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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Notebook: Elijah Johnson believes shooting will improve; KU will wear alternate unis Monday

Kansas guards Ben McLemore, center, and Elijah Johnson have a talk with little time remaining against Oklahoma during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is Oklahoma guard Steven Pledger.

Kansas guards Ben McLemore, center, and Elijah Johnson have a talk with little time remaining against Oklahoma during the second half on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse. At left is Oklahoma guard Steven Pledger.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over Oklahoma

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 67-54 win over Oklahoma on Jan. 26, 2013.

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KU-OU

Elijah Johnson would like to see the ball start dropping through the basket.

“It’s a little frustrating right now, because I feel like my numbers, as far as shooting, haven’t shown how well I can really shoot,” Johnson, Kansas University’s senior point guard, said after scoring eight points off 3-of-8 shooting (2-of-6 from three) in the Jayhawks’ 67-54 victory over Oklahoma in Allen Fieldhouse.

“I don’t feel that I have shot to my potential at all. All of my shots are limited because I don’t shoot that many. I need something to start falling for me, but I’m not focused on it too much. They’ll fall.”

The 6-foor-4 Las Vegas native has hit 39.8 percent of his floor shots — 34.6 percent of his threes — for the Jayhawks (18-1 overall, 6-0 Big 12). He hit 43 percent of his shots (33.8 from three) a year ago.

Johnson did not score or dish an assist while playing just nine minutes the first half Saturday. Two quick fouls cut into his playing time.

“Those two fouls the first half were wasted plays. He took himself out of the game. The second half, he played a lot better,” coach Bill Self said. “It (fouling) was a lack of focus on his part.”

Freshman gaurd Ben McLemore scored seven points off 2-of-4 shooting in 18 minutes the first half and 11 points off 3-of-6 shooting while playing 19 minutes the second half.

“Coach Self always stresses to me that he needs me to be more aggressive, and I need to create more opportunities offensively to get myself open one pass away,” McLemore said. “I need to get myself open. I need to do a better job of that.

“I didn’t plug myself in the first half. I wasn’t aggressive like coach wants me to be. Coach told me to go out second half and be more aggressive and plug myself in.”

Self wants McLemore to become more involved in the offense.

“It’s hard to get shots if our guards can’t ever get in the scoring area,” Self said. “They (Sooners) are pressuring, denying. We can’t dribble past anybody. We don’t drive to pass.

“I didn’t think Ben was very aggressive the first half. The second half, he was more aggressive. He has such a nice stroke, he needs to get more looks. It’s the other guys’ responsibility to help him. We are not forcing his man to help much. Naadir (Tharpe, eight points, 1-for-5 shooting, 5-of-6 from line) and Elijah will get better at that. It wasn’t the case today.”

Adams plays three minutes: Reserve point guard Rio Adams missed a shot and committed a foul during a three-minute stint the first half.

“I was there to specifically play defense and keep our point spread spread out,” Adams said of keeping KU ahead of the Sooners. He entered with his team up eight and exited with KU up six.

“I enjoyed it a lot,” Adams added of his getting in his second consecutive game. He played two minutes Tuesday at Kansas State.

Special jerseys Monday: KU will wear special jerseys provided to the school by adidas during its next game — Monday’s 8 p.m. contest at West Virginia. The “tone-out” jerseys have been described as featuring a “more aggressive Crimson and Blue.” They will only be worn during the West Virginia game. KU also will wear “tone-out” warm-ups and shoes. The jerseys are available for sale in the KU store in Booth Family Hall of Athletics.

Team notes: KU is 6-0 in conference play for the second-straight season and fourth time under Self ... KU leads the all-time series with OU, 139-64, including 43-7 in Allen Fieldhouse. ... KU has won 10 in a row vs. OU. ... KU has won 33 in a row at home, tying for the fourth-longest streak in school history. ... KU won in the 800th game played in the building. KU is 693-107 in Allen. ... KU has held 13 opponents under 60 points. ... KU outrebounded OU, 41-31. KU has outrebounded 16 of 19 opponents, five by double digits. ... After leading 5-2, OU went 3:21 without a field goal as KU went on a 10-2 run. ... OU entered as the best scoring offense in the league in conference-only games (71.6 ppg). KU held the Sooners to a season-low 21 points in a half (previously 22 vs. Gonzaga in November).

Individual notes: McLemore, who went 5-for-5 from the free-throw line, is 23-for-26 in six Big 12 games. ... Travis Releford has scored in double-digits in 15-straight games. Releford’s five assists were his most since a career-best six against Colorado (12/8). ... Jeff Withey took sole possession of third-place on KU’s career blocked shots list. Withey has 247, just 11 shy of tying KU’s all-time record (Greg Ostertag, 258). ... Johnson had two assists and is tied with Calvin Thompson for 20th place on the KU career assists list.

Faces in crowd: Former KU frontcourt players Eric Chenowith, Mark Randall and Wayne Simien attended and sat in the same row behind the KU bench. Royals announcer Denny Matthews attended and spoke with Self after the game, the two chatting about baseball. What else?

Comments

mikehawk 1 year, 2 months ago

I really like the jersey design and colors. I also like the wider hang over the shoulders. I don't like the little "collar" on the current uniforms. There is classic, but as with all fashion and attire, in life and in sports, there is an evolvement that remains tied to a classic look, as in the movement to longer trunks. Some schools have clung to the tradition laden look so long they appear dated. See Indiana. No names on back of jersey. Many of the kids now like the different look of various tights under their trunks. Do you think young kids don't make decisions based solely on the look of a team. Of course, the previous statement may be flawed because I can't for the life of me every understand why a kid would want to play for Texas and wear burnt (puke) orange. Has to be the worst color in all of sports. I really don't care for the Nike design on the backs of jerseys for so many teams. I just don't get that. The fact so many teams have it makes it look redundant and overused. I guess I like variety in my wardrobe, and like to be creative while staying tied to a classic look. People criticize the Oregon football team and Oklahoma State for changing their look every game. I for one like what they have done and I think it makes it fun for the kids.

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rockychalky87 1 year, 2 months ago

I am really surprised this story doesn't contain the more interesting news regarding Monday's game. Bill Self has agreed to wear a miniature straw hat on the sideline the entire game in support of "Coaches With Caps" charity organization. Way to go Coach!

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rockchalkchalkin23 1 year, 2 months ago

EJ

Try taking a Russell Robinson approach to this team instead of a Tyshawn Taylor one. This team has a more patience/execution style with turbo boosters ready to be fired, like the RussRob era, as opposed to the smash mouth/out tough you style like last year. RussRob attemped 195 FG's in 38 games his Jr. year and 198 in 40 games his Sr year. You currently sit at 161 attempted in 19 games. This team only needs you to shoot in the flow of the offense, hunting your shot or taking one out of rhythm is counterproductive.

The frustration with your shooting is short circuiting your most important duty to this team, making sure the gears are greased so they keep on turning smoothly. Your efficiency is down due to overcompensating for your poor shooting and physical frustration. Don't push harder, diagnose what would make the situation better/more fluid and apply. Coach wants Ben more aggressive and he doesn't quite know how to do that within the offense yet, take the thinking out of it for him. Trav has shown he'll step up when needed, need him. Young's energy and hustle is a self-explanatory asset. All that really needs to be said about Withey is since that San Jose St game, looked like he got popped under the eye, he has been in beast mode ever since.

I've seen times this year where you have not let the play develop after coming off the pick n go. This takes away a highly efficient scoring opportunity from the offense, as well as not allowing chemistry and energy to expand in the teams favor. If you can get footage, watch how RussRob and Mario worked that play to get a deep in the paint floater or an oop to the big trailing and left unguarded. With that bit of 'hesitation' installed, it results in 'easy' buckets during games, a bread and butter play so to speak.

Speed and athleticism are evading you, but you can still penetrate with your quickness. You might look to take up a little bit of 'Grandpas' style, he's proved its efficiency.

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KEITHMILES05 1 year, 2 months ago

It's shocking to see EJ regress as the leader of the team. On two successive plays towards end of game he gets trapped in back court and the ball is stolen and they score each time. To have the senior PG perform this way is shocking. His decision making skills are horrible.

Tharpe and Adams are much better running the point. Any opposing coach will see this and will go at EJ to get him into foul trouble early as he can't keep his man in front of him and he uses his hands too much. I just hope Self sees this and has other game plans.

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KGphoto 1 year, 2 months ago

Nothing wrong with that jersey. And no, we won't go neon. That was a spring fad for 2012. To some degree you have show you aren't a fuddy duddy, and that you are in the zeitgeist.

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jhox 1 year, 2 months ago

Our first half defense was incredible yesterday. Our guards are really starting to lock down. This has a chance to be the best defensive team in my 40+ years of following KU basketball, and i don't recall ever seeing a better half defensivel from a KU team. Travis is the best on ball defender we've had since Hinrich, even better than Russell Robinson.

It is no coincidence that this team is winning even with their shooting woes.

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Brianna Zaleski 1 year, 2 months ago

Got to say I liked the look of Adams out there. He was def raw, but I love the site of a "long" PG, with a defensive prowess. He looks to be a very intimidating force in years to come

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ollerfarm 1 year, 2 months ago

Tyshawn Taylor is tearing up the NBA, more turnovers than points, not playing much or none. I'm so very happy that he is not at KU running wild and turning the ball over all the time. I wish him success, but he'll not be successful until he stops throwing the ball away

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Ferd Magellan 1 year, 2 months ago

If Adams wasn't so lost on the offensive end I'd love to see him snag a few minutes every game.

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Lifelong_Jayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Good news, though - Kansas will wear retro uniforms to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1988 title. From the Topeka Capital-Journal:

http://cjonline.com/sports/2013-01-25/ku-recognize-title-teams-25th-anniversary

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Lifelong_Jayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Since West Virginia wears mineshaft blue, this was a perfect time for us to wear the red jerseys to stand out a little more on TV. So much for that. Now we have to watch the team succumb to a crappy Adidas gimmick like lesser schools. Up till now I thought KU was above that sort of thing, as tradition rich as they are. I hope to God KU never wears these jerseys again after today. What's next, will KU try neon jerseys like Louisville, Cincinnati and Baylor did last year?

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Joseph Bullock 1 year, 2 months ago

EJ is not nearly as good this year, because there is no Tyshawn Taylor. I tried to tell all of the Ty haters, that, like in any relationship, you don't know what you miss, until it's gone! But most people hoot and holler, and make all these crazy azz statements, and really have not much of a clue about the intricacies of the game. I also agree with Jaylark, the EJ needs to finish closer to the basket. I also think he is rushing his shot, when he drives, on top of not getting closer to the hoop, and it probably has something to do with his confidence in his knee. He needs to just go out and play, without thinking about it. Also, remember, EJ is really a Two Guard, and his ball handling and dribble penetration to dish, has not seen much improvement, over the course of the year, and that is a major concern going forward, especially during March Madness. I love Tharp, even last year, because I saw signs of his competitiveness!

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Edward Daub 1 year, 2 months ago

I will be at the Game in Morgan"Pit" and trust these Uni's won't be a distraction! If we were to get upset (low probability) , they will be burning couches and we can toss in these Uni's.

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jayhawkbenny27 1 year, 2 months ago

I'm sorry but I'm extremely superstitious...

A player on a streak has to respect the streak. You know why? Because they don't happen very often. If you believe you're playing well because your getting laid or because you're not getting laid or because you're wearing women's underwear, then you are! -- Crash Davis

During a 17 game win streak and a potential #1 ranking you don't change your duds... I kinda feel like HCBS is the same way since he only wears the reds in exhibition games since we last lost wearing red at one of the sprint center games...

I kinda like them but Ive hated every time an NBA or NCAA has worn them, they just don't look good on TV.

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texashawk10 1 year, 2 months ago

NC State wore their version of the "tone out" uniforms and I liked those. Their shade of red appeared to a little bolder, so I would imagine KU's shade of blue will be bolder as well.

As for Elijah, I don't think his knee is his biggest issue, I think it has more to do with him being a very streaky shooter. It seems to me like he lets his hot/cold shooting streaks affect the rest of his game and that's holding him back from being a top tier player. A lot of his mistakes, such as his horrible passes when he was being pressured in the backcourt today, seem like mistakes that he doesn't make when he's shooting and has more confidence. Just my take on EJ and why he's been playing below his abilities recently.

My take on Ben is that this is the nature of Self's system. Self's system has never been condusive to letting individuals shine like they do in Calipari's or Coach K's systems. I'm not implying that this is a bad thing because I don't believe it is and on court results have proven both philosophies can be successful. McLemore's problem is the same as Brandon Rush's where that the talent is there to average 20+ a night, but team success goes down if they have to do so. Wayne Simien and Keith Langford come to mind as big time scorers whose teams didn't go as deep in the tournament their senior year because their supporting cast weren't the best scorers. I personally think it's better Ben is scoring 16 a game instead of the 22 or 23 he could average if he got too aggressive to the point of appearing selfish. I'm not Ben going off 25+ occassionally is a bad thing because there are games where he needs to do that for KU to win, I just believe it's better for the team's postseason hopes if the scoring is more balanced.

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amatxjayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Concerning the uniforms, the term hammered dung comes to mind.

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Michael Sillman 1 year, 2 months ago

One thing that I think Johnson needs to do is finish closer to the hoop on his driving layups.

He seems to shy away at the last second and take a 3-4 foot running bank shot. That also keeps him from drawing the foul and getting to the free throw line.

Go all the way to the rim and take a real layup or draw the contact, maybe both at once. Easier said than done but that was Taylor's bread and butter last year.

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IndyHawk80 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey Gary, I believe this was the 801st game in Allen and the Hawks are 694-107. Can you check?

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dipperjones 1 year, 2 months ago

“It’s hard to get shots if our guards can’t ever get in the scoring area,” Self said. “They (Sooners) are pressuring, denying. We can’t dribble past anybody. We don’t drive to pass.

I worry about our long term goals if our guard play doesn't improve, specifically PG. Who do we have that can break someone down off the dribble? Defense has been great, but IMO, the reason for the string of low-scoring contests starts at PG. I would have no problem seeing a lot more of Tharpe.

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Jack Jones 1 year, 2 months ago

I like it a lot >> it will look great on television.

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William Blake 1 year, 2 months ago

Mid-season tweaks:

  1. Send EJ skydiving. He'll make the tough landing and will gain trust in his knee again. He may not even realize he can't completely focus because of fear deep inside him. That's the only explanation for why he's down from last year.

  2. Send Jeff to dancing and kickboxing lessons. The dancing will help him work on his footwork and the kickboxing will help build his aggression. If he gets mad in March, no one will touch this team.

  3. Don't change anything with Naadir. He's right on course to becoming a real game-changer.

  4. Ditto for Perry.

  5. Ditto for Travis... except he already is a game-changer.

  6. BMACulate and CS should watch the KSU game together and watch (McGruder) how it's done concerning how to spring BMac open.

  7. Start Perry and make Kevin the best 6th man in college basketball.

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Saguaro_Jayhawk 1 year, 2 months ago

Here is jersey for Monday's game

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