Entries from blogs tagged with “Jayhawks”

FAQ regarding Kansas AD vacancy

In this file photo from Nov. 8, 2017, University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod, right, and KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger watch the action from the sideline at a KU volleyball game.

In this file photo from Nov. 8, 2017, University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod, right, and KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger watch the action from the sideline at a KU volleyball game. by Nick Krug

The best way to maintain a large pool of interested candidates for a Division I athletic director's job is to keep the names secret. Kansas has done a terrific job of that.

If leaks sprouted, too many candidates would incur the wrath of the trees they shake for money, all the while telling the trees they love their dream jobs.

So that takes care of that question. Other FAQ:

1 - What is your over/under on the naming of KU’s next AD? July 2.

The same people who either don’t know anything about the identities of the leading candidates or say they don’t know so as not to put themselves at risk of getting fired aren’t as tight-lipped about the timetable.

Before the days of the 24/7 news cycle, bad news was saved for Friday afternoons, a tradition that still seems to be in place. Since this presumably will be good news, why not on a Monday?

That week is the same week several point toward, so if it’s not Monday, then later that week. 2 - What’s your over/under on the new AD’s first day on the job?

July 30, a Monday.

3 - Might the new athletic director hire her or his own football coach right off the bat? No. Such things don’t happen in July. The new AD will get the lay of the land first. David Beaty will coach Kansas against Nicholls State, Central Michigan and Rutgers, a fairly easy nonconference schedule, compared to some seasons.

4 - Are there any out-of-work athletic directors who might be interested?

Louisville’s Tom Zurich.

4a - But wasn’t he fired because of the scandals at Louisville?

Yes, but he received a reported $7.2 million (plus tickets to football and basketball games and medical insurance) settlement in a wrongful termination lawsuit. That goes a long way toward putting him back as a candidate for a big job.

Face it, if the feds don’t share the information from their investigation into college basketball with the NCAA and the NCAA doesn’t launch one of its own, it’s the wild, wild West. Plus, the guy has a good track record for hiring football coaches.

5 - Any clue on Sheahon Zenger’s immediate plans?

My guess is that for the next year, his son Jake’s senior year, he will enjoy being a dad, and if he does anything in the way of work, it will be as an assistant football coach at his son’s high school. In the spring, he’ll watch from the stands as Jake closes games for for perennial baseball powerhouse Free State High.

After that, he’ll resume his career, but that's just a guess. A year off won't hurt his ability to land a job.

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Worth asking: Does Billy Preston want to get drafted?

Kansas forward Billy Preston watches during warmups on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center. Preston was held out of Tuesday's contest.

Kansas forward Billy Preston watches during warmups on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at United Center. Preston was held out of Tuesday's contest. by Nick Krug

Following the advice of his agent, Billy Preston scratched at the last minute from the five-on-five portion of the NBA combine.

Considering he never played in a game for Kansas and was hurt after a few games in Bosnia, Preston stood to gain as much as anybody by scrimmaging. Yet, he was told to scratch.

It makes so little sense that it makes me wonder if Preston’s agent wants him to get drafted.

Maybe he figures Preston can get a better deal as a free agent than as a second-round pick with a non-guaranteed contract. That way he can try to figure out which team has the most need for a player of his size and skill set.

Otherwise, scratching just doesn’t make any sense.

Looking at the top 11 listed in the Rivals Class of 2017 recruiting rankings, three players have faded the most: Preston was ranked No. 11 and is projected to go No. 59 by The Athletic.

Mitchell Robinson, who had committed to Western Kentucky but decided to bypass college and spend the year preparing for the draft, was ranked No. 9 and is projected No. 39. Duke point guard Trevon Duval was ranked No. 5 and is projected to go 50th.

The cases of Robinson and Preston show that NBA General Managers give credit to players who show they can handle school, hard coaching and blending in with teammates. General managers didn’t get to see that with Preston and Robinson so it makes picking them a little riskier.

But all it takes is one GM willing to go off what he saw in high school.

A look at the top 11 Class of 2017 prospects ranked by Rivals:

Player School
Rivals rank
The Athletic
mock draft
Michael Porter Jr. Missouri 1 8
Marvin Bagley III Duke 2 2
DeAndre Ayton Arizona 3 1
Mohamed Bamba Texas
4 5
Trevon Duval Duke 5 50
Jaren Jackson Jr. Michigan State 6 4
Wendell Carter Duke 7 7
Collin Sexton
Alabama 8 11
Mitchell Robinson None
9 37
Kevin Knox Kentucky 10 9
Billy Preston Kansas 11 59
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Elijah Jones latest to give KU football Florida flavor

Kansas keeps its football roster a secret, doesn't update the various comings and goings to keep its fan base in the know, so it helps to check out social media for clues.

Good news: Ellsowrth Community College cornerback Elijah Jones retweeted on Tuesday a photo of himself wearing a No. 17 Kansas football jersey on Twitter, which most interpreted as meaning he has cleared all the academic hurdles he needed to clear to join the Kansas secondary.

This is a pretty big deal because I'm told that if he had not had academic ground to make up, Big Ten and SEC schools would have recruited him aggressively.

As it was, Jones made a verbal commitment to UCF, but then backed out after head coach Scott Frost left for Nebraska, his alma mater.

Jones had a pair of two-interception games in his sophomore season at Ellsworth and is a native of Fort Myers, Fla. He'll compete for a starting job with 2017 cornerback starters Hasan Defense and Shakial Taylor, also Floridians. Defense is from Jacksonville, Taylor from Lakeland.

Kansas has done well recruiting former Florida high school players in recent years, some out of junior colleges. Defensive tackle J.J. Holmes, from Chipley, came to KU from Hutchinson Community College. Quarterback Peyton Bender, who played at Washington State and Itawamba CC before coming to KU, played his high school football in Fort Lauderdale. Fellow QB Carter Stanley, a high school recruit and a redshirt junior, is from Vero Beach. Running back Khalil Herbert, another high school recruit and a junior, is from Coral Springs. Incoming freshman Kenny Bastida is from Pompano Beach.

That gives Kansas more players from Florida who arrived here on scholarship than from Kansas.

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Bill Self gives update on Lagerald Vick and Silvio De Sousa

Kansas head coach Bill Self told the media he plans to meet with Lagerald Vick about future plans. In three seasons with the Jayhawks, Vick appeared in 94 games and made 41 starts.

Self also discussed the latest regarding Silvio De Sousa, who played in 20 games for KU this past season. De Sousa been on campus this summer taking classes and working out with the team.

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Bill Self, Quentin Grimes return to Lawrence after winning gold medal

Kansas head coach Bill Self and freshman Quentin Grimes talk to the local media after helping Team USA win the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Grimes was named the event’s most valuable player after he averaged 14.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game, leading USA to a 6-0 record. Grimes recorded 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the 113-74 win against host Canada to capture the gold medal.

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Mario Chalmers proves second round no impediment to NBA success

Blue Team guard Mario Chalmers celebrates after hitting a three to end the half during the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at Free State High School.

Blue Team guard Mario Chalmers celebrates after hitting a three to end the half during the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at Free State High School. by Nick Krug

One of the scariest aspects of sports betting on its way to becoming legal involves "sure things," wagers you absolutely, positively, in no way, shape or form could lose.

For example, if Sprint Center would have had a sports book on March 16, 2008 and offered odds on Mario Chalmers becoming a first-round draft choice, I would emptied my pockets and all the change in my car's cup-holders and put it all on Chalmers.

That was the day Chalmers led Kansas to the Big 12 title by torching Texas for 30 points. He made 8 of 12 3-pointers and dished six assists. Everything about him screamed first-round draft choice. Nothing that happened in the clutch the rest of the season hurt his stock.

Yet, Chalmers spilled into the second round and was chosen with the 34th overall pick. Clearly, there is no accounting for the taste of NBA general managers.

Chalmers was the first of eight Kansas players chosen in the second round during Bill Self's tenure at Kansas. There have been 14 first-round picks.

Getting selected in the first round is a big deal because it guarantees two years of salary. For example, the last pick of the first round this season will be guaranteed about $2.1 million for his first two seasons.

Second-round selections aren't guarantee a nickel, so it's easy for teams to cut them.

Even so, all eight Self second-rounders played in the NBA, none getting much playing time, other than Chalmers and rookie Frank Mason.

Chalmers, an unrestricted free agent after averaging 7.7 points for the Memphis Grizzlies in 66 games, including 10 starts. He has earned $24.7 million in eight NBA seasons and was a starter for two NBA championships won by the Miami Heat.

None of KU's four draft prospects are projected in various mock drafts to be selected in the first round. Devonte' Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Malik Newman and Billy Preston are all candidates to be taken in the second round.

A look at second-round draft choices during Self's tenure at Kansas:

KU Player Year drafted Pick No. NBA points Rookie points
Mario Chalmers 2008 34 5,743 818
Darnell Jackson 2008 52 308 98
Sasha Kaun 2008 56 23 23
Josh Selby 2008 49 83 20
Tyshawn Taylor 2012 41 174 85
Jeff Withey 2013 39
666 190
Cheick Diallo 2016 33 341 87
Frank Mason 2017 34 413 413
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Which Kansas prospect will go first in NBA draft no easy call

Kansas guards Devonte' Graham, left, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) take questions about their seeding following the NCAA tournament selection show on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks will take on Penn in the first round, Thursday, in Wichita.

Kansas guards Devonte' Graham, left, and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) take questions about their seeding following the NCAA tournament selection show on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks will take on Penn in the first round, Thursday, in Wichita. by Nick Krug

I conducted an unscientific poll on Twitter, asking: “You’re an NBA GM with balanced roster, no glaring need. Which #KUbball player do you draft first?”

The results:

1 - Devonte’ Graham (31 percent)

2 - Svi Mykhailiuk (30 percent)

3 - Malik Newman (22 percent)

4 - Billy Preston (17 percent)

Not surprised that it was such a close call. A case could be made for all four.

A look at some measurements from the NBA draft combine:

KU draft prospect
Height
with shoes
Weight Wingspan
Standing
Reach
Birthdate
Devonte' Graham 6-1.5 186.4 6-6.25 8-0 Feb. 22, 1995
Malik Newman 6-3.25 189.2 6-5.5 8-2.5 Feb. 21, 1997
Svi Mykhailiuk 6-7.75 211.6 6-4.75 8-4
June 10, 1997
Billy Preston 6-10.5 222.4 7-2 9-0 Oct. 26, 1997

The pros and cons of each KU prospect:

Graham pros: His personality perfectly suits the position he'll play in the NBA. You want your point guard to be an energetic, unselfish extrovert who enjoys interacting with people and playing the game. He already has NBA 3-point range, as Miami Heat executive Pat Riley witnessed from a court-side seat in the game against Syracuse in Miami. His long arms will help defensively. Graham projects as a reserve and the last thing any organization wants from a bench player is a malcontent who is a high risk to embarrass the organization by getting into off-court trouble. Nothing to worry about with Graham in those areas. He quickly will become a favorite of the community-outreach staff of whatever organization drafts him.

Graham cons: He wasn't a great finisher at the hoop in college and it's way more difficult in the NBA than in college for small players to score at the rim. Some cite his age (he turned 23 in February) as a negative because it means he's closer to his ceiling than younger prospects. That's not as important for guards as big men. Guards arrive in college closer to their ceilings. Plus there isn't a whole lot he needs to get better at. He's as good as his size and athletic ability will allow him to be and just needs to add NBA experience. His slight frame and how it will hold up against the pounding NBA players take is an issue.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) and former Kansas head coach Larry Brown talk on the sidelines on Friday, March 30, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) and former Kansas head coach Larry Brown talk on the sidelines on Friday, March 30, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. by Nick Krug

Newman pros: He has a scorer's mentality, which suits the role that gives him the best shot at establishing himself as an NBA player, which is as a scorer off the bench. His deep range and explosive burst on drives to the hoop give him multiple ways to score. Also, he's a good defensive rebounder for a player his size.

Newman cons: He does not in any way think like a point guard and does not have the ballhandling and passing skills to play the position, so he'll have to make it as a shooting guard. His size shouldn't keep him from playing that position offensively, but becomes problematic at the other end of the floor.

Svi pros: His shooting touch is so soft he has the potential to develop into an instant-offense option off the bench. His already deep range will expand once he becomes stronger and puts in the practice hours. He also sees the floor well and is a skilled passer. The fact that he just turned 21 eight days ago is another plus because he'll add strength naturally as his body matures.

Svi cons: He plays shorter than his height, which limits him as a rebounder and defender. His short arms are partly responsible for that, but he also thinks like a perimeter player, which is a good thing given his skills until it's a bad thing in that it limits his versatility. Chances are slim that he'll ever develop into a starter because teams will target him defensively.

Kansas freshman forward Billy Preston throws down a one-handed dunk in an exhibition game against Pittsburg State on Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas freshman forward Billy Preston throws down a one-handed dunk in an exhibition game against Pittsburg State on Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Preston pros: For a player his size, he shoots and handles the ball extremely well. He also has some explosiveness and should develop into a solid rebounder and reliable finisher on the break. Based on his physical qualities and basketball skills alone, he definitely has the highest ceiling of the four players. No KU player is projected to go in the first round, but if there is a draft-day surprise and one of them does, Preston would be the most likely, even though he also may be the most likely not to be drafted at all. An established team picking late in the first round and not having any glaring needs might want to take a chance on him. He's a loud talent.

Preston cons: Scouts didn't have a chance to see how he would respond to hard coaching because he never played in a real game for Kansas. Fair or unfair, his motor, maturity and unselfishness reportedly became question marks during the McDonald's All-American practices.

Twitter does not allow the creator of a poll to vote, so I couldn't cast one. Had I had the ability to do so, I would have voted for Graham, but not until after giving a lot of serious consideration to Preston.

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NBA mock drafts include four Jayhawks

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14), the MVP for the Midwest Regional, hoists the remainder of the net as the Jayhawks celebrate a trip to the Final Four following their 85-81 overtime victory over Duke on Sunday in Omaha, Neb.

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14), the MVP for the Midwest Regional, hoists the remainder of the net as the Jayhawks celebrate a trip to the Final Four following their 85-81 overtime victory over Duke on Sunday in Omaha, Neb. by Nick Krug

The Athletic, ESPN.com, The Ringer and SI.com all do a nice job with their mock drafts. The four sites agree on two things regarding how KU players will fare in next Thursday night’s draft.

First, they predict that the first round will pass without any Jayhawks hearing their names called.

Second, they all have Malik Newman being drafted. Not even Devonte’ Graham appears on one site's projection. Svi Myhailiuk also did not make the cut in one mock draft and and Billy Preston appears on 2 of 4.

Interestingly, two sites have Newman going to the Lakers.

One guess has Graham going to the Wizards, where he could join Jayhawks Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr. and would compete to become John Wall’s backup.

A look at where four websites have KU’s four prospects going in the upcoming draft:

Player The Ringer SI.com ESPN.com The Athletic
Malik Newman 47 Lakers 53 Thunder 47 Lakers 49 Spurs
Devonte' Graham 44 Wizards Free agent 40 Nets 60 76ers
Svi Mykhailiuk Free agent 59 Suns 57 Thunder 45 Nets
Billy Preston Free agent 60 76ers Free agent 59 Suns
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10th annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic highlights

Check out highlights from the 10th annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic, played Thursday night at Free State High.

Crimson - 128

Drew Gooden 19, Jeff Withey 7, Elijah Johnson 18, Ben McLemore 52, Travis Releford 2, Conner Teahan 5, Sherron Collins 12, Devonte’ Graham 8, Kid from the stands 5.

Blue - 109

Keith Langford 32, Tyrel Reed 16, Mario Chalmers 29, Jamari Traylor 6, Jeff Graves 3, Jeff Hawkins 5, Nick Bradford 9, Clay Young 4, Rex Walters 5.

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Depth at wide receiver thin under David Beaty

Kansas receiver Joshua Stanford (6) pulls in an end zone pass over teammate Kansas wide receiver Chase Harrell (3) during warmups prior to kickoff against Rutgers on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Kansas receiver Joshua Stanford (6) pulls in an end zone pass over teammate Kansas wide receiver Chase Harrell (3) during warmups prior to kickoff against Rutgers on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. by Nick Krug

The once-in-a-lifetime Air Raid show put on by Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans that Kansas head coach David Beaty witnessed as receivers coach for Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M didn't in any way resemble the three years of offensive duds Beaty's teams have plodded through at Kansas.

A porous offensive line and constantly revolving quarterback door tend to share all the blame for the lousy showings. Wide receivers largely have escaped blame and that's probably not fair.

Aside from Steven Sims, KU hasn't developed a productive receiver during the Beaty years, at least not yet. Juniors Evan Fairs and Daylon Charlot have exciting potential, so that could change. So far, though, KU receivers have been worse than so-so.

Beaty used just one scholarship in the most recent recruiting class on a wide receiver and it went to juco Stephon Robinson. He's the 15th wide receiver to take a scholarship from Beaty. Eight went to high school players, four to four-year transfers (Charlot, La Quvionte Gonzalez, Quincy Perdue and Joshua Stanford) and two to jucos (Kerr Johnson and Robinson).

Five of the 15 receivers left the program with eligibility remaining: Gonzalez, Chase Harrell, Travis Jordan, Perdue and Stanford.

Robinson and redshirt freshman Takulve Williams are scheduled to make their KU debuts in the fall and Kenyon Tabor of Derby, perhaps the most talented receiver Beaty has recruited to KU, missed all last season with an injury and was not cleared to participate in spring football.

KU will need better performance from its receivers than it received a year ago.

Sure, better blocking would give quarterbacks more time to find open receivers, but the pass-catchers could help matters by getting open more quickly. Given Beaty's background coaching receivers and the emphasis he puts on the position during recruiting, this figured to be an area of strength, but it hasn't turned out that way. Even when receivers broke open in 2017, they dropped far too many balls.

Of the 15 receivers given scholarships, only two have had a 300-yard receiving season. Steven Sims has had three of them, Fairs one.

A look at 300-yard receiving seasons during Beaty's tenure as head coach:

Receiver Year Rec Yards YPC TD
Steven Sims 2016
72
859 11.9 7
Steven Sims 2017 59 839 14.2 6
LaQuvionte Gonzalez 2016 62 729 11.8 3
Tre' Parmalee 2015 41 599 14.6 3
Steven Sims 2015 30 349 11.6 2
Evan Fairs 2017 24 335 14.0 1
Shakiem Barbel 2016 34 323 9.5 0
Blue: Beaty recruit
Red: Weis recruit Yellow: Beaty recruit
transferred out
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Wayne Selden Jr. after KU scrimmage

Wayne Selden Jr., who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, speaks to the media following a scrimmage at Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Wednesday.

Selden discusses his career and various KU basketball topics.

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Devon Dotson discusses his camp scrimmage experience

KU freshman point guard Devon Dotson talks to the media following a scrimmage at Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Wednesday.

Dotson scored seven points for the red team in a blowout while playing in front of KU fans on campus for the first time.

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KU basketball camp scrimmage highlights

The Kansas men's basketball team competed in a scrimmage with former players at Horejsi Family Athletics Center on Wednesday.

The Red team had little trouble blowing out the Blue team.

Red 80

Sam Cunliffe 9, Udoka Azubuike 14, Dedric Lawson 10, Charlie Moore 26, K.J. Lawson 2, Devon Dotson 7, Mitch Lightfoot 6, Ochai Agbaji 2, Marcus Garrett 4.

Blue 44

Wayne Selden 6, Devonte’ Graham 8, Mario Chalmers 0, Travis Releford 4, Silvio De Sousa 10, Elijah Johnson 5, David McCormack 8, Chris Teahan 3.

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Gary Woodland competing in U.S. Open for eighth time

Dustin Johnson chips onto the second green as Gary Woodland looks on during a practice round for the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Monday, June 11, 2018, in Southampton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Dustin Johnson chips onto the second green as Gary Woodland looks on during a practice round for the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Monday, June 11, 2018, in Southampton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) by Julie Jacobson (AP photographer)

The U.S. Open doesn't randomly group golfers into threesomes when making tee times. Think themes.

For example, the English threesome of Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett and Ian Poulter tees off No. 1 at Shinnecock Hills at 6:51 (Central time). Spaniards Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Rafa Cabrero Bello tee off No. 1 at 12:14 p.m.

Money leader Justin Thomas, Official World Golf Rankings leader Dustin Johnson and TV ratings leader Tiger Woods tee off No. 1 at 12:47 p.m.

So it's never too tough to guess Gary Woodland's playing partners with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Think long ball.

Woodland, who ranks fifth on the PGA tour in driving distance (313.3), ranks third in his threesome in that statistic. Tony Finau (315.3) is second on tour, Luke List (314.6) fourth. They tee off at 12:03 p.m. from the first tee. FS1 and Fox will televise the U.S. Open.

Woodland, who on Super Bowl Sunday won the Phoenix Open for his third tour title, is coming off a slump-busting, tied-for-23rd finish in the Memorial two weeks ago. Knocked out of contention by a blow-up round on Saturday, Woodland shot 69-68-75-67 for the tournament.

The strong showing enabled Woodland to break a streak of five consecutive missed cuts.

This will be Woodland's eight U.S. Open. He missed the cut three times and his best finish, tied for 23rd, came at Congressional in 2011.

A look at how Woodland, 34, stacks up statistically against the leaders in various categories heading into the U.S. Open:

Category Gary Woodland rank PGA tour leader
Official World Golf Ranking 55 Dustin Johnson
2018 PGA Tour money list
32 ($2,011,702) Justin Thomas ($5,764,100)
Vegasinsider.com odds to win 175/1 Dustin Johnson 7/1
Driving distance 5 (313.3) Trey Mullinax (318.4)
Driving accuracy T69 (63.57)
Henrik Stenson (77.9)
Greens in regulation 5 (71.35) Henrik Stenson (75.0)
Scrambling 196 (52.47) Louis Oosthuizen (67.98)
Sand-save pct. 192 (39.84) Phil Mickelson (64.21)
Strokes gained putting 70 Jason Day
Source for stats: PGAtour.com
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Big 12 not as loaded at quarterback

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) carries past UTEP linebacker Kalaii Griffin (7) during an NCAA college football game between UTEP and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) carries past UTEP linebacker Kalaii Griffin (7) during an NCAA college football game between UTEP and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) by Sue Ogrocki (AP photographer)

Most of the improvements made to the Kansas football roster after a recruiting season devoted to bringing on prospects from junior colleges happened on defense, which happens to match up well with the most significant Big 12 departures, which came at quarterback.

Oklahoma State has to replace Mason Rudolph, who started his last 42 games at Oklahoma State and posted outrageously good numbers, also leading in a way that made everyone on the offense better.

Taylor Cornelius, a redshirt senior from Bushland, Texas who has attempted 24 passes during his Oklahoma State career, reportedly had the most impressive spring. A former walk-on, Cornelius is expected to be pushed by Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown, who was not yet with the team in the spring.

TCU will turn to strong-armed scrambler Shawn Robinson, a sophomore, to replace Hill. Robinson has a high ceiling, but lacks experience.

Texas Tech has to repace Nic Shimonek, who threw for 3,963 yards and 33 touchdowns with 10 interceptions last season. Neither junior McLane Carter nor redshirt sophomore Jett Duffey came out of spring football having won the job.

The good news for Kansas: They no longer have to defend Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. The bad news: Mayfield's replacement, Kyler Murray, has Heisman potential too and was the fastest player KU faced in either football or baseball. The Oakland A's selected Murray with the ninth pick of the first round of the baseball draft and he plans to play quarterback for the Sooners.

In last season's 41-3 victory vs. Kansas, Murray completed 3 of 5 passes for 55 yards and rushed three times for 33 yards. As Mayfield's backup last season, Murray completed 18 of 21 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception. That computes to a quarterback rating of 276.5 and 17.1 yards per pass attempt. He also rushed 13 times for 142 yards, an average of 10.9 yards per carry. Sure, most of the numbers were compiled at mop-up time, but his speed and skills translate to prime time.

Murray didn't fare nearly as well as a freshman at Texas A&M, for which he completed 59.5 percent of his passes, averaged 5.7 yards per pass attempt and threw five touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He not only wasn't experienced then, he wasn't surrounded by as many superior athletes.

It's true that the Jayhawks still will face bigger, stronger, quicker offensive linemen than the players they have protecting the quarterback, not to mention bigger, faster receivers than the men covering them, but at least they won't face as much experience at the most important position on the field.

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KU freshman David McCormack a ‘classic big’ who fits today’s modern game

Blue Team center David McCormack pulls back to dunk during a scrimmage on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at the Horejsi Athletic Center. In back is Red Team forward Mitch Lightfoot.

Blue Team center David McCormack pulls back to dunk during a scrimmage on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at the Horejsi Athletic Center. In back is Red Team forward Mitch Lightfoot. by Nick Krug

As basketball has evolved into more of a floor-spacing, 3-point-friendly game over the course of the past several years, an increasing number of big men with frames both large and athletic enough to dominate the paint have relocated to the perimeter with the idea being they will better fit into modern offenses.

Six-foot-10 Kansas freshman David McCormack recognizes why some centers and power forwards want to adopt that style of play. But that’s not who he is.

McCormack prides himself on impacting the game with force on the interior.

“I definitely see myself as a classic big or more old school big,” he said. “I’m not one to tend to step out and shoot 3-pointers constantly or things of those sorts.”

Although it was only a glorified pick-up game, played to entertain the hundreds of KU basketball campers in attendance, McCormack performed with power around the basket in an intrasquad scrimmage this past week.

While scoring 18 points, the freshman from prep powerhouse Oak Hill Academy showed off the following:

• a one-handed jam off a cut from the free-throw line

• a made jumper from beyond the right elbow

• a monster two-handed follow slam off a teammate’s missed 3-pointer

• a dribble into a contested baseline jumper from the right side

• a tomahawk slam to finish a fast break

• another two-handed follow dunk on the offensive glass

• a layup created by a teammate’s penetration

• a third fierce put-back jam, with two hands, upon meeting a teammate’s missed shot at the rim

While he at times resembles a big man from a bygone era, McCormack made it clear his effectiveness isn’t limited to layups, dunks, offensive rebounds and shots in the paint.

“I know I’m a back-to-the-basket big. But I also have the face-up game and mid-range,” he said.

McCormack, now in his second week of summer workouts at KU, began impressing his new coaches immediately. Assistant Kurtis Townsend said the 260-pound newcomer arrived with his body in great shape. A Bill Self assistant for the past 14 seasons, Townsend said McCormack dunks “everything around the basket,” has good hands, tries to block shots and already looks to be a “really good rebounder.”

A player of McCormack’s stature and four-star pedigree would immediately plug into most starting lineups as a freshman. But KU is so deep up front, with Udoka Azubuike, Dedric Lawson, Silvio De Sousa and Mitch Lightfoot, that the McDonald’s All-American figures to begin his college career as a super-sub.

“He plays with a high motor all the time,” Townsend said. “Sometimes he’s a little sped up, but, boy, if that’s your big guy that comes off the bench after those guys are pounding on Dok, I think he’s gonna be terrific.”

During his first week of workouts, pick-up games and one-on-ones — pretty much any time he was on a basketball court — McCormack said he most often found himself matched up with 6-9 sophomore forward De Sousa.

He’s looking forward to both training alongside and battling against every big in KU’s deep frontcourt.

“This is definitely a different experience with so many well-trained and developed bigs,” McCormack said. “Playing against another high-level athlete constantly with Dedric and Dok and Silvio and Mitch just constantly pushes you to be better.”

McCormack’s approach to the game should compel his teammates, as well, while also pleasing KU’s coaches. He’ll be too intense, mature and impactful to warm the cushy bench seats at Allen Fieldhouse as a freshman.

KU’s newest big man would fit in on a basketball court in any era. Just don’t be too surprised when he takes an old-school style into the 2018-19 season.

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All three quarterbacks still have shot to win job

Kansas quarterback Miles Kendrick drops back to throw as he is protected by Kansas offensive lineman Antione Frazier (75) and Kansas offensive lineman Larry Hughes (73) during an open practice on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Miles Kendrick drops back to throw as he is protected by Kansas offensive lineman Antione Frazier (75) and Kansas offensive lineman Larry Hughes (73) during an open practice on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Fourth-year Kansas football coach David Beaty gave no indication during the 15-practice spring session as to the identity of the starting quarterback this coming fall.

A look at Beaty's first three seasons on the job doesn't help narrow it down much because he has had a tendency to change his mind more than once during the course of the season.

In his first season, Beaty used three different starting quarterbacks in a three-week span. Montell Cozart started in Week 2, Deondre Ford started in Week 3, back to Cozart in Week 4 and Ryan Willis in Week 5.

Willis set the Beaty-coached record for most consecutive starts by getting the call in the final eight weeks of the 2015 season, but then Beaty switched back to Cozart to start the 2016 season. In two different stints as the starter, Cozart had seven starts in 2016, Carter Stanley three and Wills two.

So whatever Beaty saw in games Willis that made him start the final eight games of the 2015 season wasn't as powerful as whatever the coach saw during the offseason that made him switch back to Cozart to start the 2016 season.

Peyton Bender, who started eight games last season, Stanley, who started four, and newcomer Miles Kendrick, who spent one semester at junior college out of high school, all have legitimate chances to win the job during the summer.

Year Quarterback
Com-Att TD-Int Pct. Yds. YPA Rating
Starts

Longest
Starting
Streak
2015 Ryan Willis 164-315 8-10 52.1 1,719 5.5 99.9 8 8
2015 Montell Cozart 66-105 2-1 62.9 752 7.2 127.4 4 2
2015 Deondre Ford 11-23 0-1 47.8 132 5.7 87.3 1 1
2016 Cozart 112-191 7-9 58.6 1,075 5.6 108.6 7 4
2016 Carter Stanley 93-156 6-6 59.6 959 6.1 116.3 3 3
2016 Willis
72-117 3-7 61.5 811 6.9 116.3 2 2
2017 Peyton Bender 148-273 10-10 54.2 1,609 5.9 108.5 8 7
2017 Stanley 101-185 4-7 54.6 1,108 6.0 104.5 4 4
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Danny Manning perfectly equipped to aid Bill Self, Team USA at FIBA Americas U18 Championship

FILE — Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning, second from left, talks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball against Tennessee in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

FILE — Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning, second from left, talks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball against Tennessee in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

When USA Basketball announced this past March that University of Kansas coach Bill Self would lead the U18 men’s national team at the FIBA Americas championship it seemed fitting one of his assistants this summer would be former KU All-American and Self staffer Danny Manning.

As two of the most popular men in KU’s storied history reunited at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, in Colorado Springs, Colo., just more than a week ago, Manning, too, thought it felt natural.

“This is like learning to ride a bicycle again,” Manning told Gary R. Blockus in an interview for USA Basketball’s website. “I hopped out there onto the court and felt really comfortable with what coach Self was teaching and how he was teaching it. It felt really good.”

Manning, of course, played a part in both of KU’s two most recent national championships, leading the Jayhawks to the 1988 title as a player and later serving as an assistant on Self’s staff in 2008.

Now heading into his fifth season as Wake Forest’s head coach, Manning credited Self for helping him carve out his post-NBA career path. Upon retiring in 2003, Manning first served as a director of student-athlete development and team manager at KU, before Self made him an assistant.

“I needed to see this business from the bottom up, see how it worked and see the way guys handled things. I just wanted to be a sponge,” Manning said of learning from both Self and longtime KU assistant Norm Roberts.

The U18 USA Basketball men's national team has a distinct KU flavor to it this year. Shown here, from left to right, are KU & Team USA trainer Bill Cowgill, KU & Team USA coach Bill Self, KU freshman Quentin Grimes, former KU standout and current Team USA assistant coach Danny Manning and current KU & Team USA video director Jeremy Case. (Photo courtesy Bart Young/USA Basketball)

The U18 USA Basketball men's national team has a distinct KU flavor to it this year. Shown here, from left to right, are KU & Team USA trainer Bill Cowgill, KU & Team USA coach Bill Self, KU freshman Quentin Grimes, former KU standout and current Team USA assistant coach Danny Manning and current KU & Team USA video director Jeremy Case. (Photo courtesy Bart Young/USA Basketball) by Ellington Support

As Self, Manning and incoming KU freshman guard Quentin Grimes head this weekend into preliminary-round play at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, Manning’s past experiences with USA Basketball figure to be an immeasurable bonus in the team’s preparation.

The same year that he became the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, Manning averaged 11.4 points and 6.0 rebounds a game for the U.S. Olympic Team, which won a bronze medal in 1988. Prior to that, Manning was named USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year in 1987, after posting a team-best 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the U.S. Pan American Games Team, which captured silver. A versatile 6-foot-10 forward in his prime, Manning also won gold medals with the 1985 U.S. Olympic Festival North Team and the 1984 USA R. William Jones Cup Team.

What’s more, this isn’t Manning’s first time representing his country in a coaching capacity. He worked on the U.S. staff that won a bronze medal at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup and served as a court coach at the 2014 USA Men’s U18 National Team training camp.

So Manning enters the upcoming tournament featuring teams from the USA, Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Canada, Chile and Ecuador uniquely knowledgable of all that goes into competing on such a stage.

“For other countries, playing against the USA team is something they look forward to,” Manning said. “I was guilty of overlooking that as a player, and to a certain extent, these kids are guilty as well, because they don’t know any better.”

Manning said he, Self and Dayton head coach Anthony Grant (the other assistant on the USA U18 staff) must make their assemblage of talented, young individuals understand what it means to have those USA letters on their jerseys.

“You’re going to get everybody’s best shot night in, night out, game in, game out,” Manning said. “You’ve got to be prepared for that, and you’ve got to be able to battle through some adversity if things don’t go your way. We’re trying to incorporate these things into the team process.”

Team USA opens the FIBA Americas U18 Championship at 5 p.m. CT, Sunday, versus Dominican Republic, with matchups against other Group A members Panama (Monday) and Puerto Rico (Tuesday) to follow. Tournament play begins Thursday, using the results from group play to seed the bracket.

“I’m looking forward to getting them as best-prepared as we can be,” Manning said, “with the ultimate goal of winning the gold medal.”

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Kansas football off to slow recruiting start

Free State junior running back Jax Dineen tries to break a few tackles against Junction City on Friday at FSHS.

Free State junior running back Jax Dineen tries to break a few tackles against Junction City on Friday at FSHS.

Sheahon Zenger, David Beaty's last line of defense against a 3-33 record, is gone now, so coaches using negative recruiting against Kansas have even more credibility with their lame-duck portrayals of KU's fourth-year coach.

It's not going to be easy for the Kansas coaching staff to line up commitments when the recruits they're pitching, even without it being pointed out by coaches from other schools, can conclude on their own that the identity of the Kansas football coach for 2019 and beyond is a mystery.

Given that, it makes sense for Kansas coaches to zero in on recruits who have grown up in families loyal to KU, high school students who will give it all they have for mom and/or dad's alma mater, no matter the identity of the coach. Most who fit that profile are from the state of Kansas. Mix in some of Tony Hull's Louisiana magic and it's possible to salvage at least the semblance of a a halfway decent recruiting class.

So far, not so good.

Predictably, things are off to a slow start on the recruiting front for the Jayhawks. Lance Legendre, a four-star, dual-threat quarterback from New Orleans, is KU's lone commitment, which means none of the 33 recruits from Texas and three from Kansas who have committed to Big 12 schools are heading to Kansas.

Two of the state of Kansas' top five high school recruits, per Rivals, are undecided. Both — No. 3 Jayden Russell of Aquinas and No. 5 Jax Dineen of Lawrence Free State High — list Kansas among the schools they're considering. Top recruit, defensive end Marcus Hicks of Wichita, committed to Oklahoma. No. 2, quarterback Graham Mertz from Blue Valley North in Overland Park, is headed to Wisconsin. No. 4, quarterback Easton Dean from Altamont, committed to Iowa State.

A look at how Big 12 schools are progressing in football recruiting:

Rivals Rank/School
No.commitments

Geographic breakdown
Kansas recruits
1 - Oklahoma 13
Texas (8), Arizona, California, D.C.
Kansas, North Carolina

DE Marcus Hicks
(Wichita)
13 - Texas 9 Texas (5), Arizona (2), California, Georgia None
22 - TCU 11 Texas (7), Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio None
31 - Iowa State 9

Iowa (3), Missouri (2), Arizona, Kansas,
South Dakota, Texas

QB Easton Dean
(Altamont)
34 - Baylor 7
Texas (6), Mississippi None
45 - Oklahoma State 5 Texas (3), Oklahoma (2)
None
49 - West Virginia 5
Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, West Virginia
None
63 - Texas Tech 3 Texas (2), California None
73 (tie) - Kansas 1 Louisiana None
73 (tie) - Kansas State 2 Kansas, Texas
DT Cooper Beebe
(Kansas City, KS)
Source: Rivals.com
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‘Way more than a shooter’: Svi Mykhailiuk out to prove his NBA worth

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) picks off a pass to Oklahoma State guard Tavarius Shine (5) during the first half, Thursday, March 8, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (10) picks off a pass to Oklahoma State guard Tavarius Shine (5) during the first half, Thursday, March 8, 2018 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Nick Krug

If NBA prospects carried business cards with them to pre-draft workouts, Svi Mykhailiuk’s would include the phrase “not just a shooter” somewhere adjacent to his unique name.

That’s the message the … well, how should we put this … 3-point shooter from Kansas is pushing as he meets with organizations.

Since Mykhailiuk began touring the country to meet with various NBA coaches and front office members, he hasn’t abandoned the skill that makes him a draft-able prospect. The 6-foot-7.75 Ukrainian guard just doesn’t want any potential employer thinking his long-range accuracy is all he has to offer.

Asked earlier this week following a workout in El Segundo, Calif., what he wanted to show the Los Angeles Lakers, Mykhailiuk turned to his go-to pitch.

“That I can do more than shoot, because everybody knows I’m a shooter,” said Mykhailiuk, who connected on 44.4% of his 3-pointers, making 2.9 a game as a KU senior this past season. “I think I can do way more than shoot and I think I showed it today.”

The 20-year-old Ukrainian prospect said he envisions himself as a combo guard once he gets to the NBA.

“I think I can handle the ball. Nobody really knew I can handle the ball,” Mykhailiuk identified as one attribute that might surprise evaluators. “Sometimes I used to play point guard (for Ukraine’s national program), so I think I have ball-handling skills.”

None by Los Angeles Lakers

After testing the draft waters without an agent in 2017, Mykhailiuk worked on his defensive approach upon returning to Kansas for his final season of college basketball.

“I just had to step up,” he told ESPN NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony. “I think I had a bigger role and I needed to embrace it.”

As a shooting guard asked to defend opposing power forwards in KU’s four-guard lineup this past season, Mykhailiuk described how head coach Bill Self basically forced him to take his defensive responsibilities personally and play with more toughness while often trying to stop larger, stronger players.

“Defense is not about physical ability. It’s all about thinking,” Mykhailiuk said. “If you start in the right position it’s going to be easier to defend.”

He’s certain playing four years at KU made him a more complete player entering the professional ranks and Mykhailiuk expects to continue that development in the years to come.

“I’m still 20 years old, and I think I have a lot of room to grow,” he said, while also telling Givony whichever franchise takes him will get “way more than a shooter.”

In the upside-obsessed NBA, Mykhailiuk’s potential to be molded into a more effective player should help his stock. In a new mock draft published by Givony at ESPN.com on Thursday, Mykhailiuk is slotted at No. 56 in the 60-pick draft. The Ringer’s mock draft doesn’t include him, but SI.com predicts Mykhailiuk will go 58th.

“Nobody knows, man.” the former KU guard told reporters in El Segundo, when asked if he had heard about where he might land. “There’s no way to really tell where you’re gonna go, so I guess we’re gonna see.”

The projected late second-rounder experienced his eighth pre-draft workout Wednesday, with Sacramento.

None by Sacramen2 Kings

Although he admitted to feeling “a little” worn out by all the traveling, Mykhailiuk asserted he found the process enjoyable, because there are “no distractions.” Right now, his life is just about basketball and not much else.

That focus helped him at his previous stop, with the Lakers. Near the end of a workout, prospects are put through what L.A. calls its “mentality drill.” A player is asked to dribble up and down the floor and make as many shots as possible in 90 seconds. You get one point for a layup, two for a jumper and three for a shot from beyond the arc.

The Lakers told the soon-to-be 21-year-old after the fact he finished one point shy of the best performance they had seen.

“I didn’t know the record so I kept shooting 3’s,” Mykhailiuk said, grinning. “I should’ve got two layups.”

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