Sunday, April 26, 2009

Q&A on the recruitment to KU of Xavier and C.J. Henry


Why it's pronounced 'ZAH-vee-ay':

Carl and Barbara Henry decided to name their youngest son, “Xavier” — pronunciation identical to the Atlantic-10 Conference college located in Cincinnati.

Doctors and nurses in the hospital in Belgium where baby Henry was born had a different idea.

They preferred, “ZAH-vee-ay.”

So, it’s been “ZAH-vee-ay” ever since.

“After my dad got done playing in the NBA, he played overseas where I was born. The way they said it in Belgium was ‘ZAH-vee-ay,’’’ said 18-year-old Xavier Henry, who on Thursday signed a grant-in-aid to play basketball at Kansas University.

Ex-Jayhawk guard/forward Carl Henry says his son’s name is often butchered, even to this day.

“My friends get it wrong. They say all kind of stuff, like ‘Javier,’’’ Carl told reporter Mike Rigg. “He used to correct them. Now he won’t say anything. He’ll just say, ‘They got my name wrong again.’’’

Xavier’s brother, who is also headed to KU after a red-shirt year at Memphis, goes by C.J. Henry, which stands for Carl, Jr.

To the left of this item begins a Q and A regarding the recruitment of Xavier and C.J. Henry, which opened up on April 1 when University of Memphis coach John Calipari left the Conference USA school for Kentucky.

— Gary Bedore

Carl and Barbara Henry decided to name their youngest son, “Xavier” — pronunciation identical to the Atlantic-10 Conference college located in Cincinnati.

Doctors and nurses in the hospital in Belgium where baby Henry was born had a different idea.

They preferred, “ZAH-vee-ay.”

So, it’s been “ZAH-vee-ay” ever since.

“After my dad got done playing in the NBA, he played overseas where I was born. The way they said it in Belgium was ‘ZAH-vee-ay,’’’ said 18-year-old Xavier Henry, who on Thursday signed a grant-in-aid to play basketball at Kansas University.

Ex-Jayhawk guard/forward Carl Henry says his son’s name is often butchered, even to this day.

“My friends get it wrong. They say all kind of stuff, like ‘Javier,’’’ Carl told reporter Mike Rigg. “He used to correct them. Now he won’t say anything. He’ll just say, ‘They got my name wrong again.’’’

Xavier’s brother, who is also headed to KU after a red-shirt year at Memphis, goes by C.J. Henry, which stands for Carl, Jr.

The following is a Q and A regarding the recruitment of Xavier and C.J. Henry, which opened up on April 1 when University of Memphis coach John Calipari left the Conference USA school for Kentucky.

Q: Is it true C.J. Henry played baseball? If so, how did he fare?

A: C.J. Henry — who was a baseball/basketball standout at Putnam City (Okla.) High School — was a first-round pick of the New York Yankees (17th overall) in the 2005 MLB Draft.

He received a hefty $1.6 million signing bonus.

The speedy shortstop hit .249 with three home runs, 17 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in ’05 for the Yankees’ rookie league team in Tampa, Fla.

Centerpiece of a 2006 trade that sent Philadelphia’s Bobby Abreau to New York, Henry hit .240 with two homers, 33 RBIs and 14 stolen bases for Class A Charleston, S.C., and .253 with one homer and 16 RBIs for Class A Lakewood, Fla.

Moved to the outfield in ’07, Henry hit .184 with nine homers and 38 RBIs with 13 stolen bases in 102 games for Class A Lakewood, Fla.

He returned to the Yankees in 2008, hitting .234 for a high Class A Team in Tampa.

Q: Will C.J. be eligible to play next season at KU? Normally players have to sit out a year after transferring.

A: C.J.’s mom, Barbara, says her oldest son will indeed be immediately eligible.

“According to the NCAA rules, with C.J. being a non-recruited athlete, his scholarship was being financed through the Yankees which makes him qualified for a one-time transfer rule. He’ll be able to play,” Barbara said.

C.J. Henry, who sat out last season because of a broken bone in his foot, says he was a “non-recruited athlete” because Memphis didn’t actively pursue him.

He cell-phoned coach John Calipari, who is one of his dad’s friends, and said he was giving up on baseball and wanted to play hoops for him in Memphis.

The J-W has been told if Calipari backs him up on this, he should be eligible to play during the 2009-10 season. If, however, former Memphis coach Calipari says he recruited Henry, C.J. would likely have to sit out a year in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

It’s believed Henry will not be able to appeal. It’s a cut-and-dried case of whether he was recruited ... or not.

Q: Why will C.J. Henry be a sophomore next season? If he was a red-shirt freshman at Memphis, shouldn’t he be a freshman at KU?

A: 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.

It’s a moot point, anyway.

C.J. doesn’t want to play college ball for four years. He wants to play pro ball as soon as possible.

Q: Being that C.J. is a millionaire, will he live in Jayhawker Towers or rent a luxury apartment in Lawrence?

A: Dad Carl says he’s encouraged C.J. to live in the Towers so he’ll be around his teammates as much as possible. It’s likely C.J. would want to do that anyway, likely with younger brother Xavier as his roomie.

Q: Considering the fact Carl and Barbara Henry both played at KU ... who wins in family driveway games of 1-on-1?

A: Let Putnam City High coach A.D. Burtschi answer: “C.J. bragged all the time that his brother never beat him. Of course Carl stepped in and said his sons never beat him. I told them, ‘You know what? I bet Barbara beat you all.’’’

Xavier says he’s only beaten C.J. “one time in my life. I stopped playing him after that.”

Q: How good were the Henry brothers at Putnam City High?

A: C.J. was part of one state title team; Xavier two.

“On many occasions, I’d find myself looking at my assistant and say, ‘I should pay to get to watch this,’’’ Pirates’ coach Burtschi said.

Q: Is Xavier Henry the best player to ever play at Putnam City High?

A: Nope. Former University of Oklahoma and Phoenix Suns standout Alvan Adams currently holds the distinction.

“As far as legacy, people say, ‘Is Xavier the greatest player you ever coached?’” Burtschi said. “That’s unfair. He’s not done yet. When all is said and done, we’ll see. I was asked if he’s in a class by himself. I’m sure if he’s not in the class, it doesn’t take long to take roll.”

Q: Is Xavier Henry definitely a “one and done” college player?

A: That’s the plan.

Carl says NBA scouts have told him his son was physically ready for the NBA his junior year of high school.

Xavier says all he’s thinking about right now is helping KU “win the national title and make it two (titles) in three years.”

Basically we all should, “Wait and see.”

Remember, Brandon Rush never thought he’d play more than one year at KU ... and he played three seasons here.

Q: Didn’t the Henry recruiting saga drag on and on?

A: Not really.

Calipari accepted the Kentucky job on April 1.

Xavier, who was busy playing for Team USA in the Nike Hoops Summit in Oregon, and Jordan Brand Classic in New York, was able to finalize his college choice by April 21.

Three weeks is not a long time to finalize a decision of that magnitude with family members spread out all over the country.

Q: Is KU through recruiting?

A: Self says he believes he’s finished recruiting the Class of 2009.

Maybe so, but I would think Self would gladly welcome aboard point guard-deluxe John Wall if he decides he wants to join buddy Henry at KU for a season or two. One would think there’s no room for small forward Lance Stephenson, even if the 6-6 guard/forward wants to be a Jayhawk.

KU has filled its allotment of 13 scholarships.

That means if somebody else signs, a current Jayhawk has to give up his scholarship or transfer.

KU (barring any further additions) will likely have at least three scholarships available to players in the Class of 2010 following the graduation of Sherron Collins and Mario Little and likely departure of Cole Aldrich to the NBA. A fourth could be available if Henry turns pro.

KU has already filled one of the slots with shooting guard Royce Woolridge of Phoenix.


Ed Fox 11 years, 7 months ago

Hey, thanks for laying out the scholarships that clearly. There's often a lot of question/debate on that topic here, so it helps when you periodically put that information into articles referring to recruiting.

It might also be interesting if you could ever address this Morningstar paying his own way, if needed, rumor. Is that completely a message board/internet construction or has Brady's family made some actual public indication on that question?

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

} Regarding Carl Reentering the Picture After Keeping a Low Profile on Announcement Day: a) Note how Carl is now planning to split time between Putnam City and Lawrence; and b) note how public relations technique continues to incrementally ease us into "family togetherness" in Lawrence--will employment in Lawrence be far in the future?

} Regarding CJ's money: a) at last Lew, Bill, and Danny will have a fourth for high stakes bridge; and b) CJ will be given a ground floor unit at the Towers to prevent him jumping if the market crashes again.

} Regarding CJ and Xavier balling when younger: It must have been strange being posted up by your mother and having your grill dunked on by your dad.

} Regarding John Wall being more likely to be made room for than Lance at this point: a) is even Sherron being fitted for a redshirt?; and b) Ouch! Did Lance rub Self the wrong way, or what?

} Is Mt. Oread about to be renamed Mt. Oneanddonead?

} Regarding Henry recruiting "nor really" dragging on: even our beloved Gary Bedore has to play the access game with the Henry family.

} On CJ playing pro ball ASAP: a) if batting .234 in Class A didn't wake CJ up to the risky nature of professional sports and to the wisdom of getting a college degree, wisdom is not CJ's forte; and b) if it was CJ that drove the initial choice of Calipari and Memphis for he and his brother, wisdom is definitely not CJ's forte.

} On Bill Self saying he "believes" he's finished recruiting for this season: belief is a word one uses, when there is an outside chance of signing Wall, but not one worth betting on.

Michael Auchard 11 years, 7 months ago

Nice article on many points.

Is there anyway the LJW can fast forwards some stuff for me, though?


kufankam 11 years, 7 months ago

jaybate and other's, just fyi...

i have seen several people do this.... but putnam city is not an actual city. it is simply the name of the school district. it is located in oklahoma city.

Larry Phillips 11 years, 7 months ago

That was a great article. Sometimes I wonder how prep athletes can miss so much of their school because they are off playing in their AAU Tournaments. Do they have tutors that go with them?

Greg Lux 11 years, 7 months ago

X is a lock... Calipari would be committing recruiting suicide if he were to say he recruited CJ and killed his chance to play with his brother. Think about it... Bad Move..

Rock Chalk

Kye Clark 11 years, 7 months ago

It really doesn't serve Calipari's interests to say he recruited CJ, because he would have recruited him at Memphis, so if he said that he would still have to sit out a year at Kentucky. The only reason for him doing it would be bitterness that he lost out on X, but it wouldn't bring X to Kentucky.

Kye Clark 11 years, 7 months ago

Jaybate, I don't think Lance rubbed HCBS the wrong way. Rather, I think he preferred to have Xavier Henry so held out on Lance, and once X said he was coming he knew Lance had no interest in sharing minutes here. John Wall on the other hand is unaffected really by the Henry brothers coming to Lawrence. In my opinion, I don't think Wall is coming either. This is a guy who considered attempting to go straight to the NBA. There simply aren't enough minutes and shots to go around for another guy who is really looking past this year to the dollar signs in his future. And that's OK, I'll happily take another year of Sherron running this team as opposed to a freshman, cause you just never know what you're going to get.

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 7 months ago

Why did Memphis bother to go for a medical redshirt for CJ if his eligibility was counting down anyway? Any ideas?

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 7 months ago

There has never been any discussion nor an answer why Carl was not at XH announcement at his high school. I find it very, very strange for a man who was the family mouthpiece for weeks failed to show up.

As for one and done that is a very selfish and narrow view to have at this time. This will create great dissension on the team if this is a constant discussed idea.

100 11 years, 7 months ago

Wow. Already the NCAA will be talking to Calipari.

This will give him some good practice. I wonder if they'll hook him up to a lie detector?

If so, there are a few other questions the NCAA might ask.

Jaybate & Lhohman3, my mind is locking up.

If you were the NCAA and had Calipari handcuffed to a lie detector on ESPN, what would be your first twenty questions?

Tony Bandle 11 years, 7 months ago


1] Have you ever broken an NCAA rule? 2] How many times did you break that rule 3] Have you ever broken any other NCAA rules? 4] How many times did you break those rules? 5] Can you name the universities involved? 6] Can you name the players involved? 7] Are you not truly a car-salesman, shyster, slimeball?

Etc, Etc, Etc.......

100 11 years, 7 months ago

8] as the new UK coach, during the most recent McD All American game, a non contact time, do you find it odd that several of your ex-recruits answer (on camera and glorified on YouTube for the NCAA to see) that they had "just" talked to you, " have their connects", etc?

Tony Bandle 11 years, 7 months ago

9] Did World Wide Wes ever, in violation of NCAA rules, provide $$$$, wheels or bling for any of your recruits??? 10] Mr. Rose's vehicle...did you?? 11] Isn't it true you suck as an 'in-game coach"? Sorry, Mr. Calipari S.O.P. we always ask one question that we know is totally true to verify that the machine is functioning properly.

rawkhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

I look forward to seeing CJ and Xavier play in KU uniforms next year. Can't wait!

Tony Bandle 11 years, 7 months ago

Hey everyone...I know we got lots of knowledgable poster on this site. I have a question......

Let's say someone is redshirted this year and, based on recent history CJ gets injured again. Can the redshirt be reactivated for this year, losing what time he was inactive? I know you can do it in football but I wasn't sure about basketball...especially since bball covers two semesters ALA Jeff Withey. Something tells me the reactivated player uses up the full year of eligibility no matter when he is actually reactivated. Can anybody help me here?


Tony Bandle 11 years, 7 months ago

13] Does your mother make better lasagna than Pitino's mother??? 14] Is it true you believe the foul shot should be eliminated from the rules? 15] Is it true you are in favor of a salary cap for NCAA basketball players...during school?

100 11 years, 7 months ago

CU has three years left to play.

After 21, you are left with four total years. They are consecutive once you are on a team for the first time.

So, for instance, if Calipari hasn't played college ball yet, he could take CJ's spot on UKs team for nearly half of the next decade

kennethst 11 years, 7 months ago

JAYBATE -you always get it right!! should be in sports media.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 7 months ago need your own column. You're at least (probably more) on par w/LJW on insight.

100 11 years, 7 months ago

Another thing that hasn't been talked about in depth yet by any sources (ESPN or LJW) was that X was THE #1 player in the class of 2009 before his car accident. This was no small procedure -- screws were put in his face. He had to take several weeks off.

The bigger point is, thankfully he's OK.

The smaller point is thankfully he finally signed with "his dream school".

The point I would like to know more about is -- how much did his injury cost him being the hands down #1?

For instance, it appears his #8 ranking by (Rivals perhaps) is due to missing half the games.

Anybody else know anymore about his fall from #1?

Also does anyone know what basketball playing CJ was listed, numberwise, when he came out of high school?

JJHawq 11 years, 7 months ago

Anyone know how much CJ made per year w/ Yanks? I know the signing bonus was 1.6, but what about salary? You can't assume he's a millionaire when half goes to taxes at that level - and some of it certainly gets spent.

None of my business, but I wonder... Glad to hear he's living in the Towers.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago


Thanks for that clarification; this is what makes the net so powerful.


I tried to note this in one of my recent posts, but I looked back and I did it so obliquely that it did not count.


In addition to being an expert in the mythical bird, as your alias suggests, you are perhaps also right about Self and Lance. Still, I thought it conspicuous that Lance is mentioned as a no chance and Wall as a possibility. Why? Lance's natural positions are the 1 or 2, not the 3. Lance would fit terrifically well with Xavier's game, especially with Sherron at the PG. Talk about impact players at every position. The only question would be whether the team could function without a glue guy? Sherron's done everything else, maybe he could be the glue guy? Eh, maybe not. :-)


My understanding of X's status is this: because the NCAA prevents players from signing two LOIs, and because X already signed an LOI with Memphis, X could not sign an LOI with KU, and so the only way to lock him up was for him to sign his grant in aid immediately. Two interesting legal/regulatory questions occur to me (a legal layman for sure).

First, is an LOI with an escape contract a valid LOI? My guess is that this has never been tested in court and could be challenged by a good attorney. This could conceivably open the door a crack to X signing another LOI with another school, if he had a change of heart about playing for KU, or if some unforeseen legal wrangling arose from Calipari's interplay with the NCAA that might have some unforeseen spill over into X and CJ wanting to be at KU.

Second, is a grant in aid contract in anyway voidable, because an LOI was not signed? The uniqueness of this situation makes me wonder if this issue has ever been adjudicated and a precedent, and/or and NCAA rule established to cover it.

Sorry I can't answer definitively, due to layman status, but if I were a lawyer, then my senior partners might have forced me to double bill you for the advice anyway. :-)

Kye Clark 11 years, 7 months ago

Jaybate, I disagree with you somewhat as to your evaluations of Xavier and Lance, in regards to their natural positions. Just from everything I've read and seen from either recruiting site clips or high school all-star games, Lance relies on the dribble a little more whereas Henry hangs out around the three point line. Neither one of these guys strikes me as a prototypical #3/small forward. Rather they are both different versions of Brandon Rush, who really wasn't a small forward during his days at KU but rather a tall 2-guard. The 2 is the position these guys will play in the NBA, not the 3. As far as Stephenson goes, I don't know of anyone recruiting him planning on using him at the point. His dribbling and distributing skills are in no way on par with even mediocre college point guards. And regarding Lance & X's games fitting well together, perhaps, but given the circumstances I don't see it working at all, at least not on this team. You all ready have three guys in the starting line-up who will be looking at the NBA next year (Cole, Sherron, X). That is why Lance is not considering coming here, and probably a big reason why you can't expect Wall to come here either. Not enough of the rock to go around for all of them to showcase their talents, definitely not two OADs. Oh, my "alias" is basically hawkfan with "ict" in front and "316" following, both indications that I live in Wichita. I'm just a fan, no expert claims here.

rockchalk007 11 years, 7 months ago

A sports team at any level of competition is subject to the law of dininishing return. This means that a KU bb team can indeed be too stacked. How is this possible? Well, like in life it is all a question of balance and chemistry - too much of a good thing is possbile.- too many good players on one team at one time can be a negative. It is very hard to do but it can be done both in number of players and also in who the players are, the right mix (skills, positions, personalities...).

This is why the when it comes to college sports the question of "coaching" is really three questions:
1) program building and recruiting (the guys you can and do offer scolarships too, and they accept to come and play for you and your school), 2) training, practice and game preparation (pysical and mental in pre-season and during lulls - "we have to be a good practice team") 3) actual game time coaching decisions and strategies/adjustments (the art of finding the right combination, time outs, switch to zone...)

We at KU have had the priviledge of having two of the greatest college bb coaches currently practicing their trade: Coach Williams is probably a little better at #1 and Coach Self a little better at #3, but both are unbelieveably hard working, honest and care about the student atheletes.

To garner that special mix of superstar talent (nowadays leaving early for the NBA) and blue collar types who stick around, pay their dues, get their diplomas and make solid contributions to the team in practice and games, but more in support roles...that is what makes these coaches so special and so unique - the ability to get the talent and then make it work.

When Coach Self says, "I am done for 2009", then that means this is now his (our) team. Easy on the "what about Lance and what about John Wall..." and easy on the "what about next year and future rosters..." We are locked and loaded.

This is the moment to look at the current group coming back, and the newbies, and the potential minutes to be distributed and be very, very thankful we have Xavier and a healthy Mario at the three (with Brady in spots). This is the team that will win another Big 12 titel, and go deep in the tourney - Final Four and maybe another Championship?

But lots of work to put these pieces togetrher over the summer and fall. The National Championship and Coach Self and his staff have demonstrated patience and integrity which is why we now do have a shot next year - we have a wing...and his brother, so watch out! Here come the Jayhawks!

One last thought: Brady has earned his scholarship. Let us leave this one alone. His contribution to the program and last year's team is already way, way past the most optimisitc expectations. He is a KU scholarship player and we are proud to have him.

Go Hawks!

Jonathan Andrews 11 years, 7 months ago

GARY BEDORE: Where's your copy editor???

Xavier's name is not pronounced exactly like the A-10 school. Phonetically, it's like this:

The kid: ZAH-vee-EH

The school: ZAY-vee-ER

The rest of your explanation is correct, but the Musketeers do NOT pronounce their name like the young Henry.

Eric Williams 11 years, 7 months ago

the name was INTENDED to be pronounced like the school.

The nurses in Belgium offered an ALTERNATIVE.


100 11 years, 7 months ago

If Self "believes" he is done he's not.

If he says "I am done recruiting" then he is.

There are very interesting phone calls going on this week between Self & Lance as well as Wall.

It's impossible (since we're finalists for both) that he wouldn't be talking to them.

That's not to say either is coming -- but it is being talked about by the parties involved.

rockchalk007 11 years, 7 months ago

drgnslayr -

I was trying to say that the three aspects make up quality coaching (#1,2 and 3 above) and that Coach Wiliiams is a better recruiter (aspect #1)...maybe. He does get the players and he has that "emotional connection" - we saw it openly at year end many times when the flood gates would open...a little embarassing actually, but authentic and revealing of his ability to have a deep connection with his players.

Coach Self a much better game time coach (aspect #3) , not even close. And his recruiting skills are getting better each year (thanks to Nat'l Title). He gets by far more out of his players than anyone (Coach of the Year, Big 12 Title with inferieor talent this year), and yes, team play is a KU standard. That UNC team this year could have competed with a few bottom of the division NBA squads, but less team play to be sure.

The only worry ( a minor one) is that current coaches (like Coach Calipari and somewhat Coach Williams) build their coaching style and play the game to fine tune the individual player for the NBA, so the really super talented kids see $ and glory and fun in his "coaching style". This is mostly one-on-one, dribble drive. In this style, defense is a necessary evil, while waiting to get the ball back and run and shoot - transition bb.

Coach Self is the ultimate game time and practice coach - team defense, one-on-one, and move the ball on offense, lots of touches, high-low sets, limited turnovers, high percentage bb, sound fundamental play. My only criticism ( a very minor one) might be that when you slow the game down sometimes it can be an equalizer for a team with less talented atheletes. We now have superior talent, maybe better and deeper than 2008? I think so, if no one gets hurt and the team gels from Nov to Feb. this team will be more talented than the Nat'l Champs of two years ago.

Coach Williams has one style and one speed - VERY FAST, so the best players in the country love it (run and gun), lots of substitutions, free flow and the goal is to outscore the opponet. His use of time outs and game time adjustments are very mediocre. His own quote at the podium after he cut the nets down was telling, "Ole Roy doesn't know what he is doing but he can sure get the players and that's the bottom line."

Yes, it is all about the team, but in today's college bb scene, all the very best players are all looking to the $ and glory at the next level, so you have to manage playing time, and chemistry when you have so many of the very best individual players. Of course, Coach Self and his staff will handle it all with great sensitivity and acumen, as always - a happy problem to have. But I would be VERY surprised to think that he is still recruiting. But who knows...we are certainly on a roll right now.

KU fans - in any case, we are locked and loaded and ready to go back to Detroit next March. This program is going to be very good for a long time to come.

Go Hawks!

jchief40 11 years, 7 months ago

They didn't offer an alternative - that's just the way the pronounced it over there.

Spencer Goff 11 years, 7 months ago

I have heard that Brady Morningstar was willing to give up his scholarship for one of these stud recruits coming in.

I know he is not hurting as far as academics and family picture, and I know the guy is a stand up teammate enough to do something like that, I think he just wants to win.

Has anybody heard that? What is his current status?

Goddam, Self just never ceases to amaze me, I will raise my hand and be the first to say I thought Cal owned C.J., and vicariously owned Xavier. Being wrong never felt so right.

exiledhawkfan 11 years, 7 months ago

crooner, rather than get too excited too quickly, maybe you should evaluate your comprehensive reading the article again, he explains it accurately

Spencer Goff 11 years, 7 months ago

CONCERNING ROY AND THE NBA: RECRUITS NEED TO DO THEIR HOMEWORK (if you don't like statistics or think Bill Self cannot coach, stop reading now, it is long)

Let's talk a bit about Roy, his basketball, and what recruits need to look at when dreaming about the NBA.

I still love him, always will. When I was a kid, Roy was the "coach." Pretty tough to let that go.

But Self's brand of basketball is way better. Roy wants to run, run, run. That's it. He preaches defense, but his idea of defense is to cause turnovers that lead to easy buckets, so his defense is really nothing more than offensive fuel. Self's idea of defense is to not let them get a shot off, if they do, its a crappy shot, and if it bricks, you eat the board and go.

The funny thing is, people have this idea that the NBA is all run and gun. Have you watched a game in the last decade other than the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks (note the titles between them all). The days of 130-120 scores are gone. I put forth the idea that Self's style of game is more tailored to the NBA than anything offensive ever will be.

I offer as evidence statistics.

If a college team scores 80 points in forty minutes, with the same rate of scoring, a pro team SHOULD score 96. It looks like they scored more, but they play more minutes. The league average for 2007 was 98.7, or about 81 college points. Bill Self's KU team this year averaged 76.4 (91.68 pro), the title team was 80.5 (96.6 pro), 2007 was 78.4 (94.08 pro). His style of basketball plays the same pace and style you will see in winning NBA basketball teams.

By comparison, Roy's teams have averaged 89.8 (107.76 pro) this year, 88.6 (106.32 pro) in 2008, 85.7 (102.84) in 2007, 79.4 (95.28 and a 23-8 team, probably his worst at Carolina) in 2006, and 88.0 (105.0) in 2005. All but one is above the NBA average, and that one was a bad year by Roy's standards. Roy consistently pushes the ball. That crap is ok in college when you have far superior talent, but in the NBA, everybody is talented, you need more than wheels to stick around.

(All points per game have their conversion to pro points in parenthesis using 6/5 ratio of minutes per game)

Bottom line... Teams don't run and gun like they used to, they play defense, the late eighties Pistons and the coming Bulls teams made that a stress point of winning, and changed the league forever. Here are the websites I stole the stats from. Enjoy:

Self's brand of basketball is so much more NBA realistic than anything the run and gun coaches put out there. At least, it is if you want to stick around and win.

jayhawkerCO 11 years, 7 months ago

One way to tell if Self is a good recruiter (not just because of the school, Kansas) is looking at his recruiting history prior to KU. ie: D.will at illinois...

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

rockchalk007 and drgnslyr,

I was once on board with the Bill's a better game coach than Roy, but I have changed my thinking on this of late. So: I'm going to have to dissent a little on who is the best game coach with posters I am often in lock-step agreement with.

I think they are both great game coaches.

Both guys won 80 percent of their games at KU. You can't do that on talent alone. Jimmy Boeheim has the talent, but he can't win 80% of his games.

Roy went to four Final Fours at KU with players that were equal, or inferior to some of the teams he had to beat to get there. He was only recruiting half the country remember. And when Roy's 4 KU teams got to the Final Four, they were for the most part of equivalent talent to the teams they played and lost to, but not more talented, except maybe once. Roy lost all four Final Fours at KU, when he did not have a stacked deck. He got the early hook before the Final Four a time or two with talent that he probably should have gotten a little farther with. But these facts are hardly proof that the guy is not a terrific game coach.

But here's a key point: when Roy finally had a stacked deck with his first ring team at UNC, he made it look easy. And when Roy had a stacked deck this year, despite losing Ginyard to injury, he made it look easy down the stretch.

In contrast, I think Coach Self had a stacked deck with his team two years ago, and KU really had to struggle to get that ring. They almost lost the huge lead in the second half to UNC and they almost lost to Memphis.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Its true Roy lost the head to head in our semifinal game two years ago, but when ever I stop preening about putting it to Roy I recall that Roy's team that year was, frankly, not significantly more talented than our team. In fact, I would say that KU had the better, deeper team two years ago in comparison with UNC, and yet Roy's boys roared back from a stem-winding punch of out coaching and out playing that first half that would have KOed most other teams. In short, while Self got the better of Roy the first half, Roy almost got the better of Self the second half and can be said to have run out of time, rather than have been out coached buzzer to buzzer. I don't mean to suggest Roy was better than Bill that day. He wasn't. Bill beat him to the extent a coach can beat another coach. But I am saying it was verrrrrrry close. And people forget that Ty Lawson, whom I still say is inferior to Sherron Collins, was hardly at his physical best for that game, at least if I recall correctly. In sum, I think that wonderful, wonderful game only proves that Self and Williams are both two incredible game coaches not separated by all that much. Not many coaches could have hatched the defensive scheme Self threw at Roy in the first half that Roy seemed helpless to counter, and not many coaches could have had hatched the counter moves and adjustments Roy did the second half that Self was almost helpless to counter.

Now, to Coach Self. Coach Self could not get to four Final Fours his first 15 years of coaching, because he was at places like ORU and Tulsa coming up the hard way, so to speak, where as Roy cut his teeth at a blue blood program. But taking a team like Tulsa as far as he did one year, proves this guy can really coach--before the game, during the game and after the game. And when Self got to Illinois, he was able to recruit enough talent to go deep in the tourney, but recall the coach who followed Self at Illinois took the identical team to the Final Four. So Coach Self, whether he was a good, or a great game coach, or better than, or equal to, or worse than Roy Williams, had to have the horses and have them be mature before he could become a really serious threat for a ring, frankly, just as much as Roy did. Again, this implies to me that not much separates Roy and Bill. These guys are just two fabulous good coaches in every aspect of the profession.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Coach Self, like Coach Williams, has a reputation for getting guys and teams to play at the edges of their envelopes.

I think these two coaches differ in philosophies and approaches to play that mislead persons into thinking one, or the other, is the better game coach.

Coach Self coaches a brand of ball, what I call 70 point take what they give us, or Self's development of Eddie Ball, or Okie Ball, that is entirely about letting other teams dictate tempo and then scheming, and defining roles and substituting to hide weaknesses and create and exploit mismatches. He is not just very good at this brand of ball. He is the best. He has exceeded the master--Eddie Sutton. He is the Luke Skywalker of Eddie Ball. He is well on his way to forging Skywalker Ball. And it makes him seem a fabulous master of game coaching, because he has his teams playing every which way you can, and any which way the opponent wants; this style of ball requires a coach to do all this sort of tinkering that we can be amazed at. We like to say he is just outhinking and out coaching the heck out of other coaches, because he often is. He's that good. But the style of play grants him more opportunity to reveal the virtuoso that he is.

Roy Williams, on the other hand, is coaching his development of Dean Ball, which is a system of dictating tempo buzzer to buzzer, and since his last couple of years at KU, to relentlessly find ways to play faster. Roy Williams philosophy of dictating tempo in turn dictates that he tries not to call time outs, that he not modulate tempo up and down, or play it any which way you can. His whole purpose is to take the pace of the game entirely out of the tinkering hands and tactic changing mind of an opposing coach like Bill Self--to let the Carolina offense--the primary and secondary breaks and the defense schemed to accelerate the number of trips down the floor--relentlessly and with as little interruption as possible break down an opponent.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

The art of coaching the kind of ball Bill Self coaches is improvising to hide weaknesses before during and after the games. It is improvising to exploit mismatches involving impact players before during and after games. Bill walks the tightrope of lots of tweaking, but not too much.

The art of coaching the kind of ball Roy Williams coaches is intervening only when you absolutely have to. Roy walks the tightrope of as little tweaking as possible, but not too little.

To do what either man does in the real time of a hotly contested, incredibly dynamic, and staggeringly complex opportunity set of possibilities, and to win 80 percent of the time, and to win rings (two in Roy's case, one in Self's case), takes an incredible game coach, an incredible pregame coach and an incredible post game coach.

These two men are giants among pygmies right now.

They have both taken the art of coaching and the game itself beyond even what Knight and Coach K did, even if they have not yet won as many rings as these fellows.

The only man that looms out in the distance and well above them as their likely permanent superior is John Wooden.

John Wooden is just The Wizard.

To paraphrase what he said to me with a wink one night over dinner: it took us quite awhile to figure out how to win an NCAA tournament at UCLA, but once we got the hang of it we learned how to do it pretty consistently.

No other coach in the history of college basketball could win rings consistently.

Wooden is the gold standard of game coaching--the ne plus ultra--the man who for 10 out of 11 years made almost no mistakes in the heat of battle; the man who made it look easy not once or twice, but ten stinking times!!!!

I am holding Wooden up this way, because I never want him forgotten even for a second in any serious discussion of excellence in coaching.

Either Coach Self, or Coach Williams, could become the next Wizard. They have both been at it long enough to be at the point Wooden was when he finally became the Wizard.

But beauty and wizardry walk a razor's edge, do they not?

100 11 years, 7 months ago


No part of a Wizard's life should be forgotten...

Let us not forget which football stadium John Wooden helped pour...

Memorial Stadium...

That's right, our current football stadium....

Poured by a guy who would later win 10 NCAA rings, using a bravado mix of coaching skills and unbeatable recruiting.

And let us not forget why this Indiana raised farmboy was here (and who he got the concrete pouring job from)

  1. Phog Allen

  2. Dr. Naismith

Thats right -- the young Wizard was in Lawrence to meet these two "basketball fathers". Without this meeting and subsequent time spent together, life's basketball chips may have fallen completely different for the Wizard.

He may have never even coached at UCLA.

Alas, Jaybate, you make great points about the Wizard, in many ways he is a standard, but even the great John Wooden is thankful to a town (Lawrence) and the original gold standard which is nurtured here, two men who helped catapult him in the right direction...

Phog Allen & Dr. Naismith (thankful, in fact, just as Hank Iba was)

Mike Crosbie 11 years, 7 months ago

Interesting discussion regarding the coaching styles of Roy and Bill. Some good points have been made, here's my take.

As stated earlier Roy pushed a fast pace and depth while letting the players play, and Bill is a more hands on coach during the game, everyone seems to agree there.

The thing that always got me is how during the regular season our strength with Roy was fast with a depth that simply wore down opponants, but during the tournament that strength was negated by all the TV timeouts giving our opponants a chance to catch their breath, which is why Roy never one the big one at KU. I just couldn't understand why Roy finally won it at UNC.

Both are great recruiters. I think that Bills hands on style of coaching is more conducive to winning it all, and when it's all said and done, I think Bill will have more tittles than Roy. And one last thought....Roy didn't make KU a basketball power, KU made Roy a great coach.

Rock Chalk Forever !!

rcjh22 11 years, 7 months ago

Self won us a championship. I like him better. Roy never won us one.

Joel Hood 11 years, 7 months ago

I agree with a lot of the comparisons between Roy and Bill. Both are premier coaches, albeit with different styles. But, there are two things that I think are also worth mentioning:

  1. Roy did not recruit with the ferocity of Bill. Every year, Bill and his staff go nationwide to find the best talent. Roy seemed to hit it hard every other year and would only recruit west of the Mississippi river. When one of his “on” years went bad (i.e., DeShawn Stevenson) there was a real drop in talent. Remember the 3-year gap between the LaFrenz/Pierce era and the Hinrich/Collison era. Regardless of playing style, you gotta have the horses and the horses need to compete against the horses for playing time. Who pushed Eric Chenowith during practice – TJ Pugh? Look at how Sasha, Darnell, Darrell, & Cole all made each other better players.
  2. Does anyone miss the drama that always followed Uncle Roy? At first, the Huckleberry Hound routine was endearing. After a while it grew old and insincere. With HCBS, there is never any drama. He is a straight shooter, always knows what to say, and never sounds like a drama queen. People around the league may dislike KU because we always win, but you never hear anyone call HCBS a phony.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago


Answering your question, which is an excellent one, is rather difficult for me, because I have a back ground in strategic analysis of certain kinds of issues and so am a prisoner of my practical experience on this particular issue.

To do my work, I had to adopt an attitude that any strategy had a counter strategy and one's attitude over time eventually limits, unfortunately, what one can consider as feasible. In my case, I am nearly an ideologue (and I hate ideology--the thinking that no more thinking needs to be done on an issue--with a passion) on the question of which strategy can be declared the best, or the better one. I just have come to see every strategy as eventually being vulnerable to a counter strategy and so, the only way I can answer you is that, given the pieces of the puzzle in place, at any given time, either Roy's philosophy, or Bill's philosophy, might be the best, and that there could be a situation where John Calipari's philosophy is best. There was, for example, a situation where even Jim Boeheim's philosophy was best.

I am making this point rather laboriously, because I think it is quite important and, because, as I said, I am a prisoner of my own experience.

There are two major dynamics shaping outcomes when strategies compete.

There are the circumstances of the moment involving the degree of fit between philosophy, schemes, level of coaching skill and level of players talent and skills, health, and level of excecution.

And on another axis, there are the circumstances of rate of learning about an opposing strategy, and prior (or lackof prior) exposure to that strategy. How fast can coaches recognize and adapt effective counter measures to emergent circumstances of play, and strongly correlated to this, how much experience have coaches had with the strategy and related emergent circumstances that they are trying to counter?

This second axis is what makes your question so very hard to answer with much empirical, or even anecdotal confidence.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

When we see differing strategies compete, even with two teams with comparable talent levels comparably well fitted to their schemes, it often remains very hard to say how much the strategy is determining the outcomes directly (i.e., one strategy is better than another) vs. how much the learning and reaction curves are determining the outcomes.

Even the most brilliant mind, when confronted with something entirely new, something which he has no experience base to draw upon in helping him weigh probabilities of effectiveness of counter strategy, has a period of being flummoxed by the unprecedented, or even just the unexpected.

And in competition, it is not sufficient just to be fast in countering. The key is to counter in the right way, at the right moment, with the right strategy--not too much, not too little, not to soon, not to late and definitely not the wrong strategy/tactic. And sometimes, though strategic analysts and gung-ho, can-do types hate to admit it, sometimes doing nothing really is the best move. Doing nothing of course is the hardest thing for basketball fans (or share holders, or clients, etc.) to understand sometimes, because it is associated with weakness and complacency so much of the time. Don't stand around, the old saying went, do something, anything. This is good advice in some situations, but not others. Its counter is: don't stand around, do nothing intentionally and in a timely way. But I digress.

The point is: Coach Self can and did come up with counter strategies to Roy's version of Dean Ball. Okie Ballers like Knight, Coach K, Self, Kruger, Eddie, and Don Haskins have given Dean Ballers fits for years. Playing against 70 point take what they give us is a little like playing against the old arcade game Whack-a-Mole, aka Beat the Beaver. Every time you slap one mole, the force of the slap drives another mole up out of another hole.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

It turns the relentless imposition of a single strategy of dictating tempo into a force that actually propels Bill/Eddie ball into ever more moles popping their heads up in ever more mismatches that require ever more smacking that in turn trigger ever more least that's how it works when Bill/Eddie Ball are working the way they are supposed to work. This is why Bill/Eddie Ball teams can sometimes beat other teams that appear to have more basic talent. Bill/Edde Ball teams don't just relie on raw talent, though they love having more of it than their opponent. Bill/Eddie Ball can and does in the hands of the masters scheme off most any kind of an edge. And when you stop and think about the amount of skills players have to have at any given position, you quickly begin to realize, rather like a marital arts master, that there are always some short comings in the skills of even the great players that can be exploited with the right impact player, if one focuses on doing so, rather than focusing so much on setting tempo. This is why Bill/Eddie Ball is kind of like a red clay country version of martial arts, and this is why I hold Eddie, and now Bill, in such incredibly high esteem. This is incredibly sophisticated philosophy and strategy, no matter how much midwestern shucks and humility it may be wrapped up inside. It is ultimately elegant and its elegance is often mistaken by people for "jeez, jaybate, they are just playin' basketball with sound fundamentals. I mean, they are just runnin' some hi-lo sets and some pick and roll. What's the big deal?" It is a big deal. It is a global philosophy and strategy of how to play the game that works, no matter how much shrugging and no-big-deal spins Eddie and Bill may put on what they have developed. Often times, the guys who create stuff are only mildly articulate about what they have done. Often times it evolved out of what they had been doing and they are not even fully sure how and when it came about themselves. But at the level of preparing to do it, and of doing, oh, they are very consciously skillful about execution and getting results.

But we see Roy's Dean Ball, after getting spanked by a Knight, or a Coach K, learning how to give those guys fits the next go round. Roy often appears to be a slow learner in the moment, as did Dean, too, because part of their strategy is to impose a kind of play on the game precisely by sticking with the kind of play through thick and thin.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Their thinking is that though there may be counter tactics to what they do in any given moment, anything that takes them away from their strategy, unless its a stall at the very end of the game, undermines their own strategic initiative. Over time, they reason that if they can keep doing it and finding little adjustments that allow them to do more and more of it, eventually their strategy will overwhelm an opponents tactical tinkering. In fact in Dean Ball, the very act of an opponent resorting to counter tinkering tactics, emboldens them. They see the tinkering as a sign of compensating for a weakness to their relentless application of their strategy of speed ball. They counter the counter tweak to try to run even faster.

In game theory, in all strategic models of two competing players, there are assumptions of rules, incentives and opportunity sets players can choose. Each players choice alters and limits each players counter move. The game takes place over a series of moves. Certain games modelled tend to manifest equilibrium strategies--ways the games tend to play out over and over again, because game theorists leave out a lot of the learning that goes on in real games carries over into subsequent games.

Because I cannot quantify the effects of this dynamical learning that goes on among Division 1 coaches over long periods of time in cases like Coach Self and Coach Williams, I cannot adequately distinguish between the philosophy/strategy's contribution to winning and the effects of exposure to and rate of learning about an opponent's philosophy/strategy shaping winning. Coach Self's philosophy and strategy certainly appeared superior when we beat them in the semifinals. Roy, though he made some great second half adjustments, could not learn fast enough to get a win in that game. But Roy is a persistent cuss, is he not? He's got a lot of want to in his little finger, as he used to like to say. And he's got a pretty fair thinker in his rolodex in Dean. Between them, they are very likely to learn about Bill's philosophy and come up with pretty effective counter tactics that help them impose their strategy over 40 minutes.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

And then Bill will go into learning mode. Maybe he will learn in the game and get the better of Roy. Or maybe he will have to give Eddie a call in the off season and take his turn to do a little kibitzing about how more dexterously apply 70 point take what they give us to counter the counter.

This is why basketball, even after The Wizard's (John Wooden's) accomplishments, remain endlessly fascinating.

The basketball players, though persons, bring physical abilities and skill sets that are effectively the techological component of the competition. The technology keeps advancing and the gene pool and training grounds keep producing players that can do more and more amazing things, while at the same time growing more and more deficient in other regards. The changing technology interplays with the constraint sets provided by the rules of game. The rules keep changing because of the way refs call the game and occassionally because the written rules are changing. The television revenues and gate revenues and NBA and lesser league salaries keep growing, so the incentives keep changing. Thus, there continues to be fresh opportunities for coaches to devise new strategies and counter strategies to shape the games space with different opportunity sets of choices. And so the competition is infinitely interesting and the outcomes are evolving, especially because learning curves vary in rate and degree of exposure to the new.

About all I can say about Bill Ball vs. Roy Ball is that both can win a heck of a lot of games with talent, both can win rings, both get tripped up occassionally, and the following which is about as close as I can come to answering your question.

Given comparable talent and depth, if Bill can come up with a wrinkle Roy hasn't seen, a wrinkle that can dull the edge of Roy's speed ball (high percentage shots combined with more trips up the floor), then with similar players, Bill is apt to get the better of Roy most of the time.

But if Bill can't come up with such a wrinkle, and Roy has a learned about the last one, which he tends to do, sooner or later, then Roy Ball can be a real tough out over 40 minutes.

You live by the sword and you can die by it, no matter what make or model of sword you use. :-)

Joel Hood 11 years, 7 months ago


One advantage John Wooden had was the relative amateur status of most other college basketball programs during his peak. Coaching staffs did not have the technical resources to recruit and scout opposing teams like they do today. Wooden was a genius, but the diffusion of his genius spread at a much slower pace than it would today or even 30 years ago. The professionalization of college coaching staffs allow for fewer “secrets”. As you alluded to, great coaches today don’t have “A System”, but are able to quickly evaluate and adapt to changing strategies, strengths and weaknesses. They are not ideologues in their philosophies of the game.

Great coaches who eventually fail today are those whose modus operandi does not adapt. The greatest example is Bob Knight. Being The General worked well from 1976 – 1987. He refused to change and the best players didn’t want to play for a tyrant. Eddie Sutton, Gary Williams, John Thompson, etc. are also coaches who added much to the game, but as they grew older, they failed to recognize the adaptations necessary to remain on top.

Roy showed this when he came to KU. His first couple years, we ran a motion offense that was suited for lesser athleticism. As his players changed, so did his up-tempo style. Bill Self was thought to be a half-court, slow down, high-low style of coach. But we all know this is an overly simplistic way of defining his style. Both Bill and Roy have shown that they can adapt to the strengths of their players and to the counters posed to them by opposing coaches. Hopefully, Bill will always remain a student of the game and not just a one-time innovator.

All of this is just my opinion – very subject to critique ;-)

100 11 years, 7 months ago

Great commentary by Jaybate & J'Joel--


One more time I'm going to ask you Jaybate to take a look at the Kansas teams coached by Larry Brown. Again, in 86 this was Self's first coaching job (grad assist).

I can remember seeing a quote from Self when we first hired him that LarryBall affected him more than any other style. It's always been a possession game for Larry. Do you think he "planned" 50-50 at halftime?

Heck no -- he's never played that fast in his life. He just about had a heart attack -- until he saw it was tied!

Watch the tape -- 2nd half it was Larryball. If you forget while watching, you might for a moment think you're watching the 2008 game.

Even though Larry learned Deanball, Larry always has incorporated hi lo with high picks and cuts.

Don't believe me? Take another look back at the 88 championship game. Look at the 86 Final four.

Eddie was a great coach. But Self primarily learned his x's & o's from Larry.

Thankfully, he will forever be an innovator -- so it is now officially "Billball"

Rock Chalk Jaybate

Eurekahwk 11 years, 7 months ago

While watching an NBA game, which are you more often likely to see:

Bigs setting high ball screens and the pick and roll... or

Secondary Break? (For those of you born yesterday, this is the staple of Roy's offense, became to be known as the Kansas break).

Bill's style does A LOT more to prepare his guys for the NBA. Pro games do not run up and down the floor at break neck speed. Sacremento Kings used to when the white Jason Williams played there and even when Mike Bibby replaced him. I thought they did as much as anyone to mirror the college game right down to the atmosphere of the arena. But how many championships did it produce? They were LA's biotch. Even if is now known that they played in a fixed series in the Conference finals.

Our 97 guys have had long careers, but Paul is the only one who could truly overcome Roy's coaching. Kind of like MJ with Dean Smith.

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 7 months ago

'Being wrong never felt so right.'

Krohnutz..sounds like the beginning of great country/western song!!

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago


We do not disagree that Self was influenced by Brown. Some of the sets and Browns ideas about impact players are manifest in Self's game. But we disagree on the extent of the influence and on where Self's philosophy of play comes from. Larry Brown has always tried to set tempo. Brown has never let other teams dictate tempo, when he could help it. Self does. Eddie did. And upon this we apparently differ.

You have a quote (one I have not been able to track down in a Google search by the way) by Bill Self, given at a time when he was doing his darnedest to ingratiate himself with KU, and to distinguish himself from Roy by connecting himself to an earlier strand of the the vaunted KU legacy--the Larry Brown era that Self actually experienced for a year. Self did this as he replaced a legend--Roy Williams. Bill hired Danny Manning. Bill put a huge Jayhawk at center court. Bill recalled some of the KU greatness before Roy. Bill extolled the virtues and layed out the welcom mat to KU basketball players of earlier eras that Roy had appeared to discount, or overlook, for whatever reason. Bill tried to reconnect Jayhawk nation to the whole KU tradition, not just to the Roy Williams years in which Roy tried to make KU emulate everything about UNC's system--from uniform styles, to the state logo at center court, to using famous Carolina players to help recruit guys to KU, to what have you. Self's strategy was sage. As much as people loved Roy and as much as people loved the Carolina game he brought with him, there just was a thirst in people for reconnection to the earlier eras of KU basketball--the eras when KU was bigger than Carolina in the games pantheon.

But I just don't see as much similarity between what Self and Brown coach, as you do. Perhaps my memory is fuzzy. Or maybe I really don't get it, as you tactfully and gently imply; this is always a possiblity. But outside of this quote you cite, which I would argue could well have been exaggerated to ingratiate himself early on, I see a guy who washed jocks for a year for Larry Brown and a guy who was a full time assistant coach for Eddie Sutton for three seasons. And I see a guy who gave Eddie a rocking chair to sit in in Allen Field House, if I recall correctly. And I see a guy who has acknowledged the influence of Eddie Sutton on him, as well as Larry Brown. I see a guy who lets other teams dictate tempo, which I recall Eddie doing with his teams all the way back to Arkansas, and maybe to Creighton. And I see Larry Brown who never liked to let the opponent dictate tempo.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Regarding the '88 championship game, I would have totally agreed with your interpretation (in fact did agree) of how Brown coached that game, until I read a Brown interview given during his visit to KU early this past season, I believe it was. He said that he had nothing at all to do with KU running the first half; that his game plan was to control the tempo at a deliberate pace the entire game; that the KU players just ignored what he told the the first half and went out and ran like hell. He called time outs and couldn't get them to stop running. Finally, he just went along, because it was working and they wouldn't listen to him anyway. The second half, he said, they played the game at the pace that he intended. Again, Self seemed to be utterly in control of his team through out the 2008 semi final game with UNC. But for the brilliant tactical wrinkle of the gambling passing lane defense the first ten minutes, KU was taking what they were given every step of the way. The second half, Self rightly decided, the game was against the clock, and not against UNC, from the beginning of the second half. It was almost as audacious to play the clock the entire second half, as it was to gamble on passing lane defense the first ten minutes. But the gambles were clearly Self's and his team was clearly following orders. They were playing Eddie Ball all the way IMHO.

We'll never really know the resolution to our disagreement on this issue until Bill Self writes a book and explains his philosophy and strategy about playing the game.

He probably won't write that until he has won six or seven titles, so we're going to have to wait six or seven years! :-)

Dirk Medema 11 years, 7 months ago

Not to break-up the string on coaching comparisons, but had a thought concerning the notion of having "too much talent on one team".

How many NBA draft picks did we have on the '07-'08 team? How many are projected for '09-'10?

Granted, the '09-'10 team had been together a while, but it's not like they weren't loaded across the board. No first team all-conf if I remember correctly (media? not coaches-2)

If Wall came to KU (unlikely), I don't see him being anymore selfish than Chalmers or Rush. The fact that last year's team needed Sherron to take more shots, etc., doesn't suddenly change the fact that he insisted on Russell starting and himself playing the reserve role on the NC team.

And the fact that Travis is a local hero, doesn't make him any less committed to being a great Jayhawk BB player than Darnell.

I think the players deserve a lot more credit for their desire to be Jayhawks and champions than they get from us bloggers.

Rock Chalk

Robert Murphy 11 years, 7 months ago

Basketball is not rocket science. Guard the ball, dribble the ball, pass the ball, put the ball in the basketball. Get the best players who can do this and you will win the most games at least 80%. John wooden was no genius he had Kareem and Walton and many other great players. Dean Smith had Michael Jordan. KU beat NC last year because they shot lights out and played great defense. Memphis lost because they couldn't shoot free throws. It's the players that make the difference and that's the truth.

Robert Murphy 11 years, 7 months ago

This site is becoming a filibuster site. Much sound and verbiage signifying nothing.

Robert Murphy 11 years, 7 months ago

A personnel note: I am 73 today the age Wilt would have been had he lived until this coming August. I had an accounting class with Wilt. He ended up with more to account for than I. But in a couple of years I should pass his record with the ladies. Got to get to work.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

"John wooden was no genius he had Kareem and Walton and many other great players."--bobbysfissure

I am entertained by the nonlinear audacity of persons taking complete leave of their senses in public forums occasionally, but rarely persuaded. :-)

The Wizard won four rings without Kareem, or Walton; this means he won 4 rings without his best players.

He won one ring without a player taller than 6'5".

Most great coaches have only won 2 to 4 rings.


jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

"It's the players that make the difference and that's the truth."--bobbysfissure

Actually, its everything. Its how the players execute. It is how well they shoot. It is how talented they are. It is whether they match up, feed the post, rebound and are mentally tougher than the other team. It is how injury and sickness free they are. It is whether or not gamblers get to them. It is whether or not they have broken up with their girl friends the night before. It is whether some of the bench players sneaked out after curfew, drank and smoked themselves silly, and suddenly found themselves being asked to play significant minutes the next day because the starter got fouled up. It is whether they are adversely effected by early or late starts to games. It is how the refs call the game. It is whether the coach is dividing his concentration between coaching and negotiating a job offer during the Final Four. It is whether players get along. Its all of it. No need to be reductive at all.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

And it is also how fast the coach responds to the opposing coaches new wrinkle. It is whether the coach can get the players to believe they can win, even when it appears they cannot. And so on.

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