Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gary Bedore’s KU Basketball Notebook


Colorado’s Higgins breaks FT record

Colorado sophomore guard Cory Higgins broke the Big 12 and CU school record with 40-consecutive made free throws Jan. 5 at Southern Methodist University.

He made all five attempts against Western State on Jan. 7, improving his total to 45 straight over eight games.

The 6-foot-2 Danville, Calif., native missed his first toss last Wednesday at Missouri, snapping the streak at 45.

The old Big 12 record was 39, set by Joey Graham of Oklahoma State in the 2004-05 season. The CU record was 39 set by Rob Gonzalez during the 1982-83 season.

“I try not to think about it,” Higgins told the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper before the MU game. “I just go through the same routine. But it’s in the back of my head.”

Higgins rallied to hit his final six versus Missouri, thus has a new streak going into today’s CU-KU game (2:30 p.m., Coors Events Center).

The NCAA record for consecutive free throws made in a season is 73 by Villanova’s Gary Buchanan during the 2000-01 season.

“Higgins is good,” KU coach Bill Self said of the player who averages a team-leading 17.5 points a game. He has 42 assists, 41 turnovers.

Young Buffaloes working on confidence

CU’s starting lineup includes two freshmen, one sophomore, one junior and one senior.

“Confidence kind of fluctuates moment to moment,” second-year coach Jeff Bzdelik told the Boulder Daily Camera. “With young players, hopefully they forget fast and are more resilient.”

He is focused on not a quick fix, but building a program.

“There is no shortcut to consistent success unless you’re going to compromise the integrity of the university. And then it’s usually just a flash in the pan,” he told the Camera.

“If we want to build this thing right, you build it from the ground up with young players. They’re going to have ups, and they’re going to have downs.”

Colorado carries unpleasant streak

The Buffs beat Nebraska and Oklahoma in home games during Bzdelik’s first season in Boulder.

The Buffs, however, have lost 22 straight Big 12 road games. Their last victory was a 80-78 win at Okie State on Jan. 21, 2006. Senior Jermyl Jackson-Wilson is the only Buffs player to have won a Big 12 road game. He was red-shirting that 2005-06 season.

Only one holdover from Patton era

Junior guard Dwight Thorne II is the only member of his seven-man class recruited by Ricardo Patton (now at Northern Illinois) who is still in the program.

“I don't know why it can't be this year,” Thorne said of winning. “We've taken our share of lumps already. As soon as we figure out what we need to do to consistently win games and close out games, we’ll be OK.”

“I’m sure nobody expects anything from us,” Higgins added. “We’re all we have. And we’re confident in each other.”

Local product of note

Casey Crawford, a 6-9 sophomore forward, attended Blue Valley North High. Crawford, who has started four games for Colorado, averages 6.4 points and 1.9 rebounds a game.


Self on the Buffs’ 107-62 Big 12-opening loss to Missouri on Wednesday at Mizzou Arena.

“Obviously it was a great outing for Missouri and a bad one for Colorado. Colorado hasn’t been giving up that many points. Even after that, they are in the upper 60s for the year,” Self said of the Buffs, who have allowed 66.5 ppg while scoring 67.6.

“They’ve always been a team statistically that can keep the score in the 60s. Playing away from home, as we know, it can get away from you sometimes.”

Self looking for road toughness in Boulder

Self, on what it will take to win on the road, where KU is 0-2 this year:

“We have fought good at home. We just haven’t fought as hard as we have to away from home. We’ve not grinded it out when things are not going well away from home. There’s a natural progression that needs to take place.

“Ask anybody who plays team sports: Is it more fun to celebrate in the home locker room or visitor’s locker room? They’d say visitor’s locker room. It may not be the appearance of as much fun. You’ve got the hoopla at home, the fans patting you on the back. There’s something about that core group of guys being successful on somebody else’s turf you take great pride in.”

KU targeting Juco players

Kansas has scouted a pair of players from Mario Little's former school, Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, according to

They are: Justin Brownlee, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound small forward, and Casey Mitchell, a 6-4, 215-pound shooting guard. Brownlee also has Oklahoma State on his early list, and Mitchell is also interested in UAB, Tennessee, Alabama and Texas A&M.; Both players are in the recruiting class of 2009.


Nutflush21 11 years ago

If we end up striking out on Stephenson and Wall and are forced to sign more Juco guys to plug holes, KU could be in for some difficult times.

Doug Merrill 11 years ago

Thinking of Juco players as indicators of a failing program is out of date, now, I think.I don't think you can denigrate Juco players or programs that sign them in this era, when high school students are planning on one and out. JUCO players work hard on both their games and their studies in less than ideal situations in some cases for two years guaranteed prior to coming to a four year college. I also don't see much difference between their situation and that of the high school students who go to "prep" school, of whom we have two on our team. The only difference is that JUCO players couldn't afford that route and so have had to use up eligibility.Finally, they provide either great talent or they provide talent good enough to challenge the starters in practice and make the team better.

yates33333 11 years ago

I should have noted that Justin Brownlee was ranked ahead of Tyrell Reed by Rivals in 2007. He has/had academic issues! He was ranked 30th as a wing player. It appears with better grades he might have ranked higher.

Marcia Parsons 11 years ago

Always enjoy your articles, Gary. Do you have any word for us on how Rodrick Stewart is doing since his surgery? Or how Sasha is doing in Russia?

Larry Smith 11 years ago

This Perry Ellis kid has huge potential. Big and strong for a freshman. Just about brought down the rim last night in his game. They had to delay the game to get it fixed.

Nutflush21 11 years ago

yates, grades have nothing to do with rankings. Nice to know that Brownlee was ranked in rivals top 150 though. Mario Little definitely was not.

irish2255 11 years ago

More JUCO players, WTF, we are slowly becoming Kstate.

jlmoore9 11 years ago

We need to get back to getting top 10 talent. We didn't win the championship with Juco guys and top 100 players. Chalmers, Rush, Arthur, Collins, Aldrich all rated in the top 20 in there class. Robinson and Kaun were top 30 or so, and Jackson was in the 50's as far as i can remember. Lets get back to getting the top level talent and that will bring us championships.

B60 11 years ago

Getting a JUCO player that was one of the top 10 in the country is not as bad as having a high school kid leave prematurely. Most high school kids have to mature in their freshman year so you get mixed results. Getting a mature kid with the skills (like Little without the injuries) is not as bad as it sounds.

jchief40 11 years ago

"Just about brought down the rim last night in his game."That's because the goal was loose. Ellis had a nice dunk but it wasn't THAT awesome.

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