Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Wildcats’ swats flummox KU


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 75-65 loss to Kentucky on Nov. 15, 2011.

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— Five minutes into the second half of Tuesday night’s game against Kentucky in renovated Madison Square Garden, Elijah Johnson, Kansas University’s springy junior guard who revels in punishing rims, took the pass in the left corner and took off toward the hoop.

Time for him to make a poster, except that he passed it to Justin Wesley. That’s what watching teammate after teammate get shots swatted from Kentucky defenders who seemingly weren’t in the play can do to a would-be dunker’s confidence.

Shot-blockers alter shots. Shot-blockers who come from so far away so quickly and with such long reaches do more than alter shots. They alter decisions, such as Johnson’s passive one. Tyshawn Taylor repeatedly took the opposite approach, hurrying to get shots off, perhaps figuring if he didn’t hurry, a shot-blocker would swoop in to send his shot into the stands. Still, many of his shots were swatted. He was far from alone in that regard.

Kentucky center Anthony Davis blocked seven shots, and forwards Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist swatted three apiece.

“It’s nice when you can block shots,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “We’re pretty long.”

That was the understatement of this young basketball season so far.

With the score tied at the half in part because Kentucky freshman point guard Marquis Teague had five turnovers, Kansas needed to play a smarter second half to hang with the Wildcats, whose players had longer arms, faster feet and softer shots. It didn’t.

Kansas never trusted that the only path to open shots starts with swift ball movement. Convinced that wasn’t going to change, KU coach Bill Self had his players spread it out and drive, and Taylor did that leading with his tough competitive streak on his way to 22 points, 15 coming from the line.

It was more than just the shot-blocking that led to KU’s rattled play.

“When you look at our team — and you can say the same thing about Kentucky, but those guys have been exposed to things a lot of guys haven’t been exposed to, they’re beyond their years — other than Tyshawn, there’s no other kid on our team that’s played in a big-boy game like that, where they had to deliver,” Self said. “They’ve been reserves that have had to come in and played three, four minutes, and if they play well maybe they’ll stay in, maybe they won’t. I thought it was a different pressure tonight.”

And Kentucky’s shot-blockers turned up the heat on the jittery Jayhawks.

“I think their length bothered us, which sped us up,” Self said. “They are long. I mean, I don’t know if there has been a team around any longer than those cats.”

All that hurrying to avoid all that length played a big part in Kansas shooting an atypical 33.9 percent from the field. Taylor, the team’s best player in this game, made just three of 13 from the field, Thomas Robinson just five of 12.

If it advances to the title game of next week’s Maui Classic, Kansas could face Duke, which defeated Michigan State in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. As always, Duke’s loaded and efficient, but the Blue Devils didn’t look as intimidating as Kentucky.


AZHawk72 2 years, 5 months ago

I can't remember the last time someone kept us in the game by making free throws--way to go TnT. If only it would have happened against Syracuse in a championship game long ago.

It's time to shoot the schedule maker. Two days before #3 Ohio-State, we entertain supposed "breather" Long Beach. Wrong. They just beat Pitt by ten on their court, after leading by only nine at half. This is their first non-conference loss at home in 58 games, and Pitt never closed within six. Pitt "was" ranked 9th.

If we bank too heavily on the highly-anticipated OSU game, we will be ambushed by the Beach bums two days before. This game is dangerous.


Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 5 months ago

Hey folks, lighten up! It's the second game already!!!

It's early, this team will get better, and we will be in contention for the Big 12 again. And frankly, I like it better when we're NOT a #1 seed with big heads and a bigger bullseye on our backs.

I have faith in HCBS's ability to get the most out of this team, and am looking forward to them doing very well, probably a lot better than some of the whiners on this board expect.

We have a tough schedule that will give this team a lot of chances to improve by the time we get to the Big 12 season. I'm sure that the coaches will make the most of these learning situations. So keep your heads up, Jayhawks, and full steam ahead! ROCK CHALK!!


REHawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Regarding Dickie V at the mic, my spouse and I have learned to hit the mute button the moment he goes off on one of his many digressions. Irritating thing is, he and his cohort often continue with that drivel, not stopping to relay to the listening/watching audience precisely whom a foul has been called on, or other essential play by play elements of the contest. Is a real molar grinding moment, when it becomes apparent that he is to work one of our games. I always keep fingers crossed for the appearance of either Fran or Jay to announce our contests. Anyone but Dick.


brooksmd 2 years, 5 months ago

I still say jhawkinnebr is back under an assumed name. A year later and still bagging on Brady.


Casey Gee 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't understand all the hatred for Tyshawn from KU fans. He played tougher than anyone else on our team last night. When everyone else froze up and started making mistakes, Tyshawn did all he could to put the team on his back. He had 22 points, hit 15 of 17 free throws, 2 assists, 2 steals, ZERO TO's. What more do you want from your senior guard? No matter what he does, some KU fans are going to hate him. He's a Jayhawk, and this year we need him... a lot.


okiedave 2 years, 5 months ago

I simply cannot believe there are posters on this site, who appear to be KU loyalists bad mouthing the most successful coach KU has had. You guys have to be trolls. KU has some serious talent that simply needs to be developed. KU will be getting better each game and I am willing to bet we will be Big XII Champions again. This team is only going to get better as the season progresses, which will be fun to watch.


kupride4u 2 years, 5 months ago

Only 14 turnovers? Seemed like more. I also could swear Robinson had at least 3 in the first half, but it only lists him at 2 total.


clevelandjayhawker 2 years, 5 months ago

WOW- you guys are really hating on the recruiting....lets examine a tool from one of Keegans articles last week, the "what if"

What if we had B-Mac, what if Traylor and Anderson could play? It wasnt Selfs horrid recruiting as some was the darn NCAA ruling them ineligble. We lost by ten and it could have been less if Young makes his dunk with a min left.

I think we could have won/put up a better fight if we had B-Mac and Traylor last night...i know they are unproven but thats what "what ifs are for". We may not have the best year this year, but i look at the class we have coming in next year (part from this year) and Self is re-loading with solid guys and soild guys that will play here for more than a year...something KU can build on


AsadZ 2 years, 5 months ago

was at game last night. Firstly it was great to see so many KU fans in the garden, Jayhawks were very well represented.

I disagree with comments on TT. TT had a great game. He was our best player. He did exactly what coach asked him to do in 2nd half when we we had virtually no other offense, ball was not moving much. So Coach knew that only way to get going is to have drive TT drive in the lane. He missed several of them due to UK's length however he did make most of his FTs in 2nd half. That's pretty good.

On the other hand Travis and EJ had a rough game. EJ had decent 1st half but bad 2nd half. Our perimeter defense was bad due to UKs excellent ball movement.

The game was close in 1st half as UK was tight and had lot of TOs, and our guys played with enerrgy. UK dominated from get go in 2nd half and we got exposed.

Manning should show T-Rob game film on Aldrich on how he used to handle double teams and kick out. T-Rob is forcing the issue and as such losing his game.

I do agree that Withey had a god game especially on D. If he can just control a little bit on Offense he can be solid

Our transition defense was bad as well. This can be coached however. One other issue I am seeing from from our bigs has to do with outlet passes. They should watch file and learn from Aldrich how he used to thrown out bombs as soon as he would get the rebound resulting in quick points.

I did not expect us to win. Close first half was due to UK TOs but once they got going we saw what was expected. It could have been better if EJ and TRavis had played better. Good thing is that all areas that got exposed can be corrected with practice and watching a of of tape.


thanksforcoming 2 years, 5 months ago

There is a lack of individual talent. I didn't think KU played well as a team last night and that's because this is a new team. I think the Hawks are a little soft. For as much as people called the Morris twins thugs last year, at least they didn't get pushed around and they sure didn't take any crap from anybody. Kentucky put it it to them and when they started showing the Hawks up, nobody did a thing. Dickie V was the only one who said something about the Kentucky taunts, but KU didn't do anything about it. That is what I was disappointed in. The lack of team play and rolling over when Kentucky wanted to talk, and dance, and flex and taunt. Kentucky had all the fun last night, and that can't happen.


Tony Bandle 2 years, 5 months ago

Regarding recruiting...Bill tells his recruits the play, you have to work play a lot of minutes, you have to play defense.

Five stars don't like to hear this's all about the ESPN nightly highlight reel and NBA lottery status.

Kansas owns the longest NCAA appearance streak at 21 [and if it hadn't been for that penalty it would be at 26] ...that means Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, UConn and everybody else has missed the playoffs at least once in the past two decades.

It's our turn for a down year by KU standards...still, a lot of teams would love 20+ win season, league title contention and an NCAA invite.


leonard 2 years, 5 months ago

Chit happens...and a good lesson last night.

It's not unusual for players at Kansas to get an over-sized ego on their talent level...walking around campus with the love and adoration oozing all over them. And last night should be a big wake up call.

We'll do fine...regardless of the effort...against the bottom half of the conference. But when we play the top tier in the league and in the playoffs two things jumped out.

We've got enough talent to compete at the highest level...if...we stick to running Self's offense and playing rugged defense. We lack the star power to compete with teams like Kentucky if we resort to relying on individual effort like last night.

When the going is tough...defense will determine how far this team can go. I'd suggest a few film sessions of watching some of Frank Martin's K-State "pack of dobermans".

A disciplined offense and a rabid defense are the keys...and I'll accept the award for being the master of the's nothing that most fans and Coach Self don't already know.

And Coach Self is the right man for the job. This is going to be a fun season and I'm confident that ultimately it will be a successful one.


justinryman 2 years, 5 months ago

The reason they got all those blocks was and not it wasn't because they are great shot blockers. It's because they packed the paint defensively.

KU had no outside shooters last night, so they were sagging in on TRob which made it look like the guards could drive the lane as nobody was directly in front of them. Sure they may have made the first guy miss, but the first defender made our guards alter their shots, a double pump is easy to block as you wait and then they have to shot and its an easy block. Especially when three guys are swatting at one ball.

If you are going to drive the lane and it's full of defenders, you need to either have a tear drop shot, or learn to make a nice pass around the defender to a post player. Can't try and do it all on your own.


TXBBall55 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh boy, the hate will flow from this post. In spirit, I agree with a couple of your points. KU recruiting has put the school on a path it hasn't seen in 23 years. Never in the last 23 years has the school been so dependent on 3-Star role players. The real question is whether KU becomes the next Duke (a bad year or two, but gets back up) or the next Indiana (a once great program that spends a decade or more on the mat). I'm fearful it's the later.


hihawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Dick Vitale called the game correct, when he said "this is the worse KU team that I have ever seen. He couldn't be more right, what a embarrassing display of basketball from a KU team. It all goes back to recruiting and guess what, poor recruiting has raised its head here after a pathetic year with Morningstar and Reed. I really shouldn't include Reed here but, the only year Reed did show something was last year. Self, just a poor poor recruiter the last few years. It was nice to see coach Krzyzewski hit the milestone last night with coach Knight. Duke is a young team but, there will be a improvement coming with all the talent they have, you could see it. The people that tear down Dick Vitale are so jealous that he doesn't brag up KU, but how can he, went KU plays the way they did last night? Just poor poor recruiting and I could see that coming with the poor coaching of players last year. Ku will have its hands full with Kansas ST. this year and could be a another year of blowouts by the Wildcats at Manhatten. Congratulations coach Krzyzewski and coach Calipari. Buyouts, gill and staff,--15 million, Self and staff--14 million, Bonnie and staff---4 million. Does anyone have an extra 32 or million laying around?


mustlehustle 2 years, 5 months ago

The Hawks really let a great oppotunity slip away from them. Uncharacteristic of a Kansas team was the lack of a tenacious defense last night. One thing for sure, Self will get that corrected.

The biggest challenge once again for the Jayhawk Nation is having to listen to the Jayhawk hater Dick Vitale. He shouldn't be allowed inside Allen Fieldhouse. He'd rather have his big crush on Calipari, who has left 2 programs on probation. I literally had to turn off the sound in the second half of last night's game.


Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 5 months ago

UK is pretty darn doubt about it. and they'll get better. KU? Who knows at this point. we tried hard enough...but we panicked....and that's what happens when you're inexperienced.

here's something that MUST change: the next time Wesley and Teahen combine for more points than Releford and Johnson....we'll lose again. that just can't happen. both Elijah and Travis have to give 8, 10 or 12 each every night. Releford was a no show last night....defensively and offensively.

Self definitely will have some fun practices for the guys this week.....they'll look forward to that i'm sure. :)


jayhawkintexas 2 years, 5 months ago

Wither has definitely improved from last year. None of the others-Robinson, Taylor, Releford, Johnson--have improved one bit. Also, has no one ever heard of a pump fake before shooting? Burn a big guy with some pump fakes and they learn not to try and block a shot. Finally, would someone PLEASE teach Robinson how to finish a shot? Way too many close in shots clanging off the rim.


actorman 2 years, 5 months ago

I wouldn't say that Tyshawn was the best player for KU. I thought Withey played a very solid game and didn't force things nearly as much as Tyshawn did. I would nominate Withey as the player of the game for KU and, really, the one player who played better than I expected.


kusportsdotcom 2 years, 5 months ago

I've never seen a guard get swatted on the drive as much as I did last night. Unibrow & Co. are damn long. It's like having 2 or 3 different Cole Aldrich's in the paint.


Nicholas Cederlind 2 years, 5 months ago

Headline was right on. Cal teaches his team one thing, above all - how to use their athleticism on defense to simply maul opponents. It's not pretty but it shuts teams down if they're not as athletic/talented. We needed to draw more fouls, make them work more, and simply break them down until they had no choice but to stop the high-flying acrobatics and just compete against us. Until we're a btter team in March, let's not try and run w/a bunch of acrobats - let's use our speed and athleticism to simply beat them to their spots, draw fouls, and play more tight/controlled. Good effort tonight and we'll get better because of it.


Nicholas Cederlind 2 years, 5 months ago

Headline was right on. Cal teaches his team one thing, above all - how to use their athleticism on defense to simply maul opponents. It's not pretty but it shuts teams down if they're not as athletic/talented. We needed to draw more fouls, make them work more, and simply break them down until they had no choice but to stop the high-flying acrobatics and just compete against us. Until we're a btter team in March, let's not try and run w/a bunch of acrobats - let's use our speed and athleticism to simply beat them to their spots, draw fouls, and play more tight/controlled. Good effort tonight and we'll get better because of it.


championhawks 2 years, 5 months ago

The fact that Taylor can be considered the team's best player this game should show everyone how bad the rest of the team played!


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