Oklahoma State defeats Kansas, 85-80

  • 3 p.m., Feb. 2, 2013
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bill Self questions team’s toughness, desire following home loss to OSU

Kansas head coach Bill Self walks off the court following the Jayhawks' 85-80 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas head coach Bill Self walks off the court following the Jayhawks' 85-80 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at Allen Fieldhouse.


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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after loss to Oklahoma State

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 85-80 loss to Oklahoma State on Feb. 2, 2013.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Kevin Young, Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore

Kansas players Kevin Young, Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore talk after the Jayhawks' 85-80 loss to Oklahoma State on Feb. 2, 2013, at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

OSU coach Travis Ford

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford talks to reporters following his team's 85-80 victory over Kansas on Feb. 2, 2013.

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Box score


Bill Self didn’t flip out watching Oklahoma State freshman Marcus Smart perform a backflip after the rarest of rarities — a Kansas University basketball loss in Allen Fieldhouse.

Self instead got in line to shake hands with all the Cowboy players and coaches, while pondering all the reasons for Saturday's 85-80 defeat — KU’s first home setback in 34 games, second in the past 104 and just the eighth in the 10-year Self era.

“I’m disappointed because I hate to lose our homecourt streak, but we have been living on borrowed time the last three weeks,” said KU coach Self, whose Jayhawks needed overtime to beat Iowa State in Allen on Jan. 9 after barely surviving Temple on Jan. 6, and also squeaked by with recent road wins over Texas (five points), Kansas State (four) and West Virginia (five).

“We have been getting unbelievably poor play from some individuals and we have got to do a better job teaching them. We are better than what we played today, but today the best team did win the game,” Self added.

Oklahoma State, which used a 19-3 run to steal a 26-12 lead in the first half, was able to overcome a 66-62 deficit in the final 5:22, thanks to some big-time offensive rebounds and some huge KU turnovers.

“We are just so frustrated with the toughness. Let’s just call it like it is ... we are mentally tough in some ways, but physically this is our softest group of all time,” Self said of the No. 2-ranked Jayhawks, who fell to 19-2 overall and 7-1 in the league; OSU improved to 15-5, 5-3.

“We have never had a team like this. We get by and fake it sometimes, but we aren’t real thick and we aren’t real strong. Not to compete at game-point though, is beyond belief, and I’m sure this was an embarrassment — the way they kicked our (butt) in a late-game situation — to everybody that has played here because we didn’t compete when we needed to compete.”

KU did show some moxie in the final minute ... up until the final possession.

Thanks to six points from Andrew White III, the Jayhawks saw an eight-point deficit (77-69 at 1:01) dip to 80-78 with 24.6 ticks remaining. An Elijah Johnson layup at 18.8 seconds, which followed a Smart free throw, had KU down, 81-80. Two free throws by Phil Forte made it 83-80 at 7.9 seconds.

That’s when Johnson turned down what Self deemed an open three pointer and had the ball stolen by Smart, who dished to Forte for a last-second layup that turned the fieldhouse into a morgue.

“Losing at home is bad. We don’t lose at home often,” said KU freshman Ben McLemore, who scored 23 points, including nine in an 11-2 run that turned a 45-39 deficit into a 50-47 KU lead with 12:27 left.

“I think this loss really got to him (Johnson). Being a senior and losing at home ... I think it definitely kind of hurt him,” McLemore added.

Backup point guard Naadir Tharpe (eight points, four assists, one turnover) defended Johnson, who had eight points off 3-of-14 shooting (1-of-7 threes) with six assists and four turnovers.

“That (last possession) didn’t do anything about changing the game. The game was on their side from the start because of the way they came out (in grabbing 14-point lead). They threw the first punch,” Tharpe said. “That last play by Elijah didn’t do anything to turn out (decide) the game. We’ve done this a couple times already, come out lackadaisical to start. I try to tell the team, ‘We are not going to be able to have every miracle game, fellas. We have to figure a way to start stepping on people’s throats right away.’ That’s not what we did tonight.”

KU may have lost this one shortly after Kevin Young hit two free throws to give the Jayhawks a 68-67 lead at 3:19. An 10-1 OSU run ensued, highlighted by a Le’Bryan Nash jumper with one second left on the shot clock, a Smart putback of a missed free throw by Markel Brown (28 points), another Smart putback of a Michael Cobbins miss, a pair of Smart free throws after a Johnson miss and two more Smart free throws after Johnson made just one of two. After all that, OSU led 77-69 at 1:01.

“We were awful and they were good,” Self said. “They were tougher than us. They beat us to loose balls and they just kicked our (butt) on the glass in the second half (20-12). We didn’t compete for loose balls and felt sorry for ourselves and acted like little babies.

“At least when we put Andrew (White III) in there at the end, he got us six points in a minute. Nobody else on the team was doing that. We definitely need to tweak some things. When you are winning it kind of camouflages some things. I’ve known all along that we haven’t played as well as what our record indicated that we were.

“The game today was a primary example of a team coming out and getting comfortable. Oklahoma State hadn’t won on the road in a long time (0-4 this season). They came out and got comfortable and they wanted to beat us so bad. We didn’t have the same desire to play them.”

OSU, which led, 40-34, at halftime was led by Brown, who exploded for 22 of his 28 the first half. Smart finished with 25.

“We didn’t have an answer for Brown,” Self said, “and Marcus Smart beasted our little guards in the second half.”

Though Self loves OSU’s talent — he recruited Nash and Smart heavily — a lot of this loss, he said, was on the home team.

“The thing about it is we play so slow. We play with no pace offensively. We don’t put any pressure on anybody defensively. I wish we could play without guards to be honest with you, but that would be kind of an ugly game if you have five big guys playing out there at all times,” Self said. "But we have got to do something. We are better than what we played today and we will get it back.

"With this league race, all we did was invite everybody right back into it. It’s a joke what we did today. Hopefully we can regroup. It’s not panic mode or anything like that, but I know our staff feels the same.”

KU, which holds a one-game lead over Kansas State (6-2), will next meet TCU at 8 p.m. Wednesday in Fort Worth.


Boouk 9 years, 6 months ago

I'd like to see Withey get more touches in the post with Elijah struggling mightily offensively.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 6 months ago

Not me. He's too weak. I'd like Perry, BMac, Tharpe, and Travis take over on offense.

Boouk 9 years, 6 months ago

Perry weighs less than Withey, and like Self said after the game, Ben and Releford need a PG to put them in position to score, and we obviously don't have a PG that can do that right now.

Philip Garver 9 years, 6 months ago

Withey and Young were 7-13. EJ was 3-14. This is an easy call, KU has a distinct advantage inside.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 6 months ago

Why don't our big men ever shoot a turn around jumpshot or just a simple shot on the blocks? Every time Withey and Ellis get the ball, they turn right and try to plow their way through (often unsuccessfully). Does anyone remember the Jack Sikma inside pivot and then shot? Why aren't our big men taught a number of moves instead of pivot right, lower their heads, and plow through?

yates33333 9 years, 6 months ago

Withey is too slow once he has the ball and starts to shoot. He also doesn't jump very high. His strength is defensive with a little offense. He can't carry the team. Few centers can. McLemore needs to do more. He does a lot but not enough. Also Travis needs to play hard all the time. The coach is responsible for getting the right men on the floor at the right time. He also needs to be involved more in motivating Travis and McLemore. You just can't ask them to do these things. You need to make them do these things. I don't know what he can do about developing a point guard. Neither does he. Furthermore, KU is more like the team I expected not what we got in the pre-conference period. They were super then. I hope that returns. They were getting the ball off the opponents basket, throwing it out quickly, and running the break like pros. Oh, to have that return.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 6 months ago

As you see from my note above, why doesn't he just shoot the ball at eight feet? "Doesn't jump very high?" I don't buy it. He has at least an 18 to 24 vertical that I've seen in pictures. If he turns and shoots the ball quickly, he'd seldom have a problem, and if he's only a so-so shooter, then other players can anticipate this and clean up on the boards, the way the Cowboys did yesterday.

yates33333 9 years, 6 months ago

How do you explain 6'6" players blocking his shots? Also when he is in position to rebound sometimes the same 6'6" players get the ball when he does. Now this isn't to knock him. He is a mainstay of the team, maybe, the mainstay. His defensive play has usually been outstanding and he does have some offense. I hope he goes in the first round to the pros. He seems to be a very nice young man. But facts as I see them are facts to me.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 6 months ago

Everybody gets a shot blocked. The reason he gets his blocked when he does is because he's so slow moving with the ball. If he catches it up high, turns and shoots quickly, there's literally no chance of having it blocked. Then the next time, a pump fake gets his defender off his feet. I think his offensive potential is severely limited by his lack of offensive moves. You just have to watch him once or twice and the scouting report is over. Honestly, wouldn't you like to see him with a few moves? Isn't sporting at least to some degree about deception and not knowing what a player is going to do with the ball? The phrase "triple-threat position" doesn't apply to a post man like it does a guard, but I simply don't believe that he can't mix in two or three jump shots early in a game.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

I remember that play ralster..but I also think he is too weak. I've never seen a 7'0 center shoot so many lay-ups under the basket instead of taking it strong to the whole. In truth, I never thought he would play as well as he does. He has been a huge positive in many areas but strength isn't one of them.

" He threw some awful pick-2 kind of turnovers though. So did BMac + EJ" Couldn't agree more. We have four seniors and no leaders at times. Kevin Young is the one player that plays 100% of the time. Not saying he doesn't make mistakes but they are "effort" mistakes. Not sure if that is the best way to say it but hopefully you get what I'm trying to say.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

Disagreed. I would say that Releford plays 100% of the time. Now maybe I'd like to see him a little more aggressive offensively, but I don't think he has those brain-freezes.

NJHAWK 9 years, 6 months ago

Where is Josh Selby when we need him?

Boouk 9 years, 6 months ago

Losing him to the NBA was addition by subtraction.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

At one time I would have laughed at that comment : ) I think he was traded to Cleveland, not really sure and don't really care.

theend 9 years, 6 months ago

Self is not a coach that brings 'hell on earth" to his players. You really think that is the answer? PS- You're that guy that had I-470 as your photo a few weeks ago, right? I recognize the anger. Yikes.

theend 9 years, 6 months ago

Ah yes.....the hateful little man is back. Changed his photo to hide but didnt work. Better change again,loser. Curious.....have you wished death on any other opposing teams, sicko? Please go back to anger management.

Max Ledom 9 years, 6 months ago

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA theend, dude you need to chill out.

dylans 9 years, 6 months ago

A tread mill set at the highest incline and top speed sounds like hell on earth to me. I don't know if Bill does that during the season or just boot camp. Boot camp also sounds like hell on earth.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

I think he's sick of losing to his alma mater. I think he suspected we could lose down there, but had no visions of us actually losing to them in Lawrence for the first time in 24 years! :(

theend 9 years, 6 months ago

Self is not just making these comments to spark the team.......I sense he knows there are major problems. It's mainly EJ. But I'm done being negative about him. I really do think it's injury. He's not the same. And if he's hurt.....he sure doesn't deserve all the criticism.

Well........probably a good time to have TCU on the schedule.

texasdochawk 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ isn't hurt at all. He's just not playing the same this year as last. Doesn't have his shot and has lost his handle on the's all mental for him not physical.

Probably a silver lining...I think we've got pretty good guards sitting on the bench that need to play...maybe they'll finally get a chance. Look what AWIII can do and Rio is no different...they are hungry and are great players. Come on coach, give them a chance!!!!

actorman 9 years, 6 months ago

Texasdoc nailed it: EJ's problems have nothing to do with injuries. Even if you could explain his shooting issues as coming from an injury (which I don't think you can), you CERTAINLY can't blame his dumb passes and other turnovers on it. There is simply no excuse for the type of turnovers he continues to make game after game -- ESPECIALLY for a senior. There were a lot of other problems in this game, but the loss can be pinned on EJ, plain and simple. And he's made a lot of other games closer than they needed to be this year. Let's face it: EJ is clearly the weak link on the team right now.

Ryan Kruse 9 years, 6 months ago

Have either of you had micro fracture surgery in June then tried to come back and play basketball? Ok then his injury does have something to do with his progression this year. His knee is feeling better (example the dunk he had) been a while now hopefully is play can come with

kcmojayhawker 9 years, 6 months ago

Hard to argue EJ's poor play, considering he's a senior. TT was a turnover machine also but got you some offense to go along with T-robs. Probably will need to share PG duties with Nadir or even this Adams.

Andy Godwin 9 years, 6 months ago

It is time to trust others on the team. It takes alot to win Self's trust but after yet another horrific game by Johnson, one in which his decision making, unexcusable turnovers at crunch time, and terrible shooting could not overcomed a gritty peformance by OSU, it is time to give others on the team a chance to step up. Although Johnson has been dedicated to KU and has done whatever Self has asked, he is not a point guard and every coach in the Big XII is aware. When he is leading the team there is no offensive flow. This team moves the ball on offense worse than all of Self's past teams and it starts with the point guard. Self is a great coach but loyalty aside, he needs to make changes if they are to win the Big XI. Funny how much he talked about toughness and Jamari was the only big man fighting inside, yet sat when OSU hit the offense boards so effectively in the closing minutes. KU as poorly as they played actually had a chance to steal a game at home, but allowed the other team to rebound missed free throws for heaven sake and get uncontested put backs. It is time to give Andrew a serous shot at the 2 and play Naadir and Rio at the point. I can't imagine Andrew could have hurt the team any worse than the guard play we saw yesterday. There is a pattern and no matter how much Self tries you can't hide the glaring issues with this team. Smart embarrassed our guards and when they posted him inside against Johnson it made the difference. Self got out coached and I don't say that lightly. White at least had the size to match up with him. Bill, please go back to the drawing board. TCU gives you an opportunity to mix things up and make changes that will give the best chance to win championships, not just close games against teams that should not be able to compete with KU, let alone beat you on your own home court.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

I thought that Rio should've at least seen a stint of minutes guarding Smart. His shots and ballhandling have been questioned but not his defense. Always been said to be our best defensive guard outside of Releford and MAYBE BMc.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

When HCBS stated "“We have been getting unbelievably poor play from some individuals and we have got to do a better job teaching them", who do you think he was talking about?


The problem is that it's hard to teach seniors midway through their final season. EJ and Withey are not going to get any better than they already are.

HCBS took a gamble that EJ and Tharpe combined could handle the point guard position and decided that this team had enough talent to win it all. He still could be right.. Hope so anyways.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 6 months ago

Remember when that one guard took over for TT last year when he was suspended. Where did that guy go?

Scott MacWilliams 9 years, 6 months ago

“The thing about it is we play so slow. We play with no pace offensively. We don’t put any pressure on anybody defensively. I wish we could play without guards to be honest with you, but that would be kind of an ugly game if you have five big guys playing out there at all times,” Self said.

Ouch! It's too bad this had to happen at home, but I could see it coming. Here's hoping that it gets better from here on out. My guess is that they will be on fire after this ugly loss.

Rock Chalk!!!

texasdochawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I think it's the best thing for this team right now. It should get their attention and awaken the Beast!!!

Steve Zimmerman 9 years, 6 months ago

OSU is better, swallow it, coach. They have shooters, they have tougher players. Part of the loss is also due to again and again, lazy passes, TOs. Part of it is also because KU sucks at offense; their plays are readable, thus leading to more TOs. Sometimes bench players are better than the starting ones - this one is a tough call, you never know unless the coach has a strong instinct. This team has excellent Defensive plays, but without good Offense, they can't get KU to even sweet sixteen. Look at '08 team. They're both excellent in D & O. This year's team does not have killer instinct. That's all.

Jim Roth 9 years, 6 months ago

We're already playing ugly; it can't get much uglier. I'd like to see 5 bigs try for a bit. Remember when Manning brought the ball up the floor against Oklahoma in 1988?

keithwt 9 years, 6 months ago

Dallas = SMU. Fort Worth = TCU. I'll be at the TCU game, rooting on the Jayhawks. My guess is that at least half of the crowd will be KU fans. Can't wait to do the Rock Chalk chant on the opposition's home court.

TexasRockChalk 9 years, 6 months ago

I'll be at the TCU game also. I'm thinking there will be 50% KU fans there. We better win by 30 or I'll consider it a "loss".

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

I'd be surprised if we won by that much. Now, having said that I WOULD consider it a loss if they don't win by > 15.

Michael Gentemann 9 years, 6 months ago

Not the same thing. That would be like saying Lawrence and Overland Park are the same. Marcus Smart would know the difference between D and FW.

yates33333 9 years, 6 months ago

If Smart doesn't know the difference he isn't very smart. He went to school at Marcus in Flower Mound which is within spittin distance of Dallas and close to Fort Worth. In fact Lawrence and Overland Park are not like Dallas and Fort Worth. I suspect you've heard of the DFW area. Ever hear of the Lawrence-Overland Park (LOP) area??????

Brian Skelly 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ maybe hurt. But in reality he is NOT a point guard, not even a 'shoot first' point guard, and the idea that we were going to push him into that role to me is hugely problematic.

What I find striking is that Self's comment about not having a point guard. Well no #@$% Bill, who's fault is that? It's not like he didnt know Taylor was leaving. I even remember thinking in the afterglow of last years run them talking about the idea that EJ would play point, and my thinking then wasnt and isnt different than it is now. It's crazy, and it obviously wont work against teams of comparable talent.

Rare is a team of Self's earned the public ire of him after a game to this extent. But again, while EJ is playing poorly, Im convinced forcing him into that role has a lot do with our issues. Thats hardly his fault. Self's inability to keep the point guard role with an actual point guard is. He's shown he can do it with Chalmers, Collins, Taylor. All 3 were shoot first point guards, but all 3 were at least point guards.

texasdochawk 9 years, 6 months ago

You're absolutely correct. However, even in the off-guard postition (he plays there a lot when Naad is in the game) his play is subpar; his shot is gone and he is soft on defense. Did you see what Smart did to him on the boards?!!! Pitiful!

actorman 9 years, 6 months ago

Yep, and it's not just that. It's not like off-guards don't ever handle the ball, and he's never had the ongoing problems with turnovers in the past that he has had this year. Perhaps you can attribute a part of that to the pressure of moving to PG, but that still doesn't explain a lot of the just-plain-dumb plays he makes.

kcmojayhawker 9 years, 6 months ago

No question EJ hasn't developed into the PG this team needs, he was projected to be a Baron Davis type guard and obviously those who offered that were wrong. Truth is we haven't been able to get our top PG targets here, Self has missed out on some guys and this team is struggling on offense because of it. The simple fix is to take of the ball.

Phoggy_Notion 9 years, 6 months ago

Whenever you lose a 4 year starter at PG you will have a transition period like this. Its just bad timing, nothing to do with self's 'inability to land PGs here'.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

And that "missing" hadn't stopped this past recruiting season either. I know he AT LEAST had high hopes of landing "Cat" Barber, Chris Jones (juco. route), Demetrius Jackson, Roddy Peters (who decided not to come upon us picking up that F.Mason - who may never see meaningful mins.), to name but 4.

I know they've been mentioned w/ Tyus Jones for 2014.....I HIGHLY doubt that. Seems like a Dukie through-and-through. I'd pin my all-out recruiting effort for that season Mudiaye. From Big XII country down in northeastern TX. Game seems a LOT like M.Smart's to be honest. Currently ranked 4th in that class I think and his stock is rising.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ is not a PG and expecting him to become one in his final year is Coach Self's failure, not EJs. Not getting a talented PG at Kansas is not acceptable. Tharpe barely made the top 100 in 2011.

EJ is still accountable for lazy passing, weak defensive skills and overall uninspired play... basically the way he has played over his career.

Next year, we have two small (6'0 and 5'11) PGs joining an overall stellar recruiting class. Plenty of talent but no experience joining a team that has all five starters leaving and only one player, Perry Ellis, with any real experience.

Despite the talent, next year could get ugly. HCBS has gone 'all in' on this year's team. There are talented players on the bench not getting any real meaningful minutes. It's hard to play when you know that you will be pulled out as soon as you make a mistake. I wouldn't even hazard a guess on next years starting 5 but lack of experience isn't a good first ingredient.

Brak 9 years, 6 months ago

Not saying you are wrong about EJ but seriously, are you not familiar with how HCBS operates, did you not realize that Self doesn't put too much stock into pure PGs and would prefer to have a couple combo guards to share the role which is exactly what EJ is. We have one of the best recruiting classes coming in next year but you think he put all his stock into this years team. I've read plenty of the "sky is falling" posts on here but this one is just plain stupid.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

I know it's not until 2014, but we sure could use an E.Mudiaye. Of course, a lot of other teams thinking the same thing. Kind of alike a 1 or 2" shorter Selden who plays PG...."BUILT!"

LSHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ is no point and the turnovers are just killers. We have to stop the lazy, crappy passes and we need to find a true point to lead the offence. Its time to sit EJ for awhile and play Tharpe, AW3 and Rio in his spot. But HCBS is correct, today they were just the better team, more physical and they just wanted it more.

jackoman 9 years, 6 months ago

Coach Self has a right to be mad. The team looked dead today. I would have sat EJ's but on the bench. Tharpe should be starting. He is alot better ballplayer than EJ. Where was Releford today. If he just in for defense that's crazy cause nobody guards Young so that means we have 2 people that nobody needs to guard, and EJ's not that much of threat so we have 2 people that 5 defenders have to worry about. Crazy. They had no desire or enthusiam today. Dead. Tharpe should start, just cause EJ's a senior. White should be playing more too.. We'll have about 3 more losses on road trips with this attitude. Releford needs to shoot the ball cause he didn't stop any body on defense. No leadership at all. Get it together guys and Coach. They just wanted it more than we did

JHawk74 9 years, 6 months ago

I would start Tharpe and White in the next game and put Releford and Johnson on the bench. Bill Self needs to send them a message that they need to provide leadership, desire and effort all the time. I loved how White came in off the bench and tried to win the game for us. We got get White more playing time. I wouldn't mind seeing Johnson play about 5-6 less minutes per game to allow White to have an chance to prove what he can do.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 6 months ago

No way would I sit Releford! I agree about mixing it up and give Tharpe and White a start. I suggest White at the 4 instead of KY. Forget about Ellis, He will not be able to make a material contribution this year. They have worked on the pick and pop option. White's a good rebounder and should offset KY in that department. The trade off comes with White's offensive contribution vs. his defensive defects.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 6 months ago

Releford has to shoot more than five times a game. That's just not acceptable if he is the league's best percentage shooter. That's on him. He has to want it.

To me, Releford should be the team leader. His KC status should make him feel that, and although McL is the best player, Releford needs to be the vocal player.

Phoggy_Notion 9 years, 6 months ago

you've made a lot of foolish comments, but suggesting that KY shouldn't start is just clueless. KY is the only guy that we have comes out every game with energy, and losing that intangible would do more negative to our team than any other roster alteration.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

No way on Travis..he is 100% all the time. Travis and KY are the 2 players who have shown a willingness and work effort that others can't match.

Andy Godwin 9 years, 6 months ago

TR play yesterday was bizarre. He got lite up by OSU and was never in the offensive flow. No transition baskets and he is currently KU's best shooter, but went most of the game invisible on offense. TR is a key member and needs to be on the court but plugged in. Unfortunately Mr. Steady decided to take the night off.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

KU was lost on defense...missed ball mental (or physical) toughness. Travis has never taken a day off. Without communication and switching off on screens, I'm not sure what you expected from him. As for would have helped if our guards looked first to pass and not first to shoot.

Mick Allen 9 years, 6 months ago

Tharp is a lot better? Look at his numbers.

LSHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

and by the way, if this team doesnt go into stillwater and kick thier ass by 20, then I would say we will be an early out in the tourny....this team must step up now and start asserting itself.

texasdochawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Disagree. OSU is EXTREMELY talented and played like a top 10 team on a mission today. If they continue to play like this they will go deep in the tournament, watch.

stm62 9 years, 6 months ago

I agree. OSU was at the top of their game and just wanted it a whole lot more. They never lost hope.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

ok, then explain 0-4 on the road before beating us on Sat.?!?!?!?!

actorman 9 years, 6 months ago

The truth is that it will likely come down to luck in the tournament. I've said for a while that if KU ran into a tough defensive team that was hitting their 3's it would be a problem, and that's exactly what happened today. If KU runs into a team that's hot from 3 in the tournament, it's hard to imagine at this point that KU has enough to beat them.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

The drive will be there to win in Gallagher-Iba to avenge this loss. 20 pts would be absurd, I'll be happy with a 1 pt win, it'd still show a lot of toughness and pride if the team is able to get a W there. @ISU is going to be really rough after the way the game went in AFH, so a win there would also show a lot of heart in my book. KU is 8-2 against Sagarin top50 teams this year so far. Pretty solid number, still a chance to get to 13 of those in the regular season. 12-3 or even 11-4 would be solid with 4 of those 5 on the road. @OU, ISU, BU, OSU. Pick up 2 and beat KSU in AFH and it's an outright B12 title.

Andy Godwin 9 years, 6 months ago

KU beating anybody else in the Big XII other than TCU by 20, will not happen. Wake up. The weaknesses are exposed at the 1and 4 positions and every good coach can follow the same game plan and when you have at team that can score from outside, like OSU and ISU, then yesterday's game will be the norm not the exception. Time to shake things up and make opposing coaches change how the game plan KU going forward.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

Um....I could see them beat TTech by 20 too.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

OSU is NOT EXTREMELY talented... Look at their record.

F1J1_hawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Thought Nadir offered a little redemption today. Loved his shot selections and a little better with the ball. Afraid he'll need to carry more of the load until EJ can turn it around. TT did it, so can EJ.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ is not going to suddenly play better halfway his way through his senior year. What you see now is what we've been seeing for 3 1/2 yrs.

The "EJ Will Get Better" ship has long departed.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

Disagree TOTALLY! I remember EJ starting off really hot last year....I think he was our BEST player in Maui....I think he went off for 25 against UCLA - was probably First Team All Maui out there. Then he out-and-out SUKKED for the conference season last year, but he was HUGE for us in the Tournament last year.

He can have LOOOONNNNGGGGG stretches of poor play followed up with a good 5-6 gm. stretch of "hot play". Just hoping that he HAS that "hot play" still in him......admittedly, have only seen it for like 1 or 2 gms. this year out of 21! :(

Scott Smetana 9 years, 6 months ago

I've never heard Self so verbally hard on his team. I actually thought we played pretty well today against a determined and hot team. EJ screwed it up in the end. I'm on the Tharpe wagon... he creates offense. I trust Self, of course, but don't understand why he's the one that seems in the doghouse all the time. Maybe it's his defense?

Andy Godwin 9 years, 6 months ago

Played well? I was at the game and KU was terrible on both sides of the ball. Don't let the 80 points fool you that they played well. There was no offensive flow and was the result of some late three pointers and free throws that keep them in the game.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

Did you see near the end of the game when he was just dribbling out at the top of the key and with basically NO pressure from Forte nearly turned it over TWICE....just in dribbling! Announcers made note of it. THAT'S why I'm nervous about fully handing the reigns over to Tharpe. We really don't have a good ballhandler on this team. Johnson's a better handler than Tharpe, but boy some of his passes! :(

jackoman 9 years, 6 months ago

texasdochawk is correct. OSU is a real good team got two guy we went after that turned us down. they will go a ways in the tournament. More athletic like the announcers kept saying today.

KJD 9 years, 6 months ago

KU started to play a whole lot better as a team when Self allowed his starters to play together for the first 5 to 6 minutes of each half in mid-December. This includes EJ starting at the point. Result is a 19-2 record, including a tie for the second longest win streak in the Bill Self era. That's good. Time to find the next level.

The starting 5 is the starting 5. EJ plays the point. He did stick that 2 with 18 to go. Naadir or Ellis will be the first sub off the bench as it has been. Traylor, White, Rio are the depth guys. The starting 5 has created solidity for this team and will continue to do so. It would be very surprising if either Naadir or Perry suddenly bloomed to the extent where you had to disrupt the rotations chemistry.

Typically Releford has been the last of the starting 5 to sit in each half. McLemore, when he is not in foul trouble, is typically on the court with Travis, Tharpe, Ellis and Traylor subbing in to make up our unit around the 13-11 minute mark of each half. That has been typical of each half for many games now and has been very successful. There are definitely small exceptions though that is the general map and can be tweaked a little still-like more White or Ellis/Tharpe a bit earlier.

Bill Self will not hit the panic button. Teams have got to keep growing.

The team is cool. Travis Releford is a cool, laid-back guy. BMac seems real laid back, just like Jeff has been laid back in the past. Jeff found his grit around this time last year. EJ is a chill, fun guy too and keeps finding his way at the point. EJ has had a lot of success. Young is the one out of the 5 who is the most amped up, giddy one on the court so that is a chill first 5. This 5 has shown that they can play at a high level together. That was established at Ohio State. They can still grow. Self knows they need to.

When the team is down like they were today by double digits to a team that was playing really well, with Smart being Smart and Brown shooting lights out to build that early lead, that cool temperament was a big bonus. KU was up early in the second half which showed KU's poise and fight. KU has shown that they can close a game too so getting beat in the last 6 minutes at home today was a punch in the gut.

Seems like Self in his post-game conference has gone back to what he has been saying this season. This team needs to find a more aggressive, competitive edge in their 40 minutes of play. He's been on BMac and Ellis to be more attacking, aggressive with the ball. BMac can be so quiet throughout a game and still hang 18-23 points: crazy upside.

So today EJ tries to step it up and be more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball, just like Self has been pleading. It doesn't work out for him. It doesn't work out for the team today. Tough match up for EJ going up against a true point guard lottery pick. KU needs to keep plugging away and they'll keep getting better, they'll keep finding ways to improve.

Gary Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

Delusional post about EJ right here. Don't be a homer, the kid ain't got it, and never will.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 6 months ago

All due respect, and remember I'm sayin' with all due respect, that idea ain't worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin' it on. Are you talking about the same Elijah Johnson that put up 13.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.2 apg shooting 43.3% from 3 and 51% from the floor in last year's NCAA tourney. 2nd leading scorer behind TRob on a national finalist team? Talk about delusional.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

And that's practically better competition than we're seeing now. He IS capable!!!! He's ALREADY SHOWN IT!!!!

JHawk74 9 years, 6 months ago

That is the problem we have a system that we are sticking too. Bill Self needs to shake up the system a little and get the focus back. Having 4 senior starters is great but something is wrong at this point in the season. Allowing Tharpe and/or White to start a game would send a message to the seniors for more focus, effort and desire.

PhearThePhog 9 years, 6 months ago

I agree KJ ... we didn't have the intensity and aggressiveness today. When we tried to manufacture it it was out of desperation and out of control. Mostly it was lazy passes, slow ball movement, not hitting the boards and we totally stopped looking for the players that got us where we are. In the last 4 minutes BMac & Jeff hardly touched the ball on the offensive end.

Yes we have a PG issue but we've had that the last 20 games as well. I'd like to see us try a couple of different options in that spot at TCU ... Naadir, Rio, WIII ... and pull EJ back a bit because his confidence is shot at PG right now. In December we saw what this team is capable of doing. That wasn't just luck ... that was sustained performance over a period of time

Both the players and the coaching staff have got to turn it back up. They need to go in wanting to win and not expecting to win. Like the 08 team, these guys have got to come together and decide amongst themselves that THEY want it. HCBS and his staff have got to get refocused, and like they've done in the past, sit anyone who isn't on board the train.

Outside of PG we have the parts they just have let the pilot light go out since the Iowa State miracle shot. We can't be looking for one guy to step up or get it together ... they all have to be committed to get back to being the team they've shown they can be.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 6 months ago

With the TO problem....would love to see us with these quick athletic teams do more fake passes, get them to jump first.

yates33333 9 years, 6 months ago

Sounded to me like Self said he didn't have a point guard. He has said that following the last several games in different ways. I like your optimism, but I think you are "whistling past the graveyard on a dark night."

Thephogminusix 9 years, 6 months ago

Tharpe seems like he has the right kind of mentality. The Jayhawks need to stop looking to Mclemore whenever the game needs saving, he highly talented, but we have seniors that have been here before, Mclemore needs to ed off of THEIR leadership and confedence, not the other way around. The bench needs more mins, and Tharpe needs to start over EJ, at least for now, because I do think Johnson may be hurt in some way, he is def not the same player he was when he first started getting major minutes years ago. All in all though, even though it was at AFH, the team still looked like they were going through the motions, but the Jayhawks are entitled to lose a handful of games before the tournament, you evolve when you figure out what you did wrong, and it's always more of a learning experience when you take a loss. I think they'll bounce back because whenever we're ranked top 5 for some reason, they play like we have everything to lose, the stupid home-game/all around winning streak is what got to em, I'm not worried about my Hawks, the pipes have now bursted!

RockinChalkinLA 9 years, 6 months ago

I think from HCBS statements after the game EJ is in a fight not only for his starting job, but playing time. This will be decided on the practice court though, not during a game. HCBS will give every opportunity to White III et. all to play with the starters and make a difference. If they can't do it in practice we won't see them in the game. Then the posters can whine about letting someone else have a chance. If someone other than EJ can just not make the team worse this week I think they see the floor. Not sure it has been like that up to this point. RCJKU

TexasRockChalk 9 years, 6 months ago

Let's face it folks: this was a classic trap game. Our Jayhawks were clearly looking ahead to TCU. :)

TexasRockChalk 9 years, 6 months ago

Thank you...thank you...I'll be here all week.

Linda Peschka 9 years, 6 months ago

Wrong gentlemen, It has nothing to do with what OSU has or doesn't have. It has to do with poor play from all positions today. Some of KU players played better than others, but none of them played well. EJ, whether he is or is not a point guard, is not the question. He is a player and knows the simple task of passing. He does not pass well at all, regardless of position he is playing. His decision making is fair at best. He should not start. Tharpe has improved, but he does not know how or will not play physical like he should. He is always standing around looking at a play instead of being in it. PEllis plays tentative like a freshman in HIGH SCHOOL and not a freshman in college. Releford has to do more offensively PERIOD. Ben has to play 40 minutes instead in spurts. Big W has to hold his postion more(he has been leaving his feet more in the last 4-5 games than what he did earlier in the year). Young has to control his "free spirit play" more and play under control when it is needed instead of dribbling into the middle and then trying to find some one to bale him out of a "ruptured duck" move. Lastly Self needs to not play those players who lack effort.

monkeehawkSL8 9 years, 6 months ago

This team is soft. They have shown the ability to come back, yet they do not have the killer instinct to finish. This team is self destructive. Three or four possessions of aggressive sloppy play, followed by three to four consecutive turnovers. I don't have the time or desire to watch other college teams, maybe this is the norm? After each of the last 5 games I've thought sooner or later the Hawks are going to play a team that hits their shots and we are going to loose. We had our arses kicked today.

I would rather see a freshman make mistakes and develop than watch a senior continue to make the same errors over and over again. Getting beaten by a better team is painful, beating yourself is beyond painful. It's embarrassing and not what #1 seed, top 5 team does. We are neither at this point.

I do not think the position a team member is playing has anything to do with multiple errant passes, not boxing out or poor shot selection. I would like to see more AW111, Rio, Ellis, Perry lift your head up, your a Jayhawk. All rant, thanks.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 6 months ago

Babies? It's one thing to call them out for a gut check, but Self is calling them out for a nut check! I posted this morning they better have a sense of urgency on defense cause the Cowboy's guards can score a ton of points. I bet going forward we see more of Ellis or Traylor at the 4 spot-KY is getting pushed around by stronger guys and he's not strong enough to push back. And I think (hope) we'll see more of Tharpe, White, & Adams too. EJ is playing like he's in the friggin twilight zone, Wouldn't want to be practicing with those guys this week-running steps is about as far as they go for a day or two. Oh boy.

TexasRockChalk 9 years, 6 months ago

I agree about Ellis. How was this kid 4-time All-State or whatever? I don't mean to bash on him because he seems like a real sweet kid AND there is a quantum leap from high school to college, but today was a joke. Self was right -- we have WAY too many nice guys on this team. We need someone with T-Rob's toughness and Tyshawn's fearless approach to driving the rock into the lane and CREATING offense. What a novel concept point guards!

Robert Murphy 9 years, 6 months ago

Stop it! One more word of criticism from the morons on this board and I am going to puke We lost a stupid basketball game....get over it. This team has performed far better than any of us could have hoped. Johnson has given his heart and soul to this program. The seniors are playing now because they weren't talented enough to go to the NBA. I was critical of the team after the West Virginia game but after looking at a replay I realized there are two teams involved and others can learn to play great defense too. Folks don't always have their A game. Even Self acted a little silly after this one. If Bill Self wants better point guards then he needs to recruit them.That was a good team of athletes that Ford brought to Lawrence and look for them to win lots of games. No real embarrassment tonight.

jgkojak 9 years, 6 months ago

We lost a game that was a long time coming - we could have lost either of the last 5 games like this - and had White not done what he did - it wouldn't have even been close at the end.

That was embarrassing. And it was on EJ. He made bonehead play after bonehead play.

We'd be better off with Tharpe and Rio rotating at this point.

Maybe EJ needs to spend some time on the bench.

PSM 9 years, 6 months ago

Elijah just played himself out of the starting lineup! Naadir will be the new starting point guard.

philipolson 9 years, 6 months ago

elijah is the man, but he is not a point guard. Love him as a 2 guard. Hopefully this loss will establish the need for a true point. May not happen, but I do think Tharpe should get a serious look at more minutes with elijah at 2 in the rotation.

Kristen Downing 9 years, 6 months ago

If Coach Self and the players are not upset by a player who turned them down by not coming to KU and then did a flip on their home court after breaking two on-going 2012/13 reocords, then they are a bunch of wimpy anti dodge ball softies. I was angry for four hours as espn, espn news, espn 2 all showed his flip over and over again on KU's home court. PLEASE show you are not wimps and shake yourselves out of this offensive whatever it is. He showed you what he thought of you. Now show what it means to you to have sand kicked in your face on your home court, cause that is exactly what Marcus Smart did. I don't think the KU players are up for it.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 6 months ago

You make a very good point. OSU came into AFH and kicked us in the teeth then did a blantant victory dance on our court. I hope Self unleashed hell on these boys to shake things up.

Kristen Downing 9 years, 6 months ago

p.s please tell me who is our toughest player/leader is? Can't, can you? Get ready to lose at Iowa Sate and Oklahoma and do we play at Oklahoma State? Cause I can tell you, they(Marcus) have no respect for KU basketball this year and I don't blame them. No problem for me if KU is a number two seed, cause I have lost respect for their toughness too.

KansasComet 9 years, 6 months ago

So far we have lost a grand total of two games. 19-2 and this team is not very good, soft, can't guard, can't shoot, does not have any guards? Okay, so how did we get to 19-2 then? Louisville lost 3 in a row once they reached number 1. Their point guard Siva, was horrible in crunch time. They are starting to get it together. I believe in EJ, and apparently so does Self, because he put him back in the game. EJ will come around. We always find away. My confidence in this team is not shaken. This team is best when they defend, create turnovers and finish at the rim. OSU won in Allen for the first time since 1989. Children have been born and had babies of their own since then. What an accomplishment. The two losses are eerily similar. We had the lead with 5 minutes left, but failed to close the deal. Look on the bright side, we know EJ can shoot in a dome. So if we make it to the Sweet 16, we are in good shape. This is why I appreciate every win, because losing hurts.

siamsam 9 years, 6 months ago

"Children have been born and had babies of their own since then..." Love it.

kucapcity91 9 years, 6 months ago

We need to start THAPRE, EJ, BMAC, TRAVE, and WITHEY!!!

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

If you want to see us do even worse rebounding, then I agree.

Zstegs 9 years, 6 months ago

I vote Jamari starts. He's a hoss who will improve the toughness on the floor and play a mini T-Rob and allow Jeff to do his thing like last year

yates33333 9 years, 6 months ago

He loses the ball with bad passes and fouls per minute than any other player on KU's team. Check the tapes.

Phoggy_Notion 9 years, 6 months ago

How can so many of you guys be so unaware of Kevin Young's value to this team? Kevin Young belongs in the starting lineup just as much as BMac or Withey. Tharpe definitely deserves the opportunity, while BMac and Releford haven't done anything to lose their spots.

siamsam 9 years, 6 months ago

When HCBS starts calling the team out. TCU won't know what hit them. Now it's time to keep another streak going: not losing 2 games in a row since...I can't recall the stat but I know it's been an awful long time. Someone find that stat for us, will you?

kucapcity91 9 years, 6 months ago

How does White III play about 1 min and has 4FTM and EJ played 34min and has 2FTM...we need a guard that's going to drive and get to the free frown line..

nostradavid 9 years, 6 months ago

Having the #1 ranking in any poll puts a big target on you. Another loss was assured when it was slapped on us. The stat totals in the box score are all pretty close. This game could have gone either way. Congratulations to Okie State for wanting it more. The lousy feeling this will give our guys could be the best motivation they get this year. Fight like you mean it, Jayhawks!


KNOCK 'EM OUT! by nostradavid

KJD 9 years, 6 months ago

January 14th against Baylor, just short of three weeks ago, there was no guard problem. None. The coaches picked Pierre Jackson as preseason player of the year and when the Bears left town there was no talk about Elijah playing poorly at the point.

December 22nd, when KU visited Aaron Craft's house, there was no guard problem that day either.

All of these "what have you done for me lately" comments are way too harsh.

Self can get wound up, right. He's playing his Alma mater and KU had a real opportunity to create a big fat lead in conference play today so he should have been up for the game. Self was definitely blowing steam after the game and should have after blowing an 8 point lead with 6 to go at home.

As for fans Johnson is in a rut right now and he well deserves our patience. Those turnovers with less than 6 minutes to go really hurt. Plenty of time to make up for it and you wouldn't want to be a TCU right now, a team who are double digit losers in all of their conference games.

As for that last play from tonights game I've watched it more than a few times and Smart did not backdown and give EJ plenty of room for the three. Smart was straddling the 3 point line, playing good D, and EJ would have had to foul him or present the ball to him just to get his toe's anywhere close to the arc line.

Smart pokes the ball away on the cross-over anyway because of good D. EJ crossed-over to Smart's left to clear space for a pass to BMac who was a cutting up and over. If BMac gets the ball he's defended well enough where Releford, who is trailing on the play, would have been the best option at the top of the arc. Same motion KU ran against Memphis State in the 2008 game, same spots on the floor, just like that same motion KU ran against Iowa State this year.

Could be time for Self to come up with some alternatives for a last shot because Okie State defended that last play as if they practiced for it.

Gary Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

You evidently haven;t watched much of EJ this entire year because he's been substandard from game one.

Seniors aren't supposed to play as bad as he has, even at the #2. His shot is terrible and his handle is worse. Even his defense is subpar. There's really no place on the team for him, other than giving Tharpe an occasional blow. Self has made a mistake counting on him to transition to PG. There will be no TT transformation with EJ. He has a fraction of the talent, and is too weak of mind to compete on this level.

monkeehawkSL8 9 years, 6 months ago

Smart stole the ball from EJ because EJ did a playground move from the And1 tour at a time when fundamental basketball was paramount. It is not unusual for any college player to put up a 3 from outside the arc. Poor handling of the ball, EJ gave Smart the ball. I don't hate anybody, this was just bad basketball. EJ ran into the defense like crossing the street in front of a big orange bus.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 6 months ago

'As for fans Johnson is in a rut right now and he well deserves our patience'

3 1/2 years and we need to show patience?

fansincewilt 9 years, 6 months ago

I think the guys are pretty tough. By Self's own words he has a #5 at 220 and a #4 at 180. We do not have a point guard and yet we are 19-2. I think the guys are playing above what should be expected. I think Self is a little out of line but probably saying what he is saying to attempt to get more out of them. We at Kansas just do not like to lose. We have a couple of forwards coming up that can rebound. The team playing way under its potential on that floor today was not Kansas. What Ford has done with this group of guys should get him fired. He has one of the best teams in the county with a pitiful record. I am proud of our guys and their accomplishments thus far. I do believe they are playing above their potential. The person that should be upset is Elijah. He is a #2 or could be a #3. This should have been his greatest year and yet he is suffering because we just could not get a point guard to play at a top ten level. It is very unfortunate for him. I hope he gets into a better situation in an overseas program. I think he will shine and maybe even make it to the NBA. We failed Elijah.

KCJay 9 years, 6 months ago

A very upsetting loss. The team came out flat and unprepared to play. The magic of the 'phog' can only take you so far. You have to, at least, meet it half way. This loss does not come as a surprise. In conference play, Coach Self has loss to OSU quite a few times. They are one of the most loss to schools if not the most loss to school. You can't take home lightly. They want us bad. Self defected!

Michael Auchard 9 years, 6 months ago

A loss is a loss. It's bad, I get it.

But, we've been resting upon our interior play for too long. I'm not going to say the sky is falling here, but Elijah Johnson, and to a lesser extent his cadre of backups, need to be called out for their play. It's been, what, ten games since we've had a legitimate point guard? It's almost always a turnover when Elijah shoots, and he controls the ball like a high school sophomore who shoots (way, way) too often. I want the guy to succeed as much as anybody, but his play has just been atrocious.

But, who can you put in? No one has shown leadership on this team.

Anrio has the ability, and has gotten better recently, but I still get the feeling he wants to throw half-court alley-oops every time down the floor or drive the lane like a poor man's sophomore Tyshawn Taylor.

Tharpe is getting better. He seems to at least value the ball.

White... not a PG.

The rest of the guards are family members of coaches/former coaches.

I understand there are very few back-up options from a coach's standpoint, and that's actually a huge problem in my opinion, but I think we need to limit (at least temporarily) EJ's impact on the court. I don't know what else will work. He really should have cost us multiple games at this point, but his teammates have covered for him. In my mind, his play right now doesn't justify more than 24 minutes on the court a game.

I'm sure "when it rains, it pours," and I don't mean to beat up on any KU player, but I've felt this for a long time about Johnson. From what I've heard, a lot of other fans have, too. The problem is: who backs him up? We have no guard who's shown much in the way of leadership. I know HCBS doesn't usually check his seniors, but this might be the time.

Brad Avery 9 years, 6 months ago

The fact KU doesn't have a point guard and the lack of the highly technical, 6th grade skill of blocking out are what cost the game Saturday and almost cost the game against West Virginia. Opponents are sending their guards to the offensive boards and their defenders are waving them through.

Jim Roth 9 years, 6 months ago

OSU is Self's Achilles heel (if he has one). His winning percentage against them is lower than against any other team in the conference, 66.7% (10-5). Can't blame him, though. Can you imagine any of our former players coaching against KU, and how that would feel?

Jack Jones 9 years, 6 months ago

66.7% (10-5) has nothing to do with the Self/OSU linkage. Has everything to do with the players who played in those 15 games, on those given days.

Steve Yeakel 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ is not a quality starting PG no matter how much Bill wants him to be, but thankfully there is still time to realize that Nadir is is, give him the team, keep playing Perry more even if he does not always deserve it, we can still win the last 6 if we genet our best guys ready in time, and ket EJ and Kevin be the bench guys, let everyone get used to that and good at it before it is too late. Doing well in the Tourney is SO much more important than in the conference. Harbaugh was smart enough to put Colin over Alex and is in the Super Bowl, Bill needs to make his switches and we win it all.

kcmojayhawker 9 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self said all that needs to be said in public, he will either get the team to respond or there won't a Final Four run this year. I agree with all that he said in this article. I never figured we would go undefeated in the league or at home with this roster Ben needs help that's the bottom line.

Mike Barnhart 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ, Travis and Ben all play the same position - kind of a 2/3 hybrid. They're very good spot up shooters that can cut and slash in space but have trouble creating their own shot off the bounce. In addition, they're all three poor passers. It just doesn't make sense to have them on the floor at the same time!

Problem is, Nadir is turnover prone, Andrew White is another 6'6" spot up shooter and Rio's not ready to contribute at this level. If we're not tougher than everyone else, we're not a sweet sixteen team.

Coach Self knows what we need. Either we're gonna' get VERY TOUGH in the next 30 days or March is gonna' be a sad Month.

Kye Clark 9 years, 6 months ago

Posted this on the post-game discussion:

Well let's get the obvious out of the way: as many have stated, a simply awful game by EJ. Obviously this was highlighted by the plays at the end of both halves. While there has been some harsh reaction (some ridiculous and extreme), we must understand that criticism of his play is not a knee-jerk reaction to the loss. His declined play has been discussed for weeks. Lots of things have been tossed around - injuries, playing out of position, his great play at the end of last year, playing in a high school all-star game in Kentucky and sporting a KU shirt, etc. Winning covers a multitude of sins, but the loss brings some of those sins into the light.

Let me just say that EJ is a Jayhawk and deserves our support. We don't make it to the championship game last year without him, and for that we should be especially grateful to him. And if there is anything to the injury speculation and he's been playing through it, he is to be commended. However, does that give him a pass this year? I say no. Every player on this team has sacrificed and deserves the best chance at another deep run in the tournament. This is especially true of the three 5th year seniors. Should they sacrifice their last year in some sort of debt to EJ? Obviously not. And there's no way to know what the next few years will bring; this could be the young guys' best shot at a ring as well. It's almost definitely Ben's only shot. So if benching EJ gives this year's squad the best chance to win, that's what should happen.

So, does benching EJ give us a better chance to win? Many fans are fond of saying his poor play is a result of playing out of position; that he's a 2 guard and not a point guard. OK, maybe. So give Tharpe the starting PG position. Now is EJ better than BMac? No, so you can't start him at the 2. He's not better than Releford, regardless of position, so you can't swap the two out and play small (like Self did with the Collins, Reed, Brady line-ups a few years ago). So if it's a case of playing out of position, he has to be relegated to the bench.

However, playing out of position really isn't the cause of his poor play. That argument could be made if his poor play was solely based on not being able to handle the PG duties, but it's not. His poor shooting has little to do with bringing the ball up the court and initiating the offense. His lazy passes resulting in turnovers have little to do with him needing to be playing off the ball. Those passes are unacceptable regardless of position. And even as a 2, he would still be expected to handle the rock some. That excuse just doesn't fly.

PhearThePhog 9 years, 6 months ago

This team has to return to going into games wanting to win and not expecting to win. In December that's how we were playing but now that we've already crowned ourselves BIGXII champ for the 9th time straight the intensity and well directed aggressiveness is lacking. The players need to decide amongst themselves, like the 08 team, that THEY want it and coaches need to sit those that they see are along for the ride. We all knew a loss was coming it just hurts more at home. We'll be OK if attitudes can change. ROCK CHALK!!!!!

Kye Clark 9 years, 6 months ago

Anyway, I don't want to pile on the guy anymore, but I expressed my doubts last week about his ability to elevate his play back to what we saw at the end of last season. The loss today wasn't solely on him, but his play was awful. I hope he shakes it off and can come back strong, but I doubt it will happen. Today's loss highlighted everything that is deficient in his game - shooting, ability to take care of the ball, defense. And it was highlighted today by him getting severely outplayed by Marcus Smart. Smart is a great player so there's no great shame in that, but look at what Smart did - he shot 0-5 from 3 and had 2 assists vs 5 turnovers. Very EJ-esque, yet he was the player of the game. What he also did was found other ways to score and help his team, and willed them to victory. That was a senior/leader-type performance, while our senior looked like a freshman.

OK, so moving off EJ. A couple other amateur observations:

  • The game turned not on anything EJ did, but during this sequence - with 2:23 left and OSU up 1 Markel Brown misses the front end of a 1-and-1. Somehow Kevin & Jeff allow Smart to get the offensive rebound (unacceptable off an opponent's free throw). Smart sinks a jumper to put OSU up 3. Kevin turns the ball over in horrendous fashion on our next trip down the floor. Cobbins misses a jumper and there's Smart again for another offensive rebound and quickly shoots and sinks another shot with about a minute and a half left. KU went from being down 1 and should have had the ball with a chance to regain the lead, to down 5 in a 2-possession game. From there it was desperation offense and OSU shooting free throws.

  • Speaking of Kevin Young, you take the good with the bad. I went so far as to tell Jaybate that at least for this game my assertion that Perry should be eating into Kevin's minutes was wrong. You look at Kevin's stat line and it's very good. However, here's my problem with him today - he has two fouls trying to hedge 30-feet away from the basket. He had two fouls in the first half and had to sit more than usual. And picked up his 3rd foul about a minute into the second half. He took himself out of the game too much with unnecessary foul trouble. Got to be smarter than that. I can live with fouls of aggression - scrapping for rebounds, defending in the paint, out on opponents' fast breaks to make them earn them at the line. But not blocking fouls that far out can't take him out of the game.

Kye Clark 9 years, 6 months ago

  • Releford had a pretty poor game. Not the norm, so please don't think I'm totally down on him. But he let Brown get loose in the first half. I understand that he had the hot hand and OSU was doing everything they could to get him free, but when he's regarded as probably the best perimeter defender in the league, performances such as Brown's should only happen if he's willing to shoot from 5 feet beyond the arc and just gets insanely hot. That happens, you tip your cap. But his shots weren't of that variety. That being said, my biggest issue with his play today was his disappearing act on offense. I posted at half-time that we needed him to step up. He comes out and hits a 3, and I thought that would get him going. But it didn't. He doesn't shoot again for 10 minutes. We need more from him.

  • Posted this right after the game, but one positive was AW3. How about him coming in cold and draining that 3, then coming up with the steal? Impressive, and surprising. HEM, myself, and others have been advocates of giving him more minutes specifically so he could be ready when situations similar to today's come up he is ready. Given the absence of those minutes, and given his poor shooting against WVU on Monday, it was very unexpected to see him come up clutch. I still say give him minutes, but today he showed he doesn't necessarily need them to perform well in pressure situations. Could have been an aberration, but I'll take it.

In closing, no the sky isn't falling. We know OSU always gives Bill's teams fits, although it's usually in Stillwater and not AFH. Is it time to panic? Abandon any hopes of a 9th straight league crown? Of a Final Four season? Certainly not. We weren't able to gut this game out like some other recent performances, but when we play the style we've been playing it was bound to happen. It's avoidable, but perhaps some changes are in order...

Ken Tomberlin 9 years, 6 months ago

good post and I agree with just about everything except where the game turned. With about 4 minutes left, we were up 66-62. EJ had too straight turnovers and we were down 67-66.

REHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Sound stuff, ict. I am one of the seasonlong proponents of more playing time for AW3 and Rio. Squad is now nearing crunch time. If EJ folds, where does Self turn?

Nick Cole 9 years, 6 months ago

When your Sr. PG has the ball in his hands, team down 3 at home in the final seconds, and he turns the ball over... there is no other word for this than pathetic. Simply put, EJ killed us this game. He made some good plays, but he made too many bad ones to make up for it.

Congrats to OK State. I wish Smart would have come to KU, that kid is a stud. This isn't a knock on Self, but we need to recruit more hard nosed PGs. Tharpe, EJ, Frankamp (next year)... none of these guys have the kind of killer instinct of Sherron or Tyshawn or Mario or RussRob. We may be soft for some time if we don't get a hard ass like Smart into our program soon. That doesn't mean we won't win a tone of games or a Championship, it just means the chances are more slim (pun intended).

kujayhawk7476 9 years, 6 months ago

Tharpe needs to shut his mouth; he's not playing very well, making stupid turnovers and shooting three's early in possessions and guess what....missing almost all of them.

Elijah just earned a seat far down on the bench; so far, he might as well stop suiting up.

If we're going to lose, I would rather lose with Rio and Andrew gaining some experience for post-season play.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 6 months ago

We scored 80 points and tell you the truth I thought our defense was our problem not our offense. Brown couldn't miss. In the last 3 minutes of the game, there were 3 or 4 offensive rebounds for scores, which really hurt us.

Mike Barnhart 9 years, 6 months ago

Bill Self teams have lost in AFH when KU scores at least 70 points - TWICE!!!!

TOUGHNESS!!! Read Jay Bilas' definition of toughness and you'll agree, our team falls short. Come March, remember this: the toughest Bill Self teams play for national championships and the softer Bill self teams lose to Northern Iowa and VCU!

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 6 months ago

Biased Bilas...always a horrible source.

I'm guessing winning 19 games out of 21 is a sign of weakness.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

Lots of comments and passion. We lost. We knew it was coming. It happens. I am fine with that.

But the man who should be called out today for his inexcusable conduct is Coach Self. Not because of the game, or the loss, but because of how unprofessionally he handled the post-game.

Coach Self in so many ways makes us proud. I have said many times that he's the best coach in the nation and that I wouldn't want any other coach. I still feel that way. But yesterday, after the game, he was a disgrace.

Coach Self didn’t just identify some shortcoming or problems, he threw guys completely under the bus. In particular, he trashed Elijah Johnson -- a loyal, hard-working senior who has done absolutely everything asked of him. Without him, there is no 2011-12 final four; he is a crimson and blue, Jayhawk for life. He sat, he bided his time, he didn’t transfer, he has adjusted to the team’s scheme, he has been the consummate team player, he is obviously playing out of position. He is what makes this program - a four year player. Loyal. By all accounts, EJ is a great guy.

Now, when it gets a little tough, the coach simply hammers EJ in the post game. And he really ridiculously hammers the entire team. But the focus of Self’s daggers was EJ.

Look, I’m not a touchy, feely guy. I love in your face coaching. Not a fan of what coach Self did yesterday.

When the going gets tough, you need a leader to step up. You need composure and leadership, not blaming.

Here’s some of what I heard from coach Self in his post-game comments – we don’t have a point guard; Smart beasted our little guards – it was a man vs. boys; guard play has been horrible all year; physically softest team I’ve coached here; we play slow, with no pace; We are better with him (EJ) on the bench; All he (EJ) had to do was bounce it and shoot it .. I have no idea where he was going; and we played like “babies.”

Truth is not the issue here. Discretion is.

What I also heard in the post-game interview with Greg Gurley on the radio was a guy that had lost it. If you heard, you know what I mean. He was angry, he was just scorching the earth behind him. His tone, demeanor, and delivery lacked composure and professionalism. I was surprised Gurley concluded the interview so quickly when Self seemed so willing to talk, but I think he sensed what I did – it didn’t sound good for KU basketball. Make no mistake, his actions after the game were not some planned scheme to motivate. His actions were that of a guy who had lost control of his words and emotions.


Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

I would say this to coach Self – man up. Take responsibility. You get the accolades and praise for the wins, try actively taking responsibility for the losses. Deflect the heat from your players. But most of all, don’t engage in trashing a player, or players, in public – unless of course, it is well thought out, and well measured (as the Tharpe comments in November obviously were). You can do your best work behind closed doors. You can say all you want to say there. But back up your guys. Take some arrows. You, like all involved, are not immune. But leaders take the arrows.

Did you notice something else Self did? He made sure to say that OSU has just as much talent as we do. He said it more than once. Obviously, a little back-hand at Ford who does not have his team at 19-2; but more importantly, a Self-made bailout – no way it could have been his coaching. No possible way, right? We lost to team that has just as much talent.

Here’s my suggestion as to what a composed coach could/should have said: “This was a very poor game. I was concerned with our execution and our turnovers before today. We all saw it. Hey, this has been a constant theme. But we have some good players here. Really good players. They just have to play to their potential. Today, OSU was better. Smart and Brown were beasts. Do I think OSU is better than we are? No. I have great faith in our guys. You know, today, EJ had a tough game. But is there any other guy I’d rather go into battle with than Elijah Johnson? Absolutely not. I love the guy. We’ll get it worked out. We’re 19-2 guys. But we have to play better. And that starts with the coaching staff. When we lose, the first place to look is the coaching staff. We have to – I have to – do a better job. I put them in some tough spots today. We are going to take this ass kicking and learn from it.”

There you go. Even added in the “ass-kicking” and “beast” comments. It’s not hard, if you are humble. It’s not hard, if you are not arrogant. Coach Self acted like the spoiled “baby” yesterday, not the players.


Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

This issue is not new. I pointed it out very directly after the UNI loss and got hammered for it here. I pointed it out after VCU. I’ve pointed it out sporadically since. In all his comments, it was and always has been about the players, and their failings, and failure to execute, and their shooting. Never … it might have been me (coach Self), or the system, or the decisions. Always the players. I have paid great attention to this over the years. The best the guy can ever do is toss in a gratuitous “and we have to coach it better” every so often, but only after listing the litany of his players’ failings.

Look just down I-70 to coach Snyder. After Baylor loss, a much bigger loss in scope than our loss to OSU, Snyder was class. He talked about overall team issues. Not trashing his senior Klein who had a horrible game, which was the actual truth. Snyder made a clear point saying that the problem was his coaching – “Snyder said the problem was that he didn't coach his players well enough leading up to the game.” Snyder was composed. He was the leader.

Perhaps Self can learn from his failings – how he handled the post-game – in the same way he asks his players to learn from theirs. His handling of the post-game yesterday was a disgrace. It doesn’t have to be that way in future.

Personally, I expect more from our coach. We all should.

Mike Barnhart 9 years, 6 months ago

Well... that was a lot of words!

In summation, Coach Self needs to control his emotions and keep his frustrations to himself. HighEliteMarjor - good point... but stop dribbling so much!

Jack Jones 9 years, 6 months ago

"but stop dribbling so much" > just might rank in my top 5 posts of all time. So short, but so succinct.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 6 months ago you never have liked HCBS. Personally, I like the interviews where he says..."we just plain suck", or "we just aren't playing like a team" or "we just didn't execute the play". For some reason, I guess when he says "we" I always equate that as taking some responsibility.

As for the Purple Coach, I'm sure he wishes he had a BCS win under his belt, but not putting blame on his senior QB probably made him better.

Michael Luby 9 years, 6 months ago

I dont think that was his intention at all. Clearly we all, including HEM, thinks Coach Self is the best coach in the game. However, he is pointing out rightfully that Coach's post game should have been a lot less emotional of a response. That Coach Self let his emotions control his response says that he isnt perfect, that he is human. BUT, he should have taken responsiblity for the loss as their leader and not been so willing to publicly trash his players. Do it behind the scene all he wants but not in public. Not cool.

Suzi Marshall 9 years, 6 months ago

HEM, many of us will agree with you to some degree. My preference would have been for Self to stress the positives (mental toughness) while quietly working on the negatives (physical strenght, PG, and poor offense). I forgot the guy that always uses the military comparisons but to use his ecpressions, Self is more akin to a General Patton. Patton caused alot of grief to Eisenhower and the War Department with his verbal gaffs but he was a brillant tactician/strategist and hard driven winner. When things heated up, Patton never backed down from firing anyone at anytime. When you have a Bill Self (General Patton) drving your team, obtaining need to cut some slack.

Self is a good man, loves his kids but will not accept poor performance and loosing. Unless illegal activities are involved like child rape, NCAA rule breaking, etc..

Kye Clark 9 years, 6 months ago

HEM - agree and disagree. Personally, I have no problems with most of his comments. Some of it is execution. That's not scheme or system when guys throw lazy one-arm passes, go under screens, fail to box out on free throws, etc. I mean, looking at yesterday's game, would you say that we were out-coached? I wouldn't. That was a winnable game, despite running into a hot shooter. That was the fear right? That we'd run into a hot shooting team and they'd blow us out of the gym because we play at such a slow pace. But that wasn't the case. We weathered the storm and we were still in a position to win the game. Then OSU owned us down the stretch, because of lack of execution and toughness. And as I said in my post above, all those things about EJ don't give him a free pass. This is the second time (at least) that he has balked at taking the big shot at the end of the game. Happened yesterday, happened against MSU. Might have happened against ISU too but since BMac drained the 3 to force overtime we all forget. This is the same guy who was nails in the tourney last year right? And that is just one play. If that was his only (or one of few) poor decision, fine. But his play has been lacking all year, and continued throughout almost the entire game yesterday.

So here is where I agree with you. It's on Coach Self. Self said it himself, we were a better team with EJ on the bench. So why put him back in? Because he didn't want to be second-guessed if Tharpe made a mistake in the final seconds rather than his senior? Self needs to make the tough decision there that what is best for the team is having EJ on the bench, and accept the consequences. I'm sure it would pain him, because he is loyal to EJ for all the reasons you listed, but it needed to be done.

Also, Self admits that this has been looming, that we've been on borrowed time for weeks. So, what has been done to remedy that before? If he's seen the writing on the wall for awhile now, why haven't we seen him shaking things up? We're not in practice so we don't know what has been tried, but we have seen nothing different in the way the games have been managed recently.

TCU is the perfect game to experiment. A game against a league bottom feeder, and we should be completely focused following the loss. We'll see.

GreatJake 9 years, 6 months ago

After the VCU loss, Self did say that he needed to rethink what he does due to the losses to mid-majors in the tournament in the second round. So I dont think that Self holds himself blamelesss.

I'll take Self over any other coach. He's a winner.

ParisHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Good thing you took a deep breath and slept on it!

KansasComet 9 years, 6 months ago


What a great post! As the leader of the Kansas Jayhawks, Coach Self should take responsibility for this one. He did not make adjustments to stop Brown in the first half, the only time Brown cooled off in the first half, was when he went to the bench to take a breather.

I would like to take it one step further on Elijah. Coach Self recruited him as a five star point guard. He brought him in and introduced him to the bench, behind lesser talent. Elijah took it, did not bat an eye and did not make waves. He filled in at point guard when asked, and kept the ship moving in the right direction. He also endured Selby coming in, and basically given his spot without having to earn playing time. He has played more shooting guard than point guard since he has been here. He is struggling to get his point guard mojo back. These are some of the reasons I find it difficult to bash this kid. I agree totally that Coach Self should have taken some of the responsibility. That is what leaders do. Again, great post, thanks!

RockinChalkinLA 9 years, 6 months ago

I think a lot of people miss understand what HCBS said. He has shown loyalty to not only EJ, but all the Seniors. He now is saying that loyalty has been stretched to the limit. The silly mistakes we have been making the last 3 weeks don't show the years of experience we have on the court. What HCBS said is hey we were better with EJ sitting on the bench with me. Our Seniors didn't show the will to win tonight that experienced players need to. He is letting not only the Seniors know, but also the underclassmen, Jobs and playing time are up for grab. We are way into the season and these mistakes should not be happening, especially to an experienced team. He's telling the team to step up and you'll play. The loyalty to the experienced players has passed. They won't play just because they should be more steady out there. It hasn't happened. Stop the crying and second guessing about recruiting, please. We tried to get a good point guard, it didn't happen. We have players on this team that can step up.

kellerman411 9 years, 6 months ago

I used to believe in this school of thought, I really did. Now I think that as a coach/leader/manager, if you ever admit you were part of the problem to your players/soldiers, it will give them an excuse. Next time things are going bad during a game, they will begin to wonder if what coach is telling them is the best thing to do.

Besides all that, on average, there is no one who can out coach Mr. Self. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen, it just means that it would be out of the ordinary.

It does get old listening to coach blame the players that he recruited for the losses but it does get the best out of them, it really does.

Gary Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

Ridiculous post. EJ deserves all of the criticism and more. He single handedly lost the game yesterday. He was recruited as a PG, and rated that way too. He's a senior whose game has regressed in his last season in school. That's on him, and him alone. Poor play should be called out for what it is. EJ isn't some under classman. He hasn't lived up to realistic expectations. To the end of the bench he should go.

Jack Jones 9 years, 6 months ago


Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

Appreciate all the comments both ways on this.

As I'd mentioned at the outset, I think he's the best coach in the country, and still do. Seems close to unanimous agreement on that.

And ParisHawk .. yes, I did follow my own advice and slept on it before posting my thoughts. Even though it may not have appeared as such.

ParisHawk 9 years, 6 months ago

I know you did. Just trying to lighten things up a bit.

You are one of the posters here I make sure to read.

Michael Luby 9 years, 6 months ago

I think I agree with you HEM. Did not think of it that way until you said it at all.
Seriously think about sending this post RE to the coach.

Stephan123 9 years, 6 months ago

KU played very poorly. OSU played with passion and had a hot hand shooting 3's. Nonetheless, we only lost by 5 points.

GreatJake 9 years, 6 months ago

Wishing the Hawks get game, toughness, mojo or whatever

Hate to say it but the last 4-5 games have been boring and painful to watch.

In the past there may have been one game that was painful (VCU,NI) but not really boring. There have never been a string of boring and painful games in a row.

We all knew they were going to lose soon but too bad it happened at AFH. OSU played great but it was not a blowout....KU could have won at the end

The turnovers, the missed baskets from shots taken near the basket, the scoreless droughts, the bad defense (wide open 3s, offensive rebounds by the other team, no blocking out). If they could just fix one of those problems

AW3 - thanks, like your story and like your game and hope to see you play some more. Nice to see someone come off the bench and make some plays fast and at a critical time.

Justin Kruse 9 years, 6 months ago

The offensive boards and put-backs killed us just as much, if not more so, than EJ's turnovers. Basics...block out, hit FREE throws, and protect the ball.

Wish our next game was KSUck or Baylor instead of TCU.

Beate Williams 9 years, 6 months ago

I csn't believe there are so many coaches on this site that are better than Self, not to mention all of you who are better players than the crew Self puts on the floor. I'm aghast that you are not playing in the pros or already in the HOF.

The team plays soft, as Self has said. I beleive Self knows how to handle this situation and will handle it. As much as I hate to lose and really hated to lose this game, I would much rather lose being in front of the race at this time of the year, than losing the third week of March because of softness.

Self said last week the team had the impression they could not lose, the mind set that regardless they will win in the end. Yesterday they were shown, simply because you have Kansas on your jersey you are not going to win. You have to do those extra things if you are going to win, rebound, go after all lose balls, play defense out of your mind for 40 minutes and take no prisoners when it is all said and done. I do think yesterday and today and tomorrow that message has been and will be pounded into their brain.

I'm not sure how many of you have played college ball and run against those hard screens, against some very hard bodies; but to say that TRel was not doing his job is totally ludicrous. He was all after Brown and some of those shots Brown made were well beyond the line and if you watch the game again, you will see how well they set those screens and how well the screens were utilized. OSU was psyched for this game and gave everything they had, and the guys giving everything they had are in fact good ball players and had a good day. But as someone said earlier, statistically the game was very close, it's those 50-50 balls and the careless TOs that ended up spoiling the day for the KU faithful...but the sky is not falling and I sincerely believe this game will prove to be a turning point for this team.

Because of this loss I can't all of a sudden believe I know more than Self and that I'm a better ball player than half of the team or that I know how the team should be constructed and put on the floor; I'm not in practice and I don't have a NC under my belt nor 8 conference championships to my credit.

flyingfinn 9 years, 6 months ago

A lot of the attention is on EJ and perhaps rightfully so, whether he likes it or not he is our point guard now not a shooting guard and so when the shots are not falling as a point guard you do not continue to shoot (aka 3-14) but look to set up those that can make shots and focus on not commiting so many turnovers. Note a lot of fans blaming this on a poor offensive performance, REALLY, we scored 80 points. The truth is we did not play our usual very good defensive game and for those railing over ugly defensive wins, how well do you like them now.

utahjayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Excellent points, HEM. Do you think that Coach still has the passion for KU that I believe he had in the past? I thought there might be a time when he left for the NBA eventually but his comments recently about looking at the OSU job a few years ago and that it was "not the right time" were pretty surprising to me.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 6 months ago

Thanks. I do think he has passion .. I think his passion shows all the time. It showed after the game yesterday. I would be very surprised if he left in the next 5 years.

Robert Brock 9 years, 6 months ago

Our defense failed. Evidence: OSU scoring 85 points. That is 20 more than they should have scored if we had played hard D, rebounded properly etc.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 6 months ago

TCU will be a superior opportunity to inject some much needed new blood in the rotation-Adams & White for sure. Just what the Dr ordered. Let Jeff set a spell & give Traylor or Ellis more min also. If they rack up the fouls, then just go back to the Fro & Whiff. After all it's TCU. Give Nadir the start & let Johnson come off the bench. Go ahead & pi$$z em' off, you called out the team for a nut check, so see what they have? Drop all the dimes in your pockets, quarters too. Then we'll all see how deep you stand in the caca & just how far public embarrassment or peer pressure will take them. Wasn't it Lombardi who said "Fear is the greatest motivator?"

Bob Bailey 9 years, 6 months ago

What a shame our team plays on Big 12 Network! A lot of fans are missing out. Half my time is spent in KS, the other half in OH. Not about to reschedule my TV twice to get those games! And the radio can't come on the computer any more.

Bad news for out of the time zone fans. Can't believe it helps recruiting either. Do SOMETHING to get our non-residents the message!

CalBBaller 9 years, 6 months ago

KU is in a tough position. This team does not have a dominant offensive player. BMac could be that player, but it does not seem that is his style. Jeff Withey does not have the offensive ability or skill to be dominant. He will score his points, but he loses the ball too easily and is unable to bull people over when in a crowd. Unless KU changes their approach to the game and gets tougher and plays a full game, I see three more losses on the horizon (KState, OK State and Oklahoma) and that may mean they don't win the Big 12. Maybe that streak is an albatoss for them. They look like they are playing not to win, but to keep from losing.

Ethan Berger 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm ready to see Naadir start, but he also has been sloppy with the ball. He is the problem with our offense. We don't know how to escape the trap. They dribble to half court, by the side line and pick up the ball. The closest guy is across the court on the same spot. So then we become a turnover machine team. The trap has been killing us since conf play. If we could break the trap, then I bet our offense would run much more smoothly. Everyone needs to work on their lazy passing. We are only a two loss team, who went on a rampage the last time we lost. We will be fine.

kay_you 9 years, 6 months ago

Hate losing at home but I think yesterday’s loss was a good thing. It took some late minute heroics by a bench player just to put us in the position to tie the game. Even if EJ doesn’t turn the ball over we are forced to take a low percentage shot just to get to OT. Coach said it best, we have been living on borrowed time. It’s part of the maturation process and this team needs to mature.

Ben Simonett 9 years, 6 months ago

"Let’s just call it like it is ... we are mentally tough in some ways, but physically this is our softest group of all time”

"We get by and fake it sometimes, but we aren’t real thick and we aren’t real strong."

Striaght from the coaches mouth. when your front court consists of 2 "bigs" who both tip the scales at under 235 lbs your going to get pushed around inside.

Selfs MO has always been Hi-Lo, inside-out, basketball on the offensive end. He doesn't have the talent down low to run that scheme this year which is a big reason why i think the offense is struggling.

I'm scared to imagine what Cody Zeller would do to us int he tournament.

monkeehawkSL8 9 years, 6 months ago

It seems as though many posters are looking at TCU as some kind of scrimmage against a junior high church league team. If the Hawks go into this game with a simular attitude the result could be far worse than loosing to a very gifted Ok.St. team.

Recent history in college ball shows us that anything can happen. Maybe the attitude of this site is the same type of thinking at the core of the Jayhawks dysfunction.

Take no one, nothing for granted. Everything has to be earned. If anyone who spends time on this site has an opportunity to talk to Perry please encourage him to lift his head up. Perry's body language suggests he's just kicking the sh#*!%t out of himself. Perry, have fun, it's OK, "play". Love these Jayhawks! All of them.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 6 months ago

Why would you suggest that when you said yourself you would rather lose with freshman learning than with seniors who make the same mistakes over & over? And how can you equate that to the "attitude of this site" whatever the hell that is supposed to mean? Few D1 schools roll over & play dead, so that is a bush (church?) league analogy to begin with. Some board rats unwind with pages & pages, some may humorously speak somewhat tounge in cheek, & others like HEM may just dribble too much. Personally I think his posts always bring alot to the table. But most who really have much knowledge are merely objectively stating mere opinions with nothing left to read into them. And check this also, no one wants to lose no matter who to, whether outplayed or outcoached. Many board rats really are pretty savvy about this game too, it's only 5 on 5, not a labotomy by any strectch of the imagination. Like I said earlier, some just need to take that deep breath & count to ten before they post, even if it's necessary for some to remove the shoes to find enough digits to get there.

monkeehawkSL8 9 years, 6 months ago

Globaljay, thanks for the call out. I said I would rather "play" freshman than see a senior make the same mistakes over & over again. I don't want to loose any game. I am not a gifted writer, the attitude of this site statement was only in reference to the idea that the TCU game might be a victory before its played. I wasn't addressing anyone specifically. Thanks again, monk the board mouse. I'm gonna go "strectch" my labotomy.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

"Day of the Babies, or Time to Become Men Again"

Part 1

(Reader Alert: Author here again. I was torn between distilling htis to a bad game, and writing nothing but "NEXT," which is partly how I think, but also exploring the "baby" thing Coach Self has introduced. I decided to go long with the latter, but rest assured, I believe in the end this will just be a bump in the road loss this season. Further, be forewarned that Coach Self gets his share of the blame in this analysis.)

Why did Bill Self get so angry after a five point loss to a team with perhaps 3 draft choices, maybe 4, if Le'Bryan Nash ever were to get his act together?

Oklahoma State was a young, athletic, 14-5 team with a defense as hard nosed and sticky as Self's own. They liked to hit opponents in the face. They liked to go up and beat shots back at the shooters. They liked being physically stronger. They liked swaggering more.

True, most of the Cowboys couldn't shoot their way out of Django Unchained with Gatlin guns, but a couple of them were the kind of low percentage gunners that go off unpredictably occasionally and burn even the best defenders.

Still, a disgusted Self rolled out his harshest criticisms after this one.


Lack of desire.

Lack of toughness.

No competitiveness at game point.

Exposed as not a very good team.

A team on borrowed time.

A team with problems camouflaged by winning.

Poor guard play ALL season.

And, yes, he even used the B word.

Bill said they played like "babies."

Rarely will Self use more than two of these pejoratives after a loss.

I don't ever recall him using all of them.

After this loss, he used them all.

And even repeated some.

For anyone new to Bill Self's post game coach speak, playing like babies is equivalent of dipping his team in poo-poo-nasty-no-no.

It is the most biting, stinging criticism that can be leveled against a KU player, or a KU team.

It signifies something worse than any deletable expletive can.

Babies is the sub-basement, no, make that the deepest mine shaft of Bill Self's disdain.

Now, for any baby loving persons out there, and I count myself foremost among them, I am sure Bill Self loves babies as much as the most compassionate nurturer out there, when said babies are swaddled and in the arms of their parents and cooing and crying and suckling, as they are meant to be and do.

But he does not love them, when they are wearing KU uniforms and "running stuff" on James Naismith Court before a cheering, full house on a day when Self's old school is the opponent.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 2

Bill Self does not love them when his father and mother are most assuredly tuned in and watching their beloved son put his character and professionalism on public display and so will have to go out to get their newspapers the next morning and speak to the neighbors and have to feel the disrespect, even disdain of their fellow Oklahomans in their and Bill's hometown. There is nothing, after all, worse than a local boy made good--a local boy they are most proud of--that they wish had stayed home and had the kind of success he has had at home--there is NOTHING worse than watching that local boy then disgrace himself and them, AGAINST the home team he should have returned to coach had there been any justice under god's heaven. No parent should have to go through this experience. No son would ever want his parents to have to go through this. No native son would ever want to put his beloved home state through this. Nor his adopted state.

For it goes without saying that his adopted state that has grown so to venerate, love and respect him, to depend on him, to perhaps even idolize him; that so loves basketball that it will fill a 16,000 seat venue for DECADES on end, that has grown amazed and in awe of his ability to pull not merely a few rabbits out of a hat, but literally hundreds of the furry, little hopping things out of not even so much as a hat; well, it just goes without saying that these best fans in college basketball don't wish to see this befall their beloved coach, nor his players, nor his parents, nor even their red clay neighbors and competitors to the south.

It would have been okay to have lost a respectable game to Self's Iba mater. Its even happened before in Self's tenure. Its even kind of feared and viewed as a significant risk most of the time. After all, it is his Iba mater. How can as decent of a man as Bill Self not feel a little conflicted about playing his old school, a school that has a rich and respected basketball tradition of its own? There is no shame in losing to them occasionally. Its not like losing to, say, Missouri, or Kentucky, or to any other nest of thieving cheaters. Its more like losing to family. There is a loss of bragging rights that goes with it, a serious sting alright, but its all in the usual spectrum of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat…when one plays the game as it was meant to be played.

But playing like babies is NOT playing the game as it was meant to be played.

To play like babies in the vernacular of Bill Self is, well, is to play even less well than you played before you came to KU, before Bill Self expended his blood, sweat, toil and endless practice screeching and correcting to "coach you up" to be a Self Baller, a warrior, and a Kansas Jayhawk capable of grinding out a win even on that third of days when your performance stinks.

But even stinking performances ranks above playing like a baby in the Self lexicon.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part Three

Playing like a baby is to be less than a high school player.

Less than a middle school player.

Less than a kiddie league player.

It is to be less than a young boy a father takes to Allen Field House in hopes that his son will one day grow up to wear the Crimson and Blue.

It is less than a toddler a KU mom plays with in front of a TV, as she watches the team she dreams her son may one day play for.

It is in the final analysis to be even less than an infant in a swaddling cloth just home a few weeks from a hospital.

Baby, as Self uses the word in his professional lexicon, is all the way back to an after birth -dripping, shrieking, near foetus state of a being in which one is utterly dependent, utterly lacking in any ability to meet any of one's most basic needs of survival, or responsibilities to one's buddies, family, friends, or school.

Baby is the least developed a human being outside the womb and off the umbilical can be.

Baby is a word Self pronounces, as if he had just had just sucked alum, and then chased it with a powdered aspirin and some castor oil.

Baby is, developmentally speaking, the farthest one can be from a Bill Self basketball player and still be alive.

But as I indicated, this loss was only of the 5 point variety in so far as a score board records such things. And to reiterate, the loss was to a pretty good team that Self said before the season would be one of the best teams in the Big 12, and that the "jaybate Intelligence Estimate" warned early last week could turn out to be a very, very big problem for this KU team, if this team were to get out to an early lead and go into half time with a lead greater than five points.

OSU got off to an early lead. OSU went in six up. OSU then fulfilled the worst case scenario of the "jaybate Intelligence Estimate."

But there was one thing happened that was worse than several of the obvious bad things that happened.

Yet before mentioning that, let me first itemize the obvious bad things as follows:

1) Elijah continued to play worse, descending all the way to what appeared at times to be quite literally wet-nursing babyhood, an even more shocking display of point guard play than several of Tyshawn Taylor's mid season melt downs his junior season;

2) Travis for the second game in a row made mistakes a senior should not make, and regressed to babyhood in terms of offensive play;

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 4

3) Ben, though saving his fellow babies bacon repeatedly, increasingly lost composure defensively and let the Okie State Orange Meanies get under his skin with their face smashes (note: babies have never like face smashes);

4) Kevin made some incomprehensibly bad moves to the basket that appeared like nothing so much as a baby wriggling on a floor in a zipped jumper;

5) Jeff Withey seemed almost foetal guarding the post at times, having apparently become overly concerned with helping some of the nursing defensive babies on his team, and perhaps thinking a bit too much about the blocking record;

6) Naadir Tharpe, continued at least infant like behavior of picking up the ball outside and inside, when he shouldn't have, and to act out the quintessential (for a point guard) devolution to babyhood of stepping just inside the trey arc to take a trey, and he, like EJ, appeared finally not be able to inspire his fellow mates in the nursery to dish out more violence than OSU was dishing out (though in his suckling defense he seemed to try a time or two);

7) Perry Ellis continued to prove that he could continue to improve, achieve a technically respectable line score and still not impact the game, not dish out more rough stuff than he was giving, and could not avoid becoming a suckling at game point;

8) Jamari Traylor, who seems like such a promising stud, could once again add no impact beyond what a baby in knee quilts might, when confronted by a bunch of testosterone laced teenagers swaggering around the paint in loud orange uglies; and

9) Andrew White III, who at least came in and made a couple treys at game point, after months of waiting for him to do so, and who finally acted like the light had gone on, after months of waiting for him to look that way, promptly missed one end of a two shot foul (a foul that was by the way a gift from heaven) that almost certainly would have put us in position to win this horrendous performance that might come one day to be known in the dark annals of KU basketball as "Night of the Babies," had the game been played at night instead of in broad daylight, and so may instead one day become known as "Day of the Babies."

Items 1 to 9 are not by any means an exhaustive list of the things gone wrong, nor of the multi-faceted decent into babyhood that occurred against Oklahoma State, but they do demonstrate without question that a new regression back to basketball babyhood was reached.

Yet these sorts of regressions into babyhood tend to obscure another regression into babyhood of an even more shocking nature; the likes of which, I sadly submit--we have never witnessed during the Bill Self era, or at least that part my aging cortex can recall.

Bill Self himself coached like a baby.

I never thought I would live to write that string of words.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 5

Little Travis Ford making about half as much money as Bill Self completely outcoached Bill Self yesterday.

Little Travis Ford beasted Bill Self.


Self failed to get the team up for an important home game, maybe even a game that if won could have made KU almost impossible to beat for the conference title, even at this still early moment in the conference round robin.

Self failed to come up with an effective game plan to counter what Little Travis Ford came up with.

Self failed to make timely adjustments.

Self didn't come up with any offensive and defensive adjustments at half time to get his team out of the pickle of offensive predictability that it was in.

Nor could Self light a fire under his players. KU did not really fight its way back into the game in the second half. Oklahoma State "missed" us back into contention. Oklahoma State was just such a rotten shooting team that when it began to shoot its way back to its ghastly low average that even KU's baby coach and baby players could not find a way to keep the score from narrowing.

The only offensive solution Baby Self could think of was give the ball to Baby Ben McLemore and hope he saved baby KU's baby bacon.

Self didn't have his team prepared for the defenses Ford threw at his team.

Self didn't seem to recognize the zones Ford had Okie State play anymore than did Self's players could recognize them.

It was sad to watch. It was like watching a great tenor struggle with Row, Row, Row Your Boat. It was like watching Einstein struggle with long division. It was like watching Picasso spill a bucket of red during his blue phase.

For the entirety of the game, Self couldn't even call a play to get the ball in Travis Releford's hands when Travis was being guarded by Phil Forte, a player fully half a foot shorter than Travis.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 6

And at game point, Self couldn't draw up anything in the huddle better up than dribble the length of the court and shoot, and he had to draw THAT up. He could just say it. No surprise. No deception. No nothing. No contingency. No KU player positioned to pick up the loose ball when an OSU player inevitably swiped at it. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Empty set. A music chart with no notes. A blank chalk board at the Institute for Advanced Studies. Empty canvas in Picasso's studio.

It was a shame that Self had to sit EJ with 54 seconds to go, and bring Andrew White III, because it exposed that Self should have subbed White in much earlier in the game than Self did.

Items 1 through 9 are part of the reasons Self is so hot with his team.

But item 10, or what I should have numbered item 10, Bill Self himself, completes the list of drivers of a day that will live in infamy--the Day of the Babies.

Self got out coached. Badly out coached. Great Plains-sized outcoached.

And by a coach he is unarguably much more skillful than.

Bill Self was as much better than Travis Ford, as KU's players were better than OSU's players.

Self, who can usually win with his'n, or with your'n, went baby with his'n.

To be realistic here, Bill Self and his team were NOT infinitely better than little Travis Ford and his team. They will very likely be in March Madness. They are probably the best 14-5 team in America. Bill Self and team are also NOT way, way, way, way, better than Ford and Okie State. Nor are they an order of magnitude better, for as I wrote in the "jaybate Intelligence Estimate," OSU had more effective depth than KU (a full nine man rotation), and some likely draft choices, and a coach who has had made the same long, hard climb up the professional ladder of coaching success that Bill has made, only Ford has started 5 years later, and never won at more than a 2:1 ratio in part because Ford has not generally coached at as good of basketball schools in his stops.

But better.

Bill Self is better.

And this is not just Jayhawk bias speaking.

Yet Bill Self got his baby butt kicked by Travis Ford, who almost seemed surprised that he kicked Bill's baby butt at the end of the game.

I nominate this game as the worst coaching job by Self in his decade at Kansas. There haven't been that many awful ones either. The man IS a genius at coaching.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 7

This loss was way worse than the early round upsets in the Madness. There was method and anomaly to those losses. KU shot poorly in those losses and Self intentionally sent them out flat against lesser teams to save their peak performances for the better team in the two game set. Self was gambling shrewdly, if riskily, and lost. Frankly, I never saw shame in that. And to tell you the truth, I don't believe Bill ever did either. When you play for all the marbles, sometimes you have to take risks that backfire on you.

Nor was this a loss that compares even up with the upset by the UTenn team in shambles a couple of seasons ago; that game was another one he sent them out flat for, because it was the last non conference game of the season, UTenn barely had enough players, and Self wanted to save his team's peak performance in the first conference game. A loss didn't cost KU much except ranking and PR. It was non-conference.

This game was for money; this was conference; this was a good team; this was a chance to build a nearly insurmountable lead in the hunt for another conference title AND for a 1 seed. This game had early money game written all over it from a conference standpoint, even though it wasn't a marquis game, even though the dolts at ESPN chose to show Wichita State/Northern Iowa instead. This was a home game--the kind of game a serious, experienced team is supposed to win, so that it can make a slip up or two on the road and still win the conference title. This was a game that can make one seem invincible at home to opponents for the rest of the season.

The team has been sputtering for weeks and Self has only been intermittently successful at diagnosing and fixing it.

It was only a five point loss.

Its not the end of the season and could be a loss that takes this team to its next level.

Self calls them babies and soft.

EJ still lacks what might be conventionally known as knees.

He got roughed up by a 6-4, 225 pound stud.

Self pulled EJ to humiliate him at the end, or at least in desperation anyway.

AW3 came in and did well.

But Self couldn't pull Self.

Well, frankly, he could have, when I stop to think about it.

And he probably should have.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 8

This was one of those situations when a head coach probably should have pow-wowed with his assistants at half time and told them that if things didn't get sorted out by the last 5-6 minutes, he was going go get himself thrown out over some call, or other. It lights a fire under a team, when a coach that has tried everything he can think of, pushed every button he knows of, says, "Okay, if this is how it is, then I am going down with guns blazing in order to buy my team a series of good calls from the refs that had to throw me out of the game." Its always good for at least three good calls. And KU needed three calls. The refs had begun to call the game in such a ridiculously one sided way that an OSU play could literally charge into a KU player out on the wing in plain sight AND punch a KU player AND shove him AND A FOULD WAS CALLED ON THE KU PLAYER!!!!! And KU had not one but three seasoned assistants and one Director of Basketball Operations, two of which have been head coaches at D1 Majors.

What was Bill Self THINKING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course you get yourself ejected from THAT game.

I'll tell you what he was thinking.

He was thinking the same thing his team had been thinking all game.

He was thinking BABY thoughts.

Not the thoughts of a certain future hall of fame Division 1 college basketball coach, which Bill Self most certainly is.

But Gerber baby food thoughts.

Some resort to religion for insight in such moments.

I resort to logic.

A famous syllogism adapted to this case.

All men are mortal.

Bill Self is a man.

Therefore, Bill Self is mortal.

The man coached like a baby.

His players played like babies.

It was the "Day of the Babies."

But they only lost by five and they are still in the lead.

It is now time to claw and scramble back up the developmental curve.

Time to become men again.


Rock Chalk!

kay_you 9 years, 6 months ago

Where can I find the Cliff Notes version of your posts? :-)

Michael Luby 9 years, 6 months ago

for real Jay, that was brilliance. When were you going to start writing for a big fat check? And please tell us you are sending the highlights of your composium to Coach Self. I think he needs a good read right about now.
This 5 point loss at home stung so hard, its worth two double digit losses on the road. Hopefully the staff and the team realize this, have time for some mirror looking and get back to business on wednesday!
PS. you know, I also thought we would have a tough time with Okie state. They always seem to give us fits, I just didnt want it to be a home loss.

oddgirl 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ is not a point guard. He is a 2-guard playing out of position. And for whatever reason, he isn't playing with the same confidence or with the same intelligence that he did for much of last season. I have no idea what he was doing on that last possession -- there wasn't enough time left in the game to try and go for 2 points. He simply needed to pull up and shoot the 3, If he misses it, well then, he misses it. I like EJ, and I feel bad piling on him, but he has not been playing well. He turns the ball over way to much and his decision making is shaky. Hopefully he will pull himself out of this funk and start playing more like he did last season.

Tyshawn wasn't really a PG either, but he still did a much better job than EJ has this year. Chalmers wasn't a true PG either. I'm trying to remember the last time KU had a good pure PG -- has there been anyone since Aaron Miles? Most of KU's recent PGs have really been combo guards or 2 guards playing out of position. It's a credit to the players and the coaches that they've had so much recent success without having a true PG running the team.

Even though they are 19-2, this isn't a team that is playing well enough right now to be a legit contender for the national title. They've basically been coasting through games, at least through the 1st half of them, for a couple of weeks now. Sooner or later, this was going to come back and bite them in the rear. Self is right about them being physically soft. Smart had EIGHT offensive rebounds all by himself yesterday. Eight!!! No one bothered to put a body on him and block him out all game. I love Jeff Withey, but he is not a good rebounder for a guy as big as he is, and he isn't strong enough to muscle a lot of other big guys. He is a great shot blocker because of his technique and timing, but he needs to play stronger when it comes to rebounding and offense.

McLemore is the best player on the team by a mile, but he can't do everything himself. Especially since he is much better catching and shooting or creating for himself than he is creating for others. And even he got outplayed by Marcus Smart yesterday.

If this was just one bad game, I wouldn't say anything. But they've been playing like crap lately -- they probably should have 4 or 5 losses, rather than just 2. I believe they can turn it around, but only if they wake up and take some hard lessons from yesterday's game.

Michael Luby 9 years, 6 months ago

Oddgirl, you have forgotten someone very important. He is a true PG, he could have been a running back for the KU football team. He is the guy that assisted Mario's Miracle shot. Ring a bell yet? Yep, you got it. Sherron Collins. Ive said it before, and I'll say it again. If Collins were on this team right now, we would be unbeatable. We would go 40-0. No team would touch us, not even Kentuckys team last year.
Another guy comes to mind, Russell Robinson. True PG, also without whom we do not win the 08 game purely out of chemistry. Not to mention all the other intangibles he brought.

yates33333 9 years, 6 months ago

I like your comments, read it all, but "beasted Self?" Is that like beastiality?

Doesn't Self look sad and older in the photograph above?

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago


Part 1

Glad you raised the point.

I borrowed from Coach Self's quoted use of the word in the story, when he said:

“We didn’t have an answer for Brown,” Self said, “and Marcus Smart beasted our little guards in the second half.”

Still, you raise a good and responsible point. It is a word from horrific origins, now that you make me recall it. It was street slang for gangs going out and raping women, if I recall correctly.

Like jazz was once a vulgar slang word referring to the F-word for sex before it became widely accepted as the name for a kind of music, beast once had similarly vulgar, but vastly more cruel origins before it came into more casual slang usage in basketball.

I know many board rats use beast to mean beating an opponent badly and mean nothing negative toward women. And I have used it the last few years without meaning anything inappropriate.

But now that you have raised the issue of its origins plainly, Yates, I'm never going to use beast again.

I like women and I love one.

I had a good mother.

A wonderful women trained me on my first job in the working world.

I have supported women's liberation every step of the way.

And I have done a number of things in my life expressly to advance women's health issues and women's right to choose and control their own wombs.

I frankly am ashamed of myself for forgetting the origins of this word.

The older I get the more I understand that whatever is done wrong to one of us, is done wrong to all of us.

I am done with using the word beast in this regard out of respect for my sisters.

Thanks for helping me wake up.

And, yes, Self looks very dejected.

I am actually fearing a bit for Coach Self right now.

Each season he seems to go through a crisis point, where he reaches a level of intensity of trying to win that he starts to lose what appears his unusually wise perspective about the game and teeters precariously close to succumbing to the way so many ordinary coaches deal with winning--monomaniacally.

Part of what makes Self so terrific is that each year he catches himself near that moment and pulls back from the brink.

The last two weeks especially, he has seemed almost apoplectic at times. He is struggling so mightily to try to find a way for this team to excel that he seems almost to be trying to will a team to greatness, rather than simply do his dead level best coaching it.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 2

I believe Self has known all along that this team has great weaknesses; that it is, to borrow from slayr's lexicon, not strong below the waist. I don't mean this as if they lack manhood. They are a very brave bunch in my opinion. I mean they just are not big and strong from the waist down. They are not able to fight for spots.

I have argued that since about the 7th game of the season, KU went to a wide spaced offense based on a concession by Self that this team was not thick enough and strong enough to play conventional Self Ball. It could not stay on the spots against most teams.

I believe Self did the hardest and bravest thing a coach can do in a situation like this: he abandoned his traditional way of coaching and playing and said we have to try something we've never done before. It has worked fabulously well from a W&L statement point of view.

But bottom line, this is not truly the way Self believes in playing basketball. So: in a sense, Self is selling out his principles in how to play the game to try to help this team become the best it can be, even though it is taking him against everything he believes in about how to play the game.

Self apparently took this personal plunge in an attempt to walk the talk himself of going into one's discomfort zone and mastering it, so as to come out the other side better.

And I believe it is working and that Self will come out the other side just as his team will, too, if they stay the course.

But it is very difficult to coach young men in the heat of battle to play a game the opposite of the way you have always believed and played and coached.

It is one thing to say, "Well boys, we are going to the spread offense and we are going to slide off the spots when pushed, and push back when pulled, because we are better suited to playing this way," and it is another thing entirely to have to actually walk the talk through the up and down crucibles of an entire season.

Plus Self just turned 50 and Self has made at least one age related remark of a kind I am familiar with when I turned 50; that is that he was once the young wonder, and now he is the older coach.

Self has always been a very "young" coach in terms of his ability to relate with players. But time waits for no man. And he is IMHO no doubt battling the stresses of walking through the looking glass with this team in terms of way of playing, and he is walking through the looking glass of middle age, too.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 3

And one more thing that I think most are not thinking about.

Self lost one of his best friends from his early days, Barry Hinson. Its a big loss and one not off set by getting his perhaps his best adult friend, Norm Roberts back on staff. Roberts and Self are colleagues and buddies from different worlds. They and their wives are close friends. But Hinson was a guy who really, really, really knew the Self that Self probably lets few know.

And Self's got his son on the team, too. I know he says he loves having him on the team, and he probably does, but, good lord, how can a man continue to relate to his team in the same way he always has with his son on the team?

Its probably not any one of these things that has Self looking exhausted and frustrated. Its all of them.

And Self has had to deal with this tragic interruption of Peters' career, a kid Self had clearly been eagerly looking forward to coaching.

And Elijah is absolutely one of the players that he loves and feels a great deal for, and Elijah is hobbling around and playing poorly and, well, Self has to feel terrible for what Elijah is going through, too. I mean, I've never heard a coach say in public that it was sad to see a player sitting over with us on the bench...ever.

I believe Self is quite honest when he says he will not be coaching long enough to achieve the most wins record.

I believe Self is very nearly at the point Coach K got to, when Coach K had to take a season off.

And its strange to see, because Self has been so wise and seemed so able to avoid the pitfalls of coaching burn out.

I frankly don't see how he does what he does and keeps up the pace he keeps up.

I know he is a high energy guy and he has a good motor, and he's ferociously competitive, and he is also basically gregarious.

But he is 50, not 40.

Coach K has had to learn to pick and choose, when he completely cuts loose with the competitive juices.

I am not sure Self has completely come to terms with that yet.

And this season is a very challenging season. Knowledgeable persons like slayr are talking about how much jeopardy this team is in. How its living on borrowed time.

Bottom line, between you and me, yates, as a couple of "old" KU fans, this team is achieving at its maximum, just like last year's team did. Self is walking a tight wire act with it and any other coach in the USA with this team would be 15-5, or so.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 4

I think board rats are wrong to worry so much about how this team could fall apart. Its a given that this team, or last year's team, could fall apart at any moment. Neither team was deep. Neither team has nearly enough talent, or depth, to compete with the '08 team, except on an emotional toughness level. And both of them, frankly, may be tougher teams on an emotional level than the '08 team.

No one knows better than Jeff Withey and Kevin Young how much weight and strength they are giving up out there.

If you have ever played against anyone bigger and stronger than you in anything, you know how much ferocity, intensity and sheer will it takes to even stay on the floor, or field, for a short time.

These guys have been slugging it out out there on the shellac for 2 and a half months with out credible backups, without big muscles, without great offensive skills. They have been going out there against players that can and do try to hurt them.

The forearm smashes are real. The kicking, tripping, and knocking to the floor hurt like flipping hell!

These guys of ours, all of them really, certainly all of our first 9, are like guys from a time capsule from the early 1970s. None of them, not even Ben Mac, truly, are players well-suited to the XTReme Muscle Ball era that we are in the vice grips of.

It has taken incredible courage for them to come this far.

The reason Self calls them soft is not that they are playing soft, but because they really are soft for the XTReme Game and he knows how badly they can get hurt out there, if they ever cease to compete as hard and as ruthlessly as they possibly can.

He is trying to simultaneously get them to play this judo offense on the one hand, and on the other try to keep reinstilling the ruthlessness necessary to beat a bigger team that begins forearm smashing them in the face on all of their shots in their home arena and the refs don't call it.

Self cares about these players. He is asking them, not just himself, to walk through the looking glass and every so often he must realize how much physical jeopardy this is putting them in.

The moment opponents see this tape of this game, our players are going to be drastically more physically threatened through out the season.

What Self is saying is that if our guys don't want to wind up in the hospital, they are going to have to begin doing all the dirty tricks that all the coaches can think in order to save their lives.

And the KU players are so flipping mentally tough and fearless that they seem to keep saying, no coach, we can do this the "right way, like you taught us to."

Self is in a real existential bind here.

XTReme Ball without XTReme Players.

Wrong way opponents coming with right way players.

What we saw Okie State is just the start.

I don't know where this is headed, but it appears Self is very worried.

Yolanda Gay 9 years, 6 months ago

No the sky isn't falling competely; but it's slowly on it's way. Except for the Baylor game, this team has won by the skin of their teeth. I was hoping for a loss - but not at home and not against KSU. I hope this was a wake up call. We'll see Wednesday. What happened to our Nov/Dec team?

I hope Self uses this as a chance to do some changing in the line-up. EJ just isn't cutting it. He's playing like a freshman. So why not put Tharpe at point and give AW3 and Rio more playing time. What can he lose. Then EJ should come off the bench at least until he gets his confidence back. He's making too many basketball 101 mistakes.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 6 months ago

I never comment after we lose a game like that. I'm in too bad of a mood.

machinegun 9 years, 6 months ago

I really wonder about the mentality of some of our fans. Elijah Johnson is the leader of our team, now 19-2. Elijah has a big heart. Elijah is a "gamer" and a clutch performer. Do you really think Coach Self is going to turn his back on Elijah because he is struggling? Not a chance.

Elijah has been loyal to our team and encourages other guys on and off the court. He had a rough day yesterday and it was painful. That game is over. Time to get ready for TCU.

For those with memory lapses, this is the same Elijah who took over the ball handling last year when Tyshawn was going through his turnover struggles. So now he can't play the point? Ha Ha! I remember the positive comments that he received from some of the same people who are attacking him now. Elijah also was critical to last year's Final Four run. I don't know what Elijah is going through right now but I will support him win or lose.

Sam Constance 9 years, 6 months ago

I pretty much agree with everything Self said. But a few specifics stood out to me...

The last play was ridiculous. I get Self's point about it not "deciding" the game, but it was still indicative of some of the poor decision-making that was persistent throughout this game. The only way a layup helps you when down 3 with only 8 seconds to go is if an opponent fouls you to get the 'and 1'. Meaning, it's a pretty low-percentage play compared to getting an open look from 3 with one of multiple players who were making them (White, McLemore, Releford, even Tharpe). The thing that's so infuriating is that the play before, when EJ went flying down the court and scored a layup, was a great play that put the pressure back on OSU to make free throws. Same choice of action on both plays, but it was only correct in one of them.

There was a play at one point in the game where the ball was loose and squirting around the court, and you watched multiple Cowboys throwing themselves on the floor, full extension to get to the ball. Meanwhile, KU players are trying to pick it up and go with it. Finally a couple of the Jayhawks did dive to try and get it, but it seemed like a fairly typical representation of the effort/toughness between the two teams.

Unsurprisingly, we lost this game the way we barely most of the last several games. Poor passing and lazy perimeter defense. The perimeter defense dug us into the hole in the first half and then our terrible passing made sure we couldn't complete the comeback. We've been just slipping by for weeks and the silver lining I can find is that we lost in the same way we've come close to winning, so there can be no excuses about it being just a fluke game. Hopefully it will galvanize the team to put more focus into the areas they are lacking, because it seems more like a focus issue than an athleticism/ability issue to me. The flip side of that coin is that if we're continuing to do these things so many games into the season, are they flaws we're capable of correcting? I think yes on perimeter defense, but I'm not sure about the medicore passing.

The most worrisome thing about this game, to me is that it means if we come up against a team that has good, athletic scorers at spots 1-3, we are in trouble. We obviously held Nash pretty quiet, but Smart and Brown both went bonkers, because we only have one Travis Releford on the perimeter.

It will be interesting to see how the team responds from here.

Woody Cragg 9 years, 6 months ago

We already did vs ISU & if not for the bank is open 3 by BMac, we lose at AFH then. And correct me if wrong, but that is how we lost vs NIU & VCU both-perimeter shooting offenses knocking down 3's. It's indicative of virtually all teams that only have one or less Releford's on defense. It's the nature of the game in opposition to the HiLo, grind it out, 52-50 type games that are so boring to watch. Every now & then the jump shooting team will knock off a goliath, & then they get beat the following game by someone that controls the paint. Why we can't do that with a footer in the paint, I don't understand? Ellis moves damn good without the ball, & Jeff is, well, Jeff. Frankly, not that mobile on offense to say the least, but a good finisher when he gets it down low. Perry is not TRob for damn sure, but let him get the experience with the seniors & a footer, & one of them will get the points. Perry can drive, dish, or pull up for the shot. He has the moves, so let him use them. Or either can execute the kickout for an open shot. We have several other good shooters even if EJ is in a slump. Control the game by playing under control & possessions and the clock. If you want to get in a horserace, you better have a damn thoroughbred. If Withey is the best player on our team, he's more like a Belgian or a Clydesdale & BMac is more like a Quarter, so I say slow the damn race down to suit your entries. KY is not executing the HiLo well at all, so give Traylor or Perry more minutes to get the job done. If KY gets the pass or rebound in the paint, he's just not strong enough to finsh very often. Travis knows the system, he can play the 4 spot in a HiLo when playing vs a 6-7 or 6-8 opponent. When you need the energizer bunny, wind him up & turn him loose. An 80 point game just does not not suit our teams' makeup at all.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

"Expect an Orgy of Disorder and No Holds Barred"

Part 1

Okay, now everyone has evacuated that game from their colons.

Think next.

This team played one of its worst games and only lost by five.

It still has a sound, but unconventional scheme.

It still has the Withey effect that holds opponents to 40% or less from the field most games. It still has a terrific player in Ben Mac. It still has a great perimeter defender and a guy who can score against many teams in Travis. Though no one is giving Kevin credit for it, it still has Kevin Young who impacts all over the floor and got 12 efficient points, 7 rebounds and 4 steals. And it still has two point guards that only need to break just a few bad habits to get their games back to the point where they are not hurting the team and their virtues can resume helping the team. And we've got a 4 that keeps getting incrementally better and who WILL be ready to actually make a difference by the end of this month, though it will remain in a backup capacity. And we have for the first time the entires season, an inkling of hope that the light went on in AWIII and that his trey shooting and apparent new found aggressiveness could finally give Self a reasonable selection of abilities on the perimeter. This is list of what we have is still longer than what most other teams have. And Bill Self is still better than most other team's coaches by a considerable margin.

So: "The Day of the Babies" is behind us.

The time to think next is now.

TCU is a weak team that our bunch can set restart on. And bludgeon.

A lot of board rats are going to want to go backwards.

Back to the high low the way it used to be played.

"I don't believe in paying for the same real estate twice."--George Patton

Self shouldn't turn back now.

The war is on.

Michael Luby 9 years, 6 months ago

I just finished watching Dredd so Im a bit amped up at the moment. Reading your post with the Patton quote right now, priceless. PHOF. Bring it! Next

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 2

This is the army Self has and this is the way it has trained to fight and this is the way it must fight, whether fans like it or not.

The Oklahoma State game confirmed YET AGAIN that Kevin starting is the right thing; that Perry is no where near ready to be thrown to the dogs in a starting role; that if Self will just stay the course with Perry's incremental development that Perry will be ready to be a contributor by the end of this month in the current scheme.

The 19 wins say this army and its strategy and tactics are on the right track.

The 2 losses say it isn't perfect.

"A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."--George Patton

Self's guys are a shaken, because they have finally seen what XTReme Ball is really like, when you are a light, mobile army, an army with a bunch of Shermans, and not a bunch of Panthers and King Tigers. Self needs to tell his guys they are in a war and there is no way out of it but forward with better tactics, more maneuvering, more flanking and more competitive greatness.

"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood."--George Patton

Self must tell his players:

"I don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom."--George Patton

Self seven or eight games into the season took stock of his fears and understood that this KU team could not stay on spots in the XTReme Era.

"The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That's the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead!"--George Patton

This is not the time to doubt and rethink what he decided back in early December. This is the time to tell his team:

"Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle."--George Patton

And to say to them again:

"Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom."--George Patton

The only thing Self must work on is getting his guards to stop throwing the ball away, stop picking up their dribbles and stop stepping inside the trey stripe and taking long two pointers.

And he must reinstill in them will to attack and keep attacking.

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 3

Self must convince his players that the disorder they experienced once the violent play started--the forearm smashing to the faces--is normal to feel.

"Battle is an orgy of disorder."--George Patton

He must tell his players that what Self means by defense is attack; that defense in basketball is but offense played at the other end of the floor. That this KU team must attack on defense, attack in transition and attack on offense.

"Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more."--George Patton

Though they are playing a judo offense, they are not waiting for anything: they are finding weakness and attacking it.

Swagger has to be part of the judo offense and part of the funnel them to Jeff defense.

Swagger has to come from tutored courage, from knowing you have the better strategy and training and conditioning for the abilities and skills and strengths that you and your team have that your opponent lacks, not matter how big and brawny he may appear.

They are Davids and they better get used to it.

Swagger has to come from knowing you can not only get down and grind it out as well as the opponent, but that you can get down and dirty with him even more than he can; that you are willing to go farther than he is.

"Do your damndest in an ostenatious manner all the time."--George Patton

To EJ, Self must tell him to start repeating:

"I am a soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight."--George Patton


"A good solution now is worth more than a perfect solution ten minutes later."--George Patton

And further...

"May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't."

And to Self's staff, he must say:

"Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy."--George Patton

jaybate 9 years, 6 months ago

Part 4

So Self must demand fresh tactics in real time be constantly being presented him to either order executed, or to disregard.

And if it were me, I would call in Wayne Simien to the first post game practice to deliver the following prayer.

"Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee of Thy great goodness to restrain this tendency in us to let other teams bigger than us push us around. Grant us the blood thirstyness, cheap shots and dirty tricks needed for battle in the XTReme Muscle Era. Graciously harken to us as players who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and thus establish thy justice in our conference and in our title run. AMEN"--jaybate

Buckle your chin straps boys, and put in your carbon fiber cups, its about to get no holds barred.

If only they would call the game according to the rules again.

But they aren't going to again this season.

The whistles are a thing of the past, and the only winners will be those that can say and mean:

"God help me, I do love it so."--George Patton from the movie "Patton"

Michael Luby 9 years, 6 months ago

copy/paste all four parts, send to Coach ASAP

easyfive 9 years, 6 months ago

EJ is the Gremlin on this team. Billy ball is getting very boring and very hard to watch. Without Jeff and we wouldn't be in the top 25. We are just have to fake it the rest of the way. Go back and watch that Colorado game and see what was working then. Shoot the ball when open and pass the ball at lest 3 or 4 times before shooting it. Hard, crisp passes. ...Easy

Jeff Soisson 9 years, 6 months ago

I just don't feel like Bill has figured out the line up or chemistry for a starting 5. He has always done this so well. And now we have so much talent, it is almost confusing to him. I frankly have never seen a KU team that could not pass the ball, this is the most sloppy team I can remember. Do we have no leaders and all role players? That is what it looks like to me.

Michael Luby 9 years, 6 months ago

No, this team needed this loss. Every year we go through this. Those guys take bruises and cuts and losses every time and come out better for it. I said it once before, here it is again. This home loss stung so deep it was like two road losses by double digits each. They will fix their weaknesses, they will bounce back higher than they fell. Thanks Jaybate. Truly inspiring stuff there. Not just for this game we all love, but for life as well.

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