Monday, September 2, 2013

Self excited, but realistic, about upcoming season

Kansas head coach Bill Self calls a play during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self calls a play during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Bill Self knows fan interest is as great, maybe even greater this year than any of his previous 10 seasons as basketball coach at Kansas University.

“I think I do sense more excitement from the season tickets, taking them all up. Usually we have to sell some individual game tickets to sell out, things like that. That’s not going to be the case this year,” Self said Monday on the Jayhawk Sports Weekly statewide radio program.

Indeed, all seats for games in Allen Fieldhouse were gobbled up in the recent Select-A-Seat program.

“There’s some anticipation without question,” added Self, who brought in a star-studded eight-man recruiting class that includes’s No. 1-rated player Andrew Wiggins and No. 12 Wayne Selden.

While stressing he is “very excited about working with these guys,” Self cautioned that the 2013-14 Jayhawks might have a tough time totaling as many victories of some of his recent Jayhawk powerhouse squads.

“I told our coaches this: ‘Hey, this team has a long ways to go to win as many games as what the past teams have. I think we are averaging just south of 33 wins a year over the last seven years, right around there,’” Self said.

KU the last seven seasons has averaged a whopping 32.57 victories per campaign.

“It’s going to be hard to win 33 games this year with that schedule we play. We’ll be playing so many young kids,” Self said. “But it is a talented group. I think by the end of it, we’ll have a chance to be really good, barring any unforeseen things happening, injuries or whatnot.”

Self was asked to identify any players (besides Wiggins and Selden) who may have surprised him during two-hour-a-week workouts this past summer as well as last week’s two-hour session (allowed by the NCAA).

“(Tarik) Black is good. (Conner) Frankamp shoots it about as well as anybody we’ve had in camp. Brannen Greene is long, skilled and really talented. It’s a good group,” Self said.

“I’d say the guys that have been the most pleasant surprise ... I may say (Naadir) Tharpe, (Jamari) Traylor and (Perry) Ellis. I think those guys have probably played as well as anybody and they need to play well because there are certainly people right there biting at their heels so to speak to warrant playing time.

“It’s going to be a fun year. There’s going to be a lot of competition in the gym. I am anxious to get started (Sept. 27),” he said.

Self said, “no, no,” when asked if sophomore Ellis might be a forgotten man entering the season.

“He’s not with our guys,” Self said. “I think there will be a great chance Perry could lead us in scoring. He’s improved so much. You said (mentioned) ‘Wiggins and Selden’ but trust me, Frankamp, (Joel) Embiid, Greene, Black and (Frank) Mason, those guys are good players, too. It was a nice recruiting class (including Hunter Mickelson of Arkansas who must sit out this season in accordance with transfer rules) and one in which Andrew I think was the cherry on the top so to speak. Those other guys are really good players. They’re just young.

“They’re going to be young and will probably make a lot of mistakes. We’ve got to figure out how to close games, obviously. Perry will be a big reason why we have a chance to be pretty good, especially early in the season, because we’re going to lean on him. Even though he’s not experienced he’s more experienced than anybody we have.”

In nonconference, KU plays Duke in Chicago, travels to Florida and Colorado, meets Georgetown and San Diego State at home and New Mexico in Sprint Center. Also on tap is a trip to Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas in which KU opens against Wake Forest, then plays Villanova or USC in Round Two.

“There are no ‘gimme games.’ There are no games, ‘Hey, let’s just show up and get experience tonight’ or ‘Let’s work on combinations.’ They are all games we are going to have to play to win. We’re going to get everybody’s best shot,” Self said.


REHawk 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Unless Embiid is a player deadest on patient university level development and experience, regardless of the riches of early NBA draft potential, I don't envision his taking a red shirt. Realistically, the best we can hope for is that he sticks around for a second season in order to improve his lottery status. I look to see him play 15-18 minutes this season, perhaps a few minutes more down the stretch, as he gains experience and confidence. In terms of experience, brute strength and hunger, the Black acquisition looms huge for this squad, esp. for the challenging pre-conference schedule while Selden and Wiggins adjust to SelfBall.


Bewareofthephog Fifety-Five 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Does anyone think it is possible that we redshirt Embiid. For a while I was thinking he would start. Then we landed Takik Black. I have also heard whispers of Traylor and Lucas doing really well, and I think they both could be ahead of Embiid. I am not predicting that he redshirts, but I do think it is an interesting possibility.


William Blake 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Experience VS Raw Talent

Which do you prefer?

My bet is if you are an older Jayhawk you prefer experience and if you are younger you are more likely to take the raw talent.

Why would that be?

Because back, not too long ago, experience almost always trumped raw talent. But of recent, like when UK won a NC with a team stuffed mostly with talented freshmen, raw talent is stepping up to compete with experience.

How can that be?

For one reason, the highly-touted freshmen have already played in so many all-star tournaments and have played through so many clinics, it is hard to consider them freshmen coming into college.

In the old days, most signed recruits would take the summer off before jumping to university. The players today are involved in basketball all through summer.

This old man (me) is starting to smell the roses... and the nectar from the young fresh flowers is starting to smell pretty dang sweet!


Bill Anthony 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Your example of last year's experienced team's meltdown reinforces hawkerman's point. Then again, last year's inexperienced, but highly-talented Kentucky team (okay, not really a TEAM) didNIT do squat. The year before, the same type players were a true team and won it all. Last year's Wichita State Shockers didn't make anyone's list of most talented teams and had numerous injuries limiting key player's experience, but they won because they were incredibly well coached. So what's the point? The race doesn't always go to the swift but circumstance and chance happen to everybody. All CS can do is increase KU's chances of winning by assembling the best talent possible (check), then coach them to play as a team while they gain as much experience as possible. I expect that come late March and early April KU will be as good as any team with a chance to win the NC. But who knows? That's why it's so fun to watch.


jaybate 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Still expect 6-8 losses, but...

• Frankamp shoots about as well as Ben? This is sick. AW3, your red shirt is ready.

• Black is good? A freight train with game? This is sicker. Bring on the B1G.

• Greene is long, skilled, really talented? Even A Wigs has a challenger? This is epidemic sick. In blow outs, is the lead going to increase, when the subs come in?

• Ellis, a 5-star, and stated early 1st option, has to play well, or he will lose minutes? Pandemic sick!

• What's next? Is Self going to bring in Phil Jackson and Larry Bird to coach B12 schools to give himself more competition? Chem/Bio sick! No anti-venom sick!! No antidote sick!!!


Greg Lux 7 months, 2 weeks ago

We have not been blessed with this much talent since the 08 team. And depth wise we are much deeper talent wise. Yes we are young and lack experience, but give me great raw talent over experience any day. HCBS is going to down play this team as much as possible to try and keep fan expectations down a little and to try and to try and keep the player egos grounded. But once we get to see a few games the upside of this team will be exposed. The biggest problem for HCBS is PT for all the talented players.

Rock Chalk


Tony Bandle 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm not so sure the lack of experience factor is going to be as significant as is being portrayed;

1] Black [ a senior], Tharpe [ a junior], Ellis [lots of PT], Traylor [3rd season at KU], and White [2nd year] give us a solid group of guys with experience.

2] The new guys have played a ton of games on the AAU Circuit, high school, prep school, etc.

3] Jo Jo will be the exception yet his almost limitless potential and physicality will accelerate his learning curve.

4] Our coaching staff...need I say more.

5] But, most importantly, the scrimmages. If you figure Black, Ellis, Wiggins, Selden and Tharpe as the first team Blues, the Reds counter with Embiid, Traylor, Greene, Frankamp and Mason. Our second team is potentially superior to half our scheduled opponents first teams!!


William Blake 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Bill Self's Rotational Dilemma:

  1. This is a young team.

  2. This is a deeply talented team.

  3. This is a diverse team with individuals offering unique gifts.

  4. This is a hard working team, all the way through the roster.

The only thing I'm certain of is that CS will be giving all these guys some floor time early in the year. He'll be fishing for the right players to lock down as soon as possible.

After several games, there will be players that stand out as deserving of more minutes and starting.

CS knows it takes time for players to develop chemistry. And what I mean by time, is game experience. The big dilemma with CS will be the discipline required to only run an 8-man rotation when there are 10 guys or so that are talented enough and are working hard in practice that deserve minutes. What may make CS expand the size of his rotation is the fact that he has a team full of highly-skilled players that all bring unique gifts. For example, how does Conner get left out of the picture with his talent for nailing 3s? When teams start sinking in their defense... what player would make them pay for doing so? Or... maybe the situation calls for a bigger version of Conner... maybe Greene? Or maybe we need someone who can penetrate better at PG... maybe Mason?

But the more CS spreads minutes, the less opportunity a core of young players have a chance to develop some chemistry. Hence... the dilemma.

I'm confident CS will figure it out... he is one of the best coaches in America.


Hawk8086 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I can also see some growing pains with this team. Duke, Florida, Colorada, Baylor, OSU all have the real potential of losses. Pus, a young team often drops a game or 2 you don't expect. As many have pointed out, though, at the end of the season we could certainly compete for a NC.


Hawk8086 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree with HEM. We will not see a 10 man, maybe not even a 9 man rotation. Black will likely start along with the 4 "givens", Embiid could start, maybe later in the year, but more likely to come off the bench. Traylor definitely gets minutes based on his experience. That leaves whoever wins the backup PG (Mason or Frankamp.....probably not too many minutes), and eiither White or Greene off the bench as a wing. That's 9. As someone pointed out, "rotation" may mean 5 minutes. Sure,some guys could force Self's hand and he could end up playing 10. Frankamp could play well enough to merit minutes on the wing. But, history suggests that he goes with a core of 7 or so guys with another couple getting some minutes. Clearly Tharpe, Wiggins, Selden, Ellis will get 30 plus minutes. Black could likely be in that category also based on experience, although Embiid's talent level could change that.


Tony Bandle 7 months, 2 weeks ago

The 2013-14 Jayhawk starting five nickname team:

1] Tarik "The Tank" Black.

2] Perry "The Designer" Ellis.

3] Naddir "Sharp" Tharpe.

4] Wayne "Seldom-Miss" Selden.

5] Andrew " The Wiz" Wiggins.

6] Rotation could include Jamari "The Semi" Traylor, Joel "The Impayler" Embied, Conner "The Bomber" Frankamp, Brannen "Mean" Greene, Andrew "AW!!!" White, Landon "Cool Hand" Lucas and Frank "The Missile" Mason.


Boouk 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I remember Pat Forde saying Self told him at the Final 4 last year that we'll be better this year than we were last year, and that was obviously before we landed Wiggins and Black. I doubt the tough schedule gets in the way of this talented young team winning more games and going deeper in the tournament than last years.


hooligan42 7 months, 2 weeks ago

It would be smart if either brannen greene or AWIII would redshirt, I can see both of them ending their KU career in a travis releford manner.


mikehawk 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Coach is drooling. We're drooling. Come on football team, be our Xanax until Duke in Chicago. This is going to fun to watch. As usual, Coach is playing head games with his team and with us. Lowering expectations. Good luck with that, Coach.


jhox 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Don't be surprised if this team looses 8 to 10 games with the young roster and the schedule we're playing. Self's system takes some time to learn which is why you often see talented freshman play behind less talented upper classmen. That said, this team has the talent to win a national championship if they grind and improve as the year goes on. Fans who are picturing an undefeated season or a one or two loss season will be in for a big disappointment. I hope I'm wrong about that, but I do expect a slow start with that schedule.


Jack Wilson 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Saw a reference in a post above to a 10 man rotation.

Question .. when has Self ever had a 10 man rotation?

Answer .. never.

While we all are excited to see the new guys (just as we were last season with White and Adams), some new guys (like White and Adams) just won't get to play that much. Some might redshirt (like Lucas did).

Self will identify the players he sees as better, and they'll play. There will be a couple freshmen/sophomores, at a minimum, that are pure bench guys.

Self played a 7 man rotation last season; with Traylor or Ellis -- depending upon who was behind the other -- being a low minutes 8th man. The other guy was the 7th man.

Here's a rotation prediction -

  1. Tharpe

  2. Selden

  3. Wiggins

  4. Ellis

4a. Black

  1. Frankamp or Mason (necessary as back-up point guard)

  2. White or Greene (Frankamp could factor in as perimeter sub if he doesn't win the back-up pg role, but unlikely due to size, defense, matchups; and also because both White and Greene are shooters, too).

  3. Embiid

  4. Traylor or Lucas (lower minutes, but could be more minutes than Embiid depending upon Embiid's progress).

Note the "or". White or Greene is on the bench. Frankamp or Mason is on the bench. Traylor or Lucas is on the bench. Numbers make it reality.

Many of these guys we are all excited about just won't play. To quote Bugs Bunny, "it is true because it is fact."


Boouk 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I really don't see this team entering the NCAA Tournament with more than 4 losses. Since Florida won't have Chris Walker until the second semester, I think we'll enter conference play with one loss and a few very close victories. We'll have some tough games in conference play, like at ISU, at KSU, at Baylor and likely playing OSU 3 times, but we shouldn't lose 4 or more conference games barring a significant injury.


Jerry Collins 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This team will be fast,, fast, fast and we will have true scorers, not like the over hyped one and done's like in our recent seasons. If Frankamp doesn't start, he can come off the bench and pour in 20.


Robert Brock 7 months, 2 weeks ago

It will be interesting to watch Bill Self coach a talented but young and inexperienced squad for a change. He has been used to fielding veteran-led clubs for several years and, obviously, has had a lot of success as a result. This will be different. This will be exciting. We may lose a few more games but have some real fun!


joeloveshawks 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree with the starting 5 above at the start of the year. Embiid is getting a great deal of hype so possibly he will get in the starting lineup by mid season. I also expect Traylor to get a lot of minutes behind Ellis. Any new thoughts from anyone on redshirts? So many cooks in this kitchen.


Dee Shaw 7 months, 2 weeks ago

When Tarik Black chose KU over Duke, I thought that was huge. A senior with experience, wide body, that will bang down low and have some attitude. Not sure that he will score much but experience and leadership on this team will do wonders. I think Tarik will start this season. Projection starting five. 1. Tarik Black 2. Perry Ellis 3. Andrew Wiggins 4. Naadir Tharpe 5. Wayne Selden


Joe Baker 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm glad I read this piece (allowed by the NCAA). I'm glad we got that out of the way. Was the article allowed by the NCAA? Wait, didn't HCBS take a piss this past week? I hope that was approved by the NCAA. I think the team ate over the weekend, sure hope that was approved by the NCAA. I just hope the start of school was approved by the NCAA. I feel so much better now that everything is approved by the NCAA.

Do we need NCAA approval to exist? Good grief...I hope my sarcasm is approved because I'm laying it on pretty thick.


FearlessJayhawk 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Like any great team, it's going to take a great "closer"; someone who can take charge, take command, get the job done and lead us to the promised land.


Hawk8086 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Notice that Self mentioned the 3 most experienced guys (Ellis, Traylor, Tharpe) as guys that have played as well as anyone. Experience counts, especially with Self.


Mark Lindrud 7 months, 2 weeks ago

As I counted the names mentioned, playing time will be interesting to get. Self mentioned Wiggins, Seldend, Greene and CF, which are the wings. He mentioned Tharpe and Mason, pg's, then Perry, Traylor, Black and Joel, the bigs. 10 man rotation right there. I'm not saying it's written in stone, but if that's the case White and Lucas would end up with scrub minutes.

If that happens, I hope we blow out alot of teams so they see the floor.


Mel Clare 7 months, 2 weeks ago

We lose 4 seniors and probably 2/3 to early entry to NBA............gonna have to reload again!

Wesley, Garret, Roberts and Black are seniors. With Black the only one with good playing time. We will probably lose Wiggins, Embid and maybe Selden. Wiggins for sure, depends on how Selden and Embid play as freshman.............

Losing Wesley, Roberts and Garrett will hurt because you need kids like this who work hard in practice knowing they are a Jayhawk!

Lot of bodies to find in recruiting..........


Mel Clare 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Lucas will be in the mix at post position this season also. We have Embid and Lucas both at 7'0 and 6'10 and next season if Embid stays we add Mickelson at 6'10! Gonna be fun to watch!


KULA 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Hey Bill, I don't care about winning 33 games this year. I just care about winning the last six games.


dynamitehawk 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I might be twerking with a giant foam finger, but this team will beat TCU by a couple dozen. Bank on it.


torinmia 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I think you can always lose to "a TCU" precisely because they are overlooked and underestimated. There is a steep learning curve and there will be some unexpected games and probably losses. It's how the team learns, grows and applies it to future games that will determine how far they go in March.


BucknellJayhawk3 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Will be great to see KU with some offensive fire power- will be exciting to watch. No way a team like this could lose to a TCU this year.


Brett McCabe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Gosh, with all the Wiggins and Selden hype, and the recent coverage of CF, I almost forgot about Mr. Brannen Greene. This is really going to be fun to watch.


DoubleDD 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I remember Coach Cal talking about going undefeated. That's before he thought Wiggins was a shoe in for UK. I'm wonder if HCBS is playing down here a little to keep control of this highly talented team. I haven't seen Wiggins play but when you are compared to LeBron James. I'm not saying this team is going undefeated by no means. I do think when HCBS gets this team clicking on all cylinders put a fork in it. "It's done" This team could be unstoppable.


thmdmph 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This team is so talented and will be great if among all the stars, someone steps up to the leadership and takes control and be in control in closed game situations.


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