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Friday, October 23, 2009

Media darlings

But seriously, folks, Self likes his squad

Kansas University center Cole Aldrich, seated at right, talks with a large group of media members about what he believes is a higher level of competition in the Big 12 Conference this year. At left is Sherron Collins, who also participated in Thursday’s Big 12 Media Day in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas University center Cole Aldrich, seated at right, talks with a large group of media members about what he believes is a higher level of competition in the Big 12 Conference this year. At left is Sherron Collins, who also participated in Thursday’s Big 12 Media Day in Kansas City, Mo.

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Injuries, praise highlight KU men's basketball media day

The KU men's basketball team held its media day Thursday. During the interviews players injuries were discussed and players were recognized for good performances.

— Kansas University’s Bill Self didn’t ask his fellow Big 12 coaches for an emergency recount.

Yet on Thursday he had a message for the 11 coaches who unanimously tapped his five-time defending champion Jayhawks tops in the league’s preseason poll: Another KU title is no slam dunk.

“We don’t pass it worth a flip,” Self said, assessing his 2009-10 squad after a handful of practices. “We don’t value the ball at all. We can’t guard anybody. We can’t retain things. We don’t remember anything. Other than that, I love our guys.”

“The guys are doing fine. I’m just joking,” added Self, who huddled with dozens of media members during an hourlong Big 12 Media Day Q-and-A session in Sprint Center, site of the 2010 league tourney.

Self says he wouldn’t trade his team for any in the land.

Still ...

“I’d say there are 10 teams, 15 teams by Jan. 1 that will have a legitimate shot,” Self said, referring to the national title chase.

His squad is a popular choice to cut down the nets in April in Indianapolis.

“There are always teams that come out of nowhere that have a shot. If we play well and get lucky, we could be one of the teams that get serious consideration,” Self added.

The good news is that senior guard Sherron Collins and junior center Cole Aldrich have looked as talented as ever during the season’s first five practices.

“Without a question I think Sherron is,” Self said, when asked to name the conference’s top player. “I’m not taking anything away from Cole (co-Big 12 preseason player of year). I don’t think I’ve ever coached a guard that impacts the game in more areas than Sherron. Now from a potential standpoint, I’m not sure Cole is not (the league’s best) because his upside is pretty high.”

As far as the unknowns, Self said the team’s most pleasant surprise has been freshman power forward Thomas Robinson.

“We haven’t had anybody go after the ball like him since I’ve been here,” said Self, now in his seventh season at KU. “There have been times he’s been the best player in the gym. There’s been times he’s looked like a freshman, too. He’s definitely going to play.”

“He’s relentless going after the ball. He’s a thoroughbred,” noted Collins, who joined Aldrich and Self at Media Day.

Self said much-hyped freshman guard/forward Xavier Henry hasn’t disappointed at all.

“He’s a guy that wants to get to the line. He’s probably our best driver of the ball other than Sherron,” Self said of the 6-6, 220-pounder. “I don’t think he’ll just settle for shots. He’s not a one-dimensional guy.”

Henry and Robinson’s penchant for hitting the boards has been contagious, Self indicated.

“I can’t remember a time when the ball was on the rim we’ve had as many guys go after the ball as we do now,” Self said. “We have some guys really active in pursuing the ball. I think Thomas Robinson has made that a key emphasis for everybody because the twins (Marcus and Markieff Morris) now are different, and Xavier goes after every ball. We’re going to have a chance to be a much better rebounding team than in the past. We’ve been decent in that area. We’ll be much better this year, I think.”

Sophomore forward Travis Releford, who scored 15 points in KU’s Late Night in the Phog scrimmage, continues to look like he may be a factor.

“He was 6-for-6. It’s hard to do that well every day,” Self said. “He’s done well. Travis is definitely in the mix to play a ton.”

Self also said the sophomore Morris twins “have played at a high level so far in practice,” and sophomore Tyshawn Taylor has been playing with more confidence than ever.

He wasn’t asked about everybody on the roster, but repeated a common refrain: Because of an abundance of guys who can play — and fact the rotation likely will include a maximum of nine players — there might be a red shirt or two this season.

“If Marcus is as good on the perimeter as he is inside — which remains to be seen, but he’s working at it — you go from playing nine guys to eight guys because one could play both ways,” Self said of inside and perimeter. “You could play four bigs and four perimeters with him one of the four bigs.

“For me to predict what any of the newcomers’ role will be ... it’s not fair to them or me. I don’t know yet. It’s their job to prove they need to be out there. If we have a guy who is a starter in his career and he wouldn’t be in our rotation this year, then obviously you could potentially red-shirt somebody, too. I don’t know who that is. I will not make a prediction on who it is. It just depends on how everything plays out.”

That’s what preseason practices are for.

And Self is enjoying the competition already, despite the fact things haven’t been pretty at all times.

“I like our guys. I wouldn’t trade them for any,” he said.

Comments

Dale Kroening 10 years, 3 months ago

For those that think Releford will redshirt : "Travis is definitely in the mix to play a ton.” Rumor is he's looked better than X in the few practices, so I really doubt Travis is in the redshirt mix.Its really hard to say who gets redshirted. Will it be EJ or Whithey ? Possibly Reed, or maybe even Kief or Little. Hard to tell. Also it looks as if Mr. Robinson and Marcus are fighting for the starting 4 spot. Im enjoying the FB season, BUT I cant wait until the BB regualr season starts ! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK !!!!!!!!!!!

jayhawkboogeyman 10 years, 3 months ago

If Travis plays the way he did at Late Night every practice, he is hands down starting over Xavier. Travis looked huge and aggressive and like a great mix of Brandon Rush and Keith Langford. He could be huge the next three years for us.

WisconsinJayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

I heard from a reliable highly placed course that Tyrel Reed is a strong redshirt candidate.

b_hux 10 years, 3 months ago

I'm guessing Tyrel is a strong candidate. It would probably be smart for him. although KU's talent level isn't likely to drop a ton no matter what. I do think his chances of playing next year are much better than this year. EJ may be a candidate also, but he's such a great athlete, I'd be surprised. It's going to be so interesting to see how it all plays out. To be a fly on the wall at those practices every day ...

Rock Chalk, baby!

Steve Corder 10 years, 3 months ago

Bill's challenges: Keeping players happy with playing time and forging them into a team and not just a collection of talented individuals. We may be witnesses to a period of KU basketball success and quality never experienced before...players, coach and athletic director. Enjoy the ride!

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

I don't believe undefeated is laughable, I believe it's unlikely due to many factors in today's game. Statictically speaking it will happen again. KU has potential this year.

I fear for injuries early with these guys busting their butts trying to get to that 8 or 9 man rotation. I hope Withey is completely healed before he returns so he doesn't have a year like Little did last year.

Benjamin Clay Jones 10 years, 3 months ago

Don't understand why Self refuses to expand his rotation when he has so much talent at his disposal. Play more bodies, fresher troops, and swarm the opponent.

farnamjayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

40-0 is highly unlikely but that's okay. We just need to go 6-0 in late March and early April.

Speakeasy- Expanding the rotation greatly beyond 8-9 guys has some benefits like fresher bodies but you really want that tight 8-9 man rotation when tournament time comes and then having the extra depth in case of injuries. There will be enough blow-outs during the season to get guys playing time. Look at the title team two years ago. They mainly had Sausha and Sherron coming off the bench since Cole didn't get a lot of playing time. Remember how everyone talked about how deep that team was. They had a great 7 man rotation. We'll have some guys that won't play as much this year but will have their chance next year just like Cole's transformation between his freshman and sophmore years.

bradh 10 years, 3 months ago

Speak, I'd guess it's because Self has found a system that works for him. He's been pretty successful, so I won't gripe. Roy's fresh body approach worked for him and was fun to watch, as is the current system. I prefer the coach use whatever approach they are comfortable with and know how to manage.

Benjamin Clay Jones 10 years, 3 months ago

farnam & brad--

Thanks for those responses. More than one way to skin a cat, I guess.

Otownhawker 10 years, 3 months ago

The bad thing about coming in as preseason #1. Anything short of a national championship is a let down.

KANSTUCKY 10 years, 3 months ago

Otownhawker, Welcome to every season we don't win it all. RC

DCJayhawk0208 10 years, 3 months ago

Maybe my math is bad, here, but wouldn't it be 42-0? Our schedule has 33 games during the regular season, then there would be 3 games in the conference tournament and then 6 in the NCAA Tournament.

justanotherfan 10 years, 3 months ago

Possible scenarios. Walkons omitted.

0 - Robinson - a candidate to be the 4th big man. He's a valuable practice guy, so a redshirt isn't out of the question, but will he lose his edge if he knows he won't play this year?

1 - X. Henry - should be the starting 3 and one of the 4 (or 5) perimeter players. No redshirt possibilities. From a practical standpoint, it would hurt recruiting to redshirt a top 10 recruit.

4 - Collins - Likely the starting point guard. Zero redshirt chance.

5 - Withey - the injury (and the fact that he won't be available until December) make him a redshirt candidate, but he hasn't played competitively since Summer 2008. I'm not sure we want him on the shelf that long.

10 - Taylor - should be either the starting 2, or the 1st perimeter guy off the bench. Doubtful redshirt.

12 - Morningstar - probably cost himself any chance at significant minutes with his off court actions. Can't redshirt again, so he will probably get Jeremy Case minutes.

13 - CJ Henry - in the mix for the last perimeter spot, but the competition for that is thick. He's probably too old to make a redshirt beneficial.

14 - Reed - likely redshirt candidate. He could see significant minutes in a couple years, so the extra year could benefit him. If he's not in the rotation, expect a redshirt.

15 - Johnson - potential redshirt candidate. If the knee isn't 100%, no sense in pressing him into action for this squad unless he is a starter.

21 - Mk Morris - could be a starter, should at least be 1 of the 4 bigs. Doubtful redshirt.

22 - Mc Morris - probably a starter, but at least the 1st big off the bench, and if he can play on the perimeter too, that's a huge addition.

23 - Little - in the fight for that 4th or 5th perimeter spot. No sense in redshirting him this year, unless you envision him being the anchor of next year's squad.

24 - Releford - in the fight for that last perimeter spot. If he doesn't win it, a redshirt may make HIM the anchor of next year's squad.

45 - Cole Aldrich - Likely the starting center. 0 redshirt chance.

So that means that Henry, Collins, Taylor, Morningstar, CJ Henry, the Morris twins, Little, and Aldrich won't redshirt for a variety of reasons. The only candidates are Robinson, Withey, Johnson, Reed, and Releford.

I think the rotation will be (perimeter starters) Collins, Taylor, X Henry, (big starters) Mc. Morris, Aldrich (perimeter reserves) Little, CJ Henry or Releford, (big reserves) Mk. Morris, Robinson, until Withey is available, then Withey jumps into the rotation if he is ready. Reed and Johnson redshirt. Johnson, Withey and Releford likely start next season. Reed is the top reserve.

jcsmith 10 years, 3 months ago

Zero chance Thomas Robinson redshirts. ZERO.

KUFan90 10 years, 3 months ago

jcsmith is correct. I like justanother's analysis and agree with it for the most part with the exception of the fact there is zero chance TR redshirts. I haven't seen Self gush over a freshman like this EVER.

Unless the injury is unexpectely more major than reported, I think Withee is safely in the "won't redshirt" camp due to how much time he has already missed.

I agree, my predicition is redshirts for Reed and EJ (with Releford the only other possible candidate).

JamesA 10 years, 3 months ago

Having Releford take the redshirt seems, to me, to be the best option for this current team and the next few KU teams in the future. I think his contribution to this season's team could be significant, however very limited. He is an ideal sized college shooting guard on a team where the shooting guard/small forward spot is crowded with multiple players who will be either graduating or going pro after this season. He would benefit from having another season to bulk up/continue to improve his game while not losing a year of eligibility. This time next year when our roster will be void of all of our headline players, plus Mario and (what looks like Tyshawn), Travis will be in a perfect position to be an anchor for KU's future.

Greg Lux 10 years, 3 months ago

I think we should call is Crimson shirt ... Sounds better ,,, I know its a national term.

Rock Chalk

justanotherfan 10 years, 3 months ago

If you notice, although I said Robinson was a possible redshirt, I included him in the rotation. I think he will play this year, I just don't know where he fits yet. Until Withey is good to go, Robinson makes sense because he's a ferocious rebounder.

Once Withey is healthy, it becomes a numbers issue, because you can't rotate five bigs successfully. If that means Marcus moves to the perimeter, then that's what it means. If not, one of the bigs is going to lose minutes. It won't be Cole. It's doubtful it's Marcus. So either Markieff or Thomas will see a drop in minutes once Withey is healthy, or Withey doesn't play.

See the problem? There are 80 minutes to go around in the two post spots. 25-30 of those are Cole's, plain and simple.That means 50-55 minutes get split initially between 3 guys (Morris twins, TRob). That will keep every one in the 15-18 minute range. Add Withey at Christmas and now you have to split those 50-55 minutes four ways. If Withey is going to come in and play 10-12 minutes, somebody that was getting 15-18 minutes is down to 5. I don't know who that somebody is, but the math doesn't change.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Self will red-shirt Sherron. He needs a PG next year.

Ahem.

We already know Self is choosing between 2 and 3 red shirts.

Today's key phrases (and their implications) are:

"Travis is definitely in the mix to play a ton.”

Inference: Drop Travis from red shirt speculation.

"If we have a guy who is a starter in his career and he wouldn’t be in our rotation this year, then obviously you could potentially red-shirt somebody, too."

“If Marcus is as good on the perimeter as he is inside...You could play four bigs and four perimeters with him one of the four bigs."

Inference: Self wants to throw three red shirts, if he thinks he can get away with Marcus playing 3 and 4, so he can build in continuity inside and outside.

Perimeters:

Perimeters Red Shirt Short List: Reed (might start in future, but need his experience now and don't need him more in the future than now), Johnson (will start in future), Little (started and deserves a frigging break).

Perimeters Red Shirt Expectation: Little (proving Self has a heart and a need at the 3 next year) and Johnson.

Implied Four Perimeters: Sherron, CJ, Tyshawn, Xavier (Brady as back-up and designated trifectator and Releford situationally.)

Bigs:

Bigs Red Shirt Short List: Kieff (started a game when Cole was hurt and provides the muscle needed as Cole's backup), Withey (sick and injured, not yet fully hulked up, and not even available till January).

Bigs Red Shirt Inference: Withey (Self needs Kieff's muscle for back-up for Cole and wants Withey to start next year healt

Implied Four Bigs: Cole, Kieff, Robinson, and Marcus.

Conclusion: The versatility of Marcus and the Henry Brothers extreme talent allow Self to stack the pantry for the next two years with red shirts Johnson and Withey. They also allow him to give Little a break.

Post Script: I know, I know, Little red shirting is a million to one shot, but the kid can really play and he just isn't needed in the rotation this year. Come on, Coach, he'll give you a great season next year.

TrueBlue92 10 years, 3 months ago

Early this season I'm looking for this team to come off the bench, put their collective talent across the throat of the other team, and never let up. I want to see them crush team after team and not play down to the level of the other team regardless of who it is. Bill can throttle early with rotation when it starts to get embarrassing. But this is a team that could be very intimidating midwinter if they pave over the schedule from day one.

That's what I'm looking for.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 3 months ago

I think EJ redshirts because :

1) He could add some bulk 2) He really loves KU and seems like an unselfish guy 3) He Could be the starting 2-guard next year if Taylor goes pro.

Reed makes sense as a redshirt too. He is such a hard worker, I could see him becoming a Ryan Robertson-type in his 5th year.

100 10 years, 3 months ago

DCJayhawk, Nice math.

42-0.

It's time for Dean Smith, Roy Williams, Michael Jordan & the '82 Tar Heels, as well as John Calipari, Derrick Rose, Robert Dozier & the 38 win Memphis Tigers to step aside.

You guys want to go down in history?

Its time to do some math, one game at a time...

42-0

One game at a time to be the best ever...

suttonku 10 years, 3 months ago

Not a chance that Withey redshirts...we need depth at the center spot and Withey is really good. Besides, Im pretty sure that Withey already took a redshirt.

clm2122 10 years, 3 months ago

The roster has Withey as a RS-Freshman...that would imply that he has already red-shirted. It's been a while since I have brushed up on my eligibility rules, so I may be wrong...but I thought you used to have to use a RS dispensation when you transferred schools, so as not to lose a year of eligibility. The ruling on leaving a school because of coaching changes only relieves the athlete from his "contract" with the school, and keeps the school from not releasing the athlete, so he is eligible to play elsewhere.

If I'm correct, then Jeff would not be able to RS again...unless you're allowed to RS more than once for different reasons.

I thought Travis would have been a good candidate for RS last year, but it sounds like he may be developing into the player all of thought he could be.

I hope Ron_Kellog doesn't read this article...he may get upset with SC for referring to T-Rob as a thoroughbred.

STLJHawk86 10 years, 3 months ago

Hey Jaybate, good analysis. One question - given your predicited rotation, who will be this team's 'glue guy'? Gotta have one to win, right?

Christopher Hauser 10 years, 3 months ago

suttonku-If he is not healthy by the time he is eligable to play he can seek med redshirt(if it turns out to be a nagging injury) cant he?

clm2122 10 years, 3 months ago

chris

It used to be that once you began your collegiate career in a specific sport, you had 5 years to complete 4 seasons.

KULA 10 years, 3 months ago

I've liked Releford from the start. I could see him redshirting this year, but he's gonna be an impact player at Kansas by the time he's done.

suttonku 10 years, 3 months ago

Chrishauser20,

Potentially yes he could take a medical redshirt but it doesnt seem that it will happen...It's a minor stress fracture and I expect him to be ready by mid december to play. Unless it is deemed that he needs surgery, which would be a big blow, he will be fine by the time he is eligible.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 3 months ago

Prediction:

Sherron Collins leads the team in scoring: No NC One of the Morris's leads the team in scoring: NC

Christopher Hauser 10 years, 3 months ago

clm2122-yea I think it is still that way but med redshirts are exceptions to that.

10 years, 3 months ago

jwliddle ~

Touché! I was getting ready to post the same thing as I read through the comments. We are now even for me beating you to a Lebowski quote several months ago :^)

OlatheJHawk 10 years, 3 months ago

In a different thread, and as surprising as this may sound, there are questions regarding John Wall's amatuer status. It seems that Clifton was a registered agent while Wall attended Kentucky recruiting events. Check out this article on espn.com. Make sure to read the last quote from Calipari... Hilarious.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=4586311

100 10 years, 3 months ago

Jwliddle,

That's what I'm talking about!!

The first of forty something steps in going 42-0 is an absolute need for a bunch of strong willed Hawks to....

"Crumple the Fort".... (albeit I think this is counted as a preseason)

However your slogan is the best:

"Just beat Fort Hays State"

Andrew Ralls 10 years, 3 months ago

DC - the first two games are exhibition, so we only have 31 regular season games, not 33.

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

Robinson will not redshirt, no way, no how!! That would be the dumbest thing the coaching staff could do.

My 2/3 possible redshirts: Reed EJ- I hate this but it make sense and possibly MK- not quite proven

I think the Morris' are fighting it out with TRob. TRob might just take the 4 spot from MC. CS really likes his tenacity.

sdoyel 10 years, 3 months ago

Elijah Johnson redshirt? He was the #3 ranked PG wasn't he? He has crazy athletic abilitiy....

clm2122 10 years, 3 months ago

Olathe - to your point...snakes shed their skin when they outgrow it, so they just become bigger snakes.

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

sdoyel- I know, right ! He is one of my favorite KU players and he is a phenom to watch. HCBS has some real tough decisions to make. But, this will only make EJ better and stronger.

He'll learn the system better. He can work on some areas and hit the floor running! He's good now but if he accepts the redshirt, he'll be twice as good next year.

The future of KU b-ball will be built on EJ and TRob. I also see Mr Payne coming to KU as the much needed big man.

LA_hawk 10 years, 3 months ago

I think Reed is the most likely to red-shirt. As for where the other comes from, tough call right now. I thought it would most likely be Releford, but with what Self said in the interview it looks like that may not be the case. Seriously doubt Withey red-shirts since he sat out last year. Wouldn't think EJ sits since he is a freshman, you see it all the time in football where freshman red-shirt, but hardly ever in B-ball. Besides, I think EJ may be first off the bench to spell Tyshawn. Will be interesting to see how this thing plays out.

RCJH

Joel Hood 10 years, 3 months ago

I heard from the local sports radio that Releford has no interest in red shirting. After seeing him play at Late Nite, it looks less likely. I think that Reed is the leading candidate. I have a hard time seeing Mk redshirting - esp w/o Mc. No way that TRob is putting on the red shirt.

If Elijah red shirts, how would that affect recruiting? Would recruits look at this as something bad? Or, do they see X and TRob and think, ok - no problem? I don't really have an opinion. What do you all think?

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate: I don't know if you saw it, but I sent you another post on yesterday's thread from our conversation a couple of days ago about H. Barnes. Not sure if you saw it or not.

Ron_Kellogg 10 years, 3 months ago

clm2122, I just read the article and, yes, I am livid about SC calling Robinson a "thoroughbred." Add this to the banned list that already includes "beast," "horse," and "motor." I would also like to retire "bigs," of which HCBS is so fond.

clm2122 10 years, 3 months ago

Ron, how do you feel about one of my son's many nicknames...speedy gorilla? He is also referred to as the "beast" and the "Hulk." Do you disapprove of comic heroes as well? LOL

Priest Fontaine 10 years, 3 months ago

Ron_Kellogg, Ive agreed with you in past. I too share your disgust for the description of TRobb having a "motor". I don't know what it is that annoys me so much about that. I am really glad someone else out there agrees. "Bigs" is pretty annoying too. but I would gladly hear "thoroughbred", "horse" or "beast" over "motor".

Priest Fontaine 10 years, 3 months ago

too bad about Payne. Oh well. We're gonna be alright next year with our frontcourt. We got Morris twins as Juniors, All 7 feet of Withey with a year under his belt and more muscle, and T-Rob robbing the competition of their dignity! Of all KU's recruits, the most essential that we land is Harrison Barnes. He would be such a great fit for us next year if we can find a way to grab him. at 6'8" he would give us size on the wing. He can play anywhere on the court. We are most likely going to lose X to the NBA and Barnes would take over his spot in the starting line up. Terrence Jones also crossed us off his list so Barnes is the only SF we are recruiting. I'm not worried about Lamb because we will have Releford, Reed, Morningwood, CJ, Teahan and Woolridge. I would love Knight or Selby to come to Kansas but I'm not too concerned if they dont sign because we have EJ and I think T Taylor will come back another year.

Next years starting lineup (if we only get Barnes and no Knight or Selby) 1-EJ (6'2") 2-TT (6'3") 3-Barnes (6'8") 4-T-Rob (6'9") 5-Jeff Withey (7')

second team 1-Morningstar? 2-Reed 3-Releford 4-Marcus Morris 5-Markieff Morris

Priest Fontaine 10 years, 3 months ago

how bout this for Thomas Robinson:

Thomas "the Rim Robber" Robinson

don't know if its been taken? if not, can anyone think of anything better?

by the way my projected starting line up for next year is collectively 394 inches high compared to my projected starting line up for this year:

1-Sherron 2-TT 3-X 4-T-Rob/morris 5-Cole

total of 388 inches (six inches shorter)

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate: I am going to continue are discussion from the Mario Little Thread and talk about a few points on the H. Barnes situation. Something that I was curious about that I wanted to look up was the possible recruiting of the Jayhawks at the "Rush Spot" in the class of 2011. Maybe landing a "Big" in Adrien Payne is KU's most vital commodity at the moment. I was thinking what happens if KU misses out on H. Barnes? What are the scenarios that will be presented with KU? Right now, most mock NBA drafts have X as low first round (20 or Higher) draft pick. There may be an outside chance that X stays two years and that would work out perfectly for Self and his recruiting. I will explain that in a minute.

Even if X leaves next year and is a OAD........... filling the "Rush Spot" is ever so important to Self's Hi-Lo. The only thing I considered yesterday was Releford at the "Rush Spot" and didn't really put much value on Marcus Morris at the "3". If KU doesn't get Payne or another "Big" to replace Aldrich or simply have another body than that soley puts Marcus Morris back as an exclusive "4" and sometimes playing the center. Yikes!!!!!!!!! Filling a "Big" position is of the utmost importance after looking at the scenario.

I wanted to see what was going on in the 2011 class as far as small forwards and I was pleasantly surprised with Self and his staff's activity. I guess you could kind of point to the 2010 class as the class filled with point guards and combo guards and I'm pretty confident KU will get one of the three between Lamb, Selby, or Knight and I am really hoping two out of the threee. Well, the class of 2011 is known as the Michael Gilchrist class and the small forwards. It's known that Gilchrist most likely will end up at Kentucky and is being touted right now as the best player in High School basketball, but I was really glad to see all the talent at the "Rush Spot" behind Gilchrist. I'll give both scout and rivals rankings, but here are the small forwards on KU's radar and they are all in the Top 10.

Adonis Thomas: #2 Scout, #3 Rivals, and #11 overall by Rivals LeBryan Nash: #4 Scout, #2 Rivals, and #5 overall by Rivals LaQuinton Ross: #3 Scout, #9 Rivals, and #42 overall Keaton Miles Miles: #8 Scout, #10 Rivals, and #43 overall

If X could somehow manage to put off his dream of playing in the NBA for one more season that would work almost to perfection in Bill Self's recruiting tactics. With X staying two years and one of the above players potentially in a KU uniform for the 2011-2012 season would be sweet. If KU misses out on H. Barnes and X only stays a year then signing a "Big" becomes even more important. I don't want to think about the above scenario and KU misses out on a "Big" because that would definitely be a step backwards and I don't want to think about that possibility. I don't know, just something I was thinking about today.

October 22, 2009 at 7:45 p.m. ( permalink | suggest removal )

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate: I guess that was perfect timing that I copied the above post because it now seems that KU needs a "Big" in lew of Payne eliminating KU, but not really sure who is left to fill that spot or potential spots? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Man, this whole recruiting process is still early and a lot of big names are coming off the shelf. This seems to be a totally different mindset in the eyes of the recruits from last year's class. Maybe Aldrich likes college so much that he pulls a Hansbrough and stays for his senior year. How sweet would that be?

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

STLJHawk86,

After some offseason fantasies, I expect this team to play quite similarly to last year's team, with the exception of Xavier taking over some of the force-it-to-the-rim shooting Sherron did last season. Otherwise same script. And if Xavier taking over the force-it-to-the-rim stuff takes this team out of its down-the-middle rhythmn the way Little's mid range game took last year's team out of its rhythm, then I would expect those shots to be reassigned back to Sherron and Cole.

Any team with Collins and Aldrich inherently has a strong north south axis. Too much happening on the wings can take away from that, even if its someone exceptional on the wings. The classic example is Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain down the middle and the Hall-of-Fame shake-and-bake Elgin Baylor on the wing. Bill Sharman had to dump Baylor and pick up a glue guy who could shoot the proto-trey. Sound familiar?

Hence, everyone but Collins and Aldrich are once again glue, though the glue guys--Taylor, Xavier and Marcus--are going to score more because of maturity and/or more talent.

Some of Xavier's force-it-to-rim duties may make him seem like a third go-to guy at times, but if he isn't glue first, last and always, the down the middle game will likely collapse and KU likely won't be its best. So: Xavier is being given one of the most difficult assignments an OAD 3 can be given. He must be glue and he must occasionally be go-to. Most 3s are one or the other. Most cannot be both. Even the greatest KU three of all in my book, Brandon Rush, was never asked to be both. The only supremely talented three that was ever asked to be both glue and go-to was Michael Jordan at UNC. Jordan subordinated to the great Perkins/Worthy/Doherty team. Self has to sell Xavier on doing for KU for one season what MJ did for UNC's experienced team. Xavier must be both glue and go-to, or this KU team must spend the better part of a season searching for a new paradigm.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

What could that paradigm be if Xavier cannot do what MJ did? Detail is for another post. But the Cliff's Note is: Bill Russell and the Celts. Cole becomes only a defensive force. Not a scorer. But I doubt this will happen. I believe Xavier is such a huge talent that he might be able to overcome his freshman limitations in this kind of glue and go-to role.

A sticky Xavier will have these duties:

1.) Play defense as well as Brady (a very tall order for a frosh and one he likely will not be able to achieve);

2.) Take over Brady's post-feeds and outside shooting chores on offense (another very tall order he likely will not equal, at least regarding trifectation);

3.) Take over 5 force-it-to-the-rim attempts from Sherron and do it better than Sherron (probably quite feasible, because of his size and strength and grace, and this will likely offset the loss of Brady's trey gun);

4.) Rebound better than Brady (easy if he works at it).

Xavier taking over Brady's 5 shots a game, plus an alley oop, plus about 5 force-it-to-the-rims a game taken away from Sherron, should give him about 4 trey attempts a game and 5-6 penetration attempts, which ought to net him about 12 ppg including buckets and trips to the FT line off the drives. Occassionally, his numbers will rise to 15-20ppg, but only when an opponent can really put the clamps to both Sherron and Cole. Late in the season he might beast a time or two.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

Marcus will be a very interesting glue man, also, as Self tries to make him split time at the 4 and 3--the latter to get Robinson's rebounding in the game. Of course, no human being has ever been born that likes to swing between 3 and 4 and so 3/4 swingmen are rarer than orgasms over 90 and glue-and-go-to guys at the 3. Mario Little was largely ruined by trying to do it. Julian Wright couldn't do both and keep his head screwed on at all even in practice. The 3/4 swing requires an extremely gifted schizophrenic--half big man brain, half little man brain. But Self knows if he can drive Marcus into 3/4 schizophrenia, he can keep Marcus, Robinson, and Xavier happy with their PT. And he can red shirt Withey and maybe even Little, too.

Frankly, if Xavier and Marcus are willing to settle for the duties of the glue and go-to 3 that I have outlined, then whenever Thomas Robinson is in the game, KU could become the ultimate down the middle team. Great down the middle teams have a monster power forward traditionally--a guy who can let the dominant post man roam at will on both ends of the floor.

If freshman Thomas Robinson could play the 4 like a sophmore, or a junior, and if Marcus Morris can handle 3/4 schizophrenia, and if Xavier can be like Mike, this is a ring team. If not, it is going to be a long hairy season with a team likely morphing into a style of play in February that none of us can probably foresee at this time.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

kushaw,

You did a masterful job of laying out the issues, possible fits, and misfits out through 2011.

Payne eliminated us?

He must think Kieff, Marcus, Robinson and Withey are too tough to crack into.

What a pussy! :-)

Frankly, after last year's ever changing recruiting experience, I am not going to get despondent about losing out on any possibles in the early signing period. De-commits are now part of the game. No sale is final. And we know that as long as John Calipari is coaching, there will always be a significant possibility of picking up some of his recruits when he has to leave town ahead of the next recruiting scandal. Who knows? Maybe Payne has learned that Daniel Orton is going to bail out of UK afterall. :-)

Joe Baker 10 years, 3 months ago

Dang- Thanks for the post JayhawkCasey!

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recruit

Payne, ranked No. 23 overall in the 2010 class, will decide among Arizona, Michigan State, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Here we go again with Kensucky!! Every single recruit is keeping them on their picks, why?

That means my Lamb, Barnes and Payne picks change. So, Payne and Jones are both gone! I just don't think Selby commits to KU. I think we are too guard heavy now. I'm beginning to doubt Lamb and my mind is really racing with Barnes. But if Barnes is all we get from 2010, I can live with it.

All this redshirt talk is spooking these recruits. Self better solidify Barnes.

Dale Kroening 10 years, 3 months ago

Hey jaybate correct me if I'm wrong but didnt a guy name Paul Pierce play the 3 for Kansas ? Nothing against Brandon as he is one of my favorite players but hes no Paul Pierce. In the league Pierce has played the 2 and the 3 position and is listed as a guard /forward. IMHO Pierce was the best 3 KU has ever had. I will say this though, in college, Brandon was a better defender, but Paul was better on offense. No question I'd take Paul over Brandon or X anyday for that matter. Off the subject of sf , I'm willing to bet TRob will be the starting PF and Releford either starts at the 3 or will be one of the first players off the bench. And as far as redshirts , it sounds more and more like it could be Reed and EJ.

Dale Kroening 10 years, 3 months ago

Truehawk93 trust HCBS, we will be just fine as far as recruiting goes for next year. All you have to do is look at his track record since he's been here. Nothing against ol Roy, but Self is a better recruiter hands down. We will be just fine, we are KU.

KULA 10 years, 3 months ago

Just curious--has a redshirt ever been drafted? Without actually playing college ball?

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

cap10d: Anytime my posts get confused with a Jaybate post than that is truly an honor in itself. I am not completely sure, cap10d, but I think your reference to Pierce and Rush comes from my post calling the "3" the designated title the "Rush Spot". There are some reasons why I call it this rather than the "Pierce Spot" or the "PP (Pierce Postion)" because it doesn't really have a good flow. Granted, I will also agree that Paul Pierce is the greatest "Rush Spot" to ever play at Kansas, but the "Rush Spot" is not all about indivdual excellence.

The "Rush Spot" involves not only individual excellence, but team excellence as well. Even though Paul Pierce was an all-around better player, Rush was the consumate unselfish teammate on a Championship team. Because of that "Title" I thought it was only fitting to honor a player like Rush even though I don't think he was quite as good as Paul Pierce. However, there were some things that Brandon Rush did better than Paul Pierce so it is almost a "Wash" if you look strictly at their college careers.

Creating: Edge Pierce Getting to the Rim: Edge Pierce Overall Scoring ability: Edge Pierce Unselfishness: Edge Rush Shooting behind the Arc: Edge Rush Shooting Consistency: Edge Rush-Pierce if you remember didn't have that great of shot behind 3 point land and he shooting didn't really become consistent until he got in the NBA Defense: Edge Rush Confidence: Edge Pierce-You always knew Pierce was in control-Rush wanted to defer and sometimes looked like he had "Self Doubt" Overall Game: Edge Pierce, but I will take the components and "Team Make-up" of the 2008 team over the 96-97 team anyday of the week.

Pierce on individual accolades alone will always be remembered as one of the greatest players ever to put on a KU uniform that played on one of the greatest KU teams ever that came up short.

Brandon Rush will always be known as a Great Unselfish player that played on the greatest team in KU history. There is no gurantee that his uniform will hang from the rafters (I think it should), but I think it's only fitting to give a guy who may not receive all the great individual accolades this fan designation "Rush Spot". Going forward and with future teams at KU, the 3 position will always be a focal point and quite honestly I think most of us will hope that future recruits can play the "Rush Spot"................well, in the same manner that Brandon Rush played in his days at Kansas and bring KU another championship.

Paul Brozik 10 years, 3 months ago

kushaw

I hate to rag on a jayhawk but I didn't see Rush as unselfish but unaggressive and a little bit of an underachiever. Its a good thing there was guys like Chalmer and Collins who wanted the rock in pressure situations. If Rush would not have blown out his knee, he would have been remembered as the guy who left campus for the nba without making an announcement or saying thank you to KU. made it look like he was just using KU as a stepping stone. I even remember coach Self being disappointed in Rush at the time. I will give Rush credit for embracing the fans and university his final season and there is no doubt we would not have won the NC without him but I think if not for his blown out knee his reputation would be alot different around here. With that being said I think you should reconsider "Rush Spot".

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

sabd: Very true about those things you said! You are right, maybe Rush was using KU, but I don't blame him one bit. It's probably good that things work out the way they do because hadn't Rush blown out his knee then I wouldn't have been able to see that almost perfect beautfiul stroke for Rush's junior and final year. You can call it unaggressive, I will still call it unselfish. I love the "Sterotypes" that we as fans place on players. Pierce, even though he wasn't a great shooter in college, is the utltimate image we as fans have as a versatile "Rush Spot". But, not being a great shooter........is that really considered versatile? I'm not saying Rush was versatile either, but he knew his role and hit "Big Time" shots down the stretch in big games thorughout his career. Because Pierce attacked the rim, was a slasher, and "The Guy" on KU's teams he is considered "Aggressive". Because Rush was a "Shooting" 3 he is not considered "Aggressive". Maybe Rush was just "Aggressive" in his "Pure Stroke"? His game wasn't perfect, but Rush was not Billy Thomas by any stretch of the imagination. You are indeed right, Robinson, Collins, and Chalmers did "Create" opportunities on a regular basis for Rush, but he wasn't a lottery pick because he was chop liver. Maybe if Paul Pierce could have knocked the tri fecta on a regular and consistent basis as Rush did (Maybe Billy Thomas should be to blame) inconsistencies) than that would have opened up the middle more for Lafrentz and Pollard and company instead of clogging up the middle.

This just shows that Pierce and Rush played the positions differently. Back in the day, Roy Williams had a specific way of using the "Rush Spot" and it was the way in which he used Paul Pierce. Self runs a "Pro-Style" offense and players like Brandon Rush who are 6'7 and 210 pounds are going to be attracted to play that position here at KU. Paul Pierce during his career at KU was 108-304 on 3pt FG efficiency at 35.5% percent for his career. Brandon Rush was 205-471 on 3pt FG efficiency at 43.5%. It just shows that a majority of Pierce's points came from inside of the arc and Rush's came from outside of the arc. It doesn't matter how you get your points or who is "Creating" your points for you as long as you are productive. Rush, even though not the best slasher in the world.......... considering his athletic ability and height, was a terrific shooter and a great rebounder for his position. Pierce averaged 6.3 rebounds a game during his career at KU and considering how much Rush played on the perimeter and wing (More so than Pierce because he guarded bigger guys a lot of time) and still averaged 5.6 rebounds a game for his career.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

On Bill Self's squads or as jaybate would say "Okie Baller" his guards and combo guards are the ones going to be doing the "Creating". Take a look at Roy Williams Championship team from last year. Who did all the creating on that team? It was Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson. Danny Green who played the "Rush Spot" was basically a "Spot-Up" shooter and now is on the Cavalier roster. Would you say Danny Green jumping over Greg Paulus and dunking on his head is "Unaggressive"? I think it's funny that even though Roy Williams still runs the Dean Smith Secondary Break, you can find some "Okie Ball" in Williams offense now days.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

I wonder what your opinion of Xavier Henry will be this upcoming season? Guys at the "Rush Spot" in college who are 6'6, 6'7, 6'8, and even 6'9 don't won't to be viewed like the Paul Pierce's of the old days as just "Aggressive" guys who can slash and take it to the rim. They want to be viewed as guys who can "Shoot". Now, the ultimate goal is to be able to shoot and slash, but very few have gotten there. Paul Pierce was great in college and he has become a legend in the NBA becasuse of his ability to add the "Stroke" to his game. Rush was great in college and it is yet to be determined whether or not he can add the "Slashing" to his game in the NBA. I understand what you're saying, but I think Brandon Rush's individual (He was a two time preseason All-American) and team accomplishments warrant a title as generous as the "Rush Spot" for the ultimate position for future recruits who want to play "3" not only at the college level, but in the NBA as well.

Paul Brozik 10 years, 3 months ago

I just think it even took Self two years to figure out that even though Rush was the most talented player in the backcourt he wasn't a guy that wanted to create offense by himself. So his unselfishness was hurting the team his first two years. So I will say maybe Self deserves some of the blame for not figuring that out sooner but its hard to fault him for expecting Rush not to be that guy when he arrived.

I will say I hope that X is a Rush type player most of the time. But I think the team might need X to be more than that only when Sherron is on the bench or if he gets in foul trouble and the opposing team packs it in on Cole. Then he might have to be the one to create offense by attacking the rim. Hopefully the team is not in that situation when it counts :)

Dale Kroening 10 years, 3 months ago

Well said kushaw, I agree with some of what you said but not all. IMHO Rush's jersey should hang from the rafters someday as you said, and I dont think we win the NC without him. Im not sure what preseason honors PP recieved, but he was 1st team All American as a junior his last year. Hopefully X can be somewhere in between the 2. We could argue all day about which team was better or more talented the 96-97 team or the 08 NC team, but the bottom line is the 08 team got it done and the 96-97 team didnt, and that gives Rush the edge in a way, but if it came down to it I would still rather have Pierce, but thats just my opinion. RCJH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

cap10d,

There is a lot of love for Paul Pierce, because he was a terrific offensive player at KU. And KU fans feel vindicated about Pierce, because even though he couldn't get a ring in college, he won an NBA ring as the hub of the Celtics.

I would take Brandon Rush any time, anywhere, any place, for any kind of a game of college basketball.

Rush was by far the better college basketball player. Not even close IMHO.

Rush came to program in transition with barely established Bill Self, and to a team with no returning core, and promptly mastered every role a 3 can be asked to perform in college.

Carried the offense and the defense as a freshman and won a conference ring.

Subordinated his game totally into a totally diversified team concept as a sophmore, defended everyone from the 1 to the 4 positions and won the conference.

And in the most superhuman achievement of all, blew a knee, rehabbed it through half a season and then again subordinating his game to a totally diversified team concept, led one of the greatest defenses in the history of college basketball to a national championship, while acting as the bulwark of the offense, also.

Pierce was a scorer on a team that played largely through its bigs, a player who never won a ring at KU. And he had the benefit of playing for an established coach and that coaches by then established program. Period. End of comparison.

Pierce looks to be the better pro, so far. But Pierce went to an organization in chaos that made him the first. or second option of the team from his first year. Rush had to wait a year to get that treatment. The Pacers are retooling for him to be a second option this, his second season.

I know Rush has not been near the scorer that Pierce was early on. But I would not be at all surprise if Rush exceeds Pierce as a pro, if his knee permits and if he is lucky enough to find his Kevin Garnett early, not late, as Pierce did.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate: I am in a hurry and my wife is screaming for me to get out the door, but that same thinking with KG and Pierce could be applied with Kirk Hinrich. I think a "Great" point guard is only good as the "Big Men" you have on your roster. It is definitely obvious that since Hinrich has been in the "League" there has been more pressure on him than should be warranted for a point guard. I really wish Hinrich could get to a decent team with a good post game so his overall game can flourish in his veteran years in the league. "Ok honey, I'm coming"! LOL! There is a reason that Stockton and Malone and Malone and Stockton are said in the same sentence. There is a reason why Mark Price's best years were with Brad Daugherty (SP?) at center. There is a reason why Tony Parker and Duncan go together. Even an average point guard like Avery Johnson needed two in Duncan and Robinson to flourish. Mark Jackson and Ewing were a great combo for years. Kenny Smith and Olajuawon (Sp?) didn't win two championships for nothing. Somebody make a trade so Hinrich can flourish again!

Dale Kroening 10 years, 3 months ago

jaybate (anonymous) says... cap10d,

I would take Brandon Rush any time, anywhere, any place, for any kind of a game of college basketball.

Rush was by far the better college basketball player. Not even close IMHO.

Not even close ? That is crazy !! Gimme some of what your smoking, cause I'd like to try it.

Dale Kroening 10 years, 3 months ago

As far as Rush in the league, he's penciled in to be Indy's starting sg. He really came on toward the end of last season when given the chance. I think given the continued oportunity, and if he can stay away from injuries he will have a productive career, but I'd be very surprized to see him surpass Pauls NBA career. You never know,but I'll always root for both of them as well as all KU players in the league.

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

cap10d,

I mainline this new miracle drug called reality. Try it. You'll see instantly why Rush was the better college player. :-)

jaybate 10 years, 3 months ago

kushaw,

Once again you put it exactly right. There is symbiosis between the PG and the post.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 3 months ago

Withey might qualify for a "special exemption" red shirt because of his knee and it would only apply to the second semester this year but be considered a year's worth of redshirting.

However, 100 would be heart broken if Jeff and Cole never see the floor together....I don't blame

Priest Fontaine 10 years, 3 months ago

unless jeff doesnt heal as expected then there's no way he red shirts. only probably redshirts are reed and EJ. I was really looking forward to seeing these guys in action this year. we are just too loaded. it may be best for the both of them and for our team if they redshirt. a guess it is a good problem to have... Trying to watch KU football in NYC has been a nightmare thanks to us being locked into Versus. Dont really know what's going on with that. I finally caught a game last week. Just in time to see us get humiliated. game was not even being broadcasted on an HD signal. picture all pixelated. step it up.

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