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Originally published December 12, 2013 at 03:54p.m., updated December 13, 2013 at 12:20a.m.

Jayhawks held players-only team meeting day after loss to Florida

Sophomore forward Perry Ellis calls session productive

Kansas players and head coach Bill Self huddle together in the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Kansas players and head coach Bill Self huddle together in the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self talks about his team's recent struggles

Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self talks about his team's recent struggles.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Perry Ellis shares details of KU's recent players-only team meeting

Sophomore forward Perry Ellis shares details of KU's recent players-only team meeting.

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Kansas University’s basketball players did not practice on Wednesday, the day after a 67-61 loss at Florida.

The Jayhawks did sign basketballs, however, then gathered as a group in the locker room, hoping a players-only meeting would help the (6-3) squad bust a slump that has included three losses in four games.

“Everybody got in a circle. Everybody spoke out and said what they wanted to say. (The floor was) free for anybody, even freshmen. We all just spoke out to each other, just tried to dig deep,” sophomore forward Perry Ellis said.

It was reminiscent of a players-only meeting held last February after the second game of what turned out to be a three-game losing streak.

“It’s definitely something I could talk about,” Ellis said of last year’s slide that meant nothing in the big scheme of things. KU won a share of the Big 12 regular-season title, took the conference tournament and reached the Sweet 16, finishing 31-6 overall.

“I was in that situation. I could try to help these guys out and try to show them you can turn it around. Even the hard times last season when we lost the three games (to Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma), just looking up to the senior guys, they really turned it around. We all got together like this year, learned how to compete and follow what coach (Bill Self) is saying. We did everything coach Self was saying and it paid off,” Ellis added.

It doesn’t get easier as KU on Saturday meets New Mexico (7-1) at 6 p.m. in Kansas City’s Sprint Center.

“I mean like last year, there’s extra effort each of us can give,” Ellis said. “To come into practice and games not thinking selfishly, just thinking of the team, just thinking about Kansas basketball.”

The meeting re-energized Ellis, who said he was definitely looking forward to practices leading to the next game.

“Just hearing everybody ... everybody wants to get better and you can really see it,” Ellis said. “Everybody wants to learn. I feel this will be a great opportunity to turn things around and just learn.”

KU coach Self, whose 2008 NCAA title team held a players-only meeting after a crushing loss at Oklahoma State in February, never losing again that campaign, said he approved of Wednesday’s team meeting.

“Those things are the most overrated things ever,” Self said with a smile. “I do think it’s good they talk, so I am all for that. We’ve had teams do that every year. You guys (media) make a big deal out of nothing. In all honesty, teams should be doing that every week. You should have some type of meeting every week and discuss certain things.”

Leadership: Self said leaders must emerge and emerge soon.

“I’m talking the guy who will huddle everybody up or (say), ‘Hey guys, it’s all fragmented. This is what we’re going to do.’ We don’t have that yet. When you’ve got three guys looking at the bench and two guys are saying, ‘Well, I told them to run this, they didn’t hear me.’ That’s frustrating. There’s an effort to do what’s right, but it’s not being executed,” Self stated.

“Naadir (Tharpe junior point guard) is the one guy who has intangibles to be that and do that,” Self added. “For us to have a really good year this year, Naadir has to step up. There’s no other way around it. I believe he will. He’s in a little bit of a funk right now, but he’s going to get out of it. ... I’d welcome anybody else, but to me, he (Tharpe) has the most qualities to do it.”

Fab four: Self was asked if he’ll start four freshmen (Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden, Frank Mason, Joel Embiid) and soph Perry Ellis a second straight game.

“We could switch up because we had some guys not play the best,” Self said. “You look at it over time, what’s best for our team? It’s to get our best players playing their best. It’s not like punishment if you go to the bench. We may have a change or two. I’m going to wait and evaluate practice the next two days.”

Cliff explodes: KU signee Cliff Alexander, a 6-foot-9 senior center ranked No. 4 in the recruiting Class of 2014 by Rivals.com, scored 30 points with 24 rebounds and 15 blocks in Chicago Curie’s 70-54 victory over Dunbar on Thursday as reported by d1circuit.com.

Merv’s coming back: Former KU guard Merv Lindsay, a 6-7 sophomore wing from Moreno Valley, Calif., has played 16 minutes total in four of New Mexico’s eight games. He has hit his one shot attempt on the season. He’s 0-for-2 from the line with two rebounds.

Comments

Erich Hartmann 4 months, 1 week ago

Game Summary: Freshman without chemistry. 24 Turnovers. Get better and play on.

0

Walter Bridges 4 months, 1 week ago

HEM/Suzi, go somewhere private watch the game - make like rabbits and move the F*** On!

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Benz Junque 4 months, 1 week ago

In athletics, confidence needs to come before a reason to be confident when you are doing things for the first time. You have to believe that you can accomplish something before you will ever be able to accomplish it.

These young players need to believe that they know exactly what to do and that their preparation has given them enough know how to solve any problem. They cannot let a few failures on possessions rattle that notion.

I am looking for KU to come out aggressive against New Mexico. UNM has been a good team in recent years but they haven't really shown much this year. They got smoked by UMass by 16 in the only game against a decent team they have played. They rest of the teams they have played have been ultra-creampuffs except for a mediocre Cincinnati team.

If KU can get at least one of New Mexico's Big Three (Bairstow, Williams, Kirk) in foul trouble and to the bench, they should have an easier time of it.

Be aggressive, be aggressive, be aggressive. I am fine with mistakes so long as they are mistakes made with aggression. If they are attacking and forcing the action they will win. If they are passive, watching and reacting to the action they will lose.

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Beau Woolsey 4 months, 1 week ago

I get excited now when KU gets a rebound.

1

Robin Smith 4 months, 1 week ago

Much ado about nothing. None of the losses bothered me.

This team is just fine. It's all part of growing up.

0

Jake Butler 4 months, 1 week ago

Bill's right about the media making an unnecessary fuss about these kinds of meetings. Really not a big deal.

Cliff Alexander's stat line, on the other hand, is a very big deal. Clearly a man among boys.

0

Preston Dwiggins 4 months, 1 week ago

Looks like we could use Cliff's talents asap. Holy cow he had a great night last night!

1

Elias Dunlavy 4 months, 1 week ago

Team meeting at Henry Ts for chicken strips?

0

Jack Wilson 4 months, 1 week ago

The fourth situation was at the 14:20 of the first half, Sally says Mason had Traylor for a lob dunk. Traylor wasn’t on the floor. She means Embiid. I do see this one as plausible. There was a defender in the middle of the lane to defend the lob, but it was certainly a possibility if Mason would have slowed up. In the picture below, you’ll see Mason attempting to bounce it over to Embiid. The defender kicked it away. But this is one that Sally suggested was a lob dunk Mason missed. If Mason were to have slowed a bit, a lob to Embiid could have worked if the defender in the lane didn’t jump to stop it, because he was in position to. If Mason didn’t penetrate, don’t know where he goes. But again, a lob here certainly seem plausible and not difficult.

But the bounce pass attempt by Mason would have been acceptable in my book if it weren’t to a 7 footer. It would have been an easy dunk since the defender moved toward Mason as he penetrated. But again, why bounce pass your 7 footer on the break? A slow down and lob to Embiid, or even dumping it to Traylor might have been the best option.

0

Jack Wilson 4 months, 1 week ago

The third situation is on a break at the 8:50 mark of the second half. Sally claims Mason should have lobbed it to Black or Ellis for the dunk. In this situation, Sally ignores what Mason faces. First, the Florida defender closed out on him hard and attacked the ball on the wing cutting him off. Then, Mason had to gather himself as he turned back in, the second Florida defender (Prather) jumped right at him. This was the one where Mason was fouled and slammed to the floor. He went to the line. But there was no real chance to lob to Black with what Mason was faced with there, and certainly not Ellis. Prather jumped with arms extended and slammed Mason to the ground. I don’t think there’s a chance Mario Chalmers makes the play Sally expects Mason to.

0

Jack Wilson 4 months, 1 week ago

The next situation is at 12:26 of the first half. Sally claims “Mason drove the lane with Wiggins coming open underneath for a dunk” Wrong. Mason drove and Wiggins was just inside the three point line in the far corner. See the first picture. Then as Mason begins his shot, Wiggins moves to the hoop. See second picture. No “lob dunk” to Wiggins there.

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Jack Wilson 4 months, 1 week ago

The first one to look is the drive at 19:50 of the second half. Sally claimed that Embiid was in position to spin for the dunk with a good pass. In her second post, she didn’t mention “lob dunk”, of course. See the picture below. Embiid was posting up with two men around him and one backside. The frame shown is right as Mason is shooting. But plainly this is not a “lob dunk” that Mason missed. Could something different have been created by Mason? But no “lob dunk” to Embiid. Embiid was post up.

0

Jack Wilson 4 months, 1 week ago

After the KU game, Suzi posted the following here: "Four times Mason drove to the basket, every time he had guys open for a dunk but he chose to take the shot...and missed or was blocked."

In response, I said that her comment was a complete fabrication. After losses, folks create their own fiction many times. I had re-watched the game. Sally then went back and pointed out four separate times she believes Mason blew lob dunk opportunities (on Wednesday). I saw that yesterday and reviewed last night.

As I said Wednesday, saying Mason blew lob dunk chances "Four times" was a fabrication. It is made even worse that Suzi then came back, essentially for more, claiming "Four times" to be true. Again that claim is a fabrication.

The reason this stuff bothers me so much is that I come from the position that reasonable criticism and critique is why we are here. We are passionate. We love the Hawks. But too many times, folks do just make stuff up. Many times the comments are tough to refute. But not here. It just took a little work. Below I'll hit on each of the four that Suzy claims were missed opportunities for "lob dunks."

As I told Suzi, there were not "Four times" where Mason blew lob dunks. She insists that there are four. My review here sees two where I have no idea what she’s talking about. Not even close. The third I can see where someone might think he could lob it, but it wasn’t plausible. The fourth, it seemed plausible to me.

Importantly, I’m not saying (and didn't say) that Mason didn’t screw up some plays. I’m focusing on the claim of four missed “lob dunk” chances Sally claimed. There weren’t four. Really just one, and the choice Mason made on the play was to try a bounce pass to the teammate in question, not to shoot.

1

Eldon Slife 4 months, 1 week ago

I live near Everett, WA. (just north of Seattle) and would like to see more KU games on TV. Does anyone know of a nearby sports bar (or any place else) that carries the games? Thanks in advance for your help.

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Jeff Kilgore 4 months, 1 week ago

For those who have been carping and sniping at other posters here: why? We're all KU fans, and no one person has all the answers. Neither does Self. He's human. But we've all seen in the past 10 years that he has enough answers to keep all of us very excited!

Even when you disagree with another person, you can do so in a collegial manner. After all, this site is discussing college players in a college town in which there have to be college graduates commenting. KLGTRN

2

John Strayer 4 months, 1 week ago

Personally I think Wiggins needs to be less selfish if this team is going to succeed. He has got to be a consistent scorer...particularly when the team hits a lit scoring drought and really needs a score...he should take the initiative to try and make a shot.

0

Bryce Landon 4 months, 1 week ago

I guess we'll see if this meeting produces the desired results on Saturday. Hopefully someone had the balls to go postal on his teammates the way Julian Wright did in 2006.

0

Preston Dwiggins 4 months, 1 week ago

Where did some of the previous comments go?

0

Mark Lindrud 4 months, 1 week ago

Communicate on and off the court. Intensity, aggression, teamwork, make plays for each other and fight for rebounds like your life depended on it.

0

Armen Kurdian 4 months, 1 week ago

Why do so many people make snarky replies to comments? "Oh brilliant!" "Remove anus from cranium or something!" It's getting tiresome.

4

Yolanda Gay 4 months, 1 week ago

This team needs a leader on the floor as well.

2

Rodney Crain 4 months, 1 week ago

A step in the right direction for a team that does not talk on the court, I will take off the court at this point.

1

Glen Miller 4 months, 1 week ago

Possibly the first sign of leadership and accountability. If they were all able to really speak up and express concerns and hash out what was expected of them from here on out then this was a good meeting. Coach Self was right, this really should happen regularly. Hopefully it was constructive critisism and the players all really listened to one another, especially the guys who have been here and can lead these young pups to the KU way.

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Joel Teply 4 months, 1 week ago

Should have held it before that game

3

Popy Suthiwan 4 months, 1 week ago

8] Stop turning the ball over!!

2

Tony Bandle 4 months, 1 week ago

Meeting Notes I'd want to see:

1] Do what the coach says!!

2] Bust your a$$ 60/40!!

3] Play brave, not scared!!

4] Drive!!

5] Get Wiggins the damn ball!!

6] Play some defense!!

7] Have fun!!

1

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