Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Self’s test this year: give KU guards options


Interchangeable guards capable of initiating and leading the offense have been as much a part of Bill Self’s tenure as Kansas University basketball coach as sarcastic one-liners and 30-win seasons.

Having Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins on the same team meant Self always had two point guards on the floor on the 2008 national-championship team.

Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson, both hybrid guards, led Kansas all the way to the 2012 national-title game.

Outlet passers didn’t have to search for just the right guy to lead the break. They had options.

Self’s 10th Kansas team features a deep frontcourt stocked with skilled big men, athletic bodies, shot-blockers, bangers and shooters.

It’s in the backcourt where this edition will have a different look than his last seven teams.

“We’ve got some talented kids back there, but getting the pieces to fit, it’s a lot easier making the pieces fit if you’re playing with two point guards than it is when you’re playing maybe with half a point guard,” Self said. “To put our best team out there right now, you’re looking at a team that’s not a great ballhandling and passing team. There’s going to be some pressure on Elijah to play well this year.”

It’s not too difficult to find reasons to believe Johnson will be up to the task. He’s a blur leading the break, has a good feel for where the ball should go, has a nice passing touch and limits careless turnovers.

After that, when looking at the likely starting five of Johnson, Ben McLemore, Travis Releford, Perry Ellis and Jeff Withey, it’s a little unsettling to try to identify the second-best ballhandler.

“It’s probably Travis,” Self said. “But Ben’s getting better. But that’s the whole thing, we’ve always had guys who can make plays out there. Even on our championship team, we had three point guards out of our four perimeter players.”

Taylor had his wild moments, but he had Johnson’s steadying influence on which he banked.

“Those two combined were terrific,” Self said. “When you’re taking Tyshawn out of the equation, and adding Ben as far as playing the majority of the minutes, you gain so much in maybe shooting and size and that kind of stuff, but you do lose that guy who can just break a defense down and go make a play. That’s why Elijah has to get better and I think he will.”

Sophomore Naadir Tharpe and talented but wild freshman Anrio Adams will push for time backing up Johnson and at times playing alongside him.

“Right now if I was nervous about a position, it would be our point-guard play, just because it’s not as natural for Elijah, Naadir’s unproven and Anrio’s never done it,” Self said.

Naturally, Self’s ever-intense mind is pondering ways to maximize the efficiency of a backcourt that, at least compared to most of his, has an unconventional makeup.

“We don’t really change much how we play, but we tweak a lot more than what people think,” he said. “In the past, I didn’t care who fed the post. Now we might have to set it up where Elijah’s the one feeding the post, much like we did with Aaron Miles because we had a similar type situation with Aaron, Keith (Langford) and J.R. (Giddens). You know, it’s kind of similar.”

Self will do more than reflect on those days. He and assistants Joe Dooley, Norm Roberts, Kurtis Townsend and director of operations Doc Sadler will look closely at what worked well when having one primary ballhandler instead of two on the floor.

“We’ll go back and look at some of that film to see how we utilized putting Aaron in as many positions as possible to finish the plays,” Self said. “We haven’t had to play that way lately, but I could see us doing it more this year.”

They’ll figure out a way to make Kansas a top five team, but along the way will look sloppy at times, throwing the ball away before it gets into the hands of a powerful dunker or a shooter with a soft touch.


741hawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Alot of copy . . . very little communication.

hawk316 9 years, 8 months ago

Seriously, 741? I thought it was an interesting and informative article.

VailHawk 9 years, 8 months ago

He doesn't trust Naadir...yet. But Russell Robinson got the hook his freshman year every time he turned it over, too. But he stuck it out and started (from NEW YORK NEW YORK!) on a national title team.

Phil Leister 9 years, 8 months ago

Keegan, I'm proud of you. You managed to write a half-way decent article.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

First, solid piece, Keegan. Covers a significantly important topic for this team, and gives some good insight into Self's feelings on it. Nice work.

Second, “'It’s probably Travis,' Self said."

Uh, if Travis is our second best ball-handler.... yikes. That's no offense to Travis. He adds a TON to this team in many ways. But if he's our second best ball-handler...... um.... yikes.

Phil Leister 9 years, 8 months ago

I thought the same thing regarding Travis.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

In context, it was that Travis was the second best ball-handler of the projected starting 5 .. EJ, McLemore, Releford, Ellis, and Withey. Not second best on the team. Just a guess, but Tharpe may be a bit better with the ball than Releford. Adams too.

But it is a bit odd that McLemore is apparently so weak with the ball.

KGphoto 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm not sure it means Ben is weak. Travis can handle the ball, he just doesn't take advantage of it enough. Do you remember the sick spin move, in the lane, off the break in the tourney last year? I don't remember who we were playing but I have it on DVR. Maybe NC State. Travis blew me away with that one. Total control.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

KG: There is a huge difference between Travis, and a real ballhandler. Releford is just adequate with the ball. That doesn't mean he can't slash, spin, etc. But stick him in the open court with Phil Pressey, for example, in his jock .. it's a different world in open space. "Weak with the ball" is in comparison to what we've been used to out of our 2 spot, which is significantly better than Releford (and thus McLemore).

KGphoto 9 years, 8 months ago

Fair enough, but IMHO, Travis is better than you think. He has never been asked to break the press-ey, so we don't really know yet. Certainly it must be something Self is stressing with him in practice.

And I disagree that being able to slash and spin isn't somewhat attached to one's ability to handle it in the open court. He's a gifted athlete and a 5th year senior being coached by the best. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he'll be more than serviceable when called on. As good as last year? No. But it doesn't mean we are totally hamstrung either.

Freedman Moor 9 years, 8 months ago

Dude, I agree. "Adequate" is the best term. That's basically saying that he can, but shouldn't be the first option. In between the three-point lines (especially behind the 10-second line) is where true ball-handlers are needed. Neither Releford or McLemore fit that mold. McLemore (in college) may even be limited outside of 18-feet. I watched some of his highschool tapes. He's a tall guy that bounces high. Not good.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, I did mean that comment in context. Obviously, the backup PGs should be much better handling the ball than GHOST, but I was going along the concept of Self's combo guard subject of this piece. It'll definitely be out of the ordinary to Self's system to have only one guy on the floor (usually) that has PG level ball-handling skills. I think they'll work it out just fine, honestly, but it'll be a different look for sure.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 8 months ago

I thought Travis would surprise a bit more last year, but he was taking queues from TT and TRob. He's pretty solid at passing into the post which is big in Self's offense, but hopefully this year he's a little more adept at putting it on the floor as well. When you're playing against the other team's SF it can be easier to bring it up the floor though plenty of SF's have quick hands. Have to think a 5th year, FF guy like TRel can handle the pressure of being on the floor better than a lot of younger players as well. BMac will most likely struggle with that at times this season. I think Self knows he's got a solid backup PG in Tharpe. It'd be nice if EJ can stay out of foul trouble most games, but I think Self will be comfortable with Tharpe pretty early in the season. Adams is a wildcard Self can throw in if he's really missing the days of TT attacking the defense.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

jhwksrock: Respectully, I think you are missing the point on this one. Releford is not a ball handler. He did "great with the ball" in a supplemental role - helping when the main ballhandlers are pressured. He is not an EJ or a TT, or a Tharpe. Releford on the floor as your number 2 ball handler make you very susceptible to pressure, and can limit your ability in the open floor. It has a huge impact on the game. think of it this way .. basically you're substituting a worse ball handler than Releford (McLemore) for your best (TT). That is huge.

KGphoto 9 years, 8 months ago

Just because Self named him, possibly, the second best of the starting five, doesn't mean he will be counted on as the #2 ball handler most of the time. TT and EJ certainly weren't always on the floor together last year, and we managed to find a way to avoid pressure and run the floor. Also, for much of the year I wouldn't exactly have called TT our best ball handler. In fact I lovingly tabbed him TT11 until he broke out and started taking care of it.

BigBlue4KU 9 years, 8 months ago

Remember, though, opposing teams had to guard Tyshawn and EJ. Releford probably got the 3rd best perimeter defender. This year Releford, if he is our second best ballhandler, will be up against a much better defender. I've always thought that Coach Self worked the match-ups as well as anyone and his multiple ballhandlers often put opposing teams at a real disadvantage. His best teams have always had two solid ballhandlers, even at Illinois and Tulsa. Keegan's point is well-taken, when Self coached teams have to rely on a primary interior passer, they struggle. That being said, there is a lot of potential in this perimeter group. I'll bet by the conference season we'll see improvement in a lot of the guard play. Coach Self is a champion. He teaches championship ball. I can't wait to watch the improvement!

KGphoto 9 years, 8 months ago

So are you changing your avatar to Relly?

LAJayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Let me give a comparison so my comment will be a little more clear. Imagine the '08 team without Sherron and RussRob (and, again, I'm talking in context of the starting 5, and, yes, I realize Sherron didn't start, but he was a future All-American on the bench... just go with me here for a minute). What you have is Mario as your PG and Rush as the second best ball-handler on the floor. That is a very fair comparison to what we have this year. EJ and Mario are fairly equivalent with the ball, EJ maybe being slightly better. And Travis and Rush are also very similar in that regard. It certainly doesn't mean the end of the world, but it does dramatically change strategy. We're at a disadvantage with ball pressure, but we're at an advantage when an opposing player at 6-1 or 6-2 has to guard Travis inside the arc. Self has to adjust his system to compensate for all of that. I think they'll succeed, but it's a little scary and it'll probably be a bit of a bumpy ride for a bit.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 8 months ago

With our stronger and more balanced play at the 3 and 4, I think we'll see more aggressive, "come to the ball" scenarios than in the past. This will minimize the sloppy passing and could result in less emphasis on guards dominating plays as when we had more talent at those spots. EJ is very capable distributing the ball. But, he hasn't been as proficient so far to put the team on his back. We now have a ton of options down low and will shift to their strengths for our success this season. What irony, Danny being gone this year and we have the best incoming forward class in a very long time. This is where we'll see just how valuable HCBS truly is. He'll compensate for the experience Danny brought and will shine in his new emphasis on the post players.

Robin Smith 9 years, 8 months ago

Agreed, yet, he still needs to get in rhythm with the endings of his articles. This one could have used one or two more sentences in the final paragraph to conclusively wrap things up. He just doesn't seem to have the feel, though, both rhythmically and in content, for when the piece is complete.

Phoghorn 9 years, 8 months ago

I don't know what is more annoying, the word "skeds" or the phrase "Kansas University".

Phoghorn 9 years, 8 months ago

Katie bar the door if Calipari skeds a game at Kansas University.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 8 months ago

Remember two years ago when they couldn't even run a fast break.

That's where we are headed if Trav is our second best ball handler.

ParisHawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Interesting article and discussion. Breaking things down a bit:

Coach Self addresses specifically feeding the post. EJ can do that, so can Travis.

He talks about the ability to "break a defense down and go make a play." How many times have we had 3 of those guys, or even 2? EJ is going to have to step up. Travis can step up some. Ben et al. may get a chance.

Others mention the fast break. Yes, outlet passers are going to have to look for EJ - when he's on the court.

HEM mentions pressure. That is a serious potential weak spot. The team can compensate as they did last year by spacing all over the court and passing the ball up. They may not be able to attack the pressure but should be able to limit turnovers.

Different problems, different solutions - all of which involve EJ playing mucho minutes...

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

"The Use of Talent During the End of Fouling"

Part 1

Everyone anticipated a guard shortage, and too many bigs since last April.

My solution from the moment Ellis was signed was:

a) Ellis at the 3;

b) Travis at the 2;

c) stop playing the high-lo;

d) start playing Wooden's old UCLA high post with Withey at 18-23 feet top of circle;

e) Ellis and Young on opposing low wings;

f) EJ and Travis out front in a tandem guard set;

g) Ben subbing Travis, Travis sliding over to sub Young;

h) Zack, Justin and Landon subbing Jeff:

i) Zach subbing Ellis; and

j) Naadir and Rio subbing Elijah ever so briefly.

The idea out of the blocks is to score out of the low wings Ellis and Johnson, two players with frequent MUA on offense, and score inside and outside with EJ and Travis. More specifically, use Jeff's soft touch to draw their post man out to the free throw line. Then use Perry and Young to score under their postmen by using which ever of Perry and Young holds the most MUA to overpower their man by putting it on the floor and taking it to the rim in isolations. Quickly foul up the opponents bigs and then destroy them with isolations. Whenever the subs enter (and either Travis or Ben moves to the low wing), shift primary points of attack to Ben and Travis and use poor shooting substitute bigs to screen for the 2 and 4.

This is a much more fitting and effective use of existing talent, than the hi-lo, because it creates 3 full time slots for the 6-7 bigs he has, eliminates the need for feeding a post, a talent most of his perimeter players lack, and so minimizes the amount of ball handling skill he needs at each of only two full time guard slots to fill.

Any competent high school coach could figure this one out.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Part 2

It also takes light and slender Jeff out of the paint on offense and so preserves him from constant, pointless beatings he will take inside in the hi-lo. It will avoid him wasting his energy trying to keep from constantly being pushed off the low block and so saves Jeff for the defensive end of the floor, where he is truly exceptional. On the offensive end of the floor, it makes the most of his height for offensive rebounding by putting him always in a position to crash in and use his 7-0 reach, rather than having to use his light weight to to squat and block out for position before attacking and jumping.

Again this is all mastery of the obvious.

This would be the toughest scheme for opponents to guard for these reasons:

1) Without a post clogging the middle, Elijah, a potentially terrific player with lots of experience, becomes a threat to penetrate anywhere on the floor, so they have to keep their best perimeter man on him, and someone hedging toward him to stop his penetrations;

2) Again, without a post man in the middle, Travis, a potentially fabulous get to the rim man against any two guard (he could physically overwhelm every two guard he will meet this season), can slash from anywhere on the floor;

3) today's muscle bound bigs are not nimble, or well-conditioned, enough, to guard highly mobile 6-8 wings like Ellis and Johnson (two guys with knacks for scoring) putting the ball on the floor in isolation for extended stretches of games;

4) Withey will probably only see three footers at most all season, so his j's from 15-23 feet will be mostly uncontested and he has a good touch, when unhampered by inside muscling.

Using Ben this way would be like using Sherron off the bench. The best offensive player on the team is coming off the bench. The advantage would be that Ben brings strong defense too.

The team in this scheme would overpower opponents with size defensively and offensively out of the blocks; then KO them with speed and offensive explosiveness at the 5 minute mark with a great shooter and a tough defender in Ben. A better and harder to guard team the first five minutes. A great player to play through the second five minutes. And so on alternating and spelling as needed.

This is not rocket science.

The biggest stressor to an opponent of the set up I describe is that both Travis and Ben would swing between the 2 guard on a high wing and the 3 on the low wing. It lets Self look for the best MUA for each player by letting them show up both places until its clear where they do the most damage.

Really, this is the way to play it.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Part 3

And Self is a genius, as I always say, so why won't he do it? What is the invalid assumption in my analysis?

Well, certainly Self is worried about scoring initially, about the need for three point shooting, and for high percentage shooting off the blocks,with his best bigs down there within spitting distance of the shooters box behind the rim. He wants at least two trey shooters in EJ and Ben outside to stretch it for two imposing bigs close in. As Michael Biehn once shouted at a then naive Sarah Conner regarding Arnold being a Terminator, "Its what he does. Its all he does!!!!"

But these are really the operational logic and historical tendency of what he has always done, not the why of it, not the apriori principle, then underlying assumption, that the operational logic starts from. Not the reason my scenario of mastering the obvious based on the talent at hand, will in fact, not play out.

He saw he could get by with seven players down the stretch last season. He saw that in the Madness with foul calling marginalized, 7, or even 6, are enough. UK did it effortlessly with six. The refs just don't call fouls in March and April on the good teams.

While he and the coaching staff have no doubt gone through the professional formality of considering all strategic options for best fit with current material, including the one I have proposed, long before I proposed it, in order to make absolutely sure they didn't overlook the obvious, they all probably knew in their heart of hearts the reviewing of other offenses were mere formalities.


Because they all knew the underlying assumption of today's game is that "The End of Fouling" occurred sometime the last four or five years. They all know that down the stretch of the regular season, especially in important games, few fouls will be called, and during the Madness, even fewer fouls will be called on the best players, and in any close games, down the stretch, none will be called on major players for anything less than a flagrant foul.

In the Madness, there are only two kinds of fouls: flagrant fouls by top players, and conventional fouls by lesser players.

Hence, the coaches understand, the object of the game is to have the best seven players and keep them on the floor as many minutes as humanly possible, because they can get away with the most hacking and the most charging. Players farther down the depth chart cannot be relied on for anything other than designated, egregious fouling, because if the players farther down the depth chart play it straight, the opposing coach will play his starters and hack and charge them to death and get away with it. This in turn forces the players down the depth chart to be pulled and replaced with the better players to get more equal treatment.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Note: when I say they just don't call fouls on the good teams, I mean not decisive fouls that really ham string a team from using its best 6-7 to win a game, unless those six or 7 are committing flagrant fouls. Anything short of flagrant fouls are permitted. Pushing, shoving, charging and so on are largely permitted. And coaches dutifully pull guys so the refs don't have to call them too.

Jayhawk3 9 years, 8 months ago

Well, someone should tell the refs. I can remember Langford's suspicious 5th foul in the 2003 Championship. Even on replay it looked like the other guy tripped on his own feet. It definitely wasn't "decisive". How about the Northern Iowa game when a KU player was called for charging late in the game, while a Northern Iowa player seemed to make a more obvious charging foul that wasn't called, and they hit a 3 on the play that was replayed over and over and still is as a shocking moment, but in reality shouldn't't have counted. Oh, and we lost by 3. I think North Carolina was involved in a poor call against their opposing team a couple years ago that allowed them to advance. I used to think more like you in this discussion, but KU has been on the short side of several decisions it seems like the last several years.

On your lineup strategy, not bad. It might be something Self could try once in a while. I haven't really seen Ellis play yet, so not sure how good he is with the ball, but the biggest problem with it could be if and when they run into a full court press.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

The 2003 example is waaaaay outside my prescribed window of from 2009 onwards.

Northern Iowa is within the time window I am referring to and so is a fair example. But it is set in an anomalous game and in fact, the referees were so kind to us that day that even on an absolutely horrible shooting day we only lost by three, right?

I don't recall the UNC game, but I trust you.

The problem is that anecdotal examples of a foul here or a foul there at the end of a game does not refute the tendency of foul calling and my assertion.

My overriding point is that referees tend not to determine a game outcome with foul calling in the Madness, not that they never call a foul late.

Further, they tend to let'em play for so many minutes of games that coaches really don't have to worry much about players fouling out in the second half, if they just set players a bit in the first half with two fouls.

To reiterate: UK won the ring with 6 credible players.

KU took second with 7 and one of those was playing on a knee that needed surgery and the other one, Travis could barely walk because of sprained ankles.

I concede there are fouls called late eventually.

Do you concede you only need 6-7 now that they call fouls so rarely?

Jayhawk3 9 years, 8 months ago

Most of the time yes, however there is nothing wrong with a bench. Never know when a player could possibly foul out or get thrown out of a game. Granted, the player would likely have to do something stupid like throw a punch or something to get thrown out of an NCAA Tournament game, but still possible. Or maybe a player gets hurt or academically ineligible (Fab Melo); or several players are playing poorly, can't make shots (KU against VCU in 2011), not defending well, etc.

Best case scenario, yes, 6-7 is all you really need, but isn't ideal.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Part 4

The result of this dynamic is that you only use 6-7 players to go deep in the Madness, if they are pretty good. Any use of backups is just for designated egregious fouling, or short rests for the 6-7 and during those minutes you just slow it up, protect, designated foul, and defend for 2-3 minutes, then bring back the guys after their blows and resume attack.

"The End of Fouling" makes this dynamic inevitable, and so team depth is just to motivate your own players. It is never to actually be used.

Self is already telegraphing what he is going to do given the underlying assumption and his historical operational logic appended from it. He's going to slow it way down the way he did with Miles, Langford and Simien, which got him to the Elite Eight. And he figures with a defender like Jeff, he could get this team to the Final Four at least.

After mid December, he's going to play EJ, Travis and Ben almost the entire game: 35-40 mpg, except on Saturday Monday games where the spread allows resting. Substitute EJ for Miles. Divide Langford's outside and inside duties at the 3b between Ben at the 2 and Travis at the 3. Wayne's money on the low block role belongs to Perry Ellis. Jeff just does stick backs and takes dishes. Kevin and Zach will spell Perry and Jeff.

After mid December, all the other bigs will just be designated foulers getting low, or no minutes. Tharpe and Adams? One will be a 3 minute/half man that Self will tell to slow it down and not turn it over, while EJ catches his breath for three minutes. Most of the bigs are going to watch, except for designated fouling for a minute or two each half.

(Note: either someone explained the reality of this to Milton Doyle, or Milton realized it and said this ain't for me.)

The "End of Fouling" is a concept I am using, like "The End of History," or "The Death of God," are concepts used in talking about our society and emerging dynamics in it. It doesn't literally mean there won't be fouling, any more than that people won't sense the passage of time after the End of History, or won't pray to god after The End of God. It means that the powers that be in basketball will cease making use of all their human resources at their disposal, because the rules have changed. The bench will still be full. And some good programs will have deep talented benches. They just won't ever be used to the fullest, as they might have been in the past, during some of Roy's hey days at KU. PT will be increasingly redistributed upwards to the most talented players, just as income has been redistributed upwards to richest persons. The old morality of the game, non contact, like the old morality of the country, acting in accordance with the influence of historical standards of conduct and God as limiters on what can be done to the less powerful, is over.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Part 5

PT concentrates upward, like wealth.

The game is now about marginalizing the unneeded without them noticing...before its too late for them to do anything about it.

It is now about relying increasingly on the best and using the rest less. About warehousing them. About using them mostly just to motivate the best to stay the best with fear. The fear is not that the lessers will be used more. It is the best will are in a zero sum game. Compete to get even more PT, more wealth, or fall into the lower classes. There is no expanding tent on the bench, or in society. The tent is shrinking. More and more are warehoused on the pine, so that more and more can spend more and more time on the pine. The End of Fouling makes it so.

This requires a lot of "looking at" at players early to make it seem like there is going to be more opportunity than there actually will be. A lot of using competition to find those most developed at any given moment and most willing to comply most completely, but no serious consideration of broadening the number of players actually used down the stretch.

The NCAA ought to reduce the number of scholarships to 7 for each D1 school and tell the talking heads to being talking about the virtues of running players and replacing them with new recruits that will perform better. Seven is all any coach really needs after the End of Fouling.

Then the athletic directors cartel, er, the NCAA, ought to open up DI to include all the DII schools too and let all of them have 7 scholarships, too.

The Madness could be expanded to a thousand teams.

Referees could be completely eliminated.

The End of Fouling would work just as well 7 deep at a thousand schools as 13 deep at 350 or so.

Violence and TV revenues would skyrocket.

The desecration of the game would be complete.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 8 months ago

JB, been done already....called The Roman Colosseum Gladiator Games.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Perchance could this be where this is heading one day, Monsieur Oakville? Perhaps you are really Alexis de Oakville offering greater insights than at first sight seemed.

For context, was just reading about ancient Rome's decline. It really didn't fall kaboom one day.

Early in the empire, the private oligarchs realized they wanted two emperors, and not one, in order to make sure neither one got too powerful (i.e., establishment of countervailing forces of lackey emperors fronting for a private oligarchy). They kept one emperor in Rome and added another in Constantinople (Instanbul). Constantinople was the pinch point for intermediate marine shipping routes and overland trade routs into Asia--one that lead to China, one that lead to India.

As the empire wore on, the private oligarchy began to realize that the western half of the empire, from Rome to Britannia, had grown neither fiscally, nor strategically, cost effective to defend from Vandals, Visigoths and Huns among many, many other peoples.

So: being typical private oligarchs, they unloaded the unprofitable western half of the empire to various interests in the western empire, or to foreigner's threating the western region of empire, and concentrated the entire private oligarchy in the empire's east region--in Constantinople.

Note: the private oligarchy of Rome had no bottom line loyalty to the western region of empire, where they had in fact originated. It was strictly cost benefit analysis and strategic analysis to them. By selling off the western half of the empire and fragmenting its control, they could create a flank for the eastern portion of empire they retained, i.e., the fragmented western portion could not be united and turned against them in Constantinople.

And by moving all private oligarchy operations to Constantinople, they were thus retaining the most profitable and strategically critical position on the game board. Again, no loyalty to legacy whatsoever. Just a "bidness" decision.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

It seems to me an illuminating historical precedent about the nature of private oligarchy's decision making that Americans should keep in mind as the USA stands bankrupt and unable to repay its debts to the private oligarchy's bank: The Federal Reserve.

Ultimately, all civil divisions (formally instituted, or informally instituted) are real properties, be it a single family home parcel, an assessment district, a city, a county, a state, a country, all the way to an empire.

A state and an empire, as surely as a single real estate parcel are ultimately just real estate developments.

A private oligarchy operating a sovereign does the development of a state, or an empire, in hopes of it generating enough land rents and taxes to make a solvent, and profitable state, or empire.

Once things turn unprofitable, or once the development opportunities are better elsewhere, then the private oligarchy, regardless of its legacy ties to a particular region, typically unloads the unprofitable portion of the empire, or state development, and moves on to a more strategically defensible location on the game board from which to operate.

The essential difference between a private oligarch and a citizen is this: a citizen is loyal to a state, or empire. A private oligarch, or a lackey of private oligarchy, is loyal to the bottom line.

Or so it would appear to this humble board rat.

And to think this could all stem just from thinking about the game. :-)

DDDHawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the video! Very interesting.

Ben Simonett 9 years, 8 months ago

"Self’s 10th Kansas team features a deep frontcourt stocked with skilled big men, athletic bodies, shot-blockers, bangers and shooters"

wow, i've come to expect keegan to write some rediculous one liners but that one might take the cake.

Nobody with any sense would call what our front court next year will be "deep".

Arizona has a deep frontcourt.

Last years UNC team had a deep froncourt

Next years KU team has one established shotblocker(Withey), one over achieving, undersized, low major transfer(KY), and 4 freshman, only one of which looks capable of making an immediate impact at the D1 level(Ellis)

ku_foaf 9 years, 8 months ago

That is pretty low to refer to Kevin as a "low major transfer." Kevin is a Jayhawk!

He continuously improved the entire year last year, and is extremely high energy. He is not a power player, but he is very active and fast. I am certainly glad we have him, even if he can occasionally get out of control moving so fast.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 8 months ago

Getting a chance to check in as our power here in Baton Rouge keeps going out. Good article Keegan. Tharpe's gonna step up this year. EJ will be the steady influence in the back court and we'll experience another big 12 championship and deep run in the tourney. Isaac spare us!

Steve Gantz 9 years, 8 months ago

It's so bad I just saw another errant Tyshawn pass sail by my house.

mikehawk 9 years, 8 months ago

I still say Naadir is the wild card as I think he has a chance to surprise some people if he can be allowed to play on and not be yanked each time he screws up. Not that he hasn't got a lot of work to do to even reach that point. It seems he panics at times, and when he does, he immediately looks to put it up. That scenario, if accurate, will get you yanked by any coach, and especialy HCBS. What is interesting, he seems to have good passing skills but somehow still thinks shoot first, pass second. But with continued development and maturity, I think he could be the sleeper of the bunch.

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