Monday, April 29, 2013

Extra weight hindered transfer Hunter Mickelson

Arkansas' Hunter Mickelson (21) looks to pass the ball with Arizona State's Jordan Bachynski (13) defending during the first half of agame at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational tournament on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Las Vegas.

Arkansas' Hunter Mickelson (21) looks to pass the ball with Arizona State's Jordan Bachynski (13) defending during the first half of agame at the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational tournament on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Las Vegas.


Packing on the pounds is generally considered a good thing for a lanky, 6-foot-10 college basketball big man.

Not so — at least so far — in the case of future Kansas University power forward Hunter Mickelson, who apparently lost some effectiveness after going from about 220 pounds to 245 his freshman to sophomore season at the University of Arkansas.

“He was a little lighter his freshman year,” Doc Harper, writer for Sporting Life Arkansas, said in a phone interview with the Journal-World. “I remember one game clearly. He was playing against Vanderbilt, caught a pass down low against a player bigger than him, spun around and dunked it. The past year, especially in the conference (SEC) season, he didn’t do that.

“Some people said he gained some weight trying to be a better post player. It hampered his athleticism. He was not as effective.”

Mickelson last week announced plans to transfer to KU. He’ll practice next season but not play in games then have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He averaged 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds a game his sophomore season after averaging 5.2 ppg and 3.7 boards his freshman campaign.

“He broke the freshman shot-block record at Arkansas set in 1988 by Oliver Miller (72). They put 25 pounds on him, (and) it slowed him down,” said Mickelson’s dad, Darien, estimating Hunter’s current weight at 235 pounds.

“When he was a freshman, he was an elite shot-blocker,” Doc Harper said. “This past year, a lot of people say that after the weight gain, (he) was not as explosive, couldn’t get up as quickly, get over as quickly (in blocking just 39 shots).”

Mickelson, who is known as a big man who can stretch the defense, likely will need to improve his aggressiveness in the paint. That often happens once a player enters the program of KU strength-and-conditioning guru Andrea Hudy, known for getting post players such as Cole Aldrich, Markieff Morris, Jeff Withey and others at the optimal playing weight for their body types and skill sets.

“He became a good free-throw shooter,” said Harper, “but he didn’t get to the line very much (hitting 16 of 20 free throws last season). He’s not the most assertive, aggressive player. His jump shot is a line drive, not the prettiest shot. It is effective at times. He has a decent 10- to 15-foot jumper from the wing. At times it’s been good, but inconsistent.”

Mickelson hit 77 of 161 shots a year ago for 47.8 percent. He missed six of seven three-point tries, thus his percentage on two-pointers was 49.4.

“For whatever reason, he never became comfortable. He had a lot of hype out of high school,” Harper noted of the Jonesboro Westside grad who was ranked 100th nationally by “As a freshman, the fans loved him. This year, the fans were frustrated. He wasn’t becoming what everybody thought he’d become.

“Especially at the end of the year (after losing starting spot in lineup 10 of the last 11 games), when he tried to drive a lot of times, he turned the ball over, not drawing fouls, not blocking shots, not rebounding. Everybody seemed to like him. Everybody hopes he does well. Nobody I know ever had anything bad to say about him personally.”

Harper has not given up on Mickelson.

“I’m interested in seeing what happens (at KU). A lot of people think he does have talent and maybe the style of play was not a good fit (at Arkansas),” Harper said. “They (Jayhawks) have a reputation of developing big men, and he could flourish in a system where according to him he’ll be able to face the basket more and a lot of people think he can do well. I do think there’s talent there, more talent than showed this year.”

Frantic finale: ESPN’s Dave Telep reports that KU coach Bill Self was mighty busy Wednesday, the last day in the spring coaches could enter the homes of recruits. Telep said Self visited Kelly Oubre, a 6-5 junior from Bush High in Richmond, Texas, who is ranked No. 27 nationally by; Justise Winslow, 6-5 junior from St. John’s High in Houston who is ranked No. 10; and University of Memphis junior Tarik Black, 6-9, who is considering KU, Duke and others.


jayhawkinnc 9 years, 5 months ago

"Paging Coach Hudy......Coach Andrea Hudy. You are needed in the aerobics room to get Hunter Mickelson into shape!"

At least she has a whole year to get him in the right condition.

Scott MacWilliams 9 years, 5 months ago

I like the looks of this kid. He's shown some potential, isn't a head case, and doesn't seem to have any illusions about what will be expected of him at KU.

He's not so much a project, building from the ground up, but more like a slight remodel. A year in the KU system with the benefits that accrue for those willing to work it, I think we'll be in good shape with Hunter.

I'm betting he's got pretty much the same work ethic as another kid from Arkansas, TJ Whatley. Whatley managed to turn a walkon career into an engineering degree, if I recall correctly. The second coming of TJ?? We shall see...

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't know that T.J. was 100th ranked (btw - I think higher ranked in ESPN's rankings....Heck, I think he was close to the 60's in their final round of rankings that H.S. Sr. year for him) And T.J. was a walk-on.

T.J. was a success story in that he was a walk-on that ACTUALLY contributed akin to Christian Moody & C.B. McGrath. Moody probably the best walk-on I can ever remember us having.

Michael Sillman 9 years, 5 months ago

It sounds like the same thing happened to Mickelson that messed up Eric Chenowith. During his freshman year, Chenowith could run the floor and actually jump a little bit.

After he gained weight for his sophomore year, Chenowith became a lumbering lug. I have always felt that he should have stayed skinny.

Hopefully, as the article says, Hudy can find the optimal weight for Mickelson.

ccarp 9 years, 5 months ago

Chenowith did stay skinny. He just got out of shape following DMB for the summer he was picked as a PB all American. I think it was lack of conditioning and arrogance that held back the 7 footer. I was in school and rooting for Chenowith at the time. I don't think Coach Self or Hudy will tolerate complacency. Mickelson may be a project, but I like his chances! Rock Chalk!

Phil Leister 9 years, 5 months ago

I blame the Arkansas strength team entirely. 6-10, 225 is small, and there's absolutely no reason packing on 20 pounds should hinder his performance and slow him down if it's the right kind of weight. Hudy will straighten him out. Sounds to me like his weight gain wasn't muscle, just mass.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 5 months ago

So - supposedly we have 2 left even looking forward to the '14 / '15 season.

I'll reiterate what I've said SEVERAL times.

The ideal twosome in my opinion that IS seemingly realistic is Justise Winslow ( a LOT like Selden and a VERY SIMILAR ranking as well at this point) and Josh Perkins.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 5 months ago

This article tells me the kid was not working hard enough on his game to adapt to the extra weight gain.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 5 months ago

Do you remember what the extra weight did to Withey?

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

Not that I want to get into a "Brady Morningstar-Like" debate, but I just need to express my opinion that Christian Moody was NOT the greatest walk-on in KU history.

He made one sensational pass play [by accident if you ask me] on ESPN's Big Monday on national televison in a Kansas victory that began this urban legend.

Yes, CM was a great guy and worked his butt off on an under-manned KU squad, but he was consistently over-whelmed by greater talent and at the point where he could have legitimately cemented his legend forever, he missed two free throws at the end of regulation against those bastards in Columbia, thus sending us to an eventual overtime loss.

I just feel that Moody did the best he could with what he had like many walk-ons but using the term ' greatest' just doesn't feel right to me.. I am sure I am in the minority on this topic but I do appreciate the opportunity to express my opinion.

Posted in all Sincerity and Respect with absolutely no Malice intended.

milehighhawk 9 years, 5 months ago

If Moody, who started for KU, was not the best, please name the KU walk-on who was better.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

Christian started out of desperation, but how about that guy that helped Danny Manning and Kansas win a National Championship, you know, the football player...Normore [SP???], comes to mind immediately. Wasn't he a walk-on?

Maybe I'll just surrender and say, sure, why not.......the greatest walk-on ever is kind of an aximoron anyway.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 5 months ago

Chris Barnthouse. Barney combined with Ken Koenigs for something like 40 points on 18 for 20 shooting. KK had 38 for the night.

Eliott Reeder 9 years, 5 months ago

For reference' sake. And no, it wasn't an accident. At the very least, Moody made one of the best passes by a walk-on ever... ;)

Scott Smetana 9 years, 5 months ago

Great post, thanks for the link. I remember he was the recipient of one of the best half court bounce passes I've seen at Colorado. I also sadly remember how he bricked 2 free throws with no time on the clock at Mizzery. I can't remember a better walk-on.

Robert Brock 9 years, 5 months ago

Bulk does not imply strength. Adding bulk does not necessarily help footwork (see Cheno). Michelson has a lot to learn and he is going to be helped exponentially by working with Andrea Hudy. It's going to be fun to observe his development.

dylans 9 years, 5 months ago

Mike Anderson's system isn't big friendly. Mickleson looks like he just added mass not strenghth. Both of these things will be changed the next time Mickelson hits the court. So how good can he be?

Tony Bandle 9 years, 5 months ago

Mass not strength??......AAHH, so that's what I did wrong!!!

Phil Leister 9 years, 5 months ago

no, oakville's post about walk-ons wins that award.

KJD 9 years, 5 months ago

Off topic for the article though way on topic for Kansas Basketball this week:

Kirk Hinrich is the man!! 60 minutes in one game. Bulls beat Nets. At least he had 3 minutes of rest during the 3 OT game.

Kirk would have to be on an all KU roster of 13 men, have to be. If I got to make up a starting roster of KU all time greats, Kirk starts at the 2. He has point-guard skills where he started in 2001, played small forward on the 2002 Final Four team–Pierce will stretch the D with his 3 plus Kirk can shoot it from downtown just fine (he beat #1 Arizona from behind the arc in the Elite 8 2003 game) –and Kirk is the defensive stopper on any team against anyone (he shut down Dwayne Wade cold in the 2003 Final Four game in a rout).

Kirk's #10 hangs in Allen Fieldhouse, "I don't know if there's a greater honor in basketball than to have your jersey hanging in the most historic basketball building in the world. It's an unbelievable honor." He ranks 10th on the all-time career scoring list. His scoring output on the 2003 national runner-up team ranks 14th on the all-time single season scoring list. He had 15 games in 2003 where he scored over 20 points and that ties him for 6th on the all time list for single season in that category. His 2002 season for that Final Four team ranks 33rd for best single season scoring.

His 2003 season ranks 4th on the all-time list for 3 pointers made, his 2001 season ranks 1st for 3-point FG percentage, and his 2002 3-point FG percentage ranks 4th. He ranks behind Jeff Boschee and Billy Thomas on the all-time list for most 3-pointers made and ranks 4th for all-time field goal percentage.

In 2002 Kirk went 10-10 from the stripe against Kansas State which is only eclipsed by Rex Walters who went 11-11 against Oklahoma. Kirk ranks 5th all-time for free throw percentage.

In 2001 when he played point guard he had six 10 assist games which ties him for fifth all time for a single season, he had 229 assist overall that year which ranks 7th all-time and his average per game in 2001 ranks 5th all-time. Kirk Hinrich is 4th all-time in career assists.

Kirk ranks 6th all-time in steals, 5th all-time in games played, 8th in career starts, 5th in most minutes played in a season (2003), and 3rd in most minutes in a career.

These are only some of the reasons why Kirk Hinrich is my favorite Jayhawk ever!

KJD 9 years, 5 months ago

Now that all of this Kirk Hinrich goodness is re-animated in my mind and I once again find it soooooo easy, at least for me, to put 4 starters on the floor, I'm once again confronted with the embarrassment of riches that KU has at the Point Guard position:

1 G: ????? 2 G: Hinrich 3 G / Wing / Small Forward: Pierce PF: Manning C: Wilt

Boy it sucks to be a Center at KU. Dreiling, Ostertag, Pollard, Collison, Kaun/Jackson (two headed monster, beware!), Aldrich, Kief, Withey. I'll take Collison as the back-up from here until (?). Oh yeah, there is a guy named Clyde Lovellette too on the list.

So, Chalmers could be slotted into the 2 and I would never argue with a true Blue KU fan for going that way yet I will never be persuaded. That goes for Bud Stallworth too you Hippies. And Chalmers is one of my favorites ever. You could put Chalmers at the point though Robinson was the point and he was damn good. The list off the top of my head for point guards (and this is totally based off of my years of being alive so you old codgers chime in–if you are even on KUSports instead of fertilizing your wife's garden):

  • Cedric Hunter (the first KU PG genius I've seen with my own eyeballs)
  • Kevin Pritchard (he's a champ, he's a pro, he's also smart enough to be an NBA GM)
  • Adonis Jordan (Two Final Fours and Roy Williams will tell you that his commitment to KU during the 1989 transition year was huge to the program, plus the dude could ball)
  • Jacque Vaughn (How did KU lose to Syracuse in the 1996 Elite 8, how?!?!)
  • Aaron Miles (Sorry Ryan Robertson, it's a tough list you know...and Jeff Boschee did well in proving he was a dominant shooting 2 after playing point his Freshman, and I think Sophomore, year...If you are looking for a shooter off the bench I think of Ron Kellogg, Terry Brown and Jeff Boschee for the Steve Kerr role...oh yes, a tid bit about Miles, perhaps the best assist man in KU history. The man made Vaughn look like a poor man's Arron miles with the bounce pass)
  • Russell Robinson (Champion...bling, bling, look at his ring)
  • Sherron'a'Con Collins (after you say Sherron it's hard to put anyone else after that in this category. Do you put TO prone T. Taylor in the spot? No. I don't think anyone will be calling for Reed or Johnson either though both are solid Jayhawks. It's a tough category.)
  • From what I understand, Jo Jo White and Darnell Valentine were pretty good. Pre 80's is too abstract for me to even say anything, except for Wilt Chambelin who appears to be very awsome from every clip I 've seen and that includes Conan the Barbarian–he even makes the Goven'ator look small.

Also, if I re-post all of this some day during Basketball season when the Rat's are not out frollicking in the garden, don't blame ME, this NEEDS feedback.

KJD 9 years, 5 months ago

Correction: Wilt was in "Conan the Destroyer", an entirely superior film.

DanR 9 years, 5 months ago

It's not the weight, it's the humidity.

Joseph Kuebel 9 years, 5 months ago

"As the late great Colonel Saunders said, I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights

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