Sunday, March 2, 2014

Notebook: Joel Embiid, Naadir Tharpe leave OSU banged up

The Oklahoma State student section explodes behind Kansas center Joel Embiid following a bucket by the Cowboys late in the second half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State student section explodes behind Kansas center Joel Embiid following a bucket by the Cowboys late in the second half on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self discusses KU's loss at Oklahoma State

KU coach Bill Self discusses KU's 72-65 loss at Oklahoma State.

Download podcast

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden's postgame press conference after 72-65 loss to Oklahoma State

Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden's postgame press conference after 72-65 loss to Oklahoma State.

Download podcast


Box Score

— Kansas University junior point guard Naadir Tharpe exited Gallagher-Iba Arena with a huge ice pack engulfing his entire left hand Saturday night.

He dislocated the thumb on his non-shooting hand in the Jayhawks’ 72-65 loss to Oklahoma State.

“It popped out. They just had to pop it back in so I could keep on playing,” Tharpe said of the thumb. “I should be good. It just popped out of place.”

He had six points, six turnovers and five assists in 34 minutes.

KU freshman Joel Embiid, who scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, needed to leave the game in the second half after re-injuring his back. He stretched under the supervision of trainer Bill Cowgill and returned.

Embiid not only limped off the court after the contest to the locker room, but trudged slowly to the team bus out of the arena. Some tears fell down his face as he was consoled by a parent of one of KU’s players.

“He tweaked his back,” Self said of the 7-footer, who has been slowed by back and knee injuries the past several weeks.

KU coach Self fittingly coached a milestone game — his 700th in a 21-year career — on Saturday at the place he was introduced to the college game, alma mater Oklahoma State.

The former Edmond High standout, who played point guard at OSU from 1982 to ‘85, was subject of a positive day-of-the-game column by John Hoover of the Tulsa World. 

The headline read: “Bill Self set for life at Kansas thanks to success.”

Hoover wrote: “Self won’t ever wear out his welcome in Lawrence. He’s just too good, and they adore him too much.”

Self entered Saturday’s game with a career record of 529-170. Seven coaches have had more career victories in their first 700 games coached: Adolph Rupp (593), Jerry Tarkanian (575), Roy Williams (566), John Kresse (558), John Wooden (545), Dean Smith (539) and John Calipari (538).

“Without question. I really do think we could retire here. We’re totally happy,” Self told the Tulsa World. “But I’m not saying that’s what we’ll do. I have no idea what the future holds. There will be a time where there’s a possibility they'll get tired of my rhetoric. It’ll grow stale on everyone. I hope it doesn't happen for awhile.

“But I understand the shelf life on a lot of coaches, especially at a high-major place. I don’t know exactly what it is. It probably varies from time to time. But I agree (with the notion) that it’s hard to keep improving if you’ve had some sustained success. Fortunately for us, we’ve kind of been able to.”

Self beloved in Stillwater: Self still has plenty of friends in Stillwater, many who would like to see him return to his alma mater as coach.

“I’ve forgotten most of my memories from back in age 18 to 22,” said Self, 51, who played at OSU from 1982 to '85. “The first time I went back (as KU coach) I made a mistake. It was a big game and they (Cowboys) were loaded. That was the year they went to the Final Four. We ended up losing in the Elite Eight, but they rocked us good.”

Indeed, Self’s first KU team fell to OSU, 80-60, in February of 2004 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

“I think I called three timeouts in the first four minutes and got a technical just so that way we could stop play a little bit to catch our breath, and they rocked us pretty good,” Self said. “(On that trip) I toured every place and went to lunch with old friends and all that, and I realized after that, we’re not going to go down that path again. It’s strictly a business trip. If I’m able to see some of my buddies, it’s after the game in the hallway as we leave.”

Best ever: Self on Thursday was asked who is the best player he’s ever coached.

“You could say Deron Williams was, but, he was just a freshman when I had him (at Illinois),” Self said of the Brooklyn Nets guard in an interview with Fox Sports radio’s Jay Mohr.

“He was the best defender on our team. I think he averaged only about eight (points) a game. As far as college players, the best college player I ever had was probably Wayne Simien for production. But, when you talk about who is going to be the best player.....the two guys I’m coaching now are going to be the two best players I’ve had. Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid will be the two best players I’ve ever had. The ceiling for both of them is so high. They’re both so young and green and just starting to figure it out. They can do some things that you just can't coach and they’re both ridiculously bright so I think they could be the two best I've ever had.”

Self on the Cowboys, who entered with an 18-10, 6-9 record. “Oh, I think they’re good. I think when (Michael) Cobbins went down (torn Achilles in December) that’s obviously a big blow,” Self said. “It would be the equivalent of one of our key players going down, so that was a loss. "They’re capable of beating anybody, and they’re certainly capable of beating anybody at home.

“Whether or not their talent level, if you’re going to rate them, I have a hard time doing that because I could look at different teams in our league, and based on how we play, who’s the hardest to guard, this or that, but I do think Oklahoma State is right at the top when talking about raw talent in our league."

KU has clinched the No. 1 seed for the Big 12 postseason tournament. The Jayhawks will play a yet to be determined foe in the quarterfinals at 2 p.m., Thursday, March 13 in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.


Rodney Crain 7 years ago

I would sit Joel up to the NCAA's if he needs the rest we will need him then badly. Tharpe, who cares. I am sorry he is hurt, but there is no reason we cannot plug Francamp in there at PG and see what he can do those last two games.

Walter Bridges 7 years ago

I wish he (Frankamp) was the answer but Tharpe is the best PG we have and when he is on his game he can be very effective. Unfortunately, Forest Gump would compare him to a box of chocolates.

Bill Kackley 7 years ago

I am so tired of Tharp's inconsistencies. I don' t like his showboat passes and ball handling and I don't like how he is mentally tuned out at times. He's a junior, playing like a freshman. But that being said, neither one of our freshmen point guards seem to be up to the task.

Robert Brock 7 years ago

Stop scapegoating. OSU wanted this one and Marcus Smart stepped up to secure the win. KU allowed the Cowboys to score 47 points in the second half. Self would have to admit that the KU defense stunk.

Jim MinorThreat 7 years ago

He's not scapegoating.. all players have off nights and Tharpe certainly had one this game. Marcus Smart did not do anything to cause tharpe to catch a pass with his head, etc. Yeah poor team defense in general (2nd half) but also poor focus on tharpes part.

Might have been a good idea to play more of the bench to keep the starter fresh for the end of the game.

Tharpe: Keep your head up as we will need you back to normal.

Ryan Michael 7 years ago

I'm glad someone else is pointing out his showboat passes. I wouldn't mind them if he was getting the job done the rest of the time... But when you are turning the ball over left and right and not playing any defense, you don't need to be trying your best to make sportscenter top 10.

Mark Lindrud 7 years ago

I'm not sure it's showboating, but it's often lazy. I do agree he sometimes seems out of tune. When Tharpe is playing focused and running the offense like he can we are unstoppable and Mason hardly sees the floor. That should be his motivation, that he will be in running the team, but we won't get far in the tourney if Tharpe makes unforced turnovers like he is known to do.

John Strayer 7 years ago

Dear Coach Self: Please recruit a true point guard prospect in the near future. The combo guard experiment is starting to turn awry.

Maybe Mason will turn into a true point guard...we'll see.

Ethan Berger 7 years ago

Funny how our title team was run by two combo guards...

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

Sorry, John, -1. Dear Coach Self, please do what is best for your team, as you have been coaching 21years.

Lesson 1: KU'08ChampHawks trophy delivered to you fans by 3 combo guards on that roster (Sherron, RussRob, Chalmers).

Lesson 2: KU makes the '12Champ game with 2 big athletic combo guards at the 1 and 2 (Tyshawn+EJ), but there is no depth. Above-rim-game, can defend with length. Can score variety of ways.

Lesson 3: Jacque Vaughn is gone. The days of our "purePG" who wouldnt score (& got disrespected by opponents) went out with Roy.

Lesson 4: Wayne Selden and Marcus Smart are big combo guards. Tyshawn and EJ were combo guards. When their game is on, they will be too much for a 5'10 guard to handle, especially when 3pt attempts are jumpshots (7inches taller, then add the natural vertical jump of a 6'4 kid doing a jumpshot).

Lesson 5: Do you see the defensive challenges posed by shorter guards? Tharpe is the most inconsistent. Mason is better, still a frosh. Frankamp has some defensive instincts, but truly has his hands full with guys taller than 6'3.

Let this season be a lesson that we need bigger combo guards, not smaller.

Let 2012 be a lesson that any 1 guard does need help, as EJ played better WITH Tyshawn, but no Tyshawn-sized or -skilled guy in 2012.

Multiple ball-handling, scoring guards on the floor at all times = the hurt-you-from-any-position that defines Bill Self teams. Dont chop our own head off by limiting us to a pass-only PG. You want to go into a game with the opponent already knowing that our PG is not a scorer??? (I dont want the J.Vaughn days, Self brought a better product and concept here. Look at Roy/UNC right now: they have resurged because M.Paige is a scorer in addition to a distributor. Seems Roy sees the wisdom of a 'combo' guard. Self has ended the last 3 UNC Tourney runs with combo-guard deadliness on offense and defense).

Get the concept, people, as now we are entering Self's 11th year? Jeez.

Walter Bridges 7 years ago

Just because a PG can score, it doesn't make him a combo guard. This simple concept seems to have you confused.

Jeff Darby 7 years ago

Wait until JoJo has to start banging with 6' 11" 260 lb centers/PFs in the NBA. He gets hurt enough playing against college players. I think at least one more year with Andrea Hudy would do him wonders!

Mark Lindrud 7 years ago

Completely agree. They say all the time a player's growth really happens between their frosh and soph years so give him another year to get stronger and take the pounding that the NBA will provide nightly. His game is almost ready, but his body is not. I believe he may get eaten up because he isn't strong enough yet.

Chad Smith 7 years ago

I think people need to calm down a bit. While tharpe is inconsistent, he's also our most veteran player and really stepped up in key spots this season. That was a tough game and one that OSU absolutely had to have. Smart's a great player,but man his flopping is starting to really annoy everyone. I also think OSU is a way better team than their record indicates. They have moved past the suspensions and injuries and have their best player playing well( yes he wasn't good the 1st half, but he's also smart enough to know how to score against Embiid). While I think we could have easily won the game, I don't think we need to think about it too much. like I said,OSU was playing at home and HAD to win. We just had some mistakes. work on those in practice and let's beatdown Texas Tech on Wednesday and refocus.

DaNeille Dani Davis 7 years ago

This team seems to have a lot of off nights. It seems to me that whenever the game has something riding on it or is important to win, they frickin play tight and like nervous little girls. I just don't understand why they can't play with the desire to win every game! Oh they say all the right things before and after a game but they never do what they say! I'm tired of these guys being scared to be the one to step up and play without fear. Because of their fear factor, as much as I hate to see it, we'll be lucky to make it out of the first round of the ncaa. They knew how much was riding on this game and they chickened out! Every team knows they can beat us. They are not afraid of us. Grow up and play ball.

Davoud Maha 7 years ago

Stop all the bull. This is a team that just won the Big 12 championship (one of the toughest leagues around.) I am proud of you guys. We have only lost 3 games. All others have 6. Next up -- Big 12 Tournament championship. let's win that next. Take it one step at a time.

Gerry Butler 7 years ago

ya, well I KNEW this was coming. we lose lets blame tharpe. did he have a p - - - poor game? well hell ya he did.; is he the ONLY ONE that cost us the game UH HELL NO. but hey lets use him as the scape goat ok. like has been referenced earlier this year the reason he gets pointed out soooo much he is the point guard. but he IS NOT the reason w lost. lets have a look shall we? 6 assists 22 turnovers but lets just check ok? perry ellis: 0 asst- 3 turnovers, traylor 0 asst 2 turnovers, our beloved Andrew wiggins 1 asst 6 turnovers, wayne Sheldon 0 asst 1 turnover. mr tharpe 6 turnovers ya AND tharpe 5 assts. tharpe also was tied for the most minutes played in the game so ya more likely he could AND he did have more turnovers but he played 34 minutes to, how many turnovers would these other players have if they would of played 34 minutes? but because he is the point guard in the lime light he gets the blame, none of the others right? you WIN as a TEAM, you LOSE as a team. how quickly we forget how tharpe has saved our ass in multiple games this year, hit the BIG shot at crucial times, but yet when he ha a bad game let the wolves come out. was he the one who let Oklahoma State tag us for 47 points in the 2nd half? was he the only one who allowed Oklahoma State to shoot 64 % in the 2nd half? are we sure it was his lack of concentration that got him hit in the side of the head? or here is a thought MAYBE just MAYBE it was the other player that screwed up and made the pass that wasn't suppose to be made for that called play. IF he is THAT bad why does self continue to play him the most? you gonna try and tell me mason needs to play in front of him? you gonna tell me mason isn't inconsistent? you gonna tell me mason is a better shooter? if not mason who? connor? seriously ? to slow, to small. brennan a kid that's got issues where he can't stay out of the dog house with self? if bill thought he could do better where the hell was he? didn't touch the floor. I got an idea lets play neiko Roberts how about that? I think its time to back off nadair just a little, ya he screwed up but he BY FAR is NOT THE PROBLEM FOR THESE LOSSES, BY HIMSELF ANYWAYS so letes put the blame on all the players where its due not just tharpe. turnovers by this team ha been our problem ALL year that any getting beat off the dribble drive by the opponent, but to say tharpe is the problem? come on hell that's ridicilious, GO HAWKS

Walter Bridges 7 years ago

There's a reason written English has some basic rules. I realize this forum and the internet in general allows for some variation and personal style but I quit halfway into your comment (ramble, whatever) as everything blurred into moronic gibberish.

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

BOTTOM LINE: Cannot have 22 turnovers. Ever. (Story of the game, this is more than about just Naadir Tharpe).

Mark Lindrud 7 years ago

A sloppy performance once tournament time begins will cost us. I do believe these guys will step it up and become more focused and it is more than Tharpe. I do wish we would bring in a PG with height though.

Bill Kackley 7 years ago

Sure it is. I wasn't blaming Tharpe for the loss, but he is the "adult" in the crowd and his showboat, back between the legs passes do not display leadership for this young team.

Walter Bridges 7 years ago

I don't mind the showboat passes, in fact I enjoy them IF he puts the other basic passes on target. Until you have sound fundamentals, leave the showboat passes to off season pick-up games.

Kevin Huffman 7 years ago

We've won lots of gms. while yet still having LOTS of TO's. No. The REAL difference in the gm. was Mc. Smart & Mk. Brown w/ 24 FTA's vs. Wiggins & Embiid with freaking TEN?!?!?!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.