Saturday, June 13, 2015

SMU’s Moore arrives, takes charge

SMU’s Nic Moore dribbles during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut, Sunday, March 1, 2015, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

SMU’s Nic Moore dribbles during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Connecticut, Sunday, March 1, 2015, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)


SMU senior point guard Nic Moore, the reigning Player of the Year in the American Athletic Conference, arrived on Kansas University’s campus Friday and immediately was escorted to the Jayhawks’ basketball practice facility.

“I learned he’s a leader. He got there halfway through practice, walked in and acted like he owned the place. That’s exactly what best players in leagues do,” KU coach Bill Self told the Journal-World after a two-hour World University Games team practice and orientation of his Friday/Saturday Parent/Child camp.

“I’m going to really enjoy coaching him. Our players are going to really enjoy playing with him,” Self added of the 5-foot-9, Winona Lake, Indiana, native who led the Mustangs in scoring (14.5 ppg), assists (5.1) and steals (1.3) his junior season.

“I think Nic can help them all,” Self said of the 11 Jayhawk players, who, along with Moore, complete KU’s Team USA roster for the University Games, July 3-14 in Gwangju, South Korea. “We’ve got good players, but we haven’t had anybody that’s been Player of the Year in the league. Nic is Player of the Year in the American Conference, a great league. SMU won it last year.”

Self’s Jayhawks, who have been practicing since Monday, will continue working out in preparation for a pair of exhibitions against Canada, June 23 and 26 in KC’s Sprint Center.

“We’ve been hitting it pretty hard, harder than we ever have in the summer because we’re going on this trip,” Self said. “We’re experimenting on some different things, and the guys are really trying hard. They’re jacked and going at it. It is very competitive. I think some guys are about ready to take off (and play at an even higher level).”

The Jayhawks have a lot to accomplish in a short time.

”We are not the USA Basketball team, but we are representing the USA. I think they (the KU contingent) will get that vibe big-time. It will be a situation the world will do everything they can to try to knock us off,” Self said.

The team is getting used to the 24-second clock and other FIBA rules.

“I think any time you force yourself to play with a short clock, it definitely adds to aggressiveness and adds to guys going and making plays on their own, which sometimes we can get a little stale doing that,” Self said. “I’m excited about us experimenting as coaches. I’m excited about the clock forcing us to play faster and doing some different things defensively. I think it’ll be very good for us moving forward.”

Roster talk: KU announced its official World Games roster Friday. Moore is joined by Carlton Bragg, Perry Ellis, Devonté Graham, Landen Lucas, Evan Manning, Frank Mason III, Hunter Mickelson, Wayne Selden Jr., Tyler Self, Jamari Traylor and Lagerald Vick. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Ukraine), Cheick Diallo (Mali) and Dwight Coleby (Bahamas) cannot play because they were not born in the USA.

Assistant coaches on the trip will be current assistant Jerrance Howard, plus staff members Fred Quartlebaum (director student/athlete development) and James Cox (video coordinator).

“Kurtis (Townsend, assistant), Norm (Roberts, assistant) and Brennan (Bechard, director of basketball operations) are staying behind for the July recruiting period. We don’t want to miss out on July,” Self explained to the J-W. “We’re going to put Brennan on the road recruiting as well.”

World travelers: Self has taken teams to Canada, Paris and Switzerland for exhibition games before.

“We’ve traveled to exotic places through the years, but I do believe this will be the most educational trip because we will see the culture and how people live and also hang out with other athletes in their same age group from all over the world. The guys are taking a class to become more familiar with South Korea and the culture and what to expect when they get there,” Self said.

This ’n’ that: Former KU guard Ryan Robertson is attending the Parent/Child camp with his two sons. ... Tonight is the Bill Self Basketball Boogie at Abe and Jakes in downtown Lawrence. To order tickets, go to ... KU won’t be the only college team playing in the World University Games. Cal State Fullerton’s baseball team, Colorado College’s women’s soccer team and Stanford’s women’s water polo team will also compete as Team USA in those respective sports. ... Tickets are available for the exhibition games against Canada. The cost is $27 for the June 23 game and $37 for the June 26 game. Tickets will not be sold in the upper level, leaving capacity for the games about 10,000.


Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Leadership will be nice to have for a change.

Brian Wilson 6 years, 11 months ago

Rodney, I have to agree with you on this, and I think from his actions, HCBS agrees. Bill didn't bring back Collins to camp for nothing, and he didn't choose Nic Moore to sit on the bench.

Since Collins, the past 5 years, KU hasn't had a consistent PG and the PG spot as been our weakest position. Starting with Elijah things went downhill from Taylor to Tharpe. It's hard to learn from the mediocre and that is what Mason was forced to do. So, IMO, HCBS's has had an epiphany to take his own creative shot at breaking the learning tree and starting a new branch. Bringing in the best, on the court, and finding an opportunity to have practices and games to play, so Mason, Graham, and our whole team can learn from them is very smart and a genius-like move . I think HCBS has recognized the problem and planned and created an educational syzygy to bring our guard play to the next level. Taking advantage and making the best out of the WUG opportunity, this is why Bill, is HCBS!

Btw, Nic Moore is a very small 5'9" PG, highly talented offensively and defensively, that can demonstrate how a small man handles the big boys. There's not a lot of height between Mason and Graham and based on last year's promising performance they have a lot to learn.

I hope HCBS's plan works out and we start seeing exceptional play at the PG position this next NCAA season. RCJHGKU!

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 11 months ago

Taylor was PG before Elijah and took KU to a national title game with the least talented KU team of the past 25 years.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Its not that I think 2012 did not happen Brett I just remember it for what it was not some rose colored trip down memory lane.

Taylor was a good point gaurd, but he never was the leader of the team. Your leader does not just play well, which sometimes he did not, he has to make others around him play better. Take the team to victory even when they should not win. TR did that, not Taylor.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 11 months ago

It sounds like Rodney, tho recognizing the '12 run to the title game, is actually remembering the previous two seasons when he was frustrating to Coach Self and everyone else. He grew up tons by the time his sr yr rolled around, and he and Thomas really bonded into co-leaders.

Since then we have been a bit lacking wrt a PG/leader.

I can Frank really growing from teaming up with Nic, and seeing the example he sets. He isn't a natural PG, and really hasn't had an elite model of what it looks like. He does have what it takes with that last bit of fine tuning.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

I do not count Taylor as a leader as much as a good Point Guard. Your leader does not receive as much disipline as Taylor received. Those type of leaders take you down a less desirable path characterwise.

EJ was not the leader of the 2012 team, TR was, if you were paying attention at all you know that he was player who the team rallied around and who lead by example. That road to the title game was litered by dramatic comebacks by EJ. He was not the leader of the team though, he never was here, even when someone gave him the defacto leadership position. He just does not have that trait.

Brian Wilson 6 years, 11 months ago

While Tyshawn did increase increase his scoring his Senior year, he is not the one that took KU to the national title game. That was Ben McLemore, Jeff Withey and Thomas Robinson, despite the inconsistency of Taylor. And that list is not what I would call the least talented team of the past 25 years but maybe the team with the shallowest bench. Although Taylor's scoring went up, his accuracy went down. As a Senior, Taylor made just 68.8 % of his free throws while shooting just 47.7% from the field and 38.2% from the three. From his Junior year of averaging 27 min/gm. to his Senior year of averaging 33 min/gm he increased his turnovers by almost 40 from 97 to 138. Not what you expect from a Senior PG. I remember that road to the title game and Taylor scared the hell out me every time he touched the ball. I didn't know what to expect from him. He was unconsciously inconsistent.

David Lara 6 years, 11 months ago

Correction: Maclemore was on the bench ineligible that year. I often have thought he could have been the difference in that title game, being so overmatched athletically, if it wasn't for the stupid Big XII ruling for him and Traylor. Doubtful he would have been as good as he ended up being after the year of sitting out, but I wish we could have found out.

Taylor WAS a leader, no matter what silly criteria anyone wants to try to manufacture in order to say otherwise. It will never be difficult to say, "so-and-so was a better PG, natural leader, yada yada." This is KANSAS. There is no scarcity of great players to set the bar and be the model of greatness. BUT, Tyshawn brought experience, intangibles, and physical abilities no one else on that team was prepared to provide. He has been the model of a PG that can drive to the bucket at any time and LIKE NO ONE ELSE. That does something for an offense. That does something to a defense. All we can know is what he did on the court and all I know is we don't get to the 'ship that year without him.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Thanks Brian. You make some great points. Most on here really miss what I am saying on most of my points. They carry around so much anger.

I will say one thing I bet Nic does not get beat much off the ball when he plays. I hope we learn that from him too!

Brianna Zaleski 6 years, 11 months ago

Rodney Crain, king of the backhanded compliment...

I'll bet when Coach Self was deciding who would be staying back home to recruit, jerrance Howard didn't stand a chance. 2 weeks left unsupervised, he might have made Brennan Brechard drive him up to Peoria for a visit. Or better yet, "let's go to Colorado, BB, there's a recruit there I've got a lead on. You're driving"

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Backhanded, I think I was pretty clear Brianna? "The young man walks onto our court and acts like he owned the place", as per Self. Last point guard we have had that would do that? Allow that? Collins. So yes its been a while.

Or do you like it that on our supposedly National Title contender team, our coach thinks, he is right by the way, that in a just few minutes time, the best player to lead us looks like he will play for someone else this upcoming year? I think coach is also right, I hope that we learn something from Nic. He comes as advertised.

SMH some of you folks on here cease to amaze me with your..., well lets be nice in a back handed sort of way, your lack of depth with your comments.

Rodney Crain 6 years, 11 months ago

Brett, I show your comments to them and you actually get the eye rolls. More than you could possibly imagine.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 11 months ago

One of the few things I agree with RC on. I've been saying for 2 years that KU hasn't had a real leader since Tyshawn and T-Rob. Mason sounds like he might be growing into the role, but I'm really hoping that either Vick or Bragg is a natural leader. His leadership is the biggest attribute that Nic Moore can bring to the table and I sincerely hope that mentality rubs off because that's the difference between KU being a national title contender and national title favorite.

Edward Daub 6 years, 11 months ago

Just in the nic of time, we welcome you to munchkin land.

Howard is currently under double secret probation.

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 11 months ago

Clever comment Edward. You should post more often.

Humpy Helsel 6 years, 11 months ago

Interesting comment coming from Coach right after he arrives. "Acts like he owns the place." Wow! Coach really likes, but hasn't had the verbal sort of leader he prefers for several years now. Elijah may have been the last one. Tyshawn had it. Sherron was the prototype of a point guard Coach prefers. Cocky, able to talk trash, never backs down, willing to go to the hole, and a player the opposing players and fans dislike, but respect. Frank leads by example, and so does Perry. But both are quiet. Wayne is getting there and could become that guy. But he doesn't strike fear and so far he is too inconsistent. I think Coach hopes his current group will take some of what Nic brings and learn from him about outspoken, cocky, confident, leadership.

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