Friday, January 11, 2013

Ben McLemore impresses ex-KU assistant Matt Doherty

Kansas guard Ben McLemore celebrates a bucket next to Iowa State guard Chris Babb as the Jayhawks make a run during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore celebrates a bucket next to Iowa State guard Chris Babb as the Jayhawks make a run during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.



Kansas guard Ben McLemore celebrates a bucket next to Iowa State guard Chris Babb as the Jayhawks make a run during the second half on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Former Kansas University basketball assistant coach Matt Doherty was not surprised to see Ben McLemore’s last-second, game-tying, overtime-inducing three-pointer bank off the backboard before falling through the net.

“It’s the Phog,” ESPNU color announcer Doherty exclaimed Wednesday, asked how the 6-foot-5 McLemore could kiss a 22-foot shot off the glass with 1.3 seconds to play and force the KU-Iowa State game into OT — one in which the Jayhawks scored the first 11 points en route to a 97-89 victory.

“That,” Doherty added, “was one of the best games I’ve been part of in Allen Fieldhouse.”

That is saying a lot, considering Doherty worked seven seasons on Roy Williams’ KU staff — 1992-93 to 1998-99.

Asked to recall some other huge shots he’d witnessed in KU’s tradition-rich building, he came up with ...

“Steve Woodberry’s shot in the corner against Oklahoma State,” Doherty said of a Woodberry trey that gave KU a 62-61 victory over OSU for Williams’ 150th career victory on Jan. 26, 1994.

“Jacque’s shot against Indiana,” he added of Jacque Vaughn’s three that gave KU an 86-83 victory over the Hoosiers on Dec. 22, 1993.

Doherty was impressed with the play that tied Wednesday’s game at 79 and the person who hit the shot.

“It was a great play, and we’ve seen that play before. They ran it for Mario Chalmers against Memphis,” Doherty said of the “chop,” which KU used to send the 2008 NCAA title game into overtime. “The secondary part was the flare screen. It was a great screen by (Travis) Releford and a great read, because they switched the screen. McLemore is fantastic. He has a beautiful jump shot. It’s a true jump shot.”

Doherty perhaps paid the ultimate compliment to McLemore.

“He’s great. He’s great. He’s Paul Pierce great,” Doherty said, comparing McLemore to former KU and current Boston Celtics great Pierce.

Accuracy: McLemore hit six threes in six tries en route to 33 points Wednesday.

“I was pretty proud to shoot 6-for-6 from three,” McLemore said. “I practice my shot every day.”

KU senior Elijah Johnson, who passed the ball to McLemore before he stroked the game-tying three, backs up the fact McLemore is a student of the game.

“Ben is the type of person willing to learn his whole life. He never thinks he knows too much. Even when he knows something, he won’t just come off with that type of attitude,” Johnson said. “That gave him the ability to keep up with us, to know all the plays, know what to do. He’s so fundamental.

“When his man catches the ball, every time he closes out with high hands. Just small stuff other people don’t do. It hurts him when he doesn’t do something right, whether it’s make a shot or help-side defense.

“Anything he is getting right now, I truly, deep down in my heart think he deserves it,” Johnson added. “He’s a little kid on the court. At the same time, he’s growing up. He’s the coolest person in the world, one of those people you could never get mad at. I feel his character off the court is showing on the court.”

Noted Jeff Withey: “Ben does everything the right way. He’s a great teammate. That matters a lot. The fact he sat out last year, he gained so much knowledge. This year, he’s just exploding into such a great player. He’s a good guy.”

Kevin Young on McLemore’s three and KU’s winning the game in overtime: “It’s magical. I don’t think any of us thought we were going to lose that game.”

Wooden list: McLemore and Withey on Thursday were named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, announced Thursday via ESPNU by The Los Angeles Athletic Club. Selected by the Wooden Award National Advisory Board, the list is made up of 25 players, who, based on their performances in November, December and the beginning of January, are front-runners for college basketball’s Wooden Award. Others on the midseason list: Anthony Bennett, UNLV; Laurence Bowers, Missouri; Trey Burke, Michigan; Isaiah Canaan, Murray State; Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse; Jack Cooley, Notre Dame; Seth Curry, DUke; Jamaal Franklin, S.D. State; Erick Green, Virginia Tech; Elias Harris, Gonzaga; Pierre Jackson, Baylor; Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati; C.J. McCollum, Lehigh; Doug McDermott, Creighton; Brandon Paul, Illinois; Mason Plumlee, Duke; Otto Porter, Georgetown; Phil Pressey, Missouri; Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State; Russ Smith, Louisville; Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State; Nate Wolters, S.D. State; Cody Zeller, Indiana.

Honesty: ISU’s Tyrus McGee told the Des Moines Register he did foul McLemore on his game-tying three.

“The ref just didn’t call it. I got him on the bottom of his hand. I should have smacked him in the head,” McGee said.

Weis happy: KU football coach Charlie Weis, who had a courtside seat behind the goal, was jubilant after McLemore hit his game-tying three. To check out video of Weis’ reaction, see Jesse Newell’s blog.


Joseph Hansen 1 year, 3 months ago

I really like the thought of what happens if Kevin Young starts taking that open foul-line jumper. Surely he will hit 50% of them, which is a good team % anyway; it opens the lane; opponents can't double-team Withey; and the likelihood of offensive rebounds grows, especially tip-ins by Jeff. Shoot it up, K Yo!


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 3

When a guy takes over as point guard, there just is a learning curve that has to happen, not just with the point guard, but with his teammates, too, before they begin to see how to handle all the different things opposing coaches can throw at them. Hell, Self had no flipping idea what Hoiberg was throwing at them. Why should EJ have somehow been able to figure it out seamlessly and avoid baking pop tarts in the heat of battle, when Self couldn't on the side lines.

Some military strategists have defined a battle plan as something designed to get you into battle, afterwhich the chaos of battle immediately obsolets the battle plan, and you are caught in a rush to see who can find some new plan that will get you through the chaos.

KU has played and beaten some good teams now. KU is 13-1 and could easily have beaten MSU--the one team it lost to.

Elijah Johnson is the point guard of a 13-1 team in Division 1 college basketball. Elijah Johnson may not pass some board rat's eye tests, or performance tests, but Elijah Johnson is passing the "getting it done" test. And at the end of the day, that's the only test that matters.

I have my doubts about whether the Prophet's knee can hold up for 35-40 games.

But I don't have a single doubt about going to war with Elijah Johnson, just as I didn't with Tyshawn, or Sherron, or RR, or Chalmers.

Elijah Johnson is a different kind of point guard evolving before our eyes.

He defies all the eye tests and cliches.

He used to be able to hit money shots from three, but now his knee makes those kinds of shots problematic.

But when the game was all most lost, when KU had to make its move to get back into the game, when the clock had to be stopped to a couple times to get enough time to get back into the game, it was Elijah Johnson that had the presence of mind and courage of conviction to drive the length of floor and draw the foul at the rim to stop the clock twice. And it was Elijah Johnson that made the free throws. That was where the game was saved by skill and basketball IQ.

And that is why I would go to war with Elijah Johnson any time any where.

He passes the "get it done" eye test.

And that's the only flipping eye test I care about.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 3

~COMING TO THE PROPHET'S DEFENSE: Once again I am getting tired of KU's point guard being dissed for making too many turn overs and not meeting the "point guard eye test." This was the same thing we went through with Tyshawn, who went through a steep learning curve, and to lesser degree with Sherron, who did't "look" like a conventional point guard.

Fans need to understand that Self has a philosophy of getting his best players "now" on the court, and then scripting their roles carefully to allow them to do what they do best, while hoping time and experience will let them work toward masking their short comings. The result is that Self's impact players are often looking great at some things, while also looking bad at others. And there is something about this going on with point guards that particularly drives KU fans batty.

Elijah, despite his now intermittently bad knee, is a great pitch forward passer. He got a lot of assists against ISU even as he made a lot of TOs. Yes we need him to make fewer TOs, but he is a developing PG and he is running a new kind of offense this season, and each week brings more video for the opponents to study and learn how to hamstring him in yet another new way. Each week he has to learn to adjust to what happened last game, and then be confronted by something new he hasn't seen the next game. It will go on like this until at least February, maybe late February, maybe even into the Madness. This is the price of playing with a first year point guard in a new kind of offense. It was the price of playing with a first year point guard like Tyshawn. And it was the price of playing with a wide body point guard capable of exploding all over people like Sherron, who also had some troubles with over committing his entire career, because his incredible strength helped him not only do great things, but also get into situations that he lacked the height (and later) the hops to finish in.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 2

~McLemore Reality Check: Ben had a great game. He was ridiculously hot, after having been in a small slump recently. He had the kind of game very good players have once in a while when they play on a team lacking in good scorers. But he is not out there throwing up Kevin Durant numbers every game. Not even Michael Beasley numbers every game. Just let Ben be Ben and see where the chips fall. I said early on the guy had Michael Jordan kind of ability. But that doesn't mean he is Michael Jordan. Kenny Gregory had Michael Jordan kind of ability, too. But it didn't play out that way. Really, Ben has a long way to go to be an accomplished basketball player. Everyone looks great when the make everything they throw up, just like every team looks unbeatable after a hot shooting game. The truth is Ben went unconscious for a game. Look back over his career at KU and high school. How many times has he gone 6 for 6 from trey, or whatever he did. It was an anomalous game. He is a terrific player, but everyone (including draft professionals) that thinks one game transforms him from a number 10 draft choice to a number 1 draft choice is suffering irrational exhuberance. He is a very good basketball player with a huge amount of talent. He is an OAD type. If he wants to, he can turn pro. But a hot game with a lucky shot doesn't really mean near as much, as how well he has played in all of the other games combined. He has shown he could step in and play as a starter without his mistakes erasing his benefits. He has contributed well. But we are not seeing even Kevin Durant yet. Durant could control a game on a night he was shooting "only" 38-40% from trey. Maybe Self is saying that with how limited this team's scoring abilities are it is time to see if Ben should take over more of the load. But really, more likely, the team is better off when he just occassionally explodes. One thing for sure, after the ISU game, opponent's scouting reports are going to put a lot more emphasis on controlling Ben, and that is going to be great for our other rotation players playing with him. Trav, Kevin, Jeff, and EJ are going to find it easier to score as more of the defense is focused on Ben. And these guys have already proven they can get the ball in the hole adequately.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

"Friday Outside the Box"

Part 1

~POSSIBLE (?) ENGINEERING WORK AROUND FOR HIGH GROUND WATER PROBLEM FACING EXCAVATION OF MEMORIAL STADIUM EXPANSION: Oak says excavating to lower the field, will confront a ground water management problem.

Wild haired suggestion that has probably already been tried somewhere: Instead of fighting the ground water (i.e., pumping it out all the time, let's use the ground water as our friend).

Think of a Panama Canal lock. Two walls and closed gates (in effect two more walls, when closed) and water rising will float huge ships upwards as high as the water level is raised.

Think of the excavation to lower the field as building a canal lock with permanently closed gates.

Think of the football field as being built on a poured concrete boat hull (or field pan) that will float on the ground water that both seeps in under it and, if necessary to achieve adequate floatation is pumped in under it to create a giant, balanced, floating football field that rises and falls a bit with the level of the ground water.

Reinforced concrete is used for both the "lock" and the field pan that floats in it. Alternatively, modern high tech concretes might be used that are much stronger and lighter per unit volume, and less water permeable. The modern concrete might be used if and where cost effective, but not if and where not. For instance the field pan might be the high tech variety, and the lock walls might be the old fashioned kind.

The relationship of the size of the football field to the weight of the persons on the field would likely be so insignificant, that stability would not be a problem, depending on how the "hull" (i.e., the underside of the floating field were shaped).

Voila. No expensive pile driving, or excavations to bed rock. No constant pumping of ground water.

We use the weight of the football field pan (hull) force excesses of water high enough that when it reaches grade it is drained off into gravity storm sewers.

And if water needed to be pumped back into the lock at certain times of year, or in certain drought conditions, then a water reservoir could be built at the open end of the stadium to handle overflows and infusions. The water reservoir would be designed to also be a reflecting pool with fountains. A giant wishing well. Maybe even some fish for the kids. :-)

An engineer might also calculate how much water and volume would be required to add the seating to the field pan and make the new seating and the field float together.

Remember, concrete is cheap. Structural steel and deep piles are expensive.

Next. :-)


TexasRockChalk 1 year, 3 months ago

Any going to Lubbock or Austin for the next couple of road games?


wildjayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Ku will not be so lucky next time.


Ron Franklin 1 year, 3 months ago

Why did Coach Self say Fred did the right thing by not fouling before the three. Just last year Coach Self fouled Aaron Craft when the Jayhawks were up by three. Remember--when Craft botched the attempt on purpose but crossed the stripe.

Is it as simple as keeping coaches off of his scent and on their toes?

Coach Self fouls up 3 and Calipari tried to foul up in the 08 NC game, but the refs didn't call it.


Priest Fontaine 1 year, 3 months ago

Ben "Bank Glasslemore" Mclemore -Robert Pope


mejayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

New topic: Has anyone else noticed the cop who sits behind the visiting coach in Allen Fieldhouse? He looks so much like Rob Cordrey playing a cop that I laugh everytime the camera shows him. Also, I like the jayhawks!


Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Wish I knew the full scoop why Doherty wasnt given more time at UNC. Roy did win it all with Matt's recruits, but ALSO a game that the officials simply whistled enough fouls on the Illini bigs to hand the W to Roy. And those were Self's Illini recruits. I really wonder who would have won that 2004 championship if Self were still coaching those Illini players???


Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

Look for teams to push the weave out toward midcourt, try to draw Jeff out from the paint, double team Ben and make someone else beat us from the outside and leave Kevin open until he gets to within 5' of the basket.

Thanks for schooling America about the Jayhawks on national television, Hoiberg, you turkey!!


Milton Bland 1 year, 3 months ago

I yelled at the tv, "HE WAS FOULED." But we all knew it would not be called. Why do the refs most often refuse to call foul on last second shots? They had called foul on a similar shot a few minutes earlier. Do the officals get paid time and a half for overtime?


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

"On Luck, Swagger and Belief: Why Self's Teams Seem to Win A Lot of Close Games"

(Shameless Repost)

Part 1

When Ben made the lucky bank to beat the Iowa State Hoiclones, my first response was to discount it and KU's win as merely lucky, as if they didn't deserve it.

And that made me think about luck in hoops.

And that made me recall that lucky plays happen through out games. And I have never heard anyone complain about not deserving a win because of a lucky bounce on a free throw five minutes into a game.

What does it matter that luck happened on Ben's last second shot, versus a lucky bank 3 minutes in?

Except in the dynamical sense of games being unfolding events of complexity, nothing. Without being an omniscient god, a lucky point ten seconds in is worth as much as a lucky point ten seconds to the end. All luck counts the same at the end. Had KU missed three point early, because of an unlucky bounce on the rim, and then Ben made the lucky bank at the end, KU would still have come up three points shy of a win.

The more I think about it the more I think a basketball game brims with lucky plays.

Shots and FTs bounce around the rim in ways shooters don't plan and then fall. Luck.

Rebounds come off one way and not another in unplanned ways and so are rebounded unexpectedly. Luck.

Guys trip, or slip, or get injured, unexpectedly and you get an easy bucket, or an easy MUA. Luck.

You get a draw in the Madness with teams you match up well with. Luck.

There is so much luck to be had in basketball that one has not only to be good to win big, but one also has to be lucky.

At least a quarter to a half of possessions evidence some luck. Maybe more.

And the luck seems widely distributed among both teams.

So why do some teams seem to win so much more?

Is it talent and skill or luck that leads to asymmetric winning?

It both. No. Its three things.

More talented teams seem to win more. So recruit more talented players.

And luckier teams seem to win more. So recruit more lucky players.

And teams with players that respond well after the event of luck seem to win more.

That last one is Self's least understood edge.

His players not only get luck, good and bad, but then they play better after the luck than others.


He recruits players with swagger, the kind most likely to exploit good luck afterwards, or to play through bad luck well.

And he fills swaggering players with the word "believe."


Ben Kane 1 year, 3 months ago

I enjoyed Matt's color commentary. It was refreshing to hear someone who actually knows what he's talking about when it comes to KU and not just reciting the same things over and over again. I don't think i heard the Withey volleyball comment all game.


vsmooth 1 year, 3 months ago

I knew it, I knew it...that Tyrus McGee did foul Ben McLemore when he took that three point shot to bank in. Ben knew he was fouled too!!! But as always, the ref did not make that call. And to add insult to injury, that was not the only time that he was fouled, shooting the three. Well props to McGee for being a man and fessing up...too bad he didn't go to the ref and say hey, I fouled that man. Game should never have went into overtime. But KU still prevailed as always!!!


Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 3 months ago

My first thoughts on this game were, "Well, we luckily dodged a hell of a bullet on this one." But looking at the stats and rethinking everything, we actually played pretty well all around. Multiple double-doubles; pretty impressive. As long as they tighten up perimeter defense, which I'm sure HCBS has addressed heartily.

McLemore is playing great, but the biggest test is going to be Big XII road games. In fact, this whole team needs to be tested on the road. I understand Ohio State was an intimidating environment and we handled it, but remember we lost composure a couple of times and went on some pretty stupid streaks; especially at the end.

The conference road games, in my opinion, are going to be much more hostile than Ohio State, and that;'s how we are going to be able to judge McLemore's star status. Does he make that same dagger in Hilton? I can't honestly say.

The kid is incredible, no doubt, and I know all of you want to jump on the "Michael Jordan Reincarnated" train. But hold off just a little bit longer. We'll get everyone's best shot in conference play, and the kid who seemingly shrugs off pressure will be tested.

I think he'll prove himself worthy of all the worship and accolades, but he'll need to bring the same caliber on the road in the Big XII to do so.

Benny Boy, if you come close, even slightly, to repeating that performance in will have made a true believer out of me.


voygr1 1 year, 3 months ago

Doherty keeps comparing BMac to Ray Allen but I see someone different with initials MJ. True team player.Where is Vitale for JW Jeff has better stats than AD had at UK at this time last year. Guess its not UK, UNC, or Duke.


KGphoto 1 year, 3 months ago

“The ref just didn’t call it. I got him on the bottom of his hand. I should have smacked him in the head,” McGee said.

LMAO! That made my day.


1 year, 3 months ago

Since Ben is a student of the game and has a hunger to continually learn and improve, it makes one wonder if that along with the thought of next year's team being his team would be enticing enough for him to delay entering the NBA draft for a year. On the other hand, if he is a certain lottery pick, possibly even #1 overall after having a great season, it would be difficult for him to turn down such an opportunity.

So many games and so much time between now and the time for that decision, though it can be fun to think about. Probably the best thing to do as a fan is to not worry about it and simply enjoy the ride this season.


FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

I really believe this team has an excellent chance of winning it all this year. Think about it. It's primarily an experienced senior run team. You have "Mister inside", JW and "Mister outside" BM


bradynsdad 1 year, 3 months ago

I like Matt Doherty but he looks like he would play a bad guy in a movie. Not sure if any of you are on twitter but Wayne Selden was having a fun conversation on there last night with Julius Randle. Those two have become pretty good friends. Much like Thomas Robinson I truly believe Ben is a really good kid who deserves everything that is coming to him. I would also love to see Jamari work his way into being a first round pick after reading about his struggles.


Ron Franklin 1 year, 3 months ago

"I should have hit him in the head"

I don't find that very classy at all.


KULA 1 year, 3 months ago

Great seeing EJ's comments about Ben. It's no wonder Ben chose KU/Bill over UK/Cal--he wants to continue to learn, rather than just make a pit stop on his way to the NBA.


RJ King 1 year, 3 months ago

Withey: ". . . does everything the right way . . . That matters a lot."
Character counts. Falling in love again . . .

KY: "I don’t think any of us thought we were going to lose that game.” Shame on me!

Shame on North Carolina. Matt Doherty got hosed as UNC won the title with his recruits. Give a coach some time please!


William Blake 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm blown away by EJ's ability to articulate his beliefs about Ben. Profound wisdom!


Commenting has been disabled for this item.