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Posts tagged with Ku Basketball

On KU football recruiting strategies, Dedric Lawson’s old man game and more

Newly-hired Kansas football coach Les Miles tastes a piece of Kansas grass as offered by Baby Jay as he is introduced to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd during halftime of the Jayhawks’ game against Stanford.

Newly-hired Kansas football coach Les Miles tastes a piece of Kansas grass as offered by Baby Jay as he is introduced to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd during halftime of the Jayhawks’ game against Stanford. by Nick Krug

Maybe it’s all these random pieces of grass I’ve been eating, but it seems like the past few days have been the busiest since Les Miles took over the Kansas football program.

OK, that’s not true.

I haven’t tried the Les Miles Diet and gnawed on vegetation from a nearby patch of sod.

But the part about the KU football offices remaining immersed in activity and the phones of coaches buzzing and ringing constantly is true.

With Miles simultaneously completing his coaching staff, and working with his assistants to sign as many targeted recruits as they could this week, whatever holiday breaks KU’s staffers are able to enjoy soon will be well deserved.

With that as a jumping off point, let’s hit today’s round of questions.

None by Marty in Larryvile

I’ll admit I was surprised by the amount of junior college prospects that were targeted and signed for KU’s 2019 class. To make sure everyone is up to speed, here’s the rundown of the six signees — right now there are 11 players total on board in what is expected to end up a class of 15 or so — from the junior college ranks.

• 3-star Mesa C.C. (Ariz.) QB Thomas MacVittie (6-5, 225)

• 3-star Iowa Central C.C. WR Ezra Naylor (6-4, 210)

• 3-star Golden West Coll. (Calif) CB Justin Ford (6-1, 180)

• 3-star Iowa Western C.C. DE Malcolm Lee (6-5, 270)

• 2-star Coahoma C.C. (Miss.) DL Caleb Sampson (6-4, 285)

• 2-star Iowa Central C.C. WR Andrew Parchment (6-2, 185)

The questions about relying too much on the juco ranks are fair, because, as alluded to, this 6 to 5 ratio of jucos to preps looks pretty similar to the 11 to 8 ratio from David Beaty’s 2018 signing class.

I think what makes this different is the situation.

Beaty was entering his fourth season at KU after Year 3 didn’t go as planned. He and his staff, though they didn’t say so publicly, knew another year of losing football would cost them their jobs. And ultimately they were right.

They tried to load up on players who were more likely to contribute immediately because they knew that would give the 2018 team a better chance of winning five or six games.

On the other hand, Miles and his staff kind of had to scramble to find talent. The first assistant hired, Chevis Jackson, still isn’t three weeks into his tenure here. Same goes for offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey. Defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot hasn’t even been here two weeks.

And today was the first day of college football’s early signing period, when so many recruits now get their decisions out of the way.

This was a tough spot to walk into for Miles and his staff. You wouldn’t have to go too far out of your way to describe finding talent to sign as kind of an emergency, either, given the circumstances.

None by Jeff Rank

I don’t blame anyone for wanting to toss out a cup of Kool-Aid that on first sniff seems too similar to one that poisoned him or her before.

But, as just mentioned, I do think KU’s options were a bit limited. When other coaching staffs have the ability to meet and interact with high school prospects (and their families and coaches) over the course of a few years instead of a few weeks, that’s a distinct advantage.

Plus, I think part of the good news with this group of jucos is that talent evaluators seem to like them. QB Thomas MacVittie in particular.

Remember: he signed with Pitt out of high school. It didn’t work out there, but he didn’t mind going the juco route and proving himself. MacVittie ended up becoming one of the most highly regarded juco QBs available.

I think it’s also important to remember that these juco players will, for the most part, be coached by different KU assistants than some of their unsuccessful predecessors were through the years. Let’s not rule out this staff’s ability to maximize the potential out of some of these two- and three-year players before they’re even given a chance to coach them up.

And, yes, KU is banking on at least one or two of these guys proving to be “overlooked gems,” and help KU’s chances of being competitive in 2019 and 2020.


None by Chris Kennedy

Maybe I will end up completely wrong on this, but I do think Miles and his coaches kind of had to do what they had to do in terms of the number of junior college players they signed.

I think when they fill out the class in February, we’ll see more incoming freshmen in the mix. And I think in 2020 and beyond you should see KU going almost exclusively with preps, the way most successful programs attack the recruiting trails.

Only time will tell. But I’d say if you’re a KU football fan, try to be patient with the 2019 class and trust that Miles has the right coaches in place to do things differently in the years ahead.

None by TheRealCmoney11

Perry Ellis is old enough to be Dedric Lawson’s father, I’m pretty sure.

But I get why you’d ask this.

Even though Lawson, unlike Ellis during his days with the Jayhawks, actually looks like a college-aged basketball player instead of a 40-year-old scoring machine, there’s plenty of old man in his game.

Lawson will be the first to tell you there’s not a lot of athleticism involved in what he does. He’s just sound and smart and has a great feel for the game. He’s fine banking in a layup over a defender instead of dunking on him so severely his opponent is doomed for social media meme fodder.

I enjoyed watching Ellis’ smooth offensive game when he was at KU, and Lawson is equally entertaining to observe. And, let’s be honest, Ellis could actually explode off the floor from time to time. So maybe Ellis actually is younger than Lawson? The Memphis native certainly doesn’t jump as high as most 21-year-old, 6-foot-9 aspiring All-Americans.

OK, you’ve stumped me. It’s impossible to say who’s older. 


From Dirk Medema, via the comments section: Could the lack of comment on Coach Hull's status be tied to the status of the other coaches? If he comments on Coach Hull but doesn't comment on others then it could be creating a perception he doesn't want. Obviously we want to know, but we don't need to know for the coaches to do their jobs effectively. It is just a matter of convenience for us. While we have heard that Hull has been out recruiting, I don't recall hearing that it was in contrast to the others not recruiting. While not a good sign for the others, it is encouraging for keeping Coach Hull.

Obviously this question came through before this week’s news that Tony Hull will be back as KU’s running backs coach.

But the question from Dirk here hits a lot of important points.

To me it has been pretty clear for weeks now that Hull would be back. But I couldn’t report that because I didn’t have enough sources saying so.

And I do think a lot of the delay had to do with determining how the rest of Miles’ staff would be filled out. They didn’t want to announce, ‘Hey, Hull is back,’ and at the same time not be able to provide any sort of update on Bowen’s status.

Regarding other coaches not recruiting, that actually was the case. Hull was doing things on the recruiting front that most of David Beaty’s former assistants weren’t while things got sorted out. Again, I heard this from a reliable source. But I couldn’t get enough details from other sources to reach a point where it was something I could report. There’s some responsibilities involved in journalism that you just can’t take lightly.

From Phil Leister, via the comments section: Is Quentin going to be the latest in a long line of highly-regarded Bill Self recruits - Oubre, Alexander, Diallo to name a few - who comes in full of promise and disappoints relative to the hype? Is it something about Bill's system that lends itself to this? Bill called Q as complete of a guard as he's ever had, which we have not seen in any way, shape, or form.

This has been a strange freshman season for Quentin Grimes up to this point, so Phil’s question makes a lot of sense.

I think what separates Grimes from those former KU players referenced is that he’s not nearly as raw offensively.

True, Grimes is both making mistakes on offense and misfiring on his shots — 38.2% from the floor, 33.3% on 3-pointers and even 55.6% at the foul line.

But I think it’s too soon to write him off. His attitude appears to be perfect through his struggles. And the fact that he can defend means Self won’t give up on him.

If you watched Grimes at all while he played for Self on Team USA this past summer at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, you saw some of that complete guard play Self has referenced.

I think there are so many new parts on this KU team that it has added to Grimes’ adjustment period. But I see him figuring things out in the weeks ahead. Good athlete. Plays hard. Head’s in the right place. All he needs is for some shots to fall and he could take off.

Reply 12 comments from Stephen Dobelbower Son Mac Michael Maris Hawkfan9675 Joe Ross Karen Mansfield-Stewart Benton Smith Jim Stauffer

On KU football recruiting targets, Tony Hull and KU basketball lulls

FILE — Former Pittsburgh quarterback Thomas MacVittie (7) plays in the annual Spring NCAA football scrimmage, Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pittsburgh. MacVittie, who played the 2018 season at Mesa Community College (Ariz.) announced on Dec. 11, 2018, his plans to sign with the University of Kansas. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

FILE — Former Pittsburgh quarterback Thomas MacVittie (7) plays in the annual Spring NCAA football scrimmage, Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Pittsburgh. MacVittie, who played the 2018 season at Mesa Community College (Ariz.) announced on Dec. 11, 2018, his plans to sign with the University of Kansas. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The past several days have turned out to be quite busy for new KU football coach Les Miles on a couple of fronts.

Miles is adding to his staff on what seems like a daily basis, with defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, receivers coach Emmett Jones, defensive line coach Kwahn Drake, offensive line coach Luke Meadows, and defensive backs coach Chevis Jackson in place.

What’s more, the Jayhawks are starting to see early results on the recruiting front since Miles took over.

It didn’t happen overnight. The groundwork was set from the day Miles took over. But now we see visible evidence of how it has paid off in terms of KU’s 2019 recruiting class.

With that, let’s dive into today’s questions.

None by Ted Adams

So, as Ted points out here, one way that Miles and his staffers have attacked the recruiting trails early is by identifying preferred walk-on (PWO) players around the Sunflower State and Kansas City metro area.

That’s a sign that they’re doing a good job with their overall strategy and not solely focusing on finding scholarship players. You need walk-ons to help the program at practices and if you identify the right ones, you might even get a quality game day player out of going that route. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re investing more time than usual on finding quality walk-ons now, given the 2019 signing class is expected to be small, at about 15 players or so.

But it’s not as if Miles or any of the people working for him are ignoring the need for impactful recruits. This week has proven to be a big one, with KU landing commitments from St. Thomas Aquinas defensive back Jayden Russell, 6-foot-5, 250-pound Andale athlete Mason Fairchild and Thomas MacVittie, who is a junior college quarterback whose college career began at Pittsburgh.

KU is also looking at a number of other prospects as next week’s early signing period approaches, including:

• Donte Starks, a four-star linebacker according to Rivals, from New Orleans who is verbally committed to LSU

• Valerian Agbaw, a three-star athlete from Powder Springs, Ga.

• Dontario Drummond, a three-star receiver at East Mississippi Community College

• Malcolm Lee, a three-star defensive end at Iowa Western C.C.

• Jerrod Means, a three-star receiver from Lovejoy, Ga.

• Ezra Naylor, a 6-4 receiver at Iowa Central C.C.

• Eugene Minter, a 6-4 receiver at Dodge City C.C. currently committed to Arkansas State

• Da’Jon Terry, a 6-3 defensive tackle from Meridian, Miss.

None by Frank Saunders

This is a great way to describe the KU basketball season up to this point.

Maybe it’s not as noticeable because he has such a laid back, good-natured personality, but I think Dedric Lawson might be the dog you’re looking for.

He’s easily this team’s best overall player and to me what has stood out about Lawson is his ability to come through late in close games — even if he hasn’t played up to his standards earlier in that same game.

Lawson delivered in overtime when Kansas beat Tennessee in New York. He completely took over in crunch time against New Mexico State, and KU would have lost if he hadn’t.

Those are just a couple of moments but I think Lawson is still getting comfortable with his role in his first season of playing at Kansas and being The Guy. I bet we’ll see plenty more dog in him in the months ahead.

Chris: Is there a 2nd legit 3 point shooter on the #KUbball roster?

I mean … Not really. Right?

Players and coaches will tell you Charlie Moore and Quentin Grimes can fill that role. But neither has proven that with any consistency yet.

Moore has been pretty dismal from 3-point range so far — 3-for-22. Maybe this is just a slump and he ends up being a reliable threat from outside.

But to me Grimes is the guy who should become KU’s second 3-point threat, behind Lagerald Vick (29-for-52). Even though we don’t think about the freshman guard as that type of marksman from behind the arc right now, he’s still not been that bad on 3-pointers (11-for-29).

Now, as you may recall, Grimes did go 6-for-10 in KU’s season-opening win over Michigan State, so he is just 5-for-19 in the seven games since. That can change and I think it will. Grimes is too talented for the rest of the season to play out without him taking off. He looks so smooth shooting from deep that an uptick in production seems inevitable to me.

None by Lisa Williams

If you haven’t been following KU athletic director Jeff Long on Twitter, you may not know that Horejsi Family Athletics Center, home of KU volleyball, recently was demolished.

And that’s because the Horejsi family paid $10 million to build a bigger, better venue for coach Ray Bechard’s program.

The new arena should seat roughly 1,000 more fans than did the recently leveled one, which had a 1,300-seat capacity.

Construction of Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena is expected to be completed before the Jayhawks begin their 2019 season.

None by Devin Graham

I’m not sure exactly why there hasn’t been an announcement yet regarding Tony Hull, the running backs coach and associate head coach for former KU football coach David Beaty.

When Miles took over he stated his plans to interview all of Beaty’s staff members and gauge whether he would like to retain certain coaches and personnel.

Those meetings have come and gone. And Hull, unlike other members of Beaty’s staff, has been actively recruiting since Miles took over. Hull made an in-home visit with Russell before the three-star defensive back committed to KU.

I’d be shocked if Hull isn’t a member of Miles’ first staff. Perhaps at this stage they’re still shaking out specific roles for everyone. Will Hull still be the running backs coach? Maybe. Perhaps he’ll be the recruiting coordinator. Or both.

Submit your questions for Ask Us Anything!

Reply 2 comments from Rockchalk1990 Dirk Medema

What’s up with Lagerald Vick, how long will Dotson stick around, the Chiefs in the Super Bowl and more…

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (24) puts up a three over New Mexico State guard Terrell Brown (3) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 at Sprint Center.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (24) puts up a three over New Mexico State guard Terrell Brown (3) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 at Sprint Center. by Nick Krug

It’s been an interesting few games for the Kansas men’s basketball team that included three games where the Jayhawks were pushed hard by programs that many fans might not have expected to see that from.

Is this a sign of things to come, early growing pains or is it just a momentary blip during a long season?

We’ll probably better be able to answer that question in a couple of weeks, but, right now, the bottom line is that the Jayhawks are finding ways to win.

What’s more, they’re doing it without feeling overly thrilled about it. KU coach Bill Self talked for several minutes after Saturday’s win over New Mexico State about areas in which KU could improve and the players themselves, though happy to be winning, seem to realize clearly that they can — and, in the eyes of the coaches, should — be playing so much better in so many areas.

That’s a good thing and ranks high on the list of why this season is still full of so much potential for this young, new-look Kansas basketball team.

With that in mind, let’s get to today’s “Ask Us Anything,” which features a couple of high-quality KU hoops questions and a couple of other fun things, as well.

As always, keep the questions coming either in the comments below, by hitting us on Twitter at @KUsports and with the hashtag #AskKUsports or via email at sportsdesk@ljworld.com

Let’s get to it!

None by David Dunlap

This is such an important question for this team because Vick had been so good for the first five or six games of the season.

What happened? Great question. And, in many ways, the Jayhawks may have been playing with fire a little bit. No. 1, there’s no way Vick was going to keep shooting 60-plus percent from 3-point range. No. 2, based on what we’ve seen throughout his career, it was hard to imagine him staying so positive and full of joy for the long haul. That’s not a knock on Vick, just the reality from a player who had rarely shown that side of himself through his first three seasons at Kansas.

The belief held by some was that Vick was a different player and person now and that being a senior had unlocked something in him that was a heck of a lot of fun to watch. Maybe it had. But it’s hard to see a guy changing who he is entirely in such a short time.

Vick’s still an incredibly important part of this team and will still have some big games and important days ahead. Kansas will need him to if the Jayhawks want to win at highest level and Vick will need to deliver if he hopes to build his resume for a pro career.

Before Vick’s mini-slump here, I saw some odds for national player of the year and his name was nowhere to be found. It made sense on one hand because nobody was talking about him in that light before the season began, but was also curious on the other hand because he plays at Kansas and was as hot as any player in the country.

Evidently, the oddsmakers knew something the rest of us didn’t, because Vick has cooled off, fallen into a funk and now may be fighting to get out of it.

When Vick first came back, I thought he would be on a bit of a zero-tolerance policy, with KU coach Bill Self not willing to put up with any issues of any kind. But I think that changed given the fact that Vick was so good for so long and had a great attitude, put the team first, was a good leader and, of course, started the season off in terrific fashion.

So my guess there is that all of those moments when Self talked about Vick being “a 10” built up some good will and have the KU coach more willing to work with Vick through these rough patches.

They can’t last, of course. And Vick needs to get it straightened out, both for his sake and for the sake of this team. Kansas is so much tougher to beat when he’s playing with the confidence he showed earlier this season. But the slump, should he be able to pull himself out of it, might wind up being good for KU in the long run because it serves as a reminder to the rest that they can’t just sit around and wait for Vick to take over.

It’s going to be interesting to watch what happens from here, but a big game like Villanova in a friendly environment like Allen Fieldhouse just might be what Vick needs to break out of the funk. Of course, there are a few days of practice and such before game day arrives, so it could be a trying week.

None by Tim Gershon

I love this question and, if you’ve been following me on Twitter or in our KU Sports Ratings after games, you know how much I love the player, too.

Dotson has been sensational for the Jayhawks in the early going and only appears to be getting better. He’s so strong with the ball, so tough when he attacks the rim, so fearless in both areas and plays with real passion and a smile. How can you not like those things?

With that said, he’s still not the jump shooter he needs to be and that could be what keeps him around Kansas longer than the rest of his talent says he might.

Coming into the season, I thought he was a 2- or 3-year player, with the outside chance of leaving after one if he tore it up this season and led KU on a monster NCAA Tournament run. We’ll see if any of that still happens and this start certainly makes it a question worth asking.

But he’s a smart kid, with a good support system and will take full advantage of everything KU has to offer while not rushing into anything at the next level. The goal is not simply to make the NBA but to stick once you get there.

And I think two seasons at KU will give Dotson the best chance of doing that. Ask me this again in February or March though and the answer could be much different.

The guy’s talent is off the charts and he’s got an incredibly high ceiling, in college and beyond.

None by Pius D Waldman

We’ll skip the Udoka question for now given his injury and focus just on the weave.

Like everything Self does, it has a million options and is a strategic plan to incorporate base principles of offense into what the Jayhawks do on just about every possesion.

Those base principles include three key things:

A - Motion. Teams are so much easier to defend when they’re standing still and the weave forces motion from side to side and gets the defense moving, as well, which can put them in a vulnerable position when trying to switch, help, recover and keep up.

B – Spacing. Spreading the defense out like that opens up driving and attacking angles for KU’s perimeter players, who can turn the corner and attack out of the weave at almost any point and generally have the freedom to do so.

C – Options. If you watch the weave closely, you’ll see that even with all of that action up top and the goal being to turn the corner and attack, the Jayhawks do not give up any of their options. Even during the weave, shooters fan to the corners and spread the floor while becoming options to score. A post player generally stays on the block, where he can catch a lob or slip pass for an easy bucket off the drive. And, most often, someone from the weave — usually off of the third pass — is able to turn the corner and get to the rim.

It obviously looks like a pretty basic set but is kind of college basketball’s version of the old college football option run to perfection by teams like Nebraska. Everyone knew what was coming, but stopping it was such a tougher challenge because of (a) all of the wrinkles Nebraska could run based off of reads and (b) the Cornhuskers’ superior execution.

None by Michael luby

Nice! A little fun before we dive back into the more relevant stuff.

The instant answer for Part 1 here was “ELF” but I know that’s not a classic. Still, I freakin’ love that movie and laugh my face off from start to finish.

As for the classics, I love It’s A Wonderful Life and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas (cartoon version). But I’ll watch any of them, including Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, Rudolph and any version of A Christmas Story.

It’s such a great time of year. Happy Holidays to you and all of our loyal and entertaining KUsports.com readers. We appreciate you guys more than you could ever know and enjoy the day-to-day interactions we have with all of you.

Yes, all of you.

As for the Lawson part of the question, if his numbers keep coming like they have, he’ll definitely be in the conversation, particularly if KU keeps winning.

These awards are so numbers-driven that I don’t think Lawson will be penalized for the way he gets his stats. Right now he’s on pace for roughly 25 double-doubles this season. If he delivers that, his averages will be insane and he’ll be right there when the voting goes down.

There’s still a long way to go but he can still get so much better, too.

As for the Chiefs... Anyone who knows me or even has just been paying a little attention knows that I’m a Denver fan so this has been a hard season for me. Ha!

Mahomes and company are incredible to watch and that Rams-Chiefs game (not to mention yesterday’s wild win over Baltimore) was so enjoyable.

In the interest of full disclosure, four or five weeks ago I told a good buddy of mine, who’s an enormous Chiefs fan, that Baltimore would be the team that ends KC’s season. Yesterday made that prediction look pretty good but the Chiefs still got it done. For now.

I’m a big believer in the fact that defense wins Super Bowls and the fact that KC’s defense has been so shaky all season is what keeps me from having nightmares about a Kansas City Super Bowl win. It’s sort of like that Peyton Manning Broncos team that set all of those records in the regular season and then got rocked by Seattle in the Super Bowl.

But can the Chiefs get there? You bet. The AFC will be no easy ride, though, with Pittsburgh, Baltimore and, of course, New England all more than capable of winning any game anywhere. And don’t sleep on the Chargers either. Scary team flying very much under the radar.

The AFC and NFC are both wide open in my opinion and it’s going to be a fun postseason. Enjoy the ride, no matter what happens!

None by Alex Dishman 🤙

I haven’t caught up with Stanley’s family in a while but I plan to soon. The whole season starting and KU playing close games every week kind of got in the way of some of our recruiting coverage.

Happens every year.

With that said, I know Stanley very much enjoyed his visit to KU and I know both he and his father are big Bill Self fans. It’s easy for them to see how much Stanley could improve in Self’s hands at a program like Kansas.

Many say getting him off the West Coast will be tough, but I don’t know if that’s the biggest factor here. I think it’s all about opportunity and playing time. If Stanley believes he can come here and make an immediate impact, I think KU has a great shot at landing him.

And with Lagerald Vick on his way out, it’s easy to see how the young man could slide right in, regardless of what Dotson or Quentin Grimes end up doing after this season. Beyond that, who wouldn’t want to come play with Dotson if the KU freshman does return for a second season?

I think KU’s chances of landing Stanley are strong and I think he continues to be a player they prioritize more and more as his recruitment goes on. At this point, he’d be a huge get and easily would be one of the prized pieces of the 2019 class.

Submit your questions for Ask Us Anything!

Reply 6 comments from Surrealku Carsonc30 Boardshorts Jayhawk Gmill888 Phil Leister

What to make of Chip Lindsey’s hiring, and is KU basketball bad for your health?

Newly-hired Kansas football coach Les Miles tastes a piece of Kansas grass as offered by Baby Jay as he is introduced to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd during halftime of the Jayhawks’ game against Stanford.

Newly-hired Kansas football coach Les Miles tastes a piece of Kansas grass as offered by Baby Jay as he is introduced to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd during halftime of the Jayhawks’ game against Stanford. by Nick Krug

Already more than two weeks removed from the day Les Miles was introduced as the Kansas football program’s new head coach, there seems to be no stopping the buzz surrounding the program.

This past weekend Miles invigorated the Allen Fieldhouse crowd at halftime of the basketball game versus Stanford by simply strolling onto the court, saying a few words, eating some grass and giving away some Yeezys.

The KU fan base seems to love its new football coach and the hope his presence provides for a program that has fallen flat since a previous administration forced Mark Mangino out.

And the offseason fervor figures to continue in the days and weeks ahead, as Miles continues to fill out his staff and he and his coaches carry out a critical step in the rebuilding process: recruiting.

With that, let’s get to today’s questions. And remember, you can hit us up anytime on Twitter by using the hashtag, #AskKUsports.

None by Kaleb Williams

While I haven’t yet got the chance to speak with Lindsey directly — plans from KU staff to make Miles’ hires available for interviews remain in the works — the more I read about him and listen to what he has to say the more I’m intrigued about what his addition will mean for the program.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Lindsey ends up being KU’s quarterbacks coach, as well. And QB has been a position of need for the program since Todd Reesing graduated.

It’s not realistic to think Lindsey will be able to make a quality Big 12-level QB appear out of thin air in time for the 2019 season. But the man already has extended an offer to a Class of 2020 four-star prep by the name of Robby Ashford.

That doesn’t mean Ashford will actually end up at KU and become the offense’s savior. It does give you a sense though that Lindsey will be aggressive in finding an effective QB to fit into his system.

Lindsey plans on building the offense around KU’s play-makers, and while it may take time to identify which Jayhawks can fit that bill other than Pooka Williams and Khalil Herbert — I happen to think Daylon Charlot will, too — I think fans should be excited about the hire.


None by Barstool KU

Because this one was asked during basketball season and most KU football outcomes have been foregone conclusions for years now, I’m going to assume this health-related inquiry is about KU basketball’s recent run of close games.

It really did look at various points that KU was going to lose to Marquette, Tennessee and Stanford.

I honestly was impressed that the Jayhawks didn’t drop any of those, because this is a team that’s still finding its way.

There’s no calming influence or unflappable veteran on this roster such as Frank Mason III or Devonte’ Graham to carry the Jayhawks to a victory when the odds are against them. And yet this team still is unbeaten.

The deeper we get into the season, the more it looks as though Dedric Lawson and Devon Dotson will be the players who lead game-changing runs when Lagerald Vick isn’t dominating offensively.

So that should be encouraging for the KU die-hards out there who don’t handle losing or tight games well. This team has room to grow and it’s already in a pretty good spot. Plus, the offense might not look as out of sorts in coming weeks, as Udoka Azubuike’s ankle injury forces Bill Self to go back to the four-guard lineup that has worked so well the past couple of years.

From Matt Roesner via email: Coach Miles will have ~15 available slots for recruits this coming year.  In looking at the KU football team in 2019, what are your thoughts on key positions of needs, and how the graduating class (and any other losses of eligibility) are going to influence Coach Miles and KU?

As I detailed in a recent story, the football team is losing half of its 2018 starters.

There’s no way to replace Daniel Wise and Joe Dineen on defense. But defensive linemen and linebackers will be positions of need in this recruiting class.

Lindsey needs to find a QB for the Class of 2019, too. Whether that’s a high school senior who can be a longterm solution or a transfer who can step in more ready to compete — or both — don’t be surprised to see Kansas bring in a player to compete with Carter Stanley and Miles Kendrick.

It will be tricky, because there are positions where KU needs help immediately and a lot of times, particularly with true freshmen, first-year players are not ready for those types of roles. Developing returning players who haven’t been heavy contributors previously will be critical.

None by patrick leeper

Hull is no pushover. He’s a big, tough dude. But the running backs like playing for him and respect him. There’s value in that.

But, as I’m sure everyone knows by now, Hull’s been a prized member of KU’s staff because of his recruiting prowess back in and around his home city of New Orleans.

If Hull wasn’t at KU, there’s no way Pooka Williams, Mike Lee or Corione Harris ever would have signed with the program. And those three players will be pivotal in 2019.

Having the foresight to bring Hull aboard was one of the better moves David Beaty made in his four years on the job.

It seems Miles will keep Hull around, too, so that’s good news for the program in this early stage of a massive rebuild.

From Steven McKillip via email: Is there any information on the "blueshirts" that count towards the 2019 recruiting class? Since they are taken up spots in the 2019 class, will they ever play for Kansas?

While it’s difficult to distinguish in many cases which players from the past few recruiting classes were straight-up scholarship athletes and which ones with which Beaty and his staff decided to take the blueshirt route, I don’t think KU fans should be overly worried about how useful those blueshirt players will be for the new coaching regime.

I wouldn’t be surprised, in fact, if many scholarship and blueshirt players benefit from having new coaches around. A new assistant may see something in a player that a previous position coach didn’t or may be better suited for developing certain strengths within a player.

Plus, a lot of these guys who didn’t contribute much in 2018 will be a year older, with more coaching and lifting and preparation behind them, so, theoretically, they should be more capable of playing a role in 2019.

Now, this line of thinking might not hold up if a number of blueshirt and scholarship players end up transferring for some reason between now and next season. Then you have an even bigger problem just in terms of available bodies. But I don’t think there’s any indication at this point that Miles and his staff plan on running people off or that players wouldn’t want to stick around and play for the new coaching staff.

Reply 6 comments from Joe Ross Dane Pratt Greg Ledom Layne Pierce

Sleeping on Vick, KU football commitments and is it time for Marcus Garrett to join the starting lineup?

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (24) celebrates a run by The Jayhawks in overtime on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. Vick scored 27 points and hit a game-tying shot to send the game into overtime.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (24) celebrates a run by The Jayhawks in overtime on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. Vick scored 27 points and hit a game-tying shot to send the game into overtime. by Nick Krug

Just when I thought this whole Les Miles to Kansas hysteria had calmed down a little and we could move on to talking more about the basketball season that’s under way or what’s next for the football program as a whole, The Mad Hatter himself came flying out of the Allen Fieldhouse student section and onto the floor for a halftime introduction during last Saturday’s victory over Stanford.

OK, fine. Let the hysteria continue.

Miles is clearly going all-in on his time at Kansas and his confidence, in himself and the team, is boiling over nearly every time we hear from him.

That’s a good thing for the program and the university and can only help bring some momentum back to Kansas football.

Wild to think that just a handful of days after Kansas hires a man of Miles’ caliber, Kansas State officially said goodbye to legendary head coach Bill Snyder.

That news, if you haven’t heard yet, became official on Sunday and it could have a huge impact on Kansas football.

For starters, the Jayhawks have always been better off — from the 1980s to present day — when Snyder has been somewhere else during the Sunflower Showdown.

Beyond that, though, Snyder’s retirement and the changing of the guard in Manhattan opens the door for Miles and Kansas to make up some ground when it comes to in-state recruiting.

That, as much as anywhere, is where you win these annual KU-K-State battles and Miles already has made it clear that he understands the importance of winning the state, both on game day and in the recruiting wars.

I have little doubt that K-State will hire a terrific replacement for Snyder, but the next couple of weeks and the transition as a whole gives KU a real opportunity to make up some ground on their rival to the west.

All right, let’s get right to this week’s batch of questions.

Be sure to keep the questions coming in the comments below, in response to our Twitter requests, on Twitter via the hashtag #AskKUsports or by email at sportsdesk@ljworld.com

None by Tim Gershon

I like the question and I see why you’re asking, but I’m definitely not sleeping on Vick.

The dude’s crazy talented, more confident than ever and is the only one on this roster who can legitimately carry himself with that, “I’ve seen it all, man” mentality. That’s so valuable to a team.

The reason I had Garrett pencilled in over Vick as a starter all offseason was twofold. First, it was based on a few conversations I had with a few people after Vick was welcomed back. I wasn’t sure if he would be given the opportunity to start so I played the odds. Clearly, his attitude, effort and performance trumped that and he’s been a starter since Day 1.

Second, it’s not as if I was putting a walk-on out there in his spot. Garrett’s a stud and does so many things that Bill Self absolutely loves. Again, I played the odds there, as well.

If you listened to our most recent KU Sports Hour podcast, you heard that I picked Vick as my choice for team MVP through the first half of nonconference play.

(If you haven’t listened yet, go check it out to see who Benton and Shane picked)

I realize that’s not a huge surprise nor is it something different than what thousands and thousands of KU fans would have picked, but it is an indication that I’m not sleeping on the guy.

He’s been sensational and KU is still unbeaten largely because of him. He’s also been a blast to watch and much more fun to cover, as well. KU coach Bill Self has said it, but Vick looks like he’s having fun out there and is playing with a ton of joy.

As for the Dotson part of your question, that has nothing to do with Vick and everything to do with my thoughts on Devon Dotson. The kid is off to a sensational start and has flashed some serious game while being asked to carry a pretty large load.

Oh, and he’s only going to get better.

Vick’s a star and he’s been spectacular so far. But Dotson has been the most consistently impressive player on both ends in my opinion, simply because he’s doing all of this as an 18-year-old freshman and delivering.

The chemistry between Vick and Dotson is pretty cool to watch right now and neither player would be quite as good without the other.

From Ron Rutkowski via email

Marcus Garrett….He has a ton of talent, but cannot shoot. Awesome on Defense, but a bit of liability on Offense. He can slash, cut, dunk, but weak on the outside shot and always seems to be short. Has anyone ever had him tested for “Depth Of Perception”---easily fixable— glasses and/or vitamins.

This is so interesting to me, Ron, but I have not heard one thing about Garrett’s vision as being a part of his problem.

I talked for over an hour with his uncle — and AAU coach — about Garrett’s shot heading into the offseason and his eyes never came up. It was all about form, technique and repetition.

I hear what you’re saying, though, and, at least somewhat, can speak from experience. I wear glasses to correct nearsightedness — mostly for driving and at night but pretty much wear them all the time since the prescription is so mild — and I’ve always wondered if I wore them when I played ball if it would help my game.

I still play 2-3 times a week with a group of dudes ranging in age from 24 to 50 and we all have pretty good basketball backgrounds and get after it. But I never wear glasses or goggles or contacts when I play.

It hasn’t really hurt my shot — I’m much more of a passer, defender and screener to begin with — but I do notice a difference when I take my glasses off when I get into the gym.

I’ll poke around on Garrett’s situation and try to find out if there’s anything there. But I would doubt it. For one, I think his shooting woes are just a comfort thing and getting that fixed is a work in progress. For two, I’m not sure that I’ve noticed him being short on his shots like you have. So I’ll keep an eye on that, too.

Interesting question, though.

None by Dustin Mechnig

Speaking of Garrett, let’s jump in on him a little more here. I actually was going to write a blog about this today anyway, so we might as well just handle it here.

I definitely think a case could be made for him sliding into the starting lineup, but here’s why it might — MIGHT — not happen.

If Self goes to Garrett and is relying on Grimes off the bench, it could put the team in an even tougher spot. Right now, Grimes starts and hits the floor with the confidence that comes from that and then shows that he either has it or doesn’t. Most days so far, it’s been the latter, but at least Self has had somewhere to turn, with both Garrett and Charlie Moore sitting on the bench.

If Self benches Grimes and goes with Garrett, he could find himself in a tough spot if Garrett were to get into foul trouble or have an off night himself. Then, he’d be asking a player like Grimes, confidence potentially shaken by the benching, to go out there and play through it after the benching. That probably wouldn’t do much in the way of helping him snap out of his funk.

I think a strong case can be made for either decision — to continue starting Grimes or benching him — but based on the way Self continues to pump his confidence that Grimes will be fine, my guess is he’s going to ride it out for a little while longer before making any major changes.

After all, giving Grimes a chance to show he’s engaged and then going with someone else if he isn’t hasn’t hurt Kansas yet.

None by Matt

I’m mildly surprised that no one has — in fact, I would’ve put money on Jayden Russell committing on Sunday after a visit this weekend and taking in that KU basketball game — but I don’t think it’s panic time yet.

Miles is a big name and a nice draw for Kansas, but it’s not as if these kids he’s contacting are going to jump all in at the first phone call. They still have others recruiting them and need to take a real look at Kansas before signing up to play for the Jayhawks simply because the new head coach won a national championship a dozen years ago.

I think what’s been most impressive about Miles’ efforts so far is the fact that he’s hitting the state hard like he said he would. I’ve seen all kinds of kids from the state of Kansas post to Twitter that they’ve been offered Preferred Walk-On spots by Kansas (PWOs) and that, as much as any commitment, is a sign that Miles is really trying to build this thing through an emphasis on the Sunflower State.

Many KU coaches have talked about it, but few have done it. If Miles can get that done, the commits will come and the wins and better days just might follow.

None by Frank Saunders

This is such a fascinating question to me because I keep thinking back to last year and what I might have said at the midway point of the season if someone had asked me about De Sousa’s potential impact later in the season.

After those first few games, where he couldn’t play more than a minute or two and looked so out of sorts out there on the floor, it would’ve been hard to predict that he’d do what he did in the Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments for the Jayhawks.

But he did.

Now De Sousa’s in a much different situation and the question with him is whether he’ll even be given the opportunity to contribute.

Nothing’s new on that front — at least not that we’re aware of — so the question comes down to this: Which is more likely, Grimes snapping out of his funk or De Sousa playing at all?

I’m not really sure where I stand these days on whether De Sousa has a chance to play. (I’m probably leaning more toward no than ever before) But I do know that plenty of people at KU are still of the belief that it can happen.

That said, I think the odds are much greater that Grimes will snap out of his funk and start to figure out how to play at this level.

Right now he’s thinking way too much and is in his own head. Self called it a mental block. That’ll go away with more time, more reps and some success. So my money’s on Grimes here and that’s probably the case even if De Sousa is cleared to play.

Grimes is too talented and too full of potential at a position where KU could really use him to not figure it out at some point.

That Michigan State game was something to watch but it might actually have been a bit of a temporary detriment to Grimes, who has not played with the same free mind and confidence since that night. Could it be because his own expectations were too high after that and now anything other than hitting 6 of his first 7 3-pointers seems like a disappointment?

Could be. Or it could simply be a case of a freshman needing time to adjust.

Reply 8 comments from Matt Tait Rob Byrd Dirk Medema Tony Bandle Ndomer70 Lfrost Buck Bukaty John Strayer

A Les Miles’ recruiting tracker, Tony Hull staying or going and more in today’s “Ask Us Anything”

University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, right, and new football coach Les Miles shake hands during a press conference Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Hadl Auditorium.

University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, right, and new football coach Les Miles shake hands during a press conference Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, at Hadl Auditorium. by Mike Gunnoe

Hey, KU fans. After a wild week and a crazy Sunday, it’s time for another edition of “Ask Us Anything,” and what better way to kick things off than by starting with a Les Miles question?

Miles, you surely know by now, was officially introduced as the newest Kansas football coach on Sunday evening.

The response from the KU fan base has been overwhelmingly positive and there is a real feeling around the program that Miles will be the guy to finally get things going in the right direction again.

Kansas does, of course, close out the 2018 season with Texas at home on Friday. And even though the Longhorns are on the verge of playing for a Big 12 title, one more strong effort from the home team — like they showed at K-State and at Oklahoma — could be just what Miles and company need to hit the ground running and capitalize on some on-field momentum for a change.

Even though the opportunity to really make it count won’t arrive until next September, a strong finish, win or lose, could go a long way toward setting the tone for the offseason ahead.

Beyond that, the Jayhawks have a cool opportunity to be doubly energized in this one, playing hard to honor David Beaty on his way out and maybe just a little harder to show Les Miles they’re happy to have him.

We’ll see what happens. While we wait, here’s this week’s first “Ask Us Anything.”

None by Slices Akimbo

This is such a good question because it cuts to the core of what will define whether Miles is successful at Kansas.

We know the man knows football and we know he can coach talent. But can he get that talent at a place like Kansas?

He sure seems confident in his ability to do so and it sounds like he’s going to jump on it right away. Getting his coordinators in place quickly is a high priority so Miles and his new staff — or at least the most crucial parts of it — can get out and start pitching players to join the 2019 class.

The early signing period arrives Dec. 19 and we’re now roughly 20 hours removed from the end of Miles’ introductory presser.

I won’t break it down to hours, but I’ll say Miles and company have their first KU commitment by Sunday. Maybe more than one.

None by David Pope

I get the reason behind this question, but I’m not seeing it.

Could KU Chancellor Doug Girod be a little more aggressive with his comments and/or actions about the ongoing issues surrounding the FBI and NCAA investigation into corruption in college basketball?

I suppose.

But would it behoove him to do so? Probably not. Girod and the Jayhawks have been cooperating fully with the feds from the very beginning and there’s no reason to think that they won’t give the NCAA the same courtesy and respect.

For one, they have to. In some ways the fate of the program — at least as it pertains to any fallout from this latest mess — is in the NCAA’s hands.

Beyond that, it just makes sense to do it that way. The easier KU makes it on the NCAA, the better the chances are that the NCAA will be a little more understanding of the whole picture here.

So, no, I don’t think it makes Girod look like an idiot to wait for direction from the NCAA, I think it makes him look wise.

Having said that, I do think KU, if it wanted to, could begin looking into its own internal investigation of the recruiting practices and problematic things that brought KU into the heart of the college hoops trial. But that’s another question altogether and could be something Kansas plans to get to after the NCAA has its turn.

Time will tell.

None by Japan Jayhawk

Good point about Vick’s recent highs being followed by some pretty memorable lows. But this, to me, feels different.

It’s clear, even though it’s only been three games, that Vick understands his place on this team and how important his veteran status is. This team has absolutely needed someone to take the bull by the horns in the past couple of games and Vick, through his play and personality, has done that to perfection.

That kind of result from Vick making a move that many weren’t sure he could even make surely will add to his confidence and leave the KU senior feeling better than ever about his all-around game.

I loved how Vick used the words, “extreme confidence” after the Louisiana game when asked about his mindset right now. And I’m sure that he’s ready to keep that rolling from here.

It will be interesting to see how he fares in New York City, given the fact that it’s a slightly bigger stage in a big time environment and Vick no-showed in the season opener in a similar setting.

But I think he’ll play well. I’ve never believed that Vick was one to back down from the bright lights and after the way he’s played these past two games, I would think he’ll be all the more ready for them in Brooklyn.

The more he puts quality outings together now — with consistency on both ends leading the way — the more likely it is that he’ll be able to sustain it into Big 12 play and beyond this time around.

None by Beachlife

I make one comment about how Dedric Lawson could go for 40 against Michigan State and I’ve got people out there who won’t let me live it down.

I know it was a bit ridiculous to throw the 40-spot out there for a guy who had never played a regular season game for the Jayhawks, but he was 5-of-18 in that game and still finished with 21. Imagine if he had made just four more shots — therein shooting 50 percent from the floor — and climbed into the 30s.

Anyway, I don’t know Lawson’s vertical but I know it’s not among the best on the team. It doesn’t need to be. The Memphis transfer is not the type of scorer who jumps over people and puts highlights on film. He’s more of an efficient scorer who quietly but surely puts together pretty solid games even when it doesn’t seem like it.

And he needs to start becoming more efficient and get out of his own head a little bit. As soon as he does that, things will become easier for him and the scoring will come. This guy’s too good to stay in a funk for too long.

Lawson today reminds me a little of Malik Newman during the first couple months of last season. It took him a while to get going, he had a little trouble finding his place and getting comfortable, but once he did, there was no looking back.

None by Ty Briggs

If I’m the one making the call, he does. And if you’re asking me if I think he will, I do. In fact, I don’t think there’s much question about it.

Miles said Sunday that he was open to retaining members of the current staff and Hull, the running backs coach and associate head coach from New Orleans with all of those Louisiana connections, is the most obvious and logical assistant to keep.

He played an enormous role in bring Pooka Williams and Co Harris to town — along with a few other Louisianimals — and should vibe great with Miles’ philosophy and system.

Hull’s a laid back, easy-going type of guy who does not have trouble getting along with anyone. Given a chance to sell himself as an important piece of KU’s future, which Miles will do, it’s easy to see Hull making a good first impression and sticking around town.

Miles said Sunday that he did not know Hull personally but he knew of him and admired his production and reputation from his days recruiting New Orleans back at LSU.

Crazier things have happened, but I’ll be very surprised if Hull’s not a part of Miles’ staff at Kansas.

Email question from "LLFrost"

Why do so many “fans” leave the KU Men’s basketball games early? Close game, blowout, early game, late game makes no difference…the expensive seats are more than half empty by the end of the game. Is there anything that can help them stay? And in a related question; Just how few student seats can the athletic dept. provide for basketball games before it turns the best home court advantage into a blasting recorded music, half empty parody of what it used to be?

These are tricky to answer because I have to speak for thousands of people to do it. But I have a couple of thoughts.

The leaving early part is easy to me and you don’t have to like it. But the reason so many do leave early is to get a jump on traffic and get home to get to bed. Remember, not everyone who attends KU’s home games lives in Lawrence. A lot of people have to drive, some great distances, to cheer on the Jayhawks so it makes sense for them to want to get home before midnight. Especially with KU playing so many 7 and 8 p.m. games.

I get why that doesn’t excite the die-hard fans who stay to the very end no matter what, but I’m willing to give these folks a break. As for what can keep them around, a close game is probably the best answer.

And regarding your question about student seating, I know KU takes that issue very seriously and does not want to do anything to limit the number of student seats avaiable.

In fact, during a recent story I wrote about a reorganization of some of the sections, associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said, “...as always, we will accommodate every student that wants to attend a game...” and I believe him.

I haven’t seen the full reports, but I have heard rumblings that student attendance has steadily gone down during the past 5-10 years. Not drastically, but going down is the opposite of going up and if trends show that those seats aren’t going to be filled by students, it makes perfect business sense for Kansas Athletics to try to fill them with people who will cough up some cash to get them.

Reply 6 comments from Hawkfan9675 Ben Berglund Dirk Medema Layne Pierce Mlbenn35 Dillon Davis

Picking a fictional coach to lead the KU football team

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks' 21-17 loss to the Wildcats on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks' 21-17 loss to the Wildcats on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan. by Nick Krug

It’s a wild time of year for Kansas fans, what with the basketball season just underway and the university’s athletic director, Jeff Long, searching for the football program’s next head coach.

So there couldn’t have been a better time to fire up a new feature at KUsports.com, the “Ask Us Anything” blog.

We’ve had great inquiries already and we know there are innumerable more to come, and we encourage you to keep sending them our way.

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.

On to today’s questions.

None by Books 'N Basketball

First off, I want to admit how much I love Coach Taylor’s character in Friday Night Lights. It made me want to pick him initially when I saw this question.

But I have my doubts that he would succeed at a program like Kansas in 2019 and beyond. Sure, he went 47-15 with four playoff appearances and two Texas state championship rings and deserves at least an interview with Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long.

However, fans need to take a deeper look at the candidate. His teams nearly always came out flat in big games before a thrilling finish, almost as if it was scripted. Quarterback Matt Saracen, not Coach Taylor, actually suggested the hook and ladder to secure a state title in the first year.

That miraculous play saved Coach Taylor from being fired, because it would be hard to explain not winning one state title during the two seasons with Smash Williams and Tim Riggins in the backfield.

Coach Taylor demonstrated the ability to build up a program when he took over at East Dillon, though I’d argue he was fortunate to land a talent like Vince Howard at quarterback. Even with Howard as the signal caller, Coach Taylor did not show the ability to adapt to a modern offense, which would be apparent in the Big 12.

At East Dillon, Coach Taylor continued to run a majority of his plays under center. In fact, Luke Cafferty is the one who suggested moving to shotgun when he filled in at quarterback after Coach Taylor benched Howard. Coach Taylor eventually won a second state title on a hail mary touchdown pass, which again seemed almost too good to be true.

If you made me pick one on this list, I’d have to say to Coach Boone from Remember the Titans, though I’d have my doubts about his ability to adapt to the modern age of college football as well. After all, he did claim he hates trick plays and only keeps six plays in his offensive playbook.

A wildcat candidate that did not make this list is actually Coach Porter from Gridiron Gang. He demonstrated the ability to take over a completely new program and lead those players to a championship game in the first year. If Long wants a coach who has shown they can rebuild a program, he could do worse than Coach Porter.

None by Chris Kurtz

I like the premise of this question, because I thought it was one of David Beaty’s smartest coaching decisions during his KU tenure to take that safety against TCU.

But the situation against Kansas State was much different. The Wildcats needed just 2:16 to travel 60 yards on six plays and score the go-ahead touchdown. If KU takes a safety, K-State just needs a field goal to secure the win and it would probably have needed to go about 60 yards to do so.

Not to mention, the Jayhawks certainly had their opportunity to end that drive. On fourth down, K-State turned to the Wildcat on the opposition’s 48-yard line to pick up the necessary two yards. Alex Barnes had to bounce outside to pick up the yarage and keep the drive going. That play was more detrimental than anything else.

If KU takes a safety, K-State would have likely milked as much clock to set up a game-winning field goal. Yet the Jayhawks had a chance on their final drive to make something happen. The screen to Pooka Williams on the final offensive play certainly looked like it would have worked, if quarterback Peyton Bender doesn’t lose the ball.

Obviously this is all hypothetical, but I do think KU not taking the safety was the right call. I just hope that we are analyzing more decisions like this in the years to come, because it is far more interesting than tracking airplanes like our guy Benton Smith has been doing the past 10 days.

None by Frank Saunders

This is a fair question, and speaks to why Long took action after nine games in 2018.

But I’d argue that the fact that this is even a question is a testament to the impact of having Long as an athletic director. In the most recent coaching search, KU is probably not fishing in the same pond with programs like Louisville and Maryland. It is why the Jayhawks ended up with a candidate with no head coaching or coordinator experience.

The fact that prominent candidates, like Les Miles, have even shown interest is credit to Long’s history in administration and athletics. Because of that alone, I think there should be less concern regarding other coaching vacancies.

Of course, the longer the coaching search continues, the competition for these candidates will increase.

If anything, I think finding a coach sooner rather than later is necessary due to the impact it will have on recruiting. The race to find KU’s guy and then get started on the 2019 class should be far more concerning than competing with other programs for Long’s man.

None by Chris

Based on everything KU coach Bill Self has done as of late, I would imagine he did not know that Silvio De Sousa’s name would come up in the trial. Self made sure to hold out Billy Preston, and is currently keeping De Sousa out of competition this season.

Self has been proactive throughout much of this situation, so I find it hard to believe he heard anything about De Sousa until recently.

Yet it is worth mentioning that Self rolling with De Sousa last year was mostly by necessity. Kansas was depleted, particularly in the frontcourt last year, which was why it was so important to Self that the NCAA cleared De Sousa at the time. And De Sousa was a big factor in the team’s run to the Final Four.

This season, Self is able to be more flexible with his newfound depth, and that’s probably the biggest difference.

None by Dave

Maybe I’m being naive, but I’m not sure why KU fans are so keen on dragging other programs like Duke into this. As a fan of college basketball, I’d like to see the best schools competing at the highest level.

This could certainly be just getting started, and if the NCAA really wants to fix things it may take a good look at some of the biggest names.

That being said, my current thinking is that it won’t end up coming down to that. I subject to the theory that if the NCAA came crashing down on someone, it would not be the big-time programs. I might be wrong, but it just makes sense from a financial standpoint.

I guess that’s a roundabout way of saying that you are right, the NCAA may not want to dig into Zion’s recruitment. After all, this year’s Duke team is going to be must-watch television all season and the NCAA certainly won’t be complaining about the revenue and positive attention that should bring.

Reply 4 comments from Dane Pratt Pius Waldman Halogenlampss

KU football’s ongoing coaching search, home run hires and 2019 basketball title hopes

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long looks up into the stands late in the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks' 27-3 loss to Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long looks up into the stands late in the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks' 27-3 loss to Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

It’s a wild time of year for Kansas fans, what with the basketball season just underway and the university’s athletic director, Jeff Long, searching for the football program’s next head coach.

So there couldn’t have been a better time to fire up a new feature at KUsports.com, the “Ask Us Anything” blog.

We’ve had great inquiries already and we know there are innumerable more to come, and we encourage you to keep sending them our way.

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.

On to today’s questions.

None by The Fitz

“Home run hire” is a good way to put it, because Jeff Long would feel good about the immediate future of the football program if he were able to convince Les Miles, Dave Doeren, Seth Littrell or Jason Candle to sign on with the Jayhawks.

But if I had to choose one I’d go with Doeren. He’s in the prime of his career at 46. He’s from the K.C. area. He worked as an assistant coach for Mark Mangino from 2002-05, when the program was on its relative rise, playing in the 2003 Tangerine Bowl and 2005 Fort Worth Bowl.

Doeren was great at Northern Illinois in the MAC and he’s doing really well in the ACC, with the Wolfpack already assured of its fifth straight winning season.

He knows how to win and he knows it actually is possible to do so at Kansas, because he’s experienced it.

I think Doeren would do a phenomenal job. But I don’t know that he’s the candidate Long is after. Or that Doeren would want to leave a program he has in a good spot for one that will need its next coach to take on a massive reclamation project.

None by Dillon Davis

Oh, boy.

Well, it’s obviously too late to go the other direction. But it definitely would be nice to have a peek at that alternate reality in which Long goes with an interim head coach instead.

Saturday’s loss at Kansas State was obviously winnable for the Jayhawks. But too many in-game issues typical of David Beaty’s time at KU kept the Jayhawks from actually winning a Big 12 road game for the first time since 2008. Two. Thousand. Eight.

Quick aside: Shoutout to the fans who stick with this program week in and week out, year after year, losses upon losses. I don’t know how you do it.

Anyway, I think it would have been interesting to see how the offense operated if someone such as Clint Bowen or Bill Miller or Tony Hull were named interim head coach and Garrett Riley became the offensive coordinator.

As Dillon alluded to in his question, having Hull in charge in the interim may have helped in recruiting, but only if Hull was given some sort of assurances he would be retained on the next staff and he were able to hint as much to players back in Louisiana.

Obviously Hull wasn’t placed in charge, so we’ll have to see how quickly Long can assemble the next staff — and whether the next head coach will want to keep Hull around to help recruiting. Either way, the next staff will really have to hustle to build a 2019 signing class.

None by Kyle Sybesma

This is a good question and one I’m hoping to be able to expound upon further in the future.

Obviously Long wasn’t talking about on-field position coaches when he brought this up a little over a week ago. He was referencing the numerous support staff positions that exist at Power Five programs.

There are analysts, recruiting directors, video coordinators, personnel directors, quality control staffers and other positions that help make a football program function. According to the numbers Long cited, other Big 12 programs — and not just Oklahoma and Texas — have “anywhere from eight to 13 to 15” more employees in their football program than KU.

It’s tricky to find the exact numbers for all the programs, because you can’t just open a staff directory and count the names. As one person in the KU athletic department put it to me, Texas has far more strength coaches working for its team than what comes up on a published list of employees.

I’m guessing Long’s righthand man, Mike Vollmar, senior associate AD for football administration, called around to speak with staffers and/or administrators at the Big 12’s other nine schools to find out what type of deficit KU has been operating from.

None by Douglas Holtzman

I thought this was a football blog.

Kidding.

Man, it’s the second week of November, so I’ll have to base my answer on what I’ve actually seen up to this point.

While KU obviously has a nice mix of depth and talent all over the floor, does this Bill Self team have enough athleticism to match up with say, Duke?

(Did I just answer a question with a question?)

It’s definitely possible that Kansas could reach the Final Four and deliver the program’s first title since 2008. But if you made me pick a champion right now I’d go with Duke.

Holy hell, the Blue Devils embarrassed Kentucky at the Champions Classic, putting up 118 points. Between R.J. Barrett, the freaky Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, Duke could have three of the top four picks in the 2019 NBA Draft — that’s if they don’t go 1-2-3.

I’m just going to assume Duke wins it all until I see something that makes me think otherwise.

And Dedric Lawson eventually rounding into his preseason All-America form might be one thing that would change my mind.

Disclaimer: I haven’t even seen Gonzaga or North Carolina or Virginia or Tennessee or numerous other teams play, so I would describe my opinion on the winner of a March tournament that ends in April as fluid.

None by Jordan Elo

Does Les Miles still want to coach football? Yes.

Is Les Miles at least interested in the idea of doing so at Kansas? Yes.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal.

The longer this coaching search goes the less likely it is KU gets Les. If it’s over today or tomorrow, it seems that Miles would be the guy.

While nothing is concrete, I’d say this is trending toward taking a few weeks (from the start of this search on Nov. 4, the day Beaty was fired, to its conclusion). If Miles really wants to take on the burden of coaching at Kansas and Long really wants to hire him, they should be able to hammer out the details and make it official with a contract before the Jayhawks’ season is even over.

If you made me guess right now, though, I’d take the field.

Reply 9 comments from Dane Pratt Shorte3355 Forever2008 Surrealku Len Shaffer Dirk Medema Jerry Walker Halogenlampss Scott Burton

KU basketball and coaching search chatter kick off new blog

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.

Reply 8 comments from Brjam Michael Maris Hawkfan9675 Tomhawk26 Chandleraccipiter Eeakins1