The Kansas men’s basketball program has found a taker for its 13th and final scholarship for the 2019-20 roster.
Dajuan Harris, a fast-rising 3-star point guard who is destined to crack the Top 100 and earn a 4-star rating from Rivals.com when the updated ratings are released, announced his commitment to Kansas via Twitter on Tuesday night, just before 9 p.m.
A recent graduate of Rock Bridge High in Columbia, Mo., Harris will stay in the 2019 class instead of taking a prep school year at Sunrise Christian Academy and reclassifying to 2020 and will begin classes at KU this fall.
Harris has been taking classes this summer in order to make the move back to 2019 possible and just has to finish up those classes to pave the way for the move to KU.
A 6-foot-2, wiry point guard with good speed and vision, Harris announced his commitment via Twitter and included an edit of him in a white Kansas jersey — wearing No. 13 — with the words "110% committed" attached to the Tweet.
After initially committing to Missouri State as a member of the Class of 2019, Harris changed gears and reclassified into the 2020 class. But he recently received a release from his commitment to Missouri State and began fielding offers from some high major programs, including Kansas.
That was just the beginning of his rise.
A strong showing at the Peach Jam AAU tournament in Georgia last weekend put Harris firmly on the national map and led to his decision to pick Kansas on Tuesday night.
Harris, who plays for MOKAN Elite, which won the 2019 Peach Jam, has strong connections to a couple of members of KU’s current roster — freshman Christian Braun and sophomore Ochai Agbaji — and also has developed strong relationships with KU’s coaching staff.
Beyond that, his length and athleticism have many believing that his ceiling is that of a Top 20 player.
“The guy is just a leader. He wins a lot of games and makes everyone around him better,” Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi recently wrote of the point guard who helped lead Rock Bridge High to a state title during his senior season.
Added KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott of Harris’ game: “He’s the closest thing you’ll see today to a true point guard. He can completely control a game without scoring a ton of points. He’s good. He’s just not someone who’s going to be ranked all that high because he isn’t a flashy scorer.”
Harris becomes the fifth freshman to join KU's 2019 recruiting class — all five will be 4-star prospects if Harris, as expected, gets the bump in his rating — and the sixth newcomer to join the Jayhawks this offseason, with senior graduate transfer Isaiah Moss (Iowa) being added to a freshman class that includes Christian Braun, Issac McBride, Tristan Enaruna, Jalen Wilson and Harris.
Nine days shy of opening play in the TBT event in Wichita with nine fellow KU alums, former Kansas forward Perry Ellis solidified his future on Tuesday.
Ellis, who spent the early portion of his pro career playing in the NBA’s G League as well as overseas in Australia, Italy, Germany and Turkey, has plans to add a new stamp to his passport.
According to a report from Sportando.com, Ellis has agreed to join the Osaka Evessa club in Japan for the upcoming season.
Ellis, a four-year star at Wichita Heights before coming to KU, spent last season split between Germany and Turkey.
Ellis played last season at Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi in Turkish BSL league and averaged 13.8 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Ellis also played for Oliver Baskets (BBL) in the German league, where in 12 games he recorded averages of 12.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He also played 9 games in the FIBA Europe Cup, where he averaged 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game.
He joins fellow former KU big man Landen Lucas as recent Jayhawks to try their luck in Japan.
“I’ve been working out hard,” Ellis said while recently back in Lawrence. “You just never know what’s going to happen. I’ve been playing overseas and I’ll just kind of see if an opportunity comes up and if not just go overseas and continue to play.”
Before then, of course, Ellis will team with Lucas, Elijah Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor, Travis Releford, Jeremy Case, Mario Little, Kevin Young, Darrell Arthur and Darnell Jackson with Self Made in the TBT, a winner-take-all, $2 million summer tournament featuring some recent college stars.
While some players on the Self Made roster have played in the tournament before, this will mark the first team made up entirely of former Jayhawks.
As was the case every time they stepped on the floor at Allen Fieldhouse or in a KU uniform, Self Made has just one goal in mind — to win it all.
“That’s the goal, man,” Ellis said recently. “It’s like a tournament like March Madness. If you lose, you’re out, so it’ll be fun.”
Self Made opens play in the TBT at 6 p.m. on July 25 against Sideline Cancer at Wichita State’s Koch Arena. For more information, or to purchase tickets, log on to www.thetournament.com.
The MOKAN Elite AAU program won the star-studded Peach Jam AAU tournament in Georgia over the weekend and a current KU target was one of the team’s stars.
Dajuan Harris, a 3-star point guard out of Columbia’s Rock Bridge High, who Rivals.com analysts have said is on the fast track to becoming a 4-star prospect when the next rankings come out, helped pace MOKAN Elite to the title.
True to his reputation, Harris did his damage with his athleticism and court vision, getting others involved whenever possible and looking to set up teammates with precision passes before trying to put the ball in the basket.
That, of course, is much easier to do when Peach Jam MVP N’Faly Dante (No. 9 in the 2020 class, per Rivals) and explosive wing Kennedy Chandler (No. 28 in the 2021 class, per Rivals) are among your options to pass to.
But, still, Harris was solid from start to finish in the biggest showcase event of the summer. He reached double figures in a couple of games, averaged well above eight assists per game for the tournament and nearly had a triple-double in one pool play victory, finishing with 13 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
Wrote 247 Sports recruiting analysts Evan Daniels, who broke down Harris’ emergence during pool play action: “It was a sensational performance on the biggest stage in grassroots.”
Daniels also caught up with Harris during the event to get an update on his surging recruitment, which includes a recent offer from KU, which Harris announced last week on Twitter.
“What I’m going to bring to the team and to the table is I’m going to defend and I’m going to try to get everybody wide open shots, and make the right plays and be a playmaker,” Harris told Daniels while breaking down his game. “A long time ago I used to play for this coach who always wanted me to score, but I didn’t really care about scoring. I liked to get everybody else open shots.”
Harris told Daniels that his recent recruitment, which has picked back up after he was granted a release from a previous commitment to Missouri State, has included Texas and Missouri, along with Missouri State and KU.
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Eric Bossi believes more suitors are coming, recently writing that Harris, currently ranked No. 136 in the 2020 class by Rivals, should expect “high-major offers to flood in during July.”
Harris does not currently have any official visits scheduled and there is no known timeline for his decision.
As for what caught Daniels’ eye, it was Harris’ command of the court from all positions that made him worth watching and writing about.
“The 6-foot-2 wiry lead guard impressed with his passing ability, vision and creativity off the dribble,” Daniels wrote. “He also excelled on the defensive end, where he made things difficult on Sharife Cooper, one of the best point guards in the country. … The pin-point passes off the live dribble and his decision making when he drove particularly stood out.”
As the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas draws to a close, it’s time for one final look at how a few former Jayhawks fared.
For the past two weeks, nearly a dozen players who once suited up for Bill Self tried to put their best feet forward to catch the eye of NBA teams in time to earn a spot on one of the league’s 30 rosters heading into the 2019-20 season.
Some of them, like Charlotte’s Devonte’ Graham and Detroit’s Svi Mykhailiuk were basically locks to be on an opening-night roster because of their contract situations and performance during their rookie seasons.
Others, like recent KU forward Dedric Lawson (Golden State) and past Kansas greats Thomas Robinson (San Antonio), Malik Newman (Cleveland), Frank Mason III (Sacramento) and Jeff Withey (Washington) were fighting for their NBA lives.
And while putting up points and flashing confidence are key elements of making a roster, there’s much more to these Summer League auditions than scoring.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin, Robinson explained as much while talking about his lottery past and hopes for his future.
“I’m not 30, man,” Robinson told Highkin. “I’m only 28. I’m not no old, retired player. I can still play. I can jump just as high as these young guys. I can run just as fast. I can play with anybody. I'm just trying to get back and show teams that I'm ready to return.”
Doing that, after two years overseas, is about much more than displaying the physical dominance that made Robinson and All-American at Kansas and a lottery pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
It takes savvy and smarts, too. In fact, that might be the most important part for Robinson, who told Highkin that one NBA GM recently told him that his lack of basketball IQ would keep him from enjoying a long and lucrative career at basketball’s highest level.
While Robinson admitted that was hard to hear, he also took it to heart.
“Over the course of the last two years, I really locked in on watching certain players,” Robinson told Highkin. “I changed my game from watching Kobe (Bryant) and LeBron (James) to paying attention to Draymond (Green) and Montrezl Harrell, and how they’re finding success in the league. That’s helped make the game so much easier for me.”
While some of that showed up this summer, when Robinson averaged eight points and seven rebounds per game on 57% shooting in helping the Spurs finish 2-3 in Las Vegas, the exact benefits of that approach remain uncertain.
If enough teams saw it and believe that the more cerebral Robinson is what they’ll be getting, that might be enough for them to offer a roster spot. If not, there’s still plenty of money to be made and work to be done overseas for the former Jayhawk.
Here’s a quick look at a few recent highlights and big games from the other Jayhawks who played in Vegas this month.
Malik Newman, Cleveland Cavaliers
Much in the way he did during his lone season at Kansas, Newman went out with a bang with the Cavs’ Summer League squad.
In 31 minutes of a two-point win over Sacramento on Friday night, Newman scored 33 points on 11-of-17 shooting, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range with four rebounds and two steals.
Frank Mason III, who was waived by Sacramento on July 4 but retained a roster spot on the Kings’ Summer League team, not only did not play in that game but also did not even appear in the box score as a “DNP,” signaling that the search for his new NBA squad had fully begun.
Svi Mykhailiuk, Detroit Pistons
If you’re on Twitter, you likely saw Mykhailiuk’s cross-over, step-back 3-pointer that made his defender fall down and reminded Kansas fans of just how talented the Ukrainian guard was at KU for four seasons.
While that highlight certainly made the rounds, it was one of just a couple for Mykhailiuk in his final Summer League game with his new squad. In 31 minutes of the Pistons’ 20-point loss to Brooklyn, the second-year pro scored six points on 2-of-12 shooting, with four rebounds, three assists and three turnovers.
In three games last week, Mykhailiuk shot 7 for 25 from the floor and scored 22 points.
Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets
The second-year pro and former KU All-American played in one of three games for the Hornets last week, a clear sign that the franchise has seen enough from its former second-round draft pick to know what they’ve got heading into the 2019-20 season.
In that game, a 75-72 loss to Chicago, Graham scored 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds and dished seven assists in 29 minutes.
If his career continues to progress at the rate it’s going, that outing could go down as Graham’s last in the Vegas Summer League.
Landen Lucas, Atlanta Hawks
Landen Lucas’s time in the NBA’s Summer League could be winding down, as well. The former KU big man played just one minute in a Hawks win over the Spurs last week and three minutes in a 20-point win over the Pacers a couple of days earlier.
Jeff Withey, Washington Wizards
Withey, who also was included in the recent Bleacher Report article featuring former KU teammate Thomas Robinson, played in just one of four games for the Wizards last week, netting four points, one rebound and two blocks in 13 minutes in his lone appearance.
Withey’s professional future is likely overseas, where he played the 2018-19 season.
“Even if nothing comes about (from 2019 Summer League), I played in the NBA for five years and I got my pension, so I'm good,” said Withey in the Bleacher Report story.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant may have not wanted any part of playing for the New York Knicks. But, believe it or not, there are players out there who are interested in doing just that.
And one of them is a former Kansas Jayhawk.
A few days after agreeing to a two-year, $20 million free agent contract with the San Antonio Spurs, reports surfaced that forward Marcus Morris may have changed his mind and was interested in heading to the Big Apple.
A New York Post report cites sources as saying the Knicks were wildly impressed with Morris’ 2018-19 season with the Boston Celtics, which included averages of 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game to go along with 37.5% shooting from 3-point range.
All three numbers are higher than Morris’ career averages of 11.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 36% 3-point shooting, and even Morris’ free throw percentage with the Celtics (84.4%) was significantly better than his career mark of 74.7%.
Morris, who will be 30 at the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, is entering his ninth year in the league and has played for four different teams during that time.
According to the Post’s report, the Knicks have offered Morris a one-year deal worth $14.8 million, which not only may be enticing for the per-year salary but also for chance for Morris and his agent, Rich Paul, to get into the New York market.
Morris’ change of heart, however, has ruffled a few feathers in the NBA, with the report making note of the fact that many agents have quietly voiced their displeasure about Morris’ move, both because of what it does to the Spurs today and what it could mean for the future of free agency in the league.
Beyond that, Morris also is putting himself at risk for future negotiations once he becomes a free agent again, which could be as soon as 2020 if he joins the Knicks.
It remains to be seen how it all plays out, but a Thursday report from Ian Begley, of SNY.tv, indicated that the Knicks now believe that obtaining Morris is “a likely scenario.”
Add this to the list of interesting moments regarding the Morris twins. There’s never a dull moment with those two.
Speaking of Morris’ twin, earlier this summer Markieff Morris agreed to a free agent deal with the Detroit Pistons, his fourth team in nine years.
Two years ago, Kansas point guard Frank Mason III was on top of the basketball world, sitting as the reigning college player of the year and just a couple of weeks removed from being drafted into the NBA with the No. 34 overall pick by the Sacramento Kings.
Today, Mason, who has been dealing with a nagging right hip injury, is fighting to find his footing with the Kings’ summer league squad and is in search of a new NBA team to play for during the 2019-20 season after recently being waived by the team that drafted him.
Mason has not appeared in any of the Kings' three Summer League games thus far. Sacramento will look to improve to 3-1 in the Las Vegas league with a 9 p.m. clash with the Clippers tonight.
While big time college hoops fans and Kansas fans who have followed Mason’s career closely — in Lawrence and beyond — are probably not surprised by Mason's current situation, the more casual basketball fan may be a little confused.
How is it that one year a guy can be named the best player in all of college basketball and two years later that same guy can find himself battling to be a role player at the next level?
It’s actually much more common than the college honor might suggest and, in many ways, mirrors the trials and tribulations of many college football Heisman Trophy winners.
Several Heisman winners have gone on to have less-than-stellar pro careers, and that certainly also has been the case with a handful of college basketball’s best over the years, as well.
It’s different, of course, in that nearly half of all Heisman Trophy winners — 34 of 83 — have been quarterbacks, many of whom were drafted to be franchise-saving players, while college basketball’s players of the year have come from all positions and often been drafted onto teams that already had solid and established players at the position.
But you’d still think that if a player was good enough to be the cream of the crop in college basketball — as Mason so clearly was during his senior season at Kansas — he would be able to not only stick with an NBA team but carve out a pretty nice pro career, as well.
Maybe Mason still will. I certainly wouldn’t bet against him. But things are tough these days, with pro prospects getting younger every year and NBA teams constantly searching for ways to upgrade their rosters with youth and talent.
Through two seasons with Sacramento, Mason holds career averages of 6.8 points, 2.6 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game over 90 career appearances.
So where does that leave Mason in comparison to the other Naismith Award winners during the Bill Self era at Kansas?
Because he’s still so young and still has time to build his career, Mason seems to be in a better shape today than a lot of these guys.
The biggest difference? All but three of the 16 Naismith winners since Self arrived at Kansas went on to become lottery picks in the NBA Draft. Only Mason, Jalen Brunson and Jameer Nelson were picked outside of the lottery.
So in that regard, when weighing expectations versus production, Mason is ahead of the game and may only be able to help himself from this point on.
Here’s a quick look at the pro careers — some finished and others ongoing — of the 15 other Naismith Award winners since 2003-04:
• 2018-19 – Zion Williamson, Duke
The reigning Naismith Award winner and No. 1 pick in last month’s draft, Williamson has all eyes on him along with the potential to be a franchise-changing player.
Heisman comp: Kyler Murray
• 2017-18 – Jalen Brunson, Villanova
Played in 73 games for the Dallas Mavericks during his rookie season, starting 38 and finishing the season with per-game averages of 9.3 points, 3.2 assists and 22 minutes. Brunson was drafted by Dallas with the No. 33 overall pick.
Heisman comp: Marcus Mariota
• 2015-16 – Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
During his first three seasons in the league, the former Oklahoma star has appeared in 244 games and made 149 starts with two franchises, Sacramento and New Orleans. Hield owns NBA averages of 14 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game while playing 27 minutes per night. Hield was a lottery pick of New Orleans in the 2016 NBA Draft, picked No. 6 overall.
Heisman comp: Jameis Winston
• 2014-15 – Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Although he played in 81 games as a rookie, Kaminsky’s first four seasons have been full of inconsistency. Drafted with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Kaminsky has made 23 starts in 282 career games with Charlotte, holding a career scoring average of 9.8 points in 22 minutes per game.
Heisman comp: Sam Bradford
• 2013-14 – Doug McDermott, Creighton
Another former lottery pick (No. 11 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft), McDermott has played for five teams in his five pro seasons and owns career averages of 7.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 341 career games, 14 of them starts.
Heisman comp: Desmond Howard
• 2012-13 – Trey Burke, Michigan
Drafted with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Burke has played in 361 career games with four different franchises and owns career marks of 10.9 points and 3.6 assists in 24 minutes per game.
Heisman comp: Derrick Henry
• 2011-12 – Anthony Davis, Kentucky
One of two bona fide NBA superstars on this list, the newest Los Angeles Laker who has been a fixture on all-defensive teams and at the NBA All-Star Game owns career averages of 24 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks per game while playing 35 minutes a night. Davis was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Heisman comp: O.J. Simpson
• 2010-11 – Jimmer Fredette, BYU
Drafted in the lottery with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Jimmer played in 235 games during his first five NBA seasons (including just six during the 2015-16 season) before heading overseas for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. Back in the NBA a season ago, Fredette played in just six games for Phoenix, bringing his career totals to 7 starts in 241 appearances while averaging 6 points per game on 41% shooting.
Heisman comp: Tim Tebow
• 2009-10 – Evan Turner, Ohio State
Solid but not spectacular, Turner has appeared in 686 games and made 295 starts during his NBA career, averaging 10 points and 5 rebound per game. Turner was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Heisman comp: Vinny Testaverde
• 2008-09 – Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
The next best pro on this list behind Davis and Kevin Durant, the former OU star has racked up career averages of 22 points, 9 rebounds and 4.5 assists while starting all 604 games of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit Pistons.
Heisman comp: Bo Jackson
• 2007-08 – Tyler Hansbrough, UNC
Drafted No. 13 overall in the 2009 NBA Draft, the former North Carolina star started double-digit games just once in his seven-year NBA career (29 in 2010-11) and has not played in the NBA since the 2015-16 season. He finished with averages of 6.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17 minutes a game.
Heisman comp: Robert Griffin III
• 2006-07 – Kevin Durant, Texas
One of the baddest dudes on the planet, Durant has started all 849 games in which he has played and owns career averages of 27 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists per game with Seattle/Oklahoma City and Golden State. He also has two world championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards and just signed a monster deal with Brooklyn despite injuring his Achille’s tendon during this year’s playoffs. Durant famously was drafted No. 2 overall — behind Greg Oden — in the 2007 NBA Draft.
Heisman comp: Barry Sanders
• 2005-06 – J.J. Redick, Duke
Still going strong after 836 games in 13 NBA seasons, Redick owns career averages of 13 points per game on 41% shooting from 3-point range while playing with four different franchises and recently signing to play for a fifth in Year 14. The former Duke sharp-shooter was drafted as the No. 11 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.
Heisman comp: Tim Brown
• 2004-05 – Andrew Bogut, Utah
Although his contributions in the NBA have slowed to a crawl during the past three seasons, Bogut’s still out there and has racked up 661 career starts in 706 games while averaging 10 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists in 28 minutes per game. Like Davis in 2012, Bogut was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.
Heisman comp: Carson Palmer
• 2003-04 – Jameer Nelson, Saint Joseph’s
The 2018-19 season was Nelson’s first out of the league and it followed a 14-year career that saw him record 639 starts in 878 games. During that time, the tough-as-nails point guard who stood 6-foot, 190 pounds (Mason is listed at 5-11, 190) averaged 11 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists in 28 minutes per night. Nelson was the No. 20 pick in the the 2004 NBA Draft.
Heisman comp: Mark Ingram
Parting thought: If you’re confused about why I included the “Heisman comp” for each player, join the club. But, hey, it’s July and it seemed like a fun thing to do. Beyond that, I really do think the pro success of Heisman winners and college basketball's MVPs is eerily similar.
One of the fastest rising players in the Class of 2020 appears to have caught the attention of the Kansas basketball program.
Dajuan Harris, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Columbia’s Rock Bridge High, revealed Tuesday on Twitter that he had received a scholarship offer from Kansas.
Harris, a 3-star prospect in the Class of 2020, initially had been committed to Missouri State but, according to Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi, recently received his release from Missouri State and has reopened his recruitment.
Ranked No. 136 in the 2020 class, Harris is the type of player that Bossi said “could have been a potential player of the year in the Missouri Valley (Conference).”
“The guy is just a leader. He wins a lot of games and makes everyone around him better,” Bossi wrote.
In addition to the uncertainty surrounding where Harris might wind up, there also is some uncertainty about when.
After initially committing to Missouri State as a member of the Class of 2019, Harris changed gears and reclassified into the 2020 class, according to what his high school coach, Dana Ford, told the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader back in May.
That move leaves the door open for Harris, who graduated from Rock Bridge this spring after helping lead the school to the Class 5 Missouri state title last winter, to sign in the next couple of months and play college basketball in the 2019-20 season or attend prep school for a year and arrive on a college campus in time for the 2020-21 season.
Rivals.com’s bio for Harris has him listed as a prospect from Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, a basketball powerhouse that fields a post-graduate team each year.
Regardless of the when and the where, both Bossi and KUsports.com recruiting insider Matt Scott believe big things are in store for Harris in the near future.
“Shools are just figuring out that Harris has gotten his release from Missouri State,” Bossi wrote last week. “Expect high-major offers to flood in during July.
Added Scott of Harris’ game: “He’s the closest thing you’ll see today to a true point guard. He can completely control a game without scoring a ton of points. He’s good. He’s just not someone who’s going to be ranked all that high because he isn’t a flashy scorer.”
Harris currently is in Georgia with MOKAN Elite, playing in the EYBL’s annual summer Peach Jam AAU event.
Since he rejoined the MOKAN roster after decommitting from Missouri State, Harris and company have not lost a game.
That streak continued on Wednesday, when MOKAN knocked off Mean Streets (Ill.), 80-62. Harris played 27 minutes and finished with 4 points, 7 assists and 2 steals while shooting 2-of-4 from the floor. Among the game’s highlights were this steal and flush from Harris.
Ten former Jayhawks are now just two weeks away from returning to the court in crimson and blue.
Self Made, a 10-man team put together by former KU guard Elijah Johnson for a run at the $2 million prize in this year’s edition of The Tournament, is putting the final touches on their plans for the big event.
Johnson, who graduated from KU following the 2012-13 season, has said that the team will host a training camp of sorts in Lawrence before heading down to Wichita later this month.
But the 10 Jayhawks who will be vying to bring the title home — Johnson, Tyshawn Taylor, Travis Releford, Mario Little, Landen Lucas, Perry Ellis, Kevin Young, Jeremy Case, Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur — now know their schedule for the road to Chicago.
Each team that advances out of the eight regional sites will travel to Chicago for the final three rounds, slated for the first week of August. According to the TBT website, the prize for winning the Wichita regional is nearly $60,000.
The full bracket, along with information on tickets, can be found at thetournament.com and the website is even offering a bracket challenge for fans.
Self Made, a 3 seed in the Wichita region — the No. 9 overall seed — will open the event at 6 p.m. July 25 against No. 6 seed Sideline Cancer.
A win there would put the former Jayhawks into a 3 p.m. matchup with the winner of the 2-7 game between AfterShocks (Wichita State) and Iowa United on July 27.
The regional championship game is slated for 3 p.m. on July 28. All games will be played at Koch Arena and will be broadcast on ESPN.
“ESPN took a chance on TBT by streaming our first ever championship game in 2014 and we’ve been with them ever since,” said Jon Mugar, founder and CEO of TBT, in a news release announcing this year’s bracket. “It’s hard to believe we’ve gone from 2 hours streaming in 2014 to all TBT games available on the ESPN App and 48 hours on linear TV in 2019. It’s a testament to their commitment to the event and how our relationship has grown.”
Self Made this week also got a look at its uniforms for the event. Sponsored by Puma, the jerseys are blue with the words “Self Made” written in white and outlined in red across the chest.
Taylor, the former KU point guard who played with Johnson and helped lead the Jayhawks to the 2012 national title game, recently said the formation of an all-KU team in the event has added to the fun.
“This will be my fourth time playing,” Taylor said. “So I’ve been in it a couple of times, and for guys in my situation, overseas guys who come home for a couple of months in the summer of just one-on-one training with your trainer, I think it’s good.
“For me, it’s great because I’m playing basketball, playing pickup in high school gyms with high school kids and college kids all summer anyway. So, I mean, make it for $2 million and sign me up.”
It’s been a little more than a month since Kansas freshman Devon Dotson made the big announcement that he was returning to KU for his sophomore season.
And given just how massive that news is for the 2019-20 Kansas basketball program, it’s worth celebrating it the way junior high kids in relationships tend to celebrate their anniversaries — by the week, to the day or even on the hour would all be acceptable.
That’s how important Dotson’s return is for the Jayhawks, and one need look no further than one key stat from his freshman season to see that in crystal clear fashion.
Not counting Dotson — or Aaron Miles, who KU coach Bill Self inherited — there have been eight other players who have consistently played point guard for Self during his time at Kansas. And not one of them, as a freshman, even came close to playing the kind of minutes that Dotson did during the 2018-19 season.
Former KU great Tyshawn Taylor, a true freshman during the 2008-09 season (on a loaded team, no less), came the closest. But even he was 240 minutes shy of matching Dotson’s total of 1,168 minutes a season ago.
Using Dotson’s 2018-19 average of 32.4 minutes per game, that’s a gap of bigger than seven games.
Put in even more mind-blowing terms, Dotson played more minutes at the point during his freshman season than soon-to-be-All-Americans Frank Mason III (565) and Devonte’ Graham (517) played during theirs combined.
Here’s one more: The average number of minutes played by a freshman point guard at Kansas in the Self era is 536, with Taylor (928) and Sherron Collins (847) on the high end and Naadir Tharpe (175) and Elijah Johnson (151) on the low end.
Granted, the makeup of each roster had a lot to do with Dotson’s load and the lighter work handled by his predecessors. And, in Graham’s case, the mere presence of Mason in the class ahead of him, limited his early opportunities.
But, still. No Self-era point guards played anywhere close to the kind of role that Dotson played a season ago, a fact that merely adds to the excitement surrounding Dotson’s immediate future.
“It helps a lot, me coming in and coach believing in me and sticking with me,” Dotson recently said of the heavy workload he received as a freshman. “It helps a lot going into this year. I know what to expect, I know what it takes to win out there at a high level and I’m ready.”
I initially limited this glance to KU freshmen because that’s exactly what Dotson was a season ago. But as I kept pounding away at the keys, one thought kept creeping into my mind. Forget freshmen PGs, how many point guards period during the Self era at Kansas played those kinds of minutes for the Jayhawks?
The answer? Five players, eight times, including one during each of the previous four seasons, when Frank Mason’s minutes went up from 1,207 to 1,272 to 1,301 during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, and Devonte’ Graham played a whopping 1,474 minutes during his stellar senior campaign.
Part of those totals have to do with games played, though. Remember, Mason’s last two seasons ended in the Elite Eight and Graham, in his lone season as KU’s only point guard, reached the Final Four.
If Dotson’s Jayhawks had played even just two more games, his total minutes for his freshman season — factoring in his average minutes per game — would have reached 1,233 and been the fifth most by a Bill Self point guard in the last 16 seasons at Kansas.
Dotson’s case is interesting because of the era in which we live. Fans across all sports constantly want to say this player is the next so and so or that player is on pace to be this guy. And while the comparisons can be fun and often are a good way to track a player’s progress, they’re not always a case of comparing apples to apples.
Take Dotson for instance. If he were to stay at Kansas for four seasons like Graham and Mason did he would be a near lock to wind up on their level. But with the smart money being on Dotson turning pro after the upcoming season, it’s hard to know if Dotson, at Kansas, will ever produce like Mason and Graham did before him. Age, maturity, experience and opportunity all played a huge role in those two becoming All-Americans.
Is Dotson ahead of where those two were as freshmen and sophomores? It sure seems like it. And the numbers certainly back that up. But how much of that is talent and how much of that is opportunity and timing?
First on the team in assists, steals and games played and seven minutes shy of tying for the team lead in minutes played, — as a true freshman, remember — Dotson inherited a monster role from Minute 1 and only saw it gain importance as his freshman season went on.
The same should be true in Year 2, and maybe then it will be easier to start stacking up Dotson against some of KU’s all-time greats.
For now, all that matters is the fact that Dotson is the best point guard on this Kansas roster and one of the best in college basketball, both of which figure to be key factors in what the Jayhawks hope will be a memorable 2019-20 season.
Here’s a quick look at the ranking of minutes played per season by the Jayhawks' primary point guard in each of Bill Self's 16 seasons at Kansas:
1 – Devonte’ Graham, 2017-18 – 1,474 (39 games)
2 – Tyshawn Taylor, 2011-12 – 1,303 (39 games)
3 – Frank Mason III, 2016-17 – 1,301 (36 games)
4 – Frank Mason III, 2015-16 – 1,272 (38 games)
5 – Sherron Collins, 2008-09 – 1,229 (35 games)
6 – Frank Mason III, 2014-15 – 1,207 (36 games)
7 – Sherron Collins, 2009-10 – 1,187 (36 games)
8 – Devon Dotson, 2018-19 – 1,168x (36 games)
9 – Elijah Johnson, 2012-13 – 1,146 (37 games)
10 – Aaron Miles, 2003-04 – 1,117 (32 games)
11 – Russell Robinson, 2007-08 – 1,100 (40 games)
12 – Russell Robinson, 2006-07 – 1,046 (37 games)
13 – Naadir Tharpe, 2013-14 – 1,001 (34 games)
14 – Aaron Miles, 2004-05 – 992 (30 games)
15 – Tyshawn Taylor, 2010-11 – 977 (36 games)
16 – Russell Robinson, 2005-06 – 910 (32 games)
x = freshman
Former Kansas Jayhawk Svi Mykhailiuk is at it again out in Las Vegas.
After shining with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Summer League squad in 2018, Mykhailiuk found a similar groove with his new team, the Detroit Pistons, over the weekend.
Showing steady feel and rising confidence, Mykhailiuk proved to be one of the Pistons’ main offensive weapons over the weekend.
In the opener, a 96-80 exhibition-type victory over Croatia, Mykhailiuk tallied 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting and also dished five assists while playing as one of Detroit’s primary ball handlers, able, asked and willing to turn the corner and make plays for others. He hit 2 of 6 from 3-point range and also was hit with six turnovers.
In Game 2, a 93-73 Detroit win over Portland, the man who hit the biggest shot of KU’s Elite Eight win over Duke back in 2018 made his second straight start, scoring 18 points and dishing four assists in six fewer minutes. He hit 4 of 10 from 3-point range in that game and trimmed his turnovers down to two.
“Offensively, he’s done a really good job of making decisions, making good plays,” Pistons assistant coach Sean Sweeney told The Detroit Free Press. “Defensively, I’ve been pretty pleased with his ball pressure. He’s getting down in his stance and competing.”
That first part could be the most crucial, given the potential the coaching staff sees for Mykhailiuk with the Pistons.
Back in March, shortly after landing with the franchise via trade, Detroit News beat writer Rod Beard Tweeted that Pistons coach Dwayne Casey said Mykhailiuk’s future fit with the franchise could come at point guard.
Asked recently by the Free Press what worked last summer and what he planned to do this summer, Mykhailiuk said simply, “I was just playing. It just happened to be good games. Just work hard and don't think about what you’re doing on the court. Just play.”
Svi and the Pistons will look to move to 3-0 at 4 p.m. Monday against Indiana.
Here’s a quick look back at how a few other former Jayhawks fared in Summer League action over the weekend.
• In a battle of former teammates, Devonte’ Graham’s Charlotte Hornets topped Dedric Lawson and the Golden State Warriors, 93-85, in the Summer League opener for both clubs. Graham, who started and played 27 minutes, finished with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Lawson, in 10 minutes, matched Graham’s steal total and finished with 2 points and 3 rebounds.
Graham followed up his solid debut with a rough 3-of-13 performance in a loss to San Antonio on Sunday for eight points in 26 minutes. Lawson, meanwhile, grabbed two more steals and scored five points in 15 minutes during Golden State’s bounce-back win over Toronto.
• Frank Mason III, who recently was waived by Sacramento but retained on the Kings’ Summer League roster to allow him to audition for other teams, did not play in the Kings’ Vegas opener.
• After a strong showing of shot making last week in Salt Lake City, shooting guard Malik Newman did not play in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Vegas opener and then started during Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bulls. In 23 minutes, Newman finished with five points, three rebounds and three assists and hit two of nine shots from the floor.
• Attempting to find a spot on an NBA roster after two stints overseas, Thomas Robinson’s run in Vegas is off to a slow start. After putting up better numbers in big minutes last week in Salt Lake City, Robinson scored two points in nine minutes in the Spurs’ opener and did not play in Sunday’s win over Graham’s Hornets.
• Cliff Alexander, who’s also trying to find his way back into the league, scored 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 shooting at the free throw line for the Los Angeles Clippers in a win over the Lakers. LeBron and Anthony Davis versus Kawhi and Paul George it was not, but Alexander added four rebounds in 15 minutes in the Clippers’ Summer League opener.
• Former KU center Jeff Withey started for the Washington Wizards in their Summer League opener, playing 12 minutes and recording three points and a block in a win over New Orleans. Rookie and reigning No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson did not play in the game.
• Former KU big man Landen Lucas did not play in the Atlanta Hawks opener and added one point and three rebounds in eight minutes off the bench in a 24-point Atlanta loss to Minnesota on Sunday.
• Lagerald Vick (Houston) and Andrew White III (New York Knicks) did not appear in the box scores of those teams last weekend. And former Jayhawk and Kansas native Conner Frankamp, who finished his career at Wichita State, received a pair of DNPs (Did Not Play) with the Los Angeles Lakers.