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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tom Keegan: Bragg’s game under control

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) dives for a loose ball in the Jayhawks win against the Austin Peay Governors Thursday, March 17, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA.

Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) dives for a loose ball in the Jayhawks win against the Austin Peay Governors Thursday, March 17, 2016 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA.

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Based on the inflated heights on some college basketball rosters, the players must have been measured when standing on high school press clippings.

So many players listed as 6-foot-9 by some schools actually measure closer to 6-7. Then there is Carlton Bragg Jr., the sophomore forward from Cleveland who projects as a starter at power forward for Kansas this season. To the naked eye, Bragg looks closer to 6-11. He looks as if he has grown a couple of inches since arriving on campus.

“A lot, yeah,” Bragg agreed during a recent conversation.

Might he now be 6-11?

“Of course I am, I would say,” Bragg said.

It’s not important enough to him to ask to be remeasured. He only worries about what is under his control, including the basketball he bounces off the floor.

“I can handle it well,” said Bragg, who scours YouTube for dribbling drills. “I’m trying to get really good at it. I’m working on it a lot by myself. Two basketballs, pound dribble, between the legs with two basketballs. I’m always looking at the stuff Kyrie (Irving) does.”

Bragg tends to refer to the members of his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers by their first names and says “our” when referring to the NBA champions with pride.

He watched Game 7 vs. the Golden State Warriors at a roller-skating rink in Kansas City with fellow KU students from outside the basketball program.

“They had a big TV up there, and we watched it before skating,” Bragg said. “There were a lot of Golden State fans there, so it got kind of intense toward the end.”

His nerves calmed once “I saw LeBron (James) get that block. That’s when I knew we wanted it more than them. That’s the energy play. Then Kevin Love stepped up and got the stop with (Stephen) Curry, and then Kyrie hit the shot.”

Clearly, Bragg greatly respects NBA players. He fully understands how good they are, how much he has to improve to compete well against them. Maybe that’s why he did what so few with his size, skills, athleticism and overall potential do, deciding against declaring for the NBA Draft.

“Everyone was testing the waters,” he said. “It’s cool for them. I thought it was better to focus on getting better for next season.”

Bragg might have been the first Kansas player drafted, but will have a better NBA career for having waited. Remember Xavier Henry? Sadly, the NBA barely does.

Far more important than whether the top of Bragg’s head measures 81 or 83 inches from the floor, is how filled with wisdom it is for a man so young.

Comments

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 2 months ago

I think the Xavier comparison is not a good one. Xavier was a lottery pick and struggled with injuries.

Also skating...that's a broken wrist waiting to happen.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 2 months ago

This had the possibility to be pretty funny... Though using Tonya Harding instead of Anna would have been the better way to go.

Benz Junque 6 years, 2 months ago

The Xavier Henry comment was totally unnecessary. Henry ruptured his Achilles tendon, an injury that very few basketball players ever fully recover from. Silly to imply that his career would have been any different had he stuck around at KU for another year.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 2 months ago

Completely agree. We've had our share of early career changing injuries such as Danny Manning, Nick Collison, Wayne Simien and maybe Joel Embiid. Taking cheap shots at players who once played for Kansas is far from necessary.

Use Greg Oden if you really feel the need.

Mike Greer 6 years, 2 months ago

But if I remember correctly, isn't Carlton the one who rides a hoverboard around campus? Roller skating is child's play by comparison.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 2 months ago

If he did grow 2", that would be significant this year.

Just can't get enough of this kid. Looking forward to seeing a major leap forward in his gam, which was pretty darned good to begin with.

Jerry Walker 6 years, 2 months ago

Geezus...what's so hard about accurately measuring and listing a player's height?

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

It's similar to accurately measuring whether or not the Secretary of State breaks the law when the law is broken and whether that rises to indictment when the FBI definitively determines that laws were indeed broken.....

It's all about lies and agendas.....

Tom Jones 6 years, 2 months ago

Lots of places on the interwebs to discuss politics, Jay. This ain't one of em.

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

I was discussing dishonesty and criminality.

It's interesting that you think it was politics....

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

You're implying that the FBI investigation recommendations were politically driven? You''re probably right. You're suddenly very interested in politics. Changed your mind?

Tom Jones 6 years, 2 months ago

I said nothing about the FBI investigation, but thanks for the clarification (unnecessary as it was, given your transparency) that your original post was in fact, political in nature.

You're such a waste of a good brain sometimes, man.

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

Keep up Tommy.. that was the beginning of this little exchange.... it isn't challenging or rewarding enough to watch you take the bait and make an idiot of yourself. Run along and play with your little friends.

Tom Jones 6 years, 2 months ago

This was the beginning: "It's similar to accurately measuring whether or not the Secretary of State breaks the law when the law is broken and whether that rises to indictment when the FBI definitively determines that laws were indeed broken....."

Scroll up, you'll see. ;)

Brian Wilson 6 years, 2 months ago

IDK, Jay's analogy was pretty good. Plus you can stop the sarcastic censorship and telling others what to do.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 2 months ago

Height is generally list with shoes on and then rounded up to the next inch. If someone measures 6-7.25 barefoot and 6-8.5 in shoes, their height is rounded up to 6-9.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 2 months ago

In other words, getting accurate info rarely happens.

Noah Ball 6 years, 2 months ago

Someone is tuned into the RNC fear fest

Brett McCabe 6 years, 2 months ago

They have no self-control. Trying to ruin a good article and possibly a good thread about an outstanding young Jayhawk by going political. No self-discipline whatsoever.

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

Brett. You're commenting. The IQ level of the thread has already crashed below 50. I'm glad you found a little friend to play with. That will keep the two of you from disrupting grownup discussions.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 2 months ago

Well Brett - how much control does it take to leave off the politicized avatar you have recently added? I haven't seen anyone else feel the need to do so. Is that where self-discipline comes into play?

Harlan Hobbs 6 years, 2 months ago

Since you bring it up, how do you like the "Trump" rally in the stock market? That is often a good sign for the future, Noah and Brett notwithstanding.

Brett McCabe 6 years, 2 months ago

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Why don't you show Carlton some respect?

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

The markets will really take off as the poll numbers climb. Hopefully the capital gains taxes get reduced in January to make the increases relevant. When the US rates are 25% higher than Canada's you know the world is upside down.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 2 months ago

And while we're at it, let's once again do away with the death/estate taxes. I guess those who passed the Job Creation Act of 2010 didn't think there was enough attorneys and accountants.

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

That won't happen. The life insurance lobby pays good money to keep it the way it is.

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

Bragg has the potential to be as good as any PF in the country. If he hits his ceiling the Jayhawks will be very hard to beat.

Benz Junque 6 years, 2 months ago

Pretty sure no good player in history has hit their ceiling at the age of 20

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

Indeed. What would you say is his ceiling for performance this year? How would you measure that? If he hits that, the Jayhawks will be hard to beat. Whatever happens after this coming season is another matter.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 2 months ago

You weren't clear enough. You should have stated that if Bragg could reach his ceiling as a second year college player, the Jayhawks will be hard to beat.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 2 months ago

Jay, it's okay to say that you made a less than perfect word choice. By context it seemed apparent that you were referring to his potential this year and not his ultimate potential (ceiling). Ironically it's stuff like this that it seems you flame out over with others.

Carlton has so much potential. The season would seem to hinge on how close to their (Bragg and Jackson) potential they play. Graham and Mason seem to be fairly known quantities while the 5 and reserves provide support but these 2 are the big unknowns.

Jay Scott 6 years, 2 months ago

Svi is a key also. If he plays like a lottery pick Coach Self has endless matchup advantages to torment opposing teams, Mason and Graham get more rest and Jackson has less pressure.

Marius Rowlanski 6 years, 2 months ago

While were at it, how good could we be if Udoka reaches his freshman ceiling?

Tom Jones 6 years, 2 months ago

We'll go as far as Tucker Vang can take us.

Tim Orel 6 years, 2 months ago

I wouldn't mind if Tucker Vang got some garbage time minutes every game.

Humpy Helsel 6 years, 2 months ago

At a roller rink in KC with KU students from outside of the basketball program. Sounds like he is enjoying being a college student. Sounds pretty healthy to me. Another year to develop his game and his body. He'll play at KU much more than he ever would in NBA next year unless he was sent to the D-league. The NBA doesn't have to be the be all, end all. At least not after just one year of college.

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