Sunday, August 12, 2012

Veterans to sit today’s game


Kansas University’s men’s basketball team will have a different look for today’s final exhibition game against AMW Team France.

KU coach Bill Self said after Saturday’s 74-73 loss that seniors Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey would not play in the team’s European finale.

Kevin Young might not play, but if he does, it’ll only be to get some work on the perimeter.

Self said his plan all along was to rest his three starting seniors today to get a better look at his newcomers.

“Those guys deserve it. They haven’t had a chance to play as much,” Self said of his new guys. “I know what those returning guys can do. It’s going to be good for these other guys to get their feet wet.”

Injury updates

Self said that he never considered playing guard Ben McLemore on Saturday because of the freshman’s injured groin.

“It’s bothering him. He can barely walk,” Self said. “He’s still walking with some pain, so he’s definitely not going to play (today) either.”

KU guard Milt Doyle also left Saturday’s game because of a dislocated finger. Self said the freshman was fine and would be available for today’s game.

Players bumming

Though it was only an exhibition loss, most of KU’s players looked dejected when walking to their locker room after the game.

“If you’re a basketball player and you play for the University of Kansas, you want to be a winner,” KU guard Naadir Tharpe said. “You should be disappointed by this game. We lost.”

KU guard Elijah Johnson had mixed thoughts after the defeat.

“I like that our team fights back. I like that I see that in our team, and I like that our young fellas aren’t scared of an opportunity,” Johnson said. “Mixed emotions because I love to win. I don’t really like to lose, but I think that it was best to lose now so we could learn from it.”

Short on skill … for now

Self was quick to point out in the postgame that while KU didn’t play well, it wasn’t because of a lack of effort.

“What I would probably say more than anything else is that we’ve got a long ways to go to become a good team. Of course, we knew that,” Self said. “We’ve used 10 practices to try to get better, and we should be further along, but we’re just not a very skilled basketball team right now.

“We’ve got good athletes, but we don’t pass it, catch it and dribble it very good. We’ve got to get where our guys can make plays.”

The Jayhawks’ post players had an especially difficult time handling the ball on Saturday, fumbling a few of passes out of bounds for turnovers.

“One of the most simple things ever; we couldn’t catch the ball tonight,” KU freshman forward Zach Peters said. “Honestly, we’ve got to work on doing the easy things right and then the hard things after that, because we can’t even do the easy things right now.”

Johnson challenged

Following Self’s critical words about his returning players Saturday, KU senior point guard Johnson said he knew exactly what the coach wanted from him.

“To run the team. To be a point guard. And that’s what I’m going to do,” Johnson said. “I don’t run from a challenge. If you ask me to be a point guard, I’ll be a point guard.

“I think I’m personally a point guard. I think it’s in my blood. I think that I have fun leading and controlling and telling everybody what they should be doing, so maybe this is testing me to step up and do it the whole time on the court and not just do it when it’s crunch time.”


Scott MacWilliams 6 years, 10 months ago

This is a great opportunity for the KU frosh to step it up and see what they can do in a real game.
OK, so it's an exhibition, you know they don't want to see another L on the season.

Come on Jayhawks, you can do this. Show those Frenchies what Kansas basketball is all about. We have a long history of rising to the occasion, even in oddball situations like playing two games in two days against the same team in the most distracting city in the world!!


JakeBarnes 6 years, 10 months ago

I wish Johnson would play as well as he talks. BTW all TT critics. Take note.

hawk316 6 years, 10 months ago

I love what I'm hearing from EJ. He's going to be a great leader for this team this year. His play will come around. Remember, he's coming off knee surgery.

REHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Congratulations, Curtis. Marvelous opportunity. We know you can do it!

studio 6 years, 10 months ago

Wasn't a comment about the Euro-balls being more slippery made earlier? Hopefully playing with this greased pig will help the team focus on better control and ball handling while evidently frustrating to even watch with over 50 turnovers in a game.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 10 months ago

Perfect opportunity for the underclassmen.

Projected starters: Tharpe, Doyle, White, Ellis, Peters?

Too bad McLemore isn't able to play.

Martin Rosenblum 6 years, 10 months ago

Peters and Ellis - I'm calling this. They will step up and be the catalysts for a hard fought game. Win or lose, this one is about heart!

Clif Roark 6 years, 10 months ago

what was the address of the the video streaming for yesterday's game? I really appreciated Newell's play by play but I like to have video. Thanks

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