Sunday, March 23, 2014

Notebook: Joel Embiid planned to play in Sweet 16

Kansas center Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden watch the closing seconds of the Jayhawks 60-57 loss to Stanford, Sunday March 23, 2014, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

Kansas center Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden watch the closing seconds of the Jayhawks 60-57 loss to Stanford, Sunday March 23, 2014, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self, Conner Frankamp and Jamari Traylor discuss KU's season-ending loss

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, freshman Conner Frankamp and sophomore Jamari Traylor discuss KU's season-ending loss to Stanford, in the round of 32, Sunday in St. Louis.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Johnny Dawkins, Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell discuss Stanford's win over KU

Coach Johnny Dawkins and players Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell discuss Stanford's win over Kansas on Sunday in St. Louis.

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Perry Ellis and Tarik Black discuss loss

Sophomore Perry Ellis and senior Tarik Black discuss the loss to Stanford in the third-round of the NCAA Tournament, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis, MO.


Box score

— It turns out Kansas University freshman Joel Embiid would have been available for Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup against Dayton, had the Jayhawks been able to defeat Stanford on Sunday in Scottrade Center.

“Yes. I would have played,” said Embiid, a 7-footer from Cameroon, who missed the last six games of the season because of a stress fracture in his lower back. “I think I would have done some non-contact work (Monday),” he added. “Personally if it was my choice I think I would have played today,” he added.

Embiid said he was ruled out on Friday.

“I tried to work out two days ago. I couldn’t. I still had something (discomfort) so I couldn’t,” Embiid said. “I mean I wouldn’t say it was hurting. It was really tight. I had to get a lot of treatment because it was tight. The doctor said I couldn’t play. Coach (Bill Self) said he didn’t want to put me out there to put me in jeopardy. The decision was for me to sit out the game and come back next week.”

Embiid said it pained him to watch the Jayhawks lose to Stanford, 60-57.

“I wanted to be out there,” he said. “It was hard watching us lose. I mean I could have done some things, but Tarik (Black, 18 points, six boards) had a good game. Wiggs (Andrew Wiggins, four points) couldn’t get going. On the defensive end and offensive end, I think I could have done something.”

It’s possible Embiid’s last game as a collegian was his 13 point, 13 rebound outing at Oklahoma State on March 1. 

There’s a good chance that, like Wiggins, he’s a one-and-done college player. He’s projected to be one of the top picks in the 2014 NBA Draft.

“I am not thinking about that right now (NBA). We just lost the game,” Embiid said.

He said he would speak with his family, his coaches and his “mentor, Luc,” in coming up with a decision.

Luc is fellow Cameroon native and NBA player Luc Mbah a Moute.

“I am not thinking about that now,” noted Self. “He’ll be advised by his family as much as anybody. Whatever happens, happens. We’ll be prepared for it.”

KU freshman Wiggins has made it clear he will be leaving for the NBA after the season. 

On Sunday, asked about his immediate plans, Wiggins said: “I am not even thinking about that right now. We lost. I let my team down. I am not thinking about that now.”

Freshman Wayne Selden and sophomore Perry Ellis also were asked about possibly turning pro.

“I am not thinking about that right now,” Selden said, repeating that line several times to various reporters.

Ellis said: “I haven’t even thought about that. I’m not even worried about any of that. I’m just going with the flow.”

Earlier in the week, seldom-used sophomore Andrew White III was asked about possibly transferring.

“I am happy. I am on a winning team. I’m getting better every day. It’s not seen on the court necessarily but in practice I’m working on a lot of things, improving a lot,” White said. “We are still in the season. I have not given up on this season at all. It’d be selfish to think about leaving or anything right now. I’m just going day by day playing ball.”

Off night for Traylor: KU sophomore forward Jamari Traylor scored three points off 1-of-8 shooting with five boards and three turnovers in 25 minutes.

“Besides Tarik (Black), I don't think we did a good job finishing at the rim today,” Traylor said. “And those guys (Stanford players) are pretty long. But I don't know what it was, but we just couldn’t buy a basket.”

Bill Self on Stanford’s 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones: “I don’t think it surprised us at all. Teams have played zone against us for the most part all year long if it’s part of the package. We didn’t attack it well. I thought they really gapped it and we didn’t do a good job of getting our nose dirty and getting in there until late. And then we got in there late, we actually got fouled or came away with at least potential scoring opportunities. We were passive against it. 

“That’s what happens when you’re not real confident sometimes or individuals are not confident, not having a great game. Things are open but you are a little hesitant to throw it. I thought they did a good job spacing us. You throw it inside, you have to score over 6-10, 6-11. We just didn't make shots (32.8 percent) and certainly didn’t attack as well as we should,” Self added.

Wiggins defended well: Stanford held Andrew Wiggins to four points off 1-of-6 shooting. 

“They’re long,” Self said. “We don’t go against many teams that are bigger than us. The only position where we’re as tall as them from a standing height standpoint is probably at the 3-spot with Andrew. He is about 6-7 1/2 and they’re about 6-7 there (with 6-7 Josh Huestis). So they bothered him with length.”

KU’s press was effective on Sunday: “We tried really hard. We turned them over a few times. It was good for us,” Self said. “That was one of our biggest game plans was trying to create pace defensively. It’s hard to do if you don’t ever make a basket. There weren’t that many times when we took the ball out of bounds and where we forced them to take the ball out of bounds, especially in the first half. And then we got in foul trouble early. We had three starters (Wayne Selden, Naadir Tharpe, Tarik Black) get two fouls pretty early and then three starters get their third foul early in the second half.  So it may have taken us out of a little aggressiveness, but I thought it worked pretty well for us.”

Self was asked if there was a particular reason Frankamp played seven minutes the final half. He played 11 the first.

“I thought Frank (Mason, 15 minutes second half) ... we had to get inside their defense and they’re big.  When you play Conner and play with another guard, that puts him guarding a 6-7 guy. And they exploited that a little bit.”


Suzi Marshall 7 years, 8 months ago

Embiid put Self in a terrible position when his "mentor, Luc" advised him to go out to CA for that second opinion. Now Embiid has plenty of time get over his 'something (discomfort)." "

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

"On March 3, Self said, Embiid’s family was contacted in Cameroon and was told, “that Jo had developed a stress fracture and that it was confirmed by multiple doctors, but if they wanted to in any way, shape or form get a second opinion, we would do that with any student-athlete.” The family later informed KU that they wanted a specific spine specialist in Los Angeles to look at Embiid. The doctor fit the 7-footer into his schedule this past Monday. He (the LA specialist) confirmed what we already knew, that he had a stress fracture in his lower back,” Self said. “The diagnosis and treatment plan has never changed.""

Just the facts ma'am.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 8 months ago

Yes you are correct. Those are the facts. Now Embiid has plenty of time to work on his health and strength.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully JoJo will receive the best medical care and physical training that he will need to play in the NBA. Emeka Okafor with a similar injury played nine mostly injury free seasons before having to sit out a season due to his back injury.

Not quite the lofty Hakeem Olajuwon comparison but a proven NBA talent and a Bronze Medalist at the 2004 Olympics.

I hope all KU fans appreciate what a special kid he is and wish him nothing but the best in the NBA next season.

Kevin Jenkins 7 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, why would he say he planned on playing in the sweet sixteen? Really! JoJo couldn't have saved us, help us, yes. He would have helped on rebound and on defense. But could he have helped the horrible shooting? Reporters! Ellis isn't ready for the NBA, why ask it? White needs to show Self he's ready and hungry, why ask the question? Is Selden ready, has his stats proven he's ready? As far as Embiid, he will go to the draft. His family and his mentor are saying "Show me the Money". Back problems are difficult. We have seen lots of NBA players trying to fight thru it. But a young college player has his future. Embiid I heard has had problems before. So, he goes pro instead of staying and risking it. He'll get paid to risk it. Better to plan without him and if he does return, it's a great bonus

Vladamir Keita 7 years, 8 months ago

what do you know about embiid's family and his mentor to say that they are saying "show me the money" lets begins with embiids dad is a colonel, and in africa high ranking military officials make a lot of money a lot, i know because i am from africa. embiid has also said himself money is not a problem nor a reason if he decides to leave for the nba. good day sir

Pun Mak 7 years, 8 months ago

The questions from the reporters were good to hear. He's moving on and looking at next year. Ellis is not ready for the NBA but he has to share time with cliff Alexander and if embiid stay or turner comes than he might come off the bench. So it's second round or transferring for Ellis unless he really wants a championship. There's no room for white III unless seldom leaves with green and ubre comming in. I really thought embiid would want to stay to develop and missing out on the post seasons hurt him. He wants to make a decision with family and mentor means it's not his choice. I hope he decides soon so turner can commit well know by April 17 the college deadline

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 8 months ago

Every reporter wants to be the first one to break the news about one of these players leaving the team or staying another year, and every one of the players doesn't want to think about it or talk about it just moments after their season ended in disappointment.

I don't really fault the reporters for trying to do their job, but more so I think that it shows one of the problems with the news reporting industry, where they're asking these young men to commit to something that they're not ready to do yet. Just let them announce their decisions after they've decided that they're ready to.

Ellis will not leave. He's on the degree path. He will be a huge part of KU's game play next season, and it doesn't matter if he starts or subs in for Cliff. Cliff's size will limit his minutes, a man that size is most effective when he plays for 5 or 10 minute stretches and then rests for 5 or 10 minute stretches. He is a 20 - 25 mpg guy. Ellis is fully capable of going 30+, and even off the bench he'd probably still play near 30 mpg.

Selden could go pro, but he should stay, and he most likely will. He's a stud and he should make a big step change improvement by next season, which will be great for him and also great for Oubre who will not have to bear near the weight of expectations that Wiggins had. Selden will be more comfortable and under control next season offensively, but I expect his biggest gains to be on D. Any chance Selden transitions to PG? It's possible, and would allow Self the ultimate freedom to play any lineup that he wanted.

I think that Embiid would like to stay, but the NBA and the media are influencing him to leave. It would be interesting to know who on the team he was really the closest with. Having Wiggins, Black, and Wesley gone next year could that influence him to be less inclined to return? Could Selden, Ellis, or the others help convince him to stay? Ultimately, I think that he'll listen to his parents, and block out the media and the NBA. If his parents counsel him toward continuing his education, then he'll be back, but if they are concerned about him suffering an injury next season that could diminish or eliminate his NBA potential, then they'll counsel him to go pro. He can always return to school later, after all. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes to reach a decision...

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 8 months ago

And I didn't forget about AWIII either.

Man, I just continue to love the guy. He's got his head on straight. His heart is in the right place. He always says the right things, even when he's obviously frustrated or discontent. But it would be so hard to be in his shoes right now and not be looking for greener pastures.

Every successful team needs players like Andrew White in their locker room. Team player, leads by example, hard worker, and it doesn't matter that he's not been playing.

Andrew White unfortunately expemplifies one workplace principle that I've found to be true out here in the real world, and that principle goes like this "Hard work is not rewarded." The only reward for hard work is more work and harder work. Or to put it another way "no good deed goes unpunished". I really like AWIII and I do think that he COULD influence this program as a 4th or 5th year guy, but there are a lot of variables including the improvement of Brannen Greene, the career of Kelly Oubre, future recruiting, etc., not to mention the fact that AWIII has got to produce on the floor in games that matter (not in Canada or Europe or against DII teams).

Like I have said before, AWIII is a stand-up character, and he's full of class, respect, and dignity but none of that should matter to influence his decision of whether he needs to stay at KU or not. Transferring would be easy for him right now and could almost guarantee that he'll play significant minutes in his Junior and Senior seasons. Staying at KU is a huge risk for him, but it could be his best choice if he is able to find favor with Coach Self before his career is done.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 8 months ago

Wow..we are definitely on the same wavelength when it comes to Andrew White with the exception that I believe it is in Andrew White's best interest to transfer now where he will get two solid years of playing time. He is exactly the type of person (ex - Travis Releford) that Bill Self would bring into the program and by his third or fourth year, would provide on the court experience and understand exactly what Coach Self is trying to get across to his players.

I thought Self and Billy Donovan had similar outlooks on developing players and not going after the OADs. Don't get me wrong, of course any coach would want to sign and Andrew Wiggins or a Joel Embiid but after these players leave after one year, there isn't much positive to bring to next year's class. Players like White didn't get nearly the amount of on court experience that a typical sophomore would have had in the past.

Next year's class could very well look like this year's with 2 or 3 players leaving to the NBA. I'm much more in favor of the teams Coach Self has built in the past been going with multiple OADs.

Terrence Cernech 7 years, 8 months ago

Relating to the Embid situation the biggest thing for me was the way that Self and KU handles it and what it says about the man and the program. Self put the well-being of the student ahead of everything else. I am quite certain there are many coaches out there who might well have handled it differently and push the man back onto the court to win a game. Sure it was big games that he missed but at his age and given the prospects of his future I can only applaud Self and KU. All other recruits out there should take notice: come to KU and your well-being will be attended to with your best interests taken to heart. As the old adage goes: it's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. Hats off to Self and KU, they played to win and they played the right way. Rock, chalk, Jayhawks!!!!!!!!

Jason Wilson 7 years, 8 months ago

For his own health, Embiid needs to stay another year. He developed a stress fracture because his body was overworked, and if it became overworked after 30 games, jumping straight into an 80 game season next year would be a recipe for disaster.

He's much better off taking his time in college and letting his body catch up. KU & Self will have much more patience with developing his body and keeping him healthy than an NBA GM who has many millions riding on the guy's performance. Honestly I think it should barely even be considered to jump straight to the NBA after an over-use injury like this. Actually, the #1 choice would be for him to just red-shirt and spend the next year building up his body to handle the rigors of the NBA, come back as a redshirt sophomore and showcase his talent and then jump to the NBA if he's ready.

I'm not saying that will happen, at that age the thought of not playing in games for a year is probably terrible. But his issue will never be a lack of skill or talent, his only real danger to not succeeding is jumping into something his body is not physically ready for and having it break down on him. The best way to ensure that doesn't happen is to take it slow and make sure your body is strong enough to do what is asked of it over the course of an entire season.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 8 months ago

Jason, it might be in the best interests of Embiid, but is it in the best interest of the team? If he was willing red shirt (which he will not do) I would agree with you. But KU isn't a rehab program where he can play when he feels up to it.

I really like the guy and wish he would redshirt but there are multimillion dollar contracts out there waiting for him. The NBA would be more than willing to get him back into top position. This guy is not Greg Odin, he will be a solid contributor on just about any team.

William Weissbeck 7 years, 8 months ago

Despite the overall toughness of the league, this is the downside of the Big 12 - lack of height and length. KU's only real test was Texas. Look what happened with SDSU. Iowa State was very lucky against UNC - they were getting man handled late. And it's clear from the tournament that you need 2-3 legit 3-point threats; otherwise they box in your inside game.

Vernon Riggs 7 years, 8 months ago

In my opinion (hope?), Selden stays another year. The best mock draft place that I have seen Selden's name is in the low first round or high second round. Ellis is at best right now a late second rounder. They both play in a Kansas uniform next season. AWIII is a class act and just like many Jayhawks in the past will wait his turn to be an elite Jayhawk. He will be a big part of next season. Hard for JoJo to turn down a lottery pick spot. But I still think that it isn't a no-brainer. Can you image a team of ....

JoJo Clift Perry Wayne Tharpe Conner Frank Kelly AWIII Greene Traylor Lucus Hunter

Pretty good team...

Tony Bandle 7 years, 8 months ago

I am sure that AWIII possesses msny of the positive qualities that you all are expressing. My only question is why did we barely get a glimpse of him for almost the last half of the season after his "injury' was healed?

Our guard play/outside shooting certainly needed a boost...where was he?

I'm sorry, there is more to this story than any of us are being made privy to and I will not be surprised to see AWIII transfer..sad?, yes..surprised?..not at all.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 8 months ago

you've attended several games this year... what is White's body language like on the bench?

Does he talk with his teammates? celebrate dunks and threes? Or does he sit quietly watching the game as if he's disinterested or uninvolved with his teammates?

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 8 months ago

Tony Bandle: My only question is why did we barely get a glimpse of him for almost the last half of the season after his "injury' was healed?

JA: The logical explaination is that he simply wasn't as good as we thought that he was.

TB: I'm sorry, there is more to this story than any of us are being made privy to

JA: Yes, as is always the case for the vast majority of us, but other than White being frustrated about a lack of PT and maybe getting crossways with Self over it, I can't imagine that there's any secrets out there or any reasons for the lack of PT. AWIII expected to be the 6th man and ended up odd-man-out instead. It's tough luck, but nothing new for Self to have players try to argue with over playing time. I highly doubt that AWIII and Bill Self are "beyond reconciliation". White has no off the court issues, has been recognized by his teammates as one of, if not THE hardest worker of the bunch, has not done anything to embarass himself or the program. From any of the public comments that Self has made about AWIII Self loves the guy. If anything, Self is probably guilty of having too high of expectations from AWIII back in October, and then getting all of our hopes up for the kid.

Reggie Flenory 7 years, 8 months ago

I find it interesting that prior to this season embiid was a blip on the radar now all the sudden hes flying to l.a cause his "mentor" wants him to get a2nd opinion what now all the sudden the kansas training staff aint good enough for you and your family homie? Now all the sudden you gotta think about your "future" ? If blk had stayed outta foul trouble the 1st half of the yr embiid woulda never saw the court the fact that he couldnt allowed him to step in and develop i know deep in his heart he wants to come back and everybody in jayhawk nation wants em to unfourtunately now that big money is on the table i think the choice is outta his hands

Spencer Goff 7 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, sure you planned to play IF ONLY! Hey, ever heard of time and place, Joel? I am sure your teammates appreciated another reminder that they lost.

This is a Dwight Howard move. I hope your "mentor" can teach you when to keep your mouth shut.

Kevin Jenkins 7 years, 8 months ago

I wasn't trying to go off on Embiid. I'm just saying everyone is pushing him. I've had 3 back surgeries. And yes I'm an x-soldier with a army dad. But if everyone's saying you'll be a 1-3 top pick, what's he going to do? As far as White, I agree with most of you, he could be good if we let him. But he has to impress Coach. I just feel the press pushes too much and wants their story too be the headline. Just give us a point guard. I really think Self believes everyone willll be like Tyshawn and improve. Let's see. I may be wrong about Embiid. And just heard the news Selden is staying. Great year next year. Rock Chalk

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