Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hidden highlights: Scout team duties, dunks prep Traylor, McLemore for ‘12-13

Kansas freshmen Jamari Traylor, left, and Ben McLemore  watch the Late Night in the Phog festivities from the bench on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas freshmen Jamari Traylor, left, and Ben McLemore watch the Late Night in the Phog festivities from the bench on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.


From now until they make their much-anticipated debuts in Allen Fieldhouse, the prowess of ineligible Kansas University freshmen basketball players Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor will remain shrouded in mystery.

McLemore, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound guard from St. Louis, and Traylor, a 6-8, 220-pound forward from Chicago — who practiced second semester but could not play in games in accordance with NCAA eligibility rules — recently were willing to discuss what 16,300 fans can expect at the Oct. 12 Late Night in the Phog.

Of his best buddy McLemore, Traylor said: “The best play Ben had at practice this season was on a fast break. Naadir (Tharpe, frosh guard) had the ball at halfcourt. He threw an alley-oop and Ben jumped the highest I’ve ever seen anybody jump in my life and he dunked it. I think practice ended off that.”

McLemore remembers the Jordanesque-moment well.

“I told Naadir to throw it up. I jumped pretty high to get it with two hands,” McLemore said with a smile. “I’ve got a good vertical and stuff like that.”

His leaping ability was showcased on one other highlight-reel practice play.

“One time I stole the ball from Jeff Withey and had a break by myself in the open court. I jumped pretty high and dunked it,” McLemore said.

He was eager to point out Traylor’s top play on the scout team at practice the past four months.

“Jamari did a double-clutch dunk through the lane through everybody. He double-clutched and dunked over a 7-footer,” McLemore said, ostensibly referring to the team’s only 7-footer, Withey.

Traylor, who worked with and against KU’s big men daily, said his own personal highlight was “probably a defensive play. I probably got a couple blocks in a row, (but) I can’t think of anything off the top of my head now.”

It’s unlikely the consecutive blocks came against 6-10, 237-pound All-American Robinson, who taught Traylor a thing or two this season.

“Thomas didn’t guard me as much as I had to guard him. I made sure I guarded him,” said Traylor, who was determined to learn from the best. “It’s real intense going against him. Sometimes he gets real mad with me. He tries to push me around all the time. I’ve got to show him I’m not a chump, you know?”

McLemore and Traylor made sure to bring their A-games to practice every day.

There was no reason to hold back, considering they wouldn’t be allowed to play in games until preseason 2012-13.

“If there was a time I cried, it was probably the day I found out I was ineligible (in October). Other than that, I don’t think I got that frustrated in practice,” said Traylor,’s No. 141-ranked player in the recruiting Class of 2011. He played his senior year at IMG Academies in Florida. “It’s going to benefit me in the long run because I got a year of practice under my belt. I already know all the plays, and I’ve been practicing against one of the best players in college who is going to be a great NBA player. That practice is going to prepare me for anything next year.”

Noted McLemore, a former Oak Hill Academy/Houston Christian Life Center standout who entered KU as the No. 17-rated player in the country: “When I first got here, I was sluggish and tired trying to guard Tyshawn (Taylor). He’s a fast point guard. I think my defense has picked up. It is getting better.

“I think next year will be a shock, going from not playing at all and coming out and playing a lot of minutes,” McLemore added. “It’s going to be weird because I’m going to be a freshman again playing a lot of minutes. I can’t wait.”

Traylor said a highlight was soaking up information from assistant coach Danny Manning, who is now headed to Tulsa as the Hurricane head coach. Manning worked with KU’s big men.

“I’m not going to forget it. You can’t forget that kind of stuff,” Traylor said of pointers from the 15-year NBA veteran. “I learned so much it will stick with me forever. I learned a lot of the little things as far as footwork, positioning, timing. It’s a lot more complex than I thought it was when you’re just running around in AAU. There’s a lot more thinking involved at this level.”

The two definitely felt part of the team, even though they were not allowed (by the NCAA) to sit on the bench during NCAA Tournament games. Both players sat in seats in the crowd, though close to court level.

“Sometimes guys come out of the huddle and point to me, and I feel I’m part of the team all the time,” Traylor said. “We get acknowledgment from the guys. It’s special to me.”

“It’s a close team,” McLemore noted. “We’re really like brothers.”

McLemore and Traylor, who both had over 3.0 grade point averages first semester and will be ready to go academically next season with four years of eligibility remaining.

Inseparable, they were not roommates.

Traylor rooms with Christian Garrett; McLemore with Niko Roberts.

“If you see me, you are going to see Ben,” Traylor said. “It’s like we are attached at the hip.”

“Niko is my roommate. I’ll stay with him,” McLemore said with a laugh, “but I’m always in Jamari’s room because we’re always together. The team is always together anyway. We’re that close.”

T-Rob, Taylor visit L.A. over weekend: KU senior Tyshawn Taylor and junior Thomas Robinson were spotted sitting behind the Houston Rockets bench Friday during the Rockets’ victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at L.A.’s Staples Center. Former KU teammate Marcus Morris of the Rockets did not play in the game. Morris posted a picture of the three together on Instagram. It’s not known whether Robinson and/or Taylor met with any prospective agents during the trip to L.A., as the Morris twins did during a similar trip last spring. Taylor and Robinson are scheduled to be back for Monday’s basketball banquet (6:30 p.m., Holidome). Robinson, who has yet to officially announce his intentions to enter the NBA Draft, could use the banquet as a forum to announce his plans to turn pro. He’s currently listed as the No. 4 pick overall by and long been considered a lock to leave KU after three seasons. The first day of the spring National Letter of Intent signing period is April 11 (Wednesday), meaning any non-senior that makes himself eligible for the NBA Draft before then must remove his name by Tuesday night in order to retain collegiate eligibility by the NCAA. In an intriguing spinoff, the NBA does not recognize this new NCAA-mandated college deadline. In the NBA’s eyes, players have until April 29 to enter their names into the draft.

This, that: Future KU player Andrew White, a 6-6, 210-pound senior small forward from Miller School in Chester, Va., scored 14 points off 6-of-13 shooting in the Black Team’s 130-127 loss to the White squad at Friday’s Derby Festival Classic all-star game in Louisville. White had six assists and two steals. North Carolina State signee T.J. Warren, a 6-7 forward, had 27 points and St. John’s signee JaKarr Sampson 18 in the victory. ... William G. Parrott, Jr., a major contributor to KU athletics (Parrott Athletic Center) has died at the age of 79 in Stuart, Fla. Born in Pittsburg, he resided in Stuart since 1977. Parrott lived in Lawrence for a number of years. His obituary can be found here ... KU strength coach Andrea Hudy is featured in the book “Coaching Wisdom: Championship coaches and their Players Share Successful Leadership Principles” by Mike Harrity, associate athletic director at the University of Notre Dame. The J-W’s Tom Keegan recently wrote a profile of Hudy, available here.


kusportsdotcom 10 years, 4 months ago

Two days in a row with articles about B-Mac and Traylor. They'll be "freshman" but will have an entire year of experience playing in Bill's system. I have a feeling they'll be great.

ccarp 10 years, 4 months ago

Emphasis on ENTIRE season, these boys got to see all 3 weeks of the final leg of the season, we might not yet know how special this year was. :-)

Jack Wilson 10 years, 4 months ago

kusports: I mentioned this yesterday. With McLemore, I get it. But what information do you have to believe that Traylor will be "great"? Tell me how he's not Justin Wesley right now. Look at Self's quotes about Traylor, and then about Wesley coming into this year. Then see how many posters thought Wesley was going to be "great" heading into this past season. Identify for me Traylor's skill set that will make him "great."

By the way, LJW, wondering if you have another picture of Traylor and/or McLemore?

dylans 10 years, 4 months ago

Self said that Wesley is one of the most athletic players on the team. Traylor has been called shorter version of TRob. Traylor is a bruiser. Wesley wasn't much of a scorer or defender at Lamar, so my expectations were low. Trayor hasn't played a minute so I'll reserve judgement until I see him play. I understand you are trying to temper your expectations, but right now the sky is the limit. Support the players. All I know is that the teams intensity picked up as soon as Ben and Jamari began practicing.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 4 months ago

Oh, ok .. because I add a sense of realism to the conversation, I don't support the players? I'm way beyond the pom-poms and worrying about that simplistic type of reply. Wesley has no business taking up a scholarship. That's fact. Self obviously thinks so as well because he did basically everything he could to have better players in place.

On Traylor, the sky may be the limit in theory, and everyone can dream for the next 6 months. I might get hit by lightning tomorrow, or become president of the United States in 2016. We can have alternative dreams. But realistically, the sky isn't the limit. Developing a serviceable player who may, by his junior or senior year be something better, is realism. What was anyone hoping for when we added Traylor after other recruiting efforts struck out?

dylans 10 years, 4 months ago

HEM Wesley will not be on scholarship next year. I don't expect big things from Traylor next season either. I thought I made that point, but it was too blunt for you. His defense is something I am interested in. I also think he has much more potential than Young or Wesley. I am excited for future years. He will be a five year player. Hopefully he performs as he should of as a Junior in his sophomore year and as a Senior (I also hope Darnell like) as a Junior, but I don't know how he will pan out. You don't either. So support the team or inflame the masses its your choice, whatever gives you your jollies.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 4 months ago

Your comments don't have consistency, nor do they address my point.

On Self's comments, you have to look at what he says about other players .. for example, McLemore. Totally different. But what he says about Traylor and Wesley are roughly the same .. no skill comments.

What has Self said positively about Traylor? "He's good."?? His positive comments aren't red herrings .. you can see exactly what he means by what is said, and what is left out. What evidence do you have that Traylor's going to be "great" then?

That's what I was responding to. "Great" was the word in the original point. Perhaps an "idiot" would still notice that. There has never really been one comment by anyone about his skills around the hoop, a go-to move, scoring ability, a mid-range jumper ... Self just said he's "raw, raw, raw." I'm sure you saw that. I heard Greg Gurley talking about Traylor .. nothing but comments on effort and energy. "Raw" means, translation, that he doesn't yet have developed skills. Nothing to even remotely suggest he's going to be "great."

Further, Traylor was not even a top 100 player, barely a top 150 player. Cite me the example of such a player flourishing with coach Self in his first season. Traylor only practiced for three months, and those were in-season practices (which I'm sure you know are much different).

It is comical every off season where folks want to think that some of these marginal recruits will be impact players immediately.

The best comparison I've heard is Darnell Jackson, and Jackson was a four star, appx. top 60 player ... and he took until his senior season to be a top guy, and mid-way through his second season to be really worth much on the court. His contributions prior to that were sporadic at best. And Jackson was a much more highly thought of player -- since you're making that comparison between Traylor and Wesley.

The point is .. don't expect a major positive contribution in 2012-13 from a guy that will take time to develop. He will likely fill a role. But "great" .. seriously? Players take some time to develop, lower rated prospects more time usually, and first year players even longer with coach Self. Everything adds up.

Vernon Riggs 10 years, 4 months ago

I guess we are just going to have to wait until November. Can't wait!

kellerman411 10 years, 4 months ago

Do you know who Anthony Davis is? Anthony Davis played on an AAU team called the Mean Street Monsters. Davis was center and Traylor was his power forward.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 4 months ago

What's the point? Connor Teahan played on the same team with Thomas Robinson, and Teahan isn't playing in the NBA, right? I'm missing your point.

Jory Collins 10 years, 4 months ago

I agree with your analysis on Traylor, right now he's a terrific athlete that needs skill, ala Wesley. Wesley shouldn't be at this level, and is here because his brother is Keith Langford.

What I think people are missing is the ability and value Peters is going to bring. I think he's going to be a great college player. He's physically ready to bang and has a terrific skill set. Much more than Traylor in my opinion. I think he's got a chance to be the next Nick Collison.

RISEABOVEHATE56 10 years, 4 months ago

This is not going to be good if both players are already consider ineligible. It seems like every player that the Kansas Jayhawks sign to play basketball for them they are either ineligible or cant play for other reasons

Bangkok_Jayhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Looks like another "rebuilding" year... Can't wait!

Bangkok_Jayhawks first scouting report...

Starting 5 looks like it will be:

G- Johnson... Good ball handling... Needs to be a better scorer, especially with the 3. G- McLemore... Expect McLemore to be way ahead of the game for a freshman. Hope his shooting is as good as advertised. G/F-Releford... Similar to Johnson... Needs to be a better scorer, especially with the 3. Great defense. F- Ellis... Ellis is a great talent but Robinson left some big shoes. C- Withey... MUST rebound better... Hopefully Hudy can get 20 pounds on him. Great defense.

Key reserves: White, Young, Traylor... Maybe Tharp, Adams, Peters, or Lucas

Positives: -Depth: We did not have a true guard or a true post player coming off the bench. With Traylor, Peters, and Lucas we should be able to get some post depth. Young can be a small forward or a power forward if we want to play small. White looks to be pretty good. Tharp or Adams should hopefully be able to be something as well.

-Defense: EJ, Releford, and Withey were great defenders. This should be a VERY good defensive team.

-Ability to hit the 3: McLemore was advertised as a very good 3 point shooter. With another year under their belts, hopefully EJ and Releford can become better 3 point shooters.

Negatives: -Star power... TRob and Tyshawn are not going to be replaced by 2 first year players. Unless Withey, Johnson, or Releford make a big improvement, the losses are too big to just fill in with McLemore and Ellis.

-Youth... We will have 3 senior starters, but will have a lot of young players in the mix.

-Coaching... Being as Danny was the best bigs coach around, it seems that there will be a hole to fill there. Not sure if Phil Jackson can coach the bigs as well as Danny! I'm sure Self will get a great coach to step in there.

meremy 10 years, 4 months ago

Agree 100% with the starters.

I think you're underestimating where Tharpe is. I believe he'll be solidly in the rotation, playing the point 15-20 minutes a game. EJ, as much as he showed he CAN play the point this season, he's not a point guard, and I see him sharing PG duties with Tharpe nearly 50/50. Watching Tharpe during games he appeared to me to be always positioned near coach and very involved during timeouts, etc. Hard to know from a fan's perspective whether someone is being "groomed", but that's how I've perceived his role this year. Also, when he's been in the game, his defensive intensity appears Self-like, which bodes well for minutes.

How much White gets on the court as the 5th guard will depend on his defense, IMO.

It would appear that we'll be likely to play 4 bigs this year: Withey, Ellis, Young, and Traylor or Peters (love to see these guys battling for this spot in practice). If Parker comes he probably moves into the 3rd spot in the bigs rotation and Traylor and Peters are on the sidelines this year.

5 guards and 4 bigs in the rotation is "deep" for a recent Self team, but given that there appears to be more parity on next year's roster (assuming newcomers are what I think they are) we'll probably see more balanced playing time with EJ and Releford both playing fewer minutes than they saw their junior seasons.

JHawk74 10 years, 4 months ago

White is a guard in Bill Self 's system not a Small Forward unless Self changes the offense. Basically he has guards and forwards.

Nate Johnson 10 years, 4 months ago

I agree with meremy--Tharpe is being horribly undersold in these forums. He showed flashes of good-to-great-ness early in the season, but found himself riding the pine for much of the year. I think the reasons for sitting so long on the bench have been well-explained on this site, e.g., physicality of college game, Bill is hard on point guards, etc. I'd like to throw another one out there: Tyshawn's confidence. This year was Ty's team. He had that long leash and Bill was not going to shorten it. Through no fault of his own, Tharpe's playing time was partly a casualty of how Ty functions.

I'm expecting some dramatic improvement in Tharpe's game. He was like another coach over there.

kellerman411 10 years, 4 months ago

Ellis is going to be a guard. Haven't you heard anything Bill Self has said? He will be our Michael Kidd-Gilchrist where he's a 3 and can play on the perimeter or at the top of the paint.

Kye Clark 10 years, 4 months ago

What Self has said is he'll split time between the 3 and the 4. Technically neither are "guard" spots. He's a hybrid 3/4. Self has a perimeter rotation of EJ, Releford, & BMac. So either you have Ellis off the bench subbing in at the 3 (not likely), or you play him in the post.

Look at the other two hybrids that have come through KU under Self's watch: Julian Wright & McMorris. Both projected to be NBA 3s. Where did they spend almost all of their time? In the post. Especially as freshman. Self isn't going to put the responsibility of learning 2 different positions on a freshman, even one as bright as Perry.

Ellis may eventually play the 3, but don't expect it next year.

JHawk74 10 years, 4 months ago

I agree on Ellis. He will be used as PF his freshman year. Possibly could switch to the 3 position in certain situations. In Bill Self offense basically anyone can shoot inside or outside depending on the situations. Robinson always played the 4 or 5 position but still had the opportunity to shoot outside if he wanted too. With the motion high - low offense its very versitile.

PakaRocks 10 years, 4 months ago

Congratulations to Ben and Jamari for getting their academics on track and for staying focused as part of the practice squad. Finish your semesters strong and have a great summer. You both have wonderful opportunties to contribute this coming fall.

Happy Easter!

jayhawkintexas 10 years, 4 months ago

I wonder if Ben and Jamari get Final Four rings also? Personally, I think they should since they practiced witth the team but I don't know what the NCAA rule is concerning ineligible players getting rings.

Vernon Riggs 10 years, 4 months ago

Yes they are eligible for rings. They are members of the team but because of Big12 rules were ineligible to play.

gchawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Just wanted to say "thanks" to Ben and Jamari for all their hard work and sacrifice this past season. I think you said it best, Jamari, that your circumstances will benefit you and Ben in the long run. I love the attitudes of both of these guys. Rock Chalk.

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 4 months ago

Man, we are going to suck next year!!! (sarcasm)

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 4 months ago

<p> has since moved TRob up to No. 2 (behind Davis, of course). TT is sitting at No. 57.

AsadZ 10 years, 4 months ago

I strongly believe that TT has increased his stock to late 1st round. His game is perfect for NBA. He reminds me a lot like Rondo and GMs/NBA scouts will take a note of it.

Good Luck to TT.

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, has TT at No. 27. I think hel'll go late first round or early second.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 4 months ago

AsadZ: Rondo is a great comparison .. I still think TT is ascending. He has not reached a ceiling. I will be surprised, after TT's remake in the last few months of this season, if he doesn't create a solid NBA career for himself. Lot's of assets that can't be learned, and one (between the ears) that can continue to mature.

Freedman Moor 10 years, 4 months ago

I can see Tyshawn playing for George Karl. George Karl has said in the past that he prefers point guards with attitude. Tyshawn demeanor reminds me a little of Gary Payton.

RJ King 10 years, 4 months ago

taller version of the Chris Paul pull up jumper

KansasComet 10 years, 4 months ago

I believe next years team will be one of the best teams ever at KU. I say this because they will be hungry, much like the '08 team. Yes, Robinson and Taylor are gone, but there is so much more coming in. What I like about KU is that we have a Basketball Program. That is something we can all look forward to every year, watching these young men mature and grow.

hawksince51 10 years, 4 months ago

I agree that we will be good next year but do not see much comparison to the '08 team. This team of returning starters, bench and new guys cannot stand up to Arthur, Jackson, Rush, Chalmers, R-Rob, Kaun and Collins. 2008 was a special situation that is not going to be repeated often. But, I do not mean to take anything away form the '12/'13 team which is going to be very good and fun to watch develop.

KansasComet 10 years, 4 months ago

I am saying talented and hungry, just like the '08 team. Not trying to compare individual players.

REHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Young, Wesley, Tharpe, McLemore and Traylor all have logged lots of gametime or practice minutes in the Bill Self system; so it is logical to envision considerable playing time for most, if not all of them. Considering current incoming recruits, Ellis would appear to be a lock for major minutes, once he consumes and digests Bill Self's Xs and Os. His high school transcript, history of winning tradition, and McD's status indicate that he is a player who will be essential to the development of next year's potential. Then toss in the wealth of newcomers with size and promising ceilings, and 2012-13 Jayhawk Basketball appears to be headed toward another very competitive season. The most important, perhaps essential, missing piece might be Danny Manning. At the moment, players and fans probably are more focused on Danny's replacement than anything pertinent to the entire program.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 4 months ago

Jordan Juenemann had logged either lots of gametime or practice minutes in Self's system .. same with Niko Roberts and Christian Garrett.

There is no logic in assuming Wesley gets considerable playing time. Need created Wesley's limited minutes this season. That is, having no one else. That's it. And even with that, there were many games where he didn't play or got 2-3 minutes. He played 12 minutes total in the NCAA tournament. So can we all take a 6 month timeout from even including Wesley in the discussion?

Jordan Juenemann was a better guard than Wesley was a forward. Wesley is an emergency player only -- a practice player -- and should see the court only when we're up by 25 to Fairfield. What I saw from Wesley all season was a guy that had no business on the court for KU.

Another consideration -- if Wesley is playing ahead of Peters, Lucas, or Traylor (unless they strategically redshirt one of the first two), expect one to transfer at Self's urging following the season. That will tell us what we need to know. If all of them aren't ahead of Wesley, they'll have little chance of ever playing as new (and higher rated) talent continues rolls in each season.

REHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Am pleased to generate a forum for your put-down opinions. We shall see how the Wesley project unfolds by January.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 4 months ago

Remember, this same conversation was had last off-season. And we saw how that unfolded with Wesley.

I am always curious in what one sees in a player that I don't ... tell me what you see in Wesley that is contrary to my analysis here. What am I missing? Educate me.

REHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

I've a feeling that even tho I explained it to you, I couldn't understand it for you. To wit, Wesley played minutes for a team which managed to move into the national championship game. Although he might not have gleaned playing time this year if Traylor and Anderson had made the playing roster, the fact is he helped this team move on. He possesses an athletic body which will move into its 3rd year of experience in the Bill Self system. We will see him in action, 2012-13, whether you choose to extend to him the Morningstar treatment or no. Copy and paste. We can talk about this again in January.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 4 months ago

Now that almost a week has gone by since the National Championship, this article made me start thinking about Tyshawn's legacy. We already know T-Rob's jersey will be hanging from the rafters! What about Tyshawn's?

With that said, I wish there was a site or that had updated career stats. This use to be a great site and it's where I reference older individual stats, but it's not current by almost 5 or 6 years.

Hey LJW, any advice or a potential tab in the future on the website that showed all-time stats would be awesome IMO.

With that said, where do you all see Tyshawn in the fold of great point guards since 1985 (Modern Era)? I'll wait to post my list:

It's hard to do this now because I don't know officially where Tyshawn ranks in points, turnovers, assists, steals, and all-time wins. That stuff certainly helps before making a decision.

Kye Clark 10 years, 4 months ago

Well, because Tyshawn is the most recent point guard in fans' memories, I'm sure there will be a tendency to place him higher than maybe he truly belongs. It's a truly difficult task, because Tyshawn wasn't the starting point guard for all four years. Similarly, Sherron wasn't the starting point guard all four years, but at least he was the point guard, not the 2 guard like Tyshawn his first couple of years. And Sherron, while not starting was as important as anyone not named Mario to our '08 Championship. What about Hinrich? He didn't run the point his full 4 years, and wasn't there (PG) when they made their Final Four runs. I think to be truly placed at the top, you have to have a Final Four on your resume. But do we judge Sherron on his role off the bench, or his two years starting? For me, I put Miles at the top. Two Final Fours (including a championship game appearance), an elite 8, and the all-time leader in assists. After that, it's almost too difficult for me to judge. I think Tyshawn probably goes in to the 2-4 group with Hinrich & Collins, with Vaughn rounding out the top 5. RussRob and Adonis Jordan after that. Tough.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 4 months ago

Vaughn doesn't make my Top 5! You have to consider Jordan, Hunter, Miles, Collins, Pritchard, and even Tyshawn in that group! You could also put Hinrich and Russ Rob in that group, but I am inclined to not put Hinrich in that group.

What's interesting is that Vaughn is the only starting point guard along with Ryan Robertson to not make the Final 4 since 1985.

ejlumus 10 years, 4 months ago

Why isn't Jo Jo mentioned? Probably the best point guard and I have seen them all since 1966.

ejlumus 10 years, 4 months ago

Sorry you said 1985 .... thereby eliminating two of the best JoJo White and Darnell Valentine.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, Jo Jo and Darnell are easily probably Top 5 and minimum Top 10 Jayhawks of all-time so that goes without question.

People like to talk "Modern Era" because that seems to be about the time Jayhawk Basketball started it's ressurrection.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

Post 1985 PG? Leaving Darnell out because he played before 1985 seems arbitrary, but I will go along with it, even though I think he would definitely be the first, or second, best for a career.

(Note: Its not hard to leave Jo Jo out, because he played the 2 guard both at KU and for Boston).

Well for four years, it has to be Sherron in my book, then Pritch, because both got the ring one year and a ton of wins; then Miles, especially because how far they went a few times. And Tyshawn can't figure in, because he only played the point two seasons.

But when you get down to one season, then it's got to be Kevin Pritchard. Period.

No one else since '85 gas come close to his numbers for a season since.

Tyshawn was on track to match Pritch until his mega slump down the stretch dragged his trey shooting down from 42% to 38%

Look up Pritchard's last season. It was phenomenal.

I think after Pritchard's big season, you can make a case for all of them. But I would pick Tyshawn for a single season, because he took a thinly talented team such a long way, and because IMHO, Tyshawn was tied for the best defensively with Russell Robinson and he was among the best offensively. When you look down the list of all these point guards, Tyshawn was the only one that made a huge offensive contribution and was such a great defender; that combination makes Tyshawn incredibly special.

I've always thought that when you have a PG that is largely unstoppable on offense, and you ask him to get to the rim regularly, low TOs are worth trading off to get the easy baskets and the dishes to the bigs. I think Tyshawn proved the truth of this two years in a row, once with a talented team when he was making tons of TOs all season trying to learn the position and still won 30+ games, and once when he mastered the position and took a thinly talented team to 30+ wins.

I know most people insist on PGs that make few TOs, but for the guy with unstoppable speed, and a risk taker, to boot, I can take the TOs Tyshawn made this season any year.

And if Tyshawn had not slumped, and KU had ringed, then I was ready to take him over Pritch, or anyone else, for a single season, without question.

Chris Shaw 10 years, 4 months ago

One other thing about Tyshawn, as much grief that he did get over his career with decision making on and off the court, the one thing that seems apparent is that when it officially became "Tyshawn's Team" he did a great job of being a leader and getting everybody involved including BMac and Traylor. I think that may be one of Tyshawn's greatest strengths that many have not noted. His friendly and caring nature, although stubborn as a bull, really did bring a closeness to this team that we haven't seen in a long time.

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 4 months ago

I found myself screaming at TT on the "tube" a lot this season, but the lasting impression of TT will forever be positive to me. So glad he decided to become a Jayhawk!

REHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

...and so glad that Self stuck with him. I screamed along with you, but now bear the same lasting impression. I hope for him the very best future. Will miss his customary chirpy demeanor and smile.

kellerman411 10 years, 4 months ago

I don't know if anyone has ever seen this interview with Bill Self but it is pretty interesting. It took place last fall. He is asked about the possiblity of moving to the NBA and his reaction makes me kind of nervous. "I don't want to say never"

Tony Bandle 10 years, 4 months ago

A reasonable assumption is that Bill Self will be gone to the NBA by the end of the 2018 season [6 more years]. having established his legacy with multiple Final Fours and at least one more National Championship so that at the age of 56 he goes into the NBA with at least a 5 to 10 year window to win an NBA championship................................or not!!!

Come do any of us chuckleheads even have a clue about what's really going to happen!!??

kupark 10 years, 4 months ago

Coach's words mean nothing really. Didn't Roy say he would never leave KU? Remember "I don't give a cr_ap about UNC"? And, then he is suddenly gone!

Btw, any news on the recruits?

I read that we are not in Shabazz's top three and then I read we're in his top 4!

Read that we're no longer in the running with Tony Parker? Is that true?

kellerman411 10 years, 4 months ago

Technically we're still in on both although we're not on Shabazz's short list. He has a total of 5 and then a top 3. Parker on the other hand we could still get. He's waiting to see where Nerlens goes because they are both centers. If Manning wouldn't have left, we would be a lock to land him but I don't know, we'll see I guess.

jayhawkinATL 10 years, 4 months ago

Any truth to the rumor that Parker is lazy and routinely out of shape?

rockchalk_dpu 10 years, 4 months ago

Could someone remind the LJW that McLemore and Traylor could have played the second semester in almost any other conference. The reason they were forced to sit the entire season despite being partial qualifiers is that Texa$ made that a sticking point of the initial Big 12 formation to not allow partial qualifiers. This is not an NCAA rule as the article would have you believe, but rather a conference rule.

At any rate, I'm really excited to see these two come in next year and contribute. I thought our play as a team really improved right about the time they were allowed to practice, and give them a lot of credit for challenging the starters in practice preparing them for a war during games.

JayHok 10 years, 4 months ago

Calipari had several partial qualifiers who attended summer school last summer and became eligible first semester, which surely helped in the push to the national championship. He's good at disguising it by making all freshmen get to campus as soon as possible. The SEC rules help Calipari a lot too because of the lax academic standards of a conference guided by the money made off of elite football talent.

mikehawk 10 years, 4 months ago

First, the talk is focused on talent, and once again, we will be loaded next year and back to issues of minutes to go around. A great problem to have. But, can next year's team, or any team, match the intangible toughness of this group? TRob and TT were the heart and soul of that toughness. Let's hope their biggest legacy is leaving the bar in the area of toughness for future teams to measure themselves. We have a list of years when we exceeded the talent of most D-1 schools, and really none of them, except maybe 08, had the mental toughness of the 2012 one. We will reference them as a comparison on the "toughness quotient"for many years to come.

Second, not much talk about Danny's replacement. KU fans have known for awhile what he brought to the process of making big men great. And his recruiting is rarely mentioned. Here in Oklahoma it would make local sports news when Danny showed up at the gym to recruit Xavier several years back. But it seems it has been predominately this year Danny's contribution, especially with the emergence of Thomas Robinson, his talents as a coach created national sports news attention. Who fills the hole? Some of you close to the situation need to pony up the talk on what you or hearing, even if rumor.

bad_dog 10 years, 4 months ago

I was told by a person I consider a very reliable source (someone with connections to the Athletic Dept.) Norm Roberts will be returning to the coaching staff. Expect an announcement soon.

Gil Ek 10 years, 4 months ago

Anyone think Danny is going out to get experience to be KU's next Head Coach?

okiedave 10 years, 4 months ago

TU is a proving ground for a great coach and not a career job for a great coach. If Danny can produce winning years and win a conference championship or two and get TU to the NCAA's a time or two, he will be summoned to a bigger stage. Frankly, I do not see Self leaving Kansas, even for the NBA, but if it were to occur and KU summoned, Danny would be a Jayhawk again. I do see Boone asking Danny to replace Travis Ford at Okie State if Ford cannot produce a great team with a couple of highly touted freshman coming in. If Roy Williams wears a KU button one more time, I suspect Danny may be summoned to Chapel Hill.

kupark 10 years, 4 months ago

Self and Manning are of similar age so unless Self bolts for NBA in the next five years I don't think Manning becomes a head coach at KU.

AsadZ 10 years, 4 months ago

I am wondering about our non-conf schedule for next year. I know we play Michigan State in Atlanta and we have to play at Ohio State, two very solid opponents. I'd like to see couple of other tough games against major conference opponents.

I strongly believe that playing a tough schedule this year really helped KU team this year. I'd like to see the same next year and on an on-going basis.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

"Some XTReme Long Shot Candidates to Replace Danny"

~Go Short--Mugsy Bogues

~Go Long--Manute Bol on lifts

~Go Thick--Charles Barkley off a diet

~Go Thin--Manute Bol on a diet

~Go Fast--Usain Bolt running through a time machine chasing Catherine Deneuve in her late 20s to early 30s.

~Go Slow--Jabba the Hut after eating 300 lbs. of Tattooine Jawa entrails

~Go Cool--"Gotye singing "Sombody that I Used to Know"

~Go Uncool--Jimmy Kimmel introducing Gotye

(Note: all fiction. No malice.)

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

"Thinking about the Perimeter Again After Self's Comments in the Story Above"

Yesterday I posted that I hoped Self would play Perry Ellis at the 3 next season, go through the growing pains early, and by late season return the three to an over powering MUA for the first time since BRush and Xavier (though Xavier never seemed to destroy opposing 3s with his defense the way Rush, or Kidd-Gilchrist could).

I posted thus, because it was no fun watching Travis Releford, just about as athletic and strong and sound of a defending 3 as one could hope for out of a combo guard, get overpowered by Michael Kidd-Gillchrist. I noted that Brady Morningstar, another stellar defending, not so strong, but 40% shooting combo guard also got overpowered eventually in each tournament he had to play in.

Its great to have guys stretching the defense with trey guns, but I just don't think these combo guards can ultimately get it done at the 3, when the BRush and Kidd-Gilchrist types cross your path in the Madness.

I advocated a perimeter of:

1 EJ 2 TRavis 3 Perry Ellis

and using BenMac as an awesome 30 minute sixth man at both the 2 and 3 a la Darius Miller on Kentucky, only more so.

But Self's comments above about Ben Mac make clear that he ain't listening to me about BenMac; that he is going to start Ben Mac at the 2 and that Travis is in for another go round of trying to be a combo 3. This will work fabulously well...until we run into next season's Kidd-Gilrchrist in the Madness....then it won't.

Again, if Travis and Brady cannot make this combo 3 gig work over a period of several years. I don't see it happening next year either.

And if Self doesn't have enough bigs in Jeff, Kevin, Justin, Zack, Landon, and maybe even Tony Parker, to take the plunge and play Perry at the 3, then I am ready to concede once and for all that if you are 6-8, or over, at KU, for Bill Self, you are going to play 4, or 5, for all 4 years. Fini.

The only other possible interpretation I can come up with is this:

1 EJ 2 BenMac 3 Perry

and Travis becomes the 30mpg 6th man at the 2 and 3.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

Part Two

Asking a senior to step back to 6th man is hardly unprecedented for Self. Self asked Brady to step back his junior season for Xavier, and his senior season for Josh Selby, a flipping PG he decided to play at the 3, because Josh could ding the triangle!

But here is the thing about Travis: he is an awesome defender. And he is tough as nails. And he is proven goods. And he can get up and go to iron with anyone. And he's apt to get quite a lot better next season with a full year under his belt on the wood. You'd think he has to start him.

But Self learned a painful lesson in that National championship game that had been an underlying nagging problem that he had hoped would correct itself eventually.

Be big and strong everywhere and everyone's got to be able to shoot.

EJ and Travis are not good enough outside shooters to stretch a defense. EJ shot just 34% for the season on 209 attempts. And it was when he wasn't having to be the point. He could easily shoot worse, when he has point guard duties. Travis shot just 33%, when he wasn't being asked to shoot much at all. He could shoot worse if more burden is placed on his trey. In Travis' defense, he was playing injured most of the time, so he might, as Tyshawn did, improve two percentage points, from playing with an injury to playing without, so that might get Trav up to 35%, but that's still not good enough.

And Self saw the first, or second best big man in the country in TRob triple teamed most of the season as a result. And Self had a footer that just kept getting better and better and when he got the ball, he was getting doubled!

Had KU had two 40% trey shooters in the house, TRob's and Jeff's offensive production would have exploded.

Self almost certainly is done with not having credible offense stretchers starting, if he can help it.

Self loves defense as much as anyone, but to get a stop and then have to go down and try to score off the low block with three guys hanging on a big every trip has to have cured even Self of the low-percentage trey shooters.

So: yes, it is almost certain that if BenMac can guard his own shadow, he is likely to start. My big concern is that at 6-5 and only 185, if he plays the 3, he is too light, and if he plays the two and Trav plays the 3, then Trav is too small to guard a Kidd-Gilchrist.

Andrew White is 6-6. can supposedly shoot the trey, but there is no indication that he is a freshman of a caliber capable of contending with a Kidd-Gillchrist.

So: I keep coming back to Perry. Can he shoot the trey at 40%?

If yes, then he's got to be the starting 3.

If no, then next season, we are going to be a better shooting perimeter because of BenMac, but we are still going to be too small on there perimeter to hang with the big boys.

Kye Clark 10 years, 4 months ago

To me this is a clear over-reaction to the UK game. KU made it all the way to the title game, with a thin bench, played it to single digits and had a shot in the closing minutes, against one of the better national championship teams in recent memory, and you decide Travis at the 3 isn't good enough? I disagree. Don't even get me started on bringing Brady's tournament shortcomings into the discussion as...I'm not even sure what it was supposed to be. Proof that Travis can't get the job done? Evidence that Self's system is flawed?

Let me put it another way: do we agree that this KU team would have wiped the floor with either Butler or UConn in last year's championship game? What about Duke or Butler the year before? I think KU wins that game hands down as well. My argument here is that you are not going to run into that kind of talent the UK team had, where it had MUAs all over the floor, year in, year out. Maybe once every 5 years. And in those years you are just dealt the hand you get and try and make the best of it. Maybe in one of those years KU can be that team. But it is not next year. Self may well phase Perry in at the 3. But it should not be next year.

First of all, as I have stated before, we do not see Self playing these hybrid 3/4s at the 3 straight out of high school. He didn't with Julian, he didn't with Marcus. Why? First because generally these players come out of high school with a primary skill set of playing in the post. These kids, at 6'8"-6'9" are usually among the tallest, if not the tallest, kids on their high school teams and often on their AAU teams as well. They may be given free reign to showcase their perimeter talents for the next level on occasion, as TRob was allowed to this season to enhance his NBA profile, but by in large they live in the post. It would be remarkably difficult to undo that and create an effective perimeter 3 from one of these players in their freshman year. The second reason: quickness. More times than not the seasoned 3s at the D-1 level are going to be far too quick for these guys to guard. As much as I am excited to see Perry play & develop, I don't believe he is so good that he can jump ahead of the learning curve to develop into a top-flight 3 man in his freshman year.

Kye Clark 10 years, 4 months ago

(cont.) However, let's suppose Perry could master the 3 next season. There are other reasons for not playing him there right out of the box. The most glaring is the personnel surrounding him. As you have stated, we have Releford & BMac, and playing Perry at the 3 means one of them comes off the bench. You say one could be an "awesome 30 mpg sixth man." Self has had some great bench players in his time here. Sherron being the most notable, as he was almost a de facto starter. TRob last season would be another example. Has Self ever played a non-starter 30 mpg over the course of the season? Or anywhere close to 30 mpg? No. It's just not possible to cram that many minutes into a bench player. So relegating either Travis or BMac to the bench drops them to best case 23-24 mpg. Cutting 6-7 minutes of playing time from one of your 5 best players is an eternity. And what have you cut those minutes for? To get someone who is bound to be a significant drop-off from Perry at the 4 onto the court so you can attempt to create a mismatch with Perry at the 3. Given Withey's offensive limitations I don't see how we can survive not having a significant scoring presence opposite him in the post. To me you have sacrificed too much and it is not a net-positive.

The only way it would work is if Peters is really a legit top 20 talent and can carry the scoring load in the post and Perry is, as you say, a 40% trey shooter. I don't believe Perry can shoot that well, at least not at any kind of significant volume. Maybe he could in the limited sample size TRob had this year (where he shot 50%), but that isn't the same as having someone out there that you can count on to pot 3-4/game.

Now, I would like to see Perry phased in at the 3 eventually. My concern is that he gets stuck in the post. We lose Withey after this year, and other than Perry (and again, maybe Peters if we are to believe Self's praise) there does not appear to be anyone ready to take up the mantle of dominant big man. And after a year behind Travis, Andrew White should be ready to assume the starting role at the 3. So what is likely to happen? Perry sees the same spot duty at the 3 over the next 3-4 years that Marcus did. Which for Perry wouldn't be too bad. Marcus was able to parlay that into a lottery selection. But the goal should be to be better than Marcus. Lofty goal, but that should be where the bar is set. And more to the point, that is the only way I see Self putting him at the 3 - if he becomes so good that Self can't afford not to play him there.

Regardless of Perry's career arc, I reject the notion that Travis at the 3 is too small to win at the highest levels...most years. I'm not saying I am expecting a national championship next season, but assuming we don't win it all I don't think it will be because we didn't play big enough.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

ict, I do not see an over-reaction to the UK game in my POV.

Rather it is a rational assessment covering a 3-4 year accumulation of watching Brady and Travis man the 3 and guard big and small guys on the heels of Brandon Rush, with brief interludes of Xavier and Josh.

Brady and Travis brought two sides of the same short-3 coin. Both were superb defenders that were usually assigned to an opponent's best perimeter offender. Both had great success at shutting down such players. Brady even had success shutting down a 6'7" outside shooter on Arizona, who has gone on to play in the NBA. The guys was not terribly athletic and Brady used the up and under strategy crowding him hard.

Brady could trifcetate at 40% and Travis was 34%. Travis could muscle and Brady could not. Both could play the the 3 and play on team's that could win 30+ games with draft choices in the paint and first or second or no rounders at the point.

But when the whistles got put away in the Madness, both players sooner, or later, ran into opposing 3s that were too long and strong for them. 6-3 and 185 is not long and strong enough. 6-5 and 210 is not long and strong enough, even though I thought it would be.

What round of the Madness these long and strong 3s destroy our combo 3s depends on our seed and theirs, and varies year to year.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

And it only matters in degree to distinguish between Brady, at 6-3, and Travis at 6-5. At 6-5, Travis has the whammy on guys Brady's size, or shorter.

But the 6-6 to 6-7 three position players at 220-225 clearly have the whammy on Travis.

The problem with Kentucky was not how good its bigs were. It was how long and strong its 2 and 3 position players were.

And if Self tries to keep EJ at the 2, he is basically asking for a strong-only version of the same problem. EJ's length is okay at the 2, but his strength and weight just cannot contend with the moving picks and the long and strong 2s like Lamb. He will, as Tyshawn did, even have some trouble at the point with these.

So: I have to respectfully disagree here.

Gotta get longer and stronger at the 3 and got to get stronger at the 2.

If we were only losing to the UKs of the world because of this problem, what I am saying might be viewed as an overreaction. But I am saying all of our outs since Rush have involved a lack of strength and length at the 3. And the one time we've had length and strength at the 3 with Xavier, he was slow coming around and appeared to sand bag on defense, so we did not get the full benefit of his NBA body at the 3...and so went out then too.

The game keeps changing, because the refs keep allowing more and more new forms of contact each year.

The big change this season was spread of the moving screen by wide ranging bigs and brawny wing men.

Allowing the moving screen heavily favors ball screen offenses like Cal's.

Defensively, the only way to deal with moving picks away from the ball and in ball screens is to get longer and stronger, both to muscle through the moving screen, and also to cover the longer and stronger perimeter players on opposing offenses.

Brady and Travis were completely adequate to win 30 games with with draft choices at point and in the paint.

But to take all the marbles, we've got to get bigger at the 3, and the 3 needs to be able to shoot 40% from trey, unless the PG and 2 guard both can.

REHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

A few huge IFs. If Travis could accept and adjust to the swingman role, coming off the bench for 28 minutes of relief at the 2 and 3 positions. If Perry can move the feet and acclimate quickly enough to master reliable defense at the 3. If one or two of our other bigs can be productive at the 4. If Kevin grows into a solid highly productive statistical machine who can find a way to play 18-20 minutes of relief, much of it probably at the 4. It would appear that Perry Ellis is designed to play best at the 3 position; but can he adjust defensively to man that starting position his first year in the program? Then we have the point guard situation to consider. Will Naadir progress to the point that he can provide 14+ minutes of relief for EJ? Next year's squad will be in dire need of Andrea Hudy's magicianship. At this stage of her tenure in the program, athletes striving for an edge are fully aware that she is a reliable differencemaker. I'm wagering that Bill Self and Co. have recruited athletes who will buy into the available training facilities from the getgo. Whether Bill Self brings in more recruits or not, the Jayhawk roster is already loaded with potential sound backups at every position. Fitting the pieces for maximum performance will be challenging for the staff, intriguing for fans to view and debate.

BillSelf4Prez 10 years, 4 months ago

Who knows what's the outcome of the title game would've been if we had had BMac and Traylor.... still not over this loss..

KULA 10 years, 4 months ago

I find it hard to get excited about Traylor's ranking of 141 (about as close as you can get to being unranked). Especially in Bill's system, in which TRob couldn't get off the bench his first season. LJW has a way of hyping any player who commits (Anderson?) like he's the second coming of Drew Gooden. I'm expecting something more like Quintrell Thomas. I don't expect Traylor to make much of a contribution next year with the team we have in place. Maybe in two or three years...

REHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

So...Self might still be searching for that 4 man who can walk into his program to affect the game significantly right out of the chute next season. If that should occur, we are loaded at the 3 position, with Releford, Ellis, Young.

Steve Kubler 10 years, 4 months ago

Off topic, but I found this list amusing. Please note that not a single player on the list comes from KU.

Ndf Moore 10 years, 4 months ago

Anyone else notice that the Twitter photo is the trio and Game?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.