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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Self excited about NBA Finals matchup

Kansas head coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend watch with smiles during the campers vs. counselors scrimmage, Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at the Horejsi Athletic Center.

Kansas head coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend watch with smiles during the campers vs. counselors scrimmage, Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at the Horejsi Athletic Center.

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Fearless forecaster Bill Self isn’t backing down from his pre-2016 NBA Finals prediction that the Cleveland Cavaliers will emerge as world champions.

“It’s going to be interesting. I think the Cavs can win it. I do,” said Kansas University coach Self, who is hosting his high school team camp this weekend in Allen Fieldhouse and Horejsi Center. Game Seven between the Cavs and Golden State tips at 7 p.m., today, in the Bay Area’s Oracle Arena, where the Warriors went 39-2 during the regular season but have also lost twice in the postseason.

“You live by the three you die by the three. They obviously live by it far more than they have ever died by it,” Self added of the deep-shooting Warriors who enter tonight as 5-point favorites. “It just seems like to me some of the shots they make are such hard shots. I think the Cavs are getting better shots. I actually believe Cleveland can do it. I’m not saying they will but I don’t think this is a slam dunk at all. I think it’s going to be the best game of the series so far.”

Cleveland tonight tries to become the fourth team to win an NBA Finals Game Seven on the road (3-15) and the first of 33 squads to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals. Cleveland has won three of the last four games vs. Golden State, outscoring the Warriors 111.0-99.0 while hitting 51.2 percent of its shots.

Draft talk: KU’s Cheick Diallo will be selected No. 23 overall by the Boston Celtics in Thursday’s NBA Draft, ESPN’s Chad Ford predicted on Saturday. Draftexpress.com, which last updated its mock draft on Thursday, has Diallo being selected by the Detroit Pistons at No. 18 overall. Wayne Selden Jr., will be the 19th pick of the Pistons in the second round, while Perry Ellis and Brannen Greene will go undrafted, Draftexpress.com believes.

“I’ve actually text with all of them or talked to them (recently),” Self said. “B.G. (Greene) was in town last week. I had a chance to visit with him. Perry, Wayne on a pretty continual basis. It is a big week. It’s not like with Joel (Embiid) and Wiggs (Andrew Wiggins). You knew they would go in the top five, both of em (Embiid third and Wiggins first). You are nervous for them, but I was more nervous for Tarik (Black) than I was for Jo and Wiggs and then Tarik ended up not being picked but ended up being in the perfect situation (and made Houston roster).

“Cheick is going to go in the first round. I’m totally confident about that. With Perry, Wayne and Brannen, I think they are going to get drafted. I do. I am more nervous about them getting drafted by the right team than I am them getting drafted.

“Sometimes you are better off not getting drafted. That was the case with Tarik. Tarik was able to place himself into a team that needed somebody like him. A lot of times when you get drafted you could be going to a team that already has 12 guaranteed salaries or roster spots and basically you are just playing just to play knowing you are probably going to get cut or be in the D League. I would love to have these guys be drafted by the right team. Who knows who that is? I think they’ll all be on a roster next year,” Self added.

More on Thornton: Former Duke guard Derryck Thornton’s decision to pick USC over KU seemed somewhat surprising Friday, except for the fact the Los Angeles native did say the day he announced his transfer he wanted to play closer to home.

The L.A. Times points out USC “made the NCAA tournament last season for the first time since 2011 but lost six players in the off-season. Two, Julian Jacobs and Nikola Jovanovic, were starters who left for the draft, and a third, Katin Reinhardt, who started about half of USC’s games, transferred to Marquette. Three role players and reserves, Darion Clark, Malik Martin and Malik Marquetti, also transferred.”

Meanwhile, KU has been doing its usual job of reloading year after year under Self, who has led the program to 12 straight league titles.

ISU transfer: Iowa State has landed former Tennessee forward Ray Kasongo via transfer, the DesMoines Register reports. Kasongo, a 6-8, 245-pound junior-to-be, averaged 1.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 22 games last season for the 15-19 Volunteers. Kasongo, who hails from Toronto, played one season at College of Southern Idaho.

Comments

Andy Godwin 3 years, 7 months ago

Looking ahead. If Self ever considers making a move and leaving KU, after the coming season would likely be the time. Tyler will have graduated and the roster of returning players might be the leanest in a while making the recruiting class of 2017 (and/or filling the last two spots for 2016-2017) the most important in a long while.

Gone due to eligibility Landen Lucas Frank Mason Tyler Self

Likely Gone Carlton Bragg Jr. (has better fundamentals than Diallo and look where he is being projected) Devonte' Graham (could return for senior season, but seems the NBA prefers youth) Josh Jackson (expected to be a one and done) Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (this could be his breakout season-just glad he is returning this year)

Likely Returning Udoka Azubuike (not eligible for NBA draft until 2018) Dwight Coleby Mitch Lightfoot Evan Maxwell Lagerald Vick (would be the team leader in 2017) Clay Young

Robert Brock 3 years, 7 months ago

Looks like KU is done recruiting 2016 prospects and transfers and is staying pat with the roster as is. It is unusual for Self to leave open scholarships and two is weird but it seems that HCBS is aiming for a big 2017 recruiting class. Good luck with that strategy!

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 7 months ago

Who would you like to see us sign other than Newman who we are still recruiting? You must know of someone who we should go after, someone who would make us better.

Who??

Plus from a day or so earlier you stated "Forget Newman. Pocket the schollies and move on". That sounds contradictory to me but maybe i'm not interpreting your comments correctly...

Tony Bandle 3 years, 7 months ago

Bet the farm on Golden State tonight. Next to the NFL, the NBA is the most crooked pro league in America. [No one can touch FIFA or the Olympic Committee on a global basis]. Suspending the key player in the fifth game for a relatively minor infraction in game 4, fouling out the best player in Game 6 with a bunch of cheapies when G.S. started to come back, giving LaBron "Jordanesque Freedom" to do whatever he wanted on the court without a single whistle, the NBA got their 7th Game. Now it's payback time for the Warriors.

Just watch!!

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 7 months ago

He wasn't suspended for a "minor infraction" if hitting LeBron in the nuts, he was suspended for his 3rd nut shot of the playoffs (after kicking Adams twice in the previous series) and more specifically, for reaching the NBA mandated max amount of flagrant fouls, resulting in an automatic suspension, regardless of the circumstances.

As for Curry's foul situation, a few of them were certainly "iffy" but I don't know who in their right mind would try to make a play like Curry did on his final foul, knowing they are 1 foul away from fouling out. We reached for/knocked loose the ball on the wrong end of the court, they didn't blow the whistle so he went after it again, undercutting LeBron in the process. That's not something you should do when you've got 5 fouls already Using the "I'm the MVP" card to say it shouldn't be a foul is lame as well, especially when the play is between two MVP's (so by allowing one MVP to get away with a foul, you're intentionally allowing the other MVP to get fouled without a whistle.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 7 months ago

I agree Shannon but Lebron started the final instant w/his walkover and the on court refs reviewed the foul and concluded it was not a fragrant foul. Having the NBA review and change the flow of the finals seemed wrong. Either way - smart move by LeBron...

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 7 months ago

That's disappointing. Was really hoping for a Cavs win.

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 7 months ago

Glad you were wrong Tony because your scenario is just, well, evil.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 7 months ago

Was Sasha eligible to play? I don't recall seeing him play.

Tony Bandle 3 years, 7 months ago

I couldn't be happier for being wrong. I lived for a year in Cleveland [granted, I was four but it still counts] so to see the city pick up a title was a thrill. That title game was called fair and square but you will never convince me that getting there was not suspicious!

Michael Lorraine 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm not emotionally invested in the Cavs but Cleveland has not won anything since a 1964 NFL title.The Bay Area has 7 Super Bowls, 7 World Series, and 2 NBA titles.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 7 months ago

Cleveland won this because of their play more than Golden State lost this by choking. You don't become the 1st team ever to come back from down 3-1 unless you deserve it.

I am NOT a LeBron fan in ANY way but he showed why he is still the best basketball player in the world.

This year Warriors = the 18-1 Patriots.

Tim Orel 3 years, 7 months ago

I tried watching the game, but all the holding, bumping and stuff that would have been fouls in the regular season (from what I've read) or in the NCAA (from what we saw last season) really turned me off. Watching Curry get a foul because he was attacked by a Cavalier who just ran him over at the end of the 2nd quarter really convinced me this was rigged to favor the Cavs. I prefer the college game, even if the players aren't always the best in the world.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 7 months ago

If the refs were consistent with how they called the game then I could live with it, especially on the play you were referring to.. Several instances occurred with Curry that seemed to punish Stephan Curry while he was being mugged on court.

I thought that Curry, seeing how the game was being called, should have been smarter with the silly reach-ins and other fouls that consistently put him in foul trouble could have played a little smarter.

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