Saturday, November 24, 2012

Self: Among power forward trio, Kevin Young is best fit for KU now

Kansas forward Kevin Young and Washington State guard Will DiIorio chase down a loose ball during the second half of the CBE Classic, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas forward Kevin Young and Washington State guard Will DiIorio chase down a loose ball during the second half of the CBE Classic, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.


So far, seven Kansas University basketball players have been awarded spots in the starting lineup during the 2012-13 regular season.

Elijah Johnson, Ben McLemore, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey have opened all five games at point guard, shooting guard, small forward and center respectively. Perry Ellis and Kevin Young have started two games and Jamari Traylor one at power forward.

“Everybody has had a chance,” KU coach Bill Self said. “I would think it would be best for our team if we had a little more scoring. We are not getting a ton of that and Kevin does so many little things that I think helps us.

“Right now, it may be best for our team for Kevin to start. We seem to get off to better starts in the game with him out there. That may be something we need to think about,” Self added of the 6-foot-8, 185-pound senior, who opened both games at the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City — victories over Washington State (78-41) and Saint Louis (73-59).

“Starting to me is so overrated. It’s not who starts, but who finishes,” Self continued. “In a perfect world, you’d probably like to see your most talented guys separate themselves. That certainly hasn’t happened at all. Kevin to me maybe has taken that step beyond the other two right now as far as doing things to help your team be successful.”

As far as the five-game stats of KU’s power forward candidates ... Ellis, a 6-8, 225-pound freshman from Wichita, averages 7.4 points (off 46.2 percent shooting) 4.2 rebounds and 16.6 minutes; Traylor, a 6-8, 220-pound red-shirt freshman from Chicago, 3.4 points (43.8 percent shooting), 2.8 rebounds and 16.2 minutes and Young 3.0 points (50 percent shooting) and 6.3 rebounds in 16.8 minutes. He’s played in four games.

Justin Wesley, a 6-8, 200-pound junior from Fort Worth, Texas, has averaged 1.7 points and 2.3 boards while playing 8.3 minutes a game in three of the five games. He started one exhibition game, as did guard Naadir Tharpe.

“I think it means a lot,” Young said of three Jayhawks claiming regular-season starts at power forward. “It shows how much we’ve all improved at the four spot, because all of us play hard to work for that spot. That’s why there’s been so many changes in the lineup the last couple games. It pushes each and every one of us to be able to start.”

Self has said Young is the most talkative player on the team, which is a valuable quality for a senior leader.

“Kevin had 18 rebounds in the two games (in KC) in somewhat limited time,” Self said. He had 10 versus Washington State in 18 minutes and eight versus Saint Louis in 27 minutes. “He is the best we have as far as stealing extra possessions and getting to loose balls.”

On a lighthearted note, the easy-going Young recently was asked about his hair, which he likes to wear in a high, afro style.

“I’m trying to be the tallest player on the court,” Young said, smiling. “I’m trying to catch up to Jeff (Withey). I’m going for a couple more inches.”

Next up: KU will meet San Jose State at 8 p.m., Monday, in Allen Fieldhouse. The Spartans of the Western Athletic Conference are 2-2 following a 94-54 home win versus UC Santa Cruz on Nov. 20. Eighth-year coach George Nessman’s Spartans also defeated Weber State (68-67, OT) and lost to Houston (77-75) and at New Orleans (72-68). Senior guard James Kinney averages 21.0 ppg and 6.5 rpg.

Recruiting: Julius Randle, a 6-9, 240-pound senior forward from Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas, will visit KU on Dec. 28-30, reports. KU has a home game against American University on Dec. 29.’s No. 2-rated player in the 2013 class also will visit Texas on Dec. 15-16 and North Carolina State on Jan. 26. He has visited Kentucky and Florida officially and made an unofficial visit to Oklahoma.

“I’m looking for a coach I can trust, one that can get me ready for the next level,‘’ Randle told Zagsblog. “And somewhere that I think I can win, it is a big thing for me. I’ve been working a lot on spot-ups, patience, just reading defenses.”

Zagsblog has rated KU’s recruiting class of Joel Embiid, Brannen Greene, Conner Frankamp, Frank Mason and Wayne Selden second nationally behind Kentucky. Memphis is third, Indiana fourth and North Carolina fifth.


William Blake 1 year, 4 months ago

Kevin sets the "hustle bar" for the 4 position on this team. Perry and Jamari both have their strengths but until they meet the hustle bar standard, Kevin should start.

And if Kevin wants to hold down the start at 4 he'll have to polish his game to be competitive with Perry and Jamari in the future.

These are the kind of competitive stand-offs we need! Wish we had more of these situations at other positions on this team!


mikehawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Kevin Young brings personality and energy to this team in ways that are hard to measure and difficult to explain. But you see it and you feel it. And it adds up to a type of leadership this team needs. He is fearless and takes his butt chewings in stride. He creates and makes things happen. He has some type of "live body" and others seem better around him. What he lacks in weight he makes up for in quickness. The two others will get their time and it may get down to match ups, whose hot, and fouls regarding who gets minutes and "finishes." Jamari and Perry are still learning, and the season is long. The regular starter may change in time. I still maintain Kevin starting takes some pressure off of Jamari and Perry, and that is good. Does Kevin experience pressure in the same way as the other two? I don't think so. He appears to bring life and fun to this "quiet team." We often forget players at Kansas whom they somehow find in the absence of national hype can bring game and be extremely valuable role players making for a better overall team.


Chad DeShazo 1 year, 4 months ago

Does Kevin Young have any tattoos? I don't recall seeing any.


Boouk 1 year, 4 months ago

I'd take Joel Embiid over Randle in a heartbeat. Embiid will stay in college longer and be a better player than Randle by the time he leaves KU anyways. Randle reminds me of Terrance Jones: strong, athletic, raw offensively, and overrated coming out of high school.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 4 months ago

Am I the only one who thinks Zach Peters has a medical issue and it's NOT about the shoulder??? Enlarged heart, irregular heartbeat, a discovered tumor..I'm afraid all of these scenarios have crossed my mind. I just wish someone could assure us he will be OK.

He would look so good coming off the bench right now, it must be driving him crazy not to be able to play. I know I am worried about him.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 4 months ago

Bill Self with some additional thoughts in ( ) --

-“I would think it would be best (he would prefer Ellis over KY) for our team if we had a little more scoring." (That being Perry Ellis).

-“In a perfect world (Ellis starting), you’d probably like to see your most talented guys (Perry Ellis) separate themselves. That certainly hasn’t happened at all." (Perry needs to work harder .. emphasis on "at all").

-"Kevin to me maybe has taken that step beyond the other two right now (but he means Perry Ellis, not Traylor) as far as doing things to help your team be successful.”

-“Starting to me is so overrated (he knows it means a lot). It’s not who starts (even though they play the most), but who finishes (Ellis can still get big minutes)”

-But, "We seem (acknowledging in just two games) to get off to better starts in the game with him (not Ellis) out there.”

-Therefore, “Right now (meaning this isn't set in stone), it may be ("may be" .. not "is") best for our team for Kevin to start."

For Perry Ellis' consumption.


Eric Bernauer 1 year, 4 months ago

Though Larry Hagman died, J.R. from Texas lives! Condolences to the Hagman family, now let's give a big welcome from our family to J.R. on the 29th.


Robert Brock 1 year, 4 months ago

Wasn't Randle in attendance at the last KU/Mizzou game in Lawrence?


REHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

My wife recently pointed out something significant regarding Kevin Young's limited minutes last season. Even though he was still learning and trying to adjust to Bill Self Basketball, he sometimes appeared to be in a deadheat race with Justin Wessley to log the quickest foul in the first two minutes of insertion. However, Kevin's fouling sometimes served to disrupt an opponent's game, to slow the opposing team's momentum, then turn the tide. Most fans soon learned that KY was to be a player who "made things happen." Even when he appeared to play out of sync, in the traditional BIll Self System, he affected the game in so many myriad immeasurable ways. He is a transfer player who has become an absolute joy for fans to watch.


REHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

We all went through the early season anguish, along with the coaching staff, regarding mediocre to poor first half energy and play. KY is a high energy pony who lunges from the starting gate and races fullspeed toward the first curve. At the moment, his style of play would seem to generate early momentum for the entire starting squad. Perry and Jamari must be patient and prepared to throw radical change-ups at any moment the need exists, and their numbers are called. The current minute distribution would indicate that Coach is giving all three of the power forwards an equal opportunity to make an impact. For Jeff Withey, the change-ups will represent a seasonlong challenge to adjust and thrive under the very different talents which each brings into the game. Bill Self has a way of filtering through the needs of his lineups for oppositional situations. As Jamari and Perry develop, and the college game slows down for them, I think fans are in for some very exciting substituting at the 4 position, sometimes positions 4/5 combined.


chriz 1 year, 4 months ago

Uh, Randle has seen plenty of great atmospheres at KU. If he doesn't choose us, it's likely not because of our opponent.


KULA 1 year, 4 months ago

Kevin definitely deserves to be starting. The team just looks better with him out there. But I do expect Perry to take over that spot in a month or two, when he gets his legs under him and gets used to the system. He's too good not to.

And I like Kevin's hair. Reminds me of Dr. J. Hair-wise, anyway. Keep it growing, Kevin!




jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

Also interesting that Kevin is back down to 185.


jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

However, will seeing Perry come off the bench encourage Julius and Dakiri to come to KU?


jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

"Starting to me is so overrated. It’s not who starts, but who finishes...” --Bill Self, coach speaking

Starting is so important Self has tried three different guys as starters looking for the player that gets his team off to the best start possible.

Why does Coach Self care so much about who starts?

Games are emergent complexity events.

They are sensitively dependent on initial conditions.

Starters set those conditions.

But Self rarely does things for just one reason.

And here is another reason why Kevin will start.

With the four starters all being able to score, Kevin's rebounding gets them the most chances to score.

When Self brings his subs, scoring drops off sharply, then he needs scoring more than rebounding. And Jamari subbing for Jeff can get on the glass, while Perry scores.

Perry is the best scorer of the three 4 position guys.

So you sub the 4 with Perry to keep the scoring going when the starters take a blow.

Its a puzzle with pieces.

Self is asking Perry to do what Sherron did early in his career.

Be first off the bench to keep the scoring going, or get it going.

Self once said of Sherron that the best player on the team came off the bench.

Maybe the same will be said of Perry, when this season is over.


Travis Clementsmith 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm sure Randle schedules things to best suit his schedule, not ours. Randle is methodical in his recruiting process. The game day atmosphere, good or OK isn't going to sway him. His relationship to the coaches and his assessment of how he fits into next year's team will be. Be happy in that.


Adam Gerval 1 year, 4 months ago

Ok, I have a problem with the fact that Randle is going to visit during Winter Break to see us play American University, while he's going to go see North Carolina St. play UNC.


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