Kansas (Ben McLemore, Jeff Withey) and Duke (Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee) join Indiana with two candidates each on the top-30 list. Creighton junior Doug McDermott, a 2012 Naismith Trophy finalist, once again is among the elite players in the race to be named the best player in men’s college basketball.
The top-30 candidates were selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances to this point in the season. In late March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow down the list to four finalists. The Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year will be awarded on April 7, 2013, in Atlanta.
For the ninth consecutive year, fans will have the opportunity to text their votes for the player of their choice and help determine the 2013 Naismith Trophy winner. Voting will open to fans on March 25. Presenting sponsor AT&T is making the voting open to other wireless carriers, enabling even more fans to participate.
“I don’t see what we’ve done as a huge part of the legacy of the school,” Self said. “When I think of KU basketball — and this is the way it should be over time — I think of Dr. (James) Naismith and I think of Phog Allen. There have been six coaches after Dr. Allen, and that’s the legacy of our school.”
Self has often talked about the feeling of coaching at Kansas, of being a caretaker instead of a builder. There can be enjoyment in both roles, Self says, but in his current position, it’s hard to do much building.
The job, as much as anything, is about maintaining. And after another victory on Monday night, Self didn’t have much need for the bigpicture.
“I’ll probably look back when the season’s over and reflect and think about how many good players we’ve had and how many people have sacrificed for us to have an opportunity to win a few games,” Self said. “But it really doesn’t mean much. All I really care about is this team having the best year possible and sending the seniors out in style.”
A middle-aged man in glasses wearing a gold Iowa State shirt yelled insults in the face of Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self after the Jayhawks’ 108-96 overtime win over the Cyclones late Monday night in Hilton Coliseum.
“I don’t think I got rushed. That dude didn’t really come at me. I really think I could have taken him without any problem,” Self joked on Tuesday’s Hawk Talk radio show.
A police officer grabbed the man and escorted him away from KU’s coach.
“It was not a serious deal at all like people made it out to be. Maybe his body language made it look differently,” Self added of a person he heard was “a big booster of the Cyclones.”
“I didn’t feel in the least bit like anything would come of that. It was a fan voicing himself in a way he was a little animated. The words weren’t bad.”
Self did say it was a bit alarming fans were so close to the players after a hotly contested game. Several ISU students pelted the Jayhawk players with debris as they headed to the locker room.
“They could probably make some corrections to make sure they (fans) don’t have access to players after a game like that,” Self said. “I know when we’ve been at Missouri in heated times, there’s security escorting the players out. After the handshake line it probably could be tightened up a bit.”
Des Moines TV station WOI-DT reported Tuesday that Iowa State police confirmed they were investigating two Twitter death threats to Elijah Johnson, who dunked at the end of the game rather than running out the clock.
Screenshots taken by other Twitter users on Monday night showed one person suggesting attacking the KU bus with “30 bullets” and another making racist comments directed at Johnson. Both Twitter accounts had been deactivated by Tuesday evening.
“I guess there were some things said, some threats made. That is sad,” Self told the Journal-World. “That person should be investigated and looked at. You can’t take things like that for granted. The person making those statements ... that situation needs to be looked into.”
…Self was presented a ball in the locker room by his players and KU administration signifying his 500th coaching victory. ... KU’s bus pulled into the Allen Fieldhouse parking lot at 4:50 a.m., Tuesday. “It was tough sledding,” Self said. “The last hour and a half really slowed down because of snow, ice. We made it back safe and sound and slept better the few hours we got because of unbelievable performance by our guys.”
JayhawkSlant.com: Hawk Talk Recap
The Big 12 Conference has released a statement regarding the officiating during the Kansas at Iowa State men's basketball game on Monday, February 25. This will be the only public statement by the Conference on the matter.
The Big 12 Conference acknowledges that officiating errors were made at the end of regulation during last night's Kansas at Iowa State men's basketball game. The plays have been reviewed and appropriate measures will be taken by the Coordinator of Men's Basketball Officials to adjust the number of future assignments for the two officials involved in conjunction with Conference policies.
Big 12 Sports
“I would say, ‘Hey we were fortunate we got a no-call there,’” Self said. “It could have easily been a charge. (But) how many times at the end of games do you have no-calls in those situations?
“We were fortunate. I will not say we weren’t. It could have easily been called and if it was I couldn’t have complained. On the flip side, there are a lot of calls in a game that you could say, ‘Maybe that could go the other way.’ It was a hard game to call. It’s gotten a lot of national attention. I guess the league office felt they had to make some sort of statement.”
On his radio show, Self said league-office statements about officiating could get out of hand.
“If we are going to get in the business of publicly making statements off of every bad call, let’s go back to the opening tip,” Self said, “because there are a lot of times the third foul on a big guy in the first half is the difference between winning and losing or second foul with 15 minutes left if it’s a bad call can be difference between winning and losing. It was a good crew (Mark Whitehead, Tom O’Neill, Bert Smith). I don’t think our bench was ecstatic on the way the game was being called either. I don’t think their bench was. It was a hard game. There were good players making plays.”
The Big 12 designates an observer for every game. Sometimes that person is a former coach; sometimes a former ref. He meets with the officiating crew beforehand, then files a postgame evaluation with the league office. Shaw, who retired from officiating, now coordinates Big 12 basketball officiating and is in on the reviews conducted after each game.
This is a detailed process. The league wants to get calls right.
Yet refs are human. Calls get blown. No matter how many appraisals are shared, how many mechanics are corrected, how many grades are issued, mistakes are still made.
…Some desperately want to make a case that KU gets preferential treatment from Big 12 basketball refs.
Hogwash. The Jayhawks have happened to be pretty darn good for a pretty long time, because of talent and coaching.
A long time in this business enabled me to become acquainted with many referees. Some were better than others, but each recognized that the job, though thankless, is about getting calls right, no matter who it affected, or how the outcome was determined.
“It was an entertaining basketball game, I’ll say that in a season you see 30-29 games, 50-45,” Hoiberg said. “If nothing else, we gave our fans their money’s worth. We try to play a very exciting style of basketball. We try to get it out and we have five playmakers on the floor at one time. We’ve created a buzz because of our style of play and we’re going to continue to play that way. We just have to find a way to get some stops. And when we do that, I think we have a long season ahead of us.”
By long season, Hoiberg meant one that includes NCAA Tournament success. If the Cyclones get into the field, the tournament benefits.
No coach in America likes his team to be “nice.”
They may not admit it, but there’s no way a successful college basketball coach thinks to himself, “Gee, I wish we could have a nicer group of guys.”
This Kansas team, for the most part, is naturally a group of nice guys. It just so happens that they appear to be a kind team. That’s not to say there aren’t outliers, but in general, the Jayhawks are a nice group.
A group that hasn’t been playing nice lately.
Behind the heightened focus and energy Kansas has found in its last three games is a level of meanness that has turned the smooth edges of this team into a rigid bunch.
The Jayhawks developed into a mean team.
On Monday evening against Iowa State, after a career-best 37 points and the game sealed, Johnson wasn’t finished. Not yet.
With 2.5 seconds left, Johnson capped off a wide-open, meaningless one-handed dunk. He followed it by chest bumping his teammate, Travis Releford, while, you know, there was still 2.5 seconds on the clock.
No, it’s not the classiest move, but after Johnson’s sluggish senior stretch, the man should be allowed to celebrate. To punctuate. He took the pen and wrote the last note of his symphony.
Good for Johnson to apologize like he did. And good for Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, who had every right to be upset.
Somehow and someway, Bill Self had his Patches O’Houlihan moment, the coach from Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, that pleaded for his team to get mean and angry. While I highly doubt Self resorted to O’Houlihan’s slightly unethical methods, I don’t doubt he found a way to get the message across to his team.
O’Houlihan threw wrenches at his players. Self had practice, and a choice for his team to make.
It was either falter or fight. Sink or succeed. Wimper or win.
In all instances, the Jayhawks have picked the latter.
…You don’t win nine consecutive Big 12 titles without being a bully.
I’m getting older every day and don’t pretend to know how things are comprehended by young people these days. But from the stuff I’ve seen on Facebook and especially on Twitter, it seems a lot of young Kansas fans are OK with the exclamation point Johnson’s dunk gave the evening and the win.
I’m not and here’s why. It’s an old-fashioned thing called sportsmanship, which was taught back in the dark ages before everybody became so rude.
We used to teach our kids not to rub an opponent’s nose in their defeat. To win with class and to lose with dignity, with the understand that there would be other days to fight.
Johnson had an unbelievable game against Iowa State. He saved the Jayhawks from what would have been a devastating defeat with his 39 points, including 12 in overtime. He made one clutch shot after another. And shortly after the game, Johnson apologized for the dunk. It was a concession made almost certainly at the behest of KU coach Bill Self, who was put into the uncomfortable position of apologize to Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg for his player’s zealousness.
Johnson is 22 years old. It’s crazy to get too worked up about his ill-advised dunk. He knew better; he got caught up in a moment.
But it’s also a chance for us to remind ourselves why being a sportsman is important. It’s the essence of sports, really, and as big a reason as any why every kid everywhere should be subjected to athletics. There’s a bigger picture in sports than winners and losers. There are lessons to be learned in how to deal with winning and losing.
Wichita Eagle Lutz
KU Fan Take: The butterfly effect
After a put back slam in the first half on Saturday against TCU, senior forward Kevin Young did something that he will probably never do again while at Kansas.
He flashed one of his infectious smiles to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd and pointed his finger at someone specific in the stands and then touched his signature Afro.
“Just did it, but probably something I won’t do again though,” Young said on Saturday. “One time thing.”
He pointed to his Afro for one person only: his brother.
When standing in the autograph line after a game, Donovan Young is usually pacing around waiting to talk to his brother.
Fans often ask for Donovan’s autograph and pictures because of the striking resemblance to Kevin.
…For Kevin Young, having his younger brother and mother, Alicia Morales, in Lawrence during his final semester playing college basketball means the world to him.
“It gets a lot of stress of my hands and I don’t have to worry about them too much,” Young said. “I get to see them and I’m really close to my mother and my brother.”
…In his first visit, Townsend picked up Young from the airport and immediately took him to the open gyms that Kansas has during the offseason.Townsend had spotted Young through a few coaching friends at Loyola Marymount. After seeing him play against Gonzaga, Townsend knew Young could be a glue guy for the Jayhawks.
“He’s really athletic. A kind of a high energy guy,” Townsend said. “He was a little thin so I didn’t know if he would be able to convert into a four here. I didn’t think he would start, but we thought he could be a guy that come off the bench.”
That energy started early when Townsend dropped him off at the open gym the first time he saw the Fieldhouse.
“I just ran,” Young said. “I didn’t try to do anything special. It was fun and right there I knew I could fit in. After that there was no problem fitting in.”
He signed shortly after that and one of the first things Young had to do was learn the offense. But he did not learn it from the coaches. It was from former players Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor.
“I think that’s pretty unique,” Young said. “You really don’t see leaders like that. It just shows how much they love the game and how much they dedicated to this team. I know everyone thinks about how much they scored or how many big plays they made, but this is before we stepped on the court in our jerseys. They’re sitting here running the plays and stuff.”
Young has now become a leader with fellow senior Jeff Withey, who have turned into a steady crew in the front court. In their spare time the two also like to challenge freshman Perry Ellis and other teammates in some Call of Duty.
“All I know is I need to be on the same team as Perry,” Young said.
…“It means a lot to him,” Morales said. “This is what he’s been yearning for. This is what he loves. He loves the stage here. He loves the teammates. This is what he always wanted.”
Moments with your brother are special.
A picture in the tunnel after the game with their mother, a few signed autographs or his face gleaming on the Smile Cam during a timeout. This is what the Kansas fans will remember about Kevin Young.
The memories for brothers are the small ones. Like a salute during a game with a tap of the fro.
“It meant a lot to me to let him know he is always on my mind,” Young said. “One day hopefully if he continues to do well in school he can be in my shoes right now.”
Overshadowed during the Heat’s recent run of brilliance has been the steady play of point guard Mario Chalmers.
The fifth-year guard entered Tuesday’s game against the Kings shooting 57.6 percent (19 of 33) in his past four games. From three-point range, he was shooting 50 percent (8 of 16) over that stretch. Chalmers had six points and four assists in 32 minutes in the Heat’s 141-129 double-overtime victory against Sacramento.
…One possible explanation for Chalmers’ play since the All-Star Game might be his visit to Lawrence, Kan., over the break. KU honored Chalmers by retiring his jersey during halftime of a home game.
Tyshawn Taylor may have made it to the NBA with Brooklyn Nets, but that doesn't mean he has forgotten where he grew up.
The 22-year-old Nets backup point guard and Hoboken resident, who was born and raised in the Hoboken Housing Authority, has become a role model for the next generation.
Taylor was honored at the 14th annual Richard Hicks Black Youth Empowerment Luncheon at the Boys and Girls Club Saturday for his community work with the children in the Mile Square City.
Taylor, who played point guard for St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, was awarded with the Black Youth Empowerment Special Leadership Award for his work with children.
The event was attended Mayor Dawn Zimmer, HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia and Assemblyman Ruben Ramos -- who announced last week he is running for mayor in November.
The annual event hosted by the Hoboken Housing Authority is held each year in memory of the late Richard Hicks. It recognizes community leaders who encourage black youth to achieve their lofty dreams in life and give something back to the community.
Taylor's stellar play at St. Anthony High led to a scholarship to the University of Kansas, where he was the the Big 12 Conference's fifth highest scorer as a senior with 16.6 points per game and 4.8 assists per game. But he always considered Hoboken to be his home.
“When I got drafted to Brooklyn, after being in Kansas for four years, I didn’t think about living in New York or Brooklyn, Taylor said at the event. “I thought, I’m going to come home.”
You have played your whole pro career with CSKA. It doesn't happen much these days, but is it your desire to stay there until you retire?
"Hopefully. If everything goes well, as long as I can, I definitely want to be here. I am very comfortable with everyone and this is a good situation. I really hope it can happen and that I can stay here for many years!"
What will it take to catch Efes or Madrid to get homecourt advantage in the playoffs?
"I don't think we have to be worried about this right now. We have to worry about getting to the playoffs and winning the rest of the games. We are where we are. We put ourselves in the situation in which we lost three games. We need to win the rest of our home games, get a couple of road wins and be in a good situation for the playoffs."
Of course, winning the Euroleague title is the only goal this season, especially after what happened in last year's final. How much extra motivation does it give you to get another shot at the title this season?
"Definitely a lot. Since I got here, we came pretty close two times to winning the Euroleague final. First it was in Berlin with Coach Messina, when we had a shot to win the game and Siskauskas missed the three-point shot against Panathinaikos. Last year, we were almost there and it slipped away from us at the end of the game. It is an extra motivation: we have to do everything possible to win another title and hopefully it will happen, eventually."
Euroleague.net interview with Sasha Kaun
Expect to see adidas roll out its new short-sleeve basketball jerseys around a handful of its teams during the men's NCAA tournament. adidas VP/Global Basketball Lawrence Norman confirmed that some teams during March Madness will be wearing short-sleeve jerseys similar to those worn recently by the Warriors, but would not specify which schools. "We are still working on teams, but it will be a very innovative story," Norman said. No. 10-ranked Louisville has been told that it will be one of eight men’s basketball teams to wear specially designed jerseys during the postseason and that an announcement is tentatively planned for later this week. Louisville Associate AD Kenny Klein said the school has not been given specifics on the jerseys yet.
Officials at Michigan and N.C. State, two other adidas schools in position to make the NCAA tournament, said they will not wear short-sleeve jerseys, while Indiana said it has not heard from adidas on any special jerseys. Three women's basketball teams are also expected to sport special adidas uniforms during the postseason.
Sports Business Daily
Kansas senior Angel Goodrich had her name added to yet another watch list Tuesday, as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) board of directors selected 20 outstanding players, including Goodrich, for its 2013 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Midseason Watch List.
Goodrich, who ranks first in the Big 12 Conference in steals per game (3.0) and third in assists per contest (6.7), is also a finalist for the Lieberman Award, Naismith Award, Wade Trophy and Wooden Award. Goodrich is second on the Kansas' squad in scoring with 14.3 points per game. Over her last three contests, Goodrich is averaging 23.7 points per game.
The award will be presented to the women's national player of the year by its namesake at the USBWA women's awards press conference on April 7 in the interview room of the New Orleans Arena, 3:30 p.m. CT prior to the start of the NCAA Women's Final Four semifinals, which is a change from the morning breakfast in past seasons.
KUAD: WBB vs ISU pregame notes
Count KU women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson among those who hope what KU senior Elijah Johnson did to Iowa State during Monday night’s 108-96 overtime victory will have a lingering effect on Hilton Coliseum.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, just two days after Johnson torched Iowa State for 39 points to keep the KU men atop the Big 12 standings, Henrickson’s club will step into the same venue looking for a much-needed victory of its own.
VOTE for Wooden Award nominees McLemore & Withey
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VOTE for Kansas players, team, and moment in NCAA 75th Anniversary of March Madness (Vote for Wilt, Clyde, Danny, 51-52 Kansas, Mario's Miracle)
Kansas 2012-13 MBB Schedule
Kansas 2012-13 WBB Schedule
Big 12/College News
Yeah, yeah, we know, we know. Not his players. Inherited a diamond mine. All reap, no sow.
There's Bruce Weber, clinging to the lead on the final lap of the 500 in someone else's car. Again.
Somebody pushed the right buttons against No. 8 Florida at Sprint Center. Somebody figured out a way to outfox Lon Kruger twice. (Hint: It wasn't Bill Self.)
Somebody had to get a stranger's kids to buy in, sight unseen, and join hands in that circle of trust.
"Coach does a great job of just keeping us composed," Kansas State guard Rodney McGruder says of Weber, "and just going out there and playing for one another."
For years, K-State basketball was almost as much about the sound and fury on the sidelines and in the locker room as it was on the court. The Wildcats under Weber are a quieter storm now, but no less destructive: After clubbing Texas Tech at home Monday night, 75-55, K-State rolls into March tied atop of the standings with rival Kansas, each at 12-3 in league play, each with three tilts left.
And as Big 12 Coach of the Year candidates go, you could do a heck of a lot worse than Weber, 23-5 in his first season at Manhattan.
Actually, to be honest, you could hardly do better.
Unconvinced? Look at the standings. Look close. The Jayhawks? Supposed to be there. The Cowboys, a game-and-a-half back of the leaders? Supposed to be there.
The Wildcats? What are you doing here?
Fox Sports KC
West Virginia University’s athletic department and the Big 12 Conference have agreed to attempt to make some travel changes to accommodate the problems the Mountaineers faced during their first season in the league.
Athletic Director Oliver Luck says the league offered no guarantees because “scheduling is always a challenge” but the league has agreed to attempt to make life on the road easier in a number of areas when it can.
WVU geographically is out of place in the Big 12, with every trip not only being of 1,700 miles round trip or more but fighting a time zone change which costs them an hour returning to Morgantown.
Football did not present as much of a problem as basketball, with weekly trips and mostly weekend games, but, according to Luck, the league was agreeable to trying to arrange it so the Mountaineers do not have to travel on back-to-back weeks for conference games during the season.
This past season WVU had to travel to Texas and Texas Tech, which is the longest trip in the conference for WVU, on consecutive weeks. While the Mountaineers survived in Texas they put on a lackluster performance in losing to the Red Raiders, 49-14, that set them off on a five-game losing streak.
Basketball scheduling is far more complex than football and Luck worked out three things with the conference.
The first was to attempt to play a pair of conference road games prior to the start of the academic semester.
Journeys as long as those in the Big 12 and with some arrivals back in Morgantown being in the neighborhood of 4 in the morning are best served if there are no academic responsibilities the next day, allowing players to get back onto a regular schedule.
The second request from WVU is an important one in this same area.
“We have asked that when reasonable they give us a two-game stay over on the road,” Luck revealed.
Twice this past season WVU was scheduled to go out on the road, play a Saturday game, fly home on Sunday, practice Monday and fly out again on Tuesday for a Wednesday game.
League rules do not allow them to stay on the road during that time, so they use up most of two days traveling.
Rather than doing that, they would prefer to play a Saturday-Big Monday on the road with a Sunday stay over, which would cut back on taking the long trip to and from Morgantown.
Easy Baylor Solver. Even-numbered year: Elite Eight. Odd: No dancing.
Here’s something I never thought I’d say: If you watched Minnesota upset No. 1 Indiana last night, you witnessed a scene straight out of the 1992 film, The Mighty Ducks.
With the No. 1 Hoosiers trailing by five with under 30 seconds left, Will Sheehey fouled Gophers guard Andre Hollins, then reached for his eye and collapsed on the court as if he had been knocked out in a prize fight. According to ESPN’s Dan Dakich, Indiana head coach Tom Crean screamed for the referees to go to the monitor to check for an offensive foul. They did, only for the video to reveal Sheehey had blatantly flopped:
…While there’s no proof that Sheehey was instructed to flop by Crean, there is video of Crean on the sideline in the timeout before the play clearly talking to the team about high elbows.
And if you look at the video of the foul further, it’s clear that Sheehey positions his face right next to Collins’ arm to try and sell the eye injury.
Point blank: I don’t believe for a second Sheehey did this without Crean’s instruction. It was way too deliberate and premeditated for a college basketball player to do on his own.
Crean is already on his way to becoming a college basketball coaching villain as a very sore loser. Whether he’s throwing temper tantrums on the sideline like a toddler or blowing by opposing coaches after a loss, he’s definitely caught the eye of college hoops fans.
On Tuesday night, Crean crossed over to trying to con officials a la Gordon Bombay. Where’s the respect for opponents and the game as a whole? Where’s the integrity he is supposed to be instilling in college kids?
Court-storming Minnesota fans weren't the only ones excited about the Gophers' upset victory over top-ranked Indiana on Tuesday night. Watching No. 1 go down also elicited plenty of cheers some 1,400 miles to the West.
Gonzaga students watching the game from a cafeteria on campus erupted after Minnesota finished off its 77-73 victory because it gives the second-ranked Zags a chance to take over the No. 1 ranking next week. If Gonzaga can win at BYU on Thursday night and at home against Portland on Saturday, the Zags will be in line to inherit the top spot in both polls for the first time in program history.
The above video, shot by Gonzaga student Mike Fangman, shows the excitement the Zags are generating on campus these days. Gonzaga defeated Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor in non-league play and has rolled up an undefeated WCC record so far by mowing down league opponents by an average of more than 18 points per game.
A No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament would be more significant than the No. 1 ranking in the polls, but Gonzaga coach Mark Few admitted seeing his team's name atop the AP Top 25 would be a milestone.
"It would be something we haven't accomplished yet in this program," Few said Tuesday night on SportsCenter.
Former University of Tennessee men’s basketball strength and conditioning coach Troy Wills was arrested this week on burglary and vandalism charges after police say he used a saw to break into a locked office at Thompson-Boling Arena early Saturday morning.
Wills, who spent eight seasons working with the basketball program before being let go last offseason by head coach Cuonzo Martin, was observed on surveillance video by officers investigating the break-in at the campus arena, according to an arrest warrant acquired Tuesday by the News Sentinel.
The warrant said Wills, using a saw, broke into the office of Bill Whitesell, a UT event management director, then “ransacked” the room, causing $750 in damages to university property, and took $4,150 in cash from Whitesell’s desk. The incident was reported to police Saturday afternoon.
Police say video shows Wills walking down a Thompson-Boling Arena hallway “with what appears to be a saw in his hand” and “attempting to hide (the saw) underneath his coat” at 3:53 a.m. Saturday. The affidavit said he was next seen on camera leaving at 4:31 a.m.
Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
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Game night tonight at North against Campus! #StateBound
After Saturday’s sellout, Tift County High has determined that 1,600 tickets will be sold to the gymnasium for tonight’s game. The Performing Arts Center has been set up to hold 750 more and will provide live video and radio coverage.
If Tift is able to advance to the semifinals, the game (or games) will be held Saturday, March 2 at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Tifton Gazette (Brannen Greene)
Jahlil Okafor, a 6-foot-9 junior from Chicago Whitney Young and the top-ranked recruit in the nation according to several recruiting sites, told Chicago Hoops he plans on visiting Michigan State some time after the season ends and said Izzo is often in contact with him.
“I think once the season ends there is one visit I plan on taking to Michigan State,” Okafor said. “Coach Izzo’s been on my back about getting down there. I love that guy, so I’m definitely going to get down there once the season ends.”
Okafor added he has spoken most with Izzo and Ohio State coach Thad Matta while Baylor, Kansas and Arizona have been the other schools he has talked with the most recently.
He also said once again it his intention to play with guard Tyus Jones, another top-five national recruit from Apple Valley, Minn. When an announcement might come is still up in the air.
“I was just thinking about that,” Okafor said. “My dad and I were talking about it with Tyus Jones. I’m not sure. I might want to do it before (my senior) season starts and get it over with or take my time and wait till after the season.”
I’m not sure why this TV station didn’t interview either Emmanuel Owootoah or Marlon King, or Cordia (Ky.) coach Rodrick Rhodes, but this is a sad commentary on the state of America in 2013.
For those who missed it, the Canadian players of Caribbean descent were reportedly tagged in Twitter and Facebook photos depicting a noose and a flag burning. The boys’ guardians, Eduardo and Jessica Flores, also said the back door of their home was shot at and that he kids have been attacked “repeatedly.”
Of the “USA” chants directed at the Canadians last Friday, Owootoah told Ben Roberts of Kentucky.com: “They should have better class than that, man. But at the same time, I thought it was funny. I don’t let stuff like that get to my head.”
Numerous people have chimed in on Twitter in response, with @btcoop71 saying, “That is an absolute embarrassment. Those idiots do not represent the state of Kentucky.”
On Wednesday, the same day that Andrew Wiggins will take his official visit to Kentucky, the school will present the 1996 team with championship rings during halftime of the Mississippi State game, as reported by Jerry Tipton on Twitter.
Of course, the irony is that Calipari’s UMass team lost the ’96 national semifinal to a Rick Pitino-coached Wildcats team, meaning if this move ends up helping Kentucky land Wiggins, Calipari will have used one of his own losses (and one of his Final Four forfeitures) to secure the best amateur player in the world.
The 6-foot-8 Wiggins is the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2013 and will visit Kentucky, followed by Kansas (March 4) and North Carolina (March 9). He has already visited Florida State, his other option.
Wiggins told SNY.tv exclusively Friday that he was awaiting a “moment” of clarity before picking his school.
“I haven’t found it yet, so I am just waiting for that moment that will convince me it’s the right place,” he said.
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