Friday, November 25, 2011

Bill Self: Hawaiian trip more than just fun in sun

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson puts a shot over Duke forward Ryan Kelly during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

Kansas forward Thomas Robinson puts a shot over Duke forward Ryan Kelly during the second half on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 at the Lahaina Civic Center.


— Kansas University’s basketball players did more than body surf and spy on sea turtles while snorkeling during their just-completed trip to paradise.

The Jayhawks (3-2), on their first extended road trip of the season, beat Georgetown (67-63) and UCLA (72-56) at the Maui Invitational before losing to Duke, 68-61, in the final, gaining some valuable experience against top-notch competition so early in the season.

Playing teams from three premier conferences — the Big East, Pac-12 and ACC — also figures to be a bonus at this juncture of the 2011-12 campaign.

“We’ve had a monster schedule so far for a team not even close to where we are going to be in my opinion,” KU coach Bill Self said. “I think we’re doing some good things. We’re better than we were a week ago when we played Kentucky (and lost, 75-65, in New York). Still, unforced turnovers ended up being our Achilles heel in both those games (the UK and Duke losses).

“We are 3-2, with nobody else in the country playing Kentucky, Duke, Georgetown, UCLA back-to-back-to-back.”

Of course, KU expects to beat those schools, even in a year with a lot of inexperienced players.

“We’ve got to find a way to win close games. That’s how you have great seasons,” Self said. “We did it against Georgetown, who is really good. We didn’t do it against Duke. It was a one-possession game that could have gone either way.”

As far as KU’s rugged early season slate, Self said: “Looking back, I’m not sure this was bad for us at all. A lot of people play soft schedules, which we have, too. You can get confidence that way. I think we got some confidence playing Kentucky, Georgetown, Duke and UCLA.”

The all-tournament team: Thomas Robinson, Kansas; Jason Clark, Georgetown; Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan; Austin Rivers, Duke. MVP: Ryan Kelly, Duke.

TO trouble: KU’s Tyshawn Taylor had a career-high 11 turnovers against Duke, the most in a game in KU school history. The previous record was nine twice, the last by Jerod Haase versus Baylor on Jan. 11, 1997. The other player and game could not be located in the record books. Since the 1997-98 season, no Jayhawk has had more than eight in a game.

“He’ll be fine,” Self said of Taylor. “He played great. He got careless there in the second half, but we put the ball in his hands a lot. We told him the game plan was drive it, drive it. When that is your game plan ... he got out of control on key possessions the second half. But I thought for the most part he played really well. Looking back now, I wish I subbed him a bit. He played well. He competed hard. I thought our whole team really tried.”

T-Rob says: KU’s Robinson had 16 points and 15 rebounds versus the Blue Devils.

“Like we said yesterday, this is what we came to Kansas for ... for games like this,” he said. “I haven’t been around that long. I’m still a young player. But I do believe that game will go down as one of the top games of the tournament. It’s too bad we got the short end of the stick, but I feel that my team got better. We did accomplish something when we came to the islands, and we’ll go back to Kansas a better team. So I’m happy, but at the same time, I wanted to have the trophy.”


Curtis Stutz 10 years, 8 months ago

Love what I'm hearing here, Self backing up TT, TRob looking at the big picture We have to remember the kind of minutes and the amount of offense TT was expected to contribute in a 3 day stretch in Maui I appreciate all the effort Jayhawks, keep up the hard work and good things will come!

Funhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Years from now, Tyshawn will probably laugh about his KU record.

Curtis Stutz 10 years, 8 months ago

I would have loved for TT to get some mentoring from Chalmers, but alas, he went pro

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Self knows TT better than any of us.

Self really believes that TT can get to the rim and beat teams by shooting FTs. And by stopping the clock with lots of fouls on the drives, by the team rests, that allow the starters to stay fresher.

I still think we need EJ and Conner pulling the trigger a combined 5-7 more times a game.

But Self has a vision and he's seldom wrong about what works percentage wise.

rwhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I rarely read your posts, but since this one was short, I did...and couldn't agree more. Great take!

Darrel Stice 10 years, 8 months ago

To use one of your favorites, Jaybate... copy and paste!

In Self we trust!

Clay Ellison 10 years, 8 months ago

i agree and think TT ( and sherron) do/(did) what the team needs. TT plays hard and a few force the issue turnovers aren't necessarily bad, got to shake some things up and keep the defense from getting comfortable. some of his turnovers seemed like they come from a lack of options while trying to make a play. I like his game and feel good when he's on the court.

I think EJ needs to shoot and use his athetism more, but not sold on teahan. to slow, to weak, but if he makes a couple shots and gets back to the bench that'll be a bonus for the team.

Andrew Washington 10 years, 8 months ago

I couldn't agree more, I've always liked the idea of playing a really tough non-conf schedule. This team has already faced some of the best talent in the country and played in some intense environments. Our team has early experience in high pressure games on the big stage... playing in the garden and that tough final against duke will help us greatly in march. These tough games are going to make us battle tested and its ok to loose some early as long as we win them when it counts. (for a championship)

Steve Gantz 10 years, 8 months ago

Last year's pre-big 12 schedule was particularly weak I thought. Just wondering if that contributed at all to our demise against VCU.

yates33333 10 years, 8 months ago

Absolutely, right on, PismoBeachKansasUSA!!! Very sage.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 8 months ago

You could be right Ralster, I guess it's an unprovable point. Just lots of regrets from the last two years of having championship caliber teams, and not being able to pull it off. I am definitely glad to see the schedule upgrade this year and for an inexperienced team like this it's just what we need.

Martin Shupert 10 years, 8 months ago

a troupe of clowns? Yes, the wheels fell off... and we lost to a potential National Champ by 10. I continue to be encouraged by this team's potential.

5yardfuller 10 years, 8 months ago

"KU’s Tyshawn Taylor had a career-high 11 turnovers against Duke, the most in a game in KU school history. The previous record was nine twice, the last by Jerod Haase versus Baylor on Jan. 11, 1997. The other player and game could not be located in the record books. "

The other nine turnover game was also by Jerod Haase versus UMass on December 3, 1994.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 8 months ago

How could you find that when they couldn't? How do they know it's a record if the info about it can't be located?!!

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I, too am feeling pretty good about this team. You find out a lot more about yourself playing top ranked teams than beating the Palmer Chiropractic Institute 147-6. (or K-State)

One of the more impressive stats I've seen so far is Jeff Withey shooting 84.6% from the free throw line.

You other guys watch Jeff - do whatever he does at the FT line. And when TT has the ball, DON'T do whatever he does. Unless you're shooting it.

Alex Berger 10 years, 8 months ago

Our FTs were great against Duke, probably the main thing that kept us in the game. That and our stingy defense.

captku 10 years, 8 months ago

yes +1, I am liking our defensive effort. I love it when our guys buy in early on the defensive side (effort) to create the offense. This is what will make us a great team. That and the coach's competitive nature. You could tell HCBS really wanted to whack Puke in that tourney and take the hardware. That showed with our guys defensive effort. When Withey keeps the ball high as he pivots, good things will happen for us. He can alter shots but needs to work on his hands. Good hands also means no getting ripped by the guards.

Steve Reigle 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm feeling a whole lot better about this team than I was just a couple of short weeks ago.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Honey, not vinegar. Momma taught you well.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 8 months ago

KSU will be about .500 in the Big Xii this year will be worse. Their coach is very intense, and he has the same coaching style of Calimari, without the recruits. He'll be a reason why KU continues to dominate that series.

Wayne Gordon 10 years, 8 months ago

Agreed, Releford can shoot better than he thinks he can!!! Even if he misses the short jumper or drive to the hoop , he will be involed in the rebouding. And , T-Rob could use a lot more help in rebouding to keep from wearing him out. This team has imprved faster than any team I have seen. RChalk!!!

jkman13 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't like the title of this article. Seriously? What else would Coach Self say?

SCHNBALL 10 years, 8 months ago

What a tough shooting background at that end of the floor?

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

"Black Friday, As the Turkey Left Overs Loom"

~Screw bargains. Next game now!

~Certain Silver lining: 3&2 actual, a certain 4-1 what if with an average trey shooting vs. Flook, and a 50/50 what if 5-0 with an average three point shooting night against UK? This is flipping great and Self is....drum roll please...a flipping genius again.

~Possible Dark cloud: UK was three sophs and the rest frosh. Duke had three mature bigs and then green wood, or so I recall. We need to see how KU will stack up against a mature Top 15-25 team; that will be a litmus test how together they really are at present. Mature Top 15-25 teams are the ones that upset younger more talented teams through out the season. Also, outside of cheap shotting KU for two minutes in the first half from 12-14 in, if I recall correctly, KU has not be roughed up for an entire game. Ohio State will be a litmus test for how we respond to that sort of thing, though Thad Matta has stolen so much of Self Ball that it just may not be the same old smash mouth Big Ten ball anymore.

~Self has little confidence in his three point shooters at this time. I don't see why. EJ has acquitted himself decently on average. He just started slowly. Conner started out in a fusion reaction, then his reactor went on cool down, then vs. Duke he popped no triceratops. Self has decided he would rather have Tyshawn drive, get fouled, stop the clock and shoot fouls that have the team take treys. I suspect he is opting for this strategy to get opposing bigs fouled up, and by stopping the clock to buy TRob and Withey some blows. But may he just has no faith in the trey shooters. This has to change. KU has to shoot more treys. Any time you shoot 5-10 less than the winning team, you have to look at what trifecta conservatism cost you, versus the bennies if brought. Self knows lots of second half fouls is the only way to keep his starters fresh when they play 30 plus mpg. But at the same time, you never get any big swings in scoring with Tyshawn driving the lane, even when he is not baking pop tarts.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

~To reiterate from yesterday, Self has to get Kevin Young into the rotation at the three every lesser opponent we face in December, until KY is ready to face the tough opponents in conference. Why? And why at the 3? Because KY at the 3 creates the only every game MUA this team can have this season. KY comes in for Travis. TRob steps out to 17 feet and faces the basket. The 6'8" KY goes to the block and posts up his 6'4" to 6'6" defender. Two points with a possible foul shot. Every time.

~Justin Wesley struggled a bit with Plumlee and Kelly, but frankly did better than Withey in guarding bigs on the block.

~To repeat from yesterday, Jeff Withey, who played so well, now just needs to work on defending bigs that crowd him on the blocks. Until he masters this, it is all KU and Jeff are going to see. Its not hard. Lead with knee. Weight on front foot. Resist temptation to lean into the opponent with a shoulder. The minute the opponent feels the should he will drive you a half step backwards and jump on you while you are frozen on your heels. Lead with the knee and weight on the front leg. When he tries to crowd you he gets the bone. When he tries to jump and shoot a floater, your back foot comes forward and you jump. At 7 feet, a one step jump ensures someone like Plumlee will never get the shot off.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

~I have to qualify what I've been saying about TRob's knee injury and lost bounce. He plays a much more horizontal game these days compared with last season. But the picture at the top of the page, when you enlarge it, reveals nearly conventional clearance for him. His hand appears 2 inches below the top of the box, which even allowing for some lens distortion is pretty good. Maybe he is just conserving energy and jumping less intentionally. Or maybe he is playing it back into shape. This will be very interesting to watch develop.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 8 months ago

After watching this team in action, I only see Ohio State as a losing threat before conference:

Preconference ---10-3 Conference--------14-4 B-12 Tourney-------2-1 NCAA-----------------2-1

Total ----------------28-9

Steve Brown 10 years, 8 months ago

my forecast.

  1. 9-4 2.13-5
  2. 1-1 or 0-1 it's okay
  3. 3-1 or 4-1 if and a big if...

fun to finally be underdog in March...we likely will have to travel far for a quick thursday game.

Kristen Downing 10 years, 8 months ago

UCF beats UConn. today. #4 goes down. You know why, they played zone defense. Pay attention, Self!!! It might not have helped against Duke, although it would have allowed some rest, but it definitely woud have made a difference against a young Kentucky. Please stop being so stubborn on your anti-zone stance. Your young and short bench demands it. Do it before someone gets injured from being tired!!

bradynsdad 10 years, 8 months ago

I believe it was coach knight who said the zone was a chickensh#t defense. It makes me wonder if guys like Daniels and Nash ever wonder if they would have turned out better at ku. Not implying Calhoun is a bad coach but a loss to USF? Oklahoma state gets destroyed by an unranked Stanford team, don't forget Sean miller and his wildcats losing to anybody they can play. I am extremely happy our team has only two losses to Kentucky and duke, and we dang near walked away with duke victory. Not bad for a bunch of kids that nobody has any faith in.

Pitthawk34 10 years, 8 months ago

Hey dipstick-Did you watch the Kentucky game. What was the turning point in that game. They started hitting 3's, what the hell would the game look like oif we played zone.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 8 months ago

cajayfan: Saw your comments on zone defense. I like the idea, as a change-up only.

Here's the thing .. playing a zone isn't easy. It's hard. You have to practice it a lot to be good at it. Many people here know what I'm talking about. It's incredibly hard to rebound effectively out a zone. And it's hard to get kids not to be lazy in a zone. It's much more intricate than saying "guard this spot on the floor", as is the common misperception. A good zone defense involves many man-to-man principles, angles, spacing, fronting, and trapping. A major vulnerability is not seeing what is taking place behind you, as it's very easy in a zone not to get the proper angle to see the ball and offensive players behind you. Also, although it can be used to protect players in foul trouble, it can create more fouls when players aren't used to it, have to regularly turn 180 degrees to make plays, and are put in tempting positions to reach. Again, all stuff many here already know.

Point is, that there is no way this team plays zone except as a change-up .. every so often .. a couple of possessions here and there. I have no idea how much the practice a zone. But the most important thing is that coach Self is a man-to-man coach. That's what he knows. That's his passion. That's what he'll teach the best. He dislikes zone defense. Self's a great coach, but he probably isn't a very good zone defense coach.

Back in 2008, we played a 3-2 zone for brief stretches in many important contests. Rush played up top, in the middle. I mentioned this a while back how this team is set up perfectly for that. Put Releford in the middle, up top, in the 3-2 zone (or Kevin Young), EJ and TT (or Tharpe) on the wings up top; TRob/Wesley/Withey low. I think it is a great idea to throw at a team 5-7 possessions per game, or as a panic defense if there is major foul trouble.

In 2008, Self had a mature team of elite players. Players he could trust to execute the principles in a zone defense without the sufficient practice time and focus most might need to be effective. I think that's why we haven't seen it much since 2008.

On another thought, I would love to see us sporadically pull out a full court press. Just here and there to catch the other team off guard. Steal a basket. But we know coach Self. He ran a press some middle of last season. Then it was gone. And even in games we're needing to catch up, he waits until the last two minutes to utilize it. Puzzling instances were UNI in 2010 and Kentucky this season, where going to the press at maybe the 4:00 minute mark would have been at least more interesting. I am assuming Self just thinks the risks outweigh the potential gains until the 2:00 minute mark.

Using the 3-2 zone for 5-7 possessions, and then the full court press a bit, are things I do think could be great tools with this team in every game we play.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 8 months ago

One thing I learned is that nobody wants to play KU, because we can win.

All-in-all, I think we are about a 10-15 ranked team. If we pull off the victory against Ohio State, I think we will be right where we want to be. We may have lost to two of the four #1 seeds of the tournament this year. I can live with a #2-#3 seed on an "off-year".

Mike Mills 10 years, 8 months ago

I think this team has the potential to grow and improve than any KU team in years. This team is no where near as deep as as those from the past but they've still managed to go blow-for-blow with a couple of the top teams in the country ( least the first half against Kentucky). I can't remember the last time KU had a schedule this difficult. Great confidence builders.

Here are a few things I noticed about this team so far:

1) Tyshawn Taylor does need to take better care of the ball (his J has improved though) but a lot of the turnovers/periodic bad play is a direct result of their lack of depth. Tharpe can't compete at that high level yet. So Bill HAS to live and die by TT right now. Bad shots, 11 turnovers, dead tired, etc...he has to keep him in. PERIOD.

2) Jeff Withey is playing well. Yes, he could be stronger with the ball and not let opposing bigs post him so deep in the paint but he's been a factor. You'll definitely see more double doubles from him this year.

3) I keep forgetting how talented EJ is but KU needs him to be more aggressive. Opposing teams are going to double TRob all year and he has that ability to be that complimentary scorer. He disappeared for a good portion on the Duke game.

4) Releford was absolutely horrible versus Kentucky. Thought he was going to continue to play horrible and kill the Jayhawks game after game. Not the case though as he's started playing better since then. Best defender on the team and can score a little. If he (along with Withey) really step it up by year's out.

5) TRob is a beast on the boards but his footwork offensively is horrible. With his body and athleticism he should be finishing/or getting fouled more down low when he has the ball. He definitely doesn't have the offensive arsenal of either of the Morris twins but he's a better rebounder. He won't get there this year but he will get better.

Trey Hohman 10 years, 8 months ago

"Self has a vision and he's seldom wrong about what works percentage wise."

Quote of the season. I'm all in.

Trey Hohman 10 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self makes college basketball worth watching college basketball. I'm all in.

REHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self is a stand-up guy, taking some of the responsibility for Tyshawn's struggles. I really hope the gameplans in our next 3 contests involve working Kevin Young and Naadir Tharpe into the lineup for major minutes. I could suffer quietly the turnovers of those guys as they grow into the learning curve. We are going to face several real nailbiters before the league tournament, possibly crucial injuries...and are going to need those bench players to be prepared to carry some loads. I well remember Sherron's near exhaustion toward the end of his senior season. He was too determined and hardheaded for Bill Self to mess much with his minutes; but we might have gone further in the tournament if he were more rested. The point guard position creates bundles of stress on a guard who also is expected to carry bigtime scoring chores. Too much diversity was expected of Tyshawn in the Duke game, probably. His focus aptitude might not allow for so diverse and heavy a load. There is absolutely no doubt that he is capable of splendid play. He and Russell or he and Aaron might have worked marvels on the floor together.

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