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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Jayhawks bemoan end for seniors

Kansas guard Christian Guard Naadire Tharpe (1) walks off the court with Perry Ellis, left, and Christian Garrett, right after the  Jayhawks 87-85 loss to the University of Michigan, Friday, March 29, 2013, at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, TX.

Kansas guard Christian Guard Naadire Tharpe (1) walks off the court with Perry Ellis, left, and Christian Garrett, right after the Jayhawks 87-85 loss to the University of Michigan, Friday, March 29, 2013, at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, TX.

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Perry Ellis stared straight ahead in a somber Dallas Cowboys locker room with a pained look on his face Friday night after Kansas University’s overtime loss to Michigan in the Sweet 16.

Ellis, who scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in the Jayhawks’ 87-85 defeat, wasn’t so sad for himself as much as his mentors — the Jayhawks’ four senior starters whose college careers came to a crashing end.

“I just feel bad that we let our seniors down,” said Ellis, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound freshman out of Wichita. “We really wanted to let them go out in a great way, and unfortunately we fell short.”

Ellis has plenty of games left to play in a Jayhawk jersey, while the college careers of Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford, Jeff Withey and Kevin Young end following a 31-6 senior season. A McDonald’s All-American who came on strong late in the season, Ellis finished with freshman numbers of 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.

Fellow freshman Ben McLemore, who likely will turn pro after scoring 20 points versus Michigan and averaging 15.9 points and 5.2 boards on the season, was equally bummed for his senior pals.

“This is an emotional time. I feel bad for the seniors and thank them for how much they’ve helped me,” McLemore said. “Last year sitting out (as red-shirt) and seeing what they accomplished (in reaching NCAA title game), how far they got, was a great example (for me).

“I enjoyed playing with these guys. We are a family. It was a great team,” McLemore added. “I know it’s tough for the seniors. It’s their last year, but we’ve all been working so hard since July. It’s tough to have it end like this.”

Withey is considered a certain first-round NBA Draft pick, while Releford is being mentioned as a possible second-rounder. Johnson and/or Young figure to play for pay in Europe if they do not get drafted in the second round or invited to an NBA team’s summer camp.

Withey — he averaged 13.7 points and 8.5 rebounds with 146 blocks in 37 games his senior year — was philosophical after the Jayhawks failed to close out Michigan. KU led by 14 points with 6:50 left and eight at 1:22.

“Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you want,” Withey said.

He has high hopes for the 2013-14 Jayhawks, who figure to return just three rotation players in Ellis, point guard Naadir Tharpe and forward Jamari Traylor.

“Naadir is a great player. He will be a great point guard next year. He will have a great career,” Withey said of the 5-11 sophomore from Worcester, Mass., who averaged 5.5 points a game, hitting 35 of 106 threes for 33 percent.

A pair of freshmen may back up Tharpe at the point. KU coach Bill Self has signed Frank Mason, 5-11 out Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va., who is ranked No. 134 nationally by Rivals.com. High-scoring Conner Frankamp, 6-foot out of Wichita North, who is ranked No. 31, is known as a fierce competitor and gym rat who also figures to be in the mix right away.

Seldom-used freshman guard Rio Adams, who has expressed unhappiness on Twitter and Facebook this season, has said he’ll be back for a sophomore season, but that remains to be seen. His latest Twitter post Saturday read: “Wonder what god has in store for me from this point on and where I’m going to end up next. the ride was epic....”

Players who transfer out of KU’s program usually announce their intentions after season-ending meetings with Self, which are normally held the week after the Final Four.

Traylor, 6-8, 220 freshman from Chicago, averaged 2.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 9.8 minutes a game with 28 blocks and 17 steals. Self has signed frontcourt player Joel Embiid, 7-foot out of Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., ranked No. 37 nationally. Also, Self has high hopes for Landen Lucas, 6-10, 240 out of Portland, who red-shirted as a freshman this past campaign. Forward Justin Wesley, a senior-to-be, knows the system well and could vie for rotation time depending on the progress of Lucas and the newcomers.

Some outside shooting could come from Andrew White, a 6-6 freshman out of Chester, Va., who hit 10 of 36 threes in his debut season, as well as newcomers Brannen Greene, 6-7 out of Tift County High in Tifton, Ga., ranked No. 25 nationally, and No. 26 Wayne Selden, 6-5 out of Tilton (N.H.) School, who like Ellis is a McDonald’s All-American.

KU’s four walk-ons — Christian Garrett, Evan Manning, Niko Roberts and Tyler Self — also are eligible to return. One might keep an eye on Manning for potential playing time down the road.

KU is still in the running for No. 1-ranked Andrew Wiggins, a 6-7 forward from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep who is considering KU, Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State.

“I think they can be better than we were this year, definitely,” senior point guard Johnson said.

Self is not ready to close the chapter on this season. He applauds the seniors for their wildly successful careers. Fifth-year senior Releford won 158 games against 27 losses, while Johnson and Withey went 131-19 and Young 63-13.

“What a year ... what a team,” Self exclaimed. “This stings now. We’ll reflect on it soon, get our legs under us and be real happy with the year.”

Positive Twitter talk: Not all Twitter posts from Jayhawks are negative. Lucas stood up for his teammate, Johnson, who had several key blunders that helped Michigan in its comeback victory over KU. Lucas tweeted Friday: “Before I go 2 sleep I just want yall to remember the guy who everyone has things to say bout is the same guy who won us the league @ ISU #EJ” He also tweeted: “Next season starts today.”

Comments

jaybate 1 year ago

Rotation: Self likes to get five starters that are the best players, then a third guard and a third big that play 15, and use an 8th for 5 minutes.

1--Naadir 2--Rio 3--Selden 4--Perry 5--Jamari

3rd guard--Frank 3rd big--Lucas 4th big--Embiid

If Rio flees, then pencil AWIII.

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jaybate 1 year ago

"ABOUT NEXT SEASON"

5--Traylor, Lucas and Embiid--Jamari is shorter than Self likes, and he needs to find 2 good knees and a J, but Traylor has improved down the stretch, though his minutes haven't, and Perry is clearly going to be taking 15-20 FGAs early. This could be a good rotation by February, but they will take two seasons to become consistent. Lucas might beat out Traylor, but these things take time. Embiid has super star body, but a long way to go and a long time to get there.

4--Ellis and Lucas--Ellis is going to immediately find out what a D1 team on his back weighs. He is going to have score a ton of points the first half of the season, while the rest of the guys are figuring out how to defend at this level. Their offense won't come around till January. I suspect there will be quite a few games, when Perry is the only player in double figures and he's got 25-30 points. Lucas is going to have to fill 4 ad 5, unless Embiid is just an insanely quickl study.

3--Selden and Brannen--Selden seems bound to start at the 3, unless Brannen Greene is a lot tougher than he appears. But can even Selden guard like Brandon Rush could out of the box, or is he a slow starter like Travis? Gotta have someone that can guard the 3 pronto. If Selden AND Brannen could both guard, then Selden to the 2.

2--Anrio and AWIII and Conner--Everyone thinks Anrio is gone. Keegs doesn't even mention him in his rotation. I think Rio thinks he's gone, if Wiggins shows. But Wiggins probably won't show. Ryan Harrow leaving UK means Wiggins is going to Lexington. So: I think Self is going to jump down Rio's throat like no one ever has, maybe the way Self jumped down Jeff Withey's throat. He's going to say, "Look, I don't really care anymore if you stay, or not, because I've got enough guys I don't need you. But here's the thing, Rio. You could be my best defensive guard, if you wanted to bust your butt for it. And my best defensive guard is going to play big minutes at the 2, if he can drive it baseline, and feed the post, because Perry is going to be doing most of the scoring. So: if you stay, I'm going to put you through living hell to get you ready. If you think this year was awful, you've only seen my good side. If you want to go through it, okay, but I'm telling you its going to be hell, because you've got a long way to go and a short time to get there." Anrio will go for it. Anrio wants it bad. And that defensive 2 guard spot is a gaping hole waiting to be filled, if Wiggins doesn't show. But here's the thing: if Self is going to rely on Perry inside, then he's got to have 40% trey guns on the wings to stretch it. Enter AWIII and Conner in a fight for the back up spot.

1--Naadir and Frank--Need a tall PG sometimes, but it doesn't look we'll have one next year. I think Naa and Frank rotate happily.

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jaybate 1 year ago

"BETWEEN THE LINES..."

~Shockers in the Final Four. Between the lines: if Perry Ellis had gone to Wichita State, the Shockers might be the favorite.

~Ryan Harrow out at UK. The story is he's going to Georgia State to be close to his sick dad. Between the lines: Cal wants Andrew Wiggins.

~Michigan should win this thing pretty easily. Between the lines: with Mitch McGrary--the game's next Bill Laimbeer.

~Syrexcuse being investigated for the second straight year and Boeheim scoffs that it happens every April. Between the lines: Jim Boeheim is a shoe-in for the Jim Calhoun Shameless about Being Investigated Award.

~Rick Pitino is getting kind of scary looking in old age. Between the lines: Rick's the basis for Ann Rice's first basketball novel: "The Basketball Coach Lestat."

~Can someone please tell me how much KU boosters would have to pay for Self to sign a Top Five recruit that has not decommitted from a corrupt program imploding? Between the lines: What must these guys be getting paid? Does anyone seriously think its just the Towers that are keeping these Top 5s away?

~Alford to UCLA. Alford thinks its his dream job. Jason King thinks its a great fit. Between the lines: Did Howland get run by the ShoeCo-Summer Game-Agency Complex for joining the right way guys? One story says Alford gets along well with AAU coaches in SoCal and Ben didn't. Here we go again.

~Alford has coached six years in The Snake Pit in Albuqueque with 18k at every game. Between the lines: Pauley Pavillion's 12K is going to seem pathetic!

~Lobos need a coach. Between the lines: round up the usual suspects. Hire assistant Craig Neal, or he goes to Westwood with Alford and valves the recruiting pipeline elsewhere.

~Lobos need a coach again. Between the lines again: Tough luck, Merv Lindsey.

~Minnesota s-canned Tubby. Between the lines: The Gophers were ready to go back to cheating and Tubby wasn't.

~Shaka, Hoiberg and Stevens weren't interested in UCLA. Between the lines: of course they weren't going to Minnesota. They wouldn't go to Point Barrow either.

~UM clobbers Gators by 20. Between the lines: KU would have beat them by 25.

~Go Shockers!!! Between the lines: I'm with the 'Ta Boys all the way.

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Scott Smetana 1 year ago

Trying so hard to get over the pain, I was at the game and am still in agony. This is worse than when my Broncos blew it against Baltimore. Any suggesions?

Oakville helps above pointing out that Late Night is only 6.5 months away. I predict pre-season ranking #13, top 5 by Feb 1, Big 12 #10.

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Carolyn Hunzicker 1 year ago

Did ==3 freshmen 1 jr and 1 sophmore

Beat 4 seniors and 1 lottery pick

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Paul Rupp 1 year ago

We were all talking at the beginning of the year that a Sweet 16 would be a great year--Check.

JW and KY----and TR turned out to be tougher, more resilient than anyone projected (Wrong for TR--his competiveness was not a surprise). I was at the game---yes, I saw the good and bad that EJ was involved with---yes, I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to have given the ball to Travis during the last seconds to bring us home as the most-solid rock of the team (I, in all my pressumed wisdom, was thinking I would have done that) I understand the EJ decision--he, a bigger risk for delivering a wider range of results, has delivered in big time situations before. It has worked out before, it just didn't this time. "Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved" somehow fits into this discussion. ROCK CHALK. Can't wait 'till next year.

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Sam Constance 1 year ago

Anyone who can't get past this ignorant notion that EJ single-handedly lost the game for us isn't a true Jayhawk fan.

There, I said it.

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Steve Zimmerman 1 year ago

Thank you seniors, thank you BMac, thank you for the team, thank you coach Self & staff. Now, can we hire Pitino?

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Xanthe Sherman Swan 1 year ago

Thank you Jayhawks for another thrilling roller coaster year. So easy to say could have this, should have that especially when we are coaching from the best seat at home. Do I wish it had ended differently? Of course. So easy to put blame somewhere, anywhere when we are disappointed but it won't change anything that has already happened.

Regarldless, in one weekend I will be in my no basketball funk until next fall. Every year Coach Self has gotten more out of our kids the we could imagine. I look forward to another exciting year.

Always a KU Men's Basketball Fan.

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Ozfan67 1 year ago

All of this 'no single player loses a game' stuff, is just baloney. It's people trying to sound level headed. E.J. most certainly did lose the game, and embarrassed himself and the university while he was at it. Inexplicable why Self left him in there. Unfortunately, many locally have already lived through the "he's my guy and I know better than anyone else" coaches syndrome ( see Marty Schottenheimer and all of his championships while in K.C.). Doesn't mean Self isn't a great coach, it does mean that perhaps his flaws are keeping him from winning as many championships as his ability and player's talents should dictate.

Did E.J.'s four years at KU earn him the right to stay in the game in spite of his outrageously bad decisions any more than Travis' five years at KU earn him the right to move on to the Final Four. Because it was pretty obvious that even mediocre guard play the last 4 minutes and Withey, Releford, and the rest of the team who also put blood, sweat, tears into the program all get to go crush Florida and move on to the Final Four.

I had refrained from commenting for a couple of days, anticipating that my feelings would change at least some after the initial shock. They have not.

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Yonatan Negash 1 year ago

This will not replace a possible National Championship but hope it lighten's up the mood a bit:

Rock Chalk Jayhawks

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vsmooth 1 year ago

Well, as I see it the season is now over! Was not a pretty ending season, but yeah it is over. Now Bill Self is going to be in a rebuilding season. Man, whatever you do establish you a good point guard. We can name several messed up things that Johnson did in that game. But, what good would it do? None! Just pray for the brother, and wish that he does better wherever it is that he go. Ben, take a very hard, long look at what is ahead for you. Sure, the NBA looks real good right about now. But what? You get drafted, they work you out, feel that you are not quite ready, then stick you in some D-league somewhere. Things don't pan out the way you thought they would, they think that you are not right for their program. Then the next thing you see, is you riding the bench, you pay is not that high. After that, comes the trade talks. Before you know it, you're trying to find some damn assistant coach position. You see how the one and done has panned out for ex-jay-hawker's, Josh Selby?, Xavier Henry, in that case, sophomore Thomas Robinson and doing that well yet. So I do think, one more year would elevate your game, and raise your stock to a more lucrative contract. So, take heed my brother, just like the warning sign that goes out to those who enter into the Phog?, It applies also to those who enter the NBA!!! Luv ya Ben!

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Steve Gantz 1 year ago

Sox-Royals tomorrow at 3:10 See you all next fall!

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Adam Gerval 1 year ago

I can't even put into words how pissed off I am watching Michigan walk to the Final Four. I said if KU can beat Michigan they'll go to the FF. I'm absolutely devastated. You cannot tell me the better team won on Friday night. You just cannot. I saw nothing from them that impressed me. That meltdown was one of the worst I've ever seen. It was simply a gift. I hope they write Elijah a thank you note. Losing to VCU, and UNI simply did not hurt this bad. To have a ten point lead with 2 minutes left is a crushing blow. In those other two games, we weren't in it. I think what bothers me most is that I love Elijah Johnson. Our program is built on players like him. BUT, simply put he and most definitely Bill Self lost that game for us. Great players want the ball in their hands in the last second. Clearly Elijah did not. I can't let this go. This hurts beyond words.

And I know I'm in the minority, but I don't care about Wichita St. I don't care that they're from Kansas. I just don't care. I'm a KU alum. Not a WSU alum. There's only one basketball team in the state of KS that matters and it's not in Wichita. :(

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Konkis Dongington III 1 year ago

So I with WSU in the FF, I'm sure the pressure is going to be on from WSU alums and others around the state and city of Witchita to schedule a home and home or some other series against KU. Self doesn't want to, and it should be fairly obvious why. They aren't a consistently good RPI game, they aren't going to generate a ton of revenue, and they aren't helping us recruit Witchita any better than we are now. That said, they do have one chip, so I propose a modest quid pro quo: If Wig's older bro (a jr at WSU) can get Wigs to commit to KU, we should start a series with them next year for 3 or 4 seasons, then re-evaluate at the end of that time. We get a marquee player, they get several marquee games. Some may see it as dirty pool, but as Ronnie Chalmers will tell you, that's the way the game is played. Balls in your court, Self.

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SaltLakeHawk 1 year ago

"Conner Frankamp, 6-foot out of Wichita North, who is ranked No. 31, is known as a fierce competitor and GYM RAT who also figures to be in the mix right away."

"Gym rat" = white athlete.

That is all.

2

Rock Chalk 1 year ago

Lets not let the nickname "No Rank Frank" stick. It does have a nice rhyme effect, but it is not a positive one.

1

HawksandShox 1 year ago

Well at the risk of getting yelled at by ICT hawk....

I am a WSU grad, love WSU Bball. I'm a bigger KU fan as when I moved away after college couldn't get any coverage of WSU (that dates me a bit).

I agree there is no upside to KU playing WSU. I wouldn't do it if I was Self.

Yes a lot of WSU fan's have short man's complex about KU, but many many WSU fans are big KU fans as well.

I will say this. I think if you take Baker, Armstead and Van Vleet and put them on KU's team this year then KU is still moving on right now. But that's what makes March madness so awesome.

Rock Chalk and Go Shox.

2

Michael Luby 1 year ago

Im taking this opportunity to vent some more. If someone wants to bash me, then so be it. I still maintain that Elijah's lack of a brain during the Michigan game cost us a win. He turned the ball over way way way to many times down the stretch, during the last few minutes of regulation. He cannot shoot the ball for crap and he chucked up way to many desperation 3's. He had 5 GD turnovers and ZERO assists and a Flagrant foul. KU players don't do that. They just don't. ( OK what if it was incidental, he should publicly apologize! ) The fact that he didn't means to me he is guilty. He freekin meant to do it.
I heard commentators say the Ben disappeared during crunch time too. WHY? Because GD EJ was hogging the ball, missing three pointers and giving the ball to the other team! The blame also lies strongly with Coach Self. I have no idea why he is so GD loyal to a senior who cannot play consistently. Naadir was having a very good game despite a low scoring night. 7 assists and two turns? That's stellar considering what EJ has done this season. He absolutely should have let Naadir play more minutes in crunch time. We would have won the game. I really hope EJ never forgets that he screwed up and lost the game for his fellow teammates. He ended Jeff's, Kevin's, Travis's and Ben's season way to prematurely. He should never pick up a basketball again. If he has one ounce of respect left in him, he will not.

OK, now that Ive spewed all the BS out of my system, Im done with it. I'll end by saying this. I love KU basketball and I know next seasons team will be very rough around the edges to start with, being soooo so young. I cannot wait to see them play. I cant wait to see Coach Self mold them into Big 12 and National title contenders once again. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if they lose 7,8,9 games next season. Its ok. Its not fair of us to expect they are going to win out over a tough non con schedule and lose less than a few during conference play. Im a die hard for life Jayhawk fan, despite what my words above convey. One oversight by the Coach and One consistently inconsistent player who had an even worse night cannot shake that from me.

That is all, the target range is open, shoot, fire and bash away.
RCJH!

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Tony Bandle 1 year ago

OBSERVATIONS ON AN EASTER MORNING.

1] Ohio State Coach Thad Matta probably hopes never to see a team from Kansas again, going 0-4 with consecutive 2 reg. season losses, an Elite Eight loss and a Semi-Final loss in the course of two seasons.

2] Defense was our armor, turnovers were our Achilles Heel...the arrow of defeat hit the heel!!

3] Take heart...it's only about six and a half months till Late Night.

4] In a matter of hours, we went from one of the most experienced teams in Division One to one of the youngest!! Not counting walk-ons, 1 Senior, 1 Junior, 4 Sophs and 6 Frosh....YIKES!!!

5] 2013-14 Schollie players: Perry, Landon, Jamari, AWIII, Rio, Conner, Brannen, Wayne, Jo Jo, Naadir, Frank and Justin. If my math is correct that leaves one more available [two if brother Keith comes to the rescue]...there still may be some surprises.

1

Lance Hobson 1 year ago

I never doubt Self but next year will be very difficult, and I'm not expecting a Big 12 title. To lose a star like Mac and all of those seniors is just too much. ISU, OSU, OU, and KState are on the rise, this will be tough. Coach of the year for sure if he can pull it off!

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jumpinjayhawk 1 year ago

Hurts worse when one of your seniors is the reason for the end. Hopefully in the future, if we have a senior with horrible decision making abilities, he will be on the bench at crunch time. Bill,we love you, but sometimes you have to do whats right by the team, not the player. Supporting 1 and letting down the rest of the team cost us big time.

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90sHawk 1 year ago

Though I shouldn't be, I'm a little surprised to see the hate comments towards EJ still. Yeah, the dude messed up. But the remaining folks who can't seem to get past it almost 48 hours later need to quickly. The guy gave his all for 4 years. Despite his idiotic lapse in judgement with the nut shot, I don't believe in any fashion he's some kind of thug. Glad he was a Jayhawk, and look forward to seeing what the next chapter brings for him, Withey, Releford, and Young.

3

longshot921 1 year ago

Looks like Wichita ST. is the king of basketball in Kansas. Now everyone can see why Bill doesn't want to play WST because they would get their butts beat. Gregg Marshall, is the top coach in Kansas and it shows as they go forward. He get good players, no top 100 kids, and makes great players out of them, now that's a coach. The team plays as a team, all great players that know their system and can apply it. Much more than a team made up with top 100 kids, and 3 seniors and a 5th year senior. Here Self sits at home on his big fat wallet, KU is getting took in more ways then one. When you see KU getting beat by Bradley, Bucknell, Northwest Iowa, and VCU, then getting beat in the last mins of the Mich. game with a play called by Self that had no chance just shows this coach is out of his league. Many times in the past few days have we heard Dicky V.,S Davis, Gottlieb, Digger P., Seth G., Charles B., and Wright say what a stupid play called in the final seconds of the Mich. game. They say KU needs to evaluate the coaching staff and see what direction it needs to go as the recruiting by Self has not produced and only has embarrassed KU.

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KEITHMILES05 1 year ago

Ben was not on the return flight home. Pretty obvious he is already gone. Acutally was shocked to not see him exit the plane.

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KEITHMILES05 1 year ago

Rio is an emotional kid. That is all. No D-1 program will take him knowing he likes to get that emotional. He's stuck here for better or worse.

I feel bad Self put EJ back in the game towards the end. He placed the kid in a position to lose and lose we did. Yeah, EJ SHOULD do this and that but then Self has known the entire year he makes bonehead plays under pressure. This isn't news. Sadly, Self's allegiance to his senior guard cost us the game.

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Yonatan Negash 1 year ago

Regardless of the outcome against Michigan, I still love my Jayhawks. God bless Elijah Johnson, coach Bill Self and the rest of our team. A lot of bad things were said about EJ the past day, it's completely not right.

One last thing, I am hoping Rio is part of our future.

5

chaggs 1 year ago

I'd like to see KU bring in Young on staff. His family is in Lawrence. HCBS said he's a future coach. His energy and love of the game is infectous!

4

akgjenkintown 1 year ago

"KU’s four walk-ons — Christian Garrett, Evan Manning, Niko Roberts and Tyler Self — also are eligible to return. One might keep an eye on Manning for potential playing time down the road."

Something that tends to go unnoticed about how a team develops throughout the year is the quality of the red team whose role is to push the starters day in and day out during practice. We saw how much the team improved last year when Jamari and Ben became eligible after the first semester and made the other players step up their game. Year in and year out we hear how KU bigs got better by practicing against better players (Kaun and Jackson, Aldrich, the twins, Robinson, Withey, and hopefully Lucus and Traylor). It is not clear KU has had sufficient competition at point guard to make this year's starters that much better. KU never got better handling the pressure during the season (actually much worse starting with the Temple but that may be the result of opposing coaches honing in on KU's Achilles' heal) and much of that has to be attributed to the quality of the guard play by the red team.

Hopefully Andrew and Rio will stick around and work hard in practice for extended minutes. Rio could be one of the best at stealing extra positions since Chalmers and Andrew is long and can shoot. Both are very talented players who can step up to compete for meaningful minutes since they have a year of Self under their belt. Importantly, KU needs to have serious competition at each position to get better and the guard play and ball handingly needs to improve dramatically. Therefore the quality of the unsung players on the red team needs to improve. This will be one of Self's youngest teams and to get better the red team needs to be much more athletic and unselfish to push the starters to get better. With 5 starting positions up for grab, hopefully Self rapidly develops "trust" in the returners and the newcomers and makes each position wide-open and allows the BEST players to play.

Competition is a good thing. Just ask Weis. KU football should be better this year since the team is deeper and positions (except QB and running backs) are up for grabs. Last year there was almost no competition. Hopefully Self will allow the players to compete for minutes and reward those with more playing time. It will be interesting it he goes more than two deep off the bench next year. Clearly that will depend upon who stays, and how well the freshman develop. With the level of talent on paper, it may be time to explore his bench a bit more and not wear down players so they become less effective during crunch time. Next year may be Self's biggest challenge, since KU's defense (the reason KU is in most games) will not be nearly as good (impossible to replace Withey and Releford with incoming freshman or returnees). Good luck Bill, KU fans don't accept down years.

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jayhawkinATL 1 year ago

Posted this late yesterday. Says a lot doesn't it??? Look at Tharpe and BMac...then look at what Rio's doing.

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Danny Hernandez 1 year ago

BigManU and KULA are pretty much spot on with their analysis. I too believe that with all the turnovers towards the end, the one that gets to me the most is the 10 second call and YES, Coach Self should have called a timeout right there. That call was huge when it could have been averted and probably saved the game for us. Remember, Michigan has to score every time it gets the ball to have any chance and that would have been one less chance to score. Kansas wins that game without that 10 second call

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Kent Richardson 1 year ago

The way I see it, and from our postings, during the pregame days, we offer solutions and comment on the Staff writing. We are hyper analytical, during the Newell Post game blogs and then critically reflective the next day. You come across as smart, brave, passionate and forgiving. I have been in business, union and government service and this is the only "team," outside my "men in camo," that has consistently shown the ability to police itself. You have entertained and impressed the hell out of me week after week. Thank you.

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Chris Shaw 1 year ago

Great Job Wichita State Shockers. Way to represent the State of Kansas. A couple of things here:

1) Do you have any "Timeouts" in your backpocket, Gregg Marshall? Great coaching job! Your team "Tightened" up at the end of the game which was expected, but as a coach you bailed your team and players out of a couple of jams and situations, saved some possessions, ran off time on the clock...and now you're in the Final 4. Great use of your "Timeouts".

2) I know this probably won't happen, but I do think it would be a cool story if Bill Self and his team went down to Wichita and offered any help or guidance in the scout vs Duke or Louisvile. Gregg Marshall would be the lead dog, but Self and Kansas would just be there for support to help with anything involved with the scout.

Kansas' players are a little taller and more athletic than Wichita State's scout team so I think it would be a good gesture to find a way to help a "Kansas School" to win the National Championship. Bring it back to the State.

You would just have to tread lightly because Marshall, the fans, and the boosters, could take that as a "Negative" and say that Kansas is just trying to stay in the spotlight. I could definitely see that, but for me, I want to see Wichita State cut down the nets.

3) Bill Self always says, "Players Gotta Play", but I also believe at times when players are "Playing", you have to bail them out every now and then when the pressure mounts. It's okay once in a while for a player to lose sight of what's going on...that's why you get paid the big bucks...to help guide your team.

I don't think I will ever forget that 10 second violation knowing that Bill Self and staff had 3 timeouts at the time of that turnover. The fact the coaching staff had a timeout in their backpocket at the end of regulation makes this loss "Sting" even more me. EJ could have been bailed out of that turnover and saved a possesssion had Self just called the TO for him. I mean, there is a reason why they changed that rule years ago for coach's to be able to call a TO.

4) 1997 Zona, 2003 Cuse, 2005 Bucknell, and 2010 UNI were about as bad as it gets for me, but 2013 Michigan is the absolute worst for me considering how well Kansas played in the game. The whole team including coaching staff just lost focus and missed a great opportunity to be playing Florida today. Today is Easter and a great day, but it's still going to suck.

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KULA 1 year ago

Next, so where does the blame lie, if anywhere. Well, if anywhere, I lay it at the coach's doorstep. He did NOTHING in the last three minutes of that game to give his team a chance to win. From the missed timeout to avoid the 10 second call to lack of play-calling, the coaching staff was asleep at the switch. Bill's excuse for not pressing is that a good team will attack the press and score on it. SO HOW COME WE NEVER ATTACK THE PRESS AND SCORE?!?!?! Anytime we're pressed, we just settle to get the ball across half court. Bill could learn something watching the tape of '89 Kansas/Kentucky game.

And with seconds left, there's not even a semblance of play. It's just, EJ, Tyshawn, Sherron, Whoever, go get it! Just sending your individual players out there to make up a play on the fly and hope the best. That's not coaching. If you want to see coaching, refer to Brad Stevens plays in the last few seconds of Marquette game and the Duke Championship game. Now there's a coach who sets up his players to give them a chance to win. As opposed to Bill's strategy of "send 'em out and see what happens" like Naadir at the end of regulation, EJ at the end of overtime, and Sherron at the end of the Michigan game in '09.

If you want to blame someone for this loss, don't put it on a kid who gave all he had for the program but came up a little short. Look to the 3.5 million dollar man who doesn't seem concerned with improving HIS game.

Btw, Brad Stevens just told UCLA, "Pass." I'll bet if a coaching vacancy ever arose, he might be interested in another Midwestern school with a rich basketball tradition...

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KULA 1 year ago

Next, "Bill should've benched him for the flagrant foul." Bill didn't have access to the video. All he had to go by was what the refs told him. The refs reviewed the play, made a call, and meted out the prescribed punishment. Why on earth would Bill add to that? That's the refs job. Suppose Bill did bench EJ because he might have done something unseemly. And we lose the game. And on review, the play looks marginal--bad to some, not so bad to others. How does Bill explain that to his bosses? He's paid to win basketball games, no one-up the referees for the sake of some appearance of "honorability." Bill did the right thing by acceding to the referee's call and then 'playing on.'

Next, "EJ's a thug." Well, not necessarily, if you've ever played any playground ball. Bill has always coached a physical and intimidating game. If you doubt this, look back on the '02 and '3 Kansas/Illinois tournament games--still two of the dirtiest games I ever saw. Bill coaches his teams to not shy away from physicality. So if you're running through a screen and he elbows you in the chest, you give him a firm PAT where it counts to remind him where his hands ought to be the next time he screens. I really doubt if that really came out of the blue for EJ and I doubt that Bill was at all surprised by this. Unfortunately, they have more cameras at the tournament games.

And next, probably the most idiotic, "EJ must have thrown the game for money--he's from Vegas, right?" This is SO STUPID that I hate to even give it credence by addressing it, so I won't, other than to say, if you believe this, you are too moronic to be on this site and should probably stay on Yahoo! Sports.

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hotrodm 1 year ago

EJ needs to make an apology to McGrady for the low blow. Man up EJ and admit it to the media. An apology will set your mind free,

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KULA 1 year ago

Thanks to all our seniors for a great season! You guys were awesome for us and you did Kansas Basketball proud.

I hope they don't read this chat board and see all of the dumb, dumb, dumb posts. Especially all the dumb posts about EJ. "He cost us the game" "He's a thug" He shouldn't have been in the game the last five minutes" Bill should have benched him for the flagrant foul." I can hardly believe all the dumb, myopic posts on this board. Oh, and I almost forgot, the most idiotic thing I've read on this board in the 4 years I've been here, "He must have thrown the game for money--he's from Vegas, right?"

First off, "he cost us the game." No one player ever cost you the game. Everyone on the team works together to put you in position to win or lose the game on one play. He missed a free throw. God forbid a player ever miss a free throw! They're FREE THROWS, for God's sake! How could you ever miss one? Never mind the fact that we never got into the double bonus in regulation--what's up with that? Thanks, refs. Yeah, he had some bad turnovers. But where was the coaching staff? Do they know anything about situational coaching. Don't they have any plays diagramed to take the pressure off the individual player in a late game press situation? Wichita State's coaching staff seemed to handle it pretty well. And the 10 second call? What are the coaches doing--watching? Talk about asleep at the switch!

Next--"he shouldn't have been in the game in the last five minutes." Are you effin' kidding me? He's your most experienced player in big game situations. I'll grant that Naadir should have been in to take some of the pressure off, but bench EJ? That's just idiotic. And don't try to compare it to the BMac benching in the UNC game. Ben's a freshman who was obviously affected by the bright lights. Why would you risk another green player over an experienced senior in crunch time? If Bill benched EJ for Naadir, and Naa had a few turnovers and we lost, now that would've been cause to call for Bill's job. EJ was still your best available, given the situation (crunch time in a one and done tourney). You go with your best available. (continued)

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Rock Chalk 1 year ago

I'm sad Rio is thinking ahead to what is next in his life and tweeting as if he's moving on, but more sad we don't get to see this team in Kansas uniforms again doing what they do best. They'll be sorely missed. Wishing them all the luck and success in the world. Wishing we could rewind the clock.

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Steve Zimmerman 1 year ago

Rio can work for Panera Bread - I could care less about him.

One thing I'm more interested in is why the heck do we always have red-shirted freshma/en? Traylor & Ben - due to their grades or whatever. But Lucas? Why not Wesley? Will we see Brannen next? Or Embiid? Perhaps Mason or Selden? Evan will be backup PG instead? Will somebody explain what's this BS is about?

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actorman 1 year ago

“'I think they can be better than we were this year, definitely,' senior point guard Johnson said."

He forgot to add "because there won't be anyone making as many dumb plays game after game as I did."

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741hawk 1 year ago

1) I can see why Bill doesn't want to play Wichita State. :)

2) This one still hurts. Interesting that some loses can be as memorable as some of the greatest victories. I will take to my grave my angst over Roy Williams playing a one-handed Jerod Haas (he had a broken wrist) in the '97 Sweet 16 game against Arizona. That was arguably the best team KU ever put on a court. I remember where I was and how I felt. Awful.

I feel the same about this game. Stubborn coach. Missed opportunity. Geeeeeez, that was just an awful finish. I will remember this one forever, too, because, unfortunately, it cannot be "evacuated" from my memory.

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