Thursday, February 23, 2006


Keegan: Dickie V, Fraschilla impressed


Fran Fraschilla had just arrived in Manhattan to analyze Wednesday night's ESPN telecast of the Kansas State-Texas game when he returned the phone call.

Dick Vitale was in Atlanta, preparing for the Duke-Georgia Tech game, when the call-waiting beep sounded in my ear as I was talking to Fraschilla. Vitale left a message with his thoughts on the Jayhawks, which were similar to his ESPN brother's.

"It's an amazing story," Vitale said. "What a turnaround. Think about that, won 10 in a row, probably playing for the regular-season championship of the Big 12 on Saturday. Would have never thought that earlier this year. Those kids have really matured, when you look at (Mario) Chalmers, Julian Wright, (Brandon) Rush. The three of them have been phenomenal. : And if (C.J.) Giles can give them that lift on a regular basis, blocking shots, it does add a dimension. I tell you what, if they can all stay together for next year, something special is brewing here, and they'll be preseason Top 10, definitely."

Fraschilla talked about this year, and he talked about more than Top 10.

"This is the kind of year, because of youth, Kansas could get to the Final Four or go out in the second round," Fraschilla said. "Neither would surprise me."

Both Fraschilla and Vitale agreed Bill Self is deserving of Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.

"I don't know about nationally, but definitely in the Big 12," Vitale said.

When things were grim for the Jayhawks, Fraschilla predicted KU would be a hot team come tourney time.

"I thought they'd be much better, but to say they would go on this run would be a little bit much," Fraschilla said. "I was really concerned about their guard play. What was a weakness is now a major strength."

And for that, Fraschilla credits the coach.

"Bill Self's my coach of the year in a league of good coaches," Fraschilla said. "The way he mixed and matched and figured out how to best utilize Chalmers and Russell Robinson was a great coaching move by Bill. You know he was searching because he was playing Stephen Vinson. It's not like he automatically knew he had the answer. He didn't push every right button right away. He pushed them enough and found them. That's good coaching."

Fraschilla said he considered Robinson to be "one of the five most improved players in the Big 12."

"He is rock solid," Fraschilla said. "Or, I should, say rock-chalk solid."

Can this guy recruit or what? He used to recruit players. Now he recruits viewers. He's never afraid to criticize, though. It's just that there isn't much to pick apart.

"Athletically, right now, there's nobody in the country they don't match up with," he said. "Every team in that top tier has its set of flaws. There are teams that can give Kansas trouble, but Kansas can turn around and give every team in the country trouble, including UConn and Duke. : Guys like Robinson, (Jeff) Hawkins and Chalmers, they're Venus flytraps. You're dribbling air, and the ball's going the other way."

KU is the talk of the national college basketball scene. A victory Saturday in Austin, where Vitale will be doing the color, would turn the buzz into a roar.


mcoan 13 years, 11 months ago

It all depends on Saturday. After watching the UT/KSU game, here are my Keys to the Game:

1.) RUN, RUN, RUN. Beat them back up the court before they get their zone defense set. KU is quicker than they are and we must use that quickness every time.

2.) Run Giles and Jackson most of the time in the paint; use Kaun as backup. Kaun isn't tough enough to handle what's going to happen at the 5 spot. Julian Wright may not be tough and bulky enough at the 4 spot, either. But he may be able to make up for it with his athleticism and quickness. Where Wright fits in is a key matchup.

3.) The 3-point shot MUST fall if we want to open up the paint for Giles and Jackson to work. This is the greatest unknown for this team: can it launch 3's when it's necessary?

4.) Rotate 8-9 players...we're deeper than UT and should try to wear them down, esp. if we run hard.

betti81 13 years, 11 months ago

mcoan--i agree. We also have to win the rebounding margin and turn the ball over less.

watching K-State last night, they were having problems with dribbling the ball too much in the zone. we need to swing it fast and work buckman to death on the inside.

i disagree with the kaun assessment. he and DJ are our most physical bigmen. we will need them both to play well. giles offers finesse and i really think big julie will offer us alot on the rebounding edge. Big Julie never ceases to amaze me. way to go on making espn's top 10 plays for that dunk against baylor Julian.

I can't wait for saturday ;)

Jhawklarkin101 13 years, 11 months ago

You guys are wrong about Julian. He will be our most important threat on the inside. You talk about beating the zone by passing rather than dribbling, which is exactly what Julian will do at the four spot.

If we can get either Gibson or Tucker in foul trouble, we can win this game. Texas is not deep enough to play with us.

mom_of_three 13 years, 11 months ago

K-State would have won that game last night had the refs called the fouls down the stretch. Buckman was grabbing onto jerseys and pushing because he was so tired, but nothing got called. Wear him out and you can push inside. I agree, though, hit the 3's outside, and they won't know who to guard. Also need to watch the O-State game. The big guys really worked on the rebounds and was able to beat Texas.
Of course, they weren't playing in Austin.

Jack Hope III 13 years, 11 months ago

Former KU great Al Kelley was wrong when he gave the nickname of "the Noodle" to Julian Wright.

Julian Wright is the Flying Spaghetti Monster. KU has been blessed by his noodly appendages!!

basketballfever24_7 13 years, 11 months ago

I am sorry but I have to disagree with the emphasis of all these comments. KU is a very good offensive team only when they play defense. If KU can get defensive stops the offense will come. I do agree with what was sayed on how to attack Texas. RUN. Make them tired and make them foul.

Trojan10 13 years, 11 months ago

It does not matter how much the hawks run or how well they play defense, all that matters is that their shots fall. The only way to stretch a zone defense is to knock down shots. If the gaurds are smart with their shot selection and the posts kick the ball out when the defense collapses, the rest will take care of itself.

stuffmhawk 13 years, 11 months ago

Premature Keegan....

Nice article, but let's wait 'til we beat the horns.... We're use to winning big games around here. We expect this. All the self-congratulatulations can start after this team beats someone really good.

We can tell you're still new around here

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