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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sound advice: Wife tells Bill Self to heed his own words

Kansas head coach Bill Self loosens his tie as he leaves the court following the Jayhawks' 61-57 loss to San Diego State on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self loosens his tie as he leaves the court following the Jayhawks' 61-57 loss to San Diego State on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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During various speaking engagements and interviews during the preseason, Bill Self warned Kansas University basketball fans to be ready for ups and downs as his young Jayhawks aged during the 2013-14 campaign.

The person who knows him best reminded him of those sentiments Monday — a day after the Jayhawks fell to San Diego State, 61-57, in Allen Fieldhouse and finished the nonconference season with nine wins against four losses.

“I actually got a text today from my spouse (Cindy) reminding me I said, ‘Enjoy the process,’” Self said Monday night on his “Hawk Talk” radio show.

“I am frustrated. I am. I don’t think we are playing as well as we should be playing. I think every team has a ceiling. I am frustrated because in my opinion, which I’m sure all fans would agree, we’re operating well under that (ceiling) when you look at personnel individually.

“But I am not discouraged,” he quickly added, “because I think we can get there.”

Winners of four of their past eight games after a 5-0 start, the Jayhawks will open Big 12 play on Wednesday at Oklahoma (12-2), a squad that started with an impressive 88-85 victory Saturday at Texas.

“I told our team this today. There are three seasons in every basketball season: nonconference season, conference season and postseason. I told our team, ‘I would never tell you nonconference is not important while we’re going through the nonconference.’ Reality is ... does everybody remember we won at Ohio State last year? I mean, no. They remember we lost to Michigan in the Sweet 16. That is the reality of it,” Self said.

“The big thing is, hey, we want to go win league and go compete for championships and have a chance to cut down nets. To be quite candid with you, you can’t do that in the first season. You can only do that in the second and third. We still have everything in front of us. Like every school in America, we’re starting 0-0.”

Self pointed out the Jayhawks went 12-1 nonleague last year, but hit a rough patch in the Big 12 slate when KU dropped three in a row — to Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma.

“Basically, hopefully, and I’m believing it’s true ... because of the schedule we played we’ll be better prepared for conference season because things haven’t been masked, so to speak,” Self said. “That’s the positive spin I’m putting on it, but it’s the way I actually feel. I feel we could potentially get more out of our nonconference schedule than we did last year.”

He said the one negative in playing such a tough schedule is he has not been able to develop his bench as much while playing a batch of close games.

“I am believing the hard schedule and the knocks we took will better prepare us for playing the season that’s far more important than the first season,” Self said. “If we could go out and win league, I don’t think anybody really will find a lot of fault with us losing four games in nonconference to three teams ranked in the top 15 (losses are to Villanova, Colorado, San Diego State, Florida). Now if we don’t learn from this and go out and lay an egg in the conference season, I think people can say it’s been a crap season. I would be one to agree with that.

“That’s not going to happen. We’ve got too good of players. They care too much. We’ll get it. We’re missing a little bit of something that is correctable.”

In a film session Monday, the players told Self, “We’re not that far off.”

He’d like to see more passion on the court.

“It’s time for us to put it together. It’s time for us to play with a renewed vigor and enthusiasm,” Self said. “Our guys try hard, but there’s not that zest for playing that we’ve had. It’s personalities. We’ve got some really laid-back dudes. It’s so out of personality for them to show emotion.

“Emotion also is contagious. If you look at our team, the only time we’ve shown unbelievable emotion is when we beat Duke (94-83 on Nov. 12). It’s like there was such a joy. The guys love playing. They just don’t show it. It maybe is leaving fans wanting more (because) we are used to having cocky dudes when they make a play they let everybody know they are fired up. We don’t have that type of personality yet. Hopefully we’ll grow into it.”

Recruiting: JaQuan Lyle, a 6-foot-5 senior guard from Huntington Prep in West Virginia, will attend Saturday’s KU-Kansas State game as part of his official recruiting visit to KU. Lyle, who is rated No. 22 nationally, told Rivals.com he has visited UConn, Memphis and West Virginia.

“I don’t know,” he said, asked by Rivals.com if this is his final visit. “If I get to Kansas and I think it’s the best place, there won’t be any more visits. If it’s something I’m not sold on and I’m not ready to decide, I’ll take my final visit.”

Lyle is good buddies with KU signee Cliff Alexander, 6-9 from Chicago Curie, who is ranked No. 4 nationally. They’ve talked repeatedly about attending the same school.

Comments

Doug Cramer 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Big 12 schedule is a meat grinder, but I believe we'll take it for the 10th straight year.

Not sold on Selden getting so many minutes over guys like Green and White. Green and White can knock down the perimeter shot, which adds an element that we need on this team.

Not sold on Tharp getting a lot more minutes than Mason. Mason has the quickness of a true point guard at this level, that Tharp lacks.

Landon Lucas may end up being a bit of a surprise in the future.

Hope P-Doggie Ellis increases his performance with time...as he did last season.

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Brianna Zaleski 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree w you about Greene getting some of Selden's mins, but White has not been able to cash in any of the opportunities Self has given him this year. Hit an open shot! He was soooo wide open on that 3 he missed Sunday. If he wants any chance to play, he has to hit an open jumper.

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Clarence Haynes 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Take into account that White has been injured.

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Doug Cramer 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Brianna - Agree...although I'm not sure he's had sufficient time to get comfortable to hit those shots. Based on Bill's comments on his show yesterday...I think he himself would agree with that notion.

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Benz Junque 7 months, 3 weeks ago

In reading Self's lament over not "being able" to develop the bench players because of the high level of competition, it leads me to believe that he is seeing things in practice from Greene/White/Frankamp that he feels would prevent KU from having a good chance to win against good teams. Of course many fans feel that if a starter sucks that the bench guy would likely have done better but that is typical in hindsight.

KU will have a few games in conference where the bench guys will see more minutes. Maybe not right away with the tremendously front loaded conference schedule we have upcoming (@Iowa State, vs. Okie State, vs. Baylor) but I think they could see the floor more against K-State and Oklahoma. Neither of those teams is offensively explosive. I don't see the bench guys putting us in a huge hole in those games.

I really think they will play a lot against West Virginia, TCU and Texas Tech. I actually like that the bulk of those games are closer to the end of conference (5 of the last 9 games) so that those bench guys have a chance to build some momentum and confidence right before the tourney.

Every year shows us that truly anything can happen during conference season. KU is not doomed. Okie State is not a lock. We're technically already up a half game on them. I don't think many projected them to lose @K-State. That's a bonus for KU.

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Ethan Berger 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Tharpe is a better overall point, as he should be. Mason is quick but Tharpenis a great shot creator and can hit most shots. The difference is vision. Last year tharpe was a great 6th man and showed NBA level passing. This year he has struggled but recently has improved. A lot has to do with players getting used to him. We have had a lot of players run to the same spot and dropping the ball. Tharpe is a very good player, might not see it tell next year. I will say Mason is a much better defender then Tharpe. The game needs to slow down for mason and once it does, we have a star on our hands.

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Kent Richardson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I'll never look at Nadork's name the same again. Thank you.

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Ethan Berger 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Whoa I had no idea how that happened. Somehow I missed that.wow lol

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John Randall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Once again, the nagging injuries rear their ugly heads – AWiii we hear about. but Perry, Wayne and Naadir have been putting a lot of minutes on some "iffy" appendages. In less than a tenth of a second an 'unstoppable' move will become something a good defense can handle.

Sometimes I think Self errs too often on the difference between pain and injury in his expectations. Everyone can learn to ignore a little pain, but not every player is both tough enough and smart enough to compensate when he literally cannot force injuries aside (like Brady and Tyrel could). This is especially significant in a player's first year (when even Brady and Tyrel couldn't).

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Michael Sillman 7 months, 3 weeks ago

To me the key stat in the box score from the San Diego State game was the 19 offensive rebounds by SDST. That is unheard of for a Bill Self team and is certainly a further indictment of this team's defensive prowess. Boxing out is a learned skill but requires determination and energy.

Teams will have bad shooting nights periodically but this team should always be able to control its destiny on the boards. Even with shooting below 30%, cutting those offensive boards in half would have won the game.

Both fans and the team need to approach the upcoming B12 teams with proper respect and preparation. I think the team shared the overconfidence displayed by a number of posters on this site prior to the last game.

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Benz Junque 7 months, 3 weeks ago

And I would guess that a HUGE number of those offensive rebounds were immediately converted into points. Some teams get lots of offensive rebounds simply because they miss a ton of shots and never really do much with them but SDSU had a ton of easy putbacks in the second half. Those were crushing, especially as the crowd was trying to will KU to gain some momentum and would have erupted on any KU stop defensively.

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Rich Hetherington 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I heard 18 points on the radio, so yes, for a team that scored 61, that was nearly a third of them... Ouch!

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John Randall 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You say "the crowd was trying" but it didn't seem that way to me. A big eruption when KU makes a nice play or gets a good break, then nothing more than background noise for a few minutes.

Students aren't back from break until after the five games you say are so critical in the conference race, and we expect freshmen not to notice half the @AFH advantage is missing?

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Robert Brock 7 months, 3 weeks ago

This team is short on basketball knowledge and is sorely lacking when it comes to fundamentals. There is no guarantee that the kids will learn how to play this game during the current season.

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Tommy Kueser 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Lacking fundamentals? Learn how to play? Do you even watch basketball? These kids are high level players. They are 18 years old (for the most part). I can't think of any team that would have a solid record playing the same non conf schedule as we have. This was by design my friends. Knock them in the teeth early, build them from the ground up and excel down the road towards March. These kids are in every one of these games. Every loss could have been went the other way down the stretch. We need to really evaluate what has been going on here. Kids growing into an elite college level program. It's unfair to say they are short on knowledge or skills. My goodness that is off track. It takes time and games to evolve into a solid group at this level. Time we still have. It will get better. Coach knows exactly what he is doing. Wait and see.

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Benz Junque 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Almost all of these games were booked before the roster was built. It wasn't made to punch a young team in the mouth. Bill Self himself probably crapped his pants when he saw just what his roster was going to be facing this schedule.

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Robert Brock 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I was not referring to individual skills. As a team - a coherent unit - the team makes incredible mistakes. They are struggling to get on the same page as Coach Self has said himself many times. Failure to defend and move/react properly...failure to block out and rebound (looking up in the air rather than moving into position and blocking off the opposition)...weak collective efforts at defeating screens...poor ball-movement and spacing...clogging the lane like Grand Central Station making entry-passes difficult and dribble-drives nearly impossible.

Etc.

I expect that there will be improvement. How much is difficult to gauge since this is such a young squad. Coach Self is going to earn his pay this season. :)

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Kent Richardson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

We have time but really not that much time. 4 down and easily can be 7 or 8 soon. We will be better but will it be in leaps and bounds or plateau after plateau? It would feel better to have super faith in a quick turnaround but ...

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Ron Franklin 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I get the sense the team is lacking in the chemistry department. A staple of the past has been F.O.E. And I'm not seeing that this year. That burning fire was passed to Sherron and Cole. And then to through the twins to Trob and Taylor. It trickled to an end with EJ prior to last seasons ending. None of the starters have IT, but I do believe Greene and Mason would if their skill level allowed for the playing time and subsequent pedestal for leadership.

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Lance Cheney 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"He’d like to see more passion on the court."

Isn't this the truth. I was at the SDSU game, and during a timeout towards the end of the game when we had cut the lead to 2, after coming back from being down 11 or 13 (don't remember), the players were calmly walking to the huddle. Looking at their faces, you would think they were down by 15. No emotion.

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Ron Franklin 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I cannot recall seeing them huddle up more than 1 time. Can you?

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Lance Cheney 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Well I was talking about the sideline, but you make a good point.

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Benz Junque 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I cannot recall SDSU huddling up, either. I do remember then getting easy putback dunks, though. maybe we should just try to avoid letting opponents do that and actually do a few ourselves?

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Michael Pannacciulli 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So true. I've been saying it all along. It's like watching an exhibition with guys that have never played before. Sure the passing is improved, but they are like islands out there...they don't even look like they are having fun. They are so focused I suppose on trying to run their plays and routes. I miss guys like Kevin Young who could excite the team and the crowd...I miss the grit of guys like TRob. Not sure if you can team commeraderie, enthusiasm, and passion. You either have it or you don't. I hope Bill get's T'd up one day, or someone throws a swing at a player to see if these guys have the fire in their belly to rise up and dominate. The other thing of note here is in the SDSU game, they were out skilled, out hustled by older more experienced guys. However, even when they drew closer - to Lance's point...their body language spoke volumes. I'm sure they were tired also - but if youth has any advantage it's certainly that they should never ever loose because they are tired.

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Michael Pannacciulli 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So true. I've been saying it all along. It's like watching an exhibition with guys that have never played before. Sure the passing is improved, but they are like islands out there...they don't even look like they are having fun. They are so focused I suppose on trying to run their plays and routes. I miss guys like Kevin Young who could excite the team and the crowd...I miss the grit of guys like TRob. Not sure if you can team commeraderie, enthusiasm, and passion. You either have it or you don't. I hope Bill get's T'd up one day, or someone throws a swing at a player to see if these guys have the fire in their belly to rise up and dominate - turn a game around on emotion - prove they are a TEAM. The other thing of note here is in the SDSU game, they were out skilled, out hustled by older more experienced guys. However, even when they drew closer - to Lance's point...their body language spoke volumes. I'm sure they were tired also - but if youth has any advantage it's certainly that they should never ever loose because they are tired.

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Tony Bandle 7 months, 3 weeks ago

OAKVILLE ODDITIES:

1] Not many schools with a 9-4 record would be in the Top 20 at this stage. This must be acknowledgement of a team of new starters and freshmen, playing the country's toughest schedule, while losing to FOUR RANKED teams by a total of 17 points.

2] Passion is not going to come from Andrew or Perry...it's just not in their personalities. I think Jo Jo, Wayne and Naadir will need to lead the way.

3] I also agree with many of you in questionning why Brannen is not playing more..You can tell he leaves it all on the court every time he has a chance. The results aren't always good, but the effort is!!

4] Suggestion to you Big Men...you're all shooting "freshmen Marcus/Markieff Morris style," popping bunnies when you should be ramming stuffs....at the very least you'll draw more fouls and maybe even get on Sportscenter!!

5] All we needed was just one screen off on a SDST offensive rebound and we would have won the game...just one!!!

6] It is hard to believe that a team with Conner Teahan as your first man off the bench played better than the current squad filled with Micky D's, lottery picks and uber talent??!! There is something to say about experience, i guess.

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Benz Junque 7 months, 3 weeks ago

6) Did they play BETTER or did they play easier games? That team entered conference play with three loses and one of them was to a mediocre Davidson team in Kansas City. T-Rob was still trying to figure out how to be the primary scoring option and how to handle being constantly doubled and most KU fans thought that because we had zero reliable second scoring option that KU was doomed. Taylor really didn't get his head out of his butt until the 4th conference game of the year (4+ turnovers in 9 of 16 games to that point including games of 7, 8 and 11 TOs) and the team really started to roll after that.

And I was at the games in Omaha in the tourney that year. The sun and stars had to align just right to pull out a win against Purdue and make it out of the first weekend. We may all look back on this rough patch and say "they sure have improved" or we may look back and say "we saw it coming the whole time". Who knows. All of their goals (win the conference, win the tourney) still lie before them and they still control their own destiny.

We all knew it would be a roller coaster this year. Sometimes the roller coaster makes you want to puke but we always get back on it. This can still be a great season.

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Dylan Wilson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree some of those guys need to show more emotion during games. I don't think we deserved that win the way we shot the ball and rebounded. It was good seeing Wiggins try to get to the basket more but it would have been nice to see him knock down a few perimeter shots

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Kit Duncan 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I saw some emotion from the one player who most needs to show emotion. Naadir was caught on camera, I believe in the first half, grabbing Perry Ellis's jersey from behind and pulling his head down in order to scream something in his face. I don't know if he was encouraging Ellis to be more aggressive on offense or whether Perry was out of position on a play. Either way, it reinforced the point that Naadir is the leader of this team and we should be encouraged that Naa is trying to do everything he can to fire up his team!

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Jason Keller 7 months, 3 weeks ago

People, we shot the basketball very poorly. Everything looks good when the shots go down and vice versa. We had plenty of open shots that we usually make. Apply our season average to that game and we win by 7 or 8, at least. Our freshman laden team got a little beat up on the boards by an excellent rebounding, physical, senior team. RELAX. It's going to come. I'll admit that the Big 12 is looking pretty tough but I think we can do it. Ok State has already dropped one. That may end up being HUGE. We need a strong victory against OU.

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Jarred Latta 7 months, 3 weeks ago

A big thing with this team all year long has been the inconsistent shooting from our guards. Yet, we continue to see Brannen Greene and Andrew White III disappear on the bench. At some point, Bill Self is going to realize his two best weapons from the outside have been sitting on his bench while he watches Tharpe-Wiggins-Selden-Mason shoot the worst shooting performance by a KU team in Allen since field goals and field goal attempts became an official stat in 1988-89..

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Mick Allen 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Mason was 2 for 2 from beyond the arc, but in my support of Frank I have long ago recognized that his perimeter game was the one area that needed to improve. If he can shoot 38,39,40% from he arc it will facilitate his getting to the paint off the bounce to finish or distribute, which is the strength of his game.He was 4 out of 8 field goals for the game. He also brings a toughness to the court that our laid back personalities don't. Another poster called him Sherron Lite , which I think is appropriate.

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Tony Bandle 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Right now, I would settle for anyone shooting 40% from the perimeter!!

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Jack Wilson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The thing is on our three point shooting is we have no exceptional three point shooters in the rotation.

The real issue, a bit, is volume. I checked -- the average made threes by NCAA champs over the last 12 years was 6.42. We're at 5:00 per game right now (helped by the Toledo game). No NCAA champ during that period was below 5.31 per game (Syracuse). Doesn't mean you can't win it being lower, but made threes have always meant something.

Percentage wise, the lowest over the last 12 years was Connecticut (2011) at 32.9%. We're at 32.8 right now.

Clearly, the three point shooting is limiting our offensive production all the way around.

On Mason, he is definitely on the right track. If he goes 7 for his next 14, he's at 35%. That seems like a reasonable % for the year. He'll only get better .. on everything.

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Jonathan Allison 7 months, 3 weeks ago

What was UConn's 3pt fg% over the final 10 of the 2011 season? When they reeled off 4 straight in MSG 6 straight after that.

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Jack Wilson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Actually they won 5 straight in the Big East tourney, then 6 in NCAAs.

29.4% over those 11 games. But interestingly, just 2-23 in the Final Four. So 33% excluding the Final Four.

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Jonathan Allison 7 months, 2 weeks ago

so pretty consistent with their season average. I was expecting that they outperformed their season average in the post-season. Not so.

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Mike Barnhart 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Lack of passion is why I can't see this team better than 10-6 in conference. I see OSU, Iowa State and Baylor as road losses. We'll probably lose two of three at K-State, Texas and Oklahoma. I also think OSU gets us at home. The streak ends this year! But look out next year when everyone returns except Wiggins and Black.

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Jonathan Allison 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The "There's always next year" folks are coming out of hibernation and it's not even spring yet!

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Jonathan Allison 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So Embiid is coming back? What a relief.

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Bryce Landon 7 months, 3 weeks ago

10-6? So are we skipping two games then?

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Benz Junque 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It's funny you can be so blindly positive about next year right after you write off this year's conference chances before the Big 12 play even begins for KU...

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Mike Barnhart 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Okay, I messed up my edit, 12-6. My point is this, the sky is not falling, 12-6 is okay. We lost everything from last years team except Perry and Nadir. As for Wiggins, OAD's are a crap shoot. So, it's possible Embiid and everyone else returns next year with more experience. That would be awesome!

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Luca Rossi 7 months, 2 weeks ago

RockkChalkk Breakdown:

  1. Body Language: A lot of you have hit on this already but I'm going to single out one person, Tharpe. I'm really unhappy with his body language on the defensive side. I'm talking about when they are just starting to get back into the game, cut the lead to a few buckets, and play some sound defense but the other team still makes a big bucket. Seeing him take the ball out slowly and the way he carries himself after seeing the ball go in the hoop is such that he looks defeated. This really bothers me because this language is contagious. He is supposed to be the leader out there and he looks like the worst offender to me. I watch every KU game and this is one thing that teams in the past did not do. They still had confidence and the urgency to hurry, grab the ball, and race down the court to try and get a quick hoop back. Instead they're taking their time, sulking, and bringing the ball up the court slowly. It may seem like a small detail but I think it has big implications in whether this team will win or lose close games down the stretch.

  2. Rebounding: Good grief it is crazy how KU struggles on the boards. Our best big man on the glass is Lucas, followed distantly by Black. Unfortunately, they are not much of a threat on the offensive side. Self may want to consider using them more, especially Lucas, late in games when we have a lead purely for rebounding purposes.

  3. Greene: The kid needs and more PT. The team needs a 3-pt assassin on the court and he looks like the best option because of his all around game, energy & defense included.

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