Despite being decked out in black and orange instead of crimson and blue, former Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor filled up the stat sheet in the Stillwater Stars’ opening-round loss at The Basketball Tournament on Saturday.
Taylor, who teamed with fellow former Jayhawk Naadir Tharpe to join the Oklahoma State alums, finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the Stars’ 87-71 loss to Team Brotherly Love.
Taylor, who played with a headband donning the letters “BLM” in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement, started and led the team by playing 34.9 minutes in the game that was played with the target-score Elam Ending approach in the fourth quarter.
The Stillwater Stars actually led by eight after the end of the first quarter but trailed by three at halftime and lost touch at the end of the third.
Tharpe, in a reserve role, tallied six points on a couple of deep 3-point makes and former OSU star Le’Bryan Nash led the Stars with 30 points.
Here’s a quick peek at a few of the highlights from the Stars’ loss, which eliminated them from the tournament.
Had the team found a way to win, they would have advanced another round without playing because the Eberlein Drive team that was supposed to face the winner of the Stars-Brotherly Love game had to withdraw after one of its players tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
At an outdoor Fourth of July barbecue on Saturday night in his hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana, Class of 2021 wide receiver Keon Coleman orally committed to play football at Kansas.
The two-sport athlete who also hopes to play basketball in college picked KU over Oklahoma and South Carolina.
Seated in front of a camera in his driveway with his mother to his left, Coleman revealed on Instagram Live that Kansas was his pick by announcing for KU and putting on a cloth face mask that read “Kansas” in white letters against a blue background on one side and had an American flag on the other.
“This is my mask for the rest of quarantine,” Coleman said. “Rock Chalk.”
The feed drew more than 400 viewers in less than five minutes and Coleman said he wanted to wait until it crossed the 500-viewer mark to make his announcement.
Coleman is a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com, but it’s his four-star rating at 247 Sports that has caught people’s eye.
Coleman’s 247 Sports composite rating of .9064 makes him the highest rated prospect to commit to the Kansas football program since 2000, passing current KU running back Pooka Williams, who carried a rating of.9055.
In addition, 247 Sports has Coleman ranked as the 116th best overall player in his class and the 14th best wideout in the country.
Coleman joins Lawrence High commitment Devin Neal — a four-star running back — as the two highest rated prospects in the 2021 class to date, and the Jayhawks' ability to pull him away from perennial powerhouse Oklahoma is an indication of his potential.
“He could show up and sleepwalk and be the best athlete we’ve got by far,” Opelousas head coach Thomas David recently told SI.com.“There is nobody close. But when you watch him work, you see why schools like Oklahoma and Florida State are finding him at a 1A school in Louisiana.”
Listed at 6-foot-4, 188 pounds, Coleman caught 35 passes for 1,200 yards and 22 touchdowns during his junior season. He also averaged 20 points per game for Opelousas Catholic on the basketball court.
According to Jon Kirby of JayhawkSlant.com, Coleman talked to KU basketball coach Bill Self about walking on to the KU hoops squad during his recruitment.
“Coach Miles said I can make an impact on the football team and coach Self said I could do the same for basketball,” Coleman recently told JayhawkSlant. “It shows that they want me for both sports. I like them a lot. It’s a good opportunity. They are all good people. Coach Miles was telling me he wants to help me get that Heisman (Trophy).”
KU receivers coach Emmett Jones was the lead recruiter for Coleman throughout his recruitment and he is now the 13th player to commit to Kansas in the current football recruiting class.
KU asked. So I figured I’d answer.
OK, so they didn’t ask me specifically. Instead, the Kansas men's basketball Twitter account recently put out a tweet that asked all of its 930,000 followers one simple question.
Who’s on your KU basketball Mount Rushmore?
I know people have done this over and over for decades. But, with tomorrow being the Fourth of July, I figured it made sense to do it again. Plus, you never know when it might change.
I’m not sure I’ve ever done one of these just for KU hoops. I know I’ve thought and written about it for KU sports as a whole. And that task wasn’t much easier than this one.
The way I see it, you can look at this task three separate ways.
No. 1, you can pick four people tied to Kansas basketball as your four faces of the program and its storied history.
No. 2, you can do a players-only version of a Kansas basketball Mount Rushmore.
And No. 3, you can do a coaches-only version.
For my money, the first and third options are actually the easiest. It’s No. 2 that gets a little tricky. More on that in a minute.
Let’s take a look at No. 1 first and pick four faces that represent all of the success and stories associated with more than 100 years of Kansas basketball.
It has to start with James Naismith, the inventor of the game and KU’s first coach. From there, you quickly realize that no KU hoops Mount Rushmore is complete without Wilt Chamberlain, the larger than life KU center who did amazing things in college and went on to become one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
Although things get a little cloudier from there, you can’t pick four faces without one of them being the program’s all-time scoring and rebounding leader, so Danny Manning is on there, as well.
And then there’s Bill Self. He’s got a title. He’s got the Big 12 title streak. He’s got 700 wins (and counting) and his winning percentage and record are the best the program has ever seen.
So my overall KU basketball Mount Rushmore is Naismith, Chamberlain, Manning and Self.
For the next two options, we’re already halfway done because two of those four will land on the players-only version and the other two on the coaches-only version.
As I mentioned earlier, option 3 — the coaches rock — is pretty easy, as well – Naismith, Self, Phog Allen and Roy Williams.
You’ve already heard the case for the first two, and the case for Phog Allen is pretty convincing, as well.
The building is named in his honor. He recruited Chamberlain. He won a whole bunch of games in his 40-year career, including a national title in 1952, and he is widely known as The Father of Basketball Coaching.
With those three basically locks to be on the list, it came down to Larry Brown and his 1988 national title or Roy Williams and his 418 wins in 15 seasons. I went with Williams because of longevity and the fact that, until Self came along, the clip at which Williams won games was almost unheard of.
He left KU with an .805 winning percentage after leading the Jayhawks to four Final Fours and two runner-up finishes.
Now let’s get to the toughest of the three – the players-only Mount Rushmore.
As I mentioned, two of the four are locks in Chamberlain and Manning. I can’t imagine anyone who knows anything about Kansas basketball not having both of those guys.
But from there, it gets wild.
No. 3 on my list is Mario Chalmers and his inclusion comes down to one shot. If the 3-pointer he hit to send the 2008 national title game to overtime never went down, Chalmers wouldn’t even be in the running here.
However, it splashed, Kansas won the title and Chalmers became one of those forever heroes. Many have called that shot the biggest shot in the history of Kansas basketball and it continues to be celebrated today, 12 years later, during the pregame intro video, through a giant mural inside Allen Fieldhouse and on the walls of thousands of KU fans, who have the image framed.
It’s not as if Chalmers was an average player who happened to hit a big shot. He had a terrific KU career and was a huge part of all three Kansas teams for which he played. But that shot elevates him to Mount Rushmore status because, at a place like KU where it’s title or bust, Chalmers delivered when it counted most.
Trying to identify the fourth player who belongs on the players-only Mount Rushmore is an absolute nightmare. There are just so many choices and, really, no wrong answers.
If it’s titles, talent and stats you like, then it’s hard to leave Clyde Lovellette off. If it’s stats alone, it’s hard to look past Nick Collison, who ranks right up there with Manning on KU’s all-time scoring and rebounding lists and led KU to two Final Fours.
If you favor the total package and lean toward guys who were stars at Kansas and standouts in the NBA, you have to look at players like Jo Jo White and Paul Pierce.
And then you also have to address the recency bias, which easily puts players like Frank Mason III and Devonte’ Graham in the conversation.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think there’s a wrong answer here. But, for my money, I think it’s Lovellette who is most deserving.
Not only did he lead KU to a national title, but he also averaged 20-plus points per game for three consecutive seasons and went on to win a gold medal at the 1952 Olympics, as well.
Despite playing just 80 games over three collegiate seasons, he still ranks fourth on KU’s all-time scoring list (1,979 points) and 11th in career rebounds (839).
Overall: Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning, Bill Self and James Naismith
Players Only: Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning, Mario Chalmers and Clyde Lovellette
Coaches Only: James Naismith, Phog Allen, Roy Williams and Bill Self
Three-star wide receiver Keon Coleman will announce his college choice on Saturday and it’s not nearly as cut and dry as it once seemed.
Down to a final three of Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina, some late movement has indicated that the Jayhawks are very much alive in the quest for the 6-foot-4, 188-pound playmaker from Opelousas Catholic in Louisiana.
Until recently, all of the analyst picks in Rivals’ FutureCast prediction system had Coleman headed to Oklahoma. That changed Thursday night and early Friday morning, when 10 of the 16 FutureCast participants switched their picks from OU to KU. Two more, including JayhawkSlant’s Jon Kirby, made their predictions for Kansas, as well.
The movement took place in a 12-hour span, between 9:13 p.m. Thursday and 9:25 a.m. Friday, and is an indicator that the Jayhawks have a real shot at landing Coleman.
Similar movement took place on the 247 Sports site, where nine of the 12 Crystal Ball picks now project Coleman to Kansas. 247 has Coleman listed as a four-star prospect.
The receiver himself got in on the fun late Thursday, posting a message to Twitter that said, “Crystal balls don’t mean anything.”
Coleman is expected to make his announcement at 7 p.m. Saturday on Instagram Live.
Ranked by Rivals.com as a three-star prospect, Coleman is the 72nd best wide receiver in the country and 12th best player in Louisiana in the 2021 recruiting class.
Coleman also hopes to play basketball in college and, according to Kirby, has had a conversation with KU coach Bill Self about the Kansas basketball program.
The athletic wing averaged 20 points per game during his junior season in high school, but most believe his future is in football.
Last season, as a junior, Coleman caught 35 passes for 1,200 yards and 22 touchdowns and his size, frame and ability to make plays down the field have him projected as a player with tremendous upside.
KU receivers coach Emmett Jones has been KU’s lead recruiter for Coleman.
The Self Made KU alumni squad won't be in this year’s field at The Basketball Tournament, but that doesn't mean the Jayhawks won't be represented.
Former KU point guards Tyshawn Taylor and Naadir Tharpe have joined a team of Oklahoma State alumni in the annual tournament, which is now in its seventh year and features former college players from all over the country competing for a $1 million prize. Last year, Taylor and Tharpe both played for the Self Made squad, which was eliminated in the first round in Wichita.
Former KU guard Andrew White III, who left KU to finish his career at Nebraska and Syracuse, also will be playing on a Syracuse squad called Boeheim’s Army.
The annual event, which is slated to start Saturday in a condensed format in Columbus, Ohio, will become the first substantial live basketball event in the country since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down college and professional hoops in mid-March.
Taylor and Tharpe will play for the Stillwater Stars, a squad of mostly OSU alumni making its TBT debut.
“I feel like linking up with the Oklahoma State guys is pretty cool since the majority of us competed against one another during our college careers,” Tharpe told the Journal-World on Thursday. “To now be together and playing for a million dollars, it’s pretty cool how life works out.”
Tharpe once buried the Cowboys in Stillwater, hitting a game-winner in the lane during a double-overtime Kansas victory in February of 2013.
“I would’ve never thought I’d be joining the only college team I’ve ever had a game-winner on,” Tharpe joked. “But it’s pretty cool that they asked two KU guys to play, and we’re thankful and blessed.”
Tharpe had been scheduled to play with a team out of Philadelphia, but that group did not make the 24-team TBT field.
The entire tournament will be played in one location and will feature just 24 teams instead of 64 like in previous seasons. The 23 games in the single-elimination tourney will run from Saturday through July 14. Much like the NBA restart that's planned for later this month in Orlando, the 2020 TBT is being played inside a bubble, and teams must follow strict rules to be able to participate.
Players were asked to arrive five days early for the first of several rounds of testing, and a positive test for any player on any roster will result in the removal of the entire team from the tournament.
Event organizers have set up practice courts inside hotel ballrooms, and all of the games will take place at Nationwide Arena, a multipurpose venue that houses the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Fans will not be allowed to attend.
The former Cowboys on the Stillwater Stars roster include Le’Bryan Nash, Thomas Dziagwa and Brian Williams. Former Texas and Georgia Tech center James Banks III and former Houston sharpshooter Armoni Brooks are also on the roster.
TBT games will be shown on ESPN — the network recently signed a three-year extension to broadcast the tourney through 2022 — and also will feature the Elam ending, where teams eliminate the clock late in the game and instead play to a target score.
The Stillwater Stars, seeded 21st, will open play at 4 p.m. Saturday against No. 12 seed Brotherly Love. A win there would move the Stars to Monday’s second round, where they would face No. 5 seed Eberlein Drive at 6 p.m. The top eight seeds in this year’s even receive byes into the second round.
The Kansas men’s basketball program recently made the final five for Class of 2021 shooting guard Matthew Cleveland.
Cleveland, who announced a top five of KU, Florida State, Michigan, North Carolina State and Stanford on Twitter, is a 6-foot-6, 190-pound, four-star shooting guard from Atlanta’s Pace Academy, ranked No. 25 in the class according to Rivals.com.
That mark is up 11 spots from his previous ranking in the Rivals 150 and is indicative of his status as a rising prospect whose size and skill have coaches across the country intrigued by his potential.
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi, who recently watched livestream action of Cleveland’s two games with the Atlanta Celtics at The Opening, said Cleveland was “absolutely electric” and “something special” during his most recent outing.
Bossi reported that Cleveland combined for 64 points in those two games and showed the ability to shoot from distance and finish in transition, all while playing with “shot out of a cannon” energy.
“If this is what we can expect from Cleveland here on out, he could be one of the top two or three shooting guard prospects in the class of 2021 and a top 10-15 player nationally,” Bossi wrote.
The fact that KU made the cut in Cleveland’s final five is significant because the Jayhawks are the only blue blood program still in the running and will be competing against just two teams from the South the rest of the way.
According to Rivals.com’s player data base, Cleveland held offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Louisville (among others) — all programs within easy driving distance of Atlanta — but those programs are no longer factors.
NC State (6 hours away) and Florida State (4.5 hours) remain contenders in the region, but KU’s campus is closer to Atlanta than Stanford’s and roughly the same distance as Michigan’s.
None of that matters, of course, if Cleveland doesn’t care about the distance or didn’t want to stay close to home in the first place. But recent recruiting history has shown that it can be tough to pluck prospects out of the South when local programs with good reputations are involved in their recruitment.
Cleveland is very much a player on the rise. He started last summer outside of the Rivals Top 50 and is already in the Top 25 with the potential to move up.
The dynamic guard with great size averaged 22.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game during his junior season and that could just be the beginning.
Here’s a short video of Cleveland’s 32-point game against B Maze Elite. He’s No. 35 in black.
Slated to begin on April 19, the 2020 NBA playoffs and the end of the 2019-20 NBA season were put on hold because of the COVID-19 health crisis.
League officials recently announced the approval of the NBA’s plan to restart play in July, leaving 22 teams still alive in the 2020 title chase. While we wait for the season to resume, it seemed like a good idea to spend some of this idle time looking back at the season that was for the former Kansas Jayhawks in the NBA.
Next up: Marcus Morris, Los Angeles Clippers & Markieff Morris, Los Angeles Lakers
The Morris twins have spent more time playing together in their lives than apart.
Throughout their youth on middle school teams, in rec leagues and on the AAU circuit — along with three seasons at Kansas and a couple in the NBA as well — KU fans’ favorite twins have been on the same side for a lot of games.
These days, however, the two NBA vets find themselves in the most unusual of positions — playing in the same building but on different teams.
That became the Morris twins’ reality midseason when they were both traded just before the season was put on hold.
Marcus went first, from New York to the Clippers, and a couple of weeks later, Markieff was picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers after being waived by Detroit. Talk about good fortune — from out of the playoffs on a couple of 20-win teams to the top of the Western Conference.
Now, the two forwards playing in their ninth NBA seasons appear to be on a collision course toward meeting in the Western Conference finals when the season picks back up.
A lot has to happen between now and then for that to happen. Both have to win a couple of series against tough West opponents. And, more than anything, the NBA experiment of playing out the season in Orlando has to go off without any COVID-related setbacks.
Assuming it does, the Clippers and Lakers enter the restart with the best two records in the West and the potential for one heck of a seven-game series.
Forget LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. In the eyes of KU fans, it’s the matchup of Morris twins that will grab the most attention.
Although the two continue to be slightly different players, who deliver for their teams in different ways, there’s little doubting that they would be matched up with one another at various points throughout that would-be series.
Talk about great television.
From the trash talk among siblings to the intimate knowledge of each others’ games and best moves, the matchup could play a big role in who wins and who loses each game.
Asked recently in a Bleacher Report video about that potential matchup, the twins, to no one’s surprise, had a little fun with their answers.
Who wins a Game 7 between the Lakers and Clippers, the interviewer asked.
“Clippers,” Marcus said. “Come on, now. You crazy?”
Marcus quickly gathered himself and conceded that the series would go seven games before adding that the Clippers would win Game 7 in a “blow out.”
Markieff wasn’t willing to let his brother have the last word.
“Let me be realistic with mine, too,” he said. “Lakers in four.”
It was clear in the video that the two were enjoying the banter. And you couldn’t help but wonder how many times conversations like these played out during their childhood, even though they spent so much time battling for the same team.
As for their current stats, Marcus quickly jumped into the Clippers’ starting lineup and is averaging 9.5 points and 4 rebounds per game in 28.3 minutes of action.
He said in February, when he was back at Allen Fieldhouse for his jersey retirement ceremony, that he was hoping to go out there and become the team’s missing piece toward its run to a championship.
For the season, Marcus is averaging 17.4 points and 5.1 rebounds in 31.4 minutes per game. So it may only be a matter of time before his numbers in L.A. jump a little.
Markieff, meanwhile, is coming off of the bench for the Lakers, averaging 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game in his eight games with the team.
His season averages are slightly higher at 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game.
For their careers, the twins are averaging strikingly similar numbers, which fits their twin persona perfectly.
Marcus, the No. 14 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, is averaging 12.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game over 600 games. And Markieff, who was picked one spot before his twin brother, is averaging 11.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game over 631 games.
Kansas football target Keon Coleman has entered the final week of his recruitment and plans to make his choice on Saturday.
Talk about adding a little extra boom to your Fourth of July.
The three-star wide receiver (Coleman is a four-star prospect in the 247 rankings) who has explored the idea of playing both basketball and football in college is down to a final three of KU, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
A 6-foot-4, 188-pound playmaker from Opelousas Catholic in Louisiana, Coleman is ranked as the 72nd best wide receiver in the country and 12th best player in the state in the 2021 recruiting class by Rivals.com.
While Coleman has skills as a basketball player — he averaged 20 points per game during his junior season in high school — and has talked to KU coach Bill Self about the potential to play both sports, most believe his future is in football.
Last season, as a junior, Coleman caught 35 passes for 1,200 yards and a whopping 22 touchdowns and his size, frame and ability to make plays down the field have him projected as a player with tremendous upside.
KU receivers coach Emmett Jones has been KU’s lead recruiter for Coleman and his recent track record with Kansas wideouts certainly won’t hurt his chances.
Last season, in his first year on the KU staff, Jones helped Daylon Charlot, Andrew Parchment and Stephon Robinson Jr., all turn in career years. Prior to that, Jones spent three seasons on Kliff Kingsbury’s staff at Texas Tech, where he helped the Red Raiders lead the nation in total offense and passing offense during his first season as a full-time assistant.
The Jayhawks beat out a lot of quality football schools to still be standing in the race for Coleman as his recruitment winds down. But winning a battle with OU for a quality wideout could be tough.
In fact, the Rivals.com FutureCast predictions for Coleman are unanimously in favor of the Sooners, with nine Rivals analysts giving OU the edge here.
The fans see it slightly differently, but even there OU is still the favorite, grabbing 45% of the votes compared to 20% for KU and 9% for South Carolina.
Kansas coach Bill Self told the Journal-World on Friday evening that guard Elijah Elliott, a walk-on from Southlake, Texas, has entered the transfer portal.
Self said the 6-foot-3 combo guard who was a redshirt freshman during the 2019-20 season, “hasn’t made a decision (about his future) to my knowledge.”
Elliott joined the Jayhawks as an invited walk-on prior to the 2018-19 season after a strong prep career in Texas.
He suffered an injury midway through his first season and redshirted before returning to action last season.
Elliott appeared in nine games during the Jayhawks’ 28-3 season in 2019-20, making three of four field goal attempts in 22 total minutes.
Elliott was expected to be one of three walk-ons on the Kansas roster during the 2020-21 season, joining senior Chris Teahan and sophomore Michael Jankovich.
The NCAA’s Division I Council announced late Thursday that it had extended the recruiting dead period, for all sports, through Aug. 31.
The announcement, which included a note about the Council regularly reviewing the college recruiting landscape and making adjustments as necessary, came just one month after the dead period had been extended through July 31.
A dead period means no in-person recruiting activities, including college campus visits, in-home visits or live evaluations.
Prospects are allowed to reach out to coaches as much as they like, and phone calls, text messages, emails, Zoom calls and even virtual visits are all allowed.
At Kansas, both the football and men’s basketball programs are currently in the process of trying to fill up their 2021 recruiting classes.
KU hoops has received an oral commitment from Top 30 prospect Zach Clemence. And Les Miles’ football program already has a dozen or so commitments from players on both sides of the ball.
Many of those players committed to KU without taking an official visit and most said they planned to make such a visit when the pandemic passed.
With the dead period extended through the end of August and uncertainty surrounding the upcoming college sports calendar, it’s hard to project when visits of any kind might be possible.
KU cracks top 10 for PG
Kansas basketball made the cut in five-star point guard JD Davison’s most recent recruiting update this week.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Davison attends Calhoun High in Letohatchee, Ala., and is ranked No. 15 overall in the 2021 recruiting class by Rivals.com.
Ranked by Rivals as the third best point guard in the class, Davison jumped nine spots, from No. 24 to No. 15, in Rivals’ most recent recruiting rankings and also transitioned from a four-star prospect to five-star status.
Joining Kansas on Davison’s list of 10 are: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Memphis, Louisville and LSU.