Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Self: Shooting just one of KU’s struggles

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp pulls up for a shot against UTEP during the first half on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Kansas guard Conner Frankamp pulls up for a shot against UTEP during the first half on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.


Maybe it was the low ceiling or dim lighting in 3,900-seat Imperial Arena — the ballroom and convention center of the Atlantis resort — affecting the equilibrium of Kansas University’s basketball players.

— Or the Nike basketballs, which the Jayhawks say have a different feel than the adidas brand they normally use.

— Or the rims.

— Or the players simply not shooting straight.

Whatever the reason(s) ... “we couldn’t throw it in the ocean, and we were really close to the ocean,” KU coach Bill Self cracked Monday on his Hawk Talk radio show.

The Jayhawks hit just 10 of 45 threes en route to beating Wake Forest and UTEP and losing to Villanova at the recent Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

“As bad as people want to say it puts so much pressure on you when you can’t make shots and I would agree ... (but) I think we are more deficient in other areas,” Self said.

“Our ballhandling, passing, going for loose balls, ability to guard the ball isn’t where it needs to be. We could use perimeter shooting, no question about that. We also are not a real tough team yet and not a great loose ball team.

“As poorly as we played against Villanova (in 63-59 semifinal loss in which the Wildcats hit nine threes to KU’s two), we get one stop and we win against a team that played lights out,” Self added. “We lost to the 14th-ranked team in the country on an awful day where we had a one-point lead, playing as poorly as we can play and don’t get a stop (on late Nova three).”

Self, who stressed that “Villanova deserved to win,” was asked by a fan on his radio show if he thought about giving significant minutes to one of the bench players known for three-point shooting — Andrew White III, Conner Frankamp or Brannen Greene. White was 0-for-5 from three; Frankamp and Greene each 0-for-1 in the Bahamas. Frank Mason was the only non-starter to hit a three, knocking down two in 11 tries to go with Naadir Tharpe’s four and two apiece from Wayne Selden and Andrew Wiggins.

“We thought about that a lot. No question our four best perimeter players have been Frank, Naadir, Andrew (Wiggins) and Wayne. They’ve been the four best since start of practice for the most part. Others have had good days and things like that,” Self said.

“In a perfect world, we’d play one of the other three (White, Frankamp, Greene). Whoever it is, it could change game to game, week to week, month to month (depending on) who is playing best.

“You can make a case, ‘he (Self) should play him or he should play him,’ but nobody has separated himself. One guy who has more than anybody is Frank and he is trying to figure anything out, it’s so new to him. We need to play five perimeter players. We need to go to one (of three candidates). I don’t know exactly who that is yet. We’ll have to see how it plays out.”

Self, who realizes shooting can be on one night and off the next, is more concerned about other areas.

“(Against Villanova) there were 32 loose balls, they got 22 of them — the 50/50 balls,” Self said. The thing we take most pride in, they kicked our butt. In the last game,” he added of a 67-63 win over UTEP, “think about it ... we go to bed at 3 a.m. after a heartbreaking loss. We eat postgame meal at 2 (a.m.). We’ve got to get up and regroup. It’s a little deflating. Our energy level was not good against them (Miners). If we make any shots at all, we’re up 20. The last four minutes (in which KU saw 14-point lead dip to three) were a total debacle. We were able to learn some things from that game without absorbing a loss.”

KU left the Bahamas with a 6-1 overall record.

“We weren’t going to run the table,” Self said of going undefeated in 2013-14. “If anybody thought we were going to go undefeated they really were drinking blue and red Kool-Aid,” he joked. “No team has done it in 40 years and these freshmen are going to do it?

“It’s OK to lose unless it’s the end of the season. Of course you can’t let one become two and things like that. If we get better from it, it’ll be a positive thing for us.”

KU will next meet Colorado at 2:15 p.m., Central time, Saturday, at Coors Events Center in Boulder.

Alexander to miss game: KU signee Cliff Alexander, a 6-8 senior from Chicago’s Curie High, will serve a one-game suspension for being ejected from last Sunday’s game against St. Rita, the Chicago Tribune reports.

He’ll miss Saturday’s game at University of Illinois-Chicago against Las Vegas Gorman High and 7-footer Steven Zimmerman. The Trib reports that Alexander and St. Rita’s Vic Law “both received technicals for taunting during Curie’s 79-76 overtime victory, and Alexander received a second technical and automatic ejection for hanging on the rim.”

A player ejected from a game cannot participate in the team’s next game according to Illinois High School Association rules.

Ellis honored: KU sophomore forward Perry Ellis was named a nominee to the Allstate NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) announced Tuesday.

The award, presented by the NABC and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), recognizes 201 nominees at all levels of college basketball. It honors college basketball players, “who represent the sport’s finest in the areas of leadership and charitable achievements amongst their peers. The student-athletes nominated for this honor embody the true spirit of teamwork and giving back.”

From the 117 NABC men’s nominees and 84 WBCA women’s nominees submitted by sports information directors, voting panels will select two 10-member teams of five student-athletes from the NCAA Div. I level and five from Divisions II, III and the NAIA. The final roster of 20-award recipients will be unveiled in February.


Asad Zoberi 6 years, 10 months ago

Self, who stressed that “Villanova deserved to win,” was asked by a fan on his radio show if he thought about giving significant minutes to one of the bench players known for three-point shooting — Andrew White III, Conner Frankamp or Brannen Greene. White was 0-for-5 from three; Frankamp and Greene each 0-for-1 in the Bahamas.

HEM, I give you a lot of credit. You finally got the answer. You are relentless. Good stuff.

Kye Clark 6 years, 10 months ago

LOL...I thought the same thing when reading that!

Jack Wilson 6 years, 10 months ago

Asad .. thanks. I posted on my questions and his response right after the show Monday night .. sounds like you may have seen that. Gary included actual quotes. While I was on the phone, all I could do was try to jot down what his main points we so I didn't get the exact quotes, but I got the main points.

Listening to Hawk Talk is a great way, too, to get info. I did that nearly all of last season.

Really, it seemed liked he just didn't know who (of the three) he wanted to play, but clearly seemed like it was best just to play one and get to 5 man perimeter rotation. Will be fun to see it play out.

Ian Emerson 6 years, 10 months ago

I like a guy that plays with intensity. Hopefully it doesn't turn into a habit. I like how before this season started everyone was talking about how this team was gonna lose early but everyone better watch out in march!!! Then we beat duke and bail Towson everyone is talking about us being the best team in the country only to be beat by Villanova, who is ranked now I do believe, and everyone flips you know what. People this team is as inexperienced as it gets, young as it gets but also talented as it gets. Ben Mac didn't really hit his stride until about this time last season and after this away stretch they will be ready to do battle on anyone's floor.

Billy Smith 6 years, 10 months ago

I had a sneaking feeling before Frankamp ever stepped on campus that he would be way better. He is a shooter. That's about it, he has no ball handling or point guard skills as of now. I was hoping Bill would call a few plays for him to get him an open look, it never seemed to happen. Now that he has a few games under his belt, It's looking like he might be another Conner Teahan. Yikes. I really hope I'm wrong.

Evan Bilyeu 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree but those things can be developed with hard work and hours of practice. He is going to be a four year player and by the end of it I amagine he will make it a great one.

Sean Lancaster 6 years, 10 months ago

"no ball handling" is pretty evident in that Conner has exactly 1 turnover on the whole season. Wait, wut? If he played 15 minutes a game, he'd have 1 turnover every 4 games at this rate. That's certainly a player who can take care of the ball.

Benz Junque 6 years, 10 months ago

He has few turnovers because he rarely even attempts to handle the ball. He is smart enough to know what he doesn't do well, so he either passes the ball immediately or shoots it.

Brianna Zaleski 6 years, 10 months ago

Gosh, that picture speaks a thousand words. What a dump. "Watch out for that track lighting when u shoot, guys!"

Scott Gruhn 6 years, 10 months ago

Gary, what are Ellis' charitable credentials?

Scott Gruhn 6 years, 10 months ago

And do the basketball feel different at the NCAA tourney or the Big12 tourney other Big12 venues? Does it have a big enough effect that we should switch to Nike?

Lance Cheney 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm doubting we could do that, with our Adidas contract.

Lance Cheney 6 years, 10 months ago

What kind of balls did they have at last year's Big 12 tournament, because we should get a stockpile of them and use them in every game we play in!

Tony Bandle 6 years, 10 months ago


Aw crap!!..I had a plethora of brilliant insights that I lost because I wasn't logged in..and now can't remember them!!! :)

Let me try to summarize:

1] Randle, Wiggins and Parker may be the best freshmen, but Embiid may be the best NBA player in the long term.

2] Selden needs to stay 2 years to let his college bball ability catch up with his NBA body.

3] I would settle for everybody having to stay two years.

4] Mr.Turner knows there will be a spot for him at KU next year, or else why hasn't he just committed to Texas and got it over with?

5] Watching Perry Ellis is fascinating..his expression never changes, he is always moving and he projects a calmness worthy of a Zen Master. A great nickname for him would be "Killing Softly."

Kye Clark 6 years, 10 months ago

Always enjoy your posts Oak!

  1. Several players from this year's freshman class will forever be linked. I don't follow the NBA that much, but I liken it to the '83 QB class of Elway, Marino, & Kelly (or to a lesser extent the Eli Manning, Rivers, Rothlisberger class). It will be interesting to follow these players' NBA careers.

  2. Probably. I think if he's a projected lottery pick he probably leaves anyway. The real question will be if he's projected to be picked outside the lottery will he still leave or come back for another year.

  3. Yeah, I'd "settle" for that as well :)

  4. I don't follow recruiting like I used to, but I guess the question would be, following that logic, is why hasn't he committed to KU and gotten it over with?

  5. He is fun to watch. When he's on the court with Embiid my brain is almost on overload trying to catch all of the little things with those two.

Jack Wilson 6 years, 10 months ago

Oak, on Selden, I agree.

But what a freaking logjam that would .. Tharpe, Mason, Selden, Green, White, Oubre, and Frankamp. Yikes.

Whoever the last 3 would be -- they would probably be the top three perimeter rotation guys if they were at any other Big 12 school next season.

Benz Junque 6 years, 10 months ago

Oubre and his family have been very consistent in not expecting to be a one and one prospect. They have stated that they want to stay as long as it takes for Kelly to develop his skills to able to move to the next level. My guess is that he will have a battle on his hands with Andrew White III for the starting wing spot next year.

I would be shocked if Selden stayed another year but that would be great. Good grief would we be loaded, especially if we pull in another big man recruit such as Myles Turner.

Starters: Mason (so), Selden (So), White (Jr), Ellis (Jr) and Turner (Fr) Bench: Tharpe (Sr), Frankamp (So), Oubre (Fr), Alexander (Fr) and Lucas (So)/Mickelson (?)

That's an embarassment of riches.

Benz Junque 6 years, 10 months ago

I have seen that Turner is also strongly considering Oklahoma State. I HOPE that we get him but really, we are so loaded that we would be just fine without him. Landing him means that wither Ellis is leaving for the NBA or that Alexander is forced to the bench.

William Weissbeck 6 years, 10 months ago

We definitely need to improve from the outside. There are a lot of teams playing zone this year. Looking at the early season stats from the other top teams, KU is shooting possibly the fewest 3's. And making the fewest. If we are going to continue that pattern, then our perimeter defense is going to have to lock down the other teams. We can hit 45-50% all night from 2 and lose, if the other teams throw up the same number of shots, but form 3, if they hit just 30%. Some of the top teams are also putting up high percentage and big totals at the foul line. This could just be the year of the pure shooters. While on the subject, anyone one else watching the Big 10/ACC Challenge and thinking that the Big 12 made a huge mistake not bringing Louisville into the league? The ACC jettisoned Maryland to pick up the best of the old Big East. Football be damned, basketball players want to be seen on TV, every night, nationwide. The ACC can put that kind of package together.

Benz Junque 6 years, 10 months ago

Just a reminder that EVERY SINGLE TEAM in the AP Preseason Top 5 has now lost at least one game just five weeks into the season. Kentucky, Michigan State, Louisville, Duke (two) and Kansas. 8 of the preseason Top 10 have losses (Michigan with two, Okie State and Florida). Only Arizona and Syracuse are still undefeated.

There's a lot of basketball to go, folks. There is no team out there that looks amazing at all. Everyone has improvements that need to be made.

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