It was several days after Free State High’s graduation ceremony that Firebird shooting guard Tyler Self decided to act on his dad Bill’s offer to join Kansas University’s basketball team.
“It was my mother, him and I eating dinner at a little Mexican restaurant. I said something like, ‘I want to play.’ They were both kind of surprised. I think they both said, ‘Really?’ at the same time. It was pretty funny,” said Tyler, a 6-foot-2, 160-pounder who told the Journal-World on Monday he’d decided to become a non-scholarship walk-on player on Bill Self’s KU team.
Tyler, who averaged 3.9 points and 1.3 rebounds a game for the Firebirds (7-14) a year ago, chose KU over dad’s alma mater, Oklahoma State, where he would not have tried to walk on the hoops team and instead would have solely concentrated on his career path in business.
“I just love Kansas so much. I think it’ll be an amazing experience,“ said Tyler Self, whose sister, Lauren, is starting her senior year at KU.
Jeff Withey, Kansas
Withey emerged as one of the nation's preeminent shotblockers last season and should continue to blossom even with the loss of Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. A season after the Jayhawks surprised by making the national title game, they should be much deeper, if not as star-powered. A ninth straight Big 12 crown is very much in the offing.
Coach Self featured on Time Warner Metro Sports "Hometown Heroes" tonight at 7pm
The Indiana Pacers held their first predraft workouts at Bankers Life Fieldhouse today.
Draymond Green (Michigan State), Scott Machado (Iona), Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure), Mike Scott (Virginia), Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas) and Royce White (Iowa State) worked out in front of president Larry Bird, coach Frank Vogel and the rest of the basketball operations staff.
While checking off his list of physical attributes, Tyshawn Taylor noted with a sly smile he was "kind of fast."
He is making no attempt, however, to run from his past.
The meteoric Kansas guard knows questions about his on-court inconsistency and off-court disciplinary issues will follow him throughout the NBA pre-draft workout and interview process and he is doing his best to face them head-on.
"A lot of people have questions not about my ability on the court but about some stuff off the court and I think this is kind of a clean slate," said Taylor, among six players that worked out for the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday. "They've definitely got questions and they're going to ask them and I'm going to be honest about it and go from there.
"An 18 or 19-year-old kid in college, you're going to make some mistakes and you're going to mess up sometimes. You've just got to grow from it. I'm 22 now and I've grown from my mistakes so I think this is definitely a fresh start for me and I'm excited."
…"This year was completely different and I think I was a big part of that because I understood how important I was to my team. I gave myself a pep talk and said, 'Look, man, you're in position where you could do some great things or you could totally screw it up. Make the right choice.' I think I did."
..."I think everybody knows I can defend, everybody knows I'm kind of fast, I'm athletic, so I think being able to run a team, make the right decisions at the right time and hit the open shots -- if I come out here and show teams I can do that, then I'll be fine," he said. "Just to be in this situation is humbling and a blessing so I'm going to take full advantage of it. Whatever team drafts me I think is going to be a team willing to look past those questions and see my ability. I think I'll fit good on any team because I'll work hard and I'm a winner."
Fox Sports KC
Spalding, a division of Russell Brands, LLC, and the world's largest basketball equipment supplier, today announced the Spalding "Arena to Driveway" contest, which aims to find the NBA fan who most deserves to play on professional basketball equipment. Now through June 26, fans can upload a picture of their home or neighborhood court to the Spalding Basketball Facebook Page for a chance to win a professional arena style backboard system, NBA leather game basketballs, an NBA authentic ball truck and other Spalding gear. To test the new set-up, NBA point guard Mario Chalmers will visit the winner's new 'arena' for a one-on-one game.
"Fans get to see the best athletes in the world performing on Spalding equipment every game during the NBA season," said Gary Barfield, executive vice president, Russell Brands, LLC, the parent company of Spalding. "We couldn't be happier that we are able to bring an NBA arena experience to someone's driveway and have Mario help christen the court."
Fans can enter the contest by uploading a photo to the Spalding Basketball Facebook Page, "Arena to Driveway" tab, with a brief explanation of why their court or space needs an upgrade. Representatives from Spalding will select one Grand Prize winner on June 28, before the NBA Draft. Five semi-finalists will receive an official size NBA leather game basketball and Spalding accessories.
"Playing in college and now in the NBA, I've been fortunate enough to compete in professional arenas on the best Spalding equipment in the world," said Mario Chalmers. "Just like most basketball fans, I started out hitting shots in driveways and neighborhood parks, and that's why I'm excited to play a fan one-on-one on their new Spalding system."
Draft Express overall ranking: No. 4
Height/Weight: 6-9, 240 lb (pre-combine numbers)
Key stats: 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds in 2011-12.
The player: After two seasons spent in the shadows of the Morris twins at Kansas, the former Riverdale Baptist star exploded onto the college scene as a junior. The chiseled one used his relentless rebounding and quality low post moves to lead the nation with 27 double-doubles. Finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds against Anthony Davis and Kentucky in the national title game. Became first unanimous AP-All American first team selection since Blake Griffin in 2009.
The fit: Nene is proven and still has miles left on his playing odometer, but turns 30 this season. Trevor Booker and Jan Vesely offers hops and energy at power forward, but their collective offense is still largely dunks and put backs. Even factoring in Kevin Seraphin’s big body, the Wizards do not currently have a dominate rebounder in the mix; last season they ranked 26th in defensive rebounding percentage. Perhaps a full season of Nene - and no season with JaVale McGee - improves the issue in the Wizards’ minds. Drafting Robinson at three might as well.
The issue: The Wizards already have a potentially viable frontcourt. Draft Robinson and that’s some serious roster imbalance - and raises questions about Vesely’s future. By drafting Robinson, the Wizards are counting on filling their perimeter holes in the second round or in free agency. Then there is the matter of whether Robinson’s power game works against NBA men. Of course, if as some fear he measures out any less than his listed 6-foot-9, then we have a different issue.
The analysis (interviews with CSNwashington)
NBA scout: "The [Wizards] need shooters. The problem with Vesely and Booker and [Chris] Singleton is they don’t make shots. Robinson is a little bit undersized power forward. Hard worker and rebounder, winning attitude. A bit redundant to some degree.”
Andy Glockner, SI.com: "With three years of college experience and 21 years of age, you would expect coming out of the shoot his rookie year he would be the more productive player on the pro level. He has a very safe floor. His rebounding numbers are going to translate. I think that’s the one thing you can be assured of…. I think Robinson is going to be a very good pro player. If you’re asking me who will be the best player five years down the road, I would think somebody like a Brad Beal or if you really believe in Andre Drummond’s physical traits, then somebody like that might be a better upside pro if you’re looking for that.”
Ed Jacobson, NBA Draft Blog: "Not only was he able to step on the court and do a lot of great things (last season), but I don’t even think we’ve seen half of what he’s capable of yet. I was probably the first in line of the doubters before this season started on whether he could translate his strength the first two seasons – coming off the bench in seven, eight-minute spurts and going full speed. This year, he not only was able to adjust playing more than double the playing time he was used to, he became a legitimate post option on offense and still kept his energy levels up.”
The summation: It’s easy to understand the attraction, for the Wizards or another team. In a seemingly worst-case scenario, Robinson’s rebounding and toughness make him a viable rotation player. The fear is that projection may be closer to the ultimate truth unless T-Rob can bully NBA players the way he did the collegians. Considering the Wizards have young bigs and perimeter needs, it’s also to understand if they pass on the hometown kid.
Big 12/College News
Virginia Tech transfer Dorian Finney-Smith will visit Iowa State this upcoming weekend and then possibly Georgetown before making a decision. The Cyclones are a major player for the small forward’s services thanks to rising assistant Matt Abdelmassih, who was the point man when Iowa State recruited Royce White.
…A big reason why Bruce Weber is giddy about the prospects next season at Kansas State? Jordan Henriquez. The 6-foot-11 big man turned things up to another level at the end of last season, averaging 16.75 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks in four postseason games for the Wildcats. “His game went up a notch, there’s no doubt,” Weber said of Henriquez. “Now the question is — can he be consistent throughout the course of the season.” If Henriquez has a senior season to remember and the rest of the Wildcats steadily improve, Weber should have Kansas State right in the mix for a Big 12 title along with Kansas, Baylor, and Texas.
The Big 12 Conference has a lot of money. The Atlantic Coast Conference should be worried. And Florida State fans should not quickly dismiss the rumors.
That is the simplest way to summarize a week spent in Kansas City.
Start first with the obvious: The Big 12 has money right now that the ACC doesn't.
Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis announced last Friday that the Big 12 agreed to distribute $19 million to eight of its members to close out the 2011-12 fiscal year. Departing members Missouri and Texas A&M did not receive payouts; neither did incoming members TCU and West Virginia.
That's $4.9 million more than Florida State received this year as a member of the ACC.
That's $4.9 million that Florida State's athletics department - heck, Florida State's entire campus - sorely needs right now.
That's raises for basketball coaches. That's a new paint job for Doak Campbell Stadium. That's restocking the cash reserves in the athletics department. That's transferring money over to FSU President Eric Barron's budget so he can save some teaching jobs or academic programs - or both.
That's a lot of money. And the Big 12 has it right now.
The pot for Big 12 teams is expected to grow next year. League officials confirmed during the Kansas City meetings that they have agreed to two separate television contracts - one with ESPN and the other with Fox Sports - that will bring in nearly $2.6 billion in total revenues.
Though there are details yet to be worked out syncing the two contracts together, the payouts next year are expected to be $20 million for Big 12 schools. (TCU and West Virginia will only be given a 50-percent share and will not receive full shares until 2016.)
Meanwhile, Florida State won't reach the $20-million mark until the back half of the ACC's deal with ESPN.
And that is why the ACC should be worried right now.
Jim Calhoun has done this to himself. Since he's decided to take the past few offseasons with an as-it-comes approach, speculation about his future, especially where I live, here in Connecticut, bubbles up with regularity between April and mid-July.
Then he's spotted or reported on the recruiting trail, and his return is deemed imminent, Calhoun playing none the wiser and happily stringing the media along. He's made claims about releasing a decision about his future in offseasons' past, but it's never come to be.
Last year, he just went about his life, we twiddled our thumbs as the weeks passed. Then Calhoun showed up at preseason media day, and that was it. Let's do this thing again, for the 40th time. In Calhoun's mind, there was never much of a question about coming back. With two years remaining on his contract, that cycle is likely to repeat itself twice more before things really begin to change in Storrs.
Yes, it's becoming increasingly clear that Calhoun will be there on the sidelines, scolding and scowling next season, when UConn won't be playing for anything but pride, really. This assurance comes from the mind and mouth of new wunderkind AD Warde Manuel, who has had quite the respectable, lasting impression in his short few months at his new post. You'll recall Manuel recently publicly stated that the transition from Calhoun to the next UConn coach, whenever that may be, will more or less be his decision, not Calhoun's.
Manuel told Hartford Courant columnist Jeff Jacobs that Calhoun's return comes with no doubt.
Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA have interviewed L.A. Lakers assistant coach Quin Snyder on Monday about their head coaching job. Synder, the former Missouri Tiger men’s basketball coach, got back in the business as the head coach of the NBDL’s Austin Toros for three years. Snyder also worked with the Philadelphia 76ers, in charge of player development in 2010. Snyder is one of ten candidates who have interviewed for the Bobcats job.
While at Missouri, Synder was the fastest in school history to get to 100 wins. As quick as his rise was in college basketball, the descent was even faster. In early 2003, Ricky Clemons was arrested on charges of assault and battery against a former girlfriend and shortly after, accused teammates of receiving payments from assistant coaches. A year later, the NCAA placed Missouri on probation for a handful of minor violations and by then, the Tigers won just 16 games in 03-04 and only 12 the following year, which was Synder’s last at Mizzou.
Leaders are measured not just on what they achieve personally but also on what the people they mentored go on to do as leaders in their own right. Sports provides many examples, one of the best is Duke’s head Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The Duke Sports Medicine-John Feagin Leadership Forum, was held on May 18 and 19 in Durham, NC. It focused on connecting leadership lessons in the fields of sports medicine, business, athletics, and military. During the conference, Duke head men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and Harvard head men’s basketball coach Tommy Amaker gave a talk about how their relationship has evolved from player and coach to assistant coach and head coach to recently being peer head coaches.
I guess this one is tailor-made for some rich impresario with ties to the University of Colorado basketball and/or volleyball programs. Because, really, who has the space for a 112-by-60-foot floor?
Rest assured, there is always an insufferable tycoon or two with more than enough room and pocket cash to live out another facet of his athletic dreams.
Still, if you've got $5,000 and a gymnasium in need of some new hardwood, you can prevent that from happening. Colorado's floor from the Coors Event Center was recently posted on your favorite site and mine, Higheredsurplus.com, and is being auctioned at a bargain bin price. (How much do you think Cameron's floor would honestly go for? Six times as much? Ten?)
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Kansas, Temple, and La Salle are three of the schools that are in the running for Villanova transfer Markus Kennedy. The 6-foot-9, 260 pound big man averaged three points and an 4.4 rebounds per game last season as a freshman in only 14.8 minutes per contest. Kennedy will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Conner Frankamp, 2013: Arguably the most impressive guard at the camp, Frankamp made plays throughout the weekend. Moreover, in a setting where it was easy to simply isolate and go one-on-one, Frankamp made an effort to get teammates involved and facilitate offense. He is a knockdown 3-point shooter and is very shifty with the ball. Moreover, the Kansas commit jumps passing lanes and runs the break well.
CBS Pangos recap
Spring/Summer Event Schedule
adidas Grassroots schedule
Nike EYBL Schedule
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar
My 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, KU Alumni games, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more now on Youtube