Saturday, June 27, 2015

Mickelson provides KU with energy

Kansas forward Hunter Mickelson (42) gets up to defend against a shot from Team Canada forward Josh Wolfram (13) during the third quarter of Friday's World University Games exhibition at Sprint Center.

Kansas forward Hunter Mickelson (42) gets up to defend against a shot from Team Canada forward Josh Wolfram (13) during the third quarter of Friday's World University Games exhibition at Sprint Center.


— Kansas University coach Bill Self told his players at halftime that he wanted to see more energy on the court Friday. Senior Hunter Mickelson took the message to heart.

It was a role Mickelson knew he could fill during Team USA’s 87-76 victory over Canada at Sprint Center.

At the end of the third quarter, Mickelson went to the rim and turned to see junior point guard Frank Mason drive to the rim. Once the defense collapsed, Mason flipped a pass to Mickelson, who dropped in a layup before the buzzer.

Then the 6-foot-10 senior from Jonesboro, Arkansas went on a roll.

Mickelson scored on a putback, following a missed shot from SMU senior Nic Moore, to tie the game at 62-all with 9:07 remaining in the fourth quarter. He grabbed a steal on the next defensive possession, followed by another offensive rebound and a trip to the free throw line when he was pushed attempting a dunk.

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Kansas coach Bill Self — and one of his "assistants," Max Falkenstien — address the media following the Jayhawks' World University Games tuneup against Canada, an 87-76 victory.

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Selden, Ellis, Mickelson discuss second win vs. Canada

Kansas basketball players Wayne Selden Jr., Perry Ellis and Hunter Mickelson field questions from the media following the Jayhawks' second exhibition victory over Canada, in preparation for the World University Games.

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Mickelson went 1-for-2 at the line after receiving a big applause from the 8,415 fans in attendance, then blocked a close-range jump shot on the next defensive possession.

“Coach stressed putting more energy into the game during halftime,” said Mickelson, who finished with five points, three offensive rebounds, a block and a steal in nine minutes. “I tried to do that when I was out there. I kind of got some breaks and got current guys on the team giving me some opportunities, so I just made the best of it.”

In the first exhibition game against Canada on Tuesday, Mickelson was in the starting lineup, but went scoreless in 13 minutes. He grabbed six rebounds, two offensive, and had a block and steal.

But Friday was different. Self wanted energy and Mickelson provided the Jayhawks with the spark they were looking for off of the bench.

“Hunter is a really good athlete,” Self said. “He can run and jump. He played to his athletic ability. He looked more bouncy. I think sometimes kids, when they want to do well so bad, they think and when they think, they get paralyzed. That happens a lot with a lot of players.”

“I think tonight for the first time in a while, I thought he played to his athletic ability,” Self added. “He made a couple of great blocks. He scored with his left, which we’ve been trying to get him to do a lot. Then of course, he showed a lot of bounce, too. He was just playing with energy.”

With the Jayhawks scheduled to play five pool-play games in six days once they travel to Korea, they know they will receive more minutes and will try to make the most of them.

“I got a great pass from Frank to kind of kick it off,” Mickelson said. “From there, it kind of started on the defensive end and then everybody started picking it up after that. It’s just really fun and it’s really easy to play when you’ve got guys this talented in a situation like that where you can just move the ball quick and get good looks from it.”

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Canada


Shannon Gustafson 6 years, 10 months ago

It wasn't just that he was pushed when he was trying to dunk, he came running from the left wing, caught a rebound and tried to throw it back down while flying across the lane. He nearly finished what would have been the play of the night and would have had he not been fouled.

He certainly played out of his mind for that stretch and got a standing ovation when he came off the floor. He was absolutely dominant during that time and it was very fun to watch.

Allan Olson 6 years, 10 months ago

I saw a number of his TV games while at Arkansas. Thought we were fortunate he was coming to KU. I believe his talent needs lots of playing time to showcase his abilities to contribute on a consistent basis. Its too bad he wasn't able to be on the court for 20 minutes a game with our rotation last season. He seems to be a quality person and teammate, and a credit to the program. Hopefully this season coach finds more time in the game for him to impress.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 10 months ago

Minutes will be hotly contested again this year with 6 front court players and only 3 to 4 spots on most nights. Maybe Coach uses 4 bigs more consistently with the faster tempo and all but it's hard to imagine him using more on a consistent basis. Coach is already expecting Diallo to start at 5 and you know Perry is, so that leaves 4 trying to earn backup minutes.

Allan Olson 6 years, 10 months ago

Understand the minutes problems, seems to happen most years. Would like to see his performances increase to 5 to 6 minute stretches each half. Probably a best fit against athletic bigs and let Landon play against the beasts. He showed good IQ and team play in games last season when he had the most minutes. I like his overall play better than Landon, seems better finishing around basket and is quicker on defense.

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