Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thanks for sharing: Jeff Withey, Travis Releford co-award winners

Jeff Withey, left, and Travis Releford flank Kansas basketball coach Bill Self as they were named co-winners of the Danny Manning Award at the annual KU basketball banquet Monday, April 15,2013, at the Holiday Inn.

Jeff Withey, left, and Travis Releford flank Kansas basketball coach Bill Self as they were named co-winners of the Danny Manning Award at the annual KU basketball banquet Monday, April 15,2013, at the Holiday Inn.



Jeff Withey, left, and Travis Releford flank Kansas basketball coach Bill Self as they were named co-winners of the Danny Manning Award at the annual KU basketball banquet Monday, April 15,2013, at the Holiday Inn.


Jennifer Fisher, Miss Kansas 1998, gets an autograph from KU basketball coach Bill Self at the annual KU basketball banquet Monday, April 15,2013, at the Holiday Inn.


Marni Mills, of De Soto, left, poses with Ben McLemore for a photo during the KU basketball banquet on Monday, April 15, 2013, at the Holiday Inn.

Kansas University seniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey were named co-winners of the Danny Manning/Mr. Jayhawk Award for contributions on and off the court at Monday’s basketball banquet at the Holidome.

“Travis is an absolute stud — unselfish, an unbelievable competitor. He’s our rock,” KU coach Bill Self said. “Jeff is KU’s all-time leading shot-blocker, which tells you he is the best defender in the history of the school.

“Over the course of their careers, those guys have graduated and done everything they’ve been asked to do and made sacrifices. I think you could make a case for a couple more, but I think it was pretty much a no-brainer that they deserved it,” Self added of the only award distributed at the banquet, attended by more than 600 fans.

Withey, a 7-footer from San Diego, said: “It’s an honor, a cool award. It’s really nice I get to share it with ‘Trav.’ He definitely deserves it.”

Releford, 6-6 from Kansas City, in his speech thanked his teammates saying, “You made my last year a time to remember.”

Withey picks Wasserman: Withey, who is expected to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft, has signed with agent Darren Matsubara of Wasserman Media Group.

“It’s different. You see the business aspect of the game. I’m trying to get ready for the next level. I’ve started training,” said Withey, who would like to go from 225 pounds to about 240. “I’m going to be moving to L.A. soon to start working out with the agency. I definitely feel blessed right now.”

Johnson selects ASM: KU senior Elijah Johnson has signed with agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports. Johnson competed at last week’s Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational for NBA prospects, where his team defeated KU teammate Releford’s squad in the finals.

“It was real fun. We talked it up,” Johnson said. “We had a couple smart comments, not anything too risky as far as risking our relationship. We were just out there having fun.

“It was something we weren’t expecting. We had crowds, a bunch of good athletes out there,” added Johnson, who is projected as a possible second-rounder or free agent. “It was kind of a showcase. My team ended up winning it, so I had a little more fun than everybody else. It was definitely a good experience.”

Self said he heard Johnson and Releford, who also could be taken in the second round, both played well.

“I’ve had several NBA people ask me, ‘Can he be Bruce Bowen? Can he be this or be that?” Self said of Releford. “I think he’s played himself in a position where hopefully he’ll have an opportunity. All our seniors will play professionally somewhere. It’ll be nice if they at least get an opportunity in the States first.”

Self on next year’s team: “Last year (at banquet), I think we were kind of concerned: ‘Where are we gonna go? Gosh dang we lose a lot of guys,’” Self said. He noted the same thing was said in several other years during KU’s stretch of nine-straight conference titles. “The story line is, we are not going anywhere. We’ve got a great group of incoming kids coming in and kids in our program who will give their heart and soul to this place who will be very good players. Anything less than celebrating a marvelous season next year would be a disappointment because I think we have a chance to be great again.”

Updated rankings: updated its rankings of high school seniors on Monday. KU’s Wayne Selden moved to No. 12 (from 26); Joel Embiid to No. 25 (from 37); Brannen Greene to No. 29 (from 25); Conner Frankamp to No. 34 (from 31); and Frank Mason to No 76 (from 134).

Self’s jokes: Self on Johnson, who starred in KU’s overtime win at Iowa State. “Talk about Elijah’s 39 points. ... It was great, but the last two almost got my (bleep) whipped after the game,” Self said, referring to an ISU fan getting in his face on the way to the locker room ... Self on freshman Rio Adams, who is transferring to a yet-to-be-determined school. “If you ever want to get caught up on social media now that Tyshawn (Taylor) is not here, here’s the guy,” he cracked of Adams, who complained about playing time on Twitter during the season.

Tragedy addressed: The tragic events at the Boston Marathon were referenced by former KU player Wayne Simien, who offered the opening prayer, as well as emcee Bob Davis and Self.

“This is a somber day from what has taken place elsewhere, but it should be a very happy day to honor these young men who represented all of us the past four or five years,” Self said. “This team maximized their abilities and played to their ceiling about as well as any team that I have ever had in my 20 years of being a head coach.”


Dan Pawlowski 9 years, 5 months ago

Good luck to all of our Seniors and Ben. You deserve the best of everything.

jhox 9 years, 5 months ago

You took the words right out of my mouth, kD. Now we can all rest a little easier that Frank is number 76. While he's the same kid he was yesterday, he's obviously a much better player now that he has a top 100 ranking. I bet the guys who he plays pick up ball with can't with can't wait to see how better he looks today than he did a couple of days ago, when he was outside of the top 100.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

Exactly .. "New Rank Frank."

A couple of days ago, I posted that with Adams leaving, either Mason or Frankamp will certainly be in the rotation -- for one reason: ball handling.

Assuming Selden does not have D-1 ball handling skills, Self will have to include either Mason or Frankamp in his rotation, backing up Tharpe.

Mason is now ranked #76 .. one spot higher than Tyshawn Taylor was (#77). And Taylor started as a freshman.

Jabez Harlan 9 years, 5 months ago

Selden may not be the best ball handler but he handles the ball better than EJ, Releford, and McLemore combined!

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't know about that .. D-1 speed and pressure is vastly different than anything these guys have experienced. You might be surprised how good of a ball handler EJ actually is. However, when faced with D-1 pressure, it makes him a below average point guard when it comes to ball handling. Remember, too, handling the ball as a 2 is much different as well.

I'll be very surprised if Selden .. billed as a 2 or even a 3 .. arrives with the ball handling skills necessary to be an adequate ball handler at the 1. We were very susceptible to pressure this season. I doubt Self will want that to occur again. We'll see.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

Not sure I would go nearly as high as BigHawkBill but watching his videos shows him to be an outstanding passer. I think Selden could, if needed, play at every position except the 5th spot. I think he will excel playing at either the 2 or the 3. A deep three threat who can also drive to the basket. If all works out with White, Greene and Connor we can really open up the paint and frustrate the best defenses we will be up against.

ParisHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

A few years ago, some board rats were saying that KU signees always drop in the rankings. What matters is not where they signed, but how they play (and how much they play) in front of the rankers.

Eliott Reeder 9 years, 5 months ago

Ben McLemore was ranked #34 overall by Rivals, and the 13th best shooting guard via Scout...

Jabez Harlan 9 years, 5 months ago

He also spent a year in the weight room and practicing with a college team before he played a single game.

His mix tapes on youtube from high school were impressive but he looked slow and awkward at times. His play on the court this year was much improved from what he was in high school and KU (Hudy) played a big role in that.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

Kool .. see my post below. The rankings are a guide. There are exceptions. They ain't perfect. But they are a very good guide. Actually, an excellent guide.

For every player 100-150 that clearly exceeds his ranking, you have 8 or 9 others that don't -- see Robin Smith's analysis here before last season. Appx. 13% exceed their rankings who were ranked 100-150.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

trojanhawk - I feel your pain, but it's the same all over the country.

If I had a nickel for every time Calipari said " I'm really gonna miss those OAD's - whoever they were....."

Displayhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

"Some bodies have a limit no matter how you eat and train." ........ At least until you turn 40 Mr. Withey! Ha!

trustyourSelf 9 years, 5 months ago

I'm surprised at how much of a leap Mason made in the ratings- this is the first I've heard of any great improvement by him. Good for us!

Adam Tyler 9 years, 5 months ago

Congrats to Withey and Releford, you both deserve the honor.

Frank Mason, holy *$#@ thats a crazy jump in rankings! This recruiting class keeps looking better and better.

Cap it off Wiggins. Rock Chalk!

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 5 months ago

Withey and Releford as co-winners is the perfect ending to their playing days at KU. As far as the player rankings, I don't understand how Frankamp dropped 3 places; he just finished a great season, broke the Wichita scoring record, just won the 3 point contest, and last summer he led the U17 team to the Gold Medal at the FIBA World Championship. If anything, he should have moved up a few spots.
Joel Embiid has ben selected for the Nike Hoop Summit - USA & World Team Rosters; he will be playing for the World team along with Andrew Wiggings (Canada). The 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, which will be played on April 20 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore., features America's top, senior high-school players versus a World Select Team featuring many of the world's best players age 19-years-old or younger.

jhox 9 years, 5 months ago

Frankamp wasn't picked for the McDonalds or Jordan Brand all star games so he lost some of his credibility with the rating agencies (never mind that he definitely should have been invited.) How do they keep the leading scorer from the 17 and under national team off of either of those rosters?

Let's face it, a kid in Wichita or Ottawa, KS are not going to get the respect of a kid coming out of Chicago, NY or Houston. It just goes to show how random a lot of these rating agencies rankings are.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 5 months ago

Possibly the way Ellis preformed the first 80% of the season had something to do about it? Ellis' unpreparedness to perform on an elite D-1 level early reflected badly on the current competitivenss of Wichita HS BB.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

Ellis is certainly not someone I'm in any way concerned for. You could really see him stepping up in confidence and performance. Before Ellis leaves KU, I really believe that he will have played a major role in winning a NCAA championship..

Ellis is a star in progress and after college will be a solid NBA player.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

9 out of 10 times I would agree but Connor was playing a lot on the international scene.

Gold Medals: 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship, 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.

Member of the 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team that compiled an 8-0 record en route to earning the FIBA U17 World Championship gold medal in Kaunas, Lithuania; averaged a team-high 14.1 ppg., while adding 2.5 rpg. and 2.4 apg.

Also: Conner Frankamp wins 3-pt contest, Julius Randle wins dunk contest at Under Armour Elite 24.

Frankamp, the 6-0, 155-pound Kansas native, was the favorite coming into the competition and shot with the confidence to match.

I'm really surprised that he didn't move up further than he did. So I guess we will have to settle with being the #34-ranked player. #34... Doesn't that sound familiar?

Andy Godwin 9 years, 5 months ago

I knew there was something about Embiid's ability to block shots, he too was a volleyball player. Served Jeff well. Hopefully Embiid will not take as long to make an impact as Withey.

"Embiid will play college basketball at the University of Kansas next season, having signed a National Letter of Intent in November 2012. A soccer and volleyball player in his native Cameroon, Embiid played basketball for the first time at the start of 2011, and his first organized game late that year after moving to the United States. Having been spotted at a basketball camp in Africa by former Montverde Academy alumnus and current NBA player Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Embiid attended Montverde in Florida, before transferring to The Rock School in Gainesville."

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if Embiid's Hs transcripts will cause any issues at the NCAA clearinghouse. How does the NCAA handle international students. McLemore's transcripts were an issue because he went to HS in St Louis, in Virginia, and in Houston. But Embiid went to HS in Africa, and two schools in Florida...

DanR 9 years, 5 months ago

Great, another 7 footer volleyball player--alert the press!

I'm trying to figure out an angle the announcers can use for the soccer... proficiency in flopping to the floor and writhing around in agony before jumping up and continuing play as if nothing happened?

bayareajhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Hakeem Olajuwon's great footwork was always credited to his being a soccer goalie as a youth. Steve Nash (and many other little foreign point guards) attack defenses more like a soccer midfielder than a traditional point guard. Soccer has already given a lot to basketball.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

????? Withey played volleyball ? Who knew?

KULA 9 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations Jeff and Travis, and all our guys who are leaving. Your Kansas careers were too short and you will all be missed!

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 5 months ago

I will miss them too. Travis was here forever...5 years : ) Doesn't he get AARP now? All kidding aside, I loved Travis' heart and leadership!

Phil Leister 9 years, 5 months ago

Call me crazy, but I'll take this recruiting class over what Kentucky has. Most, if not all, of our guys will be at KU multiple years, not simply using us as a stepping stone to the league. Plus, I anticipate keeping all those All Americans happy with playing time and points will be no easy task. This is a prototypical Bill Self recruiting class, and I couldn't be happier.

But of course, I'd still welcome Wiggins with open arms!

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 5 months ago

I completely agree, although the Randal and Walker misses sting. The Harrison twins will be poison for that group. Johnson should decommit asap.

Preston Dwiggins 9 years, 5 months ago

It's not all about getting the top 5 out of 10. We have Perry and Naadir coming back with valuable minutes or experience under their belt. To me, that is unmatched. Yes, Calipari has prepared a good meal, but I think Bill's will taste better and leave less indigestion. KY has too many cooks in the kitchen to stick with the food theme. We all know basketball is about chemistry and it takes special superstars to share the stage and make it happen. Anthony Davis was beyond his years and made it happen. He's a once in 20 year player. I like our chances, especially if we can land one more recruit...say Wiggins :)

RJ King 9 years, 5 months ago

Kentucky is the spectacular presentation of the $$$$ small plate entree plus a trendy wine at a 3-star Michelin rated big city restaurant. Breathtaking and uber-cool, and leaves room for an extravagant $$$$ dessert, and $$$$ after-dinner drink.

Kansas teams are more like BBQ, or an amazing pot roast accompanied by a great wine that's an old standby. Takes longer to cook - but as the ingredients begin to blend, the aroma whets the appetite and fills the senses. Satisfying and worth the wait.

RJ King 9 years, 5 months ago

You (trutho) and Brock missed the point. HO didn't say UK isn't the best in recruiting. He said he'd take our recruiting class over what Kentucky has. Big difference.

I would too - because I enjoy the "college flavor," and am willing to sacrifice a few games (and yes NC's) to fall in love with that. Yeah, sometimes love bites, but I just won't become infatuated with an All Star team for one or two years..

Phil Leister 9 years, 5 months ago

Of course KY has higher rated players. But look, all those guys are stars and they know it, and they'll want to score points. But only 3 or 4 will be able to average double figures. You don't think a couple McDonalds All Americans are gonna be p*ssed that they averaging 3 a game? Keeping those kids happy will be a tough, tough job. On paper, that team should go undefeated. But the game isn't played on paper.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 5 months ago

Keeping all those egos in check will be a tall order at Kentucky. When the superstars don't get the playing time promised (there are only so many minutes); the Twitter post will come hot and Rio times many.
UCLA and Kentucky had the top two classes last year and see how that worked out for them. Having the top ranked class does not always translates to success on the court; chemistry and entitlement can be killers and will result in losing to Bobby MO in the first round of the NIT. Another trip by UK to the NIT, and the squid loses his job and the one-and-done model is seriously undermined.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

I knew that winning the 3 pt shooting contest would hurt Frankamp's ranking.....

Timmay97 9 years, 5 months ago

Not that rankings are the "end all" but doesn't this instill more confidence in Bill Self's recruiting techniques? I have the feeling that Frank Mason, more than any other Jayhawk in the past, is going to come in and shock the Jayhawk faithful. Call me crazy, but I think this kid is going to be GREAT!

Sherron Collins proved that you can't knock size. How tall is Trey Burke?

Feeling really good about next year.

REHawk 9 years, 5 months ago

WIthey and Releford, a pair of very deserving 5-year seniors. Congratulations, guys. Now if we can just get beyond the one-and-done situation with all the incoming players. If Wiggins should sign, we know he will be aboard only one year, barring injury. But if all others adapt well to the system, and stay, we are two years away from a decent opportunity for a national title. 2013-14 should be an exciting rollercoaster ride. Wily Bill yet likely to add a steadying piece or two.

otaKU 9 years, 5 months ago

If memory serves me correct Bill Self mentioned something in the past about Frank Mason being undervalued. Although I am really looking forward to seeing Selden & Frankamp I am also interested to see what kind of talent Mason brings. Someone above mentioned Trey Burke's height....if Mason turned into a Trey Burke for us...Wow!

joeloveshawks 9 years, 5 months ago

You simply never know with rankings. The chance of Mason being the next Burke are slim but oddly he is now ranked higher than Burke was coming out if high school...just food for thought.

otaKU 9 years, 5 months ago

I meant to post this under my previous post. Sorry..

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

I truly don't understand the "# beside the name" in this day and age with recruiting rankings. I love how people were so down on Frank Mason when he was like #131 or #134 and now that he's moved up to #76 in the rivals rankings...he's all of a sudden worthy to don the Crimson and Blue? It's garbage IMO.

This is what I know about Frank Mason. He's a "True Point" and KU hasn't had one in a while. Tharpe is a "True Point", but when you see Frank Mason's handles you'll quickly see the difference between the two. Mason's "Handles" will rival that of Sherron Collins.

I am excited about Frank Mason. I really truly believe that there are a number of great potential college PG's out there that aren't ranked in the Top 25 and I believe Frank Mason will be one of the them.

Here's the the thing, it's hard to turn a shooting/combo guard into a PG. It's easy to keep a "True Point" with a good basketball IQ at point guard and then surround that guy with Elite Players. I really believe that's the direction that Self is going with his recruiting strategies in this day and age when it comes to PG's.

Self was the innovator with the "Combo Guards" back 10 years everybody is doing it and trying to succeed at it. IMO, you find a good/great college PG like Frank Mason who will be here 3 or 4 years potentially and then surround that guy with the Elite Top 50 talent and then watch everybody around him flourish. Trey Burke model is pretty damn good one IMO.

Adonis Jordan has always been one of my all-time favorites. He was short, not quick, had an ugly stroke, but he worked on his shot, got quicker, had great handles, knocked down open perimeter shots, got his teammates involved...and he went to 2 Final 4's in his career because of it. And...Jordan didn't play much his Freshman year because he was behind Kevin Pritchard.

I think Frank Mason is going to be a stud.

otaKU 9 years, 5 months ago

Adonis Jordan...definitely one my all-time favorites.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

BigManU .. I will unequivocally say that if in the final rivals 100, a player is outside of the top 100, he is presumed unworthy of playing at KU unless Self has targeted him over other higher ranked players.

With Mason, it's well documented that he was at least our 6th choice, maybe as low as 8th choice, for that "point guard" scholarship.

On the other hand, Self targeted Zach Peters early and perhaps ahead of higher ranked players for an available scholarship. Lower ranked guy, but not a guy we got because of multiple other misses (see Jamari Traylor).

My position .. just mine, not the gospel .. is that a guy outside of the top 100 can come in a be worthy of starting at some point. I just don't think at Kansas, we have to do that. Further, I just haven't seen a non-top 100 player yet that's worthy of starting (except maybe Reed).

And the truth is, I think this class is exactly what we should expect in a 5 man class .. 4 top 50s, and the other at least top 100. Terrific.

DanR 9 years, 5 months ago

Selby #1... Craft #111, same class.

KansasComet 9 years, 5 months ago

I think it is the coaches responsibility to go and actually watch these young men play the game of basketball and put their own "rankings" on them. Players that are outside of the top 100 can play (see Van Vleet, WSU). Players deserve coaches that will teach them, and believe in them. Successful teams in the this year's tournament gave freshmen a chance to play and believed in them.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

Pointing out Craft proves and means nothing. That was not the point. But it helps prove my point -- Craft is an exception. Burke is an exception. How hard is that to understand? I said "presumed unworthy".

Or, perhaps the year Selby came out we should have targeted Jershon Cobb, T.J. Taylor, Isaiah Epps, Mardracus Wade, Brandon Peters, Jordin Mayes, Joe Harris, Chrishawn Hopkins, or Daryl Traynham? All guards outside the top 100. For every Craft or Burke, there's 8 or 9 that prove my point.

And tell me this .. would Selby have been better in 2012-13 if he would have stayed, or would Craft be the better player? I'd bet Selby.

That goes to my position I've posted many times .. only target OADs when there is a specific need to fill. Randle was a perfect example. Wiggins is not. Self is better with non-OADs, I believe -- at least not ones that assume that coming in.

And KansasComet .. coaches do watch them. Miraculously, the coaches tend to target players with much the same priority as rivals ranks them. "Some" players outside the top 100 can play. But your chances of getting a terrific talent is much more high by targeting top 50 guys.

KansasComet 9 years, 5 months ago

It is their responsibility to watch the players to see if they fit the program. Coaches construct their own lists, use their own scouts and cheat off each others homework, just like in everyday life. Coaches offer to the best available players that fit their program. Coaches also offer to players that they can develop and hopefully get 3-4 years of their services.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

What I would like to know is the process that Rivals uses in determining that # next to the players name. If you or anyone else knows how this is done, I would be very interested.

I believe Ben was ranked by rivals nationally at #34 and 8th at his position. Now he seems to be a top-five lock in the upcoming draft. Personally, I thought the rankings are a useful tool and are accurate enough that the top 25 will receive more attention than the 2nd 25 and so on. But the final analysis is the head coach. HCBS spent a lot of time recruiting Ben and it certainly paid off.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 5 months ago

My favorite (one, that is) was Cedric Hunter.

jhox 9 years, 5 months ago

BMU, you're right. There is a difference with a true point guard. Any guard worth a darn can go to their weak hand for 3 or 4 dribbles. What I like to look for is a guy who is comfortable going full speed with his off hand the length of the court, with a defender on his hip. That's what seperates the men from the boys, not the ability to cross over and do a few dribbles. Last season we didn't have anyone comfortable at going the length of the floor with their off hand and defender on their hip. I agree, Mason appears to be that guy. He also seems to be fearless once he gets into the paint. He's going to play a lot next year. Tharpe will start early, but he better elevate his game because Mason is going to be nipping at his heels.

741hawk 9 years, 5 months ago

There won't be much more info forthcoming until Zenger has a press conference and provides details . . . but we do know that the track is coming out, the horseshoe will be demolished and the filed lowered. (My nightly prayer since 1985)

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 5 months ago

Not only that, why demolish the horse shoe? Worse than that is that stupid arm chair fiasco in the south end zone.

Here are my thoughts: move the monsterboard on top of the horseshoe, (no view from there anyway), and reopen the hill. Or, completely close it in and have a bowl.

wrwlumpy 9 years, 5 months ago

Maybe all that info would be on the football section of this blog. Click on it at the top. should we quit talking about basketball on this blog?

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Congratulations all you seniors for sticking it out. You will always have these memories with you. And the beat goes on for next years team. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

It is really comical how jhox (above) supposedly has better insight on how these players should be ranked than the guys at rivals. jhox, posting here on this message board, knows better than rivals. He knows that Frankamp should be ranked higher. He's studied Frankamp in comparison to those guards and players ranked ahead of him. Those d*mn ratings services, they're just "random." They don't exhaustively research these guys, they don't have completed details on their skills and abilities, they don't attend high school and AAU games, they don't talk to high school coaches and college coaches -- it's just random.

It's a conspiracy. That's why Frankamp isn't rated higher.

jhox's logic is so misguided, I wonder if he even looked at where the kids ranked ahead of Ojeleye and Frankamp were from. What you'll find is that the demographics are just as diverse in front of them, as behind them. I can't believe that Derrick Walton, a guard from Detroit, is actually rated three spots behind Frankamp.

There are folks that find it easier to simply dispel the player rankings than to actual understand and appreciate them for what they are -- the best guide we have for impact and success in college. Not perfection. The best guide.

Did Mason, moving from the 130s to the 70s change him as a player? No. Of course not. But as we get to the final rankings, his ranking will be the best indicator of his impact and college success that there is available. The simple fact that he's in the 70s demonstrates that his chances of success are greater than if he's in the 130s.

Individuals can exceed or fail to achieve their rankings. Happens all the time, but more rarely as they are lower ranked. But from a general analysis, big picture, the rankings are very accurate.

Look at the transfers from Kansas -- not a top 50 player among them. Giles, Galindo, Thomas, Lindsay, Doyle, Adams, Appleton. Look at KU's success -- dominated by Top 50 players: Rush, Chalmers, Collins, Aldrich, Kaun, Marcus, Markieff, Arthur, Henry, TRob, RRob, Withey, EJ. All played to or exceeded their ranking except probably Kaun and EJ, and maybe RRob. Non Top 50s - Jackson, Taylor, Reed, Morningstar, KY (Reed played a bit better than his ranking, Morningstar exceeded his, but Jackson and Taylor did not exceed their rankings, really, until their senior seasons; KY it was as a senior that he truly exceeded his ranking). Selby did not play to his ranking, but the sample size was one mess of a season.

And if Mason is Burke, we'd all have a very merry Christmas. How about this .. if all of our guys play to their rankings, we're a top title contender. That's how to measure recruiting.

Steve Kubler 9 years, 5 months ago

I find Mason's moving up the ranking further proof that HCBS and the rest of KU's scouts have a good eye for talent. Of course the teams success over the past decade is proof enough but I like the fact they saw something they liked and went for it regardless of the popular belief of that players skills.

I agree that the rankings are a great tool, but there are many kids out there that don't get the spotlight early in high school to gain much attention. Some kids mature later and only begin to show their skills their senior year, if then. I've mentioned before a local kid that mostly sat the bench in HS then totally dominated in D2 and would have made a fine D1 player. Those late bloomers are hard to find if in a small school or playing against other non-ranked players.

I am glad we have a coaching staff that pays attention to more than the current stars and appear to look for those late developing or unnoticed players. Not all of them are going to work out but as of now it appears that we scored two of them for next year. Both Mason and Embiid were undervalued when KU started courting them. If they work out as current rankings suggest they will go a long way towards making next season and hopefully those following a success.

I love to watch a true point guard in action and have been excited about Mason since day one.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

Kubie .. of course, you do know that Self wanted and offered at least 6 other "point guards" ahead of Mason, and did not accept Mason until after all had either committed elsewhere or dropped KU from contention?

His "eye for talent" was focused on Harrison, Barber, Jackson, Hill, Jones, and Jordan before settling for Mason. Doesn't mean Mason can't be good; it's just how it went down.

Kip_McSmithers 9 years, 5 months ago

You might add in there that Barber's offer was rumored to have been pulled after the bad press. If Self didn't offer all of those guys you would have been on this site complaining that he didn't offer them and saying that this is KU and we should go after the best. Well he did, missed on them, and went to the next best option. Next year Self should have you recruit for him so he can avoid this.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

Kip .. my point is that Self's recruiting efforts usually square with the rankings. But in the event they don't, and there are guys he target early but aren't ranked highly, I'm fine with that -- Zach Peters as an example. There are multiple top guys we aren't in the game on. That's how it is.

But also, we can't say that Self has an eye for talent when he gets his 7th choice, right? If Self chose Mason over those guys, then you'd have something.

Kip_McSmithers 9 years, 5 months ago

Anyone else ever think that maybe ZP was a pawn to get JR?

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

At what point in a player's career do they exceed expectations? How do you define that? Is it it year one? Is it year 2? Is it year 3? Is it year 4? Is it their 5th year red-shirt year?

I mean, did Jeff Withey not exceed his expectations until he was 22 and 23 years old?

Every player's situation is going to be different and their time table for success is going to be different.

How did Tyshawn Taylor not exceed expectations based on his ranking? He was the #77 recruit coming out of high school and started at Kansas from Day 1.

How did EJ exeed expectations? EJ was a major disappointment throughout his career at Kansas based on his #25 ranking.

I am not understanding your logic HEM. You seem to be fixated on this "Top 100" as the all be all to your evaluations.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

1] I did not say EJ exceed expectations; I specifically said he didn't.

2] TT did not play beyond his ranking until the last half of his senior season. He was not elite in any regard until then. He may have started, but his play was pretty well square with the #77 player.

3] It is hard to say "when" on exceeding expectations. That's why Selby is a tough call. The anti-rankings folks want to say he was a disaster. For one season, yes. But we don't know. Withey did not really exceed expectations until this past season. Just my opinion. He was at top 50 player (#36). The "when" is difficult without full four year players. I'd say that Marcus Morris is a perfect example of dead-on squaring with expectations. Appx. 35th ranked player, developed over three years into a first round draft pick.

4] I use 100 as it is easy to delineate. Not perfect. I look at the players that Self targets. All top 100. Most top 50. Top 50 is really my key zone for quality. But it's hard to get all top 50. It's not hard for KU to get all top 100. Most every time we get a non top 100, it's because of major recruiting misses. No one can really dispute Self's focus on top 50 players, then top 100, then fallbacks like Traylor, Anderson, Lindsay, Doyle, Lucas, KY.

JayDocMD 9 years, 5 months ago

The only exception I can think of to your "not a top 50" transfer list is Micah Downs - ranked 28th by Rivals

DanR 9 years, 5 months ago

David Padgett was ranked #7 and Giddens was ranked #19. Not really sure what the point was anyway regarding the outward transfers.

JayDocMD 9 years, 5 months ago

Good call. Forgot about Padgett (understandable, right?) Although Giddens was asked to leave and not really a transfer in that sense.

DanR 9 years, 5 months ago

According to some people, all the transfers were nudged out.

DanR 9 years, 5 months ago

Just curious, HEM. Do you know how Rivals actually makes their rankings?

jgkojak 9 years, 5 months ago

Is its just me or does Bill Self not look healthy?

All season he has looked pasty, especially in the face.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 5 months ago

Lasy year, 2011-12 he stated that he was having some laser treatment for keratomas, which can become carcinomas is some cases, but I've not heard anything for quite some time on that subject.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 5 months ago

Looks to me as if he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 5 months ago

Maybe he's just cursed with a very pale complexion.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 5 months ago

No Doubt HCBS & staff will coach up whomever they bring in. Might even take 5 yrs to reach the level of their predecessors. Maybe not as quickly as when Danny was here, but for most of them, take it to the bank. As for Travis & Jeff being co-winners of this prestigious award, they both were as integral as the other in this squad's success for sure. No doubt both will have long & substantive careers in pro ball & make an excellent living for their families. That in itself gives me great pride and contentment for them going forward. The most difficult thing there is in life, is to carry that lunch pail back & forth every day, and to try & scratch out a decent standard of living for your children. Especially since the economy is not nearly what it was 10 yrs back, & quite frankly, may not be as stable for another 10 yrs. Most places pay half the salaries they did when we were putting our kids through school, yet those costs have not reversed as compenstions. Both have graduated from a great program & have the skillsets to accomplish great things no matter the path they choose. This is not only about sports & the gratification that comes from it to any of us or the athletes, this is about the futures of quality individuals and their abilities & willingness to choose their own roads to travel. We as fans owe them a great deal of admiration, celebration, and gratitude. Good luck young men, for jobs extremely well done.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 5 months ago

Does anybody remember the talent gap between the 1992 Dream Team and the rest of the world? Since that time the rest of the world including the youth here in the States has caught up. That talent gap between the "Top 100" and everybody else has shrunk considerably over the last 20 years since the Dream Team took the world by storm.

I do believe that there is still a decent gap (Not a major gap) between the Top 10 or Top 15 guys in a given class, but I think the best of the rest has caught up considerably and I am talking #25 all the way down to #200.

If you have a "System" like Bill Self does, IMO, you don't necessarily need a Top 15 or Top 25 PG for your system to succeed. It certainly would be nice if you're looking to hang "Recruiting Banners", but IMO it's about molding the pieces together to get the right fit and mixing role players and Elite Talent together.

I think it's easier to have a nice heady PG (Aaron Craft) and get your higher ranked recruits to fill in around that PG. That's just my opinion though. I think rankings to some degree are blown out of proportion these days especially since Bill Self is utilizing the "Red-Shirt" more and more.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 5 months ago

BMU .. how do you actually locate and determine that Craft is the guy that will exceed expectations, when assessing him against the other point guards? If that answer was easy, Craft would simply be ranked higher, right?

Woody Cragg 9 years, 5 months ago

New avatar pic of the Navy Global Hawk drone. This one has recently returned from the war zone with over 250 successful combat missions-HOOYAH!

idahawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Right.....I can see it now....."Wiggins leads Nebraska to the NCAA Championship!"

Oh, and Nebraska starts its own network to showcase Wiggins talent for 6 months.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 5 months ago

New avatar pic of the Navy Global Hawk drone. This one has recently returned from the war zone with over 250 successful combat missions-HOOYAH!

US Navy Global Hawk

US Navy Global Hawk by globaljaybird

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 5 months ago

The end of manned combat missions is getting closer. I think the next generation of fighter jets will not have a pilot other than a controller who could be thousands of miles away. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F-22 Raptor (the best manned fighter ever built) will be the final generation and the end of an American dominated period of aerial combat.

Personally, I think the further we get away from actually pulling the trigger (and seeing the consequences) will in the end not be a positive step towards peace.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 5 months ago

Everything is going into space. Space based platforms can locate and shoot down anything in the sky, even drones. Actually, it's even deep than's all about computers. Defeat the enemy's computer system and you defeat them. Why to you think the Chinese Army continuosly conducts so many hacking attackes..... Brave new world indeed.

idahawk 9 years, 5 months ago

If everyone plays to his ranking, Kentucky would be playing the Miami Heat for the NBA Championship next year.

jay381 9 years, 5 months ago

Off Topic but I am waiting for a repairman and caught this little statement on the Rivals site posted this morning:

Self set to meet with Andrew Wiggins

I do not subscribe to this service however; I am glad we are still meeting with him. Based on what I have observed of his play at both the McDonald's and the Jordan game he would sure be one boost to the team next year. With Embiid, Selden coming in and Ellis returning next year sure could be a lot of fun with Wiggins in the mix.

Shay Wildeboor

Bill Self is scheduled to meet with Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 ranked player in the 2013 class, next week. For a complete update, come inside.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a membe

JayHok 9 years, 5 months ago

Self ended his speech by asking the fans if the Sweet Sixteen satisfied them. They answered no, and Self turned to the players seated behind him. He asked again, and the fans responded more loudly.

“We’ve got four more games to win, don’t we?” he said. “It’s going to be a great off-season. We’re not satisfied in the least. In fact we're so pi$$ed, I've decided to schedule an emergency meeting with Andrew Wiggins next week."

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

Besides his basketball skills, Jo Jo will bring much material for lively chatter to this site.

1] How do you pronounce his name again??

2] Oh, he's a volleyball player??

3] Is he a KU "Footer" or a Jaybate "Footer"??

4] Please warn him never to call his school "Kansas University"!!

5] He's from that country that makes those delicious cookies, you know, macaroons!!

6] Let's guess at how tall he will be at Late Night...I'll guess 7'-1 1/2 "!!

7] Let the nickname contest begin....The Cameroon Jameroon!!

Woody Cragg 9 years, 5 months ago

I repectfully submit that we already have retired the moniker Jo Jo. Plus, as per the Funk N' Wagnalls, he also played for the Celtics.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 5 months ago

More to add:

Is it true that his favorite former NBA player is Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon? (It is.)

Did Jo Jo look like Hakeem in his red uniform and head band? (He did.)

Is it true that he blocked J. Randle's shot so hard that Randle fell down? (Yes.)

What is his favorite subject? (Math)

Most importantly, does he have a Twitter account? (yes he does)

idahawk 9 years, 5 months ago

" The Cameroon Jameroon"

This gets my vote....or Cam Jam for short.

spenc1324 9 years, 5 months ago

Well deserved for both of these young men. All these seniors have worked hard to put them in the position to make a career out of basketball. I hope they continue to work hard and see all of them in the league. Thank you for all that you have done with your time in Kansas I wish you all the best of luck. It was definitely a fun ride we all support you 100% these really were great kids that thanks to self and the coaching staff are on there way to being great men. THANK YOU!! you will be missed

KemDooKU 9 years, 5 months ago

Wiggins was seen at a Walmart buying a UK jersey and a UK hat - but when questioned he said he was leaning towards Nebraska!!!

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Did he put the hat and jersey on Calipari's credit card?

Margaret Schadler 9 years, 5 months ago

I'll miss this team. They were exciting, frustrating, even bewildering, but never dull. Consistency did not enter into their description as a team, a most surprising absence for a senior heavy 5!

Good thing baseball is here bc it's a long time 'til the Phog rocks again.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Good thing the grass is starting to grow so I'll have something to watch besides baseball.

TysonHawk37 9 years, 5 months ago

Just saw this and thought I'd share. I have mixed feelings about whether Wiggins comes to KU or not. Will the team be better in the '14-15 season if he's not here next year? Obviously, we'd be better with him next year but not likely a National Title contender (IMHO). But I believe in 2 years, we very well could be.

Phil Leister 9 years, 5 months ago

What? With Wiggins next year, we're one of THE top title contenders other than Kentucky.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 5 months ago

Michigan was the youngest team in the tournament, so youth is no excuse. We have size, speed, ballhandling, discipline, and Coach Self. Kansas will be a team you want to see on the other side of the bracket.

Hawk8086 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree with your statements about what we have for next year, but Michigan also had Trey Burke.

702Hawk 9 years, 5 months ago

What do people know of this Hunter Mickelson from Arkansas. He is 6-10 and 245. I kind of like a guy who has spent 2 years learning defense from Mike Anderson and would get a practice year in before hitting the court. We have the scholarships.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 5 months ago

Did he leave the school? For what reasons?

702Hawk 9 years, 5 months ago

He and his dad are asking for a release tomorrow. According to ESPN he was recruited by the previous coach and doesn't care for the playing style.

Its hard to imagine a 245 pound guy not liking the 40 minutes of hell playing style. It also sounds like he wants to play for a team that play through their bigs more. Shoot if he doesn't come to KU I hope he goes to Tulsa so Danny can get him into the NBA.

Joe Baker 9 years, 5 months ago

Ok now after seeing Wiggins twitter page and piecing together some legitimate comments, folks KU chances are now 50/50. Bullock just declared and if Mac declares, KU's chances will l be almost certain. Don't think FLSt will give him a championship season and UK is too loaded. I was skeptical until now. Tis kid is meeting with Self and just may be making his choice. He is pissed at the rumors of FLSt and sick of Randle. He says Randle never shuts up. Lets hope Mac with UNC declares folks.

Joe Baker 9 years, 5 months ago

McAdoo is staying. This is going to be interesting. Some believe it's down to UNC and KU. All I have to tell Wigs is, Self is 3-0 against Roy in major post season games too.

KemDooKU 9 years, 5 months ago

+1. Sounds good but I can't get over the fact that Wiggins will go #1 overall in next years NBA draft if he went to UMKC this year he may not care about UK loaded group and fighting for playing time - he knows its one year and he wants a championship - KU with him could win but UK with him may give him the best shot - but March Madness has seen a lot of crazy things/games - and Coach Cal had a loaded class last year and NIT so the chemistry better be right at UK because if its a little off well then CC has shown that the wheels can fall off pretty fast

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