Thursday, March 3, 2011

KU’s Elijah Johnson to start against Missouri

Tyshawn Taylor returns from suspension

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor knocks the ball away from Texas A&M forward Naji Hibbert during the first half on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor knocks the ball away from Texas A&M forward Naji Hibbert during the first half on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.



KU 2011 Senior Night speeches

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Kansas seniors Mario Little, Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed addressed the crowd after their last game at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters after the Jayhawks' 64-51 victory over Texas A&M; on March 2, 2011.

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Mario Little senior speech, pt. 1

Kansas senior Mario Little gave his senior speech after his last game at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self said there won’t be any changes in the starting lineup at the point-guard position for Saturday’s game at Missouri.

For the third time in the last four games, KU sophomore Elijah Johnson will start for the Jayhawks.

In Wednesday’s 64-51 victory over Texas A&M;, Johnson played 18 minutes, while junior guard Tyshawn Taylor returned from suspension to play 17 minutes.

“I thought Elijah played great down the stretch,” Self said. “I thought Tyshawn played really well in the first half. Really well. He’s our leading scorer and did some really good things.”

Taylor started the second half for KU, but Johnson played the most important minutes.

Johnson checked in at the 11:45 mark of the second half and didn’t sub out until the lead was secure with 59 seconds remaining.

“Don’t read into (Taylor not starting) too much. He’s going to play,” Self said. “We need him to play well, especially against a team like Missouri that’s got so much quickness and all that stuff, but I think Elijah, right now, really deserves the right to continue starting as long as he continues doing what he’s doing.”

Self was especially pleased with Johnson on the defensive end, calling him “terrific.”

KU senior Tyrel Reed noticed Johnson’s impact.

“He played great … changed the tempo, changed the whole outlook of the game,” Reed said. “I think he’s capable of doing that for us. Probably people weren’t looking at him as a defensive stopper, looking at him as just an athlete — an offensive (player). He’s really stepped up to the challenge and has done a good job.”

Johnson’s aggressive defense helped the Jayhawks to 11 steals — their most since the Baylor game on Jan. 17.

“We haven’t done a good job of (ball pressure), I don’t think, to this point in the year,” Reed said. “But we’ve really got to get out and guard and defend. He’s been giving us that extra edge. It’s important for us to have those types of things — ball pressure — it just takes so much pressure off our bigs. We can’t have (forwards) Markieff and Marcus (Morris) getting in foul trouble.”

Johnson finished with two points on 1-for-2 shooting with three assists, three turnovers, three rebounds, two steals and a block.

Taylor scored nine points on 3-for-6 shooting to go with three rebounds, three assists, two turnovers and steal.


HawkBBall 10 years, 10 months ago

I think our defense was vastly improved. Everyone was crashing through the screens. The lanes were cut off nicely by our guards.

I was most disappointed in the referees. Loubeau's screens were all moving. The foul called on Mario's breakaway was clearly a block. Our bigs were being hacked under the basket with no calls. Maybe that explains why T-Rob couldn't hit the bucket from point blank range.

I hope the poor shooting does not show at Columbia. Mizzery plays a little tighter defense than does A&M.

jaymar74 10 years, 10 months ago

MU plays a tighter defense than A&M? What?????????? When??????? Where???????? Mark Turgeon vs Mike Anderson?

John Randall 10 years, 10 months ago

MU does have an effective defense in Re-Name Arena, but I don't think "tight" is the way to describe it.

This late in the year, now with the same kind of depth at the point as everywhere else, I'm not worried about the helter-skelter approach disrupting our game plan.

Tending to business on Saturday, as the team did last night, also benefits us by helping K-state to 3-seed the following week, so we can see Sunflower Showdown III in the final rather than a semifinal in the Sprint Center.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

About Loubeau..this kid really impressed me. I guess you can blame the refs but he more than held his own against TRob and the twins for the most part. I think the refs let both teams to play physical and their calls were consistent. Keif is lucky not to be suspended w/another elbow throw.

leonard 10 years, 10 months ago

EJ has definitely earned his starting spurs. He's been more than adequate on the offensive side and superior on the defensive side.

Taylor? He proved that when he "gets it" he is a valuable asset. In the first half he got it. When guarding the ball he was aggressive and moved his feet. When his man passed the ball away he remained in an athletic crouch...keeping track of his man while ready to pounce puma-like with help defense.

Second half? Not so much. He was not aggressive with his on-ball defense and as soon as his man passed the ball he immediately stood straight up...stood flat-footed...and became a spectator...losing track of his man and offering little help. And that poor effort earned him a seat on the bench for the rest of the second half.

After sitting out 2 games and losing his starting job you'd think he'd get it...but unfortunately for him he doesn't...except for short stretches.

Fortunately for the Hawks, an aggressive and prowling Taylor for 15 minutes a night is way more valuable to the team than 25-30 minutes of lazy and unfocused effort.

I'm glad Taylor's back and I'm glad coach Self has shortened his leash...yep, addition by's all good for the Hawks.

James Miller 10 years, 10 months ago

Well stated. TT will be a factor in our tourney run. He definitely needed to be refocused and the Prophet is stepping up. We just need Shelby to become consistent and we will be set.

leonard 10 years, 10 months ago

Selby looks like a wild card to me for the rest of the season.

I have generally liked his effort but he doesn't appear to be very confident or comfortable right now. Effort on the defensive side of the ball is always good...but he hasn't figured out yet how to play D1 caliber defense.

Offensively his game hasn't matured much...finding out that his old high school moves to the bucket don't fool or impress many college guys. On the nights when his 3 point shooting touch returns (and it will)...look out...he'll provide a great lift.

yates33333 10 years, 10 months ago

What's hard to figure about Shelby is that he played better the first game he played in college and then began a slow but steady slide. In fact his first several games caused great hope that he could be the man at guard. What did they or did it do to him? Still think the pro-scouts are dazzled by his potential?

Jack Wilson 10 years, 10 months ago

The reality is that if EJ and TT play basically as they did last night, we can be an effective team. EJ did an excellent job of getting the ball to teammates in good spots, and we know he can shoot, though he didn't score much last night; TT was quick and generally in control, and made perhaps one of the best passes this season on the right wing to Kieff, over Kieff's shoulder.

Theutus 10 years, 10 months ago

TT did play great... My only worry is that it's one of those 1 off events where he finally got back and put all he had into it, then turns around and falls back into traditional Taylor mode (It's pretty much been his M.O.)....

I hope he maintains, because he did a great job last night. For the first time all season I saw him diving for a loose ball like he actually wanted it... EJ played as expected... He did great defensively, and he really did a good job of moving the ball offensively. He's still feeling out some things and has a few edges to smooth out (some entry passes could be better), but he's working through those issues and seems to improve with every game. His slashing etc will come, but I'm willing to bet he doesn't stretch those wings until next season when he has more leash.

Overall, I'd happily take the combo of those two performing like last night all through the tourny. Actually if it's not senior night, i'd imagine they both would have seen time on the court together, and if both of them are clicking.... Watch out.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 10 months ago

Honestly HEM..I think if Selby had become our starting PG from his first game on, this team would be even better. Just my opinion.

Theutus 10 years, 10 months ago

Same could be said regarding Elijah though... It's all a crap shoot, a gamble for a coach either way....

I think Selby will be great and increase his minutes just as soon as he gets settled mentally. I think he's still feeling out the college game, and still getting used to the fact that many holes close up a LOT quicker at this level than they did the last.

Hope he sticks around for next year, but i'm guessing he won't...

hawksfan08 10 years, 10 months ago

A good point guard does two things. Creates and controls tempo both offensively and defensively, creates for himself and others. Unfortunately for us, or maybe fortunately depending on your view point, we have two point guards who only do one of those things well. Elijah creates and controls tempo substantially better than Tyshawn. It was very apparent when we looked smooth those last 10 minutes. Tyshawn does a much better job of creating for himself and others which was very apparent in the first half when aTm's D was taking away a lot of what we wanted to do offensively.

Based on Self's comments, he's either still pissed at Tyshawn, or he values the tempo of Elijah more than the creativity (and turnovers) of Tyshawn. Being defensive minded the way Self is, I think that he likes the defensive tempo Elijah has been setting. He's more aggresive out front and it seems to translate to our other guards and down through the twins and trob. At some point in the tournament, against a good defensive team, or when the morris' aren't hitting, we will need TT's creativity. I just hope he can limit the turnovers and come through in those games. Elijah also seems to have a bad habit of getting trapped near the half court line, which will be something to watch very closely against Missouri.

When you have no great point guard, it sure is a nice luxury to have two who perform two separate needs well.

Woody Cragg 10 years, 10 months ago

Assertion on tempo/create is right on. At times TT looks like he has lead is his butt walking the ball up the floor wasting valuable set-up time but maybe is what HCBS wants, someone tell me? That said, we can win an ugly half court game. Teams that run up tempo style tend to get hosed tourney time with all the media timeouts. Personally I like EJ's style better but there are times when we need a slower pace. I do think EJ's playing under control and should get the nod. Defense is good also. TT seemed more locked in the flow than he has for some time, so the pine time served him well. Taylor makes me think of a shortstop that can go in the hole & make a TREMENDOUS play but can't come up with the one hit straight at him. Bill Buckner? IMO bring him off the bench. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

So, I was about to have a venting session until I came across this article. Quite honestly, when I was watching the game last night and I saw Taylor start the second half I didn't "Get it". I didn't understand how Self could say all those things about EJ at the beginning of the week and then back peddle on those statements and start Taylor the second half.

I will say this, that Self's mind games and rotation patterns do confuse me at times and sometimes I do feel that he's really not sure what to do with Selby, EJ, and Taylor at the moment. It's amazing how all three of these players have been in funk's all at different times during this season. Would be nice for them to get on the same page at the same time.

With all this said, I still find it odd that Self had to come out and make a statement that EJ is starting on Saturday against Mizzou when all he had to do was program it in both EJ and Taylor and start EJ the second half against A&M. I don't know, psychology is a big part of basketball and I do sometimes feel that Self teeters across that line a little too much with rotations. I mean, this is the time of year to get some continuity and some consistency so people truly understand their roles.

This was just an observation from last night and I'm glad this article was put out there. I'm glad Self came out with the quotes, but part of me thinks they were unnecessary to have to explain it. I just don't think he would have had explain himself if he just started EJ second half last night. What do you all think?

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

By the way, I thought EJ and Taylor both played great, but I'm just trying to understand the reasoning and the so called "Message" it sends not only to the players, but to the fans. The fans don't really matter, but it does matter to the players.

RockChalk26 10 years, 10 months ago

You are so right. I wonder what must be going through EJ's head leading up to Saturdays game. I think most of us agree that one of EJ's lack of confidence is one of his weaknesses. Self starting TT in the second half did not help in EJ's development toward running point.

I think Self might have realized he made a mistake about 4 minutes into the second half and that's why he made the statement that EJ would be starting Saturday. Now EJ has the rest of the week to prepare for the game as the starting point guard.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

Turd: I hear what you're saying. Right now, I'm just worried about the "Mental Games" Self is playing with Selby, EJ, and Taylor. Seems to be kind of late in the season to keep playing games. Figure out a rotation and go with it so people can gain some confidence.

I still have EJ issues with him running the point, but he's gained a lot of confidence over the last 4 games and I'm fine with that as long as Self sticks to that plan and backs up what he's been saying all week. I just felt like he's sending mixed messages at the moment. As a player, that can be frustrating.

Kind of like what Reed said in his speech. It took Reed a while to understand Self and where he was coming from, but somebody like Reed I understand. For somebody like EJ and Selby, who are younger, and also a big piece of this team, need have the accelerated psychology session figured out with these two. Stop the mind games and let them play. If they play bad I understand, but get a rotation down and go with it.

hawksquawk 10 years, 10 months ago

All Self wants to do is figure out how to give this team the best chance to win. Before Taylor entered in the first half, we were on pace to score something like 30 points, and I thought to myself, "Self, this is the kind of game that A&M can win." Taylor really gave our offense a boost, and I'm sure Self was getting more than a little nervous, too. Now you know that Self has repeatedly said starting lineups don't mean anything to him. I agree that we seem to make a much bigger deal about it than we should. Should we really make a big deal about who started the 2nd half? I think Self was just putting out the lineup that had had the most success scoring in the first half. Eventually, we became stagnant, and Taylor made a few mistakes. So Self goes to EJ, and we are finally able to separate comfortably.

Self isn't really the "mind games" type. I just think he has the burden of dealing with more than a dozen young psyches, some more fragile than others (without naming names). Also, you have to admit that last night was somewhat an anomaly with it being Senior Night.

texasdochawk 10 years, 10 months ago

right on the mark with your post. The more I watch Self's coaching the more I respect him for the genius he is. I used to think that he frequently failed to put the best players on the court but this is a more complex issue than simple athletic abiltiy. As you stated many of these athletes also have a fragile (put nicely) psyche that needs lots of work to keep together.

Consider this, every time this year that a player has been disciplined by coach Self for one reason or another, that player has always responded with big numbers.

I applaud Coach Self for keeping all the great talent, depth, and egos on the same page. This team continues to get better...and I will add that if the guard play continues to play good on ball defense (largely due to EJ's good play) this team will make it to the final four

DevilHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Self coaches to win at home. In this game it was far too close of a game at halftime - and really until crunchtime.

Self also coaches to win the conference.

HawkBBall 10 years, 10 months ago

From what I could tell, EJ played good defense, but was not contributing much in the last 12 minutes of the first half. TT cam in and contributed offensively with assists, shots and free throws. That may have been why TT started the second half. However, TT committed his second turnover at the 12 minute mark, and that got him a quick hook from the coach.

I think Coach Self was looking for the best mix to get some flow going to the offense.

FoCoCoHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't care if Withey starts at the point as long as we BEAT MIZZOU!

RockChalk26 10 years, 10 months ago

TT plays so much better when he comes off the bench. I hope this is the rotation for the up coming tournaments.

John Randall 10 years, 10 months ago

Quite a few are better suited as relievers than as starters. Some because they are good observers and find out what's coming when they get on the court, others for a variety of personality quirks.

Three years ago, a CompSci major with 3.8 gpa explained to his head coach about using rotations to improve team performance and confidence. And DJack starting, Sacha watching was better for both of them, but more important, better for the team.

nocaljayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

The play during the final eight minutes showed without a doubt that our best passing and ball-handling five are the twins, Brady, Tyrel, and EJ. I commented several times on the quality of the passes into the post to the twins by these three guards. This also happened to be the five who were in when aTM managed ten points in the final ten minutes.

Tyshawn did have a nice first half, his speed was evident.

nocaljayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Shaw, I agree, I thought starting Elijah in the second would be the choice, since he plays well in that role and TT had done admirably off the bench.

nocaljayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Leonard, I think that's TT's ADD showing itself again. On point one half, much less focused the next. That's the way it goes with ADD/ADHD.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm glad that EJ has gotten a chance to shine recently. He may not be as advanced as TT on the offensive end, but he is as good or better on defense. I'm glad HCBS has taken notice. Honestly, if KU is going to go deep in the tourney this year, we need both EJ and TT to play well...and we still need to improve our free throw shooting.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

Probably not a coincidance that EJ plays great on-the-ball pressure D, and Morningreed comes up with 8 steals. Makes me appreciate RRob all the more as well.

It is definitely a luxury that we have 2 that can produce and spur the other on to greater performances (See BYU's fall from 3).

hathead 10 years, 10 months ago

EJ definitely deserves the start (and more minutes) over Josh "Stonemason" Selby who I think made his first shot since the USC game last night.

NoPlaceLikeHome 10 years, 10 months ago

I have a feeling that you wont feel that he is a bust after March and April. I am guessing he will find his role and come up with a huge play when we need it.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 10 months ago

I think its too early to say that. He has had a disappointing season, but I think anyone can tell that he's got the potential to be one of the best players in college basketball. If he sticks around for next season, I bet he will be a huge part of the team.

RockChalk26 10 years, 10 months ago

Too early to say that? If he is truly a one and done player then 3/4 of his collegiate career is over. I hope NoPlaceLikeHome is right and Selby hits his stride in March and April.

NoPlaceLikeHome = Awesome Profile Pic :)

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 10 months ago

We tend to forget how many fewer games Josh has played than the rest of the team, not only because he's a freshman with so much to learn, but because of the suspension and the injury. It has been really tough for him. I always feel like he's trying too hard instead of just playing.

Justin Carlson 10 years, 10 months ago

EJ - very high ceiling will be incredible next year

TT - 40 - 60 guy 40% really good 60% really bad he will never improve his mental midget ways, but if he ever does wow! I just personally think he will always be a 40 - 60!

JS - I posted this about 2 weeks ago he is pouting, He was probably told by self 2nd leading scorer behind Marcus, running the offense or the primary starting 2 that had the green light. Now has been reduced to a 12 minute guy that is not enjoying team basketball on a 28 - 2 team! He may very well be a great next year but I say we may have another TT on our hands with him being very selfish and he is losing $ as we speak!

TR - Where is travis and what can he do to get on the floor? Or what has he done not to get on the floor?

HawkKlaw 10 years, 10 months ago

I was wondering that myself about Releford. I think he's just gotten lost in the massive amount of good guards that KU has on its roster. Between Reed, Morninstar, Selby, Little, EJ and TT, I don't think there are a lot of minutes to be had. Self usually likes to go with the 8 or 9 man rotation. I bet he'll get a lot of minutes next season.

John Randall 10 years, 10 months ago

What TR has done is to get injured right at the time he was becoming a very solid part of the rotation.

I feel sorry (for TR), but grateful (for KU), that the plethora of good backcourt players this year makes it so easy for the team to keep rolling along without what would be major problems on other teams.

PVJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

KU players:

Congratulations on a great season so far!

I would like to advance one little extra idea, if you please. While the denizens of mizzery u are already stewing in their own private hells by virtue of their enrollment there, the appalling proclivity they have to vulgarity and perversion demands our censure and justifies the application of punishment in the form of a "beat down" of such magnitude as to satisfy anyone's idea of what they so obviously deserve.

Besides, another win not only gives KU the last Big 12 Championship outright and looks much better in the history books, it avoids the inevitable speculation that a loss would generate as to the possible unsoundness of our aspirations for a national championship.

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Retroactively speaking, and in a superlative and objectively mannered dagnostic non-debatable colloquy: Well said.

Imagine the "antlers" are scratching their heads, looking at each other and saying, "wtf does that mean." The meaning of any word longer than four letters is beyond their comprehension..

Chris Shaw 10 years, 10 months ago

Selby thoughts 101:

Selby doesn't "Get It" at the moment and that's not a negative. He just doesn't understand where he needs to pick his spots when he it comes to the offense. His mantra coming out of high school was that he was a great pick and roll guy.

That is still the case, but he's floating out to the perimeter instead of staying tight on the screener and reading the defense. Sherron was a master of this and he was able to get into the lane anytime he wanted because 1) He had incredible handles 2) was great and getting into the lane 3) was able to make the pass if the defense played the roll well.

Selby let his instincts take over his first 5 games and now he's "thinking" way too much within the offensive structure. Nothing wrong with that, but it takes time to get that "Flow". I will say this, that Selby needs his "Showtime" back and needs the ball in his hands like Sherron. Right now, Selby is thinking way too much and in return is giving the ball up way to quick and not reading the "D" on that pick and roll by the big's. How many times did Sherron split the defense or simply come off it for a jump shot or get into the lane? Selby has the tools, he's just having a hard time with his "Timing" and his "Spots" at the moment. Nothing wrong with that, I just hope we don't lose him mentally because he is an integral part of this time.

jchawkfan 10 years, 10 months ago

I seen on zagsblog that J.P. Tokoto is going to commit somewhere tonight. I see we are on his list. Does anyone know anything on him?

hawksquawk 10 years, 10 months ago

He never visited us. From everything I've heard, we are just a resume booster.

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Agree.. Nothing to indicate he has much interest in KU. He started out as everyone's "have to have " guy, but has sort of fallen down the charts as of late. Would still be a good addition. Has good handles and can shoot decently. Good upside.

Recently visited North Carolina, and is from Wisconsin. Would imagine he chooses between the two. If it's NC, probably views himself as the second coming of Barnes.

John Sheehan 10 years, 10 months ago

EJ + TT = 11 Pts / 6 Assts. / 6 Rebs. / 3 Steals / 1 Block / 5 TO's...good stat line from that position (minus a few turnovers).

Optimist says - EJ's experience now will pay dividends in late March.

Optimist says - TT being humbled is best thing for his play.

Optimist says - Adversity builds champions

Pessimist says - We don't have leader at PG.

Optimist says - Reed, Morningstar and Twins are the leaders.

I'm an Optimist...Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

+1 Did you study Optimist class #103 during the '08 season, too?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

TOs have to be indexed for the kind of game played. 5 TOs in a street fight like the TAM game is really pretty terrific.

Alternatively, in a asymmetric, low intensity conflict against an opponent that does not guard hard, 5 TOs from a PG is scandalous.

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

The manner in which Bill Self has handled the late-season woes of TT would appear to be tactically brilliant. Essentially, he is attempting to save a very good player from crash and burn. Propping Tyshawn lends to this squad optimum chance for winning basketball. If the tough love continues to work (and we did see a much more focused and steady TT last night), fans and Tyshawn himself might someday look back upon the past two weeks as the essential turning point for April greatness...and the salvaging of a potential first round NBA prospect.

REHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Accompanying the tough love project, EJ earns experienced game minutes which cannot but help settle his efforts into championsip caliber Div. I play. He, too, is a super talent who has needed Self's steady guiding hand in order to develop and flourish. Josh, you might best stick around for another season. If you can keep your chin up, you are next!

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

"Lessons from TAM Game, PGs, XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite, and Archimedes"

(Author's note: for Yates, who still believes in telling the truth.)

~Probably one of Self's five best coaching jobs ever. A flipping work of bench art.

~Self Defense + >40% trifectation + positive Disruption stat = Who Needs Rebounding?

Of course, if KU had fallen significantly short of any of the terms left of the equal sign, and not rebounded, TAM would have walked out with a W. But Self felt his team's strengths and decided not to resist what Turg was dictating. And so KU won again.

If ever there were a game for a case study in 70-point-take-what-they-give-us, this TAM game was it.

Self is a genius. Self is a genius. Self is a genius.

Turg dictated a grind it out game. Self went with it.

Turg dictated no rebounding by bigs by hogtying and pushing them every rebound. Self tore the Twins a new one for letting it happen, but then Self just went with it and told them to step out and start shooting and let the perimeter guys rebound.

Turg turned it into a defensive contest. Self went with it and used superior pressure and superior stripping to generate an outrageous advantage in the Disruption Stat (strips to TOs).

KU 11:9 TAM 5:18

You can't do this on an off-shooting night and win. But Self the gambler bet the farm on his teams trey shooting combing back strong in the second half. It did. Put another W on the statement.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

~Self's handling of Elijah and Tyshawn was another stroke of genius.

As usual, non-geniuses were thinking either-or (either Elijah, or Tyshawn) and Self was thinking both. Genius finds no paradox in paradox, just another opportunity for getting better.

~It went like this:

Start Litttle and so man-up to a grand tradition, even when it is scarey to do so, because this was a must win game.

Leave Little in even though he was having an off shooting night, because the starting team jumped out to a 6-0 lead.

Leave Little in until the gap closes.

Bring EJ in, because he is the starter, and so should be the first guard off the bench.

EJ struggles, so exactly on cue, bring in Tyshawn, who is the new back-up PG.

TT plays well, so as per convention, leave him in till things go south, or he screws up. Niether happens, so milk Tyshawn for for as long as possible, so EJ comes in fresh as a daisy down the stretch in the second half.

Start TT the second half to reward him for playing so well on his first game back.

Tell the team to grind it out the first ten minutes.

Then bring in a totally fresh EJ and tell them to guard TAM into the cracks down the stretch.

EJ is a human bolt of lighteing. He realizes, no matter how much, or how little, TT plays, EJ starts and finishes, unless EJ starts throwing it cross court to no one again.

Result: two tremendously happy and talented point guards that can sustain an incredibly high level of defensive pressure for 40 minutes and eventually crack an opponent. Oh, and two tremendously happy and talented point guards that do it the minute they hit the floor, and don't need any gifts of PT. Oh, and a fabulous disruption statistic, because these two constantly fresh PGs can give sideline to sideline help defense that frees Tyrel and Brady to turn into stripping machines (four a piece, which was positively Chalmers/RResque).

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

~Oh, and all this was going on in the middle of the meat grinder that Turg foolishly dictated. Turg has some soul searching to do. He learned this dictation thing from Larry and Roy. He has to outgrow it.

Turg thought that if TAM did what Frank Martin had KSU do to KU, he could get a W. But the only reasons Martin could do what he did were:

a) KU was injury depleted; and b) KU shot poorly.

The rule of strategy is never do what the opponent wants you to do, unless it offers certain victory, and, it follows that opponents rarely consciously offer you certain victory.

Turg is caught up in the simplistic philosophy of picking an opponent's strength and trying to deny it to them.

Turg denied KU transition and rebounding and dared them to win with trinitizing.

But this is like putting a stick in front of an amoeba to stop it. It doesn't work, because the amoeba just alters itself around the stick and slides by.

Self's amoeba took what Turg left him: half court defense, disruption, and shooting. And Self's amoeba slid by. It beat Turg by reforming around those three parameters.

Amoeba 64 Stick 51

Any good team like Texas and KSU can beat Self Ball, when KU is so injury depleted and shooting so poorly that it cannot really compete normally. But that is like a given in an geometry proof. Even Self cannot pull a rabbit out of hat, when there is no rabbit in the hat.

The question Turg has to ask is why, when KU plays a decent, but not great game, TAM carries out Turg's strategy to perfection, as has occurred the last couple of years, why does Turg's team keep coming out on the bottom?

Turg's talent is less than Self's, but not sharply less some of the time. Yet independent of talent level, Turg keeps trying to grind and deny a single aspect of KU's game. And each time the result is the same: a close game KU wins by a few points or by ten down the stretch.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Turg has tried this strategy, no doubt, because it tends to work with other teams. TAM and Turg always have good records and always play good basketball. The TAM players don't beat themselves, because they are well coached, but the coach's grind and deny strategy may be beating them.

You cannot beat a Self Ball team, when it is having a good shooting game, by taking things away from it. Why? Because a Self Team just reforms around other parameters and keeps choking you off with defense and strips and keeps getting better at finding other ways to score on offense...and finally separates, or eeks out a win.

One way to beat Self Ball when Self's team is shooting even just okay is to play Self Ball.

I realized this when I recalled Russ Pennell's ASU team, Billy Gillispie's TAM teams, and Doc Sadler's NU teams. Pennell's and Sadler's teams were sharply out matched talent wise every time, and so they tended to lose to Self. But they almost always played KU better than their talent gave them a right to do. And if I recall correctly, Gillispie got a win.

Turg achieves just the opposite. He comes in with talent that has a chance to win, then plays close and loses. Again and again.

~When Self Ball meets Self Ball, that is, when amoeba meets amoeba, something really unusual happens. The two teams take the floor and refuse to dictate anything. The games unfold the same way. There are five minutes of feeling out, and a lot of standing around on offense, while each side explores match-ups to see if MUAs predicted by the scouting report actually exist operationally that day. Then there are five minutes where they try to play through the MUAs that work, again dictating nothing, just taking what the other team gives them. Then usually defensive compensation by Team A to stop a MUA of Team B, leads leads Team A into having to tip a bit out of neutral balance, say a little more on the defensive. Team B registers this as being given transition. Team B runs for a few minutes. Team B's running tips it out of neutral balance toward Team B's offensive end. Team A reads this as being given transition. Team A runs for a few minutes, even if it isn't a running team. Then the fast pace leads both teams to take what is given...slow pace. The game evolves into a slow paced game.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

And so it goes through out the game until the stretch, when both teams play through whatever has worked best during the preceding 30 minutes of play. This leads to both teams being optimized down the stretch based on actual game day performances, and on actual operational MUA, not based on season long statistics and scouting report expectations. The game is close. The team that executes the best down the stretch wins. Not overall talent, but effective talent based on that day of interplay and based on effective MUAs on that day tip the balance.

Playing Self Ball cannot guaranty a win. More often than not, the team with the most talent still wins. But it creates situations where a team with lesser talent can beat a team with greater talent.

Turg's approach--dictating and denying--plays directly into the hands of Self Ball philsophy. It can produce close games, but it can't win them, unless Self Ballers play exceptionally poorly.

But there is another even better way to beat a Self Ball team, or any other team for that matter.

As long as refs are not going to call fouls and are not going to eject players for cheap shots, constant fouling at all five positions, combined with cheap shots about every 3-5 minutes are the coins of the realm.

(Note: the item follows is a hypothesis about how Self may have solved the problem of rough play stemming from refs swallowing their whistles to keep games in broad cast windows. It is entirely speculation. I have no idea what Self actually does, or actually thinks, about the issue. If what I hypothesize were true, by definition, he would dare not admit to it. So in terms of the language used, I try to use "appears" to indicate the speculative nature of the hypothesis. If I goof and sometimes don't, then the reader is notified that I meant to do so.)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

~Self and KU appear almost certainly to be using XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite (the completely flagrant forearm to the face delivered lightly enough not to trigger injury and delivered incongruously independent of the play in which it occurs) to break up the concentration and rhythm of opponents and alter referee behavior.

Correct, or not, we can infer this by this time of the season, because a pattern appears to have emerged. When KU wants to turn up the defensive pressure, and increase strips, when Self wants to lower the level of violence and uncalled fouls, the first thing KU appears to do is deliver an XTReme Cheap Shot Lite. It looks just horrible on replay, but games are not won, or lost, on replay. Games are one, or lost, by ruining the offensive efficiency of an opponent.

Look at TAM before the patented Morris forearm to the forehead. TAM was not turning the ball over. TAM was protecting well and using a lot of rough play (going largely uncalled by the refs) to reduce sharply KU's typical offensive efficiency. It was working well.

Early in the season, Self and KU made the mistake of playing rough the way the opponent wanted them to play. It didn't work very well. Why?

KU has most advantage, when the refs are calling the game close. KU's often superior athleticism and skill, plus the take-what-they-give-us philosophy of Self Ball, hold greatest advantage, when the rules are most enforced. When Self and KU decided to play rough the way the opponent dictated, and the way the refs let them, KU was contributing to eroding its own greatest advantage. They were becoming complicit in spiraling the game downward into the worst kind of game they held least advantage in playing.

The Okie Baller Philsophy of taking what is given has limits. All philosophies have limits. Only fools adhere simple mindedly to a philosophy regardless of what circumstance occurs. If the opponent offers you hemlock, you don't take it.

On a horrible shooting night last season, UNI offered KU what amounted to hemlock--a push and shove mugging, which only the best shooting team could win. KU drank the hemlock and gambled that their shooting would eventually dial in. It didn't. This was what happened to KU against UNI.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Against TAM, their shooting did finally dial in. And they finally found out how to disrupt TAM (more about that later). KU won.

KU can win these grind it out games, when they are shooting well, but not if they are not.

But now back to finding a new way to win these grind it out street fights and the role of cheap shotting in winning them.

Sometime around December, the KU coaches apparently rethought the problem. Instead of getting as rough as the other team, or instead of delivering the well-masked cheap shot, and instead of wasting breath baiting refs that were swallowing their whistles to keep games in broadcast windows, Self and Company decided to have their players commit flagrant, XTReme Cheap Shot Lites that forced referees to call the games closer.

It was a stroke of genius. It simultaneously inflamed the opponent and provoked them to get even, while forcing the refs to call the game tighter to get it back in control,as the other team lost its cool.


Momentum disrupted.

And KU got to do what it did best: disrupt an opponent in a game at the moment when the refs are forced to start calling a few more fouls.

XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite appears not designed to hurt anyone, or to put the fear of god in anyone, the way Coach Consonants XTReme Cheap Shotting appears designed to do. It appears designed to shame the refs into calling more fouls, and to anger the opponent out of their momentum. And it works! So far. :-)

Still, apparently, Self had also to figure out how to handle the PR problem with refs and media that XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite would create. He apparently had to mask it. And he did.

Self at least appeared to play a charade in which, he shook his head and just could not believe that his wonderful young men could act so wrongly, even if they had been being mugged in a street fight. Do you see the nuanced elegance of this response? :-)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Self seemed to look put-upon and dutifully retired the player to the bench for a time, thus disciplining the impetuous young man, while incidentally also keeping him from being retaliated upon shortly.

Self seemed to talk about it all the time for awhile, or at least as often as any reporter cared to discuss it. This is his trade mark. Take what the reporters give you. Go with it. Craft a quote for them. When they get into things he really does not want discussed, the answer shrinks to "yes," or "no." He is thus training the reporters to ask lugubrious questions that give him time and room to craft a quote. In the weekly media conferences, the reporters seem to get this and serve him mostly what he wants. He wanted to talk about the cheap shotting and a specific way that appeared to serve an agenda.

(Note: Self also seems to understand that reporters have to ask a few probing questions that he does not like in order to satisfy their bosses and the reporter's own professional self image. Those questions appear to be met often with a simple yes, or no. The choice is clear: Bill Self will give you a nice quote for a story, or he will give you a yes, or no. Reporters that live on quotes, quickly grasp the dance.)

And always Self couched things in "this is just unacceptable behavior attributable to immaturity," which left the clear and lasting impression that what his players were doing was not the thug ball that other teams engaged in proudly and without apology. It was inexperience of youth.

If you are a referee, a decent sort that wants to call the game the right way, and who harbors a deeply suppressed guilt complex about swallowing his whistle for the TV Execs and NCAA, so that games will stay in their broadcast windows, which team over time are you apt to give more favorable treatment to?

The team with a coach that disciplines his young, immature players for what you quickly recognize are contrived XTReme Cheap Shot Lites that can't hurt a fly, or the big prison bodies and their coaches that are unapologetic about their thuggish XTReme Muscle Ball and XTReme Cheap Shotting?

Answer: the former, of course.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Self appears to have defined this problem accurately and solved it innovatively and brilliantly. Self created a face saving excuse (for the refs) to start calling fouls even during stretches dedicated to whistle swallowing. Self appears to have Kieff, or Marcus, or Brady, or whomever is caught up in the most violence, and has a back-up that can fill without much drop off, wait for a situation in which no referee can possibly miss the delivery of an XTReme Cheap Shot Lite, and then appears to have them deliver it incongruously, almost surrealistically.

If Salvador Dali were a basketball coach, his players cheap shots might look a great deal like KU's cheap shots.

Self appears careful not to call for it. Self appears to indicate subtlely to the players that sometime in the next 3-5 minutes in a situation in which there is no need whatsoever for a cheap shot, to deliver it as ridiculously and as harmlessly as possible. The KU cheap shots often occur right before a stretch of either half where an increase in foul calling would help KU most.

Doing these nearly surrealistic cheap shots maximizes the shock value of the XTReme Cheap Shot Lite without getting the player ejected by the ref, just "disciplined" by Self.

And then the ref, who has ignored Self's polite pleas from the sideline to clean up the game, has to start calling some fouls to get the game back "under control."

And the ref gets to tell his annoyed bosses afterwards that I know the game ran a little long, but, well, I didn't have any choice. Things were getting out of hand and someone was going to get hurt. And the annoyed bosses of the refs shrug and probably pass the word to the TV execs and the NCAA that it couldn't be helped. And life goes on with KU getting an edge.

And the next game, the refs are trained in what to expect from Self. He won't argue with them much. He won't tell his team to really get dirty. The refs just know that once the fouling gets out of hand, there will be an XTReme Cheap Shot Lite that gives the refs the face saving move of getting the game back under control.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

And, frankly, the refs, once they get the hang of what Self is doing for them, probably like it. Refs don't like arguing with coaches. They don't like street fights on the floor. But there is only so much a ref can do, when the unwritten rule is swallow the whistle to keep the game in the broadcast window.

If one could actually get inside a D1 ref, the truth would probably be this: I wish Self didn't have to do this, but its the best solution yet that anyone has come up with for restoring refs' rights to call the game appropriately.

Now, I don't mean to suggest that KU does an XTReme Cheap Shot Lite and the game reverts to the 1980s level of foul calling sanity. I mean to suggest it helps. KU gets a little better game environment for exploiting its athleticism and skill. It gets a little more edge in the Disruption Statistic. It still has to play well to win.

Self has walked through the looking glass on the problem of dealing with whistle swallowing. It is an extremely paradoxical response that works.

~Does being a genius ever get boring for him? Probably not. He's apparently always been this way and so doesn't know how to be anything different. The guy seems perpetually amped even in his weekly press conferences. He listens to reporters questions and already knows what they are asking 5-6 words in, when they are still stammering out the questions. His facial expressions range from his infectious smile, to a steely glint that says how can the reporters struggle so with what is so simple to him, and to the look upwards to decide how to distill the answer so that reporters (and laymen) that really don't get it very well will write it correctly. And this all happens during each and every reporter's question. Self has mastered live on stage.

And if he's in a real jam, or if he's just not on his game that day, he sometimes defaults to Eisenhower syntax. When he does it unintentionally, and is aware of it, he self-deprecatingly says that was some Oklahoma coming out.

But make no mistake, the king of getting better, Self, has gotten much better at avoiding Eisenhower syntax, which is often the natural syntax of geniuses at complex spatial games, complex logistics, and juggling many balls at once.

Language, which is a serial string of words, breaks down somewhat, when communicating spatial dynamics.

Self finally not only knows what he knows spatially that many do not, he now knows how to translate it for those who are not gifted in this regard.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Anyone who has spoken with a mathematician, or theoretical physicist, about what he does, if that person is a kind insightful person, in addition to being a genius, hears the same thing: I can tell you in language a metaphor of what I am doing mathematically, but that is never quite the same as actually reading and understanding the language of math that I do. Mathematicians learn to translate into metaphors allowed by verbal for non mathematicians, or just skip talking about math at all.

Self does much the same thing, when he talks about basketball. Self says basketball is not really a very complicated game. But that means: if you see it and understand it spatially as he does. The game has certain spatial rules and certain time constraints for those rules to play out in. There are also basically 8-10 guys to juggle according to those rules. Next, there are some rules of thumb you stick to. One is never outsmart yourself. The game unfolds with such complexity, the even Self cannot explain 100 percent why anything is working, or not working. Self struggles to stay open to as much stimuli of the game as he can process rationally and/or intuit, but not more. Never pretend to be a god that can see everything, or you will only expose how much of the complexity that is unfathomable. Once you understand the above, and the tendency for young men to lose concentration, and coaches to lose perspective, and referees to want to do the right thing but often being to close to know what the right thing to do is, why, then, basketball is a very simple game. :-)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

What Self really meant when he said basketball is a simple game is: it is a formally elegant game in spatial terms...not simple as in nothing to it.

Self wins 84% of the time at KU. There is something to it. :-)

There is the carryover from the Roy years that took KU basketball to a very high level.

There is Okie Baller philosophy that works so well with the kind of talent that Self can recruit at KU.

There is the karma and tradition of KU basketball.

There are the incredible athletes that come in good basketball talents, sometimes even great ones, and some how learn to remake themselves and their games into Okie Ballers.

And there is genius.

In Bill Self's case the genius is of three kinds:

a) he has had the genius to mask his genius to most; b) he has spatial genius that enables him to analyse and act as a coach better than all but a very few; and c) he has the genius of getting better.

It is the rarest of all things in life when a genius gains authority in a main stream activity. Mostly those lacking in genius higher up discourage the hiring of it, and don't know how to nurture it when it is recognized, because they lack the self confidence and generosity of spirit required to let genius work.

Genius is unconventional by definition. It comes in an endless variety of exterior packages. And it recognizes not only what it can do that others can do, but it recognizes what others can do that they do not realize they can do.

IMHO, Bill Self has more of this genius than any coach since John Wooden.

But even Self needs good players, players with the right stuff, players that live Archimedes words.

"Give me a place to stand," said Archimedes, "and I will move the world."

This year's KU players, and their coach, appear to be such persons.

Rock Chalk! Yates, Rock Chalk!

ancient_hawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Quothe Rick James: cocaine is a helluva drug....

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Drugs are evil.

Booze is worse.

Don't do either.

They're a curse.

FoCoCoHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Do you really think it's wise to be spilling the beans about out resident genius two days before a border war?

benshawks08 10 years, 10 months ago

I highly doubt Mike Anderson has his assistants scan the KU sports page for expert board rat opinions (no offense Jaybate). As for Jaybate's posts I especially agree with the part about the almost surreal nature of many of our Technical fouls (cheap shots lite). They certainly do seem somewhat calculated while intended not to severely injure the player. I don't know that I'm ready to say Coach Self is behind it yet. But it sure is an interesting idea to ponder and continue to watch for. I don't watch enough Duke games to really see what Jaybate is talking about there (try to avoid the dukies if I can). But the logic certainly makes sense.

Alohahawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate. Just two questions, off the record. Were the above 12 pages your longest post, and how long did it take to type it? That's amazing. The KU/MU game will be over before the antlers have made it through page 3, and only then because they have called all their distant relatives from the backwoods to explain the meaning of every word with more than four letters.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Probably longest, but I don't keep track.

This one took awhile. I was home sick and had some free time.

KansasComet 10 years, 10 months ago

Josh Selby gets it. He is playing just fine. He has toned down his game for the team. Clearly this is not his team, as it was Sherron's team. I applaud him for not trying to take over. We all know what he is capable of and the talent that he possesses. Obviously, he has not made this KU Basketball all about him. He is simply trying to fit in and play within a system. The USC game, we needed him to score and he did fine. Other games, not so much.

The Missouri game figures to be a real test. They are extremely good at home. So it will be a real challenge for us. The game is on CBS, the upset network. However, I think we will be fine. We are going to need good guard play, because the blue print on KU is to get us in an ugly, sloppy, rugby type game and they have a chance. Last night we went a long way towards proving we can handle those type games.

I will try not to get into who starts and who plays the most, because I don't get to make that decision. What I can decide is how much I root for my beloved Jayhawks! I plan on doing that full blast and I hope the rest of Jayhawk Nation will as well. "Now can I get a +1"?

PVJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

But how can a cheap shot be extreme and lite at the same time? Isn't this a kind of oxymoron?

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

We're through the looking glass, Alice.

PVJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

OK, so why IS a raven like a writing-desk??

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