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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Could KU be too nice?

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You don’t pull the strings on an outrageous streak of 264 games without losing two in a row if you don’t know how to use that loss to administer a one-sided beating in the next outing.

Bill Self, a masterful brainwasher who year-in-and-year out has shown he knows how to put his players in the right frame of mind to maximize their abilities, is as good at getting his team to bounce back as any coach in any sport.

Until, that is, Wednesday night in Fort Worth, Texas, where the same collection of players who defeated Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 22 scored two points in the first 13:53 of the first half and lost to last-place TCU. It came on the heels of KU’s rare home loss to a good Oklahoma State team.

What is it about this team that makes it so different from Self’s others, which all rebounded so well from tough losses? I racked my brain — dug through dead cells, piles of regret and the indestructible sweet tooth running around up there — in search of an answer. A basketball explanation would not suffice. It’s more than this team’s sub-standard point-guard play, more than the broken string of exceptional power forwards (Thomas Robinson, Marcus Morris, Darrell Arthur, a veteran Darnell Jackson, Julian Wright, Wayne Simien, Nick Collison/Drew Gooden).

Basketball reasons can explain Oklahoma State, not TCU. More is at play.

All I could come up with was that this is without question the nicest group of young men I have covered in eight seasons following Kansas basketball. The other rosters included some players who were rough around the edges, a few more than just the edges. You challenge the manhood of guys like that, tell them and the world they’re soft, and they’ll prove you wrong. Tell kinder men — that, by the way, is a compliment — they are soft, and they might just take it personally in the wrong way, withdraw into themselves and unwittingly prove you right.

That was one shell-shocked basketball team that tripped all over its own frightening shadow Wednesday.

Self has coached in seven more Elite Eights, won two more national semifinals and one more national championship than I have, you say. I say you’re right. Not only that, he has forgotten in the last five minutes more about not just basketball but motivating and leading men than I’ll learn in a lifetime. But even the smartest guy in the room isn’t always right.

If that’s it, if Self’s typical approach isn’t the right fit, that would qualify as good news because he’ll realize it and try a path that does work.

If that’s not the case, then it’s one of two things: He either simply didn’t recruit as talented a team as the early-season success fooled us into thinking, or it’s just another case of a modern sports team peaking two or three times during a season, each time climbing a ladder of sound fundamentals to get out of the valley.

Comments

Michael Luby 1 year, 10 months ago

Ok, for some odd reason my last couple of posts have disappeared. Im fairly certain I didnt say anything bad enough to have them removed. SO, Im posting first on this one.
Good opinion post TK. I think you may have something there. I hope Coach has a chance to see this article, could be useful insight on all points.

KGphoto 1 year, 10 months ago

I've been having the same problem with posting. It's frustrating.

hawk316 1 year, 10 months ago

Tom, interesting analysis. As an old baseball guy, you'll remember the story of a very young Willie Mays and his crusty manager, Leo Durocher. When the immensely talented Mays was struggling big time in his rookie season, Durocher had enough insight to know that he needed to handle Willie differently than he normally would. He fathered Mays, comforted and gently encouraged him, and the results were amazing. The "Say Hey Kid" blossomed under Durocher's gentle touch, and the rest is history. (I still think Mays might have been the best ever).

I wonder if Self needs to change his approach for this particular group?

Mike Bratisax 1 year, 10 months ago

Today's athletes are too coddled to begin with. I think they more likely need some tough love.

Tom Keegan 1 year, 10 months ago

Funny you mention the Mays-Durocher relationship. I misplaced the Willie Mays biography about a month ago. I cleaned my car two days ago and found that (plus about two garbage bags of trash and another garbage bag of dirty golf clothes). The Mays-Durocher relationship makes for very interesting reading. When you think of Willie Mays you think of great catches, home runs and running the bases so hard. The book really highlights his amazing arm.

hawk316 1 year, 10 months ago

Truly amazing ballplayer. Tom, you may not know this, but the great Hall of Fame catcher, Roy Campanella, spotted Mays as a fantastic young talent in the Negro League and encouraged the Dodger front office to sign him. By the time they responded, the Giants had beat them to it. Can you imagine a Dodger outfield in the 50's of Snider, Mays and Furillo? (And don't get started about how the Dodgers lost Roberto Clemente...)

hawk316 1 year, 10 months ago

To jhawk: A good father learns that each child has a different personality and must be handled uniquely. While some rules obviously must remain constant for all, one challenge in good parenting is to learn how best to relate to each individual child in the most beneficial way (for example, in discipline, child A might need only a stern look while child B might need more dramatic measures). All I'm suggesting is that a good coach must learn to adjust to the unique chemistry of each group of players. I don't know if a more fatherly, encouraging approach is what is needed in this case or not, but it's a legitimate point to consider.

hawk316 1 year, 10 months ago

Of course, I would add that Coach Self is a master motivator. I'm sure he'll figure it out without my help.

Kyle Sybesma 1 year, 10 months ago

Well written. Self challenged this team after the OSU lost and I felt bad for TCU leading up to that game. TCU was in for an epic beat down. What we didn't anticipate was this would be the first team not to respond to Self's toughness challenge.

We've all experienced tough KU defeats but I can't recall any loss where KU didn't put out the effort. Three scenarios for most of KU defeats: The other team is better than us, ball doesn't bounce our way or the other team is unconscious from 3. This is the first time I felt we didn't put out the effort. It's hard to coach a team that doesn't put out the effort but if anyone can fix this it's Self.

741hawk 1 year, 10 months ago

“Something is Horribly Wrong.” . . . 741hawk

1) Elijah has both knees wrapped. Note: Keith Langford’s senior year production declined toward the end. It wasn’t until two or three years later that we learned of an injury that slowed him. 2) Why did we play so well early (Ohio State in Columbus, for example), and so poorly lately? Young men 16 to 22 years of age develop their physical skills at different times, at different rates. This year KU is as mature a team as can be imagined – four senior starters (three five-year seniors). It’s possible that they were as good at the beginning of the year as they were going to be the rest of the season. As the season has progressed, other teams “caught up.” It’s possible that Perry Ellis may have been almost as good a high school player as he will be a college player. Note: UConn won the nat. championship with three freshmen – but by tournament time, they were no longer “freshmen.”
3) With four senior starters, this team has seen and heard all that Bill Self has to offer. It’s possible that nothing he says or does makes a difference because these seniors have heard it before and seen it before. If that’s the case, unless highly paid Coach Self changes how he coaches, expect no change in the outcome. 4) Is it time for Coach Self to take some responsibility? After each of the last two losses, he publicly “blasted” the players. Generally, it’s not thought wise to criticize your own players publicly. Should Coach consider shouldering some of the blame? I would think so.

Mike Barnhart 1 year, 10 months ago

Don't forget Duke losing to Miami by almost 40 points.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 10 months ago

Calipari has made plenty of changes to his roster this season and Kentucky actually is playing the best they have played all season. Roy Williams keeps tinkering with his starting lineup almost daily it seems. UNC doesn't have a center, but he's trying every one of his 3 centers he has on his squad. With that said, UNC has won 5/6.

I didn't mind the Perry Ellis change in the lineup. I don't think it effected the team one way or another with KY or Perry starting. It certainly didn't motivate Perry in the least.

Really, the only thing I learned from the TCU games is that when tough times hit the fan (You know the real saying) Self is going to go with Tharpe, EJ, B-Mac, Relly, and Withey. Those are the 5 guys he trusts the most.

With that said, if those are the 5 guys he trust a simple full court press or something to get Kansas out of it's "Funk" in the first half was absolutely necessary. It's the same consistent theme in games like these where Self's "Game Management" is predictable.

What are you gonna do when your defense doesn't force turnovers, get steals, and you can't get out in transition at least a couple times a game? What happens is you don't dictate tempo and you allow your opponent to set the pace, get comfortable, and build confidence. As bad as TCU was/is that is exactly what happened with that game progression.

So...from my perspective I've seen nothing but change from Roy (Which is hard for me to say) and Calipari throughout their season. I mean, Calipari has a little white walk-on PG that is getting significant minutes for his ball club. Calipari suspended Harrow for a game and told him to go home and think about whether or not he wanted to be a Kentucky Wildcat right before Christmas.

IMO, it's okay to question Self at times because the below 3 percent chance that Kansas runs into a Davidson 2008 (KU won that game, barely), Cornell 2010 (KU won that game, but should have lost in the Phog), UNI 2010, VCU 2011, Davidson 2012, Purdue 2012 (One lucky bounce/steal late won that game), and TCU 2013...there is a consistent theme and trend in every single one of those games.

Hell, Self even said so himself that he needs to do a better job in games like VCU and UNI and understand when his team is in "Panic Mode" and doing something differently to help correct it.

The only thing I saw differently from Self against TCU was "Coaching Stubborness" and his ability to put on the full court press 2.5 minutes earlier against TCU than he did against VCU and UNI in the second half.

DanR 1 year, 10 months ago

EJ's been wearing the same Adidas knee pads all year... same as Tyshawn wore last year after his surgery. TRob wore them once in a while too last year. WIth the stitching pattern, the white ones look like disposable diapers, but I have no idea why some people are so danged concerned about them.

dylans 1 year, 10 months ago

Louisville lost 3 in a row after ascending to number 1 in the rankings. And another coach to your poor coaching list.

I really believe that we KU fans are so blessed (to the point of being spoiled), that we have no clue that back to back losses happen to other programs yearly. If KU wins 10 more games on the season it would tie KSU's best season ever for total wins? Bill Self averages more wins at KU per year (30) than most programs have in their best year. KU has won 8 conference championships consecutively and is currently in 1st place in spite of a 2 game loosing streak.

It amazes me how people are ready to throw Bill under the bus after a loss. Imagine Bill in orange and black on the OSU sideline. Now imagine OSU with 8 consecutive big 12 championships, 2 final fours, and 1 national championship in the last 10 years. That scares the @#$ out of me. I don't think success would be as easy at OSU, but Bill likes a challenge...

quit crying enjoy the ride

ku_tailg8 1 year, 10 months ago

Just because fans are critical of a team doesn't mean they are spoiled. Even when they were winning the team wasn't playing well. After the TCU game, how could you possibly say "We're still 19-3" Thats great if all you are after is a nice record. I'm looking at building into March. These guys are getting worse. I just don't understand how we can be so bad at shooting outside shots. Midmajors are loaded with teams that are nails when it comes to hitting 3's. These guys are unbelieveably bad. You would think they would get lucky and make a few from time to time.

Jim Roth 1 year, 10 months ago

Face it, we are spoiled. And I like it that way!

Mike Bratisax 1 year, 10 months ago

ralster has it correct...besides I've heard Self on many occasions state a loss was a 'team' loss from coaches on down.

And there are times (@TCU) when the players need to take responsibility...I think the TCU game was one of the first where the players basically quit. These guys just don't seem to grasp the privilege of having KANSAS on their uniforms.

Kyle Sybesma 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree. Because nothing is working they are scared to do anything because when it doesn't work they think they made a mistake when in reality it's because they are playing with a "scared" mindset.

KUFan90 1 year, 10 months ago

"Today marks the start of the competition for 2nd place in the Big 12" - Tom Keegan, January 9, 2013.

Sure looked like this team were world beaters back then didn't it Tom?

I believe that article put a hex on this team, and you are to blame for last night's loss.

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Maybe he should print one today that reads " There is no way these bottom dwellers will EVER win another game ".

That might break the hex !

TexasRockChalk 1 year, 10 months ago

Couldn't agree more. I thought it was foolish to declare KU outright "champs" before the season starts. Bulletin board fodder (like a KU opponent would need it anyway... it's their "Superbowl" every time we step on the court!) for EVERY school in the Big 12, even lowly TCU!

utahjayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Exactly, big mistake by Keegan. Came off as very arrogant to non-KU fans.

Kyle Sybesma 1 year, 10 months ago

So did HCBS when he said we were the "bully of the league and not we've opened the flood gates."

Mike Bratisax 1 year, 10 months ago

Really don't care what non-KU fans think.. Let them go read at their own sites. Also..who didn't think we would win the conference title Jan 9 2013?

Keegan must have some serious mojo if he can influence an entire conference. Tom, any insight on the next lotto numbers?

This might be shocking but editorial pieces are just that...they are not hard news.

BigAl 1 year, 10 months ago

This isn't just on Keegan. Sports talk radio, especially 810, have been declaring the conference race over for weeks now. Also, the Big12 coaches poll, and others, called it early. Keegan is no different than most sports analysts in declaring that the Big12 was locked up by KU.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 10 months ago

Keegan, nice article. But I don't think the loses have much to do with the team personalities.

Hoosierhawkfan 1 year, 10 months ago

Something happened to make all these young men look apprehensive and afraid against TCU. Coach Self will fix it.

leonard 1 year, 10 months ago

"Keep believing EJ's knees are hurt if it makes YOU feel better about his current funk." -- ralster

I am and I will continue to believe EJ is not right physically...and it has little to do with the type of knee wrap he wears.

I watch his on-ball defense when guarding the opposing point guard. He's in continual retreat mode...never attacking the dribbler. I watch his off-ball defense and see him losing his man by being out-quicked. Neither of those scenarios happen to a healthy EJ.

Jason Keller 1 year, 10 months ago

There's no doubt. I don't have a PCL in my right knee. It does not affect my jumping ability whatsoever nor does it affect my sprinting ability. However, I'm afraid that lateral movement is in the rear view mirror for me.

If I remember right, EJ had some of his meniscus taken out or cleaned up. Our meniscus acts as a bushing if you will or a pad between our upper and lower leg. It lets the knee bend smoothly and keeps all the legiments extended and snug. Without a meniscus, the knee can still be somewhat stable but tends to feel a little loose or sloppy. They key is to keep the quadricep as strong as possible, that is where most of our knee stability actually comes from.

My point is that just because EJ makes a really athletic move every now and then doesn't mean he's healthy. There is probably a very limited amount of movements that are affected by his knees but they are there, trust me.

diegohawk 1 year, 10 months ago

He is clearly slowed by his injuries both physically but perhaps most significantly mentally. He doesn't press the opposing teams guards and he is in retreat mode. I want to see him turn the dribbler more. I want to see the whole team turn the dribbler more and lend some help side. Mario was fantastic at help side. We don't really have anyone playing that is like this. Part of the reason I want to see Rio Adams get some more PT. Seems like when he is in he turns the dribbler. Tharp seems to do this some times as well. Not seeing it from EJ consistently.

actorman 1 year, 10 months ago

Ralster, I don't see how you can deny the fact that EJ is not the athlete he once was. It's pretty apparent that there's something going on mentally as well, but as I posted earlier, EJ never goes up for alley-oops like he used to do on a regular basis. So his vertical leap doesn't seem to be nearly what it was before.

Mike Bratisax 1 year, 10 months ago

I have no idea if EJ is 85% or 100%. I am inclined to think that he just isn't a very good PG. EJ has never really lived up to his rankings..he was either over ranked, has never quite found his comfort zone or has been playing through injuries.

As was stated above,we will know AFTER the season.

utahjayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

This thing is bigger than EJ's knees. His knees didn't make the majority of the team appear that they were on cruise control against TCU. There was no fire from the players and HCBS until there was only a min or two left. The exception was Nadiir who ended up doing too much but at least he had fire over a stretch.

jhox 1 year, 10 months ago

Different people react differently to criticism. Clearly EJ doesn't respond well to being called out for his poor play and it has affected his confidence. Self has always been good at reading people. I'm sure he'll figure this out and help him get his Mojo back.

Mike Bratisax 1 year, 10 months ago

He should be used to it by now...the biggest difference between EJ as a freshman and EJ as a senior is the time allotted to him after making a careless turn over.

CardHawkFan 1 year, 10 months ago

Granted, EJ has been playing substandard, but I think Keegan pointed out a much more glaring shortcoming. We don't have a dominant post player. We are used to having guys underneath the basket be bullies, whether it be scoring the ball or rebounding. I love Withey's presence defensively, but teams just simply don't fear him getting the ball on the low block, other than maybe to pass it out. When is the last time a Bill Self team had so few baseline alley oop dunks? It's a well known fact, if you can't score inside consistently, you aren't drawing double teams to free up guys. And, if you aren't hitting from outside, teams can also play off. Simply put, no player on this roster right now deserves a double team, so we have put ourselves in a position to be easily guarded.

diegohawk 1 year, 10 months ago

We red shirted one of the post players I thought could give us some physical presence in the blocks (Lucas). We also lost the other one (Peters) to injury.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 10 months ago

Exactly what I was going to respond with! :)

AirCapJay 1 year, 10 months ago

The wrong guys are taking too many shots. Travis, Ben and Kevin need to be attempting more shots. Kevin needs to work on getting his bunnies to fall. Travis needs to drive to the basket more. Ben needs to be Ben more.

KUFan90 1 year, 10 months ago

I dont think I want KY to shoot more. I'm still in shock that Releford only attempted one shot. That game was begging for him to take over like he has in some other games and hit for 20+ points. I just don't get it.

Others have said it and I agree...I'd rather have seen Travis go like 3-13 from the field than 0-1. At least it would reflect making an effort.

diegohawk 1 year, 10 months ago

I want KY to shoot more. The shots however I want him to shoot would be put backs and tip dunks off of our guards getting into the lane and creating contact while getting to the rim. If the foul isn't called or they don't make the shot, I want Kevin and Jeff getting put backs and tip dunks.

If the mentality is to get to the rim and create contact this "problem" we are having goes away quickly. Elijah is good a getting by defenders. What he is struggling with is creating contact and finishing. Ben and Travis and Naadir and even KY to a degree as well as Perry should be doing this more. Embrace the contact. Take it to the defense. Make the refs blow the whistle.

diegohawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Perry should play a stretch 4 next year. He will be more physical but where I think he creates mismatches is with his handle vs another 4. Perry has good court vision and also a good handle. He will get stronger with the ball but I will never expect him to be a physical post presence. Perhaps serviceable.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 10 months ago

I think if he's to develop and become a good college player....I think the one from KU whose college career he should emulate would be Marcus Morris.

Now, he had SOME games where he'd get a lot of rebounds, but really more of the inside dirty work went to others, whether it was Cole, or even Markieff in their Junior years. What he was really developing was a good perimeter jumper, including even from 3 for a college "4" man. I have a feeling that Perry COULD over time do the same thing.

BainDread 1 year, 10 months ago

All season, Releford has taken outside shots primarily when he is wide open, squared up, and not moving laterally. He has a very deliberate shooting motion and appears to be reluctant to shoot when coming off screens and moving laterally - probably because he knows from practice that he is not good at this. Opposing coaches have figured this out and are not giving him the space to do this,

sleepy33 1 year, 10 months ago

Agreed. You also very rarely see him drive to the hoop without finishing, which to my mind means that he doesn't attempt it if he doesn't see the path to finish (ie he doesn't do what Tyshawn and now EJ have done which is take a reckless drive to the hoop with no plan and hope they draw a foul). All this can add up to nights where he takes very few shots.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 10 months ago

I think you mean Travis, Ben & Jeff....NOT Kevin.

Mike Barnhart 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm with Trojanhawk and others who have NOTICED odd basketball recently. I think it's fear of failure. It was obvious in the TCU game: short armed passes, hesitation, stumbling on cuts, weird looking jump shots, REFUSAL to take open shots and so on.

Gotta' stop thinking and just play ball!

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

"Gotta' stop thinking and just play ball!"

That's exactly right jjjjjhok. There's plenty of talent on this team, they just are mind-freaked right now. It's like when I used to play golf (USED to), I was actually a very good golfer - until I started thinking. "Is my grip too tight/loose? Am I standing too close/too far away? Which way / how hard is the wind blowing? Do I have the right polo shirt for these slacks? Should I switch to Lite Beer? "

You think all these idiotic things that effect ( affect? I never can figure that out ) your game and it's the same with these guys. Except it's magnified by a bazillion because the whole basketball world is watching and analyzing them too.

Martin Rosenblum 1 year, 10 months ago

Jesse wrote on 2/6:

"..If the Jayhawks struggle in this one, it will rightfully be time for fans to panic. I don't think KU will, though. After a humbling home loss to Oklahoma State, I see the Jayhawks taking advantage of TCU mistakes to score some easy points in transition in front of a pro-KU crowd in Fort Worth..".

Did he think of our team as "too nice" then, as Keegan has posed his thoughts? I didn't see anywhere in his article that we should have been at all intimidated by TCU. For a team to score 2 points in nearly 14 minutes to start a game that Jesse thought would be a blowout, does raise some concern. Is it possible to have misjudged a poorly performing TCU or undervalued the need to "scout" them with more than cursory interest? Or, did the whole team go "nice" as Keegan would have us believe, in the matter of two games?

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

When I first saw this article at 6:30 this morning, I didn't think too much about the title, but Keegan hit the nail on the head here.

KU has had a reputation of being "too nice" for many years now, and this would be a good time to put an end to it. Bill Self has a reputation of being a solid, tough, no-nonsense kind of guy but the teams he's fielded at KU have not always represented that.

I know it's hard to argue with his winning percentage and all the conference championships and the NC - BUT - how many times over the years have you watched us either get off to incredibly slow starts against lesser teams, or get out to huge leads and let them dwindle to nothing? We've heard (and felt) many times that these teams don't have that "killer" instinct.

I love Bill Self as our coach and I hope he stays here for another 20 years, but I also wish he would see to it that once we get an opponent down, they stay down.

Right now KU IS too nice and this would be a good time to toughen up.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 10 months ago

I wouldn't say that the Morris twins, Ty. Taylor, or Tho. Robinson had reputations for being "too nice".

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

No, but we're not just talking about a couple of individuals over the years, rather how we are perceived as a team. I've heard WAY too much talk of how KU has no killer inistinct - can't put teams away. Unfortunately, I can't argue that very much.

championhawks 1 year, 10 months ago

"Travis, Ben and Kevin need to be attempting more shots. Kevin needs to work on getting his bunnies to fall"

Yes, Young needs to get his bunnies to fall, but he definitely does not need to take more shots!

Young is not an offensive player. As much as we would love for him to start knocking down the foul line jumper, it just isn't going to happen on a consistent basis. His points are going to come mostly off of hustle plays, which means he will get those easy layup type baskets that he needs to start converting more consistently.

jgkojak 1 year, 10 months ago

Watch this video, and tell me Elijah is the same guy this year. He has NO ELEVATION. None. That is a dude that is playing hurt.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 10 months ago

Keegan also forgot one very important piece to this article..."Leadership". There isn't one "Leader" out of this bunch. So, in essence, the team is too nice because there isn't one guy keeping everyone accountable for their play.

As much as I would love for one of the seniors to be able to step up and accept that role, their personalities don't fit the "Leadership" characteristics. I saw B-Mac for the first time this season get pissed off late in the game against TCU and take a couple drives with more anger than I've seen in the past. That is good!

I really think B-Mac needs to tell the seniors, either keep up or get out of my way and let me take over this team. IMO, that has to be his mindsight. The only other "Fight" I saw out of anyone was Tharpe.

When you have 2 or 3 seniors sitting on the bench (Traylor was the other one and there were 4 sitting next to Self) at the 12:47 mark and Kansas finally got a bucket to generate some energy, the entire team jumped off the bench clapping and encouraging their teammates except those 4 sitting next to Self. They just sat there. It was Withey, Traylor, KY, and I couldn't tell if it was EJ or Relly sitting over there. That's all I needed to know about the mental "Softness" of this squad.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 10 months ago

After watching that video, that pretty much assured me that EJ needs to spend more time at SG.

Michael Leiker 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't think this whole situation is mental or physical at all.

There was a play in the OSU game where Withey caught the ball on the right shoulder from Tharpe at the point, Tharpe then moved to the left side wing and Withey passed the ball cross court in his direction a play we've seen over and over for years. Smart jumped in, stole this cross court pass and went down for a dunk. It's always amazed me how they've gotten away with this over and over. The league has finally found a way to start defending KUs monotonous offensive sets.

My point is that for the last 5 years since the title, be it Sherron, the twins or Taylor, KS has had a player able to take the ball when needed and get a shot or make a shot for a teammate. We just don't have that guy this year. This team does not have time to run a 3-man weave at the top of the key for 20 seconds of the shot clock and assume they're going to find a good shot in the final 15s.

For me, Self has two choices, find a way to get these guys to start reading and reacting, or just start running set plays every time down the court. Too late for a drastic change to their normal man offense. Our guys are mindlessly running through their sets right now and they are very easy to defend. Self has to put them in a situation where they can change this.

Chris Shaw 1 year, 10 months ago

That's all Kansas has been doing all season is running set plays down the court. That was Kansas' issue when they were playing well back before Temple and that's their issue since the Temple game back before Christmas since they have been playing bad.

Kansas doesn't have a "Playmaker" and they lack "Leadership". Two very crucial characteristics for a team to succeed come post-season time. I am interested to see if B-Mac steps up his game and separates himself from the seniors instead of trying to blend in and I am curious who on this squad is going to become the vocal leader...a.k.a "A-Hole" of the team.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 10 months ago

Something tells me that even though he'll only be a freshman that Selden could well be the unquestioned leader next season. I would suspect taht it would be between him & Tharpe.

Kent Noble 1 year, 10 months ago

This team is definitely not the aggressive team, as teams in the past. It would really be nice if we had the Jarod Hasse type of players on the floor. Maybe coach self needs to break out the old Roy Williams tapes when Jarod Hasse played and show them to this team. Nobody gets on the floor and gets after it. They all bend over and try to pick up a loose ball instead of diving on the floor after it. As of lately we stand there and look at it. That's just not KU basketball. It's really kind of sad when Jeff Withey gets the ball on the post and nobody comes over and tries to double team him. What does that tell you! He really needs to learn how to learn how to keep the ball up instead of bring it down where everybody ties the ball up. But after 4 years of D-1 ball you think he would have learned that by now. When Kevin Young gets the ball at the free throw, if he learn how to postion himself better before he shoots it he would start knocking that down. Nobody even comes out to gaurd him at the free throw line how pathetic is that. I really don't see this team making anykind of a run through March Madness. I hope I'm wrong!!!

Michael Luby 1 year, 10 months ago

While Roy has more rings than Bill does in the last 10 years, I completely agree with your point Ralster. The '08 team was a wolf pack! They killed teams early, without remorse, without sympathy, and they reveled in it. Note : Chalmers and Sherron talking trash to Villanova head coach during the NCAA's. Would anyone in recent memory of KU teams do that? Its doubtful. That being said, I dont think this team has anywhere near that type of mentality. Here's to hoping I am wrong in March.

Clarence Haynes 1 year, 10 months ago

Characterization as "thugs" two years ago to now being "nice guys"! Interesting! All clichés and characterizations aside, we have to put our money on Bill Self to have these men realize their potential as demonstrated earlier this season.

theend 1 year, 10 months ago

"Nice" has nothing to do with it.......they just don't have enough talent. And besides.......being "mean" didn't work out too well a few years ago when KU played VCU. Remember? One of the Morris twins decided it would be a really good idea to mouth off to VCU players before the game........oops.

Robert Brock 1 year, 10 months ago

I was at the game and my take was that the Hawks looked mentally stumped. Maybe the loss to OSU wigged them out a little. Whatever the case, the kids couldn't do anything right. I've never seen a KU team do that.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 months ago

We lost our true "enforcer" when Zach Peters was forced to quit basketball because of the concussions.

The "Zack Attack" would have set a tone that that I think Jamari, Jeff and even Kevin would have bought into and we probably would not be talking about this issue today.

Also, when Zack left, we lost a guy who could hit that 10' jumper that is constantly open for this team. I am surprised more of you aren't mentioning that rather significant loss.

Robbk1066 1 year, 10 months ago

When I saw Zac was going to play fb his senior year I knew he was not going to make it to us. You don't do that, not if your serious about bb. Shame since his upside was so great. He could have been special, Now he is a tall kid at a small college looking for a career. He made a life changing mistake putting on the pads. Sad.

Jim Roth 1 year, 10 months ago

Hard to pass up the glory of high school football in Texas when you're 17.

Robbk1066 1 year, 10 months ago

I saw no emotion out of them, no one was yelling, no one was upset. I saw ej turnover the ball and jog back on def. no fight. Not until late in the 2nd did they finally get it, they were about to get beat. then I saw them really try, but it was to late. No leader on this team, and yes they are to nice, kind. We are weak when things do not go our way. What concerns me right now is how shell shocked they look, like this was fate, beyond their control. That is dangerous. As said there is no leader to step up and right this. The part that is self/coaches fault is lack of a pg/leader not on this team. Lets hope we can play with confidence going forward, if not going to a short long fall...

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Good point. If the players don't care if they win or lose, it really doesn't matter what the coaches and fans think. Granted, they probably DO care, but there has not been much emotion shown on the court all year long.

Phoghorn 1 year, 10 months ago

Come to think of it, that was a booby trap of a game...

Robbk1066 1 year, 10 months ago

Trap? . maybe, A good team goes in there ticked off looking for a fight. Looking for blood. Wanting to inflict their will on them. We played like a team of Witheys (2 years ago). timid, fearful no emotion. when we got punched in the nose our reaction was to step back and cower say were "sorry". When Withey is on, which is almost every game this year, he is not someone to be taken lightly. When he is ticked off, you are in for a long night. Saw none of that at TCU. to a man we looked pathetic...

Phoghorn 1 year, 10 months ago

Robbk1066 - my comment was a play on words in reference to another comment that was removed. See the 5th to last word in my comment...

I agree with you about the game. I though we would come out like hornets after the OSU loss. The OSU game outcome really did not surprise me as I knew the Cowboys were riding under the radar. The TCU game, I can not explain unless the whole team is sick with flu as suggested by another poster.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 10 months ago

Maybe that's what made Josh Smith choose to transer to G'town over us! :) lol

Eric TheCapn 1 year, 10 months ago

"If our entire team turned sideways in a shower, someone would say, 'Who dropped the comb?!'"

What? Why do they have to be in the shower in this analogy?

dw3c 1 year, 10 months ago

Another 18 game winning streak starting tomorrow & KU will win the B12, B12 Tourney, and National Championship. Think positive everyone!

AQM37 1 year, 10 months ago

When we were down by 16 during the game, Releford appeared to be jovial. Saw one of players in Lawrence last night and he appeared to be in a pretty good mood too. I've been scowling since Wednesday night and they should be too. I think Keegan might be right about this one.

It's a fine line, though. The VCU example already mentioned is a good one. Also remember remember how much heat Coach Self took when KU decided to bury TTU in AFH a few years ago.

Woody Cragg 1 year, 10 months ago

Can we send a letter to Tulsa?

Just a thought or two on this offensive debacle...Have they even tried to run offensive set plays with Rele at the 4 on a hi lo? I know he's only 6'5" or so but Young can't hit the backboard from 15 feet so is useless to play with him there. I mean, why can't these kids get the ball to Jeff? Why, because defenses collapse on him without a 3 or 4 that can get to the rack & he's not moving enough to get good angles to take a pass. And he's displaying the same old bad habits of trying to dribble the ball for position in the paint & is turning it over when he gets doubled. And Young putting the ball on the floor? Please! We are really, and I mean REALLY screwed without Danny Manning to get the bigs playing at the level of past years. When Jeff gets the ball in the blocks where are the cutters filling the passing lanes? They're standing around waiting to see what he does & trying (somewhat) to figure out who to block out. Maybe Tharpe will pick up on that, ya think? Personally I think Jeff may have even regressed from earlier this season.When was the last time any of these 4's or 5's used a drop step? I dunno. You're right Oak, we are weaker without football tough Zack, & Lucas took the shirt, but Manning likely would have had Perry tuned up enough to be a consistent starter that CAN score with a footer on the floor.Danny would be polishing this kid like a diamond.That, in a nutshell is my take on the difference in this team & all others I've watched since HCBS own recruits have filled the roster. Yeah, it's possible at times some of these guys are too nice, but face it, Norm Roberts is not the big man coach Danny is, IMO not even close. And I also believe EJ is taking far too much krap for the offensive woes with the exception of TO's. He is trying his butt off to get his teamates open looks, but when they can't score, he gets flack for not being a better passer. Guys will have nights when they can't hit, & we've always been able to compensate with players in the paint, at least for the most part till the dance. But glaringly obvious is this teams inability to convert when they absolutely have to without hitting a desparation, bank is open, 3 to send it to OT. Those are only going in about 25% of the time, maybe less, so we all better get used to this type of play because it's not likely to change very quickly. Hope I'm wrong as all daylights, but I really don't think I am. JMO........Danny please come home?! Please?!

Great hustle guy, nice kid, hell like TK says, they're all probably too nice.

Justin Carlson 1 year, 10 months ago

I will second that motion!! GB our Post players while under Danny's wing made huge improvements! Not so much this year!! Sign for Big Monday against KSU!

"Post Players Want Manning Back!"

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 10 months ago

Or maybe we can talk Simien into it? I know he's preaching and all, but....PLEASE?!?!?!

Woody Cragg 1 year, 10 months ago

I finally just read today's other thread & HEM's posts on Rele & our offensively offensive funk. You hit it right the knoggin' again HEM, excuse me for not expecting that you'd be the one to do it.

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 10 months ago

Just have a hard time envisioning us winning this conference now.

People can say the conference is down but I would argue against that. It Iowa State wins at Kansas State on Saturday I think that we would FOR SURE have 4 ranked Big XII teams the first time this season. KU, K-State, Okla. State & Iowa State. Right about now, I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up in 4th or even 5th.

I mean as is K-State's already tied with us & OSU & ISU are just a game back w/ ISU getting us in Ames down the road.

Jason Keller 1 year, 10 months ago

I hope every KU player reads this post. It's time for these guys to put their backs to each other and fight their way out of this.

CHEEZIT 1 year, 10 months ago

Indiana turned the ball over on their last possesion and Cody Zeller let his man free on an under the basket inbounds play to help Illinois win.

Phil Pressey turned the ball over 7 times including at the end of Missouri's game and they lost to A&M. Yea!!!

The wonderful Duke fans yelled "How's your Grandma?" to a player on NC state at the free throw line. She had died last week! Really!

Joseph Bullock 1 year, 10 months ago

People are idiots for wanting Coach Self fired. But he and is Staff do need to make better adjustments, and he needs to get other players more experience, and also let them play through their mistakes. They will have growing pains, but it will serve us very, very, well, when it matters most. Of course I want another Big XII Conference Championship, but that is not the main Goal of any K.U. Team! And I hate "Fair weather fans", who are always so rah rah, when K.U. is winning, but always so critical and negative when K.U. loses. Those people are losers, and are probably the same way in their personal lives. I hate losing, but I have common sense and logic, and I know losing happens. Am I spoiled by K.U.'s success? Absolutely, and I am not ashamed of it. But I am a realist, and know there will be bumps in the road. But at the same time, I am very Confident that we will get the ship back in order, and to be honest, I really don't think I would want to be Oklahoma right now. I guarantee you that Lon Kruger is preaching to his team, to not pa any attention to the K.U. is dead articles they have been reading, because if they do, it will be a long, long, day for them, tomorrow. The next 2 games are crucial, I I truly believe we will win both of them. Our players will show, from now on, that they are not soft, and how focused they can be. The deadliest creature, are most deadly, when they are cornered, and their backs are against the wall. Look out World.

Robbk1066 1 year, 10 months ago

YES!!! fricking Germans.... Lets do this!!! Love it Cheezit!
I used to work at Sunshine back in 87, fresh cheez-its off the line, melt in your mouth...nothing like em...

ironhead80 1 year, 10 months ago

Godzilla's son, One day on monster island Godzilla was trying to make his son blow out fire from his mouth. Well, Godzilla's son could not do it, he would rub his tummy and just a puff of fire would come out of his mouth, each time Godzilla would get frustrated and eventuallyGodzilla got angry enough he stomped on his son's tail, at which time a big ball of fire would come out. I believe coach Self is Godzilla trying to make his13 basketball son's to blow fire from there mouth's. Godzilla knew his son had it in him and coach Self know's his players have it in them or he would not have reqruited them.

Eric TheCapn 1 year, 10 months ago

Opinion: Opinion headlines should be statements of opinion, not questions.... ?

Or were you just being too nice? :p

Eric TheCapn 1 year, 10 months ago

We're just soooo predictable, and that's up to coaching. Here's just one of a hundred examples: When Kevin Young has the ball at the top of the key, he stares at the guard he's going to pass to and doesn't look anywhere else until he's made the pass, even if the guard is being blanketed by a defender.

We were playing well until teams figured us out, but we still do the same things all game, every game, expecting a different result. It's the definition of insanity, or maybe stupidity.

EJ shouldn't be playing point guard at all, and shouldn't start until something drastically changes. I love the guy, but he's been a detriment to the team for months. There is no question he costs us more points than he gives us.

Oh, and start setting up Releford!!!!! McLemore didn't shoot great last game, but he's one of the guys who SHOULD be taking 16 shots. Why the heck are Tharpe and Johnson shooting as much? They can't shoot, neither or 'em, not this year. EJ is shooting 38%, 33% from downtown. Tharpe shoots 33% no matter where he is. Combined they were 5-for-27 the other day. What?! WHAT?! 27 shots?! They're (arguably) point guards! Withey took 6 shots; Releford took 1. Those stats are enough to make a fan puke.

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