Notebook: Donation marks start of Fieldhouse Apartments project


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Kansas University alumni Kent and Missy McCarthy have donated the lead gift for the financing of Phase One of the Fieldhouse Apartments project at KU, it was announced Monday night.

The exact amount of the donation for the $17.5 million project was not announced. KU recognized the gift during Monday night’s KU-Oklahoma basketball game. The McCarthys were joined in Allen Fieldhouse by Kent’s father, Charles, and their children, Molly, Annie and Charlie.

The apartments, which will house the men’s basketball team and an equal number of non-student-athletes, will be built on Naismith Drive, south of Allen Fieldhouse. The apartments will be named for Kent’s late mother, Marie S. McCarthy.  Born in 1929, Marie grew up on a farm in central Kansas during the dust bowl days of the 1930s.  She attended KU on a math scholarship.

“We are honored to kick off the campaign for this project,” Kent McCarthy said. “We strongly believe this endeavor will help keep the Kansas Basketball brand among the strongest in the country, and will be an appropriate benefit for the student-athletes who do so much for the university and the State of Kansas.”

Earlier this year the McCarthys, who live in California, committed $1.25 million to KU’s School of Business.

“Kent and Missy’s generosity has made a huge difference at our university and it will also help keep Kansas basketball a national leader,” KU coach Bill Self said.  “We have the best venue and we will have the best housing. I see a world of positive in this project as we strive to maintain and even exceed what the Kansas basketball program has been achieving. We renovated Allen Fieldhouse, the locker rooms and the offices. We built an academic center and a practice facility. Housing is an important component as well.

“These things are very, very significant for the benefit, development and overall experience of our student-athletes,” Self added. “We want them to be comfortable and have the same type of living conditions as the programs we’re recruiting against.”

Noted AD Sheahon Zenger: “We encourage anyone interested in joining this important endeavor to contact the Williams Education Fund, specifically Banks Floodman or Greg Gurley. Opportunities exist for naming rights and various other ways to get involved.”

Tough task ahead for WSU: It’s been a long, long time since a team went undefeated in college basketball.

In fact, it was Bob Knight’s 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers, 32-0, who remain the last squad to be crowned national champions with an unblemished mark.

“I can’t see it,” KU coach Bill Self said on Monday’s Big 12 teleconference, asked in general about the possibility of any other team escaping a season without a single loss.

“Of course there’s only one team with a chance this year, that’d be Wichita State and Wichita State is good enough to win it all without question,” Self added of the 29-0 Shockers of the Missouri Valley Conference.

“But the pressures I think that would be mounting is something you would really need a mature team with a unique mindset to be able to shoulder that. To me going undefeated in the regular season would be an awesome feat. In certain leagues, I just don’t know if that’s going to be much of a possibility. In the Big 12, Kansas when they were ranked No. 1 in the country went 16-0 that one time (in Big 12 in 2001-02) with (Drew) Gooden, (Kirk) Hinrich, (Nick) Collison,” Self stated.

“That group of guys went 16-0 (33-4 overall). Still that didn’t include your good nonconference games, playing away from home, your conference tournament, all those things. It’d be almost like doubling up, go run the table in your league, but also be as good in every other game as you were in your league. I think that’s going to be very difficult to do for anybody.”

Lyle in town: JaQuan Lyle, a a 6-5 senior shooting guard from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, who is ranked No. 22 nationally by, attended Monday’s game as part of an official recruiting visit held on his 18th birthday. Lyle is also considering Oklahoma State, Oregon and Memphis. He’s said he will decide on his school’s spring break March 15-23.

No. 6-ranked Myles Turner, a 6-11 senior from Trinity High in Euless, Texas, will make an unofficial visit to Texas A&M this weekend and visit Duke officially on March 8 for the North Carolina game according to ESPN. He’s also considering KU, Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, Ohio State and Oklahoma State.

Curie facing investigation: Chicago Public Schools administration is investigating the academic eligibility of at least one of the players on Curie High’s basketball team, the Chicago Tribune and other outlets reported Monday. KU signee Cliff Alexander plays for Public League champion Curie. 

He has not been cited in any report.

“No one at Curie is ineligible,” Curie coach Mike Oliver told the Tribune. “We pulled all their academics. We’re not going to mess around with basketball for the reputation of the school. Our principal is a no-nonsense guy. He’s not going to jeopardize the school.”

Self on freshman Andrew Wiggins’ living up to the hype: ” I think he’s handled everything beautifully. He’s been a good teammate first. Individual stuff really doesn’t register with him. He just wants to help his team win and wants to be part of something bigger than himself. I do think with all the expectations, it can certainly wear on an individual. He’s never complained one time. I think he has kind of got his second wind right now … I think the biggest thing is he is impacting the game more athletically on a bigger majority of possessions than he was earlier.”

NCAA bids: Self is looking for a lot of Big 12 teams to receive invitations to the NCAA Tournament.

“I know we want six and hope for seven,” he said. ” I do think there’s a chance we could get seven. There are some teams on the bubble that probably have to do something from this point forward, not in a big way but a positive way, in order to get them  on the right side of that bubble.”

Could a team in the Big 12 earn an NCAA bid with a below .500 league mark?

“It’s happened before, just not happened in our league,” Self said. “There’s no question … it would not surprise any coach in our league if 8-10 gets in, not at all.”

Self on OU’s Lon Kruger: “He is the perfect guy at the perfect time (in Norman). He can really coach. I had the privilege of following him at Illinois. I know first hand how those (Illini) kids were trained and I know first hand what a class guy he is. I think there wouldn’t be very many guys in America (better) to follow in a coaching job than Lon. He is so supportive and did a great job getting his guys ready and making it easier for me. He is great for our league and  certainly one of the better coaches in America.”

Jamison out: Former KU player Alonzo Jamison will not return as coach at Bethel next season, the school announced. Jamison, who played at KU from 1989-92, went 7-75 overall in three seasons.