Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jayhawks’ pressure defense overwhelms Hornets

Kansas guard Rio Adams looks for a steal as he defends Emporia State guard Taylor Euler during the second half, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Rio Adams looks for a steal as he defends Emporia State guard Taylor Euler during the second half, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after 88-54 win over ESU

KU coach Bill Self talks after his team's 88-54 victory over Emporia State on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Ben McLemore, Rio Adams and Landen Lucas talk after ESU win

KU freshmen Ben McLemore, Rio Adams and Landen Lucas talk after the Jayhawks' 88-54 victory over Emporia State on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.

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Box score

KU vs. ESU

Emporia State men's basketball coach Shaun Vandiver knew when he saw the starting lineup for Tuesday's exhibition contest with Kansas University that his undersized squad would have its struggles.

Just a few days after out-rebounding Tulsa in an 11-point loss to former KU star and assistant coach Danny Manning's new team, Vandiver's guys did not expect to have the same luck against KU's front line.

They didn't.

In a 88-54 loss that was actually close for about 10 minutes, the Jayhawks outrebounded the Hornets, 43-23, including a 13-7 advantage on the offensive glass.

Most of the damage, however, came from places Vandiver did not quite expect, as freshmen Landen Lucas (9) and Perry Ellis (7) led the Jayhawks' rebounding effort in this season's exhibition opener at Allen Fieldhouse.

"I had a chance to see Jamari Traylor bang heads with T-Rob (last year)," said Vandiver of observing a few KU practices with former Jayhawks forward Thomas Robinson a season ago. "And he was one guy who never backed down. He came at him. Now, is he as skilled as T-Rob? No. But he still is a red-shirt freshman."

Traylor, a starter Tuesday, finished with six points, four rebounds and four steals in 16 minutes. Aside from a second-half steal that was followed by a two-handed monster dunk, the 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward was fairly quiet, a product, KU coach Bill Self said, of his pregame nerves.

Unfortunately for Vandiver and company, there were several other Jayhawks who enjoyed a number of advantages over the Div. II Hornets, and it showed throughout the night.

"When the game got out of reach, their ball pressure took us out of our flow and our rhythm," Vandiver said.

ESU actually led for much of the first 10 minutes. Gavin Brown (14 points, six rebounds) drilled a couple of early three-pointers, and the Hornets held early advantages of 10-4 and 14-12. Those didn't last long, though, as the Jayhawks responded with a 19-1 spurt and closed the first half on a 30-7 run.

"We were up, and then the next thing I know, we were down 31-15," Brown said.

Though the lead vanished quickly, both Brown and Vandiver said they were impressed by the way the Hornets battled throughout the night.

"We just kept fighting and playing as a team," Brown said. "Nobody lost their head."

Added Vandiver, who was a standout at Colorado for three years in the late 1980s and early 1990s: "I think tonight Emporia State men's basketball took the right steps in getting better. It wasn't the result anyone ever dreams of, coming into this facility. I know. I've been here three times as a player and never walked out the victor."

With the way the Jayhawks are built, Vandiver said he did not expect many teams, if any, to have much more luck than his team did Tuesday when they come to Allen Fieldhouse this season. Asked to pinpoint KU's biggest strength, the second-year ESU coach spoke about Kansas' team-first attitude.

"The way they share the ball, the way they move the ball," he said. "On offense, the ball really never touched the ground too often, it got side-to-side-to-side, and they got open shots. It's not about the 'me,' it's the 'we' with the Jayhawks, and I think they're dangerous and very deserving of their ranking. I think their size, their length will cause people a lot of trouble."

It certainly did for the Hornets, but Vandiver said he liked the way his team responded to that and hoped his message of treating this one as a measuring stick for what they needed to work on would benefit them down the road.

"In an ideal world, you'd like to come in here and win the game," he said. "But if you win this game and then lose 20 in a row, nobody's gonna remember this game."

ESU will close out the exhibition portion of its schedule Sunday at Kansas State. KU will close out its preseason slate Monday at home against Washburn.


Jayhawking_88 9 years, 6 months ago


Biggest Surprise - Landen Lucas - Great physicality for a freshman, hungry rebounder, looked very athletic tonight albeit against E State. Big upside!

Mr. Consistent - Perry Ellis - Going to be solid every game, could shape up to be the most reliable freshman in the country. Finished well after contact...

The Key Piece - Ben McLemore - Need him to penetrate more, become a more effective playmaker. Has all the athletic gifts...his development over the course of the year will be the difference between a good team and a potential Final Four team.

Baby T. Rob - Jamari Traylor - It's a fair comparison. He's got the frame and can't wait to see what a couple years w/ Andrea Hudy produces. Also had great bounce in the open court after the steal. Big upside!

Bummer Bro - Jeff Whithey - Still going to be a great defensive presence...but still appears to be Somalian weak finishing underneath.

TBD - Elijah Johnson - Has maybe the toughest adjustment...a key piece to an effective offense is a pentrating point guard. Somebody who can consitently draw others and kick. He's not a natural PG...but could be an effective hybrid...time will tell.

Da Glue - Travis Releford - Little bit of everything...appears marginally more confident in his 3 point shot. His leadership alongside EJ will be big.

Strokin' - AW 3 - In competition with EJ for best looking stroke. Confident shooter...needs to work on defensive foot speed.

Work in Progress - Naadir Tharpe - Not sure what the deal is with KU not being able to get top PG talent. Naadir showed glimpses of a better feel...I'm optimistic he'll continue to improve.

Cool Guy - Rio Adams - Has some length...could be solid defensively. His "Cool Guy" vibe might be his best asset at this point.

Eric TheCapn 9 years, 6 months ago

"...but still appears to be Somalian weak finishing underneath."


Jayhawking_88 9 years, 6 months ago

I think Travis Releford probably has something to say about being the best defender on the court.

Jayhawking_88 9 years, 6 months ago

10 mins, 0-3, and 1 steal against E State...I think your at greater risk of overselling than I am of underselling Mr. Adams.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 6 months ago

Sounds like he's been reading too much TK.

lookinggood 9 years, 6 months ago

Does anyone know of an archive site to watch the replay of ESU game?

Alohahawk 9 years, 6 months ago

First, a resounding "Mahalo" to Jayhawking_88, for his post above and his impressions on the (mostly) fledgling Jayhawks. Very informative.

From the boxscore: The fact that JT (Jamari) had 4 steals could be significant. It shows he is quick, either in hand speed or feet, and/or he has a nose for the ball and is a quick thinker. (Or, this being Emporia State, perhaps I am reading too much into that stat.) Never-the-less, it shows that he is putting out tremendous effort which could place him in the rotation as the season progresses. (ie. No transfer on his account.)

Another stat of importance would be Ellis's performance. High scorer and great rebounding totals. This game kicking off the (unofficial) season bodes well for his career as a Jayhawk. Aggressive or not, this proves he is doing something right.

I'm disappointed in Withey's numbers. Not so much his 0 # of blocks, but his points total in general and # of rebounds. Not being present at the game, it's always hard to judge a player by the boxscore alone, so maybe (again), I'm reading too much into those stats. He made his free-throw, but he only shot 1. Hopefully, he'll be getting to the line more as the season progresses.

40 points in the paint is a good sign, and as usual, to be expected of a team coached by Bill Self.

The season being so young, the fact that KU only made 15 turnovers is also a good sign. While that number is high, it seems to be low for an inexperienced team of underclassmen.

Although most played fewer minutes than a normal game, the number of Jayhawk fouls was also low. Tharpe had 3, but (if I remember correctly) no one else had more than 1. Sounds like everyone was moving their feet and not just reaching in.

Finally, from the box score it appears that Tharpe started the game, or am I reading it wrong? If so, was Self hoping to instill some confidence in Tharpe? Is EJ 100% healthy, or did he actually start the game?

nostradavid 9 years, 6 months ago

Notebook: Elijah Johnson starts on bench after showing up late to class - some days it's just hard to get up.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

I actually thought Withey displayed some good strength a couple times. His stats were solid for 18 mins, only 1 turnover, and he wasn't the recipient of a lot of great post passing or anything.

I'm excited, not just 'cause I finally got to watch some KU basketball, but with all the injuries I was kind of down. Then with Self saying AW3 was the first perimeter player off the bench I was worried about Tharpe. Then it turns out Tharpe was starting 'cause EJ about missed class. Plus Traylor, Ellis and W may be all KU needs in the paint most nights.

I will say that maybe HEM (I think it was HEM) was right that Roberson/Ellis could be a legit starting frontcourt, 'cause Ellis and Traylor don't look too bad out there together. Of course this was against small competition. Still, bring Kevin Young back and the 8 man rotation of EJ/BMac/TRel/Ellis/W/JTray/KYo/TNT (The Naadir Tharpe) looks pretty darn good. Then throw in 'Rio to put some pressure on the other team and AW3 able to come in and knock down shots if needed.

So as much as I'd like to see Peters come back healthy and would have loved for Young to not get injured, I feel pretty good about the top7 that are healthy right now. 11 assists and 2 turnovers from the 3 guys who could be considered PG's, not too shabby.

Once again similar to last season, serious athleticism out there, at every position. You know Self loves having a big body like Lucas he can go to, Traylor has huge upside, 'Rio has huge upside, Tharpe was showing his outside shot. AW3 didn't have a very good game, but you can see the potential there, he just needs to really dig in on defense. My expectations for next season definitely took an upward turn tonight 'cause I think quite a few of these guys will be really good by then.

Excited to continue watching Self develop players and watch these guys grow up.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 6 months ago

I didn't get to see the game, but it's very interesting that based on Jayhawking_88's fairly decent analysis (sans the weak joke about Withey) it is actually the freshman who excelled and the seniors who left us with more questions. This is the opposite of what everyone knows to be standard thinking because the Seniors are the "known" commodity whereas the freshman are the question marks. Or is it simply a matter of high expectations for the Seniors vs low expectations for the freshman?

HawkKlaw 9 years, 6 months ago

I think there will be a lot of buzz around what the Freshmen did, but make no mistake - Elijah and Travis were holding KU together last night. Especially Releford. BMac, White, Tharpe, Adams, Traylor and Ellis all played really well, but the veterans were holding guys accountable. Really, Withey is the only veteran that left me with any questions, but I'm sure he knows that he has to do more defensively if KU is going to have a good post-presence this year.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

It should be impossible for any KU fan to question W's defense after he shut down Sullinger and AD in the FF last season. His hands look a little better but shooting touch around the rim is still questionable. As HawkKlaw said, EJ and TRele spent some effort last night teaching, the freshmen just played for the most part. Really not sure what else folks wanted to see that they didn't last night other than W shooting it better. Any other unknowns like BMac and Ellis' scoring prowess, Tharpe running the offense, Traylor's abilities, all passed this test.

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Newcomers (incl. Traylor and McLemore) looked terrific for a first outing, even though the competition was a far cry from topflight Div. 1 level. Energy and focus of Rio Adams was a surprising joy to behold. His intensity was off the charts for a first outing. Traylor is a real scrapper who looks to have benefited from his redshirt season battling TRob. Lucas showed some poise and promise. These are 3 recruits who provided early answers to fans' and coaches' question marks. Bill Self and staff are in for a merry November, attempting to fit pieces of the puzzle into place for the Big 12 battlegrounds. I see huge upside for most of the players who logged 10 minutes or more in this first contest. Newbies have a lot to learn, but they are going to become a sound competitive crew. They all appear to be buying in to team play.

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

For a guy bombarded with the preseason tag of nonaggressive performer, Mr. Perry Ellis showed up as a player who is going to offer a lot of teams a lot of trouble. In my humble opinion, he was the most polished player on the floor in this first contest. A steadier Julian W. without the razzle dazzle passing.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 6 months ago

I don't think I've seen a Bill Self team so skilled offensively this early in the season. Bill Self usually starts by drilling home the defensive mindset and works up the offense as the season goes on, but even the Freshmen last night played really well on offense. I really don't think scoring is going to be an issue with this squad.

And defensively, I think (outside of Travis) the whole team needs work. Like Bill Self said, one block is not going to cut it. Especially when we start playing more skilled opponents.

PSM 9 years, 6 months ago

"But if you win this game and then lose 20 in a row, nobody's gonna remember this game."

That's cute. But I'm pretty sure people would remember ESU beating the Jayhawks even if the Hornets never one another game.

HawkKlaw 9 years, 6 months ago

I like your positive outlook, and Rio certainly looks good defensively, but I saw a ton of hand-checking on his part last night. That will get called against better opponents. If he can keep that in check, I see him being a great defender at KU.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

I don't see a redshirt at all either. Did disturb me a little that he pulled himself out for being tired. I mean he was putting forth great defensive effort, but it's not like he was playing huge minutes. I thought boot camp went well this year?

Steve Kubler 9 years, 6 months ago

"This is the opposite of what everyone knows to be standard thinking because the Seniors are the "known" commodity whereas the freshman are the question marks

My view of the game came up with the same comment, but a different take away from it. It appeared to me that action was being 'pushed' towards the freshmen, particularly the bigs. My thought on this was HCBS knows what his seniors can do and wanted the maximum amount of information he could get on how his freshmen were going to react.

I'm seeing a little negativity towards Withey here, but he was subbed in and out frequently and never seemed to be on the floor, particularly in the second half, long enough to get in sync. I'd say it was because of poor play other than for the timing on several occasions was immediately after decent plays on his part.

Like HEM said in another thread you can not take too much from this game. A weak opponent and a HC trying every possible combination to observe the results makes for a tough read for those not in the know about the game plan. I am encouraged by the ball movement and team play, I did not keep an extra pass count but it was significant. I am also excited about what I saw of the young players.

In particular;

Naadiir Tharpe - 1 turnover, 4 assists in 17 minutes with 8 points. He had 21 assists last year vs 22 TO's. Needs more work on D but if he can limit the turnovers he will get time on the floor.

Perry Ellis - Forget the stats, this guy is so smooth when he makes a move on offense it appears effortless. If he steps up the aggression he will see a player of the year award before he's through.

Ben McLemore - Ben showed inside/outside offensive skills last night that will make him a match-up nightmare. He can drive to the hole , stop and pop, or hit that smooth jumper from outside. Appeared to get sped up a bit a few times and perhaps a bit confused on D. Not sure he will get that number 1 draft pick mentioned elsewhere but I think he'll be able to go pro whenever he wants.

I'll spare you the rest, I'm beginning to run on a bit. Can not wait till the regular season gets going and we get a chance to see how Self shakes things out.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 6 months ago

"I'll spare you the rest"

Thanks. But really though, thanks for the info! Can't wait till I get to see the team for myself against Mich State (on TV)

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