Coaches want Saturday tournament finish
Bill Self’s fifth trip to the Big 12 Conference’s spring meetings proved to be his most gratifying.
“I would say it’s the best dialogue we’ve had,” Self, Kansas University’s basketball coach, said, assessing three days worth of discussions with the league’s men’s hoops coaches, athletic directors and conference officials in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Not a lot came out of it regarding specific proposals, but there was dialogue on everything from NCAA legislation, APR, our conference tournament, officiating, tournament sites and marketing of the league.”
Self said the basketball coaches were overwhelmingly in favor of completing the annual conference tournament on a Saturday, rather than NCAA Selection Sunday.
Now it’s up to the league to make it happen.
“It would be a better scenario for all teams, especially the ones who finish on Sunday prior to the NCAA Tournament,” Self said.
Last March, the Jayhawks played in the conference finals on a Sunday in Oklahoma City then were fortunate enough to get an extra day in playing Niagara on a Friday in Chicago.
“Who knows how the ADs will view it in the end and what scheduling problems it might create with the new ESPN contract. There is a possibility it could occur,” Self said of the Saturday switch.
Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg is sensitive to the coaches’ desires.
“Our men’s basketball coaches have discussed ending their championship on Saturday while the women have discussed formats that would conclude their championship on Sunday,” Weiberg said. “We will continue these discussions and the possible implications that may occur by changing formats with our administrators and board of directors.”
The coaches and ADs discussed possibly adding two or more games to the 16-game conference hoops schedule.
“I’m for 16 games, not 18,” Self said, wanting the status quo. “You will never get a balance. You will not play a 22-game conference schedule. Whether it’s 16 or 18, there will always be teams (in the South) you will not play (twice). Our scenario with scheduling is best of an imperfect situation. We need to schedule smart (in the nonconference season) to make sure everyone understands playing a tougher schedule is better.”
Weiberg said: “The men’s basketball coaches are looking at different scheduling formats for the 16 conference games. We are not sure of the options at this point, but will look into it. The earliest any changes could take effect would be the 2008-09 season.”
It was KU’s turn to play host to the meetings, thus Self ran the men’s coaches sessions, Mark Mangino the football sessions, Bonnie Henrickson the women’s basketball sessions and Lew Perkins the AD sessions.
“Since we chaired the meeting we had to talk more than most,” Self said. “There was plenty of dialogue all week.”
The coaches did attempt to play some golf Wednesday morning, to no avail.
“It was 40 degrees and hailing with storms. We only got through a few holes,” Self said.
• Brandon Rush, Wright looking good in mock drafts: It seems just about all the major outlets put out a mock draft Wednesday — a day after the NBA Lottery results were released. KU sophomores Julian Wright and Brandon Rush will be happy with their projected positions.
Sports Illustrated.com’s Chris Ekstrand says the Los Angeles Clippers will take Brandon Rush with the No. 14 pick — the last pick of the lottery.
“The Clippers desperately need a big guard to spell Cuttino Mobley. Brandon Rush is a good defender with the size to slow bigger guards while offering an unselfish quality needed on a team that has both Mobley and Corey Maggette,” Ekstrand wrote. “It’s not that Brandon Rush can’t score, because he can, but he offers other attributes in areas where the team is sorely lacking.”
Draftexpress.com says Brandon Rush will be tapped 19th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers; ESPN.com’s Chad Ford has Brandon Rush the 24th pick by the Phoenix Suns, and NBAdraft.net indicates Brandon Rush will be the last pick of the first round, 30th overall, by Philadelphia.
ESPN’s Ford and CBSsportsline.com’s Tony Mejia believe Milwaukee will select Wright with the No. 6 pick. Draftexpress.com has Wright the No. 8 pick by the Charlotte Bobcats; USA Today, NBAdraft.net and SI.com have Wright the 10th overall pick (Sacramento), while Adrian Wojnarowski of yahoo.com has Wright the 12th pick (Philadelphia).
Wright has signed with agent Rob Pelinka of SFX, meaning he won’t return to school. Brandon Rush has yet to sign with an agent and still has the option of withdrawing from the draft by June 18.
Brandon Rush has said he’s definitely headed to the pros if he’s deemed a first-round pick.
Brandon Rush will participate in all drills and organized camp games at the NBA pre-draft camp May 29-June 4 in Orlando, Fla. Wright will take part in physical exams at the camp, but not play in games because as a certain lottery pick he has nothing to gain and everything to lose.
“Brandon Rush will go to Orlando. There’s the possibility of a big (NBA) workout somewhere in the area right after the Orlando camp is over,” Self said. “Multiple teams would attend. I would not expect him to take many visits (to individual NBA cities) after Orlando.”
That’s because players have to pay their own way to the NBA cities for 1-on-1 workouts
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