Saturday, March 23, 2013

Notebook: Catching up with C.B. McGrath; Angel Morris on hand


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford talk after win over WKU

Kansas coach Bill Self and guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford talk after the Jayhawks' 64-57 win over WKU on March 23, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

WKU coach Ray Harper

WKU coach Ray Harper talks after his team's 64-57 loss to Kansas on March 22, 2013.

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Box score


— Former Kansas University point guard C.B. McGrath is in his 10th year on coach Roy Williams’ North Carolina staff.

McGrath, a 37-year-old Topeka native, played four years for Williams at KU, graduating in 1998. He was an invited walk-on but ultimately was on scholarship all four years.

“My kids want me to change jobs. They are 6 (twins Kate and Addison) and 4 (Hunter), and they don’t know what they are even saying,” McGrath said, laughing. “They are, ‘Well, can you change jobs?’ I said, ‘I can, I guess. Do you want me to?’ They say, ‘Yeah, we want you to.’ I say, ‘Why?’ They can’t think of a reason. That’s kids for you.”

Of possibly becoming a head coach some day, McGrath said: “I don’t know when I’m going to get the opportunity, hopefully at some point in my lifetime. If not, it’s been a good run. I’ll call it quits and go work at Target or something.”

McGrath played in 112 career games, scored 82 points and had 113 assists and 35 steals. He had 61 assists against 24 turnovers as a senior. He was a two-time academic All-Big 12 selection.

“Winning the conference title. Beating Missouri in the 100-year reunion game,” he said of some highlights of his KU career. His teams won four conference titles but never reached the Final Four, with one Elite Eight appearance. “It’s been 15 years since I played. You have different memories.”

Prior to Carolina’s first-round win over Villanova, McGrath was asked about possibly playing his alma mater.

“I prefer not to play Kansas again. It seems like that’s starting to be a yearly thing,” McGrath said.

KU beat his Heels in last year’s Elite Eight and in the 2008 Final Four semis.

“It is what it is,” McGrath said. “Our guys don’t pay attention to it. Ten years ago, coach decided to leave Kansas to go to North Carolina. Hopefully the fans are over it by now.”

Asked what the NCAA Tournament committee has been thinking in matching KU and UNC so often, McGrath said: “I don’t know. A couple eight, nine seeds from the area got shipped out, Wichita State and Missouri. They would be the better story. How long has it been since KU played Wichita State? Kansas-Missouri … they don’t play anymore. They want to bring us back here? That’s fine. I get tired of all the texts and emails: ‘What do you think about playing Kansas?’ If we play them, we play them. It’s nothing I can control. I don’t know why the committee would do that, but they do things for certain reasons.”

Faces in crowd

Former KU director of basketball operations Barry Hinson, first-year head coach at Southern Illinois, attended the KU-Western Kentucky game. So did former KU center Matt Kleinmann and Angel Morris, mother of former KU forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris.

Roy wins No. 700

Former KU coach Williams won his 700th career game on Friday (against 179 losses) in Sprint Center, a stone’s throw from KU, where he won 418 games against 101 losses in 15 seasons.

Williams is the fourth active Div. I coach to win 700 games and 21st in NCAA history. He joins Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim and Bob Huggins in the active 700-win club. He is 282-78 at Carolina.

Give the man a cigar

KU junior Justin Wesley’s brother, former KU standout Keith Langford, was in the U.S. last week but has returned to Italy where he plays professionally.

Wesley reports that Langford became a father Wednesday when Kaycen Keith Langford was born.

Wesley is an uncle, but not for the first time.

“On my dad’s side I have quite a few nephews and nieces,” he said.

Hilltopper coach hopeful

Second-year Western Kentucky coach Ray Harper believes he can help take the Hilltoppers back to their glory days.

“I’m at a place we can take this team to the next level,” Harper said, “being in the top 20 every year. We’re one or two recruiting classes from being there.”

He’s not seeking greener coaching pastures.

“This is where I’d love to be,” Harper said. “I grew up an hour from here (Bowling Green). I stayed at Kentucky Wesleyan nine years and played in six straight national championship games (winning two). To me, you can’t put a price on that.”

Winning class

KU’s seniors are used to winning. Fifth-year senior Travis Releford entered Friday’s game with a 156-26 record (.857). Fourth-year seniors Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey entered 129-18 (.878), while senior transfer Kevin Young entered 61-12 (.836). Releford has been a part of five Big 12 Conference regular-season titles, Johnson and Withey four and Young two. Additionally, in the last four seasons, KU has won three Big 12 postseason championships (2010, 2011, 2013), advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight twice and one Final Four, including last year’s run to the NCAA championship game in New Orleans. Combined, these seniors entered Friday’s game 17-4 in postseason play.


JJHAWK 6 years, 2 months ago

Voice 1: I thought one and done was a recruit thing.

Voice 2: Not at Methouri.

Michael Pannacciulli 6 years, 2 months ago

WKU will be a power with Harper at the helm again. Smart coach with tough, defense minded, and athletic upperclassmen equals a recipe for success.

leonard 6 years, 2 months ago

The quality of college basketball officiating continues to devolve for a variety of reasons.

-- They can't keep up physically with the speed and quality of today's college athletes. Compound that with these out-of-shape guys working as many as 90 games a year for the payday of six figure incomes.

-- It's become an NBA style star system...protecting the big name players based on reputations rather than actual game performance...along with blatant homerism.

-- An extension of the NBA style system is the alarming number of "guess calls". Over and over you see the ref with the worst look at a play making the call because it simply "looked like" a foul should have been called. These guesses produce lots of phantom fouls where there was no contact at all.

-- They have become witless their cousins on television wrestling...playing to a script.

-- There is little accountability and the entire system is rife with cronyism. Want proof? The 3 blind mice that officiated the debacle in our game with ISU in February...and were cited for obvious errors...have all been selected to work the NCAA tourney. Whew!

-- The coup de gras to all of this is their adherence to the belief...promoted by senseless announcers and bobble-headed TV experts...that they should swallow their whistles in the closing minutes in order to "let the players" determine the outcome. If that inane belief is actually true why are they even needed at all? Just play like a shirts-and-skins game at the gym where the players make all the calls.

Yep, college basketball officiating is in a sorry state...and it's the game, the fans, and young men who suffer from the bloated egos, greed, and cronyism of the current system.

Kent Wells 6 years, 2 months ago

Two things:

  1. With the win, Kansas was able to reach 30 wins for the fourth straight season - the first time that's happened in Division I men's basketball, after Memphis was forced to vacate the 2008 season.

  2. Why was Angel Morris there? Seems odd. I know she was connected to TROB, but I'm just a little curious. Pretty cool...

AverageCitizen 6 years, 2 months ago

I imagine Angel grew close to all the basketball players. (Remember this team was even closer due to the tragedy of TRob.) Travis, Justin, Niko, Jeff and Elijah all played with her sons so I am sure she still has an interest in how they are doing. Once a mother hen, always a mother hen!

John Randall 6 years, 2 months ago

I never thought of that! You know, it could be,

Joe Joseph 6 years, 2 months ago

This is why Bill Self has owned Roy Williams while at Kansas and will continue to own Roy Williams.

Roy (and his entire staff apparently) hate playing KU and chide the committee when it happens. Rather than focusing all of its energy on beating Kansas, Roy's staff seems to spend more time and energy than it should on playing the blame game and defending Roy. I'm sure this is partly (mostly?) the medias fault. But with their snide remarks about the unfairness of the committee they also bring it upon themselves.

Bill Self just seems to think, "whatevs" even though I'm sure he'd rather avoid the unc drama as well. He just handles it so much better.

But then again, Roy always was a bit of a whiner when it came to the tournament.

Joe Ross 6 years, 2 months ago

I can hear Target employees everywhere taking umbrage with McGrath's remark. LOL

johninkc1 6 years, 2 months ago

KU should play UNC every year. Roy needs to put his big boy pants on and do a home and home with KU. If you are a great team/program, you want to schedule quality opponents. That is why the NCAA keeps putting UNC and KU together because Roy won't.

TexiCaliHawk 6 years, 2 months ago

C.B. does make an excellent point in that if the Tourney Committee really wanted to stir things up, they would have put either Mizzou or WSU (or both) in KU's bracket for the reasons he mentions. Personally, I have no problem with Roy or playing UNC as that is what 'blue bloods' should do -- play each other on a regular basis. I still remember our annual series with UK and, even though we did not fare too well during the (mostly) Ted Owens years, we had several close/memorable encounters where I could have sworn the roof was going to blow off of AFH from the noise (remember, they let in over 18,000 back then!).

While we have the better team this year, I'm not so sure that UNC doesn't have the 'mental edge' as nobody expects anything out of them (play loose/free), KU has beaten them the last two times in the NCAA Tourney (revenge/time to step up and do it for Roy) and they've done it to us before in KC (I know, this one's a bit of a stretch, but they could play the 'Nostalgia Card' and cite the 3 OT victory over Wilt and the Hawks back in '57).

Here's hoping we come in with a chip on OUR shoulder and play up to our God-given abilities on Sunday and TAKE what is ours with a more energetic, passionate performance than we showed last night . . . 'Survive and Advance' indeed! RCHK

Matthew Pyle 6 years, 2 months ago

Wrong. You don't reward a crap team like Mizzou with a game in KC. They would never screw a one seed like that.

jaybate 6 years, 2 months ago

Harper will get it done.

CB will get his shot.

KU will get it done.

jaybate 6 years, 2 months ago

Screw survive and advance.

Labor and advance one game.

Amped performance and advance the next game.

Repeat three times.

Collect ring.

Hang banner.


FarSideHawk 6 years, 2 months ago

Perhaps the best way for Roy to eliminate this drama about playing KU every tournament time is to schedule a home and home. That way the novelty will wear off soon and it will just another game.

Adam Tyler 6 years, 2 months ago

I do. He is from Topeka (my home town) and was a Jayhawk. Enough said.

eric poncharello 6 years, 2 months ago

Seem's like the media and the tarheel fan's think still, that the KU fan's still hold a grudge with coach Roy. At least they like to think that, reminds me of the mizzery fan's. C B, I like, but he still kissing Roy's behind in thinking the same way the tarheel fan's think. KU fan's love coach Self and think that he is a lot better choice for KANSAS. We don't care one lick about Roy not coaching here and we have not in years. We moved on and so should the questions from the media about every time KU and UNC meet, the same old questions come up, I think that's what the media does because there lazy to ask any original questions.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure I understand the comments that Ku and unc are paired together. In 2008 Ku and unc both were #1 seeds they had to both make it to the final four to play each other. Last year we had to make the elite eight. This is the first time where they fixed a rematch...remember Ku played a unc team with an injury and there are some people that think that is the reason we won.

Who cares though, I kind of like Roy playing in kc. I don't like unc but I think Roy did amazing things at Ku and appreciate everything he did for us.

Doug Roberts 6 years, 2 months ago

Confirmed: "Co-Champion" K-State is weakest team in Kansas.

Alan Braun 6 years, 2 months ago

After KU handles UNC for the third time today, and it becomes obvious that KU fans aren't mad at Roy anymore, I think the committee will get bored and start doing other things with us. I fully expect us to be in a bracket with Methzou the next time they make the tournament. And yes it probably will be in KC. What better way to put a lot of butts in the seats, which is what this is all about! Have you noticed how many EMPTY seats there have been at some of the other venues? KU vs Meth, no empty seats anywhere and heaven only knows what they'll go for on the secondary market

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