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Archive for Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gary Bedore’s KU basketball notebook

March 10, 2009

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Jayhawks have shot at 4th straight tourney title

There isn't a single scholarship player on the Kansas men's basketball team that has lost a game in the Big 12 Tournament. Enlarge video

Tough matchup

Kansas University center Cole Aldrich worked hard for his 12 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s victory over Texas.

“I would say ‘exhausted’ would probably be a better word,” Aldrich said, asked if he grew tired banging with 6-foot-10, 298-pound UT center Dexter Pittman, who had 16 points and three boards.

“He’s so strong. He has soft hands and quick feet for a guy his size. I talked to him a little bit. He’s gone through a lot. He lost 90 pounds or something like that. For a man to lose 90 pounds, that’s great. He has the potential to be really good.”

The 6-11, 245-pound Aldrich continues to wear a boot on his left foot. “I’ve got a little stress reaction. We wear the boot as a precaution. It’s to immobilize my ankle so it won’t get worse.”

No net clipping yet

KU’s players didn’t clip the Allen Fieldhouse nets after Saturday’s Big 12-title-clinching victory over Texas.

“That is the coach’s fault,” coach Bill Self said on his Hawk Talk radio show. “I said we weren’t going to. I am not superstitious. I think our guys have gotten enough attention. I think doing something like that would make them feel like we accomplished more than we have. We said we’d do the video (and trophy presentation) and think about cutting nets at a different time.”

Tough loss for Jank

Former KU assistant Tim Jankovich’s Illinois State basketball team likely will be denied an NCAA Tournament berth following Sunday’s 60-57 overtime loss to Northern Iowa in the finals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis.

“I don’t even know how to describe the pain. You have to live it,” Jankovich told the Bloomington, Ill., Pantagraph newspaper. “All I did was tell them (24-9 Redbirds) how proud I am. I thought we have become a darn good basketball team in a lot of different ways. I really like the team a lot that I brought here (to St. Louis).”

Self cell-phoned Jankovich on Sunday.

“If anybody saw that game, it was a heartbreaker. That really stung,” Self said on his radio show.

“It’s a sad deal. Tim ... what a job he’s done at Illinois State. They’ve won 49 or 50 games (49 against 19 losses) in his two years there. He’s done a remarkable job.”

More honors

ESPN.com’s Dick Vitale wrote on Monday that Kansas’ Self is a leading candidate for national coach of the year.

“When considering names for national Coach of the Year, one William Self should be on the short list,” Vitale wrote. “Self has done an incredible job at Kansas this season ... The biggest reason the Jayhawks are where they are — the positive attitude of Self. He has the ability to make his players understand the pride of wearing that Kansas uniform as part of a great winning tradition. He has done a fantastic job with so many new faces. This is a team that has been hampered at times by injuries, yet it has overcome adversity and blending together into a winner.”

Little needs to drive

Self was asked Monday what junior Mario Little needs to do to continue to contribute to the team the rest of the season.

“I’d say take advantage of his quickness,” Self said.

“The other day (against Texas), he put the ball on the floor and tried to go around people, make a play as opposed to settling for a one-bounce pullup (jumper). He’s a good mid-range shooter. Sometimes he does the hardest thing to gain confidence from, as opposed to doing what he does best. We have to get him where he’s more aggressive driving.”

Little said his lower-left leg (stress fracture) feels fine, but he continues to work hard on his conditioning.

Recruiting

Luke Cothron, a 6-9, 215-pound junior forward from Flora Macdonald Academy in Red Springs, N.C., tells Rivals.com he currently has KU on his long list of prospective schools. Some others include: UConn, Memphis, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wake Forest, North Carolina State and Georgia Tech. Cothron averaged 30 points and 20 rebounds per game this past season. He’s the No. 17-rated player in the Class of 2010. ... KU signee Elijah Johnson, a 6-2 guard from Las Vegas’ Cheyenne High, has accepted an invitation to play in the Derby Festival Classic on April 11 in Louisville’s Freedom Hall.

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