New Oklahoma State basketball coach Brad Underwood is not willing to concede Big 12 championships to Kansas.
In fact, the former Kansas State player who heads to OSU after three highly-successful seasons at Stephen F. Austin, told Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com on Friday he believes OSU should consistently challenge KU for the top spot in the league.
“Absolutely, it should happen, it should happen,” Underwood said Friday. “We have very passionate, educated fans and when you have Mr. (Henry) Iba, you have Eddie Sutton and you have an arena (Gallagher-Iba) which to this day is the loudest arena I’ve ever been in in my life as a player and as a coach, we’ll get back to that.”
“And we do that then we become a relevant name again and that’s something that’s not just our goal, but I think it’s the place we belong,” Underwood added.
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KU has won 12 consecutive Big 12 titles entering the 2016-17 season. If KU wins again this season, it would tie UCLA for the longest string of conference championships (13 under John Wooden, Gene Bartow and Gary Cunningham from 1967 to ’79).
“Yeah, I don’t think there’s any question, there’s been some slippage there (at OSU) but I think along with Kansas it’s one of the premier basketball jobs not only in that conference but in the country, so we’ve worked really hard at that,” said Underwood, a letterwinner at Kansas State in the 1984-85 and 85-86 seasons. He was a Wildcat assistant coach from 2006-12 under Bob Huggins and Frank Martin.
Underwood, 52, who takes over at OSU this season for Travis Ford, went 89-14 in three seasons at Stephen F. Austin with three NCAA appearances.
Pollard can talk KU hoops, too
Former KU forward Scot Pollard has been in the news of late discussing his lead acting role in the movie, “The Profit.”
Not one to forget basketball … here’s the 11-year NBA veteran’s take on KU’s team.
“The state of Kansas basketball is always going to be good,” Pollard said. “You’ve got Bill Self at the helm. There was concern when Roy (Williams, former KU coach) was leaving. Danny Manning (former KU All-American, now Wake Forest coach) called me at the time and he was a prophet. He said Kansas basketball was good before him (Williams). It will be good after him. It’s like coach Self said to the football players (during speech before first game). He’s caretaker of the program.
“With all the expectations, when are we going to give Bill Self his due?” Pollard asked emphatically. “When he breaks the record UCLA set for conference championships in a row? Are we going to give him his due then? There is more parity now than ever in the history of the game. UCLA was beating up on JV teams to keep those records alive. We are dominating in a conference that’s been ranked No. 1 in the country the last couple years.”
Top high school prospects making visits
Several high school seniors who have KU on their list of schools made campus visits last weekend.
Tremont Waters, a 5-11 point guard from Notre Dame High School in West Haven, Conn., visited Indiana. Waters, Rivals.com’s No. 36-rated player in the Class of 2017, also has visited Georgetown and Kentucky and will be at KU for Saturday’s Late Night in the Phog.
Troy Brown, a 6-7 forward from Las Vegas Centennial who is ranked No. 12 nationally, visited Oregon. He is also slated to visit KU for Late Night and Georgetown on Oct. 5. He’s already visited Alabama and Ohio State.
P.J. Washington, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., who is ranked No. 17, visited North Carolina. He’s already visited Kentucky and is slated to visit Arizona (Oct. 21-23) and Texas (Oct. 28-30). He’s not yet set up a visit to KU.
Deng Gak, a 6-10 center from Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., who is ranked No. 91, visited Miami. He will visit KU on Oct. 21-23 and also has visits planned to Florida and Indiana. Duke also is on his list.
Coaches flock to New York
Coaches from Kansas, Duke, Maryland, Louisville, Florida, UConn, Indiana and Miami traveled to New York last week to watch an open workout of Archbishop Mulloy sophomore point guard Cole Anthony, the son of former NBA point guard Greg Anthony.
“He was happy when Duke was here last week but he was also happy that Kansas was here,” Molloy coach Mike McCleary told Zagsblog.com.
“It’s pretty much every kid’s dream who picks up a basketball. Those are two of the best colleges in the country. They got some of the best alumni, it’s just an honor,” added McCleary.
KU assistant Norm Roberts also recently watched an open workout of Molloy’s Moses Brown, a 6-11 junior, ranked No. 17 in the Class of 2018 by Rivals.com. Brown also was scouted by coaches from UConn, Indiana, Miami, Arizona, Florida, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, St. John’s, UCLA and USC.
“Kansas, they were like one of the first big-time schools to be in contact with me,” Brown told Zagsblog.com. “Kansas and Maryland. They finally offered me last week. Coach Norm Roberts said I had the best summer possible. He likes my toughness. He likes that I’m stronger than I actually look, I play hard and I match my opponent’s intensity.”