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.


Suzi Marshall 7 years, 1 month 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.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 1 month ago

I don't get why White (easily best 3 pt%) isn't the 1st player in. I know last game was a hip pointer but not against Florida.

Is he still eligible to transfer for the second semester?

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month ago

Just STOP with the transfer crap. Good grief, the guy is a bench player at Kansas. Do you really think he is so bent out of shape at not getting quality minutes that he is going to have a tizzy and transfer?

By all accounts and interviews, White understands that his playing time is controlled by the effort and results he has in practice and the limited minutes he plays in games. He likely undrestands that if he is to get more minutes that he needs to keep working hard.

Jeesh, I am glad these kids are more mature and patient than the adults that cheer for them.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 1 month ago

FYI.. You don't know jack about me. Go blow smoke up someone else's ass. I believe the question of maturity and patience is more on you than anyone else. Jeesh, I wish you were right in front of me but who needs the hassle for dealing with minors.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 1 month ago

I asked a question.. I really do not know the rules on when a player can transfer after the first semester but before the second semester starts If you don't like the question, then why bother responding?

No reason for for your immature response, maybe next time you can do better.. although I will not hold my breath. Meanwhile, if anyone does know the rules for transferring before the second semester, I would appreciate the answer.

Benz..maybe you've heard this before. It is better to sit without talking and, letting people believe you are ignorant than it is to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

Looks like we have another wannabe board monitor. Seriously dude... it's not needed. Everyone should be able to ask questions without some pos proselytizing what they believe to be appropriate.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

Hope this link helps:

Hopefully the new board monitor will see fit to let me post this.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 1 month ago

And that wasn't anything against Greene.. I think he will be one hell of a player at Kansas. I just think White is a little better.

Ian Emerson 7 years, 1 month 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.

Elias Dunlavy 7 years, 1 month 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

Jack Wilson 7 years, 1 month 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.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 1 month ago

If I'm White..I transfer. You need to do what's best for you. Quintrell Thomas transferred and did well at UNLV.

Truth is, he could have really helped us out 2011/12 if he had stayed but I'm purely guessing that HCBS said he would do better elsewhere.

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month ago

Thomas stats in three seasons at UNLV were 3.7ppg, 4.4 ppg and 6.7 ppg. That isn't exactly "doing well". White is at 4.1 ppg this year and he gets to play for a team that might compete for a national title. I can 100% guarantee that he'll be scoring more than Thomas' 6.7 ppg in his senior year at Kansas if he sticks with it.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 1 month ago

"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."

So what is the real story?

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month ago

That Self is more concerned with defensive play than three point shooting and that Greene is doing better than White in practice and in games on defense.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 1 month ago

So much for doing better. Maybe you noticed Andrew White wearing a suit during the Georgetown game.

Could it possibly be an injury (maybe something like a hip pointer) that is keeping him out of the game?.

As for defense, Greene is constantly losing his man after ball screens. At times, he looks lost plus he has more turnovers than three point shots made.

Mick Allen 7 years, 1 month 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.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 1 month ago


I'm also thinking there are not any minutes for Black. Self has done more than enough giving him a chance. Traylor will certainly remain the first big off the bench. If you assume another big, such as Lucas, would be part of the rotation, then Self will have a 9 man rotation....4 bigs and 5 perimeter (Tharp, Mason, Selden, Wiggins and White/Greene).

Of the 4 TO Tharpe had, only 1 was a bad one. The other 3 (lob to Wiggins, pass to no Greene's shoulder, and bounce pass to Ellis on the wing) were ok TO. Ellis and Greene were more responsible for the other two, IMO.

I'm not so sure Greene is ahead of AWIII. White has shot the 3 better and is a better defender. It may be that Self is giving him a good chance before settling in before con play. I expect Self will provide another game for AWIII to "recover" to provide Greene another good look vs. Georgetown. Knowing Self, he'll probably go back to AWIII for the bigger minutes against Toledo, then try to make a more definitive rotation decision before the SDSU game. Greene does have a chance to pull a "Gerhig" with great performances. The color call is a close one. If the game film does not reveal the 5th, practice time and attitude will be the decider.

Oak....I hope AWIII sticks it out here even with Oubre coming next year. I love the guy. Manning had a pretty good freshman year but it does look like Embiid is on his way to be the best freshman big since Wilt.

Mick Allen 7 years, 1 month ago

Suzi I'll agree that 2 of Na's turnovers were not his fault. The one to Greene and the one to Ellis. Greene has to be aware and look at the ball and point guard. On the pass to Ellis it appeared had Perry continued to the basket, which Na thought he would, he would have taken the pass in stride for a lay in. The lob to Wiggens is on Nadiir. The pass was too high and off line. The bounce pass on the move to Selden for a lay up and the no look bounce pass to Ellis in the lane were as good a dimes as you will see.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 1 month ago

No disagreement. We had Lucas open on the block had Greene been alert. I wish one of the writers would have asked Self what and who he was upset with on that play. Nevertheless, those represent atleast 6 points we should have had. All of us Texas Hawks are really proud the Allen family stays involved with Kansas BBall. You have a well vested interest.

John Randall 7 years, 1 month ago

You are aware that freshmen didn't play varsity ball in the 50s ?

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month ago

My guess is that White will see a good chunk of minutes against Toledo. Greene is playing well and should get the chunk of time against Georgetown to see if he can build on what he is improving. You don't reward Greene for having his best game by cutting his minutes.

Michael Bratisax 7 years, 1 month ago

Really Benz? Didn't know you had a source inside the Jayhawk training room or is this just another example of poor speculation. Hopefully, he will be ready to play but you have no more info than anyone else here does.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 1 month 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!!!!!

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month ago

Pump the brakes a bit. Greene isn't going to be an early departure for the NBA. The only guys that develop into early entries for the NBA from guys that fight for minutes their freshmen years are typically bigs that are drafted based almost solely on their size. Greene does not have any unique thing (size, athleticism) that will make NBA scouts drool to get their hands on him. There are a lot of good shooters in college basketball.

Why can't we just be happy that the kid is starting to get it instead of pushing the thoughts out there that he might be an early entry NBA player? I think too many kids make the WRONG decision for themselves because they read silly stuff like this about them and start to believe their own hype.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 1 month ago

Benz..I should have been clearer..actually, I was thinking more of a three year guy ala Paul Pierce and, by the way, don't short sell a 6'-7" outside deadeye with great hops that emerges after a three year career!!

Tony Bandle 7 years, 1 month ago

Sorry..should have been clearer....I was thinking a three year guy ala Paul Pierce. I way is he a OAD or even a TAD at this stage, anyway.

Chris Shaw 7 years, 1 month ago

Early departure meaning playing 3 years at Kansas. I see Evan Turner like for Brannen Greene if Self (Not Likely) ever wanted a point forward type player.

Evan Bilyeu 7 years, 1 month ago

If Embiid stays consistent then I think he will be the #1 pick, that being said we get Myles Turner. Ellis is back to his normal self and scoring higher numbers, I sure hope White doesn't transfers because I love his game and his work ethic, he would be great, Landen Lucas is going to be amazing when he leaves Kansas. The losses we had were not because they were great teams, Kansas just wasn't playing good that is why we almost lost to UTEP.

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month 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.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 1 month ago

I like Lucas a lot! I think he will have ever larger roles at KU.

Joe Baker 7 years, 1 month ago

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

Vaughn Kruger 7 years, 1 month 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.

Benz Junque 7 years, 1 month ago

Gee, maybe freshmen come in and find out it's a lot harder to shoot threes against college players than the ding dongs they played against in high school?!?

There are zero freshmen that play at decent teams in the Top 50 of 3pt fg%. I filter that down to decent teams because there are three total, a guy from Central Arkansas, Ball State and Presbyterian that play teams really no better than a good high school team.

Opponents are taller, faster and defenses are designed better than anything these kids have ever seen. Typically, young shooters are too amped up and their shots are haywire for most of their freshman year.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 1 month ago

An open 3 has almost the same degree of difficulty in college than it does in high school. There is a difference, approximately 1 foot, in college from the top of the key but for a three-point specialist, his play is far from expectations

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 1 month ago

Sorry Vaughn: You forgot Sherron Collins, B.Rush, Chalmers, Teahan, McLemore, Xavier...ALL could shoot the 3 and did it well throughout their first season playing for Self.

Yonatan Negash 7 years, 1 month 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.

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