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Monday, November 19, 2012

Royce Woolridge to reunite with KU tonight

Kansas guard Royce Woolridge pushes the ball up court past Washburn's Jeff Reid in the second half of the exhibition game, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Royce Woolridge pushes the ball up court past Washburn's Jeff Reid in the second half of the exhibition game, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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— It didn’t take former Kansas University basketball player Royce Woolridge long to become a fan favorite at his new school, Washington State.

The 6-foot-3, 175-pound third-year sophomore point guard, who practiced but could not play in games last season according to NCAA transfer rules, flushed a one-handed dunk following a 360-degree spin move, then completed a between-the-legs jam to win the slam-dunk competition at the Cougars’ 2012-13 season-opening ZZU Mania in Pullman, Wash.

“The crowd liked it. My friends from Phoenix were there and loved it. One of them taped it,” Woolridge said.

He is expected to start for the Cougars during today’s 9 p.m. CBE Classic contest against KU in Sprint Center.

Woolridge takes over at the point for Reggie Moore, a three-year rotation player who was removed from the team in September for a violation of team rules.

Woolridge had been considered more of a shooting guard prospect at KU, where he scored nine points total his freshman season (2010-11) while logging 44 minutes in 16 games.

“I played a little bit of point guard in high school,” the former Phoenix Sunnyslope High player told the Journal-World in a phone conversation. “When I got to Kansas, I got some reps there. I went against Tyshawn (Taylor) and Elijah (Johnson), who are good point guards. When I got here, I knew I had to be a point guard and had to transform.

“I got in the gym and worked on getting a lot of shots up, talking to coach (Ken Bone) to see what he wanted from a point guard.”

When Moore departed, “Coach decided he wanted me to take charge at point guard. I like playing the point. It’s fun,” Woolridge said. “I like playing the 2 and playing the 1.”

His decision to leave KU was over the prospects of potential playing time looking slim down the road. It had nothing to do with his love of the place he committed to as a high school sophomore.

“It’s like my second home,” Woolridge said of Lawrence. “I committed so early. I’d been to Kansas so many times. I have a lot of friends there.

“I still talk to Niko (Roberts, KU junior), my roommate, all the time. I talk to Elijah from time to time. I actually came back and visited Kansas last spring. I got a chance to see everybody. I hung out three or four days to kick it with Niko and see what Lawrence was like. I was missing it.”

Roberts said Woolridge’s return visit proved “how much KU has impact on people. Merv (Lindsay, transfer to New Mexico) wants to come back and visit. When you leave KU, you are still part of the family, and you always want to come back.”

He said he could tell Woolridge loves his new situation at Washington State (2-1), where he averages 7.7 points with 10 assists against nine turnovers in 31.3 minutes a game. He has made eight of 18 shots (44.4 percent) and four of eight threes. He scored 11 points with two assists against five turnovers in the Cougars’ last game, Friday’s 58-56 overtime loss at Pepperdine.

“He told me he is getting a lot of playing time and a lot of opportunities to get better,” Roberts said.

Woolridge said he’s looking forward to seeing familiar faces tonight in K.C.

“You know it’s going to be competitive, but after the game we’ll be friends,” Woolridge said. “When they put the ball in the air, it’s competitive like it was at practice there (KU). I’m looking forward to shaking the hands of the coaches and players.”

Of the competitive aspect of the game, Roberts noted: “Once we start the game, it’ll be all business. After the game, it’ll be friendly. During the game ... we don’t have friends during the game.”

Woolridge said in a perfect world this game would be in Allen Fieldhouse.

“Of course, everybody would like to play in Allen. It’s crazy there,” Woolridge said. “But Kansas City is cool. I’m just glad to get to play a great team like Kansas there. I mean, I’m just grateful for the opportunity. It’s something out of a dream, to go from a college as good at Kansas to a new one and now have an opportunity to play them.”

Notes: Saint Louis will play Texas A&M in today’s 6:30 p.m. opener. The losers of both games play at 6 p.m. Tuesday; the winners will tangle 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, or about 8:30 p.m. ... Saint Louis is 1-1; Texas A&M is 3-0. ... KU coach Bill Self said freshman center Landen Lucas, 6-10 from Portland, would definitely red-shirt this season. He has said repeatedly that Lucas would red-shirt if no big men were injured in coming weeks. ... KU is shooting for its 200th all-time win in Kansas City tonight. The Jayhawks are 199-78 in KC. ...Washington State is coached by Ken Bone who is 59-47 in his fourth season at WSU and 394-219 in his 13 season overall. ... WSU averages 72.0 points per game and has a +13.3 scoring margin. The Cougars crash the boards with a +10.0 rebound margin (37.0-27.0). ... Senior forward Brock Motum averages 17.7 points and 6.7 boards. ... Freshman guard DaVonte Lacy averages 11.3 ppg, leads WSU with five three-pointers and he is tied for the team high with 10 assists. ... WSU has beaten Eastern Washington and Utah Valley in Pullman, Wash. …

Comments

Alohahawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Most of the above posts involve transferring and it's effect on the Jayhawks, so I'm surprised no one has commented on the significance of the statement by Self, that Lucas would definitely red-shirt this season. First and foremost, that Lucas has accepted that role, barring that he doesn't transfer at the end of this semester, and that he'll be staying for the whole nine yards. Also, that Self appears to have recommended it. (ie. Self doesn't recommend red-shirting unless he recognizes a player's future abilities.)

Which brings up Zach Peters, who's status was questioned above, by JakeBarnes. How will Lucas's red-shirting factor into what will happen with Zach this season? And more importantly, long term, how will his injury effect his future as a Jayhawk? To me, because of the injury, he would have been the more logical red-shirt candidate for this season. I've been a believer in his abilities for a long time, and hope he is able to overcome any problems with the injury. And from reports I've read so far, he could really help the Jayhawks this season. Is Coach Self hoping he'll be healthy enough to contribute, come conference time? And if so, will he be able to catch up on lost practice and court/game time? Without the injury, I think Zach's situation could be more crucial this year, but I don't see him able to contribute because of the injury.

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Wally Riker 1 year, 5 months ago

Jayhawk Brethren: Would anyone please be able to share a link to see the game? I do not have cable and apparently the game will be blacked out on ESPN3.....

Your help is greatly appreciated!

GO HAWKS!!!!

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AsadZ 1 year, 5 months ago

Royce saw TT, EJ and Selby in front of him and felt that he is not got going to much PT in the near term. He wanted more immediate PT and HCBS did not guarantee it, and as such he decided to transfer.

At first, most folks including myself on the board felt that he will transfer to a Div II school for immediate PT since he would not have to sit out a year. Thus I was surprised to see him land at WA State.

One should also keep in mind that he got lucky in the sense that the PG at WA State ahead of him got kicked off the team. Otherwise he would not be getting these minutes.

Now he would have gotten more PT at KU as well, but at that time, nobody saw it coming.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 5 months ago

Regarding the issue of rekindled conference realignment..has anyone thought that, since football is the main driving force and, that, since Kansas and Kansas State are tied tighter than siamese twins, and that, since the Wildcats win a lot and the Jayhawks lose a lot, maybe, just maybe, WE would be the anchor that would keep us both out of a superconference if the Big 12 did not survive?

Just a thought....personally, our basketball tradition is worth it's weight in gold and I think the Big 12 will survive.

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Ferd Magellan 1 year, 5 months ago

He'd be ahead of Tharpe right now, no question.

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FarSideHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

In other news...Maryland going to Big 10...the musical chairs begins again...

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John Boyle 1 year, 5 months ago

Who woke up jaybate? I was enjoying him being asleep so my entire computer screen wouldn't be taken up with his rambling (thoughtful and well written but rambling just the same). I only have a 23" monitor. Now I'm going to have to spring for a 50" flat screen TV on Black Friday to use as my monitor just so I can see all jaybate's comments at once.

My "Thought for the Day": "Always carry a litter bag in your car, it doesn't take up much space and when it's full, you can toss it out the window" - Steve Martin circa 1977

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jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

"Thought for the Day"

"Its not enough to want to beat opponents. You have to enjoy beating them. All gladiators have swag. Those that don't are already dead." --jaybaticus, Colisseum Rat, 1st Century BC

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JakeBarnes 1 year, 5 months ago

I wish Self would comment on Peters every now and then. More now than then. Lucas may be a great player down the road, but Peters is more important now.

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jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

Part Three

Its true that Self brought him aboard, even though Royce did not develop into quite the kind of player, especially size wise, that some, probably including Self, were anticipating early on.

And its true that Self had Josh Selby, the best recruit in the country, and some other fine players, playing ahead of Royce.

And its true that Self apparently expected Selby to stay another year once Selby became injured.

But Selby didn't stay.

And Royce left.

If Self were so ruthless, I might have expected Self not to run Royce, when he did. I might have expected Self to run Royce after another season, once he knew for certain he would not need Royce...if Self were really that ruthless.

But what did Self do? He said Royce had decided to pursue other opps, again, if I recall correctly.

Maybe Self did run Royce, in which case, well, tough toe nails, Coach Self, that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes, when your are being cold and calculating about players already on your roster. Its a business, as people who don't have to work in the field like to say.

But maybe Self really did want Royce to stay a couple years and be insurance during that period, then be ready to contribute in the rotation.

And maybe Royce looked at his situation and thought there's not much chance I will ever play in the pros, so I better go down market and find a place where I can play a lot of minutes and have fun playing a lot of minutes.

Can't blame a guy for being willing to move down market for love of the game. Its his right.

And that's what seems like happened looking back with not 20/20, but, say, 20/30, or 20/75 hindsight today.

And that meant that Royce doing what was best for Royce adversely impacted the chances of two consecutive KU teams.

I don't want anyone to boo Royce, or anything.

But I would like to see him given a serious helping of Self Defense, have the ball stripped from him repeatedly, have him taken to the rim and dunked on repeatedly, and have him meet someone's forearm, if he tries to finish around the rim on offense. Well, maybe not the forearm, okay.

But I mean, even the forearm, it would only be KU doing what was best for KU, after Royce did what was best for Royce, right?

Rock Chalk!

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jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

Part 2

Again, regardless, suddenly Self found himself short handed with Selby jumping, Royce doing what was best for Royce and crapping out on some recruits.

Maybe Self counted his chicks before they hatched.

But on the other ball-palming hand, maybe Self did see a future for Royce in the program, but just not for two seasons. Darnell Jackson waited several seasons, won a ring, got drafted, and now plays for pay somewhere in the EU. Why couldn't Royce?

Royce might have been a great fit for last year's team, as it shaped up with a lack of depth. Royce might have been ready to be the back-up to Tyshawn last season, whereas Naadir struggled in that role. Royce might also have given Elijah a rest, maybe even could have enabled Elijah to get scoped immediately after the injury, instead of waiting and worsening it over a long season. What if Royce departing were tallied up as a factor in forcing Elijah to play on a blown wheel, rather than getting scoped? What light does that put Royce doing what's best for Royce in?

Yes, a player always has to do what is best for himself. But a player does have some team allegiances, too. And as it turns out he might have done better for himself playing at KU last season, than sitting in Pullman and driving over to Sand Point to watch Lake Pend O'Reille freeze over.

Royce might have been even more beneficial to the team this year with a year of experience last season. This year's team might have no depth problem at all on the perimeter this season had Royce stayed; that's two pretty big holes Royce created in two consecutive KU teams in order to do what was best for Royce.

It is true Royce committed to KU when he was very young and considered an extremely hot property.

But its also true that Self honored that commitment even after Royce's star began to shine less brightly with recruiting gurus during his junior and senior years, if I recall correctly.

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jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

"Doing What Is Best"

Part 1

I'm a little less sanguine about Royce than most.

He seems like a good guy. I'm glad he's getting a good break in Pullman, as I am for any basketball player getting a good break anywhere.

But am I getting all warm and fuzzy about seeing him again? Does it feel like a reunion with a trusted member of the family? Am I hoping Bill Self gets all misty eyed and gives him a man luv during warm ups?

Eh, no.

The assumption of most is that Royce got run.

For a time I thought Self ran Royce, but later on it seemed like Royce perhaps decided he was not willing to sit, or take a redshirt and wait a couple years for PT, when it probably seemed to Self that Selby would be coming back.

It would be called by euphemized by ink stained/pixel burned wretches as something like: Royce was just doing what was best for Royce, with implication that its a business and a young player has to look out for himself in this dog eat dog world of D1, no matter what.

But recall Elijah, who was ranked much higher than Royce, could find it in himself to wait 1.5 years to rotate and 2 years to be a full time starter. And Travis, who was probably ranked as high or higher than Royce, basically waited two full years before getting into the rotation. So, one asks, why couldn't Royce?

Because Royce had to do what was best for Royce, and Elijah, and Travis, didn't?

That seems a less than deeply satisfying explanation, even through statement as a question.

Maybe Royce was encouraged by Self to take a rosso italiano smoking jacket. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe he didn't accept the red threads. Maybe he didn't like red. Maybe that was why he didn't go to University of Aridzona, either.

No, wait a minuto. Travis caught the rosso italiano smoking jacket thrown to him. And Travis was apparently from a solid family, too. And Travis worked and got better and waited. And Trav was ranked as highly, if not higher that Royce.

Note: when a player won't accept a red shirt, say, which I suspect may have been offered (but have never read one shred of confirmation for same), maybe that created a sudden gulf between Self and Royce?

Regardless, Royce came from a reasonably affluent, sports savvy back ground. He could "afford" the cost of the search and change. So: possibly Royce chose to leave, rather than sit two years. And then risk Self landing another 5 star to park ahead of him. It happened to Brady Morningstar two years in a row. He red-shirted, even started a season, but then had to back up first Xavier, and then Selby. Maybe Royce just didn't want that scenario.

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Mel Clare 1 year, 5 months ago

But the best one was at Kemper..........1988!

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akgjenkintown 1 year, 5 months ago

Agreed. Some of the worst games I watched KU play were in KC. I have watched games at both Kemper and the Sprint center. The crowds are dead do to the venue and overall atmosphere. Home court advantage even though most fans will be for KU is not overwhelming.

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shoedee 1 year, 5 months ago

I like Royce a lot and am pumped to see him tonight at the Sprint Center but I sometimes wonder if he made the right decision to transfer. Selby was in his recruiting class and received a ton of fanfare, I believe their were the only two players in the 2010 recruiting class. Is that right? The next year Self tries to recruit Bradley Beal (2 guard or wing) and Josiah Turner (2 guard or point), doesn't succeed and ends up with Tharpe (point) and McLemore (2 guard or 3). McLemore has to sit for the year and Conner, former walk-on, becomes often the 6th man off the bench. If Royce would have been patient, he would have been a HUGE contributor last year, maybe playing ahead of Conner. Had he stayed, this year, Royce would have been a year ahead of Tharpe and probably played ahead of him. In other words, Royce would have gotten solid pt his sophomore and junior years at a Blueblood program and become eventually well-loved like a Tyrel Reed- I think a huge missed opportunity. I always felt that C.J. Henry would have gotten solid playing time last year too if he had stayed the course (solid shooter and athlete). The one guy who was never rewarded with pt for his patience and loyalty was Jeremy Case, but we were so stacked through his years here and Case being a Roy recruit was a different kind of guard than Self usually recruited.

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Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 5 months ago

W 199 L 78. in KC. It's never quite the same, even being so close to Lawrence. I always get a little nervous watching games played there. Kemper wasn't too bad to us. It had a different vibe than the Sprint Center. What is our record just at Sprint Center, anybody have that stat? Also curious if the 199/78 includes tournament games played in KC.

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REHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Gotta respect a player who, early in high school, made the decision to become a Jayhawk. He certainly should possess the knowhow to attack Bill Self's system. But for my hopes that his team does not pull off an upset tonight, I wish Royce the very best. He appeared to handle his freshman minutes and eventual departure with class.

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KansasComet 1 year, 5 months ago

I like Royce and wish him nothing but the best. It is hard for some players to be the man one minute in High School and then ride the pine the next in College. He made the right decision if he wanted to play more.

I am still holding out hope that Andrew White will get off the pine? Maybe he will get Freshman Cole Aldrich type minutes, and be ready to ball come tourney time, who knows?

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KULA 1 year, 5 months ago

Hope Royce doesn't have one of those Mario Chalmers/Jay Wright "Watch this" moments.

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