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Thursday, December 6, 2007

KU bigs feast

Big men overwhelming in rout

Kansas University's Darrell Arthur (00) hangs on the rim after powering home a dunk against Eastern Washington. Arthur had 15 points in the Jayhawks' 85-47 blowout at Allen Fieldhouse in this file photo.

Kansas University's Darrell Arthur (00) hangs on the rim after powering home a dunk against Eastern Washington. Arthur had 15 points in the Jayhawks' 85-47 blowout at Allen Fieldhouse in this file photo.

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KU faces Eagles, comes out on top

Tonight Bill Self's squad put their new #3 ranking on the line for the first time against Eastern Washington. The Hawks bested the Eagles, 85-47.

Eagles to invade Hawks' nest

After winning its first road game of the year at USC, the Kansas men's basketball team returns home tonight. This evening the Jayhawks take on Eastern Washington at Allen Fieldhouse, where Kevin Romary is standing by.

Useless trivia with DJ

DJ Whetter and Kevin Romary play useless fieldhouse trivia.

Audio clips

2007-08 Dec. 5 KU-EWU Basketball

Kansas University's basketball players do listen to their coach.

Well, at least some of the time.

"Coach (Bill) Self said, 'Attack, attack, attack. Everybody attack the rim tonight,''' KU senior power forward Darnell Jackson said.

"Coach said, 'Pound it in, pound it in,''' sophomore forward Darrell Arthur revealed.

And so it was Wednesday, as obedient Jayhawk guards fed the bigs early and often in an 85-47 victory over outmanned Eastern Washington at Allen Fieldhouse.

"Coach got on us yesterday at practice. He told the guards to get us the ball down low. He told me to get to the hole more, drive more instead of taking jumpers," said the 6-foot-9 Arthur, who combined with Jackson for Kansas' first 15 points - 14 down low and one from the free-throw line.

Arthur, who missed four of his first five shots - including a game-opening baseline jumper - in Sunday's 59-55 victory at USC, made four of his first five shots inside against EWU.

Jackson converted his first three shots in the paint and canned a free throw as KU opened a 15-5 lead just 51â2 minutes into the nonconference mismatch.

"We passed the ball well tonight," Self said. "I do not know if they (bigs) were more open tonight than they were the other night. We just got the ball to them starting out. Russell (Robinson, three assists, nine points), Mario (Chalmers, eight assists, six points) and Rod (Stewart, two assists, seven points) did a great job of doing that tonight."

Thanks in part to Self's commands and demands at practice on Tuesday.

"We put 'em on the treadmill at practice. Everybody hates it," Self said of penalty laps on the treadmill. "They (guards) get on if they do not throw it to the post when somebody is open. We started doing it recently.

"Also, the tape shows them (the bigs are open)," Self added.

Point guard Robinson grinned when asked if he'd been on the treadmill Tuesday.

"I got on it one time for not throwing it in. I was on for a tough 30 seconds," Robinson said. "That was a motivator. I guess it's why we were focused on throwing it inside."

Arthur had 12 points the first half off 6-of-10 shooting and Jackson seven off 3-of-4 shooting as KU opened a 37-23 lead at the break. Jackson finished with 17 off 6-of-8 shooting and Arthur 15 off 7-of-12 marksmanship.

Sasha Kaun added seven points and Cole Aldrich six on the inside. KU's guards racked up 20 assists to EWU's five.

"Our main goal is to get 'Shady' started," Jackson said of Arthur. "It's what we say at practice and in the locker room. Get the ball to 'Shady' and the game is easier for us all."

"Just feed him the ball, let him get started. That's how he's going to have a big-time game," noted Brandon Rush.

"It's another step for 'Shady,''' Robinson added of the big man's effort. "We get it inside, they will kick it out, and everything will be dandy."

KU had some problems from the outside Wednesday, missing 12 of 17 3-pointers. Yet the inside game as well as a pressing defense that accounted for 15 steals and 22 EWU turnovers propelled the Jayhawks to 8-0.

EWU fell to 3-7.

"I thought it was good for us to play out of a scramble situation," Self said, noting the Jayhawks figure to play even more full-court defense when Sherron Collins returns from injury and Rush is closer to 100 percent recovered from his ACL surgery.

"They wanted to slow it down, but we created some pace defensively. We did not score as much off our defense as I thought we would, especially when we had 15 steals (career-high six by Chalmers), but I thought our defense was good. I thought our big guys flew around. They scored off of breakdowns, but for the most part, we defended pretty well. We played a lot better than we did Sunday, that's for sure."

Eastern Washington, buried by an 18-2 run that upped KU's 39-26 lead to 57-28 early in the second half, was led by guard Adris DeLeon, who had 24 points off 8-of-11 shooting. The Eagles hit eight of 26 threes to KU's 5-of-17.

KU had just two double-digit scorers, big men Arthur and Jackson. Arthur, by the way, did drift outside the second half to cash a 3-pointer.

"It's good to start inside then go out," said Arthur, who now has made two of six 3s on the year. "I was wide-open (on the 3). It was an open look, so I knocked it down. I still have confidence in my outside game.

"The main thing is I was not as sped up tonight as I was against USC. It was our first road game. We were all sped up. I'd been shooting too quickly. I've been working on a lot of things with coach (Danny) Manning, like driving to the hole. I'm trying to get to the hole, work inside/out."

Next test for No. 3 rated KU is Saturday's game against 2-2 DePaul. Tipoff is 1 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse.

Go figure

32.7

EWU's field-goal shooting percentage

45.5

KU's field-goal shooting percentage

21

Kansas' rebounding advantage (48 to 27)

15

Kansas' advantage in points from the free-throw line

5:22

Eastern Washington's assist-to-turnover ratio

20:11

Kansas' assist-to-turnover ratio

6

Steals by all EWU players combined

6

Steals by Kansas' Mario Chalmers alone (KU had 15 total)

Comments

BCRavenJHawkfan 6 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps the criticisim of Kaun and adulation of Arthur, Jackson or Rush has nothing to do with production, hustle or effort, but is because Kaun does not have "it". He is a fine player no doubt, but does he have "it". The "it" is the intimidation factor. Ask yourself this - does Kaun intimidate opposing players? Do you feel Kaun could put the team on his back for 15 minutes? Now ask could Rush? Could Arthur? There will be a game when some one will have to in order to survive.

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Eliott Reeder 6 years, 4 months ago

Cole is the best natural shot blocker on this team.

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KU 6 years, 4 months ago

Lebowski.....Nice analysis.

As I posted yesterday, to have a championship team, you need all kinds of players with different roles. If Kaun can play D, control the paint, get a couple of blocks and rebound we're getting what we need out of him. Since Aldrich hasn't come around yet, we absolutely need all 5 of Kaun's fouls so we can be aggressive inside.

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Lebowski 6 years, 4 months ago

Posted by LAJayhawk (anonymous) on December 5, 2007 at 5:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Lebowski, I agree with you on some of your points. As I stated in my previous post, Kaun is probably the best shot blocker on the team. He has an instinct for the ball in that situation. He is a very good defender inside. And yes, 80% from the field is excellant.

The reason, though, why I think people criticize Kaun more than Arthur for rebounding is due to productivity. Arthur is averaging 13.7 ppg to Kaun's 7.6. That's nearly twice as many points per game. "

The other article seems done, so I'll respond here. LAJayhawk is comparing D.Arthur and Kaun's ppg and calling the results "productivity". This is not the best way to measure productivity. Who was more productive when they were on the floor the EWU game? Darrell Arthur or Sasha Kaun? I'll bet 95% of the people here have a quick-draw answer to this question... Geez it's obvious, isn't it? Kaun's 7 pts and 3 boards is just plain unacceptable and Arthur did much better. RIGHT?

Looking at PPG as a measure of productivity doesn't tell all. Sasha only played 12 minutes... but how productive was he during those 12 minutes? Well let's just compare their stats if they had each played 30 minutes, which is about the most a full-time starter would be expected to average...

Points Arthur 18.0 Kaun 17.5

FG attempts Arthur 14.4 Kaun 7.5

Rebounds Arthur 7.2 Kaun 7.5

Assists Arthur 0 Kaun 5.0

Steals Arthur 2.4 Kaun 2.5

Turnovers Arthur 2.4 Kaun 2.5

Blocks Arthur 1.2 Kaun 2.5

Over the course of the season, they've been very comparable, with Arthur shooting more often to get his points. He's not rebounding any better than Kaun, and he's also struggled from the line.

A game in which I'm sure most of you quickly proclaim that Arthur did better... Kaun did as good or better in every aspect, even though he rolled his ankle in his first few seconds he entered the game. There's NO argument to be made that Arthur played "a lot" better than Kaun did.

Yet, very few are remotely willing to recognize it at all. Over the non-conference season, he's been just as productive as Arthur on a per-minute basis, and only a small pace behind Jackson.

So the question I have is what makes one guy "awesome" and the other guy "disappointing"? The difference in their production has been minute. So what is it, really? Honestly, Darnell is my favorite KU player, too... but there is nothing that says Sasha isn't just an important cog in their rotation in the post. I really am losing respect for any KU fan who is consistently ripping on Sasha. Noone on the team is perfect, so he shouldn't be singled out for the few things he really needs to improve at.

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ChicagoJHawk 6 years, 4 months ago

KU, the reason I say we've improved is that last year @ this time we had already lost 2 games - DePaul & Oral Roberts. It seems like we're definitely doing a better job of not underestimating anyone & taking every game seriously. I agree w/what you said about Arthur, I too was expecting a little more out of him after all the hype I heard. That's okay though, he isnt' playing bad by any means & there are still plenty of games left so I'm sure he'll be where he needs to be when we need him. Overall as a team, we definitely aren't quite where we need to be but we'll get there.

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tis4tim 6 years, 4 months ago

Any rule against putting a treadmill on the sidelines during tourney time? Might provide that little extra somethin' somethin'.

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CasperCorps 6 years, 4 months ago

They looked like they were playing against a highschool team. Way to get excited about getting the bigs the ball the competition was all under six foot. We should of put Kleinamen on there team for the night just so it might be a little more fair. Or only played with four guys on the floor.

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jhwkfan162515 6 years, 4 months ago

By the way, former Jayhawk Micah Downs learned a lesson about trash-talking...

http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/recap?gid=200712050233&prov=ap

The moral of the story: Never give another team "bulletin board material". Go Wazzu!

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ku98 6 years, 4 months ago

Not a great shooting night for Mario, but 6pts, 8 assists, 6 steals... not bad... Good stat line for Aldrich, 6pts, 7rbs, 3blks, in 15 minutes. Good job, Hawks!

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KU 6 years, 4 months ago

Chicago......I don't want to rain on your parade, but we haven't improved THAT much over last December offensively. (I'll address defense at the end.)

You could argue that Jackson is much better, but I would say that's just because he's getting more playing time. I think he could have done the same thing early last year. By the end of last year he was performing like he is today. Rodrick looks better, but he's really still "just" an energy guy who needs to play better D.

Chalmers is about the same player. RussRob, after looking like he really improved his jumper early, has regressed. Sasha is Sasha. Rush is coming along, but that's understandable and really remarkable. Hard to gauge Collins.

The one person that I had high hopes for after reading the clippings from his international team experience was Arthur. It sounded like he had made a leap over the summer. He looks a lot more physical. His post play really needs to improve if KU is going to be a great team.

It looks like this team's identity will be defense, and that's a good thing. I think they are showing flashes of being a really great defensive team.

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Lebowski 6 years, 4 months ago

UMKC might have had some problems with it.

I do somewhat agree with you KU, about halfway through the 1st half, I was thinking "this matchup isn't going to help us much". But I'm also not going to say I was disappointed in much of anything. You can't take any game for granted, and I'm glad to see KU not doing that.

I think the one thing to take from it is that our guys' intent is getting to be in the right place. The team now needs to do it against some better competition. The guys also need some more adversity. We need more games like the USC game, that make everyone second guess what it is that makes them ineffective or inconsistent. Without games like that, a team doesn't have much of a chance in March.

Another thing to take from it... free throws!!!! What's going on? I think there were some imposters playing for KU. It was refreshing to see em do well from the stripe, especially when they weren't vital, because that's when they usually struggle to put games away. Throwing up a couple bricks can energize an opposing team.

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ChicagoJHawk 6 years, 4 months ago

It was good to see us get the ball in to the big guys in the post. I do realize that it's obviously a lot easier to do that against EWU than USC but it's nice to see that we're working on, and improving on, other parts of our game. Nice work KU! If you compare us now to where we were at this point in the season last year, we've definitely learned some lessons & made some improvements. 8-0, let's keep it up, Rock Chalk!!!!

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KU 6 years, 4 months ago

Who in the country COULDN'T post up on EWU?? I wouldn't get too giddy about it. We've seen it before. Our Bigs look all-world against sub-par competition but they get "sped up" (to use Self's word) against top-flight competition and become ineffective, particularly Arthur. He should score 25 with ease on a team like EWU.

Shooting below 50% against THAT team? Are you kidding me?

The score looks pretty, but I wasn't impressed last night.

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1977kufan 6 years, 4 months ago

Super article, Gary with an excellent analysis. Coach Self is exactly right. Even though we are an outstanding team, we need to have established inside and outside games. This EWU game was very helpful for the former. I know the guys on the perimeter can shoot and feed, so our outside game is already established. Coach Self with Danny's help will develop the inside game even more. Exciting ball upcoming for our guys. Jayhawk basketball, love it, watch it!

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