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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Keegan

Break, Selby should boost KU

Kansas players Josh Selby, left, Niko Roberts, and Jordan Juenemann celebrate a dunk by teammate Markieff Morris during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Kansas players Josh Selby, left, Niko Roberts, and Jordan Juenemann celebrate a dunk by teammate Markieff Morris during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

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KU vs. Colorado State

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Kansas defeated Colorado State, 76-55, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., December 11, 2010.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 76-55 victory over Colorado State on Dec. 11, 2010, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

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Kansas University’s basketball team made it through the pre-Selby portion of its schedule undefeated in nine games, the last by a 76-55 score Saturday night against Colorado State in the Sprint Center. The Jayhawks lead the country in scoring margin and field-goal percentage and are ranked No. 4 in the nation.

Given all that, I had to ask the coach if he thought it’s possible his team will get worse before it gets better with freshman guard Josh Selby, who makes his debut Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse against USC, added to the rotation.

“No, no, no, I don’t think we can play worse than what we are right now, to be honest with you,” Self said. “No, we’re going to get better. This team’s going to get a lot better.”

Especially, Self said, during winter break, when teams practice twice daily and watch film between the sessions.

“Over Christmas is your last real chance to get better,” Self said.

As for getting worse before it gets better, the team already has done that, Self said.

“We’ve gotten worse over the last two weeks,” he said. “We’ve got to get a lot better, start doing it through practice. That wasn’t very good at all today. At all. I’m not just talking about playing. Mentally, alert, paying attention to scouting report. Maybe guys were playing at such a high level early on they relaxed a little. Certainly no energy (the past two weeks), compared to where it was early.”

Self was particularly displeased with how KU’s lead dwindled from 15 to seven points late in the first half.

“It’s unbelievable how we can get in our own way,” Self said. “We need to develop more of a killer instinct. But beyond that, we’re so lackadaisical. We have good players who make good plays, but, hey, I wouldn’t want any of them to be a quarterback.”

Why not?

“All it takes is for a quarterback to go brain-dead three or four plays, and all the sudden, the game’s over,” Self said. “We’ve got a whole team of guys who can lose focus for four or five plays.”

The more Self likes one of his teams, the crankier he gets when he sees the attention to detail slipping. He likes these guys. A lot. When he gets in front of a microphone after his team doesn’t play in a way that makes him proud, it’s as if he’s on a shrink’s couch, letting it all pour from his soul.

“I’m not real happy right now, but I still like our team,” he said. “We do a lot of good things, and we still play hard, we just don’t play hard enough. We’re not by any stretch a team that plays smart all the time.”

The energy from the crowd once Selby enters the game Saturday will get the adrenaline of all the home players flowing.

“Josh will be a nice boost to us, but we shouldn’t need a boost,” Self said. “Here’s the other thing: How will guys who’ve been getting attention handle not getting attention because the next couple weeks will be about Josh, and Josh didn’t bring that on himself? That’s just the way it is. Now you have a different element. He’s going to add a lot of energy and juice. So if we handle it right, I think he’ll be a great asset to us.”

Self sees Selby every day in practice. He ought to know what to expect of him.

“I don’t think he should ever miss a shot or ever turn it over,” Self said. “If he does that, I think he’ll live up to what you guys think he should be.”

One reason this team played so well out of the chute is that none of the players in the rotation were newcomers. That’s why you didn’t hear Self say, “The ball’s sticking in their hands too much,” as often as he usually does in November. Selby’s new. He’s highly skilled, but it takes time for anybody to mesh. The ball movement’s not going to look as pretty at times, for a while, even though Selby has participated in practice.

“The deal is seeing a kid just trying to fit in,” Self said. “He’s not going to score 20 a game. He’s not. He may really labor. He gets it, that he’s got to fit in. He’s got to score the way and play the way we want him to play, which is still allowing him a lot of freedom, but he’s got to understand it.”

So what does he expect in terms of performance?

“I don’t have an expectation,” Self said. “I just want him to be aggressive, play hard and have fun. He’s paid his dues. He deserves to have some fun.”

Selby won’t be alone in that regard Saturday, when he makes his debut and the place gets really, really loud.

Comments

KU_Dropout 3 years, 7 months ago

Ready to take over that number one spot!

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 7 months ago

I thought the tough games was Arizona, UCLA and Memphis. We won those games without Selby. Now, let's add Selby to mix and see if we are comparable to Duke. It will be fun to watch---I hope!

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kranny 3 years, 7 months ago

Talent-wise we're tight there with Duke, but Coach sees it-the missed freethrows, the turnovers, not getting rebounds that should be gotten. We were a bit lucky last night to get some "Duke" calls from the officials that squelched momentum for CSU. Duke is the team to beat as much as I hate to say it, even w/o Irving. The next few games will be interesting.

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jhox 3 years, 7 months ago

The couple of times I've seen Duke, I've seen a team vastly superior to us defensively. Offensively we're on par with them, but we need to improve the interior defense, a lot, in order to be at their level. (Of course, it helps that in the official's eyes Duke never commits a foul, and the Morris twins never make a clean defensive play.)

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IBRONNIEB 3 years, 7 months ago

Well Keegan I'm not a fan of yours by any means. But I liked this article. You left your opinion where it should be, somewhere else. Thanks for just giving us something to read without weeding through all your normal excess. Good article. Selby will take a little
while to blend and then we should all enjoy the things he will bring to the table. Hawks will be ready come tourny time. RCJH

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hawk316 3 years, 7 months ago

IBRONNIEB, unlike you, I usually enjoy Keegan's work. But this one was really good. It allowed us to get inside Coach Self's head a bit. Very interesting article. Good work, Tom!

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redlegger 3 years, 7 months ago

“I don’t have an expectation,” Self said. “I just want him to be aggressive, play hard and have fun. He’s paid his dues. He deserves to have some fun.”

Yet another reason to love Self Coach!

Looking forward to seeing this Team continue to get better and dominate as the season goes on!

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Tim Shockley 3 years, 7 months ago

My exact thought when I read the quote. Great comment redlegger!
Rock Chalk!! And the rules of basketball coming to Lawrence on behalf of the Booths where they belong.
I would like to extend my appreciation/admiration to the Booth family for all they've done for KU. Couldn't be prouder to be a Jayhawk!!

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IBRONNIEB 3 years, 7 months ago

Kranny you are so right, as far as the free throws, turnovers, and missed rebounds. Ask Memphis just what missed free throws in big games means. The turnovers are a concern that hopefully Selby can help correct. And Duke is the team to beat. Having said that cant wait to hopefully see them in the tourny.

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Layne Pierce 3 years, 7 months ago

The good news is this team is awesome with plenty to improve on. By tourney time, if we grow, we can beat anybody. We may actually have more physical talent than Duke, but Duke plays very smart.

Everybody is down on Withey, let's cut the guy a little slack. He is still trying to get the kinks out. I still believe that he will contribute. The big difference, though, is that the team is not built around a slow center, like it was with Cole. Cole would not have looked as good with the way this team runs. One thing I like is that he can make free throws. That's a plus in itself.

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rchance 3 years, 7 months ago

he is 10 for 21 at 47% don't think he can even help us there

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Tony Bandle 3 years, 7 months ago

Jeff, I fear will be the new Brady...not for what he does on the court ala Morningstar madness but what he doesn't do on the court ala like the legit impact seven footer that he was expected to be.

Morningstar will become a favorite based on his Josh-reduced minutes thus allowing him to shine in situations that are to his abilities advantage and not get over-exposed.

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ttoulouse 3 years, 7 months ago

Saturday stunk for us shooting-wise. Reed needs to step up and make his open shots. Our bigs need to out-quick everybody with effort because we are a small team. Everybody needs to be a scoring threat on this team. Everybody needs to step up on defense.

we saw it in the first half of the Arizona game where everyone was aggressive and making shots, but there is still some Sherron syndrome - everybody is waiting for the other guy to step up and make the move or shot. Selby will give us that but we can't sit around and watch and wait. Here's hoping Self gets that point across over the break

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Tony Bandle 3 years, 7 months ago

Totally agree...hopefully Josh will fill that role of "let's do it!!!"

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 7 months ago

32---Josh Selby----practice hard this week-----give us some showtime!

rcjh.

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yovoy 3 years, 7 months ago

I bet all the opponents we've played since right before Tksgv have scored at least 10 points on second-chance baskets. I'm seeing some consensus here that our defensive rebounding leaves something to be desired. I'd almost say that our perimeter defense has been so decent that it's CAUSING some of the stick-back points. Our on-shot defense is good enough that other teams are chucking the ball up there, and if it doesn't go in, it misses badly, and takes a weird carom. After the carom from a bad shot, it's going to look like our guys are out of position to rebound the ball. They're not: the shots are so bad that they're coming off crazy which is allowing opportunities for offensive boards where a decent shot wouldn't allow that. Granted, we've got to board everything on the defensive end, and not all the misses are so far off that they can be rebounded by the offense, but it has happened lots lately, and I'm saying that good perimeter d is causing a few of the baaaad bricks. Watch some tape, and see if you don't agree.

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Redlandsjhawk 3 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely I've noticed the same thing. A rebound 20 feet from the basket is anyones ball but that doesn't show up in the box score. I also think your reasoning for these rebounds is right on. I'm more concerned about the lazy passes. They drive me Crazy!

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Studogg 3 years, 7 months ago

Yes, redlands! The lazy passes are happening way too often. I've noticed it as well. Hopefully, Selby can help with that, too!

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Theutus 3 years, 7 months ago

The crazy thing about those "lazy passes" is that 90% of them are coming from our two "consistent" guys...

Morningstar and Taylor. I can't even count how many times i see Taylor bounce a lazy pass to someone and it damn near gets taken down the court for an easy layup. Morningstar has been making some just terrible decisions as well, it almost seems like his head has been somewhere else... Granted his last game was a large improvement over the previous 3 or 4.

Anyway, i think these 2 really need to step it up and take better care of the ball... That's their job.

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