KUAD: Kansas vs TCU pregame notes
Team GPAs for Fall Semester announced
If statistics were kept on smiles per game, fun-loving Devonté Graham would lead Kansas University’s basketball team — if not all of college hoops.
“The crazy thing about that,” sophomore Frank Mason III said Monday, referring to the demeanor of the 6-foot-2 point guard from Raleigh, North Carolina, “is my family members say the same thing about him. They are like, ‘Why is Devonté always smiling? Everyone has to have a serious face, and he’s smiling.’
“He’s always happy. It’s great to be around him.”
Graham, who has 20 assists against one turnover in five games played since returning from a turf-toe injury that forced him to miss six contests, admits he’s happy to be healthy and playing a key role for ninth-ranked KU (16-3, 5-1) as a mere freshman.
“They (Jayhawks) say I’m always so happy. My team jokes around how I always play a lot, smile a lot. I’m just a big kid, I guess,” Graham said.
…Graham showed his lighter side in a recent home win over Oklahoma. That’s when he celebrated as Brannen Greene went up for a three-point shot. That’s right: Graham celebrated before the ball fell through the hoop.
“In practice when we scrimmage a lot, it’s me and Brannen on the same team, and usually Svi (Mykhailiuk). Every time they shoot the ball, I think it’s a 95 percent chance it’s going to go in,” Graham said. “That’s just my thought, so in the time and moment of the game, we were making a lot of shots, and he was wide-open. I just knew he was going to make it. I turned around and celebrated.”
Graham said he heard about it “on Twitter, from everybody, my mom.”
“She was like, ‘What if he would have missed? Coach would have taken you out? What were you thinking?’ She was more on the negative aspect of it,” Graham said. “I was just having fun, playing. I’ve never done that before. It was the first time.”
Rayna DuBose has a connection to Kansas University athletics that likely will last the rest of her life.
But the fact she played basketball for KU coach Bonnie Henrickson at Virginia Tech 13 years ago played no part in her recent visit to Lawrence, even if the reunion was sweet for both the coach and player.
“I had nothing to do with it,” a smiling Henrickson said following Saturday’s victory over West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse. “Of course, I would have said that we should bring her in, but (the KU athletic department) hired her on their own, and it was so great to see her.”
DuBose, now 31, was in town as the featured speaker for the KU athletic department’s annual diversity training on the topic of overcoming disabilities. A 6-foot-3 forward on the 2001-02 Virginia Tech team, DuBose played in 13 games that season, reached double figures four times and finished her career 15-for-15 from the free-throw line. Not long after the season ended, the Columbia, Maryland, native contracted the deadly bacterial disease meningococcal meningitis, which took all four of her limbs.
With her college playing career over, DuBose chose to fight, and, instead of feeling sorry for herself, went on to try to inspire thousands of athletes across the country.
Sunday night at the Kansas Ballroom in the KU student union, DuBose spoke to hundreds of KU student-athletes, and on Monday she spent time with the athletic-department staff. Her message, which focused on determination, perseverance and gratitude, was the same to each group, and it left dozens of Jayhawks in awe.
As we approach the break, Wiggins is the only active rookie scoring at least 10 points per game. That might not singe your eyebrows, but when you consider that at least two guys have met that criteria in each of the last 19 draft classes, it’s revealing, especially when you consider the expectations for this particular crop of players. Although he’s buried on a bad team, in a vicious Western Conference, Wiggins is by far the best rookie playing in the NBA.
Joel Embiid has been more visible of late, having long shooting sessions before games, showing a fluid touch from as far as 18 feet out and sometimes beyond.
The athleticism Embiid shows while simply shooting jumpers is impressive. The guy is a natural athlete at 6-11 and a playing weight he hopes to be about 260 pounds. He has the body of an NBA big man, so being able to score down low shouldn't be a problem. But he also has a very smooth mid-range game.
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Big 12 / College News
1/26/15, 9:57 PM
Is Hilton magical because Iowa State beats Kansas there once a decade?
Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said Monday that the team had good practices and was emotionally ready for the trip to Lubbock. He was stunned by the Cyclones’ performance. Monday night they rebounded and beat Texas.
What shouldn’t surprise anybody is that Texas Tech, led by a coach with a national championship ring, hadn’t given up on the season. Tubby Smith’s team beat Texas and won at Oklahoma last year. He can scheme and prepare, and recruiting will be his ultimate test. But no other power conference bottom-feeder is coached as well.
The Big 12 has become the nation’s top-rated conference based on its nonconference success, not just by Kansas and Iowa State but from nearly every team. When coaches talk about the league’s parity or the weekly grind or no easy victories, the victories in November and December are the basis.
The Big 12 had plenty of solid victories but went 0-4 against top 10 teams, and Kansas lost to Kentucky by 32.
The conference could get seven teams in the NCAA Tournament, and if Kansas State gets to 11 or 12 league victories, eight wouldn’t be out of the question. Confetti would fly at the home office in Irving, Texas, if the league gets 80 percent in the tourney.
But if the season ended today, there would not be a No. 1 seed, no favorite to reach the Final Four. The conference would get left out, again.
It’s a troubling trend for the Big 12. In Kansas’ decade of consecutive regular-season conference titles, only the Jayhawks have represented the Big 12 on the final weekend. But this is less cause and effect and more a matter of a lousy batting average.
KC Star Kerkhoff
Buoyed by five victories in six games, including wins over ranked opponents Oklahoma and Baylor and once-ranked Oklahoma State, the Wildcats (12-8, 5-2) have charged toward the top of the Big 12 standings. They are tied for second, just a half-game behind Kansas heading into tonight’s game against No. 17 West Virginia, which is another half-game back at 4-2.
“I think we’ve made some progress, obviously. Five out of six in the league, and a game at Iowa State we played well enough to win, we just didn’t play well enough at the end,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “We’ve made progress. And that’s the first thing on the board: You worry about how you’re going to help the team, you’re going to play well.”
When I read the news of his DUI arrest Monday morning, I was rattled. I’ve been a strong proponent of Frankamp since I first watched him play basketball when he was a freshman at North. I’ve always espoused his greatness as a player, as if that was all that mattered.
Of course, it isn’t.
In a way, basketball becomes less important for Frankamp now. But in a way, it’s more important than ever. It’s his crutch, it’s what he needs to flourish.
Whatever Frankamp was doing Saturday night and into Sunday morning had nothing to do with basketball. He’s a 19-year-old kid who allegedly made a mistake. Hopefully, he tackles the aftermath as an opportunity to make amends with an understanding that the price for a second offense could be the game he so dearly loves.
Those who afford second chances, as I suspect Marshall will here regardless of Frankamp’s guilt or innocence, are taking a risk. Those who receive second chances are getting a gift. If Frankamp gets a second chance, it’s up to him to make sure he never needs a third.
Wichita Eagle Lutz
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