Friday, December 31, 2010

KU coach Self to give peas a chance

Jayhawks coach talks superstition, new year’s resolution


Not that Kansas University’s basketball players or coaches are superstitious or anything, but today …

“We’ll definitely eat our black-eyed peas as a group,” KU coach Bill Self said Friday, referring to the food that, if sampled on New Year’s Day, is supposed to bring good luck.

In addition to the legend of the lucky legumes, Self revealed his new year’s resolution.

“I’d say for me, it would be, ‘Enjoy the ride,’ because this team is going to be an up-and-down group,” he said. “That’s OK. We just need to be up at the most important times.

“Sometimes personally I can get negative and see what we are not doing well as opposed to the other things we do well. I want to enjoy the ride, and I think our players should, too. Part of the ride is grinding through some tough times. I feel right now we need to crawl out of our doldrums, so to speak. Every good team we’ve had has gone through dull times, and this team is kind of going through that right now.”

Self — he has been concerned with his squad’s play, especially defensively — said his starting lineup remains uncertain entering Sunday’s 5 p.m. home clash between KU (12-0) and Miami of Ohio (5-8).

“I am going to wait and watch practice the next couple days,” Self said Friday, following the Jayhawks’ annual holiday clinic for youths. “You guys (media) will know (lineup) whenever they run out there. I told the guys starting spots at least temporarily are up for grabs, and we’ll play the guys that perform the best in practice.

“It’s been different guys (performing best) every time,” Self added. “Thomas (Robinson) and Travis (Releford) have been our best two performers the last couple games on the interior. Certainly, I thought Elijah (Johnson) played well the other day.

“One game doesn’t make it, but we need to have some separation. Our best players need to become a little bit more consistent, which I believe they will. Practice has gone OK. I told all our players that positions are up for grabs, but isn’t that the way it should be every day?”

Self said he hadn't decided if junior forward Marcus Morris, who lost his starting spot after getting ejected in the second half of the Dec. 22 Cal game, would return to the starting lineup.

Wednesday, in an 82-57 victory over UT Arlington, Self started Johnson, Robinson, Josh Selby, Tyrel Reed and Markieff Morris.

“I think all five starting spots are open right now,” Selby said. “He (Self) has not really told us that, but you see every game it’s a different starting lineup. It doesn’t matter who starts, it matters who finishes the game. That’s all that matters to me.”

Noted power forward Robinson, who had 20 points and 10 boards vs. UT Arlington: “I am not worried about starting or coming off the bench. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not saying I don’t like it (starting). I just want to help our team win.”

Point guard Johnson, who had 11 points and five assists in his first start, shrugged.

“I (also) played well a couple times this year I didn’t start,” he said. “It’s all about how you approach the game.”

Eighth-year KU coach Self was asked if he ever has been at a school where people discuss starting lineups or seemingly care about them so much.

“No, I haven’t,” he said. “We had a player at Illinois named Frank Williams that was Big 10 player of the year. I didn’t start him like five times, and I don’t think I was ever asked once why. I just would say, ‘He didn’t want to,’ and it was never asked again. Here it’s a little bit different, and I understand that.”

Johnson’s new year’s resolution: “To get even closer as a team and as a family.”

Recruiting: DeAndre Daniels, a 6-9 senior forward from IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., is expected to choose a school either Monday or Tuesday. It’s believed either KU, Kentucky or Texas will land’s No. 9-rated player. Oregon also is on Daniels’ list.


Adam Collins 10 years, 11 months ago

Here's hoping we can snag Daniels from Kentucky. I think we all have seen how lackadaisical KU's defense has been recently. Personally, I keep waiting for the game where we finally lose due to our defense/lack of motivation. Come conference time, we will definitely see where we belong in the national scheme of things.

Chris Bruning 10 years, 11 months ago

well slaterman......i think its more like, hope we snag him from texas. But who knows, keepin my fingers crossed.

Wheatgerm 10 years, 11 months ago

If he wants the best shot at a national championship, it's between KU and UK. Which team would give him more playing time?

UK has Anthony Davis (6'10", 200) and Kyle Wiltjer (6'9", 221) coming in. Josh Harrellson is graduating. Assuming no lockout, Terrence Jones is likely gone. And no one realistically believes Enes Kanter will ever play. Barring an amazing transformation, JUCO transfer Eloy Vargas won't see more than a few minutes a game. So that would be it for UK's bigs: Davis and Wiltjer and an occasional Vargas sighting. What's KU got coming back next year?

yates33333 10 years, 11 months ago

I really think Daniels can do a better job than the UK stars. I hope we get him instead of Texas. They also are loaded with bigs. He and his advisors will take that into consideration, I think.

Robert Brock 10 years, 11 months ago

What does Daniels - a 6'9 190 lbs. PF - bring to the table?

Truthhawk 10 years, 11 months ago

Wheatgerm: Is Daniels pro-ready? Or would 3 years with Manning make him pro-ready?

PT for Daniels might be near the same. We will lose Marcus probably, leaving Robinson and Markieff, and maybe Withey.

But I think he'll go to Kentucky.

I really want McLemore.

Dan Cook 10 years, 11 months ago

Daniels is a 3, not a power forward. If he gets to KU early and works hard with Hudy, he may be able to add enough strength to play the 4 against quick, slender big men. But he is no power forward in any scenario.

Robert Brock 10 years, 11 months ago

I think Daniels re-commits to Texas. Hamilton will go League and that would leave room for Daniels to get on the perimeter and jack up the poor-quality shots that suits Coach Barnes.

KU_FanSince75 10 years, 11 months ago

@ slaterman---- On the flip side of your post, I'm waiting for the game where the Jayhawks put everything together for 40 minutes defensively. That day will come. I can't wait for that!

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 11 months ago

Really hoping Daniels commits to KU although the money is on Kentucky. Decision could be today.

"What does Daniels - a 6'9 190 lbs. PF - bring to the table?'

Tony Bandle 10 years, 11 months ago

Markieff not ready, Marcus not wanting to leave him behind, TRob becoming Godzilla Maximus..........regretfully, color DeAndre Blue and White, my friends

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

“We had a player at Illinois named Frank Williams that was Big 10 player of the year. I didn’t start him like five times, and I don’t think I was ever asked once why."--Bill Self

Coach, In Illinois, they ax questions like, "Yo, Big Julie, who am I supposed whack?"

Or "Yo, Eponymous P.I.G., what is the spread and what is your big Barry White lookin' mofo bookie doin' 10 up in Joliet for?

In Kansas, we want to know who is starting and why? :-)

Rock Chalk!!!

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

Yo, DeAndre, What say you meandre Down to LarryLand And give peas a chance, my man!

jaybate 10 years, 11 months ago

"Some Things Self Told His Assistants that Made Self Realize He Was Getting Wrapped a Little Too Tight and Needed to Just Enjoy the Ride:"

~Told Dooley to glue his ears back to keep the shadows off Self under Allen Field House lights.

~Told Townsend to junk the Armani threads and come to work in cotton duck from Carhartt.

~Told Manning to start carrying box for Self to stand on when Self told him what the bigs were doing wrong.

~Told Hinson to get a forehead tatoo that reads "Sphincter tone too tight."

~Told Kyle Keller he had seen better video at a stag party.

~Told Brennan Bechard to leave him alone and go manage some graduate students!

~Told entire staff and team to go Christmas shopping with good cheer, or let no man come back alive!

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

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