Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Self: KU’s seniors need to step up, be more aggressive

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson grabs a steal from Washburn guard Jared Henry during the second half on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson grabs a steal from Washburn guard Jared Henry during the second half on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


One of the reasons Kansas University’s basketball team scored just 62 points while hitting 43.5 percent of its shots Monday night against Washburn is the Jayhawks’ refusal to attack the basket.

Let coach Bill Self explain ...

“Last night, the ball touched the paint off the bounce nine times in the game. Tyshawn would touch the paint nine times the first 10 minutes,” KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show. He was referring to ever-aggressive former KU point guard Tyshawn Taylor, who started four years, graduated in May and now is a backup with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

“You’ve got seniors out there — Elijah (Johnson), Travis (Releford) and Jeff (Withey) — not aggressive,” Self said. “You dribble side to side? Big deal. You don’t put pressure on anybody.

“We take that stuff from Tyshawn for granted. He shot more free throws probably than any guard in the country last year (137 of 199 for 68.8 percent in 39 games) because he’d get in there and they’d have to foul him or he’d get a guy an easy basket. How many easy baskets did our guards get our big guys last night? It didn’t happen. That’s correctable. I just think we were so passive last night.”

Self, who gave his players a day off Tuesday with two full days of work ahead in advance of Friday’s regular-season opener against SE Missouri State (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse), will have plenty of teaching points from film of the 62-50 win over the Ichabods.

“You watch our team play and you see athletic ability but you see us not play to it. You see guys that can drive the ball but don’t see anybody ever touch the paint off the bounce,” Self said.

“We are an awful screening team, just horrific. One thing we do fairly well — knock on wood — is first-shot defense, but we don’t rebound it. What good does it do to have great first-shot defense if you don’t rebound the ball?”

KU outrebounded the Div. II Ichabods, 40-39.

“Washburn beat us 9-to-5 on 50/50 balls. That can’t happen. They stole four more possessions than we did just off that,” Self said.

Self likes the Jayhawks’ chances of improvement in all areas of concern.

“The biggest thing with us is to make sure our fans know I really like these guys. I think we’ll be good. We’re just so young. We’re ridiculously young,” Self said. “To be real candid with you, our seniors are playing like freshmen and sophomores. They should be the guys carrying the load and are not yet, but they are capable of doing that.”

Senior Jeff Withey had nine points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, Elijah Johnson 13 points, five assists and four turnovers and Travis Releford seven points, four rebounds, three assists, two turnovers and two steals.

“I’m not concerned about it,” Self said, “but I do think it’s time for them to step up. It’s pretty nice when you have a bailout guy like Thomas (Robinson, Sacramento Kings) or Tyshawn. We don’t have a bailout guy. Those guys have to produce.

“When your two best offensive players are freshmen (Ben McLemore had 17 points; Perry Ellis 10) ... that’s not a good sign when you return three starters off a national championship finalist team. Those guys have got to do a little better and they will.”

Still sidelined: KU freshman Zach Peters, a 6-9, 240-pound power forward from Plano, Texas, has not been able to practice this season because of a rotator cuff injury in his left shoulder.

“Well, you know it’s getting to the point with Zach ... I’m not being negative at all, but he’s so far behind I don’t know even when he is able to come back, I can’t bank on him being ready in two weeks,” Self said. “We are going to go with the guys we’ve got. I certainly think we are plenty good enough. We just have to play smarter and execute better.”

Recruiting: Dakari Johnson, a 6-10, 265-pound center from Montverde (Fla.) Academy, has officially reclassified to the recruiting Class of 2013.

Makini Campbell, Dakari’s mother, told that, “Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse have expressed interest in Dakari. However, our focus right now will be on Dakari’s academics and his high school season. We will evaluate his college opportunities but will wait until the season is over before taking any official visits. Right now, I just want to keep him focused on school and his team.” He was the No. 5-rated player in the Class of 2014 by


Jayhawk470 1 year, 5 months ago

Zach Peters being so far behind, as Self describes him, it's looking like he'll redshirt.


RJ King 1 year, 5 months ago

That is excellent news. I'd given him up to Marquette because of the M'bah influence.

He was sure enthusiastic about KU tradition and atmosphere. Florida is well coached and an area he is already familiar with. I wouldn't count Texas out. They could probably offer the most immediate minutes, and present a lineage of Tristan Thompson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, Jordon Hamilton, Damian James, Dexter Pitman. Don't know if they've signed a big man yet from 2013.


FarSideHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

JoJo Embiid narrowed his list to 3: Florida, Kansas, Texas.


DaNeille Davis 1 year, 5 months ago

Okay, I'm really tired of hearing about how young our team is and how the seniors have to lead. Last time I checked, Kentucky won a national championship with a young team....Michigan State won with 5 freshman. We can and should still win...we're KANSAS!!


jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

Anyone recall the last time KU's starting 1, 2, and 3 each had 4 Pillsbury turnovers?

Self has to be wondering, "why me?"

With Tyshawn he had to tolerate some 10-12 TO games, and a lot of 6 TOs.

So now he gets 12 Pillsburys from 3 pretty reliable types.



joeloveshawks 1 year, 5 months ago

Obviously Washburn is not nearly as high caliber as Davidson but this game could be similar to last years defeat (even though we beat Washburn). It could be a wake up call that we have tons of talent but need to play hungry and need to play as a team. I think we will be up and ready to play Friday and then again against MSU next week.

Rock Chalk.


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

...I been waiting to see what EJ/5star/#4ratedPGafterJohnWall can do with the ball in his hands...Its time...


HawkKlaw 1 year, 5 months ago

This is just Bill Self going back to his old ways.

He knows that this team is passive and lacks leadership. Every quote I read from Self lately is focused on Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey being more assertive and stepping up as seniors. He always follows it with "I think we'll be good," just so us Jayhawk faithful don't go bezerk, but it's a clear message to both Jeff and Elijah. He's told them face to face, I'm sure, and he takes to the media to re-iterate his point. Eventually the message will sink in and I think Elijah will really step up as the team leader before conference play starts. He needs to, because while Ben and Perry are both extremely talented, they don't have the experience to warrant the title of "Team Leader." At KU, it takes a ton of talent AND experience for any player to become a real leader. That's why Elijah is the ideal candidate, as he is the team's senior starting PG.

He'll get it by conference play. He's still just figuring out how to be assertive. By March KU will be firing on all cylinders.


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

And I will add it simply because he is on the roster: Anrio Adams scored 54 in a high school game along with several 40+ outings (but didnt play AAU, thus the "lower" ranking...). Well going 40+ multiple times simply highlights that some penetration attack skills exist. Would love to see what that kid can do (one day...).


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

We saw EJ run the team admirably in the instances when Tyshawn was unavailable. He had a very good A:T ratio, has a glass-smooth pull-up J that is crazy high%, and can attack the rim with a smoothness we havent seen in a while. Recall the end of a meaningless game in his frosh season, when EJ drove from the right 3pt line and dunked over a bigman, and drew a "taunting" foul call? I think Self was double-mad that he got the foul and also was blatantly unsportsmanlike in dunking in the final seconds of a blowout. Well, I think EJ will be just fine. He himself said last week that Coach will give him a lot of freedom this year, and was even trying to coyly downplay his flashier game...but he made it clear he would be MUCH freer offensively. And Self's comments here amount to a huuuge green light for penetration aggressiveness! EJ "unshackled" about to emerge. BMac could also be a slashin' machine, ala Langford/Chalmers/Tyshawn...Releford, perhaps, but his style will be a bit different. He has always been called a "slasher", so I guess we'll see that again shortly.


KansasComet 1 year, 5 months ago

Kansas did win the game the other night? Right? Give these young men a break. Elijah Johnson is the point guard of this team. His play during the tournament last season verifies that. There were a few games when we were on our way out of the tournament and Elijah Johnson put us on his back and delivered. The young man had off season surgery and he is finding his way back. He will get in the paint and dominate.

Withey is the same as he has always been. He goes on stretches where he completely dominates, and there are stretches when he doesn't. Withey dominates Big Men, he does not dominate 6'8" forwards. That's who he is, accept it. He is more of an asset than a liability.

I cannot believe how many KU Fans are criticizing players that helped us get to a final last year over a exhibition game.

At least wait until after Friday's game.


William Blake 1 year, 5 months ago

It's time seniors start acting like seniors. There is no more Tyshawn Taylor or Thomas Robinson to hide behind.

There is plenty of playing time awaiting players who step up!

No more talk; walk the walk!



JHWK 1 year, 5 months ago

If EJ's quotes after the game are any indication, he is not listening to HCBS. He said that he is trying to bring the guys together, is talking about all the good things he should be...but that's not what his coach is saying, so he needs to GET WITH THE PROGRAM!

EJ, leadership is about taking responsibility first for yourself, and then for the team. Leading. You are not leading. Jeff is a rudderless ship, and seems to thrive off others' energy, not his own, so he won't be the leader. You wanted this team, EJ, and the coaching staff is expecting you to lead.

We love you and this team, but it needs a strong, accountable leader. Be that man!

Rock chalk!


FarSideHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Looks like Indiana just came down with Selby-itis courtesy of NCAA... we know about this all too well...


Tony Bandle 1 year, 5 months ago

I find the term "Senior Leadership" very interesting. Just because you are a Senior, doesn't mean you automatically acquire this attribute.

Elijah caddied Tyshawn..Jeff caddied TRob...Travis caddied several players...Kevin is only a Soph. in Kansas Years. Maybe what Bill wants from these players may just not be there at this moment, because each has been Robin looking over their shoulders at their Batman.

All I am saying is that they need to focus on continuing the leadership chain that an elite team needs to stay on top.

I definitely think it will happen...will it be painful?...maybe. However, don't be surprised if Ben and, especially, Perry slide into that role eventually as well.


William Blake 1 year, 5 months ago

“We take that stuff from Tyshawn for granted. He shot more free throws probably than any guard in the country last year (137 of 199 for 68.8 percent in 39 games) because he’d get in there and they’d have to foul him or he’d get a guy an easy basket. How many easy baskets did our guards get our big guys last night? It didn’t happen. That’s correctable. I just think we were so passive last night.”

Now we are talking!


iamakufan 1 year, 5 months ago

Makini Campbell sounds like the kind of mother every youngster should have.


REHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Bright decision, Tuesday offday. Time for soul searching and reflection. Self now issuing public challenges which should make for a few quick adjustments. We will see a very different offense from this group by the time we touch down in Atlanta. At this stage of development I would not expect us to whip the Spartans, but I think the offense will be much more focused than it was vs. the Ichabods. There is a huge upside to this Jayhawk squad, but it is going to take some time to co-ordinate the game chemistry. Starting unit appears to possess superior intelligence to figure it all out, but perhaps a bit later than fans and coaches would wish. Barring injury, this team is a bonafide top 7 power, even while stumbling through the adjustment stage. Would appear to be a given that Ben and Perry will be 2 of our top 3 scorers.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 5 months ago

sniper60: Your reference to Adams brings up two undeniable truths about coach Self. Two truths we know for sure. Two truths that are linked in simplicity. Two truths that we have witnessed. And they are philosophically linked:

Undeniable Truth #1: Coach Self does not believe in on the job training -- he does not believe in "in game" training for freshmen (or players in general). You earn it in practice. You learn in practice. You prove you are ready in practice. Only when you are ready will you receive substantial playing time. And only when forced by roster limitations will he provide substantial PT to an inexperienced player that is not otherwise deserving. And even then, he is hesitant with freshmen. McLemore and Ellis are up to snuff. But we really don't have experienced alternatives. If we did, well, we know the answer. It is an approach, respectfully, that I disagree with. Handling the fire, the experience, is gained by experiencing the fire. That's one approach many coaches take. I prefer that. However, coach Self doesn't subscribe. That's another approach. It's his team. He wins. I would argue that it hurt our team in 2010-11 (Morningstar vs. EJ). I would argue that his approach helped our team in 2011-12 (Development of TRob/Withey). But coach Self's approach surely hurts him on the recruiting trail.

Undeniable Truth #2: Quoting Herm Edwards, "you play to win the game." Simple concept. But coach Self is not ever ... ever ... going to risk a win ... any win ... to permit players to gain experience for experience sake. Just look at the Washburn game. EJ played 38 minutes in an exhibition. AW3 and Adams, barely at all. The game was contested. So much for getting guys experience, or PT, or letting the prove themselves. He plays to win the game. Some coaches might say that in an exhibition, or even certain regular season games, maybe even a conference game, you would risk a loss by giving a player with more upside playing time. To perhaps be in a better position in March. Not coach Self. It is the here, it is the now. It is not in doubt. Always good to win.

A couple sidenotes:

-Peters does just need to redshirt.That will limit obviously his transfer possibilities. Traylor has sat out a year. Pressure falls on Lucas to prove that he should hang on to the scholarship should other spring alternatives present themselves.

-Sounds like some Embiid news soon. Just an observation .. his handler that plays for the Milwaukee Bucks .. why would he steer him to Marquette? Couldn't he get traded? Embiid goes to Marquette and he gets shipped to the Nuggets?

-The way Syracuse is stacking up recruits, maybe it helps with Roberson or Lawrence. Maybe. Roberson looks like he's going Villanova anyway.

-Releford needs a TT like epiphany. Self says "aggressive" .. I have said "assertive" (for years, it seems). Whatever it is, I will never understand a player like Releford who has the tools and skills, but just won't use them.


FarSideHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

On Recruiting, with all these re-classifications, we have the following targets in Rivals 100, still available:

Frontcourt: 1. Andrew Wiggins, 6'7" 190lbs 2. Julius Randle, 6'9" 240lbs 3. Aaron Gordon, 6'8", 205lbs 4. Noah Vonleh, 6'9", 222lbs 5. Dakari Johnson, 6'10", 265lbs 5. Jermaine Lawrence, 6'9", 200lbs 6. Tyler Roberson, 6'8", 210lbs 7. Joel Embiid, 7'0", 210lbs

Backcourt 1. Isaac Hamilton, 6'4", 190lbs (Rivals #15) 2. Rysheed Jordan, 6'4", 185lbs (Rivals #28) 3. Detrick Mostella, 6'3", 170lbs

I like the odds of getting at least one of the bigs, if not two (with scholarship adjustments). Should be ok on guards until 2014.


KansasComet 1 year, 5 months ago

When the lights are brightest, EJ will show up. He loves the big stage!


David Brown 1 year, 5 months ago

Judging by Self's comments, the video guys must have replayed the Washburn game with a legal pad and pencil. "That's one bounce, two bounces......" Last year, didn't EJ have a really low number of free throw attempts? Indicating that he didn't drive to the basket much, relying on TT to take on that role. This team has a portfolio of perimeter shooters to choose from, meaning EJ, Naadir, and Travis will need to get more comfortable with the role of driving & dishing.


Crimsonandblueblood 1 year, 5 months ago

The desire for your players to be more aggressive and using Tyshawn as an example is not the same thing as wanting Elijah to be Tyshawn.


Ken Sedgwick 1 year, 5 months ago

I cant help but wonder if the seniors weren`t allowing the freshmen an early opportunity to get their feet really wet. Even if so, they lacked leadersphip and intensity.


jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

Self wants to drive his way back to an offense...with EJ acting like Tyshawn.

Self perhaps for the first time in his KU tenure may be in danger of becoming a prisoner of his own experience. Trying to solve the team's problems by asking EJ to be like Tyshawn does not seem like Bill Self at his best. I don't recall him doing this before so blatantly before.

Self has been masterful at finding ways for players to become themselves, not copies of other players.

Can EJ go to iron? Can a bird fly? Can a fighter plane climb? Yes, EJ probably can.

But EJ appears to have some knee doubt, after a knee injury. He may have lost a few inches off his vert, too. And may be thinking about too many options at once--thinking too much.

But EJ can't be like Tyshawn for reasons I wrote yesterday. He could be as good. Maybe even better. But he can't be like Ty.

Ty was an artist. EJ seems too heady and analytical to become an artist. Anything's possible, but it doesn't seem probable.

I suggested he could become an engineer yesterday. Another option could be a conductor of a symphony--half artist and half technician. That's what he is trying to be naturally.

But Self wants a paint artist again, because it felt so good last year.

But time past is not time zero.

EJ isn't Ty. Maybe better. Maybe worse. But not Ty.

Another thing.

I said in the off season the hi-lo was not necessarily best for this team's material.

I hoped Self looked at Wooden's use of the high post offense on the Wicks/Rowe/Patterson team, with Jeff playing to of key and using Travis and Perry as low wings with EJ and Ben Mac out front in tandem. It keeps the middle cleared out for everyone but Jeff to attack the basket. It also makes the most of your outside shooting of EJ, BM, and Perry and of their driving.

But Self seems determined to stick with hi-lo.

Next, yesterday I noted Jeff and Perry had yet to find a way of playing elegantly together, which is not surprising, since they are so new to each other. I also noted this could be a place where Danny's absence could slow things a bit.

I kind of wonder to if Barry Hinson's absense may be slowing Self and EJ down in their development.

Hinson was a best friend and those don't grow on trees. He had to mean a lot to Self as a sounding board. He was a guy who could say, "Bill, your not being yourself here. Don't get caught in the past here. You're never wrong, when you Think next."

This is what is so great about college basketball. Each season is a new crucible of finding the right way, the critical path. Each season is a an act of discovering what you have become and being yourself to the best of your abilities. Like life itself, it never gets old. It just keeps evolving.

Rock Chalk!


Jim Erickson 1 year, 5 months ago

Perry Ellis... Smart, Kansas kid, hard worker, gifted athlete, natural scorer, will probably stick around for 3-4 years... Does anyone else have the feeling that he will go down as one of the greats?


nostradavid 1 year, 5 months ago

Giving the players a day off to reflect on their shortcomings before the next practice was great psychology. The suspense amplified the dread. The competition to show aggression will not be limited to seniors. Starting slots are at stake. The next game should be fun to watch.


KUFan90 1 year, 5 months ago

  • So much for Keegan's "be nice to the KU players" article where he claimed Self would kill the players in practice on Tuesday (Self gave them the day off).

  • Mr. Peters, your red shirt has been sized and is available for you to pick up at the front counter. See you next year.


Michael Auchard 1 year, 5 months ago

“We take that stuff from Tyshawn for granted." -- Self

From what I've heard on this board, we take Tyshawn for granted about every day. Summers, winters, spring to fall.


741hawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Wait until after the season? We might not have a scholarship to give by then.


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