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Monday, July 5, 2010

Rigorous July lies ahead for Self

Intense recruiting period begins soon for KU basketball coach

Kansas head coach Bill Self grabs the attention of his players during the second half against UCLA, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009 at Pauley Pavilion. Self is about to embark on the recruitment trail for most of the month of July.

Kansas head coach Bill Self grabs the attention of his players during the second half against UCLA, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009 at Pauley Pavilion. Self is about to embark on the recruitment trail for most of the month of July.

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Bill Self’s Fourth of July backyard cookout included heaping helpings of baby back ribs, chicken, brats and sausage prepared on a Green Egg grill.

Some relaxing holiday fun with family couldn’t have come at a better time for Kansas University’s head basketball coach — just before the start of the hectic, time-away-from-the-homestead college basketball recruiting season.

Self and assistants Joe Dooley, Danny Manning and Kurtis Townsend hit the road tonight in preparation for the July summer evaluation period, which runs from Tuesday through July 15 and, after a short break, continues from July 22-31.

“Nah I don’t,” Self said Sunday, asked if he particularly enjoyed recruiting in this day and age.

“Recruiting is tough. It is a grind. Certainly Joe, Danny and Kurtis have done a good job getting us in on some good kids. I’m excited to go out and study those kids (but) no question recruiting is a grind.”

He’s not complaining.

“It’s work. It’s part of the job,” Self said of what he realizes is perhaps THE most important facet of his job — stockpiling the tradition-rich KU program with the talent needed to remain at the top of the Big 12 standings and in the hunt for national title honors.

“I love getting to know the families. That’s what’s fun about recruiting,” Self added of the in-home visits that come in September.

Now is the time college coaches travel to places like Augusta, Ga., for the Peach Jam; Las Vegas for the Centerstage Event, Vegas Main Event and Super 64; Orlando, Fla., for the AAU nationals as well as various other stops.

KU has several openings to fill in the Class of 2011.

“We’re looking for a little bit of everything with the unknown of who could possibly leave,” Self said. “We need possibly a lead guard, definitely a shooter and an explosive big man. From our standpoint you could sign three (players) or anticipate losing a couple (to NBA), too. On paper we have four (scholarships) to give — three seniors (Tyrel Reed, Mario Little, Brady Morningstar) and the extra scholarship (that KU didn’t fill this year). We’re probably looking at between three and five.”

Who will KU be pursuing? KU’s coach cannot comment in accordance with NCAA rules.

Recruiting analysts like Shay Wildeboor of Rivals.com, however, annually round up the list of players the Jayhawks figure to be targeting.

Here’s a look at some of them in no particular order. Obviously there could be others on KU’s wish list.

• Ben McLemore, 6-5, 185, shooting guard, Eskridge High, St. Louis: Rivals.com’s No. 21-player in the class of 2011 averaged 28.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists a game his junior year. He has said KU leads Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois and others.

“I went to a game there and I like the style they (Jayhawks) play,” McLemore told Rivals.com. “They run and up and down the court and that is my style of play. Also I have built a good relationship with them.”

Of McLemore, analyst Wildeboor said: “He’s been to KU’s Elite Camp and the Jayhawk Invitational and loved being at both. He’s a stud. He can get to the basket, score inside and outside. He loves everything about KU.”

McLemore attended the Paul Pierce Skills Academy at the end of June and will be at the LeBron James Academy today through Wednesday in Ohio. The top 30 players from the LeBron event will be invited to the NIKE Global Challenge Beaverton, Ore., to play against top international talent.

McLemore will attend Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., his senior year of high school.

• Jabari Brown, 6-3, 205, shooting guard, Oakland (Calif.) High: Rivals.com’s No. 13-rated player is considering KU, Washington, Arizona State, California, Wake Forest, Maryland, Georgia Tech, New Mexico, Stanford, Georgetown, Miami and others.

“He can light it up from the outside, attack the rim and has a good mid-range game,” Wildeboor said. “He’s one of those guys who would be a difference maker, come in right away and compete for starting minutes.”

• Josiah Turner, 6-3, 175, point guard, Sacramento (Calif.) High: Rivals.com’s No. 12-rated player has a list of KU, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Oklahoma, Cal, Illinois, Kentucky, Marquette, Oregon, St. John’s, Syracuse, USC, UCLA and others.

Turner, who averaged 27.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 3.5 apg last season, was committed to Arizona State before reopening his recruitment. He attended the 2009 Late Night in the Phog.

“He can distribute and score,” WIldeboor said. “He has shown a good jump shot and gets guys involved. He trims his list sometime in July.”

• Angelo Chol, 6-8, 205, forward, Hoover High, San Diego: Rivals.com’s No. 51-rated player has a list of KU, Alabama, UConn, Georgetown and Washington. Chol, who plays for the same high school coach as former KU forward Moulaye Niang, was in town for the Jayhawk Invitational.

“He’ll contest, rebound, is long and offensively will provide you some points in the paint,” Wildeboor said. “Right now his biggest strength is defense and rebounding.”

• Sam Thompson, 6-6, 200, guard/forward, Whitney Young High, Chicago: Rivals.com’s No. 30-rated player likes KU, Florida, Georgetown, Oregon State, Ohio State and others.

“I think very highly of the (KU) program,” Thompson told Rivals’ Wildeboor. “They have great tradition. They routinely get great players and make deep runs in the NCAA Tournament.”

Wildeboor said: “He has good ball-handling skills and a jump shot too.”

• Norvel Pelle, 6-8, 190, forward, Price High, Compton, Calif.: Rivals.com’s No. 44-rated player lists KU, Arizona, Arizona State, Texas, UConn, Baylor, UCLA, UConn, Washington and others. He played in the Jayhawk Invitational.

• Austin Rivers, 6-3, 175, shooting guard, Winter Park (Fla.) High: Rivals.com’s No. 3-rated player reopened his recruiting after being committed to Florida. He is looking at Florida, Duke, KU and North Carolina.

“A big-time scoring threat, Rivers specializes at scoring off pull-up jumpers from behind the arc and off a quick first step to his right,” said Jerry Meyer of Rivals.com. “He also has an array of finishes going to the basket. His high basketball IQ makes him a dangerous passer.”

• Kyle Wiltjer, 6-9, 225, forward, Jesuit High, Portland: Rivals.com’s No. 22-rated player lists KU, Kentucky, Oregon, Oregon State, Texas, Virginia, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal and others.

• Chasson Randle, 6-1, 180, shooting guard, Rock Island (Ill.) High: Rivals.com’s No. 63-rated player lists KU, Duke, UConn, Illinois, North Carolina, Purdue, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Northwestern, Minnesota, Stanford and others.

• Chane Behanan, 6-6, 250, forward, Bowling Green (Ky.) High: Rivals.com’s No. 24-rated player lists KU, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Florida, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Texas and others.

• Dorian Finney-Smith, 6-7, 185, forward, Norcom High, Portsmouth, Va.: Rivals.com’s No. 42-rated player lists KU, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Florida, Maryland, Alabama, Clemson and others.

• Kadeem Jack, 6-8, 210, forward, Rice High, New York: Jack, who attends the same school as KU grad Russell Robinson, is Rivals.com’s No. 82-rated player. He lists KU, Arizona, Seton Hall, Miami, UConn, North Carolina, and others.

Morris a counselor

KU junior forward Marcus Morris will be a camp counselor at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio. He recently was a counselor at the Amar’e Stoudemire camp in Chicago.

Comments

Mike Kendall 4 years, 4 months ago

Wow! First to comment. No Jaybate? No Ralster? No OakvilleJHawk?

No one will outwork Bill Shelf--period--end of story! Coach Self has been on a roll lately. It will be interesting to see who he reels into the Jayhawk program during this recruiting session, if any decisions are made, that is. Rock Chalk!

Chris Shaw 4 years, 4 months ago

"Rigorous July for Self may be upcoming, but Kushaw's liver just had Rigorous 4th of July weekend.........Time to relax!"

I can't believe I'm on the opposite schedule of Bill Self? Now that's just crazy!

Chris Shaw 4 years, 4 months ago

I figured after my above comment that I need to add something of "Worth" to this thread so here it is:

Joe Dooley is tabbed #1 assistant coach in the country by Fox Sports. Here is the Top 25.

http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/the-top-25-high-major-assistants

Mike Kendall 4 years, 4 months ago

Kushaw--- sorry to hear about your liver---lol. Sorry too, that I left you off that all inclusive list from my first post. Those three came to my mind first. I am sure I have left off others that usually post around here.

Head coach Bill Self wouldn't be where he's at without good assistant coaches. Congrats to coach Dooley and coach Townsend!

Tony Bandle 4 years, 4 months ago

mikendal...I guess everyone has a little "firecracker hangover".

Regarding the article, Ben McClemore will commit to Kansas despite being exposed to the rest of the country his senior year. He played for a school, Wellson High, that closed this year, yet he became almost a legend in St.Louis. Some people feel he is better than Beal!!

Angelo Chol is very high on Kansas because of Danny Manning. This kid is,. pound for pound, a bruiser who loves to play defense. Truly a Bill Self type of player.

Nick named "Awesome Austin Rivers", this kid would be an outstanding catch for KU....unfortunately he is leaning toward Puke or the Tarholes..dammit!!

Jabari Brown is another fine shooter but I think his recruitment is pretty wide open.

Based on my inside Lawrence sources, whose hit ratio is about as good as any local weatherrman's success rate, Ben and Angelo will be wearing Crimson and Blue next year.

This insider information and $5.00 will buy you a small frappacino at any Starbuck's!!

jhawkrulz 4 years, 4 months ago

Really...recruiting season starts today and this is the first article you have about it?

Plus any research done on this one...it seems with 3-5 scholarships to give out there would be some additional information about big men and other recruits.

I think this was somewhat limited research...I know it's the holidays, but I think you can have done a hair better.

jhawkrulz 4 years, 4 months ago

Really...We were the #1 overall seed and you still didn't think we would win.

Chris Shaw 4 years, 4 months ago

Jhawkrulz: I agree with Ralster on this one. All those individuals who scream bloody murder when you write more than 4 sentences on a thread would have realized this if they would have taken the time to read my post game analysis notes after each game.

It may have been long, but there definitely was a consistent theme the whole season with last year's Jayhawk squad. Yes, they were the overall #1 seed and #1 for most of the season, but any knowledgeable fan about college basketball had to have known that the "It" factor was just not there for last year's Jayhawks.

waywardJay 4 years, 4 months ago

With only the potential of MOrris and possibly taylor leaving, it doesn't seem like we need any really big bodies....

6-7 to 6-9 should got the job done for our 4.... but i don't even think marcus is leaving.

Tyshawn's likely gone.... seeing him jump to 15-17 a game with a higher A-TO should put him in the league.... hopefully his shot will continue to improve....

Then the outside here is Selby, if selby's ready like Xavier wasn't last y ear... we would have to replace him also....

Then you have brady's and mario's schollies open.... do we really need 3 combo guards and two forwards for 2011 ?

Chris Shaw 4 years, 4 months ago

Disagree about Morningstar and Reed. Taylor and X never lived up to their expectations and Collins didn't allow the "Trust" he needed to depend on his teammates when it mattered most. That was the "Downfall".

Ben Kane 4 years, 4 months ago

reed actually impressed me quite a bit last year with his improved ability to do things offensively besides shooting the three.

Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 4 months ago

nebr..-

What constitutes "..missed alot" that Morningstar and Reed missed? Do you have stats that back this up? And, exactly how were these two a "drag" on the team?

Role players are just that, filling a role on the team. Brady's defense and Tyrel's eficiency in his role made up for what could have been some really close, and devastating games this last year. No, they weren't the buzzer-beaters that get headlines. But, they aren't there for that purpose. Leave that to the Morrises and others who average more minutes by design.

Are you related to Jayawkinmullen by any chance?

Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 4 months ago

Clearly missing from the reported schools being considered by the guys in this article is KY. Only one or two may have included them in their lists.

Also missing was Memphis and North Carolina. Are we not going after the same pedigree as these other schools? Or, are we playing poker with the media?

HCBS has the WSOP face on and is doing his thang! At first I smelled some "aw shucks" in the comments from him. But, I now can't wait to sit back, not read too much into any comments for the next few weeks and let the hand be revealed. Unless the NBA throws up some roadblocks, the next couple of recruiting classes will be more about the coaching staffs and not so much about players only looking for a sweet few months in school before jumping. The proper attention to the coach recruiting players and not vice versa will be a pleasant change. Look at Zach Peters. He wants to be a Jayhawk! We need kids who want to be Jayhawks!

Scott Smetana 4 years, 4 months ago

Well said.. RussRob is a huge part of our success in '08. I think Reed/Morningstar can give us very solid minutes. Great teams play mistake free ball when it counts. I hope Reed is training again this summer with that workout guru in California.. I've heard that camp is a beast physically and mentally.

Chris Nieto 4 years, 4 months ago

That was Brady that worked out with Frank Matrisciano last summer.

Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 4 months ago

I think Cal has a "bucket list".

His list only had two things to do on it though:

  1. Win a National Championship

  2. Coach at any school for how ever long it takes, break any rules and regs. of the NCAA to accomplish the number 1 item on the list.

justanotherfan 4 years, 4 months ago

Kentucky went to the Elite Eight this year

jaybate 4 years, 4 months ago

} Coach Self has to be sitting there thinking, "I make $3M for busting my hump flying in and out of Lawrence all season and all off- season, too, while Phil and Doc dwarf my dollars, and all they have to do is look at some print out, go to a couple work outs, and say, 'I draft Basketball Jones 29th, now, let's go play some golf.'"

} Thank god (pun intended) we are lined up for beefy Zack Peters.

We need XTReme beef!

This recruiting list reads like good recruits from Denny Crum's late 1970s/early 80s Louisville teams--a bunch of Thin Tin Tin jumping jacks.

Ratso Izzo has to look at this list and laugh and say, "Whut is deeze guys bein' recruited for? Chess?"

Bob Huggins shakes his head, and says, "Aaah, somebody otta turn Self into the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Basketball Players for lettin' these ballerinas into a bull fight."

Tiny Sherron Collins could probably bang with any of these potential forwards (to say nothing of the guards) in a grind it out game. :-)

Ben McLemore (6-5, 185) is a string bean being recruited for his gun, which is cool.

The rest would have been brutalized in the Big 12 last season, as frosh, and would have been punked into the morgue in the Madness. TRob was a Terminator T-1000 chassis compared to these guys and TRob could not handle the heat last year.

There are just no studs here, except maybe for too short Chane Behanan, at 6-6, 250. Of course, if Chane were to play small forward; then their would be one guy in this group that might be able to handle post season play his first season.

} A two-year drought of recruiting a true post is really going to suck two years from now.

} The real beauty of The Fourth of July, once you get beyond our beloved and still miraculous, but threatened-from-central-bank-subordination USA, is the fact that fireworks are still analog. The @#$%^ nerds have not figured out how to put a sufficiently big plasma screen in the sky and show the fireworks digitally, but that can't be far in the future can it? I mean if US Weather Command can reputely tickle the ionosphere with HAARP in Gakona, AK, to alter weather anywhere in the world, how long can it be before the Fourth of July fireworks can be done digitally for the whole world on the ionospheric big screen. :-)

Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 4 months ago

JB -

Maybe HCBS is looking for a challenge for Hudy.

Was Basketball Jones even drafted in the 1st round?

If you want digitized fireworks, pick a screensaver! I like the concusive element as well as the sounds of oohs and ahhs provoked by the epileptic seizure inducing real-time light show that keeps the 100-200 people employed in those pyro sweatshops. Didn't you like to blow stuff up as a kid?

jaybate 4 years, 4 months ago

Does blowing up Remco Monkey Division tanks and half tracks with M-80s count?

Dyrk Dugan 4 years, 4 months ago

Austin Rivers, is Doc Rivers' son...the head coach of the Boston Celtics. and Austin is really good....since he decommitted from Florida, i would think anyone would have a chance for him....'twould be a great get.

McLemore seems to be the most likely to come...although i thought his teammate, Mr. Beal, was a lock too. (Florida commit). this will be a nice class, but 2012 is where some true difference makers are.

jaybate 4 years, 4 months ago

HTK: Headline Ambiguity Alert!

"Rigorous July lies ahead for Self"

Great ambiguity in this headline.

Is Self going to be telling a lot of rigorous lies in July?

Or is he going to be working rigorously this July?

What does working "rigorously" mean?

"Lies" opens the door to ambiguity, but the vagueness of "rigor" in this case sustains it.

Main Entry: rig·or·ous Pronunciation: ˈri-g(ə-)rəs Function: adjective Date: 15th century

1 : manifesting, exercising, or favoring rigor : very strict 2 a : marked by extremes of temperature or climate b : harsh, severe 3 : scrupulously accurate : precise synonyms see rigid

So, the headline actually means:

A very strict July lies ahead for Self.

A July marked by extremes or temperature or climate lies ahead for Self.

A harsh, severe July lies ahead for Self.

A scrupulously accurate, precise July lies ahead for Self.

Ambiguity aside, I doubt any of these are what the head line writer actually meant to say.

Do it again. Do it again. Do it again.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 4 months ago

Regarding McLemore...you can't hit what you catch. The kid is a lightning bolt in tennis shoes. He'll gain another 10-15 pounds next year and be ready to bang in 2011!!

It appears the Jeff Withey bandwagon has plenty of empty seats since so many have jumped off. I'm not giving up just yet.

If he can develope a perimeter game and pull his man out to open up the middle, that's one thing. If his man stays in and Jeff can bomb in the 18-20 footers, that's also one thing. If he can block shots with good timing that is also one thing.

I don't think he will ever be a 260 lb monster.......but there may still be ways he can be deadly. A killer attitude might be a good start.

CRIMSONnBLUE 4 years, 4 months ago

I really hope HCBS goes after Johnny O'Bryant pretty hard. That kid is pretty quick for being 6'10" but he dribbles too much. From the videos I've seen he has some range too. Although I know the first thing Manning is likely to do is break his bad habits and tell him post up more. His primary contributions would be running the floor and getting quick buckets in transition (about the only thing Aldrich lacked) and grabbing a ton of rebounds. The twins are the only ones from last years team that I think are becoming more aggressive on the boards.

jaybate 4 years, 4 months ago

Oakville & Slayr,

KU and UK went a combined 64-6, or something last season, and they both had a lot of meat at the 4 and 5, plus KU had Sherron and X who were muscular folks, though X apparently saved himself for the L. And whent he Madness came, even KU and UK weren't bulked up enough for XTReme Ball.

I just don't see how you two can be so hopeful about going into combat with Withey @ 225, or even 235, and a bunch of 185 pounders on the perimeter, plus Kieff the only fellow with any mass inside, unless TRob gets a lot bigger.

Unless KU starts cheap shotting like Duke, and bulks up at least one center to 250, I don't see how this team can help but getting muscled off the floor.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 4 months ago

jb...I don't disagree, but I see with Marcus, Markieff, Jeff and TRob we've got 10 fouls each at the 4 and 5. I guess I am counting on the XTreme Ball somewhat neutralized by the Prince of Penetration, Josh Selby.

I think his higher level of distribution abilty will open up shots both outside and inside. Granted, you've got to hit the open trifecta when it presents itself and, granted, you've got to finish off strong on the inside move to make this concept work.

Also, I think Selby, neophyte that he is, will quickly adapt to the elite play expected of him at KU.

My honest opinion is that the success of this coming season rests in this young man's hands [broken pinkie and all]. If he is injured for any length of time, we are SCREWED!!

KGphoto 4 years, 4 months ago

Ooh. Not too sure about being screwed. We have a DMV line at the 1 and 2. Remember, a good formula for winning at any level is, a distributor/leader, a slashing scorer, and a presence in the paint.

If Selby isn't 100%, We still have two older, and very athletic guys in TT and CJ. And EJ and RW are chomping at the bit to put their style-stamp on this team.

If there were ever a time we could weather and injury, this is it.

jaybate 4 years, 4 months ago

Oak and KG,

I am very, very excited to see Josh Selby play. I don't recall the last time KU got the number one ranked player in the country. Maybe Manning? Surely Wilt was.

Josh Selby, if he turns out to be a consummate point guard, has some greyhounds to get the ball to, and he potentially has a potential Curtis Rowe/Sidney Wicks power combo in Mario Little/Marcus Morris. To carry the analogy further,as, I have done before, I also am optimistic that Kieff could be our Steve Patterson. He could be such a threat from the top of the circle that bigs will have to come out to guard him and this would leave the middle open for Little/Morris to work the angles from the wings into the blocks and let Selby give opponents head aches on dribble penetration. But my wet dream hinges on two things.

Can Kieff hit the trey reliably?

And can Little and Morris wipe the boards with the opposing big man out chasing Kieff 23-25 feet from the basket?

If we have two yes answers, then this team, especially with the ability to sub in absolutely phenomenal trey shooting at all three perimeter positions, or even more speed at the same perimeter positions, could just be devastating to try to contain. If the opponent stays man2man, the team plays fast and faster. If the opponent goes zone, in come Tyrel, CJ, and Brady plus Kieff and this bunch shells them from trey, like siege guns pounding Verdun in WWI.

And so it goes until the Madness, when the XTReme Ball starts. Then our grey hounds can't get up and down the floor, and our three point shooters get pushed up into the first balcony.

justanotherfan 4 years, 4 months ago

There is only one question for KU this season - Can they score easily?

If that answer is yes, we will be playing deep into March, and likely into April. If that answer is no, we will have another frustrating end.

Think back to the last five Bill Self KU teams. 05-06defended like crazy. They could get out on the break. But in the halfcourt, they had to really scuffle to get baskets. They didn't have a surefire post presence. They didn't have a go anywhere, anytime guard. They played great team ball, but they couldn't score easily, and that derailed them.

06-07 introduced Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins. Shady could catch and score on the block. Sherron could beat whomever he wanted off the dribble. And things opened up. Elite Eight loss to UCLA, but it should be noted that Sherron needed knee surgery and wasn't nearly as explosive by the time they got to that game.

07-08 things came together. Arthur in the post with a much improved Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun. Rush healthy again. Collins at 100%. Chalmers shooting a high percentage. Alley-oops all over the place. Dunks and layups regularly. Wide open threes for great shooters. I can't remember ever seeing a team get so many open shots, and so many easy shots on such a regular basis.

08-09 was back to what they had in 06-07. Only two really strong players (Collins and Aldrich). Aldrich wasn't a natural scorer, so he couldn't just catch in the post and score like Shady. He wasn't a pick and pop guy like Darnell. He was kind of in between the two, but not really dominant at either. And so teams flooded the lane. Remember how Michigan State grinded us to a halt? Every shot was contested. Every offensive possession was laborious. It wears you down. You have to get a break somewhere, and get something easy.

09-10 looked like it would be similar to 07-08 at the start. Lots of dunks and layups. Wide open shots for strong shooters. Then something happened during conference season. Morningstar went cold. Cole couldn't find a consistent scoring move inside. X slumped. And so it came down to Sherron and Marcus. They saved us sometimes, but it had stopped being easy. Fewer layups. Fewer dunks. Open threes, but just a little rushed now. I thought they had found something in the Big XII tournament. They got back to getting people wide open looks. The twins were dunking. Cole was hitting jump hooks. It was starting to look easy again. And then it wasn't.

So the key question is "can they score easily?"

Can Selby get to the rim whenever he wants? Can Marcus, or Kieff, or Withey, or TRob score on the block when we need to stop a run? Can someone hit open threes when they get them? Can our guards get other people easy shots in the halfcourt?

If those answers are yes, we may have a lot of fun in April. If not, Bill Self can break out the golf clubs in late March.

jaybate 4 years, 4 months ago

ralster,

Hope springs eternal that one does not have to change, but change we must.

UNI, Cornell and UTenn all out-muscled us. UNI and Cornell did it with metronome tempo, too--never too fast, never too slow, just steady, steady, steady.

And you are forgetting the squeakers like TAM, which roughed us up good that came down to last second shots.

And you are forgetting that Texas, which had nothing but brick artists, actually managed to give us a good game because Dexter was too big for Cole to handle alone.

Frankly, we have to play our A game to beat any team that roughs us up by ten, even after all the manning up the Bill Self has demanded from his teams the last few seasons.

And here in lies the problem. You can't always bring your A-game. And manning up in the end doesn't erase a deficit in muscle if the other team mans-up, too. And if all it takes to beat us with our B, or C games is roughing up, well, then we're very vulnerable, because as Self has said, a third of the time we play great, a third of the time we stink, and a third of the time we are in between. That means that if a team muscles us, even a team with inferior talent, 2/3s of the time they have a very good chance of beatinig us.

Last year we had all the aces, relative to all the teams in the country last season. We had the height. Maybe only Duke shot the trey better than KU. KU had the impact players. KU had the experience. We had a lot of bodies, even if they did not give us the effective depth we had hoped for. And with all this, every time we hit a team that out-muscled us, we were in tight games and in grave danger of losing without our A game.

KU has to get bigger, heavier, stronger and rougher to so that its talent is not marginalized 2/3s of the time by bigger teams out-muscling KU.

To repeat the mantra, the game has changed sharply since 2008. This coming season's team is almost certain to be lighter and less muscular at most positions than the 2008 team. And depending on what Cole actually weighed last season, it is apt to be significantly lighter at post and point guard. Yet the game is vastly rougher, especially down the stretch of the conference and the Madness than in 2008, and more teams are playing more muscle ball with more sophistication.

jaybate 4 years, 4 months ago

Unless Self knows the refs are going to be calling the game more closely this season, or unless Self is going to teach Mike K level cheap shotting, then it is not fair to expect this team to be able to stand up to the physical beatings it will be given the last month an a half of the season. Period.

Off season is about hype.

Pre conference season is about athleticism and looking at a lot of green, skinny players.

But once the conference starts, hype and athleticism aren't enough. From that point on, its all about who can take the punishment Saturday and Monday for three or four weeks, and then begin playing in conference tournaments and the Madness, where the gloves come off completely and the refs call almost nothing.

I'm not overstating it.

It is how it is and how it has been the last two season.

Izzo/Huggins/Martin are winning almost as much, and going as deep, with less talent, but more muscle, than KU and UK--two of the "athletic" teams.

Until Self addresses this, either with more muscle, or by finding a way for grey hounds to beat muscle ballers when the gloves come off, KU, even though we both love Bill Ball, is operating at a distinct structural disadvantage.

The players aren't big and strong enough yet.

martyks 4 years, 4 months ago

Reed and Morningstar a drag on the team? What planet are you from? Amazing crap there. Your basketball I.Q. is in the low forties.

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