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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Keegan

Kansas thin, but fun

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2011 Late Night in the Phog

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The Kansas men's and women's basketball teams performed skits and scrimmaged at Late Night in the Phog on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Kansas University basketball team, under the guidance of strength and conditioning coach Andrea Hudy, has managed to stay more healthy than most in this era of year-round basketball players.

Now, more than ever, KU needs well-conditioned athletes who avoid bad fortune on the injury front and learn to play without getting into foul trouble.

Ninth-year Kansas coach Bill Self, winner of seven consecutive conference titles, hasn’t had this thin a roster since taking the job, but it’s not as if it’s his first team that deserves to be considered an underdog in the Big 12 title race.

In 2005-2006, the Jayhawks started three freshmen (Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Julian Wright) and two sophomores (Sasha Kaun and Russell Robinson). The Jayhawks went 13-3 in the Big 12 to tie a loaded, veteran Texas team.

In 2008-09, Self relied heavily on freshmen Marcus and Markieff Morris and Tyshawn Taylor. Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich led KU to a 14-2 Big 12 mark.

Compared to the team that put on various shows Friday at Late Night, those Jayhawks brought more experience off the bench, had more talented freshmen, more three-point shooting prowess and a great deal more size.

Self’s teams always play selfless basketball and dish more bruises than they wear, but to pick this one to win the Big 12 with just eight players recruited to the school on scholarship requires a gigantic leap of faith.

When Gary Bedore broke the story Friday afternoon on KUSports.com that freshmen Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor won’t be eligible to play this season, the 1-2 punch knocked KU’s conference title hopes into the ropes. The super-athletic McLemore had a chance to develop into one of the team’s top scorers. Traylor, though raw, would have added another quick, big body in the paint.

Some of McLemore’s minutes could fall to fifth-year senior Conner Teahan, who came to KU as a walk-on. Some of Traylor’s could go to Justin Wesley, who also was not on scholarship when he transferred to Kansas after averaging 1.1 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.9 minutes as a freshman for Lamar University.

The news deepened an already steep challenge, but it made the season no less compelling. The fascinating question remains the same: How many wins can a veteran winner coax out of a roster dotted with so many question marks?

Just one player has averaged double-figures in scoring over the course of a Div. I season. His name is Kevin Young (10.7 points per game in 2009-2010), and he did it for Loyola Marymount. He’s a 6-foot-8 jumping jack who will be the team’s sixth man if he doesn’t start.

Conference champs? Doubtful. Energetic, fast, quick, explosive, intense, entertaining and tough-to-beat when fueled by the Allen Fieldhouse crowd? Absolutely.

A check of past rosters reveals this is the first time Self has coached without at least one McDonald’s All-American since his last team at Tulsa (1999-2000). That doesn’t bother him. The lack of depth would trouble any coach. Still, his enthusiasm rages.

“I think this is going to be a fun team to coach,” Self said.

And follow.

Comments

Daniel Kennamore 8 years, 7 months ago

Why do we always seem to be in 'rebuilding' years when we play the Maui Invitational?

I'd really like to see title there like in 96, but this team isn't going to cut it.

tical523 8 years, 7 months ago

My soapbox post continued for all to see. . . . Late night is too much of a production with all of the other stuff (over three hours). . . . other than ""men's baskebtall". I was there from 5-9 without any "men's basketball". My friends and I, along with people around were getting so bored and annoyed with half of the other stuff. How cool would it be to see three point and jump shot competitions, dunk contests. . .I read somebody say that the recruits looked bored and I can see why. It was too hokey, cheesy, whatever. It should be a shorter bright fuse, not such a long and drawn out ordeal. People were actually leaving before the game was over.

jgkojak 8 years, 7 months ago

Yes - they can cut about half the stuff- my 10 year old was getting bored too.

Here is what they could do: 6:30 Big opening - Rob Riggle/Pollard woulda been great 6:45 FT or 3PT contest w/crowd 6:50 KU Dancers/Women in WNBA 7:00 Coach Bonnie intro 7:05 Women's team skit and Intros/warm-up 7:25 Women play 7:40 Guest Mascots entertain 7:50 Alma Mater/Jayhawks in NBA 8:00 Bill Self 8:05 Men's skits 8:20 Dream on video/men's intro 8:30 Men warm-up/play

Playing over by 9:00

Ashwin Rao 8 years, 7 months ago

I think it will be better if women's shows were interleaved with men's so: 1) Both the constituents (mens & womens) are engaged at all times 2) Have the cool things that jgkojak mentioned from nba all star game.

tical523 8 years, 7 months ago

There is way more "filler" to get rid of that I am referring to, the women deserve time. . . . just get rid of the women's "coach's flashback" skit, those are the ideas that need to be removed. Those flashbacks were very hard to watch along with about 2-3 hours of other stuff. Even the boxing idea was good but the production and time was just way too much,simply bring in Ortiz as a great celebrity-guest not a novelty.

Andrew Washington 8 years, 7 months ago

..yeah ive been there for the past few years and those were my thoughts exactly. However, this was the first time that i saw such a large amount of people leaving early. I was a little shocked at first that whole rows were beginning to clear about 25 min before the event was over..but now i can see why we've lost recruits like Harrison barnes because it is pretty boring untill the last half hour. Not too long ago a bunch of top rated recruits attended late night or at least planned to ..maybe late night does have a negative effect on recruiting..or maybe someone on the recruiting staff needs to be fired.

KGphoto 8 years, 7 months ago

It kind of died for me, when they changed the name from "Midnight Madness" to "Late Night", so the old, rich season ticket holders could stay up late enough to see it. Which of course watered down the show and took the excitement out of it for the students. It's one of the worst side affects of the new ticket arrangement.

TxJyHwk 8 years, 7 months ago

It actually changed when the NCAA rules changed. It strarted as Midnight Madness when they were not allowed to practice untill Oct 15. The festivities started about 10 pm on the 14th- with the practice starting 1 minute after midnight.

The NCAA changed the rules - I'm not sure of the exact rules - something about starting practice the Friday beofer the 15th and more other colleges starting participating. Of course, TV played a part in the chane as well.

tical523 8 years, 7 months ago

Why, I love my hawks but I just want a better Late Night experience. . . along with I would say about 85% of other fans (complete guess). Did anyone leave saying "wow, that was awesome"? I am unsure, but I did see people just leaving before it was over. Just sayin'

Lonnie Edgecomb 8 years, 7 months ago

It's been like this for the last 4 or 5 years. Why now is it so bad?? Eveyone need to go back to bed, maybe when you get you'll fill better about it....

Jabez Harlan 8 years, 7 months ago

Speaking as one who lives thousands of miles away from Lawrence, yet never misses a KU game on TV, you must be completely spoiled!

What I wouldn't give to have been in that fieldhouse last night!!!

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 7 months ago

In 2005 those freshmen were all 4-5 star recruits. This year we have (after NCAA made most of them ineligible) no high recruits and no returning players of note outside of EJ, Taylor and Roberson. The analogy is severely flawed. It is going to be a tough year... hopefully Ellis is the first of many for next year's recruiting class because our talent pool is empty.

Bottom Line: KU fans who think this season will be anything like the last several seasons are going to be disappointed. The talent is not there. The revisionist history where Self accomplished great things with no talent isn't true. He accomplished great things with a roster of 4 and 5 star players and this year that isn't there.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 7 months ago

We just need to temper our expectations so we can support our team through this season as they deserve to be supported. They will lose... often and badly, but we are still KU.

Rock Chalk.

actorman 8 years, 7 months ago

"This year we have ... EJ, Taylor and Roberson."

Roberson?!?!? Really?!?!? I can see why you might have trouble remembering Thomas Robinson's name. After all, he's only a pre-season All-American.

dylans 8 years, 7 months ago

Tharpe could be solid, but isn't a 5 star recruit. Trust in Self.

tahawk81 8 years, 7 months ago

I think what is getting over looked is how much trouble we could be in next year. Ellis is great, but can't replace robinson's output as a freshman and we will have to find some more guard depth with taylor leaving. If we don't land some top guards in next years class(im not sure who is still available) next year will be worse than this one.

Jabez Harlan 8 years, 7 months ago

You are completely overlooking Naadir Tharpe!! He will be a stud at KU for the next four years!!

tahawk81 8 years, 7 months ago

Agreed, I think he will be good at handling the ball. But the word is out that he is in now way a guy that can get his own shot and can score. Scoring will be at a premium next year as we will have little of it on paper. By his junior/senior campaign he will only improve but I am not holding my breath for next year.

champs528808 8 years, 7 months ago

Rather interesting that Tom is giving the team some leeway - doesn't happen with the football team. And before everyone starts in with, 'Well, Bill has a NC, so he gets a little grace period' needs to recall what he said last night - expectations should never change. Folks, what are the expectations of the football team? All we see around Lawrence and with some alumni is, 'well, we can't wait for basketball season.' That happens almost every year minus a 5 year stretch a few years ago. So based on Tom's excellent (tongue firmly planted in cheek) journalism, he should be calling for Bill's job shortly after the Maui Invitational.

longhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

This is the first time a Kansas team has been without a McDonald's All American on the roster since the McDonald's All American game began.

The first game was held in 1977, and Darnell Valentine was on the roster. Kansas has had a minimum of one McD's AA on the roster ever since.

I believe the 1983 seson was the last time we didn't have a McD's AA play in the season--that year, Greg Dreiling was on the roster, but had to sit out per transfer rules. There's been a constant stream of at least one on the roster every year, ending with Josh Selby.

DDDHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Ukanjhox- Gee, you're really supportive of female athletics programs, and what other people who are fans of KU might want to see, aren't you? Sometimes the issue is doing what is right and fair, rather than what the most number of people might want.

KCRvrRnnr 8 years, 7 months ago

Wrong-O.

Late Night is a showcase for KANSAS MENS BASKETBALL.

While I would agree that it is a poor reflection on the University's overall athletic program that the other programs must suckle at the men's hoops teat to get exposure, that is NOT men's BB fault...it is a combination of 1) those programs have not generated the success needed to garner their own visibility, and 2) the unchangeable fact that men's football (and to a lesser extent basketball) programs will always drive the overall athletics program.

As to your complaint about the word "fair"....the greatest disservice our culture has assumed in recent years is the emphasis on "fairness" and "self-esteem". Once Johnny and Susie leave the nest and venture forth into the REAL world, they will soon see how "fair" that world is, and how much it values "self-esteem".

xfitter 8 years, 7 months ago

The world is ending!!! Oh wait..... Tom Keegan is going overboard, AGAIN! Fair weathered fans are following him, sad really. Keegan will definitely be calling for Selfs head maui or sooner. FIRE KEEGAN!!!

Steve Gantz 8 years, 7 months ago

He's just calling it like he sees it. You want him just to write stuff we all want to hear? I don't. It makes for interesting reading. We hope he's wrong, but if he's right at the end of the year will you eat crow and say he was right?

KGphoto 8 years, 7 months ago

Kansas thin, but fun. That would have made a great scrimmage.

Blue Team -Thomas Robinson -Jeff Withey -Travis Releford -Elijah Johnson -Tyshawn Taylor

Red Team -Lindsay Lohan -Paris Hilton -Tara Reid -Nicole Richie -The Olsen twins

Yes that's 6 for red, but hey we're keeping it fun.

REHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Good health, decent freethrow shooting, and avoidance of foul trouble are essential elements to this squad's success. But for a very thin bench, this team is loaded with talent and potential for league and postseason glory.

Lonnie Edgecomb 8 years, 7 months ago

I thank recruiting was hard last year for HC. Recruits didn't know who all was coming back. No one wanted to play behind the twins or Selby. Their was two kids that BS thought he had, but they end up going to some other school at last min. ALL IS WELL!

milehighhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I can only imagine that Royce Woolridge is kicking himself right about now as he sits on the sidelines this year.

I can also only imagine how much better our frontcourt might be with Quintrell Thomas & T-Rob on the blocks.

Cest la vie

Steve Gantz 8 years, 7 months ago

Someone said yesterday (and I'll have to take their word for it) Woolridge was pretty much forced to leave by Self. So he may not have left by choice.

Steve Brown 8 years, 7 months ago

What is the worse year you can imagine for KUBB? We all recall fondly the great years, 35-3, the final fours, the conf. championships, the beat downs on injured Durrant, Beasley, the home winning records.

Yesteryear we had a season, we were average, one game left at home against a top ten Missou team and our home record was 7-8, it was set up to be our 1st home AFH losing record. Our top player, Bud Stallworth, we recruited from his pick up games at high school band camp. Yes, band camp.

We had a fine freshman class that later went to final four, yet then freshmen weren't eligible.

The heralded Tigers came to town, Bud Stallworth went off for 50 points, the pep band was like on fire, the crowd went wild, the crimson and blue pom pom's were pounding, the drug induced long haired students became one and even the old alumns stood for the rock chalk chants, as we sent Tigers home with a loss. Bud looked like MJ playing high school kids, Norm had no answer for him. We finished AFH 8-8 and it was a great day.

Back then, only one Big 8 team went to smaller march madness and we just might have knoced them out of big dance allowing Lon Kruger KState to be our conference representative, made that part up, but it adds to a good memory.

In other words there are NO bad years for KUBB and the AFH tradition, we may not be as loaded this year, yet it will be full of good memories. We seldom get to win in AFH as underdogs, but winning as heavy favorites or as underdawgs is just as sweet.

Enjoy the ride, it is TTaylor breakout year. Rise n Shine boys, rise and shine.

chriz 8 years, 7 months ago

I completely disagree with you AND Tom. I think a fan has every right to be critical and provide constructive criticism. I'm a fan of our country, and thank God I can criticize our actions and performance. And even make bold predictions.

Having said that, I don't think most people realize what we have with T-Rob, Tyshawn, Elijah, and T-Rel. We're gonna be fine this year in the Big XII. Trust me.

chriz 8 years, 7 months ago

I hope you're right! I really don't know what to expect of him, but if he's much improved, I don't know why we couldn't make a final four run. Seriously. We're gonna be fine this year, so long as we don't have any key injuries.

cg1029 8 years, 7 months ago

Fans need to be carefull what they wish for... Everyone who complained that Self needed to stop recruing One and Done players and only have 4-5 year program players is going to get their wish this year. On paper this is the least talented team since 98-99 with Bradford, Gregory, Ryan Robertson and Chenowith.

At this point anyone who is picking KU to win a conference championship has Crimson and Blue colored glasses on... All we know is that Trob has played out of his mind for short bursts while surounded by other big men, but he has also been prone to foul trouble. Tyshawn has had games where he has been unguardable, and he has had games where he has been unwatchable not to mention that his decision making on the court or off the court has cost KU. EJ looked good in a small sample size last year, and Relaford had his moments but will probably be playing out of position all season. Withey has to stay healthy which he has never done.

I am not syaing that KU can't be good this year, but I think that it will be an uphill battle. It sucks that it has to be a year where we play so many good teams early.

ejlumus 8 years, 7 months ago

Negative Nancy's are running rampant on the message board.

Mark this ....... if no injuries .... KU will be very good, win another title and have 25 plus wins.

Consider the two ineligibles as redshirts.

Next year is my concern.

Steve Gantz 8 years, 7 months ago

If they're redshirts (I understand the logic) then they're eligible next year, so what's the concern?

ejlumus 8 years, 7 months ago

The concern is replacing TR & TT with equal or better players.

Ian Brown 8 years, 7 months ago

Listening to all you pansies whine and weep about a basketball team that you have yet to see play ONE game makes me sick. Further, it makes me embarrassed to be a Kansas FAN. I will always be proud to be a Jayhawk, but being associated with all you no-it-all, doomsday soothsayers is quite undesirable.

You guys must not remember the 2008-2009 team very well. If I remember correctly things ended quite well--another league title and a hard fought game in the Sweet Sixteen against Michigan State who went on to the Championship game. All we returned was Sherron, who of course was solid, and Cole Aldrich, who had one memorable game during his freshman campaign. Let's take a look at that teams regular rotation and compare it to this years team:

Starting 5: Sherron - I think Tyshawn is in for a huge senior year, give me Tyshawn. Tyshawn - Give me EJ over freshman Tyshawn every day of the week. Brady - I love Brady, most of you hate him, but I'd still take this years Releford over Brady every day of the week. I don't expect much argument here. Marcus - Keep in mind, this is freshman 'Cus, not lottery pick 'Cus. Give me lottery pick Robinson by a wide margin. Cole - We all know Cole ended up having a huge season, but coming in to the season, did we KNOW that it would be THAT big? I doubt it. ONE game out of a 40-game largely formed our judgment. Knowing what I know now, sure, I'll take Cole, but I wouldn't count out Withey (and I've never been a big fan of him) this year. He looked a lot more athletic and agile last night during the scrimmage.

Bench: Tyrel - Tyrel was solid off the bench, contributing 20 solid minutes, 6 points and an assist. I'm saying it now, and I've heard a few others say it, but look out for Naadir Tharpe when he's backing up Tyshawn and EJ. The kid is going to be good. I look for Naadir to score 5-6 ppg plus 3-4 more assists per contest than Tyrel. Give me Naadir. Markeiff - Again, this is not lottery pick Markeiff. This is 4.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg Markeiff. Quite honestly, I think we can expect at least that much out of Kevin Young. Give me Young. Little - Little was solid, contributing 4.7 ppg and 3.2 rpg off the bench, but is it unreasonable to think that either Justin Wesley or Conner Teahan can put up similar numbers? I don't think so. I believe both of them are capable of doing so if needed.

There you have it, folks. Aside from Cole having a heavy edge over Withey, most of the players on our current roster have the edge over, or at the very least wash out, those on the 2008-2009 roster, in my humble opinion.

Keep your head up, fellow Jayhawks. And for the love of all that is Jayhawk basketball, please stop with the sky is falling doomsday crap. We will be fine this year. Rock Chalk.

ku1otaku 8 years, 7 months ago

I like your evaluation, but I will disagree in one area. I don't know if Tyshawn Taylor can be the type of scorer that Sherron Collins was. I see the penetrating but not the shooting. Other than that, I am with you...I think a lot of people on here are underestimating this team and I hope that provides some motivation.

Ian Brown 8 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, I agree that Tyshawn may not score as many points as Sherron, but I think with his ability to penetrate, he will be able to distribute the ball better than Sherron. That, and I believe Tyshawn will be stronger on defense than Sherron was.

With that said, Tyshawn may not average 19 ppg like Sherron did in the 08-09 season, but I do believe Tyshawn is going to be a much larger scoring threat than he has been the last three seasons. In an interview during Late Night, Self said that Tyshawn may be the most impressive player coming back from the off season, and I believe it if his play during Late Night is of any worth. He showed off not only his ability to penetrate which we are all accustomed to, but he also showcased a variety of mid-range pull-up jumpers and a more crisp 3-point stroke. Again, I'm not expecting 19, but I wouldn't be surprised to see 15-16 ppg, 6-7 apg, and 2 steals per game.

KGphoto 8 years, 7 months ago

Awesome! Perfect analysis.

Do it again, but this time with the football team.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 7 months ago

Those people on the 2008 roster were mostly 4-5 star recruits. That isn't the case here...

Ian Brown 8 years, 7 months ago

And your point is.....?

Have you not yet learned that the ratings given out by recruiting services such as Rivals are little more than a popularity contest and they don't mean jack sh!@?

Even so, for what it's worth, here's a breakdown for you.. (source: Rivals)

2011-2012 Elijah Johnson - 5 star, National Rank - 24 Tyshawn Taylor - 4 star, National Rank - 77 Thomas Robinson - 4 star, National Rank - 31 Travis Releford - 4 star, National Rank - 70 Jeff Withey - 4 star, National Rank - 36 Naadir Tharpe - 4 star, National Rank - 92 Kevin Young - 3 star, National Rank - NR Conner Teahan - 2 star, National Rank - NR

One 5-star, five 4-stars, one 3-star, one 2-star

2008-2009 Sherron Collins - 5 star, National Rank - 21 Tyshawn Taylor - 4 star, National Rank - 77 Brady Morningstar - 3 star, National Rank - NR Marcus Morris - 4 star, National Rank - 29 Cole Aldrich - 4 star, National Rank - 30 Tyrel Reed - 3 star, National Rank - 109 Markeiff Morris - 4 star, National Rank - 49 Mario Little - 4 star, National Rank - NR.

One 5-star, five 4-stars, two 3-stars...

Same number of 4 and 5-stars, buddy. Do some research next time before you open your fingers.

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

Your analysis is spot on, as usual except for two things I think you overlook.

And Self made these points himself.

There is no third, or fourth, big to go to during foul trouble that is a future lottery pick in development, and either a Mad Stork like Cole, or a load like TRob.

Self can often milk his way through with three quality bigs--two experienced and one green--even two green--but he has to have three and they have to be talented. Three is a mathematical minimum. Four are needed for a serious ring run most years.

Someone has to be able to come in and spell the starters at least 5 minutes a half. And that someone has to be good enough to hold us steady or fall back 5, but not more. We don't have a third big this season that is destined to be a lottery pick, unless Justin Wesley has absolutely done a metamorphosis.

Therefore, we have a big, big talent shortfall in the paint.

Second, Self needs a minimum of two bangers in today's game. The game has changed since Simien's team, when Self could get by with one banger in Simien. I argue it has changed a lot since the ring team's three bangers and a mad stork. I doubt teams can win rings without four bangers.

TRob is one superior banger, but he is the only one. Since he is the only one, he is going to take absolutely unmerciful abuse in an endless attempt to get him in foul trouble.

Self said Traylor probably would have started, just because he was a banger. KU really doesn't want to get caught with TRob on the bench and no bangers on the floor in today's XTReme game. The other teams will start putting all our long and athletics on their backs.

Finally, you perhaps understate the loss of Ben Mac to this team.

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

Every coach has to have a scorer to go to on the bench. A guy who can come in and stop a slump. It is usually a young impact player in development, like Ben Mac would have been.

I already suggested a day or so ago that I think where this team is headed, given the lack of depth, is for Nadiir to become the point guard, make Nadiir play huge minutes, and for Self to make one of Tyshawn, EJ, or Travis the fourth man on the perimeter; then assign Kevin Young to be the fifth man on the perimeter (at the 3) and the fourth on the paint (at the 4).

Note: the fourth man on the perimeter is most likely to be chosen between Elijah and Travis. Though Travis will hate doing this, I think he is the better man to be the spark that comes into the game than is Elijah. Travis is an explosive player and definitely good enough to be a starter. But the team has to have a spark man coming into the game at the 5 to 7 minute mark. Got to have it.

Going to Travis at the 5-7 minute mark would, because of his strength and rebounding, reduce the fall off in muscle when Self brings in Kevin Young or Justin Wesley in the paint.

Using Elijah for backup could bring the spark with his good trey gun, but he is not the rebounder Travis is and imagine how skinning KU would get with Elijah and Kevin Young coming in at the same time?

So: I can see this team working well, but a lot of guys are going to have to be willing to do things they won't want to do to make it work.

May be Self can convince them.

I hope so.

Note: Young is probably good enough to start at either the three, or the four, but from a team stand point, making him a swing man gets the most out of the rest of the talent of the team.

Ian Brown 8 years, 7 months ago

You are correct, Jaybate, but I didn't overlook or understate those things, I just wasn't addressing them at the moment. I was only taking into considerations the pieces that we DO have (and not those that we have lost) and comparing those pieces to the 08-09 team, and stating that I think we can at the very least hope for similar success.

You speak of having a "future lottery pick" as the third big to help spell the 4 and 5 positions. I assume you are speaking of Markieff Morris. I agree that it would be ideal to have a future lottery pick coming off the bench in such a role, however, I don't think any of us could have predicted Markieff would turn into a lottery pick based on his play during his freshman season. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a group of people who wished to see him transfer after his sophomore year (I'm not going to peruse through the archives to find confirmation, but I am pretty sure some people here didn't want to see him in a Kansas uniform after his freshman season.) Further, I wouldn't have considered EITHER of the twins bangers during their freshman seasons. If you remember, they often played scared, and both of them struggled to get more than a few inches off the ground to dunk the ball. I know it's difficult to remember or even imagine the two of them playing any other way than how they finished their last couple seasons here, but they were SOFT their freshman year. They may have had more weight and size than players like Kevin Young and Justin Wesley, but they didn't use it to their advantage.

Kevin Young appears to be wiry, but from what I hear, he's a smart basketball player. This makes me believe he may be able to get more out of his slender frame than the Twins were able to get out of their more gifted frames.

With that said, I am not overlooking the importance of Traylor. I believe HE is really the missing link--even more so than Ben Mac. He has the frame and the drive to be the type of banger that TRob was/is. But we don't have him. And we didn't have him in 08-09, and honestly, we didn't have a player like that coming off the bench, at least not one that was seeing meaningful minutes. Quintrell Thomas, I believe, was closer to being that type of player than Markieff, but Quintrell never cracked the rotation so he's irrelevant to this conversation. Our only real "banger" that year was Cole. This year it's TRob. Personally, I'd take TRob if I had to choose just one.

Ian Brown 8 years, 7 months ago

I also agree that Ben Mac would have been great as a spark off the bench. As you said, it is ideal to have an impact player, particularly an impact scorer, come in off the bench. Well.. Yes, that is true. But we didn't have one in the 08-09 season, which is what I was originally comparing this team to. Tyrel lead in the bench in scoring with 6 ppg. I don't consider that a "scorer" of the bench, and if we do call that a scorer, well I think Naadir, Young, and/or Wesley are capable of putting up 6 ppg off the bench.

Again, I do not think our situation this year is ideal; but at the same time, I don't think our team is dissimilar to the 08-09 team. In fact, I think the two teams are very comparable. And I do understand the importance of Ben Mac and Traylor and how critical they would have been to this team. But the fact remains, we will not have them this year, but even without them, there is no reason to assume we can't win the Big 12 and make a run in late March.

Note: I'm only replying to a couple of the issues you brought to the table because I'm trying to watch the football game... and we've already taken up a great deal of space... and more than anything, I'm just really lazy.

falcon1 8 years, 7 months ago

I agree that we have numerous reasons for optimism and it is time our fans who have clearly become spoiled and more than a little cynical about our program take a wait-and-see approach to this group at the very least. Reasons for optimism include, but are not limited to: 1) T-Rob gives all appearances of being able to perform at a level that could put him among the top 10 players in the nation 2) Taylor, Johnson, Releford, and T-Rob comprise a group of 4 dynamic athletes most teams in America would love to have. Are we going to need to play some zone in order to keep those 4 on the floor longer? Yes. Are we going to need to play some more zone in order to take advantage of the strengths Tehan brings and while the new people learn to play man D the coach Self way? Yes. So what? 3) Our coaching staff is among the elite groups in the nation. There is no other staff I would trade them for and that is something I hope and expect everyone on here can agree upon. 4) History. As in: we've been here before. My first year as a student at KU was 1990-1991. That year we returned only one starter from the previous year-Mark Randall. No pre-season publication had the team ranked anywhere in the top 25. The team needed to rely on Randall, a collection of part-timers from the year before that many didn't think could get us to the highest level and a few talented freshmen-none of whom were McDonald's players-guys like Woodberry, Richey, and Scott. All they did was end up playing for the national title. Am I predicting this team will play in the championship? Not exactly. But let's all remember that players develop and so do teams. Lets tip it up in a few weeks and give these guys a chance to succeed before we beat them up on threads like this.

KGphoto 8 years, 7 months ago

Good points. My first year as a student was '89-90. And they started the season completely off the charts. Kevin Pritchard had a great quote. "I think we went from ranked about 120th to 5th in one week. I think we set the record for biggest jump in a week". That may not be the exact quote, but it's pretty close. "That team had something to prove" he said. (A Century of Tradition has the Pritchard quote)

They beat the #1 and #2 teams in the nation (UNLV and LSU), and then beat ranked St. Johns to win the tourney in NY.

Well that's all I've been thinking about so far about this upcoming season. This team has something to prove.

Ron Franklin 8 years, 7 months ago

Looks like the formula for any success this year will be playing lock down d-- hold opponents below 60 and melt some clock. I cannot foresee this line up scoring 70+ very often

Jabez Harlan 8 years, 7 months ago

Is it too much to ask for this year's team to make a commitment to defense? If KU can become a defense first team and form its identity around defense, I can see this team going far.

This team must defend the perimeter and play the passing lanes. It must force turnovers to create easy offense. Otherwise I see a lot of double and triple teams on T-rob and a bogged down offense.

Start with defense!! defense!! Defense!!!

falcon1 8 years, 7 months ago

The Hawks will make the commitment on the defensive end. Taylor, Johnson, and Releford will be able to pressure effectively out high and create points that way. I also expect Tharpe and Young in particular to pressure effectiely with their athleticism as the season progresses. I am still of the mind that we just need to mix in a little more zone than in the past in order to accomodate our lineups more effectively this season. The Hawks will be fine. Look at the Big 12 teams that some think will make more noise than KU. Some have picked Baylor to win the league and perform at a top-10 level. They certainly are good on paper-but they were good on paper last year at this time also. They missed the tournament. So they are less than a dependable choice to win the league even with the blue-chippers on their roster. Who else is being talked about? A&M and Missouri each have solid teams but both have new coaching staffs and will need to adjust accordingly. Look at the roster Texas will trot out there. Their best player seems to be a pass-first freshman point guard. I don't see many dynamic scorers he is going to dish-off to this season-at least not enough to win the league or make an impactful run in the NCAA. Then there is KU. Veteran athletes return. The best staff in the league by a mile will coach them each day. They have a home-court advantage second to none. I'm pretty sure the sky isn't falling.

Dyrk Dugan 8 years, 7 months ago

going to be a rough year. there's no other way to say it. we're too thin, unless Self loosens up on his "seven or eight" man rotation wheel....he must up the tempo and play everyone...otherwise, we'll have little chance at the end of games.

no experience and no scoring. 10 points a game....from a guy who never played here before. this is not good. McLemore and Traylor ineligible, that's fairly unbelievable that we recruited three kids...not one but THREE ...who couldn't cut it to make it so they could play in college. It's no one fault but Self's ...he's the one who signed off on these kids.

Yes, they'll be in the fold for next year....and they'll have to be. We'll go from eight to 13 overnight. Landing Muhammad would be nice. that would truly be something to look forward to with Perry and Nino hopefully.

Nope, you're looking at a rough year Jayhawk nation. get ready for it. get ready for 10-8, 9-9 in the league, and squeaking into the NCAA tourney...and right now, that would be just fine with me.

John Hunt 8 years, 7 months ago

A couple things:

1) Is anyone else as stoked as I am for the Kentucky game? I think we can handle them. I'd take T-Rob in any match-up Calipari throws against him, although those freshmen Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist are studs. Still, T-Rob's got both strength and experience on his side, so he should be able to anchor at least part of the post. Withey's development is what will really come to light in this game. If he can finally live up to his potential and become a potent complement to T-Rob this season, this Kansas team can go for miles, especially with Kevin Young, a relatively unknown commodity who may just prove to be a game-changer. As for the perimeter game, I would actually be surprised if Releford didn't become a big-time player this season. Defense, athleticism, scoring ability — it's all there, and he's been nothing but patient waiting his turn. He may have to deal with defending Terrence Jones, which is an unenviable task, but if there's anyone on our team I'd entrust with that job, it's Releford. At the 2, Elijah vs. Doron Lamb is yet another intriguing match-up, since most of us have EJ pegged as a candidate for a break-out scoring season. Both are apt shooters from distance, both pure 2's. EJ may have the slight edge in bounce. As for Tyshawn vs. Marquis Teague, I'll actually take Tyshawn. Teague has far more upside, but he seems to be a bit of a rawer product, and while I expect him to exhibit a sharp learning curve (most of Calipari's blue-chip PG's do), Tyshawn should use his experience to his advantage. UK does have an overwhelming advantage in terms of depth and overall talent, but, as I've just spent a paragraph long-windedly positing, I think we have more than a good chance against UK in only the second game of the season. Can you imagine the explosion of confidence our boys would experience if they managed to upend the #2 team in the country early on? From an intangible perspective, it's a pivotal game.

2) Incidentally, I've grown so indescribably weary of the Keegan-hating. I'll admit some of the criticism is warranted (the "emergency halftime article" for the KU-OSU game was absurd), but when even his genuinely sound journalistic efforts are decried, such as his "Taylor's ready to lead" column whose first fan comment was "Have enough time on your hands?" — it becomes childish. If I could press a button and weed out all the Keegan complaints, I'd enjoy the boards a whole lot more. I'd say most of us come for the admirable insight of which KU fans are so obviously capable. Not to hear Tom Keegan bashing.

Whew.

Anyways, I'm both excited and intrigued for the upcoming season. Rock Chalk, as always!

falcon1 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm as optimistic as you about that contest. We can deal with them and that would put us on the map for a long time this year. T-Jones and Doran Lamb are outstanding athletes but neither of them have overwhelming offensive ability. Keep T-Jones off the glass and see how productive he is. How good of a shooter is Lamb? That's a real question mark for Kentucky. Is Teague as good as Knight was last year? Another question mark. (By the way, Knight wasn't very good until at least January). In November, we are a more experienced team than them all things considered. I like the idea of taking the floor at MSG with a hungry team of twenty-somethings as opposed to a bunch of teenagers like UK. We can do that game.

falcon1 8 years, 7 months ago

Up the tempo? Play more than eight guys each night? Nope. That won't happen as the season progesses and in the key games. We will succeed beyond your prediction myjayhawk by playing our top players, not by extending the rotation to players who are VERY borderline D-1 talents. KU will do much better than you think, but not by taking your advice. It's much more important to find ways to keep your best performers on the floor than to try to play "kamakazie" ball with people who have little business being out there for extended stretches of time. The key is to GRIND. I'm confident coach Self will agree. As someone pointed out on this strand, Calipari only went about 6-7 deep all year last year. They made the Final 4. Coach Self isn't going to pretend we have great depth. He is going to find creative ways to keep 8, sometimes 9 guys fresh each night.

Scott Kaiser 8 years, 7 months ago

KU Football is a joke. Best to hope for a basketball winning season.

Kye Clark 8 years, 7 months ago

Not sure why anyone offering criticism and/or predicting less than a Big XII championship is considered a naysayer, a fair-weather fan, a negative nancy, etc. I have made this argument before - just because we don't have crimson & blue colored glasses on and sing nothing but praises for the state of Kansas basketball does not make any of us less of a fan. We will continue to care just as much as we have before, will cheer just as loudly, will remain as proud as ever. We will wear our jerseys and other Jayhawk gear win or lose with our heads held high. That being said, not every post on here is going to be "so-and-so is going to surprise everyone and we'll be fine."

Bottom line - from a talent standpoint this is the lowest the program has been in recent memory. Is this even an arguable point? Forget McDonald's All-Americans, if I'm not mistaken we have only one former 5-star recruit (EJ). I fully expect someone to counter this by trashing the recruiting websites' rating systems. Fine. But 8 players recruited to be on scholarship? At some point the fact has to sink in that this team doesn't have the horses. Many fans and this article are pointing to teams from years past where winning the Big XII might have seemed unrealistic. The difference is those teams were infused with lots of incoming talent. This team is not. And as has also been pointed out, this is problematic for future teams. We're not a young team in development mode, with players we can expect to be the leaders of really good teams down the line. This will not be a team similar to the young squad that looked awful in Maui several years ago. That team was filled with Freshman & Sophomores that were still adjusting to the college game. The core of this team are all upperclassmen. We have long since pointed to this 2012 recruiting class as critical to future success. It is now even more so. Perry is a nice start, but if we are to hope for a National Championship anytime soon there had better be another 2-3 star-caliber players coming from that class. And I haven't heard anything regarding BMac & Jamari...are we certain they're sticking around for next year? Or could they possibly leave to go play somewhere that accepts partial qualifiers (Conference USA schools, Jucos, etc) where they could play right away? Regardless, I don't think it's being "fair-weather" to be concerned that we might slip a little bit from the in-conference success we have grown accustomed to. This is to say nothing of the fact that we are all hoping to aspire to a return to greater success in the NCAA tournament and those aspirations certainly have been dampened.

Kye Clark 8 years, 7 months ago

While re-reading thought maybe I'd need to clarify. We need 2 or 3 more players to sign from the 2012 recruiting class who are star-caliber.

Kye Clark 8 years, 7 months ago

And just to expand a little bit on the recruiting issue and why this year might not be on-par with the level of success we have been spoiled with in year's past, the recruiting has been slowly trending downward for years. To put it simply, the shelf has not been getting restocked (or "reloaded") as amply as it used to be. Following the '08 year, we lost our starting 5 and Sasha Kaun. But Self brought in the Morris Twins (not 5-star rated recruits but both top 50), Tyshawn, & Releford (both top 100), as well as JUCO player of the year Mario Little. Two years ago we lost two lottery picks in Cole Aldrich & Xavier Henry, as well as Sherron Collins, and all Self brings in is Josh Selby & Royce Woolridge. This past year we lose two more lottery picks in the Twins, and Josh Selby. And we are only bringing in Tharpe and Kevin Young. I'm excited to see them play, but it's not unfair to point out that we haven't brought in a recruiting class (meaning more than one player) that really excited the fan base since Sherron & Shady.

The other major concern, as it pertains to this year's squad, is injuries. The article starts by crediting Andrea Hudy with keeping us "more healthy" (healthier maybe? LOL) than most teams. Now I love what Hudy has done here, but is she doing anything different than last year? Last year...when Tyrel, TT, EJ, Releford, & Selby all had injury issues. Given how snake-bitten we were last year by the injury bug it is perfectly understandable to be leery about keeping the core of this team on the court all season long. We are one TRob injury away from being middle of the pack in a down Big XII conference.

I'm ready to see some games. To see EJ, Releford, & Withey all get their minutes. No excuses for these guys now. I'm excited for the new year. But I'm also keeping my expectations grounded. The good thing about doing that is, I can allow myself to do what Bill Self suggested and enjoy the ride. At least...that is my hope.

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