Monthly Archives: March 2010

Teahan to try out for football team at quarterback

So I go out to spring football practice today at Kansas, and who do I see wearing a red No. 9 non-contact jersey? None other than KU basketball walk-on and campus heartthrob Conner Teahan.
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Self speaks

Kansas coach Bill Self spoke with reporters on Tuesday morning in an effort to wrap up a season that began with high hopes and ended in disappointment on Saturday with a loss to Northern Iowa in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Self, candid as usual, gave a glimpse of his mental state just three days after one of the most painful losses of his career.

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Brett Ballard to coach Baker men

Baker University just officially confirmed that Kansas director of basketball operations Brett Ballard will be its next basketball coach.

Ballard, who played point guard for KU from 2001-02 and has been a part of the staff since 2003-04, will takeover Baker full-time on July 1. He will spend the next few months becoming familiar with the program.

Live Blog: KU vs. Northern Iowa

By Jeffrey Lutz

:00 Ballgame. KU goes down for the second time in recent history in Oklahoma City and the second time in recent history to a team from the Missouri Valley conference. The final was 69-67. We’ll have this thing covered from every possible square inch tomorrow.

:26.0 KU’s press after a basket leaves Farokhmanesh WIDE friggin’ open on the wing. And he drains it for a four-point lead. Marcus Morris gets called for a charge and UNI will be at the line with a 66-62 lead. Tony Adame still says it’s not over. Nevermind, that was a timeout, not a foul. Now a foul sends UNI to the line with :18.1 on the clock.

:53.8 — By the way, still no Aldrich. Kwadzo Ahelegbe just turned it over after Morris made both FTs. KU trailing 63-60 with 51.5 seconds to go.

1:07 — Lots on my mind right now about this game so I’ve forgotten to blog lately. UNI is still hitting big shots — Adam Koch rebounded a missed three and dunked for a seven-point lead, then Tyshaun Taylor made 2 FTs for KU. So it’s 63-58. Marcus Morris will be at the line trying to cut the deficit to three.

3:38 — Big difference between a three-point deficit and a six-point one. Johnny Moran just handed KU the latter with a big, BIG three-pointer that put UNI ahead 59-53. We’re at the final media timeout.

4:25 — Things are going right for the Jayhawks again, so no need to think this one is over. Well, they’re not going right again, they’re going right for the first time. Collins is at the line, and he made both so KU trails 56-53.

6:54 — Aldrich’s injury doesn’t appear serious. He just got up off the bench and is walking around. No consultant with a trainer that I’ve seen. I’ll let you know when he checks back in. UNI is starting to miss shot, but KU is struggling to take advantage. 52-45.

8:36 — More bad news, KU fans. Cole Aldrich just limped off the court.

9:38 — Tony Adame doesn’t say it’s over until it’s really over. He’s like Yogi Berra that way. But it’s getting really late for KU, down 52-41.

11:36 — I called a 6-0 run to colleague Tony Adame during the last timeout, then KU scored four quick and UNI called a TO. It’s now 47-39.

12:34 — There’s usually a point in a game where I say Team X has no chance to win because nothing is going right. It’s just not their day today. I don’t know if I can say that yet about KU, but it’s getting awfully close. Sherron Collins is having trouble taking care of the ball, the Jayhawks haven’t figured out how to defend UNI, and KU is on the verge of foul trouble again. UNI leads 47-35. Time is running out.

15:26 2nd — Still no wearing down by UNI. The Panthers are responding to every attempt KU is making to take over this game and they’re attacking, too. It’s 42-32 and nothing is going right for the Jayhawks. I mean nothing. I literally can’t think of a bright spot right now for KU. Can you?

Still Half — I came up with the idea on my way to the restroom (where most of my good ideas originate) that UNI is basically the Jamie Moyer of basketball teams. You know Moyer; the 67-year-old left-hander for the Phillies that throws about 77 mph but still gets people out. He’s frustrating to hit against, and no hitter wants to give him any credit, even after an 0 for 4 performance. UNI is the same way. Nobody’s really sure how they’re so good, on paper they’re a good matchup for just about everybody, or so it seems, and they’re excruciating to oppose. KU has to figure it out, but it’s taken 20-plus years for hitters to figure out Moyer.

Half — UNI has scored 36 points and it leads 36-28. The Panthers are on pace to score 72 points, which is uncharacteristic for a group known for grinding out games. UNI reached 72 points six times during the regular season, none in the Missouri Valley. Conventional wisdom says KU wull wear down the Panthers, but there have been no signs of that happening yet.

2:59 — None of my predictions are coming true. KU fans should be nervous. I’ve never been attached with a winner, and my presence on this blog is good for at least three points to the other team. I’m sorry, Jayhawk fans.

3:28 — Farokhmanesh is the most entertaining player I’ve seen in a while. He’s 6-foot, smallest guy on the floor, and he’s busting through screens and working his butt off to get open. It’s paying off — he’s 4-4 (three 3′s) and has 11 points.

5:28 — I’m seeing UNI in a different light than I have all season. Man, these guys are gritty. I’m way impressed. Not impressed enough to change my pick, but I don’t think the Panthers are going down by 14 points anymore. Farokhmanesh is an ice-cold shooter. Dang. Just…dang! UNI leads 28-23.

7:05 UNI, known for its defense, is managing to make this a shootout. I don’t imagine that will bode well for the Panthers, but we’ll see. 25-21 UNI.

10:17 — UNI has its starters back in. Eglseder got on the floor for a loose ball and called an alert timeout. The first foul against UNI prompts a standing ovation from the KU faithful.

10:49 — As well as UNU s playing, it feels like the Panthers should be ahead by more than four. I think KU makes a run pretty soon.

11:44 The foul count after a whistle on Marcus Morris (I think; it could have been Markieff) is 6-0 now. KU fans booed the referees lustily as we went to the second media timeout. I felt like I was back at Koch Arena. Apparently all fans get mad at the officials occasionally. This is news to me. UNI leads 17-12. Nice job by the Panthers’ backups to mantain.

12:31 — KU has committed five fouls, UNI 0.

13:37 — UNI has its second stringers in. All five of them. So this would be a good time for KU to make a run, with Aldrich and Collins in the game.

15:39 — KU has made its last three shots, but UNI got a basket from Jordan Eglseder and carries a 12-9 lead into the first media timeout. For the record, I’m in the media and I would have been just fine if they’d contiuned playing. For all you believers in things like this, KU trailed 12-4 in this game and in its first-round game against Lehigh. But UNI is quite a bit better than Lehigh.

16:11 — We’re nearly four minutes in, and still no turnovers for either team. Impressive.

17:30 First Half – Uh, wow. I think UNI is ready to play this game. Did anyone expect anything different. For the second straight game, Bill Self is forced to call a timeout with the Jayhawks trailing early. After a Johnny Moran 3, it’s 10-2 UNI and we’re just 2 1/2 minutes in. UNI has made 3 of 4 shots, KU is 1 of 4.

4:38 — I think this will be a big game for KU’s Xavier Henry. No matter who is guarding him, it will be a mismatch. He’s too big for UNI guards Johnny Moran, Kwadzo Ahelegbe and Ali Farokhmanesh, and Adam Koch isn’t quick enough to guard X. Another fearless prediction: 28 points for Henry tonight on 11-of-16 shooting.

4:34 — There are a lot more empty seats here today than I expected. Mostly in the K-State section. I guess not all of the Wildcat fans wanted to see KU whoop up on a team wearing purple for the fourth time this year. Makes sense. But some of those purple-clad KSU lovers cheered when UNI came out of the tunnel. Why not? It’s all purple, it’s all the same. And yes, it’s my prediction that KU will whoop up on UNI. 76-62. Does that classify as an upwhooping?

4:13 p.m. — Fight songs have been played, both teams have emerged from the tunnel for layup lines (UNI’s Ali Farokhmanesh just did a sweet reverse) and we’re almost ready to begin the second-round NCAA Tournament game between Northern Iowa and your Jayhawks of the University of Kansas. At least, I’m assuming they’re your Jayhawks, otherwise why would you be reading? If we have some UNI fans here, well…I guess it can be YOUR Panthers, too. I’m impartial, folks. I just like to play to my audience.

Anyway, not much to report on yet. The NCAA restricts play-by-play blogging, but the number of posts allowed is unlimited. So keep checking back throughout the game for analysis, insight, and general knowledge that you can only get from courtside. In the second row. On the out of bounds line. But I’m still sitting way close, so there.

Saturday Fun Day

It IS Saturday, right???

By Jeffrey Lutz

This is my debut on the KU blog, and I must admit that I never thought any of my fine writing would ever appear here. I am, of course, honored by the opportunity to bring my unique (read: normal) level of blog-writing skills to Jayhawk fans worldwide. And I know that J. Brady McCullough has readers in all seven continents.

This year, I’ve re-examined my idea of what the NCAA Tournament is really about. Not only have I never covered an NCAA tourney before now, I haven’t even been to once since 1994, when a regional was held in Wichita. Or Park City, more accurately. Park City can host a regional, but not Intrust Bank Arena. Makes sense. If you were at the Kansas Coliseum in March of that year, you might remember me — I was the kid rooting for Michigan. The only one. I was a big Fab Five guy, and even though Chris Webber was not a part of the ’94 Wolverines, I was still all about my all-time favorite college player, Jalen Rose. And Dugan Fife, of course.

For the previous 15 years, I’ve been on the outside looking in at the NCAA Tournament. I filled out brackets every year, even won a little money one year. This was all done with the approval of Nola Foulston, of course. In middle school and high school, I would find the nicest teacher, spend all year buttering up him or her, then use his or her room to watch the tournament on Thursday and Friday morning. In college, well, let’s just be honest — I skipped class. Oh, except for that one time I had a test on the same day Wichita State opened the tournament against Seton Hall. I got a bonus point for knowing the location of Seton Hall, by the way.

But I digress. This year, I’ve gotten to see the tournament from a completely different perspective — as a reporter. I know I’m one of the few wide-eyed cub reporters here — the veterans have all been around the block a time or two and aren’t quite as impressed. And really, wide-eyed isn’t the best term to describe my attitude, anyway. I’m just here to do my job, which is to write sidebars to back up J. Brady’s outstanding KU coverage. And I’m not just sucking up because I’ve met J. Brady twice for a total of 14 seconds. In fact, his writing is so inspiring that I’m considering changing my name to J. Douglas Lutz until KU is out of the tournament.

I’m trying to feel like what I’m doing is the coolest experience I’ve had as a writer. And on paper, it is. You mean, they just bring you people to talk to and you get to raise your hand and say who you are and where you’re from and you can ask Bill Self or Frank Martin or Jacob Pullen or Sherron Collins a question? How awesome is that? Courtside for an NCAA Tournament game, 20 feet from the, AHEM, University of Florida dance team? Awesome! Being a part of one of the most anticipated, most watched sporting events there is? Awesome!

But on the other side, it’s really just work. Sometimes hard work. Not necessarily for me — I’m just the sidebars/notes guy. But there were people in the media room for nearly half a day yesterday. Working hard. Possibly not grasping the meaning of what they were doing. They were probably thinking of it as work. And there’s nothing wrong with that approach. You have to take work seriously or you probably won’t do a very good job.

But today, I’m changing that approach. Yes, I’ll work hard. Yes, I’ll take it seriously. But my goal today is to have fun. To soak in my surroundings. To take a moment to realize that I’m watching the nation’s top-ranked team play a game on the sport’s biggest stage. To summon up some star-struckness when I look across the court and see Bill Self. It’s not in my job description to be in awe of the people I cover, but I think I can fake it for the sake of the event.

So that’s it. Today is Fun Day for J. Douglas Lutz at the NCAA Tournament. I’m hoping today’s philosophy will reflect in my hard work. Thanks for reading.

Live blog: Kansas vs. Lehigh

KU 90, Lehigh 74 FINAL Marcus Morris scored 26 points and Jayhawks struggle early but move on. In March, that’s all that matters.

KU 75, Lehigh 55 6:34 Reed 3 gives Jayhawks 20-point lead. They’ll be playing UNI on Saturday. That should be a great big man battle — two future NBA centers duking it out.

KU 68, Lehigh 53 8:23 Here’s where KU puts the game away — four threes in less than four minutes. Two from Reed, one from Morningstar and one right now from collins.

KU 52, Lehigh 44 11:59 Nice alley from Collins to Aldrich for the slam. Jayhawks just can’t put Lehigh away, though. SWEEP THE LEG, JOHNNY!!! FINISH HIM!!!

KU 50, Lehigh 39 14:29 Great sequence by Jayhawks … Collins hits a three, steal on the other end, hits Taylor in transition who flips it back to Henry for the lefty leaner … he was eyeing the rim from about middle of the lane. Throw it down in your hometown!!! That’s 13,000 and change watching this one, they just announced over PA.

KU 43, Lehigh 32 17:15 X hits tough shot in lane. Love watching lefties play that make the game look so easy.

KU 41, Lehigh 32 17:56 Aldrich opened with a quick bucket, Lehigh had answer with Buchberger’s 3 but X. Henry had a nice drive to the whole to push lead back to 9.

Kansas 35, Lehigh 29 HALFTIME Collins gives KU a minor surge late in the half with a three, reverse layup then nice dish to Taylor as time was running out. Carrington and McCollom are keeping Lehigh in this game. That it’s this close at halftime is already kind of a win for the Mt. Hawks.

KU 25, Lehigh 23 3:30 Carrington on the back-to-back buckets and I guess the Mountain Hawks aren’t dead after all. KU had a chance to stomp the neck (Gregg Marshall terminology) and didn’t do it.

KU 21, Lehigh 14 7:58 Three-pointer from Xavier Henry followed by a bucket from Collins. Lehigh’s Zahir Carrington dunked on T. Rob’s head.

KU 16, Lehigh 12 10:21 Ok, so Lehigh just remembered it was Lehigh. McMorris gets back-to-back buckets to give KU its first lead of the game. Watching McMorris play all year I’m not sure how he stays in school. Gotta be a ltotery pick, right?

Lehigh 12, KU 12 11:53 three from McMorris, steal and a layup by Taylor, then shot plus a foul from Aldrich. That was quick. You can feel the energy surge in the building. Aldrich already has 3 or 4 blocks by my count.

Lehigh 12, KU 4, 14:23 – The sluggish start continues. Self is trying to sub to spark some energy but he’s not even getting it off the bench. Down by 8? This place is quiet right now.

Lehigh 4, KU 2 15:59 – Jayhawks didn’t score for almost four minutes until a bucket from Marcus Morris. KU is playing sloppy basketball right now and I think they’re hearing about it in this timeout

Lehigh 3, KU 0 19:00 Three from Knutson. Ballgame!

Starting lineups right now. It’s Xavier Henry’s hometown, but nobody gets a bigger ovation than Sherron Collins.

Tony Adame checking in courtside at Ford Center, where we’re just minutes from the tip of the Kansas-Lehigh game. This is the biggest crowd we’ve had for any of the four games today, and K-State had a pretty sizable following.

Just think of me as your cyber-stewardess for the next couple of hours. Hands and feet in the vehicle at all times, please.

All about Sherron

SHERRON COLLINS

SHERRON COLLINS

Got caught in a smash of KU players and coaches on the way into the locker room as I was walking out of the UNLV locker room — standing there with Sherron Collins as this nice, nice lady asked him for his ID as the rest of his (taller) teammates kept walking past him. He didn’t trip, just stood there looking at her for a second, I asked him what he was listening to and he flashed me his IPod. Soulja Boy’s “All The Way Turned Up,” in case you were interested.

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KU assistant Joe Dooley contacted about East Carolina job

On Monday, FOXsports.com reported that Kansas assistant coach Joe Dooley had been offered the head coaching job at East Carolina, where Dooley was the head coach from 1996-99, going 57-52.

But KU coach Bill Self said that negotiations between Dooley and East Carolina were not that far along.

“Nothing has been offered,” Self said. “Nothing is imminent at all. (They are) still gauging interest.”

Dooley has been on the KU staff for all seven seasons of Self’s tenure.

Three things KU can improve to win Big 12 Tournament

1. Play the guys who are playing well, regardless of reputation: If Sherron Collins is off his game, which has been a pretty frequent occurrence during the last month, KU coach Bill Self shouldn’t hesitate to play Tyshawn Taylor with Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed as he did at times on Saturday at Missouri. When Collins is at his best, there’s nobody on the team who can impact the game like he can, but if he’s not feeling it, there’s no reason to keep him in the game and wait for him to get going.

2. Ride Marcus Morris. Morris has become the Jayhawks’ most dependable offensive option. He can score the ball by shooting a jumper or driving into the lane, he can score by cleaning up offensive rebounds and he also just happens to be one of the best passers on the team. Particularly against a zone, Morris is irreplaceable.

3. Stop playing to the situation. Can Kansas go on to accomplish the rest of its goals by playing its best only when it feels challenged? The Jayhawks have been a team defined by their ability to create a run when they need one. The Big 12 Tournament, with a first-round matchup against Colorado or Texas Tech, would be a good opportunity for Kansas to play 40 strong minutes and bury an inferior opponent.

An attempt at explaining Cole Aldrich’s minutes

One of the most baffling things that occurred during Kansas’ 85-77 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday was that the Jayhawks did not utilize their size advantage with Cole Aldrich and the Morris twins.

The Cowboys had two 6-foot-8 players – Matt Pilgrim and Marshall Moses – who were rarely in the game together. That meant KU had potential mismatches inside for most of the game.

But as the Jayhawks embarked on a comeback attempt, Aldrich sat for 12 minutes of the second half despite having no fouls to his name. He finished with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block in 24 minutes.

Of course, we wanted to find out after the game what KU coach Bill Self’s reasoning was in regard to sitting Cole. He mentioned in answering another question that Oklahoma State’s Obi Muonelo, a 6-foot-5 player who has enough strength to play the No. 4 spot in the Cowboys’ lineup, is a matchup nightmare for a team that plays a true center like Kansas because he makes it very difficult to guard ball screens.

I followed up with Self to ask him if Muonelo was the main factor in not playing Aldrich, and Self took me too literally. He thought I was suggesting Aldrich would be guarding Muonelo and said that had nothing to do with it.

So I would still think that the mismatch of having Cole switching ball screens with Muonelo coming off the screen had a lot to do with him not being in the game late. But it’s also possible that it was simply performance-related. Aldrich had just one block and seemed to be late to every play Saturday.

Anyway, I don’t see this becoming an issue but thought I could try to shed some light on why the big guy sat Saturday.