Update: Here are the Kansas senior speeches that I was able to record. I didn't get Travis Releford's at the end (iPhone ran out of free space), but it should be cued up to his speech in the bottom video below.
A few links for your Friday ...
• Give credit to the NBA's Miami Heat for giving its own take on the "Harlem Shake" dance craze.
Kansas basketball fans will be most interested in the left side of the screen, where former KU guard Mario Chalmers is dressed up as — appropriately — Nintendo's Super Mario.
Chalmers also was recently featured in Lifestyle magazine, with a lede I thought was great:
Mario Chalmers has a table reserved at his favorite restaurant in South Florida. It’s a place where he walks in and gets treated, like, well, LeBron James.
“I know the manager pretty well now that I’ve been going so much,” Chalmers says. “I just go in there, and they’ve got a table set up for me already.”
The video of that is below from KU Athletics. Skip to the 2:05 mark if you don't want to see the rest of the highlights from the game.
Self said this about the scene: "I knew our guys liked Elijah, but I didn’t realize how much they respected him and liked him until after the game. I have never seen a group of guys more happy for one guy than they were for Elijah."
• USA Today's Eric Prisbell had a nice feature story Thursday on KU guard Ben McLemore being able to overcome poverty on his way to college basketball stardom.
• Bleacher Report's C.J. Moore took a look at what teams are doing defensively to cause McLemore to disappear offensively for long stretches.
• The Boston Globe's Paul Lazdowski wrote an extended feature on KU basketball signee Wayne Selden. Some interesting nuggets in there, including the fact that a few times, Selden has played all five positions for his high school team in the same game.
• Speaking of KU basketball signees, here's a just-released video on future KU guard Conner Frankamp.
• It's March, which means baseball and softball seasons have already started.
With that in mind, I thought KU Athletics did a nice job with this "More than a number" feature on KU softball player Maggie Hull, who is talented enough to 1) lead the Big 12 in hitting; and 2) put up with us in the Journal-World sports department during an internship a few summers back.
A few links for your snowy Tuesday ...
• A few minutes after Kansas' 108-96 overtime victory over Iowa State on Monday, I went up to photographer Nick Krug to ask him if he'd seen the angry ISU fan that had rushed at KU coach Bill Self after the game before getting pushed back by a police officer.
As I was finishing my sentence, Nick pulled up the photos above on his computer.
Yep, that answered my question.
It was a great crowd. It was a great game. I have no problem with what went on after the game.
Here's what Nick saw while shooting the photos above:
I noticed the fan charging Self about the same time the police officer noticed him. The fan got close up to Self and was pointing his finger, appearing furious while accusing Self of being classless. My guess is it had to do with Elijah Johnson's dunk and being completely caught up in the moment. The police officer quickly got between Self and the fan, grabbed his shirt, and removed him. Self obviously noticed the fan, but he had the presence of mind not to react while letting the officer intervene.
• The following GIF is not how the incident went down, but it still is a funny fake re-enactment that was sent to me via Twitter by stevedoyel.
• Though Self started later in coaching than many of the current wins leaders, he has a great chance of setting a new college basketball coaching wins mark if he decides to coach into his late 60s, according to this research a few weeks ago from Konza63 on RockChalk.com.
According to the study, if Self keeps up a pace similar to his recent win percentage and stays at KU, he could get to 1,000 wins sometime between his 65th and 67th birthday. For reference, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is 72, while Duke's Mike Krzyzewski is 66, and neither is at the 1,000-win mark. Coach K is closest with 951 career wins, and he started coaching at age 28.
• ESPN's Myron Medcalf wrote more about Johnson's effort against ISU, saying the point guard handled criticism and through it all didn't whine, blame others or quit.
• And finally, here are the video highlights of the game from ESPN.
A few links on a snowy Thursday in Lawrence ...
• It's being called the Bill Self Shuffle.
Kansas coach Bill Self, in urging his team to get back on defense at the end of the first overtime in Wednesday night's 68-67 double-overtime victory over Oklahoma State, produced a dance move MC Hammer would be proud of.
A GIF of Self's shuffle already has been synced up with MC Hammer's hit, "Can't Touch This," and KU's Douthart Scholarship Hall already has done its own take of the dance during today's snow day.
• Here are the highlights from Wednesday night's game from ESPN.
Also, Deadspin has video of the final two possessions in double-overtime, which includes Naadir Tharpe's floater and Travis Releford's hustle play to run the clock out.
Of the 10 shots he attempted prior to Kansas' final possession, Tharpe missed all but one of them, drawing the ire of coach Bill Self and Jayhawks fans watching from home with his rushed perimeter jumpers early in the shot clock. Tharpe also made a key defensive blunder in the final minute of the first overtime, giving up a game-tying corner 3-pointer to Forte after he left the sharp shooter to help on a slashing Marcus Smart.
All was forgiven though when Tharpe redeemed himself ...
• KU has moved up to No. 6 in Mark Titus' Power Rankings on Grantland.com.
In the blog post, Titus — one of the funniest sports writers out there — gives his analysis of KU's YouTube Harlem Shake video.
Titus then says this about KU:
I'm not sure about Kansas's chances of winning the national title, but I know this much: No team in college basketball is having more fun this season than the Jayhawks.
• Speaking of Grantland, the site's founder Bill Simmons still is in shock at the NBA trade that sent former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson from Sacramento to Houston.
In his email exchange with Zach Lowe, Simmons says this:
You know I'm prone to hyperbole from time to time, but I truly believe this — that's the worst trade anyone's made in years. A lottery team giving up Robinson … I mean … it's unconscionable. No, he wasn't playing that well for the Kings, but can you think of a worse situation for him?
• And finally, I couldn't believe when a friend wrote to tell me this classic "Vishal! I'm in the TV!" KU video clip just celebrated its ninth anniversary.
I think most KU fans should remember it, but if not, there's an explanation of what happened in the comments under the video.
One of my favorite parts is at the end, when color man Jon Sundvold just keeps talking after the free throw like nothing happened. I'd have to think he was wondering what the heck was going on as well.
Here's a compilation of YouTube videos from Kansas' 73-47 victory over Texas on Saturday night.
If you have a YouTube link that deserves to be seen, be sure to post the link in the comments section below.
A few links for your Wednesday ...
• Kansas guard Ben McLemore has perfected his own dance, showing if off once again in the locker room following the Jayhawks' 83-62 victory over Kansas State on Monday.
Here's the never-ending GIF for those wanting to watch it non-stop, while the clip first appeared in this highlight video from KU Athletics.
• Speaking of KU Athletics, the latest edition of the department's popular series "Pay Heed" is now available online. It's especially interesting to be able to hear what KU coach Bill Self says in the locker room after wins over Texas and at Kansas State.
Oh, and there's another McLemore dancing clip at the very end (6:37 mark) if you're interested.
• More from Monday's game ... FoxSports.com's Sean Keeler says KU looked like a better team when Naadir Tharpe was running the point, making him wonder if KU found its mojo and its point guard in the same game.
• ESPN.com's Jason King said KU's win over K-State "was about a mentally fragile team regaining its moxie" at a crucial time.
• West Virginia coach Bob Huggins was watching Monday's game, and he used it as an opportunity to challenge his own students on Twitter:
Mountaineer fans check out Allen Fieldhouse on Big Monday.. great atmosphere.. students - how we need our student section all the time
• For those who haven't been to the Fieldhouse lately, our own Matt Tait put together a sight-and-sounds video that takes a look at the buzz in the barn before the KU-KSU game Monday.
• An amazing trick-shot video here ... from a two-year-old in Derby named Titus Ashby.
KAKE TV had more info on Ashby in this report, with Titus' father saying his son hasn't shown any affiliation toward KU, KSU or Wichita State ... as Titus is still too young to understand those sorts of things.
Have schools ever sent binkies along with recruiting letters?
• From last week, this is great stuff from FoxSports.com's Jeff Borzello and Jeff Goodman, who talked to four anonymous coaches who have played KU this season to get their honest takes on the Jayhawks.
There's some really good information in there ... and also a coach who can't stop cursing when talking about KU.
• The Kansas City Star's Rustin Dodd gives some insight into the relationship between Ben McLemore and his brother, Keith, who is serving time in a maximum-security prison in Missouri.
• FoxSports.com's Reid Forgrave has an interesting feature up about stats expert Ken Pomeroy, who has quit his job as a meteorologist to focus full-time on his basketball statistics. The article also says that Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg uses Pomeroy as a consultant.
• Here's one final shameless plug for Monday's feature on Jeff Withey, who made his grandmother proud and proved to Self that he could play at KU.
• And finally, this has nothing to do with basketball or KU, but your life will be better (I promise) once you meet Oklahoma's Sweet Brown.
A few links for your Thursday morning ...
My take: They look good on a poster but are terrible for TV viewing purposes. Somehow, adidas needed to come up with a way to make the numbers to pop out a little bit more.
• We've known that Kansas guard Travis Releford has been spectacular in transition this season, but SI.com's Luke Winn reports that Releford is the fourth-most efficient transition scorer in the nation in his latest Power Rankings. Interestingly, Travis' brother Trevor, who plays for Alabama, is ninth in the nation in transition efficiency.
By the way, Winn dropped KU from No. 1 to No. 2 in his rankings.
• This has been mentioned before, but here is KU director of basketball operations Doc Sadler's half-court shot video if you haven't seen it yet:
• A good feature here from JayhawkSlant's Bryan Cisler, who talks about how KU — and specifically KU assistant athletic director for sports performance Andrea Hudy — is using cutting-edge technology to help prevent injuries while targeting areas of strength improvement for each athlete.
• Baylor coach Scott Drew took a funny spill during the last seconds of his team's home loss to Oklahoma on Wednesday night, falling to the floor as BU guard Brady Heslip's potential game-tying three rattled out.
• A few more video highlights from KU's win over West Virginia from KU Athletics:
• Colorado coach and former KU player Tad Boyle has a talented 10-year-old son, Pete, who loves to dance during the Buffaloes' home games as a floor sweeper. Video is from Fox 31 in Denver.
• After suffering a concussion last week, KU signee Conner Frankamp returned to the floor Tuesday and scored 29 points in Wichita North's 64-29 victory over Wichita Northwest.
• And finally, a blast from the past: Here's a December 1996 article from SI.com's Vault that talks about the Jayhawks' high expectations for the 1996-97 season. Included topics are Jacque Vaughn's injured wrist (and quoting of poet Robert Frost), Jerod Haase's offseason work on his shooting and Paul Pierce's insistence that he wouldn't be afraid to take the big shot at the end of games.
As you'll remember, KU finished 34-2 that season, falling in the Sweet 16 to eventual national champion Arizona.
A few links while wondering how West Virginia coach Bob Huggins will spend his $25,000 if his team upsets Kansas on Monday night.
• The new national polls come out in a few hours, and Kansas (18-1) is one of two teams, along with Michigan (19-1), that should get the most consideration for the top spot.
What's the national view on who should be No. 1?
Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports says KU deserves the spot because it has a more impressive list of marquee wins.
ESPN.com's Eamonn Brennan looks at the arguments for both teams, saying KU's "case is just as good, if not better, than anyone else the voters could plausibly pick Monday afternoon."
FoxSports.com's Sean Keeler says KU's resume "stacks up with anybody's in the high-rent club," noting the Jayhawks' 7-1 mark against RPI top-50 teams is elite compared to other programs.
And finally, 41 Actions News sports director Jack Harry kinda, sorta says he thinks KU should be No. 1 in his latest "Jack's Smack."
• Our own Gary Bedore mentioned the new "Jeff Withey block party" video in his game story from Saturday's 67-54 KU victory over Oklahoma.
Here's the last part of the video for those who might not have seen it.
• For the second straight game, KU guard Rio Adams impressed with his sideline dancing, as the cameras found him this time doing some crazy, dead-arm bowing on the KU bench.
• SI.com's Seth Davis sits down a few minutes with KU coach Bill Self in his Fast Break column, with Self saying a few interesting things in the interview.
Here's one of Self's quotes from the Q&A:
... I think our bench is getting ready to get good. They're just young. (Perry) Ellis, (Jamari) Traylor and (Naadir) Tharpe have the potential to make a difference. I actually think we can be better offensively when we go to our bench.
Later on, Self also calls Ben McLemore "the most gifted athlete I've ever been around."
• The New York Times' Dick "Hoops" Weiss covered KU's game against Oklahoma, and he gives a national perspective on KU, starting his article by saying:
Because Kansas is located in the heartland, far from the media centers of Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, and plays in the least powerful of the BCS conferences, there is a reluctance to think of the Jayhawks in the same way as Duke, Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA and Syracuse. But make no mistake, Kansas is, and always will be, one of the nation’s elite basketball programs.
• A final look at some highlights from the KU-OU game from KU Athletics:
• Thanks to clevelandjayhawker on our site for sending me the link to this article, as last week, Kansas State forward Shane Southwell made somewhat of a controversial statement after he failed to get a defensive rebound that cost his team three points in KSU's 59-55 loss to KU on Tuesday.
This quote comes from a Friday story in the Kansas City Star/Wichita Eagle by Kellis Robinett.
"I should never have let that guy get that rebound. I mean, it’s Kevin Young."
That probably didn't come out how Southwell wanted it to, but the funny thing is, statistically, Young is KU's best offensive rebounder, and it's not very close.
According to KenPom.com, the senior is 74th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage. KU center Jeff Withey is the only other Jayhawk to crack the top 500 (472nd).
• And finally, we mentioned this in another story on the site but here's the full story from the Dallas Morning News on former KU forward Zach Peters transferring to Colin College in Texas. It details some of the struggles Peters has faced with his multiple concussions, which includes being in a fog and having difficulty finding chapters in books.
A few links to start off your Thursday ...
• We'll start with the Kansas-Kansas State highlights from KU Athletics following the Jayhawks' 59-55 victory.
The best part of the video is actually a shot of the bench 45 seconds in, as KU freshman guard Rio Adams becomes the latest Jayhawk to show off his dancing skills, this time on the KU bench.
This clip comes a month after Ben McLemore received national attention for his dance moves in the KU locker room following a road win over Ohio State.
Anyone have an official term for the dance move Adams is doing? I only know that I am not capable of it.
• SI.com's Luke Winn released his weekly Power Ratings, and the Jayhawks have moved to the No. 1 spot.
In the column, Winn updates his Jeff Withey shot-block chart, commenting that according to his logs, KU has retained possession on 72 percent of the senior's blocks. That's an astounding number if you think about it.
Winn wasn't the only national writer to bump KU up to No. 1, as FoxSports.com's Ken Davis also has the Jayhawks in the top spot (and both of these rankings came out before Duke's loss Wednesday night.
• In a chat with readers, ESPN.com's Chad Ford calls McLemore the best player I've watched in college this season."
Ford's response comes about one-fifth of the way down the page. When he's asked if McLemore has a chance to go No. 1 overall, Ford responds, in part, by saying:
I do. In fact he's strongly trending in that direction. I spoke with five different GMs this week who told me they'd take him No. 1.
• I retweeted this Wednesday (shameless plug: @jessenewell), but if you haven't seen Thomas Heying's photo of KSU's Thomas Gipson putting Withey in a chokehold during Tuesday's game from the Wichita Eagle, then it's definitely worth checking out.
• ESPN.com's Jason King had a short video interview with KU guard Elijah Johnson following the KSU victory. Johnson says the win meant a lot because he didn't want to finish with a career .500 record at Bramlage Coliseum.
• KU basketball signee Wayne Selden shows off his athleticism with a couple of exhibition dunks to start this video. Twice, Selden throws the ball off the gym wall, lets it bounce once, then elevates to slam it in.
• Here's a first-person account of Hall of Fame basketball coach Tex Winter meeting with the KU basketball team on Tuesday morning from Larry Weigel in the Manhattan Mercury.
• Kansas State forward Shane Southwell had an interesting way of describing Withey, telling FoxSports.com's Sean Keeler, "He's like the best goalie in the country."
• Ken Pomeroy wrote a well-thought-out blog post Thursday morning about the importance of margin of victory and why Butler coach Brad Stevens didn't go crazy after his team pulled off a remarkable, last-second comeback against Gonzaga last week.
I really liked this quote from Pomeroy:
It would be in any analyst’s best interest to understand this and not parrot the cliché that said team (not naming names!) just “knows how to win”. The teams that truly know how to win are the ones that have a cushion at the end of the game. They aren’t at the mercy of wacky officiating, whimsical replay reviews, or half-court heaves.
It's something to keep in mind with KU this year (and the reason the Jayhawks are still seventh in the KenPom statistical rankings). While it's beneficial to have a team play well in tight-game situations, the best teams are the ones that can build up enough of a lead (especially against marginal competition ... I'm looking at you, Texas) to avoid those scenarios altogether.
• And finally, CBSsports.com senior blogger Matt Norlander looks at the success of the three Div. I teams in the state of Kansas. Norlander reported before Tuesday's games that during the last 3 1/2 seasons, KU, KSU and Wichita State were a combined 303-72 — good for an 81-percent winning percentage.
A few links while wondering if there's a better nickname out there for the Kansas-Kansas State rivalry than Sunflower Showdown, which doesn't seem to capture the intensity of the contests (doesn't a sunflower invoke warm, fuzzy images?). Maybe Clash on the Kaw? Any other good ones?
• I saw this was posted a few days ago on YouTube on the official YouTube station of K-State Athletics, so I can only assume this will be the pregame video before the KU-KSU game Tuesday night in Manhattan.
KSU's video folks were able to put a lot of highlights against KU in there, including a Bill Walker swinging elbow that catches Mario Chalmers' face at the 32-second mark (that may or may not be considered a highlight, depending on your affiliation).
The video follows the same basic theme as KU's, highlighting with bold numbers some of the school's best men's basketball statistics.
To compare, here's KU's pregame video against Baylor (skip ahead to the 1:14 mark for the start).
• The Kansas City Star's Blair Kerkhoff reported that following Kansas State's 69-60 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday, KSU guard Rodney McGruder received some encouragement in the tunnel from an unlikely source.
"Good luck, keep it going, go get those 'Hawks,” is what OU coach Lon Kruger — a former player and coach at KSU — told McGruder.
Kruger didn't offer up his thoughts on the KU-KSU matchup after the game, according to Kerkhoff, as the Sooners have yet to play the Jayhawks this season.
• Kellis Robinett of the Wichita Eagle reports that KSU athletic director John Currie, when he was interviewing Bruce Weber for KSU's coaching opening, asked Weber directly if he really wanted to come to Manhattan to have to go up against KU coach Bill Self — the man he replaced at Illinois.
• The Manhattan Mercury's Joel Jellison talks more about KSU's success running a hybrid-forward position, putting undersized Shane Southwell and Nino Williams at the 4 spot. This switch definitely has helped Southwell, whose offensive struggles last year allowed KU to run a Triangle-and-Two defense while leaving him unguarded. The junior Southwell has made 16 of 33 threes this year (49 percent).
• Earlier this week, KU was listed as one of five "Prime Time Contenders" to make the Final Four by SI.com's Luke Winn. To come to this conclusion, Winn compared this year's efficiency numbers with those of past teams that have made deep tournament runs. The fact that KU is balanced (top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency) makes it a team that is more likely to advance to later rounds.
• KU is a No. 1 seed in the latest bracketology from CBSsports.com's Jerry Palm.
• Here's a final look at video highlights from KU's victory over Texas on Saturday from KU Athletics.
• KU signee Wayne Selden scored 24 points with six three-pointers and seven rebounds to help his Tilton School team to a 71-67 victory Sunday, according to Masslive.com.
• The Kansas City Star's Rustin Dodd had a nice feature over the weekend on KU women's basketball standout Angel Goodrich and her journey to KU from the state of Oklahoma and Sequoyah High School.
• Former KU guard Josh Selby was traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
• And finally, an insightful piece from the New York Times on former KU cornerback Aqib Talib. There are some great anecdotes from former KU coach Mark Mangino and current linebackers coach Clint Bowen about Talib, including this one from Judy Battista in the lede:
The Kansas football program had something called Aqib Rules, and they were simple: when Aqib Talib, their highly regarded cornerback, did something stupid — a not infrequent occurrence early on in an all-American career — his teammates could put a free body shot on him.
I'm guessing those kinds of rules don't fly in the NFL.