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Monday, February 1, 2010

Fun in the fieldhouse

Day after huge win, Kansas holds clinic


Kansas University’s Xavier Henry, right, works with camper Tyler Dubas on his shot during the Wilt Chamberlain Basketball Clinic Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas University’s Xavier Henry, right, works with camper Tyler Dubas on his shot during the Wilt Chamberlain Basketball Clinic Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Jayhawks host special olympians

KU basketball held a camp Sunday and celebrated its victory over Kansas State with more than 100 of the team's closest fans.

Kansas University senior Sherron Collins, who was the hero of Saturday night’s basketball victory over Kansas State, had an even better time Sunday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse.

“It’s a close call. I’m not going to say it wasn’t good last night, but this overweighs it by two times,” Collins said after spending two hours working with more than 100 Special Olympians at the 26th-annual Wilt Chamberlain Basketball Clinic.

“The game of basketball is fun. You want to win every game, but this is life.”

His driving one-hander off the glass stretched a one-point lead to 79-76 with 9.2 seconds left in overtime of the Jayhawks’ 81-79 victory at Bramlage Coliseum.

Sunday, he displayed a similarly soft touch.

“To touch these people ... this is probably the highlight of their year,” Collins said. “They don’t get to see us all the time in person. When they see us, they get all happy. It’s not about me. It’s all about them.”

On Saturday, the focus was on Collins, who started the overtime, but cramped up and left the court with 2:44 left with KU leading, 75-74. Collins returned with a minute to play and KU up, 77-76, thanks to a Cole Aldrich hook shot in the lane at 1:53 that erased a one-point deficit.

Collins said after the game he had suffered a sprained ankle and had crippling cramps in the game. It also has been reported that he had back spasms.

“Something hit in my back, but it wasn’t a back spasm,” Collins said Sunday. “It was cramps, in my calves, quad, hamstrings. My whole leg cramped up. I was drinking a lot (of electrolytes). I drank so much my stomach was so full I couldn’t drink any more.”

He said the Jayhawks celebrated big-time after improving to 20-1 overall and 6-0 in the Big 12.

“Everybody went nuts after I got out of my interview with (ESPN’s) Erin Andrews. I headed to the locker room, and everybody went nuts. We were all hyped,” Collins said. “It was a nice, loud bus ride back home. It can be real quiet after a loss. This was loud.”

He didn’t go out to celebrate upon returning to Lawrence after 11 p.m. Saturday.

“I just took it easy. I cramped up a little bit during the game, so I needed to get some rest,” Collins said.

KU coach Bill Self on Sunday repeated his statement after the game that it was one of the Jayhawks’ biggest road victories in his seven years here.

“The game we won at Hearnes our first year ... it was the last game in Hearnes. That was a great atmosphere and great road win,” Self said of KU’s 84-82 victory over Missouri on March 7, 2004.

“Last year at OU was a great road win,” he added of a 87-78 victory at Noble Center in Norman, Okla. “All things considered, I think the win yesterday, although very, very, very tough, was probably as exciting and as good a road win as we’ve had, in large part because both teams played so well.”

He was happy to see all his players energized for Sunday’s Special Olympics clinic.

“You would think that college kids that probably didn’t get a lot of sleep last night would not look forward to doing anything on their day off, but that’s not the case with these guys,” Self said. “Last night after we celebrated, we said, ‘Tomorrow is a special day.’ The guys who didn’t know what to expect ... our older guys were telling ’em, ‘You are going to love this. This is fun.’

“It’s a day we look forward to every year. Win or lose last night, this would have been a great day today. It does make it a little bit sweeter that we won last night. It’s a great day.”

Injury update

“I think we’re fine,” Self said. “Markieff (Morris) twisted his ankle. He’s sore. Sherron’s sore all over. Hopefully we’ll be at 100 percent or close to it by Wednesday (for an 8 p.m. tipoff at Colorado).” ... Colorado’s Alec Burks, a 6-6 freshman from Grandview, Mo., suffered a sprained knee in Sunday’s 64-63 loss at Iowa State. Burks, who averages 16.3 ppg, is listed day-to-day.

No. 1

KU should move from No. 2 back to No. 1 in the polls today.

“I would much rather be 6-0 in the league than be ranked No. 1 in the country,” Self said. “Although it’s just fine if we are ranked that. Certainly that doesn’t mean much to me right now. I just want to play to that ranking.”

Comments

Tribehawk 12 years, 5 months ago

Would be nice if Sherron can get a breather at CU and rest his body. He deserves it. Self could cut his minutes in half and spread them out to EJ and TT to get them some valuable experience.

avaholic 12 years, 5 months ago

I think the hawks need to be weary of Colorado. I just feel this sets up as a classic let down game. Just ask Kentucky about going and playing an unranked conference opponent. Colorado will grind it out and slow down the tempo. It could be a close game. I'm all for resting guys when the game is in hand, but I don't want to start talking about resting players before we are up by 25.

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 5 months ago

Sherron got it right.“The game of basketball is fun. You want to win every game, but this is life.” Way to go gentlemen.

leonard 12 years, 5 months ago

In a nut-cutting game I found it interesting that both coaches shortened the playing rotations. Both teams have been touted as having deep rosters, yet in an over time game...KU used just 8 players and KSU mostly used just 7 players (the others totaled only 14 minutes).

I don't know if Robinson,Withey, or EJ were banged up from practice. But with the front line in foul trouble we opted for a smaller lineup rather than going to Robinson or Withey and it appears that coach doesn't have the confidence in EJ in a tough spot.

Barring something weird or injury...It appears that school may be out for earning meaningful playing time.

Must be February in the Big 12.

Chris Corley 12 years, 5 months ago

The way our players, coaches and staff annually represent themselves and the university at the Wilt Chamberlain Basketball Clinic is the pinnacle of Jayhawk pride.

KU 12 years, 5 months ago

It is sooooooo good to be a Jayhawk!

Watched UNC get humiliated by Virginia at the Dean Dome last night. They are just horrible. Terrible defense. Just awful. There were so few people in the Dean Dome that UNC officials invited people from the upper deck to come down and get a good seat courtside so it would make better propoganda footage for the TV cameras.

And the best part: Seeing 'Ol Roy's Huckleberry Hound eyes tear up on the sideline in the second half and practically bawl during his press conference while lamenting how bad he's got it.

Ben Kane 12 years, 5 months ago

way to go sherron, and all the jayhawks!

tis4tim 12 years, 5 months ago

"His driving one-hander off the glass stretched a one-point lead to 79-76 with 9.2 seconds left in overtime of the Jayhawks’ 81-79 victory at Bramlage Coliseum.

Sunday, he displayed a similarly soft touch."

Very nicely stated, Gary.

Tim Orel 12 years, 5 months ago

Avaholic, KU does need to be wary, and they've shown they can have a letdown when they played Cornell. Thing is, though, that Cornell is a much tougher team than CU.

For comparisons, here are a few - KU came to CU in football, had problems and lost their first game of the year. They wound up not winning another game, and their coach was fired at the end of the season. That can't possibly be the outcome here, but KU might want to talk to the footballers about CU. I do hope, however, that it is going to be Allen Field House West with plenty of KU boosters drowning out the Buffs fans, waving the wheat with the Rock Chalk chant with minutes left in the game.

Another comparison - the kitties we just played had a letdown after their big win over Texas, losing to Okie State on their home floor. Again, that's not a perfect comparison, but I think HCBS will use all these examples to keep KU motivated.

I'm still looking/hoping for a double digit win in Boulder, with plenty of playing time for the guys who didn't make it onto the floor for significant minutes in the Hawktagon.

Ben Kane 12 years, 5 months ago

how many places can we call Allen Field House West? I vote none, it just sounds silly.

how about Boulder Phog?

KU 12 years, 5 months ago

The best nickname I have heard for Bramlage is "Hawktagon of Gloom".

Instead of the "Coors Event Center", we'll just call it the "KU Never Eventful Center".

Really, CU is a horrible defensive team and they are a horrible rebounding team. The only thing they do especially well is shoot free throws. This sets up to be about a 15 point KU win. It's not as if they have another Chauncey Billups on their roster.

As it stands today, KenPom has KU's odds of going undefeated in the conference at about 1 in 5. If we get past UT in Austin, KU's chances of going undefeated go to about 1 in 3.

Benjamin Piehler 12 years, 5 months ago

really proud of the team. im somewhat concerned about collins, hes been playing through pain the last two or three games. xavi, get it together, take some pressure off the man!

Joe Baker 12 years, 5 months ago

Very cool story!

I agree, let EJ or CJ play split mins. Rest Collins and play if necessary.

Rock Chalk

Beat CU

Sally Presson 12 years, 5 months ago

Great game Saturday, Hawks!!! You guys rocked the entire game!!! Way to go on Sunday with the camp, it shows what tremendous character the team has. The gift you gave those children cannot be measured. We're so proud of you guys.

I hope everyone is rested and feeling great by Wednesday. The western Kansas Hawk fans will be there to greet you. It will be your home away from home!!!

Rock Chalk!!!

VegasJhawk09 12 years, 5 months ago

What What!?!? I smell another season title coming.

slowplay 12 years, 5 months ago

Higgins and Burk are very good outside shooters and they will try and stretch the KU defense. Aldrich and Morris should have big games as CU doesn't have much inside. I see Whithey getting some quality PT while Cole goes for 20/10/5.

Congrats to the guys for making the clinic such as big success. The smile on Henry's face says it all.

Tony Bandle 12 years, 5 months ago

If Burks is truly hurt or even slowed down, it will be a Kansas Romp.

I've posted this earlier but it wouldn't be a total shock if UK remains #1. I'm not saying it's going to happen but the goof ball writers will point to their loss as an aberration and their victory over a very good Vandy team as the true Wildcats. Also that the team records are identical at 20-1.

In fact, I almost wish it would happen. What a motivator for the Hawks!!!

Still, an overtime victory over the #11 team in the country in their house IS pretty impressive. I will bet that UK still gets some #1 votes, however!!!

Ann Oneill 12 years, 5 months ago

I think some of you are underestimating CU, if you think Sherron can sit this one out. This is a team that beat Baylor at home and have been in every conference game until the end. Higgins and Burks are players, but they lack an inside presence. I think the Hawks will take this one, but doubt if it will be a blowout.

JayhawkRock 12 years, 5 months ago

This story is why I love this team. They do so much for the community and they have good attitudes about it. There are several teams that dont do these things, Im sure glad that my team does.

I hope we can rest some guys and also get some guys some minutes against Colorado. I would like to see a lot of Withey and TRob on Wednesday, as well as EJ. But we have to take care of business to get them minutes and thats up to Cole, Marcus, X, Brady, and Sherron. We should be fine as long as we dont overlook them.

KU 12 years, 5 months ago

dnvrhawk........You've got a point about CU being in every conference game. But you have to think like Coach Self: "defense first". Other Big 12 teams can be lulled into a free-flowing, offensive showdown with very little defense. CU likes offense; they are horrendous on defense and rebounding. Self demands defense. This will be good practice for our perimeter defense. Other than that, it should be total dominance. (And I don't usually say that.)

KU1992 12 years, 5 months ago

“I would much rather be 6-0 in the league than be ranked No. 1 in the country,”

It's okay coach; you don't have to make that choice : )

ilovebill 12 years, 5 months ago

Living in Chapel Hill and watching UNC crumble the year after winning the championship only makes me love Kansas and Coach Self more for their stellar "rebuilding year". Ol' Roy is working the poor me angle in true huckleberry fashion!

Woody Cragg 12 years, 5 months ago

It is so neat to volunteer at these types of outings. Everyone should be this fortunate. Challenged children and adults just shine with this type of interaction. All the KU alumns and fans enjoy watching these hard-nosed athletes show their gentle sides, because after all the game of life is the greatest challenge to everyone. If there are really programs that don't conduct this type of event, they're really missing a treasure. Often we forget that the teams we associate our loyalty with are still just young people too and we're far too harsh on judgement with them. If you're 8 or 80 you still must be young at heart. RCJH, Wilt would be honored to be associated with this project.

Marcia Parsons 12 years, 5 months ago

I have seen very little of Colorado this year, but the bits and pieces I've seen make it appear that they aren't playing that slow, boring Princeton game so much this year. I've never understood why anyone likes that style. It's okay, I suppose, if you have a lead because limiting possessions makes it hard for the other team to catch up. But if you are behind it also makes it really hard for you to catch up. Also, it puts the fans to sleep.

bradynsdad 12 years, 5 months ago

If you knew nothing about xavier henry other than his stats for the last ten games when would you draft him? regardless of taylors couple of dumb plays he did what he did all last year and that was help this team. i would not have brought in withey or robinson either. in a a game that close you stay with your seasoned vets thats a no brainer. also i commented on it the other day but did anyone else see lebron james jumping on the kentucky bandwagon?

Woody Cragg 12 years, 5 months ago

Most kids are drafted on potential, so X is probably a mid to late 1st rounder now. But he can't go to his right well at all, and his first step is not that quick. Hard work & one more year and he could be a lottery pick. If he had performed at a high level all along, he might be this year. I think he should stay & be coached by guys that really care about the upside. Easy for me to say though, alot of money is involved either way.

ilovebill 12 years, 5 months ago

It was hard a tough choice for the cameras...showing LaBron James in Kentucky colors over and over or watching to see if DeMarcus Cousins was going to implode. But not to worry, the Jayhawks have Eddie Money!

Derek Conway 12 years, 5 months ago

Anyone notice X's t-shirt that he is wearing in the article picture? I heard he is just getting fitted for a new shirt that he will be wearing in a little over two months.

Michael Leiker 12 years, 5 months ago

I hope X enjoys these deals as much as it looks like he does because he needs to do about 2 more of them.

jayhwkr77 12 years, 5 months ago

good article, but the part about Sherron just taking it easy on Saturday night and not going out to celebrate really gave me a good laugh.

KGphoto 12 years, 5 months ago

ilovebill: I can't say enough how good it feels to hear Roy crying in Carolina. I mean he was crying because they aren't playing tough D. Not because they lost a tourney with a special team, but because they stink out loud. I got so sick of the way he talks. I didn't even realize it until towards the end at KU, or really until Bill came in here. I can just never see coach Self ever crying. He realizes it's not a game for babies. If he's not laughing or being cool, he's probably about to kick your ass, and the players know that.

ParisHawk 12 years, 5 months ago

KU is first in the AP poll with 54 first-place votes. UK is fourth with 1 first-place vote. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/rankings?pollId=1

ParisHawk 12 years, 5 months ago

We are also overall top seed in ESPN Bracketology. No surprise in any of this, but feels good anyway.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

The Jon Goering photo at the top of this story is absolutely beautiful!

Usually I am extolling the virtues of Nick Krug's documenting of the "The Special Season," but this photo by Goering will soon be printed out and hanging on my wall by my computer.

It is one of the most beautiful pictures of the bond between children young and old I have ever seen.

From this picture alone, I am now prepared to say that Xavier Henry has all the humanity he will need to become a great, great basketball player. No person with that much joy in him can long be kept down by the viscisitudes of Division I defenses and the cunning of opposing coaches seeking to scheme to exploit his weaknesses. Xavier will prevail and prevail before this season ends.

Rock Chalk/this pic makes me proud to be a Jayhawk/Go KU!

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

Post Script on the Picture and Xavier:

This picture also demonstrates why great young athletes should spend a year or four in college. A player cannot get this humanizing and beautiful experience pictured above, once he becomes a professional.

Certainly, professional athletes do great good visiting and giving to the physically, or mentally challenged children in our society.

But once you become a professional, there is a bond with your own childhood that is forever broken.

Once you are a professional, you cannot stand beside the child in this picture and share in his joy and another child, as a big brother. You cannot identify nearly as deeply with the child in this picture, as a professional, as you can when you are still a student--albeit a college student.

If Xavier truly proves to be an OAD, this was Xavier's last chance to connect with another child in this absolutely magical and life changing way.

Xavier would have been so much the poorer had he not come to college and gotten it.

Good job NCAA and David Stern for the one year rule. It is terribly flawed. It is having problematic academic consequences that have to be resolved. Make the coaches make them go to school. It causes risk of great loss of income due to injury. So have the NBA and the NCAA share in insuring the players. Work the problems, people. But keep giving the big kids, like Xavier, a chance to be changed for the better for the rest of their lives, before they become professionals.

Godisajayhawk 12 years, 5 months ago

"I don't know. He said I played awful," says John Wall. "I didn't think I played that bad. I don't know what to expect. He's probably going to say I played bad today too so I don't know. I just try not to listen to him and go out and play basketball and try and help my team win."

-John Wall, on Calipari

Meanwhile, our boys are teaching special olympians.

Good to be a Jayhawk. Rock Chalk

Tony Bandle 12 years, 5 months ago

It's a tragedy he is gone but this is a great tribute to the greatest college player of all time bar none...Wilt Chamberlain. Each year these kids [either special and Jayhawk] will have a lifetime of memories from these sessions.

I played fullcourt basketball well into my fifties, and the sheer joy of this beautiful game should be deservedly be shared by all.

Great article on a great happening!!!

kureader 12 years, 5 months ago

Nice article, great photo, Outstanding "off the court" leadership by Coach Self.

ilovebill 12 years, 5 months ago

KGphoto: I couldn't agree with you more. Roy has bought into this hero worship he receives here in Chapel Hill, too....having opposing fans escorted out of the Dean Center for shouting during a free throw...ridiculous! He should be concentrating on his own players and maybe learn how to call a time out. But aren't we lucky he left and now we have Coach Self?

Jaybate: Loved your thoughts on the photo of X with the kids. His smile is priceless....and reveals a young man of true character. Kansas is a better program with him on board.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

Monday with Continuing Intimations of 39-1 and a Championship:

} Roy should not be compared to Huckleberry Finn. Huck Finn was, along with Phog Allen, Harry Truman, and Hank Iba, one of only four good Missourians ever. Huck was one tough customer, surviving a murderous drunken pappy with out tears, and yet with great decency and dignity and humor. Huck lit out for the territories on his own. He did not run back to his chain smoking Aunt Polly cross dressing in a baby blue Sears polyester sports coat. Huck mostly told the truth and never made excuses. It were Missourian Mark Twain what done told the stretchers and even he made no excuses for some of this nation's vilest tendancies. Roy is more like a character from William Faulkner--great virtues with great vices laboring without insight under the thumb of a rotting tradition and an aging mentor he cannot out grow. Roy is presently hamstrung in a sound and fury that signals nothing.

} I dream of a time, when board rats no longer use the following logic to criticize certain players: sooner or later that player is going to cost us big time. Why? Because all players sooner or later cost us big time. Especially the best ones that get called on to win games. Players are human. They make mistakes. The best trey shooters only shoot 40%. They miss more than they make. The best post men only shoot 50-65%. They miss half, or a third of the shots they take. Players like Tyshawn expect a Morningstar to keep coming to the ball. Players like Morningstar expect to get open by reversing direction. Misreads happens. Sooner or later they all make big mistakes that cost us. Jordan rightly said that failing was part of the price of achieving success. We're talking tendencies here people.

} I also dream of a time when board rats do not expect Bill Self to give minutes to players in the conference season, so certain players on the bench can get better. If a player didn't reach minimum standards against cupcakes, and hasn't reached minimum standards in practice since, it is hardly logical (dare I say patently absurd) to think that such players can get better against conference competition. Enough with this thinking.

(Note: I fall victim to this naive wishfulness sometimes, too. I thought Withey could be whipped into a contributor during the conference schedule. Wrong! The best we can hope for is that these players get enough improvement in the daily grind of practicing and occassional in blow outs that they might be able to make one or two timely, short-stretch contributions late in the season the way Cole did against Psycho T in '08.)

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

Intimations continued...

} Let us take a moment and celebrate the time of season called: "Its 21 Games into the Season and the Freshman Are Now Beyond Their High School Season Envelope and Asking Will It Ever End?" Xavier is obviously laboring to find a second wind right now, because he plays major minutes, but you can bet that The Prophet and Thomas Robinson are really starting to feel the grind of practice and school. People forget how much of a grind school, itself, is about February for every student. I used to sit in Louise's with a tomato juice and Coors Schooner (god, how did I ever drink that?) near closing time and enter dissociative realities staring out the picture window at an icy Mass Street. I fantasized ways to steal Corvettes and escape Lawrence. I used to drive to Pacific Beach in San Diego and walk naked with tan women on Black's Beach with bonfire of my books casting us all in a flickering light. What had seemed sweet freedom the first semester, in Lawrence, became a kind of Oreadic Alcatraz, but for home basketball game days of irrational exuberance. The grind of sleeplessness and partying and school work had caught up with even inexhaustible youth. It was Night of the Living Dead, or was it Dawn of the Dead by then? At any rate, I was a zombie with a fully blown 'fro and an Army jacket with jeans over rough-out cowboy boots. I was always broken up with girl friends this time of year. My touch with the opposite sex always fled me this time of year. A clinical depression would have seemed a step up. But then March came and with it second wind and I was incorrigibly full of the sap of life and all the joy and insulence it brought. Xavier will be full of piss and vinegar come March. But these next few weeks are going to be a real female dog for him and the other frosh. They thought that playing 20-25 high school games and a bunch of AAU and all star grab ass added to 75-80 games a season. They thought, "What's so tough about 40 games in D1." They are finding out about now.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

Godisajayhawk,

Amazing quote. This ought to help KU recruiting.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

At USC, laboring through a lousy season under NCAA sactions for wrongs before he arrived, Kevin O'Neill sets new low. Fires student assistant who shouted obscenities at a ref and drew a technical. Hey, Kevin, how about suspending the kid and having him run the steps? How about thinking of using this to help the kid instead of burning him off at the ankles like a bad wart? How about hiring guys and training guys not to do crazy stuff like that? How about manning up and taking responsibility for the problem, rather than distancing yourself from it by firing the kid?

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/blog/the_dagger/post/Kevin-O-Neill-fires-rehires-team-manager-after-?urn=ncaab,216689

jdavidholt 12 years, 5 months ago

Jaybate, I'd like to read your opinion . . . of my opinion! I see holes in X's game: 1) Lack of a "quick step" impedes his ability to drive to the basket. 2) Like Rush, he can only drive one way (to his left).
Like Rush, he will need at least another year on the collegiate hardwoods. Agree?

Steve Brown 12 years, 5 months ago

consider bringing recruits to sunday special olympics day over the late night festivites.

you can be part of this, something special and worthwhile and if fortunate hang a banner. We get banners some years but we get to impact kids every year.

Ryan Mullen 12 years, 5 months ago

Jaybate,

About Xavier, you are assuming that he is actually doing school work of course. My opinion is he won't touch another school book as long as he lives, and he know the only reason to do so is if he is coming back next year which he is not.

Ryan Mullen 12 years, 5 months ago

Jaybate, Never mind I miss read what you were saying.

Kelly Hanrahan 12 years, 5 months ago

In case anyone is interested - ESPN Classic is showing rebroadcasts of several KU-Texas basketball games next Monday from 10 am through 6pm. The games to be shown include the 02-11-02 game which is one of my favorite games (KU 110 @ Texas 103). Other games include the 2003 & 2008 regular season games as well as the 2007 & 2008 Big 12 Tournament Games.

KU 12 years, 5 months ago

jaybate......I didn't say Roy was like Huck Finn. I said his Huckleberry Hound eyes were welling up with tears because his team is so bad.

Hey Roy?! Try coaching a little DEFENSE!! That'll do the trick. What's that? Oh right.....you never saw a turnover you didn't like, especially if it was committed at 100mph.

KU 12 years, 5 months ago

jaybate.....Love Faulkner. How many times does it take reading "The Sound and The Fury" before one can fully understand it?

Dan Harris 12 years, 5 months ago

Jaybate- A cold Coors schooner and tomato juice! I haven't had one of those in 30 years and it will be another 30 before I try one again( nothing wrong with the Coors part just serve the tomato part via chips and salsa) My sister still drinks those awful things at Carl's Bar in Hutch and she's always trying to get me to try them again when I go home to visit!

Kelly Hanrahan 12 years, 5 months ago

Correction to my earlier post - the KU - Texas rebroadcast marathon next Monday is from 10 am through 8 pm on ESPN Classic

Mike Kendall 12 years, 5 months ago

jayhawkinmullen---Love to own one of those "Hawktagon" stop signs. Somebody in the sporting goods industry needs to market those signs---I would definitely buy one for my office on the wall, where I watch my beloved Jayhawks!!!

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

jdavidholt,

Assessing Xavier is complicated by the fact that Self has redefined his role, not so much because Xavier was doing bad--he wasn't at all, but because Cole finally got well enough to try to start integrating his offense back into KU's offense. The transition has been going on now for about 5 games and the last two games, we have finally seen Cole's FGAs climb back near what they were during the stretch run in the conference season last year.

Cole's shots have had to come from somewhere. They have largely come out of Xavier's FGAs. Tyshawn's and Brady's two spot have already been paired to the bone on FGAs. Sherron had been cut back, but has had to be increased the last three games, when Cole could not get untracked quickly, and Xavier hit a slump and struggled with the reduced offensive role.

Basically, with Cole's reintroduction as an offensive force (even though he could not get the ball to drop vs. KSU), the team has reverted completely to last year's dynamic of a down the middle team, something it kind of has been all season, but now the phenomenon has become sharply defined for all to see.

With Cole as an offensive threat we are seeing the tendency we saw last season: we are seeing an actively offending 3 position being detrimental to the play of the team. We are seeing Mario Little Version 2.OAD. :-)

I had to go over the above as preface and context to talking about what you want to talk about; i.e., about Xavier's strengths and weaknesses.

Xavier is still a prolific natural scorer with a great body to score in; that doesn't change.

Yes, he is having some problems right now, because opposing coaches have gotten to take his game apart on video and see how to deny him his comfort zone. But this phase of struggle happens to every freshman, phenom, or not, who plays enough to be scouted and schemed against.

So: yes, you are right, Xavier has been doped out by opposing coaches just as much as Brandon Rush was, and he has some tendencies related to "handed-ness" that he has to work on.

But here is the difference between Brandon and Xavier.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

By this time of the season Brandon's freshman year, Self just effectively said, "I know your're a freshman, Brandon, but this is your team. I am putting the team on your back, because young, or not, you are our best impact and go to player. As a result, Brandon got as many FGAs as he could swallow and was the star of our team that freshman season, even though as the season wore on it became apparent that he had trouble putting in on the deck with his left and getting to the iron.

Xavier's experience has been rather different. Because of Brady's suspension, and because this was a team with two great players--Sherron and Cole--in search of a third option, Self gave Xavier quite a lot of FGAs early; then even more FGAs when Cole got sick and Tyshawn struggled.

So: early on it looked like Xavier might super nova his freshman season the way some anticipated.

But then Brady returned, and then Cole returned, and then Self began to try to readjust the FGA distribution to include Cole.

And suddenly Xavier was not greenlighted the way he had been earlier. Suddenly Self stopped saying, "Go get'em," as Self did against Temple, or whomever it was early on.

Suddenly, Xavier began having to adapt to truly being the third option, a role he had never played before in his career.

At the same time, late January rolled around, the time of year that freshman traditionally begin to lose focus, because of the grind of practice, and travel and school and just the intensity of the coaching and games.

And the conference season came and Cole's energy level increased to a point that what mattered most for perimeter players PT was defending the trey stripe and not being able to score, and grab boards, and defend penetration. Suddenly Self was watching team dynamics, like last year's, and Tyshawn's and Brady's traditionally stingy defense with few TOs started looking pretty good (Ty coming to low TOs only lately, or he might have forced X out sooner), especially when X was getting lots fewer FGAs by plan, and having more trouble scoring because of conference level defense.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

But here's the thing: if Self told Xavier Henry to "go get'em" the next game, or any game, the rest of the season, X, like Brandon Rush, could go out and put points on the board at am impressive rate. This is crucial to remember, because the NBA will draft him, or not, based on this ability of his.

Would X benefit greatly from another year, or two, at KU? Absolutely. I was fooled by how cut he "looked." Lebron looked strong and was strong. X looks strong, but is not that strong yet. X is still very young physically. He is going to be an an absolute beast, in two years. If he worked with Hudy in the off season, he would come back looking like the Incredible Hulk and be able to carry entire teams up with him as he goes to the basket.

He also seems not that great on the vertical leap. Again, an off-season with Hudy would fix that, too.

I would certainly recommend him to stay, if he can afford sufficient insurance against injury.

But who knows if his family can afford it?

And I do think that, troubles or not, and deficiencies or not, natural scorers at his height and position, and with his long range touch, are rare enough that NBA teams will draft him high and wait for him to mature physically.

There isn't really anyone out there in the college ranks that could give a pro team much more value at the 3 spot than X. For that reason, he is likely to be drafted high.

But bottom line, I believe his professional transition would go much more smoothly were he to wait and go after next year.

One thing for certain: X is learning right now that anything can happen to a player in basketball, even a phenom like himself. He finds himself losing minutes on a top ranked college team. He needs to understand that things get much riskier in the pros.

With a year of off-season conditioning, Xavier Henry can be the man on next year's KU team. He can have the spotlight to himself and fulfill they hype he came in with.

But in the pros, all it takes is one bad stop stunting his growth for a couple years, and his pro career can shift from a long-term starter to a long-term hanger on.

At least that's how I see it. I'm still bullish on Xavier, than I was early in the season, but I increasingly think this could be a very low profile season for him this year, when the team does finally re-equilibrate around Cole.

But next year? Sky is the limit for this guy. If I were Self next year, with the kinds of players we have coming back next season, I would give Xavier Henry 20-25 FGAs a game. He has the chops for it. He just doesn't have the strength, vertical leap, and defense and low TOs yet.

Rock chalk!

wyansas 12 years, 5 months ago

real cool. very rewarding for both the kids and the players. i, too, was impressed by "Sunday, he displayed a similarly soft touch." nice, bedore.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

jayhawkinmullen,

Not that it should matter a whit to you what I think, but you are, I believe, one of the farthest persons from an idiot there is here. Intelligence comes in many forms, is expressed many ways, develops at many different times in a person's life, and occurs at varied rates, depending on the breaks in one's life. You have intelligence and are apparently taking steps to continue to develop it now under difficult circumstances, if I recall correctly. Never give up. Never. Or to put it in the positive. Always believe in your ability to be the best you can be. Always.

When you read a lot of posts here, you get an idea of the incredible range of ways there are of expressing human thought, not just of the incredible range of human thought itself. Insightful reading and articulate writing comes only when an intelligent person really, really works at it for a long period and even then it requires a lot of work. But one does not need to be exceedingly articulate for one's intelligence and insight to show through, at least if one is writing/talking to another intelligent person.

Smart persons, formally educated, or not, recognize robust thought by other smart persons. It is not the way you say it. It is what you say to these folks. I experiment and play at how I say things for my curiosity about language, not for smart persons. If I have anything smart to say, they will get it however I put it.

I see this here all the time. Some of the smartest persons use the most clipped, terse, undecorated language here. Others use stilted, academese, others sound like Vinny the barber. Some use the vernacular of truck drivers, and others sound oh so upper middle class. But the powerful brains show through. What they say betrays a powerful, purposeful mind at work, whether formally educated or not.

I play around a lot with language and narrative here; i.e., I explore the form. And I have my share of degrees that allow me to go on about arcana. But I can assure you that when there is money at stake, and I am trying to ensure I get my share, I can cut to the chase with the best of them. :-)

A brilliant person said to me once, when I was young, and exceedingly foolish, that I should stop hand-wringing about the mistakes I made and take joy in recognizing and fixing them. He said a sign of a top flight mind was not one that made no mistakes, rather it was one that readily found its own mistakes and corrected them. This insight is crucial to developing oneself at anything one tries, whenever and where ever one tries. Why? Because but for briefly in school, most of the rest of one's live no one gives a dang about you and so its up to you to fix your own mistakes, before they fix you.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

Is it best not to make mistakes? Yes. Everyone wins more with fewer turnovers. Glue guys have to prove they can make only a few. Go-tos get more leniency, because they can make it rain. Regardless, when you tell a mind to go create something, to go get an idea, to impact thinking, mistakes and turnovers just do happen en route to solutions.

You just corrected your own mistake. You draw the inference.

Remember: any knuckle-head can be right. Great minds are the ones that can sift through mountains of chaff and failure, through false-positives--their own and others', through praise by idiots for getting a wrong answer the idiots think is right, and find out what really is right and wrong, and then find the simplest solution possible that fixes what is wrong. If schools told kids from the beginning this was a key indicator of intelligence, our drop out rate would plummit, because so many kids would realize they were pretty smart, and would quickly learn to run around correcting their own mistakes before the teachers ever got around to crucifying them for being wrong. Instead, kids are conditioned to produce answers like trained monkeys and then wait to be told whether they are wrong, or right. Wait? They should be encouraged to find their own mistakes. It is empowering to find one's own mistakes. It is neutering to wait for an authority figure to do so. But our schools are apparently designed to turn most of us into drones with low esteem, so they don't really try to empower all the kids toward discovering their own mistakes. They are taught to wait and let the teacher find their mistakes and then to feel stupid, or smart, based on what percentage of other students made as many mistakes. It is a stupid way to teach smart persons, and it is down right cruel to teach dumb persons this way.

Bill Self is exceedingly good at sifting through failure and finding what works, both in what he does and what his players do. Practically every game he is finding out what he tried that didn't work and fixing it for the next game. When a coach does this for an entire season, by March, his team plays pretty close to the best of its ability.

When a person starts doing this relentlessly in his own life, it is amazing how much he can move toward being the best that he/she can be.

Rock chalk!

Ryan Mullen 12 years, 5 months ago

Jaybate, Thank you for the inspirational words. One of the most difficult subjects has been math and I would always wait until the teacher told me step by step the mistakes I was making so I could correct. A couple of years ago my brother in law started tutoring me and I fully expected him to correct me in every way possible and teach me step by step what I was doing wrong, for that is the way I have always learned. What I found though was he would teach me a principle and I would have to figure out the problem, it was very frustrating I had never learned or been taught that way. I had to find my own mistakes and in a way teach myself which I had never done. In the end though I learned more about math than ever before. I guess what he taught was not math but more how to teach myself and correct myself so I would be prepared on tests and exams. So again I agree with what you are saying teaching yourself and correcting yourself is becoming a lost art.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

Monday Late Thinking about Bzdelik and Janks:

Many talk about what a great job Bzdelik is doing at CU. They say CU may not have the greatest record, but that CU is in every game. I'm not so sure.

When you play the Princeton, or any other deliberate, ball control offense, and run the clock 35-45 seconds every time down the floor, the scores are going to seem closer than they really are.

Regardless, the hard facts are that Boulder Juco, formerly known as Colorado University, lead by Bzdelik this year is 1-4 in conference and 10-9 over all.

No one is cutting Okie Baller Doc Sadler any similar slack for being 0-4 and 12-7 at Lincoln Community College.

Why?

Because Sadler's players, though inadequately talented, go out and play like men trying to win. They lose about the same amount, but by bigger spreads. They take calculated risks to try to win. They are not trying to lose by as little as possible, as is Boulder Juco under Bzdelik.

One of the on-going problems I have with slow-down offenses is their unspoken willingness to settle for losing by as little as possible.

They also have a kind of voodoo faith in the idea that if you play to hang close in most games, somehow you will get lucky win more than if you play to win.

Why do I say they do this?

Because coaches like Bzdelik do not tailor their offenses to fit their material year in and year out.

Every year, the Princeton guys run the same dumb thing.

Pete Carril ran the Princeton whether he had Dollar Bill Bradley, or Sigmund Studywell, at the 3 spot. What kind of sense does that make?

John Thompson Version 2.0, who assisted Carril, took the same Mickey Mouse offense down to Georgetown, and has run it with some success, when he had tons of talent, not when not.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

Others who play this goofy offense, or who have, include:

* Air Force under Joe Scott, a former Carril player and protege and former Princeton head coach
* Northwestern under Bill Carmody, another Carril protege and a former Princeton head coach
* Richmond under Chris Mooney, a former Princeton player and assistant coach at Air Force
* Brown University and Oregon State University under Craig Robinson, a former Princeton player and Northwestern assistant coach
* Samford University under Jimmy Tillette
* USC under Tim Floyd
* University of Denver under former Princeton coach Joe Scott
* Arizona State University under Herb Sendek
* Monmouth University under Dave Calloway
* University of North Dakota under Brian Jones
* University of Colorado, currently[1] under head coach Jeff Bzdelik
* University of Wisconsin, under coach Bo Ryan, runs the Swing Offense, which is loosely based on the Princeton.

Now, if we drop Wisconsin and Ryan from the list, because they don't really run it, and former Okie Baller Tim Floyd of USC, because he is gone for handing out big cash to recruits, we are left with Herb Sendek at ASU and Georgetown's John Thompson Version 2.0 as the only remotely successful users of the "I can't win, so I'll lose by as little as possible" offense.

Georgetown is a crown jewel in the Princeton tiara this year.

Georgetown is 6-3 (4th in the Big East) and 16-4 overall. Impressive!

Sendek and ASU are a scintillating 5-4 (4th) and 15-7, albeit in a rebuilding year.

Oh, yes, almost forgot Bill Carmody and Northwestern.

Northwestern is 3-6 (9th place) and 14-7.

Out of respect to the First Lady of the USA, I guess we have to mention Craig Robinson at Oregon State University, too.

Oregon State U is 3-6 in conference (in the cellar) and 9-12 overall.

Sound familiar?

To reiterate, Bzdelik is 0-4 (B-12 cellar) and 12-7.

If you take away the cupcakes and cellar dwellers played by these Princeton offense teams, most would have almost no wins at all.

Increasingly it appears the Princeton offense is more of an offensive ideology than an effective offense.

Ideologies, you recall, are things believed in without question and regardless of the results and outcomes they produce.

Bzdelik is a key ideologue.

Bzdelik is in the cellar.

Colorado needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

They need to drop out of the cult that tries to lose by as little as possible, and they need to go out and find themselves a basketball coach that plays to win. Basketball is competitive sport after all.

Tim Jankovich is 8-1 (first in the conference) and 15-5 in a rebuilding year at Illinois State, after having a stellar record last year.

Boulder Juco ought to fire Bzdelik and hire Janks ASAP.

I'd hate for KU to have to compete against him, but that's the whole point, from Colorado's point of view, isn't it?

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

jayhawkinmullen,

Hurray! You are getting real teaching at last. Approach it your brother-in-law's way and you will become skillful and have a real sense of pride and accomplishment.

Deduction: First principles, logics, deductive inferences.

Induction: Hypothesis. Null Hypothesis. Accept or reject one or the other with data. Formalize and quantify with math. Inductive inference.

This is all there is to sound thinking. And its everything. And it is made tidy, and clear and easy to check by math and logic.

Also, remember math is a language, too.

You write English. It is written in sentences. The sentences have grammar and words.

You write math. It is written in algebraic sentences called equations. The equations have grammar (plus, minus, times, divide, equals, etc.) and terms (whole numbers, integers, fractions, decimals, constants, variables, etc.).

If you learn how to write math, you learn how to learn to write English.

If you learn how to write English, you learn how to learn to write math.

You just need to learn to think from principles, whether thinking in English, or in math.

All knowledge is connected. All human knowledge is actually a structure of knowledge, a building of knowledge, if you will. They don't teach it much any more to anyone but philosophy students, but all human knowledge is organized into an epistemological framework; that's just a fancy term for a hierarchy of disciplines of knowledge, or a ranking of disciplines of knowledge. Each rank is an inquiry into something. Each rank is a tool of knowing something different about the same thing--a phenomenon you want to understand.

First rank: philosophy--inquiry into why we seem to exist and into meaning itself. Second rank: theology--inquiry into the existence of god, or lack there of Third rank: morality/ethics--inquiry into how we should act and order our behavior Fourth rank: science--inquiry into what is empirically verifiable And so on down the framework.

If I recall correctly.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

Every question you have. Every job you need done. There is a rank on the epistemological framework that deals with the knowledge humanity has acquired and ordered for future use and reference.

Epistemology is the tool box of the mind that civilization has accrued to date. You need to work on a problem. Define it and decide what epistemological tools you need to think about it; i.e., what levels of knowledge you need to get the best answer for your needs.

Math is on the hierarchy. What do we know about numbers and their relationships.

And math is a language. It is the most truly beautiful and elegant language of all.

Numbers, terms, expressions and equations actually are the visible shadows cast by the logical structure of our minds though there is some debate about this.

Verbal language can be elegant too, but it is not so elegant. Its strength is nuance and subtlety of expression of qualitative things.

But math...ah, math, it is beauty itself in thinking.

And best of all, mathematicians are lazy. They are the best kind of lazy. They are forever trying to find easier, shorter ways to write what they mean. They are always trying to reduce terms to their least common denominator.

Real mathematicians don't even think there is subtraction, or division. There is only addition of positive and negative numbers and multiplication of integers and numbers with negative exponents.

Never miss a chance to get to know a mathematician. They are the most amazing persons of all. :-)

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

I was a math monkey until graduate school. I just repeated tricks the teachers taught me. But in graduate school I found a teacher who taught me that math was a language that expressed shapes and motion in number space, which might or might not have the same number of dimensions as where we live. From that moment I got math...all math. I'm not too good at it, but I get it.

Keep at math the rest of your life, if it intrigues you at all, if it feels good to master it at all. It is the beauty of the mind just as painting is the beauty of the eye.

Math and thumbs are what really separate us from the other animals for better and for worse.

All our talk is expedient howling, but numerical quantification and representation of open and closed systems is where the power of our minds really lies. It is this faculty that has allowed all of human civilization, for better and for worse. Thumbs, logic and math.

Again, congratulations on the beginning of a wonderful journey.

Your mind is a neural network. The more you do with it the more it grows. All the latest brain scanning shows this. You and I can develop our brains just as surely as the Morris Twins developed their verticals. And it is never too late to develop it. A UCLA researcher just proved that doing cross word puzzles and Google searches can help those with Alzheimers (and anyone else) improve their memory at least somewhat for awhile.

Learning and sex...two things that never get old.

And learning is a heck of lot easier on your pocket book in the long run. :-)

Ryan Mullen 12 years, 5 months ago

I had always thought sex is what seperated us from the animals. I had always heard that humans are the only Mammals that have sex for enjoyment until I read of the dolpins who also enjoy this fine art.

sizehawk 12 years, 5 months ago

Here we go again. In an article about KU and the Special Olimpics, we get comments about the qualities of CU and their coach. It would be neat it the comments were in response to the article.

jaybate 12 years, 5 months ago

sizehawk,

I really enjoy the surprisingly unexpected way these threads unfold.

Since you don't, perhaps you could just scroll over those that take off in directions you dislike, rather than try to get everyone to conform to your particular taste and interest.

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