Tuesday, October 18, 2011

KU coach Bill Self: Elijah Johnson might ‘blow up’

Kansas junior guard Elijah Johnson.

Kansas junior guard Elijah Johnson.


Elijah Johnson — who has not played significant minutes in his two-year Kansas University basketball career— enters 2011-12 as a candidate for a breakout season in the Jayhawk backcourt.

“He has a chance to blow up. He does,” KU coach Bill Self said of the 6-foot-4 junior combo guard who averaged 3.4 points and 1.8 assists in 13.7 minutes a game his sophomore season. “He’s been very impressive to us (since end of last season). He’s been a kid for whatever reason has not quite put it all together yet. He needs to put it together for us to have our best chance. I think we haven’t seen a glimpse of what he can be. He’s one of the better all-around guards we’ve recruited since we’ve been here. He just hasn’t had a chance to show it.”

Johnson, who averaged 15.9 points and 4.8 assists a game his senior year at Las Vegas Cheyenne High, appreciates his coach remaining in his corner.

“To hear him say I’m improved … that means a lot. It means I’m doing what this team needs me to do,” Johnson said.

The area on which he has improved the most?

“Being a leader,” Johnson said. “Really just that. I feel everything else just falls into place.”

As far as on-court production, Johnson is KU’s leading returning three-point shooter. He hit 22 of 55 last year for 40 percent.

“I guess that means I get to shoot a little bit, huh?” Johnson said with a smile. “I plan on knocking my shots down, making open shots.”

His length and athleticism could prove beneficial on defense.

“I just take it as ... I don’t even want to say as a challenge. I feel disrespected when someone tries to dribble and go past me nowadays,” Johnson said. “My attitude has changed. Someone scores on me, I take it personal. Even if you can’t see it on my face, I take it personal nowadays. I think coach Self put that in me.”

Self has said the Jayhawks may run a bit more this year as they take advantage of a backcourt that includes ultra-athletic Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor.

“They’ve become close, kind of bonded more. Maybe it’s because they know they have to lean on each other a lot. I think that could be a good backcourt,” Self said.

“I feel we can be a real good (backcourt),” Johnson noted in agreement. “I feel there’s really three of us. I feel like Thomas (Robinson) is a big guard. He just runs like a guard. He just runs, he runs, he runs, he runs. He’s so athletic. I feel like he’s 6-4, but he’s really 6-9. With Tyshawn running one wing and me on the other wing and Thomas coming down the middle, how would you look at it if you were on defense?”

KU’s backcourt-mates are so close that Johnson refers to Taylor as “his twin.”

“Our games are similar,” Taylor said. “We both like to get up and down. We know where we are going to be. We’ve spent a lot of time together in the offseason working out. We’re comfortable with each other.”

The country knows all about Taylor, KU’s first four-year starter since Aaron Miles.

As far as Johnson, just a few years ago he arrived on campus as’s No. 24-rated player overall and No. 4-rated point guard in the Class of ’09 behind only John Wall (Kentucky, now in the NBA), Abdul Gaddy (Washington junior) and Eric Bledsoe (Kentucky, NBA).

His name just hasn’t been mentioned as much since then. Johnson did not receive any votes for honorable mention in this year’s preseason Big 12 coaches poll.

“Nope, not mad at all,” Johnson said, asked if he was bothered by the snub. “Let them keep talking (about others). Like I sad earlier, we need somebody to talk. I can’t be mad if my name is not mentioned.”

Matt Kamalsky of thinks many may know Johnson’s name at the end of this season.

“Johnson is not the first highly-touted recruit to start his career on the bench, and he would not be the first less-than-experienced prospect to put it all together as an upperclassmen either,” Kamalsky writes on his website. “While he has yet to prove the things he’ll need to prove in order to legitimize his draft stock, he has proven to be an efficient role-player, and has all the tools to be successful when he begins to see significant minutes. For those reasons alone, Johnson is a player to pay especially close attention to this season as he could rocket up draft boards and a prospect we’ll surely be revisiting as he teams up with Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson to step up in place of the Morris twins. Elijah Johnson’s time seems to have finally arrived in Lawrence.”


waywardJay 10 years, 8 months ago

biggest reason to expect success this year... We have two proven guards who can deliver in different ways, Tyshawn's ability to get in the lane and Elijah's composure

MGJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Agreed Wayward - Guard play is the most important thing in college basketball.

KULA 10 years, 8 months ago

Gee, why hasn't he had a chance to show it, coach? Oh, now I remember--because we had Brady's gaudy 6 ppg the last two years.

And we might run more this year to take advantage of EJ & Tyshawn's speed? Didn't we have them both last year, along with Josh? But we still walked it up the court and passed it around the perimeter for 20 seconds every possession.

And even if they do run, it's obvious Bill hasn't taught them anything about running a fast break if they're talking about Thomas in the middle. It's basic grade school basketball--get the ball to a guard in the middle. Give Roy a call if you still don't get it coach. It's obvious Bill doesn't practice the fast break enough cuz when they ran one last year, more often than not, they screwed it up. He even admitted it himself last year, saying at one point that maybe they need to practice it more.

And watch that attitude EJ--show some fire and exuberance and you'll probably find yourself on the bench for the rest of the game.

Amazing that Bill couldn't find playing time for the #4 guard in the country, behind only players who are now in the NBA. Especially on a team that's had the highest margin on victory the last two years.

jhawk23 10 years, 8 months ago

Wow, Debbie Downer, thanks for that special ray of sunshine first thing in the morning.

Don't you belong on the football boards calling for Turner Gill's head? HCBS rightfully has earned everyone's respect--except, it seems, yours.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 8 months ago

I can't imagine how good we could have been if HCBS actually knew how to coach basketball and evaluate talent. If he'd put all the right players on the court, we could have had a killer record, like maybe 35-3, a #1 seed, a Big XII championship and a trip to the final 8.

Steve Corder 10 years, 8 months ago

Well....I guess even John Wooden had his critics.

lama 10 years, 8 months ago

John Wooden didn't lose to VCU and Northern Iowa as a #1 seed. Self is a great coach, but we've had serious issues getting over the hump in March -- with one huge exception.

zsn 10 years, 8 months ago

With the clock showing about a minute left, I'd like my chances with Bill on the bench, down by 5, than Roy on the bench, up by 5. My friends will verify that I made this statement even when Roy was at KU (not sour grapes by any means) except I used Dean and Larry instead of Bill (of course, I didn't know back then that Bill was going to end up here!!)

Joe Joseph 10 years, 8 months ago

Basic grade school basketball would suggest that the "4" does, in fact, run down the middle of the court on the secondary break.

Give Roy a call. He will confirm that.

Bill Kackley 10 years, 8 months ago

Go back to your own site. You show your complete ignorance.

Bill Kackley 10 years, 8 months ago

This was a reply to KULA. Don't know why it got all the way down here.

jaymar74 10 years, 8 months ago

Yea! and all we were able to accomplish behind Self's ignorance was a Big 12 Championship, Big 12 tournament championship and an elite eight.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

You must love the smell of your own farts.

SaulGood 10 years, 8 months ago

This is some decent analysis. I only really take issue with passing it around the perimeter. We played some good, athletic defenders last season, which calls for perimeter passing to spread the defense. Hope we haven't forgotten that last season, everyone was calling for more touches for the Morris twins, and every armchair critic, myself included, seemed to have the perfect recipe for balance between guard and post play. I get where you're coming from with "fire and exuberance", but screaming obscenities at KSU while hanging from the rim is just sophomoric (Make a great play, then get your keyster back on defense!). It's not knowing where the line was drawn that got EJ benched more than anything else, and I wouldn't have it any other way (that's why I'm excited for a recruit like Perry Ellis that comes with those court smarts built in). I think the bent of this article tells me that Self is beginning to see EJ know the difference between celebration and excessive, and I'm not so worried about Self's choices of last year - I'm thinking Releford and EJ are about to blow up. So it's not just a clever headline!

Steve Reigle 10 years, 8 months ago

This is exactly why good coaches are paid big money and the rest of us write comments.

hawk316 10 years, 8 months ago

KULA...really? Do we have to have a basketball coach who can walk on water before you see how blessed we are? Amazing.

mjhawkchalk 10 years, 8 months ago

How many National Championships did Roy win at KU, KULA? That's what I thought, sit down and shut up.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

"He’s one of the better [Fill in the Blank] we’ve recruited since we’ve been here."

I love ya, Coach Self. You know I love ya. But you gotta find a different phrase for praising a player.

If this phrase were a donut, I'm fairly certain you would be Homer Simpson in the "Ironic Punishment Division" of Hell......

"...mmmmm, forbidden donut...."

SaulGood 10 years, 8 months ago

Aw, can you blame a guy for rehearsing an answer to the same question he gets asked 15 times a day? Dangit, now I'm hankerin' for a donut...

Hinrichisgod 10 years, 8 months ago

Brady may not have put up 20 ppg, but anybody judging a player based on offensive production alone shouldn't be judging basketball success/potential. Brady was a lock-down, solid defender with an extremely high basketball I.Q., seeing the court well above the rest. Self putting Brady in the rotation the past season above EJ isn't being remotely timid or attempting to pump the breaks when he put together an offensive scheme. The number one offensive priority was running an offense that got the ball to an established Marcus or Markieff, whether it be through ball reversal, running screens, or hitting them trailing. The second priority was finding the open man by constantly moving the ball.

Brady not only played defense on top players offensively, but hit open shots. More importantly, he found the open man, and more times than not, was able to do so without forcing an unneeded pass. Could Elijah have done the same given the opportunity? Maybe. But Self went with experience over talent. That in and of itself has proven to be successful more than the other way around. History has time and time again proven that point.

Self isn't the perfect coach. There isn't one. Hindsight is 20/20. If you're looking for a coach that caters to please the fans with disregard to a basketball mindset that has not only won an NCAA title and 7 straight Big XII titles, but is also one that is believed in, go and pat Calipari and his hype on the back. You might even be able to catch a few dead presidents falling from Rupp Arena's rafters while you're at it.

Elijah is a guard that has the potential to put up solid numbers offensively, as well as taking his defensive role personally. Anyone who has witnessed Coach Self, as well as Coach Manning, knows that he has the knowledge and foresight that very few other D-1 coaches contain when it comes to player-development and program building.

Everyone has their time. This season is Tyshawn's, Thomas', Travis',Elijah's time. Rock Chalk.

SaulGood 10 years, 8 months ago

Rock freaking chalk. Great post. Love the breakdown in p1.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 8 months ago

Please stop with the Brady stuff. Please. I beg you.

I am ignoring the urge to reply. Brain says reply. Gut says reply. Like shooting fish in a barrel. But resisting.

It is a new season.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 8 months ago

Not going to argue w/your post but I wish HCBS had expressed and shown the level of confidence in EJ last year that he has so far shown this year. Of course Coach isn't going to be able to pull him nearly as fast this year...there aren't many other options. If EJ would have been allowed to develop more as a player throughout the year..maybe VCU would have been a bug in the rear view mirror. Or maybe not but EJ is another 5 star player who seems to struggles under Self.

dylans 10 years, 8 months ago

Heck yeah! The first intelligent Morningstar v. Johnson argument on this string. EJ much more talented, more upside, more speed, more flash...more turnovers, more Technical fouls, more inconsistent play. But I can't wait to see him play 30 minutes a game. EJ stat line 16 pts 4 asts 1.5 steals 3 turnovers per in 2011-12

hardwork1998 10 years, 8 months ago


jhox 10 years, 8 months ago

I've been impressed with Johnson's maturity and patience since the day he arrived on campus. I'm glad to see he's finally going to get a chance to a big contributor. His athleticism is second to none. It's tough to play 2 or 3 minutes a game, and to come in and be impressive. I look for several people to have break out seasons this year. Johnson, Releford and Withey will all benefit from having an opportunity to play through a few of their mistakes, and get comfortable in game situations.

tis4tim 10 years, 8 months ago

When I read the title of this article, my first thought was that E.J. had become the new drummer for Spinal Tap.

KGphoto 10 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, kinda gives new meaning to "mop up" minutes.

SaulGood 10 years, 8 months ago

Hahaaaa...I just remembered I'm a drummer hoping not to vaporize in a cloud of green smoke :)

Bion Ostrander 10 years, 8 months ago

Geez KULA, if I had a thimble, I would put your basketball knowledge in it! Duh, we had the Morris twins + Robinson last year who were darn good at putting it in the bucket playing the high-low game in a half-court offense, so that is why Self did not run the ball!! I suppose you think Brady, Taylor and Reed were better options on the fast break! Go watch the NBA if that is what u want... KU will be fine this year, Self will put it all together again, plus it helps that the Big 12 conference is down in talent (IMO). KU won't have any big man depth or much experience off the bench, but Self normally gets his rotation down to 7 players by conference time anyway, so if a couple guys like Teahan and Tharpe can come off the bench that will be fine, although Young or Wesley will have to play well enough to steal some minutes at the 4/5 spots. KU will lose at Allen this year, but that happens. Last recruiting year was an anomaly, as even Self admits that most of the high level recruits committed very early in the process and Self did not know who was coming back (Markieff, Robinson, Taylor?) so he was at a disadvantage in recruiting - - you can't promise scholarships and then not give them, that word gets around real quick to future recruits. Go Hawks...

Ben Kane 10 years, 8 months ago

I've been waiting to see this kid get his chance for 2 years. Bring it EJ!

keith horinek 10 years, 8 months ago

While I believe we will be a little thinner this year and maybe a little weaker at the 4 and 5 positions, I think we will compete. This team will revolve around Taylor and Robinson, no doubt. 25 wins this year is achievable. Will we compete for the big 12 championship? Highly unlikely, however the big 12 is somewhat down this year so I believe we will have a chance if we play well. Programs like KU, UNC, Duke, need a down year to keep them human. If we won the big 12 every year and took a no. 1 seed into the tournament every year, fans would come to expect that and not appreciate what it takes to be a premier program. It really does take a lot of work to be at this level and I for one fully appreciate what we have in HCBS and his crew.

chriz 10 years, 8 months ago

Uh,I think it's highly likely that we will win the Big XII title this year. Our challenge is their players, but our advantage is our coach. In fact, were might even have an advantage in terms of players, too, since we have a lot more seasoning on our side, and we have a lot of guys out there with a lot to prove.

justinryman 10 years, 8 months ago

If he "blows up".

TRobb plays in "Beast mode"

TT plays "within himself."

And the "rest just falls into place"

Can't wait and see what this season will bring.

It sounds as if there aren't as many attitudes on this team to feed, so it could be a fun season of a lot of highlight passes and incredible plays!!!!!

GET SOME!!!!!!!!

lothario64118 10 years, 8 months ago

He'll have a chance to blow up because Self won't be able to pull him off the court due to a mistake he made. EJ will have to learn and play through and gain experience on the court, not on the bench. I wish Self would let the players learn and not have a pissy fit when something happens he doesn't approve of from a player.

Brian Powell 10 years, 8 months ago

ditto that last part.. but I think it's OK to have that 'tough love' and pull them when they're a freshman -- it helps them learn faster that some mistakes are not acceptable.

It's a tradeoff; you get the immediacy of the teachable moment, but it kills morale and hurts the flow of the game, etc. In the long run, (3-4 years), Coach's approach might pay off more?

It was hard to watch EJ get pulled and sit so much 1st year, but I think last year was good and this year will be great :)

supersonicf111 10 years, 8 months ago

Well, how many screwup are you going to allow them to make??

How many times did EJ get pulled for screwing up??

Seems he was a little dense for not figuring out why he was being pulled in the first place.

That's not coaches fault!

Imagine last year if he would have just let TT, EJ, and Seby just be clowns on the court instead of pulling them.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 8 months ago

If HCBS had shown a little more patience, EJ would have surpassed Brady. So however many mistakes that would have been is the right number. Same with Xavier.. Same with Josh..

texashawk10 10 years, 8 months ago

I would venture to guess that Self's short leash with EJ in games had a lot to do with the kind of mistakes that EJ was making. If EJ was continually making the same mistakes in practice and carrying them over into the games, then that is/was a major issue because it's become a mental issue as opposed to a physical issue. It's one thing if EJ was making physical mistakes because those are correctable, teachable, moments to learn from and EJ just needs to practice the proper technique more. But from what I've seen the last couple of years, most of EJ's mistakes have been mental mistakes and those are the mistakes that drive any coach crazy and are much harder to correct, especially when it's a mistake that has been made so frequently that it becomes instinctual. EJ has all the physical tools in the world to be an elite player except for the 5 inches between his ears and when that tool starts working properly, EJ will be an unstoppable beast for KU.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 8 months ago

Maybe you're right...I just expected to see EJ a lot more last year. If he still is making the same mistakes than I'll know.. Or maybe he needed one more year to be the player we a hoped for.

clevelandjayhawker 10 years, 8 months ago

Should be a fun year....EJ/Jeff/Travis are the "unknowns" and we need to avoid foul trouble with our bigs. NCAA really f'd us over but next years "class" should be fun too.

Cant wait to see how many guys rotate in and out...I know HCBS likes to do about 7-8 but i think this year its going to 8-9 and may have to do some zone.

lama 10 years, 8 months ago

Inexplicable that he didn't play more last year ahead of Brady.

JHawk74 10 years, 8 months ago

We can't change last year. Coach Self thought Brady was the player he wanted on the court instead of Johnson.

kufankam 10 years, 8 months ago

35-3... inexplicable just got explained. bill self knows what he is doing.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

+1 haha. Good luck to any know-it-alls trying to refute Bill Self's track record.

KULA 10 years, 8 months ago

HawkKlaw--which track record are you talking about? His track record in regular season games, or his track record against mid-majors in the tournament?

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

The one where he wins about 84% of the time throughout his 8 seasons at KU. Good luck finding a better coach. If you've taken statistics, its not hard to tell that in a one-and-done tournament, there are going to be upsets. Even the mighty Jayhawks will get beat from time to time. It takes a lot of skill (in coaching and on-court performance) plus a touch of luck to win all those games in a row at the end of the season. You can't tell me that KU didn't get a little lucky to beat Davidson in '08. That game could have easily gone the other way. I would also argue that there was a bit of luck involved when KU came back from being down 9 with 2 minutes to go in the championship game. We're fortunate to have a coach that puts us in the position to win a National Championship every year. He already has one under his belt, and I'm not going to doubt that he could win more. Everyone gets so upset about mid-majors beating KU. Mid-majors have a lot of talented upper-classmen nowadays. KU has players that head to the NBA after one or two seasons. Experience matters a lot, especially in college basketball.

chriz 10 years, 8 months ago

Hmm. His theory seemed to backfire against N. Iowa and VCU when we could've used play-makers instead of game managers. Game managing works well against the crappy Big XII, but not when all the chips are on the table. Don't get me wrong, I love Bill Self. But he's not perfect. And if we fall into this communist-like worship of our leader, we're only fooling ourselves.

kufankam 10 years, 8 months ago

No, he is not perfect... But I trust his 35-3 vs. your basketball I.Q. I feel it far from communism to say that I trust our coach who has brought home 7 STRAIGHT Big12 Titles along with a Nat'l Title. Self knows HIS team, HIS players better than any of us. He knows who deserves to be out there. He sees them on a daily basis. He knows who has been showing up and putting in the work. Sometimes it is not just about who fans think are "playmakers". Self recruits the guys he wants, shapes the team with what he gets, and plays who deserves to play. He does that because he KNOWS what he is doing. I know it sounds crazy to trust a person with a PROVEN record at WINNING (that knows his guys) over message board posters (most of whom have NEVER coached outside of their living room). You call it communism, I call it common sense!

chriz 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad that you trust his IQ over mine. I do as well. But I like to at least try to make some kind of basketball analysis, not just say "Trust in Self." Maybe you have...I haven't read all your posts. But my guess is that you've spent more time assuming that Self knows everything than you have spent questioning anything that he did. Perhaps you've NEVER questioned anything that he's done. And that's fine.

For instance, the guy who runs the company I work for would do a MUCH better job than I would at running it. My understanding of his job is much lower than his, and even if I had a significant amount of time in his shoes, it would still be much lower than his. He's a talented guy and I'm thankful he's my boss.

But that doesn't mean that on a forum dealing with my industry and the performance of the company, I'm not going to share an idea or two and suggest that something better could be done. Maybe I'm not qualified to do it, but on a harmless forum like this, I'd much rather share thoughts about basketball than just sit back and say, "I love Bill Self. Whatever he's doing must be right, and that's all there is to it." But, of course, I get accused of having a smaller basketball IQ than Elijah Johnson.

kufankam 10 years, 8 months ago

You're right, I don't ALWAYS agree with Self. But, as you have stated, I trust him as he is the boss and IS in the BEST place to make those types of decisions. My reply was regarding the ignorant use of the word "inexplicable" as it is very explainable and the record speaks for itself. My point to you is that it seems fairly short sided to loft up two games in which his teams did not play well as evidence that he should have played THIS guy over THAT guy. That type of logic could have applied in 08 to say that Mario had no business shooting that shot. See, Mario had a bad shooting game. Had he missed that shot, would you have said that Self should have pulled him and inserted someone else who could have made plays? NO! Mario had proven over his career that he was a winner. So, he stuck with what had worked up until then. Same thing in the other games, only difference, KU lost them. You win some, you lose some. But as a coach, you make adjustments. What you don't do however, is abandon what got you there. So... you are right. I don't think we should never question Self. What I am contending is that when the evidence supports that he knows what he is doing, we shut up and trust him. I trust you would do the same when your boss shows you he knows what he is doing and that is why he is the boss.

KULA 10 years, 8 months ago

It's called cult of personality and it's endemic to this board. The Leader knows what's best. The Leader is always right. The Leader never makes a mistake. Just shut up and trust in The Leader. The Leader is The Leader for a reason. Do not question The Leader.

Did you hear about The Leader's golf game? He shot 35 under par with 5 holes-in-one! Unfortunately, he choked on a 3 foot putt on the last hole and lost to some greens keeper named Carl.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

Just because we think Bill Self know what he's doing doesn't mean that we think he's right 100% of the time. But why not trust a guy like Self who has proven that he has what it takes to win it all?

This season, everyone (including Self) can agree that we don't have a lot of depth. It won't be pretty, but I'm honestly not very worried about it. We had similar issues in 2009 when we basically had Sherron, Cole and a bunch of unproven players. We only lost 8 games that season! Self made the best of it and I have no doubts that he'll do the same this year.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

Nice addition to the conversation there hem. When can we expect to read more of your ramblings on how VCU beat KU last year and how conference championships don't mean anything? Or how Bill Self is ruining KU basketball and how everything is his fault?

Practice what you preach!

Jack Wilson 10 years, 8 months ago

How Bill Self is ruining KU basketball? I take exception to that. You obviously have not properly noted what was said in my posts. But that's fine. Others read what they want to read, too, and others don't process the entire thought, either.

Now, the issue of me rambling .. can't argue there.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 8 months ago

2 of 11 on 3-pointers and 5 of 12 at the free-throw line..

KULA 10 years, 8 months ago

35-3... inexplicable just got explained...VCU 71-KU 61. Brady: 1-7, 2pts. Inexplicable just reared its ugly head again.

kufankam 10 years, 8 months ago

KULA - you must be a top tier coach since you seem to know SO MUCH about basketball!! everyone knows that at the drop of a hat, you completely abandon what has proven to work over the course of a 38 game season. if that were the case, mario should not have been in the game against memphis as he was having an off shooting night. thank god that self knew that mario had delivered in the past so he stuck with him. brady delivered throughout his career and self stuck with him. sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. KU just didn't play well against VCU. it was one game - it happens. that should not be used as the end all that one player deserves minutes over another. again - SELF IS NOT PERFECT. BUT, he does spend more time than any of us with these kids. therefore, YES, we should trust he knows who has earned the right to be on the floor. if you all would listen to self and elijah, it is clear that he has not been giving Self the types of intangible things off the court that he wants. Self gets it, Elijah gets it, but some of you can't seem to get it. did you not see the quote where Elijah says, “To hear him say I’m improved … that means a lot. It means I’m doing what this team needs me to do,” He gets that what he needed to do was improve in other areas than just on the court "stats". you evaluate stats, but self is molding them into young men and making them better people. the OU football team has the same thing going on. they have a heisman caliber back that plays sparingly because he is not doing the things the coaches want him to do. when he is on the field, he dominates. yet he rarely has been playing as stoops expects more from him. people are down on stoops, yet he stands behind his decision as he is molding a young man as opposed to appeasing basement dwealing fans.

KULA 10 years, 8 months ago

Wow, you're actually comparing Brady to Mario? I give up. There's no point in debating you.

kufankam 10 years, 8 months ago

nope, not comparing them as a player... comparing coaching strategy in situations where they don't play to their potential (those potentials are no comparison)...

however, giving up fits your logic. if something doesn't work 1, 2 or 3 times - give up, right?

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

Did you even read what he wrote? I think you missed the point, my friend.

JHawk74 10 years, 8 months ago

It is time for Johnson to step up and show that he deserve to be a starter for a Top 5 program in the country.

Steve Kubler 10 years, 8 months ago

"Self has said the Jayhawks may run a bit more this year" -- and they say speed kills! I would love to see a KU team that can run an opponent into the ground. It might not be as elegant as the slower paced high/low offense however the fun factor jumps off the chart. I am worried about depth although I think our guard complement is solid enough to run all game.

I agree this team does not appear to be the overwhelming favorite many seem prefer. This year we are not going to be able to assume who wins a game. There will be suspense, more excitement, and yes some agony. I am okay with that, I'll curse the losses, froth at the mouth at freshman mistakes, and perhaps take HCBS's name in vain. At the same time I will savor the wins more this year just because they will be less expected.

After all, if you knew your team was going to win every game why bother watching?

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 8 months ago

Problem is that thin teams usually don't fare well in uptempo games..maybe if we had a few recruits.

Sally Presson 10 years, 8 months ago

KULA--Bill doesn't need to call Roy for ANY advice. You are a downer, we don't need your posts. I'm happy for Elijah, he's waited and will now be rewarded. What a great young man. Before we bash the coaches, you ought to know what goes on at practice, sometimes it takes those growing years for a player to come into his own. And this is Elijah's year. I really look forward to watching EJ play this year.

Rock Chalk

Jayhawk1116 10 years, 8 months ago

Spontaneous Combustion is very real. Stay alert, stay informed America.

ParisHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but last year EJ mostly backed up Taylor at point and Tyrel at the 2, whereas Brady mostly played the 3. Brady took more minutes from Releford than from EJ, but Releford got hurt at a bad time.

Last year we had some great half-court offense: why run all the time?

This year we are thin, so I don't expect a lot of fast breaks or pressure defense.

Some posters here remind me of the French: winning isn't enough, you have to win it all and play beautifully.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 8 months ago

Since when did the French care about winning? I think you meant whining.

middleoftheroader 10 years, 8 months ago

I believe Missouri just gave Kansas City to Jayhawk fans, and if Bill Self is smart (which he is) he'll schedule alot of games in the Sprint Center to keep it that way.

Brian Powell 10 years, 8 months ago

been saying that since his freshman year..

Brian Powell 10 years, 8 months ago

clarification: I'VE been saying that and predicting it... not to sound like I was putting Coach down.

We saw flashes of it last year, almost consistently, but this year he will have even more of a role and will continue to impress :)

Steve Brown 10 years, 8 months ago

Jbate. ???? let us have it.

You are going to share that TRob will be double teamed, TT quickness will have to be played straight up and close so that EJ and Releford will get open shots.

Nothing but net.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Copy and paste.

My concern is that EJ mostly talks about a core of TT, TRob and himself.

This tells me he does not view Travis as core yet.

This tells me either Self does not view Travis as core, or EJ feels like Travis is a threat to him.

This tells me there is a chance for some bad chemistry.

Travis seems the most potentially dominant player on the perimeter.

Travis seems core to me. By core, I mean foundational.

Maybe Kevin Young and Travis are in a dog fight for minutes and EJ is waiting to see who wins.

But I don't think this team is can afford to just view itself as EJ, TT and TRob.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't understand how when a player averages less than 15 points and less than 5 assists per game in HS he becomes the #4 rated guard in the nation. I do understand that HS games are shorter, thus stats are lower. It'd be interesting to compare his HS stats with other guards that have played here. I'm guessing that Mario, Kirk, Miles, jacque, etc all had more impressive looking HS stats. Maybe someone here knows.

HawkKlaw 10 years, 8 months ago

He actually averaged more than 15 points, but I get what you're saying. Chalmers averaged 27 pts and 6 assists his senior year. Jacque averaged a gaudy 21 pts and 19 assists. They were both the #2 rated PGs in their classes.

texashawk10 10 years, 8 months ago

It depends on the rules of the state, in Texas for example there is no shot clock so the games tend to be a lot more low scoring than other states. If Nevada doesn't use a shot clock, then their games would be a lot more low scoring as well which leads to having lower stats. That said, player rankings are more based on play during the summer in AAU competition than during the school year with their high school teams.

KANSTUCKY 10 years, 8 months ago

...or maybe he was rated #4 because of his 360 dunk between the legs on national tv.

SaulGood 10 years, 8 months ago

Releford! Releford! Releford! Can you imagine? Our 3-pt stats stand an emphatic very strong chance of looking absolutely insane this year. We've got 1-2-3 that can all shoot lights out on the right night, freeing up Beastmaster Robinson to grab up offensive boards and dump in 15-30 per night. This is probably the best I've felt in several preseasons about our team in a little while, at least since '07-'08.

I love this joke: What do you get when you cross a Mack truck with a Dyson vacuum cleaner? Thomas Robinson. (Told that joke last year, still love it today)

Rock Chalk!

SaulGood 10 years, 8 months ago

Absolutely correct. Where's the Tony Hawk "moon physics" cheat when you need it in real life? Thermodynamics be damned...Elijah, come on. It's not like we're asking for the *entire court.

Lin Rahardja 10 years, 8 months ago

EJ has been my favorite player. Continue to show leaderships, need to leverage your teammates' strength, be aggressive and distribute the ball to make play, continue to develop your long range and establish mid-range pull ups, and be in control at all time. You will get tons of playing time and blossom into the player you're capable.

kufankam 10 years, 8 months ago


wissoxfan83 got me thinking and i always go back to this as one of the most impressive HS stats i have ever seen. mario's senior year, he AVERAGED 8.0 steals a game!!!!!! seriously! to average 8 steals in a 32 minute game is unreal! i don't care if it is 4A, 6A or whatever, that is some serious ball-hawking. of course, this is no news to jayhawk fans as we have seen mario's abilities to get his hands on the ball. i just really love that stat... it is quite impressive!

Kristen Downing 10 years, 8 months ago

No injuries and Thomas get your free throw shooting to 75%. Then, maybe we will be ok.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 8 months ago

Things I would like to see this year from the bball team:

1] Less of the center setting a double pick at the head of the key then watching as an opponent beats him to make a basket, draw a foul or both. 2] When our guards drive the lane , stop and pop that 7 foot jumper and avoid the charging foul. 3] Contest every opponent three pointer. 4] Mix in a full court press a little more. 5] Maybe keep Brady on the bench a little longer [oh wait, no problem!!] 6] See if Withey can hit that 10 footer on a pass back from a triple-teamed TRob. 7] Give Elijah the green light and leave him in if it doesn't work every time. 8] Improved foul shooting %'s from EVERYONE!! 9] Kansas Cheerleader girls in thong bikinis [ well, I can dream, can't I??] 10] Decent refereeing [Now I'm really dreaming!!] ,

Ben Simonett 10 years, 8 months ago

1 has annoyed me for the last couple seasons as well.

i do not think tyshawn taylor is capapble of #2 un a real game situation, reports are he's finally learned how to do it, but ill beleive it when i see it.

4 is not going to happen with only 8 guys on scholarship

Scott Smetana 10 years, 8 months ago

Didn't they change the charging rule this year? No charging call under the basket? This could greatly help TT.

Steve Brown 10 years, 8 months ago

  1. Destroying MU Tigers on their final visit to our barn.

chriz 10 years, 8 months ago

Who do you think you are, making basketball suggestions?! If you're not Bill Self, keep your mouth shut! (just kidding)

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago


My name is jaybate the mysterium from the inner east.

You are getting sleepy, very sleepy, deeper and deeper to sleep, waaaaaay dooooown.

When I type the pound sign you will be asleep.

Now, you will remember only the following suggestion:

"The KU cheerleaders will take aphrodisiacal substances and cheer in nothing but teeny crimson and blue thongs each time you announce before hand that you will be attending the game in person. They will also as a group attend a series of hypnotic suggestion sessions that week with yours truly in which it will be suggested that they be receptive to any and all advances made by you."

Now, when I type the pound sign you will awake and remember nothing but this suggestion.

There, that should ensure at least one more season ticket purchaser.


Ben Simonett 10 years, 8 months ago

I freely admit i havent seen Tyshawn play recently, hence i commented that others say he has learned how to hit that pull up, all i said was ill beleive it when I see it(not someone else telling me it happened)

we can revisit my statements in end of november/early december time frame and i might very well admit i was wrong if tyshawn shows it to me in a real game situation, but i doubt he will.

on a more important note: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BABES FOR AVATARS? you must bring them back ASAP!

Larry Smith 10 years, 8 months ago

I always wonder why idiots like KULA think that coach Self doesn't run on offense. KU runs when there is opportunity and runs a highly efficient half court offense when the break is not there. So I ask you KULA, who would you consider a running team? Carolina? Kentucky? Louisville? Memphis? Duke? Texas? Well, none of these Teams had a higher PPG average last year than KU. As a matter of fact, I would challenge you to find two teams from a major conference that scored more than KU. Good luck with that, because there aren't two. And all of this from a slow walk it up, pass around the perimeter for 20 seconds offense. You, my friend are an idiot.

KULA 10 years, 8 months ago

Two teams that scored more that KU? How about VCU & UNI? No wait--they're not from a major conference. I guess you win that argument.

Benjamin Piehler 10 years, 8 months ago

I've been sayin it to my buddies all summer; I think EJ could have a breakout year.

Ben Simonett 10 years, 8 months ago

"Self has said the Jayhawks may run a bit more this year as they take advantage of a backcourt that includes ultra-athletic Johnson and Tyshawn Taylor."

Self says that every preseason and with the exception of '07 and '08, every year we end playing the same conservative half court offense.

the hi-lo is great, and nobody can coach it better than Self, but his system does not lend itself to up tempo play.

If you werent going to push the pace with the front court you had last year, your definetly not going to do it with Jeff Withey as a projected starter this year.

jaymar74 10 years, 8 months ago

How does our conservative offense always end up in the top 10 in the nation as far as points scored?

texashawk10 10 years, 8 months ago

KU's also almost always in the top 10 in FG% as well because Self's high-low game leads to a lot of easy baskets. You don't have to be up tempo to be a high scoring team when you're making a lot of high percentage shots.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 8 months ago

KY Jelly works great on squeeky door hinges.

lee3022 10 years, 8 months ago

I want to speak to coaching philosophy for a moment. Too often fans see winning each game as the primary function of a coach. Probably the greatest college coach of all time, John Wooden disagreed. He said his job was to teach life principles and basketball principles (in that order) to his players and the wins would take care of themselves.

Coach Self subscribes to a similar philosophy. Players that come to KU are not here to be showcased. They are here to learn as students - academically and athletically. Elijah is an excellent example. Headstrong, often out of control, Elijah was provided playing time but did not earn many minutes. This allowed coach to teach him life lessons about working hard for what he gets. This approach is opposite from many coaches who pander to top recruits and fail to prepare them for life and the NBA. Getting drafted is not the point. Being successful in the NBA is far more important than draft position. Players that spend three years here sound more mature, play more mature and succeed more in their future. I admire this approach and support our coaching staff as committed to the players personal and professional development.

SaulGood 10 years, 8 months ago

(flipping through instruction manual) Let's see, insert the hose here, connect to liquefied meat pump here, and flip the power switch to the "on" position. Allow cycle to run for several days until the desired result of Jeff Withey weighing 240 pounds is achieved. Repeat as necessary. Use under the care of a qualified strength coach.

John Hunt 10 years, 8 months ago

This feels a lot like last year, doesn't it? A whole lot of "ifs." What if Markieff Morris didn't tow the line down low? (He did.) What if Thomas Robinson wasn't reliable enough to prove the Twins valuable relief? (He was.) What if Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar weren't able to knock down shots? (They were.) I trust Coach Self with those developmental "ifs" that plague us fans in the offseason. IF Elijah Johnson can become a consistent scoring option at the 2, IF Travis Releford continues his trademark defense and likewise exhibits an improved offensive game, IF Tyshawn Taylor picks up where he left off at the end of last season, IF Thomas Robinson lives up to his potential — look, they will. The presence of those "ifs" doesn't concern me anymore. I've read a lot of doomsday prognostications on these boards, but I actually think this could be a fun season.

Also, hate to shamelessly plug, but I've been working on a little college basketball blog for a while. My latest post previews some tantalizing non-conference match-ups, and I'd be grateful if some of you checked it out. The KU-Kentucky and KU-OSU games are both analyzed, and you might be pleased with my projections. Me, a KU fan and unbiased college basketball blogger? I won't tell if you don't. Here's the blog:

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Never apologize for asking people to look at your work. Once they see it, let it speak for itself. But never apologize for trying to get it seen.

John Hunt 10 years, 8 months ago

Haha I appreciate the support. I guess I felt the preemptive apology might deter folks from creeping toward the "suggest removal" option based on spam or something of the like.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

"Some Suggestions for Dealing with EJ Blast Effect in Allen Field House."

~Fans in the first thirty rows should wear asbestos long johns.

~All fans should keep their NOAA radios tuned to a Civil Defense frequency for further instructions.

~Fans should estimate the highest hops possible by Elijah, as being the likely highest elevation for atmospheric detonation, and then swap expensive court side seats for seats at least thirty rows higher than estimated highest hop.

~ Fans should tape measure likely blast effect from trifecta line where Elijah will often be launching, figure ground zero effect will extend at least 200 feet in every direction. Avoid ground zero area at all costs, for even tennis shoes will be turned into green glass there.

~Remember to wear DoD approved blast goggles and Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 100 sun screen at all times in the field house.

~Be sure to carry potable water and a weeks supply of canned goods, when attending games where Self is apt to amp EJ out through the roof, and so generate an exponential increase in blast effect.

~Know that shock waves from EJ blowing up can cause internal bleeding and severe brain trauma that can only be treated by intravenous injections of Coors, or Bud at the Wheel.

~Male students remember that female students traumatized by blast effect will likely be more willing to mate, due to a primitive reproductive survival instinct being triggered.

~Faculty be prepared for most students coming to class the following day and claiming that the EJ blow up triggered an energy pulse that erased their hard drives so they require more time to get term papers in for grading.

~Coaches remember that wives will not accept EJ having blown up as an excuse for not taking out the trash, or shoveling the drive way come February.

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

DukeNukem 10 years, 8 months ago

Oh, thank god. I thought Elijah was a suicide terrorist, when I read the title. He makes a way better basketball player anyways.

Kye Clark 10 years, 8 months ago

I hope he does "blow up". The only downside to EJ, or Releford & Withey for that matter, "blowing up" is that if they do we'll have these clowns on here calling out Self for not playing them sooner, exclaiming "SEE!!!! If you'd have been playing these guys (and would have listened to me!) the past two seasons we'd have atleast one more National Championship!!! Now his explosive play is being wasted during these relative 'down' years!" While I suppose it is possible, maybe we can make room for the possibility that players develop the more time they spend in the program. Maybe, And that the previous two seasons of EJ's career he wasn't doing enough, both in practice and when he got on the floor, to warrant more minutes. For some posters (ahem, KULA) it's a lose-lose situation here. Some people simply aren't happy unless they are whining about something.

KULA 10 years, 8 months ago

When you say "lose-lose situation," are you referring to the back to back debacles in the tournament?

ajhk 10 years, 8 months ago

I loved both B Morn and T Reed. Loved their attitude, heart, determination, sweat , guts, solid play, team adhesive properties and just loved them as Jayhawks.
But...EJ and Releford both have higher individual ceilings. I will greatly enjoy watching these two play as I feel their quickness and explosiveness can change games abruptly. As for TT, I have always been concerned with his focus and decision making. I always felt he would falter in the higher pressure games. Concluding the last few games of the past year, he showed me how wrong I was. It seems his confidence is greater and skills are honed. I hope his maturation continues because we all know he's a freak athletically.
I think we could have a VERY fun backcourt.

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