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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Self: KU needs Tharpe to be irreplaceable

Blue team member Naadir Tharpe gets loose for an easy two during the men's basketball scrimmage during Late Night in the Phog Friday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Blue team member Naadir Tharpe gets loose for an easy two during the men's basketball scrimmage during Late Night in the Phog Friday at Allen Fieldhouse.

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— Kansas University coach Bill Self expects more — much more — from point guard Naadir Tharpe in his junior season.

“I need Naadir to be our most valuable player,” Self said Tuesday before the Coaches vs. Cancer Season Tipoff Reception at Municipal Auditorium. “Now, I didn’t say best player, but he needs to be the guy that, regardless of the situation, it’s hard for us to play without him.”

Self hinted that Tharpe’s experience and leadership could be valuable on a team that brings in six freshmen and is otherwise inexperienced at the point.

“Frank Mason is going to be a good player. He’s going to come along and help us, but he’s young and has got a lot to figure out,” Self said. “Same with (Conner) Frankamp. So especially early in the season, Naadir probably needs to be as good as anybody on our team.”

Tharpe averaged 5.5 points and 19.4 minutes off the bench last year. He also ranked third in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2).

“He’s by far — by far — the best passer as far as creating shots for others of anybody we’ve had in recent memory,” Self said of the 5-11 native of Worcester, Mass., “and we’ve got to figure out a way where he can get to the paint.”

KU will practice Wednesday through Saturday, marking the first time this season that the Jayhawks have practiced four consecutive days.

“We need to figure out the nuts and bolts of who we are,” Self said. “‘OK, this is important. We don’t give up easy baskets. We make the extra pass. We drive to pass. We try to get angles on the block.’ Things that we know that’s been successful for us over time.

“Right now, we’re just out there, and we’re not playing with any purpose, which I think is pretty normal after one week. We need to get to the point where we can start playing with some purpose.”

Collins chimes in

Self wasn’t the only one unhappy with his team’s lack of defense in Friday night’s Late Night in the Phog scrimmage at Allen Fieldhouse.

Former KU guard Sherron Collins, who watched from the stands, was frustrated as well.

“Sherron walked in the locker room right after. I said, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘That’s embarrassing. We don’t play this way,’” Self said. “To me, that’s good for those guys to hear, because we don’t. One thing we’ve always taken pride in is, ‘Hey, we’re not going to let other people score.’”

Self put the Blue team’s 66-40 victory over Crimson in perspective.

“If you play a 12-minute running clock — if the clock runs during substitutions and dead balls and free throws — that’s probably the equivalent of about a 13-minute game. So to think that one team could give up 40 points in a 13-minute game? Think about that,” Self said. “That’s probably on pace for 55 a half. Well the other team gave up 66, which is on pace for 90 in a half. And that’s not how we play.

“I think the guys kind of thought, even though I encouraged them not to think this way, that, ‘Hey, we’re just out here to have some fun and put on a show.’ To me, that’s not what ball is all about, and they know that now.”

KU healthy

Self said the Jayhawks, who have had a two-on, one-off practice schedule recently, are “actually as healthy as we’ve been.”

“I haven’t pushed them to the point where I think I’m beating them up yet,” Self said with a smile. “But we’ve got to get to that. In two weeks, we need to be ready to have our practices to prepare us for the season. Right now, it’s too long of a year. We’re not quite there yet.”

On Late Night fixes

Self reiterated that KU would continue to look at ways to change how fans get into Late Night, as many people who waited for hours to get in were left outside the building after fans behind them cut in line and bum-rushed the doors.

“We’re going to have to do something as far as maybe passing out a voucher or a ticket as they wait in line to make sure they can get in,” Self said. “I don’t know exactly how it’ll work, but it’ll work. It’s not broken by any stretch, but it is something that needs to be addressed.”

Comments

Michael Luby 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Even though I have a Facebook account, Im solidly against linking this site to it. Its tragic.

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Woody Cragg 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Hopefully we do have a quality backup when Naa needs a blow, has foul trouble, or heaven forbid, has an injury. Having no experienced back up at the point could potentially become a very significant issue.

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Ralster Jayhawk 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Regarding Tharpe: He is solid. He had several dunks in Late Night (as did Mason), he was the best % FT shooter on the team last year. He has a better than 2:1 a/t ratio. And his 3pt shot has improved a lot this summer.
Just some observations from LateNite: The 3 "most serious" players who basically didnt miss more than 1 shot each: Tharpe (very smooth, high degree of swagger, played like he knew "things" alot of others didnt, he did not miss a 3), Ellis (all business & deadly accurate), Traylor (several nifty moves and put backs, also some deft footwork + finishes. Has pullupJ now. Looks like has put in a ton of reps.). Selden and Wiggins looked very good.

Another comment about Tharpe: You just dont see him sulk. His swagger is all positive, never gets bad body language, even during adversity. He will be a steadier leader...hopefully similar to the upperclassman version of Russell Robinson or Sherron.

Great to see Sherron's opinion directly to the team. That is absolutely priceless. You tell 'em, Sherron! What a way to reinforce the "family" ways!

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DanR 6 months, 2 weeks ago

JB, I'll be chuckling about green wood all season. Didn't always agree with everything you posted, but thanks!

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DanR 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Well, this was a good farewell thread: a six-parter by Jaybate, a little fun jousting with a decent kentucky fan, and great points by all the regulars--on a fluff article no less... and discourse more civil than anything on the internet.

I don't think the LJW bean counters/lawyers/management have a clue what the commenting ability meant to KU sports fans--especially those outside the local area who crave a little friendly KU fix.

Good luck all and Rock Chalk

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Ralster Jayhawk 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Facebook-only comments? What? Well, since I dont do Facebook either, this may be my last post...

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TXChalker 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Can't believe that the LJWord is changing its commenting to Facebook. Don't do Facebook so this will be my last post. I will still read but am really disappointed that even with a real name I won't be able to do it without a Facebook account.

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Ryan Houston 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Far over the NCAA Mountains cold To threes deep and players old We must away ere break of day, To find our long-forgotten gold

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hawkmoon2020 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Oubre (SG/SF) is undoubtedly a great get, and adding Alexander (PF) would be even greater. However, while I would be estatic with just those two committing, I struggle with our quest for a C and PG out of this '14 class. With NT, FM and CF returning, I think pursuing a '15 PG is more important. If Embiid returns, we will have JE, HM and LL at Center, and thus a '15 C pursuit would be more important. Especially if Zimmerman (C) is available and interested. As always though, I trust Coach Self to be the "Head Chef" when gathering the right ingredients for a NC caliber team, and know we will be fine no matter what.

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jaybate 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Part 6

Post Scripted Memo to Self about Tharpe: When Self said "“I need Naadir to be our most valuable player,” Self focused board rats' attentions on his offensive performance. But I would like to add that Naa has to be an excellent defender to be that MVP. Naa has got to guard hard and effectively. If he cracks on defense, this team absolutely lacks a pret a porter Jeff Withey to swat away mistakes for 30 minutes a game. Naa's defense is really the only thing that matters with Naa. We already know he can dribble decently and pass it around. We already know that even if he can't get in the paint regularly, we have guys on both wings that can. And though Wigs would be vastly harder to guard if Naa became a credible trey shooter, what we need most from him is to be able to make 80-90 % of his FTs to keep the defense off him down the stretches of both halves. But even if he slumps some at the line, and throws bricks from 3, we can get buy if he can guard. Guard, guard, guard, has to be Naa's mantra. If Naa can guard, the crazy length of the rest of the team can be taught to guard by seasons end and a tenacious team defense--maybe Self's best yet if defensive insight can be gleaned in a single season--will trigger all the offense KU needs. It will be a recipe very near UK's great team two years ago. If Naa can just defend the point even up, the crazy length everywhere else can strangle an offense...if the newbies get the insight thing cooking.

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jaybate 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Part 5

Grinding it out sooner or later involves finding a way to beat teams with more talent at certain positions, maybe even all positions, when other teams would just give up and take their beatings.

There is, I believe, one key driver to Self's incredible winning percentage. His guys win more of the time on the bad nights. His teams find ways to win, when they shoot less than 20% from trey, or 40% from the FT line, or when the point guard has only one working knee and looks like your grandmother's beadspread below the waist, or a fireplug point guard loses his explosiveness the last two years of his starting career, or when a future draft choice has to play on a rehabbing knee till mid January, or the team slips into a deep funk that might break most teams, but Self's teams find a way out after only a 3-4 games.

Self, Naadir and Perry are really going to have to start cracking the whip. They are going to have to have a fateful conversation with the freshmen very shortly. Its going to have to go something like this:

"You young guys may be OADs, and you may be gone after this season, and you definitely have more talent than we have, but from here on out, you ain't shizz to us until you man-up and take care of business. We will play without you if we have to. We have set OADs before that didn't get it. Self is going to start sitting you more and more if you don't wake up. We're here to win. We are here to win any way we can. We think we can win more with you, IF YOU EVER GET IT, than without you. We have already been where we are going. You haven't been there yet. And we're going there with, or without you. So: get serious--get ready for prime time. Self is a player's coach. The best performers play. You gotta earn his trust. You gotta earn our trust. Now start earning it, or we're not passing you the goddamned ball."

But the scariest part of the scrimmage for me was that Self has apparently been concentrating on the offense and in the scrimmage it appeared there was none, unless Self has hatched up a new AAU offense.

Ah, but I will stop pinching my own hemorrhoids.

Self is a genius. He will find a way inside their brain cases. He always does.

But IMHO this most talented team is far, far and away his greatest challenge just to get it to play decently.

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jaybate 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Part 4

Last year's UK team in contrast, never really played with enough intensity to offset their lack of experienced toughness.

So: last year's UK team proves that lack of seriousness of purpose and lack of intensity are cancers that can easily metastasize on very young teams loaded with vast athleticism and talent.

Self and his players have to view and respond to this issue with earnest commitment. Sherron is a good MO-FO to have around this team. Sherron might lack insight about Big Macs, but Sherron seemed to come down the birth canal with his sleeves rolled up and ready to take care of business. Sherron actually seemed older in this regard as a freshman than did some of the seniors on the great teams he played on his freshman and sophomore years. And that was saying something because that team was by then loaded with some insightful, tough, upper class MO-FOs.

To try to see the glass at least a third full for a moment, I suppose much of the above simply means that Self has worked incredibly hard at teaching offense and at building a sense of team and mixing up good chemistry in terms of loving and sharing. Good. My heart is all moist about that. Those things are important in a long season for any team, but especially for this young of a team.

But I am inclined to infer that these virtues have come at the expense of the older guys setting standards that have to be met to be admitted into the core of pride and self respect that Self teams must have in order to do more with less, in order to be mentally tougher than the opponents, and in order to muddle through on the 1/3 awful games that Self teams traditionally find a way to grind it out a win in.

Grinding it out involves taking pride in what you can control--defensive effort and tenacity--when the shots aren't falling, and you don't have any rhythm, when injuries are hampering your best players, and when people are sick, or depressed, or suffering losses of loved ones.

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jaybate 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Part 3

Right now, the biggest crisis this team faces is its green wood discovering what it doesn't know it doesn't know. It doesn't know it doesn't know about Self Defense. Playing AAU ball and loving each other may have landed Kelly Oubre. It may land some other OADs. And maybe that is exactly why Self sent them out there that way. They were infectiously fun to watch, because they were all having SO MUCH FUN!

Perry was the only one that seemed to understand the gravity of the situation; that seasons are sensitively dependent on initial conditions; that taking things in at least a business like way from the start gets the emergent complexity cascading in one's favor, rather than pushing one up shizz crick with a tooth pick for a paddle.

Self players are always supposed to be able to do both. They are always supposed to have swagger and fun, while also taking care of business. They are supposed to be in skits and then go out and guard. They are supposed to be articulate in interviews and coldly calculating assassins on the floor. None of the freshman, save maybe Selden, were capable of both. Warning. Warning. Danger. Danger. We truly and most definitely are NOT looking at one of Self's typical team; this team is different...totally different in its make-up.

All of the above is IMHO terrible news for this incredibly talentened young team. It suggests Perry, Tharpe, Traylor, Lucas and Black, who all at least grasped the importance of things, are already unable to set standards and make them stick.

It means the freshman have no clue about how the game has to be played in terms of Self Defense, and in a broader sense, in Self Ball. They do not yet grasp the tenacity of commitment to sustained, serious focus Self teams have relied on to do their often seemingly impossible accomplishments.

Are we to expect some fall off in this regard due to youth and the number of guys that will only be around one year? Yes. We have seen some of this with UK's young teams early. But until last season, UK's young teams made up for what they lacked in know how and and insight about standards with XTReme Intensity. Anthony Davis set the tone for their great team. He may not always have known exactly what he was doing, but he was from the beginning of the season an absolute fanatic about intensity. He was doing it as hard as he possibly could. In that respect, though I hate giving any credit to UK for anything until they start doing it the right way, Anthony Davis was almost a contemporary Bill Russell. HE PLAYED HARD FROM THE BEGINING. When he jumped he jumped as high as he could. When he ran, he ran as fast as he could. When he played to his strengths he played to them as strongly as he could.

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jaybate 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Part 2

The fundies just were not being applied by any of the freshman. Among the upper classmen, Black played some. The returning guys played some, but not consistently. Black and the returnees finally just seemed to join in the "fun" and go AAU, too.

What this means is that the returning players and Black are not influential enough to set a standard of play and make it stick among the freshmen. The freshman are for now, anyway, the gravitational center of the team. And the freshmen don't apparently know diddledy spit about defense, and apparently don't know they don't know.

I dont' care what anybody else says about Late Night just being a scrimmage for show, guys that don't even get down and stay with their man, and then enjoy themselves abundantly, lack insight. Lacking insight means you don't know what you don't know. When you are told what you are not doing and what you need to do to do it right, if you lack insight you really don't know how to give the coach what he wants.

And, unfortunately, insight is a hard thing to teach. Learning insight is a long, slow process. It can take years of quick hooks. But this team does not have "years." It has "year."

Self's experienced teams ooze insight. Though his experienced teams have often eventually been outmatched by talent, or XTReme conditioning, or by some decisive match-up, tey almost never crack, because they almost always get what is going on, get how you have to play to win, how most other teams can be cracked with enough pressure, enough relentlessness, enough searching for the weakness on defense, and on offense, until the defense triggers offense.

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jaybate 6 months, 2 weeks ago

"Late Night Defenselessness or Not Knowing What You Don't Know"

Part 1

OADs or not, there is more to basketball than athleticism and "talent."

And not all young teams are created equal in the intangibles and fundamentals of the game.

Some young teams are composed of players with high seriousness and ferocious competitiveness. Some young teams have a few seasoned veterans with enough force of personality and level of talent to impress upon the newbies that young, or not, this is how things have to be done. You load up your lunch pale, or your iPod, you roll up your warm-ups and you go to work with an eye to being a craftsman, or a professional, even though you are not at that level of polish yet. You get it.

Other young teams are composed of players that lack the above.

I tried to tell board rats after the scrimmage that the defense just wasn't there; that its absence was not just "normal" for this time of year; that it signaled a basic lack of comprehension on the part of the players about what Self Defense--about the ethic of Self Defense--about the manly part of it. That was AAU ball out there, not even UK's version of AAU ball, and certainly no where close to even rudimentary Self Defense.

In a scrimmage like that you are not looking for green wood to show maximum aggression and polished help and hedge defense, but you must see the fundamentals of defense being applied. Guys have to slide. They have to stay in front of their men, when opponent 's got the ball. They have to maintain proper pressure defense position off the ball. They have to turn and burn when blown by. They have to get after their man. They have to run to get back to play defense. They have to at least get that they are supposed to take some pride in their defense, even if they don't know much about the fine points of how to play good defense.

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Konkis Dongington III 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Tharpe is an amazing passer... in transition. That dime he delivered to Releford between the legs of Shane Southwell in last year's Big 12 tournament is a highlight for the ages. But Tharpe hasn't always been as dazzling in the half court, and I think that's what Self's getting at with his comments. Tharpe is easily in the top 25 and probably top 10 quickest pgs in D1 next year, but he wasn't able to translate that into reliable penetrate-and-kick scoring for the 'hawks last season, nor was he a consistent threat off the drive. That makes him a poor man's Kendall Marshall (and ironically enough, more of a Roy Williams styled 1 than a Self styled 1). Likewise, quickness on the offensive end hasn't worked as well moving backwards. He didn't do a great job of containing Trey Burke or fighting over Mitch McGary's screens, and that high-screen offense cost us dearly against both Michigan squads last year. I won't be surprised if we see Tharpe guarding a lot of 3s this season, similarly to how Self used him on McGruder last year. Rather than having to contain his man, just play ball denial. It seems like a smarter use of his abilities and should help prevent him getting laid out by beefy bigs.

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jayhawk_007 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Concerning KU BB, here’s why another Big 12 title, 30 + wins and a final four are going to happen this year: • Depth – fouls and injuries will not slow them down • Talent – pure athleticism is better than any KU team, maybe ever • Chemistry – no divas or egos, they like each other already • Defense – they will get better defensively quicker than offensively • Swagger – they now are expected to win and the players believe it

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jayhawk_007 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Nadir will be excellent as an offensive PG and playmaker. He will be challenged on the D end and will need help from Mason and Seldon at the point. Frankcamp will redshirt and be the point guard in a couple of years.

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William Blake 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Backing up Perry this year will be Jamari Traylor and senior-citizen, Tarik Black. Jamari Traylor brings an abundance of strength, athleticism and enthusiasm to the game of basketball. All of those components are helpful at the D1 level, but only when matched with skilled played. Jamari has been working on developing an offense this past summer. Whether or not his new offensive game will be helpful for Jayhawk basketball is yet to be seen, but it is bound to be helpful for Jamari down the road when he's looking for a career in basketball. One question I'd like to have answered is whether or not Jamari has honed his defensive skills? Developing defensive skills is an easier path than developing offensive skills, and if he can bring in some skilled defense to go along with his gifts mentioned above, he will definitely bring some helpful minutes to this young Jayhawk team.

Tarik Black is a known entity. Many opposing D1 post players already know Tar.. all 260 lbs of him. Tar needed a fresh start and new philosophy from his home at Memphis so he came to Kansas, and from all talk in Lawrence, he's doing more than fitting in as a new Jayhawk. His experience in D1 along with elder status has helped establish him as one of the leaders for this young Jayhawk team.

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William Blake 6 months, 2 weeks ago

BBall2012,

It is time to examine the power forward match-ups.

Besides Wiggins at the shooting forward, the power forward is the second-most easy position to name a starter this year at Kansas. Perry Ellis couldn't nail down the spot for most of last year, but he is a shoe-in this year to own the 4 at Kansas.

Word on the street, in the blogs, and from Kansas coaching is that Perry has made major strides in his game since last year. He's worked hard to extend his range out to the 3-pt line. He's hit the weight room and bulked on some solid muscle in hopes of better controlling the post. He's worked on his ball-handling skills trying to help his open court game. He's extended his vertical leap to become more athletic down low in the post for scoring and rebounding. He's lifted his confidence so this year he'll shoot right out of the gates because Perry knows what he can do this year in D1.

Perry's background differs from many of the top players in D1. Perry was born with good basketball genes; a long, athletic body. But Perry wasn't born a freak athlete like some. Few players had to make the sacrifices Perry had to make to get where he's at today. Perry can tell you how many wood planks there are in the basketball courts he developed on because he lived his life in those gyms. Perry knows how to train and work hard, it is what Perry is best at. Perry likes to have goals in front of him because he knows how to accomplish them. Perry is an excellent academic student for the same reasons. Last spring, Perry was given an assignment for improvements over summer from CS and from Hudy, and Perry went to work... lunch pale in hand and he stayed working from morning until night. That's why Perry isn't the most-talkative Jayhawk. Perry doesn't have time to talk, he's got work to do. Name another past Jayhawk player that owned a stoic look like Perry has? Perry means business.

All of those attributes will be helpful for Perry this year and moving forward, but he will be tested to the maximum if Kansas gets a game with Kentucky. Perry will take his shy, methodical game and will have to try to hold serve with the most-dominating alpha-dog power forward in college basketball in quite some time, perhaps several decades.

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William Blake 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Tharpe has the wheels to be a good penetrator.

What he needs to get there is:

  1. A quick first step.

  2. A book of fakes.

  3. Good crossover skills.

  4. Ability to create shooting space.

  5. Ability to finish.

I've seen him do okay on the first three and the finish... but I'm yet to see him create good shooting space on a tough defender.

Tharpe is a gutsy kid and he's going to keep advancing his game. When CS comes down hard on him he doesn't even flinch, because he's tough. TT and EJ would put their heads down... not Naa.

And thinking ahead for Naa's future... he has to be good with the rock, including scoring, if he wants to go further in basketball after KU.

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Tony Bandle 6 months, 2 weeks ago

RANDOM THOUGHTS:

1] In Baseball, great pitching always beats great hitting, and in Basketball, great defense always beats great offense...especially when the great defense keys a great offense...The Kansas Way!!

2] Because of the superior talent of this team, Conner, Landon, AWIII, Frank and Brannen are going to see a lot of PT courtesy of Andrew, Wayne, Perry, Jo Jo, Tarik, Jamari and Naa,

3] The "over" for this upcoming season's "Coach's Sons Games" has been upped to 14.

4] Come on, the answer is simple for Late Night..set up a court on the 50 yard line at Memorial Stadium, turn on the lights and let everyone in. Heck, you might outdraw a KU football game!!!

5] Bill got exactly what he wanted, a display of "playground ball", that now he can use to hammer into the guys the defense he wants for real!! It happens every year...and it works.
Bill Self = Genius. :).

6] Conner, the carrot has been dangled in front of you...but be ready for the whip!!

7] Why do I get the feeling that, right about now, maybe ten or so elite recruits are looking at Kelly's committment to Kansas and are now wondering when the music is going to suddenly stop and how many chairs are left!!!

8] I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be a St.Louis Cardinal Jayhawk!!

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jaybate 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Frankamp has entered the mix for two reasons:

1) Mason can't make the reads or treys;

2) Frankamp can; and

3) Wigs trey is not credible.

But Conner can't have any more 0-6 stretches, or he might as well buy a seat cushion.

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jaybate 6 months, 2 weeks ago

As I wrote awhile back, the offensive future of the team could well be a variation off the hi-lo, which is a 1-triangle-1 set, basically a 3 corner offense with Naa driving into the center of the triangle, instead of Dean's old 4 corner. Black stays low block, except to set high picks and clear out for guys to drive. It won't be spread quite as wide as as the old four corners, but they are going to move the ball and make them stretch and slide for 4-5 passes, maybe 6-8.

Perry will be almost as mobile as Selden and Wigs. The triangle will rotate, too. All three will wind up on a block from time to time.

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ParisHawk 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Exciting comments by Self and by you posters.

Here's another quote I like: "we’ve got to figure out a way where he can get to the paint."

Naadir, I see monster screens from Black and Selden in your future.

Also, here's a question: you're guarding Wiggins and he sets a screen for Tharpe. What do you do? The slightest hesitation and AW is gone.

This could be fun after all...

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Hawk8086 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I noticed the comment about Frankamp also. I always thought he might be a candidate to play PG (as well as the 2), but Self's comments could be telling.

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Ian Emerson 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I was so excited about Tharpe when he committed but I always knew patience was needed. Anyways how can you deny his greatness after he hit that shot against OKST?

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Jack Wilson 6 months, 2 weeks ago

And from the KC Star today, quote from Oubre's dad:

"It's a win-win all the way around", Kelly Sr. said. "We don't talk about one-and-done possibilities in my house, because I'm more concerned about maturity, longevity, and development."

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AsadZ 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I still recall how Tharpe just could not stay on the court in his 1st year due to all of the TOs. At the beginning of last year, he was still in HCBS dog house as he just could not guard his man. There was one interview I clearly remember in which Self was really mad at him and at that point I thought that sooner or later Tharpe will be gone.

I give lot of credit to Tharpe for sticking around and grinding it out. He learned the lesson, worked his butt off, paid his dues, listened to the coach and did not complain, as a rsult of which he is now the starting PG of KU.

Rock Chalk Naa.

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Jack Wilson 6 months, 2 weeks ago

While the "best passer" comment is a big one, another comment (though subtle) is also interesting ... Self used Frankamp in the same discussion as Tharpe and Mason. It's really the first time Self has implied that Frankamp might be in the point guard mix. And it's just implied. But worth noting.

Regarding Tharpe, definitely reasonable to expect his minutes to be huge -- perhaps just a 3 minute rest each half. I go back to Tharpe during his freshman season when he had difficulty functioning on the court. Many expect Mason to be a guy who can immediately handle back up minutes. Some, like Keegan, babyphog, and Kingfisher, as I recall, have said Mason will displace Tharpe as the starter.

Self's comment makes perfect sense. He needs Tharpe to lead, distribute, and be invaluable. Tharpe has been groomed for this opportunity. Inexperience .. Self's great antagonist .. is the only other option.

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wrwlumpy 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Coach starts chewing on them after the fun of Late Night. He has to, with our offensive talent, I'd spend an enormous amount of time working on D.

It's great finally hearing about practice. Naadir always scared me until he started getting more and more minutes his Freshman year in the NCAA tournament. His unexpected 3 in the first round help us get out of a funk, after his shot, we went on to a blow out.

I love this time of year when 5 star's pick KU and the next article is about not having beat them up in practice (yet).

Guess what, Bill Self can coach.

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Scott MacWilliams 6 months, 2 weeks ago

“He’s by far — by far — the best passer as far as creating shots for others of anybody we’ve had in recent memory,” Self said.

Music to my ears!!

With A-Wiggins, Wayne.S.World, Dead-on Designer, Cool Hand Lucas, and so many great options, this is going to be VERY fun team to watch. There will be some bloopers along the way, it's all good. Just go and grow, Jayhawks, and we'll all have a blast watching!!!

Rock Chalk, Jayhawks!!

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