This and That

  • I heard this on the pre-game of the Spurs-Blazers game.

    **The Trail Blazers were snake bit from the start — almost literally. When the Trail Blazers got to the AT&T Center there was a rattlesnake in Thomas Robinson’s locker, causing some grown men to freak out.

    There apparently has been a lot of construction around the AT&T Center where the Spurs play. This brought back the bat flying around the arena last year when Manu Ginobli caught it and had to go through the month long rabie shots.

    KU has the most players of any school with former players in the NBA playoffs. We have 5. Can you name them all?

  • Kamari Murphy’s transfer another blow to a sputtering OK State program

    Rob Dauster May 8, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Oklahoma State has lost another key piece from last season’s team as Kamari Murphy has decided to transfer out of the program, according to multiple media reports.

    As a sophomore this past season, Murphy averaged 6.1 points and 6.3 boards. He became a starter when Michael Cobbins went down with a torn achilles.

    Of the eight players that Oklahoma State had in their rotation at the start of the 2013-2014 season, five of them are now gone and four left with eligibility remaining: Murphy and Brian Williams transferred, Marcus Smart went pro, Stevie Clark was kicked out of the program in December and Markel Brown graduated. That list doesn’t include Jared Terrell, either. Terrell was the crown jewel of Ford’s 2014 recruiting class but he got out of his letter of intent last month.

    That leaves Travis Ford with a roster that is going to be dreadfully thin once again.

    The good news? He does return Le’Bryan Nash for what should be a big senior season, and Cobbins and Phil Forte should be back as well. Add in a five-man recruiting class — headlined by JuCo transfer Jeff Newberry — and the cupboard isn’t completely bare, but it’s still hard to see how Ford is going to be able to get this team into the NCAA tournament.

    Which brings us back to a point that was brought up by Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman back when the Pokes were bounced from the NCAA tournament in their first game: Travis Ford’s contract is a doozy. The school signed him to a 10-year deal back in 2009, meaning that Ford still has five years and almost $12 million coming to him.

    The most important note?

    The school has no buy out.

    If they want Ford out, they have to pay him the remainder of his salary, and I’m not sure even T. Boone Pickens is willing to shell out that kind of cash for basketball.

    ##It’s no wonder that the Cowboys can no longer fill up Gallagher-Iba Arena. They have a head coach that the fans hate, that couldn’t get the Pokes out of the opening round of the NCAA tournament despite having two seasons with Smart, Nash and Brown on the roster, and it doesn’t look like it will get any better anytime soon.

    Ford’s always been able to recruit, but it will be interesting to see if players still want to join a program that’s clearly not in a good place these days.

  • Ben McLemore back in Lawrence to continue work on degree, NBA game

    By RUSTIN DODD Kansas City Star

    There are many frustrating things about being an NBA rookie, the least of which is the creative hazing. Ben McLemore spent part of his first season in Sacramento with a pink backpack slung around his shoulder — the roundish, cutesy logo on full display.

    “Hello Kitty,” McLemore says.

    But the worst part about being a rookie, of course, is that the veterans rarely listen to what you’re saying. Let McLemore explain. So during the final weeks of the NBA regular season, he began to tell some Kings teammates that he was headed back to Kansas for the summer. The reaction, McLemore says, was often one of confusion or apathy.

    Ben is going to spend the summer hanging out in Kansas? OK.

    “No,” McLemore would tell them. “I’m going back to work on my classes and get my degree.”

    On Thursday afternoon, McLemore pushed through the doors of Allen Fieldhouse and stepped on the floor for a workout with a member of the Sacramento Kings player development staff. Just one year after leaving KU after a record-breaking freshman season, McLemore plans to spend the summer back here in Lawrence, working on his game and pecking away at the hours he needs to graduate.

    It will be an uphill battle, one that could take a few years. Even when you add in the hours he took during his redshirt freshman season in 2011-12, McLemore estimates he’s still close to 48 hours short of graduation.

    So you might say this sounds like an unnecessary time investment. McLemore made $2.89 million as a rookie, and will make millions more in the next couple years. But for McLemore, the former All-Big 12 standout, the decision is as symbolic as it is practical.

    When McLemore arrived at Kansas in 2011, he was deemed a partial qualifier — unable to play in games for an entire year. Nearly three years later, he’d like to show how far he’s come.

    “I think it’s very important for me,” McLemore says. “For anybody to get their degree, especially a college degree. And also, it’ll put a big smile on my mom’s face.”

    McLemore also believes he can use the quiet Lawrence summer to his advantage. He’s rented a townhome here. He’s still trying to figure out a specific major; spending just two years left him some options. He’ll bond with some old teammates, and he’ll scrimmage some of the younger Jayhawks.

    His rookie campaign was solid, of course, but mostly incomplete for a top-10 pick. But still just three years removed from his senior year of high school, McLemore has time to meet expectations and scrape toward his ceiling.

    “It definitely was harder,” McLemore says of the NBA transition. “But at the same time, the guy I am, I like to work hard and learn. And I wanted to learn the game and just get better.”

    After falling to No. 7 in last year’s NBA Draft, McLemore averaged 8.8 points and 2.9 rebounds while averaging 27 minutes per game for the rebuilding Kings, who finished 28-54. There were plenty of “Welcome to the NBA” moments — nights guarding All-Star shooting guards, long road trips, teammates shuffling in and out of the roster.

    By the end of the season, McLemore estimates that he and fellow rookie Ray McCallum had played with 13 new teammates.

    “It’s definitely a business,” McLemore says. “That’s one thing I learned going into the NBA. As soon as I got there, there were guys just leaving, instantly.”

    If that didn’t hit home, it certainly did in February. Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro had to publically squash rumors that McLemore was being dangled in trade talks involving the Boston Celtics.

    “I’m standing here today and I’m saying Ben McLemore is a guy that we have not put in deals,” D’Alessandro told reporters then. “He’s a guy that we love here.”

    McLemore finished the season on a high, scoring 31 points with five rebounds in a season-finale loss to Phoenix. He averaged nearly 14 points per game in the month of March, and D’Alessandro reiterated that McLemore is part of the Kings future.

    But his first taste of the NBA left McLemore with some pretty clear thoughts. For one, he needs to improve his game. His ballhandling needs some maintenance; his play-making ability does, too.

    “The things I needed to work on at the University of Kansas are the same things I need to work on in the NBA,” McLemore said. “Everybody is a lot faster, stronger … everybody all the way down to the bench can play.”

    On Thursday, McLemore pounded a halfway inflated ball into the ground during a drill, working on his touch and feel. As he began to sweat, the lights reflected off the empty bleachers inside Allen Fieldhouse. It’s probably safe to say that a lot of people would enjoy going back to college for a summer. McLemore is one of those people, at least, and this is where he wants to be for the next three months.

    “A lot of people wait until two years before they try to go back, and it’s too late.” McLemore says. “It makes it even harder to do. I have this opportunity to do it.”

    © 2014 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

    Read more here:

  • Just posted about the snake, didn’t see you had done the same.

    I’ll take a stab at it. TRob, Mario, Paul, Nick, Drew, and former KU asst. Greg Popovich!

  • This post is deleted!

  • @wissoxfan83 what about Kirk?

  • @jayhawkeyes Kirk got eliminated by Drew!

  • @RockChalkinTexas Was talking to my brother about BMac being back in Lawrence last night. I think it is great that he comes back. He could work on his degree anywhere - close to Sacramento, closer to his mom (not sure if she still lives in Missouri, hopefully he got her out of that state with his rookie money!), online, etc. - but I think it says a lot about him coming back to do it at KU. Shows that he was really invested during his time here, even if it was only for a short while. I know there’s a lot of moaning about OADs and players that leave early, and a yearning for the 4 year guys that fans feel they can develop more of a connection with, but I’m very happy we were able to enjoy watching this young man play one year donning the crimson & blue. He’s definitely a big part of the Jayhawk family!

  • @icthawkfan316 Right on, and look at Embiid tweeting what a great place KU is for a foreign bball player (right before the Ukrainian Alphabet decides where he’s going to play).

    I do think the moaning about OADs is more about the situation than the players. I certainly hope so. We can say all we want how things should be, we still need to support what is.

  • I love that Ben is coming back for the summer-and to work on his degree is fantastic. What a fine young man.

  • @ParisHawk

    “Right on, and look at Embiid tweeting what a great place KU is for a foreign bball player…”

    I believe Kaun has said lots of great things about KU, too.

    I’d love to see us go after some more foreign talent. Those guys always tend to be fast learners… players very capable of developing quickly. Seems it would make a great match for Self and his staff. Other players learn quicker, too. It seems to work that way. “Contagious development!”

  • @RockChalkinTexas

    Does anyone seriously believe a rattler gets in a locker accidentally?

  • @jaybate 1.0 it wasn’t a rattlesnake. If it were I would be more inclined to believe in an accident.

    Does anyone seriously believe Sterling’s racist recording was released during the playoffs by accident?

  • @ParisHawk

    Ah, thx 4 clarification.

  • @jaybate 1.0 Seriously jb, you had to edit your last post? (I’m just having some fun since it’s been a few days since I posted last and didn’t want to be forgotten.) (beer)

  • The NCAA has denied Baylor’s request for a sixth year of eligibility for marksman Brady Heslip, who made 301 three-pointers and shot 43.7 percent from beyond the arc during his three years with the Bears.

    Heslip redshirted at Boston College in 2009-10 and sat out the following season after transferring to Baylor. Rather than appeal the NCAA’s decision, Heslip will sign with an agent and pursue a professional career.

    Do you think S. Drew was desperate to attempt this?

  • @drgnslayr

    Another thing to remember about foreign players is that they have often been exposed to more high level coaching with club teams, etc. than a lot of US kids, particularly in Europe. Most European players don’t play for their school teams, but rather for elite club teams that are feeders to the EuroLeague. As a result, they are often much more able to grasp high level concepts than US kids that have only been exposed to high school coaches and the AAU circuit.

  • @RockChalkinTexas read that too, crazy! Forgot he was a transfer, thought he had been at Baylor FOREVER!!!

  • @justanotherfan

    Good point. And many of these kids that have access to resources come to America for camps, clinics, etc.

  • @drgnslayr

    Exactly. The earlier a kid is exposed to high quality coaching and high quality competition, the more they will develop.

    This is the biggest reason that many countries have closed the gap on the US when it comes to basketball talent. In the US, there is a pretty solid chance that if you don’t live in a town with a great HS coach, you probably will make it to your 18th birthday without having ever received consistent, high quality coaching. In Europe, that simply doesn’t happen because you would have been placed on a club team at 14 or 15 and would have been coached by the same coaches that work with the EuroLeague players.

    Look at how quickly Embiid developed this year. He was new enough to basketball that he hadn’t developed bad habits from poor coaching as a taller kid when he was 12 or 13. That meant that once he got to KU and received quality instruction, they didn’t have to spend three months un-teaching previously formed bad habits and instead just set about teaching a 7 foot athlete how to play. Sadly, most American kids never get that chance because they develop lots of bad habits either playing for poor coaches, or by dominating lesser competition.

Log in to reply