Archive for Saturday, December 13, 2008

KU basketball notebook

On Saturday, KU will head back to KC for the third time this season. Kansas, who has won three straight games, will play host to UMass.

December 13, 2008


GameDay Cram Session: KU vs. UMass online editor Jesse Newell & Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan take a look at what to expect from the Jayhawk men's basketball team's game against UMass. Enlarge video

Withey considering transfer to Kansas

Former University of Arizona center Jeff Withey confirmed to the Journal-World on Friday night he’s considering a possible transfer to Kansas University.

“They are definitely on the list for me,” said Withey, a 7-foot freshman who was recently granted a release from his scholarship agreement following the resignation of U of A coach Lute Olson.

He was asked if his choices are down to KU and Texas, as some have speculated, or if he’s considering the eight schools that originally recruited him: KU and Texas, plus Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Indiana, San Diego State, San Diego and Boston College.

“It’s pretty much all the schools,” Withey said. “I’m going to take finals, then go home (to San Diego) for a week and talk to my family and get a feel for where I want to go.”

He said he’s unsure if he’ll make any campus visits before choosing a school. He needs to enroll for second-semester classes if he hopes to play at the conclusion of first semester next season.

Cheek makes it official, taps Villanova

Dominic Cheek, a 6-5 senior guard from St. Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J., on Friday orally committed to Villanova. He listed KU as his runner-up school.

Cheek pulled out a Villanova baseball cap in announcing for the Wildcats, according to

“Loyalty. Villanova was great to me,” said Cheek, who told that Villanova recruited him the longest. He had a final five of KU, Nova, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Memphis.

Local guys

Freshman Travis Releford and senior Matt Kleinmann take some extra incentive into today’s game against UMass (1 p.m., Sprint Center).

Releford attended Bishop Miege High, while Kleinmann is a Blue Valley West graduate.

“I’m not planning on losing my very last game in Kansas City,” Kleinmann said. “Kansas City is a great home away from home for us. We’re planning on doing everything we can to win.”

“I want to get in front of my hometown and play well,” Releford said. “There will be a bunch (of friends and family) there. I’ve got six brothers and sisters, so they all will be there.”

More on Mario

Junior Mario Little, who recently returned to practice after resting a stress fracture in his lower left leg, will not play today.

“He’s probably better than we thought he’d be at this juncture,” Self said Friday. “We are still holding out hope he can play in a week. He’s only doing halfcourt stuff in practice with limited reps. He is pain-free now. This is a big step.

“If we can have him 100 percent by Jan. 1, I’d sell out for that right now. Hopefully we can get him in some games before Christmas. It may be mid-January before he’s 100 percent. Even at 80 percent, he can help us win some games.”

Kleinmann probably won’t start today

Don’t look for senior center Kleinmann to make his second straight start today. Kleinmann started and played three minutes versus Jackson State.

“Matt probably deserved it, don’t get me wrong,” Self said of the walk-on pivot. “(But) the head coach had a moment he maybe was upset with three other guys (inside players Marcus and Markieff Morris and Quintrell Thomas). It was an off-the-cuff decision to do that.

“I’m not saying that won’t happen again. From a raw-talent standpoint, if the other guys play to the level of intensity they are capable of playing at, they can do great things. If not ... why not play experience?”

He has been pleased with the Morris twins of late.

“The last four or five days have been some of their best days, of course one was a day off,” Self said with a smile. “I think they’ve had some great days. They were good in the game (Saturday), and their last few practices have been their best of the year. I do think they are starting to get it.”


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