Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kansas will face strong schedule in ’15-16

Kansas head coach Bill Self grins as he waves to the fans following the Jayhawks' 89-76 win over Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self grins as he waves to the fans following the Jayhawks' 89-76 win over Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse.


A trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational, a Champions Classic clash against Michigan State in Chicago, a road contest versus San Diego State and a home game against a yet-to-be-determined foe in the Big 12/SEC Challenge highlight Kansas University’s 2015-16 nonconference basketball schedule, which was released on Thursday.

Possible foes in the Nov. 23-25 Maui Invitational: former KU All-American Danny Manning’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons, former KU assistant coach Kevin Stallings’ Vanderbilt Commodores, 2015 NCAA Tournament teams Indiana, St. John’s and UCLA, plus UNLV and Chaminade. Pairings will be announced this summer.

The Michigan State game, set for Nov. 17, is a rematch of last year’s Orlando Classic final, which KU won, 61-56. The Spartans went on to reach the Final Four. San Diego State, which will play host to KU on Dec. 22, returns three of its top five scorers off a 27-9 squad that won the Mountain West Conference title.

There have been rumors that KU could possibly meet Kentucky in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, which will be Jan. 30 in Allen Fieldhouse. Pairings should be released in coming weeks.

The Jayhawks will meet Oregon State on Dec. 12 in Sprint Center in Kansas City. OSU returns all five starters off a 17-14 team. Coach Tommy Amaker’s Harvard team, which visits KU on Dec. 5, has reached the NCAAs four straight seasons and went 22-8 last year.

Montana, which visits Allen on Dec. 19, went 20-13 last season, losing to Texas A&M; in the first round of the NIT. KU will face another NCAA Tournament team in UC Irvine on Dec. 29. The Anteaters of the Big West went 21-13 last year and return 7-foot-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye.

KU will also meet Northern Colorado on Nov. 13, Loyola of Maryland on Dec. 1 and Holy Cross on Dec. 9 in Allen. Holy Cross went 14-16, Loyola 11-19 and UNC 15-15 last season.

The 31st-annual Late Night in the Phog will be Oct. 9. The Jayhawks’ exhibition games will be against Pittsburg State (Nov. 4) and Emporia State (Nov. 10).

“It’s obviously another solid schedule,” KU head coach Bill Self said. “The last two years we played the toughest schedule in the country. This year we feel like, once again, this will be a schedule that will be one of the nation’s best. What jumps off the page is Michigan State, who went to the Final Four, all the possibilities of matchups at the Maui Invitational and the other teams who advanced to the postseason like Harvard, San Diego State, Montana and UC Irvine. San Diego State has always been a national power. The Big 12/SEC Challenge game, which we will host, and all the others will certainly be great preparation for us going into what will, once again, be a terrific Big 12 Conference slate,” Self added.

First-rounders: Self has heard positive reports on Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre Jr., who figure to be first-round picks in the June NBA Draft. says Oubre will be selected No. 12 and Alexander No. 27 in Round One.

“They both are going to be drafted high. I think Cliff has a chance to sneak in there (first round) and Kelly has a chance to sneak in the lottery,” Self told at the Big 12 meetings in Phoenix.

Of his own team and incoming freshmen Carlton Bragg and Cheick Diallo, Self said: “We were thin up front last year from a production standpoint. Carlton is a very good face-up four-type man, and Cheick is kind of an energy guy that can do a little bit of everything, especially defensively and rebounding. We think both will have a huge impact for us. And we’ve got Perry Ellis back, Jamari Traylor, Landen Lucas, Hunter Mickelson — we’ve got some experience coming back, but it’s nice to have two athletes like this, because we were missing that last year.”

Of last year’s 27-9 squad, he said: “I probably changed too much last year. We became an inside-out team, and then obviously the last half of the season we were an outside-in-type team. We still wanted to play through our bigs but not like we have in the past. I don’t think we ran near as good of offense last year, so hopefully personnel will allow us to do some different type things.”

Option for one-and-doners?: A California-based group says it will offer 2015 McDonald’s All-Americans $700,000 to play for an independent pro team called the Las Vegas Dealers.

The team owner says it will play 35 games in Las Vegas against European League teams and would also go on a 15-game tour of Europe.

Team owner Cerruti Brown told Las Vegas FOX 5 TV that some current McDonald’s All-Americans are being contacted to sign up for the 2015-16 season, to begin in October.

“We don’t see any problems in landing the right kids. Now, I’m not going to say we’ll have 10 of the top 25 kids this year, but I’m going to go on record as saying we’re going to have five,” Brown told the TV station.

On the league’s Website (, it says McDonald’s All-Americans will earn $700,000, underclassmen with college eligibility $400,000 and free agents $100,000 for the upcoming season.

“College is not for every young man that is trying to use basketball to provide a better situation for their families,” says owner Cerruti Brown. “Our innovative model targets the McDonald’s All-Americans who are projected first-round prospects by NBA scouts and general managers. This concept allows for the highly touted player to bypass college and immediately become a paid professional. We are able to offer competitive salaries averaging around $700k to the highly touted McDonald’s All-Americans who are typically ‘one and done’ players and $400k for college underclassmen. The Dealers’ niche will be based on giving basketball players a different option than what is presently offered in America. Before this, underclassmen had to either play college ball or go overseas. Venturing to Europe will not be a necessity when a U.S.-based organization will play top European teams.”


Friday, Oct. 9: Late Night in Phog.

Wednesday, Nov. 4: Pittsburg State (exhibition).

Tuesday, Nov. 10: Fort Hays State (exhibition).

Friday, Nov. 13: Northern Colorado.

Tuesday, Nov. 17: Michigan State in Chicago.

Monday, Nov. 23: TBD, Maui Invitational.

Tuesday, Nov. 24: TBD, Maui Invitational.

Wednesday, Nov. 25: TBD, Maui Invitational.

Tuesday, Dec. 1: Loyola of Maryland.

Saturday, Dec. 5: Harvard.

Wednesday, Dec. 9: Holy Cross.

Saturday, Dec. 12: Oregon State at Sprint Center.

Saturday, Dec. 19: Montana.

Tuesday, Dec. 22: at San Diego State.

Tuesday, Dec. 29: UC Irvine.

Saturday: Jan. 30: TBA in Big 12/SEC Challenge.


Mike Riches 7 years, 1 month ago

This looks like a much more manageable non-conference schedule than this past year. There are some good, tough games, but also 5-6 that should be fairly easy wins. This mix should help with the development of our incoming freshmen and even Svi.

I think there's a decent chance that we enter the conference season undefeated. We should be favored in almost every game plus our older, more veteran teams tend to win when they're supposed to.

Caden Ford 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree. I feel that this non-conference schedule still has some punch and aggressiveness to it, but there are more games that we have a chance to really get some quality Ws. But the San Diego St. game and the home game for the SEC/Big12 challenge are both HUGE! Winning @ SDSU (after they beat us in Lawrence last time) and then potentially getting a W over possibly Kentucky (if they are the match-up for the Challenge) would be great wins to lead us off into Big 12 play!

Joe Ross 7 years, 1 month ago

Late Night in the Phog needs to update its agenda. Its becoming stale and needs some punch. Not for the benefit of the fans. This is Show and Tell for the recruits coming in.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

Joe this is a great point. We need someone famous, Kevin Hart like, young and relevant. I would have a funny video of the new apartments our players first reactions as they see their finished rooms (look no more sporks,,, , maybe a day in the life of Perry, like a mini mockumentary, "raised on a wheat field farm in Kansas this senior..." a food show take off for Frank, Frank will show us his favorite meal, and how to prepare it, I start with a bowl and then add the cereal... Video of Self showing the new Womens coach around KU basketball, with funny tips, ok the weight room key is hidden here, a secret head coaches spa is behind this door..., how to cheat on Hudys diet without being caught hot dogs shaped like carrots, potato chip smoothies , Mix this in with the skits, maybe a local young rising singer. Have some fun with it while quietly showcasing our exceptional facilities.

Joe Ross 7 years, 1 month ago

The players' dancing needs to be left out almost completely. Maybe if one or two guys or girls has a nice move to display then fine. Otherwise it eats up too much time. No skits either. Model some of the activities after NBA all star weekend: dunk contest and 3-point shooting contest, and when the guys scrimmage bring in alumni to scrimmage against. What recruit wouldnt get a kick out of seeing The Truth, Mario Chalmers, Ben McLemore, Joel Embiid, Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, and other graduates come and play alongside the team? What a great advertisement for the program! Did I mention more dunks? Maybe let the alums participate in the dunk contest too. High-flying acts with McLemore and Wiggins would not disappoint. And bringing alumni back for Late Night can build fraternity among our former players (Late Night could be basketball alumni's Homecoming once a year).

The introduction of all the other teams needs stop. It chews up time and no one really cares, especially the recruits. Eyes would pop, though, if Justin Timberlake came out to sing "Mirrors" or Taylor Swift sang "Shake it Off". I may have the wrong singers and songs, but you get the idea: let the fans and recruits leave with something to talk about.

Keep the video and have Coach Self do some get up a la Tom Izzo. The Late Night program is dry and boring, and there are some easy ways to make it pop.

Rob Bedford III 7 years, 1 month ago

Coach Self also needs a social media guru. Calipari is all over ESPN with daily tweets.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

Joe nice thoughts but not realistic and I think they stray from idea of what the event is.

Not sure how many NBA teams are going to support their players risking injury doing some silly dunks to help their college team recruit. How is this good for them? For the NBA event it drives TV and ticket revenues. Not sure our coach would like that either. Dunk contests are best left to players who do not contribute to their teams rotations in college nor the professional level. I beleive our coach is not a fan of even dunking in warmups. It is uneeded risk. 3 Point contests are ok, but who cares really? Greene wins the 3 point contest so........ how was that fun again? Maybe have the women and mens team compete in a skills challange that would be fun I think. Put men on one side women on the other, do something creative.

Also you have to take the lead of the idea of the event by what the head coaches do, they act silly and have some fun. They need to treat these as entertainment events first, like they are, with basketball on the side. (is the game they play mean anything, not really) A decent comic($5k-$10k), a singer (not a Justin or Taylor but one of the 133 you can book for 7500 or under a night from a KC booking agents site) or a DJ, and letting the players have some fun is the goal. Sprinkle in some SNL type 60-90 second videos where upperclassman can be involved so you can time the event right, to keep it moving, and you got yourself a good time that everybody can get something out of. I would love to see a Soul Train Dance line where men and women players would dance their way out of the tunnel for introductions, that could be really funny.

If any recruits are using these events to judge anything about basketball not sure they are the guys we want. If they get to see our team have fun, act like the family they are and see coaches not take themselves seriously that to me is the goal. If they want to see how we coach, and play they will likely see a real practice.

Its dry and boring because they are really not trying that hard. They should try to get 50-75k in sponsor money, Hire a producer, bring in some real talent and make it more professional. Use our outstanding video guys, our arena, professional entertainers, have alot of fun and play a little ball.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 1 month ago

Jason Sudeikis, Paul Rudd, Rob Riggle would all be good comedic options who would likely work for free or significant discount. Kevin Harlan would be someone who could host and is familiar to recruits because of hosting the studio shows for the NBA on TNT and the NCAA tournament. Tech N9ne would be a rapper a lot of recruits are familiar with and he's a huge KU fan and would probably do Late Night if asked. Not as relevant to appealing to recruits at Late Night, buy Bill Self is pretty tight with Garth Brooks.

There wouldn't be anyway to get the NBA guys in because teams are in the preseason when Late Night happens, but doing some All Star weekend type stuff with the men's and women's teams wouldn't be that bad of an idea.

Eliott Reeder 7 years, 1 month ago

Actually some pretty good ideas here Rodney and Joe, they should hire you guys as a creative consultants...

Titus Canby 7 years, 1 month ago

Great ideas on Late Night. The first few years, way back in the Larry Brown and early Roy Williams era, were great. It was more about the scrimmage than the lousy dancing. Now it's all about the skits and dancing. Who cares? Definitely needs an upgrade.

RJ King 7 years, 1 month ago

Good points. This seems like a good answer to the OAD, 2-OD argument, as well as the players-should-be-paid discussion.

"$$$ seems not sustainable." I agree. Seems like the unveiling is a little premature and not ready for 2015-16.

Heck, at this point even their website is not sustainable.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 1 month ago

To pay the players like the Dealers say they will requires substantial income if a profit is also to be made, and we all know that's the name of the game. Bringing in European teams puts this on a professional level rather than a startup quasi-professional league of first year players. European teams will like this because it gets them more USA exposure, helping their recruiting of U.S. players. The European tour is an attraction for the US guys. My opinion is the business model the Dealers' founder describes is far superior to any "conference" made up of players who are right out of high school. That model will never change (until the NBA changes the one year rule) because those players leave after one year for the NBA, to be replaced with more kids just out of high school.

Michael Leiker 7 years, 1 month ago

No named non-con schools coming to AFH next year...I'm sure that means season ticket prices will be lower

Dale Rogers 7 years, 1 month ago

Depends on who we play in the SEC/Big12 Challenge which, for us, will be at AFH this coming season.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years, 1 month ago

I guess Self realized that what works for Michigan State doesn't work as well as at KU. Plus w/the WUGs, Kansas should have a good head start heading into next season.

Glen Miller 7 years, 1 month ago

Which is what..... I'm not sure I follow? You talking about a tough non-con schedule, because that will continue.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years, 1 month ago

Honestly? Michigan St will be the toughest game we play. The Maui Invitational has one of the weakest line-ups in recent memory. Our toughest true road game is San Diego St. and our toughest non-con. home game is probably Harvard. We play in a tough conference even if overrated as the NCAA Tournament showed last year. The first weekend ended any chance of any team making it to the Final 4.

When was the last time a BIG 12 team other than KU make it to a Final 4?

If you think our schedule will rank anywhere near it did last year...think again.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 1 month ago

Toughest home game will be Kentucky when that gets announced. The Maui field is pretty weak overall, but KU could still play 2 ranked teams including a potential top 10 team if they play Indiana in the finals. This isn't as brutal as the last 2 years, but this should still be a top 10 non conference schedule.

Marius Rowlanski 7 years, 1 month ago

That would be the match-up most people would want to included.

Tom Jones 7 years, 1 month ago

There will likely be one big named non-conference school coming to AFH...but it will be after the conference season has been going for a few weeks (which I like...old school).

It will be nice to play UK when they're not an absolute juggernaut. That hasn't happened since 2007.

Chad Smith 7 years, 1 month ago

Bringing Justin Timberlake is a great idea! Except for the fact that you will have to pay him half a million dollars to perform. He and Jay-Z both make about 1 million per show. Convincing the University and Alumni to invest in that seems unlikely. You'll have to get someone way less famous but famous enough to even make it feasible monetarily.

RJ King 7 years, 1 month ago

"I may have the wrong singers and songs, but you get the idea"

Some people say "Kleenex" when they mean tissue, or "Coke" when they mean soda. Joe made it clear he used" JT" to mean some singer/performer that recruits would know about, enjoy, and remember.

Any ideas?

Joe Joseph 7 years, 1 month ago

PIggybacking here...

I also think the whole point is to get celebrities (like Jason Suedeikis, Rob Riggle, etc) who are already fans and would do the event pro bono, or at least for some court-side tickets in the future.

Personally, I think the event should still be about basketball and the basketball teams. Cut the terrible skits, or, as suggested by Rodney, at least make them entertaining, with the potential for virality. No more dancing.

Kristen Downing 7 years, 1 month ago

Finally, KU is coming to southern CA, and playing the Anteaters. I can't wait to see what KU does with UCI's 7 foot 2 guy. Louisville had trouble with him in the tournament.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 1 month ago

They are also coming to southern CA to play the Aztecs here in San Diego. My loyalty remains with KU.

Ben Simonett 7 years, 1 month ago

If this las Vegas dealers concept takes of its the death of john calliparis career

Robert Brown 7 years, 1 month ago

How are the Big12-SEC match ups determined? I imagine ESPN has some input. What if KU was matched up with Missouri?

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 1 month ago

Kansas will never match up with Missouri and Texas won't get paired with Texas A&M.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

There are few absolutes in life Robert, but I think KU playing Missouri might be one however in the SEC-B12 challange.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 1 month ago

That would be KU NOT playing Missouri as an Absolute.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 1 month ago

KSU was tied to KU through the Board of Regents being pro KSU. KU officials ideally would've liked to stay with KSU, but not at the expense of being left behind.

As for the article itself, it really doesn't say anything new. It pretty says that Missouri was talking out of both sides of their mouth and got called out on by KU when they finally did leave. Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey had the best analysis of what happened. She compared Missouri and Texas A&M to a spouse divorcing you and then still wanting to sleep with you after the divorce.

I know Missouri's new president, R. Bowen Loftin, was a driving force behind A&M leaving the Big 12, so I still wouldn't feel great with dealing with him on this issue.

Titus Canby 7 years, 1 month ago

I love the idea of the Dealers. Give the kids a choice. Then we can forget all this garbage about paying the college players. If you want to be paid to play, go to the Dealers. If you want a great deal on a college education, play at KU. Genius!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.