Posts tagged with Basketball
My knowledge of the women’s college basketball coaching world is limited, but now that Kansas has an opening, I have started asking a lot of questions and doing some research in order to blog about potential candidates. It’s important to understand that by writing about coaches, I’m not saying KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger is planning to interview them. I’m not even saying they necessarily would leave their jobs for KU, which some, Zenger included, believe to be a sleeping giant in women's basketball. I’m just trying to call attention coaches who have winning backgrounds and could possibly be interested in the opening.
Wichita State head coach Jody Adams, the first potential candidate in this, the latest KU coaching-search blog, has done a remarkable job in building a winner and bringing positive attention to the Shockers' women's program.
Wichita State’s Missouri Valley Conference records in seven seasons before Adams took over: 8-10, 7-10, 7-11, 2-16, 8-10, 4-14, 3-15. That’s 17-55 in the four seasons leading up to Admas’ first.
Under Adams: 4-14, 8-10, 10-8, 12-6, 15-3, 14-4, 17-1. That's 46-8 in Adams' past three seasons. Phenomenal. Adams has taken the Shockers from worst in the Missouri Valley to first.
This will be the third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for Wichita State, which never had earned a berth pre-Adams.
Her amazing turnaround job at Wichita State should not come as a huge surprise to anyone familiar with her background. Adams was known as among the nation’s top recruiters at various assistant-coaching stops, including at MInnesota and UMKC.
Her competitive spirit was evident long before she put it to use as a recruiter. Adams’ winning ways started as a player. As a sophomore, she was starting point guard of the 1991 Tennessee national-championship team. She started her coaching career as a graduate assistant under the legendary Pat Summitt.
Adams, in her seventh season at Wichita State, takes a 26-4 record and nine-game winning streak into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, which starts today in St. Charles, Mo.
Considering her playing background and coaching success, Adams shapes up as the Kim Mulkey of the Missouri Valley. Wichita State recognized Adams' efforts last July by signing her to a five-year contract extension through 2019. You know how that goes. In sports, contracts are made to be broken.
Kansas stayed at No. 9 in the Associated Press college basketball poll, released today. Maryland replaced Wichita State at No. 8 and the Shockers dropped to 12th.
The top 25 teams in APpoll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Sunday, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote and last week's ranking:
Record Pts Prv
- Kentucky (65) 31-0 1,625 1
- Duke 28-3 1,544 3
- Virginia 28-2 1,454 2
- Villanova 29-2 1,444 4
- Arizona 28-3 1,360 5
- Wisconsin 28-3 1,344 6
- Gonzaga 30-2 1,229 7
- Maryland 26-5 1,103 10
- Kansas 24-7 1,040 9
- N. Iowa 30-3 1,037 11
- Notre Dame 26-5 1,026 12
- Wichita St. 28-4 797 8
- Iowa St. 22-8 786 17
- Louisville 24-7 780 16
- Oklahoma 21-9 772 15
- Baylor 23-8 701 14
- Utah 23-7 587 13
- West Virginia 23-8 525 20
- North Carolina 21-10 406 19
- SMU 24-6 339 22
- Arkansas 24-7 300 18
- Butler 22-9 287 21
- Georgetown 20-9 223 _
- Davidson 23-6 99 _
- Boise St. 24-7 82 _
Others receiving votes: Oregon 69, Providence 63, Ohio St. 40, BYU 18, Michigan St. 15, LSU 8, Iowa 7, St. John's 6, San Diego St. 3, Stephen F. Austin 2, Dayton 1, North Florida 1, Purdue 1, Valparaiso 1.
My AP top 25 ballot:
1 - Kentucky: Wildcats (31-0) are fifth team since Indiana’s 1976 undefeated national championship team to make it through regular season undefeated. The others: Indiana State (1978-79, 26-0), UNLV (1990-91, 27-0), St. Joseph’s (2003-2004, 27-0), Wichita State (2013-14, 31-0).
2 - Virginia: Senior star Justin Anderson had hoped to return to the lineup Saturday after missing eight games with a broken finger, but he underwent an appendectomy Thursday. The Cavs’ 59-57 Saturday loss at Lousiville makes them 7-1 without Anderson, who is questionable for the ACC tournament.
3 - Duke: At his best in big games throughout the season, freshman point guard Tyus Jones had a second terrific performance vs. North Carolina, scoring season-high 24 points Saturday. He also has shown big improvement in the second half of the season and is shooting .446 from three and averaging 14.4 points in the past 15 games.
4 - Wisconsin: National player of year candidate Frank Kaminsky averages in past five games: 23 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.8 blocks, .719 overall shooting, .467 from three.
5 - Villanova: St. John’s came into Philadelphia with a four-game winning streak, the most victories (21) during the Steve Lavin era and took an 18-7 lead. Villanova outscored the high-flying Johnnies a stunning 98-50 the rest of the way.
6 - Arizona: Finished Pac-12 regular season in style, destroying California by 39 and Stanford by 22. T.J. McConnell (11 assists both games) and Brandon Ashley (averaged 18 points, 7.5 rebounds and made 13 of 19 field goals and 10 of 12 free throws) had huge weeks.
7 - Gonzaga: This will be 16th time in 16 seasons under Mark Few that Zags make the tournament. This could be the year Few makes the Elite Eight for the first time. He has made it to the Sweet 16 in four seasons, including his first two. Zags have lost in Round of 32 in each of past five seasons. With so much size and skill, this looks like the best Gonzaga team ever.
8 - Maryland: Turge’s Terps finished Big Ten season riding seven-game winning streak with Dez Wells averaging 18.7 points. In final two games, victories at Rutgers and at Nebraska, Wells averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds. Let’s see, Maryland used to be in the ACC, Rutgers the Big East and Nebraska the Big 12. It still feels weird to call those games Big Ten matchups.
9 - Notre Dame: Irish are nation’s No. 1 two-point shooting team (.586) and rank 24th in nation with .390 three-point percentage. They don’t play rugged defense, but at least make teams earn it from the field by not fouling very often.
10 - Kansas: Frank Mason, Brannen Greene, Devonte Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have combined for nine blocked shots in 2,157 minutes. Hunter Mickelson has 14 blocked shots in 109 minutes.
11 - Oklahoma: Sooners try to make it three victories in one season vs. in-state rival. Whatever Cowboys have tried to do to throw off Buddy Hield’s shot hasn’t worked. In two games he has made 15 of 18 shots, including 5 of 6 three-pointers and has averaged 21 points.
12 - Iowa State: In conference games, Monte Morris leads Big 12 in assists (5.44) and assists-to-turnovers (4.08) and ranks second in minutes (34.5), field-goal percentage (.518) and steals (tied with two others at 1.72). Most underrated player in conference.
13 - Louisville: Mangok Mathiang, averaging 2.6 points, had not taken a shot until making a 15-footer with 2.7 seconds left to deliver Louisville a 59-57 victory vs. Virginia. Rick Pitino: “Mangok was the 64th option.” Mathiang: “I was just shocked that I made it.”
14 - Baylor: Rare is the conference that can pit teams as good as Baylor and West Virginia against each other in first-round conference tournament game..
15 - West Virginia: Mountaineers looking to avenge regular-season sweep by Baylor, which won the two games by average margin of 15 points.
16 - North Carolina: Tar Heels have lost 6 of 10, but four of the losses were to top 10 teams, two coming in overtime.
17 - Utah: First 25 games: 21-4; Past five games: 2-3. Three-point shooting percentage in 23 victories: .435, compared to .297 in seven losses.
18 - Northern Iowa: Down 36-22 at halftime vs. Illinois State in the Missouri Valley conference tournament title game, the Panthers took over the game with a 25-4 run..
19 - Wichita State: Ron Baker was held scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting in second half in loss to Illinois State. At the half, Baker had 13 points, four rebounds and five assists.
20 - Oregon: Ducks finished Pac-12 regular season on five-game winning streak, including 11-point victory vs. Utah. Only loss in past 10 games came at UCLA.
21 - Georgetown: Hoyas tied for second with Butler in Big East by going 5-1 at end of schedule.
22 - Arkansas: Sophomore center Bobby Portis averaging 17.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots.
23 - Michigan State: Guard Travis Trice, who scored 18 of his 21 points Saturday in the second half in 74-72 victory at Indiana, getting hot just in time for postseason. Averaged 20.8 points in last six games
24 - Butler: Coach Chris Holtmann took over on an interim basis in October when Brandon Miller requested a medical leave of absence. He was named permanent head coach in January, meaning his gamble of leaving his post as head coach at Gardner-Webb for an assistant’s job at Butler paid off. Holtmann’s records at Gardner-Webb: 11-21, 12-20, 21-13, an impressive turn-around.
25 - Purdue: If I see the Boilermakers listed as a bubble team one more time my head will explode. The Boilermakers tied for third in the always-strong Big Ten with 12-6 record.
No need to look at the calendar to check the month. Kansas University basketball fans will remind you by saying what they say annually in early March. “You know,” they start, “I think this is Bill Self’s best coaching job yet.”
Since that’s such a hot topic, I decided to take a stab at ranking Self’s most impressive coaching jobs during this run of 11 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles. Naturally, because the NCAA tournament hasn’t been played yet, the ranking for this season is subject to change. I released one every 15 minutes, starting at No. 11 and working my way down to No. 1.
I thought it would be a fun exercise because it really is amazing how often someone will express the sentiment that “this is Self’s best coaching job yet,” at this time of year.
The truth, of course, is that it requires a strong coaching job to win one Big 12 title and to do it 11 times without interruption is mind-blowing.
Self’s intelligence, the ability to read people and find the right means of getting the most out of each individual, his direct nature and 100 percent confidence that his way is the right way, combine to make him a coach who is able to construct a roster, coach it up and win back-to-back titles.
I would be interested to know how others would rank the job he did in coaching each of the 11 Big 12 title teams.
Tom Keegan's Rankings of Bill Self's best coaching jobs in the last 11 years:
1. 2007-08: The only Final Four with four No. 1 seeds featured coaches John Calipari, Roy Williams and Ben Howland, who was coaching in his third consecutive Final Four, and Bill Self, the only Final Four first-timer. Self had established such an unselfish culture and such superior ball movement with this group that Brandon Rush led the team in scoring in three consecutive seasons and never averaged more than 13.8 points per game in any season. Yet, even though Rush was the leading scorer, it was fellow junior Mario Chalmers who had developed into the man teammates looked to get the ball to in the biggest moments. In the semifinal, freshman Cole Aldrich’s coming out party, Kansas took a 40-12 lead vs. North Carolina, which stormed back to within 54-50, only to lose to Kansas, 84-66. In the title game, Chalmers’ three-pointer sent it into overtime, where Kansas won, 75-68. Chalmers had 18 points and four steals, but was he the player of the game? Or was it Darrell Arthur (20 points, 10 rebounds), Brandon Rush (12 points, six boards, superior defense) or Sherron Collins (11 points, six assists, four rebounds, three steals, clutch play at the end). The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t matter. Wearing his general manager’s cap, Self had put together a talented team in which all the parts fit and made sense. Wearing his coach’s whistle, he brought them to a place where each individual put the team first. It remains his best of many great coaching jobs.
Big 12 standings:
Kansas State 10-6
Texas A&M 8-8
Texas Tech 7-9
Oklahoma State 7-9
Iowa State 4-12
2. 2011-2012: Most view the steps in Allen Fieldhouse as a means of getting to their seats. For center Jeff Withey, they have much deeper significance. Coming off a scoreless game in a loss at Missouri, Withey didn’t hustle after a loose ball in practice. Coach Bill Self made him run nearly every step in the historic basketball building. All those steps added up to the biggest step forward in Withey’s basketball career. It was as if Self went into his basement, performed a surgery and Withey walked into the world with bolts sticking out his neck and a scar coloring his forehead. Withey’s totals in the next three games: 25 points, five rebounds, three blocked shots; 18 points, 20 rebounds, seven blocked shots; 18 points, 11 rebounds, nine blocked shots. Think Self knows which buttons to push, which brain cells to wash? This team that lacked offensive firepower heading into the season made it all the way to the NCAA title game, where Anthony Davis swatted away their chances of pulling off an upset. Self convinced his team that it couldn’t outscore teams and got the most out of everyone defensively. And then there was the last game of the Border War series. Tyshawn Taylor, so hyper for much of his career, so steadily led the Jayhawks back from a 19-point deficit to an 87-86 overtime victory. Thomas Robinson (28 points, 12 rebounds) blocked a shot in the final seconds of regulation. Allen Fielhouse was one wild party that day.
Big 12 standings:
Iowa State 12-6
Kansas State 10-8
Oklahoma State 5-13
Texas A&M 4-14
Texas Tech 1-17
Check back at 4:45 for No. 1
3. 2005-06: Texas brought a ton of talent to the Big 12 race with guard Daniel Gibson, forward P.J. Tucker and center LaMarcus Aldridge. And they had experience. Kansas, on the other hand, was breaking in five new starters, once Christian Moody was moved out of the starting lineup. Three freshmen and two sophomores responded so well to Bill Self’s coaching that Kansas was able to tie Texas for the regular-season title with a 13-3 record. Not only that, the Jayhawks avenged a 25-point, regular-season loss in Austin with a 12-point victory against the Longhorns in Dallas in the Big 12 title game. The freshmen turned back into the freshmen in the NCAA tournament, but that didn’t diminish that Self had done a truly amazing job of bringing such a young team up to speed.
Big 12 standings:
Texas A&M 10-6
Oklahoma State 6-10
Texas Tech 6-10
Kansas State 6-10
Iowa State 6-10
Check back at 4:30 p.m. for No. 2
4. 2008-09: Five players from the NCAA title team were drafted and starter Russell Robinson graduated, leaving coach Bill Self with a gigantic rebuilding project. More like reloading. Sherron Collins took charge, led the team in scoring (18.9) and relied heavily on center Cole Aldrich (14.9). But it wasn’t going to work unless two freshmen could prove themselves ready for prime time. Tyshawn Taylor and Marcus Morris answered the call. Somewhat remarkably, Kansas turned an entirely new starting lineup into a 14-2 Big 12 record and came close to avenging an early season loss to Michigan State in the Sweet 16. The Spartans took charge late and won, 67-62, but nobody could say anything but that Kansas overachieved.
Big 12 standings:
Kansas State 9-7
Texas A&M 9-7
Oklahoma State 9-7
Iowa State 4-12
Texas Tech 3-13
Check back at 4:15 p.m. for No. 3
5. 2010-11: This wasn’t a basketball season as much as a drama-packed mini-series, packed with personal tragedy and team triumphs. Thomas Robinson returned to the Kansas lineup three days after his mother’s memorial service and burial. and led the Jayhawks to a 90-66 blowout victory against Kansas State in Allen Fieldhouse. Teammates and coaches rallied around Robinson all year. The Jayhawks clinched the title outright by ending Missouri’s 17-game home winning streak. In an Elite Eight game played two nights after KU routed Richmond, 77-57, in San Antonio, Kansas lost, 71-61, as a rough game from Josh Selby ended a rough season for the freshman.
Big 12 standings:
Texas A&M 10-6
Kansas State 10-6
Oklahoma State 6-10
Texas Tech 5-11
Iowa State 3-13
Check back at 4 p.m. for No. 4
6. 2013-14: Bill Self had to replace all five starters because Ben McLemore declared for the NBA draft and the other four starters were seniors.
Sure, Andrew Wiggins was the No. 1-ranked high school recruit and 7-footer Joel Embiid from Cameroon had promise, but could Embiid, with so little history with the game of basketball, develop into a player who could make significant contributions as a freshman? The answer, of course, to that question was a resounding yes. He not only contributed, he played so well at times that he dominated. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg called Embiid the “best player in the country,” after watching him do things that 7-footers simply don’t do, especially basketball novices. Self and assistant coach Norm Roberts brought Embiid along masterfully, knowing when to lean on him and when to stroke his confidence. The back stress fracture that kept the 7-footer out of the NCAA tournament limited KU to two poorly played tourney games. Stanford eliminated the Jayhawks and made Wiggins turn invisible for a game.
Big 12 standings:
Iowa State 11-7
Kansas State 10-8
West Virginia 9-9
Oklahoma State 8-10
Texas Tech 6-12
Check back at 3:45 p.m. for No. 5.
7. 2014-2015: Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, and Joel Embiid, the No. 3 pick, both stayed at Kansas for just one year. The Jayhawks, unlike in most seasons, have no shot-blocking force in the middle. The Big 12 is loaded with point guards adept at getting to the paint, so the lack of a shot-blocker shows even more than it might in some conferences. And it took Perry Ellis a while to embrace the idea of being the team’s go-to guy. Now that Ellis is comfortable with that role and in fact even seems to love it, he was able to put Kansas in position to clinch a share of the 11th Big 12 title in a row after Iowa State stormed back from a 21-point deficit Monday night to defeat Oklahoma. Frank Mason’s steady hand all season has upgraded the point-guard position, but Wayne Selden’s unanticipated problems finishing drives has made it difficult for Kansas to avoid scoring droughts at times. Kelly Oubre has come on of late. Cliff Alexander, even before getting sidelined while the NCAA looks into a compliance issue, never emerged as the force KU had hoped.
Big 12 standings (so far):
Iowa State 11-6
West Virginia 10-6
Kansas State 8-9
Oklahoma State 7-9
Texas Tech 3-14
Check back at 3:30 for No. 6