Kansas defeats Tennessee-Chattanooga, 69-55

  • 7 p.m., Nov. 15, 2012
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chattanooga chew-chew: Bill Self’s halftime words spur KU to 69-55 win

Kansas guard Ben McLemore pumps his fist as he celebrates a run by the Jayhawks against Chattanooga during the second half on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore pumps his fist as he celebrates a run by the Jayhawks against Chattanooga during the second half on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 69-55 victory over Chattanooga on Nov. 15, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Elijah Johnson, Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey

Elijah Johnson, Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey talk to reporters following the Jayhawks' 69-55 victory over Chattanooga on Nov. 15, 2012.

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Box score


Bill Self had a lot to say to his shell-shocked Kansas University basketball players at halftime of the Jayhawks’ 69-55 victory over Chattanooga on Thursday in Allen Fieldhouse.

"First he asked us, 'Were we woke (awake)?' The answer was, 'No,'" KU senior guard Elijah Johnson said after a half in which he and backup point Naadir Tharpe were torched for 18 points by freshman dynamo Farad Cobb. His 6-of-7 three-point shooting gave the unheralded Mocs of the Southern Conference an eight-point (36-28) halftime lead.

"Then he kind of challenged us," Johnson added. "He said, 'You’ve got to wake up, snap out of it and we’ve got to play Kansas basketball.' We couldn’t end the game like that. He challenged the seniors. I felt me, Jeff (Withey), Kevin (Young) and Travis (Releford) put the team on our back and did what we needed to do to get the win."

Perhaps as importantly as Self’s message to the team — it obviously worked as KU outscored the Mocs 41-19 the final 20 minutes — was a one-on-one meeting between the coach and Releford in the huddle before the start of second-half play.

"I told him to let me get him," the 6-foot-6 Releford said, asking for the chance to guard tiny 6-foot Cobb. "He was getting whatever he wanted. Elijah was in foul trouble. Jeff was having a hard time hedging because the guy was so quick. I told coach, 'Let me get him. I’ll get over the screen. We won’t have to worry about Jeff stepping over a hedge,' and the game changed from there, I guess. Coach let me take him, and we stuck with it.”

Shadowed by Releford, Cobb hit just one of two shots (both threes) the final half and was not a factor as the Jayhawks, who trailed 42-30 two minutes into the final half, finally went to work on the huge deficit.

“The difference was we learned something tonight as a staff. We probably should have known it (before),” Self said. “We’re better with Travis on the ball. We took Travis off the wing, let him guard the point guard and Elijah guard somebody else. That will probably help our team. Everybody’s comfortable,” Self added. “Tonight (the Mocs) weren’t comfortable the second half, and I think Travis had as much to do with that as anybody.”

Freshman sensation Ben McLemore, who had five dunks and hit two threes en route to 25 points, scored six points in a 19-1 run that turned the 12-point deficit into a 49-43 lead. The run extended to 27-4 and 33-7 overall, McLemore hitting for 11 points in that stretch that gave KU a 63-49 lead with 3:55 left.

“I like to see a kid get 25 in his third game ever. I like to see that,” Self said with a smile. “Ben’s finger popped out twice — he dislocated the same finger (left ring finger) twice — and still went for 25. That was pretty special.”

Of his performance, McLemore said: “I came tonight with the mindset of being aggressive like coach wants me to be every night. That’s what I did. I just wanted to get my teammates involved, too.”

As far as the seniors, who indeed woke up the final half ... Withey finished with 11 points and 10 boards after scoring two points with three boards the first half; Johnson had 18 points and four assists after scoring five points with no assists the first half; Kevin Young had five points and seven boards after scoring four points with three boards the first half. Releford struggled offensively, missing five threes and scoring just two points, but played the pivotal defense the final half and also had five of his six assists the final 20 minutes.

“Our defense was tremendous the second half,” Self said. “The first half was just lack of energy. We’re not good enough to play at 80 percent or 90 percent. We have to play at 100 percent every night. When we do that, we’re pretty good.”

Perhaps the seniors learned a lesson.

Remember, Chattanooga had a comfy 36-28 lead at the break.

“It’s not a good feeling,” Johnson said. “I don’t like people to come in the fieldhouse and have a game like that. It doesn’t happen too much, and I know it’s not what the fans came to watch, unfortunately.”

All’s well that ended well, as KU bounced back from Tuesday’s loss to Michigan State and improved to 2-1. Chattanooga fell to 1-1. KU will next meet Washington State at 9 p.m., Monday, in Sprint Center in Kansas City.


kusayzone 9 years, 8 months ago

Our youngsters have not yet learned what home court means. They dont understand the impoortance of the old barn, and when you come to Kansas, you get it from the fans, from pthe players, and from the PHOG! They will learn what it means to play for Kansas, and it will take some time. BM gets it. PE had his moments. HCBS knows the way.The seniors need to lead the way. RCJHKU

tical523 9 years, 8 months ago

Youngsters? I have been more upset with EJ and Releford so far.

chriz 9 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, we wouldn't have so many youngsters out there in the first place if Self didn't have to yank the seniors for poor play.

kellerman411 9 years, 8 months ago

Get used to seeing games like this where Self is frantically looking for the winning combination of personnel. It's all part of being a team as deep as this.

As for Johnson, Trav, Kevin and Jeff putting the team on their back... I'd say mr. Mclemore was carring some of the load as well.

We might have a real somebody here with Ben. So strong and smooth.

archercc 9 years, 8 months ago

Word. He has looked like our "go to" guy for a few games now. He is really getting comfortable out there and with that level of ability he will always be dangerous.

Hopefully we can get Ellis to that level of comfort. Right now he looks a little lost but obviously showed that he can make shots.

txjhawk77 9 years, 8 months ago

Mr. McLemore was definitely the one with the team on his back. I think Johnson needs to take a hard look at the tape. No question with regard to hustle, consistent play and 25/8/3 points/boards/assists. THE team leader, no question.

duanep5ku 9 years, 8 months ago

I was up all night Wednesday, so I was running out of energy to stay up till the game started,went to bed. I set the dvr thinking when I got up, I should be able to watch the game without worry,right. Well obviously, I was wrong because the first half caused me much stress. The problem is we still have a soft inside game,players get knocked around and moved off their spot to easy. I still think we are in trouble with the guard play so far. I mean we have the more athletic players sitting on the bench, Rio and White. Oh,I mean that Rio and White should be getting some minutes on the court,White is supposed to be a good shooter. Rio could become a better defender if giving some court time. Those two can't receive minutes because their freshman, they get in the game and boom,one thing bad or a minute later then their gone. Releford whole half of not much good and he stays on the court, still would like to see other options getting some minutes. The reason if Releford is not hitting his outside shots,the team is easy to guard. the other team just packs it in and boom we struggle to score. Still early in the season and I still think overall we can be a good team,hopefully hold serve in Allen and win some road games.

Mick Allen 9 years, 8 months ago

Releford, though awful on offense, was as responsible for the second half turn around as anyone other than Ben. He took 22 totally out of the game the 2nd half. He is a lock down defender and we need him guarding the 1, 2 or3 that is en fuego. He can't hit his ass with either hand right now I grant you, but he is a factor on the defensive end. More concerning to me is Nadir. He can't cover, is totally intimidated by pressure and the thought of being trapped and double teamed, can't get into the paint off the dribble and for someone who allegedly is one of the better shooters on the team does not have the stats to back that claim up. I am fortunate in that I get to attend practice. I believe for KU to be all it can be, Adams needs to be given the opportunity to back up EJ. We will go through some of the same growing pains with Adams that we did with Ty. Adams can get in the paint off his dribble and take it to the rim,or create shots for others. He is not afraid to try to make a play unlike Nadir who plays to not make a mistake, which consequently causes mistakes. Adams will try to do too much on occasion and make some bad decisions but he can get to the lane and is not afraid to try. I know that HCBS has forgotten more basketball than I know, but I wonder what Adams has to do to convince coach that he needs to be on the court more. Nadir 3 times pulled up his dribble on the sideline with the approach of a trapping double team. It is frightening to envision him bringing the ball up against good on ball pressure. His play on the inbounds pass from Releford right before the half was mystifying, like he had never played before. He will never get in the lane off his dribble to cause help to come and create opportunities to dump the ball off to the bigs underneath as Ty was so good at last year. Nadir does not have the ability, nor the confidence to be that guy. Adams could be.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

Back to Mason from the Embiid/Greene page -- I had asked Jesse on the pregame chat why we hadn't heard anything about Mason, who had reportedly signed his LOI with Kansas on Wednesday. He said KU releases a statement once they receive the LOI. Ok ... so why has KU not received the LOI? This article shows Mason sitting at a table and notes he signed with Kansas.

There was a reference on the other page that he may not have actually signed an LOI with Towson (that comes from the discussion that you can only sign one LOI). Here's two links saying he did sign with Towson. The second link is the best, and comes straight from Towson, where the Towson coach announces the signing. Obviously, he can't talk about recruits until they sign or it's an NCAA violation:

This is all just a little odd to me. Mason supposedly signs Wednesday (same day as Frankamp). Talk was that he just didn't get it into KU on Wednesday -- here's what was reported here in the Frankamp article: "Point guard Mason signed his letter Wednesday in a noon ceremony at his high school. KU did not receive the letter in time to announce his signing."

The quote implies that KU did actually receive the "letter" -- not that they were waiting on it, but just not "in time to announce his signing." That was Wednesday. Maybe this is a big nothin'. Or maybe not. Maybe he gets announced today.

clevelandjayhawker 9 years, 8 months ago

Problems with the fax? Seems like there would be no fax machines in this world if it were for LOIs.

John Strayer 9 years, 8 months ago

I thought HS players could only sign one letter of intent. If he previously signed wtih Towson, it only agreement is to sign a scholarship agreement (??) or some such a thing. I think we basically have to wait until he shows on Campus next Fall to acknowledge is being a Jayhawk...I guess?

John Strayer 9 years, 8 months ago

IIRC...a HS play can only sign one LOI...if he previously signed with Towson he can't sign a LOI with KU even if released by Towson. His only choice is to sign a scholarship agreement and show up on campus next Fall. KU probably can mention him until he joins the team in the Fall...I guess???

Mike Barnhart 9 years, 8 months ago

Signed with Towson LAST YEAR, failed to qualify, they withdrew scholarship and he's free to sign elsewhere.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago


Thanks for calling our attention to this issue.

As your prudent post implies by not going too far, it could mean many things. Or maybe nothing at all.

So long as Self appears willing to over recruit, i.e., appear to continue to be open to more committments by some of the remaining high ranking players (e.g., Roberson, Randle, Gordon, Wiggins, etc.), than he would appear to have scholarships after having already signed Greene, Frankamp, Mason, and Embiid, such vagaries as you have noted will continue to have a tendency to make one wonder if something more were afoot than meets the eye.

Joe Baker 9 years, 8 months ago

LOL- great attitude, shot, drive, swag, corn rows, and tenacity. I like it. He is very Sherron-like.

I think this military academy taught him more than most preps too. The more I see, the more I like this kid. I can't wait for him to arrive on Chalk Hill.

Rock Chalk Frankie

Joe Baker 9 years, 8 months ago

Let's all assume this kid is a Jayhawk, until we all hear more to the contrary. Don't do say this crap on the board. Let's just leave it to this:

The Jayhawks today (11/15/12) are expected to announce the signing of Frank Mason, 5-11, 160, Massanutten Military Academy, Petersburg, Va

Ben Simonett 9 years, 8 months ago

Couple observations from first few games:

I'm glad to see Self take advantage of his leapers (mclemore and johnson) those baseline screen lobs to the rim will be automatic all season because those two guys can just get up higher than anyone else on the floor

Perry Ellis needs to learn there are other post moves besides the drop step/ baseline spin. If I was defending him, i'd force him into the lane because he's obviously not comfortable going that way.

easyfive 9 years, 8 months ago

I was beginning to think our best coach went to Tulsa! Then Travis says, "let me take him" (Cobb). Thank God. I think Trav should get the MVP on this game. Helping our coaches win one.

Matt Kenton 9 years, 8 months ago

It is interesting to note differences in the big man play this year compared to previous few years. Withey and last night Young, have both shown that running hook, no doubt a product of coaching. We'll see if the crab step dribbles before powering into a post move goes away, which I always figured was a Manning-taught NBA-style move.

Who is coaching the bigs now, is it Norm Roberts?

Brian Powell 9 years, 8 months ago

I like that Travis can D the ball, but there were a couple of problems:

His shooting (and some of his passing) was pretty atrocious. some bad passes too, I think. Usually not the case, but still -- he needs to tighten that up and focus on making plays closer to the rim like he usually does.

our GUARDS have to be able to defend guards, because we'll play longer/better teams where Releford will have to play wing. EJ and Tharpe (and Rio?) have to step up and D their man. They were not hustling with their feet last night... maybe some leftover weak sauce from the loss Tuesday night, I dunno. I was wanting Rio in there to harass the ball, and he got in, but not until the 2nd half.

Live and learn!

Luca Rossi 9 years, 8 months ago

Rio was playing in the first half when Self couldn't find a combo that could score. He had a nice drive to the hoop and scored, I liked it. His D was ok, still needs some work but I think will be very good by next year.

Matt Kenton 9 years, 8 months ago

McLemore actually bumped his head on the bottom of the backboard during his first half, baseline drive dunk. He is usually still going up when he throws it down. Kid has some serious springs and is going to be very fun to watch this year.

Brian Powell 9 years, 8 months ago


We discussed this during the game, but if you didn't watch it live... the rotation and subbing was pretty chaotic. I hope our staff settles down just like the players need to :P

Still want to see more Traylor :) And Rio. Perry still needs some work. If he just turned it up a notch, he has the moves. He's just moving at HS speed - which was great in exhibition play - and not used to "banging" real college guys.

Also, KY was super clutch. He always comes in and hustles and makes plays. Love that guy. And his fro.

And we all know BMac is amazing. Hope it continues!

Joe Baker 9 years, 8 months ago

Pay heed all who enter...fear the Fro in the Phog

Jeffery Barrett 9 years, 8 months ago

Releford is the team's shutdown corner! Perhaps he should have played a few games in Memorial Stadium before BB season started.

REHawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Point guard play still a bit of a mess. And bigs not hungry enough to lurch toward the foodbowl. Play Rio!

John Strayer 9 years, 8 months ago

RE the bigs...AMEN. I wish the Jeff Withey who played at KSU last year would have shown up this year. During that game at KSU, Jeff was fired up...wish he would find that fire again.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Photos show the mysterious DARPA quilts are now appearing on Rio's shins, not just on EJ's knees. Perhaps Rio has some shin splints that are limiting his performance and minutes?

Also, I had not yet linked to the feed of the game, when AW3 appeared. Was AW3 wearing the mysterious DARPA quilts anywhere on his knees or ankles? Maybe he is in some hurt, too?

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 8 months ago

Make no mistake about was YOUNG who brought this team alive. He's such a game changer.

Offensively Releford is a HUGE liability. He just isn't much good. However, he can equal that out by playing great defense.

flyingfinn 9 years, 8 months ago

Agree, love Releford's D but this team is struggling to score and it will be interesting how this plays out if Releford can't pick up his game offensively. But it is early, we had problems the first part of last season, the sky is not falling yet.

Joe Baker 9 years, 8 months ago

Rel is dangerous. If he's off, it's ugly. But he's also one of those streaky shooters that can go off anytime from the arc. He's in a funky funk right now and when he breaks out, I feel sorry for the team that we play when that happens.

Let if fly Rel, let it fly. Your shot will return very soon.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 8 months ago

When I think of Travis I never think of him as being capable of going off anytime from the arc. What do his career numbers suggest? I remember he was in a groove sometime in the middle of the season last year, the previous two I have no memory of him. Obviously he started in a National Championship game so he has some great talent. Lets hope that shot comes to him soon.

Sam Constance 9 years, 8 months ago

Gonna have to agree with wissox here. Releford has been, at times, a halfway decent shooter from behind the arc, but he has never had the kind of accuracy that makes me think he could go off at anytime.

In fact, I got a little curious, because I remember him being able to do nothing but score on the fast break when he was a freshman, so I went back and looked through his game logs.

I'll exclude any 1-1 performances, because I wouldn't typically describe a single shot from behind the arc doesn't earn a reputation as a deadeye. After that, he has exactly TWO performances where he went 2-2 from the arc, against Missouri in his second playing year, and 2-2 against Texas Tech last year. After that, he has exactly five instances of going 2-3 in his entire career and exactly one instance of going 3-5.

Those don't really strike me as the performances of someone who can "go off". He's a guy who should be shooting one, maybe two three pointers per game instead of 4 or 5. Those extra 3 or 4 shots should be coming on drives into the paint, which is his REAL gift as a basketball player.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Wow, did I read that right? Bill and his staff actually learned something tonight--that they should have already known? Well, hope springs eternal.

We're better with Travis guarding the point. A tacit admission that his vaunted "hedge" wasn't working, with Jeff picking up a guard that he's not quick enough to hang with away from the basket, resulting in All-Star stats for the opposing player for two games now. Well, at least Bill is willing to admit something isn't working and try something different. But anyone still want to argue that he wasn't out-coached by Izzo?

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

Wow ralster--HARSH!!! ...can't be short enough lifetime...? Do you really want me to DIE because one of my contrary points was validated by the coach's own words? It must really gall you that I was right. Take a chill-pill dude. I'm plenty glad enough to give Bill credit for a great job, like last year, but unlike the vast majority of acolytes on this board, I'll also post when I think he blows it, like the two previous years. I thought this was a discussion board, not a hall of worship. And I thought I WAS bringing something useful to the board when I questioned the hedge defense that repeatedly got Jeff burned. And apparently I was right. I'm glad Travis was man enough to say Dammit coach, this isn't working. Let me try. And I'm glad Bill was flexible enough to give it a shot. And I do hope to get to the refurbished Pauley to check out UCLA this year, but I'm so busy I'm lucky if I even get a chance to watch the Jayhawk games. Oh btw, I notice you didn't address my actual question--that Bill was out-coached by Izzo. I'll put it briefly. Izzo saw a weakness in Bill's defensive scheme and exploited it--repeatedly. Bill didn't adjust. Out-coached.

KULA 9 years, 8 months ago

All good ralster, I know there's no real malice intended. I enjoy reading you as you obviously know the game, and I also enjoy a good online debate with a knowledgeable contributer. And I enjoy tweaking some of the zombie cult of personality minions on this board. If that makes me a troll, so be it--I think it keeps the board interesting.

But you too, are showing signs of Bill Self apologist-ism with the "what if" they just weren't doing what he told them? Highly speculative, to say the least. And doubtful, when you combine the history of Bill's quick hook for players not following direction with his own admission that he was doing something wrong and he should have known it.

You don't have to get fancy with defenses. Just keep it simple. You've got the best shot blocker in the game. Why would you not keep him planted in the paint rather than let him get hung up with a guard above the 3pt line.

Sam Constance 9 years, 8 months ago

Well, I'm officially convinced that if the NCAA hadn't ruled McLemore and Traylor ineligible last year, we would be the proud owners of the 2012 National Championship. Moreso for McLemore, obviously--he was the missing cog that we needed in that matchup against Kentucky.

Once again, he shows that he is the real deal, clearly the best all-around offensive player on the team, and is the key to how far KU goes this year. While it would ordinarily make me nervous to have that kind of role in the hands of a freshman, we all know that Ben's not really a freshman, even though he's playing in his first games as a collegiate player. I still think he can be a defensive liability, mostly because he gets himself out of position, either from carelessness or because he's gambling in the passing lanes. I saw him do that at least twice tonight. Luckily, he's an athletic freak, so he's often able to compensate for his positioning mistakes, and once he does figure that out, he's going to be a great defensive force on the perimeter.

I'm not ready to write off Ellis yet, but he does have some work to do. I know he's had a couple of rough/early hook games in a row now, but how easily we forget that freshman big man has perhaps the steepest learning curve of any role in college basketball. The twins were a mess as freshmen. So was Robinson. Hell, Drew Gooden was a work in progress as a freshman. I think a few things have combined to set our expectations a little high for him--his high school productivity, the fact that we've become used to some BAMFers in the post in recent years (Robinson, Morrii, Aldrich, DJax + Kaun). Guys who, even if they weren't great offensive players, had a mean streak to them. That's a part of Perry's game that needs to be developed. It's hard to go from making upscale clothing to big-time D1 basketball, you guys! If you ignore his scoring (tough to do, I know, but stick with me), his line isn't too bad for a freshman big man on his 3rd college game EVER: 20 minutes, 4 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 block, 1 steal. He was helping the team in multiple ways, but I do think Self is using some tough love now, because he knows he needs to accelerate Perry's toughening. He doesn't have time to let him come into his own, like he did with Robinson, for example. Plus, I also think he's confident that Perry can handle it and is ABLE to grow quickly. Robinson was a lot more raw coming in on the offensive end.

(to be concluded...)

Sam Constance 9 years, 8 months ago


As much as we all said the MSU game was an important learning experience, I think this one was far and away more important in the context of this team's development. They controlled most of the MSU game and let it slip away at the end--that can be a very frustrating ending, but it's also one that's easy to rationalize: "Oh, we had that game, but just made a couple of mistakes at the end. No worries--we'll get it". A game like this, however, is where toughness is established. Playing terribly in the first half and against a team that was playing fearlessly--they had to realize that the only way they were going to win that game was to bear down and get back to KU basketball. Defense first and ball movement.

I still think this team has good depth, regardless of the fact that we've seen a fairly short rotation (typical of Self teams, even if not usually this early in the season). We have 9 guys who we expect to eat the bulk of the minutes: Johnson, Releford, Withey, Young, Tharpe, McLemore, Traylor, Ellis. And then we have two Rivals 100 backcourt players who look like they won't be seeing many minutes (White III and Adams), one Rivals 150 frontcourt guy (Peters), and one guy who wasn't ranked (Lucas), but was sought after by a fair number of solid programs: Georgetown, Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, California, NC State, USC, Stanford, Washington and Oregon. I doubt we're ever going to see Self using 10 guys, so I don't know if the minutes that Self doles out is the best way to judge depth. I would tend to judge it more by the level of talent of the guys who aren't playing, and this year's stable of pine-riders seems to be as good as we've had in several seasons.

One thing's for certain--this is going to be a VERY different team than last year's.

clevelandjayhawker 9 years, 8 months ago

I said that a couple week ago and Jaybate ripped my head off,

10-30 after the win over emporia state

Me: I just imagine the NC game with Traylor and BMac coming in instead of Connor and Wesely...

Jaybate: You have a remarkable capacity for devaluing reality and betting on the future.

I have some Iranian state-owned natural gas futures contracts for two years from now that I would very much like to sell you.


jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago


If I did rip your head off ever, this post of yours proves that your head, back when you still had it, was providing no higher order function whatsoever, because this headless post of yours seems about your usual quality of analysis. :-)

Self says he is struggling to get to eight players for a rotation; that, by definition, means this is not a deep team.

MSU brought six viable perimeter players. Self had only 4.

Unless the "depth" is being hampered by injuries that will enable it to suddenly manifest, then this is not the deep team people, including me, were hoping for.

And this team is going to be quite similar to last year's team in the way it plays. Its going to run the same basic sets. It is going to have to sand bag a lot of games to win, because of lack of depth. It is going to play a few players a ton of minutes. EJ and Travis are going to be playing horizontal games the same as they had to play last year. It is going to rely on defense to generate offense. It is going to rely on Withey's blocks for disruption. Most of its scoring is going to come from two players again.

The only real differences are:

1) instead of heavy scoring coming from the 4, its going to come from the 3; and

2) instead of heavy rebounding coming from the 4, rebounding is going to be spread more evenly among the 3, 4, and 5.

I don't call that a VERY different team.


clevelandjayhawker 9 years, 8 months ago

It’s just a headless post of mine, but the point is BMAC and Traylor would have been better options coming off the bench, thus we would have had a better chance at winning the NC. There are a thousand games you can play with "what if" but I feel we would have been better had the NCAA cleared them to play, that is how I see it. We had NO DEPTH last year; in fact Self has said we only had 6 players on last year’s team, I feel it would have made all the difference if we had BMac and Traylor (even as freshmen). That’s my opinion. Its short and not long winded, because there is no reason for it to’s not like I’m some sort of jackass who thinks their opinion is the only one that matters and I have to overexert effort of my day into my posts with useless filler. Signed a headless poster :-)

Sam Constance 9 years, 8 months ago

Not sure who exactly you are responding to here, jaybate. Because you address cleveland by moniker, then speak to points that I made.

I disagree on the idea that Self is "struggling" for eight players for his rotation. In last night's game, eight different players played at least 17 minutes, and only two players exceeding the 30 minute mark. By contrast, in last year's NCAA tournament, the bulk of the games had FIVE players going over 30 minutes apiece, with only six players getting at least 17 minutes.

Now obviously, it's hard to compare the third game of the season with the NCAA tournament, but I make this comparison because it's reasonable to suggest that the NCAA tournament is the best representation for how deep Self saw his team, given that it's the most important part of the year. It's entirely possible that this team will have five guys playing 30 minutes come tourney time, with only one guy playing 15+ off the bench, but there is still no basis for that conclusion at this point in the season.

You reference the number of "viable" perimeter players for MSU vs. KU, but that's kind of an apples to oranges comparison, given that Izzo's philosophy on rotation may be completely different than Self's. Furthermore, Izzo had four guards play with minute levels of 38 (Appling), 35 (Harris), 33 (Dawson) and 24 (Valentine). I'm not sure where the other two came in since every other Spartan who got more than 10 minutes was either listed as a C or a F.

But really, you ignored my main point, which is the fact that Self--even when he's had talent-laden teams--has never gone with a rotation much larger than 7-8 guys. And to me, this roster looks like it is shaping up to get solid contributions from 7-8 guys:

Johnson Releford Withey Young Tharpe McLemore Traylor Ellis

So you have depth from the standpoint of having more guys in the rotation AND you have depth from the standpoint that you won't be having as many guys taking on huge amounts of minutes.

(to be concluded...)

Sam Constance 9 years, 8 months ago


If you were expecting Self to trot out a 9-10 man rotation because of the presence of guys like White III, Adams, Peters and Lucas, then I think your expectations weren't really taking past history into account.

As far as the notion that this team will be the same because we will have heavy scoring somewhere on the floor... I don't know what to say. The position of your primary scorer makes a TON of difference. That seems pretty obvious to me, since it changes the methods and places you get the ball to your scorer, and the roles his teammates must fill to help make him effective. The same rationale applies to rebounding--shifting the position from which the rebounding comes from, and spreading it out amongst three different positions makes an incredible difference. With Robinson, Self could send four guys on the break while Robinson (usually) single-handedly cleaned up the glass on the defensive end. Now you won't necessarily be able to do that because you'll need 2-3 guys to do the job that one was previously doing. How is that not "VERY" different? I mean, a certain amount of things are going to stay the same, because there are still five players on the floor and they are still dribbling the ball up and down the court and trying to put it through the basket.

I agree that this team will need to generate offense from it's defense, but I don't think the scoring will be as unbalanced as it was last year. If we have two guys producing 46% of the scoring this year, we are going to be in trouble. I expect something similar to 2008, where it took three players to put up 46% of the scoring, with the top four scorers accounting for 61% of the total points. So maybe not "VERY" different, but different all the same.

And really, my intended point was that we won't have a team that is dominated by two extreme force of will personalities like we did last year. That we will, by necessity, have a more spread out team contribution.

But it's still early. Time will ultimately tell. Then one of us will come back and gloat come March/April. Hopefully, it will be good-natured gloating after we bond over disagreeing about Bill Self's second national championship team. :-)

yates33333 9 years, 8 months ago

I wish someone would really find out what is wrong with Peters. A Rotator Cuff injury is pretty serious. The coach ought to explain what the doctors have said. At the rate he is recovering he may never recover. We need his bulk. He would be harder to push around and he seems to like to mix it up. I hope he isn't getting ready to transfer somewhere.

Young and McLemore all game and Releford and Withey in the second half are why we won.

rockchalker5 9 years, 8 months ago

Relaford needs to stop shooting threes. Travis Relaford is NOT a shooter. The sooner he figures that out the better. He does plenty of other things well that he doesn't need to be jacking up 5-6 three pointers a game.

Our bigs need to play tougher.....especailly Withey. I'll give the underclassmen the beneift of the doubt since its still early. I'd still like to see more playing time for Traylor.

Andrew White must be really struggling in practice, its dissapointing because I really had high hopes for him. But I'm sure he'll come around.

Joe Baker 9 years, 8 months ago

Agree with bigs and they will get tough, a la MkMc. White will ajdust and this isn't his time right now. He will go off from time to time. Totally disagree on Rel. See my post above. He is a shooter and can shoot. You don't tell a shooter, "stop shooting." The slump will end and he will go off for 4-5 treys. He's a fifth yr senior, give the guy some props. His job this night was D, pure and simple.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

That was a tale of two halves for sure. It's good to hear that Travis stepped up when KU needed him most. That's the kind of leadership that KU needs.

Speaking of team leaders, it's becoming clear that this is Ben McLemore's team. When he's hot, the whole team feels it. When he's out of rhythm, our offense looks atrocious. I hope Ben gets used to putting up close to 20 every night. This team is on his back, especially when it comes to getting the offense in rhythm. Nothing against Elijah, Jeff or Travis. Their experience is something that the young guys will look to for guidance all year. But on the court, this team goes as BMac goes.

Other Notes:

Naadir Tharpe didn't stand out, but that's a good thing. He was running the point a lot last night. He had 3pts, 5 assists and most importantly, zero turnovers. That's exactly what we need him to do.

Withey had a really nice game too (11 pts, 10 boards, 6 blocks). He's no offensive juggernaut, but at least he kept Chattanooga honest last night.

Lastly, "Earth to Perry Ellis: Where are you?" I'm beginning to see why Self always refers to him as a "deer in the headlights." No reason to get too down on him, but he hasn't played to his potential yet this season. We need more out of him.

Overall, very poor first half, very good second half. We're learning!

Joe Baker 9 years, 8 months ago

"Ellis to Klaw, I'm here and will be around for a few years. I came from a soft Wichita and AAU circuit where I was a beast. I'm a frosh, let me develop and make a little transition."

Easy Klaw, give the kid a chance. He's a freak on and off the court with a sharp mind. He'll be ready come January-Feb. He will be a beast his Soph and we'll be fortunate to have him his Junior yr. If he stays his Senior yr, O Nelly!!

HawkKlaw 9 years, 8 months ago

To be fair, I did say "No reason to get too down on him..." It's not like I bagged on the guy. I just feel like he hasn't done anything close to what he's capable of. I'm with you and I think we'll see it come Jan/Feb/March. He's just been pretty non-existent so far, is all.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

"Where Have All the Powers Gone, Long Time Ago..."

~Bill Self putting Travis Releford on the point guard instead of Elijah Johnson vs a low major means that no matter how many minutes EJ plays, and now matter how much he scores, and no matter how much Self plays Naadir at point and has Naadir bring the ball up to keep EJ rested, EJ's knees are not permitting him to be the great defender he once was.

~Once possessed of blinding speed and the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound, still shows flashes of speed, but mostly in straight line.

~EJ rarely touches paint.

~EJ rarely leaves the floor, except for trey looks, and even then, if he can squeeze a near set shot he will, rather than tax the knees.

~EJ's game has for the most part been reduced to a horizontal, old man's style game, same as Travis' game has been.

~EJ is extremely selective about using his springs.

~EJ's long stride (if no cutting is needed) is for now, anyway, his last edge.

~EJ is such a great and determined player that he can find ways to contribute in this limited condition.

~Question: Will playing big minutes restore his knees, or make them worse?

~Answer: So far, it looks like the big minutes are building him up slowly but surely, but there still seems to be a decision on the part of Self and EJ to wait awhile to send him into the paint on a regular basis.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago


I know I only saw the last 6 minutes and I know you know your stuff, so I'm going to back off and wait to see what you see vs. Washington State, but I swear I am not seeing the same player you are talking about.

What I am seeing is a guard playing a horizontal game not consistently getting to the rim and foul line, jumping only for treys, and showing only straightline speed.

I don't care that he isn't running the team very well from the point right now. I didn't expect that. I expected him to take about two months to get comfortable doing that.

What I'm talking about is diminished physical ability.

I'm talking about a superb defender that can't guard his position against low majors.

I'm talking about a guy that once couldn't be kept out of the paint, that now can hardly get into it except on an open alley slash that Marcus Morris, or Perry Ellis could make.

EJ still has his straight line speed because he has the same long strides that Tyrel Reed had and that made him the fastest guy up and down the floor in sprints and in get back.

But have you seen EJ really slicing and slashing through traffic and muscling around the rim to finish in any of the three games yet?

I really haven't.

I keep seeing him use straight line speed to shoot an open alley, but that's not the same.

When Tyshawn touched paint 9 times in ten minutes, 7 were finding his way through traffic, not open alleys.

If you are telling me EJ is playing his way back into being able to do this, nothing could be better.

But I am not seeing it.

And its not showing up in the strips, or in a lot of FTAs, yet either.

We don't differ in what we see very often, and man this is the most I've ever hoped you were right and I am wrong.

Ethan Berger 9 years, 8 months ago

B Mac is an absolute athlete. The kid can be special. 3 point shot-check Mid Range shot-check Highlight reel-check Creating his own shot off the dribble- remains to be seen. If he can get this down, he goes from a first round pick to top 10. But he needs to ball in his hands, our offense needs to run through him. Ej, from now on he should be banished from shooting the three until the 2nd half. It seems he never its the first half ones then suddenly drains it in the second half. Gotta start driving earlier in the games and become a better distributor T Rel- I figured by now he would have accidently hit a three. They aren't falling, so move up and take the easier shot or play your game and dive to the hoop. Great defense, keep it up. Withey-Same thing with EJ, gotta start off better. Take smart shots and become the rim protector the whole game, not just the 2nd half. Ellis- Don't think to hard. Needs to take what they give him

Ann Oneill 9 years, 8 months ago

It's disappointing to see that elite Division I athletes need to be reminded at half time to play with intensity and 100% effort. - yet happens year after year. I don't get it.

RJ King 9 years, 8 months ago

That's true if high school was just yesterday. But EJ has been in college for the past 3 years, and Travis, Withey and Young have each spent their last 4 years in college. Their intensity should be at that level at this point regardless of the opponent. Only Kevin seems to have the internal flame.

I think these guys just may not be that hungry right now. Still a little full from the tournament feast. Maybe in January the bloating will subside.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Petraeus' Female Facebook Friendship Squad


Sally Presson 9 years, 8 months ago

My goodness Ben, what a great game you had. So thankful you chose KU. Love, love love you!!! A big thank you to Travis who stuck like glue to that 3 point shooter--way to go Travis. The block shots by Trailer were outstanding. I watched the game on TV and got to see your dunks several times and each time I couldn't believe how high you jump. Looked like you jumped on a trampolene first.

Game by game the team is coming together, it's so much fun to watch you guys. I live and breathe KU basketball!! It's going to be a great year!! Rock Chalk

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

To jjjjhok and your reponse to my post above on Mason: Yes, of course, I know he signed with Towson last year as your all caps emphasizes. You may have missed discussion yesterday. The question comes from whether a player can sign two LOIs. It has been mentioned many times here that a player can only sign one LOI as collegiate athlete -- and Mason signed his in 2011 with Towson. He didn't go. The question was "Can he sign another LOI since he already signed one?" If not, he's left with just a grant in aid agreement -- which is non-binding to the player, meaning he can bail.

So, your all caps may have actually been referencing that answe -- the year is important.

How this works .. as I understand .. is that an athlete gets a grant in aid offer. The LOI makes it binding on the athlete, and the school, for one year. You don't have to sign anything after that. But if the kid transfers, generally, he must sit out an academic year of competition.

Here's a link I hav on a LOI/Grant in Aid agreement as an example:

I found the answer -- you can only sign one LOI per academic year (it's the academic year that is important). The first link is to the question -- click on "signing another LOI". The second to the general website.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

"Ad Astra per Aspera, or Self Conjuring a Team

Its fair to say that Self has not figured out how to win with this team yet.

Self is a coach that has shown until this year an uncanny ability to see how a team should play almost from the beginning and then spend all of his time building toward that.

This season is going differently than almost any other season of Self's tenure at KU in that his early vision for the team has not panned out.

Self initially saw this team playing interchangeably to last year's team (inside out, EJ plugs in for TT, Perry plugs in where Thomas was, Ben plugs in where EJ was, Withey repeats), but with less emphasis on the 4's scoring and boarding, overall more depth, a bunch of bigs to be used to give fouls to replace Thomas' brute force, and with a better defense stretcher at the 2 in Ben Mac.

His vision hasn't worked out and for the first time that I can recall, Self is not just having to plug gaps until a player gets healthy, or just mask certain weaknesses. He is having to restring the bow on the go. By restring it, I mean he is trying to play a similar game, same sets, but actually modulating each of the roles. He is de-emphasiziing point guard penetration, evolving to with what might be called down-the-middle lite, and beginning to look to Ben Mac to carry the offensive load.

Frankly, the longer things go on, the more the team has to play like last years team, rather than like the team he envisioned for this season. Once again, he has to sand bag to counteract lack of depth. Once again, he has to rely on two scorers (Ben and EJ), like last season, instead of a hoped for three (EJ, Ben, and Perry). It has to be very frustrating, even for a flexible, genius like Self.

And Self's initial team vision has just kept being eroded.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Part 2

First, EJ did not recover fully from the knee, and that wrecked his plan to make this a point guard driven team, like last season, i.e., a team where the point guard touches paint 9 times in 10 minutes. Self held onto this hope until the UTC game, when he shifted gears and played through Ben Mac.

Second, Peters wrecked his rotor and that did away with any pretense of intimidating strength inside; hence, down-the-middle lite.

Third, AW3, who was to be the first perimeter player off the bench, imploded and this ended Self's hope for depth on the perimeter, which forced the team into sand bagging like last season, a similarity he hoped to avoid.

Fourth, Perry turned out not to be plug and play strong, but rather plug and play adequately, so now Self has to rely on Kevin and Jamari a whole bunch, and that means Self does not get to use his slender bigs to give a bunch of fouls, but rather has to keep them all from fouling just to try to committee the 4 and spell Withey at the 5. This is a huge blow to his early vision for the team.

Another thing only a few are talking about so far: Withey did not get stronger over the off season...not even a little. If anything, he appears lighter than last season. Maybe Self and Withey planned this; thinking he would need to play more minutes and so deciding to lighten up his load. But it doesn't look that way. It looks like Jeff is working his butt of and having trouble keeping the weight on.

Since most of the above eventualities were not, strictly speaking, probable, then it is probably fair to say that Self may already be in the midst of doing the greatest coaching job yet in a career.

I know I sound like a broken record about this, but I can't think of another coach, except maybe Coach K, that could not only recognize correctly, but adapt also keep up with adapting to, all of the issues, and required course alteration Self is making already this season.

We've only played 3 regular season games, and he has basically had to readjust dramatically the 1, 2, 4, and 5 roles to try to keep the wheels on this team and be 2-1.

At this early juncture, I would say Self is up to his ass in alligators trying to figure out how to save this team from going completely off the track. And because he is such a savant at this kind of tinkering and adjusting he is once again doing it and making it look like there is not all that much being done. He is amazing that way.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Part 3

As I have said in the past, I'm not sure even he always knows how he does what he does. He has tremendous knowledge of the game; that's a given. And he has tremendous clarity of vision when he starts out about what he is building toward. But this time? It is like everything he was building toward has already vanished from the feasible and he is finding his way by dead reckoning toward some barely distinguishable light on the horizon.

If he pulls it off this year, if he wins another conference title and makes another 8 or deeper run in the Madness, they ought to just put him in the Hall of Fame NOW and KU ought to bronze him and put him next to Phog.

Really, coming within 3 of MSU on a neutral court under the circumstances was flipping unbelievable, now that I have taken the time to reflect on what he's up against here.

Bottom line: Self is conjuring up a team her from the remnants of what he thought he was going to have.

Go, Bill, go!!!!!

Kristen Downing 9 years, 8 months ago

"Perhaps the Seniors learned a lesson." Are we going to have to hear this type of question after every game this year? They have been schooled enough. Time to play like seniors for a full game,

Tony Bandle 9 years, 8 months ago

Sorry I'm late....just got back from my annual endoscopy and also had my head checked...X-Rays showed nothing!! [Sorry, couldn't resist an old Dizzy Deanism]

Not unlike the players and coaches, we posters are also going through a new season with a new set of players as we also try to find "our rotations".

Just one the last three decades or so have we ever not seen Jayhawk team improvement and the team "finding it's own level"? I would make the case that 27 out of 28 NCAA Tournament appearances provides the answer.

Still, I truly enjoy the exquisite repartee between the posters on this site. It gives me hope that all is not lost in this world!!

Jack Wilson 9 years, 8 months ago

Roberson to Syracuse .. Gordon cuts KU from his list.

jaybate 9 years, 8 months ago

Roberson to Syrexcuse.

Gordon cuts KU from his list.

Now these may be signs that KU has closed to further recruits.

Will be interesting to see if KU is cut from Wiggins' and Randle's lists shortly.

Roberson and Gordon cutting bait ought to make some of the guys on the bubble on our team breath a whole lot easier.

Now, let's hope that AW3 can get his whizz together on defense and break back into the rotation. We need a fifth on the perimeter.

REHawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Much of what I post on this site has little to do with technical hoops acumen, as most frequent posters have figured out, I am certain, long ago. I tend to shoot from the hip and go with gutlevel feelings. I do study statlines rather carefully, and I am inclined to activate the DVR to rewatch or scan games. That said, I am concerned with EJ's game. More to the point, I am concerned with our point guard play. Perhaps I just miss the second semester senior year performance of Tyshawn Taylor. I am savvy enough to know that EJ and Tharpe will not play in the manner of Tyshawn when Tyshawn finally focused on a forward roll. Perhaps, between them, they can approach a modicum of our point guard prowess from January through March last season; but only if EJ's leg holds up, and if Tharpe continues on the uphill grind toward playing as an assists-first point guard. Last night, Elijah bailed himself out of a miserable first half by nailing several 3s and zooming a couple of successful thrilling assists in the second 20 minutes. Naadir displayed one of his best assist to turnover ratios, but without significant scoring...and with trouble walking into traps. To wit, I am on a Rio Adams kick, and am likely to remain so, though quite probably in futile persistence. I "feel" that he possesses the body, energy and scoring history to play much in the way we grew excited watching Tyshawn play, after he finally got focused to lead a wonderful 2011-12 squad, and endear himself to NBA scouts who rewarded him with a second round draft selection, after probably giving up on him in the previous season. From the getgo, freshman Rio's court energy and early determination to learn Division 1 defense almost brought me out of my recliner...much in the way that Kevin's intensity to "make things happen" did when he popped off the bench last season. My inclination, again, says PLAY HIM NOW. If he deserves a quick hook, then talk to him about correction and get him back on the floor for several minuutes of game experience, baptism by fire, esp. in the first half of play. By league play, it is too late to develop a healthy excited blueblood aspirant who might be an essential cog in the replacement wheel, esp. if EJ turns out to be hobbled beyond toplevel performance, and Naadir blends into the machinery as only a serviceable, usually dependable sub at the pt. guard position. Enough of my postulating. Bed time.

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