Kansas University’s basketball big-man rotation has been trimmed the past two Big 12 contests — a home win over Texas and loss at Iowa State.
“The way we were doing it, it wasn’t really working ... we decided, or I decided we were going to try to play as much as we could with four the last two games,” KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday on his Hawk Talk radio show.
He was referring to starting Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas while giving double-digit minutes off the bench to Jamari Traylor and an average of 5.5 minutes the past two games to Carlton Bragg, Jr., with Hunter Mickelson and Cheick Diallo basically out of the mix.
“I know what our players that play the majority of the minutes feel the most comfortable with. We’ve had open dialogue about that,” Self added of last Friday’s meeting with Ellis, Wayne Selden, Jr., Devonté Graham and Frank Mason III. “I know that it isn’t sometimes the most popular thing to do with some people or some fans who feel like they understand. The reality is it’s not about the individuals. It’s about who plays best with those individuals. That’s basically where we were coming from. I felt experience the last two games gave us the best chance to win.”
…Of course it’s possible Mickelson and Diallo could be used extensively at some point again.
“Sometimes playing a kid three minutes and if he doesn’t do well he doesn’t get back in, that’s something even the guys say it’s hard to play through mistakes when that’s the case,” Self said. “You get behind 14 points to Texas and they are not part of that ... to call them in to say, ‘Hey spark us’ when they’ve never been in that situation ... that’s really not fair to those guys in that particular situation.”
As far as Monday’s game ... “I thought Landen (nine boards, two points) played great. The job he did on McKay (Jameel, six points, five boards) was excellent,” Self said. “He’s not going to score a lot of points, but he rebounds and he defends. Certainly he’s easier to play with. A lot of people look at individuals and think about, ‘Well he looks good or he should be getting this or that,’ and that is a realistic thing to look at but you also have to look at who makes the game easier for the other four players out there. Who does Perry play better next to is as important as whether or not a kid looks good,” Self noted.
“I thought Jamari (two points, two boards) was excellent the first half. We scored easy (in leading 43-36). There’s subtle reasons you score easy. Then when the game gets tight and kids have never been in that situation, there’s a little more pressure to put them out there.”
The Pistons returned home at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Hours later, Marcus Morris was handing out water he donated to people of Flint.
"I've been hearing about it a lot," Morris said. "Figured out any way I could help."
Morris spent the day moving water, after partnering with a Philadelphia organization to donate 50,000 water bottles.
"A lot of people are getting harmed. Anytime something like that is going on, it's sad," he said.
Big 12/College News
Following Monday's 85-72 loss to Iowa State, the Kansas men's basketball team dropped to a tie for fourth in the Big 12 with a 5-3 league record.
It made me wonder what KU's odds were — at this point — to earn at least a share of its 12th straight regular-season conference title.
The answer? Not great.
…OU's odds might seem high, but you have to take context into account. Not only are the Sooners ranked No. 1 on Pomeroy's site thanks to excellent efficiency numbers, but they also have by far played the toughest league schedule to this point.
Not only has OU not played TCU yet (the worst team in the conference), it also has already completed its road games against KU, Iowa State and Baylor.
The first technical foul was good fortune. The second was a gift.
It was hard to imagine things aligning any better for Kansas State in the early going Tuesday when West Virginia guard Tarik Phillip picked up a technical foul and coach Bob Huggins received another seconds later.
The score was tied, and the Wildcats were headed to the free-throw line for four shots, plus the opportunity to score on the ensuing possession. It was the rare chance to score up to seven points without surrendering the ball, the type of sequence a college basketball team dreams of.
But K-State was unable to take advantage, converting just one of four free throws and then missing a layup.
It was a sign of things to come. West Virginia went on to smother K-State for a 70-55 victory that at times felt more lopsided than the score indicated.
“Momentum changed,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said of the sequence. “I really thought we had a bad stretch there offensively and they got fired up, so I guess it was a good move. They got the calls after that and played at a high level.”
Justin Gray registered his second career 20-point performance, but No. 1 Oklahoma dealt the Texas Tech men's basketball team a 91-67 defeat Tuesday at the Lloyd Noble Center.
The Red Raiders (12-7, 2-6 Big 12) were limited to a season-low 32.4 shooting performance as Oklahoma (17-2, 6-2 Big 12) collected 14 blocks and countered with a 52.6 field goal clip fueled by 12 treys.
Shaka Smart swears that Prince Ibeh can hit 10 straight free throws in practice. No, it’s true. It’s only during games — you know, when people are watching — that things go haywire.
Ibeh himself claims a personal record of 17 successful free throws in practice. “That’s legit,” Smart said.
Ibeh came into Tuesday’s matchup against TCU having made only three of 21 free-throw attempts all season. That’s 14.3 percent. So imagine the Erwin Center’s crowd reaction when one went in. And another. One more. Swish, a fourth. A fifth?!
Those career-high five free throws were the highlight of Texas’ 71-54 blowout win. In what was just his second double-double in 122 games, Ibeh had a career-high 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks while fouling only twice in 31 minutes.
Campus Insiders has launched the Big 12 Guest Reporter Search, designed to find special reporters to join Campus Insiders in their coverage of the 2016 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's and Women's Basketball Championships.
Guest reporters will join the Campus Insiders team at the men's championship in Kansas City and at the women’s basketball championship in Oklahoma City during the second week in March.
Campus Insiders is searching for enthusiastic students and alumni of the Big 12 that are looking to break into the field of sports reporting, or simply want the chance to report on their favorite team courtside.
To enter, interested fans need to complete the entry form found at Campusinsiders.com/page/big-12-guest-reporter-search and include either a written or video report covering their favorite Big 12 school. Winners will be selected based on their entry, personality and ability to promote their own campaign, using Campus Insiders Big 12 content on social media. While a journalism or communications degree is preferred, experience is not necessary to win. Campus Insiders is looking for writers, reporters and social media gurus of all ages that have a passion for college sports and more importantly, their favorite Big 12 school.
Fans are encouraged to follow Campus Insiders (@CampusInsiders) on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat and like the Campus Insiders page on Facebook. The Big 12 can be followed on Twitter and Instagram (@Big12Conference) and on Facebook (Facebook.com/Big12). The deadline to enter is Friday, February 26 at 11:59 PM (ET).
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
ESPN: You also have Kansas. What do you like about them?
Maker: I like the way they use their bigs. Their forwards and bigs. How they play big. The high-low game, the elbow game, the block game. And they play up-pace, tempo, not too slow, but will run sets when they need to.
ESPN: Kansas had Cliff Alexander last year, they have Cheick Diallo this year, and those guys had to earn a lot of their minutes. They weren’t handed 25-30 minutes right off the bat. What do you think about that?
Maker: I want to come in ready to play, but I’m going to come in as a worker, as I always do. I don’t want to be given anything at all, I want to work for it and earn it. I’ve seen other guys like Carlton Bragg right now, who’s been earning his time. I really have to come in more ready than they were when they first got there.
Good luck finding a player anywhere in the country who’s more aware and thankful of the position he’s established than Potter’s House (Jacksonville, Fla.) center Udoka Azubuike.
Azubuike, a senior, arrived in the U.S. from Nigeria as a freshman and in four years he’s become one of the top high school basketball players in the country, checking at No. 22 overall in the latest ESPN 100 rankings.
“I’m just so happy to be in this position,” Azubuike said. “Just to have schools like North Carolina, Florida State and Kansas wanting me to come there and play for them is a blessing for me. But I definitely feel stress sometimes because I have to pick one. It’s fun when I can take my mind off of that sometimes.”
…“It’s hard because all of the schools that are recruiting me are really good schools,” Azubuike said. “Just making sure that you pick the right one is really difficult for me right now. I’m ready to get it done though. It’s gonna happen soon. For now, I’m gonna enjoy my new jersey.”
For the first time in the event’s history, Jordan Brand has partnered with American Family Insurance to recognize each Jordan All-American along and his senior teammates during their high school’s Senior Night event.
During the Jordan Brand Classic Senior Night Tour presented by American Family Insurance, the player’s selection will be marked with the raising of a permanent banner in his gymnasium. He and his senior teammates will receive special gifts and be recognized along with their parents.
Also, one lucky student at each tour stop will have the opportunity to make a shot to win a $10,000 college scholarship.
The Senior Night Tour begins Tuesday in Jacksonville, Fla., at Potter’s House Christian with Udoka Azubuike and will continue as each player is honored.
The Jordan Brand Classic is April 15 at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Class of 2017's No. 37 player Mitchell Ballock was expecting to miss his entire junior season after undergoing surgery on his left surgery during the fall of 2015. Now, it's looking like the 6-foot-4 shooting guard at Eudora (Kans.) High may be able to play this season.
Sunday night, Ballock told Rivals.com that he's close to 100 percent and that he's hoping to get back on the floor. He has a doctor's appointment on Feb. 2 to check his progress and if he's cleared at that time he'll have time to get back into playing shape and hopes to play late in the season to try and help his team make a run through the Kansas 4A state playoffs.
While Ballock has been sidelined by injury, his recruitment has been going strong. A regular visitor to games at nearby Kansas, Ballock is likely going to take another unofficial trip to Lawrence this weekend -- where 2017 stars Michael Porter and Trae Young are expected as well -- for Jayhawks home game with Kentucky.
Along with Kansas, Creighton and Oklahoma have been quite active and Indiana has also been pushing for a visit. The first team to be awarded an official visit is Creighton. Ballock told Rivals.com that he will trip to Omaha on the weekend of February 6th when the Jays host DePaul.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube