Saturday, November 30, 2013

Notebook: Ellis says Kansas needs to move past loss

Kansas players Wayne Selden, left, Naadir Tharpe, Perry Ellis and Frank Mason show expressions of disbelief after a three-pointer by Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono, right, put the Wildcats on top with seconds remaining in the game, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Kansas players Wayne Selden, left, Naadir Tharpe, Perry Ellis and Frank Mason show expressions of disbelief after a three-pointer by Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono, right, put the Wildcats on top with seconds remaining in the game, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jayhawks talk about first loss of season

Kansas coach Bill Self and Jayhawks Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe address the media following KU's 63-59 loss to Villanova at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

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Villanova 63, Kansas 59

Box score

— Kansas University’s basketball team will not face its third undefeated team in three days during today’s third-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

A battle against Iowa (7-0), which everybody had hoped for, will not happen following KU’s 63-59 semifinal loss to Villanova.

KU, and its legion of 3,500 (or more) fans, will square off against UTEP (4-3) in a 6 p.m., Central time, contest in Imperial Arena at the Atlantis resort.

“The first thing is, there’s nothing we can do about that game now. It’s over,” KU sophomore Perry Ellis said. “We have to tell these younger guys we have to move onto the next game. We have to get better as a team, just go into the game tomorrow and play more competitive than we have been.”

UTEP is led by former Iowa State and NBA coach Tim Floyd, who went 25-10, 15-17 and 18-14 in his first three years as Miners’ coach. He has yet to lead UTEP to an NCAA berth.

UTEP’s top players include 6-foot-6 junior guard McKenzie Moore (14.0 ppg entering tourney), 6-10 junior forward Cedrick Lane (11.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg), 6-8 junior forward Julian Washburn (10.4 ppg) and 6-8 freshman forward Vince Hunter (10.2 ppg). UTEP has beaten Loyola, West Alabama and Colorado State at home to go with a first-round Atlantis win over Tennessee. UTEP has already played New Mexico State twice, losing both at home and on the road.

KU coach Bill Self on Friday night’s happenings: “To me this was a game a lot like the Kentucky game at the Garden,” Self said of a Nov. 15, 2011, loss to UK in the Champions Classic. “No rhythm. You try but are not tough enough to have a chance to win. That team went on and did some decent things (32-7 record, Big 12 title, Final Four). We have a long ways to go. What we try to tell our guys there is a difference between trying hard and competing. We have to learn how to compete. It will not happen overnight. We’ll have more ups than downs. When everything is fast forward and combine not shooting well at all (38.9 percent vs. Nova; 2-11 from three and 15-25 from line) it puts extra pressure (on team).”

Next year’s tourney: The eight-team field for the 2014 Old Spice Classic was announced on Friday. KU will be joined by Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Marquette, Rider, Tennessee, Santa Clara and Xavier.

The ninth-annual event will be held Thanksgiving weekend, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, Nov. 27, 28 and 30, at the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.

The bracket-format tournament will feature 12 games over the three days. Gonzaga won the 2012 Old Spice Classic title, its second tournament championship (also 2008). Previous winners were Dayton (2011), Notre Dame (2010), Florida State (2009), North Carolina State (2007) and Arkansas (2006).

For information visit the Old Spice Classic web site at

Blast from past: Former KU assistant coach Mark Freidinger, a scout for the San Antonio Spurs, is working the tournament as color announcer on the Wake Forest radio network. It’s a job he’s held for many years.

Freidinger, who was a member of Larry Brown’s KU staff, was instrumental in the start of KU’s Late Night With Larry Brown, which morphed into Late Night With Roy William and now Late Night in the Phog.

Freidinger suggested to Brown the Jayhawks hold a season-opening hoop extravaganza in 1985. After a small crowd in ‘85, Freidinger was out to add some hoopla in ‘86.

“We called David Letterman trying to get him to come. They sent Larry Bud Melman (a regular on the show) and the students loved him,” Freidinger said.

Freidinger took part in a skit in which he drank a wild concoction of chocolate milk, raw eggs and pepper, mixed in a blender by KU players.

“It was Coca-Cola, but nobody knew that,” Freidinger said.

Freidinger said he still remained friends with KU assistant AD John Hadl, the only person he still knows in KU’s athletic department.

“A friend of mine heard the grill at ‘The Wheel’ was closed. I said, ‘Tell ‘Knobby’ (owner) to open that grill up again,’’’ Freidinger said. “One of our scouts was there a few weeks ago and said it was open,” Freidinger added with a laugh, recalling all the times he ate lunch at ‘The Wheel’ with Brown.

He said he thought Wake Forest was making strides under fourth-year coach Jeff Bzdelik, who inherited a program down on its luck.


Suzi Marshall 7 years, 3 months ago

I love the fact our guys never gave up in this one. However Perry and the rest of need to get a bit tougher, play some defense...especially covering 3s, hussle more for loose balls. Mason, for all his tenanity, needs to learn to be a point guard, which means making those around you better. 0 assist in 24 minutes is not a good stat for a PG.

Jack Jones 7 years, 3 months ago

And, being out rebounded by a smaller team 38-28 is not a good stat either.

Gerry Butler 7 years, 3 months ago

very true jack, don't feel there is a good reason why you get out rebounded like that need to r mn out better, too many 2nd and 3rd shots. but they WILL learn guarantee ya bill will make sure of that

Asad Zoberi 7 years, 3 months ago

Bottom line is that the team was not ready/focused for this tournament. It could be due to several reasons, youth, the resort/Bahamas etc. Hope that the coaching staff can use these games as a teaching moment and get players attention moving forward.

Ashwin Rao 7 years, 3 months ago

Hope I am not piling on, but one thing that stood out in the first game was that the starters didn't look very interested in the game while they were on the bench in the 2nd half. Even the commentator made note of it. Not sure what is going on. This is definitely not how Kansas basketball is played. It is definitely an eye-opener, and I hope we come up with enough lessons to get more aggressive and into the game moving forward.

RJ King 7 years, 3 months ago

I read their body language as follows:

Black - cheering and encouraging

Selden - cheering and supportive; both regretting not playing better.

Ellis - poker face as usual; disappointment in himself, not apathy.

Wiggins - still learning system and finding his role and fighting through cold symptoms; disappointment in his own struggles

Tharpe - yikes - wondering how Mason's tough play as a freshmen will impact his own minutes

Steve Zimmerman 7 years, 3 months ago

Ellis: you dunked only 2x this far. Sure you have nice post moves around the basket. But it's been 1 freakin year I've been waiting for you to become a stronger Ellis. Dunk more, my friend. Finish stronger. That will tremble the opponents. It's time to let them know - you are that powerful!

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