Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Former KU players catch on in NBA’s D-League

Former Kansas University forward Darnell Jackson, during 2012 training camp with the Utah Jazz

Former Kansas University forward Darnell Jackson, during 2012 training camp with the Utah Jazz


Three former Kansas University basketball players who did not play in any NBA games this past season did spend time in the NBA’s minor league — the NBA Development League.

They are: Darnell Jackson, Reno (Nev.) Bighorns; Mario Little, Tulsa 66ers; and Brady Morningstar, who finished the season with the Canton (Ohio) Charge, after opening with the Tulsa 66ers.

• Jackson, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound power forward from Oklahoma City, started 11 games for Reno, before heading to China to play for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers. He returned to Reno for the squad’s final eight regular-season games. Reno did not make the playoffs.

The 27-year-old Jackson averaged 13.8 points (off 50.7 percent shooting) and 6.7 rebounds while starting 12 of 19 contests. He had a season-high 30 points off 13-of-18 shooting against Canton in the final game of the regular season.

• Morningstar, a 6-4, 185-pound combo guard out of Lawrence’s Free State High, averaged 4.3 points (off 34.2 percent shooting) and 1.3 assists in 16 games for Tulsa. He averaged 4.6 points (off 44.7 percent shooting) in 16 regular-season games for Canton.

Morningstar, 27, averaged 12.0 points in three playoff games. In Morningstar’s last game of the season, a playoff loss to Tulsa, he erupted for 22 points off 6-of-10 three-point shooting.

• Little, a 6-6 shooting guard/small forward from Chicago, averaged 3.9 points (off 37.5 percent shooting) in 15 regular-season games for Tulsa.

The 25-year-old Little averaged 9.5 points off 61.5 percent shooting in the second round of the playoffs. He scored 14 points in his final game of the season — a playoff loss to Rio Grande Valley.

KU also had players who flip-flopped from the NBA to the D-League during this past season.

Combo guard Josh Selby, who was released by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers in March after being traded from Memphis in January, averaged 25.0 points and 5.0 assists a game in two playoff games for Maine. The 6-2, 180-pound Baltimore native, who is 22, averaged 17.0 points and 4.1 assists a game in 31 games total for three different D-League teams.

Rookie guard Tyshawn Taylor, who is in the NBA playoffs with the Brooklyn Nets, played eight games while on assignment with the Springfield (Mass.) Armor. Taylor averaged 24.6 points, 7.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals in those games.

Lacey leaves Bama: Former KU recruit Trevor Lacey has decided to transfer to a yet-to-be-determined school after two years at the University of Alabama, the school has announced. The 6-3 combo guard from Huntsville, Ala., averaged 11.3 points and 3.2 assists a game last season. He chose Alabama over Kentucky, Kansas and Auburn his senior year of high school.

The Birmingham News indicates coaches from KU, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Miami already have expressed interest. He’s been granted permission to talk to all schools outside of the SEC.

“This definitely was not an easy decision to make,” Lacey said. “It’s been great at Alabama during my two years. It was tough my freshman year coming off (knee) surgery and having to work my way back. I wanted to improve during my sophomore season and I thought I did that. I want to thank the coaches and staff, my teammates and all the fans for their support.”

This, that: Nino Jackson, a 6-2 guard from Ardmore, Okla., who expressed some interest in KU in high school before enrolling at Columbus (Ga.) Kingdom Prep School this year, has signed with Loyola Marymount. ... KU is expected to have an in-home visit this week with Elbert Robinson, a 6-10 junior from Lakeview Centennial High in Garland, Texas. He’s ranked No. 66 in the Class of 2014.

Vaughn’s first season over: San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spoke to the Orlando Sentinel about former KU guard Jacque Vaughn, who worked as a Spurs assistant two seasons prior to taking over as Orlando Magic head coach this season.

“He’s done a great job of just instituting a system,” Popovich said of Vaughn, who led the Magic to a 20-62 record in his debut season. “He knows what wins and what loses, and he knows that in the long run certain elements of the game have to be established and standards have to be set. That’s really where he’s put his emphasis.

They (Magic) have attention to detail,” Popovich added of a team that is in a deep rebuilding mode. “They play hard and they compete. That’s a lot more important than anything else, especially when you’re starting up a program.”

Prior to this year, Vaughn experienced no losing seasons in college and just two in 14 seasons in the NBA.

“I think it tests your inner strength,” Vaughn told the Sentinel. “That’s what it boils down to. I have to be a stalwart in my approach with the team in how I approach them every day, my resolve every day. If I’m asking them to be resilient, I need to be as well.

“That’s my approach to every single day. Do I want to win? Yes. I’m a competitor. That’s part of me. But do I know there’s a process to getting to that winning area? Yes, there is, and I’m a part of the process.

“I think the great thing is I probably think differently than a lot of people, just my approach to life, my approach to what’s gotten me here to this position,” Vaughn added.


yates33333 12 months ago

Jaybate. Did you see the following in the Bleacher Report?

"Andrew Wiggins celebrated Andrew Wiggins Day in Huntington, W.V., with John Calipari, Grimace and The Hamburglar. As seen in the above picture, Wiggins was presented with a proclamation by Huntington Mayor Steve Williamsdeclaring it Andrew Wiggins Day.

The newly-minted Gatorade National Player of the Year also hung with Grimace and The Hamburglar.

On top of all that, Wiggins met Thursday with Kentucky coach John Calipari."

I wish you would seriously analyze why Calipari is so successful recruiting highly rated players.


William Blake 12 months ago

Anyone have news on BMac? Does he have an agent yet? Is he working with trainers to improve his game before draft day?

He should be working his rear off right now in order to help (or stabilize) his draft position.


jaybate 12 months ago

"Off Season Thought for the Day"

"What if in the end, there were no end, and if in the beginning, there were no beginning?"



jaybate 12 months ago

jaybate News Service (ins):

Dateline: narcissist zone

Slug: Andrew Wiggins downdate...

Usually unreliable jns stringers on the west coast have used kayaks to reach the flooded airport where an exhausted Andrew Wiggins has made a landmark decision in a the midst of a heavy,heavy, heavy, HEAVY rain.

Said stringers report that Andrew Wiggins has decided to give up the game of basketball forever, because of how draining it has been to wait till the end of the recruiting season to decide where he would play college basketball.

jns stringers, literally bailing water out of the concourse where Wiggins is stuck, trying to make connections home, say that Wiggins is weighing five possible alternatives to playing college, or pro basketball: 1) a life in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet; 2) a evangelical TV career as Pat Robertson's side kick; 3) a hand model; 4) a career in professional curling; or 5) pursue a Shakespearian acting career specializing in the portrayal of Hamlet.

When told that sports fans were speculating wildly about which of these possibilities he might pursue, Wiggins reputedly said, "Anyone who says they know what I am going to do is a dissembling twit, because I don't know. All I know is that like Greta Garbo, I am tired and I want to be alone."


(Note: All fiction. No malice.)


jaybate 12 months ago

Rebound prospects like Lacey always fascinate me.

My first response is: hell, yes, sign him.

But then sweet reason kicks in and makes ponder.

I can think of only two reasons why he did not sign with Self and KU in the first place:

a) he's not very bright; or

b) someone threw him some money.

If he's not too bright, it could be a serious uphill battle trying to catch him up to speed on Self Ball, at this late date, especially with him probably having lost a lot of pop because of the knee.

If someone threw him some money, then he's a ticking time bomb to bring into a program.

After watching KU players rebound from knee injuries and lose what has seemed like 10-30% of their pop afterwards in most cases, Lacey seems the kind of guy you bring in when all your other options have crapped out and you're just looking for a role playing trey shooter off the bench, rather than an impact guy.


jaybate 12 months ago

If I were Josh Selby, I might forget the NBA and go make a fortune in Europe. The guy could drop 30/game in Europe and after 10 years probably be farther ahead than if he dicks around 3 years trying to find the right fit, then has to wait another 3 year contract period to cash into a big contract.

Brush up on your French, Spanish, or Italian, Josh. The grass is greener and that cuisine is better. Just ask Langford.


jaybate 12 months ago

DBlock needs go to Hollywood and become an action movie star. He has the sweetest countenance and the biggest, baddest silhouette. He should go to the Fast and Furious franchise and have them add him to the installment. The last guy big tall stud is now too big of a star to play second banana again. DBlock would be perfect for any prison flick, because he would draw so much sympathy from the audience. After a few supporting roles, then he would be primed and branded to move into an action lead. Go for it DBlock.


Sam Constance 12 months ago

Clearly Taylor and Selby are better than the D-League. With some of the terrible guard play I see on occasion in the NBA, it's stunning that the two of them haven't found a home where a team could use their skills.

The fact that Cleveland straight-up cut Selby is hilarious to me, as if they have the kind of talent that makes a player like Selby not even worth a look. Then again, Dan Gilbert is an idiot, as evidenced by the fact that he is now re-hiring Mike Brown to coach his team again.

Taylor should also be getting more minutes. I have a hard time believing that C.J. Watson is a better long-term option at the backup PG position.


JayHawkFanToo 12 months ago

I have followed Selby's career with interest and he has the worst luck of any player I can recall...he made a couple of bad decisions too.
His (NCAA) suspension and injury while at KU put him way behind the other players and by the time he was ready, the rotation was pretty much set. Then he elected to go to the NBA, a decision I am sure he will always regret. Had he stayed at KU for his sophomore year, he would have been the starting PG and KU maybe would have won the NCCA , which would have made him a lottery pick. Had he been a lottery pick, he would have gotten a lot more playing time and patience from NBA teams; as the 49th pick, teams do not feel the need to spend a lot of time and effort to develop his potential.
I have seen him play in the summer league and the D-League and he dominated in both. Last summer he was the co-MVP with one Damian Lillard, the NBA rookie of the year.
There is no question Selby has NBA talent, he just needs a team where he can fit and where he is given an opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation, rather than just being another body they need for practice.
Maybe there is something about him that I don't know that has turned teams off; I guess time will tell.


William Blake 12 months ago

Recruit characteristic wish list:

  1. Brings game every night. Doesn't need convincing.

  2. Natural desire to box out for rebs or set hard screens. Doesn't matter what position.

  3. Invisible off the court. Doesn't like social media.

  4. High basketball IQ. Doesn't over-think however.

  5. Gets to gym before Hudy. Doesn't waste time.

  6. Hustle, hustle, hustle!

Obviously, recruits need to bring in a skill set, but the above qualities exist between the ears only.

Mediocre skills and the above characteristics is all it takes to be an outstanding college player. I'd take a team full of these guys any day over more-talented players with an attitude!


yates33333 1 year ago

I watch a lot of pro basketball on TV. I cannot understand why Darnell isn't on an NBA pro team. He is as good as many off the bench players, especially on the teams that do not compete well.


JakeBarnes 1 year ago

Robinson from Garland is much better than the 66th ranking. I don't know who or how they determine the rankings, but he would be a real catch for KU. He has about 6 or 8 offers from major programs including Baylor and UT. He is sometimes listed as 6' 10", which means he may be 6' 8". He is also listed as 280 pounds. I didn't think he weighed that much when I saw him, but you never know. He is muscular.

Here's a photo.


Andy Tweedy 1 year ago

Gary, love what you do for the KU fan, but I just can't stand the overuse of the word exploded!!! I'm sure it's just me, but I just can't stand it...


Timmay97 1 year ago

Looks like Allerik Freeman (UCLA de-commit) is now available. KU had him on the radar some time ago. Could Bill Self look in this direction?

I'm not really sure where he would fit in with this team.


Kevin Huffman 1 year ago

Taylor & Selby's D-League numbers.....Wow! Both are too good for that league it would seem.....ESPECIALLY Taylor.

I could Selby be a good fit for Phoenix. It's said that they need a good perimeter shooting SG or combo. G. Him and the Morri had something special going in '11 'til the VCU disaster.


Michael Pannacciulli 1 year ago

Miss DJack...glad he's still living the dream. When he was on, he was beast.


Michael Pannacciulli 1 year ago

Why doesn't Brady go overseas at this point to make some real bread?


Michael Pannacciulli 1 year ago

Jacque, my ole college classmate from the class of '97 is such a great choice of coach for these young guys. Steady, smart, passionate, professional. I hope they let him build a winner. Reading his quotes - how genuine they are - and knowing that when he has the tools he WILL win. Rock Jacque Jayhawk - still making us proud.

Lacey would be a nice addition. If I recall he was basically down to us or Alabama. He might feel weird chhosing KU after once turning us down - buuuut, who cares - come on down. Past is the past. Imagine what it will be like to step foot on Naismith court with 16K people every game cheering you on - that rich tradition...


Konkis Dongington III 1 year ago

More important to the immediate future is that KU is scheduled to have an in-home with Tarik Black this week. He's already hosted Duke. Minnesota wants him like he's the last forward on earth, but I don't know if they've got anything going at this point.


JayHawkFanToo 1 year ago

Jacque Vaughn was given a team better fitted to play in the D-League. I am surprised they won 20 games, he obviously did something right. Hopefully he can get better players and really show what he can do.


AsadZ 1 year ago

If lacey comes to KU he will be eligible to play in 2014-2015 when Tharpe will be a senior. At this point he will be playing behind Tharpe and most likely Frankamp. He will be a back up.


trustyourSelf 1 year ago

ooooo Trevor Lacey! We want you!


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