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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Keegan

KU sophomores Elijah Johnson, Thomas Robinson make most of minutes vs. Memphis

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson gets physical with Memphis forward Tarik Black during the second half of the Jimmy V Classic Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Robinson had a double-double: 10 points, 10 boards.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson gets physical with Memphis forward Tarik Black during the second half of the Jimmy V Classic Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Robinson had a double-double: 10 points, 10 boards.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Selections from KU coach Bill Self's press conference following the Jayhawks' 81-68 victory over Memphis on Dec. 7, 2010.

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— Ideally, by the time conference play starts Jan. 12 in Ames, Iowa:

Markieff Morris will have mastered the art of playing defense with his feet, not his hands, and can consistently play 30 minutes a game.

Josh Selby, playing in his seventh game, will have gotten the hang of learning what shots that used to make sense no longer do because he’s playing alongside so much more talent. By then, if he’s as fast a learner as he is a basketball player, he’ll understand the value of a possession and keep the risky plays to a minimum.

Meanwhile, not having a guard besides Tyshawn Taylor in the starting lineup who’s a natural at breaking pressure, and not being able to count on big minutes from Markieff Morris hasn’t killed Kansas, ranked fourth in the nation and undefeated in eight games.

Markieff’s consistent inability to avoid foul trouble has meant more playing time for sophomore Thomas Robinson. More minutes have translated to more confident, comfortable efforts from the muscle-bound, 6-foot-9, 237-pound sophomore post player who contributes a ton of energy and athleticism off the bench.

In the long run, the minutes Robinson’s getting now will make Kansas a better team. So too will the absence of Selby because of the extra pressure it places on Taylor, who’s handling it well, and the additional playing time for sophomore Elijah Johnson.

Taylor’s need to be the guy who gets to the paint to create high-percentage shots for teammates has resulted in him taming the wild child within. It’s still there, but it has become the exception, not the rule.

Taylor needed another quick ball-handler to help him with the pressure and to give him some rest Tuesday night when Kansas handed 13th-ranked Memphis its first loss, 81-68.

Johnson answered the call in an efficient way, contributing seven points, three assists, a steal and a dunk on a lob. Best of all, he didn’t commit a turnover. He made all three of his field-goal attempts and his only free throw.

Markieff spent all but seven minutes of the first half on the bench with two fouls. Hitting the boards hard, Robinson made sure that didn’t cost Kansas the game. In just 15 minutes of action, Robinson contributed 10 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.

One of those rebounds came when he ripped the ball right out of a Memphis player’s hands. Robinson missed the easy shot after that, but it was an extremely impressive display of strength.

“Thomas was our best performer tonight,” Self said. “I thought he played really well, and he played smart and was under control. We’ve got a fun team, but we’re wild. We’ve got to harness some of that, but with Thomas, that’s what makes him good.”

The pieces were there with Thomas last season, and the effort was always all-out. It’s just that he didn’t always seem very aware of his surroundings. Offensive fouls, errant passes and rushed shots led to long stretches on the bench. In other words, he was a freshman, and now he’s a sophomore.

“The game’s not moving 100 mph,” Robinson said of the biggest difference from his freshman and sophomore seasons. “I actually know what’s going on. I’ve got a year under my belt. I know the offense now. There aren’t too many things rushing me. I feel like I see most of what’s coming at me.”

Johnson played 21 minutes, matching a career-high set in last season’s blowout victory against Alcorn State.

Johnson’s not thinking about what his role will be when Selby joins the team. That’s an abstract thought. He’s concentrating on the concrete thoughts, the here and now.

“Tyshawn, when he needs to rest, he needs to know when he goes to the bench he doesn’t need to worry about needing to get the lead back up when he gets back out there,” Johnson said.

Sophomores have an easier time understanding how to fit in than do freshmen.

“I understand how valuable Thomas and my role is to the team,” Johnson said. “Tyshawn can build a 20-point lead with the twins, and me and T-Rob can come in and change that to an 11-point lead. At first, I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was, but it’s a momentum thing. You give a team momentum, they can come back and beat you.”

If Markieff Morris can stay on the floor more than the 20.4 minutes he’s averaging so far, Robinson’s minutes might decline a little. Selby’s addition will make it more difficult for Johnson to find playing time. As long as the sophomores continue to make the most of the time they get, everybody wins.

Comments

Hank Cross 10 years, 10 months ago

What about Releford? Brady keeps taking minutes w/o doing anything to merit that amount of time. And before someone talks about that 3, a starting guard on a nationally ranked team is supposed to be able to hit a wide open 3.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

Brady's four turnovers in 30 minutes were not good, but Releford's 2 turnovers in 9 minutes were worse.

I'm not opposed to Releford or Selby or whoever cutting into Brady's minutes, which undoubtedly will happen, but it's obvious that some people on these message boards just have it in for the kid.

flyingfinn 10 years, 10 months ago

Give me a break...when Releford can play as good of defense as Brady, if that is possible, he'll get more time

Trob4prez 10 years, 10 months ago

I guess hanging on to opponents jerseys and letting them drag you through the lane is good d?

MIZNIT 10 years, 10 months ago

Brady? D? When? Where? The only thing he brings to the table is his ability to feed the post. Not his overall passing, because that is beyond poor! Releford deserves a lot of Brady's minutes.

Ryan Shelton 10 years, 10 months ago

Coach Self has consistently said that Brady is the team's best defender over the last few years. I trust Coach.

Allin Herring 10 years, 10 months ago

I agree with you oklahawk. coach Self has mentioned Bradys good defense on several post game interviews. If he was that bad Coach would have pulled him. I think I trust Coach Selfs apprasials more than some of the folks on this board.

One thing he could do is fined a way to improve Taylor and Marcus's free throwing. They both are horrible. Having Marcus getting fouled is like a turnover.

BillSelfsLittleBrother 10 years, 10 months ago

Agreed. Brady, our supposed best defender, gave up only 33 points to one player in the last game, not to mention he went under a screen on a guy who had shot lights out all game when we were up by 3!!! I dont care what Brady is good at anyways, let Travis and EJ get some PT so they can develop. They have more upside, while Brady reached his potential 2 years ago. I mean cmon, Brady played 32 minutes against UCLA while Travis and EJ played 9 and 10 respectively. It makes no difference to me how were playing this time of year, what matters is how were playing come March. Give Travis and EJ some of those 32 min because they are raw and Brady is overcooked. Self says we play better when Brady is in the game, well what does he do to make us play better? Nothing that EJ and Travis cant do and eventually will be able to do better than Brady with some more PT.

BillSelfsLittleBrother 10 years, 10 months ago

It doesnt take high bball iq to see that Brady gave up 33 pts to honeycutt the other, hes our "defensive stopper" and cant stop honeycutt from putting up 33 on us. And its also obvious Brady is considerably less talented then some of the players on the bench. We had one great run with a team that was head over heals better than anyone in the country...other than that Coach Self has led us to about the 2nd round every year, Bradys lack of explosiveness definitely contributed to our 2nd round exit last year, just sayin...

BillSelfsLittleBrother 10 years, 10 months ago

O yea and not to mention, Bill and Roger Morningstar are very good friends, o yea and Brady is also from Lawrence. Dude cant ball like Elijah and Travis...hes more on the same level as conor teahan and Jordan Jeunneman

JayViking 10 years, 10 months ago

Brady didn't guard the guy all game. Not to mention he gave up 5 inches on the kid.

Look at the tape. Brady was the only one that slowed Honeycutt down. Look at Self's quotes. Again, Brady was our best option against him.

We could have had Rush on this guy and it may not have mattered. He was making turn around fade aways all over the court.

honk_for_hawks 10 years, 10 months ago

Brady is in because generally he doesn't make mistakes, he feeds the post better than most of the other guards, he is a good shooter (although he hasn't had the best start this year or the best end to last year), and he hustles his butt off chasing shooters around on the perimeter. I agree that at least last night releford would have been a better option to guard honeycutt due to the huge height discrepancy, but that kid played lights out. I don't know that anybody on our team could have held him under 30.

Hank Cross 10 years, 10 months ago

@kusports-Please don't ever criticize the gov't again because under your logic, only people who hold a position can really evaluate their job performance. In fact, don't vote - I'm serious. Uncritical thinking voters such as yourself have done enough damage to this country.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 10 months ago

This a sports board. Specifically a Kansas Basketball Board. Keep your political analogies to your self.

BillSelfsLittleBrother 10 years, 10 months ago

Yea I mean, HCBS is a great coach, but hes not perfect. If he was perfect we would have at least one more national championship by now.

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

They will see more PT if the rest of the team plays how they are supposed to.

Despite his turnovers in the Memphis and UCLA games, Brady tends to be a stabilizing force on the team and he usually makes his free throws. A stabilizing influence is extremely important for this team and Self is clearly looking to Reed and Brady as the key guys in that respect. Down the stretch, we also need Brady to get back to hitting from beyond the arc consistently.

Perhaps more importantly, keeping Brady in will make it easier to make the transition to starting Selby.

During the remainder of the non-conference schedule, we will probably see Self experiment with starting line-ups of Marcus, Markieff, Taylor, Selby + Releford or Little or Reed or Brady.

Little is 2-7 from beyond the arc and 8-13 from the line. Releford is 8-17 from beyond the arc and 2-5 from the line. Reed is 11-32 from beyond the arc and 14-14 from the line. Brady is 4-13 from beyond the arc and 3-3 from the line.

Based on those numbers, I have to think that Reed would be the one of those four to start the game and to end the game in a close one. I would guess that Little and Releford should see 20 or 30 minutes each throughout the rest of the non-conference schedule.

Robert Murphy 10 years, 10 months ago

You forgot about Johnson who ultimately should be better than all four. So much talent so little playing time.

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

EJ's role is at the point. He will be in rotation with Taylor and Selby.

Brady and Reed are 2s. Releford and Little are 3s that can also play the 4 in college hoops.

ku_foaf 10 years, 10 months ago

Yeah! What the heck is with Brady! Why can't a 6' 4" guy like him guard a 6' 8" guy like Honeycutt?

Travis Warner 10 years, 10 months ago

Self said that Brady did a great job against Honeycutt and that almost all of his points came against other people. He said that like 9 points were against Brady. Go listen to the post game comments. You may not understand the leadership and lock down D that he brings. I glad Bill Self is our coach. He understands how to win games. It's not all about flash and dazzle.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK BRADY!!!

Ron Franklin 10 years, 10 months ago

" Brady, our supposed best defender, gave up only 33 points to one player in the last game, not to mention he went under a screen on a guy who had shot lights out all game when we were up by 3!!!"

Do you honestly think that Tyler Honeycutt scored all of his 33 points on Brady?

If you do, you need to rewatch the tape and you'll see about 12 points came on Brady.

As far as continuing to hate on Brady for going under that screen, instead of over it, let us also consider this:

Within the last minutes, Tyrell got trapped on the baseline and threw the ball away. Marcus drove to the basket and charged, causing a turnover, and Mario took three shot attempts instead of holding the ball. Yet, you want to point all of the fingers at Brady because he went under a screen?

The last play down, Marcus nearly through the ball away because he blindly thinks he can dribble behind his back. He's lucky Little was there to save his Ace.

But you're right, it was Brady's fault that UCLA game came down to the wire.

addlime 10 years, 10 months ago

Good observation on the Marcus behind the back dribble. Messed that up again last night!

nohohawk 10 years, 10 months ago

You guys say Brady is a great defender but the last few games I sit here watch his man go right by him. And many times when that man does go by him, he has to get help from the bigs and that's what is getting us in foul trouble down low. He seems to play good defense off the ball, but as soon as his man gets the ball it's all over. Tired of watching this crappy effort. I'm sure the Morris twins are sick of it also because they are the one's that end up taking the foul while trying to help Brady's lack of defensive effort.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

Really? In the UCLA game I saw, Markieff's fouls came against 300-pound Josh Smith down low. Pretty sure that wasn't Brady's man.

actorman 10 years, 10 months ago

You guys are clearly right about Brady. In fact, it's a wonder that he plays at all. And that guy, Jay Bilas, what the hell does he know about basketball? He's clearly an idiot for heaping so much praise on Brady. There's no question that some random posters in a chatroom are much more knowledgeable about who's a good player and who isn't than buffoons like Bill Self and Jay Bilas.

Hank Cross 10 years, 10 months ago

Is this the same Jay Bilas who kept wondering through the game why KU couldn't land a knock out blow before the final couple of minutes? Did it ever cross his mind that KU has trouble landing a KO when Brady is on the floor b/c KU is basically playing 4 on 5 on offense? Brady cannot create his own shot, not even on the perimeter. He can't break down the D with a dribble in the half-court and kick it to the post when the D collapses. And he's sure not out causing havoc on the fast break. Oh, but he can lob it over someone's head to a 6'10" guy.

I respect Bilas more than most commentators, but the fact is that he doesn't spend his time pouring over hours and hours of KU tapes. Most journalists just rely on their producers for a thumbnail sketch and frequently merely parrot coventional wisdom and the latest groupthink.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

So once again, you're criticizing Brady for being what he is -- a role player.

I'm probably going to sound like a broken record here, but I just can't emphasize this point enough: Kansas has the most efficient offense in the country. That's WITH Brady playing 30 minutes a game.

Of course we can always get better, and Selby certainly should cut into Brady's minutes when he arrives. But to say that Brady hurts our offense because he doesn't fill the stat sheet just shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the team concept in basketball.

hawksfan08 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't think anyone denies that Brady is a role player and even a solid one at that. But I don't want role players A) playing 25 minutes per game B) turning the ball over at an alarming rate C) failing as an offensive threat of any sort. If he drops to 10-15 mpg once selby gets in and elijah or releford continue to play well, I think this argument goes away. He is NOT a 25 mpg starter.

JayViking 10 years, 10 months ago

"Johnson answered the call in an efficient way, contributing seven points, three assists, a steal and a dunk on a lob. Best of all, he didn’t commit a turnover. He made all three of his field-goal attempts and his only free throw."

There's something amiss here. How can he have seven points but have also made one free throw? He had a three pointer, a dunk of a lob, a free throw, and somehow a magical one point basket? Was his three pointer not actually a three pointer as reported in another story on LJWorld?

3+2+1+?=7? He either did not make a free throw, did not have a three point basket, or had other than 7 points.

Jim Roth 10 years, 10 months ago

There's no free throw in the box score.

JHWK 10 years, 10 months ago

Hit the showers, dude. Few are 'haters' here, so stop with your own insults. No one is making you look bad but you.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

Well Leb, I don't think criticizing a player makes you a hater but whatever. It was great to see the Jayhawks live last night but it was clear that the offense is better without Brady. EJ is more athletic and Brady is not playing nearly as well as last year. I don't know why he has lost his confidence but overall, he was horrendous. EJ made his share of mistakes but when he, Tyshawn and Reed were in..the team is clearly better. I see Brady losing the most minutes once Selby suits up. On a side issue..why was KU the only team without their cheerleaders last night?

Brak 10 years, 10 months ago

Hey Lebowski, you are out of your element, slow your roll hothead. When you start tossing insults like that around and questioning people's fanhood it really shows your intelligence or lack there of. Especially when just a few days ago you made this comment, "What's tiring is people bashing other people for their opinions...", hypocrit much? If you think that having 4 turnovers vs. 1 assist and scoring 6 while allowing the guy you are guarding to score the most points on his team isn't a concern then maybe it is you that doesn't know what he is talking about.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

"allowing the guy you are guarding to score the most points on his team"

Newsflash: Brady ALWAYS guards the opponent's best perimeter player. Why is this so difficult to figure out?

nohohawk 10 years, 10 months ago

And that opponent's best perimeter player usually goes off for more than his average. lol

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

LOL, no. Kansas has continued to be a top-ranked defense for the entire time that Brady has been our "stopper."

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Except the year we won the championship. Brady redshirted that year.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

True. Brady also did not play in the championship years of 1952 and 1988. Clearly there is a pattern here...

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I assumed that people would make the connection that I was talking about the 2007-2008 season. Very sorry if that confused you.

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

My point was that, at KU, a top-ranked defense only matters if it translates to a Final 4 appearance or better.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

I believe the subject at hand was Brady's defense. I didn't realize we had changed the subject to how many titles Brady has won.

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

The fact that Brady redshirted during the 07-08 season is the weak point in your earlier comment.

We ended that season with the best Adjusted Defensive Efficiency in the country in 07-08 according to KenPom.

KU's ranking in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency the past several years:

10-11: 3 09-10: 8 08-09: 7 07-08: 1 06-07: 1 05-06: 2

Although there are plenty of variables that can account the differences and most teams wish that they were even in the top 30 of the statistic, it is noticeable that our ranking did drop off compared to where we need it to be.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

You may recall that after '08, we lost not only Rush but also Chalmers and RussRob -- the best defensive backcourt Kansas has ever had. The fact that we haven't fallen off very far since then is a credit to Self, to Cole, and yes, to Brady.

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

And if we don't take care of business in March/April, then it doesn't matter too much.*

Many of us understand that Brady is a good defender.

If Brady is our best defender, then our other guards and 3s need to get a lot better on defense because with their talent/athleticism, they can do much better than Brady - and they should be doing better than Brady.

One problem is that defense is something that can't be practiced. You can have a scrimmage, but you don't want guys getting injured - which means that players and coaches often subconsciously don't go nearly as hard as they would in a real game (on both sides of the ball).

One of the other problems is that basketball requires that same players to play both offense and defense (as opposed to football).

A turnover or other bad play on offense often means that you don't score points and the other team gets a relatively easy basket.

Brady may anchor the defense on the perimeter, but he is not as fast as our other players at the spot.

He also usually needs other parts of the defense to be set - again, this relates more to speed and not turning the ball over more than anything else.

Overall: The problem is not that Brady is a bad player (although some people do seem to think so). Rather, it's that other players can and should be better than Brady - but they are caught in a Catch-22 at the moment.

  • I think that we all willingly concede that we are very spoiled college basketball fans - especially during Self's tenure...even if there is good reason for it.

hawksfan08 10 years, 10 months ago

For stat freaks, http://statsheet.com/mcb/players/player/kansas/brady-morningstar

You can look up any players tempo neutral stats as well as +/- numbers. Pretty cool website.

For you Brady lovers, a career high 28.5% turnover rate. Meaning of over 1/4th of every possession Brady uses results in a turnover. That's bad.

hawksfan08 10 years, 10 months ago

One last thing. If you look at Roland Rating which is On Court +/- minus Off Court +/-, the team has performed better in every game but one with Brady OFF the floor. That one game was the UCLA game.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, if we just got rid of that Brady guy, we'd be undefeated and have the most efficient offense in the nation.

Hank Cross 10 years, 10 months ago

A loss or two is basically meaningless at this point of the season. KU could've dropped the game against AZ, UCLA, or Memphis and it wouldn't have mattered much, if anything, in terms of the brackets. The time would've been better spent developing offensive talent which we will need in the tourney.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

So you've been sitting in on the practices and following the players' development? Self, like any good coach, plays the guys who are ready to play.

EJ has had to ride the pine for awhile, but last night showed he's ready to get more minutes. Releford will no doubt have a similar breakthrough soon.

lbranchcrew 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm starting to wonder what Self is thinking starting Brady in all 8 of our regular season games. I mean were 8-0... when is Self going to get it right and put in players that will help us wins games? Oh wait, were 8-0. Maybe if we were losing games then the "Sit Brady Camp" would have some basis for the constant critiques. Its to bad you don't have to enter your KU ID when you sign up for this site (Not that all loyal KU fans are/were students, just making a point). At least then we could weed out some of these "fans" that constantly question our 8-0, National Championship winning, Six time Big 12 Championship winning, future NCAA Hall of Fame coach. And yes, as a KU fan you have the right to voice your opinion on the Jayhawks as much as anyone else but seriously, the horse has been dead for a long time... do you really need to keep beating it?
As a coach sometimes you put in players to fill a specific role or because certain players compliment one another. Maybe Brady makes it on the floor early because it makes sense to spread our talent out which allows us to experience little if any downgrade once substitutions are made. Not all lineup decisions are based on whose the absolute best player. The 6th man is an extremely important position and sometimes it makes sense to put a less talented player on the floor to start in lew of maintaining talent/ability levels throughout the game. Self's the Coach, he makes the decisions, he sees the players day in and day out, he knows who compliments each other on the floor, and he's the one with an 8-0 record so far this season so I'll let him make the decisions. By the way, I have been a Brady "Hater" (has such a negative connotation.... we need a better word) for a long time but the constant Jayhawk bashing is getting old. Turner Gill went 3/9 and beat a ranked team, both marks Mangino could not match in his first season but so called "fans" call for his job in his first season, lets not forget that many view KU's fan-base as a very classy bunch, lets hope they don't read this site and see how we treat our own. Calling for a coach's job in his first season is morose and classless even if you didn't support the hire. Constantly berating a player who has dedicated his life to KU basketball because he isn't what you think he should be isn't far off; lets bring the class back to the KU fan-base please. We get it, you guys don't like Brady, I don't either... lets move on and keep winning games with whoever Self chooses to put on the floor. Constructive criticism is welcome, player bashing is not.
On the Cheerleaders... (Joke Opportunity Here!) It's stop week--maybe they got a break to prepare for finals. Gonna be a long stretch with no Hawk basketball during finals so lets handle Colorado State on Saturday and then collectively await this seasons first appearance of Selby. Once he's on the floor we will have a whole new starting lineup to debate. Until then, ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

hawksquawk 10 years, 10 months ago

A thoughtful and fair commentary. I mention this only for your benefit, but there was a moment in your post that made me wince, and it detracted from what was an otherwise intelligent comment. "In lew" is actually spelled in "lieu," from the French word meaning "place." I hope I have saved you from potential future embarassment at your job or place of work.

JHWK 10 years, 10 months ago

He was actually paying homage to Lew's departure as AD! ;)

lbranchcrew 10 years, 10 months ago

Thank U. Although the Lew in pl8ce of Lieu was on porpus I'm sorry that 1 editing error would detract from an intire post. I forget this was the interweb and subject to perfect engles and stuff. I will indeed no longer be im-bare-assed about my edukasional skill set while working at the place i work att? (SARCASM)

BillSelfsLittleBrother 10 years, 10 months ago

For the record, Im a KU alumn and a lifelong fan. As a KU fan you should understand that being 8-0 is nice but still relatively unimportant at this point. I really dont care what our record is at this point of the season, we go to the tourny every year anyways. Last year even Self admitted they were playing for the #1 ranking. Nothing wrong with losing a few games here and there. 1 seeds are nice but still unimportant, because it really does not matter if your team is a 1,2 or 3 seed, or maybe even a 4 because the tourny is a crap shoot and it typically requires some degree of luck to win it. 1, 2, 3, and 4 seeds all typically have the talent and ability to go all the way, just depends on whose peaking. I have only 3 complaints of Coach Self. 1.) Bradys PT: We need guys like Travis and EJ to get minutes, we need them to be more refined players in order to reach our full potential. 2.)Weak schedules: Why arent we going on the road to face some valley teams or even mid majors? Like a Wichita State, Creighton, SIU, BRADLEY, UNI, Butler, Saint Mary or SDSU. We have faced valley teams in the tourny alot recently and they have ALWAYS given us more than we can handle. Id rather lose to them in Nov. or Dec. than March. Cmon Bill, home and home with WSU, make it happen. A loss is just a loss, and not a big deal early in the season(and whose to say that we would even lose? Im sure not.) 3.)Run some more full court press. It can come in very handy in the tourny. We need to do something to offset the fact that teams prepare for beating us all year long and basically tee off on us come March. Its not that I dont like Brady or Coach Self, I just like KU more so therefore i am going to be critical and venting on an internet message board helps me do that. Sorry guys!

David Hewitt 10 years, 10 months ago

While I generally think Coach Self's choices work out well, and I actually like Brady Morningstar... most coaches do not use statistics as much as they could to analyze their team's performance. There's some merit in considering the points hawksfan08 brings up, as you'd expect that chemistry-boosting "makes us better" effects would show up on the +/- stat line eventually.

Brady knows the system better than the others do, and I'm sure that gets rewarded. It's also possible that there are other explanations for the stats - maybe Brady only gets rested when the other team's best player is off the floor, so his +/- stats are distorted. Or, maybe the coach is overvaluing his performances in practice or his history with the team.

It's worth keeping an eye on his performance and minutes. But man, I would bet that he plays way better than any of us could, and even if he's not the best possible option I think Bill Self has earned enough credit with me that if he wants to play someone for less than optimal personal reasons, I'll let him do it with little criticism.

I don't love everything about Bill Self's coaching style. I wish he played the lowerclassmen more minutes early in the season. I wish he'd go a bit deeper on his bench when he has so many talented players. But I don't doubt that he's doing a better job than I would if you handed the team to me.

justanotherfan 10 years, 10 months ago

My criticism of Brady on the offensive end is simple.

For all the talk about "calming influence" and "great passing" and "all the little things" etc., Brady doesn't produce that much, especially given the fact that he plays A TON of minutes.

He doesn't have that many points, or assists, or rebounds, or steals or anything. In 25+ minutes per game, you should stumble into something of statistical value. It's not like he plays that many minutes, but never has any turnovers. He turns the ball over at a pretty average rate. Not too terribly much (except for over the last few games), but not so little that it leads to the conclusion that he is exceptional at avoiding turnovers.

He defends well, but not so exceptionally well that, like Brandon Rush, you could put him on any perimeter guy and know that the guy you put him on was officially locked down.

I think many people's frustration isn't that Brady plays, it's that he plays 25 minutes, but gives us the same production we get from Travis, Mario or Elijah when they play 15 minutes.

Here's their lines:

Morningstar 25 min 5.6 pt 2.1 rb 2.9 ast 1.9 stl 0.3 blk 1.5 to 56% FG 40% 3pt Johnson 16.5 min 5.7 pt 1.2 rb 2.8 ast 0.5 stl 0.2 blk 0.7 to 56% FG 45% 3pt Releford 15.5 min 7.0 pt 2.0 rb 1.1 ast 0.4 stl 0.3 blk 1.1 to 64% FG 47% 3pt Little 16.3 min 6.0 pt 3.5 rb 1.3 ast 0.8 stl 0.6 blk 0.9 to 54% FG 28% 3pt

In almost 9 more minutes, Brady gives us roughly the same production as either Johnson or Releford, and he doesn't statistically do it any more efficiently. He's more efficient than Little, though their production is more or less a wash.

Basically, my argument is that Brady produces like a 15 mpg guy, but he happens to play 25 mpg. I want my 25 mpg guys producing like they are 25 mpg guys.

BillSelfsLittleBrother 10 years, 10 months ago

Not to mention Brady has been around a lot longer and is way more refined. Travis and EJ are extremely raw and who knows how good they can be by March. And I wish Travis could have gotten the experience from playing on last years team too!

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but what happened to the idea that you play your seniors until and unless the younger guys beat them out for the job? When Releford or whoever beats Brady out for the position, he'll get the minutes.

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Some things can't be simulated in practice. Unless guys are given time on the floor while the game isn't a rout, they have less of an opportunity to actually compete for playing time.

Greg Lux 10 years, 10 months ago

EJ's PT last night was a real necessity for the team and him personally. I am sure he a little concerned about the future PT after Selby starts playing and I think coach showed EJ his confidence in him last night, and I believe he will play more if he continues to have performances like last night.

Rock Chalk EJ

Eric Schneider 10 years, 10 months ago

You can't use statistics to justify Brady's playing time. That logic would have had Russell Robinson on the bench a lot in '08. Brady usually brings a lot of things that don't show up in the stat book. You need those kind of guys to win. That being said, Brady has looked lost the last couple of games. Releford was the only one able to do anything defensively against Honeycutt. The problem was, in that game, he was useless on the offensive end. I think Releford should get some of Brady's minutes, but not that many. And Brady will be out of the starting line up shortly anyway.

As for Elijah. The game is still too fast for him. I think that will be the biggest fallout of the Selby eligibility issue. Johnson really needed a redshirt year. It helped Travis Releford immensely. Elijah will make an outstanding play. And then for the next five minutes he looks like he has no clue where he is.

Robert Murphy 10 years, 10 months ago

On the bench is where Russell Robinson belonged. He didn't even make the bench in the NBA. Self has done a great job with what he's had to work with. Which is not one player that is starting in the NBA.

Trob4prez 10 years, 10 months ago

Maybe someone could explain why Markieff should get more minutes than Thomas.

Ron Franklin 10 years, 10 months ago

+1

Was just thinking the same thing.

It comes down to Kief has a great turnaround shot around baseline/and low block, and he can also nail some threes.

Other than that, TRob is quickly making ground on Kief.

aerohawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I love TRob and Mk Morris. The stats below are from ESPN.com for this season. Sorry for the weird format but I couldn't get my table to display properly. The first column is Trob stats, second column is Normalized stats, third column is Mk stats. I did the normalization by multiplying Trob stats by (20.4/16.4).

MIN 16.4 n/a 20.4 PPG 9.5 11.8 12.4 RPG 6.4 8.0 8.9 APG 1.1 1.4 1.4 SPG 0.6 0.7 0.9 BPG 1.1 1.4 0.9 TPG 1.5 1.9 1.8 FG% 0.59 n/a 0.55 FT% 0.58 n/a 0.69 3P% 0 n/a 0.3

Trob is just slightly less productive in points, rebounds, assists and steals when adjusting for similar playing time. However, Trob gets more blocks and turnovers are very close. MK Morris does bring a bit of a 3pt threat, but I can't say that is the shot I want him to get.

I would leave Mk Morris for now. My only conclusion is that it may have to do with the fact that Mk is a junior and a bit more under control and may not have as much fluctuation in production (but I don't have any variation information on the stats). The other thing I think about is the mental effect it might have on Mc and Mk if they don't get to start together. You can't say that Mk is a detriment to the team in place of Trob and he would still play a good amount even if Trob started. So why mess with a good thing. Who knows maybe Mc will stay another year if he can play side by side with his brother. Statistically they are almost the same player right now. The stats may change as Trob gets better and if that is the case my opinion may change.

2Bnamedlater 10 years, 10 months ago

I thought TRob played very good last night, brought the hustle. He was scrappin on the boards, getting dirty on the floor, we didn't have that against UCLA. He showed how strong he was last night as well when he just took the ball away from a Memphis player or two. Plus a block here and there helped out.

He's young, with a high ceiling above him, can't wait to see how he matures throughout the rest of this season.

Plus give they guy some cridit for missing a hard dunk and not giving up on himself like he did last year. 10pts, 10 rebs, nice double/double TRob!!!!

Ron Franklin 10 years, 10 months ago

" Brady, our supposed best defender, gave up only 33 points to one player in the last game, not to mention he went under a screen on a guy who had shot lights out all game when we were up by 3!!!"

Do you honestly think that Tyler Honeycutt scored all of his 33 points on Brady?

If you do, you need to rewatch the tape and you'll see about 12 points came on Brady.

As far as continuing to hate on Brady for going under that screen, instead of over it, let us also consider this:

Within the last minutes, Tyrell got trapped on the baseline and threw the ball away. Marcus drove to the basket and charged, causing a turnover, and Mario took three shot attempts instead of holding the ball. Yet, you want to point all of the fingers at Brady because he went under a screen?

The last play down, Marcus nearly through the ball away because he blindly thinks he can dribble behind his back. He's lucky Little was there to save his Ace.

But you're right, it was Brady's fault that UCLA game came down to the wire.

Did none of you hear Bilas singing Brady's praise about 6 minutes into last nights game?

Let me refresh your memory:

"Morningstar is an outstanding passer"

"He feeds the post as well as any player I've seen this year"

"He doesn't get near enough credit for making this Kansas team as good as it is"

I'll admit, last night was not a good night for Brady, but some of you folks have been on him before he even stepped on the court this year.

JHWK 10 years, 10 months ago

Enough about Brady, already!

Great game had by both EJ and TRobot. I still wish EJ had red-shirted, but at least he's seeing minutes (until Dec 18 or a few games thereafter).

EJ had to deal with the pressure of the Memphis press, and I thought he handled it better than the twins did. Seeing a couple of the passes made by the twins with way too much air under them was driving all of us as nuts as HCBS, I'll bet.

I hope TRobot took it to heart when he got out-muscled by Williams and decided not to take possessions under the rim for granted. He seemed to come up with a couple of rebounds by sheer grit last night, and I hope we see that against more physical opponents than Memphis.

I still think - after seeing other games - that we are ranked based on our potential, not on our production/competition to date. Much like UNC was at the beginning of the season, they were there only based on Barnes and his cast. We are improving every game, but I think 'Cuse would have given us fits if we'd have played them rather than the very green Memphis. Thoughts?

Gene Jackson 10 years, 10 months ago

Thomas Robinson - - I am liking him more and more with each game. Way to go, Mr. Robinson!

addlime 10 years, 10 months ago

2 observations

1) This argument about Brady comes down to playing time, which is an issue on this team only because its so freakin' DEEP. What a good problem to have! Let's hope the team is more mature about dealing with this than we are.

2) EJ says, “Tyshawn can build a 20-point lead with the twins, and me and T-Rob can come in and change that to an 11-point lead. At first, I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was, but it’s a momentum thing. You give a team momentum, they can come back and beat you.” Don't know if he's just repeating what the coaches tell him, but this is really cool that a 19 year old kid gets this!

Hank Cross 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm white and I think Brady should be sitting. So your argument doesn't make any sense like the rest of your posts.

Hank Cross 10 years, 10 months ago

The idea that those of us who are critical of Brady's minutes "hate" him is just absurd. It's stupid to hate a player or any team, that even goes for MU and Duke. I'll cheer against them and hope they lose all of their games, but I don't hate them. (I guess DeLoss Dodds might be the exception, but even then I have to admire his hardball negotiating tactics) I've got nothing against Brady and I'm sure he's playing his hardest given his abilities.

The problem is that failure to prepare our best players for the tourney will likely mean another early exit. Teams like AZ, UCLA and Memphis are going to be better in March. And, if we don't don't improve our athleticism and scoring options, don't be surprised if KU ends up gone on the first weekend. Again.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

I take your word that you're not a "hater," but what I've seen on these message boards over the last few games -- playing up every mistake and everything Brady DOESN'T do ("He can't even break defenses down with his dribble!"), while dismissing everything he DOES do ("Anyone could have made that three!" "I could get 4 assists in my sleep!"), plus personal insinuations ("I knew a guy who knew him and said he was an **hole") -- all suggest to me that there's some serious personal animus toward the kid around here.

I agree that 4 turnovers is bad, and his minutes will seriously wane if that continues.

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 10 months ago

Four turnovers was bad, but there were three others on the team that had four turnovers in the same game. One was Marcus. I don't see him being barbequed here. Also, I think I read that Brady leads the team in steals over the first 8 games. He isn't as sharp this year, I will agree. Self said in one of his interviews (sorry I can't remember which to give you a source) that one of the benefits of Selby being able to play is that it would cut down on the minutes he's having to play Brady and Tyrel. He said they're having to play too many minutes and it's hurting their performances. He just doesn't trust the younger guys yet, and no matter how we might feel about losing in order to give youngsters some game experience, Self likes to WIN.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

jaf,

IMHO, not your usual astute qualitative and quantitative analysis here.

First, Johnson, except for last night, plays back up PG almost exclusively. Brady plays back-up PG very little, if at all. Hence, the logical disconnect renders the comparison of EJ to Brady overall completely invalid. Not like you.

But if you insist on comparing Brady and EJ on an N of 1, then compare them in the Memphis game, when EJ did a wonderful job, certainly his best game of his KU career, filling in for Brady. On EJ's best night, he equalled Brady's average performance at the 3. This was a huge break through game for EJ, but it shows that, if EJ plays his best, and tries to fit in to the first team's scheme, he produces just about identically with Brady's "average" performance.

I am just dealing in facts here regarding EJ and Brady, not tomorrows. The season is underway. Self is here to win today "and" to build for March. To me, it remains unarguable that Self is doing the right thing, both for the team and for these two players. EJ would almost certainly have blown up playing 25 mpg backup at PG, a position Self only needed 15 minutes from, given how superb Tyshawn now plays. And EJ has struggled with the floor game of PG to the point where Self has had to play Tyshawn more minutes than he probably wanted to so far.

IMHO Self correctly figured EJ was going to struggle significantly with playing PG early on; that swinging between 1-2 would slow his development, and that the team had so many potential 2 and 3s that the right thing to do was to ask EJ to play out of position at the 1, and let him focus on it, to ensure that KU could sustain, or even raise on-ball defensive pressure on the point. Of all the pieces of a top team, the thing this team needed most was, and still needs, is a credible backup PG that can sustain the momentum by not bone heading on offense and by applying equal or more defensive pressure, when in. EJ is progressing in that direction.

But Self saw Brady was having a very bad night, and Self had to make a decision between Travis and EJ. As so often happens, he made an effective choice in EJ. Brady had been guarding basically a third guard, not a small forward. EJ's defensive skills fit better at replacing Brady in this instance than did Travis'. Further, to move Travis to the starting 5, and play glue to the bigs, would mean depriving the second unit of its primary scoring threat--Travis.

What you and so many overlook here is Self is trying, for the first time in his KU tenure, to build a two unit team that he can play all season long. Though the season is young, this is by far his most skillful coaching job yet. He is simultaneously out coaching every opposing coach he faces, while developing two units out of ten players, something he has never done at KU, or Illinois, or even Tulsa that I can recall.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Still: Self contradicted his own long term vision for the two unit team and for EJ's role as the backup PG and said, "Go be our combo 3 tonight." Self probably already knows the 2-3 is EJ's natural position, given his current skill set and height and psychology. And, likely no surprise to Self, EJ delivered as a 3 in the crunch and that is going to earn him big time browny points with Self. Anyone is expected to produce when doing what they are asked and trained to do. But EJ produced out of position in a fast, hard fought, marquis game. It was a great, unselfish, team-oriented performance by EJ. He filled Brady's glue role admirably. He produced an almost exactly identical line score to Brady's average night; i.e., exactly what was needed on the first unit--he did not throw the ball away before the bigs had a chance to score, and he guarded his man well enough to prevent him from becoming a problem for the bigs to handle inside. This is pure, unadulterated Brady. Anything else EJ did was icing for Self and for the KU team. Icing is nice, but it is the cake that EJ finally delivered that distinguished him. Rim ramming and slashing out of the 3, before the 3s see the ball, is just not where its at when the goal is to play through the bigs. Ask Xavier Henry about that.

One final note about EJ's current stage of development. If you notice, when things get too wild down at the end of the game, Self occasionally defaults to Tyrel Reed bringing the ball up the court. Why? Because Tyrel is a natural PG playing out of position at the 2. Reed is a very good and almost completely ambidextrous dribbler, but Reed can't apply nearly as much on ball defensive pressure, as can Tyshawn and EJ, largely because Tyrel hasn't got the sliding range for help defense needed at the point that Tyshawn and EJ possess (though EJ has not yet learned how to use it the way Tyshawn has so admirably learned this season). Tyrel would be perfectly adequate in the relatively mundane chore of dribbling the ball up the floor, even against pressure, as he proves time and again when Self finally gets frustrated with his speedier starters coughing it up. Self even had Tyrel bring it up late sometimes, when he had Sherron. Tyrel is a PG without quite enough speed side to side to play the position optimally full time, and he has too good of a trey, and is too ferocious of a competitor, not to use him at the 2, either to start or back up.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

But the main reason to mention Reed and EJ in relation to PG is this: though Reed lacks the kind of speed that Tyshawn and EJ possess, if it is a Fed Ex situation; that is, the ball absolutely positively has to get there today without a turnover, Self makes sure the ball gets in Tyrel's hands.

Self was a guard, once upon a time. He knows guards as deeply as Manning knows bigs. He knows there just are some guys, guys like Aaron Miles, and Tyrel Reed, that can protect in the crunch. He also knows there are some guys, like Aaron Miles, that can play PG full time, and guys that lack some of the D1 tools, like Tyrel, to do so. Self's deep motto is this: Don't ask players to do what they are not capable of doing...ever, but never shy away from asking them to do something specific they are way better at doing, than another player, regardless of how little they may be being asked to do it in the team scheme. Hence, Tyrel gets the ball in his hands sometimes at crunch time on a team with Tyshawn and EJ, when everything is breaking down, and probably would not were Aaron Miles the starting PG.

Why then doesn't Tyrel play back-up PG and free EJ for his more natural 2 guard back-up role? Because Tyrel can't pressure the point as well as EJ, and EJ is not yet the proven 40-46% season long trifectionist that Reed the protector has proven to be over two previous seasons. And because Self is a believer in keeping the TOs low at glue positions by playing sound protectors.

Next, your comparison of Brady and Travis at least has positional validity, but here you let the raw numbers dictate your thinking in an oversimplified way, rather than really trying to understand what they indicate. This again is not like your usual level of commendable analysis.

Brady is playing a 3 role on the first team that, when performed correctly, is just about what Brady averages in his line score, and what EJ produced when he played his best game of his KU career replacing Brady at the 3 with the first team versus Memphis.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The first team plays a half court game and plays mostly through Marcus and Kieff; this much is fact. In a crunch, it goes to Tyshawn to get 2 pointers on penetration and pull up jumpers. Self seems to have learned finally not to ask Tyshawn to go to the rim unless the path is wide open, for Tyshawn still fades away from high altitude contact at the iron.

Let's distill it to this, while at the same time avoiding much oversimplification.

The first team has one scheme--half court, play through the bigs.

The second team has another scheme--rely on Thomas to get the carom, release three perimeter players most times in anticipation of TRobs savant like rebounding ability, try to make high percentage baskets in transition, or pull up and set up some slashes for Travis, or increasingly go to Thomas on the blocks.

In this framework, what these figures establish is that when Releford is playing against the opposing team's second units, doing so in minutes probably skewed significantly greater against lesser teams, and being asked to be the first, or second option scorer for the second unit, that so far, Travis is more pruductive than Brady on his line score.

The problem with comparing Brady's and Travis' line scores straight up, is obvious. Brady is fulfilling a role on the first team that is fundamentally different than the role Travis is fulfilling on the second team. And to reemphasize here, the first and second teams are playing two different games...intentionally.

In analyzing what Self is doing this season, board rats have to assess things in terms of what he is actually trying to do.

Travis will not get promoted to the first team, unless he plays in a way on the second team that makes Self think he can do every thing Brady does equally well on the first team, and that Brady can do everything Travis does on the second team as well as Travis can. There isn't much chance of this right now, because Brady can't score as well on slashes and in transition as does Travis. But Travis in time will be able to do what Brady does on the first team. But even then, unless Self alters the overall team strategy of a half court first unit and a transition game second unit that Brady and Travis may never be juggled, but for consistently being unable to fulfrill their assigned roles.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Promoting Travis to this first team would be largely to waste what Travis is best at--scoring in transition and scoring off slashing in half court, because the first unit is a half court, play it through the bigs team...so far.

Some folks tend to post the you have after Brady's bad games and then are either silent, or modestly complimentary, after his good games.

Regarding Mario Little...

He is in a tough spot. Last night vs. Memphis seemed a night he should have seized the moment of Kieff's two fouls and become the designated chasing 4 against the Memphis on Hemorrhoids ball screen offense, but Thomas Robinson has just come on like gang busters. And Thomas can fill both the 4 and the 5, where as Little is pretty limited to 4 duties.

Mario looked a tad slow footed out their vs. Memphis, but I believe that is a look and not a reality. What happened was Marcus, though he was stinking up the floor, and perhaps should have been replaced more often by Little, was left in the game; that meant that TRob, who is proving to chase as well as Little can, but who can rebound like no one since Bill Bridges, was always the more logical choice to replace Kieff than Little.

Still Little got a look before Withey, as I expected he would vs. a ball screen offense, and did not seem to bring much spark, when he played. Withey got a look and was completely in over his head with the speed of the game and the need to chase their mobile bigs, so he quickly sat.

So: in comparing Little's numbers to Brady's we have to remember that most of his minutes are coming not a 3, but at 4, and mostly in minutes with the second unit that is playing a transition game. To me, this means that we can glean almost nothing from comparing Brady's and Little's line scores. Different teams, different tempos, different positions, different roles, different grade of opposing defenders, and so on.

So what can we compare between Brady and the threesome of EJ, Travis and Little, if that is what you and others insist upon feeling compelled to do?

We can compare how their two teams perform as presently constituted in their own two distinct ways.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The first unit with a half court emphasis playing through the bigs: Against the last three teams (UA, UCLA and Memphis), the first team tends to create leads in good stretches and they tend to play even with such teams in bad stretches.

The second unit with a transition emphasis playing through the slashers when in half court: in good stretches they tend to hold the lead, in bad stretches they blow leads.

The first unit is clearly the better team, right now, but I believe the second unit is getting better faster right now, despite increase competition making it look not as good as it seemed.

Hence, I suppose one might argue that the team with the Twins and Tyshawn, plus the glue of Brady and Tyrel is better than the second team, and probably would be better in most instances than a first team with any combination of EJ, Releford and Little. But even this inference excessively oversimplifies what Self is doing and the trade-offs he is skillfully optimizing.

Why?

Because the first unit might be almost as good with Travis, or EJ, starting for Brady, on many nights, and on some nights, say nights when Brady is playing poorly, be significantly better with the second unit guys. But then what would become of the second unit?

My argument is that at least until Josh Selby is playing, and probably when he is playing too, that playing Travis as first team glue, wastes all his transition and slashing skills, while putting a glue player on the second unit like Brady, takes away sharply from the second unit's ability to score.

So: unless, or until, Self decides to go to a7-8 man team with effectively one unit with a couple subs, playing the same game no matter who is in, Self gets more bang for his buck from Brady on the first team and Travis on the second team. EJ and Little fit best with the second team's style of play also and provide Self the most flexibility in responding to the first team's limitations each game.

But when Selby returns, the calculus could change in two ways. If Selby is truly plug and play, then there is going to be a strong temptation to reduce to what Self is most comfortable with; i.e., 7-8 man teams. In this case, I do believe you are going to see more of EJ and Travis filling everywhere on the perimeter.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

But if Selby has the usual limitations of most freshman perimeter players; i.e., difficulty protecting, difficulty with help defense, difficulty with the ball sticking in his hands, difficulty feeding the post, etc., then I think Self will continue to develop the two unit approach.

And he is having so much success with it so far, he may continue it even with Selby. I believe the players have bought into what Self is trying in a very positive way. The following quote by Elijah Johnson seems to say it all.

I see Self building two units capable of playing it any way another team wants and of forcing every other team to have to be able to play it both ways.

“I understand how valuable Thomas and my role is to the team,” Johnson said. “Tyshawn can build a 20-point lead with the twins, and me and T-Rob can come in and change that to an 11-point lead. At first, I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was, but it’s a momentum thing. You give a team momentum, they can come back and beat you.”

Add Releford and Little to this quote and we are talking about a two unit season model.

Hold this quote to Johnson and Robinson, add Selby, and we are talking about a one unit with subs model.

God, how I hope Self swings for the fences and sticks with the two unit model.

It is working so wonderfully well, even as green as we are!

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 10 months ago

I enjoyed your analysis, jaybate, but I have one contradiction regarding Tyrel getting the ball at crunch time. I think it is simply that he is the best free throw shooter on the team, and when the other team starts fouling in the last minute or so, Self wants Tyrel to be the one to make the free throws.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Yep, oldalum, that is something I overlooked and you are wise to cite it, as someone else did farther down the thread, too.

But it occurs to me that Brady is a pretty fair FT shooter, too. Self could also put the ball in his hands and tends not to.

Tyrel must at least be a better dribbler than Brady. :-)

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm sure I'll get slammed for this but in truth, I'm not concerned about two unit models or anything else but putting the best starting 5 on the court and in my opinion that is Marcus Morris, Thomas Robinson, Travis Relaford, Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson. I understand the problem of managing egos but I'm simply a fan of the same team 99% of the posters here are so passionate about. Once Selby is ready, he starts over EJ who becomes the 6th man.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

EJ, Thomas and Releford have now each had exactly one good game against good competition. I like all three of those guys, but I hardly see how that qualifies them to start. If Self decides to do it, I trust him, and Selby will certainly change the equation, but the lineup we have now ain't broke.

aerohawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Right now Trob and Mk are statistically about the same player. Before too long you may be very right about Trob. I don't think he should start yet.

The other two I agree with Hawk of ages.

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Most of this "hater" talk syphons from our national political stage; bulldung that we have been fed for the past 8 or 9 years, esp. on one television "news" channel. It boils down to, "If you are not with me then you are against me. A HATER!" Too bad that it has drifted into this matter of Brady and his playing time. Bill Self knows what he is doing. Few informed fans or posters on this site would contest his brilliance as a coach. The coaching staff faces a delightful although difficult task of working Josh Selby into the Jayhawk lineup in 10 days. Not to mention weaving and balancing game minutes for Little, Releford, EJ: all very talented players with heaps of potential for this upcoming conference season. Every game seems to indicate that one of these 3 has improved in dependability for certain situations. Bill Self has his thumb placed daily on the pulse of all these players in practice...and can build confidence from what he sees in their gametime minutes and stats. I am confident that the Brady thing will work out positively in terms of our conference and national ranking during the season and at season's end. (...and, if Bill Self can bend to the heretofore unimaginable possibility of actually utilizing a lineup of ten players, everyone might see significant minutes on the floor; or maybe just a different 8 or 9 in various opponent matchups)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

On point about the effect of the Great Whurlitzer, as CIA officials reputedly used to call the national media when the CIA called in its IOUs and had its sympathizers in the media turn up the volume and the quantity of propaganda being disseminated for the war du jour. Thought provoking to actually connect it to the way it changes our discourse even in sports media. Hard to prove such assertions empirically, but it makes some sense to me.

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, once said in a public quote that television was the most dangerous technology ever invented. Linking it to the internet through YouTube only makes it more so.

Thanks for sharing the insight.

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, Love your insightful posts. As they say from my generation, "Keep on Truckin' ". A two team approach, since practices are set up that way (we assume), would make logical sense. And, if during a game, the first team ain't cutting the mustard, send in the second team, with fresh legs to smoother the opposition. When you have the options available to you, why not use them. Plus, it helps lower the frustration for those not in the regular team rotation.

One other thing to consider about Reed bringing up the ball at the end of the games: He is our weapon at the free throw line. Mr. Automatic. Last year, in close games, Sherron was our clutch free thrower. So far this year, with our abysmal free throw percentages, Reed (and maybe, Morningstar) are KU's only trustworthy free throw shooters.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

You're on the mark about Reed's free throw shooting being a driver of Self using him to bring the ball up the floor. I overlooked that obvious one. My bad. Thanks for the help.

justanotherfan 10 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate,

We agree on some things, disagree on others. No problem with that.

First off, I think Self's tendency to play EJ as Tyshawn's backup was out of an abundance of caution. Not knowing if or when Selby would be available, this team only had one true PG, and any good team MUST have two primary ball handlers. Knowing that Tyrel, Brady and Travis cannot fill that role, EJ was the logical choice, particularly because Royce isn't quite ready for the physical college game yet. IMO, Self felt he could use EJ at the point because his athleticism would clean up some of his other shortcomings as a primary ballhandler.

However, now that the Selby wait is only a few more days, we don't absolutely need EJ as a primary handler. He can be more of a wing player if needed, so, although the roles have been slightly different, I think the comparison is quite fair.

As far as two units, Self has never shown a tendency to want to use two wholly separate units. He doesn't do many wholesale substitutions, and he rarely has no starters in when the game is close.

I will agree that the first unit revolves around getting the basketball to the Morris twins, particularly Marcus. However, the second unit wants to get Thomas Robinson involved first and foremost. When TRob comes in for either twin, they try to get him the ball on the block.

My concern is that Brady is the "safe" pick, but not the best longterm pick. We can win a lot of games playing Brady, but we can't win a showdown like we had in the 2008 title game with Brady.

If you remember that game, KU basically played seven guys - Robinson, Chalmers, Rush, Jackson, Arthur, Collins, Kaun. Robinson and Kaun both played about 20 minutes each. The rest of the minutes went to the most talented five we had - Collins, Chalmers, Rush, Jackson and Arthur. If you remember, a lot of the tough games that year saw that lineup on the floor for heavy minutes. Collins was typically on the floor at the end of games - not RussRob. I loved RussRob, but Collins had more explosiveness, and made more big plays. That's why he got those minutes.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

Could not agree more. The 'safe' pick is often not the right pick. I have always thought we were at our best when we were our most athletic. I would have liked to have seen EJ play a lot more last year. One thing I think most agree with is that fans are passionate and just because there are a lot of varied opinions and they might differ from HCBS, that doesn't make people haters. This would be tedious if everyone agreed.

justanotherfan 10 years, 10 months ago

On this team, the best five will eventually be Taylor, Selby, Marcus and two others. Whether that ends up being Markieff or TRob down low is still to be determined. That other perimeter spot is where all the options are, and my issue is that Brady is the least threatening of the group. Tyrel is the best shooter hands down. Travis is the best scorer. Mario is the best rebounder. Yes, Brady does lots of little things, but he also does one thing that hurts us overall.

He allows the other team to leave a BELOW AVERAGE defender on the floor for big minutes. Brady isn't the type of offensive player that can punish a team for having a subpar defender on the floor. Because of that, if you have an offensive player that isn't very good defensively, just put them on Brady. He's not going to exploit them offensively, so you can basically keep a scorer on the floor without paying the penalty by giving up easy baskets or fouls on the other end. I've seen other teams do this quite a bit. Some have even left players with foul trouble on the floor, but switched them to Brady because he's not going to drive and make them play great defense without fouling or give up easy baskets.

That will be big come later in the season. I think we are better off long term working in Travis or EJ or Mario, or giving some of those minutes to Tyrel rather than playing it safe.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

"He allows the other team to leave a below average defender on the floor for big minutes."

Yes, that explains all the crushing defeats we've suffered, and the fact that our offense has been so terrible. It also explains how Bruce Bowen prevented the Spurs from winning championships, just like Kurt Rambis for the Lakers, Luc Longley and Dennis Rodman for the Bulls, and all those other team-killing role players who couldn't score.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

Forgot to mention: The starting lineup for our '88 team included Jeff Gueldner and Chris Piper.

aerohawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Just because we haven't lost in 8 games doesn't mean JAF isn't correct on the potential weakness Brady brings.

I don't know enough about fine points of basketball to know who is right in this Brady argument, so I will base my opinion on who is playing the most minutes at the end of the season because that means that is what HCBS thinks the answer is.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 10 months ago

Ok, a bit late to the dance here .. some quick hits in light of the above: 1) Brady played as Brady will against better quality opponents. When we play a significantly inferior opponent, he many times shines. Much like a player that kills the ball in minor leagues only to hit .220 vs. major league pitching. I think it is really as simple as that. He is good passer, good defender, but can be overwhelmed because of his athletic shortcomings. I'm convinced Self recognizes this. 2) TRob = Collison. I'm sticking to my story. Loved the left handed take. 3) On EJ, Perhaps if Self can accept TT for his out of control moments, he can accept EJ. I love EJ's attitude and comments. Seems mature beyond his years. He has a very nice 3 point touch, which has been a surprise to all of us concerned about the team's 3 point shooting to begin the year. 4) kusportsdotcom: Reminder, no one here knows more than coach Self. Easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel. However, great coaches can be wrong from time to time, despite their brilliance. They are not infallible. No Chiefs fan knew more than Marty Schottenheimer about football, but a lot of Chiefs fans said to stick with Gannon in 1997 over Grbac. The general gist on this site is that Brady gets too many minutes, and that we cannot be a championship team with Brady playing 25 - 30 minutes. That does not challenge Self's brilliance, nor does it mean Brady should not be playing on this team. Offer something insightful, perhaps .. maybe more insightful than just "Because Self says so ..." I will admit that the burden is on those opposed to Brady's playing time because Self is so credible. I have mentioned before, look at Brady's body of work. And see my paragraph 1.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 10 months ago

Pretty astute commentary. Coaches are not infallible. They make mistakes. Please tell me the one perfect person that you know? I am interested.

Perhaps you can add more than "it has to be right because coach Self says so." But I doubt it.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

Which is it? Shut your piehole (pecan is my favorite) or come talk to me?

Jack Wilson 10 years, 10 months ago

5) On Jaybate's two unit suggestion .. Everything changes when Selby hits the floor. The whole deal will change. If Selby is what Self has suggested, the best breakdown scorer, the whole dynamic will change. It has taken some 8 games to get a good read on this team. Last night was a great insight into what Self is thinking, following the close call vs. UCLA. But now comes Selby. Adding a potential top 10 NBA pick at the 1 or 2 spot, a 30 minute guy, will remake this team. And with that, a two unit deal may not be possible. 6) On Jaybate's two unit suggestion, part 2 .. I respectfully disagree with the belief that Brady and Tyrel make unit 1 better (offensively), than say having Releford in there. I think swinging for the fences is force feeding Releford into that situation now. No doubt, now .. it may not be better. March is what matters. I believe without a doubt, a slasher with Releford's skills opens the court much more than a Brady would in the 3 role. It is fear. Fear of Releford taking the ball to the hoop. Does anyone think that opposing teams gameplan much against Brady on our offensive end? Brady scores going to the basket when the other team falls asleep. That's it. The occasional 3. An opposing coach says .. let that guy beat us. That isn't really arguable. It's why Brady gets some of those easy layups. Releford offers a much different and diverse skill set that by its very nature opens the floor and demands respect, so long as it is not done in a selfish, Keith Langford-type, fashion. The slasher requires help inside and creates multiple opportunities on the box, at the short corner, or above the rim. Best offensive unit - Kieff, Marcus, Releford, TT, Selby (assuming Selby is as advertised). 7) Free throws .. Icthawkfan made the point on another thread .. just have the team compare the 2003 and 2008 title games. It means everything. 8) Releford - Yacked on his first half appearance last night. Self had enough confidence to start him to begin the season. There is a reason why. What applies to Brady, applies to Releford. The increase in opponent quality (and thus the game pressure) can effect performance. While I don't think game pressure effects Brady, Releford it might. He can fill the Rush role on this team, with better skills going to the rim .. it is just a matter of time. And letting him work through difficulties without yanking him out, against quality opponents. 9) Terrific officiating last night .. love the way the game was called.

hawk_of_ages 10 years, 10 months ago

Cheap shots at Langford now? Geez, a lot of KU fans sure love to eat their own.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

HEM,

I'm not making a two-unit suggestion. I'm mastering the obvious of what Self has been doing the entire season, so far. The only question is whether or not he will continue it after December?

Jack Wilson 10 years, 10 months ago

Ok .. I saw "God, how I hope Self swings for the fences and sticks with the two unit model" at the end of your post and thought you were an advocate for that approach.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Oh, I am a strong advocate of it, too. I think Self is on the money, considering the type of talent he has. I think it can work.

But there certainly is a reasonable possibility that some of the second unit guys will plateau too soon this season and keep it from being a viable strategy own the stretch.

But if the second unit guys to continue to mature and reduce their bone heading, then come March, I think this 2 unit strategy will give KU a sharp advantage over every other team in d1.

So, "God, I hope Self swings for the fences and sticks with the two unit model...if it player development keeps it feasible."

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

jaf,

Thanks for taking time to respond.

And I do apologize for sounding more contrary than I intended.

Now, as to your rebuttal. :-)

I must reassert Self is using a two unit strategy. The box score minutes and slow and fast styles of play support my assertion, as do the regularity of the substitutions. That Self comes early with TRob, because Kieff gets fouled up, or comes early with EJ, or Travis, because a starter is having a bad game, as Brady did against Memphis, does not alter the basic strategy of two units playing at different tempos and attacking through different players with different skills sets. Nor does Self sometimes situationally substituting a starter into the subs to give them a particular MUA, or to give them some mature glue they need, or to relieve a sub that is playing poorly, or that is getting fouled up, refute the fundamental two unit strategy. These sorts of substitutions are simply tactical adaptations within the strategy.

Further, saying Self has not traditionally played through a two unit model does not refute that he is not doing so this season.

Self has in his years at KU played through the following models:

--Largely through one player with a one unit strategy: Simien's team.

--Largely through five players with a one unit strategy: the Chalmer's/Rush teams known for their balanced scoring.

--Largely through two players with a one unit strategy: the Collins/Aldrich teams.

At Illinois he played through three players in a one unit strategy one season and through two another, both with one unit strategies as I recall.

At Tulsa he ran and full court pressed one season.

Bill Self is nothing if not adaptable to his talent on hand.

The only thing that does not vary is" Taking What They Give Us and Playing It Any Way They Want," and I suppose an argument could even be made that he varied from that a bit with his great Tulsa team.

So: while Self is not bringing 5 to replace 5, Self is essentially running two units with some early situational substitutions of a player or two from the second unit coming in early with the starters, and a starter or two some times staying, or sometimes being inserted with the reserves for stretches.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

I am not sure why you would even dispute this, but leave it that what my eyes see Self doing always trumps what I expect him to do based on his past performances. For example, Self in the past in preconference, and often even in post season, has mostly shunned switching on ball screening teams. But occassionally he has let them switch a lot, especially on a game KU is playing with only a day, or two day, rest. But Self has never, never, never, sent his m2m defenders out double team the ball "before" the ball screener arrives. It was a brilliant piece of improvisation the second half that was largely responsible for KU winning the game. My point of this digression is this: Self is married to principles, but he often changes in surprising ways.

Frankly, I think Self is experimenting with a two unit system for a constellation of reasons. He has a lot of players. The players he plans on playing through most--Marcus and Kieff--are foul prone. His most experienced perimeter players--Tyshawn, Brady and Tyrel--all have significant historical limitations on their performances. But their backups are young, green and historically very wild. Same with TRob subbing on the inside. And a freshman like Selby, after Self's troubled experience with integrating Xavier smoothly and efficiently, combined with Selby's uncertain availability until recently, would not make Self wish to put all his eggs in a one unit basket until he really sees what Selby can do on a plug and play basis.

So: on the whole, Self is doing the only sensible thing. He is trying to develop all his players without expecting too much out of any of them. And he is crafting two units that reflect the differing abilities of the players that he is assigning to them. And he is testing the waters of 2 unit basketball in a most creative, yet strategically sound way. He is playing half court through bigs on one team with great help defense and good trey shooting, and then subbing a faster paced transition team that features slashing and penetrating perimeter players.

justanotherfan 10 years, 10 months ago

Self does make adjustments based on personnel. For instance, switching ball screens out high is something that he can do every time with this team because his three primary bigs (Marcus, Kieff and TRob) can all step away from the basket and defend smaller guys off the dribble. That's something that Cole wasn't comfortable with (remember how many bad fouls he picked up hedging ball screens?). That's something Sasha couldn't do. Darnell Jackson struggled with that. The only post defenders Self has had a KU that could do that effectively prior to this group were Julian Wright, Darrell Arthur and CJ Giles. Unfortunately, the trio never really played together.

If you look back at some of his Illinois teams (or go way back to his Tulsa days) he has shown that he prefers to switch that high screen, but only if he has big guys that can do it without picking up cheap fouls, because Self, as we know, prefers playing 5 perimeter players and 3 posts. That means limiting cheap fouls on post guys, which means not putting them in bad perimeter matchups with quick guards.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Self tries to build leads with the first unit playing 70 point take what they give us through two bigs. Self then shift gears and point of attack on the opponent with what I fondly call the High Energy Laser Second Unit. It forces an opponent to have to prepare for a half court game and for a transition game. Frankly, it is a stroke of Okie Baller genius. Self really can play it anyway they want to now.

But of course, at any moment, Self can shut down the experiment in two unit ball and default to one unit of 7-8 guys, should the results not cause winning.

But, of course, KU is undefeated presently, so it is working at least a little.

And Selby isn't even playing yet!!!

Not bad for an experiment that you do not happen to think is even occurring, if I read you correctly.

Now to Brady in particular, where we definitely and distinctly disgree, also.

You say Brady should not be playing, even if he plays well, because it harms KU in the long run, because it deprives better players from developing more.

First, if Brady weren't better at filling the 3 position the way the first team is trying to play, it is absolutely certain that Brady would not be playing. As I often say, Self does not love Brady. Brady is a great shooter, who would score a lot of points at 2/3s of the B12 schools. For Self, he has been relegated to glue from the beginning. Self has suspended the poor devil for drinking and driving, something every player but one that I know of did when on the teams that played when I attended KU did. Brady has had to eat Xavier Henry's excrement, even when Xavier appeared to be sand bagging.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Next, there is the ludicrous argument that some make, but I don't believe you do. This argument is that Self only plays Brady, because Self "trusts" Brady. How shall I put this as clearly as possible? Uh, coaches don't play players, because they trust them. They play players, because they trust them to perform the role the team requires at their position. Brady is playing, because he is better at playing the 3 the way the starting team needs it played. There is just no other way to read this. And I thought I made this point patently clear, when I pointed out that when EJ replaced Brady so well in the Memphis game, EJ in his best game of his career wound up with the exact same kind of line score that Brady averages.

Now you, or anyone else, can quarrel with Self about whether he ought not want that sort of production line from the 3 spot; that he ought to want the 3 to take a lot more shots and score a lot more, and to rebound a lot more, but that just is not what Self thinks will make the first unit effective, so far. And so taking the position you do, that Brady is hurting the team by robbing the "better" players from development minutes, you find yourself in the uncomfortable position (at least it would be uncomfortable for me) of disagreeing with a coach that wins 82 percent of his games, is undefeated so far this season playing green wood vs. good competition, and has won an NCAA ring as recently as 2008.

I learned very shortly after Self arrived that it was much wiser to try to figure out and understand and appreciate Self's brilliance at what he is doing at most given moments, than to try to outsmart him, or to point out what he is doing wrong. He just doesn't do very much that is unsound, given his philsophies and his talent on hand. The worst you can say is he gambles wrong some times, but my god, mostly he gambles right. He gambles right so much that if he were a gambler in Vegas they would black ball him from the casinos.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

With all of the above clarified, I do think Brady is performing dangerously on the edge of a level that will get him marginalized, should either Self decide to do away with the two unit strategy, or should EJ, or Travis finally stop boneheading so much.

Frankly, it is a testament to just how many mistakes EJ and Travis make in terms of team defense, and bad passing choices and shooting choices, that they can now be shooting 40% from trey, and Brady can be in a slump, and they still can't get their acts together and beat him out.

But the sort of observation I just made, and the sorts of observations you have been making (i.e., Self tends to 7-8 man teams and so who is going to get pushed over board down the stretch) are the kind of thinking that does not lead to the positive; that pit teammates against each other, rather than finds roles that fit what they can each do and so contribute to the team being better than the sum of its parts. I try always to avoid that kind of thinking in ball and in life and move to the positive when talking about the players, despite my sometimes sharp criticisms.

To wit: I truly believe that this two unit system can work, maybe I even believe that more than Coach Self does. I truly believe the team can be better than the sum of its parts by developing these two units on parallel tracks and borrowing spare parts from the first unit for the second and from the second for the first as tactical circumstances dictate. I truly believe Self has the players in their optimal team roles already and that if each player keeps getting better that these team roles will prove to make this two-unit team nearly invincible by March. I truly believe players that cannot get better will get marginalized, and if enough fail to get better, Self will default to the single unit strategy.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

But in my head and in my heart, I am very confident that EJ, Travis, Mario, and Thomas can become a fabulous four man second unit with a fifth coming from Josh for awhile, and most probably from Brady, or Tyrel, after Selby gets his feet on the ground after a month or so of play.

I really don't think Selby is going substantially change the team strategy we have seen so far, if EJ, Travis, Little, and Thomas can continue to get better. Whether Selby starts, or subs, and I believe we would be much, much better served with Selby joining the second unit, unless Selby can shoot 40 percent from trey, I think this two unit strategy could be absolutely gang busters, if everyone continues to get better.

And if Withey were to come around, I would predict a ring right now with this strategy, but with what I have seen so far, I can only infer he will not come around to more than a situational back up--a 5-10 minute backup this season. He is still too unfamiliar with the weight he is carrying and the ferocity of muscle ball today to make the kind of impact he will certainly make next season.

But who knows? Nothing is written. Withey could come along nonlinearly too.

I can tell you this though: Brady has played more minutes with the first unit, because he gives that unit more on average of what Self wants from the 3 than anyone else can.

EJ's performance against Memphis may have changed Self's mind and he may begin to favor EJ in that role.

But Brady's bad performance will also have something to do with it, too.

Self plays the guys who he thinks are best at giving him what he thinks the team needs at a position.

Brady will certainly lose minutes because of that performance vs. Memphis. Self always disciplines with minutes. The problem has always been until now that when Brady plays badly, the guy who gets the nod ahead of him cannot play well enough to keep him from working his way back into Self's esteem.

This is what is great about sports. Talk is cheap. Certainly all our posting is. The guys who can get it done are who play. Brady has always gotten it done well enough to get to play about half the time, even with an NBA OAD, as competition.

I have no doubt that if EJ, or Travis begin playing more minutes than Brady, it will because they really are getting it done better than Brady is.

Until then, I would say, JAF, you are out on one hell of a long, thin limb and continuing to saw on it yourself. :-)

But then I've done that a few times myself. :-)

Rock Chalk!

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

thank god for some reasonable, intelligent discussion. i was afraid i was going to have to cut up my degree and watch for the sky to fall.

chriz 10 years, 10 months ago

For those of you in the "Self-knows-best-so-shut-your-trap" group, please back this up next time you make the "Trust Bill Self" statement. We all realize that he's won a title for us, but that doesn't mean he's perfect, and it CERTAINLY doesn't mean that those of us who suggest he is not perfect are idiots.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

chriz,

I don't mind persons challenging Self and saying he is wrong about this or that. I do it sometimes.

What I dislike is that when I, or someone else, actually takes the time and trouble to explain more or less exactly what Self is up to and that it turns out to make perfectly good sense, that some folks just stick to their guns and foolishly imply, "Don't confuse me with the facts, fella."

I take issue with Self from time to time, but every time I have, once I deliberated on it for some time, I began to realize what he was trying to do and that within that framework, what he did made pretty good sense.

Self goofs tactically every now and then, as 100 points out respectfully. For example, Self let Mike Anderson beat us with the press, because Self got swept up in the helter skelter and forgot Hoops 101--always slice the press. Then next MU game Self had KU slice the MU press to pieces and ever since, KU has handled the MU press pretty well.

But strategically Self is pretty much flawless. He just does devise schemes that fit his talent from the very beginning of seasons remarkably well.

Self's other great, great gift is his flare for masking his own players' weaknesses. It is an amazing gift to watch year after year.

And Self has gotten a lot better during his years at KU. He is now a significantly better coach than he was even in the ring season. Self used to get out coached occassionally. Now he hardly ever does. Some times his team will have a really horrible shooting performance, as occurred vs. NIU, but even then we only lost it in the last seconds, despite shooting 20% from trey. He gets caught unprepared occassionally for a tactic, but then there is always some coach out their hatching something new that can throw even a highly experienced coach for a loop; that's the beauty of basketball. It is a simple game that starts simply and then quickly accelerates into emergent complexity that creates unforeseen events that force even the most veteran coaches beyond their comfort zones at times.

Frankly, what I often find myself pointing out to board rats is that they are almost always in the wrong, when they challenge Self on strategy, but occasionally right when they challenge him on a specific tactic.

That only makes sense, doesn't it?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

I mean Self makes hundreds, maybe thousands of choices during a game. Over the course of a 30+game season, he is going to make a few tactical mistakes.

But challenging him on strategy is a fools quest.

The guy gets paid 4 million bones a year, or something close to it, to think about strategy and tactics. He puts way more thought in to the strategy than all of us combined. And he has all the detailed knowledge of what his players can and cannot do. Of course he's going to be right on the strategy. He wouldn't win 82 percent of his games with bum strategy.

But we can catch him on tactics once in a while, especially with 20/20 hindsight, a luxury he lacks, as he is making the choices in real time.

The trouble is: most board rats don't challenge him on tactics. They challenge him on team strategy issues.

A fool's quest.

When you watch Self during a game, he looks like anything but a genius. He is constantly oscillating from being in total control of the game to it almost getting away from him. He is never comfortable. He is always thinking, always recalibrating, always looking for the next MUA, for the next bone head play that requires a hook.

But in fact Bill Self is a genius at basketball. He's proven that to me beyond a doubt. The ring season did not convince me. It was Cole's first season of starting; that was the season that I think Bill Self began the best years of his coaching career. Fortunately for us he keeps getting a bit better every year.

Tom Izzo can throw him curves he isn't prepared for.

Maybe Roy. Afterall, Roy's team stormed back on him in the '08 semi.

Maybe Pitino, when Slick Rick isn't fighting the bedroom blues.

Maybe Mike the Weasel, but I think Mike the Weasel is past his prime, despite the ring last season. Why past his prime? Because Mike the Weasel would not be resorting to XTReme Cheap Shotting as a tactic had he any creativity left in him.

Self is still beating people with seasonal variations on his basic 70 point take what they give you brand of ball he inherited from Eddie Sutton.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Oh, 100 will challenge me on this and say nothing good but Bill Self himself can come from Oklahoma (he's a true Kansan afterall), and he will point to Larry Brown as a big influence, but deep down to the quick and marrow of Bill Self's bones he is an Okie Baller born and raised. Self's dad was a coach and I'll bet dollars to donuts he soaked up everything Henry Iba and Doyle Parrot ever said out loud to high school coaches in Oklahoma. Iba protege Paul Hansen was Self's OSU coach. Self spent a year with Larry Brown and Brown is reknowned for nothing so much as improvising plays in the moment. How much could Self really learn from Larry in a year at a time when Larry was coaching a pastiche of styles of play and then hatching crazy plays in the huddle every other time out? Self says Brown was an influence, so I'll concede he was. But anyone who knows a lick about basketball, and 100 knows a lot more than me, knows what a great basketball mind Eddie Sutton truly was. And Self was with Eddie during a phase in Eddie's life when he was ready to pass the coaching gism on to someone. It was Eddie Sutton that got Bill Self placed at ORU. It was Eddie Sutton that his team's play most like to this very day. Eddie Sutton grew up in Kansas. He was a genius and as a kid he soaked up what Kansas high school coaches were learning from Phog Allen and KU hoops. But some how Eddie wound up with Iba, and from that point on Iba ball became his foundation. And Eddie was one of the three apostles of Iba ball that converted it to a modern game--Eddie, Don Haskins and Jack Hartman. It was probably Paul Hansen that saw the potential greatness in Self. But it was Larry Brown that saw the great potential and gave Bill Self a real break. Brown is renknowned for that ability. But Self was almost squandered next when he returned to OSU to assist Leonard Hamilton. Fortunately for Self, Eddie walked into his life. And when one genius talks to another genius for even a short apprenticeship, at the right moment in a genius' career, that makes all the difference in the world. Brown could make Bill Self understand what a genius acts like. But it took the genius of Eddie Sutton to make Bill Self really understand the line of genius and the nature of Okie Ball that Self had been raised in.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Self has taken Eddie Ball to a new level.

Self is a basketball genius. He is sure to become better than everyone else coaching today, if he sticks with it.

Roy sold his soul when he went to UNC. He hasn't gotten better there. He's just the same.

Mike the Weasel sold his soul for a ring last season by giving into playing XTReme Cheap Shotting. He's toast as a man capable of advancing the game.

Calipari is wasting his time with a gimmick offense and basically coaching a glorified AAU team every season.

Izzo is Self's only real peer, or perhaps better.

And they are different as night and day.

Izzo is a mug, a thug. He coaches football not basketball. His teams don't score baskets, they kick field goals. You don't play MSU. You scrimmage them along a line of scrimmage.

Self may be the last great basketball coach.

He may be the last guy that could win 80 percent of his games, even if the rules were called correctly, which they no longer are.

Self is the real deal in mid career.

justanotherfan 10 years, 10 months ago

Interesting dialogue going on here.

I am not against Brady playing per se. I think he should play - just not 25 mpg. He's an effective player in a specific role. I just worry that if he gets extended beyond that role, he will be exploited, and that could hurt the team.

Can Brady play good defense. Yes.

Can Brady knock down the open triple. Yes.

Can Brady feed the post. Yes.

Those are all effective tools, and should be utilized and maximized.

My concern is this. Think back to the Sweet Sixteen game vs. Michigan State. MSU basically used Brady's man to sag into the lane to thwart Sherron's drives, or feeds in to Cole. They did this because they had a long, agile defender working against Brady, and since they only had to defend against Brady's three point shot, with little threat of penetration, they made us play 4 on 5 offensively for long stretches of that game. To be fair, MSU does that to a lot of teams by isolating their most limited offensive player and then sagging off that guy. That's a Tom Izzo specialty. My thing is, we can avoid that type of situation by subbing Brady out when they sag off him, and using him to space the floor/ feed the post/ hit the triple against other teams' second units, where those long, agile defenders that give him so many problems on the offensive end are less likely to be playing.

Basically, I think Brady has a better matchup if he and Travis or EJ switch roles.

I also think KU's offense is much more effective with a wing slasher in the game. With the lineup of Reed, Morningstar, Taylor, and the Morrises, there is no wing slasher. Against a zone, I like that lineup, because Reed helps space the floor, Brady can feed the post and either Morris can step to the short corner and can 15 footers. But against man, we aren't putting enough pressure on the defense from the wings.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 10 months ago

Couldn't agree more .. going back to the MSU game, and then what we saw last season. The MSU game has been something I have mentioned as well, though not as eloquently as you. Higher level competition (and good coaches as you have pointed out) create problems for Brady, and limit his effectiveness. But that does not mean he couldn't be a darn effective 12 -15 minute per game guy, and more if the game situation dictated. Good points.

Robert Murphy 10 years, 10 months ago

Bill Self is without doubt a great coach and will probably go down as our best. His record speaks for itself and he has achieved all this success without one player who is now capable of starting in the NBA. Last years stars are now both in the development league and that was the exact reason we did not go further in the tournament. This years addition has more talented players than we have ever seen and hopefully several who are good enough to someday start in the NBA. The posts this year are really interesting and we all can thank Jaybate for his hard work and interesting analysis. It's great to be a jayhawk.

JHawk74 10 years, 10 months ago

Brady is a fifth year senior and deserves playing time. He is not one of the best 5 players this year but deserves to play as a role player. I think his playing time will decrease during the season as the younger players develop and Selby enters the line up. Brady will probably get 15-18 minutes instead of 25 minutes. That would make many people on this message board happy. Robinson is the 2nd best post player we have this year but he should come off the bench. Team chemistry would change if Kief and Marcus didn't start together. Kief is a better rebounder than Marcus, but Marcus is a better scorer. They compliment each other weaknesses and strengths. It appears Little is going to be the 4th post player this year. Withey won't get much playing time when conference play starts (unless we have injury). I believe EJ and Releford are competing with each other for playing time; Self will choose one to play when conference schedule starts. Taylor and Reed are playing too well this season to lose any PT with Selby coming into the line up. Little will also get some time at a Guard position

Here is my predictions;

Starting Five Selby PG Taylor SG Reed SG MC Morris F MK Morris F

6th Man Robinson F Role Player Brady G Role Player Little G/F Role Player Releford G Bench Warmer Johnson G Bench Warmer Withey C Bench Warmer Woolridge G

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

For those that are interested, KenPom now has the individual statistics going (bottom of the page): http://kenpom.com/team.php?team=Kansas

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 10 months ago

Hard to believe Brady was not mentioned at all in this article but the comments bring him up more than 100 times, which is barely ahead of the number of jaybate posts. I would hate to see the responses when the article is actually about Brady. You folks need to get a life.

milehighhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Brady Morningstar is the new Turner Gill.

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