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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kansas’ Ben McLemore headed home

KU freshman hopes to show teammates Gateway Arch during NCAA Tourney trip to St. Louis

Kansas freshmen Jamari Traylor, left, and Ben McLemore  watch the Late Night in the Phog festivities from the bench on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas freshmen Jamari Traylor, left, and Ben McLemore watch the Late Night in the Phog festivities from the bench on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Ben McLemore sat with his buddy — fellow ineligible Kansas University freshman Jamari Traylor — just a few rows behind the Jayhawk bench, cheering wildly during the latter stages of a 63-60 second-round NCAA Midwest Regional victory over Purdue on Sunday in Omaha’s CenturyLink Center.

Though KU trailed by as many as 11 points the first half, nine with 14 minutes left, three with 1:58 to play and one point with 59.9 seconds remaining, losing was the last thing on the Jayhawks’ minds.

“No one was thinking about that,” McLemore said. “We were thinking about moving forward, getting stops and scoring. I never thought we were going to lose.”

Thanks mainly to some late-game heroics by Elijah Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson, the Jayhawks (29-6) did win and now advance to a Sweet 16 game against North Carolina State (24-12) at 9:17 p.m. Friday at the Edward Jones Dome in McLemore’s hometown of St. Louis.

“I mean, I am so proud of them,” McLemore said of his teammates, “and happy we get to go back to Lawrence and practice together again.

“It’s just a good feeling,” added McLemore, who along with the 6-8 Traylor has been able to practice all second semester but not play in games until next season in accordance with NCAA rules.

As one might expect, McLemore is fired up about making the short trip down I-70 to watch his teammates continue their postseason run.

“It’s great to go home, for us to go home, for me to go home,” the 6-foot-5, 185-pound McLemore said with a smile. “It’s spring break now. I’ll be happy to go home and see my family.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” he added of the Jayhawks playing in St. Louis. “Hopefully we can do it next year, too, the same way. It’s not about going to St. Louis, it’s about us getting this win.”

The Jayhawks obviously won’t have much free time in St. Louis, but if given a chance, he plans to be a walking tour guide.

“I mean, everybody should know about the Arch,” he said of the Gateway Arch. “It’s mainly what we are known for. I might be able to take some of the players down to the Arch.

“You can go up there,” he added of taking a ride to the top. “They’ve got exhibits inside the Arch, too. Everybody loves going there when they visit St. Louis. It’s a good atmosphere there.”

McLemore was stumped when asked who he’d rank as the greatest athlete in St. Louis history.

“There have been so many,” he said.

He was able to quickly come up with his favorite pro player in St. Louis annals.

“I’ll give it to Larry Hughes (former NBA forward waived by Orlando on Feb. 1). I’ve met him before. I think he’s one of the greatest players to come out of St. Louis,” McLemore said.

McLemore — he averaged 28.3 points and 12.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists a game his junior year at St. Louis’ Wellston High before playing at Oak Hill Academy and Christian Life Center in Houston his senior year — is eager to play in his first game for the Jayhawks in 2012-13.

“Next year will be fun. I can’t wait,” he said. “Tyshawn (Taylor), (Conner) Teahan and maybe T-Rob (Thomas Robinson) will be gone, but Elijah (Johnson), Travis (Releford), Jamari ... we’ll all be coming together. We have a great recruiting class coming in. I think it’ll be a great season.

“Jamari and I are playing well (at practice),” he added. We’ve tried to help the team get better every day. Mainly I’m guarding Tyshawn and Elijah and Conner and Travis Releford. Sometimes I guard the big men. I’m learning a lot, definitely.”

KU coach Bill Self has said the two have been great for the Red team — the scout team — at practice.

“I said today I wonder if it’s a coincidence we got better in the last eight weeks because those two are practicing,” Self said recently of McLemore and Traylor. “You can’t take possessions off (because of the active duo). They try hard and hold you accountable. They’ve helped our team.

“It’s unfortunate both had to deal with this,” he added of being ruled partial qualifiers. “We thought both had legitimate cases. The NCAA did make the ruling they did. Based on the ruling (sitting out first semester, practicing second), the two have done a good job making the most of it, turning a supposed negative into a positive, knowing they will have four (years) to play four left. Both have well above 3.0s (grade-point averages). If they stay four years, it almost certainly guarantees graduation. I think they spun it into a positive the best they can.

“The kids see themselves having some success, studying hard, with the right tutorial system, it’s great. I think this will be good for their lives the way it’s played out.”

Of their ability, Self said: “Talking raw athletes, Justin (Wesley) and Elijah (may be best on team) and Tyshawn is fastest. Ben and Jamari may be equals or better than those guys. They will give us an element of athleticism.”

T-Rob a finalist: KU junior Thomas Robinson is one of four finalists for Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Monday. Other finalists: Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis, Michigan State senior Draymond Green and Creighton sophomore Doug McDermott.

Next up: The No. 2-seeded Jayhawks on Friday will meet a red-hot No. 11-seed North Carolina State team that has won six of its last seven games, including Sunday’s 66-64 second-round win over No. 3-seed Georgetown.

N.C. State is 24-12 overall under first-year coach Mark Gottfried, nephew of former KU football coach Mike Gottfried. The squad went 15-16 a year ago under Sidney Lowe.

“They’ve been playing great the last couple of games. Man, they are on a roll now,” KU junior Jeff Withey said of the team that beat San Diego State, 79-65, in the first round. “It will be tough going against them. They beat Georgetown and are on a roll. We have a week to get prepared for them and to get ready.”

Never give up: Releford said the Jayhawks’ come-from-behind win over Purdue was especially satisfying.

“We competed and didn’t give up,” he said. “Getting close and them taking the lead again late, we had to continue to fight through it. It’s great. Another weekend of playing ball, another week of practicing and getting after it. That sounds great.”

Comments

ytf23 2 years, 7 months ago

Dang LJW! That headline had me worried that something bad was happening!

gardenjay 2 years, 7 months ago

I also read it that way. So, someone needs to proof and re-write the thing, maybe by morning. It would be nice to acknowledge the posters after this article is re-written so that we don't look like over-critical doofuses.

Sarah Carr 2 years, 7 months ago

Dear Mr. Bedore:

You scared a bunch of us with that headline! Another poster suggested that it be changed before morrning, or alot of readers might spew coffee all over the paper, or ttheir keyboards!

Thanks in advance! Colohawk2 B.A. English 1972

lincase 2 years, 7 months ago

Add me to the list of people who thought something bad had happened.

Dee Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

Obviously the headline worked and did its job. It got your attention. Journalism 101.

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

In newspapers, headlines are created to catch the eye (over competing article appearing on the same page) and project interest to read whatever the subject matter is about. In regards to this article? Congrats to the LJW. You did just that.

Usually, I don't need additional incentive to read an article on KU basketball. I repeat, usually. Because I'm going to read the article, no matter what. But this headline gave that gut-wrenching feeling which created an immediate urgency to read on, quickly. I repeat, quickly.

It took about 7 paragraphs before the true meaning behind the headline was revealed. Yes. BM was headed home, but only to visit and attend the next round of the tournament with his teammates. He'll still be around to play next season wearing a Jayhawk uniform.

That doesn't mean I appreciated the headline, which came close to giving me a heart attack. Shame on you LJW! The Jayhawk Nation didn't need an April Fools' joke pulled on them 12 days ahead of time. Bah! Humbug!!

actorman 2 years, 7 months ago

You said it, Aloha (and the others). That headline sure scared the hell out of me.

baldwinjhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Why couldn't the headline have at least read " McLemore excited to be heading home"????????????? Lame

Steve Reigle 2 years, 7 months ago

Same here. First thought was "oh, no, are we losing him?"

KUbsee69 2 years, 7 months ago

Add me to the list that found horror in the headline!

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 7 months ago

Good God Gary! You owe me 2 years of life PLUS a new pair of jeans.

Mike Kendall 2 years, 7 months ago

I, as well, was on the edge of my seat wondering if he was leaving the program. Whew! Glad that wasn't the case, after reading the article.

surfingjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Seriously. Come on, you guys! Sunday was bad enough on my heart. I didn't need that headline. Sheez.

kranny 2 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

jayhawkinnc 2 years, 7 months ago

Me too! The headline implies that he's leaving KU. Oh well, at least it got my attention and forced me to completely read the story.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the title LJW... I just peed my pants and cried at work. Very awkward.

KirkHinrich_Range10 2 years, 7 months ago

Right! I was like, "oh no don't say hes transfering!"

Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Thought the readers might like this...

I live in Thailand and am shocked at how many of my conversations, with Asians who have never been outside of Asia, are about KU basketball. Many love to ask which university I went to in the US and when I say Kansas they get excited for one of two reasons:

  1. They know all about Paul Pierce, Marios Miracle, Wilt, and even James Naismith.

  2. They want to use the line "You're not in Kansas anymore" on a real Kansan. Anyone who lives outsdie of Kansas can sympathize with me here!

On a serious note... You know you are a fan part of a special basketball program when people on the other side of the world are excited to talk KU basketball with you.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Ben Kane 2 years, 7 months ago

i've heard it all my life. i don't think it's going away anytime soon.

Mike Kendall 2 years, 7 months ago

Hey, get used to the jokes. I was with my family on vacation in New Orleans (hey, that's where the Final 4 is at this year) when I was in high school. After my dad paid for the bill at the restaurant we ate at, the cashier noticed we were from Kansas and asked how our dog, "Toto" was doing. At the time, we didn't have a dog. Yeah, they get old but the jokes will not go away anytime soon. Just saying. . . . .

surfingjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

No S-word, man. I live in California and hear that all the time. So much in fact that "How's Dorothy?" borders on original.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't mind at all... I am from Kansas City and my fiance and I moved out here in early 2011 because we wanted to see the world for a few years before we ended up back in KC. I am a university instructor. Looks like the Middle East could be next! Beirut_Jayhawk? Cairo_Jayhawk? Doha_Jayhawk?

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

LOL!! Try mentioning Mizzery Tigers to them, and see if evokes a response. Doubtful, other than maybe a chuckle, or outright laugh.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Missouri... Hmmm... Isn't that where they cook meth?

actorman 2 years, 7 months ago

Oh I think it would evoke a response all right, something like, "Hey, aren't they the traitors who just got smoked by some small team from Virginia?"

Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 7 months ago

In their language, Missouri is that word for the stuff that squirts out when a pimple is popped. Weird how languages translate!

jhox 2 years, 7 months ago

I was in Beijing several years ago, and couldn't believe all of the Asian people I saw wearing KU shirts. They were everywhere. The Jayhawk was far and away most frequently seen college logo while I was over there. Maybe it is because I was more sensitive to it, and just happened to notice those people (wearing KU shirts) more, but I really don't believe that was the case.

I don't know if that was a fluke, or if the Asian people just like the look of our colorful bird, but KU shirts were everywhere. Maybe the athletic department needs to start actively marketing our brand in Asia? Maybe the next time there is threat to the existence of the Big 12, KU can claim several billion basketball fans in Asia as a potential TV audience. That would take away a little of Texas' influence, don't you think?

farnamjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I saw the same thing when my wife and I were traveling in Europe. In a small street market in St Petersburg Russia I found Jayhawk matryoshka's (Russian stacking dolls). There were several NFL and NBA teams but only KU from the college ranks.

gdkadjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the Mizzou and Duke ones were all sold out! (Kidding) :^)

Oklahoma_Hawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I went to Hong Kong a few years back. I saw a guy playing bball with a KU 2008 National Champion shirt on. I asked him if he went to KU and he said no.

dylans 2 years, 7 months ago

I've given a few KU hats to kids in Jamaica to spread a little influence.

Mel Clare 2 years, 7 months ago

What are you doing in Thailand? I was in the Navy from 78' to 90'. and have been all over the Asian areas. Japan, Guam, Philipines, Thailand, Australia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Persian Gulf..............ect, ect..............While in the Navy we always kept updated on all the KU goings on via satellite.............i did communications.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

My fiance and I moved here in early 2011. I work at a university as an instructor. We just wanted to see a bit of the world before we made a home in KC.

JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 7 months ago

I take it that most everybody reading the headline did a huge double take.

sundancewierdo 2 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, I actually thought someone died again.

Doug Cramer 2 years, 7 months ago

Thought B-Mac was leaving Kansas too ! Geeze...way to scare the entire KU nation.

fansincewilt 2 years, 7 months ago

Same reaction here. I am really looking forward to seeing these two play next year. I thought Ben was going home for good. I've been worried about him with all this hate Missouri stuff going around. I just want him to know that we all don't hate Missouri. I have a lot of good friends just over the border. Please, be careful with those kind of headlines but I bet every reader on here will open that story.

bbeckum 2 years, 7 months ago

I know this is off topic and may have been beat to death already, but...

It's been interesting to hear the pundits talk about the increasingly narrow gap between the mid-majors and the majors. Judging by the play and talent level, in addition to the recent success of many of these programs, I'm inclined to agree.

I think it's an overwhelmingly positive development. If this trend continues, an Ohio or Xavier will win the title one of these years and that's got to be good for college basketball. For years, those teams were first-round fodder, with the obligatory Cinderella making it to the Sweet 16 before getting sent home by KU, MSU, UNC...

Now that they're legitimate threats, the tourney is more wide-open, more unpredictable, more fun, and more better.

april28 2 years, 7 months ago

At least a couple of factors - that they don't mention - contribute to this development.

  1. AAU ball. Almost all players play virtually year around now. Kids off of the Detroit team had probably played against Tyshawn, or T Rob or others on our team at summer tournaments. They are no longer intimidated like they may have been 15 or 20 years ago.

  2. Schollie Cap. It went from 15 to 12 many years ago. That definitely spreads the talent around.

Years ago, Lon Kruger said that, after the top 50 or so players, there wasn't that much difference between number 51 and number 150. Add all the AAU experience and I think that the gap has closed even more.

FLJHK 2 years, 7 months ago

Another factor that is huge. Many of the "big name" schools from the power conferences lose their marquee players after a year or two to the NBA. The mid majors get players a notch below elite in high school, but develop them and get them to learn to play together in a system. An experienced mid major team is very capable of competing with the more elite but inexperienced teams.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

Great Points Beckum and April! This is why I hate it when pundits or fans say that Missouri, Duke, or Michigan (Nich St, Lehigh, and Ohio) would win 9 times out of 10.

I acutally think that stat is wrong as well! Look, those teams had 5 or more days to prepare for those squads. The talent gap is shrinking from the bottom to the top and I also agree that is a good thing.

Everybody likes to lump in a great number of schools into the "Mid-Major" category, but even though their are a number of different teams each year, Mid-Majors aren't going anywhere. Actually, they are going to continue to get better and better and there will be more of them threatening the rankings.

Note: I don't really consider Xavier a mid-major anymore. They have proven since the 80's in the big dance that they can compete with anyone.

April: Great Post! Couldn't agree more.

dylans 2 years, 7 months ago

15 of the 16 teams playing are not mid-majors. Bounce Ohio and it's all big time ball. So the gap is larger than the pundits would lead us to believe. Don't buy into the hype.

danmoore 2 years, 7 months ago

I think the mid-majors are here to stay. They finish their conference tourney a week before the majors and are well rested. In most instances they are the higher seed and might be playing with a chip on their shoulder. They are not expected to win and the pressure is less and as a result are usually playing with house money. But I think the biggest reason is they typically are comprised of juniors and seniors who are more experienced. Kentucky might prove me wrong this year but I'm still not sold on the one and done concept.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 7 months ago

Look at the Sweet Sixteen. 14 teams are from power conferences. Xavier is a major in mid-major clothing.. Think Memphis, Gonzaga, UNLV etc..

The ONLY true Cinderella is Ohio.

To me, that does not show parity. If you put 68 teams in a Tourney where there are 25(?) autos to mid majors plus some (5-8?) invites, then of course there will be some compelling upsets. IMO Syracuse lost to a 16 seed but in their second game, they acquitted themselves well.

Last year was a rare exception w/2 mids in the Final Four. This year is much more typical.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

Plenty of Mid-Major's in that Top 32 though! That many in the Top 32 means they are cutting and slicing at the gap. Plus, it's a different group every year. Let's not count the teams that don't make it because of the 1 bid conference rule. Valpo or North Texas are prime examples. Those are teams that have the potential to do some damage.

No offense, but 5 of the 16 schools last year were from so called "Mid Major" conferences. 8 of the 32 teams in the round of 32 this year were defined as "Mid Major's" and whether or not you include Xavier in that list it could be 9. I don't know about you..............but 25 percent is a pretty darn good number in having an opportunity to get to the Top 16 teams in the country!

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 7 months ago

True..quite a few big time programs have fallen due to 1st round jitters.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

I think Mid-Major's are here to stay:

2012: 8 made the round of 32 (9 if you include Xavier) and 1 or 2 made the round of 16 depending on Xavier.

2011: 9 made the round of 32 and 5 of them went on to the sweet 16.

2010: 11 made the round of 32 and 4 made the Sweet 16

2009: 4 made the round of 32 and 1 made it to the Sweet 16.

2008: 6 made the round of 32 and 2 made it to the Sweet 16.

2007: 6 made the round of 32 and 2 made it to the Sweet 16

2006: 9 made the round of 32 and 4 made it to the Sweet 16

2005: 7 made the round of 32 and 1 made it to the Sweet 16

2004: 2 made it to the round of 32 and 1 made it to the Sweet 16

2003: 2 made it to the round of 32 and 1 made it to the Sweet 16

2002: 5 made it to the round of 32 and 2 made it to the Sweet 16.

2001:6 made it to the round of 32 and 1 made it to the Sweet 16.

2000: 3 made it to the round of 32 and 1 made it to the Sweet 16.

Chris Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

There are actually two trends. In 2006 a high number of mid-majors made the round of the 32, round of 16 and then George Mason made the Final 4.

Also, the Missouri Valley for the first time ever sent 4 schools to the Big Dance and probably should have gotten 5. Also, 2006 was the highest number of mid major conferences getting at large bids.

With that statistic, the NCAA decided that their TV viewership would suffer if they kept allowing that many mid-major's in the tournament.

That's why you see a dip in Mid-Major's from 2007, 2008, and 2009. Then all of a sudden Mid-Major's took a step up in success, play, and opportunities starting in 2010.

You don't necessarily have to look at the round of 16, but since 2010 the number of mid-major's making it to the round of 32 has increased significantly.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

There is a trend toward Mid Majors making more of an impact.

And the trend will continue as long as bang ball is allowed in the Madness and commercial length and frequency continue to increase.

The more you let bangers decide games in the Madness the more decisive weight lifting becomes. And every school can afford weight lifting equipment and the weight training regimes are getting more and more scientifically systematized and more and more broadly disseminated. There are a lot more bangers you can bulk up, than great basketball players out there. Every mid major can bulk up its players and deny the athleticism of great basketball players on the blue blood programs.

Purdue was a great example of that. KU had vastly better basketball players, but Purdue's bangers denied almost all of our athleticism.

Next, as commercial length and frequency increase, it means depth is less and less important. It matters less and less that major D1 programs have recruiting budgets that allow them to recruit way more good players than the mid-majors. Why? Because you only need 7-8 players to be competitive in the Madness now. The extra depth of a major is only useful in regular season.

Further, because of bang ball and weight lifting, it is fairly easy for any mid major to find 7-8 bangers. So: since mostly what you need are bangers, the mid majors can focus their recruiting on landing two good players and one defense stretching shooter, just like the majors. And they don't waste their time trying to be deep, because in their mid major conferences, no one is deep.

So: the mid majors are perfectly tailored, after playing 7-8 man bang ball for a conference season, to enter the Madness and do well, because the Madness is now tailored to 7-8 man bang ball style.

Its elementary.

Bang ball, weight lifting, the need for fewer great players, and the need for less depth converge in the Madness to narrow the gap between majors and mid majors.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

Self made this point crystal clear after the loss to VCU.

His players were not better than the VCU players after you got past the Twins. And VCU had a big bruiser that could discount the Twin's athleticism and skill with bang ball. And XTReme Conditioning of VCU's players did the rest.

Self learned the lesson. KU's problem was to get through the season when depth would have helped. Once the Madness started, he implied, we'll have a pretty good team that can compete under those circumstances.

Lots of long commercials, lots of low possession bang ball games, mean 7-8 guys are way more than enough.

Let the best set of weight lifters win.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 7 months ago

Pretty compelling (and nicely researched) evidence and I will agree that the level of play by the starting 5 has narrowed between the bigs and mids. However, most often mid-majors will fall short due to their lack of depth.

Even with the break between rounds..the NCAA is grueling because of scrutiny, intensity, stress (which covers a lot of issues) that most mid-majors cannot overcome.

Being Cinderella is great but the media coverage can overwhelm some teams.

Add in an injury or two and even the top teams can find their heels in deep doggy poo.

Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 7 months ago

Gary must be reading those grocery store magazine covers like the Enquirer. Their headlines are designed to play to the emotions of suckers who need drama in their lives. We have enough drama just dealing with our team's journey through the season and post season.

We'll read every article. Don't worry, just entertain us with facts and information we wouldn't get anywhere else and we'll be satisfied. Unless Tysawn fathers a two headed, 26 pound alien baby with a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, we just want the facts!

Jeffery Barrett 2 years, 7 months ago

My guess is Gary didn't write the headline.

Stephen Simmons 2 years, 7 months ago

The headline is so bad that it makes me wonder if it wasn't intentional. Websites make money by selling ads, and the more traffic you get to the site, the more ads they serve, and the more money they make.

So a CLEAR headline like, "McLemore Excited for KU's Trip to His Hometown" would probably result in lots of people skipping over the story since it's essentially a fluff peice with no real news.

Instead, the "geniuses" at the LJW throw out an intentionally deceptive headline that implies that McLemore is somehow splitting from the team and BOOM every visitor has to go to the story and read about 6 paragraphs in before they realize that they've been duped.

You've witnessed the schlock journalism equivalent to yelling "fire" in a theater.

Kent Richardson 2 years, 7 months ago

Sometimes things like this portend an actual event. We may need Martha and the Vandella's to issue a remake of Jimmy Mack.

Benny Mac, oh Benny Oh Benny Mac, are you coming back?

Jack Wilson 2 years, 7 months ago

Remember, the author of the article/column probably didn't write the headline. And it wasn't a capital offense. The subheadline cleared up any possible confusion. At most, there was 3 seconds of confusion.

Jim Roth 2 years, 7 months ago

Heart attacks can happen in less time.

Displayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

On a completely different track, I'm glad Colorado went to the Pac 12, because Tad Boyle is building a good team out there and they won't be easy to beat in the coming years! He is getting some pretty good recruits from the looks of it, and knows what to do with them too.

nuleafjhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm just thankful that they clarified it was * KANSAS' * Ben McLemore, as opposed to the hundreds of other Ben McLemores that us KU fans might be interested in.

Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, that Ben McLemore from Parsippany, NJ can go home for all I care! And, also the one from Ottawa, Kansas can head on home

RockChalk26 2 years, 7 months ago

My levels of anticipation and excitement for Ben are through the roof. I think he will be a stud next year.

kkoenig 2 years, 7 months ago

After the Purdue game Thomas Robinson was asked about having to guard Hummel and, following switches on screens, some of the Purdue guards. He said he'd been forced to guard Ben McLemore in practice quite a bit and that we'd all be surprised at how good he is & will be. Self's been hinting at the same thing for a while.

REHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

BenMac, do you catch the feeling that the Jayhawk Nation waits with breathless enthusiasm for your appearance in games next season? Great to read Bill Self's high regard for the input you and Jamari already have invested in the improvement of our current squad. The two of you will be familiar names and faces when you come bounding through the tunnel in Jayhawk uniforms. Thanks for hanging tight, making the most of your KU scholarship and performing opportunity. Gary Bedore and editorial staff at LJW, I like the headline, esp. because its possible portent rocked me onto my heels. Very clever eyecatching use of the king's verbiage.

FLJHK 2 years, 7 months ago

Per some of the above comments, it's not just Jayhawk Nation anymore. It's Jayhawk World.

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Good catch. > And I bet the internet has a lot to do with that popularity. So, let's limit any notoriety and stay selective in how we, the Jayhawk Nation, portray ourselves to the rest of the world. (ie. Remember how fast Mel Gibson's career spiraled down after he aired some inadvisable and reprehensible comments regarding his religous beliefs?) > And REHawk, you're right on about BMac and JTray. It's rare enough to be forced to wait while one star player sits out. With two, it doubles the anticipation. At the start of next season, the Jayhawk Nation will have an influx of new Crimson and Blue, a plethora of both new recruits as well as McClemore and Traylor. In their case, we've been fed tidbits of provocative performance levels to whit our salivating appetites; two untested but well tempered players who are anxious to display their abilities. I know I'm just as anxious to witness their debuts.

John Randall 2 years, 7 months ago

FYI – these two aren't on scholarship until next fall, because of the "partial qualifier" label from NCAA and Big12 disallowing scholarships. That ruling also cost KU the services of Braeden Anderson, since he couldn't afford it and transferred to a school in a conference that allows scholarships for the 'probation' year.

Clarence Haynes 2 years, 7 months ago

Ben, there was another pretty good BBall player from St. Louis by the name of Joseph Henry White AKA Jo Jo White. I need not say more my man but hopefully, in addition to Hughes (who undoubtedly had game), you will put Jo Jo in your repetiore of great players from Louie!

HawkKlaw 2 years, 7 months ago

Well that was clearly discussed in the article. It helps if you learn how to read first, though.

PhogAdvisory 2 years, 7 months ago

"Both have well above 3.0s (grade-point averages). If they stay four years, it almost certainly guarantees graduation. I think they spun it into a positive the best they can."

^From the article

Also: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/03/12/2012-ncaa-march-madness-academic-performance-tournament

I don't think our team is having any problems making the academic cut.

Phoghorn 2 years, 7 months ago

Site Staff, can somebody just push the Big Red Disappearededededed button on this clown already?

mikehawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Reading through the blog reactions to the headline, I guess I'm not the only one who needs to get a life. Especially this time of year with the Hawks still alive.

Robert Brock 2 years, 7 months ago

Wut? You had Missuruh winning the national championship?

packywacky88 2 years, 7 months ago

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eastTXjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

are y'all serious? Surely you knew Ben is from St. Louis, the same place we're playing this Friday...it never crossed my mind he was leaving (he's been [no pun] through the toughest part already.)

i guess we're all de-tuned for bad news...

Benjamin Piehler 2 years, 7 months ago

"I'm in St. Louis, and I can see the arch from here. No, wait. Thats a half burned down McDonalds."

Ryan Sullivan 2 years, 7 months ago

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REHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Speaking of controversial journalistic license, did y'all catch that bit about Bad Bad Bobby Knight and his weekend commentary on ESPN cuts, his refusal to say the word Kentucky? He referred to the Wildcats as "that team from the SEC." HA!

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

Jamari is already feeling competitive.

He did not mention Jeff Withey's name. :-)

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

Self keeps talking about Justin's raw athletic ability being off the charts.

I have to suspect that Justin next season will likely be ready to start combining the learning with the athleticism and surprising people.

RJ King 2 years, 7 months ago

I think HCBS is just throwing a bone to a nice kid who probably tries hard in practice and does well running, jumping, and lifting weights.

Wesley's limited range of expressions and body language in games goes from somewhat confused to mildly frustrated. My eye test says he continues to struggle with both positioning and anticipation / understanding of the game. I just don't see marked improvement, and suspect there might not be a spot for him next year.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

Its interesting. Self has no history of throwing such bones. Why would he start now?

Do you remember Thomas Robinson his first season? He literally could not walk and chew gum, he was so stressed out from the learning process.

Remember Kieff his first season?

Etc., etc..

Everyone said Justin had a long way to go.

He's proven he can guard a post. If he can do that even for ten minutes, he will always be valuable to Self.

He is 6-9 and 225. He will add 10 pounds at least. He may never be a starter, but he's been through the wars. He's in a funk. He's hit a ceiling this season that he did not break through. But he will break through it eventually.

Ralph Miller said long ago he could take almost any 6'8 kid off a city league play ground and make a useful D1 big man out of him just by teaching him foot work. Then Miller did it a half dozen times in his career as a coach at Wichita STate, Iowa, and Oregon State.

Justin has athleticism. His temperament maybe holding him up, slowing him down, and others may bring more than he does now, but time and again, we see these guys that stick around 4-5 years enter the rotation eventually. KU is generating so many draft choices that these guys that hang around 4-5 years inevitably get a shot to be 10-20 minute men sooner or later.

RJ King 2 years, 7 months ago

By throwing a bone, I mean that Self tries to be complimentary to all his players. But actually, the better they are, the more he is willing to nit pick a little with mild criticism, making sure their heads don't swell.

I do remember Robinson and Kieff before & after. But next year there will be 4 players with skills likely already superior to Wesley's: Withey, Ellis, Traylor and Young, plus 2 unknown, but big newcomers in Lucas and Peters. It's going to be crowded. If Ralph Miller had all those bodies and only so many chairs, he might have let one go.

I see Wesley going the way of Quintrell Thomas, Woolridge, Wilkes, etc. (I know the last 2 were guards). Who knows how they all might have developed if they had stayed. But they didn't.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

With Tyshawn, Thomas and Conner gone, that nucleus of KU players that have both been through Self's toughening box and through the wars are going to be:

EJ, Travis, Jeff, Kevin and Justin.

These are the guys proven to be able to take the withering criticism of Self, learn the thousand page play book, learn the scouting reports, and meet the minimum standards: defend at D1 speeds on ball, help defend at D1 speeds off ball, protect, feed the post/receive the post feed, and play injured.

If you have more talent, and can meet the minimum standards, you may start ahead of these guys, but when the hairs get short, and the stakes get high, when what is needed are stops, which is any time KU's behind, or only a 3 up, then EJ, Travis, Jeff, Kevin, and Justin are going to be tough to keep out of the line up, no matter how many starts BenMac and Jamari have, and no matter how many stars and MCDs the recruits have.

Its war out there.

If you haven't done your job, when the bullets are flying, you may have to step aside for those that have.

Dan Pawlowski 2 years, 7 months ago

How are you defining nucleus? Your definition does not include Kevin Young , Naadir Tharpe and Merv Lindsay who have had some playing time during crucial games or crucial parts of a game.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

Yup, it explicitly includes KY. Sorry you missed it.

RE: Naadir--he is in a position to join the group. He's being played in the NCAA tournament to get him ready for foul trouble to Tyshawn, to be able to hold Tyshawn to 30 mpg on the first day of next weekend, and to let him know he's part of the future plan. I believe he will be a part of the rotation next season, unless Self lands someone huge at point we don't expect. Even if Anrio Adams comes, he seems to be a guy I call a Trans-Shirt. He has transcript issues and will sit next season the way BenMac and Jamari have.

Regarding Merv, he seems to be being groomed for two seasons from now, maybe even 3, to be a Conner type down the road. Merv seems to have grown a bit more mature looking just during this season. He will play sometime down the road, but its likely to take awhile, just as it did with Conner. But if I were him, I would take a read shirt, and get a degree and be ready to be in the rotation 2-3 seasons from now.

Dan Pawlowski 2 years, 7 months ago

Don't get your bvd's/and or panties in a bunch folks. Read the sub text (text below the headline). What you should be doing is going to http://www.ncaa.com/naismithvote/ and voting for T-ROB. He deserves the award named after the inventor and our first coach! If he doesn't win it , that would be something to pinch your cheeks about!

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Mahalo for the heads up and the link. I voted yesterday, but it doesn't look like they're allowing repeat voting. When I went back this morning the results were being shown, but no vote selection was available. So everyone needs to vote at least once. TRob is way behind in the votes.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

BoulderHawk,

I'm not at all clear here who you are talking to here, and so I'm a bit worried for you. BVDs. Panty wadding. Pinching cheeks. Are you going through a hard time, or what?

Usually you are rather focused in your dislike of what I write, but you rarely lash out open-endedly.

I am concerned for your well-being. I don't really enjoy being sniped at by you, but you are a Jayhawk and this is the time of season we need all hands on deck and pulling in the same direction.

And I've grown accustomed to your negativity, so I don't want to lose it, you know? :-)

Be of good cheer and trust that Thomas Robinson, one of our finest big men ever, will get his just deserts.

He's going to get a ring.

Rock Chalk!

kdeutch 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't know if everyone knows that you can vote for TRob at this site for Naismith Award:

http://www.ncaa.com/naismithvote

Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

BenMac....c'mon. as a fellow St.Louisan, you know everybody goes to the Arch.

Take the Hawks to true St.Louis monuments..Ted Drewes Frozen Custard on Watson Road and any Eat-Rite Diner you can find!!! [Just make sure it isn't on a game day]

Honorable Mentions: 1] Toasted ravioli at Zia's on The Hill 2] The City Museum 3] The St.Louis Zoo 4] The Butterfly House in Chesterfield. 5] Fortell's Pizza on Mackenzie Blvd

2 years, 7 months ago

No mention of an Anheuser-Busch InBev Plant tour complete with complimentary samples for of-age fans and hoopa’s? Or, has the InBev takeover soured many of the locals?

Since you and others on here are not only KU fans but also St. Louisans, I thought y’all might find the latest Jack's Smack amusing:

http://www.kshb.com/dpp/sports/jacks_smack/Jacks-Smack-Theres-not-a-Jayhawk-breathing-that-didnt-take-delight-in-Mizzous-embarrassing-loss

Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 7 months ago

Oakville.. Ever been to Lombardo's Trattoria in the Drury Inn next to Union Station? I found it once and have been back several times. It's in a basement of this old hotel building that's on the Nat'l Historic Register and is one of my favorites in STL.

Scott Smetana 2 years, 7 months ago

Lived in St. Louis 3 years... Nice list, but things you left off:

  1. Busch's Grant's Farm.. where they keep the Clydesdales. Free Beer and MUCH better than the generic brewery tour.
  2. Botanic Gardens... best I've seen in the USA
  3. Custard Station in Kirkwood (better than Ted's)
  4. Downtown St. Charles.. very cool
  5. Any Strip club in East St. Louis. Very coed in St. Louis, cheap, and crazy stuff to see. Way better than Vegas. (so I've heard:)

Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 7 months ago

Ah, East St. Louis. Now, that's where you want visitors to flock to, especially the team!

Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 7 months ago

Fond memories of my time living in St. Louis:

Busch's Grove in Ladue (gone, gut not forgotten) Fatted Calf in Clayton (hope it's still alive) White Castle

John Randall 2 years, 7 months ago

""" ... McLemore, who along with the 6-8 Traylor has been able to practice all second semester but not play in games until next season in accordance with NCAA rules. """

One more time, the NCAA ruling on these two and Braeden Anderson as well, was "partially qualified." That was a CYA position taken by the NCAA, ostensibly because they each attended more than two high schools, though there was no academic or other reason to disqualify them.

The Big12 requires "partial qualifiers" to establish eligibility for a year, so the NCAA was able to use this tactic against a high-profile program as a way to threaten the agents/runners/AAU/prep schools who exploit these guys.

trobpoy 2 years, 7 months ago

I really thoug bmac got in som trouble when i read the headline. phew

jayhawker_97 2 years, 7 months ago

maaaan... vs NCState, is where we could really use BMac. damn NCAA committee, damn it!! i'm not even sure if i'll be around next year..

Lance Hobson 2 years, 7 months ago

Great article, but I'm clearly not the onlly one who was completely bummed out when I read the headline. Please change it.

Paul Wilson 2 years, 7 months ago

Everyone at the LJW is laughing at all the posts about the headline. All they see are readers taking the bait as planned. The negative reactions simply reinforces their motivation to continue tactics like this to get us to read their articles. Expect more of the same. Should we really expect anything less though?

Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 7 months ago

If the tactic is for us to patronize the advertisers who buy space on these pages, I'll bet it's not exactly a good value for the advertisers. I have never even clicked on any of the ads and rarely even pay attention to them. So, I'll bet im in the vast majority. Wouldn't it be interesting to know how these ads are sold? What is the volume of dollars that the ads must generate for the advertisers to deem it effective? Usually, there is a very low expectation of actual sales results from clicking on the ads online. The exposure and recognition that these ads supposedly produce is very hard to monitor and is extremely difficult to measure success by.

So, gimmicky and misleading headlines are probably not the most palatable tactic to be used on relatively intelligent folks who frequent this site. I do not like being insulted in this way in efforts to fool advertisers into spending their budgets on what is probably not the best use of their funds. .

btw, like your username! Like my avatar?

Priest Fontaine 2 years, 7 months ago

jayhawkers! check out this hilarious short film my friends in KC made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=...

ajhk 2 years, 7 months ago

gotta love Eero Saarinen's stuff. His bad was the shiznit too.

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