LJW Photos: Jayhawks return home
LJW Photos: The season in photos
Robinson, a junior, looked back toward the crowd one more time — possibly his last time as a player on this court, as he’s widely expected to enter this summer’s NBA draft — and threw his hands up into the air to wave.
The crowd cheered. One fan shouted, "One more year!"
Robinson smiled and pointed at him.
"I’ll stay if everyone else stays," he said.
They may not have returned as champions, but at least they got a hero’s welcome.
More than 5,000 Jayhawk fans turned up Tuesday night to Allen Fieldhouse for the return of the men’s basketball team from New Orleans, which by all accounts had a stellar season despite its 67-59 loss to powerhouse Kentucky in the national championship game on Monday.
Many people talked about celebrating the better-than-expected season, including coach Bill Self.
“How many people could have predicted the accomplishments of this team?” he asked to a standing, cheering crowd.
And junior forward Thomas Robinson said he spoke for everyone in saying, “I’m proud of this season.”
But the celebration was bittersweet, Self said, because the end of the season meant the end to a team that’s come together — and one fans and coaches alike have come to be attached to.
“These guys lasted to the very, very end,” Self said. “They may have come up a little short; personally, I think we just ran out of time.”
Senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor praised the fans’ role in the season’s success.
“We would be half as good without you guys,” he said.
Senior guard Conner Teahan spoke about the team’s tenacity through upset wins and a final, hard loss.
“We never quit; we kept fighting,” he told the crowd. “We didn’t want to let you guys down.”
Teahan’s uncle and cousin were among the fans and echoed the pride expressed by others.
“Conner told us, ‘we’re gonna be great,’” said Mike Teahan, of Overland Park, about this year’s team. “As a fan, it was a stressful season at times, but really, the team did great this year.”
Fans like Lawrence resident Cassie Stone are already looking forward to next season.
“It’ll be an even better team next year, and we’ll go all the way,” she said.
Others are taking in this season’s highlights and getting excited for Kansas basketball’s return, win or lose.
“This season didn’t end on a low note for me — there were a couple of bad plays, but I’m really happy,” Lawrence resident Terry Gretencourd said. “And now I’m already ready for Late Night practice.”
Ah, yes. Who to take at No. 2?
“I would take Thomas Robinson,” the veteran NBA scout said before Robinson’s 18-point, 17-rebound performance in the title game.
“I like Gilchrist a lot but Gilchrist needs a lot of work on his perimeter shooting. He has great upside. He defends, he competes. He’s very good around the basket. He has the physical tools.”
After the final buzzer, Thomas Robinson, Kansas' All-America forward, dropped to his knees in disappointment on the temporary wooden floor in the middle of the Superdome. He was oblivious to the confetti fired from cannons over his head and nearby as Kentucky players celebrated the school's eighth national championship and coach John Calipari's first. Teammates Tyshawn Taylor and Kevin Young pulled Robinson to his feet and walked him into the handshake line.
The year was supposed to belong to others, but Kansas made it to the final game. The night was supposed to belong to another team, yet Kansas nearly stole the national championship from Kentucky. The Jayhawks trailed by 18 points just before halftime and by 10 points with only 2:50 left but nearly pulled off a miracle in a building where so many strange things have happened (See: Fred Brown, Chris Webber) before falling short. The preparation began nearly 48 hours earlier, just after Kansas's win over Ohio State on Saturday night. Had the Jayhawks won, the words that follow would have been part of a Sports Illustrated cover story on their upset win and unlikely title. Instead, they are the road map for a long, inspired run to second place.
…And then 11th-seeded VCU and coach Shaka Smart took out the Jayhawks last March. The loss ended the careers of seniors Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar, while twin junior forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris soon declared for the NBA draft, along with one-and-done freshman guard Josh Selby. The roster was gutted, and in the belly of the Alamodome, so were the Jayhawks. "For about 20 minutes, nobody said a word," says 6-foot-3 point guard Tyshawn Taylor, who played 33 minutes that night and was the only returning starter this year. "Then Coach finally stood up and said, 'I just feel sorry for our seniors.' "
Robinson says, "I remember me and the twins, we had three lockers together. We all put towels over our heads. I can still hear Tyrel crying."
Through the silence, guard Elijah Johnson heard a sound in the hallway outside the locker room, a VCU player in full throat. "He was yelling, 'We shocked the world!' " says Johnson. "Took my breath away to hear that. It stayed with me for a long time."
…It was no coincidence that the uptick in performance happened at the same time that McLemore and Traylor became eligible to practice in January. They joined the Red Team, the collection of backups, part-time regulars and walk-ons who are expected to challenge the rotation players every day. And their influence began with a bang. On the first possession of a five-on-five session in Traylor and McLemore's first practice, Robinson jumped into a passing lane -- which he does often and effectively -- and after corralling the ball, trucked upcourt.
"Thomas starts going to the rim," recalls McLemore. "But somebody cuts him off and he has to double clutch a little. Then Jamari runs him down from behind and blocks it."
Traylor busts out laughing. "I started screaming," says Traylor. Screaming what? "Just screaming," he says. "You know, like, Arrrrggggggh!" It was the moment when practice changed for Kansas, when suddenly the Red Team became a formidable opponent, pushing the regulars to improve every day (and giving Self a preview of his frontcourt rotation for next year).
Marcus Morris joined KUAlumni.org watch site in Houston to watch the game.
It wasn’t supposed to hurt this bad, right?
When the clock ran out on Kansas’ miracle tournament run, Tyshawn Taylor’s mom, Jeanell Taylor, sobbed in the stands with Taylor’s two younger sisters. That is, until Angel Morris tried to ease the pain.
The supposed icing on the cake for Kansas turned sour on Monday night, leaving us all nauseous, dazed and numb.
So while our arms are hugging our legs, let’s remember how special of a season this was. A season that was never supposed to be so sweet. A season that started with a disclaimer.
We will all remember Late Night in the Phog when head coach Bill Self said this season would be a process. He said to enjoy the ride. Easier said than done, Bill.
We will all remember Maui, and the game against Georgetown that had us fuming in the morning’s first hours. Then UCLA, when Kansas easily handled Ben Howland’s Bruins. And we’ll especially remember that game against Duke, when Bill Self and Coach K left the island with matching red faces.
We’ll remember Ohio State, when we first learned this team was good. Really good. When Sullinger never played, Kevin Young made us jump and the Fieldhouse structure took a beating.
And then there was Davidson, when everything changed. Kansas was bad. So bad, in fact, that some over-zealous fans questioned if Kansas was even going to make the NCAA tournament. We will always remember how Kansas’ season went from the gutter to the throne after that ugly, ugly game.
We will always remember the Baylor game, when Thomas Robinson made us all feel sorry for the rim after an alley-oop that will stay in the pre-game video for years. That is when Kansas made its opening Big 12 statement.
We will all remember Missouri, part one, when the Tigers did exactly what Kansas learned to do for five NCAA tournament games—play from behind.
We will all also remember what that game set up. Missouri, part two. We will all remember what felt like the longest week ever waiting for that game. We’ll remember the tip off thunder and then going down by 19 points. We’ll remember the team chipping away. We’ll remember the loudest moment in college basketball history—the block.
And then we’ll remember this magical NCAA tournament run. One that had comeback after comeback. One that involved a Roy Williams smack down and a 13 point come-from-behind victory against Ohio State.
Storming Massachusetts Street will be remembered, as Lawrence was bliss, strangers were hugged and friends were embraced.
Yes, we’ll all remember these comeback kids—our classmates who never quit. Not when they were trailing by 18 against Kentucky. We’ll always remember that miracle run that never was.
Yes, it’s been a basketball season that every single one of us will remember for the rest of our lives.
And that’s what led Angel Morris to grab Jeanell Taylor.
“Those should be tears of joy,” Morris said. “You’ve had an incredible four years here.”
Big time s/o to Sasha Kaun and his wife who only had 2 days off frm practice and flew from Russia to the NOLA to support @ KU_Hoops # family
Sad to see this team lose but so proud of the way they competed all year. Proud to be a Jayhawk! # RCJH
Very proud of this KU group of men. Gave great excitement 4 many thru out the year. # congrats
@Trobinson0 u a monster fam! C u at the next level very soon.
Kendall Marshall @ KButter5
Not gonna lie, I kinda want this for Thomas Robinson.
Gotta support a Robinson and the Jayhawks. What abt You?
Congrats to coach self and Kansas on a great season! Ran into a juggernaut tonight.
Rock chalk do I need to say more????
Wore a Wildcat shirt by accident today and nearly became single. # goKUgo
Darnell Jackson @DBlock_Official
Congrats to the Kansas Jaywaks on a great season. We'll be back, even stronger. #RockChalk
Love you Kansas fans! Can't wait to play for you all next year!
Lace Dunn @LDloyalty24
S/o to Kansas for holding down Tha Best conference tho #Salute
all im saying is if you win all the way to the championship and you lose. it wasnt a successful season. in my EYES. idk about anybody else
KU finishes with 32 wins. They have won more games than any other D1 program over the last six years
4/3 Final Coaches Poll
1 Kentucky (31) 37-2 775
2 Kansas 32-6 744
3 Ohio State 31-8 705
4 Louisville 30-10 661
5 Syracuse 34-3 641
6 North Carolina 32-6 624
7 Michigan State 29-8 566
8 Baylor 30-8 564
9 Florida 26-11 506
10 Marquette 27-8 464
11 Missouri 30-5 425
12 Wisconsin 26-10 424
13 Indiana 27-9 382
14 Duke 27-7 336
15 Florida State 25-10 325
16 Murray State 31-2 283
17 Georgetown 24-9 242
18 Cincinnati 26-11 216
19 Vanderbilt 25-11 161
20 North Carolina State 24-13 146
21 Creighton 29-6 129
22 Michigan 24-10 119
23 New Mexico 28-7 107
24 Xavier 23-13 92
25 Ohio 29-8 91
Others receiving votes: Gonzaga 67, Wichita State 56, Saint Mary's 54, Virginia Commonwealth 51, San Diego State 23, Kansas State 22, Purdue 17, Stanford 17, Notre Dame 16, UNLV 12, Temple 4, Saint Louis 4, Pittsburgh 2, Iowa State 1, South Florida 1
Dropped from rankings: Saint Mary's 16, Wichita State 19, San Diego State 23, UNLV 25
Reno Bighorns' Josh Selby, on assignment from the Memphis Grizzlies, posted a triple-double with 32 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds against the Idaho Stampede Friday night, leading the Bighorns to a dominant 124-92 victory.
The Memphis Grizzlies recalled guard Josh Selby to the Reno Bighorns, the team’s NBA Development League affiliate, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced Saturday.
KU's Bill Self is an elite coach in how he deals with everything, including recruiting, coaching, fans, staff and the media.
Tulsa has broken the mold in the past with various levels of success, but with Manning the Golden Hurricane is taking a gamble.
"With every hire there is risk," said TU athletic director Ross Parmley. "The reward with Danny Manning definitely outweighs the risk."
There were safer hires out there - Division I head coaches with NCAA Tournament experience.
TU is betting Manning is not only ready to be a head coach but also that he understands this is no walk in the park.
Manning, the former Kansas superstar, No. 1 pick in the NBA draft and longtime NBA player, has just five years' experience as a full-time assistant at Kansas, one of the bluebloods of college basketball.
But he will come to Tulsa with the endorsements of Self, a beloved former TU and Oral Roberts coach, and Barry Hinson, former ORU and Bishop Kelley High School coach who remains extremely popular around Tulsa.
"To be totally honest, I was skeptical at first," Parmley said. "But, after talking with him, I went to absolutely falling in love with him."
Parmley believes Tulsa will do the same as it gets to know Manning.
"I think our community, our campus and our fans will love him," said Parmley. "I understand the skeptics. I'll admit that was a big piece of me wanting to know more about him.
"A lot of coaching is teaching. He loves to teach. He has such an appetite and hunger to coach and teach and to do the hard work. He rose to the top pretty quick with me."
Prosecutors won't file charges against two former Lawrence police officers accused of fixing traffic tickets for a University of Kansas athletics department employee.
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said prosecutors did not find probable cause to prove bribery or other crimes. Branson also said Friday that the results of 18 past criminal cases would not be undermined by the fact that the officers were witnesses.
Big 12/College News
CBS ridiculously early Top 25
ESPN pre-preseason Top 25
AP: Student-Athletes in name only
In the moment that Calipari climbed among the greatest, legendary coaches of college basketball, he nearly blew it with shaky coaching.
Kentucky crushed Kansas in the first half with a mad rush of run-and-gun. Then, in the second half, Calipari strangely started hanging on and praying that time would run out before his huge lead disappeared.
"Second half, I will tell you that we missed a few shots," he said. "I pulled the reins back a little bit and tried to get them going again, and they did fine."
A little bit? The Wildcats played most of the second half in a prevent offense, running the clock way down before making a move. It allowed Kansas to get back into the game. KU coach Bill Self described it this way:
"They played not to score, just as much as they did to run the clock."
…Kentucky had led by 18 points. But in the final minutes, Kansas was attempting a shot that could have made it a one-possession game.
On top of that, Calipari kept making his substitutions to counter whatever Self was doing. Self went big, Calipari went big. Self went smaller and quicker, Calipari followed.
Look, if you have a roster filled with NBA talent, you set the tone.
…But nothing has changed about Calipari's abilities with Xs and Os.
And what about Davis? He is the best player in the country, and that should be good enough. But it isn't. He has been over-hyped into one of the greatest of all time. Davis won the award for Most Outstanding Player in the Final Four, and he probably deserved it. But even if he had played poorly, he would have won the award.
On Monday, he dominated under the basket with defense and rebounding. In the second half, not as much. And his shooting was a disaster, as he made one of 10 shots.
"I still don't think he's Superman," Kansas forward Thomas Robinson said. "Just a great player."
Merely great? Davis is going to have to be the next Tim Duncan in the NBA to justify the past three weeks of hype gushed on him.
And with Calipari's history with the NCAA – two of his four Final Fours have been vacated – it's going to take a few years, and certainty that this will stand, for us to know what we just saw.
FX Sports South
The NCAA and NBA are finally having it out. After years of “will they or won’t they” and “are they or aren’t they,” the two most important organizations in American basketball are gearing up for a sustained fight. It’s a fight which if not diffused quickly could lead to radical changes in how basketball operates in this country and how players are developed. These changes will make many people unhappy. This post is about why I hope this fight is not diffused quickly.
The fight started with President Mark Emmert’s comments about the NBA’s 19 year-old age limit that requires basketball players to spend a year doing something:
“I happen to dislike the one-and-done rule enormously and wish it didn’t exist. I think it forces young men to go to college that have little or no interest in going to college.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern had a rather pointed response:
“A college could always not have players who are one and done. They could do that. They could actually require the players to go to classes. Or they could get the players to agree that they stay in school, and ask for the scholarship money back if they didn’t fulfill their promise. There’s all kinds of things that, if a bunch of people got together and really wanted to do it, instead of talk about it.”
Let’s quickly get one thing out of the way: both men are correct. There are a group of athletes who, but for the age limit, would be in the NBA. They are in college because they decided that college basketball was the best alternative. And the NCAA, conferences, or schools could adopt any number of policies designed to fight the effects of the one-and-done rule. But neither really addresses the other. You still have athletes who would rather not be in college and it is still not the NBA’s problem.
National Basketball Association teams would be better served if potential players spend more time developing their game rather than rushing to the professional ranks, commissioner David Stern said on Tuesday.
The NBA currently mandates players must be 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft and at least one year removed from the graduation of their high school class.
Stern pointed out that the so-called "one-and-done" rule was an NBA-driven improvement from the days when high school standouts were drafted directly into the NBA, and that he would like to see the requirement taken further.
"We have a committee that we've agreed to with the Players' Association. We will be looking at the entire situation and probably with the (National Collegiate Athletic Association) input as well," Stern told reporters after kicking off the NBA's Green Week, a program sponsored by Sprint to generate awareness and funding to help protect the environment.
"We would love to add a year, but it's not something that the Players Association has been willing to agree to."
Stern's comments came a day after the University of Kentucky beat the University of Kansas in the NCAA title game.
Kentucky's win in Monday's final was accompanied by buzz about the freshman-dominated Wildcats, who could lose most of their team, including projected No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis, to the NBA after just one season as collegians.
Stern, who has steered the NBA for 28 years, said he would have pushed for raising the entry age in the last collective bargaining agreement with the players, but economic issues took precedence in difficult negotiations that ended up delaying the start of the 2011-12 season.
The commissioner said the age rule was intended to give NBA teams more time to evaluate emerging young players.
"They can play in Europe, they can play in the D-League (development), they can go to college," he said. "This is not a social program, this is a business rule for us. It's really not what we require in college, it's that we say that we would like a year to look at them."
Stern said the extra year of seasoning has been a help, but he held out hope that the entry age could be raised again.
University of South Carolina head men's basketball coach Frank Martin announced on Wednesday the hiring of several members of his staff.
Brad Underwood has been named associate head coach, Matt Figger is an assistant coach and will serve as the recruiting coordinator and Lamont Evans has been named an assistant coach for the Gamecocks. Andy Assaley has been hired as the men's basketball director of operations, and Scott Greenawalt will serve as the team's strength and conditioning coach.
All five served as part of Martin's staff at Kansas State over the course of the past five seasons.
Well, that didn't take long.
"It's a no-brainer for me to become the coach at K-State," Bruce Weber said Saturday at a news conference in Manhattan, Kan. "I couldn't be prouder."
Twenty-two days after being fired at Illinois, Weber was hired to replace Frank Martin at Kansas State. He agreed to a five-year contract worth $1.5 million annually.
As he was introduced to the Wildcats fanbase, Weber wore a familiar tan suit — but with an unfamiliar tie. It was purple. He later pulled a purple jacket over his shoulders.
It seemed a bizarro color scheme for those that associate Weber with Illini orange.
But what else should we have expected on the final day of a bizarro March?
After 27 seasons in the Big Ten — nine of them at Illinois — Weber is headed to the Big 12.
After a three-week search to replace Weber at Illinois — with more false rumor than a gossip column — Kansas State athletic director John Currie needed four days to scoop him up.
After nine seasons of Bill Self comparisons — some justified, most silly — Weber and Self's teams will be genuine rivals at least twice every season.
"Bill's a great coach," Weber said. "We're looking forward to that challenge."
Just checked with the obit desk. No word yet on any pending funeral for Frank Martin.
There could be, so check back later.
As popular as Martin was as Kansas State’s basketball coach, he will be quite difficult for his successor to follow.
But then, Bruce Weber has been through this before. And, feeling belittled at Illinois by unfavorable comparisons, Weber conducted mock services for Bill Self after the former Illini coach left for Kansas.
Oddly, Weber was introduced Saturday as the K-State coach while Self was, yes, alive and well as a Final Four participant at KU.
Realize too that Weber was fired at Illinois, then landed at K-State; Self was hired away from Illinois, while landing at KU.
My guess is Weber will not shop for floral sprays or solicit pallbearers this time around. He conducted the mock funeral as a misguided way “to move forward,’’ as he once put it. Now, moving forward means paying more serious attention to everything that is Big 12 basketball, including Self and KU.
Mostly, however, it means building on the success Martin regenerated for K-State.
Tall order, yes. And no, Weber was not a sexy hire.
Imagine this: A group of utter strangers selected to represent your public, 27,000-student land-grant university has bested another group of utter strangers in a contest to see which group could insert a leather and rubber sphere into a metal hoop with greater frequency in a set period of time.
You were a passive observer of the contest. But now, the strangers' victory has triggered an agitating exuberance. You feel moved to take action.
But what action, beyond whooping and yee-hawing and high-fiving, would provide a sense of relief commensurate with the strangers' accomplishment? After all, this wasn't just any contest, but a contest to determine which group of strangers should be considered the nation's most successful when it comes to leather-and-rubber sphere insertion.
For a moment, you are flummoxed. But then you are relieved when you hear the unmistakable chirruping of an internal voice -- the voice you have relied on for so many of the important and unimportant decisions in your life.
The voice is suggesting that you set stuff on fire.
…The Louisville Courier-Journal, in a news roundup Tuesday morning, reports that 56 small fires were set near the UK campus during and after the game Monday, one of the many ways fans exhibited their spirit. People got into fights. Objects were thrown, and people were hit by them. Somebody got shot.
The shooting remains under investigation. The cops had to use a little pepper spray. Local channel WKYT-TV reports that investigators are using a website called idthisperson.com to identify suspects in video images of the violent displays.
Doctors amputated the foot of a man shot during raucous street celebrations in Lexington after Kentucky won the NCAA basketball championship, and police said Tuesday they were trying to find the shooting suspect.
Harold Calloway, 31, remained hospitalized Tuesday, police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said. Calloway was shot about 2 a.m. ET as Kentucky fans were celebrating Kentucky's 67-59 victory over Kansas on Monday night.
The man was shot in the foot, which had to be amputated because of the extent of the injuries, police told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The celebrations around Lexington went on into the early-morning hours. Police said more than 50 people were arrested, and a fire official said 56 fires, all but one minor, were reported. There were also 25 emergency medical runs.
Florida guard Erving Walker has been charged with stealing a taco and running from police.
Walker, a senior who ranks first in school history in assists, was arrested and given a notice to appear in court early Friday. He was charged with petty theft and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanors. He was not taken to jail.
Gainesville Police say Walker ordered a $3 taco from a street vendor, got the food and ran away without paying. When a police officer caught up with him and told him stop, Walker kept going, according to the police report.
When officers finally caught Walker with help from "several marked patrol cars," he told them he was "just playing around," the report said.
Walker is scheduled to appear in court April 19.
KU recruit Andrew White added to Derby Classic roster
4/6 Derby Festival Info
White is also on the US Roster for the 4/21 Capital Classic All-Star game in Alexandria, VA
Caprice Dennis, a high-scoring senior guard from Pershing (Detroit, Mich.), has committed to the University of Miami (Fla.), according to Blue Star Basketball.
The 5-foot-10 standout averaged 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists this year, with a high game of 56 points. She was named the Class A Player of the Year by the Associated Press.
One of the top players in the country, Dennis earlier had made a commitment to the University of Kansas. In addition, she had considered Kentucky and Texas.
Nike EYBL Schedule
Check here for the NCAA Recruiting Calendar Contact period starts at noon tomorrow!
My 2011-12 Border War, Legends of the Phog, KC Prep Invitational, KU Alumni games, & Jayhawk Invitational Videos now on Youtube