Welcome to the first ever Rock Chalk Talk mailbag! Hopefully if this goes well and it is entertaining and informative enough we'll be able to turn it into a weekly (or semi weekly) feature here. Most of this week's entries come via emails, which you can send to RCTmailbag at gmail dot com, but there are a couple of tweets in there as well. My lead in for this week's mailbag was going to be talking about Tony Parker's hat ceremony commitment to UCLA, upping the streak to not picking KU to about 349824 (though to be fair he didn't even have a KU hat on the table), however....
Q:Bill Self obviously has had some good recruiting classes and gotten his fair share of good players. However, why does it always seem that any player that does a self promotion type deal on EPSNU, a hat ceremony etc. never chooses KU?
Honestly I have no idea, and it's gotten to the point where it's more hilarious than anything to me. Without doing a ton of research (because hey this is a mailbag) it seems to me that most of the prospects who did a hat ceremony to then not pick KU turned out to be pretty disappointing (most recent case: LeBryan Nash). I have gone on record, even when he was considering KU, of not being a Tony Parker fan, so we'll see if he keeps it up.
David has a couple more after the jump:
Q: What should I drink while relaxing on the hill for the spring game? For football games this fall?
Over/Under on KU making it to the Elite 8 next year? Winning 25 games?
I am a northerner, so my answers are going to be heavily skewed. I am also gearing up for summer, and you probably should be too, so for the spring game you really can't do better than a summer shandy from Leinenkugel. I am certainly not a beer snob, but tt's a really refreshing beer with a lemony type of taste and also a little mild wheat as well. Most importantly it's one that is pretty light and goes down smooth so you should be able to put quite a few down before, during and after the game (but only if you're 21 or older of course). For games this fall I think it depends on if you're going or if you're going to be on the hill or at your place. For on the hill I would recommend Leinenkugel's (shocker, right?) Oktoberfest or honeyweiss, but I've also gotten into the Vortex Red from Free State lately. If you're going to the game, obviously a flask of your choice, and if you're staying at home I'd recommend a nice whiskey or bourbon. Perhaps some Crown (go Canada).
As for the other question, I am taking the over on 25 wins and I don't think it's going to be close. The tournament one will come down to a lot of luck and chance (hell, the 2011 team should have lost in the round of 32), but they should quietly be pretty loaded next year: their starting lineup will I assume be three Seniors (Elijah, Releford, Withey) and two Freshmen (McLemore, Ellis) and obviously one of those Freshmen practiced all year with the team. Off the bench the options are seemingly endless, with Tharpe and Andrew White the two primaries in the backcourt and Zach Peters, Landen Lucas and Kevin Young in the front court. If Elijah plays like he did in the tournament he could be an All-American, and Withey is the best interior defender in the country, so I don't see any way they don't win 25+ games.
Q: There are 6 big men for maybe 3 spots next year, so who do you think gets the playing time?
-from Kelly K.
I can see Kelly's full name on the e-mail, so I know it's not this Kelly K. but hey a guy can dream. Anyways, the (actually 7) big men are Jeff Withey, Kevin Young, Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor, Zach Peters and Landen Lucas and Justin Wesley. I think it will shake down thusly:
Withey and Ellis are going to be the starters. Withey, as I said above, is the best interior defender in the country and Ellis is a McDonalds All-American. Kevin Young figures to get the next most playing time, at least early, because Bill Self loves experienced players and Young was, percentage wise, the best offensive rebounder on the team last year. I think Traylor will get the next group of minutes due to practicing with the team last year, though he's only 6'7" so he might be a bit exposed down low. One or both of Peters and Lucas figures to redshirt. Lucas dominated in high school this year and grew a couple inches, but he still played against poor competition, while Peters, though he is an athletic prodigy, has had his stock fall a bit over the last year (to be fair I am not totally up on recruiting so I couldn't tell you why) . Lastly, Justin Wesley will probably be used as 5 fouls.
Q: In light of the Wisconsin situation, what do you think about Danny Manning not releasing Clarkson to any non conference school he wants?
-From Jeff M.
For the unaware, Jeff is referencing this situation. Clarkson reportedly wants to go to Texas but Tulsa will only release him to three schools: Vanderbilt, Colorado and TCU. To be fair to Manning it sounds like this is the athletic director's call on this one, and I can't blame him for not wanting to step on the toes of his new employer, but in any event it is a horrible rule. I understand in conference restrictions but other than that just let the kid go where he wants.
Q: Is Miguel Sano going to be able to stay at shooting guard, or is he going to eat himself into a 3?
Mr. Dawson and I are both Twins fans, and are both enamored with uber prospect Miguel Sano, so I am all too happy to answer it on a KU blog. The 19 year old is hitting .311/447/.705 with 6 homers in 18 Midwest league games this year. The only problem is his ever growing body is probably going to force him to move to at best right field and at worst a 1B/DH combo. However, I am hoping they pull a Tigers with Miguel Cabrera and just let him be a statue at third base.
Your crazy hypothetical of the week....(hopefully this is a recurring feature)