Monday, December 29, 2014

Self seeking ‘energy’ source

Jayhawks hope to put lackluster loss behind them

Kansas coach Bill Self and members of the team watch in the closing minutes of a 77-52 loss to the Temple Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

Kansas coach Bill Self and members of the team watch in the closing minutes of a 77-52 loss to the Temple Owls Monday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.


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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self: Jayhawks need to play with more energy

Kansas University men's basketball coach Bill Self says you can't coach enthusiasm and energy, and those areas were an issue for the Jayhawks in their blowout loss to Temple last week. On Monday afternoon, Self addressed that and other issues facing KU, as it prepares to play Kent State on ...

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jamari Traylor: Practices more intense, focused following 25-point defeat

Speaking with reporters Monday afternoon, Kansas University junior forward Jamari Traylor says practices since the Jayhawks' blowout loss at Temple last week have been a lot more intense and focused.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Wayne Selden: Last week's blowout loss a 'wake-up call'

Kansas University sophomore guard Wayne Selden Jr. talks with the media Monday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, and describes the Jayhawks' 25-point, pre-Christmas loss to Temple a "wake-up call."

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Kansas basketball coach Bill Self — who has used the words terrible, pitiful and horrific to describe the Jayhawks’ 25-point loss to Temple eight days ago — has resisted any temptation to overreact to his squad’s pre-Christmas flop in Philadelphia.

“What are we, No. 2 in the RPI? And we’ve played a great schedule,” Self said Monday in advance of Tuesday's 7 p.m. home battle against Kent State. “So it’s not like it’s totally busted, but the last game was broke, without question, and I think that it isn’t as much what we do as having the passion and the energy.”

Looking at the bright side, the No. 13-ranked Jayhawks (9-2) indeed take a sparkling No. 2 NCAA/RPI rating into today’s game, while KSU (8-3) of the Mid-American Conference enters at No. 135 in the RPI.

“The thing that bothers me as much as anything, they (Owls) were no bigger than we were, and they blocked eight shots. We blocked two,” Self said. “I mean, there wasn’t that activity to go make a play athletically, and so that’s something that I think that we can do.”

“I don’t know if you know this … Jim Harbaugh, his name has been in the press the last couple days, but he spoke to our team last year, and he gave a great statement: ‘Energy always finds the ball.’

“Energy finds a way to cover up mistakes, and that’s what we didn’t do against Temple. Now, we are talking about one game. You can go back to Florida, Michigan State, Utah, Georgetown (KU victories), you don’t play well, but energy can make up for some things, and that’s what I think that we didn’t have the other day. We played like a bunch of duds, and then they were really good.”

Self has praised the energy level of sophomore point guard Frank Mason III, who played all 40 minutes versus Temple.

“That was just a statement to my other guys, the difference I thought in his play and everybody else’s play. I could have taken him out, but I would rather leave him in and take the other guys out,” Self said. “That won’t happen again where he plays 40.

“I think Wayne (Selden, combo guard) is going to have to play the point. I think we have to play Wayne and Frank less minutes together, so that way Wayne can replace Frank and hopefully Devonté (Graham), we can get some positive news on Devonté (sprained right big toe) in the next week or so that may allow him to get back in there at some point in time in the near future.”

Freshman point guard Graham will be re-examined this week, Self said, while stressing, “Nobody should anticipate him playing the next couple weeks. That’s not going to happen.”

Meanwhile, Selden is up for playing some minutes at point and helping Self achieve a goal of playing faster.

“Get up the floor,” Selden, a former high school point guard, said, asked what the team can do to move the ball effectively. “Anybody can bring it up. Nobody has to wait for the point guard to bring it up. Our 1-through-4 can usually always dribble. That’s the biggest thing with us.”

Noted junior forward Jamari Traylor: “I get a rebound and bring it up sometimes (at recent practices). Perry (Ellis) gets a rebound and brings it up sometimes. We’re working on running a little bit more. Maybe we can get a lot more easy baskets.”

The Jayhawks say they’ve been working excessively hard at practice in the wake of the Temple setback.

“They have been ramped up a little bit more. When you are winning games, you tend to lose focus and become complacent, and we got complacent,” Selden said.

Of the younger players’ reactions to the loss, Traylor said: “We came out after that and told the guys, ‘Look, we are just going to forget it. We’re going to scratch that. We all know we’ve got to do better, so let’s change it and not make it a habit, move onto the next game.’ We take pride in ourselves. It’s tough to lose like that. I know everybody is competitive on this team.”

Cliff’s bumps, bruises: Self said freshman forward Cliff Alexander has been bothered by a bone bruise on his shin and a sprained ankle.

“I don’t think he’s been active at all, and I think a lot of it’s health-related,” Self said, noting Alexander has not been limited in practice. “I don’t think he’s quite 100 percent, and of course when you’re not, you don’t feel as good, and you usually don’t play as active.”

Das boot: Graham continues to wear a boot on his right foot. “He can’t do anything. He can’t even ride a bike. He’s basically on the same workout plan that I’m on right now,” Self cracked. “But he can’t really do anything until the doctors look at him again.”

About the foe: Kent State (8-3) is led by sophomore forward Jimmy Hall, who averages 13.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Senior guard Devereaux Manley averages 11.7 ppg and senior guard Derek Jackson 10.1 ppg. The Golden Flashes, who have lost to Yale, Loyola of Chicago and UTEP, have made 7.5 three-point baskets a game. Coach Rob Senderoff is 64-43 in four seasons. KU won the only meeting between the teams, 87-60, on Dec. 1, 2008, in Allen. KU is 11-1 against current membership of the MAC.

Stress tests: Self was asked if he’s feeling more stress this season than past years at KU.

“Yes, I think I’ve got to do a lot better. I would say that my stress level has probably been a little higher this year,” he said. “But it’s really not fair to the kids. It’s really my problem more than theirs, because last year we had stress level, but you had the No. 1 pick and the No. 3 pick in the draft that were part of your problems. Think about it: Part of your problems was the first (Andrew Wiggins) and third pick (Joel Embiid); those are pretty good problems.

“We don’t have that this year. I need to obviously enjoy the process and not worry about what the expectations are of our team, because the whole deal is, when you’re picked to be this or that — I’ve never understood this from a media standpoint or from a poll standpoint. When you’re preseason predicted to be something, is that where you should be at that moment, or is that where you should finish? And the whole deal is from the process try to get just a little bit better each and every day. When we do that, we’ll have a chance to live up or be what we think we could have been or what other people thought we could be. But based on today, not close, and that’s not their fault. That’s just us being a product of being very young and us having to go through some pains. If we’d have played a different schedule, I don’t think that we would probably be having this conversation. But I also don’t think it could have exposed us where we would be prepared for the league, either, which is far more important than nonconference.”


Rodney Crain 7 years ago

Try Red Bull in the water bottles....

Going to be a struggle all season if we do not find some consistent scoring. Length, quick guards, experienced teams, drop off from the starters, lots of things have presented issues for us.

At least we have a great recruiting class coming in next year... ;)

Robert Rauktis 7 years ago

So … the glass is 3/4 empty half way through the year with two losses? Maybe you should follow the Coach Cal Wildcats!! Get enough ringers…you always win…maybe.

Greg Lux 7 years ago

Yes we do... All the returning starters from this year and a couple more yet to be determined. :P

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

Keep dreaming Greg, it is all you can do for next years recruits.

Tyson Ailshie 7 years ago

“The thing that bothers me as much as anything, they (Owls) were no bigger than we were, and they blocked eight shots. We blocked two". This quote concerns me. Not only does this team lack the hustle it needs to win games, but we do not play above the rim. Alexander is the only hope for that, but he's regressed lately. Hopefully he can find his hops.

I sure do hope we see a few commits for next year soon. It's getting awfully late to still have zero. Zimmerman.....come on down!

Walter Bridges 7 years ago

Time for Selden at the PG? I was really hoping we would be consistent at the point this year.

Asad Zoberi 7 years ago

At this point I was really hoping that Self will try to game plan based on his talent level, outside/3 pt. shooting. However, I listened to his entire press conference and Self still keeps talking about playing inside/out, and getting ball inside the paint.

This team is just not talented enough to play inside out on a consistent basis especially against L&A types. While he is an excellent coach, its clear to me that Self is inflexible and he will not change his system regardless of the circumstances.

Greg Lux 7 years ago

HCBS has changed numerous things and 10 straight league titles gives him the right to do anything he thinks will work for the group he has to play.

Asad Zoberi 7 years ago

As I said HCBS is an excellent coach and10 straight league titles is a testament to it. But how many early exits we have seen in March to sub par team? Why would Self not change his strategy in those games, change defenses, play to your strengths etc. Instead he keeps doing the same old thing and a smart coach out coaches him. But fans like you remain happy thinking Self is God.

I want more success in March. I want more Final Four banners in the field house. I want us to win more NCs. Heck I am OK with not winning the B12 provided we make a deep run in the tourney. The ultimate success is winning the NC for me.

Tom Jones 7 years ago

I'm not sure if you're making a joke, choosing to ignore the facts or...something else...but if you think Self isn't constantly making adjustments in game, then you're either not watching or not understanding. He is regarded as one of the best X's and O's coaches in the game. There's actually a very good reason for this.

When you're a target every year, you're going to have some embarrassing tourney and non-tourney losses. They're always "upsets" because,'re always good.

Let's take a look at these teams who are doing it better (?) than KU since Self has been playing with just his recruits.

Over the last 8 years, (rounding up for all of these) North Carolina has averaged 2.6 tourney wins per season, which is damn impressive.
Michigan State, Florida and Kentucky have all averaged 2.4 tw/s. UConn 2.0 tw/s, Duke 1.8 tw/s, Syracuse 1.6, UCLA 1.5 tw/s and Arizona 1.3.

Kentucky's numbers are of course much higher than the same stat would have been last year because they made the title game as an 8 seed. UConn won the whole thing as a 7. Same deal. It happens.

Kansas is averaging 2.9 tourney wins (basically AVERAGING the Elite 8) per season over that span and, unlike almost all of the schools listed above, has NEVER been lower than a four seed. Have there been some upsets? Absolutely. Does the coach share the blame for those along with the credit for the consistently and the upsets they've pulled themselves? Of course. Even when his team shoots 10% from 3 pt. and 54% FT's (VCU) or when his best player(s) tanks in the tourney (UNI, Stanford) or when his team loses its best player to injury (Stanford) or when the other team hits a miracle shot (Michigan)?

Yes. That's part of the deal.

But to win a league 8 straight times AND to average more tourney wins per season than ALL of the other elite basketball schools over that span is not the result of a coach not "changing things up" or not "playing to his team's strengths". KU has had talent, yes, but so have these other schools. Some more, some less.

But they have one of the best coaches in the game who is, believe it or not, adjusting during the season and yes, during games to increase his teams' chances of winning.

If you watch the games closely, you will see this happen, game after game, year after year. However, if you'd rather just cheer when we win and whine when we lose that's your prerogative.

Just expect to get called out for it on the internet. ;)

Benz Junque 7 years ago

This is such a stale argument. KU didn't lose early in tourneys because Self refused to change his entire system that he has been playing all year. KU lost those games because the players did not execute to their abilities and did not play more aggressive than their opponents. The more aggressive team usually wins in the postseason and in every game that KU has lost early, they have been stale and stagnant while their opponent has come out aggressive. It's not complicated.

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

Wishful thinking again. You forgot to end your Rose Colored post with RCJH

David Lara 7 years ago

It doesn't make much sense to me to scrap the inside game plan and just rely on 3 point shooting. Unless you are going to shoot the lights out each night you have to have an inside game. It has to improve or you can throw in the towel now. We are as inconsistent from the arc as anyone, what makes you think it is a good idea to focus our offensive efforts on that? It's much easier to fix your interior offense (spacing, passing, screening) than to just have everyone put in extra time on their 3 pointers and cross your fingers each game.

Asad Zoberi 7 years ago

You made the below statement

We are as inconsistent from the arc as anyone, what makes you think it is a good idea to focus our offensive efforts on that?

Have you seen the stats. KU is shooting 39.2% on 3 pointers, ranked 33rd in the nation. And do you know what is KUs shooting and ranking on the 2pt scoring.

This years team strength is outside shooting, look at the numbers, Mason at 55%, Graham at 50%, Oubre at 46%, Greene at 45%, Selden at 35%. Add Svi to the mix who Self himself has said that is a matter of time before he shoots the light out beyond the arc. Has there been any team under Self with so many good shooters?

On the flip side we are having a tough time scoring inside as evident by our horrific shooting %. Ellis can't score against L&As, we have seen him for 2 plus years, Cliff is a work in progress, and Traylor has reached his peak, cant count on him much. Plus we have seen what Lucas and Mickelson can do, certainly cant rely on them to produce 10-12 points/game. So how will we win with playing inside out?

Benz Junque 7 years ago

Your failure is think that KU would continue to shoot a high percentage if they scrapped their interior play. Those shots are open ONLY because of the system that Self is running.

KU needs to be more aggressive at both ends of the floor. Go hard all the time, force the issue, pressure the opponent and MAKE things happen. They are too complacent for stretches and it costs them.

Walter Bridges 7 years ago

Exactly...take away the inside threat, the defense will expand and our 3 pt per. drops.

Ashwin Rao 7 years ago

I hear great points, but Asad is right in that we have "better" long distance shooters than down low this year (and last year after Embiid was sidelined). I believe we can (and need to have) focus on both the aspects (3Pt & inside the paint), and be willing to flex based on competition and who is "hot" that day. I am not an expert, but I feel that we try to force the inside/out game regardless of the situation... Again, I am not questioning the Coach, who I respect a lot, and love what he is doing, but wanted to see if we can ease off on the throttle on the normal game and try to see if anything else works this year to get a more consistent performance...

Margaret Schadler 7 years ago

Tough spot. Our inside game is n,t good against teams that have one, but ISU shoots lights out from the arc every year, and we beat them. We miss too many layups, Ellis can fake and duck before he shoot, but rarely has this year. I've seen inside; I've seen outside but not a lot of inside -out. Seems to me that when the game plan doesn't work quickly, we resort to individual play, that' south.

Mari was better last year, I'm looking for him to show up more. Ellis isn't,t going to be the go too guy; it may be oubre. And maybe the one and dones will all be from Kentucky this year.

Gregor Southard 7 years ago

I think 9-2 against a pretty tough schedule is just fine. And, I'm not worried about Self being "inflexible." They'll win 25-30 games again in regular season. The only thing that concerns me is that this team gets their lay ups stuffed more than any team I can remember. High/Low won't work if you can't go strong to the basket.

Walter Bridges 7 years ago

It's not the number of losses that bothers me but how we lost...

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

+1 Walter, it is the how not the number.

Harlan Hobbs 7 years ago

Greg, you summarized things very nicely.

As for next year's recruiting, it's beginning to look like there will only be two scholarships available since there are no seniors and the prospects of people leaving early seems to be diminishing. KU's biggest need is for a true center, hopefully one who can make an immediate impact. The two best chances to fill that bill would be either Zimmerman from Las Vegas or Rabb from the west coast. Of course, they are on everyone's radar, so the odds may not be great on that.

KU obviously is also after immediate impact players like Malik Newman and Jaylen Brown, as well as a few other 4 and 5 start recruits. However, the competition for them is also very stiff.

If everyone from this year's team returns and KU is unsuccessful in getting immediate impact players, their best bet might be to just hold onto the scholarships for another year. What do you think?

Benz Junque 7 years ago

Or Thon Maker if he reclassifies to Class of '15.

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

We will get whoever KY does not want. We are not choosing recruits this class, but getting someone who has us as a 2nd or 3rd choice.

Mike Riches 7 years ago

I don't think we'll get everyone back from this year. I would love that to be the case, but I still think it's probable that KO and Cliff enter the draft. They were most recently projected to go in the middle of the first round in a Sporting News mock draft (I'm sure that article is high on Self's reading list...) I also think it's likely that Selden goes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that any of these three SHOULD go, or that they wouldn't greatly benefit from another year in college, but I think it's likely they will go.

Having said that, if those three all go, and we don't sign any of the premier players we're after (which I don't think we'll miss out on everyone) and we start next year with Graham, Mason, Svi, Perry and Lucas with Greene, Mickelson and Traylor off the bench, that's not a bad team. Probably not top five, but better than most. Experience would be a forte as well with that group. Now if you add Zimmerman or Rabb, or if any of the three current players I mentioned above decides to stay, or if we get one or two transfers, then we become that much stronger and deeper.

At the end of the day, I don't expect the cupboard to be bare next year. Since most top recruits are waiting until spring to commit, they'll know how much playing time they can expect based on who does declare. And coming to Kansas with an opportunity to play immediately and play a lot, not to mention a chance to represent our country in an international tournament with extended practice time and a pretty sweet travel schedule...that's a pretty tough gig to pass up. So whether we keep our current roster, or whether (as I suspect) we lose 2-3 guys and bring in 2-3 to replace them, I think we'll have a pretty good squad next year.

Blake Brown 7 years ago

Self is big on showing videos to the team to make points. Perhaps it would be good if he showed them the Kentucky vs. Louisville game to illustrate what energy and passion is all about. Quite frankly, this should not even be necessary. When one plays from the heart, there is no 50/50 ball, its theirs. The rebound is theirs. The drive to the basket and resulting make is theirs. When it is demonstrated by one or two players, its contagious and now it becomes a team thing. Get down and dirty, Hawks!

Benz Junque 7 years ago

How about PRIDE as an energy source?

Rodney Crain 7 years ago

Did not see any of that in the Temple game expect for Mason.

Lee Henry 7 years ago

65 years,,,,that's how long I've been following the Hawks listened to them on Radio when Lovellette was playing, watched them on TV till the past two years now I'm back to having to try and get the radio station that carries them so I can listen to them....and can't get the station very good.....are we not going to start thinking of all of us that aren't a ble to get "tw" and get back to where us Kansans get also watch are Hawks.....

Harlan Hobbs 7 years ago

Thanks for the input on recruiting. I was aware of Maker and Diallo. Certainly, Thon Maker would be the dream catch, but I doubt that KU has much of a shot at him. Hope I am wrong.

As for Chick Diallo, I am aware of him also, but he doesn't really fit my perspective of a true center. To me, he is a lot like Cliff Alexander in that his future is probably at power forward if he wants to be big in the NBA. Again, I clearly could be wrong, but guys their size are usually dwarfed by the likes of people like Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, and hopefully Joel Embiid, when he gets healthy.

Mike, you may be right about Alexander and Oubre. However, I don't think they will go unless they are clear lottery picks. Oubre is obviously on a roll, and his stock may be rising. Cliff will need to demonstrate more of skills to be a lottery pick in my opinion.

In any event, it will be interesting and fun to watch things play out. One thing for sure; it will never be boring.

Lee, congratulations on your long-standing loyalty to the Hawks. I hope your issues get resolved soon. I will say that according to my schedule, all of the remaining games will be televised starting with the UNLV game this Sunday by CBS. Most are on either ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU. Fortunately, I get all of those channels here in Arizona so I am looking forward to the remainder of the season.

Michael Bennett 7 years ago

Diallo often gets described as an athletic rim protector, excellent on low post defense and raw and developing on offense. He would probably play the 5 at KU and the 4 in the pros, like what Markieff did (especially if we don't get Zimmerman). Doing this doesn't seem to hurt a player's development as an NBA power forward and many NBA 4s played the 5 in college (Kenneth Faried, Anthony Davis, the list goes on).

Harlan Hobbs 7 years ago

You may be right, Michael. However, I also think that Markieff, and Marcus to a certain extent, clearly demonstrated in college that they could play the 4 position. Furthermore, watching them play here in Arizona has confirmed that they are extremely good outside shooters. The other night, Markieff was 4 for 4 in three point shots against the Sacramento Kings on the road. Both he and Marcus definitely stretch the opposing defenses, and neither plays in the post for the Phoenix Suns on any consistent basis.

While Marcus had the better career statistically at KU, Markieff has really blossomed in the NBA. He was one of the top 6th men last year, and he is starting most of the games this year and playing more minutes than Marcus.

Comparing Diallo to Cliff Alexander, it appears that Chick is more the defensive stalwart while Cliff is far more advanced on the offensive end. Both would have to demonstrate an ability to play away from the basket to be mainstays in the NBA. I can only think of a couple of instances in the pros where a center got by on defensive skills & rebounding alone. Greg Ostertag at Utah was able to parlay his skills into a pretty decent career, but most teams rely on their post man to be effective on the offensive end.

Again, it will be interesting to see how things develop, and I appreciate your insight.

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