Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Robinson plays sparingly

Freshman sat out so Aldrich could play

Kansas guard C.J. Henry, right, and forward Thomas Robinson run a weave before tipping off against Memphis, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Kansas guard C.J. Henry, right, and forward Thomas Robinson run a weave before tipping off against Memphis, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.


Audio clips

2009 KU-Memphis

Jayhawks barely edge Tigers

Kansas wasn't playing up to its potential Tuesday as the Jayhawks barely escaped with a two-point victory against the Tigers of Memphis. Cole Aldrich played a solid first half.

Kansas University freshman Thomas Robinson logged just two minutes in the Jayhawks’ 57-55 victory over Memphis.

“Thomas didn’t get a chance to play because if he played, then Cole can’t, because he (Robinson) can’t chase a guard around,” KU coach Bill Self said. Cole Aldrich, who earned MVP honors, scored 18 points with 11 rebounds and five blocks in 30 minutes.

Bumps, bruises: Both Elijah Johnson and Markieff Morris iced some sore knees after the contest. ... Sherron Collins suffered cramps in his right leg twice in the second half.

Showcase information: The Jayhawks received $100,000 for playing Memphis in the one-day Hall of Fame Showcase main event in St. Louis. Showcase organizers also paid for approximately 13 hotel rooms, KU senior associate athletic director Larry Keating indicated.

Also, the Jayhawks were allowed (per NCAA exempt-tournament rules) to schedule three home games as part of the Showcase: Thursday versus Central Arkansas, Oakland on Nov. 25 and Tennessee Tech on Nov. 27. All games start at 7 p.m.

KU will compete in the Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 26 and 27, 2010. The Jayhawks will play Ohio on the night after Thanksgiving and Arizona the following night in Glitter City. KU also will play a pair of yet-to-be-determined opponents at Allen Fieldhouse in the event.

‘Big Red’ on hand: Former Kansas University center Matt Kleinmann, who is enrolled in the masters program for urban design at Washington University in St. Louis, attended the game. He also dined with the Jayhawks on Monday night upon their arrival at the team hotel, the Sheraton.

Youthful look: Memphis coach Josh Pastner, 32, is the third-youngest coach in NCAA Div. I.

“At times you can,” Memphis senior Willie Kemp said of being able to tell Pastner’s age. “He really cares. He’s laid-back. He’s not in your face yelling, but wants the best out of you.”

Facts, figures: Memphis entered with a 37-21 all-time record against Big 12 teams, including a 2-4 mark versus KU. KU entered 58-15 versus squads from Conference USA. ... The game matched two of the top three winningest programs since the turn of the 21st century. Duke entered the night with 291 wins to KU’s 282 and Memphis’ 267. ... Memphis entered with an 0-8 record against No. 1 teams. In Memphis’ last game against a No. 1, the Tigers fell to Ohio State, 92-76, in the 2007 Elite Eight. The last time Memphis faced a No. 1 team in the regular season was in 2005 when the Tigers fell to Duke, 70-67, in New York. ... Pastner went 3-4 against KU during his days as a player at Arizona. Pastner was on the 1997 NCAA title team that shocked KU, 85-82, in a Sweet 16 game in Birmingham, Ala. KU lost just two games that season.

Garcia out of action: Memphis’ Angel Garcia, a 6-11 forward from Puerto Rico who sat out last season because of NCAA Clearinghouse issues, tore his ACL in September and also will miss this season.

More on title game: Memphis senior Doneal Mack commented to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal on the Tigers’ 75-68 overtime loss to KU in the 2008 NCAA title game.

“It used to hurt at first. I can laugh about it now. It was a great game, and that was a great shot. It made history, basically,” Mack said, referring to Mario Chalmers’ game-tying three near the end of regulation.


Chicago_JHawk 10 years, 3 months ago

"Pastner went 3-4 against KU during his days as a player at Arizona."

If memory serves, we didn't play UA 7 times between 1996 and 2000. Other than the devastating '97 loss, I recall maybe a Great 8 game in Chicago in 98 or 99. Anything else?

funkitect 10 years, 3 months ago

"Pastner went 3-4 against KU during his days as a player at Arizona"

Arizona played KU 7 times in 4 years? Or, is that supposed to be 3 of 4?

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 3 months ago

I know there was at least a fourth game. I remember beating them at the field house because Hinrich blocked a last-second 3-point attempt by Stoutameier (spelling) that would have won it. For years Olson wouldn't play us because we wanted a one and one.They were protecting a home winning streak, and he never scheduled anyone he thought might be able to beat them in Tucson.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Wednesday After a Win Is Still a Win:

} Again, steals to TOs ratio of 8/21 tells the tale. We weren't getting after them on defense (or maybe we simply can't), and we were not men about protecting the ball (surely clamping down on the ball and throwing it accurately is possible for a Hudy-ized team). Hence, even though we should have blown them out by 20 based on inside talent alone, their bad trey shooting and our overwhelming rebounding advantage, we snatched a close game from the jaws of a blow out.

} Quick, little teams always make big athletic teams look a step slow, especially when they play spread ball-screen offenses, as Self likes to call them in his best Eisenhower syntax. Memphis was little and quick and spread ball screening KU to humiliation last night.

} But Memphis revealed that KU, with or without Xavier, does not have excellent quickness. This team looked and played muscled up, as it is. It looked much more like Ratso Izzo's Spartans on Steroids, than many of Self's aerial acrobatic teams.

} Presently, KU has strength and speed, but not quickness. Tyshawn is lightening fast. Xavier is long stride fast, but is thinking so much about what he is doing that his quickness is to be determined. Tyrel is also long stride fast, without much quickness. Even Sherron, who is superb at changing directions, which makes a guy look quick, is more fast than quick. Sherron accelerates like a running back. He squirts through gaps and really strides out quickly, but he's not really lighening quick. He's short, but he runs tall; that's why he has never crossed over into the Russell Robinson/Mario Chalmers class of super quick, wreak havoc defenders.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

} Elijah Johnson was the only quick perimeter player KU could put out there last night. He was the only guy Self could put on the floor that was as quick as any of Memphis' perimeter players. Elijah proved to me that he is a combo guard with a PG yearning to be set free. Alas, he has no real floor game to go with his individual skills yet, and so he could not really impact the game. Unless CJ mends and is quick, Self is going to have to invest in Elijah this season. To match up well over the course of the season, Self has to have one truly quick guard on hand.

} It is also apparent that Brady Morningstar was our only quickness on the perimeter last year, our only post feeder on the perimeter last year, and, so, our only stopper on the perimeter last year. It is equally clear that though Xavier can score, Brady remains our only quick perimeter player and our only defensive stopper and our only post feeder this year, too. Brady will play a good deal when he returns, but the question is where do we need him most? the 2, or the 3? If he has developed an ability to put the ball on the deck and penetrate, to go along with his defense and feeding, he will probably spell Xavier any time Xavier is inefficient, and the game is close, which, as a freshman, is apt to be about half the games.

But where I increasingly think Brady can do the most good is the two, especially if Tyrel continues to show less capacity to fill than last year. Tyshawn played so pitifully vs. Memphis Self went to Tyrel Reed for fully 18 minutes, even though Tyrel was playing ineptly, too. The raw truth is: Tyrel's worst is better than Tyshawn's worst, while Tyshawn's best is better than Tyrel's best. Riding this see-saw at the 2 is no way to win a championship IMHO. Tyshawn, brilliant as he can be occassionally, just has not developed a trey and cannot consistently feed the post. He is no less timid getting to the rim either. And he is only a credible PG, when he can walk it up the floor and opposing teams are not pressuring the PG half court. Tyrel is only a net benefit when he is canning treys, which is about half the time (last night being the half when he is not). When he is not hitting, he is only not turning the ball over as much as Tyshawn does and that's not enough...when you have a guy like Brady Morningstar available. For this team to be its best, Marcus has to be able to fill for Xavier effectively, and Brady has to be able to fill for Tyshawn and Xavier, maybe even be moved ahead of Tyshawn.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

} The Memphis game revealed that for the first semester, unless CJ surprises everyone, this team is not deep at all. Outside of Marcus, going to the bench got Self nothing but filler. Many more showings like this one and Little, or Releford, is apt to lose his red shirt. If I am Little, or Releford, I am trying to stay entirely out of Self's line of sight until Brady gets back. Self will not be able to stand many more games with Tyshawn and Tyrel playing the way they did without taking back a red.

} “Thomas didn’t get a chance to play because if he played, then Cole can’t, because he (Robinson) can’t chase a guard around.”--KU coach Bill Self

Implication: Thomas Robinson, for all his motor and athleticism, is at about the same point that Cole was, as a freshman. His footwork and sliding agility is not solid enough to handle the switching a spread ball-screen offenses, or even pick and roll offenses, impose on a 4/5 position player. In turn, we can probably expect Thomas to be a 5-10 minute man most of this season, except when opponents are determined to play inside and are not too quick on the perimeter.

} As 100 has long forecast, Withey, if he ever heals, now appears to be the guy who is going to see big minutes with Cole second semester...if he can handle the switch offs defensively.

} Until semester, and maybe even all season, Kieff will start and play 3-5 minutes at the 4 spot both halfs, to rough up opponents early, try to get a foul or two on their starting bigs, and generally disrupt with "physicality" (boy I hate that word) opponents trying to get off quick the first five minutes. In turn, this buys Self some time to decide how he wants to attack the hopefully fouled up opposing bigs--through Cole, in which case he brings TRob for boarding, or through Marcus/Withey scoring, with Cole handling sloppy seconds. If Xavier is not hitting the trey, and Cole can score on his man, and the opponent has a big 3, then Withey/TRob gets the 4 and Marcus takes over the 3. If Xavier is cold, Cole is hamstrung, and there is a shorter 3, Marcus goes to the 4 and Brady plays the 3. Kieff does not look like he has the endurance, to play bursts much more than 3-5 minutes. He also does not appear to have the springs to be much of an inside scoring threat. His time comes next year, when Self re-tools to a true high post offense and lets Kieff become a legitimate trinitizer a la Steve Patterson on one of Wooden's lesser ring teams (imagine having "lesser" ring teams!).

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Xavier/Marcus Trade-Off: Xavier is a scorer without a glue game (without putting too fine a point on it, so far, he's like a really, really high scoring freshman Travis Releford) and is likely to be either highly efficient against lesser competition, or inefficient against good competition. X is so good with the gun that Self has to get him out there early to see whether he is on or off, but as the season wears on and opposing coaches dope out his skill gaps, and X's efficiency circles the drain at times (like last night), and X's upside down steals to TOs ratio wears on the defense-obsessed Self, and as Brady and Marcus mature at the 3, look for Xavier to get the hook quicker and quicker on his off nights. Unless Xavier can be very efficient, and unless Brady is at the two to feed the bigs, Xavier's youth is going to be increasingly hard to afford on his off nights. Xavier "looks" great. But Self has a history of dating "lookers" and marrying "homely defenders with low TOs and decent strokes." (Note: Self's wife Cyndy is expressly exempt from this metaphor for she is both a looker and a low TO type.) :-)

} This team could still go undefeated, but the margin for error the first semester is going to be much thinner than I imagined.

} I know the ever knowledgeable drgnslyr is on Josh Patner's band wagon and I know Memphis played well with what it had last night, but I still think Pastner is destined to be the Jeff Van Gundy of college basketball--at best a journeyman blessed with undeserved talent to work with early on largely because of connections of those he knows. Time will tell though, for in my mental betting ledger, I know I rarely fare well betting against the drgnslr.

hdhntr 10 years, 3 months ago

why worry about being undefeated? seems like a silly goal. thought winning the NC is the goal? lot of tough teams out there. very arrogant and foolish comment. especially since if you lose Cole to an injury you wouldn't have a shot at anything. team is very talented but this is november, lots can happen before tourny time.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago


Self meant that a spread ball screen offense forces 4s away from the paint and into switches onto guards away from the basket. Since TRob's defense is not far enough along to cover guards on the perimeter without fouling, TRob could only have played Cole's 5 spot where Cole stays close to home no matter what and lets the 4 go do the chasing. But Self had to have Cole's offense and shot blocking and size, so TRob had to sit. The Morris Twins, who's defense is a year more advanced, got the 4s job of chasing guards when necessary.

KU 10 years, 3 months ago

jaybate.......I agree with your above commentary. Doesn't it drive you CRAZY to see guys on defense turning their head away from the basketball and concentrating solely on their man? That's not the way I learned defense. You're supposed to triangulate between your man and the ball so you can see BOTH. The Twins--and most other players--are constantly turning their back on the ball when there is no need to do it. They have no idea what's going on and they aren't in position for help-defense.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

drgnslr post script:

Not to toot my own horn, but I forecasted this likelihood in a post a couple hours before the game. Basically, I said, if Self held TRob out of the game, it would mean that TRob's defense is about where Cole's was when Cole was a frosh. If you recall, when Cole was a freshman, Self didn't let him play in the UMKC game for the very same reason. UMKC played the Princeton offence, another spread and ball-screen offense. Cole was foul prone then and Self and Danny apparently thought he would learn nothing, and have a negative experience getting fouled up chasing little guys around the floor 20 feet from the bucket.

I also forecasted that if Self held TRob out, it likely meant that a decision had been made that TRob was destined to be a 5-10 minute man this season, as Cole was his first season. Great skills, great potential, but just not ready for guarding spread ball-screen offenses, or pick and roll offenses. My guess was that TRob would have a few good performances, just as Cole did a couple times his freshman year, but that Self is really paving the way for Withey to step in to the four and 5 back up spots.

TRob can rebound exceptionally well, just as Cole could block shots exceptionally well as a frosh. But neither of them were ready to guard the post, as frosh, and neither were ready to chase guards 20 feet from the basket.

I hope I am wrong about this forecast, because I really like what I have seen of Thomas Robinson. Still, in Self Defense, you HAVE to be able to guard your position before you get to bring your impact capabilities into play.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago


Yes, the Morris Twins are still works in progress on defense for sure. But they are much better than last season. And Marcus is being asked to swing between the 4 and 3, one of the tougher assignments a coach can give a player. Still, I cheer myself up by recalling where Darnell Jackson was at a similar stage. Always there is hope and progress, when guys work as hard as Darnell did and the Twins do. :-)

Rickchalk 10 years, 3 months ago

Memphis is just a better team than most figured. Quick and fast. All are one on one players, which has always given KU problems. The Hawks will be just fine. Im still confused why Reed is out there. My grandma could blow past him, he might be in the best shape but he only has a 3 pt shot, no defense. And ever since TT got bragged up last year, he's showed nothing. Those who say he's a first rounder this year most be smoking grass. Cole is a beast, Sherron is a stud, the twin arre coming on ok. X is going to be great. TRob will be good. And wait till everyone see's Whithey play, he may be skinny but the boy can jump, he's quicker than Cole, and he has a good outside shot. Plus he loves to DUNK, bring it on big boy, lets get rockin. RCJH

Priest Fontaine 10 years, 3 months ago

robinson: dunk the ball. wide open under the goal - you gotta dunk the ball. you were a dunking machine in exhibition. dont stop now that you got the spotlight. the spotlight is all the more reason to shine! keep showing morris twins how its done.

rick cowley 10 years, 3 months ago

I agree with Jaybate.

It might be alittle early to say T Rob will play similar to Cole Frosh year, but for now that is what it looks like. Cole played about 2 min. against quick teams that year and much mora against teams with a true center. T Rob is more mobile so it may not play out exactly the same.

As far as Brady, I agree completely. I have always thought he would have started at the 2 last year if we had a better option at the 3. Plan A, Little was injured and Plan B, Releford wasn't ready. TT played better than expected and made a nice small three guard line-up.

The reality is that Brady is a 2 that can play a little 3. Again defense will rule and expect Brady to see a lot of time playing both. His DUI just pushed back the inevitable.

100 10 years, 3 months ago

Hdhntr & Ralster -- solid point about why "worry" about being undefeated.

From a fan's perspective that is your choice -- no need to worry.

I will stand tall again & declare what all commentators have declared across America --we are loaded. Put the sloppiness of that Memphis game aside & the last two days of posting wouldn't have happened.

From the players' perspective, this goal (with a team like we have this year) is very important. It builds severe team chemistry. It builds strength & character. It yields the need & desire to want to practice & get better.... As a group... 40-0?

It's not only possible, it is doable....


First, "we" (the players) have to believe. It doesn't matter what the Coaches believe. It doesn't matter what fans believe...

"We" have to believe...

This team, taking into consideration against current competition in college basketball, is a once in a generation team -- forget the practically preseason Memphis game, we all know it was ugly & we didn't play fluidly as a team.

If we were on that team, I guarantee you that would be our goal -- 40-0. I guarantee it. And you know what -- if everybody believes in this goal, & you sweat together in practice everyday, the likelihood of this actually occuring increases exponentially.

It's the teams that don't care who will never go undefeated, much less win a Ring.

We even saw it quoted the other day by a current KU player -- 40-0 is their goal. Do they care & are they shooting for the stars?

You better believe it.

However as we saw in that Memphis game, much will be learned in the next couple weeks at practice -- we weren't ready for Memphis & in fact looked awful.

But guess what -- we still won.

And now we have that "bad" game everyone was hoping for during discussions of this during the summer that reminds of us of the need for listening to Coach in practice & showing up mentally ready for games on weird courts against weird teams.

"Always be Ready"....

Best of all it puts a team like this in an early season mindset of winning multiple games (6) in a row.

As a fan, I care about going undefeated. We have a lot of practice to do, but we're going to be very very good -- don't sweat that Memphis game.

Can't wait to see CJ out there along with Withey.

"Crisp Ball Movement Wins Championships"


This team is very capable of doing it.

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