Entries from blogs tagged with “ku”
Here is the latest from Kansas basketball targets Josh Selby, Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones after talking with each of them at media day for the Jordan Brand Classic today in New York City.
Though Selby — ranked No. 4 overall by Rivals.com — is considered to be a heavy Kansas lean, the 6-foot-3 guard said Thursday that he hadn't officially decided on a school yet.
"I'm trying to cut the schools down, but it's so hard," Selby said. "I'm waiting for my mom and my uncle to come up here Saturday. We're supposed to sit down and talk about every school."
He listed his finalists in this order: UConn, Arizona, Tennessee, Kansas and Kentucky.
"I don’t know who it’s going to come down to, because all the schools have a lot of positive and negative things about them," Selby said, "so I don’t know yet."
Selby said that No. 1-ranked Rivals.com player Brandon Knight's decision to attend Kentucky on Wednesday wouldn't affect his decision.
Interestingly, Selby said he doesn't view himself as a Derrick Rose or a John Wall type of player.
"I don’t see myself as them, because right now, I don’t look at me as one-and-done," Selby said. "They were one-and-done in high school.
"That’s the way I humble myself. I think I lack everything. You’re always working on every part of your game."
Selby will announce his college choice during following a first-half media timeout at the Jordan Brand Classic game on Saturday.
When asked to compare his game to someone from the past, the Baltimore native came up with an interesting response.
"The old Steve Francis. Not the new one, the old one," Selby said. " ... The old Steve Francis, he was the man."
Unlike Selby, the 6-foot-4 Lamb already has made up his mind which school he will attend next year. He's just not letting anyone know until Saturday.
Like Selby, Lamb will commit following a first-half media timeout at the Jordan Brand Classic game.
Lamb, the 21st-ranked player in Rivals.com's rankings, listed his finalists in this order: UConn, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Looking for clues as to whom he will sign with? Try reading into this quote.
"I wanted to go to a school that had the right program, a winning program, a winning coach," Lamb said. "Somewhere I could play right away at. Just (a place) that felt like home to me."
Lamb said he had not alerted any coaches of his decision. He said the coaches would find out where he was going to school by hearing the announcement like everyone else.
He also said he had talked some with Selby.
"I don’t know where he’s going. He doesn’t know where I’m going," Lamb said. "We both have to wait and see where we’re going Saturday. We’ve just got to wait."
The two will figure out Friday which player will have their announcement first. If both were to commit to KU, that could make for interesting television.
Lamb, by the way, said he will put on the winning school's hat during his announcement.
There have been some rumblings about KU perhaps having a chance at Jones, a 6-foot-8 forward and the 13th-ranked overall player according to Rivals.com.
So, I asked Jones today if KU was in his mix of schools.
"I won’t really know until after this (Jordan Brand Classic) is over," Jones said. "I haven’t really started my recruitment over. It’s been on pause."
Rivals.com says Jones is considering Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, Washington, Arizona and Kansas.
Jones said he talked with KU coach Bill Self before the first signing period ended.
"He’s a great coach with a great program," Jones said. "That’s a great school."
A while back, we asked you about some changes we were considering to our comments.
We listened, developed, tested and Wednesday we rolled out threaded comments on all of our sites.
What does this mean? Well, in short, that's up to you. You could still comment the way you have been, with the most recent comment at the end.
But we think having threading will help you and us keep conversations together. Want to respond to something a specific commenter has said? Just reply to that comment. Your comment will be grouped with the other comment and it will be easier to follow the conversation.
Whenever I or anyone else on the staff replies to a comment of yours, we'll be using the reply feature.
Incidentally, we also made one other small change when we rolled out threaded comments. When we remove a comment, instead of being bright red (or pink), that comment is now grayed out. After discussing it with Ben Spaulding, one of our internal designers, we agreed that drawing attention to removed comments was probably the exact thing we didn't want to do.
If you have questions or feedback about either of these changes, please leave them in the comments below.
Like many of you, the first exposure I had to the documentary "The Street Stops Here" was the movie trailer on YouTube.
The three minutes of this video are intriguing, well-edited, emotional, fascinating — all one pretty much could ask for out of a documentary.
So, when I was able to watch an advanced copy of the movie — which will be shown for the first time to the public at 9 p.m. Wednesday on PBS — I was looking forward to it.
It's too bad that I had built the movie up so much. Because, truth be told, it made for a bit of a letdown.
Obviously, many Kansas basketball fans will watch the movie to see its portrayal of Tyshawn Taylor as a high-schooler at St. Anthony's. And though Taylor isn't a focal point through most of the movie, he plays a large enough role to keep Jayhawk fans interested.
Former KU forward Quintrell Thomas also has a brief cameo as a player on rival school, St. Patrick's. Again, he isn't seen much, but he's in there enough to be spotted a few times, especially during game action.
What's most disappointing about the film is that it could have been so much more if the producers would have just picked out an angle and stuck to it.
Instead, it's almost like they couldn't decide which storyline was best, so they watered down 10 different ones and tried to cram them all into an 82-minute documentary.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work.
To me, the movie is both too short and too long.
I found myself getting bored during periods when, repeatedly, the producers chose to reiterate the financial struggles that St. Anthony's faces.
Then, just when I felt like I was starting to get a feel for the players, the movie ends. It was like eating popcorn when you're expecting steak: The documentary might have held off starvation, but it didn't stop me from being hungry for more.
With so much video shot from that season (the video crew was given unlimited access, according to the movie's press release), I'm surprised at just how little we saw from the team.
The documentary is mostly focused around St. Anthony's coach Bob Hurley, who has coached 36 years at the school and won more than 900 games.
Immediately, North Carolina coach Roy Williams talks about how great Hurley is as a high-school basketball coach: "All the wins that he has pale in comparison to the life lessons that he has taught his kids."
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski follows, saying that Hurley turns kids' dreams into reality.
After being told how great Hurley was by two Hall of Fame coaches, I expected that I'd see some of that magic over the next hour and a half.
It never happened.
In fact, the foul-mouthed, disciplinarian Hurley does little in the film to make himself look like a good guy or a caring coach. He creates drama on his team even when there isn't any and oftentimes appears to play mind games with his players when it appears they would have functioned just fine without the tinkering.
When St. Anthony's wins its first 11 and rises to No. 1 in the nation, he runs his players harder, almost punishing them for their victories. When star guard Mike Rosario is named a McDonald's All-American, Hurley jumps on his case quicker.
And even though Hurley demands near-perfection from his players, at one point he taunts an opposing coach, telling him to look up at the scoreboard where St. Anthony's holds a comfortable 32-point lead.
While I waited for the good side of Hurley to come out, I was disappointed that the players' stories were mostly glossed over. The editors give us a decent glimpse into the hardships of Jio Fontan (USC), Travon Woodall (Pittsburgh) and Mike Rosario (Rutgers), but the rest of the guys barely received a mention early in the film. In movies like this, you find yourself wanting to cheer for the players. You want to know their stories. Unfortunately, we don't delve deep enough into the players' lives to get to know them as well as we could have.
Perhaps part of the reason for making the documentary was to help raise funds for St. Anthony's. I'm sure the movie will increase donations to the school that could definitely use help.
But the fund-raising portions of the documentary were the most dull and disappointing. Throughout the film, everyone keeps saying (dramatically of course) that if money isn't raised, St. Anthony's will shut down.
Yet, when the fund-raising efforts mostly fail, the school still goes on. Hey, I thought you said the school would close if that happened?
Let's be honest: Most of the people reading this blog will watch the film to see Taylor. And they should. The documentary is interesting and shows a different side of the Jayhawk guard.
This movie reminds me a bit of some lyrics from the Gin Blossoms, though: "If you don't expect too much from me, you might not be let down."
That's my advice when watching the documentary: Just don't expect too much like I did.
It's the best way to avoid a letdown.
President Barack Obama wasn't the only one whose bracket took a beating Saturday night.
Out of 3,369 brackets entered into the KUsports.com Bracket Competition, 3101 picked Kansas. Those 3,101 people all saw their brackets catch fire Saturday night.
In addition, nine people who picked Villanova to win it all, seven who picked Georgetown, one who picked Robert Morris and one who picked Louisville all have seen their brackets bust as their pick to win the national championship already has lost in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
All told, as of 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, just 291 brackets in the KUsports.com competition still stood a chance of picking the eventual winner of the National Championship.
Should Kansas State or Kentucky lose their games — though they were leading at the moment this was written — that number would dwindle into the very low double digits.
Oklahoma City — Kansas State guard Denis Clemente says it doesn't take much for him to stay motivated in basketball.
"In life, when I get out of college, I want to be somebody," Clemente said Wednesday while sitting at his locker in the Ford Center. "That's the way I think. That's the way I look at it."
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound guard out of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, knows he has plenty of folks counting on him back home.
"I always say I want to help my mom when I stop playing — I hope pro basketball one day," Clemente said. "That's what I'm trying to do. That's my inspiration, helping my family. I think that's why I keep getting better and better."
Conditions haven't always been great for Clemente's family in Puerto Rico. That includes his mother, Raquel Perez.
"The economy where we live, it's not very good," Clemente said. "I think one day, God's going to give me the opportunity to do it (help my family), and I will."
It's been a growing process for Clemente, who is averaging 16.2 points per game this season for KSU. He admits he's toned down his emotion on the court this season, knowing that's what he needs to do to have the best chance at a pro career.
"Every day," Clemente said, "I keep growing up."
The senior said most of his family members will be watching today's game against North Texas in their native Puerto Rico.
Clemente already can envision his mother's face when he comes back to Puerto Rico after signing a pro contract.
"She's going to be smiling. Crying. I know that," Clemente said. "I've been working so hard for this."
Oklahoma City — Ready to meet this year's Stephen Curry?
It could be BYU's 6-foot-2 guard Jimmer Fredette, who plays against Florida in today's first NCAA Tournament game in Oklahoma City at 11:20 a.m.*
* — Update: Thanks to our own Nick Krug for giving me some great photos of Fredette from today's game.
Fredette, who is averaging 21.7 points and 4.9 assists per game, told me Wednesday that he wouldn't mind becoming like Curry was for tiny Davidson two years ago — a go-to scorer that helped a mid-major team advance to the later stages of the tournament.
"I hope so. That's the plan," Fredette said. "We definitely want to go out and advance in this tournament. If I have to have big games in order to do that, then I'll do that."
Want toughness? Fredette's got it. He used to play pickup basketball with his brother and father at prisons around his hometown of Glen Falls, N.Y.
Want scoring? Fredette is one of the most lethal in the country. Not only does he make 44.8 percent of his threes, he's also a danger to drive and get to the free-throw line. He draws 6.8 fouls per 40 minutes played (39th nationally) and on top of that, makes 89.6 percent of his free throws.
Want a strong performer on a big stage? Well, Fredette scored 49 points at Arizona this year — a new McKale Center record.
Still, almost no one east of the Rockies seems to know about the kid.
"It's great," Fredette said about his anonymity. "I'm an East coast kid. I'm from New York. Some of that area knows about me. I'm starting to get more recognition. I like it. It's not a big deal to me."
If the West region plays out the crazy way that I've predicted, Fredette might get all the recognition that he's ever dreamed of over the next few weeks.
More KUsports.com coverage of BYU
Our plans are taking shape for what we're going to do during the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City at the Sprint Center.
We'll have a full compliment of reporters, photographers and videographers in Kansas City to cover the game and to cover you, the fans.
Let's start with the game: Tom Keegan, Gary Bedore, Jesse Newell, Kevin Romary and Nick Krug will all be in the Sprint Center. We'll have photos before, during and after the game. We'll have instant commentary and play-by-play via KUsports.com and via our Twitter account. You can also see all of our reporters and editors comments by searching the hashtag, #kubball. We'll have video highlights and postgame video interviews. Then, later, we'll have stories on the game, notebooks with interesting anecdotes, commentary on the game, as well as stories about the opponent and any future opponent. Plus, after the game is over, stop by the booth to talk with photographer Nick Krug, and then at 4 p.m., Tom and Jesse will record a Spodcasters episode in front of a live audience. One lucky fan may get to appear on Spodcasters with them.
But that's just the inside-the-Sprint Center stuff. As I mentioned over the weekend, we'll be setup among the fans inside Power and Light District's Live Block. Nick Nelson will have a video camera and will be interviewing fans about their favorite KU moments. If you find him or he finds you and you get on video, you'll be entered to win one of our fabulous prizes. You can also win prizes by submitting photos of you and your friends cheering on the Jayhawks. Every submitted photo this week is an entry to win a prize. In addition, we'll also have computers setup so you can watch the Game Day Cram Session, upload photos to your Facebook page and our Facebook page, and sign up for our SMS and e-mail alerts. Whitney Mathews from our Social Media Team (and a confessed Jayhawk lover), will be running a contest where you can win more prizes by submitting a photo of you with a real, live Wildcat and Tiger fan. She'll also be handing out prizes to KU fans who tweet using the #kubball hashtag.
If all goes as the Jayhawks hope, we'll be back doing more of the same on Friday as well. At this time, we expect we'll be up and running by 2 p.m. on Friday. Tom Keegan and Jesse Newell will stop by around 3 p.m. Any fan who gets a picture with Tom or Jesse and submits it to KUsports.com will be entered twice to win one of our prizes.
I hope you're excited for the tournament; I know we're excited to give you the best coverage of the Jayhawks and their fans that you can find anywhere on the Internet.
Also, here's a little tease of what's to come with our annual KUsports.com NCAA Bracket contest. Entries will be accepted about an hour after the brackets are revealed.
It's time for the second annual “How’d they do against KU” All-Big 12 team.
The rules are simple: My squad will consist of the five best players I saw while watching them play against the Jayhawks. For this exercise, Kansas players are ineligible.
This year, with so many candidates, I went ahead and decided to add a HTDAKU second team. At the end, you'll also find honorable mention selections to go with a coach of the year.
Without further ado, here are the selections.
"How'd they do against KU" All-Big 12 first team
MVP — James Anderson, Oklahoma State
This was a pick made without hesitation. Not only was Anderson the best player on the only team to beat KU this conference season, he also did it under extraordinary circumstances. OSU coach Travis Ford wasn't even sure that Anderson would play early in the day because of back spasms.
Anderson not only gave it a go, he was the best player on the floor, racking up 27 points on 9-for-19 shooting. He was 4-for-6 from three and added eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals. He also held KU's Marcus Morris to 10 points on the defensive end, which can't be overlooked.
LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor
I still sometimes wonder how KU didn't lose this game at home to Baylor. The Bears were amazing offensively, and it started with Dunn, who had 27 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor and 5-for-8 shooting from three. He also added nine rebounds, two assists and four steals to go with five turnovers. They didn't ask me, but if I had a vote for first-team All-Big 12, I'd have put Dunn (second in Big 12 in scoring, fourth in three-point field-goal percentage) on that list over KU's Sherron Collins.
Damion James, Texas
Anyone else noticing the pattern of small-forward types giving KU fits? James was spectacular against KU, scoring 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 shooting from three. He also posted 10 rebounds and had five blocks. He's probably not too popular around these parts because of his postgame comments about Cole Aldrich, but that shouldn't take away from the strong effort he had even when his teammates were struggling around him.
Keiton Page, Oklahoma State
If James Anderson was beating KU slowly with papercuts, then Keiton Page came in to finish off the Jayhawks with uppercuts. Every shot Page hit against the Jayhawks seemed to come at a time when the Cowboys needed it.
"Little Mac" Page finished with 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 shooting from three. He also added four assists and two steals to go with three turnovers. Another key was that he held his own defensively against KU's much quicker guards that day.
Fun fact: Page is 1-for-13 (7.7 percent) from three-point range in OSU's two games since the KU game.
Matt Pilgrim, Oklahoma State
To the victors go the spoils, and OSU receives plenty of love on this list because of its 85-77 upset over KU. To be honest, because of Anderson and Page's impressive performances, the play of Pilgrim didn't stand out to me much during the game. The stats don't lie, though. Pilgrim finished with 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting to go with six rebounds. A perfect shooting night in a winning effort is good enough to get you on the HTDAKU first team.
"How'd they do against KU" All-Big 12 second team
Jacob Pullen, Kansas State
If Kansas State had been able to knock off KU at Bramlage Coliseum, Pullen probably would have made the first team. He still averaged 21 points, three assists, two steals and just 1.5 turnovers in his two matchups against KU. He made 13 of 29 shots (45 percent) and 7 of 19 threes (37 percent).
J'Covan Brown, Texas
So who scored the most points against KU all season? That's right, it was Brown, who put in 28 points (including 26 in the second half) against the Jayhawks. Unfortunately for UT, most of his points came when the game was already out of reach.
Jorge Brian Diaz, Nebraska
The 6-foot-11 freshman center gave KU's Cole Aldrich all sorts of problems in the paint. In his two games against KU, Diaz averaged 17.5 points on combined 16-for-29 shooting (55 percent). In Big 12 play, Diaz's top three scoring games were at KU (20 points), vs. KU (15 points) and vs. Colorado (15 points).
Marcus Relphorde, Colorado
Here's another guy that seemed to play his best games against the Jayhawks. Relphorde averaged a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) in his two games against KU on 14-for-29 shooting from the floor (48 percent) and 3-for-8 shooting from three (38 percent).
Obi Muonelo, Oklahoma State
KU coach Bill Self singled out the quick Muonelo as a matchup nightmare following KU's loss to OSU. Muonelo scored 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting (46 percent) while adding four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal to go with just one turnover. Muonelo and Pullen are the only two players to pick up at least second-team honors on the HTDAKU list the last two seasons. I'm sure they're both very proud.
"How'd they do against KU" All-Big 12 honorable mention
Marquis Gilstrap, Iowa State
Averaged a double-double against KU (14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds), but will be most remembered for his two dunks over Cole Aldrich (and his celebrations afterwards).
Tweety Carter, Baylor
Posted 17 points and seven assists, and KU was lucky he didn't shoot that well (5-for-13). I'm not sure how you defend him when he has a good shooting night.
Justin Safford, Missouri
Contributed 19 points and seven rebounds against KU in Lawrence before tearing his ACL later in the year. The Tigers really missed him in the rematch.
David Loubeau, Texas A&M
Didn't see this one coming. The 6-foot-8 freshman was good offensively (17 points, 7-for-11 shooting, nine rebounds) on a night the rest of the Aggies were bad.
Alec Burks, Colorado
The Grandview, Mo., native was the best of the Buffs (17 points, 7-for-16 shooting, seven rebounds) during his one game against KU.
Denis Clemente, Kansas State
Averaged a lot of points against KU (17) but needed a lot of shots to get those points (11-for-30).
Andrew Fitzgerald, Oklahoma
If he walked up to me right now, I wouldn't recognize him (I didn't include his picture; does anyone remember what he looks like?). But his stats against KU (16 points, 8-for-14 shooting, six rebounds) were pretty impressive.
"How'd they do against KU" All-Big 12 Coach of the Year
Travis Ford, Oklahoma State
As the only Big 12 coach to beat KU this season, Ford gets the nod. Remember, Ford was at a disadvantage in this game, as KU's previous game was on a Monday, while OSU's previous game was on a Wednesday. Ford still had his team ready and fired up to play KU, and it showed. How the undersized Cowboys out-rebounded KU by 10 on that day I'll never know.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• KU is the 265th-oldest team in America. The 2008 team was experienced and had been there. It's not a negative statement for this year's team. It's just a statement that KU has balance, which is great, but it still needs Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich to produce.
• Aldrich and Collins will step up. The best players on each team need to play well. They've been pretty consistent all year long, but Self thinks there's a different gear that they can get to. Primarily Aldrich. He needs to be a presence inside.
• The '08 team was a focused, focused group. It's easy to say your team is focused, but it's hard to say that it is until all those distractions come. If everyone can focus on what's happening in the basketball family, then the players should be fine.
• There's no question this is Sherron's team. And Cole is right there as well. Both guys will educate the guys on how certain situations should be handled.
• Last year, if one guy out of two didn't play well, KU didn't have a good chance to win. This year, different guys can step up on those nights. Last year, KU's third-leading scorer averaged seven points per game in the NCAA Tournament.
• KU has gotten better in the last month and has gotten better individually. Rarely this year has KU had six or seven of its eight players in the rotation play well at the same time. The most important players to play well are Cole and Sherron. It's nice to see how the bench has played lately, though, primarily Tyrel Reed and Markieff Morris. Brady Morningstar has been consistent, too.
• Playing in a conference tournament game Sunday is tough. Self thinks the league moving the championship game to Saturday is a wise move.
• It's hard to pick a darkhorse in this year's Big 12 Tournament because the league is so top-heavy. Seven Big 12 teams are going to be in the NCAA Tournament, and any team that can make it there is good enough to win the Big 12 Tournament.
• It's the point in the year where your play will determine where you're ranked. Self just wants to play like a team that deserves to be No. 1. Self has had teams before that have been a three seed that was playing like a six or seven seed, and he's had a four seed that was playing as well as any one seed. So much of it is matchups. It's nice to be ranked No. 1, but this time of year it means less than the opening rankings.
• Sometimes it's a disadvantage staying close to home in the NCAA Tournament, because sometimes that offers more distractions. Self isn't saying that would be the case with this team.
• Brady has played well lately. He made the biggest shot of the game against K-State. He was in a little bit of a funk and hadn't seen the ball go in. It was good to see him play well last week.
• Mario Little and Travis Releford are probably two of the most talented red-shirts in the country. They've both gotten a lot better. They're better basketball players now than they were in October. With a red-shirt, they can advance their offensive skills, because Self won't get mad at them for taking shots in practice.
• Self hopes Xavier Henry is on an uptick toward tournament play. He's been playing well. He didn't score a lot against Missouri because of the way the Tigers defended. Self hopes everyone play well, but it's definitely nice to have your best shooters shooting well at this point in the year.
• A team's "magic level" is where its energy and focus and concentration come together to give it the best chance. KU has played that way about 10-15 times this year. That doesn't necessarily mean the team is hitting shots. That means playing with energy while still being focused without being overhyped.
• KU's defense is much better at this point this week than it was last year. The Jayhawks did some bull-fighting on defense two weeks ago, but now KU is getting better and putting up resistance.
• KU has done a better job of getting out to three-point shooters. KU hasn't changed who it is. If a team is really turned up, it can get to shooters a half-step quicker. It's not one technique that you do differently, it's just guys being turned up.
• KU will be prepared for both Texas Tech and Colorado. The scouting report is done for both teams.
• Self hasn't thought much about getting to 2,000 wins, but having that milestone within reach and also having the memory of the loss in the first round of the Big 12 tournament last year hopefully will make Thursday a good day for the program. The milestone is a reason for fans to be proud of the program.
• Playing the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City is a benefit because it's closer to home. The players get to sleep in their own beds on Tuesday night. Any time you play close to home and your fanbase can come see you play, it's an advantage for that team.
Today, I get to tell — and show — you some of the prizes we'll be giving away for various contests we're going to have on KUsports.com, for fans of our Facebook page, for those who follow us on Twitter and those who turn out to see us at our booth in Power and Light District.
First, let's take a look at some of the Jayhawk-themed goodies we have to share with you:
In addition, we have $200 in gift certificates to Power and Light District. We also have some KUsports.com bottle openers and T-shirts as well.
Of course, to win these prizes there are certain things you'll have to do. Take a gander at some of the contests we have planned:
1) Those who tweet with the #kubball hashtag will be eligible to either win a Pizza Bar gift card or An Incredible Year, our book documenting the 2008 championship season. Winners will be notified via Direct Message, so MAKE SURE you're following @KUSports to be eligible. We'll pick two winners every 24 hours starting at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.
2) Tweet @KUSports and with the #kubball hashtag and include a link to a photo of you, a KSU fan and a Mizzou fan. The fans must be human. Your hamster and dog wearing a KSU shirt and MU shirt will not count. The photo is your entry to win an autographed copy of An Incredible Year. We will pick one photo at random as our winner. Winners will be notified via DM so you must be following @KUSports. Deadline to submit is midnight on Saturday 3/13. Winner will be announced on 3/15. Photos will be uploaded to our Facebook page AFTER the contest.
1) Every time you submit a fan photo of you in your Jayhawk best, you'll be entered to win a prize. We'll give away a prize package every day KU plays in the Big 12 Tournament and, while supplies last, through the NCAA tournament as well. Among the items you might find in our prize packages: KUsports.com T-shirts, KUsports.com bottle openers, Jayhawk ear buds, Jayhawk license plate frames, P&L gift certificates, perhaps even Jayhawk SNUGGIE.
2) This year, we will also be bringing back our popular NCAA Tournament Bracket Competition. Last year, we had 2,079 people complete a bracket; this year we hope to see 3,000 or more. We're still settling on the grand prize, but rest assured, it will be awesome. Entries will start as soon as we can get the bracket setup after Selection Sunday (so probably an hour or so after the bracket is revealed) and new entries will no longer be accepted 15 minutes before the scheduled tip-off of the first-game of the round of 64.
1) Most of those prizes in the picture above are for those who stop by our booth near the stairs of the Live Block at Power and Light District. People who stop by our booth will have a chance to win beads, coozies, coasters — and of course T-shirts, bottle openers and gift certificates. While you're there, you can upload your KU fan photos straight to KUsports.com, to your Facebook profile, to our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, sign up for SMS and e-mail score alerts, watch the Game Day Cram session, watch the 6Sports game preview and — at 4 p.m. on Thursday and a time TBA later on other days — watch the live recording of Spodcasters, with Tom Keegan, Jesse Newell and possibly other guests. One lucky fan may have the chance to join them in discussing KU's first match-up in the Big 12 Tournament.
With Senior Night in the books, and the Kansas Jayhawks' regular season finale looming on Saturday, we here at KUsports.com are turning our attention to Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament.
The victory Wednesday guarantees the Jayhawks the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament and the 11:30 a.m. game next Thursday. KUsports.com is coming to Power and Light District (in the middle of the live block) for the game and will be setup so you can upload fan photos to us or to your own Facebook page, follow us on Twitter or fan us on Facebook.
We'll also do live recordings of Spodcasters on scene, and a lucky fan will get to join the guys in the broadcast. Plus, we'll have contests in which you can win other prizes (T-shirts, P&L gift cards) just for sending us your fan photos, showing up to our booth at P&L or merely using KUsports.com.
If you've got tickets to the game, stop by before and after the game. If you don't have tickets, come down and watch the game on Power and Light District's big screen with some of the guys behind KUsports.com.
We're going to have a blast and we want you to join us. Look for more announcements in the next few days with all the details behind our contests and the exciting things we have planned.
By now you've probably noticed the new, beige box in the middle of the LJWorld.com homepage.
Some of you have probably seen or heard us talking about the new health project we've been working on for the past six months. Well, today, we take a giant step forward with that project by introducing WellCommons.com to all of you, our LJWorld.com community.
We're really excited about WellCommons.com because it's a new concept in online community building: part journalism, part community activism, part social network. We really think this is the future of online news communities and WellCommons.com is our first effort at testing that theory.
We have built this with input from our advisory group — about 40 people who are involved or interested in some aspect of health care in Lawrence and Douglas County. These folks have been meeting with us regularly for months, and we could not have made this much progress without them.
When you check out WellCommons.com, you'll see that we've turned over more of the site than ever to our users and to trusted members of our community. No more is the site built on the "we talk, you listen" model. We want this to be a true community conversation, but also a safe place and a trusted source for people to exchange ideas and gather information.
To that end, you'll also note that we're requiring all users who want to interact on WellCommons.com to use their real name. Your LJWorld.com account will work on WellCommons.com, but if you're an anonymous user on LJWorld.com and would like to stay anonymous, you might consider creating a new account strictly for WellCommons.com.
For the rest of this year, we'll be rolling out more communities like WellCommons.com on varying topics in which research, data, and our communities indicate an interest. Here are just two examples: Education and Weather.
Many of the features you see on WellCommons.com will find their way onto LJWorld.com soon as well. If you see something that doesn't make sense, please do get in touch with us.
You can also leave questions or feedback in the comments below.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• Sherron Collins has grown as much in maturity as much as any player Self has coached at KU. Collins came in with everything figured out like a lot of 18-year-olds do. He's been a joy to coach. Self loves everything about him. Self loves Collins' stubbornness and competitiveness. Self and Collins have had their moments, but at the end of the day, Collins is going to fight as far as he can. He's going to be successful in whatever he does.
• You can't really say one player has meant more than a program as others because a lot of players have been good, but Collins has meant as much to coach Self as any other player he's had. Self can say that without any hesitation.
• Self would put Collins on the all-time KU team. But Self is biased on that question.
• The team won't talk about jersey retirements because they won't happen until five years after the players' careers are over. But Collins has a good shot.
• Self has always liked Collins. Coaches usually have a soft spot for players who rise above the odds. Not many kids come into a situation knowing they need to be adjusted to be improved. The first time that Collins came over to the Selfs' house, he was overwhelmed by it because he'd never been in an environment like that. Self knew right then that there could be something special in Collins.
• A lot of kids don't like school, but it's something that they do. For Collins to evolve into someone that saw his college degree as important is valuable.
• When Collins became a father, Self told him he wasn't a kid any more. Self doesn't think Collins came to school here to play four years or how to get his degree. This place has changed him, and he's allowed it to change him.
• During his freshman year, Collins wasn't always the most replaceable player on KU's roster, but by January, he was one of the best KU had. Kansas State coach Bob Huggins said Collins was the second best player in the league during his freshman year. Collins also is an extremely smart player.
• Collins is not as explosive as he used to be, but he's a much better player.
• Self would want him Collins if he was an NBA coach, because he can handle whatever a coach throws at him. He would be a perfect blend player, as he makes good players better. Self thinks he's a first-round talent.
• All young people, whether they admit it or not, long for discipline. Structure was what most helped Collins once he got to KU. He resisted that discipline, but he didn't have any choice but to accept it, because other players were good on that team.
• Though it is Senior Night, but KU can't lose focus on the task at hand which is winning against KSU.
• Kansas State goes after every rebound. The Wildcats are relentless at doing that. They play a lot of big guys.
• Oklahoma State was quicker, more explosive, more tuned in and tougher on the boards than KU on Saturday. The Cowboys controlled the game in every aspect. KU played soft.
• When KU won in Manhattan, Self told his staff that KSU wouldn't lose again before KU played the Wildcats. And they didn't. Self thinks KU has gotten better since then. It's probably two better teams playing Wednesday than they were in late January.
• For KU to become better, the Jayhawks need to become more physical on the glass.
• The players were a step slow against OSU. But the coaches were a step slow, too. If Travis Ford would have played Bill Self on Saturday, Ford would have kicked Self's butt.
• The parity in the Big 12 is such that any team can beat any team. KU did nothing to make James Anderson, Obi Muonelo and Keiton Page play poorly.
• In Self's mind, Frank Martin is the Big 12 coach of the year. Martin and Syracuse's Jim Boeheim are the two that come to mind as national coach of the year candidates.
• K-State is the toughest team to upset in the league because the Wildcats play with passion, guard and rebound. They can win when they play poorly, because they make other teams play poorly.
• Collins is a fighter. He likes it when it's the most challenging. Self always respects that about guys.
• Self has talked to the team about not sharing the league crown. Self hopes the loss got his players' attention. Against OSU, KU didn't play any differently than it did in the second half against Oklahoma or on the road against Colorado. KU can't allow other teams to play well against it. The Jayhawks need to impose their will on opponents.
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self's comments at his weekly press conference today.
• Oklahoma State's James Anderson has been as good as any player in our league. It'll be tough to beat him out for Big 12 player of the year.
• The team in 2008 didn't win at Texas, Kansas State or Oklahoma State. It would be nice to have this team have a clean sweep of those three on the road. Motivation shouldn't be needed at this time of the year.
• If the team starts "drinking its own Kool-Aid," Self might make practices a bit tougher. That's the way it has been all season. The motivation for this trip is to win another game and to win the conference outright.
• Self hasn't talked to the players about going 16-0. If KU wins Saturday, the coach will bring it up next week. KU has the hardest final three games of any team in the league. KU is only thinking about OSU.
• Self would rather win in postseason than in the conference, but winning the conference is important to this staff. KU has won games it's supposed to win. A lot of seasons aren't as great as they should be because you slip up against teams you should beat. KU hasn't slipped up this year.
• Self won't tell the players this, but he'd rather win and worry about not putting the foot on the throat than not win. This team does a good job of playing the situation. Sometimes that's bad. There is an element of this toughness that this team does have, and that toughness rivals the toughness of the '08 team.
• If the selections came out today, the Big 12 would have seven teams in the tournament. OSU would be able to rest comfortably and know it would make the NCAA Tournament if it knocked off KU.
• This team is kind of weird. You look on TV, and you see empty seats on TV, and you would think that would be an easier game to win if you played in it. Self thinks this team would be different, as it would be tougher for these players to play in a road atmosphere with empty seats than with all the seats full.
• The Saturday-Monday games are good prep for the NCAA Tournament. It's also good for the staff to have to prepare that quickly too.
• Self has been mostly successful at shortening practices to around an hour, 15 minutes.
• Going to Stillwater is not emotional for Self any more. It's a business trip. The people that he will love to see will be able to see him after the game.
• Self's teams have probably been beaten as badly at Stillwater as any place.
• Mario Little's doing great. He can still play inside and out. He's become a very good scorer and good shooter. The red-shirt year has been good for here. Travis Releford has been good, too. If they weren't red-shirting, Self would be having to find a way to put them into the lineup right now.
• Tyshawn Taylor feels good about himself, and he knows that Self feels good about him. He could be the X-Factor, because he does some things that no one else in the program can do.
• Self isn't surprised that KU has shot 40 percent from three. The coach thinks KU has good shooters. It helps with guys like Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed off the bench. KU is a pretty good shooting team, and for the most part, the team takes good shots.
• C.J. Henry is practicing off and on. He's probably 70-80 percent.
• KU potentially getting to 2,000 wins before North Carolina is something for the fans to talk about. Who cares about that, who gets there first? To fans, it probably means something because of the histories of the two schools.
• Self is not worried about Sherron Collins. Self doesn't agree with Bob Knight saying Collins should have been benched to start the second half. You play your best players. If a quarterback throws two picks in the first half, you still start him in the second half. If it had been a discipline or effort issue, you can do whatever. But Self isn't going to put the winningest player in the history of KU basketball on the bench because he's shooting poorly. Self wasn't happy with Collins' play in the first half, and he did jump on him at halftime.
• Collins is not being aggressive. He's not driving the ball. He needs to get his shoulders past his defender. Collins has been through stretches like this before. The Texas A&M game was probably Collins' poorest game since the UMass game last year.
• Self agrees more with Knight on his evaluation saying Cole Aldrich is the most efficient player in the Big 12. If you look at shooting percentage and rebounds per minute and blocks per minute, he's done well. Aldrich didn't play his best against A&M, either. But Marcus Morris is playing pretty good right now, too. Self a few years ago was asked about Brandon Rush being in a slump of Mario Chalmers being in a slump. Self still thinks he hasn't seen this team all on the same page offensively.
• KU's chemistry is really good. The biggest reason for that is that they genuinely like each other off the court. The old guys have accepted the young guys, and Xavier Henry has done a great job with his teammates. Guys are open to giving up themselves to making the team better. These guys don't have egos, and they don't care who scores the points. Guys like the feeling of winning better than they like the feeling of getting a shot up in a key situation.
• Xavier in interviews is always team-first. He never talks about situations that don't impact this year's team. There's been a lot of speculation about his status in the future, but he never talks about that.
• Self thought Texas A&M was quicker than KU on the boards. Self thought his bigs did a poor job. Sometimes, rebounding is the luck of the bounce, and KU had some bad bounces in that game. The Jayhawks were good on the boards, though, with the game on the line.
• The reason that KU went to overtime against Colorado wasn't because the Jayhawks weren't ready — it was because the Jayhawks didn't play well. KU played tired. Self's goal against CU is to have his guys look fresh.
• Tyshawn Taylor will start against CU over Brady Morningstar. Self wants to see his speed in there. This isn't a result of Morningstar playing poorly. Self just thinks KU needs more out of Taylor. Self knows this won't affect Morningstar. Taylor is a guy that can make plays that you can't coach. KU needs to focus on getting him playing his best.
• Taylor is trying really hard. He's tried really hard in practice. The last two games, Self felt like KU played its best when Taylor was in the game.
• KU guarded CU's stuff average last game. The Jayhawks didn't create any havoc defensively. KU has to do something to not allow them to get comfortable. Over time, KU has shown it can guard pretty well.
UPDATE: We're running a few minutes behind, but we still expect this to go through tonight. Thanks for your patience.
As you may have noticed, our Web sites have been running a little bit slowly lately.
There's two reasons for that and hopefully both will be resolved with a little maintenance at 11 p.m. tonight.
First, our traffic has increased dramatically in the past few months, as has the amount of video we create and you watch. All of that has put an increasingly large load on our media server (that's the server that houses the photos, the videos, all of the stuff that makes this Web site fun and exciting). In order to alleviate that, several months ago we purchased a new media server with more space and more horsepower.
And here's where the second problem occurs. In order to get all of the content off of our old media server and onto our new server, we had to periodically sync the content on the two. When that process was underway and when traffic was highest, sometimes the site became especially — and intolerably — slow.
Tonight, we hope, we turn off the old server and move full-time to the new one. In order to do that, though, we'll have to turn the Web sites off for a short time — we hope just a few minutes or less even. Please bear with us as we get things back in order.
We've also purchased other new servers that we anticipate hooking up in time for any traffic spike we might see from KU's run to the NCAA tournament. Should hooking up those servers require additional downtime in the next few weeks, we'll let you know here.
Thanks for your patience and feel free to leave any questions in the comments below, or contact me via e-mail.
• Win No. 400 means Coach Self is older than he'd like to be. But honestly, it doesn't mean too much to him. He's been lucky to have been around good players and good people.
• Self won't coach until he's 75. "That can be a big byline tomorrow," Self said with a laugh. Self doesn't think coaching into one's late 60s in age will be as common in the future in college basketball.
• Everybody has doubts when you start out as a coach. When things go bad in your profession, you re-evaluate yourself. When Self was young, he thought he could take any player and out-coach the next guy. That's not how it works.
• Every team is different. This team is totally different from last year's team, which was different from the team the year before.
• Self doesn't think this year's team is the best defensive team he's had at KU, even though the numbers say that KU is good. Self doesn't think it's the best rebounding team he's had at KU, although KU is up there pretty good. Self doesn't think it's the most efficient offensive team he's had, even though KU is up there pretty good. From a combination of all those things together, this might be as efficient of a team as Self has had. It's hard to be a lot better in an area than the 2008 team. It was a great and unselfish team with go-to guys. This year's team could be comparable with potential to that team, but it's not there yet.
• The best rotation for KU is an eight-player rotation with an emergency ninth or 10th man. It's been that way most of the time at KU.
• Against Texas, KU received nine offensive rebounds when the ball went out of bounds. Six or seven were probably shots blocked out of bounds. Self thinks KU blocks too many balls out of bounds. Cole Aldrich is better than most at keeping his blocks in bounds, though he still could be better.
• Aldrich is the best shot blocker that Self has ever coached.
• Sherron Collins' maturity has exceeded Self's expectations. Collins' unselfishness with his thoughts has exceeded Self's expectations. The one thing that has amazed Self more than anything else is that Kansas has changed him in regards of how he's dealt with people. Collins came in with a chip on his shoulder, and he's been able to totally give of himself for the betterment of everyone else.
• Against Texas, Self didn't think KU was very good offensively. This team hasn't seen its best performers perform consistently well together. Though KU is 23-1, the ultimate goal at the end of the season isn't to have the best record — it's to have the best team.
• Marcus Morris can defend Iowa State's Craig Brackins better this year because he's smarter defensively.
• ISU has had a bad schedule so far. Its first three home games were Kansas, Texas and Kansas State. That's a tough home slate to start. It's coach-speak, but ISU is better than its record.
• KU has created enough situations daily through its own family to have had its share of adversity. Self believes, collectively, that his team plays tough in crucial possessions.
• KU had Tuesday and Wednesday off. The players should be fresh in today's practice. Big Monday games are good if you win the Big Monday games.
• Self thinks Collins will be very emotional for his last four home games. This place means that much to him. Self wasn't expecting that from him when he first arrived here.
• Brady Morningstar's free-throw attempt is a tough one for Self to figure out. He's never seen anything like that. Morningstar told Self the ball was wet, but looking at the replay, it wasn't wet. Good lip-readers can tell exactly what Morningstar said after the first free throw. Morningstar's the one guy that can handle it, because he can laugh at himself. That play should be laughed at. Though it wasn't funny at the time, Self will look back at that and laugh in the future.
• There's still a chance for Elijah Johnson to impact the team. Self tells him that. Every team has an odd-man out, and that's Johnson this year. That's not negative, that's just how it is. Self doesn't see him moving ahead of the other KU guards this year. Self believes he could be like Cole Aldrich in 2008 (having an impact in an NCAA Tournament game off the bench).
• Self didn't recruit Thomas Robinson and Johnson to have impacts right away. The coaching staff recruited them to have impacts down the road.
Some back-end upgrades we need to make before we launch our new health Web site — it's called Welcommons, look for more info in the next two weeks — will require us to suspend all of the interactive features of our Web site for about an hour tonight.
Reading and watching videos on our Web site will still be possible.
From 12:15 a.m. to about 1:15 a.m., users won't be able to post comments, write blog entries or user other interactive features of our Web site. Also, users should expect to have to log back in to our Web site once the maintenance period is complete. The KUsports message boards will not be affected.
Once the interactive features are back, it may take the entire weekend for the search engine to re-index. At that time, you'll be able to search but you may not be able to find everything. The search engine will get better as the hours go by.
If you have any questions, please do leave them in the comments.
• Self couldn't see Tyrel Reed's strip at the end of the game because he was on the other side of the court. Self texted Tyrel after he saw a replay of it. Self texted: "You saved the game." That was as big of a play as there was in the entire game, probably even bigger than Sherron Collins' shot.
• KU played with great poise except for the last two plays in regulation. Self liked his team's body language.
• Xavier Henry had never played in an atmosphere like that.
• The No. 1 ranking doesn't have any meaning. Self is surprised that the national media makes a big deal out of it, because there could be a new No. 1 every week. Road losses in conference aren't major upsets. KU won the national championship and lost three conference games in five tries.
• In the first half against Kansas State, KU got the ball where it needed to go (inside). Self liked the way his team played in every aspect except for defensive rebounding.
• KU has won when it has gone to Colorado recently, but Self says KU hasn't played well when it has gone out there. This is the best Colorado team in a while.
• Self would rather be ranked No. 1 on Feb. 1 than Dec. 1. But he'd rather be No. 1 on March 1 than Feb. 1.
• The more you see Collins, the more you appreciate him. He's not a numbers guy. There was a time in the league when he was a freshman, other coaches viewed him as the second-best player in the league behind Kevin Durant. If you study him in practice, he has unbelievable basketball savvy and basketball I.Q. He sees the game in slow motion. He's playing to win. That's what point guards are supposed to do.
• Colorado's Alec Burks is a great get by Colorado and obviously a recruiting blunder by a lot of folks. He's good. Self saw him in the Missouri State championship finals. He was a good player then. That would be a loss for their team if he can't play Wednesday because of his knee injury.
• Last week, Self made practice ridiculously hard for his starters. Some of them were getting tackled and things like that to get them ready for physical play. Self joked that Mario Little was one of KU's best tacklers.
• You can't win a golf tournament in the third round. This is the third round for KU.
• Baylor's win over Texas was a minor upset to Self.
• Collins and Ty Lawson were the best two guards in the country during their senior years in high school. Self thought Collins would be this good.
• Brady Morningstar has played well in tough circumstances. The bump in the road (offseason DUI) helped his life and helped him mature.
• Self never thought Collins would have been a four-year guy. He could have left after his sophomore year if he had been healthy. He had to have surgery that offseason. He likes to win. The kid's legacy is that there have been a lot of good players here, but he's going to win more than any of them.
• Marcus Morris has always envisioned himself as being a perimeter player. Self hasn't given him many opportunities to show that. He has embraced that he can do things against big guys that they can't guard. He is using his quickness, and he's a great offensive rebounder right now.
• Self will continue to practice his players hard this week after the tough practices last week.
• Marcus can play himself into being a first-rounder. He can play himself into being a pro.
• Cornell and Michigan helped KU prepare for Colorado's unique offense.
• A two-game lead is nice, but the race is still a long way from being decided.
• Kansas State is one of the most physical teams KU will play. The Jayhawks will have to play physical to have a chance. KSU plays clean, but it likes to get after it.
• Fans want rhythm in games. Coaches want rhyhtm, too, as long as it's in their favor. This is how you learn to win hard games. If your goal is to make the other team play poorly — if you have a defensive mindset — that's what muddies games up.
• The most aggressive teams usually get the benefit of calls from the officials, because they created the style of play. One big key is if significant players get two fouls early.
• From Self's perspective, there are a lot of teams out there that can play tougher. KU is one of those teams. The Jayhawks' toughness level needs to be a 10 Saturday. KU is tough, but it could be tougher.
• KSU's Jamar Samuels has gotten better because he is a better scorer this season.
• KSU has an excellent backcourt. Denis Clemente is as fast as anyone in college basketball. Jacob Pullen is a good scorer.
• Cole Aldrich has a freer mind. He's unique in that he acts like nothing ever bothers him, but things do weigh on him. His grandmother's health bothered him.
• Self doesn't care one bit if KU becomes the new No. 1. To him, it's irrelevant. Teams are going to lose on the road in the conference, so there will probably be multiple No. 1s the rest of the way. There are no upsets from here on out with conference play starting.
• Self thinks Sherron Collins should be one of the candidates for Big 12 player of the year. He also thinks he's a candidate for first-team All-American. But to be in the conversation for national player of the year, Collins needs to finish shots better.
• Self joked that one way Frank Martin has changed through his years as KSU coach is that he's mellowed (laughter followed). Self and Martin are good friends. Martin has done a good job at Kansas State. Self thought Martin's hire was a good hire and that it made sense. He thinks Martin has put KSU on a level where it's here to stay.
• Self likes competition. He thinks everyone who is in this sport loves to compete. Having KSU around the top 10 generates interest. Self wants Wichita State to win, too. It's good for this area. It's more fun when rivalry games are played and both teams are ranked. KU is benefitting from increased exposure nationally for this game with KSU being good.
• Self says only two atmospheres rivaled KSU's at Bramlage Coliseum in 2008 — at Indiana and at Oklahoma State in Self's first year at KU.
• Self hasn't talked to ESPN's Digger Phelps lately, but Self thought his impersonation of Phelps at Late Night in the Phog was pretty good.
• A win on Saturday — for both teams — would be huge. It would put either team in a favorable position in the Big 12 race. KU's schedule just now is starting to get tough.
• Sherron is a smart player, but he likes to compete. As far as getting into a potential duel with another Chicago native like KSU's Jacob Pullen, Sherron is more likely to do whatever his team needs for him to do to win.
• This is an important game for Tyshawn Taylor, because his speed and quickness can match up with KSU's guards.
• When Tyrel Reed first got here, he was a good player, but people viewed him more as a shooter than a player. Tyrel can help you in lots of areas now. His ball-handling, defense and understanding of the game have all improved.