Wednesday, June 4, 2014

KU coach Bill Self still in favor of shorter shot clock

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.


The ACC, and maybe the SEC, will be two conferences to experiment with a 30-second shot clock in exhibition basketball games during the 2014-15 preseason.

If the coaches, administrators and fans like what they see — if scoring appears to be on the rise — the movement to switch from 35 to 30 could gain unstoppable momentum.

“I think what the ACC is doing to get a feel for this and see how coaches and people feel about this ... will be very positive for the (NCAA) Rules Committee if in fact it needs to move in that direction at a quicker pace,” KU coach Bill Self said this week on a podcast with ESPN’s Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg.

Self last season came out in favor of shortening the clock five seconds. Remember, the NBA and international basketball use a 24-second clock. Women’s basketball uses a 30-second clock in college.

“I will say this: I sat in on a meeting with the Rules Committee, the Selection Committee and powers-that-be that studied it, studied it, studied it. There is not near as strong a movement from the consensus of the coaches about going to 30,” Self said.

“We hear individual coaches, which I have been one of them, saying ‘We need 30. This would be better. Why would we have the longest shot clock in the game? Blah blah blah blah blah.’ We say those things, but the people who have actually studied it and researched it and done surveys don’t feel as strongly as a lot of the voices.

“There was much more discussion (in meeting Self attended) about, ‘How do we modify the block/charge (call) to get it right or this or that than actually move to change the shot clock.’ I was a little surprised in that because that’s one of the things we talk about the most that isn’t being discussed the most.”

Self will go so far as to say, “I think the consensus is the coaches like it at 35. I remember one of the coaches’ thoughts was, ‘Why do we have to be like everybody else? Why can’t we have our own game?’ Our own game is 35.

“I do think there is consensus that it needs to be moved, which I happen to be one of those guys; there’s also a strong consensus it’s just fine where it is. I personally think if you want to increase scoring, create more possessions. What the ACC and other leagues potentially will do (in exhibitions) I think would be something very positive for it to get more momentum.”

The reason to shorten the clock, of course, would be to increase scoring.

“To do those things, wouldn’t it be nice to have more possessions?” Self asked. “Instead we’ve eliminated the hand-check, and that was a way we were going to up scoring, which has obviously worked. It will continue to get better. Even though I hated it initially, it will be something that is better for our game over time. That’s what needs to be discussed, what is best for our game over time.”

Scoring did increase last season following the elimination of the hand-check on defense. Self said it took some getting used to.

“You know in practice, we let it become a bloodbath every day and like it,” Self said of physical practices in which defense is often stressed.

“Basically all we are doing is fouling negates hustle. We had more people (licensed refs) come in practice. The next thing you know, our kids were defensive on defense. I thought our defense this past year was awful compared to what it’s been in the past. I’m not blaming it on that (hand-check) rule. I am believing it took away some of that aggressive instinctive play our teams in the past have naturally had because we put so much an emphasis on hands-off.

“Some people are better at it than others. It will end up being best for our game. We’ll clean it up. To me, the perimeter is pretty clear. But how do you call the post? You can touch them (offensive postman) ... when they catch the ball, you can’t touch them. If they back into you and they create the contact, then you can touch them again. To me it’s very confusing on post play as much as anything else. That was a big point of the Rules Committee, how to get this where there are more absolutes like it is on the perimeter. We’ll get there.”

As far as the original topic, Self outlined his stance last season after the Texas Tech game in Lubbock in which the Red Raiders shot late in the clock quite often.

“I would like a shorter clock, but to 30. I also think you should only get eight seconds to get across (halfcourt instead of 10). If you have to call time out or the ball goes out of bounds, you get the remaining of the eight seconds,” Self said.

“It once was 45,” Self added of the college basketball clock. “Forty-five now would seem like an eternity. I think 24 is too quick. If we were to change the clock we’d be one of the teams affected most. So much of what we do is predicated on getting the ball to second and third side. Twenty-four seconds is not as much time to do that. I’d be OK with 30. So much of the NBA clock relies on guys getting their own shot late (in the) clock. Across the board I think that could make for some pretty bad ball, guys playing 1-on-1 the last six seconds of the clock.”

More on numbers: KU freshman guard Devonté Graham will wear jersey No. 4 this upcoming season. Earlier, it’d been reported newcomers Cliff Alexander would wear No. 2, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk No. 10 and Kelly Oubre No. 12.

Roundball roster: Event organizer Brian Hanni each day reveals participants in the June 12 Rock Chalk Roundball Classic at the event’s Facebook page.

Sherron Collins, Russell Robinson, Tyrel Reed, Greg Dreiling, Wayne Simien and Patrick Richey will participate, as well as former KU football players Todd Reesing and Brandon McAnderson. Coaches include Bud Stallworth, Roger Morningstar, Alonzo Jamison and Billy Thomas.

Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Lawrence High. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased in advance at 23rd Street Brewery and AAA on Wanamaker in Topeka. Proceeds go to individual families who are battling cancer. Tickets will also be available at LHS on the day of the game. For information, go to the Facebook page or email Hanni at


Joe Ross 7 years, 3 months ago

A shortened clock in the college game could actually REDUCE scoring for some teams, whose offenses are predicated upon moving the ball and waiting for weaknesses in defensive adjustments to expose themselves as opportunities for the offense to score. Overall, I think it's a great idea to shorten the clock though, as most teams' scoring will increase. It will probably increase the value of the point guard position over what it is now, as coordination of the offense and quick recognition of scoring opportunities will have greater emphasis. It will also have an impact at end-of-game situations. It should decrease the number of fouls at the end of the game by teams who are behind because they can afford NOT to foul (giving away higher-percentage shots from the line) as they can anticipate more possessions.

Titus Canby 7 years, 3 months ago

Joe, I agree with your first sentence. A shortened clock would reduce scoring, because defenses won't get as tired. One thing I like about Self's offense is that it often wears down the other team, giving us a better shot, and a stamina advantage toward the end of the game.

I believe a shorter clock would encourage sloppy offense - just jacking up 3s. I'm against it.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 3 months ago

I would say for most. This past season was the lowest scoring in six decades. When they shortened the clock down to 35 sec it did not increase more scoring, only more bad shots and scoring has continued to decline since '93 when the 35 sec shot clock was introduced.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm all for Self's position to shorten the clock to 30 seconds and believe it could likely increase scoring and improve defense but the points per possession may decline.

I've never fully understood why Self wants our teams to run the shot clock to the end before taking a shot. When the open shot is there, why not take it, regardless of the time remaining, unless of course it's a time sensitive point in the game or up against superior talent. Playing inside out if fine but outside in could also be a nice compliment, especially when we have great 3 point shooters, i.e. Frankamp, Greene and formerly AWIII.

Joe Ross 7 years, 3 months ago

I think it depends on the makeup of the team, Suzi. I dont think Coach would always say with every team he's had, "Let's run down the clock". The national championship team, for example, was all about steals and scoring in transition. When you have great guards like Collins, RussRob, and Chalmers complementing athletic wings like Brandon Rush, with big men who can run the floor, running the clock down on every possession was definitely NOT what Self wanted then. Generally speaking, though, Self's teams have been great defensively in the half-court and at least very good on the offensive end. If you make it a possession game, the math says youll win.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 3 months ago

Suzi: I agree completely with what you mentioned in your second paragraph.

It is puzzling. The clear rule that we have all witnessed is if a three point shot is taken before 15 seconds in the shot clock, that shooter gets Self's wrath. He clearly wants to try to get the ball inside first.

This offensive philosophy is the single biggest item (in my opinion) that has held us back offensively. We fail to maximize our full range of talents -- the example being our excellent three point shooters as you mention. Our shooting "rules" cause shooters hesitation, and it gets in their heads, thus great shooters morph into ok shooters. Further, we play right into the hands of coaches who want to shorten possessions in the game

Self said above, "To do those things, wouldn’t it be nice to have more possessions?"

It would be nice if, as part of our offensive philosophy and total game strategy, that we attempted to increase possessions in the game.

The more possessions, generally, the more likely that the more highly talented team wins. It is why coaches slow it down when playing a superior opponent. The best example this past season was Tubby Smith's masterful gameplan when we played at Texas Tech. And we did absolutely nothing to change the game tempo -- that's getting out coached.

On the other hand, most games, I would say that we do the outcoaching. But when opposing coaches slow the tempo, Self seems content to play their game, which exposes our superior talent to a greater chance of losing -- when there are fewer possessions to create separation.

Kit Duncan 7 years, 3 months ago

Unless it's late in the game and KU is behind, Coach rarely calls for a set play from the three-point arc. When a player takes a 3 pt shot early in the clock, often times the other four teammates have their backs to the basket or are out of position to rebound the ball in the event of a miss. That would be a lost possession and Coach Self often pulls the player for a little extra coaching on the matter. If the player has the green light to shoot any time he has an open look (Wiggins, McLemore, Rush et al), the other players are keyed in to look for him to take the shot when the ball is passed to him and he has an open look. Otherwise, they continue with the play as called.

On the subject of shortening the play clock, it would benefit teams like KU who are better than most teams at fast break scoring. It would limit the ability of teams that want to cut total possessions and play a half court game, to dictate the tempo and scoring chances of opponents.

Mick Allen 7 years, 3 months ago

As often happens Jack I agree with your post. Another way to increase the number of possessions if you have the superior athleticism and to increase the tempo and keep it from being a half court game where the opposing team uses all or most of the shot clock is to play more pressure defense, be it a 3/4 or 1/2 court trap. To do that successfully you often need a rim protector if the trap is broken. While not Withey or Imbiid, I think Mikkelson and Alexander could fill this role. Of course I know pressing is an anathema to HCBS, as there is nothing he likes less than giving up a lay up and that will happen to the best pressure defense on occasion. I certainly am not talking about "40 minutes of hell pressure" which has at best had mixed results for Anderson. If we are as athletic as we all believe, trapping the ball periodically, dare I say it, even with a zone trap would allow us to dictate tempo on occasion. Even if the pressure did not cause a turn over leading to an easy basket for us it would at the least make our opponent use clock and hopefully take quick shots and not give them as much an opportunity to pass the ball laterally 25 feet from the basket until the shot clock read 10 seconds or less. The trap and playing the passing lanes would make it more of an open court game, where our athleticism could be used more efficiently in increasing the number of possessions. Like all great coaches, if you have been highly successful doing it "your way", as HCBS has been, it is difficult to tweak the system that has been so good to you, but by implementing 3/4 on ball pressure on occasion also gives the opposing coach something else to contend with in addition to, except for this year, our usual strong 1/2 court man to man. The only player that will receive significant playing time that has defensive shortcomings that might not be a pressure defender is of course Perry, however when we go to the trap we could bring in Traylor for him or play Alexander or Mikkelson as the rim protector and go smaller with Oubre, Greene, Selden, Graham or Mason. If you have the better athletes, make it more of an open court game.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 3 months ago

Have you had much time to watch Alexander? I'm curious what you've seen that merits you suggesting that he may be a better fall back rim protector for a zone trap than Embiid or Withey. I know that you've seen Mickelson some and I believe that he'll be quick enough and agile enough with good shot blocking insticts to serve that purpose.

I haven't seen much of Cliff (only some youtube and some all-star game footage) and especially not enough open court work to judge whether or not he could effectively stop a guy at the rim one on one with a clear frontcourt or even to shutdown a 2 on 1 break.

Mick Allen 7 years, 3 months ago

Jonathan I appreciate your reply, however please quote me accurately. As far as rim protectors go, I said that while neither is Withey or Embiid, I think that Mikkelson and Alexander could fill that role. I only wish either Mikkelson or Alexander could play the rim protector role as well as Joel or Jeff. I have seen Mikkelson practice and as said before I do think KU fans will be pleased at his ability to change shots. I would guess that I have seen the same video of Alexander that you have. Hopefully my opinion, and I realize it is just my opinion, is based on that video, his incredibly high number of blocks per game and his defense on Okafor in one of the high school all star games. I also think he has close to 7 foot reach. As stated, just my opinion and maybe a bit of wishful thinking on my part, but I don't think so.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm expecting Alexander to be similar to Black. I loved Black but I'm not sure if Black falls into the rim protector category.

Mick Allen 7 years, 3 months ago

Suzi, I think you are selling Cliff short, both offensively and defensively in stating he will be similar to Black and I loved Black too. I believe Cliff will prove to be more athletic and skilled, with a better vertical than Black. As Cliff matures,he will be similar to Black in physique. We will see however.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 3 months ago

Mick .. nice post. The tempo thing you refer to is incredibly important. It just gets teams sped up and playing your game.

You said "Like all great coaches, if you have been highly successful doing it "your way", as HCBS has been, it is difficult to tweak the system that has been so good to you, but by implementing 3/4 on ball pressure on occasion also gives the opposing coach something else to contend with in addition to, except for this year, our usual strong 1/2 court man to man."

Could not agree more. Just tweaks. Adjustments. Coming out of a comfort zone. But really, it's adjusting to your talent and doing whatever needs to be done with your talent to win, regardless of whether it fits your system.

Why we did not use our athleticism more, as you suggest, to mask our base defensive inadequacies perplexed me all last season. Seemed like the perfect situation, with such a poor defensive team, to go a bit outside of the normal Self box.

I call it arrogance. Well deserved arrogance. But sometimes, that arrogance and dogmatic reliance on system exposes us to the elements. Those elements, most recently, came in the form of the Stanford Cardinal.

Anyone that questions this -- or disagrees, I would ask you this question: How many times did you see Andrew Wiggins or Wayne Selden take his opponent to the block and post him up? This is a pretty obvious example. Multiple favorable matchups, but we stick with our system regardless.

Mick Allen 7 years, 3 months ago

Jack the 3rd paragraph of your reply to me sums it up perfectly and requires the flexibility of one to say our system is damn good but we can make some slight adjustments and make us even harder to prepare for. The examples from last year, other than Stanford, were T. Tech and San Diego State. Other games in which the tempo was dictated to us.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 3 months ago

Kit: I'm not referring to set plays for three point shots.

On your point of lost possessions, what is a lost possession? See, I think the perspective on that gets lost sometimes.

Say Selden gets a steal goes down the court for slam but gets it blocked from behind, opposition recovers the ball -- lost possession, right?

Say Selden pokes the ball loose, pushes it to the wing, kicks it to Frankamp, and he misses the three -- lost possession, right?

But how much time went off the shot clock? Five seconds? In both instances you essentially return to your prior spot in the game, as if the steal had not occurred.

You also have to assess pace of game. If the other team continues to hold the ball, you can increase your possessions by shooting quicker. I'm not talking bad shots. Just quicker. That is, if a Frankamp, or Greene would have an open three at 24 on the shot clock, take it. If you do that twice, as opposed to shooting at 5 seconds on the clock, you create another possession in the game.

Your suggestion that we are not ready for a rebound may in fact be true -- meaning if you just come down and gun, guys may not be in a good position to block out. But it shouldn't matter if guys are in the offense, whether it's at 22 seconds or 8 seconds. But sometimes that happens. I'd rather see our top three point shooters have the freedom to shoot when open (unless a game situation, late, dictates otherwise). I think we would see their percentages increase due to lack of hesitation. 40% from three point range is equal to 60% from two.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 3 months ago

Jack, Agree with your post in general, but let me add a little devil's advocate here, just for the sake of discussion: We often have called Self's system as take-what-they-give-us, and still beat them...for example, if a team is slowing the game down, we still defend, make their possessions rough, and we still go to our high% looks, and win with rebounds advantage, turnover advantage, and get them in foul trouble. Basically all the little things add up, so that there is double-digit separation by the 4th period. That's of course prior to the defensive calls being altered. That's of course prior to last year's inexperienced and not-Self-tough squad.

As you mentioned about TexasTech, in Lubbock...that game was too close, because that KU team simply didnt meet the requisites to be able to do all the things to an opponent that typical Self teams have been capable of doing.

I'll give a sportsmanship "nod" to Tubby Smith, but Tubby needs to thank Jay Wright and Billy Donovan and SDSU's coach for giving the Div.1 world a blueprint on how to prey on Self's green squad. Put ANY of Self's prior veteran squads up against that exact same Tubby Smith TxTech squad+masterful gameplan, and watch the Red Raiders lay down their arms in a hurry.

I think its all relative, within the "range" of what a given KU team is capable of. Last year's team just wasnt all-around excellence, but thats understandable given the facts about the roster youth.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 3 months ago

While I agree with Jack and Suzy about what seems to be Self's dislike for "hoisting up a 3 early in the possession", he has also run plays for Chalmers, Rush, Sherron, Xavier, Reed, Teahan, Morningstar, McLemore, EJ, etc. to actually set up the 3. He considers an "open look 3" to be a high% shot, IF its a greenlight shooter. A contested 3, especially early in the possession when there is no need for a forced a no-no for Self. That is the definition of low% basketball.

What you will never see happen under Self is what Farokhmanesh did late vs Reed. He actually took that dagger 3 late with absolutely NOBODY from UNI under the basket to rebound. There actually was no human in the paint, if I recall correctly. Reed's "read" and "court awareness" on that play was that nobody in their right mind would launch that 3, but Farokhmanesh did, and actually hit it. The fact that KU happened to lose to a unorthodox play like that is immaterial, because the percentages do not support such a playstyle (where is Ben Anderson and UNI now? What has that philosophy gotten them? Did they even make the Tourney lately?). And if Farokhmanesh missed that shot, everybody would have called such shot selection to be foolish.

Let's sum it up yet another way: the "freedom to shoot" doesnt cause the fundamental fact of 3att being a low% shot to change. It's still a low% shot. Look at IowaState, who is the new darling for the outside-in approach. I recall KU beating them on a day where the 'Clones shot dismally from 3. In their own gym. And Hoiberg was terse with a reporter when asked about Embiid ("did you actually watch the game and see that kid play?"). Why? Because Embiid was Self's classic high%finisher, and specifically turned the other team's highest % looks (inside the paint) into altered/blocked lower % attempts.

Self simply understands the law of basketball that an inside game of 55-65% FG% simply beats even the best 3point shooters (those better than 40% trey). Of course, nothing is set in stone: When your inside guys cannot finish (Stanford loss, UCLA loss), or when you dont defend the opponent who then gets confident with a few 3s (UNI, VCU), it could be a long day. Or, flip the coin: You can have greenlight, trusted shooters shooting KU outta the gym: Sherron vs. UNI, and Reed vs. VCU. Couple that fact with the lack of defense on opposing 3shooters in those same games, and you have the anatomy of what it takes for KU to get beaten.

No system is foolproof, or loss-proof. Self always tries to stack the percentages in his team's favor, at the system level--because it stacks our chances of winning, provided we execute the details.


Erich Hartmann 7 years, 3 months ago

Here's another spin: People think our philosophy "holds us back", maybe look at the gametape of UCLA, VCU, MichSt, Michigan, Stanford and see all the little (big) details of "in-game execution" in those losses that held us back. It happens. Good sound teams have occasional days where they just SUCK. Look at Florida this year getting bounced--only scored 51pts. Look at that veteran, senior-laden, team-ball playing MichState team this season--bounced out of the Tournament.

Would you level this same argument at Billy Donovan's system? Or at Tom Izzo's system? I think its a slow time for basketball, and people like to talk about it (so do I). Man, what would you folks say about Mike Kryzyewski's system: No Final4 x 9yrs, then an easy path NC...and now a 1st round Tourney bounce by M-e-r-c-e-r? That's a fellow royalty-level program. How about Roy at UNC and his last few years of soft, rollercoaster fluctuations of the quality of play--say something about his system? Most of you should know it well enough.

Why am I bringing up other 'respected' coaches and their playstyles? To put this discussion on Bill Self into a big picture perspective. Obviously needed.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 3 months ago

You are generally correct -- there is no perfect answer.

But I'm looking at KU in a vacuum. Looking at what we have, our successes, our failures -- and then what tweaking would improve our chances.

There is no perfect answer. And the answers can, in certain situations, create more peril.

But with great risk comes great reward. Self seems very unwilling, unless pushed into a corner, to create risk for his teams. That's all I'm talking about.

Stanford does not have a point guard .. not like us not having one, but they didn't have a good ball handler. And we don't apply any pressure until what, the 10 minute mark in the second half?

In a vacuum, that is a risk worth taking. Self determined that we could beat them without that. He was wrong. If we did it earlier, would we have won? Don't know. But we do know what happened when we didn't.

He just needs to open his mind a bit, in my ever so humble opinion. Free his mind.

Thomas Fawcett 7 years, 3 months ago

“I do think there is consensus that it needs to be moved, which I happen to be one of those guys; there’s also a strong consensus it’s just fine where it is."

I'm not sure Bill understands the meaning of consensus.

Mike Riches 7 years, 3 months ago

The majority of people agree with you, but the majority of people disagree as well.

Rodney Crain 7 years, 3 months ago

As we have seen in the NBA a short clock requires a talented play making shot making PG to be successful. Self will need to adjust how he views that position to ensure possessions are optimized. I can see coaches like Fred H. With NBA experience being a step ahead of other coaches for the first few years if this is implemented.

Chad Lee 7 years, 3 months ago

Disagree with the Black/Alexander comparison. Im not sure about Blacks wingspan he always looked a little short armed when trying to block shots. Alexander if im not mistaken has a 7'3 3/4 wingspan and seems to be a hawk when the ball goes up. Anyone know Mickelsons wingspan? Mick does he have a solid shot? 3?

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 3 months ago

I wold love to see a 30 second shot clock with an 8 second time frame to advance the ball to the front court. That will speed the game up without taking away a team's ability to run it's offense. 22 seconds would still be plenty of time even for a Bill Self team to run its ball reversal offense. Even 20 seconds if it was still a 10 second limit to advance the ball would be enough time to run the offense.

Andrew Horigan 7 years, 3 months ago

Not true at all. It's not taking it down too much. I think some college games can be extremely hard to watch at times when teams hit a low percentage of shots at a slow tempo. It would speed up the game just a bit and force teams to play with a little more urgency on offense. It could also be beneficial for teams that play good defense, which Self's teams generally do. I understand the NBA can be hard to watch at times when teams seem to give less effort than in college, but remember, a college season is much shorter than the NBA. And there's not much better basketball when teams like OKC and San Antonio playing each other.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 3 months ago

30 is a more logical number than 35. I say move it down to 30.

Len Shaffer 7 years, 3 months ago

When I was growing up, the Big 8 experimented for two years with a 30-second clock and I loved it. It was especially brutal at the end of those two years that the Big 8 went back to having no shot clock at all.

I've always thought that 30 seconds was the perfect amount of time to shoot. Even with a shot clock now, there are still way too many possession where teams just pass the ball around the perimeter and wait until the last 10 seconds to start initiating a play.

I also love Self's comments about the time to bring the ball past mid-court, and especially that a team shouldn't be rewarded for calling a timeout before they can get it there.

Dave Roberts 7 years, 3 months ago

Self will go so far as to say, “I think the consensus is the coaches like it at 35. I remember one of the coaches’ thoughts was, ‘Why do we have to be like everybody else? Why can’t we have our own game?’ Our own game is 35.

“I do think there is consensus that it needs to be moved, which I happen to be one of those guys; there’s also a strong consensus

Sorry Bill, but you can't have two different consensus.


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