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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gary Bedore’s KU Basketball Notebook

Kansas sophomore center Cole Aldrich is interviewed during a news conference on March 24 outside the locker rooms at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas sophomore center Cole Aldrich is interviewed during a news conference on March 24 outside the locker rooms at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Feature

2009 Bracket Challenge

Get yer bracket on! Browse all brackets, check out out KUsports.com staff brackets, and check to see how your bracket's holding up after each match up is complete.

Videos

KU vs. Michigan State

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Complete coverage of KU's third NCAA match-up of 2009.

Aldrich close to record

Cole Aldrich needs eight blocks to pass Greg Ostertag as KU’s single-season block leader.

“I’m just going to go out and play the same game I played all year, try to block shots, rebound, get opportunities to score,” said Aldrich, who has 90 blocks.

More on Collins, NBA

Sherron Collins tells ESPN’s Scott Powers he’ll trust KU coach Bill Self to make the call on whether he enters the 2009 NBA Draft.

“I think he has my best interest in mind,” Collins said of Self. “If I need to come back, I will. We’ll have another great team. If he tells me I need to go, I need to go. I've been with him for three years. I trust him because of the way he cares about you off court.”

Self said he’ll investigate for Collins, who said last week that financial concerns will not push him into the NBA Draft. Collins said his son is well taken care of by his son’s mother and other family members.

“I hope he trusts me, because I’ll get accurate information,” Self said. “It is my goal for him to make a living playing basketball in the United States. ... I think going into the year, he probably thought this would be his last year, but I think now he's thinking that if it is not right, I'll come back, get my degree and have a chance to do some great things with what could be a special team.”

Today’s travel plans

The Jayhawks will depart Allen Fieldhouse at 1:30 p.m., fly out of Topeka’s Forbes Field at 2:30 p.m., and arrive at the Downtown Indianapolis Omni Severin Hotel at 5:30 p.m. KU will hold a shootaround from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. on Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Self’s daughter picks KU

KU coach Self is pleased to report his daughter, Lauren, has chosen to attend KU next year. She’s currently a senior at Free State High.

‘Big-boyed’

Self remembers KU’s 13-point loss to Michigan State well.

“I told our guys in the locker room, ‘We got ‘big-boyed’ tonight.’ They beat us by 11 on the boards. We didn’t handle the situation well.”

Stephenson favoring KU?

The recruiting world believes Lance Stephenson is KU bound. Stephenson, a 6-5 senior guard from Lincoln High in Brooklyn, N.Y., has said he’ll announce for either KU, St. John’s or Maryland on March 31 at the McDonald’s All-America game.

“Look for him to pick the Jayhawks,” says Adam Zagoria of zagsblog.net.

Comments

Lance Hobson 10 years, 10 months ago

Forget Stephenson, we got Lauren Self! Probably Self's best recruiting job yet.

I hope Collins makes it big in the NBA, I think he will. KU owes him a lot for everything he's done for us. The media keeps talking about the five we lost, but it was Sherron who hit the big three against Davidson and who also turned the Memphis game around with his steal and huge three. I've watched a lot of close games this tourney and have't seen one steal by a team trying to catch up. What he did was rare and spectacular.

John Mueller 10 years, 10 months ago

I couldn't agree more. I was sitting in that corner of the court where he made both of those plays. No ring without Sherron, there is just no question about it, that game was over without those plays.

If I remember correctly, he was also the guy that got the ball up court and made the handoff for "the shot"?

KUFool 10 years, 10 months ago

Caption of photo above:

"KU basketball player Cole Aldrich was the center of attention during a press conference Tuesday, March 24, 2009 outside the locker room at Allend Fieldhouse. The Jayahawks will play Michigan State in a Swee Sixteen game in Indianapolis Friday."

Wow. Just...wow.

slowplay 10 years, 10 months ago

Most draft boards have Collins as a late 1st rounder, early second, but he could drop to a 30+. When drafting guards, the NBA looks for an immediate impact player. I see him staying 1 more year and moving up to a 10 to 15 spot.

Aldrich is a puzzle as well. I've seen him as high as 8 to not even being in top 30. The tournament has given him some good exposure, but I believe the consensus will be he could elevate himself to a solid lottery pick if he stays one more year.

nocaljayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Is anyone at kusports.com notified in advance of the time of the Jayhawks' news conferences in Indy? If so, can you please post that info? I'd love to be able to watch the conference on television.

Jesse Newell 10 years, 10 months ago

nocal — KU's news conference is slotted from 2-2:30 Thursday.

jspawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Lance if your listening or reading all the hype I really hope that you can truly see what kind of special coach Bill Self really is. When players put their lives in his hands that really does say it all. I hope for my own SELFish reasons that Sherron will stay for his last year, do extremely good (No doubt) and go in the first round of the NBA draft.....same for Cole.

CasperCorps 10 years, 10 months ago

I hope Lance can dunk, we've been missing someone who can dunk, other then Cole, all season.. The twins can if nobody is around them, and Tyshawn can if he gets a running start from half court but other then that we don't have anybody who can explode on someone.. Who's gonna transfer if we get Cole and Sherron to stay?

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 10 months ago

jnewell-

Just checked out your brackets. Memphis? Hopefully,you've realized the error of your ways since you filled out the bracket. Sorry you're in the bottom half, point-wise. Did you have them going all the way last year as well?

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

There is a great video of Stephenson on youtube of him taking on OJ Mayo in an AAU tournament when Stephenson was in 8TH GRADE. The guy has serious cajones. I don't know much about his personal qualities or who is in his posse. He is obviously looking to be a one and done guy and I typically don't get on board with that recruting philosophy, but if there is a chance we lose Collins and even Aldrich (both have family financial questionmarks), we made need another quality ball player on our roster next year to maintain a top level of competitiveness. Not sure where the scholarship will come from though. Should we anticipate tranfers?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Cole is in a pickle. He's not really quite as strong as he needs to be yet to do well in the NBA. He's been "big-boyed" too many times this year to believe otherwise. Athletic guys his size just do give him a lot of trouble. But he's only run into a handful of them this year.

On the other hand, he can't possibly put up as big of numbers next year, as he has this year, because the scheme will not reduce to he and Sherron next year. There are going to be a lot more viable options next year for rebounding and for scoring out of the paint. The twins are going to jump in capability as sophs next year, and Withey will be in full force, too. Oh, add Thomas Robinson to the mix.

And Sherron next year could also very easily see his numbers go down, too, as Tyshawn and Brady and Tyrel mature a year, and as Elijah Johnson is added to the stew. And if Stephenson shows, well, then we are probably back to the days of the fully diversified offensive approach.

Self knows the NBA scouts are hot for impact guards, so he is calling Sherron the greatest impact guard he has ever had. And Self is probably being honest. But coaches don't usually say this sort of thing. Why is he saying it now? He's trying to prove to Sherron that he is doing everything he can for Sherron's image going into the draft period. He knows there is significant chance Sherron will have to come back to max out his draft potential and he wants Sherron to know that Self did everything he could to make it happen for him this year, so he has a happy camper next year. It also makes sense to toot Sherron's horn extra loud right now to amp him up for the MSU game. And finally, when you've got Lance Stephenson hanging out there like a ripe fruit, it wouldn't hurt for Sherron to make the jump now to ensure your chances of getting Stephenson for a year before the Wooldridge kid shows up to take over the spotlight.

Both Cole and Sherron would probably be grateful to see their burdens reduced, but the NBA is very interested in big guns and that's a fact. Rush and Chalmers would have gone higher had they had big ppgs.

Cole's problem is: his draft status is high now and it probably can't get much higher, unless Self makes him the core of the team next year. But he can't do that if Sherron stays.

Sherron's draft status seems low but climbing steadily. But it might grow higher next year, even if he returns to being more of a distributor, because he will always be the guy who hugely impacts any game he's in.

JayhawkPhil64 10 years, 10 months ago

I hope I'm wrong but I find it hard to believe that either Aldrich or Collins will not go Pro. Aside from the point that their draft status will never be higher than it is now, I'm sure the guy from Arizona would not be transferring if he thought Aldrich was staying and KU would not be trying so hard to recruit either Stephenson or Wall if they didn't have some idea Collins was leaving. The only other possibility(slightly less likely) is that they know someone else is leaving via transfer out.

There have been some rediculous comments regarding the scholarship situation. One guy even thought Matt K was on scholarship. The fact is right now we have 14 players coming in next year for 13 scholarships. If we sign Stephenson, and it looks more like we will, some combination of at least 2 guys will need to either, go Pro, give up their scholarship or transfer. Collins and/or Aldrich are the most likely to go Pro, Morningstar is the most likely to give up his scholarship(again) and Appleton and Thomas would be the most likely to transfer. I hate to see any of this happen(particularly the last option) but something has to budge. My point is that Self and the players in question already know what is going to happen but are waiting until after the last game to announce it.

chalmers2wright 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't think Stephenson's decision has anything to do with Sherron leaving. Sherron wouldn't be holding any of Lance's minutes because he is a 6-6 wing. In fact him staying might make Stephenson want to come here even more (as he has stated he wants to win a National Championship.)

As for our scholarships I've heard Brady or Tyrel would pay there own way if need be. I doubt Appleton would transfer because he'll already be a senior and would have to sit out another year before playing. I think Thomas might just redshirt next year. Sad to say but Releford might be another candidate for a transfer though I think with a little bit more work under Self he could turn into a very good player, he's got great instincts but not the best decision making skills. Once he gets those down his length, athleticism, and ability to finish will get him on the court.

Lin Rahardja 10 years, 10 months ago

Sherron is giving coach Self the ultimate trust in letting his coach decide whether he should enter the draft. KU owes it BIG last year when Sherron stole and sank the 3 point late in regulation, as he was the one who dished out the assist to Chalmers at the end of the regulation. He is definitely a PT player. He has also proven this year that he is a capable leader. KU basketball program will benefit whether he stays or leaves for the NBA. IMO, he will be in the top 3-4 PG in the country at the end of the season.

Cole can definitely benefit from another year, he is only a sophomore, and in reality, this is the first year he gets to play major minutes. Essentially, he has played only 1 year of major college basketball. Although he has shown tremendous improvement, IMHO, he doesn't look ready for the next level, he will improve faster by staying, specifically against other skilled post players.

Brett Forreal 10 years, 10 months ago

Stephenson will be a nice addition as it looks like he will come to KU. In his profile it states that he needs to pass the ball more, so it will be interesting to see what happens when he arrives at KU. I hope he doesn't create problems in the locker room. I'm assuming he will probably start however he will have to earn it with Self. The team is going to be ridiculously talented next year. I see Sherron and Cole staying another year to improve their spots in the NBA draft.

Lets keep on rolling guys!

justanotherfan 10 years, 10 months ago

Let's ponder this draft situation for a minute.

I think Aldrich is gone, personally. His draft status will never be any higher than it will be after this season. He averaged 15 and 10, which is lottery worthy for a 6-11 guy. Add to that his ability to block shots (around 2 a game) and I think its automatic. Look around the country. There really aren't any big men out there. You have Thabeet from UConn. He's really the only other true center that is comparable to Cole size and skill wise. Blair from Pitt is a monster, but he's not as tall, so NBA teams will worry about his size (6-8 or so) in the paint. Griffin is another 4, and obviously should be the #1 pick. But after those three, who else? Harangody is kind of like Tyler Hansborough. I don't see either of them being an NBA quality center. Hill (from Arizona) may jump into that group on potential, but he is inconsistent. So Cole is a top 5 PF/C prospect by just about any measure. If he plays like he did on Sunday, I think he's a top 10 pick, maybe even a top 7, depending on teams/need.

For Sherron, it really has very little to do with his play at this point. For him, his NBA future (to jump now or later) hinges on how he does at the predraft camp. Who he outplays, who he impresses, etc. For Sherron, he will be compared to primarily five guards - Jonny Flynn, Ty Lawson, Jeremy Pargo, Darren Collison and Levance Fields. I personally think he matches up great with all of them. NBA guys aren't just going to look at Lawson's assist numbers, because they know Carolina plays a lot in transition. They will be far more impressed with a guy like Fields who almost never turns the ball over, even though Pitt plays a slower pace.

The knock on Lawson will be his sturdiness - he has yet to prove he can play a full college season. The knock on Fields will be his ability to create and push the pace. The knock on Collison will be his ability to handle bigger guards (tons of NBA teams remember seeing Memphis manhandle him last year, and then see Villanova reprise that this year). I reality, Flynn is the top prospect IMO. There aren't many knocks on him. Tough, good ball handler, good shooter. Collins went toe to toe with him this year and did pretty well, though we lost that game. I think that, and the fact that Collins steps up in big moments, means that a smart GM may grab Collins in the late first round because he's such a gamer.

JayhawkPurist 10 years, 10 months ago

I've seen Stephenson play in person, and he looks totally bored with the level of comeptition around him. The coaching was medicore at best. If he does come to KU, he will benefit greatly from KU's coaching staff and the talent that will surround him. After all, isn't this why he's thought to be leaning toward KU? No disrespect to either program, but if he wanted to show off his individual skills but lose games, he could go to St. Johns or Maryland.

If Stehpenson signs, I see Morningstar giving up his scholarship before anything else happens. After that, assuming Aldrich and Collins stay, I see Appleton redshirting or transfering.

Lastly, while Collins and Alrdich are improving their draft stock by their tourney play, as long as next year's draft isn't too loaded, I think they'd benefit from coming back and enjoying all the media attention that comes with being preseason # 1 and in the title hunt the whole year. Granted, their PPG may not be as high as this year in that production will be more evenly spread, but their shooting percentage, assist to turnover ratio, etc. will surely improve. From what I've read of Coach Self's comments, I think that's the way he's leaning too.

JayhawkPhil64 10 years, 10 months ago

Even if a player like Releford redshirts, which is not a bad idea, his scholarship still counts against the limit of 13. As I said before, if we sign Stephenson, two underclassmen on this years team have to leave one way or the other or give up their scholarship. Both Morningstar and Reed could probably afford to give up thier scholarships or Thomas, Releford or Appleton could transfer. For the sake of the kids, I would prefer Aldrich and Collins going Pro to either of these alternatives but something has to happen.

RawkChawkJHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Strikewso (anonymous) says...

The media keeps talking about the five we lost, but it was Sherron who hit the big three against Davidson and who also turned the Memphis game around with his steal and huge three. I've watched a lot of close games this tourney and have't seen one steal by a team trying to catch up. What he did was rare and spectacular.


Strikewso,

I agree. I was watching the end of the Baylor/Auburn NIT game last night. Auburn made a heck of a run late to close the point gap in the final minute. It reminded me of KU's comeback effort against Memphis. Auburn even managed to steal an in-bounds pass with less than half a minute left in the game. But they couldn't convert. They ended up shooting free throws -- and missed both! I was happy to see Baylor survive. But most of all, it reminded me once again just how amazing that play was. Sherron often doesn't get all the credit he deserves for his role in the comeback.

Jfanallways 10 years, 10 months ago

not that self doesnt have collins best interest in mind but the fact that bill gets to decide seemes to be more for bill to have controll over the scholly situation. if stephenson comes and bill cand find that extra scholarship all he has to do is send collins to the nba

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

I cannot see Self pulling scholarships and allowing Reed or Morningstar to pay their own way for a semester/year. I would have thought it was a possibility prior to this season, but these guys now contribute at a high level and that is not fair. Appleton has already said he will not transfer, plus he has a connection to Johnson. I think it's more likely that Thomas gets the message and could possibly transfer - he's a complete project (that doesn't necessarily mean that in two years he could contribute almost like a Jackson) but KU is recruiting over him at a frightening pace. I just don't see when he will ever get on the court. We are also recruiting over Releford as well. I hope he can rebound and get into the rotation; I hope he doesn't get frustrated and leave, but we are going to have an incredible amount of wings by 2010 meaning someone will either transfer or flat out not play.

As for Cole, if he thinks he will be playing significant minutes in the next couple of seasons in the NBA, he can think again. He needs to put on at least 20 pounds of muscle - he might be able to swat some shots here and there, but he will be absolutely abused down low. I think this is an extraordinarily weak draft, as most of the top tier Freshmen just didn't pan out this year, and there is not much depth as far as big men. I've seen Cole around 7-20 in mock drafts. If he wants to pick up a pay check, he can obviously do so to support his parents, but he will benefit greatly from another year at KU, getting stronger, and possibly being a first team All American. I think there's a good chance he is gone, but he strikes as an intelligent kid who genuinely likes college unlike many of your typical pro prospects.

I think Collins is gone no matter if he is a first or second round pick. He has yet to prove he can make it through a season without injury, but what will another season really do for him? He is what he is and there are teams out there that want that guy that can come off the bench for 25 minutes as a sparkplug and fill up the stat sheet. He says his child is provided for, but his situation suggests he desperately needs cash.

KURocksChalk 10 years, 10 months ago

Collins should probably go, but Aldrich should definitely stay. The way he was neutralized by TTech was not pretty. He needs to be in a few more situations like that at this level.

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

What is great about KU basketball is coach Self. From what I have seen from recent outstanding players is; he has been consistent enough to gain the trust of his players.

This speculation of Collins and/or Cole leaving is interesting. I don't believe Collins' numbers will have an oportunity to fall next year even if all three great things happen; Collins and Cole stay, Stephenson comes. Collins is an impact player, has that mentality and will not be denied his scoring opportunities.

Cole, it woldn't hurt him at all to stay another year. He has made major gains this year and if he can be consistent in the off season he will be "a foot taller" than anyone competing against him in the draft.

Self has already figured out the scholarship situation. He will not allow any one great player or player with an interest in progressing in the KU program to leave.

Wouldn't we be blessed if Cole and Collins stay, Stephenson arrives, and all of the freshman arrive as sophmores. Next year could be golden, trust Self.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 10 months ago

If Cole beats Ostertag's record it will be amazing because he actually does other things than just block shots. Big O was a big zero most of the time he was on the court. Roy complained very fall about him showing up out of shape.

I think it's an insult to Cole to compare the two of them in any regard.

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