Sunday, September 28, 2014

Self hopes camp made Jayhawks tougher

Bill Self

Bill Self


Bill Self has learned that two weeks of Kansas Basketball Boot Camp is better than one.

“We went soft on them last year. I realize that was a mistake,” Self, KU’s 12th-year coach said, speaking as halftime guest of Bob Davis and the Jayhawk Radio Network during Saturday’s 23-0 football loss to Texas in Memorial Stadium.

“The season is so long. You could start practicing so much earlier than usual, so we went one (week),” explained Self, whose Jayhawks started practicing on Sept. 27 last season in accordance with new NCAA rules.

It used to be teams began on the Friday closest to Oct. 15. This year, practice starts this Friday — Oct. 3 — with Late Night in the Phog set for Oct. 10.

“This was hard. Our guys did really well,” Self said of 2014 Boot Camp, a two-week event which concluded Thursday and Friday when U.S. Marines came to town and put the Jayhawk players through a regimen titled, “The Program.”

“We finished what we (coaches) do with the players Wednesday, then we had some real men, tough guys come in and get their attention a bit, from a physical standpoint, but primarily a mental standpoint, which I think was good,” Self added.

Under the Marines’ supervision, the 16 Jayhawks performed drills in Robinson Pool and on the Anschutz Pavilion football field. Activities included calisthenics, carrying teammates on their backs and also lugging logs and sandbags.

“If we are going to be ‘One team, one heartbeat,’ we need great leaders and have to be great teammates,” Self said. “Even though we think we are and think we are putting out, the way it was presented to us was: ‘You think that’s trying? I’ll show you what trying is.’

“It’s cool to see the way these guys (Marines) held our guys accountable. Some who think they can lead may not know anything about true leadership. I think our guys got a lot out of it. Hopefully we’ll have some true leaders because of it.”

Freshman point guard Devonté Graham was the one Jayhawk presented a T-shirt (with The Program logo) by the Marines, signifying top leadership skills of all participants.

“We do have one senior, Christian Garrett, who has been in our program four years,” Self said, asked about players who might emerge as leaders. “I don’t know who our leaders are. On paper, you’d think Wayne Selden. You’d think Devonté Graham. Maybe Jamari (Traylor) in some ways.

“One thing we did learn ... a lot of people say athletes or people in business lead by example. That means they try hard. They do their job. They do their work on time. The way it was presented to us (by Marines) is, ‘That is a leader? Because they do their job? You shouldn’t be a leader because you do your job. A leader is, you do your job and make sure people you work with are better because you do your job.’

“We have great guys lead by example. Those aren’t leaders. Those are good ambassadors, guys who are respected by peers. We need some true leaders, and I think this Program helped us do that,” Self stated.

Speakers: Self and actor Rob Riggle both spoke at Friday night’s homecoming pep rally in downtown Lawrence. Riggle was introduced to the Memorial Stadium fans at halftime of Saturday’s game, while Self did the network radio interview.

“We’re in the game,” Self said at halftime, with KU down, 13-0. “We gave up a couple of short fields (UT scored on drives of 18 and 13 yards). The kids really look like they are playing hard.”

Riggle drew loud applause at Friday’s rally when he told about 1,000 onlookers that his only “demand” as host of last year’s ESPY’s Awards show was that he’d take the stage with KU’s cheerleaders and the Jayhawk mascot.


Rodney Crain 4 years, 10 months ago

This is Fantastic! I admire every branch of our armed forces but to host some of them to finish off boot camp is a touch of genius! I have high hopes for Graham it is great to see him excel in the eyes of the Marines. I bet he will hold that t-shirt in high regard considering who presented it to him. Nice shot of confidence for his first season too.

Thank you for your service to all of our armed forces past and present.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 10 months ago

The US Military excels in teaching and finding leadership. After WWII, Churchill marveled at how the US was able to find the leadership for an Army that grew from 175k to 8.33 million from 1939 to 1944, which included a brand new Air Force. How we did it is a fascinating story, which included, at the time a novel, OCS program.

Leadership can be learned but there are those natural born leaders. Like Self, I would have expected Selden to emerge from the two day program with the citation, which speaks very highly of Graham.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 10 months ago

As a history buff I agree about the OCS program. It is also such an interesting story of how a perfect storm of leaders came together in WWII too. It starts with Roosevelt, someone who enabled out of the box thinking from industry to Military leadership. He had Dolittle, Mitchell, Graves, Nimetz, McArthur, Bradley, Patton, and Eisenhower from the top, down to the destroyer captains that risked their ships off Omaha to help get those solders off the beach. The confidence and ability to improvise at the individual level made the difference time and again for us.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 10 months ago

Rodney, Roosevelt did not have anything to do with finding the leadership, other than the Army Chief of Staff (1939), who was the one that built the Army (and Air Force). That perfect storm you mentioned came after firing some 500 general grade officers! from '40-45. Roosevelt made two decisions during the war 1) Torch, over the objections of his Army Chief of Staff, and 2) the command of Overlord.

As for McArthur, Eisenhower told an inquiring group of reporters during his run for President that he had learned how NOT to be a leader when working for McArthur in the Philippines. MacArthur should have been court-marshaled in '42 for his performance in the Philippines. Instead he was awarded the Medal of Honor. This topic is being addressed now as Volume 7 of the Papers of GCM are being finalized for publishing in Spring '15.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 10 months ago

Suzi we disagree on our perspective of history which is not surprising, (See The Crusades). You classify Roosevelt like many of his critics at the time, which is sad. He was operating in a isolationist time with a country that had no interest in joining another World War. He had a very personal connection with the Navy too. To boil his leadership down to two decisions you show how narrow your view is of him. If you actually understand what he did, from leading us out of the depression to leading us during the war, including realizing he had to develop the atom bomb you might see how important a leader he was. As the above article notes it is not you just doing your job, it is by doing your job while making others you work with better around you. Millions of Americans were better because of him. You might not like the man, or the way he lead, but he was a leader for America at a time in tense peace and war we needed desparetly. Btw Eleanor's work at the UN was impressive leadership too.
MacArthur like Patton, was flawed, and neither felt they had an equal on the Earth, but taking what Ike said as truth about him is also flawed. Ike said interesting things during and after the war, some right on point, the military complex, other comments, especially when he was at his farm in Gettysburg, well, cause you to pause to wonder if he was all there. My view of MacArthur as a leader came from someone close to Harry Truman. My mothers best friend knew him due to her job as his personal sec. at his Library the last 15 years of his life. I was researching Mac in 1971 and she shared with me some thoughts she had heard from him. That if you think of MacArthur as the President of the Philippines he was a great leader. He just forgot he was an American. He was considered the leader in the area for America, many having few concerns when he accepted the surrender of the Japanese. His treatment of the Emperor not withstanding he had the respect of a leader. Is he ranked number one in my book, no, not by a long shot, but he is in the group picture for WWII. Medal of Honor, you know when it is deserved by the comments of those alive who receive it. The ones who deserve it, say they should not be singled out for our highest honor. That any one in their unit is just as deserving and they are humbled by the honor. MacArthur could never be described as humble. He was awarded as PR, it would not be the first time this honor would be awarded to someone non deserving. Whatever the GCM publishes it will not make a difference. We need to focus on the wrongs in front of us that need to be addressed. We have a full plate and the world seems to spinning a little faster today.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 10 months ago

Rodney, you must be talking about a different person than I am. I have a Masters in Econ (Chicago) and have studied the depression and post war economies closely. I am not Keynesian at all resulting from a close study of Roosevelt's New Deal economic policies, which were complete failure. Morgenthau even commented how they spent incredible sums with no to negative results. Roosevelt had zip to do with the development of the A-Bomb, that project from start to finish was the War Department all the way.

Discussions like this over FDR, Truman, McArthur, etc are almost part of my everyday life. I've tried very hard to give Roosevelt the proper credit but can not. I've debated all these issues with my mother, who knew and admired FDR, numerous eminent historians (Mark Stoler, David Hackett Fisher, Larry Bland, Niall Ferguson, ...) and have taken part in conference at Yalta, Paris and DC regarding pre and post war policy. Everyone agrees with my assertion about FDR's two decisions.

Not all is lost, I agree with you about Eleanor's UN work, particularly on Human Rights. Senators Vandenburg and Taft, her UN co-workers, had great praise.

Rodney Crain 4 years, 10 months ago

Its the same person, but we are at an impasse, again :). For those who lived in FDR's time, like your mother, and mine, they will always see him as the main person who helped lead them out of the depression, to victory in war. Hope is leadership, his presence among the voters showing he heard them is leadership. His fireside chats calmed a nation and gave them confidence that our solders would not be sacrificed in vain. I do not dispute that reflection on his policies are what you, others say, but as Bill Murray said in Meatballs, (especially for those people in who lived through those times), "It just doesn't matter". He was the person who made their lives bearable. I am glad you and others are having discussions, in great cities, but it will never change the way those past generations felt about him. FDR's memorial in the DC mall is nice... :) Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, soon Adams, soon Ike and FDR. ps- I just went and looked at it again, Einstein's "letter" is to FDR not the war department. Come on he had to at least know about it right, allow the budget for it?

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 10 months ago

We are going to disagree. I've tried really hard to like FDR but the more I read about him, the more my dislike grows. I think he's way over rated and had no business running for President in '44, not to mention '40.

FDR knew about the bomb but that's about it. The funds came out of the War Department budget, which was presented to Congress by the Army Chief of Staff. Congress approved the budget. Take a look at the letter written to General Persons, June 14, '43.

Adam Miller 4 years, 10 months ago

Well that escalated quickly (and pointlessly).

Jesus, our basketball players spent two days with some Marines... TWO DAYS... takes a bit longer to find, refine and develop "leadership" and I'm pretty sure it won't be the military doing so.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 10 months ago

Adam, what a surprise to see you bothered scrolling down on this and your comments. This ended up as an open private conversation. I was unaware Rodney and I violated your standards.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 10 months ago

now if we could just get them to do the football team!

Kurt Eskilson 4 years, 10 months ago

That's "Jaybate Speak" for Posting Hall Of Fame. Even though Jaybate is no longer around to hand out the award, getting a PHOF is a good thing.

Michael Gentemann 4 years, 10 months ago

I thought Mason might have had an upper hand from the military leadership perspective, graduating from a military academy. Can't wait for the season to start.

Dale Rogers 4 years, 10 months ago

I think having this "The Program" with the Marines at the end of Boot Camp is pure genius. You know these players have to truly respect the Marines. They have to know these guys depend on each other not to win a game but for their very lives. They know how to lead. I hope they have these guys in every single year. Brilliant.

Mel Clare 4 years, 10 months ago

As someone who has been through a 10 week bootcamp, i can appreviate the 2 days the team went through. And yes, it does promote team work and toughness. Things i learned 35 years ago in boot camp i still apply today.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.