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Originally published December 28, 2010 at 06:24p.m., updated December 29, 2010 at 12:00a.m.

Josh Selby to start first game, Marcus Morris to come off the bench

Kansas guard Josh Selby warms up prior to tipoff against USC, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. Selby will play his first game as a Jayhawk.

Kansas guard Josh Selby warms up prior to tipoff against USC, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse. Selby will play his first game as a Jayhawk.

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Self, players discuss holiday break

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Kansas head coach Bill Self and players Tyrel Reed, Josh Selby and Marcus Morris discuss their holiday break.

Marcus Morris faced no NCAA-mandated suspension for committing a flagrant foul and getting tossed from Kansas University’s heated 78-63 victory over the University of California last Wednesday in Berkeley, Calif.

He’s encountered some discipline, Bill Self-style, however.

KU’s junior small forward from Philadelphia will come off the bench for the first time this season — as the Jayhawks (11-0) go with a radically different look in today’s 8 p.m. home contest against the University of Texas at Arlington (5-5).

“He’s not going to start. For how long, I don’t know,” KU coach Self said, stressing that Morris will definitely play against the Mavericks of the Southland Conference.

“He had it right where he wanted it and let it get away from him,” Self added of Morris.

Self reported that sophomore Thomas Robinson will start his first game of the season — second of his career — at power forward. He’ll be in the same frontcourt as junior Markieff Morris, who started the first nine games before coming off the bench in the last two.

Freshman Josh Selby will make his first start at combo guard in three games, while Elijah Johnson lands his first start of the campaign and third in his two-year career at point guard. Senior Tyrel Reed, who has started all 11 games, will open in the backcourt as part of KU’s three-guard lineup.

“We haven’t given Thomas a chance to start. To be honest with you, he’s played real well the last couple games — (been) really big for us,” Self said. “We’ve been playing small, Travis (Releford, starter last two games) has done a nice job, still, we’re going to play two bigs tomorrow and we’ll switch some things up on the perimeter as well.”

Tyshawn Taylor will come off the bench for the first time all season. He finally boarded a 5 p.m. flight Tuesday at Newark, N.J.’s snowbound airport, after missing four straight practices dating to Sunday night. Weary after arriving at the airport as early as 8 a.m., Tuesday, Taylor did indeed finally work out with the Jayhawks on Tuesday night in KU’s practice facility.

“It’s not his fault,” Self said of Taylor’s delayed return to Lawrence from holiday break, “but when a guy misses four practices in a row ... you wouldn’t even do that (start) if a guy turns his ankle. At least I wouldn’t do that.

“It’s still his starting spot, but he definitely won’t start (tonight). He’ll be the first to tell you he shouldn’t. How can you have any rhythm when he hasn’t had a ball in his hand the last seven days?”

Selby, who scored 21 and 18 points versus USC and Cal, will remain at combo guard, with Johnson taking the heat off him — as Taylor did — at the lead guard slot.

“I don’t worry about who starts. All that matters is who finishes,” Selby said Tuesday.

Noted Self: “I think Josh is doing great. I think he’s picking stuff up all the time. He’s really trying hard. He’s done a really nice job and a good job fitting in.”

Self remains bothered by the flagrant foul Marcus Morris picked up after elbowing Cal’s Harper Kamp in the face with 17:23 remaining.

“That was a very, very immature play that he made on his part,” Self said. “He certainly has to be more mature than that because he’s too valuable.

“He shouldn’t have done that, but I think in some ways, things like that have a way of getting a guy’s attention to the point where they get a lot better fast, where they understand the value of things coaches have been telling them all along.”

Morris said he apologized to both Cal’s Kamp and to his teammates.

“Of course I went back and looked at it (tape). It was all over ESPN for a while,” Morris said. “It was a mental mistake by me. My team needs me. My coach told me I can’t do things like that. I already knew by me being a captain it was a bad play.”

Self doesn’t designate official team captains. But with Morris being a first-team preseason all-Big 12 pick, it’s obvious who the Jayhawks look to for leadership.

“The guys look to us for confirmation. We all know as a team who the captains are,” Morris said. “Even for the young guys who look up to me and my teammates — for them to think I’d do something as stupid as I did to get myself thrown out of the game — it’s kind of embarrassing to me and embarrassing to the fans, too.”

He was asked if other teams will try to bait him.

“I expect everybody to do that,” Morris said. “I mean, you try to get into the two best players’ heads. ‘Kieff .. they do the same thing with him. You just can’t retaliate the way I did.”

Morris said he should have taken a different approach.

“I really never let my temper get ahead of me, but I felt it was dirty play. I should have went to the refs and told them that something was going on. I retaliated the wrong way,” he said.

Self realizes other teams may continue to try to get into the twins’ heads.

“I guess there’s always a possibility. You watch tape and if a guy gets that easily provoked,” Self said. “There were some things if you really watched the game from the perspective we did — and tape is the true indicator — that was a pretty chippy game and it started right from the beginning. But Marcus has to be smarter than that.”

Self praised Robinson for not losing his cool during a second half scramble for the ball in which he actually was knocked in the face by Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez.

“Thomas handled himself beautifully,” Self said. “It’s about as good as a guy can handle himself when guys are on top of him squirming around.”

Comments

Mike Bratisax 3 years, 3 months ago

EJ and Releford made STRONG claims to more playing time. Releford was a beast on 'D'.

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Jack Wilson 3 years, 3 months ago

  1. Might be EJ vs. Releford: I am hopeful that we'll see more of Releford over the next three games, and some patience with him. Great three game stretch to give him some minutes. But what is interesting is that the two guys many have been asking to see more time on the floor .. EJ and Releford .. may actually be in competition for the same minutes now. But I think one will gain a much bigger share of time. Maybe not both.
  2. Don't get too excited: I wonder if this start for EJ is just throwing him a bone to try to keep him happy, provide inspiration, etc. Good opportunity. But until I see EJ on the court for 18-20, or more, and certain other minutes shrink below his, I'm not going to be that excited. He needs to play under control, but be conservatively aggressive, if that makes sense.
  3. One week is too long to wait between games.
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Jack Wilson 3 years, 3 months ago

Some observations heading into the game - 1. We don't need a pure 3: Nice to see some now come around to the idea that we do not necessarily need a pure 3 on the floor, in favor of 3 combo guards and two bigs. Thus comparisons between those manning each of those 3 positions are valid and reasonable to consider in assessing playing time. Our team can function without a true "3", and excel. There will be a "3", and it will be related to floor positioning in the base offense, but that's it. 2. Risk of not having a pure 3: The biggest risk and concern with this approach is being overmatched on the defensive end by a 6'6" 3-man. Currently, Releford is the only good match for that, or Brady in the right circumstances. 3. Team strength: Interestingly, a strength may end up being three point shooting .. a major concern early. With Selby, Reed, and EJ (if he can go at 40%), along with what Marcus and Releford can chip in, we should be just fine. 4. 2008: It is good to remember what Self did with Robinson, Collins, and Mario on the floor in 2008 was to create scoring outside of our "normal" offense. We saw more of the top of the key weave (which sets up the drive and dish, or the kick to corner on a step back off the weave), we saw more set plays, and we saw more of those players exchanging spots on the floor when those 3 were on the court together. It will be interesting to see how much the weave is used, as that would be a nice set up for a guy with Selby's skills. Definitely like that every fourth or fifth time down the floor.
4. Best shooter at the "3": The 3 spot is the prime spot for the best three point shooter in Self's base offense .. meaning positioning on the floor. It provides the best opportunity to step into the shot. Usually off the wing. It is a spot where EJ could excel, assuming his three point shooting is not a mirage. He has the look of a 40% guy, which is good. But with Reed potentially at that spot, our offense will be even better than when he was playing at the 2 (again, positioning on the floor). Reed is better than EJ right now, and Selby will make Reed better. Reed will be in a spot where the 3 opens up much easier, and where our base offense creates open threes. It will be interesting to see how Reed performs over the next handful of games. EJ has a diverse package of skills that may be second only to Selby on this team .. just needs time on the floor, and patience.

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brooksmd 3 years, 3 months ago

Lots of good analysis on the starting 5 tonight. Could it also be HCBS is just experimenting with a different line-up? The older I get I tend to look at things in a more simplistic attitude. Oh, btw, if anybody is interested there will be an opening for an electronics technician with the USPS in New Orleans when I retire this Friday.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 3 months ago

BC----I would go just because I am a "die-hard" fan, but I know you are in an unique situation. KU, based on their second half performance at Cal, should win the game at Lubbock. I know they haven't had much success there in West Texas, but you gotta believe that this is a special team. Like the game at Stillwater, too. You would think KU should win this game. But the magic of Iba Arena may have something to do with the result. Good luck with the autograph and with your decision on the KU/Tech game.

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BCRavenJHawkfan 3 years, 3 months ago

A bit off topic but I need the insight of you bloggers.

Jayhawks come to West Texas on Februrary 1st to play the Red Raiders. I am considering attending but am hesitant if the Jayhawks stand a 50% chance of whiffing on that game. I work for Texas Tech and I prefer to run the gauntlet of my coworkers when the end result is a KU win. (hope you all understand that)

Second, anyone know what Bill Self's attitude is on autographs? I was entertaining the idea of asking him to sign my copy of his book "At Home in the Phogg".

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Alohahawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Perfect timing for lineup changes and experimentation. Hate to look ahead more than one game at a time, but the next three games, or perhaps four, should decide what the final makeup of this team will be. Marcus needs to be punished for his Cal actions. TT isn't being punished for something out of his control. But neither one can, or should, feel they are being benched because of their abilities on the court. However, both situations create the perfect "alibi" for HCBS to play three, or four, hands of poker, because he still has a full deck with which to play and lots of face cards still to be revealed. Which card will give him a full house or a straight flush? Or, is there a wild card to give him five of a kind? Just how prepared is our bench? Can they be counted on during crucial moments? What players work better with what other players? Who fits in best at what time? Who can he count on to do what he asks, not what the individual player wants to do? We all know Self shortens the rotation come conference time, so these last pre-conference games (baring injury or other unforeseen elements, ie Mario Little's troubles) should reveal the major role players for the rest of the season. Self's philosophy has always seemed to be: Too many players creates chaos and uncertainty. This board's philosophy appears to be (and mostly mine): Waste not, want not. Or, If you've got the horses, use them.

When the competition gets tougher a team really needs the overall cohesiveness of playing together, thus a smaller rotation might prove preferential. Case in point: remember what happened to Texas last year? Barnes couldn't decide who to play. They looked great on paper with tons of five star talent, but they were a bunch of individuals focused more on playing in the NBA, not winning the Big 12 or a national championship. I think Barnes even admited that that has always been his goal, getting players to the NBA. Hence, all the five star recruits. Texas appears to be playing more as a team this year. IMHO, I doubt they will implode this year. K-State was picked to win the Big 12 and a lot of people liked Baylor, but recent history being what it is, I see Texas being our biggest hurdle this year. We're lucky we're playing them in the Phog.

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Mike Bratisax 3 years, 3 months ago

This is almost the exact lineup I thought we would be playing com conference time. Obviously, I had Marcus starting but this should be really interesting.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 3 months ago

Great lineup---anxious to see it in action, too, tonight. BTW, Purdue hammered Michigan, at Michigan. It wasn't even close. When the Jayhawks go to play the Wolverines, it should be another interesting road game.

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hawksince51 3 years, 3 months ago

It's a rather technical point but I'm confused as to why you call Marcus Morris "KU's junior small forward." He is playing the 4 spot which is traditionally called power forward. I realize we say we start 2 forwards and Marcus is the smaller twin but in reality Markieff is playing the 5. IMHO with the 3 guard offense we have no small forward.

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dmb40fan 3 years, 3 months ago

I think the biggest and possibly best component of Marcus game is his ability to do so many things. He sees the floor very well, especially for someone who is seeing immediate double teams on the post, and see's cutters just as well. He can extend the floor on the offensive end, and has some good footwork on the post. I however don't like the way he played against Cal. I do believe that the game was a battle, but it's basketball, not a UFC cagematch. KU has always been know for classy players and winning the right way, I would like to maintain that stereotype. I actually wouldn't mind the idea of kicking Little off the team. I think so many schools let the players get away with incidents like this and feel they should be punished for their actions if they are truly representatives of Kansas. I think maybe Villinova had it right in kicking Pinkston off their team for the year for a fight he was involved in, I think Jay Wright did the exact right thing. Too many kids come in thinking they are entitled to everything, and can act whatever way best fits that time and place.
I also think this game will get Whitney some more minutes, b/c we will need him once the Big 12 gets started, 2-3 games a week, and god forbid a big goes down, we will need him as well in the Big 12 tournament, 3 possible games in 3 days, means alot of tough minutes, and he will need to be ready. Also, let's remember that if TT does well coming of the bench vs. Texas Arlington, they are playing UT Arlington, not anyone of high level competition. I say keep sitting TT, and give EJ a chance or Releford.

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SDSurferFan 3 years, 3 months ago

Selby interview on this site. Says he didn't watch the USC game winning shot, because he doesn't want to get 'big-headed.' I cannot wait to watching him during league. Young dude seems pretty focused!!!!

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kennethst 3 years, 3 months ago

Jaybate and Theutus......hello again and hope you had a nice holiday! Another year of KU basketball!!! Isn't it great??

And not a bad start, huh?

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hawkmaster 3 years, 3 months ago

Glad to see Self mixing it up, its early, good time to play with the line-up against a lesser opponent. Maybe should have done some of this earlier in the season. Time to light a fire under some of these guys, seems to be some complacency left over from last years' team at times, not going full throttle or stepping on the throat. EJ has some ball handling difficulty but just needs experience, I remember a young Chalmers that had those same problems. I have no problem with Morningstar & Reed coming off the bench, if EJ earns the starting nod with Selby and Tyshawn. TRob has earned a start also and it could be argued that Markieff has been the most dependable overall player in the past 4 games for KU - - he leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 9.1. Marcus has lost some aggressiveness on the offensive end as the competition has gotten better, he is settling for fade-aways and turnarounds - - that are not dropping. I like this year's team, it is the kind of team that Self does his best coaching with because they are still learning, and they will grow and peak by season end. - - unlike last year's team where I thought Collins and Aldrich got to the point they were just going through the motions and not making any meaningful progress during the year...Go Hawks...

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dochambers 3 years, 3 months ago

Re: Marcus and potential foul trouble:

When Brien Zoubek was a junior at (forgive me for mentioning the school) Duke, he was probably the only guy I have ever watched who would get his first personal while waiting at the scorers' table. The next year, he figured it out and was a factor in Duke's run for the roses.

With any luck, the message HCBS is sending will resonate with the other guys as well as Marcus.

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William Blake 3 years, 3 months ago

CS is busy teaching... recent circumstances give him an opportunity to mature his team a bit. They can use it. As much as they think they are mature and are focused on winning it all this year... they are still immature.

He should stay on Marcus for a while. Marcus screwed up, plus the twins had been slacking off lately... When he pulled Kieff from the starting lineup, Kieff responded and went out and dominated... time for Marcus. Motivating the twins has been necessary every year.

TT just needs a jolt to find a different way to create offense with Josh in the lineup. He'll settle down and get back on the right side of the stats.

Mario needs to put out some energy on rectifying himself to the victims, the courts, CS and the public. He should take the offense on correcting his mistake, and if everything goes right he'll see PT in the future.

CS is busy teaching maturity on this team...

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AsadZ 3 years, 3 months ago

I liked Kieff coming off the bench as it cut down on his quick fouls and he was more energetic. This reminded me of the strategy that UCLA coach used against KU by not starting his 300lb center who was getting quick fouls and that had worked well.

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RockChalk26 3 years, 3 months ago

Let's do it EJ! Loosen up and let the game come to you. This is your time to shine.

RCJH!

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Kent Richardson 3 years, 3 months ago

"Showtime" has generated approximately zero buzz. And Selby seems to engender more solid play than glitz. "Night Moves" works but we should give that one to Mario. So far his moniker should be "Dagger" for the way he is nailing threes but until we see his full game on display we should make a covenant to change week to week until it feels (sounds) right.

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NWjayhawk20 3 years, 3 months ago

Im actually really pumped about this lineup:

  1. Curious to see if TRob can bring some of that same energy to start the game as he does off the bench, just hoping he doesnt go crazy with adrenaline and look like a freshman again.

  2. I too want to see what EJ can do at the point with the starters in the game (albeit not the "normal" starters).

  3. Glad to see HCBS sending 'Cus a message from his little stunt last week, imagine if that were to happen in a Big XII game on the road, where the environments are wayyy more hostile than the half jayhawk nation Berkley?

  4. Selby is Selby. I know its only been two games, but the kid is so athletic and gifted that he will get his on a nightly basis. Good to see his play rewarded with his first start in AFH.

  5. Tyrel is our rock. Absolutely love his game and he is stabilizing force on both ends of the floor for us. He doesnt make mistakes on defense and he hits big shots, cant ask for much more from him since he has been shooting better as of late.

Pumped for the next couple tune up games before another decent true road game right before conference season starts!

RCJHGKU! Get 'em boys!

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jaybate 3 years, 3 months ago

TRob starting for Marcus.

EJ starting for Tyshawn, or Brady.

Selby starting for Brady, or Tyshawn.

Kieff starting for Travis.

Reed no change.

Self is not just punishing Marcus for getting tossed.

He is doing two other things, also.

He is trying to win brownie points with referees and save Marcus from getting some quick fouls from refs trying to make it known that they are not taking any of his cheap shots. Know Self intended for the refs to notice that Self announced a day in advance that Marcus lost his job for the elbow. The refs will see Marcus on the bench at the start of the game and will not feel they need to give him a foul on behalf of the striped brotherhood.

The next reason Self is sitting Marcus appears to be that he is trying to make Selby and Marcus equal options on offense.

Self was clearly jazzed about the defense Selby played his second game. I know I was. With that kind of D by a freshman, there's no reason not to have his gun in the lineup ASAP.

The question is: who are EJ and Selby starting for? Which will play PG? Which will run the team while in?

EJ had a fine game vs. Memphis filling in at the 3 for Brady.

Selby had two fine games filling in for Brady.

EJ is the backup PG.

But Selby has PG written all over his grille.

If I'm Self, I am torn between putting the ball in Selby's hands at PG, and sticking with the PG committee of Tyshawn/EJ, which lets me have my Selby/Brady committee at 3, which lets me use Travis for insurance at the 4 until Little gets back, or Withey recovers from whatever is sucking the life from him.

Most likely, though, EJ starts to send a wake-up to Tyshawn, the Tyshawn/EJ committee continues, and Self gets a combo guard at the 3 that can double the post, while lighting up the score board and getting the doubles off Marcus Morris' back.

Go Hawks!

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lhohman3 3 years, 3 months ago

I want to see someone come up with a better nickname for J. Selby. "Showtime" is so 1980's and the Lakers already have the copyright to it.....Instead, I suggest Josh, "Night Moves" Selby.

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LVJayhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Saad007

Here's another link to check out. http://www.justin.tv/wichitachiefsfan#/w/681821792

Access code Pioli. But not always the best quality.

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Brian Powell 3 years, 3 months ago

Love that lineup. go EJ. go Trob.

oh, and Selby duh

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Hank Cross 3 years, 3 months ago

How many practices does TT need to start against UT-Arlington at AFH? If he's so ill prepared why bother to play him at all? This looks more like a wake-up call to TT than a decsion based on TT attending four practices after a third of the season is over. I do hope though that EJ gets a real chance to prove himself.

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Woody Cragg 3 years, 3 months ago

EJ's chance to shine & I think he's ready.

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saad007 3 years, 3 months ago

Actorman: thanks for your response bro. In fact, I graduated from KU in 2005 and currently live in Casablanca, Morocco. And as u said, there sure is nothing like Full Court down here. Man I miss Lawrence :)

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actorman 3 years, 3 months ago

I wish I could help you, saad, but I watch all the games on TV through ESPN Full Court so I don't know what internet sites to go to. Where are you located? I'm guessing there's nothing like Full Court available there? (Or is it possible to get a program like Full Court through the internet?)

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actorman 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm excited to see this lineup. I love the energy that TRob brings, and it's going to be great to see that from the beginning. And of course Selby is just starting (pun intended) to show what he can do.

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saad007 3 years, 3 months ago

HELP PLEASE: Hello fellow jayhawks. I live overseas and would love to watch the game online. The espn3 online is not working for some reason.I Would greatly appreciate any help finding a website to stream it online. Thanks in advance. ROCK CHALK!!

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kirkhinrichflow 3 years, 3 months ago

can't wait till he picks some dudes pocket and throws it down in the fieldhouse

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dynamitehawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Josh Selby will not see the bench again. Everything else is up in the air. Brilliant.

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Larry Smith 3 years, 3 months ago

Very interesting lineup. Once TT gets back I could see a TT, Selby, Reed, Twins starting lineup. That would be tough to defend. Bigs who can shoot, spread the floor and watch it open up for the slashers.

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Hail_To_Thee 3 years, 3 months ago

Good to see TRob being rewarded for his efforts. Lets hope this lights a fire under the arses of several of our players.

RCJH

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