Austin, Texas Kelly Oubre Jr. throws down a rim-rattler, stands in frozen admiration of his creation, and the other team is off to the races, five-on-four. Brannen Greene barely moves the net after rising up from 22 feet. Just in case the audience forgot the rule that has been in place for more than a quarter-century in college basketball, Greene lets everybody in the building know that the shot was worth three, count ’em, three, points.
Tune in a college basketball game on TV, and you’ll undoubtedly see more of the same. In some games, much, much more.
Is it just me, or are teams hurting themselves by calling attention to their fabulous feats now more than ever?
“I don’t know if more of it’s going on, but it certainly feels like, at least in our program, I don’t think our guys ham it up, but we ham it up more than the ’08 team,” Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self said.
The 2007-08 team, the gold standard for 21st century Kansas basketball. It seems a great model to follow since the team won a national title by playing with such efficiency and unselfish play.
“I’m not saying that’s bad because I think energy, sometimes that’s a good thing, and I think guys have different ways to pump themselves up, but you know, the bad boys don’t do that,” Self said. “That’s one thing that I think we can be better at and act more mature in a lot of ways because when you’re playing with freshmen, I think sometimes the emotion of the moment can get the best of you.”
This year’s team’s nine leaders in minutes played is made up of four freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors. Four seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and one freshman (Cole Aldrich, ninth) were the title team’s nine leaders in minutes.
“It’s amazing to me with that ’08 team, no matter what, you’re down, you’re up, didn’t matter,” Self said. “You weren’t ever going to be able to look at them and tell what the score was because they always had the same disposition.”
Not so with this young team.
“I think that’s one thing, our body language, that our team can do better,” Self said. “When we’re good, sometimes we’re a little bit too hyped, and when we’re down, sometimes we’re too low, and I think that’s pretty much the way it is across America.”
Today’s game against Texas, which brings so much size, would be a good time for Kansas players to start turning the adrenaline manufactured from great plays into running faster in transition in both directions, instead of pausing to pose.