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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Travis Releford exemplifies KU’s thieving ways

Kansas guard Travis Releford, right, gets a hug from teammate Thomas Robinson after KU's win over Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.

Kansas guard Travis Releford, right, gets a hug from teammate Thomas Robinson after KU's win over Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at Lloyd Noble Center.

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While talking during a postgame interview just outside the Kansas University locker room Monday night, KU small forward Travis Releford was interrupted by someone behind him.

“Great game,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said, shaking Releford’s hand. “Good luck this year.”

“Thanks,” Releford responded after his 11-point effort in KU’s 92-74 victory.

Much of Releford’s impact came on the defensive end, as he snared two of KU’s eight steals. He has eight steals in his last four games.

“That’s the key to our team,” Releford said. “If we get out and get steals on the defensive end, we can get a score, or a guy can get fouled and shoot free throws. So that’s what we really try to key in on.”

Though Releford said the Jayhawks actually don’t get up and down the court as much in practice, coach Bill Self has made playing fast an emphasis in games.

Releford himself has been especially dangerous in transition, which is partially reflected in his two-point percentage.

The junior has made 61.5 percent of his twos this year (48 of 78), which ranks only behind teammates Kevin Young (63.6 percent) and Elijah Johnson (62.3 percent).

The Kansas City, Mo., native picked up his offense in the second half against Baylor, posting nine points on 4-for-5 shooting after halftime.

“I feel like I stepped it up the defensive end and on offense,” Releford said of his second half. “I made a few shots late. And the two guys I was guarding, I didn’t let get (into) a rhythm.”

Releford has continued his elevated play while still dealing with a right foot ailment. He continues to wear a protective boot when he’s not practicing or playing, which helps take pressure off the outside of his foot.

Though the boot has caused some who have seen him to be concerned, the injury is not significant; Releford has yet to miss a practice or game.

“After I get to playing, my body gets to warm up,” Releford said. “Then I don’t even think about it after that.”

Shabazz update: Shabazz Muhammad, the top-ranked basketball player in the high school recruiting Class of 2012, will make an official visit to Kansas University, Muhammad’s dad, Ron Holmes, told Jayhawkslant.com. Muhammad, 6-foot-6, 215 pounds out of Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High, has a final list of KU, Kentucky, UNLV, UCLA, Duke and Arizona.

“A lot of people have it wrong about Shabazz,” Holmes told the website. “A lot of people have no idea what’s going on. We’re going to officially visit Kansas, and I’ve said that many times. If it works out, I’m going to bring my entire family to Kansas. I always knew Kansas was a great school, but the in-home visit really opened my eyes.”

Not on list: KU senior Tyshawn Taylor has not made the final list of 20 players for the Cousy Award, which is presented to the country’s top point guard. Baylor’s Pierre Jackson and Missouri’s Phil Pressey are on the final list with Shabazz Napier, UConn; Ray McCallum, Detroit; Seth Curry, Duke; Erving Walker, Florida; Scott Machado, Iona; Casper Ware, Long Beach State; Peyton Silva, Louisville; Trey Burke, Michigan; Dee Bost, Mississippi State; Kendall Marshall, North Carolina; Aaron Craft, Ohio State; D.J. Cooper, Ohio; Zack Rosen, Pennsylvania; Ashton Gibbs, Pitt; Scoop Jardine, Syracuse; Damian Lillard, Weber State; Jordan Taylor, Wisconsin; and Tu Holloway, Xavier.

— Assistant sports editor Gary Bedore contributed to this report

Comments

trustyourSelf 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure I want Shabazz if he's gonna be gone after one year. Also, we have PLENTY of depth at the 3 spot next year (Releford, McLemore, Perry Ellis, Andrew White)

Michael Pannacciulli 2 years, 9 months ago

Good thing it's not your decision to make then! I'd rather have depth (and his abilities) than what we are dealing with this season because you never know...injury...transfers...ineligibility...other guys leaving early...

Ron Franklin 2 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. I'm tired of one and doners. Especially when they come into a crowded bench and screw up the chemistry with their egos.

Woody Cragg 2 years, 9 months ago

I laugh whenever I read the chapter in "Beyond the Phog" where Kieth Langford hammers Kris Humpheries. As a HS kid he told the entire team they would have to change their whole offense the next year as it revolve completely around him & he would become their leading scorer. Roy rescinded the offer! The OAD's are a crapshoot from the maturity angle. You can't ever tell. JMO.

addlime 2 years, 9 months ago

You have to admit Kris Humpheries is a great rebounder, however. Even picked up that fiance on the rebound. We see how that worked out.

Woody Cragg 2 years, 9 months ago

Also is still a head case 10 yrs later. Maturity never arrives for some.

Ron Prichard 2 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like this kid may have his priorities a little more in order than some others. His parents--and possibly his entire family--want to attend the campus visit with him. It appears the decision on where he goes will be a family decision, which tends to tell me it's not just about ego. Also, I will take a mix of good players and elite players over simply good players any day, and make no mistake, Shabazz is an elite player.
Come to KU, Shabazz!!

Ron Prichard 2 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone remember when Releford was recruited he was telling everyone he was going to be a one and done? Same thing with Brandon Rush. I'm so glad Self didn't listen to people saying don't recruit them, they'll only be here one year. Both have turned out great for KU, don't you think? Granted, as the #1 player in the class, it is almost a virtual certainty Shabazz will be gone after next year. Still, you want as much talent as you can get every year.

Mike Bratisax 2 years, 9 months ago

How many one-and-done players are on THIS years team? Good coaching and team chemistry can overcome a shortage of talented players.

Personally, I hope HCBS does listen to his players and not bring in players who don't want to be part of a team. HCBS still makes the decision but you don't coach at this level if you don't listen to your players.

And you can have too much talent..ask the 2007 UNC team.

Robert Brock 2 years, 9 months ago

Ellis will not be playing the 3 at KU. Ever.

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for your insight Coach Self. Clever disguise btw, posting here under the anonymity of the avatar-less user name "Brock".

My thoughts are that no, he won't play at the 3 as a freshman, and maybe not much as a sophomore, if at all. But we have seen Self do this with other "hybrids", Marcus & Julian. They spend the lion's share of their minutes in the post but on occasion, when depth in the post allows it, will play big and have the hybrid at the 3. Expect a similar situation with Perry. It will never be his primary position, but he'll play there in spurts by his junior year.

JHawk74 2 years, 9 months ago

Brock, Your an idiot. He will play the 3 and 4 position for KU. See quote below.

“What we’ve heard from the coaches that recruited him is he is a match-up nightmare,” said Wichita Heights coach Joe Auer. “He can guard the perimeter. He can go both inside and out. Coaches didn’t really talk a lot about what position he’d play, that’d it be a combination.” (Quote from KUSports.com article).

Most people probably thought Marcus Morris would not be a 3 position but yet he played it in college and now in the NBA.

Don't make stupid predictions that you can't back up.

Cameron Schienebeck 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah having a 6’6 215lbs man child that’s the #1 recruit would really suck. Come on guy! Even if he’s one and done at 6’6 he can do a lot of damage with his talent level. You are just hurt by Selby yet. He was like meeting a sure thing at a party, bringing her home for a drink and she leaves in a cab before you make it into the bedroom.

greykatz 2 years, 9 months ago

That Selby remark is the most creative (and probably the longest) simile I've seen in quite a while, camron08. A tip of the hat to you!

Dubsix 2 years, 9 months ago

Um, have you seen video of Shabazz? The kid has some real talent, best I've seen since Kevin Durrant. Even if we're overloaded on the 3 spot, we could easily have a few play the 2 such as Releford or McLemore. Make no mistake, we definitely want Shabazz to play ball at Kansas.

SoCalAlum 2 years, 9 months ago

What a travesty that TT's not on that list...granted I don't know all of their stats, but really now, the PG from Iona? Gibbs from Pitt (uh...winless in BE).

gdkadjayhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Chip, meet Tyshawn Taylor's shoulder!! Prove 'em wrong Tyshawn.

ca_hawk06 2 years, 9 months ago

I'll take tyshawn over any of those PGs. Keep doing your thing, Tyshawn. No turnovers= no impact; if you aren't making mistakes you aren't doing anything. Without him, we are mediocre at best. Him and T-Rob are gonna lead us to another Big XII title and our best NCAA tourney since '08 (or at worst, as good as last year) '

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

I've been pleased with Tyshawn's play recently too, but now the support of him has reached lunacy:

"No turnovers = no impact. If you aren't making mistakes you aren't doing anything."

At first I thought that the whole "Tyshawn's bricks = assists via offensive rebounds + put-backs" argument was ridiculous, but this takes the cake. Wow. Not turning the ball over is a bad thing now? Mistakes are now encouraged? Seriously, get a grip. Or maybe wait until after some sleep as opposed to 1:29 am before posting.

Mike Kendall 2 years, 9 months ago

Notice Bankok hasn't posted for awhile, since he was using your avatar, 316? That's a good thing because I was getting you two mixed up!

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

Haha...I've actually seen him on some other threads this week, but yeah it hasn't been usually anywhere that I've been posting. Nothing against the guy, but a lot of people were getting us mixed up. Maybe I'll get around to changing my avatar sometime soon to resolve the issue.

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

Haha...I've actually seen him on some other threads this week, but yeah it hasn't been usually anywhere that I've been posting. Nothing against the guy, but a lot of people were getting us mixed up. Maybe I'll get around to changing my avatar sometime soon to resolve the issue.

KULA 2 years, 9 months ago

Nobody ever became great without taking chances. That's why they measure turnovers vs assists and touchdowns vs interceptions. Granted, Tyshawns's turnovers are still too high, but he keeps on winning, so I'll take the bad with the good (like our coach does). If you don't have a certain number of turnovers, you're not pushing the envelope enough. You'll never become great by always making the safe play. Just ask Matt Cassel. Show me a player who never made a turnover and I'll show you a player who never made a great play.

Alohahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

There's also the old standby: Babe Ruth hit the most home runs (during his era). But he also struck out quite often. You 'll never hit a home run if you're not taking a full swing.

Keep swinging to win, TT.

Scott MacWilliams 2 years, 9 months ago

Are you kidding me?? TT not on the top 20 list of PG's for the year?? All he's done is lead the team to some monster victories to date, and looks like he's just (finally) really hitting his stride. They must be hitting him hard for his assist/TO ratio.
Also, interesting comments by Shabazz's dad. Sounds like he was very impressed with the coaches on their visit.
For me, the jury is still out on whether the OAD situation is a net gain or loss for KU. I don't think we can or should expect the same results that came with X and Josh. Let him come if he wants, welcome him with open arms, and trust the coaches to fit all the pieces together. R O C K C H A L K, J A Y H A W K ! ! !

jayhawker_97 2 years, 9 months ago

playing 2 great games can't guarantee TT to be on the list. c'mon.. but TT can still make it to KU's greatest list if he continues playing with his head, giving all he's got for the rest of the season. he just needs to show who the real TT is. who he decides to be - not to be dictated by a bunch of tweeties..

Sam Constance 2 years, 9 months ago

Except for the fact that he had TWO games that probably surpass any individual game of half of the guards on that list. And they were back to back.

It's not like he wasn't helping KU win before these last two outbursts.

Plus, they have a goddamn 6th man PG on that list, which is downright idiotic. Pierre Jackson hasn't started a SINGLE game for his team. As far as I'm concerned, he took TT's slot.

jayhawker_97 2 years, 9 months ago

Travis has length, and his defense position is a lock-n-tight; the only way for the opponent to escape is by acting up to cause him a foul call. but gosh, those are a lot of steals. keep it up, Travis! oh, and please be confident in slashing & shooting. dont' be afraid to just take & shoot the ball. you can always dish it off while driving.

mojayhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Shabazz to KU for one year? You betcha. It's the way things are done. He's already good. Coach Self and Company will make him even better.

Mel Clare 2 years, 9 months ago

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! What sucky defense!!!! LOL! This kid is special.........be nice to get a couple of years from him!

deberg81 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm pretty sure tyshawn is one of the best 20 point guards in the nation.

deberg81 2 years, 9 months ago

Also does anyone know why I can't post comments on the message board topics? Wont work for some reason. I really wanted to chime in on who my most hatedd cbb players were. Terrence Jones and Austin Rivers btw.

Dubsix 2 years, 9 months ago

Your account to post comments on blog posts is different from the account you'll need to post on the message boards. So yes it's dumb and poor website management, but you need 2 accounts.

MorganR 2 years, 9 months ago

. I am so impressed with Mr. Releford's effort. He had some very good games last year even with limited playing time. This year, he has gotten an opportunity to show his talent. My son commented on the "team chemistry" noting they seem to have fun and never seem to lose their composure. That's a credit to the quality of the players and the coaches.

I share the views of SoCalAlum, Ca_hawk, and others that I would not want to trade Mr. Taylor for any other guard. I am sure Mr. Taylor's performance will demonstrate his ability relative to the other guards on the Cousy award list.

It is gratifying Mr. Muhammad, as the top high school player in the Nation, is considering KU. This is a testament to Coach Self, Coach Manning, the other coaches, and the tradition of excellence that our coaches and players exemplify.

jhox 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm most worried about the point guard position for next year. Elijah is not a true point guard. He's simply not comfortable enough with the left hand. Tharp may turn into a player, but he's not there yet and certainly not comfortable handling the ball under intense pressure (at least not yet.) I don't see a true point guard recruit in our 2012 class. I really believe that issue needs to be addressed, and it needs to be addressed quickly.

manunitedjayhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

I wouldn't say Elijah isn't comfortable with his left. I think he is more confident at the PG position than he is at the 2. His handles look tight and his physical build enables him to shield defenders pretty easily. He has impressed me with his ability to handle full court pressure and his head is always up in transition. I think he will be playing the PG position quite a but next year.

JHawk06 2 years, 9 months ago

Agreed, EJ has looked decent bringing the ball up the court and Taylor operated better when that happened.
Tharpe may not look like a 'gamer' now but he is a freshman that has gotten little real playing time.. with our coaches/staff he should be ready by next year.

master16 2 years, 9 months ago

TT is definitely playing as a top 20 (more like top 10) PG as of late. but early in the season he had his mishaps. but to leave him off the list is still pretty ridiculous.. KU is #7 in the nation, 15-3 with two victories over the top 5. we wouldn't be here without Taylor, and he got shafted.

Shawn Otrimble 2 years, 9 months ago

Shabazz is a beast, anyone who says they wouldn't want him at KU is a fool. Even if it's for 1 year. That man-child can play, I would compare him to a young Dr. J.

RockChalk26 2 years, 9 months ago

Wow, a young Dr. J? Let's not get crazy here.

studio 2 years, 9 months ago

I love KU's development "under the radar" so far this season. After the Baylor blowout, I hope these kids are ready for the national spotlight as T-Rob's "supporting cast" of Tyrel, T- Rel, & J- With assuredly become media darlings by staying focused on the prize for playing HCBS/ACDM basketball. Rock on.

studio 2 years, 9 months ago

Tyshawn not Tyrel (Rick Perry has nothing on my cognitive lapse)

AsadZ 2 years, 9 months ago

Though Releford said the Jayhawks actually don’t get up and down the court as much in practice, coach Bill Self has made playing fast an emphasis in games

Great coaches adjust. I'd never expected HCBS to emphasize fast playing with such a thin bench. However after VCU loss he came to realization and has made an adjustment.

Woody Cragg 2 years, 9 months ago

Travis has just been undressing guys lately. Defense can get the offense thriving like nothing else can. It can get a crowd into or out of it in a heartbeat. When Holly Rowe said the db rating was at 113, that's damn near like aircraft traffic. OSHA requires hearing protection at about 95-98 db...that's serious $#@t in an enclosed area of that size!

2 years, 9 months ago

Wow, tough crowd on your cousin's fiance's super bowl commercial post below! I guess the LJW staff won't be voting for it :^) v v v

Woody Cragg 2 years, 9 months ago

Like the corporate names of the sposor's was the kicker...it's a great production for a couple of small town kids in their 20's.

Woody Cragg 2 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Mike Kendall 2 years, 9 months ago

Releford is a key for us. In transition, he is deadly. I love it when he plays lock down defense for us.

In regard to Shabazz----I have seen him on youtube one time. Oh my gosh---unbelievable---who wouldn't want a player like that at KU? I would sacrifice a lot to coach a player like that.

Sally Presson 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm so happy for Travis, he's stayed in there and worked hard and never gave up on KU or himself. He's doing such a great job. Sure love to see these guys stay for 3-4 years. by the 4th year they really shine. Stick with us boys, under the direction of Bill Self and his coaching staff, you'll be glad you did. Tyshawn has improved his game so much and look how much he's excelled this year, very few turnovers and is a great "team" leader. Rock Chalk ready for Texas!!!

Ron Prichard 2 years, 9 months ago

Anyone that says they don't want Shabazz hasn't watched any of his highlights. That kid is a beast!! Not only can he elevate, his shot is as smooth and effortless as any I have ever seen coming out of HS. Plus he is clearly agressive and strong, both valued traits by Self.

Could you imagine how athletic and fast we would be with the following lineup?

Johnson/Tharpe Releford/McLemore Ellis/Traylor/Young Shabazz/Wesley Withy/Peters

We wouldn't have to play set positions (other than Withy and maybe the point). Everyone else would be virtually interchangeable.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 9 months ago

Geez...you cut 4 star Andrew White?? You're a tough coach!!

Ron Prichard 2 years, 9 months ago

My bad...but that's even better. My whole point is the more talent the better. Next year's class, especially if you include Traylor and McLemore, is going to be N-n-n-n-asty!

Hawkerman 2 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Cousy award nominators for putting a chip exactly where it needs to be.

Hawkerman 2 years, 9 months ago

The rest of the country is going to hate them for it.

bennybob 2 years, 9 months ago

There's no room for another 2/3 on next years roster. Releford will be back as a 5th year senior and historically that means Self is going to give him alot of minutes. You then bring in Mclemore and White both as freshman. Its idiotic to recruit 3 players of the same position with one recruiting class.

The Bazz scholorship would be better off spent on a legitimate big like Tony Parker because after Withey/Ellis the front court talent next year drops off quickly. Peters might turn into a solid player after 3 years of development but anyone who thinks Weasley,Young, Traylor and Anderson can be a formidable front court in the Big 12 is delusional.

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

Well...I think if you can get a player like Shabazz you make it work. Maybe that means Andrew White sits more his first year, like EJ did his first year (when many wished he had redshirted). As Shabazz is most likely a OAD it wouldn't be that big of a deal to have one player (again, most likely White) wait his turn.

Also, Anderson? I you referring to Braeden Anderson? He's not here anymore. Couldn't even get financial aid so he enrolled somewhere out west (I forget exactly where). Landen Lucas will also be here. You're not wrong about the front court being a weak link, at least to start. Depends a lot on how much of an impact Ellis is as a freshman. This year we're getting by with TRob & Withey. Obviously there will be a drop-off from TRob to Ellis, but Withey will improve some as a senior. I think depth-wise we'll be in a better position, as Traylor is already practicing with the team so he'll come more ready than your average freshman. Also, it depends on how much of the Bill Self Kool-aid you're drinking regarding Peters. Self says he's a top 20 talent, and his ranking was obviously hurt from skipping the AAU circuit recently to play football. So maybe he's ready sooner rather than later. I don't know, but I wouldn't pass on Shabazz for anybody else left out there, even Tony Parker.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

bennybob,

Redshirts'n'Multi-transcripts are us.

Self has made it clear that he's going to stay overstocked from now on and players can just get used to it and that red shirting and multi-transcript lay outs are going to be path used to keep talent levels where they need to be.

Each year, Self will land his 2-3 blue chips as always. But each year he is going to sign as many multi-transcripts as it takes to ensure a talent buffer big enough to offset no matter how many unexpected jumps to the L occur.

It makes sense to me. Self thankfully appears unwilling to play the check book recruiting game necessary to get much of the top talent.

So: he's going to use the signing of multiple transcript guys to create back stock of guys that get an extra year of physical maturity before hitting the wood.

And when ever he can land an OAD, he's going to sign him and red shirt whomever he'd most like to have a year or two from now.

This is the smart way to go, if you are not going to check book recruit in this era of big spenders.

Think about it.

Self has completely nullified all late signers exploitation game.

If Player X is playing the late signing game and trying to use Self and KU to force Checkbook State U to pay bigger bones, or Player X will come to KU, well, the coaches at Checkbook State U know Self is already stocked up at the 2/3 and won't hire the kid's dad, or as some alum to open a Safety Deposit box with some cash.

This is classic Self taking what they give him.

Okay, you can't figure out how to use the multiple transcript kids legally and still run them through the plug and play mill, well, I can use them at KU by giving them a year to get legal, putting them into a "getting better" framework, and benefit mightily from them being developed for 3-4 years and coming out with degrees. Boom!

You late signers want to play me for a sucker at years end? Fine. I'll stock up and when the investigators start lurking around the VisaCard Programs, well, then I will take you on my terms only. Dig?

Self can basically kick the ass out of UK by spring every season, no matter how many 5 stars they sign, if Cal starts green every season, and Self has 3rd, 4th. and 5th year players on his team that can "run the stuff" and play killer defense, and buy into team by years end.

Really, bennybob, I was worried about this for awhile, but Self has completely outsmarted everyone for now.

By the end of this season, however, every school in the country is going to be emulating what he does and his advantage will slowly diminish.

But there is just no doubt that seasoned 3rd, 4th, and 5th year guys bulked up by Hudy and developed by this incredible coaching staff can beat 5-star freshman teams come March.

We're gold...for the time being.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

P.S.: The key is to play men against boys in March.

UK's team is loooooong and talented, but they are still going to be boys mentally, and often physically, in March.

Just look at the difference mentally between first year and fourth or fifth year players. And with weight training, and the failure to call fouls eroding the advantages of raw talent more and more each season, playing mature guys in a team frame work just gets more and more appealing.

Self said it so clearly after the VCU loss.

He said the guys on VCU were about as good as his guys.

He wasn't making excuses. He was stating a fact.

Butler and VCU keep proving that the difference between a team full of 3 star men with one or two talented players, and a team with 5-star boys is virtually nill in many games, where a lot of physical play is being permitted.

Self learned the lesson.

He's a fast study.

Travis Clementsmith 2 years, 9 months ago

You guys are actually complaining about recruiting the #1 prospect?

Look, even if that prospect doesn't come to KU you always want them to visit. Top players talk with one another and they relate their experiences to one another. Maybe this year Shabazz decides to go somewhere else, but two years down the line, when we really need a top talent at his position, that player speaks with Shabazz and asks him what he thought about KU on his visit. What Shabazz says may decide whether that recruit takes a visit here.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. That's what I say to people who don't want a top 10 recruit to visit. Thank god you are not in charge of recruiting.

Alohahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

+1

My thoughts exactly. Just what is the perfect formula if a coach wants and gets 5 stars, but those 5 stars don't stay past one year?

X actually put up decent numbers (as a freshman) playing in Self's system. He just wasn't the POY that some thought he would be. Yes, he was a OAD, but most thought of him as such while he was being recruited. It was just as much the baggage he brought with him, his dad's politics and X's original decision to play at Memphis, that hurt his final approval rating. That, and he didn't help KU bring home the NCAA Championship.

Selby ended up a liability rather than the extraordinary player everyone thought he would be. He had to sit 9 games and then, had his injury, which limited his performance level. Of course, it didn't help when he walked away, notifying Self by phone instead of in person, and abandoning his classes immediately after the season ended. And again, Selby was seen as the missing piece KU needed to win the NCAA Championship.

And Selby's situation hurt Self's ability to recruit. Perhaps, if Self could have guaranteed recruits that Selby was a OAD, he'd have faired better while recruiting top point guards. Which is how and why Self ended up in this year's, and next year's, backup point guard situation.

As someone posted above. "Recruiting can be such a crapshoot."

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

"Thursday Fog Lifter"

~Travis balling on a boot? Guarding top guns. Super gluing. Glassvaccing the long glass. Offensive beasting on demand. Travis Releford has maxxed the Man-Meter. Mr. Vertical proves he can play a wicked horizontal, too. Coach Self has got to be proud of you. Your folks, too. This may be one of the great accomplishments at KU in some time. Offending on a bent rim is not nearly as tough as defending Top Gun on one. Travis, you may have had to wait, but locking down the best with a boot means you are infusing more manhood into this season than some do in a 4 year career. And I keep saying this: you are settling your guys down part of the time, and jazzing them up others--in timely fashion. Open your bank account now. You will be a draft choice next season. Bishop Miege, get ready for a local kid makes good in the L story. Just keep getting better.

~Regarding TT being left off the Cousy Award--why don't they just call this the "We Don't Shizz About Basketball Award"? Tyshawn had a learning year last season, so I'm not surprised he is not at the top of these lists. But here is the thing: Tyshawn in a learning season with 30+ wins like last year better than all but five of the guys on this list. Now, with the way he is playing this season, he is better than all of them and will be drafted higher for sure. The Cousy Award people need to go in for some brain scans immediately. Their neurons are not connecting.

~Scott Drew is apparently a peach of a guy. Sure. And Saddam had yellow cake uranium, too.

~Ron Holmes could be playing the other schools with Kansas, but something about his word choice made me think he may be a good man. He wants to bring the family to Lawrence to see if its a way to make his own "Leaving Las Vegas." Solid move. Lon Kruger shot his sequel and put the ending in Norman. Living in Sun Belt deserts in the global warming era is just so 20th Century. Once you've been roasted into a human gila monster, and felt the asphalt at the end of your short driveway melt your Nikes for 5 years, sane persons say, "How do I get out of this concrete tilt-up and stucco hades, at least from July to October?"

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

UNLV? Fuggedaboutit. Just being respectful to the locals. Don't even think about it Ron. Get your kids to good schools. Don't let them grow up in the shadows of slot machines. Don't let one of the shadows swallow one of your kids. And get some neighbors that have been there longer than last month. Looked at Vegas once. Know all about the new Vegas. The family Vegas. The Vegas that lives in tracts where Howard Hughes guys strung the infrastructure in desert tortoiseville. Exit, Stage East, Ron.

UCLA solves nothing. Winter's nice when the San Gabes are showing and cribs are walk-away cheap right now, but its lousy hot east of 405 in the summers with worse air than Vegas and traffic that never quits unless you commute outside the hell window. Beaches? Try to get to them on a week end in August, when you need them. Ha! And the water temperature is always too cold for anyone but kids and Great Whites. And its mostly fished out south of Anacapa. Plus Fouland is a dead coach walking.

Aridzona? C'mon Ron, that's like Vegas with an August monsoon and good nachos. Don't even think Tucson, unless its for the winter months only. Tucson has a nice desert museum and a lot of co-eds sent to UA to tan-up. Let me put it this way, Ron, Lute Olsen went there and went bat shizz crazy. Tucson's big entertainment is driving down to the border to watch various intel backed drug traffickers try to land Cessnas in barrel cactus and then fight their way to a freeway. Tucson? I don't think so, Ron. If you and your family are all over 65 and never leave your stucco prison, okay, but even then you've got to buy a second crib in snow country to keep from going bat shizz crazy, like Lute. And Sean "Stumpy" Miller? Stumpy? Stumpy? The guy who's big credit is Xavier? You want Shabazz learning his game from a guy who has to jump to look in your son's naval? How long do you think Stumpy will be able to keep your young stallion on the straight and narrow with a green team and zero chance at a ring even with Shabazz?

Hank Cross 2 years, 9 months ago

Never heard them called the "San Gabes" and it is "THE" 405. You must use the article when referring to SoCal freeways. Like the shout out to Anacapa though.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm speaking father to father here, Ron.

Duke? Duke would be a good school, if you didn't want to find an exit strategy from Vegas for your family. Duke's the best private school founded on cancer money. Period. Duke's got the winningest coach ever and the best guy to learn how to cheap shot from. Period. Durham is pretty and green year round in a gloomy, old south sort of way. Duke is within striking range of the tidelands where a man can do some serious bay and tideland fishing in a Carolina Skiff, or go Grady White and big water, and actually limit out. But Durham humidity makes Kansas seem like the Garden of Eden. And, Ron, who really wants to raise their kids in the Carolinas, where folks still like to fly the Confederate flag for a hoot?

Put it this way, Ron, Ed Manning once upon a time lived in North Carolina and he had a son named Danny who was destined to become one of the 50 greatest college basketball players--the same kid that grew up now to be our big man coach and widely reputed to be the best big man coach. Could have gone anywhere. Ex-KUer Dean Smith would have sold Roy Williams into white slavery to get Danny Manning and Dean liked Roy. Note that Ed Manning moved his family to Lawrence, Kansas, when given a job by his friend Larry Brown and did not look back. Note also that his son came back to Lawrence to live during pro ball even before he thought about coaching. Note also, that Danny Manning will be coaching the stellar class of bigs that your perimeter playing son will require to win a ring. Note that Jeff Withey likely will be the best big man in the country next season, and he will have a lot of bigs to help him. Note also that Perry Ellis will be in the same class as Shabazz to keep Shabazz from getting a big head. Fathers love their sons, but understand the stallions can get the big head without the right friends. Note, finally, that Coach Consonants is on the down hill run. KU coach Bill Self is the winningest coach in college basketball the last five seasons. He won a ring in '08. He may win another this season, and will be a favorite to win one next season without Shabazz, and a strong favorite to win with Shabazz.

So: it comes down to Cancer U and KU and where do you want your kids to grow up--the south, or the Midwest. For you and the missus, the fishing is better in the Carolinas, but the water skiing and lounging on the deck boat with a barbecue is better in Kansas. Winter in Kansas is stiffer than in Durham, but Cancun is in the same time zone as Lawrence, so there's no jet lag, and the water's fine there any time. Duke has the legend of Doris Duke. KU has the legend of James Naismith.

You choose, Ron.

See you and the missus at Allen Field House next year.

Shabazz is going to do great where ever he goes, but he will become a better man under Bill Self and his staff.

lrahardja 2 years, 9 months ago

Shabazz plays like a shooting guard/small forward. Is he supposed to be a forward? Perhaps he can gain benefit by becoming stronger. KU has great coaches and strengthening program. Come to Kansas!!! KU needs a star in this position next year.

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

"I've never seen a school's gym rafters flying banners acknowledging past high media rankings... "

I haven't either, but remember when Kensucky did this?

http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/2701/kentucky-prints-premature-t-shirt

http://www.ukteamshop.com/wildcats/images/D/101-197-l.jpg

I still get a kick out of that! Imagine a blue-blood program like UK, printing up t-shirts to celebrate being ranked number one in the polls...for one week...in January! Of course this is the same institution that emblazoned Calisleazy's mug on a bottle of hooch! (ok, it wasn't the university's doing, but still...)

KULA 2 years, 9 months ago

I think I remember seeing media ranking banners hanging in Duke's arena on TV (I might be wrong, though).

Nick Cole 2 years, 9 months ago

Had this convo on another article, but just came up with a fantastic idea. As far as naming the student section in AFH, here is the name I literally just came up with:

The Phog House

Had to share this little bit of awesomeness with you all today.

Andrew Washington 2 years, 9 months ago

I like it, but what do you think of calling it the Naismith student section?

Alohahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

I still like my idea of having a dozen coeds with "Phog Phannies" on their derrieres at each end of the court. If they were directly behind the baskets at each end, they could turn around and shake them each time an opponent went to shoot freethrows. Would definitely get TV exposure.

Maybe they could even have "Phog Phronties" on their chests, and shake their... Well, you get the idea.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 9 months ago

Could a 2012-13 lineup of Elijah @ point, Travis @ two, Perry @ strong forward, Shabazz @ shooting forward and Jeff @ center be feasible?

The second team would be Tharpe, White, McLemore, Young and Peters.

And you'd still have Justin, Jamari, Landon and Merv on the bench.

Jayhawks and Jayhawks and Jayhawks, oh my!!!!

Kye Clark 2 years, 9 months ago

Feasible? I love it!

The thing with bringing in Shabazz is, as I have stated above, you probably aren't going to see major playing time from both BMac & White. We've seen it year after year with the deeper teams that Self has, that regardless of who you might have on the bench only 8 guys see lots of PT once the conference season rolls around. EJ & Travis both are prime examples. It's never a case of "here's 5 starters, and here's 5 guys at those positions to sub in for the starters." Since BMac is here already and practicing, he will be ahead on the learning curve and would most likely get the PT over White, in which case I'd be in favor of seeing if White would accept a redshirt. Still wish EJ would have redshirted his freshman year.

As for the post, typically only 3 play, so I think Ellis & Withey are locks, not sure who grabs that first big off the bench spot. It's crowded, and in my opinion Lucas should take a redshirt next season. KY will have the advantage of a full year of being in the system and some game action, but not sure he's who you rely on as your third big. He's not a banger, and even though he get's rebounds I'm not sure he's the best fit to sub in at both positions. Traylor will have an advantage over Peters since he will have been practicing with the team since semester break. But as I stated above also, it depends on how good Peters really is. Self has hyped him as a top-20 talent, and if he's that good he should be a lock for that spot. If not, and if Traylor is that third big, should Zach consider a redshirt? We'd certainly have the bodies with Justin & KY to get by without him.

It's a fun conversation to have! I'm excited to start seeing these future 'hawks in action!

Alohahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget PG/SG Anrio Adams. His high school, Rainier, is ranked in the top 25 and, if I remember correctly, are at 13 & 1 so far this season.

JHawk74 2 years, 9 months ago

Shabazz needs to be recruited regardless if he actually picks KU or not. We have to recruit the best players every year even if they leave after 1 year. One thing we don't know if all of the current KU players will return next year or even be eligible to play.

Jeeveshawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Why hope for Shabazz? We all know that he is going to UK.

Andrew Washington 2 years, 9 months ago

I bet Shabazz doesnt actually know where he's going yet..but wherever he does decide to play..he'll still get a call from calapari after its all said and done!

Alohahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Shabazz's decision will depend on:

How many UK players leave early for the NBA. Playing time available?

Who else decides to attend UNLV. They already have some good recruits and transfers coming in.

How much SM wants to showcase his abilities on national TV.

Wiil KU have any scholarships available for the 2012/2013 season?

Where will Duke fit into the picture? Who will be returning next year?

Alohahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Forgot. If all things were equal, influence by his parents will only play a minor role. They'll guide him, but only if they see something negative. They'll respect his ability to make a smart decision.

Jeeveshawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Do you really think there is a chance Duke won't have a blank slate and rely on a fantastic recruitng class which they ALWAYS get.

You are right about Duke being a legitimate contender for him, but if they keep their players for a while (which they tend to do) UK should land Shabazz without much trouble.

Andrew Washington 2 years, 9 months ago

UK and KU (as well as the other blue bloods) often go after the same recruits... I believe that KU can still get its share and that bill self still has decent recruiting ability. Its not like we can't land 5 star kids anymore-or even the #1 overall recruit. However, due to whatever reasons (Selby, early tournament losses, fickle minds, style of play, etc) Bill Self's recruiting has been down. The only ones who really know what the recruit is thinking is the recruit himself (and sometimes not even they do). If Shabazz makes a visit here, then I think we have a chance for him. F*ck duke and UK.

Sam Constance 2 years, 9 months ago

Already said it above, but I'll re-iterate here:

Pierre Jackson stole TT's spot on this list, and the way Tyshawn abused him on Monday, you'd think he already knew it.

How that committee puts a 6th man who hasn't started a single game this season on the list over a starter who has been one of the two most important pieces on a team that has wildly surpassed everyone's expectations and is in the driver's seat for an 8th straight Big 12 title is baffling to me.

But I kind of love them for it. The longer TT goes on thinking he's the shiz and is being disrespected, the better KU is. If he really takes off, he could end up making the committee look REALLY stupid, if they end up being unable to award the most deserving player because he wasn't even a finalist.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

Self rightly builds from what he already has, and then fits newcomers in if they can do the basics of defense, ball protection and ball movement.

The cornerstones of next year's team will be:

1 EJ 5 Withey 2/3 Travis--he could play either place depending on recruited talent

The proven role players will be:

3/4 KY--a scorer 4/5--Justin a defender

The maybe capable role players:

1 Naadir--we have to hope hard work can do for Naadir what it did for Tyrel, but realize Tyrel was not really ready for 20 minutes till his junior year.

Before we even consider the ineligibles this year and the new recruits for next year, it behooves us to look at the returning players and form a starting line up from them, because with few exceptions (Xavier and Selby on the perimeter, Marcus inside) in recent years, new guys frequently go through a lot of growing pains and contribute little their first seasons unless there is just no experienced player ahead of them.

So: the team based on returning, experienced players will start out like this:

1 EJ 2 Travis 3 KY 4 Justin 5 Withey

These are the guys that have already proven they can play at this level.

jaybate 2 years, 9 months ago

EJ, Travis, and Withey are proven desert players ready to step up to being the main course players.

As usual, most are focused on the incoming recruits and seeing KY and Justin as marginal role players. They did this with Brady and Tyrel for several years, too. But Brady's skills, experience and talent made him able to split time with not one but two inexperienced OADs, even though he didn't pass "the eye test" with fans. And Tyrel took up a lot of floor time, and became the full time 2 his senior year.

Notice: So far, OADs and 4-5 stars can't keep experienced role players off the floor more than 20-25 minutes, even if Self starts them. BRush, Chalmers, and Marcus Morris got to start as freshmen, because there was effective no experienced player ahead of them. Xavier and Selby were the only two that actually displaced experienced role players. And Xavier had an NBA body and a great trey and even he could not keep Brady off the floor more than 25 mpg most of the time. Selby bumped Brady from starting, but then Selby made too many TOs and got injured and Brady took over the 3. But even when Brady was healthy, Brady was still getting significant minutes.

So: the gaudy talent Ben Mac and big stud Traylor practicing with the team, plus in-comings like Perry Ellis, Andrew White, Zach Peters, and Landon Lucas, maybe even Shabazz Muhammad, are not going to marginalize these proven players to the end of the bench.

Whether KY and Justin start, they are quite likely going to be 20 minute men next year, and may well be crunch time players. They've gone through the growing pains of doing it and the practicing players and the incomings haven't.

And ya know what?

EJ, Travis, KY, Justin and Withey will make a very tough quintet.

But Self is going to want more trey shooting than this five enables.

So: Ben Mac is going to get minutes at the 2 subbing for KY, with Trav moving to the 3, unless KY locks in a 40% trey stroke this summer.

And Perry is going to get minutes at the 3, just as he wants to get to avoid becoming a tweener 4 in the NBA, but Perry may start until his second season, or maybe he'll start but KY will play 20 minutes.

And Traylor is going to split minutes with Justin, because we have to have rebounding if Withey is going to be a sky-hooker.

And Zach Peters is going to play 10-15 mpg for Withey, because Jeff needs his rest, and there will be times when we need Zach's bulk.

If Shabazz comes, then likely as not Andew White and Naadir will red shirt.

Lucas will redshirt either way, unless Justin can't develop any offense at all. But all Danny Manning bigs come on very strong their second seasons of playing significant minutes, so I expect the "crazy athletic" Justin to come on very strong.

Rock Chalk!

Alohahawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Jaybate, I agree that, baring any unusual circumstances, the returning starters will start again next season. That KY and Wesley, with their one season of on-court experience, will receive their share of minutes. And that McLemore and Traylor, having 1/2 a year of practice under their belts, will have a definite advantage over the true freshmen.

Mostly, I agree with your big men assessments. With Lucas being a prime candidate for red shirting.

However, you and I disagreed once before whether White will, or should, red shirt. I just don't see that happening. As you brought up, none of the five you picked as starters are 3 point shooters. That is supposed to be White's best attribute. That, and White's 4 star status would, to me, negate his deciding to red shirt.

And everyone seems to be forgetting PG/SG, Anrio Adams, who can also shoot the 3. He's supposed to be fast as a jet, a "Rocket Man".

I am most concerned about Tharpe. I want very much to see him around next season. Tharpe is that backup PG KU needs, but so far, he has been a liability. He has been picked too many times, over dribbling with the defender on him tight. It was one of Selby's biggest faults. Trying to out dribble the defender, instead of passing the ball.

Finally, if he is still recruiting and with the shortage of scholarships, how will Self fit Lindsey in?

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