Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mass. prep Kaleb Tarczewski has stellar summer


Blue-chip basketball prospect Kaleb Tarczewski, who has had yet another stellar summer playing center for the New England Playaz, will complete his AAU career at this week’s Double Pump Best of Summer Tournament in Anaheim, Calif.

After that, the 7-foot, 220-pounder from St. Mark’s High in Southborough, Mass., returns to the East Coast, where he’s expected to deliberate on finalists Kansas, Arizona, North Carolina and Kentucky and, sometime in August, announce his college choice.

“I’m trying not to think about recruiting too much,” Tarczewski,’s No. 12-rated player, told from the adidas Super 64 tourney in Las Vegas.

“I want to focus on these AAU games. But when it is time, I want to make my decision as soon as possible. I don't think anything will be final until after July.”

Tarczewski made unofficial visits to KU, North Carolina and Arizona in June with the goal of being able to choose a college prior to his senior year.

Speaking in a rare summertime interview to, Tarczewski said of KU: “I really like Lawrence. Kansas is great. It feels like home. The coaches made me feel comfortable and if I went there I know I would be in good hands. I trust that the coaches will make me better.”

Tarczewski reportedly has developed a great relationship with KU assistant coach Joe Dooley and is impressed with assistant Danny Manning’s work with past big men, including NBA Draft lottery pick Cole Aldrich of the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, Tarczewski also has had glowing things to say about other schools on his list.

There has been no official word on what date Tarczewski will announce.

Smart explodes in final

KU target Marcus Smart scored 29 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in Texas Assault’s 93-78 victory over Shabazz Muhammad’s Dream Vision team in Tuesday’s finals of the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas.

Muhammad, who also has KU on his list, scored 22 points, despite playing on a severely sprained ankle.

Smart, a 6-4 senior combo guard from Marcus High in Flower Mound, Texas, has a list that includes KU, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas Tech and North Carolina. Texas is believed the leader.

The No. 24-rated player in the country is sure to skyrocket in the rankings after that eye-opening performance witnessed by hordes of college coaches, including KU assistant Manning, who sat in the front row of the gym.

Muhammad, a 6-5 combo guard, still has a long list that includes KU, UNLV, Kentucky, Duke, Memphis, UCLA, Texas and Texas A&M.

Wainright on winning team

KU target Ishmail Wainright scored 11 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished three assists in leading the KC 76ers to a victory over Florida Team Breakdown in Monday’s finals of the Fab 48 tournament in Las Vegas. Wainright, a 6-5, 200-pound junior-to-be from Raytown (Mo.) South, tells he has a list that includes KU, Missouri, UCLA, Baylor, St. John's, Kentucky, Texas, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Memphis, Texas Tech and UMKC. At one point, he was committed to Mizzou.

Ellis in Boost game

Wichita Heights sensation/KU recruit Perry Ellis will play in the sixth-annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 all-star game Aug. 27 at California’s Venice Beach. Both the game (6 p.m., Aug. 27) and slam dunk contest (5 p.m., Aug. 26) will be aired live on ESPNU.

Players are chosen based on their performance at AAU tournaments and national championships and are scouted by high school basketball experts from ESPN RISE, ESPN College Basketball Recruiting and other top talent evaluators.

Other players who will be in the game include KU targets Muhammad, Mitch McGary, Marcus Paige and Julius Randle.

Lots of unknowns

KU coach Bill Self spoke to’s Jeff Goodman about the upcoming season while sitting in the stands at the adidas Super 64 tournament in Las Vegas.

“I’m as nervous as I've ever been going into a season,” Self said of the 2011-12 campaign. “It’s fair to say there are more unknowns about this team than any team we've had since I've been here.”

KU, of course, loses the Morris twins and Josh Selby to the NBA, as well as Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar, Mario Little and Royce Woolridge.

He told Goodman that Lamar transfer Justin Wesley, the brother of Keith Langford and a current walk-on, will “definitely be in the rotation.”

“It's a Tulsa-type recruited team. Guys we got late are guys that we recruited to Tulsa and wound up kicking everybody’s butt,” added former Tulsa coach Self.

Late acquisitions Merv Lindsay, Kevin Young, Braeden Anderson and Jamari Traylor join early commits Ben McLemore and Naadir Tharpe.

Goodman’s story, by the way, was entitled, “End of the Run?” referring to KU’s seven straight Big 12 titles.


Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Maybe not everybody thinks Ashley Judd is hot...her husband Dario Franchitti was last seen in a car by himself, driving as fast as he could...


Tony Bandle 2 years, 8 months ago

Kentucky still thinks Ashley Judd can act..and is hot.

Kentucky leads the NCAA in total number of basketball violations.

If Kentucky played Kansas in football, Kansas might actually win!!

Kentucky is derived from an Iroqouian name meaning " land of tomorrow", translated means, " let's just do it tomorrow and drink today."

Kansas is named for a Native American tribe whose name when translated means, "people of the south wind". [This tribe must have lived in the future location of Wichita]

The state abbreviation for Kentucky was used to name a popular sexual lubricant........ [insert your comment here]!!


nuleafjhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

HEM, dynamite specifically asked about Kentucky "stuff".


Jack Wilson 2 years, 8 months ago

An observation, but are we a tab obsessed with Kentucky?


nuleafjhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

dynamite - enough foolishness. Here are some real reasons.

Kansas is better than Kentucky historically

Kansas has more wins over the last 5 years than Kentucky (185 vs 143)

Kansas has more NCAA Championships over the last 10 years than Kentucky (1 vs 0)

Kansas has more Final Four appearances over the last 10 years than Kentucky (3 vs 0)

Kansas has more NCAA Tournament wins over the last 10 years than Kentucky (26 vs 16)

Kansas has a much better overall winning percentage over the last 5 years (0.889 to 0.712)

AP voters think Kansas is better with more weeks in the AP Top 25 over the past 10 years than Kentucky (193 vs 147)

Kansas easily beat Kentucky by 12 points the last time they played (Mar 18, 2007)

Kansas has defeated Kentucky the last 3 times they've played.

Kansas has an average margin of victory of 23 over Kentucky in 5 wins since 1980

(courtesy of

OK - have fun at your family reunion. Have a safe trip, wear your coolest KU shirt (don't wear the Muck Fizzou - it will just confuse them).


nuleafjhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Kansas - Samantha Ryan (!) Kentucky - Ashley Judd (whatever she does have going for her is negated by Naomi and Wynona -- is that even a real name?)


nuleafjhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Kansas has Board Certified Dentists. Kentucky has some dude with a pair of pliers.


jaybate 2 years, 8 months ago

Kansas plays in beloved Allen Field House. Kentucky plays in Rupp Arena, a soul-less place people care so little about they are trying to dump it.


jaybate 2 years, 8 months ago

Kansas has McMansions. Kentucky has McTrailers.


dynamitehawk 2 years, 8 months ago

A Call For Help From My Jayhawk Bretheren:

I am going to Kentucky for a family reunion this weekend. Please reply and provide a witty reason that Kansas>KY.




Dan Harris 2 years, 8 months ago

I live in Flower Mound and have seen M Smart play a couple of times. The kid was explosive as a Jr. and from what I've heard has really added some weight and muscle over the summer. If he keeps improving his senior year look for him to jump into the top 10 or 15 on Rivals. Go sic em BILL!


Jack Wilson 2 years, 8 months ago

Wesley will "definitely be in the rotation"? Let's check on that in January.


jaybate 2 years, 8 months ago

But most concerning is that it is not clear, outside of Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson, that there are young men capable of standing up under the XTReme Assaults that are to come starting in January and worsening till April.

All seem willing to go ashore and try, but how many will break and run at the basketball equivalent of the Tenaru River, when it comes, as it inevitably will this season?

And that is the question Self cannot know the answer to.

Hudy can pump them up and make them look like Jayhawks before boot camp.

Self and his staff can toughen them up with drills and coaching fury so they will walk like Jayhawks coming out of boot camp.

Self alone can mask and finesse them through the ups and downs of an often outmanned fighting force till January, which will make them seem perhaps capable of winning like recent Jayhawks by season's end.

But once conference starts, once the climb battle has exposed their weaknesses, and sickness and injury has depleted their numbers, and they are forced to play outside their comfort levels, and they know there is no way back and there are no reinforcements coming, once there is only them and an opponent on an unfamiliar floor, once they know the feeling of hopelessness, that losing is not just a word, and that being overwhelmed and routed is at least a 50/50 chance, how will this bunch react?

And once late in the season that they know those that have beaten them before are coming back to finish them off, to take no prisoners, to finish them off starts, once no prisoners are being taken and losses have to be endured, once they are at the sand bar on the Tenaru river, then how will they do?

For this group is going to the Tenaru River for certain.

Whether Bill Self realizes it or not, and I believe he does, this group of young men will likely determine the better part of the remainder of his coaching tenure at KU, as surely as a bunch of very young, very green, very under rated, young men determined the outcome of a World War once upon a time in a god forsaken jungle far, far away from everything.

The hand writing is on the wall.

This is a decisive season that will have a decisive moment in the KU career of Bill Self.


jaybate 2 years, 8 months ago

But now he is dealing with some serious bad breaks...early departures he did not correctly anticipate...a big man in Withey that did not develop...turn-downs by several top recruits he thought were nailed...the arrival of Lon Kruger--a truly tough opposing coach, at OU...the departure of 4 sure wins in conference in CU and NU...and so on.

Bill Self is facing what all the greats face sooner, or later: a perfect storm at a decisive moment.

Fortunately for him, he is facing it with Tyshawn, Thomas, EJ and Travis.

And it sounds like Justin Wesley may be about to join this bunch as the granite core of this team.

It is true that these are guys who have had a lot of flaws that have slowed their developments the last few years. Tyshawn seemed a head case that could not concentrate. Thomas was foul prone and couldn't hit FTs. Elijah couldn't keep from stop making mistakes. Travis got injured just about the time he seemed to get the hang of the D1 game.

But they are guys who have withstood the blast furnace of learning Self Ball under Bill Self and his staff.

And make no mistake: it is harder to play at KU than at most of the other Maybach programs right now. Self demands way more out of his players than the other Maybach coaches appear to do. And it doesn't matter right now whether he is right, or wrong, to do so. It is just a fact that must be factored into the equation.

So: there are guys who appear to have the right stuff, because they have survived and approached the competitive edge he demands. It just took them a bit longer to knock off the rough edges, to make the ascent.

These are guys who seem to have the mentality needed to take this season...what may be shaping up as KU's Guadalcanal Season under Self.

But it is not clear the new guys are the same kind as the returnees. It seems like the new guys, shave tails from city to village across North America, guys that may not be the Emperor's elites, but may be the old style can-do types front the hard scrabble of contemporary North America maybe, despite their lack of stars. But, again, it is not clear, just as it can never be clear at the beginning of a perfect storm at what seems a decisive moment.

And it certainly is not clear, heck, it seems impossible that there are enough MUAs to ensure the hyper winning percentage Self has managed in the past.


jaybate 2 years, 8 months ago

"Remember the Tenaru River"

Nervous as he's ever been.

Guys like what he recruited to Tulsa a dozen or so years ago.

More unknowns than any season during his time at KU.


At least, Self knows he's sitting on a potential hoops Fukushima.

But he is also trying to put a feisty face on things.

Recruits are guys like those he kicked butt with at Tulsa.

So: here's hoping the game hasn't changed too much in 12 years to win with the kinds of guys he's recruited.

Self has been on an incredible roll.

It was inevitable that he confront some bad breaks in departures and recruiting turn-downs.

To be honest, this season could be Bill Self's defining moment, his big test as a leader and as a coach.

He always knew he was good enough to win big time and coach with the top coaches, if he could get to Maybach program and he has proven that.


There is another test of greatness.

The test emerges from longevity.

Can you shoot the rapid without capsizing, when everything finally breaks against you suddenly?

Can you amass everything you know, everything you have learned, every instinctual advantage you have always had, and fight through a very tough situation.

In short, are you General Vandegrift?

Or are you General Kawaguchi?

Everyone looks good when everything is breaking their way.

But can you do it when everything breaks bad?

Self has worked so hard and been so talented a human being that he has been blessed with things breaking his way most of the time in his career.


John Hayden 2 years, 8 months ago

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

I guess the notion that I had regarding Shabazz not being interested in KU anymore stemmed from this recent article where it asked that if he had to set five campus visits that day who would they be - and KU was not on that list.

Sunday, July 24, 2011 Recruit J-Mychal Reese’s dad not Aggie yet By Gary Bedore

..........More on Shabazz

No. 1-ranked Shabazz Muhammad scored 18 points in Dream Vision’s 80-65 pool-play victory over Indiana Elite at the adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas. The 6-6 combo guard — who has a list of KU, Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, UNLV, Texas A&M, Memphis and Texas — told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that if he had to set five campus visits today, they’d be awarded to Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, Texas A&M and UNLV.


Ludwig Supraphonic 2 years, 8 months ago

"I really like Lawrence. Kansas is great. It feels like home." We'll leave the door open, a lamp on in the window, and leftovers in the fridge. Come on home!


nuleafjhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Didn't I read earlier that we were no longer on Shabazz's list? The summer heat has been frying my brain, but I'm pretty sure I heard that somewhere.


Tony Bandle 2 years, 8 months ago

Let's analyze Kaleb's decison:

1] Kentucky - The dribble drive offense is designed to make the guards and three pointers the stars. The big men are screeners and garbage men of the boards. CONCLUSION - Not a good style fit.

2] Arizona - Strong program with a history of power forward developement. Kaleb is fair-skinned and the Arizona sunshine is brutal 24/7/365. CONCLUSION - Not a good health fit.

3] North Carolina - Although a fine program, the Carolina Blue coloring is all wrong for Kaleb's skin and hair color. This would make for an unbalanced look and eventually throw off his basketball developement. CONCLUSION - Not a good desgn fit.

4] Kansas - The Mother Lode of Basketball with an offense that goes through the big men who are coached by Dan the Man - CONCLUSION - A great style fit.

Too much sun is never a problem in Kansas during the school year therefore all skin types are safe and sound - CONCLUSION - A great health fit.

Crimson and Blue are primary colors, the basis for all other color variations. Kaleb would look great in Crimson and Blue - CONCLUSION - A great design fit.

Kaleb, the choice is obvious...for the good of your basketball development, health and color coordination, Kansas is the only choice!!!


kushaw 2 years, 8 months ago

The Tarc decison is going to be huge!


kushaw 2 years, 8 months ago

I think it's end of the run for Goodman when the Jayhawks bring back number 8.


Steve Gantz 2 years, 8 months ago

I've had a stellar summer too!


Swamphawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Not sure I'd call McLemore an early commit...


Michael Pannacciulli 2 years, 8 months ago

Kaleb would be a really great grab - a nice cornerstone piece for the near future. "A Tulsa-Type" recruited team I guess means that he didn't hit the home run he was expecting to hit. That was a very candid comment from Bill. He can't affor another Tulsa-Type recruiting season in this league. I expect some of the new guys to develop, be glue guys, and some will transfer. It will work out in the end because Bill doesn't tolerate being second best.


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