Named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic and Holy Cross guard Bob Cousy, the annual honor, now in its 14th year, recognizes the top point guards in NCAA Division I men's basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.
Mason is one of three returning starters for Kansas in 2016-17. The Petersburg, Virginia native garnered All-Big 12 Second Team honors for the second-straight season last year and was also named to the 2016 five-person the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.
Mason is Kansas' leading returning scorer at 12.9 points per game, which ranked 12th in the Big 12 and is the second-highest returning scorer in the league for 2016-17. He led KU in assists at 4.6, which was fourth in the conference.
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2017 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award will be narrowed to 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Cousy and the Hall of Fame's selection committee. The winner of the 2017 Bob Cousy Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 7, 2017.
Kansas junior Devonte's Graham has been named one of 20 candidates for the 2017 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Tuesday.
Named after Hall of Famer and 1959 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player Jerry West, the annual honor in its third year recognizes the top shooting guards in Division I men's college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates.
Graham is one of three returning starters for Kansas, joining backcourt teammate Frank Mason III and senior forward Landen Lucas. On Monday, Oct., 17, Mason was named one of 20 for the 2017 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year watch list, also by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
From Raleigh, North Carolina, Graham was a 2016 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection and joined Mason on the five-person the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. Graham averaged 11.3 points per game and was the team leader in steals with 1.4 per contest. His points ranked 19th in the conference and his steal average was 10th. Additionally, Graham was sixth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.2 and third in 3-point field goal percentage at 44.1 percent.
Graham was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 Big 12 Championship where he averaged 17.3 points and 6.3 assists in leading Kansas to the title. He was also a member of the NCAA Tournament All-South Region Team as KU advanced to the Elite Eight.
By mid-February, the watch list of 20 players for the 2017 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award will be narrowed to 10. In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. West and the Hall of Fame's selection committee. The winner of the 2017 Jerry West Award will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on Friday, April 7, 2017.
While last year’s crop of freshman were certainly notable and a number will go on to star in the NBA, this year's incoming freshman class is arguably the best since 2007, which produced the likes of Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon and Kevin Love.
The 2016 crop is not only full of star power, but also plenty of depth. In fact, there are a handful of players that were ranked in the 20’s that would be top 10 prospects in a normal class.
With that said, putting together a list of the top freshmen isn’t easy, simply because there are so many quality candidates. Here is our top 10.
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
Bill Self already had plenty of perimeter talent, but landing Josh Jackson, the nation’s top recruit in 2017, gives the Jayhawks legitimate star power on the wing. Known for his competitive nature, Jackson plays with intensity and will be one of college basketball's best all-around athletes. His potential as a wing defender is elite, but his passing and ability to make plays in transition is special. Now Jackson isn’t a shooter, but he’ll contribute in just about every other way. Kansas fans should enjoy him while they have him, as he’s projected as a top three pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Jackson, the No. 1-ranked high school basketball player in the recruiting Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, admitted to reporters he indeed can handle the wind instrument.
“I’ve been doing that since since I was in sixth grade,” Jackson said.
He plays the sax enough to maintain his proficiency.
“Once or twice a year maybe. When I go home for Christmas, my mom will make me break it out,” Jackson stated.
Jackson, who said in KU’s 2016-17 Media guide he also “can kind of play the trumpet,” wasn’t tempted to perform at the Oct. 1 Late Night in Allen Fieldhouse.
“Carlton asked me to do it and I told him no,” Jackson said. “There was no way I was playing a saxophone in front of 16,000 people. I would have been too nervous, way too nervous.”
ESPN Vitale’s Top 40 (KU #4)
“Landen is a cool guy sometimes,” said Azubuike, a 7-foot Nigeria native. “Off the court he does not talk a lot. He is kind of a silent guy. In practice he always gets on me: ‘This is what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to post up. You’ve got to push yourself.’ He’s been here a long time. He knows all the plays. He comes to me and explains stuff.”
Asked if 6-10 Portland native Lucas can be hard on him, Azubuike said, “Sometimes, yes. He’ll say, ‘You’ve got to do it this way.’ Sometimes he tries to make me do it the right way and stuff.”
Lightfoot, a 6-8 player from Gilbert, Ariz., said the returning bigs have been extremely positive.
“Carlton (Bragg) and Landen have been a huge help for me. They usually go first in the drills we do. I get to watch them perform the drill first,” Lightfoot said. “If we have questions, they are there to help. It’s mostly Carlton for me. Landen is there for Udoka a bunch. Carlton has done a great job helping me adjust.”
Bragg, a 6-10 sophomore from Cleveland, is not exactly a veteran yet, but he does know all the plays and what’s expected at practice.
“When we’re on the court and there are bad plays I just tell them to get through it,” Bragg said. “Smile. Everybody’s going to make mistakes. You just have to learn from it and take it in.”
Freshman guard Josh Jackson (6-8, Detroit), who along with sophomore transfer Malik Newman (6-3, Jackson, Miss.) and junior walk-on Tucker Vang (6-2, Wichita) are newcomers on the perimeter, have been listening intently to senior Frank Mason and junior Devonté Graham.
“Frank is the pit-bull type .He gets on guys a lot. That’s one of his ways (of showing leadership), making them mad to make them play harder,” said Graham, a 6-2 junior from Raleigh, N.C. “I just kind of try to coach guys. A lot of the freshmen we have don’t know certain things and I just try to help them out.”
“It’s just like the Kansas-OU game every time we hit the court,” said Newman, referencing last season’s triple-overtime thriller won by Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. “From the summer, when I first started playing, it’s a battle every time we hit the court. But once we leave the court, it’s a brotherhood.”
Fellow-newcomer, freshman Josh Jackson, had similar feedback about just how impressed he had been thus far.
“We spend all day in practice playing against each other and sometimes we all forget that we’re on the same team,” Jackson marveled. “When we remember that, it gets kind of scary. I’m like, ‘Man, these guys are really, really good and we’re all gonna be playing together.’”
For now, the intense practice showdowns are the best Newman can hope for out of his Kansas career, which will not officially start until the 2017-18 season after he sits out his transfer year as required by the NCAA.
Newman will be allowed to practice this season and he plans to make the most out of every minute so he can be ready for his true debut next fall.
Circle these, put them in your phone, check the flights. Whatever the case, just make sure you are watching these dozen games this season -- because they will be the 15 Can’t-Miss Games of the 2016-17 college hoops campaign.
We’ve even ranked them, with the heavyweight bout coming just a few days after the season begins.
1. Duke vs. Kansas, Nov. 15 (Champions Classic in New York): This could be a preview of the national championship game -- and we’ll get it just a few days into the season. The Blue Devils won’t be the same team, given their youth and the probable absence of talented yet injury-plagued freshman Harry Giles, who is recovering from knee surgery. Kansas has more experience, and thus will be the favorite to win this one.
3. Kansas at Kentucky, Jan. 28: The Big 12/SEC matchup comes in the heart of league play, but it will take center stage. Kansas and its veteran backcourt, along with talented and tough freshman wing Josh Jackson, go to Rupp and try to knock off a Kentucky team that won’t be nearly as young by late January.
8. Kansas vs. Indiana, Nov. 11 (Armed Forces Classic in Honolulu): Both matchups in Hawaii will be must-watch games, but this is the heavyweight bout. The Jayhawks are national title contenders, and Indiana could be in the mix -- especially if the Hoosiers are able to take care of the ball and find a competent point guard.
Conference preseason all-star teams have tended to be much more conservative, even to the point of illogic.
For instance, the Big 12 preseason all-league team includes two first-teamers from Kansas, neither of whom is named Josh Jackson. Indeed, Mason and backcourt partner Devonte’ Graham are accomplished college players. Each averaged double-figure scoring a year ago. Either one could easily make the Big 12 first team at year’s end. Both could, even.
But Kansas has a lot invested in Jackson becoming a smash; its whole season may be riding on that. He is the consensus No. 1 player nationally in the 2016 class. The 2016 class is considered by talent experts to be one of the richest and deepest in the past several decades. To be the top player in this group means a lot. And it’s not just a projection; Jackson was a key player for USA Basketball teams that won FIBA World Championships at the U-17 and U-19 levels — and he helped win the second title just a few months after his 18th birthday.
The reality is that if Kansas is to be the team Kansas wants to be — a true national championship contender — Jackson will have to be a star.
If he’s a second-team All-Big 12 pick in March, something will have gone seriously wrong.
Larry Brown, back at his East Hampton home after visiting two college coaching friends “to watch and learn,” told Newsday on Monday night that he isn’t ready to make a decision about coaching the East Hampton High School boys varsity basketball team.
“I’ve been at the University of Kentucky and the University of Illinois the past 10 days,” said Brown, 76. “I just got back and don’t expect to make a decision one way or another this quickly. I don’t want to commit to anything unless I can give 100 percent to the kids. That’s where I’m at.”
Brown’s indecision, or at least the time he has taken since visiting the East Hampton players and coaches at the school’s gymnasium on Sept. 20, has forced East Hampton athletic director Joe Vasile-Cozzo to consider the possibility of moving on without the Hall of Fame coach.
“I have a coaching staff in place,” Vasile-Cozzo said Monday night. “They are great guys who are very open-minded about the situation.”
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Why Allen Fieldhouse is the BEST!
“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
The Big 12 is in a bit of a year of transition, but one things remains the same as it ever has: Kansas is the class of the conference. The Jayhawks have won at least a piece of 12 straight league titles and are the heavy favorite to claim a 13th this season. In many years, there’s a clear contender to the crown, but this season there’s not a lot of separation between programs after Kansas. Texas, West Virginia and Iowa State all have arguments as the league’s preseason No. 2 while Baylor and Oklahoma are tricky to predict as well.
At the end of the day, though, they’re all looking up at Kansas.
1. A league in flux: The Big 12 is going to have a different look to it this year. Not a single player from the all-Big 12 first team returns this season and just four from the three all-conference teams are back. The days of Buddy Hield, Georges Niang and Perry Ellis as the faces of the league are over. There’s still some familiar names like Frank Mason III, Monte’ Morris, Johnathan Motley and Wesley Iwundu, but the Big 12 is otherwise rolling over to a new generation.
…PRESEASON BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Monte’ Morris, Iowa State
NBCsports Big 12 Preview
The Big 12 Conference could have ended chatter of a potentially nasty breakup somewhere in the future.
Instead on Monday, the league's CEOs decided unanimously to stay with the current 10 members.
So what happens when the league’s grant of rights expires in 2024? If Texas and Oklahoma decide to shop their name brands and their financially lucrative football programs nationwide?
If you're a Big 12 purist, you simply hope it doesn't happen.
“Right now, it’s best for us to stay where we are,” Oklahoma president and Big 12 board chairman David Boren said during a press conference Monday afternoon. “The unanimous feeling was that this was not the right time.”
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he recommended one thing to the conference board Monday — that “we should bring this process to closure one way or another — that we shouldn’t kick the can down the road. I didn’t make (individual school) recommendations.”
Des Moines Register
The NCAA informed Oakland University on Monday that it has reversed an earlier decision and granted decorated Army veteran Isaiah Brock a waiver to play college basketball this season.
"We're appreciative of the NCAA initially awarding Isaiah with the ability to receive athletics financial assistance in addition to eligibility for practice," Oakland athletic director Jeff Konya said. "And we are even more thankful that the reconsideration has resulted in this decision for Isaiah."
After a yearlong investigation, the NCAA this week is expected to provide the University of Louisville with a notice of allegations of violations in its men’s basketball program and the university is expected to make them public Thursday, according to sources familiar with the probe.
A notice of allegations outlines the rules that the institution is alleged to have broken and describes the facts of the case. Louisville's notice will set out findings from the NCAA's investigation of self-proclaimed escort Katina Powell's claims that former U of L staffer Andre McGee paid her and other escorts thousands of dollars and gave them game tickets from 2010-14 in exchange for them providing sex with and dancing for recruits and players.
Syracuse’s 101 vacated wins from the NCAA’s ruling last year will be spread across multiple years and include a Big East title and two full seasons, according to a report from Syracuse.com.
The Orange will have 23 wins cleared from 2005-06, which includes Syracuse’s memorable Big East tournament title run with Gerry McNamara as well as 2011-12 — which was a 34-3 season with Fab Melo. New records will be reflected as 0-12 for the 2005-06 season and 0-3 for 2011-12.
Melo was out for five games during the 2011-12 season with eligibility issues.
Syracuse is will also vacate 15 wins from its 27-7 2004-05 season — for a new record of 12-7 — and 22 wins during a 24-11 2006-07 season for a new record of 2-11. As the Syracuse.com story noted,
it is unclear if Syracuse must vacate its 2005 Big East title.
The final season Syracuse will lose seven wins from 2010-11’s 27-8 campaign. That season will now be 20-8 in the record books.
It is unclear which particular wins that Syracuse has to vacate, if any, as it might just be updated as new season records with no changes to specific games.
The vacated wins will also changed Jim Boeheim’s status in the record books as he enters the 2016-17 with 884 wins.
ESPNU will air six episodes of College Basketball Live in October, covering the media days of six conferences—ACC, American, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and the SEC. Ahead of the 2016-2017 college basketball season, College Basketball Live will preview the upcoming season with Brendan Fitzgerald, Andy Katz and Matt Schick as in-studio hosts and Dino Gaudio as an analyst. Reporters will also be on site at various locations, giving fans an inside look at all the action and news during the events— Jeff Goodman (Big Ten), Roxy Bernstein (Pac-12), Tim Welsh (American), Holly Rowe (Big-12) and Andy Katz (SEC).
Find out the tournament history for specific seeds, teams, coaches or conferences.
NCAA Tournament Brackets and History interactive tool
CBS Interactive Tool: Pick two teams to compare record, RPI and SOS details head to head. By default, the top two teams in RPI are shown.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
“Me being a versatile player, Coach Boeheim and Coach Autry told me I could come right in and make an impact,” Preston said. “Coach Boeheim told me himself that if I came I would be one of the best scorers on the team. He’s not going to limit me, he’s going to let me play, so just the whole thing was them telling me about how Syracuse basketball is the perfect fit for me and their style of play is just for me. They said I would strive in it.
“Coach Autry told me that making the [NCAA] Tournament is a given but with me and possible other recruits to join the program that they could not only make the tournament but go even farther than that and hopefully win the whole thing.”
Asked how seriously he is now considering Syracuse, Preston said: “I’m definitely considering them serious now. I don’t think I would’ve taken the visit if I wasn’t serious about Syracuse or any school that I’ve taken a visit to so I would say I’m really serious about that.”
…As for Kansas, Oak Hill point guard Matt Coleman recently told ZAGSBLOG that the Big 12 school is recruiting the two of them as a package, although Coleman did not go on his visit there this weekend and more focusing on Duke, Texas and Stanford.
“I talked to Matt about it before but like I said, we have no clue where we want to go,” Preston said. “It was just a possible idea, possible thing that we talk about as young basketball players. So that’s basically how that conversation went about how things might look or might not look.”
As for Kentucky, associate head coach Kenny Payne was in to see him recently.
“Yeah, I’ve been in touch but I’m still waiting on an offer,” Preston said. “They said they’re happy that I got out of the situation that I was in before [at API] and I’m definitely going to strive at Oak Hill and have a great season. And that I’m going to start hearing from them more often now, and that was it.”
At this point, Preston will likely sign late.
“Most likely, I’m going to wait till the spring,” he said.
"It couldn't have been any better," Ray Young said. "It was pretty cool seeing everything, but actually the best thing was my wife was able to see everything. We were there last year for Big Blue Madness. But she was really comfortable with everything. She liked what she saw. She feels even better now knowing that she was there. She knows where he'll be staying, where classes are, how the whole process will go. She felt really good about that. She would hate for her son to pick any school and she hadn't been on the campus yet."
Trae and his family overlooked Kentucky's media day last Thursday, a day before Big Blue Madness. They watched as over a hundred media members interviewed the current Kentucky team.
The Young family was invited early because Kentucky's coaching staff wanted extra time before 11 other recruits arrived on campus.
"We came in early because they wanted us to come in there and spend time with us before it got crazy with all the other recruits," Ray Young said."...It solidifies what they've been saying to us. They really care about Trae and they really want him. We really trust the coaching staff and feel comfortable with them. It showed us even more that Trae is a priority for them and he's someone that they look forward to getting and feel he can come in and do some great things for them. It just gave us that much more confidence."
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