Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jayhawks working on free throws

From left, Kansas players Markieff Morris, Sherron Collins, Tyshawn Taylor and Marcus Morris watch a free throw attempt by teammate Thomas Robinson, who struggled from the line against Alcorn State, during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

From left, Kansas players Markieff Morris, Sherron Collins, Tyshawn Taylor and Marcus Morris watch a free throw attempt by teammate Thomas Robinson, who struggled from the line against Alcorn State, during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Free throw woes concern for team

Kansas' poor performance from the charity stripe are a cause of concern for the team. Free throw shooting is important. See: National Championship 2008.

Every so often, near the end of a grueling Kansas University basketball practice, Bill Self will order one of his players to step to the free-throw line.

“Coach will say something like, ‘If we don’t make five in a row we’ll have a 22 (penalty sprint),’” said KU sophomore power forward Markieff Morris.

“Thomas (Robinson) was shooting the other day, and he made four in a row,” Markieff added, noting Self chose that moment to kid around in an attempt to rattle the freshman forward.

“Coach started grabbing him and said, ‘You’ve got a nice body,’ and Thomas missed the last one.”

The Jayhawks (7-0) — who have hit 65 percent of their free-throw tries, compared to opponents’ 66.7 percent mark heading into today’s 7 p.m. home game against Radford (4-2) — do indeed practice charities extensively.

Here’s another popular Self drill:

“If we shoot 30, you’ve got to make 25 out of 30 or you’ve got to re-shoot them and you’ve got to run,” forward Marcus Morris explained. He has made 64.5 percent of his free throws compared to brother Markieff’s 72.2 mark.

“When you are shooting there by yourself, you can make them easy,” Marcus added. “If you know you’ve got to run if you miss a certain amount, you’re more than likely going to make 25. It’s a lot different in the games. In the game you’re kind of rushed a little bit. There’s a lot more distractions in the game. That’s where you’ve got to zone that out and just think about how you’re at practice.”

There was a huge distraction Sunday as KU converted 12 of 17 in a 73-61 victory at UCLA.

“UCLA had an older man running around with an afro on screaming. Everybody could hear him,” Marcus Morris said. “That’s kind of annoying to see somebody running around throwing their hands up. I might have air-balled to be honest with you. That was kind of funny.”

Marcus didn’t go to the line versus UCLA; Markieff hit three-of-five tries.

“He was jumping up and down under the basket with blue hair or something like that, screaming,” Markieff Morris said. “I paid him no mind, but I looked at him when Cole (Aldrich who made five of six) was shooting like, ‘He isn’t going to throw anybody off doing what he’s doing.’’’

Here are KU’s other rotation players and their averages: Xavier Henry (90.5), Tyrel Reed (75.0), Sherron Collins (68.8), Aldrich (66.7), Tyshawn Taylor (62.5), Elijah Johnson (60) and Robinson (43.3).

Robinson has taken some good-natured ribbing since making three of 11 in a rout of Alcorn State.

“Thomas has had to run the most,” Marcus Morris said of practice sprints. “We were at practice the other day, and he was shooting, and we had to wait until he made five in a row. He probably shot about 20 free throws before he made five.

“He was a great free-throw shooter in high school, but sometimes it changes when you get in college and the atmosphere is different,” Marcus Morris added. “In high school, it really doesn’t mean that much. They don’t really keep percentages. In college, they keep the percentages.”

KU converted 42 of 61 free throws in its first two games (68.8 percent) and 77 of 122 (63.1) since.

“We’ve not shot them very well,” Self said. “It’s something we have down to do every day. It’s something we will continue to do. We probably haven’t given it the attention early in the preseason that we should. From this point forward, we should give it more.”

He doesn’t harp on his players making their freebies.

“I don’t ignore it. It’s not something I’m going to call a lot of attention to,” he said.

Sometimes it’s better just to step to the line with a free mind.

“We are thinking about it too much,” noted sophomore guard Taylor. “They are not that hard. I mean, you just have to take your time. We’ll be all right.”

This, that: Radford University, which is located in Radford, Va., has an enrollment of 9,230. The team plays in the Big South Conference and has nickname of Highlanders. Colors are red and white. ... Radford has played just one other game against a Big 12 team, falling to Colorado, 74-58, in December of 2004. ... Self said C.J. Henry (sore right knee) was to practice full-time Tuesday. Also, Jeff Withey (stress fracture, right knee) was to return to full-contact scrimmaging ... Aldrich, who has been facing double-teams all season, will be involved in a big one-on-one match with fellow NBA prospect Art Parakhouski tonight. Parakhouski is a 6-11, 270-pound senior, Aldrich a 6-11, 245-pound junior. “He is playing fine,” Self said of Aldrich (10.6 ppg, 10.1 rpg). “I think he can play better and learn how to play through being the other team’s target. Last year, that was not the case that often,” Self said of the big man being double-teamed down low.


Dirk Medema 11 years, 11 months ago

Once finals are over, there is only practice and nothing.

The 2006-07 NC team made a huge improvement in their FT % after semester break. It ultimately was the difference in going home disappointed and winning it all. Hopefully, Sherron can remind this group of the benefits of using the extra time during the break to polish the freebies.

master16 11 years, 11 months ago

good point dagger, and you mean 07/08 nc team right?

free throws are free points, no point in neglecting them. If I were a Memphis fan I would shudder just thinking about those missed free throws that cost them the championship.

Dirk Medema 11 years, 11 months ago

Sorry 07-08

Stats 63% during Non-Conf 76% during Big12 71% during Post-Season (hmm?)

Eurekahwk 11 years, 11 months ago

Note to Bill Self, this is the 2010's. You can't grab your players and admire their manly bodies. Or challenge your players manhoods! Some politically correct idiot who does things like refer to the Border War as a showdown might try to run you out citing inappropriate conduct unbecoming of a university employee.

On the topic of freethrows: The two guys I most want to see at the line are X and Tyrel Reed.

Marcia Parsons 11 years, 11 months ago

In the 07-08 they made them when it mattered. I believe they were 17 of 18 against Memphis.

Kevin Sontag 11 years, 11 months ago

SO GLAD that Coach Self is emphasizing free throws in practice. They can have a major impact on games. KU shot 14-for-15 in the title game against Memphis, and shot 12-for-30 in the title game against Syracuse. You don't have to be a Jayhawk fan to figure out which one we won and which one we lost.

Martin Rosenblum 11 years, 11 months ago

Great reminder of a game that should have been a turning point, the Syracuse game. If ever there was a game where watching film should have been a teaching opportunity, that was it. But, if I remember, that was also when Sherron and Tyshawn were sporting their mohawks. Maybe that was bad karma or something.

exiledhawkfan 11 years, 11 months ago

uhhh, sherron and tyshawn weren't even ku recruits, let alone players, when we played syracuse in the title game memhawk...

Kent Wells 11 years, 11 months ago

So first he mentions that he likes his butt. Then he tells him he has a nice body. What in the wide wide world of sports is going on! Thank God the gossip sites are busy with Tiger's Wood....

tulsahawkfan 11 years, 11 months ago

Unless he's talking about the Syracuse game last year exiled.

honk_for_hawks 11 years, 11 months ago

I realize that free throws aren't fun to work on, but they are free points. I've never really worked on them because I'm too short to have even thought of playing college ball, but its really not hard. Its more about finding a rhythm or motion that is consistently comfortable. Even if it looks nothing like your normal shot, if you can make the same motion consistently and make them, I don't care if you shoot your free throws granny-style. I mean that guy from fort hays shot his one handed...

Tony Bandle 11 years, 11 months ago

In high school, we went 27-3 in our senior year. The coach had everyone take free throws, then he would line up two teams at the key for foul shots and call out that the shooter was on a one and one with no time and down by one.

Each player had to shoot under this condition and sometimes he would have students come in to make noise and do other distractions. Also, he would always shoot free throws during scrimmage. His point was simple; if you're going to excel under regular conditions, you have to practice under regular conditions... hot, tired, sore, etc.

Simple yet brilliant!!

Joe Baker 11 years, 11 months ago

“Coach will say something like, ‘If we don’t make five in a row we’ll have a 22 (penalty sprint),’” said KU sophomore power forward Markieff Morris.

Oh snap...I hated these drills b/c coach always got the worst free throw shooters, unless he had business after practices, then usually the best 2-3 shooters would save us from having to run too much. I hated those windsprints. Dang baseline, freethrow, halfcourt, freethrow, baseline...all after returning to original baseline...yuck!!

They will get better and push for others to hit free throws!

Bill Klein 11 years, 11 months ago

missed FT's is another example of the lack of discipline being shown at the high school level. it is there where your fundamentals should be corrected and perfected in preparing you for college ball. If any college team makes less than 70% of their FT's, there is only one person to blame, the head coach. and the coaches that came before him.

Steve Gantz 11 years, 11 months ago

Syracuse title game in 03 is what is being referenced, not last years' thanksgiving game in KC. That 03 game still stings. Ouch!

Joe Baker 11 years, 11 months ago

Oh that 03 game was horrible...nasty little taste and memory for Jayhawk Nation.

I still spit everytime I read about that game, nasty!!!

Let's not even go there, k?

Steve Brown 11 years, 11 months ago

Austin texas, hostile crowd time out 25 seconds left we have the ball down by one, we must score and they won't foul us.

A.Name two that will join Cole, Sherron & X on the court.

Austin Texas w.25 seconds left, they have the ball we lead by one point.
B. Name two that will be on the court along with Cole, Sherron & Taylor?

look at our bench you have some weapons to select from and then the 5 on court are improved over last year in my view.

jaybate 11 years, 11 months ago


A: Withey and Tyshawn if one down, Kieff and Brady if 2 down.

B: Marcus and Brady if one up, Marcus and X if 2 up.

jaybate 11 years, 11 months ago

Krug Again!

Just a truly beautiful picture of Sherron, Tyshawn, et al by Nick Krug. This picture captures the profound, youthful sweetness of Sherron backed by Tyshawn and Marcus. It is this youthful sweetness that is so rarely captured in sports photos. High five, Nick! Special photography for the special season.

jaybate 11 years, 11 months ago

Gary Bedore,

The man who does it every day. This was a tour de force in telling a story about a group activity with quotes from a group. It had some surprise. It seemed like it was going to be another ho-hum free throw shooting story, but the angle is a fresh one and readers responded to it. The fresh angle was the way in which Self draws the whole team into practice free throw shooting and his uninhibited and fun approach mixed with the pain of running. Great job Gary. Most writers today have trouble telling stories with quotes from just one person. You juggled quotes by several guys in a short piece and made it read seamlessly and look effortless. Gary Bedore--Professional Journalist.

And to the peanut gallery...would Self be a fun coach to play for or what?! I mean I would have given anything to play for a coach who walked up to a cut stud like TRob who was struggling a bit and started grabbing him on the big fifth and said, "You've got a nice body." I love it. Its the little stuff that makes all the endless repetitions of practice endurable. High five Coach Self! Bill Self--Professional Coach.

hawk316 11 years, 11 months ago

The Syracuse game in '03 was painful to watch. If we had only been average...not great, not good, merely run-of-the-mill, unspectacular, nothing special the line in that game, we would have won. As free throw after free throw clanked off the rim, our title hopes faded into nothingness.

dudebrotherman 11 years, 11 months ago

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Ian Brown 11 years, 11 months ago

I first noticed this last night, and it still has not been fixed, and I am not sure if it is only my television, Sunflower Cable, or on "TV Guide's" everywhere, but I am quite annoyed by the fact that on Sunflower Ch. 141, aka ESPNU, the 7pm match-up says, "Live, Radford at Arkansas." Could it be a simple mistake? Yes. Do they need to remove the A and R before the beloved letters which follow? Absolutely. I could understand them screwing up Radford, but getting wrong the #1 team in the country in the Kansas Jayhawks? WTF. This may be a little far fetched, but I believe it's those overzealous, bigoted d-bags of the East over at ESPN intentionally "accidentally" mistaking us with Arkansas is no coincidence. Perhaps I'm paranoid and nitpicking out of sheer over-anxiousness for tonight's game (although it is against Radford), but I truly am offended that we have been confused to Arkansas.. Sure, we share the last six letters of our names, but still... Okay.. I'm done with my rant which most of you will dismiss, but I thought I'd just put it out there.

Scott Smetana 11 years, 11 months ago

Didn't Collins make something like 35 in a row a couple of years ago? Too bad he hasn't been able to keep that percentage up... yet.

actorman 11 years, 11 months ago

Note to Eurekahawk, try not to post something so stupid. People might think you're not smart enough to have graduated from college. Funny, but I don't recall reading anything in this article about Self verbally abusing his players, or abusing and screaming obscenities at non-players. But of course heaven forbid that a single one of the numerous MM supporters ever bother to mention that IT WAS NOT JUST PLAYERS THAT HE ABUSED!!! You and your ilk continue to miss this minor detail.

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