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Archive for Thursday, February 1, 2007

Gary Bedore’s KU basketball notebook

February 1, 2007

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Saturday's game marks the return of ESPN College GameDay to Lawrence. In its inaugural season, the GameDay crew was on hand for Kansas University's 90-65 victory over Texas on Jan. 29, 2005. Last year, KU fell at Texas on GameDay, 80-55.

The GameDay crew of Jay Bilas, Rece Davis, Hubert Davis and Digger Phelps will hold a pair of shows - from 10 to 11 a.m. and 7-8 p.m. in the fieldhouse.

"Last year we didn't handle GameDay very well in Austin. LaMarcus Aldridge probably had something to do with it, too. He was spectacular that night," KU coach Bill Self said of the UT center who scored 18 points, with eight rebounds and four blocks.

"The biggest thing is the hype leading up to it. When you play at night, players sit around all day and watch games. When watching games, the focal point will be Allen Fieldhouse and 'tonight's game' because ESPN does a great job of promoting it all day.

"Whether we can stay poised and calm will be a key. Last year we were too keyed up. I don't care if they watch games," he added of the Jayhawks. "I don't want them spending their energy: 'I can't wait; I can't wait; can't wait (for KU's game).'''

KU's players will not be in the building for the morning GameDay show, though Self will be interviewed at that time.

"It makes for a long day, (but) it'll be a lot of fun," Self said, noting the publicity also helps recruiting.

A&M coach Billy Gillispie, who considers Self his best friend, said this of GameDay: "It's always exciting to watch. I think it will be great for our program - only if you do well, though."

¢Restful sleep: KU's Brandon Rush, on what he'll be doing all day prior to the 8 p.m. tipoff: "I sleep a lot. Period. I sleep after shootaround. I take a load off every time I get a chance to."

¢Recruiting: Self made a recruiting trip to Meridian, Miss., on Tuesday night to watch Romero Osby, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound junior forward from Northeast Lauderdale High. Osby scored 22 points and had 12 rebounds in victory. He's considering KU, Florida, Mississippi State, Mississippi, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Tennessee and others. KU signee Tyrel Reed is back after sitting out almost a month with an ankle injury. The Burlington High guard has combined for 41 points in his last two games.

¢Bennett leaves team: Martellus Bennett, who appeared in just four basketball games for A&M this season, is giving up hoops to concentrate on football.

"I'm just mentally and emotionally exhausted right now," Bennett told the Bryan-College Station Eagle. "I've never been a quitter, but sometimes you just have to do what's best. I really love everybody on the team, and I want them to know I'll always have their backs."

He played in 26 games as a freshman. "Martellus has been a great member of our family and will remain so," Gillispie said. "We all love him and will miss him, but we respect his decision."

¢Quick turnaround: Win or lose, Texas A&M will have to forget the KU game quickly. The Aggies return home to play Texas on Monday. KU won't play again until Wednesday, when Kansas State comes to Allen for an 8 p.m. tipoff.

¢On the mark: Rush, who has not shot as well as he did as a freshman when he made 47.4 percent of his shots (48.2 in league play), has made 22 of his last 39 shots over three games (56.4 percent). For the year, he is shooting at a 43.2 percent clip, 43.8 in Big 12 games.

"I had fans, people telling me I wasn't living up to all the preseason things," Rush said of his low point of the season, a 1-for-7, three-point effort in a loss Dec. 2 at DePaul. "I still kept my head up, talked to coach, and he told me to keep my head in the game and keep shooting it."

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