Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gary Bedore’s KU Basketball Notebook


Latest ankle update

KU coach Bill Self said sophomore Cole Aldrich (stress reaction left ankle) practiced full speed Monday and Tuesday and will practice again today in preparation for the N.D. State game.

“I gave him off Saturday and Sunday,” Self said, indicating Aldrich otherwise has practiced “every day.”

Aldrich said the ankle does not bother him when he’s on the court.

“It’s very minor,” he said. “The boot (he wears off the court) is there to keep stress off my ankle. I’m feeling good.”

Scheduling update

The Jayhawks are scheduled to leave Allen Fieldhouse for Topeka’s Forbes Field at 2 p.m. today. KU will hold a shootaround from 1:30 to 2:10 p.m., Thursday at the Metrodome. It is open to the public. The Bison will practice from noon to 12:40 p.m. Thursday at the dome.

Academic tourney report

KU’s basketball team won four games and advanced to the Final Four of the 2009 Inside Higher Ed Academic Performance Tournament, sponsored by Inside Higher Ed Magazine.

Teams were matched against each other based on the NCAA’s Academic Progress rate.

KU defeated North Dakota State in the classroom in a first-round APR matchup, then stopped Dayton in the second round.

The Jayhawks toppled Michigan State in the Sweet 16 classroom battle, then upended Wake Forest in the Elite Eight. KU fell in a Final Four semifinal to Brigham Young.

North Carolina tripped Villanova in the other Final Four semifinal and stopped BYU to win the mythical national title.

To view the bracket, check out

Tourney favorites

Self said a handful of teams enter the NCAA Tournament as favorites.

“I think the one seeds (Louisville, North Carolina, Pitt, UConn), plus Memphis over the course of the season, have proven to be a little bit better than the rest of the field,” Self said. “When I say ‘little bit’ it’s just a little bit.

“West Virginia beats Pitt by 12. Syracuse knocks off UConn. Florida State just beat North Carolina. Louisville to me is the most impressive team the last two to three weeks. They won the (Big East) outright and the league tournament.”

Stephenson update

Lance Stephenson, a 6-5 senior guard from Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Lincoln High, will announce his college choice April 1 at the McDonald’s All-America game in Miami, reports.

Zagsblog indicated he would likely choose between KU and St. John’s. Zagsblog believes Maryland is “out of the picture.” The Web site reported that KU assistant Danny Manning and St. John’s coach Norm Roberts “have been tracking Stephenson in recent weeks.”


Matt Bowers 10 years, 10 months ago

Lance would be a big score for KU. This kid can ball and if you want to see it for yourself, check out

Rock Chalk

Ben Kane 10 years, 10 months ago

What about Orton? I know he committed to Kentucky but if they fire Gillespie doesn't that provide a possibility that he could back out?

whitechocolate 10 years, 10 months ago

I know the fans aren't happy with Gillespie, but do you really think they'll fire him after two seasons?

InfiniteJ 10 years, 10 months ago

I believe Coach Self basicly choose Robinson over Orton....I can't see him coming to KU now, especially if Aldrich decides to stay for his Junior season.

Ben Kane 10 years, 10 months ago

Oh I live in Kentucky land and I can assure you everyone wants his head. I say about 80% chance he doesn't come back next year.

zissou 10 years, 10 months ago

"I know the fans aren't happy with Gillespie, but do you really think they'll fire him after two seasons?"

Yes. I really, really do think that. Something that seems to be lost on KU fans is that Kentucky is in a completely different league than us in terms of a fanbase. They're irrational about their 'Cats hoops.

whitechocolate 10 years, 10 months ago

I know his attitude and the NIT-trip this year aren't helping his case, but do you honestly believe the admin will cave to fans and ax him? This was the same fan base that squeezed out a NC-winning coach.

I read somewhere that Kentucky should be looking to OSU's Travis Ford. I think Billy's comments and his scheduling changes were unadvised, but if he pulls the program back next year, everyone in Bluegrass country will change their tune. Of course, I don't live there so you have a better grasp of the mood.

whitechocolate 10 years, 10 months ago

Also, I personally think Cole stays for 2010 and with him, Withey, and the Morrises, we've got big guys locked up. It would be nice if we could consistently have the four big men rotation of 2008, but not many great recruits would agree to sharing minutes, especially McDonalds All-Americans.

tulsahawkfan 10 years, 10 months ago

I think Kentucky basketball fans are comparable to Alabama football fans... quick to light the torches. I really hope we land Lance. With everyone returning, we could be scary good.

jchief40 10 years, 10 months ago

I heard Cole's father lost his job at a steel factory and pretty much means that Cole will be gone after this year. He probably won't be back regardless. Now my question, which nobody has been able to answer, is where Sherron is projected to go. I don't see him in ANY mock drafts I can find. Yet he is supposed to be the one that leaves for sure. What do you all think?

jchief40 10 years, 10 months ago

Actually I couldn't find any info to back that up - I just heard that Walter Aldrich lost his job. Forgive. I did find this though with MAY be a little encouraging.

"Cole Aldrich, a 6-foot-11 Bloomington Jefferson graduate who's a sophomore starter for defending NCAA basketball champion Kansas, plays against 6-10 Eastview graduate Darren Kent, a senior starter for Kansas State, in their Big 12 Conference opener Tuesday at Kansas. Both players' fathers worked for Harris Mechanical in St. Paul.

Aldrich's father, Walter, is getting unsolicited telephone calls from agents seeking to represent his son for June's NBA draft. Chances are, though, Cole will wait until after his junior season to seriously consider the NBA. Aldrich, a communications major, received three A's, a B and a C last semester in the classroom. "

Source: Updated: 01/10/2009 11:07:15 PM CST

lonestarjayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

jchief40, thanks for the web-site to Lance S. He is the real deal, saw him in Vegas last summer and he was doing it up big for his team. I worry that it will be hard to get him out of the city and to Lawrence. If he wants a high profile program then he will be at KU, if he wants to stay in the city it will be St. Johns.

Ben Kane 10 years, 10 months ago

The mood here in Kentucky about Gillespie is bad...and it has been all season. I feel bad for Gillespie, if I understand it right he isn't even under contract. they question every decision he makes in their losses. The athletic director has already stated that when the season is over he will be having a frank discussion with Gillespie.

Even if they when the NIT I personally doubt it will be enough to save his job. Remember this is the same fan base that ran out Tubby Smith including harassing him with such things as placing "For Sale" signs on his front lawn.

jchief40 10 years, 10 months ago

"Mr. Aldrich speaks: Walter Aldrich, the dad of KU sophomore Cole Aldrich, reiterated to Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press that a decision whether to return to KU or enter the NBA Draft will not be made until after the season.

Walters speculated that Aldrich would be the second center taken in the draft behind UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet. Walters speculated Aldrich would net a two-year guaranteed contract (team option third year) worth about $7 million.

“That’s a little more money than a union sheet-metal worker makes,” Walter Aldrich told Walters.

Walter Aldrich is a union sheet-metal worker who, according to Walters, has been laid off. Other centers who could be taken ahead of Aldrich: Jordan Hill, Arizona; B.J. Mullens, Ohio State and A.J. Ogilvy, Vanderbilt."

That was from this site actually. Well do you think that will affect Cole's decision?

Ben Kane 10 years, 10 months ago

oddly, without me having any part in it...there is a big hoopla outside of my office with the chorus of "fire Gillespie".

whitechocolate 10 years, 10 months ago

That's crazy about Gillespie. I tend to think KU has rabid fans, and I remember some complaints about Self after the loss to Bradley, but most of the firing talk was quiet (from my perspective). The SEC is down right now and seems like they may have two of the most overrated coaches (Donovan & Gillespie). In Donovan's case, the highest paid coach in D1 who's missed the NCAAs two years in a row.

As far as Cole, I don't like to speculate about his family. Everyone, including myself and my friends, is feeling the economic crunch. I still think Cole will stay another year simply because 1) He'll have more publicity as a top big man 2) He seems to genuinely love the college experience.

canuckhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

If Gillespie is fired at UK, what are the chances that HCBS will bring him on board at KU (with all his recruit contacts in tow)?

I'm not inspired by that Born Ready website--especially when LS throws the ball at the face of the defensive player. I trust Self on this one.

By the way, anyone else thinking more about purchasing tickets on than usual. Wonder why?

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 10 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but unless someone leaves early, we don't have any scholarships left for Stephenson, right?

jchief40 10 years, 10 months ago


That is street ball. Having no clue what life is like in that neighborhood and also knowing nothing of what transpired beforehand you should keep quiet. Check out Episode 8 - the Elite 24 game. Lights out. They could have not included that in the documentary if they thought it would damage the image. They included it because as they say he wears his emotions on his sleeve and has NEVER had an issue in an organized game in HS.

jchief40 10 years, 10 months ago


Exactly my question! If Cole AND Sherron stay (again SILENCE on where he is supposed to be drafted should he decide to leave - nothing on any mock drafts that have Sherron anywhere yet he is supposed to be gone for sure) how do we swing Lance?

jchief40 10 years, 10 months ago

I am going to make an early prediction and say that Lance Stephenson will win MVP of the McD's game. Forget Wall I think Stephenson is the best guard recruit in the nation. How long has it been since KU has had a true star in the mold of Durant? He could even better than Durant. Heck the only reason they made that documentary is because NY thinks he could be the best ever. Seeing as how Memphis has landed all those star players adding this guy to the mix along with EJ, Robinson & Withey I would say we would have the 2nd or 3rd best class in the country.

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 10 months ago

I think both Cole and Sherron stick around, so Wall and Stephenson are no-go's IMHO.

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 10 months ago

Looks like Memphis has a great chance of landing the top three recruits (according to at least)...that would be VERY impressive, even for slime-ball Calipari.

jchief40 10 years, 10 months ago

Well Stephenson may very well announce his intentions to play for Kansas and Danny Manning has been recruiting him the past couple weeks so the coaches would disagree with your no-go opinion. Over on Zagsblog his interview seems to indicate he likes Bill Self and will make him a better player. The warm welcome he got here as well probably means a lot for the family and will give him a chance to get away from the rough neighborhood he lives in. He very well could stay in NY and play for St John's. I just think Kansas has the upper hand.

jchief40 10 years, 10 months ago


Did you read my post? I just said with Memphis' recruits we could use a guy like Stephenson to compete with the talent there. I mean we already have a great group of recruits coming to Kansas. We need Lance though!

WilburNether 10 years, 10 months ago

Two words for Lance Stephenson, as he chooses between KU and St. John's:

Felipe Lopez

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 10 months ago

I did, jchief40...and I agree, but unfortunately I don't think we'll have room (since I don't see any players leaving early).

zissou 10 years, 10 months ago

There's about a 0% chance Gillespie would join Self's staff if he were fired at Kentucky. You don't go from million dollar coach at one of the top programs in the country back down to an assistant. It doesn't happen. Plus, who would he replace? Any movement by Dooley and Co. would likely mean Barry Hinson steps in.

Additionally, I'm sure Bill has worked out the number of scholarships available one way or another. He wouldn't be recruiting Lance if there "wasn't room" for him. Someone is leaving.

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 10 months ago

Honestly, I would happily pass on Stephenson (and Wall) if it meant keeping Sherron for another year.

d_prowess 10 years, 10 months ago

Doesn't Gillespie have some pretty good recruits already signed for next year? If that is correct, I don't think they ditch him.
Also, check out the article on ESPN where they were allowed to follow the team for four days. It is really interesting and made me think Gillespie is behaving a little like Matt Doherty did at UNC, which is obviously not good...

Jaminrawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I think Lance is Lawrence bound. The Big East is gonna be tough again next year and St. Johns isn't gonna be in the NCAA picture. Plus, unfortunatley, people aren't too high on coach Roberts up there. If we end up adding Lance, we will be very, very good next year. He is the swingman we are lacking right now.

JayCeph 10 years, 10 months ago

The ad banners in the comments column was only a matter of time. Personally, I think it is being handled rather well. It doesn't get in the way of me reading the comments, helps me anchor (visually) where I have been and what I have already read and, helps KUSports defray the costs of maintaining such a great site.

Not a bad compromise.

jchawkfan 10 years, 10 months ago

Bingo Zissou, HCBS knows how many scholarships he has to give out. With this change in annoucement time from after his games at Madison Square Garden to the Micky D AA game i feel KU is the choice, I hope anyway. And if he doesn't choose KU and somebody does leave which I think somebody is just don't know who, Coach will fill it the followinig year. The whole scenario with Brady giving up his scholarship is rediculous in my opinion I feel he has earned that just as much as any one else on the team.

Jeremy LeMaster 10 years, 10 months ago

I have never understood the talk about a kid that is supposed to be great caring about who is staying at a school rather than leaving. Wouldn't you rather play with better players than go to a school where you will be "the Man"... in the NIT? Come on... if that is the case, it would be a lack of confidence in thinking that they cannot come in and compete for playing time. If they are not so talented, then it makes sense to go somewhere else where you would have the chance to get playing time.

I would love to see Stephenson or Wall come to KU and add to the terrific team that we have. I don't see Aldrich leaving to support his parents; good parents would not let their kid sacrifice their future for that.

I read a story a while back that talked about Stephenson being tired of being the only guy on his HS team and wanting to go someone where there are players to share the load (which backs up my previous statements). If that is the case, I do not see St. Johns or Maryland as being viable options.

d_prowess 10 years, 10 months ago

Totally agree, JayCeph! I have no problem with the adds and actually appreciate that they are narrow instead of the squares they use in the articles.
As long as the revenue keeps flowing to allow Eric Sorrentino, Jesse Newell, and Tait to get paid to do their magic, I think we are all better for it!

KU 10 years, 10 months ago

The last quote I heard from Stephenson regarding his choice of schools that made an impression on me was something to this effect: "People are going to be surprised."

That leads me to believe he's going to stay in the city and play for Norm.

KUFan90 10 years, 10 months ago

jchief40 - Sherron isn't listed because no one believes he would be a 1st or 2nd round pick. Size, inconsistency, durability, etc. No one leaves early to not get drafted. Unless he is dying for cash (even cash earned by playing overseas) he will be back.

As for Cole and his father's state of employment, did no one read the article on here yesterday??

"Cole’s dad, Walter, reiterated this week that the decision whether to enter the NBA Draft or return for a junior year will be made after the season, though Walter did say: “I think another year would probably do him good, (for him to) continue working on his body. He’s having a great time in school.”"

Cole's HS coach:

"“In his heart, I think he always wanted to go to KU. That’s why, in my heart, I think he’ll stay (another year of college) because it’s where he’s always wanted to play. I hope he does (stay)."

Collins and Cole both stay, and we get Lance. Don't sweat the schollie situation, Self wouldn't be offering Lance if he didn't have a plan, this scenario (both Collins and Cole stay) included.

KUFan90 10 years, 10 months ago

KU - as has been stated before, why would it be a surprise to learn he's going to stay in the city and play for Norm?? To me that is a less surprising decision. Wouldn't it be surprising for him to leave NY and travel to the midwest to play in Lawrence KS? St John's is the safe non surprise in my book.

lv_jhwk 10 years, 10 months ago

Regarding Cole's upcoming decision, from one of yesterday's articles:

"Cole’s dad, Walter, reiterated this week that the decision whether to enter the NBA Draft or return for a junior year will be made after the season, though Walter did say: “I think another year would probably do him good, (for him to) continue working on his body. He’s having a great time in school.” "

Doesn't seem like Dad is too concerned about his lay-off, at least as it might affect Cole.

lv_jhwk 10 years, 10 months ago

Sorry for the repeat, KUFan90. Too busy looking up the article to think of checking for new posts.

soapboxstew 10 years, 10 months ago

2009-10 Starting line-up (and back-ups)

IF WE LAND STEVENSON, and keep the current team: PG:Sherron Collins (EJ, Reed) SG: TT (EJ, Reed, Morningstar, Releford) SF: Lance (Little, Morningstar, Releford) PF: Morris (Morris, Robinson, Whity) C: Cole (Whity, Morris, Robinson)

That, my friends, IS a Championship line-up.

Lance Stevenson is the 3 that takes this team to the level after the next

Lance Hobson 10 years, 10 months ago

Orton was passed over in favor of Robinson, I believe he would have gone to KU if Self kept recruiting him, at least according to the reports that came out back then. He's had some knee problems but hopefully he'll be ok at UK.

Gillespie has a ton of recruiting contacts in Texas, that's why Self hired him in the first place. I can't imagine him having much fun at UK with the fans they have there. They were pretty hard on Tubby even after he won them a championship. Of course, they claim he won with Pitino's players and can't recruit.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Don't look now but Lance's surprise may be MEMPHIS!!!! :]. Only kidding actually.....unless they change the rules and allow at least three balls on the court at the same time!!!

From a recruiting standpoint a NC Coach and a NCAA MVP and All-Pro make a pretty awesome recruiting tandem. I think we need to not underestimate the value Danny can bring to a swing man like Lance, because, trust me on this, LS plays about 3" or 4" more than his height.

One year at Kansas, a break from the hometown squalor and pressures as well as the best free coaching and mentorship in the country, plus the bonus on making the team he joins an instant bone fide Final Four contender, would point KU's way.

I agree with KUFan90...the assumption all along has been that LS will stay home and be a big fish in a small pond. Coming to KU, surrounded by NC experienced teammates and four and five star recruits is not the norm.

Beside, he'll get tp play Memphis and face Henry, Wall and Cousins mano on mano!!!

Lin Rahardja 10 years, 10 months ago

If LS cares about winning, he will go to KU and live a full life of college basketball. The easy way for him is to enroll at St. John's and be the big fish. Perhaps moves on after 1 year and no one would remember.

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