Thursday, December 12, 2013

Self: KU reacting too slow vs. zone

Kansas guard Frank Mason is caught between Florida defenders Michael Frazier II, left, and Will Yeguete during the first half on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

Kansas guard Frank Mason is caught between Florida defenders Michael Frazier II, left, and Will Yeguete during the first half on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.


Kansas University’s basketball rotation players work on attacking the zone defense regularly at practice.

That just hasn’t been evident in the past two games — Saturday’s 75-72 loss at Colorado and Tuesday’s 67-61 setback at Florida — in which the Jayhawks labored offensively.

“We spent a lot of time the last three days going against the 1-3-1, a lot of time,” KU coach Bill Self said on Wednesday’s Hawk Talk radio show. “It looked like we never have (worked on it) because you can put Justin Wesley on the point (of scout team zone defense). He can simulate being like (Florida’s) Will Yeguete or whoever they had at point.

“We can’t simulate a lot of the other things in practice the way Florida did it yesterday.”

KU (6-3) suffered 16 turnovers the first half and 24 for the game against the Gators (7-2).

“I don’t think it’s that complicated,” Self said of attacking zones. “In the past, as a team went zone we basically said, ‘Hey, they (opponent) have given up. They are admitting they can’t guard us. Now it’s a H-O-R-S-E contest. Get the ball moving.’

“We always use the word ‘hot potato’ because the ball does not stick against the zone. It moves side to side, in and out.”

In KU’s three losses, the passing hasn’t been crisp against zones.

“The ball sticks now. Guys are indecisive,” Self said, noting, “we haven’t reacted very well. The best zone offense I’ve ever seen is to have really good shooters and we haven’t shot the ball well against zones yet. We’re better shooters than this (5-20 threes vs. Colorado; 2-11 vs. Villanova; 8-19 vs. Florida).”

Self said a “big key” going forward against an assortment of zones will be the play of junior point guard Naadir Tharpe.

“He has to get in there and make plays,” Self said. “He’s the only one that has any experience that knows how to attack certain situations. He has to do a really good job for us to look good against a zone because we’ve got a lot of guys out there just trying to figure it out.”

Self explained the differences in attacking a man defense and zone.

“You can run plays against a man,” Self said. “You can run some zone plays but for the most part you’ve got to get in gaps because the zone distorts and takes different shapes. You’ve got to get in the gaps and learn how to play. Right now we look like a team that is very young in learning how to play against that.”

He gave a Hawk Talk caller another lesson in attacking zones ... “If you are going to play against a 2-3 zone, the perimeter players have to make the four defenders guard them,” Self said. “Right now we are allowing two defenders to always guard our three guys. You have no advantage at all. Our guys know that and understand that.”

Little slump: Freshman guard Wayne Selden has one assist against 11 turnovers the last three games. He played one minute the second half vs. Florida.

“Well, Wayne was laboring,” Self said on Hawk Talk. “I was wanting to give somebody else the opportunity to play. Even though the production wasn’t unbelievable I thought Brannen (Greene, five points, 14 minutes) gave us some energy, better than a majority of guys we had in the game.

“Wayne was in the office today. He is competitive and a stud and really good player,” Self added. “Wayne wants to be aggressive and help make plays. The last three to four games he’s not making good decisions. Easy plays become hard plays. He’s trying to do a little too much. He’ll get there. All he needs is a good week of practice, see the ball go in the hole and he’ll be fine. He’s a good player.”

Utah on schedule next year?: The Salt Lake Tribune says Utah will meet KU next season in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. It’ll be a one-year deal with KU not returning the game the following season. KU officials had no comment on the report. KU generally does not confirm future matchups until contracts are signed. KU will play its annual game in Sprint Center on Saturday. The Jayhawks will meet New Mexico (7-1) in a 6 p.m. tip.


Priest Fontaine 8 years, 8 months ago

about time to make your move isn't Selden? You are built like a tank. Go do some damage!

Suzi Marshall 8 years, 8 months ago

After watching the UF game on tape it seemed very apparent the guys knew what to do against the various zones. We had really good spacing and sealed off guys to open passing lanes. Our repeated breakdown were due to ball handling mainly and inability to make a pass. Almost every possession, even during the UF 21-0 run, we had great position and could have easily scored with some basic execution.

Although Selden's performance is somewhat of a mystery, I think back to how Ellis looked early last year. I was hoping Self would give Selden a shot at PG and bring in White or Greene at the 2. Selden's ecent performance has killed that hope!

Walter Bridges 8 years, 8 months ago

Suzi, to be honest, I didn't see any evidence that we can beat a zone until we either get a quality PG or start knocking down threes.

If it had been anyone other than Seldom, he would have been benched. Seems as though Self has a different set of rules for him and not the rules he has for other freshmen.

Some good news: it looks like we have a really good shot of getting JaQuan Lyle to go along with our other 5 Star recruits.

Bernard Gregory 8 years, 8 months ago

If Frank realize that he can take over and play the way he palyed at Petersburg High where he could have scored 50 a game but yet he made the players around him better,then and only then will this team make a run for the national championship.He is an obedient youngman and its going to take coach Self to put him in that mindset.When that happens watchout because its going to become a domino effect.

Walter Bridges 8 years, 8 months ago

I don't understand your logic. He didn't score 50 points per game in high school so why do you think he can do it at the next level.. KU?

Bernard Gregory 8 years, 8 months ago

My logic was that he could have if he had been selfish but instead he made ordinary players in to District and Regional players. I am not saying he should try to score 50 but be the type of player he was then and the results will speak for them self.

John Randall 8 years, 8 months ago

Never mind, Bernard, Walter is one of those know-nothings who doesn't realize (or want to realize) that scoring is only one part of what a good ballplayer needs to do. Any of our walk-ons could teach him a lot, but he couldn't learn it – at least from the sound of his comments.

RJ King 8 years, 8 months ago

I was beginning to wonder if the eventual NBA bound players were perhaps not very motivated to learn how to beat a zone, given that after four months they'll harldy have to deal with it again. But Self does not allude to any resistance in his comments. Good.

I'm curious - who exactly makes up the scout team? In practice there is the blue team (starters) and the red team (first 5 off the bench?). That leaves 8 players. Do the remaining scholarship players rotate in and out of the red or blue teams? If the talent level on the scout team is significantly below the talent of the teams we play, might our guys not be truly prepared?

" . . . you can put Justin Wesley on the point (of scout team zone defense). He can simulate being like (Florida’s) Will Yeguete or whoever they had at point."

Was Self being sarcastic? Am I misinterpreting this statement? It sounds like Justin Wesley is defending Tharpe or Mason in practices. Why would Tharpe, Mason, Frankamp and perhaps Selden not be simulating the zone against each other? The same for our wings and bigs.

Scout teams are useful to illustrate a rare situation that a team will encounter for an upcoming game (like a wishbone offense). In the past, a zone defense might have fallen into that category. But now - since we are facing one in every game - shouldn't our rotation players go against their strongest counterparts in practice?

John Randall 8 years, 8 months ago

A scout team has a very difficult job. They need to put a replica of the next opponent on the floor against our rotation (top ten, so far) and then go to the film room to get into new costumes and emulate another opponent on the schedule. Needless to say, even practicing 6 or 7 scouts against 5 reds/blues doesn't make up for being younger, slower, not as strong, less experienced ... as what they have to mimic. Once in a while they do it well enough that the coaches get credit for 'great preparation.

The rotation players are still learning 'Self ball' and don't have the time to 'scout' for each other.

RJ King 8 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for your additional insight on the scout team, 62. This is pretty much what I imagined the process to be, and emphasizes how we often don't give enough credit to our bench / walk-ons for the time and effort they put in behind the scenes (yet with classwork to manage besides!).

I am still curious though. Is there a "set" scout team? Or do different players take on this role from week to week in order that it not become a full time job? Would a starter ever be a scout? Is it only the walk-ons, or does it include the last few scholarship spots as well? I guess I'm asking who specifically, in order to get both a picture of how practices go, and understand who deserves credit for this extra assignment.

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