Tuesday, November 18, 2014

KU, UK are recruiting rivals


Kansas and Kentucky often go head-to-head in recruiting.

“If you look at who we are recruiting and who they are recruiting this year, there’s a lot of carryover,” KU coach Bill Self said of players such as Stephen Zimmerman, Carlton Bragg, Jaylen Brown, Malik Newman, Ivan Rabb, Brandon Ingram, to name a handful. “Just because we are recruiting them doesn’t mean one of us is going to get them. They could still go somewhere else. We’ve gone head-to-head against Kentucky numerous times. We’ve won a couple and lost a few and that stuff. That’s always going to be the nature of the business. We’re going to recruit against Duke. We’re going to recruit against Carolina. We’ll recruit against UCLA. We’ll recruit against Texas. It seems there’s been more of the Kentucky-Kansas crossover than maybe there has any other school, at least with us.”


Joe Ross 5 years ago

How much of an impact does tonight's game have on recruiting? It's huge! All the Kentucky and Kansas recruits will be watching. Some of them are likely to be on the fence, and little things here and there could influence the situation one way or the other.

Apologies if you see the following twice, because I made the comment below under another article. Just seems more appropriate here. The part of this situation Id like to address is that when you have so much talent from recruiting, you invariably get a mass exodus annually. That means the pressure to coach up new crops of blue chippers early is very high (four years' worth of coaching crunched into a few weeks). In addition, they will probably leave without having completed their basketball education which includes not only a developed skill set, but a proper mindset of knowledge, perspective, and confidence. The question in my mind is how this affects Coach Self's coaching. And because every new situation has a learning curve to it, I wonder where on the slope Coach Self lies. There is no doubt that Wiggins and Embiid left here as incomplete players. "Lots of upside" is a phrase that you heard last season until it became nauseating. But they were incomplete nonetheless. I hate Calipari, but he's figured it out. The evidence of this is that many of his former players (the OADs) go to the NBA and create impact. So far, we have Xavier Henry, Josh Selby, Andrew Wiggins, and Joel Embiid to judge. Its a small sample size and the jury is still out on two of them. Selby was a dud. Henry, though holding his own as an NBA veteran, is not an impact player. He will be sent to the D-league and recalled later in the week is the news Im reading. In any case, with Kansas getting in on so many top-flight recruits, this will be the way of it for the foreseeable future, at least until Adam Silver adjusts the age-limit rule to 20, which he indicates he intends to do. Interestingly, there is a chance that if he does, college players might again become four year players. Blue chip recruits might want to be paid for their services, and doubling the time without a paycheck might push the majority of them into the D-league or overseas. No matter. Im in favor of raising the age-limit because it's good for college basketball (who will see more complete players on teams), it's good for the NBA (for the same reason), and most importantly it's good for the players, who will hopefully have increased in maturity and basketball I.Q. Bill Self is on record saying that he prefers the age-limit to be increased. My hunch is because it reduces the pressure to produce a polished product NOW. My intuition is that even two years is not enough time to prepare players for the next level, but it's certainly better than one. Pro scouts will be on hand tonight to get a look at the players, but no doubt their stock will be a reflection--at least in part--of how well Calipari and Self are coaching them.

Steve Corder 5 years ago

Don't think I could add to your observations.

Rodney Crain 5 years ago

Quite a diatribe, unfortunately most of its rambling is all over the place.

Huge? It is a great event tonight, but games of this level happen weekly up to the conference season and during it.

Kentucky is on a level above almost everyone else in recruiting. Once in a while other elite schools can have a year or two that competes with them, but on the whole they have very little trouble getting early and top ranked players every year. It is a destination school for top recruits.

I do not think the recent history of recruits comparing KY and KS shows a lot of fence sitting. More often than not they pick the KY hat. I see no reason it will be any different for KU for 2015. Year after year Cal gets top talent at every position. We tend to be viewed by recruits as a post and wing school, not a school for point guards.

Adam Silver actually is looking at many options with regard to changes to the current system, not just raising the age limit. A few of those options would weaken the college game. Self is on the record with many views on this topic, not just raising the age limit.

Walter Bridges 5 years ago

I'm not sure why you limited yourself to only OADs. Coach Self has excelled at getting players into the NBA that very few other coaches could have. I'm talking about players such as Jeff Whithey, Darnell Jackson, Tyshawn Taylor, the Morris twins (who both just signed four-year extensions) and even Thomas Robinson.

I also think it's important to look at how many players made it into the lottery such as Cole Aldrich, Thomas Robinson, the Morris twins plus the obvious players like Julian Wright, Ben McLemore, Wiggins and Embiid. So far, I agree that we have not had too many players making huge impacts but Self has gotten players into the NBA and even into the lottery who never would've had the opportunity playing with another coach.

It doesn't take a genius to get top 10 talent into the NBA and that is what Calipari does best. Self is known for developing players. Ben McLemore wasn't even ranked in the top 25, the Morris twins were ranked between the top 30 to top 40, Jamari Traylor wasn't in the top 100 but I think he will have a good shot at getting drafted at the end of the 2016 season and finally Tyshawn Taylor was ranked 77th. Getting those players into the NBA takes a little more work.

Not sure if this can be stated statistically but recruits have to notice that even if they are not OADs, they can develop under HCBS and still make it into the NBA. If you only look at OADs, Calipari is going to win hands-down against any other current coach but where it really counts is in the final results. If you compare HCBS to Calipari over the time span from when Self came to Kansas and Calipari at Memphis and Kentucky, the final results are pretty even. Self has been to two final fours with one win and Calipari has been to three with one win.

I'm also confident that recruits notice, at least to some degree, the controversy and the vacated seasons associated with Calipari (the only coach in NCAA history to have two different schools final four appearances vacated) while HCBS has the opposite reputation. I think tonight's game is important to some degree for recruits but what it really boils down to at the end of the season is just one game during the regular season.

John Randall 5 years ago

I.Q. (basketball or other) is another kind of "potential." Any I.Q. is a ratio of mental reasoning ability to chronological age of an individual. For almost all individuals, it changes very little over time. It is their acumen and knowledge which improve through coaching and experience.

Having the smarts and using them are different things. Unfortunately the way you misuse the term has become widespread among commentators and reporters who are too arrogant (or perhaps unintelligent?) to bother themselves with proper usage, or in many cases to learn same.

Travis Clementsmith 5 years ago

I don't know that such a comparison is very fair. Injuries can have an impact into how far or well a guy does. Calipari has recruited better and has more players identified early as top prospects than Self has had at KU. Has Calipari taken someone out of the prep Top 10 and made them an impact player like Self did with the Morris twins? What's more impressive, taking players on the fringe of NBA possible and getting them there, or processing through players that were already pegged for the NBA and probably would have gone strait there if they had been eligible? Selby obviously did not pan out. X has had injury issues but has played well when healthy. Wiggins and JoJo are just getting started. The NBA is about elite athleticism, and there is only so much that can be developed. You are either an elite athlete or you or not. Cal does a great job of marketing his program as a weigh station tothe NBA. But, if that's true, doesn't he get marked down for players people thought should go strait to the NBA but don't? Look at the Harrison twins. If they were Top 10 prep players but then don't go because of falling draft stock value, aren't those points against Cal? Further, if Self identifies and then helps Embiid skyrocket to what would have been the top pick in the draft if he didn't get injured, doesn't that add to rep? A little too simplistic for me in just trying to determine best value by number of "impact" players.

kellerman411 5 years ago

He's not saying the comparison is fair. He's saying that it is what it is. As a coach, people look at how you do with top 10 guys. It is also important to do well with the fringe guys as you mentioned but certainly no more important.

Rodney Crain 5 years ago

Jason you need to watch Seinfeld talking about the phrase "It is what it is". You will never use that again.

Travis Clementsmith 5 years ago

You don't think Self goes over with recruits where past recruits were ranked and how he got them to the NBA? Or is your statement more on recruits choosing before they even decide what schools they are going to visit? Cal has definitely created an aura that if UK recruits you, then you must already be NBA material. I get that. But, even if Wiggins and Embiid go on to be All Stars, I don't believe its going to be the impact you think it is. Durant is one of the best players that went to college in the NBA right now. Can you really say that has bumped up their overall recruiting? Sure, Turner was a big Durant guy and it probably influenced him, but how many other top 10 recruits are they hauling in because of Durant? I think this is more about some fans wanting to win internet arguments with rival fans than it has to do with recruiting.

Joe Ross 5 years ago

Jason, you get it. Travis, the twins didnt skip the draft because their stock had fallen. They skipped because everybody else's stock was up. Last year's draft was crammed with super talented prospects. You mentioned that Cal has recruited more players identified as prep Top 10. All of the four guys mentioned were Top 10 talent, and Cal recruited all of them with the exception of Embiid. And finally, I dont know by what measure you judge a college coach's actual coaching of a player than by what he does after you coach him. Performance at the next level is certainly one way.

Rodney Crain 5 years ago

Ok now that comment made me laugh. Their stock did not fall, everyone else just passed them. Wait, what??? Maybe they were just over rated to begin with and it had nothing to do with coaching?

How many fringe guys have transferred from KU recently? To reduce this to coaching is not looking at all the variables involved with the development of college players.

Joe Ross 5 years ago

Rodney, be informed. Not just opinionated. The twins were not overrated. The projections when they came in to college were that they had chances to be lottery picks. Projections just prior to the '14 NBA draft had them middle to late first round. The progress of others was responsible for their slide, not their own regression. In fact, the play of the twins had improved throughout the season, and Kentucky's run to the championship game last year had a lot to do with the improved play of the twins. Now before you think this observation is my opinion, I point out quickly that this is the view of their coach and basketball analysts. Snicker if you want to. Youll be the proverbial madman laughing at the rain.

Travis Clementsmith 5 years ago

Aaron Harrison - Rivals (3); Scout (3); ESPN (4); MaxPreps(2); 24/7 (2) Andrew Harrison- Rivals (4); Scout (2); ESPN (2); MaxPreps(1); 24/7 (3)

Yeah, fringe lottery prospects. Go sell that somewhere else.

Joe Ross 5 years ago

For what year is this information? I dont think you understand my point. If these rankings are for their freshman year, it would have been at the beginning. Certainly they didn't end up there, which is a testament to the power of last year's draft class. If they are for this year, then it bears out my point as well because the '15 draft will not match the depth of the previous year.

Walter Bridges 5 years ago

This is their RSCI rankings 2013:

I don't know of any ranking services that include HS and NCAA players other than projected draft picks which are purely speculative.

Rodney Crain 5 years ago

Joe Joe, poor Joe.... I am informed, you need to accept that maybe you are wrong on this, even if it is me pointing it out. I said the word maybe by the way. All those wonderful points from their coach who is only going to say positive things around draft time are so beleivable (not really). Plus when you add in all the wonderful, never wrong, never hyperbole analysts comments it all actually means, well very little. It comes down to very candid behind the scenes conversations with the teams in the draft. Are they going to pick you and if so where will you likely go. They felt another year in school was a good idea, it was. Their run at the end of the year was partly due to their even play, not their improved play. They thought they would be lottery picks but they did not play like lottery picks so is that not slipping?

If someone passes you on the highway are still ahead of them, even if you are going the same speed you were? No you have now slipped behind them. In a draft that is about betting on what a player might become, not how they played in college, they slipped. Their potential was called into question, which for the NBA is hard to do.

I rarely snicker, I am laughing but it is not at the rain, its your point that you are desperately holding onto.

Joe Ross 5 years ago

Youre whistling past the graveyard and your bravado is certainly of the false variety because you are nowhere near being right. You say the coach spoke up his players, but I have a secret for ya. It wasn't just their coach! Analysts everywhere were saying the same thing. When you dismiss the analysts and dismiss the coach, then basically you are saying that you are smarter than they are and you dont need any good reason to say the twins' stock had fallen. Not even what you could have seen with your own eyes if you watched the tournament could goad you toward reason, evidently. You're in the dark, groping frantically for arguments to say they hadn't improved; but both the stats and expert opinions (hint: yours does not qualify) are against you. Just the facts, son. Just the facts...

Rodney Crain 5 years ago

Yawn, Joe you have jumped the shark buddy. See me disagreeing with you here by myself?

It's not a lack of confidence that I have in my point, it is your point that lacks validity, common sense or for that matter fact.

It is not that I think I am smarter, it is that I do not put so much faith into what analyst, or coaches say about players as truth. There are too many agendas in play. The twins players stock fell once the season was underway. It picked back up during the tourney but not enough to impact them making it into the lottery.

To say that it didn't just does not make any sense. I am not alone in questioning you on this.

Joe Ross 5 years ago

Come on, Rodney. Waiting to see something that you write that finally makes sense.

Rodney Crain 5 years ago

Aww. Don't cry Joe and just lash out, it will all be ok little guy. There, there.

Travis Clementsmith 5 years ago

Come on, Joe! You really aren't paying attention if you don't think their stock dropped! NBA people picked apart their late adjustment to the college game. How they weren't as dominant against collegiate level talent as they appeared against high school talent, how their impact on team chemistry wasn't always a positive. "All four". Once again, Selby was a bust. Henry has be plagued by injuries, and the other two are rookies with one not available because of injury. How in the world is that a sample size? Did Self and KU injure X? A college coach's job, at this level, is to make his player draftable - that's it. After that its up to the NBA team's player deveopment staff and the individual's own level of athleticism to take him from there. Some players get buried at loaded team position. Some have trouble adapting to a new system. But Self's track record of getting his players to the NBA, especially bigs, is remarkable. And he does it better with "non-Top 10 high school talent" than any coach out there.

Joe Ross 5 years ago

On the contrary, Travis. YOU aren't paying attention. Here are the facts. They were projected prior to the draft of going in the middle to late first round. Fact number two. Last year's draft was the deepest draft in draft history. Fact three. No one is as dominant in college as they were in high school. This point is so poor I dont know what you are trying to show with it. Fact four. It's NOT a coach's job to make his players draftable. By that standard every coach is a failure, because NO COACH EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME has ever had even a simple majority of his players turn pro. So it appears youre saying that the job of a coach has nothing at all to do with the guys that dont go to the NBA. But youve painted yourself into a corner because you suggest that this is the only job of a college coach when you use the words "that's it". No one argues about Self's ability to put guys in the NBA so who are you arguing with? Pay attention to the facts, and your opinions will be better informed.

Rodney Crain 5 years ago

Welcome to the club Travis. I never have seen Joe so out of control so maybe he is just having a bad week or maybe I upset him.

I liked what you said if that is any consulation.

Walter Bridges 5 years ago

Disagreements aside, I know every one of us is going to be watching the game somewhere and cheering on the Jayhawks to pull off an upset and beat Kentucky.

Adam James 5 years ago

In my mind this Kentucky team has proven nothing. It will not be an upset when a #5 team beats a #1 team. If it is, every other team should just mail in their season and give the championship to UK. On paper this team is solid, but nothing can be determined until these teams play and everyone makes observations from there. Everyone in the country and even our own fan base is acting like we are playing the best team in the world. We have an unbelievable team and unbelievable coach and will do just fine. Maybe we win or maybe we lose. I think both teams will be much different 3 months from now and at that point we can access if it would be an upset or not. RCJH!

Scott MacWilliams 5 years ago

Hey folks, I absolutely LOVE our chances tonight!! Sure UK has a boatload of MCDAA's, but come on, this is Bill Self and he has a pretty good idea how to deal with that much raw talent. They are very strong, but we are ranked #5 for a reason. Maybe we haven't hit our stride yet, might not get there tonight, but it will be a great game any way you slice it.

Let's go get 'em Jayhawks!! KU 72, UK 67.

R O C K C H A L K , J A Y H A W K S !!!

Eric MacDonald 5 years ago

If anyone saw Kentucky play Buffalo on Sunday you would agree that Kentucky is a lot of hype at this stage. They trailed at the half to Buffalo. They trailed for much of the second half of the game as well. The only thing that saved Kentucky is Buffalo. They began to rush and make bad shots. Had Buffalo continued to play the way that had the first 28 minutes of the game Kentucky very well might have lost that game. Buffalo getting sloppy led to fast break points for Kentucky. Kentucky relied heavily on their athleticism and not so much on team play which is a testament to their lack of experience and maturity. Tonight should be fun.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.