Thursday observations from San Antonio as KU prepares for Richmond
5:07 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Before signing off, here's a video from Mike Yoder, who caught Marcus Morris telling the Richmond players to be ready for Friday's game.
Be sure to check back to KUsports.com on Friday for all the gameday coverage of KU-Richmond in the Sweet 16.
3:56 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Here are some of my favorite Nick Krug photos from today. The full gallery also is now available.
3:37 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
The Richmond players were talking today about how they sat down as a team earlier this week to watch the Spiders' 69-68 victory over Kansas from Jan. 22, 2004 (see video from the bottom of this blog).
Here's some video from Richmond point guard Kevin Anderson, who also says his team is confident: "Everybody on the team knows we can win this game."
3:31 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Some interesting quotes from KU's media session ...
• KU guard Tyshawn Taylor, on how his suspension changed him: " I think it definitely opened my eyes a little bit and realized that my team was just as good without me, so I had to come back and prove myself to my team and my coaches."
• KU forward Marcus Morris, on Richmond: "They are very fundamental. They have a good inside-out game. They have a point guard that is really good, but I like ours better."
• KU forward Marcus Morris, on playing a lower-seeded team: "We don't look at the seeds, but we look at the team. When you start looking at the seeds and thinking about that, then you lose."
• KU guard Tyrel Reed, on being back in San Antonio: "I think Brady (Morningstar), Conner (Teahan) and I are the only ones that were here then. We were all walking together last night on the River Walk and just remembering the good times we had."
2:35 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Some photos from Nick Krug from the Richmond practice.
By the way, doesn't Richmond's Justin Harper look exactly like former KU player Wayne Simien?
I asked Harper if he knew who Wayne Simien was.
"Yeah. He used to play at Kansas," he said.
Has anybody told you that you look like him, I asked.
"No, no. No one told me that," he said with a laugh.
Make that one person who's pointed out the resemblance to him.
2:17 p.m. update: By Matt Tait
KU takes the floor - Brady Moringstar leads the way - to a rousing cheer from the couple hundred or so fans in the Alamodome stands.
Before going through warm-ups, the Jayhawks walked past and introduced themselves to five military veterans from the area who were given floor seats for the practice.
The Jayhawks have a ton of bounce and energy, led by the man who walked them out. As he strutted onto the floor for the first time, Morningstar threw his hands into the air and flashed two peace signs to the adoring crowd.
At the moment, it's all business.
2:09 p.m. update: By Matt Tait
Just a couple of quick things about VCU, who left the practice floor about 10 minutes ago to make way for KU.
• First, I thought it was real interesting that their breakdown was "Kill on three... 1, 2, 3, Kill." Talk about focused.
• The Rams had a ton of energy when they took the floor, most of it was giddy energy. Unlike Richmond, which seemed really dialed in during its 30-minute run-through, VCU had lots of laughs, lots of giggles and lots of smiles. That's not to say they weren't dialed in, but they seemed to be having a lot of fun. The coolest part, they were led in that department by head coach Shaka Smart.
KU's coming to the floor next....
1:20 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Short Cliff's Notes version of Richmond coach Chris Mooney at his press conference today.
• Mooney says playing basketball for Princeton coach Pete Carril shaped him as a coach.
• KU is an incredible program with great tradition. The most important thing for Richmond is to just play and do what it's done throughout the season.
• The thing that jumps out at you about the Jayhawks is how easily they score. They're an impressive team. Mooney doesn't know how well Richmond can guard KU. The most impressive thing for Mooney about KU is that even with all of its talent, all KU's players share the ball.
• There is pressure on both teams. KU plays with pressure nearly every non-conference and conference games. The Jayhawks are used to the pressure. For Richmond, there is pressure because this is a new experience.
• KU's Morris twins present a problem for everybody they play because of their strength and versatility. KU is committed to getting the ball into them. Mooney doesn't know if KU has seen a point guard like Kevin Anderson or a post player like Justin Harper.
• Richmond gains confidence by defending well. In the games it hasn't played well, it hasn't played poised and lost its composure.
12:53 p.m. update: By Matt Tait
Richmond just left the floor after its 30-minute practice in front of the media and a handful of Spiders fans.
Here are a few quick things I observed while watching them.
• First off, Richmond was giving real effort during their drill time. Last week, in Tulsa, Okla., the open practices were little more than a walk-through. Even the lower seeded teams chose to dance through this portion, waiting to do the dirty work behind closed doors. Not today. Maybe it's because the stakes are so much higher. Maybe it's just the way Richmond rolls. Either way, these guys worked hard out there today. It was impressive to watch.
• While hard work was the theme of the Richmond practice, you shouldn't mistake that for an all-business-only approach. There were plenty of smiles out there, too. From head coach Chris Mooney to star guard Kevin Anderson and big-time big man Justin Harper all the way down to the managers and walk-ons, the Spiders were digging it. (Side note, VCU just took the floor and they were even more smiley than the Spiders. Cool to see.)
• As the Spiders left the floor, their small crowd got loud and cheered them off. It was impressive for a small group. (Side note #2: One of the VCU assistants on the floor just turned to another and said, 'It's weird seeing Richmond here." Not because he didn't think the Spiders belonged, instead because the two share the same town. Crazy.)
More to come....
12:40 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Welcome to the Alamodome in San Antonio, site of the Kansas men’s basketball team’s Sweet 16 game Friday against Richmond.
Today is the pregame media session, meaning all four teams are here to talk to reporters about their upcoming games. KU’s players and coaches will talk to media members starting at 1:30, with open practice to follow at 2:10.
We’ll have updates throughout the day here, but I wanted to start with a couple videos to watch if you haven’t yet.
The first one I put in my Richnond preview blog, as it’s a cool, behind-the-scenes video from this year’s Richmond men’s basketball team, somewhat similar to the “Gridiron” videos that the KU athletics deprtment produced for football this year.
I also noticed that Richmond’s athletic department put this video up on YouTube as well, showing the highlights from UR’s 69-68 victory over KU on Jan. 22, 2004.
The video was only posted on YouTube three days ago. Interesting way to try to get your fans fired up.
Keep checking back for more updates throughout the day.