Tuesday, May 29, 2007

B-Rush Is Back!

Brandon's decision to return to Kansas hasn't gained much national attention yet, but I'd think it would pole-vault us right back in to preseason 1 or 2 status. I'll still miss Julian, but in terms of the components of our team, Brandon would have been the more difficult guy to replace.

(Granted, some polls had us at 1 or 2 preseason last year, but I think this year such a ranking would be more legitimate.)

A couple of caveats: first off, how serious is the injury that presumably sealed Rush's return? The worst-case scenario seems to be that he won't be ready to play again until November; that obviously would hurt his development and preparation going into next season.

The other issue is that there will be more and more pressure to get Sherron into the starting lineup; still, that's a good problem to have.

But assuming Rush is healthy for his junior season, the question is: Are we better than Carolina? The correct answer is: Yes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Non-Con Schedule, NBA Draft

The non-conference schedule was released yesterday, and as promised, it looks like a distinct improvement. Three of those "Jayhawk Invitational" home opponents have not been identified -- presumably they'll be patsies -- but we've earned those indulgences with a 'Zona home game and road trips to G-Tech, BC, and USC, (which as we've noted adds phenom O.J. Mayo to the squad that ended Kevin Durant's college career).

(Plus, as we've also noted before, the conference schedule will include visits to Austin and Stillwater this time).

As for the draft: Ismail! Are you out there? Any comments on your JailBlazers stealing Greg Oden?

And presumably Durant is also going to the Pacific Northwest, joining Collison in Seattle--the very team Self was rumored to be interested in coaching. The addition of Durant would make that job a great deal more appealing to Self, but the good news is, it would now also be appealing to some bigger names, like Larry Brown or a Van Gundy. Plus, Durant's arrival might renew Seattle's interest in the team, preventing the move to OKC that would have supposedly been a plum for Self.

Any thoughts on draft status of Wright and Rush? The picks are always so unpredictable once you get out of the high lottery. CNNSI has them going at 10 and 14, respectively. Fox Sports has Julian at 13, with Rush not on the list (but this one only covers the 14 lottery picks).

Brandon will be thrilled with anything close to the lottery, but if Julian is only at 10 or higher (as appears quite likely) one still has to ask: Why this year? You said you wanted and needed three college seasons; you never proved yourself in tournament play; and with what is sure to be a weaker draft class in '08 you'd have had an excellent shot at the top five...

Alas, the agent has been hired, the damage done. Ah, what might have been.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spring of Discontent

Sorry we've been down so long. I think everyone's been busy, not to mention a little depressed about recent events in the KU hoops universe.

As if losing Julian and probably Brandon isn't enough, a rumor has been circulating that Self might leave to coach the SuperSonics (featuring Nick Collison) if that team were to relocate to OKC. Self is vehemently denying it, so I'll (warily) take him at his word.

Another potential problem: Rush's late (and still indefinite) departure decision leaves Self with no time to recruit any replacements. Sherron says he's upset with Brandon for leaving. On the bright side, I think there's still a chance he could come back; Keegan talked to a scout who said that B-Rush is merely one of about 50 guys with first-round potential in this draft.

Even without him, next season should be a good one. Luke Winn places us at fifth in his power rankings, factoring in the departures. And I know you're all glad to hear that I probably won't be bitching about next year's schedule, which will feature games against Arizona and (on the road) USC, BC, Georgia Tech, Texas and OSU. That's five more marquee road games than we had in '06-7.

Despite the lack of titles (19 freaking years and counting), ESPN charitably lists Kansas as one of the top ten programs of the last ten years. Small consolation, that.

By the way, I've discontinued our NBA playoffs coverage after it was met with massive, widespread apathy last year, but I should note that KU players did exceptionally well in the first round: Drew Gooden and Scot Pollard for Cleveland, Jacque Vaughn for San Antone, and especially Kirk Hinrich for 'da Bulls in their waxing of Wade, Shaq and co. (Unfortunately, Kirk's taking a waxing himself at the hands of Detroit in the second round, but those other guys are hanging in).