Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”
It's been 10 years since a Kansas football player was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. And there's no telling how long it will be until the Jayhawks achieve that feat again.
But while we wait, why not take a quick trip down Memory Lane with the player who, in 2008, was the first pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 20 overall.
Former KU cornerback Aqib Talib, one of the most electric players and personalities in program history, was the Bucs' selection that year.
And earlier today, which also happens to be the first night of this year's NFL Draft, Talib jumped on Twitter and revisited the moments before the Bucs made that pick with the following video put together by NFL films.
Although Talib spent just the first four-plus seasons of his 10-year-and-counting NFL career with the franchise that drafted him, the all-pro cornerback who turned 32 in February, has had one heck of a career with the three franchises he has played for to this point.
Traded this offseason to the Los Angeles Rams by Denver, with whom he won a Super Bowl in 2016, Talib is set to begin play with his fourth team. And in doing so he will be reunited with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who coordinated the Broncos' defense during that Super Bowl run, and former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, who, in so many ways, has reminded people throughout the league of Talib during the first three years of his career.
Talib enters Year 11 with 34 career interceptions, which includes six pick-sixes during his four seasons in Denver.
Talib's Jayhawks do figure to get some good news this draft season, with defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr., slated to be selected somewhere in the third-to-fifth rounds. And while the experience for Armstrong might not quite live up to the thrill felt by Talib a decade ago, there's no doubt that Armstrong's family, friends, teammates and KU coaches will have a reaction similar to Talib's in that video when the former KU D-End's name is called this weekend.
For the first time since 2012, the Kansas basketball team is back in the Final Four. Headed to San Antonio, a familiar destination for some former Jayhawks, a long list of current and old players took to social media to react to the wild Elite Eight victory.
In an 85-81 slugfest against Duke, in overtime, the Jayhawks punched their ticket to college basketball’s biggest stage.
After two straight seasons of defeats in the Elite Eight, it made the reward of the Final Four that much more special for all of the players in the program, or those who have already gone through it and watched from a distance.
Doubted for most of the season with a lack of depth, lack of size and home losses, the Jayhawks were happy to prove people wrong again with their run through the Midwest Regional. A look at many of the reactions from KU’s victory against Duke, which includes several from Jayhawks who made it possible.
The college basketball world already had reason enough to tune in Saturday and watch the Big 12’s marquee game of the year: No. 8 Kansas at No. 6 Texas Tech.
Throw in what was on the line for the Jayhawks — a share of the Big 12 title, and with it a historic 14th consecutive conference championship — and the result meant much more than another instance of a Bill Self-coached team earning payback for a loss earlier in the season.
KU survived in Lubbock, Texas, 74-72, against a hobbled Keenan Evans and the Red Raiders, inspiring many who follow the team to congratulate and/or celebrate Self and his Jayhawks on eclipsing UCLA’s longstanding record of 13 straight league titles.
The social media responses to the historic moment for Kansas came in from journalists, analysts, current and former KU standouts, and even some players who have yet to — or never will — suit up for the Jayhawks.
Here are some of the highlights from the aftermath of yet another Big 12 championship for Self and Kansas.
When two top-10 teams square off in prime time, the rest of the college basketball universe makes a point to tune in and watch the show.
ESPN’s Big Monday matchup between No. 10 Kansas and No. 6 West Virginia wasn’t always the most visually appealing display, but the Jayhawks’ unlikely rally for a rare “Country Road” win made it a captivating finish.
For the more prominent viewers — some former KU players, others national college basketball writers and analysts — the battle between two of the Big 12’s top teams and the Jayhawks’ first win at WVU Coliseum in five years not only proved entertaining but also telling.
Here are some of the social media reactions to KU’s 71-66 win, from around college basketball, including a couple from Jayhawks who made it possible.
More news and notes from Kansas vs. West Virginia
- Mountain of a comeback: Jayhawks stun West Virginia, move atop Big 12 standings
- Tom Keegan: Jayhawks far more effective with Azubuike on the floor
- Notebook: WVU’s Harris earns start despite reprimand; Self wears Huggins’ pullover
- The Keegan Ratings: Graham leads comeback, tops ratings at West Virginia
- Matt Tait's Postgame Report Card
- Pressing on: Jayhawks rally for rare victory at West Virginia
1 - Svi Mykhailiuk: Came out of aggressive from the tip and never let up. Made 6 of 7 3-pointers, scored 26 points and had four rebounds and four assists to go with one turnover.
2 - Devonte’ Graham: Kept team moving at fast pace, made 5 of 7 3-pointers and had eight assists, four rebounds and just two turnovers. Scored 17 points on a night he attempted just seven shots from the field.
3 - Lagerald Vick: Too quick for Omaha to handle, Vick delivered 15 points and nine rebounds.
4 - Udoka Azubuike: Posted second double-double in a row and third of his career with 11 points and 12 rebounds in 22 minutes.
5 - Malik Newman: Grew hot late and scored 9 of 14 points in the second half. Also had four rebounds and four assists.
6 - Sam Cunliffe: Skied to throw down two lobs, hit a 3-pointer, hustled and showed he will help bring team scoring punch off the bench. Scored nine points in 20 minutes and had two rebounds and two assists.
7 - Marcus Garrett: Stayed closer to the basket and came away with four pints, five rebounds and two assists without turning it over.
8 - Mitch Lightfoot: Played well for the second game in a row, totaling six points, three rebounds and a blocked shot.
1 (tie) - Devonte' Graham (95)
2 (tie) - Lagerald Vick (95)
3 - Svi Mykhailiuk (90)
4 - Udoka Azubuike (83)
5 - Malik Newman (65)
6 - Marcus Garrett (59)
7 - Mitch Lightfoot (49)
8 - Sam Cunliffe (8)
Three losses in their final four matches of the regular season cost the Kansas volleyball team the opportunity to host the first and second rounds of next week's NCAA Tournament.
But the Jayhawks are firmly in the field and will be matched up with a couple of familiar foes during the tournament's opening week.
Placed in the region with No. 1 overall seed Penn State, Kansas will take on former Border War rival Missouri on Friday in Wichita, with the winner moving on to face the winner of Wichita State's match with Radford in Round 2.
Kansas has faced both Missouri and Wichita State during recent NCAA Tournaments and has unique rivalries with both programs.
The 16th-seeded Shockers were the final team to earn the right to host the first two rounds.
Also hosting in the first two rounds are Big 12 foes Texas, Baylor and Iowa State.
Despite their struggles down the stretch, the Jayhawks, which reached their first ever Final Four two seasons ago, have their eyes on a return trip to the Final Four to send the seven seniors responsible for the rise of the program out in style.
This year's Final Four will take place down the road at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., and the Jayhawks have dubbed their upcoming journey “The Road to Kansas City.”
Stay in touch with Kusports.com the rest of the night for more reaction to KU's draw.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self arrived in Springfield, Mass., and kicked off his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame events Thursday.
Self received his Hall of Fame jacket, which is made of a color described as "Naismith Orange," and gave brief remarks about starting his enshrinement week alongside several new Hall of Famers.
"When we all found out, I think, in April, I think we were all pretty overwhelmed with this. But this really hasn't hit me until we actually got to Springfield. Being in this arena, looking around, and seeing all the portraits is something that is very humbling and I certainly feel inadequate to be before you this afternoon."
— KUSports.com's Matt Tait and Nick Krug are in Springfield to provide all kinds of coverage of Self's enshrinement week, so stay tuned to KUsports.com for more stories, videos and more.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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
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.
— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com's live coverage.
More news and notes from Kansas vs. TCU
- Historic Achievement: Jayhawks crush TCU, earn 13th-straight Big 12 title
- Benton Smith: Carlton Bragg looked more like the player KU hoped for
- Notebook: Birthday Boy Graham celebrates ‘special’ day; Jackson OK after injury scare
- Brandon Rush fights back emotions during jersey retirement ceremony
- The Keegan Ratings: All-around action puts Josh Jackson at top of ratings in title-clincher vs. TCU
- Matt Tait's Postgame Report Card
- Make it 13: Jayhawks match UCLA’s league-title run
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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."
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.
The most obvious improvement Kansas made in 2016 from winless 2015 came courtesy of its pass defense.
The Jayhawks ranked 124th in the FBS with 293.7 passing yards allowed and moved all the way to 55th in 2016 with an average of 219.8 passing yards allowed per game.
In 2015, KU opponents completed 66.4 percent of their passes and averaged 8.8 yards per pass atempt. In 2016, the numbers were 59.1 percent and 7.4 yards per pass attempt.
It all started up front for the Jayhawks, where they ranked 40th in the nation with 2.33 sacks per game, compared to a still-respectable 2.17 sacks, good for 64th, in 2015.
The maturation of sophomore defensive end Dorance Armstrong and senior cornerback Brandon Stewart played big parts in solidifying the pass defense. Stewart's pick six in the upset of Texas gave him a signature play for a career that followed the path of many talented junior-college cornerbacks in that he struggled making the adjustment to the big-time as a junior and came on strong as a senior.
Obviously, I'm not allowed in the defensive meetings, but I have a hunch the veteran presence of linebacker coach Todd Bradford, a former defensive coordinator, also played a big role in KU shoring up its pass defense. I base that on how genuinely impressed defensive coordinator Clint Bowen has been with Bradford's knowledge and experience from Day 1. Keeping Bradford on the staff is a must for Kansas carrying the momentum of an encouraging finish into next season.
It sometimes can take quite a while for Kansas basketball players to earn the trust of their demanding coach, Bill Self.
That’s what made something Self said Monday afternoon so interesting when asked how much importance he puts on the first play of the game.
“Not much,” Self said, “although probably for the last 10 years we’ve scripted the first five plays every game, until this year. We haven’t scripted really this year much at all. We script the first play, obviously, but after that we really haven’t scripted much.”
Interesting. Why the change?
“I’ve found the best way to play with guys that we presently have is to let them play, not to try to tell them how to play,” Self said. “I think that’s worked out better for us and maybe save the scripted plays for an ATO (after timeout).”
Self is the Larry Brown of his era in turning ATO’s into points.
His backing off on scripting in general says a lot. First, I think it says he trusts his guards, which makes sense since senior Frank Mason and junior Devonte Graham are so experienced and such smart players.
It also might say that he what he trusts most about them and fellow perimeter player freshman Josh Jackson is that they will play with unbridled aggressiveness. Scripting too much can lead to too much thinking, which can temper aggressiveness.
Graham, Jackson and Mason put so much pressure on teams at both ends and they seem to enjoy playing together to such an extent that they feed off of each other and fuel each other’s attacking style.
The trio is terrific at collapsing defenses with strong drives to the hoop and nearly as good at collapsing offenses with Mason and especially Graham pressuring the ball and Jackson sniping in the passing lanes better than any Kansas player since Mario Chalmers.
It really is quite a compliment to the players that Self has minimized scripting plays. So for the starting perimeter trio has made the coach look smart for doing so.