Friday, January 4, 2013

Self praises KU bench’s improved play, confidence

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe pushes the ball up the court past American center Tony Wroblicky during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Naadir Tharpe pushes the ball up the court past American center Tony Wroblicky during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Pleased with Kansas University’s men’s basketball starting lineup, Bill Self has also been impressed with the work of his reserves.

“We haven’t really taken a step back when we’ve gone to the bench,” said KU coach Self, who has started Elijah Johnson, Ben McLemore, Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Kevin Young the last nine games — since a Nov. 19 win over Washington State in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

“I’ll be real candid. That was one of my biggest concerns playing Michigan State and playing all five (actually three) starters 33 minutes because you are a little nervous. Now we are getting more confidence,” Self added of bench players Perry Ellis, Naadir Tharpe and Jamari Traylor, as well as Andrew White III and Rio Adams.

“All you need to be worried about when you are in the game is whether the advantage increases or the deficit decreases. That’s how you determine if you are playing well or not. You are one of five out there. (Lately) we’ve done a good job of that,” Self noted of the substitutes on his weekly radio show.

In all, 10 Jayhawks played 11 or more minutes last Saturday against American; nine players 11 or more minutes on Dec. 18 against Richmond and nine players 10 or more minutes on Dec. 15 vs. Belmont. Self had used five starters 32 minutes or more versus Ohio State on Dec. 22 and four starters 28 minutes or more vs. MSU.

Tharpe, a 5-11 backup point guard from Worcester, Mass., has dished 22 assists against no turnovers over the last four games heading into Sunday’s 3:30 p.m., home game against Temple. For the year, he’s averaged 5.0 points with 38 assists against 11 turnovers.

“He is playing well in practice. He is comfortable. I think he is playing at a level he hasn’t played at since he’s been here,” Self said. “He’s a terrific shooter (13 of 30 threes for 43.3 percent) but you can’t always bank on making shots. You bank on being able to guard the ball, creating pressure, creating havoc and pushing it in transition, getting other guys looks. He’s done a really good job in that area.”

Tharpe is ahead of schedule, Self said.

“I thought he’d be capable of being a good backup early in his career and have a chance to play major minutes moving forward,” Self said. “His attitude is so good right now. I go through phases with all guys and I know they go through phases with me. You like what you see and then you don’t like what you see and then it takes a while to get it back.

“I’ve not been easy with Naadir by any stretch. Looking back, he deserved to be somebody gotten on hard because we see (now) what he’s capable of doing. If he wasn’t doing it before it means somebody wasn’t getting it out of him. That’s me. I like where he is.”

Freshman forward Ellis averages 6.1 points (off 50 percent shooting) and 3.7 rebounds in 15 minutes a game.

“Perry is playing pretty well right now — practice and in the games,” Self said. “He is getting more comfortable and confident. Jamari seems to be making some positive strides in that area,” he added of frosh forward Traylor, who averages 2.8 points and 3.1 boards in 13.1 minutes per game. “There seem to be some good things taking place even though it may not translate to Sunday (versus 10-2 Owls). Right now in practice, it’s looking pretty good.”

Self said competition has been strong in workouts.

“The better Perry plays, the harder Kevin plays. The better Jamari plays, the harder Perry plays. It’s unbelievable that it works like that,” Self said. “You obviously get better as a team when that happens.”

Freshman guard White has averaged 4.4 points and 1.9 rebounds (7-of-22 from three for 31.8 percent) while logging 8.2 minutes a game in nine games. Freshman guard Adams, who has been used mainly in mop-up time, played 11 minutes against American. Junior Justin Wesley has missed the last four games because of a broken little finger on his left hand. He has five points and 10 rebounds while combining for 35 minutes in seven games.

Greene MVP: KU signee Brannen Greene, a 6-7 senior from Tift County High in Tifton, Ga., was named MVP of the recent McDonald’s Invitational in Georgia, reports.’s No. 25-rated player nationally scored 32 points in the title game of the event, which matched teams from Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.

This, that: More than 1,200 Kansas State fans, who attended Wednesday’s Phoenix Suns-Philadelphia game in Phoenix, booed former KU forward Markieff Morris of the Suns during the game. The KSU fans were in Phoenix for Thursday’s Fiesta Bowl.

“I told Markieff that Big 12 stuff runs deep. I think that’s the first time he’s been booed when he checked into the game,” Suns coach and former KU assistant Alvin Gentry told

The KSU fans cheered former Wildcat Michael Beasley who played sparingly for the Suns.


HawkKlaw 1 year, 3 months ago

"If he wasn’t doing it before it means somebody wasn’t getting it out of him. That’s me. I like where he is." -Self on Naadir Tharpe

What more needs to be said? For everyone arguing that Naadir has too many "physical limitations" and will never "play meaningful minutes in big games" and can't "guard bigger opposing guards" (although he guards 6'4" Elijah everyday in practice and I have yet to hear anyone on the staff raise this same argument), I hope you've got your spoons and forks ready because it's din-din time. Bill Self makes it sound like Naadir is on his way to making you eat all of those words.


nostradavid 1 year, 3 months ago

jaybate rhymes with hallucinate The bench interview reminds me of an art history paper from long ago. After a long night of fun, at 3am, it became an interview with a cricket that lived in a silver reliquary that contained the bones of a saint (on display in Spooner Hall at the time). - Seeing Okiehoma crushed in the Cotton Bowl brought back memories of Dana Stubblefield and the Jayhawks beating them on a fine fall afternoon in Lawrence. - Will Bill Snyder retire again after he realizes he can't win the big one ? That would clear the way for a proven bowl game winner - Mangino!


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 2

b: I'm sorry. I thought this was 2013. I thought you and your readers were mature enough to handle the truth.

j: I want the truth!

b: You can't handle the truth!

(long pause)

b: Son, we live in a world that has balls, and those balls have to be supported by seats with legs. Who's gonna do it? You? You, mister jaybate? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep about TMI, and you curse the bench. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That TMI, while tragic, never saved a pair. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves pairs. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me under those balls, you need me under those balls. We use words like honor, code, loyalty on the bench. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent supporting something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a virtual interviewer who rises and sleeps on the support of the very freedom from dangling that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a seat cushion, and support a pair. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

j: No further questions.

(Note: all fiction. No malice.)


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

jaybate News Service (ins)

Dateline: The KU bench

Slug: jaybate interviews the KU bench

Part 1

jaybate: I want to say up front that this is the first bench I've ever interviewed virtually, or otherwise.

bench: Its a pleasure to be here, 'bate.

j: Not sure quite where to begin here. Hmm. What's it like being a bench in Division One college basketball.

b: Its multi-faceted.

j: You're not really an old fashioned bench, are you?

b: No, I'm a modern, multi-chaired bench. Polyethylene seat cushions and back on powder coated, or sometimes stainless steel tube frame and legs. But my father, baseball bench, he was a very traditional bench. Long wood 2x4s painted and bolted parallel to wood and concrete uprights.

j: Hmm. You come from a family of benches, eh?

b: Yes, on a Mormon family tree web site I tracked our family back to Old Vic theater benches in London, and then back to Roman Coliseum benches.

j: What does a bench do to prepare for a game?

b: Heavy breathing. Lots of heavy breathing to oxidize one's lungs. Its very tough to breath with some of these wide load types sitting on us.

j: Is there any skill required to be a good bench?

b: Oh, yea. When a player makes a bone headed play and gets a quick hook, two dangerous things are going to have happen very quickly.

j: What are they?

b: First, the player is going to flop down on the chair, start cursing and lean way, way back.

j: And...

b: Next a coach will come over about to have a flipping coronary and begin laying into the player about being softer than whipped cream in a hot tub.

j: What's the risk?

b: The coaches invariably want to get down in the player's face. The player is leaning back dangerously to exhibit defiance. The coach can easily cause the player to go over backwards.

j: Why is that your problem?

b: Chairs that tip over are considered bad luck by most coaches. I've seen a half dozen innocent chairs hounded into thrift stores by coaches blaming bad luck on chairs that flip over and injure a player.

j: What's your favorite part of being a bench?

b: Giving a great player the support and comfort he needs to catch his breath before returning to the game.

j: What's your least favorite part?

b: Having a butt in my face all the time.

(nervously shuffling papers)

j: That about does it.

b: No, really, you can't imagine how offensive it can be some times.

j: TMI

b: You've got your sweatty wide butts.

j: TMI

b: You've got your skinny boney tookases.

j: TMI, TMI, TMI!!!


KansasComet 1 year, 3 months ago

Looking forward to the game Sunday. Equally ready for the Big 12 season to get under way after Sunday's game! I think we are rounding into shape quite nicely.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

"Some Little Known Facts about Temple"

~Temple's Owl mascot is actually based on John Chaney when he wore a beard during hormone treatments for lowT.

~Fran Dunphy is not related to Jack Dunphy, Truman Capote's life partner, or Jerry Dunphy, LA news anchorman, but jaybate's National Basketball Enquirer believes Fran may be a descendant of President Chester A. Arthur.

President Chester A. Arthur

President Chester A. Arthur by jaybate

Fran Dunphy

Fran Dunphy by jaybate

~Temple has 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students and not one of them is named Rocky Balboa, Jr.

~Temple is a public university that has achieved the best of all possible worlds, because while it gets state monies, it is independently operated...kind of like the Federal Reserve.

~Temple has international campuses in Rome, Tokyo, Singapore and London, but has yet to recruit these cities hard.

~Temple founder Russell Conwell is believed to be the only Yale graduate to be a captain in the Civil War, a Boston lawyer, a Philadelphia minister, and a founder of a university in Philadelphia named Temple.

~Temple graduate Noam Chomsky started his career as a linguist by studying the contribution of Temple graduate Bill Cosby's locker room humor to the manufacturing of sports consent in America.

~Temple graduates Daryl Hall and John Oates often perform live at Temple games from their nursing home beds.

~Temple graduate Patricia Wettig has signed to do a reunion show of Thirty Something to be called Ninety Something.

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Baloney! We will Beat those Backwoods Buffoons Black and Blue. No more Banter about these much Ballyhooed, Bumbling, Benign, Backdoor Bacteria. Our men will Bedazzle and Baffle their Baby Boys.

I need a Beer. Preferably a Bud.


Steve Gantz 1 year, 3 months ago

I think what's funny about KSU is that they were there presumably to see their 1 and done Beasly warm the bench for a 12-21 team.

I'll admit, I saw perennial all stardom for Beasley in the league. I'm a Bulls fan, but thought we should have picked Beasley over Rose. Shows how much I know!

As for the meat of the article, it seems like this team is settling into the typical Self team. The rotation is set. The lack of competition in the league this year means we'll enter the big dance with probably 2 or at most 3 more losses. #1 seed and we'll nervously wait and watch to see how we'll manage the trap games that have besmirched Self's otherwise stellar coaching resume.


jayhawkinATL 1 year, 3 months ago

I was actually happy to see KSU throttled last night.


stm62 1 year, 3 months ago

I NEVER root for K-State because they hate us so much. On 810 I heard several purples bragging about how "classy" their fans are. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's that typical inferior, chip on their shoulders attitude thats been around in my 50 years of living that seems to never change.


iamakufan 1 year, 3 months ago

Wow, that is truly tacky to boo Markieff. I can see it when KSU plays KU. We all boo the other team during BigXII games. But outside of that I always root for the BigXII team and players/former players. I really thought KSU fans had more class than that. I even rooted big time for KSU in the Fiesta Bowl and felt bad when they were so badly embarrassed. Shame on those KSU fans.


REHawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Look at those arms and shoulders on Naadir. He appears to have adapted well to the KU training facilities.


REHawk 1 year, 3 months ago

I have enjoyed watching our starters do so well that five bench players are getting many game minutes. Bill Self seems to be sending a message to the scholarship freshmen that he wants them all back next season. AW3 and Rio are gleaning more than just mop up minutes, and Landon received a nice package deal for a freshman. If the bench players are patient enough to return and keep churning forward, we should have considerable experience on the court next season, albeit one of the youngest squads in Division 1. Tharpe and Wessley the only upperclassmen.


KUfreebird 1 year, 3 months ago

KU is going to be so stacked next year its not even funny.


William Blake 1 year, 3 months ago

This article has the content we want to hear just before B12 league play. It sounds like everyone is on the same page and the competition level is high. As good as we have looked lately in games, hard to imagine that these guys can still improve dramatically, but I'm now thinking we haven't seen anything yet!

Rock Chalk!


William Blake 1 year, 3 months ago

All I can say to the Purple Pu--y fans is "karma is a b--ch!"

So go back to Manhattan and crawl under your rock with your Fiesta Bowl runner-up ribbon.


theend 1 year, 3 months ago

Our bench could beat the majority of Div 1 teams.......Maybe not the top teams......but the majority.


FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

With the attitude that most K-Staters have toward KU, I believe it was fitting that the wildcats got their butt's kicked last night in Fiesta Bowl.


rtwngr 1 year, 3 months ago

It's all coach speak. He's said the same thing over and over from season to season. The writers ask the same questions and Coach Self gives the same answers. I'm not criticizing, I'm just saying after, what, nine seasons, what's new to be said?


AsadZ 1 year, 3 months ago

Thought provoking comments from the Master:

All you need to be worried about when you are in the game is whether the advantage increases or the deficit decreases.

I go through phases with all guys and I know they go through phases with me. You like what you see and then you don’t like what you see and then it takes a while to get it back.

The better Perry plays, the harder Kevin plays. The better Jamari plays, the harder Perry plays. It’s unbelievable that it works like that.


KansasComet 1 year, 3 months ago

Obviously Coach Self sees something in the student athletes that he recruits. It's just a matter of if he can it out of them on the collegiate level. One or two things will happen. If he can, then by season 2-3 you start to see talent along with good decision making. If he can't...transfer. That's the way I see it. If he redshirts you, then he needs you, just not at the present moment. Looking forward to watching Lucas next year.


nuleafjhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

"Good but inconsequential--the sound of a tree fallen in a forest no one hears. Soon Snyder will be gone and no one but silo rats will recall when KSU was any good."

Love the "silo rats" reference. When I was a kid, I didn't even realize the college was actually called Kansas State University. From listening to my dad and uncles, I thought it was called " Silo Tech on the Kaw ".


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

• Self plays 8-10 players big mpg against lesser opponents, but not against top teams. Its amazing it works like that. :-)

• Tad Boyle's newly good Buffs get jobbed on the drug frontier with a bum replay by whistle swallowers against a lame coach with a team created by a ShoeCo? Its amazing it works like that. :-)

• The fiscal cliff gets deferred with our taxes increased, our services cut, and senators and congressmen voting themselves pay raises right before something justifies Obama invading Syria as per Israeli leaders predictions? Its amazing it works like that. :-)


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

"Its Amazing It Works Like That"

• "The better Perry plays, the harder Kevin plays. The better Jamari plays, the harder Perry plays. It’s unbelievable that it works like that,” Self said.

Self said, Gary, should have been changed to Self cracked. :-)

Self seems to be getting a bit more openly cynical about human nature as he ages. Its amazing it works like that. :-)

• Greene hangs 32 in a McD Invite and no board rats are orgasmic? Do I detect board rats maturing about numbers in high school games not meaning instant D1 starting ability for Bill Self? Its amazing it works like that. :-)

• KSU and Snyder still can't fill a bowl stadium after all these years. They remain a flat land Boise State. Good but inconsequential--the sound of a tree fallen in a forest no one hears. Soon Snyder will be gone and no one but silo rats will recall when KSU was any good. Its amazing it works like that. :-)

• Self says Naadir playing well implies Naadir needed getting ridden hard? Oh, AW3 and Rio, get ready for your new saddles now that Naadir is saddle broken. Its amazing it works like that. :-)


wrwlumpy 1 year, 3 months ago

Scheduling has been great this year. Having the American game after Ohio State was the perfect home follow up with long weeks of practice to allow all of them to play and showcase what they can do. By the way, Colorado actually beat Arizona last night. There is a photo showing .01 sec and the ball has left his hands. Nice to know we were up on Colorado by 40 at one time. All eyes will be on this national game with a long and fast Temple team. If we beat Temple does that mean that Syracuse isn't very good or that KU is really good. Right now, Kansas, Duke and Michigan will be #1 seeds and Mizzou if they win the SEC.


ParisHawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Coach Self is really laying it on thick, for him. It looks like he has 8 guys he will let play when it means the most. That's all he wants really: 3-4 bigs and 4 smalls he can count on, plus W3 and Adams for insurance.

What the team needs now is health, sweet health!


Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 3 months ago

Why the heck was Pullen trying to mess up Markieff's delicate arms with his face?? That is just so bad, so KSU!!!


KEITHMILES05 1 year, 3 months ago

Small minded KSU fans. Shows their true colors not being real Kansans but ideologues.


Adam McEwen 1 year, 3 months ago

well I hope the KSU fans got enough satisfaction out of booing Markieff to justify traveling to phoenix, they sure didn't get any from their football team..


coloradojayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Just wondering how many are going to be in the rotation in March. He usually goes for fewer than nine, but it's dependent upon the skills. Does this team have that many skilled players that he'll share all the minutes liberally or will he focus on narrowing down a player or two?

We'll see in a couple of months.


odc213 1 year, 3 months ago

Two thoughts. 1) I was able to attend my 1st game this season while home over the holidays. AWIII, after his one dunk, was doggin it. Out of shape? Jetlag? and 2) Earlier tonight, I was cheering on K-State, I hate to say it, to win the Fiesta. But why the discord with Morris in Phoenix? That's the difference between KU and KSU fans. Class. KSU had a great year and Synder is top notch, but give KSU fans a chance to cheer anyone who plays against KU, and they are off their rockers. KU = Kansas KSU = Manhattan. Little minds for the little apple


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