Saturday, March 8, 2014

Notebook: Joel Embiid to visit specialist in California

Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson comes down from a dunk before Kansas players Joel Embiid, left, Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden during the second half on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson comes down from a dunk before Kansas players Joel Embiid, left, Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden during the second half on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 at Bramlage Coliseum.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Andrew Wiggins, Jamari Traylor discuss loss at WVU, what's next for KU

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, freshman Andrew Wiggins and sophomore Jamari Traylor discuss the Jayhawks' loss at WVU, and what's next for KU.

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Box score

— Kansas University freshman center Joel Embiid was to fly to Los Angeles Sunday and visit a back specialist on Monday morning, coach Bill Self confirmed to the Journal-World after the Jayhawks’ 92-86 loss to West Virginia on Saturday at WVU Coliseum.

The 7-foot Embiid, who has been bothered by back issues for several weeks now, did not make the trip to Morgantown for the game.

‘We wanted to get a second opinion and wanted to send him to the very best authority,” Self said, not identifying the name of the doctor. “He’ll leave on Sunday and see him (doctor) Monday morning.”

Self said he remained hopeful Embiid, who missed Wednesday’s game against Texas Tech, would be available soon. It is believed surgery will not be needed to correct this back problem.

“Hopefully we get real positive news,” Self said. “Hopefully he can be on the practice floor very very soon. We will not put him out there just because he feels better but because the doctors says it’s time to get back out there. Hopefully it will be real soon, if not we’ll sit him a little longer. We still don’t think it will affect (his participation in) the NCAA Tournament in any way,” Self added.

Embiid’s tweets during the game: “Come on.” “We got this.” “He’s the best y’all.”

Zip: KU point guard Naadir Tharpe had zero points and zero assists against one turnover in a season-low 16 minutes Saturday.

“I need to make sure I’m ready to play and we all are ready,” Tharpe said. “Everyone as a whole. I need to be better to help the guys as well.”

He said Self told him “just be a leader. Try to keep my head up when things are going wrong. I felt we tried to give something. At the time we were trying to give it, it wasn’t clicking for us,” Tharpe stated.

Flat Jayhawks: Self’s Jayhawks appeared flat after Senior Day festivities on Wednesday.

“If you have to get up to play a game that’s on national TV,” Self said, his voice trailing off. “If you are a guard you get a chance to play against the best scoring 2-guard in the league. If you are a point guard, you get to play against the best point guard in the league. To me you should be up automatically about those things.”

Point guard Juwan Staten had 24 points and nine assists; shooting guard Eron Harris 28 points and three assists.

“We didn’t appear to be as up as we could from an energy standpoint. I don’t want to use that as an excuse. Guys have got to get up; that’s not a factor,” Self said.

Noted forward Jamari Traylor: “We came out flat. You dig a hole like that (25-point deficit) it’s hard to come back against a good team like West Virginia. We tried to show our guys, play all out and make it a close game, but came up short.”

Wooden list: KU’s Andrew Wiggins was named one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award on Saturday. Others: Kyle Anderson, Cleanthony Early, Tyler Ennis, C.J. Fair, Gary Harris, Nick Johnson, Sean Kilpatrick, Doug McDermott, Shabazz Napier, Jabari Parker, Casey Prather, Julius Randle, Russ Smith and Nik Stauskas.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is now 1-7 versus KU. Thanks to a clause in his 2012 contract extension, he receives a $25,000 bonus when the Mountaineers beat KU.

Huggins was asked this week if KU coach Bill Self is overlooked nationally.

“I can’t speak for your business. I know in mine he’s not overlooked. I think everybody understands the guy has won everywhere he’s ever been,” Huggins said. “He’s done phenomenal things at Kansas. But not just Kansas. Look at what he did at Illinois. Look what he did at Tulsa. Look at what he did at Oral Roberts.”

Huggins on Andrew Wiggins: “Generally when you are going to be the first or second pick in the draft you are pretty good. He has great athleticism. He’s made plays very few people can make. He missed a layyup against Kansas State, came back and tipped it in. He was out of bounds about when he shot it. He jumped back in quicker than everybody else and tipped it in. You don’t see that very often. Those are generally the guys that are the first couple draft picks.”l

Awards coming Sunday: The Big 12 today will announce its all-league teams as well as specialty awards, such as coach and player of the year. The announcements will come via the Big 12 twitter feed (@Big12Conference) followed by The honors announcement will begin at noon with the awards announced in five-minute increments.

Recruiting: Myles Turner, a 6-11 senior center from Trinity High in Euless, Texas, who is ranked No. 6 nationally by, is visiting Duke this weekend. He attended Wednesday’s KU-Texas Tech game. He’s also considering Texas, Arizona, SMU, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M; and Kentucky.

“Everything was planned for the seniors, but still, they (staff) made us feel like we were the No. 1 priority there, so it was a great experience for Myles. And now, going to Duke to experience the rivalry, it's just a fantastic weekend,” Turner’s dad, David, told

Of the recruiting process, Myles Turner told “I’m not trying to create a whole bunch of drama with this.”

He indicated he did not want to sign in the early period so scouts would continue to come to his games and perhaps offer his teammates scholarships even if they are on the Div. II or III levels.

Kansas will enter the Big 12 championship (Wednesday-Saturday) in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., as the No. 1 seed. The Jayhawks will meet the winner of Wednesday’s No. 8-9 game (Oklahoma State vs. Texas Tech) at 2 p.m., Thursday. KU has had a first-round bye in 17 of the 18 Big 12 championships. KU has been the No. 1 seed in the event 11 times, including each of the last six seasons.

This, that: Bill Self is 3-1 vs. West Virginia. ... West Virginia shot 10 free throws before KU went to the line for the first time, which resulted in a three-point play for Perry Ellis at the 9:43 mark in the first half. ... West Virginia had a 25-point lead (64-39) in the second half, KU’s biggest deficit of the season – surpassing the 18-point deficit at Florida. ... Andrew Wiggins has 522 points on the year, passing Xavier Henry (483, 2010) and Danny Manning (496, 1985) for the second-place position on the all-time KU freshmen scoring list. He now only trails Ben McLemore (596, 2013) as the school’s all-time freshmen scoring leader. Naadir Tharpe is one point shy of his 500th career point. Jamari Traylor is 33-for-43 for a team-best 76.7 field goal percentage in conference games.

— Tom Keegan of the Journal-World contributed to this report


Walter Bridges 7 years, 9 months ago

No doubt Rodney, without JoJo our championship odds of winning are basically nil but more concerned about JoJo's future.

Certainly do not want to see him following the career of Greg Oden although Oden Has a completely different type of injuries.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 9 months ago

Even with him, I think our championship odds are nil b/c the team hasn't bought into Self's defensive philosophy.

Ian Emerson 7 years, 9 months ago

It isnt that this team refuses to play defense like Bill Self wishes, it is simply incapable of it. What would you say about our defense last year without Jeff Withey? JoJo is the anchor, his presence in the paint provides a failsafe when quicker guards beat Naadir to the basket. Not only is he a great asset to have against driving guards but he cleans up about 8 boards a game and his long arms would have been a great asset against this West Virgina team. Please tell me the difference between a team buying into his philosophy and this teams inability to effectively guard certain positions?

Andy Hess 7 years, 9 months ago

It's not a matter of not buying in. The new rules regarding defensive contact has really hampered Self's physical defensive style, as made clear by the uncharacteristic number of fouls and free throws we have given up this year.

Scott MacWilliams 7 years, 9 months ago

"Jamari Traylor is 33-for-43 for a team-best 76.7 field goal percentage in conference games." Okay, maybe he can start & play point guard, too?? At the least, let's get him more touches and minutes...

Never mind, just kidding.

Did anyone notice what HCBS said regarding the league at the beginning of the season? Seems he didn't make any predictions of a KU win for #10, but I'm pretty sure he DID say that it would take 14-4 to win the league this year. And here we are, 14-4. Man, is that guy good or what???

And I could care less if we are a 1 or 2 or 3 seed. PFFFT!! Just get locked in and win 6 games in a row. I think they have a better chance of getting after it, showing some fire and grit, if they are NOT a #1 seed. Too many times they have had a #1 and acted like their competition should just get out of their way. They get kicked in the face: WHAM! They need to play with energy and great abandon, fire and FUN!!

And Jojo, we are all pulling for you, sending those healing vibes your way. Feel the Jayhawk mojo waves taking care of those sore muscles, and get strong!

Rock Chalk!!

Steve Jacob 7 years, 9 months ago

Mitch McGary (Michigan) had back issues in the fall, came back and played a few games then, out of the blue, surgery. Part of that was Michigan did not want to hurt his NBA future.

Len Shaffer 7 years, 9 months ago

"He indicated he did not want to sign in the early period so scouts would continue to come to his games and perhaps offer his teammates scholarships even if they are on the Div. II or III levels."

Has anyone ever heard of someone doing that? I had not even CONSIDERED that reason for someone not declaring early, and it really speaks to the character of Myles Turner. That's what I call truly being a team guy, to think that much about your teammates' futures.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

Turner really wants to come to KU, but he's going to come here if Joel Embiid is still here because that would put Turner 4th in the big man rotation and that's 8-9 minutes a game. Also there's the scholarship situation with KU not currently having one available. Really, as fans it comes down to do we want a first year Myles Turner or a second year Joel Embiid next season? My personal belief that I've said since December or January is that if Joel Embiid comes back next year, he will be the national player of the year next year.

Ben Schwartz 7 years, 9 months ago

I had identical thoughts Len. The more I hear from Myles's camp, the more I want him in a Jayhawk uniform. I only wish we had room for him without hoping anyone leaves...

I don't know his situation, but coming to KU and banging bodies with JoJo and Cliff in practice for a year with Self as his coach wouldn't be a terrible route for a big guy that is truly interested in getting better.

Then we of course replace a national POY center (Embiid) with a Sophomore center with the skills and experience to be a national POY (Turner) after next season.

Blue Blood Problems.

Joe Joseph 7 years, 9 months ago

The last two road games haven't meant anything to Kansas, but have been the Super Bowl for the home teams. Yesterday's game - especially - was a game KU simply was not going to win given the way WVU played.

I'm hoping that having something to play for again, coupled with the hopeful return of a Embiid, will be what this team needs to get back to playing great ball.

Ian Emerson 7 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. It baffles me that no one ever looks at the underlining causes of a teams performance when analyzing a game. This team simply had no motivation to win its last conference game considering they had already won it outright and its not like this game effected them in the conference tournament at all. To me they simply looked tired and West Virginia played a nearly flawless first half.

Benz Junque 7 years, 9 months ago

Kansas has come out just as flat and uninterested in games where they DID have something to play for this year as well. This isn't a new event, just the most recent. Kansas ALLOWED them to be flawless. Yes, they hit a few crazy shots that normally wouldn't go in but I watched a lot of WV players shooting WIDE OPEN jumpers because guys simply didn't make the effort to close on them or were too mentally lazy to remember their assignments.

I understand "nothing to play for" but having games at this time of year where you literally look like you are not making an attempt to win the game is unacceptable and a sign of a team with a serious void in leadership, pride and awareness of what the impact of such a terrible performance will be down the line.

And I don't care if people think a #2 is better than a #1, that is simply wishful thinking. The #1 seed was there for our taking and now it is gone. There is a pretty big difference between the teams looking at a #3 seed versus a #4 seed this year. I will honestly be pleasantly surprised if this team makes it past the Sweet Sixteen. Right now, I don't see a team that has the mental fortitude to rise to the moment when it matters most. I trust Wiggins in that situation and that's it. Not good enough.

Andy Mathias 7 years, 9 months ago

Why doesn't Jo Jo go to a chiropractor before going to a specialist in LA for his back issues? I'm really just curious about this.

Robert Brock 7 years, 9 months ago

Why would he go to a quack? Chiropractors are worthless.

Andy Mathias 7 years, 9 months ago

I respectfully disagree but thank you for your input.

Andy Hess 7 years, 9 months ago

EXACTLY. Go to a real doctor, not someone who cracks backs for a living.

Joe Ross 7 years, 9 months ago

I wouldn't say "worthless", but they're very close.

Andy Mathias 7 years, 9 months ago

I also respectfully disagree with your opinion but what about chiropractors makes them "worthless" or "very close" ? And, no, I am not a chiropractor but have seen the physical benefits from chiropractic care from my own experience.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

The entire medical industry is a joke. The medical industry in the US (and the world) is all about treatment and not curing because if they cure something, that's $$$ out of their pockets. This is the reason why the medical field will never announce or publicly release a cure for cancer, AIDS, or any other disease that is widespread.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

Joel's problem seems to be bruising and muscle strain more than spinal alignment, etc. Doctors of Chiropractic, like other specialists, refer patients with other problems to other specialists.

Specialization in 'Medical Practice' has come to the point my 1950s science teacher described as "knowing almost everything about almost nothing."

Calling a Chiropractor derogatory names just shows you are susceptible to AMA propaganda, subtle as they try to keep it,

Dirk Medema 7 years, 9 months ago

During grad school, it was pointed out to me that: A BS is learning a little about everything An MS is learning a lot about a little A doctorate is learning everything about nothing.

As for "muscle strain more than spinal alignment". The 2 sometimes go together. If we don't use good posture - head up, shoulders back, the muscles get unnaturally stretched leading to strains. Been there, done that, but no t-shirt to show for it. A DC helped me correct it, but not by all the twisting/jerking so many practice. It is a matter of working back to the proper alignment.

IMO, it is a shame that DC's don't have the same academic rigors of an MD, as well as being too marketing focused in their practices. (Here you go. I'll seek you a treatment package because everyone needs it - before ever performing an examination.) The AMA propaganda is also a shame, as is the there is a pill/shot for everything mentality that is all too prevalent.

Benz Junque 7 years, 9 months ago

I was thinking along the lines of Spondylolysis leading to Spondylolisthesis, basically a small displacement of the vertebrae caused by a stress fracture. It meets the criteria of "not going to get worse by playing", is worse than a muscle strain and hurts like heck, leading to major lower back pain and stiffness. I struggled with this after a back injury for a long time. Not fun. If that's the case, I don't see Embiid playing in the Big 12 tourney at all.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 9 months ago

Andy I have been to both, long history of spine issues, both helped but in this case the play is to go to Back specialist first. 1) they are doctors and have all means to understand the issue, 2) they are used to seeing Elite athletes at this level. 3) if they need to bring in a surgeon they are ready to do this as part of their assessment. A chiropractor might be part of the treatment, but in this case I think they are looking for something deeper that is causing the issue, thus a specialist. PS- my chiropractor helped me greatly, so I get their usefulness.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 9 months ago

My brother is a DO. Which in the modern age is essentially the same as an MD, but has roots in treatment by external medicine rather than internal. In his degree program, part of their core curriculum involved the teaching of osteopathic manipulative treatments. Though he is a pathologist now, I would guess that he would vouch for the benefits in many cases of external medice and osteopathic manipulations as opposed to prescribing a pill for everything.

By the way, when he was a student he practiced some osteopathic manipulative treatments on me. I've never had a sore back or thought that I needed spinal alignment, but he was able to identify vertebrea that were out of alignment and manipulate them back into alignment. Much different from just having a buddy crack your back, because your buddy likely doesn't know how to identify which vertebrae is out and you wouldn't know if when he cracked your back if he put it back in or just put a few more vertebrae out of alignment.

Chiropractic definitely has it's place and purpose, and you'd be very surprised what all they can treat. It's not just a place to go if you have a crick in your neck or a bad back. However, if I needed treatment for joint pain, muscle pain, etc. I'd try to find a DO who practices external medicine and OMT.

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