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Friday, December 10, 2010

Kansas men’s basketball team struggling at charity stripe

The Jayhawks warm up prior to tipping off against Memphis during the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Jayhawks warm up prior to tipping off against Memphis during the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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Kansas University’s basketball team — which hit 89.3 percent of its free throws during the two-game exhibition season — has struggled to a 63.9 percent mark through eight regular-season games.

Ever-quotable Marcus Morris — he cashed 15 of 15 free throws against Washburn and Emporia State but has made 24 of 41 (.585) since — on Thursday offered a reason for the discrepancy.

“I think before the exhibitions, we weren’t working on shooting free throws. We started working on them and then we started missing them,” Morris said with a smile. “So I think if we stop working on them we’ll make some more, know what I mean? That’s probably not the reason, but I mean it could be.”

The Jayhawks, who hit 67 of 75 in the practice games, have iced 122 of 191 in eight regular-season victories. Take Tyrel Reed (16 of 16) and Brady Morningstar (3 of 3) out of the mix and KU is a 59.9 percent free throw shooting team entering Saturday’s game against Colorado State (5:30 p.m., Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.).

“I mean it could be mental. Every time you get to the line and the team is not shooting well, you want to make the next one and you just miss,” Marcus Morris said. “I think we will get better as the season goes along.”

KU coach Bill Self was asked if there’s a danger in talking about free throw shooting too much.

“There could be. (But) I’ll talk about it now. We’ve shot it awful,” Self said. “It is the same team shooting it that shot (well) in the exhibition games. We have better shooters than what we are shooting it.

“I also think this,” Self quickly added, “if you are an opposing coach and you are looking at us, you are probably saying, ‘Well jeez, if they start making free throws they (will be tough to beat),’ because free throws have not been an offensive weapon for us, which it should be as much as we drive and get fouled. I will tell everybody I’m not worried about it changing. I believe it will, but I’d just as soon it happen now rather than later.”

The Jayhawks entered the week No. 1 in the country in field goal percentage (56.9).

“I think we take really good shots and we’ve gotten a lot of easy baskets whether it be transition or angles where we basically score with no defense because they are out of place or we throw it over the top,” Self said.

Tyshawn Taylor, who is a 57.1 percent shooter and 63.3 percent free thrower, noted: “We’ve got so many different guys that can score or just make shots, it’s hard to stop us.

“We watch other college games and compare ourselves. I sit back and think, ‘We’re better than this team or that team,’ for different reasons. I think that’s one of the reasons. We’re one of the deeper teams.”

The Jayhawks are the No. 4-ranked team in the country with Josh Selby to join the mix against on Dec. 18.

“No,” Taylor said, asked if he’s identified a better team. “I think Duke is real good, though, but I don’t think anybody is better than us.”

One more year?: Junior Marcus Morris said he was thrilled to learn KU will play Kentucky in Madison Square Garden next year as part of the four-team Champions Classic.

“Me being here my senior year and being able to compete against those caliber players will definitely be exciting for everybody,” Morris said. “I’m just waiting for it to come. I definitely was excited to see it. It’s a good challenge for us to come.”

Draftexpress.com projects Morris to be the No. 14 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

NBA talk: Self was asked about the impact an NBA team in Kansas City might have on KU.

“Forty five games is a lot of home games. There’d be a lot of people that would want to spend their entertainment dollar on that and us and may be forced to make a decision on which they do,” he said. “I personally think it could affect, I’m not saying adversely, K-State, us and Missouri. To be honest, we’re selfish. I think we enjoy being the professional franchise, all three of us, because if an NBA team does come, that title would go away fast. There are so many advantages if we have an NBA franchise, but it doesn’t stink now is the way I see it.”

Draft: There’s talk the NBA players association wants a rule allowing players to enter the draft right out of high school.

“I am shocked,” Self said. “So now younger kids are going to take their jobs. It’s one thing to get beat out by somebody that can help. It’s another to get beat out by potential that can’t play yet. I’d think the NBA players would want it (age limit) to be pushed back.”

He said he was in favor of “letting them go immediately,” but added he thought no player should be allowed to leave unless NBA evaluators guarantee a player should be a top 15 pick. He said it was wrong that some players “don’t make their grades because they think they can just declare for the draft.”

Comments

100 10 years, 10 months ago

Keep working on those free throws boys....

By the way, is this why we didn't hang our sixth banner Late Night 2010? (click below)

C'mon Cole!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rockchalk_dpu 10 years, 10 months ago

If you checked the date of that video, it was from a few days before the Twins played in KC against the Royals when Cole threw out the first pitch... after the season was already over. I know a lot went into losing that game against Northern Iowa, but I'm going to venture a guess that it had nothing to do with Cole practicing pitching weeks after the season was over.

100 10 years, 10 months ago

Thank God!

(in general obviously that UNI loss had very little to do with Cole's lack of preparation, his lungs weren't right last year & UNI's 7 footer owned him).

That said if we haven't said it a thousand times... Choose a strategy against these midmajors that works when you have 12 stud athletes!

(it looks like Self has corrected that mistake bigtime already this year)

champion 10 years, 10 months ago

Sounds Memphis-Like via 2008...we all know how that turned out. Miss the throws, blow the leads, lose the big games. They're free throws boys, bend your knees and follow through...maybe we need a team psychologist or somethin'

didjabuti 10 years, 10 months ago

If I remember correctly we struggled with free throws until maybe midway through conference play that year as well. Maybe not to this degree, I can't recall the exact stats.

yates33333 10 years, 10 months ago

If KU could shoot free throws Taylor is probably right since Duke lost their freshman star.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 10 months ago

It sounds a little out of character for HCBS to be almost intimidated by the thought of an NBA franchise in KC.

Does Missouri feel the same way about the Chiefs?

Will AFH not be sold out for every game?

If there is a KU game on the same night as an NBA game (in Lawrence and KC), will attendance, etc. at AFH suffer?

I trust in the allegience to the KU program. Plenty of similar scenarios come to mind and there doesn't appear to be an issue of significant concern.

If anything, I believe the proximity would actually help KU. Don't forget also, Kemper once housed an NBA team and it sure didn't seem to adversely affect KU. Hmmm...maybe sharing a region with an NBA team might not be good for the NBA team! KU survived before, it would again, I'm sure.

jayhawk1996 10 years, 10 months ago

You might want to check attendance figures for both the Kings and KU. Both struggled to draw fans in the early 1980s.

funkitect 10 years, 10 months ago

if some people would really give up their KU tickets to go to NBA games, all it will do will open up the KU tickets to other fans who weren't able to get tickets in the first place.

i have no worries; KU bball games would still continue to be sellouts...

doctorWho 10 years, 10 months ago

I hate to say it, but as long as the NBA league salary cap rules stay similar to the way they currently are, a new team in a small potatoes market like KC is never going to consistently field a quality NBA team. The only way for a team in KC to succeed is for an owner who loves the hell out of the NBA to step forward to take some big time losses at the ticket gate and then pile on some more losses by going deep into the NBA luxury tax territory. Given that no potential buyer for the Hornets has yet stepped forward from the KC area means that either: 1) Potential owners with deep pockets are not "Mark Cuban" over the NBA; or 2) They love the NBA, but don't have deep enough pockets.

Given this reality, KU and HCBS have nothing to worry about.

KGphoto 10 years, 10 months ago

San Antonio isn't deep into lux tax territory.

Bryan Hurford 10 years, 10 months ago

I admire the players that make it to the NBA, but the excitement, and pure emotion comes at the college level. I think for that reason, and the Jayhawk faithful, AFH will always be sold out.

KUFool 10 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps a throwaway line, but VERY exciting to hear Marcus Morris talking about being at KU for his senior year:

"Junior Marcus Morris said he was thrilled to learn KU will play Kentucky in Madison Square Garden next year as part of the four-team Champions Classic.

'Me being here my senior year and being able to compete against those caliber players will definitely be exciting for everybody,” Morris said. “I’m just waiting for it to come. I definitely was excited to see it. It’s a good challenge for us to come.'"

Justin Carlson 10 years, 10 months ago

Alright HCBS take a deep breath and relax about the possibility of a NBA team to KC! If anyone thinks it will effect attendence at Allen is completely lost his or her mind. I have been to an NBA game and numerous games is Allen. Nothing compares to the experience in Allen Field House. If you have $100+ and you are going to take your kids and or family to watch a basketball game which would you choose? The only way I see a problem would be if; KU is playing a noncon with against a putz and the Sprint center has LeBron, Kobe or Superman in the building! Even then can you imagine next season when we have a true home and away schedule in the "Big 12" I don't think KS people will pass up a chance to go watch a KU vs. KSU or Mizzery game to go watch a NBA game featuring Lebron. Will never happen!!

FREETHROWS = SHOCK Therapy!! ............(I mean you miss you run!)

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

I have a request LJW. Let's not get any more quotes from Tyshawn Taylor. I"m loving the fact that right now his game is doing all his talking. He is quietly having a great season and his personality is definitely being showcased through his play on the court. I know Taylor definitely earns his press time, but just would just prefer this new behind the scenes Taylor that kind of hangs out in the background.

741hawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Attendance at OU and OSU is down significantly since the Thunder arrived in Oklahoma City. There are only so many dollars and so many nights available for entertainment.

Kit Duncan 10 years, 10 months ago

Even before OKC hosted the Hornets post Katrina and well before franchising the Thunder, I saw an OU game on TV and the stands had a lot of empty seats (and it was a conference game). Next week KU came to Norman and the place was packed and the students were loud!

KU still won.

Justin Carlson 10 years, 10 months ago

Shaw completely agree!! I think he should have a translator at all press conferences, to keep his butt "out" of the media!

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

I think I need an editor because my last sentence is horrible. I wish there was an "Edit" button.

Kit Duncan 10 years, 10 months ago

I've suggested that before. I've been on other forums where you can modify or delete your own post. That should not be difficult for the LJW staff to change.

ParisHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Not related to the article: kenpom.com has started publishing individual player stats and I noticed a few things that seem interesting:

  • The guys who use the most possessions are Markieff, Marcus, Robinson and Tyshawn. This looks pretty good. Tyrel should probably shoot more.

  • Two great detailed stats are fouls called per 40 minutes and fouls drawn per 40 minutes. Marcus is + 3 : over 40 minutes he draws 3 more fouls than he commits. Tyrel and Mario are +2, Tyshawn and EJ are +1.5. Everyone else is pretty even except for Brady at -1. The way we play, it's above all the bigs that need to hit their free throws.

  • Markieff is statistically the best defensive rebounder in the country. TRob's strength is offensive rebounding.

JHawk74 10 years, 10 months ago

741hawk --

Your comparing the OU and OSU basketball programs to KU? I know OU and OSU were not selling out every game before the Thunder. OU has been terrible the last few years and OSU has only been average the past few years. I think if OU and OSU put a better team on the floor they will get their fans back.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

Those who like recruiting will enjoy this article. Meyer was also pretty confident Beal and Turner was going to KU.......as we all were. Nonetheless, I'll take stories like this.

http://basketballrecruiting.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1163329


Kansas still five-star shopping

Do you think Kansas will land DeAndre Daniels or Ben McLemore?

  • Shamark from Macon

There is a strong chance that Kansas will land both prospects. Daniels spoke very positively to Rivals.com about his recent visit to Kansas. He also visited Oregon and has scheduled visits for Kentucky and Texas. If Kansas isn't the team to beat for Daniels, the Jayhawks are certainly right in the mix atop his list.

McLemore is currently torn between Kansas and Missouri. Over the long haul, however, Kansas has been his leader. There is no guarantee that Kansas will beat out Missouri for McLemore, but Kansas has to like its chances.

With only one recruit in its 2011 class, Kansas is very intent on landing both of these five-star prospects. Kansas should have an answer on both Daniels and McLemore in the coming days before the beginning of the second semester.

crmsnblu 10 years, 10 months ago

i love that in his picture in the article McLemore is wearing a paul pierce skills academy jacket

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

That's a good observation! I didn't even notice that until you said something.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

No change here....it's a tug of war between his family and himself. Ben wants to go to KU, no question about it. He's still trying to convince Momma.

Marc Frey 10 years, 10 months ago

The Kansas City market can not handle another professional team. The dollars are not there. I lived in KC from 64-81 and went to KC Scouts, and KC-Omaha Kings, games and those teams left. Sprint and other corporations only have enought money for sports marketing.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 10 months ago

Agreed .. in part. If an NBA team is winning, people will go. Our problem here is that we have a relatively small market, so we don't have the population to sustain when a team is down, and our baseball team is down due to the economics of the game (with the only chance of winning consistently being the Twins' model). Really, if you compare to other bigger markets, the KC area does pretty good when teams are down ... relatively speaking. But not enough to sustain.

Personally, I have little interest in the NBA and no way am I dropping $50 -$80 for ticket when I can spend my basketball dollar at AFH. It ain't even close.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 10 months ago

But they don't have the Chiefs or the Royals.

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

The item which, for me, stands out most about this article: Marcus speaks of playing his senior year at Kansas! If he is a borderline lottery pick at this stage, he stands a chance to move into the top 8 by the end of next season, barring injury, of course. Yeah, I agree that LJW could offer the program a huge service by limiting those quotable quotes of TT. No need to provide bulletin board fodder to future opponents.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

On the flip side, Marcus could be a "Craig Brackens" and fall out of the lottery. Brackens should have left after his junior year where he would have been a Top 5 pick most likely.

Andrew Moore 10 years, 10 months ago

Marcus is better than brackins. Brackins played on a very poor team, and had one really good game his entire career. He didn't get any stronger or better his last year, which is why he didn't go in the lottery.

Marcus though, if he stays, will be on a good team and will be a leader of the team, regardless of his production (Aldrich last year). He'd be fine

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

Marcus----hello? Free throws are mental. Hit the free throws. My coach would make a run, run, run if we didn't hit a certain %. It has to get better!

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

Meant to say, "My coach would make us run, run, run. . . . " Sorry.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

My posts are "Automatic!". Thanks drgnslayr. This should help me out going forward. :)

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Just a comment but I was an average free throw shooter in high school until an assistant coach gave me a little mental tip. Focus on the bottom of the net and visualize the ball going through it. Don't look at your shot, don't look up.

The concept was similar to hitting a golf ball and keeping your head down focused on the tee even after the swing. I went from 65% shooter to an 85% shooter.

Coach Bill...feel free to use this technique. :)

PS Oh, the other part of the tip was practice, practice, practice!!

Ben Kane 10 years, 10 months ago

I think Marcus will stay solely because Markieff isn't going to go, and he doesn't want to leave him behind. I'm not complaining, and it speaks volumes as to his character.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Besides, I think he wants to go to Hawaii with his brother and his Mom. :)

Theutus 10 years, 10 months ago

Those guys have never been split, they are virtually attached at the hip... I think it's awesome that they are so close. I also agree that because of that, McMorris will spend his senior year (and last year) playing with his brother.

They both have to already realize that it's their last chance to play together... The odds of one NBA team taking both of them is pretty much slim and none.

I also think they could both still improve a lot going into their final year as seniors, so the only thing truly pulling them away would be money... They don't seem like the type to jump the gun based on money alone, especially not with mom in town. I can't wait to see what they do this season, and hopefully next.

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I completely agree. I think the only jumps may be made by Selby and Taylor. My gut tells me Taylor will stay another year but who knows about Selby. I feel like the season after next will be a major time to reload.

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

Not only think "automatic," think "Hawaiian Trip!" I bet Selby wants to go to Hawaii, too, next season----that would be awesome!

Theutus 10 years, 10 months ago

To be fair, if Hawaii is really that enticing to Selby, he'll go to the NBA to get it...

Going to Hawaii with the team isn't a vacation, and if he signs an NBA contract he can go there, stay in a presidential suite, and do whatever he feels like....

Hawaii isn't going to be any selling point to keep him here another year. :P

beebe1 10 years, 10 months ago

Two excellent suggestions on free throw technique! Different app[roaches may affect how well they adapt for each of us.

My thought is that free throws are 'muscle memory'. It is a completely different form of 'memory'. In learning to memorize a piece for playing piano, for me, it is strictly 'muscle memory'. You learn where and when to put your fingers while playing the music 'by heart'. Strictly muscle memory. (others may learn the looks of the written music, etc.)

If you concentrate on muscle memory, it may work for you. Not being so athletic, I learned to play golf that way (back before most of you were born). eg take a foot wiping pad, a driver, and a whifflle ball to the back yard and proceed to learn to drive it with your eyes closed. That is absolutely 'muscle memory'! If you do that, it may work. I can still shoot a free throw that way -- two hands underhanded, of course -- dates back before 1948 (my year).

Muscle memory will work for some people if they concentrate on it. Eyes open during a game of course.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

Great point KU_Fan! Think about if there is an NBA lockout and guys like Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight, Kryrie Irving, and Josh Selby all stay! If KU and Duke were to meet in Maui, you would not only get to see Irving vs Selby, but you would also potentially get to see Taylor, EJ, and B Mac vs Austin Rivers.

Then a week earlier you could potentially see Knight vs Selby, Taylor vs Teague, B Mac vs Lamb, Morris vs Jones, Daniels vs Gilchrist, and Kieff vs Davis. Man, I hope an NBA lockout happens, they change the age rule to 20, and everybody in college basketball is happy. Wishful thinking huh?

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

I think everybody just needs to switch to their off hand and shoot free throws ala Bo Kimble style.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

The problem is that we've played teams that have very good free throw defense.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Excellent point..we need all the players to shoot "Condor style", you know, how Cole always had that little hesitation in the middle of his shot?

We drew the defense offsides constantly and consistently made first down!!

slowplay 10 years, 10 months ago

When the other team hits a home run and it's fourth and goal you should always full court press.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

I like it, if we can consistently get them to lane violate, we can just keep shooting free throws til we make one! I think I/we should email coach Self.

KPOP 10 years, 10 months ago

bottom line is that free throws only matter in close games. (brilliant) Quit allowing teams to hang around and the free throw problems go away. a simple solution.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

I've reffed a lot of jr hi girls basketball games and they definitely don't shoot FT's better than the Jayhawks!

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

The_Big_B----totally agree with the LTL. You have to work at it.

Kris Nelson 10 years, 10 months ago

The best way to work on free throws is to do the repetition drill. You start off on either side of the goal and shoot without jumping, slightly bending the knees. Make 10 in a row from both sides and then move out 2 feet in front of the rim in the middle of the lane and make 10 in a row, move back 2 feet and make 10 in a row, repeat until you get all the way out to the three point line then move back up to the free throw line and finish with 10 in a row. No jump shots- only slightly bend the knees and shoot like a free throw on all the shots.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Sure fire technique....if you miss a free throw, you have to french kiss a life size Susan Boyle doll!!

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Merriweather of Memphis just had a knee operation that will put him out for at least five weeks. He hurt the knee in mid-November.

That means this kid scored scored 36 points against us with a bad wheel!!! If he had been healthy, he may have scored 70!!

jayhawktalk 10 years, 10 months ago

Huh? Wesley Witherspoon of Memphis just had knee surgery. He scored 8 pts against us. Barton was their leading scorer with 16 pts.

That I know of, no one named Merriweather is on the Memphis' roster, much less scored 36 pts on us. Although, based upon this reported 36 pt output, Memphis would probably be thrilled to discover this tremendous talent.

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

"AUTOMATIC for the people!" Naadir Tharpe

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

Oakville---did U mean french kiss Ashley Judd? Man, I going to miss my free throws on purpose! LOL.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

KU_FanSince75.....have you seen Ashley Judd, lately?

UKTroll 10 years, 10 months ago

I am as beautiful as ever and can still make a blind man beg.

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 10 months ago

No matter what happens, I know you'll be in the spotlight----just hope I don't miss a dunk by one of the twins when the camera pans to you VS your Kentucky Wildcats!

SCHNBALL 10 years, 10 months ago

I cannot believe the coaches let EJ shoot free throws the way he does, zero knee bend, I am with Marcus, all mental, let the players be, unless it is a technique issue.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

To begin with, if the KUSports.com stats are up to date and accurate, Brady and Tyrel are a combined 19 for 19 at the FT line, so the problem does not lie with them. :-)

I start here, because with some board rats, the moment a problem's cause cannot be assigned to Brady and Tyrel, their analytical skills wither. :-)

But its problems do not source entirely to its reliance on "athletic" players that struggle with the unathletic act of free throw shooting. Always beware of such oversimplifications as assigning causality to classes of anything.

Kieff, who is not wildly athletic, is shooting 69%, not great, not his best, but not horrible either. I'm much more worried about his trifections, but that is not the issue of this epistle.

Conversely, Withey, who is not wildly athletic either, is shooting a pitiful 47%.

Among bigs who are not overly athletic, then, some can shoot the FT decently, while others cannot.

How are the "athletic" bigs doing?

Well, Marcus probably qualifies as athletic and he is as already noted, at 59%, while TRob is at a slightly more wanting 58%

But out on the perimeter, there is a rather stark and chilling dividing line among the "athletic" players and the "non athletic" players. Note: I use this typology precisely to debunk its relevance in ensuing paragraphs.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

To reiterate about the non athletic types on the perimeter (as some simplification-loving board rats like to break down our beloved perimeter players) the subset of Brady and Tyrel are a combined 19 of 19 from the FT line.

Among the "athletic" group on the perimeter, we see the following:

Tyshawn 63% Releford 57% Little 61% EJ 50%

Perhaps nothing in life comes cheaply, perhaps least of all athleticism on the perimeter. he price at present for all that "athleticism" is something approximating an average of 59% FT shooting among this group.

But, again, I have never liked the typologies of "athletic" and "non-athletic," nearly as much as some board rats have.

Why?

It smacks to much of a kind of class-ism bordering uncomfortably close on racism to me; that's why?

What if we reclassified Kieff as athletic, as some board rats might, and reclassified Withey as too injured to be considered as anything but an injury anomaly of the data set?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Then some oversimplifying board rats would be walking around saying, the "athletics," all of whom are African American in this hypothetical case, would be poor free throw shooters, while all "non-athletics," all Caucasian Americans in this hypothetical case, would be great free throw shooters. And then they would probably start making inferences, in code, of course, about why KU is in a shooting slump.

This is why analysing players as classes of players, whether free of racism, or underpinned by same, is specious thinking to me.

Marcus Morris is one case. He happens to be African American, but for valid analytical purposes, he could also be an alien from one of the new potential life bearing planets across the universe. It just doesn't matter what class Marcus is assigned to by oversimplifiers, he makes or misses those FTs, on his own.

Tyshawn Taylor is another individual.

Brady is one case.

EJ is another.

Tyrel is one case.

Travis is another.

I'm arguing for the contents of their characters here, and not for the class of their athleticism, nor the colors of their skins.

These are individual human beings fighting their hearts out there together as a team. They are not "athletics" and "nonathletics" out their fighting their hearts out as a team. They are not African Americans and Caucasian Americans out their as a team. They individual human beings.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Each individual shoots field goals as part of a team. They rebound as part of a team. They protect as part of a team. They turn over as part of a team. They offend as part of a team. They defend as part of a team. They win as part of a team. And they lose as part of a team, no matter how much some board rats may wish to whine about "nonathletics" playing too many minutes, and "athletics" playing too few minutes. No matter how much some board rats may wish to whine that "nonathletics" can shoot free throws, but "athletics" cannot.

Free throw shooting is the most individual act in basketball. It does not matter who your friends were back home. It does not matter what cuisine you were raised on. It does not matter how high you can jump, or how little you can jump. It does not matter who hypes you and who looks down on you.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The origins of an individual's slump in free throw shooting are in the mental imaging, the focus, the modulation of stimulation, and the mechanics of the stroke. You don't have to have a high IQ to shoot FTs well. You don't have to have a low one either. You have to be able to repeat accurately a set of mechanics under stress with your emotions kept in check and your level of arousal just high enough to focus and not too high to focus.You need to be able to take a breath, exhale, and shoot a hole 15 feet away 10 feet above the ground--a hole big enough for two basketballs to fall through simultaneously. And you have to be able to tune out quite a bit of irrelevant stimuli, plus do all this, only a few moments after having run yourself to near exhausting for a few preceding minutes.

Tougher to make FTs in a game than out on the playground by yourself? Oh,my yes!

But individuals are also susceptible to suggestion, especially when they identify heavily with and trust the person giving the suggestion.

Teammates are both trusted and heavily identified with as fellow members of the team, the band of brothers.

When one teammate begins to have trouble with his stroke, watching him struggle with that stroke can be as mentally contagious as a flu virus.

"Geez, if Marcus can't can them, and he's better than me, what am I gonna do when I get up there?"

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

But there is also probability and randomness involved.

Every individual on the team iterates around his own central tendency in FT shooting all season long. And each individual's good stretches and bad stretches vary in starting point, magnitude and duration.

It doesn't make any difference what class of player you are in.

Probability and randomness happen.

It doesn't make any difference what color you are.

It doesn't make any difference which god you worship, or if you don't worship any god.

These iterations of players around their central FT shooting tendency once in awhile during a season coincide. And when they do, it can create a powerful self-reinforcing suggestion: we can't hit shiz at the line.

Each player needs to work on his own free throw shooting to try to get himself back in his groove.

But I would argue that the coaches should got to the player that is fartherest off his normal stroke, in this case probably Marcus, and they should focus in on him. They should work on his positive imaging, and on his focus. They should show him a whole lotta tape of his successful free throws last season. They should walk around having him imagining making free throws, whenever he has a spare moment. And they should praise what a sweet stroke he has and how he is soon going to go on a tear.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Why is Marcus in a slump?

I don't see any reason to guess.

He has taken on the psychological burden of team leadership for the first time and he has seen how vulnerable he is not to be able to lead when he is in foul trouble. He has seen how difficult it is to stay out of foul trouble, when the other team doubles you and decides you are the man to stop. It is an enormous burden. He is doing so many things right, but underneath he is on a crucible to prove to himself that he really can lead the team. Until he proves it to himself, or perhaps until he stops trying to prove himself worthy and accepts the obvious; that he is simply the most logical option to be the team leader and so he is whether he likes it or not, something in his game will probably suffer some. In his case, it appears the stress of his responsibilities is being displaced into his free throw shooting. Also, he probably is more tired at the line this season, than he was last season. Playing against double and triple teams wears any player down. Wilt Chamberlain got so sick of it he left early and joined the Trotters.

The team probably caught the cold of their leader to some extent.

But looking at the rest of the "individuals" on this team, I fear we've just got quite a number of fellows that aren't very good FT shooters. They probably are not as bad as the present numbers, but they could be.

Certainly, Butcher Barnes recruited himself a bunch of individuals that could not shot free throws very well last season, and it was a key ingredient in Texas' collapse.

It is very easy for coaches who focus on recruiting individuals with certain kinds of skills, to marginalize the importance of FT shooting to winning games.

And in the age of XTReme Muscle and XTReme Cheap Shotting, when the fouls stop being called in March, who can blame coaches for placing less emphasis on recruiting good FT shooters. So you lose a few games in pre conference and conference that you would have won with good FT shooting. Come the Madness, maybe it is which team gets away with the most fouls, not which team shoots FTs best, that counts most.

Right?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

But positive imaging, modulation of stimulation level, and proper focus underpin and act as pathway boundaries on all that you rightly define. Hence, doing only what you say can actually cement the problem. Not matter. Not mind. Not even mind over matter. But mind and matter.

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