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Friday, March 18, 2011

Gary Bedore’s Kansas basketball notebook

KUsports.com asks Boston players: What was your reaction after you saw Kansas next to your team's name on Selection Sunday?

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Tyshawn Taylor ready to embrace starting role for Jayhawks

Tyshawn Taylor talks about the strengths of KU and his role on the Jayhawk team during locker-room interviews Thursday at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Travis Releford ready for tournament

After a red-shirt season last year, Kansas forward Travis Releford is ready to play a role in this year's NCAA Tournament.

Upset city

There already have been some crazy upsets in the Southwest Regional.

No. 13-seeded Morehead State defeated No. 4 Louisville, and No. 12 Richmond downed No. 5 Vanderbilt, meaning KU would play a 12 or 13 seed in the Sweet 16 if the Jayhawks win games in Tulsa today and Sunday.

“We’ve already seen today in the tournament ... I mean, this is wild,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Expect the unexpected.”

Junior Tyshawn Taylor watched the end of the Louisville game on TV.

“It means nothing to us. I don’t know what it means to them,” Taylor said. “We have got to look at our own path and what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to play Boston University and after that however it plays out.”

Noted Brady Morningstar: “That’s the NCAA Tournament for you. Seeding is a big deal sometimes, but everyone in this tournament is very capable of winning games, and you can see that.”

The Jayhawks as a team watched the end of the Butler-Old Dominion game, won late by Butler.

“What a finish,” Self said. “We tell them all year long, our season will come down to one possession. I guarantee it will come down to the last possession or last couple possessions of a game. We saw firsthand one-tenth of a second was the difference in overtime in winning (by Butler). That gives the guys that extra juice, I believe, going into the game tomorrow watching others play.”

Presidential picks

Morningstar on President Obama picking KU to win the NCAA title:

“I think he picked us last year, also. So that shows how much he knows I guess, right?” Morningstar said with a laugh. “I guess he likes college sports and wants to pick his team that he thinks is going to win. More power to him.

“Just because he said that doesn’t mean he can make us win, so I don’t feel any added pressure from him. But I’d like to go and meet him in a couple weeks. That would be fun. I would love to go to the White House and see him. No pressure, though.”

Praise for Marcus

Self was asked if Marcus Morris is the best player he’s ever coached.

“He’s not the best player. I tell him that all the time,” Self said. “I’ve coached a guy who is arguably the best point guard in the world (Deron Williams) for a brief period of time. He’s not the best, but he’s the most complete player I’ve coached,” Self added of Marcus.

“He can do more things on the basketball court than anybody I’ve ever been around. He’s 6-8. He can post. He can score over the shoulder. He can face. He can drive it. He’s a great passer. He can stretch it. He can slide. He’s a complete basketball player.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s near as good as Wayne Simien at scoring or somebody else at rebounding, but he can do a lot of things.”

Tulsa talk

Self on returning to Tulsa for this weekend’s tournament. He coached at Oral Roberts four years and Tulsa for three.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had more fun in my life than what I had the seven years I was here,” he said. “It was a great run, great kids, and I’ll never forget. A lot of people asked if I learned how to be a coach at Tulsa, and I would say the answer is probably yes in large part because at ORU our mistakes weren’t magnified, and I made a ton of them, and I was able to work through that, where I’d be fired in today’s time at an Illinois or a Kansas.

“I was able to kind of grow and cut my teeth there and move on to bigger and better things isn’t the right thing to say because that’s not what happened. I’ve had some opportunities, but I don’t know if I’ve ever had it better than what I had it here when I was at Tulsa.”

He insists he’s not distracted.

“It’s good to come home. It’s nice to see familiar faces, and I’ve seen a ton already today,” Self said. “But it doesn’t play into what’s going on at all. I even see some familiar Illinois faces out there, too.”

Philly fanatics

Philadelphia native Marcus Morris is well aware four Philly natives play for Boston University.

“They are very solid. I mostly know Matty Griffin (5-10, junior, Narberth, Pa.). He’s a good shooter. He’s a crafty player.”

Practice, practice

The Jayhawks held a short practice at BOK Center before at least 5,000 fans Thursday afternoon. Elijah Johnson tried, and missed, a crazy dunk to conclude the proceedings. The Jayhawks cut the workout short 10 minutes and signed autographs for fans.

The Jayhawks not only held a shootaround at BOK Center on Thursday, but held an actual practice at Tulsa Union High.

McLemore decision nears

Ben McLemore, a 6-5 guard from St. Louis, will announce his college choice at the NeXt All-American Classic on April 3 at Sears Centre in suburban Chicago. McLemore, who recently enrolled at Christian Life Center near Houston, after leaving Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., will choose either KU or Missouri.

“The most important thing I was looking for during my recruitment process was the opportunity for the chance to play right away and being close to home so that my family can come watch me play again,” said McLemore.

“The reason it took me so long to decide was I had three really great schools (Missouri, Kansas, and Tennessee) to choose from and I needed my family’s help to decide which was the best fit for me. At the moment I’m down to UM or KU however I’m not leaning one way or the other."

Comments

Joe Shaw 9 years, 10 months ago

If Ben McLemore is looking for a chane to play right away then Missouri is the obvious choice. Heck, anyone could play there though. If immediate playing time is his goal, then my YMCA Sunday night team could use a good guard. So just let me know Ben.

Now, if Ben wants to play for a winning program that will get him where he needs to be, then that is another place............

9 years, 10 months ago

Come on now, UM is without a doubt a winning program. Certainly this season though, they went further in the NCAA Tournament than anyone could have ever anticipated… :^)

Chris Shaw 9 years, 10 months ago

I don't know, doe Mclemore want to be the next Kim English? That dude is absolutely hoorendus. I"m glad Anderson sat him early in the second half and was never seen again. After the way Mizzou played last night and just got dominated they have more issues than just getting McLemore. They need some freakin big's.

minipman 9 years, 10 months ago

we are losing tyrel and brady.. so that opens up two starting spots for mclemore.. hopefully he picks ku

Alohahawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Missery must have made a great recruiting impression on McLemore on Thursday. Nice 1st round lose there, kitty litters. I guess that leaves Anderson more time to hit the recruiting trail..

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 10 months ago

I read last night that there is smoke coming from Arkansas that Mike Anderson will be there next coach. Not sure if that will happen, but it can't hurt Kansas' chances.

prairie_rattler 9 years, 10 months ago

Fayetteville isn't much farther from his family than Lawrence is...

focojayhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

i read this the other day too. he definantly has some history in arkansas. enough to make him want to go back i would think.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 10 months ago

What was I thinking? For the most part I've been pretty happy with my picks. Yeah, I lost the Old Dominion, Louisville, and Penn State games, but I still think they were great picks that came down to the wire.

On the flip side, what the heck was I thinking with my St. Johns and Mizzou pick? I mean, I guess I should have known that at team made up mostly from PA/NJ/NY in St. Johns really didn't have a chance in the altitude against Gonzaga. That is right up Gonzaga's wheelhouse. I wish I would made that correlation before I filled out my brackets.

Also, after watching Cincy last night they are athletic and just plain "Huge". They made Mizzou look like a bunch of soft .........(Insert word of your choice there). Mizzou's Stafford, Bowers, and Ratliffe just got dominated. I thought Mizzou had a little more fight in them in that, but I should have known better.

In the end, I hope today's games are as exciting as yesterday's games. Go Jayhawks!

Hank Cross 9 years, 10 months ago

I fell for ODU and St. Johns too. Logic also went out the window when I picked Utah State over KSU. No matter how suspect I thought KSU was, Utah State's M.O. has always been play no one, win a lot of games, get beat in the first round.

The one I really missed was Florida. I picked UCSB out of parochial magical thinking, but also because this team was essentially the same one that last year won the Big West conference and tourney titles last year and gave Ohio State a game for a half. I thought UF might be caught napping. Maybe all of those upsets earlier in the day woke them up.

If UF keeps playing that way, they are going to be very tough. Versatility, athleticism, speed, strength, and coach who's won it twice. This is the type of team that could have presented KU real problems if they faced them in the regional final.

JayDocMD 9 years, 10 months ago

  1. Not sure what to make of B Mac anymore. We certainly need another player or two for 2011 (although a post player is a much bigger need) and I trust our coaches enough to know whether this kid is going to fit in. But certainly some red flags with his prep school ouster, and still not sure if he has qualified academically.

2 He says he STILL doesn't know where he is going, but has set yet another date to commit. I know supposedly he wants KU and family wants Mizzery, but I think there is more to it than that. I guess he could be waiting to make sure Anderson doesn't go to Arkansas, which isn't going to happen with his good friend's son Pressey on the team.

  1. He called them "UM." Isn't it MU? If so, that's a slight to Mizzou. I mean, I would grimace if he called us "UK."

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 10 months ago

He was probably hearing "University of Meltdown" in his head and it just came out "UM"

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Dear Ben,

You have KU written all over you. You have the gun. You have the length. You have the quickness. You have the family.

But let's not blow smoke here.

There is no way in heck you are going to beat out Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson, Josh Selby and Tyshawn Taylor for the first three starting spots, or the first back up spot.

What you can do is come and get 10-20 minutes a game, as a freshman, on what is likely to be another Top Ten D1 team. You can build up your game with the best college coaching staff in D1 teaching NBA offense and defense, build up your body with the best weight trainer in the country, build up your mind in the classroom, and learn how tough you have to be to compete and win in hoops and in life.

And because Self is a character and recruits characters, you can be sure you will have the most fun of your young life, with a fun bunch of players, from all walks of life playing together, laughing together and enduring the toughening Self puts all KU players through, and learn first hand what it takes to be a team, and learn there is no greater high than playing for and being a part of a team that is playing and living as one.

You can be part of something great at KU, or part of something ordinary elsewhere.

You can spend your time loving being a Jayhawk till you get the call to jump, or grind it out in Columbia hoping to get out as quick as you can.

Frankly, I don't see a choice here, but every person has to discover what matters at his own rate in his own way.

Do what you gotta do, kid, but my folks were right about one thing: when opportunity knocks, you ought to answer.

Rock Chalk!

9 years, 10 months ago

Half-empty arena on a good night at The Paige

vs.

16,300 fans packed in every game at Allen Fieldhouse


Other comparative factors: tradition, all-time wins, conference success, tournament success, etc.


Hmmm…decisions, decisions…

Sally Presson 9 years, 10 months ago

McClemore has too many issues!!! Playing time?!!! he earns playing time, not just walking into a program because he's Ben McCelmore and plays. He's not in control, the coach is, it's earned not a given. After last night's game Missouri isn't the place to be. Good coach, not good players. run and gun--no control, everyone wanting to be a hot shot. MU can have you Ben

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 10 months ago

Did you think he was saying he wanted to come in and take someone else's playing time? I thought he was saying he wanted to go where there was an opening for him. He is never going to find that at Kansas, because there is probably always going to be someone who is better ahead of a beginner. I'm sure Bill has told him there will be a place if he's good enough, but that he has to earn it. It's pretty hard to know what's in his head as opposed to what he says for the media.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Self made a great move practicing at a high school.

Self is back in Tulsa where it all started for him as a head coach. He is remembering a lot of it fondly, as we all remember our early struggles fondly once we are well beyond them. But he is also looking around Tulsa and thinking how far he has come from ORU's level of competition. He is remembering how hard he has worked to get to the next level, how bad he wanted it and how bad he still wants it--how far down the fall would be if he let up now.

Taking KU players into a high school gym, where it all started for them, makes it suddenly real to them how far they have come and Kansas, and how badly they wanted to get there. It reminds them how badly they still want it and how far the fall is from KU.

It is never a negative to take stock of where you are and how far you have come, while climbing to where you want to be.

Rock Chalk!

John Sheehan 9 years, 10 months ago

-Mike Anderson to Arkansas

-Cuonzo Martin (Missouri State coach) to Missouri

-Ben McLemore to Arkansas or Kansas

Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

It is with a heavy heart that I post this message. I now truly believe Ben will not be coming to Kansas. He is a wonderful player and a great kid but here in St.Louis all signs point to where ever Mike Anderson is going to be.

His mother feels that Coach Anderson will be the best mentor for her son and once again, Kansas will come in a strong second. Beal, Harrison, etc. the list goes on yet Kansas will prevail as a team.

I just feel badly because I know this could would have been a great Jayhawk and down deep, I think Ben knows it to.

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