March 5: News Headlines Digest

  • Also see our Daily Threads, March 5, and the News Digest for Yesterday, March 4, as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday, March 4 ####

    Tarik Black

    #Salute to the Seniors# ###Tarik Black: KU ‘is where I was supposed to be’ in final season###

    Though Black transferred to KU for his final college season with high expectations — he was voted the preseason Big 12 newcomer of the year — he didn’t drop his head when Embiid emerged as a star and took away much of his playing time.

    Black, who will start alongside walk-ons Niko Roberts and Justin Wesley on senior night at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Texas Tech, is averaging 12.4 minutes per game in conference play.

    ###Single season at KU ‘life-changing’ for senior Black###

    Kansas University senior pivot Tarik Black, who will start tonight’s Senior Night game against Texas Tech and possibly beyond, says he’s had a great time at KU since transferring from Memphis. “I learned so much about basketball, life and myself in this one year being in this program than I have ever learned playing the game of basketball leading to this point,” Black said.

    ###**Bedore: **Center stage: Tarik Black controls paint in Senior Night rout of Texas Tech###

    Tarik Black’s Senior Night at Kansas University truly couldn’t have been scripted any better — or gone any better.

    Black, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound transfer from Memphis, went a perfect 9-for-9 from the field and finished with a KU career-high 19 points in the Jayhawks’ 82-57 annihilation of Texas Tech in Allen Fieldhouse.

    ###Justin Wesley: Before acting, KU senior, left mark as key big###

    Off the court, Justin Wesley is best known in Lawrence for his film portrayal of Wilt Chamberlain in the recent movie release, “Jayhawkers.” On the court, he’s the walk-on transfer from Lamar University who averaged 8.6 minutes a game — 7.8 minutes in Big 12 action — for KU’s 2011-12 NCAA runner-up/Big 12 championship team.

    ###**Bedore: **Hoops ‘junkie’: Senior Niko Roberts lives, breathes ball###

    There are days Kansas University senior walk-on Niko Roberts leads the Red (Scout) Team in a two-hour basketball practice in Allen Fieldhouse, then heads over to Lawrence High’s gym to watch his brother, Justin, direct the show for the Lions.

    ###** Gambling site has KU as hypothetical 2-point favorite over Wichita State**###

    Earlier today, I received an email from the folks at, which provided the gambling web site’s current odds to win it all and an interesting look at a few imaginary lines if the Shockers were to face 12 of the top teams in the country.

    The eighth-ranked Jayhawks (22-7), who still are in the running for a No. 1 seed themselves, are currently the second favorite to win the national championship at 8/1. KU is tied with Arizona (8/1) and behind only Florida (5/1) while staying just ahead of Wichita State (9/1), Duke (10/1), Syracuse (10/1), Michigan State (12/1), Louisville (14/1) and Virginia (14/1) as the top favorites.

    ###**Bedore: **Notebook: Andrew Wiggins experiences mixed emotions in home finale###

    Kansas University one-and-done freshman Andrew Wiggins didn’t speak to the fans after his final game in Allen Fieldhouse.

    But the Canadian sensation was implored to stand up after Wednesday’s 82-57 victory over Texas Tech — before the senior speeches — by coach Bill Self, who had a throng of 16,300 give the freshman guard a standing ovation. Self also had fellow frosh Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden stand, as well as soph Perry Ellis, junior Naadir Tharpe and soph Jamari Traylor.

    ###**Tait: **Red Raiders fail to keep pace in rematch with KU###

    Three weeks ago in Lubbock, Texas, Tubby Smith’s Texas Tech basketball team came within a couple of seconds of knocking off Kansas.

    With that gut-wrenching, one-point home loss still fresh in their minds, the Red Raiders took the floor at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday night hoping to unleash another inspired effort against the No. 8-ranked team in the nation.

    ###**Goodman: **Big 12 is nations best conference###

    At the outset of the season, it was almost a forgone conclusion. The ACC – after adding Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame – would regain the mantle as the elite college basketball conference in America.

    Just a few issues: The Irish have been thoroughly disappointing, the bottom third of the league has been dismal and North Carolina’s erratic play has had the Tar Heels as a fringe top-25 team for much of the season.

    ###Please add stories here### ###### Also see our Daily Threads, March 5, and the News Digest for Yesterday, March 4, as well as Daily Threads for Yesterday, March 4

  • @approxinfinity-The Man From Cameroon

    Today I closed a deal with a very articulate gentleman with a slightly French accent. His name is Justin. I worked about 45 minutes with him last evening without a sale, not really knowing his full intentions. You never really do till you ask for the sale & then sometimes you get a mixed signal, neither hot or cold. He had done his homework well & made my job as simple as possible because of it. The only really difficult aspect of our engagement was to clearly understand his African dialect, soft yet slow enough for these aging antennae to somehow pull out the signals.

    Today he returned with an adorable, toddling, two year old son. We diligently dredged through his accurately prepared notebook list again, this time politely allowing me to write up the sale on all six items we had on site, & ordering from our warehouse four others. It was not an extraordinary large sale, but several mechanical items, jacks, trailering equipment, and other accessories totaling a tad over $1000, was well worth the time invested. However a tall, well dressed, articulate professional does not walk in very often to make these type of puchases in an industrial equipment store & my curiosity was avid to say the least. After the close I was finally able to comfortably ask him how many languages he could speak, as a way to gain further insight on his background, interests, & to do what sales people do, essentially making a friendship & buyer more & more relaxed. Then when I asked what part of the world he was from, he literally lighted my eyes like beacons when he gently replied, “I’m from Cameroon, do you know where that is?” Of course you know how the conversation immediately transpired to Joel Embid & basketball. Justin says he loves basketball & really does not watch soccer-what? Then I mentioned that Joel might not go pro after this year of challenging injuries & he said “What? Is he not going?” I then queried do you know him & his reply was a soft & simple,“Yes.”

    Don’t know if I should’ve requested a translator or not men, but after today my money’s clearly on Joel being in the green room this spring, making room for Cliff, or Turner, or Landon, or whomever. If this guy was as legit as he quietly presented himself to be, Joel the Lion Killer is a done deal & gone.

  • @globaljaybird Very interesting story…

  • @bskeet-We briefly talked about the ACL & he was very concerned as if he understood how devasting the injury is & stated that it could be career ending. If, & again I say if this gentleman is truly an acquaintance of Joel, there may be even further more serious concern about his future & that his window of opportunity is really now, or perhaps never. I’ve been wrong many times before, & will be again, but my gut feeling from this exchange is as I stated. Joel will be in the green room with Andrew this Spring. Do I really have an educated guess? No, just a compelling hunch that this cavalier don was speaking truthfully in surprise to my comment that I didn’t know if Joel would enter the draft. It just seemed too spontaneous to not be valid. When I asked with a grin if he lived in Lawrence, his reply was quietly “No I live in Leawood.” Justin was challenged with English, but his French was how he engaged his son with conversation. Quite a mysterious encounter to say the least, & I will be again seeing & speaking with him when our warehouse fills his order. He said his brother has an auto repair shop in Cameroon & when his container arrives he will then ship all of the equipment to him in Africa. This order will weigh around 500 to 600 lbs when totaled & will cost a small fortune to send half way around the world. He gave me absolutely no reason whatsoever to doubt the truthfulness of his statements.

  • I think he’s staying, I’m just from Kansas.

  • @globaljaybird

    Interesting story!

    I still have a feeling he will return for another year. Just a hunch.

    The thought I have that challenges this is the period right after the tourney, and I am of the opinion players can talk to teams (but without agency) and still have the option to return to school.

    I think JoJo might decide to go pro if he is assured that he will be given an intelligent developmental path to follow on his way into the league. That means some D-league and lots of training to build his strength and condition in order to help keep him safe from injury.

    JoJo really seems like a different guy since his injuries. His battle scars are starting to accumulate and he is an intelligent young man who cares deeply about his health. I believe he values his health more than a pile of greenbacks. And he has nothing to prove by becoming famous… in fact, I doubt fame is something he desires.

    I bet the money side of this plays a bigger role when he realizes how many people he can help back home. Even though JoJo has been in the US for a few years, the concept of wealth and prosperity still have to be quite detached from the concepts most people have here. Like… does he want an estate home? Or would he rather open up a community center for kids to play at?

  • The story on Tar really confirmed my belief that he is the spiritual leader of this team.

    He doesn’t have to score a million points tonight… but if he has a few of his explosive plays… a big dunk or monster block… the entire team will be juiced and will win the pace battle that we all know Tubby is going to bring a game of “crawl ball” with him into AFH.

    Go Tar!

  • @drgnslayr although - a million points would be pretty cool…

  • @nuleafjhawk

    I think that might even get him passed Wilt! (maybe)

  • @globaljaybird Wow, very convincing to me also. Selfishly, I hope he stays though cuz if we don’t win the title this year, (small chance in my opinion), we will get it next year with all we have coming back and adding.

  • @Lulufulu85-I sure hope you’re right but this gentleman seemed almost shocked when I raised the question of Joel’s return. And he seemed to have considerable knowledge of the ACL injury mentioning that many are never able to play after that surgery. He seemed to become enthusiastic & yet still quite respectfully commenting his opinions, which was completely baffling at that point, as the entirety of our total hour & a half exchanges till then had been entirely business related & almost stoic, yet professional. The amazing aspect of sales is when you discover a “hot button” & are able to compliment the process of buying with your skillset. Some sales people show entirely too much aggression too quickly & can inhibit or ruin the process by talking too much about the wrong subjects. The really quiet buyer is much more challenging to close because of the process of relaxation. I had worked with him on our inter/intranet sites & his demeanor was totally calm & professional, only occasionally raising valid & pertinent objections in the process. But when we talked hoops, his interest changed to a completely different & well informed level. When we visit again, is most likely the conversations will flow more easily. You can be assured I will use my experience to augment the process. When you find that special interest in a buyer, things can become quite simple. I’m not your rocket ship guy, but I’ve got considerable mileage up & down the road. My Dad used to say he’d been “Farther around the outhouse looking for the handle than you’d been on a train.” Take with a pinch of salt also that this was over 50 years ago & train travel was the pampered way to travel most anywhere.

  • I really hope Joel comes back. Will he come back? No.

    Let’s look at the pros and cons of his decision.

    Coaching: KU - very good, NBA - better position coaches that will work exclusively with him. Advantage NBA

    Trainer: KU - Hudy, the best in college basketball. NBA - Comparable or better trainers with the best facilities in the business. Advantage NBA

    Competition: KU - Excellent competition, particularly in the Conference. NBA - better competition in practice alone and best competition in the world during games. Advantage NBA

    Time: KU - Has to complete school work to be able to to play. NBA - 24/7 dedicated to improve his skills. Advantage NBA

    Wear and tear: KU - 30+ games season. NBA - season has 3 times more games. Advantage KU

    Medical Care: KU - Excellent, best local and occasional national specialists. NBA - Best specialists in the world. Advantage NBA

    Security: KU - NCAA sponsored but limited insurance. NBA - guaranteed rookie contract, pretty much set for life. Advantage NBA

    Income: KU - nominal payment for expenses plus room, board and tuition. NBA = at least $4.5 Million first year increasing every year for 3years. Advantage NBA…game, set match.

  • @JayHawkFanToo maybe, just maybe, he’s got a few things to learn before the NBA, driving a car?

  • @JayHawkFanToo-I hope we’re wrong but if not using that window of opportunity has exposed M Smart, then a career threatening injury could be total devastation if not diagnosed or treated properly. There is so much at stake for this young man, that he has very little choice but to go if a lottery pick. Even if injured at this stage, IMO he’s still a top 3 pick if he can withstand the NBA physicals & tryout processes.

  • @globaljaybird do you think he’s already decided?

  • I really like Seth Davis!

    Big 12 awards:

    POY: Melvin Ejim, Iowa State – It’s a close call between Ejim and his teammate, DeAndre Kane, but Ejim was the more dominant performer. Besides leading the league in points (18.4), Ejim ranks fourth in rebounds (8.3), second in field goal percentage (52.4) and sixth in free throw percentage (79.0).

    • COY: Bill Self, Kansas – How about coach of the decade? Self’s 10 straight league titles, three of which came after he replaced his entire starting lineup, is one of the more remarkable achievements in all of sports.

    • FOY: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas – No, he can’t walk on water, but he did get increasingly confident and aggressive as the season went on.

    Read More:

  • @Crimsonorblue22-Like I said, it’s only a gut feeling, but in a word yes. Without the recurring injuries, no. But with this gentleman’s obvious excitement level & knowledge of the situation, I believe so. I countered at one point by saying, “We can’t win without him this year, but we could win out the NC with him next year if he returns”, to which he replied “But we win every year anyway, I do not think he’ll stay.”

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    No problem. The team will hire him a driver…and she will be gorgeous.

  • @globaljaybird I would love nothing more than to win it all this year and then have Embiid come back anyway. One can dream!!!

    On a more serious note, has the consensus #1 pick in the OAD era ever decided to play college ball instead of going to the NBA?

  • After the Marcus Smart fiasco, the chances of a potential lottery pick coming back have dramatically decreased.

  • @JayHawkFanToo but that would NOT happen with Bill Self!!!

  • @Crimsonorblue22-I have close relatives that are of foreign heritages and one thing that is totally undeniable with foreign nationals, is that they stay extremely close, usually bound by deep religious faith & unequalled love of their families, home, & countrymen. This man displayed an aura of calm confidence that convinced me to believe he in fact is familiar with the situation. But let me also add that sometimes the easiest person to sell can be another salesman. I have many personal experiences where this is proven true & I may be just biting hook, line & sinker. Only time will tell. Slayr pointed out that the information/interview processes before the draft can play into the formula greatly, and I have to agree that is entirely a huge factor. Like I posted, this is not even an educated guess on my part, many are far more informed than I, but just simply an impression or intuition that I’ve shared.

  • @globaljaybird lol - that was pretty funny until you edited it, global !

  • @nuleafjhawk You’re PD quick on the draw there bud, my typing skills are quite poor.

  • @globaljaybird I’m sure your typing skills are excellent. I just happened to be in the " right place at the right time ".

  • @nuleafjhawk…touché’.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    I was talking abut the NBA. The NCAA takes a dim view of “improper benefits.”

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    “… maybe, just maybe, he’s got a few things to learn before the NBA, driving a car?”

    I bet he hasn’t had banjo lessons yet!

    Sounds like a funny comment… until you watch the expression of Africans when experiencing live banjo playing for the first time. I’ve experienced it with some guys before and you would think the banjo was from Mars!

    Somewhere I have it on video… packed away…

  • @drgnslayr I think I need to see that! Getting pumped for game! I bet I cry, I can get pretty wimping sometimes.

  • Wow Tarik! Thanks for uplifting me and hopefully many others! Your faith is inspiring and your outlook is terrific! Great game, great man!

  • I totally agree. A couple of weeks ago someone asked me why I had said that Tarik was rapidly rising on my list of favorite players. I gave a somewhat disjointed and hurried reply. Now I can rest my case. QED, Tarik.

  • “It has gone too fast,” Andrew Wiggins said. “I wish I had more time to stay here, do my thing and be with the team, the coaches and all these wonderful fans."

    It’s called a sophomore year…

  • Is Bill Self recruiting Charlie Weis’s successor? I hear Harbaugh and management are butting heads…

  • John Rieger/USA TODAY Sports The Big 12 conference has grown into far more than just “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk.” At the outset of the season, it was almost a forgone conclusion. The ACC – after adding Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame – would regain the mantle as the elite college basketball conference in America.

    Just a few issues: The Irish have been thoroughly disappointing, the bottom third of the league has been dismal and North Carolina’s erratic play has had the Tar Heels as a fringe top-25 team for much of the season.

    If not the ACC, there’s no debate, right? The Big Ten has made itself more than just a football conference lately, with Michigan’s resurgence – along with the consistency of Ohio State and the fact bottom-feeders Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State have pulled off their share of quality victories.

    While the Big Ten has had a quality season, with a legitimate chance to get seven of its dozen teams into the NCAA tournament when the field is unveiled in less than two weeks, there is another conference that stands above the rest in 2014.

    The Big 12.

    What other league will likely be able to claim that 70 percent of its members will earn a berth to the sport’s ultimate event? Answer: None, only the Big 12.

    What other league can claim that all seven of those teams will have a legitimate chance to advance to the Sweet 16? Again, only the Big 12.

    The league has been run by Kansas for the past decade, and that has taken away some of the luster from the “other” programs. The Jayhawks have once again earned a Big 12 regular-season championship banner in 2013-14 with a 13-3 mark in league play, but the conference is more than just “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk.”

    Iowa State has a chance to go deep in the tournament with its talented trio of Melvin Ejim, DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang. No one wants to go up against Lon Kruger’s Oklahoma Sooners team – which currently sits in a four-way tie for second with Iowa State, Texas and Kansas State. Oklahoma may not boast a big-name player, but Kruger has more than enough talent – and is a proven coach.

    Texas may not look like a typical Rick Barnes team over the past decade or so in terms of talent, but the Longhorns have what’s been missing in Austin of late: chemistry and team-oriented players. Mix that with enough talent and you get a team that is 21-8 overall and has wins over North Carolina, Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and a sweep against Baylor.

    Kansas State, not unlike Texas, wasn’t supposed to be in this position. However, Bruce Weber and the Wildcats got wins over Gonzaga and George Washington (two lock tourney teams) and have taken advantage in league play and accumulated 10 victories thus far.

    [+] Enlarge William Purnell/Icon SMI While toward the bottom of the Big 12, it seems Marcus Smart and the Cowboys have their mojo back. Baylor and Oklahoma State are down toward the bottom of the league with sub-.500 marks of 7-9, which shows more of the strength of the conference than their weakness. There is just one cupcake in the Big 12, a TCU team that remains winless with an 0-16 mark. This league is unforgiving, with no games off except for the Horned Frogs. Even Bob Huggins’ West Virginia team was on a bubble for a minute, after a three-game stretch that included wins at Baylor and at home against Kansas State and Oklahoma.

    Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State appear to have their mojo back. Remember, this is a team that was trying to figure itself out when Smart got hit with the three-game suspension. The Cowboys lost their interior defensive presence, Michael Cobbins, and also their backup point guard, Stevie Clark, for the rest of the season. But who would want to face Oklahoma State in the NCAA tournament nowadays? No one.

    If the season ended Monday, the ACC and the Big East would each likely get 30 percent of its teams in the NCAA tournament. The SEC will probably wind up with four of its 14 teams in the field, and the A-10 should end up with a handful of its 13. The top half of the new American Athletic Conference has fared well, but the other five have been downright terrible – and none of Cincinnati, Louisville, UConn, Memphis or SMU have done enough to warrant a top seeding. The Pac-12 has enjoyed a quality season, with Arizona carrying the torch for what could wind up as a seven-team NCAA tourney group. However, Washington State and USC have been walkovers with a combined three league wins – and Utah, Washington and Oregon State are all likely NIT or CBI-bound.

    The only argument is between the Big Ten and the Big 12. The Big Ten has five teams considered a lock to go dancing: Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Iowa. Minnesota, for the time being, is on the right side of the bubble – while Nebraska likely remains on the outside looking in. That’s 50 percent of the league’s teams. Let’s face it: Michigan State hardly looks like a team (unless Keith Appling’s wrist heals quickly) that could go deep come March, and Ohio State doesn’t resemble a team that could make any noise. Penn State and Northwestern have had their moments, but let’s face the facts: Indiana, Illinois and Purdue are all mediocre this season.

    The Big 12 has a team that could cut down the nets come April in Dallas, and six more teams that could be still standing entering the second week of the NCAA tournament.

    That qualifies it as the best conference in America.

Log in to reply