One game on Kansas basketball schedule a match made by Michael Porter Jr.

Highly sought recruit Michael Porter soars for a dunk during the KC Hardwood Classic on Friday at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park.

Highly sought recruit Michael Porter soars for a dunk during the KC Hardwood Classic on Friday at Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park. by John Young

Larry Keating, special assistant to the athletics director, handles scheduling for Kansas men’s and women’s basketball and football.

Having been in college athletics for so long, Keating, 73, has the advantage of knowing coaches and administrators in just about every league in the country. He uses those connections to project which schools will win a lot of games in lesser-known conferences, a trick that helps Kansas improve its strength of schedule.

Keating first became involved in scheduling college basketball games when, fresh out of the Army, he was hired as an assistant basketball coach at Stonehill College in Massachusetts.

Keating predicts that this year’s nonconference schedule will have a number of teams that will be better this season than last, a good thing considering just three schools made the NCAA tournament field a year ago: No. 1 seed Kentucky and No. 16 seeds South Dakota State and Texas Southern.

Keating said he schedules most of the games, “a year or two ahead of time.”

Washington is one school on the nonconference slate that does not figure to be on the rise. Former long-time Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins has replaced fired Lorenzo Romar as head coach of the Huskies.

How Washington ended up on KU’s schedule has an interesting twist to it.

Keating said Washington contacted KU attempting to play a home-and-home. Kansas wasn’t interested in playing in Seattle, but Keating offered a Dec. 6 game in Sprint Center without a return game. Then coached by Romar, Washington accepted. Why?

It was scheduled as a favor to the Huskies’ top recruit, Michael Porter Jr., a native of Columbia, Missouri, whose father had been hired on Romar’s staff.

Once Romar was fired, Porter Sr. was without a job, although not for long. First-year Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin hired Porter Sr. and Missouri ended up with not only Michael Jr., but his brother Jontay, who reclassified to join his year-older brother as a part of a loaded recruiting class for the Tigers.

So Kansas was going to face Michael Porter Jr., the nation’s top recruit, but now won’t, unless that is, the schools meet in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas projects as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed and Missouri projects as anywhere from a No. 7 to No. 10 seed, so it could happen.

Comments

Pius Waldman

Well like they say now you know the rest of the story. One would wonder how Washington agreed to a buyout game in Kansas City. Coaches get fired but the schedule remains.

3 weeks ago

Report

Omari Miller

It may not make a lot of sense for the 'Hawks to play in Seattle, but there are a ton of KU fans up here. I would have loved to see them hold court here. And offering just a bit of constructive criticism, maybe cite the 12/6 date of the Washington game.

3 weeks ago

Report

Tom Horner

Tom, you mentioned you would ask about defensive backs not "wrapping up" a runner when he tackles. I noted that they appear to throw themselves at a runner, thereby missing many takedowns at the Ohio U game. Any answers?

3 weeks ago

Report

Greg Ledom

Squirrel!!

3 weeks ago

Report

Henry Joseph Hofmeister

It was scheduled as a favor to the Huskies’ top recruit, Michael Porter Jr., a native of Columbia, Missouri, whose father had been hired on Romar’s staff.

this is direct from what you wrote. WHAT? a game as a favor to thier recruit?

3 weeks ago

Report

Ron Prichard

KU does this for players that are on the team all the time. If a school like Washington has a chance to land the #1 recruit in the country, it's not a stretch to schedule a game for a recruit to try to provide a little extra incentive to get him to sign.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

John Strayer

Wash did it as a favor to the recruit. They gave up on their request for a home and home and settled for the Sprint Center game so Michael could play close to home.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Jim Stauffer

The story seems to indicate KU used the Porter situation to get Washington to agree to a game in Sprint with no return, knowing they would want to take it for Porter's sake. It sounds like they would have insisted on a two game schedule with one here and one there if Porter was not involved.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Titus Canby

When Jeff Boschee was here, we played a game against one of the North Dakota teams up there, so that he could play in front of his home town fans. As I recall, they cheered heavily for Boschee. I'm sure that's not the only time we've done that.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Dillon Davis

Guarantee you KU gets paired up with either Wichita St or Missouri or both in our bracket. With Wichita being a first round site and then Omaha as a regional it just makes too much sense for the committee who loves these types of scenarios. Like KU vs WSU in the past and KU vs UNC, etc.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Craig Carson

I can honestly see that happening..though I think WSU could get a higher seed this year, thus making a 1st weekend NCAA match up less likely..but MU being so young, if they get a low seed, you better believe the significance of a talented MU team with 2 lottery picks playing Kansas close to Kansas city 4 years after they swore each other off wont be lost on them

6 days, 11 hours ago

Report