Kansas senior makes history as Jayhawks win

950509.jpg

Kansas senior makes history as Jayhawks win

From Comcast SportsNetLAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- Nobody else was doing much scoring for No. 10 Kansas on Monday night. Nobody else was rebounding or playing much defense, either.Jeff Withey stepped up and did all three.And etched his name in the school's record books, too.The senior center had 16 points, 12 rebounds and a school-record 12 blocks for only the second official triple-double in Kansas history, and the Jayhawks held off a furious comeback by San Jose State for a 70-57 victory."He was the only guy who played worth a flip," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "He did a good job covering up for a lot of mistakes, because we made a ton of them tonight."Withey scored 10 points during a 20-2 run early in the second half, and achieved the Jayhawks' first triple-double since Cole Aldrich in an NCAA tournament game against Dayton in 2010 when the 7-footer blocked Xavier Jones' shot with 7:43 left in the game."I've been wanting that for a while now, and it's only me and Cole that have it, so it's pretty special to me," Withey said. "They kept on driving in and, you know, I just kept on blocking it. It's what I do."Kansas (5-1) certainly needed every last one of them after taking a 60-36 lead with just over 11 minutes left, and then watching the Spartans (2-3) go on an 18-2 run of their own.The Jayhawks finally put it away when Elijah Johnson hit a floater with just over a minute left for a 66-57 lead, and when Withey's rejection of J.D. Brown turned into a run-out that Ben McLemore finished off with a windmill dunk with about 30 seconds remaining."We didn't back down," San Jose State coach George Nessman said. "We kept bucking up and sticking our chest out there, and that was important for us."James Kinney stuck his chest out the farthest, scoring 19 of his 30 points in the second half for the Spartans. At one point, the senior guard scored nine in a span of about 90 seconds as San Jose State was mounting its big second-half charge."I wasn't going to give up. I'm not going to get embarrassed out here," Kinney said. "Once everyone saw I was going to keep fighting, they just tagged along."McLemore finished with 13 points despite missing all seven of his 3-point tries, and Travis Releford also had 13 points for the Jayhawks. Kevin Young added eight rebounds.Playing its first game since romping to victory in the CBE Classic last week, the Jayhawks looked fresh and smooth in building a double-digit lead late in the first half.San Jose State answered with nine straight points spanning halftime to get back into it.That's when Kansas went on its big run.It began with a 3-pointer by Johnson, and the momentum really started to build when Young followed up Withey's miss with an easy basket down low.Withey scored six of the Jayhawks' next eight points as the lead slowly grew, and the crowd at Allen Fieldhouse began to realize that he was making history. He surpassed the 10-rebound mark midway through the second half before getting his 10th block to mark the triple-double."Most of the time -- I'm guilty of it, too -- we get caught standing around watching Jeff, like a fan or something, and that's when we need to snap back to it," Johnson said. "Jeff saved us a lot of times. There were times I caught myself looking instead of playing."Unofficially, it was Withey's second time reaching the milestone.The senior had 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks against Pittsburg State in an exhibition game last season, when All-America forward Thomas Robinson missed the game due to injury.It also comes with an asterisk in the Kansas record books.The school didn't keep records for blocked shots during the 1950s, when Wilt Chamberlain was plying his trade on the hardwood. He undoubtedly had his share of triple-doubles while playing for the Jayhawks -- but officially, only Aldrich and Withey have done it."On the sideline, I kept thinking some of the shots were going in, and then bang, they were going the other way," Nessman said. "We try to tell our guys to jump into shot-blockers, but he's so good at staying down, it's hard to get him off his feet."Kinney did the best job of getting shots up, over and around him.In doing so, he nearly stole Withey's thunder.The spunky guard hit consecutive jumpers to end the Jayhawks' big second-half run, and then added a fall-away 3-pointer with just over 10 minutes remaining to close the gap.He added another 3-pointer with 6:44 left to trim the Spartans' deficit to 60-51, and then hit his fourth 3 as the shot clock was winding down to make it 64-57 with 2:39 to go.That's when Kansas finally put the game away."I just don't think we have any fold in us. That's not who we are. We have a great group of kids," Nessman said. "We came here to play for a full 40 minutes."

Source: Kings, Pelicans have discussed possible Cousins trade

Source: Kings, Pelicans have discussed possible Cousins trade

Nothing is ever a sure thing when it comes to the Sacramento Kings. After digging deep into negotiations with DeMarcus Cousins on a new five-year, $219 million contract extension, a source has confirmed to CSN California that Sacramento has had discussions with the New Orleans Pelicans on a possible trade for the All-Star big man.

No deal is imminent, but according to a person with knowledge of the situation, talks between the Kings and the Pelicans took place over the weekend and there is a 50/50 chance that something will materialize before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

The Kings went to great lengths a few weeks back to ensure Cousins that rumors of a potential trade were false, even meeting with the 26-year-old big and his agents in Sacramento to crush published reports.

Sacramento's GM Vlade Divac even went as far as to tell ESPN’s Marc Stein, “We’re not trading DeMarcus.”

Cousins spoke glowingly of Sacramento in his media sessions at All-Star weekend in New Orleans, reiterating to reporters that he would love to finish his career in a Kings uniform.

The Pelicans are a strange trade partner. Anthony Davis is the only blue chip player on the roster, but there is no way New Orleans is giving up their superstar in a deal. There are other assets that Sacramento might be interested in.

According to sources, the Kings attempted to move up in the 2016 NBA Draft to select shooting guard Buddy Hield, and point guard Jrue Holiday has admirers in the organization. The Pelicans also own all of their first-round draft picks moving forward.

Any team trading for Cousins would likely want assurances from the center/forward that he intends to sign an extension during the summer. But they would be limited to a four-year deal, not the “designated player” five-year extension Cousins has been looking to sign in Sacramento.

Cousins is having his best season in Sacramento, averaging 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists under Dave Joerger.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical was first to report the potential deal.

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

A's spring training update Day 6: Davis savors winter in Oakland

MESA, Ariz. — Khris Davis enjoyed quite an offseason travel itinerary, checking out Toronto, taking in the beaches of Hawaii and dining on lobster in Belize.

However, it was the time spent in his adopted hometown of Oakland that most struck a chord with the A’s left fielder. After finishing his first season with the A’s, Davis followed through on his plan to make his offseason home in Oakland, and he was glad he did.

“I got to just feel the heart of the city,” he said upon arriving at camp Sunday. “That was basically the purpose of why I was there. … I wanted to feel Oakland. I love it, honestly. I love the city.”

He trained at Dogtown Athletic, a gym in West Oakland. He took part in the A’s holiday party for kids at the Oakland Zoo, joined by A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who grew up in the city.

“Just to feel these kids’ happiness,” Davis said. “They didn’t look at me as a baseball player. They just looked at me as a role model kind of.”

It should be music to the ears of A’s fans that the team’s most dangerous hitter has a love affair with the city he plays in. If the A’s ever entertained the idea of trying to sign Davis to a multi-year extension, and that’s purely hypothetical here, it would help that Davis feels comfortable in his surroundings.

Even when he described Oakland in edgy terms, such as when he said it “has its dark side,” he seemed to find it endearing.

In return, Davis felt the love from the fan base in 2016, hitting a career-high 42 homers with a team-best 102 RBI. That was despite the awful start he got off to, hitting .143 and mustering just one RBI over his first 12 games.

Obviously, any chances the A’s have of improving last year’s American League-worst offense rely on the 29-year-old Davis having another big year. But over-analysis is one thing he tries to avoid.

“I don’t want to get caught up in last year — the slow start and the strong finish, whatever,” he said. “However it was, I’m just ready to do this year.”

Davis decided to back out of his plan to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, saying his main priority was preparing for his A’s season.

“My main focus is to perform for the organization,” he said. “I feel like I want to get off on the right foot this year.”

NOTEWORTHY: Heavy showers continued to pelt Mesa on Sunday, spoiling the A’s first full-squad workout. The hitters were relegated to swinging in the cages and playing catch, while pitchers were scheduled for a day off from throwing on the mound anyway.

“If ever there was a day, at least for the pitchers, that you don’t need to (work out), it’s today,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But when you have everybody there on the first day, you wanna get out on the field and do everything. Hopefully we can incorporate everything tomorrow.”

The A’s have a whopping 70 players in camp, more than in any other spring Melvin can remember as a big league manager. He addressed the full team in a meeting Sunday morning.

His message?

“We’re gonna have to outwork, out-hustle everybody like we have in the past,” he said, “and get back to playing the game with the same tenacity that we did a couple years ago.”

FAMILIAR FACE: Longtime A’s second baseman Mark Ellis is back for the second year in a row as a spring infield instructor. The plan is for Ellis to spend a week with the team now, then another week later in camp.

“I’ll take Mark Ellis as many days as I can have him,” Melvin said.

LIGHTER SIDE: Nursing his broken right foot, starting pitcher Daniel Mengden has been making his way through the clubhouse on a knee scooter in order to keep pressure off his foot.

Apparently, it looks more fun than it really is.

“I contribute to society Friday, when I can start walking again,” Mengden quipped.