Monday, October 24, 2011

Bill Self: Practices leave thin Jayhawks ‘gassed’


Kansas University’s 13 basketball players practiced bright and early Saturday morning, before attending the Jayhawks’ home football game against Kansas State.

“We went an hour and 45 minutes, and we were totally gassed, in large part because there’s no subs,” ninth-year KU coach Bill Self said at halftime on the Jayhawk Radio Network. “We’re not deep. We’re thin. This is a totally different type team. We don’t have the depth we’ve had in the past, but I really like our guys.”

So far, Self has not asked any former KU players who have been locked out by the NBA to help fill in at practice.

“No, we haven’t done that. We’ve gone with what we’ve got,” said Self, who will be on the lookout for possible big-man additions at upcoming walk-on tryouts. The Jayhawks, of course, will gain some practice relief in mid-December, when partial qualifiers Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor will be allowed to practice, but not play in games, until next season in accordance with NCAA rules.

“At Tulsa my first year, we went on road trips with six players. Seriously, we went with six, and we had one reserve sitting on the bench, and we played great,” Self said of a Tulsa team that went 19-12 overall and 9-5 in the league. “It was unbelievable how well we played. Of course, if you get foul problems, it can get real ugly real soon. It will be so important (big men) Thomas (Robinson) and Jeff (Withey) be in such great shape they can play 30 minutes a game, which is totally different for these guys. If we had one more big guy, I think it could take a little bit of pressure off them. Justin Wesley is kind of becoming that,” he added of the 6-8 Lamar transfer.

So far, Self has been pleased with the work of his main players at practice. KU has eight recruited scholarship players who are eligible, 10 scholarship players overall with Wesley and Conner Teahan on grants this year.

“Thomas is doing well. He tries so hard, and he wants to be coached. He wants to get better,” Self said of 6-10 junior Robinson. “I do think he’ll have some growing pains. Defenses will be designed to stop him or slow him down. You now have two 6-10 guys running at you, trapping every time you catch it in the scoring area. I think he’s up to the challenge.

“Tyshawn has been fabulous so far. I should probably knock on wood or my head or something,” Self added of senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor. “He’s a guy who is living up to what we thought he could be right now. I look at our league and don’t know all the personnel yet because there’s so much turnover from last year and how they all fit, (but) who is better at point guard than Tyshawn? (Myck) Kabongo, they say, at Texas has a chance to be. Tyshawn from a talent standpoint is right up there. Elijah (Johnson) may be the most talented point guard, other than Sherron (Collins) that we’ve recruited. He can run, jump, slide, change directions, explosiveness, catch and shoot, get to the paint, vision ... he can do a lot of things.

“Travis (Releford) is probably going to be as good a ‘steal-you-an-extra possession-guy’ as we have in our league, which every team has to have one of those. His stroke has improved so much.

“And Jeff (Withey) is talented. I just don’t think Jeff always plays as tough. He’s talented. It’s easy to be talented when you are playing 15 minutes, playing in short spurts, and you know you are coming out and let it go, than if you are playing 30 minutes a game. Can you extend those short spurts into long spurts? That’s what we’re struggling with a little right now with Jeff. I really like those guys, our first five. I don’t want to lock them into being the first five because things can change. they have separated themselves with (Conner) Teahan being right there.”

KU will continue practicing all week with the first exhibition game set for Nov. 1. The Jayhawks will meet Pittsburg State in a 7 p.m. tipoff in Allen Fieldhouse.


ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 3 months ago

My guess is Bill Self left the game right after giving that interview!

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

I found our big body on the football team. He's 6"7 270!!!! He plays basketball and the

Julius Green

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Vacation is sooo very nice. See you next week. Going to big D this weekend

LaJHawk666 8 years, 3 months ago

I wonder when the last time Bill Self was "on the lookout for possible big-man additions" at the walk-on tryouts? Some KU kid may have his dream come true. Is there a chance of finding someone decent? At least a respectable practice guy?

Btw, I changed the wikipedia depth chart for KU's 2011-2012 season. It listed Merv as a PF and Young as a SF; I switched those two around. I also moved Conner from SF to SG and put him ahead of Garrett. If Traylor was playing I would have put him in at the PF and had Young as the SF ahead of Merv, but I thought Young was better in the PF, plus, I felt better having four guys listed as big men instead of three, though I understand the reality. Young seems more like a SF but he'll probably have to guard some PFs. What do yo guys think? Is this the correct depth chart?

Also, in the article it mentioned that Ben could start practicing after first semester, but it didn't mention Traylor...aren't they in the same boat? Has it been officially stated that Traylor will be practicing after 1st semester?


Dirk Medema 8 years, 3 months ago

The article now lists both BMac & Traylor as practicing 2nd semester. It's my understanding that they are in the same boat.

Priest Fontaine 8 years, 3 months ago

We need a big body from the student body! Where's the next Christian Moody! or maybe a couple big fellas from the football team can take turns bruising Jeff W into a man? Can't Danny practice a little? Wayne? Pollard? Ostertag?

yates33333 8 years, 3 months ago

Wouldn't it be wonderful is there were a Christian Moody enrolled at KU and Self found him. Moody was without doubt the walk-on-wonder of basketball.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 3 months ago

I would like for Self to find the next "Horny Toad".........Jeff Hornacek! Pretty darn good collegiate and pro career for being a walk-on! "The Mayor" in Fred Hoiberg wasn't bad either.

lee3022 8 years, 3 months ago

But Moody needed years to get playing time. Can we expect a new walk-on to be productive the first year? Moody shot .357 in his first year (1 for 6). He blew up his Junior year.

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Julius Green from Houston Texas. A freshman Defensive end. 6"7 270 sounds like a bruiser

Pam McCormick 8 years, 3 months ago

He was called the best walk on ever by some announcer on national TV. He was awesome and knew his limitations. He just missed too many free throws against Misery in one game

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 3 months ago

Has to be one of the worst player analysis I've heard in a while mangino.. Billy Packer was the announcer and he said it twice.. 11pts/7rbs and Chevrolet Player of the Game at Kentucky. Good passer who minimized mistakes while making the most of his skills. Not a star by any means..but an overachiever who's name is preceded with Dr. Every team wants players like that.

texashawk10 8 years, 3 months ago

Christian Moody was an invited walk-on, he didn't make the team through open tryouts. I honest don't remember the last big-man to make the team through open tryouts. Moody and Kleinmann were both invited walk-ons for KU and I don't remember other big-men walk-ons. Jordan Juenemann and Brad Witherspoon are the only two players I can think of that have made the team through open try-outs in recent memory.

REHawk 8 years, 3 months ago

I don't follow football, so am unaware of tall players on our current squad. Surely, there is someone there who might be happy to spend the winter months engaged in a winning situation. Maybe a juco tight end who graduates at semester and can transfer in to bolster our big man corps? Is Bill Self hanging on to one remaining scholarship? This thin squad presents an ideal season for a Justin Wesley or Kevin Young to step up and glean substantial game minutes. Coach hasn't mentioned Kevin in his last two posts regarding the lineup. Jeff, Conner and the other 4 are "separating themselves" from the other group. I'd say that speaks mostly to defense and becoming automatic in feeding the ball inside out.

REHawk 8 years, 3 months ago

Or perhaps wily Bill is purposefully keeping all newcomers off the radar....

jartiv 8 years, 3 months ago

thats a good idea... giving up an average of 45 a game is pretty good in basketball

Matt Kenton 8 years, 3 months ago

I found him- Riley Spencer! 6-7, 300 lbs. Played basketball in HS and had a cousin play at Emporia State. Don't know if he can jump, but surely he can push guys out of the paint.

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 3 months ago

Since the NBA is probably not going to be executing any rookie contracts this season, the NCAA should make a bold move. Those who declared for the NBA draft should be allowed to return to their college teams with eligibility for this one season unless they have become pros in a league elsewhere. This bold move would serve to keep the rookies in shape and to further enhance their value to their respective league teams. On the flip side, it would acheive the obvious benefits. The only down side would be the incoming college players who would have to settle for fewer minutes of PT but would gain great experience from the returning NBA draftees.

Somebody should pitch this to the NCAA and the NBA.

JHawk74 8 years, 3 months ago

Nice thought but there is all kinds of things wrong with it. They all have agents and have been getting paid from endorsements. If we allow these rookies to come back than we might as well let anyone comeback that has college eligibility left. There are a ton of players in the NBA that only played a few years of college ball. Heck even Paul Pierce could back for his senior season this year.

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 3 months ago

Obviously, all hypothetical "what ifs". But, I wouldn't expect that a guy who has or had a professional contract should ever return to a college court for any reason to play in a scheduled competition. Remaining eleigibility is forfeited when that first dollar is paid. In this situation, a player could potentially never sign a contract, remember the Xavier Henry dilema where he didn't sign a contract with the Grizzlies for a few months? Now, players like Selby have not even been declared as having been acceptable to their team and could not be picked up at all. Under the circumstances, the drafted players have no dog in the fight between the League and the player's group. They could potentially walk away with nothing. So, the prospect of them being allowed to pick up where they left off in college under these extraordinary should be considered. The draft rights could be retained for the next season and some sort of protection could be executed for that contingency.

lee3022 8 years, 3 months ago

I get your intent. But the point raised is the practice of agents providing interest-free loans to players before they sign their first contract. The unsigned rookies flying around the country to play in charity games are likely flying on somebody else's money and staying in hotels and eating meals on somebody else's money. To the NCAA these are professionals already because they have been baptized (with money) by agents.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

I checked football roster. There are several 6'6" to 6'8" guys between 250-275.

Add three to basketball roster. Use them as base line of 2-3 zone either to give starters 3 minute blows, or to set starters fouled up.

Also bring them the minute the opponent tries roughing our guys up.

D1 is now rough enough that football players could play this contingency role.

Turner, Self has supported to keep the hyenas from calling for your job. Time to help Self.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 3 months ago

Terrific idea .. just a big body. Perhaps a "3 fouls in 4 minutes" type guy.

There are surely a few big football players that can play the game.

From my days at Robinson, there always seemed to be more than a few.

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, and right now, these guys are wanting to beat up on somebody, even if it's a fellow Jayhawk! Serious consideration should be given to the consequences that could backfire, leaving us even thinner.

Chris Shaw 8 years, 3 months ago

There has to be poor man's Julius Pepper or a David Noel somewhere out there on the football squad, right?

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

Got to be.

And these football players would surely love to taste what winning is like right about now.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 3 months ago

The 3-2 was great as a change-up in 2008, with Rush up top, in the middle. Perfect spot for Releford.

The 3-2 is better if you have two legit big guys .. Robinson and Withey. If one is out, I'd go with the 2-3.

But my favorite is the 1-3-1. More trapping opportunities. A bit more risk.

Don't hold your breath, though .. we've seen Self tease us with a full court zone press, etc., but he is a pure man-to-man coach. A clear disdain for the zone.

lee3022 8 years, 3 months ago

Zone defenses are good for change-up. But the college line is short and most teams have at least one lights-out shooter who will bury your defense. You can keep players out of the paint with a zone. You cannot stop them from shooting over you.

It is the reason no pro team plays primary zone and very few college teams as well. Syracuse is a notable exception from a coach who has been recognized as a master of the subject.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

Actually the pros play zone almost continuously. They call it a switching m2m. They perfected this fake m2m back before they were allowed to zone. Now that they are allowed to zone, they alternate among zone, fake m2m and actual m2m constantly to keep the offenses guessing.

Now as for zone in college, 100 persuaded me a couple years ago that the reason so few teams play zone is not the distance of the stripe. Match-up zones and simply playing 3-2 zone can adequately guard the stripe and force shooters out 3-5 beyond the stripe, just as m2m can do.

The reason is that playing zone the way it has to be played in D1 and the pros takes incredible conditioning and even with it triggers lots of leg and arm fatigue.

I thought 100 was crazy at first, because when I played zone defenses in high school and kiddie leagues that was the time I dogged it and just stood around a lot. And it is what happens in all kiddy leagues across this great land of ours.

But at D1 level, and the pros, effective zone defense requires players keep chopping their feet and moving greater lineal distances with ball movement than does m2m. I watched this for awhile and I believe 100 is right.

The on ball defender of an m2m defense moves a ton with the ball, and those guarding cutters have to chase, but the rest of the man defenders, especially the guys two passes away, are sagging way off and running way less and sliding less than the all the guys in a zone are all the time.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

So: I suspect what we have here is an energy budget limitation. If you play zone all the time, you wind up having less energy for the offensive end that, say, playing even Self's particularly demanding man2man.

To play a zone well, as one must, if one relies it on one's bread and butter defense, requires more energy than even a sticky m2m.

Most teams are not as flush with talent as KU was last season. UK, for all Cal's recruiting rep cannot keep his cupboard full enough to play a zone all the time.

Boeheim has always had a ton of talent to grab out of NYC and NY state, and surrounding major population centers and so I think that's why he plays it.

The zone definitely frustrates most offenses. It is kind of like the knuckle ball of basketball. But there are hitters who get the hang of hitting knuckle balls and there are some teams that get the hang of scoring on zones. Self's teams often shred zones after the first or second time they have seen one each season.

What a zone is good for, in Self Ball, or any other style, is this: when your bigs get tired, or fouled up, or both, but you need to keep 'em in the game, then the zone is good to resort to if you use it kiddy league style, i.e., you don't ask the guys to play it optimally, with maximum energy, but rather to use it to rest on the floor.

Zones are good to use intermittently to cause an opponent recognition problems, too.

But in the final analysis, I side with 100: they are inefficient in terms of energy budget.

UmbertoConforti 8 years, 3 months ago

Just as long as they don't have to block or tackle JB's idea might work. Hyenas my arse!! Also forget about the "roughing up" business.

Jabez Harlan 8 years, 3 months ago

You must be starved for decent literature...let me guess, you read Time, Newsweek, and your local paper along with Jaybate?

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

No, he hangs on "your" every word. And you must be the child of his sister and father. :-)

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

Just kidding.

hihawk may become my next special project though.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago


I kind of like the typo. Something about it amuses me...something Archie Bunker might have typed were he alive and malapropping about impotence with Meat Head on the internet. :-)

But my congeniality stops there.

I just read a car mag story where a guy drove and towed an old Citroen from NYC to a French town up in New Foundland noted for being the only place in North America where there has been a state execution by guillotine. Go up there and get caught for some crime, or other. I would enjoy reading about you getting a clean cut.


Steve Brown 8 years, 3 months ago

The positive of being thin in the ranks:

It was unfair to me or a great level that March madness games had extended TV timeouts so that when we went into March 35-3 and 2-3 deep at every position against a scrappy mid major with only 5-6 talented guys they would always catch their breath during the extended time outs.

This year that pace of play, may help us for the first time. Yet, lots of bball between now and then, enjoy the ride.

flyingfinn 8 years, 3 months ago

Seems to me that Butler played very thin for 2 years and it turned out pretty good for them.

Mel Clare 8 years, 3 months ago

This team will be thin but alot of fun to watch. I think we can still win 23 games. Say 23-6 or so................It will be fun to watch. BUT wait till next year with Ellis and Peters down low and BIG! Peters HAS the football mentality! McLemore and Traylor having a semester of practice and summer of pick years team will rock!

Robert Brock 8 years, 3 months ago

What in God's name are you babbling about? We already know that Self prefers veterans over inexperience and we already knew about Morningstar's limitations. Last year's team was a victory away from a Final Four birth and was not about giving guys minutes for the sake of it. Not to mention, Releford was hampered by injuries for a good stretch and Elijah Johnson was ultra raw and lost. It would have been nice to give him more minutes, but that is not Self's MO and the team was gelling nicely going into March.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

Copy and paste. You get more out of a what in god's name are you talking about than I do in all of my crafted epithets. :Hat's off to ya.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 3 months ago

Elijah Johnson was ultra raw...

as a Sophomore!

Another guard who has struggled under Self.

If he hadn't been yanked so often by HCBS in his first 2 years at KU, the 5 star guard might have had the confidence he needed.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago


It seems good he gave a lot of minutes to Tyshawn all season, Thomas all season, Elijah on the back nine, or we'd really be in trouble, right? :-)

And Self would have played Travis a ton, if Trav had not really maimed his ankle.

And Withey? Well, he tried to play Jeff all season, but Jeff got sick, lost his strength, and finally lost all his focus.

Self couldn't play Conner last season, because he red shirted him rightly anticipating a need for an extra wing man with a gun.

I suppose you wanted him to sit draft choices like the Twins and Selby.

But I am reasoning with you as if you were not indolent.

Shame on me.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 3 months ago

If I only knew what 'indolent' meant..I would argue or agree : )

KULA 8 years, 3 months ago

You're absolutely right hihawk and it's exactly what I've be complaining about on this board for the last two years. I won't go so far as to say poorest coaching ever, but Self totally wasted his opportunities to develop the younger players and have them ready to contribute. With one of the highest margin of victory averages for the last two years, he's had more game minutes to burn than almost any other coach in the NCAA. I give him credit for a great job developing Cole in the 08 season. Remember when Cole would come in most games at the eight minute mark of each half for about four minutes. Remember how that paid off in the tournament? So why wasn't Withey developed the same way? Especially when Cole was only good for about 25 minutes anyway. Was Withey really that bad that you couldn't risk 4-8 for him in a conference game? Not that I saw whenever he played. What's the worst that could happen? Lose a conference game? Heaven forbid! And the same with EJ. Should've been spotting Sherron 8 min/game with our 20 pt leads, instead of playing Sherron 35 min/game and burning out his legs. How'd that work out for you in the tournament, when Sherron couldn't throw it in the ocean. I guess about the same as it did for Brady after his 30 plus minutes in a 20 pt blowout. Couldn't throw it in the ocean against VCU 2 days later.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

Ooops, in which KULA backslides.

Repeat after me: "When guys can protect, defend, and not hurt the team more than they help it they play.

Here is another heuristic 4 U: If I have no competition, then I get to play no matter how bad I am. If I have competition, then I have to be at least one net benefit greater than my competition, or I have to sit and wait my chance.

A final heuristic: training players that are not as good as their teammates, but who might be someday better, during games still in doubt is a sure way not to win 83% of your games over a 8 year tenure, or win a ring either.

If you master these heuristics of hoops, you are going to enjoy basketball and life more.

I promise. :-)

KULA 8 years, 3 months ago

So how'd that work out for you in the tournament?

kerbyd 8 years, 3 months ago

"He was a total lose???....some of the poorest coaching ever do???

SaulGood 8 years, 3 months ago

This post makes absolutely no sense to me, so please help if you can. Are you sure you weren't reading Mizzou's fanboy boards?

kerbyd 8 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, was responding to hihawk's above bablings and it got put down here for some reason.

SaulGood 8 years, 3 months ago

I absolutely love that Self is not bringing in people who won't be on the bench for games. Always take the pessimistic approach with conditioning, and assume you have further to go to be game-ready.

Question - Do Traylor and McLemore lose a year of eligibility, or does their "partial qualifier" status have them treated as a redshirt? Looking forward to a reply from the many sages on the board.

LaJHawk666 8 years, 3 months ago

The way I heard it from an earlier LJW article is that, as partial qualifiers, they can have a fifth year if they graduate after four years (their "redshirt" year and three playing years). So the fourth playing year would academically be their first year of grad school.

I doubt Ben will be here that long but Traylor could be. It's kind of funny thinking about Traylor and his three high schools and qualifying "partially" being in grad school. What are the common majors for jocks besides communications?

On a final note, Braedon wouldn't have had any problems graduating in four years and starting grad school--I believe he said he wants to be a doctor.

lee3022 8 years, 3 months ago

For those who like KU to run, this might be a year when that is curtailed even more to save energy and offensive fouls. TT and T-Rob are greyhounds along with Elijah. They can run really well on the fast break. But we need them strong in the 2nd half. Does this fit?

Ben Simonett 8 years, 3 months ago

We're thin, and our best player has a history of foul trouble....

its going to be a long season

texashawk10 8 years, 3 months ago

The Morris twins had a history of foul trouble as well when they were only required to play 15 minutes a game as well. Last year, KU had four foul outs all season long so I'd say the twins learned how to play without fouling as their minutes increased. I have little doubt T-Rob will be able to handle playing 30+ minutes without getting into foul trouble too frequently.

Markieff averaged a foul every 5.5 minutes his freshman season, 6.8 minutes his sophomore year, and 8.5 minutes his junior season.

Marcus averaged a foul every 7.3 minutes his freshman season, 9.5 minutes his sophomore year, and 11 minutes his junior season.

T-Rob averaged a foul every 5.5 minutes his freshman season, 7.2 minutes his sophomore season.

T-Rob improved his fouls per minute ratio last year at a rate similar to the twins and if he's playing about 35 minutes a game and averages about 9-10 minutes per foul, he'll be just fine.

jaybate 8 years, 3 months ago

"The hihawk Interview"


hihawk: i got not ideation whut ewe ridiculatin' about, jeybait. Ewe r a igoramoose an eye dunt like ewe. Phuc U Dong, jeybait. is my Veeeetnameeeese friend, who I eat dog with eveee Satiday nite with. Phuc U Dong feeedz me dog liver and wok fried dog tale in exchange I giv him no ledge about biscuitbowel. We alluz talk abowt ewe. I sez u no no thing. He sez he agreez, because I am 2 stewpud to know he liez to me...


(Note: All feriction. No malace. Er, I mean: all fiction, no malice.)

Andrew Washington 8 years, 3 months ago

we're thin, but still talented...maybe we even knock off kentucky early

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