Kansas Jayhawks

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Mizzou-Kansas benefit game raises nearly 2M for charity

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.

Forward leaving Kansas program

2 Comments

Kansas’ already thin frontline took a hit Wednesday night when it came to light that Jack Whitman will not suit up for the Jayhawks.

Whitman, a transfer from William & Mary, will leave the Kansas program, according to multiple reports.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season for the Tribe before deciding to graduate transfer, committing to the Jayhawks in May.

“I know I can play with these guys, contribute and help us win games this year,” Whitman told the Kansas City Star last month.

Instead, the Jayhawks will have to make due with a frontcourt that will be lacking much depth. Udoka Azubuike is back after missing most of last year with an injury while Billy Preston and Mitch Lightfoot will also be expected to be contributors. Whitman wasn’t expected to put up huge numbers for the Jayhawks, but his departure does leave them vulnerable should injury or foul trouble find the Kansas big men at some point.

As the KC Star points out, though, Kansas is in contention to land top recruit Marvin Bagley, who is considering classifying to 2017, a class in which Kansas now has an open scholarship that could conceivably go to the 6-foot-10 five-star prospect.

 

Bill Self responds to comments from ex-Mizzou chancellor

1 Comment

The Border War between Kansas and Missouri has not been played since the Tigers left the Big 12 for greener football pastures in the SEC in 2012.

Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk wants the rivalry to be renewed. Kansas head coach Bill Self has deflected those questions, previously stating, “… that’s a decision that will be made at a university level, not just at a basketball level.”

On Thursday, former Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin blamed the Self and his “big ego” for not restarting the Border War, stating that an offer was on the table for a football game between the Tigers and Jayhawks to be played at Arrowhead Stadium.

Self, the soon-to-be Hall of Fame coach, responded to those claims later that day in a text message to Matthew Galloway of the Topeka Capital-Journal:

“Tell the ex-Missouri chancellor that I coach basketball, not football,” Self wrote in a text message to The Capital-Journal. “That we would never play a game in Arrowhead or even discuss it. It’s too cold. We play our games indoors. But (I) look forward to meeting him someday if he’s ever in Lawrence.”

These comments serve as nothing more than as a deflection and Self’s disinterest in reigniting the series with Mizzou.

But it’s important that Missouri is aggressively pursuing this. There’s plenty of hype surrounding the program right now: Cuonzo Martin taking over the program, projected top pick Michael Porter, Jr. committing to the Tigers, ticket sales up, etc. If that hype can be turned into on the court success, you’d have to imagine Sterk’s pursuit of this annual game only intensifies.