Sunday, November 4, 2012


Opinion: Ultra-confident KU freshman Rio Adams taking it slow … for now

Kansas University freshman guard Anrio Adams says he’s put in the work to overcome academic eligibility issues and is looking forward to showing the same dedication on the court at KU. Adams arrived on campus Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

Kansas University freshman guard Anrio Adams says he’s put in the work to overcome academic eligibility issues and is looking forward to showing the same dedication on the court at KU. Adams arrived on campus Wednesday, July 4, 2012.


He scored 54 points in a game as a sophomore in high school and idolizes Jamal Crawford, an NBA player who starts shooting before he steps off the bus.

That combination suggests that making the transition from superstar to complementary player won’t come without its challenges, but give Kansas University freshman guard Rio Adams credit for trying.

A 6-foot-3, 190-pound combination guard from Seattle, Adams fights the urge to show the world immediately how good he is on every play. Succumbing to that urge would mean sitting on the bench. The path to playing time lies in showing his coach he can use his length, strength and quickness to play good defense, and keep the ball moving without turning it over at the other end.

As a high school standout in Seattle, Adams spent two years playing for Franklin High, for which he had that 54-point game, and two years at Rainier Beach.

“I feel like I could do some stuff like that here,” Adams said of the 54-point game after Sunday’s practice. “It was just my time at the time when that happened. Right now, I’m in the learning process like I was at Franklin my freshman year.”

Adams will seek to defend tonight in an exhibition against Washburn the way he did last week against Emporia State, which didn’t bring as much talent and efficiency onto the Allen Fieldhouse floor as the Ichabods will.

Adams already had the look of a big-time defender.

“It was taking me a while to get the offense down, so I used the defense to get me warm and going,” Adams said of his adjustment to college basketball. “I’m picking things up a little quicker than I was before. The defense was just keeping me on the floor, keeping me warm.”

As for what sort of an offensive player Adams can become, Kansas coach Bill Self doesn’t care to explore that just yet.

“Right now, I’m not even talking to him about that,” Self said. “I’m just talking to him about, ‘Are you taking care of the ball and are you playing great defense?’ He’s a good offensive player, but he’s thinking too much right now.

“I think as he just makes plays defensively and makes the game easier for other guys, I think he knows I’ll get confidence in him and he’ll start playing better offensively. But right now, I’ve got him pretty sped up. He doesn’t know if he’s coming or going, and I’m not sure that’s all bad right now.”

Listening to Adams talk about his game, it quickly becomes evident he constantly needs to fight the urge to get ahead of himself, a typical trait of a freshman college basketball player.

“I’m in the process of learning right now, so it’s slowing me up from what I really want to show I can do,” Adams said.

And what can he do?

“I can do everything,” he said.


“Yeah, I really can,” Adams said.

Again, give him credit for not trying to show everything he so eagerly wants to show and instead doing only what his coach wants him to do.

In 10 minutes against a much slower Emporia State squad, Adams didn’t turn it over, picked up two assists and a steal and relentlessly applied defensive pressure without committing a foul. He played defense with his feet so well he didn’t get out of position and make wild reaches for the ball.

Adams has the potential to develop into a defensive stopper.

When Self looks down his bench and needs to give one of his perimeter players a rest, he has two distinctly different players from which to choose in Adams and sophomore Naadir Tharpe. Adams is taller, longer, thicker, already a better defender. Tharpe has more polish and experience. Both players have three-point range.

Adams looked like a player with a higher ceiling than most who were ranked where he was ranked (98th in the Class of 2012 by Rivals). He had an explanation for that.

“I most definitely was going to be a person who was highly ranked but due to some stuff in my ongoing path, I had to take myself out of the AAU circuit and my ranking went down,” he said.

Where would he have been ranked had he played a busy AAU schedule?

“Top 25,” he said.

Maybe so, but his best path to playing time for now lies in playing more like a hungry guy ranked 98th. Tough though it is for him to exercise patience, he seems to get that.


s6u6r6f 9 years, 2 months ago

"“I can do everything,” he said.


“Yeah, I really can,” Adams said."

Billy Ray Bates. Rock chalk.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Self has a Secretariat on his hands.

He is just dialing in the swag right now.

JayhawkNNE 9 years, 2 months ago

To be a champion you first have to believe in yourself... Got to love the confidence!!

Mel Clare 9 years, 2 months ago

Gotta love the atttitude. Top 25 rating really? Do some of these kids fall that far if they dont run the AAU circuit? I mean some can have injuries or something else, ect that happens to them...............just cruious as to why they fall so far off the radar.

ParisHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

He didn't say he had a 25 rating, he said he would have had a 25 rating. We'll never know (or care).

That would be a good question to ask somebody from a rating service: how far down does a guy drop just from not doing AAU?

Alohahawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Remember what happened with Zach Peters? He dropped significantly (below the top 100) when he didn't play AAU before his senior year. I think he was rated in the top 50 to 70 (?) when he gave his verbal during his Junior year. And I think he's already shown some of his strength (especially in the legs) while on the Euro trip.

I agree with those above who have given Rio the thumbs up. I remember reading that the recruiting boards said he was as "fast as a jet". And he had a number of top programs recruiting him, Texas being one of them. If he can continue his defensive efforts, he could easily work his way into the rotation. Coach Self must be smiling in his boots that he has someone who is willing to wait and learn his system.

What a difference in bench strength over last season's team!

REHawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Good article, Keegan. Of freshmen, Bill Self's favorite measuring stick seems to be labeled, "Does he GET IT?" Very early in his transition to the Self System, Rio would appear to be measuring up well. Just imagine the intense focus and effort of a 2 or 3 time state champion scorer making his first limited appearance in an AFH game, striving every second to throttle years of accumulated scoring success in order to adhere to the dictums of a coach who best knows how to win Division 1 basketball games! Rio's ten minutes of mindboggling movement and effort won high praise from his coach, who selected him to be one of the 3 subjects for the postgame interview. I hope that Rio bears the patience to continue such development so that fans might see more of his energies this season. I have absolutely no doubt that if he does, his scoring will naturally follow, and he might become one of the most memorable stars in the annals of Jayhawk hoops. This newcomer was very exciting to watch last Tuesday evening. For a #98 rated recruit, his upside would appear to be off the charts!

sportacopia 9 years, 2 months ago

If you guys like talking KU basketball you should checkout it is a free sports social network designed by a KU grad for people to have a place to talk about sports all the time with other sports fans. Here's the link to the KU fan page. free to use and easy to sign up. Rock Chalk! Cannot wait for Friday's game.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 2 months ago

Self -- “I’m just talking to him about, ‘Are you taking care of the ball and are you playing great defense?’ "

Mr. Adams .. your competition is Mr. Tharpe.

Mr. Tharpe .. your competition is Mr. Adams.

First job for a point guard is take care of the ball.

If Adams can take care of the ball, his defensive ability will, without a doubt, make this a real competition.

The rotation will likely be 5 perimeter players. It was presumed to be EJ, Tharpe, McLemore, Releford, and White. Could Adams challenge anyone other than Tharpe? The only other vulnerable minutes would be White's.

Robert Brock 9 years, 2 months ago

How many turnovers did White have against Emporia State? It was either five or six. Coach Self doesn't like that. Andrew either takes better care of the ball or he sits.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 2 months ago

I had presumed it would be EJ, Tharpe, BMac, TRel and KYo with Young getting a good chunk of his minutes at the 3, but Peters' injury could make KYo less available for playing time at the 3, opening things up for White and 'Rio to get some minutes in the smalls rotation.

Definitely, take care of the ball, nice if you can score it too, but mostly Self needs some trusted hands to bring it up whenever EJ is out. Both could potentially play alongside EJ as well though. Wonder who will be the better defender by the end of the year, BMac or 'Rio?

HawkKlaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Kevin Young is a post-player, not a wing. I don't think I've ever seen him play wing at KU. The guard rotation players are EJ, Tharpe, Releford, BMac, White, and Adams.

HEM - I think that Naadir and Adams could both get plenty of minutes this season. Adams will be in for defensive stops while Naadir will get minutes when we need a true facilitator at PG. I see Naadir getting more minutes to start the season, but if Adams is as good as he says he is, he will eventually take minutes away from Naadir. It's good to see some competition at the PG spot!

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm not going to pretend to have an eidetic memory and list off moments he was at the 3 last year, but whether he played there last season or not he's quick enough and has the outside shot to play that spot. I'd rather have EJ, BMac, KYo, Ellis and W on the floor than replacing KYo with AW3, so I stand by my original comment that Young should round out the backcourt rotation. People think of Ellis as having wing potential, it'd be ridiculous to think of Young as less capable of playing the 3 than Ellis.

Like I said, same as last year, with limited depth up front he may be needed there too much of the time which could open up minutes for White or 'Rio. All in all though, if Peters isn't able to play this year, I see no reason for Self to go past the 8 man rotation for any meaningful minutes, EJ/Tharpe/BMac/TRel/KYo/Ellis/JTray/W with 'Rio able to sneak a few minutes or take over Tharpe's spot if he really develops and White maybe able to sneak a few minutes as a 3pt specialist. If Peters comes back it adds a lot of depth to the paint, which would take up some of Traylor and Young's minutes in the post and really push Young towards the 3. I'm hoping the advantages of the tightened rotation grew on HCBS last season and he doesn't stray too far from it by the time they hit conference play.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 2 months ago

Why wouldn't you have Releford at the wing spot instead of Kevin Young? That's where Travis starts and it's his natural position.

I guess I just don't understand why Self would play Young at wing when he's got six able-bodied wings on the team (EJ, Releford, BMac, Naadir, Rio & AW3).

I mean, does KY really have a good enough outside shot to play the wing? I've never heard any of his coaches or teammates say that. I've only seen him playing the 4 (PF) spot at KU. And even if Peters comes back quickly, I see the post-player rotation being Ellis, Withey, Traylor, Peters & Young (with Traylor, Peters and Young battling it out for the two main backup spots).

Ellis has "wing potential" because he's a natural scorer and has good shooting form (think Marcus Morris), whereas Kevin Young is more just a big body that harasses opposing post-players. That's why he isn't an ideal wing candidate, IMO.

I think, if Peters comes back and takes some of Young's minutes, then he's just the odd man out. I don't see Self moving him to the wing spot just to give him minutes when, like I mentioned, he's already got a lot of pretty good wing prospects to choose from.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 2 months ago

This thread seems to (mistakenly) indicate that opponents and all game situations will present the same challenge, and therefore only have 1 viable solution. In Young's one season at KU, he played inside out of necessity. Wouldn't it be nice to have his length and frenzy on the perimeter (3) on at least a few ocassions? Definitely nice to have that as an option vs. last year. If you look at the bios for all of our 4's, and even go back to the Morrii, they all envision themselves as 3's, which probably has as much to do with their NBA aspirations as anything.The college gametends to be about 1 size smaller (4 guard O's, 3's playing the 4, 4's playing the 5, and very few 5's to be seen by their 2nd yr.).

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm saying if you're starting EJ/BMac/TRel/Ellis/W (whenever Ellis takes over a starting spot), and you want to sub in for BMac or TRel I'd much rather see Young come off the bench than AW3 and play wing. Young is not a banger, he's 190-195lbs, Ellis is 225. I haven't seen an outside shot from Ellis yet, but Young knocked down 2 of 3 from outside against OSU last year, and I also thought I saw some impressive shooting stats from him on the P.R. team this summer. He has a great nose for when to cut to the basket which is key from a wing. Plus without TRob gobbling up rebounds this year we could use the extra size/rebounding that Young brings to the table. I think overall you're just underestimating KYo and his potential. He was huge last season, worked hard on his game, and should get plenty of run if he comes back strong from the hand injury. My depth chart would probably look like PG (EJ/Tharpe/'Rio) SG (BMac/EJ/TRel) SF (TRel/BMac/KYo) PF (Ellis/KYo/Traylor) C (W/Traylor/Lucas). Young definitely has tough competition at the 4 with Ellis and Traylor. With Peters injured Traylor will be needed to rest W at the 5, and Young should see minutes at the 3 'cause he's too good to not play. It doesn't matter too much if Ellis and Young play together who is at the 3 or the 4. Right now I'd say Young will be the 6th man and should see time at the 3 and 4 subbing for TRele and Ellis. Tharpe will be the main guard sub until somebody else proves they are better, and Traylor is going to be a big body that harasses the other team...and dunks on their heads.

wrwlumpy 9 years, 2 months ago

Take this opportunity tonight and dialup the offense. SHOOT!!! Your defense as a freshman is better than any freshman ever. Naadir struggled last year, but it now seems that he can get the ball inside. We need you to hit the light switch. I have the feeling the HCBS can forgive you more than any other player, but getting the ball inside and avoiding turnovers will make you a certified star. Your defense reminds me of Aaron Craft except you are quicker and have longer arms.

NebraskaJayhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

We just played ESU and you are comparing him to Craft? Give me a break. I think we all agree he has a high ceiling as a defender, but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Besides, I'd rather compare him to RusRob as a frosh.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 2 months ago

RussRob put up a bunch of pts in the City before heading to the plains if I remember correctly.

Steve Reigle 9 years, 2 months ago

The kid has the talent and he has the desire. I'm betting on big things from him.

milehighhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

He'll have Naadir's job by the time conference play starts.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Self has to convince Tharpe the team needs his polish on distribution and trifectation, and will use hel to cover his weakness, if Tharpe will just learn to stay in front of the ball, not be blown by.

Self has to convince Secretariat (Adams) that the triple crown is next year and this year is fanatical defense, where ever he plugs Secretariat in.

This is Self's forte.

Self is narrowing Naadir's defensive role to pump his confidence.

Self has sped Secretariat up enough early upstairs offensively with the War and Peace playbook to force him to glom onto defense to keep from having a nervous breakdown trying to remember everything on offense. Then Self backed off the play book and just said, "GUARD!"

Does he do this to the coaches, too? :-)

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm thinking just "trifection", to give a little constructive feedback

KANSTUCKY 9 years, 2 months ago

...needs a triple anti-biotic. Try not to exacerbate the situation.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 2 months ago

You very well could be right but that's a bit harsh, don't you think? If the potential for future PT is there, then what's the harm in at least exploring the possibilities.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 2 months ago

I always told my perimeter players "you play defense with your feet" & when you get one foot way out in front of the other instead of square, then let the guy get over that front foot, he's gone. Your instinct is then to reach & guess what, you foul him.

Post defense is very different in that if you can keep a leg & foot in front of your man you can limilt his ability to move that direction & force him the opposite way.Also if you are taller is so much easier to keep your arms on top of his for denial. Not brain surgery, but basic fundamentals that all try to teach.

MartyrMangino 9 years, 2 months ago

It can't be easy playing for Coach Self as a freshman. In this interview Coach is saying that Anrio is thinking too much right now, but I'm sure in practice the coaches are on these kids like they should have known everything yesterday. He will be rewarded for his hard work and perseverance. He seems to have some abililty that can't be taught.

mikehawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Didn't get a great look at him in the first game, but he looked big, thick, and long. Obviously, he doesn't lack confidence. My question, who out of this group of young guns is the "gamer." The player who separates himself consistently when the lights come on. Clearly, HCBS is doing what he always does, teaching them the way to the court is through the defensive end first combined with ball protection. The offense comes last in coach's book. If that doesn't work, the way he gets their minds' attention is through their butts. Not the other way around via offense which is, essentially, high school ball. These young guys will listen to coach and the other staff once they get a taste of Michigan State type players. Big time players, national audience, big time setting with national commentators sitting at court side. That will be a great sobriety test for them as coach's IQ goes way up.

Alohahawk 9 years, 2 months ago

ESPN just came out with their preseason top 25. They rank KU 5th. That sounds good, as long as the seniors keep the newbies corraled in and don't let them get too over-confident.

I hope that the above story is correct and that Washburn gives KU a stiffer game than ESU did. And as mikehawk posted above, timing on the Michigan State game is probably good, too. Give the younthful Jayhawks something solid to gauge themselves by as the season progresses. And, they won't get much better national exposure than playing in that game.

Can't think of a better way for Tharpe and Rio (and for EJ's game as well) to get better than to battle it out during practices for more mpg.

Justin Daniel 9 years, 2 months ago

Played against Julius Randle last weekend in Wichita Falls. Coach Self was there the entire time following him from game to game. The rumor around the there was Oklahoma is a serious contender and it has a lot to do with Jeff Webster.

Scott MacWilliams 9 years, 2 months ago

“It was taking me a while to get the offense down, so I used the defense to get me warm and going,” Adams said of his adjustment to college basketball. “I’m picking things up a little quicker than I was before. The defense was just keeping me on the floor, keeping me warm.”

I've never heard it put that way, using defensive skills to warm up, but I like it a lot and bet it's music to HCBS ears!

Looks like Mr. Adams is going to be stepping in to make some serious contributions to the Jayhawks success for quite a while.

Rock Chalk, 'Rio Hawk! ! !

Dirk Medema 9 years, 2 months ago

Players ride the bench for not playing D. Players get cold riding the bench.

Players get PT for playing D. Players get warmed up running the floor.

So simple, even a sophomore could figure it out? Sadly, even then some don't, or they just transfer?

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