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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Keegan

Thomas Robinson moving up menu nicely

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Four starters, including two NBA lottery picks, gone. Not a McDonald’s All-American on the roster. The two recruits who likely would have earned the most minutes among freshmen declared academically ineligible for the season. Two rotation players who arrived at school as walk-ons.

Coach Bill Self’s ninth Kansas University basketball team had all that going against it and somehow less than three weeks shy of the Jan. 4 Big 12 opener against Kansas State in Allen Fieldhouse is ranked No. 12 in the nation. The Jayhawks can’t be counted out of any conversation about Big 12 title contenders and have a 7-2 record with the only losses coming on neutral courts against Kentucky and Duke, now ranked third and seventh in the country.

How is this possible?

Certainly, the improved games of junior center Jeff Withey and fifth-year senior sharp-shooter Conner Teahan have played a part in Kansas not yet getting exposed for lack of depth. Yet, the main reason Kansas has hung tough so far has more to do with the “main course,” as Thomas Robinson was described by his coach.

“He’s been the icing, so to speak,” Self said before the season. “He’s been the dessert. Now he has to be the main course.”

Robinson has moved from reserve to focal point so smoothly that it has felt as if it were a given from a player who last season averaged 7.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game.

Robinson knew in order to give a depth-challenged team a shot at remaining high in the rankings he would need to reduce his fouls and attain a level of conditioning high enough to sustain his high-energy style for 30-plus minutes. So far, so impressive. As a freshman, Robinson averaged 7.3 personal fouls per 40 minutes, 5.6 as a sophomore and 3.5 so far this season. He’s averaging 31.6 minutes a game, second only to Tyshawn Taylor (32.6 overall, 34.5 in two games playing with a torn meniscus and sprained ACL).

Robinson also needed to do a better job of cashing in on free-throw opportunities. Again, he has met the challenge. He clanked at a .395 success rate from the line as a freshman, improved to .510 as a sophomore and is shooting .714 nine games into this season.

A testament to his conditioning, Robinson tends to do some of his best work in the final minutes of games. In earning National Player of the Week honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association last week, Robinson scored six of his game-high 26 points in the final 5:17 of an eight-point victory against Long Beach State. He followed that by turning nine field-goal attempts and eight free-throw attempts into 21 points, 10 coming in the final 3:54 of an 11-point victory against No. 2 Ohio State, a tough out even with star sophomore center Jared Sullinger sidelined.

On paper, Baylor still looks as if it shapes up as the favorite to win the conference title, with Kansas and Missouri strong contenders. Again on paper, Baylor’s Perry Jones III looks like the strongest contender for Big 12 Player of the Year honors. Then again, the game’s played on hardwood by sweating men under bright lights. Robinson has a shot to become KU’s sixth post player to win the award Raef LaFrentz won twice.

Comments

GridironHawk 7 years, 9 months ago

That is the key... "On paper" Baylor has already won the Big 12 title but for some reason Coaches are never included with "on paper" analysis.

Scott MacWilliams 7 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, so we don't have a fleet of McD allstars this year for the first time in forever. SO WHAT!! I Like it!!
Self and crew know how to make the pieces mesh so the sum is WAY more than the total of the various parts. T-Rob is the obvious centerpiece, but the rest of the 'Hawks are very talented and a lot of fun to watch.
Longterm for this season, I like our prospects.
Remember, in 1988, we entered the tournament with something like 11 losses and NO ONE was picking us to win the whole shebang. With guys like Kevin Young and Travis Releford tearing it up, we're in for a great season.

ROCK CHALK!!!

Alohahawk 7 years, 9 months ago

+1 Ala Carte for a successful 2011 - 2012 season

Head Coach, Bill Self, directs his staff and creates a banquet on which the Jayhawk Nation can feast. Bon Apetit!!! (ie, RCJHKU!!!)

                                 The Menu

Well done TRob steak, with major improvements in all phases of his game: T. Robinson.

Seasoned four year starter, sprinkling the team's play with his salt and pepper court condiments to confuse the opposition (and the fans): T. Taylor.

Two lightly seasoned former bench vegetables: E. Johnson and T. Releford.

Appetizer Tray: Former red-shirt walk-on trey expert: C. Teahan.

Seven foot centerpiece: J. Withey.

Salad dressing transfer, who assimilates quickly into the mix: K. Young.

Fine cutlery, sharp at the point: N. Tharpe.

Bun basket - Supporting cast of bench warmers.

Stir in Phog, and flavor with sell out crowds in Allen Fieldhouse.

Dessert: Numerous post-season tourney wins, (Conference and NCAA's) for a season in which few but the faithful believed.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 9 months ago

You forgot the augratin potatoes - hot with competitive fire and and thick with coaching and motivation ability, Head Coach Bill Self and his staff!!

KStoCAHippie 7 years, 9 months ago

Godd#$^it, now I'm hungry. Thanks a lot.

Ben Kliewer 7 years, 9 months ago

Nobody counts out Bill Self, but I think this speaks volumes for his coaching. He deserves even more credit than he previously had. Hopefully recruits will see this (and take a look at how many players he's put into the League) and we'll load up on McAAs again over the next few years. If Billy can do this with non McAAs, imagine what he can do with a loaded roster. You gotta love this guy.

That point being made, I'm going to give some credit where it is due. Though I find most of your articles outrageous, this is a great piece Keegs.

Alohahawk 7 years, 9 months ago

  • I'll eat to that. :-)

Bring on the MCAA's. (Randle, Walker, Noel, Parker, Ennis, Greene, Lewis. Oops, running out of scholarships. Better sign up quick, guys.)

Chris Shaw 7 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget Allerik Freeman. According to Mascott, the staff or part of the staff was in town Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday to see him.

He had 19 points in a blowout win Tuesday night and plays a not so good good Garinger team Friday night.

lawrence_is_my_middle_name 7 years, 9 months ago

I think Danny Manning should be given a lot of credit. He's the one coaching up the big guys, TRob and Whithey, who have each improved drastically this season from the last.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

I'd say #4 (Wesley) beginning to play with some authority is just as great a credit to DMan and his ability to develop presence in the lane.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

Should have added, considering where/what he was a year ago.

Mike Odishoo 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm selfishly concerned this may be the season Danny Manning is offered his own team and leaves us. Discuss?

Ben Kliewer 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't know. I haven't heard a lot of buzz about DMan leaving or getting offers, but then again, I haven't really kept my finger on that pulse. The question would be, does he want to leave Kansas. Maybe, maybe not. Like I said, haven't been keeping my eye on that whole situation much.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 9 months ago

He can win a national championship with a loaded roster .... see 2008 .... goal thus is to obtain a loaded roster.

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 9 months ago

Until someone else wins it...the Big XII championship goes through Lawrence...period. The favorite is still the Jayhawks!

dylans 7 years, 9 months ago

+1 It's not like the 'Hawks aren't talented. 4 top 50 HS players on this roster. The bench is thinner than normal though. So instead of the normal concerns that there won't be enough minutes to go around people think that players will get too many minutes. Bah, stand back and watch Self work his magic.

Brandon Deines 7 years, 9 months ago

Pretty sure Tyshawn had a sprained MCL, unless the initial reports were wrong.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

That was my impression from the early report, supposedly from medical staff. But who would expect our favorite columnist to distinguish medial from anterior?

jhox 7 years, 9 months ago

We're about where I thought we'd be record wise. I had a feeling we'd be a pretty good team this year, though not as much depth, and that's the way it has turned out. Next year worries me, but I was not overly concerned with what we would do this year.

Unless Perry Ellis is the greatest thing since sliced bread, we could really struggle next year with a very young and inexperienced team.

swavity 7 years, 9 months ago

Pretty much my sentiments, too. Robinson has actually done slightly worse than I thought due to all the bunnies he's missed around the rim. I did fear he might possibly pick up too many fouls, but I'd say Self/Manning pounded it into his head not to pick up early fouls. It was disappointing that we lost to Duke, whom I would wager we'd definitely beat in a seven-game series.

Every year people bring up what Self lost, and every year I roll my eyes. We don't have LeBron, Kobe, Dwight, or His Airness in his prime either! Who cares? The only thing that matters is who IS on your team, and we had Robinson, Tyshawn, Elijah, and Releford coming back, along with Withey and a host of others that we were hoping to take a step up and have.

Next year...not so much. Lots of new potential, but no Robinson and no Tyshawn means the Big 12 title is much more up in the air than this year or years past.

Jesse Johnson 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree that we will be inexperienced next year. But I was thinking all the players coming in and we definitely don't need to worry about depth:

PG - EJ/Tharpe SG - BMac/Adams SF - TRel/White/Young PF - Ellis/Traylor/Wesley C - Withey/Lucas/Peters

I could see Self putting White in at the 2 as backup instead of Adams to free up some PT for Young if he continues to do well. I also concede I could be totally wrong about putting Wesley and Peters behind Traylor and Lucas. Although with all signs pointing to Lucas, Traylor, Adams and Peters being underated recruits, we could have a lot of talent next year, albeit little experience besides EJ, Trel and Withey.

Curtis Stutz 7 years, 9 months ago

Hard to want to worry about next year, there's too much offseason for that. Recruiting still isn't finalized right? Plus we won't know 'til the end of this year just what is returning. EJ/Releford/Wesley/Young/Tharpe/Withey all have a chance to make huge strides this year. The only thing I'm fairly certain of is we won't have as dominant a force as TRob. You may look at 5 of those 6 listed though and say, wow, what a great set of starters with guys like Perry Ellis looking to crack into that lineup. We'll have plenty of depth in the post it would appear, and with EJ/Tharpe/Releford returning they may need a lot help from guys like BMac, Adams, White and Ellis at filling at backcourt minutes. Could be more of a journey next year than this year as the team "finds itself."

wtarush 7 years, 9 months ago

Funny thing; this concept of "inexperience"...

We had one returning starter this year in TT! Now, that is inexperience! Next year we will have (at least) three returning starters... one will lead the league in blocked shots, another is one of the smoothest slashers I have seen since Kenny Gregory in his glory day and the third is this year's only returning starter's "little brother". With a bench adorned with AFH battle-hardened sophomores and a Senior in Kevin Young (that I just can't fathom not being a starter if he keeps showing what he did against OSU), the last thing I would call next year's team is inexperienced. With four scholarship seniors on next years squad I have trouble using the word "young" as well.

Experience enough will come in the 2012 non-con'. By this time next year the Jayhawks will be another national powerhouse, Bill Self and Danny Manning will, again, be receiving well-deserved praise and there will be anxiety amongst the masses, with the loss of 4 scholarship players, about the depth and experience of the 2013 Jayhawks.

The future is fun to think about, but its nice to sit back and relish what we have right now.

ROCK CHALK!

Chris Shaw 7 years, 9 months ago

I wish I knew Scot Drew personally because I would make a hefty wager against his squad that they don't win the Big 12.

Jhox, I know we had those conversations over the summer and in the preseason and I had originaly predicted 23-8 or 22-9. Looks like the hawks could be ahead of schedule barring a collapse at USC or a mistake before conference plays start. I just don't see the Hawks losing 6 games in conference play, but I do think 3-5 losses is most likely, which would bring them 26-5, 25-6, or 24-7 heading forward. I would take that in a heartbeat.

Ben Simonett 7 years, 9 months ago

I always thought your predictions for the year were a little to bearish.

As many flaws as this team has i couldn't find 9 losses on the schedule.

Personally I had them at 6-3 right now (with a loss to OSU) so they are ahead of my schedule as well.

I too will take that in a heartbeat

Chris Shaw 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't think it was to bearish! KU could have very easily gone 1-2 in the Maui Invitational and who would have thought Sullinger wasn't going to play in the game on Saturday?

Martin Shupert 7 years, 9 months ago

Uhmmm... you don't think there's anything wrong with a coach making bets that involve his team? Guess again.

Chris Shaw 7 years, 9 months ago

Also, don't forget that Julius Randle and Zach Peters play tonight on ESPN against Shepard and Jordan Mickey tonight.

Ben Simonett 7 years, 9 months ago

i'll probably catch a few minutes of it, but i wont watch the whole thing. I refuse to support ESPNs attempts to exploit minors for there own gain.

Steve Gantz 7 years, 9 months ago

But you do support their attempts to exploit college kids for their own gain?

Ben Simonett 7 years, 9 months ago

college kids took the scholarship, and everything that comes with it.

high schools kids have not entered into any contracts, and they're minors.

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

I had been thinking about the KU teams of the past last night and I started wondering this question.......

Why aren't KU Guards developing like the KU Bigs do?

Year after year we say Manning work Miracles on above average to good players, yet we don't see the same thing with the guards. In fact, retrospectively thinking without looking at statistics, I don't remember any guard other than Mario & Bradon developing under this regime.

Do we need a new assistant coach to develop our guard play?

Ron Prichard 7 years, 9 months ago

Everyone forgets about Collins. Also, I think Robinson developed pretty nicely. Reed and Morningstar went from afterthought to invaluable. People tend to look at TT and make a blanket statement about guards not developing, but the truth is, try to name a guard that stayed at least three years and didn't develop each year.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

I know it's the popular thing to do in these parts, but you don't need to make an exception for Tyshawn – his development has been sporadic and frustrating, but development there has been.

Curtis Stutz 7 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget that Miles and Langford did most of their developing under Self too.

TT would have gained a lot from Chalmers sticking around one more year, unfortunately he didn't. A lot of player development at KU has always depended on underclassmen learning from upperclassmen in my opinion.

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't think Sherron developed much. He was the same player for 3 years. Bulldog. He was good. But, I don't think he improved his game much. Some could argue that Tyshawn has regressed over the four years. Elijah was ranked only behind John Wall--three years later, the light still isn't all the way on three years in. This is Relefords 4th year in the system, and he hasn't come along offensively. Josh Selby was failure (albeit for a lot of outside reasons). National Juco Player of the Year Mario Little never blossomed. I would argue that Brady & Tyrel's improvement had more to do with self dedication than coaching.

Dee Brown didn't play but one year for Coach Self.

Maybe I'll over simplify the question--why is Kansas regularly putting bigs in the League but not Guards.

AsadZ 7 years, 9 months ago

Dont forget Selby and Henry. They were OADs. At least Selby could have developed more had he stayed.

Chris Shaw 7 years, 9 months ago

I disagree with you about Collins, but Collins was his own worst enemy! The so called perceived mindsight of Collins constantly battling is weight issues is a red flag to GM"s and Owners throughout the NBA. That's on Collins himself and he has only himself to blame for that.

As for the rest of Collins, he had every opportunity to be as good or better than Ty Lawson, but the weight issues trumped everything.

If anything I think Collins developed exactly into the player Self wante him to be..................the only problem was that Self allowed him to much flexibility in the confines with the rest of the team.

Nobody changed their game more at Kansas during the Self era than Collins. Taylor is second on that list.

Collins went from a bench dependable contributor and sacrificed for the betterment of the team his two first seasons. That sacrifice may have prevented him from being a first rounder. He was viewed more of a prospect after the Championship season than he was after his senior season. Who's fault is that?

He then became the official go to guy and scorer his junior season and if you look at his stats his did sacrifice some of that load his senior season in trying to become the leader of the team. I think he did do all those things despite an off shooting night that will forever be inscripted as the end of his career.

So, IMO, I don't think there is without question that Collins developed over his 4 years, it just may not have been in the right areas to lure NBA GM"s.

Hank Cross 7 years, 9 months ago

The minutes Brady & Tyrel played hindered the development of Travis and EJ. I don't care if Tyrel is named the Alsace League POY or Brady drops 50 against the Tucumcari Tumbleweeds, those two were at the limit of their upsides when they were at KU. Let's see where Travis and EJ are at the end of the year.

Chris Shaw 7 years, 9 months ago

Personaly, I think Coach Self needs to attack the guard recruiting trail a little differently than he has. KU has turned into "Big Man U" and everybody knows it.

I would say it's not out of the realm to get a 5 star guard, but focusing on surrounding that 5 star guard with 3 and 4 year type players is the better way to go IMO because of the potential of the "Big's" that come to KU.

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

I love a good discussion. It was nice not to be called a Self basher and to go find another team just for bringing up an idea to talk about!! A lot of great bball minds on here...love the different opinions.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

If you are into recruiting KU cheerleaders, the Keegs isn't your best prospect. The KU fan base is as susceptible to "Because We Are Kansas" syndrome as the other top four winningest teams in history, and Keegan usually helps us bring a more reasonable light to our often outlandish ruminations. He well knows the venom that elicits, but sticks to his job, and the guns that go with it. I thank him for that and appreciate the cool, reasoned support he brings to LJW. It also helps that he recruits very well and puts the youngsters in roles they fill very well.

tom123kufan 7 years, 9 months ago

The Big 12 Championship goes through Lawrence Kansas. Period.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

It surely has recently. Every year, though, some pretender or other comes on the scene and reasonable people can't ignore the probability that one of them will eventually capitalize on the opportunity.

I know this is just the response you wanted for your simplistic prognostication. :-)

Michael Luby 7 years, 9 months ago

Perry Jones vs Thomas Robinson? NO contest. TRob will squash him. The only game Baylor has played that has even been a contest is Sandiego State. AND, they have all been home games except for one. I have serious doubts about Baylor even giving KU any trouble at all. Sure they have good players but our players have been through more tests this year than anyone else in the league, and done it with only 2 losses.
Its been said multiple times already in this post but again; The regular season championship and possibly the Conference title will go to KU this year, even if we have to share the regular season title, we will get it.

Clarence Haynes 7 years, 9 months ago

On paper, Baylor is the Big XII favorite and on paper, Perry Jones is the Big XII Player of the Year. In reality, the Big XII Title and Player of the Year go through AFH and TRob respectively!

Tony Bandle 7 years, 9 months ago

Gee..I guess Chalmers doesn't play guard or Collins or Robinson or Rush......etc.

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

Oak--I included Chalmers & Rush in my success category. Collins nor Robinson are in the league.

JHawk06 7 years, 9 months ago

Seriously, blownjay seems to be forgetting about those players..

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

Seriously, JHawk06 seems to have not read the post before he comments:

"I don't remember any guard other than Mario & Brandon developing under this regime."

tical523 7 years, 9 months ago

Thomas Robinson looks like a man amongst boys out there sometimes. Very curious to see how he continues to develop with the added load of minutes and responsibility; a workman's approach as a leader and he can take this team on a great ride. He has shown he can avoid foul trouble and knock down enough free throws which were the bigger questions with an increased role but I am more curious how he continues to handle emotion and the big stage as a leader. T-Rob knows there are lots of NBA GM's at every game and that can affect the strongest of performers. Can't wait to start league play against the grapes!!!

REHawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Step up, Naadir! I think you are set to get some playing time before January. Make the most of it, and establish yourself as a reliable backup to relieve Taylor's and Johnson's legs. The 30+ minutes those guards are playing is bound to cost us in the way of injury or occasional exhaustion when we go up against terriers such as Mizzou. Remind us once again that you are a gifted pass-first point guard capable of posting some Aaron Miles type numbers.

hawksince51 7 years, 9 months ago

You have to give Self and Manning a lot of credit for the development of T-Rob. It was only 2 years ago that he arrived as one of the rawest talents I can recall at KU. He was a great athlete but when he played he turned the ball over at a terribly high rate, committed a high number of fouls, and did not seem to know what was going on at either end of the floor. Now, 2 years later, he is the star on the team and a legitimate first team All-American candidate. I should also mention that this development took a lot of hardwork and dedication by the player. Great job everyone involved!!

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

Isn't it strange that almost all of the bigs to flourish that Junior year?? Some, even by their sophomore years. Even Withey has made huge strides, and most of us left him for dead after last year.

hawksince51 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't consider it strange but it has been a consistent pattern. Jackson, Cole, the Twins, T-Rob and Withey have been a tribute to Danny Manning's ability to coach up the big guys. And, I have to agree that Withey has been the biggest positive surprise of the season so far.

REHawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Regarding next season's lineup, I would not count out Young and Wesley for major playing time. Actually, I think we will see much more of KY this season. The kid has a nose for the ball, and finds a path to the basket about as well as any player on our current squad. Now that his defense has become more dependable, I look to see him relieve Releford (and sometimes T-Rob) often. Per minute played this season, I think his production on offense is on keel with TT and TRob. Tremendous upside as the season progresses.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 9 months ago

I am officially counting out Wesley "for major playing time."

If Lucas, Peters, Traylor can't beat out Wesley for the major minutes .. starting at the 4 or 5, or first off the bench, then they shouldn't be in a KU jersey.

Wesley plays hard, he's giving it 100%, he has energy, he has bounce ... but he is just an ok player. It is his talent level. No shame in that. He may give you a game or two where he surprises. But he won't give you the consistent, high level of play that you need from a guy that gets "major playing time" at the 4 or 5 at KU.

He's the kind of guy that starts at the 4 at Towson .... or Lamar.

The only reason he's playing this year is pure need.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 9 months ago

"I would trust Self over you."

I would trust Self over me, too. Self wouldn't be playing the guy if Self would have done, or accomplished, what Self wanted to do, or accomplish. Your statement lacks any logic.

You seem to think Self is playing Wesley by choice? Is that what you're saying? Are you saying that Self put himself (by choice) in the position that Wesley was the first 4/5 off the bench?

If you are, you're obviously wrong. Just look as Self''s recruiting efforts and lack of success at the 4/5 spots in the 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes. We were after multiple top big guys .. just didn't land the fish. Again, if you're saying Self gave us Justin Wesley on purpose, that's quite an indictment of Bill Self talent evaluation and planning.

But we all know you really don't mean that ... which is why your suggestion that my assessment of Wesley is wrong simply because Self is playing him, makes no sense.

Kye Clark 7 years, 9 months ago

"I trust Self over you."

I trust Self over all the posters, but what about HEM's statement is in contradiction to Self? Wesley is earning sporadic minutes now, on the thinnest team depth-wise in recent memory. He wasn't recruited to KU out of high school, and when he was brought in it was not on scholarship. Self saw him as a guy with some height and raw athletic ability and figured he would be good for practice, and perhaps in case of an emergency (i.e. both the Twins leaving and striking out on the recruiting trail for additional bigs).

So next year, with the infusion of bigs Self will have at his disposal - Peters, Traylor, Lucas, Ellis - as well as Withey and having KY available to steal minutes in the post if need be, is it really that hard to envision Wesley not earning major minutes next year? That's 6 players, and history tells us Wesley will need to be the third big to see major minutes. He's not going to beat out Withey, who is playing ahead of him now. Ellis is a 5-star recruit, and while Self says he envisions him as a hybrid 3-4, Marcus was in the same mold and rarely saw minutes at the 3, especially in his first year. Also the three is pretty crowded, with Travis, White, & McLemore all available for minutes there. So Ellis probably plays in the post next year, and my guess is he easily beats out Wesley for PT. So that leaves Wesley needing to beat out Peters, Traylor, Lucas, & maybe KY in order to see major minutes. I don't see it.

If you want to disagree, that's fine. But really trusting Self has nothing to do with it, because next year isn't here yet and we don't know one way or the other how he'll manage his roster. He may pull Wesley's scholarship and he'll return to the end of the bench, in which case HEM's prediction will be in line with your trust in Self.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 9 months ago

Ict: Well said.

jhwksrock: I'm certainly not trying to be rude. I don't think it was rude. Blunt, yes. And really, to respond as you did .. the "yap, yap" stuff .. while funny, doesn't really do your analysis justice here. The little statement you made about Self appeared to be made in support of your premise .. that Wesley is a good player, and that I was too hard on Wesley in what I said.

I'm more interested, really, in why my view might be wrong ... yap, yap .. sorry, I can't control myself.

tical523 7 years, 9 months ago

Also, is it just me or does EJ seem to think too much or hold back, it's like he does not know he is an absolute stud when attacking the rim off of the dribble. A lot of his turnovers are when he is being very timid/careful and trying to make a cross-court pass to the other wing after picking up his dribble for some reason (watch CP3 or Nash, never pick up your dribble if possible)!!! I always say don't dribble to pass, dribble to attack the defense and many times it becomes a pass if that is the best option. I know that EJ seems like a very cool and laid-back dude but I would like to see him with an assassins mentality. I just hate when I read or hear that TT is the one guy that can create his own . . . . . .what ya think?

Ben Simonett 7 years, 9 months ago

T Rob is great no doubt, but the real reason the team is performing so well this year is because Bill Self is one of the 3 best X's and O's coaches in the country.

He could probably coach a very talented high school team to an NIT invite.

Ron Franklin 7 years, 9 months ago

+1. Great x's & o's coach and a superb defensive coach.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

Not in the first year, he couldn't. Self-ball is not your ordinary jack-it-up and get out of the way on defense AAU game. While a freshman with the right attitude may work his way to major minutes later in the season, that only works with four other seasoned players to keep the flow of the game where it needs to be. The major factors young players need to master are 1 - solid man defense - both on the ball and off, 2 - help defense - position and ball awareness, 3 - finding the best shot available to one of our five players, 4 - taking only the good shots, and moving without the ball to create.

Not many incoming high school players, however talented, can accomplish more than one of these their first year.

Ronnard 7 years, 9 months ago

Keegan?? Four starters, including two NBA lottery picks? T-Rob yes! He is a solid top ten pick. Who else is a lottery pick?

Taylor is not even shown on some current NBA draft boards in either round. On some he's a mid-second round pick. Withey and Johnson are both on the draft boards for 2013 but as mid to late second rounders.

Alohahawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Please, we all want and need this board, so don't burn the paper. Reread the first line, instead. Sorry, but you overlooked the last word, "gone", in Keegan's opening statement. He was referring to last season's Jayhawks, who graduated or left for the NBA.

It's just misleading and confuses the issue when, in his next sentences, he starts listing things about this year's team.

flyingfinn 7 years, 9 months ago

Burn the "paper", I'll take TRob over Baylor's Jones any day and said it before the season started that this team will be a pleasant surprise. HCBS and staff know how to get the most out of any player.

BCRavenJHawkfan 7 years, 9 months ago

So maybe this season is KU's time to be "The Little Engine That Could".

Would be really nice to have some over achievers like we see out of the mid majors every March.

jaybate 7 years, 9 months ago

It is time to revise some estimates about the talent on this team.

Thomas Robinson will likely be drafted.

Tyshawn, if he recovers from knee surgery quickly, and keeps shooting 40% plus from trey is quickly going to become a draft choice. The pros don't give a crap about him as a PG. They will love his speed, athleticism, defense, get-to-the rim stuff, and his trey for a 2 guard. If he learns to protect, he will move way up the draft list.

EJ hasn't shown much yet, because of a season starting slump, but he's a draft choice waiting to happen next year. The guy can ding treys and long treys. He can elevate against anyone to get the shot off in the L. He can guard. This off season, he is going to add 10-15 pounds and he will be another draft choice for the 2.

Travis is a season away from being spectacular, if Self ever makes him a go to guy. Travis has learned to glue may by Mid December. This means he is going to be given a chance to show his stuff in impact isolations second semester. Frankly, if Travis can ding treys next season at 40%, and work on the dribble, then his height and athleticism and defense make him wet dream 2 for the pros and a draft choice next year.

Jeff Withey is frankly just 30 pounds and some strength from being a high draft choice. It is almost certain that he will add 15-20 for next year. Given the way NBA GMs draft tall guys on potential, Jeff is going to get drafted.

Kevin Young seems an unlikely prospect for a draft choice presently, but if he were to improve significantly over his performance against Ohio State by the end of next season, and can the trey at 40%, he might conceivably become a coming attraction for the show. Kevin just has to make the kind of improvement that Markieff did his final year and add 20 pounds and he's a tweener that might swing to 3 in the pros. Kevin has the intangible swagger and will Self has a sixth sense for. Kevin may be a guy who shines brightly briefly, and fizzles, but I think there is quite a lot of player in him, quite a lot of basketball IQ strangely in need of some mastering of the basics. He's a dark horse, but there just is a lot of player there that could develop a whole lot this season and next.

Boom!

Stop with the inferiority complexes.

This team has chops.

Curtis Stutz 7 years, 9 months ago

That's what I'm talking about Jaybate! This team is athletic and talented. 3pt shooting is still a question mark but you have to feel good about Releford, EJ and TT all showing some confidence out there. Withey is playing better than I ever expected, he's not just tall and roaming around out there, he's on the ball contesting shots and fighting for rebounds. Has hit some nice shots in the post too. Honestly TRob has been better than I had hoped too. He's playing smart, staying away from foul trouble. Showing some range and as much as we all knew he was a stud, how quick is that first step!?! Tharpe has a lot of time to get it together as do Young and Wesley, and all have had moments. Teahan can flat out stroke it and is quicker this year. We have the bodies to bring off the bench, sometimes they bring a nice spark. The starting 5 has more potential than almost any starting 5 in the country. It's a good life, the life of a Kansas Basketball fan.

Hank Cross 7 years, 9 months ago

Agree with all of Jaybate's observations. I'm liking that since the 2nd half of the LB game Travis has shown a willingness to drive in the 1/2 court. I've been one of his biggest fans, but even I was getting tired of his complete absence on offense. Put together about 10 points from some open 3s, putbacks, dribble drives and FTs with his defensive effort and you have a "glue" player that actually shows up in the score sheet.

Young is an intriguing player. We'll see if the OSU game was a one-of, or a preview of coming attractions.

REHawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Regarding Bill Self, as jaybate always insists, Self is a coach who makes the most out of any given situation. He seems able to take what he is given and turn it to gold. Three players whom he had counted on for this season of play departed for the NBA. Another 3 whom he recruited were ruled ineligible by the league and NCAA. Just look what he has done with hedging future slots with Teehan and Releford as redshirts enroute to this season of need. He brings in Withey, Young and Wesley from other programs, slowly develops TRob and Johnson, patiently promotes Tyshawn. If he can nudge Tharpe into occasional dependable minutes, his lineup should be quite solid by tournament time. If this team performs well in the Elite 8, no way that Bill Self will not receive attention for National Coach of the Year. The manner in which this team is progressing would indicate that even a Final 4 appearance is very much within the realm of possibility. How fortunate for all of us that when Roy traipsed back to his alma mater, Bill Self was waiting in the wings to ascend to the Throne.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

Add to that last paragraph, "and Lew Perkins wasn't around yet to screw up everything."

Chris Shaw 7 years, 9 months ago

I've seen a lot of comments trying to compare Perry vs T Rob or T Rob vs Perry, but we won't really see that matchup. As we all know, Baylor runs a poor man's version of Syracuse's match up zone so the Perry vs T Rob thing is a little out of context because we simply won't see it the way we all hope we could.

jaybate 7 years, 9 months ago

kushaw,

U R probably right, but what if EJ, Conner, and Tyshawn are all blazing treys on the same night at 50%?

Maybe the stinking Drewsian Cowards will come out of the stinking zone and play like men. :-)

Chris Shaw 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't see it happening, Jaybate. I haven't seen Baylor run a man since the 2009 season. I've talke about this before, but does anybody remember what game Drew first adopted this new generation of the match up zone?

It was the first game of the Big 12 tournament in 2009 where Baylor knocked off Kansas as the #1 seed.

John Randall 7 years, 9 months ago

Big XII (minus two) coaches are pretty good at recognizing team value on the floor. As long as they make the selections, TRob just needs to mind the store (and get over the flu). There likely will also be an AP selection, but we know what that is worth – only the scoring leader need apply.

In 8+ years, a Self team hasn't produced the top scoring player, but has never been below second in team scoring . . . and had the leading rebounder over half the time . . . at least one of the top three assists men, . . . and always leads in total team assists.

Not sure if was '07-08, but one year in more than half the games, at least half our made baskets were assisted.

cobweb 7 years, 9 months ago

I'd love to see Thomas at defensive end on the football field.

142466 7 years, 9 months ago

Re KU coaches:

Ted Owens fired. Many, including myself, thought the program was on the precipice.

Larry Brown? Risky replacement. Within 2 years, obvious we have upgraded.

Roy Williams? Unknown, untested. Not our first choice. Now where are we heading? Within 2 years, I breathe a sigh of relief. This guy is better than Brown, without some of the potentially embarrassing baggage.

Bill Self?---no need for a question mark. Never was any need to doubt this choice. Replace it with an exclamation mark. I had been following Self's career with increasing admiration. As early as two years before Roy left I was saying, "If Roy leaves, Self would be the absolute best replacement. KU's BB program is now held in such high esteem that I am confident that Self would seek and accept the job. I am, first and foremost, a Kansas BB fan. I'm not worried about who the coach is. We will get an outstanding coach and not miss a beat".

The last 25 years has been a GOLDEN ERA for KU BB. Even better than the era bestowed upon us by the legend to whom of our cathedral on Naismith Drive is named.

jaybate 7 years, 9 months ago

"Naadir at His Nadir/Nadiir Ascending/Simultaneously"

Nadiir is at his nadir.

Tharpe is in a warp circling an event horizon.

But have no fear, Nadiir.

There's somethin' happening' here.

What it is ain't exactly clear.

Its time we stop board rats

What's that sound

Everybody wonders

What's going down...

To be needed by Bill Self is a mixed blessing, when you are not quite ready. :-)

Naadir Tharpe is in for a rebuild.

After a try out on Broadway, he has been sent out to regional theater for some seasoning.

That regional theater is called the KU practice facility.

Naadir is like the good dancer that got a shot at hoofing it up under the bright lights, missed a couple steps, and is now down in a dimly lit dance studio working on the fundamentals out of the lime light.

But as all understudies soon learn, the call to come back out and try again eventually comes.

Tyshawn has faced the scope and is now probably already rehabbing. But even Steve Austin took awhile to rebuild. Tyshawn, if all goes well needs an understudy to fill his ballet Chucks for there to 5 weeks.

Yes, EJ can start at the point, but what we have here is an opportunity for an understudy to redeem himself and dance back into the spot light.

But there is also this surreal, ominous aspect to this opportunity, this ancienne Buffalo Springfield paranoia kind of aspects to it too.

There's a man with a whistle over there... Mostly sayin' I got to be ware...

Woody Cragg 7 years, 9 months ago

You old dawg JB...Jim Messina, Richy Furray, Stills, Young, check it out! I sort of envisioned we had similar tastes in some things JB but did you pick up on POCO when these guys split? Messina is as good on the strings as anyone I ever heard. Could play the Telecaster with four finger picks & a thumb pick-just awesome fast & tasty. And took it to another level all together with Kenny Loggins. Ahhhhh, those were the days, we thought they'd never end. That post just snatched & took me away. Thanks, nice to post amongst friends.

jaybate 7 years, 9 months ago

That would be Playing Time Officer Bill Self saying, "Run the stuff. Play within yourself. Feel the picks. Fight through picks. Turn and burn. Do these and you will be fine. I believe in you, but...no more displays of anti-Self Defense. No more I am ready to do it all now. Just run the stuff and don't cough it up. I will scheme the offense to hide your weaknesses, but I can't hide bad defensive footwork. I can't hide you routing your man the wrong way. The light finally went on in Kevin Young about defensive aggressiveness. I am giving you the amperage you need for your bulb to glow too. Go sick 'em."

Naadir, its very clear... His love is here to stay...

If you protect, feel the picks, fight through them, and turn and burn.

But if you don't...

Paranoia strikes deep, Into your heart it will creep It starts when you're always afraid Step outta line the man come and take you away...

But don't worry, Naadir.

Many understudies have required several trips back down to the dance studio before they get it.

You will get it .

You have the right stuff.

Don't get disoriented by the feeling of going up and coming down at the same time.

When you are new and Self needs you a bit before you're ready, that's how it feels some times.

But it sure would be good for this team, if the light went on right now. :-)

Its very clear.. Our love is here to stay...

Play through it all and know that you are a Jayhawk all the way.

Rock Chalk!

(Note to Coach Self: There! How was that for being supportive of our players?) :-)

Bville Hawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Could we PLEASE have a 500 character limit to posts, LJW?

Robert Murphy 7 years, 9 months ago

NO. Fast forward, scroll on down. No one is forcing you to read anything. Censorship is never a good thing. Some one sentence posts have the lest meaning.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 9 months ago

Isn't it interesting how the key player on this team has shifted.

First it was TT .. can't get by without the guy. Senior leader. Now, some think we can play fine without him. Others point out that his bad is more than the good. Others that his good is more than the bad. But the without a doubt, the "stud" factor isn't there yet.

Second it was TRob .. but now, we almost expect his numbers/contributions. It's our given.

Third it was EJ .. was going to light it up, show he could dominate. Now not so much. But we can win despite the up and down performances.

Now it seems our season's fate is hitched to Kevin Young. Is it? Maybe. Kevin Young is the X-Factor. The talent (maybe) that we weren't expecting. The numbers we weren't considering. The type of player that takes us from a #10 - 15 type team ... to a Final Four contender ... maybe.

Maybe so, maybe not.

But if it is true. That he can provide a consistent level high level play, that he can improve this season, this is truly a different team than took the floor against Kentucky.

But if it is not true, if the Ohio St. game was a mirage, then we are who we thought we'd be.

The KY watch begins Monday.

jaybate 7 years, 9 months ago

Way get it as clear as a glass of Evian in a Parisian girl's delicate finger tips right before she says, "Yes, let's do go down to Rochelle to get out of the heat."

Curtis Stutz 7 years, 9 months ago

Don't like the way the schedule shook out for KU, back to back games at Mizzou and Baylor along with the home games followed by tough games and one led into by a tough road game I think. KU has by far the advantage at Head Coach to get it done. Missouri has a lot of experience on the court. Baylor has a ton of athletes, long bigs, an experienced PG. Gonna be a heck of a race for the title. I'm just hoping KU can finish out the OOC strong and pull out a 13-5 conference record. Would make for a heck of a year, anything better than that is butter (to stick with food analogies). Even if KU drops a couple more and goes into the NCAAs with 10+ losses won't change that they are capable of making a deep run.

Chris Shaw 7 years, 9 months ago

I sure would like to know the 97 schools who are protesting against this? Unbelievable! It's about time "Student Athletes" starting get this stipend. $2000 isn't enough IMO, but at least it's a start.

I can't wait to hear all the naysayers about......................"Well, a scholarship is plenty for these athletes"! Give me a break!

dynamitehawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Tom Keegan! Why does Apple think kusports should be 'jus pets'?

Ethan Berger 7 years, 9 months ago

So I'm watching Zach Peters and Julius Randle.

Zach Peters is Marcus Morris mentally his sophomore year. Has good handles, smart player, good defender. Dude is a steal.

Randle. Holy crap. This guy is a must have. A freak of nature. Who can shoot by the way.

Alohahawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Peters didn't play AAU ball this summer and dropped from the radar. Trust HCBS's judgement. There may be a number of seniors who are better, Randle & Austin for example, but Peters, who was originally ranked much higher, is going to be the steal all the experts forgot about.

Danny, the Man, must be salivating just to work with all these incoming post recruits next year.

Ethan Berger 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree, I was really impressed. Smart, High motor, can shoot and dribble. Not a freak athlete but it will improve.

Alohahawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Opps, Randle is a junior - class of 2013. Peters is class of 2012.

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