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Friday, April 4, 2014

Analysts: KU-bound duo deserving all-stars

Future Kansas University basketball players Kelly Oubre, left, and Cliff Alexander pose during media availability leading up to the 2014 McDonald's All-American Game.

Future Kansas University basketball players Kelly Oubre, left, and Cliff Alexander pose during media availability leading up to the 2014 McDonald's All-American Game.

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Leftover notes regarding the McDonald’s All-American Game Wednesday in Chicago. ...

ESPN’s Reggie Rankin proclaimed future KU players Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre as “best finishers” of the 24 high schoolers who competed.

“Alexander attacks the rim like no other player in the class,” Rankin wrote of the 6-foot-8 power forward from Chicago Curie High, who had nine points and 11 rebounds in the East’s 105-102 loss to the West. “With dunks, rebounds, and blocks he’s a beast in every sense of the word, and will develop nicely under Bill Self at Kansas.

“Alexander’s future teammate in Lawrence plays above the rim on the break and when attacking the rim along the baseline. Oubre dunks with power and authority when he is not hitting a deep jump shot,” Rankin wrote of Oubre, 6-7 from Findlay Prep High in Henderson, Nev., who had 11 points and seven boards for the winning West team.

Short turnaround: Oubre scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in Findlay Prep’s 67-59 win over Rainier Beach (Wash.) in a national prep tournament on Thursday in New York.

“Oubre is as good as everybody thought he was. He’s a good athlete and big-time player. He hit big shots when his team needed them,” Rainier Beach coach Mike Bethea told zagsblog.com after the game.

SLAM Magazine’s Leigh Klein on Alexander: “Alexander plays like a man among boys, snatching rebounds like gum balls from a machine.”

Failed dunks: Alexander, who played with his bruised right wrist taped, missed a pair of dunks.

“It’s cool,” Alexander told the Chicago Tribune. “It got better since (Tuesday). It had nothing to do with the missed dunks. I just missed them. No excuses.”

A trooper, Alexander agreed to compete in Monday’s dunk contest in his hometown despite the fact he said he doesn’t like dunk contests. He hurt the wrist in that dunk contest.

Deep dish delightful: Jason Jordan of USA Today asked Alexander to identify the best deep dish pizza in Chicago.

“Giordano’s,” Alexander replied.

NBAdraft.net’s Wes Hinton on Alexander, who is ranked No. 4 nationally by Rivals.com: “Alexander takes no chances within 8-feet of the rim as he dunks everything. He is a physical specimen who brings to mind some Amar’e Stoudemire comparisons and if he can develop some consistent post moves he will be unguardable. On the defensive side of the ball Alexander is a great shot blocker but the amount of shots he alters is amazing. He causes a ton of turnovers based on his presence alone.”

SLAM’s Klein on NBA scouts in Chicago: “The ‘logo’ was well represented on the sidelines. Every NBA team had a scout at practice and the scrimmage to see the next in line. The feedback from the scouting community on this year’s McDonald’s squad has been a positive one. ‘The depth of the class is impressive. It may not have the (Andrew) Wiggins and (Jabari) Parker that last year’s class had, but top to bottom this one may very well be better,’” an NBA executive told SLAM.

SI.com’s Chris Johnson on Alexander: “Though Alexander was limited by a wrist injury, Jayhawk fans got a glimpse of the 6-foot-8 power forward’s athleticism and power when he finished an impressive one-hand jam in the second half. Shooting guard Kelly Oubre, the other member of Kansas’ 2014 class, exhibited why many believe he can help fill the scoring void left in the wake of Wiggins’ departure to the NBA.”

Comments

Suzi Marshall 8 months, 2 weeks ago

After a year long discussion about soft play around the rim, this is welcome news. It was great to see the apparent interest of both to be strong defensive players.

Neither of the players appear overly enthused in the picture.

Tom Longhofer 8 months, 2 weeks ago

They had just been asked how they felt about an in home visit from the Kentucky coach.

Rodney Crain 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Great news about these two, I really am liking our team for next year. Adding Hunter, maybe Turner if Joel goes. We going to look tougher and more aggressive than this year that is for sure.

Now all we need is a PG transfer...........

Who knows Suzi maybe they were asked to look tough, or it might have been picture 1,241 that day lol. I get that same look near the end of Thanksgiving when my aunt takes my photo for the 50th time...

Luca Rossi 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I can understand the stone cold looks, they are on different teams. Being competitors, if the pic was taken before the game they could be getting mentally ready to compete against the other, being after the game one is surely not happy they just lost the game. Trust me, even though it was a loosely played game, no athlete at this level was ok with losing. Not to mention, did you see the hard foul Cliff gave Kelly when he tried to dunk on him in the last minute of the game? These two are big time players, it was fun to watch.

Excited to see both in KU jerseys soon!

Suzi Marshall 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I was thinking the picture was taken immediately after the game. Both may be reflecting on that last play, with 19 seconds left in the game.

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 2 weeks ago

this picture was likely taken before the players came out for pre-game shootaround based on the condition of the empty row of seats on press-row. Everything is in flawless condition as though it's just been prepared for the day's activity. The two players show no signs that they've already competed. No sweat, no battle wounds.

Likely, the photographer asked them to look tough, but also they're probably sick of the pomp and circumstance and just want to play ball.

Walter Bridges 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Then again I heard a rumor that Christopher Reid became a Marine Corps sniper.

Walter Bridges 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm sorry but you just can't pull off the hard look wearing the high-top fade.

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree, that they both failed to look tough, but especially Oubre. However his haircut is not technically the High Fade, as much as a bushy mohawk. His expression though is more reminiscent of Zoolander.

John Fitzgerald 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Where do you guys find your time?? Lol Funny stuff though

Tim Hill 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Is it October yet!? With these two coming in plus another recruit possibly...and our guys improving over the summer...we could be scary good next year. Notice that the team that won in 08 and heck even florida this year...the players stayed for more than a year and had that click going as a team. When that happens, you are unstoppable. We are getting a pretty nice team together for once...it has been quite some time that we had more than 2 senior starters. Looks like it's stacking up to be that way in a couple years. KU is a blast to watch every year...but the next couple of years will be special for sure.

Erich Hartmann 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Agreed. 2012-13 had a lot of seniors: (Withey, Young, Releford, EJ)...which is why this season's youth made us maddeningly inconsistent, and frankly not-yet-a-true-Bill-Self-product. But next year look at the aggressiveness added: Alexander, Oubre, and possibly make Mason the starting PG (now experienced), if Tharpe cant get back to his decent play his soph season when he was subbing for EJ or in the game alongside. Maybe this is why Tharpe struggled: all his teammates (other than Ellis) were new THIS year, so those 3-4 game stretches last season where he had 20assists to 1 turnover would be hard to duplicate?

Ryan Beddie 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Tharpe was asked to shoulder a lot of the Leadership and he may have not done as well in certain games as we needed. I think he will learn from this year and its always great having a senior PG through the season. What needs to happen is Ellis and Traylor need to help him and step up as leaders. Traylor will be in his 4th season with the team. Ellis as a go to guy has to come out his shell and become a more vocal leader. I think Selden will take some of this responsibility this year because he knows he will be a focal point in the offense

Joe Baker 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry Ryan, I'm not giving Tharpe any passes. He's a junior and should be the unanimous leader at POINT GUARD. There's no excuses. I overlooked his frosh season for obvious reasons with EJ and TT. I overlooked his soph season with EJ as Self's "pg," but this is now his team. I actually thought he played maybe his best season as a soph with EJ taking the leadership role. I thought the pass that EJ rendered in the Mich game last year, though unwise, was pretty indicative of Tharpe upon receiving the pass, fumbling, and throwing up a very clumsy shot. But, I gave Tharpe a pass on that play and wrote it off to EJ's poor judgment. Now, Tharpe says, "I've learned..." What? What did Tharpe learn last year from EJ, Michigan game, or from Bill Self? I have no idea, because instead of progressing, he has done nothing but steadily digressed in almost every way possible. I waited for him to step up this year. I gave him a pass with each down game. My hopes soared as he played a few games that were worthy of recognition. But then, he settle back into the old Tharpe of the year and settled for less. I want to give him a pass because the focus was on Wiggins. He often yielded to Wiggins. So, if he shows up this year, I will be extremely curious what a senior pg brings to the table with his vast experience. Tharpe is arguably one of the most experienced players in the NCAA the four years he's been at KU. I'm done giving him passes. I don't even want to factor the off court decisions he's made, but it can't impact his mental game or he'll be even worse as a senior. He can do nothing but improve and remain consistent his senior year. It's his choice. Let's see what choice he makes.

It's great to have role players or supporting players like Ellis and Traylor. I think they did their part in many games. Tharpe failed to bring it as the undisputed leader of this team. We'll see if your post rings true. I agree with Selden and think the others will bring it. But I have serious doubts about Tharpe...Sorry I want to believe in him, but I can only be let down so many times and provide so many passes to an upperclassmen. I'm placing my attention on Mason and maybe CF at the pg.

Those of you wanting a pg transfer. I don't think it's going to happen. Unless someone transfers and/or leaves, we don't have the room. We all know that if Embiid leaves, Turner is taking his spot on the roster. The only way we get a pg, is if someone transfers and we've all been respectfully looking to AW3 to transfer, but it may not happen. I don't think Self is going to pull a Calipari.

Suzi Marshall 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Agree completely about Tharpe. Early in the season, before the Nova game, I posted dismay that Tharpe was not better prepared for the season. He absolutely knew it was his time and was major need for him to lead the team.

I sure hope we can get a Kane type signee for next year. Maybe this Aussie, Dante Exum, might want to give us a try prior to going into the NBA. Doubtful but I'm clinging to any hope because Tharpe, IMO, is hopeless.

Joe Baker 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Self will have to take this pg issue and swallow really hard, hoping for the best. I want to start over and work with the personnel currently on the roster and prep an up and coming 4-5 star pg with Mason and CF. Again, Tharpe could at least pass on some of his "experience" to a young frosh pg. But imagine what CF and Mason could do for a frosh pg?

I threw Bruson's name on the KU Buckets board, and some immediately threw Trier's (sp) name right back at me. I responded with "even better." But I'm really concerned about any kid from OKC. Trier is from OKC and so was OSU's start frosh pg, Stevie Clark (?) who was worse than Tharpe. Many OSU fans were livid at the distraction it caused and most believed his antics caused the firestorm that ultimately led to OSU's negatively ended season.

I like Jalen Brunson and believe Self could get him with his Chicago recruiting pipeline. Snacks will work wonders after getting Alex too. Any pg will be a kind of project with KU. Self's system isn't easy for a pg, but once it's learned, the pg can either make or break this team. I hope we get Brunson to take Tharpe's spot on the roster. Doesn't hurt to keep a pg in the hopper.

Allonzo Trier 6-4, 195 | Class of 2015 HometownOklahoma City, Okla. SchoolMontrose Christian School PositionPoint Guard Status Undeclared

Jalen Brunson 6-2, 180 | Class of 2015 HometownLincolnshire, Ill. SchoolAdlai E. Stevenson High School PositionPoint Guard Status Undeclared Strengths: Brunson is a lefty point guard that can run the team and keep the defense honest with his ability to shoot the ball from 3 on a consistent basis. He pushes the ball under control and makes pretty good decisions at high speeds and is an excellent open court passer

There was talk Exum was going to attend college. Is he going to be in the draft?

Sorry Exum opportunists:

On Tuesday morning, Exum announced his intention to declare for the 2014 NBA draft and hire agents Rob Pelinka and Brandon Rosenthal of Landmark Sports. Exum's decision to sign with an agent ends his college eligibility. Exum did consider going to college last year and looked at several high-profile programs, including Indiana and North Carolina. However, once his stock rose to the point where he was in the running for a top-five pick, the decision to enter the draft was pretty clear.

Here are two great prospects. Question now is will they be patient with Bill Self?

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 2 weeks ago

AW3 will not get "Wiltjered". If he transfers it will be his decision based on risk versus reward. He's voiced his discontentment this season, but he's a trooper, a man of his word, and a player with a chip on his shoulder. If he stays, then his loyalty to his commitment to KU could be his downfall or his redemption. If he stays, though, you know that at some point, his number will be called and he will have a chance to step in and control his destiny.

Rodney Crain 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Tharpe is a backup we have to find a PG on our roster or via a transfer.... Tharpe can not be given the reigns in 2015, that team could be very special. He has used up all of his chances, maybe he should focus on photography in the future...

Walter Bridges 8 months, 2 weeks ago

To be honest Erich, I really didn't see much improvement from Mason over the season. I thought he played some of his best ball early but later in the season I thought Frankamp had become the steadier player. If it's not Tharpe (who I still think it will be) then I guess it's a choice between speed or security.

Suzi Marshall 8 months, 2 weeks ago

OMG Mason started the year with a nice game vs Duke then hit the pits in Atlantis vs UTEP, Nova and WF. Self pulled the plug on Mason and brought him along more slowly. Mason's J needs some work, which showed up in the Stanford game. However, except for this shooting, Mason played solid the last half of the season, including vs. Stanford. Not Mason's fault the others couldn't convert on lobs and layups. Nevertheless, his lack of a J was a killer.

Bernard Gregory 8 months, 2 weeks ago

don't let your hatred of the mighty Crimson Wave reflect your judgement about Frank because I am sure exceeded expectations about him by leaps and bounds

Bernard Gregory 8 months, 2 weeks ago

talking about the Prince George grad Mr. Bridges , Suzi I am confident that Frank will shut down all the we need a point guard talk once he is confident that he has the green light and I know there is concern about his J but what amazes me is that there was no concern about others guys J,s who were suppose to be sharp shooters when they weren't fallng and then if they hit one or two all is forgiven. Believe me when I say that the boy can shoot its just a matter of confidence at this point , he just seems to be unsure if coach wants him to take shots at time.

Walter Bridges 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Bernard..I'm a HS grad from Leavenworth KS, something that i'll always appreciate because it was why I went to KU. Military brat whose dad ended up near Ft. Lee VA.

Now my brother and sister who are PG grads might have a bias but I wish both our near Prince George grads nothing but the best.

Ryan Beddie 8 months, 2 weeks ago

We had a senior laden team in 2012-2013

Ian Emerson 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I think everyone knows we will be a better team next year. Must get Joel back tho... But win title next year....

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Good for Danny! I thought that he would stay at Tulsa and build the program. He seems to have it headed the right direction looked like he was setting them up for some good teams the next couple seasons. Wake Forest would seem to be a very hard place to win consistently.

However, he's an instant upgrade over Jeff Bzdelik. Whom they fired after his first winning season in 7 years. He wasn't any good at Colorado. It made no sense when they hired him and makes no sense now.

Bz went 6-12 in conference the last two years. Danny will improve on that by year #2. I'd guess that Evan will stay at KU, but I wonder if he may decide to walk on at Wake?

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Looks like Oubre's actually an inch taller than Cliff if you count his hair!

But really Oubre's listed at 6'7, Cliff at 6'9? I guess that checks out about right...

Joe Baker 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Remember Aldrich and the shoe effect? We all debated Aldrich's heighth with and without shoes. I think we all concluded that he was 6-10 with shoes, and 6-9 without them. So, factor in the shoes and Oubre is a true 6'7 and Alex is 6'9.

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Hah yeah, actually I remember that it seemed like Aldrich was wearing some wedges or something at the combine. Seemed like it was over 2 inches different with and without shoes. He was 6'9 w/o and 6'11.25 with shoes according to nbadraft.net below.

http://www.nbadraft.net/2010-nba-draft-combine-official-measurements

KO and Cliff have on the same model (probably different sizes, but the heel thickness should be similar.

Sam Constance 8 months, 2 weeks ago

That has always cracked me up.

Who the hell cares what he measures without shoes? Last I checked, everyone plays with shoes ON.

John Strayer 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I love Giordano's...knew there was a reason I liked this kid! When I traveled to Chicago for business, I always tried to get to this place. Then when vacationing in Orlando FL we discovered a Giordano's within a couple of miles of our time share...deep dish pizza in Florida...yum.

Ethan Berger 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I see that Alexander is a projected top 5. Me personally, I don't know if he has the tools to be top 5 after one year. The thing that trips me up is his height. Beast of a man but a small 4. I guess a similar player to TRob. But Trob hasn't done well in the NBA. I will admit he has had some horrible luck. I wish Kings would have kept him and they have both him and Ben. I digress. As of now, the 4 is one of the most stacked positions in the nba. If Cliff can get a face up game, he can be similar to Josh Smith. But he hasn't played once for us yet, maybe he has more skills in his arsenal then the scouts know.

Sam Constance 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Robinson has done just fine, when his teams actually give him some minutes. He's currently averaging 5 points and 4 rebounds in only 12 minutes per game. Extrapolate that out to a normal bench player's minutes (20-25) and he's averaging nearly a double-double.

Ethan Berger 8 months, 2 weeks ago

What I meant is he hasn't really been a rotation guy. 12 min is decent but once he gets north of 15, the he is a rotation guy. To me his problem has been NBA teams lack of patience. Kings gave up to easy (they could use him now), Rockets needed money to get Dwight and Blazers have a top 3 pf.

Ian Emerson 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I always heard rumors about T-Rob finding it hard to learn play calls and sets for the teams he was on. Hes still in the league obviously because he is an absolute physical specimen. The only thing I have to say about his height is Dwight Howard is 6'8" and he was just as skinny coming into the league but GM's will look at that frame and see that motor and in a few years he will be dunking on everyone.

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 2 weeks ago

http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Dwight-Howard-2888/

http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Thomas-Robinson-5496/

Dwight measured 6'9" shoeless in 2004 at 18 y/o. TRob measured 6'7.75" at age 21. It's concievable that Howard has grown since he entered the league, but if not then he is only 1.25 inches taller than Robinson. Robinson is an average sized PF in the NBA, with above average atheticism.

El Jay 8 months, 2 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Ian Emerson 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I was comparing Dwight to Cliff not T-Rob but youre right i have no idea why i thought he was 6'8".

Tony Bandle 8 months, 2 weeks ago

OAKVILLE ODDITIES:

1] Danny....ten years at Kansas, two years at Tulsa, say five years at Wake..that totals about 17 years.

Bill...one year at Kansas, eight years at Okie State, four years at Oral Roberts, three years at Tulsa, three years at Illinois...that totals about 19 years..yep, that's just about right.

2] Giordano's....so good, there has to be a franchise in Heaven.

3] Please make sure that Cliff's girl friend stays on the women's team..if that means sacrificing Bonnie, so be it!

4] I hope Kelly gets to keep the 'doo...as Tommy Boy would say, "THAT'S AWESOME"

5] Based on nature, I would say a Gator would have it all over a Husky and a Badger would make short work of a Wildcat!!

6] Looking at the photo above, Cliff has a ways to go to catch up with Kelly's Tat count.

7] I think Kelly has a "mean" streak a little closer to the surface than Andrew has

8] If Jo Jo stays, we can go "big" with Jo Jo, Kelly, Perry, Cliff and Wayne.

Tony Bandle 8 months, 2 weeks ago

OAKVILLE ODDITIES:

1] Danny....ten years at Kansas, two years at Tulsa, say five years at Wake..that totals about 17 years.

Bill...one year at Kansas, eight years at Okie State, four years at Oral Roberts, three years at Tulsa, three years at Illinois...that totals about 19 years..yep, that's just about right.

2] Giordano's....so good, there has to be a franchise in Heaven.

3] Please make sure that Cliff's girl friend stays on the women's team..if that means sacrificing Bonnie, so be it!

4] I hope Kelly gets to keep the 'doo...as Tommy Boy would say, "THAT'S AWESOME"

5] Based on nature, I would say a Gator would have it all over a Husky and a Badger would make short work of a Wildcat!!

6] Looking at the photo above, Cliff has a ways to go to catch up with Kelly's Tat count.

7] I think Kelly has a "mean" streak a little closer to the surface than Andrew has

8] If Jo Jo stays, we can go "big" with Jo Jo, Kelly, Perry, Cliff and Wayne.

Suzi Marshall 8 months, 2 weeks ago

1) A good lob at WF puts Danny in line for the next Kansas coach.

2) Giordano's, Unos and Due's are the old traditional Chicago Pizza joints. Try out any on this list...http://chicagoist.com/2013/09/18/the_best_pizzas_in_chicago.php.

Chicago is to Pizza as Milan is to Coffee. Some, well actually several, in Chicago believe that in 1269 Marco Polo traveled from the court of Kublai Khan back to Venice via Chicago. While in Chicago, rumors have it that the great (...great..) grandfather of Black Hawk stole the recipe. Black Hawk then made the first deep dish pizza for his grandson, Jim Thorpe, prior to the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.

3) My Bonnie lies over the ocean, my Bonnie lies over the sea, My Bonnie lies over the ocean, Don’t bring back my Bonnie to me.

My Bonnie leaned over the gas tank, The height of its contents to see, I lit a small match to assist her, Don’t Bring back my Bonnie to me.

4) Billy the Kid puts more cat notches on his gun.

7) KO is Wiggins more aggressive, vocal cousin.

8) love it…You must have Ellis at the 3 with Selden or Oubre at the 1 and 2. How about Embiid at the 4 and Alexander the 5, or double nickels?

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 2 weeks ago

good deep dish pizza joints in Chicago are more common than shopping malls in Houston. I've had Giordano's, Jeno's, and one other smaller less popular place I don't remember the name. I preferred Jeno's for the pizza and the atmosphere, but the wait on a Sunday evening was well over an hour.

I actually really like Star Pizza in Houston almost as well... almost.

Jonathan Allison 8 months, 2 weeks ago

after a quick google search, the third place was Lou Malnati's. The pizza was great but the atmosphere was like that of a Pizza Hut.

Joe Baker 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I have to give a shout out to Woody's Brick Oven Baked Pizza in Longmont, CO. They have some pretty good made to order pizza. It is a local chain in the Longmont and Denver area. In fact, my family and I frequent Old Chicago in the OKC area and I was reading the history. They originated out of Colorado, not Chicago. It's hard to find good Chicago style pizza.

Mark Lindrud 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I live in Denver, CO so I will second Woody's. Suzi, I would love to see Selden try his hand at the point.

Dirk Medema 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Jeno's???

The folks at Gino's think you might be confused, tho they tend to be more thin crust than deep dish.

Brett McCabe 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Sounds like Brett Ballard may be the next in line for the KU job...

Suzi Marshall 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I do believe this could be correct. We agree again.

Miracle of Miracles ..... www.youtube.com/watch?v=hszJv-P2yNE

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