Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rest-less rookie: Big man Landen Lucas leg-weary

Newcomer Landen Lucas waits to check in to the scrimmage on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at the Horejsi Center.

Newcomer Landen Lucas waits to check in to the scrimmage on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at the Horejsi Center.


It’s easy to understand why Landen Lucas missed three floor shots and a pair of free throws during Wednesday’s Bill Self campers game in Horejsi Center.

The huge 6-foot-10, 244-pound Kansas University freshman center has been running on just a handful of hours of sleep all week.

He graduated from Portland (Ore.) Westview High on Monday, followed by an all-night graduation celebration, flew to his new college town Tuesday, then hustled to class and a doctor’s physical exam bright and early Wednesday.


“It’s going to take a minute for me to catch my breath, to get my legs under me. That’ll all come. It was just nice getting out there and getting to play,” said Lucas, who grabbed four rebounds while guarding, and being guarded by, senior Jeff Withey, who scored 16 points with 15 rebounds in the Blue team’s 62-51 victory.

“He’s good, really big and long,” Lucas added of 7-footer Withey. “I’m just starting to figure him out now so hopefully in open gyms and stuff I can do little things. I’m trying to see exactly how I can do work against him, but I can see why he got all those blocks and stuff.”

Lucas, who averaged 19.3 points, 13.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.8 assists per game his senior season at 18-7 Westview High, hopes to learn a lot from Withey in Withey’s final season at KU.

“The biggest adjustment for me will be the size difference. Everyone is big. Everyone is quick,” Lucas said. “Usually you can find a weakness in a big in high school. Everyone is good here. Getting adjusted to the tempo ... that will eventually come with just playing.”

Lucas received words of wisdom from his dad, Richard, a former standout at the University of Oregon, on Tuesday prior to leaving his hometown for KU.

“He said, ‘Rebound and do the things most people don’t want to do ... what they need from a big. If you do that, you’ll get playing time,’” Landen said. “I need to know my role. The gap is when Withey comes out and somebody needs to be anchor. Any way I can help and come in for him and try to hold it down in the paint, I’ll do it.”

Of finally being in college, Lucas said: “It’s a dream come true for every kid. This is just the start of everything. I’m ready to get started.”

KU’s Withey said he likes what he has seen from the newcomer.

“He’s a big guy. He ran the floor pretty well. It’ll be fun to play with him,” Withey said. “The coaches will get him ready to play.”

Former KU forward Julian Wright scored 13 points, while KU freshmen Perry Ellis and Andrew White had 10 and seven points respectively for the losing Red team. Ellis had four rebounds. Withey, Justin Wesley (12 points, six rebounds) and Travis Releford (10) scored in double figures for the winning Blue squad.

Also for the Blues, freshman Ben McLemore scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. He had the day’s signature play — a vicious one-handed dunk that came off his own miss.

“I followed my shot, saw an opening and dunked it,” McLemore said. “It was fun to play against Julian. Being in the NBA ... I’ve worked out with him sometimes. He shows you that hard work in the gym pays off.”

Minor bumps, bruises: KU freshmen Zach Peters and Jamari Traylor did not play because of minor injuries. Peters took an elbow to the head in a workout this week and was held out for precautionary reasons. Traylor has a knee bruise. Traylor coached the Red team, while KU senior Elijah Johnson, who is out until July 11 following offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, coached the Blues.

Highlights: Wright slam-dunked off a pinpoint pass from Ellis. ... Naadir Tharpe hit a deep two-pointer, just in front of the three-point line. ... Tharpe had a lob pass to Wesley for a slam. ... Ellis dunked off a lob from Aaron Miles. ... White hit a driving layup off a feed from Brady Morningstar.

Scoring: Red team: Julian Wright 13, Perry Ellis 10, Andrew White 7, Brady Morningstar 7, Aaron Miles 6, Niko Roberts 6, Evan Manning 3, Landen Lucas 2 (players were given credit for a made free throw on the first of two-shot fouls, accounting for Lucas’ two points).

Blue team: Jeff Withey 16, Justin Wesley 12, Travis Releford 10, Ben McLemore 8, Jeff Hawkins 8, Naadir Tharpe 7, Christian Garrett 2.


ukanjhox 8 years, 7 months ago

How many for kid Self and kid Manning? I kid I kid. And boy! I'd have loved to see that 'highlight' of Naadir hitting a 2 point jump shot! That's pretty incredible.

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 7 months ago

It does show Manning with 3pts. No mention of Young Tyler, however. Maybe got confused and was playing on one of the camper's teams.

justinryman 8 years, 7 months ago

What's the big deal with the lack of sleep in college.

I didn't sleep and I'm alive to talk about it. Then again who didn't sleep?

Glad to see Mr. Hawkins in the box score along with Mr. Miles as well.

Mel Clare 8 years, 7 months ago

I did not sleep alot during my 12 years in the military..................but for different reasons of course!

This is going to be a fun team to watch this year!

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 7 months ago

As I read that, I thought your sentence was going to finish "my 12 years in college"... That would have been quite an achievement!

dylans 8 years, 7 months ago

Stanford U. did a study recently. Athletes who get plenty of sleep average more points per game (I don't remember the exact amount). The athletes studied were both college and pro players. Students score better on exams also.

Tom Longhofer 8 years, 7 months ago

It's important not to confuse correlation with cause-and-effect, although in this case, getting enough sleep may actually be the cause of better performance.

The MSN homepage frequently has headlines about studies that show a correlation and then imply cause-and-effect while offering no proof.

Cameron Cederlind 8 years, 7 months ago

How is this not basic common knowledge, your body runs off getting enough sleep. Your brain, your strength, your immune system, your cardiovascular system, none of these things work properly if you're not getting enough sleep. If performance is based on your body working properly then yes, I'd venture to say that getting enough sleep has a cause-and-effect relationship with better performance.

SaltLakeHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

95% of criminals have tattoos. Therefore, tattoos cause people to commit crimes.

I see this mistake in logic every single day, especially in the news.

Lance Hobson 8 years, 7 months ago

It's still just incredible how much of a stud Withey has become.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 7 months ago

How does he compare to former Jayhawks who played at his position? NBA?

I just don't know how to judge Withey. He has made huge strides but his offensive skills aren't that great. Not much of a vertical leap, not explosive.

I hope you are right. I would love to see him make that next big step. Good guy, hard worker...we'll see.

VaJay 8 years, 7 months ago

So you're a glass half full kinda guy huh?

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 7 months ago

I want every Jayhawk to be successful. The guys who stick around for 3 or 4 years always seem to make considerable jumps in their play from one year to the next.

But hat doesn't necessarily

SaltLakeHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I'd venture to say that Withey was our most valuable player in the tournament this year.

Even more valuable than T-Rob, and that's no slight against T-Rob. Withey's clutch defense got us to the national championship game.

Dean Huggins 8 years, 7 months ago

Withey is already predicted a late first rounder next year. I surmise he'll go even higher than that.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Not scoring but blocking shots and being a big obstacle up the middle worked pretty well for Ostertag for 12 NBA seasons!!

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 7 months ago

You beat me to it. As he is right now, he's a future multi-millionaire. If he can improve his offensive game, and he probably will, the sky is the limit. Athletic, jumping, quick off the feet, coachable players don't come around that often.

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

"Jeff Withey and the New Bigs, or Will an Enforcer Please Step Forward"

Can Jeff get better, stronger and more skilled?

He will have to step out from behind TRob's protection.

But it seems very likely that he will, assuming he avoids major injury.

Remember, he was trying to support TRob last season, not beat him out. He was trying to stay on the floor, not take it over.

He has taken some big violence and kept coming; that is hugely important; that means if he has the getting better gene, then he can continue to improve despite the awful pounding he will be given this year.

Add 15 pounds and he is the gold standard in D1.

Add 25 in the L and he is a 15 year guy in the NBA--a part time starter, and part time backup.

Offensively, Jeff just needs one back to the basket move into the paint. With that, he can destroy most college centers by going which ever way they take away, baseline to iron, or sky hook in the paint. Or vice versa. With these two moves and a good pair of goggles, Jabbar basically rewrote the record book shy of Wilt.

I'm not sure a sky hook is feasible in XTReme Muscle Ball, even if Jeff can learn it, because a hook requires such steadiness and XTReme fouling would seem to preclude that. Still, it seems worth a try with Jeff's good touch. Like Jabbar, who could also shoot FTs, if Jeff can get one hard-t0-guard, turn-to-the-paint move, then he will always force another team to sag on him, and he will always be going to the foul line, and he will always be putting the opposing team's center in foul trouble with ten minutes to go. Period.

Since Jeff will not likely ever be able to muscle, any more than Jabbar ever could, Jeff will have to learn to cheap shot the way Jabbar did to counter all the abuse he will have to take.

But even if Jeff cannot develop that turn-to-the-paint move, that opens up a baseline move, Bill Russell did okay rebounding, defending, and picking up garbage. :-)

Tim Duncan is another guy Jeff should be studying very closely.

Duncan seems the other way to go. Duncan has developed a face up game over the years from slightly farther out.

Jeff Kilgore 8 years, 7 months ago

When I was in high school 34 years ago, we landed a coach from Illinois that had our post players emulate Jack Sikma's reverse pivot. As well as he can jump, why not?

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

Great recall. I forgot about Sikma. That was a slick move he had.

jaybate 8 years, 7 months ago

It all depends on what Jeff can learn to do the most naturally.

But if he learns either a sky hook, or can emulate Duncan's face up shooting, watch out!

Skinny guys like Jabbar and Duncan prove that with one or the other of those kinds of moves, they are going to be around a long time and cause a lot of head aches for other teams.

Add this savant like blocking ability of Jeff's, and he could be the biggest sleeper of this season.

If he develops the right move for this season, we could be looking at a Number One.

But if he stands pat, he is going to take such a terrible beating without Thomas' protective shield that this season could seem like a bit of a let down, even if he plays well.

I will never forget what Thomas went through last season. It was even worse than what was done to Cole.

The Morri took some punishment, but with the two of them looking out for each other's back and willing to do anything to protect his brother, and having Thomas waiting in the wings to punish any abusers, The Morri got off a little easier than Cole and Thomas did when they played.

Depth in the paint capable of delivering a blow is crucial to keeping Jeff from being a punching bag this season.

We have depth now, but do we have effective depth? Depth that can deliver a blow and take a blow in conference warfare on a Saturday and then again on a Monday?

Zach catching an elbow and having to rest is not promising. Gots to have a hard head for D1 now a days. People that talk about Zach playing football need to remember he was primarily a pass catcher. Blocking tight ends are tough guys. Pass catching tight ends are usually pussies at heart, just bigger versions of the wide outs who are rabbits running from everything. What was Zach? Does he really like contact, or does he just like to deliver a blow on guys 20 pounds smaller? We need a big that can dish it out and take it, not just dish it out.

Landon talking about feeling his way along, about fatigue and lack of sleep, also isn't promising. He talks about Withey like Withey is the Giant and Landon is Jack looking up the bean stock.

Inference: Landon and Zach appear likely to be going to need a full year to mature into D1 bigs able to take and deliver the violence of D1 ball.

Jamari? Sitting out with a bruised knee? D1 is full of guys playing with knees that need surgery.

I get the feeling there could be quite a few post games until February, where the topic of discussion is going to be bigs needing to man-up.

Tough luck, Jeff. Be prepared for some brutality, while the new guys find their killer instincts and corresponding muscles...if they do at all this season.

Will an enforcer please step forward?

Dirk Medema 8 years, 7 months ago

"Ae we talking about practice? Practice?" AI

Dirk Medema 8 years, 7 months ago

Maybe it's not just Lucas that needs some more sleep? (See thread above.)

Curtis Stutz 8 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like a great way to get started for the newcomers. Have to love Wesley getting after it and letting the young guys know they have their work cut out for them. Not too read too far into things but nice to see Withey putting up some points. Also sounds like maybe McLemore is going to help Self put an athletic team on the floor which is nice. Between EJ, BMac, TRel, Ellis and Withey it will be tough for most teams to match that size and quickness. I take it KYo is off playing with the Puerto Rican team.

I was just thinking how Self is going to have to modify the offense some from last year's TT and TRob show. I'd love to see more cuts from the wings, particularly with some screens from a guy like Ellis that is big and can hit the mid-range jumper. Lot of fun pieces to work with, I hope Self enjoys putting together some plays that highlight these guys' skill sets.

John Randall 8 years, 7 months ago

On the other hand, we need to have newbies getting position and learning how and when to provide help defense a whole lot more than we need some highlight reel fodder. If you want highlights, buy an Xbox. If you prefer winning basketball, root for taking away the position an opponent wants to occupy and holding that position. Nothing takes away more of the enemy highlights than forcing them to do it differently than they want to.

willie_fu_fu 8 years, 7 months ago

Glad they have the games over seas this summer. This team will need some extra time to gel.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Highlights: Wright slam-dunked off a pinpoint pass from Ellis. ... Naadir Tharpe hit a deep two-pointer, just in front of the three-point line. ...

Good for Naadir ! I had to laugh though, I've never heard a shot described as a "deep two-pointer". I hope he can hit some "short three pointers" too.

Thad Daugherty 8 years, 7 months ago

Is there anywhere we can put faces with the names of the new players?

Dirk Medema 8 years, 7 months ago

hey'll probably update the roster after they do team pix this summer. When does KYo get back from PR? Are all the others on campus?

Dirk Medema 8 years, 7 months ago

Answering own question - Recalling that we're still filling out this class.

Thad Daugherty 8 years, 7 months ago

On another note I was driving through Atlanta the other day and saw a Missouri billboard that read "proud to be SEC". I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Martin Rosenblum 8 years, 7 months ago

Just though this one up: Missouri... S ucks in E very C onference. Not bad, huh?

Gary Wirsig 8 years, 7 months ago

Hmmm...better keep "thoughing", memhawk. Just kidding, no malice. I do like the sentiment.

Jeremy Wilhelm 8 years, 7 months ago

I live in Atlanta, and see it once in awhile. Same reaction every time. But I will enjoy watching them get crushed in nearly every conference football game they play.

John Randall 8 years, 7 months ago

From the perspective of Atlanta, you ought to be aware that mythical SEC superiority applies to fewer than half the teams. The four or five top teams each year will still have five or six to whip up on, and a middle ground who schedule carefully enough to maintain the image. I doubt Mizzou ends up much higher or lower than they usually did in the Big12(-1 or 2).

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 7 months ago

Solid numbers for Lucas his senior year but I don't know anything about the talent level he played against. He's really a big body already and he is only going to get stronger.

Could be a solid player at KU. Fingers crossed.

KemDooKU 8 years, 7 months ago

I figure the only real production is going to be from B-Mac, Ellis, and White with the rest from the regulars of Whithey, EJ, and Travis. Maybe Adams if he signs but I don't think Traylor is much of an offensive threat. Some people were acting like a kid in a candy store with all the new additions but who wants peanut brittle when the other Blue Bloods are getting chocolate.

brooksmd 8 years, 7 months ago

We did pretty good with peanut brittle last year. Many schools would've been estatic with the season we had. And chocolate don't get you a championship every year. Just ask Cali-Sleazy.

brooksmd 8 years, 7 months ago

I'll take peanut brittle every year cause sooner or later you're gonna dip it in somebody's chocolate.

Robert Brock 8 years, 7 months ago

LOL: I love that photo of Ellis putting up weak stuff for Jeff to slap into the stands.

WilburNether 8 years, 7 months ago

The KC Star article lists Lucas at 6-8. So...are they understating it, or is the LJW reporter engaging in exaggeration?

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Comments on a slow news day:

1] Something tells me that Landon better get used to that "red shirt".

2] Looking at the photo.."Perry, I'd like to introduce you to Jeff."

3] Top photo..I'll guess Landon, Evan, Christian and Jamari..would it have killed you to list the other guys as well??

4] 6'-10"/244#'s is a good start..lets shoot for 2" and 16 #'s more.

5] Gawd!!! Jeff looks like a monster!!!

6] Sorry, no Aldrich.....I guess Cole is a little busy right now.

7] It took 151 years but Missouri finally seceded to the Confederacy!!

8] Peanut brittle is OK, but I like Cracker Jack.

9] Out of 348 active Division One head coaches, only 8 have been in a Final Four as well as won a NC: Coach K, Williams, Boeheim, Calhoun, Pitino, Rizzo, Calipari and Kansas Head Coach Bill Self......can we please stop this ridiculous bashing of Bill....I think he knows what he is doing!!!

Al Martin 8 years, 7 months ago

As for 9], I definitely agree with your point, but don't understand what you're saying in the data. Anyone who won a NC necessarily went to a Final Four. Are you saying these are the only eight with a NC and also multiple Final Fours?

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Yes....that is correct. I was surprised also..I thought there were more. This was actually posted earlier this year by LJW. Hasn't Billy Donovan been to a Final Four but lost?

texashawk10 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm pretty sure Donovan has been to 3 Final Fours with a 2-1 mark in the national title game.

REHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

WOW! Fascinating stats. Very rare atmosphere, with current and former Jayhawk mentors breathing clean air at the pinnacle of D1 success.

ParisHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Donovan won two NCs in a row. That counts as an NC plus a Final Four.

Calipari's "other" Final Four appearances were vacated.

Donovan is the only coach younger than Self with a better Final Four record: 4-0 vs. 3-1.

texashawk10 8 years, 7 months ago

Donovan is 5-1 in the Final Four. He led Florida to the NC game in 2000 and lost to Michigan St. that year.

FLJHK 8 years, 7 months ago

Wasn't Kruger their coach that 1st Final Four year?

texashawk10 8 years, 7 months ago

Yes, Florida has been to 4 Final Fours in their history. Lon Kruger was the coach of the 1994 Final Four team and Billy Donovan was the coach for the other 3 Final Four appearances in 2000, 2006, and 2007.

JayHok 8 years, 7 months ago

Here's what the Mizzou fans who were trying to break their meth habits by Sniffing Excessive Cocaine before the Norfolk game were thinking. ""Frank Haith---Five elite 8's in 9 years. Two final fours. Two national championship games. One national championship. 8 straight big 12 championships."""

Ben Simonett 8 years, 7 months ago

Wow, that might be the most idiotic, insane, down right stupidest post i have ever seen on this board. go away and never come back.

CLEARLY peanut brittle > Cracker Jack.


John Randall 8 years, 7 months ago

--- clearly peanut brittle > Cracker Jack. ---

especially since it clings to dentures hours longer.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 7 months ago

Pretty sure the top photo is Landon, Evan, Niko, and Jamari, but I could be wrong.

Alohahawk 8 years, 7 months ago

Of note: on their NCAA BB page, has a two main feature stories on the two NBA finals teams, noting the college experiences/expectations for different players on each. Some pretty good write-ups on Chalmers and Collison.

Ben Simonett 8 years, 7 months ago

Is LJW really already making excuses for Lucas' poor play?

SaltLakeHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I feel sorry for you. Whatever team you root for... it must suck to root for them.

REHawk 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm wagering that, if Landen stands 10" full inches above 6', he's wearing some hefty arch supports in his sneakers. I'm predicting a barefoot 6'8.5" or less. Whatever, one hopes that he becomes very familiar quickly with the training facilities of A. Hudy LLC to mold those 240 pounds into dynamite.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 7 months ago

Something tells me that there weren't many "campers" on the floor for this game. Is this a way around NCAA rules that will allow a scrimmage prior to the official start of bball season?

Good call by poster willie_fu_fu...with 8 frosh/red shirt frosh on the roster, it's a great time to go overseas for extra games!!

Best guess in June for first game rotation;

Withey - Peters/Traylor - Lucas [RS] Young - Ellis - Wesley Johnson - Tharpe Ben Mac - Adams - Doyle Releford - White

Coaches kids plus Garrett get to watch.

texashawk10 8 years, 7 months ago

Lucas is not going to redshirt this year and neither are any of the other incoming freshman. Bill Self has never redshirted a freshman at KU for non-academic reasons because he wants them to at least get their feet wet even if it's mop up minutes. Morningstar, Releford, and Mario Little all redshirted their second seasons at KU because Bill Self had the foresight to know that he would need those players down the road to help with depth and leadership. If Lucas does end up redshirting at KU his sophomore season, take that as a sign that Bill Self sees Lucas as a very important piece for the future at KU.

texashawk10 8 years, 7 months ago

No, he played in 16 games his freshmen season.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 7 months ago

Those were some good highlights .. thanks for the link. McLemore did look solid.

Ben Simonett 8 years, 7 months ago

White's put on some weight?

If thats true he might make more of an immediate impact that i thought. all he needs is size and coaching to be really dangerous.

Alohahawk 8 years, 7 months ago

<p> is reporting that Dorian Finney-Smith (with 3 seasons left) will transfer to Florida, adding another 6'8" forward to their roster for the 2013-2014 season. Just another plus in KU's recruiting war for Chris Walker. Now, if Walker can just realize Cal Lie Pari has spurned him for too long, for Walker not to do the same back to Kenstinky.

KUfanInFlorida 8 years, 7 months ago

I think Lucas is at least 2 years away before he can become a solid player. KU still needs a center after Withey leaves.

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