The Jayhawks lost their top two scorers, one of whom was the team's leading rebounder, the other of whom was the top assists guy. Therefore, this should be a rebuilding year. Of course, everybody said the same thing before the start of last season, and all the Jayhawks did was wind up in the NCAA championship game. "I think we're going to be OK," Self told me. "I don't think we're going to be great, but I didn't think we'd be great last year."
As usual, this program is loaded, but Self emphasized the distinction between his most "talented" players and his "best" players. His two most "talented" players have yet to play a college game: Ben McLemore, a 6-5 freshman who missed last season for academic reasons, and Perry Ellis, a 6-8 true freshman from Wichita. "I don't know if McLemore would have started last year or been our leading scorer, but if you ask any kid in our program, they'd say he's the most talented," Self said. "He's a freak who can shoot. He reminds me a lot of Brandon Rush. He just doesn't know how to play yet."
As for Ellis, Self said "he's probably the most natural scorer we have."
However, the "best" player on this team will be 6-4 senior guard Elijah Johnson. With Tyshawn Taylor having left for the NBA, Johnson will assume the fulltime scoring and playmaking responsibilities. His counterpart on the interior, 7-foot senior Jeff Withey, will have a steeper challenge adjusting to life without Thomas Robinson on the other block. "This year it will be harder for Jeff because he'll get double-teamed, which never happened last year," Self said. "He's capable of being a good shooter, but he's not a guy who's a natural scorer. He just doesn't have that feel yet."
Self won't have quite as many players to work with on the perimeter as he does in the frontcourt. But if he's looking to get more guards into the mix, his best option might be Tyler Self, a 6-1 walk-on guard from Lawrence, Kan. I don't know if Tyler can play, but I do know that the last thing his coach wants is an angry phone call from the kid's mother complaining about Tyler's lack of playing time.
SI Seth Davis
The just-completed July college basketball recruiting evaluation period wasn’t as taxing on Kansas University coach Bill Self as some in the past.
“The new calendar kind of rejuvenates you. You get a chance to come home every week. It has not been bad at all,” Self said.
...“We’re just trying to get the best players, period. We got a couple of commitments, but we need a big and a point guard to go with what we have,” Self said.
He filled two of his four available 2013 scholarship slots last school year, garnering early oral commitments from Wichita North combo guard Conner Frankamp and Tift County (Forsyth, Ga.) High wing Brannen Greene.
“We’re excited about what we have. If we can get another great player, that’d be a bonus,” Self said. “We are trying to get the best players possible. We do need an inside presence that could obviously replace Jeff (Withey), and a point guard to replace Elijah (Johnson) would be great.”
…Self said all of his players will receive plenty of playing time in exhibitions versus the Swiss National Team and French pro teams.
“I think it will be a great experience for our guys,” Self said. “Winning is always important, but having an opportunity to go to Switzerland and France and hang out is a memory that will last all our guys’ lifetime. I am excited for them to experience that and at the same time get our basketball team a little better.”
…Former KU center Sasha Kaun scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds with four blocks in Russia’s 73-54 victory over China at the Olympic Games in London. Russia, 2-0, will meet Brazil on Thursday. ... ESPN has reported that former KU guard Tyshawn Taylor’s two-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets is guaranteed. The second-round pick will make $473,604 this season and $788,872 in 2013-14.
KU AD: Kansas basketball prepared for European trip
In an anticipated move that should conclude the Warriors' busy offseason, the team reached an agreement with reserve swingman Brandon Rush on a two-year, $8 million deal Monday.
The restricted free agent was second on the team in minutes, three-point shooting and blocked shots and third in rebounds last season. Rush's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said the second year of the deal is a player option, meaning the 6-foot-6 reserve could decide his own fate as an unrestricted free agent next season.
With the Rush signing, the Warriors have a league-maximum 15 players on their roster.
Kansas 2012-13 Schedule
Big 12/College News
The NCAA on Tuesday banned Central Florida from postseason play for one season in men's basketball and football for major recruiting violations, announcing the sanctions two days before the association's board hears a proposal to give its infractions committee more authority to impose harsh penalties on rules violators.
…More specifically, the Central Florida case represents the NCAA's latest attempt to tackle what college coaches label the most serious problem facing men's basketball and football: third-party individuals — representatives of sports agents chief among them —who wield outsized influence in the recruitment of top prospects and at times secretly shop them to the highest bidder.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions ruled that Central Florida officials, including former athletics director Keith Tribble, had knowledge of the involvement of Ken Caldwell, a Chicago man with ties to a sports agency, and his associate Brandon Bender, to recruit players. The NCAA said both men used cash inducements in an effort to steer nearly a dozen football and men's basketball prospects to Central Florida. The school is appealing the postseason ban for its football team.
Over the last five to 10 years, the increased presence of agents and other third parties has clouded the basketball recruiting landscape, creating an environment in which individuals leverage college coaches via sophisticated money-funneling schemes — frequently in the form of donations to summer-league AAU teams — in return for increased access to prospects. College coaches who resist the pressure often lose out on the best prospects.
Some colleges have hired AAU summer-league coaches as assistants in an effort to create a pipeline of talent. And representatives of agents or colleges help bankroll some AAU programs in the hope that the AAU coach will help steer top prospects to them.
NCAA officials told USA TODAY Sports that it will now compel some summer-league programs it investigates to disclose the names of those who contribute money to their programs. The elusive donor lists, long concealed by dozens of prominent summer-league programs, would potentially reveal names associated with sports agents, college coaches and athletic boosters who help bankroll some summer-league programs in violation of NCAA rules.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who applauded the NCAA's efforts, recently told USA TODAY Sports: "The agent involvement [in recruiting] is much, much more than it has ever been. In the last five years, it has just gone off the charts. There is no question that some of these parts outside the actual game itself have really made the coaching profession not nearly as much fun as it used to be."
Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo said there is "no question" that agents' ties to AAU summer-league teams have become more common, adding that he "absolutely" has lost players because he refused to cheat.
"A lot of people have lost players," Izzo said. "And I am not saying that cheating is 80 percent of the game. It's probably 20 percent. But it's probably 70 percent of the top 20 percent [of player recruitments]. College basketball is a business. This [recruiting] is a business now because it leads to ours."
…Earlier this month, the NCAA banned four summer-league teams from competing in NCAA certified events because of ties to sports agent Andy Miller. LuAnn Humphrey, the NCAA's director of enforcement for the basketball focus group, told USA TODAY Sports that the association is investigating several other programs that it believes have relationships with agents.
"If they banned four teams, they have only 104 to go," said former college coach Tom Penders, who detailed AAU-related issues in his book Dead Coach Walking.
"The money deals go down during July. People who are watching have no idea what is going on, like where the peanut is in the shell game. They might be watching it, but they ain't seeing it."
Most summer-league programs operate aboveboard and on shoestring budgets, packing teenagers into vans and cramped hotels as they crisscross the country for tournaments. And many sports agents follow the letter of the law and wait until prospects turn professional before they offer inducements.
Others move in the shadows of the sport. In six seasons as head coach at Houston, Penders estimated, an AAU coach or his agent asked Penders for money in return for the commitment of a prospect at least 25 times. On one occasion, an AAU coach and his agent visited Penders' office with two offers: Pay tens of thousands of dollars in return for a player's commitment, or place an AAU coach on his staff to establish a pipeline.
"I threw him out of my office," Penders said.
Penders said the player, whom the coach declined to identify, spent one season at a Big 12 school before being drafted in the second round of the NBA draft. Penders said the AAU coach collected "six figures" from the Big 12 school that chose to engage in the scheme.
…While most AAU coaches use their own money for their programs, Izzo said, some AAU coaches act on behalf of the agent who helps bankroll their team. Telep said one telltale sign of agent involvement with the elite prospects is the number and frequency of unofficial visits the player makes before committing to a school.
Said Fraschilla: "If you were to ask me the overwhelming theme of high-level recruiting, I would say plausible deniability. Money is funneled in a way a coach can always say, 'I had no idea that was going on.'
"Assistant coach says, 'Coach, don't worry, I will handle it.' The head coach does not have to worry about it in some cases. In other cases, the head coach is right smack in the middle of it. They want to do the deal themselves because they don't want an assistant screwing it up. It's amazing."
…More than a dozen years ago, Williams, then head coach at Kansas, grew frustrated at the peripheral individuals involved in the recruitment of DeShawn Stevenson. He said the problem has worsened considerably. And, in general, the refusal to cheat or engage some third-party individuals is one of many reasons, Williams said, why he may back away from recruiting a prospect these days.
"Every coach looks at situations and tries to decide, 'Will I have a legitimate chance if I do it the right way?,'" Williams said. "Some of those situations you look at and say, 'This is not my kind of ballgame. I better go somewhere else.'"
During his final years of coaching, Gary Williams grew frustrated with third-party involvement. Then coach at Maryland, Williams failed to land Rudy Gay, whose former summer-league team received $25,000 legally from UConn to play an exhibition game. And Williams was criticized for not hiring Dalonte Hill, the former AAU coach of Michael Beasley, as a $400,000 assistant coach.
"If there's a reason why he is not coaching - thoughts are that he got married, he was getting older --- I would guarantee you that No. 1 on the list, you know more than I do but I've talked to him enough, is that he is just sick of the crap, which is sad," Izzo said. "What's hard is that sometimes the elites of the elites don't have to deal with it. It's the middle rung, the Marylands, the Michigan States, the Texases, that are in that middle. That is a problem."
…"Most high level coaches who are recruiting the high level players understand that you are not going to get players to go to your school if you are going to give them a scholarship and tell them, 'By the way, you can get some Pell Grant money, too.' It's just not happening."
West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins has said that, while at Kansas State, he was hesitant to continue to recruit O.J. Mayo because the situation had become a "circus," involving, among other peripheral individuals, a Los Angeles-based event organizer named Rodney Guillory, who had established ties to a Las Vegas-based sports agency. Mayo signed with USC, which in 2010 acknowledged he received improper benefits and self-imposed sanctions that included a postseason ban and vacating its victories for the 2007-08 season.
In general, Huggins said there is little the NCAA can do to combat the problem, adding, "It's America. People want to make money. If there's a way to make money, people will find a way to make money. That's the way it is."
Of course the men denied any wrongdoing, claiming a poor understanding of the rules led to the violations. That is laughable, especially in Tribble’s case. Remember Seinfeld’s George Costanza’s reaction after getting fired for inappropriate activity in his place of employment?
“Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I gotta plead ignorance on this one. If anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing was frowned upon, then ...”
It only makes sense that the school is appealing the punishment. I guess someone with the NCAA should have spelled it out.
“Welcome to the world of college athletics. By the way, please know that we frown upon the practice of bribing players to attend your school.”
KState announces non-con schedule
Calling it “the hardest decision” he ever made, Doug Gottlieb has left the security of ESPN for a multiyear deal with CBS, the CBS Sports Network and the new CBS Sports Radio Network.
“Frankly, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Gottlieb said Tuesday after CBS Sports announced his arrival.
Gottlieb’s plum assignment will be covering the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and the former Oklahoma State point guard is expected to have a major role in Final Four coverage.
“To be part of the NCAA Tournament is any broadcaster’s dream,” Gottlieb said. “To be part of the Final Four, in basketball that’s what you play for. In broadcasting, that’s what you broadcast for.”
He also will be going home. His radio and TV shows will be based out of the Los Angeles suburb of Orange County, where he grew up and his parents still live.
ESPN Tip-Off Marathon schedule
2012-13 Early Season Events List
Expect some upward movement for Brannen Greene. Has taken time, but like the development of his game and he has positives that say NBA wing.
Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247)
The first 12 players selected to participate in the seventh annual Under Armour Elite 24 event have been announced.
Featuring 24 of the top high school basketball players from across the nation, the Under Armour Elite 24 participants are selected based on their performance during AAU tournaments and national summer camps by ESPN high school basketball experts.
The 2012 Under Armour Elite 24 will be held at the Venice Beach Courts in Los Angeles Aug. 24-25. The game airs live on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET Aug. 25, while the slam dunk contest will air Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Forward and 2011 event alum Julius Randle, ranked No. 2 in the ESPN 100, headlines the list along with first-time participant Andrew Wiggins, ranked No. 1 in the ESPN 60. Randle, of Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) and the Team Texas Titans AAU program, is a top 2012-13 national player of the year candidate. Wiggins, who played at Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.Va.) last season and recently led CIA Bounce to the Nike Peach Jam finals, is a native of Canada.
The NCAA will allow recruits to take official visits — ones paid for by the school — beginning Jan. 1 of their junior years. It's a significant change from the previous rule that didn’t allow recruits to get paid visits until the start of their senior years.
…The rule change will begin making its biggest impact with the 2014 recruiting class.
The advanced calendar for official visits doesn’t, however, come with an increased number of visits a school can have. That number remains at 12 per year (with the cycle beginning every Aug. 1).
That means coaches will need to be cognizant of what underclassmen they choose to bring in early while also making sure they have available visits for the pending class.
Bill Self was there and so was Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, along with almost 200 other college coaches from around the nation. It was a pretty big deal.
The Metro Sports/KC Prep Invitational held at Okun Fieldhouse this weekend was a hot spot for college recruiters as several talented AAU teams from all over the country came to compete.
It’s not the type of venue one would expect for a tournament of this caliber, being in Shawnee and not in the middle of downtown Kansas City. There isn’t a lot of activity in the area surrounding Okun Fieldhouse, which is part of the MidAmerica West Sports Complex, but that is part of its charm.
“Aside from the phone service, it couldn’t be any better,” tournament director Steve Buek said.
…Players such as Tyler Hansbrough, Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose have all played in the past. This year, it was the No. 1 point guard in the class of 2014, Tyus Jones from Apple Valley, Minn.
It’s a way for the local fans to see quality basketball with their own eyes, Tietze said.
“They don’t have to go to some website and look at what some organization says the best players are,” he said. “They can come and look. We have good basketball fans in this town. They can make their own evaluations.”
The big-name team this weekend was the eventual under-17 tournament champions KC Run GMC (formerly Pump ‘n Run), who had a 78-64 victory against Jones’ Howard Pulley Panthers while everyone was watching.
adidas NATIONS Aug 2 - 6
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar (Updated with 2012-13 dates)
My 2012 KU Alumni games, 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos and more now on Youtube