Former Kansas University forward/current Sacramento Kings rookie Thomas Robinson was trending on Twitter — his name momentarily flooding that popular website on Sunday night — after his spectacular, one-handed putback dunk over Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The dunk served as a reminder of some of the power to be missing from the Jayhawks’ lineup minus the 6-foot-10, 237-pound Robinson this season.
“The thing about Thomas ... we can talk about all the things he did well. He gave us an air of toughness. It made other players think they were really tough or fierce because he led by example,” said KU coach Bill Self. “If he got one mitt on the ball, I mean he was a fierce, tough competitive rebounder. He was unbelievable at 50/50 balls.
“That’s something we’ve got to get our guys to buy into: ‘If you don’t turn the ball over and if you outrebound your opponents and get 70 percent of the 50/50 balls, you are going to win because you’ll have a lot more possessions.’ We’ll miss that at least initially. I think we’ve got some guys that are very competitive and will get good at that before all is said and done.”
An obvious replacement in the toughness department would be senior pivot Jeff Withey.
“We need him to be a presence inside. We want to play inside/out. He’s a big reason why we can do that,” Self said. “Jeff benefited from having Thomas around, but I don’t know if you realize how much Thomas benefited from having Jeff around. He (Robinson) never had to guard the other team’s best big guy. (He said), ‘If I make a mistake, Jeff can clean it up.’ Offensively would be a question mark where he (Withey) needs to take another step.”
#7 Jeff Withey
I was voted down here. If I was making the list, Withey would be No. 5 overall. As it is, get ready for another huge season from a big white guy playing in Lawrence. -- Matt Norlander
CBS Top 50 big men
Some special visitors for practice! Thank you for your service!
I guess @UKCoachCalipari didn't like my 2008 nat'l champs banner. He left a note while I was on vacation. #kubball
If true Kansas college basketball fans find themselves giving the NBA a closer look, maybe with Wednesday’s Dallas-Oklahoma City exhibition game at Intrust Bank Arena — this story is for you. There is no reason you can’t love the Rock Chalk Chant, the student section at Koch Arena and the “Wabash Cannonball” while appreciating the NBA.
If the success of Oklahoma City’s Thunder intrigues you enough to buy in, even a little, then open your mind to the possibility that the NBA, while different, can engage a fan as much as the college game.
The success of the NBA’s Thunder is changing things in Oklahoma, where Chesapeake Energy Arena is packed, the Thunder drew 18,223 fans to an exhibition game in Tulsa last week and Kevin Durant is the state’s highest-profile athlete. Young, owner and editor of the Daily Thunder blog, wrote a column in 2005 for the University of Oklahoma student newspaper revealing he didn’t understand the NBA. Now he is in fifth year of blogging about the Thunder and a loyal subscriber to NBA League Pass, the pay channel that shows almost every game.
…Recognize that there are no Allen Fieldhouses in the NBA and the feel of the fan bases is different.
NBA fans sit in chairbacks expecting to be entertained by millionaires and Paula Abdul wannabes, not to reminisce about college days in the bleachers. One-team towns such as Portland, Oklahoma City and San Antonio come to the closest to duplicating collegiate enthusiasm, while falling short. Accept that fact and see the NBA for what it is.
“If you can’t appreciate the size, speed and ability of these elite athletes, maybe you don’t like the game as much as you think,” Barry said.
One knock on the NBA is that nobody plays defense. While NBA defenses are more sophisticated than most fans realize, it is true that offense drives the game. It is also true that defense improves in April, when the playoffs start. If you’re looking for a 2004-era Southern Illinois effort on defense, look elsewhere.
An IRS auction in Shawnee, Kansas this week features a couple pieces of KU's athletic history.
The IRS says it seized the property and household contents for nonpayment of taxes.
Among several items of sports memorabilia shown on a web site listing for the auction are an autographed KU basketball and a football autographed by KU's Orange Bowl championship team.
The IRS would not comment on who the property owner is.
The auction is 10 am Wednesday at Lindsy's Auctions, 4795 Frisbie Rd. in Shawnee, Kansas.
Tickets to Coach Self's "Courtside View"
Kansas 2012-13 Schedule
Big 12/College News
A recent audit of the University of Missouri’s athletic department finances uncovered dozens of questionable personal charges made to university credit cards, including two totaling more than $7,600 at a Las Vegas strip club.
Department spokesman Chad Moller said director of video operations Michael Schumacher has since repaid a total of $7,605.50 for charges related to a visit to Olympic Garden, a Las Vegas strip club, on May 5, 2011. According to documents obtained by The Associated Press, one of the strip-club charges included a $2,000 tip on top of a $4,400 bill.
…The Associated Press also reported that the audit flagged expenses from January 2011, when former men’s basketball director of operations Jeff Daniels billed the school for two charges of $1,489.54 apiece at the Vince Young Steakhouse in Austin, Texas.
Moller said those charges were for a team dinner — “something that happens on every trip by every athletic team in the country,” he noted — and estimated some 30 players, coaches and staff members were in attendance. Those charges were flagged because together they exceeded the $2,500 limit for single transactions.
…The audit also suggested the school tighten up its procedures for giving away free tickets and accounting for unused tickets to campus sporting events.
The audit summary and documents related to the improper charges obtained by The Associated Press revealed that while Alden and his compliance office do oversee ticket giveaways, an independent review is optimal if the school wants to protect itself from a scandal similar to the one that unfolded in 2010 at the University of Kansas.
Hmm, now where have I heard about a strip club and a missouri basketball official together before?
While acknowledging the NCAA does not have jurisdiction over draft eligibility rules, that the NBA and its players association negotiated the current age limit, Emmert declared one-and-done to be “anathema to the collegiate model of athletics. I dislike it enormously.”
He went on to suggest some who enroll with that in mind are encouraged not to function as serious students.
Emmert was asked about the contagion of conference realignment that took place in the past two years. He spoke of his experience as president at the University of Washington when the Pacific-10 was considering expansion to include Colorado and Utah.
He lamented that one element that went missing when so many schools moved leagues was the degree of “trust” necessary for a league to function and also expressed concern about how leagues with vast geographies will affect the experience of athletes already facing great demands on their time and energy.“
To do business inside a conference, you’ve got to be able to trust each other,” Emmert said. “You know, you sit and you all swear allegiance to the conference, and then you know during the coffee break people are out there on the phone trying to see if they can get in another conference. That’s a problem. We needed to stop. We need a little healing to go on and we need to make sure that students—and this is where we come in—that students aren’t getting abused with travel.”
…On whether he would be willing to work with the NBA and NBA Players Association to alter the draft age limit that currently stands at one year out of high school: “We’ve had some conversations. I’ve had conversations with David Stern and others, in the league office. We’re still exploring with them and with the Players Association what is and isn’t possible. But at the end of the day, that’s got to be their decision.”
Chris Walker hasn’t been shy about using the ‘R’ word in the three weeks since taking over as the interim head coach at Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders, he’s quick to tell anyone willing to listen, are going to run.
Seven new players will take the court for Tech this season — five newcomers and two who were on the team but sat out last year — and Walker believes improved speed is collectively one of the biggest strengths of that group. Because of that, he wants his team to push the pace.
That begins on defense.
“We are one of those teams that is going to press every possession,” Walker said during the team’s local media day Tuesday. “... We’re really trying to create turnovers, get in the passing lanes.”
Several players spoke of marathon practices which frequently exceeded four hours. Kevin Wagner and Jaron Nash told CBSSports.com that one practice in early November exceeded eight hours.
In the documents released to USA TODAY Sports, the school's reporting to the NCAA doesn't indicate that. On Sept. 1, a day after CBSSports.com published the story detailing excessive practice time, a Texas Tech compliance representative e-mailed the story to the NCAA. Jennifer Lisle Brashear, associate athletics director for compliance, e-mailed Chris Strobel, NCAA director of enforcement for secondary violations, to say the school already had investigated and "self-reported the violation to the NCAA on January 10th."
The school concluded it had exceeded practice time by a total of 6 hours, 10 minutes in the fall semester. It self-imposed a practice reduction of double that -- 12 hours, 20 minutes -- and reprimanded Gillispie and Bubba Jennings, an assistant coach.
In the three weeks in which Texas Tech found the program exceeded practice limits in October and November, none were reported to have totaled eight hours in a day.
The school's investigation found that on the weekend of Oct. 29-30, 2011, the team practiced for 7 hours, 15 minutes on Saturday and 6 hours, 30 minutes on Sunday. The school had initially reported no more than four hours of practice on any day, but a former men's basketball employee reported that the team had exceeded that on Oct. 29.
Jennings was responsible for documenting practice times and submitting them to Texas Tech's compliance office. According to the school's report to the NCAA, Jennings indicated "that he did not wear a watch."
The 64 Bruins are the most influential team in college hoops history says SI
(2008 Memphis #9?)
Before the NCAA investigations, UCLA seemed to have the perfect plan.
If you’re going to unveil the renovation of an historic venue such as Pauley Pavilion, it’s best to do it in style.
With a couple of future pros who could lead the Bruins to its first Final Four appearance since it made three straight trips from 2006-08, UCLA -- on paper, at least -- has plenty.
But everything at UCLA is a question mark right now.
And if the NCAA investigations linger, Pauley Pavilion will open its doors with a sense of uncertainty.
That moment should announce that UCLA basketball is back on its feet. That was the goal.
Right now, however, the program doesn’t have any solid footing.
The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) does many wonderful things, but consistent enforcement of its byzantine rules is not one of them. It is hard to know what is worse: the cases in which the NCAA investigates and imposes penalties, or the cases in which it does nothing. Its patchwork effort does little to inspire respect or deterrence.
Of course, this inconsistency is just one of many, larger hypocrisies besetting the NCAA these days. On several fronts, the NCAA finds itself in a credibility quicksand, and every action it takes lately seems to sink it deeper in the muck. The inconsistent enforcement of its own rules, however, is one area in which a workable solution exists within the current system's structure.
The solution is abdication. Not abandonment of any enforcement efforts but voluntary transfer of enforcement responsibilities to an outside organization. This gesture would serve as an acknowledgment that an independent body would do a better, more credible job of enforcing the NCAA's rules than the NCAA itself, which suffers from financial and other conflicts of interest in this regard.
It's that time of year. Secret Scrimmages. I'd really, really appreciate it if you don't tell anyone about these -- or else I can get in trouble. Remember, don't go to the arenas this weekend -- because fans and media aren't allowed in to watch. In fact, it's basically as if these scrimmages never even happen. Never.
Except we know they did -- even if coaches aren't supposed to talk about them.
It's not often we write about the women's game on this blog, but when we do, it's usually because an issue transcends the sport.
This time, that's not the case. We're dealing with the very nature of the game that is women's basketball, and UConn coach Geno Auriemma has proposed a change that would forever alter the way that it's watched, played, scouted and strategized.
He wants to lower the rim.
It's so simple that I can't believe we haven't heard this come up more often. There are already distinct differences between the two kinds of major collegiate basketball: The women's ball is smaller than the men's; the women's 3-point line isn't as far out as the men's; there is no 10-second halfcourt rule in women's basketball; men get a 35-second shot clock (though it should be shorter), and women get 30.
So why not consider bringing the tin down a few inches to increase verticality, offense and aggressiveness in the women's game? Here's what Auriemma told CPTV in Hartford (via the Hartford Courant):
10/23/12, 4:55 PM
2013 C Joel Embiid confirms via Twitter he's visiting Florida this weekend. Has already visited Kansas, Texas, Virginia.
Andrew Wiggins, a 6-7, 190-pound junior forward from Huntington Prep in West Virginia, is thinking about reclassifying to the recruiting class of 2013, Rivals.com reports.
Recently, KU and North Carolina have joined the mix as schools with a shot at landing Wiggins, Rivals reports. Kentucky and Florida State had long been considered his favorites if he was a member of the Class of 2014. He’s currently ranked No. 1 overall in the Class of 2014.
…Joel Embiid, an unranked 7-foot senior center from Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., who has visited KU, Texas and Virginia, will visit Florida and Marquette in successive weekends, Rivals.com reports. The Cameroon native who has played basketball just a year, is expected to sign with a school during the Nov. 14-21 signing period.
…Aaron Gordon, a 6-8 senior small forward from Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose, Calif., who attended Late Night in the Phog, has visited KU, Oregon, Washington and Arizona. The No. 5-rated player in the Class of 2013, plans on visiting Kentucky on Nov. 9-10 and picking a school in the spring.
“He acknowledged the love from the fans (on KU visit),” Gordon’s dad, Ed, told JayhawkSlant.com. “For me, it’s just the history of Kansas basketball that stands out the most. It’s the legends that have come through Kansas, and the legends to be. Aaron really hit it off with coach Self and the entire coaching staff. They are wonderful people and they have wonderful families. Aaron is very much a family person. We feel extremely comfortable with them.”