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Originally published March 10, 2014 at 08:25p.m., updated March 11, 2014 at 12:25a.m.

Joel Embiid ruled out for Big 12 Tournament

Kansas center, who suffered a stress fracture in his back, unlikely to play first weekend of NCAAs

Kansas center Joel Embiid walks off the court holding his lower back after injuring it during the second half of the Jayhawks' Feb. 8, 2014 game against West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Joel Embiid walks off the court holding his lower back after injuring it during the second half of the Jayhawks' Feb. 8, 2014 game against West Virginia at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas University freshman center Joel Embiid, who has a stress fracture in his lower back, will miss the upcoming Big 12 basketball tournament and is a “longshot” to play the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, coach Bill Self said Monday night.

A spine specialist in Los Angeles determined Monday that Embiid is in the middle of the healing process. The 7-footer from Cameroon initially hurt his back on Feb. 8 against West Virginia, then after returning to action, aggravated the injury on March 1 at Oklahoma State. He has been shut down since then, missing the final two games of the regular season while being treated daily.

“Based on that (doctor’s report), this weekend is out,” Self said of the Big 12 tourney. “Next weekend, we feel like is a longshot, but the doctors are hopeful that if Joel works hard in rehab and progresses that it is possible that he could play in the later rounds of the NCAA Tournament if our team is fortunate enough to advance.”

The injury will not require surgery.

Doctors who met with Embiid on Monday morning in California explained that they feel their rehabilitation program has proven successful and assured Self and his staff that Embiid will fully recover and return to basketball within a few weeks.

“We’re all very disappointed for Joel,” Self said. “He’s worked so hard and improved so much. He’s been one of the most improved players in the country in such a short amount of time. The most important thing is for Joel to get healthy. We were hopeful, Joel was hopeful, the doctors were hopeful that his body would respond more rapidly to rehab, and that has not been the case.

“Everyone is 100 percent confident that Joel will heal and be back to normal soon, but the most important thing is that he gets well,” Self added. “We’re certainly not going to put him out there unless the doctors, his family and Joel are ready for him to go. I know how bad he wants it and that he will work his butt off to put him in a position where if our team is successful and fortunate enough to advance, he could return in later rounds.”

Self stressed on Monday that Embiid, who has missed three games total this season because of back pain, has been dedicated to the rehab process.

“From this point forward, it is not our policy to comment any further on our players’ day-to-day treatment unless there is significant change in playing status,” Self said. “Our team feels bad for Joel, but this in no way changes our original postseason goals, and our team will rally around this.”

Embiid, the 2014 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, broke the KU freshman record for blocked shots with 72. He averages 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds a game.

“He definitely helps us a lot defensively,” said sophomore Perry Ellis. “(Without him) we have to focus on keeping our man in front of us. He contests a lot of shots. We have to focus in on keeping people in front of us.”

Self acknowledges the loss of Embiid is huge.

“I really believe — and of course I’m biased — when he’s healthy and playing well, he has the potential to impact the game on both ends as much as anybody in the country,” Self said. “You can play through him offensively. He’s about as good a rim-protector as there is. Also a great defensive rebounder. If you’ve got Joel back there, he can be a bit of a deterrent (to players driving). I think he is as important to us defensively as anybody is to their respective teams. He can impact a majority of possessions on both ends.”

Request granted: Self said Monday on the Big 12 teleconference that Embiid’s family requested a second opinion, hence Embiid’s trip to L.A. with trainer Bill Cowgill.

“All that (seeing specialist) is basically precautionary and us basically doing what we promised the family we would do. They requested we should maybe have somebody else looking at it to make sure everybody was on board,” Self said. “So we’re doing that. That’s what we should do for all our athletes. That’s what’s happening.”

Self on the Jayhawks perhaps earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs: “For us to get back on the 1-line, I would say that we’d probably have to win the tournament, and Villanova would probably have to not win (Big East tourney). But that’s really not our focus. I just want us to play well this weekend.”

All-America: KU freshman Andrew Wiggins on Monday was named second-team All America by the Sporting News.

Embiid tweeted this on Monday night: “Back to Lawrence and GREAT weather>>better than LA’s!!! Tired though.”

Comments

Mike Tackett 1 year, 5 months ago

We bring them back to quick, time after time. KU as well as other schools. Big, big, trouble

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

This has nothing to do with how fast he came back. It's a stress fracture, not a muscle pull or tear. I had the exact same injury and there were days where I felt great and could do anything and there were days where reaching behind my car seat to get something put me out for two days.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Benz, not saying your injury is the same as Joel's, but how reasonable is it that he returns to play by late in the NCAA tournament?

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

My injury was spondylolisthesis, which is a displacement of a vertebrae caused by spondylolysis, a fracture/defect of the vertebrae. The stress fracture caused my vertebrae to slide a bit out of its original alignment and that would irritate the nerves which fired my back muscles into crazy spasms.

From all I have heard in the snippets available, it sounds liek Embiid has something similar. "can't be injured more by playing" and "will heal over time with rest" and "will just be a matter of pain tolerance" is the same prognosis I had.

I would expect that with the tremendous medical care and treatment that Embiid is likely receiving that he would be able to play again this year. I was up and running and back to training in apretty short amount of time after my initial injury. But again, it just sounds like he has something along the lines of what a did. By no means do I know how accurate that is. It could be something altogether different.

Bryan Mohr 1 year, 5 months ago

Maybe Embiid's injury is different, but I had lumbar vertebrae stress fracture in high school. According to sports medicine specialist, the bone fracture/s need 6 to 8 weeks complete rest to guarantee healing (followed by weeks of stretching and core muscle regimen so injury doesn't reoccur). But it's completely possible to be active on stress fractures before healing is complete, it will just be painful and will require another 6 to 8 weeks rest after to guarantee healing. If the goal is guaranteed complete healing before Embiid plays again, then he's out for the season. If he's going to just get well enough that pain is tolerable, then it is definitely possible for him to play - this thursday for that matter. My guess is that he won't play until "required". No Big-12 tourney, and as long as KU is winning in the NCAA tourney without Joel, he'll be on the bench. It's likely that he'll be needed 2nd round though.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 5 months ago

This sucks. As helpless as we proved to be without Embiid vs. West Virginia, we could be in for a short postseason and may finish the year with a whimper. This season will be remembered less for winning a 10th straight Big 12 title and more for being the first 10-loss season for Kansas since 2000.

I hope I am wrong, but given the way this team dogs it on defense, I fear that I am right.

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

I agree. My prediction is 23-10. But not because Embiid is out. It's because we lost our motivation once we won the conference. And I don't see us getting it back. We'll use losing Embiid as an excuse for losing our next two games, just like we did for the WVU game.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

You think Kansas is going to lose in the first round of the ncaa tourney? Please turn in your Kansas fan card. That's ignorant.

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

You're confusing being a fan with being optimistic.

If we have to play any team as good as West Virginia, and we show the drive we did against West Virginia, yes I do expect to lose. I hope I'm wrong.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

West Virginia would beat every 15 seed in the tourney by double digits. Delaware is slated to be a #13 seed after beating William & Mary by one point in their conference final. West Virginia beat William & Mary 82-45.

Ryan Sullivan 1 year, 5 months ago

I think the 10 losses is correct, since anything fewer would mean that we would win the big 12 and/or the ncaa tournaments. Not sure about the 23 wins though. I don't see us losing in the 1st round to a 15 seed.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

Kansas will win their first game in the NCAA probably going up against a mid-major automatic qualifier. I think they have a good shot of making the Sweet 16 depending on matchups but past that, I don't feel so positive.

Sam Constance 1 year, 5 months ago

I feel sorry for people who will remember 10 losses over 10 straight.

Josh Galler 1 year, 5 months ago

sucks but we have some good depth in Black, Perry, Taylor Lucas and even Wesley.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

But not enough to make any serious run at the NCAA. The good news is that next year's will be led by freshman OADs also.

Wait... maybe that's not good news.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

We will not make it out of the 3rd round of NCAA tournament if we get that far. Congrats on 10th B12 crown, but that is it for this season.

Get well Joel, do not worry about this season any more!!!

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

Good grief. Have you guys seen some of the teams that are slated to be in the 7-10 games? KU should be fine to get through to the Sweet Sixteen without Embiid.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

I am still stating the same thing, poor PG play, inconsistent defense will have us heading home early. Sweet 16 is our ceiling. Joel's injury only supports this claim.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

It will always come down to match ups and upsets. If our bracket plays 100% chalk then We might have a tough time getting past the Sweet Sixteen but you never know. I think there will be a record number of teams seeded in the 7-13 range making the Sweet Sixteen this year. Get lucky and draw one of those and we may be moving on. Or we could end up with Syracuse as our #3 seed who is really struggling. I'd pick KU w/o Embiid to still beat them.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

Syracuse had just THREE players score more than 3 points in a game against 15-16 Georgia Tech last week. Let that sink in...

JD Roth 1 year, 5 months ago

You kidding? KU is getting ready to roll baby as Self shows his mettle as a Hall of Fame coach and Embiid embraces rehab and comes back stronger than ever. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!

David Kemp 1 year, 5 months ago

This really bites. Can't believe the season is going to end like this. Never thought Jo Jo would be this big a factor form game one but. Clearly he has been the X factor and for this team to go someone is going to have to be a leader.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 5 months ago

Jojo, get well soon! Cant' wait to see you back in action in April!!

Garrett Coleman 1 year, 5 months ago

Steve this is an awesome post! We will be playing in April, everyone should steal a little of your faith.

Brian Mellor 1 year, 5 months ago

Jesus, I bet you guys are real hoots at weddings. "Congrats! But this is definitely the high point!"

Chad Lee 1 year, 5 months ago

Rodney the world is always ending with you. This team has as good a chance to win it as the past few. Suck it up and stop with the world's ending Nostradamus crap. The glass is half full my friend

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Lol Chad sure it does..........

What have you possibly seen that you think this is going to turn out positive? It was a nice season, but we are not going anywhere with Black, and Tharpe starting! There are so many of you blue sky people in here it is hilarious!!!

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

In Rodney's defense, he's way more optimistic than I am.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Thanks Titus, being realistic is well so hard for some

Steve Hengeli 1 year, 5 months ago

Are you going to watch KU's Big 12 tournament / NCAA tournament games?

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

Buy the past few, are you referring to the teams after 2008?

Mark Wooden 1 year, 5 months ago

Shut him down for the rest of the season. Go pro Joel as you will be a top 5 pick. His NBA career and big money are more important then risking permanent injury. The program is bigger than the player and the NBA is obvious where he should be. The program will survive.

Mark Lindrud 1 year, 5 months ago

He needs to stay one more year and get stronger. If his body wore down from college players it will be worse next year. He needs a year to develop his strength so he can take the NBA pounding or his career could be short lived

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

If he goes pro, we get Myles Turner. Good news either way.

Jack Jones 1 year, 5 months ago

Seriously,??? Probably the silliest thought I've seen. Turner = Embid ?? Hardly.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

Embiid isn't putting up monster numbers. I feel pretty confident that we can get the same type of production from Alexander/Turner as we get from Embiid/Black.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

Jack don't know JACK. You have no idea what you are talking about. Turner is the #6 ranked player in the 2014 class (same as JoJo was) and has a lot more basketball experience. Would a second year Embiid be better? Of course if he can stay on the court.

Maybe thinking before posting is something you should look into.

Mark Lindrud 1 year, 5 months ago

We need a quality point guard more than a center next year.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

No argument from me Mark but there aren't any left for next season.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

It's a stress fracture; there is zero risk of permanent injury. I had the exact same injury in my late teens.

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

I just walked outside and the sky hit me in the head.

Gerry Butler 1 year, 5 months ago

well,agreed, major major blow, and for anyone to try to say black can step in and replace jo jo uh ya let me hit that pipe with you I am gonna need something. sit back and watch how teams will attack the rim on us now. missing the big 12 tourney isn't as bad, but to miss games in the NCAA'S that sucks. we get lucky we will win the 1st but it will be really ruff to win that. and it IS POSSIBLE now that when it comes time for seeding that the committee won't take this into consideration? don't be surprised that they MAY even drop us to a 3 seed now wouldn't that be sweet. all this tells me is just more evidence may not end up playing a part of the out come but this is as far aas I am concerned where jo jo definitely needs to come back for another year needs to get a lot STRONGER to be ready to be able to play in the NBA we will see I guess. but I agree this season looks pretty bleak for an ending now.

Taylor Wright 1 year, 5 months ago

Not sure why everyone is being so negative. Tarik has proven that he can successfully replace Embiid if he stays out of foul trouble. My concern is still what it was before. Tharpe shows little effort on the defensive end and it plagues the team. He needs to step up and make shots to make up for his lack of defense, or else we'll be out in the first round. I believe this team will accept the challenge, rather than crumbling under the pressure. Wiggins is fully capable of carrying us through the Big 12 tourney and the first couple of rounds of the NCAA tourney.

Brian Mellor 1 year, 5 months ago

"Not sure why everyone is being so negative."

Are you new here? ;D

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

Taylor, Black raises first foul 25 seconds into the game at West Virginia. When he plays at home, all his statistics improve greatly compared to his game performances.

I would almost prefer Frankamp start at PG and bring Tharpe off the bench.

Shane Johnston 1 year, 5 months ago

Last 5 (!) games Connor has 1 assist and no turnovers. You can't really favor no production over what Nadir gives us, can you?

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

Shane..I was thinking that it might take some pressure off of Tharpe. No doubt without Tharpe we lose but it seems that he has had several bad starts in games of late.

Brian Conrad 1 year, 5 months ago

Very important this team steps up and wins Big 12 tourney now... before could care less about big 12 tourney , now we need the time for others to understand new role . do think we drop to 3 seed if we lose first game ... Concern for Jo first of course , biggest thing is get better ! is the Family sending a message? they wanted another Dr. does this mean they will not let him chance playing the rest of year? Time for Ellis , Black , Traylor to take huge step forward or chances slim for Final Four.. Nadir can not have bad game with Embiid out.

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

Brian, good point about Ellis, Black and Traylor. And let's not forget Lucas. Even Wesley. They all have the ability to step up. I'm getting a flashback to Aldrich in the '08 Final Four.

Brian Conrad 1 year, 5 months ago

we will be playing very tough team in second game NCAA .. we could be playing Ohio State , Kentucky or Memphis next weekend...

William Weissbeck 1 year, 5 months ago

On the bright side, only UK has height. Also on the bright side, the refs tend not to foul out guys in the tournament. On the downside, anyone playing KU is going to drive past our perimeter right into Black. Anyone who remembers '97 should recall that Jerrod Hasse probably should have been looked at much sooner and held out that first weekend. If I recall correctly it was the game against Santa Clara that he re-injured the wrist.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

"the refs tend not to foul out guys in the tournament"

We don't know what the tourney officiating will be like with the new rule enforcement this season.

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

Three weeks to recover from a stress fracture in the back? Does anyone other than me think that seems awfully quick?

On another note, how will this injury affect Embiid's draft status?

William Weissbeck 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm reading 2-3 months. Rest and only rest. It's like shin splints that become stress fractures - once you have, you have to rest. Bone heals when it heals. Nothing speeds it up other than complete rest. As to draft - that could be very tricky. Brandon Rush had to prove his knee was good. But the NBA is littered with "projects," so who knows what they will pay for.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 5 months ago

That does sound quick, but the way I read it was that he was actually a fair amount of time into his recovery and this was just a set back. Could be wrong though.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

The injury didn't just happen. It has been 4-6 weeks since he first got hurt. The main thing is keeping the surrounding muscles stretched and relaxed. It's that tight muscle pain that's keeping him out.

Michael Leiker 1 year, 5 months ago

Thinking the NCAA will take this into account when setting KUs draw.

Michael Leiker 1 year, 5 months ago

Just saying that if I'm the NCAA I want Embiid to make an appearance in the tourney, I think we'll see an easier road to the 2nd weekend.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Wow. Let me say this out loud.... They are going to tweak the tournament for a freshman, who is injured and likely need a month plus to heal, so he can make an appearance??? Yeah sure that is what they will do.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

And you don't think the draw and seeding are related? This must be your first rodeo.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

They aren't going to take it into account. Let's move on...

Sam Constance 1 year, 5 months ago

Which is complete BS. Seeding should be a reward for what you accomplished, not an effing attempt by the committee to soothsay what a team is like with or without a specific player.

How in the world does that room of suits think they can accurately determine just what kind of team KU is without Embiid. I think we all agree that we aren't as good without him, but it's garbage to penalize us for an injury after all the work we put in to earn the seed we are slated to earn.

Jim MinorThreat 1 year, 5 months ago

Love Embiid's game, presence and hustle. I agree, shut it down for the year however.

Miles Turner, step right up...

Chris Hicks 1 year, 5 months ago

COME ON KU FANS!!!! Where is your pride? We still have a very talented team. They will raley around this. Selden will get more plays set for him and wiggins. We still have black, who as we all have seen, can have monster games. We can and we will make it to the second weekend and will have jo jo back. This season is far from over. Heads up fans the boys need our support.

Garry Wright 1 year, 5 months ago

I agree with you. I'm getting really tired of all the chicken little's with their negative posts. No one knows how we are going to do. We still have the talent to go deep into the tourney and we could flop. I chose to hope for the positive and not be negative. We have some really good players and this could well be the time that they really jell.Go Jayhawks!

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Typical blue sky poster. What can you see that says this team is going far in the NCAA's? All you have is baseless hope. Hold on to that and your couch pillow cause this team does not have what it takes to win 3 games without Joel. What we saw in WV is the team we have right now.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

The West Virginia game was completely meaningless; the ncaa tourney games are not. If you cannot wrap your brain around that difference then you are doomed.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Meaningless to seeding, ranking, to our confidence? To our PG? We got smoked by a team with a losing record in the last game of the season. Good teams do not get beat like that. They lose, they are losing but not like that. 2 weeks ago you were agreeing with our dire straights now Mr. Calm and Hope, sorry I don't buy it Benz.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

Have you not watched the last few weeks of college basketball? Virtually every good team in America has done exactly the same thing:

Arizona just lost @Oregon Virginia just lost @Maryland Duke just lost @Wake Forest Syracuse lost at home to BC and Ga Tech Wisconsin just lost @Nebraska

The list of losses by good teams to unranked teams is WAY longer than this but you get the point.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Which one of those was down by 25 with 17 to play. We got blown out...

Margaret Schadler 1 year, 5 months ago

Interesting re motivation that we played well at home and against Texas after Texas beat us but were flat against teams that we beat then played away the second time. Took them too lightly. It's bothersome to me that they cannot seem to regroup, ie, wake up, as a team when they are behind 10 points toward the end of the first half, or come out to start the second half with a Kansas run... Mason is fast and gutsy but his layups in a crowd of bigs don't work.

kellerman411 1 year, 5 months ago

This is Wiggins' chance to prove that he can flat out carry a team Lebron James style.

Rock Klein 1 year, 5 months ago

Can you say, "Andy and the Miracles"?

Tyson Ailshie 1 year, 5 months ago

Now our postseason will live or die by Tharpe...

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

Our postseason was going to live or die by Tharpe with or without Embiid.

Erin Troyer 1 year, 5 months ago

Gah....I hope I brought enough cheese for you people....

Scott Smetana 1 year, 5 months ago

PikesPeakSmitty here,

OK, OK, Titus and Rodney, we get it. KU has no chance for the Final 4. I called out several downer Debbies after our loss to OSU in '08. I look forward to hearing your public apologies in April.

I can't think of any teams that don't have flaws this year. (except for maybe Florida).
Just look at what Black did against Texas Tech. He can do it. I'd much rather have Black than a bruised Embiid playing weak and clumsy. Tharpe will come to play, just like he did against Michigan last year.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Ok I am up for that Scott. What do we get from you when we are right?

Will you say guys you were right we just were not the same team without Joel. Guys I agree Tharpe is just not a B12 PG?

Do you agree to respond in kind or is that just beneath you?

Sae Thirtysix 1 year, 5 months ago

RC - how about if "you are right" . . . you can just gloat in the comment column after the basketball banquet about your prognostic abilities?

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

So let me get this down. Is your stance that we will win ZERO more games this season? One more game? Two?

PikesPeak says we'lll be in the final four. What do you say?

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

Pikes Peak, nothing would make me happier than to publicly apologize when (if) we make it to the Final Four. Almost nothing.

The key to a run isn't Embiid. It's energy and defense. Both were lacking in our last game.

I agree with you on preferring Black to an injured Embiid. I want to see him get healthy for whatever comes next - hopefully a sophomore year and a long hall of fame career.

Scott Smetana 1 year, 5 months ago

Even before Embiid's injury, I'm not sure this isn't one of the weakest teams we've had in our 10 year stretch. I'd love to see people rank the 10 years, with '08 obviously the best. This team is just too inconsistent, especially on defense.

HOWEVER, our 10 teams have been freaking amazing and even if this is #10, I feel we have a great chance to make the Final Four. I say we make it to the Elite 8. Anything less I'll gladly apologize for being an optimist. Titus and Rodney, if we make the B12 finals and sweet 16+, I want some serious crow eating, especially to Tharpe and all of us fans who are smarter than you:)

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

If we make the Final Four, serve up a double order of crow for me. After the SDSU loss at home, I didn't think we had any chance to win the conference. So I owe you at least one crow-eating. I hope it's two.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

OK Scott so I fall on my sword and if your wrong you apologize for being an optimist. Sounds fair... Sorry If I am going to -- do some serious crow eating, especially to Tharpe and all of us fans who are smarter than you - Than I want to you eat some serious crow and say how sorry you are to everyone that you basically do not deal in reality sometimes when it comes to realistic expectations about your team and you are not smarter than most on all here. Lets make this even at least....

Steve Hengeli 1 year, 5 months ago

The way it's looking now... NIT might be a possibility. The Committee puts a major emphasis on "lost motivation" and "one-and-dones have not bought into the system." We should stop recruiting five-star players. We need five-heart players.

Anyone who can't see that a top ten KenPom team will lose its next two games has their heads stuck in the "phog." Get a grip on reality people. It's over. And if you dare to hope... that a flawed team that is not the best team in the country might make a run in the NCAA tournament... Then this tournament is not for you. My bracket is filled out already. Chalk, chalk, WuShock, and chalk. But no rock chalk.

When we lose it all, I'm going to sit there and watch the game on DVR, smoking a cigarette and saying "I told you so."

If we win it all, it's only because the coaches and players read my posts. I lit a fire in them. I anti-jinxed it. It was the long con!

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

You do realize that Russell Robinson, Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins were all five-star players from the 2008 championship team?

What we don't need is to have more than half our starting line-up to be OADs. Self does best when he develops players who are invested more in the team then heading off to the NBA.

Mick Allen 1 year, 5 months ago

Russell Robinson was not a 5 star recruit.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank you Aaron...Mick's bulb isn't very bright.

Allen Shepard 1 year, 5 months ago

lol... only person that read this whole post

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

props to you Steve Hengeli.

This post is legendary. You played every angle like a bassmaster.

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

Steve, point taken. I love it. Where's that sarcasm font when you need it?

Billy Derringer 1 year, 5 months ago

Am I the only person in the world who see's that Tharpe has been shaving points all year. Wake up people it doesn't take a F B I agent to tell when someone is shaving points. His errant passes an bad shoots an turn overs all year, then other games he plays normal? I say this an believe this just go re-watch some of the games its obvious.

Jack Jones 1 year, 5 months ago

Yeah, Billy ~ I would bet good ~ make that Big money that you are "the only person in the world who see's that Tharpe ...........shaving points.........". But, that can't be headline news to those who know you. What a wacko! Conspiracy theory much??

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Billy he is not that good lol.... Go away

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

lol..He isn't good enough to shave points. That is far outside his skill level.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if that came out but I doubt it.

Ben Schwartz 1 year, 5 months ago

Interesting. After listening to the podcast with Self on the LA trip, he said something to the effect of them "expecting the same, or about the same prognosis" as was obtained from whomever he was evaluated by in the Lawrence area. He also made it seem like they were anticipating his return next weekend and spoke plenty of him potentially playing in the Big12 tourney.

So if they already knew or thought it was a stress fracture, why would he be so optimistic in the first place? Selection Committee?

And if they didn't know it was a stress fracture, why would the specialist be confirming the stress fracture prognosis?

This is all strange and distracting. We still have a lot of great players ready to play, but I'm not sure if I prefer being lethargic or distracted more heading in to March...

stupidmichael, I hope you have room in your boat because I am scared now.

Ben Schwartz 1 year, 5 months ago

On a relevant note -

This is Barnes, that offensive lineman Ridley, and the Austin game referee crew's fault. That game was WAY too physical and the refs did nothing about it.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't think JoJo needed to be in the game when he was injured. The game was basically over and there was no to risk any injuries. JMO.

Ben Schwartz 1 year, 5 months ago

While I am still not entirely convinced that that JoJo's injury didn't start in the Austin game, I mistakenly was thinking the "funny landing" happened at the end of that game instead of the WVU in AFH game.

@Walter: He probably shouldn't have been in at the end of the WVU game, but I don't think it is a morally sound coaching decision to sub players because of injury risk considering if he isn't out there risking injury, another player is. He should have been on the bench for other reasons though, with the added benefit of not risking injury.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

Tough call but the back injury was a known entity and the odds of another player being injured would be far less. Most coaches will try to protect their star players at that point.

Ben Schwartz 1 year, 5 months ago

If we assume Embiid was injured, or at least "beat-up" in the UT game (and I think we both agree there), and Self was aware of said condition, you would definitely be correct.

Everything seems to be saying that no one knew anything about a specific problem until the WVU game though.

Erich Hartmann 1 year, 5 months ago

Ben, that's a curious idea of yours: that taking a player out to protect from injury is morally questionable, because you are putting the sub now at risk for injury? I guarantee you NO NCAA, NBA, NFL coaches think that way. And if you asked most subs/2nd string/3rd string guys: they WANT to play. They want their chance on the hardwood! Maybe kids should all STOP playing after the age of biddy-ball, as someone/anyone could possibly get hurt? Have you ever played basketball, sir? My goodness. What is sports to you?

Ben Schwartz 1 year, 5 months ago

You missed my point.

Of course subs want to play. Starters want to play as well. Subs want to see starters play, and starters want to see subs play. That isn't relevant at all.

What is relevant is, assuming all things equal and there is a hypothetical chance for a player to be injured at any moment if they are in the game, benching a player solely to not subject him to said chances of being injured ends up subjecting another player to those same chances. If that is the case, the preference held by the third party decision-maker of one player over another potentially getting injured is... morally questionable.

There are plenty of additional reasons to sub at the end of a game, namely sportsmanship and fatigue. Embiid only played around 17 minutes that game because of foul trouble. Self may have thought the game was close enough and Embiid was fresh enough to keep him in. Sure, some coaches probably sub to prevent injury of their star players. That doesn't make it less morally questionable.

You hold a gun to my head and ask me: "Which would you prefer sustains a season-ending injury, Embiid or Wesley?" Thinking only of KU basketball's success, a decision could be reached pretty quickly. Thinking only of who I assume stands to lose more individually, it is also pretty easy. But, being as though they are both human beings and athletes, it is still morally questionable for me to make that decision.

To answer your questions: "Maybe kids should all STOP playing after the age of biddy-ball, as someone/anyone could possibly get hurt?" -- Since my point had nothing to do with the risks of playing sports, and was instead addressed at deciding who plays based on who you least prefer getting injured... no, I personally don't think they should stop.

"Have you ever played basketball, sir?" -- Yes. Probably less than the average poster around here, though.

"What is sports to you?" -- Organized games pitting individuals or groups of individuals against each other which, given a marginal level of competitiveness, can be very entertaining to participate in and/or spectate by those who enjoy competition.

Erich Hartmann 1 year, 5 months ago

Ben, thank you for the eloquent reply and logical elaboration on your points. Its just my half-cent worth opinion that the moral angle of "exposing the sub to injury" is simply not an issue relevant enough to draw widespread debate. I only engage you in it, simply because I do not recall anyone ever bringing up the issue--so this is a "unique" sidebar we have here. As a point of factual definition, you are of course correct, that now the substitute player is indeed being put in to a (hazardous) situation.

You are to be commended for bring this novel fact to light. But if one was to bring this fact up in a 'Div.1 coach's conference' or similar gathering, I wonder what their response would be? They are the 'perpetrators' of such decision-making, right?

The injury risk is actually accepted by each player when they decide to play their sport, so the coach's morality is somewhat mitigated by that fact. There will always be a portion of players that suffer season-ending injury. It could happen to anybody, and every player knows it...but you arent supposed to think about it--how can one be effective if they have fear lurking? Do the conditioning, strength-training (which programs lucky enough to have a PhD Hudy have down to a science), and also hope Lady Luck is favorable to you--> and just go play.

I will close with the concept of the ethics of "intent": Remember, there is no "gun" to a coach's head when he subs Wesley in for Embiid, because he is absolutely NOT sending Wesley to his doom. His decision is to get a tired player off the floor, and to award Wesley some mpg. It can very likely be proved that the fatigued player is a much more risk for injury than the fresh player, and fatigued players may get injured at a much higher rate than fresh players. Your gun-to-head descriptor is of a very stark, polarized situation like its a certainty that Embiid will get hurt...so lets send Wesley in to blow his knee out. Man, there is no guarantee/certainty of injury whatsoever.

Let me give you some medical examples: Whenever Ive seen sports injuries, including ACL tears or Achilles tears (real season-ending stuff), or concussions...one of the most common question coming straight from the injured is: "when will I be able to play?" And finally, think of all the 365 Div.1 Men's teams, and all the banging (by those not named Ellis, sorry...) that goes on. How many end up with a stress fracture in their back? I know Mitch McGary of Mich is sufferring from a back ailment...but who else? Cobbins (OSU) out with Achilles. Who else? How common? How certain? We arent having some poor GI walk the point on Dday beach, to replace his just-blownup buddy. Its not the same risk level whatsoever. Compare Div.1 bkball to football or to military examples, and you will find a ton more relevance away from basketball, my good man. Take care, RCJH.

Ben Schwartz 1 year, 5 months ago

I am happy to see that this turned out to be more of a discussion than a point of contention, Erich. When traversing the internet, one must be ready to defend their opinions against aggressive (and often, unwarranted) attackers. I apologize if any of that instinct came through in my reply to you previously as it is too easy to forget that we are all friends when KU is playing. (RCJH)

In responding to the great point Walter made, I only brought the moral decision topic to light based on the statement: “The game was basically over and there was no [need] to risk any injuries.” I went on to agree with the assessment that Embiid probably shouldn't have been in the WVU game at the end when he tweaked his back, but for reasons other than injury risk. It was more a partial justification for Self not taking him out than anything else. I didn't really intend to incite a coffee table discussion on the topic, but it makes me proud to be a Jayhawk alum/fan when this type of discussion can arise on the local sports site comments.

Erich, I agree with a large amount of your points including, but not necessarily limited to: a.) the issue is not relevant enough/the inherent risk of injury simply playing basketball is not significant, b.) the issue is not as black and white as it becomes in debate c.) there is more relevancy in more injury-prone activities.

There are so many factors influencing susceptibility to injury that it isn't worth trying to hash out. Just as an example: a 7-footer is certainly, to some degree, more prone to injuries. Arguably, a “less capable” (I put that in quotes to try to denote that as words chosen carefully, everyone on the KU roster is degrees of magnitude more capable than myself) player that has sit on the bench for an hour (give or take 15 minutes or so) since doing any kind of pre-game or halftime warm-up is subject to a certain degree of risk associated with jumping in to a full-speed game as well (which may be considered when noting that by the end of decisive games it is usually deep-bench vs deep-bench). I certainly agree that fatigued players are more injury-prone, too. I agree with the “just go play” mentality that you mentioned, and I think that is the mentality that should be, and is, often assumed by most coaches and players.

(cont)

Ben Schwartz 1 year, 5 months ago

The moral play only becomes significant when you assume injury risk as the primary driving factor for a substitution of two presumably healthy players which, as we have seemingly agreed on, isn't normally the case but in the instance of retroactively deciding Embiid needed to be subbed out at the end of the WVU game BECAUSE he would get injured, is. The coach surely never INTENDS any player to get hurt, but you cannot sub a player with no immediately apparent abnormal injury-susceptibility out on the grounds that you are protecting him (intent to protect a player from risk), without considering that the player coming in is subjected to the exact same (inherent-by-playing-basketball) risk (intent to expose a player to risk). The fact that all players accept the inherent risk of injury playing basketball essentially “zeroes-out” the moral responsibility of the coach (as you said), but when a decision is made based on that very same inherent risk (subbing a capable star player out to not risk injury) isn't that taking advantage of that player acceptance?

The gun-to-the head example was merely a vague attempt to shed light on how a personal decision becomes morally questionable. The proverbial gun-to-the head implies that there are limited choices and one must be chosen to move forward, so to be fair, in observing the need for 5 players on the court and a coach’s decision between 2 or more players to fill any one of the five spots, I argue it is an applicable usage. But once again, that decision shouldn't be based on “who do I prefer gets injured (if anyone gets injured)?” though and instead should be based on “who gives us the best chance to win because of effort, fatigue level, etc.?” and “do they have an exceptionally high risk of being injured by normal play?”

Erich Hartmann 1 year, 5 months ago

Ben, also consider the converse of your point: Sending Wesley to take the injury...but what about the starter's risk of injury? You said your point was based on who you "prefer" take the injury--> but the whole injury is not a given. Its not. So are you saying we must (by logic) prefer the starter to take the brunt of the injury risk, because he plays way more minutes? You cannot divorce away the idea of risk. Risk exists, yes--but a guarantee of injury does NOT. Starter has more risk, because he plays 6-8 times as many mpg as Wesley does. So what's the ethical quandry there? Your point is defeated on 2 grounds: 1) Starter has way more risk. (and corrollary to that is sub would choose to be that starter if he could). 2) "Intent" of coach is not to send the sub in for certain doom (as your gun2head implied we were "forcing" the poor coach to choose which player gets the doom). There is no gun...coach isnt sending anyone knowingly to certain doom. Yes, injury risk does exist, but its very negligible. Your point is a true one, but one of minutia, more for coffee-table philosophical discussions (which is what our discussion amounts to), not relevant to the thousands of young adults actively/freely choosing to play Div.1 basketball. I can almost picture what Jay Bilas, one of the true college basketball intellectuals we have today, might say about this. Questions of logic (what about the starter's risk?), questions of intent (coach isnt intending anybody to get hurt, because it most certainly is NOT a gun-to-head guarantee anybody will get hurt), and also by comparison to far more heinous examples of risk (other more dangerous sports or vocations, like MMA, NFL, military, or ancient times bloodsports w/gladiators). And really, what would Bill Self or Coach K or Bobby Knight say about this 'moral' point?

Larry Ralston 1 year, 5 months ago

Wow, so many Negative Nellies in here. None of you have an apparent understanding of the COLLEGE game nor do you have any faith or trust in your coaching staff or the other 16 - 17 players on this team. Wow, just unbelievable to me how you can say that the season is over just because JoJo is out for a few more games.

Somehow you Negative Nellies can't figure out that these players are young and LEARNING and if you don't think they learned anything from the WVU game, you are all lost and there is no hope for you.

Could they lose early in either tournament? Sure they could. Let's let the players play, the coaches coach and the fans WATCH. I think you will see a team like the KU team that played TTech. Funny, none of you seem to think that Ellis, Wiggens Black, Selden Jr., Mason, Traylor and Lucas can play ball. Without JoJo, we are lost. I say bull! Sit back, relax and watch this team continue to amaze you. With these players and our coaching staff? Negative? I think not!

Beau Woolsey 1 year, 5 months ago

I feel like my dog just died and by dog I mean KU's title chances.

Beau Woolsey 1 year, 5 months ago

It's going to be hard but KU has the talent to do it with or without Embiid.

Beau Woolsey 1 year, 5 months ago

This is like when Syracuse lost fab melo before the tourney except KU has wiggins and Embiid could return.

Cary Ediger 1 year, 5 months ago

I just hope that Joel is ok, playing basketball for KU is really cool ....but having a healthy back the rest of your life is a lot more cool.

Rest and let your back heal.

Michael Sillman 1 year, 5 months ago

I have to agree with the prior posters that it is simply not possible for KU to ride the shoulders of one special star and a bunch of role players to a national championship.

That kind of goofy stuff never takes place in March Madness.

Wait a minute! Didn't that happen once before?

Luca Rossi 1 year, 5 months ago

RockkChalkk Thoughts:

1) The batch of comments above take the cake for worst comments on any article all year long. The negativity is sickening. Hopefully our team doesn't catch the bug you all are spreading around.

2) Coming into this season the majority had expectations for JoJo lower than he has performed. We were all confident with the team having Jo still learning behind Black and contributing off the bench. So just because he had a breakout year and we would be so much better with him in our rotation does not mean we're not a good team without him.

3) Am I missing something?? Jo hasn't even been ruled out of the NCAA first weekend yet and based on the poster comments above its sounding like he won't play in the tournament at all. If he is eventually ruled out then fine, we'll deal with it. Getting to the second weekend of the tournament should be expected even without Jo. Its March Madness, its a time when special players step up. Our team is full of special players capable of stepping up and having big games. Hopefully our first few games are in St. Louis and our home crowd can make an impact.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

Way to step up Luca.

We expected a top 5 team this year with Embiid backing up Black. Black was the known commodity, and Embiid the project. He was going to take two or 3 years to develop. Well, he's out for now, and Black has got to do was he came here to do.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

All that means is that we were wrong about our early season expectations of Embiid; not that losing him is less of a loss.

That said, Kansas is an excellent team when they are playing aggressively. They can do that with or without Embiid. If they come out and play with passion and energy they will be fine. Do I EXPECT Kansas to go to the Final Four? No and I didn't even when Embiid was fine and available. Do I still think that Kansas has the ability to go to the Final Four even without Embiid? YES. They aren't a one trick pony. It will take the best effort of numerous players but doesn't tourney success ALWAYS rely on that?

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

Fact: KU is 4-1 at neutral sites this season Fact: KU has lost 6 true road games this season Fact: KU has zero true road games remaining

Rodney Crain says that the team that we watched against WVU is that same team that we will watch the remainder of the season.

Larry Ralston says that the team that we watched against TTU is the same team that we will field in forseeable upcoming games.

KU has played horrible on the road all year. We barely sneaked out of Lubbock with a 1 pt win. I was very disappointed with the loss to WVU, but at the final buzzer what I saw was a team rallying together and in a furious comeback playing better than they had all year long in true road games. It was the emergence of the Andrew Wiggins that we all expected, the one who can take over the game, and it was the resilience of guys like Ellis, Mason, and Traylor that put us in a position to nearly force overtime against a team that was psyched for Senior Day and playing lights out all night.

If we see the same team that played the final 6 or 8 minutes against WVU, then we've got a lot of action left this year.

Brian Mellor 1 year, 5 months ago

I thought earlier that what I've Really seen with this team is one that wilts early under too much hostility. Most every team will ride a fierce crowd going for them, but very few have that touch to get fired up and angry because the crowd is against them. All of their losses since conference play began are mostly the same -- letting the home team ride the crowd and not matching the intensity level for stretches. And, as you say, there won't be any more of that.

I'm not placing any bets on this team. With or without Embiid, we could lose in the first weekend or make it to the last weekend. So I'm just going to enjoy any wins that we get. And I'm sure as hell not going to root for them to fail like some of our regular doomcryers. Loyalty aside, waiting for the told-you-so moment in a bracket of 12 or 68 good teams, where only one won't lose in the end, is just too easy and lazy for my tastes.

Tommy Kueser 1 year, 5 months ago

Wow I am really confused reading these posts this morning. We are so quick to throw this team in the garbage. Not good my friends. This tournament is built for situations like this. The underdog team with the biggest fight often wins. We see it every year. I think that if Kansas can take the role of the hungry beat up underdog with a chip on the shoulder, then we will go far. Teams out there would kill to have half the talent we still poses. Self is the best coach in America. I am not ready to turn the lights out just yet.

Chad Lee 1 year, 5 months ago

For those of you who have KU going out sweet sixteen or earlier I am curious to hear your final four predictions.

Chad Lee 1 year, 5 months ago

Adding to that name a player in college this year who is better than our two best. The talent level is there and so is the coaching. We all know Self doesn't show all his cards before the tourneys. This is why we have done more with less talent then others in the past.

Ethan Berger 1 year, 5 months ago

Well I guess we are the only team that lost to worse teams. Syracuse didn't lose to BC. Virginia didnt lose to Maryland. UNC didn't have a horrid start to their conf. Nova didn't get destroyed by Creighton... Twice.... Arizona didn't lose to Arizona state. Michigan didn't lose to charlotte. Should I keep going? I can honestly say I have no idea how this team would fair. The optimist say we are fine, the pessimist say round 1 or 2 exit. Those same people also said after San Diego state game we would finish 4th or 5th in league. If you predicted that the 2012 team would be national runner up, then by all means I'll listen to you. But if you didn't, then you know as much as me and that is nothing. Things happens in the tourney, it could be us who is remembered for a early exit or for overcoming the odds to a title. March madness will truley be madness and I cannot wait!

Rich Hetherington 1 year, 5 months ago

So many KU fans throwing in the towel is depressing me. Sure it's a big blow, and sure, most of the people writing off the rest of the season are just trying to be realists, but come on people, this is Kansas basketball! When the odds are stacked against us in the NCAA's is when Kansas thrives the most. It's when we're projected to make the Final 4 that we tend to falter to a lesser opponent.

I think with the depth we have, and the fact that we still have multiple McDonalds All-Americans in the lineup is not something that can be over-looked. Sure we'll be lacking a rim protector, but maybe Traylor will pick up some of the slack (he's a better shot-blocker than most give him credit for). Maybe we'll game plan without Embiid and come up with an offensive attack that is more efficient. Maybe we'll protect the ball well and limit turn-overs. There are a lot of things a team with this much talent can do, and I'm still hopeful for a Final 4 birth... and then who knows, if we get there, maybe Embiid will return, recharged and ready for the biggest of dances!

And last I checked, we still have Wiggins in the line-up, who may just step it up on both ends of the court and carry this team on his back. I know he looked good in a losing effort against WV, but maybe he'll go Carmelo 2003 on us, step it up, and push the team to the championship cementing his name in Kansas and college basketball folklore.

Jack Wilson 1 year, 5 months ago

Faith.

We hear the word every day. What does it mean?

Two definitions to choose from:

1) Confidence or trust in a person or thing.

Or

2) A belief that is not based in proof.

You are left with a choice. Choose faith, and you see a bright light at the end of the tunnel – your March life has a purpose. Choose logic, and you stare into the dark chasm of March damnation.

Ah, but is the choice so stark? I see the two definitions of faith, actually, as being a bit contradictory.

If we have confidence or trust in a person or thing, that confidence or trust can be a belief that is actually based in proof, can’t it? Can you not have confidence or trust based upon history and achievement – based on logic?

Faith, therefore, does not necessarily have to lack proof. Right now, there is only one logical recipient of our faith – it is a coach that knows how to win. A coach that has shown the uncanny ability to get teams and players to play to at a high level, regardless of conditions or circumstances. We saw a starting five with no OADs, an unranked transfer, and two walk-ons come to within a few points of a national championship in 2012. One of the most spectacular coaching performances in decades. Self deserves our faith.

So, with the news of the loss of Joel Embiid, the one player in the nation that offers something different than any other player – our X factor -- we have every reason to mope. We can feel sorry for ourselves. We can rationally point to all of the reasons why we won’t win the national title. We can correctly focus on all of the flaws. And that analysis will be completely logical.

There is every reason to say that we “can’t”; and very few reasons to say that we “can.” The weight of the evidence for “can’t” is overwhelming right now.

But then, for some unexplained reason, you might experience an unrestrained flow of positivity. Your mind might create scenarios of success. Not “make believe, no way that can happen” scenarios; but real scenarios where KU wins the national championship. Faith has now overwhelmed “can’t.” It seems perfectly logical. Why? Because we have a coach that is a proven winner. It is the crimson and blue thread that connects faith and logic.

The better path, of course, is to have faith. Faith offers hope. Faith offers comfort. Faith offers direction. Faith is the true precursor to spectacular achievement. Without faith, we are empty. And tourney time is certainly not the time to be empty.

We are at a point in the season when faith offers us so much more than anything else can. It is March, my friends, so please don’t tell me that this team can’t win 6 in a row to conclude the season. It cannot be comprehended, because KU can win it all. KU will win it all. Our destiny awaits. History is defined by incredible achievements that defy logic. Each such achievement, of course, had something in common – faith. All we need is a little faith.

Rock Chalk!

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Millions have perished due to faith, billions of dollars have been wasted due to faith, countless dreams crushed by faith.

Granted hope is a wonderful thing and sometimes all we have, but if we are down to just having faith that our team will win, we are in dire straights indeed.

Luca Rossi 1 year, 5 months ago

You are such a buzzkill, wish you would go drink your half empty glass elsewhere.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Hi Luca, so what I just posted above is false? Or is it just an opinion like all the others on here?

Sorry to sprinkle in some reality to your world of hope and Rainbows but if everyone on here just posted ra ra junk, without trying to talk reason, we would not be having a discussion, we would be having a pep rally.

Hate to break it to you, this blog is not a pep rally.

Scott Oswalt 1 year, 5 months ago

DEBBIE DOWNER! You're soooo negative, Rodney.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Lol realist Scott, you call me names, not refute me about why you think this team can win in the post season. This is typical from those who just want to shout someone down and not have a discussion on why I could or am wrong. I hope you are better than that. But if that's all you got junk comments like yours don't add anything to the discussion, only noise Scott, just wasted noise... So I have to move on, not get into just name calling. Sorry

Steve Hengeli 1 year, 5 months ago

I assure you, that you will not perish due to faith in a basketball team.*

  • Disclaimer: this is not a guarantee or any other legally-binding representation. I am not responsible for any lost dreams, paranormal occurrences, and/or any other injuries that may allegedly result from having hope in the Kansas Jayhawks or any other NCAA tournament team. Please talk to your doctor to determine if your heart is healthy enough to watch KU basketball games.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Don't be so sure Steve... There are some hard line believers who will be crushed when we fall flat... Nice disclaimer

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

Steve..I'm really starting to enjoy your posts...

Sam Constance 1 year, 5 months ago

Admit it Rodney, you stopped reading after the first word.

I don't know you personally, but your KUsports message board presence sure makes you sound like a loser. Go be a loser by yourself.

Perhaps my favorite thing about your posts is how you wrap yourself in the flag of "realism", as if being consistently, unequivocally negative is somehow realistic, or that there are only two modes of thinking: unfettered optimism or negative realism.

You want to have a discussion, fine. Then stop with all the "it's not possible for this team to win--what have you seen that says otherwise!?!?" BS and actually talk. How can anyone who follows college basketball with any regularity be so definitive in his predictions of the future? You think there was some bizarro UConn version of Rodney Crain spewing doom and gloom in 2011? What about a Butler Rodney Crain in 2010? A Kansas Rodney Crain (hey that's you!) in 2012? What about in 1988?

If you are so assured of your ability to predict outcomes based on the evaluation of what has happened in the past, then I have two questions for you:

1) Why do you bother following sports at all? They must be so boring for you since you've figured it all out.

2) Why haven't you made piles of money off all the certainty you have in future outcomes? I'm sure the rest of us would appreciate the chance to talk about the finer points of basketball--specifically KU basketball--without being bludgeoned by the sledgehammer of faux-realism.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Seriously and this goes for all of you Blue Sky posters, you rally around the team folks - our PG is terrible, our defense is not good and now our starting center is out. I do not think we are going to far the rest of the season. There just is no reasonable explanation to think we are. There is all the junk you list Sam, and others here in their posts, but no reasonable explanation to think we really are. It might happen but I do not think it will.

If you want to rally around each other and sing kumbaya I don't care. But never ever think I am going to step in and fall in line if I think different than you do. If you get to say what you want, why can't I? What in the world gives you or anybody on here the right to voice your opinion and not allow me to say mine? But I get called names, asked to get off this post, told to support my team or just get the heck off of here and leave all you wonderful people alone. So this lengthy fantasy post of yours does not change my mind. We are not going to be around much longer this season.

This is not a PEP rally blog by the way. It is a KU sports blog. That means you can like and dislike things about the team. Even if it is one of the Best teams in the midwest bar none. I Love KU basketball. Most of you numbskulls won't believe that you are too busy pushing your agendas but I just want them to do well, I just do not think they will. So if I say well I guess we had a good season I just do not see us going any further it is not Blasphemy. Its a flipping basketball team. So when you attack me for voicing an opinion I get a little fired up about it. Just like you all do when I say something you do not like. In the end you are no different than me. Just what we are saying.

Most of you folks act like this is more than just a great basketball program. It is ok to say they will not win. No one gets hurt. No one but us really reads these posts. The stock market does not drop cause we lose a game. Its just a sports blog. I come on here to vent.

Almost all of you think you are something you are not. You are not better than me. You really are not. I don't care how often you try to shout me down or call me names, you just do not control this board. I will reply when called names, heck I might even call you names I am not above getting down to your level. I will stand up to voice my ideas. If you don't like them sorry, I really just don't care what thoughts you all think I should echo. I have my own thoughts and I will say them.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Seriously and this goes for all of you Blue Sky posters, you rally around the team folks - our PG is terrible, our defense is not good and now our starting center is out. I do not think we are going to far the rest of the season. There just is no reasonable explanation to think we are. There is all the junk you list Sam, and others here in their posts, but no reasonable explanation to think we really are. It might happen but I do not think it will. If you want to rally around each other and sing kumbaya I don't care. But never ever think I am going to step in and fall in line if I think different than you do. If you get to say what you want, why can't I? What in the world gives you or anybody on here the right to voice your opinion and not allow me to say mine? But I get called names, asked to get off this post, told to support my team or just get the heck off of here and leave all you wonderful people alone. So this lengthy fantasy post of yours does not change my mind. We are not going to be around much longer this season. This is not a PEP rally blog by the way. It is a KU sports blog. That means you can like and dislike things about the team. Even if it is one of the Best teams in the midwest bar none. I Love KU basketball. Most of you numbskulls won't believe that you are too busy pushing your agendas but I just want them to do well, I just do not think they will. So if I say well I guess we had a good season I just do not see us going any further it is not Blasphemy. Its a flipping basketball team. So when you attack me for voicing an opinion I get a little fired up about it. Just like you all do when I say something you do not like. In the end you are no different than me. Just what we are saying. Most of you folks act like this is more than just a great basketball program. It is ok to say they will not win. No one gets hurt. No one but us really reads these posts. The stock market does not drop cause we lose a game. Its just a sports blog. I come on here to vent. Almost all of you think you are something you are not. You are not better than me. You really are not. I don't care how often you try to shout me down or call me names, you just do not control this board. I will reply when called names, heck I might even call you names I am not above getting down to your level. I will stand up to voice my ideas. If you don't like them sorry, I really just don't care what thoughts you all think I should echo. I have my own thoughts and I will say them.

Sam Constance 1 year, 5 months ago

Get over yourself. Obviously, you are free to share your opinion--last I checked, even though many of us are comfortable telling you we'd rather not have to wade through your garbage, you haven't been prohibited from sharing.

But what really gets me is this pathetic victim schtick you do. You come here sharing your opinion in a way that directly infers that your opinion is the correct one. All the nonsense about being "realistic" or "no reasonable explanation" to think that a given thing will happen is just code for 'I'm right and you are all naive rah rah cheerleaders who are blinded by your fandom'. You even use language that says as much with the BS about "blue sky posters" or nonsense about us singing kumbaya.

You want to cloak yourself in the illusion of rationality, but then you say things like this:

"our PG is terrible"

about a point guard who has won us multiple games, been instrumental in leading this team to a conference title in the #1 RPI league this year, and has stats that don't really fit the descriptor "terrible". Specifically, his TO/A ratio (2.5:1), his assist per game (5.0) and his long-range shooting (39.3%).

Or this:

"our defense is not good"

When we have a team that is one of the 30 best defensive teams in the country this season. Is it as good as we've come to expect from Self's dominant defensive teams of the past? Of course not. The only other team that has finished the season outside the top 20 in defense was 2005, which finished the year 25th

Give the victim schtick a rest. You are allowed to share your opinion, as evidenced by the fact that you have 20+ posts on here. But guess what? The rest of us are allowed to level criticism at your opinion and share our own opinions that we'd rather not have your brand of discussion around to fill up the boards with clutter. Funny how the right to voice an opinion is a two-way street.

Sam Constance 1 year, 5 months ago

Personally, I'm not going to say what we will do. I leave that kind of future-predicting nonsense for others. What I know is that we have a team that is filled with talent and managed to achieve a great deal this year in spite of people's expectations/fears that they wouldn't. Including my own. And yes, I have concerns about this team. I have a feeling even the ones who are posting positive comments would admit that they have some reservations. We've all seen the team that isn't as good defensively as Self's team has been in years past. But most of us have also seen teams with defensive ranks similar to Kansas' go far in the tournament, since the tourney is more about matchups and playing hot at the right time than it is about your body of work over the season. Hence the 2011 UConn example. To write KU off because they don't meet the lofty standard of years past just seems overly critical.

As I said before, I don't know you in life, so I couldn't even begin to say whether or not I'm better than you. Honestly, it doesn't really matter--as you said, this is a KU sports blog, not a "how to be good at life" seminar. What I do know of you is the persona you present here. You come to these boards to vent like a child throwing a tempter tantrum, I come to read what fans have to say about a team they love, so it annoys me to find someone who seems to take so much pride in being the guy who acts like evryone else is a fool for not seeing the so-called inevitably negative outcome that lies ahead.

I do find the dichotomy of you pointing out that it's just basketball and then talking about feeling the need to "vent" amusing. If it's just basketball, then why the need to vent? Just enjoy the ride. You don't have to believe we are going to win the national title to look for the positives (and they certainly exist) to keep rooting your team on. They call us "fans" for a reason. If you want a place to vent, there are plenty of non-KU fans on places like ESPN.com that will joyfully pariticpate in talking about how crappy and overrated KU is as a team. Heck, I think some of them would even enjoy seeing a KU fan participate.

Enjoy the rest of the season. If you can.

Erich Hartmann 1 year, 5 months ago

But Rodney...the sky IS blue, isnt it? Driving across rural KS this morning, it definitely looked big and blue to me...

1 small correction: We arent "Sky Blue" fans; the correct color is Royal Blue. As in royalty program...as in Crimson & Blue. RCJH.

Titus Canby 1 year, 5 months ago

HEM, awesome post. I saw the proof that this can be a great team in the Texas game at home, when we brought energy and played great team defense. But I just don't have the faith we'll bring both of those essential components to the Big 12 or NCAA. But I do have hope.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

The Kansas team that played @Texas would lose in the first round. The Kansas team that played in Lawrence vs. Texas would win the national title. That's what is so frustrating and why trying to accurately predict the finish for this team is basically an exercise in dumb luck. There is NO logical reason to feel 100% confident about any outcome.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

"Millions have perished due to faith"

So logically then you are saying that all who believe that this team is not destined for an early exit in the tourney will die because this team will not make the sweet 16.

I guess that makes you a doomsday prophet.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Actually, what I am saying, and I hope you are just kidding with your post, is that if we have to take it on faith that our team is one of destiny, we are indeed at the end of the rope. Millions have died due to faith is a historical fact, see history of Jerusalem.... Again hope you are just kidding...

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

I did not question the fact of your post, just questioning what relevance it has to KU Basketball.

I seems like a bit of stretch to equate the NCAA tournament to the Crusades, Holy Wars, Jihads, Civil Wars, Political Riots, etc.

People die every day for their faith. Some call them martyrs, some call them any name in the book. Families are torn apart, children orphaned. College hoops is a sport.

I hope you are just kidding.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

I was responding to hem's rather detailed post about faith... I did not take us down that road but tagged on to his path is all. If you tie a basketball season to faith it's kind of a stretch in itself. I think he was playing on all the emotion happening in the posts. So when you post that "all will die" I hope you are just kidding cause Jon this is just basketball. On the scale of all the junk in the world I think you are playing along, I "hope"... See what I did there??? Hem does not think they can go very far either from previous posts btw....

Sam Constance 1 year, 5 months ago

Yeah, you clearly didn't read the entire post.

I thought you were here for a "discussion"?

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

look above Sam, you are not worth my time anymore. You can not grasp my take at humor, poor as it was. I am done with you from now on. You are a waste of time...

Keith Gellar 1 year, 5 months ago

i'm going to get killed for making this comment, but i strongly believe that Self and crew should really focus on getting Embiid to go pro. Lets face it- Embiid is damaged goods. Self and Co should try to get him to commit to leaving to we can make room for Myles Turner.

From what i hear- Turner is a better athlete and is more conditioned to play bball.

so, who's with me?

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

And you rightly deserved to get killed for this. Embiid has a stress fracture (which HEAL). It does not require any surgery whatsoever and can be fortified with an excellent summer of strength and conditioning.

To hope that Self would stoop as low as Scum Calipari at Kentucky to push a kid out the door who isn't 100% sold on going is repulsive. I am sad to hear that the lines of acceptable behavior have become so blurred for you that you place winning above the proper treatment of a player on the team. These kids bust their butts to entertain us and you want to discard Embiid like a piece of garbage.

Keith Gellar 1 year, 5 months ago

lets be honest here...him going to the NBA is going to make him a millionaire. not a bad alternative.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

It is Embiid's decision to do what he wants to do for his long term health and development. Self will be there to answer question but will not tell him what to do and will certainly not be pushing him out the door because he would rather have a healthy Turner than a previously injured Embiid.

Aaron Paisley 1 year, 5 months ago

Bill Self will talk to NBA scouts and GM's, find out where Embiid will go in the draft (top 5 even with the back issue), and will tell Embiid what he needs to keep working on to get better as a player. Bill Self will likely advise Embiid to turn pro (track record of this for projected lottery picks), but will ultimately tell Embiid that it is Embiid's decision to make.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

I would like to see Turner in a KU uniform but NOT for ANY of the reasons you listed. JoJo is not Greg Oden, he is not damaged goods. He has an injury that is treatable and will be an NBA star next year or the year after.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 5 months ago

OAKVILLE ODDITIES:

1] The Hawks can go two ways...rally and circle the wagons...wilt and go home. I choose RALLY. It most likely won't be enough but at least go down blazing

2] Jo Jo, call it a season. You've given us a bunch of thrills, helped with a conference crown and put yourself on the NBA radar, big time...take the money and run...carefully.

3] Frankly, sooner or later our guard play will flush us out of the NCAA and maybe the Big 12.....it's not worth Jo Jo risking further damage.

4] One small positive..in NCAA play, they allow a lot more banging. This may work to Tarik's and Jamari's advantage

5] Anyone of you who think Jo Jo should play again this season should go take a good hard look at yourself in a mirror and answer the same question as if he was your son. i don't care what experiences you may have had...it isn't worth the risk.

6] If only Conner could redshirt next season...it would really help. Unfortunately, I am afraid we will need all hands on deck next season.

7] I feel that KU CAN NOT afford to play Jo Jo anymore...every future recruit mothers are watching.

Robin Smith 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't usually chime in but the chicken littles are running the asylum

Embiid will be back, sooner than later

KU will perform well in his absence

Tharpe is the man

(I'm especially tired of fans turning on our lead guards)

Sam Constance 1 year, 5 months ago

Double amen. It's becoming a disgusting pattern.

Collins. Taylor. Johnson. Tharpe.

And it looks like Mason is next in line to get turned on.

John Fitzgerald 1 year, 5 months ago

Wow ... "Fans" already giving up on the Jayhawks. I agree, it's not the ideal situation, but this team still has a lot of talent. If you deny that, well you're just a Rodney Crain.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Thanks John John - always count on you to well be you, worthless.

John Fitzgerald 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't agree with worthless. Funny might be a good adjective. And I would never call you worthless. You even out the positivity in the group. We can't all be happy and you happen to be president of the Debbie Downer club.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Mick fools are fools, I just respond to let them know they still are... John john you have called me much worse... It's fine.

Benz Junque 1 year, 5 months ago

True fools are people who believe that only their view of life is "reality" while everyone else's is just "foolish".

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

True fools are people who act like children when they are adults and fear any other view then theirs. I state an opinion, which is what you do here for heavens sake. I get shouted down because I am not supportive of my team Benz. When it gets to name calling, like it has with you in the past, I am not below getting in the dirt where most of these fools tend to thrive. It is uncomfortable but the only way to react to their foolish behavior. So you miss the point, again. I do not think my view is reality, I do suffer fools whose only reaction is to call me a name instead of counter my point intelligently. You no longer wage in name calling like you used to, you have respectfully disagreed with me with an intelligent reply and I have respected that. We agree, we disagree but we do it with respect. Mick and especially John have not learned that lesson. So here I am mired in the mud with fools who only know how to be a bully not a respectful human being. Its ok, the fight is endless, I am up to it... I will always stand up to fools who think they can inflict their will upon those they disagree with.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

They are being disrespectful Benz. You and I agree and disagree all the time, now with respect to each other. Mick and John have failed to learn that lesson. I do not believe my view of life is reality while everyone's else's is foolish. This is a place of opinions, I am voicing mine, I agree and disagree with others on here all the time. Mick and John disrespect me, not disagree with me. Only a fool takes that tact.

That is a big difference.

John Fitzgerald 1 year, 5 months ago

? Lol now he's making things up. Rodney needs a hug. And probably a beer.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Do you really need me to go back and repeat all the names you called me lol. I can john john, I can do the work why don't you just own up to it little guy or let bygones be bygones. You think they erased it, they did not erase my post where I repeated them all to you before. So let me know if you want me to repost them all. You are down in the dirt too buddy don't act righteous just cause we are in a different thread....

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

OK John John March 4, 2011 - that's a week ago buddy you called me - Ignorant Uneducated Spoiled Whiner and complainer Terrible grammar My opinion does not matter I cry like a little girl I need to see a therapist

Pick one you pathetic piece of ......

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Lol that is your put down, ok I know what level your at - just so you know you missed the mark Scott lol. Quinn Snyder come on that's like calling me yucky. Reach higher Scotty

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

This forum allows for ALL opinions and that should be valued...NOT ridiculed.

Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 5 months ago

Can't win anything without Embiid? Need some cheese to go with your whine??

I remember a team in 2012 that NO ONE saw getting to the NC game and giving UK a real game, and could have won if a bunch of bunny shots went in. And 1988, we had 11 losses going in, and NOBODY picked KU to win. C'mon people...

From where I'm sitting, the sky is still attached to the heavens, and the Jayhawks will be better than what a lot of you so-called fans think.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawks

Blake Brown 1 year, 5 months ago

There is some unknowns about Embiid injury.
1] Was the stress fracture discovered by KUs medical staff or only by the back specialists in LA? If the latter is the case, that would suggest a mis-diagnosis by the KU team docs. 2] Stress fractures usually take 6 weeks or more to heal on their own with no additional stress to the area which occurred on 3/1 at OSU. I fail to see how the time allotted is reasonable for maximum and complete healing. 3] I`d like to know more about the rehab program that can expedite bone fractures.

Nonetheless, we will be severely challenged by all opponents for our already inept defense. We do not guard the ball, stop the in the rhythm 3 point shot and we allow people to just drive it in to the hoop without contesting them.

AND, with no consistent point guard, an essential ingredient for any team desiring to go deep in the tournament, it going to take a here to fore unknown quality to step up and save the day.

If we lose a game in the Big Xll and in the NCAA, this will be a team with 10 loses. Fancy that after the preseason hype.

Here`s for some miracles, ROCK CHALK!

William Weissbeck 1 year, 5 months ago

We are the third youngest team in Div. 1. We could make the Finals, lose and still end up with 10 losses. Hardly a ruined season. Michigan had to play without their big man, but they had time to adjust. Louisville lost Ware during the tournament. It can be done. But the NCAA has always been people stepping up. Just playing the way you did during the season, even at top form, won't get you by. You have to do more.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 5 months ago

JAYHAWK FAN-O-METER.

FROM GIDDY - Jo Jo makes a trip to Lourdes and is miraculously cured, Jayhawks win the next nine games end up 2014 Big 12 Tourney and NCAA Champions!!

TO MOROSE - Jo Jo aggravates back bending down to pick up a penny, ends up in a wheelchair for two months, Jayhawks lose next two games, bow out in first round of both tourneys!!

AS VIRTUALLY ALWAYS, THE TRUTH IS SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN - My take...KU gets to the Finals of the Big 12 tourney but loses in final game. KU sweeps in St.Louis then loses in Sweet Sixteen Game, thus finishes 4-2 with a final season record of 27 - 10 and Jo Jo never plays another game for Kansas.

All comments welcome..especially from John John and Rodney. You two are a hoot!!! :)

Chad Lee 1 year, 5 months ago

I see the naysayers still haven't listed there final four teams. I wonder why, is it because the future would seem brighter. I admit we don't need to wear shades, but I find it hard to believe a team that has played this much competition and won the best conference in the nation is such a bad team. Every team has holes and I believe people that say this team is done are looking at others. Ignorance is bliss one way or the other.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

Chad I would like to see the brackets first... Since that is how you choose who will be in the final four... So if you can wait till selection Sunday, I will be glad to offer mine.

Erich Hartmann 1 year, 5 months ago

Man, what's in it for you "predicters" out there? Why? If you were so good at it (any of you), you'd all be making million$ in Vegas. So who cares about your predictions. As a KU alum and fan, I am only concerned with how we look when we play.

.

How about the GOLDEN question that every coach, player and fan is wondering about the Jayhawk's chances in 2 Tournaments: Can we play solid defense (with intensity) for 6-9 games straight?

That is the only unknown, and it almost certainly will determine how far we go.

RCJH

John Fitzgerald 1 year, 5 months ago

You're being real, and I appreciate that. I don't predict anything but I'm confident we'll at least be ready to play. Only time will tell though.

Walter Bridges 1 year, 5 months ago

I'll bite...Without Embiid - Sweet 16, with - Final Four. We still win the BIG 12 in KC either way.

Erich Hartmann 1 year, 5 months ago

Let's put the "lesson" from the WVU game into 1 sentence: In 10 years of Bill Self basketball at KU (esp. since '08), if KU scores 86pts, it should win the game 19 out of 20 times. We allowed WVU (check their record...) to score 90+ on us; therein lies the flaw in this team (defense).

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

That and how our PG plays. If we run our offense like we have down the stretch, and or play defense like we have during the same timeframe, we are not going to last very long in the post season.

Shane Johnston 1 year, 5 months ago

We can't compare this year to Self's previous nine. While I trust in Self and his history at Kansas, I trust him in in large part because he has consistently gotten his teams to play tough , energetic, efficient defense. That has lead to a remarkable level of consistency.

That is not this team. SO FAR this team has been worse defensively than any of the previous nine. As good as they can be, the lows are really low. Yes, we are efficient offensively, but we also have multiple 20+ turnover games this season. Those are painful. You can't can't look at the past nine years and ignore key parts of the most recent one.

IF this was a typical Self defensive team, JoJo's injury wouldn't be that big of a deal. We are hella deep in terms of bigs and we are at least as athletic as any other team we'll play (still). Yes, we were a projected top 5 team to start the season even with Embiid as an unknown. Those same projections also figured Perry would have a breakout year and that Tarik would see more minutes. Concerns with our team to start the season were guard play. Nothing has made those concerns go away. I personally think Perry will come through and Tarik will play big. I also think Frank has the personality to thrive in a tournament setting.

I wouldn't trade this team for another, but we can't talk about potential with this team forever. It is March. Our best stretch of games was also JoJo's best stretch. You have to at least acknowledge the possibility that you have already seen this team play their best basketball. That's a POSSIBILITY. Maybe our best basketball is ahead of us, but it could have been against Duke, New Mexico or Texas. That possibility shouldn't be taken as a slight to the team as much as it speaks to JoJo's value.

Erich Hartmann 1 year, 5 months ago

Yep, well said. Another way to say it (I've been telling friends) is that this team is like a visit from a Roy team: lots of offense, scoring 80-90...but on an off night offensively, equally capable of getting blown out by 20+...because little defense. Its all transition, and what little defense there is is only because the kid arrived with D ability (Hinrich, Miles, Lee, Chenoweth).
Self, teaches/expects D, but each player will progress at their own learning rate. Notice Wiggins is the best defender on the team, followed by Mason, Embiid, and maybe Selden. Ellis is very much like a Roy finesse bigman: a MickeyD who can score, but the dreaded soft on the glass and on D. Traylor better defender than Ellis. Frankamp better defender than Junior Tharpe.

So in a nutshell, this team IS different because the "experienced" guys are performing the least (Ellis, Tharpe), and we are relying on frosh...who are still figuring out the team-D concepts and things beyond on-ball man2man D. Some, like Ellis and Tharpe, need special attention still on basic man2man, on-ball D.
This is why we find ourselves out of the 1seed contention. Not a Bill Self team yet, statistically. (A work in progress...that is out of time for this season...)

Sam Constance 1 year, 5 months ago

Did you just say Mason was our second best defender?

Just checking to see if I can disregard anything else you have to say.

Rodney Crain 1 year, 5 months ago

sorry I spoke to soon, you are exactly what I explain about above. Try to get an original idea Sam lol.

Erich Hartmann 1 year, 5 months ago

Chill Sam. My post was in SUPPORT of what you said--> didnt I say "well said".

Just to clarify: Wiggins is the best defender, period. Then I listed the remaining better defenders in no particular order. Mason has had some off games defensively, but not like Naa. Selden has been decent but has had a few lapses. Its a work in progress for each player, but I have the most concerns about Naa and Ellis (at this point). Want to see every player succeed at what Self demands.

Good day.

Sam Constance 1 year, 5 months ago

Erich--sorry. I didn't understand what you meant about the other non-Wiggins defenders. And my second sentence was overly snarky/harsh. I get the juices fa-lowing and sometimes get too far out over my skis.

I was shocked that anyone would suggest that Mason is our best defender after Wiggins and Embiid, but that's clearly not what you meant.

FWIW, I agree that this year's team is much more Roy-sian in nature than any of Self's other teams.

My bad.

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