Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Lack of depth costs Kansas carrot, stick


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 80-74 loss to Davidson on Dec. 19, 2011.

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KU vs. Davidson

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Davidson defeated Kansas, 80-74 on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

— If Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self sounded Monday night like a man who has been working without his two best friends this season, well, maybe that’s because he has had to make that adjustment.

A basketball coach’s two best friends are not his whistle and chalkboard. They aren’t his contract and fan club.

Any coach’s two best friends are his carrot and his penalty box. The carrot he holds is known as playing time, the penalty box a folding chair a few seats down the row. The carrot goes to those who apply the detail given to them in preparation for the opponent. The penalty box is where players who don’t follow the script go to watch the game.

Until Mario Chalmers hunkered down and learned how to play tough defense and until he kept the ball moving through the air instead of bouncing it off the floor and grinding the offense to a halt, he sat and watched the less talented, more experienced Jeff Hawkins hear the Allen Fieldhouse ovations that come with starting-lineup introductions.

Any relapses from an older Chalmers meant he had to watch Sherron Collins in his place.

It’s much tougher for Self to dangle a carrot or point to a seat on the bench when handcuffed by such a shallow roster.

In the wake of Monday’s 80-74 loss in the Sprint Center to Davidson in which KU needed to defend well for two halves and didn’t do so in the second, Self pinpointed how his team’s lack of depth hurts the most.

“To me, this is what I really think, and this could be coaching, this could be a lot of things, so I’m not putting the blame on the players,” Self said. “I’m not putting the blame on really anybody. But the reality of it is, depth is such a great thing. But depth isn’t great because of injuries, and depth isn’t great because of foul problems. Depth is great because when guys don’t play the way you want them to, they don’t have to play. That’s why depth is great. Everybody who says other things, no, that’s it.”

A year ago, if Thomas Robinson stayed nailed to the opposite block when his fellow post player got pump-faked into the air and driven around, Self could have found a seat for him and let him watch the Morris twins play together for a long while. Now, he can take him out, tell him why he was taken out, then have to put him back in there before the sweat even dries.

A year ago, if Tyshawn Taylor drove the baseline, leaped into the air, turned his head left and threw a pass into a sea of red jerseys, Self could send him to the corner and let him watch Elijah Johnson for a while.

Gold stars on the forehead and barstools in the corner with back to the rest of the classroom come at such a great risk with this team because of the huge talent drop-off.

“We just don’t have guys who can come in yet and us not skip a beat,” Self said.

Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor might have been those guys, but the NCAA declared them ineligible. Naadir Tharpe and Kevin Young could get there, but until that happens, if it does, it’s on the starters to realize that if they don’t play consistently tough defense and value every possession, such losses as Monday’s won’t come as much of a surprise anymore.


Micky Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

Seriously Tom, this proves, "they're not that good". Are you the one that graduated from Missouri?

After beating Ohio State, playing Duke down to the wire, this one proves it huh?

Sure, it was an upset, but do you really think they shot the ball well? They weren't shots that were defended well. They just didn't shoot well.

This doesn't prove anything.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

What was wrong with this article? I thought he was spot on.

kufaninmo 8 years, 2 months ago

I agree, the article was spot on...but I think the title (and the ensuing metaphor) is rather stupid though.

Maracas 8 years, 2 months ago

It's nice to have rose-colored glass but it was not an upset. Davidson was much, much better and had KU beat the entire game. That's not an upset. KU is not very good this year. Face reality.

John Randall 8 years, 2 months ago

Reality is a lot closer to what Coach (and the column) describe than we would prefer – still, this team can play well enough to be the team which beat #2, played #6 even into the last minute, and won against another ranked team ... they just can't dial it in.

Jayhawks 2011-12 are simply short one big and one guard who can make the starters earn playing time. When Wesley isn't lost and Teahan has his touch, they are good enough for relief work, but not able to carry the load for extended minutes. Young and Tharpe only fill the bill once in a while.

When all five starters are clicking at full energy, the best teams in he country will have trouble keeping up. When someone else is needed, we're lucky to survive.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

All throughout sports it happens time and time again. Beating a highly ranked team, no matter what sport you are in, almost guarantees a letdown (not necessarily a loss) in your next game. Evidently, we're not immune.

KU_Alumn_2000 8 years, 2 months ago

This article isn't bad. He quotes Coach throughout the article and stuck to the facts.

Im sure Conner Teahan is a great guy...but he is no Tyrel Reed or Brady Morningstar. Tharp may not be that much better...but he is quicker and has more athleticism. He has more upside...and he has 3 more years to play after this season. It's time to get serious about getting him more of Connor's minutes.

NebraskaJayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

That's very true if Conner can't stroke it when he's in the game. That's the only real contribution he can make because he isn't quick enough to guard anyboy on the perimeter. However, if he can shoot like he did at the beginning of the season, he deserves to play. You're right though, the upside of Tharpe is huge and I think he needs to see the court so he's ready for next year. Honestly, I could see TRob coming back for a senior season. He's kidding himself if he doesn't think he could improve his game a lot. He's horrible when he gets double teamed. Looks like a chicken with his head cut off. Obviously, he is a great player, but has much to learn still about the game itself.

kufaninmo 8 years, 2 months ago

Agreed, Teahan is really a one dimensional player in my opinion, and if he isn't hitting three's he probably shouldn't be out there. But the question remains if not him, whom? My vote would be Kevin Young, i feel like he should have played more down the stretch.

NebraskaJayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Young is another player in my opinion that needs to see the floor consistantly. He seems like when he's in the flow of the game he's dangerous. Very versitile. Would like to see him continue to get more PT. I think you could probably split time between Young & Tharpe because they are completely different players & different situations will call for different personel on the court throughout the season. I like Teahan, but he's got to light it up on the perimeter if he's going to play.

Dillon Davis 8 years, 2 months ago

Self also needs to acknowledge, which I think he has in other interviews, is depth is a problem that results from him not bringing in the talent by recruiting these last couple years. Maybe this year's class wouldn't look so bad if we had jamari and ben but still it was a make-shift group that had guys being added at the last minute to basically fill the team. Merv is not going to play, Young is a hard worker but is still really under-skilled. Naadir just needs time to grow and get better which comes through experience (cough put him in for Teahan cough). Then the other 3 from that class didn't qualify!

And last year it was great getting Selby, but it was just him and Royce, who ended up transferring. And then we add Justin Wesley a transfer from LAMAR and he is so bad it's embarrassing.

He's put together a good class coming in and 13' looks to be even bigger. Next year we should be a lot better even without Robinson. Teahan is more than replaceable and Naadir will be better than Taylor. So we'll have Elijah, Withey, Releford, Tharpe, Young, McLemore, Traylor, Ellis, White, and the rest to form a pretty damn good team. Then 13' could be special with Frankamp (Hinrich 2.0), Greene, and hopefully Lewis and Walker and maybe some others coming in to add to a loaded roster.

The future looks bright but Self has clearly whiffed these last couple years recruiting wise. Losing Tarc was the final nail on the head. This year will be tough for us but next year we'll be back

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

Disagree about Wesely w/whom I see flashes of real potential and Tharpe who i see nothing but you made many other observations that are hard to argue with.

Three straight recruiting classes with not much to show other than TRob. Yes..I know EJ came in with TRob but as a 5 Star recruit now in his Jr year, he's been a bust by most standards. From one of Self's best recruiting classes (2008) we still have Travis & Tyshawn but the most improved player from that class plays for UNLV.

The future does look bright. The incoming freshmen and w/the newly eligible players we have the 3rd foundation class that one brought home the NC and the 2nd should have.

I'm not going to mention the name of our Sr. PG and move on to the next subject.

NebraskaJayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

I actually agree. Although I had my doubts about Wesley, I think he's got a huge upside because of his athletic ability. He's just really green at this level, but hey....he's only a Soph.

hawkfan30 8 years, 2 months ago

really....the Twins were in Tyshawn's class and they are in the NBA nobody saw that coming their freshman year. They are clearly the most improved. This team is a product of losing both out bigs last year...and we got a late jump on recruiting because honestly no one expect Kieff to be as good as he was last year.

EJ is better than you think keep watching.

With semester break upon us I expect us to improve dramatically. We played a bad game it's not the end of the season and honestly I'd rather play it now instead of March.

Ben Simonett 8 years, 2 months ago

He has NOT put together a good class coming in..... yet.

Lucas and Adams are not upgrades over the talent currently on the roster.

Peters is an upgrade to the bench but should never see considerable playing time, at least for his first 2 years.

with all the holes in this teams roster, Ellis and White are not enough to fill them all. specially when you factor in losing T Rob.

Ethan Berger 8 years, 2 months ago

Watch Peters play friend, he is for real. He'll be a starter one day.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

bennybob "He has NOT put together a good class coming in..... yet."

Scout ranks our 2012 class as 14th best in nation..and I bet we get one more commit. A PG would be nice. Nothing personal but I'll take Scout's assessment over yours.

Also, I did say 'w/the newly eligible players' so Ellis, White and McLemore are 3 additions most teams would envy.

Peters, Traylor, Lucas and Adams will add the depth that this team lacks.

I did not include the 2 top 50 commitments..Frankamp & Brannen Greene in 2013. Scout has Brannen Greene at # 22, Rivals at # 35.

If we make it to the Sweet 16 w/this group of will be due to HCBS' coaching skills. But the future is looking very bright.

Hank Cross 8 years, 2 months ago

Self's doghouse is one of the reasons this team is in the shape that it is in now. Self played his pets Brady and Tyrel all the time and pulled EJ and Travis for the slightest mistake. As a result, they're about sophmores in terms of development. All because Self would hyperventilate at the possibility of a regular season loss.

For those who continue to sing the Hossanahs of Brady and Tyel, next time you're in AFH, please try to find the FF banners for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.

mojayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Are you REALLY criticizing Coach Self's coaching?

Jack Wilson 8 years, 2 months ago

So when we win, coach Self is a genius? And when we lose, it has nothing to do with coach Self?

Yea, there are many times I would criticize coach Self's coaching. The guy does make mistakes, you know. He is made of the same flesh and bones that you and I are made of. It is possible that he is not perfect.

kuproud96 8 years, 2 months ago

The problem is that the mistakes the the players make are the same year after year after year. We have trouble guarding the 3 and we play tight in the NCAA tournament (outside the 08 team which was the best defensive team we have had). I don't care that we lose games, it does concern me that its always for the same reasons. Even without depth i wish he would have yanked out all five starters early in the game, put in 5 bench players, and grabbed the starters attention and got them to focus on simple fundamentals, defend and pass the ball down low.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

Zone..this group of players not up to man - man.

Steve Reigle 8 years, 2 months ago

This one made me laugh out loud. All I can say is "don't quit your day job."

tical523 8 years, 2 months ago

I do see what you mean about his doghouse but I don't know if that is what is wrong this year, we don't have ANY players from 2010 recruiting class still on the team. But I do see that some players can do nothing to get put in and some can't stay out of the dreaded doghouse, so don't worry I didn't laugh out loud when I read your post. People need to realize that nobody, including coaches, is perfect; Boston papers and fans criticize Belichik from time to time too.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

I said yesterday that 2nd guessing HCBS was 'usually' a losing proposition.

BUT..if there was one thing I wish Self would have done differently, it would be to have played EJ over Morningstar despite the early miscues.

I think we would have been a better team come tournament time. I think EJ would be a much better player now.


Hard to argue with that. And why I'm a fan, not a HC.

KU_Alumn_2000 8 years, 2 months ago

Tyrel Reed - all time winningest Jayhawk. Take a look at his career stats. They guys was VERY solid. Most of all...he has a basketball IQ...and hardly EVER turned the ball over. Yeah we could use a guy like Tyrel right now.

142466 8 years, 2 months ago

Correct about Morningstar and Reed. They really weren't much better than this year's version, Teahan. Teahan's serious shortcomings are more quickly exposed because of this year's weaker overall talent.

Players the caliber of Reed, Morningstar, and Teahan can rarely, if ever, be a starter on a national title team. True 40 years ago, still true today. I don't care how much the poaching NBA has hurt the overall quality of NCAA BB.

EverRisingHawk 8 years, 2 months ago

I disagree. Look back to 88 - within your 40 year window of time. That team lost its share of regular season games, and they got hot at the right time. What's more, Danny Manning was the linchpin with a cast of role players who did their jobs (a la Teahan, Reed, Morningstar, etc.) It's possible to win big with a couple offensive burden bearers, AND with guys like Teahan who can spot up for consistent buckets.

actorman 8 years, 2 months ago

Good point, EverRising. Surely Jeff Gueldner and Chris Piper would be among those role-type players, and they were starters who contributed quite a bit to the title run.

rockchalkchalkin23 8 years, 2 months ago

+1000 oxcaljayhawk. Bluntly, but truthfully put.

amatxjayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

I very seldom agree with anything Keegan says. But this is one of the most sensible articles he has written. It proves the adage, "Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in awhile."

JakeBarnes 8 years, 2 months ago

Are you trying to tell us something with the use of the word hog to describe Keegan's luck?

amatxjayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Hog fits. But the real point is if you write enough stuff sooner or later on hits.

kusayzone 8 years, 2 months ago

This game smelled a lot like the VCU, Bradley, Northern Iowa,,,,blah blah blah.....I put this one on HCBS. He predicted that their 3 point shooting was due to catch fire, and had no game plan to prevent it. Davidson's big men were in foul trouble all night, and that is all they had, except for the layup drills in the first half. And Jordan Juneaman in the first half?

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

It's the one consistent that has carried over from the Roy Williams era... Inexplicable losses (often in the NCAA) to teams that should be no more than speed bumps. I'm sure it happens to all teams...its just that w/Kansas the memory is VERY slow to fade.

Jordan Juneaman? He's got to be better than Sharapova and Colonoscopy... Or whatever their names are from Davidson.

JayHawkFanToo 8 years, 2 months ago

"Sharapova and Colonoscopy..." Funny! Those are the exact same words I kept thinking during the game; great minds think alike...or need hearing aids.

John Randall 8 years, 2 months ago

All three were "partial qualifiers" per NCAA. No reason given but that they each attended more than two high schools. The difference with Anderson was not being able to afford a year without a scholarship, so he had to find a school not allergic to the "partial" label.

The conference has a long standing policy of not clearing "partial qualifiers", so the NCAA covered their own ass while picking a high profile example to get the attention of the recruits about consequences of playing fast and loose with the agent/runner/AAU/prep crowd.

I am sure that the school with the longest active streak of big dances suffering a one-year reduction of three scolarships without committing a single violation gave them the visibility they (NCAA) were after.

JakeBarnes 8 years, 2 months ago

If no one is to blame who is responsible for recruiting year in and year out?

tical523 8 years, 2 months ago

It's crazy that ALL of last years class is gone. Wooldridge and Selby.

142466 8 years, 2 months ago

Right. We all know who. The poaching NBA, though, does reak havoc on recruiting and prevents any school from building a veteran powerhouse team like we saw in the 1960's and 70's. All top programs, though, face the same increasing NBA pillage.

Right now, KU is outside the sphere of UK, NC, and Duke. We'll soon return to the inner circle and the NBA will temporarily decimate one of those other top programs.

jhox 8 years, 2 months ago

You don't develop talent sitting guys on the bench. Tharp looked good early in the season then quit getting PT. Withey didn't play much last night. He could have spelled Robinson more. Taylor and Robinson were clearly gassed at the end. Self needs to bite the bullet and get people more experience so they're ready for conference season. We also looked like a team who may have went through one of Selfs famous all out walk throughs, and had little left in the tank by game time.

Jay Stickler 8 years, 2 months ago

Out hustled by a team who came to play. Finals or not, Kansas was not ready to play. Another mid-major mishap by a Bill Self squad whose teams have always struggled against solid 3 point shooting schools.

I agree with everyone in regards to playing time for others. Since the VCU loss, Self seems to almost go into panic mode when things are tight or we are losing. Not sub-ing out players in situations where they are completely gassed and getting beat up and down the floor.

This year should be a good time for developing the bench for the future, especially when we are having a Self proclaimed down year

John Randall 8 years, 2 months ago

Consciously or not, Bill Self used last night's game to make the point that our starters this year have to be in condition to to the extra minutes a deeper team could have rested them.

I'm not convinced this is wiser than getting some experience for guys we will need THIS year, regardless of future years. I also think this game could have been won with fresher legs for the starters the last five minutes, even if there were a few more points to be made up.

JakeBarnes 8 years, 2 months ago

Anyone know why Withey didn't play more?

VaJay 8 years, 2 months ago

He wasn't recovering fast enough on the ball screens defensively & his man scored several times. He also only had one rebound & two points first half - not aggressive enough on O.

kuproud96 8 years, 2 months ago

+1 or we can just keep watching a bunch of TT's dribble into a jam, leave their feet and turn the ball over, that's been fun to watch!

Michael Luby 8 years, 2 months ago

This is a tough loss to swallow for sure. But to bash our head coach and call for his dismissal after our less than stellar season so far? Its just rediculous. Did you all forget how badly KU beat UNC and Memphis in 08? Its only been 3 years guys. This season we will see alot of what just happened. True fans will realize this and stick with them no matter what. There is a better than average chance our guys wont win the conference this year if they continue playing like they are. Shrug Oh well, Ive accepted it. Every single one of the nation's top programs ( UNC, DUKE, UK, UCLA, UCONN) every single one has gone through less than stellar seasons and rebounded in the next one in a major way. Didnt UNC and UK out right miss the NCAA tourney in '10? When was the last time KU has missed the big dance? If Im not mistaken, they have the record for consecutive appearances.
My point is, if youve missed it, KU will have "bad seasons" by our higher than normal standards but, they will always not be very far from turning it around the next season.

kuproud96 8 years, 2 months ago

He may not need to go but it would be nice to see him grow and not be the same every year. What is the average deferential between KU's tournament seed and the teams that sent us packing? Outside of 08, so 6 or 7 times we have been beaten by clear underdogs. Once every so often is a part of it, but this is a disturbing trend. We consistently play tight as a team in the NCAA and we get beat by the 3 pointer. Those are the consistent trends.

PhogAdvisory 8 years, 2 months ago

I'm not a math whiz, but I think the average differential would be something like a 6-seed difference.

In the years we've lost, we've had three games that I'd call clear "non-upsets." We lost to a higher seed twice, both times in the Elite Eight: 2004 (GTech) 2009 (MichSt) And in '07 we lost in the E8 to 2nd-seeded UCLA. Technically a lower-seeded team, but I don't think anyone would consider this an "upset," especially considering we were practically playing on UCLA's home court.

Those bring our average down a bit, thankfully. If you just look at our "big upset" years, the average differential is roundabout a 9-seed difference.

A fair comparison would be Duke's differential, since they went to the tournament the same number of years, won the same number of Natl Championships, had 1-seeds about the same number of times, and have about the same overall record (19-7 to our 18-7). Duke has a 4-seed differential. All of their losses were technically upsets, as they never lost to a higher-seeded team, but most of those were 4- or 5-seeds, which helps their average a lot.

So although record-wise we perform in the tournament pretty well, we do have an unfortunate tendency to get slapped by significantly lower-seeded teams.

John Randall 8 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for spelling 'differential' correctly and not making 'ridiculous' a euphemism for embarrassment. I was hunting all over for my spelling police badge!

leonard 8 years, 2 months ago

We were not beaten last night by a team with better players...we were beaten by a team stocked with intramural gym rats...and that's not a's a compliment to them.

We have enough talent, although not as much as we've been accustomed to lately. But defending our conference title ultimately will fall on the shoulders of 2 players...Taylor and Johnson.

TRob and his front court mates are good enough if the Taylor/Johnson combo decides to become the impact players many of us expected. Yeah, their shooting will be streaky but they have much more to disruptive, lockdown defense and breaking down defenders on our offensive end...with a lot more of that Davidson "gym rat" attitude.

I'm disappointed like most of us in last night's loss...but I'm not dismayed. This is going to be a fun season with its ups and downs but it's as clear to me as a bright Kansas morning that we'll go as far as Taylor and Johnson take us.

Michael Luby 8 years, 2 months ago

I do have to bash one thing I saw. To put it lightly, in the last 2 min of the game, there was a defensive break down where ALL 5 KU players were grouped together up at the top of the key and the ball got tossed to the left side for a WIDE OPEN 3 which pretty much iced the game. This team is not that good. That is a fact. BUT, I firmly believe they will get better, even if we have to wait until next year.

ironhead80 8 years, 2 months ago

This may seem like a slam against, Taylor and TRob, But it's not.Will have to wait until next eason because Taylor and TRob will not be here! and the way Elijah is playing like Taylor, He will have a hard time makeing the line up next season. IT IS WHAT IT IS !

Dyrk Dugan 8 years, 2 months ago

this loss, is one we'll have to get used to this year...because it could very well repeat.

it has nothing to do with the style of Davidson, or the motion offense, or mid's about our kids bringing it every night and following the game plan. and this team, with its lack of depth and talent, can't do it.

we had a huge advantage inside last night....but what did we do? chucked up 23 threes....(20 with the game on the line). we make nine threes vs. OSU, and we think we're, well, Davidson (they shot 33). I mean c'mon! if the discipline isn't there vs. Davidson, in Kansas City, at a sold out Sprint Center, where will it be? and 50 50 balls went their way big time, and we had no steals in the 2nd half.

i think we'll beat USC Thursday...and beat Howard and UND. but then the league? we'll be lucky to go 12-6...i say 11-7. We're just not that good...and we're relying on guys who aren't that good, or don't have the experience for it.

TRob must bring it every night...and he did last night...but if he goes down, we're done.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

I love the Hawks and am usually on the optimistic side but I worry that this could be a down year or even two for the Hawks. We don't look like contenders. At the end of this year, Robinson and Taylor will be gone. If I were to project a starting 5 for next season, it would look something like this.

Elijah Johnson: Has not been a good starting player Ben McLemore: Mystery... At least he will have a year of practice. Travis Releford: Defense Perry Ellis: Should be good but he will be a freshman. Jeff Withey: Playing good but not great.

With Tharp, White, Peters, Adams, Lucas, and Traylor all coming off the bench you would think that the depth will be better, but the starting 5 looks like 5 good players with nobody that stands out as great. We will be a top 25 team this year and next year, but I don't see us as contenders for another 2 years. I hope that next year can at least be the start of a new era of players, but I don't know if we will be a Final Four caliber team the next 2 years.

Ben Simonett 8 years, 2 months ago

theres still a chance Self signs some guys late to give that hypothetical roster the talent upgrade it needs.

but i agree with you, the team will be down for as long as it takes to move these past 2 recruiting class through(out of) the program.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

We have the 14th ranked class for 2012 and Traylor and Ben will be eligible. In 2013 we just landed Brannen Greene..Scouts #22 Rivals #35 SF and Frankamp coming in.

Look for the upswing to start as soon as next year. None of these player are one-and least not to the NBA. I'm sure there will be some transfers after this year.

2013 could be the year or 2014 could be very special if all the top players stick around till their Jr year...

And I'm sure I'm in the minority but I really think Wesley & Young will make huge contributions..if not this season but the next.

142466 8 years, 2 months ago

March, 2014 should be special for us. If nobody leaves for the NBA.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

On the positive side, it is pretty incredible to have a "down year" that keeps us in the Top 25, contending for another Big 12 Title, and watching a potential First Team All American. And to be honest, who knows what to expect with the tournament... U-Conn certainly wasn't the best team last year!

Cheers to being a fan of a team that defines any year we are not National Championship contenders as a down year! RCJH

Curtis Stutz 8 years, 2 months ago

+1 best teams don't necessarily make FF's or win championships

John Randall 8 years, 2 months ago

Right now, it looks to me as if staying in the top 25 may not be a realistic expectation this year - or even next. To do that, we'll have to keep the brain farts down to two or so every ten games, and I'm not confident our team is capable of that.

Last night, the mental flatulence wasn't all on the floor. Dealing with less depth than opponents have is something HCBS lacks experience at, and he has to get better PDQ. Managing playing time must be focused on finishing the game strong, not on teaching lessons to the starters about their mistakes.

ccarp 8 years, 2 months ago

This is the semester break wake up call at the sprint center. The guys need to play their role on offense and shut down their assignments on defense. Anyone remember UMass? That was a better KU team and honestly a worse game. We need to learn from this, but all the tools are there for a strong conference run and playing the dark horse in the tourney. FWIW, last night was the first look I've had of Jamri Traylor. We could have used that body to bang this year. Hope he hits the books this semester and is ready for next year.

Clarence Haynes 8 years, 2 months ago

Without the luxury of depth, the coaches have to make some adjustments in terms of how they play their bench players. I must also say that if I were a player, the manner which some of them are "called out" publicly by the coaches would have my mind in a swirl!On the other hand, all players have to play better within themselves and because they do not have the bench depth to fall back on, they must optimize every moment on both offense and defense when they are on the court.

4jhawks4ku 8 years, 2 months ago

Oh We got trouble, terrible, terrible trouble, right here in River City. Conner Teahan is a great guy but if he's not hitting he's not a starter for a top ten team. Releford decent D but no imagination on offense. Tyshawn another Jekyll and Hyde night. How do you beat the No 2 team in the nation one game and look foolish against the 83rd ranked team the very next game. Where was Kevin Young? I look for Coach to change a few things and shake things up. With only a few games before conference. lets get it together Hawks, all for one and one for all. And dont forget what losing feels like.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 2 months ago

Man, I'm disagreeing with a lot of people today including the journalists. I didn't like Gary Bedore's title in the other thread because it's basically saying that Davidson isn't a good team which is totally false.

Seriously, what did "Lack of Depth" have anything to do with this game or the games that matter the most...................elimination games in March and April.

IMHO, Bill Self should have treated this like an NCAA elimination game and experimented with some different strategies.

1) He had 8 days to plan for a Davidson squad

2) We as fans have been constantly reminded for the past week about Davidson 2008 and by default that has brought up Bucknell, Bradley, UNI, VCU, Southern Illinois, Nevada (Twice), Richmond, Massachusetts, St. Josephs, Oral Roberts, and now Davidson.

I mean, as much as we want to try and throw this on the backbunner almost 25 percent of Bill Self's losses at Kansas has been to Mid-Majors. That's a striking number!

I'm not saying that losing to Mid-Majors is a bad thing because every single one of those teams above was a really good team IMO. The problem I have is that it's the same story after KU loses to one of those squads................."They controlled tempo and we could never get into a rhythm". How about doing something so the other team gets out of rhythm?

Anyway, I got off tangent there. Back to the depth issues which I completely disagree with Self in his quotes as well as Keegan. Kansas has had the most depth in the country during the major part of Self's tenure. There has been a couple of seasons, including this one this year, where he was a little light.

With that said, what is the point of having "Depth" if you're not going to use it. If you go back and look at KU's final game of each season since 2004. How many guys have played in those elimination games?

2004-7 guys played 10 or more minutes (OT GT Loss)

2005-7 guys played 10 or more minutes and Giles got 7 minutes as the 8th guy (Bucknell Loss)

2006-7 guys played 10 or more minutes and Jackson got 7 minutes as the 8th guy (Bradley Loss)

2007-8 guys played 14 or more minutes (UCLA loss)

2008-7 guys played 21 or more minutes (National Championship) Aldrich got 4 minutes

2009- 7 guys played 14 or more minutes and starter Marcus Morris only played 14 minutes. (MSU loss)

2010- 7 guys played 19 or more minutes and Morningstar played 8 minutes (UNI Loss)

2011- 5 guys played 30 or more minutes, Selby got 15, T-Rob and EJ 6, and Mario Little 5 (VCU Loss).

I think this lack of depth talk is simply an excuse and I don't buy it at all. I mean, Bob Mckillop is using a player in KU"s own backyard from Olathe KS as a freshman for 27 minutes in beating the team he grew up watching.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 2 months ago

When push comes to shove and the game gets in a tight spot, Self tightens up and shortens his bench and it doesn't matter who's sitting on the bench. IMO, when the games matter the most come March and April you will see the same trends as above and 6 to 7 guys will be getting all the minutes, which makes having a deep bench the last two years worthless except those guys waited their turn and now their our main players.

I thought the purpose of having "Depth" was to utilize those guys to wear the other team down. The trend above shows the opposite is being done to Self and KU.

jaybate 8 years, 2 months ago

KU did not play badly.

It shot poorly: 26% trey, 58% FT.

It was a close game all the way on a bad shooting night.

KU would have blown them out on an average shooting night.

Kudos to Davidson for being tough, physical and capitalizing us on our off putting night.


PS: TT is an absolute man.

PPS: other positives were declining TOs and rising strips. Travis Releford is turning into a defensive assassin. He played great.

PPPS: time to show a little zone press and zone once or twice a game for some different looks. 1-3-1 is right for these guys.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 2 months ago

So..................if a team like Davidson (Many others like them) is tough and is doing to KU what more times than not KU does to other teams.....................why is KU settling for outside shots?

Poor shooting often means poor execusion on offense and "Settling" which I think is the easy way out!

I do agree with you on your PPPS because at some point you have to dictate tempo with a team like Davidson. You can't let a great shooting team gain confidence and that's exactly what KU allowed Davidson to do last night.

jaybate 8 years, 2 months ago

You have to be a lot better team to win shooting 26% from trey and 58% from FT. KU is not a lot better team than Davidson.

Look at the stats. We matched them on everything but shooting percentages. Davidson is schemed to beat a major on an off shooting night by a major. They all are. Davidson gets smoked on normal shooting nights.

You are really reaching here.

This not complicated.

Dust off Ockham' razor.

If KU were a mature team that really knew how to grind one, and play through adversity, they might have won, but they are not yet. And no one thought they were..yet.

And Davidson is a solid team that will make the tourney.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 2 months ago

The stats in the UNI and VCU games are way too eerily similar to this Davidson game to justify a poor shooting performance. It's turing into a trend and that is the uneasy part.

KU's 3 point attempts have drastically increased in all 3 of those losses and their shooting percentage has drastically decreased. There is definitely concern there because those tough nosed kids from Davidson, UNI, and VCU are pushing KU out of their comfort zone.

What is KU's response to that? Where is the counter attack? I've seen nothing to indicate that there is a counter attack. Self continues to think that his approach will win out. More times than not it does, but in these type of games..............his approach is not working. Let's just be glad that this wasn't an NCAA Tournament game.

Curtis Stutz 8 years, 2 months ago

Yes Jaybate, absolutely, let's see some pressure when slower teams are up on us, for the love of all things holy

AsadZ 8 years, 2 months ago

Bate, I have another opinion on one point. KU did play poorly especially on D constantly getting burned on screens, and there was one really bad play on Defensive transition. I am surprised that KU did not make good adjustmens in 2nd half. Self as good of a coach he is should take responsibility and learn from this experience going forward.

FreddyinLA 8 years, 2 months ago

Having a shot blocker like JW at the back end of a 2-3 zone would make perfect sense, therefore, we won’t do it.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

Did you watch when Davidson had the ball..other than Releford, it was one of the worst efforts I've seen on a HCBS team.

theend 8 years, 2 months ago

No. This was a bad game. Curious.......when you have a bad day at work and make a few you immediately think it's going to be a bad year?? No....of course you dont.......this is no different.

theend 8 years, 2 months ago

Jaybate has nailed it.......everyone needs to calm down. This was just a bad game and give Davidson credit....they are good. It's a shame that so many of you have these unrealistic expectations for KU. We can't be dominant every single season. Life doesn't work that way. Actually......we are long overdue for this. And really......I still think we will be a decent team even this year.

Chill out.

flyingfinn 8 years, 2 months ago

Totally agree....UNC, Duke, Kentucky, Indiana, to name a few have all had down NOT BAD years. KU is having a down NOT BAD year, Still believe this team will compete for the conference title and play well in the NCAA tourney.

Jay Stickler 8 years, 2 months ago

04' Tar Heals? Now look at em.

Keep rowing the boat and you'll be back at the top of the next wave in time.

Curtis Stutz 8 years, 2 months ago

The only problem is Charlotte took these guys by like 20+ Did our staff watch that game and see what they did in the second half to take over? This kind of puts us on the road to a 22-9 regular season I'd say, I had high hopes of maybe 24-7, but 22-9 would be solid Do I care if KU gets a 3 seed or a 6 seed, is the committee any good at seeding teams anyway? No to both, just want to see Self make adjustments on how to deal with less athletic teams, see guys getting after it on defense and making a few more nice plays on offense (especially Releford).

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

Long overdue? It's only been 11 games since the debacle at the Alamo. I do give Davidson credit..they played as a team and dominated.

I fully understand when a shooter has a slump, every player will go though this if they play long enough, including Jordan, Kobe, Reggie Miller..

What I don't understand is the complete breakdowns on defense. With all the finger pointing and lack of communication, Davidson shot open 3s after open 3s. If adjustments were made at halftime, I didn't notice them.

And w/our size advantage..what happened to the high - low offense that brought us a NC?

And Finn: Actually..all the above have had BAD Years. UK has had 3 different coaches during Self's tenure here at KU. Indiana has been AWFUL..just look at their conference play under Crean. 8-46

We all know what happened at UNC under Matt Doherty. Even Duke fell below .500 when Coach K had to sit out a season w/back problems. And Larry Brown didn't come here because Owens was doing such a great job.

But that is part of the game and to be expected. It's the prolonged periods that gets most coaches fired.

Self will get the defense fixed. I still think the Sweet 16 is a definite possibility... These guys need to work together and trust each other. Play like a team.

FreddyinLA 8 years, 2 months ago

Any reason KU didn’t recruit the 6’4” freshman shooting guard from Olathe KS who has a great stroke and made some plays in the first half which would indicate he understands how to play basketball?

Instead, we get three guys who went to three different high schools. One is already gone, who knows if the other two will ever play.

Davidson actually had another player from Kansas who made some key play down the stretch, something our guys didn’t do.

Jan Rolls 8 years, 2 months ago

This is the same old junk as last year. Morningstar was adequate but he surely wasn't a star or the savior. Now it's the same with tehan a guy that didn't play but now he is the new morningstar. Coach did the same last year he didn't play the big man and get him some experience and he still improved. How much better would he be if he got time. Why did he recruit top players and put them on the bench. I am sure they have more talent than tehan who can only do one thing - shoot threes. Same thing happened the year before when it came to crunch time in the tourny - lack of depth. He said it right don't blame the players maybe it's coaching. I alwys thought you put your best players on the floor and let them go.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

Except Morningstar was/is a better player than Conner.. But you can't help but appreciate his effort...

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

Keeg..I happen to enjoy your insights and articles. Will undoubtedly be called an alias or member of your family. But don't give a sh**.

You still got my address : )

master16 8 years, 2 months ago

it just comes down to the fact that overall as a team we're currently just not that good (potential and talent wise), compared to the previous seasons. our entire roster (excluding the guys who aren't playing i.e. mclemore and traylor) has probably 1 first round draft pick in Robinson, who is good enough to be top 10, even top 5. taylor and johnson are likely 2nd rounders, and withey too if he gets tougher for his senior year.

the last season that we were as unproven as we are now was 2008 - 2009. still had a decent year given the circumstances but still had some major bumps in the road (arizona, texas tech). it happens. lower your expectations, and everything will fall into place. we aren't great, but can still be very good if we limit turnovers and tighten up perimeter defense.

looks like HCBS is loading up for the 2013/2014/2015 seasons with the recruits that are coming in. it's only uphill from here.

jaybate 8 years, 2 months ago

"To kushaw and AsadZ"

Among the many citing some deep problems with the team are two folks I enjoy reading and tend to agree with most of the time.

So: I best address these first.

kushaw cites a trend of losses to mid majors evidencing an an underlying structural problem in Bill Self's approach against mid majors.

AsadZ notes bad defense going over picks.

Let me take AsadZ's valid observation first; that KU by the second half was failing to fight through the picks, turn and burn and stop these mid major ballers.

Yep, that was happening, especially in the second half.


Fatigue, I would say. They just finally got worn down fighting through what were increasingly body blocks, as the game wore on.

Why did Self let this happen?

Was it lack of depth?

In one sense, yes. Self could not in a close game afford to sub his less experienced players in the second half and that took its toll for sure. Another problem was the Withey could not chase the post effectively in this motion offense and so Self had to pull him for most of the game; that really curtailed his depth. And when he brought Kevin Young in, instead of getting Kevin Young of the Ohio State game, he got Kevin Young of the previous games--the Kevin Young that starts out with a defensive blow by because he positions his feet in a way that he cannot slide to stop the blow by. When KU has to play without Withey and Young, that leaves just two guys inside for a stretch run. The bigs got tired.

Now, outside, as hard as a motion offense is on a player like Withey, it is even worse for a guy like Naadir Tharpe. Tharpe just had no chance at all, so that meant TT had to play big minutes. Maybe I'm a softie, but playing a guy 33 minutes a week after knee surgery is apt to result in a tired TT. it did.

EJ is still a little thin to deliver a blow and make people fear setting picks on him. EJ struggled.

But the truth about this is that in a late season, must have win, or in a Madness game, Self will not have them fighting through every pick every time, as he did against Davidson. He will have them switching; this was one of Self's manhood tests he puts the teams through every year regarding m2m defense. You are not a manly m2m team until you have fought through picks in a motion offense for a full game.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 2 months ago

Can't agree..How many open threes did Davidson get in the first half? How many times did we let them drive into the line for layups?

I didn't see ANY halftime adjustments. Maybe playing some zone will allow some rest on D..if they get back on time.

Every time we made a move, we either had a bad possession or let them score w/open shots.

jaybate 8 years, 2 months ago

So: my conclusion here, AsadZ, is that while every thing you said was true, later in the season this team will be allowed to switch off part of the time and you will not see this problem.

Next, kushaw notes a trend in mid major losses in which KU shoots poorly from trey and from the FT line and eventually struggles defensively also.

He mentions NIU, VCU, and this Davidson game.

He is certainly right about the similarity among these games.

Each involved a mid major.

Each involved a mid major running a lot of motion and setting a lot of picks.

Each involved a mid major that played with great discipline.

And I would add that each involved a mid major in significantly better condition than KU.

Fatigue not only makes cowards of us all, it wrecks our trey shooting and rattles our concentration at the line.

Each game was an extremely tight game and a close loss.

Each game saw our trey gunners lose their legs and and their accuracy from trey.

Each game saw our players standing at the free throw lines bent over with hands on their thighs before shooting.

What we have here is a conditioning problem, kushaw.

Self's boot camp is mentally tough, because it is set up so that the weakest man has to be improved to save the whole team from running more. It builds esprit d' corp. It builds mental toughness.


It is not geared to take each player to optimal cardiovascular conditioning.

John Wooden only recruited players that could reach a level of conditioning that was superior to most other teams.

As a result, Wooden's teams simply wore down other teams by never tiring even a little in games.

Self's teams are not conditioned that way.

Shaka Smart's team was condition that way.

This Davidson team was absolutely tireless.

People in basketball have always underestimated the importance of peak cardiovascular conditioning.

jaybate 8 years, 2 months ago

Most coaches don't like to pursue peak cardio vascular conditioning, because it rules out to many recruits, to many guys with great guns, too many guys that can guard a post man mano a mano with bulk and strength.

Self is one of those coaches.

His system has room for all kinds of players with all kinds of abilities. Use of all these varied abilities means he can meet almost any match up situation one way or another.

But one.

His teams have troubles when they run into teams that are in peak condition, run motion offenses, and pick all game long.

His teams wear down in these games.

I have long argued that he sends his teams out against these mid majors at least than peak emotional pitch intentionally.

He rightly bets that his extra talent can find a way to win against these lesser teams, if they just keep fighting.

And it works most of the time.

No one is mentioning how often KU beats mid majors, which is a great majority of the time.

KU really only loses to these mid majors when they have superior conditioning, and KU's trey shooting plummets beneath 30%.

Every coaching philosophy and approach to the game has an achilles heel.

It maybe that this is the vulnerability of Self's system.

But I do think there is a way to get in better cardiovascular condition than KU gets in.

Last year after VCU, I called it XTReme Conditioning.

If KU had been in condition equal or superior to the three games we are discussing, KU almost certainly would have shot 5 percentage points better from trey and 5 percentage points better from the line.

In every case, that improvement, would almost surely have won KU all three games, even with Self sending them out flat, and even with the off night of shooting.

And that improved conditioning would also have chopped of 5 percentage points from the opponent's shooting, too.

Self is a stocky, muscular guy. He has more of a football player's body than a basketball players body. Those types of body morphology rarely can get in the kind of peak cardio vascular condition that Smart's VCU, or Wooden's UCLA teams were in.

Self was probably an exceptional athlete, but probably never in physical condition approaching what Smart and Wooden both insisted on from their players.

Self believes in athleticism and basketball skills and secondarily in peak conditioning.

Wooden was frank with each team each season.

"I can't promise you we will be the most talented team every game we play this season, but I can promise you we will be the best conditioned team every game we play this season," he is quoted as telling each team.

From what I have read, the conditioning never let up until the tournament.

But just as importantly, he recruited players with a great capacity for such conditioning.

Self may have to make a choice regarding this issue at some point.

Rock Chalk to both of you!

Chris Shaw 8 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, I hear what you're saying Jaybate and to some degre I agree with you and you may very well be right that conditioning is the issue at hand.

However, go back and watch all of those games and it's amazing how strikingly similar they have all turned out game wise as well as stat wise. There is definitely a trend.

What bothers me is that in year's past KU has had Xtreme "Depth" as you would say and in one of my other posts I showed that KU has virtually used a 6 and 7 man roster when crunch time occurs in the Big Dance in March and April. What's the point of having a deep bench if you're never going to utilize when you're a #1 seed for all the marbles?

With that said, this 2011-2012 team more times than not should probably lose to a team like Davidson because of their serious lack of depth. The only other squad that I'm okay with a loss was the 2006 loss to Bradley. That team was inexperienced and also lacked depth.

My point is that regardless of who's on the roster like a stacked 2010 and 2011 squads or a very limited squad like this 2012 squad the consistency of these losses is way too familar. It's almost a copycat performance regardless of the personnel and that's the issue I have.

jaybate 8 years, 2 months ago


It is important be specific about the kind of trend we are talking about, if in fact it is right to a call it a trend rather than some bias in the error factor.

It is a one game a year trend out of 35-40 games in which a KU team loses to a mid major by an average of 4-5 points in 3 games.

Would I trade Self's ring and 84% W&L statement over 8 years to win these three mid major games and have a 75% W&L and probably still only one ring?


The bottom line is mid major coaches are gambling just as Self is.

Self is betting they can't beat him most of the time and he will have a major effort left for the big time opponents.

The mid major coaches are betting that they will catch him on an off shooting night.

Most of the time Self wins.

Sometimes they win.

For them it is a big highlight of their careers.

For him it is price he has to pay to maximize his odds of getting a shot not at playing in the Final Four, but of winning it all.

KU hired Self, because he was a gambler who would bet the farm on trying to win it all, instead of playing it close to the vest to always go as far as his talent would let him.

Kansas had tired of Roy's style of playing it close to the vest for 15 years and watching super teams burn out in the Final Four.

Kansas wanted a gambler who would play for all the marbles.

Self got us one ring without having the best talent in the tournament...2008.

He has crapped out gambling three times sending teams out flat in the tournament that I can recall in hopes of saving their best performance for later.

Kansas wanted a gambler.

Kansas got one.

Ya want the rings with Self.

Ya gotta take some of these kinds of losses.

Mike Barnhart 8 years, 2 months ago

Believe it or not, Kansas hasn't lost more than 5 games in the Bill Self era when scoring at least 70 points in regulation.

He'll fix the defense!!!

wildjayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

Self has got to recruit better than he has the last 3-4 years, because he stinks on recruiting.

jaybate 8 years, 2 months ago


Do you dream of being Frank Martin's love doll?

Have you been marked and mounted by a Wildcat in heat?

Do you sometimes think of changing your alias to "SodomyCat"?

Get thee back to the experimental barn and let a steroid drenched bull with glass side have his way with your nether regions.

Beate Williams 8 years, 2 months ago

Jaybate, as usual you have demonstrated a great deal of insight regarding this current group of players, past group and coaches. People seem to forget that every coach has a philosophy to winning and I believe HCBS' statistics demonstrate that his philosophy is pretty damn good.

Concerning the statistics regarding how many players played how many minutes over the past 7-8 years does not take into account the fact that a few players probably received 4, 5, 6 or so minutes which was probably enough time to spell one of the starters particularly when you consider all of the timeouts you have during the dance. Self has attempted to utilize 8-9 players at times but it seems that every time he does so, the weaknesses of the bench players becomes very obvious. Many posts refer back to Tharpe needing more time; I would agree he needs more time but if you closely observe him when he is out there its like he is in fact a deer in headlights, whether on offense or defense but especially on defense. I could see him losing his man every time they go on defense and as a result being totally useless on offense as a result of thinking about the mistakes he has made on defense. In a close game, where you need to build some type of toughness with your starters, it would be ridiculous to leave an inept player on the floor, IMHO.

People are even complaining that Self is telling the press that the team is not very good, they don't do this and that and as a result makes the team members feel bad and he should not do that. I find it so difficult to comprehend this mentality. These are athletes that have been recruited to a major D-1 basketball program and undoubtedly have heard criticisms before but definitely should be able to take it when they are shown when watching film exactly what the coach is talking about. It's not like he says these things and then goes off somewhere to sulk, but in fact shows them in film sessions exactly what it is they have done wrong and what they should have done.

The sky is not falling; this is a good team, maybe not as good as last year's team, but they will get better and will be prepared for a run at the B-12 championship and will have a good run in the dance. There is no doubt in my mind that most of the posts that are so critical come from individuals who have never participated in any sporting activity at the college level, have never coached anything more difficult than 7-8 year old girls soccer but curse at the players and the coaches when they make one mistake and definitely would do a better job than any of the players and the coaches. What a laugh!

I appreciate you Jaybate and a couple of others who are thoughtful with their comments, realistic about where the team is and appreciate what it takes to play and coach at this level.

Sam Constance 8 years, 2 months ago

My, my... what a difference a week makes.

With the reactions to this game, you would think the first nine games that KU played are completely irrelevant. You know, the nine games where KU's severely shallow team took on the 18th-hardest SOS in the entire country and came out with a 7-2 record, including a 2-2 record against the Pomeroy top 20, or a 3-2 record against the Pomeroy top 50. Fun fact: KU's 18th-rated SOS is one of three teams in the top 50 with a SOS in the top 20: #10 Duke (with an SOS of 19th), #11 Kansas (with an SOS of 18th), and #48 Long Beach State (with an SOS of 2nd).

KU remains one of the most efficient offensive and defensive teams in the country, in spite of it being a "bad team" that is the result of "recruiting failures". KU has the 22nd most efficient offense in the entire country and the 13th most efficient defense in the entire country. Hardly a "bad team", even as bad as they looked at times last night.

Let's go over that again--KU has played one of the harder schedules in the country, has one of the better rated offenses and defenses and has a respectable record against the top 50.

While I can certainly appreciate the desire of KU fans to analyize and deconstruct the intricacies of this team and look for the items that need improvement, a good number of the comments here are just negativity rendered into text. It's like the critics of Self's recent recruiting "struggles" have been waiting in the wings for proof that Self is a terrible recruiter, and now we have a mid-major loss on which to pin the frustrations of those get their entertainment from watching the recruiting boards. I mean, the comments about not being able to stay in the top 25 or potentially missing the tournament are making me wonder if the KU fanbase needs to be on suicide watch.

Personally, I'm taking a different approach with this season--we've been really, really good for so long that it's almost refreshing to enjoy a season in which I'm fairly certain that we'll reach a minimum level of achievement (make the NCAA tournament, compete in the Big 12), and that anything beyond those levels is gravvy. I can't get too upset about losing to Davidson because these bumps happen in seasons where we are a National Championship contender. It's more understandable this year than in any years past, but KU fans' patience is near zero.

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