Tale of the Tait
The news regarding a broadcasting deal between Kansas Athletics, IMG College and Time Warner Cable/MetroSports to create a revamped Jayhawk Network has produced quite a bit of confusion from fans throughout Jayhawk Nation.
As I've mentioned several times today, both on Twitter and in the comments section of our story, I understand those concerns and the confusion but also am limited in what I can say because KU and its partners have chosen to release the details of their TV agreement in two parts, one today and one sometime in the very near future, once details are finalized and contracts are signed.
In the meantime, let's try to clear up some of the confusion with a very basic and very brief comparison between what you, as viewers, had before and what you'll be getting under the new deal, as it stands today.
I say “as it stands today,” because I've had multiple off-the-record conversations with people at KU about this and I have a pretty clear understanding that when the final pieces of the puzzle are put in place, KU fans will be very excited about the future and how it pertains to KU expanding its brand and presence in homes across the country.
For now, though, let's get on with this exercise.
• Additional KU coverage, what's come to be known as “shoulder programming”
Now – None
With the new deal – 600 hours per year, available to all Time Warner customers, nationwide
• Games or events shown in Kansas on the Jayhawk Televsion Network:
Now – 1 football game and six men's basketball games per year
With the new deal – Those seven events plus 43 other events in sports including volleyball, women's basketball, soccer and track
• Men's hoops games shown in Kansas via other media outlets and/or cable providers
Now – All
With the new deal – All
--- It's important to remember that this deal is for KU's Tier 3 rights only and that many men's hoops games and football games are broadcast with KU and/or the Big 12's Tier 1 and Tier 2 partners. So, in short, games shown on ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, Fox, whatever, will still be shown on those channels just as they have been in the past. Nothing changes there. ---
--- Another thing worth remembering is this: The whole hub-bub here is over six men's basketball games slated for Jayhawk Network. In 2012-13, 27 of KU's 34 non-NCAA Tournament games were shown on national television, 19 on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, 4 on CBS and 4 on the Big 12 Network. In 2011-12 28 of 33 games were on national TV and in 2010-11 25 of 33 were on national TV. So the point here is that nothing changes for the national audience. ---
One one the biggest questions I have heard today is regarding DirectTV and Dish Network subscribers. And there is some cause for concern there.
If those providers do not carry Time Warner and/or MetroSports programming then DirectTV and Dish Network subscribers will not be able to get the 50 extra events or 300 hours of additional programming.
Having said that, there is some precedent for complaints from customers changing that in a hurry. When the Los Angeles Lakers entered into a deal with Time Warner, similar to the one KU and TWC have reached today, many Lakers fans who were on DirectTV and Dish Network went to those providers and complained about not being able to get the Lakers coverage because the channel was not available in their current lineup.
Here's a link to an L.A. Times story about the end of the madness back in 2012: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/15/entertainment/la-et-ct-lakers-directv-20121115
Evidently, enough people complained to inspire DirectTV to approach Time Warner about rectifying the situation and, when they did, things were fixed quickly.
A non-KU affiliated source I talked to a little bit ago explained it to me like this: According to FCC regulations, if DirectTV or Dish Network approach Time Warner and say they've heard viewer complaints about not carrying the channel and tell Time Warner they would like to pick up what, in this case, would be MetroSports, Time Warner is required to provide the channel to DirectTV or Dish Network at a nominal fee. At that point, DirectTV and/or Dish Network would decide how they want to incorporate it into their lineup. They could make it a part of a sports tier or package, they could add it to the overall lineup and bump up subscription costs by a small amount or they could even include it on a pay-per-view basis. That part is up to them. But if they hear enough complaints and, more importantly, if they sense that enough customers may be considering switching over to Time Warner, they almost assuredly would request to add the channel to their lineup.
Again, there's a lot still to come out here and patience is at a premium right now. It's my belief that when all of the dust settles KU fans will feel very good about the total deal and be as excited as the folks inside KU currently are about what this means for the future of broadcast KU athletics both in Kansas and across the country.
As we so often said during the conference realignment mess, stay tuned...
Here's a video of highlights from the scrimmage, taken by Jesse Newell:
And here are Nick Krug's photos of the action:
FINAL: Blue 91, Red 76
Thanks to a big second half, freshman forward Brannen Greene led all scorers with 21 points in the Blue's come-from-behind victory over the alums.
Tyshawn Taylor added 19 points and Sherron Collins 16 for the Red, while Perry Ellis chipped in 14, Landen Lucas and Conner Frankamp added 12 apiece and Jamari Traylor added 11 for the Blue squad.
Gary Bedore will have much more on the camp and the scrimmage in Thursday's Journal-World.
4:27 p.m. Update:
The shooting clinic continues as players in both colors of jerseys are knocking in three-pointers on both ends and Blue leads Red 71-69 with 3:20 remaining.
Perry Ellis also drilled a three and darn near everybody but some of the walk-ons have nailed three-pointers in this game today. Incredible to see the shooting display they're putting on. It's like San Antonio studs Danny Green and Gary Neal are in the building.
4:24 p.m. Update:
Brady Morningstar shows he can still play a little D, staying with Frank Mason on a drive to the hole and then swatting a lay-up attempt. Evan Manning and Tyler Self got the Free State connection going on a couple of three-pointers and the Blue squad has taken the lead, 64-62, after a three-point play by Frank Mason.
6:45 to play.
4:21 p.m. Update:
Just as one of our commenters asked whether Perry Ellis was playing, the sophomore forward connected on the finishing end of an alley-oop to pull the Blue within seven points. Tarik Black followed with a steal and dunk in transition and the current squad pulls to within five at 60-55, with 9:04 left.
4:19 p.m. Update:
Blue had pulled to within six on a Wayne Selden three but Taylor answered it on the other end and then got to the free throw line to put Red up double digits.
Red 60, Blue 49, 10:43 to play...
4:17 p.m. Update:
Tharpe three-pointer (his first) pulls Blue to within seven at 51-44 early 2nd half.
4:14 p.m. Update:
Second half under way. Blue ball.
HALFTIME at the CAMP SCRIMMAGE:
Red alums lead Blue current players 43-39 at the break.
Here's a quick look at the first-half scoring leaders:
Conner Frankamp 12
Tarik Black 8
Jamari Traylor 7
Sherron Collins 8
Landen Lucas 8
Tyshawn Taylor 8
4:10 p.m. Update:
Even big man Joel Embiid got in on the fun, knocking down a three-pointer from the top of the key and then knocking on his head all the way back to the other end. (No idea why!)
Red leads Blue 43-39 late in the 1st half.
4:06 p.m. Update:
It's become a three-point contest here in the gym as Tyrel Reed just got in on the act and Conner Frankamp hit his third triple in limited minutes.
Red leads Blue, 34-27 with 5 minutes to play in the 1st half.
4:04 p.m. Update:
Mario Little with a couple of threes for the Red squad and Landen Lucas has added a couple of easy dunks.
Red leads 31-24 with 6:00 left in the 1st.
Conner Frankamp hit his first two three-pointers — one from deep with Jeff Hawkins up on him — and Jamari Traylor also threw in a three-pointer and looked surprisingly good doing it.
4:01 p.m. Update:
Red has stormed back behind a three-pointer and a couple of sweet dishes from Taylor and now leads Blue 14-10 with 9:29 left in the first half.
First substitutions of the game have been made.
Frankamp, Garrett and Mason in for Blue and Little, Reed, Lucas and Hawkins in for Red.
3:58 p.m. Update:
Blue leads Red early, 8-5, and there have been a few noteworthy things early.
Naadir Tharpe looks bigger and is wearing No. 10 now (instead of No. 1). Wayne Selden wears No. 1 and he's got an incredible frame and some crazy athleticism.
Sherron looks to be in the best shape he's been in in a while and it shows in his game.
And, as advertised, Tarik Black takes up a lot of space and is tough for smaller bodies to handle.
It's also been pretty fun to watch Tharpe and Taylor guard each other... Former teammates who participated in an unofficial passing of the torch at the PG spot.
3:54 p.m. Update:
Warm-ups are finished and it's time to go. A few nice dunks from Traylor, Selden and Mason in the warm-up but the highlight was Tyshawn Taylor tossing the ball to the other end from beyond halfcourt and watching it bounce in off the floor from just inside the free throw line. The campers went nuts.
Here we go.
3:48 p.m. Update:
A copule of the current players went to join the Red squad to help out down low. Joel Embiid, Landon Lucas and Justin Wesley are playing for the Red. So, too, are Christian Garrett and Niko Roberts.
3:45 p.m. Update:
Self saved the newcomers for last and they all got pretty good ovations after Self called them "one of the best recruiting classes we've had here."
As for the returning guys, Jamari Traylor got by far the biggest cheer from the campers when Self introduced him.
About game time. Brady Morningstar has also joined the Red squad.
Tyshawn probably got the biggest cheer of all, which makes sense seeing how he's a current NBA guy. One more interesting note: Tyrel Reed is wearing the blue adidas camo game shorts that created such a stir last March.
9 minutes to tip.
3:41 p.m. Update:
Bill Self introducing his current players. Sherron Collins and Mario Little have since filed in. Current guys will wear Blue and the alums will wear Red. More to come...
3:37 p.m. Update:
Camp game is over and the current squad is now warming up. Haven't seen too many alums yet. Jeff Hawkins, Tyshawn Taylor and Tyrel Reed so far. We'll keep adding to the list as the players file in.
3:30 p.m. Update:
The camp counselors are currently putting it to the campers. Of course, they do have former KU women's player Carolyn Davis on the squad, so that helps.
3:23 p.m. Update:
Camp game still going on, but we just heard some more news of interest. Andrew White III will not play in today's scrimmage because of a sprained knee. Gary Bedore, the writer not the doctor, says he was told it's nothing serious but White will not play today.
3:09 p.m. Update
Just got word from KU that Andrew Wiggins will not be in attendance today. The wait continues, but he is working his way to town and is still expected to arrive sometime this week.
Coaches talking to the campers right now. Then there's a quick manager vs. campers game and then the main event.
Keep it right here.
It's that time of year again, time for the annual Bill Self basketball camps to dominate Lawrence's hoops scene for a few weeks.
Every summer, Self, with the help of current and former Jayhawks, welcomes hundreds of young hoopers to town for several days of instruction, entertainment and, of course, autographs.
In addition to featuring the fundamentals of basketball and some of the ins and outs of the KU program, the camps often include some of the more entertaining alumni games in college basketball.
Today, sometime after 3 p.m., will be the first such game and its lineup figures to be as impressive as any we've seen in a while thanks to its proximity to the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic, which is set for 7 p.m. Thursday night at Free State High.
Each year that game, which, in the past, has included a ton of big names from KU history, treats fans to a fun night of good memories and laughable moments. With a lot of those guys being in town for that game tomorrow night, it ought to be interesting to see how many of them make it to today's camp game, which usually pits the current crew against the alums.
We'll be up there throughout the afternoon to keep you updated on who made it to camp and I'll also be doing a live blog of the camp scrimmage, while Gary Bedore tracks down past greats for interviews, Tom Keegan scours the room for column ideas and Jesse Newell shoots video highlights which he'll post on the site as soon as possible.
The latest reports from Twitter say that Andrew Wiggins, the top recruit in the class who recently chose KU over both Kentucky and North Carolina, is expected to be on campus sometime today. That word supposedly is coming from his father. But whether that means he'll be in town in time to be at camp or if he'll be able to play even if he is there in time, remains to be seen.
Be sure to check back around 3 p.m. for all the fun.
With this week's news that former Kansas University cornerback Tyler Patmon is heading to Oklahoma State reminding everyone that this year's Jayhawks are largely unproven at Patmon's old position, it seemed this might be a good time to jog your memory about the guys KU coach Charlie Weis is counting on to replace Patmon as well as the departed Greg Brown.
The list is long and features a fair amount of flexibility, but it lacks experience at the Div. I level, which, even in spite of how rough of a season Patmon had in 2012, might make some wonder if letting the senior starter go was the best idea.
Only time can answer that question. The guess here is that the move will work out well for both Patmon and the Jayhawks. Sometimes a change of scenery can do wonders for all parties involved.
Anyway, here's a quick look at the candidates to fill KU's cornerback spots this fall.
• JaCorey Shepherd •
Bio: 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior who moved over from WR last season
Experience: Played in 8 games and made 3 starts in 2012; finished with 15 tackles, 3 pass break-ups and 3 passes defended.
Depth chart: Listed as a second-string CB on the pre-spring version
Skinny: I'm in the camp that believes Shepherd (picture above) can become a stud at his new position. But don't take my word for it; take defensive coordinator Dave Campo's. Campo has raved about Shepherd since the day he began coaching at KU, and until Shepherd proves he can't play the position, I'm going to lean on Campo's expertise and assume he can.
• Cassius Sendish •
Bio: 6-foot, 187-pound junior known for physical play
Experience: Only juco experience
Depth chart: Listed as a first-string CB on the pre-spring version
Skinny: Making it to campus in time for spring ball did wonders for Sendish's adjustment to the Division I level. He was one of the better corners throughout the spring and uses his physicality as a weapon when covering opposing wideouts. The guy is focused, all business and supremely talented. I think he'll quickly become a fan favorite.
• Dexter McDonald •
Bio: 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior beginning his second stint at KU
Experience: Played in 7 games during 2011 season before leaving the program and playing at Butler County Community College before returning. Finished 2011 season with 17 tackles and no other stats
Depth chart: Listed as a first-string CB on the pre-spring version
Skinny: I've heard on more than one occasion that McDonald can cover anybody. If that's true, he should have a leg up in the battle to start opposite Sendish this fall. We know he's fast and athletic from what he showed the first time he was at KU. If he really did sharpen his coverage skills and dive into the mental side of the position as he says, he could be in for a terrific return season.
• Tyree Williams •
Bio: 6-foot, 185-pound sophomore with good athleticism and great motor
Experience: Played in 7 games in 2012 but only logged limited snaps at corner. Finished with two tackles and one fumble recovery
Depth chart: Listed as a second-string CB on the pre-spring version
Skinny: Williams made enough of an impression as a true freshman to be thrown onto the field right away. It turned out he wasn't quite ready for this level. But after a full year in the program and more time to prepare his body, I wouldn't count him out by any means. The coaching staff obviously saw something they liked.
• Nas Moore •
Bio: 6-foot-1, 176-pound junior who is still pretty new to the position
Experience: Red-shirted in 2012 and, therefore, only has juco game experience
Depth chart: Listed as a second-string CB on the pre-spring version
Skinny: Like Shepherd, Moore's another former wide receiver who made the switch to defense and looked like a natural late during his junior-college days. For the most part, he got by on pure athleticism and raw talent. That won't be enough in the Big 12, but he's got good size and is a good enough athlete to contribute if he can grasp all that comes with playing the position.
• Kevin Short •
Bio: 6-foot-2, 185-pound junior college All-American from Fort Scott C.C.
Experience: Only juco experience
Depth chart: Not listed on pre-spring version; expected to arrive in July
Skinny: Despite his name, Short has the best size of the bunch and the talent to go with it. He would've been in better position to play right away if he had been able to make it to town in time for spring ball, but many believe that Short might be one of the best pick-ups in KU's recent recruiting class and it seems like a safe bet that he'll be given every chance to prove that. One thing to watch is whether he stays at corner or is shifted to safety.
• Brandon Hollomon •
Bio: 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior college transfer who comes to KU after just one season at Pierce Community College in California
Experience: Only juco experience
Depth chart: Not listed on pre-spring version; expected to arrive in early June
Skinny: Juco teammate of fellow Jayhawks Marquel Combs and Marcus Jenkins-Moore might be the wildcard in this bunch. I've heard he can flat-out play and Combs has called him a steal. Again, though, with just his junior-college film to go on, Hollomon is going to have to prove he can hold up against Big 12 offenses before he can be counted on.
It's still too early in the process to make a definitive call about what the Chris Martin arrest means for Martin, Kansas University football or the 2013 season, but assuming that the talented defensive end's run-in with the law will at the very least land him on the sideline for a good portion of the upcoming season, it seems logical to take a quick look at just what a blow not having him might be.
Before we go any farther, I'll start by saying that based on everything I've heard from a handful of people I've talked to about this situation, all kinds of outcomes remain on the table regarding Martin. He could be kicked off the team immediately, he could be cleared, he could wind up with a severe slap on the wrist and, even if he is cleared in some way, he could still miss half the season or more as a statement from KU coach Charlie Weis. Remember, Weis, just last year, handed out three-game suspensions for DUI arrests and this, we surely can all agree, is a much more serious charge than those.
I have no idea how any of this is going to end, but I think the only thing Weis and company can do is let things play out in the legal system, gather as much information as they can in the process and then, when all is said and done, decide on the appropriate punishment. Regardless of what that is, don't think for a second that Martin won't be punished.
It's a bad deal for KU football either way you slice it, both from a PR standpoint and a competitive standpoint. And it's a bad deal for the fans, too. Martin is a very likable dude, quirky in a way but gifted with great energy and an enjoyable sense of humor. You never knew exactly what he was going to say or how he was going to say it, but you did know two things: 1. Whatever he said would be the straight truth as he saw it and 2. He would likely deliver it in a very entertaining fashion.
For the purpose of this blog, let's assume the worst here and examine the landscape of the defensive line with Martin not being a part of it.
His absence puts immediate pressure on fellow newcomer Andrew Bolton, 6-3, 280, who, like Martin, comes to KU with the reputation as a legitimate pass rusher off the edge. Because Bolton could not make it to campus early like Martin did, hopes for his immediate impact must be tempered, but, if Martin is finished, the Jayhawks need Bolton to be everything he's been advertised and maybe more.
The spring depth chart listed sophomore Ben Goodman, 6-3, 255, as the immediate back-up to Martin at the Buck position — defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid — and that should bring at least a little smile to the faces of KU fans. Goodman is a great talent who has gotten better every day he's been in town and appears to have a very bright future. He doesn't own exactly the same build as Martin nor does he come with the same nasty mentality, but the guy can play and he should get every opportunity in the world to prove that now. I know the coaches were very high on him after spring ball and, as he enters his third season in the program, it's time for Goodman to show why.
Junior Michael Reynolds, 6-1, 240, is another player listed behind Martin at the Buck spot on the spring depth chart. Although Reynolds did not follow up his spectacular 2012 spring game with much of a season, he has some legit ability and could help replace Martin in a committee scenario as, at the very least, a situational pass rusher.
Senior Jordan Tavai, 6-3, 295, is sort of the forgotten man in all of this mess. Tavai, you'll remember, was one of the highlight signees from last year's recruiting class and, although he reported to campus a little overweight and out of shape, he made plays throughout the season from his spot at defensive tackle. From the time he arrived, Tavai was billed as a guy who could play both inside and out, and if Martin is done, it seems like a safe bet that Tavai will stay exclusively on the edge to pick up the slack, especially when you consider that Keon Stowers, Marquel Combs and Ty McKinney all represent great options on the interior of the defensive line.
One guy you'd have to consider a sleeper here is juco transfer Tedarian Johnson, 6-2, 288.. Johnson's huge and raw and doesn't exactly look like the kind of guy who could explode off the edge the way Martin or better-known NFL pass rushers like Von Miller or Dwight Freeney can, but he's well-liked by the coaches and one of the obstacles he was going to have to overcome — getting an opportunity to play — may have just cleared up a little. Again, he's not going to be Chris Martin, but he could help fill the void.
And don't forget senior Keba Agostinho, 6-2, 277,. He may not be on the same plane as a lot of these guys in terms of talent and ability, but he has more actual game experience than all of them and has made plays at defensive end.
The bottom line is this: If Martin's done, be it for good or for a significant chunk of the season, it's a huge blow to KU. He was the kind of guy who could be a difference maker for a defense, a guy Weis said would command constant double teams, which would make life better and easier for everyone else on KU's defense.
So, with him out of the picture, things change. But there still seems to be enough talent elsewhere on KU's defense, as well as enough depth on the defensive line, to think that KU could overcome this loss. Things might not be the same or nearly as good as they could've been, but this is a team sport and, beyond that, KU has created a fantastic team environment, and I can't imagine that any of these guys — players or coaches — letting one man's mistake bring down the entire unit.
Time will tell.
This morning's news that Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis would welcome back to the program former running back Darrian Miller certainly adds more depth and talent to an already loaded KU backfield.
But it also added another chapter to the long and winding road that Miller has traveled to become a Jayhawk.
The following is a quick timeline of the Darrian-Miller-to-KU era, which may be more extensive than many remember.
It was not easy for the Jayhawks to land Missouri's all-time high school rushing leader in the first place and, although he performed well throughout his first season in Lawrence, the ups and downs continued through this morning, when Weis announced that Miller was coming back.
The 5-foot-10, 191-pound back known for his big-play ability and relentless running style will be eligible immediate and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Here's a look back at Miller's path so far:
• March 4, 2010: Miller originally commits to KU
“It had been on my mind since I went to their Junior Day,” said Miller, the Simone Award runner-up in 2009. “But I just didn’t really know when was a good time (to commit). After talking to coach Mitchell a little more at the game (Wednesday), I just felt there was really no reason to wait. People have asked me about decommitments and whatnot, but I honestly don’t see that in my future. If I had any doubt in my mind then I wouldn’t have made the decision. No one pressured me. This was really just me.”
• May 25, 2010: Miller reopens his recruitment but does not rule out KU
“There is still a good chance I could end up (at KU),” Miller told Rivals.com’s Jon Kirby. “I want to make sure there isn’t a school out there that can compete with Kansas. I still feel strong about them. They are definitely still right there in the running. I just need to make sure that’s what I want.”
• Oct. 25, 2010: Miller commits to KU for the second time, choosing KU over Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas State
“Maybe it was just being around the coaches and players more,” Miller told Rivals. “When you go up there, you really get a chance to see how everybody gets along when they are together. You have to believe if you are going to be a part of it. I feel I made a good decision and everything feels right,” Miller said. “My season is going well and we are playing well. I’m happy to make my decision with Kansas and get up there to get started.”
• December 2010: Miller graduates high school a semester early in order to report to KU in time for the spring semester and spring football
“I’m confident I can come in this year and at least help out in some way,” Miller said. “I’m not expecting too much, but I’m not saying it couldn’t happen. I just want to come in and help out as much as I can.”
• April 30, 2011: After watching Miller rush for 23 yards on four carries in the spring game, former KU coach Turner Gill praised Miller's performance throughout spring ball
“Of the 15 practices he had, I thought he was a person who got more yards than what was blocked,” Gill said. “And I think that’s a little bit of how you define a good running back.”
• Aug. 17, 2011: Midway through his first fall camp, Miller begins to receive praise from KU's upperclassmen
“I want Darrian Miller to play because he’s like the slipperiest back I’ve ever tried to tackle,” former KU linebacker Steven Johnson said. “He’s just slipping and sliding. He’s like a snake and he squirms out of stuff. And he’s fast. And then we’ve got a running back from East St. Louis, (Tony) Pierson. I went one-on-ones with him this summer and I almost lost my shoe. I was like, ‘What in the world?’”
• Sept. 3, 2011: Miller shines in first game as a Jayhawk, rushing for 63 yards on 14 carries in a 42-24 win over McNeese State
“I knew they had talent,” Gill said about the freshmen running backs, including Miller. “But I didn’t know if it was gonna come to fruition in this ballgame. It was great to see it. When they got their touches, they produced. They didn’t get scared about the bright lights or playing on the big stage and all those things, and it was good to see those guys produce for us.”
• Nov. 12, 2011: Miller explodes for a career best 147 yards on 24 carries in a 31-30, overtime loss to Baylor. The yardage total marked the most in a single game by a KU freshman since 1993
“Our running backs played well,” said offensive coordinator Chuck Long. “They ran hard. Our offensive line did a terrific job. Our receivers on the outside blocked well.”
• Nov. 26, 2011: Gill suspended Miller for the final game of the regular season against Missouri for a violation of team rules. KU went on to lose 24-10 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City
“He’s a good football player,” Gill said of Miller after the loss, which proved to be his final game as KU's head coach. “He would’ve helped us. But (his absence) wasn’t the reason why we lost the football game.”
• Jan. 16, 2012: New KU coach Charlie Weis announces the dismissal of 10 players from the KU roster. Miller is on the list, which included players let go for everything from violating team rules to seeking a transfer
“I don’t care who they are,” said Weis when asked for his reaction to the prominence of several of the names, including Miller's. “I don’t care if they were all starters; it doesn’t make a difference. There’s a right and a wrong way of doing things and we’re gonna do it the right way. That’s all there is to it.”
• May 28, 2013: Weis announces that Miller, who spent the 2012 season at Butler County Community College but did not play, would return to the KU roster for the 2013 season and would have three years of eligibility remaining.
Minutes after the nation's No. 1 prep prospect, Andrew Wiggins, announced that he was heading to Kansas, many KU fans and national writers took to Twitter to share their joke about Jayhawk fans having yet another reason to wish for football season to pass quickly.
True or not, don't expect the members of the KU football team themselves to be too upset about it. In fact, more than a dozen Jayhawk football players also jumped on Twitter following Wiggins' announcement to share their excitement over the newest big-time basketball recruit landed by Bill Self.
Here's a sample:
Head coach Charlie Weis:
Congrats to Coach Self, staff and team. Wow. Welcome Andrew to the Jayhawk family. Rock Chalk!
Wide receiver Josh Ford:
congrats to #KUbball and @CoachBillSelf on signing the #1 recruit in the nation Andrew Wiggins #RockChalk
Safety Isaiah Johnson:
Damn KU just picked up the number one basketball player!! #BIG I feel like #kufball and #kubball will do some exciting things this year !! #rockchalk
Defensive end Michael Reynolds:
Big recruiting classes for #kufball and #kuball this year !! #JayhawkNation
Quarterback Jake Heaps:
Great day to be a Jayhawk! Congrats to @22wiggins on his decision. A great feeling knowing where your going to be playing ball!! #RockChalk
Defensive tackle Marquel Combs:
KU Basketball is about to (be) crazy this year !!
Linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore:
Damn.. Bill self a Wizard how he put this class together! Big time Football recruiting class! Big time Basketball recruiting class! Great day to be a Jayhawk
Assistant coach Dave Campo:
Congrats to Coach Self and staff on a great recruiting year!!! Rock Chalk!!!”
Linebacker Schyler Miles:
WIGGINS TO KU!
Defensive back Dexter McDonald:
Wiggins got 80.3K followers lol how can you not get a check thts already official lol
Defensive tackle Keon Stowers:
Wiggins to KU lets go!!
Linebacker Victor Simmons:
Dude isn't even here yet and already got a fake account.
Long snapper Reilly Jeffers:
@22wiggins hey welcome to the family #rockchalk #kubball and #kufball
The list goes on and on. So, as you can see, there's not a whole lot of animosity from the football players about their basketball counterparts signing the best prep player on the planet.
In fact, they seem pretty excited to welcome him to town and, from December through March, to watch him play in Allen Fieldhouse.
One of the biggest reasons I think these guys aren't worried about Wiggins' arrival — other than the fact that the football team largely is made up of pretty good dudes — is the fact that these guys are realists. They understand, embrace and accept that in order to get people interested in what they're doing on Saturdays this fall, they have to go out there and win games.
The Andrew-Wiggins-to-Kansas news that overjoyed Jayhawk Nation at 11:09 a.m. today and continues to send waves of happiness throughout Lawrence brings to town the latest can't-miss, one-and-done college hoops prospect.
Regardless of your opinion on OADs, the addition of Wiggins, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound wing from Huntington, W.V., who can do a little bit of everything, not only makes the Bill-Self-led Jayhawks the favorite to win a 10th straight Big 12 title but also puts Kansas firmly into the preseason Top 10, perhaps even the Top 5. Not bad for one of last year's No. 1 seeds that lost all five starters, many of whom played key roles on the Jayhawks' run to the national title game in 2012, as well.
More important than any fact about where KU will be ranked or what KU can accomplish during the 2013-14 season is the fact that adding Wiggins to the incoming class and the returning roster gives Self an incredible amount of flexibility and a seemingly endless list of options.
As Self likes it, the competition for playing time will be stiff this coming season, which not only means the Jayhawks are loaded, but also means they're going to get better. Picture this: a deep and talented crop of Jayhawks new and old battling against one another for minutes every day during practice. There will be no fear about going too hard, only fear about not going hard enough.
Wiggins, who is projected by many to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, will certainly be pencilled in as a starter from Day 1.
The rest of the starting lineup remains to be seen, but, again, there are a bunch of different options for Self.
Here's an early stab at what the opening night starting lineup could look like, followed by a look at KU's reserves:
PG: Naadir Tharpe, jr.
SG: Wayne Selden, fr.
SF: Andrew Wiggins, fr.
PF: Perry Ellis, soph.
C: Joel Embiid, fr.
PG: Frank Mason, fr.
SG: Conner Frankamp, fr.
SF: Brannen Greene, fr.
SF: Andrew White III, soph.
PF: Jamari Traylor, soph.
PF: Landen Lucas, RS-fr.
PF: Justin Wesley, sr.
Don't forget that Memphis forward Tarik Black is visiting KU today and, should he choose the Jayhawks, he would offer Self yet another option in the starting lineup. Perhaps something like this:
PG: Naadir Tharpe, jr.
SG: Wayne Selden, fr.
SF: Andrew Wiggins, fr.
PF: Perry Ellis, soph.
C: Tarik Black, sr.
What all of this tells me is (a) KU will not have to worry about a lack of athleticism next season; and (b) Naadir Tharpe better be ready to take on a leadership role because he'll be playing with a bunch of youngins.
As many of you may know, I've loved Tharpe's leadership traits since his freshman season and I think he took a real step forward in that department last season. Give him another summer to go to work and adjust to the feeling that this is his team to lead and I think he'll be primed for a fantastic junior year.
Remember, Tharpe was at his best last season when he served as a facilitator, and with these lineups and the offensive weapons KU will have coming off the bench, it will be pretty clear that getting the ball to the right guys will be Tharpe's No. 1 job next season.
• CINCINNATI BENGALS — May 10-12
Tanner Hawkinson, OL
Like several other NFL teams, the Bengals open rookie mini camp Friday, when fifth-round draft pick and former Kansas University standout Tanner Hawkinson officially will begin his pro career. Because he was drafted, there is a lot less pressure on Hawkinson at mini camp than there is on the rest of his former KU teammates who are trying to make their respective rosters as undrafted free agents. Still, Hawkinson is competing for playing time and, in some ways, the coaches might be harder on him than the rest of the Jayhawks trying to break into the league. Hawkinson will begin his Bengals career wearing the same number (72) he wore in college.
• CHICAGO BEARS — May 10-12
Tunde Bakare, LB
Josh Williams, DE
The Bears gave free-agent contracts to 10 undrafted players following last month's draft, and, because they are a team that doesn't often load up on these types of players, that does not bode well for the chances of former Jayhawks Bakare and Williams. What the duo does have going in its favor is this: None of those 10 free agent contracts went to players who play their position. Bakare, though a bit undersized, brings a unique skill set to camp. He's a physical monster with good speed and an even better motor. Williams started his career at Nebraska and I've heard on more than one occasion that sometimes guys are picked up or given chances because of the coach or the program they played for.
• DETROIT LIONS — May 10-12
Marrongelli is one of a handful of players invited to the Lions mini camp without a contract. The good news is the versatile and intelligent lineman got the invite. The bad news? The Lions actually signed three undrafted free agent offensive linemen and drafted one in the third round. As was the case going in, Marrongelli seems like a long shot to make the Lions' roster.
• JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS — May 3-5
Duane Zlatnik, OL
The former KU guard was one of nearly 50 rookies in attendance at the Jaguars rookie mini camp last week. Given those numbers alone, Zlatnik faced a tough challenge of standing out in a crowd that included No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel. He got his reps, though, and did so wearing No. 68 (he wore 67 in college). Zlatnik has the size, strength and skill to get noticed but must show consistency. I talked to more than one person during Zlatnik's KU career who said the Rossville native was the best O-Line prospect on the team. If Zlatnik sticks around, his next chance to prove that is at the Jags' OTAs, which begin May 13.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS — May 10-12
Dayne Crist, QB
Bradley McDougald, S
Toben Opurum, DE/FB
For the second year in a row, a member of the KU football team participated at the by-invitation NFL combine yet went undrafted. Although wide receiver turned safety Bradley McDougald fully expected to hear his name called during the seven rounds of the draft, landing in Kansas City as an undrafted free agent signee puts him in pretty good position. The Chiefs are thin at safety and McDougald has the skills and confidence needed to make a quick impact. Two of McDougald's KU teammates will be joining him at K.C.'s mini camp, and both Crist and Opurum offer interesting story lines to keep an eye on. We all know that Crist's lone season at KU was a disappointment, but he still has the tools — size, smarts, arm strength, maturity — that NFL coaches look for at the game's most important position. Considering the fact that he's competing for a roster spot with two career back-ups (Chase Daniel and Ricky Stanzi) and another undrafted free agent in Tennessee's Tyler Bray, Crist, with a good camp, could find himself getting a chance behind Chiefs starter Alex Smith. As for Opurum, it remains to be seen whether he'll work as a defensive end/linebacker, a fullback or both. That, alone, is worth tracking and his versatility could keep him around long enough for the coaching staff to get a look at him in both capacities.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS — May 10-12
Greg Brown, CB
Like McDougald, Brown was impressive enough during his career and his pro day to earn a free-agent contract from the Chargers after this year's draft. That doesn't guarantee him anything other than a chance. And it might get him a couple. Not only does the contract indicate that the Chargers see something in Brown that they like, but San Diego also has a rich history of success with undrafted free agents, with names like Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd, Mike Tolbert and Kris Dielman going from draft castoffs to NFL starters.
According to Jerry Palm of CBSsports.com, the 2013 season will be another rough one for the Kansas University football team.
It's not that Palm projected the Jayhawks to win just one or two games — he may, but that's not what's in the news today — but rather that Palm projected that 9 of the 12 teams on KU's schedule for the upcoming season will qualify for bowl games when everything is said and done.
That projection includes two of the three non-conference opponents KU will face this season, as Palm has Rice (Sept. 14) slated to play in the Hawaii Bowl and Louisiana Tech (Sept. 21) slotted into the New Orleans Bowl.
The only members of KU's schedule not picked by Palm for the postseason are South Dakota (Sept. 7), Texas Tech (Oct. 5) and West Virginia (Nov. 16).
Both Tech and WVU made bowl appearances in 2012, when 11 of the 12 teams KU faced wound up in bowl games.
Such is life in the Big 12 Conference, where powerhouse programs like Texas, Oklahoma and, lately, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor, pop up on the schedule week in and week out. There are no down weeks in conference play, particularly for a team like KU, which is still in the middle of a rebuilding project, and that fact makes the road to respectability even tougher to travel for KU coach Charlie Weis and company.
I guess, in a way, the 2013 schedule might actually set up better for KU than last year's slate. Time will tell. But the good news — if you're looking for it — is that KU will face two of Palm's three projected non-bowl opponents during the first four games of the season.
It's been said before, and even proven to be true around here, but getting off to a good start drastically can change the way a season unfolds.
The fun begins in less than four months.
Realignment Today: Does the ACC’s granting of rights agreement mean realignment is finally finished?
During the past couple of weeks, I've been asked a few times when I was going to do another conference realignment update in the wake of the ACC announcing its granting of rights agreement that will run through 2026-27.
I certainly understand the interest, and, yes, the ACC news was huge for the realignment landscape. But by huge we're talking huge in the sense that it may have put an end to the movement for the foreseeable future.
Throughout the wild and crazy past three years of realignment, we've talked a lot about how this move or that response might be the key to realignment and full-on pandemonium. But it seems clear to me that the ACC locking up its members for such a long period of time makes things as stable as they have been in years, at least throughout college athletics' major conferences.
Could something still happen? Sure. Anything's possible. We've seen and experienced that too many times throughout the past few summers to sit here and say that this means, with 100 percent certainty, that things are done. But while it might not be 100 percent certain, it seems as if it's as close as it can get – maybe 99.9 percent.
There are those out there who believe that the granting of rights agreements don't mean jack. I've heard from them countless times throughout my coverage of conference realignment and, while I understand where they're coming from, I'm much more inclined to believe the college administrators in multiple conferences who have told me that such agreements are worth their weight in gold.
With that thought in mind, it makes sense to deduce that things will be quiet for a while now that the ACC is solid again. And I gotta admit, my hat's off to that conference for getting it done. I really believed the ACC was flirting with disaster.
After all, for the past year or so the ACC's vulnerability has been seen as the one domino that could send the whole thing tumbling once again. If this ACC school or that one left for this conference or that one, then others would be forced to react, both those schools left in the ACC and the other conferences trying to keep up.
Finally, it looks as if the Big 12 can tell people it's happy at 10 teams and the rest of the world can actually believe them.
So what does that mean for the future? Well, from what I can gather it means this: Proceed with caution.
I've had enough talks with enough people throughout the Big 12 to understand that the league will never again be caught off guard. Every time the conference's athletic directors get together or every time its governing body meets, the topic of realignment and/or expansion comes up. Sometimes it's just for 2 minutes to make sure things are still on track and other times it's for a little longer, with conference officials bringing key questions or concerns to the table for discussion. Consider it Big 12 officials staying on top of things rather than waiting for things to play out before rolling up their sleeves.
And consider that yet another legit sign of the strength and vitality of the Big 12.
A recent article from CBS Sports indicates that the Big Ten and commissioner Jim Delany had talked to as many as six schools during recent months about the idea of expansion. The article claims that the talks were of a serious nature and that things may have heated up considerably had the ACC not locked up its members with the GOR.
Who knows? It's very possible that there's some truth to that and also possible that the whole thing is just more posturing by the man who many believe started the realignment madness in the first place.
Either way, thanks to the ACC, we don't have to find out.
Delany did not disclose the names of the schools he talked to and I can't imagine that he ever will. Was KU one of them? I suppose it's possible, perhaps even likely, but from everything I've been told, it sure doesn't sound like KU had any kind of contact with the Big Ten about realignment.
Now, it's important to remember that contact can be made in both official and unofficial manners. Maybe KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger never talked to Delany about realignment, but maybe a friend of a friend of a friend at KU did.
Again, we'll probably never know and we'll probably never need to.
From where I sit, that's the best news to come from realignment in years.
I didn't write this to proclaim that realignment is over once and for all. None of us are naïve enough — any more — to actually think we're done with this demon for good. It'll come up again, most likely whenever someone gets upset with the way things are run in their conference and certainly whenever these various granting of rights agreements close in on expiration. But for now, it seems as if we can safely get back to mowing the lawn, enjoying cook outs and diving into other elements of sports coverage in the summer instead of tracking the madness of conference realignment.
Time will tell. And you know we'll stay on top of it.
Now, get out there and enjoy this weather.... Oh, wait.