Kansas defeats Texas-El Paso, 67-63

  • 6 p.m., Nov. 30, 2013
  • Nassau, Bahamas,

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Victory in third-place game doesn’t impress Self

Kansas forward Perry Ellis is fouled after being surrounded by UTEP defenders Tevin Caldwell (15) and Vince Hunter on the Jayhawks' final inbound pass on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis is fouled after being surrounded by UTEP defenders Tevin Caldwell (15) and Vince Hunter on the Jayhawks' final inbound pass on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 in Paradise Island, Bahamas.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Self: Jayhawks 'exposed' in Bahamas

Kansas basketball players Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis, and their coach Bill Self, talk about the hard lessons they learned after going 2-1 at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

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Box score

— A narrow victory over UTEP in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament was no cause for celebration for Kansas University’s basketball players, coaches and fans on Saturday in Imperial Arena in the plush Atlantis resort.

The mood, in fact, was downright gloomy after the Jayhawks’ 67-63 win — a game in which KU (6-1) nearly blew a 14-point lead against a 4-4 team in the final two minutes.

“I’m tired,” coach Bill Self said with a frown after KU won for the first time in four all-time meetings versus UTEP, then added some levity to the situation by saying his fatigue was because of a long walk from the locker room to the interview room.

“I’m leaving here not discouraged, but with the understanding that we’re not who I think we thought we were and certainly not who the I think the players thought we were when we headed over here. We were exposed pretty good over here.”

He let loose with a stream of negatives after the Jayhawks appeared to suffer a hangover following Friday’s semifinal loss to Villanova.

“I think we are taking away we have a long way to go to becoming good basketball team. That’s not bad, either. We rarely have great teams in November,” Self said. “We are not as good as we were 17, 18 days ago. That’s a little frustrating we’ve gone backwards. We didn’t play well at all over here. We played one decent half and five crappy ones, in large part because of opponents and how they played.

“We made some plays especially in late-game situations against Wake Forest (in first-round win). Against Wake (in first-round win), we had the game put away and let them back in. Today we had the game put away and let them back in. Villanova ... we had a one-point lead with 12 seconds left and didn’t do what we should have done. There are great teaching moments that should help us moving forward.”

There were some highlights Saturday.

Joel Embiid totaled a freshman record seven blocks, passing Nick Collison’s six versus Nebraska in 2000. And Wayne Selden had 12 points the first half and finished with 14 off 6-of-9 shooting. Also Perry Ellis, who hit some clutch free throws late, netted 19 points with seven boards.

But the lowlights were aplenty as well.

“I think our energy level sucks,” Self said. The Jayhawks, who were patient in attacking UTEP’s gimmick defenses and four-corner offense, held a 15-2 lead nine minutes into the game. However, the lead dipped to 26-20 at 2:51 before being upped to 34-25 by intermission.

“It’s hard to play the game if you don’t have great energy,” Self noted. “It’s hard to play the third game of a three-game tournament with unbelievable energy, (but) there has to be more a sense of urgency. We play way, way, way too casual. That goes into how you screen, block out, go after loose balls, a lot of things we are not doing well now.”

Self said he’s not doing a good job of coaching the Jayhawks.

“I thought we’d have errors of trying too hard instead of casualness,” he said. “That’s what’s really frustrating to me. To me, a coach should be judged on three things: Do they play together? Are they unselfish? Do they play extremely hard and are they tough? I’d say we went 0-for-3. That’s frustrating to me when you go 0-for-3.”

Freshman guard Selden, who was one point off a career high, missed a shot and had three turnovers before the first TV time out. But he also scored KU’s first five points and dove into the stands for a loose ball during the contest.

“I would say Wayne played with as good as energy as anybody,” Self said, also citing Embiid and Tarik Black. “It’s good to see Wayne make a couple shots. That was good. He got off to a rough start. I’m glad I didn’t sub him. He had three turnovers in three minutes, got a couple shots down and actually played well the first half.”

Embiid had six points, six rebounds and seven blocks the final half while playing 16 minutes that half.

“I thought he was good. I’m speaking honestly (in his frank postgame session with media). That’s one guy on a big uptick,” Self said. “He has to play more minutes without fouling.”

As far as re-living the near disastrous ending, KU led, 59-45, at 2:15. However, UTEP brought it all the way back to 66-63 at 6.8. Frosh guard Frank Mason fouled McKenzie Moore, who hit three free throws.

KU was able to inbound, and Ellis, who made five of six free throws the last 35 seconds, made one of two to complete the scoring.

“We have a lot to learn as a team, a lot of things we need to work on,” Ellis said. “This has been a learning experience coming here. The main message (from Self) is we have a lot to learn still. We made mistakes which gave them (Miners) confidence.”

Suffice it to say, Self will be doing a lot of coaching in upcoming practices. The Jayhawks next meet Colorado on 2:15 p.m., Central time, Saturday, Dec. 7, in Boulder.

“We’ve got to get where in practice we are making mistakes but with the same energy and effort you have to play with in the game. You play like you practice. We have not been a great practice team so far,” Self lamented.


Bryce Landon 8 years ago

Self said he’s not doing a good job of coaching the Jayhawks. “I thought we’d have errors of trying too hard instead of casualness,” he said. “That’s what’s really frustrating to me. To me, a coach should be judged on three things: Do they play together? Are they unselfish? Do they play extremely hard and are they tough? I’d say we went 0-for-3. That’s frustrating to me when you go 0-for-3.”

After last night's loss to Villanova, I was really down on Bill Self for his piss-poor coaching and not being willing to admit it. Tonight, after reading this, I take it back. Self is finally showing some humility, and for that I applaud him.

Benz Junque 8 years ago

He has made countless statements over the last handful of years that have been very self deprecating and critical of things he has done, but people roll out the same old material whenever they are pissed about how the team is playing.

Just don't post anything until the day after a loss. People losing their minds over a November loss to Nova is ridiculous.

Sometimes great young talent plays GREAT and sometimes it just plays YOUNG. I have watched 40+ years of basketball and have never seen a team be great in every game they have played. Not even close.

This stretch of three games is vital to teach these young players exactly how they need to play at the collegiate level. They don't really believe it when they are still having success while coasting.

Michael Bratisax 8 years ago

"Just don't post anything until the day after a loss. People losing their minds over a November loss to Nova is ridiculous"

100% agreement. Most fans recognize on their own the over the top comments they might have made hours after a loss. I have seen every game so far and the only real concern I have is at the PG.

Mason and Tharpe need to keep their rivalry (fight for minutes) off the court and start getting Wiggins et al into the flow of the game. Too many 3s and driving into the paint early into the shot clock is not what we need.

This is a young team that will get their mojo on long before the NCAA and will meet all expectations when they do.

Don Johnson 8 years ago

Bryce, I am just wondering what your qualifications are for judging HCBS' coaching skills? Is it that you are a KU fan? If so, you may be excused. Just remember, even the best coaches lose about 1 in five games during their careers. If it is you saw the Villanova game and are using it as the sole standard. If so, I would guess you are a teenager who can't remember more than 15 minutes ago. You certainly can't be looking at his whole body of work. Maybe my first assumption was in error. Maybe you are a Mew (MU) fan. I believe we have one of the best coaches in basketball. I just hope the NBA keeps their hands off him. We would not get as good as a coach as his successor.

Rodney Crain 8 years ago

Don, Mike, Benz, what makes you think you can rule who comments and who does not here? When they may comment?

If you get to say what you want, when you want to say it, let anyone else say their piece when they feel like saying it.

Disagree, make your points, educate all of us here, no one cares.

This is not your blog.

Rodney Crain 8 years ago

Agree Bryce! Self's teams always get better as the year progresses lets hope that hold's true here this season.

We have no bounce no energy, it is bothersome. Add no outside shooting to speak of and it could get much worse.

Self said WE were EXPOSED, I agree 100% with the coach. Lots to do and not a lot of time to do it.

Lisa Braun 8 years ago

I agree with everything you've said except the "not a lot of time to do it in". A) It's only November, and B) those boys have tons of practice hours to get in over holiday break. I think HCBS will have them in line before conference play. That's my hope, anyway.

Tom Keegan 8 years ago

Great point about a lot of practice hours to get in over holiday break. That's when teams get a lot better and the better the coach the more they improve during the break. Self's teams always have had huge growth spurts over holiday break.

Rodney Crain 8 years ago

We are playing casual and we have a week before the @CO, @FL, UNM, and the Georgetown games start kicking in. He cannot coach Energy, he is really good, but something was not right in any of those games with our team and I wonder how long it will take to fix.

Hank Cross 8 years ago

Let's be glad we finally got over on UTEP. I think one loss was in the tourney that UTEP won and another was a 2nd round tourney loss when Don Haskins out-coached Roy Williams and Tim Hardaway drove at will. That one still smarts.

Michael Bratisax 8 years ago

I know we lost to them one time when we had JoJo White and the referee called JoJo's foot on the line on what would have been the winning shot. Although not called UTEP at the time, they went on to win the "game of the century" against Kentucky in the final game.

Dave Coen 8 years ago

No reason to panic. Have faith in Coach Self. His teams have a consistent pattern of playing poorly or just well enough to win in November & December with exceptions of rising to the occasion against outstanding teams (eg. Florida, Ohio St., Duke, etc.). When the calendar turns to January, Coach Self will have his team playing well. This team is young and inexperienced and, of course, they are unimpressive now, but wait until January.

Benz Junque 8 years ago

What hilarious is that all the doom and gloom people will be revved up if they go out and have a good game @Colorado. Ah, the roller coaster of a young team has begun.

Michael Sillman 8 years ago

I know that there was a lot of concern (including myself) about the incredibly tough non-conference schedule for this very young team. However, I now feel that it will help it grow up fast.

The next four games are all going to be challenging based on what we saw today. Hopefully, the Bahamas struggle will get the team to pay close attention to Coach Self during the holiday practice stretch.

One thing was apparent even with the somewhat disappointing results: Embiid is a beast. I can't imagine that Black will be starting much longer.

Benz Junque 8 years ago

It doesn't matter who starts, just who plays. I don't care if Black and Tharpe are the starters all year so long as Embiid and Mason are the guys that are in there when it matters.

Just imagine if ALL the players played with Mason's intensity...

Eric TheCapn 8 years ago

Just doing some late-night thinking....

Like you all, at this point of the season I don't worry much about poor performance because our boys will be learning and growing over the next several months. "It's only November."

But it's also only November for everyone else. They'll be learning and growing too. So what is it that makes us think we're going to be better off than they are? Coaching? Talent? Youth? History? Superstition?

What is it for you, pray tell?

Rodney Crain 8 years ago

Interesting Eric, when I think of what kind of team Self excels with it is with upperclassman who have practiced within his system, with some or a lot of playing experience. He can get the players into roles and have them compete at high levels with trips far into the two tournaments. I think this year might be one his most challenging in a decade. From a talent standpoint we have the chance to be highly competitive. If they buy-in he might be able to get them to the top of the conference, maybe to the final four. If you would have asked me after the Towson game I would have a much different answer than I do today. Maybe we look back on these three games as the turning point in our season.

Benz Junque 8 years ago

All of the above. A mediocre player is only going to improve so much. Some of the guys for Nova won't be much better at the end of the year than they are now because they are near the top of their ceiling. KU's issue right now is a lack of focus and execution, not ability. They have good players whop aren't playing well right now.

This coaching staff has always shown that their team makes good improvements over the semester break. The team has the perfect schedule to keep their focus, a nice consistent space of really good teams. Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Georgetown, Toledo and SDSU are all tough opponents before conference starts. They have a combined record of 32-6. Yikes.

Michael Bratisax 8 years ago

I don't think you've taken experience into account Eric. The most experienced teams have already logged on and played together for far more minutes than we have. Duke (2) and UK have already lost and now so have we.

There is more than enough time for talent to trump experience before the NCAA starts. This might be the year we lose the reg. season title but go on to the Final Four and win it all..or not.

I think this an exceptional team that will rise to the occasion esp. after Self lights a fire under their arses.

Erich Hartmann 8 years ago

Yes, its "November" for our opponents also...but tell me what is our opponents' mix of sophomores, juniors, and seniors compared to KU? Lots to adjust to for Wiggins and everybody, and no one is going to be an expert on Self ball, other than Ellis and Tharpe...but who are Ellis + Tharpe trying to gain chemistry with? -->freshmen! So the whole thing gets better after another month of practice + games. Look at Kentucky: similar issues, but you know they will get better also by January.

Brianna Zaleski 8 years ago

I'll say it again: that venue is horrible!
It doesn't look good on tv, it's incredibly cramped looking. I felt cramped just watching it on tv. Carpet floors, ballrooms for locker rooms, hallways for "tunnels". The scoreboard looked like a cheap, hockey scoreboard you'd fine in a youth league game in Buffalo. The lighting was ridiculous. Was it a basketball game or a final table in poker? And the ceilings!? Jesus, were they 20 feet? No wonder no one could shoot, their shots were probably skimming off the track lighting above. I mention this (again) because the article references the plushness of the resort. And I know that to be true. But that "arena" should be completely overhauled.

Rodney Crain 8 years ago

Its a hotel with ballrooms. They do not care about having an arena in the hotel and they want you in the hotel for it. Other than this once a year need, they could not use a proper arena for anything else. The whole thing is a advertising deal, all marketing. They don't care about basketball unless it brings in guests to the hotel. Only in its third year. They tie in the TV ads with the winter sport to get you to travel to their hotel. Other than sucking for the teams and viewers…, its a smart play for them. Its tons of walking for everybody there too, stayed in one of those in FL, at the end of the week you would sell your soul for a golf cart to get around in, :)

RJ King 8 years ago

Are you always this much fun to be around?

Aaron Paisley 8 years ago

Everyone played in the same venue and had to deal with the same issues.

Kevin Long 8 years ago

There is no need to panic. This is a team loaded with freshmen and sophomores. Trust in Self! He knows what he is doing. I think this weekend was great for them to learn from. If they are still playing this bad in 6 weeks then I will start to worry a little.

Benz Junque 8 years ago

Next six games:

Colorado (7-1) Florida (6-1) Georgetown (4-2) Toledo (6-0) New Mexico (5-1) San Diego State (4-1)

Kansas is likely going to lose two of these games. And many people on here are going to FREAK OUT. Book it. It doesn't mean that Kansas isn't going to contend for a national title at the end of the year. It just means they probably wouldn't contend for a national title at the end of December.

Suzi Marshall 8 years ago

Anyone want to bet Self tries Senden at PG? I think he's going to look at this "emergency" option because:

1) Our PGs are not getting the job done. They are not moving the ball to make the team better. We are not getting near the assists needed. Mason does not seem to have the ability to find the open man when he penetrates.

2) We need a long range scoring threat from the 2 spot. White has earned a chance to start and if Greene has settled down it will give him more PT as a backup 2.

Selden's 6 turnovers agains UTEP may give Self some pause to do this right away. However, if he steadies up over the next few games before the break and our PG's don't do better...he will make the change over break.Selden's NBA position will be PG.

I bet one change effective with the next game will be Embiid starting at the 5.

Michael Bratisax 8 years ago

I have thought about Selden starting at the PG but think it would be a mistake. We would be taking away our most experienced player. I think the problem at the 1 spot is primarily a continuation between Tharpe and Mason for the starting position. Tharpe takes too many outside shots and Mason drives into the paint too often when there is still plenty of time on the shot clock for both players.

Both need to get the rest of the team into the flow of the game before looking for their own shots. Looking at Wiggins makes me worry about signing any other #1 players. If I was a #1 recruit (not even one in a million chance) I would have to take a look at Selby and Wiggins at Kansas.

RJ King 8 years ago

What is it about the Kansas system / Bill Self that you think is cramping Wiggins style, development, or opportunity to shine? I'm not being argumentative, just curious as to what specifically about Kansas and/or Self would make them a poorer choice for a recruit.

An OAD can choose a program with many other elite players, or a program where he will be the only star on the team. Comparable programs will still require learning their systems and adjusting to their role amongst other 5-stars and OAD's.

Frankly, I haven't watched much of Kentucky this year, so I don't know how much the dribble drive has been altered by these new foul calls. But I suspect the new rules have affected Wiggins, just like everyone else.

Are you pointing to the high/low? The fact that Self benched Wigs for lack of energy? Self is encouraging him to be "The Guy." It seems that Wiggins own persona is what is holding him back. That, and the development of Joel and the emergence of Perry.

Suzi Marshall 8 years ago

I would never put Wiggins in the same sentence with the other OAD you mentioned. Selby hurt the team and has proven his HS off base. Guys like Selby is why the NBA came up with the OAD idea in the first place because too many highly ranked HS turned out to be a bust.

Like RJ mentioned, Self is all over Wiggins to step it up when on O. Besides, I think Wiggins has been doing really well. I rewatch every game and love how much effort he puts in on his D. The game against 'Nova and especially UTEP, our PG's missed alot of alley opps and other plays to Wiggins. We can't go through this season with the kind of PG play displayed this past week.

If they don't come around really soon, I hope Self gives Selden a try. We can use the shooting of AWIII/Greene on the floor.

Robert Brock 8 years ago

If the team continues to play casual ball, expect to earn a big L in Boulder.

Clarence Haynes 8 years ago

I still think that this is a talented team with a lot of potential. I will give Wiggins the benefit of the doubt in that I think that he was under the weather throughout this past weekend. Nonetheless, he has to become more assertive and more plays have to be designed to get him the ball! Monsieur Embid has to start, point blank. He's too talented to bring off of the bench. Also, during this weekend, opponents did put up different defenses that somewhat confused the young Hawks (and seemed to surprise the coaching staff), but having now been in those situations, that could be beneficial down the stretch. Finally, Hawks have to listen to HCBS and staff and less to the hype! If so, we'll be fine. Rock Chalk!

Pam Goad 8 years ago

Perry Ellis is my new favorite Jayhawk this year, with Frank Mason a close second (except for those boo boos at the end of the UTEP game). Travis Releford was my guy last year - I loved his hustle and leadership. That being said, I agree with the other folks on this board who see Embiid starting soon. That kid is good!

Gerry Butler 8 years ago

Brianna, you keep trying to put the problem with how the jayhawks played on the way the paced looked. it WAS NOT, I REPEAT WAS NOT because of the way the place looked that effected how the played period. you say well the ceilings were bad, no wonder they didn't shoot well the ceiling DID NOT have any effect on how we shot the ball.huh really funny if the ceiling effected out shot, wonder why the other teams didn't have the problem as much as shooting the ball if its the ceiling, here is a thought, could it be maybe just MAYBE that their lack of emotion, lackluster approach on defense not aggressive at all could possible be the problem? maybe silly turnovers, maybe that's the problem? ridiculous fouls maybe the problem? not blocking out for rebounds maybe that's the problem? just flat out being outplayed maybe that's the problem? lack of intensity maybe that's the problem? or MAYBE, JUST MAYBE its a combination of all these that's the problem? but it sure the hell is not the hallways, or locker rooms or ceiling that was the rason we struggled, thank god for practice time. the ONLY one who show ANY EMOTION was wayne. multiple times tried to get wiggins fired up and NOTHING some of the guys just looked like they would have been somewhere else. was mentioned by the commentators multiple about how they didn't like the look of the demeanor of some of the starters when they were sitting on the bench, have some time , but got to get back to where we were 3 weeks ago. and as far as pro status goes RIGHT NOW, joel is head and shoulders above wiggins as far as draft status goes, if draft was today NO WAY would Andrew be the nu 1 pick joel very well could be but NOT Andrew. anaylast at half time last night said, Andrew is a great talent right now, but NOT a great player said has a tendency to drift right out of a game

Brianna Zaleski 8 years ago

With all due respect, Gerry, I did not ONCE say that the crappy venue was the cause of our poor play. Not once. Because I don't believe that to be true. I just thought the venue was horrible and very amateur looking. But, it was obviously an equal playing field and was not an advantage to any of the teams in attendance. I just, personally, thought it was a joke of a place to play a meaningful college bball tournament.
We were the cause of our poor play this wknd, but I hope this is the last time we play in this sorry tourney

Tony Bandle 8 years ago


1] Gee, I wonder how many fan bases would be upset over a 6-1 record and a Top Ten Ranking??

2] As I posted yesterday..12 man rotation..FOUR non-starters from last season, ONE transfer, ONE redshirt Freshmen, SIX true freshmen..if this team got any younger, they'd be deciding who to ask to the Prom!!!

3] Villanova won it all...this is no slouch of a team. Yes, we should have beat them, but give them some credit.

4] THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK...which was worse, the venue or the refereeing??

5] THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK TWO...Who on the Kansas team is ready for the NBA?......crickets.....crickets.....!!

6] Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving.

Barney Kruse 8 years ago

I've been able to watch more Okie State than KU on tv this year. Used to be that I never missed a game. It's sad to think it is all about the almighty dollar any more. Perhaps because thousands of us aren't able to watch and cheer anymore is why we lost our mojo... it's only weird if it don't work, right?... and it ain't working.

Aaron Paisley 8 years ago

This is a very inexperienced team that played like a very inexperienced team. These are typical growing pains inexperienced teams go through. Duke had a close call against Vermont, Kentucky had a close call against Cleveland St., even an extremely experienced team like Michigan St. had a close call against Columbia. Yes, Bill Self was outcoached in the Villanova game, that wasn't the first time Self has been outcoached and it won't be the last time either because even great coaches have bad games every once in awhile. This team will continue to grow and get better and will be on the short list of title contenders come early March because Bill Self is a great coach.

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