Twins first workout! #tootiredtotweet #tootiredtoflex#
Why this recruiting class could lead Kansas to the Final Four
1. This class has not only tremendous talent but also great individual skill and diversity. These young Jayhawks will have great size and elite athletic ability, starting with the No. 1 recruit in the country in small forward Andrew Wiggins. In addition, center Joel Embiid and small forward Wayne Selden bring more size and athleticism, point guard Conner Frankamp and shooting guard Brannen Greene bring excellent shooting and point guard Frank Mason brings toughness. This class will also have some experience to play with and help show them the ropes in point guard Naadir Tharpe, power forward Perry Ellis and Memphis transfer Tarik Black.
2. Coach Bill Self is one of the elite coaches with a great feel for how to coach different types of players. For example, Self has had elite players who have been high school All-Americans, but has also had success with junior-college transfers, prep-school recruits and transfers. Self is excellent at getting his melting pot of players to compete at a high level within the team concept while at the same time featuring his marquee players. This is a unique coaching trait, and one that should serve him well next season.
3. This recruiting class can be Final Four bound if it develops early team chemistry and experiences early success. It will be key to build confidence and momentum before the start of the Big 12 season and continue to improve throughout the conference regular season and tournament.
Why this recruiting class might not lead Kansas to the Final Four
1. Kansas likely will not reach the lofty standards others have set if Wiggins struggles and doesn't perform at the level everyone is anticipating or does not fit well with the other recruits or in the structure and schemes for the Jayhawks. Another factor related to Wiggins could be the veterans becoming jealous, resulting in tension within the team. I don't think any of this will occur, but if it does the season will take a bad turn immediately.
2. Another factor could be if the recruiting class simply underachieves. If the players have problems adjusting to the demands and structure of being a high-profile college basketball player or they don't produce at a high enough level, a Final Four spot could be out of reach for this young team.
3. If this class takes some early losses or has some injuries and they have difficulty recovering in time, they might not be able to put together a run in the NCAA tournament and could make an early exit. Avoiding the freshman end-of-season wall will also be key for a team relying so heavily on first-year players. Again, I don't think this will happen, but you never how young players will react under pressure and adversity.
Kansas: PG Conner Frankamp, SG Brannen Greene, PG Frank Mason
Mason may not be a household name, but you can be sure he will create scoring opportunities for his talented supporting cast. He can run a team with playmaking ability, and he can deliver passes or score with his strength and toughness. Though small in size, he understands how to use the floater once he's in the lane. He will give the Jayhawks a steady presence at the point, and his speed and quickness will be a surprise to many. Frankamp is a battle-tested guard who reminds me of a smaller version of former Kansas guard Kirk Hinrich. Frankamp is a knock-down shooter who is a major scoring threat with the ball in his hands, especially in pick-and-roll action. He’s a versatile player with the shooting skills of a 2-guard and the handle, vision, IQ and unselfishness of a point guard. He will step on the floor at Kansas with the necessary swagger and the talent to back it up. Greene, meanwhile, has deep range, a quick trigger and good bounce. He’ll give Kansas a big shooting guard and a possible zone buster along with Frankamp. There is plenty of talent and depth on the perimeter coming to Lawrence.
Kansas: SF Andrew Wiggins, SF Wayne Selden
This duo will provide excitement as well as offensive and defensive production. Wiggins comes in as the No. 1 recruit in the nation and will immediately be the best athlete in college basketball next season. His uncommon athletic ability will be instrumental not just on offense but on defense by getting steals, rebounding, and blocking and contesting shots. Selden is strong and powerful with improving offensive skills on the perimeter. He will finish in transition and make jumpers in the half-court offense, and he has developed a nice floater in the lane. He should also turn into an excellent perimeter defender with his strength, size and willingness to win. With Wiggins and Selden in the fold, look for Kansas to defend with size and athleticism and run on every opportunity. These are two thoroughbreds who will be hard to catch; scouting reports will need to account for them early and often.
Kansas: Joel Embiid
Embiid exploded onto the scene this past season and emerged down the stretch, with enormous potential still to come. His offensive instincts are progressing nicely, while his skill level has blossomed to the point that he shows a soft touch with good mechanics on his shots. He will protect the basket with his size, his reach and his knack for blocking shots. If he stays out of foul trouble, he could be a game-changer for the Jayhawks. Kansas has a huge need at the center position with the graduation of Jeff Withey, so Embiid should make an immediate impact -- although he still has a learning curve because he has played the game for only a few years. He could be good this season and a difference-maker a year later if he stays in school for more than a year. His best basketball, however, may not come at the collegiate level but rather at the NBA level as he continues to progress.
Kansas X Factor
With a tremendous recruiting class, there is usually a star player or leader of the group who stands alone. With a returning group at Kansas led by power forward Perry Ellis, it will be interesting to see whether the Jayhawks are accepting of and comfortable with Wiggins taking on that star role and making this his team. Wiggins was a good teammate on a loaded Huntington Prep (W.Va.) team and for a talented international team at the Nike Hoop Summit, but this will be a bit more complex. At Kansas, Bill Self has had incredible success winning a national title and multiple Big 12 championships by blending a variety of talent such as McDonald’s All Americans, under-the-radar recruits, junior college players, transfers and even players who have been academically ineligible. He knows how to define roles and hand out responsibilities for the good of the team, and that will be especially important for the 2013-14 Jayhawks.
Any time you land the No. 1 player in the country to go along with four other top-50 recruits, you should own the nation’s best recruiting class. This Kansas class is simply sensational, and in almost any other year it would easily be No. 1 with the talent, size, skill, athletic ability and potential this bunch demonstrates.
Kentucky’s 2013 class, however, is historic. It is unprecedented in basketball recruiting to land so many talented players with such a high ranking -- five in the top 10 and six in the top 25. If Calipari can get the talent to mesh, Kentucky’s class of incoming recruits has the potential to win the SEC and make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
Advanced stats fans will want to read this from the LJW
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self’s Assists Foundation has pledged up to $2 million to the Douglas County Community Foundation toward the construction of a community center on the site of KU’s Rock Chalk Park.
Lawrence city commissioners have approved funding to construct the community center adjacent to the facility that will become home to KU’s soccer, softball and track and field programs. Construction of Rock Chalk Park is scheduled to be completed in 2014.
LJW: Final approvals given for Rock Chalk Park
Space available for Bill's Basektball Boogie
RockChalk Roundball Classic on June 13
6/3/13, 6:25 PM
Some of the greatest to do it #ku #champ #08 #AllUnderSelf #SelfEra instagram.com/p/aHXrrHOjhG/
Love all my bro's but #1 PG in Self era AMiles...can't see how anybody can think different...Lucky I got to play with him! #kubball
6/4/13, 1:41 PM
Our short film Ben McLemore Rising Up just won a silver and a bronze Telly award! Congrats @Humb1e_Hungry23 #kubball pic.twitter.com/FSR8HnZLzj
NBA.com VIDEO: Elijah Johnson interview following pre-draft workout
Kansas City’s most famous celebrity do-gooders — Rob Riggle, Paul Rudd and Jason Sudeikis — are headin’ home for their annual Big Slick Celebrity Poker Tournament and Party July 19-20.
The weekend will raise money for the Children's Mercy Hospital Cancer Center. The fun kicks off at 5:30 p.m. July 19 with the Celebrity Wiffle Ball Game at the Little K at Kauffman Stadium before the Royals play the Detroit Tigers.
On Saturday morning, the guys and some of their celebrity friends – Eric Stonestreet, Jon Hamm and Olivia Wilde (Jason’s future wife) came last year – will play in the Big Slick Celebrity Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament at Harrah’s Kansas City.
You can play, too — $500 buys you a seat at the table.
The weekend concludes at the Midland Theatre on Saturday night at the Big Slick Celebrity Party & Auction. Tickets range from $75 to $1,000 for a limited number of VIP passes.
(Bigger bucks will get you up-close-and-personal time with the guys.)
Tickets for the events are at bigslickkc.org.
Big 12/College News
Joe Holladay, a member of Roy Williams’ coaching staffs at the University of North Carolina and University of Kansas, is retiring after 20 years and 594 wins, the school confirmed Monday. Holladay served as Director of Basketball Operations for the last four years after a 16-year stint as an assistant coach.
Former UNC player and Vanderbilt assistant coach Brad Frederick will take over for Holladay as UNC's new Director of Basketball Operations.
“I am ecstatic for Joe and know that I have been extremely fortunate to have him as part of our staff for these 20 years,” Williams said. “He is one of the best coaches and finest human beings I have ever been around. He was a security blanket for me in good times and bad. I knew I could always count on seeing his smile no matter the situation."
Holladay, 65, was part of the Tar Heel staff for 10 seasons, during which time UNC won two NCAA championships, played in three Final Fours, won six Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championships and two ACC Tournament titles. The Tar Heels amassed an overall record of 282-78 over the last 10 years, finishing in the Top 10 in the final AP poll seven times.
"It will be a huge challenge for us to replace all that Joe did for our program and the University," Williams said. "Kansas, UNC and all the players and coaches at both universities are so fortunate that he was part of their lives for so long. I will miss him tremendously both professionally and personally, although I know he is looking forward to watching the Tar Heels for many years to come.”
Former Lawrence High basketball standout Brad Frederick, who worked for former Kansas University assistant Kevin Stallings the past 14 years as a full-time aide at Vanderbilt, is headed to North Carolina to serve as director of basketball operations for former KU coach Roy Williams.
Frederick, 36, replaces former KU assistant Joe Holladay, who has retired after working 10 years for Williams at KU and 10 at Carolina.
“I’ve known Brad for 25 years,” said Williams, who was hired as KU coach by Brad’s dad, Bob Frederick. “He’s been like a part of my family going back to our years in Lawrence. The fact he played at and graduated from Carolina (1999) makes it an easy decision to add him to our staff. He knows he has big shoes to fill, but I am confident our players, coaches and staff will truly enjoy working with him.”
Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv is reporting that the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and possibly the Los Angeles Clippers have all contacted Brown about their vacant coaching jobs.
The Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers have both “contacted” SMU coach Larry Brown about their coaching openings, a source close to Brown told SNY.tv.
The source said a third team, possibly the Los Angeles Clippers, has also reached out to Brown, 72. The source requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly for Brown.
“Three NBA teams have talked to him,” the source said, adding that he was not certain of the identity of the third team.
After a recruitment which included one apparent commitment and rumors galore, former Marshall guard DeAndre Kane decided to transfer to Iowa State last week. Kane will be eligible immediately because he is a graduate transfer.
Kane arrives in Ames as one of the nation's assist leaders, setting up his teammates on 42 percent of his team's made baskets when he was on the floor last year. He qualified as more of a volume scorer, registering 15.1 points per game, though he wasn't incredibly efficient in doing so. He shot 25 percent from beyond the arc and an atrocious 52 percent from the line, even while taking the team's most FT attempts. This year, though, he won't have to be the most complete offensive player for the Cyclones to succeed, as Fred Hoiberg's squad will have forwards Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim to help pave the way offensively.
On a crisp fall morning three years ago, the engines on Iowa State University’s eight-seat private plane spun to life.
A few minutes before takeoff, Fred Hoiberg, the head men’s basketball coach, and Elwyn McRoy, his new assistant, climbed aboard for a recruiting trip 400 miles away. For Mr. Hoiberg, a former Cyclones star and NBA executive, it was an ordinary call: out by 9, back by 6, home in time for dinner.
For Mr. McRoy, who had spent most of his 13-year coaching career behind the wheel of a rental car, it was his big break.
When he arrived at Ames Municipal Airport that morning, he snapped a picture of the red-and-gold-striped Beechcraft King Air 200, which he later posted on Facebook. “The private life of recruiting,” he wrote, announcing his arrival in the fraternity of elite coaches. On board the plane, a cooler of soft drinks rested on ice. He leaned back in his leather seat and stretched his legs, reflecting on his unlikely rise.
Just a decade before, he was coaching high-school basketball in Kansas, not far from the community college where he got his start as a player. As he moved up the Division I ranks—from Southern University, in Louisiana, to Georgia Southern University to Arkansas State University—he signed several high-profile prospects and was named one of the country’s best junior-college recruiters. A few months before arriving at Iowa State, he was selected as one of six Division I assistants to participate in a leadership program for black coaches.
On that early-October day in 2010, as the Iowa State plane lifted above the clouds, all signs were pointing up for Mr. McRoy. If only he could last three years at this level, he figured, he would never have to worry about a job in coaching again.
The good times didn’t last. Less than a year later, he tumbled from the top, a casualty of the game’s constant churn. This season he has all but disappeared, having landed at a tiny Division II college, in Alabama, where he is living out of an RV.
His slide may be extreme, but his profession is filled with people struggling to stay on their feet. Over the past five years, more than 230 head-coaching positions in Division I men’s basketball have turned over, affecting nearly two-thirds of big-time programs. Coaches who once had four or more years to prove themselves sometimes get cut loose in half that time, as administrators show less and less tolerance for losing. Assistant coaches, who almost always lose their jobs when their bosses go, often have the hardest time making it back in.
Chronicle of Higher Education
Legendary college basketball referee Ed Hightower told a Michigan State radio program Tuesday that he is retiring after the 2013-14 season, according to a tweet from the program's host:
Hightower, known by the few who liked him as a showman and the many who could not stand him as the preening referee who hated their favorite team, refereed his first Big Ten game in the 1981-82 season at the age of 28. For the next 31 seasons, Hightower was a mainstay of Big Ten, Big East, Big 8/12, and Missouri Valley Conference basketball. He called 12 Final Fours during that time. Hightower won the 1992 Naismith Award as Division I college basketball's best official. An Illinois native and resident, Hightower was selected for the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998.
Former Missouri guard Michael Dixon committed to Memphis this morning, per a report by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, and will apply for a NCAA waiver to play immediately. If the 6-foot-1 guard is cleared, here's how he'll be able to help Josh Pastner's team in 2013-14. However, there is now some discrepancy whether Dixon has committed, or whether he is just visiting to school, or if he even plans to commit to Pastner's squad. Jason L. Smith of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports Dixon visited Memphis and will likely make his transfer decision in the very near future. ESPN's Jason King walks the line between the various reports of Parrish and Smith, reporting Dixon still has to discuss his decision with his family, but King would be very surprised if Dixon is not on Memphis' roster.
Devonta Pollard, a rising junior basketball player at the University of Alabama, was arrested today following the April 30 kidnapping of a six-year-old girl from Mississippi. The Tuscaloosa News reports that he was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Six people, including Pollard's mother, Jesse Mae Pollard, have been arrested in the case.
According to the Associated Press, Jesse Mae was likely the mastermind behind the kidnapping. She was in a land dispute with a reported cousin. The kidnapped girl was snatched from East Kemper Elementary School around noon on April 30, and was missing until the following day, when she turned up in Enterprise, Mississippi. She was unharmed. The AP walks us through what allegedly happened:
A federal grand jury has indicted a former Auburn University basketball player on charges that he conspired with gamblers to throw basketball games during the 2011-’12 season.
The indictment, handed down by a federal grand jury in Montgomery last week and unsealed today, charges Varez Ward with two bribery-related counts. It alleges that the former guard conspired with others to “commerce to influence, in any way, by bribery a sporting contest, with knowledge that the purpose of such scheme was to influence by bribery that contest” in January of last year.
On its face, the story of a father who is the director of a program's basketball operations not receiving a contract extension and leaving the program with his skilled sophomore son in tow would have all the tell-tale signs of an unseemly recruiting gambit gone wrong. Before the NCAA took steps in recent years to halt the practice, college hoops recruiting went through a phrase in which a job for a family member or high school coach was often the price a college had to pay for that recruit's services.
When you hear that a spurned director of basketball operations -- which is not a particularly important position anyway, at least relatively speaking -- decided to take his son and go home, the initial assumption is that somewhere along the line, a promise went unfulfilled.
…Michael Young isn't some random family member or hanger-on; he's a former member of Houston's greatest-ever team, Phi Slama Jama, and he's spent the past 16 years serving Houston in various capacities, including the past seven as the director of basketball operations.
But Young, a program legend and tenured staff member, is leaving Houston. His son, sophomore Joseph Young, is coming with him. So what happened?
A new early-season college basketball tournament will debut this year, days after Thanksgiving. The John R. Wooden Classic and the Anaheim Classic have joined together to form the Wooden Legacy, which is set to take place on Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, according to press release on Tuesday afternoon.
The Wooden Legacy will be a three-day, eight-team event with two different locations for 2013. Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton will play host on Nov. 28-29. The tournament will then move to the Honda Center in Anaheim for the championship game.
All 12 games are scheduled to air on ESPN.
ESPN Path to the Draft: No. 16 Michigan State
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
6/5/13, 1:39 AM
Enjoyed my time out here in LA/Westwood. UCLA visit was cool, got to know the new coaching staff alot better.
Tyus Jones (Apple Valley High/Apple Valley, Minn.) and Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young/Chicago, Ill.) — two of the top players in the Class of 2014 — have made it clear that they want to play in college with each other. There have also been rumors that Okafor’s AAU teammate with Mac Irvin Fire Cliff Alexander (Curie High/Chicago, Ill.) would join them in a massive package deal.
In mid-May, Alexander told NBC Sports that the trio of top-5 players had discussed the possibility of committing to the same school.
“Yeah, me, Jahlil and Tyus have talked about it,” Alexander said. “There aren’t any schools in particular we’re all looking at together.”
On Sunday, the 6-foot-8 Alexander told Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal that the possibility of a package deal might not become a reality when it’s all said and done.
“It really doesn’t matter to me,” Alexander said when asked about going to school with Okafor and Jones.
He later called the chances of him and his current AAU teammate playing together at the next level, “very slim.”
Alexander has offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Ohio State, UConn, Illinois and Indiana among others. Jones had previously cut his list of finalists to seven on Mar. 9. Okafor did the same this past Wednesday, trimming his college choices to eight.
Alexander — the No. 5 overall player in the Class of 2014 according to Rivals — did tell Couch that he “loves” Tom Izzo. Michigan State became the second team to offer Alexander. The Spartans made the cut for both Jones and Okafor.
“Everybody has been recruiting me the same,” Alexander told NBC Sports in May. “I’m just looking for a school that has a great relationship with my parents, a school that gets out and runs and me and the coaches have to see eye-to-eye.”
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is proud to announce the 20th Anniversary of the NBPA Top 100 High School Basketball Camp, which was created by the NBPA in 1994 to assist elite high school student-athletes in the development of their basketball and life skills. Throughout the last 20 years, the Camp has grown into one of the most highly touted and renowned camps of its kind and has seen hundreds of its participants go on to successful NBA careers. Please be sure to follow the camp on Twitter @Top100Camp.
Taking place at the University of Virginia from Wednesday, June 12 through Saturday, June 15, the Camp will showcase the country’s elite high school basketball talent. The roster features the Class of 2014’s rising seniors Kavon Loony, Rashad Vaughn, LaRon Black, Joel Berry, Keita Bates-Diop, Theo Pinson and several others. TheClass of 2015 rising junior standouts include Stephen Zimmerman, Perry Dozier, Skal Labissiere, Charles Matthews, Derrick Jones, K.J. Lawson, and Tyler Dorsey, to name a few.
USA Today: Mudiay defends basketball
Before heading to the airport at the end of his recruiting visit to Marist College last month, guard Nick Colletta discovered coach Jeff Bower had one slightly unusual activity planned for him.
The Marist coach asked Colletta to take a personality assessment survey.
Colletta spent the next 10 minutes perusing two lists of 56 adjectives, one in which he had to check off the personality traits he thought best depicted the way he was expected to act and the other in which he marked the ones that he felt really described himself. Computer analysis of Colletta's answers suggested he was competitive, gregarious and comfortable with the ball in his hands at crunch time, further confirming to Bower that the sweet-shooting senior from Glendora High School was worth a late scholarship offer.
"Maybe other recruits might be surprised to have to take the test, but it really wasn't that weird to me after Coach Bower explained the purpose," Colletta said. "It was an interesting test to take because it really made you think about who you were."
Bower's use of personality profiling as a tool to help assess recruits is a tactic borrowed from pro sports.
Just like NFL and NBA teams grade potential draft prospects on their speed, strength or proficiency in certain drills, they also use clinical interviews, aptitude tests and personality surveys as evaluation tools. The goal is to determine which potential draftees will thrive under pressure, respond when challenged and fit smoothly in the locker room.
2013 Spring/Summer AAU & Camp Schedule
My KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos, Late Night in the Phog, and more now on YouTube