Posts tagged with Kansas Basketball

Texas basketball’s job opening creates exciting time for Big 12, Kansas

Texas head coach Rick Barnes watches from the bench with his team with little time remaining on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Texas head coach Rick Barnes watches from the bench with his team with little time remaining on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Saturday afternoon news broke that the Texas Longhorns were prepared to move on from men's basketball coach Rick Barnes after 17 seasons.

Regardless of whether it goes down as a firing, a resignation or a force-out, the mere fact that Barnes is moving on and the UT job is open ushers in a wildly exciting time for the Big 12 Conference.

That job, because of a talented returning roster, UT's relatively solid history of success and the resources and money available to turn that program into a force, will attract some of the best candidates in college basketball.

We're not just talking about guys who are looking to make a nice little jump. We're talking about guys who would be candidates at some of the country's best basketball schools if those jobs were open.

Kansas. North Carolina. Duke. Michigan State. Shaka Smart. Gregg Marshall. Ben Jacobson. Archie Miller. And more.

But forget about the candidate pool, which guys have a real shot and what direction the Longhorns want to go. That, right now, is anybody's guess and all those of us observing from afar have to go off of is the recent hiring of Charlie Strong as UT's football coach. Given that the hoops job is a completely different animal, I'm not sure that helps lead us to any quality predictions.

What we can predict, though, is how much the hire — whoever it ends up being — will impact the Big 12 and Kansas.

Let's say, for a second, that Marshall is the guy. Just like that, KU coach Bill Self will go from not knowing when he'll get another crack at Marshall, whose Wichita State team ended Self and KU's season a week ago in Omaha, to two guaranteed match-ups with the guy year in and year out.

That's an awesome scenario to envision. And could immediately breathe life back into the KU-Texas battles and make it the marquee rivalry in the conference.

If it's not Marshall and the Longhorns go with a guy like Smart, you're looking at a scary situation in which a sleeping giant could be awoken.

Smart is so beloved by his players, would be able to recruit top-tier talent to Austin and, beyond that, would bring a nasty style of play to the conference that could give teams fits.

If it's me making the hire, I'm going after Smart and not taking no for an answer.

But regardless of who the Texas administration goes after, they'll have enough high-quality candidates to make it nearly impossible to mess this one up.

All that remains to be seen is how big of a splash the new UT hoops coach will make on the rest of the Big 12.

Reports have said they'd like to make the hire quickly, perhaps by the end of the coming week. Can't wait to see who it is.

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Wiggins’ Monday announcement won’t surprise but will be meaningful

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles and gives a pat to Andrew Wiggins after pulling him from the game late in the second half on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self smiles and gives a pat to Andrew Wiggins after pulling him from the game late in the second half on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

So 2 p.m. central time Monday (or today, depending upon when you're reading this) is the official time for the announcement we've all known was coming since last May.

All signs point to Kansas University freshman Andrew Wiggins being headed to the NBA.

Almost everyone I know, along with many of you I don't, accepted this fact a long time ago and most people did not have much issue with the fact that Wiggins' time in Lawrence was going to last one season, win, lose or draw.

So here we are at the end of the road. All that's left to do now is make it official, which Wiggins will do at Allen Fieldhouse on Monday next to head coach Bill Self, who likely will be sitting there with one heck of a smile on his face.

For all of the things Self does well, this is one of his more underrated areas of strength. Never does he make a young man's decision to stay or go pro about him or the program or winning. It's always about the kid. And even if Self really is sad to see a guy go, you'd never know it on announcement day.

Today's press conference is as much for Self and KU as it is for Wiggins. Sure, Wiggins has to make his intent to enter the draft official, but he could do that in a statement or even a phone interview. Having him sit in the Allen Fieldhouse media room one more time, in front of the Jayhawk backdrop, with all of the local media there is nothing but good news for Kansas and its future recruiting.

It'll probably last about 10-15 minutes and Wiggins will gush about KU, all he learned while he was here and why Kansas was absolutely the right school for him to choose. The best part about it is it will all be very genuine. Everything about Wiggins has been since the moment he first stepped on campus and I can't see him going out any other way.

Future one-and-dones will be listening and watching, and even if they're not, they'll surely read or hear his comments at some point in the near future. Whether they realize it or not, Wiggins' words will stick with them in some manner.

There was a time when these things felt a little strange at KU. People still held out hope that the announcements would favor KU and shock the world. These days, they're old hat, as common as listening to Self stress how tough winning the Big 12 yet again is going to be at the beginning of a new season.

Monday's announcement will favor KU, but not because a superstar is sticking around. It will favor KU because that superstar will say everything Self and the program need him to say on his way out the door — and he'll mean every word.

Kansas guards Andrew Wiggins, left, and Naadir Tharpe laugh on the bench during the second half of an exhibition game on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guards Andrew Wiggins, left, and Naadir Tharpe laugh on the bench during the second half of an exhibition game on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

When the press conference was announced late Sunday night, I posted on Twitter the details and told my followers I'd let them fill in the rest... Here's a quick look at some of the best and most laugh-inducing responses:

• He's obviously a four year player Matt

• Mission trip then back another year....

• Skipping the NBA draft to go barnstorming with Niko, Tarik and Justin obviously.

• Redshirt is obvious

• 2? 2 = second year of college obviously

• Maybe he will say he's no where near ready for the NBA... Lol and his teammates as well

• Self is going pro and Wiggins will coach through graduation?

• He should announce it early so we don't start believing he is coming back

• Come back!

• The Decision Part II. Why isn't ESPN televising this?

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins gets up for a dunk over Kansas State guard Marcus Foster during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins gets up for a dunk over Kansas State guard Marcus Foster during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

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