demanded on an annual basis. Not only will Selden embrace that sort of immediate challenge, he’ll raise the level of his game because of it.
ESPN Insider ($)
Move away from his physical attributes and you see that Selden is more than just an athlete. He's also a skilled and cerebral player.
He will likely play a wing position in college, but Selden is at his best as a playmaker. He is one of the best pick and roll players in the class of 2013 and there isn't a program in the country that runs much, if any, more ballscreen action than Kansas does.
Defensively, Selden is physical and aggressive, just the kind of player that Self loves on that end.
Ranked No. 23 in the country, Selden is the fourth Rivals150 perimeter player to commit from the class of 2013. And, he's an excellent compliment.
No. 22 in the country Brannen Greene is a tall sharp-shooter from deep. Shooting is also the forte of No. 28, Kansas bred point guard Conner Frankamp. The No. 131 player in the country, point guard Frank Mason is another who makes things happen off the dribble.
With those four locked up in the backcourt, look for the Jayhawks to now focus on big-men. Joel Embiid -- who visited over the weekend -- will be entering the rankings as at least a four-star prospect and the big men told the Jayhawk Slant that the Jayhawks led after his weekend visit. Also major targets are No. 5 Aaron Gordon -- who visited for Late Night as well -- and the nation's top player Julius Randle who is expected to visit sometime during the season.
EBoss in SI
Wayne Selden, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from the Tilton (N.H.) School, pulled the trigger for Kansas after visiting this weekend for “Late Night in the Phog.”
Selden, who reclassified to the Class of 2013 from 2014, also considered Syracuse, Florida, Missouri and UCLA.
“It is the right fit for me as a person and a player,” Selden told ESPN.com. “When we walked in the arena (for Late Night in the Phog), the roar of the crowd was insane. I was filled with excitement and to a certain extent overwhelmed.”
Selden joins 2013 commits Conner Frankamp, Frank Mason and Brannen Greene in head coach Bill Self’s 2013 class. Frankamp and Mason are point guards and Greene is an off guard.
“Coach Self is a great coach,” Selden told ESPN.com. “They made me feel welcomed and wanted. He has a plan for me.”
Earlier this year, Rivals ranked Selden as one of the most physical players in the class of 2013. The general view, among recruiting analysts, is that Selden can play multiple guard positions.
“When I look at Selden, I kind of look at him as a designated athlete in the backcourt,” said Eric Bossi, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. “He handles the ball really well. In fact, I think he’s at his best playing in the pick-and-roll and accepting ball screens.
“If you watch Kansas, you know that there may not be another program in the country that runs as much ball-screen action as Kansas does. So, he’s an incredible fit from that standpoint.”
Selden, who grew up in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, was originally a member of the 2013 class. But that changed when he transferred to Tilton and reclassified as a member of the 2014 class two years ago. This past summer, he reversed course again and moved back into his initial class. It’s a similar move to the one made by his former prep and AAU teammate, Nerlens Noel, a top-rated center who moved up to the 2012 class and signed with Kentucky this past year.
O'Neil, Selden's coach at Tilton, described him as a "gifted athlete with a rare combination of strength and speed."
“He is also very explosive, smart and skilled," O'Neil said. "He makes plays as a passer, shooter and driver. We've had some great players at Tilton, and Wayne is right at the top of the list."
With four commitments now in the fold, KU is perhaps in line to make a run at a big man or two to fill out the class.
Scouting reports say he is also a good passer with terrific vision and unselfishness. In addition, his long-range jumper is now a weapon and no longer a weakness. Whether it's a drive, post up or an offensive rebound, when he gets near the basket, he can physically punish opponents.
Still, he knows there are holes in his game and understands there is a huge learning curve from prep school to the Big 12.
"I must work on my lateral speed to defend better and keep working on my ballhandling," Selden said.
He will now head to play for one of the most successful coaches in the nation in Bill Self, who Selden hopes will continue to help him improve his game.
SN: I’m curious. How do you get ready to take that big of a step up in leadership?
JOHNSON: Honestly, it’s natural. I’ve been that way, but just not on the court as much. For some reason, and I hate myself for it, honestly, but these last three years I wasn’t exactly who I am on the court. I wasn’t as social, you know. I was kind of the quiet person, and that’s not really me. And anyone who’s played with me knows that isn’t me. They know that I love to talk, and they know that I love to teach, and they know that I love to look at stuff in detail.
I’m more excited about that than almost anything, just being able to be open and voice my opinion about things and not be overshadowed or feeling like I’m stepping out of place. I’m looking forward to it.
SN: Interesting. Has that been a matter of just waiting for your turn?
JOHNSON: A lot of people say that, from my dad to my coaches to my fans to just everybody. They say that to me all the time. That’s all I’ve ever heard, that you always have to wait your turn instead of stepping up early. I don’t necessarily look at it as waiting my turn. I look at it as a learning process.
I like to look at a lot of examples. There are some examples I’ve seen at Kansas that I didn’t like, and some that I have loved, and I’m just taking the positives and leaving the negatives and trying to put it into the best perspective I can. I want to make it hard for a senior to come through here and lead the team better than I did.
SN: Give me an example of one of the things you’ve loved and tried to learn from.
JOHNSON: For instance, Sherron (Collins). On the road, you can’t make coach Self mad, because when you make coach Self mad, that makes Sherron mad. For some reason, Sherron can get us more hyped about the game or more hyped about shutting Bramlage (Coliseum, Kansas State’s arena) down than coach Self can. I think it’s because he’s on the court with us, and that’s something I took in.
SN: I want to get your perspective on a couple of the young guys, as far as their strengths and weaknesses. Let’s start with forward Perry Ellis. What have you see from him so far?
JOHNSON: I love Perry’s game. I think right now, if anything, he’s just not sure. Personally, I’m no coach—and I want that to be quoted, I’m no coach—but I just personally think that he needs to feel like he’s as good as he is.
I think that he’s better than he thinks he is, and it shows in his attitude and demeanor. I think that’s going to come in time, so I’m not really worried about that. He’s a good player. He’s coachable; he’s always trying to ask questions so he can learn something. I like playing with him.
SN: Self has won with different styles of rosters—he’s won with big guys, won with guards. You’ve been around him a long time. What do you think makes him so successful? What makes him get his players to play so well in February and March?
JOHNSON: I honestly can’t even answer that question. I’m still lost to this day on how he does it. I don’t try to master it, I don’t try to really see into it too much, but it’s something he’s doing that everybody else can’t quite catch on to yet. I’m just happy he’s my coach.
TSN One on One with Elijah Johnson (Also video discussing Kansas at the link)
LJW Preseason Magazine preview
Kansas 2012-13 Schedule
Big 12/College News
Big 12 Composite Schedule
Wednesday is Big 12 Media Day
For instance, West Virginia is scheduled to play a 9 p.m. night game at Texas on Wednesday, Jan. 9 and then must turn around and face Kansas State at the Coliseum for a 1:30 p.m. game on Saturday afternoon. That means his players will arrive home in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, get up for class, and then have to be ready to go for practice later that day.
“What are you going to do?” asked Huggins. “When you get back here at 4:30 in the morning I ought to get you guys (media) out here and stand in front of the bus and tell them to get their ass to class at eight o’clock now. And hey, by the way, we practice at 1:30, so make sure you are ready to go. It’s hard, but it is what it is.”
Huggins said he was a big fan of the Big East – at full strength it was considered by many to be the best college basketball league ever assembled - but the veteran coach believes the Big 12 will be just as difficult because there are not as many schools to dilute the conference.
“In the Big East there were 10 teams as good as anybody,” he said. “But there were also some teams … when you look at it there were five or six teams that never made the NCAA tournament in the five years I was there. Honestly, you looked at the schedule and you think, ‘well, maybe we ought to win that one.’ I think the difference is in the Big 12 you don’t have that.”
Plus, the Big 12 plays a full round-robin schedule with each school facing each other twice during the season, which makes for a true league champion.
“In the Big East, the better you were the harder your conference schedule was (for television purposes) and the worse you were the worse your conference schedule was,” Huggins said. “Now, it is a true championship. When I was in the Big 12 (in 2007) it wasn’t. We had a north and a south division and we played everybody in our division twice and the others once.
“We finished fourth the year I was in the league,” he continued. “It was probably top heavy then. We finished fourth because we were in the north and the north wasn’t near as hard as the south was. Now, you are playing everybody twice. You are going to find out who the best teams are one through 10.”
Andre Dawkins was originally thought to be a redshirt for the Duke program this season in the sense that he'd be a traditional redshirt. Which is to say, he'd not play in games, but still be on scholarship and be committed to the program throughout the season by way of participating in practices, team activities and so forth.
Turns out, that's not the case. Dawkins will attend Duke this academic year as a basketball player on scholarship -- but that's it. No practices. He wasn't even a part of the 2012-13 team picture. Why? Dawkins is reported to be going through understandably tough times in the wake of his sister's death, which came in December of 2009, but is still clearly bothering the young man.
He's working his way through that tragedy, and stepping away from the team for a year was the choice made in order to better his life.
Over the summer Mike Krzyzewski confirmed that Dawkins would sit 2012-13 out, but it wasn't until Friday that we learned Dawkins would indeed be fully stepping away from playing basketball over the next six to eight months.
Duke redshirt freshman Marshall Plumlee will miss 6-8 weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot, a Duke source confirmed to CBSSports.com.
The news was first reported on ESPNU during Duke's practice at Fort Bragg on Monday.
It doesn't sound like huge news, but it's certainly a significant setback for the youngest of the Plumlee brothers -- and a guy who was slated to get playing time up front for the Blue Devils after redshirting last season.
ESPN Tip-Off Marathon schedule
2012-13 Early Season Events List
When Maryland struck out with the Harrison twins a couple weeks ago, it didn't waste much time turning to its very talented Plan B, local product Roddy Peters.
This time, coach Mark Turgeon didn't miss; Peters pledged to the Terrapins on Tuesday morning.
Peters, a 6-foot-4 point guard from Suitland (Md.), chose Maryland over Georgetown, Rutgers, Xavier, Kansas and UCLA. While many thought the Terrapins were the favorites in this recruitment for a while, it was clear they took a strong lead over the past week. Peters was in College Park for Midnight Madness, and also hosted Turgeon on an in-home visit Monday night.
Jermaine Lawrence, one of the most sought after forwards in the Class of 2013, visited St. John’s Friday for Midnight Madness and has several other visits coming up this fall.
“My family and I enjoyed St. John’s Midnight Madness, but we are not making any decisions at this time,” Lawrence said in a statement. “We still have other schools to visit.”
The 6-foot-10 senior from Pope John XXIII (N.J.) plans to take visits to Cincinnati, Syracuse, UNLV and Kansas over the next few months. No dates are currently scheduled.
Lawrence is also considering UCLA and Kentucky and will sign in the spring.
What’s up everyone, it’s me again back with another blog.
The biggest thing that’s happened since my last blog was obviously me cutting my list down to six. I’m officially looking at Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Florida and Oklahoma. I had a couple of fans hit me on Twitter being negative, but for the most part all of the fans of the schools I didn’t pick were good sports. They wished me well and I appreciated that.
Julius Randle blog for USA Today (also clears up the rumors about the Harrison Twins)
Rivals: John Lucas Midwest Camp Saturday
Rivals: John Lucas Midwest Camp Sunday
My 2012 KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube