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Monday, March 23, 2015

Tough slate awaits Kansas basketball again next year

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) gets airborne before pinning a layup by Michigan State guard Travis Trice (20) against the backboard for a block during the second half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) gets airborne before pinning a layup by Michigan State guard Travis Trice (20) against the backboard for a block during the second half on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at the HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida.

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Kansas University’s nonconference basketball schedule figures to be rugged again during the 2015-16 season.

What is known right now is KU will meet NCAA Sweet 16-bound Michigan State in the Champions Classic on Nov. 17 in Chicago and also travel to San Diego State to meet Steve Fisher’s perennially tough Aztecs. S.D. State fell to Duke, 68-49, in an NCAA Round of 32 game Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

KU will compete in the Nov. 23-25 Maui Invitational, which has a field that also features UCLA, Indiana and former KU phenom Danny Manning’s Wake Forest team, as well as St. John’s, UNLV, Vanderbilt and Chaminade.

KU’s opponent in the Jan. 30 Big 12/SEC Challenge has not yet been revealed. There were strong rumors in January that Kentucky would travel to KU next season, with the Jayhawks heading to Lexington the following year as part of the one-day challenge.

“If I were a betting man, I’d put money on the (UK) Cats seeing Kansas in late January next year,” wrote Drew Franklin of Kentucky Sports Radio.

Amazingly, if that game materializes and the Maui tourney pairings fall the right way, KU could face Kentucky, Michigan State, Indiana and UCLA in the same season.

The Jayhawks and Georgetown Hoyas, who were to have met in Allen Fieldhouse next season, have agreed to postpone that game until 2016-17.

Kansas will play in the CBE Classic in 2016-17 in Kansas City, Missouri. Teams have not been announced. Also, in 2016-17, KU will meet Indiana in Honolulu, travel to UNLV and play Georgetown in Allen. KU has not decided which preseason tournament it will play in 2017-18.

KU, which travels to South Korea to represent the United States in the World University Games this July, will be eligible for a summer tour to a foreign country the following summer.

Top prospects available: KU, which currently has one scholarship to give in recruiting (more if Kelly Oubre Jr., Cliff Alexander, Perry Ellis and/or Wayne Selden Jr. turn pro and if anybody transfers), in January received a commitment from Carlton Bragg, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward from Cleveland’s Villa-Angela St. Joseph High.

The Jayhawks are after a batch of blue-chip prospects, meaning it figures to be an interesting upcoming month in recruiting.

Prospects who are considering KU include No. 2-ranked (by Rivals.com) Jaylen Brown, 6-7, Wheeler High, Marietta, Georgia; No. 3 Malik Newman, 6-3, Callaway High, Jackson, Mississippi; No.. 5 Thon Maker, 7-foot, Orangeville Prep, Mono, Ontario; No. 7 Cheick Diallo, 6-7, Our Savior New American, Centereach, New York; No. 8 Ivan Rabb, 6-9, Bishop O’Dowd, Oakland, California; No. 11 Stephen Zimmerman, 7-foot, Bishop Gorman High, Las Vegas; No. 19 Brandon Ingram, 6-8, Kinston (North Carolina) High.

Draft beckons: Oubre is listed as the No. 12 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft by draftexpress.com, No. 11 by ESPN’s Chad Ford and No. 9 by nbadraft.net. Alexander is listed as the No. 24 overall pick by ESPN’s Ford, the last pick of Round One by draftexpress.com and fifth pick in the second round by nbadraft.net. Ellis is listed as the ninth pick of the second round by nbadraft.net and is not listed by draftexpress.com. Ellis and Selden were not listed in Ford’s list of the top 100 prospects.

Landen Lucas on the future: “Coach (Bill) Self understands what it takes to make it deep in the tournament. Going forward, we have to make sure whatever he says to do, to do it. It starts from the top down as far as leadership goes. Next year we have to make sure to do what he tells us to do.

“It hurts going out early. The main focus is doing whatever it takes in the future. If it’s individual improvements, we have to make those improvements, make sure we do something about it instead of just talking about not going home this early.”

More from Marshall: Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall, whose Shockers knocked KU out of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, was on the Mike Francesa radio show Monday.

“They (Jayhawks) don’t really have a need to play us (in regular season). They play a great schedule so they are going to be in the NCAA Tournament regardless. We want to play them because obviously we want to play teams as good as we can in our nonconference to give us an opportunity to be an at-large if we need to be, which we were this year,” Marshall said. “It also would be good for the state. The bottom line is, it takes two to tango in scheduling. I have no problems with them not wanting to schedule us. They say it’s not best for them, which is fine. We are in position to try to put ourselves in an at-large place by playing the best we can. So we want to see the game happen. The good news is, we’ve been able to make that happen three of the last four years, whether KU plays us or not.”

Marshall’s agent, Myles Solomon, told AL.com on Monday that he will begin researching Alabama, which CBS Sports says is prepared to make a “big run” at Marshall once WSU’s season is over.

“Now that I’ve read those reports, I’ll certainly just kind of look into the situation,” Solomon told AL.com. “Then we’ll see. A lot of times reports come out, and they have no (accuracy) behind them whatsoever. So we’ll what happens.”

Solomon told al.com he “might discuss” the CBS Sports report concerning Alabama with Marshall in the near future.

“It would have to be something extraordinary because they do love Wichita so much,” Solomon said.

Comments

Rodney Crain 4 years, 2 months ago

I agree with Marshall's perspective on KU playing WSU. So if he understands that it is really a benefit to just WSU, and some fans who want to see the game played, does it not seem fair that he should just play the game at AFH instead of requiring a Home and Home?

I hope we get 2 or 3 more players, having just the same group back and Bragg replacing KO does not seem to be the answer for next year. Considering our poor overall defense, lack of consistent scoring and lack of height we have a lot of holes still with this years team.

Arthur Ankeney 4 years, 2 months ago

Didn't KU end up like top 10 in defense efficiency for the year? I know they struggled at times, but I like this core group coming back with another year of experience, practice, and gelling under their belt. I do not see any new players breaking into the lineup. Even Brgg will be sitting for the season with Ellis, Tralor, Alexander, Lucas and Michelson. (Even if Alexander leaves I do not see Bragg getting significant minutes)

Walter Bridges 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm not going to question the statistics but for some teams, Michigan State would be at the top of the list, it does appear to help them in their conference and NCAA Tournament.

Izzo doesn't seem to worry over rankings, doesn't go after OADs but has 19 straight NCAA Tournaments, six Final 4 teams and 1 NC. Maybe it's how he coaches but he has done well w/far less talent than HCBS has brought in.

NOT saying Izzo is a better coach, just a different method.

Alex Resnik 4 years, 2 months ago

Izzo DOES go after OAD's. He missed on Jabari Parker, he missed on Jones/Okafor, he got Garry Harris (who was considered to be a OAD before a later injury his freshman season)

I actually think that Self and Izzo have the same approach to recruiting. Go after a few big names, but don't lose sight of the glue/4 year guys. With that strategy I believe Self has done a better job recruiting (Henry, Selby, Bmac, wigs). Self just hasn't had success with "lower ranked players" or they transfered(Rio, Peters, White, Frankamp, Woolridge). Where Izzo is beating Self is in getting a team to gel together. To completely buy into a system that will work. I think that is Self's need for largest improvement.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 2 months ago

Izzo was also considered the front runner for Cliff for a long time before they basically quit recruiting him because of red flags with Cliff.

Gary McCullough 4 years, 2 months ago

We have to stop looking for the next great one-and-done players to replace Oubre and Alexander and start looking at players like Ellis and Lucas to develop over a career. The characteristic of this team that best explains our early exit from the tournament is youth. I'd also like to see the NCAA require 4 yr. scholarships so a student gets a college education. The team can be limited on the number of scholarship players on the roster and if a kid doesn't prove up, it doesn't count against that limit. But the kid still gets to finish his degree.

Alex Resnik 4 years, 2 months ago

To a certain extent I agree with you. I think that Self does need to focus more on the 4 year player, because he will have that player in his system for 4 years... with that being said... Self is still the head coach at Kansas. We as Kansas fans demand to be dominate EVERY YEAR. Let's say that Self only brings in Bragg and a lower tier top 100 guy in (a center). How are we going to look next year? We won't be as good if Self brings in Newman and Maker or two other OAD's. We as fans can't say, bring in the 4 year guys and then demand to be GREAT next year.

John Kelley 4 years, 2 months ago

Kentucky does not complain about Freshman, maybe because they are all five star players and they are 36-0.The KU basketball program should finish nearly every season going to at least the sweet sixteen. Watching the WSU game they wanted it more and it showed when they out hustled KU all game.

JD Roth 4 years, 2 months ago

Hate to say it but KU was outworked, outhustled and WSU was obviously the more seasoned team. One and done comes back to haunt you at times, due to no continuity, no chemistry, seemingly no fight. Amazing that this team won the Big XII in retrospect. As stated before by others, this was a tough season to get through.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 2 months ago

Do you really think Kentucky fans weren't complaining the past 2 seasons when they lost 12 and 11 games respectively and we're an NIT and bubble team for most of last year?

Walter Bridges 4 years, 2 months ago

Garry Harris was the 25th 5 Star recruit from 2012. He was never considered an OAD. During that time he has only signed one other 5 Star player, Deyonta Davis, the 24th ranked 5 Star who also hasn't been considered to be an OAD.

Two 5 Star recruits in 4 years, Izzo builds teams from the ground up.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 2 months ago

KU's probably not going to play UCLA and Indiana in Maui unless they lose a game. KU will play Chaminade in the first round, and either St. John's, UNLV, or Vandy in the second round.

Right now the schedule lay would probably look like this

Game 1: Cupcake at home

Game 2: Michigan St. (Champions Classic)

Game 3: Cupcake as part of Maui in Lawrence

Game 4: Maui Quarterfinals (likely Chaminade)

Game 5: Maui Semifinals

Game 6: Maui Finals/Consolation game

The Big 12/SEC challenge, the road game at SDSU and Sprint Center games will likely games 7-9 so I'll do that based on this year's games.

Game 7: Big 12/SEC challenge

Game 8: @SDSU

Game 9: Sprint Center game

Week off for finals

Game 10: Cupcake at home

Game 11: Tournament caliber game (likely in Lawrence)

Christmas break

Game 12: Cupcake at home

Game 13: CBS game on NFL wildcard weekend against a big name opponent

Matt Peltier 4 years, 2 months ago

The Big 12/SEC games are going to be moved to the middle of the conference season next year I believe. They have not released the matchups but i think it is set for January 30th next year

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 2 months ago

Oubre is gone... you could tell in his demeanor and play towards the end of the season. He's looking past all this. no chance he stays IMO and I'd assume the same with Alexander just based on the issues with the NCAA

Desperately need a big man... Zimmerman or Maker. Need to have someone protect the rim and keep opposing teams honest

Mike Crosbie 4 years, 2 months ago

I agree about Zimmerman or especially Maker...BUT, if they have that one and done attitude, not fully committed to "the team" spirit...they should go to Kentucky and Bill should keep looking...what our team is missing is student athletes who want a degree and to provide senior leadership after maturing in their years of playing!!

Brad Farha 4 years, 2 months ago

I have mixed feelings on the overly strong non-conference schedule. At first glance, it seems like a great idea to get the guys battle tested. What gives me pause is that too many tough/close games means that guys down the bench don't get as much of a chance to improve with game experience.

Carolyn Hunzicker 4 years, 2 months ago

If Greg Marshall wants to lay KU every year, THEN TAKE THE TEXAS JOB GREG

Armen Kurdian 4 years, 2 months ago

$50 bucks says at the very least Rick Barnes has coached his last game at Texas.

Mike Crosbie 4 years, 2 months ago

I think Marshall is waiting for one of the top elite programs...which makes me think he will have the North Carolina job after Roy is forced into retirement from the "fake classes" investigation the NCAA is conducting.

Emeka Uzomah 4 years, 2 months ago

Like every KU fan I'm not surprised they went home this early, just embarrassed at how they lost. They got punked,just had their hearts ripped out their chests and eaten by WSU. Definitely the softest bunch Self has ever coached. I still have all the faith in the world in coach Self, he didn't just all of a sudden forget how to coach. He just didn't have the necessary tools to work with this year in order to make a serious run. All he needs is a true low post scorer/rim protector like Withey, Embiid, or Aldrich or even Arthur (he was a very underrated shot blocker, ask Hansborough in the 08 semifinal game) and I believe everything else will fall into place because that's what his system is built around, someone who can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. I really hope he and his recruiting staff are working diligently to land one of these top prospects. And while they're doing that the players need to practice on feeding the post better because wayyy too many of their passes down low led to turnovers this year. I expect them to get tougher next year as well esp after seeing themselves on the WSU game film. My only issue with coach Self is if he still refuses to schedule WSU. I think I speak for all KU fans when I say I'd like to see him schedule them next season and in their arena. Can't just let them punk us and just sit back and take it. Have some balls and try to get some payback. I think a game in Wichita next season will force our players to man up after this embarrassment they just suffered. P.S. Perry please work on your defense, can't keep getting dominated so easily by people like Niang who's looks like he's only 6'6.

Bville Hawk 4 years, 2 months ago

Uh, I don't think you can speak for all KU fans. Have you not been reading this message board? It's pretty divided as to whether we should play WSU in a regular season game. Ever.

Carolyn Hunzicker 4 years, 2 months ago

Everybody, EVERYBODY Including Bill Self, learned a lesson this year and a lot about themselves....

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