Thursday, April 30, 2009


Kansas deep, versatile


Teams that make it to the Final Four generally feature deep rosters packed with versatile players. Those advantages make it difficult for opposing coaches to figure out how to beat them because they have an answer for everything. Looking ahead to 2009-2010, no roster in the country has more depth and more flexibility than that of Kansas University.

Consider various lineups KU coach Bill Self can send onto the court to meet whatever need surfaces during a game.

Possible starting five: Sherron Collins, Tyshawn Taylor, Xavier Henry, Marcus Morris, Cole Aldrich. Then again, Taylor and Marcus Morris only earn starts by outplaying stiffer competition than what they faced to get minutes as freshmen.

Team How’s The Weather Up There: Taylor, Xavier Henry, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Aldrich. (By the way, the weather’s lousy up there, same as it is down here.)

Team In Your Face for 94 Feet: Elijah Johnson, Taylor, C.J. Henry, Marcus Morris, Thomas Robinson. While Collins, Aldrich and Xavier Henry take breathers together — never a viable option in tight games last season — full-court pressure is applied. Every pass is challenged as passing lanes are patrolled by long-armed athletes with quick feet. Panic spreads, heads hang, the crowd goes nuts, the rout is on.

Team Defense: C.J. Henry, Brady Morningstar, Marcus Morris, Robinson, Aldrich. After the game, the coach of the team that lost by 40 points says, “We had a chance to close the gap when Collins was on the bench, but we weren’t hitting our shots. We were getting open looks. We just weren’t hitting our shots.” Easy for him to say.

Team Almost Memphis: C.J. Henry, Xavier Henry, Marcus Morris, Robinson, Markieff Morris. Robinson narrowed his choices to Kansas and Memphis before opting for the Jayhawks. C.J. Henry spent a year enrolled at Memphis but sat out the basketball season because of an injury. Xavier initially signed with the Tigers and was granted his release when John Calipari left for Kentucky. The Morris twins initially made oral commitments to Memphis and de-committed before the signing period. The fact those five players — grouped in a category that has nothing to do with their body types or the positions they play — easily could be found on the court playing together next season illustrates just how many versatile athletes are on the roster.

Another random grouping: Six of the 14 players (13 with scholarships, plus C.J. Henry) played high school basketball east of the Mississippi River. Make Mario Little the sixth man and try your luck with this starting five: Collins, Taylor, Marcus Morris, Robinson, Markieff Morris.

Self will have so much versatile depth at his disposal that he’ll have an answer for everything, as he did when Kansas went 37-3 with Collins, Sasha Kaun and Aldrich coming off the bench. That doesn’t mean Kansas will win its second national championship in three seasons — the odds are against any one school winning it all — but it does mean it has as good a shot as any team to make it to the Final Four.

From Calipari leaving Memphis to Quintrell Thomas and Tyrone Appleton transferring, everything fell into place perfectly to stack the deck.


Dustin Gudde 11 years, 5 months ago

I'm not sure how useful this article is. One starting line up is provided. This line up has both Taylor and Marcus in it. As you remember, these two were only in the line up because Self had no other choice. Taylor was so bad toward the end of the season, Coach had Reed running the point. Also, Marcus on defense? He averaged like 12 minutes a game because he couldn't stay it any longer due to fouls. What kind of defense are you seeing? Also, Sherron is left out of have the line ups. I'm not Bill Self, but I can pretty much say with no hesitation that the best point guard in the country will play 30 plus minutes a game and be in 90% of the rotations. These line ups just don't seem very helpful to me. Then to keep going and talk about Memphis and the Mississippi river. What in the world does that have to do with anything? Something more useful would have been talking about the rotation. Who will be left out. Will anyone red shirt? Will there be enough minutes to go around? If you are going to talk about things that don't have anything to do with the actual line ups. I have one for you. I think that Mario, Brady, Marcus, and Markiff are going to start because they all have Ms in their names. Also, during this time, Danny will be taking charge coaching for this same reason. I just don't know. Sorry for the rant. Rock Chalk!!!

Derek Conway 11 years, 5 months ago

I am going with the opening game starting five of....

Sherron Brady Xavier Marcus Cole

Followed closely off the bench by an enormous amount of talent combing for at least 25 "rivals stars". WOW!!!!


jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago

Note that Jeff Withey is not good enough to make any of Keeg's starting fives.

At 7', Jeff's can't even make the "all how's the weather up there" team?

What is Keegs getting us ready for?

Withey to redshirt?

Withey not the player he was touted to be?

Or Withey jumping to the NBA before he steps on Naismith court in a game jersey?

How does one overlook a highly touted 7 footer?

Matthew Goble 11 years, 5 months ago

jaybate, it probably has more to do with the fact that Withey won't be eligible until the spring semester. Just a thought...

Eurekahwk 11 years, 5 months ago

How about this: CJ takes Tyshawn's starting job. and Xavier takes Morningstar's. BM probably doesn't play much this season, but Tyshawn takes his rightful spot on the bench where he belongs while providing some quality play as a backup like Sherron did with the National Champions..

jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago


I hope you are right.

But I just looked Withey up on the roster page. He's listed at only 6'10" tall and 220 pounds. An inch shorter than Cole and 35 pounds lighter? Talk about a guy destined for a mugging when he tries to play the 5 with the prison bodies!

Matthew Goble 11 years, 5 months ago

Eurekahwk, I would love to see the Henry brothers in the starting lineup ... I just don't know how much to expect from C.J. next year. Xavier said he's only beaten C.J. once (one-on-one). If that's true...

Matthew Goble 11 years, 5 months ago

jaybate, you're right. I saw Jeff on campus, and he seemed smaller than Cole. Let's hope he takes the summer and the fall to beef up. Cole shouldn't be making anyone look "skinny."

jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago

} Teams that wound up in Keeg's recycle bin:

"All-Players-Tom-Doesn't-Feel-He-Has-To-Suck-Up-To" Team--Buford, Reed, Teahan, Juenneman, Withey (he will be wrong about Reed and Withey).

"All-No-Hops" Team--Buford, Reed, Teahan, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris.

"All-Ass-Bandit" Team--Collins, Teahan, Taylor, CJ, Marcus Morris.

"All-Ears" Team--Reed, Xavier, Little, Withey, Aldrich (Joe Dooley would, of course, be head coach).

} Self's Worst Record as a KU coach: 12-7 as the JV coach in 1988. Trivia question: who played on that team? I sure as heck don't know.

} Biggest roster question mark: where is Self going to find a walk-on practice banger to replace Matt Kleinmann's 6'11" and 250 pounds? Such players are probably even more scarce that well-rounded starting bigs. Most guys in Matt's range of height and weight and skill level are on scholie at low majors. Very tough to find a guy who will ride the bench for free. Self may have to resort to injecting CJ Buford with pituitary hormone and steroids.

} Video Coordinator Kyle Keller has once again turned down the lead in "The Rick Morannis Story."

} Billy Gillispie is rumored to be joining KU's staff as "iPod Coordinator."

} Director of External Relations Barry Hinson has won the NABC award for broadest job description. Almost everything is externally related to everything else.

} It is one of those oddities of bureaucratic jargon that Director of Basketball Operations is not a medical doctor. It seems like at least some medical expertise ought to be required to plan the knee and stress fracture operations of KU players.

} After seeing Cole Aldrich's Jayhawker Towers apartment wall decoration made out of athletic tape, and the coaching staff's tendency to decorate their offices in the bears-with-furniture motif, the ever fastidious Coach Self added KU Professor of Interior Design Bruce Prettywell to the coaching staff. His title is Director of Facilities Decor.

} The Federal Emergency Management Agency has just issued a Level Three Hair Warning for the University of Kansas coaching staff. Level Three hair warnings mean that every member of the staff has a receding hair line, that male pattern baldness is beginning to affect 3 or more staff members, at least two staff members are using mousse (or other hair styling products) at levels exceeding permitted EPA levels, and that at least one member has a fully shaved head.

} Most persons think college basketball coaches get to squeeze in a brief vacation during the months of May and June. This is only true for unmarried coaches. Married coaches have to force the previous 10 months of deferred nagging and honey-do's into this brief two month window.

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 5 months ago

Marcus Morris was on every one of Keegan's starting 5's

melrank 11 years, 5 months ago

Keegan - Recognizing that some of the column was intended to be for entertainment rather than hard core analysis, I enjoyed the read. The Memphis team was actually a fun fact I'd not thought of.

The question I'm asking myself is to what degree Self might deviate from his standard 7-8 man rotation he has played for years in favor of a more up tempo 9-10 man rotation. Tom nailed a version of this possibility in the column but this has never been how Self has coached - is it because he's never had this kind of depth? Or is a "40 Minutes of Hell" (forgive the analogy) type of team not what he wants regardless of his depth?

Will Self have to "make" more minutes to satisfy all of the stallions on this team thus creating an opportunity to play faster with more pressure?

To some degree that style is entertaining - but only when you win. Personally, I'd prefer for us to work the tried and true rotations that has been Self's trademark and take our chances with our best 8 guys.

Finally, I think alot of people are going to be surprised to see how much the Morris twins improve over the summer. I might be wrong, but Thomas Robinson will have to be very special to get significant minutes over the Twins.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 5 months ago

I like these lineups. Everybody is kinda forgettting about Mario Little, but once he rests and fully recovers from that leg injury, watchout.

Lineup #1 (I want to finally see Mario at the guard spots)

Collins X Man Mario Little Marcus Aldrich

Lineup #2 (Very Likely)

Tyshawn Taylor Collins Xman Robinson Aldrich

Lineup #3 that I will never see (My wishful LIst)

Johnson Collins Taylor X man Little

Lineup #4 that I absolutely love (Guard Heavy)

Collins Taylor Johnson X man Aldrich

Scary lineup that could produce big points for Morningstar or Reed. With this lineup Morningstar and Reed don't have to create anything and all they have to do is play "D" and knock down the open shot when the ball gets reversed to them.

Collins Morningstar or Reed X Man Marcus or Robinson Aldrich

Lineup #5 Forward Heavy

Collins X Man Marcus Markieff or Robinson Aldrich

It will definitely be interesting how Self will maneuver all of these chess pieces into place. He's got a very difficult task ahead of himself, but sometimes your opponent allows everything to move right where it should.

Andrew Moore 11 years, 5 months ago

I must be the only guy in here that thinks that our returners will be much improved next year. I think Tyshawn, Mc and Mk Morris, Releford, Reed and Brady will all improve a lot over the offseason. These are fierce competitors, guys who don't like riding the bench. The most improvement guys make is between their first and second year of playing. This team last year was full of guys who were experiencing their first significant playing time at the college level. These guys were Reed, Brady, Taylor, Mc and Mk Morris, and kinda sorta Cole Aldrich.

I think Reed has the potential to become a pretty good point guard and scorer, he just has to take the initiative and be more assertive on the floor. He plays passively and is too gunshy, he's afraid of making mistakes.

I think Brady will continue to improve his defense, handling, and shot making. I think Brady will have a larger role next season than most of you guys predict. He was the most heady player on the team last season, and the only guy who played more than Brady was Sherron. I think he challenges Tyshawn for the starting spot next to Sherron in the backcourt.

Tyshawn Taylor should explode next season. This kid has so much potential. He has the length to be a superior defender and the speed and quickness to be a great drive and kick point guard. Taylor suffered from some poor decision making, most freshmen/experience mistakes. He would often charge in the lane and have no plan, but I think he's learned a lot from those mistakes and will make fewer and fewer next season. If he can figure out a jumpshot and how to drive to the left (not always right) then I think he can become an unstoppable force at the point.

Mc Morris has shown flashes of greatness. We all expected too much from the Morris twins last season. Most freshmen big men don't play at all. These guys were thrown into the fire, probably before they were really ready. I would guess that this guy becomes a versatile scorer from the 4 and a force on the boards. I don't think Robinson will have a mature enough game coming in to beat out Marcus for his spot. Especially since I think that Morris improve a lot. We saw his potential in the KSU game.

Mk will be a guy that really has to improve his rebounding if he wants to play. Kief's game is a lot more raw than Marcus', and there's a chance that Kief may not be more polished offensively than the freshmen Robinson or Withey. I think Mk will improve a lot, but it looks like a logjam between Robinson, Withey and Mk for the back up spot at the 4 and 5.

You guys are looking for too much help from Elijah and Robinson. These guys, though highly rated, are still only gonna be freshmen. Realistically, I don't see Robinson beating out the Morris twins and I don't see Elijah beating out Tyshawn or Brady. (maybe Reed)

JHawk74 11 years, 5 months ago

The only guarentees of starting next year is Alridge and Collins. All other positions are going to be battled out in practice. Most likely X Henry or CJ Henry will be the starting 2 guard. The true battle is at the 3 and 4 position. Little and Morningstar have the best chance at 3. There are 3 or 4 guys that could start at the 4 position, including Little if Coach Self wants a small line up. Whitney will likely be the back up at center when he can play. Reed will play a important role off the bench again this year. My prediction is that Releford, Taylor and Mk Morris will transfer at the end of 1st semester due to lack of playing time.

John Strayer 11 years, 5 months ago

All this worrying about keeping everyone happy seems to be misplaced to me: 1. It was said before with Brandon, Mario, RR, Kahn and the supporting cast...we had no goto guy and everyone will be unhappy...I think everyone was happy in the end. 2. The "newbies" knew what they are getting into when they signed on after Collins and Aldrich announced their returns. 3. The current players can transfer if they aren't up to the task...KU has had a couple of these already...rumors of Releford leaving seem to be just that...rumors.

Not saying Releford is pleased with his PT, but hopefully he uses that as motivation over the summer. It just may be his PT will be significant in years 3 & 4 if he sticks it out.

Under Self, it is quite want to play, then you need to put in the work and take advantage of any opportunity given. The margin for error is going to be small, but the potential rewards can be great. I personally want kids at KU that want a challenge and are willing to push themselves. The kids that want PT given to them can go elsewhere....anything worth having requires hard work and sacrifice.

Kevin Millikan 11 years, 5 months ago

Tom, I liked the article, it was fun, thanks.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 5 months ago

I agree that you have to think Little will be more in the mix, and Robinson could very well be a starter if he's the rebounder everyone says he is.

Self is KU's assistant in '86, not '88. Also, isn't Cole's apartment art made out of duct tape?

It's sad for Memphis how much success we've had at their expense.

Michael Gentemann 11 years, 5 months ago


I loved the reference to the old KU men's JV squad of the Larry Brown era. I remember back then they used to play some of the JV games a few hours before the varsity games tipped off. They usually had 2 or 3 thousand fans at these games due to the campers being let in early by former Assistant AD Floyd Temple.

I also remember Larry Brown used the JV as a means to get his bench players some court time and also as a recruiting tool. Typically the JV was made up of walk-on players but usually consisted of at least one or two scholarship players who never saw action on the varsity level. The name Jim Pelton comes to mind - anyone else remember him? He was in Ted Owens' final recruiting class along with Chris Piper. I also believe, but am not certain, that Chris Piper played JV during his redshirt freshman year.

The biggest JV name I remember during the 83-88 years would be Marvin Maddox, who we all remember as the varsity football player, along with Clint Normore, who was part of the 88 Nat'l Championship team.

On the recruiting end, LB got to watch JUCO recruiting targets like Harvey Grant from Independence CC ,who we lost to Billy Tubbs, and Sean Alvarado of Hutchinson CC ,who we did get, come in and display their talents versus the JV squad. We sat right behind the KU bench in AFH and the KU staff would always inform us of which of the opposing players, if any, they were recruiting so we wouldn't abuse them during the games. As a footnote, the students' territory back then included the bleachers for the entire length of the KU bench. I don't believe it's that way any longer. Great memories.

LB would occasionally sit in the stands if there was someone he wanted to watch play, but he never coached the team. Cal was already gone and I don't ever remember Ed Manning sitting with the JV coaching staff.

Minor technical note: Self was there in 85-86, not 88 and from what I remember he was just a part of the JV staff along with RC Buford and Alvin Gentry.

Jason Sinclair 11 years, 5 months ago

njjayhawk is apparently looking for some hard-hitting journalism from the sports section of a college town newspaper. It's worth noting that said reader read that sports section for free.

People need to lay off Keegan, except for when he pimps K-State, he does a very good job and quite entertaining - which is his purpose.

When you have to start paying to read his stuff, or you pay his salary, then you can complain.

Jfanallways 11 years, 5 months ago

"Alridge . . . Whitney. . . . Releford, Taylor and Mk Morris will transfer at the end of 1st semester due to lack of playing time" seriously i can overlook a typo but this is too much "Aldrich" "Withey" Taylor is at worst our backup point he will NOT transfer Mk Morris is a package deal he will not leave his brother at KU Niether twin will go anywhere.

Joe Baker 11 years, 5 months ago

I like this lineup:

Lineup #1 (I want to finally see Mario at the guard spots)

Collins X Man Mario Little/Taylor Marcus Aldrich

Any of the lineups will be dangerous!

Rock Chalk

Kenneth Johnson 11 years, 5 months ago

WOW! Next year’s Jayhawks are 14-deep, experienced, and talented at every spot.

Returning All-Americans Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, as well as virtually everyone else from last year’s team, and with the addition of the two Henry brothers (C. J. and Xavier), touted recruits Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson, and transfer Jeff Withey, the 2010 Jayhawks are absolutely loaded and should be the pre-season No. 1 pick. Coach Self is so awash in talent he will have a tough, but enviable, time deciding playing time.

Let’s start at the point. Last year’s starting combo-guards, 5’11 junior Sherron Collins, and 6’3 sophomore Tyshawn Taylor will be back, but will be pushed by the additions of 6’3 sophomore C. J. Henry and 6’2 freshman Elijah Johnson, a four-star recruit. Henry had committed to KU three years ago, but chose to play minor league baseball, and his college expenses will be paid by the NY Yankees.

Five other players can play either shooting guard or small forward. I expect that incoming freshman 6’6 Xavier Henry will likely nail down the small forward slot (he’s that good), but will be pushed by returnees 6’5 senior Mario Little, 6’3 senior Brady Morningstar, 6’3 junior Tyrel Reed, and 6’5 sophomore Travis Releford, all who will provide experience and leadership.

At power forward, both Morris brothers (6’10 Markieff and 6’8 Marcus) return for their sophomore year, hopefully much improved, and will be pushed by highly-rated 6’8 freshman Thomas Robinson.

All-American 6’11 junior Cole Aldrich returns to man the center position, and may be joined mid-semester by 7’0 freshman transfer Jeff Withey (although I wouldn't be too surprised to see him redshirt).

I expect that Xavier Henry will replace Morningstar at small forward, with Collins, Taylor, Marcus Morris and Aldrich completing the starting unit. The second team is so good I believe it could compete for the Big 12 title.

Ken Johnson (KU MS '70)

panalytic 11 years, 5 months ago

Phog88 and Jaybate - nice work. I remember those JV games too. There were a lot of good players on those teams that could not even get any playing time on the varsity. I remember some of those high scoring JV players who would end up transferring to other schools when they did not get varsity playing time.

Leaving Withey out completely makes me wonder too.

rockchalk007 11 years, 5 months ago

The key concept here is depth, lots and lots of depth. Impossible next year for another UMass or an early exit from the dance. The Hawks have tons of talent and how Coach Self and staff chooses to use it will be a new challenge.

Firstly, spot on to say that the returning guys will be be improved and will know the system, where to go on the court, how to play defense. Sherron and Cole will be the studs but their supporting cast will be so much better - starting doesn't matter, but playing time does, and who is on the court at the end of the game and who is on the court at the end of the year in Feb/March.

The newbies will have to earn their spots and will get a chance but by touney time the only one with significant minutes will be Xavier. For EJ and T-Rob and Jeff, this will be a learning year, 5-10 minutes a game on average. For Brady 30 min/game goes to 20 and for Tyrell 20 goes to 10. Travis redshirts (if he can be patient, and take a year out just to practice like Brady did, he will be really good for the rest of his college playing years). CJ will improve fast and he is a mature athelete who will have a solid supporting role, but he too will have to wait a year or two to be a key player.

So we have Tyshawn and Marcus and Mario as our most improved players (if we can leave Mario at the 3 he will do wonders, Marcus will be 3rd team all Big-12, and Tyshawn will be consistently good). Kieff will be strong in back-up mode at 4/5.

I hope Coach Self will force his team to play a faster and more aggressive game on both offense and defense. He is a great coach but the "grind it out, take what they give you, lots of touches, be patient, always look for a better shot with another pass, half-court game" needs to morph into a more uptempo game with more full court pressing, run (not walk) the ball up the court and get more shots (and especially more free throws) per game. Why? Because the more talent you have, the more total number of possessions you want, and conversely. This is new terriortoy for the Hawks. The recruiting bar has been raised permanently. We have and will have UNC talent from here onwards (at least for our bb program).

To fully use that talent means a faster pace and more pressure on both ends of the court, and more substitutions. Turn 'em loose, coach, and they will make you proud!

rockchalk80 11 years, 5 months ago

Taylor will not transfer---he'll be in the rotation.... agree with truehawk, the Morris twins are a package X and CJ.

There will be some redshirts this year---but not transfers...too many openings in 2010/11.

Jaminrawk 11 years, 5 months ago

This 2009-2010 team is setup ideally. They are ridiculously deep and even in 2010-2011 with the likely losses of X and Aldrich along with Collins, they will still be hard to beat with all of that experience remaining.

kufankam 11 years, 5 months ago

i don't get why anyone is down on taylor.... so what if he struggled toward the end of last year. i think he is going to be much improved and will definitely compete for a starting spot. to me, his game/season last year was VERY similar to mario chalmers when he was a freshman. i can't believe some of the people questioning this kid. i thought he was very impressive last year... the ups and downs are a given with freshman. he will be a great player for us this year.

Joe Baker 11 years, 5 months ago

Our firepower is going to be HOT from the guards. X, Brady, Reed, Releford, Collins, Taylor, CJ, Little...I just hope Self doesn't force Little into that small forward spot. Let him swing and score off the jshot. Dang...defenses will be totally overwhelmed!!

Rock Chalk

JHawk74 11 years, 5 months ago

WOW! I got good responses from my earlier post. I hope nobody transfers, but if anyone expects certain amount of playing time then we are going to have an unhappy team. Releford complained about playing time last year and I don't see how he is getting anymore playing time next year unless the freshman we recruited are not as good as advertised. I know X Henry is expecting playing time and will get it if he is actually one of the top players coming out of high school. CJ Henry is expecting playing time, he already talked about going to NBA as soon as possible. Let's do the math: There is only 200 minutes of playing time possible in each game. If Collins and Alrich gets 65 minutes total. That leaves 135 minutes split between 10 other players. If the starting shooting guard, small forward, and power forward average 25 minutes a game. If the sixth man plays 18 min, the seventh, eight person takes 15 minutes each, that leaves 7 minutes between 9th man and 12th man. Is Releford, Mk Morris and 1 other player going to be happy with 2-3 minutes per game? I say NO! Someone will transfer after the year. It's going to happen when you got this much talent. Our 2010 recruiting class looks awesome again. Do you bench Reed and Morningstar because we have freshman coming in that will want to play? If they don't play they will transfer. Perfect examples: Micah Downs, Q Thomas and Appleton.

Joe Baker 11 years, 5 months ago

They won't contain our guards who will then attack the rim and layup or dish to the bigs. We'll have guards posted all over the courtyard set to drain the treys. Our bigs will dominate and clean house on most teams. I'm really excited to see how T-Rob develops his weight for the B12 inside match up. This kid is going to be strong down the stretch. He can step out and take a J when necessary. He will become one of my fav forwards in KU history!!

mlubyRN 11 years, 5 months ago

DMC, Elijah has a better chance to start than Brady does simply because he is taller and more versatile at the 3... Remember B.Rush? Nuff said.

mlubyRN 11 years, 5 months ago

We will also have a deep enough squad for Mr Self to open up his "5 game" again from the '08 season. Robinson, Chalmers, Collins, Stewart and Rush.

Joshua Hann 11 years, 5 months ago

Really DustyPants...what do you want as useful right now? How is a reporter suppose to know what the rotations are when this team has not even practiced together?...when the coach does not even know? This was meant to be a fun article and I thought it was interesting to see all of the possibilites laid out, but obviously this floated well below your expectations for an online basketball article, months before the season starts...Sorry to fall short of your expectations.

Joe Baker 11 years, 5 months ago

JHawk74- I don't see any transfers. They should all develop and get the appropriate playing time. Micah Downs wanted to be closer to his family. Q Thomas and Appleton just didn't have the game KU needed right now. Appleton really didn't have the ability to play with D1 players. PLEASE, don't get me wrong, but these guys are good and will play at virtually any school. It takes a certain player to play at this level.
Each player will be a role player. Basically, CS has a solution for any game plan another team may throw at us. He can go to any player now when the need arises and LY we had many of those game situations with little to no answer, case in point Mich St both times. BUT if they transfer, not a lot you can do about that and we all learned any player is capable of doing so. Although, who would want to transfer from this team? Also if you're a Soph TY and Jr when you transfer...there's no playing time for a year according to ncaa rules. Therefore you're a Jr sitting the bench and won't play until you're a Sr...hmmm The window is closing fast for these players and I think they're smart enough to sit tight. I think Jeremy Case was a great example. This kid could start almost anywhere and was patient with CS. If Releford is patient his Jr and Sr year will be special. These guys have a chance to win 2-3 NC, barring any injuries or crazy crap! My advice to all these players: Stay, be patient and Trust CS!!

jayhawkarmy 11 years, 5 months ago

I just hope everyone gets a chance to play i mean we have a great team but i hope some players that played last year dont get the shaft then want to leave

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 5 months ago

Wasn't the original intent of the Junior Varsity team to give playing time to entering freshmen? In those years freshmen weren't allowed to play on the Varsity team.

Joel Hood 11 years, 5 months ago


No offense, but no one has seen Elijah play at the D1 level. I also thought Elijah was 6' 2'' & Brady is 6' 3"? Although, Elijah is an athletic freak, so I'm sure he likely plays "taller" than 6' 2".

Remember Kenny Gregory? He too was an athletic freak, yet his hoops skills never really developed like everyone had hoped. I'm not saying Elijah will be like Gregory, but I think it is premature to say that he will automatically take Brady's spot in the rotation.

Brady has experience (23 year old Junior), great backcourt defensive skills, and he is a glue-guy that cannot be measured by his vertical. IMO, Brady will start the season, but his role will change as the younger guys develop. But, if we need a backcourt defensive stopper, Brady will be in. With a team this talented, chemistry is crucial, egos will be checked at the door, and mistakes get you pine time - Brady will play a lot.

kutravis 11 years, 5 months ago

What a great thing to worry about...too much depth. I can't wait for next season!

justinryman 11 years, 5 months ago

After reading the article and all the above post, Im glad Coach Self is the one putting together the starting 5 with all the reserves. He has proved he can handle a long bench so stop clamoring with ideas of how one thinks it might be in Novemember, and let Coach evaluate his team when all members are on campus. Plus there is football season to start and the end of a wonderful baseball season.

jhfan 11 years, 5 months ago

Do any of you have a way to find the actual height for Jeff Withey. I had the same assumption as jaybate did, from all the articles on the transfer from Arizona, that he was 7'. Could there be a mistake on the roster posting? If someone has access to staff that would help us get a view of what we have in him.

actorman 11 years, 5 months ago

"While Collins, Aldrich and Xavier Henry take breathers together — never a viable option in tight games last season ..."

It would have been hard for that to be a viable option last year since X was still in high school ...

"It's sad for Memphis how much success we've had at their expense."

I know that I for one have shed many tears over it.

"We sat right behind the KU bench in AFH and the KU staff would always inform us of which of the opposing players, if any, they were recruiting ..."

That's interesting, I hadn't heard that before. I don't think they could get away with that now, given how blatant an NCAA violation it would be to talk to anyone about players that are being recruited.

"As a footnote, the students' territory back then included the bleachers for the entire length of the KU bench. I don't believe it's that way any longer."

I remember that fondly too. As I recall, a few years after I left (I graduated in '85), there was a controversy over the students refusing to sit down during the game and the alumni behind them complaining that they couldn't see. As a result, the students lost a lot of those prime seats.

"Returning All-Americans Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich ..."

Am I missing something here, or have I just forgotten? I don't recall either of them being All-Americans -- not that they didn't deserve it, and not that they won't both have great chances this year.

"We have and will have UNC talent from here onwards (at least for our bb program)."

That would definitely be preferable to having UNC talent for the fb program.

"i don't get why anyone is down on taylor.... so what if he struggled toward the end of last year."

Well said, kufancam. There's no reason to believe that Tyshawn won't have a HUGE season this year.

"Let's do the math: There is only 200 minutes of playing time possible in each game. If Collins and Alrich gets 65 minutes total. That leaves 135 minutes split between 10 other players. If the starting shooting guard, small forward, and power forward average 25 minutes a game. If the sixth man plays 18 min, the seventh, eight person takes 15 minutes each, that leaves 7 minutes between 9th man and 12th man."

Okay, let's do the math: Collins & Aldrich: 65 (leaves 135); the other three starters: 75 (leaves 60); sixth man: 18 (leaves 42); seventh, eighth and ninth men: 45 (negative 3); ninth through twelfth men: 7 (negative 10). According to this math, that's 210 minutes.

Michael Gentemann 11 years, 5 months ago


Judging from your screen name you're probably thinking about pre-1972 college hoops.

Back then all freshmen were ineligible for varsity hoops so practically every school had a JV squad (a.k.a. freshman team) so the freshmen could play. Wilt played on the KU freshman team. Once freshmen became eligible in '72 (I believe that was the year) then many programs dropped their JV teams. UNC is/was one of the few programs that kept it all along and when Larry Brown, a UNC guy, got to KU in 83 he revived it at Kansas. I reluctantly departed Mount Oread in May of 88 with my diploma in hand so I'm not sure what the status of the JV program is past 1988.

I'm enjoying this little sidebar because with the exception of Sheran Collenz and Coal Aldritchsen I have no idea who will be starting next year.

And for Heaven's sake certain people out's Aldrich not Aldridge. Please learn your future first team all-America's name.

Michael Auchard 11 years, 5 months ago

Team Almost Memphis made me laugh.

It's funny, also, because Memphis seemed to get several times the exposure we do at Kansas (don't even get me started on ESPN's east coast bias) with their flamboyant Saturn dealer of a coach (No, we're not going out of business!) and all. Sleaze dripping to the ground.

Against the grain, I honestly don't see how he'll recruit any better at UK. He already had the best recruiting class in the country before he left sorry Memphis. Even if he improves, you can't get much better than what he did. He's the Coach K for the new millenium. Pure evil. We must stop him.

That's beside the point, though. And, I know I'm wandering here -- my point is, Bill Self seems to, year after year, grab some of the best recruits in the nation. And he does it so very much under the radar. Completely. He just scoops up the chaff and makes it wheat.

This is the best I've ever felt about our team in my life. We're not taking a back seat to the ACC like in the Roy years. We're going up and taking this thing by force.

Priest Fontaine 11 years, 5 months ago

njjayhawk - for real dude? solid journalism? I'm just glad KUsports and all the commenters are keeping the conversation going. Give me anything! I'm hungry. Bummer Withey got left out of the How’s The Weather Up There lineup. Maybe he will transfer again after seeing this hard hitting journalistic article. For real though, Loving all the excitement brewing for next year. I'm representing in Brooklyn. Me and my friend have turned a sports bar called Mulhollands into an official KU establishment. Just met Norm Stewart's grand daughter there during a KU-MU game last year. Her crew of Mizzou fans were very offended by all the Jayhawk branding on the walls, windows and fire place mantel. If any of you crazy people are passing through NYC, stop into Mulhollands and tell them Priest sent you. You will feel right at home. Of course, I will be there watching just about every KU football and bball game.

and here's a little clip of KU fans representing in Brooklyn at Mulhollhands:

KirkwoodHawk 11 years, 5 months ago

My comments: 1 - enjoyed the article. It was for entertainment, and it has induced much interesting discussion. 2 - Oldalum, freshman were playing when I went to school in late 70's early 80s. Freshmen rule was out in early 70s, except for Ivy League, which kept the rule longer (which is why Gene Banks, a Philly native, went to Duke instead of Penn because he could play as a Freshman at Duke). 3 - I would be shocked if Reed or Morningstar transferred after next year, considering they will both be juniors, so would only have 1 year at the next school, after sitting out a year. Also, both are from KS originally, so more likely to accept less PT and play a role for a potential NC team in their home state. 4 - IMO, biggest improvement comes between Fr and So years, because of new found experience, and year of development physical fitness wise. Given that, I think Reed and Morningstar have limited growth this year. I would like to see Morningstar improve his passing, particular under pressure in a press. If he doesn't, and our other ball handlers can match or come close to his outside shooting and defense, he could see significant reduction in PT.
5 - As mentioned by people earlier, this article really points out the depth of this team. In 1988, you probably cannot come up with more than 2 or 3 legitimate alternative lineups. In 08, maybe 4 or 5. Now think of how many alternative lineups you can come up with for next year and still feel comfortable that each lineup could compete as a starting lineup against any other team in the country. Its incredible. 6 - Go to guys. Last year, we had 2. This year we now add X, and with a new year and good health, I think you can reasonable consider Mario, Taylor and Mc Morris as potential additional go to guys. I am assuming Johnson and Robinson won't be there, but who knows. I'm just looking forward to sitting back and watching this team go next year.

KirkwoodHawk 11 years, 5 months ago

Didn't Coal Aldritchsen play for Winchestertonfieldville?

Joel Hood 11 years, 5 months ago

RE: KU JV Teams from earlier posts,

It appears that KU dropped the JV program in the mid 1990's as a reaction to Title IX. In other words, it created a disparity in the athletic opportunities for men and women at KU.

ESPN put this online in Feb 2008 re the JV team at UNC that Jerod Haase still coaches (they state that Roy started the KU JV team, but I know it was around long before he came in fall 1988.) It's a good read though...

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 5 months ago

'At 7', Jeff's can't even make the "all how's the weather up there" team?'

That caught my attention also. Maybe it's because Jeff cannot play until spring but this was a highly recruited big man who was ranked almost exactly in the middle of the Morris twins

rockchalk007 11 years, 5 months ago

Bottom Line - KU is locked and loaded and expecations will be over the top for 2009.

When the team shouts together after each practice "Big 12 Champs!" and now can add "National Champs!" ... and the boys compete hard in practice every day, consistently, then the Jayhawk nation can be proud regardless of the individual game or player. The toughest competition will be in practice, and the players and team will get better every day. Remember when Coach Self had to make them run windsprints at practice "to at least get some benefit" last the end of the year?!? Well, we are now a long way from that scene, and Coach Self (and staff) did more with less than anyone in college basketball last year - hence Coach of the Year honors.

I really like the schedule upgrade this coming year (tougher opponenets far from home) and I really like the way Coach Self and staff have handled this whole process process - Sherron and Cole both staying another year, the Henry family together in Lawrence, Q-T and Tyrone moving on without losing face, the supporting cast comfortable in their roles and accepting playing time with the team winning as the central consideration...WOW! Let's not forget that KU has not had the best facilities to match its bb tradition and this plays into recruiting. No longer...the upgrades are in progress and I just love the way Coach Self has handled all this in the wake of defeat (year one) and the wake of victory.

We now have one of the elite programs in the nation, bb and also football (not one of those kids on Coach Mangino's squad could even get a scholarship offer at TX or OK - now here is a candiate for coach of the year!

Congrats to AD Perkins! Give the man (another) raise! Go Hawks!

There will be some hiccups in the road, we are not going to run the table, but we will be #1 out of the gate and most of the year, and favorite for another shot at

mlubyRN 11 years, 5 months ago

Oh man, my bad... I had originally meant to say that Xavier has a better chance at starting at the 3 spot than Brady.

Doug Merrill 11 years, 5 months ago

It is interesting that early posters to articles on KU BB so frequently respond with their negative estimation of the writer's skill or judgement, and then the posters that follow are stimulated to write! Could it be that the early posters are sitting around with nothing to do except read the internet? Anyhow, I thought the article was humorous, reminded me of aspects of the players I hadn't remembered or didn't, it entertained and informed. Can't remember what the goals of sportswriting are (I have it here somewhere...) but I think those two are on that list. Thanks, Tom!

jaybate 11 years, 5 months ago


Could it be that doctors are harder to herd than cats and that they are all trying to play out the dramas of family dysfunctions in childhood by helping heal others in adulthood?

Hey, dougmd, this psychoanalyzing posters you started is pretty fun. I like it. Let's do more. :-)

mlubyRN 11 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, I just love the game. Its the last sport that isnt overly tainted by money or performance drugs. Does anyone remember the '08 season "5 game" When Self played all 5 of his guards? I think thats what he called it, tell me Im not crazy.

Greg Lux 11 years, 5 months ago

After an off year last year .. Conner Teahan hits 90% of this three point attempts in pre season cleanup roll and forces HCBS to give him major minutes come league time... ( Hows that for a monkey wrench in the works ) lol I could play this game all day some many pieces so much talent and of course they always play great in my game.

Rock Chalk

11 years, 5 months ago

Actorman ~

Nice critiquing and comments as usual. However, I must take exception to your last math problem analysis.

"Let's do the math: There is only 200 minutes of playing time possible in each game. If Collins and Alrich gets 65 minutes total. That leaves 135 minutes split between 10 other players. If the starting shooting guard, small forward, and power forward average 25 minutes a game. If the sixth man plays 18 min, the seventh, eight person takes 15 minutes each, that leaves 7 minutes between 9th man and 12th man."

Okay, let's do the math: Collins & Aldrich: 65 (leaves 135); the other three starters: 75 (leaves 60); sixth man: 18 (leaves 42); seventh, eighth and ninth men: 45 (negative 3); ninth through twelfth men: 7 (negative 10). According to this math, that's 210 minutes.

It appears you added another ninth man in your calculation. Here is how it should read:

Okay, let's do the math: Collins & Aldrich: 65 (leaves 135); the other three starters: 75 (leaves 60); sixth man: 18 (leaves 42); seventh and eighth men: 30 (leaves 12); ninth through twelfth men: 7 (leaves 5). According to this math, that's 195 minutes.

Either way, we should have plenty of minutes for the core rotation :^)

jhfan 11 years, 5 months ago

jayhawkerjoel - I have checked back to two KU web articles on Withey on January 12 & 15. the first it titled "Withey ready for fresh start." In it Withey makes the comment: “I hope it’ll help him playing with somebody else who is 7-foot tall,” Withey said. “He can help me out. He’s one of the best big men in college basketball." He was referring to playing with Cole.

The second article is titled Withey’s welcome warm." Here are a couple of quotes: "The highlight reel featuring some of the best players and coaches in KU history had the attention of KU’s current players, including transfer Jeff Withey." “It gave me goosebumps watching it,” said Withey, KU’s 7-foot freshman center from the University of Arizona." “Jeff will be a big asset to us,” Self said. “You can physically see he is very tall, very long, a good shot blocker. He’s also a guy who can run and has a great touch. He also physically needs to put on weight,” added Self, who said Withey easily will put on 20 pounds by the time he’s eligible to play." The last quote is: "Withey — he said he’d like to be 240 pounds next season — said he likes to “drop step, dunk the ball, block shots and rebound.”

All of this is to say that before publishing the roster, he was &' tall and was commenting on playing with Cole as a fellow 7 footer.

What I am asking is does anyone posting on this site have access to anyone who could give us the real story. Did he shrink or was a mistake made on the roster.

Joel Hood 11 years, 5 months ago

jhfan - sorry that I don't have inside info. Thought the roster would be the most accurate publication.

FYI - I remember reading an article on Withey's progress during practice this Spring. It indicated that he was having problems defending Cole and that he definately was aware of his need to get stronger. I think Danny will be the perfect mentor for him. But, I'd bet it will take time before he becomes a true impact player for KU - perhaps 2010-2011.

Jack Wilson 11 years, 5 months ago

Just one comment on Taylor .. he was certainly better than Robinson was as a freshman. If he turns in to Russell, we'll all be happy.

Eurekahwk 11 years, 5 months ago

The standard eight man rotation is only standard because Bill has rarely had more than eight guys who can enter the game without being a major liability. Remember 2001 when we played Illinois in San Antonio. He rotated a ton of guys in that game. That's right, he enjoyed a rotation at a lesser school that was definitely the envy of Kansas. Now he has it, so expect his 8 or 9 man rotation to grow a couple of spots. He has a couple of more athletic specimens coming off the bench than even our National Champions had.

waywardJay 11 years, 5 months ago

Why not goo all the way with the team how's the weather up there......

6'6 henry 6'7 Markieff 6'9 Marcus 7'0 Cole 7'0 Withey

actorman 11 years, 5 months ago

Good catch, txrockchalk. Not one of my prouder moments.

actorman 11 years, 5 months ago

Of course as usual, I have a few more comments:

"He's the Coach K for the new millenium. Pure evil."

Although I can sort of understand why people hate Coach K as much as they do, I've never been one of those people. But even for the people who hate Coach K and the Duke program, how on EARTH can you compare him to Calipari? I would think even the biggest K-hater wouldn't put him on the same scuzzball level as Coach C. And you certainly can't doubt that K runs a clean program.

"ESPN put this online in Feb 2008 re the JV team at UNC that Jerod Haase still coaches (they state that Roy started the KU JV team, but I know it was around long before he came in fall 1988.)"

It was definitely around in the 1984-85 season, as I was one of the guys fortunate enough to broadcast the JV games on KJHK. I even got to sit at press row and keep stats for some of the varsity games. A great experience to see things from that vantage point, and I still have a tape somewhere of me doing one of the JV games. (I wasn't too bad, if I do say so myself.)

"There will be some hiccups in the road, we are not going to run the table."

Although that's probably the case, I wouldn't be so sure. With the depth, talent and coaching on this team, they certainly have the capability to go undefeated. Look at how close the '97 team came, and I think this one will be better.

RockChalk1982 11 years, 5 months ago

I would love to see a speed team of:

1 Collins 2 C.J. or Taylor 3 Johnson 4 X 5 Robinson or Little

Dan Cook 11 years, 5 months ago


Bill wasn't even at KU in 1988, so you'll have to revise your trivia question.

--John Calipari

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