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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thanks for sharing: Jeff Withey, Travis Releford co-award winners

Jeff Withey, left, and Travis Releford flank Kansas basketball coach Bill Self as they were named co-winners of the Danny Manning Award at the annual KU basketball banquet Monday, April 15,2013, at the Holiday Inn.

Jeff Withey, left, and Travis Releford flank Kansas basketball coach Bill Self as they were named co-winners of the Danny Manning Award at the annual KU basketball banquet Monday, April 15,2013, at the Holiday Inn.

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Jeff Withey, left, and Travis Releford flank Kansas basketball coach Bill Self as they were named co-winners of the Danny Manning Award at the annual KU basketball banquet Monday, April 15,2013, at the Holiday Inn.

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Jennifer Fisher, Miss Kansas 1998, gets an autograph from KU basketball coach Bill Self at the annual KU basketball banquet Monday, April 15,2013, at the Holiday Inn.

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Marni Mills, of De Soto, left, poses with Ben McLemore for a photo during the KU basketball banquet on Monday, April 15, 2013, at the Holiday Inn.

Kansas University seniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey were named co-winners of the Danny Manning/Mr. Jayhawk Award for contributions on and off the court at Monday’s basketball banquet at the Holidome.

“Travis is an absolute stud — unselfish, an unbelievable competitor. He’s our rock,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Jeff is KU’s all-time leading shot-blocker, which tells you he is the best defender in the history of the school.

“Over the course of their careers, those guys have graduated and done everything they’ve been asked to do and made sacrifices. I think you could make a case for a couple more, but I think it was pretty much a no-brainer that they deserved it,” Self added of the only award distributed at the banquet, attended by more than 600 fans.

Withey, a 7-footer from San Diego, said: “It’s an honor, a cool award. It’s really nice I get to share it with ‘Trav.’ He definitely deserves it.”

Releford, 6-6 from Kansas City, in his speech thanked his teammates saying, “You made my last year a time to remember.”

Withey picks Wasserman: Withey, who is expected to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft, has signed with agent Darren Matsubara of Wasserman Media Group.

“It’s different. You see the business aspect of the game. I’m trying to get ready for the next level. I’ve started training,” said Withey, who would like to go from 225 pounds to about 240. “I’m going to be moving to L.A. soon to start working out with the agency. I definitely feel blessed right now.”

Johnson selects ASM: KU senior Elijah Johnson has signed with agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports. Johnson competed at last week’s Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational for NBA prospects, where his team defeated KU teammate Releford’s squad in the finals.

“It was real fun. We talked it up,” Johnson said. “We had a couple smart comments, not anything too risky as far as risking our relationship. We were just out there having fun.

“It was something we weren’t expecting. We had crowds, a bunch of good athletes out there,” added Johnson, who is projected as a possible second-rounder or free agent. “It was kind of a showcase. My team ended up winning it, so I had a little more fun than everybody else. It was definitely a good experience.”

Self said he heard Johnson and Releford, who also could be taken in the second round, both played well.

“I’ve had several NBA people ask me, ‘Can he be Bruce Bowen? Can he be this or be that?” Self said of Releford. “I think he’s played himself in a position where hopefully he’ll have an opportunity. All our seniors will play professionally somewhere. It’ll be nice if they at least get an opportunity in the States first.”

Self on next year’s team: “Last year (at banquet), I think we were kind of concerned: ‘Where are we gonna go? Gosh dang we lose a lot of guys,’” Self said. He noted the same thing was said in several other years during KU’s stretch of nine-straight conference titles. “The story line is, we are not going anywhere. We’ve got a great group of incoming kids coming in and kids in our program who will give their heart and soul to this place who will be very good players. Anything less than celebrating a marvelous season next year would be a disappointment because I think we have a chance to be great again.”

Updated rankings: Rivals.com updated its rankings of high school seniors on Monday. KU’s Wayne Selden moved to No. 12 (from 26); Joel Embiid to No. 25 (from 37); Brannen Greene to No. 29 (from 25); Conner Frankamp to No. 34 (from 31); and Frank Mason to No 76 (from 134).

Self’s jokes: Self on Johnson, who starred in KU’s overtime win at Iowa State. “Talk about Elijah’s 39 points. ... It was great, but the last two almost got my (bleep) whipped after the game,” Self said, referring to an ISU fan getting in his face on the way to the locker room ... Self on freshman Rio Adams, who is transferring to a yet-to-be-determined school. “If you ever want to get caught up on social media now that Tyshawn (Taylor) is not here, here’s the guy,” he cracked of Adams, who complained about playing time on Twitter during the season.

Tragedy addressed: The tragic events at the Boston Marathon were referenced by former KU player Wayne Simien, who offered the opening prayer, as well as emcee Bob Davis and Self.

“This is a somber day from what has taken place elsewhere, but it should be a very happy day to honor these young men who represented all of us the past four or five years,” Self said. “This team maximized their abilities and played to their ceiling about as well as any team that I have ever had in my 20 years of being a head coach.”

Comments

KemDooKU 1 year ago

+1. Sounds good but I can't get over the fact that Wiggins will go #1 overall in next years NBA draft if he went to UMKC this year ....so he may not care about UK loaded group and fighting for playing time - he knows its one year and he wants a championship - KU with him could win but UK with him may give him the best shot - but March Madness has seen a lot of crazy things/games - and Coach Cal had a loaded class last year and NIT so the chemistry better be right at UK because if its a little off well then CC has shown that the wheels can fall off pretty fast

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Joe Baker 1 year ago

Ok now after seeing Wiggins twitter page and piecing together some legitimate comments, folks KU chances are now 50/50. Bullock just declared and if Mac declares, KU's chances will l be almost certain. Don't think FLSt will give him a championship season and UK is too loaded. I was skeptical until now. Tis kid is meeting with Self and just may be making his choice. He is pissed at the rumors of FLSt and sick of Randle. He says Randle never shuts up. Lets hope Mac with UNC declares folks.

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702Hawk 1 year ago

What do people know of this Hunter Mickelson from Arkansas. He is 6-10 and 245. I kind of like a guy who has spent 2 years learning defense from Mike Anderson and would get a practice year in before hitting the court. We have the scholarships.

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TysonHawk37 1 year ago

Just saw this and thought I'd share. I have mixed feelings about whether Wiggins comes to KU or not. Will the team be better in the '14-15 season if he's not here next year? Obviously, we'd be better with him next year but not likely a National Title contender (IMHO). But I believe in 2 years, we very well could be.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1606825-andrew-wiggins-to-meet-with-jayhawks-bill-self-next-week

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Margaret Schadler 1 year ago

I'll miss this team. They were exciting, frustrating, even bewildering, but never dull. Consistency did not enter into their description as a team, a most surprising absence for a senior heavy 5!

Good thing baseball is here bc it's a long time 'til the Phog rocks again.

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KemDooKU 1 year ago

Wiggins was seen at a Walmart buying a UK jersey and a UK hat - but when questioned he said he was leaning towards Nebraska!!!

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spenc1324 1 year ago

Well deserved for both of these young men. All these seniors have worked hard to put them in the position to make a career out of basketball. I hope they continue to work hard and see all of them in the league. Thank you for all that you have done with your time in Kansas I wish you all the best of luck. It was definitely a fun ride we all support you 100% these really were great kids that thanks to self and the coaching staff are on there way to being great men. THANK YOU!! you will be missed

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idahawk 1 year ago

" The Cameroon Jameroon"

This gets my vote....or Cam Jam for short.

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Tony Bandle 1 year ago

Besides his basketball skills, Jo Jo will bring much material for lively chatter to this site.

1] How do you pronounce his name again??

2] Oh, he's a volleyball player??

3] Is he a KU "Footer" or a Jaybate "Footer"??

4] Please warn him never to call his school "Kansas University"!!

5] He's from that country that makes those delicious cookies, you know, macaroons!!

6] Let's guess at how tall he will be at Late Night...I'll guess 7'-1 1/2 "!!

7] Let the nickname contest begin....The Cameroon Jameroon!!

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JayHok 1 year ago

Self ended his speech by asking the fans if the Sweet Sixteen satisfied them. They answered no, and Self turned to the players seated behind him. He asked again, and the fans responded more loudly.

“We’ve got four more games to win, don’t we?” he said. “It’s going to be a great off-season. We’re not satisfied in the least. In fact we're so pi$$ed, I've decided to schedule an emergency meeting with Andrew Wiggins next week."

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jay381 1 year ago

Off Topic but I am waiting for a repairman and caught this little statement on the Rivals site posted this morning:

Self set to meet with Andrew Wiggins

I do not subscribe to this service however; I am glad we are still meeting with him. Based on what I have observed of his play at both the McDonald's and the Jordan game he would sure be one boost to the team next year. With Embiid, Selden coming in and Ellis returning next year sure could be a lot of fun with Wiggins in the mix.

Shay Wildeboor JayhawkSlant.com

Bill Self is scheduled to meet with Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 ranked player in the 2013 class, next week. For a complete update, come inside.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a membe

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idahawk 1 year ago

If everyone plays to his ranking, Kentucky would be playing the Miami Heat for the NBA Championship next year.

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Woody Cragg 1 year ago

New avatar pic of the Navy Global Hawk drone. This one has recently returned from the war zone with over 250 successful combat missions-HOOYAH!

US Navy Global Hawk

US Navy Global Hawk by globaljaybird

1

idahawk 1 year ago

Right.....I can see it now....."Wiggins leads Nebraska to the NCAA Championship!"

Oh, and Nebraska starts its own network to showcase Wiggins talent for 6 months.

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Woody Cragg 1 year ago

New avatar pic of the Navy Global Hawk drone. This one has recently returned from the war zone with over 250 successful combat missions-HOOYAH!

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Chris Shaw 1 year ago

Does anybody remember the talent gap between the 1992 Dream Team and the rest of the world? Since that time the rest of the world including the youth here in the States has caught up. That talent gap between the "Top 100" and everybody else has shrunk considerably over the last 20 years since the Dream Team took the world by storm.

I do believe that there is still a decent gap (Not a major gap) between the Top 10 or Top 15 guys in a given class, but I think the best of the rest has caught up considerably and I am talking #25 all the way down to #200.

If you have a "System" like Bill Self does, IMO, you don't necessarily need a Top 15 or Top 25 PG for your system to succeed. It certainly would be nice if you're looking to hang "Recruiting Banners", but IMO it's about molding the pieces together to get the right fit and mixing role players and Elite Talent together.

I think it's easier to have a nice heady PG (Aaron Craft) and get your higher ranked recruits to fill in around that PG. That's just my opinion though. I think rankings to some degree are blown out of proportion these days especially since Bill Self is utilizing the "Red-Shirt" more and more.

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truthofthematter 1 year ago

Wiggins may be headed up north as the Lincoln Journal Star had a article in the paper that Wiggnins was spotted at the Lincoln air port meeting Tim Miles, NU basketball coach. This news could mean that Wiggins has added another school to his list. Be interesting to see what is in the paper in the next few days.

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Woody Cragg 1 year ago

No Doubt HCBS & staff will coach up whomever they bring in. Might even take 5 yrs to reach the level of their predecessors. Maybe not as quickly as when Danny was here, but for most of them, take it to the bank. As for Travis & Jeff being co-winners of this prestigious award, they both were as integral as the other in this squad's success for sure. No doubt both will have long & substantive careers in pro ball & make an excellent living for their families. That in itself gives me great pride and contentment for them going forward. The most difficult thing there is in life, is to carry that lunch pail back & forth every day, and to try & scratch out a decent standard of living for your children. Especially since the economy is not nearly what it was 10 yrs back, & quite frankly, may not be as stable for another 10 yrs. Most places pay half the salaries they did when we were putting our kids through school, yet those costs have not reversed as compenstions. Both have graduated from a great program & have the skillsets to accomplish great things no matter the path they choose. This is not only about sports & the gratification that comes from it to any of us or the athletes, this is about the futures of quality individuals and their abilities & willingness to choose their own roads to travel. We as fans owe them a great deal of admiration, celebration, and gratitude. Good luck young men, for jobs extremely well done.

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jgkojak 1 year ago

Is its just me or does Bill Self not look healthy?

All season he has looked pasty, especially in the face.

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William Blake 1 year ago

Someone make note of the Mason climb...

Mason deserved to climb and it helped dramatically to have CS on his side.

The message is clear to all HS players out there: if you aren't in the Top 100, but deserve to be, try to get the attention of Coach Bill Self!

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Jack Wilson 1 year ago

It is really comical how jhox (above) supposedly has better insight on how these players should be ranked than the guys at rivals. jhox, posting here on this message board, knows better than rivals. He knows that Frankamp should be ranked higher. He's studied Frankamp in comparison to those guards and players ranked ahead of him. Those d*mn ratings services, they're just "random." They don't exhaustively research these guys, they don't have completed details on their skills and abilities, they don't attend high school and AAU games, they don't talk to high school coaches and college coaches -- it's just random.

It's a conspiracy. That's why Frankamp isn't rated higher.

jhox's logic is so misguided, I wonder if he even looked at where the kids ranked ahead of Ojeleye and Frankamp were from. What you'll find is that the demographics are just as diverse in front of them, as behind them. I can't believe that Derrick Walton, a guard from Detroit, is actually rated three spots behind Frankamp.

There are folks that find it easier to simply dispel the player rankings than to actual understand and appreciate them for what they are -- the best guide we have for impact and success in college. Not perfection. The best guide.

Did Mason, moving from the 130s to the 70s change him as a player? No. Of course not. But as we get to the final rankings, his ranking will be the best indicator of his impact and college success that there is available. The simple fact that he's in the 70s demonstrates that his chances of success are greater than if he's in the 130s.

Individuals can exceed or fail to achieve their rankings. Happens all the time, but more rarely as they are lower ranked. But from a general analysis, big picture, the rankings are very accurate.

Look at the transfers from Kansas -- not a top 50 player among them. Giles, Galindo, Thomas, Lindsay, Doyle, Adams, Appleton. Look at KU's success -- dominated by Top 50 players: Rush, Chalmers, Collins, Aldrich, Kaun, Marcus, Markieff, Arthur, Henry, TRob, RRob, Withey, EJ. All played to or exceeded their ranking except probably Kaun and EJ, and maybe RRob. Non Top 50s - Jackson, Taylor, Reed, Morningstar, KY (Reed played a bit better than his ranking, Morningstar exceeded his, but Jackson and Taylor did not exceed their rankings, really, until their senior seasons; KY it was as a senior that he truly exceeded his ranking). Selby did not play to his ranking, but the sample size was one mess of a season.

And if Mason is Burke, we'd all have a very merry Christmas. How about this .. if all of our guys play to their rankings, we're a top title contender. That's how to measure recruiting.

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FearlessJayhawk 1 year ago

Congratulations all you seniors for sticking it out. You will always have these memories with you. And the beat goes on for next years team. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

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Adam Gerval 1 year ago

Just thought I should point this out, since the basketball page is always the center of attention. But they're breaking ground on the the new Rock Chalk Sports Park today. Sooo, I thought that was worthy of being pointed out. I would imagine that the planning stage for the renovations to Memorial Stadium is underway. An article on that would be nice.

3

Chris Shaw 1 year ago

I truly don't understand the "# beside the name" in this day and age with recruiting rankings. I love how people were so down on Frank Mason when he was like #131 or #134 and now that he's moved up to #76 in the rivals rankings...he's all of a sudden worthy to don the Crimson and Blue? It's garbage IMO.

This is what I know about Frank Mason. He's a "True Point" and KU hasn't had one in a while. Tharpe is a "True Point", but when you see Frank Mason's handles you'll quickly see the difference between the two. Mason's "Handles" will rival that of Sherron Collins.

I am excited about Frank Mason. I really truly believe that there are a number of great potential college PG's out there that aren't ranked in the Top 25 and I believe Frank Mason will be one of the them.

Here's the the thing, it's hard to turn a shooting/combo guard into a PG. It's easy to keep a "True Point" with a good basketball IQ at point guard and then surround that guy with Elite Players. I really believe that's the direction that Self is going with his recruiting strategies in this day and age when it comes to PG's.

Self was the innovator with the "Combo Guards" back 10 years ago...now everybody is doing it and trying to succeed at it. IMO, you find a good/great college PG like Frank Mason who will be here 3 or 4 years potentially and then surround that guy with the Elite Top 50 talent and then watch everybody around him flourish. Trey Burke model is pretty damn good one IMO.

Adonis Jordan has always been one of my all-time favorites. He was short, not quick, had an ugly stroke, but he worked on his shot, got quicker, had great handles, knocked down open perimeter shots, got his teammates involved...and he went to 2 Final 4's in his career because of it. And...Jordan didn't play much his Freshman year because he was behind Kevin Pritchard.

I think Frank Mason is going to be a stud.

6

joeloveshawks 1 year ago

You simply never know with rankings. The chance of Mason being the next Burke are slim but oddly he is now ranked higher than Burke was coming out if high school...just food for thought.

0

otaKU 1 year ago

If memory serves me correct Bill Self mentioned something in the past about Frank Mason being undervalued. Although I am really looking forward to seeing Selden & Frankamp I am also interested to see what kind of talent Mason brings. Someone above mentioned Trey Burke's height....if Mason turned into a Trey Burke for us...Wow!

0

REHawk 1 year ago

WIthey and Releford, a pair of very deserving 5-year seniors. Congratulations, guys. Now if we can just get beyond the one-and-done situation with all the incoming players. If Wiggins should sign, we know he will be aboard only one year, barring injury. But if all others adapt well to the system, and stay, we are two years away from a decent opportunity for a national title. 2013-14 should be an exciting rollercoaster ride. Wily Bill yet likely to add a steadying piece or two.

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Timmay97 1 year ago

Not that rankings are the "end all" but doesn't this instill more confidence in Bill Self's recruiting techniques? I have the feeling that Frank Mason, more than any other Jayhawk in the past, is going to come in and shock the Jayhawk faithful. Call me crazy, but I think this kid is going to be GREAT!

Sherron Collins proved that you can't knock size. How tall is Trey Burke?

Feeling really good about next year.

1

nuleafjhawk 1 year ago

I knew that winning the 3 pt shooting contest would hurt Frankamp's ranking.....

5

Phil Leister 1 year ago

Call me crazy, but I'll take this recruiting class over what Kentucky has. Most, if not all, of our guys will be at KU multiple years, not simply using us as a stepping stone to the league. Plus, I anticipate keeping all those All Americans happy with playing time and points will be no easy task. This is a prototypical Bill Self recruiting class, and I couldn't be happier.

But of course, I'd still welcome Wiggins with open arms!

3

KULA 1 year ago

Congratulations Jeff and Travis, and all our guys who are leaving. Your Kansas careers were too short and you will all be missed!

1

JayHawkFanToo 1 year ago

Withey and Releford as co-winners is the perfect ending to their playing days at KU. As far as the player rankings, I don't understand how Frankamp dropped 3 places; he just finished a great season, broke the Wichita scoring record, just won the 3 point contest, and last summer he led the U17 team to the Gold Medal at the FIBA World Championship. If anything, he should have moved up a few spots.
Joel Embiid has ben selected for the Nike Hoop Summit - USA & World Team Rosters; he will be playing for the World team along with Andrew Wiggings (Canada). The 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, which will be played on April 20 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore., features America's top, senior high-school players versus a World Select Team featuring many of the world's best players age 19-years-old or younger.

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Adam Tyler 1 year ago

Congrats to Withey and Releford, you both deserve the honor.

Frank Mason, holy *$#@ thats a crazy jump in rankings! This recruiting class keeps looking better and better.

Cap it off Wiggins. Rock Chalk!

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trustyourSelf 1 year ago

I'm surprised at how much of a leap Mason made in the ratings- this is the first I've heard of any great improvement by him. Good for us!

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Ferd Magellan 1 year ago

As for needing to gain weight...good luck Jeff. Hudy tried hard to pack on some more meat, and if she couldn't help him add much then it's probably never going to happen. Some bodies have a limit no matter how you eat and train.

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Ferd Magellan 1 year ago

I know I've said this many times in the past (spanning four KU coaches), but I'm really going to miss this group of seniors.

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Konkis Dongington III 1 year ago

Alright HEM, no more 'No rank Frank'. Kid's demonstrated some talent. It's also worth remembering that he won't break the ESPN top 100 no matter what cause they don't rank post HS grads (like the Morris Twins). Either way, our class just keeps looking better and better. Now we just need to go get Tarik Black and all our ducks will be in order.

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Dan Pawlowski 1 year ago

Good luck to all of our Seniors and Ben. You deserve the best of everything.

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