Kansas puts together loaded non-conference slate for 2013-14

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Even with the loss of all five starters from this season’s Big 12 champion squad, Kansas head coach Bill Self won’t be accused of ducking competition in 2013-14.

Kansas released its non-conference schedule on Thursday, and to say the least the Jayhawks will be well-tested by the time Big 12 play rolls around.

In addition to appearances in the Champions Classic (vs. Duke in Chicago) and the Battle 4 Atlantis, Kansas has road games against Colorado and Florida while also welcoming solid mid-majors such as Iona and Towson to Lawrence.

Oh, there are also games against New Mexico (in Kansas City), Georgetown and San Diego State.

“We’ve always played a schedule that has a great RPI (rating percentage index) and we’ve always played a tough non-conference schedule that prepared us for the league, but this year our schedule will rival any schedule that we’ve ever played,” Self said in the release.

“Duke, at Colorado, at Florida, New Mexico, Georgetown, San Diego State, then you throw in the Battle 4 Atlantis and other schools that have experienced success of late – this will certainly be as difficult a schedule, especially when you’re replacing five starters.

“This is probably not the brightest thing I’ve done since I’ve been here, but it’s a schedule that will force us to get ready at an accelerated pace.”

Also taking part in the Battle 4 Atlantis are Iowa, Xavier, UTEP, Villanova, Tennessee, Wake Forest and USC. The Jayhawks’ full non-conference schedule breaks down as follows:

Oct. 29 (Tuesday) – PITTSBURG STATE, Lawrence, Kan. (Exhibition)

Nov. 5 (Tuesday) – FORT HAYS STATE, Lawrence, Kan. (Exhibition)

Nov. 8 (Friday) – LOUISIANA MONROE, Lawrence, Kan.

Nov. 12 (Tuesday) – Duke, Chicago, Ill. (Champions Classic, United Center)

Nov. 19 (Tuesday) – IONA, Lawrence, Kan.

Nov. 22 (Friday) – TOWSON, Lawrence, Kan. (Battle 4 Atlantis first round game)

Nov. 28 (Thursday) – TBD, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)

Nov. 29 (Friday) – TBD, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)

Nov. 30 (Saturday) – TBD, Paradise Island, Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis)

Dec. 7 (Saturday) – at Colorado, Boulder, Colo.

Dec. 10 (Saturday) – at Florida, Gainesville, Fla.

Dec. 14 (Saturday) – NEW MEXICO, Kansas City, Mo. (Kansas City Shootout at Sprint Center)

Dec. 21 (Saturday) – GEORGETOWN, Lawrence, Kan.

Dec. 30 (Monday) – TOLEDO, Lawrence, Kan.

Jan. 5 (Sunday) – SAN DIEGO STATE, Lawrence, Kan.

The Jayhawks have won at least a share of the last nine Big 12 regular season titles, a streak that could be in jeopardy based not only on the talent leaving Lawrence but also returning to Baylor and Oklahoma State.

But if anything has been learned during Self’s tenure it’s to not write off the Jayhawks. This non-conference schedule certainly doesn’t lack for challenges, and that will help Kansas in its preparation for league play.

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

Kansas lands second commitment in the Class of 2018

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Kansas landed their second big man in the Class of 2018 on Sunday, as David McCormack, a top 50 prospect, announced that he will be a Jayhawk when he plays his college ball.

The 6-foot-10 center picked Kansas over Xavier, NC State, Oklahoma State and Duke.

A product of the famed Oak Hill Academy, McCormack averaged 15 points and 10 boards on the Adidas Gauntlet circuit this spring. He joins fellow four-star big man Silvio de Sousa in the 2018 class for Bill Self, although the Jayhawks will get three players eligible after they sit out the 2017-18 season as transfers: Dedric and K.J. Lawson, who transferred in from Memphis, as well as Charlie Moore, a point guard from California.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.