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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jayhawks return from holiday break

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Kansas University’s basketball team gathered for practice Wednesday night after a refreshing 3 1/2-day holiday break.

“It wasn’t very good (practice), but attitudes were good,” KU coach Bill Self said.

He and son Tyler experienced no travel problems Wednesday morning returning from Edmond, Okla., where the Self family visited relatives for a couple of days, including Tuesday’s Christmas holiday.

“The roads weren’t bad. They were expecting eight inches (of snow). The storm never hit. It brushed through Edmond,” Self said.

His players also had good luck in returning from all over the country. Wednesday proved to be a horrible day for thousands of travelers if they happened to be in the path of a huge snow/ice storm.

Only KU senior Jeff Withey and freshman Landen Lucas were not at practice Wednesday night. Withey today will attend a memorial service in California for his grandmother, who died last week. He’ll be back in Lawrence tonight. Lucas, who is being red-shirted, has been given a few extra days off by Self, since he’s not able to play in Saturday’s game against American (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse). Lucas, who is from Portland, Ore., will return Saturday.

As far as practice, Self said Wednesday: “It’s no fun for our guys right now. There are no students here. They are leaving family. It’s going to get boring. Once (Jan. 6, Temple game) gets here, it’ll get hot and heavy (with games). We’ve got to figure a way to get in a couple things. It’s really our last chance to practice up until the end of the season. We play two games a week after (Jan. 6). This is a chance to get in extended practices and a few things, tinker with stuff. School doesn’t start until the 22nd so we have a lot of time to watch film.”

Stats ’n’ such: The Jayhawks have compiled some impressive team and individual statistics befitting the squad’s No. 6-national ranking.

Senior 7-footer Withey, who has blocked 55 shots in 11 games (5.0 per game), ranks second nationally behind St. John’s freshman Chris Obekpa, who has 64 blocks (5.3 per game) in 12 games. Arizona State’s Jordan Bachynski, a 7-foot-2 junior from Calgary, Alberta, has 54 blocks (4.5 per game) in 12 games.

KU ranks second nationally and first in the Big 12 in total blocks (90 or 8.18 a game). St. John’s has 112 blocks or 9.33 per game while playing one extra game than the Jayhawks.

KU red-shirt freshman guard Ben McLemore is second in the Big 12 in scoring (16.5 ppg to Baylor senior Pierre Jackson’s 19.0), second in free-throw percentage (.860), second in three-point field-goal percentage (.408), and fifth in field-goal percentage (.488). Withey is third in field-goal percentage (.573), fifth in rebounding (8.3 per game; ISU’s Melvin Ejim and Texas Tech’s Jaye Crockett lead the league at 8.9 per game).

Senior guard/forward Travis Releford leads the league in free-throw percentage. He has made 28 of 32 for 87.5 percent.

The Jayhawks rank fourth nationally in field-goal-percentage defense (.347). Big 12 member Texas leads the country at .335. The Jayhawks’ scoring defense (59.2 ppg) ranks fourth in the league and No. 39 nationally. TCU leads the league at 53.8 ppg.

Some other stats of interest: In the Big 12, KU ranks first in scoring margin (plus 18.3), first in field-goal percentage (.493), second in scoring offense (77.5), second in free-throw percentage (.737), second in field-goal-percentage defense (.347), second in three-point field-goal percentage (.346), second in assists (16.7), fourth in threes made (5.82 per game), seventh in three-point field-goal-percentage defense (.302), fourth in rebounding (39.0 per game), third in rebounding margin (plus 5.5).

“As a staff, we think we are making positive strides,” Self said. “There’s a ton of things we need to work on. We haven’t had a ton of teams play us a lot of zone or press a lot. There’s plenty we need to work on.”

Next foe: American University of the Patroit League will take a 4-8 record into Saturday’s game. American has defeated Quinnipiac, Mt. St. Mary’s, St. Francis (Pa.) and UMBC and lost to Georgetown (65-48), Hampton, Columbia, Howard, St. Joseph’s, Florida Atlantic, San Francisco and Minnesota (72-36).

The team’s leading scorer is Stephen Lumpkins, a 6-8 senior who averages 15.5 points a game. The only other double-digit scorer is Daniel Munoz, a 6-foot senior who averages 10.0 ppg.

American University is located in Washington, D.C., with an enrollment of 6,783.

Comments

TheBoHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Seriously...why are we playing SUCH a cupcake like American...It's really rather ridiculous..practices will be harder than this game.

mojayhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

We NEED a cupcake for desert after Turkey and Dressing and Plum pudding. A cupcake is good this time of year.

jawsrecliner 9 years, 1 month ago

We already have the 3rd hardest schedule thus far according rivals.com at yahoo. Shouldn't the guys get a chance to knock off the holiday rust against a cupcake...?

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

I've never reposted someone else's post and I probably won't again, but a post yesterday by HEM cuts to the marrow of mainstream sport in America today and should not be missed by anyone. It tells something truthful about sport and so explodes beyond sport to tell us something about our nation.

HighEliteMajor says...

That is interesting. What I think will stabalize conference realignment, really, is an 8 team football playoff. When you get to 8 teams, that means everyone really has a shot at getting in. If you are a one loss team, as long as you're in a decent conference, you'll be in.

Right now, even moving to a 4 team playoff, everyone thinks the SEC is so great, I wouldn't doubt a scenario where 3 of the 4 teams are from the SEC.

Seriously, Alabama loses at home to Texas A&M .. again at home .. and they get a pass. Nearly as if it didn't happen. Just because they're Alabama. K-State loses on the road and they're not even in the discussion. Oregon St. loses at home to a quality Stanford team and they're out of the discussion as well. I watched Alabama lose to A&M and the cynic in me said it didn't matter. I hate when cynicism is proven correct.

The entire mantra that the regular season matters in college football is a lie. It doesn't. Teams can be eliminated after the first two or three weeks. Then the regular season is meaningless as it relates to a national champion. They're playing to go to the Beef O'Brady Bowl. Wow. And the bowl games are a sham. It truly is meaningless. Not to demean KU's Orange Bowl, but really, we're excited over a "BCS" bowl because Perkins outmaneuvered Alden? Again, I can hardly contain my excitement.

The teams that folks perceive as the better teams start with a huge advantage by being ranked higher to begin with. Perceptions. Based only on predictions. Predictions that pollsters find hard to let go of. At least in college basketball, that subjective "perception" may only impact a line or two on seeding.

The entire regular season in college basketball counts to most teams. And then the conference tournaments create new hope to get to the dance. It is a continuing effort to get in the tournament. Most teams aren't sure things. The regular season means more to more teams in college basketball. The regular season means something only to a decreasing few as the season progresses.

College football is such a joke in my mind, it's why I have very little interest. The bowl system is in place due to a centralized power structure that is all about lining the pockets of those associated with the bowl games (I would say oligarchy, but that's jb's word), who then kick it back to the NCAA. That structure has denied us true college football champions. It isn't about a champion.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Seriously, next season, KU could run the table in college football and still not get a sniff at the title. 'Bama and USC could go undefeated, and do you think we'd go before those to the title game? Not a chance. Heck, the same could have been K-State's fate this season. Or even Notre Dame's. Solely because of where each started in the rankings, and the perceptions.

There is no true champion. True national champions are decided in playoffs.

****wissoxfan83 .. thanks for starting my rant

(End of repost)

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

TheBoHawk,

You play American U because:

1) it gives you a tune up game against a fundamentally sound team to practice some of your final additions to scheme before the real season starts.

2) it gets you media coverage in a big recruiting market.

3) it extends coaching courtesy and a big gate check to a respected coach in a respected coaching family tree that descends from Lefty Drizelle to Terry Holland to Jeff Jones. Holland was hugely respected among coaches as a coach, then as an AD. He has several assistants that became head coaches.

Luca Rossi 9 years, 1 month ago

I don't think it was necessarily meant to be a cupcake matchup when the schedule was set. Looks like they are a bit down this year, American U was a tournament team in 2008 & 2009 which isn't too far in the past.

clevelandjayhawker 9 years, 1 month ago

Just got back from my wedding (in Jamica) and am catching up on some games via the DVR.

Loved the ohio state game (if you have ever lived in ohio then you know how there fans are), would have made for a long week if we lost that.

Tharpe looks to be improving, Bmac is what Self made him out to be, Young is playing with good energy, EJ seems to be letting the game come to him and not forcing it as much, and Rel is playing great D. Seems like Self is setting his rotation and that Elis and Traylor may not be getting as much playing time as I thought, will be interesting to see who plays what mins if we can get a big lead on saturday.

Was looking ahead at the schedule and cant wait for the 2 games a week conference schedule...cant get enough KU BBall. Rock Chalk.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 1 month ago

Congrats on the wedding! Jamaica is a beautiful place. I honeymooned there in 2011. We stayed at Sandals Whitehouse.

You're assessments are good. The team really has looked incredible lately, especially starting with the Colorado game, and I was very impressed Saturday against Ohio. Tharpe played very well. In fact, every played quite well for most of the game, though several players had a few lapses especially in terms of ball security during the buckeye run in the first half. I think we all were hoping for a breakout game from Ellis by now, but Young is proving more and more that we are fine right now despite Ellis' slower than expected development.

I'm looking forward to the Temple game to see how well we handle a confident A10 coming off a huge win in Syracuse.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 1 month ago

A couple of his blocks were called fouls, i.e. the one really good one on Thomas where he ever so slighly touched his hand. Also, he had another on Thomas but Thomas was called for traveling. He could have easily had 4 blocks.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

I love reading about the Jayhawks as most of us do, but a headline (that I admittedly clicked on) stating the Jayhawks came back from Holiday break borders on the who cares/really? side of our Jayhawk fanaticism.

I did enjoy reading the stats. One needs checked. BMac at .488 is 5th in the Big12 and Withey at .573 is 3rd. That means in the entire league there's only one player between .488 and .573? Sounds like something's off there.

Having the 1 and 2 FT shooters in the league is something I'm not sure we've seen in many years at KU. I never think of KU as being very good at FT's. I tried doing a little research on our FT percentage and rank through the years, not successful.

The big margin between our FG percentage and our FG percentage defense is a number I always look for, We are doing quite well in that category.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 1 month ago

I agree with you. I can't remember the last time I would consider KU to be a good free throw shooting team.

Bill Self has had some good free throw shooters here though. Sherron was a good free throw shooter and so was Wayne Simien.

I can't believe that Releford leads the league in free throw shooting percentage. I don't consider him to be a great free throw shooter. How many of his free throws have bounced in and rolled in after hitting the rim, bouncing off the glass, spinning around on the iron, etc? Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good (but not most of the time), however there is something to be said for a 5th year senior guard who has no doubt worked countless hours on that soft shooter's touch at the stripe.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

Funny on Travis considering I read a Self quote here a few weeks ago where he said Travis isn't a very good shooter at all.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

"Some jaybate Inquirer Headlines Designed to Hold wissoxfan83's Attention During Lulls in Basketball News"

~Self Retires, Says Winning Boring, Takes Up Sky Diving with Aliens.

~Dooley Departs, Joins DARPA in Ear Antennae Experiment, in Near East/South Asia.

~Townsend Turns on Sartorial Splendor, Shifts to Sears Red Plaid Shirts and Carhartt Duck Bibs for New Bench Look; Confesses He Watches Ellen Regularly.

~Roberts Resigns; Tells Self Recruiting Sucks; Takes Up Viola with Dream of Playing in New York Philharmonic to Support Starbuck Coffee Habit.

~Sadler Reveals Osborne Wears Talc to Avoid Invisibility and Once Stalked Baby Jayhawk in Lincoln.

~Keegan Despairs with S.A.D. Syndrome, Attempted Suicide with a Snapper Snow Blower

~Bedore, in Betty Ford for Turkey Dressing Overdose, Has Affair with Martian Beat Writer Hooked on Bon Bons

~Newell Uses Magnifiying Glass to Self Immolate after Tiring of jaybates's Newell Live Comments, Also Burns Down West Lawrence

~Zenger and Campo in Critical Condition after Summer Sausage Eating Contest with Weis; Disgusted Wives Run Away with Aliens to Europa to Start New Lives.

~CBernie's Body Taken Over by Chris Rock; Chancellor Found at Top of Campanile Endlessly Repeating: "You can be married and bored, or single and lonely"

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

Steve Gantz 9 years, 1 month ago

"Jaybate checked into Mental Health Center" :)

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

I would of course be the crazy doctor running the asylum. :-)

lfigment99 9 years, 1 month ago

Another stat also needs to be checked. Spradling has hit 26 of 28 FT's for a 92.9%. He was perfect from the line until he missed two in his last game against Florida.

Beate Williams 9 years, 1 month ago

Trojanhawk I swear you are right. But it isn't only the Withey blocks, it seems that Kansas must be twice as good as everyone else to get its due. For example, top 10 on ESPN, routine things get on and for KU to get on it has to be tremendously exceptional, I'm just saying...

Thanks Jaybate for the repost and thanks to you HEM for putting in words what so many of us feel and believe to be the ultimate truth, it's all a farce and about the money.

AverageCitizen 9 years, 1 month ago

I use to think the same thing about ESPN ignoring KU plays but then I noticed that they highlight plays of games shown on ESPN and downplay games on other networks. They can't ignore top 25 games played but they don't have to emphasize them either. It makes sense to hype your own network.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 1 month ago

I would add that Christian Garrett makes his first field goal as a Jayhawk as well. That would bring the predicted scoring to a minimum of 82 (counting Wesley as a scholarship player and assuming he plays, though I think he will probably still be grounded with a broken wing). That leaves 25 points to go around if the outcome is 107. I'm sure that EJ, BMac, Rele, and Young will each score more than a single dunk.

AirCapJay 9 years, 1 month ago

The only way for us to break the century mark against American would be for the subs to do it themselves. Self is not going to run up the score. You will see a lot of empty bench. The coaches sons will decide if we break 100.

Boouk 9 years, 1 month ago

Have you seen Adams shoot? I seriously doubt he makes a shot beyond 15 this season. Hopefully he transfers soon.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 1 month ago

Didn't Weskey have his hand taped up at OSU...I must have missed the memo!!

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

This would be a good game for HCBS to start the bottom five of the line-up to give them some good playing time.

David Robinett 9 years, 1 month ago

Guys -- where is the best online place to buy KU basketball tickets -- e.g. from individuals, cheaper than buying from the ticket office or from brokers? thanks for any recs.

AsadZ 9 years, 1 month ago

Kansas Athletics would be my recommendation

texashawk10 9 years, 1 month ago

Unless you know someone who has season tickets that would be willing to give you a discount, the box office is going to be the cheapest way to get tickets for a game. If the game doesn't have to be in Allen Fieldhouse, there are a couple of road games (Texas Tech and OU) that Stubhub has tickets for less than face value right now.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

"Some Places Not to Buy KU Basketball Tickets"

~Never buy a KU basketball ticket from a man with a gun calling himself Vinny the Bull.

~Never buy a KU basketball ticket from a man in a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie driving a late model Ford Crown Vic with government license plates.

~Never buy a KU basketball ticket from a woman calling herself Cha Cha wearing a bustier and a feather boa with a walkie talkie in her garter.

(Note: all fiction. No malice.)

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

"Some Stuff I Would Like to See Self Add During the Time of Getting Better--Seriously"

~EJ posting up short guards--Self has steadfastly refused to do this with Tyshawn and now EJ. It annoys me no end. He isolates everyone else on opponents with MUAs but refuses to exploit this kind of MUA. What is the difference between Sherron and Tyshawn taking their opponents to the rim on the dribble and passing it into them posted on the blocks? Nada. And it will create a much better opportunity for EJ to pass out of a big man coming to help to, say, Jeff, or Kevin, crashing for a stuff. EJ could have destroyed Craft by posting him up on the blocks.

~1-3-1 zone with Ben/Perry roving baseline and Kevin one perimeter and Jeff in the middle (note: my true secret 1-3-1 wish remains Jeff on the perimeter so that the zone can almost totally over-shift to the opposite side of the court and choke off all outside shooting, while Kevin and Jeff crash backside and Ben/Perry annihilates everything baseline to baseline, but that seems beyond hoping for. The overshifted 1-3-1 would be an intermittently used zone, like an unbalanced line in football).

~2-2-1 one press. KU needs to use two presses to avoid being predictable. Jabbar and Walton made the 2-2-1 zone press a thing of beauty once upon a time. Jeff would too with this incredibly long and athletic starting group this season.

Boouk 9 years, 1 month ago

I remember last year we threw it down to Releford in the post twice and both times he made nice moves and scored. Since it worked well both times, I have no idea why we didn't do it more often last year and why we haven't done it so far this season.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Good recall.

Doubtless Self has some reason, and I wish he would explain it, so I could go, "Oh, I see, Coach was right all along because..."

But I really don't get it.

What is the difference if you throw it to a 6-4 player on the perimeter and say go get a basket, or if you throw it to him on the blocks and say go get a basket?

It never seemed significantly different from throwing the ball into a 6-8 to 7-0 guy on the blocks either. A two inch height advantage with a 2 inch vertical leaping advantage is just as much of a 4 inch MUA as is forcing it into a footer against a 6-8 big.

Its one of those mysteries that has seemed to me for decades to smack of conventional wisdom, rather than reason.

But I have thought other things before and learned later Self had a perfectly logical reason for doing otherwise.

Man, do I want to hear the explanation on this one.

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