Tuesday, May 29, 2012

KU’s Elijah Johnson cautious at camp

Kansas University’s Elijah Johnson, center, poses with a pair of young participants in the KC Gym Rats Collegiate All-Star Camp on Monday, May 28, 2012, in Overland Park.

Kansas University’s Elijah Johnson, center, poses with a pair of young participants in the KC Gym Rats Collegiate All-Star Camp on Monday, May 28, 2012, in Overland Park.


— Kansas University senior Elijah Johnson accepted a pass from Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder, then bounced the basketball off the court into the hands of high-flying Jayhawk junior Justin Wesley, who finished a memorable Memorial Day dunk before 100 KC Gym Rats Collegiate All-Star campers in Blue Valley Northwest High’s gym.

“I don’t think coach (Bill Self) is going to let Elijah bounce it off the floor next year, but it was fun playing with him today, even though he can’t move around like he usually does,” Wesley said with a smile.

Johnson — he also fired a basketball off a wall to a trailing KSU forward Jordan Henriquez, who successfully jammed — was in great spirits while tutoring youths with the three other college players and BV Northwest coach Ed Fritz. The 6-4, 195-pounder from Las Vegas just made sure he jogged straight, making no cutting movements, as he continues his recovery from mid-April arthroscopic left knee surgery.

“I couldn’t do too much today. Rodney couldn’t do too much. I’m still trying to heal up from my surgery, and he is, too,” Johnson said of KSU senior guard McGruder, who had foot surgery last March.

“J.O. (Henriquez) and Justin got to play a little bit, but I was more of a spectator today. It’s always a lot of fun to work with the kids.”

Johnson said he’ll be cleared to play pick-up basketball, “on my birthday — July 11th. I feel great. I feel like I can play right now, but I’ve got to be smart about it and take care of my body. I’m going to sit out how long the doc tells me to sit out.”

Johnson actually was not 100 percent during the latter portion of the 2011-12 season.

“I was all right. I was a little uncomfortable, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t play through,” Johnson said.

He would not acknowledge his swollen knee to media inquisitors during the NCAA Tournament. He never complained to his teammates.

“He was dealing with that during the season, too. He doesn’t complain. If I had to choose somebody on the team who didn’t complain about anything, it’d be Elijah,” Wesley said. “He really did play through it and play through it well. I think it would have been scary if he was 100 percent.”

Johnson is expected to take over from Tyshawn Taylor as floor general during the 2012-13 season.

He was asked if he considers it his team.

“That’s how I want to embrace it,” Johnson said. “I feel when they get down to the last couple seconds in the game, I want everybody to look at me and feel comfortable. I don’t want people to look at me and not know what kind of mood I’m going to be in tonight. I want my teammates to know that every night I am trying to take them all the way as far as I can, further than we went last year and try to be positive in any situation.”

College assistance: Blue Valley Northwest coach Ed Fritz annually has KU and K-State players help work his various KC Gym Rats camps.

“We had a great foursome today,” Fritz said. “They get along really well. Last night, Jordan Henriquez told me he already talked to Elijah about the camp. It’s great they respect each other. For having such a great rivalry, it’s great they get along.

“It’s nice for the kids (campers) to see these kids (Jayhawks and Wildcats) up close and see they are regular people like they are. They get along with the kids, and that makes it nice.”

Q&A;: Fritz held a Q and A with the four players.

“Allen Fieldhouse,” was the response of Henriquez, asked to identify the toughest building he’s played in. “The moment I walked in the gym ... those fans are true KU fans.”

“Sherron Collins,” McGruder said, asked to reveal the toughest player he’s played against.

Asked the same question, KU’s Wesley said, “Tyler Zeller.”

Honoree: Incoming KU forward Perry Ellis of Wichita Heights was named one of 40 Parade All-Americans on Sunday.

“It’s nice to have him gone, really nice,” BV Northwest’s Fritz said with a smile. His squad was state runner-up to Heights the past three seasons. “Perry is a great player and was a great champion. He seemed always to be ready to play in the state championship game. He’ll have a great career at KU.”

Northwest returns junior major-college prospect Clayton Custer and three other sophomore starters. With 6-foot point guard Custer, BV Northwest has been 46-4 the past two seasons.

Quin in running: The Charlotte Bobcats plan on interviewing former Missouri coach Quin Snyder for the NBA team’s head-coaching vacancy, ESPN reports. The Bobcats reportedly already have interviewed Jerry Sloan, Patrick Ewing, Nate McMillan, Dave Joerger, Mike Malone, Nate Tibbetts, Mike Dunlap and Stephen Silas. They also will interview Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, ESPN says.


Alohahawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Queenie Snyder? Who is kidding who? What a laugh!! That guy couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag filled with holes. If the Bobcats were to select him they'd have a very good chance to have the worst record that any NBA team has ever had. They'd be lucky to win one game all season. If they want the chance to have first choice on NBA draft night, that's a easy way to do it. As for character? There are few slimeballs equal to Cal Lie Pari, but I'd place Snyder up there very close to him.

WilburNether 9 years, 6 months ago

It reminds me of that old saying, the polite version of which is "Screw up and move up."

But Dookie-Boy Snyder of low character? Why, Quinny is just out to further the academic achievements of his recruits! For example, consider Ricky Clemons "earning" 24 credit hours IN SUMMER SCHOOL at Barton County CC in order to "qualify" to play at Fizzou. What a sterling emphasis on academics by Dookie-Boy!

MiCoHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

He always did seem rather lost when he didn't have that Carolina guy around to hate anymore.

packywacky88 9 years, 6 months ago

That's the greatest and most disturbing video I've ever seen. That can't be real, is it?

Ashwin Rao 9 years, 6 months ago

If they are looking at Quin, maybe they can give Isiah Thomas another chance too! :)

swjhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I think the Bobcats are looking a little down the line to when Larry Brown wants to coach in the pros again :-)

texashawk10 9 years, 6 months ago

LB already coached the Bobcats. He was the one that got Charlotte to their lone playoff appearance.

championhawks 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ has quickly become an easy person to root for. He was in Self's doghouse early in his career and didn't play much. Even as a highly rated recruit, you never heard of him complaining or wavering on his decision to come to KU. He waited out his time, had a great season last year and is now ready to lead this team.

Good luck Elijah and take care of that knee!

yovoy 9 years, 6 months ago

Ummm, EJ was in the doghouse? I don't really remember that being the case. Tyshawn was in the doghouse. EJ had to play behind Ty for 2 years, Selby 1, and before that he had to play behind Ty, Tyrel, Brady, X, AND Sherron. He didn't have any choice but to wait his turn. It has paid off. I've always liked him. Even when he was biding his time as a Frosh, he was always smiling and looked like he was having a great time.

milehighhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ was absolutely in the doghouse this year. Self wouldn't call him out by name most of the time in the post-game interviews, but he would comment on "our guards" quitting, etc.

Also, EJ was suspended for the first two exhibition games last year...

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, the Mighty Quin would be the logical favorite if the choice was between Jerry Sloan and himself, right? Has he even been on a court in the last four years? Oh, and he's got that NBA legacy to draw from, right? Joe Dooley would be a better choice than Snyder.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 6 months ago

Actually, I was just making a point. I agree, we don't need any more defection from the coaching ranks. Dooley will go someday, however.

Robin Smith 9 years, 6 months ago

Snyder is an assistant on the LA Lakers this year

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Good things happen where ever the Queen goes! Right?

Robin Smith 9 years, 6 months ago

LOL that is funny

although I'd say the Lakers had a good season all things considered :D

ChicagoJHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

He has been coaching in the NBA Development League for some time now. He was actually Keith Langford's coach for a little while, when he was still in the D league.

Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not defending him by any means 'cause I think he's a scumbag, but just responding to your question as to what he's been up to or if he's coached in a while.

Robin Smith 9 years, 6 months ago

I agree. It's odd. There was a while when he was loose with the handle but the last half of this season showed he could be solid and clutch. I'm stoked for EJ next year!

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

The only speculation about Naadir that I have read is that he might not be good enough to play D1 point for another year, not that he might move EJ aside. :-)

Regardless, EJ's knee must have been a hyper mess much of the season judging from his trey percentage.

And now we know why he wasn't being asked to get to the rim.

And imagine how well he is going to be able to guard with two wheels with working shock absorbers. He was guarding pretty darned good on one Monroe.

But back to how messed up his knee must have been. If it takes a guy this long to rehab, he had significantly more serious knee injury than Tyshawn did. And a significantly more serious knee injury implies some risk of permanent reduction in his abilities. And playing on a bad Monroe can really kill the hops. Remember how Kaun went from being a big man who could get up his freshman season to a near hop-less big by his junior and senior years? God, I hope EJ is not headed down that path!

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

Tharpe wasn't close to being ready to start at the point last year and unless there has been dramatic improvement, I don't see him D1 ready this or any year.

Hope I'm completely wrong.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Call for a medical opinion.

  1. Why was Tyshawn scoped last season, but EJ was not?

  2. Why can Tyshawn go full tilt after 10 days, but EJ needs so long?

  3. Is EJ's injury enough more severe that he could be limited by it, as he was last season?

What is up?

Was it EJ's knee condition, or Naadir's limitations, driving Self to go after Mark Lyons for one year?

Next, if EJ's knee becomes problematic, and Naadir has serious limits, who is Plan B, assuming no one else is signed?

Is Ben Mac working at point?

Are Kevin, or Perry, going to be the next Magic Johnson?

Anrio, get your ACT togethuh!!!

Robin Smith 9 years, 6 months ago

  1. Honestly it probably came down to the comfort level of the player and the timing of the injury.

  2. Necessity. Tyshawn was needed and felt comfortable enough. No need to rush EJ in the off-season.

3.EJ will be fine.

  • not much

  • Naadir's limitations prompted the Lyons pursuit

  • EJ's knee will be fine, Naadir can do some stuff, and Anrio is on board

  • BMac won't play point

  • nor will Self employ a point-forward

  • Anrio passed the ACT

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Did I miss the announcement that Anrio is cleared and coming to Lawrence?

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago


Is he a multi-school transcripter?

Should expect him sometime between the 9th game of season the following year? :-)

Man, doesn't the NCAA have something like Senate Fast Track legislation, where, the Senate just effectively suspends the Constitution and does whatever they want for the good of no-bid contractors and President's looking for a war to give them a ratings bounce?

Yo, NCAA, 'Rio is a national basketball security issue. If USA can fast track invading Syria for an election year buzz, well, then the NCAA can fast track 'Rio for a Reloading Year.

Rock Chalk fast trackin'!!!!

Tony Bandle 9 years, 6 months ago

If he plays before Xmas, it will be a bonus.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Speaking of the injuries, what about Travis Releford. Talk about someone that needed to go in for a Steve Austin job by the end of the season. What is the latest iGrapevine on the once awesomely explosive Travis reduced to playing a horizontal, old man's game much of last season, a la Tyrel Reed his last season?

Speculatin' rhythmn...

No one seems to be getting the chuckle I have been getting from Self saying (surely tongue in cheek) that KU caught a break on injuries last season.

Good lord, Coach, let's look a last year's injuries.

Tyshawn: knee, scoped.

EJ: knee, unscoped, but so bad its taken a heckuva long time to rehab.

Travis: ankle, knee, and at least one shot to the head that I remember that altogether left him with an old man's game.

Thomas: matching hyper extended elbows and one knee that was gimpy for an extended stretch.

Jeff: facial separation.

Kevin, Conner, and Naadir: 3rd degree burns over 90 percent of their bodies from blow-bys.

Coach Self, playing players because there is no other choice is not the same as catching a break on injuries.

I would say your guys caught hell from injuries last season, but the guys were just tougher than nails and kept limping for you.

Hell, yes, we'd have been UK in our sleep, if we'd been healthy.

No, its true that none of the players bunked out of the Towers and caught a Texas Chain Saw Massacre costing them a limb that forced them to sit.

But catching a break on injuries?

I am beginning to think Coach Self may be the first KU coach to tell a player that loses a leg in a car accident to strap on a two by four and play on it!!!

"Man up, son, Cyn and I bought that 2 x4 at Home Depot for you ourselves. She's who thought of painting the crimson and blue barber pole stripes on it. Its solid. Stop your complaining. Now get out there and try not to scratch the floor."

Sheeesh! :-)

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

France doesn't need to be conquered. They'll just surrender.

Robin Smith 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ's injury is not bad. It's routine.

“The reason we’re not going to bring him back sooner is there’s no reason to rush it,” Self said, explaining, “it was a scope. There was some swelling. When you have floating particles, they need to get in there and clean it up. By the middle of June he should be close to 100 percent. He should be good to go in June. This will not set him back at all.”

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

Hope you're right robot. Still I'll agree with Jaybate that while KU was fortunate there weren't any serious tears or broken bones, the knee had to have held EJ back to some extent. On the one hand I'm still nervous about anyone returning from injury, on the other I think EJ is a special player that is going to rip opponents apart next year. Would love another UK game in the champs classic or whatever in Atlanta to shut up some obnoxious UK fans, 'cause they'll get destroyed in some early games next year. Plus you know EJ/TRel/Withey would be on a mission. Oh well, we need some revenge on MSU yet, just not for these players.

KansasComet 9 years, 6 months ago

Elijah Johnson is the man! As far as next year, "Can't Wait"!

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