Monday, April 29, 2013

Extra weight hindered transfer Hunter Mickelson

Arkansas' Hunter Mickelson (21) looks to pass the ball with Arizona State's Jordan Bachynski (13) defending during the first half of agame at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational tournament on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Las Vegas.

Arkansas' Hunter Mickelson (21) looks to pass the ball with Arizona State's Jordan Bachynski (13) defending during the first half of agame at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational tournament on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Las Vegas.


Packing on the pounds is generally considered a good thing for a lanky, 6-foot-10 college basketball big man.

Not so — at least so far — in the case of future Kansas University power forward Hunter Mickelson, who apparently lost some effectiveness after going from about 220 pounds to 245 his freshman to sophomore season at the University of Arkansas.

“He was a little lighter his freshman year,” Doc Harper, writer for Sporting Life Arkansas, said in a phone interview with the Journal-World. “I remember one game clearly. He was playing against Vanderbilt, caught a pass down low against a player bigger than him, spun around and dunked it. The past year, especially in the conference (SEC) season, he didn’t do that.

“Some people said he gained some weight trying to be a better post player. It hampered his athleticism. He was not as effective.”

Mickelson last week announced plans to transfer to KU. He’ll practice next season but not play in games then have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He averaged 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds a game his sophomore season after averaging 5.2 ppg and 3.7 boards his freshman campaign.

“He broke the freshman shot-block record at Arkansas set in 1988 by Oliver Miller (72). They put 25 pounds on him, (and) it slowed him down,” said Mickelson’s dad, Darien, estimating Hunter’s current weight at 235 pounds.

“When he was a freshman, he was an elite shot-blocker,” Doc Harper said. “This past year, a lot of people say that after the weight gain, (he) was not as explosive, couldn’t get up as quickly, get over as quickly (in blocking just 39 shots).”

Mickelson, who is known as a big man who can stretch the defense, likely will need to improve his aggressiveness in the paint. That often happens once a player enters the program of KU strength-and-conditioning guru Andrea Hudy, known for getting post players such as Cole Aldrich, Markieff Morris, Jeff Withey and others at the optimal playing weight for their body types and skill sets.

“He became a good free-throw shooter,” said Harper, “but he didn’t get to the line very much (hitting 16 of 20 free throws last season). He’s not the most assertive, aggressive player. His jump shot is a line drive, not the prettiest shot. It is effective at times. He has a decent 10- to 15-foot jumper from the wing. At times it’s been good, but inconsistent.”

Mickelson hit 77 of 161 shots a year ago for 47.8 percent. He missed six of seven three-point tries, thus his percentage on two-pointers was 49.4.

“For whatever reason, he never became comfortable. He had a lot of hype out of high school,” Harper noted of the Jonesboro Westside grad who was ranked 100th nationally by “As a freshman, the fans loved him. This year, the fans were frustrated. He wasn’t becoming what everybody thought he’d become.

“Especially at the end of the year (after losing starting spot in lineup 10 of the last 11 games), when he tried to drive a lot of times, he turned the ball over, not drawing fouls, not blocking shots, not rebounding. Everybody seemed to like him. Everybody hopes he does well. Nobody I know ever had anything bad to say about him personally.”

Harper has not given up on Mickelson.

“I’m interested in seeing what happens (at KU). A lot of people think he does have talent and maybe the style of play was not a good fit (at Arkansas),” Harper said. “They (Jayhawks) have a reputation of developing big men, and he could flourish in a system where according to him he’ll be able to face the basket more and a lot of people think he can do well. I do think there’s talent there, more talent than showed this year.”

Frantic finale: ESPN’s Dave Telep reports that KU coach Bill Self was mighty busy Wednesday, the last day in the spring coaches could enter the homes of recruits. Telep said Self visited Kelly Oubre, a 6-5 junior from Bush High in Richmond, Texas, who is ranked No. 27 nationally by; Justise Winslow, 6-5 junior from St. John’s High in Houston who is ranked No. 10; and University of Memphis junior Tarik Black, 6-9, who is considering KU, Duke and others.


Joan Kalivoda 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Sherron Collins and Cedric Hunter were the top guard players for KU and there will not be another with this coaching staff.


DanR 11 months, 3 weeks ago

It's not the weight, it's the humidity.


KJD 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Correction: Wilt was in "Conan the Destroyer", an entirely superior film.


KJD 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Off topic for the article though way on topic for Kansas Basketball this week:

Kirk Hinrich is the man!! 60 minutes in one game. Bulls beat Nets. At least he had 3 minutes of rest during the 3 OT game.

Kirk would have to be on an all KU roster of 13 men, have to be. If I got to make up a starting roster of KU all time greats, Kirk starts at the 2. He has point-guard skills where he started in 2001, played small forward on the 2002 Final Four team–Pierce will stretch the D with his 3 plus Kirk can shoot it from downtown just fine (he beat #1 Arizona from behind the arc in the Elite 8 2003 game) –and Kirk is the defensive stopper on any team against anyone (he shut down Dwayne Wade cold in the 2003 Final Four game in a rout).

Kirk's #10 hangs in Allen Fieldhouse, "I don't know if there's a greater honor in basketball than to have your jersey hanging in the most historic basketball building in the world. It's an unbelievable honor." He ranks 10th on the all-time career scoring list. His scoring output on the 2003 national runner-up team ranks 14th on the all-time single season scoring list. He had 15 games in 2003 where he scored over 20 points and that ties him for 6th on the all time list for single season in that category. His 2002 season for that Final Four team ranks 33rd for best single season scoring.

His 2003 season ranks 4th on the all-time list for 3 pointers made, his 2001 season ranks 1st for 3-point FG percentage, and his 2002 3-point FG percentage ranks 4th. He ranks behind Jeff Boschee and Billy Thomas on the all-time list for most 3-pointers made and ranks 4th for all-time field goal percentage.

In 2002 Kirk went 10-10 from the stripe against Kansas State which is only eclipsed by Rex Walters who went 11-11 against Oklahoma. Kirk ranks 5th all-time for free throw percentage.

In 2001 when he played point guard he had six 10 assist games which ties him for fifth all time for a single season, he had 229 assist overall that year which ranks 7th all-time and his average per game in 2001 ranks 5th all-time. Kirk Hinrich is 4th all-time in career assists.

Kirk ranks 6th all-time in steals, 5th all-time in games played, 8th in career starts, 5th in most minutes played in a season (2003), and 3rd in most minutes in a career.

These are only some of the reasons why Kirk Hinrich is my favorite Jayhawk ever!


William Blake 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I guess Hunter has to ask himself... "did he fire 5 shots or 6?" (wait, wrong movie)

"Do I want to be 'clunk a dunk' or 'fly by high'?"

Sorry... any votes for dumbest Monday post?


dylans 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Mike Anderson's system isn't big friendly. Mickleson looks like he just added mass not strenghth. Both of these things will be changed the next time Mickelson hits the court. So how good can he be?


Robert Brock 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Bulk does not imply strength. Adding bulk does not necessarily help footwork (see Cheno). Michelson has a lot to learn and he is going to be helped exponentially by working with Andrea Hudy. It's going to be fun to observe his development.


Tony Bandle 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Not that I want to get into a "Brady Morningstar-Like" debate, but I just need to express my opinion that Christian Moody was NOT the greatest walk-on in KU history.

He made one sensational pass play [by accident if you ask me] on ESPN's Big Monday on national televison in a Kansas victory that began this urban legend.

Yes, CM was a great guy and worked his butt off on an under-manned KU squad, but he was consistently over-whelmed by greater talent and at the point where he could have legitimately cemented his legend forever, he missed two free throws at the end of regulation against those bastards in Columbia, thus sending us to an eventual overtime loss.

I just feel that Moody did the best he could with what he had like many walk-ons but using the term ' greatest' just doesn't feel right to me.. I am sure I am in the minority on this topic but I do appreciate the opportunity to express my opinion.

Posted in all Sincerity and Respect with absolutely no Malice intended.


Suzi Marshall 11 months, 3 weeks ago

This article tells me the kid was not working hard enough on his game to adapt to the extra weight gain.


Kevin Huffman 11 months, 3 weeks ago

So - supposedly we have 2 left even looking forward to the '14 / '15 season.

I'll reiterate what I've said SEVERAL times.

The ideal twosome in my opinion that IS seemingly realistic is Justise Winslow ( a LOT like Selden and a VERY SIMILAR ranking as well at this point) and Josh Perkins.


Phil Leister 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I blame the Arkansas strength team entirely. 6-10, 225 is small, and there's absolutely no reason packing on 20 pounds should hinder his performance and slow him down if it's the right kind of weight. Hudy will straighten him out. Sounds to me like his weight gain wasn't muscle, just mass.


Michael Sillman 11 months, 3 weeks ago

It sounds like the same thing happened to Mickelson that messed up Eric Chenowith. During his freshman year, Chenowith could run the floor and actually jump a little bit.

After he gained weight for his sophomore year, Chenowith became a lumbering lug. I have always felt that he should have stayed skinny.

Hopefully, as the article says, Hudy can find the optimal weight for Mickelson.


syceda 11 months, 3 weeks ago

If everyone stays look out 2014.


Scott MacWilliams 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I like the looks of this kid. He's shown some potential, isn't a head case, and doesn't seem to have any illusions about what will be expected of him at KU.

He's not so much a project, building from the ground up, but more like a slight remodel. A year in the KU system with the benefits that accrue for those willing to work it, I think we'll be in good shape with Hunter.

I'm betting he's got pretty much the same work ethic as another kid from Arkansas, TJ Whatley. Whatley managed to turn a walkon career into an engineering degree, if I recall correctly. The second coming of TJ?? We shall see...


jayhawkinnc 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"Paging Coach Hudy......Coach Andrea Hudy. You are needed in the aerobics room to get Hunter Mickelson into shape!"

At least she has a whole year to get him in the right condition.


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