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.


Lin Rahardja 6 years, 4 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.

Jeeveshawk 6 years, 4 months ago

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

jayhawka15fan 6 years, 4 months ago

Turg was GREAT.............and is GREAT!!!!!

JurisJayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Great at jumping ship as soon as he's offered a pay raise. Also GREAT at going back on his word. #WichitaStateFan #StillBitter

Ben Kliewer 6 years, 4 months ago

Speaking of, have you guys seen how bitter some Illinois fans still are about Bill? I was reading some stuff online the other day, and it's probably just a few people, but geez...

Gregor Southard 6 years, 4 months ago

Would you rather coach in the SEC or the ACC?

Joseph Kuebel 6 years, 4 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.

Kenny Nall 6 years, 4 months ago

I definitely agree but good god man, Bucknell was seven years ago. Plus, I take it you mean Northern Iowa and not Ill St.

kerbyd 6 years, 4 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. Wonder if some fans from 'cuse, KY, Duke, blah, blah, blah, keep bringing up the tough losses from years gone by.

AsadZ 6 years, 4 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.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 4 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!!!

Kye Clark 6 years, 4 months ago

The one thing with the Lombardi comparison I don't agree with necessarily is the whole "We’re gonna line up and come at you, and you’ve got to stop it," quote. Self seems to be more of a master of taking what the other teams give us and exploiting that to our advantage, and not so much of a "we're gonna do this - try and stop it/we're going to impose our will" type of coach. Not a complaint necessarily, just more of an observation. Both strategies have their merits.

KGphoto 6 years, 4 months ago

Gonna have to respectfully disagree on Belichick. Certainly Brady is the best player on that team and the best player Belichick has ever coached, but Tom was outplayed last night and they are still going to their 5th. (Belichick to his 7th as a coach. He's 5-1 so far.)

As far as being a cheat, Belichick apologized for the conduct and accepted the penalties for Spygate, but he also explained that he had misinterpreted the Bylaws and that he wasn't intentionally cheating. Maybe true, maybe not. But if you've seen the NFL's documentary Bill Belichick: A Football Life, I think you would agree that he deserves the benefit of the doubt on this. He's a straight talking, stand up guy who makes men out of boys and doesn't tolerate much moral latitude from anybody, let alone fall off that slippery slope himself.

Personally I think Bill Self is a more entertaining version of Belichick. Both are intellectual, deliberate and soft spoken for the media (Self, less soft spoken). Both are brilliant game planners and motivators. Both men have red horns that emerge during practice.

I think it's a great comparison and compliment.

dylans 6 years, 4 months ago

Belichick did alright with Bledsoe too. Unlike the Chiefs he had the sense to stick with the hot hand in the playoffs instead of differing to the starter because he is healthy enough to go. If the Chiefs had stuck with Gannon in the playoffs instead of going back to Grbac maybe they would have a win after 1993 in the playoffs.

REHawk 6 years, 4 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.

REHawk 6 years, 4 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.

Kye Clark 6 years, 4 months ago

I agree that the improvement does coincide with their eligibility to practice with the team. Given the lack of depth on this team there's no doubt just two more athletic bodies in practice has been beneficial. Of course, Bill Self teams typically make good strides during the semester break, with the opportunity to practice more in general.

deberg81 6 years, 4 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.

Paul Mitten 6 years, 4 months ago

  1. Pretty good except the roster was pretty much exactly the same as the 16-0 Pats of the year before. Anyway, Belichick has gone to five Super Bowls in the past 11 seasons. Brady's good (best ever IMO), but he wouldn't have gone to five Super Bowls without a fantastic team and system behind him.

mattiesdad 6 years, 4 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.

dynamitehawk 6 years, 4 months ago

Jesse posted one in the live blog from the Texas game (early on).

lv_jhwk 6 years, 4 months ago

Might want to watch it soon before the ESPN copyright army goes after it Seems a few others I came across the other day are no longer available.

kerbyd 6 years, 4 months ago

Thomas Robinson- "Kansas' Man of the House". Damn straight.

Mo Mosallaei 6 years, 4 months ago

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

Kye Clark 6 years, 4 months ago

You misread it. The article says he did make the trip

nighthawking 6 years, 4 months ago

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

jaybate 6 years, 4 months ago

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

jaybate 6 years, 4 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.

Kye Clark 6 years, 4 months ago

While I don't have any answers to your questions, your last comment spawned a question of my own: who is the likely replacement for whoever the next KU assistant is to leave? I had hoped we could have found a place for Norm Roberts to return, but now that he has left for a gig at Florida, would he consider returning? And would that be the logical hire? When Larry Brown was making his rounds on the college campuses last year I know a lot of fans had pined for him to be brought back in some capacity, and while enticing, I don't know that he would have the energy to do the recruiting circuit grind for very long.

Ideally, whatever coach we bring in should have a strong recruiting presence with ties to a geographical area we are currently lacking, and I would like them to be more of a guard specialist, to compliment Danny & the bigs.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 4 months ago

What's Jerrod Haase doing these days?

My pie in the sky dream would be for Paul Pierce to come back to Kansas to coach after his NBA retirement.

Now there's a guy who would open some five star eyes!!

He could even wear his headband with his suit, shirt and tie on the bench!!

smelliott 6 years, 4 months ago

I saw Jerrod Haase on UNC's bench last weekend so I think he' an assistant for Roy along with CB McGrath.

Thad Daugherty 6 years, 4 months ago

Haase and McGrath can stay in NC! I would like to see Jacque come back to KU to coach.

bradb 6 years, 4 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

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