Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Keegan: A case study in depth



Senior speeches

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KU seniors Sasha Kaun, Russell Robinson, Rodrick Stewart, Jeremy Case and Darnell Jackson give their senior speeches after the Jayhawks' 109-51 victory over Texas Tech.

KU sends seniors, Red Raiders out with a bang

The KU men's basketball team may not have been able to script it's five seniors' last night in Allen Fieldhouse any better.

Fans will miss Jayhawk seniors

Monday night marked the final home game for five seniors on the Kansas men's basketball game.

Rush named 'Player of the Week'

For the first time this season, Kansas junior Brandon Rush is the Big 12 Player of the Week.

Useless Trivia

Useless trivia with Kevin and D.J.

Audio clips

2007-08 KU-Texas Tech Hoops

To appreciate fully how much talent a basketball player must possess to earn a spot in the rotation in an elite basketball program such as Kansas University's requires more than watching Darrell Arthur sky to slam home an alley-oop. It takes more than witnessing Sherron Collins punctuate a blurry coast-to-coast trip with a reverse lay-in kissed off the glass.

It takes Jeremy Case, who opened a window for 16,300 basketball nuts to see just how good a player needs to be to earn regular playing time at Kansas. Case never did get that time, but that doesn't mean he's not a terrific basketball player.

His strength and quickness didn't quite match that of the guards who played ahead of him at KU, yet his final night at the court that for four years he called home, usually from the bench, wasn't about how Case didn't measure up. It was about his uncanny shooting ability and improved play-making skills, his strong confidence and smart decision-making.

For Case, this night was about dominating a three-minute stretch in the second half of a 109-51 victory against a Texas Tech team that two days earlier had defeated Texas.

Afterward, Case talked about the chills hitting a trio of three-pointers gave him in a span of 2:24 midway through the second half. Thousands were chilling up with him. The kid everyone so badly wanted to see catch fire did. In a span of 3:02, Kansas outscored Tech, 16-4. Case had nine points and two assists that led to five points by the time the last grain of sand dropped in the egg timer.

Case made everybody in the place lose their minds.

The last time Case felt adrenaline flow as furiously as it did when he hit the third?

"I can't even remember," he said at first.

Then his memory finished scanning the years.

"Never, never felt that way," he said. "The crowd was so loud, I couldn't hear myself think. It was amazing."

In making the first start of his career, Case joined seniors Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, Russell Robinson, and Rodrick Stewart. They played the first 3:37, settling the butterflies. They appeared together briefly late in the game, also, but it was between those stretches that they distinguished themselves.

Robinson, the perfect teammate, had the perfect night. He made all five field-goal attempts, all three three-point shots and both free throws. The five seniors combined for 50 points in 82 minutes. Remarkably, they generated 42 points on just 24 field-goal attempts. They made eight of 11 three-point shots.

Case deserves the most credit for a clutch performance, considering it was his first start and last chance to show he really is the phenomenal shooter that teammates who witness him daily in practice always have boasted that he is.

He doesn't play, but that doesn't mean he can't play. He can. Now there's no reason for anybody ever to doubt that.

"To play at one of the top schools is very hard," said Case, who graduated last spring. "You have to fight, fight, fight. I hope people realize that just because people are sitting on the bench doesn't mean we can't play. It's just that the people who are playing are great. We have some really great players."

On his final night in Allen Fieldhouse, Case was one of them.


lance1jhawk 14 years, 2 months ago

Are there no Keegan Ratings today? Just Wondering

jaybate 14 years, 2 months ago

I hope Case and RR both get to be graduate assistants either at KU or somewhere in the Self coaching tree. No wait. Can we stand Case or RR going to UK to help pull Gillispie's fat out of the fire? Of course we can. Go Jeremy and RR. I still hope to see a former KU player coach the Crimson and Blue. Self may be too young for Danny to do it. If not him, then either of you would do us proud.

86finalfour 14 years, 2 months ago

Does anyone wonder if maybe Self should sacrifice a little defense for some offense and play one of these sharpshooters?? I don't remember a Self team scoring this many points on a conference foe before. I had flashbacks of the Roy era! A team could use a Boschee or Terry Brown ever so often. Despite all the blowouts recently, I still think Self focuses too much on defense. Last night was the kind of game that Self really doesn't like. He'd prefer a 55-33 football game sans pads. The fact that he plays Rodrick Stewart so much is proof that Self favors more athletic defensive players than those with a touch.

This team could've used a sharpshooter in last year's UCLA game more than another tough defender.

Don't mean to be a "Debbie Downer" as one poster called me....Just food for thought.

Rock Chalk!

Jacobpaul81 14 years, 2 months ago

I still think RR has a chance at the NBA. In fact, I think he has a greater chance of succeding than everyone except Darrell Arthur. He may go undrafted, due to the quiet mystic surrounding him, but I suspect, he'll find similar success to Jaques Vaughn... one of the most consistent backup point guards in the NBA.

Robinson's tough, an excellent passer, a lock down defender, a terriffic shooter, and he doesn't make mistakes. Sounds just like Vaughn. Sounds just like what NBA coaches want from a backup point guard.

KU 14 years, 2 months ago

86......I've had flashbacks to the Roy era, too. Unfortunately, they usually end with his high-flying offensive-minded team going cold and losing because they relied on out-scoring a team. Roy's boys could play defense when the wanted to, but it was never his emphasis.

The UCLA game last year was not about lacking a sharp-shooter; it was about missing 20 layups. Who knows how one of Roy's teams would have fared against such an athletic, great defensive team as UCLA?

We don't need to score 100 points to win most games. We are the #1 scoring team in the Big 12 for goodness sake (82.5 ppg)! What more do you want?

Personally, I like that Self emphasizes defense. (We're the #2 scoring defense in the league, by the way at 60 ppg.)

An aside for comparison's sake. Roy's team averages:

98-99---72 ppg offense; 62 ppg defense 99-00---78 ppg offense; 70 ppg defense 00-01---82; 69 01-02---91; 75 02-03---83; 67

There was only 1 year in there where Roy's team averaged significantly more than this year's team. I like our average margin of victory (22ppg) this year better than the 8-16 ppg Roy averaged his last 5 years at KU.

I think emphasizing defense gives you a chance when your shooters are all having an off night. You can ALWAYS play great defense because so much of it is effort and will.

Defense wins championships.

86finalfour 14 years, 2 months ago

KU, Hmm.....for comparison sake:

first 4 years as KU coach:

Roy: 2 final fours (1 of them runner-up) Self: 2 elite eights ( and I won't even mention the dreaded B's. yikes!)

And Jacobpaul81, you're out of your mind. Robinson gets the most out of his abilities, and I laud him for that. But he just doesn't have the athleticism to play in the NBA.
No way do I see that happening. And the Vaughn comparison is outrageous. Vaughn was named a second-team AP All-America in his final two season with the Jayhawks and had the numbers to show for it.

justanotherfan 14 years, 2 months ago

A few thoughts about the point of Keegan's article.

I have always thought that Jeremy Case, if he were at a mid major like Murray State or Oral Roberts, would be the type of guy that was a 45% 3 point shooter who scored 15 pts a game and had 4 assists. But since this is KU, he sat behind Aaron Miles, then Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers, with Sherron Collins coming in last year, basically guaranteeing that he would never be a regular rotation guy. He could have probably gone and been All-Horizon League or All Sun Belt, but instead he took his lumps and worked his butt off to be a Jayhawk.

Rodrick Stewart, as athletic as he is, could have been a really good player at a mid major, too. When he left USC, he could have landed at a San Diego State or a Pepperdine, or a Portland, and gone on to be all defensive team in the West Coast Conference. Instead, he chose KU, where he knew he would have to battle a bevy of McD's AA's for minutes every year. Even as his brother filled it up for USC (no doubt Rodrick felt he could have done the same), Rodrick stuck with KU because he wanted to be a Jayhawk.

Guys like Galindo, Downs and Wilkes left and have met with varying levels of D-I hoops success. I hold no grudges against those guys. Just remember when you look at guys like Rodrick and Jeremy, they could have run off to some mid major to be "the man" and get their chance at stardom. But they stayed because they wanted to be Jayhawks.

LAJayhawk 14 years, 2 months ago

KU, exactly right. I planned on responding similarly to 86's comments until I read your post (although, I didn't think of the Roy comparison, very good). The only other thing I would add is that last night we also had great defense (aside from the fact that Tech looked like a dead cat, and clearly didn't show up to play). It was hard to notice because we shot 59.7% from the field including 58.3% from 3, but we held Tech to 51 points on 29% shooting (21.7% from 3). We could have had an off night last night and still won by a decent margin.

Also, KU, you are right on about UCLA. The only other thing I would add is that it seemed like that game was the first time our guards had seen a basketball. Dribbling off their legs, passing to someone in the 5th row. We did shoot very poor that game, but we were a sloppy mess and the cost for that was significant.

Finally, Jacobpaul81, I love RussRob. He's a classy guy and a tough competitor, and I will really miss seeing him in a KU uniform. But your post has a strong scent of homerism. While it would be great to see him there, Robinson will not play in the NBA. He is not a "terrific shooter" (40.4% FG and 33.2% from 3 for his career); he's average at best. He's a pretty good passer not great, and he does make mistakes (3 assists to 2 turnovers last night). Again, I love the guy, but you have to be realistic.

Rock Chalk.

LAJayhawk 14 years, 2 months ago

86, if you are going to point out Roy's first four years, then you should probably point out the next 8 season's in which he only made the Elite Eight once (95-96), didn't make it past the Sweet 16 four times (including with one of the best teams ever, 96-97, with 4 starters who had lengthy NBA careers, one an all-star), and got knocked out in the 2nd round 3 straight years after that, 98-00 (including the dreaded Rhode Island, yikes!, again with Pierce still on the team AND as a number 1 seed).

I suggest you stop with the Self hating, because, my guess is you will really regret it someday.........

actorman 14 years, 2 months ago

As has been posted before on numerous occasions, there is a tremendous amount of luck involved with the NCAA tournament, whether it be matchups, injuries, if someone has an off night shooting, location of the game, etc. And it is still too early in Self's career to make an adequate judgment of how he is as a tournament coach. The fact that he's taken three different teams to the Elite 8 is a pretty strong statement to begin with. It's only a matter of time before he gets over the hump and gets to (at least) a Final Four.

Another thing, 86, is that Roy did NOT make two Final Fours in his first four years. The '93 Final Four was in Roy's FIFTH year. And in addition to his two Final Fours in his first five years, he had two second-round losses. This is Self's fifth year, so if KU makes the Final Four he would have two Elite 8's and a Final Four. I'd say that's pretty comparable to Roy. Obviously that's an "if," but not that big of one, as KU certainly has an excellent chance to get there this year--IF (and this one IS a big if) everyone stays healthy.

86finalfour 14 years, 2 months ago

Points all taken and I hope Self proves me wrong. I dream of it! All I will add is that a layup (i'm referring to UCLA game) still requires some touch and ben affalo played big time, "go-to-guy" basketball and scorched us with those threes. In my opinion, that's why we their season ended in the elite eight.

KU 14 years, 2 months ago

86.....That's "Ben Affleck" and "Aaron Afflalo". No doubt he played a great game. It's just unfortunate that we couldn't make layups that day and succumbed to UCLA's pressure defense. We shot 50% from 3. Brandon played like a man. You just have to give UCLA credit. They used to have that pretty-boy image, but with Howland, they transformed to a great defensive team. Great athletes + great defense = great team.

Neom 14 years, 2 months ago

It is pointless to compare the first 4 years of the coachs' records, because the players are mostly not their recruits. So Roy Williams does not deserve the WHOLE credit for doing well in his first 4 years.

ralsterKUMed95 14 years, 2 months ago

The flash of brilliance Jeremy Case showed in the 2nd half almost certainly is a product of running in and playing THIS offense for 4 or 5 years. Who knows what he would be like if he transferred and played in some other system. Granted, he would have gotten more playing time in all liklihood, and thus developed differently. He himself said it probably best: he had great players ahead of him. And I will NEVER fault him, as he chose to remain a Jayhawk, and also be a part of something special that 2008 may bring. Almost same sentiment regarding Rodrick Stewart, and I have been most impressed with his positive attitude. For him, you never know if an injury or foul situation will require him to play the wing position... I personally jumped for joy to see Jeremy and Rodrick hit multiple 3s--a bit of vindication for them, and its all not over yet. They get to possibly contribute to something even greater?

bmcmich1 14 years, 2 months ago

I see all these comparisons between Roy and Self in their respective first four years. Well, here's something nobody has pointed out thus far: neither of them won a National Championship during that span, so they are even in that respect.

We have some of the best, most loyal fans in the nation, but I think most every KU fan out there would be lying if they said that they weren't itching badly for another Championship. Of course, it takes a lot of luck on top of talent and coaching to win it all, but I firmly believe that Coach Self's philosophy will bring a long overdue crystal trophy back to Lawrence whether it be this year or at some point over the next couple of years.

FlaHawk 14 years, 2 months ago

I loved Roy's run and gun philosophy. He took KU a lot farther than they should have gone on the talent leel they had. At UNC, he can recruit much better talent to fit his system. Unfortunately, he will prosper much more at UNC than he ever did at KU. No knock on him or KU, but it is the simple truth.

While Coach Self, does tend to overplay defense, I have no problem with this. Good defense will keep you in a lot of games. The fact that he has better talent that Roy and can get them to play defense is FAR SUPERIOR in my mind.

The Big XII and the Big 8 before it, were never offensive leagues. In reality, they were just football goons playing backetball, with the exception of KU. The Texas school have brought a spirit of offense to the Big XII. The North division (football) schools really suck bad. KU would never win 4 in a row if they played home and home with south schools.

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