Kansas hoops notebook: Barnstorming dates announced
By Gary Bedore firstname.lastname@example.org
Kansas basketball players Frank Mason, Landen Lucas and Tyler Self, who as seniors completed their competitive careers at KU, will hold a “KU Barnstorming Tour” exhibition game May 6 at Blue Valley Northwest High School, according to an announcement on Saturday.
Autographs are set for 5:30 p.m., with the game to follow at 7:30 p.m. The format generally has the Jayhawk seniors join with a few former KU players from the area and compete in a lighthearted exhibition game against area high school or small-college players.
The KU seniors will play May 3 at Lebo High School (autographs 5:30 p.m., game 7:30 p.m.), May 4 at DeSoto High School (autographs 5:30 p.m., game 7:30 p.m.) and May 5 at Wichita East (autographs 6 p.m., game 8 p.m.).
Preston nets seven in Jordan game
Future Kansas forward Billy Preston scored seven points on 3-of-6 shooting with one assist, one turnover and zero rebounds in the West team’s 124-116 victory over the East at Friday’s Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Preston, a 6-foot-9 Oak Hill Academy senior who is ranked No. 10 nationally in the recruiting Class of 2017 by Rivals.com, hit 1 of 2 three-point tries.
Preston scored 10 points and grabbed three rebounds in the recent McDonald’s All-America game.
KU target Trevon Duval scored eight points with four assists and four turnovers in 17 minutes for the losing East squad in the Jordan Brand Classic. Duval — who has a recruiting list of Kansas, Duke, Arizona, Baylor and Seton Hall — was 2 of 3 on three-pointers.
Incoming Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr., who had a sore back, was unable to play in the Jordan Branc Classic national game.
In the Jordan Brand global game, Wichita Sunrise Christian center N’Faly Dante, a 7-foot sophomore from Mali, scored 16 points with six rebounds and three blocks. He’s a member of the high school recruiting Class of 2020.
McLemore an unrestricted free agent
Former Kansas guard Ben McLemore, 24, who averaged 8.1 points per game on 43 percent shooting (38.2 on three-pointers) in his fourth season with the Sacramento Kings, becomes a restricted free-agent this summer. The Kings, if they so desire, will be able to match any offer the 6-foot-5 McLemore receives from other teams.
“I’m really not even focused on that,” McLemore recently told the Sacramento Bee. “I let my agent, Rich Paul, and my circle kind of handle all that, and keep me up to date with things like that. Now I’ve got a daughter here in my world, so I’m really focused on that and finishing the season strong.”
McLemore, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, became a proud papa on March 19 when daughter Teagan Joyce McLemore was born in Sacramento.
“At this point, it’s just like, man, I’m really a father,” McLemore said. “It’s a dream come true.”
Selden on uptick with Grizzlies
Former KU guard Wayne Selden, who recently signed a three-year non-guaranteed contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, averaged 5.0 points, 1.1 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 11 regular season games. The Grizzlies are in a first-round playoff series with San Antonio, which started Saturday.
“He can play. I wasn’t giving out charity minutes. He was balling,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said of the 6-foot-5 Selden in an interview with the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
Selden averaged 17.2 minutes per contest in the regular season for the Grizzlies. “The kid is built for the league. He’s got a great 2-guard’s body. He reminds me a lot of Dwyane Wade from a body standpoint (with) big shoulders. And he knows how to play. He’s got an IQ about him. We’re just going to work hard to develop him and see where it takes us, but I really like what I’m seeing so far,” Fizdale added.
Selden’s best game in the regular season was a 13-point outing versus the New York Knicks.
“I’m pretty comfortable,” Selden told the Commercial-Appeal. “The guys are encouraging me. The coaching staff’s encouraging me. It’s been a great time. I’m just trying to use my body, get in the lane, create for others or finish at the rim. However I get there is how I get there.
“I’m just going to go after it, go get it.”
Diallo shows promise
Former KU forward Cheick Diallo of the New Orleans Pelicans ended his first NBA season on a strong note. The 6-foot-9, 228-pound, 20-year-old from Mali scored 12 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while playing 29 minutes in New Orleans’ 103-100 season-ending win over Portland on Wednesday. A night earlier he had 19 points on 9-of 10 shooting with 11 boards while playing 27 minutes in a 108-96 loss to the Lakers.
Diallo averaged 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while logging 11.7 minutes per game in across 17 games for the Pelicans.
Diallo said he is hoping to get up to 240 pounds in the offseason. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, a former KU assistant on Larry Brown’s staff at KU, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune he expects Diallo to succeed in the NBA. He also praised Diallo’s work ethic.
Robinson not sure of future
Former KU forward Thomas Robinson, who averaged 5.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in limited duty in 48 games for the Los Angeles Lakers this past season, will be an unrestricted free-agent this summer.
The 6-foot-10, 240 pound Robinson, 26, has been with six teams since being drafted No. 5 overall in 2012 by Sacramento. He told lakersnation.com the team has not said whether it wants him back for 2017-18.
“He (Lakers president Magic Johnson) didn’t say he didn’t want me back,” said Robinson. “He didn’t say I was going to come back either. They were impressed with the way I handled myself this year.”
Robinson made the Lakers roster and earned a one-year contract after being invited to training camp late last summer.
“They were happy with the part of who I am as a person, player,” Robinson added. “I’ll take that as a good thing. Hopefullly it turns into me coming back as a Laker.”
Robinson will soon be free to negotiate with any team.
“I had a long summer last year,” he said of a summer of free-agency. “As soon as the (last) game was over, I started thinking, ‘Dang I’ve got to wait again on what’s going to happen.’ Last summer I just showed up here playing pick-up. I wasn’t signed (when he arrived in L.A. in summer of 2016). I’m proud of myself I did that. I want to get back and be established somewhere. Hopefully things work out.”
Bridges’ dad says son better than Josh
Miles Bridges’ dad, Raymond, had this to say to the Detroit News on Thursday after his son announced he was returning for his sophomore season at Michigan State: “I told him (Miles) he’s the best basketball player in the country. I still say Miles has got a better game than Josh Jackson.”
Jackson — who has not yet officially announced for the NBA Draft but is expected to leave KU for the pros after his one college season — and Miles Bridges are longtime friends.