Thursday, November 6, 2014

Self: KU younger than ever

Kansas head coach Bill Self and guard Kelly Oubre have a chat on the sideline during the first half on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self and guard Kelly Oubre have a chat on the sideline during the first half on Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas University, which started the freshman trio of Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden Jr. in 20 of the squad’s 35 games, fielded one of the youngest elite college basketball squads in the country a year ago.

Now eight months later ...

“I think we’re younger this year than we ever have been,” 12th-year KU coach Bill Self said Thursday.

He started one freshman (Devonté Graham) and two sophomores (Frank Mason III, Selden) in Monday’s exhibition opener against Washburn and brought in three freshmen (Cliff Alexander, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Kelly Oubre Jr.) off the bench.

Nobody will be surprised if Alexander and Oubre start at some point in 2014-15.

“Last year Naadir (Tharpe, junior) had good feel. We started three freshmen, but Jo (Embiid) was smarter than any senior we’ve ever had for the most part,” Self said. “We’re younger in our mind this year too. Last yearwe were beyond our years from a basketball IQ. This year we have more to learn from that standpoint.”

The Jayhawks are especially young at the point guard slot with Mason and Graham.

Selden also will play some lead guard to go with his spot on the wing.

“I think we’ll be good at point. I don’t think Frank and Devonté have been near as consistent as what they need to be,” Self said. “I’d really love to play Frank off the ball but Devonté has to come on in order for us to do that or Frank will end up being our starting point guard.”

Self said the biggest thing the 6-foot-2 Graham must do is, “be a leader. If we get a shot every possession and don’t throw it out of bounds and he can pressure the ball and create some havoc defensively, that’s all he has to do to be our point guard, but he’s inconsistent right now. He’s going to be good. He’s just young.”

Greene OK: Sophomore Brannen Greene, who suffered a concussion in Monday’s game, shot on the side and ran through some non-contact drills on Thursday. “He’s bouncing around out there like there’s nothing wrong with him. I think he’ll be fine,” Self said.

Free throws: Self, who answered fans’ questions on Twitter on Thursday, said the Jayhawks would shoot 100 free throws on their own for every one missed in Monday’s game. KU hit 16 of 32 charities vs. Washburn.


Adam Collins 7 years, 2 months ago

I can only assume that those 1,600 free throws they have to take will be monitored by coaches. I'm just thinking about the first two free throws Cliff took (which didn't have very good form) and missed and the next two he took (which had much better form) and he made.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 2 months ago

That last FT Alexander hit was perfect. That thing was snap off and ripped the cords. Oubre, who probably will be about a 56% FT shooter, is my only shooting concern on this team. His shooting technique may be the lone reason The League passing on him for a lottery pick, but I drought it since its all about potential.

Sean Lancaster 7 years, 2 months ago

"will probably be about a 56% FT shooter" -- how the heck did you arrive that conclusion? Based on his very first exhibition game? Or did you look at his 72% FT shooting as a senior on about 250 attempts? I realize the 72% is easier in high school because the FT line is closer. /sarcasm

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 2 months ago

I commenced calculations using his FT completion rate in the WU game coupled with visual observations of his shooting techniques then converted it all into log 10 scale before using a transformation into differential form which was set to 0 to determine where the minimums and maximums. Those results were then extrapolated integrating from November thru April, which resulted in "about 56%".

However, be mindful it's all relative to the position and movement of the observer.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 2 months ago

I will say that I just don't want to hear one excuse about being young. Coach Self has chosen the path of a "young" team. We whiffed on and ran off Tharpe, who should be our senior point guard. We effectively ran off Andrew White by bringing in Wiggins, Oubre and then Svi (who immediately followed White's departure). And we squeezed out CF with the influx of young players, including perimeter guys Graham, Svi, and Oubre. The "young" team is what Self has created and obviously desired.

Self has chosen what is perceived to be greater talent, over experience. This are horses that he hitched his wagon to. We can debate the propriety of that, of course. But the guy who really counts, coach Self, has chosen to have a young team. Has chosen to compete to win a national title with a young team.

Self has made no excuses about being young yet this season, as we've seen in past seasons. So we're not there .... yet.

Suzi Marshall 7 years, 2 months ago

Jack your perception seems to be a bit off center. Self absolutely did not run off White or Frankamp. Both those players were behind better guys, regardless of the age. I hated losing AWIII and initially Frankamp. Now I'm leaning toward the belife the loss of Frankamp was best for himself and the team.

Allison Steen 7 years, 2 months ago

You can't pass on top talent because other kids were there first. Bill Self's job is to make the best team possible through recruiting and developing talent, and that's what he is doing.

Everyone was berating him for not bringing in the one and done, top 10 talent. Now he is. Grass is always greener, eh?

Ian Emerson 7 years, 2 months ago

I do understand what Jack is saying. Although i also remember when everyone was complaining when Self had recruiting slumps. However you cannot fault a coach for consistently recruiting the best talent around and if that means putting some of your current players who are less physically able to compete on the back burner then that is a harsh reality of recruiting.

Jack Wilson 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm not faulting Self for anything. I prefer to skip the OAD route unless necessary to plug a glaring hole. When you do the OAD thing to fill a hole, though, you have a perpetual hole. It is admittedly an inexact science. And my position is evolving a bit on that.

My point is that we will hear from him after games that "we are so young" as an excuse. He's done it before. Heck, he's used that excuse even when we weren't really young. That's all. I just don't want the excuse. If you don't win with the roster you have selected and chosen, vs. a more experienced roster you could have had, at least don't blame it on being young. Again, he hasn't done that this year yet.

Suzi - No, Self did run off Andrew White. But he did so as I mentioned -- He "effectively" ran him off. I'm not saying he affirmatively forced him to leave, which seemed to be the case with Tharpe. Self brought in Wiggins; Self signed Oubre; Self signed Svi (which happened coincidentally right after White left). He showed no loyalty to a developing player. He recruited over him. I may disagree with that philosophy a bit. I want the best players. But I tend to think the developed player in the program (Releford) is usually the best playerr for the team concept, and team performance than the OAD (Wiggins).

Regarding CF, same thing -- though I said "squeezed out" regarding CF. Guys want to play. When they don't have PT and they are a highly ranked guy, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that they will leave. Self brought in Graham. He brought in Svi. He brought in Oubre. Not criticizing any of the those moves, per se, but that's a squeeze.

Allison: Make no mistake, you can pass on guys. You don't have to take the top guy just because he's a top guy. You can pass on "talent." Let me ask you this .. If your coach Self, you have a program guy who will be a senior. Top 50 guy. Will be the starter at the three spot. Very good player. But you could bring in Wiggins, who has to start, would you? And remember, the best "talent" does not always create the best "team."

Ian: My only criticism regarding recruiting by Self has been the all in on Tarc thing, and not anticipating the Morris twins departure. Both of which he acknowledged. I know others were critical of other things. I do think that Self could skip the OADs, and target guys in the top 60ish range. But that's not how it works now. I would prefer a Karviar Shepherd type guy to come in, develop, and be a stud his junior and senior seasons vs. a flow of OADs. The problem I acknowledge is that even a guy like Alexander might stay a second season, so that would blow my argument out of the water. I guess I just don't like seeing program guys get the shaft. But I want a winner like everyone else. Tough maybe to have it both ways.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 2 months ago

I think you are spot on Jack. What did we get for last years #1 NBA draft pick? Some great highlights for sure but how does that improve this years team?

Now Oubre will take over for Wiggins...he is the most talented player and very likely a lottery pick in next years NBA draft. Does Self recruit another OAD for next years team? Greene will surely follow AW3 and CF. Four top 50 talent and not much to show for it because it takes about 3 years for players of even Chalmers talent to hit his stride and dominate.

Where is Julian Wright and Darrell Arthur? 5 Star talent who needed a third year but were too impatient. Paul Pierce is probably the most talented player since Manning but he stayed 3 years and certainly is not poorer for it.

Give me recruits between #15 - #65 who will stick around at least 3 years and see what happens..

Matt Woolley 7 years, 2 months ago

Walter, first thing is Darrell Arthur is getting some good minutes in Denver right now so actually know what you're talking about first. Also, that #1 and #3 picks in the draft got KU recruiting to the next level. The amount of ESPN coverage generated was HUGE for this school. I agree I would love to see players stick around longer, but that is a dream. The best teams have one and dones for the most part. Kentucky recently, but Melo for Syracuse, Derek Rose, Kevin Durant, etc. To be the best you have to recruit the best. And questioning Self's tactics is just stupid. The man has won 10 straight titles, despite starting 3 freshmen last season.

Matt Woolley 7 years, 2 months ago

Andrew White was never going to play. He couldn't play the defense Self wanted. That's why he left. Experience doesn't mean anything if it still isn't as talented.

And our team IS young. And they WILL lose games because of it. It IS a legitimate excuse. If you think that AW3 and CF are what would make the difference between this team being a title team or not you are delusional.

Finally, Tharpe. You said we "whiffed" on him. He was the 92nd ranked recruit and was only signed after we missed out on other point guards. He wasn't our first choice at all. And ran him off? He left after he was outplayed by 2 freshmen.

Tom Jones 7 years, 2 months ago

Hilarious. He didn't run off anyone, "effectively" (LOL) or otherwise. He's trying to get talented kids who produce in games. Sometimes kids (like white and especially Frankamp) who are studs in high school just can't accept having to fight just to see the floor. It happens.

Mike Riches 7 years, 2 months ago

I know Bill Self has talked about teams being young, but I don't fault him for saying that. I've found Bill Self to be fairly straightforward during interviews. That includes talking (at great length at times) about areas where his team needs to improve, and some of the challenges they are having. When he says they're young, I don't see it as an excuse for losing, but rather as a reason they may be making some of those mistakes. In other words, I don't think he's trying to pass the blame. Self knows he's recruited these players. But if they lose by making mistakes that more experienced players would not have made, he's going to be candid about that.

Also being young isn't all about having OAD players. When you lose all five starters from a team, four of which were seniors, you're going to have a young, fairly inexperienced team the following year, regardless of the caliber of players you recruit. True that Calipari always has a young team, but most if not all programs are going to have years where they're team is younger and less experienced than the coach would prefer. That's just part of college sports...

Bryce Landon 7 years, 2 months ago

"Last year we were beyond our years from a basketball IQ."

Based on what I saw from last year, I'm perplexed that a man of Self's intelligence would say that or even think that. They didn't defend, they didn't rebound, they couldn't overcome even manageable deficits or hold on to big leads, they were pretty careless with the ball, and they wound up losing 10 games. I don't see how that speaks to having a basketball IQ beyond their years.

Brian Wilson 7 years, 2 months ago

SPOT ON BRYCE! I am hoping Bill isn't losing it. From a team and maturity standpoint last year's team didn't have the IQ to buy in. Also, Point guard is not usually a OAD position. Recruiting over and squeezing out players at the guard position is not wise. I would rather have a set of developed junior and senior guards with experience than squashing them out with freshman players with higher potential. Losing CF is at best not good and I hope his mindset is to not enroll at KSU, OSU, or some other Big 12 school.

Matt Woolley 7 years, 2 months ago

He was just referring to the freshmen only when he said that. The freshmen last year had a better basketball IQ than this season. Which is fair when you compare Wiggins to Oubre and Jojo to Cliff. you guys need to chill.

Darwin Dandy 7 years, 2 months ago

I'm assuming he means from the standpoint of what they want to do as a team by the IQ comment

Doug Merrill 7 years, 2 months ago

"A man of Self's intelligence" I think you can hang your hat on your lack of understanding rather than his error if you have to include that phrase in a post. We are about 6 years downstream from questioning his ability to craft teams and understand their chemistry, aren't we? Here is my interpretation - our team last year had very intelligent and skilled b-ball players who were not quite mature enough in years (personality or character) to be able to play defense or team ball such that they could translate their skill into winning when faced with an excellent team- oriented "team" (think San Diego State).

Matt Woolley 7 years, 2 months ago

People posting about how One and Done or recruiting and starting freshmen is dumb, here is a little list for you.

2014: Uconn vs. Kentucky. Freshmen- Basically entire UK team. Amida Brimah

2013: Louisville vs. Michigan Freshmen - Glenn Robinson, Nick Stouskas, Mitch McGarry, Montrezell Harell

2012: Kentucky vs. KANSAS Freshmen - Entire UK starting lineup.

2011: Uconn vs Butler Freshmen - Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier

2010: Duke vs. Butler Freshmen - Ryan Kelly, Mason Plumlee, Andre Dawkins

2009: North Carolina vs Michigan State Freshmen- None of note w/ playing time. Exception to the rule

2008: KANSAS vs. Memphis Freshmen - Derek Rose

2007: Florida vs. Ohio State Freshmen - Mike Conely, Dequan Cook, Greg Oden

2006: Florida vs. UCLA freshmen- Darren Collison, Mba ah moute (however you spell it)

2005: North Carolina vs. Illinois freshmen- Marvin Williams

2004: Uconn vs, Georgia Tech Freshmen - Josh Boone, Charlie Villanueva,

2003: Syracuse vs. KANSAS freshmen - Melo, Gerry Macnamara

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