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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Naadir Tharpe big reason nightmare stretch is over

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe steals the ball from Kansas State guard Rodney McGruder during the second half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe steals the ball from Kansas State guard Rodney McGruder during the second half on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Kansas State

KU coach Bill Self talks after his team's 83-62 victory over Kansas State on Feb. 11, 2013.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore and Naadir Tharpe

Kansas players Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore and Naadir Tharpe talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 83-62 victory over Kansas State on Feb. 11, 2013.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KSU coach Bruce Weber, Rodney McGruder, Will Spradling

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber, Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling talk after KSU's 83-62 loss to Kansas on Feb. 11, 2013.

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Box score

KU-KSU

Ben McLemore deflected credit about his great Monday night in Allen Fieldhouse the way the teammate seated to his right, Jeff Withey, rejected shots all night. And when he shared the credit, McLemore sent the praise in the direction of the man seated to his left, sophomore point guard Naadir Tharpe.

McLemore torched Kansas State for 30 points, making nine of 13 shots and six of 10 three-pointers in helping Kansas to an 83-62 blowout victory.

“Naadir, he helped me out with a lot of passes,” McLemore said.

Later, when asked if he felt as if he were “in a zone,” McLemore repeated the praise.

“I feel like my teammates definitely got me in a zone, especially Naadir finding me on the wing, just creating offense and getting me open,” McLemore said.

Senior Elijah Johnson was limited to 12 first-half minutes because he picked up two fouls, and Tharpe responded by playing the half of his life at both ends of the court. In 14 first-half minutes, Tharpe had six of his eight assists, didn’t turn it over and scored all seven of his points.

Tharpe put extraordinary pressure on the defense, sending passes in all directions. He whipped one-handed bounce passes to Kevin Young in the post. He also collapsed the defense with drives to the paint punctuated by his passes to an open McLemore on the wing or corner.

Despite surrendering about a half-foot to him, Tharpe played exceptional first-half defense on K-State’s leading scorer, Rodney McGruder, who scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half.

The second half didn’t go as well for Tharpe, but by then, the game was well in hand after KU took a 47-29 lead into the break.

“I just tried to create for my teammates,” Tharpe said. “Coach has been on me, nagging me about getting in the lane and finding people and Kevin was available a lot of times, so that was someone I was finding as well as Ben, who was knocking down shots.”

Kansas still didn’t get accurate shooting from the two players who share point-guard duties — Tharpe and Elijah Johnson combined to make four of 15 shots and one of eight three-pointers. Tharpe tends to shoot too often, but on this night, especially in the first half, he did a brilliant job of doing what point guards are supposed to do, which is to bring out the best in the other four players on the floor.

With the ball in Tharpe’s hands, McLemore dropping his beautiful jumper in the net and Young and Withey combining for 30 points, 19 rebounds and six blocked shots, Kansas looked more like the No. 5 team it was a week ago and less like the No. 14 team it became after losing three in a row to Oklahoma State, TCU in horrid fashion, and Oklahoma.

Kansas wore cement shoes in the TCU game and strapped on jet packs against K-State.

“Coach has been getting on us about playing fast a lot,” Tharpe said. “He’s been telling us to just go out there and play. I felt like a lot of times we really weren’t running sets, we were just out there playing together and it was flowing. With Ben making shots and everybody else making shots it made us look really good and it helped us out.”

Sometimes a low-scoring, grind-it-out victory does as much or more for a team as a pretty blowout. But in this case, after an eight-day month, no tonic could do as much for this team’s psyche as a high-scoring blowout that put the crowd in a frenzy.

The world did not end for Kansas when it lost three in a row for the first time in eight seasons. The nightmare did end Monday night, and Tharpe had more than a subtle hand in its passing.

Comments

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 7 months ago

Tom, why do you start calling your column 'opinion'? This is pretty good writing. Not so much of opinion, in my opinion. It's a good article to read.

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jj14 1 year, 7 months ago

I totally agree, I went to this article expecting an "opinion". I wanted an opinion on this subject, not a game recap.

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oldalum 1 year, 7 months ago

We have complaints because Keegan gives his opinion instead of "just the facts ma'am" and then more complaints because he gives facts instead of an opinion. The guy can't win.

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

That's just your opinion.....

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Max Ledom 1 year, 7 months ago

It's because he writes articles that are usually opinions. Then KU fans get on him about it so now he is just gonna list every one of them as an opinion so some of the losers lay off him.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

Losers? Really? Of course, those that were saying "This team is done" a week ago are the ones your on the side of? Time to put on your big boy pants.

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Jesse Newell 1 year, 7 months ago

Just to let you know ... our style is to place "Opinion" before all Tom's columns to identify to readers that it is a column and not a straight news story.

2

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

I thought that it was just to give him a free pass to write whatever the heck he wants to.

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Mike Bratisax 1 year, 7 months ago

Opinion or not, Tom is right on target. I think the only way this team works is when Tharpe is at the point. EJ has plenty of talent and when not at the point, he slashes to the rim or makes open jump shots.

Just my opinion...

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Kevin John 1 year, 7 months ago

Rio - start making the most of your minutes, so we can start running 3 point guards.

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LAJayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

I.....don't think he meant all 3 at the same time.

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dumbarton 1 year, 7 months ago

Great article, Tom. Now Self has a blueprint that he can refer Naadir to. What is really exciting is the thought that Naadir and BMac appear to have some co-mojo going down.

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Hank Cross 1 year, 7 months ago

This is a tough situation. The eyeballs say that Tharpe deserves the starting PG position, but Self has always stuck with the upperclassmen see Robinson over Collins. My guess is that Tharpe becomes the de facto point guard and EJ become the Point Guard In Name Only and he and Rele will have to split minutes.

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Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 7 months ago

I wonder if HCBS even mentioned Naa in the post-game talk.

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Cameron Cederlind 1 year, 7 months ago

As in RussRob over Sherron? RussRob was one of the best pure point guards we've ever put on the floor, why would we replace him with a sophomore shooting guard?

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Joseph Bullock 1 year, 7 months ago

Absolutely, and look how it worked out. So many people publicly saying Collins should start, but Coach Self knew what he was doing! Also, RusRob played great defense, and was a much better passer. Collins was an absolute spark off the bench. And it isn't who starts the game, it is who finishes the game, and if you will remember, both RusRob and Collins finished the National Championship Game!!!

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Cameron Cederlind 1 year, 7 months ago

Well right, the only reason sherron was in for the last play was because he was a bigger scoring threat than russrob, if we were up and on the defensive end, sherron would not have been in the game.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

It kind of turned out pretty well, National Championship.

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Mike Bratisax 1 year, 7 months ago

ralster..I have said on many occasions that although everyone will remember Chalmer's shot, it was the play you just described that was one of the greatest moments ever in KU basketball. Make the steal, pass into Chalmers, maintain his position and knocked it down when the ball came back to him.

So much happened in those few seconds that Memphis was completely out of the game mentally.

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Mike Bratisax 1 year, 7 months ago

Russell was not only a talented point guard but one hell of a defensive player. When Kansas was playing its best those not so long ago years, we had 3 guards, all who could disrupt the other team's offense.

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Phoggy_Notion 1 year, 7 months ago

sigh....Naadir penetrates and scores. Naadir penetrates and creates. Naadir shoots without hesitation. Naadir is comfortable with the ball when the clock(both shot and game) is running down. Naadir plays with poise. Naadir is quickness. Naadir is(currently) the only PG we have on this team.

-Give Tharpe the start saturday, and the opportunity to build off of a quality performance. Let him be in the game when its 0-0, rather than have to come in off the bench and play salvation mins.

There is no way EJ's play will be any worse coming off the bench, than it has been as a starter. Give him the nod to provide minutes for any of our 1-3 spots, and see what type of production results. At a certain point this type of struggle has to be experimented with.

11

Mike Bratisax 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm really not disagreeing because I understand your point. We do have players capable but who are sometimes reluctant in slashing to the rim.

I would include EJ and Travis into that group.

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mejayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't usually weigh in on these things, but (unless there's something happening in practice or off the court that we don't know about) NT should start at point guart. Give him the keys now and let him learn through his mistakes now; he may well improve dramiatically by tournee-time. No disrespect to EJ--he's a natural two-guard as we all know. It will make for tough distribution of minutes at the other guard spots, but may also give us the opportunity to run four guards at times. KU's a better team when he's out there. Remember TT playing through his mistakes and earning more venom on this board than anyone else except possibly that stupid sexy Brady Morningstar?

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lurkerhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

I blame all of our wins for our short term memory. They're all starting to blur. ;)

I do recall TT playing unbelievably sound around this time last year. He provided the dynamism that is sorely missed in the past few weeks. I really hope Tharpe can build off of this game by playing sound defense and being a solid passer. By continuing to do so, EJ may be relieved of some pressure. Hopefully, that'll get him going in March!

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Joseph Bullock 1 year, 7 months ago

What Tharpe did last night is not something he has not done before. Remember the Ohio State game, where the supposed best on ball defender in College Basketball, Craft, kept getting his ankles broken by Tharpe, which was one of the main reasons we won that game. His penetration, and passing, and also shooting. That being said, if the other team has a big PG, from a defensive point of view, EJ still might be the answer, if he cuts down on his shots, starts making some layups, and plays defense like he did last night! I liked Tharpe last year, and thought he should have played more, to get more experience. He can play.

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nostradavid 1 year, 7 months ago

Naa nailed it tonight!

I'm glad the 'Cats could spend the night last night.

1

mojayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Naa drives me crazy sometimes, but he DOES drive the ball. This team desperately needs Naa to be the one to break down defenses, kick out, and even score when open. He is the key to EJ returning to a starring role as a 2. He is the key to the rest of the season. Naa needs to learn to protect the ball consistently, and maybe not dribble as much, but his quickness is unmatched on the court. Great job, Naa. We need you.

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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Probably not just the rest of this season but the next coming two seasons as well.

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Slick50 1 year, 7 months ago

I think you're confusing EJ with Tharpe and the behind the back crap.

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lurkerhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

It's just indicative of how much confidence Tharpe is displaying. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on it. He has the blueprint now. All he has to do now is capitalize by playing solid defense and playing Self(less) ball.

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BucknellJayhawk3 1 year, 7 months ago

Loved watching the hawks play when Naadir and EJ don't shoot as much! It just looked like smarter basketball. If they can just get Ben or somebody else open we're doing better than if they shoot it. If Ben and EJ both take 15 shots in a game the only difference is that Ben scores 25 and EJ might score 12. Come on Self, pull in the reigns a little tighter!

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thmdmph 1 year, 7 months ago

Being a fellow D1 state school. I'm glad KSU was part of KU's Big Ben's birthday party

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jhox 1 year, 7 months ago

Good things happen when the point guard gets in the paint. I think part of Tharpe's problem is that he's been so afraid to make a mistake and get pulled, that he'd forgotten how to just play basketball and have fun. Last night he quit thinking so much and started having fun and being creative. There is no question he deserves the starting job. We're a much better team with him running the offense.

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jackv444 1 year, 7 months ago

Self had nothing positive to say about Tharpe to Holly Rowe going to half time - why is he so negatvie to Tharpe's positive contributions? Alos, did Self make any good comments about Tharpe's play after the game - ESPN took note numerous times during the game. EVRYONE knows EJ can't do what Tharpe is doing at this time.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

Holly's question to Self was worded a little strangely. She should have just asked him what he thought of Tharpe's play in the first half. Instead I think that she asked him something about what Tharpe should do or keep doing to be a better player.

Self's answer was honest and was a description of what Tharpe was doing in the first half, "Drive the ball more and not bail the defense out with so many jump shots."

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Scott Smetana 1 year, 7 months ago

Tharpe should be starting and playing 35 minutes a game. Seems like everyone feels this way but Self.

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Brak 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm not going to argue that EJ is having a shooting slump, but remember the long stretches in the tourney last year he also was in a shooting slump. I'm just thankful he is going through it now and not when it really matters. But to mock a Jayhawk that worked his butt of this program, who started out of place this year to the detriment of his draft stock, yet you feel the need to question his leadership and laugh at his shooting troubles. I can only imagine how sad your life is to laugh at at a 21yr old man that has done more with his life than you ever will.

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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

long stretches in the tourney that he was in a shooting slump?!?!?! Um, EJ was EASILY one of our hottest shooters in the tournament. He may have slumped much of the conference season last year, but he had some very good games in the NCAAs - - - seemed to be the only one who bothered to show up against Purdue!!!

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Kent Noble 1 year, 7 months ago

Self definitely needs to give Tharpe more credit. He rides that kid all the time, but really that's all we have right now because EJ is not getting the job done. With Tharpes performance last night coach Self should feel somewhat relieved that he has at least one point willing to run the team. Bill needs to realize that EJ just doesn't have what it takes to be a true point gaurd. I understand Bill will start EJ because he is a Senior and really there is no where else for EJ in the starting line up. Hopefully Tharpe will keep coming off the bench and playing well that's all we can ask of him. Maybe it's better he dosen't start Naadir that way he won't feel so much pressure! Great game Naadir keep up the good work.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

This is Tharpe's team next year. Coach Self almost never will let a sophomore guard out of the toughening box. Tharpe is getting more freedom than most sophomore guards get at KU, but that's only because Coach is depending on him more than he would prefer.

Self will leave Tharpe in the pressure cooker this year, but next year Self will be Tharpe's best bud. Remember the tough love Self gave to Sherron in Sherron's Jr year? Self stopped just short of giving Sherron a free pass to do whatever he wanted in the game because he knew that Sherron was the horse he had to ride, but Self still found ways to prod and motivate Sherron, especially early on when Sherron reported to campus overweight.

I expect that next year Self will give Tharpe a lot of tough love, but unlike this year it will clearly be more love than just tough.

And also, I don't expect Frank Mason to contribute any more than Tharpe did last year. So any of the Frank Mason can't get here fast enough talk just sounds foolish to me. Frank will be buried next year behind Tharpe, Adams, and Frankamp. He may turn out to be a star in his career if he toughs it out and follows the example set by other guys who have waited their turn, and made themselves ready for when they got their chance, but next year he should make his name as a tough practice player and an enthusiastic teammate on the bench.

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741hawk 1 year, 7 months ago

I guess. But it appears Self does not recognize the change in dynamics when Tharpe is on the floor. He still seems to use him only when he has to. (EJ two fouls early). He seldom, if ever, seems to praise Tharpe. He's still yelling at him. I don't remember the last time I saw Self yell at EJ. It's still a mystery to me!

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John Epperson 1 year, 7 months ago

Any thought that begins with "it appears Self does not recognize . . ." is not worth reading.

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741hawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Re-read the carefully chosen words. It "appears" doesn't mean that he does or doesn't only that that is the way it looks!

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hawkdiek 1 year, 7 months ago

Tharpe had a great game, (first half) no doubt. Let's not forget about his shooting woes and freshman like play at times. This will be his show to run next year, but I feel he is going to cause me more "bang head here" times in the future. That being said, I do think he should be allowed to run point, but where do you take the minutes from, Young and Relly? Not sure I want to sit EJ, I think he will come out of his funk and be crucial come March. CS has some hard decisions to make to get ready for a run.

0

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 7 months ago

He has to take them from EJ.

But it's becoming clear that Self is really trying to help EJ out of his slump by letting EJ play and telling him to shoot. Self really wants EJ to break out of his slump before the madness and is continuing to play EJ even when it's hurting the team.

At this point I think that EJ has as good of a chance to break his slump coming in off the bench as he does starting at the point. From the outside, it looks like it's time to make the change.

1

Kye Clark 1 year, 7 months ago

Tharpe's freshman like play? Tharpe's shooting woes?

Anyone who points to Tharpe's mistakes but blocks out EJ's (which have been worse and in more abundance) are making the argument for EJ out of sentimentality only. If you haven't been banging your head over EJ, well it's because you aren't looking at the situation objectively. We like EJ, so we want him to continue to be given every chance to succeed.

I like EJ too, but no one is bigger than the program. EJ isn't the only one whose KU clock is running out. Travis, Jeff, & Kevin are all seniors too. And this is most likely Ben's only shot at a deep run in March. We can't sacrifice the entire season out of some sort of debt Self feels to EJ.

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hawkdiek 1 year, 7 months ago

Oh trust me, my television thinks it's name is dammit EJ. He has caused a lot of aggravation as of late. As I said, I think Tharpe has earned the spot, just not ready to park EJ yet. I think his experience will be needed come tourney time.

1

mejayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes, but at two guard, where he shines. Not forced into PG spot. I'd start PT, TR, JW, KY and EJ, with BMac first off the bench.

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Kye Clark 1 year, 7 months ago

Our leading scorer off the bench?

You people are insane

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hawkdiek 1 year, 7 months ago

Agreed....No way you sit BMac. Sit Young....move BMac to 3 and Relly to 4. Take the pressure off EJ and see if he can't start hitting playing the 2. Bring KY back off the bench for energy. Of course if we play someone with bigger guys, we would have to adjust. If EJ doesn't start coming out of his funk, then try bringing him off the bench. I think he will come around though, if he doesn't have the pressure of playing out of position.

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dnvrhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Relefords minutes were certainly cut against KSU.

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Mike Bratisax 1 year, 7 months ago

I think you need to take a look at the play between Washington State and Temple. Tharpe was clearly playing his best basketball and I thought that as a point guard he was more suited to the position than EJ.

EJ has been a shooting guard since high school and asking him to change his game his senior year has been mentally and physically tough. You know these guys read some of these on occasion and EJ was really blasted during that three-game slump.

Some fairly and other comments completely over the top. He has given this school four years and it bothers me to see just how negative we can get (self included) on these young athletes.

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Mick Allen 1 year, 7 months ago

Agreed. He has been disappointing. What really surprises me is that Perry plays below the rim and is not as athletic as I thought. Hopefully by his junior year he will be more Simeon like.

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hawkdiek 1 year, 7 months ago

Wait till Hudy gets another year with him. The Morris twins were the same way. No quads, everyone was asking if they could even dunk. By their junior year, no one was asking that anymore. By his junior year, he'll be jumping out of the gym!

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lurkerhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Exactly. We're going to see greatness from this kid his junior and senior year. If he can provide us 6 points and 4 rebounds per game in 15 minutes for the remainder of the season, then huge, absolutely huge! This team needs all the depth it can muster if it wants to be final four caliber!

0

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Yeah, I agree. I haven't abandoned hope for his future, but not too excited on what he'll bring the rest of this year.

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Joe Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

Compliments of a very soft Wichita City League. Ellis had little competition or another big man to challenge him during HS.

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Joe Baker 1 year, 7 months ago

He really should've went to a prep school to prepare him for D1 play.

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Jack Wilson 1 year, 7 months ago

Except the guy played the full AAU circuit ...

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archercc 1 year, 7 months ago

Bull, just bull.

Ignore the expression on his face, its not fear/confusion.

His problem is mental and his problem is ONLY in his shooting motion. He faces good defenders and schools them, the kid has moves. His problem is he cant consistently get the bunny he creates by sneaking by his defender.

Once he gets over the hump on his lay-ins he is going to tear isht up, just tear it up. His game is different from what we have had for a while in bigs, he isnt a "get under the basket and wait for a pass" big, he can get it 8 feet out and put a guy on his heels ending up right under the rim for an easy lay in. Once he makes that easy lay in double digits will be the norm.

1

Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

I know one of his shots on Monday looked like it was going in and suddenly popped out. That's just bad luck there.

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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Yeah, on Monday I think Traylor ended up getting more mins. than Ellis and they did better with him out there as well. It was HIS pass that set up that MONSTER Withey jam.

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Dale Stringer 1 year, 7 months ago

Disagree - although Tharpe helped. The biggest difference maker I saw was Young - making 66% of his shots vs his usually 25%. He has been lucky to make 5 points most night. Last night he went 6 of 9 and 1 of 2 FTs for 13 points. He also had a block and a steal. The last couple of games, the stuff he tosses up has been a defensive rebound, fast break and two points for the other teams. Last night he made sure he scored by jamming in most his shots instead of trying to finesse them in. He still threw up a couple prayer shots, but this time some of them went in

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Slick50 1 year, 7 months ago

I guess you missed who was creating those looks for him. Blind loyalty is foolish on everyones part, including the fanbase.

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archercc 1 year, 7 months ago

On most of his "shots" he first touched the ball within 3 steps of the basket. Only two things can cause that and you need both, good position and a good pass. Credit to Young for getting himself in position but someone had to make that pass and Tharpe did. Once connected those shots became instant bunnies.

1

Steve Yeakel 1 year, 7 months ago

Bill is the best coach in the country, I would never trade him for anyone, but he needs to put in Naadir as his point guard. Harbaugh put in Colin over Smith and made the Super Bowl. Bill has a similar opportunity if he gives Dir the point and time to work out the kinks, and keeps giving Perry all the minutes he can to develop a strong post presence, before we reach the big tourney.

1

monkeehawkSL8 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm not trying to start a fight with anyone, no major disagreement, I would ask all to consider the following.

1) How many players have come to KU with huge expectations, not met them and left way to early for a "career" in the NBA? 2) How many players have KU played against over the years that were 2, 3, 4 star players without huge expectations that played sound fundamental ball, went on to have successful NBA careers? And torched us in their college careers.

My point is and feel free to roast me, (like I need to give permission) we, I have no idea how any young player is going to react to D1 ball. I don't think we do any helpful service to any future Jayhawk deciding ahead of time that a player won't contribute, or that they are the next year's savior. Watching them develop is pure joy if your a "real" fan. Frank, Conner, Joel etc. who knows? I don't, but I'm looking forward to it. Admittedly the "real" fan statement was sarcastic. I still have not seen the official KU Real Fan Guidelines, thanks, monk. (where can I get a copy?)

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Jason Keller 1 year, 7 months ago

In the NFL, there are 30 some teams with rosters in the 50s and 60s, number wise. The NBA has much smaller rosters like 13 or 14. My point is that when it comes to basketball, 4 and 5 star players don't make it at a much higher rate than 4 and 5 star football players. It simply is very hard to even make an NBA team due to the limited number of spots. That is why it may seem at times that KU isn't getting guys good opportunities to get in the league. If you check NC, Duke, Cuse and the other usual suspects, you will see the same thing.

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archercc 1 year, 7 months ago

I blame Tharpe's down second half on Self. Tharpe couldnt lose in the first and he only left the game for a quick blow or two. In the second, despite being the VAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTLLLLLLLLLYYYYY superior player Self started EJ over him for a long time.

That screws his rhythm and doesnt help the confidence either. I just dont get the logic in it. It took continued medocre play and then a couple of back to back boneheaded plays for Self to finally switch back and by then Tharpe was cold.

I just don't get it, why would you swap out a guy who cant make a mistake for a guy who has been in a funk for a long time that early in the game?

2

lurkerhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

I wouldn't worry. Tharpe has the blueprint now. He's got all the confidence in the world. Huge game from him. I'm sure he'll be watching the game highlights with pride and deservingly so! As for EJ, Self doesn't want to lose him completely. He's that fire waiting to be kindled - just waiting for that spark at the right moment and time. If this team wants to be a Final Four caliber team, then EJ has got to play unbelievably well. I wouldn't discount him out yet and neither does Self.

1

cajayfan 1 year, 7 months ago

Self is staying with Elijah because he knows most of his woes are mental. He knows putting him on the bench would really only make his head game worse and he knows his only chance of getting him out of this is to support him. We all remember his fight in the NCAA tourney last year. Elijah ia a four year guy and he deserves his coach's support. I see him working his butt off. I also think some of the younger guys look up to him and having him there at the start gives them confidence also.

1

Blake Brown 1 year, 7 months ago

Great article.

One slight correction to the comment "Kansas looked more like the No. 5 team it was a week ago and less like the No. 14 team it became after losing three in a row to Oklahoma State, TCU in horrid fashion, and Oklahoma."

We were #2 in the AP before losing to OSU and dropped to #5 before the next 2 losses.

One slight addition. I`m in favor of Tharpe starting at point and EJ coming off the bench.

EJ is still turning it over carelessly, missing wide open shots and making poor decisions on both ends.
How many times does it take before he realizes he cant dribble through 2 defenders? How many times does it take for him to keep from putting the ball in front of the defender? How many times does it take to stop driving to the baseline, getting cornered and jumping in the air to make a pass to anyone to get out of the jam? How many end of the game, end of the court to end of the court drives with a resulting TO or missed lay in does it take before we put the ball in someone elses hands?

Bring EJ in as a 2 guard. Leave Rio out of the equation. Adams, like White, Ellis and Traylor have not contributed positively on a consistent basis other that providing a few minutes rest for our regulars. At least Traylor is not costing us on the defensive end and recently has improved with his passing offensively.

Great win against the Cats. Let`s bring it like that every night.

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Jim Roth 1 year, 7 months ago

A week ago today we were no. 5.

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REHawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Our point guard of the future certainly went a long way toward establishing his taproot last night. A sigh of relief for those of us who have voiced serious concern about guard play for 2013-14. Naadir has silenced a great deal of criticism, reassured everyone concerned. Now if Self can just find more playing opportunities for Rio, a kid who possesses the speed, body and enthusiasm of a young Tyshawn Taylor, and perhaps without the developmental baggage. Even tho Rio earned two turnovers last night, the first was a split second hesitation to pass, accompanied by starting players not racing to openings to help save him. The hesitation on everyone's part is a matter of experience among a lineup of players not in complete sync. The second turnover was a hodge-podge situation which could have happened to any of our starters. Rio has the reach, quickness and urgency of desire to do well. If he can remain patient I envision his playing a key role in successful Jayhawk hoops by this date next season. I really hope that he can see more game time this year, so as to seal his decision to return, also to clock the experience which will be so valuable once EJ and Ben are gone. This kid is bound to explode someday somewhere, literally setting fire to a stat sheet. I can't imagine how difficult it is for him now, trying to throttle the urgency to race to the rim, knowing that he does not yet possess the collegiate knowhow or green light to do it.

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Kye Clark 1 year, 7 months ago

I share your enthusiasm regarding Adams. Wish he could find more PT. I really like the kid's upside.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 7 months ago

Please remember the leap in ability, strength, confidence and basketball savvy that the Morrii made between their freshman and sophomore years. You really don't know what you have in a freshman until you see him play a season.

Perry will need to be Hudy-ized to build up his strength, increase his focus, cultivate a mental toughness and fight to become an impact player, just like Markieff and Marcus did.

Next year will be fascinating to watch with the 9-10 man rotation a battle between one senior, one junior, five sophomores and as many as six freshman. they might as well call us the University of Kansas BabyJays!!

If a genie gave me a bunch of wishes, the line-up would be , Tharpe, Selden, Frankamp, Randle and Jo Jo, with Ellis, Greene, AWII, Lucas and Traylor off the bench.

We're gonna be young and wild but it sure will be fun but I still better hide the remote once the game starts!!!

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 7 months ago

PS at 20-4 Kansas is exactly where had them at this stage of the season when I predicted the wins and losses in October.....although I did get three of the four losses wrong!! I got them going 4-3 for the rest of the conference, 2-1 in the Big 12 Tourney and 2-1 in the NCAA for a total of 28-9. Let's all hope I suck at predictions as much as I sucked at picking a first wife!!

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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

It would shock the heck out of me if Frankamp starts next season. In fact, I bet he only gets spot minutes like Rio's been getting.

Lineup I would suspect (and I'm also betting we get Randle):

Tharpe Selden White III P. Ellis Randle (playing an undersized "5")

Most hotly contested positions will be the 3 & 4. B.Greene w/ White III & Traylor w/ Ellis.

I honestly see Frankamp is about the 10th man & unlikely to see too many mins. next season barring injury.

6th - 9th off the bench I would suspect would feature R.Adams, B.Greene, Traylor & L.Lucas

I think Embiid will ALSO be in the Frankamp position of only seeing spot mins.

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knappy78 1 year, 7 months ago

The biggest problem with this year's team is that its most talented defensive players are not the most talented offensive players. You can't count on Withey and Releford going off for 30 points each night, nor can you expect McLemore to play lock-down defense of the other team's best player for 40 minutes.

During the winning streak, I believe player development suffered since most of the games were close wire-to-wire. Self didn't have the opportunity to work the younger players into the games, like he normally would with a comfortable lead, so players like Tharpe, Ellis, and Traylor haven't been able to make the kinds of strides we expect to see at this time of the season from the bench.

What was most encouraging last night was Tharpe's presence on the defensive end. As we know, Self values defense first, so if Tharpe can continue to be solid on that end, he can continue to run the dynamic offense we saw last night. Hopefully, that will lead to bigger score differentials, which will lead to more PT for the rest of the young guys. For this team to be deadly in March, it needs players like Ellis and Traylor to become weapons off the bench, like Aldrich in '08.

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knappy78 1 year, 7 months ago

I meant 30 from each. Withey is not a dominating scorer in the post like a Robinson or a Simien, and Releford is not a natural scorer like a Marcus Morris or Paul Pierce. They are role players who have to find their spots to score within the flow of the offense. As we saw with TCU and OU, no flow means no points. We can't expect either to take over a game offensively.

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coolhand357 1 year, 7 months ago

When it comes down to it, on both sides of the ball, the whole tream played twice as fast when Tharpe was making the plays. It was a wake-up call for the entire team. Guys were getting quick passes like they hadn't seen in recent games. Do you remember the pass-back to Withey after Tharpe drove the lane early in the game? It hit Withey square in the chest and bounced off! From that point on, Withey was quick and ready. The whole team played in fast-forward mode because of the Tharpe "spark plug". All McLemore needed was separation to make shots, and the pace of the game afforded him the opportunity to score 30. As in all successful Kansas teams, the point sets the pace... and that is exactly what is needed the rest of the way.

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hammerhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Tharpe?!!??!! This is the player that everyone is hanging his hat on!??!! One half of play?!?!?! Couple of savy dribbles and passes!!?? Oh my...

Well, I hope you're all right on this.

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AsadZ 1 year, 7 months ago

Nice higlights from yesterday's game including locker room celebration/dancing

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HawkKlaw 1 year, 7 months ago

I've been waiting for a breakout game from Naadir all year! There were a ton of doubters here on this site early this season but it's good to see everyone starting to come around. Tharpe's been a better facilitator than Elijah all along, his defense just wasn't up to par to start the season. But after watching him keep MacGruder down in the first half on Monday, it's clear that his "D" is no longer an issue. Naadir deserves any minutes he gets! He's going to be a fantastic PG at KU. I still highly doubt that Self will start Naadir over Elijah this season, but I wouldn't argue with the move if he did.

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Kevin Huffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Who was guarding A. Rodriguez then? 'cause they didn't do a very good job as the dude went off for 19!!!!

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