Monday, December 10, 2012

Spirited victory helps Self preach high-energy approach to Jayhawks

Kansas guard Travis Releford knocks the ball away from Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Travis Releford knocks the ball away from Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie during the first half on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Finally, thanks to his Kansas University basketball team’s spirited effort in Saturday’s 90-54 victory over Colorado, Bill Self possesses some game film that’s pleasing to the eyes.

“We have shown them a lot of tape (this season). It hasn’t been very positive the majority of things we’ve shown. (We say), ‘Look at this. Is this the best we’ve got?’” KU coach Self said on Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference. “Now we can show tape from the other day saying, ‘We’ve got to guard this better, but a lot of times effort and energy make up for the mistakes.’

“I think everybody tries hard. The teams that give the appearance of playing the hardest are always the teams playing with the most energy and having the most fun, and that’s what we had Saturday,” Self added.

KU has had some ugly victories en route to a 7-1 record and No. 9 national ranking.

“The mistakes we made defensively against Colorado ... we made up for them with four or six hands trying to steal every ball, two guys trying to block every shot, guys diving on the floor,” Self said on Monday’s “Hawk Talk” radio show. “I’m not sure we played a lot better. I just think we’ve been duds until Saturday. On Saturday it became fun for the kids. That’s something we have to bottle. We are not going to be a pretty team to watch all the time. We can do some good things, but what we’ve got to do, we’ve got to be high-energy, high-octane-type personality. If we do that, good things will happen.”

Senior forward Kevin Young provided a huge spark. He scored 16 points off 8-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds, two steals and two assists in 20 minutes.

“He had energy. He didn’t do many things where you look and say, ‘His stroke looked great or this or that,’” Self said. “Basically it was his energy, his hustle. He was terrific. His ball screen defense was better. So was Jeff’s,” Self added of center Jeff Withey.

For the year, the 6-foot-8, 190-pound Young has averaged 6.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in 18.6 minutes a game.

“We were talking today ... it would be really great to bring Kevin off the bench,” Self said of the player who has started five of seven games, missing one game because of injury. “He brings energy off the bench. He’s playing so well, you can’t afford to do that. We’ve got to have Jamari (Traylor), Perry (Ellis) and Naadir (Tharpe) more so than anybody else bring energy into the game and be assertive as opposed to just trying to fit in.

“Quit worrying about screwing up. Quit worrying about trying to score points. Just rebound, defend, dive on the floor, do the things that will give you confidence. One thing about Kevin, he’s the best talker we have. He won’t shut up. That’s contagious and good. A team that doesn’t talk can’t play,” Self added. “Bring in young kids who are unsure, (and) they don’t open their mouths, all of a sudden you lose a little bit of talking and energy, and it doesn’t look near as crisp. (Young) guys aren’t used to doing that. Our guys can learn from Kevin in that regard.”

The Jayhawks, who are in final exams this week, practiced Monday. They will practice today, take a day off Wednesday, then practice again Thursday and Friday in preparation for Saturday’s game against Belmont (6 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse). Belmont, of the Ohio Valley Conference, takes a 6-2 record into Thursday’s game against Middle Tennessee State in Belmont’s arena in Nashville.

“It’s a huge week for us,” Self said. “Basketball-wise, we need to get better. I don’t know if you get a lot better in finals week. You maintain, hopefully. Hopefully those guys are exhausted and tired staying up late studying like everybody else is (in student body). We need a good week academically this week and again in May. Those two weeks are as important as any weeks all year.”


Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 4 months ago

Looking forward to the make up of next year's team, it's been confirmed that Wigs is going to take an official to KU:

I wouldn't make too much of it. FSU and UK are still considered the leaders, but getting guys on campus is half the battle, so it's an important step, even if it's still a long shot. Maybe the AFH experience can win him over.


mikehawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Kevin isn't thinking, he's just playing and that comes from a year in the system. Perry is still learning and he appears to be a thinker. The action and game will eventually come in time. Jamari is still learning the game and his up side appears bigger and bigger. But in time, it may get down to matchups at the 4. Play a Michigan State type team again and you will need Jamari. Kevin can out quick a bunch of 4's but there are limits when faced with bulk. Perry has that uncanny gift of manuvering around the basket and scoring or getting fouled, and you will need that. Eventually, Withey will get in foul trouble and you will need all three to step up on various combinations. Maybe, as it concerns the 4, we go with one of HCBS's mantras, which is "it isn't who starts but who finishes." Easy question of the day...What other sport do Jeff and Wilt have in common?


FarSideHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

I've liked Young's energy from the get-go last year. I remember even when people were complaining about him on these boards, I couldn't understand what the fuss was about as I thought him going wild on defense was great. It reminded me of the 08 team and fast-moving long hands on defense.

Same thing regarding Tharpe. I think he is coming along fine. He is going to be a real good point guard for us. He has the handles and court vision and he'll learn to maximize his defensive potential soon.


Chitown99 1 year, 4 months ago

Anyone else see more than a little Joakim Noah in Kevin Young? A guy who doesn't have the best of skill sets, but whose energy is unrivaled by anyone on the floor WHENEVER he is on the floor. He's a guy that you like to have on your team, but who would annoy you to no end if he were on your rival's team. He's a guy that doesn't do anything flashy, but through energy and the skill set he does have, simply helps your team win ballgames. I, for one, am glad that Kevin Young is a Jayhawk and here's to hoping that he helps our team win a title like Noah did for his Florida Gators.


Jayhawkgirl2 1 year, 4 months ago

Don't worry about Traylor, Ellis or White yet! Don't consider the KU rotation complete yet! Don't get to excite about our wins yet ( No top 25 team) Look at the Michigan State loss, Traylor was a beast ( Got minutes)! Ellis got minutes but needed space ( Michigan State only team with legitimate BIGS this year). We needed the 3 ball to create space inside. The system must change when we play really good teams, we must develope and encourage rotation players to become game situation specialists. Looking for a final 4 appearance with this team. Want to know what you all think!


Tony Bandle 1 year, 4 months ago

Where have some of you been this last decade....SELF STARTS long as the produce points, defense or mayhem for the opponent.

I predict, barring injury or Divine Intervention, the starting lineup for the first round game in the NCAA Playoffs in March will still be Johnson, McLemore, Withey, Releford and Young.

Does anyone want to seriously disagree with that statement??


Jack Jones 1 year, 4 months ago

"Self said AW3

"Self said AW3 reminded......of .. Teahen". "Threw ..hands up...disgust". "WE ARE RIGHT,.. Really? Don't break your arms.......on your backs. I'm inclined to go with Self's evaluation as to who is "right".



beebe1 1 year, 4 months ago

Seems Adam insists on dribbling into trouble! My count was 3 times in his mop up minutes, maybe wrong. It took Taylor about three and a half years to stop dribbling into trouble. Consequently he got us to finish the final four.


Sam Constance 1 year, 4 months ago

I think Tharpe's liability as a point guard is being overblown a little bit. He definitely has some shortcomings, but I would argue that they are mostly on the defensive end. He's not quick enough and doesn't move his feet well enough to lock down the opposing player's PG. And when you have him in the lineup with McLemore, who is also not really there yet defensively (but is athletic enough to make up for it most of the time), you have two gaping holes on the perimeter.

Through Naadir's first five games, he put up 13 assists against 3 TOs in a backup role. That's a pretty solid line as a ballhandler. He's tailed off the last three games (including his worst TO performance of the year against Colorado), but I'm willing to chalk that up to the typical lulls that can happen from game to game in a long season. At least, for now.

If he could just bring up his shooting percentage a little bit, he would be a fine backup point guard. He's currently sitting at 32.4% from the field and 31.6% from three, and rumor has it that he's a better shooter than that.

My biggest problem with Naadir is that he sometimes seems lackadaisical, which was the same issue he had last year.

Plus, let's look at his potential replacements: Rio and Andrew. Both have looked promising at times, but certainly not as steady as Tharpe. I just don't think crazy potential is what you want in a backup point guard. Tharpe's relative steadiness is far more valuable to this team in that role than the fact that Rio and Andrew both seem to have higher ceilings as players.

As far as Mr. Young goes... I don't really care much one way or another about whether he "deserves" to start. I think for now, he's a great option to start at the 4, but ultimately, I think this team is better served if Ellis is playing well enough to start at the 4, so that Young can come in as 6th man and help be the QB, so to speak, of the second-team lineup. That way you don't put as much pressure on Tharpe as the backup PG, since Young being in the game clearly helps with the vocal aspect of leading a team, and the fact that he can do a little ballhandling when needed.

Don't get me wrong--it doesn't help us to shoehorn Ellis into the starter role. This only works if he is playing reasonably well. But in an ideal world, we are a better team if Ellis plays the part of a competent roleplayer alongside EJ, McLemore, Releford and Withey, leaving Young to come in with the second unit to provide a spark. Being a 6th man takes a special kind of skill--you have to generate your own energy, since you can't feed off the adrenaline and hype that comes with the start of the game. I'm just not sure anyone else on the team has that kind of skill besides Young...


HawkKlaw 1 year, 4 months ago

It's becoming clear that there are 4 tiers of players on this team:

Tier 1: The Starters

Elijah, Travis, Ben, Kevin & Jeff

This is the tier that has it all: Energy, efficiency, talent and intelligence. This is the best combo of players that Bill Self has at his disposal on December 11, 2012. He'd like to switch Kevin and Perry, but Ellis' play just hasn't warranted that switch yet. It will probably come before the end of the season (my guess is by the time conference play starts), but for now Kevin Young gets the nod due to his energy and experience.

Tier 2: The Bench

Perry, Jamari & Naadir

This is the tier that Self has been probing all season, especially through the media. He needs Perry to think less (...a lot less, apparently) and score more. He needs Jamari to bring more energy, play smarter and generally be more "Kevin Young-esque." He needs Naadir to bring more intensity and move his feet on defense.

Tier 3: The Future Bench/Possible Starters

Rio & Andrew

These are the two players that a lot of fans would like to see on the court more. They have obvious talent and have some of the tools necessary to contribute big time at KU, but they lack the experience and confidence right now.

Naadir is ahead of both from a developmental standpoint and probably will be for the remainder of the season. I thought at some point Naadir would be phased out in favor of one (or both) of these guys, but it's becoming more and more clear that Self just isn't happy with what he sees in Rio or Andrew yet. Even with Naadir's 4 TO's against CU, his minutes aren't in jeopardy. So, for whatever reason, Self has chosen Naadir out of these three (my guess is that Naadir gets the nod because of his experience and ability to run the offense competently). Unless something crazy happens, I see Naadir getting more minutes than both of these guys for the remainder of the season.

Side Note: The other day there was an article where Self said that AW3 reminded him of Connor Teahen. We all threw our hands up in disgust and proclaimed that AW3 was far more talented than Teahen. We are right, but in Self's mind AW3 is a pretty similar player to Teahen thus far in his KU career. That will change next year, but for now AW3 is just a "hired gun" sharp shooter that will probably only get sparse minutes throughout the season. Like it or not, Naadir will continue to be the first guard off the bench until AW3 can prove to Bill Self that he's more than just a good shooter in practice.

Tier 4: Practice Players

Tyler, Niko, Landen, Justin, Evan & Christian

Pretty self-explanatory here. Important, adequate players that will only see mop-up minutes (except for Landen, of course, who will probably make his way up to Tier 1 next season).


REHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Roy Hobbs. What a great analogy! In AFH Saturday there were 16,300 Irises gleaming with pride for the Comeback Kid. The folks at Netflix will probably be amazed at the number of Dec. requests for THE NATURAL. A splendid timefiller during long winter weeks when the Jayhawk hoopsters play only one game.


William Blake 1 year, 4 months ago

Kevin deserves to start. Period. Either you reward players who hustle or your talk doesn't match your walk.

And why wouldn't we want to start Kevin? Why wouldn't we want to start the game with high energy and a big run? Why wouldn't we want to set the tone of the game from second 1?

I thought CS should have made a bigger deal out of Kevin's energy last year. Show the separation of energy between Kevin and the team and challenge players to bring high octane every game and every practice.

Hustle is King!


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

My personal theory is if 6'5 BMac can come in and score like he does, that has lit a fire under 6'6 Travis, not to mention Self hammering the aggression-theme. Travis a competitor. BMac has made the guard play better, just by doing what he is doing. Always knew ya had it in ya, Travis! RCJH


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

(Let's light the powder keg one more time...): If Travis Releford is "glue", I'll take his version of Elmer's ANY day. Releford>>Brady (sound player, lockdown defender, but with hops...). :)


lincase 1 year, 4 months ago

Kevin Young is my favorite player. He is the only one who always looks like he is happy to be out there. I believe he truly appreciates the opportunity he has been given, and he has a great smile. Even if he makes mistakes, it is never due to lack of hustle. Gotta love him.


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Wow: SelfhimBill now quoted as saying: "quit worrying about screwing up"...Just wow. The NewBill. Or apparently all this Change talk has finally struck the Billbrain...(joke).


TraditionRich 1 year, 4 months ago

I have been hoping for years that we would apply more full court presses. We did it vs Colorado and it paid off in a big way. I really hope this becomes a fixture of this team going forward.

Belmont is 6-2 on the year with a win over Stanford. Will be another solid opponent. Go hawks!


midwest_muser 1 year, 4 months ago

Fearless prediction (or thinly veiled and unwanted advice for HCBS) By March, AW3 will be in the rotation and Nadir Tharpe will not. Tharpe will get enough minutes (in blowouts) to prevent total atrophy in case EJ is injured, otherwise Trav is the backup point for 5 mins per game (think Scottie Pippen). AW3 can learn his role a lot more quickly than Tharpe can become a useful PG.


KansasComet 1 year, 4 months ago

Perry Ellis will be the starter. He has less than 10 games Division 1 experience. He will be fine and his talent will shine through. Kevin Young will play hard whether he starts or comes off the bench.


jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago


FROM: jaybate

TO: Pops Self

RE: Roy Hobbs coming off bench


Are you INSANE? Stop. Hobbs only player on your team capable of making anyone else better. Stop. Use Hobbs to make your best four better. Stop. Hobbs scored and boarded 32ppg and 16 rpg when normalized to 40 minutes. Stop. Only player on team other than Ben capable of that. Stop. And Hobbs way more efficient than Ben. Stop. Make Hobbs your 6th man and you will be known forever as the man who sat Roy Hobbs. Stop. If you want Hobbs to be your sixth man, start him and then leave him instead of resting him. Stop. You got a gift Pops. Stop. Be grateful. Stop. Once injuries start in start in second half of season, Hobbs will probably start at all five positions one game or another. Iris has tickets for the Madness. Stop. You will see. Stop. Go to Eldridge with Red Dooley. Stop. Have steak au poivre. Stop. He will tell you. Stop. Eats pretty good. Stop. Hobbs is special. Dont ask why? Stop. Play him. Stop.


Dirk Medema 1 year, 4 months ago

"Hopefully those guys are exhausted and tired staying up late studying like everybody else is (in student body). We need a good week academically this week and again in May. Those two weeks are as important as any weeks all year.”

Sounds like Coach Weis :-)


David Leathers 1 year, 4 months ago

That game on Saturday was the hopeful turning point for this year's team. KY was moving so fast in and out of the lane, slipping by the defenders, and finishing at the hole. Such a role model, that kid.


Mike Rotchurtz 1 year, 4 months ago

Love Young's energy, but I agree with HCBS -- you want a guy like that coming off the bench to give you a spark. I'd rather have a more polished player starting and getting the majority of the minutes. Gotta believe that guy is Perry Ellis, but we know what his issues are. When (not if) PE finds his inner mean steak this is going to be a much better team.


Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 4 months ago

Okay Jayhawks:
Now you don't ALL have to look like you're on a pogo stick flying down the court, a la KYoung, but you gotta admit he looks like he's having more fun than anybody else out there. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious, at least for those of us cheering from a long distance away.
Who knows, maybe it would be better to have him come off the bench after about the first 2 minutes, so just as the opponent thinks they might be able to keep up with the Hawks, BAMM! goes the KY the cruise missile! The Flying Grin and Monster Fro! Can't stop That!!

Use Finals week to hit the books and rest the bones a bit, and then get ready for the last few non-conference games and then the real deal in Big 12 time!!
On to title #9!

Rock Chalk, etc....


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