Originally published January 17, 2013 at 03:38p.m., updated January 18, 2013 at 12:23a.m.


KU freshman guard says right ankle has responded well to treatment

Kansas guard Ben McLemore passes as he is defended by Texas Tech guards Ty Nurse and Daylen Robinson during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore passes as he is defended by Texas Tech guards Ty Nurse and Daylen Robinson during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.


Kansas University freshman guard Ben McLemore pounded his hand on the floor after twisting his right ankle late in Monday’s basketball victory over Baylor in Allen Fieldhouse.

He didn’t mean to scare the heck out of KU fans, who were worried the 6-foot-5 St. Louis native might have suffered a serious injury instead of what was diagnosed as a Grade One ankle sprain.

“I was hurting at the time. I was in pain,” McLemore said Thursday. He had a big smile on his face after practicing “full-go” in preparation for Saturday’s 1 p.m. game at Texas.

“I also heard it pop. I felt my ankle getting real loose. Knowing that I thought something bad happened ... I calmed down and got up, and that was that.

“I mean, that was the first time I sprained my right ankle. It’s usually my left ankle,” added McLemore, who deemed his right ankle “85 percent.”

“Spraining it for the first time is kind of weird and scary. Now I’m just going to keep working on it and get better every day.”

McLemore, who was helped off the court by teammates and doctors after suffering the sprain, said he didn’t notice the concern in the fieldhouse stands.

“At the time, I didn’t hear it because of the pain and stuff,” he said. “Afterward, going in the locker room, the (student) manager was telling me, ‘You should have heard the crowd when you went down. It was complete silence.’ I appreciate the support of the fans asking me, ‘Are you all right?’ I’m doing fine. I’m doing rehab. I got done doing pool work early this week, doing a little laser treatment. I should be great by the time Saturday gets here.”

KU coach Bill Self, who said he believes McLemore “will be close to 100 percent come Saturday,” was asked at his weekly news conference if he was afraid when McLemore went down.

“I don’t think I was scared. Concerned is a better word. I’ve seen a lot of players turn an ankle in the past,” Self said. “I’d be nervous for anybody to get hurt. Because it was Ben, it seemed to me there was a little bit of air in the building that left.”

KU point guard Elijah Johnson said it was nice to have McLemore back at practice full speed Thursday. The entire team was awarded the day off Tuesday, with a brief shooting session held Wednesday.

“We’ve not had a full practice until today. He didn’t miss much,” Johnson said. “He’s all right. I think he kind of panicked on the court a little bit. It happens to all of us. Something happens to catch you off guard, you panic more than you should. I think that was the case. He’ll be all right.”

The Jayhawks’ practices aren’t as long this time of year.

“Ninety minutes around there every day,” Johnson said. “We know what we are doing. Every drill is cut in half. We get in and pretty much knock it out.”

High praise: Self is pleased with the work of senior point guard Johnson, who has averaged 9.9 points a game off 43.2 percent shooting (25 of 70 threes for 35.7 percent). He has 83 assists against 48 turnovers.

“If you had a football team, and they were 15-1, and the starting quarterback — this was his first year to play quarterback — you’d probably think the football team’s quarterback had a pretty good start to the year,” Self said. “To me, there’s only one stat that matters with a point guard. That’s wins and losses. I think he’s done a real good job there. He hasn’t made shots yet. You take away the fact he hasn’t made shots, he’s been pretty sound. He’s been very solid. When he’s been matched against other great point guards, he’s done a really nice job in those particular match-ups.”

Johnson grinned when told of Self’s praise.

“I appreciate that, coach,” he said. “I am not even focusing on myself, though. I am focusing on people like Ben, the rest of the team, getting them going. I lost a couple games in my book because I didn’t get Ben going a couple games. If we’re going to lose, we have got to lose with him. I like to see how the team evolves so I put my stats in that because I’m the one who does it (leads team).”

Self on freshman Perry Ellis, who has been more active of late: “Perry came in with a lot of expectations and hype because he’s local. If Perry came in from Arizona, we wouldn’t look at Perry the way we do now because we watched him grow up (in Wichita). Hype and expectations are around that,” Self said. “It takes everybody a little bit of time. Perry is going to be a terrific player. He’s just going through the process. There is a natural maturation process you go through. Sherron (Collins) until Christmas ... I didn’t know if he was coming back (to KU or staying in Chicago). He never got in the game hardly, and he’s probably the most talented kid we’ve had.”

Vitale gala: Self, former UConn coach Jim Calhoun and former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden will be honored at Dick Vitale’s V Foundation cancer fundraiser on May 17 in Sarasota, Fla. To purchase tickets, go to

KU recruited Longhorn: KU recruited Texas starter Ioannis Papapetrou, a 6-8 freshman forward who is averaging 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds a game.

“We offered Papi a scholarship, and he chose Texas,” Self said. “He’s having a good freshman year. He’s kind of a hybrid forward (who can) play the three and the four. He’s done a good job.”

This, that: Josh Perkins, a 6-2 junior from Regis Jesuit High in Aurora, Colo., has cut his list of schools to KU, Arizona, Colorado, Denver, Duke, Gonzaga, Minnesota, New Mexico and Stanford, according to He’s’s No. 42-rated player in the class of 2014. ... KU signee Conner Frankamp of Wichita North is one of 814 high school seniors being considered for the McDonald’s All-America game The final roster of 24 will be announced during the selection show on ESPNU at 4 p.m., Feb. 14.


Robert Murphy 1 year, 3 months ago

Have you noticed when you spell check Ostertag you get aftertaste? Did you know aftertaste played 9 years in the NBA?


Kye Clark 1 year, 3 months ago

I've been saying about Perry what Self just reinforced, and that is that expectations were so much higher for him because so many of us have spent the past several years watching & following his high school career in hopes he would in fact come to KU. I'm as guilty as anyone in this regard. But he's coming along, and I expect him to have a very good 3-4 years collegiate career. He might never have a "break-out" game, where he dominates. But did Markeiff & Marcus have one of those games their freshman year?


HAWKS1 1 year, 3 months ago

Good Lord jaybate, do you have a job? How do you have the time (or the desire for that matter) to post such bloviated comments? Does anyone have the time to read them (or the desire for that matter)? Not trying to be nasty..... just curious. ha Go Hawks! Knock the dung out of the Longhorns!


Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

Kansas 75 Texas 60, BenMac 22 minutes, 14 points, little red-headed girl does not show this year, AWIII scores [on the court].


nostradavid 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 7

All good Jayhawks go to Heaven (a barstool at the Bierstube for us Lawrence Low Lifes)


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 6

Boeheim could beat Self with better players and with worse players early on, because the zone always made KU shoot less well inside than Syracuse did inside against KU's m2m, and 'Cuse tended to control the boards.

Self began to break Boeheim's advantage when Self apparently spent a ton of time figuring out how to attack zone defenses. If you notice, opponents hardly play any zone against KU any more, and this is so whether KU is a weak outside shooting team like last season, or a pretty good one like this season. I have never been able to figure out what exactly Self figured out in how to attack zones that has made such a difference. The only thing I can say is that KU became an order of magnitude better at originating zone offense from the 4 man positioned in the top half of the free throw circle. Why this works so well eludes me in part because of this: My high school team used to use the identical strategy against zone defenses 40 years ago and so have other teams for decades. Inference: there is something else going on that triggers the effectiveness in addition to getting the ball in the 4's hands. And it doesn't have to do solely with talent.

That's all for now, Hawkswin.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 5

IMHO, Self was the first guy to really figure out how to beat the Princeton. He did it by varying tempo, on an system that craves to control the tempo entirely with zone defense on one end, and with a scripted 35 second offense on the other end that forces teams to guard the full clock and in turn shoot lower percentage shots with tired legs. Self trained his guys to guard for 35 seconds, AND to strip, so the even though his guys go for 30-35 seconds often, there are also quite a few trips where the strips shorten it up. The average is more like 20-25 seconds probably. This is doable and it leaves the Princeton with out ever getting that high percentage open look it requires. At the opposite end, Self just throws it inside and bangs until his shooting percentage exceeds the Princetons. Next.

If you stop and think about it, though, Self Ball works equally as well against Roy's Speed-it-up offense, as against a slow-it-down Princeton. Roy's offense needs lots of trips and its runners need to get into a rhythm of a regular fast breaking offense. It needs quick shooting by its opponents, too, to get the increased trips.

Self alternates between jumping in the lanes on on Roy's offense, and guarding it endlessly. Self Defense thus makes some offensive trips for UNC short without a shot and some long with a low percentage shot. This is anathema to Roy ball. At the other end, Self makes them play defense on all but an open dunk. Their job is to get a quick break. They don't get it. So, in total, UNC is out of rhythm on both ends of the floor, even if it happens to be shooting better than KU.

IMHO, Self Ball has struggled most against Boeheim's Syracuse system. Why? Because Boeheim's Syracuse system relies on zone on one end to slooooooooow you down and cut your inside shooting percentage very low (just like a Princeton). But on the other end, Boeheim plays a very simple inside out game that mostly relies on great athleticism in half court sets. Sound familiar? Boeheim figured out long ago what Self figured out less long ago--arrhythmic tempo is everything, only Boeheim decided to use zone to do what Self does with m2m. Every game with Boeheim is muddy with varied tempo. And because he's playing zone, he almost always holds the rebounding advantage.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 4

Long ago I reduced basketball to an energy budget and explained it to board rats, but energy budgets aren't cool, just like playing slow is not cool.

But just like you have to know how to play slow to win, you have to understand energy budgets to win.

In basketball, there are energy budget strategies and tempo strategies.

Deplete their energy budget more than yours, and disrupt their tempo and you are very, very, very, very likely to find a way to win.

Everything else is just X's and O's, rebounding, ball movement, cutting angles, sliding, athleticism and shooting proficiency. And everyone does these things pretty similarly, given the talent at hand.

But there is real sophistication involved in the energy budget game and in the tempo game. A coach has a lot of input into the energy budget and the tempo, probably more than in any other facet of the game.

What Self means about his team playing better without rhythm is that if his team can sometimes get easy baskets on strip and break dunks, and sometimes run the weave and drag it out, then this raises tempo up and down. In a sense this is dictating no tempo in particular, which is much easier to do that dictating a particular tempo.

Why is it easier?

Because of the the third law of thermodynamics, if you like deterministic physics, or because of the tendency of simplicity to evolve into complexity, if you like more contemporary Complexity Theory. Systems tend to want to fly apart. Order tends toward disorder. Periodicity tends toward aperiodicity. Rhythm tends to break down into arrhythmia.

"Everything put together, sooner or later, falls a part." --Paul Simon

This irregular tempo Self apparently actually encourages, causes huge problems for any opponent that wants to dictate tempo. This is the real underlying secret of Self Ball, of Eddie Ball, of Haskins and Hartman ball, and why they win so much, and often with lesser talent.

But so the KU faithful do not jump on me for comparing Self to Eddie and the Okie Ballers, Self has refined this aspect of Okie Ball more than any one else at this point.

Most coaches, until Self became so wildly successful, thought only about dictating tempo. (Note: they are now studying him eagerly).

Dictating tempo is great, but only if/when you can actually dictate it.

Trying and failing to dictate tempo is really a bad position to be in. It is overreaching ones grasp. And when one crafts a team specifically to be able to dictate a certain tempo and then runs into a Bill Self team, well, 84% of the time bad things happen to tempo dictators.

And being confoundingly unable to dictate tempo is exactly the position Self Ball puts most opponents in.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 3

If you are a genius of a basketball coach, you still have sell image, just like the non genius coaches do.

Doc Sadler would still be coaching for NU and Dr. Albino, if he had managed his image.

Mark Mangino would still be coaching football for KU if he had followed Al Roker's lead and got a gut operation to halve his weight.

Charlie Weis would probably still be at Notre Dame had he managed his image more closely.

Managing image does not necessarily mean being pretty. But it means finding what your audience values in image that you can deliver and then packaging it the best way you can. Weis can look as he does and make it, if he can show case the burly, roley polely part of image of a tough football coach, and play down the fat part. Mangino didn't, and though he was a terrific coach, it made him vulnerable being unsympathetic, once any flaw or bad luck he had surfaced.

An image driven world is a crazy way to order society, but it is how it is.

Self knows he has to play slow a lot of the time to win.

Self knows the percentages.

If KU teams learn to guard hard for 35 seconds, it reduces the number of trips, reduces the opponent's shooting percentage, and increases the chance for strips, blocks and stops. But it isn't sexy. Even now most KU fans are sitting around thinking, well, its ugly, but its working. But they don't really love it, unless they become students of the game and of just how sophisticated a game Self is playing.

Strategically, the last thing Self wants is an opposing team taking quick open looks. That is anathema, because it means high shooting percentages for the opponent, little chance for a strip, and leaves them more energy for defense. It is as near to a law as there is in basketball, that players play harder and tougher on defense after a made basket than after a miss.

On the offensive end, Self understands that if KU guards for 35 seconds on defense, then on offense either his players have to get a quick good look (what he hates for the opponent to get), or they have to hold it and make the opponent guard them sliding laterally for at least as long as KU had to guard them. If that doesn't happen, then KU is leaving the opponent with extra energy on both ends.


jaybate 1 year, 3 months ago

Part 2

Iba understood that making opponents slide side to side for 30 seconds tired their legs more than it tired an offensive player's legs running straight ahead at angles. So: Iba kept stretching out the time he held the ball with weaves that defenders had to guard, while sliding, as his offenders ran forward expending almost no effort. It worked. He won rings with inferior talent. And he kept winning a decent percentage with lousy talent. But it got him labeled slow. And Iba never recovered from the label.

Slow was not cool.

Paul Hansen was Iba's assistant. And Hansen became HC and modernized the Iba game, just as Eddie Sutton, Jack Hartman and Don Haskins did. But Hansen got hung with the label slow and never recovered. He was too closely identified with slow.

Self knows exactly what happened to Ted Owens. Ted got hung with the label slow. Ted played whatever pace his big men and his perimeter shooting benefitted most from. Ted had at least two running teams in his years at KU. But even when they ran, KU was called slow by national media. The national media needs labels, because they don't understand the game much, and they are trying to sell soap and tampons to an audience they believe is in a near vegetative state. They use labels that are easy to understand and reinforce with repetition. Slow and fast--that's about as sophisticated as it gets in national broadcasting media. Oh and dunks and treys. Watch the game summaries on ESPN. They never report how a team actually played and won the game. They just say it was close, or it was a blow out, and then show dunks and treys, treys and dunks, and a couple glares into the camera. Next.

Labels stick.

Image has to be managed.

Self knows this.

That's why he dresses snappy, when in fact he's a jock that likes sweats and tennies.

That's why he probably went to the hair club.

Being a genius without image management means you will be fired too.

Manage the image.

That's why public relations is such a massive expenditure in business, politics and sports.

Manage the image.

Image is what is being bought and sold and communicated.


Scott Smetana 1 year, 3 months ago

I really hope Texas plays their best game of the year this Saturday. Of course I want to win, but a loss doesn't hurt much at all. We need the competition!!


Timmay97 1 year, 3 months ago

Let's not forget we are playing AT Texas on Saturday. Forget their record. As far as they are concerned, this is their Superbowl. Every single team plays KU different.....EVERY SINGLE TEAM!!! KU will always be the hunted. Teams are thinking they need to be knocked off their perch, PERIOD!!!

To me, there is not one "gimmie" game that KU will play this year in the Big 12. That's including TCU. Any of these Big 12 teams will think of beating Kansas as their highlight for the year.

I'm confident in my team.......I really am. However, I'm also cautious. Nobody can beat KU if they play their "A" game.......but if they don't, they will be beat.


FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Stay healthy Ben, I want to see you in the pro ranks soon.


REHawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Is terrific that athletes at KU have access to an array of healing procedures, as well as knowledgeable trainers and personnel. The pool and laser treatment for a Grade 1 sprain.


Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 3 months ago

Honestly, I would limit his playing time on Saturday, and reassure that he's at full-strength for the K-State game.

Obviously you don't want to overlook any game, but no one seems to understand that the biggest game in conference play is Tuesday night. The attitude I get from everyone is, "oh it's K-State...we own them."

But apparently no one else has watched them this year but me. Not only are they solid, but factor in that they only sell out when KU is in town. The environment will be hostile, and we will need to play our A game to get out with a win.


HawkKlaw 1 year, 3 months ago

Doesn't sound like anybody in the Jayhawk camp is too concerned about Ben's ankle. I still think he should play as sparingly as possible, but if the game isn't a blowout, I see him getting close to his average of 30mpg.


jhawk613 1 year, 3 months ago

Evidence that McD AA is worth nothing. 814 Seniors were nominated.

Any coach can nominate their Senior, then high schools and colleges can claim they have a recruit who was, at the very least, a McDonald's All-American nominee.

I can't remember if I was told this by a coach, or read it somewhere, so dismiss this as Internet lies if you wish, but I have heard also that college coaches will request the high school coach nominate a player so it makes their recruiting class look more prestigious.


Ben Kane 1 year, 3 months ago

what in the world is going on with this website?


Michael Auchard 1 year, 3 months ago

Wayne Selden and Brannen Greene are on the McDonald's AA game list, too. On the list I saw, Greene's name was misspelled as Brennen, though.


edmondjayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

  1. Withey 2.Cole /Ostertag...
  2. Ostertag/Cole

I'll take Withey over Cole and O based on one statistic. Withey can block shots and produce on the offensive end WITHOUT getting into foul trouble. I don't think I've ever seen a better college player block and alter more shots than Withey without fouling.... Plus his % from the free throw line is huge.


Lifelong_Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Great to hear! Now let's go down to Austin and turn Bevo into Burger King meat!


mikehawk 1 year, 3 months ago

The sound you hear is the collective "sigh of relief" heard across the Jayhawk Nation.


Michael Leiker 1 year, 3 months ago

Have a feeling Sarurday will be a close one. Gonna need him


DCLawHawk 1 year, 3 months ago

On the Withey/Ostertag/Aldrich question, we'd have to look at defensive rebounds, blocks, and (ideally) the team's defensive FG% when that player is on the floor versus when that player is not on the floor for that season's team. Absent that data, I'm going just on memory and the eye test. I'd have to rank it Withey, Aldrich, Ostertag. Throwing in some data, the Aldrich/Ostertag comparison is 860 blocks for Aldrich (7.7 per game) and 770 for Ostertag (6.1 per game). That includes offensive rebounds, so it's not the best comparison. But Aldrich has the clear edge. Others outshine Ostertag in this stat too. Chenowith, for instance, had 933 rebounds (6.7 per game). Likewise on blocks, Aldrich had 253 (2.3 per game) and Ostertag had 258 (2.0 per game). Withey has had 444 rebounds (4.6 per game) and 240 blocks (2.5 per game). I bet Withey would look even better if we used rebounds per minute played instead of per game. In any case, sign me up for Withey, Aldrich, Ostertag.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 3 months ago

Answers to the above -- Oak is right on McLemore's ankle; Ellis is a 4; Withey is the best defensively; and yes, White should get some PT.


AsadZ 1 year, 3 months ago

Withey for sure. His impact from D point of view is off the charts. What's unique about his D is how many shots are altered due to his presence.


Scott Smetana 1 year, 3 months ago

Way off topic, but has been fun for me and my Dad to rank Withey, Ostertag, and Aldrich. All defensive monsters... who would you take first?


JhawkalumJB 1 year, 3 months ago

Rub a little dirt on it.....

Now get in the game B Mac!!!


Eliott Reeder 1 year, 3 months ago

PT for Anrio too, if possible, though it probably ain't gonna happen on the road. I am a believer in Anrio. I think he will give us some very good extended minutes someday...


Boouk 1 year, 3 months ago

I hope White plays more than he usually does Staurday in case we have another injury to a guard later in the season and to get him more experience for next year when he'll probably be a starter.


Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

By the way, based on the current recruiting class, assuming no transfers, counting redshirt years, looking at this years nine man rotation versus an assumed ten man rotation for next season...the count is 24 man years of experience for the 12/13 team versus 7 man years of experience for 13/14.

Kansas goes from one of the most experienced teams in Division 1 to one of the youngest!!


Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

If it was a high ankle sprain, it would be obvious he couldn't go, so treat it for another day, wrap it up and maybe play BenMac a minimum amount pending the flow of the game.

You can always go Naadir and Elijah or slide Travis up and insert Perry to go with Jeff and Kevin as well as AWIII getting some precious minutes.


thehawkster 1 year, 3 months ago

Excellent news. I look forward to seeing you in person this Saturday Mr. McLemore when you take on the longhorns!


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