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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Day after Late Night, Jayhawks get down to business

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There were no red carpets, bright scoreboard lights or crazed fans in the Allen Fieldhouse bleachers 11 hours after the 2007 edition of Late Night in the Phog.

Only a few relatives of Kansas University's basketball players and weekend benefactors supporting Bill Self's Assists Foundation joined KU's 17 players and coaches for the first official practice of the preseason.

"It was good, one of the better first days we've had," Self, KU's fifth-year coach, said. "It was spirited, crisp. We looked good for the first day. I'm pleased and optimistic."

Self was able to arrive for KU's football game against Baylor well before kickoff and even was able to conduct an interview on the Jayhawk Radio Network's pregame football show since kickoff was pushed from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. because of heavy rain and lightning.

"I know it was raining, but we were inside a few hours. It's been a monsoon out here," Self declared, looking out the press box window toward a man-made lake on KU's future football practice fields under construction.

Back to basketball, Self pointed out the Jayhawks "are farther along than we've been at this stage since I've been here. The (NCAA) rules that allow two hours a week (of practice in offseason) : we've already gotten a few things in.

"We're starting at the beginning, building offensive and defensive schemes. We will work on being fundamentally sound. It's a gradual thing. We will not be a whole team, will not get everything in until after Christmas. Our package will be 60 percent, 70 percent complete when we start playing games. It takes time."

Hours earlier, the Jayhawks basked in the glow of Late Night in the Phog.

For players, the highlight of the night may have been arriving on the South end of the fieldhouse in luxury cars, then parading in front of "Survivor" winner Danni Boatwright, who interviewed some of the players as they walked on the "red carpet."

"It was something different. They hyped it up with fans on the side and cheerleaders. It felt good doing it," senior Jeremy Case said.

He was one of the players who was stopped and interviewed by Boatwright.

"She is a beautiful lady. She had me stuttering a little bit with that smile," Case said.

Case was unofficial MVP of the Jayhawks' intrasquad scrimmage, cashing all five of his shot attempts, including two threes, and scoring 12 points.

"I feel good about myself," Case said. "It was probably the most fun I've ever had at a Late Night, and it's my last one."

¢ Recruiting: Xavier Henry, a 6-foot-6 junior from Putnam City, Okla., attended Memphis' Midnight Madness on Friday. He has a top three of KU, Memphis and North Carolina.

"I'm taking it easy until next fall or winter," Henry told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "I don't want to do anything too early."

Henry, the son of former KU player Carl Henry, has been to KU many times on unofficial visits. The team that signs Henry likely won't have him on campus long.

"I need to get to the NBA. I want a school where I can get in and get out," Xavier said.

¢ Thomas favoring KU?: Quintrell Thomas, 6-8 from St. Patrick High in Elizabeth, N.J., is on an official recruiting trip to UNLV. He is down to KU, Maryland, Rutgers and UNLV.

"Right now, it's all even until I take all my visits. I come back this weekend, and I'll probably make a decision by Friday," Thomas told Adam Zagoria of the Herald News in West Paterson, N.J.

Zagoria reports that "several people around the St. Patrick program indicated that Kansas was Thomas' favorite and that they expect him to end up there."

Comments

Displayhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Somebody please tell Xavier Henry the story of JaRon Rush! These kids think it's their right to play in the NBA. Somebody needs to tell them it ain't that easy!

JNgohawks 12 years, 4 months ago

I agree, that quote made me feel sick. His brother should be very well off already, so his "need" to get to the NBA doesn't seem very real. However, alot of athletes feel that way until they arrive to this level and realize it is a big jump. Unless he is Lebron James or Durant material. I am surprized Roy is recruiting him with that attitude. I remember him letting go of recruits with that attitude when he was here. I still hope he picks KU and his brother as well.

jaybate 12 years, 4 months ago

Xavier Henry can say whatever he wants about going to the L. It frankly doesn't matter what Xavier wants. He's about to learn that the only thing that matters is what NBA front offices and their head coaches want. There is no coach alive that can make Xavier Henry ready for the L in one year, or two, or three, or four. College coaches can teach guys how to play. They can help guys get better. But to be a first round, one and done type, you've got to have so much ability and prove so much on the court that first year that it doesn't matter what the coach teaches you...you're just the surest thing in the draft that season for that team.

People pay too much attention to what these 16-17 year old kids say. The latest neuroscience indicates that the human brain is not even fully formed unil persons get out of their teens. These kids are literally not dealing off a full deck yet; that's why they say and do so many cockamamie things; that's why they need parents, and grand parents, and teachers, and coaches and good friends who care about what is best for them until they are 20-21. Based on the latest neuroscience and the literally incomplete brain development during the teen years, kids probably shouldn't be allowed to vote, be in the military, or even drive a car, until they are 20-21.

Xavier Henry should be understood in this way. It doesn't matter what he says about what he wants. What's going to happen is going to be determined entirely based on what he does on a court for a season in college and on what some front office dweeb and an NBA coach think Xavier can do for them if drafted in the first round.

No coach can get a player ready to be a lottery pick. He either is, or isn't based on a ton of talent and the good fortune of having very few other players being better than him the year of that draft. His dad knows the facts of life. Self, Calipari and Willams know the facts of life. Xavier is about to learn them, regardless of what comes out of his mouth between Clearasil applications.

I'd just as soon have Xavier learn the facts of life at KU than at Memphis, or UNC.

BRush learned them. So did Julian. So will Xavier. And if the facts of life happen to favor Xavier in a one and done, well, then that's alright, too. We'll all still know he had no clue about what he was talking about when he uttered this quote.

Mother Warren, Willie's mom is the one all of these parents of blue chippers ought to be talking to. She understands that it doesn't matter how much talent a teenager has, a teenager is still a teenager--one of life's great biological wonders, but not without flaws like the rest of us.

flipborder02 12 years, 4 months ago

Im just praying that we can get Xavier. All be so mad if he ends up in a place like North carolina or Memphis.

Chris McIlvain 12 years, 4 months ago

Jesus Jaybate...I know people who love to hear themselves talk but I didn't realize that translated into the written medium as well. Message boards are not the place to be verbose. On that note - Self needs to let Henry know to take KU off his list.

Dirk Medema 12 years, 4 months ago

Jaybate - well reasoned thought, even if a bit verbose for the preseason. Take it easy on the rest of us while we get into playing shape.

Good to point out the better correlation with BRush than JRush, even without pointing out that there was KRush and many others in between. Fortunately, hs kids, college kids, and NBA kids (aka management) are all learning from a bunch of mistakes of the past.

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