Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Post presence: Assistant coach Manning making most of ‘great spot’ on KU bench

Kansas assistant coach Danny Manning directs traffic during warmups prior to tipoff against Texas Tech on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas assistant coach Danny Manning directs traffic during warmups prior to tipoff against Texas Tech on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Danny Manning, who has worked on Bill Self’s Kansas University basketball coaching staff the past nine seasons, wants to run his own program some day.


That’s the million-dollar question.

“You always aspire to get better and to improve. You want to learn each and every day,” said the 6-foot-10 former KU All-American/15-year NBA veteran. “I’m in a great spot learning from coach Self and being around (assistants Joe) Dooley, (Kurtis) Townsend and (Barry) Hinson ... so soak up as much as I can and when it happens, it happens.”

Manning, 45, who has been a full-time assistant with recruiting duties the past five seasons, said he’s been a sponge.

“Coach Self is a great teacher and motivator, but it’s his people skills ... the way he relates to the players is outstanding,” Manning said. “Coach Dooley is a stats guy. He understands numbers and things like that. Coach Townsend has the uncanny ability to relate to any and every player. Coach Hinson sees things differently because he’s been a head coach before, and he has his views. Being around all those guys has helped me, and I’ve enjoyed it.”

Manning, in a 20-minute sit-down interview with reporters Tuesday, said he’s discovered that he enjoys recruiting.

“It’s fun. Anytime I get a chance to go out and watch ball and try to learn ... every experience is a learning experience. You want to pick something up. You have to have an open mind. That’s the thought process for me,” Manning said.

He said he also enjoys scouting opposing teams.

“It’s tedious, but it’s fun,” he said. “You try to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of each individual of what they are trying to do offensively, what you can take away, how you can limit them defensively. Those are fun things for me to do because I enjoy ball and I enjoy watching.”

And, of course, he enjoys teaching a plethora of moves to KU’s big men who have been so quick to praise Manning’s influence throughout his nine years here.

“Everybody respects him. If he says something, we listen,” said KU junior center Jeff Withey. “We all see him as a role model and that definitely helps. He’s a humble guy.

“He doesn’t have to teach us all these things that are his secrets. He doesn’t have to tell us all his moves. He doesn’t have to be doing what he does. To be helping college guys like he does is great.”

Manning, who has worked with the likes of pros Marcus and Markieff Morris, Cole Aldrich, Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, Julian Wright, Wayne Simien and Sasha Kaun at KU, explained his philosophy.

“It starts with coach Self’s system. He puts big guys in a position to be successful for many, many years,” Manning said. “He’s done some different things in terms of our offensive schemes and playing inside/out. With his high/low offense, that’s something geared to big guys working hard and creating scoring opportunities.

“I like to share with them the different angles and ways to create post position. I think it all starts with footwork. It’s something we try to stress each and every day,” added Manning, who indicated he likes to put the big men through multiple drills at one time to “create awareness, so they have a sense of knowing when they are on the court — that there are nine other players there.”

Junior forward Thomas Robinson, who has developed into the Big 12 player of the year and a first-team All-American under Manning’s tutelage, said Manning has done wonders for his own footwork.

“Just slowing me down, getting patient with my moves. With him it’s not about speed, it’s about getting the move right,” Robinson said. “Making sure it works, being patient, slowing it down. With that came better footwork.”

KU coach Self said the Jayhawk staff is proud of the fact that all but one player who started 50 percent of games (in at least one season) as a 4 or 5 (power/forward center) the last nine years has advanced to the NBA or Russia’s top league (walk-on Christian Moody the only exception).

“Danny does a great, great job,” Self said. “In recruiting, they (rival coaches) say we cater to big guys. You know what? It’s probably true. We do play inside/out. We still try to open it up to give guards plenty of room to work. But we take pride in developing big guys, and Danny is a big part in that.”

As far as this year’s big guys? Manning said the Jayhawks have gone to a basic big man package to not overload the players with information on a team with so little depth. Of the progress of 6-foot-10 Robinson, he said: “We thought he could be a talented basketball player. We thought he could help us win a lot of games. We thought if the cards fell right he could have a tremendous year. I can’t say I saw a potential player of the year candidate, but he seized his opportunity and definitely made the most of it.”

Manning added that he thought Robinson would “be a good pro for a very long time.”

Of 7-footer Withey, he said with a smile: “Jeff has the skill-set to play at the professional level. Jeff just needs to gain some damn weight. It gets easier as you grow older, that’s for sure.”

Manning and his big men are preparing for a big challenge in the 2012 NCAA tournament. First-round foe Detroit (8:57 p.m., Friday, CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Neb.) has a pair of 6-10 players in Eli Holman and LaMarcus Lowe.

“Our whole team is going to get challenged. When you stereotype outside the box and talk about a team that’s quote, unquote, a mid-major, not too many are going to be as athletic as this team when we see them warm up,” Manning said of the 22-13 Titans of the Horizon League. “They are athletic, well-coached, play hard, are talented.”

No rebuttal given: KU’s players were asked about the comments of Detroit’s Holman, who when asked about KU’s Robinson on Sunday said, “Robinson? I can handle Robinson. He has to handle me.”

“He’s confident. That’s good. We’ll see Friday,” Robinson said with a smile, indicating he hadn’t heard the comment until informed by the media.

Stated Withey: “I don’t know. We’re going to watch a lot of film. I know they are long and athletic. We’ll get a good feel for them and let our game speak for us.”

Noted Travis Releford: “That’s not going to determine how T-Rob plays. Everybody has got to come to play.”

Releford said he would never say anything about an opposing player. “You’ve got to leave your play on the court. That ends up doing most of the talking usually. For someone to say that kind of sucks for them, I think.”

Jersey to hang someday: KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday that big things are in Robinson’s future.

“It’s not official yet, but if he’s a first-team All-American, he’s going to get his number and name hung in the rafters (of Allen), and he’s going to be a lottery pick,” Self said. “He’s impacted this place in a very positive way, and his legacy will be great forever.”

Robinson on Tuesday was named first-team All-America by a day after the US Basketball Writers accorded him the same honor. He was joined by Kentucky’s Anthony Davis (player of year), North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall, Michigan State’s Draymond Green and Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan.

Tyshawn Taylor earned third-team honors from CBS.


kusportsdotcom 10 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 8 months ago

You know when Chris Hansen walks out and the guy knows he's lost everything, knows his family and friends will never look at him the same again, and breaks down crying...that's how I felt after I predicted Mizzou in the final four of my bracket.

Luke Kay 10 years, 8 months ago

HAHAHA I couldnt have said it better myself. I had this weird feeling of shame. A little voice trying to talk me out of writing that name in the final four spot.

Dan Harris 10 years, 8 months ago

Thats why I have them getting beat by Florida, I know its a stupid pick but I would rather my bracket go down in flames then pick those meth-heads! I can still hold my head high, look my self in the mirror when I shave or brush my teeth, can you aphers? shame-shame-shame!

zsn 10 years, 8 months ago

So is the Illinois job....just saying.......While I share the sentiments here that D-Man should stay at KU until Self retires and then get this job, it would be like Gut at UNC - he may not have that many more years left (Self is only about 4 years older than Danny). For his sake, I hope he gets a high profile job somewhere and does really well, like Illinois!

Brianna Zaleski 10 years, 8 months ago

Here here. We must do what we can to keep himat KU as long as possible. I believe he had been as vital a part to our recent string of success as anything.

The idiots who do a local sports radio show have him coming to Wichita once Greg Marshall leaves for greener pastures. He should stay on until Self leaves and then assume the reins at KU. Wishful thinking, I know, but by then I think we would pass the torch to him pretty willingly.

kusayzone 10 years, 8 months ago

Funny thing about this interview, it makes the coaches seem like they all do their own thing, when actually, the coaches are a team themselves. The success on the court starts with the success of the ability of each coach to do their respective role. So I ask TK what is the purpose of such an article? Coach Dooley has his name in the pot in different schools as head, but would it really be the same not having the stalwarts of what Kansas has? I would say to the coaches, if you like it, enjoy the ride like the rest of us. HCBS will take care of you, as well as the Jayhawk nation.

kusayzone 10 years, 8 months ago

Funny thing about this interview, it makes the coaches seem like they all do their own thing, when actually, the coaches are a team themselves. The success on the court starts with the success of the ability of each coach to do their respective role. So I ask TK what is the purpose of such an article? Coach Dooley has his name in the pot in different schools as head, but would it really be the same not having the stalwarts of what Kansas has? I would say to the coaches, if you like it, enjoy the ride like the rest of us. HCBS will take care of you, as well as the Jayhawk nation.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm glad I haven't had breakfast yet. Nothing to throw up, so far.

Danny Manning is such a huge part of Kansas and represents us so well, I can't stand the thought of him being anywhere else BUT here.

It would be like when Ozzy parted ways with Black Sabbath. Maybe worse.

No - all kidding aside, Danny IS Kansas. He shouldn't be anywhere else.

Oh Danny boy......

Alohahawk 10 years, 8 months ago

+1 To all the posts above, at least up to this point in time: 1:35 AM Hawaii Time. (In case some troll tries to add a later post to muddy the water.)

Knew most of KU's post men had achieved professional status, but really didn't realize only one had not gone pro. That is an unheralded compliment to Danny, as well as to the entire staff.

Does make one wonder what other coaches are telling (or offering) to those recruits who are power forwards and centers, which decide to go elsewhere.

Alohahawk 10 years, 8 months ago

How the heck did that double post happen? One above and one below baldwinjhawk? That is weird.

baldwinjhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

So proud of Dman! From watching him play at KU to watching him play for those awful clippers and get beat up all the time. It was a real surprise when he wanted to come home for "a while" and volunteer and help with the team. Now he is one of the top Assistant coaches in the country. Definitely the top bigs coach in the country. The only thing I see holding him back is that he is painfully shy. He does not like talking to reporters and doesn't like being on camera. Hell he didn't even want to speak at the legends of the phog. Hopefully that will keep him here a couple more years.. Please please please..

mae 10 years, 8 months ago

Nothing to be shy about here. He is at home.

Brad Eisiminger 10 years, 8 months ago

I was a Manning fan, until my wife and I were out with some friends and came across him, Chalmers, Self and a few others at a local pub. They were the only one's in there beside my group. Not being from Lawrence, my wife and my best friend went up to them and asked for autographs on a napkin for our kids. Self was a class act and signed, but Manning refused and said, "buy us a round of drinks and I'll give you one"... Next thing he said to my best friend, in front of my wife, was "You hittin dat"? he said no, that's my best friends wife. Manning said, "so what, don't bs me, you hittin dat, right?" Maybe he had a few too many, maybe not... just left a bad impression of him for sure.

I still love him as a KU player and coach, but I really dislike him for how he acted toward my family and friends. His posters and memoribilia in the man-cave were sold after that..

RockCaCO3 10 years, 8 months ago

"he’s going to get his number and name hung in the rafters (of Allen)".

Gives me goosebumps. Well deserved.

I love the "we'll let our game speak for us" comments. Another reflection of our class act coaches.

Rock Chalk!

AsadZ 10 years, 8 months ago

“Coach Self is a great teacher and motivator, but it’s his people skills ... the way he relates to the players is outstanding,” Manning said.

When you listed to HCBS in press conferences you can tell how well he communicates with media.

Now this comment coming from Manning on how well he communicate with his players is priceless.

yates33333 10 years, 8 months ago

Does Robinson remind anyone else of Bill Bridges?

Steve Gantz 10 years, 8 months ago

The players are downplaying the bulletin board material, but I'm guessing they won't Friday night. Actually if their two bigs focus on TRob and do shut him down we have enough other weapons, one of whom will be left relatively free to bring down the titans so that no one will remember them.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 8 months ago

1] Danny will be the next Kansas coach. 2] Detroit bravado based in fear!! 3] TRob's jersey would need to be hung even if he didn't make all-intramural!! 4] This Kansas team is pi$$ed...Friday night will not be pretty!! 5] HCBS is one more National Championship away from going pro!! 6] Moody, Teahan, Normore head up the Kansas all-walk on team - who else?

kubball99 10 years, 8 months ago

Completely agree with number 1. I've always thought that Danny would be in the next coach at KU should Bill decide to move on or retire. Transition from Self to Manning would be easy for the players, staff, and the fans. Assuming Manning wants that job when it becomes available, I don't see anyone being a better fit than Manning.

Alex Berger 10 years, 8 months ago

As much as I love Danny I think he is better suited as an assistant coach. He is excellent at working with big men specifically and getting them ready to play. Now given I haven't seen him as a head coach so I don't know what he is capable but he knows what it takes to succeed (amazing basketball player, check, amazing assistant coach, check). I hope Self stays here until he retires, and considering Bill Self is only five years older than Manning I doubt Danny-boy will be a HC at Kansas.

HiloHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Yes, that's the problem - they are too nearly the same age. It's been my worst nightmare for the past 2 - 3 years that Danny would be offered a head coaching job somewhere else. The Self/Manning combo is dynamite! I'm sure neither of them wants to dissolve it...but he may get an offer he can't refuse.

jgkojak 10 years, 8 months ago

Agree - Danny will be our next coach.

I sense a little Carolina-Bill Gutheridge (the guy who took Dean's place for 3 years before Doherty came in) -

I think Danny is very happy where he is, loves Kansas and Lawrence, and maybe is willing to wait 5-10 more years and take his 10 years or so as KS Head Coach. He doesn't need the money.

I think HCBS will coach to year 15 at least (to match Roy) and to get through having his son play for him as a walk-on (isn't Tyler a HS Jr?)

KULA 10 years, 8 months ago

Danny will get an NBA offer to assistant coach bigs before Bill gets an NBA head coach offer.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Self has probably turned down half a dozen serious NBA franchise inquiries about his availability over the years, because they were poorly managed, to say nothing of a bunch of casual any interests by NBA GMs.

Everyone knows Self could kick arse at the next level.

Jesus, imagine what he would do to basketball strategy, if he didn't have to waist 3/4s of his time recruiting. Its scary!!!!

KULA 10 years, 8 months ago

You apparently have some inside information or better sources than me, because I haven't heard anything about any NBA interest in Bill since 08. And I guess the LJW hasn't either, because I haven't read anything about it here. But I'm not here every day, so I may have missed something.

"Probably turned down" "Everyone knows" "Imagine" -- All logical, indisputable arguments indeed, lol. And really, "imagine what he could do to basketball strategy?" Puh--LEEZE

NotoriousJHAWK 10 years, 8 months ago

Bill Self will grow old and retire a Jayhawk. Hes not going to the NBA

mae 10 years, 8 months ago

"Of 7-footer Withey, he said with a smile: “Jeff has the skill-set to play at the professional level. Jeff just needs to gain some damn weight. It gets easier as you grow older, that’s for sure.”

That's my dad in a nutshell.

Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

Withey has a tape worm. The dude is immuned from gaining weight. They say he eats a lot.

Phoghorn 10 years, 8 months ago

Warning! Pure Speculation Alert!

If Coach Manning should take a head coaching job somewhere, I suspect it might be Oklahoma State. They have a well-respected program that has sadly fallen off the last few years (upset wins over KU and MU notwithstanding). KU and OSU do have a history of shared personnel, and I can see Coach Self, himself a Coach Iba protege, grooming Coach Manning to take over there.

Sam Brockert 10 years, 8 months ago

Manning is a couple of years yonger than self...I see him taking over at kansas..when self retires that is. Wishful thinking, i know.

Phoghorn 10 years, 8 months ago

That is very possible as well. I did not expand on this in my post above, but I see OSU being potentially Coach Manning's first coach job, and then he may possibly return to KU. Of course, if Coach Self does decide to coach well into his 70s (although he says he won't), then I could see Coach Manning making a career somewhere else.

Either way KU, and whoever gets Coach Manning will both be in good hands.

cobweb 10 years, 8 months ago

Self will be here another 10 years. What else would he do? The NBA sucks. He couldn't take the BS for politics. He won't sit home and watch Oprah with the wife.

Dennis Mahorney 10 years, 8 months ago

If Danny leaves...I hear Scott Pollard is there from time to time. Maybe he could be a good big man coach.

gchawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Speaking of Pollard, I wonder why his jersey hasn't been hung up on the rafters yet? Personally, I think he derserves it.

mae 10 years, 8 months ago

Meh, why would you leave lawrence? Plenty of money and the best seat in the house, plus you have to move?

Yep, Pollard lives and breathes lawrence too.

Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

Sorry- Pollard is a great fun-loving guy. I would not want him coaching our bigs. Manning is the best, simply the best. It's interesting that Mourning is at the Heat. If HCBS ever jumps to the NBA, guess who goes with him? DaMan

I just don't think DMan is the head coach type. I have no doubt he could be a head coach but he doesn't seem to have aspirations as a head coach. He seems perfectly content at KU. I do think he could follow Self to the NBA. I hear Orlando and Howard are looking for a head coach. I guarantee you Self's name is being mentioned.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 8 months ago

Pollard would do a good job...I just don't want to see our bigs wearing nail polish.

Benjamin Piehler 10 years, 8 months ago

Put a single guy in TRob.... See what happens. There's a reason he's still a front runner for POY being double and triple teamed the whole Big XII season.

UncleMiltyN 10 years, 8 months ago

I want a t-shirt with a good picture of Robinson dunking on this guy and the Joker quote "Wait'll they get a load of me" at the bottom.....

Steve Gantz 10 years, 8 months ago

Seeing as Illinois is the incubator for present KU coaches, how about Danny go there and wait for his KU turn?

kupride4u 10 years, 8 months ago

If Marshall leaves Wichita State for USC, I would think Manning could get some consideration for the Shockers.

ClydeTurnbuckle 10 years, 8 months ago

I actually never got the sense that Danny was trying to work his way up the coaching ladder. He certainly doesn't have anything to prove to anyone. He is a legendary college player and an NBA all-star. Why wouldn't he spend the rest of his non-playing days in a community where he has roots, helping his Alma Mater be a big man factory.

Chris1955 10 years, 8 months ago

Agreed. Sometimes enjoying the collective chemistry of the people you work with is worth more that the ego gratification of being in command. I speak from personal experience.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 8 months ago

I second that emotion...doing something I love, with people I enjoy being with and being fairly compensated is worth a king ransom to me as opposed to a horrible job that pays ten times as much!!

Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

It's definitely for the love of the game and his love for KU. He doesn't need a bunch of money.

Benjamin Piehler 10 years, 8 months ago

Hm... I'd assume the pay is pretty competitive for Danny

WilburNether 10 years, 8 months ago

Anyone else think that Caleb What's-his-name, the 7-footer who chose Arizona over KU, is a fool?

Joe Baker 10 years, 8 months ago

Naw- he's just confused and when he grows up on insignificant row, with splinters in his azz, he'll wish his blood was crimson and KU blue.

My issue wth Tarc is he wanted to play with Ellis. His development was guaranteed under DMan. Miller will not develop him and he'll be just another big man in the NBA.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 8 months ago

Truehawk....I know the juries still out on some of our guys in the NBA, but right now isn't that just about true of our guys in the NBA? Morris started ok, but his minutes are fading, Cole, not sure if he'll ever play, Arthur has the most potential, but now has lost a year. Collison and Gooden obviously have done fine, but they're not Manning's men either.

Wilburnether.... I never criticize an 18 year old for choosing a college (unless it's misery!)

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Well, you know what they say, Wilbur: it takes one to know one. :-)

Of course that means I can't recognize if he's a fool. :-)

Aw, seriously, Wilbur, the kid went for the sunshine and halter tops. Basketball was not the criterion. He's not the first kid to do that and he won't be the last.

Jeff Withey had good luck transferring out of UA.

Maybe Caleb will, too.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

I think anyone that chooses anywhere over KU is a fool. Just sayin........

LittleRockJayhawker 10 years, 8 months ago

During Jordan Juenemann's senior speech, he made a passing reference to Manning as a head coach somewhere. Did anyone else catch that?

Ethan Berger 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm starting to like Detroit. Talking mess as a 15. Make our players come out a little bit angry and something to prove. Don't see us being upset in the first round. Thanks guys for taking mess as a low seed.

REHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

To top the cake, a bit of extra embellishment from #15 seed. Precisely what this Jayhawk squad needs. Hoping to hear more goading from the opposition prior to tipoff.

Brianna Zaleski 10 years, 8 months ago

I'm a little confused on the article. It starts out by saying that Dman has aspirations to run his own program someday, however there is no supporting quotes from Manning or any one within the program. It almost comes across as speculation from the author. I just don't get a feeling he wants to leave. Now that is pure speculation on my part, but I think his helping of KU (which we know he loves) is more impt than climbing the ladder.

Please don't go! Ever!

rjanes2 10 years, 8 months ago

Would you say that he teaches a "plethora" of moves to KU’s big men?

kerbyd 10 years, 8 months ago

With all the talk lately about the "other" Manning, I hope to see a sign in Omaha something to the affect of "We wouldn't trade OUR Manning".

texashawk10 10 years, 8 months ago

I don't know if Self has any aspirations of coaching in the NBA, I think San Antonio would be one of the few jobs he would have to seriously consider once Pop, Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker move on because of his relationship with RC Buford, but that could be the biggest reason why he wouldn't consider that job. I do wonder if that's part of why Larry Brown has been hanging around the program so much lately to give Bill some advice on the differences between the college and NBA games because they are two totally different environments and jobs. I also tend to think it's just a matter of the right opportunity opening up for Manning for him to make the jump into the head coaching pool. Wichita St. seems like it could be a good fit for Manning, but who knows.

One thing I do know is that there is no shortage of very good coaches out there with ties to KU, as either former players or assistant coaches, with ties to KU that would do a good job coaching the Jayhawks. I don't know if anybody is good enough to match the success of Self, but there are plenty of guys out there who keep KU a national title contender just about every season. Kevin Stallings (Vandy), Tad Boyle (Colorado), Rex Walters (USF), Mark Turgeon (Maryland), and Tim Jankovich (Illinois St.) are all current D1 head coaches who have direct ties to KU as either former players or assistant coaches at KU.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

The word I've heard is that Danny's kids will be out of the house finally and Danny is ready to make a move this off-season. I heard this gossip last summer and this story lends some credence to that gossip.

Danny is a professional coach. He isn't doing this for his health. Its a career choice.

Anyone who has been in a profession knows that you build a career. You prepare yourself to be the best you can be and you look for the best openings and take the best offers as they come. Everyone has dream jobs, but you don't build your career out of pursuit of one job. You try to make yourself so valuable all good openings would want you. And you take the one that would seem to advance you the farthest in achieving the kind of career success that is your goal.

Professionals quest after success. If their dream job happens to open up they go after it, but they don't build their career around improbabilities. Manning would seriously consider the KU job some day, if his career hasn't taken him into something better, something that fits his time table better.

I see almost no chance of Danny staying, or becoming the KU coach without being a successful head coach at a mid major and then a major.

Danny most likely has the following goal: become a successful head basketball coach at a Division 1 program that sustains success as a Top 25 program, and try to win an NCAA ring; this is the goal of a professional coach trying to make it in the NCAA.

His goal is probably not to become the KU head coach.

Since he's probably smarter than all of us combined about the basketball business, he is smart enough to recognize, as we do, that there is a chance that he could one day get the KU job. But a professional doesn't build a career on a single chance. Doing so would be...unprofessional...and naive.

Danny Manning is a competitor and a winner. He always has been and leopards not only keep their spots, but they like to keep hunting.

Manning is hungry for the next challenge.

He wants to prove he was not only a great player, and a great assistant coach, but a great head coach.

Clearly he likes working with talented big men.

Clearly he loves and is intellectually stimulated by D1 competition, as a coach.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

But there are probably some underlying motivators we will never know about for sure.

He may want to become the head coach his father dreamed of becoming himself. He may want to accomplish this on some level for his family, not just for himself.

Who knows? He may be hungry to prove Larry Brown wrong. Brown may not only have said, "You're not a guard," he may also have said, "You're not a coach either." We can't know, but such things happen sometimes.

Or Manning may want to try to accomplish something that would put him in the record books forever.

Manning may want to join an elite group: guys who've won a ring playing and coaching. Dean Smith and Bob Knight come to mind.

But Manning could join John Wooden as the only All American I can think of that also then coached a team to a championship, and he would be the only person to do it in the modern era I believe.

I believe Manning has a huge incentive to try to become a great head basketball coach, whether or not he ever becomes KU's head coach.

Would it be a fair tale come true, if he came back to KU and won his title, where he did as a player?

It would be one of the greatest stories in the history of college basketball.

But ask Bill Self, who has coached so many years. Things have to align just right to get the Kansas job and even then everything has to align just right to win a ring. Danny needs to climb the stairway to heaven, not act like he knows where exactly it is headed.

Develop your talents. Build your skills. Learn, learn, learn. Work harder than most. Solve problems no one else an solve. Learn how to make lemonade out of lemons. Face impossible odds you don't know how you are going to overcome and then work and work and work and overcome them by never giving up, never losing your swagger, never losing your sense of purpose. Be good to your colleagues. Build relationships with good people. Watch out for the weasels. Don't let any of the shizz stick. And as you are doing that, keep up with changes in the rules, hold onto your philosophy, adopt the strategies and tactics of the opponents that beat you, when prudent, and believe, even when you are down 8 with not much time to go in the National Championship.

That's all there is to it. :-)

Brianna Zaleski 10 years, 8 months ago

Great post jaybate. You make some valid points and I love the historical references. I don't necessarily like the point you are making (Manning leaving), but we would be naive to think that his competitive juices don't boil at the chance to try to be a coach at the highest level. Its probably not a matter of if but when:-(

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Thx. I too will be very sad to lose the great one.

But it will give me another team to root for. :-)

Travis Clementsmith 10 years, 8 months ago

Manning and Self are only separated by two years in age. If Self stays for the long haul, I doubt Manning will be a head coach at KU. If Self moves on, then the possibility is open.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

"Crimson and Blue Tails or the Lawrence Airmen: Target Omaha"

(for ralster)

Until this season, the players on this KU team were the basketball equivalents of the Tuskegee Airmen before those legendary African American pilots for the US Army Airforce in World War II were allowed to perform aerial combat.

No, they were not all African Americans.

No, they were not all being subjected to racial prejudice.

But they were in some ways just as wrongly disrespected.

Not one had been a Mickey D.

Not one was an OAD.

Not one had ever been the main course on a college team, as their realistic and skeptical coach noted.

All but one had never been judged good enough to be starters by their head coach.

Only their leader, Tyshawn Taylor had started and he had started and labored at most as a complementary starter, since his freshman year. Taylor was considered too fast and too good of a defender to keep out of the starting line up, but at the same time he had had to support the stars from the beginning. He had been a little used third option his freshman season at 2 guard, a rebuilding season. But when it seemed his time had come his sophomore season, team dynamics dictated that he become a glue 2, in order to make room for a one-and-done glamor boy named Xavier Henry. Taylor struggled gluing the stars, but he never gave up and despite some uneven play got it done and helped the team to a title. His junior season seemed a his time to realize his full fighting potential, but instead he was ordered by Self to remake his game yet again into a point guard. And he was asked to do this for a team that would largely play through its heavy bombers in side--the Morris Twins. Taylor labored terribly, coughing up turnovers faster than a pop corn popper popping a box of corn kernels. He was at times unable to hold concentration, accused of dogging it, and finally in a never revealed personal crisis, was benched for several games. But miraculously, despite all his problems, despite having to completely subordinate his air-to-air combat skills to the team's heavy bombers, he managed to lead the team to 30 plus wins, a conference title, and a Number 1 seed in the Madness--all while getting virtually no credit.

When Taylor came back for his senior season, everyone but his Coach and his teammates doubted him. No one in the media, or the fan base, thought he could concentrate and successfully lead a thin, inexperienced team into the toughest pre-conference schedule in Self's tenure at Kansas. No one thought Taylor could reduce his turnovers. No one thought he could pot the triceratop at 40%. No one really thought he could feed the post on his own.

So: when Taylor came back for his senior campaign he was to Jayhawk nation, merely the leader of what was a disrespected, short handed, under-talented squad that was essentially Bill Self's equivalent of the Lawrence Airmen.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Why even before the first whistle of the first practice, the Lawrence Airmen quickly lost what seemed the little hope they had for having enough depth to have a chance to have a good season. Two of their lesser ranked incoming bigs and their one highly ranked perimeter recruit were ruled ineligible for the season. This left them with but two incoming scholarship recruits--a 6'8 180 string bean 3 man and a 6-7 170 pound baby face--neither of which seemed remotely capable of standing up to ordinary fouling, much less the frequent encounters of outright thudding the Lawrence Airmen would encounter on sorties inside and outside of Allen Field House.

When the season started, Taylor found himself surrounded by a muscle bound junior 4 who had played well, but briefly the season before as a designated fore-arm smasher and rebounder, but who had never been a scorer, never had been much of a hedge and chase defender for more than a few minutes, and had often had trouble controlling his motor. Oh, and he shot barely 50% from the free throw line. They called him Superman, because of his physique, not because of his play.

And when Taylor looked elsewhere he saw his former backup at the point asked to refit his game to a glue two that was to be the team's primary 3-point threat--a role he had never performed, and its lock down defender, a role he had never performed.

Taylor also saw a 3 who had always been so wild that even after redshirting a season he was still to wild to nail down even a spot in the rotation, and he was coming off a severe ankle injury.

Young Taylor next saw a 5, who had once been a highly recruited center, that had bailed out of his first school, and been sick, or injured, or both every season he had been at KU. His coach held out so little optimism for this 5 getting it together than he had forecast that one of the lesser recruits found ineligible had been expected to start ahead of this skinny, laconic flop from previous seasons.

And the bench was, well, it was hardly a bench at all.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

There was a redshirt senior walk-on that had been given a scholarship this season to make sure the team had at least two three point shooters, though this kid had never been able to make them when put in at any time other than clean up minutes.

And Taylor had one more ace in the hole. He had a transfer from Lamar Tech, who had barely played at Lamar, before walking on at KU as a legacy of his brother, a one time star.

There was one incoming guard with not very many stars by his name, who showed some promise as a back-up, but Taylor, having played 3 previous seasons and having known just what it takes to play at this level, had to have known that his backup was just to green to be a back-up at the level of competition the Lawrence Airmen were going to have to play at, even just to survive.

Taylor could also take confidence in a number of practice players that offered essentially no prospects for emerging as reliable players.

Oh and there was one more flicker of light. A student walked on and was given a place on the team and then promptly quit.

That is what Tyshawn Taylor started the season with.

That and a coach that confessed recently that the team wasn't very good at all the first few weeks of the season.

And understand that this is a coach who believes in talking about things in the most positive and constructive way possible.

But despite everything, these players thought they were good. They believed that if someone just gave them a chance to get off the ground support and go into aerial combat with the right coaching from Self and his staff, and leadership from their leader--Taylor--they could win the conference title!!!

And very shortly, they began to prove they were right.

Given the best basketball coaching staff in America today, scheming the most straight forward defense and offense, these Lawrence Airmen proved themselves capable of staying on the floor with the nations best teams. They could beat Kentucky, but they might of had they not shot 25% from three. They could easily have beaten Duke, had they not turned it over so much. And they did beat Georgetown and other good teams.

And before long the Lawrence Airmen began one of the most incredible jobs of escorting the Kansas tradition to target after target and of shooting the attacking enemy out of the sky that any disrespected, supposedly under talented, supposedly out manned team has ever put on in modern KU basketball history.

jaybate 10 years, 8 months ago

Unlike the famed Tuskegee Airmen, who's bomber group was never sent into action, the Lawrence Airmen were composed of two flyable bombers--Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey. And they were escorted to the targets by three of the fastest, highest mobility, longest ranged and most deadly P-51 style perimeter players that ever graced the court for KU.

Suddenly five disrespected men, backed up by situational substitutes that were willing to go into harms way and always give what they could and sometimes played above and beyond what they appeared capable of, showed thousands, tens of thousands, and as the season wore on, millions of fans that these guys could escort their bombers to the target blocks and dog fight enemy while doing it; that these guys could search for the enemies weakness in talent and scheme; that these guys could fight any way the enemy wanted; that these guys could play through any amount of pain, any amount of injury; that these guys could fly out of the sun, or face down an oncoming force with pure courage; could wait for the critical moment and destroy enemies in their sites, could take losses; could cut the heads off and watch the bodies die.

The Lawrence Airmen amassed a 26-7 record against the hardest the hardest targets of any team in Self's KU tenure, of any team in the Division 1.

But now the Lawrence Airmen have been ordered to escort their bombers into their hardest target yet--Round One of the 2012 March Madness in Omaha, Nebraska, against what is being described as the strongest 12 seed that anyone in the 477th Kansas Bombardment Command, or anyone else can recall in tournament history.

Once again the Lawrence Airmen have been disrespected-- disrespected by the NCAA seeding committee, doubted by talking heads, and ridiculed by a member of the opponent, who does not deserve even to drink sweat wrung from their athletic supporters of the Lawrence Airmen.

Get ready University of Detroit.

The Lawrence Airmen have you in their sights.

They are on a mission.

Target: Omaha.

They fight.

You better believe they fight.

Look for the 332rd Kansas Fighter Squadron.

You'll only get one look before you're out.

They are going to shoot your asses out of the sky.

They fight.

They fight.

They fight.

lee3022 10 years, 8 months ago

The selection noted above of Robinson by CBS Sports as 1st team is great. But that same website has carried Robinson as #1 choice for player of the year until this week. Robinson played well this week and, like Davis, lost in conference tournament. So why the change? The answer is Gary Parrish, one of the two writers to make the selections. Parrish lives in Memphis. He idolizes all things Calipari. He has written dozens of non-objective stories about Calipari and his teams. So Robinson who has far better stats than Davis got hosed not to win the POY award. ESPN has the same fixation for Calipari. Will they sway the voters enough for the Wooden award? Let us hope not.

Joel Thomas 10 years, 8 months ago

I agree. It seems a little iffy to cite when referencing to All-American teams. Clearly Robinson is a first team choice, and Taylor should get a lot of consideration for one of the teams, but that site doesn't conduct a vote.

Alohahawk 10 years, 8 months ago

What makes this that much more significant is that it is the first time, the inaugural, for the Naismith Student Fans Award. Naismith invents the game, and KU's fans win the "first" fan's award.

Can just hear the ethereal "Rock Chalk" chant echoing in the Phog, commemorating the award.

Roockk Chaallkk Jaayhaawkk Kaaaa Uuuuu!!!

(Note: Keeping it traditional: No "Woooo" following the chant.)

ParisHawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Uh oh, Jay Bilas just tweeted this:

"Hey, ADs w/ head coaching jobs open: if you don't call KU's Danny Manning, you are total idiots. No search firm necessary. You're welcome."

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