Takeaways For Kansas From Last Night’s Champions Classic

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 13th, 2013

It’s amazing what happens when you put aside the dizzying NBA Draft gossip and just roll out the ball and let two of the nation’s best teams go at it for 40 minutes, isn’t it? For all the hedges and qualifiers about taking the games with a grain of salt, last night’s Champions Classic nightcap was an absolute blast to watch (at least after you got past the 53 fouls that were called). So what did we learn about the Jayhawks during their 94-83 victory over Duke?

Andrew Wiggins Used a Great Second Half to Lead KU to Victory Over Duke

Andrew Wiggins Used a Great Second Half to Lead KU to Victory Over Duke

  • Andrew Wiggins Will Be Just Fine: Bill Self‘s freshman phenom was much more active Tuesday night than he was in Kansas’ season opener last Friday. Wiggins took a seat on the bench for nearly half of the first stanza after picking up his second foul with 9:30 left, but he still finished with 22 points and eight rebounds against the Blue Devils. All night long, he made excellent cuts, drew attention in the post, hit jumpers and skied for boards. Oh, and he played a huge role in closing out a key win on a neutral court for the Jayhawks with everyone in America watching. It’s too simplistic to reduce the Champions Classic finale to a matter of who was better between Wiggins and Jabari Parker, because they were both fantastic in their own ways. But if this is the starting point for the trajectory of Andrew Wiggins, it’s downright terrifying to think of what he could be in four months, let alone three years.

  • Young Bigs Show Development – Tarik Black and Jamari Traylor were mostly non-factors on Tuesday night, but Perry Ellis and Joel Embiid showed what they’re capable of doing inside. Ellis, who was snubbed on the handful of top-100 lists that were released by various media this preseason, displayed an improved arsenal of range and dribbling ability, finishing strong in transition as well as the half-court on his way to a team-high 23 points. We’re not sure if 20-point games should be expected from Ellis on a regular basis, but given Kansas’ mechanical ability to churn out highly skilled big men, we wouldn’t blame you if you bet on it. Meanwhile, Kansas’ Cameroonian freshman showed off some advanced ball-handling skills, feeding both Wiggins and role player Brannen Greene with a couple of impressive dishes in the first half. Typically, passing is one of the last skills that big men perfect on the developmental curve, and it usually doesn’t mature all that much in college, so it was a very nice surprise to see an otherwise raw freshman like Embiid drop a few dimes.

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2013-14 RTC Class Schedule: Kansas Jayhawks

Posted by BHayes on September 16th, 2013

Bennet Hayes is an RTC columnist. He can be reached @HoopsTraveler. Periodically throughout the preseason, RTC will take an in-depth look at the schedules of some of the more prominent teams in college basketball.

We have seen rapid and successful overhauls in Lawrence before, but perhaps never on this scale. Kansas is short five starters from a year ago, and in their wake arrives a decorated freshman class headed by a once-in-a-generation talent. Commitments from top-50 recruits Joel Embiid, Wayne Selden, and Conner Francamp had Jayhawk fans believing a quick rebuild was possible, but it was the May signing of Andrew Wiggins, the top player in the high school class of 2013, that has turned hope into belief. Another Big 12 championship and a return to the Sweet 16 would no longer constitute a brilliant coaching job by Bill Self, a man who has crafted many of them. Wiggins’ presence on campus has not only turned those achievements into mere expectations, but also transports hope to Lawrence that the ultimate prize – a National Title – is again a realistic possibility.

Could Perry Ellis Emerge As The Most Important Jayhawk Not Named Andrew Wiggins This Season?

Could Perry Ellis Emerge As The Most Valuable Jayhawk Not Named Andrew Wiggins This Season?

  • Team Outlook: Wiggins’ talent and projected impact has been well-documented, but even if he becomes the star he is expected to be, the Jayhawks will still need to develop the supporting cast around him. Perry Ellis (5.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG) is the one returnee that will almost definitely be a key part of that equation, but Nadiir Tharpe (5.5 PPG, 3.1 APG) and Jamari Traylor (2.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG) should also see minutes. We have seen Jayhawk role players emerge into key contributors after an offseason before, but no matter what happens with that trio, Bill Self will surely be relying on newcomers not named Wiggins to carry the load. Prime among them are freshmen Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid, who are expected to take over starting duties at shooting guard and center, respectively. Like Wiggins, both are projected as top-ten picks in next year’s NBA draft, so it’s a distinct possibility that this could be their lone rodeo in Lawrence. That being said, both need to add significant polish to their games, and despite the top-ten ranking recruiting gurus bestowed upon him, Embiid even drags the “project” title with him to Kansas. Freshmen guards Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene are also consensus Top-100 recruits, and both will have the opportunity to compete with Tharpe and Selden for minutes in the Kansas backcourt. Rounding out the frontcourt rotation is Memphis transfer Tarik Black (8.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG) and redshirt freshman Landen Lucas. Black’s addition was another significant coup for Self this offseason, as he provides the Jayhawks with a player who has actually been through it all before at the college level. Black, like nearly every Jayhawk outside of Wiggins, could end up as a thirty-minute a game starter, a marginalized bit player, or nearly anything in between. There is tons of talent in Lawrence and a superstar to headline the show, but much of the onus for the destination of this Jayhawk campaign rests on Bill Self and how he fits all the pieces together – something Jayhawk fans should feel pretty good about. Read the rest of this entry »
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Looking Ahead: Kansas Jayhawks Edition

Posted by KoryCarpenter on April 15th, 2013

The chatter about next season began in Lawrence not long after Trey Burke led an improbable comeback against the Jayhawks in the Sweet Sixteen, and with good reason. Kansas loses all five starters this year. The four seniors — Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Jeff Withey, Kevin Young, and redshirt freshman Ben McLemore (who technically hasn’t declared for the NBA Draft yet, but there is a better chance of President Obama reading this article in the Oval Office than McLemore returning next season). He is projected to be a top three pick with many publications predicting that he will go #1 overall. Freshman guard Anrio Adams also announced last week that he had received a release from the coaching staff and was set to transfer, but he has since changed his stance and said he is staying at Kansas. It’s hard to guess where Adams will be playing next season, if anywhere. Either way, the Kansas roster turnover resembles that of the 2008-09 season, when most of the national championship team left and Self returned only two players with experience, junior Sherron Collins and sophomore Cole Aldrich. Collins blossomed into a star that season and Aldrich eventually left early for the NBA himself. Is there that kind of talent returning next season? No, but next year’s incoming class is better than that which arrived in 2009, which should help the transition somewhat.

Bill Self Might Need To Be Patient Next Season.

Bill Self Might Need To Be Patient Next Season.

Returning Players With Experience:

  • Naadir Tharpe, sophomore point guard (19.4 MPG, 5.5 PPG, 3.1 APG, 34.3% FG): Naadir Tharpe is a shoot-first point guard who isn’t a great shooter. When he decides to play like a true point guard and looks to distribute the ball to open teammates, he’s not bad. And as the only point guard remaining with any real game experience, expect him to start from day one. But he needs to realize (or Self needs to be in his ear every day this summer) that at some point, he’s not a scorer. There was a three-game stretch in February where he went 5-of-22 from the floor. He was 2-of-15 against TCU, 2-of-11 against Iowa State and 4-of-17 in the NCAA Tournament. But that’s not all his fault. Self had no other options on the bench, and this Kansas team was sometimes timid. Ben McLemore should have taken 18 to 20 shots a game but also had a tendency to disappear. Elijah Johnson shied away from the ball in certain situations. Travis Releford wouldn’t hurt a mouse, and Jeff Withey was a defensive giant with limited offensive post moves. Tharpe is ever-confident, and you could sense that Self didn’t want to kill his aggressiveness even if it meant a few 2-of-11 shooting nights. Next season might be different, however. It might have to be different.

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Four Thoughts as Kansas Survives Against Iowa State In Overtime

Posted by KoryCarpenter on January 9th, 2013

A Melvin Ejim jumper that put Iowa State up 77-73 with 25 seconds left looked like it might end Kansas‘ 30-game home court winning streak, but the Jayhawks were able to force overtime thanks to some late-game heroics that included a banked three-pointer by Ben McLemore. Once they were able to force overtime, the Jayhawks cruised to a 97-89 victory. It was the second nail-biting home win in a row for Kansas after beating Temple on Sunday, 69-62. Here are four thoughts about what we learned about Kansas after Wednesday’s close call:

Ben McLemore Is As Good As Advertised.

Ben McLemore Has Proven to be as Good as Advertised

  1. Ben McLemore Is As Good As Advertised. He might be the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. The redshirt freshman guard had 33 points on 10-of-12 shooting and was a perfect 6-of-6 from beyond the arc. We heard all the glowing praise for McLemore last season while he sat out due to academic issues, but it was hard to fully believe a teammate’s or coach’s compliments until you saw him in live action. And through 14 games, McLemore has surpassed even those lofty expectations. He is averaging 15.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG and has scored over 20 points five times now. While his game still needs a little work (see his disappearing act against Temple), CBSSports.com has McLemore at #4 on its latest NBA Mock Draft while NBADraft.net updated their mock to put him #1 overall this week.
  2. Naadir Tharpe Need Not Shoot 11 Times in a Game. He was 2-of-11 from the field and finished with eight points. It was the second time this season he has taken 10 or more shots, the other coming against Southeast Missouri State on opening night, when he went 4-of-11 including 1-of-6 from three-point range. Tharpe took more shots Wednesday night than every Jayhawk not named Ben McLemore, and that isn’t a winning recipe for Kansas this season. Tharpe can be a good backup to spell starting point guard Elijah Johnson when he needs to rest or is in foul trouble. He is beginning to get more acclimated to Bill Self’s system and can become a capable floor leader, someone to move the ball and keep the offense flowing. He is not, however, a guy who should ever take 11 shots a night. Read the rest of this entry »
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Big 12 M5: 10.30.12 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on October 30th, 2012

  1. Jamari Traylor has Kevin Young’s broken bones in his hand to thank for his starting spot in Kansas’ first exhibition game, but he’ll use it as an opportunity to show his coach how valuable he may be during the 2012-13 season. Traylor often gets lost in the shuffle behind other KU freshmen like Ben McLemore and the veteran core of Jeff Withey, Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, but he could play a major role on this team after a redshirt season a year ago. The early scouting report on Traylor is that he’s a monster inside and the kind of guy who will do anything and everything to tip a ball, grab a rebound, or make a hustle play. Young won’t be out long with his injury, but we’ve got a feeling Traylor will earn himself plenty of playing time this season regardless.
  2. Kansas State has a lot of returning experience, but according to head coach Bruce Weber, that doesn’t necessarily equate to great leadership. Yet. He’s still searching for that bona fide leader, the kind of guy who can rally the troops and fight his way through adversity. Luckily, Weber has a couple of promising point guards in Angel Rodriguez and Will Spradling, as well as three seniors. Rodney McGruder is the best player on the team but he’s not the most vocal guy, whereas Jordan Henriquez — one of the league’s best defensive big men — could probably talk all day if you let him. It’s silly to worry too much from an outside perspective, though. Weber’s a good coach, this is a good team, and these guys will figure something out. By the end of the year, this won’t be a discussion anymore.
  3. Oklahoma held its media day on Monday, and the players seem to be approaching this season with a completely different attitude. After tumbling in Big 12 play a year ago, the Sooners return a lot of individually talented parts but must find a way to bring everything together under Lon Kruger. It all starts with point guard Sam Grooms, the Big 12’s leading returning assists man. He says he’s already noticing how the added depth has helped the team, thanks to Wyoming transfer Amath M’Baye and a very good group of freshmen. Forward Romero Osby may have said it best: “It’s a new feel.”
  4. A couple more news and notes from the Sooners’ media day: freshman C.J. Cole and junior college transfer D.J. Bennett will both redshirt this season, according to Lon Kruger — maybe that’s a testament to the depth Grooms talked about. Later in that article, there’s also an interesting tidbit involving a former Sooner named Blake Griffin. Perhaps you remember him. Apparently, Griffin’s first dunk after surgery back in September was over OU freshman Buddy Hield. “You can’t stop anybody like Blake Griffin,” he says.
  5. We’ll have a Texas Tech preview coming your way later today, but we may as well direct you to CBS Sports‘ preview of the Red Raiders as well. There’s no harm in providing a variety of opinions, and this write-up gives a decent overview of what to expect from this program in shambles. No matter who’s writing the preview — CBS, RTC, or any other outlet — it’s hard to argue with the fact that head coach Chris Walker has quite a task ahead of him. This particular writer predicts Texas Tech to finish winless in the Big 12. That’s a bit much, but you get the point. It’ll be a long year.
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RTC Conference Primers: #5 – Big 12

Posted by Brian Goodman on November 2nd, 2011

Steve Fetch of Rock Chalk Talk is the RTC correspondent for the Big 12. You can find him on Twitter @fetch9.

Reader’s Take I

 

Top Storylines

  • This is of course the last year for Texas A&M to leave its mark on the Big 12, and it could be Missouri’s as well. Both teams enter the 2011-12 season with serious conference title hopes,  but each comes with some question marks. Missouri lost Laurence Bowers to an ACL injury, which really puts a strain on their interior depth. They didn’t rebound terribly well in the first place, ranking 317th nationally in defensive rebounding, and the loss of the 6’8” Bowers, who was their best returning player on the glass, won’t help. A&M meanwhile still has Khris Middleton, but do they have anyone to get him the ball? Dash Harris had a turnover rate of almost 30% last year and an assist rate of only 21%
  • Speaking of those two, the Big 12 has four new coaches this year, with Texas Tech and Oklahoma joining A&M and Missouri as teams with new head men. The Big 12 hasn’t had this many new coaches since 2007 when six of the twelve schools had first-year men on the job. I took a look at  how coaches in the Big 12 have done in their first year on the job and compared it with the historical performances of the programs who have new coaches at the helm this season, and it looks like all four could be in for rough times initially.
  • Kansas has won at least a share of the last seven Big 12 titles, but in order or the Jayhawks to make it eight, Bill Self will have to do his best coaching job yet. He lost both the Morris twins and Josh Selby to the NBA, as well as the underrated Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar to graduation. What’s more, incoming freshmen Ben McLemore, Jamari Traylor and Braeden Anderson were all deemed ineligible. Kansas still has some talent to work with, especially Thomas Robinson, who had a tremendous summer.

Even Bill Self Has Admitted That This Season Will Be A Challenge For The Perennial Blueblood

Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Kansas (14-4)
  2. Baylor (13-5)
  3. Missouri (13-5)
  4. Texas A&M (12-6)
  5. Oklahoma State (10-8)
  6. Texas (9-9)
  7. Iowa State (7-11)
  8. Kansas State (5-13)
  9. Oklahoma (4-14)
  10. Texas Tech (3-15)

All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)

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Who’s Got Next? More Eligibility Issues, Prospects Discuss Midnight Madness, Big Men Make Big Commitments

Posted by Josh Paunil on October 19th, 2011

 

Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing or different things you’d like to see, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Lead Story: Trio of Class of 2011 Prospects Experiencing Eligibility Issues

This Is Probably How Bill Self Reacted When His Two Top Freshmen Were Ruled Ineligible.

Kansas Duo Out For 2011-12 Season, Louisville’s Blackshear In Danger. Kansas freshmen small forward Ben McLemore  and power forward Jamari Traylor were ruled ineligible by the NCAA, head coach Bill Self announced Friday. The pair of forwards were declared partial qualifiers meaning they can’t take part in any team activities until the beginning of the second semester and can’t participate in any games in the upcoming basketball season. This comes as a shocker since the Jayhawks’ coaching staff thought the duo would indubitably qualify although this isn’t the first time Kansas has had trouble with freshman qualifying. Just last month, the NCAA deemed freshman power forward Braeden Anderson a partial qualifier who can’t accept a scholarship for the 2011-12 school year. Louisville freshman shooting guard Wayne Blackshear is also undergoing eligibility issues. Although Cardinal head coach Rick Pitino remains optimistic regarding Blackshear’s chances of being cleared, this isn’t the first time a Louisville freshman faced eligibility issues either. Last month, shooting guard Kevin Ware (yes, that Kevin Ware) was ruled ineligible for the year although he could play games in the spring semester if his SAT scores increase (which he’ll be re-taking next week).

What They’re Saying [About Midnight Madness]

We’ve had a lot of coverage here at RTC on Midnight Madness from the best events to the best dunks and the best stories via Twitter, but now we get to take a look at what the best prospects in the country had to say about the celebrations to kick off the college basketball year.

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Big 12 Morning Five: 10.18.11 Edition

Posted by cwilliams on October 18th, 2011

  1. What’s that? You were worried there wouldn’t be a conference realignment article in today’s Morning Five? Well, never fret. The New York Times is reporting that a Missouri move to the SEC is imminent. Yes, this is news, but I’m not ready to call it fact quite yet. If conference realignment was based strictly off media reports, Texas and Oklahoma would be battling it out for Pac-16 supremacy, and Missouri coach Frank Haith would be studying Purdue and Michigan State film.
  2. Billy Kennedy, the new coach of Texas A&M basketball, missed the team’s first practice due to an “unspecified medical condition”.  Kennedy has been directed to sit out by his doctor and will undergo numerous medical tests before returning to Reed Arena. While obviously upset over missing his team’s initial practice, Kennedy said, “don’t worry, I’ll be back soon”. We hope so, Coach. RTC wishes you a speedy recovery.
  3. Andy Glockner from SI.com has an article up, reviewing the off-season for every conference in twitter format (140 characters or less). The Big 12 section is humorous and relevant, and actually has a bit of good information peppered in.
  4. The Public Policy Polling organization conducted a survey for Nebraska residents, and one of the questions was how they currently felt about their University of Nebraska’s move from the Big 12 to the Big 10. Cornhusker fans aren’t living in the past,a s 65% of residents are glad they bolted to the Big 10, and only 12% wished they still remained in the Big 12.
  5. Kansas has been dealt a blow, as the NCAA declared two Jayhawk players partially ineligible for this season. Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor will not be allowed to suit up for the Jayhawks until second semester. I wouldn’t write off the Jayhawks quite yet, however. Every time events occur that appear to lead to a Jayhawk rebuilding season, they win the Big 12.
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Morning Five: 10.17.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 17th, 2011

  1. And so begins the shortest ‘preseason’ in all of sports, the 24 days between the start of official practice — as celebrated by Midnight Madness all across the country on Friday night — and the opening games of the 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, on November 7.  It’s an astonishingly short window, but all that means is that we’re that much closer to seeing bona fide college basketball on our televisions and in our local arenas very soon.  Let’s get you caught up.  On Friday night we put together a Storytelling piece capturing some of the excitement around the land as MM tipped off everywhere.  Yesterday we put together a list of the 13 best dunks from this year’s proceedings, several of which will have you drooling in anticipation for more.  Immediately following this post, we’ll publish the most interesting Friday night clips from several of the blue-blooded programs like Duke, Kentucky, Connecticut, Kansas, North Carolina and several others.  Midnight Madness weekend is great because it represents a new beginning — every team is still unblemished and ostensibly has an equal shot at doing something special.  Welcome to next year.
  2. During ESPNU’s Midnight Madness coverage Friday night, Andy Katz spent as much time talking football through the lens of conference realignment scenarios as he did discussing his favored sport.  Word leaked during the broadcast that the Big East had reportedly offered five schools membership to the conference — Houston, SMU and Central Florida in all sports, and Boise State and Air Force in football only.  The goal, of course, is to keep the conference’s automatic BCS bid, but each step ‘forward’ appears increasingly desperate for a league that built its reputation on basketball three decades ago and has never really been that significant on the gridiron.  As Lenn Robbins writes in the NY Post, the conference doesn’t expect to announce any movement until after the Big East’s basketball media day this week, but we truly feel that grabbing schools without regard for regional ties and rivalries is a shortsighted strategy doomed to ultimately fail.  The non-BCS Big East schools very seriously considered walking away from the rest of this madness, and who would blame them at this point?
  3. Aaron Torres writes that this will be a “golden season” in college basketball, and he makes a compelling case for his argument.  As everyone here already knows, the number of elite players who returned to college rather than face an NBA lockout, when combined with an exceptional class of incoming freshmen, could produce a quality of depth in the sport that we haven’t seen in a number of years.  Torres contends that the last time college basketball was this talented was in 1995-96, at the cusp of the preps-to-pros trend (Kevin Garnett skipped college that year) and featuring upperclassman stars such as Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, among others.  Let’s hope that the NBA’s eventual collective bargaining agreement makes seasons like this the future norm with a two-and-done rule allowing us to enjoy players for a couple of years prior to moving on to the professional ranks.
  4. Seth Davis gives us answers to his ten burning questions as we head into the 2011-12 season.  Starting today, we plan on rolling out our own list of 20 questions over the next several weeks, but we can guarantee you that none of ours will involve Utah State senior superfan, Bill Sproat.  We’re honestly not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but the one answer he gives that we can completely get on board with is #7 — which underachieving big man will make a giant leap?  The answer to that question is legitimately the difference between his team being a borderline Top 10 to 15 squad and the overall best team in America.  Tell us what you think.
  5. Kansas released some disappointing news on Friday afternoon just before its Late Night in the Phog celebration.  Two more members of its freshman class, Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor, will join Braeden Anderson as ineligible to play this season because of high school transcript issues (all three attended three different high schools).  For a team suffering considerable losses of key personnel from last season’s Elite Eight squad, this is another blow to Bill Self’s aspiration to win an eighth straight Big 12 regular season title in 2011-12.  He worked to temper expectations on Friday, especially now that his Jayhawks are down to eight legitimate players and in need of significant improvements from returnees such as Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson.  If Self can outlast Baylor, Missouri and Texas A&M again this year in the Big 12 race, he’ll certainly deserve any postseason COY accolades he gets.
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Who’s Got Next? Commitments, Misspellings and More…

Posted by Josh Paunil on May 20th, 2011

Who’s Got Next? is a bi-weekly column by Josh Paunil, the RTC recruiting guru. We encourage you to check out his website dedicated solely to college basketball recruiting, National Recruiting Spotlight, for more detailed recruiting information. Twice a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are in the lower levels of the sport. If you have any suggestions as to areas we’re missing, please let us know at rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Introduction

The top unsigned prospects committing and a new section unveiling is just a couple of the highlights on the first ever Friday edition of the Who’s Got Next? column. We take an inside look at why the guys committed and the impact on the class rankings as well as what it means for the Class of 2012 and how prospects are affected by the coaching carousel in college basketball. We also analyze a top ten 2011 recruiting class and take an in-depth look at how a school that made the Elite Eight last year will try to replace the potential number one draft pick.

What They’re Saying

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks out on the issue of one-and-dones.

  • NCAA President Mark Emmert on one-and-dones: “I think it creates difficult problems inside universities when we’re trying to promote an emphasis on (players being) students as well as athletes.”
  • Senior Trevor Lacey (#37) on committing to Alabama: “My relationship and trust with [Alabama coach Anthony Grant] set the Crimson Tide apart. I also feel the University of Alabama will provide the best opportunity for me when basketball is over. I love the people in Alabama.”
  • Senior Nick Faust (#38) on why he stuck with Maryland: “Coach [Mark] Turgeon’s goal is to win a national championship and I would play a big part in that immediately.”
  • Senior Jamari Traylor on committing to the Jayhawks: “It’s a good fit for me. I really like Coach [Bill] Self and coach [Kurtis] Townsend. I really like the players. On my visit I saw the campus and everything I knew it would be a good place for me.”
  • Senior Sidiki Johnson on Arizona’s incoming recruiting class (which he is apart of): “We are a good class, every player brings something valuable to Arizona next year.”
  • Senior P.J. Hairston (#12) on his reaction to Duke not spelling his name correctly: “I’m like, ‘OK. How can I go here? You can’t even spell my name right.’”
  • Junior Devonta Pollard (#40) on climbing the rankings: “It makes me feel good. First of all it shows me that I’m not just working hard to be working hard. The work is paying off and I’m improving and I can see that.”

What You Missed

The top unsigned prospect left, shooting guard Trevor Lacey (#37), committed to Alabama Wednesday.

Lacey Stays In-State, Commits to Alabama. Class of 2011 shooting guard Trevor Lacey (#37) committed to the Crimson Tide Wednesday (to see why, check out the “What They’re Saying” section above) over Kansas and Kentucky which gives Alabama its second top 50 shooting guard along with Levi Randolph (#31). He has said all along that playing time and the school’s fan base would be two factors in his decision and it seemed like he really warmed up to the Crimson Tide crowd when they chanted his name at the Alabama vs. Miami (FL) NIT game, just one of multiple visits he made there. Lacey, who was the top unsigned prospect left on the board, will be joining small forward Rodney Cooper, power forward Nick Jacobs and center Moussa Gueye in addition to Randolph in Tuscaloosa. Alabama head coach Anthony Grant has done an excellent job reeling in top in-state talent as Lacey, Randolph and Cooper are all Alabama natives. The addition of Lacey also gives the Crimson Tide the #9 class in 2011 because of how well he will fit into their system. Lacey is a great shooter who has outstanding range and consistency and can both catch and shoot and shoot off the dribble at a high level. He can also shoot coming off a pick and with guys in his face. The bottom line about him is he won’t wow you with his athleticism but he does have good size and strength for the two-guard and he can put up big-time numbers.

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