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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jayhawks regroup, refocus after transfer of playmaker Keena Mays

Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson motions to her team against IUPUI on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson motions to her team against IUPUI on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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It has been more than a week since Kansas University’s women’s basketball team has played, and when the Jayhawks return to action at 7 tonight at Allen Fieldhouse, their lineup will have a very different look.

When KU (8-1) plays host to UMKC (6-4), it will be without sophomore guard Keena Mays, who announced Dec. 9 she was transferring out of the program.

In eight games for the Jayhawks (she didn’t play in the season opener), Mays averaged 11 points and three rebounds, and shot 33-for-59 (56 percent), while cashing in 10 of her 24 three-pointers (42 percent). The dynamic 5-foot-7 guard out of Arlington, Texas, scored the deciding basket in a 74-73 Kansas win at Wake Forest on Nov. 20, posted a career-high 21 points Dec. 4 at Alabama (an 80-76 loss) and earned her first start of the season Dec. 8 against Wisconsin. In what proved to be her final game as a Jayhawk, Mays produced 17 points in a 73-44 rout.

The next dat at 9 a.m., KU coach Bonnie Henrickson said, Mays and her father, Ken, were in the coach’s office to tell Henrickson she was leaving Kansas.

Henrickson characterized Mays’ decision as “a surprise to all of us,” noting her teammates had no idea about the “disappointing” move.

The eighth-year KU coach found the timing of it all puzzling, because Henrickson thought Mays had started to “figure it out” in the past month or so, noting that Mays shot the ball well from three-point range and was a playmaker when handling the ball or playing point guard.

Still, the coach downplayed the impact Mays’ departure will have on the team’s overall effectiveness on the floor.

“We’ve been able to rely upon her for two games,” Henrickson said, referring to the Jayhawks’ previous two outings, when Mays averaged 19 points. “She’s been really good for two games. That’s the honest truth. That’s from a consistency standpoint.”

Tania Jackson, a KU sophomore forward, said Mays had a big impact and the team will miss her.

“We’ve just got to focus on getting better and filling in that hole,” Jackson said, adding that each player will need to chip in to make the team better.

Junior point guard and team captain Angel Goodrich said the Jayhawks needed to remain positive with the loss of Mays.

“We just need to stay together,” she said.

Goodrich said Kansas has players in the backcourt who can step up and fill the void left by Mays, and her coach agreed. Henrickson said freshman guards Donielle Breaux and Asia Boyd, as well as sophomore CeCe Harper, who is slated to start against UMKC, now have an opportunity to make more of an impact.

Most importantly, Henrickson added, she wants the rest of the Jayhawks to keep doing what they have been doing. The consistency of junior forward Carolyn Davis (15.9 points, 4.8 rebounds), senior forward Aishah Sutherland (13.6 points, 9.4 boards) and Goodrich (12 points, 7.8 assists, 4.2 steals), she said, would help as much as anything.

Henrickson said she did not know where Mays plans to transfer, but stated in a release announcing the move that it would be “closer to home.”

Hill playing in hometown

UMKC sophomore center Ashli Hill, a Free State High product, is scheduled to start against KU in tonight’s game at Allen Fieldhouse.

Comments

Don Perry 10 years, 6 months ago

Ok, new AD, here is your next hire! Time for Bonnie to go. She is ruining the recruiting base in TX having lost two very good players from the Dallas-Ft.Worth area during this calendar year. And, this will not be the last transfer from this current team. I know women's basketball doesn't get much attention outside of Duke or UConn, but how long will the administration accept sub .500 records and the decline of the KU sports image in a hot recruiting area?

no_fan 10 years, 6 months ago

Do not put hope in Dr. Zenger. When a coach denies a athlete's request for transfer the AD has the power to approve or disapprove the coach's decision. With HCBH denying Keena's transfer she must have his support. NCAA gives these coaches and Universities too much power over athletes. dwphawk60, you are correct if it was a "playmaker" from the men's team what would happen? If it is not a good fit for a athlete let them go and wish them good luck.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 6 months ago

Where in the article did it mention that HCBH was denying the transfer? Was that stated in a different source?

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you, no_fan. What kind of player do you think you'd have if you refused to let them transfer? I think exactly the same thing would (and should) happen with a men's basketball player. You'd end up with a bad attitude player that would sour the whole team and probably spend the rest of their career on the bench.

big12ku 10 years, 6 months ago

Uh, Benton is it? I see in the article where you talked to HCBH about Keena's departure but where are the quotes from Keena Mays and her family. Whatever happened to responsible journalism where the media gets both sides of a story? I will agree with you though in that HCBH is downplaying Keena's effectiveness on the team. Let's look at her stats in the 8 games she played in (earning one start) and compare them to one of the players that has started all games played since the season started:

PittState Points Assists Steals Reb Minutes Knight 0 1 1 2 18
Mays 6 2 1 2 21

Creighton Points Assists Steals Reb Minutes Knight 2 3 2 1 28 Mays 9 0 2 5 19

Wake Forest Points Assists Steals Reb Minutes Knight 2 2 3 2 23 Mays 8 0 0 2 24

Lamar Points Assists Steals Reb Minutes Knight 9 5 1 3 16 Mays 14 2 0 4 14

IUPI Points Assists Steals Reb Minutes Knight 9 0 3 0 25 Mays 10 1 1 3 14

Florida Atl Points Assists Steals Reb Minutes Knight 7 4 1 3 34 Mays 5 1 0 3 6

SMU Points Assists Steals Reb Minutes Knight 4 1 0 6 30 Mays 4 4 1 2 14

Alabama Points Assists Steals Reb Minutes Knight 0 1 0 1 26 Mays 21 2 0 1 28

Wisconsin Points Assists Steals Reb Minutes Knight 2 2 0 1 25 *Mays 17 1 0 4 27

*First start of season

I could be wrong but 'm pretty sure this kid leaving this team is gonna hurt more than HCBH will let on. However, it does give other players an opportunity to step up and contribute. Let's see what this team is really made of. If any one of the kids Bonnie named in her article are successful then the next question will be why weren't they playing all along?

Bonnie picks and chooses what she wants to report and makes stuff up on the fly. Are you as tired of it as the fans are Dr. Zenger? Bonnie you're wasting your talents coaching. With all the double talk you do you're more suited running for political office.

no_fan 10 years, 6 months ago

oldalum, I believe you misread my post. I was saying NCAA should not give Universities or Coaches the right to deny a athlete's request to transfer. Exactly, what you said it would not be good for the team or player to be held back. If a athlete is unhappy for whatever reasons release them. In this case Keena is not on the team nor is able to speak to other schools. NCAA rules state a athlete will not be able to move on athletic wise for a year without the prior school's release. NCAA cannot physically deny a athlete to transfer to another school the parents would be financially obligated to pay for that student for a year.

big12ku you hit it on the head. HCBH is not going to admit to the media that she did not release Keena. That would draw negative media attention to KU.

TheGiftedOne 10 years, 6 months ago

Is it not clear? Lack of playing time, didn't have the starting job when she clearly deserved it, and probly a little homesick. It was pretty clear to me from the beginning that Keena Mays was not happy at Kansas. She did not hide her feelings if you know anything about body language. She was just another highly talented player that Bonnie drove to unhappiness. It is on the player to stay motivated but it is also on the coach to keep the players motivated. It just goes to show how talented Keena is when she can go through the motions and still score 19. She reminded me alot of Allen Iverson no joke. Sad sad day for KU athletics.

BewareOfThePhogOnTheWater 10 years, 6 months ago

Notice no mention of Monica Engleman. Is she the next to transfer? That would be a loss, too. Bonnie gets irritated or down on a player for what appears to be no apparent reason, and they become ineffective, disgruntled and transfer. The bleeding needs to stop.

BewareOfThePhogOnTheWater 10 years, 6 months ago

Notice no mention of Monica Engleman. Is she the next to transfer? That would be a loss, too. Bonnie gets irritated or down on a player for what appears to be no apparent reason, and they become ineffective, disgruntled and transfer. The bleeding needs to stop.

no_fan 10 years, 6 months ago

Let us break this down by using some comments beginning with HCBH.

“Keena expressed to me her wish to move closer to home,” said Henrickson. “She is doing what she believes is in her best interest.” What kind of Coach and AD would deny a athlete not to transfer closer to their family and give them the opportunity to watch her play? Displays lack of character.

dwphawk60 says: "She is ruining the recruiting base in TX having lost two very good players from the Dallas-Ft.Worth area during this calendar year." This is very true. Keena is a very well known and respected athlete throughout Texas. Texas is very well aware of her transferring and is waiting on her announcement for her next athletic move. Of course, she cannot do that because she has not been released by HCBH & Dr. Zenger. High School & AAU Coaches talk. This is a very large world but when it come to the bball circuit it becomes very small and news spread fast on how KU treat their athletes.

big12ku says: Uh, Benton is it? I see in the article where you talked to HCBH about Keena's departure but where are the quotes from Keena Mays and her family. Whatever happened to responsible journalism where the media gets both sides of a story? Why is it that all the articles we are reading only comes from HCBH? Could something else come out besides wanting to be closer to family? Next article ask HCBH if Keena Mays release papers has been signed?

Again, I say when athletes want to transfer let them go and wish them luck. Two thumbs down to KU and the athletic department.

JR87Jayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I have just started paying attention to the Womens basketball team this year. I do not understand the hostility towards Bonnie. I have watched two games this year and they appear to be well coached (and won both games).

Keena Mays was/is a good player and just moved into a starting spot. It is her choice to transfer - to get closer to home...I am sure Bonnie would like her to stay.

The comparison with N. Knight is a little tilted. The game needs role players and from what I can tell, Knight is doing a great job and is always in position. (as a freshman)

I watched A. Boyd and she will be a great player once she understands the system and understands that she doesn't have to shoot every time she touches that ball. Team effort - not individuals.

What am I missing? 9-1 and looking good so far......

Carter Patterson 10 years, 6 months ago

Just her overall record. We seem to get teased every year with our non-con record just to have our tail handed to us in conference play.

big12ku 10 years, 6 months ago

What are you missing? Information. Through your own admission you indicated that you "just started paying attention to the Womens basketball team this year and that you have watched two games" so far. HCBH has been at the helm of this program for the last eight years and the team just played game no. 12. And although they are 12-1 at the moment don't be fooled by their record as everyone knows Bonnie's nonconference schedule is full of fluff. I invite you to do your research so that you can make an informed decision about this coach. As far as Natalie Knight I was trying to show Keena May's importance on the team and in no way was I trying to downplay Knight's abilities. I agree with you that A. Boyd has the ability to be a great player but her development will no doubt be hindered under HCBH's system. She looked good the few minutes she played last night.

jayhawker_97 10 years, 6 months ago

trust me, there's more than just a simply 'RTT', there's been 'friction' between May & Bonnie. read between the lines. follow May's tweets, maybe there's 1 or 2 hints. good luck to May and of course, coach Bonnie, as always.

rock chalk!!

big12ku 10 years, 6 months ago

Oooooohh. Since I don't tweet, do tell.

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