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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Keegan

Tom Keegan: It just might pay for Kansas coach Bill Self to think bigger than ever

Blue Team center David McCormack blocks a shot from Red Team forward Silvio De Sousa (22) during a scrimmage on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at the Horejsi Athletic Center.

Blue Team center David McCormack blocks a shot from Red Team forward Silvio De Sousa (22) during a scrimmage on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at the Horejsi Athletic Center.

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Here’s how the popular storyline goes for Kansas and its perennial powerhouse basketball program: After a two-year, personnel-driven shift from a lineup with two post players to just one big man, Hall of Fame basketball coach Bill Self will return to his comfort zone and send two big men onto the court again.

That very well may be the case and in fact makes for the safest guess as to how Self will approach his 16th season at KU. But who’s to say he’ll stop there? How do we know he won’t take the move toward a bigger lineup one step higher and play three big men?

By playing back-to-back seasons with just one post man on the floor, Self showed he knows there is no such thing in sports as a comfort zone. Instead, to coach is to constantly adjust, forever aiming to get the most out of the available talent. One way of doing that is by giving the opponent as intimidating a lineup as possible for which to prepare.

Try to put yourself in the $595 Salvatore Ferragamo men’s Flori 2 Stitched Almond Toe Double Mancini Bit Leather Loafers of the opposing coach and ask yourself what you might have in mind defensively if Self were to send the following lineup onto the court: Five-star freshman guards Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes, and big men Dedric Lawson, David McCormack or Silvio De Sousa and Udoka Azubuike.

That’s a front line that measures 6-foot-9, 230 pounds at small forward, either 6-9, 245 or 6-10, 240 at power forward and 7-foot, 280 at center.

If Dedric Lawson, who is teammate K.J. Lawson’s younger and taller brother, had the exact same skill set but were 6-foot-6, nobody would question him playing small forward, so why question it just because he’s 6-9?

Even with defenders close to his size on him, Dedric Lawson is one of those basketball players who has the ability to ignore the defender guarding him closely, focus on his target and shoot over him without rushing or in any way altering his shot. He handles the ball more like a guard than a big man and moves his feet well, so there is no reason he couldn’t handle the position against most teams and have Marcus Garrett and/or K.J. Lawson backing him up.

Dotson, Grimes and California transfer Charlie Moore can handle the bulk of the 80 minutes for the two backcourt spots with help from Garrett.

However Self decides to divide the minutes and use the roster’s size, he has exciting possibilities to weigh, even more so than in most seasons.

Comments

Michael Sillman 1 week, 5 days ago

Interesting how Keegan seems to feel that Charlie Moore has no real shot at being the starting point guard. After seeing him play at Cal, I wouldn’t count him out. He’s real good and will have two years of D1 training over the freshmen.

Brian Leslie 1 week, 5 days ago

Michael, I actually would not rule out Charlie starting with Dotson and Grimes. That would remind me a bit of the vintage Miles / Boschee / Hinrich lineup where the three "smalls" all have point guard skills. Don't forget that jersey retiree Sherron Collins came off the bench as a freshman and sophomore - it truly is a matter of who is finishing the games rather than starting them with Self.

Noel Backwards 1 week, 5 days ago

I agree Michael. I personally am leaning toward Charlie Moore being the starter because of experience. With this lineup Keegan is proposing, it would be even more justifiable to give up some size at PG because of all of the size surrounding him. I like Moore a lot more than many others here and think he's going to surprise some people.

Jesse Johnson 1 week, 5 days ago

I really think there's a good chance of both Moore and Dotson starting alongside each other, with Grimes at 3 and Dedric and Dok at 4 and 5. That would combine both the 3 guard (with two PGs) lineup that has been successful for us the past couple years at running the floor with two real bigs to post up, rebound and guard the key.

Edit: Just realized Brian said basically the same thing.

Steve Zimmerman 1 week, 4 days ago

I like gutsy Dotson and Moore controlling the ball. What I'm afraid of is Garrett will see more minutes due to his ability to defend. But I'd rather see players who can create shots, can dribble drive with no fear, with quickness. We also have Grimes in those categories. Let's just hope we see Garrett version 2.0 next season.

Brian Wilson 1 week, 4 days ago

HA! I laugh at all the id's on here that told me two months ago that I was crazy saying the Lawsons playing the 3 spot.

Much like Perry Ellis, they are tweeners, stuck between not having enough bulk to play against the real beef, and not having enough speed and skills to play the 3. But I will hold back on the Lawsons just a bit. They may add the bulk or develop the skills, we shall see.

Brian Leslie 1 week, 5 days ago

Tom, I agree that it's an intriguing prospect and maybe something we could use situationally. Dedric chasing a fast wing around the perimeter or getting screened onto a shooting guard or point guard could be problematic. Self could make it work, but maybe it would require a 2-3 zone defense.

I'm also intrigued at starting the Lawsons at the 3 & 4, or at least getting them plenty of time on the court together. That's still some daunting size (K.J. has unusually long wingspan, measured at 7-foot in 2014), and I think you gain some of the Morris twin synergy where they are instinctively good at passing to one another. If Udoka and SDS weren't back, I was expecting the Lawsons to start at the 4 & 5. K.J. was 3rd in the AAC in rebounding in his first full year, playing at the 4 next to Dedric (1st in AAC rebounding).

Jay Scott 1 week, 5 days ago

Lots of players with skill sets to play multiple positions. A fun year to be coach self.

What coach is Keegs insinuating wears Flori 2 Ferragamo loafers? Was it necessary to add "men's"? Do they make the Flori 2 for ladies? Is there a woman coach in NCAA hoops? Or a male coach that wears women's shoes?

Maybe Keegs is dropping Christmas hints early?

Michael Bennett 1 week, 5 days ago

People don't seem to understand how critical speed, agility and athleticism are at the 3rd guard spot (the "3 position"). It's the reason why Perry wasn't a three and Dedrick won't be a three. It would slow down the movement of the offense and defense. It would be a net negative. You have to look past just listed height and straight-up shooting skills. It's about gameflow for the team as a whole.

Gary McCullough 1 week, 5 days ago

And Lightfoot has developed a 3-pt shot. He hit 6 treys in the camp scrimmage yesterday. Stretch-4!

Robert Brock 1 week, 5 days ago

My guess is that Bill Self will go with lineups that can play defense. Garrett will play a lot of minutes.

Noel Backwards 1 week, 5 days ago

I have been saying that here since the season ended. Garrett will start and play A LOT. He'll be the best on-ball defender on the team and I'd imagine HCBS will play him as much as possible.

Craig Carson 1 week, 5 days ago

I think you can pretty much bank on the idea of Self playing 2 bigs...Azibuike and Dedric all but gaurantee that...I think if Azibuike hadnt gotten injured we may have seen him and Lucas starting side by side and if Preston hadnt had the issues he had, we would have seen him and Azibuike starting side by side...Self adapted pretty good to the 4 guard lineup but make no mistake, he'd rather play 2 bigs

Tony Bandle 1 week, 5 days ago

Do any of you really think Bill's DNA will allow him to immediately start two freshman guards when he has Moore, Garrett and Cunliffe available? One, yes for sure but two? I don't think so.;;;.at least not until later in the season.

Dok and Lawson as one duo and Silvio [let's stay positive] and McCormack as the second duo Then K.J and Mitch at the three if you go big and eventually Moore, Grimes and Garrett or Dotson, Cunliffe and Moore if you go small.

IF he came back, Vick could fit in there somewhere but I'm not counting on it. OG better be ready to see red.

Harlan Hobbs 1 week, 5 days ago

The key point is that Coach Self will be back to coaching with multiple options. That ought to scare the opponents even more than he normally does.

Edward Daub 1 week, 4 days ago

Bingo Harlan! They will be "shaking in their booties" when Bill rolls out a High-Medium-Low "3 Bigs" Offense!

James Miller 1 week, 3 days ago

We all know Bill experiments on non-conference. I am sure we will see every combination he thinks has a chance of working. Mostly, it depends on the players to actually perform at the various rolls. But, Bill's old age has softened his stance on how things should look. I like the newly found, experimental Bill.

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