Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ex-KU assistant enjoys first year

Illinois State's Jankovich scouting Kansas AAU tourney


— The coaches of the Missouri Valley Conference didn't know what to expect of Illinois State under a new head coach last season, picking the men's basketball team to finish fifth in the league.

Tim Jankovich didn't know what to expect of his Redbirds squad either.

So when former Kansas University men's basketball assistant coach Jankovich led his new team to a 13-5 conference record - second-best in The Valley - and an overall record of 25-10, even he was caught a little off guard.

"It went a lot better than I expected, I've got to tell you," said Jankovich, who is back in Kansas scouting the Price Chopper AAU Tournament in Shawnee. "Going in, they'd really struggled for five straight years and been at the bottom of the league, so really my expectations were not all that high. But luckily our players' expectations were and we just kind of took off from there. And I just had a lot of fun coaching this group."

The year was also made fun by the fact that he had few issues with the players on the roster having to adjust to a new coach.

"It was unbelievably easy. They were so receptive from the very first minute that I was there, that I couldn't believe it," Jankovich said. "I was expecting to have to pull teeth and counsel and sell. And I didn't have to do any of that. It was just very matter of fact and their attitude was, 'Just tell us what to do and we're going to do it.'"

Jankovich's second year at Illinois State could be a more daunting task than his first as he graduated five seniors, including three of his top four scorers.

"There's a lot of unknown there and we have some injuries this summer that aren't very good either," the former KU assistant said. "So there's a lot of things up in the air right now. If I do one thing well, it's that I don't get caught up in expectations. When the season starts, I just try to take the team a day at a time and try to direct the team in the right direction."

As for watching the team he left behind make a run to the national championship?

"It was nothing but fantastic. I'm just so happy for everybody involved," Jankovich said. "Just wonderful people to work with and the players I was lucky enough to coach, I couldn't be happier for them. It was just a great feeling to watch it in person and see it all unfold. So I've got to say, it was a little surreal."


Parade of champions: KU assistant coach Joe Dooley wasn't the only NCAA national champion representing their university at the Price Chopper Tournament on Monday.

Former championship coach Tubby Smith, now with Minnesota and current St. Louis coach Rick Majerus were out scouting the talent. Two-time national champ Billy Donovan of Florida was also on hand.

Dooley was surrounded by plenty of Big 12 Conference opponents as well with Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel, Texas Tech coach Pat Knight and Kansas State coach Frank Martin, among others, showing up at Okun Fieldhouse.


Kaun an Olympian: Former KU center Sasha Kaun on Monday was named a member of Russia's 2008 Olympic men's basketball team. The 12-player list has been described as preliminary, according to CSKA Moscow's Web site. That's because forward Viktor Khryapa will fly with the Russian team to China and play if he recovers from an ankle injury.

Other members of the Russian Olympic team: Andrei Kirilenko, J.R. Holden, Viktor Keiru, Zakhar Pashutin, Petr Samoilenko, Sergei Bykov, Vitaly Fridzon, Andrei Vorontsevich, Sergei Monya, Aleksey Savrasenko and Nikita Morgunov.


New name in recruiting: Thomas Robinson, a 6-8 senior forward from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., tells he's received a scholarship offer from KU. Robinson, the No. 82-rated player in the Class of 2009, said he will visit KU, Texas and Memphis. He also is considering Miami, Kentucky, Louisville and others.


okjhok 10 years, 10 months ago

Interesting...thanks for the knowledge

DCJayhawk0208 10 years, 10 months ago

okj, there have been a couple posts on the message boards about how Robinson has been owning "higher rated" talent on the summer circuit and that he is about to jump to a top-30 recruit.

kubball99 10 years, 10 months ago

soapboxstew - I wasn't aware Choppers in Cherry Creek was a great place for Hawk football and basketball. Good information...

soapboxstew 10 years, 10 months ago

P.S. forgive my spelling errors, I'm a product of the spell check generation.

soapboxstew 10 years, 10 months ago

milehighhawker-Thanks for the link. At the time (January 4th) X said that he had made up his mind. He was wearing a Kansas sweatshirt in this post-game interview. But he also mentioned that his game was simmular to CDR's. What I take from that is that Kansas is where the heart is and Memphis is where his game is.Since that interview, X got to see Kansas finish off the B12 while being on national TV every week. Memphis finished off C-USA, but they were NEVER on TV.ADVANTAGE KANSASX then got to see Memphis and Kansas go through the tourney, only to meet each other in the Championship. Could you imagine, your top 2 schools go at it in the NC? X and his family must have been cheering for KU in their home durring that game. Then the miricle, then the victory. X may have even told himself before the game "I'm going to the school that wins this game". Either way:ADVANTAGE KANSASThen the draft night came. Memphis had the #1 overall pick, and Kansas had 5 picks all-together. The guy X related himself to, CDR, went middle of the second round. It's hard to say which school gave a better impression on draft night.PUSHThis summer X has increased his list of schools (adding Texas and UCLA). I believe that he already (mostly) knows where he is going. He will make official visits (what's more fun than going to a school on their dime and get treated like a god by current players?), and he will wait. He will also see how Jennings does in Euro. And I think his decision will come after his senior season, and I think that he will choose KU. His mother and father were student-athletes at KU, his brother committed to KU, and he will follow suit. We have also been recruiting him the longest of any school.BTW milehighhawk- 2 things: (1), I like the fact that X refers to the interviewer as "sir", it shows that he has respect and humility. (2) I was born and raised in the milehigh city, went to KU, and have returned to 5280. This is a great city for hawk lovers, go to Choppers or The Irish Snug for hawk football games or bball games. (just a little 411 in exchange for your 411)

milehighhawker 10 years, 10 months ago

Beat me to it. was just going to say that Robinson has been under the radar and is just now being discovered at the tournaments this summer. Check out some highlights of this kid, he's a little on the small side like JuJu but the kid is athletic and can ball. Really gets off the floor.interesting interview with X thought I would share it

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

ODDS AND BURNT ENDS...If success has many fathers, some deserving and some not, then the recent KU championship has at least one deserving father named Tim Jankovich; that man can coach! Just as Danny Manning had a big impact on the 4s and 5s this year, Janks had a big impact on the 1s and 2s and 3s in previous years. Can anyone imagine KU's recent champion without its stellar Jank-mentored guard play? No way!...Few realized the importance of the pairing of Self and Janks when it first occurred. Self, the Eddie Baller, and Janks, the Jack Hartman baller, united the two contemporary strains of Iba ball into something much richer and more potent than either were when separate...With Self at KU, Gillispie at UK, and Kruger at UNLV, I hope Janks will wind up at a fourth major program a year or two from now and form with the others just mentioned the Eddie-Jack Ball (Eddie Sutton/Jack Hartman) quaternity that will dominate college hoops the next 15 years...High schooler Thomas Robinson announces he has been offered by KU--this kid knows how to promote himself. He'll be a great add to the advertising dept. in Flint Hall, regardless of how he plays hoops...Question: Is there still a Flint Hall? I have been away so long.

milehighhawker 10 years, 10 months ago

Some more tidbits about Robinson from a few insiders at"Honestly, I think Robinson is a perfect fit for what Kansas likes to do with its big men. I definitely could see Robinson ending up at KU.""Just spoke to Jerry Meyer. He said Thomas Robinson will make a big jump up in the rankings and could possibly become a five-star prospect. "

JayCeph 10 years, 10 months ago

Kauuuuuuuuuuuun!I will be keenly interested in this year's bball matches at the Olympics... to watch the 'redeem team' and to track how well Sasha is doing.What fun!

okjhok 10 years, 10 months ago

Obviously I'm an outsider looking in, but given the number of scholarships Coach Self has available next year, and given the blue-chippers that have shown interest, it seems that this guy would be low on the priority list. I know he always plans on more scholarships becoming available. Coach Self has proven himself in the realm of recruiting, and therefore can't question his logic, so I'll ask everyone else. What do you know about this kid? Also, if this kid really has received an offer, does anyone else think the chances for transfers are high next year? I'm thinking Reed.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

soapboxstew,So use the spell checker.Just kidding.Good scoop.

soapboxstew 10 years, 10 months ago

It's fun to think about our team in the 2009-10 season. We are up there for all of the elite prospects in the 09 class.Our top guys:X HenryD FavorsJ WallL StevensonD OrtonX Henry: IMO, the most important get for the 2009 class. His love for and lineage of KU is well founded. His skill set is proven. I think that he is the perfect wing in Bill Self's system. His two main weaknesses are Defense and Ball Control (according to, two things that Bill Self created in our last wing, Brandon Rush. Are you going to find a better man-on-man defensive coach than Bill Self?My 09-10 line-up w/ only X & no early departures:PG-CollinsSG-RelefordSF-X PF-MorrisC-AldrichDerrick Favors: I love the quote about him, "quite kid who goes about his business and takes numbers" (Scouthoops) He is a 3.8 (or so) student. Rivals recently had him mentioning us as one of his 20-or-so schools. This kid can drop the long ball, post-up, and rebound. He is my 2nd most important get of 2009.My 2009 line-up with X and Favors:PG-CollinsSG-RelefordSF-XPF-FavorsC-Aldrich-Could you imagine Aldrich grabbing all the rebounds (on both sides), and dishing it out to either Favors or X for the score? How 'bout the high-low w/ Cloe & Favors? You have Collins as the senior leader and clutch player, X and Favors as the stud freshman who fill it up, Aldrich as the hard-hat, and Releford will provide the D and control to distribute the rock to the stars. Then you have a DEEP bench. Sounds like a Championship waiting to happen.Lance Stevenson: We may only have a shot at him if we don't get X. But it's not like we can't start both of them with X at the 3 and Lance at the 2. I like that he wears his emotions on his sleeve and that he is from NY. The hawk house could be shouting "NEW YORK" again.John Wall: Could you imagine 3 freshmen at the 1,2, and 3? It won't happen, but 'if' it could... Bill recently saw Wall play, and Wall seemed to come away impressed with KU. Collins would likely have to be gone, but I'd take that trade (Collins in the NBA and Wall at KU). Rivals says that Wall can do anything with the ball.Daniel Orton: We will need a big out of this class. Orton and Aldrich up front makes a mammoth mountian of man. Shot blocking, rebound getting, lane clogging, punishing power up front. X and Orton are on the same AAU squad, and that ought to improve the learning curve.

milehighhawker 10 years, 10 months ago

soapboxstew....Thanks for the info, never knew that. Maybe see you there this year when we are Kicking the crap out of Mizzou to finish off a perfect Big 12 Run.....(gotta dream)

chalmers2wright 10 years, 10 months ago

That's an interesting idea with possibly another New Yorker coming in. I, for one, would like to see the "New York" chant die with Russ Rob. Not because I didn't like it but I don't want it to become a gimmick and cheapen what Russ Rob did here for 4 years. I guess its like giving someone the nickname of someone on the team who just left. I can also see how it could become another cool "Kansas" thing though.

jcsmith 10 years, 9 months ago

I agree chalmers2wright. "New York, NEW YORK" should be kept in the hall of fame of our minds and leave it with RR. We'll always come up with some sort of chant or nicname for players so I believe it should be kept unique and to each person. Yelling New York just wouldnt be the same without RR walkin on the court.

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