Monday, August 1, 2011

K.C. Pump N Run’s title run finally ends


Two-time defending champion Kansas City Pump N Run’s reign is over at the Metro Sports/Kansas City Prep Invitational.

The local 17-and-under team, which includes Lawrence High senior guard KJ Pritchard and Bishop Seabury senior forward Georgi Funtarov, fell to Iowa’s Kingdom Hoops, 60-58, in Sunday’s finals at Mid-America Sports Complex West in Shawnee.

“It was one of those tough ones,” Pump N Run coach L.J. Goolsby said of a game lost on a stickback at the buzzer following an airball from the outside. “It was one of those grind-it-out games back and forth. Our guys played really well all summer long. We came up short, but got all the way to the championship.”

Kingdom Hoops, which is coached by former Iowa State guard Jake Sullivan, had defeated future KU guard Conner Frankamp’s Pump N Run 16 team in Saturday’s 17-and-under semifinals.

“I was hoping we’d get a chance to play each other. It would have been fun. At least one of us would have won a championship,” Goolsby said with a laugh.

Of the 6-foot-7, 195-pound Funtarov, who has received early scholarship offers from Bowling Green and Weber State, Goolsby said: “He’s a skilled face-up kind of 4-man. He creates a lot of mismatches for us. He can step out and shoot it and put it on the floor a little bit.”

Of the 6-2, 175-pound Pritchard, Goolsby said: “KJ is just starting to figure things out as an all-around player. He’s starting to handle the ball a lot more. He shoots it well, plays with a lot of confidence. The thing I like the most when I saw him develop over the summer was attacking the rim, putting it on the floor and getting to the basket and not just settling for three-pointers.”

Goolsby said Pritchard, the son of former KU great Kevin Pritchard, has heard from Air Force and Oral Roberts.

“I don’t know what offers will be there (as his senior year progresses), but I think something for sure will play out for him,” Goolsby said.

Another Pump N Run player who didn’t play in the final because of injury is Thomas Diaz, a 6-5 senior from Seabury, who is known for his driving ability and defense. He’s expected to land at a midmajor college.

The K.C. tournament completed a hectic month of July for Pump N Run, which competed at two tournaments in K.C., one in Indianapolis and one in Las Vegas in a 20-day span. Players who distinguished themselves included: Gavin Thurman, 6-7 forward, Wichita Heights; Mason Wedel, 6-1, De Soto; and Jalen Love, 6-2, Wichita East.

Nationally, Goolsby has been impressed with three players with KU on their lists: Mitch McGary (6-10, Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, N.H.); Shabazz Muhammad (6-6, Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas); and Marcus Smart (6-4, Marcus High, Flower Mound, Texas).

“One you fall in love with at how hard he plays consistently is Marcus Smart,” Goolsby said. “The way he kind of puts those guys on his back. To win the championship (at adidas Super 64) in Las Vegas was pretty impressive. The guy doesn’t really have a position. He just gets so much stuff done on the floor. He wills his team to win.”

Veteran AAU coach Goolsby said he’s looking forward to a bright future with Pump N Run.

The landscape may change a bit starting next school year.

“I am hoping the NCAA makes changes to make it shorter tournaments on the weekends in July and open up April a couple of weekends,” Goolsby said. “It would benefit everybody. I think it really will help the kids. They mentally won’t get so fatigued and physically as well. It’s tough when they have to play 20 days in July. By the end of it, especially after Vegas or Orlando (last week), the kids are really tired. We’re fortunate because our last tournament is back home. Guys are a little more energized playing back home.”


Brand Willis 10 years, 2 months ago

oh yes first comment. i really think that this was kinda lame. the only good player to come out of lawrence in a long time was dorian green. that kid can light it up. but all these kids just don't seem to have very much zazz. yes i believe zazz is what they are lacking.

Woody Cragg 10 years, 2 months ago

Maybe they were just "plum tard" JB, ya think? LOL

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

Of the three kids named, isn't Marcus Smart the player Kansas is targetting the most?

I know that Mitch McGary is a second choice to Kaleb and I am now convinced that Kansas is no longer on Shabazz's radar.

Regarding Marcus, "The guy really doesn't have a position."

Does this mean he's too slow for the backline and too small for the front line? Kind of reminds me of another basketball player who was described exactly the same way. Let's see...what was his name??.....oh yeah,.... Charles Barkley!!!

Jabez Harlan 10 years, 2 months ago

I don't know if you had a chance to watch the final of the adidas super 64 on tv (cbssports network), but Smart had like 14 or 15 rebounds in addition to his 29 points. He missed a lot of shots but he made up for it everywhere else. He rebounded his own missed shots, blocked shots on the break, ran the fast break, hit timely 3s, stole the ball, you name it, Smart did it. I am super impressed!

A couple other guys KU should be looking at besides those mentioned here are Nick Banyard from Texas Assault and Winston Shepard from Dream Vision. Shepard has KU on his list of schools. Both these players were exceptional from the footage I saw. Shepard makes great decisions in the open floor for such a big player and Banyard can hit some big shots from distance.

kupride4u 10 years, 2 months ago

Jake Sullivan - seemed like that guy was at Iowa State for 8 years. I remember a game in AFH where he could not miss. I swear he was hitting 3's from 30 feet away.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

Yahoo sports just published the 2011-2012 basketball Preseason Poll and listed us as #16 with this quote..."This will likely be Bill Self's worst Jayhawks basketball team - but still could be good enough to win the school's eighth straight Big Twelve title.

As much as I fear to admit it, but this coming season could revolve around Jeff Withey and his contributions to the team. I've never been more concerned about a Hawk team than since the year Nick Bradford was a starter.

[Bill Self's "worst" season was 24-9, 12-4 in conference and tied for 2nd.]

Dustin Engelken 10 years, 2 months ago

What's with the Nick Bradford cheap shot?! Happens to be one of my favorite Jayhawks... (Does anyone else remember those knee length socks he tried to single-handedly bring back?)

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

No No No..I liked Nick too...I just used him as a point of reference because I couldn't remember the year. He was one of the stronger players.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

You may be right, but I am inclined to think vastly more of the season hinges on how good Tyshawn, EJ and Thomas Robinson prove to be, as defenders and go-get-a-basket guys.

Each Self team only needs three impact players with MUA most games to be a serious threat. If Self has those, then he can mask and cover a multitude of sins. If he does not, then he is tremendously limited even with a talented supporting cast.

Thomas Robinson's effectiveness will be determined by his free throw shooting percentage. If he is a truly poor free throw shooter, then he will be mercilessly fouled and will himself get into endless foul trouble because of frustration fouls resulting from the fouling of him. If he has learned to shoot FTs in the off season, then TRob will be a scoring, defending and rebounding machine capable of staying on the floor 30 minutes and punishing opponents down the stretch. If not, KU's season is almost doomed before it starts. He has to be able to make at least 65% of his FTs for the season to for Self to avoid a very, very difficult season.

Next, Tyshawn has got to play to first team all conference and maybe second, or third team All American level and the TOs have to taper down by at least a third. if Tyshawn can get this much better then KU has a terrific down the middle combination in TRob and Tyshawn.

Next, EJ has to become a second team all conference caliber player; i.e., a true threat from either the 2, or the 3, depending on where Self decides he wants him to attack from. He has to average 40-42% from trey and take 6-8 treys per game. He has also has to become that athletic impact player that can take it to the rim; i.e., what he was billed as being coming in.

Jabez Harlan 10 years, 2 months ago

A few quick words about Taylor. The finger surgery will do him and the team a world of good. The turnovers will definitely be down and Tyshawn will be the player he was in the Olympics a couple of years ago as well as the player he was in last year's NCAA tournament. KU's third best player behind the Morris twins and best overall guard.

He got to the ring better than any other guard and also made good decisions with the pass. He was also able to keep the defense honest with an occasional three. Tyshawn will be the player fans have wanted to see for three years.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

If Tyshawn, TRob and EJ play to these levels, then Self can afford to let Travis play it close to the vest on offense, but be a lock down monster on defense. In turn, Self can afford some BenMac's freshman growing pains in being first reliever at the 2 and 3.

And finally, to address your issue, Self can afford Withey to be Withey, about a 15-20 minute guy that disrupts opponents shots, grabs a few rebounds and goes out 5-8 minutes in as soon as the refs start swallowing their whistles and XTReme play starts. Behind Withey is a committee of Justin, Jamari, and Braeden.

Without putting too fine of a point on it, Withey probably cannot play well enough this season to compensate for a one dimensional, fouled up TRob. But conversely, if TRob can take it to the next level, Withey probably can play well enough to pose problems for opponents for two 5 minute stretches in a half, especially if TRob is attracting the double teams and leaving Withey naked.

Travis might be a wild card in all of this. He might blossom and that would be the best of all possible worlds. But I think it is very tough for guys who have struggled for several seasons to suddenly get it. Travis needs a season of work to get it and he is going to get it, if he can be the muscular defensive stopper complementing the cat quick TT and EJ on the perimeter.

Regardless, be grateful if Jeff can just be a very average 20 minute man. And I think he can.

TRob is the big question mark on this team. If the team were more stacked and did not need him to develop so fast, he would not be a question mark at all. He would develop steadily as he did last season and be primed and ready for a great final season. But for this team to be exceptional, TRob has to become a big as accomplished as either Twin last season almost from the git go. And that is a huge amount to ask of him.

Craig Colgin 10 years, 2 months ago

I tend to think Trob will be targeted largely for double and triple team. So the season may very well hinge on the effectiveness of Withey, or any other big that can be effective.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

Then we are in a great deal of trouble.

Jabez Harlan 10 years, 2 months ago

If Withey can average 10 ppg, 8 rpg, and 2 bpg, the Jayhawks will be in great shape.

AZHawk72 10 years, 2 months ago

Well, Oakville, 24-9 seems about right considering how surprised/unprepared Coach Self was by the early departure of the three. These NBA issues make the NFL problems seem like just another DUI, assault, child support issue, drug possession, HGH issue, or just another typical weekend without football in anytown, USA. The twins and Selby shouldn't have left unless they really like McDonalds--I don't mean eating them, I mean working for them.'

The agents knew the situation, but I'm sure that they didn't let a little thing like the truth get in the way of their percentage, as deferred as it may be. "Hey, Reggie Bush, these would be the Legal types of loans from agents; you know, you're drafted, listened to your agent, did your time in school, are now starving to death, need some cash to help Angel with the mortgage--you know, the way to get money WITHOUT putting your school on probation for years." Oh, I forgot. You didn't know the difference. Well, enjoy, Miami.

I feel really bad for all the kids who came out early for the NBA draft. This isn't just going to Europe, joining a D league, or landing a serious job with a non-diploma, this is "Would you like fries with your quarter-pounder?"

Has anyone, lately, given a thought to subtracting the last three and bringing back Marcus, Markief, and Josh? Based on what we learned from last year, I wouldn't want to be anyone playing us this year with all eligible returnees. By the time a starter rested, the game would be over--our front line would have been legendary--the champion '08 team would have wondered how they could have dealt with our frontcourt.

Oh well, it didn't happen. Kids and families need money, and we all fully understand the negative ramifications of today's economy. It's just a shame that the honesty the players received from their coaches and counselors at KU wasn't even remotely matched the second they stepped off campus. It's like the players took a quantum leap from Lawrence to Lexington. Bummer.

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