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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jeff Withey-Elijah Johnson next 1-2 punch?

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Kansas center Jeff Withey gets on the floor for a loose ball with Kansas State forward Rodney McGruder during the second half on Monday, Feb. 13, 2012 at Bramlage Coliseum. At right is KU guard Elijah Johnson.

During this season’s run to the national championship game in New Orleans, Kansas University standouts Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson were KU’s top two scorers in 20 of the 39 games the Jayhawks played.

Remarkable? Ridiculous? Hard to fathom?

The better question might be, is it fair to expect two players to do such a thing again next year?

Fair or not, several Jayhawks said after KU’s loss to Kentucky on Monday night in the Superdome that returning seniors-to-be Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey could assume the roles left by Taylor, a senior, and Robinson, a junior who is expected to forgo his senior season and enter the NBA Draft.

“I could see that,” junior Travis Releford said Monday. “I could see that happening because that’s how it’s been in the past. Guys leave, other guys step up. And it’s going to continue to be like that at a program like Kansas.”

Although not exactly the same as the 1-2 punch of Taylor and Robinson, physically or emotionally, Johnson and Withey bring similar skills from similar positions. Johnson, like Taylor, is a tall guard with great athleticism who is capable of driving to the rim and knocking down outside shots. The 7-foot Withey, though not nearly as chiseled as Robinson, has great size and an improving post game. He also grew to enjoy hurting the rim with highlight slam dunks.

“They’re definitely different players,” senior Conner Teahan said Monday. “But, at the same time, in terms of importance, I think that could happen. I think Elijah can lead a team from the point-guard position very easily, and I think that Jeff can be somebody that you can throw the ball into in the post. This year just gave him more and more experience.”

While Robinson (17.7 points per game) and Taylor (16.6) led the Jayhawks in scoring, Johnson (10.2) and Withey (9.0) were not far behind. Because of his performance in KU’s final eight games of the season, when he averaged 15.1 points, led the team in scoring twice and reached double figures in all eight of the Jayhawks’ Big 12 and NCAA Tournament games, Johnson’s season average does not seem to fit. Many of his current teammates believe that stretch will go down as the springboard to a big senior season.

“He blossomed in this tournament,” Teahan said of Johnson. “He understood what it meant to be aggressive. He was always aggressive in terms of taking shots but not always in terms of getting to the basket and wanting the ball in the last minutes when great players make the plays. But he was in the tournament, and hopefully he just keeps this momentum going into next year.”

In the locker room following the loss to Kentucky, both Johnson and Withey said they would be back at Kansas for their senior seasons. And both already were looking ahead to how they could take on a larger role.

“Obviously (I’ll work on) my offensive game,” Withey said. “I don’t think I was too much of an offensive threat this year. A little bit here and there, maybe, but not what I’m capable of. So for next year, offensively, I’m going to try to get better and stronger and try and look like T-Rob. That’s the game plan.”

Asked if he thought KU’s future top duo could have the same type of chemistry that Taylor and Robinson enjoyed throughout the past couple of seasons, Withey said there was no question about it.

“Definitely,” he said. “Me and Elijah get along really well. I love the guy. He’s a great point guard, we’ll both be seniors, and we’ll have a great team next year. I’m really excited for the opportunity to be a leader. If we keep on getting better, I think this experience will only make us more hungry for next year.”

That’s the way teammates see things.

“Because of their experience and what they’ve done this year, there’s no way that they won’t be better players than what they were this year,” freshman guard Naadir Tharpe said. “That’s only going to help us get back to this point.”

Comments

Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 7 months ago

Onward and upward, as ever, Jayhawks!

With Travis, Elijah, Jeff, Kevin and the rest of the returning crew being bolstered by a strong recruiting class, I like our prospects A LOT!!!

How many days till Midnight Madness???

Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!!!

Steve Quatrocky 2 years, 7 months ago

An experienced core of EJ, Jeff and Trav plus the incoming recruits is enough in itself but the secret weapons will be BMac and Jamari who are much better than "incoming Freshmen". They have already spent a year in the Hudey weight room and have been practicing with this years team so they will be able to play in their first year instead of thinking about what they should be doing and will already appreciate the importance of D in the KU Program unlike typical Freshmen who have to learn all those lessons sitting the bench as their eligibility has already begun ticking away.

This years team was sooooo important to the future of KU Basketball as they demonstrated just how important Coach Self's philosophy of Defense and Rebounding really is. Defense wins Championships as evidenced by the 2008 squad who also had skads of Offensive talent but this year's team was the thinnest roster yet but went much further than the last couple of years when we heard Coach complaining about soft post Defensive Effort from the Twins. Now, no matter how much Offensive Talent we have in any year, it will be pretty easy to get them to buy in on defensive toughness.

I will always have a soft spot for this years team, thanks for a ride all the way to our 14th Final Four and letting us savor every second of this 8th straight Big 12 Championship season, win or lose in the NC Game, you played to the very end, there were no more games to play!

FoCoCoHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

As much as I'm looking forward to next year, I'm not quite ready to let go of this team of Finalists yet. Nor do I expect this feeling to go away soon...if ever. I want to know if TRob hires an agent (if he doesn't...well, hope springs eternal). I want up to the minute mock draft results for TT. And is it too much to ask to have a pic of Teahan's girlfriend? This was a very special team and I look forward to following them for quite some time. So with the combined resources of the posters in here, I want to be kept informed. Videos, links, rumors...I want it all.

As well as stuff about Jeff bulking up, EJ developing left-handed three-pointers, KY tearing down backboards etc. I love our returnees, I welcome the incoming players but I treasure the guys leaving this year.

My girlfriend will never understand but I don't care.

VaJay 2 years, 7 months ago

I can see why your girlfriend doesn't understand you if you're telling her EJ needs to develop left-handed three pointers. Huh? Maybe improved left-handed finishes at the rim.

Jocelyn Kennedy 2 years, 7 months ago

If you want a pic of Conner's girlfriend you could wait and watch her compete for Miss USA in June, as she is Miss Kansas USA or look for a pic that can be found on their website!

EverRisingHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm with you man - this team tugged at my heartstrings. They played like warrior poets. Hearkening back to William Wallace, "Ever team plays, but not every team really WINS." This team won in the fullest sense of the word.

ajhk 2 years, 7 months ago

We've seen both Withey and EJ explode in the tourney. I have plenty of Faith in both for next year.

EJ finally showed the type of slasher he can be in breaking down the D or going for the score. He's always had handles, ridiculous athleticism, distributing goggles, and confidence to knock down the needed trifecta. Nice to see a confident and very effective drive added to complete the package.

Just like AD did for Kentucky, we all know how Withey can turn a game while scoring very few pointsts. But... Withey also has a great shot and his scoring will increase as he undoubtedly will be taking more shots. His free throw percentage speaks of his good touch, but he also has great mechanics for a big man. Cole, for example, did not have good mechanics as his "wind up" created a lot of wasted motion, took too long and made it easy for a defender behind him to swipe it in the middle of his shot. disclaimer- not taking a shot at Cole, he gets much love.

Withey doesn't have the explosion (right now) to recover from a jump (rebound) and quickly get back up to dunk it but I'm sure he'll work on that. For the tall big with slightly slow feet, there is no better shot to master than a hook. work that hook Wit.

Releford has quietly taking on the role of facilitator and lock-down defender. I think He'll continue down this path. His frame reminds me of B-Rush and I think he'll be as feared of a defender next year.
Also: Hello spin move! I see Releford pulling up for more jumpers, though more importantly, slashing and drawing fouls. I see him rotating in at the 2 with B-Mac and the 3 with Perry. (Coach did say he's looking for Perry to play the 3 "...a big guard.")

All three of these studs will be solid players and leaders.

Sam Finocchiaro 2 years, 7 months ago

I will say in reply. Tyshawn Taylor is replaceable, very replaceable for that matter. Tyshawn was always, lets say, not the smartest player, he could produce, but not consitently. EJ will be better than TT. I think this because EJ is bigger, and can shoot the much needed trifecta. I think EJ is gunna be a solid player.

Michael Sillman 2 years, 7 months ago

Clearly Jayhawk nation has moved on to next season. It is fun to speculate about playing time.

I don't agree with some posters who have penciled new guys into starting roles. Self does not think that way. He will not sacrifice W's for developing young players. You must know his system to get off the bench

Obviously the returning players including Mclemore and Traylor have a big leg up on the recruits in terms of knowledge and conditioning. Even the best high school fitness training can't hold a candle to D1 training.

Don't count out Lindsay either. I was not surprised by Withey's success this year. He always looked good during mop up duty. Lindsay is my sleeper for next season. He has length, quickness, hops, and a nice looking shot. Reminds me of a young Tayshaun Prince, the old Kentucky star.

My starting five at the beginning of the season (to start an argument):

Johnson Releford Young Traylor Withey

First off the bench:

Mclemore Tharpe Ellis Lindsay

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Johnson

McLemore

Releford

Traylor, or Ellis

Withey

Next off the bench:

Young (at 3 or 4 position)

White, or Tharpe (depending on how soon Johnson needs a breather. Anrio is an unknown. Will he qualify? Could play back up PG, depending on how far Tharpe has progressed.)

Peters or Lucas (One of these two will most likely red-shirt. My guess Lucas)

Lindsay is an unknown commodity. If he can play decent defense, he'll get minutes. If not, red-shirt.

Note: If Parker were to select KU, that jumbles the entire equation. That also knocks away a scholarship from someone. Who?

oldalum 2 years, 7 months ago

That Bleacher Report or whatever it is says Shabazz' decision has leaked, and it's UCLA. Can't imagine why guys want to go there, unless they are still going on the old mystic.

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Combination of reputation (Coach Wooden's, not the current regime), plus who knows what outside influences - Hollywood glitz, partying with glamorous women and well known people, the weather (The partying aspect and drugs are what the SI article was centered around. Both of which show neglect by their head coach.) I'm sure smog wasn't brought into the Shabazz equation. Having Anderson (Top 2012 PG) already a UCLA lock, is also a huge factor. According to some, at 6' 8" he's supposed to be the second coming of Magic Johnson. And if Shabazz selects UCLA, there's a chance Parker could as well. That would likely propel UCLA ahead of Arizona for top recruiting class of 2012. Funny how one or two recruits can rescue a coach from being canned. If UCLA does get the nod(s), it goes to show how top recruits often select the school they'll attend? And it isn't always a coach's abilities or morality. There are very few head coaches who would have retained their position after what the SI article exposed about UCLA.

Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 7 months ago

Why not UCLA? Great environment that's itching for a return to the days. Better there than UK!

2 years, 7 months ago

It should be easy for him to pad his stat sheet in the Pac 'easy' and come out on top when he leaves next year for the NBA.

Andy Tweedy 2 years, 7 months ago

Self has always liked to have two ball handlers on the court at one time, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Tharpe starting next to Elijah. Travis and Withey clearly start, but from what I've read, Ellis is really a 4, so it could be him or Traylor.

Justin Daniel 2 years, 7 months ago

White plays before Lindsay. The kid can flat out shoot the ball.

Dr_Roach 2 years, 7 months ago

You my friend are absolutely diluted if you don't think Mclemore is starting. Good possibility for Ellis as well.

Johnson Releford Withey McLlemore Ellis

By Jan. this line-up would be nearly unstoppable.

Brian Powell 2 years, 7 months ago

exactly! took the words outta my mouf :P

Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 7 months ago

Diluted means to spread out so as to decrease volume. You mean deluded, my Jayhawk friend.

Michael Luby 2 years, 7 months ago

Yep, exactly what I was thinking too. Those guys are the starting 5 next year, plus what we will have off the bench!? They will chase another final four.

Brian Powell 2 years, 7 months ago

guards: EJ and BMac, 1,2 Bigs: Withey and either Traylor or Ellis 5,4 don't be surprised if Ellis earns it. wingman: Releford 3

Perfect :)) I really don't see KY starting over Bmac or Travis...

off the bench: Tharpe for EJ, Ellis/Traylor for the other, and Lucas P.?, KY for Rele. Justin W. bonus

We're gonna need better outside shooting, so I hope someone other than EJ and Releford can knock them down. BMac??

HawkKlaw 2 years, 7 months ago

BMac is an absolute scoring machine. He's got a great-looking shot. I don't think he's necessarily just an "outside shooter" (he's got a lot of length and athleticism to drive the lane), but he and Elijah will both have games where they get hot behind the arc.

Naadir also has great shooting form and can knock down three's. Look for him to get his chance to prove it next season.

Allan Olson 2 years, 7 months ago

Anybody remember Coach saying...during B-12 season...that McLemore & Traylor would have been in regular rotation if eligible. So, expect them to see major time in 2012-13. Ellis is best player in Kansas, White is # 1 or 2 in Virginia. Lucas is best in Oregon, Anrio in Washington. And Peters plays major time on a nationally rated H.S. power in Texas.

Next season's current 7-man "freshman" class is both the cake and the icing of a strong recruiting effort. Parker would be the cherry on top if he chooses KU.

Hopefully, Tharpe and Lindsay will make significant progress in skill sets and physical needs to gain playing time, or maybe fall by the wayside like Quintel and Royce. Lindsay either redshirts or transfer in 2012-13. Tharpe has golden opportunity as only pure point guard.

I say the two-deep will be... PG Elijah and Tharpe 2G McLemore and White 3G Releford and Young PF Ellis and Traylor C Withey and Peters [Parker?]

Redshirts Adams, Lucas, Lindsay

I personally hope we've seen the last of the one-and-dones. Getting a strong class of players that fit the SYSTEM and are coachable, means years, not a few months, of outstanding play. Sure wish Danny would still be coaching this group. But, just maybe Larry Brown wants to pull a Gene Keady at KU.

What a year. Sure demonstrates the value of juniors and seniors coming thru Coach's program for 3 to 4 years. Or 5 in Connor's case...and congrats on a wild dream realized by going to 2 final fours.

AaronHawk19 2 years, 7 months ago

No Way!

Johnson Releford Mclemore Ellis or Tony Parker (if he commits) Withey

Jamari Traylor is a 3 star talent and one semester with the team doesn't put him in over a McDonald's AA, 4 time Kansas Gatorade POY, 4 time state champion.

Young doesn't deserve to sniff Mclemore's jock strap. Ben is a next level player.

Lindsay? Really?

And where is ANDREW WHITE, a top 50 four star recruit!!

Weak sauce buddy.

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Obviously I'm not Hudy, or Coach Self, but I would speculate the following for this summer's workout needs:

EJ, @ 6'4" & 195 lbs, is probably about where he should be weight wise. At the most 10 lbs more in the upper body. Anymore and he might lose a little of his speed and leaping ability.

JW, @ 7' & 235 lbs, needs at least 20 lbs of muscle in his legs & maybe 5 - 10 in his upper body. I doubt he could gain that much over the summer, but he'll need it at the next level so why add it ASAP. That shouldn't effect his court speed, nor his blocking since he mostly stays grounded, using his length rather than his leaping to block shots. He'll need upper body strength if he's to retain rebounds, especially if TRob decides to head to the NBA.

KY, @ 6'8" & 185 lbs, needs more weight everywhere, maybe 15 lbs in the upper body & 5 -10 in the legs, although he's so quick to the ball on rebounds you have to wonder how more weight would effect that.

Releford, @ 6' 5" & 207 lbs, I'd say, is about where he should be weightwise. Maybe a few more lbs in the upper body.

Wesley, @ 6' 8" & 200 lbs, could use more weight, similar to KY, since he is expected to play power forward and will need to stand his ground in the lower paint area. Unfortunately, weight and speed aren't Justin's main problems, it's his need to reduce his fouling.

Traylor, @ 6' 7" & 215 lbs. At that weight, it doesn't sound like he would be very strong in the paint, and he might need more weight in the legs. However, he is a mystery to me, having not seen him play. I have no idea how well he has been able to hold his position during practices. But from the pictures I've seen, Jamari looks solid in the upper body.

Tharpe, @ 5' 11" & 170 lbs, would seem about right. Perhaps add 5 - 10 lbs in the upper body. He's about the same height as Collins, but is about 25 to 30 lbs lighter. Still, Sherron was able to speedball down the court pretty fast.

Lindsay, @ 6' 7" & 195 lbs, needs to gain both upper and lower body weight, mostly for defensive purposes. Again, since I've not seen Merv play much, he could be an unknown commodity and end up equal in status to Jeremy Case, who could shoot lights out, but was only used sparingly.

Just my two cents on weight training.

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Ooops, under Withey, I meant to say, "... so why not add it ASAP."

Jonathan Allison 2 years, 7 months ago

You're putting too much emphasis on upper body for the guards and not enough on legs. Legs are why Tyrel and Brady started and played more than Releford and Johnson, and they are how Conner was able to be in the rotation (he had no legs when he arrived). Because with building and toning the legs you increase lateral quickness and explosiveness.

For basketball players, football players, baseball players, tennis, volleyball, you name it... really pretty much all of the physical style sports their strength all starts with their base.

Johnson, Tharpe, Releford all need to start with their legs. It increases their lateral quickness and their explosiveness. Releford could build on his upper body as that will help him on his drives to the basket and his rebounding.

Young and Welsey need to start with their lower body, because it helps them battle for position on offense, defense, and rebounds. But both of them also should work on upper body to help them hold on to rebounds and get up for shots amidst heavy fouling.

Withey is the same as Young and Wesley. As you stated it starts with his legs. He needs more base. He's not in too bad of shape from an upper body strength standpoint, but we saw too many times the ball getting knocked out of his hands on rebounds. So he does need to work on his shoulders and arms too.

Traylor will be fine. He and Zach Peters are a similar type to TRob where they are able to build muscle and strength very easily.

McLemore is in pretty good shape too, he mostly resembles EJ to me. Where he's got a good body but could firm up his legs and be quicker and more explosive.

Mel Clare 2 years, 7 months ago

Ellis 6'8, Lucas 6'9 and Peters 6'9 are all bigger than KY or Wes...........all push over the 220lbs range already and Peters played tightend in football this past season...he will be a banger as well as Lucas! I have heard through the grapevine that Traylor is a beast at 6'7 down low! Remind you of Simeon anyone?

McClemore can flat out shot and that is the MO of the White kid also................nice to have some shooters coming in to spread out the D.............

REHawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Justin has to continue to focus on defending from sternum to heel, put his explosiveness and physicality to work on lateral motion as a defender who avoids fouling. I look to see him double playing minutes in key games next season, tight situations where his two years of previous Jayhawk practice-time experience help us to hold on for second half stops and wins. By early to midDecember, Jayhawk practice sessions could become absolutely brutal next season, what with so many physical specimens vying for playing time!

trustyourSelf 2 years, 7 months ago

As usual, right after the season ends, I'm ready for the next season to start next week. I am really encouraged by the the players we have returning next year. I know that Elijah, Withey, and Releford will be our three headed monster, but what I'm really curious about is who else will step up. We have so many players coming in that we just don't know how they will play/fit into Self's system. If I had to make a guess at the rotation it would be: Starting 5: Elijah, Releford, McLemore, Ellis, Withey Rest of rotation: Tharpe, Andrew White, Young, Traylor That leaves some really good players out (Wesley, Anrio Adams, Merv, Zach Peters, and Landen Lucas). I'm so interested to see how and who we play.

HawkKlaw 2 years, 7 months ago

I see it the way you do, but I think Kevin Young may lose playing time to Zach Peters. From what I've heard, Peters is a freshman that can have an immediate impact at KU. I think Young got a lot of minutes this year because of the lack of depth, and he'll probably get significant minutes to start the season next year. But by the time conference play starts next season, I bet Young will have lost most of his minutes to Peters.

fansincewilt 2 years, 7 months ago

I think you have to figure Releford into that duo making a trio of 1-2-3 scoring punch. All three of them took a back seat to Taylor and Robinson for a very good reason. I think they have it in them to step up and along with those coming on board actually have a higher ceiling than this year's group. What we will be missing is Taylor's and Robinson's desire. That will be very difficult to replace. Time will tell. I came on the board today to see if Thomas has announced his intentions yet. I know he has to go but O how I would love to see another year of that kind of desire. That was beautiful.

KansasComet 2 years, 7 months ago

Maybe we can substitute 5 players at a time this year? I have no idea if that would work or not, however we seem to have the talent to do it. Kinda hard for opposing teams to game plan against 10 players. Just random thoughts.... the roster for next year is not complete yet.

Danny Hernandez 2 years, 7 months ago

Remember when Roy early on would substitute 4-5 players?

Andy Tweedy 2 years, 7 months ago

usually, that was because he was pissed at someone...or at least that's how I remember it

Jeffery Barrett 2 years, 7 months ago

I remember that, too. Once he took all the starters out with a couple point lead. He was pissed at them and started yelling at them while an asst. coached for a minute. When he was done yelling, he looked at the score and the second 5 had increased the lead. Upon seeing that he pointed at the score and continued to yell.

That moment was one of the reasons I thought Roy was great.

cozzhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Hudy needs to get Withey on the Crossfit Football program during the off season. Kid needs some bulk if he's going to dominate.

oldalum 2 years, 7 months ago

Some body types just don't become bulky. Manning used to say that about Jeff, and that he (Manning) could never gain weight when he was young. He said it got a lot easier when he was middle-aged. lol

keith horinek 2 years, 7 months ago

We will have three returning starters from a team that went to the national championship game, plus Mclemore and Traylor who have been practicing with this team all semester. We have Young, Wesley and Tharpe that served backup roles this year and three freshman bigs that are all 4 and 5 star recruits plus 2 three star freshman guards coming in next year. I see another big 12 championship and if they jell and play hard like this year's team did, a chance at another final four.

april28 2 years, 7 months ago

Big shoes to fill.

The reports that I read had McLemore being the clear leader in ability - so he may actually fill the T Rob role. Tharpe is so fast, I see him being a great contributor next year - especially defensively.

Assuming that you get a litle more scoring from Withey, more from Elijah and a significant contribution from BMac, then you've got a solid offensive base to work from. Would love to see Travis become more confident and active on the offensive end.

Should be fun to watch as Self puts the pieces together!

AsadZ 2 years, 7 months ago

Unless something drastic happens Ellis will be a starter IMO. My starting 5 would be:

EJ Ben Travis Ellis Withey

For Bigs, Young/Traylor off the bench.

White on 3 spot

Tharpe to back up EJ

AaronHawk19 2 years, 7 months ago

I would add to this Zach Peters coming in as a big, possibly over Kevin Young.

yates33333 2 years, 7 months ago

Hopefully KU won't have to depend on two scorers next year. Such an arrangement makes it too easy for other teams to defense them. Robinson had to face being doubled and tripled after the first few games revealed how much KU depended on him. TT was guarded almost as if it were a box and one at times. I hope we have at least four scorers next year and three excellent rebounders and five outstanding ball handlers. Of course, Withey and Johnson should be the foundation of the team. I've always thought Releford could be a super sixth man. Sometimes the sixth man is more important than several starters. Especially when he is on, and at time Releford was on, almost carrying the team.

Joe Joseph 2 years, 7 months ago

Hard, if not impossible, to replace arguably the best forward/guard duo KU has had in recent history.

KU's success next season will once again depend on the development of unproven talent. The big difference is that next year's unproven talent is a bunch of freshmen who are not familiar with Self's coaching style and demands. McLemore and Traylor, yes. But the others have no idea.

Bill Self deserves all the credit he has received for putting this team together and helping it reach its absolute ceiling. But next year -in my opinion- will be an even greater coaching challenge to win the Big 12 and make a run in the NCAA tournament. We knew Tyshawn always had the potential to dominate and we knew T-Rob was going to be a double-double guy coming in to the season. Do we know that about any current players on next year's roster?

Should be another fun, interesting season! I'm already scared.

Jason Keller 2 years, 7 months ago

I say we play Ellis at guard, he moves like one anyway and will probably play guard in the league. Nothing like a big dominant guard to shoot jump shots over K-State players. Let Traylor and Lucas play 4.

jhawkrulz 2 years, 7 months ago

Are you saying? EJ-Starting Point Releford-Moves to the 2 Ellis-Enters in as the 3, but could shift to the 4 if needed. Lucas/Traylor-At the 4 Withey-At the 5

Sounds reasonable, just don't know what everyone really will excel at. I'm also sure it will be important to highlight mismatches, for instance, I could see in games where we are playing highly talented guards or like Missouri a 4 guard setup, Withey might not be as dominant and another shift occurs.

I don't know what it will be like, but I know we will be good.

Scott Oswalt 2 years, 7 months ago

We could have a really BIG team next season.

EJ- 6'4" TR- 6'5" Ben- 6'5" Traylor- 6'8" Withey- 7'0"

White- 6'6" Adams- 6'3" KY- 6'8" Lucas- 6'8" Traylor- 6'8"

Tharpe- 5'11" Merv- 6'7" Wesley- 6'8" Peters- 6'9"

Scott Oswalt 2 years, 7 months ago

Ellis instead of Traylor in the starting five. PE - 6'8"

Alex Resnik 2 years, 7 months ago

Self has never played a "tweener" guy in the position that would best fit him for the NBA. Look at Julian Wright. Drafted as a 3 played 4 both years. Marcus Morris, drafted as more of a 3, played 4 all 3 years. If Ellis doesn't play the 4 then we really don't have a scoring threat there. Peters is still very raw offensively, Lucas/traylor are more hustle guys and Young is an offensive rebounding machine, but no offensive skills to speak of. If Ellis plays the 4 he will get some easy buckets with Withey getting a ton of attention and that opens him up for easy shots.

Steve Gantz 2 years, 7 months ago

As we speculate on next years rotations, I'm wondering if there's any news about the schedule.

I believe that during our seasons that ended with disappointing losses our non-conf schedule was kind of soft. This year was one of our toughest in many years. We can't discount that as a major factor in our success.

I would love to copy all of your speculations and revisit them next season, see who's the smartest KUSports fan! I won't try to speculate!

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

+1 This year's schedule helped KU win numerous games. When it came down to crunch time, the Jayhawks seemed to adjust better, remembering what they had learned from previous games and applying that knowledge to outgut their opponents. They seemed to gain confidence from having played all those very good teams which they had either beaten, or at least contested well against despite having lost. They were really only out of one, possible two games, all season (1st Kenstinky game, and last Baylor game)

I've always thought the best schedule for a team with little court experience is one which starts out easy and progressively gets harder. But after the 2012 team's success, I'm thinking only one or two easy wins (to gain confidence), and then into full battle mode. Of course, this year's team was made up primarily of upper classmen, which is bound to have made a positive difference.

bennybob 2 years, 7 months ago

Withey and EJ are the logical picks, but i wouldn't be surprised if Ellis or Mclemore leads the team in scoring next season

Scott Oswalt 2 years, 7 months ago

And White coming off the bench. Watch out!

JHAWK34TRUTH 2 years, 7 months ago

Pg - Elijah SG - Ben SF - Perry PF - Jamari C - Jeff

I know Travis should be a starter but it's hard not to put a McD player in there at the 3 and Perry said he's comfortable at SF. Jamari at the 4 > Travis at the 3.

Scott Oswalt 2 years, 7 months ago

Travis is our glue. We don't even know what Jamari can do yet.

JHAWK34TRUTH 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree he is our glue guy and best def player on our team last year. But the way TRob and Jeff improved last was amazing and I think Jamari had a hand in it. If anything he had reps going against them already. Either way, Coach have more puzzles to play with this year.

hawksince51 2 years, 7 months ago

With his strong D against the opponents top scorers, no way Travis doesn't keep a starting spot at either the 3 or 2. So far as our scoring we will not rely on just 2 players with Ellis and B-Mac in the lineup. This will be a big plus and avoid the double team on Withey the way teams did T-Rob. And after the little we got from our bench this season, we should get much more point production from subs next year. It will be a very different team with more balance all the way around. Rock Chalk

Chris Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

Self has proven over the years that he leans towards "Experienced" guys so I also don't see Releford not starting from the beginning of the season next year.

Releford is going to have to take his game to a new level next year though. Going to have to work on his ball handling and shooting over the summer, that is for sure. Actually, he needs to fine tune that "Old Man's Game" and work on that mid-range and half-post up from about 16 feet.

Joel Hood 2 years, 7 months ago

JHAWK34TRUTH - it's all good, please dont take this personally, but pulling Travis out the starting lineup for next season is comical. Travis will be a 5th year senior - he is strong, smart, and can defend like no one else. No freshman, even Big McD's, have anything on Travis at this point. If I am wrong, why did Morningstar play and Selby sit?

Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 7 months ago

There's a lot to like about 22 year old kids who are loyal and play hard for you. If, (and it's a big if), the underclassmen are better, then what a team! Bringing in better players off the bench when most teams are substituting with lesser players is a nice position to be in.

JacquesMerde 2 years, 7 months ago

Isn't it strange that considered several posters' perception regarding Releford that he wasn't the defensive player of the year in the Big 12, but his teammate was??????????

Chris Shaw 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't know, but I really believe as long as academics end up being okay and he signs his LOI, Anrio Adams is going to be a sleeper next year making an impact off the bench for Kansas.

I may be completely wrong and I am surprised nobody has mentioned him, but I feel Adams has this Tyshawn ability that will allow him to find court time, even as a freshman. He's undisciplined as hell right now and he has a lot of Tony Wroten Jr. (Washington-Most likely leaving for NBA) in him, but I don't think that is a bad thing considering how well Wroten's freshman year went at Washington.

Adams is a freak, but it will be interesting to see if he gets "A Shot" at the rotation.

Alex Resnik 2 years, 7 months ago

I love this kind of talk.. who's going to start? Who is going to be the first two off of the bench?? This is fantastic. My starting 5 are: EJ BMAC Relly Ellis Withey

With Tharpe first off the bench with Traylor. I see Peters as playing more of a Cole Aldrich role in '08. Getting some decent minutes to spell Withey, Ellis and Young. I don't see alot of playing time for Wesley (which sucks because I love that kid) and I see White being the 6th man of the year in the BIGXII. The kid can flat out score. It will be interesting to see how he defends. And as I said earlier, I don't see Ellis getting much time at the 3 this year. We all know Self likes to play 2 ball handlers, so I can see EJ and Tharpe getting plenty of minutes together and that leaves BMAC, White and Relly for the 3.

Jeff Kilgore 2 years, 7 months ago

Can you really see Self pulling Releford, a starter in this year's national championship game for freshmen? No way. No freaking way.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

1] Respectfully, if any of you think Perry is not going to start, you will need to rethink your position come November. 2] Respectfully,if any of you think Ben Mac is not going to start, you also will need to rethink your position come November. 3] Respectfully, if any of you think Travis is NOT going to start, again, you will need to rethink your position come November. 4] Respectfully, if any of you think Kevin won't be the first "big" of the bench, you will need to rethink etc, etc,.

And I am sure someone will respond to my post that, " respectfully, you're full of crap"...and I will respect that. :)

Joe Joseph 2 years, 7 months ago

You speak the truth. I hope Traylor is as good as everyone thinks/wants him to be, but he wasn't exactly a blue chipper out of high school. His body resembles T-Rob's, so a lot of people want to assume he will play like T-Rob. I'm not sure that's fair for Jamari.

I think Young will be the first off the bench as well. Maybe even start over Ellis (at least early in the year) if he really makes some strides in the off season.

flyingfinn 2 years, 7 months ago

Obviously a lot more talent for Coach Self to work with next year and enjoy looking at everyone's proposed starting line-ups, but having not seen Ellis play I am certain that if can not play defense Travis will start in his place with Traylor's big body down low with Withey.

bsinclair119125 2 years, 7 months ago

1) Johnson 2) McLlemore 3) Releford 4) Ellis 5) Withey

Having three seniors in the starting lineup doesn’t hurt either. A good mixture of young talent and experience.

2 years, 7 months ago

LOL – NSFW! This should put you back in the good graces of jaybate :-)

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

LOL Is that why they call it "basketball"? Lots of support for your local Jayhawk.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

Bring back the 60's when the word bra was a never used unless it was part of the word braless!!

KansasComet 2 years, 7 months ago

Coach Self likes to sub on the first timeout at the 16:00 minute mark. If he were to sub 3 players in for the starters, who would it be? In my opinion if Johnson, Releford, Withey, McLemore, and Ellis start. My 3 replacements would be: Tharpe (EJ), White (Releford), and Young (Ellis). Please share your thoughts.

Kye Clark 2 years, 7 months ago

Just depends. One thing that this year showed Self is he can keep his starters on the floor for long stretches at a time. With EJ & Releford you have our two best perimeter defenders, so it's hard to see them both coming out at the same time. Also I think what you'll see is Self subbing in Tharpe when he has more of the starting line-up on the court. That way Tharpe is out there running the offense with more players that know what they're doing. My guess is that even though we're deeper and I expect Tharpe to be much improved, we're going to see EJ playing upwards of 30 mpg still.

KansasComet 2 years, 7 months ago

Thanks. Not really sure how things will shake out next season, but I cannot wait to find out.

Alex Resnik 2 years, 7 months ago

I see Tharpe and EJ playing on the floor together a lot next year. Kind of like he did in "08 with RusRob, Chalmers and Collins. 3 PGs that would always play together with Rush. Having multiple ball handlers and more than one player that can initiate the offense is what Self really likes to do.

KansasComet 2 years, 7 months ago

Good points. That could be a real good thing next season. Had not looked at it that way. Speaking of 08, we had at least ten good players on that team. Hopefully, the 2012-2013 will be on the same level.

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Did anyone watch the post game excitement in the Jayhawk locker-room after the win vs N. Carolina? The hawks, including Coach Self, were huddled in a circle, jumping up and down, dancing and chanting. And into the middle of the circle, in dances Tharpe - shirtless, with a huge smile on his face. That was family at it's best, and loved Tharpe's enthusiasm.

Six month wait. Arrggghhhh!

2 years, 7 months ago

I did see that, however I think it may have been after the tOSU game. I agree with you regarding the family atmosphere and enthusiasm!

There was a funny moment at the end of the locker room celebration following the North Carolina State game, where HCBS calls off the names of four of our players, and says something like, “You guys go take a leak after the meeting.”

Then, as they were huddling, Larry Brown gave TT a high-five. It was very cool :^)

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I'll have to go back and review the post games, but you're probably right about it being The OSU, not the N. Carolina game. As for the high five from Larry Brown to TT? I missed that. Mahalo for that bit of added Jayhawk memorabilia.

And what's with the emphatic "The" addition to Ohio State University? Has it always been that important, or is it something they've changed, starting just this season? I don't have anything against it. Just curious.

2 years, 7 months ago

You bet, Aloha! The Larry Brown high five came seconds after the video clip I provided the link to above cuts off. As for tOSU, the tradition of their fans, students, and alum placing emphasis on “The” appears to have started in 1986:

http://library.osu.edu/find/collections/the-ohio-state-university-archives/buckeye-history/faqs#1

Here’s a blurb from the explanation:

“Legend also has it that "The" was used to show the other colleges which institution was supposed to be the leader in the state - both in size and in financial support from the legislature.”

Max Walker 2 years, 7 months ago

My Take on the line-up and the order of guys off the bench. That second five could easily come in and, depending on how Lucas runs the floor, fly around for a few minutes while HCBS can get in some more coaching for the starters.

Starters: Elijah Johnson G 6-4 195 Sr Ben McLemore G 6-5 185 So Travis Releford G 6-5 207 Rs Sr Perry Ellis F 6-8 220 Fr Jeff Withey C 7-0 235 Rs Sr

First 5 off bench: Jamari Traylor F 6-8 215 So Kevin Young F 6-8 185 Sr Naadir Tharpe G 5-11 170 So Landen Lucas C 6-10 230 Fr Andrew White G/F 6-6 210 Fr

Anrio Adams G 6-3 185 Fr Zach Peters F 6-9 235 Fr Justin Wesley F 6-8 200 Rs Jr Merv Lindsay F 6-7 195 So Christian Garrett G 6-3 170 So Niko Roberts G 5-11 175 Jr

Tony Bandle 2 years, 7 months ago

I guess ole' cousin Keith gets to foot another year's worth of tuition for his cuz', Justin!!

Max Walker 2 years, 7 months ago

I'd say so! I also highly doubt Merv stays around. If he did in fact leave, and Parker decides to go else where, the 'Hawks will still be an incredibly deep team. Seems almost like the situation we had in 08-09, where Tyrone Appleton and Quintrell Thomas left after a year. If Merv stays or Parker comes we will have 16 players on the roster next season. A couple guys are likely to request out or be sat down by HCBS and told they would be happier at another program. I hate to see guys leave, but I know how frustrating it can be to sit on the bench. If Parker comes to KU, there would be a huge surplus of big men. With D-Manning moving on to establish his own coaching legacy, I highly doubt he commits, though. Whomever HCBS finds to be the next bigs coach will already have a huge group to oversee in Withey, Ellis, Traylor, Young, Lucas, Peters...etc I am ecstatic to witness the cohesion of this group, led by yet another wonderful G/C duo in Johnson and Withey. October cannot come soon enough! Rock Chalk!

HawkKlaw 2 years, 7 months ago

Withey and Johnson will be the 1-2 punch on offense, but you can't discount what Releford does on the defensive end. He is a leader by example - best defender on the team. That's saying a lot when you have the Big 12 Defensive POY still on the roster.

I think most of us agree on who the starting 5 will be next year. My guess:

Elijah Johnson Ben McLemore Travis Releford Perry Ellis Jeff Withey

Key Reserves (Doubtful that Self will have more than an 8-man rotation, but...):

Tharpe White Peters or Young Lucas

We will have a ton of depth down low (weird to say after last season), so it will be interesting to see who gets minutes. I bet that Kevin Young will get a lot of minutes to start the year next season, but by conference play I bet that Peters will have taken most of his minutes. I think Young benefited this year from a lack of depth, but next year he'll have to work pretty hard to beat out the outstanding youngsters we have coming in.

Ethan Berger 2 years, 7 months ago

Lets not get ahead of ourselves with these 4 star recruits. They are 4 star for a reason, It will be hard to see them contribute right away. I see this being similar to the 08 class but instead we actually have a lot of minutes returning.

Starting 5

EJ B Mac Rel Ellis Withey

First 5 off

Tharpe Young Traylor White Lucas

I think Adams will be in the rivals 150 final update. Lucas is not the tallest center but is a big body, great athlete and can flat out play defense. In 2 and 3 years will have a team similar to that of the 07/08 squad but with more offense.

Kye Clark 2 years, 7 months ago

As per Anrio Adams, recruiting websites have him as giving a commitment but not signing (as is the case with White). Here's the links to espn recruiting nation, scout, & rivals:

http://espn.go.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/school?id=2305&class=2012

http://scouthoops.scout.com/a.z?s=75&p=9&c=8&toinid=365&yr=2012

http://rivals.yahoo.com/basketballrecruiting/basketball/recruiting/commitments/2012/kansas-20

Furthermore, here's links to two more articles from this website regarding his recruitment:

http://www2.kusports.com/news/2011/no....

The only issue with his commitment seems to be academic related, and I couldn't find anything on his SAT results that he said he would take in December. The other thing is that he has attended a lot of schools, so everyone will definitely be holding their breath waiting for the NCAA to clear him.

Regarding White, awhile back someone posted a video link to him knocking down 6 treys in the first half of a high school game, from all over the court (corners, top, etc.). I couldn't find it, but if you google him there's some decent footage of him. Definitely a sweet shot, and looks to be decent at the drive. These clips aren't showing much in the way of him defending, but that's not uncommon. I figure he'll be playing spot minutes at the 3 next year.

Here's a link to an article on Lucas. It's a little more heavy on the personal stuff and what his life's been like as opposed to straight hoops analysis, but thought I'd throw it in here:

http://espn.go.com/blog/high-school/oregon/post/_/id/414/kansas-recruit-landen-lucas-is-oregons-top-player

He's been to a lot of schools too, so you know the NCAA will take it's sweet time clearing him, although he seems to be at less risk of being deemed ineligible than does Adams. It is encouraging that he is the top prep prospect in Oregon (Adams is the top prospect in Washington).

Anyway, I'm already looking forward to next year and seeing the EJ & Co. lead the newest batch of Jayhawks

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

"Getting Longer and Stronger Next Season and the Game Taking the Next Step to Behagen-Witte Version 2.0"

I am going to approach this from another angle.

In the Kentucky game, what did we lack to beat UK and how can we get that?

First, we lacked length, strength and scoring on the wings in the first five. We have to get much longer and stronger on the perimeter to handle the massive increase in moving picks that deliver a blow to our defenders. Perimeter players increasingly have to defend like linebackers in football. They have to be nimble side to side with great closing speed off the moving pick, and they have to be able to shed moving picks as if they were blockers, because that is what a moving picker is.

1 position--EJ, if he muscles up a bit, can probably take over for Tyshawn, where we matched up okay against UK, and we'll gain an inch at the point. And we can stay near that size with Anrio (if he were eligible), or go small with Naadir when needed. But it is important for people to understand that Sherron Collins driving his shoulder into defenders is not the past but the future. Near the end of the game, Marquis Teague was literally charging into Tyshawn out on the perimeter. Once he even threw a forearm shiver into Tyshawn as he did and the refs called nothing. Teague is 6-2 and not very heavy, but he was charging into Tyshawn just as hard as Sherron Collins ever did. Tyshawn was a great, great point guard with a stunning combination of athleticism, strength and blinding speed. But if what we saw Marquis Teague get away with the last five minutes of regulation is a harbinger of play to come, and I believe it is, brawny point guards are going to become as important as athletic point guards very soon. The game has changed so much just since Sherron left that if Sherron had been playing in the KU-Kentucky game, Sherron would literally have been unstoppable. Sherron would have put Teague on the floor with forearm shivers again and again. Where the point guard muscle style of play is headed is very obvious, if you just think about it for a minute. Point guards are going to get brawnier, at whatever their height, and they are going to start driving up and under bigs, in addition to turning corners on the perimeter like running backs a la Marquis Teague.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

2 position--We have to get bigger and stronger at the 2 in a big way. EJ was just not strong enough to handle Doran Lamb, or the moving picks. BenMac at 6-5 seems to have the kind of length we need there, if he can handle the ball. Travis has everything needed, but a solid trey. Travis is actually my ideal 2 guard for the current game. He will be able to handle the dribbling duties if he were asked to practice over the off season. I believe he can get his trey back and be the muscle we need at the 2. Travis could be an incredibly punishing two. He could shut down almost every two we met this season, though even he had some trouble with Lamb, when he got switched off onto him. I think Travis will start at the 2 and Ben Mac will be the instant offense sixth man at 2.

3-position--We have to get a lot longer at the 3. Travis is as athletic and as strong and as good of a defender and glue man at the 3 as anyone can be at 6-4 or 6-5, but when a Brandon Rush, or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist comes along, as they inevitably do, late in the Madness, you've got to be long and strong at the 3, or you are going to get your head handed to you. Brady and Travis, two very talented 6-3 to 6-4 basketball players proved this repeatedly. Even two great defenders like these can't get up and under a Rush, or a Kidd-Gilchrist. And even BenMac cannot solve the problem of a Rush, or a Kidd-Gilchrist at the 3, good as BenMac is reputed to be. White at 6'6" seems the kind of guy who might be able to do it his second season, when he is muscled up and physically matured, but, frankly, I am ready, and I believe Bill Self may also be ready, to turn the 3 position back into an every game MUA. That means Perry Ellis is our 3 next season. Put Perry Ellis there, as Self put BRush there his freshman season. The '08 KU and '12 Kentucky prove that you can't be too big and strong at the 3. Enough combo guards at the 3. It will take you a long ways, but it won't take you past a Rush, or a Kidd-Gilrchrist. Kidd-Gilchrist basically gave Kentucky a third big on offense and defense. Kidd-Gilchrist was why Kentucky could always afford to go airborne to block shots, because with him there, there was always going to be one, or two stud rebounders when Davis and/or Jones were doing their aerials. Work through Perry's growing pains and let Kevin back him up, when we need to stay big, and BenMac when we need to get smaller.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

Second, KU held its own with UK's inside game, but that was with Jeff Withey playing with a consensus All-American that even the players called "Superman." If KU is to stay with Jeff Withey at the 5, then KU has to get longer at the 4 than Jamari Traylor. Frankly, they've got to get longer than Thomas was. They've got to get Terrence Jones long and strong. Jones seemed a true 6-9.

4--Thomas Robinson was a great, great player, but while he was fabulously strong, a good jumper, and a preternatural rebounder, he was not long enough to more than hold his own against Kentucky's super long bigs. And without someone of TRob's caliber, Jeff would have been completely overwhelmed in every facet of the game but shot blocking. We have to have some true 6-9 to 6-11 bigs that weigh 250 pounds and that can still get up at the 4, or we cannot control the glass against a team like Kentucky. Tony Parker, who most seem to think is now virtually impossible to get, is now a must get IMHO. We have to get really big and strong at the 4. Thomas Robinson, great as he was, proves that he is the new minimum in height. We need TRob's strength at a true 6-9 to 6-10. We have Zack Peters coming in a 250, but can he get up and is he a true 6-9? I reckon he will be the kind of 4 we need, though it will take a couple of years for him to be the kind of beast that Thomas was this season, if he ever develops that far, but I feel so strongly about staying huge at the 4 that I would already move Landon Lucas to the 4 to fill behind Zack, if we don't land Parker. Parker, or someone like him, is crucial. With a Parker, Lucas can stay behind Jeff and we can have a true four man rotation at the bigs. I frankly don't see Jamari Traylor, broad shouldered as he appears, having the kind of weight and height required to play at the 4 at the highest levels, except as a backup guy useful against smaller 4s. If personel permitted, Traylor should be a backup at the 3 next season, but I am sure he will have to be a backup, maybe even a starter, at the 4. But if next year's team were fortunate enough to make it deep next year, depending on Jamari at the 4, at 6-7, is a recipe for watching Kentucky players hang in suborbital flight above the backboards again.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

You've either got to get players that can get up their with them, or you've got to get enough depth and tough enough players at the four to flip the leapers on their heads and backs until they stop jumping from fear of injury. There is no middle ground any more. What I believe people have not caught on to about Kentucky's great leapers is that they face slapping our players on every play in addition to out jumping them. Davis and Jones were delivering blows on every elevation, either on the way up, or on the way down. XTReme Face slapping, eye gouging, and throat chopping is the new vertical game. It was inevitable. First the jumpers ruled, then the brawny non jumpers began shoving them around, the the jumpers started slapping the last two years, and now it is a nonstop slap'n'chop fest at the top of a 40-45 inch vertical. So: now the logical response is to keep 4 physical bigs, regardless of jumping ability and flip the slap'n'chop jumpers. Jamari could be a designated flipper among four flippers, but at 6'7 and 220 he can hardly be expected to guard effectively a Davis, or a Jones...no way.

  1. Anthony Davis proves even a great 6'10 athlete cannot shoot over a great shot blocking seven footer like Jeff, so Jeff is a great way to go at the 5, but he's got to add 25 lbs immediately, or he won't last a season without Superman at his back. But he sure as heck can rebound against him. It is not realistic to think we can stay 7 feet behind Jeff, so we have to go to muscle as backup. Muscle that can drive block a guy like Davis completely out of jumping range, and flip him when he gets airborne.

(Note: I know that flipping guys in the air is the ultimate sin of basketball, but this is the inevitable counter measure that is coming, if leapers are allowed to slap'n'chop from above as has been increasing the last two seasons. Keeping two, or even three deep at the two big positions, and using designated flippers is the ultimate counter measure. It will turn the game once and for all into a horizontal slug fest. I don't want to see it happen, but I am as sure about this as I was that the Howland hack'n'slap would be adopted, and the Consonants XTReme Cheap Shotting would be adopted, and so on. This is just the simplest kind of game theory to see this next move coming. We saw KU put Kidd-Gilchrist down early and brutally wih a two-man flip to let Kidd-Gilchrist know he might have his way outside, but not inside. We're going to see more and more of this. Were Anthony Davis to come back to D1 next season, he would never get 16 rebounds, or 7 blocks in a game. I doubt Jeff Withey will ever get 7 blocks in a game either.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

Starting next season players will almost certainly be taught to push a Withey, or a Davis, side ways at least five feet in the air, when they try to come across to block. Bigs will be allowed to block their own man, but will be shoved side ways, or flipped, if they try to cross the lane to block another player. It is coming for sure.)

Now, if we play long and strong the way I am talking about, we are going to have another scary early season, because we are going to be relying on a lot of young players--Ellis starting at the 3 and BenMac being a 30-minute sixth man at the 2-3 a la Darius Miller for UK, and Zack Peters starting, or subbing 20 mpg, etc.

But I really don't see much way around it, if Self really wants to build a team to win rings, not just conference titles. And Bill Self has steadfastly indicated that he's not in this for his health and local glory. He plays for all the marbles all the time. He embraced XTReme Muscle in the Big Ten. He embraced hack'n'slap when Howland beating him with it. He embraced XTReme Cheap Shotting last season until it appeared that coaches made some kind of unwritten agreement to stop the XTReme Cheap Shotting two thirds of the way through last season. Self's own team last season set the precedent for XTReme Slap'n'Chop among bigs at the top of their jumps. I did a paintograph last season that showed both Morri and Thomas elevated with Thomas delivering a aerial forearm smash. Part of the reason Thomas got so much abuse this season was that he was mercilessly dishing it out last season when he subbed for the Morri, likely at Self's and Manning's instructions. But I digress. The point is that Self embraces what ever evolves. And he adopts counter measures to whatever he cannot match. The great coaches--Consonants, Self, Donovan, and others--that are not doing what ever Calipari is doing to get 6 draft choices including three lottery picks, are not going to just let Calipari walk all over them and aerial forearm smash their lesser players. They are going to start amassing enough depth to be able to afford as many fouls as are required to flip Cal's lottery picks into scared, injured, horizontal players a la Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. They are going to have guys that are designated to be kicked out of games for flipping players. And Kentucky is going to lose some of those great OADs to injury before the season is even half over. And its going to happen, unless the NCAA cleans up the game, or Cal leaves, or Cal agrees not to load up with so many 5 stars.

jaybate 2 years, 7 months ago

At least that's how I see it.

But, hey, I thought KU would beat Kentucky by ten, despite the talent advantage, because I never thought KU would let Kentucky go aerial on them the first half as Kentucky went aerial on them the first game of the season. Stopping jumping in a game where the refs are not calling fouls is easy. And it will be done, if that is the only way to equalize the game. The game is a self-limiting system in this regard. And because it is is all the more reason to call for the game to be cleaned up before one of the magnificent young athletes is severely injured from being flipped. And the player that does the flip is later attacked gang style. We have been here before. Remember what happened to Luke Witte of Ohio State when Bill Mussleman was the coach of Minnesota and Ron Behagen and another player went animal on him. Basketball has rules and referees so that the game does not need to go down the path of the Minnesota vs. Ohio State. But the powers that be have to send the signal to the referees to call the games according to the rules.

There is not a damned thing wrong with referees deciding the outcomes of games, if one side is violating the rules. The whole idea of basketball is to win within the rules. There is something terribly wrong winning outside the rules.

Call the game.

Forget all of this "let 'em play" nonsense.

If the media-gaming complex which appears to be in control of the game now does not insist on cleaning up the game, the next step is into flipping players and that is where severe injury occurs and that is where gang style pay back occurs, and that is where greatest game ever invented faces its gravest risk to continuing as a game recognizable as basketball.

Why?

Because the next time basketball goes down the Ron Behagen-Lute Witte path, the ratings are going to go up and the betting is going to go up and then basketball will have gone the way of ice hockey.

And that will be the end of it.

And that will be the end of The Legacy.

And the tragedy is: everyone with an ounce of sense understands this, but no one can seem to stop the runaway train that is college basketball right now.

Lance Hobson 2 years, 7 months ago

Those two will go down in KU history for what they did in March. Just fearless, competetive beasts who came through where so many other highly touted players have failed. Unbelievable stretch of basketball brilliance.

Lance Hobson 2 years, 7 months ago

Question: Will T-Mac and Traylor still have four years of eligibility or did they use one last year as partial qualifiers?

Kye Clark 2 years, 7 months ago

I assume you mean BMac, as Tracey McGrady doesn't have any eligibility left. Traylor & McLemore have 4 years left.

HawkKlaw 2 years, 7 months ago

They've got 4 years left, but I doubt it'll matter to BMac as he could possibly be gone after next season.

Lance Hobson 2 years, 7 months ago

Really? I thought he was only around #50 and slightly more of a project than a typical one and done kind of guy. If we get two good years from him I'd be happy.

HawkKlaw 2 years, 7 months ago

I don't think he's a one and done guy either, but he already has a semester's worth of NCAA basketball under his belt. If he has a spectacular season next year it wouldn't be too far-fetched to think that he may jump to the NBA after that instead of coming back for another year.

ann42 2 years, 7 months ago

Does anyone know the date for late night? After a great season can't wait for Next season. I remember coach Self telling us at Ladies Night out enjoy the ride. What a ride the Jayhawk nation had this year. Thanks to players and coaches.

Curtis Stutz 2 years, 7 months ago

I kind of hope those guys aren't the same 1-2 punch as TT and TRob. Those two did an awesome job of carrying the load this year, but what got KU deep into the tournament was the help they received from the other starters, TRel added some nice offense in certain tourney games, Withey added some nice offense at time, EJ had a really nice tourney overall. Right there you've already got a 1-2-3 punch, add in McLemore, Ellis, KYo...hopefully we've got a nice 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 punch combo next year with a bundle of guys looking to make a move/take a shot when the offense puts them at an advantage. I kind of feel bad for TRel that he was asked the question in the first place, he's got the potential to be the leading scorer next year. He really improved feeding the post this year maybe next year will be great at playing a 2 man game with a post player like Withey. Bottom line, hopefully EJ and Withey don't have to bring the same 1-2 punch all season next year 'cause they'll be playing with a bundle of talented scorers.

Jeeveshawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I was thinking Johnson-Withey would be our next 1-2 punch for a long time now, and they will surprise everone with how they will be easily comparable to Taylor-Robinson, Collins-Adrich, and Hinrich-Collison. But we will also have Travis Releford, who you cannot yet take out of the equasion of being our possible best guard. I see our lineup next year being: 1- Johnson, Tharpe, Adams(?) 2- McLemore, Tharpe, White, Releford, Johnson, Adams(?) 3- Releford, White, Ellis, McLemore 4- Young, Ellis, Traylor, Wesley 5- Withey, Ellis, Traylor, Wesley, Young

Although Jack Harry won't say so, we should be the big 12 champions again and be one of the best, if not the best, team in the country.

Alohahawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Good breakdown, but don't forget Peters, at the 4, or more likely 5 position to rest Withey.

Really hope Adams qualifies. He is supposed to be as fast or faster than TT, and also scored a lot from outside during high school. I could see him second behind EJ, if Tharpe doesn't develop quickly enough. It's really Tharpe's to lose, since Naadir already has a year of Self-ball under his belt.

Anyway you look at next season's double to triple deep team, HCBS should rest easier knowing an injury to someone shouldn't derail next season's train. That's one thing KU really got lucky with this past season. With the exception of TT's injury, which he played through, and the early season problem TRob had, the Jayhawks went pretty much injury free. And I'd guess a lot of that had to do with the training program set up by Hudy. Can't thank her enough for what she adds to KU's success.

Michael Luby 2 years, 7 months ago

Its only a matter of time before Calishmari gets b**ch slapped by the NCAA for violations involving recruiting or some such thing. I would not be surprized at all if it happens within a year, maybe two. Then Kensucky will vacate a season of 30+ wins and KU will be all that much closer to being the all time wins leader, and rightfully so.

Im no College Bball expert, I just enjoy the hell out of it. Especially at KU. I really do think that Coach Self will get another ring before Calimari does.

brad53 2 years, 7 months ago

My line up

  1. EJ
  2. MeClemore
  3. Releford
  4. Ellis
  5. Withey

Off the bench Tharpe, White, Traylor, Young. Enough said. Next year is going to be so much fun. We are big and athletic. 9 straight and Atlanta here we come.

Lance Hobson 2 years, 7 months ago

I'm really not sure that Calipari actually commits any violations. I think he just has a reputation as a guy who can get players to the NBA and on top of that they like the guy.

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