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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Brannen Greene escapes doghouse at perfect time

Kansas guard Brannen Greene, second from left, is congratulated by teammates after a three during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Brannen Greene, second from left, is congratulated by teammates after a three during the second half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Brannen Greene looked as if he enjoyed the view Tuesday night from 20-plus feet outside the rim in Allen Fieldhouse so much better than the vantage point from the coach’s doghouse, where he has been sent multiple times in his career.

On a night Landen Lucas led Kansas University to a 75-65 victory vs. West Virginia with brains and brawn, 16 rebounds and four blocked shots, the Jayhawks still needed a little scoring punch off the bench to keep the relentless Mountaineers from taking a lead, which they never did.

Greene supplied it, scoring all 10 of KU’s bench points (West Virginia had 31) by making 2 of 3 three-point shots and all four free throws. The crowd welcomed him back from the darkness of the doghouse to the bright lights of the fieldhouse with a roar that accompanied each score.

A 6-foot-7 junior from the principal’s office, I mean from Juliette, Ga., please pardon that slip, Greene has as beautiful a jumper as any Kansas basketball player since Brandon Rush.

When Greene’s head is on straight and he squares his broad shoulders to the basket and then elevates higher than most, the mood of the crowd instantly improves, readying for an explosion.

Greene gave the crowd two of them and increased the decibels when he punched the air to punctuate the second. It’s natural for any basketball fan to want to see more of him, because he has such a beautiful game.

If coaches thought like the rest of us, they would have to pay to see basketball games, instead of getting paid so handsomely to coach them. Greene’s focus can wander defensively and then there was the issue of him dunking with two seconds left against Kansas State. That led to the most entertaining Bill Self post-game interview session ever, but the coach wasn’t laughing during it. Fuming, seething, steaming, yes. Laughing, no.

Greene followed that up with two stints on the floor in Fort Worth that added up to one minute, the first one ending because of a defensive brain cramp.

The timing was right for a big night for Greene, because just when you think he’s never going to get it, he shows off that soft shooting touch and rugged rebounding edge in traffic, teasing the imagination of a fan base that so badly wants to shower him with love. Greene, who plays without fear, had three defensive boards in 16 minutes. You don’t do that against the nation’s most relentless offensive rebounding team if you’re worried about pain. He has a great deal of physical toughness. If he can train his focusing powers to the extent he does his body, he'll put it all together and become quite the scoring force.

“I mean, he’s such a great shooter, you know,” teammate Perry Ellis said. “It helps space out of the floor for us.”

It has to frustrate teammates that Greene isn’t always available, such as when he incurred a six-game suspension during the non-conference portion of the schedule. 

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self on Big 12 race, need to win on road

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self meets media members after the Jayhawks' home win over West Virginia and discusses, among many other topics, KU tying West Virginia and Oklahoma for first place in the Big 12, and the need to win road games going forward.

Download podcast

“Sometimes he makes bad decisions, but all in all he’s our teammate," Ellis said. "We support him and we try to help him as much as we can. He’s a great guy. He just sometimes doesn’t make the smartest decisions.”

Greene, who was requested but not made available for a post-game interview, had never shown West Virginia what they saw from him Tuesday night. In the five previous games vs. the Mountaineers, Greene had totaled just seven points, none coming in the 11 minutes he played in Morgantown last month.

The starters can’t do it all, not against a team as relentlessly aggressive as West Virginia, so his bounce-back effort was well-timed.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Jayhawks talk Landen Lucas' big night, Big 12 race

Kansas basketball players Landen Lucas, Perry Ellis and Frank Mason III discuss the Jayhawks' home victory over West Virginia, the impact of junior forward Lucas (16 rebounds) and the tight Big 12 race.

Download podcast

“It’s huge for us,” Frank Mason III said of Greene being in the mix. “He’s a great shooter. He came in and gave us great energy off of the bench and we will really need that from him moving forward.”

Greene was tuned in throughout his stretches on the floor.

“I thought he played smart and got in there and Wayne (Selden Jr.) didn’t have his best game obviously and he played through fouls in the first half, so we needed B.G. to bail us out, and he did,” Self said.

It likely will take quite a few points to outscore Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday, so another appearance from Greene’s scoring punch won’t hurt the Jayhawks’ chances of winning and re-establishing themselves as the team to beat in the Big 12 race.

— See what people were saying about No. 6 KU vs. No. 10 WVU during KUsports.com’s live coverage


More news and notes from KU’s home win over West Virginia




By the Numbers: Kansas 75, West Virginia 65

By the Numbers: Kansas 75, West Virginia 65

Comments

Brianna Zaleski 3 years, 9 months ago

C'mon Greene, we need you, badly, this year. Please keep your head on straight and think about last nights game as what your role is. If we get this out of you every game, we will be near unbeatable. Sincerely, Jayhawh nation

Pius Waldman 3 years, 9 months ago

Teams that are successful have players that have roles to create winning games. There is a role that Brannen Greene can and should present. His ability to shoot goals needs to be a big part of the teams plans. What happened in the past needs to be accepted and he needs encouragement to continue helping to win games.I'm hoping that coaches will set up screens for those balls that swish the nets.

Brain Smasher 3 years, 9 months ago

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Tom Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

Brannen Greene would be starting on 24 of the top 25 teams in the country."

Disagree. He has lots of potential and he shows it in flashes but to be a junior that's as athletic and talented as he is and still not know how to dribble or play defense is on him. He'd start for a lot of good teams, don't get me wrong, but he is a liability in as many ways as he is a bonus.

Obviously he would play more if there weren't two other future pros playing his position on the team, but he'd also play more if he...earned it.

Ted Collins 3 years, 9 months ago

Whether correct or not, Greene has never been given a fair opportunity to produce on the court. Last night, he displayed his capabilities....shooting (of course), decent rebounding and, what Keegan failed to mention, an excellent job of handling West Va's pressure.

And it has been obvious for some time that Lucas is our best rebounder, best screener, best low-post defender and plays intelligently, all qualities that this team is sometimes sorely lacking.

We need them both to beat OU down there.

Terrence Cernech 3 years, 9 months ago

" It’s natural for any basketball fan to want to see more of him, because he has such a beautiful game." A bit of hyperbole from Mr. Keegan, but certainly forgivable. Last night was by far Greene's best game of the year and maybe his career at KU. He displayed a willingness and faculty to play other facets of the game besides shooting the ball. I was most impressed last night by his ball-handling which usually has been a glaring weakness. The second impressive aspect of his performance was his defense. He is normally a liability on D because he is a sieve in keeping opponents from driving the ball and going wherever they wish on the court, but not last night. It appeared his focus was controlled and in tune with what the team needed against a physical team that lives off of chaos. If Greene can be counted on down the stretch to play like this KU becomes an entirely different opponent for all teams. If he can bring a concentrated focus to playing defense and protecting the basketball then maybe his game will become "beautiful" and not one-dimensional. IMHO

Kit Duncan 3 years, 9 months ago

Brannen is truly a great shooter. The reason he spent so much time on the bench was his attitude. Last season he was quickly given the hook for various boneheaded plays... turning the ball over, getting beaten handily by the player he was guarding, and especially for taking quick perimeter shots early in the clock while disregarding the play that had been called.

He appears to be doing better. His defense has improved. He no longer stands in awe of his made three pointer but hurries to get back on defense. Brannen has done particularly well of late going to the hoop either to make a shot, dish it off, or rebound someone else's miss. His improvement in areas outside of his perimeter shooting will get Brannen the extra playing time.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

Greene is truly phenomenal at ONE aspect of the game. He's been inconsistent to inept at most of the rest of it. He's showing a more rounded contribution. That will earn him more minutes.

The thing I see that's a positive sign is that Greene and Svi, while competing for the same minutes, seem to genuinely like and support each other. That says a lot about each of them and the team culture.

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

I was glad to see Brannen out of the dog house. He must have convinced Coach that layup was a mistake ;) He's a guy you want out there on the court near the end of the game, his free-throw shooting is one of the best on the team and as long as he's playing defense like he's capable of, you want that capability on the line. This is especially true in games like WVU where you know there are going to be a lot of fouls.

With OU coming up, I can't imagine it's not going to be a close game, and production from Greene and Lucas is going to be crucial. Especially Greene's shooting from the line when the game is close. Free throws are one reason I don't think we see as much of Diallo and Bragg, especially near the end of close games.

Jay Scott 3 years, 9 months ago

Great points.

Without looking it up, who has the 2nd best free throw % after Greene?

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

Either Ellis or Mason, without looking.

Mike Greer 3 years, 9 months ago

OK, I looked; Greene-83%, Traylor-76.7%, Mason-76.4%, Ellis-76.1% Obviously Traylor nor Greene has as many attempts as Mason and Ellis, but their percentages are still very good.

Kristen Downing 3 years, 9 months ago

It is one game. I am not holding my breath, but crossing my fingers.

Tracy Atherton 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree with the above comment that Greene would be a starter on most other teams. He definitely would be a 15 to 20 point a night scorer if given the opportunity to get into the flow of the game. Such a pure shooter with length; a rare combination. He is a great NBA prospect. I had to laugh when reading Perry's comments about his team mate. He is a talented kid that doesn't make the best decisions at times and he will be a prolific scorer next year if he sticks around and is afforded the minutes. I hope to see him in a Jay Hawk uniform for his entire 4 year career.

Stephen Koontz 3 years, 9 months ago

Let's look at the bright side on the BG dunk. If Greene would have thrown up a 35 ft three instead of the dunk we would have padded the score by 3 instead of 2. He was just keeping the score down,

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