Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bill Self: Rotation starting to come clear

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets at point guard Naadir Tharpe during the second half on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets at point guard Naadir Tharpe during the second half on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Slicing Kansas University’s men’s basketball rotation to a workable number might be easier than most expected this season.

“Two weeks ago, I’d have said I had no idea. The last couple weeks, there’s been a little bit of separation. I wish there wasn’t yet. It’s starting to break that way,” 10th-year KU coach Bill Self said.

Eight of his 13 scholarship players (Elijah Johnson, Jeff Withey, Travis Releford, Ben McLemore, Perry Ellis, Naadir Tharpe, Jamari Traylor and Justin Wesley) played 10 or more minutes, while freshmen Rio Adams, Andrew White III and Landen Lucas played just four, three and three minutes respectively in Monday’s 62-50 victory over Washburn.

“At first I thought we’d easily get to nine. Now, it’s, ‘Gosh, can we get to eight?’” Self said of the rotation. “It’s one of those things ... I hate to say this, but in big games, if a guy turns it over one time in one minute, that could be the difference in winning and losing. You don’t put guys out there in games that matter just to try to get them some experience. You do that if you know the game is going your way. I’d have a hard time leaving a guy in five minutes against Michigan State (Tuesday) who has turned it over three times.

“That stuff happens with young kids. They’ve got to know there are certain ways they can help the team the most, and that’s to make sure our best players look good. Sometimes young kids want to go out and prove to everybody they can really play. When they are not quite ready, sometimes that leads to poor play.”

Senior Kevin Young figures to join the rotation soon — possibly as early as Tuesday against the Spartans in Atlanta. Young, who broke a bone in his right hand on Oct. 25, will not play in Friday’s season-opener against SE Missouri State (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse). Self said Monday that Young, who has been shooting on his own, should return to practice Saturday and, if all goes well, possibly will play against the No. 14-ranked Spartans.

On Wednesday at the Topeka Jayhawk Club luncheon, Self said there’s a possibility freshmen big men Lucas and Zach Peters could be red-shirted. Peters, 6-foot-9 from Plano, Texas, has yet to practice this season because of a torn rotator cuff in his left (shooting) shoulder. He’s not expected back anytime soon. Lucas, 6-10 from Portland, could practice all season, but not play in games, if playing time appears scarce. Lucas can’t play in Friday’s opener or any other games if the decision is made to red-shirt or if the decision is still pending.

“He (Lucas) will be a good player down the road,” Self said. “He will be a guy that certainly can give us a low-post presence. Landen is a great kid. He will have a great career here.”

Of Peters, Self said: “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. We are going to go with the guys we’ve got. I think we are plenty good enough. We just have to play smarter and can execute better.”

Embiid cuts list: Joel Embiid, a 7-foot, 220-pound senior center from The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., on Wednesday narrowed his list of prospective schools from five to three.

“Down to Florida, Kansas and Texas,” Embiid wrote in a text message to the Journal-World.

“Next week,” he responded, asked when he’d reveal his college choice.

Coaches from KU, Florida and Texas visited his high school on Wednesday, reported.

No. 31-ranked Tyler Roberson, a 6-8 small forward from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic School, has not yet set a date to announce his decision. He’s down to KU, Villanova and Syracuse.

KU vs. S.D. State: KU and San Diego State are working on a home-and-home series starting in Allen Fieldhouse next season, Aztec coach Steve Fisher told the San Diego Union-Tribune. KU would return the trip to Viejas Arena, the on-campus arena of the Aztecs, in 2015-16.

Fisher had some negative things to say about KU when Jayhawk senior Kevin Young decommitted from S.D. State two summers ago. “That’s history,” Fisher told the paper. “I’ve always had a friendship and a relationship with Bill Self. He’s a good person and an exceptional coach in a marquee, blue-blood program. That to me is no longer a topic of discussion.”


tdscpa 1 year, 5 months ago

Anyone who rates wildjayhawk's intelligence as equivalent to human is overrating the pussy.


wildjayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Doesn't sound like TRob is measuring up to what was expected of him. Overrated player.


BCJayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

With all due respect, Konkey Dong, I don't see how the Royce Woooridge case shakes down. Are you saying that he is now a second-semester sophomore in this fall semester of 2012? I am quite sure he did not play second semester of last year, nor do I think he was even on the active roster at WSU. One thought that did enter my mind is that he got a hardship waiver for his transfer from KU. I seem to remember that his mother, who lives in Phoenix, was supposed to be ill, and that Royce was supposed to transfer to Arizona. So maybe he had to sit out a year, but he lost no eligibility. I wish him well; he certainly has a chance now to show what he can do as a starter on a team that is projected to finish at best 7th in the Pac 12;


BCJayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Since someone mentioned Royce Woolridge, I will be interested to see how he does as Washington State's starting point guard against Div-1 Eastern Washington tomorrow night. Cougars' coach Ken Bone permanently dismissed his returning senior point guard this fall (Reggie Moore, 10.2 ppg, 5.2 apg) with the idea that Royce would take over this season. Moore was a, (shall we say?) mercurial figure in his three years at WSU. One thing I cannot figure out is how both Lindy's and Athlone have Woolridge listed as an immediately-eligible sophomore. Shouldn't he be a junior? Played sparingly at KU as a freshman, sat out last year as a sophomore transfer, should now be a junior. I just cannot decipher these NCAA transfer rules, and they get more complicated every year. Can anyone help?


Ethan Berger 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm not going to lie, part of me wants Frank mason to decommit. I'm glad he chose Kansas, but I see bigger fish in the pond. I hope we can Land Joel Embiid. With Peters and Lucas as he primary challengers to play Center, I think he can get some good playing time and I predict the next rivals rating will have him at 34. Now lets say Mason decommits. That opens up another spot. I'm assuming B Mac will be done after this year and be a top 10 pick. There is another spot. My gut also tells me 1 transfer at least. So there we have 3 open spots. This will be a good for signing Roberson, Randle, Lawrence, or Gordon. Unless of course, all those guys commit in the fall. Hopefully 3 of 4 commit in the spring after the season concludes. This will be the foundation to a very special team. (Selden could be a one and done if he improves his shot).


midwest_muser 1 year, 5 months ago

Peters is a loss. He looked good enough to get 10+ meaningful mins a game. Hope he gets that shoulder working. I've had RC surgery. It's brutal...


Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't think AW3 is going anywhere at this juncture. Rio might because he had such a hard time early on, but I'm 50/50 on him. I don't think Self is trying to bully anyone into transferring just because he's got some great guys coming in, either. It's not as if either of them was a desperation pick up. After all, isn't this the same kind of stuff we heard from Self about Tharpe all last season? He stuck and appears to be better for the wear. I also don't think Self honestly wants anyone to transfer ever, unless they've done something to disgrace the team or themselves (Giddens, Giles).

It's not the guys that get dogged on that I'd worry about transferring, it's the guys that get ignored. If Self isn't playing you, nor is he calling you out for not being ready to play, it means that you aren't even worth getting upset about because you're not going to be needed. Getting dogged on publicly is throwing down the gauntlet. It's saying, "Here's what I think of you. Prove me wrong."

Don't you think Self desperately wanted Tharpe to be good enough to play last year? All that stood between us and the title was having a reliable 3pt shooter that could match Doron Lamb. Tharpe wasn't ready. We'll need a shooter like AW3 this season. Self wants him to be ready too, hence the dog house.

So if anyone should be worried at the moment, it's Lucas. He didn't do anything good against Washburn. He came in, missed his only attempt, picked up a couple of fouls, then was yanked immediately never to return. He was a non-factor at best. If Self isn't trying to motivate him to get better, he's seen as nonessential. Merv Lindsey was that guy from last year. He didn't do much to draw Self's ire because his play was never good enough to merit it. In that respect, I think AW3 is probably the second least likely to transfer out of the true freshmen, with Ellis being the least.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 5 months ago

Just a question...we're all cheering for the same team, right?

Finding cleverer and cleverer ways to insult each other strikes me as so "Missouri-ish"!!!

To insult someone under the veil of anonymity is the ultimate act of cowardness...and I have done it myself and regretted it.

Just's not going to change anything but at least I'm on the record for saying Kansas Nation should be above this!!!


SDSurferFan 1 year, 5 months ago

Just got word here in San Diego State that KU and SDSU will have a home/home the next two years. I AM SO STOKED!!!!!!


REHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm not yet prepared to bail on Jeff Withey. Granted, he played a rotten first half of offense Monday evening; but then almost logged a triple double by game's end. His play is mercurial, definitely, but without him we must fall back on a very different gameplan from the type that Self seems best to employ. Besides which, when he is on the bench we get an early chance to view the work of Perry, Jamari, Justin (soon, Kevin). Bill Self has to be intrigued, studying tape of Perry's work when Jeff is taking a rest. That might become a regular change-up worth pitching at opponents. That said, I am a bit disappointed at Jeff's offense. Had figured him to be a 13-14 pt. scorer this season, a player who gets to the freethrow line more often than last year. Might yet happen, but, at this stage, does not look likely. His inclinations are toward defense. Oddly, the entire starting lineup is so focused on defense that scoring and ball protection appear to suffer. Those are correctable elements which should gradually improve as the new engine logs mileage. The 3 returning starters have really bought in to Bill Self defense! Ben and Perry will certainly be handed the opportunity for some huge scoring nights.


TexasHawk44 1 year, 5 months ago

Sounds like the same moronic JB to me. Maybe just a little more Moonshine poured over his Aldi's cornflakes in the morning as the black helicopters hover about his old trailer park homestead outside of Tongie...


Jack Wilson 1 year, 5 months ago

The timing is just too good here .. "You don’t put guys out there in games that matter just to try to get them some experience." See my undeniable truths from yesterday. But we already knew this about coach Self. He's just said it now. There are quotes. The other undeniable truth is that he plays to win every game. That is, he won't risk underperformance for the sake of gaining folks experience .. meaning, when he says "games that matter" .. every game matters. Nice quotes today.

I would like to think that Adams and White are simply being broken down to be built back up. Adams' three turnovers against Washburn were killers for him. It's like a steamshovel digging a big hole in one swoop, and then being given a hand shovel to fill it back in. Filling it back in will take time because opportunities may be scarce. That's because Adams would be on the floor as a primary or secondary ball handler.

But I don't see that with White. White could see the floor directly to spell Releford, playing a more true three spot, with no real ball handling responsibilities other than an outlet when pressed or pressured (see Rush).

Those opportunities may come as early as Friday. But if not, they could be buried for a while. I'm optimistic on White though.

Right now, I do expect a 9 man rotation that includes White, with 7 guys getting the major minutes early. 5 perimeter players (EJ, McLemore, Tharpe, Releford and White), and 4 post players (Withey, Ellis, Young, Traylor). White and Traylor would get the limited minutes, with White's increasing. We'll see. It's a long season. But please, no Justin Wesley -- assuming Traylor is better.

And for all of those that mock recruiting "stars" and rankings, you see what is happening here don't you? It isn't a coincidence. Ellis and McLemore. Better players. Higher ranked. White. A bit lower at #51 as I recall. He'll get there. Then Adams around 90. Not much different than Tharpe was last season. Traylor #141. Edge of the rotation after a year of practice. But limited. Lucas (unranked) just not ready. Not perfect. Not the gospel. But a strong indicator and the best evidence we have. If Peters would have been healthy, he might have been the exception. Sure looked like it in Europe.

As an adside, I don't like the use of old quotes to make a point. The quote from Self about Peters came from the Nov. 6 article, not at the Topeka Jayhawk Club Luncheon yesterday as it implies.


KEITHMILES05 1 year, 5 months ago

Jaybate: AW3 is not transferring and freshman ALWAYS have less minutes unless you are a very highly rated player. Your thinking is NUTS if Evan Manning will be backing up Tharpe! LMAO.

Peters "injury" is...........well, not as you think.

Lucas is the best defensively next to Withey. He will need time to adjust but has done nicely the first two games.

The post presence offensively is the worst it has ever been under Self. Ellis and Young will have to really step it up. It's nothing like we've ever seen.


hucking_fawks_rock 1 year, 5 months ago

Can we just tell Jeff that it's the NCAA tournament to let him get mad? I want to see the angry Withey face! ANGRY WITHEY!!


FarSideHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

If Zach is out for the year on medical red-shirt, I don't see why Coach Self would want to red-shirt Lucas this year.
It would make sense for him to red-shirt maybe next year if we pick up a couple top post players. I would rather keep Lucas around and let him try to beat out Wesley for the spot. We may need him anyway in some games due to injury or foul troubles.


jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago


Crazy? Hardly.

It remains an honest question prompted by:

A) Self not typically shutting young players out of the rotation until the cupcake games are over;

B) Self only giving Aw3 3 minutes in an exhibition game after saying for awhile AW3 was the first sub off the bench;

C) AW2 apparently saber rattling after the first exhibition of only 10 minutes in the first exhibition; and

D) the reclassifying of two highly ranked recruits plus the continued availability of others making it highly probable Self could land 2-3 highly ranked players that he would need more next year than AW3 and Anrio.

I framed it as a question, not a prediction purposely.

I'm not sure about this, but it hardly seems out of the question given A through D.


clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 5 months ago

I get the feeling we will be playing an entirely different offense this year. Yes I expect some high low action with Perry and Withey, and a lot of swing action with the 1,2 and 3 spots. But if Jeff gets in foul trouble or is on a cold streak I can see us playing "small" with 2 4s. Also right now I think having Tharpe and EJ on the court at the same time is advantageous to getting the most out of EJ; I'm not sure if it is him recovering from surgery, moving fromt he 2 to the 1, or just trying to let the freshmen play for the exhibition games (we will find out Friday or Tuesday).

I think with the outside shooters we have on this team we can play with a smaller lineup, the big question mark will be rebounds, we need to get more of the "50/50" balls, especially if our lineup is 6'8 or under with Withey on the bench.


akgjenkintown 1 year, 5 months ago

Losing Peters for the year is a shame. This article is the first time a tear was mentioned. I held hope he would be back until this report. Peters was the best center by far in Europe and brought the toughness and energy Withey seems to lack for some unknown reason this late into his career. I sure hope that Taylor can step up and push Withey for time. Maybe having the preseason all American sit will get him fired up to play hard from the beginning to the end of the game.


hotrodm 1 year, 5 months ago

I was really looking forward to watching Zach Peters play this year, so sorry for him to have a shoulder injury. Shoulder injuries take a long time to heal and re-hab, so no sense in rushing him to the court, KU will need him next year and beyond. Good luck Zach with your healing and re-hab.


AsadZ 1 year, 5 months ago

You don’t put guys out there in games that matter just to try to get them some experience. You do that if you know the game is going your way.

This has been a much topic of debate on this forum over the last couple of years and I am sure there will be some nice exchanges today.


jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

"Bittersweet Thought for Today"

What if Self were positioning to sign Wiggins, Embiid and one more big by discouraging AW3 and Anrio into transfers and going with Naadir and Evan as backcourt backups this year, were AW3, and/or Anrio to transfer suddenly, instead of end of season?

After all, Self would still have Brannen Greene and Frankamp coming in to replace them, even if Self were to crap out and sign no one else.


Michael Johnson 1 year, 5 months ago

Lucas really looked good in first exhibition game. I was hoping he'd be a big part of this team.


Michael Sillman 1 year, 5 months ago

If Lucas and Peters both redshirt this year, that seems to leave us short of big men to relieve Withey. To sub Ellis, Traylor, Wesley, or Young in at the 5 spot makes the teaam pretty darn small but I guess Self has no choice. Peters must have something major going on in that shoulder and it appears that Self feels Lucas needs a whole year of seasoning to be ready.

Traylor may be the guy to rotate in at center since he appears to be a warrior underneath the rim but he'll be giving away significant height.


nostradavid 1 year, 5 months ago

Let's hope JoJo doesn't mind cold weather. His other remaining choices are in lower latitudes.


David Leathers 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm 98% sure that Embiid will be a Jayhawk. Here's why:

If you do a Google News search for him the ONLY publication that is announcing him cutting his list is the LJW. Don't you think that if he is planning on becoming a Longhorn, a Gator or even trying to throw others off that he would send out that same message to more than one media outlet?

I may be looking too far into this, but I have a gut feeling.

On a different note, sign me up for front row seats in the Viejas! I've been praying for a Jayhawk return to the west coast.


Sandeep Kalburgie 1 year, 5 months ago

Embiid and Roberson are close to announcing their college choice! Keeping my fingers crossed!


Jonathan Andrews 1 year, 5 months ago

DANG, HCBS going HAM on a bench-warming freshman! Is he going to give the waterboy a purple nurple next?!?!

I actually question Bill on this one. I'm sure he put thought into his words before saying them, and I'll bet the sly fox did this to challenge his whole team, by chastising one. But without actually saying the words Anrio Adams, he made it clear that 'Rio has been an abject disappointment to him, which I feel is overhasty at this stage of the season. Leave the kid gloves at home; I'm just surprised that the ONLY guy that's consistently playing like his hair is on fire is the one that draws Self's ire. "Steady as she goes", sir.


Final4KU 1 year, 5 months ago

This looks like a 9 man rotation with 5 bigs and 4 perimeter guys, which is different than the past. The 4 perimeter guys are Johnson, McLemore, Releford, and Tharpe off the bench. Ellis, Traylor, and Young all figure to share minutes at the 4 and Wesley is likely backing up Withey at the 5. I don't think Self trusts White or Adams yet to give them rotation minutes, though they may each get a few minutes here or there in spot duty.


kerbyd 1 year, 5 months ago

Is this the same Steve Fisher that basically accused Self of stealing one of his players?


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