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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bill Self: Jayhawks need to pick up pace

Kansas head coach Bill Self questions an errant pass by the Jayhawks during the first half of the CBE Classic, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas head coach Bill Self questions an errant pass by the Jayhawks during the first half of the CBE Classic, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

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It was tough for Kansas University’s basketball players to play as fast as coach Bill Self wants them to play at practice the day after Thanksgiving.

“Practice was fine. It was as fine as can be after three turkeys, sweet potatoes and marshmallows, green bean casserole, cream corn and ham and everything else,” said Self, whose family hosted 19 individuals, including “six or seven players,” on Turkey Day.

While there may have been a reason for some lethargic play on Friday, there will be no excuses during today’s 8 p.m. nonconference clash against San Jose State and ensuing games on the slate, Self said.

“I think we play way too slow,” Self said Sunday. “I don’t think our guards are creating near the pace the game needs to be played at. We need Elijah (Johnson) and Naadir (Tharpe) to create the pace.

“It’s amazing to me. I tell these guys all the time, ‘Everybody wants to go to a place where they play fast, they get there, and they don’t want to commit to playing fast.’ It takes energy to play fast. Elijah more so than anybody ... he is not putting pressure on the defense the way Tyshawn (Taylor) put pressure on the defense. If you take it hard 10 possessions, you may get two free points you didn’t have to earn. We are not taking it hard 10 possessions. His mind-set is, I think, to get us into offense,” Self added, noting starting point guard Johnson at times should decide to “go make a play.”

As far as backup point guard Tharpe ... “He is playing better. He can create havoc and do some things,” Self said. “If you are a little guard and don’t create havoc, people will pick on you eventually. He has to have that mind-set .... ‘Hey, if I am the littlest guy out there, I have to make sure I’m the toughest guy out there and create havoc.’ He improved on that (in wins over Washington State and Saint Louis last week in K.C.).”

Self said senior forward Kevin Young will start his third straight game at power forward tonight versus the Spartans (2-2) of the Western Athletic Conference.

“Our team was better in Kansas City with Kevin playing,” Self said. “I’m not saying it’ll stay that way forever. I am happy with what Kevin does. I’d like us to be able to get more scoring out of that spot. The natural person would be Perry (Ellis) if that happens. He (Ellis) has to go at a pace where he is comfortable, too. He will get there. I just want everybody getting there by Jan. 1.

“Perry is going to be outstanding. We got spoiled a couple games he got 15 where they were easy 15s (15 vs. both Emporia State and SE Missouri State). Against real guys, you don’t get those easy baskets. He has to get where he can score against real guys. I think he’s improving.”

Self said Young has been able to set up senior Jeff Withey for some easy hoops. Withey tied a career high with 25 points in KU’s last game, a 73-59 victory over Saint Louis.

“The ball moves. He’ll throw it to him (Withey),” Self said. “He (Young) is not scared to make a mistake. He understands better where to look for Jeff. I think no question Kevin’s presence helps Jeff.”

San Jose State is coming off a 94-54 home victory over 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.

San Jose State senior La Vanne Pennington is a former teammate of KU’s Young in summer basketball and also at Barstow College.

“He told me he’s coming off surgery,” Young said of the 6-foot-4 guard who averages 5.3 points a game.

Sophomore guard Nick Grieves played in his first game of the season against UC Santa Cruz. He hit six threes and scored 18 points in 11 minutes. Junior forward Chris Cunningham averages a team-leading 9.0 rebounds per game to go with his 12.0 scoring average. Sophomore guard D.J. Brown averages 12.0 ppg.

“They play fast. They’ve got one cat that can really score. He’s from Champaign, of all places,” former University of Illinois coach Self said of 6-2 senior Kinney. “They play mainly man, sprinkle in a little bit of zone. We’ve been working against a lot of things the last few days. Hopefully we’ve got some stuff that will make us more effective as well.”

Young on his hair: Young, whose afro hairstyle is expanding at a rapid rate, said of his next scheduled haircut: “You just don’t tell anybody. You go and get it down.”

When should people expect him to get a trim? “Not anytime soon ... I’m not expecting it,” he said with a smile.

Good eats: Freshman forward Ellis, on practice the day after Thanksgiving: “It was pretty tough. It’s all right, though. We had to work off some of that food.”

Comments

Doug Cramer 1 year, 10 months ago

Love the length, speed, quickness, and athletism on this team.

We should win the Big 12. Ok state may challenge us on that...but we should win conference. I also think this team makes a final four run.

MacAttack and T-Rel really provide a lot of defensive pressure on the perimeter with their length...which should give San Jose state's speedy guards the fits.

Rock chalk !!!

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Jim Erickson 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree. This team looks exciting though I can only watch from afar. Would love to see Perry and McLemore.

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RJ King 1 year, 10 months ago

"team is at its best when he's on the floor with Withey"

Yes - I think that KY's energy level pairs well with Jeff, plus having played some last year they seem to be more telepathically aligned.

Sometimes I wonder if Ellis and Withey together are "too calm." Or if Ellis is deferring to the senior. The Ellis / Traylor combo has looked pretty good. Finesse + Power.

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championhawks 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm not sure we should expect Johnson to "go make a play" all that often. We were spoiled with Taylor last year who basically could just blow by any defender that was on him. Johnson isn't nearly as quick or fast with the ball.

I don't remember which game it was, but Johnson had the ball with the clock running down. He tried to take his man 1 on 1 and wasn't anywhere near getting past him. I think that's what we will see from Johnson throughout the year, he just doesn't seem to have the quickness he used to have

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KansasComet 1 year, 10 months ago

Eljah Johnson reminds me of Sherron Collins. He came to KU with great speed, but by his Senior Year, he did not have the same burst. Elijah Johnson is not Tyshawn Taylor. He plays much more in control and commits a lot less turnovers. Let Elijah be Elijah. He is clutch. I would not change anything about him, I just wish he was 100%. Naadir Tharpe has the speed and is starting to use it. He seems a lot more sure of himself this year. Kevin Young is not afraid to make a mistake? Easy to feel that way, when you don't fear the quick hook. Every player on this team cannot play afraid to make mistakes, because some players will get yanked for those mistakes.

This is one of the most talented teams we have had. We are a deeper team than last year. I think this team will be fine and it is just a matter of them getting used to each other. I think we are a 3 point assassin away from being something special.

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KULA 1 year, 10 months ago

EJ never did have the kind of quickness and speed and ability to create off the dribble that Tyshawn (or Sherron) had. He's really a natural gliding two-guard being forced to play point. I wouldn't be surprised to see Naadir logging more and more minutes at point. He does have the kind of quickness that can penetrate from the perimeter.

And it is surprising to hear Bill complain about EJ's lack of "freewheeling" so to speak. He's had EJ in a box his whole career and now he's complaining because he doesn't break out of that box. I remember the K State game a couple years ago, when they were whipping us. EJ had a break away and threw down hard, then woofed it up to fire up the team. Bill sent him to the end of the bench for the rest of the game. What's a kid to think?

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REHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Am I mistaken, or does it seem that Coach can handle only one player per season (or perhaps one player on the floor at a time} whose dynamic energy is such that his mistakes can be overlooked without a peremptory hook? Tyshawn always possessed so much potential that his turnovers and sometimes erratic offcourt behavior was suffered, almost coddled, until he finally held himself together for the supersplendid last semester of his senior year. Bill knew from the getgo just what TT was capable of, and somehow managed to stick with him until the talent erupted into a monster point guard semester of league play. KY is being allowed a bit of that leniency this early season?

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REHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

"He's really a natural gliding two-guard forced to play point." I think you have captured the essence of EJ.

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KansasComet 1 year, 10 months ago

KULA,

You are watching the same games I am watching. I am in total agreement. Thanks! Great post!

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Mick Allen 1 year, 10 months ago

Nadir does not have the confidence, strength, handles or quickness to be a threat to get into the lane. If Elijah doesn't , or can't do it, the only player that has that potential is Adams, and as of yet he has not given coach any reason to play him significant minutes. I believe that Anrio has a lot of Ty in him, both good and bad. Anrio does have the athleticism to penetrate and get to the rim. Like a young Ty, he might make a great dish or drive one play and throw it ten rows up in the bleachers next trip down. Nadir is asked to not turn it over and make a shot occasionally. He will not make plays off the dribble and he continues to beour worst defender when on the court. Like with Ty, we will have to be patient with Anrio. He has a tremendous upside and I think for us to be as good as we can be,he will need to get some of Nadir's minutes after the first of the year. I have seen the two practice and as far as potential, it is not even close.

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Woody Cragg 1 year, 10 months ago

As JB states, the 4 slot is by committee. KY has had some really nifty assists to Jeff in the paint, and undoubtedly they have more energy with him on the floor. But scoring is not his strong suit so until Perry gets aclimated to the D1 game pace, we'll probably see alot of Kevin. Tharpe is in a great spot to up his game right now with EJ not providing the "pace" HCBS wants. Sometimes I think Nadir gets intimidated by taller defenders & picks his dribble up in the wrong spots-where trapped by the half court line or side & baseline. If he can quit that bonehead stuff, I believe he gets increasingly more minutes. Have thought since he got here that he has the potential to be a real spark plug.Time to answer the bell young men, make it happen & you'll only have to run half the steps in AFH! LOL.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

gj,

It makes sense that he is intimidated by these bigger players. Its war out there and he's small. Self says he's supposed to shoot, but he sometimes can't get a good look off because of bigger guards on him.

But its also tough to be focused on offense, when you are under so much defensive stress all the time. Naadir is playing better and better, but he just needs sooooooo much help defense it has to be a little unnerving to him. Tough to stay cocky when either teammates are basically guarding your man, or your shorts are on fire from a blow by. It shows up in his offense. When you don't feel competant on one end, it hurts your confidence on both ends. Naadir does very well on offense, but makes the pick-up-the-dribble kind of mistakes most often after he's been torched on the defensive end. But he is making progress and he is a natural ball handler, when he isn't unsettled.

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AsadZ 1 year, 10 months ago

Gary Bedore

Can you do an interview with Z Peters to get some clarity on his status and hopefully end rumors regarding his red shirt/transfer.

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ParisHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Boy do I doubt that.

I am sure there is no way to do an end run around Coach Self for information about injuries, red shirts and / or transfers.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 months ago

Je suis tout a fait d'accord!!!

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 10 months ago

it would be great to at least hear from him in some casual sort of forum. Like when Jesse used to do the Player Spotlight interviews. Those were great. I always looked forward to them when he was doing them.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 months ago

Maybe the fact that since HCBS comes down hard on turnover makers, it is in the back of everyone's mind and, subconciously, the Hawks tend to pull back a bit to maintain control.

I'm not sure this set of guards can give Bill his cake [fast pace] and let him eat it as well [low turnovers]!!

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree. The turnover rate might be on track to be lower this year, but as much as I hate to admit it, I miss some of the sporadic recklessness of Tyshawn Taylor.

Sometimes you need a little choas to create a high-energy, fast-pace tempo. As much as I don't want to see more 20-turnover performances, I also don't want them to be so afraid of turning the ball over that they get conservative.

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Jayhawkgirl2 1 year, 10 months ago

Send AW3 to the Boston Celtics to replace Ray Allen, KU's Paul Pierce will be happy to get a 3pt shooter, I think he will get some minutes and thenwe can call him back when we need him. ( might not make since but it sounds good ) Love me some HAWKS!!!!!!!

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

"Team Assembly Technical Manual: Fundamentals of Forging, Grinding, Fitting and Assembly of Workpieces into a Team Meeting Specifications by Thomas Gradgrind"

"A forge is a hearth used for heating metals, or the workplace ("smithy") where the hearth is located. The forge is used by the smith to heat a piece of metal to a temperature where it becomes easier to shape, or to the point where work hardening no longer occurs. The metal (known as the "workpiece") is transported to and from the forge using tongs, which are also used to hold the workpiece on the smithy's anvil while the smith works it with a hammer. Finally the workpiece is transported to the slack tub, which rapidly cools the workpiece in a large body of water."--Wikipedia

Self, the head smith, forges players in his smithy.

Practice is his forge.

Players forged in practice are tested in games.

Players are workpieces hardened until they can stand up to the hardness, pressures, and explosiveness of opposing players without loss of temper and can stand the force of operating wear and tear, plus the stresses of their own explosions upon the opposing workpieces.

The smith's hardening aims at producing a workpiece that can not only handle the expansion that comes with being hot, but also the contraction that goes with being cold. The fully hardened workpiece meets tolerances and functions effectively, whether hot, or cold.

Next the head smith assembles a team of hardened workpieces, according to a design, a blue print, a plan of how it shall play, a scheme that optimizes the function of the assembly of hardened pieces, and that has tolerances built into the design that allow for the full range of expansion and contraction due to hot and cold of each workpiece comprising the assembly.

During assembly, each hardened workpiece must be tested for fit with each other hardened workpiece. During assembly, it is not usual for the smith to find several workpieces to be either insufficiently hardened, or to lack adequate fit with other workpieces.

The workpiece not meeting specifications must then be returned to the forge to be further worked and hardened and then reground and polished to achieve desired hardness and fit. If adequate hardness and fit cannot be achieved, sometimes a replacement workpiece is fitted into place and the assembly is tried and tested for conformance with specifications. Sometimes it is concluded that the two workpieces, neither fully conforming to specifications, must be alternated for use against varying opposing workpieces team assemblies with varying hardnesses, and fit.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Part 2

The head smith uses the team--the assembly of hardened, fitting pieces--to man-up, guard, rebound, get stops, steal possessions, grab 50/50 balls, transition rapidly, then keep the ball moving long enough, without a turnover, for one thoroughly hardened workpiece to find an MUA and explode, i.e., to make a play over a less hardened and less fitting opposing workpiece, with maximum probability of achieving a three-point play; i.e., either challenging at the rim for two with a free throw, or beyond the trey stripe for a trifecta.

Regular wear and tear sometimes make pieces fall out of conformity with specifications. Fatigue cracks and other forms of failure can appear. Replacement workpieces are inserted, and the damaged workpiece is either repaired, or sometimes reforged. Occassionally, in cases of extreme failure, the workpiece is thrown into a box labeled redshirt and reforged for the following seasons' team assembly.

Overview of Work Schedule:

Until Thanksgiving, the head smith undertakes preliminary forging and fitting and trial assembly of workpieces into a team. Various types of workpieces are assembled and tested for how well the team assembly functions. During this phase, many workpieces are tried in many combinations to see which workpieces work come closest to meeting specifications, and to determine among them which require merely some grinding, and which require a return to the hearth and considerable reforging.

After Thanksgiving and before The Week of Getting Better at New Years, the head smith will settle on the workpieces that can reasonbly be expected to achieve the necessary hardness and degree of fit by January, and they are then fitting together again and again in fewer and fewer combinations, and ground to higher and higher tolerances, and then subjected to game testing for performance and function. Great stresses, of unnecessary stresses are imposed on the individual workpieces and on the team assembly, to test how it functions on certain contrived, highly stressful environments. Once all of the workpieces that are going to be relied upon in the assembly achieve fit meeting specifications of January under these varied, often contrived problematic environments, the head smith takes the team assembly into The Week of Getting Better, where a final application of fantastically intense forging is applied to finally meet specifications of hardness and fit for the conference season. Grinding is likewise intense. Once work pieces during assembly fully meet specifications, they are then disassembled and placed in a slack tub for a few days of cooling, before final reassembly for the conference season.

There will be no test.

Students are on their honors to learn the subject matter and recall it as head smith Bill Self begins some very, very intense hardening and grinding from now till January.

Class Dismissed. :-)

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 10 months ago

I literally have nothing to say, my friend.

If that was your intention, you succeeded.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Reuben, my friend,

You literally did have something to say. :-)

It was that you had nothing to say. :-)

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AsadZ 1 year, 10 months ago

Below is a link to a real nice article on B Greene:

Greene appears to be a great kid with a down to earth family background. Below caught my attention from the article:

"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.

http://kansas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1437031

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diegohawk 1 year, 10 months ago

HCBS

I really wish you'd give about 8 - 12 min/game to AW3 and Rio combined right now. Need to be able to work them in to develop a little confidence in their games and their ability to play at this level. We really could use a stretch three and a defensive minded guard with athleticism to get into passing lanes come March. I understand they have not impressed in practice apparently to warrant significant roles on this team but I plead with you to not relegate them to the bench. As the decision to not red shirt them was made then at least give them a few minutes to see what you have in a game type situation.

Many on this board have kicked this horse a few times. Figured I give it another kick.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

"EJ as Man of War"

Part 1

I read EJ quite differently that most above. EJ shakes out this way to me.

He entered, a 6-2 point guard on springs, the greatest potential impact athlete Self had ever recruited, according to Self.

EJ was as fast as greased lightening up and down the floor and his straight line acceleration perhaps even equaled Tyshawns. EJ routinely outran play formations, and outran fastbreaks and outran Tyshawn. He wasn't quite as quick on the first step, but after than he was probably as fast, or faster. And he had springs out the kazoo.

But EJ was way wilder than expected. And he grew more so,not less so. His mind could not handle being sped up, even though his incredibly athletic body was up to the challenge.

We didn't know it yet, but he was way younger developmentally than anyone, perhaps even Self, expected.

Then something happened that no one expected that revealed just how young developmentally he really was. EJ had another growth spurt from freshman to sophomore years. He grew from 6-2 to 6-4.

That growth spurt manifested two problems.

First, persons in growth spurts have bodies and brains that are sudddenly transforming, not just bodies. EJ was adding a ton of neurons, not just bone cells. EJ, it turned out, was very young for his age, and his brain had a ton of developing to do. It had nothing to do with intelligence. He's always been articulate and bright. It had to do with rapidly evolving motor skill function related to operating a rapidly growing body. Lots of old neurons needed reburning and lots of new neurons needed first burning. EJ was literally no longer the 6-2 jack in the box point guard that had been recruited.

Second, all of these old and new neural nets were, as I said, suddenly having to get used to a radically new and taller body. A body with some seriously loooooong legs. EJ seemed to lose some of his side to side agility and some comfort in his own body. This is not unusual when it happens to a kid in junior high and high school. Everyone expects it. But 5-star 6-2 point guards get cemented in everyone's minds and in their own as being just that, when they show up on campus. But EJ morphed from a short guard into a long guard, an almost Oscar Robertson sized guard, certainly a Derek Rose sized guard, but he did not muscle up for some time to be able to control this freakishly changed body of his.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Well, I'll be darned. No wonder Sherron could guard Rose. And no wonder EJ looks so tall. I knew Mario was a shorty.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Ralster, are you suggesting that EJ's only 6-2, also? He seems taller than that to me.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Part 2

And there something deeper and more difficult master that resulted from the growth spurt. EJ had to change the way he saw himself. He had to realize that there were now things he could do a bit less well, at least until the muscles and motor skills caught up, and he had to realize there were new ways he could play that he had never considered before.

Self clearly saw the potential of what had happened to EJ. He kept him at point guard, because Self needed a backup PG, but he let him fill at the 3 and at the 2, and EJ did better as a sophomore filling at the 2 and 3 early on than he did at the one, when he would throw the ball across court to no one from time to time, as those motor skill nets were misfiring and burning, and so on.

But somethings were apparent even in his awkward, error prone plays. He could now guard even better than before because of the added reach. And he could literally go end to end in the blink of an eye with these new incredibly long strides. Bill Self clearly saw both and saw a vision of a PG that would one day not just leap tall buildings with a single bound, but end to end faster than maybe any point guard in KU history had ever been able to do!!!

Late in the sophomore season, Ty went gaga for awhile and Self plugged his future phenom in and surprise, surprise, if EJ played it close to the vest, and didn't open it up going end to end, he could protect and keep the team on track for a few games. Ty came back and all seemed hunky dory.

But slayr saw something that I and most everyone else missed. EJ apparently injured his shoulder sometime that sophomore season. He played little enough and he was asked to do a narrowly defined, role so the shoulder injury didn't hamper him much. But as slayr speculated last season, when EJ was struggling with what had always been known to be a great trey gun, that EJ may have had nagging fallout from that shoulder injury that might have been hampering his shooting some. And I think slayr was right. But it must have seemed like it was going to heal.

So, EJ's junior year, Self was invested in Tyshawn at the PG and Tyshawn was due to peak. In turn, Self decided that EJ could play the 2, get some experience running the 1 when Ty moved to the wing to take a blow, and Self could get his awesome defense his junior year, and get him developed for his senior year.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Part 3

But oddly enough, his trey gun never got accurate. It just seemed like an early slump, because most had no recollection of the shoulder injury. But he struggled and struggled and struggled. Clearly he had this great natural stroke and touch, but something was keeping him from being as accurate as expected.

There reached a point where he seemed to be learning to compensate for the shoulder, or maybe it was healing, but then he injured his knee and did not divulge it to the media. He is such a great, great athlete that he could play on a bum knee and mask it quite a bit. I sure didn't catch on to the knee injury last year, and I'm pretty good at seeing that sort of thing.

The doctors must have said that it would take a several month convalescence. And Self had this combination of players without depth that could really go somewhere, but not if EJ had to take month or two off. So: EJ played through the knee. Looking back, it was probably one of the most herculean man-ups in Self's tenure which has seen quite a few.

And remember that while contending with a shoulder and a knee, EJ is still trying to learn to play like a 6-4 guard rather than a 6-2 guard.

When he should have been getting adapted to his longer body, he was fighting a shoulder and a knee injury. He never really has had a chance to learn how to make the spectacularly athletic plays off the bounce that a 6-4 guard can make yet. Who knows? He may still see the alleys and opponents the way a 6-2 mind sees them. But he made it through the season and even managed to cobble together a shooting style that let him makes some big threes down the stretch. Still his trey percentage was waaaaaay sub par for the season.

Then the surgery came and it took him forever to rehab it and get it ready to even go 3/4 speed.

Again, he could not spend the off season or even early this pre-season learning how to play like a 6-4 PG. He had to walk around and talk about it, and when he did come back he had to play to protect the still rehabbing knee.

And when the experimentation games of November rolled around, when he should have been getting fully acclimated to his body and his post injury abilities, Self was having to have him give a bunch of looks to freshman like Perry and first year guys like Ben Mac to get them up to speed, rather than take it to the paint all of the time.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Part 4

So: here EJ is now in late November still probably not comfortable with his body, or his confidence, and so now jockey/trainer Self turns everything back on him and says, as if he were whispering in the ear of Man of War after an injury and some stretch of easing back into things, run you sunnuvagun, run!!!!!! Run now! I'm taking the blinders and weights, and straps off your joints. RUN!!!!!!! I've given you all the time I can give you before the Triple Crown. RUN!!!!! I can't train you now anymore. I can't teach you anymore. I wish I didn't have to give you so little time, but... RUN!!!!! RUN like the champion you might still be able to be. No non-champion could have made it through what you have had to make it through and still be able to go out to the starting gate with a chance. RUUUUUUUNNNNNNN!

Self is appealing to the thoroughbred still left inside him.

Self is appealing to the place deep down inside of champions that makes them do things that most think can't be done.

Oh, I think EJ will run alright. I think he will bolt out of the starting gate. I thing the whole team will see his horse shoes and Self will be yelling to the rest of the starters, "Try to keep up with him you sunnsabitches, try as hard as you can, because this is what we've been saving him for!!!!"

And I think EJ will run. But its going to take the full month of December at least for him to look good doing it. He has been given one month to bake his 6-4 point guard game into a beautiful pastry, to find a style, to make himself into a great point guard. No one but a truly exceptional person and athlete would even have a prayer of doing it.

And he has to do it through a probably limited shoulder and the normal doubts one harbors after a knee injury.

Its going to be exciting to watch.

I've been praying for him lately.

I could sense this moment coming.

Self's putting the spurs to EJ, too.

Self's waving Naadir out their in front of him saying, does Man of War want to go back to the two and graze, or does Man o War want to run like the wind!

Oh, if EJ's got enough left in those knees, he will run like Man of War himself!!!

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

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

Personally .. opinion here .. if EJ would have been given the 2 guard position as a sophomore, we would be looking at a significantly better player now.

He's been morphed into something he isn't (yes, I did proclaim him to be "point guard" his freshman year when others said he was more of a 2 .. I think I was wrong). He can be a decent point guard.

Really wish we could rewind time. EJ was terrific down the stretch in 2011. Then he predictably found the bench when TT escaped Self's doghouse. EJ should have been the two all season .. my opinion. His NCAA tourney performance last season certainly supports that theory. And our loss to VCU might lend support to the theory too ... just a bit.

In hindsight, I wish this guy could have just been given the 2 guard position as a sophomore and left alone.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

HEM, I am not ready to go there with you till I see what he is middle to end of January. You may be right. Its a pretty tall order to turn into a point guard in two months, but his knee just keeps taking longer and longer to stiffen, so he is coming back physically. Once his knee is as sound as its going to get, and he really understands what he's got to work with, I think we are going to see him go inside and go to work. He's still thinking too much, but when a coach says what Self just said about him, it was kind of the equivalent of Self saying about Tyshawn last season, "We know Tyshawn is going to make turnovers." It signals to a player that the position is his come hell or high water and its okay to take off the wraps and play it his way.

This is the drama of sport. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as ABC used to say. This is laying it all on the line for a coach. Get out there and go, EJ. Let it fly!

Great athletes always rise to this sort of a move by a coach.

EJ is a great athlete.

Remember, as the PG its been his job to train Ben and Perry and Jamari on the job, and to work a guy with a broken hand back into the rotation, not just take off and run with the team.

Self saying yesterday that Young is the starter for now, means the experimentations are over for now. The coaches now think they know how the team needs to play. And it is time to step on the accelerator and see what this bucket of bolts will do.

That means EJ now knows what kind of team he will have on the floor and what kind of game Self wants him to play.

It could be ugly for a few weeks as EJ accelerates play and all the green wood has to figure out how to speed it up to another level. Lots more TOs, same as last year when Tyshawn started forcing the pace and requiring to play faster than they were used to. Not all of Tyshawn's TOs were his totally his fault. He was having to modulate the pace of play between hurrying and sand bagging and his teammates had a learning curve.

Same this year for the next month at least.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Regarding what should have been done with EJ, part of me agrees with you, and part says the injuries clouded things up to much to say for sure. Remember Tyshawn was moved from impact 2 to glue 2 to point guard over the years and many doubted Tyshawn could ever really produce at point. Frankly, EJ has not ever mentally imploded the way Tyshawn did under the pressure Self has put him under. If EJ weren't fighting injuries, I wouldn't be worried about him at all. But he is, so there is reason for worry.

Still, now is the time we need the top two blocks on Wooden's pyramid of success: patience and faith.

At least till mid January. If the horse can't run by then, Self may have to switch horses.

He is signalling that Naadir could handle the point in a faster paced game, where Naadir's defensive flaws in half court weren't always displayed front and center.

As I said, its going to get interesting and not for the faint hearted. :-)

Rock Chalk!

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kennethst 1 year, 10 months ago

Jaybate.......Your effort to number your posts is greatly appreciated, sir!

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

kennethst,

It took me awhile to slow down enough to do it, but now its second nature. Thanks for encouraging me.

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

I think EJ can do it .. don't get me wrong. He did it when TT was benched in 2011. But I was just wishin' it could have been different.

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KULA 1 year, 10 months ago

HEM--always good to see we agree on a point.

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hawkdiek 1 year, 10 months ago

Anyone have a website to watch the game tonight?

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RJ King 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks for the lead. The article I read said foot surgery for fractured right foot. Yuk, never good.

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ljmhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

johnson is fat and slow....no thanks

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Joel Thomas 1 year, 10 months ago

Others have touched on it, but re: EJ and driving, if it's not one thing, it's another. Remember how many of us hid our faces when Taylor would drive when he had no business doing so? Then he would turn it over. Of course it's be nice for EJ to get driving buckets every now and then, but he's not the same player as Taylor, and he's not the worst just for that.

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

A few things maybe to watch tonight -

-Tharpe's defense - see if he can match his CBE intensity, his tightness to his man, and stopping blow-bys.

-Adams' defense - watch his hands. Is he reaching, or is he progressing? And does he mess up on a screen?

-Releford's assertiveness - is he making things happen, driving when there's a seam? Or is he driving only when there's a big opening? Here's hoping we've begun a trend.

-KY's impact - see how many time KY delivers a pass to Withey, see how active he is on the boards, see if he delivers the ball inside out for any shooters.

-Ellis' scoring - does he appear to force his scoring, or take bad shots; or does it flow as part of the game?

-Ellis' defense - is the defense chatter a red herring? See if he is active on defense. And watch how well he boxes out on both ends.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Good post, HEM. Here are my adds.

Tharpe--also see if he is firing the ball up the sideline to speed the transition and is he going to the rim? He needs to show himself and Self that he can get in and draw a foul around the iron.

Adams--is he exploding to help anyone or just focusing on ball?

Releford--on the fast breaks is he finishing hard. The man who made one of the great dunks of the last few years a couple years back is doing a lot of junk cross overs and shooting with the right hand as he crosses to the left. Travis needs to get his mojo at the rim back. Its not enough to just slash and get there. He has to want to hurt the rim like he used to do.

KY's impact--its also time for Kevin to throw a few down. He can score, but his hand has probably been preventing it a bit. But its time for him to hurt the rim too. If he does, and keeps exploding out of his position to steal possesions.

Ellis--he is another one that needs to start finishing hard and a running game will reveal how comfortable he is out in the open floor. This is something we do not yet know.

Jamari--I look for Jamari to have a break out game, if its a running game. Jamari is the only guy we've got right now that will hurt the rim. He needs to show it against SJSU, plus spike his rebounds/minute.

EJ--this is a major game for him, because an open courting running game ought to favor him. If he doesn't play like it, it probably means his knee farther away from healing than many think.

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ljmhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

i wish jaybate would keep his posts to a minimum and stop trying to look all cutesy with his posts. no one wants to read your Xtreme muscle ball dumbness

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

ljmhawk,

Fortunately, no one has to. :-)

Now, regarding your posts, no one wants to read your brain dead monotone.

But, again, and most fortunately, no one has to. :-)

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 10 months ago

I have a solution. Just skip past it like I do. Do I have a grudge against Jaybate? Nope. Do I think his post are stupid? Nope, in fact they are the opposite. Skimming over allows me to choose what I read. It is a wonderful way to approach blogs, you should try it instead of attacking another poster for posting thoughts on a blog.

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ljmhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

I have no problem with his opinions but when his posts are longer than the actual article it's a little out of hand. there needs to be a character limit.

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 10 months ago

there is, that is why he rights in parts. It defeats the purpose of a blog to limit user access.

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 10 months ago

Completely off topic, but I see Texas is having a very bad year. I think it will result in Barns getting fired. Now I've been thinking. Does Tad Boyle possibly make a return to the Big 12 and coach Texas next year? Texas is a much larger university, with athletic funds that are almost infinite. I can see this maybe as a possible scenario. It would be great for Texas considering the success he has had at Colorado.

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jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Someone as good and knowledgeable as Boyle getting a hold of the Tayhoss program is scary. Let's all encourage them to hire Ben Howland. :-)

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Ethan Berger 1 year, 10 months ago

I would love Boyle just for the strength of Big 12 ball, but man Texas would be scary again.

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mikehawk 1 year, 10 months ago

A little puzzled about all of the focus on Kevin's fro. The Fro Watch? Back in the day it would be considered an average length fro. Who cares? He is a kid. Let him wear his hair the way he likes. I wish I had some hair to grow out long.

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gongs4ku 1 year, 10 months ago

All I can say is that Young's hair makes me feel happy. I would be even happier if it doubled in size and volume. Make it happen, KYoung.

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