Friday, December 7, 2012

Jayhawks practice with bigger point guards

Kansas University seniors Kevin Young, left, and Travis Releford joke around during the annual men's basketball media day on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas University seniors Kevin Young, left, and Travis Releford joke around during the annual men's basketball media day on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.


A bit tall for the position, 6-foot-8 Kevin Young and 6-6 Travis Releford have played some point guard — yes, point guard — during this week’s Kansas University basketball practices.

Both have fared well at the lead guard position, starting point Elijah Johnson declared.

“I respect Kevin so much just knowing every play coach (Bill Self) called and knowing exactly what to do, not even looking at me to tell him what to do,” Johnson said of senior power forward Young.

“He didn’t really turn the ball over. He got us in the offense. He can feed the post better from being on the perimeter, seeing all the defenders. I thought he looked good, honestly,” Johnson added.

Of senior shooting guard/small forward Releford’s work, Johnson noted: “He knows how to run the point. He doesn’t try to do too much. He gets us in the offense. Once the ball gets to the third or fourth side, he knows to attack and give us something to feed off of.”

Johnson joked that a certain power forward from last year’s team truly would have relished a chance to run the offense.

“T-Rob would have loved that,” Johnson said with a smile, referring to 6-10 Thomas Robinson, now with the Sacramento Kings.

Self has used sophomore Naadir Tharpe at the backup point-guard position during the first seven games. He’s averaged 4.0 points a game with 15 assists to seven turnovers. Freshman Rio Adams has also played sparingly in five games.

“Maybe we should play Rio, but maybe take some pressure off of him (by putting him at 2-guard) and play Travis at the point, something like that,” Self said Thursday at his weekly news conference. “We just haven’t found the one guy that says, ‘Hey, you’re his (Johnson’s) backup.’ We’ve looked at some different things to try to get some guys back there,” Self added, noting Young’s point guard stint only lasted about 10 minutes, despite the fact “he passes it well.”

Self wants Johnson to attack the rim so he can get to the free-throw line. Johnson has attempted just 11 free throws all season, making eight. He averages 10 points a game with 34 assists against 20 turnovers.

“He’s played OK. He hasn’t played great yet. I think there’s another big step he’ll take,” Self said of the senior. “This is not anything unusual about him starting out maybe a little slow and then kind of getting his feet under him and then kicking it in. It’s just different than the way it’s looked in the past because he’s the only handler we have. If we had somebody else we’d put back there and play two guards at once, everybody would be talking about how good our point-guard play is.”

Johnson bruised his left knee — the one he had surgery on last April — in KU’s Nov. 20 victory over Saint Louis. He bruised his right hand after getting hammered on a driving layup attempt Nov. 30 against Oregon State.

“It’s not bad,” Johnson said of his knee. “I feel like I’m getting stronger. I feel I’m taking care of myself,” he added, noting his hand felt fine heading into Saturday’s 1 p.m. home game against Colorado.

“I feel I’m getting to the point I’m realizing I’m the one who has to make the plays all the time, and we’re better off with the ball in my hands,” Johnson said. “The rest of the guards are really there just to help me. It’s my job to get it going and be able to control the ball and have the ball in good hands.”

Johnson said he’s “getting used to playing that role (of point guard) again. I’m studying everything. It’s noticing stuff like I get tired at different times in the game. It’s usually when everybody else is rested and I’m having to control the game, hold the ball so long or make a play or set everybody up and get everybody organized. Sometimes that wears on you. You don’t realize it when you play on the wing. At point guard you have to make sure all five people are in order as opposed to another position when you can think about, ‘What should I be doing?’ and just get out of the way, just feed off what the point guard starts. I have to react to everything. Thinking gets you nervous or causes turnovers,” Johnson added.

Hard work: Self said the Jayhawks have been showing great effort at practice.

“We play harder in practice than we do the games. That’s what blows my mind,” Self said. “We’ll have a possession in practice, seven guys on the floor diving for a loose ball. And we’ll go through a whole half and not have anybody dive against Oregon State. So it’s kind of a weird deal. If we keep practicing the way we’ve been practicing, I know it’s going to click in and become a habit. It just hasn’t quite clicked in yet.”

Buffs coming to town: Colorado, which improved to 7-1 after Wednesday’s 70-61 home win over Colorado State, is led by third-year coach Tad Boyle, who played two years for Ted Owens and two for Larry Brown at KU. Colorado, of course, was a longtime member of the Big Eight and Big 12 before departing for the Pac-12 last season.

“I have no ill will toward Colorado. They left the league because they had to. I mean, with the league potentially breaking up, they had to jump and take what was available,” Self said. “We certainly understand that. We primarily did it (scheduled CU in a home-and home series) for our fans that live in western Kansas or the Denver area (to see next year’s game in Boulder).”


Bill Skeet 10 years ago

Wowsa. Either an act of desperation or stroke of genius.

or maybe a bit of both.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

I'm going with desperation. Tharpe just isn't good enough to run the team more than 5 to 10 min. a game and he hasn't made the progress needed from his freshman year.

That being said, he can still be in the rotation and will improve with playing time.

mojayhawk 10 years ago

I suggested the same after last year's game. I think it would be a great seller if it was produced. One of the best all time games in the history of AFH.

Note to Gary Bedore: Could you pass this recommendation along to someone?

Stan Unruh 10 years ago

I have contacted IMG sports about a DVD of the Mizzu game. I am surprised nobody has tried to promote and sell one?? In the past I purchased copies of great KU victories on tape. Somebody is missing an opportunity. Many schools market copies of games that are far less important than that KU-Mizzu final. I'd buy a dozen copies.

nuleafjhawk 10 years ago

No offense at all intended JayDogger, but to me that sounds a little "K-Statey".

Personally, I'd like to keep the videos to Final Four or NC games!

James McGuire 10 years ago

Tournament games are archived by the NCAA here:

I've watched the '08 Final Four a few times.

ku1otaku 10 years ago

When are they going to update that site? It doesn't have last year's tournament. I want to watch some of those games again. Like the comeback against Purdue.

PSM 10 years ago

wish he would have left them in your mouth

Chris1955 10 years ago

I understand your comment. However, keep in mind this was the LAST game against Mizzou in Allen Field House, and the end of a 100 year rivalry. It was also a hell of a comeback win.

dylans 10 years ago

Yeah, and it was one of two games last season I was unable to watch. And everyone says it was a game for the ages. There are multiple reasons to watch an archived game. I wish that someone could go through all of Wilt's games and get his block totals. It would be neat to have comprehensive stats of all of KU's players not just the modern era.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years ago

Agree with you Chris. I've watched that game and the NCAA final four games several times. All of them were great games.

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

While we're at it, we can make some T-shirts with TRob's game-saving block on the front!!! :) Totally agree, nuleaf...too gimmicky and way below our standards....kind of like rushing the court at halftime if we had a lead over a favored opponent.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years ago

I just want a video of the Legends In the Phog event.

KU_alum_2001 10 years ago

K-Statey? Gimmmicky? You guys do realize a special intro video was made just for that game... that they went out and interviewed former alums who haven't played at KU in over a decade for quotes... that they incorporated a clip from Josie Wales into the intro video? I'm assuming you didn't call that gimmmicky. That game had as much historical importance and excitement as almost any game KU has ever played in. That is likely one of KU's Top 5 greatest games/victories ever. Certainly Top 10.

I tend not to go back and watch old games (why live in the past?) but if I did, I'd want a copy of that game. And this is from someone that flew back to Lawrence last-minute from the West Coast and scalped a ticket to see it... because of the very fact that it was the last game against Mizzou, a team with deep-seeded hatred and history that extends far beyond sports and our lives (justifiably so or not).

And you certainly can't say NC games are worthy and then knock someone for the final game against Mizzou (feasibly ever), which just happened to be one of the best comebacks ever for KU.

Tyler Fox 10 years ago

Agree completely. Being on that high horse of "we don't do that" is one of the things that give KU fans a bad name. A big game is a big game.

PSM 10 years ago

what? it was an awesome, legendary and extremely entertaining game. why would you not want to watch it again?

af13 10 years ago

I'd love a copy of that game. I'm a fan and I enjoy watching KU. I'm not going to use these as a trophy and I'm not saying we make t-shirts like Georgia Tech did when they ran for 600 yards. They are for the times when you want to remember what it felt like to be there and to see something amazing.

Also, while we're at it, I'd also like the Indiana game in '93 where Jacque hit the 3 at the end, the Oklahoma State game in '95 where Ostertag held Reeves to 0 (but Randy Rutherford went off for 45 or something), the UCLA game in '96 where KU was down by 17 in the first half and won by 15, the Georgia Tech game where Keith took over, the Texas games where Collison took over, etc, etc. Just cause these games weren't played in the NCAA tournament doesn't make them any less great to watch.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

I don't was the last conference game between the longest rivalry west of the Mississippi... And we won coming back from a huge deficit.

I think that game tape would be justified.

Joel Thomas 10 years ago

Me too. Always working around that game when saving programs, even though it takes up quite a bit of room.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

Exactly what I was thinking. I have a DVD recorder but not a Blu-ray but it still makes a decent video.

Michael Luby 10 years ago

Great game, Id love to have a copy myself just for the nostalgia. Ive got a copy of all 3 games of the 2008 final four.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

I bought the "official version" but the first-round games only showed some of the highlights.

I wish I had a full game video when we played North Carolina.

NotWiller 10 years ago

i love that game as much as anyone else, but we don't do commemorative videos of regular season wins against in-conference opponents that we already have a habit of beating.

I agree w/ nuleaf: that's a pretty k-state-ish thing to do.

KU_alum_2001 10 years ago

Again, but the special intro video that was never again used and/or bringing back so many old alums to watch the game... that was perfectly legit?

Jim Tebow 10 years ago

So then just go to youtube to watch the intro video. No need for a full game DVD of a game that had little importance (standings-wise). If we win the game, we win the Big12, if we lose that game, we win a share of the Big12...We call a win or a share, a win.

PSM 10 years ago

wtf people?!?! do you not remember how awesome it was watching that game live? the come back? all the highlights? i don't really get how wanting a copy to show your kids someday is "K-statey." Missouri was a really good team last year. It was a historic game that KU fans will never forget.

nuleafjhawk 10 years ago

lol - that was fun guys (and girls) !!

Isn't it great that we don't all have the same opinions?

Make videos, T-shirts, ear-rings - whatever suits you! I will keep my commemorative videos to Final Fours and NC games. I still have the '88 game on tape (YES - TAPE) and think I watched it once about 5 years later. I still haven't seen the '08 game, although I play it often in my head !


Jack Jones 10 years ago

What the hell is "pretty k-state-ish". Frankly, the use of a term like "pretty k-state-ish" , sounds pretty juvenile-ish to me.

Jim Tebow 10 years ago

no need to add 'ish' to juvenile

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 12 months ago

How about our football team? Are they K-State-ish?

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

Wow, the comments here are dripping with pretentiousness. I agree with JayDogger, that would make a great present for anyone who treasured the rivalry with Mizzou.

Personally, I think it would be "K-Statey" if we had never beaten Mizzou at AFH, then beat them once and made a DVD of it. Because that's what K-State did.

Not to mention, this was one of the most epic KU vs. MU basketball games ever. Don't get too full of yourselves, now.

ku11 10 years ago

KState also made t-shirts when they beat Nebraska in football a couple of times for the first time in 39 years or so. I believe it said "2 out of 3 isn't bad". They also made a shirt when they beat KU in Allen Fieldhouse when Woolridge was coaching. It said something like " We are the champions today". Don't quote me, I'm not exactly sure. I saw it once and had to laugh.

lv_jhwk 10 years ago

Not a dvd, but you can find it on Youtube (the last minute or so is found in part 2):

There are several free Youtube downloaders available, so you can easily make your own copy.

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

Would it be k-statey to say that watching Missouri go out in the first round was the seventh best game of last year's tournament?

Ron Franklin 10 years ago

I made copies of this game. Hit me up Thats all. Back to work :)

Curtis Stutz 10 years ago

It'd be nice to see Young get a shot at playing somewhere other than the 4, which I assumed he would coming into the season. Of course with Peters gone, Ellis and Traylor not exactly taking care of business, HCBS has needed Young in that bigs rotation. Hopefully those 2 step it up a notch and open up the opportunity for Young to play on the perimeter with EJ, TRel and BMac part of the game. I have high hopes for 'Rio, he has the quickness and likes to attack, I think Self is right to look for ways to plug him in without the pressure of running the point. The more time he can get on the court alongside EJ the better I would think.

I'm glad CU is giving us a shot at a solid (top50 type) OOC win, and Temple remains undefeated. Sagarin also ranks Belmont top50. Kind of wish the road games with Okie St and BU weren't so late in the season.

Michael Luby 10 years ago

Which also makes me think CS is taking a pass so to speak on Nadir as backup PG.

Jonathan Allison 10 years ago

talk about a team full of Long and Athletics. How about a 5 man set for Rele, BMac, Young, Ellis, Withey. Now we're talking about a group that Self could put in if he ever feels the need to run a little zone Defense!

Scott MacWilliams 10 years ago

This reminds me of something I remember reading about Roy and Ostertag from back then. Apparently Roy would occasionally switch defensive assignments up for a few possessions and put Big O on the opposing teams point guard. Must have worked, I guess, as those teams seemed to win quite a few games as they went along. Can you imagine having that big oaf in your face? Must have been a riot for Ostertag, and Roy, too.

Have fun with it, guys!

Play with power, skill, and great abandon!!

Put Kevin 'Pogo stick' Young on point!!

Rocke Chalk, Jayhawks

jaybate 10 years ago

Box. Outside. Think.


The Ice Man Cometh.

The second coming of George Gervin.

A 6-8 point guard on offense playing zone perimeter!!!

Its not Withey on the wing of a 1-3-1 defense yet, but Self is getting looooooooong on defense out there on the zone perimeter!!!!

And it would get, by accordion effect, Perry and/or Jamari 10 more mpg inside, while getting KU's very own Roy Hobbs--Kevin Young--10 more minutes on the floor; this resulting in a scheme that gets more of his best players on the floor more of the time.

And it gives Naadir another spur to get better. The very hint of being replaced by power forward will sting and enrage born PG Naadir to his core.

In. Stick. Needle.

And it acknowledges EJ could be gone at any second, because of his knee from hell, which it is about time Self faced up to.

This is classic Self.

Simultaneous equations with multiple unknowns.

This is a great move, even if Self were never to go to it. And I doubt he will.

Its the kind of audacious, outside the box move that makes the sailors and aviators out on the flight decks of the hobbled Yorktown, Lexingtonn, Enterprise, and Hornet think the old man upstairs has a pair and is fighting to win, even against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Sometimes men who want to fight and win need to know the old man upstairs has an audacious plan for a daring enterprise.

Sometimes men under siege need to see just how smart and resourceful the old man can be to take it up a both themselves.

Sometimes men who want to fight and win need to know the old man is not just going to grind them down and use them up in a war of attrition that is a lost cause.

Sometimes they need the old man to put the only carriers we have hidden in the vastness of the Pacific lying in wait for a vastly larger fleet steaming toward Midway with nothing but fight and the element of surprise on their side.

Meet Chester Nimitz guys.

Welcome to Midway!

Its early December, the war is hanging in the balance early due casualties sustained and the old man is letting you know he is playing to win it all again.

Damn! What I wouldn't give to be on this team. To be in those practices. To take on impossible odds. And be lead by the old man who has an audacious plan...for a daring enterprise...that just might work...if we all do our jobs...and attack when he gives the signal.

Anchors aweigh!!

Michael Luby 10 years ago

That was a fun post JB. Love the ref to Pearl Harbor and since Im a vet from the Navy, I liked the ship talk. I was stationed in Sandiego next to the Kittyhawk.
Even more so, I like the reference that Self is trying to shake things up, think outside the box, get his guys motivated. What if, just what If that plan comes to fruition though? It'd be so fun watching Kevin or Trav run the point with EJ, Ben Mac, Perry and Withey on the court too!! Man, thats a huge line up. Tallest and longest team in Div 1 right there, that is.

jaybate 10 years ago


Its a privilege to hear from you.

I would say there is a 5050 chance of going to this tall PG plan, for 10-15 mpg if EJ remains healthy enough to play and a 100% chance of it 20-30 mpg, if EJ goes down.

I said last summer, once I realized EJ's knee was much more serious than expected, that Travis was a serious possibility for PG. He has all the tools to be a tall Jason Kidd. His trey is worthless as a defense stretcher, but EJ's trey, even on bad knees, is still our best shot. And Kevin offers redundancy (I.e., a backup) which is essential to any serious new scheme.

I hope he goes with for awhile.

702Hawk 10 years ago

Could this be more about preparing for a certain team coming up than that of preparing for the worst case (EJ's knee giving out). I think this might be a direct response for Craft pressuring EJ all night. Yes, EJ is good enough to to keep him at bay but only for so long.

I do kind of wish HCBS would have kept the lid on this and really surprised the buckeyes with it, but I he wants to practice it in a real game to make sure it works.

jaybate 10 years ago

Its both.

If it were just about actually doing it, it would be kept secret and sprung on the opponent, thus retaining the element of surprise.

But its both.

Self had to create a contingency plan for Naadir not getting better and for EJ's knee deteriorating due to playing on it injured again.

But the reason it is released in packaged content before the CU game is psy-ops aimed at CU and Boyle.

Self knows that Boyle has a team capable of beating KU with EJ weak and without a solid backup.

So: he has to do something to give his wounded team an edge going in.

So: he is giving Boyle more to plan for.

This appears to be why Self has waited till a Thursday news cycle to plant the story. He apparently waited until Boyle has prepared his team fully for what KU usually does, and then when the CU staff and team feels comfortable, he injects them with another scheme to prepare for. The CU players will hear of this for sure. So: Boyle has to make a choice. Does he stand pat and tell his team Self is bluffing, and risk Self almost certainly at least showing the scheme briefly to create doubt in CU players's minds that their coach is being outsmarted by Self? Or does Boyle tell his players we've got to practice extra and add to the scouting report to be prepared for this new scheme Self has baited them with?

Self is being pretty cagey here. Chester Nimitz would be proud. So would Ike.

Timing of the release of information is everything in strategy, as game theory makes clear.

Self is taking Boyle out of his comfort zone. Boyle has to make a move. Forcing an opponent to alter what they want to do is almost always a good thing.

I suspect this is going on in part, because LB and Boyle are tight, as are LB and Cal. And Self has had experience now with LB wising his disciples up to what Self is doing.

Its just a little maneuvering among a coaching fraternity--Alpha Delta Brown.

But Boyle will also glean from this that KU is vulnerable, or Self would not be wasting his time with such maneuvers.

It could have the unintended consequence of simultaneously taking Tad and CU out of their comfort zone, but also emboldening Tad's confidence.

Fun stuff.

Its always both for Self.

jaybate 10 years ago

Yup. See below and above. With ya on this.

Mel Clare 10 years ago

Yorktown was hurt at Coral Sea, about 30 days before Midway, repaired in time to join the Hornet and Enterprise.........Lexington was not there as she was sunk at Coral Sea.........along with Neosho and Sims.........I spent 16 years in the navy and am a avid WWII Naval buff! Nimitz was CincPac at the time of Midway.........the BRILLIANCE is he had Halsey pick his own replacement (as he had a bad skin condition and was in the hopsital) and he chose Ray Spruance........a cruiser commander that knew carrier tactics and went with Halsey's suggestion................having the balls to not even tell Washington DC........Brilliant!

Michael Bratisax 10 years ago

Chester Nimitz was a masterful leader who knew how to turn a negative into a positive. Upon visiting Pearl Harbor, when morale was at its lowest, he pointed out why the attack on Pearl Harbor was a failure..

And he was right.

jaybate 10 years ago

P.S.: The moves with Travis and Kevin may not happen, just as Self's talk of moving Marcus Morris outside and posting Mario Little never did, but it knocks the guys out of "Ive heard Self's speeches too many times now" mode. It creates a diversion opposing coaches have to prepare for.

Self may have signaled his real plan behind the diversion, also: seven guys diving for the ball.


If you don't have the offensive players needed to score more, then amp up the defense and make the opponent score less.


Get the guys who play the hardest and toughest--Travis and KJ--on the floor more, and by accordion effect get the guys who could be the toughest hombres of all--Jamari and Perry--on the floor more.


For there isn't.

Gary Kreutzer 10 years ago

Self says he has no ill will towards Colorado because "They left the league because they had to". He won't say it to the media but he has ill will towards MU and NU.

Jonathan Allison 10 years ago

It's much easier to have no ill will toward CU because the AD and Head Basketball Coach are KU alumni. Though, in my opinion, that gives them even less excuse to abandon the Big VIII

Andy Tweedy 10 years ago

maybe also because they are generally awful in all sports

jhox 10 years ago

The difference is that Colorado's move was reactionary. They didn't initiate leaving like the other three defectors.

I believe scheduling CU is as much a screw you statement aimed at Missouri as it is about helping out the fans in Western Kansas, and I love that. There have been hints of maybe scheduling Nebraska, and we even had aTm in the CBE classic (though the match up never happened.) Clearly Self enjoys antagonizing Missouri. You really have to love our coach. He may be an OSU grad, but he's now Jayhawk through and through.

dylans 10 years ago

I live in western Kansas and it is a big deal to be able to go to Boulder and see our 'Hawks in person. I personally will always go the extra mile and pay the extra dollar to see 'em in Lawrence, but that is not an option to everyone.

KGphoto 10 years ago

"Clearly Self enjoys antagonizing Missouri."

Hahaaa! Well said. It's so true.

jaybate 10 years ago

CU left the Big 12 for the same reasons NU and MU left--better fit with regional alliances in the political economy at a time when Team Chicago Trade and its blue states were fending off and containing Team Texas Energy and its red states for control of the electoral college and regional infrastructures extant and to be built.

CU and Colorado joined the Pac 12 states to complete a Colorado river system alliance controlling water and power in the west that Team Texas energy needs to exploit oil shale, tar sands, oil, and natural gas. USA will within 10 years become one of the world's largest exportes of energy. It will help pay down the debt. To do this, control of regional infrastructures has been hotly contested. States are being subjected to regime change attempts.

CU and Colorado joined the western states, where their control of the headwaters of the Colorado river gives them the most leverage in the political economy, and where they are best positioned to resist regime change under Team Texas Energy.

Football TV revenues and TV markets were secondary, or irrelevant to the primary driver of better fit with regional political economy.

jaybate 10 years ago

Tar sands. Pipe line. Aquifer. Oglala. Big Ten?

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 12 months ago

Already the #1 seller of finished petro products in the world. With a little drilling,mining, retorting and fracking, we easily have more energy resources than Saudi Arabia and the entire mideast. If only the lizards would cooperate.

Gotta pay off all these stimulus packages and quantitative easing somehow.

Brad Avery 10 years ago

Maybe he doesn't know the offense well enough yet. but BMac should be KU's point guard. With all that ability both to score, pass and run the break, I would think the coach would want the ball in his hands as much as possible.

nuleafjhawk 10 years ago

I'm not sure that having a 6' 6" or 6' 8" point guard is "outside the box " thinking.

I believe it is " oh crap, I'm the coach of the team with the second most wins in college basketball history and at this point in the season, I don't have a point guard capable of leading this team " thinking.

Curtis Stutz 10 years ago

He's got an excellent PG nuleaf, but he needs a backup

Mike Barnhart 10 years ago

I think Coach Self saw Oregon State's guards bringing the ball into the front court then handing it over to big Joe Burton (6-7, 300+ lb) to START the offense in some kind of hybrid high-low set. It really freed up their guards to cut and slash and score ... a lot!

Ben Simonett 10 years ago

Self getting some ideas on what to do with a larger point guard. Forshadowing for Wayne Seldon playing the point next year?

702Hawk 10 years ago

That's a good point. (Forgive my pun)

jaybate 10 years ago

Oooooh, that sounds conspiratorial. :-)

You're going to bring out the serial aliases.


It would be nice if Selden played the point, but it will be nice whatever position he plays.

wrwlumpy 10 years ago

Jaybate, I was wondering when you were going to bring back the Chester analogy.

Jack Wilson 10 years ago

This is an indictment of Tharpe. No other way to read it. “We just haven’t found the one guy that says, ‘Hey, you’re his (Johnson’s) backup.’ We’ve looked at some different things to try to get some guys back there,” Wow.

And from everything that has gone on, from everything that has been said, from the substitution patterns, from Self's reactions during the game -- Self is looking to make a change.

I remember when Self said he was recruiting and needed a "point guard", many folks were like, why? We have Tharpe, with Frankamp coming in for 2013, and Adams could play there. Made sense. Perhaps now we know why.

I'm really not sure what else Tharpe can do within his capabilities. He's handled the ball nearly flawlessly, low turnovers, etc. His effort was obvious after Self's "effort" statement. But Self is wanting more. Not sure Tharpe can give him more.

All signs point to Adams. In the press conference, the question that preceeded Self's point guard discussion was related to point guards getting into the paint on offense, and point guards guarding the paint on defense. We have only one that appears able to do both -- Adams. Adams' behind the back, slashing layup againt Oregon St. was a snap shot of what he can offer (better than Tharpe there). But the bet is he'll throw the ball away more. Can Self stomach that and let him play through it? History says no. Let's see.

But let's also remember in all of this, at its core, the point guard role is that of ball handler. Can Adams handle the ball well enough to play the point? I can assure you that neither Releford nor Young can -- a possession here or there, sure. As jb alluded to above, we've heard this stuff before. The Releford/Young stuff is a red herring here.

My bet is that Adams can handle it if Self's willing to absorb some big bumps during the learning curve. I said before the season started that if I were Adams, I'd be dribbling a basketball everywhere .. to class, to the Burge Union, up the Hill to campus, on the bus, everywhere. Same advice now.

A few weeks back, I'd mentioned where Tharpe, for this team, was the better option. Meaning, could Adams improve enough to give this team what it needs from the PG spot? Right now, I think Self is not only concerned about Tharpe, but also EJ. Another PG option could move EJ off the ball a bit. It seems crystal clear that Self is looking to switch this up a bit.

Substitutions will be very interesting Saturday .. and then as we wait another full week for the next game. If Tharpe plays his 16 minutes and Adams 5, all this talk is just talk. Something tells me there's a little fire with this smoke.

DanR 10 years ago

I guess I interpreted the discussion differently--not about finding a solid backup or a message to Tharpe, but that he's trying to find someone to pitch in on point duties while EJ is on the floor. He brought up past seasons when there were basically two guards sharing point... EJ/TT, TT/Sherron, Chalmers/RussRob, etc.

Hell, I was surprised no one asked why BMac can't take the ball up the floor once in a while.

ParisHawk 10 years ago

BMac is too dangerous off the ball. Put the ball in his hands and the defense has one less thing to worry about.

That's the problem with our PG play on offense: the defenders are not worried. Taylor scared everybody when he brought the ball up, especially the other team.

Coach Self wants an "Oh S***!" point guard out there.

Young is not that. Releford maybe a little bit.

REHawk 10 years ago

Ooh, good! "Taylor scared everybody when he brought the ball up, ESPECIALLY THE OTHER TEAM." Hell, Letterman or John Stewart couldn't have worded that observation more succintly! Until TT's final semester, when he raced past midcourt with the ball I couldn't relax in my recliner with a cool drink without shaking ice cubes all over the upholstery.

Jack Wilson 10 years ago

DanR: I know what you're saying. But Self's quote -- that I noted above -- seems pretty clear.

But I think your interpretation is correct, too. Meaning, I don't think he was limiting it to either of our scenarios. Prior to he OSU game, there were regular stretches with Tharpe and EJ on the floor. But vs. OSU, White came in, and with McLemore in foul trouble, Releford moved to the 2. Per the prior rotation, Tharpe would have come in, and bumped EJ to the 2,and Releford would have stayed at the 3, right?

He also is mentioning Adams. We can see his tools, which match-up with the question that was asked in the interview -- re: getting into the paint, and keeping opposing PG from the paint.

I also think that Tharpe's inability to hang with the small quick guard was a big deal. If Tharpe's small, can't guard the bigger guy, and can't hang with the quick guy, who does he guard?

Ethan Berger 10 years ago

What are you're thoughts on Selden. From what I've seen he has good handles and might provide the Bill Self style of point.

dylans 10 years ago

He can't get here soon enough.

Curtis Stutz 10 years ago

That behind the back dribble was ill-advised and mere luck that it wasn't stolen away. Not sure 'Rio was on the court long after that move. It displayed aggression but very little tact, like a 30 ft 3pter that finds its way in.

REHawk 10 years ago

But it did display the flow of a natural maneuver which led to a successful completion....

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

This is not an indictment of Tharpe, but it's certainly a message to Tharpe, EJ, Travis and Rio. And that message is, "change is coming."

I read it more as Self wondering what to do when he takes EJ out of the game (or puts EJ at the 2). Neither Rio nor Naadir has shown that he is the clear-cut backup PG. So Self is experimenting with Travis in that role.

And I think a lot of this has to do with EJ's sub-par play. Self is not happy with his offense, his defense, his leadership, etc. He needs a LOT more out of EJ. And if EJ won't give it to him, he needs a LOT more out of the backup PG. But neither Rio nor Naadir can give him that yet, either. So he's looking at Travis.

I gave my opinion below, but I'll reiterate that I bet we'll start seeing Rio a lot more when KU needs a defensive stop and when KU needs offense, Self will go with Naadir (at least until Rio can prove that he has what it takes to drive the paint, dish and draw fouls, which he hasn't shown yet).

Jack Wilson 10 years ago

Also, listening to the press conference where this was brought up, of course, no one even asks about Tharpe after Self discusses the other point guard options. The obvious questions relate to what is Tharpe doing wrong, will he continue in his role, that there was a discussion on effort and proximity to the offensive player by Tharpe on defense a few weeks ago, what's going on there? I mean, you have a coach discussing Releford and Young at the point, and no one in the group of reporters asks about Tharpe? Puzzling.

Brian Powell 10 years ago

It's gotta be just a 'message' to our PGs...

Both KY and Releford play better OFF the ball (except maybe for Travis in Transition), so playing PG makes little sense to me.

Mike Barnhart 10 years ago

Great work keeping your COMMENT short and to the point.

jhox 10 years ago

Frank Mason can't get on campus fast enough. I was pretty underwhelmed when I heard we wanted him, but the more I hear about him the more I like him. A buddy of mine has seen him several times, and thinks he's great. He saw him go head to head against Frankamp, and apparently "tore him up."

I'm not sure why we've had such trouble recruiting elite point guards the last couple of years. Maybe because Selby didn't work out too well, but our system is great for developing point guards. We just need the right guys.

Brian Powell 10 years ago

But I would love to see Rio get more PT! I think he has super high potential to contribute big on both ends by the end of the season.. . just hope it doesn't get stifled or screwed up like I fear EJ's has been :(

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

On this Anniversary of the Day of Infamy, I salute and thank all service men and women, past, present and future for their sacrifices to keep our freedoms safe.

Today is my father's 90th birthday. Big Bill, as we call him, was celebrating his 19th birthday in St.Louis when he heard the news on the radio that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor. He joined the Navy and didn't return home till 1946. His story was repeated by millions of young Americans, many who never made it back home.

Please, never forget what this generation did for the future of this planet.

PS. He is a great Dad, a great man and, his love his five sons is number one..however, number two is his distaste for the University of Missouri. I know you'd all like him!!

dylans 10 years ago

Happy birthday to Oakville' Dad and to my Dad too! Most great men are only truly known by few and that is the shame of the matter. We can only aspire to carry on the legacy.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years ago

Glad he's still around for your family to appreciate. Big Bill must have bad feelings for an airplane called a Zero as well as a school regarded as a Zero!

It won't be long until these veterans have all retired from this earth. Seventy one years have gone by in a flash in time. But the world was affected in so many ways by the actions that our service men and women experienced that their stories will live forever. What stories will our generation leave for the next ones that could rival theirs?

Jack Wilson 10 years ago

The absolute greatest generation. I stand in admiration of their bravery, their patriotism, and their sacrifice. Nothing more enjoyable and inspiring than hearing a WWII vet talk of his experiences. My wife's grandfather was a bomber pilot over Europe in WWII and his stories are amazing.

ParisHawk 10 years ago

i need an eecummings pseudo


maybe that balance to the force will bring.

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

Maybe we should all post in "Yoda-ese"..'Tired of HULK posting we are."

KGphoto 10 years ago

I'm not a fan of all caps, but c'mon, I think that's pretty funny.

REHawk 10 years ago

"...a train wreck in slo-mo." I think the engineer might be preparing to race full tilt towards the caboose.

jaybate 10 years ago


Part 1

First, thanks for filling out a change of address form and having your mail delivered outside of the box. I was getting a little lonely out here. :-)

Second, you have cut right to the heart of things.

And then cut to the chase on Ben Mac as a PG.

I think it would work, as far as the PG goes, if Self were willing to eat some losses while Ben Mac figured out PG during December. And I mean starting with a loss against CU.

I think he might be, were the team that resulted one that could open up the defense with trey shooters enough to let him really work the middle of the floor trey stripe to rim. There is no law in strategy that says you don't take some early losses to buy you time till your reshuffled deck can work.

But, at the same time, Self is saying he is going to use Travis/Jelly on point to create a backup for Elijah, not a replacement with the implication that Naadir is not yet productive enough in the backup role. Its clear that developing these two into a back up PG would pave the way for transition were EJ to go down. Facing a season without EJ in which 30 minute man at point would be Naadir, with Evan, Niko and Tyler as backups is too frightening to think about. So Self has to move to some trusted players to create this back now.

But, again, right now Self appears to be looking mostly for a workable back up for EJ, not yet a replacement. Remember: Self keeps saying EJ's knee is sound and his implication is EJ just has to tough it out through a slow healing process.

You and I doubt that EJ can return to health playing on this knee, but Self appears to think so, and appears to be restringing the bow in a way that is good for EJ, if he does restore to health (a credible backup to resting him 10-15 mpg), and good for the team transition, if EJ goes down (a 30-40 minute tandem with Naadir 3 in line).

So: why is Self doing this, and not moving Ben to the point, when Self has to recognize exactly what you point out; that Ben could be a once in 30 year point guard, rather than a once every ten year 2 or 3?

My hunch is this: Self sees down the road, once the committee of Travis/Jelly have gotten their stroke down playing backup point, to move EJ to the two and keep Ben at the 3 and have Travis play point. Travis on point makes sense, because Travis doesn't have a trey capable of stretching a defense from the wing. Travis used to be a slasher, and so he could slash again from the 1, but he couldn't be all that effective without at least a 38% trey to keep defenders honest. But since he probably doesn't have even a 38% trey gun, my guess is that his role at the point will simply be to keep the ball from sticking.

jaybate 10 years ago

Part 2

Ben will be the wing point initiating most of the offense. Any time the defense overshifts onto Ben, thus limiting his ability to create, the ball quickly reverses to Travis and then to EJ, who drains the trey. As the season goes on, we might see some AW3 at the 2, if AW3 keeps "not sucking," and regains his touch.

Self's problem is this: how does he get the most he can out of Ben, in a way that frees up the bigs some, because the defense is getting stretched.

Ben's trey shooting sucks, but the probability is he is in a slump and will be a nearly 40% trey shooter.

Thus his trey shooting should soon stretch the defense and keep them from sagging off on him; this helps him and our bigs.

Were EJ at the 2, and as you say given some time to focus on trinitizing, he could reasonably raise his trey percentage to 38-40, even on a gimpy leg. Maybe 42% if it heals.

38-42% on EJ's wing and 38-42% on Ben's wing would most definitely open the middle up for both the bigs inside, and Travis to challenge the rim with his great strength and still significant hops, plus his kickouts to wings could be deadly.

And regardless of whether EJ carries on at point, or Travis/Jelly take over, creating the Travis/Jelly 10mpg backup for EJ adds 10 minutes for Perry/Jamari in the paint. And Self has to get Perry untracked sooner or later for the team to become its best.

Frankly, I think getting 10 more mpg for Perry/Jamari could be great for those two.

I have written quite a lot here, but it may be distilled this way.

Moving Naadir out of the backup guard slot allows Self to play more of Self's most talented players.

Self is saying: we're not going to distribute ourselves to a championship, and distributing is Naadir's only strength up to now, since he can't defend well and can't get untracked from trey. So let's swap out a distributor and swap in some guys that have defensive capabilities that could really cause problems for an opposing point guard, especially when we go zone from time to time. And in the process we get to play Perry and Jamari more, and these guys, minute for minute, in comparison with Naadir, give us more defense, more scoring and more explosiveness than Naadir, even though we're not going to have much finesse on offense.

Offense is going to be kind of a brute force kind of thing.

Travis passes ball to Ben.

Ben creates, or reverses the ball to Travis, or a high post.

Travis or the bigh post look for a driving lane.

If driving lane, drive, else pass to EJ on the back side wing.

EJ shoots an open look, or feeds the post, which he has become effective at.

Post looks for shot on blocks.

If a shot then two and a FT, else kick out to EJ, or feed Travis slashing to the iron.

If kick out, EJ shoots, else reverses ball to Trav.

Trav looks for driving lane.

If driving lane open, he drives, else he sends it to Ben.


KGphoto 10 years ago

Sorry to bring it back up, but I'd definitely order a copy of the Mizzou game if it were available, mainly because the game ran long and my DVR wasn't set to get it all.

It stops a little before TTs final free throws. IT"S LIKE TORTURE!!

I NEED that game on DVD!

Pat Bell 10 years ago

off topic, but I just read a good article in the KC Star on post concussion problems a Blue Springs girls' basketball player has been having. Very severe problems with memory, classes, focus, etc., after only two concussions. Made me think of Zach Peters and what he is going through.

Curtis Stutz 10 years ago

I should hope Perry will be playing more minutes by then.

AW3 is a valid guy to bring up in this discussion, 'cause his defense is improving and he rebounds the ball well. Defensive rebounding has stunk, so an opportunity to rest EJ with TRele, BMac and AW3 on the court would be a welcome one. Of course same thing goes for Young in the smalls, adds solid rebounding. Releford is the ideal candidate as long as he proves able to get it up the court and get the offense started.

championhawks 10 years ago

Johnson will not move over to the 2 simply because BMac is there. BMac can't slide to the 3 simply because Releford is there. So unless he is going to come off the bench, there isn't anywhere but point for Johnson to play.

Some say move BMac to the point. IMO (and that's all this is obviously) is that he would not be a good pg. Someone before mentioned that it takes away from him playing off the ball and scoring opportunities that come with that (which I agree with). However, it also comes down to the fact that BMac isn't a pg. To me, getting a pass on the wing and slashing to the basket is different than having the ball up top and trying to make a move on your own. BMac is quick, just don't know if he has the handles for pg.

Curtis Stutz 10 years ago

Unlike the realignment article I can agree with you here champ, BMac isn't built to play point and doesn't need the pressure of avoiding turnovers coming up the floor to interfere with the pressure Self is already putting on him to score the ball.

HawkKlaw 10 years ago

Two things are clear from this article.

First, Self is not happy with Naadir's (nor Elijah's) defense. He hasn't been all season. He is moving pieces of the puzzle around to see if he can make it fit better.

Second, Self does not trust Rio to run the point. He likes Rio's defense and some of his offensive abilities, but there's a reason why Self is trying Rio at the 2 rather than the 1. If he thought Rio could help all that much with getting into the paint, drawing fouls and dishing, there is no way he would be putting Travis (or even KY...eek!) at the backup PG spot.

I would also say that Bill Self is looking for a better way to have a "PG by committee," especially on offense. As others have mentioned, Self usually likes to roll with two or three combo guards facilitating the offense (rather than one designated PG). And defensively, he's figured out that he can't put EJ or Naadir on the opposing PG. He has to go a different route (Travis and maybe Rio).

I bet we start seeing Naadir's and Rio's minutes start to even out, with Naadir getting most minutes when we're in need of scoring and Rio getting in when we need a defensive stop.

Curtis Stutz 10 years ago

Definitely possible Self just wants to give other guys practice handling pg responsibilities so they'll be better able to initiate the offense in games, even if they aren't playing the point at the time. The more Releford and Young can do with the ball the better. The more they can help EJ get people in position to run offense the better also. I still don't think people realize how much effort EJ is spending on the court worrying about what the rest of the team is doing on offense rather than just being able to play.

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