Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bill Self: Kansas making progress

Kansas guard Travis Releford celebrates a bucket by center Jeff Withey and a foul by Saint Louis in the second half of the championship game of the CBE Classic, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas guard Travis Releford celebrates a bucket by center Jeff Withey and a foul by Saint Louis in the second half of the championship game of the CBE Classic, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.


It’s hard to keep track of time once the marathon college basketball season starts rolling along.

“It seems like Michigan State was a long time ago. Michigan State was a week ago yesterday,” Kansas University coach Bill Self exclaimed Wednesday night on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show. “We’ve played three games since then. We’ve played five of the six halves pretty well since that game. Hopefully we are making some progress.”

The Jayhawks (4-1), who fell to Michigan State, 67-64, on Nov. 13 in Atlanta, suffered through a horrific first half in the ensuing game against Chattanooga. KU, which trailed the Mocs, 36-28, at halftime, rolled, 41-19, the second 20 minutes in a 69-55 victory on Nov. 15 in Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks had four good-to-excellent halves in CBE Classic victories over Washington State (a 78-41 rout) and Saint Louis (a 73-59 decision) on Monday and Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo.

“We played better,” said Self, whose Jayhawks will practice today through Sunday in preparation for Monday’s 8 p.m. home game against San Jose State. “Our defense was good for the most part, rebounding probably average or a little above average. We shot the ball pretty well from the perimeter. We didn’t shoot it so well inside the arc. We missed a lot of bunnies.

“It was great to see Travis (Releford) get on track. He played outstanding. And of course Jeff (Withey) was great, also.”

Self covered a lot of ground in those few sentences.

To provide some stats to put his comments in perspective: KU held Washington State to 29.8 percent shooting (4-of-22 from three) and Saint Louis to 34.6 percent shooting (10-26 from three), while outrebounding WSU by 11 and SLU by three.

KU hit seven of 13 threes versus Saint Louis (45.3 percent shooting overall) and eight of 24 against WSU (45.5 percent overall).

Meanwhile, senior wing Releford busted a slump by scoring 23 points against the Billikens and 17 against the Cougars. Senior center Withey had 25 points, seven blocks and five rebounds against SLU, and eight points, six boards and five blocks versus WSU.

“Travis was great. It was good for him to get the lid off the basket. Jeff was good on both ends,” Self said. “Our two leading scorers were probably our best defenders, too.”

Some of the freshmen showed progress, too.

“Ben I think will become more consistent,” Self said of guard Ben McLemore, who had 11 points and two boards against WSU and 11 points and six boards against Saint Louis.

“Jamari is a workhorse. He will get better and better by playing,” he noted of Jamari Traylor, who had five points and four boards in 15 minutes vs. WSU, and two boards, two blocks, two steals and no points in 12 minutes against SLU.

“I saw signs this past week Perry is starting to figure things out,” he added of forward Perry Ellis, who had four points and three boards in nine minutes against SLU, and 12 points and three boards in 14 minutes vs. WSU.

Point guard Rio Adams played 10 minutes in the two games, combining for no points off 0-for-5 shooting with no assists and no turnovers. Andrew White III had five points and two rebounds in nine minutes versus WSU.

“They are doing OK. I’m not playing them (so far). It’s not because I don’t like them,” Self said. “We need a little more ... I don’t know if production is the right word, but them understanding how to make the team better in their limited role. Anrio gets in there (against SLU), and there’s nothing wrong with his ‘try’ level. But you turn it over and go under ball screens in the scoring area, do this and that, and all of a sudden the lead goes from 16 to 10 ... time to sub because you can’t let runs like that continue.”


KansasComet 5 years, 7 months ago

It appears some players will get better and better by playing, and others will have to wait. According to this article anyway. I am still very excited for Andrew White III and Anrio Adams. I think by their junior year, they will both be pretty special. It is not easy for 1st year guards to get a lot of court time at KU.

The thing about Kansas is first of all you have to be good enough to come here, and second all you have to be good enough to earn court time once you get here. That appears to be the case this year anyway.

Anyway, this looks like one of the most athletic Kansas Teams I have seen in recent memory. This team is fast, and does not turn the ball over at a high rate. I cannot wait to see what the finished product looks like come the end of February.

Hope all those that celebrate Thanksgiving feasted and enjoyed the day. Looking forward to Monday's game, we are definitely headed in the right direction.

Mike Bratisax 5 years, 7 months ago

Agree... And when you look at next year's incoming players, it will be even more athletic.

Really hope BMac sticks around for a sophomore season as well as AW3.

Brianna Zaleski 5 years, 7 months ago

Good insight from Self regarding the playing time of the two frosh Rio and AW3. The limited mins they are in there, even though they might do something good here and there, the net result is usually a loss. Or leads being diminished. And that is so true of inexperienced play. Usually experienced, talented, teams will ebb and flow but trend upward. While talented, but inexperienced, teams will ebb and flow, but trend down. And with a coach like Self who understands the, all important concept of momentum, bad stretches of game flow are quickly remedied by inserting the closest veteran on the bench. And I have to say that I am in agreement most of the time.

Mike Bratisax 5 years, 7 months ago

Not disagreeing but I'm not sure either has played enough to determine net loss/net gain. I remember Tharpe having a very small leash last year as did EJ and Russell Rob going there first years.

I think AW3 has a huge upside, possibly higher than either of the three just mentioned. I really hope he sticks around and develops at KU. It would be a net gain for both.

KULA 5 years, 7 months ago

"He will get better and better by playing,” Glad to hear Bill say that. But it seems like a departure from his coaching philosophy with young players in the past. Especially in regards to Naadir last year and EJ, Jeff and TRob the previous two years.

VaJay 5 years, 7 months ago

I think its more that Naadir was a train wreck out there for the most part whereas Jamari has shown occasional flashes of brilliance. The key is "do no harm". We can't afford multiple mistakes that could cost us a game. The longer the pluses outweigh the minuses, the longer you get to play.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 7 months ago

"He will get better and better by playing,” is a quote wrt Perry, but it applies to Traylor as well. At this point, they are post player # 3 & 4, so there isn't much of an alternative. The contrast is Lucas and Peters, who appear destine to redshirt. Hopefully, both can appreciate the scenery that comes with KUBB, even in street clothes, and learn from Withey, Releford, Traylor, ... on the benefit of being patient and persevering through RS years. (And maybe the glimpse of the alternative in WSU's Woolridge tho who is the F @ UNLV that is doing well?)

Jeremy Wilhelm 5 years, 7 months ago

I also think a big who doesn't handle the ball as much or guard the ball as often has more margin for error... Thus the observation above by KansasComet about the difficulty of getting on the court for Freshman guards.

REHawk 5 years, 7 months ago

At this stage, it looks like a foundation of 8 players, with two more getting occasional trial minutes, Zach in limbo. Tharpe and the 3 power forwards all brought some good stuff to the Sprint Center, AW3 and Rio stepped toward the baptismal. If Tharpe and EJ avoid injury, we look to be set for another promising league run. If not, Self will be forced to juggle positions among his experienced players, probably putting BMac on the ball more, moving Travis and Perry to the 2 and 3. Or, less likely, putting the ball in Travis' hands, freeing BMac to roam as he does best. There remains a glimmer for AW3 or Rio still to fan into flame before March, but the glow is almost buried. Andrew yet might pull off some Conner Teahan freshman heroics from beyond the arc; maybe the game will slow a bit for Rio. Oops, I forgot Justin. Last spring I had held out hopes that he might provide some valuable minutes this season. Might still happen if Jeff goes down to injury. But does not seem likely, over-all.

Mike Bratisax 5 years, 7 months ago

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I still think AW3 will make some major contributions this season. I think Traylor and BMac really developed their technically freshman year. They were ready to play on day one of this season, neither look like incoming freshman.

"Andrew yet might pull off some Conner Teahan freshman heroics from beyond the arc" Completely agree…

Clydecito 5 years, 7 months ago

Jamari, unlike III and Rio, is relatively new to the game and is easier to teach, hence improvement by playing, whether at practices or games. The more 'experienced' young guys have, oftentimes, developed bad habits that their athleticism allowed them to get away with on the AAU circuits. They might have been able to get away with 'going under ball screens in scoring areas' in high school, but not Division 1. Bad habits are hard to break, then there is a re-teaching process. Less bad habits, the quicker the process. I think HCBS knows what he is doing.

REHawk 5 years, 7 months ago

He also spent a valuable semester guarding Thomas in team practices, and has played pickup ball with our upperclassmen for a year and a half./ Plus, he is in the midst of reconstructive Hudyization!

jaybate 5 years, 7 months ago

"Some Kind of Natural"

Part 1

Copy and past on Kevin.

Kevin brings some kind of intangible. He's some kind of natural I haven't seen in a long time.

Its hard to put into words. Its not just toughness, just swag, just confidence, just want to, just determination.

Its some combination of all of these.

And he's had it from the beginning. Even when he couldn't do anything right, he still brought something intangible to the floor that made the team play better last year too.

He is a very anomalous basketball player. Long but ridiculously light. Bouncy and fast, but occassionally little awkward. Light hearted, but balls to the walls intense when he goes after a board, or a loose ball, or a steal, or for a dunk.

He is very much this generation, but he is walking around in a throw back Afro.

He is Kris Kristofferson's Silver Tongued Devil, partly fact and partly fiction, a walking contradiction.

But there is something else about him too.

He is a laconic westerner, not just a kid from a hood in LA. He obviously grew up out in the Inland Empire, out in the desert.

There is just a hint of the mysterious stranger who rides into town and kind of takes a struggling town, and helps it clean itself up.

He has some mystery to him.

Some times I look at him and feel some kind of Roy Hobbs quality from The Natural. Its not that he's so overwhelmingly good at one thing, like Hobbs, but rather that he brings so many different little things.

And its like he's got an unknown past. A time and place he comes from that we don't know about.

Iris Gaines: You know, I believe we have two lives. Roy Hobbs: How... what do you mean? Iris Gaines: The life we learn with and the life we live with after that.

He came into the club house and just wanted a shot at redemption. One more chance at playing the game he loved more than anything. And Pop's Self doubted him big time at first. And yet something in him made pops keep him around despite all things pop didn't trust in him. And then when pop's put him in, he started doing things you can't teach. He was rusty. But he could make explosive impacts over there that you can't teach. He was a natural in that you can't teach the impacts he makes. And pop's recognized it, even though he saw that Kevin wasn't strong enough, wasn't heavy enough, hadn't played enough for along time.

Pop Fisher: People don't start playing ball at your age, they retire!

Kevin brings some of all this to the KU team.

And every team I have ever been a part of in sports, or in work, that has had one of these guys, has become a way, way better team, or a way better organization, because of him.

These guys are odd somehow.

Roy Hobbs: My life didn't turn out the way I expected.

Mike Bratisax 5 years, 7 months ago

"Roy Hobbs: My life didn't turn out the way I expected."

Who's does?

jaybate 5 years, 7 months ago

Part 2

Not saying Kevin is going to be the best there ever was, the best there ever will be.

But he has something special about him.

He can get 10 rebounds in 18 minutes, when he's so skinny he shouldn't be able to get 5.

He can alter a whole game completely by what he does defensively off the ball for just two minutes.

There's something about this guy. He's some kind of natural.

Its like he's the spirit of George Gervin, or someone like George Gervin that blew it, from back in the 1970s, or 1980s, reincarnated in a boy from Perris, California in 2012.

He could be you, Slayr, or me, or anyone of a number of guys we knew on playgrounds that took a wrong turn and didn't get to big time, because of it.

Roy Hobbs: I coulda been better. I coulda broke every record in the book. Iris Gaines: And then? Roy Hobbs: And then? And then when I walked down the street people would've looked and they would've said there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.

And now Kevin's getting a shot. It was circuitous and mysterious how he got here.

Sometimes I wonder if he is going to come out in short shorts and knee highs, and Sly and the Family Stone are going to play. Sometimes I feel like I know him from back in my ballin' years. He's that kind of mysterious stranger.

Its like he knows what he is and we don't and he's not going to tell us because he's learned not to jeopardize his chance for anything.

jaybate 5 years, 7 months ago

Part 3

Its like he knows what the team really needs at any given moment, even more than Self does, even more than EJ does.

And its like Self is learning that no matter how many mistakes Kevin makes, he is making them in order to try to do what the team really needs. He's fighting through the mistakes he's made to make the impacts that he was destined all along to make.

To explode from here to there where it is really needed, even though Self can't anticipate it any better than we can.

Its like Self has finally just given in to this strange ability of Kevin's.

And what Kevin does is usually something that I don't realize the team needs either.

And then he does it and then the team gets better and he may not do much more for the rest of the game, and he may make mistakes that require him to come out, but he did it and the game goes the right direction.

And he seems to be enjoying all of this in that savoring way of one who knows he might have missed it all, were it not for another lucky break. He's enjoying being with the players. With the coaches. He's even enjoying the training table.

Red Blow: Pretty good food, huh? Roy Hobbs: Damn good. Red Blow: You can't spell it, but it eats pretty good, don't it?

And just between you and me, slayr, I have this hunch that Kevin is going to do something very memorable sometime this season in a very big game.

Al: You guys. You know, people are always running down amazing things. This guy Hobbs, you ain't seen nothing yet. I got a feeling...

Rock Chalk!!!!

Alohahawk 5 years, 7 months ago

'The Natural', one of my personal favorite sports movies, along with 'Hoosiers'. I'm a bit surprised you didn't put "...." marks around the quotes, since they were pretty much verbatim from the movie. Don't want our Jaybate to be sued for copyright infringement. :>)

As for KY, I think he just has good instincts. You might say he has a nose for where the ball is headed after a missed shot, or he reads the opposition quick enough (maybe from scouting reports), to intercept or deflect passes. With his fast reflexes, he gets off the mark quicker. He's tall and rangy (long arms), but if he added more muscle/bulk, it might slow him down. His quickness gives him advantages over some of the slower bigs, although not necessarily the shorter/quicker backcourt players.

jaybate 5 years, 7 months ago

When I typed it, all the quotes were set off and indented, but formatting got stripped. Still you're right to point it out.



wrwlumpy 5 years, 7 months ago

I'll freak out if I see Glenn Close standing next to an 8 yrear old with an afro in Allen field House.

Kye Clark 5 years, 7 months ago

drgnslayr - you're right about us looking better since KY has come back. Still not sure if I think it's more beneficial for him to be starting or coming off the bench. Personally, I like the idea of Perry starting and here is why: if Perry starts, you are far more likely to maximize his minutes with other guys on the court who are comfortable in what they are doing (the other normal starters). If Perry comes in off the bench those minutes drop and are replaced with minutes played with a greater percentage of bench players on the court, who are less likely to know what they're doing. I think being on the floor with the starters more will quicken his development, and having him progress as far along as possible will be huge for next season when him and Jamari will be the "experienced" post players.

I also think with KY off the bench he would be in a position to provide the spark, similar to the way Collins would coming off the bench.

However, hard to argue with the results on the court thus far.

AsadZ 5 years, 7 months ago

I thought it as well and agree that it would be good for Perry's development to start. However, looking at last two games, it is clear, at least for now, that with KY on the floor, KU is better off on both ends of the floor. And is very important for this team to get a good start and be up by 5-7 points at the 1st TV timeout and KY starting gives the team best chance to be in the position.

But I also understand that in the long run it will be better for Perry to get valuable minutes with the 1st teamers.

Tough decision.

Doug Cramer 5 years, 7 months ago

This team is exciting. We're so long and fast...which allows our defense to cause a lot of problems to the opposition.

It's going to be fun watching the freshmen grow...but when they finally do...the sky is the limit for this team.

We coast to another Big 12 championship...and make a final four run.

jaybate 5 years, 7 months ago

I am growing optimistic about EJ for the first time this season.

I don't care if his shooting sucks. No one can shoot very well on bum legs.

And most likely he is just having some normal ups and downs with his shooting.

What I am excited about with EJ is that in two of the last three games, the ones I got to watch start to finish, his knee seems to take longer and longer before its stiffens up; this is a very positive sign of healing and strengthening, not just psychic adjustment.

This is great news.

I know in my life, and in the lives of some others I have known, that sometimes there are injuries that all the treatments and therapies and rehab routines just will not resolve. It is frustrating and scary.

But some times, not all the time, and I am not suggesting people go out and skip all the prudent therapies, but sometimes, when nothing else works, if you just go out there and beat that injury into submission, fighting like a wounded animal to get better through survival instinct, it will miraculously get better.

I've had it happen to me a couple of times. I've seen it happen to a couple of family members too. And to one friend.

They just finally get fed up with doing what they are supposed to do, and then just go out and beat the joint, or tendon, or whatever it is, into submission with work. And it gets better for reasons no one ever figures out.

Maybe EJ's knee is going to go this route. Maybe it will never be 100% of what it was, but maybe it will be 90% of what it was by January 1st. And 90% of EJ is better than a 100% of a lot of other guys, so maybe he is still going to get the memorable senior season he so richly deserves.

Go, EJ, go!!!!!!!!

Day Shepherd 5 years, 7 months ago

I love this team. We are going to be very good. What continues to amaze me though is kids that go under screens. I've seen even Elijah and Naadir do it? This is a fundamental issue. Similarly, bigs that don't know how to help on the screen. Either completely ignoring the screen or over-helping and their guy gets an open look or dunk. With that said, we are going to Rock!

jaybate 5 years, 7 months ago

jaybate News Flash:

These items just in from the virtual wire service:

Big 12 still together.

KU still in the Big 12.

Earth still orbitting sun.

Missouri still a leading producer of meth.

Mike Bratisax 5 years, 7 months ago

Both meth and Bull S***. They have somehow created some sort of synthesis not found in any other university.

Remember Jack Smack saying if Missouri had waited one more year they would have dominated the Big 12.

imzcount 5 years, 7 months ago

Enjoying some of your postings, and wondering why your avatar is an eyecup?

Mike Bratisax 5 years, 7 months ago

I kind of like the eyecup interpretation.

jaybate 5 years, 7 months ago


If you were addressing me, glad u r enjoying some. My avatar is the grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It signifies that KU is where the holy grail of college basketball is kept and KU fans are its designated protectors of the greatest game ever invented. We are to guard from those that would steal and corrupt it, until, well, you fill that you believe.

KULA 5 years, 7 months ago

Ah,so it is the Holy Grail, or Sangreal, whose meaning, through centuries of interpretation, has morphed into "the chalice" that Christ used at the Last Supper, when in fact, it's true meaning is "vessel of the Royal Blood." The theory being that Jesus did not actually die on the cross, but was taken down and then escaped, with Mary Magdalene (his wife) to the south of France, where he lived out his days and actually fathered children. Hence, the quest for he Holy Grail, which originated in Medieval times and continues to this day in some arcane corners of the world, was not a search for the actual chalice used at the Last Supper, but rather, the search for the descendants and scions of Jesus himself. The Merovingian Dynasty of France was rumored to be of this blood line. The point here being, that Bill Self is actually of this Holy Blood Line and descended from Christ Himself (as all true believers on this board know). This is why the true believers here are so virulent in their defense of all things Self and treat any doubters of his all-knowing omniscience as heretics against The Almighty Himself. It's all really quite simple, if you believe. (and you didn't even know Bill was French)



REHawk 5 years, 7 months ago

A fun thread today, folks. Mostly very positive. Roy Hobbs: My O My! You know, I really hope that Bill Self doesn't ride KY into the rails over his fro. I smile everytime that kid comes into view. Maybe Kevin, too, is something of an Indiana Jones who has zoned in on the location of the mightiest of sports grails....

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