Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jayhawks survive tougher, condensed Boot Camp

Memphis transfer Tarik Black conducts an interview inside Allen Fieldhouse on Thursday, June 6, 2013.

Memphis transfer Tarik Black conducts an interview inside Allen Fieldhouse on Thursday, June 6, 2013.


Tarik Black rolled out of bed at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday this week, giving himself plenty of time to prepare physically and mentally for Bill Self’s Basketball Boot Camp, set for a 6 a.m. start in Kansas University’s practice gym.

“I have to be awake in order to run,” Black said Friday afternoon after learning he, Andrew White III and Naadir Tharpe had been singled out by coach Bill Self as players who “may be the ones who stood out the most” during a week of non-stop sprints, backboard touches and defensive slides for an hour before dawn.

“I had to get here and sit in the gym a minute. That was one of the hardest things, waking up every morning, knowing I’m about to go to the gym, and I’m about to be extremely tired in 20, 30 minutes. It’s a very hard thing mentally. Coach Self actually knows that mentally is where it all is at. If you can overcome it mentally, your body will keep going,” Black added.

Black, a big-bodied 6-foot-9, 260-pound senior who is immediately eligible after transferring from Memphis where he has earned his undergraduate degree, said his first and last Boot Camp was as difficult as advertised.

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done, especially in my college career,” said Black. “At the same time, I’m a senior — no excuses for me, anymore. I have to get through and make it through anything coach puts me through. One reason I came here is I trust him. Going through Boot Camp ... I know it’s to get me better.”

Black said he was impressed with the effort of KU’s six freshmen — Joel Embiid, Brannen Greene, Conner Frankamp, Frank Mason, Wayne Selden and Andrew Wiggins.

“If I was a freshman going through this stuff I would have given up. I can honestly say that right now,” Black said. “We didn’t have any freshmen give up. We didn’t have any freshmen hurling in the trash can. Everybody made it through.”

Black saw just one Jayhawk puke at Boot Camp, on Friday.

“I’ve got to put my boy, Naadir, on blast, man,” Black said with a smile. “The last day, today, he let it go. Like coach said, the last day is hardest day of Boot Camp. He had to do so many more (suicide sprints). He said he ate some weird stuff last night. He had to let it go.”

Tharpe, a junior, actually ran 36 suicide sprints (running to halfcourt and back, three-quarter court and back and fullcourt and back) Friday, because as point guard/team leader he was asked to help lead the different groups. Everybody else ran 30 suicides for time.

“I feel everybody played a role in being a leader. Naadir did, Frank (Mason) did as our point guards. Everybody played their role to help somebody,” said senior Niko Roberts. “The freshmen did really well. They worked hard. I was really impressed. They were more mentally tough than a lot of freshmen are.”

Of Black’s effort, Roberts said: “He is strong. He is conditioned. He came into Boot Camp ready and he did a really good job.”

KU coach Self said he was impressed with his 18 players who all made their conditioning times.

“The guys did great. I mean really good. It’s probably as good a group as we’ve ever had,” Self said. “The new guys did great. I was pleased with them all. I would say the most consistent guy we had all week was probably Andrew White. I thought Naadir Tharpe was really good. Of course, Tarik Black. I would say to me, those may be the ones who stood out the most, but they all did good. They all helped each other out. Today got a little long and tough for them. They pulled it back together and helped each other. I thought it was a pretty good team-building experience.”

Boot Camp at KU normally encompasses two weeks, but Self scheduled just one week this year because of the early start to practice. Teams can begin next Friday in accordance with NCAA rules, instead of Friday closest to Oct. 15 of past years.

“I think the guys caught a break with it being one week,” Self said, “but I don’t think two weeks would have been smart. I will say this: It was good, but it was harder this year than what it has been in other years.”

The players will hold individual workouts and play unsupervised pick-up games next week. Late Night in the Phog is Oct. 4.

“They are never easy,” Roberts said, assessing his four Boot Camps. “I was happy to get through this one in one week rather than two weeks. Either way ... the freshmen are already worried about Boot Camp. Whether it’s one week or two weeks, they don’t really know the difference. We know it was tough.”

Black said the players definitely are in a good frame of mind after surviving Boot Camp.

“Later on in the season, I actually fell out of shape a little bit,” Black said of last season at Memphis. “The things we went through at Boot Camp ... people would be shocked to see me doing that stuff now. They definitely would be. We got through it, came together as a team and now, here we are.”


Ralster Jayhawk 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Mike Kryzycewski has what could be politely termed "multiple matchup disadvantages" when his Boo Devils face the University of Kansas Jayhawks.... It's a nightmare matchup for him. We will see how good a coach he is at masking his team's multiple weaknesses. There is a reason he was in a hot shootout with WildBill in trying to acquire T.Blak for this season...


Michael Luby 6 months, 3 weeks ago

My preseason Final Four : KU, Michigan St, Kentucky, Duke


ParisHawk 6 months, 4 weeks ago

For those of you who thought this wasn't basketball season:

France just won the European Basketball Championship for the first time. Tony Parker was tournament MVP. They didn't even need Noah, who is injured again.

So when does next season start?


Will Bixenman 6 months, 4 weeks ago

30 suicides a day? The most we ever ran in high school was 6 a day. We thought that was rough.


Michael Gentemann 6 months, 4 weeks ago

dynamitehawk Welcome to the Lowcountry. According to the KU Alumni Assoc website there is a Chapter in Charleston. It's hard to find locals to talk hoops but there are many people in SC along the coast who've moved from the upper states and even a few Jayhawks scattered about so it's getting better. C of C has even been decent recently with Bobby Cremins resurrecting the program For football, Clemson and Death Valley on game day is a true experience, take it in if you can.


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago


Copy and paste!


RockChalkGuy 6 months, 4 weeks ago

HCBS...I feel I'm showing my age by this comment, but folks, we are living in an enchanted time for the Jayhawk nation. A guy like Self comes along once in a great while. I admit he won't make the right decision in every game situation, but I can't imagine another human being I'd rather have leading our 'hawks than Bill Self. Squabble all you want able this and that, but Late Night is just moments away and our roller coaster rides is just tick, tick ticking it's way up the hill to excitement. It's not so much about the destination as it is about the ride. RCJHGKU!!!!


dynamitehawk 6 months, 4 weeks ago

OK... So we've finally moved to SC (cock country)... I'm freaked out... I'm going to be one of the people asking for a live feed in the Newell Post... I can't go buy ridiculous tix at AFH on game day anymore. I need to find a good place in Charleston where alums watch games.. I do surf often, which is not available in Kansas...

Very excited for the season...

P.S. I've figured out how to piss of Clemson fans. Pronounce Clemson with a "p" after the "m"...especially after they correct you. That $hit is funny.


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Part 3

We expect getting better especially when everything is going wrong. Just find one small thing to get better at in the midst of the Shizz Storm that will be your lot at least one third of the time during your coming season and you are a Kansas man.

Ad astra per aspera; that is the state motto.

We eat per aspera for breakfast.

We slap wheat bread and mustard on it for lunch.

And we roast it over a grill for dinner under the ad astra.

Tarik, you are home. You are in the very bosom of the living myth.


Tarik, there is nothing better than to have a perpetual motion machine running around practice not missing a thing you do that you could do just a hair better.

God is in the details, Tarik.

And Self is like God's eye in adidas.

All coaches yell at players to do this or that, to not make this or that mistake, Tarik.

But only a few coaches can not only find everything tiny thing you could do a leeeeeeetle bit better, but also tell you in EXACTLY the way that you can GET a leeeeetle bit better.

Some coaches can tell you what you need to get better at.

Some coaches can even tell you how you ought to be able to get better at it.

But Self can tell you exactly how you, with your particular strengths and weaknesses, actually can get better at it.

Self doesn't turn men into super men. He keeps them getting a leeeeeetle bit better every day so that at some point they are able to play the game to the best of their abilities.

This is why you are home, baby!

Don't get down about going in "The Toughening Box." Get down if he doesn't put you in it for a week or two. "The Toughening Box" is a painful honor. It does for the individual what Boot Camp does for the team. It means he plans on depending on you. It means he is heating up your steel--tempering it. He doesn't put anyone in it that he won't need. Mario Chalmers was in The Toughening Box. All the KU NBA players you have heard about under Self have been in The Toughening Box. You go in a basketball player. You come out a Self Baller--a Navy Seal in tennies.

You are going to get more increments of better this season than in all your other years of basketball combined at all levels. I can tell when Self thinks he can take a player to the next level. He thinks that about you. Let him. Give him everything you've got. You won't be sorry.

And if you do you are going to like being a part of a winner and a Jayhawk for the rest of your life.

Best regards,


P.S.: As is my custom, after you play your last game at the end of your last full season at KU, I will call you Mr. Black forever more. But until then, you are ta-RIK Baby!


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Part 2

We analyse the excrement out of everything, because it is a challenge to understand the game on the level that you will be playing it within the legacy that you will have coursing through you. Don't pay a penny's worth of attention to our speculations, criticisms, advice, and wonderings. Its what we do. And we think about all the guys. And we crit all the guys and no matter how good, or bad, you play, you're still our guy, if you're busting your butt. Its the Kansas way.

We expect getting better out of The Designer. We expect it of Wiggins. We expect it out of you. We expect it of Tyler. We expect it out of every coach and we expect it out of ourselves. KU fans are a little better now than they used to be. And they will get a little better five years from now.

This is the flipping living myth of Kansas basketball. Its the thing people say can't be but is--can't exist, but does. Its Brigadoon on Wood that reappears every fall. Its not a tradition, like UNC; traditions are nice, but they are basically lifeless things peopled by persons pretending to be alive by wearing school colors and Sears powder blue double knit blazers. Its also not a religion. Religions are myths no longer enacted, just believed in. Indiana basketball is a religion. And its sure as heck not an intellectual ritual endowed by a cigarette heiress, like Duke. Nor is it an excercise in the pursuit of success through sustained flirtation with death penalties, like UK. And it most definitely is not a party though we party and celebrate like all get out.

This is a living myth. Coach, players, students and fans are living it. Old men and women die living it. Babies are born into living it. Populism and elitism are fused in it. Here the impossible happens almost routinely. Great wins. Shattering losses. Super human performances. Inexplicably bad performances. Exasperating team funks. Heroic clutch performances. Horrendous injuries. And always the alchemy of team. Of imperfect persons caught up in the greatest human drama of all--of trying to "do it the right way." People think deeply about the game, yet cheer it as if they had just fallen in love with it.

The living myth courses through us all. It is big enough to contain the inventor of the game, the inventor of basketball coaching, Clyde Lovellette, Wilt Chamberlain, Dean Smith, Ralph Miller, Larry Brown, Roy Williams, Bill Self, Jo Jo White, Danny Manning, Paul Pierce and Mario Chalmers. It is big enough to have helped integrate the game. It is big enough to overcome all of the flaws and mistakes and pettyinesses of all the human beings that have chosen to join in it.


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago

"For Tarik"

Part 1

Tarik Black is talking like an absolute man. He is talking like a man that has finally connected with someone he can trust. Self can tell Tarik how to get better and, at last, Tarik can begin doing what all persons worth knowing most like to do--get better.

Sport is so much about being able to hear a coach be constructive no matter how blunt, or screechy, his delivery may be.

So much of sport is about making teeny, tiny adjustments, adjustments so small we fans can't even see them most of the time, so small a player may not even see them. But Self sees them. These adjustments take a kink out of this move, or they start a move just a hair quicker, or they make your mind feel the right speed, and so the play happens rather than not. Some time the getting better is accruing under the radar screen. Sometimes it can't be gauged for a few games, and then suddenly nonlinear improvement occurs.

Tarik, baby, you are home!


We know how to pronounce it.

We know how to shout it in unison, when you back one of Ratso Izzo's boys down and bury two the hard way.

We know how to appreciate you going and getting the ball, setting a pick, and helping on defense; not just when you muscle to stop a pencil necked point guard in the midst of his junk.

You do something good, anything, we're going to notice it.

Basketball is spoken here. It is the machine language under the compiler language under the C Bounce Bounce we program in. Basketball is spoken here. English is just the GUI.

We are not expecting miracles from you. Allen Field House is not the Magic Castle. KU players man-up, when the going gets tough. They glue, when someone else is impacting. And they impact when someone else is gluing. Great things happen here. Not magical things.

Like the coaches, we are expecting you to get a little better all the time; that's all any fan expects at KU. We want bench warmers to get better at warming the bench. We want stars to get better at shining. We want glue men to get stickier. We want shooters to score a little more efficiently all the time. We want hedge defense to sustain just a little longer each game. When you grind it out, we want the grinding to be done just a weeee bit better the next time.

In the Self era, all basketball players from OADs to walk ons are held in esteem if they can show improvement. All the getting better icing on a really good cake.


Travis Shetler 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I can't wait for this next year. Here are some random thoughts.

  1. Knowing Bill Self, my guess is that Tarik Black will start over Joel Embiid at the beginning of the year because of experience. Embiid might replace later on but...... 2.It will be interesting to see how much Traylor and Lucas will play. They should both get quality minutes of the bench since they only have 5 big guys. 3.Tharpe will almost certainly start at point guard but they are so deep in their backcourt that there will be times during games when there backcourt will be something like this Frankamp Mason- Tharpe - WigginsSeldon. They have so many capable backourt players that it will be impossible to get in foul trouble. 4.The way Self raves about Selden I am almost as excited to see him play as I am Wiggins. He will be special. 5.I think the starting rotation for the begining of the season will look something like this.

Center- 1. Black 2. Embiid Forward- 1. Ellis 2. Traylor 3. Lucas Forward- 1. Wiggins 2. Green Guard- 1. Selden Guard- 1. Tharpe 2. Frankamp 3. Mason

Keep in mind that all the guards are kind of interchangeable. In other words most of them could play two. And as mentioned in Point 3 Tharpe can play the two if needed when Seldon sits. Or Selden can play the three when Wiggins sits. In other words... they have a terribly versatile back court.

Rock Chalk!!!


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Playing in football stadia guaranties you get the best seat at home.

Playing in football stadia guaranties three point shooting can't be what you depend on to get a W and a ring.

Playing basketball in a football stadia guaranties CBSESPNNCAA don't care about the game.

Playing basketball in a football stadia is like running the TRIPLE CROWN on paved NASCAR ovals.


Jack Wilson 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Remember last season, late November? Tharpe was looking literally at the end of KU career. Self was clearly ready to go in a different direction. Tharpe was too small, couldn't play defense. Self was questioning his effort. Some were predicting a Tharpe transfer. All signs pointed to Rio and his apparent suffocating defense. Then it all changed.

I've been an unabashed AW3 fan, and remain one. And I love the optimism flowing his way.


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago


If AWIII puts it together this year, he could become the next RUSS ROB in my heart. Talk about staring down a freight train in a tunnel!!!!! Numbers looked bleak but he said, "nuts!" And then went to work! This is Self Ball at its best. This is why my heart cares so much.


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Oops, Mitchell is Andrew's pop's name. What's Andrew's brother's handle?

Note: that is my record for apostrophe density in a sentence. :-)


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Those noting above that MITCHELL WIGGINS remains at Wheat Shocker U, while ANDREW WIGGINS is at KU, prompts me to ask if WSU is an Adidas school, as KU is? Anyone know?


William Blake 6 months, 4 weeks ago

So far (in this early year) it seems like the surprise upcoming player is AW3. He's mentioned here for his consistency... and we all saw how ripped he is in the photo from Coach Howard. His recent interview exposed the quality of his character.

Wow... with all that talent we also catch a pleasant surprise from someone many thought would RS or transfer.

The pressure is on AW3... to bring it up a good notch to compete for PT.

Go AW3!


Steve Gantz 6 months, 4 weeks ago

That article reminded me of Seinfeld, an article about nothing.


Number_22 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Burke hit a 36 foot jumper. Honestly, I'd give it to him again. Great players make great plays and win big games. That's really all you can say about that play. Though I do agree that fouling when up three is usually the right move.


hotrodm 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I hope Coach Self learns to have someone foul when his team is down by three with a few seconds on the clock. Remember the Michigan game last year? If KU puts Michigan on the foul line, KU wins, instead Burke hits a three to tie the game and go to overtime. Remember when Memphis did not foul and Mario hit the three in the 08 Championship game? Come on Coach Self foul in that situation.


ParisHawk 6 months, 4 weeks ago

This is for drgnslayr, who wants to know what Andrew Wiggins has for breakfast: I don't know, but he did say his phone was broken and is now working again.

He is with his brother at Wichita State this weekend.



jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago

What's the risk?

It is a huge composite one; that his best guys aren't in good enough shape to play as much as needed down the stretch of big early games; that they poop out early; that later in the schedule he has to do more conditioning; and, riskiest of all, that they lack the deep confidence inspired by XTReme conditioning.

Wooden always said his guys had an edge, because they knew they were in better condition than the opponent. Shaka Smart re-taught Self the lesson. And KU has performed above talent level each year since. Now we find out again what happens without that edge.

What else dare we infer from Self's gamble?

To get those more explosive legs with perhaps less cardiovascular endurance, he is likely planning to use his bench a lot early, despite the stiff competition, maybe all season.

What else?

Not much, except that Self is in full strategic ambiguity mode early; this suggests there is no pre-conference this season; this season is all play every game balls to the walls to win.

For example, Self keeps stroking AWIII; this could either mean he is pumping AWIII up, because Self is going to start him out of seniority, after which he may not be seen again, or it could mean SELF IS GOING WITH AN EXPANDED ROTATION AND AWIII IS IN IT. Both would require such feathering.

Tarik gets early love. Meaning? He is the big man, or, alternatively, Tarik is a smoke screen for JE.

Next, JE gets no strokes. It could mean Self is putting a Kling On cloaking device on JE, so he can fly under radar and explode on early opponents, or JE is a useless diamond in the XTReme Rough.

Self is happy with all of them. Meaning? All will play, and need praise, or most won't play and this is his last opportunity to dish out luv to keep them happy.

From a fan's perspective, it's already that time of year when we need the team to play a game.

Rock Chalk!


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago

All the greats in all fields get more elegant and efficient as their careers progress. They increasingly discover what matters and what does not. Manning up is important, but proving manhood may be superfluous to the task of playing great hoops and winning.

Of course, there is a more practical dimension to the one week of boot camp and it has nothing to do with any of the above, nor with season length.

Self has to find some way to keep from going .500 with a green team facing unusually tough pre conference competition. His tactic appears to be to give his team less fatigued legs than the early opposition.

Self is gambling early opponents will have gone two weeks and not be at peak bouncy-ness. His green guys will have gone one week. Both will have practiced hard. So: his guys should have the edge in energy in going hard and getting up. He is trading off cardiovascular endurance building for explosive legs.

When Self doesn't hold all the aces, i.e., total advantage, he often gambles--often big--often puts it all on red--often let's it ride. He seems to be doing that now.


jaybate 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Pardon me, while I wipe some egg from my mug. I thought Self would pull a September surprise on his players and go 2 weeks of BC. He did not.

Still, I say 1 week of boot camp is NOT epic. It is not heroic. It is not manly--no matter how hard he made it. At the end of a week, one is only passing through the pain barrier. Living beyond the pain barrier; that is the challenging part; getting your mail there for a week with other guys; that is epic.

On the other hand, I like Self implying this is how you win with the new schedule; that winning is more important than proving manhood.

Self was asked last year, if he were mellowing with age. He said that he was not, but that he was learning more and more not to dwell on what had nothing to do with winning; that was profound. Joe Buddha is getting still more basketball enlightenment.


Ian Emerson 6 months, 4 weeks ago

36 a week wouldn't be nothin, that's 30 a day. Which is absolutely bananas. Anyways Frank Mason and Naa, we have out point guards. It's looking more and more either BG or CF are gonna redshirt.


Priest Fontaine 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Self, KU’s 11th-year coach, quickly said “all of them,” when asked which players stood out during Monday-to-Friday conditioning workouts from 6 to 7 a.m. Junior Naadir Tharpe actually ran 36 suicide sprints this morning because as point guard/team leader he was asked to help lead two groups of players.


jayhawkinnc 6 months, 4 weeks ago

It's tough to interpret in the article, but do they run 30 suicide sprints for the whole week or 30 suicide sprints each day? If it's each day....damn, that's a lot. I'm assuming it's 30 for the whole week.


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