Tuesday, March 6, 2007

KU notebook: Charities worrisome


Darnell Jackson figures he's darn near perfect from the free-throw line at practice.

"I hit them all the time," Jackson, Kansas University's junior forward, said, noting he shoots 100 per workout a day.

"It's just in the game I don't know what's wrong - in and out or just 'brick.' When you think it's good, it's not. I'm going to have to work on that."

Jackson - who has made just four of his last 13 free throws over the last six games and has made 64.2 percent on the season and 60 percent in league games - missed two with seven minutes left in Saturday's 90-86 home victory over Texas.

His teammates followed by clanging seven of their final 12 tries down the stretch of the narrow victory.

"Our free-throw shooting down the stretch was atrocious," junior Russell Robinson said.

Robinson, a 65.6 percent free thrower (62.5 in league games), made two of six the final 1:18.

"With me, it's all mental. I'm thinking about everything except making the shot. I've got to focus in and get tougher," Robinson said.

Robinson said the team's 66.3 percent mark (65.6 in conference) is not because of lack of effort at practice.

"Coach (Bill Self) sets a goal for us. We have to make 21 of 25 (individually) when we are tired. You shoot them after you run and are tired. It gives you something to think about. It's not quite the same as a game, but close."

Self isn't ignoring the problem.

"I believe we have an area of concern," he said. "If we made free throws against Texas with our best shooters up there, the game is never in doubt. I do believe we'll make them. Now would be a great time to start if we're going to raise our percentages a bit."

"When it comes to crunch time, I think you are going to see us make the big free throws," said Brandon Rush, who has made 68.6 percent of his tosses, 74.5 in the league.

Audio clips

2006-07 March 5 KU weekly presser

¢ Wright player of week: KU sophomore Julian Wright on Monday was named Big 12 co-player of the week with Texas' Kevin Durant. Wright averaged 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in wins over Oklahoma and Texas. Texas' D.J. Augustin was rookie of the week.

¢ Top seed?: There's talk No. 2-ranked KU will be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"If seeding were to come out today, I believe we'd be a 1," Self said on his Hawk Talk radio show. "But say North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio State, UCLA and Florida win their tournaments. I'd say, 'If we're going to be a 1 seed, we better win our tournament.' If not, we'd go from 2 to 6 in the polls.

"If we win our tournament, it would give us great consideration. I believe we need to play well in Oklahoma City to get that. We had a really good year, but a lot of teams did."

KU opens Big 12 tourney play at 11:30 a.m. Friday against either Iowa State or Oklahoma at Ford Center in OKC.

¢ Scholarship situation: KU, which has 12 players on scholarship this semester (walk-on Matt Kleinmann is on aid with a slot available), will, on paper, be at 13 next season.

'Hawks nab No. 1,900

No. 1900: Video highlights of KU vs. Texas

Kleinmann will give up his scholarship, with Cole Aldrich and Tyrel Reed coming on board to up the total to 13.

The Jayhawks, Self said, "need to get down to 12," because of NCAA probation that takes away a scholarship the next two seasons.

"Even though I am not encouraging anything, I'd say the percentages would be somebody would leave for some reason. It could be professional reasons (NBA),

playing-time reasons, a lot of reasons. I'd rather play the percentages and know confidently that would be true than wish we had another player. We've got to get down to 12. Those things tend to work themselves out."

Rush and Wright reiterated Monday they plan to return for their junior seasons. But Self said nothing with any player ever is set in stone.

"There's not anybody right now that knows if they'd leave," Self said. "There's guys in their mind know they'd stay, but things happen. People get involved. We'll enjoy all our guys as long as we have them. We hope we have them again unless it's best for them to leave now. If it's best they leave now, they need to leave. Heck, I don't even know. I've not talked to NBA people who have them on their board. I told them (players) we'd address it when the season is over."

Wright noted: "Nobody on the team is talking about that, because at this time nobody should be even thinking about that. If you are, it's not good for the team."


Douglas Yetman 14 years, 9 months ago

It seems a bit odd for Coach Self to be speaking so freely about someone leaving the program. Our two most likely candidates to make the jump, Rush and Wright, have both said that they are coming back. The others on the team with NBA talent have shown this year that they are not ready...yet.

These types of comments--especially right before the Big 12 and NCAA tourney--should be kept quiet and away from the players and speculating fans like us. Clearly there is a roster log-jam but how about "Gee whiz we have some talented players, we will see about that stuff after the season."

Are we to assume that some scholarship player without much playing time is going to bail on the program for more p.t.? Who would do that? Not about Morningstar?

BigTamale 14 years, 9 months ago

Lets say no one leaves (something we all hope), then how will they slim down one scholarship?

I wouldn't imagine Bill Self would ask Julian Wright to leave (go pro) in order to make room for the Reed or Aldrich kid.

If Bill would happen to Red-Shirt one of the new incoming freshmen, would it count against the total?

Matthew Goble 14 years, 9 months ago

I think I've heard that Brady said he'd be willing to give up his scholarship if that situation arose. As to the thinking that Brady might leave because of playing time ... he's not going anywhere. He is KU born and KU bred. He had offers from big time D-I schools, such as Tennessee, and turned them down for a chance to even sit on KU's bench. I don't know if anyone is leaving or not, but I personally would love to see everyone back.

BigTamale 14 years, 9 months ago


I don't know if you were reffering to my post, but I said:

I wouldn't imagine Bill Self would ask Julian Wright to leave (go pro) in order to make room for the Reed or Aldrich kid.

Notice I said "WOULDN'T"

If not, then we both agree on the situation...

BigTrav 14 years, 9 months ago

Well, I doubt coach voluntarily said "Oh btw, we have a possible scholarship problem next year." The Media prolly asked him about it and he answered them. There's nothing wrong with it imo, If their going to have 13 scholarships out next season and have to get it to 12, I'm assuming the ones that would definitely keep them are

RR, Chalmers, Rush, Kaun, Arthur, Wright, Jackson, Collins and then the two incoming freshman. That's 10 right there. Whoever the other 3 are, I feel you take the one that has the least chance for PT or has the least upside and change him to a walk on for at least a year. If they don't like it, they can always transfer.

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago


I agree with your post. It is ODD for Self to be talking this way. After two kids say they're not leaving and he comes back and says it's not set in stone? What is he THINKING???

deepind 14 years, 9 months ago

According to the ESPN lottery generator (mock draft) it seems like Julian Wright is a definite lottery pick! He's likely to fit the needs of both the Bucks and the Sonics. The lowest he'll go in the mock draft is #7 and he could go as high as #3!! Of course, all this is based on the college players' performance so far. If someone who's projected lower in the draft carries his team to the Final Four (or gets injured) then the projections will change.

McGuzzo23 14 years, 9 months ago

I'm not a NBA scout but I don't believe any of our players are ready for the NBA, but has Julian Wright as a #4 pick. So if they are basing it on potential and he can be #4 then he is probably going to be out. On the other hand we have Morningstar who I believe would go off scholarship if we needed to make room. I don't believe Reed would do that just because he could have gone to a lot more schools then Morningstar could have. I'm sure it will all work out just fine. If we have too many good players darn the luck right.

okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

I, for one, like Coach Self's candidness when dealing with this issue. He's telling it like it is. I've read posts on here in the past wondering where these extra scholarships are coming from next year. Well, there you go, he just answered your question. This isn't a Roy Williams team. They're a little harder than that. The truth shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings. No, at this point, it doesn't look like anyone is going pro. Therefore, someone's going to have to take a back seat. This program isn't built on walk-ons. It's about time this program came out and dealt with issues like these in the open. What's to hide from?

justanotherfan 14 years, 9 months ago

In reading and re-reading Self's comments, it seems to me that he is implying loosely that there could be a transfer situation at the end of the bench, much like with Alex Galindo, Micah Downs, etc. I don't know who that someone is, but it is a possibility that someone could transfer. After all, the front of the rotation is pretty well full. I don't think it will be Case, though because he has already redshirted and used most of his eligibility.

jayhawk79 14 years, 9 months ago

As far as transfer is concerned everyone is getting sufficient minutes except for Stewart, but I cannot see him going any place as he already transferred.

As for Morningstar, I remember him saying he would give up his scholarship. You have to love players with that kind of dedication. I think he would give a kidney for the team if Self asked him to.

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago

He's not just talking about guys "at the end of the bench". He's talking about Brandon and Julian!!!!


okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

The only issue with Morningstar losing his scholarship, is he would take a hit to his pride. Financially, he doesn't need it. Not that that's an issue, but anyway...

okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

All he said was that nobody knows what the future holds. He's just playing the percentages, like any smart coach would. You guys are blowing this way out of proportion.

JayCeph 14 years, 9 months ago

Of all the problems to have, this is a pretty good one. I just wish they'd not deal with it too much at this point. It is too much of a distraction given the road in front of the team. Stay focused on the two tourneys and win them both. Then we can all address who might leave, etc. 'Till then, nothing but the game matters.

bmcmich1 14 years, 9 months ago

I hate to change the subject from speculation about the future to a very real problem in the here and now, but: FREE THROWS!!! It's easy for their importance to get lost in the shuffle, but as we all know from the Syracuse game they can lose you a Championship, or hinder you from even getting there. I don't know if there is some magic drill or formula to get our boys to knock down their charities, but it is something that really worries me. Jackson hitting FOUR of his last THIRTEEN free throws? That's PATHETIC, I don't care who you are and what level you're at.

okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

Here's my point.... Obviously the media brought it up. HCBS answered the question truthfully. That's the end of it. If you want to blame some, blame the guy that asked the question. We don't need to tiptoe around issues like these. If you need confirmation that everything is okay in Jayhawk land, just re-read the last line of the article.

jacqueshock 14 years, 9 months ago

It's good to see that Kaun has better form on his FT shots. It paid off with a 3-3 performance against TX. I am confident to leave him in the game in late situations.

okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

bmcmich1, Personally, I don't think there's a big mystery behind shooting free throws. Some are just better at it than others. I, for one, know that it's more difficult when you're tired, and some just can't make that adjustment very well. Obviously, better shooters are better free throw shooters. Really, I think that's the bottom line. I guess we just don't that many good shooters on the team.

okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

jacque, I disagree with you. He still has a hard, flat shot...not conducive to high percentages. He definitely contributes in other ways, though.

bmcmich1 14 years, 9 months ago

You may be right, okjhok, but it also has a lot to do with muscle memory and mental toughness. I would like to think that this team has gotten a lot tougher throughout the season, and as a result you would think the players wouldn't go native and get rattled at the charity stripe. I think it takes a little more than just good shooting form to be a good free throw shooter--it takes a pretty special player and I think we have some special players on this squad--that is why it frustrates me to see them miss gimmies like free throws in the waning minutes of games. I just don't want something like free throws to cost this team a great tourney run.

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago

Heres something you need to SERIOUSLY consider...

There have been more defections under Self during his time here than for the same amount of time for any other Kansas Coach. Maybe..."MAYBE"'s because he doesn't expect kids to stay:

"I'd say the percentages would be somebody would leave for some reason. It could be professional reasons (NBA), playing-time reasons, a lot of reasons. I'd rather play the percentages..."

Julian and Brandon want to stay, they've said it.

Don't get me wrong, I think Self is a great coach. But every once in a while he makes a statement that get's me thinking about what exactly is going on in his head. In my worst moments I wonder secretly if he's afraid of having TOO MUCH talent here and NOT winning it all, thinking supporters might call his coaching skill into question since that would be the only thing left to blame. If so I think that's ridiculous. He's already proven himself to be a good coach.

Besides, BOTH Julian AND Brandon could benefit by playing another year in college and honing their skills. How ironic it would be if Oden and Durant stayed (there's buzz that says they might) and Julian and Brandon jump. Bill should be whispering in their ear that they COULD stay behind to develop their game because it's best for all parties involved...INCLUDING THEM!

Rush has had two older brothers that didn't work out in the NBA. He should look at that and say to himself that he really should work on his game at least another season because at this time his talent is not fully developed. Accordingly, what you SHOULD be hearing from Self is the same line of reasoning.

Of the two, Julian is more ready but even he needs to work on things like consistency. He is still a work in progress. He has yet to develop the consistency of Simeon, LaFrentz, Pierce, Hinrich, Collison and others.

The talk of them coming out is simply ridiculous.

Simply ridiculous...

okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

You and me both. It's interesting, though. As I was watching the Texas game, I was trying to remember the last good free throw shooting team we had. It had to be early 90's. I was too young to remember stats much before that.

bmcmich1 14 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, I've done that before too and my memory cuts out about the same time. Oh well, guess we can just hope for the best and shoot about the 75-80% range during the tourneys.

okjhok 14 years, 9 months ago

Man, if we shoot 75-80% in the tourney, you might as well mark us down as the champs.

Craig Lang 14 years, 9 months ago

I think Julian has said since his freshman year that he promised his mom that he would work hard at school so that he could graduate in three years (and then go pro). That always gave me the impression that his plan has always been to play three years before entering the NBA draft. Obviously, the possibility of a high-pick and the money involved could persuade him to forego his three-year plan, but I think he has a lot of motivation to stay for one more year. With Durant and Acie Law (IV) leaving, Julian will be a strong contender for Big 12 player of the year (although he will have a lot of competition with the incoming freshman at K-State).

jayhawktownie 14 years, 9 months ago

julian is staying, rush is probably staying. i think the greatest chance of somebody leaving is still arthur. at the beginning of the season i would have said he is the one most likely to go pro and i still believe it. he would probably still be a first rounder based on potential. his stock is not going to go up a lot by spending another year coming off the bench behind julian and sasha. likewise, his stock isn't going to go up by transferring and sitting out a year. i know the guy seems to have very little ego but i still wouldn't be surprised.

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago

If Arthur goes pro, then I'm gonna be the next pope.

Simply not ready.

Marcia Parsons 14 years, 9 months ago

I don't know how many of you had a chance to actually hear the interview. I did, and feel all the talk about guys leaving, etc. has been exaggerated in the printed reports. The reporters wanted to know how he was going to reduce from 13 to 12 scholarships, and he gave some examples of things that COULD happen. He didn't even seem to be particularly talking about our team--just giving examples of how things like that work out and why it was better to have one extra, just in case, rather than coming up one short if something did happen.

bmcmich1 14 years, 9 months ago

Wow, imagine that...the spoken word in an interview being exaggerated in the printed reports! I'm shocked!

kufootball19 14 years, 9 months ago

Being honest about the possibility of his players going pro does nothing to detract from the team because people are going to talk about it anyway. Dancing around the issue would just fuel the rumors. PLUS - and this is big - it helps recruiting. Kids want to play for a coach who is going to help them get to the next level, not a coach who is going to shield them from the next level.

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago

These kids (Arthur, Wright, Chalmers, Rush, Collins, and Kaun) already have their tickets punched to the NBA so they're not being shielded from it. The fact that kids want to play for a coach who is going to help them get to the next level has absolutely NOTHING to do with the timing of their departure. Again, THEYRE ALREADY GOING.

What is a more expedient concern--even for THEM--is developing their skill before they get there.

Kufootball, if honesty is your thing then it requires the truth be told: none of them are ready with the possible exception of Julian.

actorman 14 years, 9 months ago

"But say North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio State, UCLA and Florida win their tournaments."

That would be quite an accomplishment, since OSU and Wisconsin are in the same conference.

"Obviously, better shooters are better free throw shooters. Really, I think that's the bottom line."

I don't think that's obvious at all. There have been NUMEROUS cases over the years of great outside shooters who were lousy or mediocre free throw shooters. I think if someone is a good shooter that makes him more LIKELY to be a good FT shooter, but it's certainly not set in stone.

"Dancing around the issue would just fuel the rumors. PLUS - and this is big - it helps recruiting."

Good point, football. And even if ross is right that these kids are already going to be going to the NBA, I think it helps recruiting to have it talked about publicly like that. I have to confess I'm not wild about the timing of it either, but it never hurts to have recruits be reminded of it.

JayCeph 14 years, 9 months ago

All this NBA crud will sort itself out if and when KU takes care of the business at hand... win the conference tourney, take a high seed into the NCAAs and then run that table as well.

If that happens, all this talk will have some merit. 'Till then, it is a distraction from the main thing... the game on Friday against either Oklahoma or Iowa State.

If you think getting bounced in the 1st round of the NCAAs is bad, try dropping your first game in the conference tourney... especially if you have a bye. Focus... focus... focus...

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago

Kansas needs a lot of help with recruiting, doesn't it?

Hmm... Arthur, Collins, Wright, Rush, Robinson, Chalmers, Kaun, Aldrich coming in...

And in recent history... Pierce, LaFrentz, Pollard, Vaughn, Ostertag, Hinrich, Collison, Thomas, Simien, Walters, Manning, Gooden, and many many others...

Yeah. We need a LOT of help recruiting!

The buzz about our players going pro is a given. What really helps recruiting is the reputation of the program (no accident that Duke, Kansas, UNC, and Kentucky place more players in the NBA than anyone else) and the reputation of the coach. Self has been an excellent recruiter. We hardly have a need to shore up the obvious!

hawkfan4life 14 years, 9 months ago

Morningstar or Stewart, one of the two will have to foot the bill for their education for a year. My bet is Brady since he will pay in state. The the sanction will kick in and hurt us because we have to limit the number of recruits that we can accept. We are still recruiting two other possibilities and we already don't have the spots available, really doesn't seem fair to me to bring Brady or any other kid into the program, promise them a scholarship and then ask them to give it up for someone else. That is what is going to happen because none of our guys are leaving, it's way too much fun being a Jayhawk for them right now, all of them will want the KU experience for at least one more year.

aberry33 14 years, 9 months ago

I think they have a great shot at winning it all this year. But if they all stay (which I think they should), they could be old school UNLV good next year.

countryjayhawk 14 years, 9 months ago

What they need to worry about is free throws, and i would like to know if anyone on this team does make 21 out of 25. Do they have to stay until they make 21 out of 25. I know guys like Sasha would be there for a while. We know all too well the importance of free throws in tournament games, maybe they can get Hinrich or Collison to remind these guys.

As for a player leaving Julian probably could go, Brandon no, he still disappears to much in some games. I think Julian would benifit though of another year, similar to Hinrich and Collison who were projected to be lottery picks after their junior season, they stayed and only improved their stock. Arthur and Collins are staying because their is no way they are unhappy with PT, they both voluntarily come off the bench. Darnell I think has a special bond with Coach Self and I cant see him leaving. It could be Case, we keep hearing what a great shooter he is, but he doesnt get the PT here. Whatever happens happens, does anyone here wish we still had Galindo, Giddens, Giles, Downs, Padgett, Bahe, Wilkes?????

JayCeph 14 years, 9 months ago

Downs played last night with the 'Zags and his free throw shooting was miserable. Completely awful.

All we can do is look forward and focus on one game at a time.

bmcmich1 14 years, 9 months ago

To quote Jerry Seinfeld's meticulous carpenter, "stay, go, whatever!"

The focus should be Friday at 11:30am. It's really fun and addictive to speculate about players staying or going, but be could drive you crazy.

One thing even the devil can't control is free will--they will do what's best for them--nothing we can do about it but relish what they did, are doing, and can do over the next month in crimson and blue and wish them well whatever they decide in the end

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago


With respect, kids don't always do what's best for them. Sometimes they should stay when they should go, sometimes they go when they should stay.

milehighhawker 14 years, 9 months ago

What's this I see about this Releford kid saying he's coming to KU next year too.......where are we going to get that scolarship?

bmcmich1 14 years, 9 months ago

good point jross, what I should have said was they will do what they THINK is best for them...

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago

Teahan is a preferred walk-on, he's not getting a scholarship.

Joe Ross 14 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and Releford...I dont think he'll be coming out of high school this year. Doesn't he graduate in 2008? And I think he's got others on his list besides Kansas.

Dirk Medema 14 years, 9 months ago

Teahan is accepting a preferred walk-on position, which is essentially the same thing that Morningstar offered to do right before Reed signed. The fact that KU will have between 5 & 10 (5 Sr's, 3 Jr's, 2 Soph's) scholarships to fill next year can't be news to anyone that is looking at things critically.

Case has commented on thinking about transferring once before, and was told by his dad (alum, coach, one who knows the benefit of pontentially playing for a championship & great coach) that he was to stay put.

Bahe is a good example of someone who left the program without any particularly public indications. Personally, that all I took Coach Self's comments to mean, along with the knowledge of P1.

Has anyone else noticed the similarities between Reed and Hinrich (size, position, parent, home, ?)?

Roysoldboy 14 years, 9 months ago

I have always though Jackson was a good free throw shooter until he hit this spell. I can tell you when he releases if it is going or clanking. He has stopped following through and is just flipping the darned thing without any action from his legs.

It is the legs that make the difference especially when a player is tired. It works the same way with Kaun. Get a tape of that game the other day and he used his legs as the beginning of each shot which allows the arc needed.

I used to go crazy with high school kids doing everything wrong from start to finish and the best one I ever coached was one poor shooter everywhere but on that line and he exaggerated his knee bend so people laughed at him but they failed to laugh when he made the shot.

It is all a question of focus and concentration. I don't think that too many kids think about where the ball is going. I remember what an old timer used to say when he said the ball has to just get over the front of the rim. Aim just beyond that thing and even the short ones will probably drop in.

kerbyd 14 years, 9 months ago

Is Bechard on scholarship? Since his dad is a prof he should have a free ride anyway. I believe that is one of the percs of the job.

countryjayhawk 14 years, 9 months ago

jross, you'd still want Padgett, sure he could hit the midrange jumper, but he was terrible under the basket, and then you had his dad who thought he knew more than Bill Self

rockchalkjayhawk4ku11 14 years, 9 months ago

Man jross you wrote a lot of comments on this article but they were good. IDK if I agree with Paggett!

missKU 14 years, 9 months ago

Go VOTE for Russ Acie Law has 66% of the vote Russ has 15% SO GO VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!

Lin Rahardja 14 years, 9 months ago

Wright is Wrighteous... "Nobody on the team is talking about that (leaving), because at this time nobody should be even thinking about that...".

Just have fun, and play your heart out. Go Hawks!!!

Timothy Grillot 14 years, 9 months ago

Maybe invite the students to attend practice at the end when the players shoot FTs and ask them to do everything to distract the players and make it more of a game situation?

Drew Alan 14 years, 9 months ago

Bechard's dad is not a prof, he as a coach, and he's a walk on anyway. Morningstar isn't going anywhere, his family would dis-own him. Case can't transfer... he already redshirted, and he'll be a senior next year. Same with Rod Stewart.

IF they win the national title, I can see Wright and/or Rush leaving. Anything less, and we'll have great expectations with the best returning roster in the nation next season.

Oh and whoever mentioned Kaun as having his ticket punched for the NBA needs to get their head checked... all defense and no offense equals no NBA career.

countryjayhawk 14 years, 9 months ago

im not saying Sasha is NBA worthy at all but, "all defense and no offesne equals no NBA career", then what is the big deal with Joakim Noah????

ralsterKUMed95 14 years, 9 months ago

Sasha has the physical size and athleticism to ONE DAY contribute in the NBA. Defensive ability is evident, and offensive skills improving yearly. Does anyone remember Dennis Rodman? How much offensive prowess did he provide? Probably could still play (& he wants to...) if he hadnt gotten himself on the freak-list. I like Sasha's athleticism. Would you rather have Ostertag??? or Chenowith?? Another VERY appealing aspect to Sasha and Darnell is that they would likely do anything asked of them--NOT the case with Padgett. I watched some Louisville games this year, and I was quickly reminded of the SLOW FEET of D.Padgett. No thanks on Padgett! We have Wright and Darnell and Darrell who can hit 12 footers all day facing the basket... We should consider ourselves blessed. Remember just recently when we would had a drop-off whenever we went to the bench? We just did not have the depth behind the exceptional talents of Collison, Lafrentz.
All I can say (after YEARS of waiting) is that we finally equal or surpass the talent level of NC, my personal college basketball yardstick on 'hot college talent' over the years. Hotshot kids just always have wanted to play for that school, more than any other. Its about time we got a loaded roster. I also was envious of the depth that TX had about 3-4 years ago. They would come at you in waves...

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