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.

Bruce Weber receives contract extension at Kansas State

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Kansas State and head coach Bruce Weber have agreed to a two-year contract extension, according to a release from the school.

After leading the Wildcats to a surprising Elite Eight appearance in March, Weber will be the head coach at Kansas State through the 2022-23 season, which gives him another five seasons to work with. Weber will be paid $2.5 million in 2018-19 and he’ll receive a $100,000 increase to his salary in each remaining contract year.

Weber had already signed a two-year extension in August 2017, but this move gives the veteran head coach more job security (and positive recruiting perception) for the next few seasons.

“We are very fortunate to have not only such an outstanding basketball coach but also a man in Coach Weber who conducts his program with integrity and class and is widely respected across the nation,” Kansas State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor said. “Certainly last season was one of the most memorable postseason runs in our program’s history, and we are excited for next season and the years ahead under Coach Weber’s leadership.”

With Kansas State returning most of its roster from last season, including the return of guard Barry Brown from the 2018 NBA Draft process, expectations are sky-high for Weber and the Wildcats this season. Currently ranked as the No. 8 team in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25, Kansas State’s veteran club could give Kansas a serious run for a Big 12 regular season title this season.

Northwestern loses incoming freshman point guard

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Northwestern and incoming freshman point guard Jordan Lathon are parting ways. The 6-foot-4 Lathon was viewed as a potential candidate to replace Bryant McIntosh at lead guard for the Wildcats this season, but Northwestern has reportedly revoked his offer of admission and basketball scholarship.

It is unclear why Lathon was unable to be admitted into Northwestern, but the school’s VP for University Relations, Alan Cubbage, gave a statement to Inside NU’s Davis Rich and Caleb Friedman.

“Northwestern University has revoked its offers of admission and an athletic scholarship for Jordan Lathon, a recruit for the Northwestern men’s basketball team,” the statement said. “Out of respect for the privacy of the student, the University will have no further public comment.”

Lathon later acknowledged the situation in a tweet explaining to fans that he will no longer be attending Northwestern.

While it is unclear why Lathon and Northwestern are parting ways, other high-major programs are already very interested in bringing in Lathon for next season. Oklahoma State immediately jumped in with a scholarship offer. There is also speculation that Lathon, a native of Grandview, Missouri, could also hear from the in-state Tigers as well.

It’ll be interesting to see where Lathon lands, and how this also affects Northwestern’s point guard situation. The loss of a four-year starter like McIntosh will be tough to fill, especially since Lathon was committed to Northwestern since last June. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Wildcats and head coach Chris Collins seek out a veteran point guard graduate transfer to try and get some immediate help.

Nebraska’s James Palmer Jr. returning to school

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Nebraska received some important news on Friday night as senior guard James Palmer Jr. will be back for next season.

The 6-foot-6 Palmer had tested the NBA draft waters, but he decided to return to the Cornhuskers. After putting up 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season, Palmer is expected to be an All-Big Ten candidate once again this season. Palmer shot 44 percent from the floor and 30 percent from three-point range last season.

After transferring in from Miami, Palmer became the Huskers’ go-to scorer last season in helping Nebraska to a 22-win season and NIT appearance.

With Palmer back, Nebraska will have some legitimate expectations for the upcoming season, especially if the team’s second-leading scorer, Isaac Copeland Jr., also returns from the NBA draft process.

Kansas State’s Barry Brown withdraws from NBA Draft

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Kansas State, a preseason top ten team, announced on Friday afternoon that Barry Brown will be returning to school for his senior season.

“Although the process was more than enjoyable, I have decided to withdraw my name from the 2018 NBA Draft,” Brown said in a statement. “Thank you to everyone who supported me, and I am looking forward to finishing my senior season as a Wildcat!”

Brown declared for the draft nearly two months ago. According to Kansas.com, Brown was invited to two workouts with NBA teams but did not get an invite to the NBA Draft Combine last weekend in Chicago. There was not a great chance that he would be drafted had he kept his name in the mix.

A second-team all-Big 12 selection a season ago, Brown averaged 15.9 points, 3.2 boards and 3.1 assists for a team that won 25 games and advanced to the Elite Eight as a No. 9 seed.

Kansas State is currently No. 8 in the NBC Sports preseason top 25.

VIDEO: Deandre Ayton NBA Draft Prospect Profile

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Over the course of the next month, I will be putting together NBA Draft Prospect Profiles for our sister site, Pro Basketball Talk, of the most talented and promising prospects from the college ranks.

Today, the first example of those profiles went live. It’s of Deandre Ayton and you can read all of the 1,500 words here. We take a good long look at why he’s the best prospect in the draft and the reasons why he may never actually reach his immense ceiling.

If you’re not into reading, here is a four-minute video breakdown of his strengths, his weaknesses and how he can turn the latter into the former.