Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bill Self: Jayhawks in need of senior ‘assassins’


Bill Self says he’s looking for one or two of his Kansas University basketball players to adopt a take-charge, take-no-prisoners mentality.

“We had two guys last year that were assassins,” Self said Saturday, referring to current NBA players Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. “We haven’t developed those guys yet. We don’t have an assassin as a senior. Now you are banking on freshmen to become your guys? That’s not right.

“Those seniors have to step up and become those players everybody draws confidence from, because one thing about Tyshawn, it was, ‘Hey, put it on me.’ Or Thomas? ‘Hey, put it on me.’ We don’t have anybody like that yet.”

Self, whose Jayhawks (2-1) will meet Washington State (2-1) at 9 p.m. Monday in the CBE Classic in Kansas City’s Sprint Center, is still assessing personnel at this early juncture.

“Right now, I am set on four starters,” Self said of seniors Jeff Withey, Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson and freshman Ben McLemore. Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor have started at the other slot.

“I am not even close to being set on the fifth. I don’t know who is better off the bench and who is better starting,” Self added. “We haven’t given Kevin Young a chance to start yet because of his hand (which forced him to miss two exhibitions and the opener). Jamari has played better off the bench than starting. I don’t know what the answer is. We need energy and points off the bench. Our bench for the most part has played OK,” he added, noting he’d like to develop a scorer at the power-forward spot.

“Jamari against Michigan State played great. He had six points and four rebounds in 25 minutes. In the past, when guys in that position played great, they got 20 and 10. That’s not a knock on him. That’s not who he is yet. We somehow have to get production out of that spot.”

Self said one bench player needs to step it up — sophomore backup point guard Naadir Tharpe.

“His man scored nine straight points on him the other day,” Self said of Chattanooga’s Farad Cobb, who scored 18 the first half. “He (Tharpe) has to run the team, be poised and guard and take care of the ball. The responsibility is easy compared to somebody who has to make shots in order to play well. I just think his effort defensively is at the point where it has to improve, or we’re going to seriously have to go in a different direction. We need him. But if you are not making shots and you are not guarding, that’s a bad combination.”

Tharpe said he needed to “put more pressure on the ball, just come out with energy, basically.”

Travel: Self cut a joke when asked about KU’s fans venturing to nearby Kansas City for Monday and Tuesday’s CBE Classic as opposed to heading to the Maui Invitational last November.

“Hey, our fans went to Maui last year and are going to Atlantis next year (Battle 4 Atlantis tourney in Bahamas), and they went to New Orleans last year. I think they’ll be OK,” Self cracked.

Recruiting continues: Self, who has signed five incoming high school players, says he’s not finished recruiting.

“It’s incomplete still. We need to get another guy or two to make it as good a class as we’ve had,” Self said.

“I think it’s a great recruiting class because there are two players nobody is talking about just about as good as anybody at their position in the country — Mason and Joel,” Self said of guard Frank Mason and center Joel Embiid.

He’s also inked guards Conner Frankamp and Wayne Selden and wing Brannen Greene.

“Everybody talks about Frankamp, which they should, and Selden, which they should, and Greene, which they should. Those other two are really good players,” Self said.

KU has filled all five of its available scholarship openings. There’s always the possibility of players turning pro or transferring.

Royce returns: Former KU guard Royce Woolridge is starting point guard at Washington State. He has averaged 7.7 points with 10 assists against nine turnovers while logging an average of 31.3 minutes a game. He has made eight of 18 shots (44.4 percent) and four of eight threes.

“Royce is their point guard. It’ll be fun seeing him again,” center Jeff Withey said of his former teammate who sat out last season at WSU in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

Still out: There’s no change in the status of freshmen big men Landen Lucas and Zach Peters. Lucas is being red-shirted barring any injury to a KU big man, while Peters is expected to red-shirt because of his ongoing rotator-cuff problems. Peters has yet to practice this season.


KEITHMILES05 1 year, 5 months ago

Peter's injury is nothing like all of are thinking.


Alohahawk 1 year, 5 months ago

KU will have its work cut out when the conference games roll around. Unranked Oklahoma State made a statement by overpowering #6, N.Carolina State, in the championship game and winning the Puerto Rican Tourney this weekend. Smart and Nash had impressive stats. OSU was my choice to finish 2nd to KU in the Big 12. Meanwhile, Baylor is averaging over 90 points through their first couple games, although their defense is suspect. Will be interesting to see if the two teams can continue playing at the same level.

Today's game vs Washington State should be a good test for KU. It's another game away from the friendly confines of AFH. Yet, it's not that far to travel, so should have a nice home crowd advantage. Time for the seniors to shoulder more of the load. Jeff needs to show some anger and fill the stat sheet with a double/double with another 5+ blocks. Releford just needs to hit some shots. I hope Young gets back in the grove and over his injury. Johnson needs to drive the lane instead of launching 3 pointers all night. As for the newbies, BMc. should have a little incentive, playing in KC. And it's time for Perry to start outsmarting the defense, as well as starting to collect more rebounds.

For obvious reasons, as a former Jayhawk, I would expect Woolridge to try to excel.



jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

"Some Ways You Know Self Wants Another Two Recruits"

~Just had number "2" tatooed on his forehead.

~Just had "wing" embroidered on one hip pocket, and "big" embroidered on the other.

~Walks around muttering "Wiggins" to everyone he meets.

~Downloaded a new screen saver that reads "Dakiri".

~Told Cin: "From now till April, I want the same breakfast-- double latte, two lumps of sugar, two eggs, two rashers of bacon, two English muffins, and two kinds of fruit."

~Keeps trying to put on his pants two legs at a time.

~Refuses to chew anything but Doublemint."

~Starts listening to nothing but "The Best of Tupac" on his Nano.

~Diagrams more and more two-point plays to chagrin of Joe Dooley, who says, "He coach, I'm your statistician and I'm telling you we can't win with 2-point, mid-range Js."

~Keeps watching "Double Indemnity" and dwelling deeply on every thing Robert Osborne has to say about it.

~Keeps walking around during practices singing:

""I Dig a Pygmy" by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf-Aids Phase One in which Doris gets her oats

Two of us riding nowhere Spending someone's Hard earned pay You and me Sunday driving Not arriving On our way back home We're on our way home We're on our way home We're going home

Two of us sending postcards Writing letters On my wall You and me burning matches Lifting latches On our way back home We're on our way home We're on our way home We're going home

You and I have memories Longer than the road that stretches out ahead

Two of us wearing raincoats Standing solo In the sun You and me chasing paper Getting nowhere On our way back home We're on our way home We're on our way home We're going home

You and I have memories Longer than the road that stretches out ahead

Two of us wearing raincoats Standing solo In the sun You and me chasing paper Getting nowhere On our way back home We're on our way home We're on our way home We're going home

We're going home Better believe it" --"Two of Us" by The Beatles

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)


Dale Kroening 1 year, 5 months ago

If Lucas and Zach redshirt this year and then decide to transfer next year that would leave them with just 3 years of eligibility because they would have to sit the transfer year right ? Five years to complete four years of eligibility ? Im not so sure they would want to transfer unless they are left with no choice.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 5 months ago

We want coach Self to put the best team possible on the floor. Heck, we demand it, right? We analyze it, discuss strategy, who did he get, who did he miss on .. I mentioned this a while back .. we want him on that wall, we need him on that wall. It ain't pretty. But we've got the best, total package in coach Self.

In the very messy game of college basketball recruiting, I think it's very safe saying that we have a guy that's going to do it as ethically as anyone out there. He has to make tough decisions, sometimes it's not pretty, but he handles it as good as he possibly can while providing product, year in and year out, worthy of being a top 5 program. A team and program we can always be proud of. Would we trade this for anything else out there? Absolutely not.

Here's a quote from Brannen Greene's dad, that is similar to what we've heard before:

"Kansas came around early," he said. "They weren't about telling him things that they thought might convince him to pick them as a school. They were real open with him, and honest. He felt that honesty and that openness, and he shared that with me. Kansas wasn't the only school that Brannen felt that way about, but I'll say it was one of three schools that he felt were being truthful.'

Ready for Washington St.


William Blake 1 year, 5 months ago

CS never stops recruiting... period.

He's managed to pick up some of the best talent to come here at the last second because he never stops.

Scholarships are only given on a per-year basis. The commitment is for one year only. No player should think he has a guarantee to be at Kansas for 4 (or 5) years. Spots are earned on this team and if a potentially better player is available to come in from high school he can take a scholarship away from someone already here.

It sounds cold to talk this way but that is the reality and it should be that way in order to help these kids mature into adults because the last time I checked, the adult world works this way. You all know the NBA is a business more than a game.

I believe there are several players sitting on the bubble; Tharpe, Lucas and Peters come to mind most. Zach's injury really leaves us all in the dark as to his future as a Hawk. On occasion, I still get sharp pains in one shoulder from a rotator cuff injury I first had 30 years ago. Some people heal up really well while others do not... each situation is unique... especially the pain factor. I hope he recovers well enough to develop into his original potential... but only time will tell. Zach has several months to show he can regain his game.

Lucas is a guy with plenty of potential... but he will remain a project throughout his career in Lawrence. So it may not be in his best interest to stay if he can't rack up some serious PT. Lucas needs PT... and if he leaves for another school and gets it, he will (most-likely) develop into a quality D1 player. Then all the second-guessers come here to question why we lost him. Those arguments are not fair and actually point to a very big positive at KU with CS; CS looks out for the best interests of the players. Sometimes their best interest is to transfer.

We can change our philosophy... and keep everyone we bring in, regardless of their play. That removes any threat for these players (as well as needed motivation). Within just a few years we would decline our program and fit into the middle of the pack in the Big 12.

There is a price to pay in order to sit on the top... we have to stay focused on the competitive mechanisms in place and we can't take some of those things away in order to look like nice guys.

After all..... when you consider it from a competitive perspective, we are nice guys! Every player recruited by CS is educated on the possibility that their existence at KU is a privilege, not a right! Players are given a "free ride" but there is nothing free about it because each and every player has to earn their education fees and sometimes it requires more than hustle. Good fortune plays a definite role in this... just ask Zach Peters!


MarineHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

I just noticed that McLemore has completely disappeared from the online 2013 NBA mock draft lists inwhich heused to be projected to go in the top-10. Is there a reason for that?

I hope he returns. If we do not lose him, this looks pretty sweet to me (I think a lot of our young guys obviously will improve/heal a ton between now ans, say, Feb. 2014):

FRONT COURT Perry Ellis / So. / 6-8 / 220 (Rivals #24) Jamari Traylor / RS-So. / 6-7 / 230 Zach Peters / So. / 6-9 / 235 (Rivals #137) Landen Lucas / So. / 6-8 / 240 Joel Embiid / Fr. / 7-0 / 220 (Rivals #20-40?) Justin Wesley / RS-Sr. / 6-8 / 200

WING Ben McLemore / RS-So. / 6-5 / 185 (Rivals #34) Andrew White / So. / 6-6 / 210 (Rivals #51) Brannen Greene / Fr. / 6-7 / 200 (Rivals #22)

GUARDS Naadir Tharpe / Jr. / 6-0 / 170 (Rivals #92) Anrio Adams / So. / 6-3 / 185 (Rivals #98) Wayne Selden / Fr. / 6-5 / 225 (Rivals #23) Conner Frankamp / Fr. / 6-0 / 200 (Rivals #28)

Soe amazing recruiting there. Because of the youthfulness, I can see the 2013-14 season being one of our cyclcal peaks for a combinatin of talent and experience.


Kye Clark 1 year, 5 months ago

To me the most interesting position going forward is the point guard position. Self is not recruiting any more point guards, and with EJ gone next year you have potentially 4 guys vying for 2 spots as the starting & back-up PGs: Tharpe, Adams, Frankamp, & Mason. We haven't seen a freshman come in and flourish in either role yet, aside from Collins in a back-up role. Selby had the best chance before being put behind the 8 ball with his NCAA suspension. RussRob struggled, Chalmers flamed out. So at best Frankamp & Mason will be competing for the back-up minutes, imo. And now we have the comment from Self about Tharpe's game needing to improve or having to "go in a different direction." Will Self be willing to roll the dice on Adams? Hoping to get him comfortable enough with one season's worth of back-up minutes to assume the mantle next year? As others have postulated, tomorrow night could be key. Not just for Tharpe's future, but for the future of next year's squad as a whole.


AsadZ 1 year, 5 months ago

HEM. After watching the interview I had pointed this in other article last night that HCBS comments on Tharpe were striking, and as you correctly mention that Coaches tone in the statement tells the story, he is very upset.

Tharpe is definitely on a short leash. I hope he gets this turned around although I must admit that whenever ball is in his hands I get very nervous.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 5 months ago

Also, for guys beyond Randle, Johnson, and Wiggin, a couple lower guys that might be on the radar (for better or worse):

Luke Cothron .. konkeyDong had pointed him out -- a JUCO player -

Cothron may have some eligibility issues

Junior Etou -- unranked


Jack Wilson 1 year, 5 months ago

Here's the link --

A couple things -

-One of the main "macro" points in interview, in my opinion, was that Self wants to play faster. He says the only guy that is playing fast is McLemore.

-At the 5:00 minute mark, Self hits on a main topic we have discussed. Lack of post scoring, referring to the 4 spot only getting a combined 8 points and 6 rebounds .. vs. the 20 points and 12 rebounds they are used to combined from that spot. Add that to Withey's 10-12 points, and they're at

-Go to 8:10 and listen to comments on Tharpe. It quoted above, but the tone is important. Sounds like an important point in time in this kid's career. That's some blunt stuff.

-Not noted in the article above, go to the 9:00 minute mark, Self says he thinks White and Adams will both be "ok" that we "just haven't had a chance to play them yet." And that they just have to stay "patient."

-The article above does not state it, but Self said he wants a "big" and a "wing." As the one or two more guys in the class. He says those are the positions. Landen Lucas has to be seriously considering transferring at semester hearing that. Ellis, Traylor, Peters, Embiid, Wesley, and another big? Yikes. Wings, we have a pretty full plate there, too. But hey, he's going after the top guys -- Randle/Johnson (bigs), Wiggins (wing).

-As I posted yesterday, I don't get the Mason comments about being "just about as good as anyone out there." If he says it enough, should we believe it? Really, just about as good as Barber, Jackson, or Jones? Or should we believe that the Mason visit wasn't even set up until after those three all committed elsewhere (and literally less than a week after Jackson chose ND)? And we were cut from the lists of others? Depends on if I'm drinkin' the Kool-Aid. And I'm not. Remember Tharpe? We got in on him late after similar top guys were misses. Teague, Turner, Branch, and Chasson Randle. To be fair, our main target, Josiah Turner, flamed out at AZ anyway; and Self didn't go that far in his comments when Tharpe was signed:

-I would not be concerned career-wise on Peters as I mentioned yesterday. The torque necessary to throw a baseball, for example, is much different and I think the rotator cuff (generally) can be repaired routinely. But "at risk" to be run -- sure. Definitely. The entire world south of McLemore and Ellis is at risk to be a "voluntary transfer."


KEITHMILES05 1 year, 5 months ago

The Peters situation isn't what is being talked about. The problem is NOBODY is asking the tough questions and the topic is allowed to slide. He is not playing with the team this year at all and the future is highly questionable.


REHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Talk about going in "a different direction." Think about this: From current perspective, our only returning players with significant game experience next year look to be Tharpe (if he stays), Ellis and Traylor. Wessley's development, minutes and impact still in limbo. WOW! The starting lineup for 2013-14 might appear to resemble a modified modern Kentucky framework.


TexasHawk44 1 year, 5 months ago

You are a moron. There doesn't to be a question posed, hathead . What are you, ten years old?


hathead 1 year, 5 months ago

OT and without malice: is Hudy a tranny?


REHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Jaybate, I really appreciate your "here and there" essay yesterday, regarding Bill Self defense. I will never again watch a basketball game without an awareness of and an eye upon the manner in which players guard not only their own assigned man, but also step forth to cover other opponents. A very distinguishing factor in the harsh insistence and implementation of iron-will Bill Self Basketball.


REHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Well, we saw the full monty (monte?) regarding Self's freshman toughening box with the Russ Rob situation. Thankfully, Russell was tough enough, patient enough, far sighted enough to stick around and become a jewell in the crown of Jayhawk Basketball. His sophomore transition was meteoric. Very tough mindset, very focused player...and head coach. I will never abandon the notion that the team would have gone further in the Tournament if Bill Self had developed Russell by playing him more relief minutes his first year. But I am not about to diss on a coach whose system has produced the best winning percentage in Division 1 hoops the past 6 seasons. Self is a sometimes harsh general, but a winning warrior. I fully understand "It's my way or the highway." I have been there. If we don't see AW3 or Rio on the court for many minutes in the next few weeks, then there are practice problems regarding playing adjustments, physical limitations, attitudes or mindsets. We posters are not privy to the myriad elements which enter into situations involving playing, benching, retention or waving of scholarship recruits. For starting or playing time, Royce Wooldridge appears to have made the right have a bevy of other former Jayhawk freshmen who did not quite fit or flourish in the Bill Self system. At this stage, it would appear that a very strong message is being delivered to Tharpe and, perhaps, AW3, Rio and Zach. Our 4 position looks to be a slot which will be subject to weekly shuffling of Perry, Jamari, Kevin. I feel certain that Perry will continue to glean the majority of the minutes. Jamari and Kevin bring a variety of very different skills to the table, dynamic change-ups to the current Perry style of play.


Jayhawks Rock 1 year, 5 months ago

I wonder if it's White and possibly Tharpe. I could see Rio staying over Tharpe because of his ability to defend. Like Self said, if you are not scoring and not playing defense...


jaybate 1 year, 5 months ago

AW3 seems the mystery that needs solving next to make sense of Self's continued recruiting, and this team's need to develop a 5th perimeter player.

With Naadir, Mason, Rio, Conner, A3, Selden, and Greene available, that's 7 perimeter guys. If Ben stays, that's 8. And Self likes a 4-5 man rotation on the perimeter. And he is recruiting an 8th, or 9th Perimeter guy?

And remember Perry would be happy to play wing, too


Michael Sillman 1 year, 5 months ago

Although Self says Embiid is not talked about much, I did notice on the Rivals site that he has 4 stars even though he is not currently in their Top 150.

Every year that I remember, Self has never stopped recruiting once his scholarships are theoretically filled. I don't think he has any plans or necessarily preconceived notions on who might be leaving early.

Self just recognizes that with 13 highy talented players on scholarship but only playing time for 8 or 9 that somebody will be leaving for the NBA or some other university in all likelihood.


Kye Clark 1 year, 5 months ago

Discussion of the recruiting comments started on the thread yesterday after HEM posted a link to the interview in which Self gave the comments. My thoughts on the matter:

The comments about recruiting are concerning to me as well. Two? That's harsh, especially if BMac decides to stick around for another year. I don't want to speculate too much on who it might be, other than to say I would be disappointed to lose Adams and/or AW3 without giving them a serious look. I hope those guys stick around, because I think both have great upside. But in saying "two", it means that at least one guy is at risk of having their schollie pulled because even if we do lose BMac we would still have to make room for one more.

My thinking/hope here is that it is Self's way of telling Randle, Johnson, & Parker "hey, we'll make room for any of you." Which I think the chances of getting any of those guys is slim (Randle probably the highest probability, maybe 10-15%), but why give up on those guys if you're still in the running? Anybody else I don't see the point.

Or...Self is seeing something from a player or two in practice that simply won't cut it. Lack of effort perhaps. And he is throwing it out there that "it's my way or the highway. You don't want to sell out in practice because you're not getting the minutes you think you deserve? I have no problem pulling your scholarship and sending you on your way."

Or...the speculation on Peters brought up by Jaybate is accurate, and the rotator cuff injury is a career killer.


trustyourSelf 1 year, 5 months ago

We have 4 seniors leaving, and I guess Justin could go back to being a walk-on, which gives us 5 available scholarships. And we have 5 recruits coming in. I wonder if that means someone will "decide" to transfer or if he thinks McLemore is going pro. Any holes in my logic here?


machinegun 1 year, 5 months ago

Elijah Johnson proved last year that he was ready to become the leader of this team. Elijah is our man...and what a sweet shot he's got!


JayDocMD 1 year, 5 months ago

“It’s incomplete still. We need to get another guy or two to make it as good a class as we’ve had,” Self said.

Two? Very interesting...


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