Friday, April 24, 2009


Don’t overlook C.J.’s impact on KU

Minnesota high school standout Cole Aldrich, left, sits with former KU recruit C.J. Henry during the 2005 Late Night in the Phog. Henry will join up with Aldrich as a member of the Jayhawks next season.

Minnesota high school standout Cole Aldrich, left, sits with former KU recruit C.J. Henry during the 2005 Late Night in the Phog. Henry will join up with Aldrich as a member of the Jayhawks next season.


Terrific talent Tyshawn Taylor sometimes looked as if he got caught standing up when he should have been locked in a defensive stance. Taylor’s coach let him have it for such lapses, but it’s not as if Bill Self could have replaced him with close to an equal talent.

Now he can, which is one reason Taylor will push himself harder to remain in that defensive stance longer.

Some nights, it seemed, both Morris twins just didn’t have it. Still, Self had to play them. Now he doesn’t. Here’s guessing those nights spent on the perimeter — or was it Mars? — will become rare occurrences. They’ll either be sprinting from block to block and hitting the boards with everything they’ve got or they’ll be hitting the bench. With a full year of experience, the likable post players fully appreciate how much effort is required.

Sherron Collins carried so much of the ballhandling and scoring load on the way to the Sweet 16 that by the end of a few of his 38-minute nights, exhaustion led to waning focus, which led to turnovers, even missed free throws. Self didn’t have much choice. He couldn’t afford to let the game slip away while Collins rested.

Xavier Henry gives Kansas a third big-time scorer and prototypical offensive and defensive small forward. Plus, he’s an outrageous talent.

Yet, Henry is far from the only addition to the roster who will make the Jayhawks much better on the perimeter than they were when they took a lead into the final minutes against Michigan State.

Don’t anybody confuse C.J. Henry with Ronnie Chalmers. Xavier’s older brother is a player Kansas would have wanted by himself, especially since he doesn’t count toward the scholarship limit because the New York Yankees are paying his tuition. C.J. will be a sophomore, even though he hasn’t played any college basketball. The NCAA starts the clock ticking once a player turns 21. Henry, 23 next month, had four years left to play once he turned 21 and one of those four years was spent recovering from a broken foot while he attended Memphis.

The older Henry plays point guard, boasts terrific athleticism, and is an accomplished shooter. It will be interesting to see which player provides Collins much-needed rest more often, C.J. Henry or freshman Elijah Johnson. Which happens first: Henry knocks off rust or Johnson’s wild game is tamed? Either way, depth at point guard also means Collins can spend part of his time on the court off the ball.

Up front, Thomas Robinson, a remarkable athlete in a power forward’s body, gives Cole Aldrich more rebounding help than he had last season and he gives the Morris twins a player to try to out-hustle.

Arizona de-commit Jeff Withey, a skilled 7-footer who runs the floor well, doesn’t yet have the body to bang with the likes of Aldrich, Robinson and the Morris twins. Next year could be the year he does most of his improving in practice, a path that worked well for more physical post players Sasha Kaun and Darnell Jackson in their freshman seasons.

Better depth, star power, flexibility, athleticism and shooting means Armageddon every time the Jayhawks lose a game. Don’t look for the world to end too often next year.


Chris Teegarden 11 years, 1 month ago

I've been looking for any info on him and the man is a ghost.

TtownHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

wow look at how young Cole looks in that picture!

tstanlick1909 11 years, 1 month ago

Good article, spot on

This team is perfect, every flaw in the squad from last season has been fixed

-Collins no longer needs to do everything himself, he can pass it X man

-We are deeper at each position

-Practice will be brutal, now that practices are more challenging, our players will meet the challenges during games

-We will be more competitive, I would say ten fold

However I dont see CJ making any impact, even if he does play. And if he does, it wont be Tyshawn being pushed, Tyshawn will be pushed by Elijah, as they are both 2 guards that get to the dish but dont take many perimeter shots, they are spark starters, and i doubt both will be in the game at the same time, ever.

Cant wait

Patrick Leiker 11 years, 1 month ago

Didn't Sasha start as a freshman (or at least play a great deal)?

FairgroveJayhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Good article. In every picture of CJ I've seen he's wearing sunglasses. Must be the baseball thing. Or is his "future so bright he's go to wear shades"? Hopefully it's his future.

Chris Weaver 11 years, 1 month ago

the rule of thumb has always been that the most improvement a college ball player will make is between their freshman and sophomore seasons. we certainly saw that with the likes of shady, b-rush, mario and ju ju recently. i'm hoping that happens. even with X - i'm not as sold as everyone that we should expect to be in the final four. both of the twins and tyshawn showed some flashes, but they were absolute non-factors down the stretch of the regular season and in the tourney. god bless brady and reed - but those guys have no business starting and playing significant roles on a sweet sixteen team. hopefully the sophomores will up their game enough to settle the rotation.

KUGreenMachine 11 years, 1 month ago

afilmer, you forgot COLE ALDRICH! omg, we're going to be good next year...i do agree, that for us to be good, morningstar and reed need to be playing less minutes...for that to happen, the new guys better be stepping it up. if morningstar or reed get significant minutes, its a sign that we're doomed and our freshman aren't progressing.

hawk_of_ages 11 years, 1 month ago

No we are not "doomed" if Morningstar and Reed are playing significant minutes. Every team needs solid utility players; this team has enough stars to begin with.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Brady starting next year rather than Tyshawn. Brady can continue to be our lockdown perimeter defender, while Tyshawn could give us some nice scoring punch off the bench.

Brak 11 years, 1 month ago

So does that mean CJ only has 2 years of eligibility left for playing college ball? I wonder if he will stick around after X leaves for the draft, then again this could mean if X doesn't have a stellar year that he might comeback for another year to play with his brother and have the chance to really shine.

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 1 month ago

Entering as a sophomore, I would assume three years of eligibility. What I can't figure out is why they bothered to get him a medical redshirt if he would lose eligibility anyway just because of his age. Another confusing NCAA rule.

Steve Brown 11 years, 1 month ago

After UCLA went almost undefeated one season, Lew Alcindor was asked which team they played was the best and he said, our second 5 is the best we've played and practicing against them every day made us better. For you young folks that don't know who is Lew Alcindor, then google it.

KUFan90 11 years, 1 month ago

Great point oldalum...first time I've seen that comment. You are dead on...if he loses the year anyway, why do the medical redshirt? He's a sophomore in 09-10 either what was the point?

TheTruth08 11 years, 1 month ago

Brady Morningstar is not a lockdown perimeter defender! Please stop with that! He's great defending a guy who won't drive to the basket. He's great at keeping up with perimeter players who run through picks and do most of their damage with jump shots (see Chase Budinger and Delonte Christmas). He does have a problem with defending athletic players who can drive the ball to the basket (i.e. Willie Warren and Damian James). He's a nice player. He has served his purpose. I respect him for that. He'll play a role, but if he plays a huge role, I agree with some of the posters, that's not a good sign. But please stop calling him a lockdown defender.

hawk_of_ages 11 years, 1 month ago

I'll stop calling Brady a lockdown defender when Bill Self does.

Look at the facts. Brady replaced Rush as the man always guarding the opponent's best perimeter guy, and lo and behold -- Kansas was once again one of the best defensive teams in the country.

Jeremy Bornman 11 years, 1 month ago

The Truth08........Brady is not a lock down defender???????? did you watch any KU games last year? i guess Bill Self and every other analyst who calls him that is wrong right? We have 3 superstar if a lockdown defender who shoots the 3 well and led the team in floor burns plays alot or starts.. thats a BAD THING?????????????? you guys need to get a clue

frompekka2sasha 11 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Keegan- This is the best article you've ever written regarding KU basketball. I am not discounting any other articles but this one was very good. Keep going out on a limb rather than being vanilla. We get that enough from other sites using the same info over and over.

ObiWan 11 years, 1 month ago

Actually, Truth, Brady had no trouble guarding Damian James. This is because he spent about 38 minutes completely shutting down A.J. Abrams. Aside from a few games Cole had, it was the best defensive performance of the year. Don't count him out for next season. I guarantee you Brady is working his tail off this summer to keep some of his minutes. Self will play whoever deserves to play, not who says will play.

KUGreenMachine 11 years, 1 month ago "doomed" i meant in ku's standards. we will be good no matter what next year..thats a fact. "doomed" is referring to making it where we want to be in the tourney. if brady & reed are playing significant minutes, then yes we are doomed, as it was proven this year, they tend to fade away as the pressure increases. as i stated before that if they are getting significant minutes it means our young guys are not improving and we have no back up. the most likely scenario is that our new/younger fellas will significantly improve as the year goes on and yes brady & reed will get less minutes, and play their role. if the later happens, we have a chance to win it... and finally, i am not knocking brady or reed. we played brady because he made little mistakes and played good d. other than that, he didn't DO anything! he played because of what he didn't do . he didnt make the mistakes the freshman did, which was a lesser of two evils. i think we all know that brady is not a starter, and for those that say he should be, obviously you must not want ku to win it all. i think that we can all agree we'd rather have starters in there for what they CAN do, instead of what they DON'T do. if we only have players that don't make turnovers and play good D, then we lose every game. when push comes to shove, you need players that can make plays....end of story.

bvrams 11 years, 1 month ago

lighthawk-- very good comment, I believe that our starting 5 is going to be far and away number 1 this year, but our second five would be able to compete with everyone and beat many of the people that are on our schedule-- all i can say is Damn I am proud to be a Jayhawk

KUGreenMachine 11 years, 1 month ago

...point of previous comment, if brady is starting and playing significant minutes because the freshman & sophomores haven't stepped up, it is not a good sign for the 09-10 ku basketball team.

hawk_of_ages 11 years, 1 month ago

Speaking of non-super-athletic white guys, keep in mind that Kansas won a title in 1988 with a starting 2-guard named Jeff Gueldner -- whom Self has likened to Brady.

Last year the problem wasn't that we were FORCED to start Brady, per se. The problem was we didn't have a reliable third scorer. Brady doesn't have that kind of explosiveness; Tyshawn and McMorris showed it only intermittently while committing too many turnovers in the process.

X solves that problem for us. Now, since we have a third scorer, Brady the defensive specialist might make more sense in the starting lineup than Tyshawn, who would be a little starved for touches if he's on the floor at the same time as both Sherron and X.

KUGreenMachine 11 years, 1 month ago

...and btw, having multiple people that could start, and having to make that decision is not a bad thing at all...i can't wait for next season!!!

jayhawkintexas 11 years, 1 month ago

The practices next year are going to be intense, no doubt but the pick up games this summer are going to be totally wild!! Especially if Rush, Chalmers, and Arthur come back for the summer. I wish I could watch the pick up games.

exiledhawkfan 11 years, 1 month ago

regarding cj's medical does not necessarily imply preserving a year of eligibility (as in this case). all red-shirting means is that a player is not part of the active roster that competes in games.

hawk_of_ages 11 years, 1 month ago

Brady was not on the floor last year because of what he DOESN'T do. He was there because of what he DOES do -- play great defense. You may have noticed that defense is kind of a big deal to Bill Self.

Now, if Brady is starting next year INSTEAD of X, then I would agree that something is wrong, That would mean X is not panning out as our third scorer, which would indeed make it more difficult to win a title. However, even that would not mean we are "doomed." Keep in mind that Kansas was preseason #1 in most polls BEFORE X's announcement. More consistency from Tyshawn and/or McMorris could also be enough to solve last season's offensive deficiencies.

TexasHawk44 11 years, 1 month ago

CJ only has 3 years of eligibility left because of his age. That is the issue. He will have 3 year of eligibility at KU if he and they choose. He was a medical redshirt but even if he had not been his age will limit his eligibility.

exiledhawkfan 11 years, 1 month ago

i think cj's probably another one-and-done anyway......just kidding. :-)

Beak 11 years, 1 month ago

Our second five would win the Big XII alone.

Redshirt candidates perhaps...?

Dirk Medema 11 years, 1 month ago

If Brady plays significant minutes next year, maybe it is because he continues to develop his game too. That and maybe he gets out of the shooting slump that he was in at the end of this year. Some people seem to forget that he was leading the team in 3pt%.

To some extent, the same thing is true of Tyrel. How many clutch 3's did he spot up for to finish off a half this year.

And while we're on the non-athletic white guy tangent, let's not forget Scooter Barry from the '88 team, and Kevin Pritchard (especially with only one wheel) weren't athletic juggernaut. All played vital roles, as Brady and Tyrel might next year also. Working against them is the fact that Bill does not substitute nearly as creatively as Larry. That guys is a genious. Maybe the depth will be enough to tempt Coach Self to expand his rotation slightly beyond the 8 that it whittles down to by the end of the season.

Rock Chalk

Dirk Medema 11 years, 1 month ago

Nice article. Hopefully we can get more info on CJ as well, and bring him out of X's shadow just a bit.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 1 month ago

I find it facinating that everyone on this site knows exactly what is going to happen next year. I DO NOT!!

Will X become the third scorer?...hopefully Will Brady retain his minutes or become a defensive spark guy?....hard to say Will the sophomores make that proverbial leap forward?......we'll see Will the new guys beside X make an impact?....some may, some may not Will KU remain healthy?......who knows? Will Lance show up anyway?....we can only hope Will KU be a Final; Four Team?....???????

The things I do for sure are that Jaybate will write the longest posts, that 100 will insist that Withey starts with Condor, that Fair GroveJayhawk will always take the high road and OakvilleJHawk will have to come up with a hell of a lot of Victory Haikus!!!

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

Presently, most cannot conceive of X being anything but an instant superstar and OAD lottery pick. He is reputedly about as close to such a player as they come. But I have not seen him play in a real game (All Star games mean nothing now)--even a high school one--so I cannot speak knowledgeably about whether he can step into the 3 position, play 35 minutes a game, shoot 40-45% from trey vs. D1 defenders (a la BRush), lock down defend the opponent's best offender from 2 through 4 positions (a la BRush), grab 6-7 boards (a la BRush), put the ball on the deck and get to the rim at will (unlike BRush), make good offensive and defensive choices, feed the post, and stand up as a freshman to the physical assaults that will come from MSU, Nebraska, Texas, KSU, and whatever other thug ballers are on our schedule next season. Also, with exceptionally talented high schoolers, there is always the test of whether or not they can take the emotional adjustment of converting from enjoying huge mismatches every night, to having frequently slim matchup advantages and occassionally even-steven match-ups against guys with several more years experience.

Given the astronomical expectations, plus the long laundry list of things a good 3 position player has to be able to do, I cannot help but fear for the young man a bit. What if he were to be merely very good his first year, say, like Michael Jordan was at UNC, or like Brandon Rush was at KU, or well, there is quite a list of these kinds of players, who started out as very good, but not really superstars?

And of course there is also the possibility that he could merely play well for a freshman; that is, he could be found to have certain flaws in his game, say, the way BRush was found to have a weak left hand, or Tyshawn Taylor was found to have troubles with heavy contact in the paint for awhile. BRush and Tyshawn Taylor were not chopped liver. They were pretty darned good...and they had significant learning curves as freshmen. What if the X Man actually cannot dominate a game from the 3, or get a basket whenever KU needs him to get one? What if opposing coaches find his shooting percentage coming of a pick going right were 8% less than going to his left, or vice versa? What if Xavier were to prove to be foul prone as a freshman? What if it turns out that Xavier needs to shoot 7 to 10 threes a game to get in his rhythmn, but the KU scheme down the middle only generates about 5-6 treys per game? What if Xavier has never really had to play against guys that are an inch taller and outweigh him by 20 pounds and like to cheap shot him every time he even thinks about shooting...what if this were to bother him a bit? What if he doesn't enjoy people putting him on the floor on a regular basis after he hits even one trey?

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

Do you see the complexity and pitfalls that face even a great player like X coming into D1? By the end of the season, he should be pretty well acclimated, but there is no substitute for being an upper classman. Just ask the great Danny Manning who could only manage 14.7 ppg and 7.6 rpg as a frosh trying to fit in on another very good KU team. The legendary Danny Manning actually once only averaged 7.6 rebounds out of the paint per game? Amazing.

If the X man can match Danny's numbers, it would be a very good freshman season, would it not? But I am not sure it would be as good of a season as persons are hoping for and expecting.

X-Man, do not let the expectations get to you. You are a Jayhawk now. We have your back no matter what the hype and no matter whether we in a ring or not. Do your best and the fans will get adjusted to the realities of being an OAD freshman in D1--the reality being that there is no guaranty that you will dominate your first year.

the78phoenix 11 years, 1 month ago

Would people stop torching TheTruth08. I think he painted Morningstar pretty well. He did shut Abrams down and not James in the Texas game. But that only solidifies his point that Brady does well against shooters who come off screens and work without the ball, and not guys who score off the dribble. That said, I'm not completely agreeing with TheTruth08 that Brady isn't a lockdown defender. He gets after it, and can be a real pest for certain types of perimeter players.

I like Brady, but I think Tyshawn will get nod at the 2 spot next season. For one thing, Tyshawn is a much better ball handler, which will give us two good ball handlers on the floor since X isn't real strong with the rock from what footage I've seen. To back up my point, both Brady and Tyshawn made mistakes and turnovers against full-court pressure last year, but Brady's were in the back-court because of poor ball-handling while Tyshawn's seemed to be after he would break the pressure w/ his dribble then make a poor decision trying to make a play in the front-court.

Both players should mature and address these problems over the off-season. But I simply believe that Tyshawn has more to offer. After all, we probably won't need him to be as good of shooter as Brady is since X will more than likely be in the starting line-up and shooting seems to be his strong-suit.

mlubyRN 11 years, 1 month ago

Kaun averaged 10 min in his freshman season, Darnell - 7min. Brady and Reed will be on the bench again next season, just watch.
They will play but not nearly to the extent they did this year. Now we have alot more depth and alot more competition in practices just like Keegan said and Brady/Reed started out strong this year but waned as the pressure built.
Cole has tons more help inside now too with Robinson and Withey and the Twins who will need to step up their game on a consistent basis if they want to avoid the bench. I see Robinson starting along side Cole at the 4. I see Collins along side Elijah and Xavier and the 2 and 3 to round the starting 5. Either way, next year is going to ROCK! I smell preseason #1. Is November here yet???

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago


Of course, what is really going to drive the talent worshippers bonkers is when, not only Brady, but Tyrel Reed, too, are still playing significant minutes again despite all the new talent. All the new talent will get their long looks from Coach Self and they will all show incredible physical feats that make everyone talk about how great they are going to be with experience, but then around the middle of January, the coaching staff will look at the stats for the players against the good non conference teams and against the conference opponents to that point. The coaches will have all had their respective pet players get their chances and then have had to come into coaching staff only meetings and look each other in the eyes regarding the difference between expectations and outcomes. They will have the trey shooting percentages, and the assists, and the TOs, and the fouls and the rebound numbers. They will all have the recollection of when the team actually ran like a well oiled machine and when it sputtered. They will have three go-to corner stones--Sherron, Cole and likely X Henry (if the fairy tale plays out for real). And they will look at the 2, the 3 and the 4. And they will talk about who should be in at the ends of games and who should be in when they are trying to protect leads, and who should be in when the team can't afford TOs and who should be in when the team has to make FTs. The coaches are all going to shrug and say, well, yeah, we're still going to have to play those two--Brady and Tyrel some, because this great talent can't do this and that great talent can't do that, and the team chemistry is not quite right with this great talent, and somehow, or another, by late in the season, Brady and Tyrel are going to be getting 15-20 minutes a piece despite all the great talent. And half the people on this board are going to be saying that if Brady and Tyrel are playing as much as they are that come tournament time the team won't have a chance. And you know what? The team will win the ring anyhow. It doesn't make any difference how much talent you have, you still have to have a garbage man at either the 4, or the five, and a glue guy at the 1, 2. or 3. Gotta have it. It is better if the garbage man and the glue guy are great talents reigning themselves in to these roles, but one way or another, you've gotta have the garbage man and the glue guy. Just ask the once highly touted Travis Releford and Mario Little. If the job description of the slot that's open read garbage man, or glue guy, you better be able to do the job, or you see less and less time as the season progresses, talent or no talent.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 1 month ago

Jaybate- I havn't seen you use your favorite "Okieballer" moniker for the Henry brothers. What gives?

HCBS might secretly get all tingly about bringing Okies to Lawrence What does this make now, about 8 players from his area?

Anybody ever discussed C J being a two sport guy? He could probably be a huge asset to the baseball team while playing a role on the court too. Plus, no scolarship money being required. Just a thought!

KirkwoodHawk 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't think CJ can play college baseball after playing professional baseball.

fhtcchief 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't think C J could play baseball at KU because he's already played it professionally. That "uses up" your eligibility in a sport.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 1 month ago

Is there such a thing as a walk-on in college baseball?

UncleMiltyN 11 years, 1 month ago

Unfortunately for X, this recruiting circus has added to the pressure. In the decades I've been following college hoops, there have only been a handful of recruits that have lived up to the hype.

X has some of the tools needed to be one of the guys who succeed. Will he.... A. Surprise us on how good he is? B. Be inconsistent, but show flashes of great things? C. Completely bomb and not play much...

Like the rest of you, I hope for option A before March, 2010.

iluvdbskxjayhawks 11 years, 1 month ago

I have high hopes for the Jayhawks to win it all next year, but other teams are also as good as we are.

Seth Nesmith 11 years, 1 month ago

Great article! Don't expect Morningstar and Reed to roll over and play dead! This team will be driven next year, every single one of them is a hungry dog!

rawkhawk 11 years, 1 month ago

I was also wondering if CJ could play KU baseball, but apparently he can't. Perhaps CJ on the team could at least mean NY Yankee fans start rooting for the Jayhawks...

Lance Hobson 11 years, 1 month ago

What makes us a title contender is getting Cole and Sherron back. Xavier may be good or he may be a typical freshman, we'll just have to see. CJ will certainly replace Appleton on the bench. I just hope these two don't break up the great chemistry we had last year with the young team. Big egos aren't a good thing for Bill Self's team concept.

Greg Lux 11 years, 1 month ago

X is a very good player and probably a great future NBA player. But, let's not forget he is a freshman and is going to make some freshman mistakes so let's expect and accept he will be learning his freshman year and not overload him with the expectations of a Junior like Brandon Rush defensively he will have his moments. It's part of learning the college game. Let's face it most HS stars don't play a lot of on the ball defense. There job is to score and score and score. Xavier has an advantage that he has had his brother to guard over the years and that should put him ahead of the game defensively. He is a very good player who is going to be great but we need to give him time to adjust and I don't think it will take him long. This is going to be fun to watch and I can't wait for fall 2009 to get started on the ROAD to the Final Four. This journey is going to be special so don't miss a moment of it. I know God willing I won't.

Rock Chalk

rocksqawk 11 years, 1 month ago

Regarding the CJ medical redshirt. I'm pretty sure you can petition the NCAA for an extra year. I've seen many cases where kids get 6 years at a school. Jason White at OU for instance used 2 redshirts.

Steve Gantz 11 years, 1 month ago

Can't wait for next year when we're undefeated, win every game by at least 20, aren't challenged in the NCAA tourney, winning each round by 15 and are crowned National Champs for the 3rd time in most of our lifetimes.

You people are setting yourself up for a big fall if every thing doesn't work like you think it will.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago


You are nothing if not precocious. :-)

Regarding the Henry brothers from Oklahoma, some things are Self-evident. ;-)

Current Okie Baller Mafia news...

} Lance still could be placed with Okie Baller Norm Roberts at St. Johns, which appears to have been his fall back guaranty by the Okie Baller mafia to consider one of their schools and wait on KU.

} Okie Baller Mafiosi are doing a lot of behind the scenes speculating about Billy Gillispie. Will he wind up lying low on the staffs of either Okie Baller Buzz Williams at Marquette, or Okie Baller Janks at Illinois State, or Okie Baller Lon Kruger at UNLV, or even Okie Baller Dicky Nutt at SEMSU? Or will Billy G sit out a year and try to catch on at a low mid major as a head coach a la Okie Baller Nutt at SEMSU?

} Which Okie Baller will replace John Calipari? Yep, the Okie Baller Mafiosi (OBMs) are already plotting and scheming for the day when another of their soldiers will get a shot at UK. The OBMs are really, really angry at the UK athletic department for shafting another one of their own. Eddie Sutton getting run out of Lexington is still a day which lives in infamy among them and now the shabby treatment of Gillispie adds fuel to the fire. The Okie Baller code is not to rat out other coaches, but they might make an exception in the case of Calipari and UK, at this point.

} Speaking of Janks at Illinois State U, he remains the best coach--not just the best Okie Baller coach--not at a high major. But since Janks has already experienced being run once, and can't help but notice the crash and burn of Gillispie at UK, the friendly, low pressure confines of Illinois State, plus the recruiting pool of Illinois and Chicago, maybe enough to make him a lifer there. His time under Okie Baller mentor Jack Hartman taught him that all you really need to win 20 with Okie Ball is a good guard and a good 3 or 4 player, Janks may opt for stability and a pension. Sooner or later he will land his Walt Frazier, or Michael Evans and move beyond being merely good and make a run to the Elite Eight or so, which will delight ISU administrators and let him retire there. Of course the OBMs would probably like to see him take over at KSU, or Okie State, once the infidels Frank Martin and Travis Ford are shed.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

Latest Okie Baller vs. Allen Baller Thoughts:

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOklahoma where I-Ball comes blowing down the plains!!!!

Ugh, my Kansan-to-the-bone father is gagging in his grave at that!

Yes, this Okie Baller phenomenon is a bitter sweet pill for we died in the crimson and blue wool Kansans.

KU is benefitting from it like nobody's business due to the incomparable Okie Baller Bill Self. He is just amazingly good at this contemporary thing called college basketball coaching. And KU plays Eddie's game as advanced and adapted by Bill Self. And KU has practically gone begging to land Xavier Henry from Putnam City, OK. And Self appears to create recruiting regimes with he and Okie Baller coaches at other programs to reduce the risk of a player waiting while KU waits on better recruits decisions (e.g., Lance Stephenson and Michael Snaer). And the KU basketball coaching and fund raising staff are flush with fellows from the Okie Baller Mafia. And our young players who want to get into coaching break in at programs either coached by, or with strong ties to the Okie Baller Mafia. And so on.

And yet it is unmistakeably Okie Ball that we play, and so it remains less a descendant of the strain of the game KU and Allen created, and much more a descendant of Iba and Eddie legacies. Larry Brown? Fuggedabouthim. Larry plays Dean ball, which ain't really Allen ball at all (more about this later).

Still, one should not hand wring about anything.

All great legacies involve hybridization.

Naismith came from Canada with a game he invented in Massachussetts.

Allen came from Warrensburg, Missouri, the land of Nod, east of basketball's Eden.

And now Self has come with a game he learned from Paul Hansen and Eddie, who learned their games from Hank. Hank studied and cribbed from Phog, alright, but he changed the philosophy entirely. Just ask John Wooden, or Bob Knight, how important the Iba philosophy is.

With 20/20 hindsight, it almost seems inevitable that Okie Ball would some day come to KU and prevail. Back in the days of Ted Owens (a Bruce Drake OU baller not to be confused with a true Okie Baller descended from Hank), people who knew anything at all about the game knew that Okie Baller Jack Hartman of KSU should have been the KU coach even then. But such a regime change was unthinkable given the politics of The Legacy of the time.

Now it has come to pass and KU has won a ring two seasons ago, and very likely will be ranked pre-season Numero Uno coming up. KU will have a very good shot at winning another ring. Two in three years are the stuff new legends get made from.

The Legacy--KU basketball--carries on and grows stronger by the year.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

Alas, the legacy of the game played the Allen way; that legacy continues to recede in the mists of time. That legacy has born no coaching fruit for 2 or 3 generations now. Ralph Miller, of Wichita State, and then of Oregon State, he increasingly appears to have been the last of the last of the true bloods.

Dean Smith? What can you say about a guy who jettisoned most of Allen ball for the game of his mentor at the Air Force Academy, cribbed the rest from Frank McGuire (a coach Allen despised for being part of eastern gambling corruption), turned down offers to come back, made an unwritten agreement with Roy Williams not to recruit half the country for 15 years while he was at KU, then hijacked Roy and leaked the story in the middle of KU's best chance for a ring in 15 years, and to top it all off then wore a Carolina blue blazer to Allen Field House to celebrate KU's great '52 national champion.

Dean Smith is an ungrateful, essentially disloyal, exploitative, yet fabulously gifted and successful son. And Roy is his nephew, with many of the same characteristics. They are major parts of the KU basketball legacy. Dean's game, and Roy's based on it, are really no more part of the Allen Ball legacy than Bill Self's and Eddie's and Hank's strain of ball are.

Again, is there some assistant coach of Ralph Miller's still alive out there some where, who would be willing to sit down with me and talk about what the last iteration of Allen ball was really about? What was the philosophy that informed it? What parts of Allen Ball did Miller retain? What did he too jettison?

Has anyone any film, tapes, or other media containing the Oregon State and Wichita State games played under Ralph Miller?

If we don't get a hold of these soon, if we don't talk to all those who knew the way Allen and then Miller coached and played the game soon, if we don't get it down, if we don't record it for posterity, Allen Ball will exist only in the nebulous sense that the game as played in all the manifold ways that have come on the heals of Allen and then Miller, are the only legacy that remains of Allen Ball. But this is not really Allen Ball that we are watching today anywhere except in the loosest sense of the words. The greatest thinker and innovator that the game has probably ever known--Phog Allen--had a specific brand of ball--it was eclectic because of his fertile mind, but it was his. He had many assistant coaches early on who brought his game to the Big Ten and to Stanford and to other places, too. But that was all mostly prior to the 1960s. Since then, again, Ralph Miller seems the last of the last of the Allen Ballers, of the guys who actually built on Allen's game, rather than rejected so much of it for games of other coaches.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 1 month ago


Calipari could be considered a kissin-cousin Dean-Baller since he was with Larry at KU in his formidable days. Somehwere, however, he did a backslide toward Thug-Ballin' more akin to, say, Tarkanian or even Huggins.

There was an Iba at Memphis who did not leave a legacy of Okie-Balling at that school. Maybe he just didn't retain what his dad taught him.

Coaching legacies being what they are in this era, are no more or less different than anything in this society. Who expects to retire from their job after 30 years now? Who expects to live the rest of their life in the same house that first bought? How long does any sports team, college or pro, rule their league? There are few iconic representaions in our country left beside national monuments and historical markers. With the demise of many baseball stadiums, we must treat Allen Fieldhouse as one of our national treasures. Even if there are few desendents still around to mentor others, the building, with very few others around the country is our legacy. How special is it that the Booth Hall of Athletics preserves the KU legacy within the walls of it's foundation.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago


Cal is a classic example of how some coaches jettison what they are taught and others build upon what they were taught.

Cal jettisoned what he ran at UMass (Larry Ball), likely because of his first hand experience coaching and failing in the NBA. What he picked up was Princeton on Steroids. No, he did not invent it. Most people don't get it, but Cal and several others have just picked up old John Thompson 1.0's beta version of Princeton on Steroids and put a new coat of paint on it with a bit more spread. John Thompson 1.0, was of course one of Pete Carril's players and then an assistant if I recall correctly, before taking his game to Georgetown and the philosophy of the offense and its basic sets and taking off the gloves and putting on the brass knuckles, so to speak. Back in those glorious days of early modern Big East thug ball, we didn't know enough to call it Princeton on Crack, but that would have been a fitting name given the drug preferences of the time.

FWIW, Dean Smith was basically like Cal in this regard. He dropped most of what he was taught by Phog, and picked up the philosophy and sets of his Air Force Mentor, then supplemented those with what he learned from Frank McGuire's New York City game.

Now consider Roy Williams as a contrasting case. Everything Roy does builds on Dean Ball. Everything.

See the difference?

Regarding Moe Iba, who also coached at Nebraska, he is a very interesting case and a part of the Okie Baller family tree that I have not thought much about. Thanks for raising him to my consciousness. His Nebraska teams, especially one with Stu Lantz and another very good guard whose name escapes me, were, very much like Don Haskins version of Okie Ball, which was a decidedly different approach than what either Jack Hartman, or Eddie Sutton forged.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

Off the top of my head, Moe fell closest to the Henry Iba tree in terms of style of play. Don Haskins was diverged much more and, if you are to young to remember it, then you probably saw Haskins ball played until recently by Bob Knight, and on an ongoing basis by Pat Knight and Coach K.

Hartman moved Okie Ball farther off the leash, but it is probably hair splitting to analyse the differences between Haskins and Hartman. If you didn't get to see Haskins' or Hartman's teams play, watch UNLV coached by Hartman disciple Lon Kruger.

But Eddie is the one who really took the Iba Ball philosophy and made what you watch today with Bill Self (though I am sure Haskins devotees would differ). Unless you understand the philosophy that underpins Iba Ball--take what they give us and use it on them--you would think Eddie Ball had nothing at all to do with Iba ball. But if you do get the philosophy, then you see that Eddie just applied the philosophy very systematically to every aspect of the game, the way a great artist, or craftsman, or writer, carries out a theme through out a work of art.

Bill Self is very much working in the Eddie ouvre, the same way Roy Williams is working in the Dean ouvre. Both men are advancing, developing what they started with--not jettisoning it. Bill Self is a man who understand legacy and continuity. He creates it and cultivates it everywhere he goes. So does Roy.

I just wish there were someone working in the Allen/Miller ouvre, so it to could carry on its connection to Father of all Coaches. The legacy of a building pales in comparison with a living legacy of the way the game itself is played. Bill and Roy exemplify the living legacy of how the game is played. Allen Field House is an architectural legacy. It is great, but not enough.

So long as I live and breath, I will guard the grail, as everyone else from KU does, but I will also dutifully quest after knowledge of a survivor to the legacy of Allen and Miller, or Allen and whomever the correct and true lineage may prove to be one day. It may never happen. But if no one looks, it will missed even if it one day appears.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago


As is so often the case, your perspicacity exceeds mine.

nobodylikesmizzou 11 years, 1 month ago


thank you for putting a little bit of sunshine into my day

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago


You are very welcome and yes you do have one of the best aliases on the board. :-)

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 1 month ago


Could Danny be an heir to the "holy" grail? He's probably going to inherit the throne someday and his would be a hybrid between Larry-ball, Okie-ball and Lawrence-ball. This would make him the most logical bearer of the fount that is embodied in your quest for a guardian of the Legacy.

rcjh22 11 years, 1 month ago

Jaybate.. How do you type so much? Geeze.. but not saying i don't like it. It's something I can read to use up some of my time. Keep it up.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago


Danny will always be a sentimental favorite of mine to become the KU head coach some day, because: a) he is one of KU's own; b) he is one of KU's greats; c) because he knows the game; d) because he has, as you note, learned from the best of the strands of recent KU tradition; e) he has been willing to pay his dues and climb the ladder in coaching; f) he seems likely a truly caring and decent person; and g) because I have always hoped to live to see an African American head coach in The Legacy, as much as I hoped to live to see an African American president, or a woman President, or a President [of whatever gender, religious preference, ethnicity, etc.] who actually was committed to reindustrializing, reemploying and re-making America great again, as barometric indications of my society healing itself of some of its unhealthy prejudices and short-sighted indifference to its own fellow citizens struggles.

(Note: it really grinds me that we must be classified with the Confederate-likes of UNC and Duke, as great programs that have never had an African American head coach. UNC and Duke are in the south, where there is reputedly still a significant KKK membership (please tell me the KKK is not now thriving in Ad Astra per Aspera country). UNC and Duke were not early leaders in integrating the game with African American players. UNC and Duke are understandable recalcitrants. What is KU's excuse? KU lead in integrating players. KU is in a free state, even though being a free state did not exclude it from having prejudices. Even Fizzou has hired an African American. God help us all, when Fizzou leads KU in anything but vulgarity. KU's only excuse is that it has found three consecutive great white coaches recently--Brown, Williams and Self--that were very hard to pass up. Well, make that two. No one really wanted Roy Williams when he was hired. He was a gamble by Monte. That would have been a right time to have hired an African American, but perhaps there were no stand outs available at that time. I can't recall. I am at least proud to note that LB was reputedly Jewish and so KU remains an early leader in that field of progress in Big 12 country--something it does not get sufficient credit for either.)

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago

But could Danny resuscitate the Allen Ball tradition? Well, regrettably the answer is no. He learned his game from his father and LB, and his coaching and game philosophy will almost certainly descend from Self, given the amount of time he will have spent under Self's tutelage.

The person, or persons I am looking for is the person--the missing link--who coached for Dick Harp, or Ralph Miller, (maybe even among Ted Owens disciples, for he coached under Harp, though as I have said, his ball seemed to have more to do with OU's Bruce Drake than Allen), or for some other Allen assistant I do not know about, and who carried on the Allen Ball tradition somewhere I do not know about, in some effective way, and who then passed it on to a recent generation of coaches and players, or two. The person may not exist. Extinctions occur sometimes in all things. But I have to look. And all KU persons ought to look, too. Not because there is anything remotely wrong with Bill Self's Okie Ball, or Roy Williams' Dean Ball (they are both wonderful forms of basketball), but because it is presently a disconnection in The Legacy that ought to be reconnected...if possible. We know our Daddy. He was a huge, huge Daddy. Most programs don't have one. We owe it to him to at least look, to at least try to understand his game and see if it has survived anywhere. Even if we find out that it was a dead end kind of game, we owe it to him to make sure.

jaybate 11 years, 1 month ago


As I have said often, I just write fast, that's all. It is not hard work, like the other kinds of writing that I have done. Other kinds of writing are laborious and painstaking. The require collecting information and developing points of view and finding spines and editing and getting it right and understanding bureaucracies, or editors, or readers. What I write here is just something that comes out. I will think about why it does sometime after it stops coming out. For now I am just doing it and hoping a few a long the way occasionally find some bit or other worth reading. I am discovering what I am writing right along with you. Any transcendant thread of meaning still, fortunately, escapes me.

jchief40 11 years, 1 month ago

All this talk about CJ not being able to crack the starting lineup is bogus. CJ will play and play often. Take X's word for it. His last name should be enough to never second guess. Mark my words he'll contribute helluva lot more than the Morris twins did in their first year. The guy can shoot! 3 point threats from Collins, X Henry, and CJ!! Elijah is gonna be darn good too. To be honest it's Taylor and the Twins that really need to step up their game this year. Especially the Twins (especially Markieff). Hopefully they've bulked up a little bit and have been practicing their lay ups.

jchief40 11 years, 1 month ago

Don't get me wrong CJ may not start this year since we have Collins but after he leaves CJ will be the starting point guard.

jayhawkerCO 11 years, 1 month ago

i thinking manning would have had to had a few head coaching positions before we hire him as head coach here.

kubbjunkie 11 years ago

Danny Manning would be a perfect coach for the University of Kansas. His players would be winners both on the court and off. They would have manners, class, and carry themselves with pride. I do not think for one moment that any of his players would be pulling on his jersey at the end of a game, or Dan allowing our fans to storm the court. He had class winning, as well as loosing, which the 88 team did several times that year. He has learned from the best and is one of the best college players ever. I hope he will have his chance to add another championship banner to the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse. Once a Jayhawk, Always and Jayhawk~ Rock Chalk!

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