Sunday, December 15, 2013


Column: Brannen Greene starting to figure it out

Kansas guard Brannen Greene celebrates during a Jayhawk run against Florida during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Kansas guard Brannen Greene celebrates during a Jayhawk run against Florida during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.


Lost amid the amazing second-half show put on by Joel Embiid, Naadir Tharpe taking command of the point-guard job and Perry Ellis leading the team in scoring and rebounding came another development during Kansas University’s impressive performance Saturday against New Mexico in Sprint Center.

Talented freshman wing Brannen Greene has weaved his way through traffic to establish himself as the man to beat in a three-headed race for the first-shooter-off-the-bench role for Bill Self’s 7-3 Kansas University basketball team.

Greene sat in three of the Jayhawks’ first eight games and totaled just 25 minutes in the other five.

A 6-foot-7, 215-pound native of Juliette, Ga., Greene came to Kansas with a knack for pushing Self’s buttons, the ones that say, “Have a seat and think about what you just did or didn’t do.”

Self likes his shooters to shoot but wants them exhibiting the patience to get the best possible shot. He preaches that if the ball gets to the third side, the chances are good that the defense will have been caught out of position by then, and the ball will find its way into the hands of an open shooter. Greene, too often, fired a guarded shot before the ball had been worked, thereby taking the defense off the hook.

Self, as do most coaches, preaches “next play.” Players who turn it over and react by using their first three steps in the other direction to accelerate to top speed have taken their first three steps toward redemption.

Those who turn it over, miss a shot or don’t get a whistle and react by freezing, frowning and then getting around to running to the other end have taken their first three steps toward the bench.

Popping into a sound defensive stance too sparingly and out of it too quickly, or other defensive transgressions such as lending too little help or arriving with it too late, also lead to quick hooks.

“Brannen and I just need to get on the same page, but Brannen’s a good player,” Self said after KU’s 80-63 victory against New Mexico. “He’s starting to value things that we think are important. He’s just a freshman trying to figure things out, but he certainly, I thought, gave us some good minutes.”

The page the coach referenced is the one written, edited and interpreted by the coach, long before Greene became a high school basketball player. The choice for Greene and any other Self player, past or present, is a simple one. The page or the bench, on which will you land? Interpreting the words on the page becomes easier with time but can leave freshmen confused at first.

Greene has been on the page the past two games, but his name is written in pencil. Complacency on the part of the player triggers the coach flipping the pencil to use the eraser.

“It’s all about playing hard,” Greene said after the loss to Florida. “Coach wants energy. He wants somebody who’s tough and plays hard. I’m just trying to learn that and go out there and give him what he wants.”

Greene played a season-high 16 minutes vs. New Mexico and for the second game in a row scored five points. Thirty of his 55 minutes this season have come in the past two games.

Sophomore Andrew White III was sidelined by a hip pointer Saturday, and Greene took advantage of his opportunity.

White has played 81 minutes and made seven of 18 three-pointers.

Conner Frankamp has played 60 minutes and made three of 13.

Greene has made three of 10 threes.

Greene has the biggest and most explosive body of the three and gets good elevation on his jumper.

If Greene can match White’s hustle, the freshman’s higher ceiling could land him more minutes than the sophomore.

Greene’s time on the bench, always the best teacher in any sport, changed the way he has played. If he views those changes as a starting point to improvement and not a destination, he could bring a new dimension to a team that could use better three-point shooting. The guy’s an exciting talent, and it will be interesting to see how ready he is to understand what the coach wants and deliver it consistently.


Yonatan Negash 4 months, 1 week ago

I love Brennan Greene's energy and style of play. He's a big difference maker for Kansas. In my opinion, he presents mismatch for a lot of team.

Brennan has the ability to be a lethal shooter for us. Just continue to play and set your differences aside. At the end of his career at Kansas, Brennan will thank coach for showing him the way. All of the players before him have done it.

Most important, I'm glad to see Brennan and coach get on the same page.


Vaughn Kruger 4 months, 1 week ago

I don't know what he is doing, but he seems to just knock the ability to shoot 3s right out of incoming kids.


Joe Baker 4 months, 1 week ago

I'd love to see Greene get into a rhythm. I want to see what he can do with some extended pt.


Benz Junque 4 months, 1 week ago

I agree that Lucas will have a rock solid junior and senior campaign for Kansas/ He already gets it. He does not seem unsure of what is asked of him and has performwed great in his time. I am continually impressed with what he provides when he is out there.


Tony Bandle 4 months, 1 week ago


1] Mr. Wiggins, Mr.Parker, Mr.Smart and Mr.Randle, you are all geat players but please step aside because a big kid from KU who will have played BBall for only four years is going to the first player chosen in 2014.

2] Bill is color blind so it figures everything Black and White comes up Greene!!

3] I think Elias is correct by default..Greene will be an early departure, White III will transfer and Frankamp will stay all four years and become a KU legend.

4] Look at our three #10, #19 and #21 prior to the latest poll today....hardly a thing to be ashamed of. [Besides, we should have won two of them and we could have won all three of them!!]

5] Is it still the sweetest of victories for you Chief fans when you pound the Raiders??

6] Jo Jo's up and under reverse basket was one of the greatest shots I have ever seen from a first year big man this side of Wilt Chamberlain. [that includes Kareem, Hakeem, Walton, Russell and Shaq among many others!! }

7] Write in Myles Turner for KU's 2014 recruiting ink!!!

BONUS COMMENT: What was truly lost in all the excitement was the performance of Landon Lucas!! Did you all see that kid rebound and follow up with great outlet passes? Scrimmaging against Jo Jo every day is doing him a world of good! Let Jo Jo shine this year,,let Myles OAD it next year then let the next two seasons be his!!!!!


Mick Allen 4 months, 1 week ago

Agreed HEM. Na had great 2nd half and he distributes the ball as he did he ought to start. Two of his nine assists were as pretty as you will see. He had 4 turn overs but I'm sure HCBS will take a better than 2 to 1 assist to turn over ratio anytime. Na still goes brain dead on occasion, and it seems his toughest pass seems to be from top of the circle to the wing if the defender is over playing the pass and jumping the passing lane. It is no secret that Mason needs to shoot the jumper more consistently to play more minutes against the zone which obviously would facilitate him getting to the paint off the bounce. The 2 most encouraging things for me from the 2nd half were we won the half by 16 getting 1 point from Wiggens who was essentially a non factor. Did not see his foul on the 3 and 1. Knew it would be a long evening when I saw Higgens and Jansen calling the game, 2 of my very least favorite referees. Where is Wilmer when we need him? Secondly, I think it should be apparent now that Landon Lucas should get Black's minutes. When given the opportunity he has been productive in his time on the floor. Also unlike Black, Landon has 3 more years. From everything I have heard he is also a bright, good kid. Selden had a solid game and it is clear Greene is becoming more comfortable with more time on the court. As was earlier stated Greene is a scorer, who at 6' 7"" with a high shot release is able to get his shot off. He is quicker than I thought and has decent handles and can get to the rim. He appears to be ahead of White and Frankamp for the 5th guard spot as HEM noted. Also I know Fran coached at UNM, but his lack of objectivity was quite apparent. He went on and on about the "bad" third foul on Kirk, but never commented on a couple of non calls against NM. Lastly it was reassuring to see the designer, Perry Ellis show his varied offensive skills. His ability to occasionally step out and hit the three will just enhance his back to the basket game.


Jack Wilson 4 months, 1 week ago

I certainly hope that Self has made the decision on the 5th perimeter player that he said he needed to make, and sticks with Greene for a while. If we go 6 or 7 games and Greene doesn't perform in a regular role, then perhaps reassess. But he looked the part Tuesday and Saturday, in my book. White was healthy vs. Florida and played 2 minutes to Greene's 14. So I'm doubtful that the alleged injury to White is a factor here, but you never know what Self is considering.


Elias Dunlavy 4 months, 1 week ago

I think Greene Frankamp and White will all be really good players before their time at Kansas is finished. Don't sleep on Conner. I Still think he will have the best KU career of the 3 when all is said and done


Ian Emerson 4 months, 1 week ago

I agree Suzi. A lot of the time injuries can lead to other players stepping in and taking the role of the injured player if he performs better then said injured player.


Suzi Marshall 4 months, 1 week ago

I like how you led the article about the need to always be assertive in the face of adversity. The most telling moment occurred at the 3 minute mark in the 1st Q when Greene missed the layup in transition. I though Self was going to pull him right away for not being aggressive and go for the dunk. Instead Self left him in another minute before pulling him out at the 2 minute mark to think things over, then put him back in at the 1 minute mark to finish the half. I could be reading too much into this sequence because he was playing the 3. Wiggins had 2 fouls and AWIII out with a hip pointer. It will be interesting to the substitution pattern against Georgetown with AWIII healthy.


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