Jayhawk-Linn High School has always had the Jayhawk logo attached to it, so it would only make sense that some former Jayhawks make their presence known in the Mound City school.
The Kansas Barnstorming Tour is making a stop at Jayhawk-Linn on April 25 for an 8 p.m. tipoff against the Southeast Kansas All-Stars. The tour will bring to town former Kansas players Tyshawn Taylor, Connor Teahan and Jordan Juenemann to put on show for the crowd.
All three Kansas players helped their team to the national championship game, where they came up short against Kentucky. Along with Mound City, the barnstorming tour will make several stops around the state.
It will be the tour’s first stop in Mound City as it has stopped in Louisburg several times in years past.
Doors will open at the high school at 6 p.m. for autographs and Louisburg band ‘Face for Radio’ will provide pregame entertainment around 6:30 p.m. Tickets will be $5 for the event and can be purchased at Jayhawk-Linn High School, Jayhawk Elementary or Redlogic Communications.
All of the Jayhawk-Linn basketball seniors will be on the Southeast Kansas All-Star team along with select seniors from Prairie View, Pleasanton, Crest, Fort Scott and Iola High Schools.
For more information, contact Jayhawk-Linn High School at (913) 795-2224.
University of Kansas basketball players Justin Wesley and Jeff Withey spent part of their weekend (Saturday, April 14) reading to some wide-eyed kids at the Lawrence Public Library.
The event celebrated the "championship round" of the library's inaugural Tournament of Kids' Books. Throughout March, the library asked children from the Lawrence community to vote for their favorite books bracket-style, from the Sweet 16 all the way to the championship round.
Wesley and Withey each read a children's book to a crowd of nearly 100 children and family members. They then helped library officials announce the title of the book the kids' votes had declared the winner: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling.
…Kansas Athletics' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee arranged the players' appearance as part of its community-involvement initiative.
"It was worth it just to see the kids' interest in books," Wesley said. "I hope our involvement makes them even more interested in learning through reading."
Big 12/College News
Never has SMU basketball made such a big splash in central Illinois.
After a report said Larry Brown agreed to become the SMU coach, sources confirmed former Illini assistant coach Jerrance Howard accepted a job on the Mustangs’ staff, and Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich was close to finalizing a deal to become Southern Methodist’s coach in waiting.
Howard served as interim coach at Illinois when the school fired Bruce Weber on March 9, but he wasn’t retained after Illinois hired John Groce to replace Weber. Howard had an offer to work under Weber at Kansas State, and his name was mentioned in other openings.
He chose to work under Brown, a 71-year-old Hall of Famer who is the only coach in the game’s history to win NCAA and NBA titles. A source said Howard would get a significant pay increase from the $180,000 per season he made at Illinois. According to reports, former Kentucky assistant Rod Strickland would also join the SMU staff.
Jankovich, Howard and Strickland all have ties to Kansas coach Bill Self or Kentucky’s John Calipari. The coaches who met in the NCAA title game this season remain tight with Brown after working under him at Kansas.
A source close to the SMU program expected Jankovich to be offered between $800,000 and $1 million per year. Jankovich made a little more than $400,000 at Illinois State, where he returned the bulk of the roster from a 21-14 team that came within an overtime loss in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game of reaching the NCAA bracket.
The Redbirds will likely be the league’s top challenger to favored Creighton in the Valley race this winter. Illinois State athletic director Gary Friedman attended the Illinois-Illinois State baseball game here Tuesday night.
Calipari and William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley, the well-known college basketball power broker, were helping Brown assemble his crew, a report said. Brown visited SMU Sunday and Monday.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Brown said Tuesday afternoon he only wanted to formally accept if “all things are in place. I’m sure they (SMU) feel the same way.
“Nothing’s been finalized. I don’t know who put that out. Ever since my trip to Dallas, I’ve had a thousand people calling me for a job, I know that.’’
USA Today Photos: Larry Brown's long coaching career
The history of our world, the basketball world, is being rewritten before our eyes. This isn’t 1972. Bill Walton isn’t slinging hook shots in tube socks and short shorts.
Am I a fan? Absolutely not. I prefer my college athletes have more staying power than a fraternity party hook up. I prefer that the term upperclassmen refer to someone with a little more seniority than a sophomore.
I believe college is a privilege, not a layover. And I believe learning is a gift, not an inconvenience.
I like continuity. I like when fans can invest in a person and not just a player because they actually have time to get to know the person before the player moves on.
But I’m also a realist and I realize that conventions don’t last. The construct of the rules dictate how the game is played, and one overriding rule from 1972 still applies: He who has the best players wins.
…It may not be palatable to the traditionalists among us. It may, frankly, be downright disheartening.
But it’s reality.
So long as the rules are written to allow for a college drive-thru service, this is the way the world will work.
In an interview with The Sports Animal in Oklahoma City (transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews), Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, when asked what can be done to “fix the game of college basketball,” put the onus on the NBA.
“First of all college basketball doesn’t control college basketball. The NBA controls college basketball," Krzyzewski said. "They are the ones, along with the players’ union, that sets the rule. College basketball just reacts to what the NBA does to include the early entry date. College basketball put out April 10th (as the date by when players must declare their intention to enter the draft). Well, that date doesn’t mean anything. April 29th (the NBA’s deadline) is when guys have a chance to put their names in the NBA Draft.
“I think one of the main things that has to happen is college basketball has to have a relationship with the NBA. There should be someone in charge of college basketball who, on a day-to-day basis, sets an agenda for our great sport. We don’t have anything like that. As a result, we don’t have a voice with the NBA or the players’ union, and that’s just kind of sad.”
NBA commissioner David Stern maintains that it his league's job to watch over college basketball. The rule is "not geared to whether it's a good thing for the colleges," Stern said earlier this month.
While Austin Rivers will leave Duke after his freshman year to enter the draft, Krzyzewski said Duke puts a greater emphasis on recruiting guys who’ll stick around for a few years.
“We can’t go after every one-and-done guy because a lot of the guys—and they are great players and great kids—but school isn’t as important (to them). A lot of those guys a number of years ago didn’t have to go to college. Dwight Howard. Kobe Bryant. LeBron James. ...
“It’s not even going one year. They are going to spend maybe six-seven months (at school). ... We have a great school, but it’s not as attractive as going someplace else, so we have to be careful with who we get involved with because it could be a monumental waste of time for us.”
Considering how busy North Carolina coach Roy Williams has been the past few weeks -- contacting 25 NBA teams as his players pondered going pro, having three underclassmen ultimately declare early for the NBA draft, helping four of his players hire agents -- he hasn’t had time to start interviewing candidates for his vacant assistant coaching position.
But when he does make a hire, he said, it will be a person with UNC ties.
“I’ve had three guys from Kansas call me and apply, and I told them, ‘I love you, but I can’t do that. I came here, I brought two Kansas players with me, so the next guy has got to be a North Carolina guy,'" Williams said Tuesday night during the Rams Club’s Tar Heel Tour event in the Triangle. “We’ve had some pretty impressive people that I’ve talked to.”
…Williams said Joe Holladay, who was Williams’ longtime assistant who slid over to become director of basketball operations three seasons ago, will take over Haase’s recruiting duties for the next two weekends. After that, he’ll get down to the nitty-gritty of finding a new assistant coach.
“I’ve never hired somebody that I didn’t personally know by either working with them or working with somebody that I knew -- with the exception of Steve Robinson [who has served as a member of Williams’ coaching staff for 17 seasons]. And that’s been great."
Bundled into the NCAA’s academic reform package is a mandate that as of the end of the 2013 academic year, junior college transfers must now have a 2.5 GPA in their transferable credits in order to be eligible for a four-year school.
That’s not only up from a 2.0, but also higher than is required for initial eligibility for freshmen (2.3 under the new NCAA rules) and significantly higher than virtually every university requires for continuing eligibility.
“It almost seems like they’re legislating it this way because they don’t want junior college kids anymore,’’ said Steve Forbes, a former Tennessee assistant who is now the head coach at Northwest Florida State, a team that made it all the way to the NJCAA title game this year. “To be honest, it’s outlandish.’’
And he is not alone in condemning the GPA change’s potential impact.
“I think what you’ll have is fewer guys who make it [to a four-year school],’’ Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “And also, after that freshman year, you might see more coaches shy away or not take a commitment because they aren’t as sure that they’ll get the grade.’’
Drew said he expects nothing less than a considerable shift in the junior college landscape from this, with schools that had been perennial powerhouses falling by the wayside if they fail to send their players to Division I schools.
It will come down, he said, to money. Those that have the funding to offer academic support and tutoring will flourish; others will not.
“Over time, I’m sure you’ll see different schools emerging because they have the resources,’’ Drew said.
Former Valpariso University coach Scott Drew was found guilty of a major infraction by the NCAA for failure to properly monitor his assistants. Those ambitious, unsupervised assistants went on a rule breaking phone call and text messaging binge that exceeded the limit by hundreds. Most of this stuff took place in 2007 and 2008, though the most blatant violation of the NCAA rules occurred in 2010 when former assistant Mark Morefield basically asked two AAU coaches to lie to the NCAA about the investigation being conducted.
Morefield lost his job last summer and Drew was suspended for two games. The Bears also lost a scholarship for a year and Drew and another assistant, Jerome Tang, were banned from making phone calls for two months this season.
The school blamed the problem on compliance, saying texts were sent from a Teleflip, which the coaches believed weren’t texts because that is what a compliance officer told them. The staff also failed to properly log calls, an issue that’s been addressed.
Does the string of excuses sound familiar?
…There were two schools of thought on how to digest the methods of Drew, now one of the most disliked coaches by his peers in the profession.
His recruiting style was unorthodox and creative because he had no choice. After the program was nearly shut down in 2003 because of the murder of Patrick Dennehy by teammate Carlton Dotson and the massive fraud and unparalleled disgrace that former coach Dave Bliss brought by trying to portray Dennehy as a drug dealer (just one of many instances of deceit by Bliss), Drew had to push the envelope to revive the program. When he did and when Baylor became successful, the old guard guys, like Knight and Barnes got cranky. They couldn’t stomp Baylor out like a couple of stray ants wandering into the kitchen anymore. They had players.
Still, the Answer Man chose to believe that version of the truth then. He knew Drew had been doing the same stuff at Valparaiso University, bringing in a player named Antonio Falu and his coach from Puerto Rico, William Colon, for part of a season. Falu was billed as the most talented player ever to wear a VU uniform then and Colon was there to baby sit and help snag some players down the road. The whole deal blew up one night in December when Homer Drew kicked him off the team after Falu defied his orders in a game at Chicago State. Falu was too much of a diva for Homer. Colon was gone by the end of the year. Nobody cared because it was VU.
Last fall, the Answer Man had to re-evaluate his position on Drew when foxsports.com broke the news of the multiple illegal texts that Morefield sent to Hanna Perea’s AAU and high school coaches.
The Answer Man has three categories for college basketball coaches — those beyond reproach when recruiting players who have never sniffed a major violation, those that are blatant outright cheaters, and those that willfully ignore their rule breaking assistants.
It’s just not good enough for a coach to say he didn’t know his top couple of assistants were going crazy with the phone calls and text messages. Regretfully, Drew falls into the third category for the Answer Man. It got even worse for Drew during the NCAA Tournament when DJ Cooper, a star guard for Ohio, accused him of trying to recruit him when he was in school. Drew denied the allegation. No doubt the NCAA will be asking for Cooper’s cell phone records to try to verify his story.
The Answer Man had high hopes for Drew, thinking maybe he could end up at one of the top programs in the country someday. That won’t happen. He’ll have to make the Final Four at Baylor. The word is out on Drew and it’s hard for even his most adamant supporters to suppress the shadiness that is wafting over the program. Plus, in a small way, Drew should feel complicit in bringing down Morefield’s career. Despite all the negativity, the kids don’t seem to care much. Drew snagged the No. 5 recruiting class this year, according to ESPN. The Answer Man would like to believe Drew could’ve still done well without breaking rules.
He’ll never know now for sure.
A number of current and former college basketball coaches—Billy Donovan, Roy Williams, Bob Knight, Jamie Dixon, among others—gave presentations at a Nike clinic over the weekend at Robert Morris University in suburban Pittsburgh. But according to an eyewitness, West Virginia's Bob Huggins is the only one reported to have been "slirring [sic] his speech, swaying, talking in circles and dropping f bombs" when it was his turn.
Huggins's talk was called "Our Man to Man Offensive Concepts," and it was scheduled to take place at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. A source in Pittsburgh just told me eight different people who were there have confirmed to him Huggins was wasted. And here's a sampling of Twitter responses from some of those who were present for it:
Duke is now expressing interest in 2013 Boo Williams (VA) guard Allerik Freeman. UCLA, Villanova, Ohio State & Kansas are also involved.
Ranked in the top six or seven by nearly every recruiting outlet, Chris Walker is clearly one of the most talented players in the class of 2013. He's not content with his current standing, though.
Walker, a 6-foot-10 power forward from Holmes County (Fla.), wants to move up a few spots – to the top of the rankings.
“I think I will be number one by the end of this summer,” Walker said. “I'm going to play harder than everybody on the court. I'm going to go out with a blast. After this last AAU season, Chris Walker is going to be a household name."
…On the recruiting front, six schools are standing out for Walker: Kentucky, Ohio State, Florida, Kansas, Syracuse and Baylor. The only school in that group not to extend an offer has been Kentucky, although he said that he “loved” that the Wildcats won a national championship. Walker has taken one unofficial visit so far, to Kansas.
Walker isn't looking to make a decision anytime soon, hoping to take trips to all the schools before he makes a choice. However, he has thought about each of the six schools and knows what he likes about each one.
Kentucky: “How [John] Calipari puts people into the pros.”
Kansas: “The pick and roll scenario.”
Baylor: “How coach [Scott} Drew lets his players play one-on-one.”
Ohio State: “How the post gets ball first.”
Syracuse: “The zone.”
Florida: “How me and coach [Billy] Donovan's relationship is.”
Overall, Walker is looking for a nice balance in his future destination.
“Great relationship, great fanbase, great academics,” Walker said. “And a school that's used to winning.”
the Under Armour Hoop Group JamFest is for AAU/traveling teams that will be played at various sites in the Pittsburgh area Friday through Sunday. More than 250 teams will participate from grades 8-11 and will come from 21 states and three Canadian provinces. Also, some teams with senior players will participate in the open division (18 and under).
The JamFest will feature twin brothers from Travis High School in Fort Bend, Texas, and one of the twins is ranked the No. 1 junior in the country. Andrew Harrison is a 6-foot-5 point guard who is Rivals.com's No. 1 player, while his brother, Aaron, is ranked No. 7 in the class of 2013 by Rivals. They play for the Houston Defenders AAU team, which is coached by their father. The Harrisons have a number of scholarship offers, including from Kentucky.
Overall, seven of the top 54 players in the country, according to ESPN rankings, will be in the JamFest. Some top sophomores and juniors in the WPIAL and City League also will play on teams in the JamFest.
The JamFest had been played at the University of Pittsburgh in recent years, but a new NCAA rule prevents the event from being played on a college campus. So, the event will be played at a dozen sites in the Pittsburgh area, including North Hills, Perry, Sewickley Academy, South Fayette, Brashear, Sto-Rox and Langley. Most of the playoff games and championships for the juniors and sophomores will be played Sunday at North Hills. Schedules are available at www.hoopgroup.com.
Also, this year's JamFest is during a live recruiting period, which means a number of Division I college coaches will be in attendance. Zak Boisvert, director of events for the Hoop Group company in New Jersey, said Kentucky coach John Calipari and Kansas coach Bill Self will attend, as well as many other coaches.
4/20 adidas VIP Exclusive Run teams announced
4/21 Capital Classic (Andrew White)
4/23 @TonyParker32 will announce his college decision, per his HS @coachswhite at @MillerGroveHoop.
4/27-29 Jayhawk Invitational
4/27-29 Real Deal in the Rock
adidas Grassroots schedule
Nike EYBL Schedule
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar (updated to reflect April Eval period changes)
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