Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Self: Jayhawks need to go back to basics

Kansas coach Bill Self takes an iPhone picture of his team in front of the Eiffel Tower before a Seine River dinner cruise on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Paris.

Kansas coach Bill Self takes an iPhone picture of his team in front of the Eiffel Tower before a Seine River dinner cruise on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Paris.



Kansas coach Bill Self takes an iPhone picture of his team in front of the Eiffel Tower before a Seine River dinner cruise on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Paris.


Kansas players Rio Adams, Milt Doyle and Travis Releford sit in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in Paris.


Kansas center Jeff Withey, left, laughs while talking with KU fan Bob Moore of Wichita before a Seine River dinner cruise on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Paris.

— Kansas University coach Bill Self said he had one main takeaway from his team’s four-game European tour: That his team — at least right now — isn’t very good.

“Sometimes, you get a false sense of who you are by playing against each other,” Self said. “Playing against other people put a totally different spin on it that shows us there’s a lot of work to be done.”

That doesn’t mean the 10th-year coach thinks his team won’t improve between now and November.

“Don’t get me wrong. We’re going to be good,” Self said. “But there’s a lot of preparation, a lot of work that has to go into us being good. The old guys have got to teach the young guys, and the young guys have got to grow up.”

The Jayhawks spent their final full day in Paris on Monday, walking through the Louvre Museum before taking part in a dinner cruise on the Seine River.

KU is scheduled to leave Paris early this morning before arriving back in Lawrence late in the afternoon.

Self said one focus going forward would be to work on the basics.

“We’ve got to improve our skill level — dribbling and passing. Very evident that it’s not very high with our newcomers,” Self said. “ ... To me, I think we need to get back to work, get back to being who we are, and that’s got to be a very tough-minded, physical, aggressive basketball team, which right now, we’re not.

“But I didn’t anticipate us being that way. We’ve only practiced 10 times. I can’t be mad at them for what they don’t know.”

The Jayhawks averaged 24 turnovers in the four games, and in three of the contests, they gave it away 26 times or more.

“We just need to calm down,” KU freshman forward Landen Lucas said. “I feel like we’re rushing everything, especially me. I’m rushing every time I catch the ball down near the hoop.”

Lucas has talked with fellow freshman Zach Peters, who also admitted that he was trying to put up shots too quickly.

“It might just be a mental thing,” Lucas said. “Whatever it is, it’s something I’m going to get in the gym and work on. It’s something that’s never really happened to me, so I’m trying to adjust.”

KU freshman Andrew White believed before the trip that he’d have a list of things to work on once it was over.

That ended up being the case.

“It was a big eye-opener, just playing against men, getting used to the speed and adjustment,” White said. “Even though the court and ball were different, (we’re) getting used to making adjustments — just learning how to play basketball at such a high level. This is a great experience for me.”

White, who led KU with an 11-point scoring average in the four games, said the exhibition games confirmed that he needs improvement on his offensive footwork and also his ability to create his own shot.

Defensively, the guard wants to develop quicker feet to be able to slide while keeping his hands out wide — a skill that would allow him to better use his length and long wingspan.

“We’ve just got to stick together and feed off what coach tells us,” White said. “He knows how to make this team we have right now great, because he’s done it every year.”

Lucas said he wasn’t discouraged by his team’s losses; both came to AMW Team France, a squad made up of professional players in the country.

“We have a good team with a lot of potential, but potential needs a lot of work on it,” Lucas said. “I think it was good for us, because if we didn’t learn this until later on — more towards the season when we’re a couple games from playing Michigan State or something — then we’re in a lot more trouble than we are in now.

“But I know coach is going to work us hard. That’s why we came here. We don’t take losing very lightly.”

As far as sightseeing goes, Self called the trip “unbelievable.”

The coach even pulled out his iPhone to shoot pictures of his team in front of the Eifflel Tower before Monday’s cruise in Paris.

“This is a great place to be. Switzerland was great,” Self said. “We didn’t practice over here, so there’s no way we could look good. But still yet, we’re at Kansas, a place that never loses back-to-back games, so that shouldn’t happen either.

“We’ll take some good things from it."


Jay Dogger 10 years ago

Obviously I come from a different point of view than Coach Self, but here are my thoughts:

I was relieved that Tharpe looked pretty good.

I was bummed that McLemore didn't play much.

I was happy about White and Ellis playing pretty decent.

I was surprised Peters did so well.

I hoped for a bit more our of Lucas.

I expected more out of the seniors, though Young was more solid than I thought he would be at the end of last season.

I think Adams, Doyle, Traylor & Wesley will need a full season to get much floor time.

I'm really glad the team got that trip and those ten practices. And I bet the bonding will help. The memories will last a life time.


Steve Quatrocky 10 years ago

Ten Practices AND a Big Lesson for the Freshmen. Pulling the Seniors and letting the Freshmen get shredded by French Pros, for a second loss in a row, sets the expectation that back to back losses arent acceptable at KU, and showing them that talent isnt enough to get you minutes or a win at this level.

The way he announced it in advance, set them up for the BIG Lesson, you all still have a lot of work to do to just play at this level so keep your egos in check and work your behinds off on individual drills and unorganized practices between now, the end of your vacation, and the start of the real season practices.

He always does the right thing at the right time with an eye on the end goal, thats why he is the best coach in NCAA Basketball! He does more with less than any of the other top coaches because players actually develop and get better, not just play.

wyansas 10 years ago

ooo a dinner cruise on the seine was probably pretty awesome.

jhox 10 years ago

Number 1 on my wish list would have to be Randle. Supposedly Kentucky has a big lead, but I could see this team being in the National Championship hunt next year with him on the roster. But we also badly need an elite point guard. I'm pretty confident Frankamp won't primarily be a point guard.

Jack Wilson 10 years ago

I kind of wonder if Self sees Frankamp as a point guard type. Some here have expressed concerns with his height/size -- if he was anything other than a point guard. I tend to agree there. Not as much offensively as defensively. I keep envisioning a guy Frankamp's size trying to guard a 6-3ish Tyshawn Taylor type, let alone a 6-4 or 6-5 shooting guard.. Doesn't seem like a good matchup. But then again, there are smaller shooting guard types that tend to do fine, and it works within a defensive scheme .. Missouri last season was pretty small on the perimeter.

As you know .. I think this being the premise of your post .. Self identified that the team needed to sign a point guard in the class of 2013 to take EJ's place. He made this comment after Frankamp and Greene committed. He identified needing a post player and a point guard. Here's the quote: “We’re just trying to get the best players, period. We got a couple of commitments, but we need a big and a point guard to go with what we have,” Self said. “We’re excited about what we have. If we can get another great player, that’d be a bonus,” Self said. “We are trying to get the best players possible. We do need an inside presence that could obviously replace Jeff (Withey), and a point guard to replace Elijah (Johnson) would be great.”

I think I'd agree with you .. that we don't absolutely need a point guard (Barber/Jackson) if Frankamp can fill that role. It actually surprised me to hear Self say "point" guard, with all the talk over the years about combo guards.

But what do you make of Self's comments related to needing a point guard? It seems to me that Self sees that as a priority. And if so, why .. if Frankamp could fill that role?

I'm with you on Shepherd.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

I think HCBS hopes Conner will be the PG from day 1. Smart, skills and a winner. NOTHING against Reed or Morningstar (who played well above what a lot of us thought) but Conner is a far more skillful player and who better than Self to mold him to play Jayhawk ball.

White is going to be a monster at KU. Motivated and aggressive. Good combo.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

I think he will be a far better overall player but Page deserves his dues. 100% all the time..that's all you can ask for.

Jeff Schartz 10 years ago

I think that bill wants Barber at the 1 spot, and Frankamp at the 2. Coach loves having good ball handlers on the the floor. It increases our defensive ability, and decreases our turnovers.

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

No "in between" guys? As in, "sophomores and juniors"? You mean like Tharpe (So.), Wesley (Jr.), Roberts (Jr.) and Garrett (So.)???

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

I think Wesley still has a small chance to see the court this season. It's only August, and Self isn't going to relegate Wesley to "practice player only" just yet. He's got a lot of competition though, that's for sure.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

Okay, maybe we should throw the team mascot in there, a Jr I believe. Only 2 will get minutes that count. All are valuable but most of Roberts and Garrett's contributions will be busting a** in practice.

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

Nyuck, nyuck. The fact that 2 of them are mainly going to be practice players doesn't mean they don't exist.

Doug Cramer 10 years ago

Jaydogger - completely agree. Man I can't wait to see Francamp playing in that KU unie.

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

Actually, as exhibition games, they don't really count at all.

Robert Brock 10 years ago

Self is going after Barber and Jackson because he likes PGs that are hyper-fast and can push the ball down the court and can defend super-athletic opposing PGs. I expect him to land one of the two.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

Conner will be our #1 PG. We need more help in the frontcourt.

Ron Franklin 10 years ago

Self is a head-game specialist. We see this every year, and it continues to work.

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

Yup. Most of the stuff he says to the media seems like not-so-cryptic messages to his players.

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

Here is the formula;

{August x 10 freshman}/4 seniors x Bill Self +1 regular season = A scary team in March.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

Agree but think next year will even be better. Back to Back?

Kyle Sybesma 10 years ago

I live in Denver and on this mornings local sports radio the question came up of "Who should be the next U.S. Olympic coach?" One dismissed Doc Rivers and all NBA coaches because of the contracts and business aspect of it. No to Rick Pitino. No to Jim Boeheim. Joel Klatt, former CU quarterback, suggested Bill Self. He thought NBA players would work hard for him. I like it.

beware0fph0g 10 years ago

It was said on a separate article about how tall our team is...but jeebus. Look at that picture above. You can barely see both Withey and Peters in the background. It may be due to the angle of the shot, but regardless, that is a tall team.

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

What a bunch of crap...there's no way CBS would allow the NCAA to put Kansas and Kentucky in the same regional much less the same side of the draw.

It's all about the buck$, baby, and the buck$ are in a KU/UK Champion$hip rematch!!

Note: This comment is worth about as much as Lunardi's bracketology...which is nothing!!!!

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

Back in my day, we used to have to walk 15 miles uphill both ways to go sightseeing in Paris! rabble, rabble, rabble

kufaninmo 10 years ago

pretty good story!

gotta say though i haven't been on kusports in awhile, have the ads here always been so 'porn-ish'?? filipino cupid? "we want YOUNG men"? wth?

notjustbread 10 years ago

Let them roll how they feel comfortable in their own skin.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

lol..pretty much like the web in general. No need to block pop-ups when they are already included on the site. It's all about the $$$.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

My final thought..wins and losses were not nearly as important as a young team bonding to become more than just a group of talented guys. Egos need to checked..the team comes first and what a great opportunity HCBS has provided.

John Randall 10 years ago

This just scares the crap out of me!

" back to basics " " lot of work to be done " " too many turnovers " " no defense at all " " young guys aren't ready " " need to be aggressive " " not physical enough "

When has HCBS ever talked like this before a season even started ???

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