Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Wildcats’ swats flummox KU


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 75-65 loss to Kentucky on Nov. 15, 2011.

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— Five minutes into the second half of Tuesday night’s game against Kentucky in renovated Madison Square Garden, Elijah Johnson, Kansas University’s springy junior guard who revels in punishing rims, took the pass in the left corner and took off toward the hoop.

Time for him to make a poster, except that he passed it to Justin Wesley. That’s what watching teammate after teammate get shots swatted from Kentucky defenders who seemingly weren’t in the play can do to a would-be dunker’s confidence.

Shot-blockers alter shots. Shot-blockers who come from so far away so quickly and with such long reaches do more than alter shots. They alter decisions, such as Johnson’s passive one. Tyshawn Taylor repeatedly took the opposite approach, hurrying to get shots off, perhaps figuring if he didn’t hurry, a shot-blocker would swoop in to send his shot into the stands. Still, many of his shots were swatted. He was far from alone in that regard.

Kentucky center Anthony Davis blocked seven shots, and forwards Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist swatted three apiece.

“It’s nice when you can block shots,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “We’re pretty long.”

That was the understatement of this young basketball season so far.

With the score tied at the half in part because Kentucky freshman point guard Marquis Teague had five turnovers, Kansas needed to play a smarter second half to hang with the Wildcats, whose players had longer arms, faster feet and softer shots. It didn’t.

Kansas never trusted that the only path to open shots starts with swift ball movement. Convinced that wasn’t going to change, KU coach Bill Self had his players spread it out and drive, and Taylor did that leading with his tough competitive streak on his way to 22 points, 15 coming from the line.

It was more than just the shot-blocking that led to KU’s rattled play.

“When you look at our team — and you can say the same thing about Kentucky, but those guys have been exposed to things a lot of guys haven’t been exposed to, they’re beyond their years — other than Tyshawn, there’s no other kid on our team that’s played in a big-boy game like that, where they had to deliver,” Self said. “They’ve been reserves that have had to come in and played three, four minutes, and if they play well maybe they’ll stay in, maybe they won’t. I thought it was a different pressure tonight.”

And Kentucky’s shot-blockers turned up the heat on the jittery Jayhawks.

“I think their length bothered us, which sped us up,” Self said. “They are long. I mean, I don’t know if there has been a team around any longer than those cats.”

All that hurrying to avoid all that length played a big part in Kansas shooting an atypical 33.9 percent from the field. Taylor, the team’s best player in this game, made just three of 13 from the field, Thomas Robinson just five of 12.

If it advances to the title game of next week’s Maui Classic, Kansas could face Duke, which defeated Michigan State in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. As always, Duke’s loaded and efficient, but the Blue Devils didn’t look as intimidating as Kentucky.


championhawks 10 years, 6 months ago

The fact that Taylor can be considered the team's best player this game should show everyone how bad the rest of the team played!

UKSkywalker 10 years, 6 months ago

personally, I would take him on UK,, the guy can drive to the hoop, and can shoot FT's like sweet music... what 17 of 17 from the line.... UK can use somebody like him

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm far more concerned with EJ. With Taylor, you know what you'll get but I have yet to see EJ play an entire game near the level he should be playing.

Nicholas Cederlind 10 years, 6 months ago

Headline was right on. Cal teaches his team one thing, above all - how to use their athleticism on defense to simply maul opponents. It's not pretty but it shuts teams down if they're not as athletic/talented. We needed to draw more fouls, make them work more, and simply break them down until they had no choice but to stop the high-flying acrobatics and just compete against us. Until we're a btter team in March, let's not try and run w/a bunch of acrobats - let's use our speed and athleticism to simply beat them to their spots, draw fouls, and play more tight/controlled. Good effort tonight and we'll get better because of it.

Nicholas Cederlind 10 years, 6 months ago

Headline was right on. Cal teaches his team one thing, above all - how to use their athleticism on defense to simply maul opponents. It's not pretty but it shuts teams down if they're not as athletic/talented. We needed to draw more fouls, make them work more, and simply break them down until they had no choice but to stop the high-flying acrobatics and just compete against us. Until we're a btter team in March, let's not try and run w/a bunch of acrobats - let's use our speed and athleticism to simply beat them to their spots, draw fouls, and play more tight/controlled. Good effort tonight and we'll get better because of it.

UKSkywalker 10 years, 6 months ago

Anthony Davis is a beast for dang sure! even w/ the "Brow",, # Unbelievable talent, thnx

David Robinett 10 years, 6 months ago

Not only long but quick. Seemed like a struggle for our guys to even move the ball around without getting it stolen...

actorman 10 years, 6 months ago

I wouldn't say that Tyshawn was the best player for KU. I thought Withey played a very solid game and didn't force things nearly as much as Tyshawn did. I would nominate Withey as the player of the game for KU and, really, the one player who played better than I expected.

RockCaCO3 10 years, 6 months ago

Withey looked good. I would place him above TT as well. TT was up to his usual tricks as far as I was concerned.

brooksmd 10 years, 6 months ago

That's what I told my son. TT was the leading scorer but he was far from being the best player on the team last night. Would expect far better effort from a senior leader who only had 2 assists from the point.

oldrocker 10 years, 6 months ago

Agreed - TT looked the same as he has since he was a freshman...driving the lane time after time and getting the ball swatted into the uppper deck! I had hoped as a Senior and leader of the team, he would play smarter...silly me.

gongs4ku 10 years, 6 months ago

TT was the only offensive threat we had all night. The other guys were totally lost. I'd rather have TT playing aggressive, getting to the line, than have him play timid. This team doesn't have offensive options--somebody has to have the intestinal fortitude to step up, even if the results aint pretty.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 6 months ago

Taylor's job is to get the other players into the game. 2 assists means no one could shoot or he took too much upon himself.

jayhawkintexas 10 years, 6 months ago

Wither has definitely improved from last year. None of the others-Robinson, Taylor, Releford, Johnson--have improved one bit. Also, has no one ever heard of a pump fake before shooting? Burn a big guy with some pump fakes and they learn not to try and block a shot. Finally, would someone PLEASE teach Robinson how to finish a shot? Way too many close in shots clanging off the rim.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 6 months ago

UK is pretty darn doubt about it. and they'll get better. KU? Who knows at this point. we tried hard enough...but we panicked....and that's what happens when you're inexperienced.

here's something that MUST change: the next time Wesley and Teahen combine for more points than Releford and Johnson....we'll lose again. that just can't happen. both Elijah and Travis have to give 8, 10 or 12 each every night. Releford was a no show last night....defensively and offensively.

Self definitely will have some fun practices for the guys this week.....they'll look forward to that i'm sure. :)

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 6 months ago

Come March, no one will be happy to see Kentucky in their bracket. These guys are going to nothing but improve...especially their freshman.

I do wonder how much can we improve. Tyshawn is a senior, Withey, EJ, Releford and TRob are all juniors and all should be near the top of their game. Of course you can't read too much into one game and they will definitely improve playing as a unit but individually? I can only hope.

David Atchley 10 years, 6 months ago

The Hawks really let a great oppotunity slip away from them. Uncharacteristic of a Kansas team was the lack of a tenacious defense last night. One thing for sure, Self will get that corrected.

The biggest challenge once again for the Jayhawk Nation is having to listen to the Jayhawk hater Dick Vitale. He shouldn't be allowed inside Allen Fieldhouse. He'd rather have his big crush on Calipari, who has left 2 programs on probation. I literally had to turn off the sound in the second half of last night's game.

UKSkywalker 10 years, 6 months ago

thats funny dude,,, UK fans think Vitale is the biggest UNC/Duke lover in the world and ignores UK...One of the things UK and KU fans have in common

Al Martin 10 years, 6 months ago

You're right about that. He was all about Kentucky last night, but that's because they were obviously better. Under normal circumstances, it's all Roy and Coach K for Dickie V.

Bruce Brenner 10 years, 6 months ago

+1, Best move was to turn the sound off on Dick Vitales' obnoxious comments against KU and his love of the other team plus himself.

ryanw 10 years, 6 months ago

lol, I said the same-thing last night. Me and my stepdad had enough with Dickie V. I said that we should sign a partition to have Dickie never announce a KU game ever game. He can't go without one game of mentioning UNC or Duke.

RockCaCO3 10 years, 6 months ago

Dick Vitale said all of that? Here's a tip, close your quotes.

actorman 10 years, 6 months ago

I think not having a close quote is the least of hihawk's problems when it comes to the "English" language.

To quote what one of my friends said about a guy that emails who sends us emails: "Grammar, punctuation, syntax, the fun never ends."

actorman 10 years, 6 months ago

Okay, I get the irony of screwing up my writing in the process of criticizing someone else. I meant to say, "To quote what one of my friends said about a guy who sends us emails ..."

jay381 10 years, 6 months ago

I agree and disagree with your comment.

I do think Self is a top flight coach and representative of KU basketball. However with that said something has been wrong with the recruiting process for at least 3 years. Self has to be aware that whatever he is doing in the recruiting process is just flat out not working. Any coach may miss a single class, however, after three disasters in a row you have to change and adapt. As the old overused saying” to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result” is applicable. The recruiting needs to change not the entire staff. We just cannot continue to expect to make a living off of other coaching changes resulting in players, Morris x 2, Taylor, etc., transfers from Lamar or Loyola etc., and continue to see the best recruits go elsewhere.

We did not lose this game because of any on or off court plays. KU was embarrassed by a total differential in talent. Name one player on this KU team that could start at KY.

BTW, as much as Vitale annoys me I had to say when he made the statement about the deficit in talent (I think he said the last 10 years not ever) as sick as it made me to hear it he was totally correct and I had thought the same thing.

As far as Gill goes I was totally disappointed in his hire and nothing has made me change my mind one bit. The man did not have the successful coaching background to be expected to win at a major college level. If anything my initial feelings have unfortunately been substantiated. The sooner he is gone the better.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 6 months ago

The 2009 class was solid..X, EJ and TRob. Up till then, Self was bringing in top or near the top recruiting classes. 2010 was a complete bust but no one expected Selby to have the year he had. It seems since then that some of the recruiting magic was gone. If not for the suspensions, who knows how well this years class could have been. And with everyone expecting a big year in 2012, signing 2nd and 3rd options and Ellis being the sole big name recruit..people naturally start doubting.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 6 months ago

this isn't a serious can't be. Self has gone 190-30 the last six years, one nat. title with six league titles and five league tourney titles...and we have no recruits and no good coaches?

Kansas has more wins than anybody in that span...and the last 27 years, we've been as good as anybody in college basketball.

Yes, this year could be a struggle, but it WILL get better. have you seen whom we've landed so far this year? UNC barely made the NIT a couple of years ago...and got drilled when they played in it...and now they're ranked first.

Coach Self and his staff can coach here as long as he wants....let the man do his job. it's one ball game...let alone one season. We just don't need the "can all the coaches" nonsense each time we lose a game...especially to another blueblood program.

Christopher Hauser 10 years, 6 months ago

I do not like Dick Vitale but you are misquoting him.

Ozarkace68 10 years, 6 months ago

Dickie V also said that despite an off year, the road to the Big XII still goes through Lawrence AND Bill Self has poised himself for another run at the top for next year with Perry Ellis and our 2 forced "redshirts".

Next year's recruiting class looks excellent and by the way, when were you born, what school did you go to, are you old enough to remember "Danny and the Miracles" and do you know who Phog Allen was?

My suggestion is to get a life on some other web page. I can deal with you by just skipping over your posts but how do you live with your own pathetic delusions?

gojhawx 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm sorry but that is a knuclehead comment...The last two years we've had 6 losses total (maybe 7... I could be mistaken for 09/10). If that's your idea of poor talent and lousy coaching, I for one will take it every year. And yes even with a loss in the big dance. How spoiled of a fan does someone have to be to COMPLAIN about that history? Amazing.

SaltLakeHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Dickie V called this year's team the worst in the last 10 years. People need to recognize that comment for what it is: a compliment! It's a testament to how dominant Self's team's have been since he's been here. Dickie also said the winners of the Big 12 conference need to go through Lawrence. Right again.

Dickie is annoying with his shtick, but IMO he was right in his analysis of KU the other night.

BTW, we're still going to abuse K-State this year.

TXBBall55 10 years, 6 months ago

Oh boy, the hate will flow from this post. In spirit, I agree with a couple of your points. KU recruiting has put the school on a path it hasn't seen in 23 years. Never in the last 23 years has the school been so dependent on 3-Star role players. The real question is whether KU becomes the next Duke (a bad year or two, but gets back up) or the next Indiana (a once great program that spends a decade or more on the mat). I'm fearful it's the later.

TXBBall55 10 years, 6 months ago

This was meant to be a reply to hihawk.

DRsmith 10 years, 6 months ago

I agree TXBBall. That is why I am always bagging on the recruting. And when you look at the cupboard, it doesn't appear to be proving. Best case scenario is KU has a couple of down years, this year and next, then attempt to bring in a few more highly rated recruits to work back up.

actorman 10 years, 6 months ago

What reason do you have to believe that they won't just have a down year or two? In fact what reason do you have to even believe that they'll have one down year? And how do you define down year? Duke had a year where they didn't even make the tournament. You don't really believe that KU won't make the tournament this year, do you?

I hardly think that a 10-point loss to the number 2 team in the country, in the second game of the season, is a reason to be worried about a down year.

justinryman 10 years, 6 months ago

The reason they got all those blocks was and not it wasn't because they are great shot blockers. It's because they packed the paint defensively.

KU had no outside shooters last night, so they were sagging in on TRob which made it look like the guards could drive the lane as nobody was directly in front of them. Sure they may have made the first guy miss, but the first defender made our guards alter their shots, a double pump is easy to block as you wait and then they have to shot and its an easy block. Especially when three guys are swatting at one ball.

If you are going to drive the lane and it's full of defenders, you need to either have a tear drop shot, or learn to make a nice pass around the defender to a post player. Can't try and do it all on your own.

leonard 10 years, 6 months ago

Chit happens...and a good lesson last night.

It's not unusual for players at Kansas to get an over-sized ego on their talent level...walking around campus with the love and adoration oozing all over them. And last night should be a big wake up call.

We'll do fine...regardless of the effort...against the bottom half of the conference. But when we play the top tier in the league and in the playoffs two things jumped out.

We've got enough talent to compete at the highest level...if...we stick to running Self's offense and playing rugged defense. We lack the star power to compete with teams like Kentucky if we resort to relying on individual effort like last night.

When the going is tough...defense will determine how far this team can go. I'd suggest a few film sessions of watching some of Frank Martin's K-State "pack of dobermans".

A disciplined offense and a rabid defense are the keys...and I'll accept the award for being the master of the's nothing that most fans and Coach Self don't already know.

And Coach Self is the right man for the job. This is going to be a fun season and I'm confident that ultimately it will be a successful one.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 6 months ago

Regarding recruiting...Bill tells his recruits the play, you have to work play a lot of minutes, you have to play defense.

Five stars don't like to hear this's all about the ESPN nightly highlight reel and NBA lottery status.

Kansas owns the longest NCAA appearance streak at 21 [and if it hadn't been for that penalty it would be at 26] ...that means Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, UConn and everybody else has missed the playoffs at least once in the past two decades.

It's our turn for a down year by KU standards...still, a lot of teams would love 20+ win season, league title contention and an NCAA invite.

thanksforcoming 10 years, 6 months ago

There is a lack of individual talent. I didn't think KU played well as a team last night and that's because this is a new team. I think the Hawks are a little soft. For as much as people called the Morris twins thugs last year, at least they didn't get pushed around and they sure didn't take any crap from anybody. Kentucky put it it to them and when they started showing the Hawks up, nobody did a thing. Dickie V was the only one who said something about the Kentucky taunts, but KU didn't do anything about it. That is what I was disappointed in. The lack of team play and rolling over when Kentucky wanted to talk, and dance, and flex and taunt. Kentucky had all the fun last night, and that can't happen.

AsadZ 10 years, 6 months ago

was at game last night. Firstly it was great to see so many KU fans in the garden, Jayhawks were very well represented.

I disagree with comments on TT. TT had a great game. He was our best player. He did exactly what coach asked him to do in 2nd half when we we had virtually no other offense, ball was not moving much. So Coach knew that only way to get going is to have drive TT drive in the lane. He missed several of them due to UK's length however he did make most of his FTs in 2nd half. That's pretty good.

On the other hand Travis and EJ had a rough game. EJ had decent 1st half but bad 2nd half. Our perimeter defense was bad due to UKs excellent ball movement.

The game was close in 1st half as UK was tight and had lot of TOs, and our guys played with enerrgy. UK dominated from get go in 2nd half and we got exposed.

Manning should show T-Rob game film on Aldrich on how he used to handle double teams and kick out. T-Rob is forcing the issue and as such losing his game.

I do agree that Withey had a god game especially on D. If he can just control a little bit on Offense he can be solid

Our transition defense was bad as well. This can be coached however. One other issue I am seeing from from our bigs has to do with outlet passes. They should watch file and learn from Aldrich how he used to thrown out bombs as soon as he would get the rebound resulting in quick points.

I did not expect us to win. Close first half was due to UK TOs but once they got going we saw what was expected. It could have been better if EJ and TRavis had played better. Good thing is that all areas that got exposed can be corrected with practice and watching a of of tape.

clevelandjayhawker 10 years, 6 months ago

WOW- you guys are really hating on the recruiting....lets examine a tool from one of Keegans articles last week, the "what if"

What if we had B-Mac, what if Traylor and Anderson could play? It wasnt Selfs horrid recruiting as some was the darn NCAA ruling them ineligble. We lost by ten and it could have been less if Young makes his dunk with a min left.

I think we could have won/put up a better fight if we had B-Mac and Traylor last night...i know they are unproven but thats what "what ifs are for". We may not have the best year this year, but i look at the class we have coming in next year (part from this year) and Self is re-loading with solid guys and soild guys that will play here for more than a year...something KU can build on

kupride4u 10 years, 6 months ago

Only 14 turnovers? Seemed like more. I also could swear Robinson had at least 3 in the first half, but it only lists him at 2 total.

okiedave 10 years, 6 months ago

I simply cannot believe there are posters on this site, who appear to be KU loyalists bad mouthing the most successful coach KU has had. You guys have to be trolls. KU has some serious talent that simply needs to be developed. KU will be getting better each game and I am willing to bet we will be Big XII Champions again. This team is only going to get better as the season progresses, which will be fun to watch.

Casey Gee 10 years, 6 months ago

I don't understand all the hatred for Tyshawn from KU fans. He played tougher than anyone else on our team last night. When everyone else froze up and started making mistakes, Tyshawn did all he could to put the team on his back. He had 22 points, hit 15 of 17 free throws, 2 assists, 2 steals, ZERO TO's. What more do you want from your senior guard? No matter what he does, some KU fans are going to hate him. He's a Jayhawk, and this year we need him... a lot.

brooksmd 10 years, 6 months ago

I still say jhawkinnebr is back under an assumed name. A year later and still bagging on Brady.

REHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Regarding Dickie V at the mic, my spouse and I have learned to hit the mute button the moment he goes off on one of his many digressions. Irritating thing is, he and his cohort often continue with that drivel, not stopping to relay to the listening/watching audience precisely whom a foul has been called on, or other essential play by play elements of the contest. Is a real molar grinding moment, when it becomes apparent that he is to work one of our games. I always keep fingers crossed for the appearance of either Fran or Jay to announce our contests. Anyone but Dick.

Scott MacWilliams 10 years, 6 months ago

Hey folks, lighten up! It's the second game already!!!

It's early, this team will get better, and we will be in contention for the Big 12 again. And frankly, I like it better when we're NOT a #1 seed with big heads and a bigger bullseye on our backs.

I have faith in HCBS's ability to get the most out of this team, and am looking forward to them doing very well, probably a lot better than some of the whiners on this board expect.

We have a tough schedule that will give this team a lot of chances to improve by the time we get to the Big 12 season. I'm sure that the coaches will make the most of these learning situations. So keep your heads up, Jayhawks, and full steam ahead! ROCK CHALK!!

AZHawk72 10 years, 6 months ago

I can't remember the last time someone kept us in the game by making free throws--way to go TnT. If only it would have happened against Syracuse in a championship game long ago.

It's time to shoot the schedule maker. Two days before #3 Ohio-State, we entertain supposed "breather" Long Beach. Wrong. They just beat Pitt by ten on their court, after leading by only nine at half. This is their first non-conference loss at home in 58 games, and Pitt never closed within six. Pitt "was" ranked 9th.

If we bank too heavily on the highly-anticipated OSU game, we will be ambushed by the Beach bums two days before. This game is dangerous.

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