A Cold Reception For Radford

News, notes and quotes on KU's matchup with Radford tonight (7:00 CT) at Allen Fieldhouse on ESPNU, while celebrating freshman Xavier Henry's selection as Phillips Big 12 Rookie of the Week.

The 6-6 swingman averaged 17.0 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 52.4 percent from the field during KU's two victories last week over Alcorn State and UCLA.


Radford University, located in Radford, Va., is coming off an impressive 21-12 season in 2008-09 and NCAA tournament appearance, where the Highlanders lost to North Carolina in the first round. Radford, which returns four starters, enters the Phog at 4-2 while playing its fifth straight road game. The Big South school has beaten Navy, Lynchburg, Winthrop and Presbyterian College, while losing to Duquesne and Duke.

Radford is shooting just 41.1 percent from the field and 25.8 percent beyond the arc, but outrebounding foes 45.2 to 39.8 per game.

The Highlanders notched a 61-57 victory at Presbyterian on Saturday, rallying from an 11-point second-half deficit and recording its 11th straight Big South road victory.

"We played a very strong defensive second half," Radford head coach Brad Greenberg said. "And that was the reason we pulled out another tough road win. It was a real test of our mental toughness to be able to compose ourselves and get back into the game."

Art Parakhouski, last season's Big South Player of the Year, recorded his eighth straight double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) and 23rd of his career. The 6-11, 260-pound senior center from Minsk, Belarus, leads the team with 22.3 ppg, 14.8 rpg (No. 1 in nation) and 14 blocks, while shooting 52.5 percent from the field. He's scored 20 or more points in all but one game.

Three other players average in double figures, including 6-8 forward/center Joey Lynch-Flohr (13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg), 6-8 forward Lazar Trifunovic (12.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and 6-4 guard Blake Smith (11.0 ppg, team-high nine treys and 13 steals).

Others averaging at least 15 minutes per game are 6-6 forward Phillip Martin (7.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg), 5-10 guard Jeremy Robinson (5.5 ppg), 5-9 guard Amir Johnson (4.0 ppg, team-high 23 assists), and 6-1 guard Evan Faulkner (3.8 ppg).

The Jayhawks hope to contain the big Highlanders' frontcourt and get in a transition game.

"They are almost as good as we are in the post," said KU sophomore forward Marcus Morris. "We're going to use our strengths and try to run them up and down the court."

Parakhouski is certainly the team's marquee player. He played two seasons at College of Southern Idaho before transferring to Radford. Greenberg, a former general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, loves his big man's potential. Parakhouski has played organized basketball for just six years.

"He can rebound right now in any game," Greenberg told usatoday.com in October. "And he's strong enough to play in just about any game. But he can improve on some things offensively. He's got a touch facing (the basket), and people really haven't seen that. You'll probably see more of it this year.

"But he can continue to work on passing, footwork, low-post moves, stuff that any young player has to work on."

Parakhouski is loving his celebrity status at Radford after spearheading last year's run to the NCAA tournament.

"Everywhere I go, people recognize me," Parakhouski said. "Even now, it's like, 'Oh, how cool it must be to play against Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson,' and people like that.

"It just feels special. A year ago, nobody cared about basketball here. It motivates you to do good things."

KU coach Bill Self knows it will be a challenge guarding Parakhouski. He compares him to Texas' 6-10, 290-pound center Dexter Pittman.

"He's not quite as big from a girth standpoint as Pittman, but he's not far off," Self said. "He looks like he goes a lot more than 260 to me. He's very agile and athletic. He's taller than Dexter at 6-11. He's a legitimate post. He's probably the biggest, maybe as talented, true big guy that we go against all year long."


Greenberg, in his third season at Radford, led the Highlanders to the biggest turnaround in school history last year. Radford, which finished in seventh place in the Big South in 2007-08, won the league crown last year (15-3) and captured just its second postseason tournament in school history.

Greenberg, who's posted a 35-34 record at Radford, guided his team to the school's most wins in 2008-09 since the 1990-91 season. He earned Big South Coach of the Year and Red Auerbach Coach of the Year honors. The sixth coach in Radford men's basketball history, Greenberg played college basketball at American University and Washington State University. He came to Radford in 2007 after serving as assistant coach and associate head coach at Virginia Tech from 2003-07 under his brother, head coach Seth Greenberg.

This is Greenberg's first head coaching position during nearly 30 years of basketball experience. He's served in various capacities, including assistant coach in college and the NBA. He's also been involved in management and media duties.


KU enters tonight's game shooting just 65 percent at the free-throw line. Besides Tyrel Reed (3-4 FT), the ‘Hawks have just two players shooting over 72 percent: Markieff Morris (.722) and Xavier Henry (.905).

"We can do better, a lot better," said Marcus Morris, who's shooting only 64.5 percent from the line. "We shoot free throws every day after practice and I feel like we should do better than that. That's unacceptable, 65 percent."


While the Jayhawks are struggling a bit at the line, KU ranks among the top 10 nationally in nine categories. The 'Hawks are first in home-court winning streak (46) and scoring margin (+33.4), second in field goal percentage defense (.331), third in scoring (89.1), seventh in field goal percentage (.510), ninth in scoring defense (55.7), eighth in assists (19.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6), and tenth in blocks (7.1).

Junior center Cole Aldrich ranks seventh in the nation in blocks at 3.6 per game.


Twenty years ago on Dec. 9, 1989, KU won a game for the ages with a 150-95 victory over Rick Pitino's Kentucky Wildcats. The Jayhawks broke or tied six school records, including most points, most points in one half (80) and most assists (30). "Downtown" Terry Brown came off the bench and bombed 7-of-10 three-pointers for a career-high 31 points.

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