Monday, January 23, 2012

Aggies, Self pupil take on Jayhawks


Texas A&M assistant basketball coach Kyle Keller considered bringing his entire family to Allen Fieldhouse for today’s 8 p.m., ESPN Big Monday battle against Kansas University.

“My wife (Chaunsea) and I thought about it, but I think my daughter would root for the Jayhawks more than the Aggies,” Keller said of 5-year-old Kenzie. “I’m afraid she’d go for Thomas (Robinson), Tyshawn (Taylor) and those guys more than our team. She loves those guys,” Keller added with a laugh.

Kenzie Keller became a huge KU fan the past three seasons — which her dad spent serving as video coordinator on Bill Self’s KU coaching staff.

“The roots are deep. My daughter felt so comfortable around those kids,” Keller said. “She watches Markieff (Morris) on TV with the Phoenix Suns. She loves him. It’s hard not to,” Keller added. “The community embraced all of us while we were there. KU is a special place. There aren’t many places like it.”

Self, who like Keller is an Oklahoma State graduate, said he’s looking forward to a mini staff reunion tonight.

“We’ll all be excited to see Kyle. He did a great job for us for three years,” Self said. “We’re going to have to be very good, because he’ll have every call. Everything that we do, he’ll know. We better be prepared.”

Or as KU center Jeff Withey said ... “Coach Keller was a great coach at Kansas. He’s one of my favorite guys to be around. He knows our offense. It’s going to be tough, but I think everybody in the Big 12 knows our offense because we’ve been in it so many years.”

Keller said his knowledge of Self’s system “doesn’t matter. Coach Self has those guys so tough-minded and disciplined ... he makes it work. He’s really talented at what he does. He’s the best.

“I told our guys that he (Self) is like Bill Belichick (New England Patriots’ coach). He figures out what your weaknesses are and attacks you. He’s like the Green Bay Packers — like Vince Lombardi.”

How so?

“Lombardi would run ‘Packer sweep left.’ He’d say, ‘We’re gonna line up and come at you, and you’ve got to stop it.’ That’s what coach Self’s teams do. They just grind it out. It doesn’t matter if you know what’s coming, they still score. It hasn’t been fun trying to prepare for them, that’s for sure.”

It has been a trying season so far for the Aggies (11-7, 2-4), who were picked to finish in a tie for first with KU (16-3, 6-0) in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll.

Not only did freshman Jamal Branch transfer to St. John’s, but soph forward Kourtney Roberson has been limited to nine games because of a broken foot. Also, junior forward Khris Middleton (12.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) has been battling persistent knee problems. He re-injured his knee in Saturday’s 81-75 home overtime victory over Oklahoma and is questionable for tonight (he did make the trip to Lawrence).

“We’ve had so much adversity from a health standpoint, from players to coach, who has gone through a lot,” Keller said.

First-year coach Billy Kennedy was diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson’s in the preseason.

“It’s not gone the way we’d like it to go, but we have so many games to play, we’re excited about the opportunities we have. Our ceiling for us hasn’t come close to being reached. We feel our best ball is definitely down the line,” Keller added.

The Aggies average 62.8 points per games and allow 59.2. Junior guard Elston Turner averages a team-leading 13.7 points per game. Senior forward David Loubeau averages 10.5 points and 4.4 rebounds. Junior forward Ray Turner leads the team in rebounding at 6.5 per game.

“They are capable of beating any team in the league,” Self said.

This, that: KU, which has won the last six meetings, leads the all-time series 17-1. ... KU beat A&M in the Big 12 tourney semifinals in 2008 and ’10. ... Prior to Texas ending KU’s school-record 69-game homecourt winning streak last season, Texas A&M handed Kansas its previous home loss on Feb. 3, 2007. ... KU is 7-1 against Texas A&M in Allen Fieldhouse. ... Self is 9-3 versus A&M, 9-1 while at KU. ... Kennedy has yet to coach vs. KU.


bradb 2 years, 3 months ago

For decades before Perkin$ and the Carpetbaggers came to town, those of us whom could not get to the field house, at least felt somewhat connected to the team because the tv cameras were on the East side of the building and we could watch the benches and all the related drama. Now, and since Perkin$ arrived, the cameras are on the west side and we only get a few seconds to see the bench and the back of their heads.

How can we get a movement going to return the cameras to the East side instead of having to be distracted by the ads and not be able to watch our bench?

Brad Lawrence


jaybate 2 years, 3 months ago

"Comments and Questions:"

Comment: It is amazing how little of an imprint Turg left on the aTm program, despite how well he had them playing. I've read nothing all season long about Turg and aTm. Usually when coaches depart there are at least a few stories the next season.

Question: Is BK's Parkinsons coming on fast enough that he is going to have to step down at the end of the season? Or is it something slow developing?

Question: Is Kyle the top assistant to Billy, or would someone else step in for Billy ahead of Kyle as an interim head coach? Oops, answered my own question. Glen Cyrprien took over for Billy, while he was getting his testing done, so Kyle's down the list.

Comment: Between Gillispie and Turg, aTm has faired pretty well with its Bill Self/KU basketball coaching connection. I hope Billy gets to have a long run, but if not, Aggies, take a look at Joe Dooley next. You won't be sorry. And I'm sure he would keep Kyle on the staff.


jaybate 2 years, 3 months ago

Kyle should never have left KU. He took away all my Rick Moranis jokes. :-(


nighthawking 2 years, 3 months ago

One thing for sure. It is going to be another fun evening for me at the game.


Mo Mosallaei 2 years, 3 months ago

How can Kris Middleton be listed as "questionable" when he didn't make the trip?


mattiesdad 2 years, 3 months ago

Has anyone found a link to the entire T-Rob feature ESPN aired last Saturday? I've only been able to find excerpts. Thanks.


deberg81 2 years, 3 months ago

I'd say being compared to Belichick is a pretty high compliment. Don't have to like him but he's still a football genius. He won 12 games with Matt cassel.


REHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

The Aggies lineup has been decimated with defection and injury, not an unusual scenario for many Div. I teams. To date, the Jayhawks are blessed with good fortune, but for the benching of Ben and Jamari whose absence could yet play a critical role as our season winds down. The squad seems to have improved significantly since those two have dressed out for practice sessions.


REHawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Young Kenzie Keller, we hope that you are all smiles tonight. Your daddy certainly issued a superb review of our Jayhawk head coach.


Tony Bandle 2 years, 3 months ago

I can't think of a bigger insult to Coach Self than to be compard to Bill Cheatichick. Coach Cheat is a genius because of two words......Tom Brady.

Check out his record of coaching in other cities. Check out his coaching without Tom Brady at quarterback. Check out the records of his coordinators after they leave NE.

Then check out Bill's records at other schools or check out his record with his teams that were supposed to be rebuilding.

Also, the integrity factor between the two is off the charts for Bill versus being almost non-existent for Coach Cheat.

The Vince Lombardi comparision however is right on the button including how much Bill hates to lose!!!!! Old Vince would have liked Coach Self!!!


AsadZ 2 years, 3 months ago

“I told our guys that he (Self) is like Bill Belichick (New England Patriots’ coach). He figures out what your weaknesses are and attacks you. He’s like the Green Bay Packers — like Vince Lombardi.”

Enough Said.


Joseph Kuebel 2 years, 3 months ago

Yea, self always respects other teams...which is a good mentality. If only all the players bought into thought that same mentality ( especially vs. Teams like VCU, ILL ST., BRADLEY, BUCKNELL). ATM definitely has potential, but they haven't been healthy and still aren't at full strength.

KU by 20.


Jeeveshawk 2 years, 3 months ago

Another TA&M coach with roots at KU! Hopefully I will like this one more than Mark Turgeon.


lrahardja 2 years, 3 months ago

HCBS said “They are capable of beating any team in the league,”.... We better bring our A game then, these A&M guys are hungry to make a statement.


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