Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Self: KU’s seniors need to step up, be more aggressive

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson grabs a steal from Washburn guard Jared Henry during the second half on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson grabs a steal from Washburn guard Jared Henry during the second half on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


One of the reasons Kansas University’s basketball team scored just 62 points while hitting 43.5 percent of its shots Monday night against Washburn is the Jayhawks’ refusal to attack the basket.

Let coach Bill Self explain ...

“Last night, the ball touched the paint off the bounce nine times in the game. Tyshawn would touch the paint nine times the first 10 minutes,” KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday on his weekly Hawk Talk radio show. He was referring to ever-aggressive former KU point guard Tyshawn Taylor, who started four years, graduated in May and now is a backup with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

“You’ve got seniors out there — Elijah (Johnson), Travis (Releford) and Jeff (Withey) — not aggressive,” Self said. “You dribble side to side? Big deal. You don’t put pressure on anybody.

“We take that stuff from Tyshawn for granted. He shot more free throws probably than any guard in the country last year (137 of 199 for 68.8 percent in 39 games) because he’d get in there and they’d have to foul him or he’d get a guy an easy basket. How many easy baskets did our guards get our big guys last night? It didn’t happen. That’s correctable. I just think we were so passive last night.”

Self, who gave his players a day off Tuesday with two full days of work ahead in advance of Friday’s regular-season opener against SE Missouri State (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse), will have plenty of teaching points from film of the 62-50 win over the Ichabods.

“You watch our team play and you see athletic ability but you see us not play to it. You see guys that can drive the ball but don’t see anybody ever touch the paint off the bounce,” Self said.

“We are an awful screening team, just horrific. One thing we do fairly well — knock on wood — is first-shot defense, but we don’t rebound it. What good does it do to have great first-shot defense if you don’t rebound the ball?”

KU outrebounded the Div. II Ichabods, 40-39.

“Washburn beat us 9-to-5 on 50/50 balls. That can’t happen. They stole four more possessions than we did just off that,” Self said.

Self likes the Jayhawks’ chances of improvement in all areas of concern.

“The biggest thing with us is to make sure our fans know I really like these guys. I think we’ll be good. We’re just so young. We’re ridiculously young,” Self said. “To be real candid with you, our seniors are playing like freshmen and sophomores. They should be the guys carrying the load and are not yet, but they are capable of doing that.”

Senior Jeff Withey had nine points, eight rebounds and seven blocks, Elijah Johnson 13 points, five assists and four turnovers and Travis Releford seven points, four rebounds, three assists, two turnovers and two steals.

“I’m not concerned about it,” Self said, “but I do think it’s time for them to step up. It’s pretty nice when you have a bailout guy like Thomas (Robinson, Sacramento Kings) or Tyshawn. We don’t have a bailout guy. Those guys have to produce.

“When your two best offensive players are freshmen (Ben McLemore had 17 points; Perry Ellis 10) ... that’s not a good sign when you return three starters off a national championship finalist team. Those guys have got to do a little better and they will.”

Still sidelined: KU freshman Zach Peters, a 6-9, 240-pound power forward from Plano, Texas, has not been able to practice this season because of a rotator cuff injury in his left shoulder.

“Well, you know it’s getting to the point with Zach ... I’m not being negative at all, but he’s so far behind I don’t know even when he is able to come back, I can’t bank on him being ready in two weeks,” Self said. “We are going to go with the guys we’ve got. I certainly think we are plenty good enough. We just have to play smarter and execute better.”

Recruiting: Dakari Johnson, a 6-10, 265-pound center from Montverde (Fla.) Academy, has officially reclassified to the recruiting Class of 2013.

Makini Campbell, Dakari’s mother, told that, “Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse have expressed interest in Dakari. However, our focus right now will be on Dakari’s academics and his high school season. We will evaluate his college opportunities but will wait until the season is over before taking any official visits. Right now, I just want to keep him focused on school and his team.” He was the No. 5-rated player in the Class of 2014 by


741hawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Wait until after the season? We might not have a scholarship to give by then.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 10 months ago

We can't be the only school on that list with the same problem. I'm guessing any of the schools he is considering, including KU, would find room for him somehow.

Michael Auchard 9 years, 10 months ago

“We take that stuff from Tyshawn for granted." -- Self

From what I've heard on this board, we take Tyshawn for granted about every day. Summers, winters, spring to fall.

KUFan90 9 years, 10 months ago

  • So much for Keegan's "be nice to the KU players" article where he claimed Self would kill the players in practice on Tuesday (Self gave them the day off).

  • Mr. Peters, your red shirt has been sized and is available for you to pick up at the front counter. See you next year.

nostradavid 9 years, 10 months ago

Giving the players a day off to reflect on their shortcomings before the next practice was great psychology. The suspense amplified the dread. The competition to show aggression will not be limited to seniors. Starting slots are at stake. The next game should be fun to watch.

Jim Erickson 9 years, 10 months ago

Perry Ellis... Smart, Kansas kid, hard worker, gifted athlete, natural scorer, will probably stick around for 3-4 years... Does anyone else have the feeling that he will go down as one of the greats?

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

I agree with everything but how long he stays.

If Self has to turn to him to carry the scoring inside this season, and he does it, the NBA will take him now. If not, he seems like he will be ready for sure by the end of next season.

David Leathers 9 years, 10 months ago

Perry stays 4 years... The kid has had a 4.0 GPA for four straight years (maybe more if they actually would have counted in middle school), I can almost guarantee you that NBA ready or not, he will stay for four years.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 10 months ago

His 4.0 GPA tells me that he's smart enough to realize that if he tears his ACL in college it could cost him millions of dollars.

He'll take the guaranteed money as soon as he knows he'll be a lottery pick.

Tim Orel 9 years, 10 months ago

He may wind up with a degree after 3 years. He wouldn't be the first to be a great player and a great student.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago


Hope you are right, but I would say there is almost zero chance that he will be at KU for four years. He appears quite a bit better right now than Marcus Morris was at the end of his freshman season. If Self has to rely on him as one of his first three options, and it appears he will have to, there is a serious chance that Perry will jump this year. He is very bright, as you say, therefore, he can do the math and figure the amount of money he would make.

Have you seen his physique? If Xavier Henry had an NBA body, then Perry most certainly does.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 10 months ago

Yes, so long as he stays at KU for 3-4 years. I expect him to do some really big things. If he leaves after only 1 or 2 seasons he will go down like Darrell Arthur & Julian Wright have - a really, really spectacular post-player that would have become a KU legend if he stayed in Lawrence for another year or two. (Not that I blame anyone for choosing to make a lot of money in the NBA over the possibility of becoming a legend at KU. That's a really tough call for anyone in that position and I'm not going to pretend that I would've been above making a boatload of cash at age 19-20.)

nostradavid 9 years, 10 months ago

"Perry won't leave KU until the goal of National Champion is achieved. Of this you can rest assured." - from a reply of mine about Perry's current goals (AW3 article) on Nov.4. Perry is smart, and serious about his goals. The dollar difference between being drafted mid-first round and being the top lottery pick is worth the wait. The number of years will depend on when the goal is achieved.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Self wants to drive his way back to an offense...with EJ acting like Tyshawn.

Self perhaps for the first time in his KU tenure may be in danger of becoming a prisoner of his own experience. Trying to solve the team's problems by asking EJ to be like Tyshawn does not seem like Bill Self at his best. I don't recall him doing this before so blatantly before.

Self has been masterful at finding ways for players to become themselves, not copies of other players.

Can EJ go to iron? Can a bird fly? Can a fighter plane climb? Yes, EJ probably can.

But EJ appears to have some knee doubt, after a knee injury. He may have lost a few inches off his vert, too. And may be thinking about too many options at once--thinking too much.

But EJ can't be like Tyshawn for reasons I wrote yesterday. He could be as good. Maybe even better. But he can't be like Ty.

Ty was an artist. EJ seems too heady and analytical to become an artist. Anything's possible, but it doesn't seem probable.

I suggested he could become an engineer yesterday. Another option could be a conductor of a symphony--half artist and half technician. That's what he is trying to be naturally.

But Self wants a paint artist again, because it felt so good last year.

But time past is not time zero.

EJ isn't Ty. Maybe better. Maybe worse. But not Ty.

Another thing.

I said in the off season the hi-lo was not necessarily best for this team's material.

I hoped Self looked at Wooden's use of the high post offense on the Wicks/Rowe/Patterson team, with Jeff playing to of key and using Travis and Perry as low wings with EJ and Ben Mac out front in tandem. It keeps the middle cleared out for everyone but Jeff to attack the basket. It also makes the most of your outside shooting of EJ, BM, and Perry and of their driving.

But Self seems determined to stick with hi-lo.

Next, yesterday I noted Jeff and Perry had yet to find a way of playing elegantly together, which is not surprising, since they are so new to each other. I also noted this could be a place where Danny's absence could slow things a bit.

I kind of wonder to if Barry Hinson's absense may be slowing Self and EJ down in their development.

Hinson was a best friend and those don't grow on trees. He had to mean a lot to Self as a sounding board. He was a guy who could say, "Bill, your not being yourself here. Don't get caught in the past here. You're never wrong, when you Think next."

This is what is so great about college basketball. Each season is a new crucible of finding the right way, the critical path. Each season is a an act of discovering what you have become and being yourself to the best of your abilities. Like life itself, it never gets old. It just keeps evolving.

Rock Chalk!

jhox 9 years, 10 months ago

Self has every reason to believe EJ, Travis and Ben have the physical ability to get into the paint. They just need to do It. I'm guessing every one of those guys made a living doing that in high school. I know for sure Releford did. What I saw Monday night was those guys all chasing fools gold (relying too much on the three.) That doesn't play to any one of those guys biggest strength, which is their quickness and athleticism.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago


You raise a fascinating issue and it is: can perimeter guys, who were iron kings in high school, efficiently go to iron with out at least 38% trey accuracy in D1?

The operant word here is efficiently. Any great leaper that is good off the bounce can just keep going into the paint and score or get fouled. But can they do it at a rate that is better than feeding big guys, or letting 40% trey artists take open looks?

The current wisdom among coaches in D1 appear to be: if you shoot less than 38% from trey in D1, the defenders are just too good and lay off you, and the bigs backing them up are just too strong and tall, and so you cannot be a go-get-a-basket guy in D1 at less than 38% trey accuracy.

Therefore, Ben Mac can be a go-get-a-basket-g (GGABG).

Therefore, Travis cannot be a GGABG, except when Travis has a huge MUA and the opponent lacks a formidable inside presence.

Therefore, the jury is out on EJ, because his career trey percentage last season was 34% (though he was injured) and he did play a huge amount the year before (and his shooting may have been hampered that year by a shoulder injury), and so far he is 36% vs. two D2 teams.

The guys that are natural scorers in a D1 context are Ben Mac and Perry.

Jeff seems like he could be a scorer, if he were to keep his intensity level up, but that has proven problematic.

EJ is the guy.

EJ is the tipping point.

If EJ can get his trey gun oiled and sighted, so his defenders have to honor him outside, then he would seem to be that third GGBG you have to have to be a serious threat in D1.

And when the team learns to play inside out, either through Perry, or Jeff, and Jeff learns to sustain his energy, then the first five becomes a very dangerous team for anyone in the country.

This brings us to first subs inside and outside.

Inside, Justin and Jamari can be used to cobble together some breather minutes. Justin will probably guard the post a little better and get a few more offensive reebs. Jamari will probably get more steals and defensive rebounds. But neither will dominate.

And when KY comes back, he will play a lot of backup 4, and that will let Jamari and Justin committee backup at the 5.

Outside is more problematic.

Assuming Naadir can keep from getting scorched on defense once D1 play starts (still a large if), it is the first sub on the wings that is most problematic right now.

Neither AW3, the man Self wants, because of his gun, nor Anrio seem ready once the action speeds up. I've never seen Evan Manning play, and he's just getting out of his boot, but I have a hunch that if AW3 cannot improve his defense, and Anrio cannot stop the Pillsburys, that over the course of the season a very steady glue type, a guy who has claimed to be modelling himself off Brady Morningstar, is very likely to steal his way into this first back up spot...if he can heal and get in shape over the next month and a half.

jhox 9 years, 10 months ago

I feel EJ can be that guy. I had my doubts until the end of last season. He finally showed me he has the skill and the confidence in his ball handling to play the point. Until late last season, I hadn't seen that. I think at this point he's doing is "senior thing" and trying to be the guy, instead of just letting the game come to him. Tyshawn did the same last year early on, only with a different style of play. EJ will settle down and figure out his role. I believe he can be a big scorer for us and play the point. I'm guessing he'll end the year averaging around 15 a game. He also showed that scoring ability down the stretch last year. Ben will score, he's too talented not to. I saw flashes from Travis as a freshman and thought he might be a natural scorer. For whatever reason, I think he's just never completely figured out his own strengths and learned to take advantage of those. To me his strength is getting into the lane off the dribble, but he's been too tentative through most of his career. Perry is our most gifted natural scorer. I had seen him live in high school but didn't realize just how athletic and skilled he was until the game Monday night. Until then, I thought of him more of a Simeon type player, good hands, not especially quit footed, smart player with great footwork in the paint, and well rehearsed moves. I no longer think of him that way. He's the most gifted player Self has recruited to KU thus far, at least until Seldon arrives next year. I'd certainly be happy if he turns out half as productive as Wayne was...hard to argue with national player of the year type results, but I'm convinced Perry can be even better. He's just much quicker than Wayne.

Mel Clare 9 years, 10 months ago

Let Rio give it a shot............kid has some great hops and is suppose to be very good off the bounce.................I know, freshman.............but hey gotta get in there and get your feet wet!

FarSideHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate, I think you may be over-analyzing Self's comment here. I don't think Self wants EJ to become Ty (because with that comes the recklessness also, which was fine last year because Ty had to be Ty for us to succeed). I think Self just wants EJ to be more in charge of things and take more responsibility of orchestrating the offence (along with some drives to the baskets). That leadership is what EJ needs to replicate from Ty, not neccessarily his playing style and instincts.
Either way, I think every year starts kind of sloppy before Self gets the team to play as a unit. I think Self will find the right balance here too.

Mallory Rempp 9 years, 10 months ago

I agree. I think all self wants is a senior guard to lead the team. Right now I feel like they're all out there just running around, not knowing what the hell is going on. Obviously EJ isn't going to be Tyshawn - he doesn't have a big enough head or never-ending scrappiness to fill the role. BUT - he can lead a team, I'm confident of that. He's going to have to.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Could be.

Either way, I expect EJ to be in the paint 9 times the first ten minutes against SEMSU. :-)

The question is will he be efficient doing it; that was the key to Tyshawn's success; that he could be efficient doing it. They year before he got in the paint 9 times in ten minutes, but could not figure out how to score efficiently. These things that athleticism makes look so easy, when done right, take a tremendous amount of experience and judgement to do efficiently. To me it is not a question of if EJ can make the adjustment. The question is: when? It took Ty a year and a quarter to really get it down. EJ only has this year.

Ted Hume 9 years, 10 months ago

Two very important take-aways from the election, with apologies for even mentioning politics on this site (albeit a non-partisan perspective). The first is painfully obvious and has been for a very long time> we are an stubbornly entrenched and polarized nation, with not much hope for this changing anytime soon. Tied to the end to our chosen political party and unwilling to migrate, and the parties themselves unwilling to evolve or adapt to meet the ever-changing world in which we live. 2>As George Will clearly pointed out last night: if it's not obvious already, we are no longer a white-majority nation, but one of rapidly increasing diversity, with diverse rooted believes, needs, and experiences. The old Republican Party platform can no longer win on the national stage without the willingness face this reality and adapt to a changed national voting demographic; and the current Democratic party should not be too smug about last night's results to pull its general electorate to the middle as well, for any hope on moving us all forward in a better way.

Ken Sedgwick 9 years, 10 months ago

I cant help but wonder if the seniors weren`t allowing the freshmen an early opportunity to get their feet really wet. Even if so, they lacked leadersphip and intensity.

Crimsonandblueblood 9 years, 10 months ago

The desire for your players to be more aggressive and using Tyshawn as an example is not the same thing as wanting Elijah to be Tyshawn.

David Brown 9 years, 10 months ago

Judging by Self's comments, the video guys must have replayed the Washburn game with a legal pad and pencil. "That's one bounce, two bounces......" Last year, didn't EJ have a really low number of free throw attempts? Indicating that he didn't drive to the basket much, relying on TT to take on that role. This team has a portfolio of perimeter shooters to choose from, meaning EJ, Naadir, and Travis will need to get more comfortable with the role of driving & dishing.

Mel Clare 9 years, 10 months ago

Withey, Ellis, McClemore and Traylor will be going to the free throw line alot this year.............EJ is NOT Tyshawn..........Tyshawn had a knack for going into the lane..........

KansasComet 9 years, 10 months ago

When the lights are brightest, EJ will show up. He loves the big stage!

FarSideHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

On Recruiting, with all these re-classifications, we have the following targets in Rivals 100, still available:

Frontcourt: 1. Andrew Wiggins, 6'7" 190lbs 2. Julius Randle, 6'9" 240lbs 3. Aaron Gordon, 6'8", 205lbs 4. Noah Vonleh, 6'9", 222lbs 5. Dakari Johnson, 6'10", 265lbs 5. Jermaine Lawrence, 6'9", 200lbs 6. Tyler Roberson, 6'8", 210lbs 7. Joel Embiid, 7'0", 210lbs

Backcourt 1. Isaac Hamilton, 6'4", 190lbs (Rivals #15) 2. Rysheed Jordan, 6'4", 185lbs (Rivals #28) 3. Detrick Mostella, 6'3", 170lbs

I like the odds of getting at least one of the bigs, if not two (with scholarship adjustments). Should be ok on guards until 2014.

texashawk10 9 years, 10 months ago

Vonleh doesn't have KU on his list anymore.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 10 months ago

A high quality frontcourt player is a must. Emphasis on "high quality."

If we get Embiid, who may need development before being effective, we will need to land another high quality post player.

Otherwise, in 2013, we'll be casting our frontcourt fate (after Ellis) on Traylor, Lucas, Wesley, and Peters (returning from injury). Not something that inspires confidence.

The need for a "play now" post player in 2013 is huge.

FarSideHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Andrew Wiggins seems to be the best in the lot, but at 190lbs, he will be a 3 and we really need more of 4 or 5 next year.

Randle and Dakari would be my #1 and #2 on the wish list.

RJ King 9 years, 10 months ago

Here's how I see their likely decisions (based on hometowns, twitter comments, connections, official visits, etc.)

Andrew Wiggins - Florida State or Kentucky

Julius Randle - Kentucky or Texas

Aaron Gordon - Washington or Arizona

Dakari Johnson - Kentucky, Georgetown or Syracuse

Jermaine Lawrence - St. Johns or Syracuse

Tyler Roberson - 'Nova or Syracuse

Joel Embiid - Marquette or Florida

I hope I'm wrong, but I think Kansas may be a 3rd choice for these guys. Timing is everything. When they declare and how many available scholarships should impact Spring signings much more this year than in the past because of all the early commitments.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 10 months ago

sniper60: Your reference to Adams brings up two undeniable truths about coach Self. Two truths we know for sure. Two truths that are linked in simplicity. Two truths that we have witnessed. And they are philosophically linked:

Undeniable Truth #1: Coach Self does not believe in on the job training -- he does not believe in "in game" training for freshmen (or players in general). You earn it in practice. You learn in practice. You prove you are ready in practice. Only when you are ready will you receive substantial playing time. And only when forced by roster limitations will he provide substantial PT to an inexperienced player that is not otherwise deserving. And even then, he is hesitant with freshmen. McLemore and Ellis are up to snuff. But we really don't have experienced alternatives. If we did, well, we know the answer. It is an approach, respectfully, that I disagree with. Handling the fire, the experience, is gained by experiencing the fire. That's one approach many coaches take. I prefer that. However, coach Self doesn't subscribe. That's another approach. It's his team. He wins. I would argue that it hurt our team in 2010-11 (Morningstar vs. EJ). I would argue that his approach helped our team in 2011-12 (Development of TRob/Withey). But coach Self's approach surely hurts him on the recruiting trail.

Undeniable Truth #2: Quoting Herm Edwards, "you play to win the game." Simple concept. But coach Self is not ever ... ever ... going to risk a win ... any win ... to permit players to gain experience for experience sake. Just look at the Washburn game. EJ played 38 minutes in an exhibition. AW3 and Adams, barely at all. The game was contested. So much for getting guys experience, or PT, or letting the prove themselves. He plays to win the game. Some coaches might say that in an exhibition, or even certain regular season games, maybe even a conference game, you would risk a loss by giving a player with more upside playing time. To perhaps be in a better position in March. Not coach Self. It is the here, it is the now. It is not in doubt. Always good to win.

A couple sidenotes:

-Peters does just need to redshirt.That will limit obviously his transfer possibilities. Traylor has sat out a year. Pressure falls on Lucas to prove that he should hang on to the scholarship should other spring alternatives present themselves.

-Sounds like some Embiid news soon. Just an observation .. his handler that plays for the Milwaukee Bucks .. why would he steer him to Marquette? Couldn't he get traded? Embiid goes to Marquette and he gets shipped to the Nuggets?

-The way Syracuse is stacking up recruits, maybe it helps with Roberson or Lawrence. Maybe. Roberson looks like he's going Villanova anyway.

-Releford needs a TT like epiphany. Self says "aggressive" .. I have said "assertive" (for years, it seems). Whatever it is, I will never understand a player like Releford who has the tools and skills, but just won't use them.

Mallory Rempp 9 years, 10 months ago

Fair points, but I think that Self does the right thing by sitting the freshmen on the bench. They need to earn their time on the court. They're at Kansas, not [insert crappy college team here]. That said, I feel like this year he's going to have to give the other freshmen a chance to play. I don't think he'll have another choice. It'll be another one of those painstaking years of us watching him run through the lineup trying to find just the right combination.

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Bright decision, Tuesday offday. Time for soul searching and reflection. Self now issuing public challenges which should make for a few quick adjustments. We will see a very different offense from this group by the time we touch down in Atlanta. At this stage of development I would not expect us to whip the Spartans, but I think the offense will be much more focused than it was vs. the Ichabods. There is a huge upside to this Jayhawk squad, but it is going to take some time to co-ordinate the game chemistry. Starting unit appears to possess superior intelligence to figure it all out, but perhaps a bit later than fans and coaches would wish. Barring injury, this team is a bonafide top 7 power, even while stumbling through the adjustment stage. Would appear to be a given that Ben and Perry will be 2 of our top 3 scorers.

Steve Reigle 9 years, 10 months ago

Makini Campbell sounds like the kind of mother every youngster should have.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

I find the term "Senior Leadership" very interesting. Just because you are a Senior, doesn't mean you automatically acquire this attribute.

Elijah caddied Tyshawn..Jeff caddied TRob...Travis caddied several players...Kevin is only a Soph. in Kansas Years. Maybe what Bill wants from these players may just not be there at this moment, because each has been Robin looking over their shoulders at their Batman.

All I am saying is that they need to focus on continuing the leadership chain that an elite team needs to stay on top.

I definitely think it will happen...will it be painful?...maybe. However, don't be surprised if Ben and, especially, Perry slide into that role eventually as well.

REHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

I view Perry as the lead by example guy. Ben bears the dynamics to be The Guy.

KGphoto 9 years, 10 months ago

This year though, It has to be EJ and Jeff. I think either one of them just needs an impressive performance to get it kick started.

Jeff needs to have a couple 20 point scoring nights and consistently snare double digit rebounds so he doesn't feel like a one trick pony. Then he'll "feel' more like a leader.

EJ needs to do what Self is begging for and become Tyshawn-like off the dribble. A couple games of that will put him right in the driver's seat as well.

Then those two will be our go-to guys. The pillars, the team identity, and something to play around.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

EJ is the crucial piece presently.

Perry can score and guard.

Ben Mac can score, board and sort of guard.

Travis is Travis.

Jeff has shown 8 minutes of the old Jeff.

Right now, the question is can EJ make his body be the driver that Self wants? EJ has not yet show it. And he is coming off a knee injury that took a looooooong time to heal. And he may still have some shoulder limitations from an injury two seasons ago. What to do?

If EJ's knee injury still permits him to drive and sky, then the pieces are present and it will just take some time to fit them together.

But if EJ cannot drive and sky, then some strange adjustments may have to be made.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Oh, and one more thing: the first sub off the bench for the wings is a complete mystery at this point. :-)

Ron Prichard 9 years, 10 months ago

That sounds almost identical to Selby's issues. I'll be anxious to see if they reduce the suspensions upon appeal. Thanks for the link.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 10 months ago

Doubt it will be much of an impact on IU's season though

JHWK 9 years, 10 months ago

If EJ's quotes after the game are any indication, he is not listening to HCBS. He said that he is trying to bring the guys together, is talking about all the good things he should be...but that's not what his coach is saying, so he needs to GET WITH THE PROGRAM!

EJ, leadership is about taking responsibility first for yourself, and then for the team. Leading. You are not leading. Jeff is a rudderless ship, and seems to thrive off others' energy, not his own, so he won't be the leader. You wanted this team, EJ, and the coaching staff is expecting you to lead.

We love you and this team, but it needs a strong, accountable leader. Be that man!

Rock chalk!

KansasComet 9 years, 10 months ago

Kansas did win the game the other night? Right? Give these young men a break. Elijah Johnson is the point guard of this team. His play during the tournament last season verifies that. There were a few games when we were on our way out of the tournament and Elijah Johnson put us on his back and delivered. The young man had off season surgery and he is finding his way back. He will get in the paint and dominate.

Withey is the same as he has always been. He goes on stretches where he completely dominates, and there are stretches when he doesn't. Withey dominates Big Men, he does not dominate 6'8" forwards. That's who he is, accept it. He is more of an asset than a liability.

I cannot believe how many KU Fans are criticizing players that helped us get to a final last year over a exhibition game.

At least wait until after Friday's game.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 10 months ago

I would agree with you if it was just the fans doing the criticizing. However, when the head coach says the team played like a "bunch of babies" and basically calls the perfomance pathetic and unacceptable, I think the fans have a right to voice their concerns and frustrations. I love this team, but if we play against MSU or multiple other teams the way we did against Washburn, we're going to get torched.

KansasComet 9 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for your response. I share your love for this team. Once everyone understands their role on the team, this team will be something special. Right now we are going through the same frustrations that most teams are going through at this time. Washburn gave us their best shot and lost. It was still a Kansas win. I would love to beat Michigan State. Hopefully everyone shows up when the lights are bright. Duke and Kentucky play each other and I will be cheering for both of them to lose! Go Jayhawks!!

Ron Prichard 9 years, 10 months ago

If I had to pick, I'd root for Kentucky to beat dook and then have the win stripped due to violations.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 10 months ago

This is just Bill Self going back to his old ways.

He knows that this team is passive and lacks leadership. Every quote I read from Self lately is focused on Elijah Johnson and Jeff Withey being more assertive and stepping up as seniors. He always follows it with "I think we'll be good," just so us Jayhawk faithful don't go bezerk, but it's a clear message to both Jeff and Elijah. He's told them face to face, I'm sure, and he takes to the media to re-iterate his point. Eventually the message will sink in and I think Elijah will really step up as the team leader before conference play starts. He needs to, because while Ben and Perry are both extremely talented, they don't have the experience to warrant the title of "Team Leader." At KU, it takes a ton of talent AND experience for any player to become a real leader. That's why Elijah is the ideal candidate, as he is the team's senior starting PG.

He'll get it by conference play. He's still just figuring out how to be assertive. By March KU will be firing on all cylinders.

Erin England 9 years, 10 months ago

Very true. The season is still young! I think Friday will be a vast improvement after the shotty game against Washburn. Self said at Late Night that "We won't be very good this year and we should practice patience with our young team. Look for us to be full caliber about February." With such a young team, it probably take that long for all parts of the game to be running smoothly.

joeloveshawks 9 years, 10 months ago

Obviously Washburn is not nearly as high caliber as Davidson but this game could be similar to last years defeat (even though we beat Washburn). It could be a wake up call that we have tons of talent but need to play hungry and need to play as a team. I think we will be up and ready to play Friday and then again against MSU next week.

Rock Chalk.

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago

Anyone recall the last time KU's starting 1, 2, and 3 each had 4 Pillsbury turnovers?

Self has to be wondering, "why me?"

With Tyshawn he had to tolerate some 10-12 TO games, and a lot of 6 TOs.

So now he gets 12 Pillsburys from 3 pretty reliable types.


Tony Bandle 9 years, 10 months ago

Maybe he left them in the oven too long and they got burned??

We will know more about this team in about two weeks after taking on Rizzo's Extreme Muscle Ball in Atlanta and two games in the "Spit" Center in Kansas City where strange things seem to happen to the Hawks.

DaNeille Dani Davis 9 years, 10 months ago

Okay, I'm really tired of hearing about how young our team is and how the seniors have to lead. Last time I checked, Kentucky won a national championship with a young team....Michigan State won with 5 freshman. We can and should still win...we're KANSAS!!

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 10 months ago

Without Young the team's kind of young, ironic right? Lot of youth but also a great deal of experience. However I don't think MSU ever did much with a group of freshmen, did you mean Michigan? KU can win, not sure what you're suggesting they should win though. 7% chance at the National Title, 30% shot at a FF maybe.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 10 months ago

Self, "To me, the perfect team is having the foundation be your older guys and have your most talented players be your younger guys, because your older guys would get it and bring your younger guys along." Hope HCBS realizes he just set himself up 'cause according to him he's in a perfect situation right now!

jaybate 9 years, 10 months ago


You reveal something important here about Self.

And I think that is why he is lashing out at the seniors.

Self thinks he's holding a decent hand, if he can just get the seniors playing like seniors now, so they can piece together wins for a month or so, and then start rolling in mid December, or January, at the latest.

But he needs EJ to prove the knee isn't keeping him out of the paint.

And he needs AW3, or Anrio, or Evan Manning to step up as the first sub on the wings.

Jeff and Perry will learn how to play together in time.

KY returning will enable Self to start the fouling strategy with the bigs.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 10 months ago

He's definitely putting the pressure on the seniors to step up, which is good, 'cause I don't think any of them want to take over quite like TT and TRob wanted to coming into last year. It'll take a little time, and I think Self very much wants to minimize that time.

I'm standing by the 8-man rotation of EJ/Tharpe/BMac/TRel/Ellis/KYo/Traylor/W (unless Peters makes a huge recovery or somebody else really steps up). Just don't think Self will need another player to fill the court time if all those guys step up and play well.

FarSideHawk 9 years, 10 months ago

JoJo Embiid narrowed his list to 3: Florida, Kansas, Texas.

RJ King 9 years, 10 months ago

That is excellent news. I'd given him up to Marquette because of the M'bah influence.

He was sure enthusiastic about KU tradition and atmosphere. Florida is well coached and an area he is already familiar with. I wouldn't count Texas out. They could probably offer the most immediate minutes, and present a lineage of Tristan Thompson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, Jordon Hamilton, Damian James, Dexter Pitman. Don't know if they've signed a big man yet from 2013.

Alohahawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Doesn't surprise me that KU and Florida are in Embiid's top three, for the same reasons BayHawkaholic mentions. Between those two KU might have a slightly better chance because of available playing time. Florida already has Walker and a highly ranked and experienced 'big' transfer (forget his name) coming in, (who will have to sit out this year but will be around for 1 - 2 more years?) Slightly surprised that UCLA isn't included, what with M'bah acting as somewhat of a surrogate father to him. (Perhaps, M'bah wasn't too pleased with Howland as a coach?) As for Texas, they have a couple of top 'bigs' coming in as well, although they'll be playing this year if I remember correctly. However, Barnes does seem to favor running his elite recruits in and out almost as quickly as Cal Lie Pari, so there might be room for Embiid. Still, KU would seem the better fit for Embiid, as long as he were to stay 2 or more years. If he develops quickly, being a quick footed 7 footer, the NBA will be in his ear soon after.

One recruiting plus for KU this time around has been the number of recruits jumping on the 2013 bandwagon. It sort of dilutes Kenstinky being able to take the cream of the crop, because there are more than they can promise a lot of mpg to. Wiggins, Vonleh, Dakari Johnson and Selden (Did I miss anyone?) were all ranked pretty much top ten in the 2014 class before re-classifying. Makes one wonder what type of class 2014 will end up with?

Note: According to the recruiting gurus, Johnson is a defensive specialist, and has plenty of size to compete in the middle. Assuming that McLemore were to jump early, and if KU were to find the available schollies, can you imagine Embiid and Johnson playing down low. With Ellis and Greene on the wings. And Selden and Frankamp switching at the point. Self would still have loads of experience on the bench with Peters, Traylor, Lucas, White, Adams, Tharpe and Mason.

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