Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Self: OSU coach’s Wiggins joke ‘not a big deal’

Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford reacts to an official's call in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart (33) is at right.

Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford reacts to an official's call in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart (33) is at right.


Oklahoma State basketball coach Travis Ford’s comments concerning the hype surrounding Kansas University freshman Andrew Wiggins have made their way from Stillwater to Jayhawk Nation.

Posters on various KU bulletin boards have responded negatively to Ford’s saying: “Kansas is still the favorite. Wiggins is, from what I understand, the best player to ever play. I’ve seen him play and he’s really good. They’re still the No. 1 team and should be. They’ve got tons of talent, they’ve got depth, they’ve got the best player to ever play at Kansas and that’s a pretty good deal.”

The Oklahoman, which printed Ford’s quotes, indicated he was “having some fun,” regarding all the hoopla over Wiggins, who is expected to be No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

KU coach Bill Self on Wednesday told the Journal-World that Ford’s quotes were “not a big deal.”

“Travis has a terrific team returning and I’m sure he’s excited about their season,” Self said Wednesday. “I think his comments ... I didn’t read them as being derogatory toward Andrew. I just read them as a failed attempt to be humorous.”

Wiggins, who has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and USA Today, on Tuesday was named’s top-rated player in all of college basketball. OSU’s Marcus Smart was second of the 100 players listed by the website.

“Andrew has done absolutely nothing to draw any attention to himself,” Self said of the 6-foot-8 guard from Ontario, Canada. “I’m so impressed with how he’s handling the media attention. We all are. He doesn’t enjoy the attention at all and certainly doesn’t bring any of it on himself.”

Smart’s decision revisited: OSU sophomore Smart recently was voted preseason player of the year by the Big 12 coaches. In all, OSU returns Smart, Le’Bryan Nash, Markel Brown, Michael Cobbins and Phil Forte from a 24-9 team that placed third in the league behind co-champs KU and Kansas State.

Smart, a certain top-five pick in the draft, shocked the college basketball world by returning for a second season in Stillwater. It seems a severe right wrist sprain suffered in OSU’s NCAA tournament loss to Oregon influenced his decision.

“I fractured both my left and my right wrist in high school,” Smart told the Oklahoman. “I fractured my right wrist really bad. The doctor actually told me they couldn’t find my growth plate. So I’ve already had some scar tissue and damage in that wrist.

“So when I reinjured it in the Oregon game, it messed me up. I wasn’t able to dribble the ball until May. That was a big reason why I made the decision. I didn’t want to go in (draft workouts) not being 100 percent and having to go out there and compete and make that my job.”

Jo Jo health update: Former KU guard Jo Jo White, 66, is back at work as a community ambassador for the Boston Celtics three years after undergoing eight-hour surgery to remove a brain tumor.

“I thank God every day for being here, but I haven’t turned the corner,” White told Yahoo Sports. “I’m still dealing with the circumstances of what I had to go through: Not being able to walk. Not being able to run. Remembering things. Eating.”

After surgery, White had to re-learn how to walk, had trouble eating, experienced double vision and still has some short-term memory loss, Yahoo Sports reports.

“I went through a tough time,” White said. “I appreciate all my supporters. All my fans. My precious wife and my kids were right there for me.”

To read about White’s recovery, click here.

Open practice, scrimmage approaching: KU’s open practice and scrimmage, in conjunction with Self’s annual coaches clinic, is set for 9:45 a.m. until approximately 11 a.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse. Admission is free. Doors will open at 9 a.m. There will be limited concession services available until 10:15 a.m. It’s a no-frills event with no cheerleaders, no public address and no videoboard highlights, with basketball practice the attraction. The country’s No. 1 and 5-rated high school seniors — Jahlil Okafor of Chicago and Tyus Jones of Apple Valley, Minn. — are slated to attend as part of their official campus visits. For event information, click here.

Elijah still in Poland: Former KU guard Elijah Johnson, who recently left Anwil Wloclawek, a pro team in Poland, has now signed with Polish League team Rosa Radom, reports.


Ron Franklin 9 years, 1 month ago

Ralster was here a few minutes ago. Looks like they are decapitating obvious Aliases.

Chris Shaw 9 years, 1 month ago

“I think his comments ... I didn’t read them as being derogatory toward Andrew. I just read them as a failed attempt to be humorous.”

Now that is pure comedy right there.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

Imagine having to relearn to walk, talk, eat, etc. at the age of 66. Go Jo Jo. Although I was just a babe when he played at KU, from everything I've read about him I know he'd be one of my all time favorites had I seen him play.

As for Ford's comment, the big time world of amateur and pro sports seems to spend inordinate amount of time focusing on what someone said. "Sticks and stones...." we were taught as kids. But then as adults sometimes the good advice of that quip is forgotten.

Lance Cheney 9 years, 1 month ago

Was the JoJo White story on this website? I don't remember seeing it. This is the first time I've heard anything about it.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

It's mentioned in this story. There's a link to it also mentioned.

Lance Cheney 9 years, 1 month ago

Right, I see that. I just figured I would've heard about it prior to today.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 1 month ago

If I could rewrite the headline for this article it would read "Self: OSU coach's Wiggins comment 'a failed attempt at humor'"

Jeffery Barrett 9 years, 1 month ago

Wow! I'm sure this has (or hasn't) been already stated, but where are all the "commenters"?

If you're scared, say you're scared.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

Are you aware of the changes they made? It has stifled a lot of commenters who don't have facebook. It's really kind of depressing. Not much action going on here.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 1 month ago

Travis needs to follow Self's lead: focus on your house, not ours. Every minute Ford wastes concerning himself with Jayhawks, is another minute Self is using to get his team better.

Lance Cheney 9 years, 1 month ago

Well said. But we're on everybody's radar. You know how a lot of posters on here worry about what Kentucky's doing, who they're recruiting, how great it is when we get one of their recruits, etc.? Well that's the way other teams in the Big 12 see us. When you win all the time, people want to see you lose. We're the Kentucky, Duke, Yankees, and Patriots all rolled into one for the rest of the Big 12 teams.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 1 month ago

That's good to hear about JoJo. Glad he was able to get back to work. Hopefully his health holds up. I can't imagine how difficult a journey that has had to have been.

I wish I could go to the open practice on Saturday morning. My daughter has a soccer tournament out of town so my entire weekend is busy. Hopefully there is a huge crowd there. In addition, I hope the entire crowd heads over to the stadium after grabbing some lunch or tailgating and supports the football team. I would be there if I could. I don't anticipate it being this weekend, but one of these games the football team will surprise someone and pull off an upset. I just hope the fans hold out long enough to be there and support them when it happens.

Remember, as badly as the offense has played we're still 2-2. Even if we are 2-4 after the next two games (OU & Baylor) there are some games left where we can compete. ISU, WVU and KSU are possibilities. I'm not going to predict wins until I see some improvement, but I'm also not going to mark them down as automatic losses, either.

Aaron Paisley 9 years, 1 month ago

KU is 2-3 right now and looking realistically at being 2-7 since the next 4 games are against the 4 best teams in the league.

Eliott Reeder 9 years, 1 month ago

I've got the feeling Self is not a huge fan of Travis Ford...

Ron Prichard 9 years, 1 month ago

Was it Self's failed attempt at hiding his disdain that tipped you off?

Aaron Paisley 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm glad to hear about JoJo doing well. Who's the best Jayhawk to play for the Celtics? Also why are people surprised that Travis Ford doesn't come across as a KU supporter? He played for Missouri and Kentucky in his career so of course he has an unnatural obsession with Kansas.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm going to drive up to Lawrence to see the practice Saturday, and take my 6 and 8 year olds. I'm hoping it won't be a nightmare to get in.

Thinking ahead, as we only have a couple of weeks left before the first game, I'm going to give my Rotation Prediction:

  1. Tharpe is going to suck up most of the minutes at PG. I know Self will try to be lenient at first with the turnovers and miscues by the frosh, but when it comes time to get down to business, I expect Naa to carry a load similar to Sherron & Tyshawn did because Self will settle into a comfort zone with him.

  2. Selden is going to get most of the minutes at the 2, and I hope he can hit some outside shots to create more space for himself & Wiggins. I forsee defenses packing it in on the Jayhawks until somebody shows they can consistently hit mid range pull ups and outside shots.

  3. Wiggins-basically same as Selden, but his challenge will likely be similar to BMac's and he might struggle 'plugging himself' into the system and moving without the ball. I see him scoring mostly off of screens & curls--his outside game is still a big question mark, I believe.

  4. Perry Ellis will be the most consistent offensive performer and will trail only Naadir in Minutes Per Game. I expect him to average 15 points and 8 rebounds this year.

  5. Black is going to take command of the five spot for a good part of the year, but my gut tells me that Embiid will not be kept off of the floor by February, and he could bring the most impact out of any player on this roster by April. He has the most diverse skill set out of all of the players, imho.

I'm torn on the Back up PG because I think Mason has better handles than Frankamp, but Frankamp will be able to stretch the floor more. Giving the nod to Mason because Protecting the Ball takes priority over shooting it.

Andrew and Brannen can't handle the rock with D1 Pressure, so that leaves them to battle minutes at the three, and personally, I think Greene's athleticism will win out, and White would be smart to redshirt.

Traylor should consider the red shirt as well, but the scrap big man minutes will be between him and Lucas and neither one bring very much to the table.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 1 month ago

I agree with your line-ups. Frankamp/Mason, Greene/White, and Lucas/Traylor are toss-ups.

White would be wise to red-shirt.

Traylor cannot red-shirt, because he remained on scholarship for the year that he was deemed a partial academic qualifier.

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