Posts tagged with Ku Basketball

Frank Mason set to fire first pitch at KU Day at The K

A glimpse at the Jayhawk-themed Royals hats that will be given out to the first 4,000 fans entering through Gate A at Sunday's game.

A glimpse at the Jayhawk-themed Royals hats that will be given out to the first 4,000 fans entering through Gate A at Sunday's game. by Matt Tait

KU senior Frank Mason Tweeted on Tuesday that he will be throwing out the first pitch at the Kansas City Royals game on Sunday.

Sunday is KU Day at The K and several Jayhawks from all across the athletic department, including players, coaches and administrators, will be in attendance when the defending World Series champion Royals take on the Minnesota Twins.

First pitch is set for 1:15 p.m. And, according to Mason, that won’t be the first chance fans get to see a strike.

“Throwing the first pitch at the Royals game Sunday. #GuaranteedStrike,” Mason Tweeted before adding, “Oh, and this is gonna be my first time attending a MLB game in my whole entire life.”

The latest KU Day at The K continues the long-standing relationship between the Royals and all three nearby universities. The Royals also will give away Jayhawk-themed Royals hats to the first 4,000 fans who purchased a special discounted ticket online and enter through Gate A at Sunday's game.

In 2014, KU football standout Ben Heeney, now with the Oakland Raiders, threw out one of the most memorable first pitches at KU Day, beaning KU mascot Big Jay with his pitch to the plate.

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It’s never too early for some preseason college hoops predictions

So here we sit, a little more than three weeks away from the start of football season and that means it’s time to start looking at preseason basketball predictions.... Wait, what?

As much as that might not be a reality anywhere else in the country, it certainly is the case here in Lawrence, where college basketball is a year-round passion and rankings, whether they’re posted in mid-April, the heart of the summer or the start of October, are taken seriously the minute they’re posted.

That’s why CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein caught the eye of Kansas fans on Monday when he dropped his early look at the Big 12 for the upcoming season, which actually will be here before we know it.

Technically dubbed Power Rankings, Rothstein’s picks did not cause any heart attacks — in other words, he properly picked Kansas to win the Big 12 again — but did create a little buzz at spots 2-10.

I’m actually good with a big chunk of his picks. I like Kansas to win its 13th straight Big 12 regular season title, I like West Virginia to be the Jayhawks’ biggest challenger and I think K-State and TCU will finish closer to the bottom than the top.

It’s the middle of the pack that I’d change up, at least as of Aug. 16, 2016.

So my late-summer Big 12 predictions would look something like this:

  1. Kansas, 2. West Virginia, 3. Iowa State, 4. Baylor, 5. Oklahoma, 6. Texas, 7. Texas Tech, 8. Oklahoma State, 9. Kansas State, 10. TCU.

Here's a look at Rothstein's order:

Next up, Rothstein Tweeted out some individual awards, including player of the year, which he gave to KU freshman Josh Jackson.

It’s a bold pick given Jackson’s age, but might wind up being one we look back on and say, “Of course.”

Joining Jackson on Rothstein’s first team were:

Given the departure of so many of last year’s stars, either to graduation or early entry in the NBA Draft (I’m still bumming over Isaiah Taylor’s decision to leave Texas), first-team all-Big 12 honors are a bit wide open going into the 2016-17 season.

I’m in agreement with Jackson, Morris and Evans but think I’d give the slight edge to Devonte’ Graham over Frank Mason, I think Graham will score more and shoot a higher percentage. Plus, Graham’s on-court demeanor tends to stand out a lot more than the stone-faced senior.

After that, I’d give the final spot to either Motley or OU’s Khadeem Lattin, who will have to have a much bigger impact for the Sooners on both ends of the floor than he did with Buddy Hield, Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins in the lineup.

Rothstein lists Oklahoma State as his sleeper team and it’s tough to argue with that given the presence of all-world point guard Jawun Evans and the return of senior guard Phil Forte along with the dawn of the Brad Underwood era.

If there were a team other than OSU that I’d consider for this honor, it’s Shaka Smart’s Texas Longhorns, which I’ve got sixth and Rothstein had seventh. They’re missing some key pieces, particularly at the point, but UT has some terrific athletes and should be much more comfortable playing Smart’s style, which can be a nightmare for opponents. Predicting Texas to crack the Top 3 would be a reach, but it’s definitely easy to make a case for a fourth- or fifth-place finish.

Rothstein’s next few categories featured a few Jayhawks in some less-heralded categories.

Both Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot landed on his list of 10 impact freshmen and big man Dwight Coleby landed on his list of five his under-the-radar transfers.

I was surprised to see Lightfoot included on the impact freshmen list — though I wouldn’t be surprised if that prediction came true. It’ll all come down to opportunity, if you ask me — and even though Coleby definitely has some potential to impact this team, I’m not sure this will be the year he does that.

His final category was 5 breakout Big 12 players and I’m a big fan of all of them, but was shocked to see KU sophomore Carlton Bragg left off the list.

Bragg also has yet to appear on DraftExpress.com’s 2017 Mock Draft and, when I inquired about his absence there, I was told that they’d probably add him if he got off to a hot start, otherwise he’ll be on the 2018 Mock Draft as soon as they post it.

While the idea of Bragg sticking around for his junior season might be music to KU fans’ ears, I’m not sure he’s getting the hype he deserves heading into his sophomore season — at least not nationally.

Just by being out there the amount of time he figures to be on the floor, Bragg stands to be an automatic threat for a double-double on any given night. He easily has the prowess to pour in double figures in scoring and if his added bulk is paired with another level of intensity, he should be able to hit the glass and do some damage on both ends of the floor.

While predicting a double-double average for Bragg is also a bit bold, the numbers say that if his 2015-16 averages of 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 9 minutes a game are projected over his more likely playing time of around 30 minutes a game in 2016-17, Bragg easily could wind up in the 12-point, 8-rebound range.

After all, with names like Mason, Graham, Jackson and Lucas out there on the floor with him, there will be very little pressure on the talented sophomore who, at least according to those you ask around here, sure seems to be headed toward a big time season.

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KU’s Jackson, Graham among most coveted players in the country

There’s no doubting that college coaches across the country would enjoy the opportunity to coach more than a few members of the Kansas men’s basketball team.

Year after year, KU coach Bill Self beats out a varying number of college coaches for some of the top talent in the country. And year after year, Self takes that talent and makes it the class of the Big 12 and a national title contender.

Self doesn’t get them all, of course. Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and many others have won recruiting battles for more than their share of players that Self and the Jayhawks tried to sign. But Self’s batting average with the players he targets as most important is among the best in college basketball.

As is common at most schools, I’m sure, Kansas fans believe their players are the best in the country and that any coach would be lucky to coach any one of them, from the top point producer to the key role player off the bench. With that in mind, and much, much more, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander recently conducted a poll of more than 100 college coaches and asked them which player on another team they most would like to have on their team.

Two Jayhawks landed on the list, with freshman phenom Josh Jackson getting 5 percent of the vote and junior guard Devonte’ Graham getting 2 percent.

Those are good numbers but they pale in comparison to the feedback for Duke’s Grayson Allen (13 percent) and fellow Blue Devil Harry Giles (10 percent).

Without knowing the exact number or identity of the coaches CBS polled, it’s hard to know exactly what this means. But given the fact that he reached out to more than 100 of them, you have to think that at least half were of the Power 5 variety, so this isn’t just a case of mid-major coaches clamoring for the elite-level talent.

Speaking of elite-level talent, Duke actually landed a third player on list. Jayson Tatum tied with Jackson and received 5 percent of the vote.

The three Blue Devils marked the most for any team, with Kansas, Kentucky (Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo) and Villanova (Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart) all getting two players on the list. Those four teams also are ranked 1 through 4 in CBS’s preseason poll.

These types of polls and exercises obviously don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. But they are fun and interesting and you can’t help but wonder which player Self picked if he were asked.

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Self addresses KU football team on opening day of preseason camp

The start of preseason football camp always comes with a lot of routine, more than a little excitement and a vibe that speaks to both the promise and the pressure of the fast approaching season.

And while that often means a lot of the same for the players who have been through it before, every once in a while there’s something new that pops up.

The Jayhawks received a special treat at the beginning of this year’s camp on Wednesday, when KU basketball coach Bill Self addressed the team on Day 1.

I haven’t seen or heard much about the specifics of Self’s talk, but, judging by the first-hand accounts that popped up on Twitter, it seems like the 14th-year hoops coach emphasized the importance of the Jayhawk family and winning.

The football program, as you know, has not done much of the latter in the past several years. But Self on the other hand certainly has.

Obviously there is a dramatic difference between what it takes to win a game of basketball and what it takes to win a game of football, but the concept of promoting a winning culture can be strikingly similar no matter what program you’re talking about.

I’m guessing that was the focal point of Self’s speech and that he promoted things like attitude, character, effort, pride and passion and shared how he believed all of those elements, along with things like attention to detail, sound fundamentals and high standards, can impact a program.

With 385 wins against just 83 losses in his first 13 seasons at KU, few are as qualified as Self to talk about winning. And the fact that he took time out to address David Beaty’s football program says a great deal about the camaraderie and family vibe that currently exists in the KU athletic department.

Self has long been a strong supporter of Kansas football and has never shied away from sharing his beliefs about how important having a winning program is to both the university and the basketball program.

It’s cool to see him take an active role in trying to help create that instead of just expecting someone else to handle it and waiting for it to happen.

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Ridiculous highlight videos featuring former Jayhawk Andrew Wiggins and current KU guard Frank Mason

Wednesday was a big day for KU basketball highlights on the Internet, whether by current players or former stars.

Three such videos caught my eye and had me talking about them well into the night and even still this morning.

The first was from former Jayhawk and current Minnesota Timberwolve Andrew Wiggins, who attempted and nearly finished a 720-degree dunk.

You’ve heard of the popular 360 that guys try and almost always send crowds into a frenzy? Yeah, this is two of those. On the same jump. By the same guy. In mid-air.

Those of us who got an up close look at Wiggins for several months during the 2014-15 season at Kansas surely could have predicted that some day Wiggins would try — and possibly even accomplish — something like this.

Shame on us for even entertaining the thought that a human being could do something so incredible and shame on him for nearly doing it. What an incredible athlete and what a fortunate thing for the Kansas program that one of the NBA’s brightest young stars chose to spend his lone season of college in Lawrence. The gift that keeps on giving, man.

Next up, were a pair of ridiculous videos (shown below in the same minute-long clip) starring senior-to-be Frank Mason, who, along with Devonte’ Graham and Carlton “Don’t Call Me Charlton” Bragg, have been representing Kansas (and themselves) at the adidas Nations event in Southern California.

Mason, who looks even more athletic and stronger than he has during his first three seasons as a Jayhawk impressed everybody with his bounce at the event.

As you’ll see in the video, some of that came during a dunking showcase, when Mason tossed the ball off the backboard or bounced it to himself and then flushed it with authority.

The other, which comes at the 35-second mark is a monster block of an unsuspecting big man who seemed to think he was seconds away from an easy, rim-rocking dunk.

Mason had other ideas and packed the attempt from behind like he had a personal vendetta against the young man.

If this is any indication of the frame of mind that Mason has entering what will be his final season as a Jayhawk, the Big 12 Conference should be flat-out terrified and the Jayhawks should be thrilled. Of course, would anyone really expect Mason to take any other state of mind into the 2016-17 season?

As for Graham and Bragg — who, on at least one of the box scores at the event was dubbed “Charlton Bragg — they, too, delivered strong performances at the adidas Nations showcase, playing for Team Mavericks which also features Iowa State guard Naz Long.

All four were college counselors at the event that combines some of the nation’s best prep prospects with some of the top college players in the country in a camp setting.

Mason, Graham, Bragg and the rest of the Jayhawks are expected to return to Lawrence by August 20.

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How hiring Matt Baty to lead the Williams Fund can help KU football

The Kansas University marching band and many other high school bands from Kansas and Missouri perform during the halftime show as part of Band Day on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

The Kansas University marching band and many other high school bands from Kansas and Missouri perform during the halftime show as part of Band Day on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Thursday’s news that former KU baseball standout Matt Baty had been hired to lead the Williams Education Fund included one key quote from athletic director Sheahon Zenger that figures to have a huge impact on the future of Kansas football.

“It’s now time to focus on Memorial Stadium,” Zenger said.

No, Baty will not be the man in charge of remodeling, renovating or even conceptualizing what will go down when KU finally gets around to upgrading its football venue. Heck, most of that is already done as it is, though we’re still not anywhere close to targeting a date or perhaps even a year when that might begin.

But Baty will play a crucial role in organizing some of that and also will handle a lot of the day-to-day goings on within the Williams Fund that will make it possible for Zenger to hire another fund-raiser who will be specifically assigned to football and the Memorial Stadium facelift.

Talk about clearing the deck. It’s a phrase that Zenger has used often during the idle chatter concerning what will happen with Memorial Stadium. First came Rock Chalk Park, then the construction of the McCarthy Hall basketball dorm and the DeBruce Center, which houses James Naismith's original rules of basketball. All were crucial moves that, as Zenger liked to say, cleared the deck for more focus to be put on football.

And, in a sense, the hire of Baty and the coinciding announcement of a national search for a football-specific fund-raiser further clears the deck for real progress to be made.

For starters, there’s so much that goes into running the Williams Fund that it’s difficult for any one person to be committed exclusively to any one task. That often made things difficult because of the importance of men’s basketball but also the great many needs that football is facing. Now, with Baty in place, he will be able to run the ship and offer his expertise in many areas and this new person, whomever it is and whenever he or she may be hired, will be given the freedom to pin his or her ears back and attack the football challenge with ferocious intensity.

I’ve heard that this will not be a small hire and that some of the interested parties form an impressive list. That alone brings an element of excitement to the future of football at KU, which, as you all know, is vital for the long-term success and profitability of the athletic department and, in many ways, the university.

However, clearing the deck — in all senses of that phrase — is only one step on the road to football renovations. Zenger, Baty and whomever this new hire winds up being still will need some help from the football program itself.

Momentum has been another key word popping up around the conversations regarding stadium renovations during the past few years. And while these hires and other moves made by the athletic department have helped pave the way, nothing is likely to be done until that momentum is secured.

And momentum, though officially defined as the impetus of a body resulting from its motion, as well as driving power or strength, may as well be synonymous, at least in this case, with victories. Because without wins there can be no momentum within Kansas football and that’s what makes the upcoming season so important for KU.

Second-year coach David Beaty and the Jayhawks do not have to go 6-6 this year to get things rolling. It would help. But it’s not realistic and not even necessary. They do, however, have to win. And more than once. Last year’s 0-12 season, though difficult for many, was hardly a surprise. But following that up with another dud will not be a good sign for the future nor will it make this new football fund-raiser’s job one worth bragging about.

Win three or four games, however, and then things get interesting. Momentum starts to build and that job becomes not only one to be excited about but also one that might actually produce results.

Time will tell how things play out. But bringing Baty back to KU was a good first step in what figures to be a very interesting big-picture process.

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Change of plans should benefit Malik Newman big time

What started as a sure-fire one-and-done college career will now likely extend to at least three seasons.

And that might wind up being an absolute blessing for the young man involved.

Malik Newman, the former McDonald’s All-American who played his freshman season at Mississippi State, is transferring to Kansas after leaving the Bulldogs following his lone season in Starkville, Miss.

The narrative on Newman the minute he committed to MSU was that he was a one-and-done player, a likely lottery pick, who would not be at Mississippi State past the 2015-16 season. As it turns out, those claims were right but not for the reason many believed.

Now, after announcing his decision to come to Kansas on Friday, Newman will sit out the 2016-17 season, during which he will practice with the Jayhawks and learn Bill Self’s system, before becoming eligible again in 2017-18. At that point, he’ll be a third-year sophomore, approaching 21 years old and headed down a much different path than he and others ever thought he would take.

Given the wild success enjoyed by so many seniors and upperclassmen during the 2015-16 college basketball season, Newman should thank his lucky stars for this unpredictable, unintentional road block.

This spring, Newman was invited to the NBA Combine and still considered to be a possible late first or second round pick. As the combine went on and Newman’s status as a potential first-rounder slipped all the way to a late second round status on most mock drafts, the 6-foot-3 combo guard elected to withdraw from the draft and seek a transfer.

Sure, landing in the first round and getting guaranteed money and a jumpstart on an NBA career would have been nice, but I’m willing to bet that one day, who knows how long from now, Newman will greatly appreciate that he was forced to audible because doing so will give him the best chance to (a) develop as a basketball player and (b) become truly ready for a long NBA career.

That’s because he’ll now spend two years learning under Self, a man who knows a thing or two about developing talent and putting players in the NBA, and two years practicing against top-tier talent and playing against it on KU’s always-treacherous non-conference and Big 12 schedule.

Think about the athletes Newman will battle with just in the coming year — Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham and Josh Jackson every day in practice. And he’ll do so without Self having to worry about working him into the regular rotation, meaning that Newman will not only be able to improve his own game but he also exclusively will be able to push those guys to their limit day in and day out. Talk about a win-win for both the player and the program.

After that, who knows what kind of talented athletes will be in the Big 12, but think Jawun Evans at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma’s Christian James, Texas’ Kerwin Roach or Eric Davis Jr., and whatever other talented players the top-tier coaches can bring in by then.

As we’ve seen plenty of times — especially recently — just because a player was a McDonald’s All-American or wildly hyped/highly rated coming out of high school does not mean he’ll be a star at the college level. But Newman, after getting a taste at MSU — and averaging 11.3 points per game last season — and a red-shirt year at Kansas, should be poised to deliver all people were expecting and then some by the time he finally is eligible again.

It's worth pointing out that Newman could red-shirt the upcoming season and then elect to enter the 2017 NBA draft before ever playing at Kansas. But the guess here is that after putting in the kind of work he surely will during his off season, the guy will want to get the reward of actually playing for the Jayhawks and inside Allen Fieldhouse for a season before moving on.

Newman’s college career may not play out the way anybody expected it to when he arrived at Mississippi State. But, when it’s all said and done, I doubt you’ll ever hear an ounce of complaining about it from him.

--- For more discussion about KU's latest pick up, check out our latest Spodcasters episode.

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Draft night snub sets up perfect storm for Wayne Selden

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) roars at the Jayhawks' bench after hitting a three against Iowa State during the second half on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) roars at the Jayhawks' bench after hitting a three against Iowa State during the second half on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Jump with me, for a minute, into the mind of Wayne Selden to see why not getting drafted might actually wind up being the best thing that could have happened to the former Jayhawk’s chances at a pro career.

Here’s why.

Selden, as you know, has always been the type of player who seemed to perform best when he had something to prove, someone to prove wrong or a chip of any size on either of his shoulders.

Occasionally, things got so heavy during his KU career that Selden found himself carrying rather large chips on both shoulders. Almost without fail, every time that happened, Selden performed his best.

Think about the Kentucky game at home. Think about the entire three weeks the Jayhawks spent in Korea. Think about Selden responding to a sub-par sophomore season with a solid junior year.

Although the former KU guard started 108 of the 109 games Kansas played during his three seasons as a Jayhawk, consistency often was an issue for Selden. He would take us to the mountain top and show elite-level skills, but rarely hang around long enough to enjoy the view and often found himself near the base again, climbing back to the top almost as quickly as he arrived in the first place.

Case in point: Selden responded to his stellar 33-point, 12-of-20 shooting game against Kentucky by hitting for just 10 made field goals in his next four games combined. Rarely did this hurt KU’s chances at victory — a credit to the rest of the talent Bill Self put around Selden — but it did certainly hurt Selden’s chances at becoming a true standout whom NBA teams would want, perhaps even need, to draft.

So here we are, one day after the biggest day of Selden’s life and he’s looking for a team to play for. Sixty picks came and went without Selden hearing his name called on Thursday night, and now, in order to live out his NBA dream, the former KU guard is going to have to go the free agent route, impress a team or two during summer league play and make a roster the hard way.

He must be so happy.

See, Selden has all of the physical tools necessary to play in the NBA. He’s a damn good shooter, he’s got great size, good quickness, he’s strong and he’s athletic. Put him in the right situation and he’s a ready-made rotation guy off the bench.

NBA teams might not know it yet, but, by not drafting him, they did exactly that, as the right situation for Selden is way more dependent upon what’s between his ears than it is the style of play of this team or the personnel of that one.

Today, Selden is pissed. Not just because he didn’t get drafted, but also because of some of the other players who did. Throw out the Europeans because they’re here to stay and college players are just going to have to get used to that group eating up 15-20 of the 60 available draft spots year after year. Heck, it’s already been happening for years.

But there were at least a few players taken near the end of the draft who I know Selden believes he’s better than. Think Iowa State’s Abdel Nader or even his former AAU buddy Georges Niang. Think UConn’s Daniel Hamilton, Oklahoma’s Isaiah Cousins, Carolina’s Marcus Paige or Maryland’s Jake Layman.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Selden respects all of those guys, but I also would bet a pretty penny that he believes he’s better than every one of them.

So to give him that kind of fuel to go along with that undrafted tag seems to be a perfect storm of sorts.

It should be fun to watch him in summer league games this month. I’m guessing we’ll see the Selden that more closely resembles the South Korea version than the one who occasionally disappeared during the other portions of his Kansas career.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr., throws down a slam dunk in the second-half of a Team USA 81-72 win over against Brazil Sunday, July 5, in Gwangju, South Korea.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr., throws down a slam dunk in the second-half of a Team USA 81-72 win over against Brazil Sunday, July 5, in Gwangju, South Korea. by Mike Yoder

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Addition of Thornton, Newman would improve Jayhawks even during red-shirt seasons

Blue Team guard Josh Jackson looks to strip the ball from Red Team guard Devonte' Graham on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at the Horejsi Athletic Center.

Blue Team guard Josh Jackson looks to strip the ball from Red Team guard Devonte' Graham on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at the Horejsi Athletic Center. by Nick Krug

Watching Kansas guards Frank Mason (blue) and Devonte’ Graham (red) get after each other again during Wednesday’s camp scrimmage took my mind to a wild place that I think KU fans would love to go.

We all know by now — and have for some time — that both Graham and Mason will start in the backcourt again in 2016-17 the way they did so successfully last season. Having those two on the floor at the same time makes up KU’s best lineup and having the luxury of having at least one of them out there at all times, in case one needs a breather or the other is in foul trouble, gives KU coach Bill Self a sense of security.

As much as it’s a great thing for them to push each other in practice the way they showed at moments during Wednesday’s scrimmage is critical to KU’s success but they also have to spend the bulk of their time in practice playing together. That leaves the challenge of pushing them, both offensively and defensively, to the rest of the roster and, though the effort from the reserves is always equal to what Mason and Graham put out, the talent and skill is not.

Imagine for a minute, though, if it were. Imagine for a minute that KU had a couple of guys on its roster that were elite-level prospects who, every day, could push Mason and Graham in every way and get the most out of them while preparing them daily for what they’ll encounter during the upcoming season.

Believe it or not, such a scenario may actually be possible thanks to Duke transfer Derryck Thornton and Mississippi State transfer Malik Newman both seriously considering coming to KU.

If both players — or either — joined the Jayhawks, they would have to sit out the 2016-17 season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules. But they would be able to practice and they would make up a heck of a “red team” backcourt that would push Mason, Graham, Josh Jackson, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and the rest of the KU regulars on a regular basis.

The idea that Newman and Thornton are considering Kansas obviously is exciting for the future of Bill Self’s basketball team. Both would challenge for starting spots immediately upon gaining eligibility and, depending on how long they stuck around, each could wind up being a huge part of future Kansas teams.

If they do come to KU, even while waiting to play, their impact could be just as important during Year 1 as it could in Years 2 and 3 because they would elevate practice to a higher level and give Mason and Graham Big 12 and NCAA-Tournament-style competition on a daily basis.

Decisions from either player could come any day now and I saw at least one report on Twitter today that indicated that both really liked Kansas but had not reached the point where they were a packaged deal.

From what I've heard, KU has a great shot at getting both of them and while they would certainly push the current Jayhawks throughout the upcoming season, the opportunity to be challenged by players like Mason, Graham and Jackson also would improve their games a great deal while they waited for the 2017-18 season to roll around.

Stay in touch with KUsports.com for the latest information on both decisions.

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If you could change the outcome of one KU game in history, which would you pick?

Kansas head coach Bill Self walks the sideline during the second half of KU's loss to Virginia Commonwealth Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas head coach Bill Self walks the sideline during the second half of KU's loss to Virginia Commonwealth Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. by Mike Yoder

I recently saw something on Deadspin that seemed like it might be a good idea to bring to Jayhawk Nation.

The article, which ran last Thursday and was inspired by a Tweet from Grantland writer @SheaSerrano, was short and sweet and asked one simple question: If You Could Change Any Championship Outcome, Which Would It Be?

For KU fans, this might be easy, but there are more than a few options:

• The 1940 or 1953 title-game losses to Indiana

• Wilt's triple-OT loss to Carolina in 1957

• The 1991 loss to Duke in Roy Williams’ third season at KU

• The 2003 loss to Syracuse in Roy’s final game

• The 2012 loss to a stacked Kentucky squad in New Orleans

And that’s just basketball.

You might even throw a football game or two in there, most notably the 2007 loss to Missouri at Arrowhead that cost the Jayhawks the Big 12 North title and a spot in the Big 12 title game but wound up working out just fine.

And, if you want to take this a step farther and include games outside of just championship-type contests, the list expands big time.

What about Mark Mangino’s final game as KU’s coach at Arrowhead against the Tigers? Could Lew Perkins really have forced him out if Mangino had just knocked off Mizzou to secure a third straight bowl berth for the Jayhawks?

How about the loss to VCU in the 2011 Elite Eight? The road to Bill Self’s second title had opened up that year and the Jayhawks were loaded.

Heck, even last year’s loss to Villanova might be the choice of some of you.

Either way, I thought it was an interesting exercise and figured it would be fun to narrow it to just Kansas athletics and bring it to KUsports.com.

So what say you? Which KU game — in any sport — would you reverse the outcome of if you had a magic wand for one day?

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