Kansas to retire Mario Chalmers’ jersey at halftime of February 16 game against Texas

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The man responsible for getting Kansas to overtime in the 2008 national title game against Memphis will be given the ultimate honor on February 16, as Mario Chalmers will watch his No. 15 jersey get raised to the Allen Fieldhouse rafters at halftime of the Jayhawks’ game against Texas.

A three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection, Chalmers helped lead the Jayhawks to three Big 12 regular season titles, two Final Four appearances and the program’s most recent national title.

“Mario definitely deserves to have his jersey hung,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said in the release. “He was the most outstanding player in a 2008 Final Four, which featured four number one seeds. He was as clutch of a player as we’ve ever had here.

“He was a guy that seemed like the bigger the stage, the brighter he shined. He had an orneriness and toughness that a lot people didn’t see because they saw the smile. He was an assassin on the court.”

Chalmers ranks second all-time in Kansas history with 283 steals, and he also managed to score 1,341 points during his three seasons in Lawrence. The Anchorage, Alaska native will always be remembered for the shot he hit against Memphis, but there was a lot more to his career than that single moment.

Currently playing for the Miami Heat, Chalmers will joins the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Lovelette (the only other Jayhawk to win both an NCAA and an NBA title) and Danny Manning in the Allen Fieldhouse rafters.

Chalmers also becomes the second Jayhawk of the Bill Self era to have his jersey retired, with Wayne Simien (who began his KU career playing for Roy Williams) being the first.

“I wouldn’t say I expected [to have my jersey retired], but you know something? One of my goals when I first went to KU was to make a name (for myself) and make sure my name lasts forever in Kansas history,” Chalmers said in the release.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.