Finally, thanks to his Kansas University basketball team’s spirited effort in Saturday’s 90-54 victory over Colorado, Bill Self possesses some game film that’s pleasing to the eyes.
“We have shown them a lot of tape (this season). It hasn’t been very positive the majority of things we’ve shown. (We say), ‘Look at this. Is this the best we’ve got?’” KU coach Self said on Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference. “Now we can show tape from the other day saying, ‘We’ve got to guard this better, but a lot of times effort and energy make up for the mistakes.’
…“We were talking today ... it would be really great to bring Kevin off the bench,” Self said of the player who has started five of seven games, missing one game because of injury. “He brings energy off the bench. He’s playing so well, you can’t afford to do that. We’ve got to have Jamari (Traylor), Perry (Ellis) and Naadir (Tharpe) more so than anybody else bring energy into the game and be assertive as opposed to just trying to fit in.
“Quit worrying about screwing up. Quit worrying about trying to score points. Just rebound, defend, dive on the floor, do the things that will give you confidence. One thing about Kevin, he’s the best talker we have. He won’t shut up. That’s contagious and good. A team that doesn’t talk can’t play,” Self added. “Bring in young kids who are unsure, (and) they don’t open their mouths, all of a sudden you lose a little bit of talking and energy, and it doesn’t look near as crisp. (Young) guys aren’t used to doing that. Our guys can learn from Kevin in that regard.”
KU's perimeter defense had room to improve, and it was at its best against Colorado.
The Jayhawks weren't exactly struggling defensively. Going into Saturday's game, the Jayhawks led the nation in 2-point field goal percentage. The main reason for that was Jeff Withey swatting nearly everything in his vicinity -- he's averaging a NCAA-best 5.6 blocks per game.
But what could be judged as solid defensive numbers had not been to Bill Self's liking, especially on the perimeter. After playing Oregon State, whose point guard Ahmad Starks dropped 25 points on the Jayhawks, Self said that if his perimeter defense didn't improve, he might need to go zone.
Saturday's performance was more of what he was looking for as KU's guards played physical defense and didn't give the Buffs many open looks -- CU shot 2 of 12 from distance.
University of Kansas point guard and Cherokee Nation citizen Angel Goodrich is not only getting noticed by sports publications for her elite performance, but also by teens in her former high school.
…“I’m not surprised by her success. She learned to lean on people and let people help her,” Kansas women’s basketball Head Coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “I thought she was special the first time I saw her. She has separated herself and made a name for herself as a phenomenal point guard.”
The injuries helped Goodrich learn valuable lessons and served as motivation to get back on the court, Henrickson said.
“That’s what pushes me. I know something can be taken away from me so quickly and easily,” Goodrich, 22, said. “I feel like experiencing those injuries made me stronger mentally.”
Goodrich stayed focused and worked to get back to the elite level status she experienced at Sequoyah. This season Goodrich has been named to the Wade Watch list, as well as a preseason third team All-American by the Lindy’s Sports publication, and honored as a preseason All Big XII by conference coaches. Goodrich also led the nation in assists per game last year and broke the conference record for assists in a season.
The individual statistics and team achievements have led to Cherokee teens following her career, some said. Sequoyah senior Courtney Jones, a point guard, said Goodrich’s demeanor and ability to overcome obstacles is uplifting.
“I love how she wanted to go somewhere to make a difference, and that’s what I want to do,” Jones said. “She is a big role model for me.”
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
The seven Big East Catholic, non-FBS schools met with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco on Sunday to express their concerns for the direction of the conference, multiple Big East sources confirmed to ESPN.com on Monday.
Sources said the New York meeting was the first among the seven schools (Marquette, DePaul, St. John's, Georgetown, Providence, Seton Hall and Villanova) and ultimately could lead to them splitting from the Big East's football members.
Sources said the seven schools discussed a number of options but most importantly wanted to have "lots of dialogue to better understand the best course of action for the future." Another source said no decision was made on what future action to take.
The Big 12’s basketball teams have broken slowly from the gate. Only two teams — Kansas and Oklahoma State — are ranked, and not since the 2008-09 season has the league treaded so lightly in the polls.
The league is 2-8 against the AP top 25, 4-9 against the RPI top 50 and ranked seventh among Division I conferences, trailing the Mountain West and Atlantic 10.
With that kind of start, March Madness won’t spread through the league as thoroughly as in recent seasons. Last year, six schools made the NCAA Tournament. A guess is no more than four would be invited if the selection committee decided today.
“Once January gets here, the league will be as good as it’s been,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Perhaps. But unless there’s a strong closing kick in nonconference action, the only way for the Big 12 to rack up a high NCAA Tournament participation rate is for teams to score several upsets in league play. No small task.
…Some marquee matchups remain. Kansas visits Ohio State and Kansas State meets Florida at the Sprint Center this month. The Wildcats, Baylor and Oklahoma State all play Gonzaga. Texas faces North Carolina in Austin and plays at Michigan State. West Virginia takes on Michigan.
Road environments will become much more hostile for the Wildcats (7-1), beginning Saturday when they play Gonzaga. That game will be at Key Arena in Seattle, not the Bulldogs' home in Spokane.
"At least we're not in 'The Kennel' in their home," Lowery said. "It's still a road game, but it's not in the confines of home where they are right on top of you like they are at their home court."
It's similar to the scenario the Wildcats will have when they play Florida at Sprint Center in Kansas City on Dec. 22, a neutral homecourt advantage.
Gonzaga is coming off an 85-74 home loss to Illinois, dropping the Bulldogs four spots to No. 14 in this week's national rankings.
After watching his big men sink four 3-pointers against Virginia Tech — all of which proved crucial in a 68-67 victory — West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said they've earned a green light to keep shooting.
"I'm all for it," Huggins said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference. "They can't miss any more than our guards have."
WVU (4-3) came in shooting only 23 percent from 3-point range before hitting 10-of-24 against Virginia Tech. Center Aaric Murray and reserve forward Kevin Noreen each made 2-of-3 from long range.
In case you were wondering, WVU ranks last in the Big 12 in field goal shooting percentage, the only team under 40 percent at 39.8.
Somewhat surprisingly, WVU ranks 8th out of the 10 teams in defense, giving up 66 points a game.
The value of this stat began to wobble as Tyshawn Taylor led Kansas to the NCAA championship game with 1.4 assists per turnover, where KU faced Kentucky’s Marquis Teague (1.8 assists per turnover).
With UCLA drowning despite Larry Drew getting 4.6 assists for every turnover, we can pretty much bury this number. If a team has more turnovers than assists, there’s little doubt it has ballhandling issues. But the collegiate obsession with turnovers has transformed a generation of point guards into mice, fearful of attempting anything daring lest they be scolded by analysts waving stat sheets.
In two seasons at Georgetown, Allen Iverson’s assist/turnover ratio was 1.1-to-1.
...After watching Smart dominate yet another major opponent (South Florida) in yet another Cowboys victory, it felt like time to thumb through the Sporting News college basketball preview issue to double-check whether he’d been included on one of our three All-America teams. Alas, we missed on that, but he was one of the five players on our all-freshman team.
That still puts us far ahead of the person who, with a number of games passed, ranked Smart as the No. 14 freshman in the nation.
No. 14! Among freshmen!
People, Marcus Smart has been the best college player in the nation to this point.
TSN Mike DeCourcy
I’m pretty sure Mike was referring to me, for I did indeed name Smart the No. 14 freshman in the nation last week. Actually, I thought I was pretty effusive in my remarks:
After coaching the FIBA U-18 team for the United States last summer, Billy Donovan told anyone who would listen that Marcus Smart was a special player, and Smart has certainly lived up to Donovan’s hype. The freshman’s already asserted himself as the third Cowboy — along with Le’Bryan Nash and Markel Brown — who’s on the floor more or less all game, every game. And continuing with our theme of big point guards, Smart is the biggest of the lot at 6-4 and 225 pounds. That size gives him the unique distinction of having not only a great assist rate but also a pretty decent (16.5) defensive rebound percentage. (Smart may also be the only point guard to rank among the nation’s top 400 players in block percentage.) His best contributions on offense by far have come from the aforementioned assists and at the free throw line, for he’s yet to show perimeter range and is shooting just 46 percent inside the arc.
If that sounds like I like Marcus Smart, I do. I’ve watched his games, I’ve marveled at his motor, I’ve shouted my praise from the rooftops in real time, and I was careful to get in on the ground floor of Oklahoma State fever.
But the funny thing about Smart is that his shots just have not gone in. That, in a narrow journalistic sense, is the really interesting story presented by Smart so far. I love him, you love him, Mike loves him, we all love him, and I’m convinced we’re right to feel as we do. But his shots just have not gone in.
OK, so maybe we all overreacted to Colorado's win over Baylor, to UCLA's recruiting class. Maybe we're all stuck in 2004 and having a hard time facing reality.
The Pac-12 stinks.
The league has one good team, Arizona. Who's the second-best team in the Pac-12? Hello? Anybody?
…We have enough to work with now to get to the business of ranking the best freshmen of 2012-13. Because there are too many to rank numerically, I'm selecting a team by position.
PG – Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
SG – Ben McLemore (redshirt), Kansas
SF – Jordan Adams, UCLA
PF – Anthony Bennett, UNLV
C – Nerlens Noel, Kentucky.
Bench: Nik Stauskas, Michigan; Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke; Alex Poythress, Kentucky
That's a team with a great defensive post presence (Noel), great shooting (McLemore and Stauskas) and great size all the way around. I'd listen to an argument that Adams is not really a small forward. We could plug in his teammate, Shabazz Muhammad, in that spot, but Adams has been the more productive player. As for the bench, you've got a wing scorer, a guard and a big guy. That team would win the Pac-12 by two games.
Jarrod Kruger, nephew of Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger, has left the Oklahoma basketball team.
Jarrod started his basketball career at Kansas State as a walk-on. He did not play a game the fall of his freshman year in 2010 and transferred to the University of Kansas during the spring of his 2011 year. In Fall 2011, he then transferred to Oklahoma. Due to NCAA transfer rules, Jarrod was ineligible to play for the Sooners during the 2011-2012 season.
He would have been eligible to play this year but decided to focus on his academics instead. On his Oklahoma player bio, his major is listed as multidisciplinary studies, but his uncle said he’s interested in some area of business.
Jarrod is from Topeka, Kan. where he played for West High School as a starter for two years. During his senior year of high school, he helped West High to a 16-8 record and a second place finish at the Class 5A State Tournament.
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Big 12 Composite Schedule
When I got the news that it was a fracture I was devastated. It’s hard to describe how I felt. It’s hard to put that into words. I put so much into this game and to have it just taken away is hard to deal with. I just didn’t want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to be alone. It was hard at first. I went back to my godfather’s house and tried to sleep it off. I was really hoping that it was all just a bad dream. I know that sounds crazy.
It’s hard now, but I’m dealing with it better. The way I look at it is everything happens for a reason. Every day I tell myself that I’m not gonna get down or be negative because none of that will help. That’s not gonna make me heal any faster, so it’s a waste of time.
I’m 100 percent focused on working hard to get back on the court. I’m doing a lot of upper-body lifting and lots of shooting drills where I’m stationary. I honestly think that my jump shot is getting better and better.
USA Today: Julius Randle blog
“I know people expect a lot from me and want to see certain things when I play, but it’s not really any pressure for me,” said Wiggins, who played Sunday in front of several college coaches, including Ohio State’s Thad Matta. “I guess I like the attention. . . . well, I mean, I don’t mind it. Sometimes it can be a lot. I deal with it, though.”
But for every recruiter fawning over Wiggins, there are a handful of opponents who would rather not see Wiggins succeed, and Sunday, Princeton Day was eager to play the role of spoiler. Large crowds are nothing new for Carr, who is nicknamed the “Crimestopper” for his ability to draw people off the Baltimore streets and into the gym, and it appeared he’s taken Sunday’s draw as a personal challenge.
…The second half brought more cold shooting for Wiggins, who as a result shifted his focus to Carr’s defensive challenge. Using his long arms and deceptive strength, Wiggins helped limit Carr to six second-half points. In the fourth quarter, the Express rode the three-point shooting of Xavier Rathan-Mayes (19 points) and Wiggins’s 7-of-10 showing at the free-throw line to hold off Princeton Day, 75-69.
“I just try to bring it every night in whatever way I can,” said Wiggins, who finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds. “Like tonight, my shot wasn’t falling and I couldn’t really get going offensively, but I felt like I stepped it up on defense.”
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