Frankamp decides to transfer from No. 5 Kansas

Shooting guard Conner Frankamp elects to transfer from No. 5 Jayhawks before season starts

      
 

 

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Who wants to see LeBron James dressed as Flo from Progressive?

Well, you clicked on it, so you, obviously…
LeBron James (or one of his people) put this picture of the superstar up with a “Happy Halloween” message. Makes me wonder just how much LeBron might have gotten in order to make this his “Halloween Costume.” I am on record multiple places saying how much I hate dressing up and how little I liked Halloween as a kid. So it really makes me wonder how many zeroes I’d need in a check in order to bust out the wig and corporate gear that Flo wears on TV.
Maybe I can tweet at Darren Rovell to find out.

Makes me wonder where all this started… Maybe back in 2012 with some tweet flirting?
Gee, thanks LeBron! “@KingJames: I love “Flo” from the progressive commercials! She’s hilarious in her own way”
— Flo from Progressive (@ItsFlo) January 22, 2012

Or maybe not…
I tweeted about “Flo” the other day from the commercials! In no way shape or form was I trying to promote them or what they do!!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 26

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Cavaliers vs. Bulls: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Regular Season

Cleveland Cavaliers fans can exhale.

After the Cavs‘ loss to the New York Knicks on LeBron James’ homecoming, Cleveland picked up an impressive 114-108 overtime victory on the road over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.

Historically, the Bulls have been a thorn in James’ side in OT, winning four of five meetings that needed the extra frame, per ESPN Stats and Info:

However, the Cavaliers jumped out to an early lead in the overtime period and managed to keep the Bulls at bay. Chicago got to within two points on three different occasions but never leveled the score. 

For the Cavs, it’s a big win early in the season, which calms down the hysteria following their home opener.

After Thursday’s loss, Cavaliers head coach David Blatt alluded to James possibly pressing during his first game back in Cleveland.

“Well, first of all, that was an emotional night for him without question,” Blatt said, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. “He wanted badly to win the game and help the team play well. His effort was there. His efficiency was not what it normally is. That was obvious. We have to do a better job of getting him things in motion.”

LeBron looked much more comfortable Friday, leading Cleveland with 36 points on 14-of-30 shooting and eight rebounds. Kyrie Irving didn’t have a great game shooting, but he made all 10 of his free throws en route to a 23-point night. Kevin Love also struggled from the floor, shooting 5-of-17. He finished with a double-double, 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Tristan Thompson was the unsung hero, posting a double-double as well, with 16 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.

Derrick Rose showed signs of the old Derrick Rose, scoring 20 points in 25 minutes on the floor. He missed the final minutes of regulation and the whole of overtime, however, with a left ankle sprain, per the Bulls:

Kirk Hinrich stepped up in a big way, hitting critical shots down the stretch and scoring 20 points of his own. He nearly single-handedly lifted the Bulls to the win in the fourth quarter.

In the end, Cleveland’s multifaceted attack was too much for the Bulls. Chicago was also outrebounded 52-42 and had 10 more turnovers, a massive boon to a still-evolving Cavaliers team.

Against the Knicks, the Cavs looked great to start the game and steadily fell off with each quarter. They continued digging themselves into a hole, and near the end of the game, were too far gone to make a comeback.

To get past the Bulls in Chicago, Cleveland couldn’t afford to have that kind of lull in the second and third quarters. It needed to get out to a fast start and keep the pressure on its opponent.

That’s exactly what the Cavaliers did, winning the first three quarters.

One of the biggest reasons the Cavs held a 58-52 halftime lead was the performance of Thompson. The power forward did the dirty work underneath the glass, scoring eight points and grabbing seven boards, six of which came on the offensive end.

ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf thinks Thompson will make himself look good all season by cleaning up the messes on the inside for Cleveland:

James also played well in the first half, shooting 9-of-17 from the floor and scoring 19 points. That’s two more points than he scored for the whole game against the Knicks. Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal felt LeBron was looking for his shot much more on Friday:

The bigger concern for Cleveland is defense, and the first half did little to silence any doubters who question the Cavs‘ title chances. The Bulls shot 21-of-41 as a team through the first two quarters, with Rose looking really good. He had 18 points, three rebounds and two assists.

There was a bit of a scare for Rose in the second quarter, when he came down on Irving’s foot. The city of Chicago was thinking the worst for the short time Rose limped while shaking off the pain:

The ankle must have flared up later in the game to keep him out down the stretch.

The Bulls couldn’t trim the deficit in the third quarter, in large part because their offense went cold. Chicago shot 6-of-21 as a team, often settling for mid-range jumpers and three-pointers rather than attacking the paint.

The Cavs weren’t much better, but Love found his shooting stroke, scoring six points in the quarter. He helped increase Cleveland’s lead to 78-69 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Bulls stormed back in the fourth and tied the game at 82 with 7:54 to play after a three from Aaron Brooks. The guard then gave Chicago an 84-82 lead, its first lead since the first quarter.

Brooks and Tony Snell came off the bench to give the Bulls great minutes in the fourth, and without their 13 combined points in the final frame, Chicago wouldn’t have gotten back into the game. As Michael Lee of The Washington Post jokingly tweeted, with all of the star power on the floor, of course Snell and Brooks were the guys to step up for the Bulls:

The two teams continued to exchange the lead throughout the fourth quarter until the Bulls got another massive bucket from another role player. Cleveland was clinging to a 91-90 lead until Hinrich hit a three-pointer to give the Bulls a 93-91 advantage with 1:42 to play.

Immediately after an Irving turnover, Hinrich hit another three to increase the lead to five points, 96-91. Three-point shooting in the second half was one of the biggest differences between the two teams on Friday, per ESPN Stats and Info:

Hinrich victimized the Cavs defense again to cancel out a dunk by Love to keep it at a five-point game, 98-93, with 47 seconds left.

NBA.com’s Lang Whitaker was critical of Blatt for leaving Matthew Dellavedova on the floor to guard Hinrich:

Somehow, someway, the Cavs clawed their way back, with James hitting two free throws and Irving completing a three-point play to tie the game at 98 with 27 seconds left. Hinrich and Love both had chances to win the game, but their shots were off the mark, sending the game into OT.

The break between regulation and the extra period looked to be the perfect tonic for the Cavaliers. Blatt was able to regroup his players and calm them down.

You should never put too much stock in October games, and Cleveland still has a long way to go to win the Eastern Conference. But Friday at least gives the team some positive momentum and represents a small step forward.

The Cavaliers get some much-needed days off before their next game. They travel to Portland on Tuesday to play the Trail Blazers in what will be another good early litmus test for how well all of the team’s new pieces are jelling.

Chicago plays the second half of a back-to-back on Saturday night when it faces off against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.

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Frankamp decides to transfer from No. 5 Kansas (Yahoo Sports)

Conner Frankamp and Kansas seemed like the perfect match, the high-scoring guard and one of the state’s top recruits playing for the school that he grew up watching. His departure should help to alleviate a logjam in the backcourt of the fifth-ranked Jayhawks, where an influx of high-profile recruits is competing for playing time. I want to be at a place where I could play a bigger role.” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said he met with Frankamp and his father, Martin Frankamp, to discuss his future on Wednesday. ” Frankamp, who broke Jayhawks forward Perry Ellis’s city scoring record in Wichita, Kansas, played in 27 games as a freshman.

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Winners and Losers from 2014-15 Preseason AP College Basketball Top 25 Rankings

At long last, the first Associated Press Top 25 poll of the 2014-15 college basketball season has arrived, and there was no shortage of winners and losers.

After nearly seven months of reading varying opinions on who will be the best teams in the country, we finally have a consensus ranking to reference for what remains of the offseason.

As was the case with the coaches poll released two weeks ago, there were no surprises in the top two spots. We more or less agreed all summer that Kentucky would be the best team and that Arizona would be its primary challenger. All hail the year of the Wildcats.

But it certainly didn’t take long for some dissension to arise between the two polls. The coaches had Duke at No. 3 and Wisconsin at No. 4, but the AP had those two reversed.

That’s nothing compared to some of the winners and losers, though.

Begin Slideshow

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Conner Frankamp Transferring from Kansas: Latest Details, Analysis and Reaction

Sophomore guard Conner Frankamp has decided to transfer from Kansas University, per Gary Bedore of KUSports.com.

Frankamp appeared to be dissatisfied with his minutes last season and his chances of earning more playing time in the upcoming season, per The Kansas City Star‘s Rustin Dodd.

Thus he has made the decision to continue his collegiate basketball career elsewhere.

Head coach Bill Self had this to say about Frankamp, per Bedore: “This was disappointing news to us. Conner is a fine young man, a very good basketball player and certainly part of what we had envisioned not only [for] our future but also as an impact guy for this upcoming season.”

Self added: 

We still have six other very good perimeter players. We’re looking forward to all six of those guys contributing in a big way and meaningful minutes throughout the course of the year. Conner will finish this semester academically and will continue to get academic support from us. We wish him the best in his decision making of his new school and in his future basketball endeavors.

Coming out of high school, the Wichita, Kansas, native was a sought-after prep prospect. He was considered the top shooter in the 2013 recruiting class by Jerry Meyer of 247 Sports.

No immediate schools have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Frankamp. Last season, the 6’0″ guard averaged just 2.6 points per game in 8.3 minutes per contest in his freshman campaign.

With a stacked backcourt featuring highly regarded sophomore Wayne Selden, super freshman Kelly Oubre, sophomore Frank Mason and others, Frankamp was going to be in an intense battle for minutes this season.

While his experience may be missed, the Jayhawks should be able to absorb the loss without major consequence. 

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Knicks vs. Cavaliers: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Regular Season

LeBron James’ return to the Cleveland Cavaliers commenced Thursday evening at Quicken Loans Arena. However, the New York Knicks spoiled it, overcoming a two-point halftime deficit to pull out an impressive 95-90 victory.

ESPN Stats & Info noted the Cavs’ rather poor history in regular-season openers with James on the team, which is somewhat of a silver lining in light of the letdown:

James didn’t shy away from the spotlight ahead of his 2014-15 NBA season debut, per SportsCenter:

But three first-quarter turnovers and eight of nine missed shots in the first half saw James start his second stint in Cleveland on a sour note. It was Kevin Love, a past All-Star in Minnesota, who pulled the most weight for the hosts with 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists before the halftime intermission.

At least the pair combined for a memorable play to give James his first points of the year:

But ESPN’s Dan Le Batard, among many others, was surprised as to how underwhelming James’ performance was:

Bob Finnan of The News-Herald highlighted the brutal numbers James posted:

The incumbent among Cleveland’s tremendous trio, point guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 22 points, had five rebounds and seven assists, tried to galvanize the Cavs’ comeback charge in the final quarter.

Irving got a bucket to snap a field-goal drought that lasted approximately five-and-a-half minutes and then got a steal and dished it to James for a layup, cutting the deficit to 82-77 with 4:33 left.

ESPN’s Jay Williams commented on Irving’s brilliance:

It just wasn’t enough to stop a hot-shooting Knicks team in the end. New York did cough up the ball down the stretch but had already done adequate damage and built a big enough lead to hold on.

After one of those turnovers and a sweet Irving drive to the basket, Love had a chance to tie the score at 88 but missed an open three-pointer. Knicks sixth man extraordinaire J.R. Smith then hit a runner in the lane on the other end.

When James got an easy score to cut it back to a one-possession game, Carmelo Anthony (25 points) hit a shot in James’ eye at the other end to ice it.

Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor praised Anthony’s clutch baseline jumper:

Daryl Ruiter of CBS Cleveland noted how the officiating began to frustrate fans late in Thursday’s heated battle:

Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick provides quotes from new Cleveland head coach David Blatt and James:

Cleveland’s ineptitude on offense was evident, though. Everyone tried to share the wealth a little too much. That resulted in a lot of sets that lacked cohesion and movement.

The Associated Press’ Tom Withers weighed in:

Thursday wasn’t the smoothest of starts for this new, exciting era for the Cavaliers franchise, but the city of Cleveland was a special place to bear witness to. The talent between James, Irving and Love will meld together soon enough and catapult the Cavs into the NBA’s elite, relieving years of failure since James’ initial departure.

Turner Sports’ Matt Winer brings up a strong point about James’ initial adjustment period with the Miami Heat:

Blatt will be tested right away in getting his squad back on track. Friday is quickly approaching, and the Cavs have a road trip to take on the Chicago Bulls.

In a matchup that features the two teams many are expecting to qualify for the Eastern Conference Finals, it is critical for Cleveland to put forth a strong effort. As long as James plays better, with these opening-game jitters and emotion out of the way, that shouldn’t be a problem.

However, the Knicks did lose by 24 points at home to Chicago in their opener on Wednesday, so it’s on Blatt and James as the Cavs’ emerging leaders to inspire everyone to bounce back.

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Aldridge, Blazers pull away from Thunder in fourth

LaMarcus Aldridge scores 27 points, Trail Blazers rally to beat Thunder 106-89

      
 

 

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Lofton dismissed from Minnesota basketball team (Yahoo Sports)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Junior guard Zach Lofton has been dismissed from the Minnesota basketball program.

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Bulls vs. Knicks: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Regular Season

From an individual perspective, Derrick Rose‘s regular-season return to the NBA was a mixed bag. He looked sloppy and at times self-conscious offensively and made a few mental errors defensively, relying on his teammates to pick up the slack.

Luckily, the Chicago Bulls now have the cavalry to do just that.

Pau Gasol had a double-double (21 points, 11 rebounds), and Taj Gibson led the way with 22 points off the bench as the Bulls ruined the New York Knicks‘ Madison Square Garden opener with a 104-80 win.

Rose, playing a regular-season game for the first time since suffering a torn meniscus last November, had 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting in 21 minutes. Tom Thibodeau kept his minutes to a minimum in the second half when the game got out of hand. The 2011 NBA MVP added five assists and got to the free-throw line eight times, a promising sign heading into the rest of the season.

Still, this was a night where Chicago would have been A-OK without its star player.

Using its treasure trove of bigs to its advantage, the Bulls out-rebounded New York 47-38 and had 10 offensive boards. Gasol, playing in his first game since coming over from the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, was accountable for four second chances. The Spaniard looked right at home on both ends of the floor, oscillating back and forth between the two big positions with ease.

Knicks president Phil Jackson, who coached Gasol with the Lakers and tried to recruit him to New York this summer, said his all-around game will be a boost on both ends in Chicago.

“In my coaching tenure, he made a wonderful difference with that team, liked to play, liked to pass, liked to combine with his teammates and enjoy the game and the city and was a person the fans really took to in Los Angeles. I think he’ll be the same in Chicago,” Jackson told Sam Smith of the Bulls’ official website.

The underrated byproduct of Gasol’s arrival is that it allows Gibson to stay in a sixth-man role, in which he looked overqualified Wednesday night. Active on both ends of the floor, Gibson was the leader of a brilliant bench effort, making 10 of 12 shots and grabbing eight rebounds. Chicago’s second unit was at time reminiscent of the 2011-12 “Bench Mob,” with Gibson providing the rim protection while Doug McDermott and Aaron Brooks controlled the perimeter.

Brooks, the latest in a line of Thibodeau reclamation projects at point guard, had 13 points and six assists off the bench.

McDermott, one of two high-profile Chicago rookies making their debut Wednesday, finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. The former National Player of the Year already appears to have the respect of NBA defenses, as the Knicks defenders largely stayed at home whenever he was in the game. Nikola Mirotic, the highly touted Spanish import, had five points and appears to be the clear fourth big in the rotation.

The Bulls bench outscored their counterparts, 55-37, as New York’s talented offense struggled to get anything going. Jason Smith had eight points, but microwave scorers J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined for 13 points on 4-of-18 shooting. Smith has had a particularly frustrating couple of weeks, shooting 33.9 percent during the preseason and struggling to grasp Derek Fisher’s triangle offense.

“Being the type of player I’ve been, it’s a struggle,” Smith told reporters last week. “I’m not going to lie.”

The Knicks as a whole seemed still in the infancy stages of the triangle, an intricate offense popularized during Jackson’s tenures in Los Angeles and Chicago. Possessions were often highlighted by a lot of listless passing, stagnating before leading to a contested mid-range jumper. One of the most prolific three-point shooting teams during the team’s 54-win campaign two years ago, New York shot made only three of its 17 shots from long range.

“We’ve had some conversations with J.R. and a number of our guys,” Fisher said, per Scott Cacciola of The New York Times. “It’s an instinctive game, and our players haven’t gotten to that point yet.”

Carmelo Anthony, who spurned the Bulls this summer to re-sign a five-year deal in New York, had 14 points in his season debut. Anthony, like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant before him, is expected to have relative autonomy to break out of the triangle. At least for one night he appeared unwilling to do so, taking a relatively low number (13) of shots.

Amar’e Stoudemire (12 points, eight rebounds) was the only other Knicks starter in double figures. New York shot 36.5 percent as a team.

The Knicks and Bulls each opened their season without a key starter. Jose Calderon was a surprising scratch with his lingering calf injury, while Jimmy Butler will miss at least the next two weeks with a sprained left thumb, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

The Bulls, as has become a yearly tradition, replaced one of their staples with Kirk Hinrich. Second-year guard Shane Larkin received his first NBA start in place of Calderon. Both turned in nondescript performances, with Larkin finishing with six points and Hinrich 12.

It’s unlikely either player would have made a difference before the despondent MSG crowd. For both teams, opening night seems like a statement on where the respective franchises are in their development. Rose’s return to the floor came and went with a forgettable stat line, and the Bulls’ infrastructure didn’t miss a beat. Anthony didn’t show up and his team got The Reaper.

We’ll have to see if this is a sign of things to come or a case of overreaction theatre. Given we’re a single game into both teams’ seasons, it’s probably a little bit of both.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

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