Saturday, December 15, 2012

Self, Jayhawks: There’s nothing middling about mid-major Belmont

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets a quick talk with his players during the second half on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self gets a quick talk with his players during the second half on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Those Kansas University basketball fans who fear match-ups against mid-majors might feel jittery entering tonight’s game against one of the best of the bunch — Belmont University.

“I’m telling you, they could beat us. If Belmont played in our league, they’d have success. They would,” said KU coach Bill Self.

His Jayhawks, who have won 59 consecutive nonconference games in Allen Fieldhouse, have lost just three non-con home games in 10 seasons — to mid-majors Richmond, Nevada and Oral Roberts. They’ve suffered just four conference losses in that same span. KU lost to mid-major Davidson last season in Kansas City, VCU in 2010-11 in San Antonio and Northern Iowa in 2009-10 in Oklahoma City.

Before dismissing Self’s words of caution as “coach-speak,” take a look at a few reasons he and his (7-1) Jayhawks enter today’s 6 p.m., home game with a healthy dose of respect for the Bruins (7-2), who beat Stanford, 70-62, on Nov. 18.

  • Ranked eighth in the latest mid-major Top 25, Belmont has hit 82 of 195 three-pointers for 42.1 percent. KU conversely has made 43 of 137 threes for 31.4 percent. Senior guard Ian Clark, who played in an 81-51 loss to KU on Dec. 29, 2009, in Allen, has cashed 38 of 68 threes for an unheard-of 55.9 percent. He averages 18.9 points a game, while senior guard Kerron Johnson averages 14.2, senior forward Trevor Novak 10.9 and junior forward Blake Jenkins 10.4. “They can stretch it,” Self said of the team coached by Rick Byrd, who is in his 27th season at Belmont and ranks seventh among all active NCAA Div. I head coaches in career wins (644).

  • KU and Belmont are the only two programs in the country to win 12 or more conference games each of the last 10 seasons.

  • Belmont, formerly of the Atlantic Sun Conference, now of the Ohio Valley, has won 10 conference titles (five tourney, five regular season) since 2006, trailing only KU (12 titles) nationally over that span.

  • Only Belmont, KU and Memphis have earned five or more automatic bids to the NCAAs in the last seven years.

  • has deemed the Nashville, Tenn., school the best opponent to visit Allen this season. The Bruins are ranked No. 23 in stat analyst Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, one slot ahead of Oklahoma State and two slots ahead of Kansas State.

“This is a good RPI game for us, without question,” Self said, aware the the Bruins have gone 30-5 and 27-8 in successive seasons. “They’ve got a great coach (Rick Byrd). They’re kind of unique, in that, like a lot of schools that aren’t from BCS conferences, you can’t go out and get four big guys. So they play threes at the four and twos at the three.”

Belmont has no starter taller than 6-foot-7.

“So, that means they can stretch it from all spots and definitely create some potential match-up situations if we don’t guard them right,” Self said.

Belmont, which has defeated Stanford, Lipscomb (twice), Maryville, Alaska Anchorage, Oral Roberts and Middle Tennessee and lost to VCU and Northeastern, hit just four of 16 threes in Thursday’s 64-49 win over Middle Tennessee, which made three of 16.

“We know who they are,” KU senior Kevin Young said of the Nashville, Tenn., school with a school enrollment of 6,637. “We know they can play.”

A key for KU lately has been the Jayhawks’ full-court man-to-man pressure defense.

“I think it might be tougher (to press). They’ve got more shooters. We’ve got to get back to them as quickly as possible,” Young said.

Press or no press ... the Jayhawks must come out active, Self indicated. He was pleased with the effort in the last game — Saturday’s 90-54 home rout of Colorado.

“I think the biggest reason (KU played well) was energy level. I think the place was juiced and our guys fed off of that,” Self said. “I think they played like they were having fun. I really believe that Travis (Releford) and Kevin keyed that whole thing from an energy standpoint. They were really good.”

The energy level has not been up to par in some games, Self said.

“If you look at our personalities of our team, really Kevin (Young) is the only one that has natural energy,” Self said. “The other guys are just out there. You lose Thomas (Robinson) who had that and you lose Tyshawn (Taylor) who had that. The (Morris) twins brought that and Sherron (Collins) brought that. We just don’t have those types of personalities that we’ve had in the past that are just natural guys that basically feed other guys’ emotion or energy.”

Young is looking forward to a repeat of the Colorado game from an energy standpoint.

“It starts with me bringing a lot of energy and hopefully we’ll have the same kind of intensity from the crowd and what they brought to it,” he said.

Self hopes the fans are in a festive holiday mood.

His Jayhawks have won 26 consecutive games in Allen, the last nonconference loss to ORU way back on Nov. 15, 2006.

“Let’s be real. We’ve got 16,000 people at every game. They want to get excited. So, we’ve got to do some things to help them get excited,” Self said. “That (the Colorado game) had a conference feel to it. That was our first real game at home – so to speak, from a fan’s standpoint.”

KU, by the way, plays another scary mid-major in Richmond at 6 p.m., Tuesday, in Allen. Richmond beat KU, 69-68, on Jan. 22, 2004, in Allen.

How ‘fro can you go?: Young has been asked a lot lately about his expanding afro hair style.

“It was longer when I was at Loyola, just a little bit, though,” he said of his two years at Loyola Marymount.

How long will he let it go?

“Until coach says enough is enough,” Young said. “Hopefully not anytime soon, though. I’m still trying to catch Jeff,” the 6-8 Young said of stretching to 7-feet. “Just a couple centimeters off.”

Big man from UCLA on KU radar: Former UCLA center Josh Smith is considering transferring to KU, Georgetown or Washington, reports. Smith, a 6-10, 305-pound McDonald’s All-American from Kent, Wash., recently left UCLA’s team a few games into his junior season. Smith, who averaged 10.9 points and 9.9 points in 2010-11 and ’11-12, averaged 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds this season in limited duty. Smith, who has had problems with his weight and would likely be interested in Andrea Hudy’s KU program, would not be able to play until second semester next season. He was the No. 23 rated player in the Class of 2010. He had 17 points and 13 boards in a 77-76 loss to KU on Dec. 2, 2010 in Allen. He had one point and one board in 13 minutes in a 72-56 loss to KU last season in Maui.


REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Well, Josh, before signing on the dotted line, consider this: You might spend 12 months running the Fieldhouse steps daily...with Andrea Hudy on your back!

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

...and if your weight should remain within 25 pounds of that current number 305, you might expect to tally only an occasional 5 or 6 minutes of bruiserball duty.

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

On second thought, Naadir Tharpe might cherish your presence: an immovable cornerstone around which he might finally adopt the slashing style of Tyshawn Taylor. Naadir might slip a bag of donuts onto your pillow every night to counteract the streamlining efforts of Ms Hudy.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

Thanks, but no thanks.

Chemo is his biggest need.

SaltLakeHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Get it, everyone?

(pssst.... dagger's sayin' Josh Smith is a team cancer)

(I agree)

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

This seems shoe driven.

UCLA = Addidas

KU = Addidas

Josh is reputedly from an Addidas AAU program.

Josh has had his problems with Ben.

Ben is probably on the way out.

Josh probably has a list of Addidas programs to consider.

KU needs a wide body big man to replace Peters.

Self has to take Addidas guys, or be viewed as not playing ball with the Addiadas talent pipeline, with fallout of not having the top guys be valved to him.

Self will accept Josh, but Josh has to evaluate exactly what you said, REHawk; that Josh will have to lose 25-30 lbs and get in shape for the first time in his life, or Self will make his life a living hell and run him out of the program.

I see a potentially very good fit between Josh Smith and Bill Self. Josh has put himself over a terrible barrel. Where ever he goes, if he screws up again, his eligibility will be largely shot and his shoe marketability function wave will be pushed to far left tail and so squandered.

Money talks to players and their entourages. The prospect of a major, perhaps irreversible leftward drift in the shoe marketability function wave, is a much bigger threat to the hangers on and agents, than is missing out on one $100k-200k pop under the table for signing with a checkbook school.

So: when Josh looks at his options, they break out this way:

Pro KU: proven big man development program with extremely demanding coaching staff and weight training coach that could push him back into the right tail of the shoe marketability function wave.

Con KU: Little if any signing money under the table and an absolutely grueling and relentless non-early jump commitment likely demanded from Self.

Conclusion: agents, realizing the up side and indifferent to how much suffering Josh will have to go through at KU, will probably encourage Josh to attend KU. Lesser weasels hanging on will probably advocate Josh sign with a check book school and jump ASAP for whatever he can get. Self will probably be happy either way. By offering to take Josh on tough terms, he will likely have played ball with the axis of the shoeco-summer game-agency complex that he needs to accomodate to keep the 5-star talent accessible. And if Josh goes elsewhere to avoid the hard work, then Self probably wouldn't have to deal with a potential lard-assed head case. D1 business is apparently quite hard. This seems why Self apparently has to be a hard man to survive in it.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

Impressive stats from Belmont, don't like that they had a poor 3pter night against MTSt.

Interesting that Smith is looking at KU, if he's serious about improving his physique I'd encourage him to look to KU, if he's at all uncertain I'd say go to Georgetown even though JT3 would also probably require a pretty solid fitness regiment. The kid has talent, no doubt there, could be a huge boost to next season if he decides to head to KU and gets after it.

Scott MacWilliams 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm glad to see that the Hawks aren't taking Belmont lightly. This could be a real challenge, like Richmond was in '04. These guys are NOT going to be intimidated by playing in AFH.

Take it to them early and fast guys, and get in their grills on defense and we'll be fine.

As for Josh Smith, he could contribute some serious beef once he's in shape. He's got some pretty good skills from what I've seen, but got caught in the UCLA circus of the last few years.

Rock Chalk, Beat Belmont!!

Michael Johnson 9 years, 6 months ago

anyone remember vic mitchell? he was a big ole boy.

amatxjayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Yep. He transferred from one of the last teams Amarillo College (JuCo) fielded. I'm not sure of his size, but he was a big ol' boy. He's in the Panhandle (Texas) Hall of Fame.

actorman 9 years, 6 months ago

You mean "Chocolate Blunder?" I actually thought that was a pretty unfair nickname, as he had some pretty good games for KU.

OTOH, he made one of the dumbest decisions to leave early that I've ever seen. It was patently obvious that he wasn't going to be drafted, and I don't believe he ever played a game in the NBA (or even made a preseason roster).

He was big, but I don't think he was quite Josh Smith-big.

Lonnie Ross Dillon 9 years, 6 months ago

I lived in the Towers next to Art Housey and Vic Mitchell. They were roommates. When the training table was closed they would come to our apartment begging for could those guys pack it away!

I recall once listening to a radio broadcast from (I think) OSU and during broadcast you could hear in the background the OSU announcer giving out the final stats "...Victor Mitchell, X points, Y rebounds, a Big Mac, and an order of Fries..."

Hawk_Star 9 years, 6 months ago

I have a feeling Withey won't be a factor in this game. History tells us that he struggles to find a role in games where he has atleast 3-4 inches on the opponent's big. Assuming we get good ball pressure from our guards/kev young, I believe Traylor and Ellis' production will determine the outcome. This feels like march like a game in March (i.e. the second round).

 As for Smith, as long as he gels with the rest of the team, I would love to have him on the roster.  If you are a big man and want to get the most out of your abilities, KU is most certainly the place, and if motivation is the only thing keeping this kid from getting playing time, then I would certainly try to attract him here.  You cannot put a price on that type of size, especially from a player that has shown the ability to really be effective when motivated.

Steve Quatrocky 9 years, 6 months ago

I dont know if Smith is worth a roster spot right now, its pretty crowded, especially if Bill gets another one of the Top 10 Late. Remember we did get Embiid already, who needs Andrea to put on weight, but not near as much as Withey did, just beef up and then he will be that obstacle, at about the same time as Smith would become eligible.

I'm anxious about a Withey dissappearing act against a small team too. Also in agreement that if he does, that should mean more minutes for Perry and Traylor, who will match up better but still be considerably taller. Are they ready to get out and hedge without losing their man? D will be key, pressure the outside without giving up the inside. We can also go small, four guys pressuring their shooters with Withey waiting to block anything they put up. If Trav shuts down Clark, we'll be fine!

Steve Gantz 9 years, 6 months ago

I was thinking the same thing about Withey tonight.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

I was thinking Withey eats up teams that are committed to driving the lane. In past years, having him paired with Robinson created matchup problems when other teams had a 4 that could live off of 3's (Robbie Hummel) because TRob wasn't a reasonable perimeter matchup. This year, he is the anchor in the middle, and Young is fully capable of chasing the perimeter 4's.

This is a team that lives off driving the lane, and is a poor OR team. Great opp for Withey to get another triple-double.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Withey could easily run a triple double on Belmont and KU could easily blow Belmont out.

But Self amped them against CU to ensure the win over a Boyle coached major with only one loss.

So: Self will send them out flat to labor against Belmont, so the team can learn how to win one against a decent team they can beat when flat. Self doesn't have to do a think to send Withey out flat--he flattens automatically without amping.

Also, this is the game Self takes Perry out of the toughening box and starts rebuilding him with big minutes against Belmont's 6-7 "bigs." These guys will be easy for Perry to score on. Perry will pump again just in time for Ohio State.

In short, the team is on a build path for Ohio State, after the Colorado peak. So: to create a build path, you send them out flat now.

P.S.: Expect AW3 to be spoon fed as many minutes against Belmont as he can possibly take. But Belmont may be speedy and experienced enough that AW3's defensive liabilities may force Self to shunt him back to the bench and fit him into another situation, where the perimeter guys are a little longer and slower. But if AW3 has gotten enough better to stay on the floor, look for AW3s first 20 minute game, maybe 25. Self will want him as a defense stretcher against Ohio State if there is any chance at all that AW3 has progressed beyond the tangled foot stage.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 6 months ago


The stakes are high, we need to get out of the gate early and set the pace. This is a game where we need to gallop out there and strut our stuff. Allen Fieldhouse is a fast track for us and we need to win this race. Let's show these ponies what real thoroughbreds look like.

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

A ten lane field with Kevin Young bounding from the gate, racing down the opening stretch, securing the pole!

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

We will learn a lot about how big of a hole Self wants to put this team into by whether or not he has the team pressing form the tip off, or not.

If Self wants to do what you say, nuleaf, he will start with the same press he did against CU.

But if Self thinks his long, green, nicked up, team has progressed enough, he will send them out as flat as possible, and with no edges like the press, and make them scramble desperately to find a way to win one without him. The better the team he has in the pre-conference season, the more he does this. This team has been struggling so much until the CU game, he has been helping them way more than usual.

I'm betting this is the night this team gets to discover how much he's been helping them. They're going to walk in all puffed up from the CU blow out and having gotten through finals, so they will be over confident and a step slow, if Self doesn't amp them.

This is the perfect game to scare the shizz out of them by making them figure out how to win one without him, so I think that's what he will do.

But if they come out pressing, then you know Self thinks the team is still half baked and needs an edge even against a good mid major to win.

kusayzone 9 years, 6 months ago

Self wont let this mid major become another "KILLER B" team....hope he showed them the tapes

Alohahawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I guess I'm in the minority on Josh Smith. Yes, he's tall and big (Spell that 'ROTUND', to be polite.). And he does have a pair of soft hands. However, he's never impressed me when it comes to his conditioning. If he were to transfer to KU, it would take at least a semester, maybe up to a year, just to get him into somewhat decent shape. But, Hudy or not, a player has to have the will to get in shape, and I've never received any sort of impression along those lines from him. He's slow on his feet and lags down the court. Spends more time on the bench than he does playing, because of his poor coinditioning. The only thing good about him would be he takes up a lot of space in the middle. Or, as REHawk mentioned above, he could create major screens for KU's guards.

Jim Roth 9 years, 6 months ago

McDonald's All-American indeed....supersize!

Steve Quatrocky 9 years, 6 months ago

By the time he could get in shape(assuming he has the will to get in shape) and then becomes eligible, Embiid will be Hudy'd up and a force inside. All depends on Bill's progress with the 3 Top 10's deciding late. Right now, someone will have to depart and/or put Wesley back on the Langford Scholarship so if one of the top recruits is looking good.....I agree, dont spend a silver bullet on a Smith

Joel Thomas 9 years, 6 months ago

Smith is worth a flyer. He's already used up his transfer, so KU has all the leverage should he choose to come here.

mikehawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Agree up to a point about Withey having trouble and being less of a factor with smaller teams. I have been of that school most of last year and until very recently. Now, however, it appears HCBS is trying to get his guards to move up into the comfort zone of the opposing guards. He seems to be trying to use this to help guard the perimeter and the three ball knowing our guards will get beat at times with the Long Fellow back there to protect the rim. The only problem in this scheme is he has Withey follow his man out to the perimeter to hedge on ball screens, bringing him away from the basket. I still like it in that it forces tempo and this team thrives on tempo, as in fast tempo. Two high end mid majors today and Tuesday giving us great competition even though they don't have the marque names. We'll get the name brand type team on the road soon enough next Saturday. Should be interesting to see if there is any carry over in improvement from last Saturday (they looked awesome) after a week of finals and what Coach calls "a maintenance week."

yates33333 9 years, 6 months ago

If Smith wants to come, come. We can take a gamble on his scholarship and if he doesn't work out he probably can be eased out. He does have some very good games. He undoubtedly knows of Self''s reputation. So if he comes he will play defense. I think.

Craig Colgin 9 years, 6 months ago

I guess my question on Smith is this. Does it make sense for him to transfer here from the standpoint of years of eligibility remaining? If he is a Junior now, and would have to sit out until this time next season. Am i wrong about this? It seems like he would only get to play half a season. Can anyone clarify?

Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

It is amazing how the cars of the late 60s and early 70s are still the best cars ever. Is there anything better than a 69 Charger, or a 72 Chevelle?

Kurt Eskilson 9 years, 6 months ago

Wish I still had my 68 Charger, 383 with mags & headers. When the 435 loop south of KC was finished, but not open, I drove that baby past the barriers and got her purring at 120. I'll never forget how smooth the ride was at that speed …

Craig Colgin 9 years, 6 months ago

Thanks HEM, great discussion on the Smith eligibility issue as well.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

That was my first thought .. but why is Jabari Brown, same situation .. played first semester last season as a freshman .. and now he's a reshirt sophomore at MU?

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Cragar SS.

Original Z-28 option Camaro with the "little" cube V-8.

Ford 427 SOHC Cammer. Only saw one once. A friend's rehabbed Mustang dragster. Scariest engine ever built and sold over the counter. Homologated for NASCAR but never raced because of the cowards at MOPAR trying to protect their weak kneed HEMI. Ford Cammer = only homologated engine ever banned from NASCAR. It was a Ford 427 wedge side oiler block with custom hemispherical heads, like a MOPAR Hemi, but with single over head cams on both cylinder banks. Hand built by Ford. Evil, evil, evil engine. 616hp with a 4 barrel and 657 with dual 4 1964. No one would even remember a ChryCo Hemi had the Cammer not been banned from NASCAR.

Dodge Hemi Dart.

Plymouth Super Bird with a Hemi.

Any 427 Cobra.

And everyone of these insane machines could be taken apart on your driveway in a weekend, rebuilt in a week or two, even sent out for blue printing, then stuck back in with an engine hoist and run.

No computers.

Just wrenches, a timing light, spark plug gappers, some points, and a great ear.

jhox 9 years, 6 months ago

I had the pleasure of being in Fizzou Arena (or was it Paige Arena at the time;) the night Belmont knocked Missery off. One of the really great nights of my life.

I can't see them beating KU in Allen (for one thing we don't have Quinn Snyder on our bench) but it is good that we're taking them seriously.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

Back when the Peters news came up, that was about the time Josh Smith bailed on UCLA. I mentioned the idea of pursuing him .. not endorsing it, just wondering if we would. Didn't generate any real excitement here. Personally, I like the gamble. It's his last shot to play in the NBA. I'm just not sure Landen Lucas would like it. Three centers on the roster? But that might depend on how long Smith would be here, which seems a legitimate question -- for a semester, or for a year and a half?

To cragarhawk's point above, though, my first question is "how much more eligibility does he have?" Jabari Brown for MU played two games for Oregon his freshman season and is now a redshirt sophomore after sitting out December/2011 - December/2012. That would imply that he has this half season, plus two more.

I would have expected that he had 5 seasons to play 4, and Brown would be a redshirt freshman this season. But there may be a different rule regarding transferring at mid-season when you play in the first semester like Brown did. As it relates to Smith, does he have only the last half of the 2013/14 season, or an extra season after that? He played during the first half of this season ... so would he then be a senior next season, and only have the 2nd half of the season to play?

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Good question posed by cragarhawk and HEM. Would seem only fair that Smith would have 3 semesters of eligibility remaining, starting next Christmastime. I can't even remember if Withey started playing Jayhawk ball in late December, and if so, did that one semester constitute a full season. Of course, Jeff's transfer situation was different in that he did not play at all in his one semester at Arizona. HEM, you pose another serious thought about Smith's possible transfer to KU. How would Lucas react to the thought of 3 centers on the roster? I've little doubt that Bill Self and Andrea Hudy could revitalize Josh's game...if he is inclined to commit himself to a complete turnabout. Ben Howland's program looks to have been somewhat in shambles during Josh's tenure at UCLA.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

Here's where I go when I have rules questions .. right to the rules. Click on the "article" section, then there's a drop down with each section. This would be in article 14. Five year rule is 14.2, and then there are multiple subsections.

However, if you go to rule 14.2, the rule states being able to participate in 4 "seasons" of competition. Smith already participated during this "season". he has one more "season." So basically a redshirt year is an academic year thing. Meaning it can't be broken up between academic years.

As REHawk noted, Withey didn't play the first semester at AZ. So his redshirt year was the first academic year (2008/09), then he sat first semester of this redshirt freshman season at KU (2009/10) because he had to sit a full year because of the transfer.

So, it seems like Smith is eligible only for one semester of ball for 2013/14 -- that would be his 4th season.

But, if he sat the entire 2013/14 year, he'd have a full year of eligibility for that season under the 5 seasons to play 4 rule. And that would be his 4th season.

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I hope to see us come out amped again for this midDecember contest, roaring to an early lead. Should be a real test, esp. for Jeff, who bears something of a negative history vs. squads of shorter opponents. I foresee a 14 pt. lead, 3 or 4 pt. win. One of the better learning experiences on our pre-conference schedule. Perry Ellis more effective today. Young continuing to master his pogo stick.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Wouldn't it be great?

But Self's MO, if he thinks the team has come together, is send them out flat after a peak performance, and let them labor for one, so they don't get overconfident and so they have to work at learning to win one without him giving them the edge.

Got to reindex the ascent path for Ohio State.

Self thinks its unmanly (and bad strategy) to waste a peak performance on a mid major, no matter how good they are.

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

jb, your theory makes strong good sense. Gonna be very intriguing, watching how the Jayhawks play those opening 4 or 5 minutes. Might be difficult for Self to institute flat beginning for a squad with Kevin Young gaining senior season momentum. Lotsa eyes will focus on that kid this evening. Maybe Self won't start him?

Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

drgnslayr .. see above on Smith's eligibility. I think I figured it out.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Self has never had a wide body.

This is his chance.

He will take it.

Even for a year.

FarSideHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Agree with Jaydogger above. Hope we can wait on Randle/Wiggins/Dakari decision, before deciding on Josh.

He is a gamble at best and we have enough projects already on the roster. Need someone that can impact right away.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

Self said earlier he expected that we might have, if I recall right, seven or eight spots. Peters scholarship is the 6th.

I think Self sees that someone might leave. I will guarantee you this, if Randle wants to come, we'll have a spot for him. Don't think we won't have room.

Here's why Smith might be good. Without him .. and without landing Randle (which is at best a 25% shot) .. who do we start in the post next season? Embiid -- freshman, raw can't expect to be ready to start; Lucas -- who wasn't good enough to beat out Traylor this season for PT; Traylor -- who is plainly limited; or Wesley -- you fill in the blank here. Ellis is the only sure thing.

If we add Smith, we have an experienced player who could -- emphasis on "could" -- be desperate to salvage his career, see that it's his only shot at the NBA, and be highly motivated. If sucks, we play the other guys. Our only risk is not having a spot to add a transfer (like KY) or a low ranked guy (think Doyle, Lindsay, Traylor, Anderson), in the late spring. Smith seems like a better gamble.

If he is only good for a semester, what is the risk given our current roster situation? If we get Randle, Randle and Ellis start. We're happy. If we don't get Randle, we have Ellis and what?

FarSideHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

HEM, but he will be tying up a scholarship for a full year and play only one semester. By then (midway through the year) Embiid and Lucas should be better and Smith may actually disrupt the chemistry. If he had another full season, then I'd be all for it. It is a low risk gamble, but the returns on this risk just dont excite me. Eventhough I'd love to have his size in the post.

FarSideHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Off-topic, but I noticed that BMAC was a 4-star, ranked #34 in the country and #9 at his position.

He's certainly playing at a much higher level than that. Do you guys think, he was just mis-ranked or that one semester of practicing last year made him that much better. Meaning he would have been more like Perry Ellis if he had played last year. Either way, I can't imagine there were 33 players better than him in his class.

jhox 9 years, 6 months ago

I have to believe he was misranked. Possibly because of his high school moves. Surprising, though, as people who rank these kids often over weight athleticism, and I can't imagine any kid in the country was more athletic than Ben. I think Rivals had him top 20.

FarSideHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Im referring to rivals rank above. ESPN actually had him even lower at 49th!

David Leathers 9 years, 6 months ago

"If Belmont played in our league, they’d have success."

Really Bill? Success against who? The last time I checked, KU has won 8 straight!

Lash 9 years, 6 months ago

Success against Big 12 competition.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

Against half the league. It's only at KU that success is measured by whether we have hardware at the end of the season.

David Leathers 9 years, 6 months ago

I knew what the guy meant. I was poking some fun around. The quote spoke to me, so I spoke back.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 6 months ago

Smith = Jeff Graves. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Graves had some weight issues as well, but was a great insurance policy in case one of our bigs went down. He filled that role admirably when Simien got hurt in 03 and nearly helped us win the NC.

Smith, and not that I've spent a lot of time thinking about him, symbolized all that was wrong with UCLA after their Final Four runs in the mid 2000's. Part of a talented group of underachievers who for what ever reason Howland let run the team to the point of playing a game in once vaunted Pauley Pavilion in front of 3000 fans like happened earlier this year.

Hopefully a couple of years of maturity means he could still be a productive member of a major team. I'm pretty sure Self wouldn't be interested had he not seen an upside for bringing him in for a season and a half.

As for today, sounds like a barrage of belmont bombs will try to barge their way into KU infamy as another Jayhawk B killer ala bucknell and bradley. Hopefully our killer B as in BMac puts to rest any thoughts of a Belmont boondoggle.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago


Self said just recently bigs are supposed to be enforcers.

Self has no bigs, here, or coming, that could enforce anywhere but on Oprah.

Self needs one and wants one.

Self will take Smith if Smith wants to pay the price.

Tom Longhofer 9 years, 6 months ago

"Belmont has no starter taller than 6-foot-7"

Gimme a break, If it were an advantage to have no starter over 6-7, Clyde, Wilt, and Danny would have never left the bench..

Annette Lee 9 years, 6 months ago

Belmont has a big sophomore named Lang that comes off the bench. They don't play him much and he is slow but at 275 and 6'11 he takes up space. They might use him today just to push KY and JW around.

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