Jan 23: News Headlines Digest

  • **Also see Our Daily Threads (Jan 23) and the News Digest for yesterday (Jan 22) as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday (Jan 22) **


    ##Bill Self enthused by Frank Mason’s defense vs. Bears##

    Frank Mason certainly gave Kansas University’s basketball team an offensive boost off the bench in Monday’s 78-68 victory over Baylor.

    The 5-foot-11 freshman’s nine points off 4-of-5 shooting and six assists against one turnover helped the Jayhawks ultimately conquer the Bears’ zone defense. Yet it was the backup point guard’s ‘D’ that had Kansas coach Bill Self beaming in the wake of KU’s fifth conference victory in five tries.

    ###Newell: KU recruit Alexander among contenders for top ranking###

    LAWRENCE — Kansas basketball commitment Cliff Alexander, the fourth-ranked player in the class of 2014 according to Rivals.com, might not be done making his way up the recruiting rankings.

    Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi says there’s a possibility the 6-foot-8 power forward could leap up to the top spot when the final rankings are released in April.

    ###Dodd: KU, MU, Wichita State players make midseason Wooden Award list, but Joel Embiid is snubbed###

    The Wooden Award released its midseason watch list of 25 players on Wednesday, and Kansas, Missouri and Wichita State were all represented.

    But Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid, one of the fastest-rising talents in college basketball, was not on the list. That was perhaps the biggest snub in a group that included KU freshman Andrew Wiggins, Missouri guard Jordan Clarkson and Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early.

    ####ESPN Freshman Math: Joel Embiid####

    Center Joel Embiid has been excelling at Kansas shooting up draft boards. Take a look inside the numbers to see just how historic his freshman season has been.

    ####Embiid, Wiggins crack blogger’s list of today’s Top 25 college players####

    In a recent blog ranking the 25 best players in college basketball today, ESPN.com’s John Gasaway placed two Jayhawks on his list but perhaps not as high as many of you might expect.

    He put freshman center Joel Embiid at No. 9 and freshman wing Andrew Wiggins at No. 21.

    ####New Orleans cuts ex-Jayhawk Taylor####

    New Orleans — Former Kansas University guard Tyshawn Taylor has been waived by the New Orleans Pelicans, according to Yahoo!Sports. Taylor this week was traded by the Brooklyn Nets to New Orleans, along with cash, for the rights to Edin Bavcic, a 29-year old Bosnian big man who was originally drafted back in 2006 by Toronto. A free agent after he clears waivers, Taylor will be able to sign with any team. It has been rumored he could be bound for the Los Angeles Clippers, who need a guard following an injury to Chris Paul.

    **Also see Our Daily Threads (Jan 23) and the News Digest for yesterday (Jan 22) as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday (Jan 22) **

  • Top of the morning board rats. Cold as the Klondike out there this am, but still a great day to be a Jayhawk faithful. Weatherman just said the temps are on par with the friggin Arctic Circle right now, & my old pard Woody won’t even get out of bed to go out & whizz. He’s probably thinkin it might just break off if he’s not careful & sandbagging is the immediate plan of action & best option available.

    Today Bedore says just what I noted after the OSU game. If Frank fouls Nash on the last possession, it’s 3 FT’s for the win. But the way it was called, Frank’s the hero…in Stillwater, it may have been whistled differently & Frank is then the goat-clearly a boneheaded freshman mistake. But if he doesn’t have the kahonies to man up & make a play at the end…I’d much rather him try & fail, than not try at all. He may cost us some W’s down the road, but this little Bulldog is becoming aggressive as p**$ & vinegar for a team that clearly lacks that instinct at times. Kinda like Dad used to tell us if we were just standing around on the job, “Damn it-do something, anything, even if it’s wrong!” Hopefully for the next 3+ yrs we have a pure point guard that can deliver the goods night in & night out, & that old combo guard spin can be put to rest for awhile.

    I’ve noticed time after time that Nadir is either reluctant or not instinctively equipped to get the rock to the middle of the court & split the D when pushing a break. IMO he’s letting some great transition opportunities slip by with this style of play. And Tharpe’s a flipping great shooter too, but sometimes he just appears to be playing slower to be safe-not aggressive & at times that is necessary. But Frank is so quick to attack, & does push the middle & can really find his guys for a dish if they’re filling the lanes properly (timing is everything), that these guys are exciting as hell to watch playing up tempo when the opp is there.

    And for good measure, should we ever have a game that both Selden & Tharpe rack up some quick fouls, I’d be licking my chops to see Frank, Wigs & Greene on the court at the same time with Joel & Perry. I know, I know, I’m just pipe dreamin, but what the H, it’s 5 am & I can’t sleep anyway. I truly believe Frank & Brannen both are going to be really special players for us the next few years, if we just don’t lose one to transfer or injury. As always, JMO.

  • Many of us old timers can remember when little, bitty Nate “Tiny” Archibald played for the NBA Kansas City KIngs back in the 70’s & for those that don’t, trust me, he was one helluva point guard in his day. Blazing speed like Tiny had (Frank has) running a break can be one of the most exciting things to see in the game, along with the alley oop, and you younger guys will be reminded of Roy ball & the up tempo play he liked with his point guards. Bill likes it too, & expects his guys to do it when available, so I’m really looking forward to that added element with these guys as they mature. As long as your guys don’t play out of control too often-you have to be ready for a few mistakes with this type game, it is sure is fun to watch & IMO has been lacking too much with the combo guards from recent years. Myself, I just like a faster game & with the refs blowing so many whistles now, at times I almost get bored from all the timeouts & krap talk from the game announcers. OK, hey I’m selfish, but in the right ways too guys.Sound familiar? I want more, more, more…more points, more excitement, more conf championships, & one helluva lot MORE KU NC’S!

  • @globaljaybird I have to second what you said about Mason and Greene. I really think that we have a our point guard of the future in Mason. It is interesting, but the chatter was that Mason wasn’t good against the zone. But we saw the result Monday. Mason is settling in, and getting more comfortable. He’s playing more under control, it appears that he is trying to create for his teammates … but most importantly, he is strategically attacking. He’s just not lowering his head and going (contrast to the Florida game). It appears that he is learning that lesson perhaps 3 seasons quicker than Tyshawn Taylor did.

    I have no qualms in saying that Mason is our best point guard. To me, it’s a no doubter.

    That being said, Tharpe’s shooting is an absolute necessity on this team. At times, Tharpe is our best player.

    With Mason in the game, moving Tharpe off the ball, Self appears to have found a partial answer to our three point shooting issue. The best evidence of that, I think, is that most of us want him to shoot the ball – that’s about as analytical as it needs to be.

  • @HighEliteMajor-I’m in the Amen Corner on that HEM. The biggest shortcoming I observed of Wayne early was that he lowered his head & charged while the others stood & watched the def collapse on him, often resulting in a TO. They’re learning when & how to fill the lanes better & some of that is confidence in Frank & trusting he’ll find them or finish as the def adjusts. More motion + location + timing = more success. And with Nadir shooting as well as he has, defenses will have to respect it or they’ll get roasted, either by Na, Greene, CF, AW III or whomever. Additionally, we are in a great preemptive defensive posture with a guy or two back. (Wigs is too good at the rim to be one of them) Well, in reality I’m wishing to see more of the other snipers but we also know that Bill is stubborn to share the minutes more times than not. Those guys would definitely not be underutilized on about 95% of the other D 1 teams who have nowhere the depth that Self has. The cups’ runnin over now but Bill’s got to ride this wave cause even the unequalled Gen Patton once said, “Victory is fleeting!” I’m just so thrilled & thankful we do have a good HC instead of a Drew or Weber that have about as much coaching savvy as the proverbial bag of hammers. He may not be the best at late game management, but there are few I’d trade him for. JMO

  • Like Jaybate, I can’t figure out how to get this with the headlines.

    #The Wall Street Journal this morning!!!#

    The 7-Footer Who Snuck Up on College Basketball

    By Ben Cohen Updated Jan. 23, 2014 10:22 a.m. ET

    Less than three years after he started playing basketball, Joel Embiid is regarded as a possible No.1 pick in the NBA draft this June. Getty Images

    Joel Embiid started playing organized basketball only in late 2011. Before that, he played volleyball and soccer in Cameroon, his native land.

    Now he’s projected to be the NBA draft’s No. 1 pick come June.

    In a sport that anoints superstars before they leave middle school, the 7-foot-tall Embiid is an outlier, a superstar college freshman who was virtually unknown until his senior year in high school.

    Even after signing with the Kansas Jayhawks, Embiid received little attention compared with that program’s higher-profile recruit, Andrew Wiggins, by many estimates the top recruit of his class. In fact, Embiid started this season on the bench. But he came off it with such promise and explosiveness that his performance has overshadowed that of Wiggins—and arguably everyone else in college basketball.

    In his last four games—all against ranked opponents—Embiid has averaged 19.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 6 blocks per 40 minutes, prompting many NBA scouts to declare him the likely No. 1 pick in the June draft. Some observers already are comparing him with Hakeem Olajuwon, the retired Hall of Fame 7-footer whose Dream Shake shimmy Embiid has studied on film.

    Last week, after the No. 8 Jayhawks beat No. 16 Iowa State, Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg called Embiid “the best player in the country.” Asked why, Hoiberg, a former NBA player, coach and executive, said, “Did you see him play tonight? That’s why.”

    What distinguishes Embiid is his height and dexterity but also his lack of experience.

    Like Olajuwon, who grew up in Nigeria playing soccer, Embiid came late to basketball. As a 17-year-old in Cameroon, Embiid was invited to a basketball camp there because of his height.

    Coaching at that camp was Cameroon native Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the Minnesota Timberwolves forward, who was immediately smitten with Embiid’s natural repertoire of moves. “Those were moves that guys who had been playing for years were making,” said Mbah a Moute.

    Mbah a Moute brought Embiid to another camp in Johannesburg, South Africa and later convinced Thomas Embiid, the boy’s father, to let Embiid come to the U.S. to play high-school basketball.

    Basketball was still a foreign sport to the elder Embiid, a handball player himself, but its stars were known to him.

    “Here in Cameroon, we see NBA players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron—he wants to be like that,” Embiid’s father said in an interview this week. “When he plays four or five years, he’ll get better and better.”

    Embiid moved to Florida to play his junior year of high school for Montverde Academy. But he sat on the bench for Montverde, stuck behind better, more seasoned centers.

    In search of more playing time, Embiid switched his senior year to The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla. So little had Embiid played as a junior that The Rock coach Justin Harden hadn’t heard of him until Mbah a Moute called on Embiid’s behalf.

    Embiid gained national attention as a senior. But if his potential was suddenly clear, so was his lack of experience, as evidenced by a grading system that Harden employed each game.

    According to last year’s report cards, which Harden shared with The Wall Street Journal, Embiid received an A or A+ in 19 of 37 games. But in 12 games, his grade was a C+ or worse, and in only three games did he score more than 20 points, a small number of games for an elite recruit.

    At moments, however, Embiid showed glimpses of the player many are seeing now. In a high-school matchup with Wiggins, his future teammate, Embiid dropped 18 points, including an Olajuwon-like hook shot that takes most big men years to refine.

    Norm Roberts, a new assistant coach at Kansas, had come to the Jayhawks from Florida, where Embiid had come to his attention. Early last season, Roberts persuaded Kansas head coach Bill Self to come to Florida to watch Embiid practice. At that time, Embiid hadn’t played enough organized basketball to produce a sizable bunch of statistics. But Kansas has a tradition of great big men, dating back to Danny Manning and Wilt Chamberlain, and has had four drafted in the last three years.

    Watching the young man practice, Self was unusually quiet. When Roberts asked for his impressions, Self responded that he thought Embiid could be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft someday.

    “We never thought Joel was a project,” Roberts said. “From a skills standpoint, he was farther along than most big guys.”

    Embiid’s coaches say his soccer and volleyball experiences left him more flexible than most basketball players, not to mention big ones. Kansas conditioning coaches have also added 12 pounds of muscle to him, even if Embiid prefers feasting on ice cream and brownies.

    Despite his inexperience, Embiid’s game already compares favorably to other big men. As a college freshman, he has attempted shots on 57 possessions after posting up near the basket and is averaging 1.3 points on those trips, according to Synergy Sports Technology. The last eight college centers taken as NBA draft lottery picks averaged only .91 points per possession on their post-ups.

    Large players often require time to develop. Olajuwon, for example, spent four years in college. Embiid hasn’t even played the game for three full years. But he might not need that long.

    “I think he could play in the NBA right now,” Mbah a Moute said.

    Write to Ben Cohen at ben.cohen@wsj.com

    Copyright 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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  • @RockChalkinTexas-Great copy for us homers. Gotta give ya the plus + one at that!

  • @globaljaybird Thanks. My boss (who read this first) called me from Colorado where he is vacationing just to tell me about it. He knows my passion for all things KU.

    I felt I needed to put the disclaimer in there because I don’t have a subscription.

    In the article they mention 2 videos that I couldn’t figure out how to get in here. One is Joel’s scouting video and the other is a video of Joel vs. Andrew in high school. Check them out.

  • @RockChalkinTexas Is your company hiring?

  • @approxinfinity One comment on each story: Why are the Bears green? Most Bears I’ve seen are brownish, blackish, or whitish.

    Alexander’s Jam Time Band is playing to rave reviews in Chicago. I read the papers there and he is putting up some monster numbers against top teams.

    Wooden awards don’t matter much just like Heismanns. It’s a nice honor, but it’s not a predictor of success, just ask Tim Tebow, Ron Dayne, etc. etc. etc.

    Embiid is very good, so is Wiggins. Embiid should have made the Wooden list, but three years ago, I bet he never had heard of it.

    Sorry to hear about Tyshawn. He played decently when Darren Williams was hurt, thought he might be valued as a backup there but I guess not.

    The article on Embiid in the WSJ was nice, but nothing new for us seasoned Jayhawk fanatics.

  • @globaljaybird Remember Nate and the Kings well. Which reminds me of a change in bBall equipment. I got to play exhibition at half time on that court once. one thing about those goals back in the day. They had zero give and the balls were really inflated making for a lot of misses and rebounds. These days the breakaway goal that gives when you dunk hard means a bit of give-helps the shooters touch. I’m okay with that, just saying the goals have changed.

  • @wissoxfan83-In another month or two, the Wooden list will again be altered to the final 15 & they will add or subtract players again. Joel might well be on the list then. Barring serious injury, I’d be quite dismayed if he’s not. JMO

  • @globaljaybird glottal call you on that Patton quote. If George C. Scott quoted Patten correctly. In the movie he narrates a scene describing a slave whispering a warning to a victor, “All glory is fleeting.”

  • Glottal??? And I swear I haven’t been drinking.

  • @JayhawkRock78-Wedman, Lacey, Birdsong, Grunfield; they had a whale of a team that not enough people supported buying tickets. Most speculation suggests that college hoops has the BB attendance market pretty well sewn up here in the metro.

    I could stand to be corrected by @jaybate 1,0, but I believe there have been more Final Fours played at old Municipal Auditorium than any other arena in the USA. I’ve literally been to hundreds of BB games, concerts, rodeos, & circuses there since the 1950’s. That’s why I was so thrilled to see it get refurbished & UMKC start playing their home schedule again there this season. When they began their D 1 program 20+ yrs ago, my nephew was one of Lee Hunt’s first recruits from Memphis. When Ron & Dumas played together there in the early 90’s, they had a pretty decent 3/4 year run & played a lot of Big 8 schools in their non con. The year Huggins made the FF, his Bearcats only beat them by one at the buzzer. I was too outta shape to play then, but many of my friends used to play in charity games there, with Royals, Chiefs, etc.

  • @JayhawkRock78 Probably was Scott-anyway, it damn sure is.

  • @globaljaybird That was a really great way to start my hoops reading day. And I don’t think you are pipe dreaming even a little. Fouls and/or injuries and sickness will trigger the situation you are talking about sooner or later this season. And I agree with you that these back ups are going to be up to the challenge.

    Regarding Tiny, he was a positively super PG who went on to Boston and Bill Fitch and Larry Bird and won an NBA ring as the leader of the team. After years of scoring big for the not so good Kings, no one thought he could fit in an ever win a ring. Boy did they misread a great talent. Put him with the Boston team and, like the great pro he was, he blended right in and delivered them to a championship.

    Another thing persons forget about Tiny Archibald is that he played for Don Haskins at UTEP and that means that Tiny was an Okie Baller. Haskins is famous for the Texas Western aka UTEP team that beat KU and then UK for the ring, but young folks often forget that Haskins, who was one of the few guys that Bob Knight truly deferred to, was one of Iba’s big three disciples: Haskins, Sutton, and Hartman.

    Thanks for recalling Tiny for me and though it hadn’t occurred to me to compare Frank with Tiny, I do believe you are right that there are parallels and that they could develop much further.

  • I don’t know if this has been mentioned, but I heard Cliff is suspended for the next 2 games. Anybody know what happened?

  • @jaybate 1.0 My dad used to visit the El Paso haunts in his younger days, and met Haskins at a bar one night. They proceeded to become best friends in the world for that one night, at least that’s the way Dad used to tell the story. I’ll never forget that tournament game where UTEP took us down that one year. Dad was from Kansas, but was never a huge KU fan, so I heard about UTEP beating us for years. I didn’t like it at the time, but I sure wish he were still around to give me a hard time about that game.

  • @eleehehe

    Unless it is a new one I have not heard of, the suspension was back in early December and was the result of being ejected for picking up 2 Technical fouls in one game. The first one was for taunting and the second for hanging on the rim.

    Since the next game was cancelled due to bad weather, the suspension was postponed so he was able to play in the Chicago Elite Classic Tournament and served the one game suspension later. Not a big deal.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Ah I went back to the article and I missed the date. I appreciate the info.

  • @KUSTEVE Dads do leave a big hole when they go!

  • After coming back from Viet Nam, I was in the reserves for two years in KC. They needed volunteers for the Color Guard. No one signed up. The officer in charge was bitching about not getting anyone and said to me, the reason we need them is so we can do the colors before every home Kings game. For two years I marched out to Center court then sat in the front row with my wife, my brother and his wife for two years. Bob Cousy was our coach,. Chamberlain played for the Lakers. Dr. J played for the Sixers. Bob McAdoo got kicked out of a game and kicked the basketball to the top row of Municipal. Tiny would score 50 points a night and Kareem would just shake his head when he got dipsey-doodled by Tiny. My cat’s name is also Tiny. Frank has the speed of Tiny but doesn’t quite have the moves yet. Spud Webb was smaller than Tiny and won the NBA dunk contest.

  • @KUSTEVE - Don’t remember ever being sooooooo POed over a game as a teenager as when they called JoJo for stepping on the line as he knocked down the shot that shoulda won it. Haven’t looked it up but seems to me it ended like 88-87. What a heartbreaker the way it unfolded.

  • @jaybate 1.0 My father was a Wichita St grad, and all his kids went to KU. He always had a chip on his shoulder about KU- he always thought KU basketball fans were uppity…lololol.

  • @globaljaybird I was too young to remember that. I started getting interested in KU when I saw them play Villanova in the NCAA tournament back in 1971, or 1972…maybe? I remember Dave Robish was KU’s big man. I was hooked from the first game. I remember I went up on the roof at halftime, and swung the tv antenna around so the picture would come in better. Those were the days…

  • Self is doing the same thing he did earlier in the season… he’s playing Frank against Naa, trying to keep pushing Naa for better performance. It worked the first time and Naa opened up as a real offensive threat with his 3-ball.

    Naa’s biggest weakness now is his defense. Most PGs we’ve faced have continually dogged Naa, and I’m not sure why. Naa has speed, including decent lateral speed, but he keeps getting burned off the drive and has resorted to arm bars to slow down his man… which is getting whistled now.

    Naa hasn’t figured out how to hedge his man and play the driving lanes. He needs to hedge more and get right in his man’s underwear out on the key. The refs are starting to call it with a bit more fairness to the defensive player now, and if the ball handler drops his shoulder and the defender helps sell the call, defenders are starting to get the calls again. Naa needs to play with more contact and know how to play it to get calls.

    Frank should be his example. Frank is still learning, too, but he doesn’t fret the contact, he aggressively seeks it out!

    If Naa can figure out his defense, we’ll be a much better team because our defense is starting to step up now, but it can’t ever be very good without decent defense from our PG.

  • @wrwlumpy Oh wow…I remember those teams. The Kansas City Kings.

  • @globaljaybird With all the joy at winning the OSU game, I forgot that my first thought was that Frank actually made the wrong play…he shouldn’t have tried to knock the ball loose…could have been a disaster…but it worked out.

  • @wrwlumpy-Kool stuff lumpy, thanks for the memories & all you sacrificed too. jaybate 1.0 reminded me that Nate won the title at Boston before he retired. I remembered that Wedman played for the Celtics after KC, as he played at Colorado & I followed BG 8 ball close, but I’d also forgotten about Cousey as well. Some things are a tad more faded than a few years ago-if not for google, I’d be like Hogan’s goat without you guys making the clock tick in reverse.

    I sure remember taking that flippin Army physical at the old induction building & the s**ty chow across the street at Fred Harvey’s in Union Station. Some guys even said they found buckshot in the food & most of us didn’t even attempt to eat that krap. Ah yes, those were the days we shared fellas, most definitely not the best, but the worst for sure. The women were young & hot, the beer was frosty & cold, & the damn bullets were real as real could be. Following KU BB was one of the few pleasures I could actually sustain back then without looking over the shoulder.

  • @wissoxfan83 Yeah, that color should not be allowed for away uniforms. That green is brighter than white!

  • @HighEliteMajor Agree on Tharpe shooting. Ridic 3% in conf play. As I have said all along, Tharpe in his own head, sees himself as a scorer & shooter–> and is nothing but a 6ft tall combo guard. After all, that is what Self “likes” when he recruits a kid. Kid gotta be able to score, and Self will teach the rest.

    Oh, and the announcers just dont know: Frankamp is not the “best shooter on the team”. The best 3 shooter, statistically is Tharpe, I believe. Definitely in BigXII play. His experience shows. It’s suddenly not about high school anymore. Its about what a kid can do for KU. Thats the best way he can make himself look good. Do what the team needs.

  • @approxinfinity

    I always thought those uniforms look like glow-in-the- dark rubbers. 🙂

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