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Monday, January 25, 2016

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Jayhawks lacking leadership needed to win on road

Kansas players Brannen Greene (14), Frank Mason III and Evan Manning leave the court following the Jayhawks' 85-72 loss to Iowa State, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas players Brannen Greene (14), Frank Mason III and Evan Manning leave the court following the Jayhawks' 85-72 loss to Iowa State, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

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— Players-only meetings are nice. On-court leadership means a great deal more and that can't come from the coach. It can't come from the equipment manager. It's not something he can pack in a bag and bring on a road trip.

It has to come from the players so that when good momentum turns bad, someone can light a fire and extinguish the home team's. Yet again, such leadership was lacking for the Kansas University basketball team, which unlike in trips to Morgantown, W.Va., and Stillwater, Okla., was only half bad Monday night. The second half. The decisive half.

Iowa State defeated Kansas, 85-72, in Hilton Coliseum because the home team could take a punch and bounce off the ropes and the visiting team could not. With no home crowd to supply the smelling salts, Kansas had the look of an Allen Fieldhouse visitor, dazed and confused.

Ideally, bold leadership comes from the point guard and the most experienced player. In the case of Kansas, it must originate elsewhere because point guard Frank Mason III and senior Perry Ellis are two of the least vocal players on the team. Ellis can't do it all and he's doing what he does very, very well of late.

So where can Kansas turn other than to its coach?

Devonté Graham has the most outgoing personality in the starting lineup, Wayne Selden Jr. the most dominant one. If somebody puts up a bad shot, Selden has no problem letting them know it. But what if Selden is the one with the quick trigger? Who says anything then? Nobody but the voice from the bench.

"I think it's very demoralizing when you leave a timeout saying we're going to run a play and then the play is broken off and the guy just cranks up a three," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "If we wanted him to shoot a three with 25 left on the clock we would have told him to do that."

Self did not identify the player in question, but his reaction to a first-half three-pointer from Selden with 16 seconds left on the shot clock, a stunned expression, palms pointing to the air, indicated that could have been the shot to the coach's gut. And it was the only three-pointer Selden made in six attempts. Self always has maintained he judges the wisdom of a shot when it leaves the hand, not whether it goes through the net, and he proved it at that moment.

Kansas put up just six threes in the second half and missed every one of them, losing the half 49-29. KU tends to have good halves when it makes three-pointers and bad halves when it misses them, a somewhat surprising formula given that it has such a gifted, diverse scorer in Ellis (game-high 23 points, 15 of KU's second-half points). The perimeter players need to target Ellis even more than they do, because he doesn't need to get hot from outside to be hard to guard.

Everything was fine when Kansas hit 5 of 11 threes in the first half, which ended with the visitors leading by seven points.

The Jayhawks left their composure in the locker room for the second half. Mason, who played Monté Morris to a draw in the first half, turned it over four times in the second half and Morris (21 points, nine assists, zero turnovers) had little trouble steering his team to victory.

Iowa State never led until talented reserve Deonte Burton hit a tie-breaking three-pointer with 9:08 left, which put the Cyclones five points into an 11-0 run that inflated the volume of the crowd and deflated the spirit of the Jayhawks.

Ellis continued to make winning plays and Iowa State pulled away, but he had so little company.

Not many games that have one lead change have that change come so late and result in the come-from-behind team winning by 13 points.

"We lost some composure," said Ellis, who was not guilty of that and had another terrific performance in his 36 minutes. "You can't do that when you're away and it really hurt us."

Again.

"I really believe that our shot selection is a big deal," Self said, adding defensive intensity as a concern. "The things that you have to do away from home, I don't think that we're very good at doing them yet and there wasn't a lot of poise down the stretch."

After shooting .576 in the first half, Kansas committed 10 of its 16 turnovers in the final 20 minutes and made just 4 of 15 shots not taken by Ellis. He needs a lot more help than he's getting. Soon.

— See what people were saying about the KU-ISU game at Hilton Coliseum during KUsports.com’s live coverage.


More news and notes from Kansas at Iowa State




By the Numbers: Iowa State 85, Kansas 72

By the Numbers: Iowa State 85, Kansas 72

Comments

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 10 months ago

Even 1st year coach can figure out how to beat KU. You still think it's the players' lack of leadership on the court? I would look at the guy that's off the court, but I know you guys can't criticize the man. Rock Chalk!

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

This is Prohm's first year coaching? Wow. Was he in insurance or car sales before?

Allin Herring 3 years, 10 months ago

No studying how to beat Coach Self's butt school Jay. And guess what Jay he got an A+.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 10 months ago

Jay Bilas also mentioned during the game that Prohm ran KU's system at Murray St. and they had plays called Kansas so he was already very familiar with Self's system because he ran the same one for a few years.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 10 months ago

Completely disagree with this headline. It's not lack of "Leadership". It's lack of decision making (Making the right decision) by the man in Charge, Bill Self. All you have to do is look at 6 minutes in the second half to find where the game was lost. Jamari Traylor is a great kid and I love the back story, but the magical rhythm and flow we saw in the fist half was mostly due to the fact of Traylor's limited minutes in the first half. Let's face it, this team's rhythm and flow was, is and always will be better with Traylor absent from the court.

Traylor entered the game at 15:57 with KU leading 48-42 (It could have been 50-42 had Selden not missed two Free Throw's). Traylor exited the game at 12:03 with the score 51-50 Kansas. He was -5 for his +/- ratio for that 4 minutes. Taylor reentered the game with kansas leading 57-55 with 9:46 left and left the game at the 7:47 mark with Kansas trailing 64-57. Traylor was -9 for his +/- ratio during that 2 minutes. In 6 minutes of play he entered the game twice with Kansas having the lead and the team was -14 while he was on the court. That is mind boggling.

How can the man in charge not see this happening? How can you not see the team crumble beneath you with Lucas and Traylor playing alongside one another? And I have nothing but high praise for Lucas in this game. I thought he played great, kept to his role, did the things asked of him, and remained very efficient within the confines of the offense.

Kerry Davis 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree. I have no problem with Traylor and Lucas playing, but they should NEVER play together. When that happens, Mason and Graham try to take all the load on themselves and immediately become turnover machines. One at a time, Lucas and Traylor have certain roles which work - together it becomes a four man team.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 10 months ago

It is a lack of leadership. It's been an issue for 3+ seasons ever since T-Rob and Tyshawn left. In 2013, EJ was the leader and mentored Naadir. The same EJ who cup checked Mitch McGary in the Sweet 16. Naadir mentored Mason and Naadir was kicked off of KU for doing multiple dumbass things during his two years.

Let me ask you a question, when KU is struggling and they call a timeout, do you ever see any of KU's players take charge of the huddle and show any leadership skills? When they're on the floor, do ever hear any of KU's players talking to each other on defense? The answer is no. It's easy to lead when things are going well like they were in the nonconference, real leaders step up and lead during adversity and KU doesn't have anyone who leads in adversity. Bill Self cannot do everything for this team, eventually someone on KU is going to have to step up and lead this team if KU wants to go deep in the tournament.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

Excellent comments, Aaron. Totally agree.

Pius Waldman 3 years, 10 months ago

I guess it is easy to criticize when you lose a game.But my suggestion might have to do with practicing (for example) spend some time with zone defense so when used it won't be so crappy. To simply say we don't practice zone and don't intend to use it might be a mistake. Coach K tonight used zone so not all teams ban the zone. Greene is probably our best 3 point shooter so rather than running the weave and wasting time set up screens for him. Playing at Hilton Magic is difficult and tonight was a good example. Even the oddsmakers felt the Cyclones were favored. The Big 12 has many good teams maybe that will help when the big Dance arrives.

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 10 months ago

Pius, I think we can say: playing at Hilton Magic is just as difficult as playing at Morgantown and Stillwater. Let's hope the difficult part is over. Let's hope this team will bounce back. Something has to happen before we get wasted by B12 new dominants.

Scott Smetana 3 years, 10 months ago

Our guards feel like they have to force it on offense because we have NO offensive threat at the 5. Mickelson gives us 10x the threat on offense than Lucas. Hunter is also great on defense. I can't believe Traylor plays over Mick also, big men score at will over him.

Terrence Cernech 3 years, 10 months ago

How would we know? the guards have no confidence in their post players and so they won't give them the ball when the post is in an offensive threatening position..

Yolanda Gay 3 years, 10 months ago

I wouldn't feed the post either if Lucas was playing. He misses SO MANY easy bunnies.

Jonathan Briles 3 years, 10 months ago

This loss is on the shoulder of two people. They are Frank Mason and Bill Self. Frank deserves blame because he is a junior and probably the most ferocious competitor on the team, but he leads in a terrible way. He needs to be more vocal and take charge of the team. Ellis needs to be more vocal too, but he is too laid back to really fire people up. Mason has the fire and needs to put it into others and he tries to do it with his actions and it gets us in trouble. He tries to put the team on his back and ruined it tonight. When the game was on the line he drove straight into the middle with no plan but to jack up a wild shot and it turned into two turnovers and a horribly missed shot. The game went from within reach to completely out of control. Then there is the bigger blame. Self blew this game and has blown others this season. I'm fine with a coach judging a shot based on when it left the hand, but save that for film the next day. Don't crap all over a players confidence in the middle of a game. Lock it away for a teaching moment when its time for teaching. He ruins the confidence and flow of his own team with his big headed ideals of what should be happening. This team is a perimeter based team loaded with shooters and only one post player who is an offensive threat and yet he tries to push it inside to undersized and under skilled guys play after play. Ellis is our best guy so I understand we need to get him a lot of touches, but I don't understand forcing it into Lucas and Traylor. Huggins was never a full court press kind of coach until he looked at his roster and thought to himself I can't do things the way I usually do and win so I better switch it up and coach to my teams strengths. Self doesn't know how to do that. He just forces a square peg into a round hole like a child. Lucas should have never started (on a side note he did much better than I expected, but was still too slow) and Traylor should not have gotten as many minutes after he started so horribly. Self is what is wrong with this team. I'm not saying he is a bad coach because he is not, but he is forcing this team away from its strengths and destroying the chemistry and confidence of his players. The season is not over and the sky is not falling, but if things don't change it is certainly loose enough to come tumbling down before long.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 10 months ago

I disagree it was on Mason. You are certainly correct he didn't play well, but he didn't lose this game.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 10 months ago

Mason is absolutely is a big damn issue right now and a bigger reason than Self in why KU lost last night. Did Bill Self make Frank Mason turn it over 6 times? Did Bill Self make Frank Mason drive to the lane with no intention of passing the ball? Did Bill Self tell Fank Mason to not guard Monte Morris?

Holly Rowe mentioned that during the 4 player player meeting, he told Mason and Graham to figure out their roles. You make a statement like that without giving them a chance to figure it out themselves first. Jay Bilas said during the broadcast that Mason needs to be the off ball guard and Graham the lead guard. Mason and Graham need to figure that out themselves. Bill Self holding their hands will not help either of them going forward in life or on the basketball court.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

I actually think Mason was driving because Coach wants him in attack mode. Usually he draws fouls on those, not in this one. I think our conference opponents have seen enough tape to begin to neutralize some of his drives.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 10 months ago

Self doesn't want Mason in attack mode all the time. Mason playing 1 on 5 does not benefit KU in any way. KU and Mason are at their best when Mason is a facilitator and not a scorer. He should be KU's number 3 scoring option instead of 1st or 2nd like he's made himself. Selden and Ellis are more important scorers for KU than Mason is, but Mason has made himself the top option to the detriment of the team. It's selfish basketball and very easy to guard. KU looks a lot better right now when Graham initiates the offense because the offense is more than hold the ball for 20 seconds and run iso hoping for a foul.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't disagree with your observation. It's pretty accurate. However, it wasn't long ago that KU was wondering who would be the attack guy. Well, only Mason has been that guy thus far. And for most of the season he has been successful in scoring and "righting the ship" by taking the lid off the basket in tough stretches. In fact he has carried the team on his shoulders many times. Obviously it hasn't worked LATELY, and I don't think it's the way we should be playing, but he's the only one attacking the rim. Until Selden starts attacking successfully, as he should because he's fully capable, I don't see much changing. Heck, if he starts dishing on these drives, that alone would pay big dividends. But with Lucas logging most of the minutes, dish opportunities are limited. It's not the first tough patch KU's gone through in recent years. Won't be the last.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

With Kansas up 57-55, we proceeded to torn the ball over on 5 straight possessions and was outscored 30-15 to end the game.

Let's face the facts, every game our guards get slaughtered. Relative to the our competitions, our guards are awful. Maybe it's time for Self to give the other guys, What about that Vick guy...can he play?

Mike Barnhart 3 years, 10 months ago

At the precise moment you mentioned, I thought they looked gassed! The ball movement ended, their feet got heavy on defense and there was a lot of standing still on offense. A two man bench will do that to a team, especially on the road on short rest.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

So much for our supposed 'deep' bench this year.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree. Can't say if it's just the grind or what, but they don't look like they are in shape to me. Hope I'm wrong cause it's too late to be doing serious conditioning. Unless we use our bench more, that is. I know coach likes a 7 man rotation. I think that's a mistake with this group.

Tom Jones 3 years, 10 months ago

"Let's face the facts, every game our guards get slaughtered. Relative to the our competitions, our guards are awful."

Sorry, neither of those things are in the same zip code as a fact.

Yolanda Gay 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree, Suzi. Our guards cannot stop dribble penetration. Seems like every team except KU has quick, athletic guards that can get to the rim successfully.

The last few years, they have been bailed out by a rim protector. Without that, the problem is more magnified.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

Not since Embiid, a couple of years ago, did we have a rim protector. You saw what happened to this group when Embiid went out...same thing as now. Not much has changed.

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

Yolanda. You really should watch the game if you want to comment. Mason and Graham got to the rim at will for most of yesterday's game.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

I assume when she said "get to rim successfully" that meant making the shot. The qualifier "successfully" makes a huge difference, depending how that is interpreted.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

Mickelson's a pretty good rim protector. Not from the bench though.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 9 months ago

Diallo is a shot blocker, but not a good defender otherwise. He's still gets lost in defensive rotation.

Benz Junque 3 years, 10 months ago

It's a shame to see Kansas once again fail to keep composed and stick to the game plan in the 2nd half. For some reason this team is failing to play two halves of basketball where they continue to execute what works. In the 2nd half they just stopped moving the ball and the guards simply chose to try to fly in and force shots or they were just completely careless with the ball and committed unforced turnovers.

I am not one to blame much on the coaches but this responsibility must ultimately fall to the coaching staff. They do not seem to have the ability to convince this group of players to commit to the plan and they do not seem to have prepared them to keep their composure down the stretch. I am fearful that what we saw in the 2nd half of last nights game (and several games prior) is what we will see at the first opportunity against a team even quasi competent in the NCAA tourney.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

I can count on one hand the number of games KU has played two good halves of basketball over the last few years. They just usually play well enough in one to comeback or hold on. Consequently, I always get that sinking feeling at halftime when we have a good first half.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

I really thought that this could be the team to take us to the NCAA Championship. We have a solid core of experienced players and a top five recruiting class. I thought we had the depth, the talent and the leadership needed in March and the first weekend of April.

In all truthfulness, sometimes it's better not to say exactly what I am thinking at this time. Rash comments are often regretted but what I will say the loss last night demonstrated everything that I believe is wrong with this team.

And that's it...

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

We sure miss Danny Manning mentoring our 4 and 5 spots, that's for sure.

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 10 months ago

Joe Dooley is a much bigger loss than Manning. He was KU's guards coach and ever since Jerrance Howard came aboard, KU's guard play actually regresses during the season.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 9 months ago

Good point! Dooley was a great asset and darn good recruiter as well.

Jerry Walker 3 years, 10 months ago

Short rotation? Make what you want of it but Iowa St only played 7 guys...and McKay sat a lot in the 2nd half.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 10 months ago

Two different things Jerry. We had a short rotation in 2011-12. Conner Teahan logged the sixth amount of minutes in the 2012 NCAA Final game. In fact, no bench player even scored BUT the players knew the rotation. They knew what was expected from them - they knew their roles.

This year? Completely different. Four players start regularly but other than that, nobody knows who's even going to set foot on the court. It can't be easy to prepare if you don't know your role. It's easy to say that everyone should always be ready but the uncertainty this late in the season does affect the player's preparation and state of mind.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

While I somewhat agree, the roles don't change, just the players. They should know each others strengths and weaknesses by now well enough to tweak their decision making based on who's on the floor. Is it going to be the well oiled machine that a 7 man rotation can bring? No. But we don't HAVE a 7 man rotation that can score and defend if perimeter shots aren't falling.

Yolanda Gay 3 years, 10 months ago

Self prides himself on the team's defense. If you're playing defense a full shot clock, I would think your legs would get tired.

Why are the starters playing so many minutes. Why be excited by having a deep team if we don't use them. If the bench players can't spell starters 10 -15 minutes during the game, why did we recruit them.

James Donnell 3 years, 10 months ago

We are out scored by 20 points in the second half. Unbelievable meltdown by a veteran team. Bad game plan. Bad decision making by our guards. Try to get lucky on a wild shot or draw a foul. But first try to get it to Ellis, since he is the ONE guy that know what to do with it. Maybe Selden can hit a three but only if he is wide open. Run a little weave out top and then someone go one-on-one to make something happen. Is this an accurate picture of our whole offense? Oh, and let's just use our veteran players (we don't want to take any chances with young guys who might screw up). How is this plan working for us?

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

We need some offense right now and Bragg and Diallo bring that to the table. It's clear every team we play sags off Lucas or Mickelson. I love Traylor's heart, but there is little offense there. Bench strength was suppose to be our weapon this year, but our bench never plays anymore. I think is time for a major shake up in the starting line up. Too many guys are feeling too comfortable.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

I get the shake up feeling too, but neither Bragg nor Diallo can defend yet. Diallo can block shots, but is still trying to figure out help defense and positioning. Bragg is still getting manhandled on the blocks. So there's your problem. Of the bunch, Mickelson is imho the most well rounded(I'm not talking about Ellis of course, he's the keystone) big we have and he doesn't play. So the other two you sacrifice defense for raw offensive talent. Neither of these guys is ready for prime time, but they are freshmen. Mickelson played big minutes at Ark. as a freshman and was productive. BTW does Mick have another year of eligibility?

Barry Weiss 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm pretty sure this is it for Mickelson. I would prefer him over Lucas or Traylor as a starter, but I still maintain we need to explore the upside of Diallo and explore it fast.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, I think Mickelson is toast. Hate to see it, and I don't get it. Can anyone fill me in on the negatives Mickelson brought to the floor? If not Mickelson, I vote for Diallo as well.

Glen Darge 3 years, 10 months ago

It is really sad to see our team playing so bad. I hope they work out the problem before it is too late. I will add that they need to quit giving so much attention and credit to just one or two players because it takes the whole team to play this tough sport. Also they need to practice more long shots. When they are scoring from three point range it is very hard to beat these guys. I wish coach would see this. He keeps insisting on getting the ball into the paint to score. They need outside shooters to win this game and draw the opponents out away from the basket area. The way it is going, they are just over working Ellis or anyone they use to replace him. Come on guys get tough and play the game the way it is supposed to be played. Rock-Chalk

Drew Jarrett 3 years, 10 months ago

Just simply cannot figure this team out. The coaching staff's decision to play certain players also continues to baffle me. Might be time to meet at Henry T's

Terrence Cernech 3 years, 10 months ago

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Self has a big problem on his hands and the solution will not be a simple one. He has a very talented team but a team with no chemistry. Or I should say no good chemistry. A coach can only do so much with a group of players that don't seem to like each other. There is no apparent joy in playing the game with this group. Given that circumstance a coach/manager has to make some tough decisions and use surgical precision in eliminating the "cancer". Just as "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."; you can't make people like each other.

Chris Shaw 3 years, 10 months ago

You can lead a horse to water, but there has to be water before you consider anything else (drinking, rinsing, bathing, cooling, splashing, refreshing, playing, cleaning)

Jim Keen 3 years, 10 months ago

Terrence said it, "There is no apparent joy in playing the game with this group." During the first few minutes of the TV broadcast,when ESPN showed the players getting ready to start the game, I found myself comparing the expressions on the faces of the Iowa St players vs the Jayhawk players' demeaners. The contrast was scary. The Iowa St players looked to be fired up and having fun... smiling and grinning. They looked like they were ready to go out and kick some Jayhawk butt. Our guys looked solemn and disconnected. I knew right then we were in for a bad night. The first half was a very pleasant surprise. The second half more reflective of what I saw before the game started.

Yolanda Gay 3 years, 10 months ago

This team has no emotion. They don't get fired up and it shows on the court. Except for Graham, Greene, and Bragg, I rarely see any emotion from any player.

It's the tone at the top - Ellis, Mason, Selden. Sometimes it looks as if it's another day at the office attitude.

Yolanda Gay 3 years, 10 months ago

I believe it was wrong for Self to just talk to the starters about playing time. I mean how would you feel if your own teammate told coach they did not feel you deserved playing time because they don't trust your judgment on defense.

Then you look at the 4 starters who make mistake after mistake on defense and still get to stay on the floor.

Terrence Cernech 3 years, 10 months ago

While watching last night's game on ESPN, I heard a comment that may well point to anarea of concern: "Frank Mason is a poor man's Allen Iverson." Really?? That's the perception of a professional observer?

Ben Simonett 3 years, 10 months ago

This season is what you get when your squad is guard heavy and highly dependent on the 3 point shot. When your shooting lights out you'll look unbeatable, but when you have a cold shooting night anyone can beat you. Teams like this usually dont make deep runs into march because its hard to stay hot from deep for 6 straight games.

Self has no frontourt. Lucas, Traylor, and Mickelson are all well below average talent wise compared to the stable of bigs that have come through the self area previously. Our most talented players are freshman that the coach doesnt like to play and will be gone to the NBA next season. Its only going to get worse next year after Perry leaves.

Most of the top recruiting prospects are already signed, Self and staff are once again picking up the kentucky/duke scraps of one and dones and scrambling to fill scholarship spots with kids that have no business playing at this level of collegiate basketball.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

Your post is precisely why I don't understand Diallo not getting more minutes. Sure he looks a bit tentative at time, but he still bags as many rebounds and blocked shots as the bigs out there instead of him. And I've seen a few step back jumpers by him that none of our other bigs could even think about doing. I think its time to suck it up and play him big minutes so he can be a real force come tourney time. Keeping Lucas/Michelson/Traylor in all those minutes with Diallo on the bench....we know what we will get, and that is what the last two games with Diallo sitting, not real pleasant.

Michael Maris 3 years, 10 months ago

I think Diallo & Braggs both have way more offensive abilities than Traylor, Lucas & Mickelson have.

This season, with the exception of Perry Ellis, I tend to think that Coach Self has destroyed the confidence level of the Jayhawks Front Court players.

Kelly Pierce 3 years, 10 months ago

And Svi and Greene as well. Seldon is a good player, but not 25-40 minutes a night good and Graham is limited as well. His ceiling is nowhere near Svi and Greene. His attitude may be better, but sometimes that comes with seeing the floor once in a while.

Allin Herring 3 years, 10 months ago

Ben you have really hit at the heart of the real problem. Self has done a poor job in recruiting the last 3 or four years. We continue to pick up the scraps in the top recruits and most have proved to be busts. Diablo is the poster child of this thought. He was a guy that all the top programs could see his issues and talent that needed a lot of development and droped him like a hot potato. But because Bill lost out on all the other top talent he had to settle for what was left and we all know what happened. Bill is going to have to get out of this losing streek or the program is going to end up like the Ted Owen's era9

Michael Maris 3 years, 10 months ago

KU's limited in the Front Court. This season, Perry Ellis is the most consistent player the Jayhawks have in the Front Court. Yet, P. Ellis doesn't carry the fire in his belly that most of us like to see exhibited (as in the past by Morris Twins, T-Rob, J. Withey or even the limited time of J. Embiid). Beyond Ellis, there's 3 star rated Jamari Traylor and Landen Lucas and 4 star rated Hunter Mickelson (who's either is continually in Self's Doghouse or he truly wasn't a 4 star player). Jamari Traylor does display some fire in his belly. But, he's not consistent enough of a player to stay on the court for significant minutes.

So, recruitment of the Front Court players in past seasons, hasn't been all that great. It appears to me, prior season decisions on recruitment of Front Court players has been below Jayhawk's Fan Base expectations. Plus, D. Manning no longer being in house (to coach Front Court players on the smaller points of the games) is probably a significant difference as well.

So, where do the Jayhawks go from this point on? Time will tell.

I'll still say, this season's team is one of the most undisciplined teams that I've seen in Coach Self's Tenure. I think Self's 1st season in Lawrence had the same issue. But, that was a team that was transitioning from Coach William's to Coach Self's styles of play.

We all know that Kansas Jayhawk's Big XII Regular Season Championship Title Reigns will end at some point and time.

Challenging times this season (for sure).

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

"So, recruitment of the Front Court players in past seasons, hasn't been all that great."

Except for the #3 pick in the draft two years ago, the #2 recruit last year and the two frosh McD All Americans that are on the roster this year? And McD AA Perry Ellis?

Except for them?

Michael Maris 3 years, 10 months ago

And, lets see. The #2 Recruit from last season, he really panned out for the entire season (didn't he?).

If you look at the OVERALL recruitment of Front Court Players these past few seasons. The one's that are left on the roster for the 2015/2016 season are 2 incoming Freshman McDonald's All-American's and two players who were ranked 3 star players and one 4 star player who transferred from Arkansas to Kansas (and doesn't see much of the court even in his final season with the Jayhawks).

We'll see how well Coleby works out in 2016/2017 season (along with the remaining players and incoming players).

Even T-Rob and Withey had to ride the pine when they first arrived (just like Diallo and Braggs are this season). They developed over the seasons (as we all expect Diallo and Braggs to do) in their time at Kansas.

Yet, when Withey & T-Rob were riding the pine, they had the Morris Twins playing in front of them. Just like the Morris Twins had Cole Aldrich there to be the upper classman on the team (when they first arrived).

Can you say that J. Traylor and L. Lucas or H. Mickelson being the upper classmen leaders (as the aforementioned past players became in their Jayhawk careers)?

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

So now you're saying that it isn't the recruiting? You're arguing with yourself.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 10 months ago

Michael, your point is dead on. It's not too hard to understand that, if you don't have many good front court players, then your recruiting has not been effective. I'm not sure how much simpler it could be.

I would say that those recruiting issues are also showing up at other positions. Either we are having trouble identifying talent, or we are having trouble developing it - or both.

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

Now you're arguing with yourself too Brett.

Statement One - " It's not too hard to understand that, if you don't have many good front court players, then your recruiting has not been effective. I'm not sure how much simpler it could be."

Statement Two - "I would say that those recruiting issues are also showing up at other positions. Either we are having trouble identifying talent, or we are having trouble developing it - or both."

They completely contradict each other. It's almost so funny that it's sad. You do this so often that it's hard not to feel sorry for you. If it wasn't for the fact that the obvious sole purpose was to disagree with me, I'd ignore it. And that you admitted you're a liberal.....

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

Some good points here, with one exception in my opinion. I truly don't think Mickelson has been given close to enough minutes. And now he's not even seeing the court. It was as if he was starting him those few games because he made him a deal or something. He'e play until the first media timeout and not see the court again. The kid can play. Play him off the bench, but play him. Lucas can rebound and defend slow bigs, but that's about it.

Yolanda Gay 3 years, 10 months ago

Perry may be consistent on offense but his defense is suspect. He is also not able to set screens.

Doug Cramer 3 years, 10 months ago

This is ALL on Coach Self for abandoning Mickelson. If he can't see the chemistry he provides on defense by blocking and altering shots inside the arc, then no one can help him.

Mickelson is also better offensively than Lucas, and takes pressure away from P-Doggie Ellis so he can make more shots in the post.

Nobody wants to admit it, but we play better when he's on the court...plain and simple.

This could be my least favorite KU team of all time. A sweet 16 appearance would be a good season for this team.

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

Kansas would be undefeated if Mickelson played I guess.... Get a grip Doug.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 10 months ago

Doug, I'm not sure if I'm on the Hunter bandwagon with you but his disappearance mimics Svi's disappearance last year - straight from starter to never getting out of the warmups.

I thought that we might be headed to match-up basketball, but Self's quotes suggest that's not how he wants to play it. It was clear that we would have to put up a lot of points to hang with ISU, but he went with a defender and rebounder.

Brian Skelly 3 years, 10 months ago

I frequently dont agree with Doug, but on this point I believe he's correct. We play better and with more flow with Mickleson and our "Core Four" than anyone else slotted in there.

He's certainly not the most talented of the bunch (and maybe the least talented of the bigs). But to me, that's irrelevant if he knows how to play with the guys on the floor. Which he does, which is why it all seems to flow better when he's out there.

If nothing more, he knows his positioning both ways (O and D), sometimes it means just getting the @#$# out of the way. Lucas and Traylor have fits and starts with this, but cant sustain it. Diallo is talented but seemingly clueless out there frequently. Bragg is more naturally a fit for Ellis' spot. But I'd still love to see him get more time.

I wont go 'all' on Coach Self, but it's clear he doesnt trust the bench at all. Question is, is that on him or them?

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

I STRONGLY agree. And Jay, they COULD be undefeated if Mickelson was given the baton. Unlikely, but I don't think playing guys who are slow, lost, butter fingered, or can't jump helped us in our losses when we needed leadership and a boost. The kid knows the game and know his limitations. And he's a Senior senor. He had more minutes as a freshman at Ark than he's had at KU since. IMHO he's the most under utilized and productive/per min big we have save Ellis.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 9 months ago

A Sweet 16 appearance is the bare minimum for any Kansas team. Anything less is a waste of a season.

Kristen Downing 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm mentally preparing for at least seven losses. Hopefully, they will prove me wrong on Saturday.

Jonathan Briles 3 years, 10 months ago

You should consider preparing for a lot more than 7 losses. We are already at four and we still play at Baylor, at OU, at Texas, at KSU, ISU, WVU, OSU, UK and have the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA tournament. We have 10 more losable games at least. Double digit loss season is not only possible, but probable.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 10 months ago

I thought Wayne Selden was becoming a leader on the court, but I guess I was wrong.

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

It's safe for you to assume that pretty much all the time Bryce.

Brianna Zaleski 3 years, 10 months ago

Why? I don't get it with you. You have provided NOTHING to the discussion. You are just trying, like mad, to be a jerk. Why?

Jay Scott 3 years, 10 months ago

What would you rate as your most salient basketball comment here Bri? Oops, there are none. Not a single thing except to rant about how you hate that somebody else makes comments that "You have provided NOTHING to the discussion.". Did you come by and make sure that I knew you were here? Are you flirting with me?

Bryce Landon 3 years, 9 months ago

Hey look, the Butthurt Dweller is back! Just got back from getting a year's supply of Clearasil?

Brett McCabe 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure where Korea Wayne has gone - aggressive, making plays, making shots, hustling. Self mentioned that the competition was mid-major level, so perhaps it was a bit of a mirage.

Kelly Pierce 3 years, 10 months ago

Leadership is great, but self motivation is better. We have a lot of talent on this team, but most of it sits on the bench every night so that they can learn how Lucas, Traylor, Graham,and Seldon became so great they are irreplaceable. Hard to stay self motivated when you know it will not lead to playing time. Bragg, Diallo, Svi, and Hunter are poster boys for why top level recruits and transfers should be wary of Coach Self and his refusal to adjust his system.

His biggest issue is he has a roster full of talent that does not fit his philosophy.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

If Bragg, Diallo, and Svi could defend, they'd be playing. Hell, if Svi could knock down a decent percentage of shots he'd play anyway. Why Mickelson doesn't play big minutes is a mystery to me. One thing's for sure, the poor play of late caught Coach by surprise. We are in dire need of a floor leader.

Joe Ross 3 years, 10 months ago

As a degreed biologist, I love watching nature shows. Its interesting to watch the lifespan of a dominant male lion. First comes in hungry to rule, achieves it and dominates for a time, and loses his edge. Some other upstart, unafraid, deposes him humiliatingly.

Kinda like Kansas.

We're not winning the conference this year, y'all. The mystery is over. Might as well bring our freshmen along so we can have a chance in March.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

I am all for giving Bragg and Diallo and Svi big minutes. The experiment with all vets just did not turn out. Lets unleash the athletes, let them learn. Heck, there are a number of freshman making a contribution to b-12 teams, why not at KU?

Brett McCabe 3 years, 10 months ago

Joe, it's not a bad analogy. The 4-5 record last year, the 0-3 record this year and suddenly the aura is gone.

What is interesting, though, is that we could turn this thing on its head and make it work for us. Blow it up, start taking some lumps, play the "no one believes in us card" and use the last 10 games of conference to try and build some new momentum.

One thing is for sure, I hate seeing Perry's senior year play out like this.

Yolanda Gay 3 years, 10 months ago

Perry is part of the problem too. He's a senior but provides no leadership while on the floor. While he's out there, he should take command of the troops; be Self's coach out there. He does NOTHING. When Collins was here, he let everyone know it was his team and let his teammates know it.

He is the best offensive threat we have; but he'll give up as much on defense. I'm not saying it's just him. The guards just cannot stop dribble penetration.

Mike Barnhart 3 years, 10 months ago

That explains the biological part. The sociologist would point out the broken chain of leadership. For at least 10 years there was an unbroken chain of leaders at KU that ended with Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson. The chain starting with Elijah Johnson, Ben McLemore and Nadir Tharp has not come close to that same level of success.

Roy had the same problem bridging the gap from LaFrentz, Pollard and Vaughn to Heinrich and Collison. (The Kenny Gregory years.)

BTW Kenny Gregory = Wayne Selden

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

My immediate reaction as the second half unfolded and after the game was exactly the same. I wanted to reflect upon that idea to avoid irrational conclusions.

Since the OSU game, I'm been thinking a lot about the lead personalities on this team and reflecting over their past 3 years. This group has produced the worst defensive teams for Self plus a lack of toughness. I recall a couple of years ago when TRel was asked about these guys and he said they were soft. I addition to being soft, these guys lack the quickness, heart an IQ for the game.

I have no idea if Self can rescue anything from this season. The Big 12 title appears to be well out of reach. The team's best prospects/talents are: Mykailiuk, Bragg and Diallo. It seems Self might as well try to get these guys developed with hopes of advancing in the NCAA Tournament.

Very depressing Self has been consistently unable to recruit an elite guard(s).

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

And this week-end, more than ever, I think we need Bragg and Diallo on the court alot. Many of the future recruits will be watching this game, given all the McDonald all-Americans on the floor. If those recruits see our top two sitting on the bench while some less than stellar veteran bigs are getting all the minutes and KY has their freshman out there, it would be a bad optic. Plus, this is non-conference anyway, let our young guys get some good NCAA type experience now even if it costs us a loss.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

Against UK, I hope Self still plays the guys to give us the best chance of winning. However, he needs to work in our best talent.

Self is the CEO of Kansas basketball. He's going to need to fire some guys. It happens all the time in life. If a guy(s) do not perform, either by lack of effort or ability, he's got to try others. As mentioned about a week ago, I'd like to see him sit Mason and Selden. Give the

1 Graham (with Vick as backup...let's see what he can do),

2 Mykailiuk,

3 Greene

4 Ellis

5 Bragg (Diallo as backup until he learns the playbook better).

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

The only problem I have with your 5 is there is no legit 5 in there. That's why we seem to play better with either Mickelson or Diallo. At Stillwater, we were in the game just fine while Diallo played. Once Coach yanked him, we tanked. Not saying that was the only reason, but he does get into the dome of anyone thinking about driving the lane. You won't get that with Bragg. You will get more offense with Bragg. My point is, if you want rebounds, shot blocking and at least 6-8 points per game, Diallo can do that if you give him equal minutes to Lucas. Lucas, 2 points in the two games he started. It's killing us. Diallo can give us what Lucas does, but with more offense upside.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 10 months ago

Diallo is all over the place, playing in his own world. Until he learns to play with the team, his minutes will be limited.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 9 months ago

ok Suzi, you watch, once we give that kid more minutes, he is going to shine and the question will be, why did we wait. Face it, the vet bigs are not getting it done. If they were, I would have no problem with you point.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

Mykailiuk, Bragg and Greene can't defend. Mykailiuk hasn't been able to score so he's a double negative until he gets it going on the offensive end. There aren't any nights off in Big12 play to experiment unless you gamble that player development will pay off. I don't think Coach is as ready as some of you to give up on the Conference race because we're behind by one game with 10 to go. We just need our guys to pull their head out of their backsides and play.

Brian Skelly 3 years, 10 months ago

Our guards seem to lack lateral quickness. Both Mason and Graham have good North/South speed, especially with the ball. Which makes it all the more shocking when they get blown by on defense with the frequency at which they do. It's certainly not a look that bodes well for a deep March run.

Layne Pierce 3 years, 10 months ago

Joe

I think you are right on. We are playing scared, other lions want on top, but I am also struck by how our team has no faith in each other. So we need a basket, run the offense, if there is an offense, and get a really good shot. If the 5 guys playing, won't or can't run it, then put out 5 other guys. Who is in charge of this team?

The only unfortunate caveat is that we are terrible free-throw shooters when it matters. Just check it out, especially on the road. This team should play ferocious defense and shoot a 3 only when they are wide open, and only well into the clock. We are not so good, especially on the road, to jack up 3s and even if we were, 3s are a recipe for disaster if you don't have some inside to offset the bad nights, and no I don't mean Perry Ellis, who else, besides Perry gets layups on the inside through the offense. Frank and Devonte, just force a layup when they can, but eventually the other team shuts that down.

Let's give Bragg, Diallo, and Svi some time on the court together and tell them run the offense, and take some charges on defense, and you the men.

Chad Smith 3 years, 10 months ago

1) defense is one of the worst Self has ever had. The guard defense is fundamentally atrocious.

2) Ellis is fine, the only elite consistent offensive performer we have. Feed him the ball all game.

3) play diallo more. If anyone remembers, we gave embiid little playing time the first 2 1/2 months of the season. Turns out he was pretty good the next month and a half before he got injured. Diallo, if nothing else is athletic and can block shots. We need a shot blocker , clearly. I know he's raw and unrefined, but so was embiid. Give the young man more PT.

4) decide who the true point guard is and go forward.

5) have fun. Its what this team is lacking most

Aaron Paisley 3 years, 10 months ago

Embiid and Diallo are not even close to being the same. The only thing they have in common is they're both originally from Africa. Joel Embiid is one the most naturally big man since Hakeem. He has an amazing feel for the game on both ends of the floor and was a very quick learner. It did not take him 2.5 months to figure it out, it was much closer to a month or less.

Cheick Diallo does not have a natural feel for the game, he is not a very offensively gifted player, and he isn't a quick learner. He's still making many of the same mistakes today that he was in December and is consistently out of position on offense and taking himself out of the play on defense by going for bad blocks that lead to either fouls or his man getting an easy 2 most of the time.

Diallo and Embiid were/are on two very different learning curves and what worked for Embiid will not work for Diallo.

Chad Smith 3 years, 10 months ago

Agree and disagree. Embiid did take two months honestly, look it up. Diallo is very talented. And yes he's made mistakes. But he hasn't been given enough PT to show his full potential. That's my main point. Give him at least 5 more minutes per game

Barry Weiss 3 years, 10 months ago

Diallo has made some step back jumpers that Embiid could not even do, let alone Lucas. Why not give him some time? The cluster at the 5 right now is NOT working.

Bj Cassady 3 years, 10 months ago

Bottom line this team has regressed. Mason, Seldon have regressed. I cringe when Mason brings up the ball, he has had so many turnovers in the past 5 games, and has shot the ball so poorly. Graham should be the primary ball handler. Perry Ellis has no inside help, Bragg needs to play more and Hunter to. At least they can score. Self has been out-coached this year at OSU, at ISU. We can expect a lot more losses, we need to develop our freshmen for the tournaments. Forget the big 12 title it is gone. We need a creator, Seldon should be that man but he isn't. We need to recruit a true point guard, big men, wing players.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

We haven't had a floor leader since 2012, so nothing new here. We left a final four or two on the table because of it. Don't go off about my use of "we", please. I've been a lifelong fan of KU basketball since the early 1970s and I'm emotionally invested, haha!

I think Coach has his blinders on in a few areas. Not to second guess a HOF coach with 11 straight conference titles, but......

Why has Hunter Mickelson been riding the pine? Perhaps I'm missing something, but he usually provides instant positives when he plays. He's got better, quicker hands, has better, quicker footwork, runs the floor better, jumps way better, can score better, and blocks shots better than Lucas. And he's a Senior. Is he a problem child off the court? Coach is always saying his attitude is great or "off the charts". What gives? With him and Perry on the blocks running high low, we can score AND defend the rim on the other end. Taking nothing away from Lucas, he's a solid rebounder and decent defender. I just see a productive veteran player in Mickelson being wasted on the bench. I hear Coach talking about "trust" when discussing playing time. Why does he "trust" raw freshmen over an experienced senior?

How many times does a player STANDING in the corner unguarded knock down an uncontested 3 before we start putting someone within 15 feet of him?

Why do opposing guards always seem to have career nights against KU?

It looks like opponents have finally seen enough tape on Frank to figure out how to neutralize his finishes, time to pull up short or dish, I think.

Wayne seems to either want to jack a three or get a charging call. He needs to find the middle ground. It's great when those 3s are falling, but they haven't been lately. Seeing some short pull up jumpers fall can expand the hoop for him.

These moving screen calls are killers. Blame is 50/50 on the screener and screenee. Our guards need to set them up better.

Over the last 5 years or so, it's a rare event when KU plays well in both halves. I always cringe when we play well in the first due to the seemingly inevitable coming storm in the second.

It's not a talent issue. It's attitude, toughness, effort, awareness, focus, fight, and most of all, floor leadership(which can solve most of the former) that's lacking.

No, I'm not lowering the lifeboats, just venting.

Rock Chalk!!

Bernard Gregory 3 years, 10 months ago

I see all the Mason haters are back for one thing the way the game is suppose to be called a lot of those drives where he is forced to turn the ball over should be fouls, if some of the guards that are spoken so highly about from opposing teams were in the same situation they would easily be at the foul line. I am so sick of hearing how the other guys are blowing by Frank what games are you haters watching because the games I am watching the only blow byes I see is on pick and rolls. I do have some critiques because he needs to know what personnel is on the floor when he makes his drives because when he was turning it over they basically had 4 guards on the floor and no one was there to threaten the post . I go to the comment that Coach Self made that he wants Frank to be the Off Guard and Demonte to handle the Point, it doesn't seem like that is happening to me and I would argue that most of the time its the opposite. Just like when he first appeared on the scene and all the haters ripped him be ready to suck it up again. Its nothing new to him be ready to eat your words again haters.

Michael Morgan 3 years, 10 months ago

Good points and I agree. But Frank IS in a bit of a funk since the Oklahoma marathon. He played great defense and Buddy still dropped 46. He really would have gotten 60 otherwise! I think that took something out of him. All these folks ready to sell the ranch and we're one game behind with 10 to go. No cookies this year, and they all have to play the same teams we do. And we still have the Phog on our side. It won't be easy, and it shouldn't be. Best conference and best games to watch by far.

Bernard Gregory 3 years, 10 months ago

I be the first to agree he is in a funk. He will figure it out .

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