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In the running: A look at some of the top basketball preps still considering the Jayhawks

Rodney, all I'm doing is having a discussion. I responded to your post in a respectful manner above as well as below. I expect the same.

July 20, 2015 at 8:22 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

In the running: A look at some of the top basketball preps still considering the Jayhawks

Rodney, good post, but I still have to disagree about Bragg (insert Cliff Alexander in here as well). So, it's okay to measure Bragg against AAU competition that is the same age, here in the united states, as well as younger, but it's not okay to measure Bragg against older, international players, and playing supposedly a different game over seas? How does that make me look foolish?

Do you think high school, college, international, and NBA are all the same game? NBA is so much different high school, college, and international it's not even close. But I could argue that the international game prepares you more for the NBA than high school or college IMO.

My point was not to slam Bragg by bringing him into this convo. My point was to make it more realistic in the expectations that he has for himself in regards to his high school hype, his recruiting ranking, and the mind sight he had coming out of high school.

I completely agree that Bragg is gonna be really good. I"m a fan of Bragg already. I liked what I saw this summer at the WUG games. But IMO he has a lot of work to do and I think he's realized through that experience alone how much more work he actually has to put in. I mean, he showed promise defensively immediately, but offensively he was about as raw as they come for a young big man.

The way the system is set up currently makes it seem realistic for these kids to automatically jump from High School to the NBA. There is a select few (And I mean (1 maybe 2) every year that could possibly consider it, but actually making it is a different story.

The system also makes it seem (Perception wise) that playing in college and or playing in Europe is a knock against their name or NBA prospect status. Listen to Cliff Alexander and his quotes (All of last season to now) and he's been playing in the shadow of that #3 ranking the entire time. It's gotten even worse now that he wasn't drafted and is fighting for his life to just make a roster. Who's fault is that? Everybody has their opinion on that issue. If Cliff goes and has a successful career in Europe he's still gonna be considered an NBA bust, which is very sad IMO. It's sad because it all started with the unrealistic evaluations (Fluff pieces) and rankings at the high school level with these affiliated sites.

July 20, 2015 at 8:20 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

In the running: A look at some of the top basketball preps still considering the Jayhawks

Just Imagine if Cliff Alexander would have gotten this WUG experience last year as the so called #"3" prospect. You think his "Weaknesses" would have shown up pretty quickly? You think him becoming a little more humble might have happened?

These AAU kids only play against one another and its a skewed, political (Shoe Companies), and it's a very small sample size against average or below average competition. But AAU and the Shoe company Camps are the benchmarks that have prevailed and its' all because of $$$.

I get not everyone gets opportunities to play in an event like KU did this summer, but could you imagine the impact, insight, and understanding Cliff would have realized had he gone up against Brazil's, Russia's, Germany's, or Serbia's front line? I think he would have quickly realized nobody cares he was the #3 recruit coming out of high school.

July 20, 2015 at 7:57 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

In the running: A look at some of the top basketball preps still considering the Jayhawks

Rankings don't mean squat when you step foot in college. They don't mean jack squat if and when you declare for the NBA draft. NBA GM's don't pay attention to that stuff. Thats the problem IMO is the disconnect between the NBA and these so called recruiting experts and these affiliated sites (School).

When Bragg played at the WUG games...nobody cared he was the #15 or #19 recruit in the country. Nobody cared he was a McDonald's All American. To All those European players and European teams he was just another player. He got a crash course in that very lesson. It was good for him to realize and understand that.

Now, Bragg showed "Potential" and thats' what the rankings and the recruiting sites are for. But, this constant desire to be a number and ranking IMO is ruining these players/recruits.

Look above at every single player that was listed in this article. They are all fluff descriptions about these recruits and the bottom 12 players mention their ranking in their class and the schools they are considering with the focus on their ranking (A stupid number which means more than most people think).

If you actually go to these recruiting sites its more fluff, just in more detail and description. How often do these sites talk about the Weaknesses of these recruits and what they have to work on? Instead, they spend great detail pumping them up, talking their strengths, developing fluff descriptions, and promoting to the end of this universe the McDonald's All American game. They also talk about nausea whether a recruit jumped or fell in the rankings.

The problem with a lot of these recruiting sites now is their school affiliated. Take The Shiver for instance. Those people put in a lot of time and I respect that. But, don't you think they are bias about the information they send out about these recruits? Especially the recruits that are considering KU.

I just see too much now how these players are propped up and told how great they are and how much "Potential" they have based off a number..."10", "5", "6", "1", "22". Its' one freaking class with one group of recruits in that one specific year. Wait till they enter the NBA draft and it encompasses college players and "Professionals" from all over the world. I think the way these kids are evaluated send the wrong message and I think it's hurting the fundamentals of their game. Or, at least the weaknesses they don't know about because guys like Malik Monk are being compared to Russell Westbrook.

July 20, 2015 at 7:28 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

In the running: A look at some of the top basketball preps still considering the Jayhawks

De Aaron Fox's quote:

“I like the way they (Jayhawks) have played over the last couple of years,” Fox told Zagsblog.com in a recent interview. “I don’t think they’ve had the point guards that they could’ve gotten. Frank (Mason III) played really well the last two years. Right now they’re in South Korea and he’s leading them in points, steals, assists, almost every category, and I think if I was to go there I don’t think Frank will be there (instead in NBA) so I think I could just kind of step into the role.”

I've been hearing this more and more lately about Frank Mason, which seems odd to me considering I just started hearing about it half way through the University Games at the beginning of the Month.

There seems to be rumblings about Mason possibly leaving next year. Why else would a recruit make this kind of statement? Look, I'm a big Frank Mason fan! I think the timing of his presence at KU has been a little off at KU his first two years with roster spots his frosh year not playing a whole lot with Wiggins and Embiid and Tharpe in front of him. Last year he was amazing and KU not only had gaping holes in their front court...he was waiting for the rest of the team to catch up to his level (Actually, he's still waiting on everyone to catch up to him but they are closing the gap).

Again, I"m a huge Frank Mason fan. I think he's a cross between Adonis Jordan and Sherron Collins in terms of mind sight and skill level. If we are being truly realistic, is Frank Mason an NBA type caliber player after his junior? I'm seriously throwing the question out there for all to answer.

I'm gonna say for a third time now. Mason has been one of my favorite players the previous two years and I'm definitely a fan. I can totally see Mason making great money over in Europe and playing professionally. He will be a professional no doubt about it IMO. He proved that at the WUG games. But the NBA? I mean, I've heard rumblings he may consider to leave if its for the NBA or Europe regardless after his Junior year.

It took me all by surprise because I expected Mason to be here for 2 more years. Mason IMO isn't going to get any better skill set wise IMO. His decision making could obviously improve, but that comes with experience. He's already a stud so his ceiling and potential isn't gonna increase more than it already is. I just found the discussion when I heard it kind of shocking. Couple that with Fox's quote and some others out there it kind of makes sense. Just taken back when I heard it.

July 20, 2015 at 7:05 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

In the running: A look at some of the top basketball preps still considering the Jayhawks

What does this mean? How about KU/Self get 3 recruits that fit the needs of the team and mesh with the pieces currently on the roster. Why would you recruit a square to fit try and fit it into a triangle? I'm not saying you, Rodney, but the recruiting ranking system and its publicity annoy me to the very end. Example: I think Carlton Bragg got a crash course in that very lesson at the WUG games.

July 20, 2015 at 6:45 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Column: Look for Svi to be a key

Not sure why it's not breaking it up into paragraphs. I've tried editing multiple times, but it won't put a break in the paragraphs.

July 19, 2015 at 9:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Column: Look for Svi to be a key

Joe,
I have to disagree with this notion on two points, but everything else I agree (Good Post)

1) Shooters don't all of a sudden lose their shooting touch over night. There are some factors that could cause a shooter not to shoot the ball well. Its all about rhythm, finding their spots, being comfortable, playing without thinking (Shooting without thinking), getting use to the speed of the game etc etc.

I'm not gonna beat a dead drum but we all know he was 17 years old last year. And, I can't imagine the transition (I actually can imagine the transition) of going from the Ukraine to Kansas to not only be a student, but to play college Basketball as well. We all witnessed first hand at the WUG games how much different the style of European Basketball is from Basketball here in the United States.

My point is that SVI's shooting is the least of my worries at the moment. Shooters will always be shooters. You don't lose that trait over night. Its all the all things I mentioned above coupled with the becoming a sophomore and having an extra year in the program that will hopefully get him to settle down and just play ball (I mean, just turning 18 in June still makes him one of the youngest players in college basketball).

2) I'm not seeing the "Great Ball Handler" notion tied to SVI's name. If there is one area of his game he needs to improve, it would be his ball handling IMO. Now, if he was strictly playing the "3", I would say his handles are better than average for most 3's at his position. But, in terms of playing the 2..I think he's gonna have to drastically improve on this component of his game at the 2 spot if he's gonna attack his opponent (Who are small quicker guards). Not only is he gonna have to get his shoulder by people with his dribble and attack the paint and get in the seams of the defense to create his own shot, he's gonna have to do the same thing to set up his teammates in order to put them in good scoring opportunities.

We saw why this was so successful with Mason and Moore in the backcourt setting up opportunities for Selden. Mason and Moore are great Ball Handlers. Graham is not as good as Mason and Moore, but his handles are pretty damn good. This is gonna be an area of SVI's game IMO that is gonna have to drastically improve or other wise it won't make any sense to play Selden and SVI together.

I responded to Benz's post below, but his comment and SVI's ball handling and playing the 2 go hand in hand IMO. I completely agree with Benz's comment about spelling Mason and Graham. If both of those guys play 35 minutes a game...I agree its not gonna end well for KU.

July 19, 2015 at 9:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Column: Will Self keep Kansas playing faster?

Think you copied the wrong link

July 17, 2015 at 10:47 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Column: Will Self keep Kansas playing faster?

Pretty damn good article, Keegs. With all that said, I don't think the change from the 35 to 30 second shot clock will be too much of an impact for Self and Kansas. Now, other collegiate teams from Mid-Majors and Smaller conferences I think it will impact more, but the teams like Kansas, Duke, UNC, Kentucky, Louisville, Zona, etc etc...I don't think will be a big impact except give them a better advantage because of their athletes they have on their roster.

With all that said, Tait did an article last week stating which Jayhawks were impacted the most by the WUG games and their gold medal run this summer. He listed, Selden, Mickelson, and Bragg as 1,2,3 who benefitted from the extra practice and games. From a Players standpoint I agree with Tait's assessment and ranking (Although I think Vick and Bragg tie just because of the Frosh factor).

Having said all that, if we are truly assessing "Everyone" on the team who benefitted the most from the games...I'm gonna sneak Bill Self in at #3 ahead of the Frosh Bragg/Vick. Why was Bill Self impacted so much from these games?

Self, as Keeg's mentioned in this article, has always had control of his teams. He's always had a system. Has Self had too much control? I think over the recent year's Self has been stubborn and hasn't relinquished control to his teams as much as he should? His teams for better or worse were very "Robotic" and structured and I think some players struggled with that mightily.

Not only was I excited for KU/USA's play in these WUG games (Its the best team ball and togetherness I've seen since 2008), I was very excited to hear Self's stance about trusting guys more, allowing them to have a little more freedom, playing a little faster, and allowing guys to go make plays and relinquish his strong hold per say.

IMO, in the overall grand picture going forward I don't think playing Faster or Slower is gonna matter for KU. The 30 sec shot clock will benefit KU a little against least athletic squads, but I think we found that having to play at 24 secs forced Bill Self out of his comfort zone and he had no choice, but to allow his guys to go make plays and put trust in them. From my perspective that was one of the biggest things learned from this squad this summer.

July 17, 2015 at 8:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )