After practicing patience during his first season as a Jayhawk, Kansas sophomore Lagerald Vick is determined to carve out a role for himself and his teammates have taken notice.
“He’s been putting in the unrequired work, and it really shows,” said senior Frank Mason. “He will be a huge key to our team, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and competing with him.”
Vick, a sophomore from Memphis, appeared in 19 of the Jayhawks’ 38 games last season, averaging 2.1 points per game on 47 percent shooting beyond the arc. Even so, the first thing Vick sought to improve this offseason was his jump shot, which teammate Devonte’ Graham said was “way better” than last season.
“I feel like a I made a huge step up,” Vick said. “My confidence went up, especially from last year. I took a lot of shots over the summer."
…It doesn’t hurt that Graham and Mason — entering their second and third seasons as starters, respectively — have both taken Vick under their wings.
“Those guys taught me a lot,” Vick said. “From different terminology, to different positions on the floor and what coach (Self) likes and doesn’t like. They tell me to bring energy when there’s no energy.”
Both Mason and Graham say they believed Vick was ready for a bigger role this season. The reason, Graham said, is because Vick knows his role now.
“I love the energy he brings, and I’m proud of Lagerald,” Mason said. “He shows every day in practice how much hard work he put in.”
When we think of consistent basketball styles, certain coaches always come to mind. I wanted to test these impressionistic and possibly scattershot notions, so I decided to look at five years' worth of actual college basketball performance.
Here's what I found: Kansas coach Bill Self has been the most stylistically consistent coach in major conference basketball over that time, with Virginia's Tony Bennett placing a close second. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say these two have been stylistically predictable.
Whichever terminology you prefer, the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach works pretty well for Self and Bennett. Since the 2011-12 season, Kansas and Virginia have won a combined 77 percent of their conference games. In the cases of the Jayhawks and the Cavaliers, stylistic consistency isn't a scouting advantage for opponents as much as it is a hallmark of quality.
For example, this season, it's aberrantly likely that KU will average 68 possessions per 40 minutes in Big 12 play, while the Hoos will devote 30 percent of their shot attempts, give or take, to 3-point tries. Does that kind of advanced knowledge give future opponents an advantage? Not really, particularly not the bit about the Jayhawks' tempo.
Instead, these style constants tell us simply that both Self and Bennett found approaches that worked, stuck with those methods and, not least, felt confident enough across five distinct rosters to stay the course systemically. Clearly, this is one path to success in college basketball.
…Add up all three categories, (pace, 3-point tries, rebound ratio) and Self -- No. 3 in consistency in pace, No. 9 in 3-point tries and No. 14 in rebound ratio -- comes out on top. Congratulations, Coach Self. You, sir, are a credit to steadiness of purpose, as amply demonstrated by that whole historically unbelievable streak thing.
ESPN ($) John Gasaway
As expected, the Washington Wizards have picked up the third-year option on Kelly Oubre Jr.’s rookie contract, according to several league sources.
The option, for the 2017-18 season, is for $2.09 million. Oubre will make slightly more than $2 million this season, his second in the league. The Wizards retain an option for Oubre’s fourth season.
Oubre, 20, has showed progress throughout the preseason under new Coach Scott Brooks. Oubre played in all seven exhibition games and was second on the team in scoring (13.1 points per game on 49.2 percent shooting). In Friday night’s 119-82 win over the Toronto Raptors, he made 4 of 8 shots for 13 points, along with five rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Former Kansas forward Perry Ellis was waived by the Charlotte Hornets and guard Wayne Selden by the Memphis Grizzlies, the NBA teams announced Saturday.
…Former KU center Jeff Withey, who entered Utah Jazz training camp with a non-guaranteed contract, appears to have made the team. The Jazz cut forward Chris Johnson on Saturday, paring the roster to the maximum number of 15 players.
…Former KU guard Brannen Greene, an undrafted free agent, will enter the NBA Developmental League draft on Oct. 30 and likely play in the D-League this season, according to Chris Reichert of upsidemotor.com.
BIG 12/COLLEGE NEWS
The Big 12 Conference has taken a beating in the national media and, as commissioner, Bowlsby has been the factory-installed hood ornament for that.
To expand or not expand? One true champion, or two?
Bowlsby, the ex-wrestler, has been the guy in the eternal headlock, trying to free his league from yet another public relations mess.
I like Bowlsby. He’s smart. He’s articulate. His résumé touches all the right bases — Stanford, Iowa, the U.S. Olympic Committee, past-president of the NCAA Athletic Directors Association, chairman of the NCAA Basketball Committee and more.
Yet, there are knuckleheads with keyboards and talk shows that think Bob Bowlsby is a bungling clown. Again, he’s the cowcatcher on this runaway prairie train.
The public rejection of conference expansion on Monday is just the latest Big 12 embarrassment. The league tried to pull a power play and increase its TV “inventory,” to use Bowlsby’s word.
ESPN and the Fox network apparently said no, that no combination of BYU, Houston, Cincinnati and/or UConn was worth the extra $20 million per team to televise.
The Big 12 does have one new inventory item, a conference championship game beginning in 2017, to sell to the networks, and it settled for sweetening the coffers of its existing 10 schools.
Bob Huggins has only coached in the Big 12 for four seasons, but the future Hall-of-Famer has seen enough to know that the conference did the right thing by not expanding earlier this week.
“I like the league the way it is,” Huggins said following West Virginia’s practice on Thursday in Morgantown. “The league did the right thing by not expanding. We’ve got 10 teams and we’ve got a format that crowns a true champion in basketball.”
1. Coaches got some of their calling-timeout capability back
Last season, the most common lament from coaches was how they could not call a timeout in any live-ball situation. That is still the case ... mostly. Now, coaches will have the ability to call a timeout when a ball is "live" after a made basket on an inbound situation.
2. Double-foul calls are going to rise dramatically this season
Post play physicality and "rebounding displacement" are two huge points of emphasis. The latter is mostly about officials' placement on the floor, but the former is going to take teams and coaches time to adjust. To put it frankly, when a guy with the ball is in the post, he can "shape up" by bending his elbows. He cannot use his arms to prevent a defender from getting around him, though. If that happens, it's now an automatic foul.
Alternatively, when a defender in the post "lays" on an offensive player or attempts to put a hand through or go under the offensive player's arm -- it's called "swim-stroking" -- that's a foul. The legal way to defend is to get around the player, to front him or to "three-quarter" him. A single forearm is legal in post area, but a defender can't use a forearm and a hand.
3. Travels are also going to spike
Collins calls it a "focus on obvious travels on the perimeter and post travels -- picking up the pivot foot."
It's become normal basketball movement to accept a pass and then take a tiny hop to set/square one's self. That's technically a travel. It will now be called as such. Players in the post who use that ever-so-slight adjustment to their pivot foot to set before dribbling the ball to make a move will also be whistled.
"They seem incidental, but it's a huge advantage to be able to reset his feet like that," Collins said.
4. Charges should continue to go down, and the Big Ten and MAC are going to conduct an unprecedented review experiment
This is the item getting attention because the NCAA announced the Big Ten and the MAC will now have the ability to review block/charge plays and overturn calls when applicable in the final two minutes of a game. The decision has come with some speculation and pushback, but it's important to note this is only going to be applied in those two specific leagues' conference games. They are guinea pigs to see if reviewing block/charges proves worthwhile -- and if so, would be something that is adopted throughout Division I in a year from now.
"If it shows that 15 games that could have had outcomes changed, let's make it a sport-wide rule change for next year," Collins said.
...Reviews on block/charge calls can be prompted by a coach's protest (if wrong, the coach/his team would lose a timeout) or at the discretion of the officiating crew.
In terms of charges, the NCAA is encouraging defenders to jump, to use their athleticism. When starting inside the semi-circle near the hoop, if a defender jumps straight up and his hands continue to "wall up" by staying vertical, the defender will have the right to that space and not be called for a foul. Also, if a defender is sliding into a spot to draw a charge at the last second, charges will not be called unless forward momentum by the offensive player is egregious.
...A byproduct of this: By getting defenders out of the circle, flagrant-elbow calls should also drop this season.
5. Offensive players will be granted more natural movement with the ball
This is a point of emphasis that should allow for a freer game on both ends. Offensive and defensive players are allowed a certain amount of space to make natural, normal basketball moves. For the offense, a "normal basketball play" starts with either a shot attempt, a pass or a dribble. In a sentence: An offensive player should be able to make a move without having someone jamming up on them and restricting them.
"When you think about where the game has come in the past 25 years, in the post, the rules today are exactly the same as they were 25 years ago. And yet we've allowed more and more physical contact to happen, and that can't be acceptable. And what you're seeing from the rules committee is allowing offensive players the freedom to be able to allowed what they're able to do within the rules."
Collins said when teams trap or double team, fouls will likely go up as players and coaches adapt to the nuanced difference between resolute defense vs. completing impeding an offensive player's rightful space to make a basketball move. Defense is important, but smothering a player to the point of paralysis is no longer allowed.
Duke's talented basketball team made more than half of the 3-pointers they attempted during a 20-minute intra-squad scrimmage at Saturday night's Countdown to Craziness event.
The Blue Devils had depth in the post, allowing them to defend and rebound there as well.
In short, Duke had all of the things you'd expect the nation's No. 1 team to have as it enters a season filled with lofty expectations.
When the play was done, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski grabbed a microphone to address jam-packed Cameron Indoor Stadium.
He had a message about expectations and achievements.
"I hope we don't take anything for granted," Krzyzewski said, "and stay hungry."
It is not the N.C.A.A.’s job, Southall noted, to assess the scandal’s lurid quality. It only worries about areas of morality it deems itself positioned to regulate. Cash for illegal sex work provided to teenagers may as well be cash for gas. Either constitutes “impermissible benefits” and “inducements” — an unfair advantage, as though the Cardinals had greased their opponents’ rims before a game.
From the perspective of college sports, Southall added, any scandal involving academic fraud, such as the years of paper classes disproportionally for athletes at the University of North Carolina, might be worse, striking as it does at the soul of college sports’ stated mission, which is athletics as a part of education.
But maybe there are other ethics systems worth considering? One is permitted to think this tawdry conduct was inappropriate beyond the fact that it enticed prospects to Louisville in a way that Wake Forest may not have. And one is permitted to think a college basketball coach is bound by more than just the N.C.A.A. handbook.
New York Times
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“The coolest thing was in our meeting Saturday, we sat in Coach’s office and watched a little film from ‘that game,’ ” Rayford Young, a former Texas Tech guard, said of his Red Raiders’ 90-84 victory over the Jayhawks on Feb. 13, 1999, in Lubbock, Texas.
That’s the game in which the 5-foot-11 Young scored 41 points, including 32 in the last 9 minutes. That 41-point outing is the eighth-highest total scored by a player in a game vs. KU.
“Trae was in on it. He knew they were going to show it. I saw Trae tap his mom on the leg and then the coaches set up the tape. I appreciate coach Self doing that. It was the TV broadcast with Jon Sundvold. It was fun watching it,” Rayford added in a Sunday night phone conversation with The Star.
…“The visit was great. It couldn’t have gone any better. It’s Kansas so what can you say?” Rayford Young said.
“I think what stood out was Trae’s relationship with other guys on the team. Devonté Graham was his host. He hung out with Malik Newman, and spent time with a lot of kids who would be there if he decided to go there. How they welcomed him with open arms was the biggest thing to me. We’ve been there (KU) a couple of times and seen the facilities, which are second to none. As far as all that, that’s impressive. The biggest thing was watching coach Self’s practice and how he runs practice.”
…“My official visit was great,” (Deng) Gak, who is ranked No. 91 by Rivals.com, told Jayhawkslant.com. “I loved the campus and loved the team. The thing that stood out is how much everyone loved and knew about basketball. Coach Self just told me his plan for me. I think that I am done taking visits, but I’m not 100 percent sure yet.”
While recruiting an athlete’s parents always plays at least some kind of role in these things, the bulk of the weekend was spent trying to help Young visualize being a Jayhawk. He toured the campus, met with strength coach Andrea Hudy, spent time with the current KU players, and, of course, talked plenty to Self and his assistants.
“He said I could come in and make an impact right away and that I would play just as many minutes at KU as I would anywhere else in the country as a freshman,” said Young when asked about Self’s main message.
Young also loved what he saw from the practice he and his father watched while in town.
“Practice was really good,” he said. “It was really intense. They ran a lot of stuff and ran a lot of ball screens, but coach Self really lets them go in transition. It they couldn't score in transition they would set up and run offense. It was really cool to see them go over different plays.”
Class of 2017 point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has cut his list to eight schools after decommitting from Florida.
He is now considering Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Florida, N.C. State, UNLV, Oklahoma and Texas, Dwayne Washington, Alexander’s coach with UPlay Canada told ZAGSBLOG.
Kentucky is expected to watch Alexander on Monday, while Kansas is expected in Tuesday. A 6-foot-5 1/2 point guard from Chattanooga (TN) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Alexander averaged a team-high 15.8 points and 4.8 assists for Wings Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit this year. “He’s a true point guard, very long, athletic, excellent shooter,” Washington told gainesville.com. “They measured his wingspan at Florida at 6-10 ½ with a 32-inch vertical leap. He’s a very unselfish kid and a good leader.”
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