Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gary Bedore’s KU basketball notebook



KU coach Bill Self was asked if his six-man recruiting class might grow to seven on Monday during an appearance on 810 radio’s Border Patrol:

“I don’t want to say positively we’re done. We’re not actively pursuing anybody right now at all,” Self said. “Things happen in recruiting where things kind of fall your way. Brandon (Rush) fell to us in August. Certainly if we can get a player of that caliber, we wouldn’t shy off that. As of right now, that’s not the case.”

The father of former Vanderbilt player Andre Walker said Sunday that his son, a 6-8 forward, would visit KU this week.

“I really like our recruiting class,” Self said of guards Ben McLemore and Naadir Tharpe and forwards Braeden Anderson, Merv Lindsay, Jamari Traylor and Kevin Young. Young and Lindsay joined the team just this month.

“There was a lot of speculation the Daniels young man (DeAndre, UConn) would possibly be a Jayhawk. We worked on that for a long time. That didn’t work out, but it’s amazing how other things kind of fall this way because Kevin (former Loyola Marymount player) is a good player. He has a shot to make the Puerto Rican national team. Merv should be a high school senior (he’s 17). He’s a great student, already graduated. He was probably going to go to prep school (before exploding on AAU scene). Merv in our opinion is a top-30 player in the 2012 class. We got him a year early. He can really shoot it. He and Conner Teahan would be the two best shooters on our team.”

Self confessed: “To be quite honest, I was disappointed in our class up until about two weeks ago. Our class is really good. Jamari and Braeden ... those are good players, and Naadir is better than anybody knows, and Ben is as good a wing prospect or big guard prospect as there is in the country. I’m really excited about the class and think it will be a fun class to coach.”

Robinson shines at camp

KU junior Thomas Robinson drew rave reviews from for his play at last week’s Amar’e Stoudemire camp in Chicago.

“The Jayhawk flew down the court, challenged shots at the rim, finished inside rebounds and low-post moves with strength and athleticism, and threw down the indisputable dunk of the day — a cocked one-handed fast break alley-oop that caused plenty of stone-faced NBA scouts in attendance to cast each other knowingly excited glances,” wrote ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan.


AZHawk72 2 years, 9 months ago

With all the underlying disappointment over the rankings of this year's recruiting class...

...we should also feel sorry for these former three star recruits who, oftentimes, took an AAU coach many long distance calls and many more beggings to even get looked at:










It must have been difficult for this group to overcome the stigma, the burden, of being handcuffed wirh the self esteem issues of being a three star recruit. If one of them passes me in a stretch limo, I'll try to extend my condolences.


Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Best thing about all of it, is there are several "unknowns who could contribute" (Young, BMac, ?Traylor, Lindsay?...), so no one knows what they could do by Nov, Dec, March...

AND, there are several guys with a "chip" on their shoulder who felt the sting of VCU defeat...(Tyshawn, EJ, Releford, SirThomas). Nice mix of talent+experience+Div1 experience elsewhere+new talent+athleticism all the way across...


gchawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Synergy is a wonderful thing, I truly do believe that the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts" and with that, I am convinced that this team will pleasantly surprise a lot of Jayhawk fans.


Lance Hobson 2 years, 10 months ago

Is Robinson so good that he can get us to the Final 4? I figured this was a rebuilding year, but he is incredibly good and seems to be getting better. If someone gets hot shooting threes in March you never know.


William Blake 2 years, 10 months ago

Might need to add one more ingredient to the recipe to spice it up.

Anyone out there have a spare chip on their shoulder they can loan the team?

We need an antler to do something stupid to set us off... or a wildcat with a big mouth. Or how about Dickie V running his trap about us finishing last in the Big 12 this year?

We need someone to light the match!


William Blake 2 years, 10 months ago

A team full of tough, quality players and no prima donna players to disrupt things or create a class structure within the team....

I'm getting excited to see what this team can do!


Viggo3003 2 years, 10 months ago

REhawk the first two paragraphs of this are quite exquisite in my humble opinion and I couldn't agree more.


REHawk 2 years, 10 months ago

The essence of these posts is fan empowerment, the marvelous opportunity to share in rich discourse concerning a topic which is dear to most of us. Gotta hope that both incoming and experienced Jayhawk players recognize that our hearts are with the program, and that what might appear to be heavy criticism falls within the parameters of freethinking discourse, some of which bends to the extreme in terms of liberal/conservative predispositions. BIll Self is a master tactician. His efforts to attain the services of DeAndre Daniels did not come to fruition; so he moves to Plan 2, relying on an array of roll players, any one or four of whom might rise to the fulfillment of the tremendous upside available to big men working under D. Manning and the superior trainers on the KU staff. With Young, or even Walker, he is not locking up scholarships for more than a year or two. Jamari, Braeden and Merv will have a year or two to see if they develop into players who best fit Bill Self's system. If playing time appears to be limited for their futures, they might choose or be advised to go the way of Royce or the meantime, gaining experience and development in one of the supreme programs in the world of basketball. From what I have read about attitudes and excitement for the opportunity, it appears that all six recruits are charged up about Kansas basketball. By now, Bill Self will have a decent handle on any possible newcomers who might pop up on the summer horizon. If I were Andre Walker, and really cherished the chance to play my 4th season at KU, I would make every attempt to spend a few days in Lawrence, scrimmaging and playing summer ball with the Jayhawks.


kennethterry92 2 years, 10 months ago

I think the Bill Self and the coaching staff will do well with the new recruits


100 2 years, 10 months ago

Here's the bottom line:

  1. Can't wait for boot camp.

  2. Glad our guys are doing their summertime intense/purposeful player-run scrimmages, workouts & shoot arounds that tends to separate Kansas from the rest.

  3. This team is gonna be good.

  4. This team is more loaded than I think many of us understand. Besides TT & Trobb, who both could very easily go in the first round next year, we have really good guards in Releford, Elijah to name a couple. Don't forget Rush was a 6'6" guard, one of the primary keys to the 2008 season. Whose to say Self won't develop one of these 6'7" or 6'9" kids into a 3 guard? It may seem crazy, crazy, crazy, but sometimes crazy is what it takes. Can you imagine your 6'9" 3 guard (like Young) posting up on a 6'1" defender? Is it really a crazy idea if you score 2 points off of the play every time you run it?

Not saying anything like this will happen, but from what I understand many of these 6-7"-6'9" kids we're bringing in have good ball handling, passing & perimeter shooting skills. One (I believe Anderson) wants to extend his range but the others are pretty comfortable outside.

The point is with next year... I like that, if we really wanted to we could go with this long arm lineup:

  1. Withey 7'0"
  2. Robinson 6'10"
  3. Young 6'9"
  4. Walker 6'7"
  5. Tyshawn 6'4"

Average height: 6'8"

So here we are with the lineup above, looking a little bit like one of the 90's Tarkanian teams (Young & Walker are more skilled right now than nearly all of the 17 year old 6'9" blue chip players other programs are bragging about, & certainly more disciplined & mature). Probably this lineup won't happen, but heck why not if they're just gonna zone us anyway? Just put our 4 big boys in a posted up wide box & if the dribble penetration is open let Tyshawn rip through. Otherwise dish to a 6'9 kid at the elbow whose posted up on a 6'1" kid confused in his zone coverage. A little help comes from the defender's 6'10" friend who had Withey sealed, & hey look out!, it's now time to flip it over the top for the Lorenzo....

Nice punch Sir Charles, I mean Sir Withey, now get back on Defense you freight train you!!!!!!!!!!!

Basically a simplified version of Dean Smith's 4 corners, although the point here is to score. We. Have. Height. And Perimeter Skills.

Why not use it?

I think next year with some intelligent schemology, thanks to bringing in all of these 6'7-6'9" kids, Self will really be able to mess with just about any opposing coach's zone coverage.

Now, I'll get off this schemology soapbox, & though the summer will allow the starters to be revealed, I'll leave a more conservative list of probable starters (keeping in mind, it's about team, & starting really doesn't matter in the grand scheme, it's being a good teammate & doing all you can do that matters):

Probable starters:

  1. Withey (or Anderson)
  2. Trobb (or Young if Trobb starts @ the 5)
  3. Releford (or McLemore)
  4. Elijah
  5. Taylor

rockchalkforlife 2 years, 10 months ago

This is my first time posting, so forgive me if I'm not following the conversation well. After reading many posts about how this recruiting class is not great and a few players will leave after next year, my question is...what happens if these recruits play out of their minds and do so well we don't necessarily need a stellar 2012 recruiting class? I'm not a fan of the negativity towards these recruits. If they wanted to be here, we as fans should cherish that instead of being negative towards them. They wanted to be Jayhawks so we should be happy they're here and they want to be a part of the tradition, even if they're not the "ideal" recruits. But what is your definition of ideal? A talented player who uses KU as a stepping stone to the NBA? Or a player who wants to be a part of a tradition and will do whatever it takes to win a National Championship? We as fans do not know these recruits, but we act like we are the head coach and all we got was scrubs. Yes, they're not "highly ranked", but these kids wanted to be Jayhawks, so why can't we celebrate that?
We all must remember that Coach Self has been in this game for many years, and knows what he is doing. I have good faith he'll coach them the way he wants them to be. Sure, it's nice to get star players, which I do believe every team needs. But more importantly, a team needs TEAM players. I see this class as the class that will understand their roles and will buy into Coach Self's philosophy.
Coach Self will get great recruits next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. We have had luck in the past with all-types of recruits, from low-ranked to high-ranked. I hope these recruits will prove everyone wrong and they will become successful.
Remember this, hard-work beats talent every time, except when talent works. In college basketball, you see that all the time. UConn wasn't necessarily the most talented team in the NCAA field last year, but they won because of hard work. Duke wasn't the most talented team in the NCAA field in 2010, but they won because of hard work. We had back-to-back years of talented teams, but yet, we were out-worked by harder working (might I say less-talented) teams (UNI and VCU).
So I say as fans, we can debate and discuss, but let's enjoy and anticipate a great year in basketball! Rock Chalk!


FoCoCoHawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Footers working with DMan and Hudy are definitely wild cards.

Make 'em fold, Jeff.


Jim Stauffer 2 years, 10 months ago

Sounds more like two pairs than a full house to me.


ClydeTurnbuckle 2 years, 10 months ago

Why is self handcuffing himself for the 2012 recruiting class? If (when) Robinson goes we will have 4 schollys to give. Zach Peters gets one. Nino Jackson probably commits in the fall. Perry Ellis most likely takes one. And then it is impossible for us to land both Shabazz and Tarzkyski (or however it's spelled). Once we got Traylor and Anderson, why would we sign Kevin Young? No knock to the kid, but why do we need three young raw talents fighting over bench playing time? I just don't get it. I had high hopes for the 2012 class, but I guess Self isn't as optimistic.


Mel Clare 2 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, you are normally correct in all your posts....however............I as a WWII buff I must let you know that Chenault and the AVG Flying Tigers did not go up against the famed Zero's due to the fact that most were carrier aircraft or in the Phillipines and East Indies at this time. The JAAF fighter that they engaged was the Nakajima KI 27, code named "Nate". These were also excellent fighters, fast, manueverable and with skilled pilots. Chenaults tactics served them well againts this fighter and also against the Sally's and Ann's (light and medium bombers) that they faced.

Above all else.....................these brave men served this country and China well and deserve our praise and honor.



jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

My favorite example of this was waaaaay back in WWII, when Claire Chenault and his Flying Tigers were stuck going up against then state of the art Japanese Zeroes with obsolete P-40 Warhawks.

Without superior tactics, Chenault's Flying Tigers were doomed, because the Zeroes were faster and more nimble in horizontal dog fighting.

Chenault had only two advantages that I recall early on.

He often could read their code, when he could intercept it.

P-40s could climb a little higher and dive a little faster, because of their greater weight, the very thing that made them slower in horizontal fighting.

Chenault and his top pilots developed a tactic of climbing high and diving with the sun at their backs on unsuspecting Zeroes.

The tactic gave them an edge for awhile, until radar and new and better planes became available.

Or so the story goes.

Don't think for a second Self wouldn't rather have Deandre and about 3 other 4-5 stars coming into go with Ben Mac.

But with some good fortune, Self landed some lesser players that at least fill the slots and so put him position to develop strategy and tactics with a fighting chance to challenge for the league crown, maybe win it, and maybe get hot for another Elite Eight Ride.

When he has players with the experience and talent of TT, Elijah, TRob, and Travis, plus the possibility of Withey coming on, then getting the slots filled puts him in position with a fighting chance.

In an imperfect world, sometimes that is the best you can hope for. You don't get to hold all the aces all of the time, or even most of them all of the time.

But I think TT and TRob are going to be aces. And Elijah, Travis are likely to be Kings. And Withey could be a one-eyed Jack. This would make a full house with at least bandaid back-up at all slots.

Can a full house win the conference next year?


Can a full house go far in the Madness?

It depends on what turns up at the other Maybach programs.

Often a full house would not be good enough.

But sometimes, with the right injury distributions, and team's finding their optimal means of playing together, and with some players having career seasons, and the other Maybach programs having a fatal match-up flaw that gets exploited by someone, a full house can get hot and with some bluffing by a coach like Self that likes to play it close to the vest most times, so at big moments he can gamble everything and surprise a Maybach program, as he did Roy in '08, sometimes a full house can surprise everyone.

But I would still like for Bedore, or the online editors, to clear up your keen observation. :-)


jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago

Basically, if he has all the slots filled and two NBA draft choices, he figures, if the injury god's smile on him, he can dance and feint and mask his way to 25-27 wins in a season.

But .500 seasons can easily start happening, if he only has one draft choice, and unfilled slots, or he can fall to 20 wins even with two draft choices, if he doesn't fill all the slots.

Before he landed Kevin Young and Merv Anderson, Self felt losing out on Deandre really left him without enough good shooting, long and athletic depth on the perimeter and without enough depth inside either.

Young and Anderson appear to solve the loss of Deandre by committee, something Self is prone to do, even with 4 and 5 stars.

Neither Young, nor Anderson could fill the slots that Deandre could by himself.

But together they do fill the two slots--perimeter length that can defend and shoot--some height inside for back-up depth--that Deandre would have.

Neither seem as talented as Deandre, but Young brings experience and maturity Deandre did not. And Merv apparently in Self' hopeful mind seems a guy that brings a comparable shooting touch to Deandre for limited situations this season, and downstream seems a guy who can mature into something comparable to what Deandre could bring at the outset.

Is Self seeing the glass half full?

Yes. And he should and must.

It is the job of any leader caught in a tough situation to not just bend over.

There is no substitute for superior tools in the long run.

But in the short run, shrewd strategy and tactics can often fend off disaster and buy the time needed to get the superior tools in when they are realistically available.


jaybate 2 years, 10 months ago


You raise an interesting point about Self's remarks, as presented.

Perhaps Bedore's presentation of his comments unintentionally triggers the appearance of a disconnect you appropriately note.

Maybe Bedore, or the online editor, who's editing might also have contributed to the appearance of a disconnect, will clarify this issue.

Reading between the editing, my best guess is: considering that unexpected departures forced him into a difficult game of catch-up, he is pleased with the quality of the former group he signed, but felt it did not fill all the slots he thought needed filling for nest year's team to compete, especially another perimeter shooter and some players capable of letting him go tall on the perimeter and swinging between the 3 and 4 for depth at those positions.

My impression is Self thinks he has four impact starters in TT, Elijah, Travis, and Thomas, and maybe a fifth with Withey. Landing 4-5 star bigs was not feasible given the Morri's late departure decision. He did probably think he could snag two 4-5 stars on the perimeter, and he bet the farm on BenMac and Deandre. He signed BenMac, but crapped out on Deandre--the good shooter he wanted that could swing btetween 3 and 4. So he was probably pretty disappointed at that point, not because he lost Deandre, specifically, but because it then seemed improbable that he would be able to fill that slot with anyone else either.

Note: thread rats overrate how much coaches fall in love with individual recruits. Self recruits to fill slots. He wants the 4-5 star to fill the slot, but he has to fill the slot regardless. With all the slots filled, it is relatively easyfor a coach as skilled as Self to tailor shot and PT distribution to fit how many, or how few guns with MUA he actually has in those slots. He can get along with as few as two impact players (e.g., Sherron and Cole), if he has the slot filled, as he did in Cole's first starting season). He can overload one player with 15 FGA's per game, as he did with Simien and later Sherron, if he has all the slots filled.


martyks 2 years, 10 months ago

Having someone visit and pursuing someone seems to be different. If he comes our way, cool. If he's not interested, oh well. That makes sense to me.


Mark Lindrud 2 years, 10 months ago

I personally don't care about Walker coming in. I am sure he is a talent, but we have a few wing players that I would like to see get minutes and develop next year. Sometimes too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.


JayDocMD 2 years, 10 months ago

So why is Andre Walker visiting if we "aren't actively pursuing anyone right now at all?" Seems like the "at all" was an exclamation point on the end of that sentence.


Jack Wilson 2 years, 10 months ago

Self confessed: “To be quite honest, I was disappointed in our class up until about two weeks ago. Our class is really good. Jamari and Braeden ... those are good players, and Naadir is better than anybody knows, and Ben is as good a wing prospect or big guard prospect as there is in the country. I’m really excited about the class and think it will be a fun class to coach.”

On one hand, Self says he was disappointed with the recruiting class up until two weeks ago, and then states all of the positives about the only members of that class as of two weeks ago. So ...... getting Kevin Young and Merv Lindsay transformed this class from a disappointment to one that coach Self says he "really like(s)" and that is "really good"? I'm guessing he "really like(d)" the guys he had, but if we didn't get some more adds, he would have been disappointed in the composition of the class. Best explanation I can see.

Interesting info on Lindsay .. that Self thinks he'd be a top guy if he had gone to prep school. We'll see how that plays out, but that explains why Self jumped on him. Could be a redshirt candidate at some point, but maybe not this season if we need shooters .. which we do (unless he is way overmatched). And that may have been part of the thinking, too. We need a shooter.

I mentioned the other day that leaving a scholarship open heading into the fall is a good thing in case something falls in our laps. The only reason not to bring in the Vandy kid for one season. You never know what can happen .. like coach Self said, all of a sudden you have Brandon Rush.

On this class, we know it's a big question mark. But this is the kind of class that can get a coach charged up from a coaching perspective .. a significant challenge.

The keys to the season remain: 3 point shooting and Withey.


IrishDaddy 2 years, 10 months ago

More pure B.S - spin it BS, spin it..................


David Hodges 2 years, 10 months ago

He only has one year of eligibility and we have one scholly for this year as he would play immediately. That math equals us still having the scolly when we need it at the end of next year. So ultimately he would be beneficial with his 4 years of experience within d1 ball and having the scholly available to give to a 2012 recruit. Rock Chalk!


onlylookin2score 2 years, 10 months ago

Anyone know of any footage of the Stoudemire event flowin around in the information super cess pool? Also, i hope this Self speak is ominous. i would much rather have this scholly 2 give next year ..not some undersized...non thourougbred caliber power fwd... Ill be on my high horse if you need me.


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