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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Keegan

No DeAndre Daniels, no sweat

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Forgive me if I’m not ready to move back to Connecticut in order to cover the college basketball career of DeAndre Daniels.

Pardon me if I’m not devastated that the team I follow to Lubbock, home of the Buddy Holly Museum, and Waco, where the Dr. Pepper Museum ranks as the main attraction, won’t feature a one-and-done, high school mega superstar ranked among the top 10 prospects in the nation.

Defending national champion UConn landed Daniels. Good for UConn. Not necessarily so bad for Kansas, which surely would have had more talent with the 6-foot-8 sharp-shooter in the lineup, but just might be more interesting and easier to embrace without him.

Anybody else welcome a breather from watching a hyped freshman fall far short of ridiculous expectations?

Xavier Henry arrived at KU already built like an NBA guard, but to this day he looks better walking through an airport than trying to shoot his team to victory. McDonald’s All-American. OK. Ranked No. 8 in the nation. Really? Chosen 12th in the NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. Why?

Henry averaged 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in a strong freshman season for Kansas, but 10 years from now will anything he did endure in many memories?

Through no fault of his, the pleasant young man from Oklahoma City brought with him to Kansas some family baggage named C.J. Henry. He didn’t cost KU a scholarship because the New York Yankees paid his tuition. His on-court body language was bad enough to make bathroom walls blush.

C.J. did a better job of escaping Xavier’s shadow this past season, tying with Xavier Alexander as Southern Nazarene’s leading scorer with 403 points in 31 games (13.0 average). C.J., a bust at the plate with the Yankees after getting drafted by them in the first round, had 49 assists and 67 turnovers for Southern Nazarene, proving not all of his rust has been knocked off just yet.

If the postseason basketball banquet included a C.J. Henry Bad Body Language Award, freshman Josh Selby would have taken home the hardware. An NCAA suspension and later an injury combined to destroy Selby’s confidence, but didn’t keep him from bolting college after a year. McDonald’s All-American. OK. Ranked No. 1 in the nation. Really? Projected as a first-round pick. Why?

Selby’s been tearing it up in individual workouts, but thus far hasn’t proven he knows how to play with four teammates. The most startling statistic of the 2010-2011 Kansas basketball season: KU outscored VCU by 10 points when Selby sat and VCU outscored the Jayhawks by 20 points when Selby played.

The Kansas recruiting class, not as loaded as most of coach Bill Self’s, does have highly regarded Ben McLemore. Curiosity about his game will bring many to Late Night, but the really interesting stories will revolve around three returning players whose development could take huge leaps forward.

Self has no choice but to give significant minutes to juniors Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey. Should I be embarrassed that I find weighing in on their progress far more fulfilling work than participating in the over-hyping of another one-and-done wonder?

Comments

mikehawk 2 years, 10 months ago

We are making this too complicated. By far and away, in a precise system like Self's, most,if not all freshmen are going to struggle with ups and downs, regardless of talent. As fans we get high on the recruitment and signing of the top recruits, creating unrealistic expectations of their performances and their imagined success within our own minds. When they don't live up to the hype, we turn on them because they opt out after one year (I hate it but it is the current deal) and can still be drafted with huge amounts of guaranteed money based on potential. Most of us would do the same if in their shoes. If Xavier or Selby would have opted to come back for their soph seasons, they would have quickly become dominat players from a national perspective as a result of normal development that occurs between year one and year two, and so on.

On the other hand, guys who stay because they have to continue to develop don't get our hearts pounding in our chests. Because they aren't off the chart recruits, we underestimate what a group of seasoned players who know each other well, are hungry for their chance, and who listen closely to what a great coach tells them, can potentially achieve late in a season. Please see the recent success of more and more mid majors.

On another note, am I the only one who believes Withey would be well-served to develop a short to mid range jump shot that he can gradually expand over the next two years to the three point range? He seems to be more of a European type player who will never be a power player around the rim. We already have one of those, His name is T-Rob. A finesse 7 footer with a consistent short and mid range shot that is impossible to block can be lethal.

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Andrew Dunlap 2 years, 10 months ago

the great thing about KU is that it is among the elite programs in college basketball. We along with Duke and Carolina, are scandal free and we graduate our players. UConn, Kentucky, Memphis and other programs fall way short of their mission for a little temporary glory. the kid wasn't going to fit here. The UConn program is on the brink and it wouldn't suprise me that in the next year or so, They will undergo some kind of sanctions. Selby was a high risk pick for us, something we don't need on a regular basis. We will do as well with the current mix as we have in the past. with a 10 team conference, gone are the sparkling 2-3 loss seasons, but overall, we will be better in the tournament and will maintain our prominence as an elite program.

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IrishDaddy 2 years, 10 months ago

NO Sweat, No Final 4,

UCONN wins AGAIN !!!

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IrishDaddy 2 years, 10 months ago

NO Sweat, No Final 4,

UCONN wins AGAIN !!!

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jayhawkrob 2 years, 10 months ago

we should offer a scholarship to terrelle pryor i think he was a top 20 bball prospect coming outta high school

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kushaw 2 years, 10 months ago

I wasn't a CJ fan nor was I an Xavier fan, but I was a Selby fan regardless of his troubles and I still am a Selby fan going forward. I disagree with Tom from the article on his "Why?" of drafting Josh Selby.

IMO, Selby would have been a lottery pick last year in the draft and if I'm an NBA GM with a mid-late first round draft pick (Possibly NBA contender or Playoff team), I'm seriously considering Josh Selby to be a part of my franchise. The media portrays certain players differently. Irving was able to have 9 great games before his injury and his stock continued to climb even when he was injured.

Selby on the other hand was completely opposite of Irving all year. Didn't play, had a nice 5 game stretch and then got injured in the middle of the season. Selby's path was a little more complicated and I think some national media members because of Selby's association with "KU" wanted to paint him as possibly being a "Bust". In fact, I think there were a lot of pundits that were hoping he would become a "Bust".

With all of this said, Selby is healthy and I think he's proving his year in college was fluke. If it's me and I'm a GM of the Knicks..........I take him with the 17th pick. You surround Selby with other "Stars" and work him in and make him feel comfortable.

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Steve Gantz 2 years, 10 months ago

Wish I had time to read all of your comments. Good article Keegen. Looking forward to the next season and a 22nd (?) consecutive trip to the big dance. This team has a chance to play as the underdog (kind of) and that will make the season more exciting I think.
As for Daniels, wish him well, he's just a kid, an incredible amount of pressure on him from all parts of the country including Kansas. I'm glad my decisions weren't scrutinized by people at age 18!

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Mike Bratisax 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm a little disappointed..he would have helped us in a position we need but his indecision off the court may very well follow him on the court. Too bad DD. Good luck at UConn.

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ChicagoJHawk 2 years, 10 months ago

ralster,

Couldn't have said it better myself! Great article Keegan.

I can't stand all these people that think it's blasphemous to say anything negative about Selby or the Henry brothers. No, I'm not going to praise these guys no matter what just because they played for KU.

After all that drama in recruiting these guys, and the lack of production while at KU, tell me again why I'm supposed to be supportive of them??

Xavier's numbers are highly inflated and I'll tell you why. He started off the season getting lots of points against very subpar competition (Washburn, Emporia/whoever else we play at the beginning of the season). His production dropped big time and he had 0 points for several games when conference play came around. If it were any other player he would have been benched and his # of points per game would be far lower. Since the NBA is retarded and drafts on potential, Self still knew he might get drafted regardless. He then had to continue giving X 30-35 minutes a game so that other one and dones don't look at KU and think, "why go to KU if Self is just going to bench me too??"

X got to keep playing while Tyshawn and the Twins got benched regularly when they were more productive. By the way, that's another reason I hate the one and done rule, it breaks up team chemistry. Speaking of which, I've heard from very reliable sources on the slant that CJ is a cancer for team chemistry.

Regarding Selby, I can't really hate him too much, just more frustrated on how stupid the NBA is for thinking he's NBA ready. Guess what NBA, a lot of guys are freakishly athletic, it takes more than that to be a great basketball player, maybe they'll realize that one of these days and not draft on potential. Or just keep doing what you're doing and wonder why these lotter picks end up being a bust.

Anyway, that's my rant...again, great article Keegan!

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kushaw 2 years, 10 months ago

This always happens to me. I follow a recruit(s) for a long time and I miss their decision day. I knew UConn got in the game late, but Wow! With that said it makes sense to me. I was reading on the other forum from yesterday and some of the posts today not really understanding why Daniels chose UConn, but I understand completely why he chose the Huskies...........................PT and the fact he is going to play strictly the (3).

With Napier (1), Lamb (2), R. Smith (3/4), all Freshmen, and Oriaki (5) a sophomore.........Daniels is going to come in and start at the 3 for a very long, tall, and athletic UConn basketball team.

In terms of KU, I think the Jayhawks are going to be all-right. Yes, this squad is going to be "Thin" at some positions, but I say bring it on. KU hasn't utilized their bench when KU supposedly had "Depth" so let's see what guys like Releford, EJ, and Withey do when the spotlight and responsibility is on them. Truthfully, it's on them right now and I'm kind of glad all of this Daniels saga is over because the current squad for the most part knows the roster for next year. Get to work, boys, you have about 5 months to prepare for one of the hardest schedules KU has put together is quite sometime. I think that is enough motivation right there. Sure wouldn't want to get embarassed in Maui, against Kentucky, or Ohio State early in the season.

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andersonalex 2 years, 10 months ago

Oh, we don't get our way, so now he's nothing but a "one and done" kid to us that we don't care about. This is such BS.

Personally I don't look at the top 10 kids in a negative way just because they may have the opportunity to leave after a year. I look at them and see the kids that have worked the hardest up to this point. If that's something that the system rewards, then GOOD.

Keegan is dead wrong. Individuals who do the best early on are the ones we should be after, because they worked hard for it. Now I'm not saying we sit around and sulk because we LOST. I'm saying we stop making excuses after the fact that try to make it sound like we didn't.

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jgkojak 2 years, 10 months ago

The Selby stat is important - because Releford should have been playing - but Self did not allow Travis to develop or come back from injury in a way he could be contributing at the end of the year.

Releford plays instead of Selby = we win that game.

Likewise, Little doesn't redshirt, we probably win against UNI.

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panalytic 2 years, 10 months ago

I loved the premise of this article about it being great to take a break from the one and done players for a while and the possibility that we may be better off without them. I normally enjoy Keegan's articles too.

I completely disagree with the criticism of the Henry brothers. They didn't invent the recruiting system or the draft. The comments about Xavier's appearance in an airport and CJ's body language seem misplaced for describing college students and full of inaccurate assumptions. Criticizing Selby (a freshman) for his body language was particularly misguided. I think it is normally a slippery slope criticizing these young athletes, so the inaccuracies, or very subjective information at least, of this article seemed out of place.

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Jason Sinclair 2 years, 10 months ago

So, the only way to sign a decent player is if you have an open starting spot? Wow, I could do that.

Perhaps my expectations are unrealistic, but I think it's reasonable to expect to attract high level recruits* to Kansas with an expectation of MAYBE having to be a backup for a year (but also a chance that you will start as a freshman).

*note: I'm not talking about the truly elite recruits. The top 10-20 guys aren't going to go anywhere where they know that they have zero chance to start; but there are plenty of guys one notch below that level who will and do.

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ku_foaf 2 years, 10 months ago

Tom,

I agree that both the Henrys and Josh Selby won't be remembered much in 10 years, and their influence on KU basketball was minimal. However, didn't we all really know that they would probably only stay for a year? They did nothing wrong, unless you consider leaving wrong. I bear no ill will against them.

That is the way of the college basketball world these days. It doesn't really seem to change the recruiting, does it? Every school still wants the best players, even if it is expected they will stay for one year. The coach is the one who has to manage the players and keep the right attitudes. A different challenge that it used to be.

I do think the "1 year in college" rule is a joke. It is no real benefit to anyone that I can see. Maybe it gives the pro teams a chance to see players in a higher level or competition before drafting, but that is all.

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Steve Kubler 2 years, 10 months ago

From my point of view it is the expectations saddled onto the OAD's that stand behind most of the complaints I've seen aired here. Using Selby as an example he came in billed as gods gift to basketball. The media frenzy basically promised he would lead the team to the promised land. Oh wait, isn't he a freshman? do not most freshmen fall on their face at some point during the season? doesn't anyone remember that out of all the OAD's coming in over the years only a few have actually lead their team anywhere?

What I am getting at is that no matter how they perform most, if not all, can not live up to all of the expectations piled on them in one year. Sadly this isn't going to end as it sells too well and we all know money talks.

The next problem comes from us the fans. Even though we know coming in a player is OAD somehow there is an expectation that will change. Yes it does, occasionally just enough to get our hopes up. Then when they leave there is heartbreak, name calling, and finger pointing. Selby of course made this worse by bailing out of school early and blowing off the awards banquet. That part is on him but we knew that no matter what he planned on leaving. College is not for everyone no matter how special the experience is.

The only thing that can change this is possibly removing the one and done rule. I'd go for something along the lines of going fresh out of high school or waiting until the age of 21. The real fix for all the heartache and discontent is for us to adopt a realistic view of what a OAD is bringing to the table. (Yeah, like that is going to happen!)

For my part I'm going to work at thinking about all freshman as being the raw talent they are and try not to place the season's expectations on their shoulders. I will try even harder to not expect them to take the million dollar payoff to play professionally no matter their performance at KU.

Of course just like my annual resolution to cut back on donuts these goals will last about as long as it took to type this!

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Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Keegan falls into the "trap" of citing the scoring differential vs VCU when Selby was "in" or "out" of the lineup. Im so sick & tired of that clueless, non-provable line of ideological diarrhea. Look, didnt we lose the VCU game because of absolutely piss-poor FT% and dismal 3pt shooting? So with the game stopped and most of the team effs-it-up at the stripe, that is Selby's fault? And when your designated senior green-light shooters Brady+Reed go 1-for-10 from 3, stick a fork in us. How was Brady & Reed's shooting form have anything to do with Josh Selby????????? Blabbering your unprovable theory...

Selby had a bad, bad set of circumstances--all parties need to put last year behind them. He gets a nod of understanding from this KU alum, and I hope he somehow achieves/earns what he thinks he is worth. That's his business now. But dont make a dismal team failure vs. VCU about Josh Selby. Thats not fair to the facts, & thats my beef.

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IrishDaddy 2 years, 10 months ago

Now almost EVERYone is soooooooooooooo glad that DD didn't choose ku. Too F'ing FUNNY.

what a bunch of phoney BS-ers !!!! LMAO !

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jgkojak 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm glad he didn't pick us.

Self really needs to use the talent he drafts and not let it rot on the bench. Had he not had Selby, Releford would be tested, proven and ready to lead from the beginning next year. We woulda lost 2-3 more games in the reg. season, but we would likely have held our own with VCU, where poise and experience mattered more than raw talent.

So I'm excited watching a core of 5 solid starters - one from the KC area, play their 30 min. per game, and watch role players and freshmen like Teahann come in and give us the lift we need - that's what makes college ball exciting.

We'll lose 6-8 games next year, and probably be a 3 seed, but I'd take the possibility of this team as a well-oiled machine getting by a UNI or VCU.

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KU_Phogified 2 years, 10 months ago

Do any of you actually read what the man wrote? Sometimes the truth hurts. What is popular isn't always right, and what is right, isn't always popular.

X was a decent player and great kid. CJ as a total stiff. Package deal, oh well. None of this was the point in the first place.

NBA draft projection was the point. One and done, was the point. Selby was a tremendous disappointment when you contrast his overall contribution to KU up against what it takes to sign his ilk, and put up with all the unfair scrutiny, which by the way, still exists today.

You don't read one article about Coach Self limiting or ruining X, yet much of the basketball nation feels KU/Self unjustly treated Selby, which is a total farce.

I liked X and appreciate what he did for KU, but yeah, 10 years down the road nobody will recall him; he wasn't here long enough, and that was the point.

Finally, heck with DD, he's a total flake, over-rated as were X and Selby, and not worth all the hype, expectation, and narrow-minded, self-centered approaches one-and-dones bring to the table.

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HawkKlaw 2 years, 10 months ago

Yessss! Nothing against DD, but I am also glad he did not choose KU. He's got the "potential" to be a great college bball player, but then again, so did Selby. Besides, KU needs depth at the 4 & 5 spots, but DD appears to be more of a 3 spot type of player. We've got the 3 spot covered with guys like Releford and BMac. I know a lot of people on here will probably continue to dog on Coach Self for not getting a top 10 recruit, but this is one case where I'm glad that we didn't get the highly-ranked OAD. Three cheers for cohesive team play!

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 10 months ago

Was hoping for more than one sentence at the end looking forward to 2011-12, instead of virtually an entire article bashing 'Hawks that have moved on.

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bennybob 2 years, 10 months ago

To answer your question Keegan:

no, you should not be embarassed about being more interested in the development of guys you've already seen than the potential of a guy you haven't.

but don't you think you should at least be a little worried about the front court depth next year?

if you take a step back you'd have to agree this article is nothing more than a rationalization for why missing out on adding a top 10 player to a recruiting class that desperately needs it isn't as bad as it seems.

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WilburNether 2 years, 10 months ago

Questioning the worth of Henry and Selby? Oh, my, the fanbois here will be having heart attacks!

You know how those idiots react whenever someone suggests that maybe, just maybe, a KU jock is not all that they've hyped their idol up to be.

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joshar 2 years, 10 months ago

Well put Tom. Drama is what you should expect when you get these high profile players. They get smoke blown up their you know what throughout high school and they come in thinking they are on top of the world. It's not their fault, when you get all the websites and talk shows hyping up how great you are, of course they are going to think they are great. I don't mind KU getting the medium level recruits and developing them. That is where Self is best at. He gets the lower 5 star recruits and the upper 4 star recruits, the ones that aren't too hyped up and develops them. There are an occasional few years when they get a bunch of 5 star recruits like the year they got Rush, Chalmers, Wright, and Downs(Downs 4 star recruit). Then there are years when he gets the upper 4 star and lower 5 star like when he got Kaun, Jackson, and Robinson and the other time the Morris twins, Taylor, and Releford all were 4 star recruits other than Robinson and did well with these classes(2008 Championship with the 2004, 2005 classes). I'm not too worried about next year.

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Jason Sinclair 2 years, 10 months ago

That sounds good, drgnslayr, but don't kid yourself (or us) - what makes us "proud Jayhawk fans" is winning. What makes us "arrogant Jayhawk fans" is winning with seemingly 'good' kids who, themselves, turn into lifelong Jayhawks.

The first step, though, is winning and we aren't going to be doing enough of that in 2011/12.

Self's inability to secure commitmentes from his top targets - whether one-and-dones, or not - in the fall has finally caught up with us.

As somebody else said above (very well, I might add), it all hinges on Withey's development (and T-Rob's health). If Withey can play significant minutes effectively and T-Rob stays healthy, we will compete for the B12 Crown (nothing more). If those two things don't happen, we'll be fighting to be on the NCAA bubble.

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blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

I actually think these kids, their families and their posse's make far, far too much out of these decisions. There are many good basketball coaches spread out all over the country. There are dozens of good, top-tier schools, It's a proven fact that you can make it to the league from almost anywhere, just look at the finals: Lebron - high school, DWade - Marquette, Mario - KU, Dirk - Europe, Jason Kidd - Cal, and on and on. Bottom line: if you can play and if you are willing to get better, you will make it.

For KU, one-and-done does not work. Self is not Calipari. What works for one guy will not necessarily work for another. KU needs to focus more on players ranked in the 25-75 range. Guys with talent, good grades and a commitment to the college experience.

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REHawk 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm all for the guys who bleed crimson and blue, even if it takes 3 seasons for them to develop into major contributors. Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson, your time has come. Step up to the plate to show Bill Self that he has already recruited players who are capable of hitting his home runs. Prior to his injury we already saw what Travis Releford could add to a winning program. And Thomas...well, barring foul troubles or injury, the outer atmosphere awaits.

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Mike Barnhart 2 years, 10 months ago

Well put drgnslayr. I just hope Coach Self sees it the same way. I'd much rather see us put together a championship run every four or five years with classy true blue Jayhawks we can be proud of.

On the flip side, Coach Cal may someday manage to win a championship with his band of "hired guns" at Kentucky. But I'm sure it'll be a hollow victory for many Wildcat fans! Just ask the Ohio State football faithful.

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Clarence Haynes 2 years, 10 months ago

I personally wish the young man well and I hope that with this process, he might have learned something about making critical decisions in life. Decisions are not easy to make.

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William Blake 2 years, 10 months ago

Greed is a poison... a poison that takes people away from who they are..

With the taste of big-time success again in 2008, the hoopla didn't last long, and the Jayhawk Nation pressed ever-harder to add more to the hardware collection. Nothing wrong with that. Sports are competitive and we should stay hungry.

However...

At what point does it become more important to collect hardware than to hold to your values? How does this relate to the DD recruitment? Well... it was clear long ago that he wasn't a Jayhawk. Crimson and blue did not run through his veins. He had no business going to Kansas. And the fact that we sometimes want recruits that don't want us, points to how we let greed affect who we are: proud Jayhawks!

Take the test and let me know what you think. Which choice do you prefer?

  1. 3 National Championships over the next 10 years because we open the door to OADs who could care less about Kansas and only want to survive a year of college basketball to meet the NBA rules.

  2. 1 National Championship over the next 10 years achieved by less-known student-athletes who love being Jayhawks and will always proudly wear the Jayhawk logo.

I know we all like winning... but we have to remember what makes us proud Jayhawks in the first place, and it has absolutely nothing to do with OADs.

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Brianna Zaleski 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm confused (happens a lot I'll admit), but isn't the time after the national signing day off limits for recruiting? I was under the impression that recruits could not be contacted until like August or something. If so, how does UConn come in late and steal away DD if they are not tech suppossed to be talking to him? They were not even on his list of schools (publicly) before the signing day. Or am I way off base on this?

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phog1004 2 years, 10 months ago

Totally agree about DD, but i'm not about to go about making a point about bashing former Jayhawks to do it. Yep, Selby didn't do much for us this year....his fault Rival's ranked him #1 overall? nope. Am I glad that when Stern announces his name in the first round of the NBA draft he will get to say for the 3rd time, "The _ _ _ _ select _ _ _ _ _ from the UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS". Yep.

As for Henry....really? Bag on his brother all you want, and please bag on his dad, but don't blame his family problems in X. He was as much of a team player that year as anyone, and filled the EXACT need for that team. We needed a big 3 who could guard larger small forwards, and who could hit the consistant 3. He filled that roll. We didn't need a slasher, with Sherron and Tyshawn consitantly doing that already. The kid set the record for the most points in a freshman debut, was the first KU freshman to score 30 points in a game since Paul Pierce. Oh, and he averaged the exact same stats (almost identical) as a beloved BRush.

Rethink your Jayhawk bashing Keegan.

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IrishDaddy 2 years, 10 months ago

Calhoun hits another Grand Slam !!!!!!!!

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GabrielMichael 2 years, 10 months ago

Releford bleeds crimson and blue... he deserves this opportunity to shine... more than a one and done...

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IrishDaddy 2 years, 10 months ago

"Anybody else welcome a breather from watching a hyped freshman fall far short of ridiculous expectations?"

Josh Selby ring any Bells ?

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IrishDaddy 2 years, 10 months ago

SOUR GRAPES , LMAO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the kid wants to play for a CHAMPION, what's wrong with that ?

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Jonathan Allison 2 years, 10 months ago

The real baggage was not CJ Henry, but Carl Henry. Jayhawk alumnus, but very little loyalty.

He's the one who said CJ would be better than Sherron.

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jhox 2 years, 10 months ago

My only regret is that we should have walked away from Daniels publically, after he failed to announce a choice on signing day. We're Kansas, we needed to show the program was bigger than one individual recruit. Kentucky beat us in that regard. They walked away early when the kid jacked with them.

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nicka 2 years, 10 months ago

Keegan -

Where do you get off questioning xavier? Kid played with sherron collins and cole aldrich so his numbers were never going to be eye-popping. You will see xavier find a spot in the nba and have a solid career. Also, coach self originally recruited cj out of high school, so its not like he was strictly baggage. I'll agree that cj didnt turn out as hoped, but thats not xavier's fault. You sound just like all the posters on this board...maybe you should just compete with jaybate down here and let someone else cover the news.

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Steve Yeakel 2 years, 10 months ago

KU is good at team first basketball, and has not done well trying to blend in the self centered one and done guys. I think we are better off getting team guys signed in the fall, not having to go through the annual circus of late signings. Maybe hold open one spot for that, but no more.

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DRsmith 2 years, 10 months ago

Rationalize all you want, but unless the guys from last year step up big time it is going to be a long year. I do agree with Daniels not being worth the trouble however.

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JustinPersell 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't think that it will be smart to start Travis over Ben though from what I've seen from Ben and the team we will have I believe we would struggle to score buckets in the half court. We dont have anyone down low unless T-Rob can score often to leave Ben off the floor. Without the twins I believe our offense will struggle. The success of this team will depend alot on how quickly Ben and the Nadiir and Traylor buy into playing defense. If they buy into it we will be in the running four our 8th straight Big 12 Championship if not though it could be a rough year. Coach Self though always seems to get his players to buy in. When it is all over next year I believe we will be the top two teams in the Big 12 and a top 10 team.

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jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

This season Self is going to have to play classic, short-handed, hard scrabble Okie Ball.

This season the object is going to be figuring out how, once conference starts, to keep his best 7-8 players on the floor for as many minutes as earthly possible.

The season figures to shape up rather quickly, too.

Withey is going to get his shot early, but KU is going to take several losses early whether he plays well, or poorly, because of all the Maybach programs on the early schedule. His confidence, already shaky, is apt to take a big hit against the Maybachs.

The season is likely to look bleak early.

My best guess now is that Self will squeeze 15-20 mpg out of Withey max and that Jeff will not be dominant, but he will be just good enough to buy Self the first half time Self needs to shorten games down to 25 minute contests--a burst at the end of the first half to get close, or squirt ahead. Play the second half with everything you've got. Repeat.

To reiterate, with this level and depth of talent (and inexperience), Self's best strategy is to shorten games, i.e., play it slow, ugly and even, the first half, then finish fast and strong with five arguably very exceptional players:

1Tyshawn 2 Elijah 3 Ben Mac 4 Travis 5 TRob

Despite being short inside, all five guys are scorers and 4 are proven defenders.

Add Nadiir and Traylor for 3 minute breathers inside and outside the last half, maybe Withey, or Traylor, situationally for Travis, too, and this team could, if it played very smart, present some tough match-up problems for most teams for 25 minutes.

Self could get away with this line-up against most teams next season, because TRob could be such a dominant small big and Travis is such an exceptionally strong and bouncey athlete, and because Tyshawn, Elijah and Ben Mac could form an exceptional perimeter.

But there just doesn't seem to be enough depth to run, unless Self has Shaka Smart's XTReme Conditioning formula mastered.

If Withey were to blossom into a dominant 30-35 mpg big, a la Cole Aldrich, next season would play out much more traditionally, but again, running would mean your best players were on the floor less, and that seems unwise.

Either way, the humble pie of a sub-20 win season is just an injury away for this group.

Avoiding injuries is another reason to play it close to the vest.

This is certainly a team that could get hot for stretches. If it gets hot at the end of the season, it could be a very fun season.

Probably not, if not.

It sure would help this picture to land one more 3 or 4 star freshman, or transfer.

We could use a hat rabbit for Bill to whip out.

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jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

"Rose Colored Glasses Off: Gas Permeable Reality Contacts On"

If Self is through adding recruits, then it starts out this way:

First String:

1 Tyshawn Taylor--6'3" Sr., 4th yr starter 2 Elijah Johnson--6'4" Jr., proven backup starting 3 Travis Releford--6'5" Jr., little used backup starting 4 Thomas Robinson--6'7" Jr., proven backup starting 5 Jeff Withey--7'0" Jr., little used backup, untested

That is a very formidable starting five, if Withey can play 30 mpg.

Second String:

1 Nadiir Tharpe--6'0" Fr., mid ranked rookie 2 Conner Teahan--6'5" Jr., red shirt senior, unproven 3 BenMac--6'5" Fr., high ranked rookie 4 Jamari Traylor--6'7" Fr., mid ranked rookie 5 Braedon Anderson--6'8" Fr., low ranked rookie

Except for Ben Mac and Tharpe, that is probably a second string to keep off the floor as much as possible.

Third String:

1 Niko Roberts--5'11" Soph., walk on, unproven 2 Jordan Juenneman--6'3" Jr., walk on, unproven 3 Christian Garrett--6'3" Fr., walk on, unproven 4 Justin Wesley--6'8" Jr., walk on, unproven 5 Void

This third string cannot even field a full scout team.

The coming season's team is very hard to analyze, because of Withey.

With Withey capable of providing 30mpg in even a very narrowly defined, Sasha Kaun kind of role with only stick-back scoring, guarding the post, and shot blocking, then this becomes a very traditional 7 man team with Nadiir and Ben Mac backing up three perimeter positions and Traylor backing up Withey and TRob.

But Withey could easily wind up a 15 mpg max type, in which case Self is going to have become very strategic.

Either way, I have to revise my early view that this would likely be a running team.

The talent and skill and experience level falls off way too fast to play fast, despite the starters and subs having the physical abilities to run.

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RockChalkIowa2010 2 years, 10 months ago

glad the saga is over. now the guys can get in the gym and know exactly what their role is. excited to see us put it all together. a lot will depend on Withy's development (mostly physically as well). i think having cole on campus to help him will be an absolute godsend.

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KUsmoothies 2 years, 10 months ago

Loved this article. Hate what college bball is turning into, players like Danielle need to go to Europe.

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Hank Cross 2 years, 10 months ago

What was the point of going all-out to dump on the Henrys, especially CJ? He may have had a bad attitude, but that had nothing to do with KU's flameout against UNI. As for Selby, his game was handling the ball in the open court. In his year he was designated to be a 3 pt shooter in a half-court centered offense. Couple that with the suspension and the injury and it's no wonder he had the season he did.

As for DD, I'm glad that he's not coming. Dude is either a head case or was waiting for Mr. Green to arrive. When UK walks away from a talented player, you know the player has issues.

To me this is the first true post-2008 championship team. No more trying to re-kindle that magic with any holdovers (including redshirts) and hoping that a OAD will be a saviour. EJ, Travis and TRob have got a lot of heart and it ought to be a fun year.

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Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm with you on this one, Keegan. Seems like these players that have the stratospheric ratings never quite pan out, for whatever reason...

I'm more inclined to get excited about the Naadir's of the world, the kids who have enough skills to get there, and are willing to do the hard work that it takes to get the Hawks to the promised land. To be wearing that uniform on the floor of AFH, have 16,500 of your closest friends screaming their heads off for you, that has got to be adrenaline/goosebump city!!

Good luck with UConn, Deandre, but we'll be just fine without you. We have some guys name Travis, Thomas and Ben that will keep things going in the right direction, like for Big 12 championship # how many n a row now???

Rock Chalk, JAYHAWKS!!!

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siukufan1 2 years, 10 months ago

I am excited for Travis...he's proven that he is willing to do what is best for the team! Glad to see he gets his minutes.

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kugrampy 2 years, 10 months ago

Personally I am glad Daniels did not pick KU, he can take his drama and ego to the east coast where they are a dime a dozen.

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