So long 2012-13, and thanks for the memories!
KU fans are itching to get an up-close look at eight newcomers, including freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-8 Thornhill, Ontario, native, who is known for his athleticism, hasn’t disappointed during the first handful of practices of the 2013-14 preseason.
“The last practice we had, he actually had this dunk on the baseline. Me and coach looked at each other. I said, ‘That’s not normal,’” junior point guard Naadir Tharpe said with a smile.
“When you play with someone that good, you kind of get stuck in passing. You want to watch and see what he’s going to do. You can’t be like that. I have to make sure the ball is moving and nothing sticks,” Tharpe added.
Wiggins — he has impressed teammates by showing no signs of ego — figures to become a fan favorite sooner rather than later.
“Yes, Drew can live up to ... it depends on what expectations we’re talking about,” said senior power forward Tarik Black. “Some expectations are just inhumane, like c’mon now, he’s a human being. He’s not going to be perfection. But at the same time if you are just holding him to a higher standard that he’s going to be a great player, yes, Andrew can achieve that, no problem. He has potential that is through the roof,” Black added.
Self was asked about a picture that Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) tweeted out earlier in the week showing Max Falkenstien decked out in KU practice gear. Self joked that Max is a "60th-year senior" and said the retired radio broadcaster would be featured in a skit at Late Night riffing off the movie 'Old School' ... "You're my boy, Blue," Self added with a chuckle. This should be good.
...Senior forward Tarik Black, on his dancing skills: "I have a move or two." The 6-foot-9 transfer from Memphis also said he "plans on being" a big factor on this team. He's already the most experienced guy on the roster, and is likely in the mix to start. Impressive, articulate dude. Expect to see plenty of quotes from Tarik this season.
...Another nugget from Black, after he spoke on imparting his experiences on some younger players: "Actually, coach Self has been saying that Joel (Embiid) is our most improved player thus far."
On the day last fall when Wayne Selden boarded a plane for his official visit to Kansas, he had a basic idea of what was to come. He was headed to a place where basketball was worshipped, and his first night in town would include a stop inside an overflowing Allen Fieldhouse for the Jayhawks’ annual “Late Night in the Phog.”
But before the 6-foot-4 Selden could breathe in his first dose of KU, he was stopped at the airport by a couple of fans, diehards who had noticed the coveted, five-star prospect.
“As soon as I landed on my visit, there was people (waiting) at the airport,” says Selden, a McDonald’s All-American shooting guard. “So right then and there, I knew it was something serious here.”
One day later, after a night inside the fieldhouse, Selden committed to KU coach Bill Self on the spot. And one year later, Selden, a freshman guard, will experience Late Night from the inside when the event begins at 6:30 Friday night.
Since Late Night is all about having fun, here’s a suggestion on how to make the night even more entertaining this year: Put the six freshmen and three of walk-ons on the red team and let the veterans play on the other. See if the younger, more talented squad can take it to the veterans, who generally have a better idea of just how hard and physical you must compete on every possession to win against elite competition.
Everybody loves lists, so without further ado, here are the top five moments in Late Night history as compiled by Gary Bedore, who has been in Allen Fieldhouse for all 28 season-opening extravaganzas.
Kansas University freshman Andrew Wiggins was named Big 12 preseason freshman of the year and senior Tarik Black newcomer of the year on Thursday in a vote of conference coaches.
…“I’m honored that the Big 12 coaches recognize my potential,” Wiggins said Thursday after becoming the first freshman in Big 12 history to be named preseason all-league. “I’m glad to see Tarik, Perry and Joel also in there. There are a lot of great freshmen in the league and especially here at Kansas. Any one of my fellow freshmen teammates could have also been on this list.”
Black, 6-9, is immediately eligible after transferring from Memphis, where he earned an undergraduate degree.
“It’s an honor,” Black said. “I feel it’s a blessing to even be considered somebody that’s even worth mentioning. I take it all in stride. At the same time if it wasn’t for a team like this put together I wouldn’t be up for something like this. The team around me is what makes me seem like a good player. Really, truly, it’s all of us coming together forever,” Black added.
Conference coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own team. There was a tie in the voting for the all-league team, accounting for six players.
“That is a pretty solid first team, and it’s great to see a freshman get named to the first team in Andrew,” KU coach Bill Self said. “It’s also good to see Tarik, Perry and Joel recognized but, like all preseason stuff, we won’t take anything from this because it’s based on potential. Now you have to go prove it.”
LJW (Complete team rosters at the link)
And then there's this: Is Wiggins now a lock to be named a preseason All-American? Only one other incoming freshman, North Carolina's Harrison Barnes, has received that honor, and when Barnes disappointed the preseason award was used as a cudgel against everyone involved — Barnes, UNC, "the media," etc. It created an atmosphere in which every poll voter must be really, really sure about an incoming would-be All-American, because it wasn't so long ago that Barnes was the next Kobe Bryant.
And yet, at the end of the day, this is still just a preseason conference award. It means next to nothing. What it says about all of the stuff Wiggins can't control -- the media onslaught that has already begun, and the focus he'll be under all season long -- is something else entirely.
With players like sophomore forward Perry Ellis and super-freshmen Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid, the Jayhawks might have been better than the past three seasons’ teams anyway. But Wiggins’ arrival puts real pressure on a program and fanbase that should always have—and welcome—real pressure. The last three teams didn’t face that kind of pressure, at least not from the national media or realistic fans. The last two teams to be scrutinized all season, 2008 and 2010, were defined by their successes and failures in March, and this team will be no different.
Bill Self will never have a more highly-touted recruit than Wiggins, who will be in the NBA by next summer. Self may never have more raw talent on a team the rest of his career. And for a coach who has convinced me he could win the Big 12 with five students picked off Jayhawk Boulevard between classes, this team—like 2008 and 2010—will be remembered by everyone for its success or failure in March.
Embrace the pressure. Who wants to root for an underdog, anyway?
Big 12/College News
ESPNU will tip off the basketball season with more than four hours of ESPNU Midnight Madness coverage on Friday, Oct. 18, at 9 p.m. ET. This year’s ESPNU special will feature on-site coverage from nine basketball programs, eight of which are in ESPN.com basketball writer Jason King’s Top 25: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 6 Duke, No. 9 Syracuse, No. 11 Oklahoma State, No. 13 Wichita State, No. 15 Memphis, No. 17 New Mexico, No. 21 UConn and Florida Gulf Coast. ESPN analysts will provide commentary from each site, with additional previews and interviews live from the ESPNU studio in Charlotte, N.C.
ESPN3 will carry six Midnight Madness events live in their entirety, beginning tomorrow, Oct. 4, at 7:30 p.m., with Late Night in the Phog featuring the No. 5 Kansas men’s basketball team. It will be the nation’s first chance to see 2013 No. 1 recruit Andrew Wiggins take the court as a Jayhawk along with highly anticipated teammates Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden. ESPN3’s coverage continues on October 18 with a comprehensive look at Duke, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, UConn and Syracuse events.
In total ESPN’s Midnight Madness coverage across networks will feature the top three 2013 recruiting classes – Kentucky, Kansas, Memphis – and a first glimpse at 19 freshmen from the 2013 ESPN 100.
Midnight Madness Highlights:
• Home Court – ESPNU host Matt Schick will be joined by college basketball analyst Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Andy Katz. The studio team will provide analysis, previews and conduct phone interviews throughout the show with the nation’s leading head coaches.
• On the Road - ESPN commentators will provide coverage of various elements from nine college arena’s including scrimmages, player introductions, skill and dunk contests, team skits, head coach and player interviews, along with season previews. ESPN analysts on-site: Bruce Pearl, Darrin Horn, Dino Gaudio, Fran Fraschilla, Jimmy Dykes, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo, LaPhonso Ellis, Len Elmore, Miles Simon, Rich Hollenberg, Sean Farnham and Tim Welsh.
• Special Guest – ESPNU will host its first head coach in-studio, Indiana Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Crean
• Notables – Kentucky will be a part of the special for the fifth consecutive year; UConn coverage will include a special men’s & women’s combined scrimmage with Kevin Ollie and Geno Auriemma coaching; Florida Gulf Coast, Wichita State and New Mexico will be featured for the first time.
A former UNC tutor who worked with Tar Heels football players has been charged with violating the state's sports agent laws.
An unsealed indictment states that a grand jury indicted Jennifer Wiley Thompson with four counts of providing benefits to former UNC football player Greg Little to help Georgia-based agent Terry Watson to sign Little. Thompson was arrested Thursday morning and released on a $15,000 secured bond. She made her first court appearance Thursday afternoon and faces an Oct. 15 court hearing.
The charges come after more than three years of investigation by the North Carolina Secretary of State's office.
Big XII composite schedule
ESPN College GameDay Schedule
2013-14 Early-season events schedule
10/3/13, 12:27 PM
Just touched down , What's up Lawrence ?
KU will have three senior recruits on campus today — No. 4 Cliff Alexander, 6-8 power forward from Chicago Curie High; No. 12 Kelly Oubre, 6-7 shooting guard from Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.; and No. 17 Malik Pope, 6-8 small forward from Laguna Creek High in Elk Grove, Calif. Juniors likely to attend Late Night as identified by Rivals.com: No. 11-rated (in Class of 2015) Charles Matthews, 6-4, combo guard, Chicago St. Rita; No. 14 King McClure, 6-3 combo guard, Dallas Triple A Academy; No. 39 William Jackson, 6-4 point guard, Athens (Ga) Christian School and No. 68 Jarvis Johnson, 6-1 point guard, Minneapolis (Minn.) De La Salle. No. 9 Elijah Thomas, 6-9 forward, Lancaster (Texas) High, hopes he’ll be able to attend.
“It would have been perfect (recruiting weekend) but USA Basketball scheduled their young future star weekend to work out this weekend. Of course I have a good relationship with those guys,” Self said of USA hoops officials. “That was disappointing. We probably would have had four or five more guys here. We’re obviously using it as a recruiting weekend. I can’t talk about it (specific recruits). I hope everybody leaves impressed.”
It was funny when I called Coach (Larry) Brown to let him know that I was coming he was really happy. He was like, "I can't believe that this is true." He probably thought I was gonna go to a Kentucky or someplace like that in the end, but I knew that SMU was the school for me.
He just talked to me about being the best. He said that starts with outworking everyone and he talked to me about how much it means to the city and the school for me to come there. It was a really good talk. There's no doubt in my mind that we'll be in a position to compete for a national championship from day one.
Of course I love the fact that I'll be able to play with my brother (Jean-Michael Mudiay)! I've only played with him in open gym and so it'll be fun to play on this level with him. He's the most athletic one in the family so it'll be fun to throw him lobs in games! Plus, my mom and my older brother will be at all the games. It's perfect!
Now I'm trying to get some top players to come with me to SMU and my top target is Myles Turner. I'm definitely pretty confident that he'll join me because when we were talking about playing before I committed he didn't know I was gonna go to SMU.
I mean, I think it's a perfect fit for both of us since we're already at the house. I know he's seriously considering us now. That's big.
I was messing with Cliff (Alexander) the other day too - telling him that he needs to put SMU on the list and he said they hadn't been talking to him. I told the coaches to get on him so we'll see what happens.
It's probably too late with him, but you never know. We've got a great situation over here with a legendary coach so...
I think the hardest part of committing is letting the other coaches know that you won't be coming to their school. My brother helped me out with that, but I texted some of the coaches and just thanked them for the opportunity. It was definitely different. I mean none of us, at this age, have ever been in a situation where a grownup says that they need you for something and their job depends on it.
USA Today: Emmanuel Mudiay Blog
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