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KU basketball and coaching search chatter kick off new blog

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Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa watches warmups alongside assistant coach Norm Roberts, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa watches warmups alongside assistant coach Norm Roberts, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Hey KU fans, welcome to the first edition of our new regular feature here at KUsports.com, “Ask Us Anything.”

We really wanted to call it, “G’head, Ask Us Anything,” but the more I wrote that, said it out loud and realized how long it really was, the more we realized the best idea was to drop the contraction and the made-up word and keep things simple.

Speaking of simple, the premise of this blog is just that. Each week we’ll ask for your questions about anything — hence the title — and we’ll do our best to have one of our staff members answer them.

We’re expecting that most of the questions we get will be KU-sports-related — probably mostly KU basketball and football — and that’s great. But we’re willing to answer (or at least try to answer) whatever you want to throw at us.

Have a question about KU volleyball or tennis? Bring it. Want to know our thoughts about KU’s next opponent? No problem.

You can even venture outside of the world of KU athletics and ask us about anything else going on in sports, say maybe how good we think Duke really is, what we’re predicting for the rest of the Chiefs season or if Tiger will ever win another major.

No need to force any of those. And we’d love most of the inquiries to be about KU. But we really are up for answering anything. It’s just a way to have a little fun and get you guys in on some more of the action.

So how can you ask your questions? Easy. You can respond to our Tweets calling for questions each week — @Kusports — or you can send us your own Tweet using the hashtag #AskKUsports. You also can email us, if that’s easier. Just send your questions to sportsdesk@ljworld.com and make sure you put #AskKUsports in the subject line.

With that in mind, let’s get to the first handful of questions. We received a ton of good ones last week and will break them into five or six answers for each blog entry to get started. You’ll also hear answers from our entire staff throughout the week, so go easy on Benton and Shane.

For starters, we’ll post these on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but if we keep getting enough questions we could expand in the future.

For now, let’s get right to it.

None by Evan Phillips

This is such a tough question to answer because you have to consider a few different things when doing it.

Is the NCAA going to go case-by-case with this thing and deal with schools on an individual basis? Or will it wait until more of the total picture is out and try to address college basketball as a whole?

Early indications are that the NCAA will start looking into some of the schools mentioned throughout the recent trial that led to the conviction of two former Adidas employees and a middleman, and Kansas certainly qualifies as one of those.

Having said that, KU was not on trial and the trial itself did not produce any concrete evidence of any rule-breaking or wrongdoing on the part of Kansas or its coaching staff. There were some things released that could cause you to scratch your head or might have led to more questions. And the NCAA may very well be moving on to finding answers to those questions as we speak.

Since you asked for what the investigation is most likely to result in for KU, I’ll give you my best guess as of today.

I think De Sousa continues to sit and the NCAA deems that punishment enough. The best case scenario for KU would be that Silvio sits out the first semester, pays back the $2,500 that his guardian received to enroll him in online classes and is back on the court in January.

And the worst case scenario that’s still in play involves De Sousa being done, KU vacating wins and possibly even someone losing his job. That’s worst case, though. And probably a stretch. The punishment would only become that extreme if the NCAA, which will use federal evidence for its review, elects to do an extensive investigation of its own and turns up evidence that, as of today, has not surfaced yet and may not even exist.

I can’t see them taking the time — or having the resources — to do that, so I think they’ll be good with the something is better than nothing result, which will show that they don’t let things go unpunished without creating a ton more work on their end.

None by You call that pizza???

You’ve all seen him do it and most of you probably even know why.

But for those of you who don’t, here’s a quick history lesson.

When Self first arrived at KU for the 2003-04 season, the Allen Fieldhouse you know today looked a literal different. For starters, there was still a portion of the building that was not connected and when the doors would open it would let in the cool or cold air from the outside, making the walk from the locker room to the court a little chilly.

Self, without even thinking about it, merely blew into his hands on one of those walks and the image was caught on the video board.

As he recalled last year during one his Hawk Talk appearances, Self’s squad played pretty good for those first couple of games and the superstition was born.

Today, even on warm days — or on the road — Self still cups his hands and blows into them as he makes his way to the bench for another game. And the KU coach now in his 16th season, who is as superstitious as any person ever to come through KU, doesn’t figure to be stopping any time soon.

None by Jordan Elo

At this point, I think you have to take Miles.

There’s simply too much chatter around him becoming the next Kansas football coach to ignore it.

Usually I’m a field guy in these deals. I’ve even been known to think that taking the NBA field vs. the Golden State Warriors in recent years was a good bet. Oops. I just think the field gives you every advantage if even the slightest thing goes wrong for the favorite.

Who knows if something could still go wrong here or if the Les Miles to KU is all but a done deal already. But if it’s my money and I’m making the bet today, I’m putting it on Les.

I do believe KU AD Jeff Long has done his due diligence and talked to plenty of people about the opening — some candidates and others in more of a consultant manner — but it’s no secret that Long has long been a fan of Miles’ and he probably arrived at KU with the former LSU coach at the top of his potential coaching candidates list.

No need to deviate from that list if the man at the top is interested.

Stick with us over the next several days. Benton Smith is all over the day-to-day goings on of the search and I’m putting out as many calls as possible to see if anyone knows or can say what’s going on.

Fun times for Kansas football.

None by Jeffrey

I’m guessing you’re asking this because of what Dick Vitale said during last week’s broadcast of KU’s win over Michigan State.

Totally fair question. And I didn’t hear Vitale that night but I was told he said that 96-97 team that lost to Arizona in the Sweet 16 was the best or his favorite or perhaps both.

It’s hard to argue. In Paul Pierce and Raef LaFrentz, you had two incredible talents who went on to become lottery picks. Add to that the toughness and tenacity of Jerod Haase, Scot Pollard, who had a long career in the NBA, and point guard Jacque Vaughn, who is one of the all-time greats at KU and also carved out a lengthy NBA career.

That starting five was loaded and they absolutely crushed people. Their fate was a cruel reminder of just how unfair and difficult the NCAA Tournament can be.

If KU and Arizona play 10 times that year, I’m taking KU to win seven or eight of them. The Wildcats were damn good, but KU was better. They just played Arizona on the wrong night and went down.

As for where that team ranks among the best of all time at Kansas, that’s tough because there have been so many good teams. I can’t speak to the 1952 title team, though I’ve had the pleasure to meet a few of its members and know they were absolutely loaded, too. And I don’t know where to rank any of Wilt’s KU teams other than to say they belong way up there because they had Wilt.

But if you’re looking for more current teams that belong in the conversation, you obviously have to look to the 2008 title bunch. So much talent, so much balance and so many quality players. Plus, they won it all.

I also think that 2010-11 team that lost to VCU in the Elite Eight belongs in the conversation. Depth for days. Thomas Robinson couldn’t even get big time minutes. Veterans. Shooters. Defense. The Morris twins. Tyshawn Taylor. That’s another team that definitely could’ve and maybe even should’ve won it all.

And I also think the team from two and even three years ago, first with Mason, Graham and Josh Jackson and then the year before that with Mason, Graham, Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis, are also worthy of mention.

And then there were those Roy Williams Final Four teams, both in 2003, with Hinrich and Collison, and the early years when guys like Mark Randall, Adonis Jordan and Rex Walters led the way.

It’s so tough to pick just one. But if I had to rank the Top 5 that I’ve seen, mine would look like this. Take it for what it’s worth.

1 – 2001-02, with Hinrich, Collison and Gooden, plus Boschee, Miles, Simien, Langford that lost to Maryland in the Final Four

2 – 2007-08, with Rush, Chalmers, Arthur, Collins, Jackson, Russ Rob, Kaun, Aldrich and others who won it all

3 – 1996-97, with Pierce, LaFrentz, Vaughn, Haase & Pollard that finished 34-2

4 – 2010-11, with Morris twins, T-Rob, Tyshawn, Reed, Morningstar and more that finished 35-3

5 – 1992-93, with Rex Walters, Adonis Jordan, Richard Scott, Steve Woodberry, Greg Ostertag that lost to UNC in the Final Four

None by James Horton

It’s probably time for Bowen to move on. Heck, it might be time for just about everybody in the program to move on.

But there’s still a part of me that wonders if Bowen, who absolutely loves Lawrence and would love to keep his family happy and thriving here, would stick around if he were offered a spot on the new staff.

Maybe not as defensive coordinator. Perhaps just a position coach. That would come with a pay cut and a bit of an ego hit, but it would keep him employed — he probably could make at least $200,000 to coach DBs — and it would keep him and his family in Lawrence.

There are few people alive who love KU as much as Bowen so walking away, if he has a choice, might not be easy.

If he is not retained, I’d still look for him to find a way to stay in Lawrence. Maybe now’s the time for him to make a jump to the NFL and see if he can catch on in some capacity with the Kansas City Chiefs.

There are some who think he should look into the head coaching job at Free State High now that Bob Lisher has retired. I think he’d be outstanding there and he’d get to coach his sons. But talk about a huge pay cut.

The last option for Bowen is to simply take another job, perhaps a DC job, at another school. He’s had no shortage of suitors during the past several years and is highly respected throughout college football.

I’m with you in thinking it’d be cool to see Clint have some success and get the credit he deserves for being a damn good coach. But it would be equally cool, at least in my mind, for him to stick around Lawrence.

Should be interesting to see what happens.

Comments

Eric Eakins 1 month ago

Staying within your list because I don't have time to do research... 1. 96-97 Team (we beat Arizona 9 out of 10, unfortunately that night was their 1 out of 10) 2. 2007-08 Hard to argue against winning it all Team except see #1 3. 2001-02 Great NBA success out of that group, very talented 4. 1992-93 Coach Williams had great group, to committed to run/gun (he figured it out later) 5. 2010-11 Great coaching job by Self, players good but odd mixture.

Michael Maris 1 month ago

Matt, I appreciate your comments about Clint Bowen. He has truly faced some harsh comments on this site over the years (including from me at times). But, all in all, he has done as good of a job as can be expected on his side of the line (when the offensive units continually have way to many 3 and outs, or turn the ball over to close to their own goal line). Yes, I have been critical of Bowen at times. I still would've like to have seen Bowen offered the HC job (prior to Beaty's hiring). Oh well. Perhaps, Bowen can get a job similar to what Tom McVay has with Texas Tech.

Jack Hoff 1 month ago

So true Michael. I recall really wanting Bowen to get that job when it was available. I do believe we would be in good hands now had he been given the job. For obvious reasons its a bit too late for that now. But depending on who KU hires now, he would be a great candidate in 5 years or so.

Michael Maris 1 month ago

Yeah, I believe Bowen would've surrounded himself with competent assistants and not fired offensive coordinators almost each and every season. Who knows what is in store for Coach Bowen. I wish him all of the best and hopefully he can stay in Lawrence, Kansas and with his Alma Mater.

Chandler Accipiter 1 month ago

I would take the 1986 team (Manning, Drieling, Thompson, Kellogg, Hunter, with Marshall off the bench) against any of the five mentioned above, especially if given a 3-point line.

Michael Maris 1 month ago

Wasn't Mark Turgeon Cedric Hunter's backup? This team was my all time favorite until the 2007/2008 team. The 2007/2008 team seem to have a deeper bench than the 1985/1986 team. But, watching Ronny Kellogg and Calvin Thompson and Cedric Hunter feed Manning and Dreiling and running the fast break was a lot of fun to watch. Can you imagine how many more points Thompson and Kellogg would have if the 3 point shot was available for the two?

Brian Wilson 1 month ago

If that team had the three point line they would have run away with the Championship. They are my favorite KU team too!

Lest we forget, that team included:
Mark Turgeon
and Chris Piper

But also had up and coming Freshman and Sophomore players:
Scooter Barry
Jeff Gueldner
Mark Randall
and Kevin Pritchard

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