Thursday, November 8, 2012

Perry Ellis to start; Landen Lucas to sit


Perry Ellis, who came off the bench in Kansas University’s two exhibition basketball games, will start today’s 7 p.m. regular-season opener against SE Missouri State, KU coach Bill Self said Thursday.

Ellis, a 6-foot-8 McDonald’s All-American out of Wichita Heights, will be joined in the lineup by freshman Ben McLemore and seniors Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey.

“It (starting) is something we’re not worried about. We’re just trying to win,” Ellis said. “One goal: Everybody wants to win.”

Lucas sits tonight: Freshman forward Landen Lucas will not play tonight to keep a red-shirt option open.

“He may not play Tuesday (vs. Michigan State in Atlanta), because he’s definitely a guy that we are strongly considering red-shirting,” Self said. “We visited with Landen and his family about it, and they are in agreement with that. It’s not 100-percent sure, because he could still play two weeks from now, but our thinking is, right now, put a red shirt on him.”

Self was asked if a red-shirt year would be used to work on the 6-10, 240-pounder’s body.

“It’s to really replace age 23 with age 19,” Self said. “He’s going to be a much better player then than he will be now. You don’t red-shirt guys that you don’t think can play, because I do think he does have a future here impacting our ballclub.”

Self said freshman forward Zach Peters (6-9, Plano, Texas) was feeling a little better, but remains out because of a rotator cuff injury in his left shoulder.

“I’m not going to make a decision now on what we’ll do with Zach, but if he can’t get back soon, we have no choice but to red-shirt him,” Self said, “because he’ll be so far behind, he won’t be able to catch up.”

Senior forward Kevin Young, who had a brace on his right hand Thursday, is to return to practice Saturday and may play Tuesday vs. MSU.

T-Rob penalty: Former KU forward Thomas Robinson of the Sacramento Kings has received a two-game suspension for elbowing Detroit’s Jonas Jerebko in the throat.

“I saw it (replay). It looks like he got him pretty good,” Self said. “I didn’t see what led up to it. I saw the play. From the appearance I saw it looked like to me he (Robinson) knew what he did was dead wrong as soon as he did it.”

Self on his freshman class entering the opener: “I would say I’d be concerned about a couple of their mind-sets. Because I think confidence is pretty shaken right now in a couple of them based on ... not really from the first game to the second game, just based on over the last two weeks of practice maybe haven’t played as well as what they’d hoped or what we had thought they could. But that changes all the time with freshmen. I mean, that always changes. I think Jamari (Traylor) and Ben and Perry are fine, and those three guys would be the three freshmen that you would think had the biggest impact in what we’re doing right now.”

More honors: Johnson and Withey were named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 for the 2012-13 season, the Los Angeles Athletics Club announced Thursday.


nostradavid 7 years, 6 months ago

Tear it up Perry ! Play great & keep that starting spot.


Michael Auchard 7 years, 6 months ago

News: the sky is blue. This should have happened two games ago. Unless, I'm missing something...

Best player in the exhibitions is a starter, huh? Who knew?

Does anybody have any insight into the beef Self's had with him in practice? I don't really want to hear the generic, "Well, he didn't work hard enough" stuff.

The man's the most polished player on the team (so far, including the seniors). I guess it takes balls to hate on one of the best players on the team. And, from what I've seen, one with no ego to speak of.

B-Mac(2) might be the higher draft pick according to The League, but Ellis handles himself way better on the court, in my not very humble opinion. He's shooting near 70 percent with the rest of the team playing like... well,

Bill Self: "We played like little babies tonight."

HawkKlaw 7 years, 6 months ago

I recall Self saying that Ellis had the "deer in the headlights" look early on. He re-iterated that many times. He also mentioned that Traylor and Peters were ahead of him from a "figuring out the system" standpoint before the European games. So I think the reasons he didn't start those two exhibition games were A) He didn't know the system as well as Traylor or Wesley and B) Starting spots were rewarded to Traylor and Wesley for working so hard in practice and doing everything that Bill Self wanted them to do.

Self has never "hated" on Perry Ellis. He's always praised Ellis' talent and focus. I think it has less to do with Ellis under-achieving and more to do with Traylor and Wesley over-achieving.

But as happy as Self is with Traylor and Wesley, he also knows that the real season starts today and my guess is Ellis will be the starter from here on out.

Michael Auchard 7 years, 6 months ago

I get what you're saying. But, based on the two games I've seen, in no way has Ellis been unfocused.

lv_jhwk 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't think Self has nor had a beef with him. It's just his usual way of handling most freshmen, regardless of previous exploits.

And if there is one thing that Self likely wants more of from Perry, its simply a bit of a mean streak. There have been several allusions to "being nice", and Perry fits that to a T. This isn't to say he needs to be Mr. Exuberant and totally change his style, but just to have a constant fire lit. I've always thought that if Perry can be a Shane Battier clone, he'll obviously have a great future ahead of him.

KansasComet 7 years, 6 months ago

I like Lucas and I thought he could contribute this season. If there is an injury to a big, we may see him this season. Will definitely watch MSU to see what we are up against on Tuesday. Looking forward to the season opener tonight.

jaybate 7 years, 6 months ago

The wire mother routine by Self toward AW3 and Anrio continues.

But he did leave a crack in the door for them.

"But that changes all the time with freshmen. I mean, that always changes."

So unless it starts raining 2-3 top ten ranked recruits, they are safe with the wire mother, who will, when sufficient toughness and ball protection are manifest, resume her warm, nurturing Okie Baller ways. :-)

jaybate 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, of course KY will play in the MSU game.

He has a hand brace that can be wielded as a weapon.

Battle stations!

HawkKlaw 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, KY is a scrappy dude. I could totally see Self putting him out there with the cast just to disrupt some s---.

jaybate 7 years, 6 months ago

That's the spirit, HawkKlaw. Going to be a rousing season. I can feel it. :-)

jaybate 7 years, 6 months ago

Not sure about Peters being too far behind to catch up. Good players are good players, whenever they come back. Self didn't say Jeff was to far behind to become eligible at mid term. Ted let Jo Jo start mid term. A number of greater and lesser players have joined teams at mid term. The problem with Zack seems to be: his injury is so bad he isn't going to get over it this year.

championhawks 7 years, 6 months ago

The problem with Peters is that he is injured and can't even practice. A frosh who can't practice is going to fall behind and not be prepared to come in and contribute.

I hope his recovery speeds up and he is able to get back soon. I am one who thinks that he may be able to help out this year.

jaybate 7 years, 6 months ago

I wonder if the decision on Landen hinges on whether a couple high ranked bigs sign? If they sign, maybe Landen plays this season and red shirts next year. If they don't sign, maybe he red shirts this year.

Alohahawk 7 years, 6 months ago

That is my thinking. KU may need him more this year, especially if Self has the bigs to cover next season. Redshirt Lucas his second year, to build up and truly improve his game, rather than a lost year battling for playing time against a top recruit that would most likely be a OAD anyway. And by then, Peters should be back in the fold at full strength. (If Peters redshirts this year.)

It all depends on who, if anyone of the top recruits, choses KU. Self may be thinking along those lines, say, if Embiid or Roberson were to choose KU in the early signing period. He then may suggest that route for Lucas.

REHawk 7 years, 6 months ago

There you go again, jb, mousing along at the periphery, nibbling at the edges of the box. Pickin' up crumbs that the basher rats blindly overlook. Rock Chalk!

Ron Prichard 7 years, 6 months ago

It's a possibility, but KU and Self may not know the answer to the recruiting question until this spring. I'm guessing if Lucas sits the first two or three games, the decision will have been made, regardless of the recruiting picture.

Robert Brock 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't know that Self has redshirted a freshman yet during his time at KU. Morningstar, Releford, and Little really benefited from redshirts - seems like Self likes to get a look at their value for a year first though.

Lucas looks like he has a good idea of getting position inside and boxing out compared to your typical frosh, but if Self redshirts him this year, that has to signify he's not going to play much in the rotation this year, he'll be particularly valuable his 4th and 5th year and they really need a big man next year if they strike out on recruits.

If Self strikes out on Embid, Johnson and anyone else that pops up on the radar, the bigs for next year are Ellis, Traylor, Wesley, Peters and Lucas. I would guess that Lucas plays a good chunk of minutes in that group.

texashawk10 7 years, 6 months ago

Not likely because Embiid is the only player expected to sign this month that KU has a chance at and that doesn't affect the scholarship situation at all. The rest of the players KU is targeting are all expected to be spring signings which means the season will be over by the time guys like Wiggins, Randle, and Gordon sign.

Ben Simonett 7 years, 6 months ago

so the highest ranked recruit from the class starts while the lowest ranked one in staring at a red shirt.

Who would have thought? Its like the ratings sites are actually indicative of a recruits talent level!

REHawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Duh...Yep, I tink yo comprende. Come on down!

texashawk10 7 years, 6 months ago

This will also be the first time a scholarship freshmen has redshirted under Self because of something not academic related. Matt Kleinman did reshirt because as a walk on he was never going to play big minutes for KU. The players that have "voluntarily" redshirted under Self have all done so during their second year on campus so it'll be interesting to see if recruiting is playing any part in this decision or not.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 6 months ago

Starting Perry just simply had to be done.

I'm not knocking Traylor because he's a good player with great energy, athleticism, and toughness. But he's too much of a raw talent and I see him as a guy who picks up minutes when we need toughness on the court, and when we need someone who will battle for rebounds and loose balls. He's an energy guy off the bench. That's his mold right now.

And Wesley started against Washburn, but to put it in Traylor's terms, Self was just "throwing him a bone".

The fact is, and we've already been down this road many times so I won't belabor the point. KY would be starting and Ellis would be first man off the bench if Young were healthy. Because Young is out, Ellis assumes his rightful place in the starting lineup much early than it would have been awarded to him otherwise.

But Ellis should take notice. If he doesn't give max effort tonight, then Traylor or KY will likely start on Tuesday. If Ellis doesn't give max effort then KY will start after that. Ellis can keep the starting spot all year if he plays hard and takes no plays off.

That's Self's dilemma with Elllis. Polished player? Yes. Future Pro? Definitely. He can score so effortlessly (or so it appears), but Self knows the essence of effort. Self can sense it. He can smell it, taste it, feel it, hear it... even if it appears effortless. Effort is body positioning. It's boxing out, staying in front of your man defensively, moving without the ball, sealing off your defender, jumping higher than everyone else for rebounds, beating your man down the court. Self knows effort and if he senses any lack of it in Ellis' game substitute effort for offense and put in KY or JTrain.

yovoy 7 years, 6 months ago

Back when I used to coach, I had a D-1 level talent kid that I just "felt" was cruising. I felt like he wasn't giving 100%. I couldn't figure it out. He looked like he was jogging all the time, he didn't look like he was jumping out of the gym for boards, and he just looked "lazy". The thing is that he was the first big down the floor in transition most of the time, and that is after battling for the rebound and making the outlet pass. The kid always came up with the ball; he would just manufacture possessions: loose-ball steal here, block to himself there, offensive rebound, frontside steal, etc. I was always on the verge of ripping the kid anyway, but the results of what I saw from him out on the floor didn't give me a true reason to, so I looked at the stats. He was on a team that had score-first guards (one of which could board with ANYONE and who later won the state long-jump a couple of times), and another big that could board and score a little bit. The stats showed that he had 16ppg and 14 boards, and half of that was on stick-backs. I ripped him the next day at practice for being lazy. His stats went up after that. He still looked like he was playing the exact same way at the same speed though!

The point is that just because an athlete doesn't "look" a certain way doesn't mean the effort is not there, and when you rip a player you may be talking to him/her, but your words are meant for the players around him/her. Why did his numbers go up? Was it his "effort"? No, the "score-first guard" teammates figured out that they could win "smarter" if they got him the ball more often, and the stats said that they got him the ball more because the shot charts started looking like a layup drill mixed with some mid-range jumper practice just to mix it up. As for the increased number of boards? I'll credit his talent, his fire after getting ripped by coach, and his teammates' savvy after hearing the same speech. He looked and played the same, but his results were better because his teammates understood the real message.

So then, maybe OurSelf wants his players to get the ball to our most talented and most-likely-to-score big. Maybe he wants PE to show that he wants to be out there, and that he wants to be the man. Maybe that's all OurSelf ever wants. I'm sure he tells the team that explicitly, but I'm also guessing that he does it implicitly w/ P.T. as well as PSA-type lamentations to the press. I'm guessing that he's talking to PE's teammates as much as he's truly talking to PE. Still though, until someone shows the polish and ability that Ellis shows, it really seems difficult to justify sitting that kid for any other reason - especially if it's just based on a feeling.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 6 months ago

BIGS: Withey, Ellis....first off the bench, KY, Semi SWINGS; Releford...first off the bench AW3 BACKERS: Johnson, BenMac....first off the bench Tharpe

Gee...I think this rotation projection was mentioned back in, oh I don't know...April!!!

This projects as Four Seniors,One Sophomore and Four Freshmen...a perfect Reverse Bell Curve.

Thank you Lord for letting me live to see another Kansas Jayhawk Basketball Season!!!!!

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 6 months ago

we're all glad that you're back this year Oak

jaybate 7 years, 6 months ago

Yes, it is a wonderful thing.

God can't take you yet, because I told him I'm still saving up for you to design me a beach house in Antarctica. He thought it was a pretty funny idea. God has a sense of humor. He said since he has been around a long time and not heard that idea, he would give you a pass until it was built. So: my plan is to save verrrrrrrrrrry slowly for you. :-)

Boouk 7 years, 6 months ago

I think we have to redshirt Lucas and Peters. We can have Kevin Young and either Jamari Traylor or Justin Wesely back up Withey and Ellis.

pill41 7 years, 6 months ago

I think it's great that we have a program that can redshirt quality talent. We need the 5th year backbone guys to compete with the experience of the best of the senior-laden mid-major squads in the second round and sweet 16.

HawkKlaw 7 years, 6 months ago

Of course Perry Ellis is going to start. This isn't news to anyone who knows how Bill Self runs his teams. He rewarded Traylor and Wesley with starts in the exhibition games because they impressed him in practice. And Self talked a lot this offseason about how Perry looked like a "deer in the headlights", which is probably another reason why he hasn't started yet. He's still figuring out the system. But now that the real season is here, it's Perry Ellis' job to lose. And let's hope it stays that way for the next 3-4 seasons (see: Championship!)

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self talked about Perry after the ESU game and said that Perry needs to be more aggressive. Then Bill went on to describe that when he yells at Perry to Jump, then Perry jumps higher. Bill calls it being agressive, HEM calls it being assertive, but it really just comes down to EFFORT.

HawkKlaw 7 years, 6 months ago

Eh, I dunno. I think if he wasn't putting forth effort there's no way Self would be starting him tonight. He's just learning how to be a beast.

tonyjayhawk35 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't get what others see in Withey!He's good defensively,which he should be,he's freaking 7ft tall.Offensively,he won't average but 6 points a game if he's lucky.Not close to being strong enough to do anything with the ball.

Michael Bennett 7 years, 6 months ago

he averaged over 9 ppg last year, I see no reason why he can't have at least that same amount of production offensively. Even with T-Rob gone, he should pick up a lot of garbage points, tip-ins, etc.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 6 months ago

Everyone is correctly excited about Perry Ellis.

Which is exactly the reason I would love for KU to add Tyler Roberson for 2013. I know, he's a Villanova lean. I know, he wants to play the wing.

But put Ellis and Roberson in the post spots, as 4 and 4a, you have two tremendously athletic and active scorers. Roberson starts from day 1, just like Ellis is. I doubt rebounding suffers at all.

Are we a bit undersized? Maybe. But we'd have either Traylor, Lucas,and/or Peters off the bench. And we would have McLemore, Greene, White, and Selden .. all 6'5" or greater, to play the 2/3 spots.

I'm all for Embiid.Hope we get him. But I'm assuming he won't start next season (maybe that could change). And if we don't land an OAD, or get lucky in the spring, in the post, we'll be starting either Traylor, Lucas, or Peters. Not the best of options.

I know the staff went back out and visited Roberson. Ideally, Roberson and Embiid would be terrific. No OADs. Great talent. Great upside.

It does seem unlikely since we have only one scholarship open and both will sign in the fall. But talk about a perfect scenario.

jaybate 7 years, 6 months ago

Wiggins (the wing) and Smith (the big) reclassifying give Self a second chance at everyone. It is not that Self will necessarily get Wiggins and Smith, though its a possibility. It is that all the players like Roberson and Randle that thought they had their rank orders set and that it made sense to wait till April, now understand that Wiggins and Smith are going to be given priority by all the top coaches. This will create an accordion effect on choices. Self knows he is not the top choice of anyone of the remainders, before Wiggins and Smith reclassified. He knows Roberson closed his visits after feeling fuzzy about Nova. So: Self probably sent his assistants to tell Roberson face to face that KU would rather have Roberson than anyone and will take his commit now, but if he continues to wait then they may have to go after "someone" else. This puts a lot of pressure on a player. Self is trying to speed Roberson up. Fish, or cut bait, Tyler. It matters, because Self has to make red shirt decision on Lucas in two weeks. If Roberson commits, then, maybe Self keeps Lucas dressing for games this year, and redshirts him next year. If not, then Lucas redshirts this year. Either way, Self goes back channel after every commit at any school that starts going after Wiggin and Smith. Any one that leaves Wiggins and Smith alone, i.e., leaves Wiggins and Smith for Self, has their commits left alone. All etiquette about commits and leans and shoe allegiances is probably off until Wiggins and Smith commit somewhere. I just don't believe Self will turn down this potential wind fall (adding not one but potentially two bigs) that just a few weeks back seemed such an impossibility that he signed Frank Mason. Heads will have to roll, if Self can get to highly ranked bigs.

(Note: Sorry if I have Smith's and Mason's last names wrong. Didn't have time to go look them up.)

Alohahawk 7 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, I think by "Smith" you're referring to Dakari Johnson. Johnson would be quite the center KU needs to complete the 2013 recruiting wars (6' 10" and 250 lbs.). Add Embiid, and KU is covered for a couple three years, unless they prove so good they jump earlier than planned.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 6 months ago

Smith threw me there for bit. I was like .. who is this Smith dude? I thought I knew my 2014s pretty good. But yes, Johnson, or Wiggins, would be major home runs, preference to Johnson obviously given our stable of wings.

And I bet jb is right .. sent the assistant to see Roberson to say, "you are our top priority." The logic makes sense. If Roberson comes, we have a rotation guy in the bag, then Lucas does not redshirt this season.

texashawk10 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't have any hope on landing Roberson at this point and have moved on from paying much attention to him. As high on Embiid as I am, I do agree that he'll probably not be ready to be a starter from day 1 at KU, but if he is that would be great. I would expect him to be more of a 15-20 minute player his first year before being more ready to start his sophomore year. If KU does land Embiid, then landing a OAD big isn't a bad thing because it does two things, 1) it gives KU a scholarship for the 2014 class which is big since KU doesn't have an official scholly for that class right now and 2) Embiid gets to come off the bench a year before sliding into the starting role left by a departing player.

KansasComet 7 years, 6 months ago

Great post! You are starting to get me hyped for next year, and this season has not started yet!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.