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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tharpe shooter: Self, Jayhawks counting on sophomore guard for offense

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe signals "three" after hitting a three-pointer against Emporia State during the first half, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe signals "three" after hitting a three-pointer against Emporia State during the first half, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Naadir Tharpe knows if he’s open he better shoot the basketball.

Or else ...

“Coach tells me that a lot in practice. There’s certain times I won’t (shoot). He gets mad at me and tells me to go run a sprint,” Tharpe, Kansas University’s 5-foot-11 sophomore point guard from Worcester, Mass., said, smiling, after scoring eight points in an 88-54 exhibition victory over Emporia State on Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

He went 3-of-3 from the field and also drained a pair of three-pointers while dishing four assists against one turnover in 17 minutes.

“The teams I’ve been on ... the coaches have always wanted me to shoot the ball,” Tharpe added.

He didn’t exhibit an accurate shooting touch in limited duty his freshman year at KU. Tharpe cashed 11 of 38 shots for 28.9 percent while totaling 175 minutes in 32 games. He made six of 22 threes for 27.3 percent.

“One thing about Naadir ... what he does better than anything — and we didn’t see it last year statistically — is he can shoot the ball,” Self said. “He is really a 2 (shooting guard) as much as anything. He’s working hard trying to be a good backup to Elijah (Johnson). I think Naadir is going to have a big year for us, I do. We’re going to need him in the game for offense.”

Tharpe, who acknowledges “my game has come pretty far this year,” is a bit too small to be a prototypical 2-guard.

“That’s kind of funny coach said that,” Tharpe said. “I feel like I’m a point guard and just can shoot the ball pretty well. There’s a lot of great point guards who can shoot the ball well. It’s just one thing I feel I can do.”

Another is his ability to communicate effectively.

“Every day, I try to get everybody to go into practice excited,” Tharpe said. “We are going into practice to get better. If we work hard, we’ll get better and the team gets better.

“Coach wants everybody to be aggressive. It’s what he always says. It’s what he wants everybody to be when they step on the court. I try to do that and get others excited, too.”

Tharpe started Tuesday’s opener in place of Johnson, who was late for a class earlier in the day. A year ago, Tharpe also started on opening night with both Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor facing suspensions during the exhibition season.

Tharpe scored 12 points off 4-of-9 shooting with eight assists against nine turnovers a year ago against Pittsburg State. He much prefers Tuesday’s line of four assists against just one turnover.

“Last year I was a freshman,” Tharpe said. “It wasn’t the same last year as it is this year, as you could see.”

Taylor’s condo complex flooded: Former KU point guard Taylor missed Wednesday’s Brooklyn Nets practice. He was stuck in his Hoboken, N.J., condo because of severe flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy.

“Made it out safe ... In the Telly in Brooklyn,” Taylor reported on Twitter on Wednesday night.

On Tuesday he had Tweeted, “My building is literally an island, flooded by water on all sides!” He also Tweeted, “I ain’t going nowhere unless I’m swimming there.”

Taylor was scheduled to make his NBA debut tonight against the New York Knicks, but that game was postponed Wednesday in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Instead, Taylor and the Nets will open the season on Saturday against Toronto.

Jayhawks in NBA: KU has 14 players on opening day NBA rosters, which ranks fourth of all colleges nationally. Kentucky has 21 players, followed by Duke (18), North Carolina (15), KU (14), UCLA and UConn (12), Texas (11), Florida (10), Arizona (9). KU’s NBA players are: Cole Aldrich, Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets), Darrell Arthur, Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies), Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat), Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder), Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks), Xavier Henry (New Orleans Hornets), Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls), Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics), Thomas Robinson (Sacramento Kings), Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors), Tyshawn Taylor (Brooklyn Nets).

This, that: KU coach Bill Self on Wednesday made the trip to Huntington Prep School in Huntington, W.Va., to visit Andrew Wiggins, a 6-7, 190-pound senior small forward, who is now rated No. 1 in the Recruiting Class of 2013. ... Self today will host “A Courtside View” at Crown Toyota Pavilion in Lawrence. Social hour begins at 6 p.m., with a panel discussion of issues in college athletics with ESPN’s Jay Bilas and others running from 7 p.m. until 8:30. Information is available at assistyouth.org.

Award candidates: KU’s Jeff Withey and Angel Goodrich have been selected as candidates for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate basketball. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be classified as a NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in areas of community, classroom, character and competition. There are 30 candidates in the men’s and women’s categories.

Comments

nwhawk 2 years ago

I bet the ladies love Naadir! (Nice pic, Nick!)

jaybate 2 years ago

Self committed to Tyshawn Taylor as a point guard to get the ball in the hands of someone with blinding speed. Self ate a year and a half of 5-10 turnovers per game before getting that every night MUA of speed and the combination of point defense and get to the rim scoring it could give. It was horrible to watch develop, but it was beautiful when it did. It was a gamble to make the team the best it could be. Self, the coach that loved protection only a little less than he loved his wife and Self Defense, endured what then seemed his worst nightmare: a pop tart chef growing into a point guard.

But that was before Self realized the team needed 2 guard offense from defense-challenged point guard Naadir Tharpe not just this year, but next.

The insight probably came to Self in a nightmare shortly after Cat Barber made Self say no to sticky fingers, Milton Doyle took a powder, Anrio Adams got approved, and Conner Frankamp became to good not to offer.

Cat Barber was the point guard that could have started next season. Gone.

Doyle was the long shot that might have come true. Gone.

Adams has the blinding speed and D to start at PG next year. Maybe.

And Frankamp has the same short point guard that's really a shooting 2 quality that Naadir has now. And Frankamp will be a step slow on defense the same as Naadir is now.

Self has to play Naadir this year for backup offense. Period. He's going to have to backup the 1, and maybe the 2, because he can shoot, and because his weak defense is less weak than anyone else that can shoot.

And Self has to play Naadir next year, because he will create a guard role at 1 and 2 that Frankamp can backup.

Self has to go with Naadir for continuity, because if Naadir can learn to guard adequately, it makes the team the best it can be offensively this year and again next. Going with Naadir also means Self can use the last scholie for a big, maybe even two. And bigs are pre requisites to Self Ball.

So now Mr. Self Defense has to accept and scheme around blow-by's the way he once accepted and schemed around pop tarts.

Its going to cost Self more hair, more sullen nights at the dinner table, more cold sweats in the middle of the night, more forced smiles at defensive lapses that would disappear other players for entire seasons.

But if Self gambles right again, its more 30 win seasons, more titles, and more shots at rings.

And he coaches to win.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 12 months ago

Self has blow-by insurance this year in the form of Jeff Withey. Look for the guards to try to get in the hip pocket on defense.

Not so much next year...

REHawk 1 year, 12 months ago

jb, tho very much a work in progress, was not Rio a 2 time state scoring champ out West? Once he becomes comfortable with the speed of the game, he just might be the answer to some of the Tharpe/Frankamp size deficit. At least for an 18 minute call to duty in 2013-14?

jaybate 1 year, 12 months ago

REHawk,

Coach, you now I am always going to defer to you on this stuff. But...

Watching Anrio Adams I got the feeling that he may be a lot like Travis was coming out of high school--a fabulous athlete and superb get to the rim guy, but not necessarily a 38-42% trey shooter in D1.

Here's how I figure these fabulously athletic high school scoring guards. Unless they are pure shooters, and maybe even if they are, subtract at least 2 percentage points from whatever they shot from trey in high school for at least their first 2-3 years in D1 and call that a D1 shooting discount. :-) On a player like Tharpe, his trey fell to 28%, or whatever, his freshman season. And EJ's shot has never been remotely as accurate as he was in high school.

What appears to go on with these types of players is that they are so much quicker and so much bouncier in high school than other defenders, that they become very confident shooters because they rarely even have hands in their faces.

But when they get to D1, they are no longer able to shoot without someone on them and their shooting percentages plummet. Also they have to take their treys 2-3 feet farther out, and that causes a big drop off in accuracy, especially among the ones that aren't all that strong in the shoulders and arms. Arm strength in that muscle on the back side of your arm where your bicept is in front; that is the muscle that has to be massively strong to shoot the ball from 2-3 farther out. And looking at the back of Anrio's arms, I don't see the cut muscle needed.

Tharpe and Hudy wisely worked that muscle all off season and now and Tharpe can now shoot the rock comfortably out there in the hinterlands.

Anrio will muscle up, but the question is: was he a good natural shooter in high school that can be expected to muscle up and increase range next year, or was he a "scorer" in high school that thrived on his athletic advantage to pump up his confidence. If he was the latter, then he will struggle as a shooter just as Travis has.

RJ King 1 year, 12 months ago

Jaybate finally reveals his intellectual Achilles heel. Fittingly, it's anatomy.

jaybate 1 year, 12 months ago

People forget that Mario Chalmers came to KU with the reputation of a very good trey gun. Didn't translate. And he really didn't get strong enough till his last season to really recover and become the great shooter he had once been. And on top of the strength, it took the hurt of Aaron Aflalo laughing at his trey and laying off of him and then smothering him on the drive to wake him up to his problem. But it really took the hurt of being cut from that Pan Am team for not being a good enough shot to make him angry enough to go put in the hours of shooting needed to turn him into a serious shooter.

But back to Anrio and the D1 shooting discount.

Next, if the D1 shooting discount takes them down to the 34-36% accuracy range from three, then figure they can't average more than 8-10 ppg even with their athleticism, because D1 defenders are so good, and lay off so much, and funnel them to big trees so skillfully that they really can't get to iron often enough to be treated as go get a basket guys by Self.

Every once in awhile these great athletes with the 34-36% trey accuracy have a big night, when things are falling, and the opponent has to play them honest, because the opponent lacks a big swatter inside. But otherwise, unless you are a dead eye (38-42%) from trey in today's game, be you a PG, or a 2, or a 3, you are limited to 8-10 ppg average, because the defenders just sag off you so far they can choke off your get to the rim game.

It seems to me that there is a significant chance that Anrio could be this kind of player, otherwise Self would have him out their pulling the trigger on threes the same way he has EJ, Tharpe, BenMac, and AW3 doing right now. And he isn't. Anrio threw up two treys, and bricked both. But it appeared to me that Self is telling Arnio that his role this year is to play DEFENSE!!!! And it may turn out that he can do this almost as well as Tyshawn could his freshman year. Anrio's problem is he's got Elijah and Ben ahead of him who can defend and shoot the trey (or so we hope). And Self needs scoring now, so he's playing Tharpe more than Anrio.

But Self being Self, he will love on these scorers for a month or so, and then he will throw up his hands and play any defenders that can protect, while EJ, BenMac, and Perry impact for points. If Anrio keeps playing D, then he's going to get Tharpe's minutes later on, unless Tharpe plays better D.

So now to your point about 2013-14. I look at it this way. If Anrio develops a credible trey shot next season, then he plays the point 18-20 minutes, as you say, and Tharpe and Frankamp spend a lot of time on the wing stretching defenses. And if not, then Anrio plays 2, and Self uses both tall, smothering, wings that are hopefully defensive savants next year to mask two very short D1 PGs in Tharpe and Frankamp.

A long way around the barn, I know, but I needed the excercise. :-)

wrwlumpy 1 year, 12 months ago

Late in a close game, I can see Rio getting good minutes with offense/defense subbing after each possession. Also, Lucas is 6'10", without the early Withy awkwardness. 2" shorter but picture him for the next 3 years.

jaybate 1 year, 12 months ago

Oh, jeez, I completely forgot about that MONSTER!!!!

God only knows where Self will play him.

I would love to see he and Anrio Adams in a guard tandem: Meet Mr Thunder (Selden) and Mr. Lightening (Anrio).

jhawkrulz 1 year, 12 months ago

"Horrible" to watch. Let me understand in the four years that Tyshawn was our PG, we won 4 Big XII Championships, 2 Big XII Conference Championships, were a 3,1,1,2 seed in the tournament, including one year the overall #1 seed (only time KU has had that distinguishment), lost only 7 conference games, had an elite eight, sweet 16, and a runner up champion under his PG leadership. You can say a lot, but "Horrible" is not what I recall, when I watched KU basketball over that 4 year span I think of it as some of the best 4 years in KU basketball history.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 12 months ago

Jaybate was referring to TT not the team as a whole. You've been under a rock if you are unaware of the TO challenges that TT grew past. It may be a bit melodramatic, but Jaybate is generally accurate here.

They were great teams, and TT was a great though sometimes disfigured part of all those championship.

jaybate 1 year, 12 months ago

jhawkrulz,

First, what dagger said.

Second, as among the first to advocate for Tyshawn's blinding speed at PG, and as among the first to advocate for perseverance with Tyshawn during his struggles with softness (freshman year), then with focus (sophomore and junior years), then with TOs (junior year and early senior year), I feel your pain. :-)

Tyshawn had never played point guard in his life before Self chose him over number one recruit in the country and point guard Josh Selby during Tyshawn's junior year. Self took a huge gamble on moving Tyshawn to point, where he had to learn the position on the job at a Bugatti Veyron program. But it was a great gamble, because it put Tyshawn's blinding speed and phenomenal creativity in the driver's seat for two seasons, instead of Shelby for one, and ? for one.

But surely you watched all those 5-10 pop tart games for a year and a half and read all the scathing indictments of him.

I spent a lot of column inches defending Tyshawn against a whole lot of board rats, who frankly had statistics on their side, regarding Tyshawn's play. But the gamble was: if Tyshawn could ever turn the corner, he was an every night MUA at PG. Period.

And he did turn the corner, and he did turn into an even better point guard than I expected, and I expected him to be great. He was nothing short of brilliant after about the first month of the season. He was so fabulously talented that even when he unfortunately had his shooting slump during the Madness, he was so much better the opposing point guards in every respect that he could find ways for KU to win with his trey.

The only guard the entire season that ever punked him even a little was that OAD on UK, and really, the only reason that guy could slow Tyshawn down was because he knew he was in a slump and could lay five feet off from him. And the only reason he could work Tyshawn on offense was that Tyshawn was having to play help for EJ with one knee, and Travis with one ankle. Otherwise, Tyshawn would have punked that UK OAD.

Again, had KU had a healthy EJ and a healthy Travis, it would have been a very close game that KU might have won, instead of the first half blow out it was.

Hope this assuages your pain. :-)

texashawk10 1 year, 12 months ago

Tyshawn was only the primary PG for 2 years. His first two years, Tyshawn had Sherron next to him running the point the majority of the time.

Ethan Berger 1 year, 12 months ago

Self ideal teams (and best teams) have run a 2 point guard system of sorts. When he as Illinois he had Darron Williams and another guy who ran point after Williams left. Then that 08 team had Chalmers and Robinson then last year with EJ and TT.

Curtis Stutz 1 year, 12 months ago

Ya Dee Brown was kind of the primary point the whole time Deron Williams was there.

Dee Shaw 2 years ago

Hate to be negative Coach Self but don't even waste your time on Wiggins. Here is my shocker prediction. Decision day for Wiggins. ESPN is at his school gym for the BIG announcement and he has all the schools hats in front of him on the table and he grabs the Kentucky Wildcats hat. If Kentucky is involved they will get him. Amazing how Kentucky seems like they get anyone they want. Very frustrating. Spend your time on Julius Randle the #2 or #3 player in the country. Depending upon who you trust with rankings. Oh wait he will most likely pick Kentucky.

jhox 1 year, 12 months ago

Sad but probably true. Until the NCAA does a thorough investigation of UK they'll continue with their evil ways. The NCAA seems to have little interest investigating them, despite the very public $200,000 Unibrow allegations of last year.

The good thing is that they have to be tight on remaining scholarships. I can't see both Wiggins and Randle landing there. There is only one ball to go around, and with the group they have coming in, there won't be a lot of touches for their big guys. Especially given how selfish the twins supposedly are.

FarSideHawk 1 year, 12 months ago

While I have my suspicions about Calipari's methods early on at UMass and Memphis, perhaps the first year even at Kentucky, I think at this time he's got enough momentum going to get all these high profile recruits to commit without shady activities.
It's like if you look at wealthiest families around the world, most got wealthy through dishonest and immoral ways, but once rich they could continue building wealth trough legitimate ways.

I think he has a pretty easy sell to bring these high ranking kids to KY.
1. Get all the love and exposure from the media 2. Play your natural game (no complicated system to learn) 3. No upper-classmen that know the system better to be in your way. 4. Team up with other elite players to guarantee success and long season (exposure) 5. Leave after one year.

oldalum 1 year, 12 months ago

I agree with you, FarSide. What he does isn't againt the rules, so until they change the rules he can continue to run his own personal D League. Come to Kentucky for one year, play with the best in your class, and you'll find yourself in the NBA next year. Easy sell to any 18-year-old who thinks he's good enough to go right to the NBA.

Joe Baker 1 year, 12 months ago

Totally agree. It's too late and he's clean as a whistle. This was intentionally done by ncaa so as to not find anything. They gave him time to laundry money, get a story, clean his dirty laundry, fold it, put it away in drawers, and now all the recruits come to him cleaner than a fresh Spring morning in ky. Oh wait, that smell is the horse poo poo left on Calipari's million dollar shoes. He gets a new pair everytime he steps in "it."

Alex Peekeaton 1 year, 12 months ago

Not sure where you are getting the Twins are selfish...I've been hearing the exact opposite

jhox 1 year, 12 months ago

Heard that from a friend who has seen them play multiple times. He didn't say he wouldn't want them on his team if he was their coach, he definitely would, but he said he would not want to be their teammate. He said they don't share the ball, and they blame teammates when things go wrong. I've not seen them play personally, this is second hand, but it comes from someone whose opinion I respect a great deal.

Rob Bedford III 1 year, 12 months ago

Not much news on Jermaine lately. I wonder where KU stands with him.

Curtis Stutz 1 year, 12 months ago

I really don't see Wiggins at UK, my guess is he ends up in the ACC.

Stan Unruh 1 year, 12 months ago

Yes indeed, Naadir has been spending quality time in the weight room.

REHawk 1 year, 12 months ago

After the remarkable job Andrea Hudy and staff did with the twins and TRob, I would imagine that most newbies are eager to trek right down to her training facilities. If not, I can picture Bill Self touching them up with his own wry toungelashings to do so. Last season's physical survival of our top 7 players has got to stand as a testament to her impact on our W/L column. Our two guards did suffer leg injuries, but lost very little playing time in spite of the conditions.

Joe Baker 1 year, 12 months ago

Are those arms photo shopped? He has been officially Hudy-ized. Good grief what a difference a yr makes with AHudy and Co.

REHawk 1 year, 12 months ago

Looks as though Wild Bill is maintaining a powerpacked schedule.

jaybate 1 year, 12 months ago

This is what people don't really understand about this guy. He is a tireless sunnuva gun. I used to fly a lot. I don't care he's got the use of Gulf Stream. It's still a grind changing time zones and making connections and being "on" for these kids. He's amazing.

Curtis Stutz 1 year, 12 months ago

well said jb, thank goodness he's got a quality staff to help out too

Jack Wilson 1 year, 12 months ago

Tharpe does have a pretty set role right in front of him. Play 15-18 minutes, or a bit more. Handle the ball. Knock down an open shot. Don't turn the ball over. It's just a matter of whether anyone is around that can do that better than he does. Tharpe is just one of those guys that, if he can get better each season, may end up being a starter. It looks like the Barber/Jones/Jackson/Peters misses has paved a nice path for Tharpe to start as a junior (unless Frankamp is true point guard material). We need Tharpe to be good this season.

VaJay 1 year, 12 months ago

I don't see him playing more than 10 unless EJ is injured or in foul trouble.

texashawk10 1 year, 12 months ago

EJ, that's why Tharpe started against Emporia instead of EJ.

jaybate 1 year, 12 months ago

Or keeps shooting 2-8 from trey. That won't get it on this team. EJ's got to ramp it up to 38% minimum in a hurry, or he's not going to be able to penetrate. And this offense cannot afford a non-penetrating PG.

jhox 1 year, 12 months ago

Self loves defense, and that's not his strength. I think Rio will cut into his minutes significantly by conference season. I'm not sold on Nadir's ball handling. There is certainly some skill to work with, and I think he can develop, but I saw more promise from Rio in a few minutes than I saw all last year from Nadir. His strength is definitely his shooting range.

I think Nadir plays a lot early, but eventually Rio gets most of his minutes. He will have a bigger role next year.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 12 months ago

Happy All-Saints Day to all you Sinners [me included :) ]

1] Two solutions to less than stellar ball-handling.....get out fast on the break before a defense can close in or drop back an extra emergency outlet teammate to relieve any pressure. My guess is that Kansas will do a lot of both. It remains to be seen, outside of the Prophet, if KU will have the guard play to break down a defense by a single dribbler.

2] My prediction for Kentucky is that they will continue to dominate until the NCAA decides it is bad for business, then the NCAA will strike with every conceivable accusation both true and false, and level the competitive table. This still may take several seasons.

3] My prediction for Calipari is he will jump ship just before the U.S.S. Kentucky is torpedoed and end up coaching in Brooklyn.

4] My prediction for Kansas is Bill will coach for ten more seasons, win another 300 + games and at least 2 more N.C...doing it the right way!!

Chris Shaw 1 year, 12 months ago

1 more championship is a must IMO. Getting that Third Championship is icing on the cake. Pretty black and white with not much gray, but I would love to see Self tie Knight and sleazy Calhoun and go ahead of Williams with 3 championships.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 12 months ago

As long as Self gives Kansas the opportunites to get to Final 4's and hopefully play in title games..................that is really all yo can ask for. And............have the man upstairs where the crimson and blue on the days that really matter.

jaybate 1 year, 12 months ago

Yea, Self has already proven he can win 84% of the time. He doesn't need to stick around to keep winning a high percentage of games. He needs to stick around to win more championships and become ranked among the best, when he hangs up the whistle. If he wants money, he goes to the pros. If he cares about getting better, then he stays put in order to get enough rings to look at Bob Knight and say, "STFU! I've got one more ring than you do, pal!"

RJ King 1 year, 12 months ago

I'd love to see more of your #1. How many times have I screamed, "Go . . . push it up . . . " only to wait and see the defense get set to pressure, deny, and eventually cause turnovers. Would love to fast break a little more often, just to mix it up a little. I think Roy compensated for some less than stellar ball-handling by getting it up and down quickly.

Curtis Stutz 1 year, 12 months ago

Oak, will be interesting to see if Travis can be that guy more often this year and create. The good news is players tend to get a lot of opportunities in Self's offensive scheme to have an advantage against the defender, the bad news is it hasn't been often Self has had players willing to put it on the deck and capable of making a good decision with it. Think TT/Reed/MStar out there with Sherron and Cole, plenty of opps to put it on the deck and make a play, EJ last year plenty of opps to not fire off a 3 when he did and absolutely Releford passed up a lot of chances to take a few dribbles in for the short-mid J. TRele is athletic enough and smart enough to get past defenders and know when to shoot and when to look for an open big or cutting BMac/EJ. Will be interesting to see if he follows through and makes things happen on offense.

stinkybulldog 1 year, 12 months ago

I've been watching All Access Kentucky on ESPN recently. Why didn't KU recruit Willie Cauley? That dude is going to be really good!

dylans 1 year, 12 months ago

Cauley and his family are KSU wildcat fans. Also most reports on the kid say he is slow and flat footed, that he lacks hustle. And we all know how deep on the bench a guy can land for a lack of effort.

Alex Peekeaton 1 year, 12 months ago

Re: slow and flat footed, lacking hustle - Probably the case in high school, but certainly not the case at UK. Cauley has gained 25 pounds and has turned into a physical presence due to his hard work over the summer per Calipari. At 7'0, he is the fastest one on the team. He has battled the #1 player Noel "toe to toe" which has every UK fan smiling!

Jack Wilson 1 year, 12 months ago

He was the second best player on his high school team. Shavon Shields, Will Shields' kid, was better .. he went to Nebraska. Not better talent-wise, but effort-wise. Cauley will likely be very good. Cauley appeared to be going through the motions all season. With Cauley and Shields, they didn't even make it to the state tournament last season. There has been a lot of rumors about Cauley's summer team, Shields or others directing him away from KU, etc. He lived with Shields' family in OP the last two seasons. I tend to think it might have been reciprocal disinterest in the end, but likely a disinterest from Cauley that probably took Self a different path. But it is puzzling to say the least.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 12 months ago

I don't know, but if Cauley lived with Shields family the last 2 seasons, don't you think Cauley would want to play for the man that is getting players to the NBA? That may have been Cauley's intent the entire time. That is not a question to you HEM, but more of a generalized question/statement to back your statement.

ku1otaku 1 year, 12 months ago

Didn't Cauley play for MoKan? They are connected with Nike and push the kids toward Nike schools.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 12 months ago

I am going to elaborate a little more about this Tharpe/Rio#2 situation, but before I do.............well said above HEM. "Timing" and "Opportunities" are everything and in regards to those Barber, Jackson, Jones, Peters misses, you may very well be right HEM.

With that said, I have a feeling even though it may be on a smaller scale to the Morningstar/Reed and Selby/EJ debates................. I think the Tharpe and Rio#2 debates could get pretty exciting this year.

What do we know:

Tharpe: As HEM stated above, I think as long as Tharpe can control the offense, not make mistakes, limit turnovers (Has to work on those entry passes), and hit some shots I think that is what you want out of Tharpe.

I will admit, we didn't get to watch much of Tharpe last year and we have only seen one exhibition game this year..........I expected Tharpe to be quicker then what he has displayed thus far on the court. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but one thing noticeable that is lacking in Tharpe's game is his defensive mindsight. He really doesn't have one at the moment, which is something he hopefully focuses on as the season progresses. If he doesn't then that may lead to more time for Rio#2 which no gives me a good segway.

Rio#2: As we all know, it takes a lot for Self to play Freshman and for him to put trust in them to get PT down the stretch when the games really matter. With that said, Rio#2 is much quicker and more athletic than I ever imagained and that was having watched many youtube videos of him.

The question mark for Rio#2 is 1) Can he run a team 2) Can he limit his mistakes and turnovers 3) Can he play PG and get his Kansas teammates in the right spots.

I think Rio#2 and Tharpe in just one exhbition game have already shown that they are two completely different players. That is probably good/bad depending on how you look at it, but for Self it at least gives him some options between the two.

The thing I love about Rio#2 thus far (I know it's just one exhibition game) is his desire to compete and play on the defensive side of the ball. I am sure Self loves that already about him.

For me, this is going to be one of the most fun, intriguing, and most debated topics as this season progresses IMO. Do you go with the offensive minded, control your team PG in Tharpe or do you go with the semi-wildcard Anrio "The Gnat" Adams Defensive minded combo guard?

All I know is that I like both players and it would seem that down the stretch or once conference play begins, somebody is going to be the odd man out. I wonder who it is going to be? Definitely going to be an exciting storyline and I can't wait to follow it.

clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 12 months ago

Its a battle I have been looking forward to for weeks, I think Tharpe is going to "win" the PT. Next year should be the real battle when there are Selden,Tharpe, Rio, Frankamp, Mason fighting for time. (after 1 game i am 90% on BMac going to the NBA, or else the backcourt battle gets really fierce)

Nice problem to have this year and next. I still think we are going to lose one or two players to transfering at the end of the year, my guess is Rio#2, even though he seems like an amazing player.

jayhawks1009 1 year, 12 months ago

I would surprised if Rio transferred because HCBS has to love his game because he can handle the ball, play defense, and can shoot. He I believe will be in the hunt for PT when it gets into conference time this there, though I could be wrong. And next everyone is forgetting about Andrew White? He lead the team in scoring in Europe and will most likely start as a 2/3 with Seldon (assuming BMac leaves). With Rio/Tharpe starting at the one. Thats not even counting Frankamp, Mason (I believe he will transfer, or not sign the LOI) and Greene. That is a very crowded back court already. With next years lineup being 1. Tharpe/Rio/Frankamp 2. White/Frankamp/Rio 3. Seldon/White/Greene 4. Ellis/Peters/Traylor 5. Roberson, or Lawrence (hopefully)/Lucas/Traylor

jaybate 1 year, 12 months ago

BigManU,

You and HEM are setting them up and knocking them down today. I can only add a little. :-)

First, Self always loves on the offensive guys early, until he knows who he wants to invest in for the season and starts demanding great defense and protection. At that point, many seemingly exciting offensive players begin watching and the guys that can guard, protect, get the ball into the post, and make an open look, or two, start infuriating all the board rats by playing more and more minutes. Self, because he needs as much offense as he can scrape together, is gambling on Tharpe finally getting it enough on defense that with a lot of switching and a lot of help, Self can mask Tharpe's structural limitations on defense. But if Tharpe can't "get it" by the start of "getting better" week at the turn of December to January, then who ever can do those things is going to start getting more and more of Tharpe's minutes.

Second, I think after seeing AW3's defense against ESU, Anrio is in the short term a bigger threat to AW3's minutes than to Tharpe's. If EJ gets to 38-42% in a hurry, and BenMac keeps potting them from trey, then Self can afford to bring Tharpe in relief of EJ and let Tharpe pop some treys, while bringing Anrio in at the 2 for BenMac. And if it turns out Arnio has a trey gun we don't know about yet, then AW3 could maybe move to 3, where guys maybe a little less speedy, and fill some for Travis, thus getting his gun in that way.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 12 months ago

You maybe right about AW3, Jaybate. I love that AW3 is fearless, but it also could be his achilles heel as well. Time will only tell, but if AW3 is having an off night then it certainly opens the door for others as you stated.

AW3 is definitely a wildcard, but as we all say leading up to the NBA Draft...................I love his "Potential".

Lot's of interesting storylines and I am interested to see how Tharpe, AW3, Rio, KY(When he comes back from injury), and Peters (When he comes back from injury) all fall into place as the season progresses.

I always wish there was a way to "Sticky" some threads and come back to them at a later date to see what people had to say. :)

Jack Wilson 1 year, 12 months ago

Interesting on Adams threatening White's minutes .. didn't think of that. Lots of plot twists as competition continues. But if Tharpe can hit the threes (thus filling a need that White may offer) and Adams plays the lockdown D (that White doesn't appear to be offerering), I could see that happening. I do think that White will progress on D, he has length, but not quick feet. More Rush like than anyone else on the team, really. His shooting will be the determining item.

Curtis Stutz 1 year, 12 months ago

Could have said the same things about Alex Galindo, then he left. Was a bit of a tweener and a bit slow on D, but would have been the best 3pt shooter on the team had he come back. Not suggesting White will transfer, of course I wasn't happy Galindo did either.

Chris Bruning 1 year, 12 months ago

Rio isn't going anywhere, he will leave KU one of the best defenders we've seen!!!!

clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 12 months ago

I hope so, I guess that would mean Mason transfers, Frankamp possibly redshirts for a year (unlikely, but possible). My concern is he doesnt play much this year behind EJ and Tharpe and looks to move to get playing time with Selden and Frankamp coming in next year.

Rel, EJ and BMac will prob be gon next year and court time will be there for him, but sometimes kids want to play NOW and start NOW. I hope you are right, we have one heck of a back court for the next few years. Wing looks good too (Greene, AW3) but I would like to see us add a true 5 or two. Rock Chalk

Steve Gantz 1 year, 12 months ago

I stand corrected. A few years back someone mentioned the letters NBA with TT and I was ROTFL. I saw the talent, but I just thought there was too much negative stuff going on in his head to really mature into a draft pick someday. I'm glad I was wrong. I'm not going to predict how his NBA career will turn out seeing as how my first prediction involving him turned out, but I wish him well.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 12 months ago

You know, that is always an interesting topic. I think TT had as much value after his freshman year as he did after his senior year when it comes to drafting "Potential". Now, his sophomore, junior, and offcourt troubles during that span caused him to stay for 4 years, but that's apart of growing up.

Same can be said about Sherron Collins. Collins had more potential and IMO should have left after his sophomore year rather than play all 4 years in college in terms of his draft status. JMO and .02!

Curtis Stutz 1 year, 12 months ago

TT did improve his outside shot significantly and it's hard for your stock to not go up on an NCAA title game run. I can't imagine anyone would have put him on their roster after his freshman campaign.

Collins on the other hand is hard to gauge, maybe after his junior year, 'cause he hadn't really had a chance to show how he could absolutely take over a game and score against any defense before then.

Benjamin Piehler 1 year, 12 months ago

I'm probably alone here as everyone seems infatuated with Withey; but I see him as one of the weak links of the team. Asides from blocks, he's pretty inconsistent. I'm liking how Traylor and the other youngsters looked the other night. Very excited to see how they develop.

HawkKlaw 1 year, 12 months ago

I think Withey just had a quiet night against ESU. He'll be a major factor for KU this season as a rebounder, blocker and defender. I don't think he needs to do as much on offense as we all anticipated. Ellis is a natural scorer down low and almost all of our guards are proven scorers. Defense and rebounding are two areas where we will need Jeff Withey to play like the 7 footer he is. He'll come through in some big games this year.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 12 months ago

You have to take Withey for what he is and understand his true value. Withey is not a "Weak Link". If you expect Withey to be much improved and this offensive weapon coming into this season...........then I think you will be disappointed and view him as a "Weak Link".

Withey was in the perfect role last year because he got to play defense and leave all the double teams and offensive responsibilities to T-Rob. Perfect situation for Withey. I wish we could go back and look at all the posters who discounted Withey before the season last year.

I think Withey is going to be perfect for this team this year as long as he and the rest of the team don't expect him to be a high priority option offensively. As long as Withey is the 4th and 5th option offensively and he controls the paint defensively, that is what you want from Withey.

If you start asking too much of Withey offensively...................I think that is where this team is going to be in trouble.

I like the potential of Traylor, but he is going to have a roller coaster season IMO. Lot's of "Up's" and lot's of "Downs". Consistency is going to be Traylor's problem and if he gives up 4 "3's" like he did against ESU..................Traylor is going to have issues getting PT because of his defense.

Curtis Stutz 1 year, 12 months ago

All we have to go on with Withey is the amazing defense he played last year. I think his rebounding % will go up significantly without TRob on the court, and offensively he's a good fit for the Hi-Lo 'cause he can pass over the top of most other players, understands the system and can make shots from the FT line. He didn't shoot well from that area last year during play, but he showed it while on the stripe. His hands looked a bit better I thought corralling the ball, so his inside footwork and shooting touch doesn't need to improve much to be more effective. Last year he had trouble handling passing, led to some awkward shots. If he can catch it better he'll score it more down there this season. 11-12 pts a game is all we need, he doesn't need to replace TRob's scoring himself. By my count he's only got 37pts in 84mins over the 4 exhibition games he's played in going 15 of 32 from the field. Could be better but I think he'll be more effective when people aren't being subbed in and out every dead ball.

HawkKlaw 1 year, 12 months ago

I keyed in on Tharpe's great 3-pt shooting when I watched his High School highlights on youtube before he came to KU. I've been expecting to see him drain some shots this year and contribute a lot to the offense.

Another thing we didn't see last year (and didn't see much of last game either) was his ability to drive and dish. That will be key this year when Elijah is on the bench and we need someone to take over as facilitator. Obviously, that person shouldn't be BMac. And Rio may be a little too green for that at this point. It will be Tharpe's job to lose.

As a side note: The potential combinations of guards we could have on the court with Elijah, Travis, BMac, White, Rio and Tharpe is just scary. They all just complement each other so well. A couple really great scorers, a few really great defenders, and some with a great combination of both. Big high fives to Bill Self for getting all these guys to come play at Kansas.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 12 months ago

To an extent..............you have to be careful what combinations you use because I didn't like McLemore and AW3 out on the floor together at all.

HawkKlaw 1 year, 12 months ago

Certainly. Likewise, I'm not sure I'd like the combo of Releford and Adams on the court at the same time either.

But think about the possible combo of Naadir, Elijah and BMac. Or Elijah, AW3 and Travis Releford. Or even Naadir, Adams and BMac. So many weapons it's mind boggling.

texashawk10 1 year, 12 months ago

I believe Vonleh has already cut KU from his list, I could be thinking of another player, but I'm pretty sure I saw Vonleh has already eliminated KU from his list which means Jermaine Lawrence is the one that could come to KU. I haven't followed his recruiting all that closely so I'm not sure where KU sits on his list. I do know that Lawrence will be a spring signing along with Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon and if KU lands Joel Embiid in the fall and either Randle or Gordon decides come to KU, Randle being more likely than Gordon at this point, then Lawrence will end up elsewhere. HEM or kD or BigManU would probably know better than me what's likely to happen with Lawrence and the rest of KU's targets.

Joe Baker 1 year, 12 months ago

Roberson is Nova, Cuse, and KU in that order. Vonleh is a wild card recruit, but he seems to be learning East more and more with each passing day. I doubt he's KU much at all. Lawrence is an unknown. His lack of information is a strange indication of his recruiting process. There may be issues that are not public. Maybe he's a KU lean. Wiggins may be KU's biggest surprise. I think it's a 50/50 tug of war between KU and uk. Randle is a KU lean at this point. I think he's looking at uk, and if Wiggins commits, I think we get Randle. I think the same holds true for Randle going uk, then we get Wiggins. There's too many egoes at uk and even Calipari will have trouble managing such a rich chemistry regardless. They get either Wiggins or Randle. I will be shocked if we miss on this entire list. It may happen too, but unlikely. It's anyone's guess at this point. Randle's delay really bothers me. Selby did announce at McDs AA game, so there is a chance.

Alex Peekeaton 1 year, 12 months ago

50/50 on Wiggins? Randle a KU lean? Are you kidding me? Kentucky gets one of the two...but have seen no indication from either that gives KU a 20% shot at either.

Gil Ek 1 year, 12 months ago

I dream about McLemore and Seldon playing together next year. Somebody get Ben M. a few Wang Burgers! He may stay then to get a diploma. I think HCBS's next few years may be his best yet.....

bradynsdad 1 year, 12 months ago

We know calipari can do a decent job of managing egos of 5 to 7 players but seriously what would self do if bmac decided to stay and we landed randle? Talk about alot of players on one roster.

texashawk10 1 year, 12 months ago

Right now the only two players worth paying attention to for KU fans are Tyler Roberson and Joel Embiid. Those are the two players who players who are committing later this month that have KU on their list. Tyler Roberson sounds like a near lock for Villanova at this point based on comments he made about his visits and that he cancelled the rest of his official visits after his Villanova trip. Joel Emibiid is someone that I would say KU has a better than 50/50 chance to land if he sticks with his decision to commit in the fall. If Embiid ends up pushing his decision back to the spring, then KU's chances go way down and Florida becomes the favorite. If KU ends up not signing either in the fall, then McLemore staying or going almost becomes irrelevant because KU will have that scholarship for someone. If KU does land Embiid and then manages to sign Randle, then Frank Mason is likely the odd man out.

Curtis Stutz 1 year, 12 months ago

Think I'll try to catch Embiid in Ludowici, GA at the Faith Baptist Crusader Classic. http://www.therockhoops.com/boys/schedule.htm

Is it too much if I show up at his HS game with a big sign that says "Rock Chalk Jo Jo"?

Jack Wilson 1 year, 12 months ago

texashawk10: Nice summary. Was with you on everything there until the "Frank Mason is likely the odd man out" comment.

Don't you think that the only way Mason is out is if he decommits in the next few weeks? He'll be signing his LOI. Randle would come in the spring and thus require a spring "opening."

Just my view, but if there is a transfer .. if .. (meaning no decommits or OADs), it will be either Adams, Tharpe, Lucas, or Traylor (Traylor being hard because he already sat a year .. but he could go to a JUCO for sophomore year I believe).

One real option is Jermaine Lawrence. The way commits fall could make him a better possibility if we don't get either Roberson or Embiid in November. Sounds like he will wait to commit, but may not wait till spring.

I am really pessimistic on Roberson given his comments about Villanova and the fact that he cancelled other visits after Villanova. That would be a shocker now if he came our way. I still think Embiid is 50/50 with Florida.

I really like Roberson's step out game and think that he would be a starter from almost Day 1 with Ellis .. or at least early in the season. We would super athletic, and would have presumably Traylor and Peters off the bench to bang a bit in the post. But I guess Villanova's the spot.

Still a number of other possibilities .. just need one to hit.

texashawk10 1 year, 12 months ago

A lot of what happens with KU's scholarship situation in the spring will be based on Embiid's decision, McLemore going or staying, the development of Lucas, and something that's probably a longshot but Peters shoulder could become an issue too if it doesn't heal properly. The transfer situation will become clearer as the season goes on, but after 1 game though Adams and Tharpe look less likely to leave. I've thought all along of the current players on the roster that Lucas would be the most likely to transfer and it could still be him if he ends up being buried on the bench behind Wesley and Peters when he comes back.

All that said, if KU lands Embiid and then another big in the spring and McLemore ends up staying forcing KU to get rid of someone to make room for a Randle, Gordon, Lawrence, or whoever, then Self is likely choosing between asking Lucas (or the last big in the rotation on scholarship) to move on or asking Mason to find somewhere else he'll be able to play early on. If that's how it plays out, I could see Self asking Lucas to move on to make room for an OAD player and bringing in Mason with every intention of recruiting over him to open up at least 2 scholarships in the 2014 class since KU currently doesn't have an official scholarship open for the 2014 class right now. I'll definitely be curious to see how Self handles the scholarship situation if he lands Embiid this month and a second big in the spring because it will absolutely put the spotlight on the dark side of college basketball recruiting and forcing kids out of the program to make room for a more highly rated player.

REHawk 1 year, 12 months ago

Speaking just from an emotional angle, I really really want Tharpe to succeed and play well this season. Concurrently, I really really want to see more of Rio Adams. While I am jacked with superlatives, I must add that I really really enjoyed watching them both Tuesday night! I really really hope that they both remain patient to become vital pieces of the winning Jayhawk puzzle.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 12 months ago

I would swear on my life (well, maybe not on my life, but swear nonetheless) that Tharpe was billed as a true pass first point guard coming out of high school. So is this just another miscalculation by the "experts" or is this just a case of a player learning his real strengths under a coach like Self? Or do I just remember the recruiting all wrong? Either way, I hate that so many seem to have written this dude off. Russell wasn't much of a player his freshman year, and even Super Mario struggle for a while cutting his teeth on D1 defenders.

HawkKlaw 1 year, 12 months ago

Yep, I remember all the "he's the next Aaron Miles" talk. It's still way too early to tell, but I remember.

If you watch his high school highlights, you will see a pass first PG with a really great shooting form. I also noticed that he can dribble and drive really well. I think that will still be a big part of his game, but Bill Self hasn't given him the keys to the Ferrari just yet.

I have not written him off. He, like most of the other players on the roster, needs work on the defensive end. But his offensive skills will get him a lot of minutes this year.

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