Kris Humphries an ‘absolute jerk’? Ex-Kansas player agrees

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An upcoming book on Kansas basketball promises to be more than just fluff. And that’s not just the book jacket talking.

Two excerpts from “Beyond the Phog: Untold Stories from Kansas Basketball’s Most Dominant Decade,” provide insight to how the teams were built and some motivating factors for a program that won nine conference titles, 300 games and a national title since 2001. Writers Jason King and Jesse Newell spoke to nearly 40 players and both head coaches, Bill Self and Roy Williams.

The result? Stuff like this from former player Keith Langford:

“Kris Humphries came on a visit and tried to commit. He really wanted to come here. But no one on the team liked Kris Humphries. He was arrogant. He told everyone he was going to come in and be the leading scorer as a freshman and that we’d all have to take a backseat to him. We were trying to be respectful and not say anything. But he was an absolute jerk. It was tough, because Roy was really excited about him. Kris Humphries was a big deal. He was a one-and-done or a two-and-done kind of player. Roy wanted him to commit on his visit. But we told him, ‘Coach, you can’t bring this guy in. You can’t do it.’ You’d figure Roy would say something like, ‘Let’s work on him,’ or ‘Let’s give him another chance.’ Instead he told Humphries, ‘Sorry, but you can’t come.’ Bill Self did the same thing years later with Terrence Williams.”

Nobody liked Kris Humphries? Guess his sisters-in-law aren’t the only ones who think so. Given that he eventually committed to Duke, then backed out and spent one season at Minnesota before bolting for the NBA, that was hardly a tough call.

Terrence Williams, on the other hand, probably wasn’t an ideal fit given how stacked the Jayhawks were with talent between 2006 and 2009. But I’m not sure how close T-Will was to coming to Kansas anyway. According to this, KU wasn’t one of the four schools on his final list. (Because they didn’t want him? Anyway.)

Then there’s the Jayhawks’ run to the 2008 national title, which included a “revenge” game against Villanova. Well, at least for Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins.

See, both were cut by ‘Nova coach Jay Wright during tryouts for the 2007 Pan-Am Games. Collins had a bum knee, but Chalmers says he led the camp in steals and hardly had any turnovers.

Yet Wright picked his own guy, Wildcats guard Scottie Reynolds. So when a Sweet 16 game between Kansas and Villanova rolled around, Chalmers wasn’t about to forget. An excerpt:

Coach Self called Sherron and me into his office and said, “How do you feel about this Villanova game?” I said, “Coach, this is personal to me. I don’t like Jay Wright.” He was like, “I understand that, but keep it out of the media.” So when the media asked if it was a personal game, we’d say, “No, it’s not personal. It’s just another game.” But during the game we were talking all kinds of s–t to Jay Wright. We’d run by him and tell him, “Sit your ass down! We got this!” Another time we said to him, “This is what you get for cutting us. We’re about to dog you!” Anytime we were throwing the ball in from the sideline, when he was standing up trying to call a play, we’d tell him to shut his mouth and sit down. There was one play where I threw a lob to Shady on an inbounds pass and he dunked over Scottie Reynolds. Right before I threw it I looked at Jay Wright and said, “Watch this!” That game was definitely personal for Sherron and me.

You can see more about what’s included in the book here. My biggest hope? That Williams goes through a detailed recount of his Bonnie Bernstein interview. A guy can dream, right?

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You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.

North Carolina to unveil national championship banner in October

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The latest addition to the rafters of the Dean Dome will be unveiled this fall.

North Carolina will raise the banner for its 2017 national championship on Oct. 13, according to a report from Inside Carolina.

The event will coincide with the Tar Heels’ “Late Night With Roy” event that marks the public start to the season for the program and also serves, like many other top programs, as a recruiting tool.

North Carolina won its sixth NCAA national championship in April by defeating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Phoenix to avenge its last-second loss in the title game to Villanova the year prior. It was the Tar Heels’ first championship since 2009.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.