Saturday, March 21, 2009

’Dome wreckers

Aldrich, Collins lift KU

Kansas center Cole Aldrich delivers a dunk over North Dakota State defenders Dejaun Flowers, left, and Ben Woodside during the first half Friday, March 20, 2009 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich delivers a dunk over North Dakota State defenders Dejaun Flowers, left, and Ben Woodside during the first half Friday, March 20, 2009 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.


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— Bill Self congratulated his Kansas University basketball players as they filed into a Metrodome locker room after Friday’s hard-earned, 84-74, first-round NCAA Midwest Regional victory over North Dakota State.

“Great road win. Great road win,” Self, KU’s sixth-year coach, said.

He realized that though they were heavily favored, his No. 3-seeded Jayhawks showed true grit in outlasting the No. 14-seeded Bison, who were energized playing in a building full of yellow- and green-clad fans.

“That should go down as a road win on our RPI because they had to have had close to 12 to 15,000 easy (out of announced crowd of 15,794),” Self said.

“They were very vocal.”

The Bison fans, who were especially enamored with the 37-point effort of senior sensation Ben Woodside, cheered wildly before, during and after the game.

They rewarded their Summit Conference champions with a standing ovation as the Bison left the court for the final time in a wildly successful 26-7 season.

“Everybody from the whole state of North Dakota was probably here today,” KU sophomore center Cole Aldrich said.

He and junior guard Sherron Collins combined for 55 of KU’s 84 points. They were the ones most responsible for the Jayhawks advancing into Sunday’s second-round clash — tipoff is 1:30 p.m. — against No. 11-seed Dayton, a 68-60 winner over No. 6-seed West Virginia.

“I’d say three-fourths of the crowd was NDSU. They definitely brought their crowd. It was a great atmosphere,” added Aldrich, who scored 23 points off 9-of-12 shooting.

Eight of his hoops were vicious slam dunks. He also hit five of six free throws and grabbed 13 rebounds in the first game he ever played in his hometown Metrodome.

Collins was good for a career-high 32 points off 12-of-26 shooting (two of six threes). He had eight assists against just two turnovers with four rebounds.

One of Collins’ misses was put back hard by Aldrich, who dunked, was fouled and hit a free throw, upping a 73-67 lead to 76-67 with 1:53 left.

KU’s team leaders and fast friends — Collins said they have hung out off the court together a lot more this season than last — visited on the court after that bucket.

“I told him, ‘That’s how you go up and dunk. That’s how you finish at the rim. He whispered in my ear, ‘Da da da, da da da,’’’ Collins added, singing the theme song from ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Aldrich’s version?

“He always says some of the goofiest things,” he said of Collins. “He said, ‘Good follow (shot), way to go crash the boards.’ I think I just smiled at him.”

Aldrich’s rim-rattling performance — he had 15 points the second half — was so impressive that one local writer asked him if he’d leave KU after this season if the Minnesota Timberwolves promised that they’d take him in the first round.

“I have no idea. I’m just having a lot of fun right now,” Aldrich said.

“I think my record for dunks is probably 12 or 13. I had that in high school sometime,” the former Bloomington (Minn.) Jefferson High player said. “That follow dunk was just one of those energy plays that hurts another team, and really helped us.”

The Jayhawks, who held a game-high lead of 11 points (47-36) early in the second half, never could breathe easily in this one because of the play of 5-foot-11 Woodside.

The man who scored 60 points in a game earlier this season, hit seven of 10 shots (two of three threes) the first half, good for 16 points (to Collins’ 17 and Aldrich’s eight) as N.D. State lagged, 43-34, at intermission.

By game’s end, he had both Self and Collins hugging him in the handshake line, congratulating him for his 13-of 23 floor shooting (three of seven threes) and 8-of-10 free throwing. He had six turnovers, two assists.

“I told him I respected him. He’s one of the toughest players I guarded all year,” Collins said of Woodside, whose outburst was believed to be the third-best against KU in NCAA Tournament history. Purdue’s Glenn Robinson had 44 points in 1994 and Cincinnati’s Oscar Robertson 43 in 1960.

“I told him to keep his head high. He told me to keep it going and go as far as we could,” Collins added.

Self doesn’t often stop to pause in the handshake line.

He did this time, giving Woodside a pat on the back.

“I told him he’s as good a guard as we played this year and that I’ve ever coached against,” said Self, who used Collins, Tyrone Appleton, Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar and Tyshawn Taylor on him defensively. “I told him I was really impressed and ‘Congratulations.’’’

Self also praised his own point guard publicly.

“I would think that while I was actually coaching them, I would put Sherron at the top of the list,” Self said, when asked to name the No. 1 point guard he has coached in his career.

Self did say former Illinois guard Deron Williams — because of his emergence as an NBA star — currently rates as best, but that Collins was more advanced in college.

“You go back to Deron and Frank Williams (Illinois) and Aaron Miles (KU) and guys we’ve had recently, but nobody I’ve coached impacts a college game more than Sherron, nobody,” Self added.

Somebody also asked Self where Aldrich ranks.

“He’s a terrific young man. He has a chance to be one of the best big men in the country next year,” Self said. “He may be the best true center I’ve coached. The best college player I’ve coached is Wayne Simien. If he (Simien) is classified as a big guy, he’s the best.

“Cole is the best true center I’ve worked with ... other than Big Country (Bryant Reeves, Oklahoma State). He was pretty good, too.

“Cole can be All-America good.”

As far as his own team, Self said, “I leave here today feeling we played pretty well.

He wants his 26-7 Jayhawks, who played clean basketball in committing just five turnovers, to build on this and play their best game to date versus Dayton on Sunday.

“Coach told us every team needs a game like this, to grind one out,” noted KU freshman Taylor, who according to Collins did the best job defensively on Woodside. “He told us it was a good win because it was grind-it-out, and we showed some toughness to win the game. We know we can play better. We hope this is just a start.”


indijayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Can some one please help me to find KU's final four games from last year? I got the championship DVD but it just have highlights.. I am willing to pay for a DVD. Thanks in advance..

avaholic 11 years, 7 months ago


I bought the championship DVD which has the entire memphis game. You can buy DVD's of the individual games the Jayhawks played in at the NCAA store

I bought the Carolina game and I love it because it is the whole game and no commercials

Hope this helps

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Memo to Theutus:

"...nobody I’ve coached impacts a college game more than Sherron, nobody.”--Bill Self

There are different ways to play PG (or any position) and they all have trade-offs.

Bill Self clearly rates players in large part according to their ability to impact a game favorably. They have to be fundamentally sound to play, but what he is saying is: great players do great things, while making their mistakes.

Wilt was doing great things, while he was missing his free throws.

Role players have to play mistake free, or they are too big of a liability. Most point guards on most teams are role players. Their jobs are to protect the ball and distribute it.

Impact players have to make big mistakes to make big impacts.

"I have missed 9000 shots. I have lost 300 (NBA) games. I succeed because I keep failing."--Michael Jordan

Sherron's job is to make big impacts--to impact games to our advantage.

Self wants him to play mistake free, but he knows that great players asked to make huge impacts again and again and again make big mistakes. It is the way it has always been with great players asked to carry teams on their backs for extended periods. They often fail. Their flaws are often exposed.

But they produce 26 wins, a conference championship, a 3 seed with a green team, and an advance in the Madness.

Almost certainly KU will lose in the Madness. Almost certainly they will lose when Sherron has a bad night. But that is how it goes, when a great player is asked to carry the load decisively night in and night out. It holds even with the greatest of the great--Wilt Chamberlain. He couldn't get it done vs. UNC in 1957. He couldn't get it done vs. the Boston Celtics many times. Great players have to have great teams to win rings. But great players can carry teams a long ways with the right mix of supporting talent. To wit: this year's KU team.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Great coaches understand that strategy has to fit the talent.

Bill Self almost certainly preferred the way last year's team played to this. All coaches prefer a diversified team approach for obvious reasons.

But you would be a pretty lousy coach to try to get this year's team to play in a diversified scheme knowing Sherron could probably take you farther by loading him up with shots and responsibility, than imposing last years scheme on this year's talent.

Self is a genius at understanding what his players can do best as group.

When he first came to KU he did not hesitate to make Simien the dominant player. He understood they had lost too many NBA draft choices (Kirk and Nick) to play the diversified scheme again. He knew they couldn't run again without those guys. He did the right thing, even though it was unpopular to do it. He gave the material he had the scheme that gave it the best chance to go the farthest it could go.

He has done the same with Sherron and this team.

You need to quit accusing persons of crying about your takes on Sherron and this team.

No one is crying here but you.

You wish, in a rather childlike way, that things could be different with Sherron than they are. You wish he could protect the ball the way lesser players can and still make great plays. I used to listen to this same sort of whining about Wilt Chamberlain. Yea, he's good, but he's killing us with free throw shooting. Much later I heard the same crying about Shaq. Yea, he's good, but he's going to kill us with his free throws shooting.

You know what?

Wilt and Shaq did kill certain teams with their bad throw shooting.

But they were great, great players whose flaws had to be accepted and played through. And whenever they played on exceptionally talented teams, they lead their teams to monstrous victories.

This is the reality, Theutus: when Sherron was on a great team, he won a ring, flaws and all. When he is on a not so great team, he is carrying them farther than the would go in a diversified scheme and yet they are likely to lose when he has a bad night.

Again, you're the only one crying that I can recognize.

You wish Sherron were something other than what he is.

Big deal.

People wished Brandon Rush could put it on the deck with his left hand. He couldn't. But he was still a terrific player who, when matched up with someone like Sherron, Chalmers, et al, was the hub of our team that won a championship.

No one is perfect, least of all the great impact players.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago

Memo to the Online Editor:

"'Dome Wreckers" is one of the best headlines I've read in quite a while. Dr. John Bremner is sitting sauced in purgatory with a smile on his face. Congratulations for redeeming the art of headline writing yet again.

Theutus 11 years, 7 months ago

I stopped reading that garbage you typed up when you compared Collins to Jordan and Chamberlain.

Collins is still a liability. Our entire game plan revolves around him hitting half of his terrible shot selection. I already stated that I disagree with Self on this gameplan..

Lets get one thing straight though, who's the one crying here? I pointed out Collins terrible shots, and ignoring his teammates on too many possessions. Is this wrong? No. If you think it's wrong, watch the film. Yet here you are, in every thread complaining that I don't agree with whatever crap it is that you spew in your multi-post rants.

Talk about hypocrisy. Crybaby.

CaBisonFan 11 years, 7 months ago

The Bison Nation was definitely at the Metrodome on Friday...but other than was not a road game for Kansas. Other factors made it just as difficult for NDSU. It felt kind of like an old heavy-weight boxing match...where the champion had to be knocked out decisively in order to win.

This will be a boon for recruiting in basketball for North Dakota State. More outstanding athletes will come. Our facilities are outstanding...but we need a DI basketball arena...which is in the political arena as I write this. Hopefully this appearance will push the agenda. Just as KU fans do...North Dakota State fans expect to win. We beat 14th-ranked Wisconsin on their court a few years back...quite handily actually. They have one of the best home-court advantages in all of college basketball. Most Big Ten teams don't win there. A similar scenario happened at Marquette, another highly-ranked team. And this year we had a near-miss at USC. USC fans came down to tell us that we had more fans there than most of their opponents bring. So it isn't just proximity that brings our fans out. We bring 500-1000 fans to most of our road games...regardless of the location.

Wish you could have seen the real Michael Tveidt on Friday. He had a lot of open looks, but for some reason the lid was on. Even easy 10-12 point shots wouldn't go. That wasn't normal for him. One or two 'makes' by him would have changed the entire game. For him, shots like that are like lay-ups or slams for a lot of players. I'm not blaming Tveidt...because when the lid's on...there's nothing you can do...and we wouldn't have made the tourney without him.

I congratulate KU for its win. Your players weren't intimidated by the Bison or the atmosphere, and I was impressed with Coach Self. He's a good coach. You have two outstanding players who we'll see in the NBA. The Kansas players and coaches were outstanding representatives of your school and the state. If you shouldn't get to the Elite 8 or Final Four, you should still be proud. Dayton should be a relatively easy win on Sunday...IMO.

And finally...this is the first time in quite a while that I've gone onto another board. It's basically against my principles...but the seeming desire to dominate was puzzling. There were some first-class posters...but the general impression, from my point of view, was that the Kansas trolls don't do the image of KU any favors. I'm sure that you know who they are. We have one or two consistent trollers, and I apologize for their presence. But I don't understand the seeming 'need' to dominate another school's board. The sheer volume was off the chart, and in my opinion, a little strange. After the flood, the real KU fans' posts, though appreciated, lost some of their intended impact.

But over-all the experience of playing in the tourney was great. We'll be back.

Best of luck.

CaBisonFan 11 years, 7 months ago

PS - When I talked about how we travel, the 500-1000 was about football attendance.

kennethst 11 years, 7 months ago

CaBison Fan--NDSU has a great team...yes they will be back.

kennethst 11 years, 7 months ago

Jaybate is awesome.....excellent insight and knowledge.

I see Theutus is back.....still talking about Collins? Really, Theutus.....again? Giving Jaybate a hard time, now? Of all people.....Jaybate should be spared.

Come come now, Theutus......focus on the good.

Jaybate.....good on old son!

cklarock 11 years, 7 months ago

Theutus, you crack me up. That sound whistling above your head is the point. You couldn't be more wrong about Sherron.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

FairgroveJayhawk 11 years, 7 months ago

I was very impressed with the Jayhawks yesterday. It was fun to watch a game that had so few turnovers. They continue to improve and are apparently focused on their team goals. Good Job Hawks!

24 hours 10 minutes left. tick tick tick

Max Ledom 11 years, 7 months ago

Jaybate - The quote you had of Michael Jordan. Ihave that poster. But your quote was wrong.


"I've missed over 9000 shots in my career.

I've lost more then 300 games.

26 times, Ive been trusted to take the game winning shot, and missed.

I've failed.

Over and over and over again in my life.

And that is why, I succeed"

Great poster. I have that hanging in my room.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 7 months ago

I have a Dave Corzine poster that says about the same thing.

Jaybate, great comments. Theutus, I think you're going to lost this argument. The point is that his positives make up for the few bad shots and bad decisions he makes.

Disappointing to see the KU losers ripping NDSU on their blog. I'm up for doing that to Mizzou because they deserve it, but not NDSU. That said, I think KU fans have shown a lot of respect for the Bison.

emillasap 11 years, 7 months ago

Note to Jaybate and Theutus:

I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. When a great player, who possess a skill set like Sherron does, limits the bad decisions and still makes the great plays I call him Chris Paul.

KURocksChalk 11 years, 7 months ago

Aldrich needs to stay. He needs to learn to overcome some other big men at this level. He has to face the best at this level before he will be ready for the next. He has ability but the mental side must be tried and tested.

Dan Harris 11 years, 7 months ago

Thetus=Loser Jabate, great points as usual Go Hawks!

kranny 11 years, 7 months ago

Sherron is a beast. I'll be sad when he leaves. There hasn't been anyone as individually exciting to watch at KU since Pierce and Heinrich. I still remember his off the backboard dunk to finish the McD game(Youtube). He took Lawson to school in that game. I knew at that moment he was a special player.

CaBisonFan 11 years, 7 months ago

Both will leave. Aldrich will decide to support his parents.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 7 months ago

We could use them both, that's for sure. They probably will both leave, but that's just college bball these days.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago


Awesome. Thanks for getting it right. My head was in the right place, even if my memory is caving.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago


Forget everything I wrote. My pride can take it. ;-)

Just remember this:

"...nobody I’ve coached impacts a college game more than Sherron, nobody.”--Bill Self

That is all you need to read about Sherron Collins.

Post it on the mirror in your bathroom. Make it the wall paper on your PC. Keep a copy in your wallet.

It will help you through this.

jaybate 11 years, 7 months ago


If I had any sway at all, I would beg KU to schedule NDSU just to have the pleasure of hearing from such a fine basketball fan from another program. You stand out among the usual low life lurkers and arrogant jerks that come to us from so many established, traditional programs. The college game is much the better for having NDSU come to dinner and stay. I wish you all well, except against KU.

Rock Chalk.

optichawk 11 years, 7 months ago

Jaybate you beat me to it. I posted on their site that we played a sweet 16 team if they played the likes of Mizzou instead of us. That was a dig on Mizzou but followed up with how I wish there could be such thing as a 6th year so we could see those guys play again.

CaBison...class, absolute class you guys are (fans and team)..a lot to be proud of.

As for you Kenny and Thetus, shake hands and come out fighting!

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