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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Memphis coach tosses bouquets Self’s way

Kansas coach Bill Self laughs between questions during Big 12 media day Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas coach Bill Self laughs between questions during Big 12 media day Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.

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Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner, who had used up his allotted 10 minutes on Saturday morning’s Hall of Fame Classic media teleconference, wasn’t about to hang up the phone.

Not when he heard Kansas University’s Bill Self — counterpart in Tuesday night’s KU-U of M game — connecting on another line.

“I want to say this. I’ve got to say this. I said this last night to a gentleman from the St. Louis Dispatch, and I mean this. Coach Self … obviously, the guy is going to be in the Hall of Fame” gushed first-year Tigers’ coach Pastner. “The guy has won a championship. I think he’s won like 100 games (98) in the last three years, a ridiculous record.

“I can call him up and ask him questions. To have an opportunity to coach against a guy I respect and is a future Hall of Famer, internally for me, is an unbelievable opportunity, one of those cool things being a part of college basketball.”

And that little speech put the finishing touches on a couple of firsts.

• The 32-year-old Pastner’s first national media teleconference.

• And the first time KU coach Self, at the ripe young age of 46, had the tables turned and was referred to in hushed, respectful tones usually reserved for somebody near the end of his career, not in the middle.

“I thought Josh read that exactly the way I’d written it,” Self joked, adding, “Cal (former coach John Calipari) may be gone, but who has had a better recruiting class (so far for 2010) based on commitments than what Josh has done?

“They will be right back with a national top-five, top-10 ranking by next year. That’s pretty good when you are starting a rebuilding phase. We think they’ll be good this year and great in the future.”

And so concluded the mutual-admiration-society portion of the conference call.

Some specifics regarding the 9 p.m. contest in St. Louis’ Scottrade Center also were discussed, including the obvious fact this is a rematch of the 2008 national title game, won by KU, 75-68, in overtime.

“We only return two who played in that game,” Self said of Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich. “They have three or four (Pierre Henderson-Niles, Willie Kemp, Doneal Mack). It’s two different teams.”

Both teams are off to identical starts. The No. 1-ranked Jayhawks pounded Hofstra, 101-65, while Memphis — which is expected to struggle some this year after Calipari’s departure for Kentucky and the loss of several players and recruits — devoured Jackson State, 82-53, Friday night in home games for both teams.

“For us, what we have tried to say is, ‘Hey, we are the underdog.’ That’s the facts. I told everybody here, this is the situation. The last four years, the success at Memphis was unmatched, never done in the history of the game,” Pastner said of an NCAA-record 137 victories.

“I said, ‘This year, everybody is saying this is the year to get Memphis.’ We are the underdog, but still have a huge bull’s-eye. People are saying, ‘Payback time.’

“We have to play nearly a perfect game, scrap, be as high-energy as we can. If we do that, we give ourselves a chance. We’re not picked to win the conference (USA). Some polls have us fourth in the league. In a majority of games, we’ll be the underdog. I’m not a big mind (games) player. This is what we have to focus on, leaving it all on the floor.”

Memphis in its opener was led by 6-foot-5 sophomore Duke transfer Elliot Williams, who scored 19 points in 33 minutes. Will Coleman, 6-9 out of Miami Dade College, scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while 6-9 sophomore forward Wesley Witherspoon had 13 points and four boards.

“I am only 799 behind coach Boeheim,” Pastner said, jokingly comparing his first victory to Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, who won No. 800 on Monday night. “It was a good game. Our guys played well, played hard.”

KU was paced by Xavier Henry and Sherron Collins, who had 27 and 23, respectively.

“Our team looked OK,” Self said. “We made shots. When you make shots, it covers a lot of weaknesses. We’re doing OK. We don’t guard or rebound yet. Hopefully we can get to that point.”

The game films showed Henry, who originally committed to Memphis before switching after Calipari’s departure for Kentucky, played as well as Self thought Friday night.

“Xavier, as all Memphis people know when he was recruited, has a chance to be a really good player,” Self said. “He’s been pretty good so far. He wants to please so much and do what he feels we want him to do. Last night was as relaxed as he’s been. He will not get 27 every night, but has the capability of getting it every night.”

Self said that Xavier’s brother, Memphis transfer, C.J. (swollen right knee), could play Tuesday night, but is definitely questionable since he has just recently returned to practice.

Comments

BigBrett58 10 years, 2 months ago

"Pastner said of an NCAA-record 137 victories." Does than include the 38 wins that were forfeited? I'm pretty sure that they no longer hold the official NCAA record.

Rickchalk 10 years, 2 months ago

Tuesday nights game will be a a$$ whipin. Collins WILL run the show from start to finish on this one. It's a statement game by the Hawks to tell the ncaa world that we are THE powerhouse in this league. But it wont be as fun since slim ball isn't coaching them this year. RCJHGOKU.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 2 months ago

No way CJ can play Tuesday night. Hell, he hasn't practiced for a couple years.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

BigBrett58,

You nailed the essence.

et al,

Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream. I dream Bill Self leads KU to five straight rings starting this year, and announces he is retiring to travel the world with his wife for five straight years of no recruiting. When the buzzer of the game goes off at the end of the game for the fifth straight NCAA tourney championship, Coach Self gets up off the bench, hugs his players in his usual responsible and affectionate way, walks through the hand shake line with the opposing team with his usual dignity and good sportsmanship, then turns, grabs his toupe, jumps and throws it in the air a la Mary Tyler Moore throwing her beret in her now ancient TV show, then runs up into the stands, grabs his wife, gives her a huge hug and a kiss, turns to the crowd and cameras, gives a huge wave, and they dash off through the crowd out one of the tunnels, run and jump in their waiting car and drive away without telling a soul where they are going.

Post Script: Coach Self and his wife send blog posts to KUSports.com from all over the world reporting on which beach they are sunning on and what kinds of drinks and eats they are indulging in.

Post Post Script: In the interim, Danny Manning (or Joe Dooley) wins 5 straight rings, then retires for five years from recruiting and coaching and travels the world with his wife.

Post Post Post Script: Self returns and wins five more rings without his rug.

Post Post Post Post Script: Self retires, and Manning, wins five more, then retires. And is replaced by Mike Lee, Russell Robinson, or Jeremy Case.

Rock Chalk, Coach Self!

suttonku 10 years, 2 months ago

I am looking forward to the game but am a little nervous...We need to defend better than we have so far this season...I think Sherron will play well in this game and there is no way KU will lose this game...I hope Cole shows up to play because I have not seen anything impressive out of him yet.

Chad Hallack 10 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, they need to guard better, and they will. That will be last thing to come together, but when the D becomes consistent... game over! The biggest issue I potentially see is turning the ball over. If Taylor's gonna play the point, he's gotta be better mentally, too many silly mistakes. But no one can compete with our depth and we create match-up nightmares all over the court, which should more than make up for a few miscues here and there. It will make the difference between greatness and dominance. It's gonna be a fun, fun year!

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 2 months ago

Jaybate -

Here's a jumbled group of people, places etc. that have commonality surrounding the teams participating in St. Louis next Tuesday.

Arkansas - Eddie Sutton once coached there. Memphis - Moe Iba once coached there. Kansas - Bill Self played at... Louisville - (nothing comes to mind here)

Now, what is common thread?

ginger2015 10 years, 2 months ago

Hallacek: The guy had a 3 to 1 asist to turnover ratio, exactly what silly mistakes are you referring to.

SoCalAlum 10 years, 2 months ago

Can anyone post a link to a replay of the 2009-10 Kansas Men’s Basketball Preview Television Show that starting airing on Jayhawk Network this weekend? None of the TV stations seem to have it archived...

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

Sunday with Sauerkraut and German Sausages for Dunch and Elvisville Looming:

} Perhaps the most inconsequential televised game in the history of college basketball aired on ESPNU today: Wichita State versus Fairleigh Dickinson U. Of course, I had to watch it. Alas, sometimes morbid curiousity is fulfilled with one's worst fears. It was as boring a game as I have seen, since my childhood days of catching upteen games in in one day in the first round of the NAIA tourney in KC. The only upside was that Chita State still appears to play in the Round House. The place remains a favorite of mine. Some places have "it." Others don't. The state of Kansas is fortunate to have two that have "it" in spades.

} If Tyshawn were playing significant minutes at the end of the season, then KU would be in a lot of trouble...

Ahem. Just joking. :-)

I haven't seen them play yet on the telly, so I can't say much about Sherronatron and Quantum T in action this season.

I will be glued to the tube vs. Mempuss, hoping Mempuss winds up looking like bug squished on KU's windshield.

} Frankly, if Sherron were to go 4-10 from trey the rest of the season, as he did in the shadow of Xavier, against Xofsra, I would be in seventh Xeaven.

And if Tyshawn were to average 6 assists the rest of the season, I would perhaps elevate to eighth heaven. Note: I have heard that heaven is N-dimensional, but remain in no rush to verify.

} CJ's injury to his knee demonstrates the order of magnitude difference between Sherron and CJ, and between Sherron and so many other perimeter players. I have little doubt that CJ would be a good player were he to get healthy. But...

Sherron Collins is so exceptional, and so tough, that he can play a ton of minutes and be momentum shifter, as a freshman, with a bum knee.

Sherron Collins is so exceptional, and so tough, that he can be a core player on a national champion even with a bum knee.

CJ can't even practice on his bum knee.

This observation is not a knock on CJ. CJ is a good player. It is just that he is a mere human being. Sherron is a force of nature with the pain threshold of an igneous rock.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

} Playing time and field goal attempts indicate Self is having the team play through Xavier in these early games to try to get Xavier untracked early.

As Self said, Xavier is not supposed to get 27 every night, but for the KU team to be the most lethal it can be, opponents have to believe Xavier could get 27 any night.

Until Xavier is a credible threat (i.e., until he proves he can create and drain treys at 40% with D1 defenders dogging him), every team is going to sag on Cole and play the percentages, as they did against KU last year with Brady at the 3. Brady could shoot the trey at 42%, but he could not get the shot off at will. If Xavier can trifectate at 40% and deck it to the rim, then start sewing the new banner.

} I would expect Self to want to force more play through Cole vs. Mempuss, then return to building Xavier's confidence/numbers vs. the next couple of cup cake opponents. But I would also expect Pastner to sag on Cole big time and dare Xavier to put together two big three-point games in a row.

} The decisive factor in this game is likely to be Sherron. Sherron is going to have to do some quarterbacking in this one. He is going to have to try to run the offense through Cole at first, then because of Mempuss sagging on Cole, reroute through Xavier, then, if Xavier runs cold, he has to make a choice between letting Xavier put the ball on the deck awhile to get to the line, or taking over himself and cutting Xavier out of the flow of play. Sherron's quarterbacking skills get an early test against Mempuss, even though Mempuss is probably not that good.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

} Many look at Assists-to-Turnovers, but I like Steals-to-TOs. This statistic indicates which team is really getting after it on defense. Versus out-manned Hofstra, KU had 10 steals and 12 TOs. To put this into focus, Kieff, Marcus, and Tyrel were the only two guys to come up + in Steals-to-TOs. No wonder Self says KU isn't guarding anyone yet. This has to change pronto, or KU gets upset the first night KU is cold and the opponent is hot. 70-point-take-what-they-give-us requires not only stops, but strips to win on the cold nights. Quick, show them some footage of the '08 team. Show them RR and Chalmers wreaking havoc, not just playing defense. Until Steals-to-TOs goes positive, KU is just an offensive powerhouse.

} For persons who don't think Cole was active against Hofstra, he only played 24 minutes, but scored 11 pts., grabbed 8 reebs, had 4 blocks and a steal. And they were clearly playing through Xavier and Sherron. Pro rate Cole's numbers over 35-40 minutes and you've got a 18pt/14reeb/6 block/2steal game. He's going to beast when real competition starts, and Self actually starts playing through the big fella.

} Marcus Morris seems increasingly efficient on offense (few shots and few TOs to get his points). If his efficiency holds, his versatility is going to become an incredible weapon for this team. Depending on circumstances, and coming off the bench, Marcus can show up anywhere from the 3 to the 5. This versatility puts an extra strain on opposing defenses. They have to prepare for him everywhere, because his efficiency will hurt them if they do not. No wonder Self has been so jazzed about the possibility of Morris mastering the 3 position. Go Marcus!

ksdksdksd 10 years, 2 months ago

RE: BigBrett58 (anonymous) says...

"Pastner said of an NCAA-record 137 victories." Does than include the 38 wins that were forfeited? I'm pretty sure that they no longer hold the official NCAA record.

1st of all, Memphis has appealed the decision. So, officially the wins count. 2nd, With the Arthur situation I wouldn't be so quick to point Memphis player's transgression.

ksdksdksd 10 years, 2 months ago

Memphis has the #1 recruiting class for 2010, so far. I heard a rumor the Bill Self is recruiting some players from Memphis' recruiting class! (as you know, Kansas has 4 players that signed Letters of Intent to Memphis).

Steve Brown 10 years, 2 months ago

MemHawk: Kansas, Memphis, Louisville & Arkansas, you asked the common thread. On one level to sell tix in St. Louis all schools are less than 5 hour drive and have pretty darn good BB tradition. Arkansas had 40 minutes of hell team, similar to UNLV greatest team and the Michigan Fab Five. That ARK team was loaded. I think "Mike Anderson MU" was assistant there at that time and Kansas beat them the same year. Some predicted Ark would win it all yet they ran into Kansas. Louisville last won Final Four in '86 beating Dook and Pervis Ellison Louisville was Final Four MVP and that year, Larry Brown w/ Kellogg, Calvin Thompson, Gregg Dreiling and a frosh Danny M. beat them twice that year. Not sure, yet think Carl Henry had just graduated the prior year. If Kansas had gotten by Dook in Dallas Reunion arena in final four, they would have beaten Lousiville for title in a 3rd win that year. Once in regular season and once in pre/season NIT. Memphis, ranked #1 almost won the Final Four, blocked by Kansas on way to their title. That is the common thread, what you got?

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 2 months ago

lighthawk -

Since Jaybate has, by his silence, not responded, I will reveal what I had in mind.

.......The Okie-baller connection (as the nickname coined by Jaybate).

I though it was pretty obvious, but then again, I initiated this lame question!

Moe Iba - from the Iba family tree which featured Henry Iba at OSU. Eddie Sutton - coached at OSU Bill Self - Played at OSU. Louisville - still, nothing.

Great input, thanks.

emillasap 10 years, 2 months ago

Lighthawk:

What year are you talking about with Arkansas? I am pretty sure Arkansas won the national championship in 1994 with corless(?) williamson(?). The name is something like that. I also seem to recall Kansas playing and losing to Arkansas that year? Am I crazy? Anyone else know? Maybe I'll just look it up.

emillasap 10 years, 2 months ago

"From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1994 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 64 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 17, 1994, and ended with the championship game on April 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina. A total of 63 games were played.

Arkansas, coached by Nolan Richardson, won the national title with a 76–72 victory in the final game over Duke, coached by Mike Krzyzewski. Corliss Williamson of Arkansas was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player."

Thought so.

emillasap 10 years, 2 months ago

lighthawk:

Sorry, I kept looking for ku v arkansas stats. I see you are reffering to 1991. KU did not play Arkansas at all in 1994. I will say Arkansas was pretty good for a few years under ole Nolan.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 2 months ago

Just noticed. There's no photo credit for the picture of HCBS at the top here. Whoever took this shot seemed to capture an erie sort of redness to his hair that I've never seen before. Any speculations?

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

memhawk,

Sorry, I missed your question.

Louisville was made into the major program it is largely by Denny Crum, who was Wooden's most important assistant to become a head coach. If you recall Crum's teams, they were early on carbon copies of Wooden's UCLA teams, without the great run of centers (apologies to Never Nervous Pervis Ellison). Same philosophy as Wooden all the way. Wooden, of course, is on record as saying Iba's philosophy was a very significant influence on his approach to the game. So: the Okie Baller connection goes Hank Iba, John Wooden, Denny Crum, Louisville. :-)

Memphis did have Moe Iba, who was Don Haskins top assistant at Texas Western for that miracle NCAA rings season, and Haskins was of course one of the big three offspring of Henry Iba (the other two being Eddie Sutton and Jack Hartman).

But the Okie Baller connection at Memphis goes deeper. Prior to Moe Iba, Bob Vanatta coached Memphis. Prior to Memphis, Bob Vanatta was Mizzou coach and prior to that Vanatta was an assistant to MU head coach Wilbur "Sparky" Stalcup, who played for Henry Iba.

Further, after Moe Iba left Memphis, he was replaced by Gene Bartow, who left to replace Wooden, who, as noted previously, claimed to be strongly influenced by Iba. Wayne Yates and then Dana Kirk followed Bartow at Memphis. Wayne Yates I am unable to track, but he was quite likely an assistant of Bartow's left behind at Memphis. Regardless, Dana Kirk, who took the Larry Kennon Memphis team to an NCAA final, was formerly an assistant to Denny Crum, at Louisville. So you see, not only Moe Iba and Bob Vanatta have ties to the Okie Baller mafia, but very indirectly, so does Dana Kirk via Crum and Wooden.

A question arises about Gene Bartow's relation, if any, to the Iba legacy. Bartow grew up in Browning, MO. He coached at Central Missouri State, then Valpo, then Memphis, before going on to replace Wooden at UCLA, then finishing coaching at UAB and being president of the Memphis Grizzlies. Bartow's teams seemed to play a game quite similar to Eddie Sutton's teams, but I can find no direct connection between Bartow and the Okie Ballers. I don't know who, or where, Bartow learned his game from. Perhaps someone else can shed light on that.

jaybate 10 years, 2 months ago

Bartow Post Script: Gene left Memphis for the Illini for a year, then went to UCLA to replace Wooden. Of course, Bartow was replaced at Illinois by the unsavory Lou Henson, who was replaced by Okie Ballers Lon Kruger (Kruger, Hartman, Iba) and Bill Self (Hansen, Eddie, Iba).

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, but what about a Pitino connection?

Maybe the woman he was with in the men's room was somehow related to T. Boone Pickens or something. Put your best stringers on this!

Steve Brown 10 years, 2 months ago

3/34/91 Kansas 83 Arkansas 77 Kansas goes to Final Four

I thought the Oakie Baller connection for the 3 teams in Mem question was obvious, the Louisville connect to OSU was out of my sight or memory. My attempt to make JHawks the connections to 'any' what's the BB connection question was my mission.

for example, UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina what's the connection. Jay Bilas might reply, three schools with most Final Four appearances & championships. Or, name the most tradition rich college BB school in the east, mid/east and west.

always searching the ties to KU, we may say, Rupp, Smith, Wooden, two rode the pine in Hoch arena and one installed the pine in memorial stadium on his way to Calif. from Ind.

KU 10 years, 2 months ago

ksd is a Memphis troll. He just signed up and commented here for the first time yesterday. It's obvious because he's trying to defend Memphis' win total in 2008 and stirring up controversy by saying Self is trying to recruit Memphis' players and the swipe at Shady--who we all know was cleared by the NCAA before ever stepping foot on the Hill.

KU 10 years, 2 months ago

Somebody commented above that KU wouldn't be as great as they can be until they average more steals than turnovers. I doubt ANY KU team--including the 2008 team--ever averaged more steals than turnovers. If you want to find out, you can go to the NCAA website and search the archives. But I DO agree with the sentiments: 1) "you have to value each possession" and 2) "you have to be the aggressor on defense". I think those ideas were behind the comment.

If KU can average 15 turnovers per game and have 10 steals per game that would be spectacular, in my book.

KU 10 years, 2 months ago

OK.....maybe 15 turnovers/game is too high. I'd settle for 10 steals and 13 turnovers.

Joel Hood 10 years, 2 months ago

ksd, The only Arthur situation that exists is Darrell's injury that has sidelined him early this season for the Grizzlies. If you are talking about this HS grades, it is irrelevant. There is no way to twist that yarn into something that puts anyone or anything in jeopardy. The only reason this tale has any life is because of Darrell's current proximity and the fanciful wishes to Memphis loyalist.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

memhawk

"LOUISVILLE".......look closely, there is an "O" an "S" and an "U" hidden in the name...ah ha!!!...the final connection!!

I will be in attendance, by the way, and will proudly root on the Hawks to a total a$$kicking of Memphis for all of you in Jayhawk Nation who can't attend.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 2 months ago

OakvilleJHawk -

O S U wow, you should be with the FBI or something (or maybe a double naught spy!)

Mrs. Memhawk's son went to the U of M and she's agreed to pull for ol' KU as usual. She knows not to anger the god's. We'll be rooting for Pastner to do a good job, but not too good. We're here in St. Louis now and ran into one of the Memphis TV sports guys at lunch on the road. He said he didn't expect much of a game (his words).

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