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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Keegan

Self blasts ‘lackluster,’ ‘soft’ play by Jayhawks

Kansas forward Markieff Morris battles for position down low with Belmont defenders Keaton Belcher (3) and Jone House (13) during the first half, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Markieff Morris battles for position down low with Belmont defenders Keaton Belcher (3) and Jone House (13) during the first half, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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2009 KU-Belmont

Reader poll

Which of these four freshmen do you think will increase their minutes most as the season progresses?

  • Thomas Robinson 41% 1229 votes
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2931 total votes.

Reader poll

Who do you believe is KU's player of the decade?

  • Sherron Collins 12% 493 votes
  • Kirk Hinrich 19% 786 votes
  • Brandon Rush 4% 187 votes
  • Nick Collison 29% 1176 votes
  • Wayne Simien 8% 336 votes
  • Drew Gooden 2% 83 votes
  • Mario Chalmers 21% 848 votes
  • Cole Aldrich 1% 58 votes
  • Other 0% 38 votes

4005 total votes.

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KU vs. Belmont

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KU takes on Belmont Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The rest of us ask how many, not how. Coaches ask how, not how many. That explains why Kansas coach Bill Self sounded a little disgusted with his team, ranked No. 1 in the nation, after it blasted Belmont, 81-51, Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

Self takes great pride in his teams exhibiting toughness. He puts far greater value in floor burns than style points. He even used the dreaded ‘S’ word (soft) to describe his team’s play. He didn’t hold back after the game, which is no coincidence given that Kansas has its toughest game of the nonconference season coming up Saturday in Philadelphia, against Temple University, the nation’s 18th-ranked team.

“We played awful,” Self said after the 30-point victory.

Kansas opened both halves with 11-0 runs, but the first-half lead was erased with Belmont’s 15-3 run.

“There were very few good moments for us,” Self said. “I thought it was a very lackluster performance, and the thing about it is we played so soft. That has been the tune all year long. Going into the season, I thought we would be tougher going after balls and things like that, but this is a group that obviously needs to make shots to play well, and that is embarrassing because there are going to be a lot of nights where you have to grind it out, especially away from home. We are going to run into one of those opponents Saturday.”

When Self talks, his players listen. They’ll be eager to show their coach all week during practice that they aren’t softies. After scoring 14 points and making six of seven field-goal attempts, sophomore forward Marcus Morris sounded as if he wanted to take the practice floor right after the game so he could show he can do better. Morris didn’t hesitate when asked where the team needed to get better.

“Rebounding,” he said. “There is no way Cole (Aldrich) should be the only one in double figures. I speak for myself, too. I had two rebounds in 21 minutes. It’s unacceptable. I talked to coach about it, and I need to find more things to help me rebound better because someone needs to help Cole.”

Kansas had 40 rebounds to 39 for the shorter, slower Bruins.

“Tonight, we couldn’t rebound worth anything,” said Aldrich, who had 14 boards. “We just need to play hard-nosed basketball. We really played hard last year, and I think we are going to play that way again this year.”

If not, Kansas will lose Saturday at Temple in the Liacouras Center, an on-campus facility that holds 10,224 spectators.

“I have very little sympathy for our team tonight,” Self said. “I thought collectively we were poor. We certainly have to get better. I am glad that we won. I would rather win by 10 and play the right way than have a lackluster deal like that tonight. Hopefully, we will get better.”

Self’s use of the ‘S’ word to describe his team surely will bring out whatever toughness it has. One player in particular, senior guard Sherron Collins, will not want to be associated with that word in any way. He’ll challenge teammates in practice and during the game. How teammates respond Saturday to challenges from their coach and on-floor leader will offer a hint as to whether they have what it takes to run the table in late March.

Comments

leonard 9 years, 7 months ago

Self is right on the money...this is a very good team when the ball goes in the hole...when it doesn't we're cruising for a big disappointment.

We eventually overwhelmed an under-manned Belmont team because we shot well and Cole single handedly destroyed their offensive rhythm.

I was glad to see Taylor give a better account of himself on keeping the dribbler from blowing by...but Collins? His defense has become more and more of a liability...consistently playing the blue bayou defense and chasing his man from behind all night.

The twins up and down levels of effort is also getting tiresome. I don't expect a double/double every night but it's not too much to ask of them to go all out a couple of hours a day in practice and 20-25 minutes on game day...without having to give them a kick in the butt.

We'll win a lot of games like last night on superior talent but we've only shown championship caliber heart and hustle on occassion...but that's not enough for the conference schedule or a deep run in March.

Timmay97 9 years, 7 months ago

As far as I'm concerned, the team goes as Sherron Collins goes. The one thing that would please me to no end is to see Sherron getting in his teammates faces during timeouts. He and Cole know what it takes to win a championship. We need a leader on this team and it's got to be Sherron.

I anticipate KU coming out strong against Temple this weekend. I'm happy to say I will be on hand to see the game. Looking forward to it.

bradh 9 years, 7 months ago

I like the fact that Marcus acknowledges that he needs to get better on the boards. Another sign of the maturation of the twins, can you imagine either taking any blame for anything last year?

I think we'll be all right. The players know they need to play tougher and getting them to realize that is half the battle. Coach will remind them too. I think we'll see a scrappier team against Temple, if for no other reason than the players realize they'll have to fight for every possession against Temple.

ESPNU games stink since I don't get that channel and have to listen to it on the radio. The good part was they had Coach Gill on at half time and he indicated he planned to finish his coaching staff today. I would have been looking for something about the final football staff in LJW this morning if I hadn't heard that interview because I thought he mentioned he'd have it done yesterday. He's made a really nice start to date.

Kyle Helmer 9 years, 7 months ago

Not a great performance, but how lucky are we as KU fans that we can complain about a 30 point win and a 12-0 record? We must get better for sure, but I think we have the coach and the leadership to do so. We will learn a lot on Saturday.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 7 months ago

I looked over the Belmont stats that are on a link for each upcoming game on this site. I saw the three point productivity. I saw who their threats were on offense. Certainly, HCBS at least did what I did and let his kids in on the potential of this team. I bet they may have even watched some video of at least part of one of their games. It doesn't take a genius to have figured out that they would look for the long ball opportunity as their strategy since we do have the size advantage.

As a deep team, as a number one ranked team, as a KU team, Belmont should never been allowed to have taken the lead at any point in this game! That is the most disturbing issue to me. I don't care either, as HCBS about winning by 30, about the final score. But, I do care that focus was lost and the pride that should be there nignt in and night out to wear the KU uniform and perform to the highest level is not the driving force yet. Of course we will beat Belmont and others. We will be challenged by more focused teams than us. We must keep the pride issue as our focus from the opening tip to the final buzzer!

Temple may gain a lead on us at some point in the game as will others. But, our mettle is how we improve to the point of playing as a team, with focus.

jaybate 9 years, 7 months ago

Wednesday Preparing for the Temple Mugging:

Frankly, toss the first half, and KU played a good game vs. tiny Belmont. :-)

The first half, I saw a team that's been practicing hard that came out with dead legs and no buzz--Self again having left it to them to motivate.

The second half, I saw a team with dead legs motivated by Self!

Against Temple, KU will not have dead legs. After one hard practice this morning about 6 a.m., practices will taper off for the January 2 match up.

Self knows the last thing this team needs is dead legs for a street fight, or to be thinking: "Well, we played brain dead the first half against Belmont and still won by 30," so we'll be alright for Temple.

The truth is, of course, that they will be okay against Temple.

But only if the coach makes sure they don't think that. Don't enter with a swagger. Enter expecting to fight for your life.

Hence the "soft" remarks by Self.

Swagger has to be earned, not assumed. They need to be a little scared for Temple, because they haven't played any tough guys yet. They need enter playing for every edge they can, or they will get beat in their first test against tough guys.

But they will beat Temple, though they are going to get roughed up doing it...and it probably will be close and ugly. Some one will get hurt almost certainly.

Temple knows no one has really roughed KU up yet this year. Cole may lose another tooth. Even Sherron may get sandwiched a time or two. Tyshawn will almost certainly be doing his fade aways and get punched anyway. But the guy who is really going to get tested, busted, kicked, and tripped is Xavier.

The Temple coach has to be saying, "Aldrich and Collins can probably take it, when we dish it out to them, but this kid Xavier hasn't been tested yet. They rely on this suburban super star for second, or third option points and he's never even gotten a Philly knuckle sandwich yet. He's never even been sucker punched. He's never really been elbowed in the back of the head three straight times down the floor. Give him the business guys.

The Twins may have to intervene with their teammates and teach Xavier how cheap shotting on the mean streets of Philadelphia is done.

LaSalle was a nice warm up.

gchawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Another shining example of playing at the level of our competition. Gregsharp, I agree with a lot of what you say, however, like "bradh" stated, I, too, like what has been acknowledged by our players. I believe our team knows they are not playing like a national champions right now, but I also have total faith in HCBS and our team to step it up.

jaybate 9 years, 7 months ago

Lebowski,

You are rounding into late season form early.

You got this right as rain.

Steve Brown 9 years, 7 months ago

Belmont: Nice group. The coach is class act. played patient and got good lucks some balls just did't go down & # were blocked. I liked them when they beat Mizzuuu and almost Dookies. I'll root for them in the dance as they are nice program.

Kansas: given the limited number of minutes most players get, seems they would play as if they were about to come out, show a little more energy, passion and play quick but don't hurry. Maybe the soft zone D did something to us.

I'm more confident with our talent as season unfolds, & I was very high before. It is just a matter of the master chef adding the ingredients and the bonding agents, assists, defense, passing, rebounds, toughness, team before me, how to share minutes....

RCJHKU

Dirk Medema 9 years, 7 months ago

bradh says - "I like the fact that Marcus acknowledges that he needs to get better on the boards."

I don't like the fact that he seems to think it is a formula, or some special technique that needs to be learned. Rebounding is mostly about effort and intensity.

What I do like is getting 23 TO's. It would seem that there was at least some D-intensity.

justinryman 9 years, 7 months ago

Is it time for HCBS to break out the football pads and teach this team some toughness? I believe he did this in his second or third year at KU and may have even done it with the '08 NC team.

But yeah like stated before it's time to get tough boys.

Rock Chalk from Omaha

ChicagoJHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Lebowski,

I agree with you. I think everyone is blowing this a little bit out of proportion here, with the whole "being soft" thing. Sure, maybe we could have rebounded a little better but lets not make it like we played like complete crap. We did win by 30 after all, yes it was against subpar competition but still a 30 point win.

Self is just saying that stuff to the team so they don't slack off against Temple. He wants to be 110% sure we play hard & get the W.

I too am not worried about this team.

ginger2015 9 years, 7 months ago

07-08 vs 09-10, who cares? Comparing teams is like comparing victory margins over common opponents...it means nothing.

jaybate 9 years, 7 months ago

The meat of the season has started.

The Dude is bringing it at last!

I knew you were sand bagging.

jaybate 9 years, 7 months ago

drgnslayr & Lebowski,

The truly fascinating hypothetical is Sherron on Sherron! :-)

Dan Harris 9 years, 7 months ago

sooballs- your an idiot( I know I"m stating the obvious!)

Kit Duncan 9 years, 7 months ago

soobawls (anonymous) says... "Clearly Self is a negative person who is not really a Jayhawk fan if he is saying such things about the Jayhawks. I expect the Pollyannas will be calling him out for rooting for MU soon."

The difference between Coach Self calling out his team and you calling out this team is that Coach does it for motivation, while you do it because you're a negative "The Sky is falling!" observer. Coach Self knows this is a special group of kids and doesn't want to alert the media or other teams to the idea that they have the ability to turn it up a notch when challenged.

I believe these kids will be properly motivated come Saturday. Remember too, everybody was probably still recovering from Christmas and a little melancholy having to get their mindset back on a game being played during Christmas break. (There is a tremendous mental letdown accompanied by a sense of relief for young students after their first semester in college.)

Will Hamilton 9 years, 7 months ago

I vaguely remember Self calling out the 08 team, saying almost the same thing...soft! And it was right around this time of the year. He knew he'd have a couple of weeks to shape them up and he and his assistants did just that. Once again, he and the staff have the team's full attention for the next couple of weeks. I believe we'll be ready Saturday and if not, we'll learn what it takes to be ready. They need to bring their A game to Temple or it will be a long afternoon! Anyone remember Villanova a couple of years ago? They ran us out of the gym, but they also woke us up! This season is just starting to percolate! This could be a fun year! Go Hawks!

waywardJay 9 years, 7 months ago

As Jaybate would often mention..... I don't remember ever once Self calling us soft last year.....

Perhaps that was the praising the freshman and cutting the sophomores things again....

Temple's going to be a fight... BUT :LaVoy Allen won't get 13-17 Boards against Cole Aldrich, unless Cole Aldrich gets saddled with 2 fouls in 2 minutes as often happens when we play in Philly....

This game it is Incumbant that the Morri play their Hometown Roles sufficiently.... they have as much size as their Brethren from Philly do ( if not more ) and the ability to alter this game from being a 10 points squeaker... One thing I look too in these games, Snow days.... Kansas Teams tend to sleep in on Snow days....

Looking at the 10 day, Snow's in the forecast.

http://www.weather.com/outlook/recreation/outdoors/tenday/USPA1276?role=&from=36hr_fcst10DayLink_outdoors

Bring the Fight 'Hawks

ChicagoJHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

soobawls,

You're calling someone else out for being negative (the head coach of KU basketball of all people) & not being a true KU fan???? HAHAHAHA!!! That is truly funny.

jaybate 9 years, 7 months ago

waywardJay,

If I said what you say I said, then I want to say I didn't meant to say what you say I said. ;-)

I recall Self saying last year's bigs played soft a couple times.

I recall him saying the '08 played soft a time or two.

I also recall the famous "man-up" challenge being issued to both teams at times, though it might only have been to last year's team.

"Man up" is my all time favorite poke at a failure of toughness by a team, or player. It works especially well when applied to bigs aka big men. Bigs are the only positional class of basketball players that are commonly referred to as men, as in, big men. Telling big men that its time for them "to man-up" is a powerful message delivered in a memorable and challenging way.

It is so quintessentially Self. Turning a noun into a verb may be a no-no in English class, but following it with the adverb "up" is pure poetry--a stroke of genius.

Man-up!

Its declarative. Every basketball person knows instantly what it means. It challenges any who hear it.

It evinces muscle, sinew, and hardness all at once. It denotes and connotes. It triggers several images that reinforce each other, rather than blur the intended message. It is living language at its creative best.

jaybate 9 years, 7 months ago

Lebowski,

Everyone needs to be where they are happiest. Early on I did the message boards, and it is true that they are more information rich (i.e., more disseminated sooner). But in the information age, everything gets around within a few days at most.

Further, the message boards lack a professional dimension and journalistic legacy to interact with and build upon.

I settled here, because my vision of what the internet should one day become was the intersection of professional opinion on the x axis and citizen opinion on the y-axis with time being the z-axis.

The pros here feed a steady stream of the their POV, which is part of my vision. And they even try interacting a little from time to time, though not nearly enough IMHO. I always encourage them to do more of it. They no doubt feel they are working hard enough for their clicks already without spending time reacting. But any Flint Hall journo student in marketing could see the real latent, unmet demand waiting to spike clicks on sites like this increased interaction between professional journalists and citizen journalists. Every time a professional journalist wades in to a thread, or jnewell does newelllive the thirst to interact across the professional divide is evidenced.

jaybate 9 years, 7 months ago

IMHO, a healthy, functional future of opinion formation in a society with representative government and market economies (both of which are on the wane right now in our NWO dominated country) is one in which a dynamical feedback loop exists between journalism professionals and citizen journalists. Readers are so 20th Century. The goal is to get professionals and citizen journalists making each other smarter; that takes a combination of commentary and dialogue. Right now, the pros interact insufficiently to set this dynamic sharply in motion, but it happens in a rudimentary way already and could happen much more here.

Message boards, whether those here, or on other web sites, are organically disconnected through their software media and entrepreneurial model from creating the kind of information dynamic that I am describing between professional journalists and citizen journalists. No doubt some pros lurk on the message boards to keep up with breaking news, but that is not the same as the explicit, formal distinction between pros and citizen journalists that is organic to the story-and-thread form available here.

I am in no way dissing the message boards either. They have been crucial to breaking down the hoary old information oligopoly that the old print media tried initially (and keeps trying through the likes of Rupert Murdoch) to perpetuate on the net. And if I had to choose between a professional news media oligopoly on the net, or the digital populism of message boards, I would choose the digital populism of the message boards without hesitation. More diversity of opining is better than less is my heuristic. Frankly, I am here precisely because of my heuristic. I want professional journalism included in the opining, though in a dynamically interactive way. Frankly, they desparately need our feedback. Like all oligopolist producers, they got fat and lazy and disconnected from their market demand, and bloated with overhead high up, while reducing their content to a least common denominator that made them dispensible and helpless, when a competitor with a cost advantage, like internet message boards, came along.

But regardless of all the above, great to have you back contributing with both barrels and happy new years.

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