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Kansas defeats Kansas State, 85-63

  • 1:30 p.m., March 10, 2016
  • Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO

Thursday, March 10, 2016

On a roll: Carlton Bragg, Jayhawks impress in tourney opener

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) wags his tongue next to Kansas State guard Justin Edwards (14) after hitting a three from the corner during the second half, Thursday, March 10, 2016 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) wags his tongue next to Kansas State guard Justin Edwards (14) after hitting a three from the corner during the second half, Thursday, March 10, 2016 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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— Kansas University freshman Carlton Bragg Jr. and his roommate, Lagerald Vick, have a way of relieving stress each and every Sunday night.

They spend at least a couple hours roller skating at Winnwood Skate Center in Kansas City, Mo.

“It’s always packed. It’s a lot of fun. We take a lot of pictures (with fellow skaters). They teach me how to skate a little bit, roller skate with us. It’s just a fun activity,” Bragg, KU’s 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward from Cleveland, said Thursday after putting on quite a show playing basketball in Sprint Center, which is located just 7.7 miles from Bragg’s favorite skating rink.

Bragg scored a career-high 12 points — seven in the first half — of the Jayhawks’ 85-63 Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal victory over Kansas State.

He hit five of six shots, including a career-best two threes in two tries in just 11 minutes. He had not scored more than six points in a game in the last 13 contests.

“It helps me with my footwork, balancing,” Bragg said of his weekly roller skating excursions. “You can get a little conditioning in, too. You sweat a lot,” added Bragg, who can do a 360 on roller skates. “We pretty  much do it every week unless we have practice.”

The 6-foot-5 Vick — he missed two shots while playing three minutes in a rout that propelled KU into Friday’s 6 p.m., tourney semifinal versus (22-10) Baylor — concedes that the Jayhawks are a big deal in K.C. on Sundays.

“Fans speak to us, look at us like we are the next big thing up,” Vick said. “We get there and have fun. Sometimes it’s slow-motion. Sometimes we go for speed. It depends on the music. Its pretty serious. It’s packed every time,” Vick added.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Self, Mason and Bragg discuss tourney win vs. KSU

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, as well as Jayhawks Frank Mason III and Carlton Bragg Jr. answer questions from the media following KU's 85-63 victory over rival Kansas State at the Big 12 Tournament, in Kansas City, Mo.

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Bragg also draws quite a crowd when he plays the piano impromptu on various occasions in Murphy Hall on KU’s campus.

“I like to be myself making my own music,” said Bragg, who grinned when asked if he was the most well-rounded player in KU hoops annals. “I won’t say in history, probably on (this) Kansas team. I wish, though,” he added.

Smiling through his post-game interview duties, Bragg had the bench celebrating on his two three-pointers.

“There was a lot of excitement, especially when Carlton hit those threes. Everybody was kind of shocked,” Vick said.

Bragg, who has hit four of seven threes this season for (28-4) KU, was asked if he’s been given the green light by coach Bill Self.

“I don’t want to say green,” Bragg said. “but he tells me, ‘When you are open shoot it.’ So pretty much yes, you could say that. I felt comfortable with it today and just let it fly. When I made my first one (to give KU 23-11 lead), Jamari (Traylor, six points, four rebounds, two blocks) said, ‘Keep shooting it. Let it fly. We have no pressure.’ He gave me confidence to keep shooting it more.

“I came out of my comfort zone a little bit today,” Bragg added. “Pick and pop, I tried to extend my range. Making shots tonight ... it was good for us.”

Bragg also has been inspired by the “Made in March” T-shirts the team wore during warm-ups.

“This is where you are made. Made in March. People are made in March,” Bragg said. “People come in and can make a little play or big play. Someone comes in and gets a loose ball. It can change the whole momentum of the game.”

Self, who said Bragg would have played more than 11 minutes had he not been in foul trouble — indeed he fouled out — teased the easy-going player on the big stage in the interview room.

“This is Carlton’s first time in the interview room,” Self said, “and he may be a little nervous. And I told him most guys that come in here get more than zero rebounds.”

Indeed, he drew a blank on the boards.

“He has shot the ball well in practice of late,” Self said. “He had a day in practice not too long ago where he shot it like that and it kind of gave him some confidence. He’s been kind of the odd-man out, unfortunately, because he is not really a true center and Jamari has been good for us, and of course, Perry (Ellis, 21 points, six boards) has got to play a ton of minutes. But he responded today and you guys can see he is a talented kid, very skilled.”

And very versatile ... his piano playing and roller skating prowess proof of that.

As to whether he and Vick have been able to convince other KU players to roller skate? 

Uh ... no.

“I have not been (skating). I’ve been invited,” junior Tyler Self said with a smile. “I’m not that big a fan of roller skating. Maybe it works for them. I don’t know if it does for me. I think they enjoy it, though. I think about everybody on campus knows Carlton roller blades or roller skates,” Tyler added.

— See what people were saying about KU’s quarterfinal vs. rival K-State during KUsports.com’s live coverage


More news and notes from KU’s Big 12 Tournament win over K-State





By the Numbers: Kansas 85, K-State 63

By the Numbers: Kansas 85, K-State 63

Comments

Bryce Landon 1 year, 8 months ago

From my vantage point in a Sprint Center luxury suite, I was shocked when Bragg attempted those threes, and even more shocked (pleasantly, that is) when they went in. Despite fouling out and not rebounding, I would say Bragg had a good game today. And now that we know he can hit some threes, I'd like to see him try some more.

The atmosphere today was superb. There were fans from all over the Big 12 (including an extremely high number of Cry-Clown fans). The suite my father and I were in also had several other KU fans, three KSU fans, and even three Missouri fans who miss the Big 12 and wanted to see how their former conference brethren were getting along.

The Baylor-Texas game was fun to watch. There was a small contingent of BU fans we saw celebrating their team's victory, but the UT contingent seemed even smaller, even before the game started. Of course, when it was time for KU-KSU, not every seat was filled, but most of the crowd was cheering for the Jayhawks. Very definitely Allen Fieldhouse East.

BrandonandMaggie Rollwagen 1 year, 8 months ago

Perry has shown us how valuable adding the 3 ball to his game from the 4 spot in this offense can be. Bragg, who most assume will take Perry's minutes next year gave me some hope that he can continue the trend of our 4 man being a threat from beyond the arc.

Doug Cramer 1 year, 8 months ago

A little advice to Bragg - keep your highs low and your lows high. Gonna need some maturity from you and Diallo next season. Stay focused and confident.

Rodney Pain 1 year, 8 months ago

I really hope Selden can get it turned on here fairly soon. Although the outcome of this tournament won't affect anything for KU, I'd feel better heading into the dance knowing Wayne's shot was falling. It kind of reminds me of the slump that McLemore was in back in 2013. From the Big 12 til the Sweet 16, he wasn't hitting much, and even when he did finally break out of it, he missed some good looks in crunch time and Trey Burke took us down. That's not an experience I'd like to see replicated with this team. Luckily we've got more guns this time around.

Jocelyn Kennedy 1 year, 8 months ago

The picture of these very tall kids showing up at a roller rink sure gives me a giggle. I'd almost go myself just to watch. What a great group we have this year and to look forward to next year!!

Harlan Hobbs 1 year, 8 months ago

Just love this article. There is so much personal insight, and we get to see how amazing Carlton is at this stage of his life. Can easily see why the coaching staff was so determined to recruit him.

Hope all of the free publicity for the skating rink doesn't get us into hot water with those anal retentive people in the NCAA administration. Just kidding, but don't take any "unacceptable benefits" from them, Carlton. No free skating or refreshments, or God only knows what else. You might get corrupted!

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