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.”


REHawk 1 year, 5 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....


jaybate 1 year, 5 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.


imzcount 1 year, 5 months ago

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


jaybate 1 year, 5 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.


selfesteem 1 year, 5 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 1 year, 5 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!!!!!!!!


Doug Cramer 1 year, 5 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.


William Blake 1 year, 5 months ago

Seems like we played better once Kevin Young started getting minutes. I like the idea of starting Kevin if for no other reason than he accelerates the "Jayhawk motor" right from the start to a respectable RPM level.

It is crucial for this team to get out of the blocks quick. With all the youth on this team they need early momentum to keep their confidence up for 40 minutes of ball.

You got to love that energy Kevin brings to the game!

And now we have some help from the seniors... especially TRele and Mr. W.

I hope EJ starts clicking in better, too!


Clydecito 1 year, 5 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 1 year, 5 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.


KULA 1 year, 5 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.


Brianna Zaleski 1 year, 5 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.


KansasComet 1 year, 5 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.


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