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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Keegan

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.

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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.

Really?

“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.

Comments

Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 5 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! ! !

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Justin Daniel 1 year, 5 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.

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Alohahawk 1 year, 5 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.

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

We could have multiple "gamers" in BMac (likely), AW3 (maybe), Adams (maybe), and Traylor (possibly). I am curious to "double" the body of data on Anrio by watching him play his second game. Extremely curious to track these young 'Hawks clawing at the flight line...And if Rio plays solid D and has less than 1 turnover, he would already be a net positive, and if you add him to the faaaast break pkg, why couldnt he earn mpg (god knows how many/few mpg)? He more muscular than Tyshawn, basically a bit bigger version of RussRob. What's not to like about that? (Remains to be seen, of course...). GOTTA love the swagger, as he clearly has a chip on his shoulder about the poor ranking...Self will spin him to get the most + out of that fire within.

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mikehawk 1 year, 5 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.

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MartyrMangino 1 year, 5 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.

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Woody Cragg 1 year, 5 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.

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Randy Maxwell 1 year, 5 months ago

He will not be in the rotation come conference play book it. Andrew White will be though. Best to do articles on guys who might actually play

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jaybate 1 year, 5 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? :-)

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William Blake 1 year, 5 months ago

"He played defense with his feet so well he didn’t get out of position and make wild reaches for the ball."

I don't recall ever hearing talk like this about a freshman.

It was refreshing to see Rio attack his man (without fouling) and I hope he is able to inspire others to step it up on D!

Most of defense is footwork!

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milehighhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

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

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iamakufan 1 year, 5 months ago

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

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wrwlumpy 1 year, 5 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.

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 5 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.

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REHawk 1 year, 5 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!

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Mel Clare 1 year, 5 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.

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JayhawkNNE 1 year, 5 months ago

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

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jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

Self has a Secretariat on his hands.

He is just dialing in the swag right now.

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s6u6r6f 1 year, 5 months ago

"“I can do everything,” he said.

Really?

“Yeah, I really can,” Adams said."

Billy Ray Bates. Rock chalk.

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