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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Traylor, Selden impressive, Self says

Bill Self

Bill Self

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If Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self issued a Most Valuable Player award for the two-game exhibition season, the hardware would go to ... Jamari Traylor and Wayne Selden Jr.

“Even though the numbers aren’t unbelievable, I thought Wayne and Jamari were our best guys,” Self said on Wednesday’s Hawk Talk radio show.

Traylor, a 6-8 junior from Chicago, scored nine points off 4-of-4 shooting with five rebounds, two blocks and a steal in Tuesday’s 109-56 rout of Emporia State. He had four rebounds, three points and two blocks in an 85-53 win over Washburn.

Selden, a 6-5 sophomore from Roxbury, Massachusetts, had 12 points off 5-of-7 shooting with six assists, three rebounds and no turnovers in 24 minutes versus Emporia State after scoring five points with four rebounds and two assists against Washburn.

“I thought Mari gave us unbelievable energy in the way he played,” Self said. “He never allowed his man to block him off, spun every time, went to the offensive glass, did the things you are supposed to do. Wayne was turned up last night. It didn’t translate to points. He did some things that were absolutely terrific.”

As far as possible honorable-mention candidates for an award that does not exist ...

“Devonté Graham was really good,” Self said of the 6-2 freshman point guard from Raleigh, North Carolina, who had 10 points, three assists and one turnover in 14 minutes against ESU after scoring seven points with three assists and three turnovers against Washburn.

“If you were going to just look at our team, our most talented guys, it’d be hard-pressed not to say Frank (Mason III), Perry (Ellis) and Wayne. But I think there are some other guys in there who do some things to give our team a chance to win,” Self added.

Rotation talk: In all, eight Jayhawks scored in double figures against ESU and 11 players logged 12 or more minutes.

“I think we could play nine pretty easy. I think it’ll be difficult to get to 10 and 11,” said Self, whose Jayhawks open the regular season against UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m., Friday, in Allen. “I bet early in the season we do get to 10, possibly 11 just because we have to figure out who we want to play. By conference I think our rotation will be shortened a little bit. Not everybody is going to get equal minutes. Beginning Friday, some will play 30, 32 (minutes) and guys playing 18 will play eight depending on the situation. I still think when you are playing close to double-digit minutes you are still playing meaningful minutes.”

The lineup: Self said he would start Ellis, Traylor, Selden and Mason on Friday with the one perimeter spot undecided.

“It really didn’t work out great with Svi (as starter Tuesday). That doesn’t mean we can’t do that,” Self said, citing nerves as a factor Svi Mykhailiuk had three points off 1-of-5 three-point shooting in 18 minutes. He did have three boards, two assists, two turnovers and a steal. “Brannen Greene (10 points, three boards) played pretty well. He was aggressive and everything.

“One thing about Brannen. He is going to shoot it whether he starts or doesn’t. The first time he touches it, he’ll shoot it. It’s nice to have some offense off the bench, too. I don’t know what we’ll do with that spot. We’ll start the other four, though.”

Self said Mykhailiuk played well, just didn’t shoot well.

“After watching tape, he’s the most conscientious guy we have. He’s in the right spot defensively more than anybody else, trying to do what we want him to do,” Self said of the 17-year-old native of Ukraine.

Cliff tardy?: Freshman Cliff Alexander was the last of KU’s freshmen and last of the big men to enter Tuesday’s game. He had 12 points and six boards in 13 minutes.

Self on Hawk Talk alluded to the Chicago forward being tardy as a reason for his not entering until past the 10-minute mark of the first half.

“Cliff did fine. He was last one to (be) put in because he needs to make sure he’s on time everywhere he goes,” Self said. “I think he’s done well. He’s picking up stuff so fast and is trying so hard. It’s just time before he grasps it all. He’s done some good things in our exhibition season.”

Alexander was named third-team preseason All-America by USA Today on Wednesday.

Gauchos have top forward: One of the country’s best basketball players will be playing for the visiting team Friday in Allen. He’s Alan Williams, a 6-8, 265-pound senior forward from Phoenix, who led the country in rebounding at 11.5 a game last season. The Big West player of the year was 12th in the country in scoring at 21.3 ppg.

“He’s kind of like Thomas Robinson but is probably a better scorer with his back to the basket than Thomas was,” Self said. “He’s strong like Thomas, about the same size, maybe a half inch shorter. We know we’ve got a unique challenge being able to guard a big guy, to see if one guy can guard him or how our help defense is. Usually when you emphasize sagging on the post or helping on the post it means you are not pressuring. We’re better when we get out and pressure so we have to do both.”

Champions Classic: KU will play Kentucky approximately 8:50 p.m., Tuesday, in the Champions Classic in Indianapolis. Duke will meet Michigan State in the 6 p.m. opener. Next year’s Classic will be in Chicago with the 2016 Classic in New York.

Comments

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 6 months ago

With Traylor, I couldn’t see the nuances Self alludes to from the ESPN3 coverages. However, I was thrilled to see him take and hit the 14 footer from the elbow. When Ellis and Selden turn it up, they show how good the team will be. I hope those two can consistently produce that kind of aggressive play. The 4/5 shapes up but who will sit? Because Alexander is the most inexperienced, it looks like him until he gets better with Self’s system.

How do you choose a starter from Greene/Oubre/Mykailiuk at the 3? For defensive purposes, I would like to see Mykailiuk at the 2 (behind Selden) with Oubre at the 3. However, Greene brings some serious O to the game and if his D picks up, he’s got to play. Perhaps Selden/Greene will start then Mykailiuk/Oubre will come in to bring a different look and defensive energy. With CF gone, it seems Self is less set on playing two little guys, at least until Graham gets more seasoning. Self has mind numbing options.

I glad the season is beginning but wish we had another week before taking on tough teams like UCSB and then KY.

Mike Riches 4 years, 6 months ago

Regarding the post, Hunter is a fine player, but it's hard for me to see him breaking the rotation over Lucas and Cliff. Whoever the odd man out is down low, it will be a luxury to have that good of a player as a reserve in case of foul trouble, injury etc. Ditto at the 3...

Rob Bedford III 4 years, 6 months ago

Whoever is beat out by Lucas will not be a luxury coming off the bench.

Titus Canby 4 years, 6 months ago

Suzi, there was a call into Self's radio show last night asking specifically about us playing small with Selden at the 3 or 4. Coach said that they haven't practiced that at all yet. Still working on the basics. He did say that with Conner gone, playing small is less of an option.

Greg Lux 4 years, 6 months ago

One thing missing from this article is a guy named Oubre. I have been really surprised with his play early. He seems a little lost in the Self system. I still believe he is going to be really good but obviously he is struggling early. This is a young man who can make a huge addition to our team ( imho ). I expect him to be a major contributor by Conference play.

Robert Brock 4 years, 6 months ago

Self should probably start Graham. Graham needs a lot of reps and right quick if we intend to throw him at the Kentucky juggernaut.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 6 months ago

You can double down that argument for Oubre/Greene and Mykailiuk. We need size and quicknenss to go up against KY's backcourt. To handle KY at the 5, we need to put max pressure on the perimeter.

Robert Brock 4 years, 6 months ago

Oubre will play a lot Friday; I just don't think it matters if he starts. I don't know if it matters anyway - I suspect that KO is completely lost and has no earthly idea what he is doing on offense or defense. He is strong, however, and a smart street-ball player who will have fun on the 18th against his fellow Texans, the Harrison twins.

Brannen and Svi need to pump iron and eat nails. UK May pound them. Hope not.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 6 months ago

Agree Robert, does make you wonder though, Svi it was too early to start, he is not sure on Greene, has to be Graham right? He is not kidding not a lot of separation.

UCSB's Williams is going to be a load on both sides of the ball a 20/10 senior surrounded by 3 other upper classman who know how to get him the ball. Then KY, I hope we play well against them but they are loaded that game could be ugly.

Ryan Zimmerman 4 years, 6 months ago

Hopefully Greene gets some PT this season...

I'm afraid if he doesn't, he'll be gone next year and he really provides a good energy and spark that not a ton of the others show

Dirk Medema 4 years, 6 months ago

Sounds like Cliff was late to a class or something like that. Coach has eyes everywhere.

Robbie Richmond 4 years, 6 months ago

Greene should start the majority this year

Sean Lancaster 4 years, 6 months ago

Greene isn't even close to Svi and Oubre on D. Greene just cannot shuffle his feet quickly like Oubre and Svi. Greene will be an odd man out come conference play . . . he may earn minutes if he's on, but otherwise he's just a liability.

Scott MacWilliams 4 years, 6 months ago

No Cliff Friday???

Here's something I found by accident that isn't being mentioned here at the LJW: Player --- Status/Updated --- Notes Cliff Alexander F Ques. Fri - Ankle - 11/13/14 Alexander is questionable to play Friday against UCSB due to a sprained right ankle.

The source: http://kusports.sportsdirectinc.com/basketball/ncaab-teams.aspx?page=/data/ncaab/teams/team2507.html

Is there another article about this somewhere else? Inquiring minds want to know!!

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 6 months ago

I think I saw this from a Bleacher Report link or someone like that? I did some inquiring and concluded BR has not updated their database.

Scott MacWilliams 4 years, 6 months ago

No, this was from looking for the stats on the exhibition games, which aren't there. It's from KUsports.com under the stats heading. Not BR at all.

The page starts with a bunch of stats from the end of last season, then has the brief Cliff injury report that is followed with the rest of this seasons schedule, including 'last meeting' records against the teams that are scheduled.

Mike Trinastich 4 years, 6 months ago

I really think Traylor is related to coach Self. I've watched this kid play since he stepped on the court for KU and he looks the same now as he did then.....His play in the easy games thus far should NOT translate to any award. If coach is going with 9 this year PLEASE make Jamari #9

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