Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Kansas coach Bill Self recommending time off for ‘tired’ Jayhawks

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (11) and the Kansas bench lament a missed steal during the first half on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at Vivint Smart Homes Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (11) and the Kansas bench lament a missed steal during the first half on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at Vivint Smart Homes Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.


While the common response to a season-ending loss like the one the Kansas men’s basketball team suffered nearly two weeks in Salt Lake City is to get in the gym and get after it harder than ever so nothing like that ever happens again, KU coach Bill Self has advised a slightly different approach for the current Jayhawks.

In a word, he wants them to rest.

“Marcus (Garrett) needs time off,” Self told the Journal-World recently when asked if the second-round loss to Auburn might fuel even more motivation in his returning players. “Ochai (Agbaji) needs time off for sure, with his shins. He didn’t let anybody know but they’ve been hurting him for a while. He just didn’t want to sit out. (Point guard Devon Dotson’s) body is totally worn down and Dedric (Lawson’s) is too. And Q (Quentin Grimes) also. That’s a lot of mileage on a freshman.”

Don’t mistake Self’s suggestion for one that keeps basketball off of the minds of his players altogether. There are a dozen other ways to improve and develop one’s game while still giving the body time to rest and recover.

And whether it’s watching film, self-scouting, coming up with a plan for the next six months or staying off their feet entirely, Self said his young team needed to rest mentally as much as physically.

“I think the expectations, losing Dok (Udoka Azubuike), losing Lagerald (Vick), not having Silvio (De Sousa), obviously not winning the league, put some extra stress on them,” Self said. “And I think they’re tired.”

While a lot of the current down time will be used to heal old injuries, refocus on classes and catch a break from the grind of the season, some of it also will be used for decision-making, a stressful endeavor in and of itself that will require clear minds and sharp focus.

Lawson, Azubuike, Grimes, De Sousa and perhaps one or two others all will be making decisions about their futures in the next week or so. It remains to be seen what each Jayhawk will decide, but conversations with their families, friends and coaches will take the place of sprints, defensive slides and heavy weight room sessions for the time being.

“I do believe we’re in a situation where some guys are going to test (their NBA status), without question,” Self told the Journal-World. “And that wouldn’t surprise me nor would that disappoint me at all. I think that’s something that should be looked into and certain guys should consider. And there may be a couple that consider it in a way that says that’s what they’re going to do.”

As for those who don’t, one way or the other KU figures to return a strong core of returning talent that gained valuable experience from the successes and failures of the 2018-19 season.

And whether those players choose to focus on grinding their way to a 4 seed or the bitter disappointment of the end of the Big 12 title streak or the season-ending loss to Auburn, Self believes all of the tears and tough moments that came at the end will mean good things for the future of Kansas basketball.

“I personally think it will be great motivation for us,” he said. “It’s a great learning experience. If you weren’t that emotional that means you probably don’t care that much. So you know that they cared and they fought their butts off.”


David Serven 2 years, 2 months ago

With everything these guys have had to go through, including missing key components of a team that was a preseason #1, has obviously taken a toll on them mentally and physically. It is a good thing to step away from all of this for awhile and regroup. Our team outdid themselves with what they had. Coach Self needs to be congratulated for getting them as far as they did. Remember that we started 4 freshmen for most of the season! This experience will be invaluable. And with a few new key pieces (trey makers) we'll be right back in the thick of things next year. Thank-you all, coaches and players, for your efforts this year. RCJHKU!

Dale Rogers 2 years, 2 months ago

Matt Tait, you might want to fix the glaring spelling error in the headline....

Matt Tait 2 years, 2 months ago

I got it. I was just clowning around a little... It's fixed.

Dale Rogers 2 years, 2 months ago

No doubt the guys are blaming themselves for the end of the streak, not winning the tournament, etc. but they shouldn't. Had there not been injuries, a ridiculous ncaa decision, losing a key player for personal reasons, etc., then, yes, maybe they'd be right to blame themselves. But those things did happen and these guys gave everything they had to try to overcome those negatives and in my opinion they did very, very well. I am proud of our guys and all they accomplished this season. For those who decide to go NBA, I wish them the best. For those who choose to stay, I look forward to watching them next season. WELL DONE, GUYS!

Kevin Pavey 2 years, 2 months ago

Grimes has a decision to make about his future in the next week? Really? I just checked 5 mock draft boards and he's not even mentioned in the 'others to follow...' or 'on the bubble...' listings.

Dale Rogers 2 years, 2 months ago

I hope he sticks around. With his potential I think it's just a matter of confidence and for him to just relax and play and we'll see the Grimes who was MVP of the FIBA tournament last Summer.

Matt Tait 2 years, 2 months ago

He doesn't have to make a decision for a few weeks still, but it sounds like all of those guys will have a feel for their decisions in the next week or so.

The deadline to declare as an early entry candidate is April 21.

After that, as long as he doesn't hire an agent, he'll have until May 29 to decide whether to stay in the draft or return to school.

Here's more on those key dates in case you missed it...

Alan Dickey 2 years, 2 months ago

Matt: It's not May 29; it's June 10. See comments to the article you linked.

Matt Tait 2 years, 2 months ago

I made the same mistake last year, but it actually is May 29 or, put another way, 10 days after the last day of the pre-draft combine.

What's listed at is the final date to pull your name out for non-NCAA early entries. It's weird, I know. And it got me last year. But I looked more closely this year and that 10-day thing is correct in this context.

Last year it was May 30 even though listed it as June 11. Udoka announced his decision to come back just after Noon on May 30, 11 hours before the deadline hit.

Eliott Reeder 2 years, 2 months ago

The decision that Grimes has to make may also include whether or not to transfer. Personally, I don't think he should, but I have seen 'experts' who say he should go somewhere and play PG. I think he should stick around and stay loyal to the coach and team who stayed very loyal to him, with major minutes all year despite his under-performing. I think he can turn it around and be the star we all predicted him to be. He showed some slick passing toward end of the year, IMO, though several of those passes turned into TOs because the recipient was caught off guard.

Barry Weiss 2 years, 2 months ago

I totally agree there is not really a reason for Grimes to go anywhere. He needs a solid 15 ppg season either next year, or if not then, the following year. He may have the NBA body, but he still needs to show he can take college players to the rim and drill 3 pointers before he is NBA ready.

Gerry Butler 2 years, 2 months ago

was stated off a local sports talk. A NBA Scout if Grimes tested waters - -he wouldn't like what he heard

Craig Carson 2 years, 2 months ago

I think with Azibuike going down and Moore not producing like we thought, Lawson and Dotson had way too much load thrown into their shoulders

Bryce Landon 2 years, 2 months ago

And don't forget that Silvio had the book thrown at him by the NCAA, which made matters worse.

Buck Bukaty 2 years, 2 months ago

My feelings, not that anyone cares, is that rather than players playing overseas or wherever in elite or other summer all-star tournaments, they'd be better served, and the team would be better served, if they instead were hanging in Lawrence with the rest of their teammates and more importantly getting a head start with Coach extraordinaire Hudy.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years, 2 months ago

Curious about this line "KU figures to return a strong core of returning talent" How is that figured? Previous stories mention KJ, Dedric, Dok, Silvio and QG possibly leaving. Moore is gone, which may not be in the "strong core", but he's still another loss All we can say is that we're definitely getting back Garrett, Ochai, Mitch, DMC and Dotson. Those aren't by any means a bad group but imagine if all of the above leave...

Matt Tait 2 years, 2 months ago

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but you don't think that Dotson, Ochai, Garrett, McCormack and Lightfoot is a strong returning core? Self does. And those guys will all be back.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years, 2 months ago

Honestly, no I don't. Who's going to score?

Jay Scott 2 years, 2 months ago

That group averaged about 60 points per 40 mins. Don't think they'll improve? That's not enough from a starting unit?

Why leave Grimes out? There's no info to indicate he leaves. Kids are kids but Dotson has better draft potential now than Grimes.

Sorry're way off on this.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years, 2 months ago

I never thought QG would leave until I read this article and seemed like it wasn't as impossible as I thought. All I'm saying is that we need some players to add to the mix. We won't get it done if Dedric leaves...

Jay Scott 2 years, 2 months ago


There's no possible way that any player can be added at PF that would help? Or at any position?

Dude that's just Chicken Little nonsense.

Andy Godwin 2 years, 2 months ago

I would have to agree with Ryan and this "Chicken Little nonsense" is just that. Sometimes one has to be realistic (when was the last time the KU athletics department offered guaranteed BB ticket price for two years if one committed now - football was for three years) It became clear when Udoka went out that the team could not complete even in a down year in the Big 12 (yes I had only TTU advancing past the Sweet 16 in my bracket - although Texas demonstrated they are the best after the 68 NCAA teams). Dotson is outstanding, but as the nucleus and potential starters, I don't think anyone in the Big 12 will be quaking in their boots. If you would add an improved Grimes, DeSousa and/or Udoka, then I would be more enthusiastic. My guess is Self will try and bring in a graduate transfer (or two) to fill some holes and hopefully a freshman forward who can start if DeSousa is not cleared. There is nothing wrong with being realistic.

Frank Dunn 2 years, 2 months ago

I echo what Steve and Dale wrote above - well done to the players and coaches on putting together a good season despite the adversities and playing arguably the toughest schedule in D1 men’s basketball! There are 351 institutions in NCAA Division I — at least 300 of them would be very happy with the results of the Jayhawks’ 2018-19 season. But, this is KANSAS basketball, and we are accustomed to GREAT seasons. So, yes, the guys should rest, physically and mentally, and retool to be prepared to deliver a great season next year. RCJHKU!

Brett McCabe 2 years, 2 months ago

Adversities? MSU lost their leading scorer and are in the Final Four. Self blew it this year because he's obsessed with OAD's, and can never land or develop the right ones.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 2 months ago

Ryan - Mr Webster defines "figures" as "appears likely".

You have identified a worse case scenario. While possible it does not appear likely that all those players leave.

Robert Brock 2 years, 2 months ago

The players may rest but Self (and his staff) needs to get to work on recruiting.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years, 2 months ago

Highly agree here... it's embarrassing to have a storied program like KU and not have one. single. top 100 recruit. I know people will be all "we don't want the one and dones! We want those that stick around for 4 years!" That's fine and so do I, but you can still get one of those in the top 50 for the love of God. This Silvio and Adidas thing has hurt us much more than people predicted. When's the last time we struggled with recruiting one recruit in the top 100? People are relying on Hurt a lot. If he's out, then we're looking at the weakest recruiting class in the HCBS era.

Jay Scott 2 years, 2 months ago

If we're playing "if" games...we're also looking at a returning lineup of Dok, Dedric, Mac, Mitch, KJ, Garret, Grimes, 'Baj and Dotson....if....

Dale Rogers 2 years, 2 months ago

Don't forget the Adidas thing going on and the fear out there that we'll end up with sanctions. I personally don't think sanctions will happen unless the NCAA decides Silvio's guardian's taking $2500 is enough to throw the book at us like they did to Silvio. I am hoping to hear soon that KU is doing something stronger than just appealing that to the NCAA. By that I mean doing like UNC did on the classroom scam and put serious attorneys to work on it.

Dale Rogers 2 years, 2 months ago

I don't think they ever rest from recruiting except perhaps a week or two per year when they go somewhere with their families to recharge their personal batteries.

Pius Waldman 2 years, 2 months ago

I'm continuing to preach that De Sousa gets a hearing to get a final decision for his future. We can't expect him to do another season not playing. His punishment is far beyond what even the shoe outfit guys got less than 8 months. Someone needs to pressure the NCAA for a fair hearing.

Joe Baker 2 years, 2 months ago

NCAA screwed SDS. KU was victim of the shoe whores. The Grand Jury punished the stupid Adidas reps. Now Mark Emmert and the NCAA isn’t finished. KU is their scapegoat and will pay their price. Emmert has a vendetta against KU. He needs to resign. He’s a joke. He made it clear punishment is going to be severe. SDS is the beginning. KU is going to get hit hard folks. Brace yourselves because this is going to get ugly according to the joke of an NCAA president.

Allin Herring 2 years, 2 months ago

Joe Not sure we are a victim but the rest of what you said is exactly why we have no top 100 recruits. And those of you that are saying what about Hurt? Well do not bank on that Duke is in the lead on him.

Gerry Butler 2 years, 2 months ago

According to who? - -ya if your looking at 247 sports and that dam stupid CB. - we all know how accurate that dam thing is. -- it's accurate just like it was for Ayton huh? - -just as accurate as it was for Robinson Earl just to name the 1st couple that come to mind - -that CB is as about as accurate as me saying that I'm gonna become the Pope tomorrow too - - SMH - I sincerely hope you have something better then that to base your thought on this then that dam CB if you are - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Jay Scott 2 years, 2 months ago

Red... the reason Kansas has "no top 100 recruits" is that all the starters and major bench players might return. As of a few weeks ago, no scholarships were available.

How is it that people are so ignorant as to how this process works and yet still want to post nonsense?

Ryan Zimmerman 2 years, 2 months ago

Hasn't this happened in the past though? And there's always the "Self will find a way to make room for talent" etc? I don't recall many years to where he hasn't recruited because starters might return?

Jay Scott 2 years, 2 months ago

While we don't know the whole story on what HCBS says or does behind the scenes re scholarship totals, as big an issue is that top recruits don't want to go to teams that don't need them and have playing time for them. A team with obvious OAD players is in a different situation. Kansas has none this season.

No kid is coming to Kansas until Dok, Dedric etc make their intentions known.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 2 months ago

Duke was also close to a sure thing for the NC if you believe everything that's written.

Jeff Kallmeyer 2 years, 2 months ago

Would do good for our team & HCBS to watch and study the Final Four teams, learn how to play defense!

Jay Scott 2 years, 2 months ago

....because HOF coach HCBS knows nothing about defense, doesn't stress defense and has never had good defensive teams....Wow.

Let me also want him to bench Marcus Garrett because, while he's the best defender in the Big12 and among the best nationally, he's not a great shooter...

Chicken Littles....

Jeff Foster 2 years, 2 months ago

I hope Grimes returns. The most exciting thing for me is, we all know what Hudy can do for freshmen over the months leading into their sophomore year. Look how much McCormack's body changed already and think how she'll get Grimes, Agbaji and Dotson's bodies ready for the '20 push!

Brad Watson 2 years, 2 months ago

Not a big fan of Garrett....not because of his effort....but he is an unpredictable never know what he is going to do...a lot like Vick...I do like Q...Dotson and McCormack...the rest can transfer if they like and free up some spots....just an opinion

Kit Duncan 2 years, 2 months ago

Garrett was arguably KU’s best on-ball defender this season. He may not have been the stud he was in high school, but Marcus was a major contributor to this year’s team.

There have been quite a few players who have played under Coach Self who didn’t have breakout seasons until their junior years. Look for Marcus to be markedly improved next season.

Chris DeWeese 2 years, 2 months ago

Marcus ought to look to slash to the basket more and try for layups or kickouts. Great defender, terrible shooter. Hard to believe this kid was scoring 30 points a game in high school.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 2 months ago

This program needs a 24-hour power-wash.

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