Entries from blogs tagged with “jayhawks”

Former KU players, current Jayhawks congratulate Josh Jackson and Frank Mason on NBA Draft selections

When Josh Jackson was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the No. 4 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday, he continued a long tradition of Kansas players being selected in the lottery — the eighth time in 11 years.

There was still plenty of excitement from people around the KU program when Jackson was picked and Frank Mason III followed in the second round — 34th overall to the Sacramento Kings.

Many current and former KU players expressed their joy for Jackson and Mason on social media during the draft:

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K.J. Lawson issues apology for vulgar video clip toward former coach Tubby Smith

After a vulgar Snapchat video circulated through social media Thursday, incoming Kansas transfer K.J. Lawson issued an apology through Twitter.

Lawson, a 6-foot-7 forward, made disparaging comments toward Memphis head coach Tubby Smith, his former coach, in a three-second clip. Lawson and his older brother, Dedric, announced their intention to transfer to play for the Jayhawks earlier this week.

“This is what we do when we leave Tubby,” Lawson said on the undated video, “(expletive) Tubby.”

Lawson expressed his dissatisfaction with his former school when he announced his intention to transfer earlier this month. Lawson quoted a song from Drake, which mentioned, “two middle fingers as I make an exit,” in a tweet that he later deleted.

“On behalf of my family and myself I would like to issue an apology to Coach Tubby Smith and Tiger Nation,” Lawson wrote Thursday night. “Despite my frustrations of this past year, my words and actions at the time were immature, thoughtless, and not becoming of who I am as a person or how my family raised me. Memphis will forever be my home and I wish Coach Tubby Smith and Tiger Nation the best moving forward.”

Lawson captioned his apologetic tweet: “This momentary (indiscretion) can jeopardize the most important thing in my life. I apologize for my inexcusable behavior.”

Lawson averaged 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Tigers this season in 33.7 minutes per game, earning American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year honors.

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Jayhawks — and one high-profile coach — congratulate Mason on national player of the year awards

Another day, another national player of the year award for Kansas senior point guard Frank Mason III.

Well, make that two awards Sunday.

After one of the best individual seasons in program history, Mason was named the Naismith Trophy Winner and the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ player of the year on Sunday in Arizona.

Mason, the consensus national player of the year, has swept all of the major awards for national player of the year ahead of Friday's Wooden Award announcement.

Several of Mason’s teammates — and Villanova coach Jay Wright — congratulated him on a successful award season through social media:

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Former players, current Jayhawks react to Bill Self’s induction into the Hall of Fame

A first-time member of the Hall of Fame ballot, Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self received plenty of support leading up to Saturday’s announcement that he was a part of the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

Many opposing coaches throughout the season expressed their appreciation for Self’s accomplishments, which includes 13 straight Big 12 titles, seven trips to the Elite Eight in 14 seasons at Kansas, two Final Fours and a national title in 2008. 


Then there were all of the former players, administrators, analysts and others who offered their endorsements for one of the newest members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

After Saturday's announcement, several current players, former players and others sent a message of support to Self through social media:

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Our Series on Bill Self's Journey to the Hall of Fame

• Hall of Fame Material Part I: Larry Brown ‘in awe’ of Bill Self’s stellar run at Kansas

• Hall of Fame Material Part II: Daughter Lauren most impressed by Bill Self’s ability to mentor

• Hall of Fame Material Part III: Frank Mason III knew right away that Bill Self was the coach for him

• Hall of Fame Material Part IV: Doc Sadler says Bill Self same (sarcastic) guy as the day he met him

• Hall of Fame Material Part V: Bill Self’s style, passion make Danny Manning a proud alum

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Jayhawks old and new react to KU’s 13th consecutive Big 12 title

The Jayhawks' 13-straight Big 12 conference trophies are lined up along the court, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks' 13-straight Big 12 conference trophies are lined up along the court, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Kansas versus TCU didn’t exactly stand out on the college basketball schedule Wednesday night in terms of mass appeal, what with Duke facing Syracuse and North Carolina tangling with Louisville. But there’s something about a team winning its league 13 seasons in a row that will capture any college basketball observer’s attention.

Though some might have considered it a foregone conclusion, the Jayhawks officially became Big 12 champions yet again, sealing at least a share of the title with an 87-68 win over the Horned Frogs, allowing them to hoist a league championship trophy at Allen Fieldhouse afterward.

KU’s latest hardware put the program in a tie with the UCLA teams of the 1960s and ’70s for most consecutive conference championships in a row and set off reactions from current and former KU players on social media platforms.

National analysts, too, weighed in on the Jayhawks’ long run of dominance. Below are some of the highlights from the aftermath.

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What a birthday man 🙏🏾 BLESSED #13Straight

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✨👌🏾😎 13 in a row 🏆 #KUCMB #RCJH

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✨👌🏾😎 13 in a row 🏆 #KUCMB #RCJH by josh_j11

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By the Numbers: Kansas 87, TCU 68.

By the Numbers: Kansas 87, TCU 68.

— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.


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Norman prep PG Trae Young announces he’ll play for Oklahoma

Kansas recruit Trae Young (11) pushes the ball up the court during the KC Hardwood Classic Friday at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park.

Kansas recruit Trae Young (11) pushes the ball up the court during the KC Hardwood Classic Friday at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park. by John Young

A five-star point guard from the heart of Big 12 country, Norman North High (Okla.) senior Trae Young made his college basketball destination official Thursday just after noon.

A dynamic 6-foot-2, 170-pound play-maker who is ranked the 14th-best prospect nationally in the Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, Young’s options came down to choosing between the University of Kansas and Oklahoma.

Play for Bill Self at Allen Fieldhouse? Or stay at home and star in your own backyard for Lon Kruger at OU?

Ultimately, Young went with the Sooners.

It had to be a difficult, yet exciting, decision for Young, as he weighed the pros and cons of his options.

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Young’s choice was big news not just in Lawrence, but also in his home state, where The Oklahoman covered his announcement live.

Watch Young's press conference from the NewsOK.com live feed below.

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‘Anything is possible!’: Jayhawks, college basketball world react to KU’s wild rally and OT win

Kansas head coach Bill Self celebrates with Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) following the Jayhawks' 84-80 overtime win against West Virginia, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self celebrates with Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) following the Jayhawks' 84-80 overtime win against West Virginia, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

No one who stuck around for the entirety of the Kansas Jayhawks’ Big Monday showdown versus West Virginia could quite believe what they witnessed.

The No. 9-ranked Mountaineers let a 14-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in the second half slip from their grasps and the No. 3 Jayhawks happily took advantage, setting up an epic rally and 84-80 overtime victory that seemed just about impossible minutes earlier.

From Super Bowl comparisons, to bewilderment regarding the Mountaineers’ collapse, to giving KU credit for pulling it off, the college basketball world had plenty to say about the Kansas comeback.

Some famous Jayhawks who used to call Lawrence home had to hop on Twitter to let their followers and fans know about the victory, while a number of college basketball media members chimed in, as well.

Even a few of the players who helped pull off the unlikely victory shared some of their thoughts.

Below are the social media highlights from the aftermath of an absurd night at Allen Fieldhouse.

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PULL UP ON HIS BLOCK 🤷🏾‍♂️

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Current, former and future players react to KU’s win at Kentucky

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) gives some of his family members a hug following the Jayhawks' 79-73 win over Kentucky, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) gives some of his family members a hug following the Jayhawks' 79-73 win over Kentucky, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. by Nick Krug

Bill Self will tell you his Kansas basketball team’s game at Kentucky Saturday night doesn’t mean as much as the Big 12 games against West Virginia and Baylor that bookend it. But the KU coach also realizes how important a showcase matchup such as KU versus UK is to fans and the people who follow college basketball closely.

As you might have guessed, when the Jayhawks toppled Kentucky Saturday night at Rupp Arena, it sent KU fans, and even some former and future players, into a frenzy on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Analysts and national journalists, too, had plenty of praise to send KU’s was following an impressive road victory.

Below are some of the highlight reactions to the Jayhawks’ win in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, including some from the men who made it happen.

M O O D 😝💪🏾 #JAYHAWKNATIONBABY

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Frank Mason’s case for national player of year gaining momentum

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) looks back to the cameras after hitting a three over UMKC guard Dashawn King (1) during the first half, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) looks back to the cameras after hitting a three over UMKC guard Dashawn King (1) during the first half, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Nearly every time Kansas basketball coach Bill Self fields questions from the media, someone will bring up Jayhawks senior point guard Frank Mason III and the impact he has made this season.

“How good has Frank been?”

“What has Mason meant to your team?”

“Did you think when you were recruiting him Frank would turn out this good?”

Without hesitation, Self will highlight Mason’s toughness, driving, shooting, passing, rebounding, etc., and share his opinion that his senior point guard has been as good as any player in the country at this juncture.

Self isn’t the type to campaign for his players to win national awards, but such statements are his way of doing so in a low-key fashion. When Self talks, people around the college basketball world listen.

Anyone who has watched No. 2 Kansas (17-1 overall, 6-0 Big 12) play this year knows where the team would be without Mason, who is averaging a team-best 20.3 points per game, while also contributing 5.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds. The 5-foot-11 senior from Petersburg, Virginia, is even shooting 52.4% from the field and connecting more often from 3-point range, where he is 42-for-78 (53.8%).

As KU keeps on winning and Mason continues to carry the team, it boosts his case for national player of the year honors. At CBSSports.com, Gary Parrish ranked the top 25 candidates for the ultimate individual award gave Mason No. 1 billing, edging out the heart and soul of defending national champion Villanova, senior guard Josh Hart.

Neither Mason nor Hart are going to be NBA lottery picks the way past Wooden Award winners such as Buddy Hield, Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin were, but both are integral parts of two of the nation’s best teams, so Parrish ranks them ahead of UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball, who many expect to have a long, successful NBA career.

As can be found on sports-reference.com, Hart’s player efficiency rating of 29.5 is one of the best in the country, ranking sixth overall. But Mason isn’t too far behind, with a PER of 26.1 (27th nationally).

Villanova guard Josh Hart (3) hangs on the rim before Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Frank Mason III (0) after a dunk during the first half, Saturday, March 26, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Villanova guard Josh Hart (3) hangs on the rim before Kansas forward Perry Ellis (34) and guard Frank Mason III (0) after a dunk during the first half, Saturday, March 26, 2016 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. by Nick Krug

Likewise, the debate between Hart and Mason, Parrish wrote, is close:

“I’ve had Josh Hart atop these Player of the Year rankings, and it's reasonable to keep the Villanova senior there. He's still fabulous and leading a team ranked No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one). But Frank Mason has never been far behind. And he's playing better than Hart lately. So now the Kansas senior is the headliner.”

The top 10 players in the running, according to Parrish, also includes one of Mason’s teammates, freshman Josh Jackson.

No. 1: Frank Mason III, Kansas

No. 2: Josh Hart, Villanova

No. 3: Lonzo Ball, UCLA

No. 4: Caleb Swanigan, Purdue

No. 5: De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky

No. 6: Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga

No. 7: Johnathan Motley, Baylor

No. 8: TJ Leaf, UCLA

No. 9: Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame

No. 10: Josh Jackson, Kansas

— See the complete list: KU’s Frank Mason moves to No. 1

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Frank Mason jumps from fourth option to potential All-American

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) slaps hands with a gathering of Jayhawk fans following their 81-70 win over Oklahoma on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) slaps hands with a gathering of Jayhawk fans following their 81-70 win over Oklahoma on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. by Nick Krug

Kansas senior point guard Frank Mason III has put himself on the shortlist of candidates for national player of the year.

He's playing in one of the best stretches of his career, averaging 22.8 points, 5 assists and 3.5 rebounds through his first four Big 12 games. He's shooting 12-of-15 from behind the 3-point line in the past three games.

But there was a time when Mason wasn't considered to be one of the top players in the country. Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn wrote about Mason and Devonte' Graham this week, and one part of his story includes KU head coach Bill Self and assistant Kurtis Townsend discussing Mason's recruitment.

Self: “When Frank came out, was that the same year we were recruiting Cat Barber and Chris Jones?”

Townsend: “And Demetrius Jackson. Frank was kind of our fourth option.”

Self: “That left us really kind of—”

Townsend: “Scrambling. Then we were recruiting Jordan McLaughlin [for the following class], who ended up canceling our visit and committing to USC. But I went to see him [at the Adidas Fab 48] in Vegas; Frank was playing against him, and Frank kicked his ass.... I knew Frank’s AAU coach, Ty White, so I called him and asked, ‘Does that little dude with the braids play like that all the time?’ He said, ‘Every day, Coach. He don’t know no better.’ ... I went and saw him twice more, and each time he was good.”

Of course, back then, not many people predicted Mason would potentially outplay all of the players that spurned the Jayhawks during recruiting. Mason, a former Towson commit, was ranked much lower than the others.

Cat Barber averaged 23.5 points per game at North Carolina State last season before declaring for the NBA draft. Demetrius Jackson posted averages of 15.8 points and 4.7 assists at Notre Dame last year, also declaring for the draft.

Chris Jones ended up at Louisville, averaging 13.7 points and 3.6 assists during his senior season in 2014-15, while Jordan McLaughlin is averaging 14.5 points and 5.1 assists this year at USC.

Actually, in our KUsports.com archives, Mason's commitment wasn't met with a lot of joy. One commenter compared him to Royce Woolridge, who transferred after one season. Others preferred Karviar Shepherd, who committed to TCU and averages 5.9 points in his senior season, or Roddy Peters (played one season at Maryland and one season at South Florida).

When Self was asked last week how much improvement he's seen in Mason over the years, he responded: “He’s grown from being a guy who we thought could impact our program and be a good player for us in time to, in my opinion, a guy who has an unbelievable chance to be a first-team All-American, so that shows you the growth."

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Former Self stars congratulate coach on 600th victory

In case you haven't seen it, here's that video that played last night with 15 former Bill Self players (including 11 Jayhawks) congratulating him on win No. 600.

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KU’s upset win over Texas sends shockwaves across the globe, Twitterverse

Everybody loves to root for the underdog and when the Kansas Jayhawks forced overtime and earned an eventual 24-21 win over Texas, it captured the attention of college football fans everywhere.

As expected, KU's first victory over Texas since 1938 sent shockwaves across the nation — and the globe. Famous Korean Kansas City Royals fan Sungwoo Lee confirmed the Jayhawks' win made headlines on Korea's international channel.

Then, of course, former KU players, athletes from other sports and many others shared their excitement across Twitter. Fans stormed the field, eventually tore one of the goal posts down and carried it out of the stadium to, presumably, Potter Lake.

Below are some of the many social media highlights that accompanied KU's first Big 12 win of the season.

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Frank Mason’s game winner vs. Duke, up close and personal

If you're like most Kansas basketball fans today, you just cannot get enough of last night's victory over No. 1 Duke.

Whether that means you've been surfing the web to read as much as you can about the 77-75 victory — thanks, by the way! — or you've been on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and anywhere else you can think of to view imagines of Frank Mason's thrilling game-winning shot, the aftermath of that moment or any other images of the game, your day likely has included you smiling a little bigger, puffing your chest out a little farther and perhaps even reaching out to those Duke fans you know (and sometimes even love) to tell them "good game" or some other version of that thought.

But if you still haven't got enough of the shot — and what a great, clutch shot it was — take a look at this video, filmed at courtside, of the final moments of Tuesday's game and Mason's terrific game winner.

It's no doubt the biggest shot of Mason's career to date and it came on the biggest and brightest stage college basketball possibly can have in mid-November.

One of the great things about Mason being the one who hit the shot is that the Jayhawks run absolutely no risk of the moment going to his head. Mason on Friday in the home opener against Siena is going to be the same player he was on Monday morning, Tuesday at halftime or when Duke hit the three-pointer to tie the game — an ultra-competitive, fighter who is willing to do anything necessary to help his team win.

If that means he takes the shot, he'll take it. If that means passing the ball, playing D or finding a way to make a big steal, you can bet Mason is going to do whatever he can to get the job done. It doesn't mean he's always going to succeed, but few Jayhawks in recent memory have been as willing to get dirty and lay it on the line like Mason and that's what makes Tuesday's game winner such a big deal. Because of it, Mason is finally getting his due on the national scene.

Enough about all of that, though, let's get you to the awesome video of the big shot.

Special props to those of you who watch it enough times to catch a few glimpses of KUsports.com photographer Nick Krug right there in the thick of the celebration.

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College basketball Twitterverse reacts to KU win — and a Blue Devil loses a bet

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) is hoisted up by teammate Josh Jackson as he is congratulated by center Udoka Azubuike and forward Dwight Coleby after Mason hit the game-winning shot to beat Duke 77-75 during the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) is hoisted up by teammate Josh Jackson as he is congratulated by center Udoka Azubuike and forward Dwight Coleby after Mason hit the game-winning shot to beat Duke 77-75 during the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York. by Nick Krug

When a team such as Duke squares off with a team the likes of Kansas, the entire college basketball universe tunes in to see what happens.

Such was the case Tuesday night, when Bill Self’s No. 7-ranked Jayhawks battled Mike Krzyzewski’s No. 1 Blue Devils at the Champions Classic, inside Madison Square Garden.

KU’s victory over Duke, as you’d expect, set off a flurry of reaction all over social media — particularly from those with Kansas ties, after they watched Frank Mason hit a clutch, game-winning jumper.

From former Mason teammates singing his praises, to a former Duke star losing a bet, to media and analysts weighing in on the significance of the Kansas win, there was plenty to digest on Twitter.

Below are some of the many social media highlights that accompanied the memorable regular-season classic.

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By the Numbers: Kansas 77, Duke 75

By the Numbers: Kansas 77, Duke 75

— See what people were saying about KU's matchup against Duke during KUsports.com’s live coverage.


More news and notes from the win against Duke


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Huggins: Key to unseating KU’s conference streak is winning at Allen Fieldhouse

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) holds up his share of the net as Jayhawks celebrate locking up a share of their twelfth-straight Big 12 title following their 67-58 win over the Red Raiders, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) holds up his share of the net as Jayhawks celebrate locking up a share of their twelfth-straight Big 12 title following their 67-58 win over the Red Raiders, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KANSAS CITY, MO. — After finishing two games behind Kansas in the Big 12 conference standings last year, West Virginia men's basketball coach Bob Huggins said the key to unseating KU at the top of the conference is learning to win at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks own a 206-9 record at home under coach Bill Self, including only two league losses since 2007. Obviously, no other team in the Big 12 enjoys the same level of success on its home floor.

"People have to go into Allen Fieldhouse and win once in a while," Huggins said. "Because the rest of us all lose at home, and I think if you look at it, that's without a question, the difference. That has a lot to do with the job that Bill does. Bill does a great job. And they have really good players."

On a 12-year conference title streak, the Jayhawks are one season shy of tying the longest consecutive conference title streak, set by UCLA in 1967-79.

"Kansas' dominance is really -- it comes down to three things," Huggins said, "they've got a great coach, they've got great players, and they never lose at home. Until we start beating them at home -- and we had chances, we had chances. We missed free throws and a lot of crazy things happened at Allen Fieldhouse now. So we end up losing. If we had beaten them, I think somebody else would have had a chance to maybe tie for the league championship or whatever."

Despite KU's long streak at the top of the conference, Huggins disagrees with people that believe it hurts the image of the Big 12 to have one team with a monopoly on conference titles.

"I don't know why that would taint anything, you know what I'm saying?" Huggins said. "Because they've been one of the top three or four teams in the country for how many years, and that's not going to change. They can be in whatever league you want to put them in and they're still going to be. Don't listen to those people."

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Jamie Dixon: Bill Self is ‘future Hall of Famer’

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) celebrates next to Kansas head coach Bill Self following the Jayhawks' 90-84 win, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) celebrates next to Kansas head coach Bill Self following the Jayhawks' 90-84 win, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

KANSAS CITY, MO. — After coaching for 13 seasons at Pittsburgh, TCU men's basketball coach Jamie Dixon enters the Big 12 Conference with some appreciation for Bill Self and the Kansas program.

Speaking at Big 12 Media Day for the first time, Dixon compared Self to some of the coaching giants in the industry and said he's on his way to earning a plaque in the basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

"We've gone against some pretty good coaches over the years and Hall of Famers. He's obviously a future Hall of Famer if not already," Dixon said of Self. "And, yeah, I mean, what they've done is inconceivable. No one could have predicted it, and it's still hard to believe."

Coaching in the ACC, Dixon matched up against some of the giants of the industry throughout the season. But he's amazed by the Jayhawks' 12-year reign at the top of the Big 12.

"There's nothing like this. I mean, to win it 12 years in a row and what Kansas has done, it's unheard of," Dixon said. "I guess it hasn't been done since UCLA, I guess is what they said. And that was obviously a different time. So, yeah, it is different in that regard. But probably stands out even more when you get the picks for the year, and the 12, 13th time, and they're claiming them the champion in the 13th year already."

The Horned Frogs are ranked last in the Big 12 coaches' preseason poll, but Dixon said it's ultimately up to the rest of the conference to unseat the Jayhawks from their spot at the top of the conference.

"I was talking to somebody earlier, it's unbelievable," Dixon said of the streak. "Obviously that was the thing about the Big East. There was no clear-cut team year-in, and year-out. We had the best record in the conference over a ten-year span. But we weren't looked at as the leader of the conference.

"There's no question about it. I guess it's up to the other nine to do something about it."

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Sprint Center is ‘Hilton South’ for Iowa State

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) gets to the bucket against Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) during the first  half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Iowa State guard Monte Morris (11) gets to the bucket against Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) during the first half, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. by Nick Krug

KANSAS CITY, MO. — Speaking at Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday at Sprint Center, Iowa State men's basketball coach Steve Prohm addressed his team's play in Kansas City, winners of two of the past three Big 12 tournament titles.

"What I think the number one factor coming over here is being just three hours from here, that Cyclone Nation really makes this — Hilton South is what they call it, it's an unbelievable atmosphere here," Prohm said. "I think that obviously goes a long way in winning games in this arena."

The Cyclones, coming off a 23-12 season, were ranked fourth in the Big 12 coaches' preseason poll behind Kansas, West Virginia and Texas. KU coach Bill Self gave the Cyclones his first-place vote.

Iowa State split the season series with the Jayhawks last year, winning in Ames, 85-72. When the two schools played again in the regular-season finale, the Jayhawks won, 85-78.

"I thought both games were really well played," Prohm said. "We were fortunate to beat them at our place. Then we went to their place last game of the regular season and actually really played well. I think we led by three with three minutes to go. But when you're playing Kansas, you're playing elite teams, you have to make tough plays down the stretch and you have to finish games. We weren't able to do it up there this past season."

Iowa State senior Monté Morris was picked as the conference's preseason Player of the Year. The dynamic point guard is the top returning scorer in the league after averaging 13.8 points per game, adding a league-leading 6.9 assists per game last year.

But of course, Prohm wants the Cyclones to contend for a Big 12 title and work their way to the level of success that is common at Kansas.

"Obviously Kansas is the standard, like I touched on, and our goal is to continue to put ourselves in a position to challenge them," Prohm said.

"But Allen Fieldhouse, Hilton Coliseum, there's probably, like I said, not five better places to play college basketball."

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Aqib Talib comments on Donald Trump and ‘locker room talk’

Denver Broncos’ Aqib Talib (21) celebrates during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Denver Broncos’ Aqib Talib (21) celebrates during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

One of the top defensive backs in the NFL, former Kansas football star Aqib Talib has once again made headlines for the wrong reasons this week.

The ninth-year corner, who already has three interceptions and a touchdown return through five games this season for defending Super Bowl champion Denver, reportedly shot himself in the right leg this summer.

On Tuesday, the 30-year-old Talib told Denver’s 9News Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump “may fit in” in the Broncos’ locker room. Talib’s comments came days after an old recording emerged of Trump using vulgar language while denigrating women.

Talib played at Kansas from 2005 to 2007 and ranks second all-time in program history, with 13 career interceptions (Ray Evans, who played in the 1940s, is first, with 17).

Watch the Talib clip below.

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Wednesday’s KU-K-State volleyball showdown to be televised by ESPNU

Junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon prepares to spike the ball over the net against Texas Tech.

Junior outside hitter Madison Rigdon prepares to spike the ball over the net against Texas Tech. by Kyle Babson/Special to the Journal-World

The Kansas women's volleyball team, ranked No. 6 in the country with a 15-2 record, will play host to Sunflower State rival Kansas State at 6 p.m. tonight at Horejsi Family Athletics Center.

If you're like most Kansas fans in the area, getting a ticket for the Jayhawks' sold-out, always-wild home venue will be next to impossible. But that doesn't mean you can't see the action.

The Jayhawks, whose two losses this season have come to No. 4 Texas, in Austin, and No. 22 Purdue, also on the road, will play this one on national television on ESPNU.

The Jayhawks have been ranked in the Top 25 of the AVCA poll for a program-record 22-consecutive weeks dating back to last season, including 18-consecutive times in the Top 10. KU finished last season ranked No. 4 after advancing to the Final Four.

Kansas State leads the all-time series with Kansas, 61-42, but the Jayhawks have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Wildcats, including a series sweep last season and a pair of wins over ranked K-State teams in 2012.

Tonight's showdown features one of the top defensive teams in the conference — KU leads the Big 12 in four defensive categories — against one of the most potent offenses.

It also features yet another opportunity for the Jayhawks to lay it on the line in honor of academic advisor Scott "Scooter" Ward who remains in the hospital after surgery to repair a tear in his aorta last Friday. Updates from those who have made the trip to visit with Ward have been increasingly encouraging and doctors continue to be pleased and surprised by his progress during the recovery process.

KU volleyball coach Ray Bechard recently penned the following letter to express what Ward means to the program:

It is seldom in life that you come across someone as inspirational as our academic counselor, Scott "Scooter" Ward.

He has faced so much adversity in his own life, but never do you hear him complain about his own circumstance. Rather than do that, he puts all of his energy into helping others and creating opportunities for the people around him to get better. He has done that for everyone involved in our volleyball program.

As we all became aware of Scooter's (emergency open-heart surgery) situation last Friday and we spent time together processing that, it was clear how every team member felt about him – how important it is to all of us that he gets a full recovery and what a joy it will be when he returns.

Our team realizes how much he cares about them and how badly he wants them to succeed. He is there for them beyond the academic support level. He is willing to listen and impart words of wisdom. He cares about the individual. He has devoted his entire career to preparing young men and women for life.

It is very difficult to come up with a way to thank a person like that, other than be the best we can be in his absence right now. On his return, hopefully we can continue to be that way. We look forward to that day when he is back with us full-time and supporting us at the level he always has.

Our team will continue to move forward and we will honor his absence by being the type of people and team he would be proud of.

— Ray Bechard

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Late Night 2016: Sights and sounds

With the 32nd annual Late Night in the Phog tonight, the anticipation of the beginning of another Kansas basketball season is at an all-time high.

Led by 14th-year head coach Bill Self, the Jayhawks will open the season, as they always do, with high hopes and lofty goals. A likely Top 3 team heading into the season — which officially begins in Honolulu on Nov. 11 — the Jayhawks will be gunning both for a national title and a record-tying 13th consecutive Big 12 regular season title.

While the quest for both will hold the interest — and nerves — of KU fans for the next several months, few things get the fan base as fired up as Late Night, which offers both an opportunity to see the players in action and be entertained by their personas away from basketball.

"There’s nothing like it," said junior guard Devonte' Graham. "The fans know what recruits are coming from high school. They get all the privileges just to be around here and experience Late Night. Seeing Allen packed is different from just walking in and seeing it empty. You can’t really imagine it but it definitely is a huge impact on recruits.”

With that in mind, here's some of the sights and sounds from Late Night — the unofficial beginning of the KU basketball season...

None by Nick Krug

None by Nick Krug

None by Nick Krug

None by Nick Krug

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Bobby Nightengale

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Matt Tait

None by Benton Smith

-Check back to KUSports.com and this blog for much more coverage of Late Night

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