Sunday, October 5, 2014

Self not a fan of UK-style NBA combine

Bill Self

Bill Self


Kansas University’s basketball program will not copy-cat Kentucky and hold a combine for all 30 NBA teams anytime soon.

“That would certainly not be anything we would do,” 12th-year KU coach Bill Self told the Journal-World on Friday after the Jayhawks’ first practice of the 2014-15 season. “That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It just means it wouldn’t be for us.”’s Andy Katz reports that UK coach John Calipari has decided to hold an Oct. 10-11 combine, “Rather than having scouts parade through during the season when it could be a distraction.” Indeed, Calipari told ESPN that following the combine he could choose to keep the scouts out of practice “for weeks or months.”

That doesn’t hit home with Self, because he likes having scouts attend practice during the season. Per his policy, NBA scouts are welcome to watch practice any time. As a result, most teams send representatives more than once during the season.

“I love it when NBA scouts come to practice,” Self said. “I think the guys (Jayhawks) get juiced up for it. We’ve had numerous practices we’ve had anywhere from one to 10 to 12 NBA guys watching us work out. I like that.

“I also think having a combine this early in the practice season, at least with so many young kids, I’m not sure many would look very good because they’d be thinking instead of playing.”

Calipari responded to some national criticism of his combine in an interview with ESPN.

“Someone said, ‘You’ll make them think about the NBA.’ Excuse me? They all do. Even the walk-ons,” Calipari told ESPN. “It creates a base for me to build with each individual kid and what I need to do. All 30 teams will be here my first week of practice. Now it’s all controlled and organized.”

Practice: This year, the NCAA allowed teams to start practice on Oct. 3. Last year, it was the last week of September. For many years, it was the Friday closest to Oct. 15.

Self said he likes it this way.

“It’s better for us because you can be on two to three days and take a day off, since you have to take 12 days off out of the 42 days prior to your first game,” he explained.

He was able to hold one two-hour practice a week during both sessions of summer school and again after the start of first semester classes in August.

“This is a lot more intense,” Self said of regular-season practices that can sometimes go to three hours. “The guys get after it pretty good.”

Studying tape: A student of the game, KU junior Perry Ellis says he has watched tape of a similarly sized former Jayhawk — Marcus Morris of the Phoenix Suns. Ellis is listed at 6-foot-8, 225 pounds; Morris is 6-9, 235.

“(I’m) trying to figure out, just learn from him what he did,” Ellis said.

He was reminded that Marcus and Markieff Morris recently signed a combined four-year, $52 million extension with the Suns.

“I saw that. That’s a great deal with them. It’s definitely encouraging. It shows, God willing, if you get the opportunity, you can do it,” said Ellis, who last week was named first-team preseason all Big 12.

New digs on video: A Williams Fund video of KU’s soon-to-be built basketball apartment complex (McCarthy Hall) was available on Saturday night. The video showed plans for a half-court basketball court, theatre and rooftop terrace as well as a dining area and the actual apartment rooms.

Plans are for the apartments to be ready in August. As of Saturday night, the video was available at

For general information on McCarthy Hall, go to


Rodney Crain 5 years, 4 months ago

Great video, I like almost everything about it. I would not put pictures behind a refrigerator door that is open in the player's rooms though. Been there done that, it does not end well. Just saying...

Perry studying tape...hope it includes boxing out and how to defend.

Agree 100% with Self on No Combine. Having a Scout day like some schools do for Football is not always a good idea - See Teddy Bridgewater from Louisville as an example.

Suzi Marshall 5 years, 4 months ago

The upstairs' terrace reminds me of the balcony seating across Waveland Ave watching the Cubs play at Wrigley Field. I should have thought of that pool table felt myself, it is incredible. I'd love to get my son in there next year. It looks a lot better than the 70 year old house on Tennessee.

Rodney Crain 5 years, 4 months ago

Been up there too at Wrigley, reminded me about them too. I hope that glass on one side of the basketball court is like in a racket ball court. Almost impossible to break.

Kerby Rice 5 years, 4 months ago

The scouting combine at the beginning of the season to scout a bunch of 18 and 19 year old kids is ridiculous. These kids are going to change physically by the week. They'll be completely different players, athletes, and have matured so much by the middle of February from now. Good luck keeping scouts from wanting to come observe your talent because they watched them a bit a month before they gain any college basketball experience.

Erich Hartmann 5 years, 4 months ago

Self's explanation of why "no combine pre season" is priceless, and spot-on comment from one of the best coaches in the business: "I'm not sure such an early combine would help the kids, as they'd be 'thinking' more than just 'playing' ". One could argue Self's approach reveals his players to scouts when the kids are 'more ready'. Self knows college kids, and how they look good playing smoothly together as a team.

Now, Calipari has proved his own system as well: He does use the lure of the NBA, and this incorporation and systematized integration of it into Kentucky's schedule of activities is as slick as it gets, and frankly, only he and maybe a few other coaches can pull it off--mainly only those with multiple potential lotto picks, like Calipari's roster usually has. In a nutshell, Calipari's whole system is to try to get a bunch of kids to find that magical and smoothly-executing team chemistry in a trial-by-fire method that "jells" by March Madness. The danger is if they are really lackluster, or lack a couple of key returning guys, then they risk not getting enough W's to get invited to the Dance, as happenned. A jell-or-bust, make-or-break. We saw last year's KY team 'jell', remarkably, right there during the WichitaState game...I followed KY last year, and they displayed bad chemistry for most of the season. I thought WSU had a legit shot at beating them.

Calipari's National Championship in 2012 actually had 2 returning key players. Recall Doron Lamb (soph) who absolutely killed us with his 4 treys in the NC game. And this year he returns 3-4 guys with Final4 experience.

KY is the team to beat this year, and KU will likely be their toughest non-conf opponent, which also says a lot about KU, if it is a more typical, tough-assed Self-type of squad. As Self would say, "should be a great game".

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 4 months ago

Marcus Morris always was able to move like a guard. Perry simply doesn't move like a guard. It will be interesting to see if Perry has changed his game this offseason. I would love to see Perry as a Marcus Morris type player. But Marcus as a Jr was a POY candidate and was primarily a perimeter style offensive player though he played mostly as a stretch 4.

The two are totally different players, so it will be interesting to see of Perry can emulate some of that type of game...

Up to now I'd say that Perry's skill set is more familiar to TRob as a Jr than McM as a Jr. TRob was a traditional low post PF, but also liked to get the ball at 15-17 feet and make a move toward to the basket to score. He also was a threat to take the open mid-range jumper.

Trent Rose 5 years, 4 months ago

I think you will see Perry put similar numbers to what Marcus Morris did - probably 17 pts and 7 rebounds a game. TRob was more physical than both of the aforementioned and was a better rebounder and more aggressive.

Shannon Gustafson 5 years, 4 months ago

No way Perry will put up 17ppg, that's more than nearly anyone in the Self era. I'd expect something in the 14-15ppg range unless the rest of the team is pitiful on offense and they have to go through Perry on every possession (not likely). It's also unlikely he'll get enough minutes to average a ton of points since he's got plenty of competition for PT that will take some of his minutes.

Jonathan Allison 5 years, 4 months ago

Perry can score 17 ppg if he's a threat to score from 3 pt range consistently at a ~35% rate or better and isn't afraid to attempt 3-4 per game. That is to say, if Perry developed a perimeter game and transitions to a stretch 4 role this year.

Perry hasn't shown in 2 seasons that he is very willing to step outside of his comfort zone, and some of that certainly depends on what Self wants Perry to do, but he always looked hesitant to shoot a jump shot, especially if he had already missed a jump shot earlier in the game.

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