Kansas Jayhawks

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Self says he’s “optimistic” about Preston playing for Jayhawks

Leave a comment

There hasn’t been much new good around Lawrence lately with Kansas dropping its last two games, but the Jayhawks apparently have reason for hope.

Kansas coach Bill Self said he is “optimistic” that freshman Billy Preston, who has been held out of competition while the school investigates the financial background of a car he has been driving, will play for the Jayhawks this season, according to the Kansas City Star.

“I think our school has done a great job in creating, getting, all the information that could possibly be pertinent to his situation,” Self said, according to the Star. “The other thing you don’t know … they (NCAA officials) could come back and say, ‘We need more information.’ They could come back and say, ‘OK good to go.’ They could come back and say, ‘No it’s not good to go.’.

“Who knows what the response will be because it will be determined by somebody else. The reality of it is us putting a total package together from every scenario … we’ve done a good job. Hopefully, whatever information that is given to the deciding parties, it’ll be a quick turnaround … but we don’t know that yet either.”

Preston, a top-20 recruit in 2017, has yet to play for the Jayhawks after being suspended for the team’s season opener and then because questions were raised about a car he was driving when he was involved in a single-car accident. The Jayhawks could use the 6-foot-9 Preston in the lineup to help right the ship after these back-to-back losses that have, in part, shown just how thin up front the Jayhawks are.

There is also the possibility that Silvio De Sousa, a 6-foot-9 2018 commit, could enroll this semester.

“There are questions, but the answers will probably take place I would say in the next week to 10 days.”

Report | Cheating coaches encouraged to come forward by Bill Self and NABC

Reed Hoffman/Getty Images
Leave a comment

With college basketball still dealing with the impact of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into corruption and bribery in basketball, with four Division I assistants among the ten people arrested last month, coaches across the country have needed to take stock of the way in which they do business.

According to a report by Dana O’Neil of The Athletic (subscription required), the NABC advised coaches who have participated in illegal activity to step forward during a conference call for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

While in the past cheating coaches could essentially operate with only the NCAA in mind when it came doing what was necessary to not get caught, the involvement of the FBI changes things. Instead of simply losing scholarships, receiving a postseason ban and/or a show-cause penalty, there’s now the possibility that wrongdoing could result in facing federal charges.

“You’re going to be found out, that’s all we wanted people to understand,” Kansas head coach Bill Self, who’s president of the NABC, said according to The Athletic.

With the investigation still in its early stages, how far this reaches depends upon what the already indicted parties say when questioned by the FBI. And given some of the possible sentences, ranging from 50 to 80 years depending upon the person and their involvement in the scheme, it would be fair to assume that the FBI will be able to acquire more information in time.

In addition to Arizona (Emanuel “Book” Richardson), Auburn (Chuck Person), Oklahoma State (Lamont Evans) and USC (Tony Bland) having coaches arrested as part of the probe, Louisville dismissed both head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

While Louisville was cited in the FBI report, with a six-figure payment in exchange for the commitment of Brian Bowen being one of the actions documented, no one connected with the program has been indicted by the FBI.

Alabama and Miami also admitted to being investigated, with a member of Alabama’s support staff resigning in late September as a result. During a press conference last month Miami head coach Jim Larranaga said that he and his lawyers believe that he is cited in the FBI report (as Coach-3).

Mizzou-Kansas benefit game raises nearly 2M for charity

Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Leave a comment

While there’s still a demand that longtime rivals Missouri and Kansas resume their basketball series at some point, Sunday’s exhibition game in Kansas City helped whet the appetites of many in attendance. But more important than the series and the opportunity for head coaches Cuonzo Martin and Bill Self to get an early evaluation of their teams against outside competition was the cause.

The rivals, separated by conference realignment that led Missouri to the SEC and the Big 12 to the brink of collapse, got together to raise money for hurricane relief. Multiple hurricanes hit the United States, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and other portions of the Caribbean earlier this fall, with some areas still in the early stages of getting things back in order.

The Showdown for Relief came about to help those in need, and it sparked a movement across college basketball as well.

It was announced at halftime of Sunday’s exhibition that the schools and their supporters managed to raise an impressive $1.75 million for hurricane relief.

According to Gary Bedore of the Kansas City Star more than $600,000 of the money raised came by way of pay-per-view sales for the game, which cost $40 for those unable to get to the Sprint Center.

‘Border War’ exhibition to be streamed

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The 19,000 fans who secured tickets to the Sprint Center for the charity-inspired reignition of the Border War won’t be the only ones to be able to watch Kansas and Missouri play Sunday.

The exhibition game, whose proceeds will be used for hurricane relief, will be streamed live for those willing to spend $40, the schools announced Friday.

“Our first objective was to sell out Sprint Center,” the two schools said jointly in a release. “Once we achieved the sellout so quickly, our fans who could not get tickets expressed tremendous interest in having the game televised. We wanted to make sure that the charities we’ve identified would be the only entities to derive revenue from this game.  SIDEARM Sports has provided the platform to allow us to create a second stream of revenue via this telecast.”

The broadcast will feature Leif Lisec doing play-by-play and ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe as the analyst and sideline reporter, respectively. The trio are donating their time for the broadcast.

The Jayhawks and Tigers haven’t played since 2012, when Missouri bolted the Big 12 for the SEC. There certainly has been resentment from the move, which has kept the two from scheduling a non-conference tilt. Now, though, they’re hoping the layoff has built enough anticipation to raise upward of $1 million for the Houston Harvey Relief Fund, the Rebuild Texas Fund, the Florida Disaster Fund, Juntos y Unidos Por Puerto Rico and the Fund for the U.S. Virgin Islands after a devastating hurricane season in the United States.

The game will pit the perennial powerhouse Jayhawks, expected to be a top-five preseason team and strong favorite to win the Big 12, against an ascendant Missouri, which has the potential 2018 No. 1 NBA draft pick Michael Porter, Jr. headlining the roster reboot under first-year coach Cuonzo Martin.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for two schools to do something together for the better of the masses,” Kansas coach Bill Self said last week, “and be able to send a significant amount of money to people that are suffering right now. So that is going to come to fruition, and we’re real happy about it.”

Report: Kansas and Missouri working on exhibition matchup for this month

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
1 Comment

The Border War may be making a return to college basketball. Sort of.

Kansas and Missouri are in talks to faceoff on the basketball court later this month, but in an exhibition to raise money for hurricane relief efforts, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday.

The game would be played Oct. 22, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, but needs a waiver from the NCAA to proceed, the Post-Dispatch reported.

If the two programs are able to get this done, it would appear to be a major step forward to actually seeing these long-time conference rivals return to actually playing real games against each other. They haven’t shared a court since the Tigers left the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012. The Jayhawks lead the all-time series, which dates back to 1907, 172-95.

Kansas coach Bill Self, who has not been in favor of playing his easterly neighbor, said this past summer he thought the two schools would eventually face off again.

“I’m sure there will be a time where Kansas and Missouri play again. I don’t know when that time will be,” Self said in July, according to the Kansas City Star.

It didn’t seem like anything was moving toward a reunion this summer this summer, though.

“I certainly don’t have any ill feelings toward our bordering state or school at all,” Self said. “But I’m not interested in doing what’s best for Missouri. That doesn’t interest me at all, just like they are not interested in doing what’s best for Kansas. I’m interested in doing what’s best for us.

“Certainly I think my athletic director and my new chancellor, I’m sure they feel the same way. If it’s best for us to play them, then I’m sure we’ll play. That will be a decision by more than just me.”

It would seem there’s momentum to get this done, and for a good cause. Hopefully it clears the way for these two to reignite a great rivalry with regular on-campus games in the near future.

Report: LSU no longer recruiting Mitchell Robinson

McDonalds All-American Game
Leave a comment

LSU is reportedly out of the running for a top-10 talent.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported on Thursday night that Will Wade and staff are no longer pursuing Western Kentucky transfer Mitchell Robinson, a Louisiana native. Robinson was a consensus five-star recruit, rated No. 8 overall in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals.

He had signed to play at Western Kentucky and was on campus earlier this summer before leaving the program and school in late July. Several weeks prior, Western Kentucky assistant coach — and Robinson’s godfather — Shammond Williams resigned from his position.

The 7-foot McDonald’s All-American is set to visit Kansas this weekend, according to multiple reports. Because he enrolled in a session of summer courses at Western Kentucky he will likely need a waiver in order to compete this season. Skipping college altogether and playing professionally overseas is also a course of action for Robinson, who is projected to be a first round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.