Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jayhawks hoops players voice support for football team


There’s a pretty good football team lurking in Kansas University’s basketball locker room.

“We’ve got (Conner) Teahan at quarterback. I can be a tight end. I don’t know if Sherron (Collins) can play running back as well as Adrian Peterson can, though,” KU junior hoops center Cole Aldrich said with a laugh.

Collins, KU’s 5-foot-11 senior point guard, was a standout running back, wide receiver and defensive back at Chicago Crane High. He broke the Chicago Public League record with 250 receiving yards against Carver his sophomore season.

“I miss it. Yeah, I miss it a lot,” Collins, a quarterback in middle school, said of life on the gridiron.

Teahan was a standout varsity quarterback at Rockhurst High in Kansas City, Mo.

“There was a moment, a month right after my senior football season ended, that if Kansas football offered me a scholarship, I would have gone there (for football),” said the 6-foot-5 Teahan, who elected to walk on to KU’s basketball team rather than pursue football and basketball scholarship opportunities.

In basketball, he heard from Wichita State, Illinois State, Missouri State, as well as Tennessee, Mississippi, Washington State, Kansas State and Pepperdine. In football, he received some interest from Kansas State, Missouri, Wisconsin, Washington and Stanford, among others.

“Obviously that never happened. I’d say if I ever got a scholarship here, I’d probably be playing football here. I just love Kansas as a school. I love Kansas basketball more than anything, by far. Growing up here, I just love to represent Kansas,” Teahan added.

Aldrich did not play football at Jefferson High in Bloomington, Minn. Nonetheless, he’s a huge Minnesota Vikings fan and KU grid fan.

He and his teammates will be in the stands for today’s sold-out 6 p.m. football opener between KU and Northern Colorado.

“We always look forward to the football games,” Aldrich said. “It’s one of the things you are back at school and waiting for something to look forward to. Basketball season is a little bit off. Once football starts, it’s, ‘Hey, basketball is right around the corner.’ It’s always fun because they (Jayhawks) are going to do real well again this year.”

Freshman big man Thomas Robinson, who would be an imposing lineman or tight end at 6-foot-9 and 235 pounds, is ready for his first KU football game.

“Our team will be real good this year. I’m going to show my support because I know they’ll do the same for us,” Robinson said.

Did you know?

Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self played quarterback in grade school through his freshman year of high school in the football-crazed state of Oklahoma.

“Football is great. Nothing does more for the enthusiasm or energy on campus than football. The home games are so exciting,” said Self, who enjoys tailgating with KU’s players and coaches, then sitting in his own suite during the games. “All our players go to the games all the time.”

Aldrich hits weights

KU’s Cole Aldrich recently hang-cleaned 305 pounds in the weightroom and now is second on the team in that particular exercise.

“Tyrel (Reed) did 308 this summer, so I’m closing in on him,” Aldrich said of his roommate and team leader.

Anything over 300 pounds is considered outstanding for a college big man.

“I’m not shocked,” said Aldrich, who hang-cleaned 286 last year. “I’ve worked hard to try to get stronger this summer. It’s really paid off.”

More on Cole, NBA

In a Sporting News Q and A, Aldrich was asked: “If you could only have one, what would it be: Winning a second national championship or becoming the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

His answer: “Let’s see. I’ve got my national championship right now. I’m a little greedy — I’d love both of ’em — but if I had to choose one, I’d say get another national championship and just have the opportunity to play at the professional level.”

The Aldrich Q and A is available at this link.


mikehawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Cut Conner open and he bleeds Crimson and Blue. I like it! What a great representative of everything Jayhawk.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 4 months ago

i'm sure if Collins would get into football shape, he'd be a dandy for us. good hands and good moves for sure. He was also a very good pitcher in baseball....quite the athlete.

UncleMiltyN 10 years, 4 months ago

After years of criticizing this paper for not knowing when football season starts...I actually enjoyed this article. There have been many a year where LJW would barely cover the football team while giving page after page to basketball. It is Lawrence, KS after all, but.....

For those of us stoked for football, but drooling for basketball to start...this is a decent article on football gameday. Know thy audience.

I personally would have loved to watch Collins play a little pigskin. Not only is he fast and strong, he has that competitiveness and mild mean streak that would make him an excellent football player at just about any level.

DallasHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

I love Teahan's comments... It's nice to see athletes that have as much love for the University as the alumni and fans do. Rock Chalk Baby!!!

Milhawkee 10 years, 4 months ago

Maybe Sherron could pull a Greg Paulus?

Eliott Reeder 10 years, 4 months ago

Why in the world didn't Mangino offer Teahan a football scholly?

b_asinbeer 10 years, 4 months ago

What's in November? Thanksgiving is a long time away...I suggest enjoying halloween first.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

Amazes me that Cole and Reed can out lift Sherron. Sherron looks soooooooo strong.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

Questions While Wishing It Weren't Monday:

} Will this year's team be the ultimate "play-it-anyway-you-want" team? It appears they will have even more versatility than Self's first NC team. They will be able to play athletic in the half court, because Self can put impact players at all five positions, when he wants to. They will be able to annihilate zones, because they are going to have so many 40% trey shootersto stretch a zone and good big men to make the opponent pay inside for stretching outside. They will be able to play smash mouth, because Sherron always could, Hudy has turned a bunch of baby fat into bull muscle, and Frank Matriciano has turned Brady into a Navy Seal in Chucks. They will be able to run for 40 minutes, because of phenomenal depth. They will even be able run and press for 40 minutes, because of this depth. They will be able to go tall, small, or between. They will be able play Self Defense, zone defense, zone press, and m2m press, because of the motors and talent and depth. About the only thing this team lacks is a great back-to-the-basket post-creator. Cole is no slouch in this capacity, but it is probably the one aspect of his game (other than strength, which he apparently addressed this summer) in which he is not extremely dangerous. They will be able to play foul ball and war of attritition with the best of them. Anyone else see an obvious missing piece?

} Will Self be able to turn this large number of talented players into something more than an incredibly rich stew? Can he turn it into one of his typically tough, resilient, flexible, improvisational, but still disciplined and remarkably cohesive teams, or is he about to discover the upper limits of his system's capacity to combine loads of talent in to a lean, mean winning machine?

I can't say why exactly, but I have a feeling that Self was destined to face this challenge--the challenge of how to handle too much talent. He has been on a consistent, disciplined march toward success his entire career and sooner or later it was inevitable that the tides of recruiting would finally shift utterly in his direction, at least for a time. This is not just one of his most talented teams; this team is Woodenesque at the height of his career; this team is Coach K-esque at the zenith of his career; this team is stacked to the Allen Field House scoreboard. And now Self has his appointment with destiny. Now he has to avoid the risk of catastrophic success and negotiate himself and his program into lasting triumph. He has to meet this challenge of team building while awash in talent, or watch the opportunity he has worked towards for a life time recede in his rear view mirror, likely never to recur.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

People used to say in the Wooden era that Wooden would never be able to keep his teams happy and cohesive, because they were brimming with so many talented players. And Wooden did often have problems, having had to dismiss a few players grown disruptive about lack of PT. But for the better part of ten years he overcame the problem and won championships and kept getting more and deeper talent on his teams. Can Self?

Self's strength is the same as Wooden's and a few other great coaches--the players like and trust him to lead them into battle, whatever else they may think about him, or their situations. He has the can-do scent. He recruits players receptive to his message and then communicates it clearly. Work. Be men. Defend. Think Next. Have Fun. Believe. Who wouldn't want to play for a smart, handsome, funny, successful guy with this message?

Outside of the usual buggaboo of injuries, Self's main vulnerability will be his own apparent occasional tendency to get overwhelmed by complexity of possibility in the moment during games. He clearly has a great, and frankly, atypically nonlinear basketball mind, so it arise rarely, and less and less as he matures as a coach. But it still happens.

Wooden, Knight, and Coach K were guys who worked it all out before the game and then just kept boring down on it through out the game. Self on the other hand is a guy, who can and does shift gears during a game. And he isn't doing it entirely on statistics and a prefab differential diagnosis of do this if this, or do that if that, or else do this if this, etc. One can watch Self on the bench and know that while on the one hand he is very heady and thinking about all kinds of options, he is at the same time a huge believer in feel and nonlinear leaps of what ought to be the next move. He is at his best, when a game is dynamic and several tactical dynamics are evolving. He has a sixth sense for how they will converge and a sense of timing about when; this is a great sixth sense to have, because he is a devotee of the match-up advantage. And he appears to understand match-up advantages not only one on one, but in various permutations and combinations--on the perimeter as a group and inside as a group. He has a great feel not only for the impact of moving one player on to another, but also of the ripple effect it will have on the rest of the match-ups, whether or not he always makes the move. As a result, he is often able to stand pat, or switch suddenly ahead of the opposing coaches in recognition of and pursuit of these match-up advantages. At other times he is willing to be reactive. At times he is like a cat playing with a mouse and the other coach is the mouse.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

But from time to time, Self can let the game get so fluid and dynamic that even he gets sensory overload. These are the times when you see him sitting back and smoothing the hair on his head and trying to regain composure, or when he is up and talking and pacing with eyes wide and body language tense. These are moments when even he can't process it all fast enough, and he is darned good at processing. His very ability to coach the way he coaches and let his teams play so many ways often takes other coaches out of their depth, but at the same times on occasions takes even him out of his depth.

It is worth noting here that Self talks in fractured syntax, apparently because he is a nonlinear thinker. He seems to see and think of the game in global and spatial terms.

Certain persons in all fields are like this. Eisenhower was like this in war. He was famous for his ability to embrace enormous amounts of strategies and tactics, being willing to use almost any situationally, and be a glutton for data about the opponent and about his own organization, and yet often waited and searched for and responded to entirely nonlinearly perceived opportunities, sometimes even hunches, the most famous being the day to launch D-Day.

Talk to a painter, or a photographer, or a movie camera man, or a set designer, or a musician and they often have a great deal of trouble explaining in clean linear language what they see and grasp and do, because what they see (or hear) and grasp is rather global and what they notice within it is spatial (and tonal) and rhythmic patterns changing within that window of site and sound. They literally can't express what they see in this graphically contoured global (music, math, and the visual all have topologies) world view through clean linear sentences any better than a mathematician can adequately describe in plain English some of the more complex and dynamic topologies he can rather elegantly formalize in expressions and equations. What KU does on the floor is what Self composes the team to do. What he thinks can only be understood by what the team does. His words can't do it justice. He really can't explain quite a lot of the dynamics of it in a tidy sequence, because that is not how it is to him. But he can show to players, and to fans, to anyone who wants to look what the game looks like by the way his teams play. They play the game differently than other teams, because Self sees it differently.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

But mathematicians can get lost in the numbers, painters can get overwhelmed by how to mix the colors, composers can become bewildered by what the next step of a symphony should be, a photographer can have too many elements to keep composed, and a basketball coach can have too many moving players with too many capabilities interacting with an opponent and get overwhelmed, too.

As with every team, Self will have to find the critical path of players to play through with this team, the spine of this team, the strength of it, the theme that the variations can be run off of.

But with a team like this he is going to face the great temptation to let it play like an amoeba, to let its abundance of talent in all dimensions allow it to go off in all directions to entrap and ingest and digest its prey in unique and different ways each game. In short, he is going to be tempted to let go away from what he knows about team building and take a risk on taking the concept of the team, and of coaching a team, and of the game itself to a new level, to, as Captain Kirk used to say, boldly go where no man has ever gone before.

If this were Bob Knight's team, there would be no question how it would go. He would take the cream of the cream of this talent and turn it into the most formidable 8 man team that he possibly could and tell the rest of the guys to park their butts on the bench and wait for next year. Same with Wooden.

But Self is a different creature than Knight and Wooden, even though he springs from the same Iba fountain of influence that they did, too. Self has a lot of them in him. But he also has this strange, nonlinear, intuitive, improvisational streak in him maybe partly from Larry Brown's influence, and almost certainly from Self's own way of viewing the world that I have described above.

Self is very capable of stepping way off into the unknown as occurred in that first ten minutes of the UNC game with that swarming, thieving, gambling passing lane defense. He is capable of playing smash mouth against an opponent that actually seems more suited to playing smash mouth than his own team. He has already gone farther down the path of "Play-it-anyway-you-want" and "take-what-they-give-us" than any other coach in the history of the game.

So: while Coach Self will probably go the conventional route and work toward 8 players in March, by listening to the little Iba, Knight and Wooden on his right shoulder whispering in his ear, I cannot completely rule out that he may listen to Kirk and Larry Brown and his own inner self and boldly go with this team where no coach has ever gone before.

It is going to be thrilling to watch this all play out.

hawk316 10 years, 4 months ago

You gotta love Teahan's attitude, though. Here's a guy who could have had a full scholarship to a number of other D-1 schools and probably done reasonably well. But he would rather pay his own way for the privilege of being a benchwarmer (primarily) on the Jayhawks. Before it's all said and done, this young man may yet hit a few key three's for us. Conner, thanks for choosing KU.

waywardJay 10 years, 4 months ago

Jaybate. Wow. I'm overwhelmed. Bill Self as Kevin Spacey, and Bob Knight in one. INteresting thought. The fact he paints his lineups. Interesting thought indeed.

brooksmd 10 years, 4 months ago

Jaybate, thanks. I have just suffered a spatial, nonlinear, cranial collapse.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago


Take two aspirin and I'll bill ya in the morning. Where's my co pay? :-)

Seriously, this is why I love about writing about this particular issue, i.e., the different ways different persons filter reality.

When the global, spatial nonlinearists, like Self, do what they do, the local, elemental sequentialists (like docs trained brilliantly in differential diagnoses) sit their and try to disaggregate and see how all the building blocks can be assembled in order to understand how the treatment and symptom management was accomplished, or alternatively tune everything out and enjoy the floor of the game without a clue how it is happening.

Alternatively, when the local, elemental sequentialists are working through their differentials with all the rapidity that a high IQ enables to isolate with high probability the disease and related bug and appropriate spectrum of antibiotic, then the global, spatial nonlinearists are scratching their heads and trying to figure out how they do it.

All these different wonderful, miraculous, equilibrium perception/processing patterns practically leave us speaking different languages about the world we experience, process, and act upon.

Now do you see why the patients some times go home and don't do what you tell them, no matter how painstakingly you lay it out for them. It is not just variances in IQ and processing speed and phobia and laziness that doctors in frustration accuse patients of. Its not just the science medicine is based on that patients are not trained in that is keeping them from getting it. It is not that they fail to grasp probabilistic analyses of data sets and study methodologies. You literally may not think the same way some of them do, and vice versa.

You've got a time constraint and want to get to the pathogen ASAP-the key part of the whole. But some of them think the whole is key. Because its your office and your meter you get to impose the reduction to the part. But afterwards, at their home, old man global, spatial nonlinearity resumes being trump. And the pills don't get taken for the full course. And they don't follow the prescribed treatment program generally. me anyway.

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