One of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders on Kansas University’s basketball bench, Rio Adams is attempting to take that same spirit onto the court during games.
“I’m trying to be the best I can be ... for my teammates, keep that energy going,” said Adams, KU’s 6-foot-3 freshman combo guard from Seattle.
He played two minutes in Monday’s 61-56 victory at West Virginia, three in Saturday’s 67-54 home win over Oklahoma and two minutes the game before that — a 59-55 win over Kansas State on Jan. 22 in Manhattan.
“Giving my all is what I’m trying to do for my team when I’m out there. That’s what I’m doing,” said Adams, who was spotted on camera dancing on the KU bench after Jayhawk threes in both the OU and KSU games.
Adams — he averaged 21.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game his senior season at Class 3A state champion Rainier Beach High (he scored 54 points in a game as a sophomore) — obviously knows his role is not to be a prolific scorer on this year’s KU team. He’s scored 12 points all season off 5-of-17 shooting and 2-of-2 free throwing.
“Right now I’m in position to give coach (Bill Self) what he needs. (Against Oklahoma) I was there specifically to play defense and keep our point spread spread out. We get a lot of wins because of our defense. That’s what we rely on first. Coach didn’t really care about the offense — just don’t turn it over. We are a defensive team for sure, first.”
West Virginia fans, particularly the rowdy student section, have always been known for their loud and passionate cheering inside Mountaineer venues when top-tier programs come to Morgantown.
Until this point in the WVU men’s basketball season, though, only one ranked team found its way into the Coliseum.
However, this all changed Monday night when No. 1 Kansas came to town, and the Mountaineer faithful didn’t disappoint while providing one of the best atmospheres in recent years.
"That’s the loudest I’ve probably ever seen it," said West Virginia sophomore guard Juwan Staten. "I know I came as a recruit one time against Ohio State, and I saw it get pretty loud in here. But it’s just different playing. That’s the loudest I’ve seen it."
A crowd of 12,402 – the largest of the season – striped the arena with blue and gold and helped energize the Mountaineers on both ends of the floor.
Despite the fact there were more than 1,500 empty seats, the visiting Jayhawks were very impressed by the raucous commotion caused by the ones surrounding the court.
"I thought it was good. The students were great," said Kansas head coach Bill Self. "I don’t know if they get crowds like this every game, but it’s a good home court without question."
Self and his Jayhawks are quite the credible source, considering their home games are housed inside arguably college basketball’s most storied arena – Allen Fieldhouse.
"Pay heed all who enter beware of the Phog" is displayed above the tunnel where the visiting team enters the court. And visitors should approach with caution, since Allen Fieldhouse has had 191 consecutive sellouts of 16,300 screaming Kansas fans painted blue and red.
There was something in particular Self liked about the layout of the Coliseum, something that is different from the layout at Allen Fieldhouse.
"It’s neat how they get all the students down there low on one side. It’s kind of like Cameron (Indoor Stadium), at least from looking at it on TV," he said. "I thought the atmosphere was very good."
Even though West Virginia’s upset attempt fell short, it could be argued Mountaineer Nation had an impact on the game. The Jayhawks turned the ball over 16 times and missed 16 free throws.
The crowd stayed in the game despite the fact the home team fell down by as many as 15 points early in the first half.
"I enjoyed it. I’m sure everyone else on the team did. I like how the crowd is low and we get to see them and hear them," said Kansas guard Travis Releford. "It’s fun when we go to opponents’ places and get the crowd into it then take over the game."
Kansas exists in a vacuum. The Jayhawks’ most important media market is Kansas City, and none of the television, radio or newspaper guys there gives three hoots whether KU plays Wichita State. So Self and the KU administration is free to go about their business without concern about what’s going on in Wichita.
Before we get any deeper into the blog, I wanted to print Self’s reaction to Katz’s question. So here it is:
“Kansas hasn’t played Wichita State for years, way before I was the coach at Kansas. … Iowa plays Northern Iowa because the state legislature says you have to. If someone were to come and say something that it’s law, then we would have to. But you schedule to benefit your own school, not to benefit others. You have to benefit your own school. I want to play games that benefit us, and, from a financial standpoint, it’s hard to play games away from Allen Fieldhouse since that’s our main source of budget every year.”
I like Self. He’s one of the best guys in coaching. You ask him a question and he’ll give you an answer. And above everything else, I’m not sure there’s a better basketball coach in the world.
But on this issue, we strongly disagree. And he’s wrong about Iowa, whose legislature has never forced Northern Iowa, Drake, Iowa and Iowa State to play one another. They just do because it’s good for the state.
I do not understand how Self could say that playing Wichita State would not be beneficial to KU. Both are basketball schools and have been for decades. Nobody at WSU pretends that the Shockers have nearly the tradition of Kansas, but right now Wichita State is in a pretty good position to compete with the Jayhawks. A battle of wits between Self and WSU coach Gregg Marshall would be worth buying a ticket.
Historically, the Shockers haven’t always been capable of holding their own with KU. In fact, in the last five games between the two, played from 1989-93, the Jayhawks won all of them by an average margin of 32 points.
The teams have met 14 times, with KU holding a 12-2 edge. WSU won a 1989 game at Levitt Arena, 54-49, and beat the Jayhawks in a Sweet 16 game of the 1981 NCAA Tournament in New Orleans, 66-65.
It’s been nearly 20 years now since the two met and that’s ridiculous. Any reason given by Self of those associated with KU sounds ridiculous. (The same holds true for Kansas State, by the way, in case you think I’m giving the Wildcats a pass.)
I have long proposed a three-game series between Wichita State and Kansas that would look like this: One game at Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena, one game at Allen Fieldhouse and one game at the Sprint Center in Kansas City).
KU would have a strong fan base at all three venues. And it’s impossible for me to believe that the series wouldn’t make great financial sense for both schools.
Wichita Eagle Bob Lutz
Darrell Arthur scored a season-high 20 points off the bench as the Memphis Grizzlies added to the Los Angeles Lakers' January woes with a 106-93 victory at FedExForum.
Arthur added nine rebounds to help the Grizzlies dominate the glass en route to dealing the reeling Lakers a fourth straight loss and its first seven-game road skid since the 2004-05 season.
KUAD: WBB vs ISU pregame notes
Rebounding, or a lack thereof, has been one of the big weaknesses for the Kansas University women’s basketball team during a stretch in which the Jayhawks have lost four of five Big 12 Conference games after opening the season 2-0 in league play.
As the Jayhawks (12-6 overall, 3-4 Big 12) prepare to welcome No. 23 Iowa State to town for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Wednesday, they do so with the knowledge that the Cyclones (14-4, 5-3) give up the fewest offensive rebounds per game in the Big 12, get the fourth most offensive rebounds per game and feature the top rebounder in the history of the conference in senior forward Chelsea Poppens, who, this season, ranks eighth in the Big 12 with an average of 8.4 rebounds per game.
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Enough factoring in the projected return of players from injury (outta here, Duke) or suspension (buh-bye, Syracuse). From this point, teams will be judged solely on the here and now. Which leaves …
Kansas. The Jayhawks’ lone loss was their opener — in the A-T-L. It’s only fitting that they play the season closer here. Given their sticky defense, to paraphrase the President, it’s “Yes, You Kan-Sas.”
Michigan. The Wolverines have a point guard to die for (Trey Burke) and, by most metrics, the nation’s most efficient offense. Props for a 14-point road win at Illinois, no easy feat in the Big (Bad) Ten.
Florida. No more ignoring the Gators, whose average margin in their past eight wins is nearly 25 points. Did they really win by 35 on the road Saturday in the semi-bad SEC, Marv Albert? Yessss.
Indiana. What other team flaunts two first-team All-American candidates? Indiana’s one-two punch is Cody Zeller (see Profilin’) and Victor Olapido. Speaking of pairs in the spotlight: Hey, coach Tom Crean, which of your Harbaugh brothers-in-law will you root for Sunday?
In dismissing a motion by the NCAA to prevent football and men's basketball players from legally pursuing a cut of live broadcast revenues, a federal court judge Tuesday raised the stakes for the governing body of college sports as it defends its economic model.
Judge Claudia Wilken issued her ruling Tuesday, rejecting the NCAA's motion that players in the antitrust suit led by former UCLA star Ed O'Bannon should be precluded from advancing their lawsuit on procedural grounds.
"Now the (NCAA and its co-defendants) are facing potential liability that's based on the billions of dollars in revenue instead of tens or hundreds of millions," said Michael Hausfeld, interim lead counsel for the plaintiffs. "It's a more accurate context for what the players deserve."
In 1985-86, the year before the three-point shot was implemented, teams made 48 percent of their field-goal attempts; now they’re hitting 43.3 percent, the worst mark since 1964-65, according to NCAA.org. Three-point accuracy is at an all-time low (33.9 percent), according to STATS LLC.
Theories abound for teams’ shooting struggles, everything from larger, more physical players to looser officiating to computer-enhanced scouting.
“Guys are bigger, stronger, faster,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “The 6-7 guys were centers; now they’re small forwards. The 6-4 guys were small forwards; now they’re guards. Athletically, we’ve changed so much, but the size of the court hasn’t changed.”
Texas’ Rick Barnes and Kansas’ Bill Self say the game has become rougher on the perimeter, and officials don’t want contests to become foul-fests.
“Scoring has a lot to do with the way the game is officiated,” Barnes said. “If you’re going to allow pushing, grabbing when guys come off cuts, it’ll slow down offenses. Making calls away from the ball is important. You don’t see a play where there isn’t contact somewhere.”
Self said: “It may come back to officiating. We’re allowing more physical play, even on the outside, and there are fewer free throws.”
Others point to advances in scouting.
“I could go to the office and say I want every underneath out-of-bounds play that Northwestern has run in the last 30 games, and my video guy could get me that in 15 minutes,” Illinois coach John Groce said during a recent media teleconference.
So far this season, hundreds of games have seen teams held in the teens for a half before they failed to climb out of the 40s by the finish. The Big 12 has been involved in 34 games with one team in the 40s.
Tony Allen calls Eddie Sutton at least once a month. He has to. Sutton makes him.
But even if he didn't, Allen would gladly dial the number anyway. Just to talk life and basketball with the man he still considers a coach, mentor, friend and father figure.
“Once we get on the phone, we're on there for at least a good solid 25 minutes,” said Allen, now a guard for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. “Like one time, he sent me a picture of him riding a bull. I thought it was funny so I called him right back. Had to make sure he was OK, didn't fall off it or nothing.”
The conversation begins anywhere: women, weather, health or even bull riding. But it always finds its way back to basketball.
That's what brought them together more than 10 years ago, a bond that formed at Oklahoma State after Sutton snatched Allen out of the rough streets of Chicago.
Sutton promised Allen a bright future. He just needed to work hard and keep his nose clean.
They certainly bumped heads (Allen refers to it as Sutton's “tough love”). But the lessons got through, and the pleas from Sutton's late wife Patsy were always received. Go to class and get your degree, you'll be a better man for it.
In the middle of the hand-to-hand combat that is typical of a Wisconsin-Ohio State game, Deshaun Thomas took over.
The junior scored 25 points, including 10 during a game-breaking, 15-point second-half run, to lead the 11th-ranked Buckeyes past the Badgers 58-49 on Tuesday night.
“That’s easily the best player we’ve played because of how he can get his own shots,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “Thomas is good. He was tough on the two-point jump shots — real tough — and around the basket. He can attack. He’s so strong.”
The 6-foot-7 junior, averaging 20 points a game, hit 10 of 17 attempts from the field, including a variety of step-back jumpers, slashes through the lane and shots he muscled over defenders.
With Ohio State (16-4, 6-2 Big Ten) trailing 41-39 with 11:26 left, Thomas took over.
Nerlens Noel took only one shot from the field and missed six of eight free throws.
Yet there was no doubt that the big man with the big hair was the most important player on the court as Kentucky beat No. 16 Mississippi 87-74 on Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-10 freshman set a school record with 12 blocked shots and altered countless others, leading the Wildcats to their fifth victory in seven games.
Leading 72-44, the Miami players slapped the floor after the set up on defense, mocking the Duke tradition that dates back several decades. Hurricanes guard Shane Larkin told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that Warren Sapp, a Miami legend, had told him to do that while he was shooting free throws on the previous possession.
Larkin said the next day that the Hurricanes didn’t mean to be disrespectful. But it was too late for that.
“That was just a slap in the face to the program,” Quinn Cook said after the Maryland win Saturday. “All the tradition that coach has built here, just for them to mock that, it was definitely disrespectful. We definitely took that to heart.”
There wasn’t much Duke could do at the moment because the competitive portion of that game was long over by that point.
“They embarrassed us on the court before they even did that,” Seth Curry said. “We can’t really do anything when we’re down 30.”
Duke will host Miami in Cameron on March 2. Think the Blue Devils will still remember the disrespect from earlier this week?
“Definitely,” Rasheed Sulaimon said.
“They beat the crap out of us,” Cook added. “We will definitely keep that in mind.”
Somewhat quietly, Ohio's D.J. Cooper has been putting together one of the most incredible college basketball careers -- ever.
…So what's this record? With at least 12 games left in his college career (barring injury), Cooper is on pace to become the only player in the history of Division I college basketball to have 2,000 points, 900 assists, 500 rebounds and 300 steals. On the surface, it seems a record that should've been reached at some point in the past 100 years. But no. Stop and think about those numbers, then realize Cooper is listed -- listed -- at 6 feet tall.
Cooper is going to crack 2,000 points some time shortly after Valentine's Day; he's sitting at 1,886 as of this post and averages 14.6 points. He needs 45 more assists (approximately six games) to get to 900 and 14 more thefts (seven games; Cooper swipes 2.1 steals per) to reach the top-25 list in all-time steals. Syracuse's Sherman Douglas and Oregon State's Gary Payton are the only players who have ever posted both 2,000 points and 900 dimes. Payton also has more than 300 steals.
It's the rebounding that separates Cooper. And he's already got 581 of those.
Let the haters hate.
So says Michigan State redshirt sophomore guard Russell Byrd, a highly-recruited prospect from Fort Wayne, Ind., who has yet to live up to the hype that comes with being offered scholarships by such schools as Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State and Kentucky.
In fact, the 6-foot-7 Byrd is struggling just to get on the floor, not seeing any action in the Spartans' 75-70 loss at Indiana on Sunday.
Byrd will likely play when No. 13 Michigan State (17-4, 6-2 Big Ten) plays host to Illinois (15-6, 2-5) at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Breslin Center.
When Byrd gets into the game, they will be the sort of minutes where he's expected to come off the bench, cold, and do what he was recruited to do, shoot the ball.
Many fans will groan, others in the student section will flap their arms and make bird noises — a tribute if Byrd were playing better, perhaps more mocking in nature considering he is not.
And Byrd will endure, looking to make a couple of shots with hopes it will snowball and his sophomore slump will finally be over and he can play like the sharpshooter coach Tom Izzo expected when he won the recruiting war.
"It's hard to sit on the bench for 26 minutes and come in and have to be sharp,'' said Byrd, who after being selected a team captain before the season has averaged just nine minutes a game (4.5 in Big Ten contests).
"But that's what it's all about; when you're in my spot, you've got to make it happen.''
Byrd's spot is a precarious one, so much so that rumors began to swirl that he might be contemplating transferring out of East Lansing.
"No…I'm gonna finish my career here,'' Byrd said. "Too many believe in me here and want me to be successful. I can take the criticism, and I can take the haters.
"What bothers me, why are you hiding behind a computer, man?''
Be it from laptop, I-Pad, or hand-held device, the critics have given Byrd an earful, via Twitter, over his 29.5-percent 3-point shooting and inability to contribute.
"One guy said he wanted to bury me at the bottom of the Red Cedar River,'' Byrd said. "That's laughable, you can't get caught up in stuff like that.''
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Northwest’s game plan Tuesday night was smothering senior Conner Frankamp defensively.
Two Grizzlies trapped Frankamp as soon as he caught the ball in the first half. In the second half, there was some trapping, but mainly Northwest had one player right up on Frankamp, usually with a hand somewhere on Frankamp’s body.
The physical defense frustrated Frankamp. By the midpoint of the third quarter, he was showing that frustration, and doing some talking at Northwest guard Aaron Nicholson.
At that point, Frankamp began to look more for his shot. He scored 19-second half points to finish with 29 as North won 64-29.
…“It felt good to be back out there,” said Frankamp, who made 8 of 16 shots, 6 of 11 three-pointers and 7 of 8 free throws. “Once I started playing, I got the nerves out.”
Midway through the third period, Frankamp finally got free from Northwest’s defense when he got a steal. He immediately dribbled up the court and hit a three-pointer from the top of the key. Later in the period, he also hit three free throws after getting fouled on a three-point attempt, then made two more threes.
Scout.com is out with its list of top high school basketball players in the class of 2013, and Kansas is represented on the list.
Wichita North's Conner Frankamp is ranked 44th on the list released today. Frankamp has the missed the past ten days with a concussion. He has committed to play at the University of Kansas.
Ottawa High School's Semi Ojeleye is ranked as the 26th best player in the country. He will play his college basketball at Duke.
KU coach Self visited Huntington (W.Va.) Prep on Tuesday to check in on Andrew Wiggins, a 6-7 small forward, JayhawkSlant.com reported. Wiggins, who is the No. 1 rated player in the Class of 2013, lists KU, Kentucky, Florida State, North Carolina and others. KU is also pursuing the No. 2 player in the class, Julius Randle, 6-9 power forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas.
Which college basketball program will you be watching the closest in recruiting the rest of the winter heading into the spring signing period?
Dave Telep: Kansas. The Jayhawks have a lot to sell. Thomas Robinson and Ben McLemore were not lottery picks when they arrived in Lawrence. However, they'll both likely have left the program as such, and that's a powerful message and forceful demonstration of how good Bill Self and his staff are at their jobs. Having said that, I'd be willing to bet Self would rather have an immediate-impact recruit than a player he'll cultivate. In short, KU would love to add a superstar -- an established, elite, no-doubt-about-it NBA prospect. KU, which already owns the No. 2 recruiting class, is still involved with two such players in the 2013 class: small forward Andrew Wiggins and power forward Julius Randle. The Jayhawks are a long, long shot for Wiggins. Meanwhile, most people would tell you Texas is the leader for Randle in the Big 12, and that is reasonable. Yet Randle remains KU's biggest "gettable" target, and that bears watching. Of course, Florida, Kentucky, NC State, Oklahoma and Texas have ideas of their own.
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COOPER 59, COLUMBIA HEIGHTS 44: It was just another day at the office for coveted recruit Rashad Vaughn, who scored 28 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to help his Hawks defeat Class 3A, No. 7 Columbia Heights and remain at the top of the North Suburban Conference.
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