A few notes for a rainy Friday ...
• So just how much do Kansas fans care about recruit DeAndre Daniels' decision?
Quite a bit, if you only go by the KUSports.com traffic reports.
Only three times during the 2011 calendar year has KUSports.com had more than 100,000 visits in one day. Those days are:
That's a lot of refreshing back to KUSports.com, especially on a day when no new story was posted on Daniels.
In case you're wondering, the latest news I've seen on Daniels comes from Inside Texas Magazine's Blake Munroe, who Tweeted, Just spoke to IMG Academy's Andy Borman who told me he has "no clue" when DeAndre Daniels' decision will be made.
• I was trying to figure out which KU player will be affected most by Daniels' decision, and the one I keep coming back to is Travis Releford.
The junior-to-be was having a solid season last year until a severe sprained ankle kept him out five games. After he returned, he never was able to fully regain his explosiveness, and KU coach Bill Self seemed to lack confidence in him during games late in the season.
Releford's offensive numbers from last year suggest that he was helping the Jayhawks while he was in. His offensive rating (basically, point produced per 100 possessions) was 119.5 according to Statsheet.com, which was fourth-highest in the Jayhawks' rotation behind Brady Morningstar, Marcus Morris and Tyrel Reed.
Releford wasn't a huge go-to guy offensively, putting up 17.9 percent of KU's shots while he was in, but these numbers indicate that he was providing a positive contribution offensively when he was in.
Without Daniels, Releford would appear to be the Jayhawks' starter at the small-forward position, where he would have a huge jump in minutes and also would most likely be the Jayhawks' best on-ball defender, taking that role from the graduated Brady Morningstar.
With Daniels, though, I'm not sure where Releford would squeeze in. Most likely, Daniels would take a majority of the minutes at small forward, leaving Releford as a backup at that position.
Releford did play some at the four position last year, but he's undersized there and would at best be a reserve there competing with Braeden Anderson and Jamari Traylor to be one of the first guys off the bench. Playing at the four also takes away one of Releford's greatest strengths, which is his ability to shut down a perimeter player defensively.
There are other ways this could play out, too. If Daniels came to KU, he could transition to power forward, leaving the three spot open for Releford.
Either way, I'm interested to see what a healthy Releford can do both offensively and defensively in 2011-12. His numbers would suggest that he's ready to handle an increased role.
• Even with Daniels stealing the headlines, KU fans shouldn't overlook the importance of signing forward Jamari Traylor.
Every time I went back to look at KU's rotation for next year, I kept seeing one glaring weakness: post depth.
Before Traylor signed, here were KU's options in the post:
Travis Releford (not his natural position)
Justin Wesley (walk on)
With even one injury next year (and remember, three of the guys on the above list missed some of last season because of injuries), KU would have been down to a scary-thin big-man bench.
During Spodcasters earlier this week, JayhawkSlant.com's Shay Wildeboor compared the 141st-ranked Traylor to Darnell Jackson — a hustle guy and a good rebounder.
And though it's impossible to know how good Traylor will end up being, here's a list of players I found ranked between Nos. 140 and 150 on the Rivals150 in past years who were productive players during college:
2004 — DeMarre Carroll, Missouri (148th)
2005 — Taylor Griffin, Oklahoma (141st)
2006 — Desean Butler, West Virginia (147th)
2006 — Dexter Pittman, Texas (150th)
2007 — Lavoy Allen, Temple (142nd)
2008 — Jio Fontan, USC (147th)
2008 — Marcus Denmon, Missouri (150th)
2009 — Khris Middleton, Texas A&M (140th)
• For KU football fans, this link is a couple weeks old, but it's still a good one if you haven't seen it.
Owen Kemp at the blog Rock Chalk Talk once again sat down with someone "close to the program" to get his post-spring thoughts on the Jayhawks. That person "close to the program" has enough insight in the blog that I would assume it's a current player.
The most interesting thing that I saw was that, so far, KU's vocal leaders have been the offensive linemen and not the quarterbacks. Sounds like a good thing, and a bad thing, for KU.
• Finally, I had to laugh when I stumbled upon Statsheet.com's new site Statsmack.
Basically, the site is set up to help you prove to your friends that, statistically, your college is better than theirs.
I was curious about the site, so I went ahead and typed in the biggest rivalry around this area: Kansas vs. Missouri.
Statsmack listed 45 reasons KU is better than MU. Here are a few of the basketball ones:
• AP Voters think Kansas is better than Missouri (Latest AP Poll: #2 vs Not Ranked)
• Computers think Kansas is better with an RPI this season that is better than Missouri (RPI: #1 vs #37)
• Kansas is a better shooting team (51.4% vs 46.1%) than Missouri this season
• Kansas has been the favorite 32 out of the 35 times (i.e. everyone expects KU to win)
• Over the past 10 years Kansas has had more players drafted by the NBA than Missouri (13 vs 4)
And also a few of the non-basketball ones ...
• More violent crime happens per capita in Columbia so be careful if you visit (when compared to Lawrence (according to the FBI)
• More property crime happens per capita in Columbia so you better protect your valuables if you visit (when compared to Lawrence -- according to the FBI)
• Lawrence isn't as congested as Columbia (population is significantly lower)
• The Kansas basketball team is smarter with a better graduation rate than Missouri (80% vs 44%)
OK, fair enough. So I went ahead and flipped it around.
The site only came up with 10 reasons MU was better than KU. And those reasons weren't the strongest, either. Here are the first three:
• Missouri has an average margin of victory of 7 over Kansas in 24 wins since 1980
• Missouri has come back to win after being down at half against Kansas 4 times since 1996
• The Missouri blocks leader (Laurence Bowers) has more blocks than the Kansas blocks leader (Markieff Morris)
New MU coach Frank Haith has some work to do if that's some of the best Statsmack his fans can claim against their biggest rival.