Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Self says Black’s breakout still to come

Kansas forward Tarik Black throws down a dunk prior to tipoff against Colorado on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Kansas forward Tarik Black throws down a dunk prior to tipoff against Colorado on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colorado.


Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self hasn’t given up on Memphis transfer Tarik Black, who has not scored and grabbed just seven rebounds total in limited action the last four games.

“Tarik ... today he was the best player in practice,” Self said, praising the 6-foot-9, 260-pound senior on Monday’s “Hawk Talk” radio show. “I know he’ll have some moments, and I know he’ll catch some breaks (in upcoming games).

“He wants it so bad. Sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself,” Self added of the Memphis native who has come off the bench the last two games after starting the first eight.

Six of KU’s “bigs” played two or more minutes in Saturday’s 80-63 victory over New Mexico.

Black, who had two turnovers, worked two minutes, as did Justin Wesley, who had a rebound and hit one free throw. Perry Ellis had 21 points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes; Joel Embiid 18 points and six boards in 25 minutes; Landen Lucas two points and five boards in 10 minutes; and Jamari Traylor four points, three assists and a rebound in nine minutes.

“Jamari has been terrific,” Self said of the 6-8 sophomore who had nine rebounds and five points in 17 minutes at Florida. “He makes two great passes for layups (vs. UNM). He’s playing with energy.

“Landen gave us some good minutes,” he added of 6-10 red-shirt freshman Lucas, “and Justin (6-9, senior) played late and did fine. We are a deep team up front, but with that being said, if the big fella keeps getting better ... he needs to be playing 30 minutes a game.”

The big fella is Embiid, a 7-foot freshman from Cameroon who is progressing rapidly.

“He is certainly capable of being a guy that could put up pretty big numbers if he can stay out there a little longer,” Self said. “He still gives you reasons to get onto him (at practice).

“He is a sponge. He wants to learn, wants to be a player. Certain things still bother him from a strength standpoint and things like that. He is very graceful on his feet.”

Finals: KU’s players continue to prepare for Saturday’s 11 a.m. home game against Georgetown while also taking their final exams in the classroom.

“We have a master final exam schedule. We work around the master schedule,” Self said of a list of the players and their exam times. “We had a four-hour window (Monday). The 2:30 (p.m.) range was the first time available (to practice). It was the same (Tuesday). Starting Wednesday, we’ll go at 11 (a.m.) or 12 (noon) every day. That’s the time slot available, which is not bad because we play at 11 Saturday.

“We’ll be in the gym a lot when we come back (from holiday break on Dec. 26). We’ll be in the gym a lot, not necessarily practicing all the time. There will be a lot of film and individual improvement and shooting and things like that. We’ll be in there a couple times a day that can vary. We can practice any time on those days (until start of second-semester classes on Jan. 21).”

The players will leave for their hometowns after the game Saturday. Joel Embiid, who hails from Cameroon, will be the only one not heading home. He’ll be able to hang out with players from the area as well as coaches and their families.

“They get four days off, which is a big number for what we usually get,” Self said. KU will meet Toledo at 7 p.m., Dec. 30, in Allen.

Loud arena: on Tuesday deemed KU’s Allen Fieldhouse the “loudest, most intimidating arena in the country.” Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium was ranked second, followed by the Carrier Dome at Syracuse, Gallagher-Iba Arena at Oklahoma State and The Pit at New Mexico. To see the video, click here. KU has won 66-straight games against nonconference competition in Allen.

Wiggins one, Embiid three: ESPN’s Chad Ford on Tuesday updated his rankings of college players for the NBA Draft. KU’s Andrew Wiggins remains Ford’s No. 1 prospect for the draft. Embiid is the third overall pick, behind Duke’s Jabari Parker. Wayne Selden is No. 19.


Erich Hartmann 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Been wanting to see a big Black breakout...


Jesse Johnson 4 months ago

Just my personal opinion: give all of Black's minutes to Lucas. Lucas did some really good things, I thought, in the game on Saturday, most notably rebounding the ball, one of the biggest culprits in our three losses and something, as HEM pointed out, is a major weakness of Black's. Black, being a senior, was supposed to be a guy that was already developed that could jump right into the lineup and give us some solid big man minutes. He has not been that and I don't see any reason to waste minutes on developing him when he is already a senior. Lucas on the other hand is already giving us good minutes and has 3 more years. I say use the precious minutes to develop him instead of wasting them on Black. Again, just my opinion.


Kye Clark 4 months ago

Something that Self mentions in the article and I have been on since the Florida game has been the play of Jamari Traylor. What has caught my eye in particular has been his confidence & execution of scoring moves. Against Florida, he had a nice drive & spin move along the baseline for a bucket. He had a couple nice moves against New Mexico, one in particular coming to mind was him putting the ball on the floor and driving the lane for a lay-up.

Short-term, this is very encouraging with Black under-performing and Lucas, while solid, still developing. The real benefits could be long-term though, as HEM has pointed out how we have the potential to be very thin in the post next year depending on early draft entries and late signees. Is there any reason to think this guy couldn't be just as good if not slightly better than Darnell Jackson by his senior year?

I used to be fairly skeptical about Jamari's role on the team and potential ceiling. While maybe a bit premature, I think I've turned the corner and am at the very least no longer discouraged at the prospect of him playing major minutes and having a major role on both this year's team and future squads.


Jerry Tompkins 4 months ago

Why not talk up Perry Ellis? He's been Mr. Go-To all season long and outscored Embiid in the NM game. Embiid is needless to say very impressive, but let's not forget Mr. Ellis!


Tony Bandle 4 months ago


1] The picture of the rainbow-colored KU rotation is clearing up and the ones left behind are as clear as black and white......Black and White!!!

2] 2014 starting line-up..Turner, Mason, Oubre, Alexander and Ellis...YIKES!!!

3] My atterntion span is about at Golden Retriever level so that's why I make lists of short comments focused on one idea at a time......uh.....why am I typing this??

4] Tarik just had the misfortune of showing up at the same time as "a once in a generation" big man walked through the door.

5] If you were the Toronto Raptors GM and you had the first pick, would you take the best Canadien freshmen or the highest upside freshman big man who happen to be teammates, ehh??

6] Loudest basketball venue I ever heard??... ..Allen Field House. Loudest venue I've ever heard??....the St.Louis TWA Dome during the Greatest Show on Turf days. 64,000 fans cheering at the 1999 NFC Champoinship Game against Tampa Bay. Sound level hit 130 decibels....parents were running to the exits with their hands over their kids ears!!

7] I'd say we have a chance of winning Saturday..oh crap, I misplaced my sarcasm font!!


Jack Wilson 4 months ago

First, the headline is deceiving. Self never said that he expected a "breakout" by Black, which implies him at least getting productive or having a big game. Self said he'll "have some moments" and expects him to "catch some breaks."

We are 10 games in, nearly a third of the regular season, and Black's play on the court has been a disaster. One thing everyone can probably agree on.

What is concerning about Black is although he looks the part, his numbers don't bear out perhaps what we were expecting. I recall the comments of multiple Memphis fans when he signed .. basically, don't expect much. Black didn't even start for Memphis much of his junior season, and his minutes decreased from his sophomore to junior seasons.

Rebound rates per minute played -- Black was at 20.9 for his three year career at Memphis. 18.9 was the low per year (in the year he played the most minutes), and a high of 23.2 (his junior year).

Compare that to post starters their final years here - KY .295, TRob .373, Withey .275, Markieff .341, and Marcus .269. Black was more comparable to Traylor rate last season of .213. As another comparison, Ellis' rate last season was .286.

One astounding stat .. in Black's sophomore season, he had only 6 assists in 895 minutes. I have never seen anything like that before.

By my count, he has had one good stretch in 10 games. He scored 5 points in about 2 minutes vs. Wake Forest (he had one foul at the time).

Of course, we attribute his lack of productivity to his fouls. But his continued fouling tells us something, doesn't it? For a freshman, we'd understand. Maybe a sophomore. But this guy is a senior and for 10 games he can't figure out how to play a few minutes without fouling? That tells me something.

As Fraschilla pointed out Saturday, Black has more fouls than rebounds. That's amazing.

Black may have his moments, as Self anticipates, but I think it would be an incredible surprise if he suddenly became the reliable, productive inside player most of us expected him to be. Looking at his career numbers ... particularly rebounding ... I don't know why I expected it. It will be interesting to see where Black is 10 games from now.

From what I've seen of Traylor, and now Lucas, they both seem to be better choices off the bench right now.


Suzi Marshall 4 months ago

Self will probably have to let Black play through his fouls or else he'll never get the PT to show his skills. Kansas has a bunch of vocal fans everywhere. This years road games to TCU, UT and TT will have Kansas well represented. Tickets for the TCU game went on sale a couple of days ago. Their place holds 7,412. I talked to the same TCU ticket manager this year as last. He told me prior to the game they had sold only about 1,000 (season tickets) but this game sold out by 11am...three hours after tickets went on sale...almost all to Kansas fans.

There seems to be a growing opinion that Selden would be much better off staying another year. NBA has moved him off the 2014 board. They have him as #5 in 2015 ( That board has Turner (1), Alexander (3) and Oubre (4) as early 1st round picks to go with Selden. If we land Turner the 2015 draft will be all Kansas with the 1,3,4 and 5 picks.

Mickelson is projected as a mid 2nd round pick at 45. The scouts all watch the Kansas practices, they must see something in Michelson.

Let's hope we can win some championships with this kind of talent.


Ron Franklin 4 months ago

If I'm the NBA exec, I take Embiid over Wiggins. Joel is the once in a decade player they proclaimed Wiggins is. In my humble opinion, in basketball the team with the best interior presence wins more often.

I'm not sure I agree with Selden being on the rise. He has been too invisible to say for sure.


Craig Carr 4 months ago

Selden #19? If so, he should go. Seems like a great kid and I don't know how he would ever go higher.


Benz Junque 4 months ago

By all accounts, Black has been a team leader and tutor to the KU big men. For that alone he should be praised.


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