Originally published February 8, 2013 at 01:30p.m., updated February 9, 2013 at 12:32a.m.

Jayhawks try to refocus with players-only meeting

The Kansas starting five pull in for a huddle during an Oklahoma State run in the first half on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Kansas starting five pull in for a huddle during an Oklahoma State run in the first half on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


— Kansas University’s basketball players will find out today if their own words translate into better actions — and a much-needed victory — on the basketball court.

Stinging from the program’s first two-game losing streak since the 2005-06 season, KU’s seniors called a players-only team meeting Thursday on their regularly-scheduled day off to discuss ways to assure a slump-busting victory at Oklahoma.

Tip for the battle between the Jayhawks (19-3 overall, 7-2 Big 12) and Sooners (14-7, 5-4) is 3 p.m., today in Noble Center.

“Pretty much all the seniors ... giving their speeches letting us know what we have to do now,” freshman Ben McLemore said of who did most of the talking in a locker room confab designed to “talk about things we need to do to improve and bounce back.

“Everybody got a little say-so into it. I was speaking. Even Perry (Ellis, who is known for being quiet) was talking. Now we’ve got to focus on moving forward,” McLemore added.

What did McLemore tell his teammates?

“I just said I’ve got to help more, trying to create more things for myself and my teammates. Playing out there with four seniors I can also be out there and become a leader, too,” McLemore said, acknowledging he embraced what seniors Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Kevin Young had to say.

“They said they have been through this. They know what to do. They know how to get through it. We just have to keep working hard and play Kansas basketball,” McLemore said.

The Jayhawks looked at tapes of better days — victories over Ohio State and Colorado — during the meeting.

“We saw how we pressured them and turned the ball over, saw how we were having fun and playing with energy,” McLemore said. “I feel we can give more effort and energy. Nobody is panicking. We can get through this situation and build from it and get better.”

Frosh Ellis said the meeting was productive. “It was a great experience for us. We know what we have to do and have to go out and do it,” he said of “giving better effort, doing what’s best for the team.”

KU coach Bill Self gave his approval to the meeting. A team meeting at Henry T’s was credited with helping the Jayhawks bust a slump during the 2007-2008 national title season.

“I think sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s overrated,” Self said of players meetings. “I do think it’s good for teams to talk. A lot of teams have a team meeting everytime somebody gets a hangnail. I don’t think that’s as productive, but when you have some things you should kick around and find out what guys are thinking or if guys are bothered by anything I think that’s good. I don’t know what was said. I would bet everybody felt better leaving out of it.”

Of his Jayhawk team at this stage of the season, Self said: “It’s not broke. We just need to get back to being who we are. I think we can do that.”

Record nears: KU senior Jeff Withey needs one block to tie Greg Ostertag as KU’s all-time leader in blocked shots. Ostertag, who played at KU from 1992 to ‘95, has 258 blocks to Withey’s 257. Texas’ Chris Mihm holds the Big 12 record with 264.

Slumping guard: Self on Elijah Johnson, who has hit six of his last 26 shots (three of 15 threes) in losses to TCU and Oklahoma State.

“He’s probably had better days, but to me, if you are going to put it on anybody you should put it on the head coach and usually, I hate to say it, point guards get a lot of credit when you win and point guards don’t get a lot of credit when you don’t win,” Self said. “He can handle this. He’ll put it behind him. We’ll need to help him put it behind him.

“For us to have a chance to be a really good team, we need him to play well. Elijah can take a lot of heat. He takes a lot of heat off everybody else too. Tyshawn (Taylor) did the same thing for Elijah and Jeff (Withey) and all those guys last year. Everybody got on Ty for certain things. All he did was shoulder it for everybody else so everybody else had a free mind. I think Elijah is going to be fine.”

Sooners’ leader: OU senior forward Romero Osby soaked up the festive pre-game atmosphere prior to the Sooners’ game against KU on Jan. 26 in Allen Fieldhouse.

“I was making everything in warmups and thought I was going to have a great game, but sometimes it happens like that,” said the 6-foot-8, 232-pound senior forward from Meridian, Miss., who missed 12 of 16 shots in the Sooners’ 67-54 loss.

After a game like that? “You just have to go back to the drawing board,” noted Osby, who had his problems with Withey that day as KU’s big man scored 13 points with nine rebounds, four blocks and three steals in 34 minutes.

Osby did hit three of four free throws and scratched out 12 points and six rebounds in 33 minutes. Osby is the Sooners’ leading scorer (13.8 ppg) off 49.2 percent shooting and rebounder (6.5 rpg).

“Ro’s leadership has been invaluable to the entire group, but especially the young guys,” said OU coach Lon Kruger, who credited KU’s defense as the difference in the first meeting. The Sooners hit 35.6 percent of their shots (three of 12 threes) to KU’s 43.6 percent (7 of 17 threes).

“Again, it is not just the young guys that he sets the bar for. He sets it for everyone. I think our guys like Amath (M’Baye, 10.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 12 pts vs KU) appreciate the fact that he is very genuine and is doing it for all the right reasons and is all about the team. No one puts more time in or works harder or is more consistent in practice than he is. That is what you want out of your leading scorer and a guy that everyone else is kind of rallying around.”

Game Day: ESPN Game Day will host a morning telecast at 9 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 16 in Allen Fieldhouse. Doors will open at 7 a.m. The morning telecast begins at 9 a.m. on ESPNU and continues on ESPN from 10-11 a.m. The event is free to the public and tickets are not required. Hosting the morning telecast will be the College GameDay crew of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Jalen Rose and Digger Phelps, who will preview the Kansas-Texas match-up and detail the day’s other college basketball action.


Carolyn Hunzicker 1 year, 2 months ago



Barney Kruse 1 year, 2 months ago

You know, I'm not a coach or a player or even anybody important. But I love my KU basketball!
I have 2 observations.
First, where the H?!@# is the bench?!!! When Morningstar and Brady and all the other Walk Ons (or non-starters) {I'm talking to Self, Manning, and all the other stars-in-high-school-want-to-be-stars-at-KU} were sitting on the bench, they were the best cheerleaders in the country... where is the bench at? Second, who did we replace Danny with? We need some NBA big man experience. Scott POLLARD is NOW! What about Paul Pierce in a year or two? When we lose a game or two, how do we get it back? Nothing can replace EXPERIENCE. We have to have an NBA existance. Is it just me, or am I bleeding blue alone?!!!!! Huahhh!!!!


Steve Brown 1 year, 2 months ago

Lions sleeping with lambs the end days are here.

Which of these are less than 1% chance of being cause of our fall from grace?

  1. Manning and coach Brown are gone.
  2. 3 coach's sons end of bench affects freshman initiation rituals.
  3. One freshman rumored to be OAD top draft choice affects team balance from veterans.
  4. European mob that controls soccer had the fix in for TCU best game to play underdog and not move the line much.
  5. TCU put nitrogen in visitor locker room.
  6. NCAA testing reflects Lance Armstrong juicing?
  7. We are pansies and have lost twins and Trob.
  8. I am dreaming and can't get up.

Sam Burns 1 year, 2 months ago

No it's not a stretch. Do you remember when Billy Tubbs called time out with about 2 seconds left in the game and Oklahoma winning the big 8 title and let his players stand around the free throw circle and flip off the KU crowd? Then an OU player had a drink thrown on him and jumped into the crowd and broke his hand punching a KU fan


theend 1 year, 2 months ago

I would guess OU can't wait to play. They smell blood.

Bmac needs to play better......or is what we have seen his limit? If so.....he would do well to stay in college. He has played poorly for the last several games.

I'm guessing OU takes this one.


okiedave 1 year, 2 months ago

A headline in the Tulsa World I never thought I would see:



kucapcity91 1 year, 2 months ago

We need Bmac to step up and take control when our offense goes bad..he's the type of player who can get 25 easy..just wish he would do it..


hammerhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Coach Self. Hummm. Maybe he should make a few less commercials or lighten up on selling Bill's Burittos and spend a little more time coaching. He's not making enough $$$ with his coaching salary?! Really!!??


kawryan 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't know if the players or coaches read the comments let alone the 119th comment, but......

I don't care if you are 19-3 or 3-19. WE are Kansas, I am behind you 250% no matter what. Play your best, love what you do, and and you'll be #1 where it really matters.


jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

Keegs asks: is the team too nice?

A simple test answers the question.

How many of these players would Self allow to date his daughter?

The '08 team was the gold standard in this regard.

Self said of them that he would not let any one of them near his daughter but Sasha Kaun.

One guy.


If there were more than one guy, the current team would be too nice.

So, Keegs, ask him.


JayhawkBison 1 year, 2 months ago

Rio Chalmers, Sherron Collins, Thomas Robinson...who's going to step up?


Colin Fernandes 1 year, 2 months ago

KU by 16 in Norman - Releford and the prophet will slash to the rimm, Ben's soft floaters and Whithey will block 9 - and Self will play the high low and pound it inside. This is a Final Four team


jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

EJ will come out of his slump against OU. His knees are stronger, but he will still be a limited PG specializing in passing forward.

Time to play more through Jeff on offence.

Ben will have plays run for him and will score, but his efficiency will not return this season because all the icing and laser treatments don't heal an ankle you play 30mpg on twice a week. He will play better help defense, because his teammates have told him he eased up home trying to satisfy Self's demand for more defense.

Kevin will start and play well and continue to be the team's most reliable player. Perry will return to incremental improvement.

Travis will have more plays run for him to get him going to make up for Ben's declining efficiency.

Dir will be given the green light by Self to go to the rim to draw fouls.

AW3 and Rio will continue to contribute marginally.

KU will play better defense.

KU by 5 in a tough game.


Kirkwood 1 year, 2 months ago

The greatest thing about playing Misery every year was putting them in their place and popping their self-inflated bubble of a pipe-dream thinking that they were comparable to KU. Foregoing the annual matchup between the two programs hurts Misery not KU,,, Every year we were their "National Championship" game. They were the cry baby wanna bees who needed a dose of Jayhawk reality every year. No longer can they use the KU vs Mizzou rivalry to assist in their recruiting efforts. Rock Chalk Jayhawks,,, good riddins to Misery! Come on boys,,, Jayhawk nation has faith that as a team you will find a way to get it done!!


PhearThePhog 1 year, 2 months ago

YES!!!!! Now hold each other accountable, listen to Coach Self and start having FUN.


BonoboCongo 1 year, 2 months ago

My theory on the last game: Team Bible study covered Matthew 25:35 (RSV)

35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

Who was hungrier for a win than our 0-8 brethren at Texas Christian University? Who was thirstier for relief from a possible 0-18 drought? Who was left to welcome this stranger to our conference after the rudeness (no game closer than 9) of the other 8 members?

KU. That's who. Led by 'The Prophet' Elijah and his disciple Naadir, we willingly sacrificed our lofty ranking and perhaps a 9th consecutive championship to provide hope and sustenance to a downtrodden brother. This was a praiseworthy loss by a team of nice players from this perspective, and I believe we have now atoned for the 'sin' of losing at Allen Fieldhouse.

Expect nothing but improved play from here forward. And maybe they should try Psalm 44:7 (NIV) next time. 7 but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.


Janet Scott 1 year, 2 months ago

Time to short circuit the psycho stuff in the form of team meetings and bring in Dr. Phil to light up the emotions.


JayHok 1 year, 2 months ago

The incredible thing is we scored 2 points in the first 15 minutes and still almost got into overtime.


hotrodm 1 year, 2 months ago

Perry Ellis will be a stud, he just needs for a few shots to fall.. Withey is a great defensive player and has won KU a lot of games with his blocks and keeping the ball in play. Stop the bad mouthing of the players, they hustle their butts off and have won a lot of games. This team will come back and win the Big 12.


jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

The team meeting should have been about how physical things are going to get and about how down and dirty they are going to have to get, if they don't want to get punked out of Norman, too.


Bob Forer 1 year, 2 months ago

Like everything else in life, there will be regression back to the mean. Nothing to worry about.


jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

This is another important game for KU.

Therefore ESPN will carry Wichita State vs. Stephen F. Austin.


jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

Unibrow is loving this . He is waiting in ambush. We must ambush him first.








dhinkansas 1 year, 2 months ago

The biggest think I have noticed is Withey didn't continue to improve this year and Perry Ellis is a non factor....probably because D Manning is gone.


mahkmood 1 year, 2 months ago

We all know that Self is an incredibly good coach, but I do think his statement after the OSU loss "we don't have a point guard" was a factor in the TCU loss. Both Tharpe and Johnson (but particularly Tharpe) decided to prove something to Self and the fans in the TCU game, and they combined for 5-27 (3-14 from 3). They took way too many shots - 44% of the team's shots - that's stupid basketball when Releford, Withey, and McLemore are available. As freakishly cold the shooting was in the game, I do think KU still wins the game if Nadir did his job as point guard and takes half his 15 shots away and distributes to Releford, Withey, and McLemore. Nadir tried to prove something to Self, but instead fulfilled Self's prophecy that "we don't have a point guard". Tharpe was terrible. Releford didn't shoot. Nearly everyone was cold on the same night. Combo of bad luck and Tharpe sunk the team. This year's go-to guy is a freshman... will he be able to carry the team offensively in the tournament? Not likely. Look for a 3 seed and a 2nd round exit. When does football start?


Woody Cragg 1 year, 2 months ago

Maybe JB,, oh sayer of all sooths, but still funny shlitz. Carsoni would dig it.And so would Coltrane.


jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

"Some Other Things They Talked About But Can't Say"

• Self needs Cin to say you look hunkier than Clooney. He's in a 50s funk.

• Tell Dooley a Dumbo the Elephant joke. He hasn't smiled since XMAS.

• Kurtis needs a Kuhl sweater, a snow board and some Coltrane on a Nano. His cool needs to come unstuck, so he can re-cool.

• Norm needs some beads and a Burning Man t shirt. Cool is a constant commitment to breaking through to the other side.

• Doc needs to wear flaps and baggies on the bench. The new neat look is killing his sponteneity.

• Sheahon needs a bong and a flower shirt. He's too tight about all juco football recruits.

• CBernie needs to address the team in a Tina Turner wig and sing "Proud Mary." She's developing too much.

• Obama needs to shoot skeet with an M-60 grenade launcher, a bitter root, and a Panama hat. He's too tight about invading Syria and Iran to get the natural gas.

(Note: all fiction. No malice. )


IrishCharlie 1 year, 2 months ago

probably all smoked some weed.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 2 months ago

BenMac and Travis - shoot, Jeff - block, block out and 'bound, Kevin - don't shoot, make tip ins, Elijah - penetrate and dish, Nadiir - ditto, Perry - knock the crap out of somebody, Jamari - ditto, AWIII - nothing but net, Rio - guard someone.


jhawkln 1 year, 2 months ago

'Tomorrow vs. Oklahoma is probably one of the most anticipated regular season games in Kansas basketball history.' I think it would be pretty far down the list. We are Kansas basketball with a 19-3 record. It's anticipated, don't get me wrong, but in all of their history? That's a stretch.


jaybate 1 year, 2 months ago

If this talk doesn't help, lets invite them all to talk with us online. We've got a lot of energy and simple solutions to share.

EJ protect more.

Ben get open more.

Travis pull the trigger more.

Kevin make the 17 footer more.

Jeff shoot the jump hook more.

Dir screw it and go to iron.

Jam Tray, pivot and go to iron.

Perry guard harder, imagine you're in high school when you shoot,and forearm smash on rebounds.

AW3, amp up and make shots.

Rio, guard and shoot.

Justin hope for chance, and get a stick back.


Snap the passes.

Get in the passing lanes.

Punk them first.

Winners get more sex..

Bryant's and beers on us after each win.

Road trip to Acapulco after the ring.

Rock Chalk!


Kevin Huffman 1 year, 2 months ago

I like reading that they went back and watched game film - - - especially of times when things were going well. You can't ONLY focus on the negative.....obviously the KNOW that they HAD played well earlier. Emulate what had ALREADY been working before.


Adam James 1 year, 2 months ago

Tomorrow vs. Oklahoma is probably one of the most anticipated regular season games in Kansas basketball history. What KU team shows up? Who doesn't show up? How will everyone (players, coaches, fans) react if things don't go well? Will the frustrations of Okie State and TCU motivate the guys? I don't know the answer to any of these questions, but what I do know is that Oklahoma is a good basketball team and whatever happens it may have nothing to do with what everyone is complaining about and Oklahoma might just be better than us on that day. I think KU wins tomorrow because we will be the better basketball team on that day. RCJH!!


HutchinsonJayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

This is good. Just what they needed. I remember a certain national championship team that went from 20-0 to 24-3 and had themselves a team meeting that resulted in double digit wins the rest of the season. Time to turn it around!


Justin Carlson 1 year, 2 months ago

I got it figured out!!! Stop the press! 3 things that lead to this problem!! ideas that have been formulated from this site and others and my spin on the last one!!

  1. The Selby effect! (#1 PG/SG) never panned out and others have not came here because of that! We are stuck with a EJ which is a 2 and NT that is not ready or maybe never ready to play PG at KU

  2. The Manning effect! How much really have our post players improved this season? The have regressed. Think about this Withey looks lost everytime he catches, no offensive swagger. In the past he does something stupid SElf yanks him, yells at him and Danny sits by him and immediate changes. How good would Perry be? What about Traylor!

  3. Missouri effect! Ok I am grasping here but it is safe to say we have struggled through B12 play. We should have already played our ugly ex-wife by now and other than playing in the final 4 and beyond what is better than getting crazy for the MU game! Everyone one of us including the players circled both dates on our calendar. MU has not won a road game, not that I give rats rear end but as much as we hated each other we were also good for each other! My God our new rival KSU, cant really hate them because of the relationship the players have with each other hell Jordan Roberts R Mcgrudder has always said wonderful things about each other and they hug after the game! That is not a KU vs. MU game!! I know this may be way out there but with a top 8-9 players that cant get mean and nasty themselves, cant be told to get mean and nasty by our coach maybe needed a nasty game in columbia to get the fire going again!!

Please basketball gods be with us in Norman this weekend and give us the shooting touch and fire to the season turned around, and please keep MU from ever winning a road SEC game cuz I think it is funny as hell!!



clevelandjayhawker 1 year, 2 months ago

Will be super interesting to watch up until the first timeout saturday, if we hit a couple of shots (even transition layups) and move the ball well without some careless passes then this could be a fun game. If we come out flat then it could get ugly, when you are in a slump its easy to try too hard or try and do too much. I think the start of this game will dictate the entire game. If we do start out hot then we need to step on their throats, something we havent done in a few weeks even when we had the lead.

One other thing I hope we do is drive to get fouled or force it inside late; the last two games we get them in foul trouble and then start to settle for outside shots. okie state had what 3 guys with 4 fouls with 5-6 mins left and we just forced jumpers....why?


Silentbob2 1 year, 2 months ago

Players only meeting is very necessary. Maybe some of those guys truly don't get along and its affecting their play. Maybe some of them are only playing for themselves and not for the team. Or maybe they need to stop overlooking teams based on their record. Either way its a good thing. When the guys are playing like they enjoy eachother, they usually play better. Time to turn up, and get back to playing KU ball. Rock Chalk baby!!


ironhead80 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't like the team meeting thing. Teams that a have these meetings are losing teams and Kansas basketball is not the norm, it's a sign of desperation. The begining of the season coach Self mention there wasn't talking during practices from this team so I take it that the seniors are not communicating well with the rest of the team. The seniors for the most part have to be communuiating with each other. That's not good?


Woody Cragg 1 year, 2 months ago

And look in the mirror men...maybe it's time for the fro to go.


Woody Cragg 1 year, 2 months ago

Hope they keep in mind that everyone in CBB is beatable-Florida, Duke, Michigan, IU, KU, Miami... all of the above. So this can always change direction in an instant. High time to go the other way & say this schlitz has got to stop. Realistically we (I) should all temper expectations a bit if they've been as great as mine, but still a number one or high two seed is there for the taking, along with a ninth consecutive conf trophy. Also the small lineup including Adams & or White needs to get much more familiar together, with a slight decline in minutes for Tharpe & Young. Bench options are far too limited at present. Self looked as if in panic mode himself vs TCU-out of character as have been his public comments as of late. And first & foremost knock off these halffa$$ed turnovers. Bottom line is this- Travis has to score more-period!


Kyle Sybesma 1 year, 2 months ago

Gotta be an akward meeting with Tyler Self in there.


Cody Stumma 1 year, 2 months ago

Edit: Never mind, I re-read it. I thought they were talking future-tense, not past-tense.


SCHNBALL 1 year, 2 months ago

Yep, everyone talking about offense, Pitthawk hit it perfect, defense is what this team is lacking since the Texas game. Fan only meeting, it should happen!!


Dickless Head 1 year, 2 months ago

Let's hope the topic of discussion was our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This team has completely fallen apart without Him, as I predicted earlier in the year.

I said this team was very sinful, with bodily contortions going viral and the Lord's name in vain after missed shots, and I was right.

I said our coaching staff was equally guilty. Coach Dooley dropping 'F' bombs in behavior unbecoming of a Christian, and Director of B.O. Doc Sadler guilty of one of the worst sins, gluttony.

This team and coaching staff is a mess. They MUST turn to the Lord before it's too late.

Lord God, please help our young men and coaches see the light, the Truth, the Way. Help them see their evil ways so they may turn to You and begin to win again. All men.


TXChalker 1 year, 2 months ago

Great they are talking and know that they need to turn things around. I am looking forward to seeing those talks turn into KU Bball in full force in Norman tomorrow. Rock Chalk


Ethan Berger 1 year, 2 months ago

From details, our Seniors handled this almost perfectly. Instead of having a meeting and playing the blame game, they went back to the happy moments. Have a heart to heart but also remember what they can do. Well done Seniors!


crazyhawksfan 1 year, 2 months ago

I think this past week will be the turning point of the season and they will go on a tare, staring tomorrow! Prediction for tomorrow's game: hawks 84 ok 67!! Lets GO!!!!


Clarence Haynes 1 year, 2 months ago

Hope that the coaches had a "coaches only" meeting!


dylans 1 year, 2 months ago

Now it's time for on the court leadership and high energy from all 5 spots.


Sam Constance 1 year, 2 months ago

I agree with Self's comments. Team-only meetings can be a cheap veneer, but sometimes they can be necessary.

In this particular situation, it's encouraging because we've all seen it--this team looked broken psychologically against TCU. Taking the initiative to hold a players-only meeting is a good sign that the players themselves recognize the problem is about mentality and that they themselves hold the key to fixing it more than anyone else. The fact that they were watching game film of success also hints at the fact that they recognize the problem.

Now Self and co need to support them by making some small tweaks and helping to put the players in the best possible position to win.


jhwkr542 1 year, 2 months ago

I really like that they watched films of the games they played well in. They need to know what to do now more than what not to do.


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

“They (seniors) told us what they always been telling us. They said they have been through this. They know what to do. They how to get through it. We just have to keep working hard and play Kansas basketball.”

Not true - unless my math is really, really bad - none of the seniors have ever lost back to back at Kansas.


longhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Need more information before forming judment. Did they happen to hold it at Henry T's?


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

KU basketball holds players-only team meeting

Where did they find any players?


yates33333 1 year, 2 months ago

Let's hope the old idiom, "talk is cheap," does not apply, and that the team does better, much better. They have the talent, they need the will.


EdgarMarsalla 1 year, 2 months ago

Maybe this is a good factor and maybe it's not, but from what I saw on Wednesday night it was the seniors who put on the worst performances. Some leadership by example would count a lot more than some Obama/Brownbackesque speechifying just to make a news reporter happy.


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