Posts tagged with Ku Basketball
KU coach Bill Self will be discussing the upcoming Georgetown game and the winter break in a matter of minutes. Join us for the play-by-play...
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self said Thursday that freshman guard Frank Mason would start for the Jayhawks in Boulder, Colo., this weekend, when they take on CU.
So, naturally, as president and founder of the #TharpeFanClub, I, once again, caught some flack for KU junior Naadir Tharpe being sent to the bench.
I'm not sure I'll ever understand why fans so much enjoy trashing players on the teams they root for — this happens way more often with KU football than KU hoops — but that's neither here nor there. And, really, to each his own. It's everyone's right as a fan to cheer, criticize and follow the team however they see fit.
As for the move itself, I am a little surprised that Self pulled the trigger so early in the season, but I more than understand why he did it. And I think there are a couple of reasons.
No. 1, I think he's rewarding Mason and I think Mason deserves to be rewarded. He's played beyond his years, been one of the tougher players on the team thus far — if not the toughest — and shown that he brings an extra dynamic to the floor that KU really benefits from at this point in the season.
No. 2, I think Self is making this move now because he believes Tharpe can take it. Remember last year when everyone was saying that Tharpe should be starting ahead of Elijah Johnson later in the season? I think one of the big reasons Self never pulled the trigger was because sending Johnson to the bench might have lost him for the season. In this case, I'm guessing Self believes that Tharpe will be able to keep his head in there and still serve a key role as the team's sixth or seventh man. If that's true, Tharpe deserves credit, not criticism.
When people first began speculating on whether the move would or should be made, my opinion was that it was too soon. My read was this: Mason's a stud. He deserves to play more and he should be out there a ton of minutes. But you don't have to start a guy to make that happen. Remember that old adage... "It's not who starts the game, but who finishes it that matters." Besides, Mason's been great with the role he's been in so why risk changing that by putting the pressure tag of "starter" on him?
That was a couple of weeks ago, though, and things have changed since then. Tharpe's played a couple of poor games, made more than a few bad decisions and not looked like the confident, solid player I've always known him to be.
So, from where I sit, I think the move could benefit KU tremendously. But that's as much because I believe Tharpe can handle it as I believe Mason deserves it. And that's just one of the reasons the #TharpeFanClub exists in the first place.
Turn in your memberships if you want, but don't be surprised if Tharpe delivers plays as the season goes on that make you wish you hadn't.
If Tharpe tanks because of this and becomes a terrible teammate who pouts about playing time and can't be used, I'll eat crow. But I wouldn't bet even a penny that that'll happen. The guy cares, he's all about KU and winning and he'll do whatever is asked of him to help the team succeed.
It should be fun to see how this one plays out.
Bill Self's weekly press conference just wrapped.
Here's a quick look back at some of the highlights, as the Jayhawks prepare to take on Iona at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Allen Fieldhouse.
• Self: It's not too early to have an idea of what kind of team you are, but it's too early to know what you have.
• Self: We didn't play great early, but I did like how our guys responded on big stage against Duke. I'm excited. I'm not thrilled where we're at, but I do see a lot of potential. I think you can use Duke game as a barometer because there's no question that Duke will be a Top 5 team when it's all said and done.
• Self: If teams are gonna shoot 50% against us, we've got no chance. There's a lot we can do to improve that. We've been fortunate because we've been exposed, but we've also won."
• Self: We've had a good week of practice. Took Sunday off. Guys are more confident and comfortable because of how they played — and the win — against Duke.
• Self: Tharpe has taken Mason under his wing. Naadir is one of Frank's biggest fans. Just like Tarik Black has taken Joel Embiid under his wing a little bit, as well.
• Self: If you've got a guy who can beat a guy off the bounce, you're probably ahead. And I do think we have some guys who can beat guys off the bounce.
• Self on Iona: We haven't gone against zone yet, so this'll be the first time we play a team that's predominantly a zone team. And they play faster than anybody we've played so far. They're also small, so we'll have bigs guarding on the perimeter.
• Self on Perry Ellis: I thought he got a lot of confidence toward end of last season and he's been terrific so far. I do think he needed that Duke game because that was against big-time guys and a big-time team. Especially true of the Parker-Ellis match-up. Those were two really good players going against each other.
• Self: If a guy played good in that game the other day, they're automatically a draft pick. I get a kick out of that. We're two games in and there are 90 guys who are going in the first round and their are only 30 teams. And that number will go to 120.
• Self on D: I'd really like to guard the ball better and our interior post D was really lacking against Louisiana Monroe. I think the mindset of not relaxing during possessions will be something we can improve on.
• Self on missing Withey: We miss Jeff. Of course, if the rules were the way last year that they are this year, a lot of fouls would've been called before they got to Jeff and it would've taken away a lot of his block opportunities.
• Self on Black: He's pressing. I do think you'll see a more relaxed and comfortable Tarik Black on Tuesday vs. Iona.
• Self: There's no stress in dividing minutes because I'm happy with who I'm starting. If anything, it's a good kind of stress because at least we have options. Do we know what we're gonna do 1-8, 1-9? No. We don't. A lot will depend on how guys play and it'll kind of clear itself out along the way. This isn't anything that unusual. We do have more guys, though.
• Self on Cliff Alexander: Without a doubt he's one of the best big men we've signed. His ceiling is remarkably high. If I say he's a monster then that'll be the headline: "Alexander a monster" so I'll say that he plays much more aggressive that most 18 year olds. Self said he's been recruiting Alexander since 9th grade and can remember seeing him run for conditioning in the halls of his school during winter months because it was too cold to go outside.
• Self on recruiting: We're really happy, but we're still recruiting. We're off to a good start because we've got two of the Top 10 guys (Alexander and Kelly Oubre) and that's a pretty good start.
• Self on latest poll, where KU is ranked No. 2: If you guys don't tell the guys, they won't know. Unless people are blowing them up on Twitter. How'd we move ahead of Louisville? That doesn't make any sense to me. But I like it.
• Self's Wayman Tisdale memory: Played together one time, didn't know who he was in their first game together, Self had 26 and Tisdale had 2. He remembered thinking, "Yes, I'm going to start getting recruited," but after the game not one coach talked to Self and Tisdale had a line 26 guys long waiting to tell him great game. It was like a receiving line at a wedding reception. It was recently announced that Self will receive the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award at a banquet in April.
Moments ago, Cliff Alexander, the No. 4-ranked recruit in the Class of 2014, announced that he would play his college ball at Kansas University, giving the Jayhawks the fourth and 12th-ranked (Kelly Oubre) prospects in the class.
Alexander, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound power forward from Chicago's Curie High, chose Kansas over Illinois, DePaul and Memphis. He has been compared, by some, to former Jayhawk Thomas Robinson, and, averaged 21.3 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks per game as a junior.
I haven't watched a ton of film on him yet, but I have checked it out and it looks, to me, like he's not quite as explosive as T-Rob but definitely is as powerful.
I'm sure with the development he'll get at KU and from working with Andrea Hudy, his explosiveness will take off and, when you combine that with his raw size and power, you're looking at a player who could make a major impact in a hurry.
One thing I noticed on film that really stood out was the touch on his jumper. I'm sure he won't be asked to shoot jumpers too often at Kansas, but it's nice to see that the framework is there for them to develop that if needed.
Those of you who have followed this thing throughout probably already know that Alexander's girlfriend (Caelynn Manning-Allen) is on the KU women's basketball team and that he was in town for an official visit just last weekend.
Now that Cliff's officially in the fold, though, I know you guys probably want to know a lot more. So here ya go. Below is a collection of stories and video links regarding the latest prep star from Chicago to pick Kansas.
Alexander instantly fits into any lineup:
Alexander spent last summer working to improve his jumper:
In August, Alexander's AAU coach explained why he liked KU:
Here's DraftExpress.com's player profile on Alexander:
Alexander workout video:
Alexander breaks backboard at age 16:
This one's called “Beware of Cliff Alexander:
This one calls Cliff Alexander the class' most powerful dunker:
Following his team's exhibition victory over Fort Hays State on Tuesday night, Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self told reporters he was leaning toward not red-shirting anyone during the upcoming season.
Although this comes as a bit of a surprise given KU's incredible depth and the lack of minutes available for so many talented players, it also makes sense in a lot of ways and is exactly in line with what our own Tom Keegan predicted a little more than a week ago.
Entering the season, Andrew White III, Conner Frankamp and possibly Brannen Greene were the most likely candidates to take a red-shirt this season. But White improved a ton and worked his way into the rotation and Greene and Frankamp both offer the ability to stretch defenses with their deep range and killer shooting stroke.
If it's me making the decisions (and aren't you glad it's not), I'd still give a long look at red-shirting Frankamp, who will be a four-year guy anyway and could stand to have a year devoted to getting bigger, stronger and faster without having to worry about performing on the floor.
Having said that, the idea of red-shirting Frankamp was made tougher by the one-game suspension handed out to starting point guard Naadir Tharpe, who will miss Friday's game against Louisiana-Monroe. Frank Mason, who looked great on Tuesday, will start in Tharpe's place, but, behind that, there's no clear back-up point guard, which is where Frankamp comes in. He seems like the best option there and handled some of that role on Tuesday.
But, what if Self wants to hold Frankamp out of Friday's game just to keep the red-shirt option alive. Could he do it? And how?
There's no question he could, and a big part of the how comes from KU getting a huge lead early and riding it out from there.
I have no doubt that Mason could play 35 minutes if he needed to. So why not let him run wild for 20 minutes and see if that allows KU to build a big halftime lead. If it does, then Mason can get his rest in the second half (maybe even sitting as many as 10 minutes) and KU can go to the point-guard-by-committee approach when Mason's not on the floor.
Self has said that Wayne Selden could be an emergency point guard for this team, but the Jayhawks have a few other guys capable of bringing the ball up the floor and getting the offense going, as well.
Andrew Wiggins certainly is one. Brannen Greene is another. And I even think that Perry Ellis could do it if the Jayhawks got into a bind. (Seriously, what can't Ellis do!?!) During last year's NCAA Tournament, I remember talking to Ellis and his teammates about the prospects of him handling the ball more just in case the Jayhawks ran into VCU and their crazy pressure defense. There wasn't a guy in that locker room who thought Perry operating as a point forward was a bad idea. And I think giving him more of a role in that capacity would be good for his development and prospects beyond college ball.
We'll see how everything plays out on Friday and beyond. If I'm a betting man, I'm guessing that Frankamp will play. But if Self wants to keep the option of red-shirting the Wichita native open, he has options, at least in a one-game scenario.
Gotta love all that depth.
Final update: 6 p.m.
The line at Champs Sports in Times Square has not gotten any shorter as Ben McLemore already has signed dozens of autographs and will be here until 6:30.
To my surprise, most of the memorabilia he's signed are KU photos, but I also saw him sign a Carmelo Anthony N.Y. Knicks T-shirt jersey. Odd.
The five dudes at the front of the line got there more than two hours early and three of them were KU fans living in NYC. All were young, high-school age probably, and one said he planned to play for KU in 2 years. He was maybe 5-9, though, so I'm not thinking his odds are good.
As for why they like KU, the answer was simple: the tradition. I also heard the name Andrew Wiggins come out. Go figure.
McLemore really seems to be enjoying this part as he's taking time to find out names before signing and shaking hands and saying thanks to every autograph-seeker.
This is it for McLemore for the day and also it for the blog. I'm headed back inside to write up a story for tomorrow's paper. But we'll have another full day of coverage tomorrow starting early with Nick Gerik's NBA draft rumors round-up and hopefully I'll jump in midday with a video from today. Tomorrow night, of course, I'll be live at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where McLemore will learn the identity of his new squad.
I'll have videos, pics, vibe and reaction throughout the draft and Tom Keegan and Jesse Newell will also be chiming in on the draft blog from the home front.
Thanks for checking out today's coverage and we'll see you tomorrow!
Shout-out to Alex Poupprit, a huge KU fan and avid KUSports.com reader, who just said hey to me as he headed to get McLemore's signature.
It's almost Draft Day, folks!!!
4:36 p.m. update
Although Wednesday was about seeing the city, getting out in the community and talking to the media, the whole reason McLemore is here has not been far from his mind.
In addition to thinking he is a worthy No. 1 pick, McLemore is not worried about where he'll be picked, only what he'll do when that happens.
Incidentally, I talked to a couple of people linked with Cleveland and neither believe McLemore is in play there. They said it's Noel or Len. But who knows.
McLemore's brother, Kevin, said he thinks the Magic are the best fit, and McLemore himself said he enjoyed the chance to meet Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn, a name familiar to KU fans.
My gut tells me McLemore will go top five, but I'm not sure where he lands. Phoenix at five would be a good spot and I don't think Washington is an option at all at No. 3.
This much we do know. In a little more than 24 hours, both McLemore and the rest of the world will know and then it'll be time for him to show whichever team picked him that they made a good selection.
"I don't feel like waiting's going to be hard. I'm ready," McLemore said. "I'm gonna go straight to sleep tonight and I'm not nervous at all. I'm just excited and very blessed."
4:12 p.m. update
Although Ben McLemore was just 8 years old when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York in 2001, his visit to the 9/11 Memorial grounds on Wesnesdsy as part of the NBA Cares initiative still meant a lot to him.
"I was just a young buck," McLemore said as he made his way from the south pool to the north with a dozen other future NBA players. "I don't remember much about it, but I know the history and being here is cool."
The players joined several children of victims and toured the facility with cameras and unsuspecting visitors wondering who all those tall guys were.
The guide told stories of the heroics involved with they fateful day, and the sister of one of those who lost his life that day spoke with genuine joy and appreciation for the players taking time to pay tribute to the thousands who lost their lives in the attack.
McLemore snapped pictures of the memorial with his phone and then posed with more than a dozen fans before being photographed in a group shot near the survivor tree.
Each year, future lottery picks spend a portion of the day before the draft doing some sort of community outreach program, and this year the event was as meaningful for the players as it was the young people.
One other note of interest ... McLemore and Michigan's Trey Burke seemed to be fast friends. They toured the Memorial grounds together and sat by each other on the bus rides to and from.
Stay tuned for more regarding McLemore's status for tomorrow night ...
2:04 p.m. update
While waiting for McLemore I talked to Michigan guard Trey Burke about the shot he hit against Kansas and, though humble, he was more than happy to relive it.
Burke, who said he's been reminded about the shot just about every day since he hit it, said he's talked to McLemore about the shot both here in New York and at a workout in Chicago. As for the shot itself, Burke said he couldn't believe he hit it at the time because he felt he just threw it up. But, having watched it dozens of times since, he can see it. Good elevation, good follow through, good release. Bad news for Kansas.
As for McLemore, he seemed incredibly relaxed and confident during the 30-minute interview session.
He said being at KU helped him mature a great deal and added that the draft process has taught him to be more aggressive. You have to sell yourself, you have to compete for attention and interest and he's done his best to do that, even going as far as to say he believes he should be the No. 1 pick.
There's been a lot of talk about McLemore being out of shape, but he looked anything but that and said he's not worried about those comments as much as his mother is.
"I know who I am," he said. "I know how hard I've worked and what I've done to put myself in position to be here. I've got that dog in me and I'm ready to walk across the stage."
Headed to the World Trade Center site for an event with the players.
Stay tuned for more ...
11:34 a.m. update
Ben McLemore is in New York City and is just waiting his turn to meet with the media. He'll head in around noon and will be in three with a couple of other potential No. 1 picks, Maryland's Alex Len and Indiana's Victor Oladipo.
Nerlens Noel is in the first group along with a guy most KU fans don't want to hear about: Michigan's Trey Burke.
About an hour of interviews here at the Westin in Times Square and then it'll be time to pound the pavement for some more fun.
Stay tuned for much more from the Big Apple, including audio, video and updates from McLemore's afternoon.
Original Post: 8:16 a.m.
Good morning, KU fans, and welcome to another NBA Draft Eve.
For the fourth straight year I'm out in New York City to cover the draft and will be following former Kansas superstar Ben McLemore off and on throughout the day, trying to get a read on how he's feeling and what he's thinking the day before his dream of becoming a professional ballplayer comes true.
As always, we've got some media availability through the NBA around noon to kick things off and I'll be sending back audio and video clips, photos and updates as that unfolds.
Later this afternoon, there are a couple of other appearances that McLemore will make and I'll do my best to be right in the thick of them to bring you the best possible look at McLemore's big day.
I'll try to update this blog as often as possible but will be on the move quite a bit and will likely rely heavily on my Twitter account for some of the updates, so if you're not following me already be sure to do so before the fun gets started.
For now, here's a quick look at a pre-draft video featuring McLemore followed by some interesting draft numbers and trends regarding KU and the Big 12 from the past 20 years.
Charge up your computers and iPhones and stay tuned in to KUSports.com throughout the day.
• McLemore pre-draft video from NBA.com
• Facts, figures and fun from the past 20 years
With four players eligible for selection in Thursday's NBA Draft and two of them locks to be chosen, the Kansas University men's basketball program figures to keep its spot near the top of the list of college hoops programs that produce the most pros.
KU has sent 27 players to the NBA during the past 20 seasons. That's tied with North Carolina for third most among all NCAA Div. I programs and trails Kentucky (30) and Duke (29) by just a couple of picks.
While KU has produced a high number of NBA players at a steady rate during the past 20 years — dating back to the 1993 draft when Rex Walters was picked 16th and Adonis Jordan was taken 42nd — things have really began to heat up in the past few seasons.
After seeing just two players make the leap during his first four seasons in town, KU coach Bill Self has heard the names of 12 of his guys called during the past five seasons, with five guys picked during 2008 (13. Brandon Rush, 27. Darrell Arthur, 34. Mario Chalmers, 52. Darnell Jackson and 56. Sasha Kaun), three in 2011 (13. Markieff Morris, 14. Marcus Morris, 49. Josh Selby) and two each in 2010 (11. Cole Aldrich, 12. Xavier Henry) and 2012 (5. Thomas Robinson, 41. Tyshawn Taylor).
KU's current streak of three consecutive drafts in which Jayhawks were chosen marks the school's longest stretch in the past two decades. That streak includes three straight drafts in which Self players landed in the lottery (Top 14), also a school best in the Roy Williams and Bill Self eras.
Barring some unforeseen pre-draft craziness, Self's lottery streak should grow to four straight years when McLemore is taken in Thursday's draft in Brooklyn, N.Y. Although his stock has been unstable during the past couple of months, most analysts and draft experts expect McLemore to go no lower than seventh on Thursday night. Some have him still in the hunt for the No. 1 pick, others have him pencilled in at No. 2 and most have him being taken in the Top 5.
Joining McLemore as a potential, perhaps even likely first-round selection, is former KU center Jeff Withey, whom experts and analysts have anywhere from No. 20 in Round 1 to the top of the second round.
Forward Travis Releford and guard Elijah Johnson are the other two Jayhawks who could hear their names called on Thursday.
Regardless of whether those guys are picked or not, the selection of McLemore and Withey should keep KU near the top of college basketball world and may even expand the sizable gap KU has on the rest of the Big 12 Conference.
During that same time span, only two other Big 12 schools (Texas and Iowa State) have even reached double digits in NBA draft picks. The Longhorns have sent 19 players to the pro ranks — most recently Tristan Thompson (4), Jordan Hamilton (26) and Corey Joseph (29) in the 2011 draft — and the Cyclones have watched 10 players get drafted during the past 20 drafts, with Royce White at No. 16 in 2011 being the most recent.
Oklahoma (9), Oklahoma State (7), Baylor (6), Texas Tech (5), West Virginia (4), Kansas State (2) and TCU (2) round out the rest of the Big 12's NBA Draft production during the past two decades. As you can see, the bottom seven schools on the list have combined to outperform KU by only a slim margin of 35-27.
So, what does this all mean? Not much, really. Although the Jayhawks have placed more players on NBA benches during the past 20 years, those players have not always panned out. In fact, only eight Jayhawks during the past two decades have logged more than 20 minutes per game throughout their NBA careers and more than half of KU's total draftees during that time are no longer in the league.
Still, there's something to be said for continually putting guys in a position to be drafted and both Williams and Self certainly did a solid job of that.
Where McLemore and Withey or even Releford and Johnson fit into the overall picture will not be known for several years. But come midnight on Thursday, it will be known which of those guys added to KU's already impressive and ever-expanding list of NBA draft picks.
For those who like to keep score on these kinds of things, both DraftExpress.com and NBADraft.net project that KU, UK and Duke will have two players drafted on Thursday night and UNC will have one. So even though the Jayhawks may not make up any ground on the leaders, they could gain some separation on Carolina.
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...
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.
For the most part, it seems that fans of Kansas University basketball are a pretty superstitious bunch.
Whether that's derived from the great tradition at the school that dates back decades or the recent success, it seems that “signs” are everywhere and can be taken from just about anything, especially during March.
There are, of course, reasons behind many of the superstitions and they seem to straddle both sides of the fence. Some fans like when KU gets a No. 1 seed and is considered one of the favorites. Others prefer the Jayhawks to be the under-the-radar bunch with less attention and therefore less pressure placed on them.
And then, of course, you've got the thousands of fans who wear the same gameday shirts, sit in the same seats or watch the games at the same establishments, all in the name of keeping the peace.
With that in mind, I couldn't help but wonder how being picked by the experts to reach the Final Four makes most KU fans feel. Nervous? Excited? Proud? Satisfied?
Earlier today, I saw an ESPN.com Insider column titled “Experts Final Four Picks” and naturally I was compelled to click on it. It's always fun to see who other people are picking and why, regardless of whether they're named Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps or Donald Duck and Dave Grohl.
It's not that I'm searching for the answers. I'm a firm believer that nobody out there has even the slightest clue how things are going to go, and that's what makes the Big Dance so wonderful and so captivating every year no matter where it's played or which teams are playing. Besides, I've got my own bracket, thank you very much, and I feel pretty good about how it looks — at least today.
But, still, it's interesting to see what others are thinking and saying about the four teams who will advance to Atlanta. Here's a quick rundown of the “Experts Picks” from ESPN.com.
As you can see, two of the five included Kansas. My question to you is this: Does that make you feel better, worse or the same about the Jayhawks' chances?
(PS: I'm still searching the web for more “expert picks” and will add them to the bottom of this list as I find them so check back often.)
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, VCU, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Kansas, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Kansas, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Florida, Miami
Title: Louisville over Florida
Final Four: Louisville, New Mexico, Florida, Miami
Title: Florida over Louisville
Final Four: Louisville, Wisconsin, VCU, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana
Title: Ohio State over Michigan
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Florida, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana
Final Four: Louisville, New Mexico, Georgetown, Miami
Title: Louisville over Miami
Final Four: Louisville, Gonzaga, Georgetown, Miami
Title: Louisville over Miami
Final Four: Louisville, Ohio State, Georgetown, Indiana
Title: Louisville over Indiana