January 27: News Headlines Digest

  • **Also see today’s Daily Threads (January 27) and the News Digest for yesterday (January 26) as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday (January 26) **


    ##KU youth served in win over TCU##

    Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self presented an amazing statistic to staff members after examining the box score following Saturday’s 91-69 victory over TCU at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

    “The oldest kid we had score was a sophomore. We had seven freshmen score 75 out of 91 points, and two sophomores scored 16

    ###Newell: KU’s Lucas stays prepared despite lack of minutes###

    Just a few minutes after Kansas’ 91-69 victory over TCU on Saturday, Landen Lucas wasn’t surprised to hear his seven points were a new career high.

    “I assumed it probably was. I haven’t had too many opportunities,” he said with a smile just outside the locker room. “I’m definitely happy about that. Hopefully I top that sometime soon.”

    ###Tait: TCU Recap###

    Andrew Wiggins was sensational (27 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds) and the KU bench stepped up, as well, to help lead Kansas to a 91-69 beating of TCU on Saturday night in Fort Worth, Texas.

    ###Andrew Wiggins earns second Big 12 rookie Award

    Kansas University freshman guard Andrew Wiggins has been chosen as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.

    ###ESPN:Kansas moves up to 6th

    Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas all have two double-ranked games this week, a problem you face when half your conference is in the Top 25.

    No. 23 Oklahoma hosts No. 8 Oklahoma State on Monday and the Sooners are at No. 16 Iowa State on Saturday. The Cyclones’ other game against a ranked team is Wednesday at No. 6 Kansas. The Jayhawks’ other ranked game is Saturday at No. 25 Texas.

    #####Former Celtic Paul Pierce receives hero’s welcome in return to Boston#####

    Also see today’s Daily Threads (January 27) and the News Digest for yesterday (January 26) as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday (January 26)

  • Unrelated to this here, but I see that Kieff had a huge game for Phoenix, 27 and 15. Withey’s playing more minutes but not producing too much. TRob is developing into a more consistent off the bench player and BMac is getting some PT, probably related to an injury to Cousins. Mario had a big game yesterday too. In other words a pretty good week of production from our alums in the League.

  • @wissoxfan83

    Kieff has been receiving plenty of praise from around the league. He can do it all from all areas on the floor. Knock on wood that he stays healthy because he has a long career ahead of him!

  • Landen Lucas is one of my favorite players on this team. It takes a great amount of discipline to ride the pine almost every game but stay ready when needed. He’s doing a great job of staying ready… he comes right in and contributes while keeping his attitude positive.

    If Landen keeps working hard for his entire Kansas career I see him having a shot in the NBA. He has “journeyman player” written all over him! To be honest, you can argue that the best careers in the league are held by these players. They avoid most of the limelight while over time amassing a good salary and lifestyle, often avoiding big time injuries by not pounding the surface in all those games.

  • RIP - Tom Gola


    Bob Petit and Tom Gola were who I pretended to be when shooting hoops.

  • @drgnslayr Just curious as to whether you would put Raef LaFrentz into the “journeyman” category? I expected him to be a superstar in the NBA. #2 all-time points and rebound leader at KU, drafted #3 in the first round, and he had a 10, or so, year career but obviously never came near the level of Paul Pierce. I’m amazed that on some of the other threads where people have listed past KU greats, his name seems to be forgotten. He’s definitely on my list.

  • @oldhwkfan Raef played for 4 different teams, averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds a game. He played 10 years like you said. I think he pretty much maxed out his NBA potential.

  • @wissoxfan83 Right. But the question is, Why? He was a superstar at KU. Why did that not transfer to the NBA? I asked a scout for the Mavs that exact question once years ago, and his best answer was “I don’t know”

  • @oldhwkfan

    Like many other players destined for stardom, LaFrentz career was cut short or made less successful by injuries. In any case, I always though that LaFrentz saw the NBA as the means to and end rather than the other way around, and by all accounts he has done very well financially outside basketball.

    Another example well known to all Jayhawks is Danny Manning, who could have been a super star but injuries kept him form that top tier. Old man Oden is a more recent example of a player that was going to be the next superstar but injuries essentially ended his career, although he has gotten a lifeline with the Miami Heath but the outcome is yet to be decided.

  • No. 6 in AP, tied for 7th in Coaches and 1 in SOS/RPI!

  • @JayHawkFanToo I agree with the injuries analysis, but I just don’t think he was destined for stardom. He was a two time All American at KU, but there are lots of All Americans every year. His career averages of 16 and 10 are great, I acknowledge, but he didn’t have that knack that Danny had to stand out as the best player on the floor night in and night out.

  • @wissoxfan83 Nice! Always glad to hear our boys doing good in the NBA.
    On another note. KU is -8 wins down from Kentucky now. We’re catching up!

  • @drgnslayr Lucas, right now, appears to be simply better than Tarik Black. His rebound per minute rate is much better, his reliability is much better, and he appears at least equally skilled offensively. He seems eminently ready when needed. And his readiness now makes me feel very encouraged about the future. Heck, if Embiid leaves, he’s really the only true center we have. It is certainly reasonable to see him being the 3rd post player next season behind Ellis and Alexander. Traylor has made great strides, but he’s not a center. I don’t think that the 4 vs. 5 distinction is that important when it comes to starting, but it is nice to have a 5 to go to (much like Sasha Kaun) when needed.

    Lucas may very well get his shot to start in 2015-16. I feel much better about that prospect now. And like you, he is one of my favorite players as well. Attitude, work ethic, character – the whole package. Would love to see him excel here.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Another excellent post! If I’m comparing straight-out basketball, I agree that Lucas seems to be better than Black. The one intangible is Black’s motivational impact on the team. He’s been a vocal cheerleader all year and his positive karma is paid back every time he plays well by uplifting the team. It is hard to put an exact value on an intangible like that… but I think Self keeps it in mind, along with knowing Black is a senior and Self values upperclassmen.

    I’m thrilled with both of these guys. I do think Black has been adapting his game, and that is why we’ve seen his production increase. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

    I do like the chemistry of Black and Traylor coming in together. It doesn’t always pay dividends, but sometimes it does. I’ve always liked the idea of pairing up players in order to develop unique synergies. Self impresses me every time he shows me something new. Once again… it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but Self always seems open to change. I can’t think of too many people his age still willing to open their minds.

    Who knows… perhaps Lucas will one day be our starting 5?!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Don’t forget Hunter Michelson, although he is listed on the KU official roster as forward, but them so are Black, Traylor and Lucas; the only player listed as center is Embiid. Michelson had a very good freshman season at Arkansas and his sophomore year was little bit of a let down, no doubt a result of the style of play that Mike Anderson favors that uses smaller, faster players rather than the more physical players such as Michelson.

    With one year of practice against the current KU bigs, he should be ready to contribute. He often seems to be forgotten amongst all the incoming and returning players, and he might well end up being a Withey type of contributor next season.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Good point! And we so often go with two 4s, instead of a legitimate 5. Heck… I wouldn’t be ashamed to have Hunter and Lucas out there on the post!

    I don’t think Lucas will leave KU as our most-accomplished 5… but I bet he will leave KU as the most-fundamental 5 we’ve had in the Bill Self era!

  • Off topic and not to look ahead the game on Sat in Austin will be a tough challenge. TX has won 5 in a row with several quality wins.

  • @drgnslayr I strongly believe that Lucas is an extremely bright and intelligent young man. One can tell that he has a solid up bringing by the parents. I am convinced that he will have a great college and pro career.

  • @bskeet Wiggins shoulders are BROAD. He has also lean muscle. One can tell that he has got more muscle definition since his arrival at KU, thanks to our strength & conditioning star coach. If he gains another 10-15 lbs. he will be a monster.

    On the same topic look at Embiid’s body now compared to 6 months ago, night and day.

  • @JayHawkFanToo What happens if Embiid is back next year, serious log jam in the front court. Embiid, Alexander, Traylor, Lucas, Ellis, Mickelson - Self will have a real problem in his hands with PT and managing egos and expectations.

  • @AsadZ Yeah I had addressed that a day or so ago, the front court logjam. Particularly as it applies to Perry. If Embiid comes back, he obviously starts. And I’m inclined to think Alexander would start ahead of Perry, but that is kinda rough on him - a former McDonald’s All-American being relegated to the bench as a junior. Of course whenever I bring up concern over a player, many posters are always quick to remind me that Self’s responsibilities are towards the university and not a single player so he will do what is best for the team. Which is not anything I disagree with, but I’m also able to recognize that it would be a blow for the player. Also, that pushes Jamari down to 4th big (whereas this year he is pretty much the 3rd big - first post player off the bench). Lucas makes no strides in the rotation. And who knows with Mickleson. At this point, the way things are shaping up, he might regret coming here as I don’t know when he’ll have a legitimate shot at any PT. All that being said, I’d love to have Embiid back, just again, it’s not hard to recognize the ripple effect.

  • @AsadZ The other bad thing about the situation is that the obvious red-shirt candidates - Mickleson, Lucas, & Traylor - have already sat out a year anyway, and wouldn’t be eligible to do so again. So no PT issues can be solved that way.

  • Nice write up on Nick Bradford in the NWA paper (subscription required so posted in full):

    Right At Home


    By Vernon Tarver

    Posted: January 26, 2014 at 2 a.m.

    Andy Shupe Former Fayetteville High and Kansas player Nick Bradford helps FHS players during a shooting drill Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, during practice at Fayetteville High. Bradford is back in Fayetteville after stints playing overseas in Romania, Iceland, France and Finland. Print item E-mail

    FAYETTEVILLE — Nick Bradford hasn’t changed all that much, even if so many people around him in the game of basketball have.

    The same fun-loving kid, who grew up in Fayetteville and devel- oped into one of the top basketball players ever to come out of the Bull- dogs’ program or Northwest Arkan- sas altogether, still carries a big smile and an even bigger personal- ity everywhere he goes.

    Like his personality, Bradford’s love for the game of basketball is just as consistent. From the rustic court of old Bulldog Gymnasium, to the hallowed halls of Phog Allen Field- house at Kansas, he had a sense that the sport he so dearly loved would remain with him forever. And now, his goal of continuing his hoops dreams well past his playing days are in fact, playing out in reality.


    Bradford, like many skilled athletes who fall just short of the ultimate level of competition, wasn’t ready to hang up his high tops as soon as his college days were done. After a successful four-year career at Kansas from 1996-2000, the Fayetteville native kept the ball bouncing for more than a decade. There was a two-year stint in the ABA with the Kansas City Knights.

    “I played for Kevin Pritchard in the ABA, and that was a great experience,” Bradford said. “Kevin is now general manager of the Indi- ana Pacers and he taught me a lot.”

    Then came an eight-year jour- ney through Europe, with stops in Iceland, France, Romania and Finland.

    While it wasn’t basketball at the highest level like the NBA, it was professional hoops. And Bradford had no complaints.

    “The biggest misconception about European basketball is like in France they say they’re not supposed to like Americans,” Bradford said. “But that was my favorite place to play. I had a great time over there.

    “Basketball over there is real competitive, and I played against some really good players and some guys like Boris Diaw who went to the NBA. So it was a great experi- ence.”

    All the while, though, Bradford knew life after his playing days was fast approaching. And he had a plan.

    Following the spring of 2011 season with the UMFG club in Iceland, Bradford accepted his first coaching position at Labette Community College. A member

    of Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference, Labette put Bradford right back in his old stomping grounds, back where he credits much of his drive to become a coach.

    “When I was in school at Kansas, coach (Roy) Williams and his staff always thought I had those coach- ing abilities,” Bradford

    said. “I was the type of player that did a lot of thinking and played a lot of positions on the floor. Soalotofmy coaching came from that.”

    B r a d f o r d played alongside several Kansas greats in his time with the Jayhawks. He was roommates with Paul Pierce, and teammates with Raef LaFrentz, Kirk Hinrich and Drew Gooden.

    Those names, and others, served Bradford he headed out on the recruiting trail for Labette and even more so now in his new position as a first-year assistant at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

    “I think that’s a good thing I can add in there to young guys,” Brad- ford said. “They might not know my name, but I can give them some names of guys I played with. Or when you’ve been around a guy like Danny Manning and you can talk to kids about that, it sure helps.”


    Bradford gives plenty of credit to his former college coach, Roy Williams, for being a big impact on his coaching style. But there’s no mistake in who provides the major inspiration for Bradford as a coach, or in life.

    His big brother, Ramon.

    In December 1994, Ramon Brad- ford was an assistant basketball coach at Fayetteville when he was

    killed in an automobile accident while returning from a Bulldogs’ away game at Siloam Springs. Nick Bradford, Ramon’s younger brother, was a junior on the Fayetteville basketball team and just 16 at the time of his brother’s death.

    “No question (Ramon’s) life being cut short and his dream of being a Division I coach has been my biggest inspiration into being a coach and just being a good person,” Nick said. “He affffected so many young people’s lives and I’m trying to live my life in that same way, by impacting young kids just like he

    did.” Bradford

    is only getting started. After two seasons at Labette, he moved to the Division II ranks and headed closer to home with the move to Joplin-based Missouri Southern

    State. “It’s great. My family can get

    up here and see me now and I’m close to home,” Bradford said. “It’s crazy how things have grown back in Fayetteville. I went to the last game played at the old gym and I went to a game in the new arena last year. And I talk to Kyle Adams and Tommy Deffenbaugh and keep up with what’s going on with those guys and the Bulldogs.”

    Bradford also hopes the move to Missouri Southern will lead to recruiting players from around the Northwest Arkansas area. And with his personality, Adams is sure Brad- ford won’t have a problem selling young players on the MSSU prod- uct.

    “You didn’t know it at the time he was playing about him coaching, you just knew he had a great sense of the game,” Adams said. “But the great thing about Nick is he’s just a great person. He’s always got a smile on his face and every- body loves being around him, so he’s got a great personality for coaching.”


    Bradford has entered the coaching profession as basketball undergoes plenty of changes, not necessarily in the style of play or the rules on the court, but in the young athletes who choose to continue their games onto the next level.

    “The mentality of kids today is different,” Brad- ford said. “Some kids have a mentality that everything has to be given to them. Not to say that all kids have that sense of entitlement, but it’s out there.

    “What we’re trying to do here is show them that it’s about a team, and that nothing

    is going to be given to you. We want them to work for every- thing they get.”

    Dealing with a different brand of youngsters from even when he played the game, Bradford isn’t scared off. Instead, he’s more passionate and driven than ever to succeed. His goals for now are to help MSSU, and so far he’s off to a great start as the Lions sit at 13-3 on the season.

    Beyond Missouri Southern State? Bradford isn’t one to look that far ahead.

    “I would like to be a head coach someday,” Bradford said. “But right now I’m in a great situation, working for a legendary coach in coach Robert Corn. After this season, coach Corn is step- ping down and Jeff (Boschee) will take over and I’m just focused on helping us out here.”

    And you can bet Bradford will wear a big smile every step of the way.

  • @AsadZ Texas will have had the whole week to rest and that can be good or bad. I’m in Austin and going. Embiid will have his work cut out for him w/Ridley’s size and their point, Taylor, likes to drive. I have watched all their games and they can be scrappy and have some shooters but they also are very young and haven’t played a schedule like ours. However I think our bench will be the difference maker. Foul trouble for UT is going to hurt them more. And I believe HCBS is far superior to Barnes when it comes to game day coaching. I can’t wait.

  • @wrwlumpy, Gola I never saw much. Of course I know he was supposed to be great, but you need to fill me in on what you remember about him. But Bob Petit? Yeah, I have flickering memories of him. Petit was one of my dad’s and my older brother’s all timers. I just can’t remember enough of him to really write much about him.

    I probably missed Gola and have only flickering memories of Petit, because my pop was never one to heap much praise on anyone but Jayhawks. His list of greats beyond the Jayhawks was: Bob Petit, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, John Havlicek, Larry Bird, and Magic and Big Russ. He would have been a big Michael Jordan fan had he not gotten so much flack for talking about Jordan rationally. My dad really never did grasp the power of the hype machine to bend person’s minds, because it never bent his. He always wondered why Jordan hadn’t been allowed to be Jordan, rather than being hyped into the greatest player of all time, to which my father would always respond: “Jordan is so great. Why can’t they just say he was the greatest 2, or 3, there ever was by a long way? He is a consummate ball player, good, or great, at every aspect of the game you can be good, or great at. Why do they want to force comparisons with him and Big Russ and Wilt. Big Russ won more rings and even player-coached one ring, so Jordan can’t be better than Big Russ at winning. And Big Russ won more NCAA rings, too, so Jordan can’t be better at winning in college ball. And Jordan can’t be better than Wilt in any individual statistics pro, or college. And who would you take in a one on one game? Wilt or Jordan? And Jordan can’t be better than Oscar, or Magic, at point guard, because Jordan never played point guard, and Oscar, or Magic were the greatest point guards that ever lived. Period. Why can’t they let Jordan be what he actually was: the greatest 2, or 3, ever? Isn’t that great enough?” To which I always had to respond: “Right on, pop. When the hype machine is off MJ for a decade or so, that is how he will finally begin to be remembered. An incomparable 2 or 3. Probably the best ever at BOTH positions.”

    Tell me about Tom Gola, lump. Download your memories.

  • @HighEliteMajor I agree that Lucas’s production in the short stints is very good. However, that doesn’t mean he would be able to do it for a long period of time. I’m not ready to say he’s better than Black…yet.

  • @oldhwkfan Well I’m not a scout, obviously, but I think that LaFrentz was a decent, but not great player iin the NBa was because he wasn’t the athlete that many of the players at the next level were. There also is that intangible basketball IQ…maybe that is why the scout didn’t know. I recall that Ricardo Patton, the coach at CU at the time. when asked by the Denver GM, whom he thought would be the best pro between Pierce and LaFrentz…he said LaFrentz. So, it’s hard to tell.

  • @RockChalkinTexas that Ridley is pretty good! I was impressed. But he’s going to have to run the floor faster to keep up w/Embiid. You think? Does he foul a lot? Just saw 2 games. Looked like another good sized kid in there too.

  • @RockChalkinTexas their point is really quick, we’ll have trouble w/him!

  • @jaybate 1.0 - When I was 11, after moving to the Ozarks Mountains, the only time our TV had a clear picture was during the daytime. On the weekends, in the winter my brothers and my father would watch the NBA. Gola was the shooting guard on the Philly team with Wilt during his first year in the league. They lost to the Celtics that year in the Finals. On a team that had Wilt, there had to be an outside threat to balance the team. The Celtics had Russell and Cousey and were more like the Jayhawks today with Red’s cigar instead of the Rock Chalk chant when a victory was eminent. later, Cy Hugo Green played with Wilt and had a two handed jump shot. Clyde Lovelette had the best hook shot in basketball until Lew Alcinder came along. Petit led the NBA in scoring that same year with the best jump shot ever. About 30 pts per game.

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