Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kansas hoops signees reach Summit

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.


The United States Junior National Select Basketball Team will try to snap a two-year losing streak against a collection of international high school players 19 and under during tonight’s Nike Hoops Summit, set for a 6 p.m. tip on ESPN2, in Portland, Ore.

“Everybody knows that we have to come out here and win Saturday,” KU signee Cliff Alexander told

Alexander, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound center from Chicago’s Curie High, will be joined on the U.S. roster by KU signee Kelly Oubre Jr., a 6-7 wing from Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev.

Other U.S. team members: uncommitted KU recruit Myles Turner, plus Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson (North Carolina), Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones (Duke), James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana), Stanley Johnson (Arizona) and Reid Travis (Stanford).

This marks Alexander’s second go-around with USA Basketball.

He played for the organization’s Under 18 age group 3X3 team at the world championships last summer in Jakarta, Indonesia. Alexander, Larry Austin, Dominique Collier and DeMonte Flannigan fell to Lithuania in the Round of 16 and finished with a 7-1 record.

“It was a great experience,” Alexander told “When we first got our jerseys, we were in Washington, D.C. We all were excited and proud. We put on a clinic (going 5-0 at the zone qualifier).

“Everybody in Indonesia had us to win,” Alexander added. “We got a lot of support in Indonesia. We were the show to watch. Everybody wanted to see the USA play.”

Alexander, who along with Oubre played in the recent McDonald’s All-America game in Chicago, said he has enjoyed practicing with the U.S. high school stars since Thursday. The U.S. is trying to improve on an 11-5 record in this event.

“Practice has been good. Everybody has been competing every time we step on the court, during the drills and everything. For me, I know I just need to do the stuff I usually do — rebounding and trying to block shots,” Alexander said.

Of his own game, he said: “I love dunking on people. It just makes me want to go hard every time I step on the court.”

Alexander impressed at practice this week. “Alexander made his presence felt with a pair of big dunks and a couple finishes inside,” the website wrote.

Alexander and Oubre will next play in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 18 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Phillip on radar: KU coaches this week traveled to Independence Community College to watch Tarik Phillip, a 6-foot-3 red-shirt freshman point guard who was MVP of the Jayhawk Conference last season.

Phillip, who is visiting West Virginia this weekend according to and West Virginia Metro News (, averaged 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists last season. Phillip — he hit 55 percent of his floor shots including 38 percent from three — orally committed to South Carolina in 2012 but failed to qualify academically. After sitting out his senior year at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Academy, Phillips averaged 26 points and seven assists a game his postgraduate season at Queen City Prep in Charlotte, N.C.

“He’s a point guard and a two-guard — he’s just a ‘guard.’ He can play the one, two or three. He’s about, ‘Let’s do whatever we can to win games and compete for a national championship.’ That’s the kind of kid he is,” Independence coach Tony Turner told Metro News. “He’s got two big dogs in the Big 12 recruiting him, and he’s just looking for the right fit.

“He can get to the rack … but you can’t label him as a kid who couldn’t shoot, because if you sag off of him he’ll make the jumper,” Turner added. “He could score from wherever you needed him to score. He’s just a very coachable kid and I think teams will see how much he affects the game.”

Graham update: Devonte Graham, a 6-2 senior guard from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, on Friday cut Missouri, Rutgers, Clemson and Georgia Tech from his list. The former Appalachian State signee, who has been released from his letter of intent, is considering KU, Florida, North Carolina State, Virginia, Nebraska, Providence, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, and others.

Top player is 16: According to, the youngest player in tonight’s Hoop Summit is 16-year-old Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, a 6-5 shooting guard who plays pro basketball in Ukraine. Other top international players: SMU signee Emmanuel Mudiay and Kentucky signees Karl Towns Jr. and Trey Lyles.


Mike Riches 7 years, 5 months ago

“I love dunking on people.”

Great quote! That kind of aggressiveness will be very welcome in Lawrence, especially after this past season!

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 5 months ago

You have that right. It will take some time to get over the 4-16, sans Black, finishes at the rim we had vs Stanford, not to mention the entire season.

Sounds like Self is searching everywhere for a PG. Very glad to hear that.

Ashwin Rao 7 years, 5 months ago

I wonder how we will get a scholarship for a PG though! If (hoping) Myles comes on board, then a player has to leave to make room.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 5 months ago

Anyone know why Coach Self didn't go after Lourawls Nairn? I realize he is another small PG but is ranked #61 in Rivals final standings and has phenomenal speed besides graduating from Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas.

Maybe he did take a look at him but I haven't found any information that he was being recruited by Kansas.

Mel Clare 7 years, 5 months ago

There have been some really good players come out of the Juco ranks. Get him some tutoring and let him go! I believe that White will transfer....just to many numbers against him playing a lot.....Selden....Greene.....Oubre......just to many big guards and wings.

Chris Teegarden 7 years, 5 months ago

At the end of the first section you refer to Alexander as Jordan. He's pretty good but I don't think he's Jordan good just yet.

Josh Galler 7 years, 5 months ago

I rather have a point than Turner to take Embiid's scholarship We are set at the Front court with Alexander, Ellis, Traylor, Lucas, and Michelson then at wings we have Greene, Ourbre and White, then at guards Tharpe Mason, Seldon, and Connor As of Now I think the 11 man Rotation is

1-Connor-Mason 2-Seldon-Tharpe 3-Ourbre-Greene 4-Ellis-Traylor 5-Aleander-Lucas-Michelson

Rob Bedford III 7 years, 5 months ago

I'd take Turner over Traylor, Lucas and Mickelson.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 5 months ago

Tharpe as a 2? What would be the point, with Selden starting at the 2 with Greene/White backing him up, you would be giving up both height and better scorers as well as defense. At the 3, Oubre will start and again having Greene/White for backup. The 4 will be between Alexander and Ellis and if coming, Turner at the 5 having Traylor, Lucas and Michelson to back up either the 5 or 4.

That's eight people in the rotation without even counting the PG position. I can't see Tharpe playing any other position than the PG next year.

LJ Gee 7 years, 5 months ago

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Shane Johnston 7 years, 5 months ago

That's the sense I get from Turner as well, thought admittedly I haven't seen him play other than in the McDonald's game. I do know this- there's room at the 5 and if he can alter shots and impact the game with his length and defense, he can definitely contribute for us next year. I do feel good about Lucas. The fact that Turner MAY not be an OAD (if that's the case) is not a negative for me.

I don't think we end up with a new guard next year and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I love Frank and I like Connor. Tharp really put us in a bind this year, but he might be our most important piece going into next year...again. Without a Marcus Morris-like jump from Frank between years 1 and 2, I think our ceiling is higher next year with Tharpe running the show. Maybe someone could convince me otherwise.

It is risky going out and getting a transfer point guard. Unless it's a clear improvement, I don't think it's worth the risk. There's a chance that White transfers. If we get a transfer point guard, it would be one heck of a situation with Tharpe, Connor and Frank all coming off the bench? If that happens, how do those three split time next year? Would one of them then transfer? Even if they don't ,what role does Tharpe play?

A transfer guard just seems too risky. And really, does anyone think it would improve our chances at a title more than marginally? As of now, we're a top 10 team to start next year.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 5 months ago

Watched the 1st half of the USA/World Nike game and Oubre and Myles were dominant. Oubre in particular showed he could drive, had range (as did Turner) plus played aggressive basketball...

Beau Woolsey 7 years, 5 months ago

Oubre looks fantastic he defends like a pro.

Reggie Flenory 7 years, 5 months ago

Cliff looks a little limited offensively if he cant get to the rim he has to settle for jumpers noticed that as well in the MAAG to but kelly looks like hes gonna fit in great!!!! Cliff looks good on d as well if we add miles we are good to go

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