Posted on: October 19, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 12:08 pm

Podcast: Behind the Phog

By Matt Norlander

Today's podcast is for the Kansas fans. Jason King joins me to discuss his book, Beyond the Phog. But even if you're not a Kansas fan, you'll enjoy it. It's my Podcast Promise to you.

Jason did a lot of good work tracking down former Jayhawks and getting them to open up about their playing days, the program, Roy Williams, Bill Self, depression, exhaustion and more. The book covers so much of that. The podcast touches on a number of the incidents and stories that helped shape a decade-long narrative worth sharing. The most infamous of the stories invoked is the J.R. Giddens matter. We absolutely get into that.

I also ask Jason if Bill Self is coaching Kansas in four years. He may or may not suggest the Arkansas job as a possibility down the road. Speculation based on nothing: always something a fan base endears itself to.

Season tips Nov. 7

The Wayne Simien story is the one that continues to intrigue me. As I say in the beginning, Jason's one of the nicest guys in the business, and it was a pleasure having him on. There is some talk about the upcoming season, too. He makes a great point about Baylor's club.

As a reminder, from now through the end of the season, we'll be delivering three podcasts per week to you. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is when you can find the new episodes. Get in the habit of listening. You can subscribe on iTunes. Or the RSS feed. Or, if you're one of those with a Zune, yeah we've got you covered, too.

If you'd like to send a question for the podcast, I'm always an advocate. Tweet at me or the EyeOnCBB account, and if we get enough inquiries, I'll make a segment out of it.

Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:56 pm

Awesome Kansas fan occupies Denver's rally

By Matt Norlander

If the Occupy Wall Street rallies are going to implore more college basketball fans to storm each and every city as means of next-level trash talking, then by all means, let's keep this thing going.

The video below is incredibly hilarious because the Kansas fan highlighted clearly isn't taking himself too seriously, nor is he really bothering anyone. At the start, an angry citizen is on the megaphone and just blasting the corporate fat cats who've continued to reap the benefits of a system slanted toward helping the richest of the rich. (Or something like that. It's not a political statement; I'm just telling you where this angry guy is coming from.)

But Kansas Fan? He steals the thunder.
"Kansas basketball! Number one!," he says without the help of a horn or microphone. "Bill Self for federal reserve chairman! Five national championships. Fifty-five conference championships -- maybe; I'm not sure on that one. ... Missourah has won NO CHAMPIONSHIPS OF ANY KIND!"

Love it. And this proves, yet again, that even if Bill Self is threatening to take away the Jayhawks-Tigers rivalry, it will not simmer in the hearts of those two fan bases.

H/T, Deadspin
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 14, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 6:11 pm

Kansas takes hardest hit with busy day of news

By Jeff Goodman

Midnight Madness is here.

So is the college hoops news.

- Kansas took the hardest hit of the day when it was announced that freshman Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor are ineligible this season and have been deemed "partial qualifiers."

This is a significant blow to a Kansas team that has already been questioned for its lack of "Kansas talent."

There's Thomas Robinson, Tyshawn Taylor and a bunch of unproven guys.

- A source told CBSSports.com that Arizona State's heralded freshman point guard Jahii Carson won't be in uniform for the Sun Devils first practice - as he waits for an NCAA ruling.

- Ole Miss received the word - per a source - that South Carolina transfer Murphy Holloway has been cleared to play this season by the NCAA.

- DePaul's Macari Brooks won't be eligible to play this season due to academics, per a source.

- Xavier announced that Chris Mack has suspended senior big man Kenny Frease for "not handling his daily responsibilities on and off the playing floor that we expect from every one of our players here at Xavier."

- Washington's Scott Suggs will miss 2-3 months due to a broken foot. The Huskies have enough to sustain the loss, but it will certainly hurt Lorenzo Romar's depth.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: October 5, 2011 12:06 pm

Kansas-Mizzou hoops rivalry could be over

By Matt Norlander

Tuesday night, Missouri's board of curators gave the school chancellor, Brady Deaton, full permission to flirt with other conferences. This is considered a major step, one that many see ending with Missouri landing on SEC property.

Meanwhile, the Big 12 continues to watch as the value of its land drops and drops. Kansas City is a shell of its former self. Missouri leaving would get the league down to eight teams, and that point the Big 12 would have to do some swift pillaging or merging with another league.

Because Missouri wants out, feelings within the Big 12 are going to be fiery, and there's bound to be some serious grudges. Kansas has a right to hold the biggest one. Its longtime rival leaving the clan to join the SEC could put an end to the on-court feud that's been going on for 104 years.

Kansas is the better basketball school --and it leads the series with Missouri, 171-94 -- but the rivalry with Missouri is one of the best the nation has to offer. If the Tigers choose, and are accepted, to go to the SEC, the rivalry could die. Just ask Bill Self. The Lawrence-Journal World asked Self what his thoughts were on Missouri's instability, and he said:

“To me it’s a great rivalry, one of the best in college basketball without question, but I don’t think I would be interested in having a once a year game like I did when I was at Illinois, playing Missouri,” Self [said]. “I could probably change my mind (but) trust me, we would have no trouble finding another nonleague game to play. I love the rivalry. Playing home and home in the league is great and all those things ... (but) I can’t imagine, why would we continue playing?

“If they choose to be somewhere other than with us and with the other schools that they’ve been a part of and could jeopardize the future of the other schools ... I’m not going to make a commitment now that we’d ever play again. I’m not saying we won’t. I’m certainly not going to pretend that we would.”

Even though coaches have as much to do with realignment as me or you, they do control most of the scheduling. And if Self doesn't want to slate Missouri in basketball going forward out of spite, he has all the power to do that. What's more, he'll likely get a lot of support within his athletic offices and around the league. Nebraska's already been ex-communicated from the conference after it got a whiff of what the Big Ten was cooking and decided to bolt.

Self added last night: "The media is not going to dictate who we play."

And that might as well be addressed to the fans too, who, when it comes down to it, might not be happy that Kansas and Mizzou are breaking apart -- but they'll still want an annual game. For the record, Kansas' AD has done the obligatory and said he wants Missouri to stay put.

“I have no ill will toward Missouri at all, but to do something at a time that could be so damaging and hurtful to a group, I can’t see us just taking it and forgetting," Self said. "They are making a decision that’s best for theirs. We’ll make a decision on a schedule that’s best for us."

Self is just lobbing out bombs, and I love it. I love contention and true nastiness in rivalry. The irony here is, the angriest aspects of this feud could be coming in its final years of existence. Kansas basketball, as great as it is, is a non-factor in the Big 12's future. So Self is pretty much playing the only card he can here.

“We will do what’s best for us from a scheduling standpoint," he said. "And that will create absolutely no controversy at all.”

Meanwhile, that's just not true. Missouri isn't even officially out of the Big 12 yet -- and may never leave -- and this is already going to be among the biggest talking points at both schools. If Kansas and Missouri break apart, college basketball loses one of its oldest continuous rivalries, one that dates back geographically and historically to the Civil War.

Photo: AP
Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 12:31 pm

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

By Matt Norlander

Jason King has probably written a heck of a book. The lead-up to "Beyond the Phog" has already given us a couple of spicy anecdotes about the past decade of Kansas basketball.

Humble, Midwestern KU hoops with so much drama? Seems so. I'll be hosting King on a podcast next week, so be on the lookout for that, as I hope to get a few stories out of him that didn't make the cut for the book.

Today, another snippet from the book was released, and it details J.R. Giddens' relationship with Bill Self. If you don't remember Giddens, he played with the team six years ago, then transferred to New Mexico. He was the classic case of a highly recruited kid who seemingly didn't pan out and couldn't handle his role at a premium, big-time program.

But there is more to the story. (And Giddens did eventually find a better fit with New Mexico.) Giddens wasn't a perfect player. Far from it. But from his perspective, he wasn't treated well by Self, or really anyone affiliated with Kansas basketball, outside of the players.

Here's a hearty and juicy excerpt:
Any thoughts I had about leaving (school early) for the NBA ended when I got stabbed. ... If anything, I was trying to figure out if I was ever going to play basketball again. I think that’s why they made me leave Kansas. The doctor said I would walk with a limp for the rest of my life.

I’m not saying Kansas threw me out like a battery. But ... they weren’t going to let me stay around campus and be Moulaye Niang.

Micah Downs was coming in. Bill Self used to always tell me, “Micah is coming in and he's better than you.” He would just say little stuff like that and I was like, “Dang, man, you’re not even for me, are you?” I wanted to stay at Kansas but I felt like they just pushed me out the door, especially after getting stabbed. I was like, “I'm sitting here worrying if I'm ever play basketball again and you guys are over here talking to me in an inappropriate manner? I'm 19 years old. You guys are supposed to my college coaches. Instead, at the first sign of trouble, you guys are turning your back on me?” I felt like it was everyone from the coaching staff to the people up there in the offices. As a 19-year-old who was immature and didn’t understand life, I took that really hard. I left the office in tears when I knew I was leaving.

I remember that day really well. I walked out of there on crutches, crying. I’d been interrogated for about seven hours for three days straight. ... Bill Self was telling my teammates not to have any contact with me. Darnell Jackson and Jeremy Case were two of my best friends, and they weren’t even allowed to talk to me. Aaron Miles was done playing so he came over. He was the only person who came and saw me. I was like, “Dang, I’m 30 feet from where I used to stay and you guys can’t even come over here and see me?” I’m stabbed and laid up and don’t even know if I’m going to play basketball again. That was very kind of Kansas basketball and Bill Self, to tell people to stay away from me like I was a team cancer.

Let's be clear: This is Giddens' recalling of the events from six years ago. There could be some truth, and some half-truths as well. Regardless, that's a bad light to put Kansas hoops in. And it's an interesting one as well, because the program's been so dominant in the past decade, seeing the less-attractive aspects of the Big 12 dynasty is an intriguing dichotomy. Few programs ever truly get along well all the time. There's discourse everywhere. Kansas is about to have its troubled aired publicly, though.

As for Giddens post-college, he did make it to the NBA, most recently playing with the Celtics and Knicks.

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 26, 2011 10:07 am
Edited on: September 26, 2011 10:11 am

Mario Chalmers recreates history ... sort of

By Matt Norlander

Yep, there he is again. Kansas garb on, an ever-so-slight lean to the left on his shot, defenders looking up as the ball leaves his hands. And as for the photography, it's stunningly similar. If you look too fast, you might think you've seen it before. You practically have. Mario Chalmers is snapped at the apex of his 3-point attempt, near the top of the key, as he unleashes a ball that would tie the game at regulation's end.

Kansas' Legends of the Phog Saturday exhibition for fans couldn't have been much more exciting, or filled with more familiarity. From the former players and coaches involved in the game, to the scenario that led to Chalmers hitting the shot taken above, and that photo which freakishly resembles another. The most iconic photo in Kansas hoops history, in fact.

The Lawrence Journal-World took the photo and has the story. And after Chalmers' shot fell through again, Bill Self said that was it. Perfect ending for all, right there. 111-111, the game would end in a tie. Chalmers' 3 was preceded by a trey from Paul Pierce, who has still never lost a game in Allen Fieldhouse.

Responding to the chants of “Mario, Mario,” from the crowd of 16,300 ... Mario Chalmers answered with a game-tying three over the arms of defender Ryan Robertson with just one tick on the clock. ... Chalmers, who scored 17 points and dished 10 assists, wasn’t about to disappoint in the clutch.

“I heard it,” he said of the fans calling his name shortly after White coach Ted Owens called a time out. “It’s something I’ve done before and something I’m accustomed to doing.

This was the rare time when a tie felt like kissing deja vu on the mouth. Kansas fans loved the embrace all the same. Other players involved included Julian Wright, Xavier Henry, Cole Aldrich and Nick Collison. Pretty great, all around. That kind of ending in that buiding with that program? A great basketball treat in September. And I figure we'll bring it full circle with this post by ending it with the shot that made Self and Chalmers' career, back in 2008.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: September 21, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 3:51 pm

Perry Ellis stays in-state, pops for Kansas

By Jeff Borzello

Perry Ellis is one of the most decorated players to come out of Kansas in years, winning three Gatorade Player of the Year awards and three state championships, as well as leading his Wichita Heights (Kan.) team to 44 consecutive victories.

On Wednesday, Ellis announced that he would continue his legacy in the Sunflower State by staying in-state and attending Kansas.

"I've been there so many times, I just felt so comfortable there," Ellis said during a press conference at his school. 

Ellis chose the Jayhawks over Kentucky, Kansas State and Wichita State.

"All these schools were real close to me," he said. "They've been there three or four years now. It was a tough decision."

Ellis is a 6-foot-8 prospect who is one of the best offensive forwards in the country. He can score around the rim or from the perimeter, and he has improved his ability to beat defenders off the dribble or run the floor and get baskets in transition. He is ranked No. 27 by CBSSports.com.

He is happy to get the recruiting process over with.

"It's been on my mind for awhile now," he said. "I wanted to do it today because I was ready." 

Photo: ESPN.com 

Posted on: September 21, 2011 8:52 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 8:59 am

Perry Ellis closing in on decision

By Jeff Borzello

The highly-publicized recruitment of Perry Ellis is just hours away from ending.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Wichita Heights (Kan.) will announce his commitment at 2:45 p.m. local time during a press conference at his high school gym. The finalists for his services are Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Wichita State.

Throughout his recruitment, Kansas has been considered by some to be the favorite, but the family has not shown their cards heading into the final day.

“All four coaches have recruited him for at least three years,” Fonda Ellis, Perry’s mother, told CBSSports.com. “They have built a relationship with Perry and our whole family. They are all great programs and we think they all are great choices.”

Fonda Ellis took some time to break down each of the four choices.

Kansas and Kentucky are in the mix because of their tradition.

“They both have it,” she said. “From the history to the winning to the fans to the coaches.”

Ellis likes the desire that Kansas State players have.

“Coach [Frank] Martin has his players playing with heart,” she said.

As for the hometown school, Ellis thinks Gregg Marshall has put Wichita State on par with bigger and more traditional basketball schools.

“Under Gregg Marshall, he has done an awesome job rebuilding the program to the next level,” Fonda Ellis said.

Ellis is ranked No. 27 by CBSSports.com. He is a versatile forward who can score in a variety of ways. Ellis is able to post up defenders and score with his back to the basket, but he is also capable of facing up opponents and knocking down mid-range and perimeter shots. He finishes well at the rim, and is solid on the glass.

Whichever school hears its name this afternoon will be getting an impact performer.

“Perry wants to pick a school that makes him feel totally comfortable,” Fonda Ellis said. “From the coaches to the players to the style of play and the campus. We just want Perry to be happy, and if he is happy, he will be comfortable and successful.”

Photo: Adidas Nations

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com