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Monday, January 25, 2021

Jayhawks use productive Monday to reset focus for rest of the season

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) and Kansas guard Dajuan Harris (3) help Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) off the floor after Braun took a charge during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot (44) and Kansas guard Dajuan Harris (3) help Kansas guard Christian Braun (2) off the floor after Braun took a charge during the first half, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas basketball coach Bill Self called Monday “a unique day,” and said on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show with Brian Hanni that the Jayhawks endured a long, productive and positive day back on the basketball court.

Two days removed from their third consecutive loss of the season, the Jayhawks did their usual round of lifting weights and work on the practice court but also conducted a team meeting about what needs to change to get back on track.

“What we need to do and buy into to be successful hasn’t been bought into yet,” Self said during the show. “We’re not aligned. We’ve got to all be on the same page. I think we understand that better now.”

Self said he was pleased with how his team approached the meeting and with the mentality they had throughout Monday. He added that he was hopeful that it would continue in the days to come.

“Today was a good day,” Self said. “But I told them, ‘Now, can we string it together 30 days in a row? Can we do it 60 days in a row?’”

The Jayhawks did more than talk on Monday. After hinting at stirring things up with some lineup changes and different opportunities for different players following Saturday’s loss at Oklahoma, Self said Monday night that he switched up the teams during Monday’s practice.

Starters played on both the red and the blue team during scrimmages and Self said some players responded with great energy and others did not.

“I definitely mixed the teams up,” Self said. “And we saw a difference in the energy level.”

As for what that might mean for who starts on Thursday versus TCU (7 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse on ESPN+) or what it could do to KU’s rotation, Self said simply, “this is just one day.”

“I’m going to give everybody a chance to play with everybody and then we’ll kind of see where we need to go,” he added. “It was actually fun to watch one team play today and it wasn’t very much fun to watch the other team.”

As was the case on Saturday, after the loss at OU, Self remained positive and sounded optimistic throughout "Hawk Talk" about what this team, which fell to No. 15 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Monday, can still accomplish the rest of the season.

In order to achieve their remaining goals, though, Self emphasized that his players are going to have to play for each other, sell out for the program and play the right way.

“If we don’t, it’s OK,” Self said. “It’s not the end of the earth. We're still in play to have a storybook finish.”

Self then drew a comparison between this team’s struggles and the record of the 1988 national championship team at the same point during that season. Those Jayhawks, which won it all as a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, were 12-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play on the final day of January 1988.

“Now granted, they had Danny (Manning),” Self said. “But what was Kansas’ record (in January of 1988)? It certainly wasn’t 10-5. It wasn't that good. And they probably didn't play as good a schedule as we’ve played this year.”

Self continued: “They kind of flipped a switch. And that team went from not any good at all and they win a national championship. Now, I'm not predicting that. I'm not saying that. But why not us? I mean, we've shown that we can play at the elite level; we just haven't done it consistently. So it's still all out there in front of us. But we can't be a team or a group of individuals that says, ‘Oh, it hasn't gone as scripted and we're deflated by that.’ We're just getting started.”

“If we’re going to become a team, now’s the time we’re going to do it,” Self added.

Comments

Barry Weiss 1 month ago

well, sounds like some line up changes are coming. Why not, things aren't going that great right now. I like the idea of moving Marcus off the point.

Brett McCabe 1 month ago

I think that the problem is that we haven’t built a separate dorm for each player with a private court, and no infuriating students around to bother each of these special people.

We can call these buildings: Manziel One, Manziel Two and so forth. This will help us recruit and train hard nosed athletes with a commitment to sacrifice and winning.

Guys who can really grind because the caviar and champagne has made them thirsty for more.

Layne Pierce 1 month ago

I think you should build a dorm take all the champagne you want and leave this site to those who care about KU, you obviously don/t.

It's not jiust changes in starting lineup, its changes in attitudes that we need.
We defiinitely have our work cut out for us, because we cut just as easy be 8-7 now as well as 10-5, we have not crushed very many people, and certainly not with our defense.

RCJH

Tony Bandle 1 month ago

It appears not to be a good year to be an elite blueblood with Kentucky with a losing record, Duke at .500, UNC at 10-5 but unranked and KU at 10-5 and falling.

It would be interesting to see when the last time UK, KU, UNC and Duke were all unranked at the same time...I'll bet it's been a hell of a long time. If things don't change we may get to see it again.

Nick Kramer 1 month ago

Tony, it was Fall of 1961. KU had lost Bill Bridges and Wayne Hightower from the previous year and had to wait until 1966 (Wesley, White, and Franz) to rejoin the top 10.

Steve Zimmerman 1 month ago

https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/schools/kansas/1988.html - please check out how they ran offense. 50 2pt-attempts average. above 50% 2pt-made. make a fair comparison, after we see our team play together and increase offense pace. oh, and we've also got coach LB back then. championship is in his gene.

you guys still want to blame on defense?

Chris Condren 1 month ago

A long day. A positive day. A Monday. This all is just chatter to cover the obvious fact that this team is currently playing poorly and has no heart to win. Reshuffle the chairs on the deck of the Titanic and it still sinks.

Thomas Harrison 1 month ago

Someone should be really Concentrating on recruiting Under the NCAA cloud !!!

Thomas Harrison 1 month ago

Do you think that a team that finishes 13/11 will be invited to NCAA Championship tournament?

Nick Kramer 1 month ago

When you lose Dotson, Dok, and Moss replaced by McCormack, Wilson, Harris, and Thompson (who's not playing), you have to expect to take a step or two backward. Our 2 pt shooting percentage is significantly diminished (both Dotson and Dok had great 2 pt %). On the other end, the improvement in our opponent's shooting, and our decreased steals and blocked shots exemplify a loss of defensive ability. We're still a good team, but we no longer have elite players that other teams have no answer for. Keep the underclassmen for another year and we'll be elite again.

Chad Smith 1 month ago

Let's see where the team is at heading into Big Monday @ Texas in Late February. We play plenty of winnable games in between now and then. Could snap off a winning streak and get some confidence back.

Benjamin Shear 1 month ago

From the article, "But we can't be a team or a group of individuals that says, ‘Oh, it hasn't gone as scripted and we're deflated by that.’ We're just getting started.”"

Those are good words to live by in life. This team is leaderless. Mixing things up can only be a positive. Notice that this wasn't a "players only meeting" but a HCBS directed meeting. It looks like Self realized no one is going to lead, so he's fine to be the Daddy. Normally, a team functions best when one of the starters takes that job. So who's your daddy? For these players, it's HCBS.

Armen Kurdian 1 month ago

It's not last year's team, I don't think they are panicking by any stretch of the imagination. They fought in all the last three games, make a few of the easy misses around the rim, don't blow a couple of defensive assignments and they win these games.

We've got three in a row coming up that we should sweep, that will get some momentum. Big XII title is out of reach for all intents & purposes...no worries, finish strong, I think they can go 12-6. Wouldn't be surprised if they take one of the remaining games vs UT or BU.

Greg Ledom 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Nobody’s panicking, it’s not defense, their not spiraling, it’s not a lack of heart (please, work as hard as they are and show me no heart after your ass is picked up off the floor). Leadership, certainly a possibility (Marcus could be the leader), nice pieces but no TEAM, certainly, no Dok or Dot, absolutely. Down year all around college basketball, yep. A handful of more senior laden experienced teams killing it, yep. Still in the hunt, why not. This team will get better, find their way, and make a decent run. Looking forward to the process we rarely have to go through to see how it all works out. That’s my take. Rock Chalk!!!

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