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Tale of the Tait

How KU’s head basketball manager stole the spotlight during Thursday’s boot camp

KU basketball manager Riley Cobb, known as "Ollie," poses inside the Jayhawks practice gym just a few hours after surprising everyone by jumping into KU's conditioning drills.

KU basketball manager Riley Cobb, known as "Ollie," poses inside the Jayhawks practice gym just a few hours after surprising everyone by jumping into KU's conditioning drills. by Matt Tait

When Riley Cobb grabbed the sweat mop early Thursday morning, he had no idea what was coming next.

On Day 4 of Kansas basketball boot camp, bright and early inside the Jayhawks’ practice gym, Cobb, a Kansas senior from Silver Lake, was running through his regular routine of keeping sweat off the floor so the Jayhawks could run as fast — and as safe — as possible during their preseason conditioning activities. That's when KU coach Bill Self mentioned his name.

Before we go on, it should be noted that Cobb, KU’s head student manager — now is in his third year with the program — is known by the team as “Ollie.” That's because of his striking resemblance to the character from the movie “Hoosiers” who became a bit of a hero for the Hickory Huskers by canning a couple of free throws, granny style. KU assistant Kurtis Townsend came up with the nickname and, as Cobb said, “Once KT brands you, it sticks.”

OK. Back to Thursday’s fun.

“We had two kids that did something irresponsible (on Wednesday),” recalled Self while recapping the moment with the Journal-World. “Two kids were late to a meeting. And our deal is, we punish everybody if one guy is late. So I asked the guys, ‘What kind of teammate do you think Ollie is?’ And I said, ‘Hey, Ollie, I’m going to run you or I’m going to run the whole team. What do you think I should do?’ And he said, ‘Coach, I’ll take it.’”

At that point, the players began to grumble. Nobody likes to run sprints, but even worse than that is watching someone run for you as a form of punishment.

“The players said, ‘We’ll run with him.’ And I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no. Punish Ollie for those two being late,’” Self said before adding, ‘But let’s do this different. Run with a mop. And, if he doesn’t make it, you other guys will run. So let’s make it harder and say he has to hustle a little bit. Let’s do it in 20 seconds.’”

Just like that, Cobb was thrown into the fire of having to do one of the hardest parts of boot camp on his own. Half-court and back, full-court and back in 20 seconds, a drill known as “22s,” which the Jayhawks typically get 22 seconds to complete.

“I was a little nervous,” Cobb admitted in a Thursday afternoon interview with the Journal-World. “I knew I could do it, but I was more worried about keeping the mop out of my way and not stepping on it and falling.”

Cobb’s big moment was captured on video and Tweeted out by the Kansas basketball account. In the video, you can see the players cheering him on as he hustles his way up and down the court, all while pushing the manager’s weapon in front of him.

“I told them to make sure they Tweeted it or whatever so that all the other managerial staffs in the country know there is a standard,” Self joked. “The kid’s amazing.”

To Cobb, though, Thursday’s sequence of events was merely another day in the life of a Kansas basketball manager. To him, the goal every day is to do whatever he can to help things run more smoothly for the program. During boot camp, that typically means taking care of the court.

“Our main responsibility is keeping the court dry,” Cobb said. “Our goal is to never have a guy slip and we’ve never let it happen. That court, from our perspective, stays dry. It gets to a point where we’re sweating ourselves trying to keep the court dry.”

As boot camp moves on and the players begin to saturate their clothing with sweat, shirts often come off and are thrown to the ground. Cobb moves quicker in those moments than he did during Thursday morning’s run.

“You try to catch it because it leaves a puddle on the court if it lands,” he said. “And I’d rather get it on myself than try to get it off the floor.”

Thursday’s impromptu exercise came at the perfect time in the eyes of Cobb and his co-workers, given that the past five days have been known as National Equipment Managers Week, where aides from all sorts of sports organizations are honored and celebrated for their contributions to their teams.

Along with their leader, Cobb, this season’s KU basketball student managers are: Alex Bolivar, Boca Raton, Fla.; Casey Cohen, Scottsdale, Ariz., Jon Felton, Leawood; Jack Lombardo – Burr Ridge, Ill.; Danny Meyers, Kansas City, Mo., Lexi Price, Topeka,; and Trent Schulte, Baileyville. And, together, their job is to follow Cobb’s lead and do whatever is asked of them for the program, from laundry and wiping up sweat to running errands and helping in practice.

Most of the time, it’s pretty standard stuff, but during boot camp things, are a little different. While the players are required to arrive on the court by 6 a.m. each day, Cobb and his crew are up by 4 a.m. and usually get there by 5 a.m. When you consider that they’re usually in the gym for at least 30 minutes after boot camp ends, cleaning up and putting away equipment, you’re talking about logging a 3 ½ hour day long before most people even begin theirs.

This year has been a bit of a break for Cobb, compared to his past two boot camps. On Mondays and Wednesdays, his first class begins at 1 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, he starts at 11 a.m.

“Last year, I had 8 a.m. class,” Cobb recalled. “So I was jumping right out of boot camp, trying to take a shower real quick and get to class.”

Just like the players who give all they have to the program, the sweat and sacrifice is all worth it to Cobb, who is majoring in supply chain management with a minor in sports management.

Even though he became a cult hero after running the sprint in 20 seconds on Thursday morning, Cobb does not have any designs on being a part of the action in the future.

He knows his role. He takes great pride in it. And he marvels at what he sees from the finely tuned athletes who compete at the highest level and are adored by so many.

“Even though I’ve been through it a few times now, it continues to amaze me how they do it every day,” he said.

Boot camp will conclude for the week early Friday morning before picking back up on Monday and running through Thursday as the lead-up to Late Night in the Phog on Sept. 28.

None by Kansas Basketball

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Class of 2019 SG Cassius Stanley hints at Friday announcement

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Four-star shooting guard Cassius Stanley, the No. 31-ranked player in the 2019 class according to Rivals.com, Tweeted on Thursday afternoon that a "big announcement" was coming Friday.

Stanley, who currently has plans to visit KU for Late Night on Sept. 28, hails from Sierra Canyon High in North Hollywood, Calif., and is a 6-foot-5, 170-pound guard with crazy athleticism.

Ranked No. 5 nationally at his position, Stanley is much more than the shooter his position suggests.

With incredible hops and a fearless mentality, there is not a place on the floor where Stanley struggles to make a play. According to KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott, Stanley's insane athleticism — which includes bounce, speed and balance — have made him one of the more exciting prospects in the 2019 class.

"His highlight reels on YouTube have become must-see for many fans because of his gravity-defying dunks," Scott wrote recently. "However, Stanley is more than just a dunker. Stanley has worked hard on his all-around game over the past few years. His athletic ability puts defenders on their heels, which allows him to blow by them or shoot a pull-up jumper."

Several analysts have considered USC the favorite throughout his recruitment, but I've heard that Kansas has made some serious progress in impressing Stanley and his family during recent weeks. Beyond that, it sounds like USC has fallen off and that Oregon might be KU's biggest competition in this one.

KU coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend were in California last week for an in-home visit with Stanley, who recently said that KU, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Texas and South Carolina — in no particular order — were the schools that had put in the most work recruiting him.

At this point, I'd put KU's shot of getting Stanley at about 50-50. I think they're ahead of several schools on his list but are not yet at the finish line. If they do get him, Stanley's commitment would be the second of the week from a shooting guard in the 2019 class, with local prospect Christian Braun announcing his commitment to KU on Monday.

One thing worth noting about Stanley and Braun — Scott said on our latest Recruiting Trail podcast that the two guards' games seem to be complementary and would not get in each other's way at all if both wound up coming to Kansas.

Whether that's what happens or not remains to be seen. But it looks like we should know more in the next 24 hours or so.

Stay tuned...

None by Cassius Stanley

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KU senior Lagerald Vick more vocal during Kansas basketball boot camp

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) throws a pass along the baseline during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. In back is Nebraska guard Thomas Allen (12).

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) throws a pass along the baseline during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. In back is Nebraska guard Thomas Allen (12). by Nick Krug

Quiet in the eyes of the public and seemingly content to play a supporting role during his first three years with the program, Kansas senior Lagerald Vick has stepped to the forefront this preseason.

With the Jayhawks three days into their annual conditioning test known as boot camp, it’s Vick who has emerged as one of the early leaders on a team looking to fill a leadership void as it enters the 2018-19 season with high hopes and lofty expectations.

That’s according to sophomore guard Marcus Garrett, who spoke with media members earlier this week about boot camp and said it was Vick’s voice that had been heard the loudest throughout the conditioning challenge.

“He’s definitely talking a lot more,” Garrett said of the Memphis native and second leading returning scorer. “Just him being through boot camp, knowing everything, knowing every drill we’re about to do, just telling the young guys to keep pushing, it’s great to have somebody on your side who’s been through everything and seen almost everything.”

Leading by example is nothing new for Vick. For years, the long and athletic guard often has been seen setting the pace for sprints and drills during KU’s conditioning sessions. But adding an element of vocal leadership to that lead-by-example demeanor is new, and Garrett said Vick’s willingness to embrace his role as an upperclassman has been particularly helpful for KU’s newcomers.

“He’s not that quiet to me,” Garrett said with a laugh. “But, yeah, he’s been a leader lately. He’s been talking. He’s just been helping the young guys a lot.”

This year’s boot camp features seven first-time participants, with scholarship freshmen Ochai Agbaji, Devon Dotson, Quentin Grimes and David McCormack joining sophomore Silvio De Sousa and walk-ons E.J. Elliott and Garrett Luinstra in battling boot camp for the first time.

Garrett said junior Udoka Azubuike had been working harder than ever during recent weeks and fellow-junior Mitch Lightfoot, who may have the most natural leadership ability of anyone on this roster, has shown in years past that he is ready and willing to help push his teammates during boot camp.

Vick’s return to the program in late June was a surprise to many, with players, coaches and fans all believing his Kansas basketball career had come to a close when he announced he was turning pro at the end of the 2017-18 season.

Garrett said he was more shocked by Vick’s inability to catch the eye of a pro team than he was the decision for Vick to come back to Kansas.

“I was kind of surprised no teams wanted him,” Garrett said. “That was very surprising. But when (they) didn’t, I knew he wanted to come back.”

A sequence of carefully executed events that led to Vick pulling his name out of the 2018 NBA Draft while retaining his college eligibility paved the way for his return to Kansas, and the 6-foot-5, 190-pound wing with a new jersey number (24 instead of 2) enters the 2018-19 season as the lone senior on the KU roster.

Vick’s return, which was made possible in part because KU did not use its full allotment of scholarships in the 2018 recruiting class, came with a set of clearly outlined rules put in place by KU coach Bill Self.

Although none of the specifics were shared publicly, the general theme focused on Vick putting the team before himself, doing everything that’s asked of him without questioning it and setting a good example and showing the newcomers what it takes to play at Kansas.

So far so good in that department, according to Garrett and a few other Vick teammates, including sophomore point guard Charlie Moore, who told the Journal-World earlier this summer that Vick had been “a better version of himself” since returning to the team.

Whether Vick emerges as KU’s on-court leader when the season rolls around remains to be seen. But even if he doesn’t, the work he has put in this summer has gone a long way toward helping the younger players make the adjustment to college life.

With so much talent and depth on this year’s roster, Garrett said things have been incredibly competitive throughout the summer, in pick-up games and now at boot camp, as well, with Vick leading the charge in that department, too.

“Oh yeah, of course,” Garrett said. “Especially when we’re running sprints. Everybody’s really pushing to try to come across the line first.”

KU’s boot camp will continue Thursday and currently is schedule to run through next Tuesday before The Program comes to town to cap things off Sept. 26 and 27.

Reply 5 comments from Mythoughts Bryce Landon Dirk Medema Robert  Brock Ronfranklin

Say What? Tait’s weekly appearance on Rock Chalk Sports Talk

Thanks to the Kansas football program's two-game winning streak and 2-1 record heading into Big 12 play, my past few appearances on Rock Chalk Sports Talk with Nick Schwerdt have included heavy doses of football talk.

And there was some of that on this most recent segment, with Kansas slated to take on Baylor in Waco on Saturday in the Big 12 opener.

But there was also some legit hoops news to get to and we jumped right in to talk about KU landing an oral commitment from four-star shooting guard Christian Braun, of Blue Valley Northwest, earlier this week.

Schwerdt and I broke down Braun's game, his fit for Kansas and what the news means for the rest of KU's 2019 recruiting class, which now has one player in the bag but could grow to as many as four or five by the time it's all said and done.

Whether it's football talk or hoops news you're looking for, you'll find it in the segment below so give it a listen.

You also will learn about Schwerdt's quest to come up with a new rankings system for high school recruits. We already have the star system and the overall ranking numbers. But Nick's looking to add a third measurement to the game.

Good idea? Bad idea? You be the judge.

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KU still has plenty of options after four-star forward Samuell Williamson picks Louisville

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

A few hours after new Kansas basketball commitment Christian Braun made his pledge official, a former KU target ranked in No. 34 overall in the class of 2019 ended his recruitment elsewhere.

Small forward Samuell Williamson, a 6-foot-7, four-star prospect from Rockwall, Texas, orally committed to Louisville on Monday evening via Twitter.

Williamson, who had KU in his list of finalists and had taken an official visit to KU’s campus a few weeks ago, picked the Cardinals over KU, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.

Williamson’s commitment came as little surprise around the recruiting world and might have been a byproduct of Braun committing to Kansas.

“It’s not a surprise,” KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott said on Monday night. “It’s not like Kansas didn’t like him. They did, or they wouldn’t have recruited him. It’s that sometimes you go with who you think might be a better fit, and that might be the case here. Or it might have been that Samuell liked Louisville, which I know he did — Louisville and Oklahoma.”

Monday’s action means KU moves forward with one commitment in its back pocket and a number of top-tier targets still available. Some Kansas fans appear to have taken the Williamson news a little hard given the fact that the 4-star forward with the killer mid-range game recently called KU his "dream school." But Scott said Williamson's decision to go elsewhere is not an indication of a failure by the Kansas coaching staff.

“There’s other guys out there that they’re interested in,” Scott said of KU’s recruiting status. “Let’s say Christian and Samuell both picked Kansas, well that might eliminate them (KU) from some guys that maybe they think are better fits with Christian and who they think will be back next year.”

KU remains in hot pursuit of five-star talents Matt Hurt and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl — both Top 10 forwards according to Rivals.com — and also is still the hunt for four-star shooting guard Cassius Stanley, who is ranked No. 31 on the Rivals 150 and has plans to visit KU for Late Night on Sept. 28.

Stanley recently welcomed KU coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend to North Hollywood, Calif., for an in-home visit and is down to a final eight of KU, Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Maryland, Texas, UCLA and USC.

Robinson-Earl also will visit for Late Night, along with the following prospects: Braun (unofficially); James Wiseman (5-star center from Memhpis, ranked No. 2 in 2019 class); R.J. Hampton (5-star point guard ranked No. 5 in 2020 class); Chandler Lawson (No. 87 in 2019 class) and Jonathan Lawson (youngest of the Lawson brothers); Isaac McBride (4-star point guard ranked No. 109 in 2019 class); Anthony Walker (4-star power forward ranked No. 76 in 2019 class); Ty Berry (3-star point guard ranked No. 121 in 2020 class); and Bryce Thompson (4-star shooting guard ranked No. 66 in 2020 class).

None by Samuell Williamson

Reply 6 comments from Carsonc30 Tony Bandle Ryan Zimmerman Jasontodd Surrealku

New KU commitment Christian Braun no stranger to Border War basketball

When it comes to the 100-plus year history of Kansas basketball, finding good KU-Missouri stories is easy to do.

For decades until its end in 2012, the Border War matchup was one of the most anticipated games of the season, no matter how each team was doing in the win/loss column. And KU and MU are responsible for some of the most intense and memorable games in the history of both programs.

But would you believe that today, more than six years after the two teams played a game that actually counted, things are happening that are adding to the storied Border War history?

Sure, the two programs got together for an exhibition game last season to raise money for hurricane relief. And, yeah, there was that alumni scrimmage this summer that drew a fair amount of attention and featured a few former greats from both schools.

But this week, when Blue Valley Northwest senior Christian Braun announced his commitment to Kansas, the KU-MU rivalry received new life, even if only in the form of daydreaming about what one day might happen.

With Christian coming to KU and his older brother, Parker, entrenched as a freshman walk-on at Mizzou, both players would be lying if they told you they had not talked about one day facing each other with the Border War on the line again.

“Me and Parker were talking about it,” Braun told the Journal-World Monday night, shortly after he made his commitment to KU official. “Obviously, I love playing against him, I love playing with him, but he was happy for me going to KU. But I would love to play him.”

Despite their sibling bond, Christian and Parker are, in many ways, different on the court. For starters, they play different positions. Beyond that, the two vary in physical appearance, as well, with the older Parker favoring long hair and even becoming known for his man-bun look during his high school days and Christian often being mistaken for a much younger player with a baby face and more traditional haircut.

“So I tried that a few years back," he joked of the long-hair look. "Not to that extent, but I tried that. It just didn’t work out for me. Wasn’t really my thing. So I cut it off. That’s his thing.”

Neither Braun — Christian at 6-5 and still growing and Parker at 6-9 and possibly still growing, too — is counting on the KU-MU showdown coming back during their time on the court. But the clock has officially begun on hoping for it to happen, largely because both KU and MU play such an important part in their family history.

“Yeah, it’s been pretty fun,” Christian said of the KU-MU banter among his family. “But the KU-MU thing, in my family, goes back pretty far.”

His mother, Lisa Sandbothe and aunt, Lori Sandbothe, played for the Tigers in the late 1980s and were both standouts in the program and in the state. Before heading off to Mizzou, each won the Miss Show-Me Basketball honor (Lisa in 1987 and Lori a year earlier), given annually to the top prep female player in Missouri.

And Lisa went on to play professional ball in one of the upstart women’s leagues that came before the WNBA.

On the men’s side of the family, Braun’s uncle, Mike Sandbothe, also played basketball for the Tigers and his father, Donald Braun, now a doctor, briefly walked on to the Kansas men’s basketball team during his days at KU.

Needless to say, Braun, who grew up a Kansas fan — first in Burlington (hometown of former KU guard Tyrel Reed) and late in Overland Park for high school — said his family now supports both sides in the Border War.

He doesn’t know exactly how they all feel about the rivalry being restored, but does know that he would love to see it happen while him and Parker could face each other.

“For sure,” Braun said. “I would love that.”

Both for the opportunity to take on the Tigers and to represent his home state.

“I think everybody from Kansas has that as a goal,” he said of playing at KU. “Just being an in-state kid and taking pride in where you’re from.”

One of Braun’s friend’s, who currently is living out that dream, is KU freshman, Ochai Agbaji, who played with Braun in the MOKAN program before coming to Kansas.

Braun said the two have talked a lot about basketball and college over the years and added that Agbaji, who hails from Kansas City, Mo., reached out to him on Monday after hearing about his commitment.

With his recruitment now behind him, Braun said he was looking forward to getting ready for his KU career and to trying to track down another state title at Blue Valley Northwest before his prep days are finished.

“Now that I’m committed, it’s just time to get better and prepare so I’m as ready as I can be when I get there,” Braun said. “That’s kind of the focus. Hopefully (I’ll) get another state title. That’s another goal of mine. But I’m just excited to prepare and be as ready as I can when I get to campus.”

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KU-Nova officially set for 11 a.m. tip Dec. 15 at Allen Fieldhouse

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) elevates to the bucket past Villanova guard Phil Booth (5) during the second half, Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) elevates to the bucket past Villanova guard Phil Booth (5) during the second half, Saturday, March 31, 2018 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. by Nick Krug

It remains to be seen if it’s the game of the season. And given the hype and recent history between the two programs, it has to be in the running.

But we now know exactly when the Kansas-Villanova Final Four rematch will tip off and where it will be televised. And it sounds a lot more like a football kickoff time than a basketball tip.

Kansas vs. Villanova on Dec. 15 is set for 11 a.m. on ESPN.

The time and network became official Thursday, when the Big East released its full set of schedules. Let the countdown begin.

Along with KU’s meeting with Michigan State in the Champions Classic, another game at Rupp Arena against Kentucky in the Big 12/SEC Challenge and a pair of conference games against Big 12 foes Kansas State and West Virginia, the KU-Villanova clash figures to be one of the most anticipated games of the 2018-19 Kansas basketball season.

When the Big 12 portion of KU’s 2018-19 men's basketball schedule was released on Sept. 5, the time and network had not yet been nailed down, but it is updated on the official KU basketball schedule, as well.

The official tip time brings the total number of 11 a.m. KU games during the upcoming 2018-19 season to four, with another slated to start at 1 p.m. and one more potential 1 p.m. tipoff that has not yet been finalized.

Those are some pretty early start times by Kansas basketball standards, which typically have the Jayhawks playing in prime time and in the 7 or 8 p.m. television slots.

That still will be the case for most of the season. KU currently has 15 games scheduled for 7 p.m. or later. And it’s possible that KU could have three more start times in that range when all is said and done.

Tip times for Big 12 games against Texas Tech and West Virginia in February are still pending and KU’s second game in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the NIT Season Tip-Off in November will start after 8 p.m. if KU wins its first game (Nov. 21 vs. Marquette) and 6 p.m. if the Jayhawks lose to Marquette.

KU’s other 11 a.m. starts this season are:

• Saturday, Feb. 9 vs. Oklahoma State at Allen Fieldhouse

• Saturday, March 2 at Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena

• Saturday, March 9 vs. Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse

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Latest “Mic’d Up” feature shows KU’s Andrea Hudy as builder of minds as much as muscle

Trainer Andrea Hudy jokes with freshman Josh Jackson as the players get stretched out prior to the start of Boot Camp in the practice gym on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 just after 6 a.m.

Trainer Andrea Hudy jokes with freshman Josh Jackson as the players get stretched out prior to the start of Boot Camp in the practice gym on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 just after 6 a.m. by Nick Krug

If you’ve paid much attention to Kansas basketball over the past decade and a half, you’re more than familiar with the role Andrea Hudy plays in keeping the Jayhawks strong, healthy and on top of their game.

Hudy, officially listed as KU’s assistant athletics director for sports performance, has been a big part of the Jayhawks’ extreme success during the Bill Self era, using equal parts strength coach and scientist to help prepare and motivate the Jayhawks to achieve everything they have accomplished during Self’s first 15 seasons in Lawrence.

But she hasn’t done it alone. In addition to a terrific staff and support from the coaches — not to mention the work put in by the players — Hudy has teamed up with technology to help keep the Kansas players in top condition before, during and after each season.

In its latest “Mic’d Up” video, featuring Hudy, you can get a pretty decent glimpse at how Hudy uses technology to aid her training.

There’s not an exercise or movement the Jayhawks do in the weight room or during training sessions that is without a reason behind it. And all of their efforts and output is tracked by technology, both in real time and over time, so the players can see, in black and white numbers, where they need to put their efforts and track the improvement they have made.

Using the latest training technology is something Hudy has made a staple of her program for years now. And it has always been important to her to stay in tune with the best equipment and software for training college athletes.

In the summer of 2012, Kansas became a signature school for the EliteForm training system, which integrates technology into workout sessions. KU was also the first to use the SpartaTrac™ system to optimize players’ individual strength programs to improve performance and decrease chance of injury.

While many view Hudy as the one who helps the Jayhawks pump iron and build muscle, it’s worth noting that an equally huge part of her job is helping them read and comprehend the data produced by these systems so they, themselves, can start to utilize technology to reach their goals.

Again, this latest video shows glimpses of that and it’s a cool look at one of the somewhat hidden factors in the success of Kansas basketball.

None by Kansas Basketball

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Kansas Basketball Record Watch 2018-19: Marcus Garrett

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) whips a pass to the wing during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) whips a pass to the wing during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

A couple of months ago, when KU junior Udoka Azubuike announced he would return for his junior season at Kansas instead of trying to make it in the NBA, the first thing that popped into my head was where Azubuike stood in KU’s record books in a few key areas.

Granted, because he missed all but 11 games of his freshman season and also missed time during his sophomore season, Azubuike has not exactly played the kind of games or logged the amount of minutes to make a real push for any of KU’s biggest records.

But surely there are some that, after a monster junior season, could be a factor for Azubuike, right?

And if that’s the case, couldn’t that be true for just about every scholarship player on KU’s roster?

I mean, we all can agree that Quentin Grimes isn’t going to finish his first year at Kansas — and possibly his only year here — as the school’s all-time leading scorer, but could he make a push for KU’s freshman scoring record?

Last year’s KU media guide featured 19 full pages of school records. So over the next several days, we’re going to take a look at (a) what records some of these guys might be closing in on, if any, and (b) which record(s) each KU player could realistically make a run at during the 2018-19 season.

Some of it might be a stretch. But, hey, it’s August, and even if some of what you’ll read in the next few days isn’t likely, it’s still kind of fun to think about the best case scenarios in a sort of what-if mentality.

Next up: Marcus Garrett

The official record for fewest turnovers in a season is nowhere to be found in the KU media guide. And the reason is probably simple.

There are too many guys who could/would qualify for the record unless the Jayhawks put some kind of disclaimer on the record, like “minimum 20 games” or something like that.

They do it for 3-pointers and 3-point attempts. And the same concept is used for field goals and free throws. So why no do it for turnovers? But I guess you can’t include everything.

The only mention of any kind of turnover record I could find in last year’s media guide was on Page 175, where it listed Raef LaFrentz as the record holder for most minutes in a game without a turnover — 47 in a double-overtime loss at Missouri in 1997 — and Tyshawn Taylor as the record holder for most turnovers in a single game, with 11 in a loss to Duke at the Maui Invitational in 2011.

What’s the reason for even bringing this up? I think Garrett could make a run at the record.... whatever it is.

Because I could not find the overall record anywhere, I looked back at the Bill Self era. Makes sense, right? I mean, Self team, Self style, why not look at who turned it over and who didn’t under Self?

Putting the disclaimer of having to have played in at least 30 games to qualify, I found that former KU forward Bryant Nash and former KU guard Tyrel Reed share the Bill Self record for fewest turnovers in a season by a player appearing in at least 30 games for a Bill Self-coached team.

Nash turned it over 15 times in 30 games in Self’s first season (2003-04) and Reed, who played a much bigger role, turned it over just 15 times in 36 games during the 2009-10 season.

Garrett is the defending champ, if you will, on this year’s squad, having led the Jayhawks with fewest turnovers (30) a season ago in a whopping 39 games.

Garrett finished turnoverless in 13 of those 39 games and also finished with just one turnover in 22 games. In addition to that, he never had more than two turnovers in a game and should be much more comfortable heading into his sophomore season.

Keeping it to 15 or fewer no doubt will be tough, but Garrett should benefit from the fact that Devon Dotson, Charlie Moore and even Quentin Grimes figure to handle the ball more than he will and his solid fundamentals, good vision and sound decision making also will aid him in the quest to keep his turnovers down.

Let’s say KU gets back to the Final Four, as they will be favored to do in the eyes of several college basketball fans and analysts across the country.

Assuming he stays healthy and KU makes the finals of the Big 12 tournament — win or lose — that would give Garrett at least 39 games this season, which would mean he could turn the ball over once every 2.6 games.

That’s a tall task and certainly should not be counted on, given the difficulty of KU’s schedule. But if there’s a Jayhawk who’s ready to make a run at the Self-era record, it’s Garrett. And, either way, he’s the smart bet to lead the regular rotation guys in fewest turnovers for the second year in a row.

Here’s a look at the Bill Self leaders in fewest turnovers per season, minimum 30 games:

• Bryant Nash – 15 in 30 games – 2003-04

• Mike Lee – 39 in 30 games – 2004-05

• Sasha Kaun – 23 in 33 games – 2005-06

• Sasha Kaun – 30 in 35 games – 2006-07

• Cole Aldrich – 21 in 40 games – 2007-08

• Travis Releford – 22 in 32 games – 2008-09

• Tyrel Reed – 15 in 36 games – 2009-10

• Mario Little – 19 in 32 games – 2010-11

• Naadir Tharpe – 22 in 32 games – 2011-12

• Perry Ellis – 20 in 37 games – 2012-13

• Tarik Black – 23 in 33 games – 2013-14

• Brannen Greene – 30 in 35 games – 2014-15

• Svi Mykhailiuk – 26 in 35 games – 2015-16

• Carlton Bragg Jr. – 28 in 31 games – 2016-17

• Marcus Garrett – 30 in 39 games – 2017-18

• Kansas Basketball Record Watch 2018-19 •

- Senior guard Lagerald Vick

- Junior center Udoka Azubuike

- Junior forward Mitch Lightfoot

- Junior forward Dedric Lawson

- Sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa

- Sophomore guard Charlie Moore

- Freshman guard Quentin Grimes

- Freshman guard Devon Dotson

- Freshman forward David McCormack

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Tracking the movement of a few KU basketball targets in updated Rivals rankings

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

The rest of the updated Rivals150 2019 basketball class was released Tuesday, one day after Rivals teased the new list by announcing the updated Top 10.

Although Kansas currently is without a commitment in the 2019 class, there are plenty of noteworthy names dotting the Top 150 who have expressed interest in joining the Jayhawks and may some day suit up in crimson in blue.

Two of them — Matthew Hurt and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl — dropped a spot but held on to their status as Top 10 talents and the rest found out their fate on Tuesday, when the full list was released.

Here’s a quick look at the movement involving a few key recruiting targets:

Small forward Samuell Williamson, a 6-foot-7 prospect from Rockwall, Texas, with the elite mid-range game, jumped one spot to No. 34. Williamson, you might recall, recently made an official visit to KU and continues to check in with the other programs on his list of finalists as he races toward a decision. Most analysts feel that KU has a great shot at landing Williamson, but there clearly is still work to be done.

• Cassius Stanley, a 6-foot-5, 4-star shooting guard from North Hollywood, Calif., jumped two spots to the cusp of the Top 30 and sits at No. 31 on the updated list. Stanley is known as an incredibly versatile guard who is capable of playing — and defending — all three guard positions. He recently told Corey Evans, of Rivals.com, that USC, UCLA, Oregon, Texas, KU and South Carolina have been the schools that have stood out most during the recruiting process. According to Evans, Stanley has hopes of making a commitment this fall.

Four-star power forward Zeke Nnaji dropped three spots to No. 37 but still remains a highly visible recruit because of his AAU connection with Hurt and his size, length and potential.

Chandler Lawson, one of two younger brothers of current Jayhawks Dedric and K.J. Lawson, basically stayed in the same spot, falling just a bit from No. 87 to No. 88.

• And former KU commitment Markese Jacobs, of Chicago, dropped a whopping 33 spots to No. 125 after decommiting from KU and opening up his recruitment.

• As for a couple of notable names on the rise, Little Rock, Ark., point guard Isaac McBride maintained his ranking of No. 110 but is now listed as a four-star prospect. And local prospect Christian Braun, who picked up a KU offer in the past couple of weeks and plays his high school ball at nearby Blue Valley Northwest, went from unranked to No. 113 and also saw his status jump from 3-star prospect to 4-star prospect.

In related news, after checking in with Hurt on Sunday in Minnesota and Robinson-Earl on Monday in Florida, KU coach Bill Self and assistant coach Kurtis Townsend were in Memphis on Tuesday to visit with No. 2-rated 2019 prospect James Wiseman, a 7-foot center who has attracted major attention from some serious blueblood programs.

Shortly after the in-home visit, Wiseman Tweeted out a photo with Self and Townsend in his living room, with the words "Great In-Home Kansas Visit Today!" attached to it.

None by James Wiseman

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