Saturday, June 1, 2013

New KU assistant Howard grateful to learn under ‘great coaches’

New Kansas University assistant coach Jerrance Howard says he's been blessed to work with "great coaches" such as Larry Brown, left at SMU, Bruce Weber, middle at Illinois, and Billy Gillispie, right, at Texas A&M and Kentucky.

New Kansas University assistant coach Jerrance Howard says he's been blessed to work with "great coaches" such as Larry Brown, left at SMU, Bruce Weber, middle at Illinois, and Billy Gillispie, right, at Texas A&M and Kentucky.


More on the hiring of SMU’s Jerrance Howard as replacement for Joe Dooley as assistant coach on Kansas University’s basketball staff. ...

• Howard last season worked for Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown at SMU. He’s also worked for Billy Gillispie at Texas A&M; and Kentucky, Bruce Weber at Illinois and now Bill Self at KU.

“One of my close friends said, ‘Jerrance do you realize who you have worked for?’” Howard said in a phone conversation with the Journal-World. “I guess I haven’t realized it. I’m caught up in the moment. It’s really prepared me to be a better person, assistant coach and head coach in the future. I’ve been blessed and fortunate to be around some great people, great coaches.”

• Howard on what impressed him about former KU coach Brown: “I could give you a list of things, but probably his knowledge of the game. I look at the game of basketball totally different. He always said he was blessed to see 10 guys moving at once, to know what all 10 guys are doing on the floor.

“He is so humble in wanting to get better. He’d talk to me after games and say, ‘Coach, what could I have done to get better?’ That blew me away,” Howard added. “Here’s a Hall of Fame coach who has done it all, coached at the highest level and won championships (in college and NBA) and he’s asking a young assistant coach what he could have done to get better. I thought that was cool he was that humble to visit after the game and ask that.”

• Howard, who was involved in the recruitment of McDonald’s All-American Keith Frazier to SMU, is known as a great recruiter.

‘“Snacks’ has a lot of personality. He will be very popular with Kansas fans as well as an asset in recruiting,” writes national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi of at

Howard was given the nickname “Snacks” during his playing days at the University of Illinois (2000 to ‘04) for his love of snack food.

Howard’s tweet to the world on Saturday: “Rooock chaaaaalllkkkkkk Jayhawwwkk KU!!! Thanks to all my family and friends for the love and support. Ready to go to work!”

Haas update: Isaac Haas, a 7-foot, 275-pound senior-to-be from Hokes Bluff High in Piedmont, Ala., is considering KU, UAB, Clemson, Stanford and Texas A&M;, reports via He’s also heard from Purdue, Harvard and Northwestern. He’s ranked No. 58 nationally by

Top-ranked Shabazz criticized: A lot has changed since Shabazz Muhammad was the No. 1-ranked high school player in the Class of 2012 by Not only did he not have a huge impact at UCLA his one and only season, he’s drawn the wrath of analysts such as Doug Gottlieb who writes that Muhammad should not be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft.

“Reason No. 1 is his skill level,” Gottlieb writes at “He’s a 6-foot-5 small forward who is a very average athlete with some ‘old man body’ to him. ... If he’s too small to play his usual position and not athletic enough to make up for the lack of size and skill, where does that leave him?

“Additionally, small forwards at the next level bring multiple skills to the table. But in his one year at UCLA Muhammad didn’t defend, didn’t really rebound unless it was the offensive boards, and never passed. Consider that he played in 32 games and had a total of 27 assists despite averaging 30 minutes a game. Read that sentence again. Wow.

“Muhammad also stinks as a teammate,” Gottlieb writes. “We all saw the pouting on the floor after his teammate Larry Drew hit the game-winner versus Washington last season, when Shabazz was shouting for the ball. I have been told by multiple sources that such behavior was the norm. When Muhammad didn’t get his touches, didn’t get his numbers, he was totally disconnected from his team.

“His arrogance and lack of desire to be coached was apparent to all who watched. Shabazz was only about Shabazz. Go back and look at how he came out of (games). ‘He would not walk close to Ben (Howland, coach),’ one UCLA source told me. Translation: coach killer.”


Mike Rotchurtz 9 years, 1 month ago

Remember when Shabazz was considering going to KU? Aren't you glad that didn't happen?

Not a quality person or teammate. And his dad?... complete dirtbag.

I'm excited about Jerrance Howard. I think he'll get the job done.

hawk316 9 years, 1 month ago

This is a good lesson for all of us as we watch the recruiting drama play out. There is much more to a player than great stats and a high ranking. What kind of teammate will the recruit be? Is he just playing for himself? How coachable is he? Is he a hard worker? How's his attitude? The wrong kid can be poison on a team. This is why we must trust Self and his staff. They know what they're doing.

LAJayhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

I do agree with much of what you said, but it is important to remember that Self and staff were pushing hard for Shabazz as well. The point being that it's not always totally clear what type of personality or teammate any recruit will be, and Self is capable of making mistakes just like anyone else. He very well may have been able to neutralize the issue better than Howland did, but the point is, don't expect any recruit to be perfect just because Self and staff are recruiting him. Self does have a knack for getting guys to "buy in," but he has had a couple players over his tenure that haven't.

hawk316 9 years, 1 month ago

LA, you're absolutely right. No coach is perfect, and they all get it wrong from time to time with certain players. But I do like Self's track record.

Re: Shabazz...I wonder if Self backed off a little in his recruitment at the end. I don;t know if this is the case, but as I understand it, that does occur from time to time.

And on a unrelated matter: what can you do to get the Dodgers on track?

kay_you 9 years, 1 month ago

The headline reads great coaches. I'm assuming it means Larry and Bill and not the other two guys.

wrwlumpy 9 years, 1 month ago

Billy Clyde is one of those great coaches that cannot coach in todays world. He was on top of the world when he took the job at Kentucky. Kentucky killed both he and Tubby Smith. Anyway, Howard learned from a great coach in Billy. I hope coach Gillespie can get his life together and get back into coaching. He is still a person Self calls to talk basketball.

Hawk8086 9 years, 1 month ago

KD, I agree that with so much young talent, it may be difficult to sign some of the top players in 2014, particularly wing players. Even the best players tend to look for places where there is an immediate opening at their position (Kentucky is the exception).I didn't stop AW. After Black leaves, we certainly will have room for a talented big man out of the 2014 class....but sometimes these young guys don't see it that way.

texashawk10 9 years, 1 month ago

Last week I was looking at a couple of 2014 NBA draft projections and a they both have Wayne Selden as a lottery pick in 2014 so I'm thinking at this point it's 50/50 on Selden being around for a second year.

That said, KU's two biggest needs in the 2014 class are a 6-3 or 6-4 guard capable of playing the point, he doesn't have to be a true point, but just somebody capable of playing the point. Someone who can guard opposing 2's will be the single biggest need KU has after Wiggins and potentially Selden leave. If both leave KU, will have 3 guys that are 6-0 or shorter and then AW3 at 6-6 is the next shortest player who will see meaningful minutes in the future.

KU's other need will be a big. Someone capable of being the 3rd or 4th big that can develop like the Morris twins, T-Rob, Withey and so on is the need because KU should still have Ellis and Embiid along with Mickelson becoming eligible. A lot of that need will also hinge how much Lucas and Traylor have improved, but I still have a feeling those two will be better served as off the bench rotation players throughout the course of their careers.

If Selden does end up being OAD, then a second 6-3 or 6-4 guard is still a need because of what I mentioned above about KU not having anyone ideally suited to guard opposing 2's. A lack of someone in that size range on the defensive end could be KU's biggest roadblock to making a title run in 2014-15 and I'm sure Self is already aware of what his teams weaknesses will be after this season.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 1 month ago

kd .. I posted this the other day; probably best summarizes my thoughts on the topic --

So where do we go with our 2014 class? It appeared that what we'd need for the 2014 class, was exactly our biggest need for the 2013 class, and was our biggest need for the 2012 class ... high quality post players (of course it's our biggest need because Self has done terrific on our perimeter talent).

Black will be gone, chances are we'll have Ellis and Embiid back (but a chance we could lose one), and we'd have been staring down the barrel of Traylor and Lucas as first off the bench in 2014-15 (or even possibly a starter if Ellis or Embiid bolt).

But then Self snagged Mickelson. Great move. But is he a top quality guy? Does that change anything?

It would be very nice to snag a highly ranked, non-OAD guy in 2014. With Ellis and Embiid, as the presumptive starters, it's getting a guy that can accept not starting his freshman season, and that guy wouldn't be an OAD. So we'd bench Ellis or Embiid for Okafor? Not likely.

Problem is, when you look at the class of 2014, you have Looney and Alexander that we're in on, that aren't spoken for. They both may be fringe OADs that may not be real keen on being the third post guy even for a season. Self's job in getting one of these guys becomes easier if Ellis or Embiid leaves, but we don't want that. And at the stage when these guys will commit, Embiid's and/or Ellis' fate will surely not be obvious.

Right now, though, the old term "roadblock" comes up. Do either of the three guys mentioned above come to KU for 2014 with Ellis, Embiid and Mickelson on tap? With Lucas and Traylor there too?

Doubtful. It's 2015 then where it really comes into focus because it is then more likely that Ellis and Embiid are both gone. Ellis on the Marcus Morris path (three seasons), and Embiid on the NBA "potential" path (two seasons).

How do we land the high quality post guys we've become accustomed to? It would seem that Self's effort with post players should be focused highly on 2015 guys because things really don't match up for 2014. Interested if anyone sees it differently. Let's hope we don't stray outside the top 50 just to fill a spot.

But do we really want to cast our fate in 2015 with two guys (Traylor/Lucas) that weren't even ranked in the top 100, and Mickelson (ranging from 50ish to #100)? I'm quite sure Self doesn't. Chances are that at least one will pan out nicely, chances are that one just won't pan out. But will their presence, all three being upperclassmen, be roadblocks and dissuade top guys from coming?

It seems like it would. That's probably my only concern looking forward.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 1 month ago

Unfortunately recruiting is going to become even more complicated and it is not necessarily going to benefit the players.
Until a few years ago, a coach pretty much knew the players he would have available for the next few years; now it is pretty much a crapshoot.
As of today, the only players that KU will lose for sure after the upcoming season are Wesley, Roberts, Black and unless something extraordinary happens Andrew Wiggins. However, with good seasons, KU can also easily lose Ellis, Selden and Embiid.; pretty much the entire starting line up. How do you recruit when you don't know the players you will have after the season? Do you over recruit and then pull scholarships if projected players don't move up?
The obvious solution is for the NBA to adopt the baseball rules; i.e. you can go straight to the NBA from High School, but if you go to college, you will have to wait three years before you are eligible. This would stabilize college BBall, prepare players better for the NBA and likely end Calipari's career; all good things.

texashawk10 9 years, 1 month ago

Projecting future recruiting needs really isn't that difficult. Coaches have a pretty good idea the season before who on their team is a candidate to leave early. The Morris twins are the only early departures that caught Self off guard and the 2011 recruiting class reflects that with Braedan Anderson, Merv Lindsay, and Jamari Traylor. 2011 is the only Bill Self class filled with replacement players caused by unexpected departures so Self has been very good at anticipating early departures. Let's look at this year's class to see who is a possible early departure/transfer. If you need an example, go back to last November when Bill Self told everybody not to be surprised if KU's 2013 class included 7 or 8 players and this was before Zach Peters departure was announced and Tarik Black's announcement gave KU 8 new players for 2013. Coincidence or someone who did his homework and had a very good handle on who was a candidate to leave KU early.

Ignore Wesley and Roberts leaving because neither are on scholarship for the upcoming year and have no impact on 2014 recruiting. Tarik Black is the only graduating senior and Andrew Wiggins will be gone no matter what because he could miss the entire season and still be the #1 pick in the 2014 draft. That's 2 scholarships that Self knows he'll have to replace next year. Wayne Selden is another person who has a good chance at leaving early as I mentioned above is already being projected as a lottery pick in 2014 so with a good season could be gone. Self is likely recruiting to fill this potential need, but not as hard as he is to fill Black and Wiggins scholarships because it is not yet known about Selden. We should know in January just how strong a candidate Selden is to be a OAD player. That leaves potential transfers which we don't right now because the players aren't practicing yet. We'll know by December if there are any potential transfer candidates based on how the rotation is shaping up. Right now there is uncertainty in the number of scholarships KU will have for 2014, but Bill Self will have a pretty good idea of who will be gone much sooner than us and will recruit accordingly.

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 1 month ago

Texashawk10, Wesley and Roberts were included only for completeness and as you indicated, they don't hold scholarship and hence they have no impact.
With Black graduating and Wiggins going to the NBA,, KU will have at least 2 scholarships available. Now, I don't necessarily agree that HC Self will now by January who will be going and who will be staying. While we knew that many players would go, a larger number of underclassmen decided only after the end of the season based on tournament performance. KU has 3 players that could easily be drafted in 2014 depending on how their seasons go.
Embiid - Chad Ford has him currently at #7 in the 2014 draft. If you watched the Nike Summit USA vs. the World, all the announcers were indicating that Embiid might be a one and done. If you consider that the players rated as the top centers in the last two season were drafted at the top (Davis, Noel); Embiid is currently the highest ranked center coming in, so it is not unrealistic to think that he might very well leave after one year. With a good season, the chances are 80% with an average season 50%.
Selden - In the mock drafts where he is listed, he is ranked between 8-12. With a good season the chances of Selden leaving are 70% and with an average season 40%.
Ellis - In the mock drafts where he is listed, he is ranked around 18. With a good season and if he graduates in 3 years (he is a very good student) the chances of Ellis leaving are 90% and with an average season and needing a 4th year to graduate the chances are 20%.
when you consider that a large number of top recruits sign by the early sign in date (mid November), I don't see how Coach Self would know who is leaving a who is staying. Again, do you offer scholarships to 5 players or wait and hope that some are still available for the regular sign in period in mid April? Maybe all 3 leave and the available scholarship are increased by 150% or maybe they all do what UK players did and decide to stay and 2 scholarships is all you have. As I said, it s very unpredictable and makes a coach's job that much more difficult.

Scott MacWilliams 9 years, 1 month ago

Welcome to KU, Mr. Howard! We're all very excited to have you and your young guy energy on the sidelines. It's great to have a new face with a great pedigree helping out the team. About that "Snacks" nickname and the junk food history, I hope that you're watching your diet these days. I couldn't help but notice that you're looking a little wide for your height, and given your tremendous attitude and attributes, we all want you to have a LONG and healthy coaching career. Besides, you're likely to get caught in some of those legendary pickup games that are known to happen around Allen Field House in the summer.
Lots of famous vintage Jayhawk alums have been seen there, knocking the rust off and having a blast. You don't want to get left behind by a bunch of old fahts, do you??? Rock Chalk!!

cwf414 9 years, 1 month ago

Cant take anything in this article serious when you put "great coaches" and add a picture of squeaky...

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Where is Billy Gillispie? Is he doing ok? Is he going into broadcasting? Would love to see LB or Self find him a role to bounce back in.

Calling Ben Howland? I never liked Ben much, but no one deserved a disingenuous Athletic Director AND Shabazz! Did Ben catch a break and land somewhere in the game, or is it sell insurance time for the Father of Hack'n Slap?

LB ought to frame his dismissal letter from Jordan. MJ was better at baseball than basketball team management.

Self has hired Snacks Howard for his assistant. Is it time to hire Fast Food Collins as his director of basketball opps?

Shabazz must have said something nasty to Doogie Godlove to get that kind of hatchet job.

Self has been so lucky not to get ShaBazz. In the OAD era, avoiding OAD flops is as crucial as getting an OAD success. OAD flops are brutal gifts that keep on giving. Bad PR for future recruiting. A hole in the rotation. Bad team chemistry. Agent runners every where. And Microphone Monkies like Doogie Godlove dissing afterwards!

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 1 month ago

Ben Howland has proven over his career that he can coach. However, when thing were not going well he chose players that came with huge red flags and ended up destroying the team. In addition to Shabazz, the had Reeves Nelson (among others) before him and he was an even bigger nightmare.
The moral of this saga is that having the #1 ranked class does not guarantee success and in fact, it might work against you. Also, in addition to the player's skills, coached must also evaluate the personality and how it will affect the team chemistry. There are ubber talented players that have proven to be a cancer to teams; Shabazz will likely be that kind of a player. I cannot understand why the Houston Rockets want to trade for Dwight Howard; he destroyed a real good Orlando Magic Team (and Coach Van Gundy) and the Lakers as well. He is becoming the next Allen Iverson, and no amount of talent is worth destroying your franchise.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

The Houston Rockets want to trade for Dwight Howard for the same reason Alex Hannum and the Philadelphia 76ers wanted to trade for Wilt Chamberlain, and why Billy Sharman and Jack Kent Cooke and the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to trade for Wilt Chamberlain, despite Wilt's labeling as a selfish player and a trouble maker and a guy who couldn't win the big one against Russell and the Celtics.

Howard is a big talent--not nearly as big of a talent as Wilt was, but big. And in this day and age, when the team to beat is the Miami Heat with Lebron and Wade and Bosh, and there isn't another Lebron around, you have to resort to Sun Tzu and attack them where they are weak (i.e., in the middle with a powerful offensive big man) and defend where they are strong (i.e.,stop Lebron from having his way in the paint with a powerful big man).

Houston has to gamble on Howard, if it wants to be a champion, just as the Lakers did. Houston has to have a coach that understands big men generally, and Howard in particular, well enough to build a team around him. Wilt never learned how to win a championship until he got with Alex Hannum, once Alex Hannum had matured enough as a coach to know how to win one. Hannum put the perfect players (an unselfish Hal Greer at point and a great, great garbage man power forward in Lucious Jackson) around Wilt that let Wilt take it to Bill Russell and break the back of the Celts, without having to worry about stopping all the rest of the Celts, as he had had to do on other teams.

Howard needs this kind of coach and a roster of players that can be built around him, if he is ever to fulfill his potential, which he may not even if it is tried. But someone has to try, because of how much talent Howard has.

Kobe was too dominant and too far along in his career to subordinate himself to Howard and their games did not complement each other. Elgin Baylor had the same problem trying to play with Wilt. Wilt in the middle forced Elgin Baylor not to be able to do what he was best at slashing from the wings. Wilt in the middle also made Jerry West have to split outside shooting duties with Gail Goodrich and Jim McMillan, because the only way to get the most out of Wilt was to surround him with three perimeter gunners. Jerry West could make the change and still be Mr. Clutch. Elgin Baylor could not be great without his slashing game and the slashing game was useless with Wilt inside. Baylor had to go and was jettisoned. Bill Sharman then built a great team around Wilt perfectly suited to him.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

The cardinal rule of any team is to fit the pieces around the best player with the biggest MUA.

A player like Lebron forces every NBA team to look elsewhere for every game MUA for a long season and several 7-game series.

Dwight Howard could have the biggest MUA of any player on an NBA team, if he ever gets his confidence up and ever has a team built around him.

It is a long shot that Houston (or any other team) can build the right team around Howard, but someone has to try when the alternative is watching Lebron kick sand in the face of your girlie men perimeter players, and mediocre bigs.

Only a star big man has a chance of getting a fair shake in the refereeing against Lebron. Howard isn't that kind of star big man yet. But he could be if he put together a couple of season playing his hardest and best in a team tailored around him.

This is why any team might take another flier on Dwight Howard. Failing to realize his potential with Kobe really means almost nothing. The acid test for Dwight Howard is when someone gives him his own team and says, "Okay, big guy, its your team and its now or never."

JayHawkFanToo 9 years, 1 month ago

Orlando build a team around Howard and he could not take them to the top. Kobe played with another Hall of Fame Center with a huge ego, Shaq, and they did pretty well together.
Also, I would not put Wilt and Howards in the same sentence; while. While Wilt is definitely one of the 3 top centers of all time, perhaps even the best, Howard does not even break into the top 10. Maybe Bynum would be a better comparison; how is that working for the 76ers...

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for lining them up for me.

Kobe was a college age kid when he played with Shaq. Shag was one of the all time studs. Shaq could and did put him in his place repeatedly. Kobe was crying like a baby for Shaq to be traded so he could be the Alpha dog, because as long as Shaq was here it wasn't going to happen.

Enter Dwight Howard into Kobe's world. No way was Kobe ever going to let Howard take over. Period.

Next, Wilt had had several teams built poorly around him. Never could get it done and Wilt wasn't emotionally ready either. Neither was Howard when he was with Orlando. And they really didn't build the right kind of a team around him anyway.

chipmunk1956 9 years, 1 month ago

32 games... 27 assists?... WOW!... Just WOW!!!

NorthStarHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

....yup & speaking of Squeaky.....I've never seen a set of jawbones that could open as wide as his and nothing of substance being capable of leaving his mouth. What an unfortunate affliction that must be to live with.

Gil Ek 9 years, 1 month ago

The article on Shabazz could be what is written about this years UK team after the season. Can't see how their team chemistry will work with all the ego and talent.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

"Some Suggested Football TV Revenue Drives Realignment Mantras"

Maximizing football TV revenues drove Florida State to the Big 12. No, wait, it didn't.

Maximizing football TV revenues drove MU to stay in the Big 12. No, wait, it didn't.

Maximizing football TV revenues drove Louisville to the Big 12 instead of the ACC. No, wait, it didn't.

Maximizing football TV revenues drove OU to the PAC 12. No, wait, it didn't.


jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Because Dim Doogie Godlove XTReme dissed Shabazzletoff, and Self pursued Shabazzletoff so long and hard, and Shabazzletoff played for Mediocre Ben's sinking ship, well, it seems logical to think Shabazzletoff will rebound from starring in "His Own Private OJ Mayo." Shabazzletoff could turn out to be the steal of the draft, if NBA GM stupidity lets him fall below 10. Shabazzletoff's selection of Ben and UCLA never seemed driven by Shabazzletoff himself, but more by DEEP RECRUITING and Shabazzletoff's perhaps too domineering pappy. Talent will out, even in the age of XTReme Hype. Here's hoping Shabazzletoff can get control of his life, learn PR, and LAND WITH A FUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION, of which there are precious few in the L.

Bill Pitcher 9 years, 1 month ago

Howland's a dope. They deserve each other.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

What with guys like OJ Mayo, Lance Stephenson, Shabazz and so on, the NBA needs an Al Davis/Pappy Boyington type owner that runs a buccaneer themed franchise that specializes in taking in all these black sheep. With all the crappy franchises, one ought to give it a try. Some times rogues play better with other rogues.

GortHawker 9 years, 1 month ago

Man I'd say Doug G. is just a little down on Shabazz, ya think? Welcome JH , now go get us some more top recruits.

Larry Smith 9 years, 1 month ago

Gottlieb is not the only one with that opinion about Shabazz. Scott Van Pelt and Ryan Russillo were killing him on the radio as well. No real standout skill, not a good teammate, average when up against talent, etc.. Compared him a lot to Felipe Lopez. I remember when that kid was supposed to be the second coming.

Kovo12 9 years, 1 month ago

Does anyone think there's a chance we bring Michael Lee in as our basketball ops?

Jack Wilson 9 years, 1 month ago

With the presumed OAD guys, why is this surprising with Shabazz? What is surprising are the humble, well grounded guys. The exceptions to the rule. These guys have been basketball stars for years, catered to, fawned over, and told how great they are. When there was all the talk about Shabazz and KU, I said I hoped he'd take his gold shoes somewhere else. There was a rather large group with the opposite opinion.

Look at how he behaved at UCLA. If he had chosen KU, do you think Self could have changed that? I don't .. no way. KU would have been like UCLA. A pit stop until Shabazz got to the NBA. That's it. A necessary evil to the presumed OAD. Would Shabazz have made KU better last season? Doubtful. But what it would have done was sat loyal 5th year senior Travis Releford on the bench, out of the starting lineup for his final season. Releford wasn't a marginal player. He was a very good player. But Muhammad doesn't come to KU if he's not going to start. Self was recruiting to do just that. Sit Releford in favor of Muhammad.

Do we want that? Would we have wanted that? It's obviously Self's call.

Now we're left to wonder if Wiggins is a humble, well grounded young man. A guy who doesn't view KU as a pit stop. A guy who doesn't want his way over the team. We'd like to think so. But we really don't know yet. We do know Self said he can do whatever he wants this summer, while other freshman are showing up this week. We can speculate, but until he's here and we see with our own eyes, we don't know. This is different, of course .. I guess .. he's displacing a sophomore (White) who hasn't really played much.

At least we can hope that Wiggins will see the Shabazz Muhammad story. Assumed #1 pick, but then creates a lot of negativity in college and sees his stock drop. That lesson should at least increase the odds that Wiggins won't be Muhammad. But it reasonable to think that these guys think "they" are different. It won't happen to them. It's the same way we thought when we were 18 or 19 years old.

This will be an interesting experiment under the lights of AFH this coming season. If Wiggins isn't the kind of talent that can deliver a national championship, what's the point? If he is, and does, the point is made without any disagreement.

Chemistry, how he assimilates, how Self uses him, if Self treates him differently, what Self does differently coaching-wise because of Wiggins -- those will be interesting things to watch.

texashawk10 9 years, 1 month ago

I haven't seen anything to indicate that Wiggins has anywhere near the ego that Shabazz does. Even watching the all star games, Wiggins wasn't going out of his way to get his like Shabazz did. Wiggins also didn't make a spectacle of his announcement on which college he was going to like a lot of others, including Shabazz, which was very refreshing to see. And yes Wiggins is being excused from showing up with the rest of the players, but he is playing in the U19 world championships which is a tournament multiple other players under Self have participated in previously so there is a precedent in that regard as well. I haven't seen any red flags that indicate that Wiggins will be anything other than a great player, teammate, and ambassador for KU while in Prague for the U-19 championships.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 1


First, Wigs dad played and has been there.

Second, Wigs mom was a world class athlete. She's performed and been there.

So: both understand ego off the leash is the enemy of great talent and Wigs is not bulldozing anyone at home.

At the same time, because mom and dad have been there, they understand they do not have to bulldoze their son either.

They so far seem to have achieved what all parents wish they can give their child: a strong sense of balance.

Third, Shabazz and Self would likely have locked horns, but Self has a boot camp system that forces guys into group think, or out they go.

Fourth, Marine Corp boot camp is one of the most sophisticated and effective reprogramming techniques known. In just two months they transform supposedly soft, pampered American teenagers into order following jar heads taught to kill for each other. It works on most all types. It has broken down and reformed some of the hardest cases in America for a century or more.

Fifth, Self uses something akin to this model, and players change when they come to KU, or they leave, just as happens when young men join the Marine Corp. I am not endorsing the boot camp model; it produces some guys that are not fit to reenter civilian life. And the rest of the guys that are fit to return to civilian life have to go through a major re-fit to adapt to ubitquitous-in-civiliain-life bureaucratic environments that are basically run on the disingenous-screw-your-buddy model, i.e., no loyalty to team, just lipservice lying about it followed by back stabbing ladder climbing. What I am saying is that Shabazz might well have adapted at KU in a way that he could not at UCLA under Howland.

Sixth, Howland was a lame duck coach. Everyone knew that the only way he could survive at UCLA was to sign Shabazz, and Shabazz and his father probably understood that. Leaving aside any other DEEP RECRUITING going on, likely as not, they picked Howland and UCLA precisely because he was too weak to do anything but give Shabazz the green light to do anything he wanted. The father, or Shabazz, or both, underestimated how much structure Shabazz would need at a higher level of competition to flourish.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 2

So: all of this is a long way of saying, hey, Shabazz might have melted down under Self, but I believe Shabazz really is a supremely talented player who just needed the structure Self would have provided to take the next step in his development, and that the intense yearning to belong that Marine Corp boot camp is designed to catalyze in order to transcend raging ego and hormones would have probably turned him into a capable of playing for the good of the team, even as his father may have been dragged kicking and screaming through the process, same as seemed to occur with Carl Henry and Xavier.

Some players need the structure and others don't. Shabazz's struggles without the structure seems proof to me that he needed it.

Lastly, I don't want to leave an impression that Self and his approach are a be all end all, once players have matriculated successfully. Giving players a ton of structure in college, and fostering a strong work ethic, and willingness to sacrifice for team, is still deferring the inevitable time when a player has to function outside of a nest.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Part 3

Self's players appear to really struggle in the pros once the structure is taken away. They evidence a lot of emotional toughness and confidence in dealing with their new freedom, but they do not appear to evidence a great sense of seasoned, self-discipline of the kind that enables them to size up a team situation and figure what the NBA team really needs from them and how to develop themselves to give what that team needs. They are used to playing for a coach that knows exactly what he wants and prides himself on being able to push buttons to get it from them; then they find themselves playing for coaches that expect them to be able to give it on demand without a lot of "coaching." Often, Self's players continue to play as if they are playing under Bill Self, when in fact they are playing under pro coaches that often are not remotely like Bill Self. This IMHOis one of the problems with the boot camp model of behavior modification. My anecdotal experience with Marines is that they often come out of the Marine Corp ecstatic about getting out from under all of the discipline and structure, but then find themselves endlessly disillusioned with the lack of esprit d'corps and sempre fi mentality they find in the civilian organizations they work in subsequently. They also find themselves living out the Marine Corp's candid, manly, can-do ethic among bureaucrats that effortlessly turn this into a weakness exploited at every turn in the politics of corporations and government agencies.

There is no perfect system for educating or training human beings. Every approach has trade offs. The reason I, as a fan, talk so much about Self's "getting better" ethic is that getting better can mean many things in many different situations. If one embraces it, it can even mean one day eventually one has to get better by overcoming some of the limitations of the boot camp approach itself.

BainDread 9 years, 1 month ago

In Shabazz's defense, he is exactly what his father made him - a business commodity. He had little to no chance of being a normal, well-adjusted kid. The LA Times ran an in-depth story on March 22, 2013, detailing the lengths to which his father went to develop and market his son as a professional athlete beginning before he was born. You can find it in the archives on the LA Times web site. The title of the article is "NCAA to NBA millions: UCLA star’s father mapped out a dream" Here's a of teaser from the article...

"But Holmes' real genius has been navigating the cutthroat realm of college basketball. It's a world in which school athletic departments, coaches and TV networks reap millions while young athletes, in Holmes words, are left with "crumbs." The father decided long ago that he would make the system work for him. For years, Holmes has tirelessly promoted the Shabazz Muhammad brand to scouts, journalists, money managers and others."

AverageCitizen 9 years, 1 month ago

BrainDead- I remember reading that article. The way he planned to use his children for his own gain struck me as cold hearted after reading this part of the article:

The selling of Shabazz began before he was born. As a student, Holmes said, he found himself fascinated by the careful breeding of thoroughbreds, the way that two fast, powerful horses could be crossed to create an even faster, more powerful colt.

Around that time he met Faye Paige, a point guard, sprinter and hurdler at Cal State Long Beach. Spotting her at a summer league game, Holmes recalled saying to a friend: "See that No. 10? She's going to be my wife, and we're going to make some All-Americans."

HighEliteMajor- I think there are clues to kid's personality before they get here. I remember red flags going off when I read this quote from Shabazz:

“I absolutely can't stand when people in general pronounce my name wrong, but when coaches do it, it’s really surprising honestly. Throughout my recruitment it has happened a lot but a school that just keeps on doing it, they are pretty much off my list.” That from a 17 year old! I understand the frustration but it's a very harsh consequence for the 'crime'. You never really know if it is youthful folly or total self centeredness but it certainly sounded egotistical to me.

Wiggins behavior, most especially how he handles his recruitment/announcement and his thank you letter to the school, gives us the total opposite of Shabazz's behavior. We have a winner in Andrew.

REHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

...and Wiggins' first name is a heck of a lot easier to pronounce; hardly ambiguous.

Hawk8086 9 years, 1 month ago

I agree that by all appearances, Wiggins will have a much better attitude than someone like Shabazz. However, the general concerns of the OAD will always exist. Feeling the need to demonstrate their talents for the NBA scouts, fitting in with the team amidst potential jealously, resentment over displaced playing time, other players' concerns over being treated differently, etc. Obviously, the better the character and the more team-oriented mindset of the individual OAD candidate can potentially mitigate theses issues, but they are always out there. I believe that with Wiggins we have one of the better OAD candidates in terms of all of these issues and things will work out well. The other issues with any potential one and done (Selden, Embiid.....maybe) is the difficulty in filling out your roster when recruiting. Will we need a big wing in 2014as TexasHawk suggests? Could depend in large part as to who goes and who stays. .

Steve Reigle 9 years, 1 month ago

I suspect had Shabazz come to KU he would have been a totally different person. Or he'd have ridden the bench. Coach Self would not put up with that crap. Shabazz would have changed or he'd not have played. Sounds to me like Howland did not gain control where he should have. But, then, that's pretty much what we've heard about his coaching style at UCLA, anyhow.

REHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Sounds to me as though Shabazz' dad might have been the one to do the "changing," if the kid had come to KU. I think the Jayhawk program might have dodged a silver bullet.

REHawk 9 years, 1 month ago

Interesting story re Shabazz' dad and the report of his declaration about selecting a mate who would help him produce all American offspring. That said, considering genetics and accomplishments, I would imagine that Andrew Wiggins' parents might have fostered somewhat similar dreams for their offspring. I like Andrew's father's recent statement about his son: He's humble and hungry; we'll see how that plays out.

KansasComet 9 years, 1 month ago

It is impossible to compare Andrew Wiggins with Shabazz Muhammad. Just totally impossible. Number 1 player coming out of high school. That is where the comparisons stop. From what I can read and see, they are nothing alike. Andrew Wiggins has shown maturity beyond his years. I can't wait to watch him play college basketball, and if he wants to stay in school for more than one year, I am sure he will be the only one making that decision.

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 1 month ago

I would not rank Bruce Weber and Billy Gillispie as great coaches.

jaybate 9 years, 1 month ago

Looking at Bruce Weber in that orange coat, I cannot help but thank the basketball gods that no KU head coach in my memory has worn a crimson blazer on our bench. Please, Bill, don't ever be tempted.

texashawk10 9 years, 1 month ago

What about a crimson and blue jacket straight out of the Craig Sager special collection?

Tony Bandle 9 years, 1 month ago

Larry's Photo...get that guy in the orange blazer out of here immediately!!

Brucie's Photo....Me, me,,choose me!!

Billy's Photo...that guy in the orange blazer is a L-O-S-E-R, LOSER!!

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 1 month ago

Or, Bruce was responding to the question "..who wants to coach in Manhattan?" He raised his hand thinking it was the OTHER Manhattan!

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 1 month ago

I'm all about criticizing; however, for a hindsight 20/20 article where the father was professing to work the system including the ncaa that doesn't make sense. At the baby making timeframe the one and done rule didn't exist and wasn't even phathomed. Why would a father be expressing that when a good high school athlete would go straight to the pros. This just seems like a bad article to kick someone when they are down. Truth be told...the kid still had to learn how to dribble and shoot. There are a lot of nba players who haven't learned how to pass even point guards.

kellerman411 9 years, 1 month ago

Doug Gottlieb is the most unsufferable gas bag that is allowed to litter the airwaves today. Questioning Shabazz's physical tools and athletic ability is crazy. Old man body... what the heck does that even mean? The kid can practically dunk from the free throw line. He measured 6'6.25 at the combine with a 6'11 wing span... that is what you call very solid size for a SF in the NBA. He carried UCLA once he became eligible, from game one on. Oh, so he doesn't pass much. Then he will fit in perfect at the next level! NBA is all about isolation... Shabazz can score in isolation!

What else would we expect from a gas bag like Gottlieb

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