Kansas is looking for a home-and-home basketball series.
Mark Fox is from Kansas and spent a year observing the Jayhawks program during the 1993-94 season while completing coursework for his master’s degree when Roy Williams was the coach.
“I’d love to play Kansas,” the Georgia coach said. “I’m not sure we can add another road game.”
ESPN’s Andy Katz reported last week that Kansas coach Bill Self was “desperate for a quality home-and-home series, starting in Lawrence next season.”
Fox has played demanding nonconference games to help Georgia’s strength of schedule come tournament time. The problem is Georgia is playing on the road already in the SEC/Big East challenge against a yet to be announced opponent. It will play in the championships rounds in Brooklyn in the Legends Classic in a field that includes Georgetown, Indiana and UCLA and will be at Georgia Tech on Dec. 4. Southern California will play in Athens, but Fox said Georgia needs another home game.
Fox is also waiting on the Southeastern Conference schedule for this coming season.
“Do we need another high-level game?” Fox said. “Are we going to get Kentucky twice? Are we going to get Florida twice? It hasn’t been decided. I’m a little frustrated we haven’t decided that. I guess maybe they’re waiting for us to get together at the league meeting (in Destin, Fla., late this month) to get our two cents.”
Fox is expecting an expanded 18-game conference schedule.
Former KU guard Tyshawn Taylor will headline a Kansas Barnstormers tour event at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Bishop Miege in Roeland Park. Fellow seniors Conner Teahan and Jordan Juenemann will also be a part of a team that will face a group of high school all-stars from the area. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and will be sold only at the door.
…Taylor will sign copies of “Beyond the Phog: Untold Stories from Kansas Basketball’s Most Dominant Decade” from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Kansas Sampler, 9750 Quivira Road.
Thomas Robinson is projected to be a top 5 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft ... which means he's gonna be RICH ... and he's already got an investment strategy -- DIAMONDS.
The former Kansas Jayhawks superstar was outside of Katsuya with a group of buddies ... a group that included Syracuse superstar Scoop Jardine ... who's ALSO expected to be drafted.
Video: Rob Riggle prepares for the ESPY's (HT Winnie)
Big 12/College News
Let's keep this simple in the wake of the Indiana-Kentucky mutual basketball debacle and reports IU-Louisville already is DOA:
IU should set up a long-term home-and-home series with Louisville, ASAP.
Kansas is nice, but the Hoosiers can do better than nice.
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel
James Watson doesn’t know what he will do now that he is no longer a member of the Kansas State basketball team. He hasn’t gotten that far yet.
All the 6-foot-8 forward has done since learning last week that new Wildcats coach Bruce Weber was not keeping him on the roster is angrily wonder about what went wrong.
“I was so shocked,” Watson said in a phone interview. “I didn’t want to hear what they were telling me. I thought April Fool’s was back I was so shocked. I don’t know why the new coach kicked me off the team. I think it’s really messed up. I could have helped the team next year.
“I was really looking forward to it. I was doing workouts, individuals, lifting weights. I was doing pretty good, too. He told me, ‘You’re doing really good and have more experience than some of the other players.’ And when Frank Martin left he told me, ‘You’re one of the most talented players on the team.’ Now I’m cut. I don’t get it. I guess it hasn’t hit me yet.”
Watson’s emotions aren’t surprising. Any time a coach decides to part ways with a player there are bound to be hurt feelings. In this case, Weber needed to make scholarship room for Chicago-area point guard Michael Orris. Weber originally recruited Orris to Illinois and wanted him to play at K-State. With Watson no longer on the team, Orris has a scholarship.
…“To see myself kicked off the team for supposedly having health issues, which I don’t really think is the case — they just wanted to open a scholarship up … I don’t know what to say. Basketball is my life. To see it taken away from me is just messed up.”
Grantland: Steve Kerr on the NBA age-limit
North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams on Tuesday defended his players who were enrolled in classes at the center of an internal university investigation of academic fraud and improprieties.
“The players were eligible to be enrolled in those classes, as were non-student-athletes, and they did the work that was assigned to them,” Williams said through an athletic department spokesman.
UNC on Friday released the results of an investigation that found widespread academic fraud in 54 classes offered by UNC’s Department of African and Afro-American Studies. The investigation found evidence of unauthorized grade changes, no-show professors and an absence of instruction in dozens of classes.
According to figures the university released on Monday, football and men’s basketball players accounted for nearly 40 percent of students enrolled in the scrutinized courses. There were 686 enrollments in those 54 classes and, of those, football players accounted for 246 enrollments while basketball players accounted for 23 enrollments.
UNC’s investigation found no evidence that the problem courses were part of a scheme to keep athletes eligible. The investigation also concluded that athletes did not receive preferential treatment.
The APR stipulation that makes basketball players who turn pro finish their second semesters in good academic standing vexes Boeheim. The SU basketball team, like most monied Division I athletic programs, enforces a strict academic regimen for its players that includes mandatory study tables, tutors, mentors and team managers who check that players attend class.
Those measures work for the first semester, because players want to remain eligible to play in the second semester. But when the season ends, players with pro aspirations sometimes stop attending classes and/or fail to complete their school work. Those players can cost their programs two valuable APR points.
In 2008-09, SU recorded its lowest APR of 865, a score that will stay with the Orange for four years. That season, Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris left SU to play professional basketball, and Sean Williams transferred. The Orange lost seven APR points.
“Once they don’t have to do (school work), some of them don’t,” Boeheim said. “And you have no recourse as a coach. None. What am I supposed to do, call somebody and say, ‘You’ve got to come back here and finish?’ They say, ‘Well, my agent wants me to work out here.’ What am I going to do? I have no power. I mean, I’ve talked to them, I’ve threatened them, I’ve begged them, I’ve talked to them about the next group of players. The whole thing.”
The NCAA demands that athletes make progress each year toward their degrees. NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said faculty at each school approves curriculum and degree programs and each program “needs to keep track of the academic progress of their students.”
But most colleges do not require students to declare a major until their sophomore years. That enables freshmen and sometimes sophomores to take classes without any clear academic agenda.
Student privacy laws prohibit Boeheim from speaking specifically about his players, and critics of the APR suggest those privacy restrictions allow programs to steer players into easy courses.
“If you’re going to be a one-and-done player or a two-and-done, you can take eight credits of basket weaving. And I know that’s happening,” Boeheim said. “That’s one of the weaknesses, is that you can’t know. And all of the schools are different. You can take online courses some places, you can take independent studies some places.”
Forward Dorian Finney-Smith, Virginia Tech's highest-rated recruit in recent program history, will seek a transfer after just one season with the school, according to a report by the Hampton Roads Daily Press.
Finney-Smith's mother, Desiree Finney, requested her son's release in a meeting with Tom Gabbard, Virginia Tech associate athletic director in charge of basketball, and coach James Johnson.
Finney-Smith, an ACC all-freshman team member in 2012, averaged 6.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in his freshman season. He started 30 of 33 games, averaging 29.0 minutes per game. ESPNU ranked him No. 18 overall in the class of 2011, and No. 4 at the small forward position.
New Mexico assistant men's basketball coach Ryan Miller has been offered an assistant coaching position under Frank Haith at Missouri, and could be named to the Tigers' staff as early as this week, the Journal has learned.
Miller has coached at UNM for all five seasons since Steve Alford became Lobos head coach in 2007.
Miller could not be reached for comment on Monday, but multiples sources confirmed he was waiting to be interviewed by Missouri athletic director Mike Alden before making a decision about the Big 12 school.
…Miller, brother of the Miami Heat's Mike Miller, was director of basketball operations under current Kentucky coach John Calipari, when the later was head coach at Memphis. Miller was also an assistant at Pepperdine before he came to UNM, and recruited former Lobo star Darington Hobson to New Mexico. He was also the Lobos' leadrecruiter for current UNM players Hugh Greenwood and Demetrius Walker.
To Joel Pett, the longtime editorial cartoonist at The Lexington Herald-Leader, the tempest currently roiling among Kentucky fans over his cartoon lampooning Coach John Calipari’s trophy case, is both expected and slightly depressing.
“You can draw all the cartoons you want about things like the global plight of women and it’s this kind of thing that gets people going,” Pett said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
To the Kentucky faithful, Pett is raining on their championship parade by criticizing Calipari. They would prefer to revel in the school’s first men’s basketball championship in 14 years — two lifetimes in Kentucky basketball years — rather than dwell on Calipari’s questionable ethical past, including the two vacated Final Four appearances by Calipari-coached teams at Massachusetts and Memphis that Pett references in his cartoon.
But despite all the howling, Pett believes many people in Lexington agree with him that money long ago eclipsed college sports’ integrity. He thinks that’s behind Kentucky’s proposal to play Indiana on neutral courts and no longer on campus, which Indiana turned down. Pett, an Indiana alum, said he believes playing on a neutral court would sap games of all the atmosphere that made the rivalry great.
“There will be backlash,” Pett said, adding that only one of his voice mails so far has been threatening. “But there are a lot of people who understand the point is that the program is bigger than the university, which we’ve known for a long time.”
Kansas has also offered a scholarship to Austin Nichols, a 6-foot-8 forward from Briarcliff Christian School in Memphis.
Nichols is the 40th-ranked player in the Class of 2013, according to Rivals.com, and currently holds offers from a list that includes Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Memphis.
South Carolina transfer Damontre Harris will choose to attend either KU or Florida this week, his mom tells Rivals.com.
The 6-9, 225-pound junior-to-be power forward from Fayetteville, N.C., “will sit down with his coach by the end of this week and try to make a decision by then,” Sheronda Harris told jayhawkslant.com.
Damontre averaged 6.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game his soph season for the Gamecocks. He will have to sit out a season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
“He is done taking visits and will decide between Kansas and Florida. I know Damontre enjoyed himself at Kansas (last weekend) and he really liked the visit, as he did Florida as well. Damontre really likes both schools, so it’s going to be a big decision, but it’s a decision he will make,” she added.
Harris will have to sit out the 2012-13 season. But if he chooses Kansas, he'll enter a frontcourt that will lose seniors Jeff Withey and Kevin Young off next year's team.
It was previously thought that Harris may consider returning to South Carolina, where former K-State coach Frank Martin took over in late March. But now, it appears that Harris' likely landing spot will be Florida or Kansas.
Emphatic dunks, feathery 3-point shots, impressive moves around the hoop -- Jermaine Lawrence showed his entire arsenal Saturday afternoon.
Flanked by some of the East Coast's top juniors and sophomores, the ever-improving 6-foot-10 former Cardozo swingman continued his steady climb. Lawrence poured in 27 points to take home MVP honors in the second annual Mary Kline Classic underclassmen all-star game, a showcase to raise money for cancer research, at Pennington HS in New Jersey.
The performance was just the latest impressive display by the Jamaica, Queens native in what has become a breakout spring. He dazzled in back-to-back weekends in Hoop Group Jam Fest showcases in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with the New Rens, his AAU team, showed limitless range and an explosive finishing ability in the lane.
Following last weekend, he landed scholarship offers from Baylor, Kansas, UNLV, Temple and Florida to go along with existing ones from Syracuse, St. John's, Maryland, Louisville, Villanova, Rutgers and Cincinnati, among others.
"I just wanted to play my 'A' game, not force anything and let my game come to me, keep improving," he said. "I really expected it to happen, especially how good I've been playing."
…Alexes Hargrove, a friend of the family helping in Lawrence's recruitment, said he will cut his list to five at some point in August. Lawrence said he has no favorites, but Cincinnati assistant Darren Savino has made a major push.
"Darren has been at every game, almost everywhere Jermaine has been," Hargrove said. "Either him or [head coach] Mick Cronin show up to support Jermaine."
After watching Lawrence in Philadelphia, UNLV told Hargrove they plan to be around a lot in the coming months. Rutgers has been involved with Lawrence since he came of age at Cardozo, with Van Macon consistently checking in, Hargrove said. St. John's was one of the first major Division I programs to offer Lawrence and they remain a factor as well.
Lawrence said location won't play a role in his commitment. He is looking for a team which plays an up-tempo style, can offer his immediate minutes and he feels comfortable at.
For now, Lawrence just wants to continue his recent tear. He'll have plenty of opportunities as he will compete in the Kevin Durant and LeBron James skills academies, the NBA Top 100 Camp and the Pangos All-American Camp.
One of the hottest names from the previous two weekends in the April open evaluation period in the Class of 2013 in NYC native Jermaine Lawrence, who is currently attending Pope John XXIII in Sparta (NJ). The 6-foot-9 PF has put a strong of impressive performances together with the New Rens AAU team and his recruitment has quickly taken off.
“Cincinnati, Rutgers, St. John’s, UCLA [and] Florida are all looking at me, Miami as well,” said Lawrence.
A couple Big East programs are among the new schools quickly entering the mix following his April performances.
“UConn and Villanova as well as Temple have all started with me recently.
Lawrence has no current favorites, but is looking into taking a couple visits in the near future.
“I have no favorites right now but I’m working on making a visit to Rutgers right now as well as Cincinnati,” he said.
Lawrence kept rolling on Saturday night, scoring a game-high 27 points in the underclassman contest of the Mary Kline Classic, earning one of the two MVP honors.
The N.C.A.A. sent two members of its enforcement staff to Massachusetts this week to inquire about Nerlens Noel, who is the country’s top basketball recruit and has committed to play at Kentucky.
Cindi Merrill and Frank Smith, assistant directors of enforcement with the N.C.A.A., went to Everett High School on Tuesday to meet with school officials about the 6-foot-10 Noel, who spent his freshman and sophomore years there. Merrill and Smith specialize in basketball-related issues.
The Everett High School principal, Louis Baldi, said the meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and centered on “concerns we had as adults” for Noel. He said the conversation was similar to one he had with a reporter in February about Noel’s background and the people surrounding him.
“I didn’t get any sense,” Baldi said when asked about the conversation’s tone. “It was a conversation, very collegial. That was really it. They didn’t ask me any investigative-type questions.”
Baldi said the N.C.A.A. officials asked him not to reveal the specifics of the conversation, which is common practice.
The enforcement officials also called Leo Papile, Noel’s former coach with the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, but were unable to connect with him.
A person who has been briefed on the N.C.A.A.’s inquiry said the topics officials were planning on inquiring about included Noel’s relationship with Chris Driscoll, a former Providence assistant who is close to Noel. Driscoll was barred this year from campus at the Tilton School, the New Hampshire boarding school where Noel has spent the past two years and is completing his final year of high school.
…N.C.A.A. officials also planned to inquire about Noel’s finances, according to the person briefed on the inquiry. He flew on unofficial visits this year to Kentucky and Louisville that were not paid for by the universities.
Just heard from a college asst. talking abt offensive comments recruits (now EX-recruits) make on Twitter: "They just don't get it."
In an age of social media and instant information, where words between college coaches and prospective student-athletes are twisted and misinterpreted on seemingly a daily basis, perhaps nothing is more ambiguous in the recruiting world than the extension of a scholarship offer and what that act entails.
A committable offer, in essence, is a formal invitation to a student-athlete to play his sport collegiately at that particular school, with the prospect's room, board and books all being paid for.
The offer can be written and mailed or extended verbally, and when a prospect obtains it, he could theoretically commit to the offering school the same day.
But that is the endgame, and it's the process leading up to it that is most confusing. An offer doesn't necessarily preface a staff jumping in the recruitment of a prospect. Oftentimes, a coach will show interest to a recruit in the form of phone calls, text messages and school visits before offering him a scholarship.
In some instances, a prospect will come away from a positive phone conversation with the impression that he's just been offered a scholarship. University of Memphis coach Josh Pastner said when he is offering a recruit, he makes sure to utilize the operative word: 'scholarship.'
"I think if you call the kid, tell him you have a scholarship offer, that's pretty clear," Pastner said. "If you don't use the word scholarship, it leaves gray area."
Memphis CA: Commitments, offers part of courtship game
Several players with Memphis ties are in line to represent the United States in international competition this summer.
Briarcrest junior standout Austin Nichols -- who has recently picked up scholarship offers from Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Ohio State to add to an already impressive list -- has been invited to Colorado Springs to try out for the USA under-18 junior national team.
…Nichols, Stokes and Goodwin will be hoping to represent the U.S. at the FIBA Americas Under-18 tournament, June 16-20 in San Sebastiao, Brazil.
The under-18 selection committee is headed by Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and includes North Carolina's Roy Williams, Bruce Weber of Kansas State, Washington's Lorenzo Romar and ESPN analyst Jay Williams.
Chinonso Obokoh is still a new name to many fans who follow college basketball recruiting. However college coaches are becoming more and more familiar with Obokoh’s name and his game. The 6-foot-10, 217-pound big man plays his high school ball out of Rochester (NY) Bishop Kearney High School and had a successful two-weekend run on the EYBL circuit with Albany (NY) based City Rocks. It was an opportunity that Obokoh cherished to have the chance to perform in front of college coaches.
“It’s always extra nice to play in front of the coaches,” Obokoh told NBE Basketball Report. “I’m excited to play in that atmosphere. I just want them to recognize how hard I play and that I just want to win.”
Obokoh certainly showed college coaches what he is capable of. Over the two weekends of the EYBL during the April open evaluation period he deomstrated improved skill offensively along with a solid defensive presence and is one of the leaders in blocked shots in the EYBL. He enjoys playing in the City Rocks program because it is a definsive minded team that fits right into his own mentality.
Obokoh is looking forward to playing in all the EYBL events as well as the Rumble in the Bronx coming in June. He has quite a varied list of college interest at this time and you can expect the talented big man with a high upside to be thoroughly evaluated this summer by top programs looking for a quality big man in their recruiting for the Class of 2013.
“James Madison, Villanova, West Virginia, Syracuse, Kansas, SMU, Oregon, Boston U, Wake Forest, Miami, Louisville [and] Pitt,” replied Obokoh when asked of the schools actively recruiting him he is currently considering.
Obokoh also mentioned Texas as a school recruiting him heavily and was one of the programs he hopes to make a trip to this summer to get a better look at.
“This summer I plan to visit Syracuse, Texas, Boston U, Pitt, and any others I can make it to,” he said. “Gotta see it to believe it.”
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