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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

KU coach Bill Self calls for harder, smarter play from Jayhawks

Kansas head coach Bill Self has words for forward Thomas Robinson after Robinson picked up two quick fouls during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self has words for forward Thomas Robinson after Robinson picked up two quick fouls during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Bill Self, who has had a lot to say to the media about the lackluster play of Kansas University’s basketball team after the last two games, discussed some of the same concerns with his players on Sunday.

“He challenged us,” KU junior center Jeff Withey said before Monday’s practice in Allen Fieldhouse. “(He said) that we’re not playing up to the expectations we should be, that we can be a really good team. It’s all up to us. We have to play harder and smarter.

“It was a good talk. It was a motivating talk — one that kind of called us out,” Withey added of the words of KU’s ninth-year coach. “We’ve got to be ready for the next two games. If we can beat Long Beach State and then Ohio State, that turns around our team. It definitely can help us out a lot.”

The No. 13-ranked (5-2) Jayhawks face a pair of home challenges this week in unranked (4-3) Long Beach State and No. 2 (8-0) Ohio State. Tip for today’s game against the 49ers, who already have a marquee road win over Pitt, is 8 p.m. Saturday’s game against the Buckeyes is set for a 2:15 p.m. start.

“We know what we have to do. We have to prove it on the court,” Withey said. “I think it’s going to be a different team just because of all the things coach talked about.”

KU senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor, who tonight faces a tough match-up in 5-10 senior Casper Ware (needs 44 assists to become the 49ers’ all-time assist leader), said of Sunday’s message: “Coach was asking questions and wanted to know how we were feeling about some things as a team.

We worked on some defensive stuff. Today we’re working on offensive sets and getting prepared for a good team. They can come in and beat us if we’re not ready.”

Self is wary of a Dan Monson-coached Long Beach State team that starts four seniors and a junior off a squad that won the Big West Conference title a year ago and is picked to win the crown again this year.

“If we look ahead to Saturday, we’ll go into Saturday’s game with three losses,” Self said Monday.

The 49ers have double-digit scorers in Ware (17.1 ppg, 4.6 apg), 6-5 guard Larry Anderson (15.1 ppg) and 6-8 forward T.J. Robinson (13.7 ppg, 11.3 rpg). Guard James Ennis and forward Eugene Phelps chip in 9.4 and 9.1 ppg.

“They will try to score every time in transition. They are really in attack mode,” Self said. “The only team that’s played like that so far is Kentucky, trying to run off everything. They are definitely an NCAA Tournament team. This team will probably be the second most talented team we play at home in the nonconference without question (next to Ohio State).”

The 49ers may have history on their side. A Seth Greenberg-coached Long Beach State team stunned top-ranked KU, 64-49, on Jan. 25, 1993, in Allen Fieldhouse. That KU team reached the Final Four.

“It was 18 years ago, I guess, they came in here and held Kansas to 49 points — a Kansas team that could really score,” Self said. “They’ll come in here ready to play.”

As far as his own team ... junior guard Elijah Johnson has scored five points in the last two home games off combined 1-for-11 three-point shooting.

“He’s been on fire shooting the ball. It’s been unbelievable. He’s been knocking it down,” Self said of Johnson’s accuracy at practice. “He’s been doing that for a while. It just hasn’t translated into the games. He says it feels good. I’m not as much worried about his shot. I’m worried about his shot affecting his play, losing aggressiveness in other areas. He’ll make shots.”

Taylor has been talking to his backcourt buddy a lot of late. “Probably more than he likes,” Taylor said. “I keep telling him, ‘We need you to play, man.’ We need him to be one of the leading scorers on the team, assist man, steals. We need him to be a threat on the court all the time.

“I don’t think he understands how important he is to the team winning yet. I think he’s starting to understand it.”

The problem? “I think he’s not all the way in tune all the time,” Taylor said. “When he’s in tune, he can be a good defender. He’s as quick as anybody. We all know he can fly.

“It’s a lot easier said than done not getting down on yourself when you are not playing as well. It’s hard,” Taylor added of Johnson, who can be hard on himself. “I think he has to go through that stuff and learn how to fight through it. He’s never been through this situation before. He’s learning. I think it’s a proven fact if you go through bumps in the road, there’s a stretch coming where you play really well. I think he’s about to go through that stretch.”

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Withey talk: Junior center Withey takes a 7.9 points, 5.3 rebounds average into tonight’s game. He’s blocked 14 shots in seven games.

“I haven’t blocked as many shots as I want to,” Withey said. “Being more aggressive, going after more loose balls and rebounds would definitely help us out.”

Taylor grinned when asked if Withey is a “laid back” person.

“That’s exactly who he is, always chillin’, never says too much,” Taylor said. “He throws little jokes in here and there. It’s funny because you are not paying attention to it. You are like, ‘That came from Jeff?’ I wish he’d talk more. That’s his personality, who he is.

“I would love to see him get mad more, honestly. I’d throw a basketball at him or anything. I’d love to see him mad. When he actually snaps and gets mad, it’s funny. One time in Maui he dunked it and got ‘and one’ and started screaming. I think the whole bench, even our coaching staff, cracked a little bit, like, ‘Really?’ It’s good to see he has that personality. I like Jeff. Jeff’s cool.”

Self conceded: “I think a mean streak would help, no question. He’s a nice kid. Thomas (Robinson) is a nice kid, too. Hey, whenever we’ve needed rebounds in our biggest games, Jeff has been a factor: against Duke, Kentucky, UCLA in the first half. That’s a big-time factor. He’s been as good a rebounder as we’ve had in stretches. He just needs to be more consistent.”

Illness: Self was asked about the ‘crud’ that’s been going around the team: i.e. headcolds, congestion, fevers.

“I haven’t talked to any of the mothers or people in the medical profession today about that,” Self said with a smile. “I think we’re fine.”

Come to cheer: Self believes the fieldhouse will be loud for both games this week.

“It should be the best our building is going to be during nonconference,” he said. “I hope everybody understands Long Beach State is good. It’s a great opportunity for us this week to play two quality opponents at home and hopefully put them (players) in a situation they actually feel Allen Fieldhouse. We need this building to be great, which it will be I’m sure.”

Comments

WilburNether 2 years, 4 months ago

Judging by the way the second half went last night, I'd say the players did not listen to their coach.

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REHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

We whipped a good experienced team and coach tonight. Robinson, Withey, Conner looked good; Releford not bad. Elijah appears to play in the flow much better when Tyshawn is on the bench. Team produces a very different look without Tyshawn on the floor. Gotta take control over these turnovers. Lazy passes a real blight. The TT/EJ backcourt not likely to make cover of SI this season. Withey within a hair of triple double; solid game; fortunate those elbows didn't turn costly heading down the stretch. Jeff had averaged 2 blocks per contest. Appears to have responded to his coach's prompting. Now we turn attention to the Sat. Buckeye game. Rock Chalk!

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Alohahawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Since Jesse hasn't shown up, end of game analysis for KU's 88 to 80 win over Long Beach State:

Real nail-biter. Just how many times will our guards turn it over, without losing the game?

That, and hoping Withey would get just one teensy little block more, and end with a triple-double during a regular season game.

"Hawk to Rock" - Gee, that's tough. It's a tossup between TRob's top scorer and rebounder, and Withey with his almost triple double.

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Brian Conrad 2 years, 4 months ago

EJ and Tyshawn had better understand the lazy LAZY one hand passes have to stop . Coach self should put these guys in gym for an hour by themselves JUST two hand passing!!! RELEFORD can put both hands on ball !!! THYSHAWN WISE UP you play really hard then lazy turnover .. PASS not turnover !!!

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BillSelf4Prez 2 years, 4 months ago

guys, i have been jinxing our opponents. All last week i wore a USF sweatshirt to school. Yesterday i wore an Ohio State shirt. Hopefully it works again.

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rockchalkchalkin23 2 years, 4 months ago

Withey

You're good when you're confident. You're confident when you're fired up. Ask the guys to find a way to get you fired up before the game. I'm sure they can come up with a consistent way to do that.

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rockchalkchalkin23 2 years, 4 months ago

Robinson

Your energy and talent are plenty to change any game you play in. Don't think you're not doing enough if you have already brought these two things to the court.

I know they hammer you and trash talk on the court, but you have to know that this is going to happen. They want to get you off your game and make this about ego and who can do what in this game. Don't let them push you around, but at the same time don't push back. I know it's frustrating, but you don't have to prove individually that you can whoop them. Stay the course, play your game and anytime they push you or try and get you of course your response should be SCOREBOARD. You will eventually get them off their game.

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REHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Jesse, we sure do miss yer Hawk to Rawk byline these past two games. Hope you are alive and kicking.

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rockchalkchalkin23 2 years, 4 months ago

Relly

I think you are worried about coaches tongue lashings. Fortunately, he can't not play you this year. There is no question you have game. However, you being unsure and not wanting a lashing causes you to think instead of just doing what you do. Your game is slashing up the defense. You are smooth and squeeze through the tightest spaces and leave it softly off the glass. As long as you play with smart aggression, coaches lashings will be minimal.

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rockchalkchalkin23 2 years, 4 months ago

EJ

Your strongest skill is passing, then driving, then shooting the 3. I know you like hitting the trey, but do what's best for the team, it's best for you too. The offense is designed to create an unforced open shot and for any man to take it or make a play when he has the opportunity. If you and Ty bring your A game every night, you are one of the best backcourts in the country. The best are solid at both ends of the court.

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rockchalkchalkin23 2 years, 4 months ago

Ty

A leader does what he has to do but knows he can't do it all by himself. Sherron's NBA stock would have been(would be) higher if he used what he had, instead of feeling like he had to do it all. Lebron James is also affected by this. No one doubts your talent Ty.

I've noticed you point to and complain to your teammates after you make a mistake. I would alter that. Don't tell them what they did wrong, tell them what you wanted to happen or take blame for the mistake. They will respect you as their leader and still be confident in themselves. Blaming them will make the situation worse, guaranteed. Enjoy playing with these guys, they will still be here next year.

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REHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Tigers should get a real test at 6 p.m. tonight vs. Villanova. Mizzou on a real tear. Check Big 12 stats to take a look at what the Tigers are doing. Nothing approaching our pre-conference schedule, but they look terrific vs. the people they have played. Rebounding is just about their only visible weakness. I'm still miffed about Villanova crowd shrieking OVERRATED at Miles and Simien in our loss to them a few years ago. Hope Mizzou stomps them...and then we stomp Mizzou 2 or 3 times this season to bid them fond adieu. I'm a MO resident, but have convinced my bloodline to burn all their Tiger gear after the announcement of league defection.

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KGphoto 2 years, 4 months ago

Man! Missouri is getting North Carolina type love from the AP. They jumped 3 more spots into the top 10 after beating nobody, and Carolina jumped from 5 to 4 after losing to Kentucky.

If Carolina keeps losing like this, they'll be number one again by Christmas.

And what's going on with Missouri? They've jumped 11 spots in 2 weeks basically for beating Cal.

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hdotk 2 years, 4 months ago

Withey and Robinson have been the two guys i've been consistently impressed by. And i'm starting to trust TT more and more.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

I just read on rivals .com that Kansas has moved up to #12 in the 2012 class rankings and that Anrio has signed on along with Ellis, White, Lucas and Peters.

Can anyone verify this????

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BCRavenJHawkfan 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm pretty sure Self has been whispering in Robinson's and Taylor's ear: "VCU, VCU".

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 4 months ago

1] Long Beach State did us a favor by beating Pitt.....they sure won't sneak up on us.

2] I am really pleased with Jeff's performances this year. All conference?...No . Factor to be reckoned with in the games?.....Absolutely. Just wait till next year!!

3] Not making excuses for TT but sometimes when he drives into the lane, everybody is watching him and no one is moving to give him some passing options.

4] I am absolutely sure we can make it very competitive Saturday, but I am also absolutely sure that, at this stage of the season and if OSU plays to it's capacity, we have very little chance of winning.....March may be different.

5] I am surprised we are relegated to ESPNU with two storied franchises, a #2 and a #13 going head to head in the best venue in the country..and on a Saturday afternoon.

Nothing beat going to a Saturday night Kansas game then walking to Joe's Donuts to celebrate!! I was a lot younger then too:)

Score: Kansas 80 LBSU 68

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REHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Hawks to Rock tonight: T-Rob and T-Han.

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hihawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Ku better make some changes from the other night, or Long Beach State will make KU 5-3. LBS is a really good team and they can come into the Phog and put a whippen on the hawks. Pretty much sloppy play by KU, a little better in the 2nd half, but needs to be much better. Still nothing from the bench, which needs to change. Can't really seen a lot of improvement from the last games, even on their own floor.

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notigers4me 2 years, 4 months ago

The game is on ESPN3 at 8:00 ish. That's where I will be watching. For the record this is TT's team and he needs to be calling out the boys for under achieving.

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HawksWin 2 years, 4 months ago

Can't access ESPNU for tonite's game. Any idea where I can go online to watch besides the erratic and crazy iCal? Thanks bunch.

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Benjamin Piehler 2 years, 4 months ago

I've been somewhat disappointed in EJ & Releford's play so far... our offense needs work overall.

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shinguard 2 years, 4 months ago

While I like hearing the quotes from TT (it shows he is really trying to be a leader out there), I can't help but think that it is a bit too early in the season to be calling EJ and Jeff out like that.

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

But going to these offenses moves your bigs out 20-25 feet from the hoop and unless you've got some good shooting bigs, it is just an exercise in giving up any hope for a high percentage shot, unless you have your wings slash to the iron.

Great, you say. We've got great slashers in TT, EJ and Trav. But these guys haven't proven they can ding it from 25 feet off the ball screen, or off the pick, and so the defenses are sagging and clogging to cut off their slashing lanes.

In the XTreme Fouling Trey Era, there is no substitute for shooting 40% from trey.

Shoot less outside and the clogging and butchery inside tanks your inside scoring efficiency in the hi-lo.

Shoot more and then the defense has to come out to get you and you feed your good bigs, who are isolated and get either 2 or3 point plays.

Wing slash and get a couple buckets, but then the offense sputters to a stop.

This is why if you can't get good bigs, you play the Princeton, because to play hi-lo means you'll never have a efficient inside scoring game regardless.

Further, if you can get the good bigs, but not the trey shooters, you need to think long and hard about resorting to XTReme Muscle and some kind of a motion offense like what Huggo Muggo runs, or even what Roy runs.

The above also implies why Cal has chosen the dribble drive motion offense.

He's got the studs inside. He's got the long and athletics outside that can shoot, but they are only there a year, so they don't have time to learn multiple sets, i.e., Self's thick play book.

But I suspect the dribble drive motion offense has one more attraction to Cal.

On a hot trey night, there is a lot of dribble off the ball screen and gun down the trey, or slash to the iron.

On a cold trey night, there is a lot of motion and back picking that can be resorted to.

The team that manages to learn to run both the hi-lo and the dribble drive motion offense, or the coach that learned to fuse these offenses is likely to become the next "great innovator" of college basketball offenses.

How about a Hi-Lo/Dribble Drive Motion fusion?

I think Self is already in the early stages of trying this out with the occasional ball screening outside that we saw a very few times last season, and that he has shown a few more times this season.

The Dribble Drive Motion Offense runs contrary to Self's deepest held beliefs about offense.

He could never switch to it in a million years.

But his protean mind embraces A and B, like most person's minds embrace A or B.

Self has to know that all roads to a ring now not only run through Durham, Chapel Hill, and Storrs, but Lexington, too.

If he wants to keep playing it anyway they want, he's got to integrate some Dribble Drive Motion.

And the good news is: when the trey shooting tanks, there is some motion in the Dribble Drive.

Go, Bill, go!!!

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

"How About a Hi-Lo/Dribble Drive Motion Fusion?"

All wing men in the hi-lo offense face the same problem in the three point era, when there are good big men in their offense. The big men are the highest percentage part of the offense. Those big men work best when they are most isolated on their defender and when there is least congestion. Those big men are also tall and strong and so most capable of finishing under the XTReme Fouling of our era.

Everyone, big, or little, that gets into the paint gets hammered. So a big is much more likely to be able to finish during the stretches when the refs are not calling fouls, and has a better chance for a make and a FT, when FTs are being called, than a wing penetrating. Used to not be so, but athleticism on the wing is now much less rewarded by the foul calling regime of today.

Further, penetration from either wing collapses the defense, with no one to kick back out to unless:

a) the post steps out, which makes no sense;

b) the point guard rotates to the wing where the wing man just drove from, in which case there is no safety man out front for transition; or

c) the penetrator throws cross court, which is pop tart awaiting baking.

The best thing for a wing to do in the hi-lo offense in the XTReme Fouling Trey Era is to stay on the trey stripe and take four looks a game. make two, and so stretch the defense so the bigs have no fronting by sagging defenders ball side, minimal congestion, and frequent isolations (which eventually force the opposing team to bring backside double teaming, which frees up a dish to the other big).

Everything good happens, when wings don't slash and shoot two of four from trifectaville.

And even when they over guard the trey stripe, and slashing yields a few quick buckets, the hi-lo offense is taken out of its optimal strategy and tends to sputter, the bigs stop getting touches, and the offense soon spins out of rhythm. Momentum is lost. Time has to be called. The coach has to tell the team to "run the offense again," and start trying to rebuild momentum.

On a cold night, the worst solution is wing driving, because there is sagging and only one available dish usually that yields a good look, and that is to the big nearest the driver.

The best solution is what Self always does: the point drive and dish. Why? Because the point drive has not one, but two bigs to choose between dishing, plus not one but two wings to kick out to.

But once they know the point drive is the preferred option, the defense takes the lanes out front away, and so gives you the wing drive.

The wing drive works, but it makes your hi-lo sputter and stop, and keeps your bigs from getting good, uncongested looks.

This is when you should switch to pick'n'roll, and some ball screen/dribble drive motions sets, which is exactly what Self has done.

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NH_JHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I was at that Long Beach St. game in 1993. In terms of being stunned, that game probably ranks as the 2nd worst loss during my time at KU with the 1st being the loss to UTEP in the 2nd round of the NCAA tourney in March 1992. Ouch! 1993 was a great year overall though as KU knocked out the almighty Bobby Knight led Indiana Hoosiers in the Elite 8 only to lose to Dean and UNC in the FF. Man, how time flies!

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hawkster007 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree, EJ needs to stop settling for 3's and take it to the cup and finish. For a person with his athleticism its a waste to fire spot up 3 pointers, any guard can do that. He needs to drive it and dish or score like Tyshawn.

I'm trying not to look ahead also, but just a few Buknuts stats....Ohio State will have played 9 games at home and no games on the road when they face KU, they are not road tested. I don't think they have seen a place like Allen in a long while and I think it will be rockin. Ohio State has a week off before it plays KU, not sure if that is good or bad for KU.

KU needs to play great against LBS tonite and move towards that goal of beating OSU on Saturday.

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jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

WESTERN UNION

Team going deep into The Canal 2nite. Stop.

4 LBSU seniors = recipe 4 KU disaster, Stop.

Unless KU defense = wreak havoc. Stop.

EJ = hot. Stop.

Withey scores 12. Stop.

And TOs - 3 = strips. Stop.

Expect enemy aggression. Stop.

High mobility, but hand to hand combat. Stop.

Jayhawk nation depending on you. Stop.

No more reinforcements till next season. Stop.

Hold Allen Field House all costs. Stop.

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KansasComet 2 years, 4 months ago

Elijah's shots will start to fall. I would like to see him get to the basket more. He is an incredible finisher at the rim, and needs to take advantage of his leaping skills. You can't teach hops. Not really worried about him, because he can shoot.

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Lash 2 years, 4 months ago

Aren't there any smarter girls out there?

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Alex Wishart 2 years, 4 months ago

This will be the first time that i let my gf root for her alma mater and not mine. i might have to make the drive down to the LBC to watch the game at Legends.

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Alohahawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Dis and dat:

Two games this week, and the Jayhawks better not look ahead to Ohio State.

Interesting that two of the best rebounders in the nation will be playing against each other tonight, both with the same last name - Robinson.

Have been very happy with KU's freethrow shooting so far this year. Especially TRob's improvement, and with Withey shooting lights out. Keeps opponents from fouling our bigs to prevent easy in-the-paint shots. Jayhawks are averaging about .744%, which is tied with about five teams in top 25 or so. Keep it up, team.

p>Zagsblog.com has two stories on two of KU's high priority recruits for the 2013 class: Walker lists KU in his top three. Unfortunately, he has asked advice from LeBron James, who has recommended he attend Ohio State or Kentucky, neither of which are in his top three. And J. Randle, who as of late, is being recruited by Duke. He's teammates with J. Peters (2012 KU signee), but is also teammates with Duke oral commit, Matt Jones (2013). Although he says he is still undecided, Randle's comments seem to indicate he is leaning to Duke.

Finally: Hope that Jesse Newell will be back to post his pregame banter for the Long Beach State game. Missed his predictions for the USF game.

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