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.


Adam Gerval 6 years, 10 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.

actorman 6 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, I was thinking about that too. It's a shame he won't experience a real KU atmosphere. Hopefully Self's powers of persuasion will be enough to make up for it.

KULA 6 years, 10 months ago

Don't worry--there's a very good chance he'll be visiting NC State to watch them lose at home. Not much chance of seeing the Jayhawks lose at home, no matter who they play.

jhox 6 years, 10 months ago

KU fans need to show up and treat that game as if was KU vs Kentucky. What better way to impress him than have a crazy atmosphere in Allen against a third tier opponent?

mojayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Don't worry about the timing. Julius may have more opportunity during that time of year to spend time w/ Coach Self. If he does? He will know he can trust Coach Self. Coach is straight up with recruits. They come in knowing they have the best coaching in the country, but also that they have to earn their spot. If they do? The sky is the limit. The atmosphere may be a little subdued during the holiday break, but if you ever watch TV, I think Allen Field House atmosphere is a bit obvious, don't ya think?

Travis Clementsmith 6 years, 10 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.

actorman 6 years, 10 months ago

CalHawk, you act like it's not possible that it will be an extremely close call for him. All other things being equal, the atmosphere could make a difference. We've all seen plenty of comments from KU recruits over the years about how much they were blown away by the AFH experience.

Travis Clementsmith 6 years, 10 months ago

That's not true at all. He's the #2 ranked prospect, of course its going to be close. I'm just saying the things that matter most to a recruit usually aren't on display during the game. He says he wants to play close to home and play for a winner. That gives us and Texas a really good shot. When he visits Texas he will attend a game where they play Texas State. Which gameday atmosphere do you think will be better? He's already been to Lawrence 3 times for games, its not like he's clueless.

actorman 6 years, 10 months ago

Fair enough, CalHawk. I didn't realize he'd already been to games at AFH before. And of course we'll blow away the Texas atmosphere -- which would have been true even if Texas was playing Duke.

jaybate 6 years, 10 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.

ParisHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

I think Self was talking about Sherron's sophomore year.

Your last sentence could be taken two ways: if Perry is our best player at the end of the year, that means our Seniors stank.

I like your main point, though: rotate two pairs of bigs, with one scorer in each pair.

jaybate 6 years, 10 months ago

Or maybe Perry is going to be very, very good once Self lets Perry out of the toughening box shortly, as much of an offensive impact player as Sherron was. And in at the end of games, as Sherron often was.

yates33333 6 years, 10 months ago

You know so much about BB I assume you played. Starting is important to Self because it is very important to players. They all want to be in the starting lineup. Remember? These are just out of high school kids. You and I know starting isn't all that important. They don't even if you tell them. They think you are trying to ease the pain with a little fib.

I think he is right on concerning Young. Of course, I like to watch Young play. 110 percent energy!!!

jaybate 6 years, 10 months ago

Just thru high school. Then the playgrounds.

You are right about the players and their youth and what they need to hear. I did forget that angle. Thxs for the assist.

jaybate 6 years, 10 months ago

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

Jack Wilson 6 years, 10 months ago

jb .. good question. I don't know their mindsets. But I'm sure he's telling both that if they come, they will start. However, if the they both come, they both probably wouldn't start. Irrelevent though .. we aren't getting both. If one comes, one will start.

I don't think there is any question about how Self is selling it to Randle. He's saying "see 2008." We started two power forwards and won the title. Look at Darrell Arthur's role -- probably telling Randle that he's better than Arthur was as a sophomore. He's showing him Marcus Morris' role. Hit the 3, post up.

Further, he could sell Randle (correctly) that he'd be the focal point of our offense -- see Arthur, Morris, TRob. He might not get that anywhere else, but for Texas. He won't get that at Kentucky.

And when comparing coaching vs. Texas, we prevail.

We are a post based offense. Our offense will maybe be more "open" than ever in the post .. tough to double when you have great outside shooters. Our 2013 squad will be full of shooters. And tough to double when you play opposite of another scorer (Ellis).

Florida can only take one -- Johnson or Randle. They have Walker in the bag.

We are in the game.

jaybate 6 years, 10 months ago

Also interesting that Kevin is back down to 185.

yates33333 6 years, 10 months ago

Do you think Ellis is heavier than Traylor, or Traylor taller than Ellis?? Plus, I am not sure either one if 6' 8".

Boouk 6 years, 10 months ago

Traylor's a little shorter and they're both about 225.

jaybate 6 years, 10 months ago


Re: height--Probably about the same height. 6-6 stocking feet. 6-7 in tennies. 6-7 1/2 with heel cups. :-)

Regarding weight: Both have very broad shoulders. Perry's are even broader than Jamari's. Perry play so smoothly and quietly, and he is so fair skinned (which means less contrast with the uniforms), that he seems smaller than he probably is weight wise. Close up pictures reveal extremely broad shoulders, and pretty big bones top to bottom on Perry, plus cut, but fair skinned muscle that doesn't always show up very well under the lights. Close ups of Jamari on the other hand, reveal a build much more like Darnell Jackson; i.e., brawny on top from broad shoulders and weight work, but slender and bouncy below the waist; i.e., not big boned, but big muscled. And Jamari's dark skin contrasts more starkly with the uniforms, so he looks bigger.

Note: just so no one thinks this is "the racial" surfacing, I began to notice this visual effect of skin tone interplaying with uniform color with Tyrel Reed. He was pretty fair skinned and always looked a bit puny to me the first two years, before he had matured physically and gone for the full Hudy for his senior season. Just watching a game from afar he still seemed kind of like a light weight that senior season. But when the camera came in close, or you saw him in a Nick Krug still, I could see Tyrel had become incredibly powerfully muscled above waist, and that he had always had those powerful thighs, and knotty calve muscles that spell spring, with, or without the load through the shoulders. After that, I started paying a lot more attention to the close ups, when trying to decide which guys have the bone structure and muscle mass where to do what things. The interplay between skin tones and uniforms can create a lot of illusions.

741hawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Saw him shirtless. T Reed was "ripped."

RJ King 6 years, 10 months ago

You are correct in your observations of optical illusion. We are told to dress in the same color head to toe to look slimmer. (A sport coat and contrasting slacks will make you look heavier than a solid color suit.) Theoretically Jamari should look thinner in the blue uni's, and Perry should look thinner in the whites.

Also, dark colors recede and light ones come forward. A dark sold-color suit will make you look thinner than a light-colored one. It's the same theory as painting a room white in order to make it look bigger.

Perry seems to have a pretty low center of gravity - heavier legs, and long torso. Generally broad shouldered, wide- bodies (think swimmers) have less explosiveness and more endurance than where the neck tapers to more sloping shoulders. Lastly, muscle weighs more than fat, so two players, both at 200 lbs can look dramatically different based on body to fat ratio.

Mike Barnhart 6 years, 10 months ago

6'8" (6'11" with the afro) and ONE EIGHTY FIVE! How is that even possible?

KULA 6 years, 10 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!



Jack Wilson 6 years, 10 months ago

Yes, but the best ABA 'fro was Darnell Hillman ....

chriz 6 years, 10 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.

REHawk 6 years, 10 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.

REHawk 6 years, 10 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.

Robert Brock 6 years, 10 months ago

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

Eric Bernauer 6 years, 10 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.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 10 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.

Tony Bandle 6 years, 10 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.

ParisHawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Isn't it bad enough that he has a rotator cuff that is slow responding to rest?

Really, why would Self hesitate if there were some other condition? The most obvious explanation of his hesitation is he still has a tiny hope Peters can contribute this year.

As long as Self holds off on the redshirt, that is a good sign not a bad one.

Boouk 6 years, 10 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.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 10 months ago

Chris Walker over Randle? Ok. Jermaine Lawrence over Randle? Fine. Roberson instead of Randle? Great.

But you're talking a project player. Higher risk.

Remember, none of this is in a vacuum. If we got Randle instead of Embiid, we're still recruiting in 2014 for his replacement.

If you really think Embiid is, by his sophomore year, going to be equal to a top 20 player, then you're only equal if we brought in a top 20 guy in the post in 2014 to fill Randle's vacated spot.

Believe me, I understand your sentiments here. I love the Embiid signing. And I am pretty solidly on the record as saying I'd rather have Roberson or Lawrence over the OADs, including Randle. But Embiid seems like that spec stock .. high upside, but more risk.

The nice thing is, possibly, you can have both. Randle starting in 2013, Embiid possibly in the rotation, learning and prepping to be a monster his sophomore year.

Time to get greedy.

Boouk 6 years, 10 months ago

I just don't think Randle's great like his ranking, and Self said Embiid could be the best big he's ever had at KU. I like the odds of Norm Roberts and Bill Self turning Embiid into the best player he can be, and his upside is higher than Randle's. I think our main targets at this point should be Wiggins and Dakari Johnson.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 10 months ago

Understand your logic there .. If we get any one of the top guys, I bet we both will be happy.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 10 months ago

JayDogger .. thanks for the kind words. Always appreciate your insights, as well.

I would start with how many true 7 footers do you have to guard? There just aren't a lot. But if there's a good one, you may have to adjust.

Look at Withey. We would agree that he's a "good one" probably. But don't you think that he's an easy guy to guard? First, I'd force him left at all times. Front with a 6'8" guy (Ellis or Randle) to try to cut the passing lane, and collapse a guard to double them minute he puts the ball on the floor (and mix it up .. two out of three times). Backside looks for the over the top entry.

If you run into the guy that is a tough match, you do have adjust .. and if Embiid or Lucas can do better, use them (as you suggest). We used Kaun many times when match-ups dictated instead of Jackson. Situations can dictate a different approach.

But usually, your power forward is going to be quicker, more athletic, and able to use that to effectively guard the big dude with some strategic help. Randle, athletically, would eat up most true 7 footers. Quicker off the ground, quicker feet, quick hands. Remember how hard it was for Withey to get the ball vs. MU when they dropped English on him at 6'6"?

As a further "sell" to Randle, maybe the idea that he could play the 3 periodically if we went big .. Randle, Ellis, and Embiid/Lucas.

Curtis Stutz 6 years, 10 months ago

I had the same feeling about Walker/Harris. Thought we'd have a better shot at Walker had Harris come 'cause Walker knew with him around he wouldn't be so relied upon for rebounding and interior defense. I think Wiggins will go to FSU (he'd be nuts to go to UNC after watching Roy waste Barnes' talent). I wonder if Lee would go elsewhere if Randle and Dakari both picked UK? Hopefully Withey's offensive development this year convinces Johnson to pick KU.

Alex Peekeaton 6 years, 10 months ago

Terrence Jones was not overrated coming out of high school (ranked #13 in 2010 class). He averaged close to 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game his freshman year. Looking at who was rated higher, I would easily list him in the top 8 in the 2010 class.

Chad DeShazo 6 years, 10 months ago

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

mikehawk 6 years, 10 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.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.