K.C. to keep Big 12 tourney through 2020

This file photo shows a 2008 shot of the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

This file photo shows a 2008 shot of the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Big 12 men’s basketball tournament will remain at Kansas City’s Sprint Center through the year 2020, league commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced Thursday.

Kansas City has hosted the tournament 14 of the 19 years the Big 12 has been in existence, including the past six years.

The league had already secured the bid for 2016, meaning the new four-year deal keeps the event in the Power and Light District a total of 11 straight years and counting.

Oklahoma City and Dallas also made bids, but didn’t appear to have much of a chance considering the event has been a complete sellout the last two years and has averaged crowds of 18,000 for all sessions every time it has been held in the facility.

“I don’t know how the tournament could have been better,” Bowlsby said of the past couple years.

KU coach Bill Self has long been an advocate of keeping the tourney in Sprint Center.

“I am happy. Selfishly I think it’s good for Kansas and our fans,” Self told the Journal-World on Thursday night. “The reality is Kansas City is the best place for it. With the attendance and the track record of what’s been done here in Kansas City ... not to take away from any other sites, but it’s overwhelming the success the tournament has had and the support it’s received. I think it’s good news for everybody. I don’t think one coach in the league will be against this,” he added.

The women’s basketball championship is slated for Oklahoma City in 2017, ’18 and ’19. The baseball championship will be in OKC from 2017-2020. Sprint Center will host the league wrestling championships March 5-6, 2016.

Canadians to set up shop here: KU will be well acquainted with Canada’s Developmental team by the time the teams travel to the World University Games July 3-14 in South Korea.

Canada’s squad will train in Lawrence a week or so prior to the teams’ two exhibition games June 23 and 26 in Sprint Center. KU is allowed unlimited practice time from June 8 through the end of the Games.

“We’ll get a chance to train with them some at night, even in a scrimmage-type session,” Self said Thursday on KC 610 radio.

“It should be a great learning experience for our kids. I’m not going to kill them. It’s not going to be a situation it’s the same intensity level as during the season. The season is long enough the way it is. It will be a time where our guys can enjoy each other, have some fun.”

Of the Games, Self added: “I want our guys to get better. I also want to experiment a lot with the short (24 second) clock, with the FIBA rules. I think that will help us down the road playing with the short clock, so all our practices will be with a 10-second clock, five-second clock. On an offensive rebound it resets to 14. There are a lot of differences than we’re used to. I’m excited about that.”

Players on Canada’s developmental team according to its Website include Baylor’s Brady Heslip and Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, plus Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer and Kevin Pangos, Stanford’s Dwight Powell, Harvard’s Laurent Rivard, New Mexico State’s Daniel Mullings, Colgate’s Murphy Burnatowski, Indiana State’s Mangisto Arop as well as 7-foot-2 Jordan Bachynski of Arizona State and some other Canadian college players.

For tickets to the KU-Canada exhibitions call 1-800-34-Hawks or go to SprintCenter.com.

Bulls may target Hoiberg: The Ames Tribune reported Thursday that Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg in April “let it be known to five-star recruit Cheick Diallo that his immediate future at Iowa State was not a certainty.” Multiple Tribune sources told the paper that “while Hoiberg did not definitively say he planned to move on to the NBA, he also communicated that he couldn’t fully commit he would be returning to ISU to coach Diallo and what figures to be a preseason top-10 Cyclones team in 2015-16.” Hoiberg is believed to be a leading candidate for the Chicago Bulls coaching vacancy. Diallo, of course, wound up committing to KU.